HAMBURG – ViaSat sees its ViaSat2 Ka-band satellite entering service by the end of 2017 despite social unrest in French Guiana which is delaying launches from Europe’s Kouru spaceport.

“French authorities are negotiating and we’re confident they will be able to resolve the situation quite quickly,” Don Buchman, vice president commercial mobility at ViaSat told Aviation Daily at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany.

“There are other satellites scheduled to launch before us. We are partnered with Eutelsat and were due to launch April 25 – it has been confirmed that there will be a delay.” Buchman said the company did not know the length of that delay, but added: “We don’t think it will have a really big impact – we are confident we’ll have ViaSat2 in service by end of year.”

“Arianespace is really working closely with the French authorities and communicating very well with us,” he added.  

On potential new customers for ViaSat’s services, Buchman said: “Momentum is really picking up. Airlines want our product because it’s a little bit different.” ViaSat is already in operation on JetBlue, United, El Al and Virgin America (now part of Alaska Air). Buchman is hopeful its service could be chosen for the rest of the Alaska Air fleet and says the company is constantly talking to other airlines and expects to sign up more customers soon.

The first Qantas aircraft equipped with ViaSat is in test flights while the company has also been selected by American, SAS and Finnair, Buchman added.