Sichuan Airlines Becomes China's First Domestic Carrier to Partner with Viasat's In-Flight Connectivity Solution and China Satcom's Satellite System
CHENGDU, China and CARLSBAD, Calif. and BEIJING, Dec. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Sichuan Airlines, a Chinese air carrier, Viasat, Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, and AeroSat Link Technology Co., Ltd. (AeroSat Link), a subsidiary of China Satellite Communications Co., Ltd. (China Satcom), today announced the airline has selected Viasat’s industry-leading 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 air-land 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 high-throughput 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, Inc. “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.”
China’s aviation sector has been growing very quickly. According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), 2021 ended 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 internet-enabled 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.
Sichuan Airlines Co., Ltd. is headquartered in Chengdu, home of the panda. The airline’s “Panda Route” aims to connect the entire world. As one of the most distinctive airlines in China, Sichuan Airlines takes safety as its core brand value and has been flying safely for 34 years. It now operates China’s largest all-airbus fleet with over 180 aircraft spanning 460 domestic and international routes. Sichuan Airlines also provides global passengers with air services containing “Chinese elements with a Sichuan flavor,” and the company’s brand value exceeds 60 billion. With the continuous advancement of Sichuan Airlines’ strategy of ‘connecting North, South, East, and West with internet from the mountains to the sea,’ there are 13 branches and operation bases outside the Chengdu headquarters. By establishing an efficient flight wave structure, Sichuan Airlines is committed to building a transit network with Chengdu as the core that radiates across Europe, Oceania, North America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Northeast Asia, and developing the “Panda Route” with diversification and high quality while contributing to local economies.
China Satcom is a certified satellite operator endowed with an abundance of high-quality resources and has a first-class national team specializing in emergency communications. By making satellite communications and broadcasting services accessible to more people, China Satcom has long been committed to building a space-terrestrial integrated satellite communications system, providing reliable and secure satellite communications solutions to customers in media, business and government.
AeroSat Link, a subsidiary of China Satellite Communications Co., Ltd., specializes in the in-flight connectivity (IFC) business. With the mission of creating a better digital life in the air, AeroSat Link takes full advantage of space-ground integrated satellite communication resources to build high-quality, safe and reliable high-throughput satellite aviation internet connectivity and comprehensive information service platforms covering the entire world. The company innovates aviation internet application services to provide an enriching journey for passengers in the air, empower airline operation management, promote the formation of the aviation internet service ecosystem, and build itself into a comprehensive, world-leading aviation internet information service operator.
Viasat is a global communications company that believes everyone and everything in the world can be connected. For more than 36 years, Viasat has helped shape how consumers, businesses, governments and militaries around the world communicate. Today, the Company is developing the ultimate global communications network to power high-quality, secure, affordable, fast connections to impact people’s lives anywhere they are—on the ground, in the air or at sea. To learn more about Viasat, visit: www.viasat.com, go to Viasat’s Corporate Blog, or follow the Company on social media at: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to the safe harbors created under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements include statements about the use of the Ka-band ChinaSat-16 satellite system; the features and benefits of the IFC experience to Sichuan Airlines and users, and our ability to provide high-speed, reliable and excellent network services to more airlines and users; the introduction by Sichuan airlines of new aviation internet products and the features and benefits of those products; and the contributions of Viasat, China Satcom and AeroSat Link to the provision of IFC services. Readers are cautioned that actual results could differ materially and adversely from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include: risks associated with the construction, launch and operation of satellites, including the effect of any anomaly, operational failure or degradation in satellite performance, contractual problems, product defects, manufacturing issues or delays, regulatory issues, changes in relationships with, or the financial condition of, key suppliers, and technologies that do not perform according to expectations; technologies not being developed according to anticipated schedules, or that do not perform according to expectations, and increased competition and other factors affecting the aviation sector generally. In addition, please refer to the risk factors contained in Viasat’s SEC filings available at www.sec.gov, including Viasat’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. Viasat undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements for any reason.
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