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Tigerair taps ViaSat for wireless inflight entertainment service Budget airline Tigerair

Australia plans to offer its customers wireless inflight entertainment from next month using equipment supplied by ViaSat and a content deal with
Twentieth Century Fox Film and Fox Networks Group.

While the airline is not providing direct connectivity via satellite at this stage, it will be the first low-cost carrier to provide the wireless entertainment service across its entire domestic fleet in Australia.

As part of the proposed arrangement, recently released films and a range of current popular TV titles will be available to Tigerair customers using the Tigerair Australia app on their own personal mobile devices or through compatible laptop browsers. Under the plan, movie content will be updated regularly in line with TCFF release dates, which Tiger said would see movies and TV product on-board before its competitors.

 Movies and TV shows would be provided on a pay-per-view basis, while other destination-based and music content will be available free of charge. Tigerair Australia’s inflight entertainment platform and content management system is provided by ViaSat. It follows ViaSat's acquisition in November last year of Arconics, a provider of aviation software and mobile apps.

Tigerair Australia ancillary and product manager Peter Edwards told CommsDay that the service was a first for a low-cost carrier in Australia. However, he said the carrier had no plans for inflight internet services at this stage. “Direct connectivity through satellite is something that I think the full service carriers are playing with at the moment. But for low cost carriers we're looking at other options, which is the portable boxes that we're going to be putting on board. And if we can provide entertainment via a box, we're happy to do that until we can see the benefits of satellite,” Edwards said.

He also praised the simplicity of the system, with no installation needed – the boxes are removed each day for charging and re-loaded ahead of each day's flying. Edwards said there was also a possibility of adding services such as tour and travel bookings in future, noting that booking confirmations for things such as restaurants, tours and concerts could be made via mobile device once the plane has landed.

“At the moment you can only have a look at the destination information, but what we want to do in the future is to connect them when they land,” he said. ViaSat commercial mobility VP Don Buchman said that the partnership with Tiger had allowed it to look at different business models for its aviation services. “Tiger is very innovative and forward thinking and this can really allow us to work with them and provide their vision. We're going to be able to find something that the passengers are really going to enjoy and be a supplement for airlines that don't want to go to full connectivity but do want to offer a wireless product to their passengers with their own devices, so for us it's a really exciting opportunity,” he said. ViaSat is a major provider of internet connectivity for US airliness. Geoff Long, Commsday