Bombardier committed to connectivity for civil aircraft

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Bombardier is quickly becoming known as an airframer that is committed to providing in-flight connectivity on its business and commercial aircraft, and is even eyeing connectivity for the Q400 turboprop.

The Canadian company has started offering a new high-speed option on Global 5000 and Global 6000 aircraft. ViaSat's VMT-1500 terminal - billed by the manufacturer as the lightest, smallest-footprint Ku-band mobile high-speed Internet shipset available - combined with EMS Aviation's CNX-200 router will be offered as an option to Global 5000/6000 operators, said ViaSat, whose Yonder Ku service will support the solution.

"Global business aircraft cabins are specifically designed to provide a highly productive working environment, a key factor in making these aircraft a leading choice for corporations worldwide," said Bombardier Business Aircraft vice-president and general manager Stéphane Leblanc in discussing the airframer's decision to partner with ViaSat and EMS Aviation.

On the commercial side, Bombardier has made known its interest in offering in-flight Wi-Fi as on option on its regional jets, and earlier this year entered discussions to work with Delta Air Lines, which is fitting its regional jet fleet with Gogo's air-to-ground (ATG)-based connectivity solution in the United States.

Bombardier also recently revealed plans to make connectivity baseline on the 110/130-seat CSeries. It has not disclosed what connectivity pipe it will use.

But the airframer is also studying connectivity for its Q400. Gordon Pratt, director of Q Series programme management at Bombardier, said the firm "absolutely" envisages offering connectivity on the turboprop.

"The installation and application would be very, very similar [to regional jets]. We need to find a solution that is cost effective for a smaller airplane. The business case has to make sense, but we really think the Q400 is ideal in terms of mission for that sort of application."

Inmarsat SwiftBroadband-supported connectivity solutions and Gogo's Biz ATG offering are also offerable on various Bombardier business jets.