Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, will bring connectivity to 18 of the airlines' Boeing 737-800 fleet and 21 of its Embraer E195 aircraft. The 737-800's are expected to be outfitted with Viasat's latest in-flight connectivity (IFC) equipment by the end of 2021, and in service by early 2022, and specifics around the Embraer E195 fleet will be announced at a later time. Both fleets will operate European flight routes only.
Viasat's IFC equipment is currently installed on two KLM narrow-body Boeing aircraft. During the first week of service, which began today, KLM will encourage passengers to trial the service free-of-charge and provide insights to further optimize the onboard Wi-Fi experience.
In-flight connectivity service tiers
KLM will initially offer three in-flight connectivity packages—Messaging, Surf, and Stream—on all Viasat-equipped aircraft. The Messaging option will give all passengers 30-minutes of free text messaging via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, among other messaging apps. The Surf and Stream options, which can be purchased in-flight, will give passengers the ability to do more on board, with options to surf the internet/email as well as enjoy full video and audio streaming.
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"Being internet connected when on-the-go is a top priority for our customers," said Boet Kreiken, executive vice president, Customer Experience, KLM. "That's why we're working with Viasat to specifically define and tailor an in-flight Wi-Fi approach that meets current and future IFC requirements on short- and medium-haul European flights. We believe this new collaboration will enable us to deliver more memorable connected experiences when passengers fly on Viasat-equipped KLM aircraft."
Don Buchman, Viasat's vice president and general manager, Commercial Aviation added, "KLM came to us seeking an IFC partner that could deliver new, affordable ways to engage and entertain passengers in-flight, with options that included streaming, scrolling and staying connected. In understanding their needs, we delivered a high-value IFC service that can support rising data requirements and the latest internet trends—anytime and on any short hop European flight."
How connectivity works onboard
Internet connections are made possible by connecting passenger devices directly to Viasat's expansive high-capacity Ka-band satellite network, including KA-SAT, ViaSat-2 and other owned and partner satellite systems. During the flight, passengers can opt for the free messaging service, or upgrade to one of the fee-based connectivity services, which can be purchased during the flight through the KLM Wi-Fi portal. Viasat's onboard equipment is designed to be forward-compatible with Viasat's next-generation satellite constellation, ViaSat-3—which will give KLM additional future satellite capacity and expanded coverage, once ViaSat-3 is in service.
Source: ViaSat, Inc.
Date: Apr 22, 2021
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