Diversity of in-flight connectivity suppliers is becoming more common as airlines grow comfortable with their ability to manage separate fleet installs and deliver a consistent user experience across the various solutions. The approach also allows the airlines to work suppliers against each other to ensure pricing and performance are to spec.
Turkish Airlines will retrofit more than 100 of its Boeing 737NG and Airbus A321 aircraft with Global Eagle’s Airconnect Ku-band in-flight Wi-Fi solution in a deal announced this week. The integration and installation work will be handled by Turkish Technic and delivered in partnership with local telecommunications company Profen to ensure regulatory requirements are met.
Installations are scheduled to begin in late 2020, with a significant ramp up during 2021. Based on Global Eagle’s general guidance for install pace, the deployment should be completed in 2022.
This new contract with Global Eagle brings diversity to the IFC supplier space for Turkish. The carrier holds existing contracts with Panasonic Avionics for equipping its twin-aisle aircraft, as well as its A321neo and 737 MAX planes.
İlker Aycı, Turkish Airlines chairman announced that the carrier is “confident that with this partnership, Profen and Global Eagle will meet Turkish Airlines’ high expectations for effective connectivity in its fleet by delivering large-scale in-flight connectivity (IFC) solutions.”
While Global Eagle is no stranger to working with local partners for IFC installations, the relationship with Profer runs somewhat deeper. Global Eagle president Per Noren explains, “We need local cultural, strategic, regulatory and financially-savvy partners. We’ve worked with [Profen] for a long period of time in this process to get Turkish Airlines to sign with us. They’re a very strong professional and technologically-savvy organization.”
The deal also allows Global Eagle to take advantage of existing satellite capacity for the region, to help reduce the cost of delivering the service to Turkish Airlines. The company highlighted overlap with Air France’s A320, LOT’s 737 MAX and FlyDubai’s 737 fleets, which are also equipped with Global Eagle’s Airconnect platform.
Global Eagle is confident it has sufficient bandwidth under current contracts to incorporate Turkish Airlines’ fleet into its existing Ku footprint in the region. And, as usage grows, it can layer additional capacity into the network from other satellite assets in the region.