Air China has begun two programmes to enhance its inflight connectivity offer. The first, an agreement with Global Eagle Entertainment, is a trial of the company’s high-speed, Ku-band satellite-based connectivity service. This programme marks Air China’s first launch of Ku-band powered services.
The trial will enable Air China’s passengers to access the Internet and stored content on approved hand-held devices, in accordance with applicable Chinese regulations. The trial will commence aboard a B777-200 aircraft in 2014. Air China and Global Eagle are in the process of completing various certification processes, and will gain all required authorisations to operate services on the aircraft, in accordance with the relevant regulations and policies.
Air China has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Honeywell Aerospace to install and test GX Aviation on its A330 fleet, expected in the second quarter of 2015. Inmarsat GX Aviation is designed to enable the next generation of high-speed global broadband in-flight connectivity services. Inmarsat will provide GX Aviation through its fleet of three Ka-band satellites and its dedicated ground network. The first of three Inmarsat-5 satellites was successfully launched in December 2013 and the remaining two are set to be in place by the end of 2014.
“Air China has led the movement into passenger connectivity in China with their earlier installation of Inmarsat SwiftBroadband and now GX Aviation allows them to continue that leadership and take the passenger experience to a new level,” said Bill Peltola, Inmarsat’s VP of aviation. “This agreement gives Air China the opportunity to stay at the forefront of a highly competitive market in Asia.”