FlexJet And Viasat Sign Satellite Connectivity Agreement

Credit: Embraer Executive Jets

Fractional fleet operator Flexjet and satellite communications provider Viasat have reached an agreement on installation of Ka/Ku-band inflight connectivity (IFC) systems on select Flexjet aircraft.

Under the two-fold agreement announced June 17, Flexjet will provide Viasat’s high-speed Ka-band IFC service on its super-midsize Embraer Praetor 600 fleet, which serves transatlantic and domestic European routes. It will provide Viasat’s Ku-band service on Bombardier Global and Gulfstream G450 and G650 large cabin jets “with a path to transition these aircraft” to the Ka-band system.

Flexjet, based outside of Cleveland, expects to take delivery soon of a new Praetor 600 with Viasat’s Ka-band system installed. Flexjet is the Praetor fleet launch customer; the company took delivery in November 2020 of its first Praetor 600, which is used for its European operations. The jet was part of a transaction with Embraer for Phenom 300s and Praetor 500/600s that was announced at the NBAA-BACE conference in 2019 and valued at up to $1.4 billion.

Flexjet said it is the first fractional operator to install Ka-band connectivity on super-midsize jets, choosing a system that supports data speeds “typically greater than 20 Mbps” to the aircraft, according to Viasat.

The Viasat Ku Advanced system that Flexjet is installing on Gulfstream G450 and G650 and Bombardier Global jets will offer faster speeds than the prior IFC system, the companies said. MRO Constant Aviation is performing the installations, which are designed to provide an upgrade path to Ka- from Ku-band service.

 “When we began evaluating IFC partners to improve our existing connectivity, it became clear that Viasat’s products and services would enhance connectivity on more devices across more of our fleet, which will boost the value of our owners’ flight experiences,” said Flexjet Chief Operating Officer Megan Wolf. “We also appreciated their satellite roadmap, which would ensure that IFC investments we’re making today will meet the increasing data demands of tomorrow.”

Bill Carey

Based in Washington, D.C., Bill covers business aviation and advanced air mobility for Aviation Week Network. A former newspaper reporter, he has also covered the airline industry, military aviation, commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems. He is the author of 'Enter The Drones, The FAA and UAVs in America,' published in 2016.