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More inflight connectivity opportunities are opening up in China. Viasat is the latest provider to make a move, inking a deal this week with China Satcom to partner on efforts to grow the market and connect planes in the region. The partnership combines Viasat’s on-board experience with China Satcom’s business license, satellites and access to the domestic market.
Our agreement with China Satcom is a significant step towards realizing a seamless global community of high performance IFC. China Satcom is now the only satellite operator and licensed service provider in China with the bandwidth resources to deliver the in-flight experience our airline customers have come to expect and depend on. Our partnership is a natural way to extend state-of-the-art services specific to China Satcom’s fleet and the China domestic market, and create a global roaming alliance for our existing and new domestic and international customers and the rapidly growing Chinese global commercial airline fleet. We are honored to work with China Satcom in China to make IFC-at-scale a reality. – Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Aviation, Viasat
In addition to delivering connectivity to new domestic airline customers in China the deal allows for roaming of existing Viasat airline customers on to the ChinaSat satellites when passing over China. El Al’s daily 787 service between Tel Aviv and Hong Kong will likely be the first to take advantage of that benefit.
Details on exactly when the ChinaSat satellite will be available for Viasat customers remain unclear at this time. The company did not respond to requests for further information by publication time.
As the second largest aviation market in the world and also one where inflight wifi connectivity is almost never available the potential for growth in China is massive. Unfortunately, so are the hurdles. India, soon to be the number three aviation market in the world, also hopes its inflight connectivity market will soon sizzle. Alas, the shuttering of Jet Airways earlier this month will put a damper on both the market growth and chances of inflight wifi flying this year.