Global satellite communications company Inmarsat Aviation has returned to NBAA to highlight the rapid uptake of its Jet ConneX inflight wi-fi solution which, since its introduction in 2016, has been installed and activated on more than 600 business jets worldwide.
The company is seeking to further develop and expand its share of the business aviation in-flight connectivity market, and says it has a fully-funded development roadmap for its global Ka-band network, which is currently delivered through its Global Xpress (GX) high-throughput satellites.
“We have been overwhelmed by the response to the Jet ConneX service,” says Inmarsat senior vice-president Kai Tang, describing the offering as “the gold standard” for in-flight broadband services in the business sector.
“There are no signs that the demand is going to slow down,” he says.
Anticipating future growth, Inmarsat is looking to launch a number of new satellites over the next five years, Tang says.
“The demand for global, high-speed wi-fi broadband is only going to grow, and customers are going to continue to call for the latest and greatest technologies in their business jet cabins to mirror what they have at home," Tang says. "We have to be prepared for this now and not wait for the surge to happen.”
The company will launch a fifth satellite, GX5, to add capability over Europe and the Middle East. This will be followed in 2021 and 2022 by GX6A and GX6B, which will give “extra capacity where we need it”.
Three more satellites are set to be launched in 2023 to deliver what Tang calls “dynamic coverage”. He says that while the previous satellites “just stare at the earth”, GX7, GX8 and GX9 will be "more dynamic and intuitive", delivering capacity to high-demand areas as needed.
GX10A and 10B will be launched in in 2022 in partnership with Space Norway, to give coverage over the Arctic Circle. “This will be a game-changer,” Tang says, as it will "open up new routes allowing operators to save time".
Inmarsat says its GX network will offer “enhanced, focused, ultra-high-power capacity that can be immediately relocated in line with high demand flight patterns and seasonal demand surges across the globe”. The company says this will cement Jet ConneX’s position as the world’s flagship connectivity provider for business jets and “future-proof” its ability to provide i a consistently high quality of service in the future.