Virgin America recently inked a technology partnership with global satellite provider, ViaSat to start offering faster WiFi connectivity to the airline’s 10 new A320 aircrafts beginning September this year. Virgin America said that it will tap the ViaSat-1, the highest capacity Ka-band satellite in the world offering 140 gigabits-per-second, to deliver the fastest WiFi connectivity service for high-quality video streaming on its flights. The airlines added that hybrid Ku/Ka-band antenna technology will deliver internet speeds that are typically 8 to 10 times faster than any other in-flight WiFi system .
Virgin America expects the first Ka-band antenna equipped aircraft to take flight in the continental U.S. in September 2015 and aircraft scheduled for Hawaii flights will be outfitted with ViaSat’s hybrid Ku/Ka-band antenna in early 2016.
During the beta period rollout of the ViaSat product, Virgin America will offer free WiFi access on its first ViaSat equipped aircraft.
Ken Bieler, Director of Product Design and Innovation at Virgin America
The idea behind our in-flight entertainment and connectivity offerings has always been to offer travelers more content, more interactivity and more of the choices they have access to on the ground. Since 2009, our guests have come to rely on and expect WiFi access on every flight, and we’ve continued to improve our WiFi product offering over the years. Bringing ViaSat’s satellite-based WiFi product to our new delivery aircraft will again allow us to make an industry-leading investment in our product. We are excited about this new technology and the possibility it opens up for WiFi coverage on our new Hawaii flights and for travelers who wish to stream video in-flight.
Don Buchman, Vice President and General Manager, Commercial Mobility Business, ViaSat
Our competitive advantage is rooted in the unique bandwidth economics of ViaSat-1 and the forthcoming ViaSat-2 satellite networks. We can empower airlines to engage all of their guests in an in-flight, online experience just like they’d get on the ground - including streaming high quality video. Virgin America is a brand that shares our love of innovation and strives to bring the best service possible to the traveler. By leveraging our technology, Virgin America can maximize passenger engagement and increase customer loyalty.