OneWeb and Intelsat, both of which are satellite communications companies, have signed a global distribution partnership agreement intended to enable them to offer airlines seamless inflight connectivity (IFC) that combines performance, coverage and reliability, minimising gaps in coverage or capacity – even at busy hubs, across oceans, and over polar routes.
The partnership will enable Intelsat to distribute OneWeb’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite services to airlines worldwide, coupled with Intelsat’s IFC experience and existing geo-stationary (GEO) satellite service. The combination creates a multi-orbit solution for aviation that leverages the benefits of both networks, and the companies expect the combined network to be in service by 2024.
“This level of connectivity will enable airlines to maximise brand affiliation with passengers through all their onboard services, delivering a truly connected end-to-end passenger journey,” said Jeff Sare, president of Intelsat’s commercial aviation division. “The hybrid service offering further allows the global airline community to plan their suite of next-generation onboard services with confidence – not only ensuring a future-proofed passenger inflight connectivity experience, but also the implementation of a connected airline digitalisation strategy.”
Ben Griffin, OneWeb’s VP of mobility services added, “This is a watershed moment for the inflight connectivity market, and we’re excited to work together with Intelsat to bring our multi-orbit solution to commercial aviation. We’re committed to delivering the most differentiated and innovative solution for airlines. We are proving that, through the power of partnership, a superior suite of multi-orbit capabilities can be offered to better serve the growing connectivity needs of the commercial aviation industry, delivering the highest value coupled with the lowest risk.”