Thales plans to offer a high-speed connectivity solution for the commercial market, and is establishing partners for the service.

The manufacturer intends “to be a player in connectivity” and a “turnkey provider both on the ground and in the sky”, Thales VP and general manager for IFE Alan Pellegrini revealed today at the Paris air show.

He says the broadband services targeted by Thales for the business jet market “will be offered commercially”.

Thales is “looking to include Ku-band and Inmarsat products”, and is “exploring options and partners in both spectrums”, says Pellegrini, adding that the offering is likely to be available next year.

It will be tailored to operate through embedded in flight entertainment (IFE) platforms, but Thales is also evaluating a standalone connectivity option.

Further details of Thales’ connectivity strategy are expected to be announced in the near future.

Thales joins a growing list of companies looking to fill the void left by Boeing’s decision to shutter its Ku-based Connexion offering last year.

Rival Panasonic is offering to replace Connexion as part of a wider commitment to its own connectivity system.

Arinc and Rockwell Collins recently submitted a proposal to equip Southwest Airlines’ fleet with broadband passenger communications after finalizing a deal to reintroduce the avionics manufacturer’s Exchange service for business jets, which was disconnected when Connexion was shut down.

Connexion “clearly established a demand” for high-speed connectivity services. But the Boeing unit had “significant infrastructure costs that demanded a critical mass of users that perhaps they were not able to achieve”, says Pelligrini.

“There is technology and solutions out there that don’t require the infrastructure that Boeing had.”

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