As part of its earnings release this afternoon Viasat announced that both United Airlines and Aeromexico will extend their deployments of the company’s Ka-band inflight connectivity solution. Those deals help to round out a backlog of 638 aircraft for the company. Some 1,123 commercial aircraft carry the system as of 31 December 2018, an increase of 225 in just three months.
The United Airlines deal will see the Viasat kit installed on 34 A319 aircraft. These are used aircraft that the carrier is acquiring. China Southern and EasyJet are the prior/current operators of the aircraft United it bringing into its fleet. Prior to this deal United’s A319 fleet flew exclusively with the Panasonic Avionics eXConnect system on board.
With this move United will deliver a mixed configuration on the A319 fleet, an approach that proved challenging in the past but which the carrier is getting better at managing. It now offers a monthly subscription that works across all providers, for example. The inflight performance and session-based pricing remains somewhat inconsistent across the providers, unfortunately.
United also flies the Viasat kit on its 737 NG fleet, with integration managed by Thales. On the 737 MAX fleet United also carries the Ka-band system with the integration managed directly by Viasat.
Aeromexico is adding 42 new 737 MAX planes to its Viasat backlog. This rounds out the current Aeromexico MAX order of 60 total frames, all set to receive the Viasat kit. The initial order covered only 18 aircraft. Aeromexico’s initial connectivity order covered its 737-800 fleet, with the service provided by Gogo‘s 2Ku solution.