Global Eagle added significantly more Ku-band satellite capacity over North America. The company signed a multi-year deal with Eutelsat for the entire capacity of EUTELSAT 139WA. Previously known as EUTELSAT 7A, the satellite provides extensive additional capacity to augment the company’s connectivity services for mobility customers.
We are delighted to accompany our long-standing partner, Global Eagle, as it reinforces its worldwide mobility network. This contract reflects both the excellence of Eutelsat’s global in-orbit resources and our flexibility to quickly redeploy assets to grasp market opportunities whilst demonstrating the long-term resilience of the mobility market.– Philippe Oliva, Chief Commercial Officer of Eutelsat
The satellite brings 38 additional Ku-band transponders online for Global Eagle. These support the 700+ Southwest Airlines planes fitted with the company’s in-flight connectivity solution. It also continues a trend for Global Eagle in acquiring capacity via older satellites that otherwise might be removed from service.
This agreement with Eutelsat enables us to further reinforce our multi-band, multi-satellite networks, which provide high-performance and consistency to our end-users.– Nancy Walker, SVP Commercial, Aviation Connectivity at Global Eagle
EUTELSAT 139WA (nee 7A) launched in 2004. It exceeded its initial planned lifetime of 12 years. Eutelsat 7C replaced it at the 7° East location and the older satellite migrated west to its new home over the Pacific. Operating in an inclined orbit, similar to AMC3/Eagle-1, the satellite can still provide connectivity in the mobility segment with a few years of reliable operations expected.
And, generally speaking, the inclined obit satellite capacity proved relatively inexpensive for Global Eagle to acquire. The Eagle-1 acquisition, while a different deal structure, came at a reported price in the $29 million range. Global Eagle gets to use it as long as it remains in orbit.
Financial details on this transaction were not disclosed.
Coverage into the Pacific
In filings with the FCC Eutelsat offered some details on the coverage footprint the satellite delivers.
The bulk of the capacity focuses on the continental United States. It also reaches into the Gulf of Mexico and into Central America.
The beams also boost the company’s coverage into the Pacific Ocean, helping support Southwest’s growing service to the Hawaiian islands. But it does not reach all the way to paradise, instead dropping out an hour or two short of the islands.
Given the need to reuse the existing beam pattern on the satellite pretty much “as-is” from its initial design 20 years ago the fact that the coverage is as useful as it is when moved to the new location a third of the way around the globe is somewhat impressive.
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