Every so often we get a call from our friend Craig Foster at Valour Consultancy and while we talked IFE, he noted that Valour Consultancy had published a piece he had written on Bizjet IFE. We were interested because in the past, the Bizjet folks usually embraced technology before the IFE world did. We thought you might like to see if that is still true and the folks at Valour (and Craig) kindly provided a copy for our readers to view. If you wish to contact Craig, you can reach him at craig.foster@valourconsultancy.com – and thanks!

The Market for In-Flight Connectivity on VIP and Business Aircraft – Valour Consultancy
Last month, Valour Consultancy released its latest analysis of the market for in-flight connectivity on VIP and business aircraft. The study draws upon our considerable expertise in analysing the adoption of in-flight connectivity (IFC) in commercial aviation and is the result of a rigorous primary research phase consisting of numerous interviews with key players from across the industry.

The report finds that, globally, there were 19,131 IFC systems on VIP and business aircraft at the end of 2016. L-band was by far and away the most dominant connectivity technology with cumulative connections representing 75% of the total. A large proportion of this is accounted for by Iridium, whose systems support in-flight satellite phone operations on almost 10,000 aircraft. The remainder of L-band connections are accounted for by Inmarsat, which has seen adoption of SwiftBroadband (SBB) pick up rapidly in recent years.

Uptake of Gogo’s Air-to-Ground (ATG) options has been similarly brisk in recent years. By the end 2013, there were 2,047 terminals connected to the Gogo Biz network. This had increased to 4,172 three years later.

ATG and L-band both have room for further growth in coming years, too.

With respect to ATG, there will likely be continued interest in Gogo’s solutions over the course of the forecast period (2016 to 2026), especially now that the company is close to commercial launch of Gogo Biz 4G and plans to have its next-generation ATG network, which will offer peak network speeds of more than 100 Mbps, up and running by 2018.

When you add SmartSky Networks and its 4G network into the mix, as well as the Inmarsat European Aviation Network (EAN), it is apparent that there remains plenty of potential for ATG technology. Though it is yet to be officially confirmed whether the EAN will be used by the business aviation industry, there appears to be consensus that it would work very well on board private aircraft.

While Inmarsat is reportedly seeing a lot of interest from operators looking to upgrade from lower-bandwidth IFC systems to Jet ConneX, the company is also working on increasing the performance of the L-band technology used for SBB. Iridium, meanwhile, recently celebrated the successful launch of the second batch of Iridium NEXT satellites. Upon completion of the constellation in 2018 and the start of commercial service one year later, the so-called Iridium Certus solution will likely find favour among operators of those small- and medium-sized business jets less suited to the fitment of bulky radomes.

Adoption of Ku-band technology on VIP and business aircraft appears to have an equally rosy future – a view presumably shared by new market entrants, Panasonic Avionics and Global Eagle, as well as Gogo, which recently announced its first business aviation customer for 2Ku. Right now, there are some 500 Ku-band systems in operation on VIP and business aircraft and the vast majority of these are accounted for by ViaSat and its Yonder system (although it’s no longer referred to as Yonder, to shift the focus towards the ViaSat brand). Panasonic and Global Eagle representatives have not been shy in admitting that they are gunning for ViaSat in this market.

However, ViaSat appears content to focus on ensuring existing clients migrate to its Ka-band technology – a sensible strategy given the ongoing success of its Exede in the Air product in commercial aviation. Now that ViaSat-2 has finally launched after several setbacks, there will soon be a considerable amount of additional Ka-band capacity for business jets flying between North America and Europe. Additionally, the company says that it will have its three planned ViaSat-3 satellites operational around 2020 making ViaSat the only rival provider of global Ka-band capacity to Inmarsat.

By 2020, ViaSat could have some catching up to do if the take up of Jet ConneX is anything to go by. Having debuted in November 2016, there were an estimated 30 aircraft fitted with the solution by the turn of the year. Inmarsat has previously stated that it expects to see 150 Jet ConneX-equipped aircraft by the end of 2017 and has a goal of connecting 3,000 jets by 2020 (although it is apparently now upgrading its forecasts).

Overall, we are forecasting that by the end of 2026, there will be 37,710 IFC systems installed on VIP and business aircraft – almost double the current total. The reader should, of course, note that these numbers do not refer to the number of aircraft with IFC. In fact, it is estimated that today, around 1,000 to 2,000 aircraft with Iridium satellite phones also make use of Inmarsat’s SBB network. Likewise, Gogo has publicly reported 4,172 connections to its Gogo Biz service and acts as the service provider for 5,286 installed Iridium terminals as well as 214 installed SBB terminals (a total of 9,972 connections – all accurate and up to date at the end of 2016). However, the firm delivers services to 7,400 aircraft implying many are flying with more than one system installed.

The following factors have driven interest in IFC on VIP and business aircraft and will continue to do so in future:

  • Owners of business aircraft fitted with connectivity equipment some time ago will be keener to take advantage of more recent advances in satellite and hardware technology.
  • The ‘Uber-isation’ of the private aviation industry is increasingly being talked about and with e-commerce replacing traditional methods of sourcing and booking a business jet, easy comparisons between different operators and aircraft means that customers can see where one aircraft has IFC and another doesn’t. This transparency will further encourage operators to improve their offerings.
  • As well as the increased comparison between business jets and their features because of new e-commerce initiatives, business aviation is having to compete with the rapid adoption of IFC in commercial air transport perhaps making a first class connected seat more attractive than a private jet with no in-flight Wi-Fi.
  • Competition is hotting up with the likes of Global Eagle, Panasonic Avionics, BizJetMobile and SmartSky Networks all new to the market or preparing to enter.
  • The launch of several new high throughput satellites (HTS) and the prospect of cheaper capacity and faster services is having an extremely positive effect on the market with service providers having inked several new deals in recent years.
  • The connected aircraft and e-Enablement is beginning to resonate more and more as a way to drive operational efficiencies and help underpin the IFC business case.

Some of the remaining challenges to more widespread adoption of IFC on VIP and business aircraft are as follows.

  • Production of new business jets has stagnated and consequently reduced the possibility of line-fit offerability deals for many IFC providers and limited their opportunities for growth.
  • Fitting an aircraft with a sizeable antenna to enable IFC impacts aerodynamics and increases fuel burn, thereby driving up operating costs. Additionally, many smaller business jets are currently unable to accommodate larger Ku- and Ka-band antennas on their fuselages.
  • Current generation Ku-/Ka-band systems lock operators into the service provider (so the hardware is not provider agnostic) and should there be a desire to switch, a very expensive refit ensues.
  • While commercial airlines tend to fly set routes at specific times of day, business jets are more sporadic. One day they may be flying domestically in the US, the next they may be making their way to China or Russia. This uncertainty means high-bandwidth IFC solutions that offer global coverage – which are currently few in number – are perhaps more compelling.
  • Many in the industry are concerned that as we move towards realising the vision of the fully-connected aircraft, the opportunity for cyberattacks will increase. The main worry seems to be that such systems will allow wrongdoers to control aircraft and manipulate commands issued to the aircraft. It should be noted that flight control systems are purposefully isolated from all other communications networks on-board the aircraft.
  • Selling an IFC service based on deployment events that have not happened is a significant challenge and operators understandably give much more credit to satellite assets in space than on paper. Further, a delay to the launch of any service has the potential to scare prospective customers away or send them into the arms of rivals. Unfortunately, such delays are all too commonplace for many much-anticipated IFC solutions.

Published in May 2017, “The Market for In-Flight Connectivity on VIP and Business Aircraft” provides an unrivalled insight and analysis into the current and future deployment of IFC on these aircraft. The number of IFC systems installed in 2016 is quantified with forecasts out to 2026 and data is segmented by fitment type, aircraft size, frequency band and geographic region with a full qualitative discussion of the key trends at play in support of this. The report also sizes the market for both service revenues and key enabling hardware, in addition to market share estimates for service providers and capacity providers. A chapter profiling key players is presented, too.”

  • Delta Air Lines Will Take Delivery of 2Ku-Equipped A350s in 2017

Chicago, IL | March 6, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it has partnered with Airbus subsidiary’s Airbus Corporate Jet Centre (ACJC) to install, on retrofit basis, its ground-breaking in-flight connectivity technology – 2Ku – on new Airbus A350 aircraft.

Until now, only first-generation gimbaled antennas have been available for the A350. Under this new agreement, airlines may elect to add Gogo’s 2Ku system to the A350 on a retrofit basis with a factory authorized installation from ACJC. Delta Air Lines will be the first customer for such installation and expects delivery of its first 2Ku-equipped A350 in 2017. Additionally, Delta will be the first U. S. airline to launch domestic 2Ku service as its first narrow-body aircraft takes flight later this month.

“We are looking forward to working with Airbus Corporate Jet Centre to offer this product to airlines,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “Working with ACJC and Airbus to make 2Ku available on the A350 is great news for airlines interested in the most future-proof in-flight connectivity solution.”

Gogo has announced 2Ku awards for more than 850 aircraft.

“We are delighted to answer Airbus operators’ needs and bring this new technology to the A350 on a retrofit basis,” said Joël Frugier, General Manager for Airbus Corporate Jet Centre. “We are here to serve Airbus Customers and support their cabin and connectivity upgrade requests”

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.”

  • Agreement Is the First Step to Make the Fastest In-Flight Connectivity Service Available to New Commercial Aircraft

Carlsbad, California | September 15, 2015– ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global broadband services and technology company, today announced it entered into a new technical agreement with The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA). The agreement initiates the evaluation process for airlines to specify installation of the ViaSat in-flight Wi-Fi® connectivity system on Boeing Commercial airplanes.

ViaSat offers the fastest in-flight internet speeds – typically 8 to 10 times faster – than any other in-flight Wi-Fi system available today. Under the terms of this new agreement, ViaSat’s Ka-band airborne satellite terminal will be evaluated as a factory option for Boeing aircraft prior to delivery, enabling airplanes to come off the line with ViaSat connectivity ready for immediate service. This would allow airlines to avoid costly down-time involved with taking planes out of service for post-production retrofits and ensures that from day one, each passenger and flight crew member gets a best-in-class in-flight internet experience with the industry’s only service level agreement, regardless of how many devices are connected on the plane or how many planes are on the network.

“Our agreement with Boeing is an important milestone giving our airline customers the ability to get the best onboard Wi-Fi system delivered with their new aircraft,” said Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Mobility at ViaSat. “By selecting ViaSat in-flight communications for Boeing’s fleet, airlines now can differentiate their in-flight internet service with a flexible, sustainable business model that will continue to create value as more passengers use the service.”

John Craig, chief engineer of Cabin and Network Systems for Boeing Commercial Airplanes continued, “In initiating the evaluation process with long-time partner ViaSat, we now look to add ViaSat airborne terminals to our line-fit factory options. This will give Boeing’s commercial airline customers a new cost- and time-effective high-bandwidth connectivity choice for their airplanes.”

ViaSat’s in-flight internet service has won more industry awards in the past 12-months than any other system, including the Crystal Cabin Award, Excellence in Avionics Award, the Via Satellite Excellence Award and the APEX Avion Award. The service operates on nearly 500 aircraft with unmatched in-flight Wi-Fi quality, performance and scale, allowing airlines to provide a highly-differentiated in-flight experience that gives passengers and crew members access to high-speed web browsing, streaming media and productivity applications.

Expanded Partnership, Expanded Global Coverage
As announced in March 2015, ViaSat and Boeing also are working together to offer the ViaSat Flexible Broadband System. This system couples ViaSat’s high-capacity ViaSat-2 satellite payload design with Boeing’s 702SP (Small Platform) satellite bus to lower barriers of entry for regional satellite service providers to offer affordable, flexible satellite broadband anywhere in the world.

With the ViaSat Flexible Broadband System, service providers can focus capacity to match bandwidth demand and scale their infrastructure as expansion is needed. The vision of this smart global network would allow any ViaSat-enabled Boeing aircraft to stay connected across a much more diverse, global Ka-band satellite network.

First, from Gogo. Here is the attached note that came with the news release – “I wanted to send you some exciting news this morning that I thought you might be interested in. We cleared a major regulatory hurdle to get our next generation satellite technology flying.  This technology will bring more than 20x the bandwidth of our original technology, and will launch on Aeromexico and Virgin Atlantic later this year.  See the attached and let me know if you have any questions.” – Morgan Painter

FAA Clears Gogo’s Next Generation In-flight Internet Technology for Takeoff
Approval Clears Hurdle for Launch of Service that will Bring 20x Bandwidth Increase

Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the leading provider of in-flight connectivity, announced today that it has received the final Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the FAA required to launch Gogo’s 2Ku next generation satellite connectivity service. The technology is currently installed on Gogo’s 737-500 test plane and is now cleared for in-flight testing. Gogo expects to launch commercial service of its 2Ku technology later this year.

“This is a significant milestone for Gogo and a seminal event for in-flight Internet,” said Gogo’s chief technology officer, Anand Chari. “We believe this will be the best performing technology for the global commercial aviation market bar none. Clearing this regulatory hurdle brings us one step closer to enabling our airline partners and their passengers to enjoy the future of in-flight Internet.”

Seven commercial airlines have signed up for either a trial or fleet deployment of 2Ku covering more than 500 commercial aircraft. Gogo expects to launch commercial service later this year and begin rapid installation of the backlog of 500 aircraft in 2016.

2Ku is expected to deliver peak speeds of more than 70 Mbps to the aircraft, which is more than 20 times the bandwidth provided by Gogo’s first generation Air to Ground solution in the U.S. More information about this technology can be found here.


If you are interested in the Expo Americas from the folks at Aircraft Interiors, November 4 – 5, in Seattle, check out this link


And now from Boeing, here is a release from them that is their view of the new airplane market from 2015 – 2034. What caught us off guard was Boeing’s view of the 400+ seat aircraft market… might there be some bias? Boeing Sees Demand in China for 6,330 Airplanes Valued at Nearly $1 Trillion – Chinese fleet will almost triple by 2034, with need for 4,630 single-aisle airplanes – Low-cost carriers, international expansion are key drivers of soaring airplane demand:

Boeing (NYSE: BA), China’s leading provider of commercial airplanes, today projected a demand in the country for 6,330 new airplanes over the next 20 years. Boeing released its annual China Current Market Outlook (CMO) today in Beijing, estimating the total value of those new airplanes at $950 billion.

“Despite the current volatility in China’s financial market, we see strong growth in the country’s aviation sector over the long term,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Over the next 20 years, China’s commercial airplane fleet will nearly triple: from 2,570 airplanes in 2014 to 7,210 airplanes in 2034, with more than 70 percent of these deliveries accommodating growth.”

China’s aviation market is incredibly dynamic, from its leading airlines to its startups and low-cost carriers,” said Ihssane Mounir, vice president of Sales and Marketing for Northeast Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Boeing is committed to serve customers in the world’s largest airplane market by providing the most fuel-efficient airplanes and services to support their growth and profitability.”

As China becomes the world’s largest domestic air travel market, Boeing is forecasting demand for 4,630 single-aisle airplanes through 2034. This sector is driven by growth in new carriers and low-cost airlines in developing and emerging markets, as well as continuous expansion in established airlines. In fact, the efficiency and flexibility of single-aisle aircraft like the 737 helps Chinese carriers connect and stimulate growth along the Economic Belt as part of the One Belt, One Road Strategy.  Tinseth said the Next-Generation 737-800 and new 737 MAX 8 – Boeing products at the heart of the single-aisle market – offer airlines the best fuel efficiency, reliability and capability.

China’s low-cost carriers are currently responsible for about 8 percent of single-aisle market demand, rising to 25-30 percent of demand by 2034, Tinseth noted. “The 737 MAX 200 will have the lowest fuel costs – 20 percent per seat – versus today’s most efficient single-aisle airplanes,” Tinseth said. “737 MAX fuel efficiency and the 737’s position as the industry’s most reliable airplane offer Chinese low-cost carriers competitive advantages as they grow new business.”

Boeing forecasts that the widebody segment will require 1,510 new airplanes, led by small and medium widebody airplanes such as the 777-300ER (Extended Range), 777X and the 787 Dreamliner. Tinseth stressed that Chinese airlines have more than doubled their long-haul international capacity over the past three years, in large part following the delivery of 747-8 Intercontinental airplanes to Air China and 777-300ERs and 787s to several leading Chinese carriers.

“Enabled by China’s growing middle-class population, new visa policies and the underlying strength of its economic growth, this expansion is expected to continue, and in fact accelerate,” Tinseth said. “The 777, 787 and 747-8 are perfectly positioned to support Chinese airlines’ continued globalization.”

Worldwide, Boeing projects investments of $5.6 trillion for 38,050 new commercial airplanes to be delivered during the next 20 years. The complete global forecast is available here.

Today, Boeing jets are the mainstay of China’s air travel and cargo system. More than 50 percent of all the commercial jetliners operating in China are Boeing airplanes. Over 8,000 Boeing airplanes fly throughout the world with integrated China-built parts and assemblies. China has a component role on every current Boeing commercial airplane model – the Next-Generation 737, 747, 767, 777, as well as the world’s newest and most innovative airplane, the 787 Dreamliner.

For more information on the China forecast, visit this hyperlink.


And now, for more LINK News:

The folks at Investopedia had tabulated at lease three things travelers want, and this caught our eye: “For some of you, it might not be any surprise that Millennials are even more willing to pay extra for different things while traveling. Even though they are known for valuing minimalism, Millennials are used to having the luxury of convenience – not to mention the ability to check Facebook or text their friends.”3 Things Travelers Value When Flying

How about FlightView’s survey that determines how far travelers will go for convenience, demand for premium services, and the role information and operational efficiency plays in driving gate-side revenue.

Here’s one that we find interesting – “How to enable AT&T Wi-Fi calling on iOS 9.”
How to enable AT&T Wi-Fi calling on iOS 9 – CNET (Interestingly, an AT&T source says: “This is AT&T catching up with T-Mobile and others that have had Voice-over-IP for some time. This is where the handset uses an IP connection over Wi-Fi rather than connecting using LTE to a cellphone tower for voice calls. AT&T did not have this conversion available for some time – but they are introducing a variety of new features including VOLTE (Voice over LTE) which is an IP based Over the top solution which will be more cost effective than pure LTE cellular connections. Gogo already manages this by blocking the IP ports at a Network layer level that support VoIP. In the same way that they block HBO go and Netflix video streaming services. “OnAir will do the same – as will ViaSat.”) Oh well, we guess this won’t work on a plane…

The folks at Aviation Week did a splendid piece on ‘The Connected Aircraft’, a NASA project with Alaska Airlines and Virgin America that covers the ‘other” uses of connectivity beyond IFE – NASA Ushers In Connected Aircraft Benefits to Two Airlines | Commercial Aviation content from Aviation Week

If your ‘thing’ is radiation effects on aviation electronics at altitude on planes, you might like – Planet Analog – William Murray – Process Management for Radiation Effects at Altitude

Lastly, here is a great site for comparing mileage award miles from various airlines for a flight from Chicago to LA – AwardAce Compares Flight Prices in Rewards Miles

  • Latest generation commercial airliner is flying equipped with Cobham’s market-leading low profile High Gain Antenna and Diplexer/Low Noise Amplifier

Lyngby, Denmark | April 14, 2015– Cobham SATCOM’s market-leading HGA-7001 High Gain Antenna is part of the connectivity solution for the world’s latest generation commercial airliner, the Airbus A350-900.

The low-profile antenna, plus Cobham SATCOM’s DAU-7060 DLNA (Diplexer/Low Noise Amplifier) and Floating Mounting Plate, are standard fit on the A350 XWB through a sub-contract with A350 XWB communications systems provider Rockwell Collins.

Cobham, a leading manufacturer of Inmarsat satellite communications systems, has delivered more than 50 antennas to date for the A350 XWB, which promises to set new standards in connected aircraft, customer experience and comfort, and operational efficiency. Deployed on a growing range of airframes, the HGA-7001 leads its field in drag reduction, weight, compactness and power requirements for aircraft connectivity systems.

Complying with the specific requirements of the A350 XWB, a special mounting plate was designed to ensure that the antenna does not impart stresses on the composite airframe structure.

The Airbus A350-900, which recently received Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), as well as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification for use by US airlines, has already secured 780 orders from 40 customers worldwide.

Kim Gram, vice president of Cobham SATCOM’s aeronautical business unit, said: “Cobham SATCOM is proud to be supplying equipment for this innovative, new generation aircraft featuring ambitious technologies which represent a step-change for airlines and passengers.

“It is further proof of the growing demand of the HGA-7001, which provides value benefits and cost savings, such as low drag weight, low induced fuselage stress and exceptional low angle coverage, all resulting in a higher performance Satcom system.”

Using the SwiftBroadband flexible IP connectivity standard, technology on-board the A350 XWB focuses on the key areas of flight operations, cabin operations, passenger and maintenance. This crucially places the aircraft at the centre of the entire maintenance, operations and ground-based operations picture and enables features such as Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs), for real-time weather graphics, as well as maintenance activities and other updates from the ground.

Passengers can experience state-of-the-art In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) systems, with access to satellite live television broadcasts or connecting flight information, and the ability to connect to their own Personal Electronic Devices, while connected crew also benefit from new digital features.

With its very high reliability, the AVIATOR HGA-7001 features phased-array technology that has proven its ‘fit and forget’ status with the air transport sector. Providing seamless coverage over the Inmarsat-defined hemisphere, the HGA-7001 is for use with Inmarsat Classic Aero (H/H+), Swift64 and SwiftBroadband Satcom systems for multi-channel service for a range of applications.

As well as providing connectivity for air traffic control, aircraft operation and EFBs for the cockpit, the HGA unit fulfils the demand for high data rates and broadband capability to offer fast and reliable connectivity on Inmarsat SwiftBroadband services for high quality, low-cost voice calling and the full complement of data services, supporting the use of Wi-Fi enabled devices such as laptops, tablets and smart phones.

Cobham’s DAU-7060 DLNA separates transmit and receive signals and amplifies the received signal. It ensures that specified signals in the transmit band from the HPA are transmitted to the antenna with minimal power leaks into the receive band Low Noise Amplifier (LNA). It also filters unwanted harmonics generated in the HPA, providing protection against interference with other systems. Allowing flexible installation, it is ARINC-741 compliant and is compatible with Aero H/H+, Swift64 and SwiftBroadband systems.

U.S. avionics maker Rockwell Collins is supplying the communications, data network and landing system avionics packages for the Airbus A350 XWB, ensuring the management of voice and data communications of the aircraft, between pilots, flight crew, controllers and the airline company. The ARINC 781 satellite communications system features Safety Services and dual SwiftBroadband channel capabilities.

The Airbus A350-900 Type Certification was awarded following a stringent programme of certification trials which has taken its airframe and systems well beyond their design limits to ensure all airworthiness criteria are fully met.

  • Low cost carrier will fly equipped with Cobham’s market-leading four-channel SwiftBroadband system

Lyngby, Denmark | April 14, 2015– Cobham SATCOM has started deliveries to supply 150 of its market-leading four-channel AVIATOR 1200SP SwiftBroadband system to AirAsia. Enabling a state-of-the-art In-Flight Entertainment solution, the system was selected as part of the Tune Box connectivity solution for the leading Asian Low Cost Carrier.

The system, which consists of the Satellite Data Unit SDU-7330-4, the High Power Amplifier HPA-7450, the Type F Diplexer/Low Noise Amplifier and Intermediate Gain Antenna IGA-5001, had been trialled by Tune Box and AirAsia since early 2014. After completing stringent customer assessment, the system was certified through a FAA STC on the AirAsia fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft.

Willem Kasselman, Air Transport Business Development Director of Cobham SATCOM’s aeronautical business unit, said: “Cobham SATCOM is proud to be supplying equipment for this innovative connectivity solution that will set AirAsia even further apart from its competitors.

“It is further proof of the growing market confidence in the Cobham satcom systems, which provides value benefits and cost savings, such as low drag weight, low induced fuselage stress and exceptional low elevation angle coverage, all resulting in a higher performance satcom system.”

Using the SwiftBroadband flexible IP connectivity, the roKKi service developed by Tune Box offers passengers a complete In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system, with access to connecting flight information, hotel and car reservations as well as the ability to connect to their own Personal Electronic Devices.

Sami El Hadery, Executive Director of Tune Box, said: “We’re excited to be the first service provider to launch on-board Wi-Fi services with a four-channel SwiftBroadband system on a commercial airline. This four-channel system differentiates us from other airlines that use a single-channel SwiftBroadband system, as it allows us to support more passengers accessing Wi-Fi on board as well as additional next-generation revenue-generating services.”

  • GEE’s Ku-band Connectivity System Successfully Broadcast Live Television Inflight for the Xinhua News Agency Onboard Air China’s 777 Aircraft

Los Angeles, CA | March 10, 2015– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq:ENT) (“GEE”), a worldwide leading provider of content, connectivity and digital media solutions to airlines, today announced that it successfully partnered with Air China using GEE’s Ku-band connectivity system for Xinhua News Agency’s ground-breaking inflight newscast.

The Xinhua News Agency broadcast live television between the National People Congress / Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conferences (NPC/CPPCC) and Air China’s inflight connectivity-equipped Boeing 777 aircraft. The satellite connection successfully managed the transmission on the ground and in the air, including a live television crew that was filming onboard the aircraft.

In addition to watching the live broadcast of the NPC/CPPCC Conferences, passengers were able to use the inflight connectivity solution to browse the internet, chat, shop and stream movies and television shows while inflight. Through this and other successful installations, GEE’s connectivity system is transforming the way passengers use in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFE&C) across the globe.

“This is an historic event for both Air China and inflight connectivity in the region,” commented Walé Adepoju, Chief Commercial Officer of GEE. “We’re thrilled to have supported China’s national carrier and China’s national news agency with our broadband connectivity system to enable the live broadcast of the NPC/CPPCC Conferences. This flight highlights the power and breadth of GEE’s connectivity system and we’re excited to continue working closely with Air China on its IFE&C solution.”

London | October 21, 2014– When the Inmarsat-5 F1 satellite was launched into orbit in December 2013, it brought Inmarsat a step closer to delivering a connectivity revolution: smoother, faster communications for millions of customers worldwide.

Inmarsat’s global Ka-band network, Global Xpress, is set to revolutionise inflight connectivity for the business aviation market with Jet ConneX aviation services; both for passenger communications and operational connectivity.

There are two essential elements for inflight connectivity: reliable global coverage and technology that is designed specifically for the rigours of operating an aircraft.

Global Xpress is the only global Ka-band network designed around the requirements of mobile assets, such as aircraft. The ability to keep aircraft connected throughout every flight is an inherent part of Jet ConneX aviation services.

While other Ka-band solutions were originally designed for TV broadcast type services and therefore have limited coverage over oceans, passengers using Jet ConneX aviation services will have a continuous, consistent service, across all time zones as traffic is handed seamlessly across Inmarsat’s owned and operated global satellite network, as opposed to a ‘patchwork’ network that’s stitched together from multiple satcom assets owned and operated by a variety of organisations.

There is an important third factor: performance. Jet ConneX aviation services will deliver up to 50Mbps, providing reliable, high-speed broadband.

Business Aviation

Regardless of where you are, being out of touch is no longer an option for business executives. That is as true in a plane as it is in a taxi or a restaurant. It is therefore essential for every business and VIP aircraft to be equipped with inflight connectivity.

People travelling in business jets need to be able to use their phones, access email, browse the internet and read the news wherever they are in the world. Likewise, the flight and cabin crew need consistent and constant connectivity to make the flight as efficient and comfortable as possible.

While communications connectivity is at the core of what Jet ConneX aviation services will provide to the aviation industry, Jet ConneX will also be able to offer new applications, video streaming and high-speed broadband Internet access for enhanced browsing. Jet ConneX will provide enough bandwidth and capacity to replicate an office experience in the sky. When Jet ConneX aviation services are commercially available and users come truly to understand the potential, Inmarsat believes that a further generation of passenger, flight deck and cabin crew applications will be developed.

Safety Services

For safety services and extra resilience, Jet ConneX will be complemented by Inmarsat’s Classic Aero and SwiftBroadband services, which operate over the Inmarsat-3 and 4 generation satellites, respectively, and that  deliver an average of 99.9% network availability. Inmarsat will have the only global satellite network that combines both Ka-band and L-band technologies.

The Satellites

The first of three Global Xpress satellites which form Inmarsat’s global Ka-band network, Inmarsat-5 F1, was launched on December 8, 2013 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Boeing-manufactured satellites are seven metres tall and weigh 3,750 kg. At the end of the assembly process, and before packaging up for transport, the satellites are subjected to tests that simulate the extremes of vibration and temperature to be experienced both during launch and in space. During the process, electronics inside the satellite operated at room temperature, despite a difference of around 300°C between the back and front of the satellite.

Forty eight days after its launch, the I-5 arrived in geostationary orbit, above the Indian Ocean Region around 23,000 miles (35,786 km) from earth, where the gravitational pulls of earth, the sun and the moon balance one another. After rigorous testing, the satellite entered commercial service on 1 July 2014.

The second satellite, Inmarsat-5 F2, will cover the Atlantic Ocean Region and the Americas. Inmarsat-5 F3 will complete the constellation, covering the Pacific Ocean Region.. F2 and F3 are expected to be placed into orbit in a timeframe that would permit the launch of GX services on a global basis by the end of the first half of 2015.

Each satellite is served by two ground stations. The Indian Ocean Region satellite is serviced by ground stations on Fucino and Nemea, in Italy and Greece, respectively. Inmarsat-5 F2 will be managed by ground stations in Lino Lakes, Minnesota and Winnipeg in Canada. The Pacific Ocean Region’s ground stations are undergoing final preparations in Auckland and Warkworth, both in New Zealand.

Satellites Terminals

Inmarsat partner Honeywell is responsible for the development and production of JetWave avionics that enable aircraft connection to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellites. Honeywell’s development schedule is on course for the development of the terminal, which  has started the RTCA (Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics) DO 160 testing and qualification phase.  Completion of this phase is a key milestone because it demonstrates the ability of the JetWave terminals to operate in aviation’s demanding environmental conditions.  This is a key component for securing FAA approval that is required to integrate with and operate on aircraft.

2015 – Jet ConneX service entry

Jet ConneX aviation services and the JetWave avionics will be available for the business aviation market in the first half of 2015. Inmarsat’s business jet customers will have at their disposal greater consistency, better on-board communications including high-speed mobile and fixed broadband services at speeds of up to 50Mbps, all on a global basis.

Jet ConneX aviation services are available through Honeywell’s distribution partner network of world leading in-flight connectivity providers, including Gogo Business Aviation (formerly Aircell), OnAir, Rockwell Collins (ARINC), Satcom1 and Satcom Direct. Honeywell has also recently announced a forward fit agreement with Bombardier Business Aircraft from early 2016, with other manufacturers expected to quickly follow suit.

Los Angeles, CA | September 23, 2014– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq: ENT), a worldwide leading provider of content, connectivity and digital media solutions to airlines, today announced that its customer, Nok Air, has officially launched its free inflight connectivity solution. Satellite connectivity is provided through Thailand’s satellite leader, Thaicom PLC.

Nok Air today became the first airline in Asia to offer passengers free inflight WiFi connectivity. The airline views free broadband Internet access as a value-added service for its passengers to enhance their travel experience.
Nok Air is the first airline to benefit from a partnership between Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) and Thaicom Public Company Limited (Thaicom). In addition to Nok Air, GEE and Thaicom will jointly develop, implement and support inflight connectivity solutions for airlines in Thailand and the surrounding region.

“We’re very excited to be the first in Asia to offer free inflight WiFi to our passengers on top of our other free services. This is a testament to our promise of being proactive in bringing new and innovative services to our passengers. Inflight WiFi will provide our passengers with a whole new travel experience, as they can still connect to what is important to them at 35,000 feet in the air,” stated Patee Sarasin, CEO of Nok Air.

“We are very pleased that Nok Air has confidence in Thaicom’s In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) broadband service and we also appreciate the support from our partner, GEE, to jointly deliver the inflight connectivity solution,” added Suphajee Suthumpun, Chairman of the Executive Committee and CEO, Thaicom PLC. “This cooperation has empowered Thaicom to provide inflight connectivity to Nok Air’s passengers and this service is the first time in Asia to enable state-of-the-art inflight connectivity through hi-speed broadband on Ku-band. The service will provide Nok Air passengers with a superior inflight broadband experience and Thaicom is confident that the inflight connectivity service will create an added value to Nok Air and a more enjoyable experience for its passengers.”

“We’re thrilled with the launch of another customer as we bring market-leading connectivity and content solutions to Nok Air and its passengers,” said Dave Davis, Chief Executive Officer of Global Eagle Entertainment. “We believe our satellite connectivity service, which operates both over land and water, provides the optimal solution for Nok Air, which has many flights on over-water routes to vacation destinations. Supported by our partnership with Thaicom, we remain focused on further expanding our presence across the growing South East Asia region.”