Viasat continues to expand the scope of its inflight connectivity offering in China. The company announced this week it secured a Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Validation of Supplemental Type Certificate (VSTC) to install its advanced Ka-band satellite connectivity system on the Boeing 737NG aircraft series.
The VSTC for 737s follows a similar A320-family approval from earlier in 2022. With both now in hand the company now holds certifications to cover the vast majority of China’s domestic and regional aircraft.
Receiving CAAC validations is a great honor as we continue to invest in China for the long run. Incredibly, our three CAAC certifications allow us to serve over 75 percent of aircraft in China. We are grateful to our partners and excited to support the digital transformation of Chinese airlines both domestically and for international flights.– Don Buchman, Vice President and General Manager, Commercial Aviation at Viasat
Viasat first announced plans to offer service in China in 2019. The company activated that coverage, in partnership with China Satcom, in 2021, using Ka-band capacity from ChinaSat-16.
Sichuan Airlines announced and activated its first aircraft with Viasat’s kit on board in December 2022. The carrier has multiple aircraft online today.
Viasat’s approved VSTCs, as well as the signing and activation on a new airline, is something of a bright spot for the IFC market in China in recent years. Inflight connectivity providers have talked for several years about gaining access to the Chinese domestic market. Success has been limited, however, for a variety of reasons.
Of particular note, especially given the politics around returning the type to service in China, this VSTC does not cover the 737 MAX family of aircraft.
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