Sichuan Airlines has selected Viasat’s Inflight Connectivity (IFC) technology and equipment on an initial 15 Airbus A320 aircraft in the first phase of the agreement.
The combination of Viasat’s IFC equipment, China Satcom’s satellite network and AeroSat Link’s digital services will allow passengers to engage in video streaming, internet browsing, messaging, social media, and business applications on these equipped aircraft.
Viasat, China Satcom and AeroSat Link will each maintain its own intellectual property as part of the agreement and operates its equipment using a multi-layered approach to network services.
Sichuan Airlines said that under China’s ‘smart civil aviation, digital cabin’ initiative, it had worked with its partners to create a unique, interconnected air-land business model of ‘satellite + aircraft + operation.’
“This model is focused on resource integration, business innovation, technology empowerment, and operative efficiency,” it said. “The objective is to improve airline operation efficiency and customer service quality and create an enjoyable IFC experience for passengers. With the joint efforts of Viasat and AeroSat Link, we believe that Sichuan Airlines will continue to launch aviation internet products with better experience and better service, so that more passengers can enjoy faster and more convenient IFC services on Sichuan Airlines,”
China Satcom and ASL jointly said the combination of its cutting- edge technology, reliable equipment, and rich experience with China Satcom’s powerful high-throughput Ka- band satellite network will enable them to provide Sichuan Airlines an IFC experience comparable to that on the ground. “We will provide high-speed, reliable, and excellent network services to more airlines and users,” they said.
Don Buchman, VP commercial aviation, Viasat, added: “Sichuan Airlines continuously seeks ways to enhance the onboard customer experience, and we are proud to be a part of the airline’s pioneering effort to deliver high-quality, high-speed in-flight internet within China. Today’s announcement is an exciting and meaningful milestone for our relationships with Sichuan Airlines and AeroSat Link, and we are thrilled to have Sichuan Airlines leading the way.”
According to reported figures, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), ended last year with approximately 4,000 active commercial aircraft operated by Chinese carriers, of which just 842 offered onboard Wi-Fi, most of which only allowed streaming onboard content.