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Connectivity

The world of aircraft connectivity and avionics are starting to consolidate.  This morning, ViaSat acquired Arconics, a provider of software solutions to the aviation industry. Through this acquisition ViaSat gains a connected aircraft software platform that includes wireless In-flight Entertainment (IFE), Electronic Flight Bag (EFB), Airline Document Management and Cabin Management solutions, as well as software expertise and seasoned personnel.

Currently Arconics serves: Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Philippine Airlines, Tigerair Australia, SpiceJet and others – and tens of thousands of pilots, ground staff and cabin crew members, across five continents, depend on Arconics software to safely and efficiently operate their fleets.

Prior to the acquisition, Arconics had a partnership with ViaSat, primarily focused on serving the wireless IFE needs of multiple airline customers. Post-acquisition, ViaSat expects to also offer airlines real-time insight, control and agility of aircraft and flight data with highly-integrated, high-customization aircraft operations… Continue reading

In June the airline split its business between Gogo and ViaSat.  We covered that story here. Back then, ViaSat was given the opportunity to work on 100 new 737 MAXs while Gogo was to install its 2Ku service on more than 130 A319s and A320s.  Panasonic provides satellite Wi-Fi for the airline’s international widebody fleet.

ViaSat, in its latest earnings news made mention of “New contracts with commercial airline customers announced: Major North American airline, as well as European airlines Finnair and SAS”.  The company then also mentioned: “Subsequent to the end of the second quarter of fiscal year 2017, ViaSat was selected by a North American airline to retrofit more than 500 aircraft from its existing, mainline domestic fleet with ViaSat’s highly advanced in-flight internet system. Installation under this contract is expected to begin in summer 2017.”  A pretty clear signal that they were… Continue reading

Finnair has signed an agreement with ViaSat Inc to install a high-speed wireless internet network on its entire Airbus A320 series short-haul fleet flying in Europe. The installation of the Wi-Fi equipment will begin in May 2017, and will be completed by June 2018.

With a connection speed of 12 Mbps or higher per passenger, the new system will offer the fastest in-flight internet connection currently available on the market, which enables the use of video streaming services. ViaSat will ensure end-to-end in-flight connectivity service across the Finnair fleet, and partnered with Eutelsat to deliver the high-speed satellite-based internet service, which will cover the European continent.

Last July, Finnair announced that its long-haul fleet of A330 aircraft would be retrofitted with Wi-Fi connectivity by May 2017. Finnair currently operates six A350XWBs which offer passengers wireless connectivity. The airline is expected to receive an additional five A350s by the end of… Continue reading

The airline industry seems to be pushing for ever more bandwidth on their aircraft. An early pioneer in this is Lufthansa which was among the first airlines to sign up for Boeing Connexion. Even after that program was abandoned, Lufthansa stayed committed to in-flight connectivity.  Recently the airline was again pioneering and pushing for more bandwidth, and is now a user of the Panasonic solution. It appears the airline is experimenting with other options collaborating with Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom.

The move by Lufthansa is not unique. As airlines take delivery of ever more e-Enabled aircraft the pressure is on to exploit the promise of better data transmissions to drive efficiency. To extract the maximum value proposition of e-Enablement, connectivity is key and better bandwidth is the Holy Grail. Take a look at this 2012 document from Star Alliance on e-Enablement.

If the US, GoGo is the king… Continue reading

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