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AIX: Collins Aerospace adds new connectivity customers

Collins Aerospace has signed contracts with “seven or eight” unnamed airlines for its CabinConnect wireless high-speed broadband connectivity solution, and announced at the show a deal with Gulf Air to install its GlobalConnect managed digital service on the airline’s Airbus A320Neos.

“The performance we’re seeing through customers like Norwegian is phenomenal,” Alexis Hickox, head of strategic growth and business development in Collins’ Strategic Programmes Division, tells FlightGlobal.

Norwegian announced in January that it is installing CabinConnect across its Boeing 787-9 and 737 Max fleets, to enable its transatlantic passengers to stream video, browse the internet and access social media. It will also be able to use the connectivity to deliver cockpit services such as electronic flights bags and real-time HD weather.

CabinConnect is supported by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation satellite-based in-flight connectivity service, which Hickox describes as “the best network available today”. However, she adds that from a connectivity perspective Collins has “always been fairly agnostic” and will “evaluate what’s in the market” as new options come on stream.

Gulf Air announced during the show that it will use Collins’ GlobalConnect digital management service to support its new fleet of 30 A320Neos. GlobalConnect enables a single communications solution, where new internet protocol links, such as broadband satellite, wi-fi or cellular, work interchangeably alongside legacy aircraft communications addressing and reporting systems (ACARS). The service includes a hosted and managed cloud environment.

“As a major international carrier serving 47 cities in 26 countries spanning three continents, it’s critical that we keep our flying crew fully informed while providing better data collection and improved analytics to drive operational efficiency and reduced maintenance,” says Gulf Air chief operations officer Suhail Abdulhameed Ismaeel.

Collins is showing visitors to its stand the “full capabilities” of its suite of connectivity services and how they can integrate with the flightdeck to provide a full “nose-to-tail” solution, says Hickox.

The company was formerly known as Rockwell Collins before it was acquired by United Technologies in November 2018 and renamed Collins Aerospace. Hickox says the acquisition has given Collins access to “much more solutions-based” assets.

For more news, pictures and analysis from AIX 2019, visit our dedicated event page

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