S7 Technics has added capability for the installation of Wi-Fi modules in anticipation of Russian carriers adopting the technology in the near future.
According to Oleg Glukhov, deputy production manager at S7 Technics’ Moscow base, passenger demand and new technologies are driving carriers to upgrade their aircraft with internet access, with Wi-Fi access becoming a “simple, mundane and even an obligatory attribute of a modern airline.” Glukhov says that over time, the technology will come to Russia and its neighboring countries, so S7 Technics considers retrofitting aircraft with Wi-Fi modules to be a “promising prospect in the very near future.”
“Some of Russia’s airlines are already actively working on this issue and plan to equip their aircraft with internet access points in the near future,” explains Glukhov, one of which is carrier Aeroflot. S7 Technics is in the midst of its first installation project with the airline to equip its Airbus A320 fleet with Wi-Fi.
The Wi-Fi project team at S7 Technics’ Moscow base—comprised of avionics experts, structural repair specialists, logistics and technological support engineers, a structural engineer and interiors staff—has already completed the first stage of retrofitting for 34 of Aeroflot’s A320s. The first stage took place between March 2018 and September 2019 and entailed installing wiring and modules for distributing information from the onboard server. According to S7 Technics, the installation takes seven days.
The second stage, which will be carried out on 26 Aeroflot aircraft during 2020, entails equipping aircraft with external internet communication modules to connect to passengers’ personal devices.
Kirill Bogdanov, Aeroflot’s deputy CEO for IT, says the carrier is gradually implementing wireless internet access across its entire fleet. All of its long-range aircraft are already fitted with Wi-Fi and Aeroflot is gradually rolling it out on medium-range aircraft. So far, Bogdanov says 62 of Aeroflot’s A320s are equipped with free IFE.
S7 Technics is performing the retrofitting work under its EASA Part 145 certificate. The MRO says its Wi-Fi installation capabilities are offered at both its Moscow Domodedovo and Mineralnye Vody bases.