Air China to test Inmarsat GX Aviation satcom on A330s

Honeywell Ka-band antenna for Inmarsat's GX Aviation service.
Honeywell Ka-band antenna for Inmarsat’s GX Aviation service.

Air China and Honeywell Aerospace have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to install and test Inmarsat’s new Ka-band GX Aviation service on Air China’s A330 aircraft, expected in the second quarter of 2015.

The announcement comes just a day after Air China announced that it was to install and test Global Eagle’s Ku-band solution on a Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

Inmarsat will provide the Ka-band GX Aviation service through its fleet of three wholly-owned and operated Boeing-built satellites and its dedicated ground network. The first of three Inmarsat-5 satellites was successfully launched in December 2013 and the remaining two are set to be in place by the end of 2014.

Bill Peltola, Inmarsat Vice President, Aviation, said: “We are pleased that Air China has chosen to install the GX Aviation system on their aircraft.

“Air China has led the movement into passenger connectivity in China with their earlier installation of Inmarsat SwiftBroadband and now GX Aviation allows them to continue that leadership and take the passenger experience to a new level.

“This agreement gives Air China the opportunity to stay at the forefront of a highly competitive market in Asia.”

Inmarsat says its fleet of three high-throughput satellites will offer “seamless global Ka-band coverage from a single operator, consistent performance of up to 50Mbps, and the network reliability for which Inmarsat is renowned”.

In addition to passenger communications, GX Aviation services will be able to support real-time TV and live feeds from the internet.

The testing programme agreed between Honeywell and Air China is the latest in a series of steps, with GX Aviation on track to deliver global availability for commercial airlines in the first half of 2015.

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