Asia is the world’s most rapidly developing market for inflight internet solutions, and this week saw a major development in the region’s connectivity market with the first ever Chinese customer being secured for inflight connectivity services.
Chinese service provider, Air Esurfing Information Technology has entered into a contract with Lufthansa Technik, to help the company with providing the connectivity modifications required to make its servoces available on board aircraft. Further contract partners include Honeywell, which is providing antenna hardware, and China Satcom, the satellite provider.
“Many Asian countries have only recently passed legislation that paves the way for inflight connectivity solutions for its airlines, so the market is now gaining enormous momentum,” said Lukas Bucher, head of connectivity product at Lufthansa Technik.
According to the five-year agreement, Lufthansa Technik will design and certify Ka-band-based connectivity retrofit packages for the Airbus A320ceo and A320neo families of aircraft, as well as the Boeing 737NG and 737MAX. Lufthansa Technik will also work with Air Esurfing Information Technology to provide the respective CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) validated EASA Supplemental Type Certificate (VSTC) to support Chinese airlines wishing to offer inflight connectivity. Lufthansa Technik will also be responsible for material supply and material handling services for the installation of the packages, which can be tailored to each of Air Esurfing’s airline customers and their specific requirements.
“As an inflight solution provider for connectivity, the company’s strategic cooperation with Lufthansa Technik signals a new chapter in our history, as we take a big step forward empowering Chinese airlines with high-speed in-flight Internet services,” stated Herman Guo, CEO of AirNet, Air Esurfing’s parent company.
“The partnership with Air Esurfing is a significant step in Lufthansa Technik’s global focus to meet a promising market demand in China,” added Gerald Steinhoff, VP of Asia Pacific corporate sales at Lufthansa Technik. “As a joint force, we shall exploit the full potential of the Chinese market.”
Lufthansa Technik is supporting installations within its own network or at other MROs contracted by its customers. If desired by an aircraft operator, Lufthansa Technik can dispatch a dedicated crew of mechanics to carry out the installation at an operator’s preferred location, eliminating the need to fly the plane to another facility. Lufthansa Technik also supports airlines with ‘connectivity transitions’, for example changes from one satellite installation or provider to another.