Airline operators in central and south-east Asia will soon have a new option for high-speed inflight connectivity. Taqnia Space (TSC), a Saudi Arabia-based technology company, has signed a multi-year contract with satellite operator, Eutelsat to secure incremental multi-transponder wide-beam capacity on the Eutelsat 70B satellite, as well as securing the fifth HTS spotbeam on Eutelsat 3B (it already operates the other four). TSC’s aim in acquiring this incremental capacity is to enable it to add more space assets to its high-density bandwidth coverage over the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and Europe; the deal also enables TSC to enter the in-flight connectivity services market over central and south-Eeast Asia.
TSC has stated that it intends to add this increased capacity to its UON global connectivity package, which is due to launch on the Saudia fleet in the fourth quarter of 2018, including broadband Internet access, voice calling, and live-TV services. Saudia is keen to offer these inflight services as part of its transformation program initiatives (2020), which include fleet modernization and development and providing the latest in-flight connectivity and entertainment services for both its long-haul and domestic fleets. The airline’s overall transformation program is due to be completed by 2020 and itself forms part of Saudi Arabia Vision 2030, a plan to reduce the country’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors such as tourism, health, education, infrastructure and recreation.
Abdullah Al-Osaimi, CEO of Taqnia Space, stated, “Over the last few years, in-flight connectivity has become a must-have for passengers looking for an ever-improving air travel experience that allows them to carry on using their digital devices without disruption. By extending the contract with Eutelsat on Eutelsat 3B and adding new capacity over a wider area through leased resources on Eutelsat 70B, we are certain that we can deliver a high-quality response to the exponential requirements of the airlines we partner with and ensure continuous global connectivity service.”