Choosing the right connectivity partner for commercial aviation

White paper: A look at some of the options airlines should take into consideration when considering in-flight connectivity.


The aviation experience is no longer just about getting from point A to point B. Air transport has changed significantly over the years, and with most of today’s passengers bringing personal electronic devices on a flight, there is strong consumer demand for high-quality in-flight connectivity. As increasing numbers of passengers want to use flight time to watch videos, shop online, answer work emails, connect with friends and more, airlines are recognizing the competitive need to provide an in-flight Wi-Fi experience that matches their passengers’ needs.

To meet this demand, it’s important for airlines to understand the options for in-flight connectivity, which have changed greatly in recent years. To help understand the different technologies as well as the benefits of providing connectivity, Viasat created a white paper — “In flight connectivity for commercial aviation” — now available for download. While we believe our satellite-based connectivity technology is the best in the industry, we’ve tried to cover all the bases to help guide airlines toward picking the right partner for them. Topics in the white paper include:

Why is in-flight connectivity important?

  • Nearly one-third of the global active fleet offers connectivity to its passengers, and those passengers tend to be loyal to airlines that offer connectivity similar to what they use on the ground or in the office.
  • Airlines offering in-flight connectivity report increases in their net promoter score since bringing Wi-Fi on board.
  • It brings increased profit through passenger loyalty, partnership opportunities and cost savings.

What does the best service look like?

  • No matter how many passengers or planes are connected, each passenger in the entire fleet should have a high-speed connection. Service that bogs down as more devices come online don’t make the grade.
  • With passengers and crew wanting to be online gate to gate, the service should work in the air and on the ground.
  • Not all airlines are the same, so the connectivity solution should be tailored to match the individual needs.
  • Equipment should be forward compatible, so that future upgrades can be easily applied to meet consumer and operational demand.

What are the different kinds of providers?

  • Most IFC providers are resellers that lease space on mobile networks or satellites to provide the bandwidth they need. These providers are subject to third-party forces beyond their control, which can make it difficult for them to manage fluctuating demands and can result in substandard service.
  • Vertically integrated providers own their own satellites and ground stations and operate their own networks. These efficiencies create more affordable capacity, making these providers better equipped to design service with the end user in mind.

For airlines looking at adding or changing their connectivity partner, we know it’s a big decision. This white paper will provide some useful background and statistics for helping guide that choice.
Learn more in the white paper “In flight connectivity for commercial aviation.”