Inmarsat announced today at EBACE that its European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight connectivity solution will be available for the business aviation market by January 2019.
EAN is the world’s first inflight Wi-Fi solution that integrates connectivity from a satellite, operated by Inmarsat, and an LTE-based ground network, operated by Deutsche Telekom, covering all 28 member states of the European Union, as well as Switzerland and Norway.
It says the combination of a satellite and 4G LTE-based ground network offers lightning fast, low-latency performance over land and water.
Aircraft connect with the network using small, ultra-lightweight, low-drag hardware that is cost-effective to install and operate, with Inmarsat saying it makes EAN ideal for small to mid-sized business jets, in addition to larger sized jets.
The business aviation rollout, announced at EBACE Geneva, follows EAN’s successful introduction in the commercial airline market, with major launch customers already announced and installing the service on aircraft, plus ongoing discussions with other interested carriers across the continent.
Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “EAN is a game-changer for the business aviation market, offering gold standard inflight Wi-Fi to a broad spectrum of aircraft, from small turboprops to larger platforms such as the Citations, Learjets and Phenoms. It really is ideal for any business jet whose mission keeps them predominantly in Europe.
“Our projections show that the European business aviation fleet will grow beyond 5,000 aircraft in the coming years. We expect a strong uptake for EAN by offering a variety of data plans to meet every budget.
“Work has already commenced with a large business aviation launch customer for the service and planning for our first STC is under way.”
Inmarsat says EAN’s integrated satellite and ground network is fully operational, with a number of flight trials successfully completed across Europe, demonstrating that the next-generation service meets its design performance in practice.
The evaluations were conducted with partners Cobham, Thales and Nokia using a Cessna 550 Citation II provided by Dutch company NLR.
Designed to meet the needs of European’s congested skies, EAN recently won the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Award for ‘Best Inflight Connectivity Innovation’.