American Airlines has reportedly reached a deal with Viasat to provide high-speed internet service on 100 of the Airbus A32neo planes the legacy carrier currently has on order with the European aircraft manufacturer. The California-based communications technology firm already provides satellite wifi on many of the Boeing 737 aircraft in the airline’s fleet.
According to a Dallas Business Journal report, American Airlines has named Carlsbad, California-based Viasat to outfit 100 Airbus A321neo aircraft on order with satellite wifi and inflight entertainment. The communications technology firm already provides internet service on many of the carrier’s newer and retrofitted Boeing 737 planes.
AA’s decision has been lauded by industry analysts, many of whom point to Viasat’s proven track record, reputed reliability and proprietary technology as good signs for the future of the airline’s much maligned inflight internet offerings. The Business Journal’s Evan Hoopfer notes that while the deal to purchase 100 new Airbus planes was inked years ago, management took much longer to decide which company would provide the all-important satellite internet service for the new aircraft. The decision to go with Viasat was reportedly only reached in recent weeks.
Officials at Viasat are predictably confident the airline made the right decision after months of equivocation. As part of the deal, the firm will also reportedly provide inflight entertainment systems on the new equipment.
“The appetite for more bandwidth is increasing at an exponential rate to support internet access and applications like streaming video, web browsing, aircraft safety, video conferencing, and more,” the company explained on its website. “Only Viasat, through our innovative technology, has been able to redefine in-flight connectivity by delivering unprecedented amounts of bandwidth that let everyone use the internet to stay productive, safe, and entertained in the air. Passengers want the same kind of connectivity in the air as they have on the ground. Viasat has the only in-flight wifi service providing every passenger on the plane with the fastest in-flight web browsing and a rich online media streaming experience, all at low or no cost to the passenger.”