Aeromexico confirmed its plans to add Viasat‘s Ka-band connectivity on the 737 MAX fleet. The announcement at APEX Expo this morning confirms the long-rumored deal between the two and adds 18 planes to the Viasat fleet in North America. Aeromexico holds options for an additional 60 MAX planes to be fitted with the Viasat kit.
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Installations are being performed during the aircraft final assembly at Boeing‘s Renton facility. Earlier MAX deliveries showed the new radome but neither Aeromexico nor Viasat had previously confirmed the deal.
“As Mexico’s global airline, we take great pride in ensuring our passengers have access to the latest innovations and airline comforts,” said Andres Castañeda, Chief Marketing Officer, Aeromexico. “By bringing Viasat in-flight internet on board, we will deliver a top class in-flight Wi-Fi experience for our passengers. We want all of our clients to enjoy a high-quality internet experience in the air, and partnering with Viasat will accomplish that.”
Viasat’s in-flight internet system will ensure Aeromexico’s aircraft can stay connected – as the technology is forward and backward compatible across the full fleet of Viasat’s spacecraft. This will give Aeromexico passengers optimal internet streaming and web browsing capabilities when traveling; flight crews the opportunity to stay connected for enhanced passenger services; and operations teams on the ground the ability to perform maintenance tasks when the plane is flying at 35,000 feet.
ViaSat-2 (almost) Live!
Key to the deal is the activation of the ViaSat-2 satellite, giving coverage across nearly all of Aeromexico’s 737 MAX routes. The satellite launched in June 2017 and activated for terrestrial service earlier this year. Its entry into service for aero mobility applications will also benefit United Airlines, JetBlue and American Airlines; all four carriers now have flights operating with the newer Viasat antenna and modem technology required for service on ViaSat-2 and in the coverage area of the new satellite.
The satellite is not yet generally available for the aviation market. Viasat is “moving swiftly through beta testing and expect to open the network before the close of the year to early access customers.” Aeromexico planes are flying on the system as part of the beta testing.
Aeromexico becomes the latest carrier to pursue a mixed-provider solution for its inflight wifi connectivity plans on a similar fleet. The carrier was the first to fly Gogo‘s 2Ku kit, activating it in April 2016. It is now installed on more than 50 737-800s. It also runs the Panasonic Avionics kit on its 787-9 fleet.
“Aeromexico’s decision to deploy Viasat’s industry-leading in-flight internet system is a testament to their forward-thinking technology approach and their commitment to passenger and crew excellence,” said Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Aviation, Viasat. “With ViaSat-2 and subsequently ViaSat-3, we will bring even greater speeds and reliability with built-in scale and flexibility to serve millions of passengers daily as they fly across multiple continents.”
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