ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) and Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) have agreed to work together towards offering ViaSat Ka-band airborne satellite terminals as a factory line-fit option on Boeing commercial aircraft. Airlines will be able to specify ViaSat in-flight connectivity on new Boeing aircraft and take delivery of the planes with the equipment already installed. Factory installation avoids costly down-time involved with taking planes out of service for post-production retrofits. With the system installed, airlines will have the ability to access Exede® In The Air, ViaSat’s high-speed in-flight Internet service that is designed to provide vastly improved online access to passengers, similar to the broadband experience and data rates of an in-home connection.
“Within the past few weeks we’ve taken steps toward making our Ka-band in-flight service more attractive to new airline customers in two ways: continuing our plan to expand high-capacity Ka-band coverage and making it easier to add our system to their fleets,” said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat chairman and CEO. “First we announced the new coverage areas that we expect to gain with ViaSat-2. And now factory installation on Boeing planes will simplify the process of getting our equipment on board.”
The recent announcement of ViaSat-2, on a Boeing 702HP satellite platform, is a major step forward in ViaSat plans to expand high-capacity, Ka-band satellite coverage around the globe. ViaSat-2 is designed to increase capacity and speed for mobile satellite communications, offering new capacity over land and sea from North America south to Central America, the Caribbean, and the northern edge of South America, as well as over the primary aeronautical and maritime routes across the Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe.
“With the addition of ViaSat airborne terminals to our factory options, Boeing airline customers will have a broader range of selections for high-bandwidth connectivity on their airplanes,” said Dan Murray, chief engineer of Electronic Systems for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We will be working closely with ViaSat to bring this option to market.”