Hands holding a tablet on a flydubai aircraft.

flydubai soon to share new inflight connectivity strategy


Though flydubai does not currently offer onboard Internet to passengers, the Emirati government-owned carrier has not written off the idea of again providing this service. Indeed, flydubai tells Runway Girl Network that it intends to share its inflight connectivity plans “soon”.

On 9 May, passenger experience news website PaxEx.aero broke the news that flydubai is no longer offering Anuvu (formerly Global Eagle) Ku-band IFC to passengers, saying that the carrier confirmed the decision via multiple channels.

Runway Girl Network sought formal confirmation from the airline, and an airline spokesperson informs us this morning that:

flydubai does not currently offer an inflight internet service, however, we understand how important it is for our passengers to be connected and we look forward to sharing our inflight connectivity plans soon.

That’s good news for passengers who increasingly need and expect to be connected at all touchpoints of a journey, including in-flight.

As to whether flydubai is eyeing the SpaceX Starlink Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite-based service — Doha-based Qatar Airways is adopting Starlink — or indeed another IFC service, the carrier stayed mum when asked.

It remains to be seen where the soon-to-be-announced new service will debut, but the carrier’s 30 on-order Boeing 787-9 widebodies are certainly a good place to start. These twin-aisle twinjets will be used to both “expand” flydubai’s horizon “and cater to the growing demand on existing routes”, management said when the deal was struck late last year.

Anuvu, meanwhile, has in the past pursued a Ku-band GEO satellite-focused model. Several years ago, it even had grand designs on piping inflight entertainment content over flydubai’s IFC system.

The Santa Ana, California-based aero ISP and content service provider is still very much serving airlines, announcing on 8 May that its Airconnect-branded IFC system is now installed on over 100 Turkish Airlines Airbus A321 and Boeing 737 narrowbodies. It also counts Southwest Airlines and Norwegian as customers, and enjoys very strong positioning as a mega-CSP.

But in recent years, Anuvu has honed its approach to connectivity and is now going “all-in on hybrid IFC including our MicroGEO, third-party GEO, and LEO partnerships”, CEO Josh Marks tells RGN. To wit, it recently sold its Maritime, Energy and Government (MEG)-focused connectivity business operations to Florida-based FMC GlobalSat.

By centering the connectivity side of its business wholly on aviation, Anuvu won’t be spread so thin, and should be able to focus satellite capacity on aviation clients, including from the forthcoming Anuvu Constellation, which will comprise a cluster of MicroGEO satellites (with initial launches targeted at mid-year).

For its part, flydubai continues to grow its network, traffic and fleet (the latter comprising 29 Boeing 737-800NGs, 53 737 MAX 8s and three 737 MAX 9s). And, as expected, it has launched a fleet retrofit project to enhance customer experience, with its own in-house maintenance team and MRO provider GMR Aerotech handling the work.

“The multi-million dollar retrofit project was launched in January 2024 and eight aircraft have had a full cabin refresh with the installation of the carrier’s flagship lie-flat business class seats and the new economy seats from RECARO that mirror the cabin product on its newer aircraft in the fleet,” says flydubai in a published statement. The up front mini-suites are based on Safran’s Vue single-aisle longhaul product, and feature delightful color, materials and finish (CFM), as designed by JPA Design.


“All the retrofitted aircraft will be equipped with inflight entertainment and will ensure a more cohesive and consistent travel experience for passengers across the fleet,” continues flydubai. “The airline will retain an all-economy configuration on some of its aircraft and will upgrade the seats to the new RECARO economy seats with inflight entertainment.”

Interestingly, flydubai is also increasing the seat pitch on its recliner business class product on some of its newer aircraft from 45 to 53 inches. This will ensure more a comfortable travel experience on shorter to medium-haul flights around the region, it assures.

It says it expects to complete the retrofit program before the end of the year.

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