The first two aircraft in Latin America with Inmarsat‘s GX Aviation inflight connectivity solution are now online. Avianca officially inaugurated the service this week, launching a two month trial period where passengers can connect for free while in flight.
Avianca intends to deploy the GX offering across the rest of its Airbus A320 family, Airbus A330 and Boeing 787 fleet. Those installations will take place at the carrier’s facilities in Colombia. All told, the Avianca Group is poised to install the GX kit on more than 100 aircraft across its operating carriers. A notable exception is the Avianca Brasil subsidiary; it contracted with Global Eagle for inflight connectivity services.
We are delighted to be GX Aviation’s Latin America launch customer. The introduction of inflight broadband on our first aircraft is a milestone in Avianca’s digital transformation and supports our mission to provide a world-class onboard experience for passengers. During this trial period, we will continue to monitor and fine-tune the service performance prior to entering commercial service next year. – Hernan Rincon, Chief Executive Officer of Avianca
Activation of another customer is good news for Inmarsat as the company continues its transition from the startup phase to generating revenue from airlines on the GX network. Paying airlines now include Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and Philippine Airlines, with 70 aircraft considered in production service at the end of Q3 2018. While this trial is described as a two month effort it is not clear that Avianca will begin paying for airtime immediately at the conclusion of that timeframe.
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Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, joined the praise for the new offering:
Avianca is one of the airline industry’s true innovators and we are delighted that they are pioneering the introduction of GX Aviation in Latin America. This will be the first time that passengers in the region can experience our high-speed broadband in the skies and we’re looking forward to hearing their feedback.
Inmarsat has approximately 1,000 additional aircraft in its GX Aviation backlog today, including the Avianca Group fleet. It also expects to launch testing with British Airways on the European Aviation Network before the end of the year. That launch kicks off the deployment of some 300 aircraft across the International Airline Group with the service operating a hybrid terrestrial and satellite-based network over Europe. Completion of rollout on the BA single aisle fleet is targeted for the end of Summer 2019 according to the latest timeline update.