Indonesia's Citilink Firms Up GX Deal with Inmarsat

Image via Inmarsat

APEX Insight: Passengers flying with Jakarta-based low-cost carrier (LCC) Citilink are set to experience a significant upgrade to their in-flight entertainment and connectivity options.

Citilink, a regional LCC operating 50 A320s, will soon be flying with Inmarsat’s GX in-flight internet service. Announced today, the deal confirms an MoU announced in April 2018 during the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg.

The Wi-Fi portion of the deal will operate under the auspices of Mahata Aero Teknologi (MAT), an Indonesian wireless technology provider. The service will also include a streaming media solution delivered by Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect platform. Lufthansa Technik will manage the technical implementation work for the onboard kit, with the first installations beginning later this year.

Juliandra Nurtjahjo, president and CEO of Citilink, commented, “As a modern, digitally focused airline, it’s imperative that we offer our passengers a world-class in-flight Wi-Fi service. We are confident that the combined strengths of Inmarsat, MAT, Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik will ensure we deliver gold-standard broadband on board all of our flights.”

“As a modern, digitally-focused airline, it’s imperative that we offer our passengers a world-class in-flight Wi-Fi service” – Juliandra Nurtjahjo, Citilink.

Citilink joins the growing collection of LCCs in the region that offer in-flight connectivity (IFC) to passengers. AirAsia began rolling out the service in 2014, while Scoot launched IFC a couple of years later. Malindo Air and Nok Air have also launched IFC services in recent years. However, in all of these cases, getting to a full-fleet deployment does not appear to be a high-priority objective, with installations still ongoing (save for Scoot, which is fully deployed on its 787s).

The airline’s commitment to a fleet-wide deployment should help its competitive position on the Wi-Fi front. Jan-Peter Gaense, head of Passenger Experience Products and Solutions at Lufthansa Systems, notes that the “digital BoardConnect platform’s open architecture and use of modern docker technology will enable a range of e-commerce services, serving as a perfect base to monetize the airline’s in-flight Wi-Fi.”

Philip Balaam, president of Inmarsat Aviation, describes the deal as a “significant milestone for Inmarsat in one of our priority regional markets.” Given the large number of aircraft in the region not yet committed to a high speed in-flight Wi-Fi solution, the competition among providers to sign airlines is very real.

Inmarsat is aided by the density of coverage its GX network has in the region. The fourth GX satellite provides overlay coverage across Asia, while the pending GX-5 satellite launch will dramatically increase capacity from Europe to Southeast Asia through the Middle East.