ViaSat's satellite terminals to be installed on Boeing's production line

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An agreement between satellite operator ViaSat and Boeing will give aircraft buyers the option to have ViaSat's Ka-band airborne satellite terminals installed on new Boeing aircraft during aircraft manufacturing.

Under an agreement announced 19 June, the companies will "work together" to offer the in-flight connectivity hardware as a factory "line fit", according to a media release from ViaSat.

The Carlsbad, California-based company says the line-fit option allows customers to avoid taking aircraft out of service to have the equipment installed on post-production aircraft. ViaSat's terminals give operators access to high-speed internet service.

"With the addition of ViaSat airborne terminals to our factory options, Boeing airline customers will have a broader range of selections for high-bandwidth connectivity on their airplanes," says Dan Murray, a chief Boeing engineer, in the media release.

ViaSat does not say when the terminals will be available as a line-fit option, and the company could not immediately be reached for comment.

The agreement comes roughly one month after ViaSat announced it partnered with Boeing to build the ViaSat-2 satellite, which is based on Boeing's 702HP satellite platform.

ViaSat-2 will be the world's highest capacity satellite when launched in 2016 and will provide faster speeds and better global coverage than the ViaSat-1 satellite, the company has said.

ViaSat-2 will provide coverage across all of North, Central and South America and across primary air routes connecting North America with Europe, according to the company.

"Within the past few weeks we've taken steps toward making our Ka-band in-flight service more attractive to new airline customers in two ways: continuing our plan to expand high-capacity Ka-band coverage and making it easier to add our system to their fleets," says Mark Dankberg, ViaSat chairman and chief executive, in the media release.

New York-based JetBlue Airways is the launch customer for ViaSat's system. ViaSat announced 11 June that JetBlue had doubled the value of its contract to $20 million for the service, which will power the carrier's Fly-Fi inflight entertainment product.

JetBlue has said it will conduct its first flight with the system in mid-2013.

The carrier could not be reached to say if the flights have yet occurred.