July 21 2021  |  Connectivity & Satellites

Icelandair to fit out fleet with Viasat connectivity

By Rick Lundstrom

In June, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) granted Viasat a Supplemental Type Certificate, allowing in-flight connectivity for customers like Icelandair on its 737 MAX-9 aircraft.

The approval clears the way for Icelandair’s MAX-9s to activate Viasat’s connectivity solution. The system was installed earlier this year, but it had been deactivated pending the certificate from EASA. The MAX-9 aircraft will now join Icelandair’s MAX-8 fleet, providing connectivity to passengers flying between the U.S. and Europe via Iceland. This service launched on MAX-8 aircraft in March 2021 and has already been enjoyed by thousands of Icelandair passengers.

Icelandair expects all Viasat-enabled aircraft to be installed by April 2022.

“We are honored to work alongside the highly motivated Icelandair team in accomplishing this major milestone,” said Don Buchman, Vice President and General Manager, Commercial Aviation at Viasat, in today’s announcement. “As passengers increasingly return to air travel, the importance of great inflight Wi-Fi is paramount, and Icelandair is providing customers a great connectivity experience so they can do what they want online while in the air.”

The Viasat-equipped Icelandair aircraft will connect to Viasat’s high-capacity satellite network. Over Europe, this network includes the KA-SAT satellite and could include others like Avanti’s Hylas constellation in the future. When traveling over the U.S., Iceland and the Atlantic Ocean, the aircraft will connect with several other Viasat satellites, including ViaSat-2.

In the future, Icelandair aircraft will be able to link to the company’s next-generation satellite constellation, ViaSat-3. The ViaSat-3 constellation includes three ultra-high-capacity satellites that will offer global coverage – with each expected to deliver over 1 Terabit per second of total network throughput.

As a result of the partnership, Icelandair passengers on Viasat-equipped aircraft can enjoy a home-quality internet experience from gate-to-gate, including streaming videos, movies, music and TV shows, browsing the Internet, messaging and e-mail.

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