EAN to Reach Full Capacity with Launch Customers in Next 4-6 Months

An aircraft equipped with an EAN antenna. Image via Inmarsat.European passenger numbers 

Europe has one of the most congested airspaces in the world, with over one billion passengers flying across the continent each year. Despite this, Inmarsat is hoping to offer seamless in-flight connectivity with its European Aviation Network, which is currently being rolled out within International Airlines Group.

The European Aviation Network (EAN) developed by Inmarsat Aviation together with Deutsche Telekom to offer high-speed in-flight connectivity using an integrated S-band satellite and LTE-based terrestrial network, is celebrating its soft launch with British Airways and Iberia and looking forward to completing the rollout on the airlines’ short-haul fleets in the next four to six months.

Since the two members of the International Airlines Group (IAG) introduced the service, which became fully operational in September 2017, and can deliver up to 75 Mbps bandwidth to the aircraft, Inmarsat estimates almost two-million passengers have traveled on EAN-equipped flights across more than 100 European routes.

“The install takes under nine hours. That’s a game-changer when you think how much it costs an airline to keep a plane on the ground.” – Dominic Walters, Inmarsat Aviation

According to Dominic Walters, VP of Inmarsat Aviation, IAG-owned British Airways and Iberia have been staggering the rollout of EAN in alignment with when their aircraft are on the ground. “It’s not just the speeds we can deliver to the plane, it’s the speed with which we can install the product. The install takes under nine hours. That’s a game-changer when you think how much it costs an airline to keep a plane on the ground. Knowing EAN can be installed while they’re solving other issues is great,” he said.

Philip Balaam, president of Inmarsat Aviation, commented: “We have been working with our initial airline customers to monitor and fine-tune the service during their soft launches before it’s rolled out on their wider fleets. We are extremely pleased with the initial response from both the airlines and their passengers, which is testament to the important role EAN is already playing in the European aviation industry.”

Adding to Balaam’s confidence in EAN, Rolf Nafziger, SVP Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier, expressed optimism about its future amid the ongoing rollout on board more aircraft with existing airline customers. “Its lightweight, small and low maintenance equipment provides a hugely compelling business case for other European carriers,” he said.