More than a thousand larger regional jets fly across North America. All of them deliver a sub-par inflight WiFi experience. But that could soon change, as multiple airlines move to upgrade the systems on board over the next few years.
Passengers on China Airlines’ new A321neo fleet can access high speed internet service in the sky. The carrier selected SITA to deliver its Internet ONAIR product on board, backed by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation satellite network.
Qatar Airways is looking to partners to help augment its long-haul fleet. Cathay Pacific is next up, with a couple 777s likely moving west early in 2022.
Inmarsat’s new GX Aviation terminal is now FAA certified for installation on Boeing 737 family aircraft. The Falcon 300 kit was developed in partnership with developed GDC Advanced Technology and includes GDC’s dual modem manager (MODMAN), with components by Kontron, and the proven, reliable, low-profile Ka2517 antenna by ThinKom.
The AirAsia group is getting deeper into the in-flight connectivity business. Wholly owned subsidiary Asia Digital Engineering (ADE) completed its first installation of the GX Aviation system on a company A320, opening the door to future installations for both AirAsia and other airlines in the region.
Spanish leisure airline World2Fly officially activated in-flight internet on its first A350-900. The GX Aviation platform from Inmarsat will deliver high-speed connectivity on board, with integration services delivered by SITA’s Internet ONAIR division.
Inmarsat’s GX Aviation in-flight wifi service is expected to come online over India later this year, with SpiceJet as the launch carrier.
Say hello to the next generation of L-band satellite connectivity. Inmarsat ELERA, unveiled this week, promises a dramatic increase in bandwidth, smaller terminals, and lower costs for the narrow-band market. This should drive a significant boost in aircraft safety, among other facets.
How does a major satellite connectivity company solve the problem of congestion at crowded (air)ports without disrupting billions of dollars in existing infrastructure? It is an answer that, much like the network (and ogres), comes with lots of layers.
Virgin Atlantic reiterated its expectation that in-flight WiFi connectivity will eventually be free to passengers. But don’t expect that in the immediate future. The company is much more focused today on improving the paid take rates than transitioning to a free model.