As the dust settles on Air France’s first A220 arrival, the selection of WiFi provider for the new fleet type has been unveiled. Global satellite operator Intelsat has been selected to provide inflight connectivity for all 60 of the aircraft, with the A220s line fitted for 2Ku service, formerly a Gogo product. This takes Intelsat’s total order from Air France to 143 aircraft.
Intelsat’s big Air France win
Air France has selected Intelsat to provide the inflight connectivity on its fleet of 60 Airbus A220s as they arrive. The aircraft are being line fitted with the technology, and will arrive at the airline ready to go. Air France intends to activate the WiFi on the A220 from the fall, when it enters commercial service.
John Wade, president, Commercial Aviation of Intelsat, commented,
“We are honored to partner with Air France and delight their passengers with a superior inflight connectivity experience on Airbus’ state-of-the-art A220 aircraft. This award expands the total Intelsat fleet at Air France to 143 aircraft, including widebody B777s and A330s. Air France is the third airline partner to select Intelsat on the A220 airframe and our first 2Ku line-fit European airline partner.”
The addition of the Air France A220 to Intelsat’s order book brings the total 2Ku fleet to 143 aircraft for the French flag carrier. Air France is the third airline to select Intelsat for the A220, and is the first in Europe to have the product line fitted for its aircraft.
Intelsat has begun to solidify its presence in the IFC space, following its purchase of Gogo’s commercial aviation business earlier this year. Previously, Air France had agreed a deal with Gogo to provide its widebody connectivity under its 2Ku service, although that service was backed by Intelsat’s satellite network.
With no middleman to interrupt the relationship, Intelsat is dealing directly with airlines now. The company plans to invest $2 billion in building a unified global 5G network to support the next generation of mobility, connectivity and the internet of things (IoT). Its multi-orbit, multi-spectrum network is proving to be a powerful choice for the needs of aviation.
A grand arrival
It’s always great when an airline makes a fuss about a new aircraft type, and Air France did not disappoint with the arrival of its first Airbus A220 yesterday. With a countdown of “trois, deux, un…” the curtain lifted to reveal the shiny new Airbus, surrounded by Air France crew, all applauding the arrival.
— Air France Newsroom (@AFnewsroom) September 29, 2021
The passenger experience on the A220 won’t disappoint. Air France has installed 148 seats in a 3-2 configuration, increasing the proportion of its customers enjoying a window or aisle seat. The large windows flood the cabin with light, and larger overhead bins will make boarding and deplaning faster and easier.
Each seat is furnished in leather with an ergonomic seat cushion and an adjustable headrest. While the aircraft doesn’t have its own IFE, it does have a tablet or smartphone holder complete with USB A and C ports for keeping it topped up.
The WiFi will be provided through Air France Connect, the airline’s usual inflight connectivity service. Air France says that three passes will be available according to the passengers’ needs, one of which is free of charge for messaging services only. The portal also offers information on their flights and connections free of charge.
Paid options are the Surf Pass, which allows for browsing the internet and checking emails for either one hour or for the entire duration of the flight. For more and faster data, the Stream Pass allows for the watching of movies and TV shows inflight.
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