Recently, Viasat announced that our Ka-band In-flight Connectivity (IFC) solution for business aviation is now available as a direct service through our new Viasat Select plan.
So what does that mean?
It enables us to build more intimate relationships with our business jet customers, so we can individually tailor IFC service plans to meet their specific requirements. The launch of Viasat Select allows us to customize IFC solutions based not only on the operational profile of each aircraft but also on the bandwidth appetites of those on board.
We created Viasat Select with three goals in mind: to deliver high-speed performance, improve flexibility, and increase value to operators. Viasat’s high-capacity satellites help ensure that whichever plan a customer chooses, their in-flight Wi-Fi experience will be similar in quality to what they’re used to with their home broadband service.
As an end-to-end service provider, giving our business aviation customers an option to purchase their IFC plans directly from Viasat confers several advantages. It means we can complete the loop from designing, launching, and operating the satellites, terminals, and sophisticated ground networks that drive our service, to installing the systems on aircraft, to customizing individual plans, to providing ongoing aftercare and support to our customers.
“It’s exciting that the solutions we’re bringing here will enable us to learn more and collaborate to develop specific solutions that will take advantage of the capacity that we bring,” said Claudio D’Amico, Viasat business area director for Business Aviation.
Viasat continues to work closely with our value-added reseller (VAR) partners as we open this new hybrid channel, ensuring maximum flexibility for our customers. Just last month Viasat announced an extended partnership with Collins Aerospace that will see our long-time partner act as a VAR for Viasat’s Ka-band business aviation service, in addition to our Ku Advanced and Dual Ku-/Ka-band solutions.
For us, the most important thing is that operators experience Viasat’s exceptional connectivity service, whether it’s through us or through our VARs.
For operators that do decide to sign up for Viasat Select, we offer global and regional unlimited plans that feature uncapped data and Viasat’s unique No Speed Limit Ka-band solution, which covers over 90% of the top business aviation routes.
Unlike some of our competitors, Viasat’s in-flight Wi-Fi service can be accessed from ramp to ramp. Passengers can surf the web, stream movies, or carry out videoconferencing as soon as they step on board, without having to wait until the aircraft reaches a certain altitude.
Light internet users can select an entry-level plan at a lower price point, while heavier users can opt for an unlimited plan. Both will benefit from home-quality in-flight broadband with typical download speeds greater than 20 Mbps.
“Customers now have the flexibility to go between regional and global, a more basic internet service versus a more data-rich internet experience – all at a very competitive price and value per gigabyte,” said D’Amico. “Independent of which plan you fall into, what we’re delivering is the lowest price per gigabyte in the industry, and we’re able to do that because of the capacity we have available with our satellites.”
Industry on the rise
Viasat Select was publicly announced during the recent NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) in Las Vegas. As the business aviation community met face-to-face for the first time in years, there was plenty to celebrate.
Demand in the industry, which held strong during the pandemic in the U.S. and European markets, is “probably back to pre-COVID numbers,” according to D’Amico, with business jet manufacturers currently enjoying “one of the highest book-to-bill ratios in history.”
Three all-new business jets have just been introduced to the market – the Gulfstream G800 and G400, and the Bombardier Challenger 3500 – reflecting the high level of optimism in the business aviation market about its future.
“Viasat Select is going to help with the connectivity on those jets,” said D’Amico. Viasat’s Ka-band IFC service is already certified on 17 different types of business jets, and counting.
As we look forward to the launch of the ViaSat-3 constellation – which is designed to provide global satellite broadband coverage and huge gains in capacity – Viasat is building out additional capacity through our satellite partners.
We recently expanded Ka-band coverage for business aviation services across Brazil through our partner satellite SGDC-1, owned by Brazilian state-owned telecommunications services provider Telebras. We will also soon provide expanded business aviation coverage and capacity across parts of Europe and the Middle East on the Avanti Communication Group’s HYLAS-4 and HYLAS-2 satellites.
“We’re layering capacity to meet demand, and to continue providing this really unique experience,” said D’Amico. “The launch of Viasat Select is the perfect response to what business aviation operators have told us, which is: ‘We don’t want to be restricted. Just give us the capacity to do what we want in those cabins, and create the plans around that.’”