Viasat spokesman Scott Goryl confirms “Viasat will outfit a new fleet of aircraft the airline is purchasing.” This implies the A330neo as the target type for the gear, rather than a retrofit of existing planes. The carrier holds orders for 14 A330-900 planes, with option on 6 more.
Virgin Atlantic currently operates with multiple vendors for passenger connectivity. The company initially contracted for the 2Ku solution, now operated by Intelsat (formerly Gogo), on its A330-300s. The A350-1000s are served by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation solution. The 787s and A330-200s carry the Panasonic Avionics IFC gear on board.
The carrier also eventually expects to be able to deliver in-flight wifi for free. Its minority owner, Delta Air Lines, previously indicated that switching to Viasat as its provider of choice for short-haul service was a step towards delivering on that promise to passengers. No doubt Virgin Atlantic’s decisions here are informed by Delta’s experience thus far.
The plan makes Virgin Atlantic one of the very rare carriers to select four different inflight wifi providers across its fleet. There are complexities in managing those supplier relationships, especially when it comes to providing a consistent passenger experience. But choosing the correct solution for a particular fleet based on expected routes and service levels and costs – especially when fronted by an in-house managed portal – typically delivers the best solution for the airline and travelers.
Even if doing that well remains a notable challenge for airlines.
A favor to ask while you're here...
Did you enjoy the content? Or learn something useful? Or generally just think this is the type of story you'd like to see more of? Consider supporting the site through a donation (any amount helps). It helps keep me independent and avoiding the credit card schlock.