Shanghai, China | April 11, 2017– Rockwell Collins has signed a reseller agreement with Beijing Marine Communication and Navigation Company, Limited (MCN) to provide broadband satellite connectivity services to its ARINCDirect customers in mainland China. ARINCDirect is a leading value added reseller of satellite connectivity services globally.

“This agreement with MCN provides a great foundation for giving business jet operators in China access to our full suite of satellite services,” said David Stanley, vice president, ARINCDirect Cabin Services for Rockwell Collins. “The Chinese business aviation industry is still in a relatively early stage of development. As the demand for connectivity increases, we will deliver an experience to passengers in-flight that’s as seamless as they have in their home and office environments.”

“We are committed to ensuring that China has access to the latest connectivity technology,” said Song Zhen, vice president of Sales & Marketing for MCN. “This relationship will enable our business aviation operators to have access to the fastest cabin communications available.”

ARINCDirect provides the most comprehensive flight support services for business aviation including global flight planning regional and international trip support, cabin connectivity and flight operations management.

Hamburg, Germany | April 7, 2016– Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has signed a Heads of Terms (HoT) agreement with Beijing Marine Communication & Navigation Company Ltd. (MCN), which will lead to the creation of a joint venture (JV) to provide aircraft cabin and cockpit connectivity solutions in China’s fast-growing commercial aviation market.

The Inmarsat services that would be provided through the JV include Global Xpress (GX) Aviation and SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S). The final agreement is expected to be signed later this year.

GX Aviation will launch this year as the world’s first broadband in-flight connectivity solution with seamless, end-to-end global coverage. Passengers will be able to browse the internet, use social media, stream online videos, download files and more using their smartphones, tablets and other Wi-Fi enabled devices, with a similar quality of service in the air as they would receive on the ground.

SB-S is a next generation cyber secure flight deck communication platform, enabling airlines to meet the ICAO mandate for sub-15 minute tracking of all aircraft, Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC)’s four-minute mandate, Automatic Dependent Surveillance and electronic flight bag updates. Combining L-band satellite connectivity with advanced avionics, it delivers speeds 10 times faster than existing Classic Aero services to provide airlines with cockpit communications for the digital age.

Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “China is one of the world’s fastest-growing commercial aviation markets and when the proposed joint venture with MCN is finalised, the new company would provide the country with access to the most advanced cockpit and cabin connectivity solutions available today and in the future.

Inmarsat and MCN already have a successful track record of working together and we congratulate them on the recent milestone of securing their basic telecom licence, enabling legal provisioning of passenger connectivity in China. Extending our long-standing partnership allow us to build on the significant interest that we have received in the market to date, with Air China set to trial GX Aviation this year.”

Song Zhen, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for MCN, said: “Together, Inmarsat and MCN have been supporting important developments in the Chinese aviation industry for some time. Air China, for instance, operated the country’s first flight equipped with in-flight connectivity in 2013, using Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband to power the service on board its Airbus A330 between Beijing and Chengdu. With the introduction of next generation solutions, such as GX Aviation and SwiftBroadband-Safety, it is the perfect time to strengthen our partnership with a joint venture that is committed to ensuring China has access to the latest connectivity technology.”

MCN has been an Inmarsat partner since it was founded by China’s Ministry of Transportation in 1979. It unveiled an initial framework for the aviation joint venture with Inmarsat last year, while signing an agreement to bring the high-speed GX connectivity service to commercial and public sector organisations in China’s maritime, enterprise and government markets.

Inmarsat’s relationship with China dates back to its foundation in 1979 as an international, intergovernmental organisation, providing global safety and distress communications services for the maritime community. Today, China is one of the fastest growing markets for Inmarsat’s mobile satellite-based voice and broadband services, delivering double-digit growth in the last five years.

Catering to the unique requirements of the Chinese market, Inmarsat has an office and demonstration lab in Beijing, equipped with various terminals and solutions to support product demonstrations and end-user training. A satellite access station, owned and operated by MCN, is also located in the capital and exclusively handles all traffic from China over the Inmarsat network.

Last year, Inmarsat welcomed the President of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping, to its London headquarters as part of his historic State Visit to the UK, reflecting the close working relationship between Inmarsat and China. President Xi viewed Inmarsat’s Network Operations Centre to understand how the company is able to uniquely contribute to China’s One Belt One Road (‘OBOR’) strategic vision through the provision of critical global mobile broadband connectivity services, including the revolutionary new GX service.

With the rise of mobile everything, the airlines have a pretty sweet market opportunity to capture all the mobile connectivity of their airport secured and flying passengers, and eventually, turn that four-hour-market-lockup into purchasing power. The beginning is bound to be the email, tweeting, talking, and texting that is the first sign of this ‘mobile disease’ and from what we see, it is just the beginning. Recent studies have shown some reluctance of US purchasers to get on board, but that is probably a fallout of the focused hacking and lack of chipped credit cards… but it is an inevitability. In fact, there may even be an opportunity to pay-for-no-commercials, a concept that Apple is trying to fly.

Back to our subject: we got an idea for this topic and we found an OnAir Infographic in our email that tied nicely to the subject. As you may know, we love info graphics because they tell a complete story in pictures and numbers (few words) and are a data lover’s dream come true. Be sure to download the latest OnAir infographic. There’s an infographic lesson here and we think the OnAir folks got it right.

Back to the news release: “Does your airline let you tweet, text and talk? OnAir’s customers do. We offer passengers seamlessly connected journeys, year round, wherever you’re headed. Download our new infographic, with lots of facts and figures, from here. At least 70% of passengers carry a smartphone and people check their phones on average 150 times a day. So why not on a plane? When both GSM and Wi-Fi are available, 80% prefer using Mobile OnAir for emailing, text messages and calls. People use Internet OnAir, the Wi-Fi hotspot, for tweets and Facebook updates, to check the news and for travel bookings – 94% of passengers bring at least one personal electronic device onto the plane, so OnAir Play provides inflight entertainment direct to your own phone, tablet or laptop. For more information: Follow OnAir on LinkedIn. Watch OnAir on YouTube, Look at OnAir on Flikr ”

Aside from the marketing hyperbole, the OnAir folks see the inflight connectivity market developing, and communication is the first phase of this market opportunity in the sky. Aurélie Branchereau-Giles – Director, PR & Communications told IFExpress: “OnAir sets the benchmark for global inflight connectivity services, with 50 customers on five continents. We are the only provider to offer consistent global coverage for both inflight GSM and Wi-Fi, thanks to regulatory approvals from over 90 countries, 350 roaming agreements, and by using Inmarsat’s I4 satellite networks. Our products enable passengers to use their own mobile phones, smartphones, tablets and laptops in exactly the same way as they do on the ground, either through the onboard GSM network or the onboard Wi-Fi hotspot. The products are available as line-fit or retrofit for all commercial aircraft, as well as government, VIP and business jets, and ships – check out the inforgraphic for the whole story.”

Next, we wanted to let our readers know that Lumexis has a new VP Sales, Jonathan Norris. Lumexis Corporation recently announced that Jonathan Norris, highly regarded in airline industry circles for his lengthy experience in advanced aircraft cabin systems technology and extensive understanding of IFEC trends, has accepted the position of Vice President of Sales for the company. “Many of us have long known and respected Jon in his key management roles at Airbus and more recently with the APEX magazine activity,” said Doug Cline, CEO of Lumexis. “He brings a wealth of talent and experience in IFEC that clearly validates his independent assessment of our people and products. Everyone in our company is delighted that he will be joining our tight-knit team and we look forward to working closely with him to attain line-fit offerability with major OEMs in the near future and win new business from global airlines and leasing companies.” He should be onboard in the next couple weeks, one spokesperson told IFExpress. We expect he will be making many trips to Seattle and Tolouse.

Lastly, we heard that Inmarsat has announced passenger connectivity via the Inmarsat network and is serving passengers via Wi-Fi on Air China. Internet access took place on 3rd July, on an Air China Airbus A330 flying from Beijing to Chengdu. The aircraft used Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband service provided by Inmarsat’s Chinese partner MCN. Check out the MCN website. The Inmarsat SwiftBroadband based cabin Wi-Fi connectivity allowed all passengers to access the Internet for web browsing, instant messaging and other applications. This capability is the result of the close cooperation between Air China and MCN, Inmarsat’s leading Chinese distributor. The Chinese aviation regulator, the Chinese Aviation Authority of China (CAAC), was also closely involved in the project from the start to ensure that all necessary approvals were in place for the system and Inmarsat service. What remains unknown to IFExpress is the manufacturer of the airborne Wi-Fi equipment… an MCN partner, we were told?