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WestJet to offer inflight Wi-Fi in 2014

CEO Gregg Saretsky says an announcement could some soon

Jim Kerr is Alberta Venture's web editor. Get in touch with him at jkerr@albertaventure.com.

Dec 17, 2013

by Jim Kerr

Tired of inflight movies?

If Gregg Saretsky has his way, you’ll be able to watch just about whatever you want when you take off on a WestJet plane.

The Calgary Herald reports the WestJet CEO is working on a deal that would make his airline the first in Canada to offer inflight Wi-Fi to customers. Saretsky says a contract hasn’t been signed yet, but an announcement could come before Christmas or in early 2014.

Inflight Wi-Fi isn’t a new idea, as it’s already offered by some U.S. and international carriers, but the infrastructure doesn’t currently exist to make it possible in Canada. That’s changing though, with inflight Wi-Fi provider Gogo receiving Industry Canada approval last year to launch its service on our side of the border. Gogo works with carriers like Delta and American Airlines, and provides inflight Wi-Fi on some Air Canada flights while they’re over U.S. airspace.

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Transport Canada’s rules around personal electronic devices are another reason domestic airlines are behind on this trend, but Saretsky says he expects they’ll soon follow their American counterparts in reversing those bans.

Once a deal is reached with a provider, Saretsky says WestJet will likely roll out its first Wi-Fi equipped planes by November of next year. No word yet on what the cost to use the service will be.

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