Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom have been announced as winners of the ‘Best Inflight Connectivity Innovation’ award by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) for the new European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight broadband solution.
The accolade was announced during an awards ceremony in Long Beach, California that recognises the achievements of airlines and vendor partners from the past year, as part of the industry’s largest passenger experience event, APEX Expo.
Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom are the first winners of the Best Inflight Connectivity Innovation Award, a new category for 2017.
EAN is the world’s first inflight broadband solution that combines dedicated satellite coverage with a LTE-based ground network.
This unique combination provides what airlines and passengers expect the most from connectivity: lightweight hardware that is simple to install and provides lightning fast and extremely robust performance.
The infrastructure, which provides rapidly scalable high-capacity coverage across Europe, is able to meet the accelerating demand of new data hungry generations at a lower cost.
EAN’s low-latency provides an experience similar to mobile internet on the ground with data rates that make it uniquely suited for even demanding internet use, such as working with remote business desktops, watching 4K video or gaming.
International Airlines Group (IAG), which includes airline brands British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, is the launch customer for the new service.
Mario Franci, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Vice President of European Sales and Revenue and Inflight Services, said: “We are delighted that the European Aviation Network has been named Best Inflight Connectivity Innovation at this year’s APEX Awards.
“EAN is a truly game-changing solution that, for over 500 million passengers, closes the gap between on the ground and in the air. It will give European aviation a significant edge over the rest of the world.
“Following the successful launch of our satellite earlier this year and the recent completion of its in-orbit tests, we are now looking forward to the service going live later this year.”
David Fox, Deutsche Telekom’s Vice President Inflight Services and Connectivity, said: “This award is a fantastic recognition for our unique and multi-national initiative. Deutsche Telekom’s strategic goal is to keep the customers ‘always best connected’.
“We are leading on the ground, now we will provide high-speed connectivity in the air. In combination with Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity, our complementary EAN ground network with around 300 sites across 28 European countries is a truly innovative approach.
“We can transmit data to the operating altitude of passenger planes at rates that match home broadband services, and still provide seamless handovers to planes at cruising speed.
“EAN will transform the passenger experience, as well as drive operational efficiency and open new revenue streams for airlines.”