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In a bid to make in-flight connectivity as fast, reliable, and cheap as it is on the ground, Airbus, Delta, OneWeb, Sprint, and Bharti Airtel have teamed up to create the Seamless Air Alliance. The goal is for airlines to work with affiliated mobile services and use satellite technology to provide passengers with the same high-speed, low-latency connectivity as terrestrial services.

We live in an interconnected world where the first instinct of many people with a minute to kill is to reach for their mobile device. Bringing such wireless connectivity to air passengers seems like an obvious next step, but almost two decades of work on the problem has been less than successful. Using in-flight Wi-Fi at first seemed like a technological marvel, but has since become the grit in the salad of air travel with slow, expensive, and unreliable service having become the norm.

To correct this situation, the founding five members of Seamless Air Alliance plan to cut costs and improve in-air mobile services to make them seamless and available throughout the entire flight – including on routes over polar regions. It’s also expected that other industry operators will get onboard with the Alliance, which aims to cut costs and address technical difficulties associated with in-air connectivity. The implementation of standards, interoperability across airlines and networks, and integrated billing will all contribute to this.

“Easy-to-use, high-speed connectivity is part of the next revolution in aerospace,” says Marc Fontaine, Airbus Digital Transformation Officer.



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