JetBlue and ViaSat Announce 21st Century Inflight Broadband Connectivity
~ LiveTV will Certificate and Install System ~
NEW YORK, Sept. 22
NEW YORK, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq: JBLU) and ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT) today announce the intent to create the industry's best inflight broadband for commercial aviation, using ViaSat's innovative high-capacity satellite technology.
"This system will be designed for the 21st century, not just for today's personal connectivity needs, but with the bandwidth to expand to meet tomorrow's needs as well," said Dave Barger, JetBlue's Chief Executive Officer. "In just the three years since we launched BetaBlue, the first commercial aircraft with simple messaging capability, technology has advanced by generations. Rather than invest in current technology, designed to transmit broadcast video and audio, we elected to partner with ViaSat to create broadband functionality worthy of today's interactive personal technology needs."
ViaSat and JetBlue have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the provision of in-flight broadband access and other services for customers on JetBlue's fleet of more than 160 aircraft using ViaSat advanced Ka-band satellites. Under the arrangement, ViaSat will provide Ka-band antenna components and SurfBeam®2 modems for installation on the airline's EMBRAER E190 and Airbus A320 aircraft types along with two-way transmission bandwidth services using the WildBlue-1 and high-capacity ViaSat-1 satellites. JetBlue subsidiary, LiveTV LLC, will manage the integration of the ViaSat broadband and related components onboard the aircraft as well as providing the Wi-Fi enabled services into the overall cabin experience.
"JetBlue is the perfect partner to introduce our next generation ViaSat-1 broadband network to the commercial aviation market," said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat CEO and Chairman. "JetBlue is famous for customer service and in-flight entertainment. The breakthrough bandwidth economics of ViaSat-1 extends the passenger internet experience beyond just e-mail and web pages and creates a world of possibilities for personalized broadband entertainment. This is exactly the type of application and user experience that we believe will help transform the satellite broadband industry. "
LiveTV, a wholly owned subsidiary of JetBlue, will install and lead the certification process of the new system. Because the product will be the first of its kind for commercial aviation, the system must be tested, and certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration, prior to installation fleet-wide. JetBlue and ViaSat expect the first installations to occur by mid-2012.
Further, ViaSat and LiveTV intend to partner to bring the same advance Ka-band satellite broadband services to the airline industry, including to LiveTV's existing customer base of airlines.
"Combining LiveTV's expertise in entertainment and content management with ViaSat's satellite technology means we can create products and services for airline customers that are unparalleled in the industry today," said Glenn Latta, LiveTV's President.
JetBlue and ViaSat have completed the non-binding MOU with the intent of signing a definitive agreement before the end of this calendar year.
About JetBlue Airways
Voted "Most Eco-Friendly Airline" by Zagat's Airline Survey in 2008 and 2009, New York-based JetBlue Airways has created a new airline category based on value, service and style. In 2010, the carrier also ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Low-Cost Carriers in North America" by J.D. Power and Associates, a customer satisfaction recognition received for the sixth year in a row. Known for its award-winning service and free TV as much as its low fares, JetBlue is now pleased to offer customers Lots of Legroom and super-spacious Even More Legroom seats. JetBlue is also America's first and only airline to offer its own Customer Bill of Rights, with meaningful and specific compensation for customers inconvenienced by service disruptions within JetBlue's control. Visit www.jetblue.com/promise for details. JetBlue serves 61 cities with 650 daily flights. New service to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, DC and to Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT begins in November. The airline also intends to serve Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands in February 2011. With JetBlue, all seats are assigned, all fares are one-way, and an overnight stay is never required. For information or reservations call 1-800-JET-BLUE (1-800-538-2583), TTY/TDD 1-800-336-5530 or visit www.jetblue.com.
ViaSat produces satellite and other wireless communication products for fast, secure, and efficient communications to any location for both government and commercial customers. Products include satellite networks, terminals and processors for wireless military communications, secure networking devices, and wireless test and training systems. ViaSat also owns WildBlue, the premier Ka-band satellite broadband service provider.
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, including statements that refer to DoD transition to execution of a definitive agreement, the development of a joint in-flight broadband system, expected performance of the broadband system and scope of the system installations. Readers are cautioned that actual results could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include continued turmoil in global financial markets and economies; the availability and cost of credit; the ability to successfully develop, introduce, and sell new products and enhancements; and other factors affecting the communications industry 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.
SOURCE JetBlue Airways