Japan Airlines Taps Intelsat for 737 MAX Inflight Connectivity

Render of a Japan Airlines Boeing 737 MAX in flight
Image Credit: Intelsat

Japan Airlines (JAL) is about to elevate the passenger experience with the integration of high-speed inflight connectivity.

This follows an announcement of a multi-year agreement with Intelsat, the world leader in integrated satellite and terrestrial networks.

The initiative will equip JAL with Intelsat’s next-generation inflight connectivity solution. It makes the carrier a frontrunner in offering reliable, high-speed internet access across the Asia-Pacific region.

High Speed Internet in Flight

The game-changer lies in Intelsat’s innovative electronically steered array (ESA) antenna. This technology, boasting a remarkably compact size of under seven centimeters.

It integrates with both Intelsat’s network of geostationary satellites and its partner’s constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.

This multi-orbit approach ensures broader coverage and significantly reduces latency, translating to a user experience akin to the internet speeds enjoyed on the ground.

“JAL passengers can soon expect to stay connected throughout their journeys with the same level of speed and dependability they’re accustomed to at home,” shared Dave Bijur, Intelsat’s Senior Vice President for Commercial Aviation.

He further emphasizes the longstanding partnership, stating, “JAL was Intelsat’s first non-U.S. commercial aviation customer.”

“We’re thrilled to continue supporting their industry-leading inflight connectivity service, especially considering JAL’s commitment to providing complimentary Wi-Fi on domestic routes.”

Factory Installation on 737 MAX

This cutting-edge technology boasts a seamless integration process. Boeing will factory-install the ESA antenna system on over 20 of JAL’s upcoming Boeing 737 MAX deliveries.

This makes JAL one of the first airlines to receive Boeing aircraft equipped with ESA inflight connectivity.

It comes ready for immediate passenger use upon delivery, with the first such aircraft anticipated to arrive in 2026.

JAL’s commitment to exceptional passenger experience extends beyond the upcoming 737 MAX fleet.

Render of a Japan Airlines Boeing above clouds
Image Credit: Japan Airlines

J-AIR E190 Upgrades

Their subsidiary, J-AIR Co., Ltd., is currently undergoing the installation of Intelsat’s 2Ku inflight connectivity system on their entire fleet of Embraer E190 aircraft.

This move positions J-AIR to become the first regional airline in Japan to offer inflight entertainment and internet access, further solidifying JAL’s position as an innovator in passenger comfort and digital connectivity.

Junko Sakihara, Deputy SVP of JAL’s Customer Experience Division, expressed her enthusiasm for the partnership. She highlighted their long-standing association with Intelsat and JAL’s pioneering spirit in offering complimentary inflight Wi-Fi.

She anticipates the new multi-orbit service to deliver significant improvements in speed and reliability, ultimately enhancing the travel experience for JAL customers.

This collaboration between JAL and Intelsat signifies a significant leap forward in inflight connectivity across the Asia-Pacific region.

Passengers can look forward to seamless internet access, revolutionizing the way they travel and stay connected during flights.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
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