12 February 2018
| Natalie Bannerman
Viasat, the global satellite company, has entered into a contract to deliver next-gen internet connectivity to a fleet of United Airlines (UAL) aircraft.
in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) system will be
rolled out to more than 70 aircraft, including at least 58 of
United's new Boeing 737MAX aircraft.
"We're pleased to expand our relationship with United, now
providing direct internet and entertainment services to them
and their customers. We're focused on optimizing customer
satisfaction through great connectivity and entertainment. Our
goal is to ensure United's customers are fully connected and
enjoying their on-board connectivity and entertainment
experiences," Don Buchman, vice president and general manager
of commercial aviation at Viasat.
Under the new agreement Viasat will act as the new direct
in-flight internet service provider for UAL and by deploying
its IFEC system users will have access to fast, reliable
internet connectivity allowing them to access their favorite
websites or connect with key business applications such as a
corporate VPN and secure email.
The Viasat IFEC system will also power UAL’s
private screening entertainment option, which gives customers
access to hundreds of entertainment titles from its on-board
library directly to their own devices.
On the backend United will tap into Viasat’s
high-capacity Ka-band satellite system, which includes the
ViaSat-1, ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 satellite platforms.
These 'capacity rich’ platforms enable Viasat to
provide fast, high-quality in-flight service to all connected
devices on the aircraft.
The ViaSat-2 was deployed in June 2017, and claimed that it was
the most powerful broadband satellite ever. It was launched
aboard an Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle from the
Guiana Space Center, located in Kourou, French Guiana. It was
designed to offer high-capacity connectivity and wide coverage
across North America, Central America, the Caribbean, a portion
of northern South America, as well as the primary aeronautical
and maritime routes across the Atlantic Ocean between North
America and Europe.
UAL will begin installing Viasat’s IFEC system
on its airframes over the coming months, in a move the company
says underpins its commitment to the customer