Vietnam Airlines will offer in-flight Wi-Fi to passengers on its new fleet of long-haul aircraft.
The national carrier has penned an initial agreement with service provider Gogo that will lead to the roll-out of connectivity solutions onboard its brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 aircraft.
Gogo will fit a mix of Inmarsat’s new GX Aviation Ka-band service and its SwiftBroadband connectivity on the aircraft, offering both in-flight Wi-Fi and mobile services. Gogo’s president & CEO, Michael Small, said the deal would represent several landmarks for his company.
“This partnership with Vietnam Airlines will mark many firsts for Gogo, notably the first airline commitment to Inmarsat’s GX Aviation broadband connectivity and Gogo’s first Airbus A350 aircraft and Boeing 787 service commitment,” said Small. “We look forward to working with Vietnam Airlines and our other partners to provide a unique in-flight experience for their passengers.”
Leo Mondale, Inmarsat’s president of aviation, added that his company had overcome difficulties relating to the development of high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi services, and that it is now ready to meet the demands of the industry.
“As the technology challenges are now largely met, we are able to enter into firm contracts with airline customers,” said Mondale. “It is particularly exciting to have Vietnam Airlines, who are expanding rapidly in the Asian market, as our GX Aviation launch customer.
“We are very pleased to support Vietnam Airlines as they upgrade their fleet and their service to their passengers, who are increasingly demanding the type of connectivity they enjoy on the ground,” he added.
The parties are still negotiating a definitive agreement, but the GX service is currently expected to launch in the second half of 2015.
Vietnam Airlines has ordered eight B787-9 Dreamliners and 10 A350-900s, with deliveries of both models schedule to start next year.