Southwest Picks Viasat IFC Service for New Aircraft Deliveries
Southwest Airlines is adding Viasat as an in-flight connectivity (IFC) provider. The airline will begin installing Viasat’s IFC solution on all new aircraft deliveries starting this fall. Southwest announced the deal on Wednesday as part of a planned $2 billion investment in customer experience. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Viasat’s Ka-band IFC system includes internet service and live television programming.
Southwest is a new IFC customer for Viasat. The airline currently works with Anuvu, formerly Global Eagle, and Panasonic for in-flight connectivity. This is the latest in a string of IFC wins for Viasat after the company signed Delta Air Lines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines last year, and new low-cost airline Breeze Airways in March.
Southwest also announced it is upgrading Wi-Fi equipment on its existing fleet with Anuvu’s latest-generation hardware that it says will improve speed and bandwidth up to 10 times over the current hardware. The new Anuvu hardware is set to be onboard 50 in-service aircraft by the end of May, with a projected 350 aircraft upgraded by the end of October.
“Top of our list is giving our customers reliable connections in the air to those things that are important and accessible to them on the ground,” said Ryan Green, Southwest senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “We’re investing in our onboard connectivity and bandwidth available to each customer with upgraded technology that’s now installing across our existing fleet, [and] a strategy to diversify our Wi-Fi vendors on upcoming aircraft deliveries.