Deploy quickly and work out the bugs along the way. That’s not a typical approach to anything in the aviation world, and for good reason. But for AirAsia’s GX Aviation WiFi deployment that’s the plan, even if it means some hiccups along the way, as were experienced during a recent demonstration flight.
Selling inflight connectivity packages to passengers proves to be a poor business proposition. Prices are high, take rates are low and the economics rarely deliver a return to justify the investment. But AirAsia has another plan in mind, one that could deliver a profitable version of inflight connectivity on a LCC airline.
Inmarsat’s GX-5 satellite successfully reached orbit on Tuesday, beginning its mission to dramatically increase Ka-band capacity over Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It also represents a key milestone as the GX Aviation prodcut evolves. It is not just about the increased capacity, though that bandwidth makes the future plans easier and less expensive to deliver.
The AirFi LEO product could (finally) be online soon. Work with launch customer Atlantic Airways is back on track after an early setback.
The race to bring the first aircraft online in India took an interesting turn in recent weeks. While SpiceJet has talked about its plans to add the GX Aviation system from Inmarsat to its new 737 MAX aircraft other players have been less public about their efforts. But installations are underway to deliver a fleet-wide solution, potentially within a year.
AirAsia is (still) making big moves in the ASEAN region and digital bag tags are evolving to a level that might be useful soon. Plus some news on IFE/C going active and getting profitable. The 2019 Future Travel Experience Asia was a great show and these are just a few of the highlights.
In April AirFi announced that its streaming entertainment solution would be installed across hundreds of aircraft in the Lion Air group. This week that service went live on the Batik Air arm of the operation.
Making good on a promise by CEO Tony Fernandes earlier this year, AirAsia is poised to sell tickets for other airlines on its website. Fernandes confirmed the plans on Monday, with further details to come in a formal announcement next week. The effort is the latest step in the company’s efforts to grow beyond just being an airline into a digital services company that just happens to also operate planes.