LATAM’s New Airbus Fleet Will Have Internet From Intelsat

Intelsat, a company that provides inflight connectivity services, has announced that it will install its product onboard LATAM Airlines Group’s Airbus fleet. The installation will take three years to complete, and Intelsat will work onboard 160 aircraft from the South American carrier.

New inflight connectivity services

LATAM Airlines and Intelsat signed an agreement to install what both parties are describing as “the best connectivity experience across Latin America.”

Intelsat’s connectivity service will be installed in LATAM’s fleet of Airbus narrowbody aircraft, including the A320ceo and A320neo variants, based in Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia.

Up to 160 aircraft from LATAM will receive the new service, and Intelsat will take up to three years to complete the installation. A total of 70 new-delivery planes are expected to be installed with Intelsat’s 2Ku system by Airbus prior to being delivered to LATAM. The airline expects to receive these planes through 2028.

Once the task is completed, LATAM’s complete narrowbody aircraft fleet will have Intelsat’s IFC service.

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LATAM’s Airbus fleet will have Intelsat’s inflight services. Photo: Airbus.

A new connectivity experience

LATAM is looking to offer the best connectivity experience across Latin America. The airline’s Vice President of Clients, Paulo Miranda, said,

“We have worked closely with Intelsat to deliver the best connectivity experience on our aircraft based in Brazil, but we know our customers in Spanish-speaking markets want the same onboard experience. Today’s announcement is the first step on that journey, as we aim to deliver the best connectivity service experience in the region using Intelsat’s 2Ku system.”

Meanwhile, Dave Bijur, Intelsat Commercial Aviation’s senior vice president, said that providing quality, reliable connectivity for work and entertainment is essential for airlines and passengers alike.

“LATAM is an important customer to us, and we look forward to providing their passengers across South America with exceptional customer service for decades to come.”

Intelsat is trying to build the world’s first global unified network. This includes a new fleet of software-defined satellites to meet airline passenger demand for streaming-quality inflight connectivity. The company had an initial US$2 billion investment. Last year, Cathay Pacific took delivery of its first A321neo with Intelsat WiFi, and Air France announced Intelsat would install high-speed WiFi on its A220 fleet.

Intelsat, similarly to LATAM, filed for a Chapter 11 process in the US. On December 16, 2021, the US Court approved its Plan of Reorganization, marking the final Court milestone in the company’s financial restructuring process.

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LATAM has nearly 300 planes. Photo: Getty Images.

LATAM’s fleet

Currently, LATAM Airlines Group has a fleet of 296 aircraft, according to data provided by ch-aviation’s database. Additionally, it is set to receive 72 aircraft in the coming years, mostly Airbus narrowbodies, although there are a couple of Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the mix.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, LATAM has heavily reduced its fleet in the last few years. Mainly, LATAM decided to reject the leasing contracts of its Airbus A350 widebody fleet operating in Brazil.

Per ch-aviation, LATAM has 44 A319-100, 133 A320-200, twelve A320neo, and 49 A321 aircraft in the narrowbody segment. Additionally, it has 22 Boeing 767-300, including several freighters, ten B777-300, and 26 Boeing Dreamliners, between the -8 and -9 variants.

Have you traveled with LATAM in the past? How would you describe the inflight connectivity experience? Was there room for improvement? Let us know in the comments below.

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