Contact Us

Hughes Introduces Lightweight LEO In-flight Connectivity for Airlines

Woman on Wi-Fi in plane

In today’s digital world, airlines must compete for customers by offering superior amenities and the most desired travel experience—which includes giving passengers internet access so they can use their favorite devices and engage in online activities—at affordable costs. 

In-flight Connectivity (IFC) has been an option on airlines for more than 10 years, but advances in antenna, satellite, and wireless technologies are changing the game for the airline industry. Passengers want to use their smartphones and laptops to stay productive, browse the internet, check social media, stream content, and more while in-flight. Airlines want to provide those options at reasonable prices—and, in some cases, free to passengers. 

Hughes has developed game-changing technologies and is collaborating with airlines to deliver optimal IFC options. Hughes solutions, which include an Electronically Steerable Antenna (ESA), provide the IFC options passengers want and the superior experience airlines need to attract and retain customers.

Why Hughes for IFC? 

With proven LEO services and ESA technologies developed and manufactured by Hughes, we are transforming how airlines give customers reliable, snappy Wi-Fi and connectivity capabilities as they travel. 

Hughes is ready to satisfy airline preferences with an innovative solution set that brings together streamlined antennas, intelligent software, and secure services to help airlines differentiate themselves. 

The Hughes ESA is an example of how Hughes can provide antenna innovation for the airline industry. To put it simply, the Hughes ESA is lightweight and produces less heat than other options. Airlines strive to minimize the weight on their aircraft, and with the Hughes ESA, airlines can allocate more of the payload capacity of their aircraft to passengers or cargo. Couple the Hughes ESA with Hughes LEO connectivity technologies, and airlines can provide IFC today and into the future. 

In November 2023, Delta Air Lines selected the Hughes In-Flight connectivity solution to power passenger Wi-Fi service on more than 400 aircraft. The program with Delta is underway with initial installations coming later this year. The solution for the airline will enable Delta to provide passengers with fast, free Wi-Fi from gate to gate. 

Airline/ISP Collaboration is Critical 

IFC is not necessarily one-size-fits-all, and we will collaborate with airlines to customize IFC solutions to meet their specific needs. Hughes offers not only LEO, but also Geostationary (GEO) and hybrid GEO+LEO satellite services to enable optimal flexibility for airlines. 

Hughes offers airlines multiple options that can help airlines meet their business needs and provide customers with superior connectivity experiences. 

  • Hughes LEO In-Flight: A managed in-flight solution that combines low-latency, global satellite coverage from Eutelsat OneWeb (a Hughes partner) with the Hughes ESA for LEO connectivity.
  • Hughes Fusion In-Flight: Combines LEO service with Hughes Fusion™ technology to augment an existing GEO IFC solution and deliver an at-home or office-like Wi-Fi experience everywhere in the air, including over airport hubs.
  • Hughes JUPITER In-Flight: Provides a managed in-flight solution that utilizes the Hughes JUPITER system and fleet

We offer a variety of capabilities to provide reliable, uninterrupted service for airlines and their passengers. Hughes can not only connect to both a GEO and LEO network, but also integrate the transports simultaneously to deliver a low-latency experience with pole-to-pole service, including over high-density airline hubs. 

The Hughes LEO In-flight solution is simple to install, ensuring installation costs and downtime are minimized. As passengers continue to demand more of their creature comforts in flight, Hughes will continue to drive innovative connectivity solutions for airlines. 

Learn more about fast, reliable, and flexible IFC options by emailing [email protected].