Mobile satellite communications provider, Inmarsat, has announced that its next-generation in-flight broadband service, GX for Aviation, has gone live under a ‘soft launch’ phase with Lufthansa.
GX for Aviation is billed as the world’s first in-flight connectivity solution with ‘reliable, seamless high-speed global coverage provided through a single operator’, with the onboard connectivity experience claimed to be on a par with broadband services available on the ground.
Lufthansa will commence commercial passenger services with GX for Aviation next month. Other customers of the technology include Singapore Airlines and Air Astana.
Leo Mondale, president of Inmarsat Aviation, said, “After several years of detailed planning and development, this is the moment that Inmarsat, and indeed the global aviation industry, has been waiting for. GX for Aviation is now live and offering unparalleled in-flight broadband to passengers. We have moved from systems integration and testing to rolling out the most robust and comprehensive global connectivity solution for airlines across the world.
“GX for Aviation is not a patchwork solution. Our customers are not subject to the intermittent services and handover issues experienced by other providers. Billions of dollars and years of engineering have been invested to ensure that GX for Aviation delivers a solution that is not just robust, but transformative. Passengers using GX for Aviation will have on-the-ground levels of connectivity and uninterrupted access to the applications they use day-to-day, including email, web browsing, social media, video and music streaming, and online shopping, among others.”
Inmarsat was awarded a contract in October 2015 to provide in-flight connectivity services for passengers onboard Lufthansa’s European continental fleet of more than 150 aircraft. The contract formalized the start of a 10-year strategic partnership between Lufthansa Group and Inmarsat, and provided a framework to extend the service to other airline brands in the Group.
The go-live of GX for Aviation follows a successful cooperation with Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Systems, which together with Inmarsat have started the process of installing the necessary hardware and software on selected aircraft in the Lufthansa fleet.
Airlines will connect to the GX network using JetWave terminals produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell Aerospace, with over 300 aircraft already committed to the system and more to come.