A Boeing 757 flying test aircraft equipped with Honeywell's JetWave hardware. Image via Honeywell Aerospace.

A Boeing 757 flying test aircraft equipped with Honeywell’s JetWave hardware. Image via Honeywell Aerospace.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of APEX EXPO this year, we’re looking back at APEX members’ most significant achievements. Today, we examine the role Honeywell Aerospace played in making Inmarsat’s GX Aviation service a hit with airlines and passengers alike.

Register for APEX EXPO (Los Angeles, September 9-12)

In 2012, it was announced that Honeywell Aerospace (Honeywell) would provide Inmarsat with the onboard hardware for its Global Xpress Ka-band in-flight connectivity network.

It took five years of hard work, including more than 180 flight hours and multiple rigorous tests aboard Honeywell’s Boeing 757 test aircraft before Honeywell’s JetWave hardware was launched as part of GX Aviation with the Lufthansa Group in May 2017.

By May 2018, GX Aviation had already been installed on 250 commercial aircraft, and at that point had a further 1,300 aircraft in the backlog, all of which would require JetWave hardware to access the solution.

Honeywell designed the JetWave aircraft terminal to solve the problem of service interruption every time a terminal transitioned between satellites. By introducing dual receivers, Honeywell enabled what it refers to as “make-before-break” hand-offs between satellite beams.

“One of our key goals when we began to develop JetWave was to provide a seamless and reliable service anywhere in the world.” – John Peterson, Honeywell Aerospace

John Peterson, vice-president and general manager of Software and Services, Honeywell Connected Enterprise, Honeywell Aerospace, explained, “One of our key goals when we began to develop JetWave was to provide a seamless and reliable service anywhere in the world. Typically, a service of this kind relies on a network of multi-use satellites with multiple owners, which can’t guarantee an uninterrupted experience.”

“By joining forces with Inmarsat, we were able to offer a consistent Ka-band connection from Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX and Global Xpress service, thanks to their network of three wholly owned satellites that provide truly global coverage,” Peterson continued.

As JetWave installations progressed, Honeywell also launched its GoDirect portfolio to complement the hardware, which, among other things, allows its customers to access data about connectivity usage and manage it accordingly. The portfolio also includes a troubleshooting tool to help airlines try and solve any connectivity-related issues themselves to get passengers connected again as soon as possible.

See more posts from the 40 Success Stories campaign.