In-flight connectivity that’s big on capacity, small in size

How Viasat’s in-flight Wi-Fi solution gives private jet passengers the most broadband capacity while occupying the least amount of space on the aircraft


Business jet passengers cannot afford to be disconnected from their professional and personal lives when they are in the air. Nor can they afford to sacrifice valuable real estate in the cabin, or baggage compartment, to large and unwieldy in-flight connectivity systems.

Viasat’s small but mighty satellite-based in-flight Wi-Fi service has both of these bases covered. Compared with other systems, Viasat’s hardware does not need to be installed inside the pressurized cabin, leaving more room for personal items and luggage. At the same time, it provides more capacity than just about any other system on the market — with virtually no limitations on the number of devices used to connect to the internet. Traveling executives can therefore maximize both productivity and space in their flying offices.

These are two key selling points that will set private jet charter and fractional ownership companies apart from competitors when vying for business aviation customers. Boasting an internet-connected fleet that does not compromise on capacity or onboard space provides a compelling competitive advantage that will grab the attention of high-profile, time-pressed executives, for whom compromise is not an option.

Viasat’s compact Ku- and Ka-band antennas are so small and light they can be installed together in the tail of an aircraft, if requested, providing customers with even greater flexibility.

Smaller and lighter

The Viasat Global Aero Terminal 5510 (GAT-5510) Ka-band system for midsize executive jets consists of only three line-replaceable units (LRUs), designed to be installed in the non-pressurized areas of the aircraft. Many competing systems have up to twice the number of LRUs, and they must be installed in ventilated cabinets inside the baggage compartment, eating up valuable space.

Viasat’s system is also much lighter than many competing offerings, which can add up to significant fuel savings. The total weight of the GAT-5510 shipset is 55.4lb (25.1kg). Given that every extra pound affects fuel efficiency, weight is a vitally important consideration when comparing in-flight connectivity equipment options.

Research from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) suggests that for each pound of weight added to an aircraft, the incremental additional fuel burn rate per flight hour is 0.005 gallons. With fuel costs accounting for up to half of business jet operators’ variable costs, it makes both financial and environmental sense to conserve as much fuel as possible by opting for a lightweight in-flight Wi-Fi system.

Another important consideration is power. Aircraft electrical components typically operate on alternating current (AC) and/or direct current (DC) voltages, and Viasat’s in-flight connectivity system has the flexibility to support both.

In short, Viasat ticks all the boxes when it comes to the size, weight and power (SWaP) aspect of the hardware required to keep private jet passengers connected in the air. And with more capacity than any other in-flight connectivity provider, Viasat is a clear leader when it comes to providing business jets with this crucial enhancement.

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