UK satellite firm Inmarsat launches its on-board broadband service
Satellite comms firm Inmarsat did a ‘soft launch’ of its in-flight broadband service GX for Aviation with German carrier Lufthansa.
GX for Aviation is the world’s first in-flight broadband with global coverage from a single operator.
It allows airline passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media during flights with an on board connectivity experience on par with broadband services available on the ground, the company said.
Broadband commercial passenger services will start Lufthansa next month with Singapore Airlines and Air Astana following.
Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “After several years of detailed planning and development, this is the moment that Inmarsat, and indeed the global aviation industry, has been waiting for. GX for Aviation is now live and offering unparalleled in-flight broadband to passengers. We have moved from systems integration and testing to rolling out the most robust and comprehensive global connectivity solution for airlines across the world.”
“GX for Aviation is not a patchwork solution. Our customers are not subject to the intermittent services and handover issues experienced by other providers. Billions of dollars and years of engineering have been invested to ensure that GX for Aviation delivers a solution that is not just robust, but transformative. Passengers using GX for Aviation will have on-the-ground levels of connectivity and uninterrupted access to the applications they use day-to-day, including email, web browsing, social media, video and music streaming, and online shopping, among others.”
Inmarsat was awarded a contract in October 2015 to provide in-flight connectivity services for passengers onboard Lufthansa’s European continental fleet of more than 150 aircraft.
The go-live of GX for Aviation follows a successful cooperation with Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Systems, which together with Inmarsat have started the process of installing the broadband solution’s hardware and software on selected aircraft in the Lufthansa fleet.
Airlines will connect to the GX network using advanced new JetWave terminals produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell Aerospace, with over 300 aircraft already committed to the system and more to come.
The announcement was made at the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) is annual exhibition in Singapore.
Separately Inmarsat announced the former president of Rolls Royce’s nuclear business would join as COO. Before joining Rolls-Royce, Jason Smith spent nine years at the UK’s AWE and began his career with British Nuclear Fuels.
Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “The wealth of experience Jason brings will make a vital contribution to Inmarsat’s success at an exciting juncture in the transformation of the company. Jason’s appointment underlines our commitment to accelerating the development of new capabilities at Inmarsat; ensuring that our customers and partners have access to the most advanced, efficient and effective high-speed connectivity solutions on land, sea and air.”
Jason Smith, Chief Operations Officer of Inmarsat, said: “Digital disruption is redefining industries. To succeed in this rapidly changing world, we need to anticipate the demands of our customers and ensure we operate in a way that best serves their needs. We want to further enhance the way we work, to make Inmarsat an even easier company with which to collaborate and to share knowledge and innovation with our key partners. I am excited by the opportunity to lead this global operations team and in playing a part in ensuring that Inmarsat continues to be a growing business.”