Malaysian-based AirAsia Group has penned a contract with the British-based satellite communications company Inmarsat last week and already made a big announcement. Namely, from the first half of 2018, the budget carrier will equip more than 120 of its planes with Inmarsat’s GX Aviation in-flight broadband technology.
That means Inmarsat’s tech will be available on AirAsia’s entire fleet of Airbus A320 and A330 planes (both current and future), as well as on its long-haul, low-cost operator AirAsia X’s fleet. Possibly even on Airbus A350s in the future.
According to the contract, AAG will use the new JetWave terminals produced by Honeywell Aerospace to connect to the GX network. According to Inmarsat, these terminals are designed so that they could be installed easily, with no special tools required and minimal labour.
Chief executive officer for AirAsia Group Tony Fernandes said:
GX Aviation will form the backbone of AirAsia’s digital cabin offering. By delivering inflight connectivity that’s indistinguishable from what you get on-ground, our guests will be able to stay connected in ways that matter to them, whether it’s streaming movies or music, checking social media, messaging friends or catching up with work emails. Coupled with our ROKKI entertainment and e-commerce platform featuring free movies, music, articles and games as well as shopping, AirAsia guests will soon be able to enjoy one of the richest digital inflight experiences in Asia, while also enhancing our knowledge of our guests with very rich data.
Philip Balaam, Aviation President at Inmarsat said:
AirAsia Group is one of the aviation industry’s leading innovators and we are delighted that GX Aviation will play a key role in their future service offering. The fact that we have signed this contract within months of announcing a Memorandum of Understanding is testament to AirAsia’s confidence in GX Aviation and builds on its successful track record as a leading customer of our SwiftBroadband service.
The scale of this contract, covering more than 120 existing aircraft and one of the industry’s largest order books for additional aircraft, showcases our status as a global market leader in advanced in-flight broadband. Inmarsat has the fastest growing service uptake in our market, with, following this agreement, more than 1,300 aircraft, expected under signed contracts, both installed and under backlog, for our next generation GX Aviation and European Aviation Network (EAN) solutions.