US-based Delta Air Lines has signed a deal with Viasat to upgrade its current in-flight connectivity (IFC) setup to next-generation Ka-band satellite systems for more than 300 of its mainline narrow-body aircraft, including both new delivery and retrofits on A321ceo, 737-900ER and select 757-200s. Delta expects to bring the Viasat technology onboard these aircraft from summer 2021, with an option to add additional fleets. Many of these aircraft are currently fitted with Gogo’s 2Ku systems.
The airline expects the upgraded IFC systems to enable faster, more consistent connections and an ability to stream all types of entertainment and over-the-top content to any internet-ready device, from gate-to-gate. Viasat and Delta say that the new relationship will lay the groundwork toward a “true full, fast and free” inflight internet experience, as well as future enhancements and personalisation on the embedded seatback IFE displays.
“In working with Viasat, we gain the tools needed to deepen customer interactions and bring us closer to delivering more personalised in-flight content as well as an ability to consistently provide free, fast, streaming wi-fi in the future,” stated ,” said Bill Lentsch, Delta’s chief customer experience officer.
Delta’s aircraft will be outfitted with Viasat’s latest Ka-band IFC system, and will be compatible with Viasat’s complete fleet of satellites, including the company’s first-generation spacecraft and partner satellites; its second-generation spacecraft ViaSat-2; and the forthcoming ViaSat-3 class of satellites, which are expected to offer global coverage with nearly eight-times more capacity than Viasat’s current fleet, which helps ensure the airline’s connectivity and streaming services can meet expected increases in demand.