Intelligent CIO APAC Issue 32 | Page 74


Sichuan Airlines and Viasat aiming high

Sichuan Airlines becomes China ’ s first domestic carrier to partner with Viasat ’ s in-flight connectivity solution and China Satcom ’ s satellite system .

Chinese domestic carrier Sichuan Airlines has selected Viasat ’ s In-Flight Connectivity ( IFC ) technology and equipment for installation on its Airbus A320 family of aircraft .

When in service , the Viasat terminal installed on the aircraft will connect to China Satcom ’ s Ka-band satellite network and AeroSat Link ’ s digital IFC service to provide IFC service to passengers and crew .
The combination of Viasat ’ s IFC equipment , China Satcom ’ s satellite network and AeroSat Link ’ s digital services will enable video streaming , Internet browsing , messaging , social media , business applications and more to each connected device on these equipped aircraft .
Enhancing in-flight connectivity is a key part of furthering Sichuan Airlines ’ position as an industry leader in China and reflects how the carrier is embracing passenger demand for staying connected in the air , while continuing to enrich the onboard digital experience .
“ Under China ’ s ‘ smart civil aviation , digital cabin ’ construction initiative , Sichuan Airlines has worked with its partners to create a unique , interconnected airland business model of ‘ satellite + aircraft + operation .’ This model is focused on resource integration , business innovation , technology empowerment and operative efficiency . 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 ,” the airline stated .
China Satcom and ASL jointly stated : “ We are very pleased to partner with Viasat . The combination of its cutting-edge technology , reliable equipment and rich experience with China Satcom ’ s powerful highthroughput Ka-band satellite network enables us 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 .”
“ 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 ,” said Don Buchman , VP and GM , Commercial Aviation , Viasat . “ This 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 .”
China ’ s aviation sector is fast growing 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 . While China ’ s domestic aviation market was already the largest in the world in 2020 , the IATA estimates China will support 1.6 billion annual passengers in 2037 ( up from 0.6 billion in 2018 ), the vast majority of whom will board with Internetenabled Personal Electronic Devices ( PEDs ).
Viasat , China Satcom and AeroSat Link will each maintain its own intellectual property and will operate its equipment using a multi-layered approach to network services . p
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