Hughes Network Systems has been selected by Delta Air Lines to provide passenger WiFi on more than 400 Boeing 717 and regional jets serving North America.

Hughes, an EchoStar company, announced the contract yesterday (November 1).

Delta Air Lines
– Getty Images

The company will provide its Hughes In-Flight management system, which has been designed for commercial aircraft.

It was revealed in December that Delta Air Lines would begin rolling out free WiFi services from early 2023 for its SkyMiles members.

Hughes notes that its WiFi system combines AI and ML with a multi-orbit antenna and Hughes Jupiter Ka-band satellite capacity to deliver reliable in-flight connectivity (IFC) even over busy airport hubs.

The company said that the program has already begun, and is on course for initial installations to begin midway through next year.

“Hughes welcomes Delta and appreciates their collaborative approach to enabling an enhanced connectivity experience for their regional passengers,” said Reza Rasoulian, vice president, Hughes.

“Travelers expect a reliable WiFi experience wherever they go, including in the air; the Hughes In-Flight connectivity solution enables Delta to meet that expectation with fast gate-to-gate connectivity.”

In its announcement, Hughes added that its In-Flight system supports seamless roaming across Jupiter-driven satellites, while it is forward-compatible with Hughes' upcoming Jupiter 3 satellite, the largest commercial communications satellite ever built, which launched in July and will enter service later this year.

The company added that it is also compatible with additional Ka-band satellite systems, providing airlines an onramp to even wider coverage and lower latency services as they come online.