Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) Aviation inflight connectivity service has been certified by EASA for the A320 family. The STC authorizes GX Aviation’s Ka-band antenna to be installed on A319, A320 and A321 aircraft. It follows certification for GX Aviation on the Boeing 757 and Bombardier Global 5000 and 6000 aircraft.
Inmarsat said its partner Lufthansa Technik obtained the latest STC after its design team developed a highly efficient installation process that includes all required electrical modifications inside and outside the aircraft fuselage. Installation can be completed in four days or during regular maintenance schedules. The components are integrated into the cabin infrastructure in a way designed to ensure they are virtually invisible to passengers and easy to operate by cabin crew.
Inmarsat secured a contract in October 2015 to provide GX Aviation on Lufthansa’s European continental fleet of more than 150 aircraft, with additional Lufthansa Group aircraft being added in due course. The first of these aircraft is expected to offer the service in October 2016 and Lufthansa’s entire A320 fleet is scheduled to have the technology installed by mid-2018.
The GX Aviation broadband solution is designed to offer seamless global coverage, delivered through a single operator. It will allow passengers to browse the internet, watch videos, connect to their company’s virtual private network, download files and more. The GX mobile satellite network entered commercial service in December 2015, providing global coverage. Inmarsat has committed to building additional network capacity, with plans to increase its dedicated Ka-band payloads to seven.
“EASA’s certification is an important milestone toward the service launch this year, as the A320 family is a popular workhorse for many airlines, business aviation operators and aircraft lessors,” said Leo Mondale, president of Inmarsat Aviation. “In addition, single-aisle aircraft as a whole are expected to account for 70% of new deliveries over the next 20 years.”
Airlines will connect to the GX network using next-generation JetWave terminals produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell Aerospace. The terminals are designed to enable installation with minimal labor and using standard tools available in maintenance hangars. JetWave features dual receivers, enabling critical handoffs between satellite beams.
June 29, 2016