Alaska Airlines' regional jets will get satellite-based WiFi

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Alaska Airlines' lone regional aircraft type will be the Embraer E175 (pictured) once its Bombardier Q400 propeller planes are phased out.
Alaska Airlines' lone regional aircraft type will be the Embraer E175 (pictured) once its Bombardier Q400 propeller planes are phased out. Photo Credit: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines plans to begin installing high-speed, satellite-based WiFi on its fleet of Embraer E175 regional aircraft next year. 

Completion of the project is expected in 2026. The new WiFi will replace Alaska's existing air-to-ground WiFi connectivity on regional flights. 

"Bringing a streaming-fast satellite Wi-Fi solution to our regional jets is another key investment in modernizing our fleet, emphasizing innovation and taking care of our guests' changing needs," said Sangita Woerner, Alaska's senior vice president of marketing and guest experience.

The $25 million project will cover all of Alaska's regional aircraft, including those that are operated by its subsidiary Horizon, and ones that operated by regional airline partner SkyWest. 

The carrier is in the process of phasing out its fleet of Bombardier Q400 propeller planes (also known as the De Havilland Dash 8), which will leave the E175 as its lone regional aircraft type. 

Alaska said it is the first airline to announce plans to offer "streaming-fast WiFi" on a regional jet. 

The installation will be undertaken in partnership with Alaska's existing mainline fleet WiFi partner, Intelsat. The carrier expects to have nearly its entire mainline fleet equipped with Intelsat WiFi by April.

Adding Intelsat's WiFi antennas to the regional fleet will allow Alaska Airlines to offer more reliable service across rural sections of the state of Alaska, the carrier said. 

Alaska currently charges $8 per flight for WiFi on its satellite-enabled mainline fleet.

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