Kenya Airways has signed a five-year $10 million agreement with SITA which will see the national carrier switch to VSAT in a move that should increase the airline’s network capacity five-fold and increase availability to 99.7%, without any increase in operational costs.VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) is a low-cost technology for deploying satellite networks. In Africa, VSAT is more reliable than terrestrial links and ensures fewer outages. For Kenya Airways, this network is designed to allow each of the airline’s 46 remote sites to have a single satellite hop to both the head offices in Nairobi and the reservations host in Europe, which will ensure better application response times.
Titus Naikuni, Group Managing Director and CEO, Kenya Airways said, “This network technology upgrade for Kenya Airways operations mainly in Africa, is part of our business strategy to focus on investing in and developing our people and systems in the next 2 years. Already, we are rolling out a number of new IT applications in our business, and this network will provide more reliable connectivity to our staff spread in offices in Africa, Europe and Asia.”
Khodr Akil, SITA Regional Vice President Africa, added, “VSAT networks are ideal for airlines operating in Africa. The alternative terrestrial links are less reliable and have regular outages. In addition, much of the cable structure on the continent is old and susceptible to theft. SITA’s VSAT technology avoids these problems and offers a lower running cost to the airlines. It is the reliability, combined with the high performance at lower operating costs that have attracted Kenya Airlines to this solution.”
The VSAT network will also enable the deployment of more applications and it is expected that the airline will also use the network to carry voice traffic, a move which will deliver significant cost savings on telecommunications.
SITA is a leader in the provision of VSAT services with an installed base of 11 hubs and 600+ remote stations. Within Africa SITA, with its partner Orange Business Solutions, has deployed several large VSAT networks for various international organizations. Currently SITA is deploying a similar size network for Air France in Africa and has already deployed VSAT networks for Air Tanzania and Air Madagascar.