At business aviation conference, connectivity and capacity drive expectations

Viasat business aviation team hears more about what customers want at EBACE Expo in Geneva


For business jets, in-flight connectivity isn’t an option any longer — it’s an expectation. Additionally, the ability to stream video and other high-bandwidth applications relies on a great deal of capacity.

Those were just a few of the takeaways for Viasat at this year’s European Business Aviation Conference and Expo (EBACE) in Geneva. Held in late May, the event featured nearly 400 exhibitors and thousands of attendees from more than 800 companies. From new products to a look into the future of business aviation, attendees had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the business aviation market. One of the main features was the static display, a large outside area where a number of different jets and equipment were available for review.

As Viasat’s Business Aviation team members met with reporters, partners, aircraft manufacturers, customers and other business aviation pros throughout the week, several technologies and key themes emerged that will set the stage for the rest of 2019 and beyond:

Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL): The show’s Innovation Pavilion had some unique electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and concepts. It’s clear that many investors are interested in the urban air mobility market. According to Morgan Stanley, urban air mobility will become a $1.5 trillion market by 2040. From drones delivering life-saving blood from hospital to hospital to personal air taxis, this emerging market will depend on reliable and fast connectivity to ensure the safety of passengers and vehicles around them.


Looking into a jet engine on display at the EBACE Expo

In-flight connectivity is expected: Embraer showcased its Praetor 600 on the EBACE static display which includes in-flight connectivity that delivers 16 Mbps. In fact, Viasat connectivity was tested on the plane during its flight from the U.S. and was live on the static display. Throughout the show, we heard from OEMs, fleet management companies, and attendees about the connectivity expectation. Business aviation passengers no longer see in-flight connectivity as a luxury, but as a must-have capability to remain productive or enjoy the latest entertainment.

New technologies are being leveraged: Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are showing up in unique ways in business aviation. Whether it’s to showcase a connectivity solution or bring a virtual aircraft to life, several vendors are taking advantage of AR and VR. Embraer, through VR, highlighted the exterior and interior of their new Praetor 600 where attendees could virtually step into the cockpit or the cabin and view crisp and real-like details of the aircraft just as if they were standing in it. Viasat has adopted AR to demonstrate the capability of our powerful network. Using Microsoft Hololens passengers can stream Netflix, sports and news channels while simultaneously checking email. Across the business aviation industry, companies are exploring new technologies to help improve operations and enhance the passenger experience.

There’s always more to learn: Viasat’s team spent hours meeting with customers, partners and walking around the show floor. Our goal was to learn more about what’s driving the business aviation market. It also inspires us to learn how we can better serve our customers and help shape the future of business aviation.

“As we continue to innovate and expand our product portfolio in business aviation, participating in industry events allows us to showcase our unique capabilities of delivering high capacity in-flight connectivity,” said Claudio D’Amico, business area director, Business Aviation, Viasat.

James Person is director of Business Development and Strategy for Viasat’s Business Aviation division