Good news for JetBlue customers: The company reiterated once again that it expects to keep the FlyFi in-flight internet product free for the foreseeable future. Last week Jamie Perry, VP Brand & Product Development, was clear that continuing to offer a free option for customers was a core aspect of the company’s plan, largely because the system is working far better than the company anticipated when it launched in November 2013.
Perry also confirmed that the 100th A320 received its FlyFi hardware at the beginning of the month leaving only 30 left to be fitted; this is expected to be completed in the current quarter. All 15 of the A321s are also equipped and new deliveries are having the kit installed before entering service. That leaves only the 60 Embraer E190s to go. And, unfortunately, the installation completion date on those has slipped into 2016.
There is a chance that things will wrap up faster, but it is a slim one. Part of the reason for the uncertainty in the timeline is that the company is expecting a few surprises during the install process and so it is planning for the delays those cause. As Perry recently explained:
As you get on to the older planes when you pop off the radomes there is stuff under there that you haven’t seen that you have to fix. So the install times are varying depending on the aircraft infrastructure. We don’t know what we’re going to find with the 190s. If they’re all clean we should shoot through the installs fairly quickly. If we find issues under the domes it might take longer.
The fitting will begin in the September/October 2015 timeframe, assuming the rest of the FAA certification process runs to plan. The initial requirements out of Brazil for the Embraer modifications have been approved so now it is a matter of getting those to the FAA and adding the supplemental approvals necessary for US operations. That is all expected in the next few months after which the installs will begin.
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