Above: An A319 with the radome installation completed for Inmarsat’s GX Aviation service
June 28, 2016 – Global mobile satellite communications provider, Inmarsat, has announced that its advanced Global Xpress (GX) Aviation in-flight connectivity service has been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the Airbus A320 aircraft family, bringing it a step closer to being available as line-fit or retrofit on every major Airbus and Boeing airframe.
The Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) authorizes GX Aviation’s Ka-band antenna to be installed on Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft, which form the backbone for around half of the world’s aircraft fleets. In total, more than 6,500 Airbus A320 family aircraft are currently in operation, representing over three quarters of the overall Airbus aircraft currently being flown worldwide.
Inmarsat’s partner Lufthansa Technik obtained the STC after its design team developed an installation process that includes all required electrical modifications inside and outside the aircraft fuselage. According to the partners, installation can be completed within four days or during regular maintenance schedules, with components integrated into the cabin infrastructure in such a way that they are virtually invisible to passengers and easy to operate by cabin crew.
Inmarsat secured a contract in October 2015 to provide GX Aviation on Lufthansa’s European continental fleet of over 150 aircraft, with additional Lufthansa Group aircraft being added in due course. After obtaining the STC, the first of these aircraft is expected to offer the service in October this year and Lufthansa’s entire A320 fleet is scheduled to have the technology installed by mid-2018.
Leo Mondale, president of Inmarsat Aviation, said, “EASA’s certification is an important milestone towards the service launch this year, as the A320 family is a popular workhorse for many airlines, business aviation operators and aircraft lessors. In addition, single-aisle aircraft as a whole are expected to account for 70% of new deliveries over the next 20 years. This highlights the vast market opportunities opened by this STC, especially as Inmarsat is positioned as the only provider that can serve A320 aircraft on a global basis throughout their lifecycle.”