CARLSBAD, Calif., 2 Sept. 2016. Officials at Finnair, the largest airline in Finland, and EL AL Israel Airlines in Israel are leveraging satellite connectivity to give passengers fast onboard wi-fi connections to surf the web, shop online, engage on social media, and stream media at 35,000 feet. They are working with ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ:VSAT) and Eutelsat Communications (Paris:ETL), which are working to deliver satellite-based Internet connectivity to the commercial air market in Europe.
Finnair officials have signed an agreement with ViaSat to install a high-speed wireless Internet network across the airline’s entire Airbus A320 series short-haul fleet flying in Europe. At the same time, EL AL Israel Airlines is in customer trials and expected to enter full retail service before the end of the 2016 calendar year.
ViaSat is the prime contractor to the airlines, making available its vertically-integrated, in-flight Internet system, inclusive of providing Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs); wireless IFE system support; passenger-facing access portals; and an end-to-end service that will leverage connectivity from ViaSat’s partner, Eutelsat. The connectivity service uses KA-SAT, Eutelsat’s high-capacity Ka-band broadband satellite whose service area spans Europe and the Mediterranean Basin.
“Our most recent contracts with EL AL and Finnair point to the continuation of the strong partnership between ViaSat and Eutelsat,” says Mark Dankberg, ViaSat chairman and CEO. “ViaSat brings tremendous experience delivering in-flight Internet systems to leading airlines and Eutelsat brings broadband connectivity. This partnership combines our expertise to bring value-based, best-in-class connectivity to the European airline carrier market.”
“Together with ViaSat, we can deliver a high-quality in-flight Internet experience that replicates the quality we are already giving many thousands of users on the ground and enables airlines serving Europe to deliver greater value to their customers,” Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat Communications, comments.
ViaSat and Eutelsat have enjoyed a decade-long partnership. The KA-SAT ground network that uses ViaSat’s technology is a version of the technology that today powers Internet connectivity to nearly 700,000 homes and more than 1,500 flights daily in the U.S. The combination of KA-SAT’s capacity and ViaSat’s technology platform makes it possible to deliver in-flight Internet connectivity at speeds comparable to an at-home experience, officials explain.
In February 2016, the companies announced an agreement to create a joint venture combining Eutelsat’s current European broadband business with ViaSat’s industry-leading broadband technologies and consumer Internet Service Provider (ISP) business expertise. The companies continue to work toward the completion of the transaction.
Established in 1977, Eutelsat Communications is one of the world's most experienced operators of communications satellites. The company provides capacity on 39 satellites to clients that include broadcasters and broadcasting associations, pay-TV operators, video, data and Internet service providers, enterprises and government agencies. Eutelsat’s satellites provide ubiquitous coverage of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas, enabling video, data, broadband, and government communications to be established irrespective of a user’s location. Headquartered in Paris, with offices and teleports around the globe, Eutelsat represents a workforce of 1,000 men and women from 37 countries who are experts in their fields and work with clients to deliver the highest quality of service.
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Global Aerospace Technology NetworkIntelligent Aerospace, the global aerospace technology network, reports on the latest tools, technologies, and trends of vital importance to aerospace professionals involved in air traffic control, airport operations, satellites and space, and commercial and military avionics on fixed-wing, rotor-wing, and unmanned aircraft throughout the world.