In-flight Wi-Fi could finally come to Canada next year.
In an interview with the Calgary Herald, WestJet's CEO Gregg Saretsky told the paper the airline is poised to become Canada's first to offer the service within the country.
“We haven’t signed a contract yet, but we’re getting very close to the short strokes on that,” Saretsky told the paper. “If we can get the last of the contract terms resolved quickly, it might be announced before Christmas. Otherwise, it will be early in the year.”
Air Canada currently offers in-flight Internet access but only in U.S. airspace on flights departing from Toronto and Montreal to Los Angeles, according to the Airline Passenger Experience Association.
In-flight Wi-Fi has become popular with travellers flying from the States thanks to carriers such as Delta, JetBlue or United Airlines. South of the border, airlines provide in-flight Internet access via satellite and ground-to-air signal technologies that currently don't exist in Canada.
WestJet has yet to announce how they'll provide the service and remains mum on who their wireless provider will be.
The airline said it had its eye on Gogo, one of the frontrunners in the ground-to-air sector within the in-flight Internet industry, with great interest back in September, Canada.com reports.
The timing seems right as the U.S. lawmakers recently ruled it safe to use personal electronics during the entire flight.
According to the Globe and Mail, Transport Canada has been mulling a possible change to in-flight electronics use ban since June. Saretsky predicts Transport Canada will eventually make the change, much like the U.S.
“We’ve been working hard with them on this, because obviously if we get to a place where we have connectivity, we want people to be able to use their devices,” Saretsky said.