Southwest Airlines is moving beyond the testing phase of its onboard high-speed Internet service and plans to take it fleetwide.
In a posting on the Dallas-based airline's official blog, Dave Ridley, senior VP of marketing and revenue management, said: "We ended the equipment testing phase and signed an equipment purchase contract with our Wi-Fi provider, Row 44. That means we now begin the process of getting equipment ordered and aircraft scheduling in place to begin our full fleet installation."
Row 44 Inc., a Westlake Village, Calif., company, uses satellites to transmit the broadband signal to aircraft.
Southwest (NYSE: LUV) is scheduled to begin installing the Row 44 Wi-Fi equipment in the second quarter of 2010. It will do so on about 15 aircraft per month, with the goal of fitting Southwest's entire fleet of 540 plans with Wi-Fi service by early 2012.
The airline is still testing a variety of price points on the four aircraft that currently have Wi-Fi with a decision on the price for access expected in the second quarter of 2010.