Emirates has awarded Airbus a commitment for the retrofit of 60 A380s with its Airspace Link HBCplus connectivity systems. Emirates, the biggest customer to date of this technology, became the original launch customer when it selected HBCplus to be installed on 50 A350s – a deal revealed at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in June this year. The latest order, announced during the Dubai Airshow, now raises Emirates’ total HBCplus commitment to 110 shipsets.
Dubai Airshow also saw Airbus secure further HBCplus deals, with Air Algerie signing up for linefit installation on five A330neos, and Air India for six A350s.
With these firm orders for HBCplus, and also Ethiopian Airlines’ selection announced during AIX to equip four A350s, the total number of committed shipset installations now covers 125 aircraft across three Airbus aircraft families.
For the HBCplus selections to date, Viasat is the chosen managed service provider (MSP) and Safran Passenger Innovations (SPI) is Airbus’s supplier and integrator of the terminal and Thinkom’s Ka-band antenna hardware.
Airbus says that further HBCplus selections, for more than 120 shipsets, are also at “an advanced stage of preparation” with various airline customers across its widebody and single-aisle aircraft families. These contracts will be confirmed in due course.
The current HBCplus offer for airlines encompasses Ka-band geostationary orbit (GEO) and medium earth orbit (MEO), using SPI’s integrated terminal modem with Thinkom Solutions’ antenna, together with Viasat and SES as the selected MSPs. Moreover, following recent agreements with SPI and with Intelsat and Panasonic Avionics MSPs, Airbus will also offer Ku-band multi-orbit HBCplus services in the future.