Inmarsat Aviation is celebrating the fifth anniversary of the entry into service of its GX Aviation in-flight connectivity (IFC) service at the 2021 APEX/IFSA EXPO.
Since its launch in 2016, 35 airlines including AirAsia, Air New Zealand, Eurowings, Lufthansa, Philippine Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic have chosen to install GX Aviation across their fleets. The current order book for the solution totals over 1,000 aircraft, and 550 have already been activated.
Newly announced airline customers include SAUDIA, which will be GX Aviation’s launch customer in Saudi Arabia as well as the first airline in the Middle East to select Inmarsat’s OneFi customer experience platform and the first in the world to opt for GX Aviation’s next-generation terminal developed together with GDC Advanced Technology.
Today, the GX network consists of five Ka-band satellites, but Inmarsat is planning to launch a further seven by 2024. The first of these, dubbed Inmarsat-6 F1 (I-6 F1), was recently shipped to Japan by Airbus ahead of its launch, which is scheduled for December 2021. This will be followed by the launch of four more geostationary satellites and two in highly elliptical orbit, which will enable the world’s only IFC service for aircraft flying in higher elevations and across the Arctic.
“GX Aviation [offers] unprecedented performance that has been truly embraced by airlines and their passengers,” said Inmarsat Aviation’s president, Philippe Carette. “We celebrate its fifth anniversary with our world-class partner ecosystem, including industry-leading distributors such as Safran, SITA, Thales, Collins Aerospace and Honeywell. Each of these companies has a relentless focus on providing the best possible onboard experience, so airlines can meet evolving passenger needs and maximize the vast commercial possibilities of in-flight connectivity.”
The anniversary falls at a time when airlines are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic which, according to Inmarsat’s 2021 Passenger Confidence Tracker, can be aided by the presence of IFC onboard. The survey showed that digital solutions that keep passengers connected and minimize contact with cabin crew and fellow travelers can boost confidence. Furthermore, 41% of the 10,000 respondents said they believed in-flight Wi-Fi has increased in importance following the pandemic.