This issue of IFExpress always always raises a few feathers so let’s get started with some IFExpress predictions, then we will present the inputs from folks who were willing to provide their names, and finally, those who wish to remain anonymous will contribute as well. We should probably note that not all predictions landed in the IFEC category and thus it looks to be an interesting year – and things just might change anywhere!

IFExpress 2017 Predictions

  1. Narrower aircraft seats are coming in 2017, especially in newer low class offerings where only certain sized carry-on baggage will be permitted – smaller and surely less comfortable as well. We already know United Airlines has a new low cost Basic Economy package that will be copied by others. The rub will be what limitations will be placed on passengers who do not have the airline reward travel card! Hey, many folks can travel short flights and put up with almost anything. It is all a function of what they have to take with them. And yes, it will be in the back of the plane.
  2. More colored cabin environments will be here in 2017, but also as a result of new LED lighting in the plane – probably more blue! [We note: A recent Boeing study concluded that passengers will perceive that the airplane is cleaner, more comfortable, newer, and with better air and more room, all with the correct lighting. Even one German university test proved while flying with light that contains increased red, (not blue) light components, is more calming and cause less passenger stress.]
  3. We cannot say this enough but Data will be the big deal in 2017, whether it is an airline examining their routes with a goal for less fuel, to using social media to communicate directly with passengers or even potential travelers, to connection with the aircraft for more inflight system information for operation or security. OK, this is not much of a surprise!
  4. Some folks predict that light will be used to deliver connectivity. However, with all the issues involved with outside solar, safety lighting, and other sources of interference (Hasn’t this been tried earlier?), we think otherwise. Anyway, Bluetooth as a connectivity radio frequency has slipped under the radar and since most connectivity devices have the capability and the corporate jet world has adopted it, we expect an inflight commercial airline installation this year. With Bluetooth 5.0 alive there may be even more interest in a Bt connectivity solution. Hey, 4X range, 2X speed, and 8X capacity, and no power increase, what’s not to like?”
  5. Watch for an airline to test ground-based, high bandwidth 2.4 GHz, directed connectivity service like those proposed for SmartSky and Gogo. This is more of a 2017 sure thing than a prediction.
  6. We fear aviation manufacturing layoffs, let’s see what happens there but don’t look for that job just yet. The layoff scenario has already started at Boeing, who is downsizing to the tune of some 8,000 employees, and could reach 10% there. Airbus is next after production continues for a bit.
  7. Maintenance of aircraft will see more outsourcing, new technology products like AI and voice technology used in maintenance products, and more consolidation in the MRO world (Maintenance Repair Overhaul).
  8. While we hope it does not happen, but be very concerned that a hacker doesn’t get aboard a plane this year, transmit a fake Wi-Fi service and install a lot of ransomware (like doxware) on folks trying to get Wi-Fi service. In 2017 it is a possibility and be sure you know how to get online when onboard!
  9. What’s next for future SATCOM? How about Q/V bands: 33 – 75 GHz?  If the FCC auctions get it together, perhaps even 14 GHz has a chance?
  10. We shy away from talking about aircraft control hacking, but have you thought about hackers using a DDoS attach or ransomware on an airline reservation system – might happen?
  11. The Boeing 787 will finally get the proper acclaim that it is the only commercial jet airplane where cabin/crew air is taken directly from the atmosphere with electrically powered compressors and not from engine ‘bleed air’! The health guru’s will help.
  12. Cybercrime damages will continue to grow (costing the world $6 trillion annually by 2021), up from $3 trillion last year; ransomware will be the fastest growing threat in terms of new attacks and costs. Global spending on cybersecurity products and services will exceed $1 trillion cumulatively over the next 5 years from 2017 to 2021. Easy procurement of cheap IoT devices or Wi-Fi enabled products introduces a serious level of risk — of which many people are unaware. As one expert noted: “Transportation systems may be immobilized.” Or, as another one said: “My second prediction for 2017 is that cyber personnel will become a rare commodity like we have never seen before. Organizations have received the message, and are staffing and investing, but that demand generates a supply that is not available.” Don’t you think there will be plenty of openings in aviation security in 2017? We do!
  13. Lastly, as strange as it seems, “a self-driving” aircraft concept for passenger planes will be talked about this year – perhaps just for parcel delivery but projects like ALIAS are just the beginning.

Named 2017 Reader Predictions

Here are our reader IFEC predictions and we start of with those from APEX CEO, Joe Leader:

  1. Connectivity announcements and deployment will hit a new high for the industry.
  2. In-flight entertainment continues its expansion with more global IFE system installations and upgrades.
  3. Airline passenger experience will become less siloed inside of airlines as carriers look for greater market differentiation.
  4. On flights without built-in IFE or connectivity, “Near-FI” solutions offering, entertainment will become much more common. This will escalate in particular on low-cost carriers looking to differentiate their products.
  5. In-flight advertising will see the beginning of a new age of renaissance.
  6. The Internet of Things (IoT) will broaden from case-studies on aircraft to first tangible implementations.
  7. With the Bluetooth 5.0 specification released, we will see first announcements about Bluetooth connectivity to IFE in future products.
  8. Long-haul business class will enter a new era just as British Airways introduced the first lie-flat for business class in 1999.  We could call it the suite era or the privacy era.  This period will begin this year marked by increasing level of suite-like privacy on long-haul business class products.  It will be initiated by visionary airlines in different manners and progress to a new bar for long-haul business class passenger experience over the next two decades.

Next, from Henry Chen Weinstein at Cockpit Innovations we have:

“I think 2017 in Tech will be about the upcoming implications of new technology on our current way of work. The [changing] place of startups in our space as more players understand the value of innovation on a global scale. Establishing new ways to take our aviation business forward.”

Here is the prediction note from John Courtright at SIE:

“I predict that the Modular Cabin Concept will generate a lot more attention from airline operators.  The ability to transform a commercial aircraft from a “domestic” (2-Class) configuration to an “international” configuration (3-Class) on an overnight or less using palletized modules to swap out interiors will generate great interest from operators.  Aside from the aircraft utilization flexibility, the Modular Cabin Concept will generate increased operational revenue (ROI) from a given aircraft asset by allowing the operator to customize their service level to different markets at a relatively low cost.”

Rich Salter, now with FTS chimed in with:

“All the talk about the death (or not) of seatback IFE is not the relevant question: the real interesting question is where will displays be located next – on the wrist, on entire seatbacks, baggage bins, sidewall of fuselage, VR or immersive glasses, etc., not to mention non-cabin locations like cockpit, baggage, lounges, etc.  They could be thin as paper, and could be foldable/rollable (as are OLEDs).  They will consume extremely low power and be fed data via wireless (WiFi). Smartwatches are only the beginning. In summary, advances in wireless streaming and display tech will lead to some fascinating implementations of IFE displays in unconventional places!”

Todd Hamblin at Global (GADC) told IFExpress in 2017:

  1. The Wireless IFE market will continue to grow, with Portable Wireless IFE being a subset for those ultra-low cost carriers.
  2. Companies based in China will become a larger part of the IFE and Connectivity landscape.
  3. An airline will attempt to install a Portable Wireless IFE system on their aircraft without permission from the FAA or EASA even though the server contains Lithium Ion batteries and might interfere with existing aircraft systems.
  4. The FAA will be impacted and safety compromised by the changing political climate.
Next, we asked Ron Chapman, President/Founder ASI, and he told IFExpress:

“I predict that the first elastic virtual servers will creep into the cabin on airliners and it just might be Bluetooth that drives it. Elastic devices are the latest generation of server that expands and contracts based on demand. It’s a floating platform that can replicate itself in virtual space.”

Kelvin Boyette CEO of Latitude Aero observes:

  1.  Mergers will dominate 2017, allowing the larger multi-national companies to offer a menu of turnkey services to both airlines and aircraft OEMs.
  2. 2017 will be the year that seat refurbishment emerges from its “niche” status. New products, such as IFE and ISPS, are emerging faster than new seat OEMs can get them into the seat, so the refurbishment centers are where the airlines will turn to offer the most up to date, modern, passenger experience to their clientele.
  3. Both BYOD and embedded IFE will flourish. I do not believe only one will succeed. Both will explode this year.

Michael Reilly, VP Entertainment Services, Arconics – A ViaSat Company notes:

  1. My key prediction for the year is that those airlines who don’t take the step into connectivity in 2017 will certainly take steps on the ‘path to connectivity’ – and there’s a couple of different ways to define that… I think a lot of airlines apart from the obvious cost barrier to entry to connectivity are waiting for other developments – competitive and even marketplace ie: changes to the vendor side of the industry – be that product, pricing etc.
  2. Naturally as we get more airlines closer to connectivity, security is becoming a hot topic, as is bigger and better use of data.
  3. Another prediction is that effective use of data will help break down the traditional siloing that has always gone on in the airline business and that’s exciting.
  4. I’d sum up my prediction by saying that 2017 is ‘finally’ the year where. Connectivity, Wireless and Mobile finally made the strides forward that moved the needle on the bottom line for airlines.

Craig Foster of Valour Consultancy said:

  1. We will see one of the in-flight connectivity service providers acquired by a much larger company. Additionally, we’ll also see at least one wireless in-flight entertainment vendor snapped up by someone with much more clout.
  2. The number of aircraft with in-flight connectivity systems installed and activated will surpass 7,000 by the end of the year. Regions aside from North America will continue to witness strong growth and we will likely see another carrier based in Latin America announce connectivity plans before long (in addition to Avianca Brasil and GOL).
  3. More and more airlines will announce plans to deploy IFE systems that allow passengers to pay their personal electronic devices to the main screen in an effort to match expectations around second screening and to better personalise the experience.

Unnamed 2017 Reader Predictions

We start off with predictions from a “Cabin Solution Provider”:

  1. The exponential growth of cabin Wi-Fi usage within the confines of the same aircraft will lead to more congestion in the cabin. One prediction says that passenger data to and from aircraft will more than quadruple in 2017. We knew that something like this was coming. However, what’s new is the speed at which this is happening.
  2. In 2017 the speed of the PED-pull in terms of passenger experience, apps etc. will increase even further. It certainly will be very much faster than the gentle ambling in which many of the aircraft hardware-push industry players are used to operate.

Another few from another Unnamed Predictor:

  1. Low cost carrier mergers and acquisitions will accelerate globally.
  2. With airline capacity surpassing global market demand, this will be a year including news of airline deferments and reductions.  The exception to this rule will be in next-generation aircraft connecting previously unconnected city pairs.  For the industry, this will be a relatively landing.
  3. Airlines in a more challenging global environment that raise their passenger experience will outperform carriers that focus on reducing passenger experience to reduce costs.

And lastly, still another Unnamed Predictor told IFExpress:

  1. Hacking the Baggage Systems at major hubs will occur to misdirect luggage?
  2. Hacking will occur to shut down refueling facilities at major airports.
  3. Hackers will find a way to infect the IFE system to download passenger data and airline sales information direct from the aircraft, putting at liability Airlines and IFE suppliers.  Class Action suit to follow.  Revenue streams will be jeopardized for both airlines, IFE suppliers and product/service providers accordingly.
  4. All economy seats on American / Domestic airlines will follow the pay as you go scheme:  everything short of the toilets will be ‘pay to play’:  boarding sequence; stowable baggage; check-in bags; food; drink; entertainment; EVERYTHING.
  5. Donald Trump’s administration will make significant progress to privatize government agencies and systems – a la Russian Model – Air Traffic Control will be privatized and sold off; FAA will be privatized; and the Space Programs under NASA will also be spun off.  If not in this coming year, the effort may take at least part of his first term. (Editor’s Note: IFExpress apologizes to this predictor as we just did not have the space (nerve?) to post all the input – Sorry!).

Thank you to everybody who contributed and we close with the words of Arthur C. Clarke: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

  • Inmarsat Aviation’s high speed broadband a “world-class” solution for one the world’s leading carriers

New Zealand and the United Kingdom | December 7, 2016– Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, today announced that it has signed a contract with Air New Zealand to provide Global Xpress (GX) connectivity across the airline’s long-haul and short-haul fleets. GX for Aviation, the world’s first globally available high-speed broadband network designed for mobility, will be deployed by Air New Zealand to deliver a reliable, seamless broadband in-flight Wi-Fi experience across the world.

“We’re very excited about working with Air New Zealand. They’re an innovative organisation and have taken a fresh approach to finding the right connectivity partner,” says Inmarsat Aviation president Leo Mondale.
“GX for Aviation is the only in-flight broadband solution that is fast, reliable and truly consistent, with seamless coverage across the world provided by a single operator. Our focus is on ensuring customers enjoy a frictionless inflight broadband experience,” continued Leo Mondale.

Air New Zealand’s Chief Digital Officer, Avi Golan, said “We wanted a world-class solution that would meet the high expectations of our customers, offering both a consistent and reliable service. We then spent time testing the GX live experience on Honeywell’s B757 test aircraft, as part of Inmarsat Aviation’s global test tour. We‘ve been monitoring the developments in inflight connectivity for some time and with GX, we believe we will be able to offer broadband on-board in innovative ways that will further set Air New Zealand apart as one of the world’s leading airlines.”

For the first time, GX for Aviation connectivity will be integrated with Air New Zealand’s Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system provided by Panasonic. This was specifically requested by Air New Zealand and all parties have embraced the opportunity to come together to meet their needs.

GX for Aviation is the ideal solution for Air New Zealand. The global nature of the GX network means that Air New Zealand’s ultra-long-haul routes, across the Pacific and on to the United Kingdom are covered, whilst the ability to layer-in capacity over Air New Zealand’s key regional destination hubs, such as the East Coast of Australia, will ensure that the customer experience will be of consistently high quality.

The first GX-equipped aircraft are expected to begin proving flights in the second half of 2017, with services progressively available on Tasman, Pacific and long-haul fleets from the end of next year. It is anticipated that domestic routes will be added to the connected fleet from 2018.

Air New Zealand is joining a growing fleet of airline customers who have chosen GX, including Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Singapore Airlines.

  • Cobham SATCOM’s leading role in supplying next generation avionics and broadband communications to increase safety and optimise fleet performance reinforced by agreement to install AVIATOR 350D on new A321neo fleet

Lyngby, Denmark | December 5, 2016– Leading manufacturer of satellite communications solutions Cobham SATCOM has announced that its AVIATOR 350D system has been selected by Hawaiian Airlines (HAL) for installation on its new Airbus A321neo (new engine option) fleet.

The Cobham system, supporting Inmarsat’s IP-based SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) service, will deliver satellite connectivity to the cockpit for all voice and data applications on Hawaiian Airlines’ new single aisle aircraft and will connect to Cobham HGA-7001 High Gain antennas that are being line fit by Airbus.

The next generation IP-based broadband capabilities enabled by the Cobham solution enhance airline safety and operations through better communications and the availability of real-time, in-air information for pilots, crew and air traffic management.

This selection means that the AVIATOR 350D will be installed on the Hawaiian Airlines A321neo aircraft via the Avionics Support Group, Inc. (ASG) Supplemental Type Certification (STC) (FAA STC # ST04150AT), which has been granted for the A319, A320 and A321 families of aircraft.

The new agreement expands the current partnership between Hawaiian Airlines, Cobham, Rockwell Collins and Inmarsat, established during on-going in-flight evaluations of Cobham’s purpose-built AVIATOR solution and Inmarsat SB-S on-board Hawaiian Airlines’ Boeing 767-300 aircraft, as part of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) supervised technology evaluation.

Brian Anderson, Air Transport Sales Manager, Americas, Cobham SATCOM, said: “We are delighted to announce this selection by Hawaiian Airlines, which is the latest demonstration of how we are continuing to lead the way in the development of the next generation IP-based safety service SATCOM systems.

“The selection is a direct result of our team’s recent success with the Hawaiian B767 program for the FAA evaluations of SwiftBroadband-Safety service which is affirming the reliability and performance of the Cobham hardware and the Inmarsat’s satellite network.”

Captain Mary McMillan, Inmarsat Aviation Vice President of Safety and Operational Services, said: “Airlines with eyes on the big picture are seeking innovative ways to achieve efficiency gains and dynamically manage their fleets through the use of digital solutions. We are pleased that Hawaiian Airlines has experienced the benefits of SwiftBroadband-Safety delivered through Cobham advanced AVIATOR avionics and has now chosen to expand its commitment to high speed broadband in the flight deck with its A321neo’s. Clearly, the evaluation has been a great success.”

Both Cobham SATCOM’s next-generation AVIATOR S Series and SB-S have received a high level of industry support, including the recent selection by Airbus of the Cobham and Inmarsat solutions for its A320 and A330 aircraft families and the successful ongoing evaluations with Hawaiian Airlines.

Rockwell Collins provides the managed service between the Inmarsat ground stations that enable the aircraft to seamlessly communicate with HAL’s host systems, ground crews and regulatory agencies anywhere in the world without interruption.

SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) is Inmarsat’s next generation communications platform offering global, high-speed, secure IP connectivity for the flight deck. It represents a paradigm shift in aviation safety services, delivering “always on, always secure” applications such as flight data streaming (“Black Box in the Cloud”) and real-time Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications, including networked graphical weather.

Dubai, UAE | December 5, 2016– Ahead of MEBAA 2016 Satcom Direct has announced that it is now authorized by Inmarsat’s Global Government Business Unit to provision and resell Inmarsat’s Ka-band Global Xpress (GX) service to global government customers for use in military, head-of-state and other government operations.

Satcom Direct (SD) has been appointed a Value Added Reseller (VAR) for Inmarsat’s GX mobile global broadband satellite network. GX delivers secure, end-to-end wideband connectivity that enables seamless airborne, naval and land operations. During MEBAA 2016 SD will be explaining to delegates why this is an ideal tool for those needing maximum connectivity in conjunction with maximum mobility. GX is a perfect fit for military and head-of-state communications needs.

“SD is honored to represent Inmarsat and to showcase GX and its benefits to the government market,” said David Greenhill, Satcom Direct president. “The high performance of the GX network allows us to deliver tailored solutions which meet complex government, military and VVIP requirements for secure and reliable connectivity.”

Inmarsat Global Government President, Andy Start, said: “We are very excited to add Satcom Direct to our stable of industry-leading companies that provide expertise and service to our government customers with Global Xpress capabilities. Satcom Direct has a long and successful history in the aviation sector and we are keen to work with them in the non-U.S. government sector.”

GX is the world’s first globally available Ka-band mobile broadband satellite network, providing very high bandwidth services to end-users on land, at sea and in the air, delivered through a resilient, secure waveform that is optimised for mobility. It integrates seamlessly with Inmarsat’s current L-band network

SD already is a VAR for the U.S. Government business unit, as well as Jet ConneX, the business aviation version of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress service. SD was the first business aviation communication provider to provision and validate its services over the network.

  • Expands MultiChoice’s Leading Direct-to-Home Services in Sub-Saharan Africa

Luxembourg | August 24, 2016– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, today announced the successful launch of the Intelsat 36 satellite. Intelsat 36 was launched from French Guiana aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle. Liftoff occurred at 6:16 p.m. EDT. The satellite separated from the rocket’s lower stage at 6:57 p.m. EDT, and the Intelsat launch team has confirmed signal acquisition.

Built for Intelsat by Space Systems/Loral (SSL), Intelsat 36 is designed to enhance Intelsat’s media neighborhoods serving Africa and the Indian Ocean regions. The Ku-band payload was built to support MultiChoice, the leading direct-to-home platform in South Africa. The C-band payload provides in-orbit resilience for Intelsat’s leading video content distribution neighborhood at 68.5° E. Intelsat 36 will be collocated with Intelsat 20.

“Intelsat 36 is a testament to our dedication to working closely with our customers in Africa to support critical growing infrastructure needs in the region,” said Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer, Intelsat.

“Having consistent and affordable access to informative and entertaining content is vital to a community and its citizens. Intelsat 36 will enable MultiChoice to extend high definition channels throughout the region via one of Africa’s premier video neighborhoods. We are proud to once again partner with MultiChoice as they continue to deliver high quality and compelling educational and entertainment services to their customers throughout sub-Saharan Africa.”

Intelsat 36 is the 58th Intelsat satellite launched by Arianespace.

  • Intelsat EpicNG’s fast and efficient broadband connectivity now available across 5 continents, serving enterprise, wireless telecommunications, mobility, government and Internet of Things applications
  • Expands Intelsat EpicNG coverage for aeronautical and maritime mobility, from the Caribbean and North Atlantic across Europe, Asia and Africa

Luxembourg | August 24, 2016– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, today announced that Intelsat 33e, the second of seven planned Intelsat EpicNG high throughput satellites, was launched successfully from French Guiana aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle. Liftoff occurred at 6:16 p.m. EDT. The Intelsat 33e satellite separated from the rocket’s upper stage at 6:44 p.m. EDT, and signal acquisition has been confirmed.

Intelsat 33e, manufactured by Boeing, will bring high throughput capacity in both C- and Ku-band to the Africa, Europe, Middle East and Asia regions from 60°E. The satellite will join Intelsat 29e, the first Intelsat EpicNG satellite, which was launched in January 2016 over the Americas and North Atlantic Ocean region, to form a high throughput overlay to Intelsat’s fleet of enterprise-grade, wide beam satellites.

Intelsat 33e is equipped with the sector’s most advanced digital payload on a commercial spacecraft and combines wide beams and spot beams with frequency reuse technology. The digital payload provides customers with unprecedented security and flexibility, enabling seamless access and the ability to shift capacity to match their usage needs in a particular region or timeframe. Intelsat EpicNG is optimized to provide satellite connectivity for applications including the Internet of Things, enterprise, wireless infrastructure, aeronautical and maritime mobility and government, which are expected to provide a combined $3.3 billion incremental industry-wide revenue opportunity between 2015-2021.

“Intelsat 33e marks another significant milestone as we continue our ‘epic’ journey toward meeting our customers’ needs for higher performance, improved economics and simplified access to satellite solutions,” stated Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer, Intelsat. “Our first high throughput satellite, Intelsat 29e, is already in service and exceeding our customers’ expectations in the Americas. With Intelsat 33e, customers operating in EMEA and the Asia Pacific regions will now be able to leverage Intelsat EpicNG’s differentiated capabilities and greater efficiencies to grow their businesses and deliver enhanced value to their customers.”

Mr. Spengler continued, “Intelsat 33e and the Intelsat EpicNG architecture are fully backwards compatible and interoperable with Intelsat’s existing satellite fleet and terrestrial infrastructure. This allows customers to cost efficiently use currently deployed network hardware so that they can have immediate access to high performance connectivity. Intelsat 33e also brings us one step closer to providing the first global, fully interoperable wide beam and high throughput Ku-band broadband service. We remain on schedule to launch the remaining five Intelsat EpicNG satellites. The 2018 launch of our Horizons 3e satellite will complete our global coverage, adding the Pacific Ocean region.”

The Intelsat 33e payload will deliver carrier-grade services to fixed and mobile network operators, and broadband for applications such as enterprise, aeronautical and maritime mobility, and government. Companies such as EMC, Gogo, Harris CapRock, KVH, Marlink, Panasonic Avionics, Romantis, Supernet, and Television and Radio Broadcasting Network of Armenia (TRBNA), will be among the first to deploy services on the platform.

Intelsat 33e is the 57th Intelsat satellite launched by Arianespace. It will replace Intelsat 904, which will be redeployed.

The world of in-flight connectivity and entertainment is undergoing a bit of a growth phase as service providers and IFEC vendors improve and consolidate their focus on more entertainment and more planes, and in some cases, more markets. Last year the acquisition of ITC Global (maritime, mining, and energy markets) by Panasonic was the lead-in to today’s recent announcement of a purchase. Now, GEE, an airline content and satcom hardware service provider (over 200 airline customers), announced the acquisition of a $550-million, broad-based content and service provider, Emerging Markets Communication (EMC). EMC is primarily a maritime service provider that has high penetration in that market as well as Cruise ships (158,000 cabins), yachts (7,500 boats), commercial shipping/O&G (130,000 ships), UN & NGO, as well as, telco solutions. We note here that the consolidation of these mobility markets, and the desire to operate across wider and more diverse service segments, shows a collaboration trend in the satcom connectivity market and it underlies the increase in demand for connectivity and entertainment services by people, places and businesses everywhere. As they note, the deal “leverages complimentary products, technologies, and service offerings across air, sea, and land verticals to drive growth!”

Of course, we are really talking about three items here – Content, Connectivity and Mission Critical Service solutions. From a growth point of view, by 2021 the market will be worth some $5.4 B and one source noted to us that “…the key players in the market follow the strategy of acquisition and mergers and are focused towards entering into strategic partnerships with regional players in order to strengthen their position in the market.” It makes sense.

Specifically, in our story GEE is in the middle of this growth segment and is expanding their market now with a maritime focus in the acquisition of EMC, who has a strong market position there. From a global point of view, the acquisition of EMC provides GEE with complete worldwide connectivity that is supported by GEE’s existing Ku coverage as well as that of EMC. In addition, there is some C-Band coverage by EMC in the deal, resulting in an impressive chart.

The folks at GEE have acquired nine companies since its formation some three years ago. This acquisition is by far their biggest to date and will allow GEE to gain a foothold in the maritime market where growth will no doubt be exhibited.

IFExpress asked a few questions of Kevin Trosian, SVP Development & IR, and he told IFExpress:

1. Since you have purchased a “connected” company, does GEE see selling their content to the 8 EMC existing markets (Yachts, Energy, Cruise & Ferries, commercial shipping, mobile networks, government, UN, NGO’s and Global Enterprise)?

Yes, we believe there is a large opportunity for live and streaming content in the maritime and mobility verticals, and GEE’s digital media team has already worked with EMC for many years to jointly provide content to the maritime market. We see this a great opportunity for us to use our strong relationships with studios around the world to expand distribution into these markets.

GEE had previously provided TV and VOD products to EMC, including a number of live television channels, so this is not a new market for us. We have already obtained maritime rights from certain studios and/or distributors and are in the process of acquiring more. Ultimately we believe our combined knowledge of the market and relationships will enable us to leverage our strength in content for the maritime market for further growth of our media platform.

2. Can you tell us how big the existing market is?

The maritime and land-based connectivity and media markets in which we now compete are a multi-billion dollar opportunity. There is an available market of approximately 158,000 cruise cabins, 7,500 yachts and 130,000 ships.

3. Today, what countries have the 20 or so ground stations mentioned by EMC? Does EMC own them?
For this question, please see our Worldwide Infrastructure chart. In addition, through the acquisition we now have operations at 3 teleport facilities, including New Jersey, Hawaii and Germany.

4. This purchase looks like a prefect fit for GEE to grow and provide entertainment to the existing EMC service sections, can someone at GEE comment on that issue?

Please see 1 above.

5. Obviously the market is one reason GEE bought them; however, is there more to the story than that?

Yes, we believe there is a significant number of synergies that can be realized with the integration of the two companies. Through the integration, the company expects to realize synergies of $15 million in 2017, growing to $40 million in 2018 and thereafter. Synergies will primarily result from network efficiencies, including the ability to optimize bandwidth costs through a consolidation of existing network assets, including space segment and ground infrastructure, as well as, better capacity utilization.

6. From a company integration point of view, will EMC function pretty much as they do today? Will their information portfolio be enlarged by GEE’s entertainment content?

Yes, EMC will function in a fairly similar manner, but we will be integrating the companies into a single platform. The EMC team built a great foundation in an adjacent market to GEE’s traditional aviation market. We’re looking to leverage what they have accomplished and continue to build on that, such as by providing more media to the maritime market.

7. We gather that GEE has been looking for more markets for their content, why did they not just provide the content to companies like EMC and not go the distance to purchase one? What is the driving reason here?

There were multiple reasons for the acquisition, and the ability to sell content was only one of them.  We see significant opportunities within the connectivity businesses of both companies, including the ability to improve satellite capacity utilization. Further, by expanding into new markets, we believe our scale will improve efficiencies and the overall customer experience.

8. Will the EMC management and operations function pretty much as they do today or will there be management changes and new ways of doing business?

We’ve announced the new verticals (see below from the Press Release) and the Business Unit leaders.

  • Dave Davis will continue to lead GEE as CEO.
  • Abel Avellan, founder and CEO of EMC, will serve as President and Chief Strategy Officer of GEE.
  • As part of the transaction, ABRY Partners, EMC’s largest shareholder, has a right to nominate a director to GEE’s board.

In conjunction with the transaction close, GEE has established three operational business units.

  • The Media Business Unit delivers films and television shows, live TV, music, games and other content to aviation and maritime customers, including approximately 6,500 aircraft and many cruise ships currently served by GEE. Other products include digital and streaming media offerings such as the Airtime Content-to-Go application and the Entice streaming media system. Wale Adepoju will lead the Media Business Unit as Executive Vice President of Media. Previously, Wale served as Chief Commercial Officer of GEE.
  • The Aviation Business Unit serves commercial airlines and private aviation using GEE’s proprietary Airconnect GlobalTM connectivity platform, which is currently installed on nearly 750 aircraft worldwide. The Business Unit also provides Navaero electronic flight bag (EFB) data interfaces and powered mounting systems, which are in place on nearly 4,000 aircraft today, as well as masFlight operational data analytics services. Joshua Marks, who previously led GEE’s Operations Solutions team, will lead the Aviation Business Unit as Executive Vice President of Aviation.
  • The Maritime and Land Business Unit delivers connectivity and mission critical services to cruise and ferry lines, yachts, commercial shippers and land-based users such as non-governmental organizations and mobile network operators. Through this transaction, GEE has acquired a strong maritime customer base, serving over 1,500 vessels and 100,000 cruise ship cabins. In addition to overseeing certain corporate functions at GEE, Abel Avellan will lead the Maritime and Land Business Unit.

9. What does GEE bring to the party besides entertainment content? Will their airline solutions effect EMC’s products/solutions differently or much the same? If differently, how so?

GEE delivers worldwide connectivity to the aviation market and is the largest content and media provider for the broader mobility market. GEE brings an unparalleled portfolio of products and services tailored to mobility markets, including global connectivity, media content in 47 languages, live television, travel and entertainment apps, user interface platforms and data capture and operations analytics tools. We will also be bringing some of EMC’s proprietary and patented technologies, such as Speednet, to the aviation market.

  • Combined, we bring:
    A global sales force and support organization that reaches all major mobility verticals including aviation, maritime energy and remote locations;
  • A satellite and ground-based network infrastructure that can provide customers connectivity and media across multiple frequency bands anywhere in the world;
  • Proprietary, patented technologies that enhance the connected traveler’s user experience and reduce costs across market verticals;
  • A diversified revenue base with over 400 customers, balanced between media and connectivity with over half of all revenue coming from international markets; and
  • Engineering, technical and managerial resources to effectively drive new product development, program management, product maintenance and field support.

10. How big is EMC and is there a new structure to come?

We haven’t discussed management structure beyond the senior leaders, which can be found in the press release (attached). EMC had approximately 450 employees located worldwide.

Note: Finally, IFExpress talked with many people about the acquisition and there was a great difference of opinion on on the subject and other issues as well. All we can say is keep your eye on a few factors that may (or may not) affect the future of GEE: Southwest Airlines, Ku/Ka Band airline preferences, Universal lawsuit results, marine market entertainment take-up, traveler personal device and entertainment demand. Stay Tuned.

GEE EMC Transaction Presentation

Lastly, we would like to thank Jenelle Benoit of GEE for all the assistance bringing this story to press!


OTHER NEWS:

Rockwell Collins today announced that China Eastern Airlines selected its Iridium® SATCOM aftermarket solution for its fleet of more than 100 Boeing 737 aircraft. Installations are currently in progress. The voice and data communications solution, installed via a Boeing service bulletin for Next-Generation Boeing 737s, will enable reliable long-range global voice communications, flight tracking and Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS). The solution is also capable of enabling Future Airspace Navigation System (FANS) for airlines that need it for their operations.

  • First Multi Spot Beam, Ku-Band High Throughput Satellite to Serve Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific

Luxembourg and Paris | July 22, 2016– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, announced today that Intelsat 33e, the second of the Intelsat EpicNG series of high throughput satellites (“HTS”), arrived at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, where it will undergo final preparations before its scheduled launch on an Ariane 5 rocket on the 24th of August, 2016.

Manufactured by Boeing and equipped with the most advanced digital payload on a commercial spacecraft, Intelsat 33e will extend Intelsat’s high throughput capacity in both C- and Ku-band from the Americas to include Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean regions.

Intelsat EpicNG features an exceptionally flexible HTS payload design that is backward compatible with already deployed user networks globally. The higher performance, better economics and simplified access of the Intelsat EpicNG design are built to address an expected $3.2 billion incremental revenue opportunity related to new demand for satellite-based infrastructure in the enterprise, wireless infrastructure, aeronautical and maritime mobility, government and Internet of Things sectors by the year 2021.

The amount of global data traffic is expected to surge at a compound annual growth rate of 53 percent from 2015 through year-end 2020. With increasing broadband requirements and a growing number of smartphone users, the flexible and open architecture of Intelsat 29e, Intelsat 33e and future Intelsat EpicNG satellites will enable fixed and mobile network operators to cost-effectively extend their networks and meet the surges in broadband demand across the continents.

Select customers have already committed to take advantage of Intelsat 33e, some of which include Pakistani Internet service provider SuperNet Limited, African telecommunications providers such as Telkom South Africa, Orange, IP Planet, Vodacom, Dijoubti Telecom, Safarifone and Africell RDC SPRL.; Russian network service providers Romantis and RuSat LLC; and media customers including TV & Radio Broadcasting (formerly Television and Radio Broadcasting of Armenia), and MultiChoice of South Africa.

Intelsat 33e will also deliver enterprise-grade, broadband services to aeronautical and maritime mobility service providers and users. The satellite combines wide and high performing spot beams facilitating combined live television and broadband applications within the same network. As previously announced, prestigious maritime mobility customers such as EMC, Harris CapRock and Marlink, and aero mobility customers such as Gogo and Panasonic Avionics have committed to the Intelsat EpicNG fleet for mobility and fixed and mobile enterprise applications.

Intelsat 33e is currently scheduled for launch on 24 August 2016 during a window that is currently scheduled to open at 5:55 pm EDT and closes at 6:40 pm EDT. Following a successful launch, Intelsat 33e will be placed at the 60°E orbital location, where it will undergo in-orbit testing prior to its expected in-service date at the end of 2016.

  • Validation of Supplemental Type Certificate (VSTC) for Cobham AVIATOR 300 on AirbusA320 series is the first time a SwiftBroadband ACARS-capable modem has received CAAC certification

Lyngby, Denmark | July 21, 2016– The Cobham SATCOM AVIATOR 300 system has received a Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Validation of Supplemental Type Certificate (VSTC) for installation aboard the Airbus A320 series. It is the first time a SwiftBroadband ACARS (Aircraft Communication and Addressing Reporting System)-capable modem has received Chinese certification.

The significant Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) means that Chinese airlines and Chinese-registered aircraft can now order and install the Cobham solution on the Airbus aircraft A319, A320 and A321 to benefit from improved communications, connectivity, flight safety and operations on-board.

Enabling cockpit connectivity for ACARS over SwiftBroadband on the Airbus aircraft, AVIATOR 300 uses Inmarsat SwiftBroadband IP data and circuit-switched voice capabilities to provide services such as aircraft flight tracking information and Ethernet ports for connecting devices such as Aircraft Interface Devices (AIDs) and Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs) for the pilots to obtain real-time information including graphical weather updates. AVIATOR 300 also has the bandwidth to send the real-time data of the aircraft health monitoring systems, such as engine monitoring.

Jianmin Cui, Director for Cobham SATCOM China Operations, said: “This certification for our AVIATOR 300 system is very important for the industry in this region and is also a significant milestone for Cobham as we can now offer Chinese airlines a low cost, compact Inmarsat satcom solution. It is a first for the industry, for Inmarsat and also for Cobham. This system provides Chinese airlines an optimal option to comply with the CAAC 4 minute-mandate with more capable data applications.

“The installation of our system on the Airbus aircraft will introduce many benefits for airlines. For example, airlines’ flight operations departments will have the ability to access aircraft data in real time from the ground while the aircraft is in flight, which will significantly improve flight safety and operational efficiencies.”

The VSTC is developed and owned by Avionics Support Group Inc (ASG) for the SwiftBroadband Unit and Delta G for the antenna.

The AVIATOR 300 system, which features the compact and lightweight Intermediate Gain Antenna IGA-5001 to ensure a low profile on the fuselage, provides for fast and reliable connectivity on the Inmarsat SwiftBroadband I-4 satellite network. The system supports high quality, low-cost voice calling and the full complement of data services and provides near global coverage, on the ground or in the air.

Further advantages include recurrent maintenance savings due to the high reliability of the AVIATOR system and recurrent weight savings (approximately 50 to 150lbs) over traditional legacy SATCOM systems.

The full Cobham SATCOM AVIATOR range includes the revolutionary AVIATOR S series, AVIATOR 700 and 700D, AVIATOR 350 with High Gain Antenna (HGA), AVIATOR 300 with IGA as well as the exceptionally compact and lightweight AVIATOR 200 with Low Gain Antenna (LGA).

  • Agreement includes production aircraft and extensive retrofit program

Lake Forest, CA | July 14, 2016– China Eastern Airlines has increased its commitment to Panasonic Avionics’ (Panasonic) for global broadband connectivity services to 84 total aircraft.

The leading Chinese carrier, which, in partnership with China Telecom Satellite, was the first to offer broadband Wi-Fi connectivity on flights over Chinese airspace, and this agreement strengthens its long-term relationship with Panasonic.

The extended agreement – following the announcement of 20 Boeing 777-300ERs last November – includes 35 line-fit aircraft with and an extensive retrofit program covering an additional 49 aircraft.

Aircraft types included in the agreement are:

  • One B737-800 (retrofit)
  • Four B767-300 (retrofit)
  • Two B767-300ER (retrofit)
  • 20 B777-300 (line-fit)
  • 31 A330-200 (retrofit)
  • 11 A330-300 (retrofit)
  • 15 A330-300 (line-fit)

Panasonic’s Global Communications Services are available across China and on over 99.6 per cent of all air traffic routes. It is the only global, broadband inflight connectivity service operating in every country in the world today and will enable China Eastern passengers to access the Internet, use email and log onto their favourite social media sites while on board.

Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “We have been helping China Eastern Airlines offer connected flights since November 2015 and remain the only provider operating over China today. Passengers increasingly expect the availability of reliable broadband Wi-Fi around the world and the roll out of this service across the China Eastern fleet will enable it to provide a connected service for its passengers”.

Zhang Chi, Deputy Director of China Eastern Airlines’ Transformation Office says: “China Eastern Airlines is committed to transforming the inflight experience for our passengers. We are constantly working with partners to discover new ways to engage passengers and to maximise the benefits of the connected aircraft. We look forward to the continued development of this extremely exciting service with the team at Panasonic Avionics.”

Panasonic Avionics’ eXConnect uses the company’s global Ku-band satellite network to deliver broadband connectivity to aircraft flying all over the world – even over oceans.

  • Ground-breaking solution, engineered to meet the needs of complex and evolving airline route systems, passes rigorous testing of European Union’s aviation safety agency
  • Latest STC supports expected go-live of GX Aviation on first Lufthansa aircraft in October 2016
  • GX Aviation on track for linefit and retrofit certification on every major Airbus and Boeing airframe

United Kingdom | June 27, 2016– Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has announced that its advanced Global Xpress (GX) Aviation in-flight connectivity service has been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the Airbus A320 aircraft family, bringing it a step closer to being available as linefit or retrofit on every major Airbus and Boeing airframe.

The Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) authorises GX Aviation’s Ka-band antenna to be installed on Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft, which form the backbone for around half of the world’s aircraft fleets. In total, more than 6,500 Airbus A320 family aircraft are currently in operation, representing over three quarters of the overall Airbus aircraft currently being flown worldwide.

Inmarsat’s partner Lufthansa Technik obtained the STC after its design team developed a highly efficient installation process that includes all required electrical modifications inside and outside the aircraft fuselage. Installation can be completed within only four days or during regular maintenance schedules, with components integrated into the cabin infrastructure in such a way that they are virtually invisible to passengers and easy to operate by cabin crew.

Inmarsat secured a contract in October 2015 to provide GX Aviation on Lufthansa’s European continental fleet of over 150 aircraft, with additional Lufthansa Group aircraft being added in due course. After obtaining the STC, the first of these aircraft is expected to offer the service in October this year and Lufthansa’s entire A320 fleet is scheduled to have the technology installed by mid-2018.

GX Aviation is the world’s first in-flight broadband solution with seamless global coverage, delivered through a single operator. It will allow Lufthansa’s European passengers to browse the internet, watch videos, connect to their company’s Virtual Private Network (VPN), download files and more, with a similar quality of fast and reliable connectivity as they receive on the ground.

Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “GX Aviation is a game-changer that trumps all other connectivity solutions in the market today, allowing airlines to significantly enhance their passenger experience and gain a valuable competitive advantage. EASA’s certification is an important milestone towards the service launch this year, as the A320 family is a popular workhorse for many airlines, business aviation operators and aircraft lessors. In addition, single-aisle aircraft as a whole are expected to account for 70% of new deliveries over the next 20 years. This highlights the vast market opportunities opened by this STC, especially as Inmarsat is positioned as the only provider that can serve A320 aircraft on a global basis throughout their lifecycle.

“It is also concrete evidence of the service’s growing maturity. We have developed GX Aviation over the past five years as the only end-to-end solution in which every component, from the satellites, ground network and terminals to the cabin networks, internet features and support, has been engineered with mobility in mind to provide a high quality experience for airline passengers. With all key components now in place, we are in the final stages of testing and as a single network operator, we can commit to a uniform high quality of service wherever the aircraft may go.”

TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION LEADS TO STEP-CHANGE IN AIRLINE CONNECTIVITY

The GX mobile satellite network entered commercial service in December 2015, providing seamless global coverage. Inmarsat has reinforced its commitment to building additional network capacity, with plans already announced to increase its dedicated Ka-band payloads to seven.

Airlines will connect to the GX network using next-generation JetWave terminals produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell Aerospace, with over 300 aircraft already committed to the system and more to come. The exclusive new terminals are designed for ease of installation and maintenance to assure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market, allowing installation with minimal labour and using standard tools available in maintenance hangars.

JetWave has been fully optimised to deliver full performance across Inmarsat’s coverage of almost every airline route in the world, including at northern and southern latitudes above 40⁰, where competing terminals see substantial performance deterioration, and even service outages. In addition, it is the only aircraft terminal to include dual receivers, enabling critical ‘make before break’ handoffs between satellite beams. Other solutions have built-in outages every time a terminal needs to be handed off, adding significant service interruption and downtime for users.

The latest STC, which follows certification for GX Aviation on the Boeing 757 and Bombardier Global 5000 and 6000 aircraft, has also highlighted the success of a long-term partnership established between Inmarsat, Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Systems. The companies have combined their market-leading capabilities to provide Lufthansa with a multifunctional, end-to-end connectivity solution that will enhance the airline’s passenger experience and brand value.

With many years of experience in aircraft modification, Lufthansa Technik is responsible for installing the systems and components required for GX Aviation on Lufthansa aircraft, as well as the required work for aeronautical and statutory regulations. In addition, Lufthansa Systems, as the aviation IT specialist, makes the required infrastructure available onboard the aircraft and provides the innovative FlyNet portal for passengers based on its BoardConnect product line.

“Other airlines can also benefit from this partnership solution,” added Mondale. “It offers today’s passengers what they want – connectivity, content and services on their own wi-fi devices – and complements the aviation industry’s current in-flight entertainment model, which is often impacted by obsolete technology that delivers dated content with high installation and operational costs.”

  • Gogo’s 2Ku Technology to Connect British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia Long-haul Aircraft

Chicago, IL | May 5, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it will partner with International Airlines Group (IAG) to bring Gogo’s 2Ku technology to 118 British Airways, four Aer Lingus Boeing 757 and up to 15 Iberia long-haul aircraft.

IAG is one of the largest airline groups in the world and is the first European airline group to commit to Gogo’s 2Ku technology. The fleet of Gogo-installed aircraft will include numerous long-haul aircraft types, including the Boeing 787 and Airbus A380.

“We are delighted to bring Gogo’s industry leading 2Ku technology to three of the most iconic brands in commercial aviation,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “2Ku is delivering a ground-like performance to aircraft flying around the world today. But one of the many benefits of 2Ku is that it’s built on an open architecture and can leverage numerous Ku satellites around the world today and new advancements in the Ku-band coming online in the future. This means the technology will get even better over time and will provide passengers with a superior connectivity experience now and in the future.”

The first British Airways aircraft is expected to be in service early next year. The bulk of the installations are expected to be completed by 2019.

  • The world’s first dual mode BGAN/LTE M2M terminal is ready for service

Copenhagen, Denmark | April 22, 2016– Cobham SATCOM has started shipping its new EXPLORER 540 BGAN M2M terminal, following Inmarsat Class 2 Type Approval and Inmarsat BGAN M2M certification. EXPLORER 540 is the world’s first Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication terminal designed to operate on both Inmarsat BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) and LTE/3G/2G cellular networks.

EXPLORER 540 delivers real-time M2M communication for diverse applications including IP SCADA for data backhaul, asset tracking, real-time surveillance and remote telemetry. It brings with it the same operational reliability that has helped to establish EXPLORER as a leading brand within land mobile BGAN and VSAT satellite communication.

As the only M2M terminal to offer dual-mode operation, EXPLORER 540 provides unique installation flexibility and M2M data communication cost-control, as it ensures the most cost-effective communication service can be chosen depending on location of the installation and service quality/availability.

Securing continuity of M2M IP data transfer, which often originates in hard to reach, remote locations, dual-mode operation also delivers significant failover capabilities with automatic switching to the secondary service should EXPLORER 540 detect that its primary communication service is unavailable. The EXPLORER 540 LTE Modem is optional and integrates into the back of the EXPLORER 540 BGAN M2M terminal. The LTE modem will be introduced later this year.

“Resilience, cost-control and installation flexibility have driven development of EXPLORER 540, resulting in a terminal suitable for the most critical M2M networks, where availability of service in remote locations is crucial for operational continuity and safety,” said Henrik Nørrelykke, VP Land Business, Cobham SATCOM. “Inmarsat type approval ensures that M2M network operators can now choose a new state-of-the-art terminal that offers significant improvements over traditional technology.”

The EXPLORER 540 is also an Inmarsat Class 2 BGAN terminal including a long list of features first seen on the innovative EXPLORER 510. The included pole mount, durable aluminium casing and IP 66-rating make EXPLORER 540 a perfect choice for services such as BGAN Link.

Chicago, IL | March 21, 2016– Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless in-flight entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it has expanded its connectivity partnership with Air Canada to include its international fleet, including the Boeing 787.

Air Canada is the only Canadian carrier offering customers in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity across its entire fleet of narrow-body aircraft in North America. Under the new agreement, Gogo’s 2Ku connectivity technology will be installed on Air Canada’s wide-body international aircraft, starting with the Boeing 777 this fall.

“We are excited about extending our relationship with Air Canada to bring our 2Ku technology to its international fleet,” said Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small. “The performance of Gogo’s 2Ku technology is unmatched in global aviation today and is built on the concept of an open system with the ability to leverage dozens of Ku-band satellites in orbit. We’ve also built it to leverage any of the new Ku-band LEO satellite constellations coming on line in the future. This system design will enable Air Canada to continue to deliver industry leading connectivity to its passengers for the foreseeable future.

“Air Canada is pleased to announce it will offer customers the ability to stay connected whenever and wherever they fly by extending in-flight, North American connectivity to its wide-body aircraft flying overseas using satellite technology,” said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada. “While business travelers will welcome satellite Wi-Fi service as a productivity tool, it will have widespread appeal for all travelers by allowing them to stay in touch, access the internet and enjoy additional entertainment options throughout their entire journey.”

  • Leveraging the higher performance and better economics of Intelsat EpicNG, SkyNet de Colombia and Intelsat will connect close to 600 remote sites
  • Partnership will bring more schools and communities across Colombia online

Luxembourg | March 8, 2016– Nearly 4 billion people remain unconnected in the world. Bridging the digital divide is critical to bolstering a country’s GDP growth and ensuring inclusion from a social, political and economic perspective for any community.

Intelsat (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, announced an agreement with SkyNet de Colombia a subsidiary of Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogota ETB to support the Colombian Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications’s Kiosco VIVE DIGITAL Phase III (KDVIII) project, whose sole aim is to bring broadband and internet connectivity to remote communities and schools in rural areas across Colombia.

Under the multi-year agreement, Skynet de Colombia will leverage the high speed performance of Intelsat 29e, the first of Intelsat’s next generation, high throughput Intelsat EpicNG satellites, located at 310° East. Together, Skynet de Colombia and Intelsat will provide broadband and internet connectivity to approximately 600 remote sites, across 250 municipalities. The services delivered to the communities will include internet access as well as programs that promote the use of technologies in the community.

“Intelsat’s high throughput Intelsat EpicNG satellites are bringing unprecedented power, cost savings and accessibility to broadband connectivity to people living in regions where there is a lack of terrestrial infrastructure,” said Rene Otero, CTO, SkyNet de Colombia. ”With greater access to reliable, high quality broadband services, remote communities can receive the same type of advantages and services that are afforded to those that live in the more developed areas of Colombia. We are happy to partner with Intelsat to support the KDVIII initiative and play an integral role in bringing more people and communities on-line throughout Colombia. ”

Intelsat EpicNG’s efficiency delivers more throughput to the user, the backwards compatibility allows customers to use their existing hardware, and the open architecture enables customers to choose the network hardware that best suits their applications. This delivers unprecedented choice, control and consistent levels of service across the platform at a much lower cost of total ownership, enabling fixed and mobile network operators to cost-effectively enhance their networks to meet growing demands from existing customers while also extending the reach of their networks to capture new growth in remote areas.

“The KDVIII project in Colombia is a great example of the role that public and private partnerships can play in ensuring that digital inclusion is available for all citizens, whether they reside in remote communities or urban areas,” said Carmen Gonzalez-Sanfeliu, Intelsat’s Regional Vice President, Latin America and Caribbean. ”The flexibility of Intelsat’s Globalized Network will allow Skynet de Colombia to take full advantage of the power that our next generation Intelsat EpicNG fleet delivers and ensure that SkyNet’s customers receive a seamless broadband experience that continues to be known for its superior quality and reliability.”

  • Powers high quality, reliable broadband services to thousands of ATM networks throughout Saudi Arabia
  • Delivers VSAT services to small and medium corporate enterprises and ships operating in and outside of this fast-growing region

Luxembourg | March 7, 2016– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, announced that Detecon Al Saudia Co. Ltd. (DETASAD) has renewed and expanded its contract for Ku-band satellite services to deliver broadband and internet connectivity to corporate networks operating in and outside of Saudi Arabia.

Under the multi-year contract, DETASAD will leverage Ku-band services via Intelsat 15 at 85º East and Intelsat 20 at 68.5º East to guarantee access to the highest levels of broadband connectivity for its enterprise customers. DETASAD incorporates Intelsat’s satellite services into the largest financial transaction networks in the region, supporting a very large number of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) located throughout Saudi Arabia, among other applications where high reliability and security are critical to success.

“We partnered with Intelsat to complement our existing telecom infrastructure as Intelsat’s satellite solutions have a strong track record of seamlessly and securely connecting broadband networks across a vast area,” said Adel Al Gidawi, CFO, Detecon Al Saudia Co. Ltd. (DETASAD). “Intelsat and DETASAD have been in the VSAT business together since 2003. Throughout our relationship, Intelsat has proven to be a strategic and trusted partner that has helped us meet the high standards of our customers across multiple sectors. As the demands placed on us by broadband users in Saudi Arabia continue to grow, extending our relationship with Intelsat will provide us with the bandwidth necessary to extend our network, grow our business and, most importantly, support the needs of communities and businesses located throughout the region.”

Along with powering Saudi Arabia’s ATM networks, DETASAD serves a wide range of corporate networks that are used by small and medium enterprises, maritime operators, oil and gas companies, government agencies, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to help power the country’s economy and deliver services to urban and remote areas.

“We understand that DETASAD’s customers are diverse in nature and as such, have unique requirements,” said Jean-Philippe Gillet, Intelsat’s Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa. “The breadth and depth of Intelsat’s globalized network enable us to tailor our services to meet the broadband requirements for companies and communities across sectors. With the demand for broadband connectivity only increasing in the Middle East, we look forward to working with DETASAD to deliver high quality, reliable and secure internet and broadband connectivity to corporate enterprises and customers across the banking, oil and gas and government sectors.

  • Simple ‘click of a mouse’ will deliver instant access to Intelsat’s Globalized Network
  • Seamless integration with terrestrial networks provides ultra-high availability, redundancy and security
  • IntelsatOne Flex for Enterprise delivers economies of scale and operational efficiencies and eliminates unnecessary overhead costs

Luxembourg | March 7, 2016– With nearly 4 billion people, 20 billion devices and 50 billion machines requiring broadband connectivity, corporate enterprises are looking for fast, easy and cost-efficient means to expand their MPLS or Ethernet networks in order to stay ahead of their customers’ emerging demands.

Today, Intelsat (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, introduced IntelsatOne Flex for Enterprise, a managed service that allows regional and global enterprise network service providers to efficiently access and incorporate high throughput satellite technology into new and existing private networks. The result is a high performance, secure and flexible data network platform that supports regional and global application growth, all using a web-based network operations interface.

IntelsatOne Flex for Enterprise will deliver:

  • Instant Access to Intelsat EpicNG’s high speed broadband connectivity where the virtualized network will enable customers to flexibly allocate and move bandwidth to meet surges in demand or new geographic requirements.
  • Seamless Integration with terrestrial MPLS or Ethernet Networks as IntelsatOne Flex for Enterprise allows customers to maintain Class of Service tags across both satellite and terrestrial components.
  • Control and Visibility to the End Terminal through a robust Network Management System (NMS) that allows service providers to: customize, prioritize and contend Mbps; offer differentiated levels of service to their end users; and maintain full control of the offering and brand. The customer portal will also provide real-time monitoring, tracking and reporting.
  • Streamlined Ground Operations through IntelsatOne Flex’s uniform performance, which enables customers to mass-order terminals in advance and take advantage of volume pricing, further simplifying and accelerating the procurement, deployment and installation of new revenue-driving remotes.
  • Significant Cost Savings through the use of smaller terminals, which are much more cost effective to purchase and maintain, even in the most remote locations.
  • Ultra-High Availability, Multi-Layer Redundancy and Security through Intelsat’s Globalized Network.

“IntelsatOne Flex for Enterprise will provide our customers with the unprecedented scalability and flexibility needed to manage the complex challenges driven by the explosive demands for broadband connectivity,” said Karen Schmidt, Vice President, Marketing, Intelsat. “Unlike with other platforms, the backward compatibility of Intelsat’s Globalized Network does not require customers to replace their existing technology or switch out their ground infrastructure. As a result, customers can redeploy the cost savings and instead, focus on expanding their businesses and driving new revenue streams. Most importantly, IntelsatOne Flex for Enterprise can be easily integrated into an existing architecture and serve as a single point of entry to a virtual Globalized Network that can deliver on its promise of providing high-speed broadband and internet connectivity, whenever or wherever you need it, today.”

  • Cobham partners with Southeast Aerospace, China Trancomm, Inmarsat and Delta G Design to develop FAA STC for AVIATOR 300 system with Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband Safety on Shenzhen Airlines’ Boeing 737-800 aircraft

Lyngby, Denmark | March 2, 2016– Cobham SATCOM’s AVIATOR 300 SwiftBroadband system is to be certified on Shenzhen Airlines’ Boeing 737-800 fleet.

Cobham has partnered with Southeast Aerospace (SEA), China Trancomm, Inmarsat and Delta G Design to develop the FAA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) and CAAC Validation of Supplemental Type Certificate (VSTC).

Meeting the growing demand from airlines for continuous secure data exchange between their ground operations and their aircraft, the AVIATOR 300 system will be fitted with Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband Safety capability for Airline Operational Communications (AOC) messaging on the Boeing 737NG aircraft. The Cobham terminal will also interface to the airplane’s existing Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), allowing the flight deck data messages to be carried over Inmarsat SwiftBroadband.

The new technology featured in the AVIATOR 300 will enable Shenzhen Airlines to comply with the Civil Aviation Authority of China’s (CAAC) mandate requiring airlines to operate and control voice communications independent of Air Traffic Control within four minutes.

The AVIATOR 300 features a compact and lightweight Intermediate Gain Antenna (IGA) to ensure a low profile on the fuselage. With data speeds up to 332 kbps, the system provides for fast and reliable connectivity on Inmarsat SwiftBroadband services, supporting high quality, low-cost voice calling and the full complement of data services.

The system has been certified for several key aircraft including the Boeing 757, Airbus 319, 320 and 321, Cessna 550, 550 Bravo and S550, Citation X, G200, Embraer 135 (Legacy 600/650) and Bombardier Challenger 300.

The full Cobham SATCOM AVIATOR range includes the revolutionary AVIATOR S series, AVIATOR 700 and 700D, AVIATOR 350 with High Gain Antenna (HGA), AVIATOR 300 with IGA as well as the exceptionally compact and lightweight AVIATOR 200 with Low Gain Antenna (LGA).

– Each ViaSat-3 Satellite Offers Over 1-Terabit Per Second of Network Capacity — which is Equal to the Total Capacity of All Commercial Satellites in Space Today
– Platform Gives Consumers Choice In Internet Provider by Enabling 100+ Mbps Broadband to Any Home
– First Two Groundbreaking ViaSat-3 Class of Satellites Underway with Boeing

Carlsbad, CA | February 9, 2016– ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global broadband services and technology company, continues to redefine the role satellite plays in the competitive broadband communications market with the introduction of the ViaSat-3 ultra-high capacity satellite platform – which is comprised of three ViaSat-3 class satellites with state-of-the-art ground network infrastructure. Work is underway with the first two ViaSat-3 satellites, with ViaSat starting work on the satellite payloads and Boeing Satellite Systems starting on the associated satellite bus platforms, expected for integration and delivery in 2019. The first two satellites will focus on the Americas and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), respectively, with a third satellite system planned for the Asia Pacific region, completing ViaSat’s global service coverage.

Delivering More Choice through More Network Capacity
The ViaSat-3 platform is the next big step for ViaSat to fulfill its ambition of delivering a global broadband network with enough capacity to deliver more consumer choice with an affordable, high-speed, high-quality internet and video streaming service. The first two satellites will deliver more than twice the total network capacity of the approximately 400 commercial communications satellites in space today – combined.

The ViaSat-3 platform can serve more customer demand by:

  • Delivering a 100+ Megabit per second (Mbps) residential internet service, enabling 4K ultra-high definition video streaming;
  • Supporting each aircraft with hundreds of Mbps of in-flight connectivity services and video streaming for commercial airlines, business jets and high-value government aircraft;
  • Providing up to 1-Gigabit per second (Gbps) speeds for use in maritime, oceanic and other corporate enterprise applications such as oil and gas platforms; and
  • Offering affordable satellite Wi-Fi connectivity to the billions of unconnected people in emerging markets.

Technology with a Global Mission
ViaSat’s innovative satellite and ground technology provides unprecedented capabilities in terms of service speed, cost and flexibility. The platform:

  • Delivers more than 1,000 Gbps – or 1-Terabit per second (Tbps) – of network capacity per satellite to enable high-speed internet, including video streaming, at scale;
  • Leverages dynamic flexibility to continually direct capacity where customers are located – whether at home or on the move. With an estimated one half of the world’s population living on only one percent of the Earth’s land and the other half broadly dispersed, the ability to target capacity is critical to creating a true global broadband network;
  • Utilizes cloud technology for network processing and operations. By migrating portions of the network into the cloud, the platform advances and simplifies network infrastructure, improves system-wide reliability and reduces network capital and operational costs; and
  • Operates compatibly with ViaSat-2 class terminals, to extend coverage, improve transmission speeds and further reduce network capacity costs to a fraction of what they are today.

“The innovations in the ViaSat-3 system do what until now has been impossible in the telecommunications industry – combining enormous network capacity with global coverage, and dynamic flexibility to allocate resources according to geographic demand,” said Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO, ViaSat. “While there are multiple companies and consortia with ambitions to connect the world with telecom, satellite and space technologies, the key technologies underlying ViaSat-3 are in hand today, enabling us to move forward in building the first broadband platform to bring high-speed internet connectivity, including video streaming, to all.”

  • Panasonic’s latest commitment to Telesat driven by innovative coverage of Telstar 12 VANTAGE – first operational satellite with significant HTS Ku-band capacity serving aero and maritime routes over Europe, the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Sea

Ottawa, Canada and Lake Forest, California | February 15, 2016– Telesat, a leading global satellite operator, and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) announced today that Panasonic has signed another multi-year contract for Telesat satellite capacity.

In this latest agreement, Panasonic has contracted for nearly all the high throughput satellite (HTS) Ku-band capacity covering the Mediterranean, Europe and Middle East on Telesat’s new Telstar 12 VANTAGE. Telstar 12 VANTAGE became fully operational at 15 degrees West in December 2015 and will provide Panasonic with HTS capacity over key aero routes from Western Europe to the Middle East enabling them to bring the very latest in in-flight Wi-Fi to carriers across the region. Panasonic will also be using the HTS capacity of Telstar 12 VANTAGE to expand their mobile broadband offerings to growing maritime markets in the Mediterranean and European waterways as well as to oil and gas operators in the North Sea.

“It is always gratifying when a knowledgeable industry leader like Panasonic compares a number of satellite alternatives and decides once again that Telesat is their best choice,” said Tom Eaton, Vice President, International Sales for Telesat. “Telstar 12 VANTAGE is a powerful high throughput satellite designed to provide customers like Panasonic important operational and commercial advantages. Panasonic’s multi-year commitment validates the advanced capabilities of Telesat’s newest satellite and we look forward to continuing to deliver to Panasonic the superior technical performance and outstanding support they have come to expect from Telesat.”

“Telesat is highly respected for their ability to design innovative satellites,” said David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communications Services at Panasonic Avionics. “Their cooperation in adjusting the position of the HTS spot beams on Telstar 12 VANTAGE to meet Panasonic’s requirements was outstanding. This further optimizes the service for Panasonic and gives us an edge in winning mobile broadband business in the air and at sea. Panasonic now has Ku-band capacity on four Telesat satellites and, with this latest contract for nearly all the HTS Ku-band covering the Mediterranean, Europe and Middle East on Telstar 12 VANTAGE, we are well positioned to expand in maritime and energy markets across Europe. Panasonic values our close ties to the Telesat team and we are truly excited to be making use of Telstar 12 VANTAGE – the first satellite with significant HTS Ku-band over the Mediterranean and North Sea.”

Luxembourg | January 27, 2016– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), the world’s leading provider of satellite services, today announced that Intelsat 29e, the first of the Intelsat EpicNG high throughput satellites, was launched successfully from French Guiana aboard an Ariane 5 vehicle. Liftoff occurred at 6:20 pm EST. The Intelsat 29e satellite separated from the rocket’s upper stage 38 minutes after launch, at 6:58 pm EST, and signal acquisition has been confirmed.

Manufactured by Boeing and equipped with the most advanced digital payload on a commercial spacecraft, Intelsat 29e will bring high throughput capacity in both C- and Ku-band to North and Latin America and the North Atlantic region. Intelsat 29e will be placed into service at 310° East, where it replaces Intelsat 1R.

Intelsat 29e is the first satellite of Intelsat’s next generation, all digital EpicNG satellite platform, which combines wide beams and spot beams with frequency reuse technology and the sector’s most advanced digital payload. The digital payload will provide customers with unprecedented security and flexibility, enabling customers to seamlessly access and shift capacity to match their usage needs in a particular region or timeframe. Intelsat EpicNG is optimized to provide satellite connectivity for applications including the Internet of Things, enterprise, wireless infrastructure, aeronautical and maritime mobility, and government, which are expected to provide a combined $3 billion incremental opportunity by the year 2020.

“Today’s launch represents a truly ‘epic’ moment in communication’s history, as we begin a new era of high throughput satellite services for our customers,” stated Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer, Intelsat. “This is a testament to the innovation and creativity of the Intelsat team who envisioned the Intelsat EpicNG platform nearly four years ago. Through design expertise and a deep understanding of our customers’ requirements, the Intelsat EpicNG platform will deliver high performance, improved economics and simplified access that will expand the addressable market for our solutions.”

The Intelsat EpicNG platform design reflects the company’s innovative approach to introducing high throughput technology into the world’s largest community of enterprise-grade satellite networks which operate on the Intelsat fleet. Intelsat EpicNG is backwards compatible and fully interoperable with Intelsat’s existing satellite fleet and terrestrial infrastructure, allowing customers to use currently deployed network hardware to access the high performance connectivity. The platform’s open architecture allows customers to have control over service offerings and hardware selection, providing differentiation of service offerings.

The payload will deliver carrier-grade services to fixed and mobile network operators, and broadband for applications such as enterprise, aeronautical and maritime mobility, and government throughout the Americas. The satellite also features spot beams for mobility customers serving the heavily trafficked North Atlantic region. Companies such as Harris CapRock, Panasonic, EMC (formerly MTN), Axesat and leading national telecom operators in Latin America will be among the first to deploy services on the platform.

Intelsat 29e is the 56th Intelsat satellite launched by Arianespace. Intelsat expects to launch the second Intelsat EpicNG satellite, Intelsat 33e, which will serve Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, in the third quarter of 2016, also aboard an Arianespace launcher.

  • With over 8,000 miles of successful road testing, Kymeta and Intelsat take significant step towards making global, high-speed connectivity for the connected car a reality
  • Completion of the first maritime product prototype provides path to scalable, high quality, low cost mobility solutions and compatibility with fleet of Intelsat satellites.

Redmond, WA and Luxembourg | December 15, 2015– Kymeta Corporation and Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), the world’s leading provider of satellite services, have successfully completed initial testing of the mobility performance of Kymeta’s flat-panel antennas on Intelsat’s global satellite network for both maritime and automotive applications. Kymeta and Intelsat are the first companies to meet this significant milestone with a flat panel, software-based antenna.

In the automotive portion of the test, the team embedded Kymeta’s flat-panel antenna into the roof of an automobile and over the course of 8,000 miles, proved that the company’s mTenna™ technology was able to automatically acquire and track satellite signals while on the move. The Ku-band antenna was able to both transmit and receive signals with Intelsat satellites. It is designed for Intelsat’s current satellites and its next generation high throughput satellites, Intelsat EpicNG, the first of which is expected to launch on January 27, 2016.

Kymeta has also completed building and testing its first glass-on-glass, thin-film-transistor-based antennas, with receive and transmit on the same aperture. This maritime prototype is the workhorse of Kymeta’s 70cm Ku-band product and are currently being produced on existing liquid-crystal display TV display lines, marking the first step towards mass-volume and low-cost attainability for Kymeta antennas.

“We’re excited about these significant milestones and what they mean for our customers,” said, Dr. Nathan Kundtz, Chief Executive Officer of Kymeta. “In partnership with Intelsat, we’re ushering in a new generation of mobile communications that is lower cost and higher bandwidth.”

Kymeta’s flat panel, software-based antennas simplify the access to Intelsat’s satellite fleet by removing the need for mechanical components and by using software to electronically point, steer and acquire the satellite signal. This allows for both the rapid setup and installation of the hardware, in addition to the improved ability to acquire and track satellite signal. Working together, Kymeta and Intelsat will ensure that mobility customers are able to receive fast, reliable and cost-effective connectivity regardless of location.

“At Intelsat, we are pursuing innovation in both satellite technology and ground systems to enable simpler access to our services,” stated Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer of Intelsat. “Our partnership with Kymeta will help ensure that our customers have much easier and more cost effective access to our fleet to leverage the power and higher performance of our satellites to solve their complex connectivity issues. Together, I look forward to using our collective expertise to expand the addressable markets for satellite technology and provide ubiquitous and fast broadband services to the billions of people and devices that need connectivity.”

  • First Multi Spot Beam, Ku-Band High Throughput Satellite to Serve Latin America

Luxembourg & Paris | December 11, 2015– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), the world’s leading provider of satellite services, announced today that the first of the Intelsat EpicNG series of High Throughput Satellites, Intelsat 29e, arrived at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, where it will undergo final preparations before its scheduled launch on an Ariane 5 rocket on the 27th of January 2016.

Manufactured by Boeing and equipped with the most advanced digital payload on a commercial spacecraft, Intelsat 29e will bring High Throughput capacity in both C- and Ku-band to North and Latin America and the North Atlantic region, and is designed to be fully interoperable with the already deployed Intelsat satellite fleet and terrestrial infrastructure.

Intelsat EpicNG features an exceptionally flexible high throughput payload design that is backward compatible with already deployed user networks globally. It has an open architecture built to address an expected $3 billion incremental increase in revenue opportunities related to an increase in demand by the year 2020 for satellite-based infrastructure in the enterprise, wireless infrastructure, aeronautical and maritime mobility, government and Internet of Things sectors.

The amount of data traffic in Latin America is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 66 percent from 2014 through year-end of 2018. With surging broadband requirements and an increasing number of smartphone users, the Intelsat 29e flexible and scalable architecture will enable fixed and mobile network operators to cost-effectively extend their networks and meet the surges in broadband demand across the continent.

Select customers in the region have already committed to take advantage of Intelsat EpicNG, include Compania Anonima Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela, BT Latam Venezuela, Anditel, S.A.S, Axesat, Amazonia Cabo Ltda., Cadena Ecuatoriana de Television C.A., Canal 10 CETV, Corporacion Nacional de Telecommunicaciones CNTE.P., Fox Latin America Channels do Brasil, Igrege Mundial do Poder de Deus, Radio e Televisao Banderantes and Telefonica del Peru.

Intelsat 29e will also deliver enterprise-grade, broadband services to aero and maritime mobility service providers and users. The satellite combines wide and high performing spot beam designs facilitating combined broadcast and broadband applications within the same network. As previously announced, prestigious customers such as EMC, Panasonic and Harris CapRock have committed to the Intelsat EpicNG fleet for mobility and fixed and mobile enterprise applications.

Intelsat 29e is currently scheduled for launch on 27 January 2016 during a window that is currently scheduled to open at 5:29 pm EST and closes at approximately 7:36pm EST. Following a successful launch, Intelsat 29e will be placed at the 310°E orbital location, where it will undergo in-orbit testing prior to its expected in-service date of mid-2016.

Intelsat 29e is currently scheduled for launch on 27 January 2016 during a window that is currently scheduled to open at 5:29 pm EST and closes at approximately 7:36pm EST. Following a successful launch, Intelsat 29e will be placed at the 310°E orbital location, where it will undergo in-orbit testing prior to its expected in-service date of mid-2016.

Melbourne, FL | December 8, 2015– Satcom Direct was the first business aviation communications distribution partner to provision its services and transmit data over Inmarsat’s new Ka-band Global Xpress network via the Inmarsat-5 F-1 satellite, in August. It is again the first to validate its services over the Inmarsat-5 F-2 (I-5 F-2) satellite, achieving this milestone in December.

Jet ConneX is the business aviation high-speed broadband service operating over Inmarsat’s new Global Xpress (GX) constellation. When globally deployed, it will deliver a new standard in satellite broadband services that support high data rate applications in flight, including streaming YouTube videos and Skype video calls, in real time. The I-5 F-2 satellite serves the Atlantic Ocean Region.

Satcom Direct (SD) proprietary solutions enhance the Ka-band technology and optimize the Jet ConneX service to deliver unmatched performance in the air. SD exclusive services allow operators to manage and maximize bandwidth, improve voice call quality, prioritize passenger data and more – bringing them a better Jet ConneX experience. Tiered pricing plans allow operators to choose from various data speeds, so they get the connectivity that’s right for them. And, Jet ConneX offers guaranteed minimum data rates for each pricing tier.

“Aircraft operators want and need the fastest possible data speeds in the air. SD is out in front in proving that our services are ready for the next generation networks as soon as they are available to customers,” said Jim Jensen, SD founder and CEO.

“Inmarsat congratulates our partner Satcom Direct on achieving this important milestone. Jet ConneX is a game changer for the business aviation industry, allowing passengers to access high-speed in-flight connectivity with worldwide coverage that is consistent, reliable and unmatched,” said Kurt Weidemeyer, Inmarsat Vice President of Business Aviation.

SD is also an authorized GX value added reseller for U.S. government aviation and enterprise markets.

  • Representing a series of ‘firsts’, on-air voice call is significant step for Cobham SATCOM system and Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband safety service

Lyngby, Denmark | November 24, 2015–Cobham SATCOM has announced that the first call has been made using its revolutionary AVIATOR 200S system over Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband satellite communications service. The ‘on air’ milestone represents a significant step forward in making AVIATOR 200S – the first of several upcoming solutions in the AVIATOR S Series product range – available for airlines and coincides with the anticipated approval of Inmarsat’s new generation SwiftBroadband – Safety service in 2016.

The on-air voice call was achieved using the AVIATOR 200S CSDU (Compact Satellite Data Unit) and HELGA (combined HLD and Enhanced LGA) antenna over the Inmarsat LDR (Low Data Rate) bearer type.

Carried out in a laboratory environment, the breakthrough represents a significant step forward in the development of the system and was notable as:

• The first voice call through an AVIATOR 200S CSDU
• The first IP data session through an AVIATOR 200S CSDU
• The first ever voice and data calls through a HELGA antenna
• The first ever voice and data calls through a Class 4 Radio Module
• The first ever voice and data calls over LDR bearers

Kim Gram, vice president of Cobham SATCOM’s aeronautical business unit, said: “This is another important milestone in the evolution of our game-changing AVIATOR S Series, allowing airlines to e-enable their fleet with a previously unseen versatile and economic satcom solution.

“The first call is particularly significant as it represents a new solution running on a new service – a double first! Our teams in Lyngby and Cape Town have worked hard to achieve this impressive landmark. This is a very big step towards our first customer shipment, and shows that we are on track for release of AVIATOR 200S as planned.

“We believe the significantly smaller, lighter and easier to install hardware associated with the SwiftBroadband ACARS data services, represented by our AVIATOR S series product range, will provide aircraft manufacturers and airlines with a route towards significant changes in operational efficiencies and, not least, in flight situation awareness and safety.”

Mary McMillan, vice president of aviation safety and operational services at Inmarsat, said: “We congratulate our partner Cobham SATCOM on the achievement represented by the first successful call. Powered by Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband – Safety, the AVIATOR 200S represents a major advancement of satcom technology and, together, provide the next generation aviation safety communications platform for the global aviation community.”

The ground-breaking AVIATOR S Series provides satcom solutions for the airline fleet of tomorrow for the purpose of Air Traffic Control (ATC) and Aircraft Operation Control (AOC). Using SwiftBroadband safety services to transmit ACARS data, AVIATOR S Series enables secure data communication, IP connectivity and multiple voice capabilities. The combination of IP and ACARS data pipes allows network integration with a portfolio of data housing and transmitting components on the aircraft such as cockpit, Electronic Flight Bag devices (EFB), onboard maintenance computers and devices used by the crew to service passengers.

Smaller, lighter and more cost-effective than current sat com systems, AVIATOR 200S reduces the number of LRUs on the aircraft from 4 to 2.