Fri. Apr 19th, 2024


Executives from AirFi and VietJet at the MoU signing ceremony in Singapore (Image via AirFi)
Executives from AirFi and VietJet at the MoU signing ceremony in Singapore (Image via AirFi)

AirFi has added another customer for its lightweight LEO connectivity offering in Asia. The company inked a deal with VietJet to trial its inflight internet service on two aircraft, announced at the Singapore Air Show.

Today is very special for me because one of the biggest airlines in Asia has agreed to our trial proposition to bring connectivity not only to VietJet, but also all the Vietnamese passengers. – Martijn Moret, AirFi co-Founder and Board Member



The agreement calls for a couple aircraft in the VietJet fleet to be fitted, allowing the airline to test the connectivity solution and its impact on crew and passenger experience in flight.VietJet currently operates 79 A320-family planes, as well as seven A330s.

Read more: AirFi LEO takes flight, lays out roadmap for expansion

The AirFi solution is supported by a modem and window-mount antenna sourced from SKYTRAC, which also participated in the signing ceremony in Singapore. SKYTRAC’s President Malachi Nordine called attention to the quick installation available for the window-mount antenna, which can be installed “overnight, in a matter of hours, a significant differentiator and value add for airlines.”

The antenna, modem, and on-board access point that make up the AirFi LEO solution
The antenna, modem, and on-board access point that make up the AirFi LEO solution

Additional services on the horizon

Payments processing remains the most compelling use case of the AirFi LEO system. CEO Job Heimerikx remains confident that the reduction in payment failures alone can cover an airline’s implementation costs. On top of that the lightweight messaging services – either paid or free to passengers – work without an extra application layer on the phone. That opens a range of revenue or passenger experience opportunities.

But AirFi is not stopping there. During a recent visit at the company’s headquarters Heimerikx disclosed the company is now working on an email option as well.

The company says it is focused on webmail rather than a full application experience. It will almost certainly not be able to support every webmail solution on the market. But getting Gmail and Office365 sorted could be enough to satisfy a sufficiently large customer base to be worth the effort.

Exactly how this will work remains unclear, and similar concerns have been raised with respect to fflya‘s similar claimed implementations. Neither has provided further details on how they are handling the authentication, data security, and content filtering necessary to deliver the more robust messaging services on a lightweight link, though both clearly have a plan they’re executing.


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