Business jet in-flight connectivity scored a boost this week with multiple Collins Aerospace announcements. Whether over Ku or Ka band, the satellite internet options continue to expand, with a new offering and a boost to existing deals.
It is not 2Ku. But the new partnership between Panasonic Avionics and ThinKom definitely covers Ku, too. The two companies announced plans to develop an updated antenna solution to fly with Panasonic’s airline customers, starting from 2023.
The Turkish Airlines A321 fleet is now ready for a new WiFi solution on board. The carrier and in-flight connectivity provider Anuvu announced receipt of certification for the Airconnect Global Ku inflight connectivity (IFC) system on the type from European regulators.
Another small satellite constellation is coming, this time from a rather unlikely source. Inflight entertainment and connectivity middle-man Anuvu (formerly Global Eagle) will bring MicroGEO satellites into service, launching its first constellation in partnership with next-generation satellite manufacturer Astranis.
Fractional jet ownership leader Flexjet will add Viasat’s in-flight connectivity products to portions of its fleet, bringing high-speed internet service to its owner/passengers.
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.
Get ready for more in-flight wifi on the Turkish Airlines fleet. Global Eagle secured its initial Supplemental Type Certificates allowing for the installation and activation of the Airconnect Global Ku platform on the 737 family of aircraft. The STCs come approximately 10 weeks after the first equipped aircraft returned to service with the hardware on board.
Intelsat has a plan to emerge from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It involves slashing debt owed by more than half, from $15 billion to $7 billion. But the debtors must agree to those losses. If not, the company faces a more dire outcome, including the likely liquidation of its recently acquired Gogo Commercial Aviation business.
As the business aviation industry bounces back the need for in-flight internet services on board is proving to be compelling across the globe. And while China has generally lagged in delivering those connections on its domestic aircraft the country’s largest operator of private jets is finally ready to get online.
Access to Russia is critical when it comes to delivering satellite connectivity on a global basis. Viasat took a large step forward on that front this week, announcing a MOU with Gazprom for satellite capacity and TMC for the necessary local license to access the market.