The Dubai Air Show provided plenty of positive news in the in-flight entertainment and connectivity world this week, but also some bad news. A second player is now out of the commercial aviation connectivity business.
Saudia’s upcoming A321neo and A321XLR fleet will feature Inmarsat’s GX Aviation Ka-band in-flight connectivity solution. The deal covers 35 aircraft slated to join the fleet in the coming years, and represents a series of firsts in the industry.
As the newest supplier in the inflight connectivity market Saudi Arabia's UON by Taqnia Space faces plenty of challenges. It also is arguably the most nimble and adaptable player in the game, with plenty of opportunity to tailor its offerings and business model to airline demands as it looks to grow. During a conversation at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg earlier this month CEO Abdullah Alosaimi offered up some insight on how the company intends to do exactly that.
India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world and, somewhat surprisingly, one of the least connected in flight. That will soon change, however, thanks to the recent publication of new government regulations. Indian aviation is about to get online in a big way.
Is there a secret to better financing of inflight connectivity solutions? Indonesia's Mahata Aero Technology (MAT) is the latest to take that plunge, with an arrangement to cover the costs for Garuda and Citilink. The deal relies on partnerships with suppliers Lufthansa Systems, Lufthansa Technik and Inmarsat, along with what MAT Executive Director Iwan Setiawan describes as "a unique business model" that is proving successful in its preliminary state.
The first UON-equipped aircraft entered commercial service this week. The Saudia A320 HZ-ASB began passenger service with the new inflight connectivity kit installed on 10 November 2019. The aircraft serves Geneva from Saudia’s hubs in Riyadh and Jeddah.
Taqnia Space is on the cusp of launching its UON service with Saudia. The kit will go live on a pair of A320s later this month according to Mustafa Murad, the company’s Aero Program Head. In a conversation at the Aviation Festival in London this afternoon Murad also detailed some of the unique propositions for the company’s offering, including a business model bound to look attractive to airlines.
Connectivity installations slow slightly over the summer, allowing an opportunity to take a big picture look at the industry and where the various players sit in terms of connected aircraft and future commitments. Compared to a year ago some players have shifted positions, even as the total committed count increases. The latter is definitely good news for all involved while the former is better for some than others.