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Inmarsat sees continued growth in aeronautical services

Inmarsat's aeronautical services business continues to enjoy robust growth despite the global economic slump.

Speaking today at the Inmarsat Aeronautical Conference in Vancouver, company chief operating officer Perry Melton said first quarter revenue in the aeronautical sector rose 32% year-over year because satcom remains a "core need" in the aviation industry.

Underpinning this growth is Inmarsat's Swift64 aeronautical service, says Inmarsat aeronautical business director David Coiley, adding: "We have a mature and successful aeronautical business."

For the second quarter, says Melton, Inmarsat is "seeing continued trend lines" and, while growth in aeronautical services during the three-month period may not reach last year's level, it will nonetheless remain strong.

Traction is expected to be gained when different widebody aircraft are certified for Inmarsat's higher-bandwidth aeronautical service, SwiftBroadband, says Melton.

At present, there are more than 250 SwiftBroadband channels in operation around the world across government, business aviation and commercial air transport sectors, but this is expected to quickly rise.

Irish carrier Ryanair, for example, is quickly equipping aircraft with the SwiftBroadband-supported OnAir mobile phone connectivity service for passengers.

Inmarsat is also looking at other potential growth sectors, including the regional airline market.

The company is keen to receive feedback on "new service and market opportunities", says Coiley.

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