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Viasat (VSAT) to Power In-Flight Connectivity in Delta Fleet

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In a growing testament to the gradual revival of the airline industry from the COVID-19 setback, Viasat Inc. (VSAT - Free Report) has secured a prime contract for Ka-band satellite in-flight connectivity (“IFC”) solutions from Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL - Free Report) for an undisclosed amount. The improved IFC services will aim to offer enhanced Internet capabilities with best-in-class in-flight entertainment options to entice customers and will likely contribute to the uptrend in leisure air-travel demand.

Per the deal, Delta Air will use Viasat’s Ka-band IFC solutions in more than 300 mainline narrow-body aircraft with an option to add additional fleet within the service coverage. The solutions are likely to be available onboard starting this summer and will be compatible with the entire fleet of satellites. These include the first-generation spacecraft and partner satellites, second-generation spacecraft ViaSat-2, and the forthcoming ViaSat-3 class of satellites. Notably, the ViaSat-3 platform will help to form a global broadband network with nearly eight times more network capacity than its existing fleet to enable high-quality, high-speed Internet and video streaming service.  

Viasat’s Ka-band solutions enable business jet customers to enjoy high-speed Internet connectivity from takeoff to touchdown. It empowers aviation clients to reinforce their IFC investments and helps customers to stay connected with streamlined web browsing and streaming services. Equipped with unrivalled speed and quality, Viasat’s Ka-band service has been specifically designed to meet accretive demands of data backed by next-gen business applications. The Ka-band leverages global bandwidth to provide avant-garde Internet service with best-in-market pricing to boost the competitiveness of the business jet market.

The surging popularity of high-engagement IFC solutions has forced leading airline companies to scout for new ways to utilize Viasat’s high-capacity satellite solutions to maximize passenger satisfaction. The company’ impressive bandwidth productivity sets it apart from conventional and lower-yield satellites providers that run on incumbent business models. With advanced level of Internet connectivity, Delta Air will offer customers an opportunity to stream all types of video content and seamlessly access free Wi-Fi aboard on air. In addition, it is likely to sow the seeds for future entertainment enhancements and personalization on customer seatback screens.

Viasat’s Satellite Services business is progressing well, with key metrics including steady growth of ARPU (average revenue per user) and revenues showing impressive growth. ARPU is growing on the back of solid retail distribution network, which accounts for a growing proportion of high value and high bandwidth subscriber base. Further, growing adoption of in-flight Wi-Fi services in commercial aircrafts like that of Delta Air is benefiting the business.

However, the stock has declined 57.2% over the past year due to seasonality in demand, high R&D costs and competitive pressure. The industry it belongs to has rallied 41.5% in the same period.

Viasat currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the industry are Aviat Networks, Inc. (AVNW - Free Report) and Ubiquiti Inc. (UI - Free Report) , both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Aviat delivered a positive earnings surprise of 11.8%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.

Ubiquiti has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 18.4%. It delivered a positive earnings surprise of 27.9%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.

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