Flag carrier Korean Air (KAL) has selected global communications company ViaSat as the in-flight connectivity provider for its future fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft.

This partnership is the first in-flight connectivity collaboration for the airline, as it responds to growing market needs.

Following an order of 30 A321neo aircraft from Airbus in 2022, KAL aims to employ the aircraft by 2027 as part of a fleet modernisation plan.

Viasat SVP and global enterprise and mobility president Jimmy Dodd emphasised how the connectivity partnership aims to deliver fast and reliable Wi-Fi.

Dodd said: “We are proud to add Korean Air, a leading airline, as a valued in-flight connectivity customer in this major market. Key to our ability to service Korean Air’s new A321neo fleet is our robust satellite network, designed to deliver fast and reliable Wi-Fi for an exceptional passenger experience.”

According to Airbus, Korean Air has specified a high-comfort two-class layout for its A321neo fleet that offers new lighting and ambience systems, larger overhead bins and full connectivity throughout the cabin.

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The A321neo aircraft are set to be operated on short and mid-haul flights between the airline’s main hub in Seoul and various destinations across Asia.

Korean Air’s executive VP and chief marketing officer Kenneth Chang highlighted how the new partnership is set to enhance customer experiences and the onboard experience.

Chang said: “Today marks an important milestone for Korean Air, as we embark on our first in-flight connectivity partnership. Our selection process started in 2018 and we’ve been focused on selecting the right solution that meets our business needs and can help us realise the untapped potential of our onboard experience,”

“It was clear that Viasat’s technology was unparalleled, and they understood our vision. The new connectivity system will be a fundamental part of our digital strategy and customer experience going forward. Coupled with the advanced features of our fuel-efficient, next-generation A321neo aircraft, we look forward to taking our passenger experience to the next level.”

According to a Korean Air passenger experience survey, 89% of respondents would be more likely to rebook with an airline if quality in-flight Wi-Fi was available, compared to 82% globally.