Gulf Air’s newest aircraft will feature inflight connectivity from Thales InFlyt, powered by the Inmarsat GX Aviation platform. The companies announced the deal today covering twenty five planes that will fly on longer routes. The deal follows selection of the Thales AVANT inflight entertainment system in 2016 for Gulf Air’s fleet renewal program.
The new connectivity system will fly on the A321LR and 787-9 aircraft for Gulf Air. The carrier currently has nine of the Airbus model on order and plans for a total of sixteen of the larger Boeing plane. Six of the 787s are already in service at the carrier.
We are proud to announce our partnership with Thales once again for the onboard connectivity project. Back in 2016 we selected AVANT IFE system for our yet-to-receive orders of new aircraft and today we complement this partnership with Thales for another product – all to elevate the customer experience during the flight.– Krešimir Kučko, Chief Executive Officer, Gulf Air
The GX Aviation offering delivers high speed connectivity to travelers, enabling access to web browsing, social media, shopping and more. Streaming audio or video content from the ground is also possible, though that depends on increased capacity in the packages and a reasonable pricing plan. Details about connectivity pricing and packages is not available at this time.
Gulf Air joins nearby carriers Qatar Airways and Emirates in selecting the GX offering for passengers. The increasing number of aircraft in a relatively confined geographic region could stress the network’s capacity, especially as planes converge to their home hubs around the banked flight schedules. Fortunately Inmarsat has plans to launch the GX-5 satellite in late 2019, bringing it into service in 2020.
The new satellite augments the existing global coverage footprint with a significant boost in capacity focused on the Middle East region and aviation routes radiating from there towards Europe and the Indian sub-continent. CEO Rupert Pearce recently described that network architecture plan as a “[F]ocus on where customers go most of the time. That allows us to go for a different type of satellite focused on agility and ultra high throughput at low cost…That only applies when you’re already global.”
Thales is proud to be a long-term partner with Gulf Air in their goal of excellence in passenger experience. It is an honor to equip Bahrain’s national carrier with our connectivity solution and the AVANT high-performing IFE system onboard their newest aircraft. Thales is committed to support Gulf Air in driving innovations and the highest standards in passenger engagement.– Philippe Carette, Chief Executive Officer, Thales InFlyt Experience