“This award means that Connexion has been selected for more than 50% of the VIP 747 market,” says Ed Laase, Connexion director of government and executive programmes. “It’s a small market, sure, but we’re pleased we’ve got such a large part of it.”
The two Japanese aircraft are operated by the Japan Air Self-Defence Force and used to transport the emperor, prime minister and other high-ranking members of government. Starting next February, Japan Airlines will fit the two aircraft with the Mitsubishi Electric-built Next Generation Antenna (NGA), which is already operational in around 150 long-haul airliners, along with the rest of the Connexion on-board system.
The equipment is designed to give passengers in the aircraft internet and virtual private network (VPN) access at broadband speeds to and from the aircraft. Also available will be Connexion’s newly introduced executive private voice (EPV) capability, which the company says will provide exceptionally high-quality phone links significantly more cheaply than competing satellite systems.
The Japanese government deal could be the first of a number in the corporate/VIP arena in the coming days and months. “We’re putting in a different kind of effort at EBACE this year,” says Laase. “Up to now we’ve treated the show more as an awareness event than a sales opportunity. But this week we’re really focused on selling – there are a number of high-net-worth individuals who are talking to us about installing NGA on their 737s.”
As well as internet access, NGA can support Connexion’s streaming digital live TV service, now in operation with a number of airlines, and the new EPV phone offering.
Connexion is stressing the extremely high voice quality offered by EPV. “Most satellite voice services feature some noise, while the digital coders/decoders tend to make a person’s voice sound clipped,” says Laase. “EPV is a voice-over-IP system based on proven Cisco equipment and featuring new quality-of-service features to ensure that voice packets are given priority at all times over other types of data in the stream.”
Other advantages claimed for EPV include moderate cost. “Usage is covered by the all-inclusive service fee we offer. It is also designed to be more user-friendly: passengers will not have to dial the extra codes typical of satellite services, while aircraft will be assigned numbers similar to those of ground-based phones,” he says.
Source: Flight Daily News