Viasat Inc. VSAT recently secured a contract for an undisclosed amount from regional airline operator — Porter Airlines — for in-flight connectivity (IFC) solutions. 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 to fuel the gradual revival of the airline industry from the COVID-19 setback.
Per the deal, Porter Airlines will use Viasat’s Ka-band IFC solutions for 30 new E195-E2 aircraft from Embraer S.A. ERJ. The solutions will enable high-quality, high-speed Internet and video streaming service on personal electronic devices of users for free. This, in turn, will enable the airline firm to extend its operation base beyond its current regional eastern Canada- and U.S.-focused network to newer routes in the west coast, southern U.S. region, Mexico and the Caribbean.
The IFC solutions will be line fit in the Embraer jets and are expected to enter service in the second half of 2022. The E2 jets are the second generation of the E-jets family of commercial aircraft. Embraer continues to witness strong market demand for its E-jets across the globe. Impressively, this jet family’s success led to 29% market share of the deliveries in the jet segment — up to 150 seats — from 2005 to 2020.
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 smooth web browsing and streaming services. Equipped with unrivaled 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’s impressive bandwidth productivity sets it apart from conventional and lower-yield satellites providers that run on incumbent business models. With an advanced level of Internet connectivity, Porter Airlines 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 a solid retail distribution network, which accounts for a growing proportion of high value and high bandwidth subscriber base. Further, the growing adoption of in-flight Wi-Fi services in commercial aircraft like that of Porter Airlines is benefiting the business.
The stock has gained 46.1% over the past year while the industry has rallied 25.2% in the same period.
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Viasat currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
A better-ranked stock in the industry is Sierra Wireless, Inc. SWIR, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 12.5% and delivered an earnings surprise of 34.2%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.
Over the past year, Sierra Wireless has gained a solid 76.6%. The company continues to launch innovative products for business-critical operations that require high security and optimum 5G performance.
Qualcomm Incorporated QCOM, carrying a Zacks Rank #2, is another solid pick for investors. It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 17.5% and delivered an earnings surprise of 11.2%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.
Earnings estimates for the current year for the stock have moved up 14.7% in the past 90 days. Qualcomm is likely to benefit in the long run from a solid 5G traction and a surge in demand for essential products that are the building blocks for digital transformation in the cloud economy.
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