Global Eagle is ending the year on a high note, at least in one market. Just over a year after announcing a deal to install Ku-band satellite connectivity services on a large portion of the Turkish Airlines single-aisle fleet the company confirmed on Monday that the first of those aircraft is now equipped with its Ku-band satellite connectivity solution.
By integrating our award-winning Airconnect Global Ku satellite IFC solution, Airtime Portal, content, and satellite network with Profen’s substantial teleport, regulatory, billing, and security infrastructure, we will provide Turkish Airlines’ passengers an end-to-end inflight connectivity of with high speed, full coverage and world-leading ease of access.– Per Norén, Global Eagle’s President
The hardware used on the Turkish Airlines project is unique to the carrier, having been developed by its in-house subsidiary Turkish Technic. The partnership with local engineering and production teams was a critical component of the initial contract announcement between Global Eagle and Turkish Airlines. The new on-board server and WAP were designed and tested by Turkish Technic, working in conjunction with Global Eagle, to ensure compatibility with the satellite communications network.
With an aim to provide best connectivity products in the market, our team continues to bring their best efforts forward to achieve that goal. After developing and producing our aircraft galley and seats, we now add our servers and WAP products to the list.– Ahmet Karaman, General Manager of Turkish Technic
The media server sports 6 TB of storage, allowing for additional entertainment content to fly. The access points feature dual 2.4GHz and 5GHz wifi radios.
Most importantly, however, the hardware is now EASA-certified according to Turkish Technic and ready for broader installation across the carrier’s fleet of A321 and 737 aircraft. It is not, however, active yet for passengers on board.
For Turkish Technic the milestone is perhaps even more significant than for Global Eagle. Entering into the electronics manufacturing and certification space is a major step up from production of seats and galley components. That added some challenges in getting the first aircraft activated for Turkish Airlines, but also presents significant future opportunity.
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Growing the Ku club in Europe
The Turkish Airlines deal continues Global Eagle’s strategy of finding an anchor customer in a region and then layering in additional airlines and aircraft, taking advantage of contracted Ku-band satellite capacity and coverage footprints. In Europe this includes Norwegian‘s 737NG fleet and recent additions of the Air France A320 family and LOT’s 737 MAX. While the Norwegian commitment may be questionable today given the uncertainty of that company’s outlook, and LOT’s MAX remain grounded in the near-term, the ability to overlay Turkish into the existing network helps control costs as the new aircraft come online.
Much of the Turkish route map extending from its Istanbul hub into Europe is already covered by satellites where Global Eagle holds capacity. For flights headed south into Africa or the Middle East Global Eagle can rely on capacity in place for its FlyDubai contract to deliver the connections with minimal incremental cost.
Indeed, despite building out and demonstrating a Ka-band solution in recent years, Global Eagle’s success remains in the Ku-band space.
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