American Airlines Adds More ViaSat Wi-Fi

Pope Francis Departs D.C. En Route To New York City
Photo by Patrick Smith —Getty Images

American Airlines is installing ViaSat, the in-flight Wi-Fi provider, on 500 more of its aircraft.

The deal comes as a huge blow to in-flight Wi-Fi service Gogo (GOGO), American’s (AAL) current partner, as ViaSat is its biggest rival.

“The news from ViaSat is another step toward our promise of adding this technology to our aircraft,” an American Airlines spokesperson told Fortune. “Gogo remains a valued partner and will still be outfitting other aircraft with its 2ku satellite Wi-Fi.”

American and Gogo have been at odds since the airline tried to sue the company February to get out of its contract, citing Gogo’s reportedly slow Internet speed as the main reason. However, American dropped the lawsuit days later.

So in June, American asked for both companies to provide Wi-Fi: Gogo would install its speedier 2Ku satellite service on 134 of American’s existing Airbus planes, while ViaSat (VSAT) was contracted for service on 100 new Boeing 737 Max planes. But with the new deal, ViaSat is encroaching on Gogo: Eventually, American will provide ViaSat on about 600 of its 1,100 fleet.


According to Bloomberg, Gogo currently provides its services on about 550 of American’s planes, but those “are subject to de-installation at any time,” which it expects the airline to do “from time to time over the next several years.”

A Gogo spokesperson told Fortune that American’s announcement is “ old news,” and it “simply confirms what we said in June.”

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