About seven weeks ago this blog revealed that the new antenna being offered under a partnership between EMS Technologies and Israel’s Starling Advanced Communication is a mature product. I also believe I suggested you stay tuned to Runway Girl for more information. Don’t say I didn’t keep my word but you can, of course, call me a little bit late if you’d like.
A few days before the Aircraft Interiors Expo is set to take place in Hamburg, Starling VP marketing and sales Jacob Keret has revealed to me that the EMS/Starling team is very close to announcing its first customer for their ultra-fast, ultra-lightweight (45lb/20kg) Ku-band airborne antenna system that will be targeted at the US commercial airline market. You can hear me chat about it here – on an IAG podcast today.
“We are really expecting that to materialize in the next month or so,” says Keret. He adds: “We are progressing quite rapidly actually with EMS. We are replying to several RFPs and RFIs of US-based companies.”
An announcement regarding EMS/Starling’s first customer could be made in Hamburg or shortly thereafter. But, for the record, Starling feels “very, very comfortable with the partnership with EMS and we’re just moving forward,” says Keret. He also assures that Starling is financially “on solid ground”.
The EMS/Starling partnership has a number of competitors, but one of them, German firm Qest – a unit of automotive systems supplier Draxlmaier Group – had some interesting news today. As I reported for Flight premium news service Air Transport Intelligence, Qest will bring to market a bi-directional aeronautical antenna to support Ku-band services and ensure it can “immediately” meet current requirements of satellite operators.
Qest last year unveiled a new airborne broadband antenna that can enable both Ku-band and L-band services. By combining Ku-band and L-band in one integrated system, a “hybrid data link can be established”, resulting in “unprecedented connectivity options and maximum flexibility for owners and operators”, said the firm.
While the hybrid concept will not be abandoned it “entails new tasks for the satellite service operators, who will have yet to realize, amongst others, new concepts for a mixed signal processing in Ku- and L-band”, notes the firm.
In order “to be able to offer products that can immediately be used within existing satellite services, Qest will now also develop bi-directional antennas for Ku-band”.
Qest’s announcement, says Starling’s Keret, shows just how much the Ku-band market is progressing. Having “mature technology and a mature product with EMS in the market” will give the EMS/Starling team a “competitive edge”, he says. Starling is also offering its Mijet Ku-band antenna, and has secured an undisclosed customer, as previously announced here.
Yes, I’ve got a request into Qest for an interview. Stay tuned