Inmarsat has reported strong growth in its aviation business with inflight connectivity (IFC) revenues growing 40% in Q1 2018, compared with the same period in 2017. Aviation revenues for the first quarter were stated as $56m, up from $40.3m.
Group revenue increased $15.9m (4.8%) to $345.4m (up 5.0% from $313.3m, excluding Ligado), driven by growth in its aviation, enterprise and maritime businesses.
Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Aviation, again, delivered double-digit revenue growth with excellent performances all around from our core business, and in IFC, where we continue to make progress towards delivery for number of customers.
“Our L-band based inflight connectivity service based on SwiftBroadband grew revenues by 50%, thanks to increased usage by a number of customers.
“In addition, there was further customer take up of GX Aviation, which generated revenues of $60 million in the quarter.”
He said it now has 1,300 expected aircraft under signed contracts for GX, including the recent addition of Citilink, the subsidiary of Garuda airlines. and Kuwait Airways. GX uses either a fuselage-mounted or tail-mounted antenna from Honeywell Aerospace.
“Our pipeline of new business continues to look strong. GX is beginning to garner an excellent reputation for quality in the global marketplace,” he said.
He added that it now has around 4,000 aircraft using SwiftBroadband, with more than 220 terminals using its Ka-band JetConneX service for business aviation.
Inmarsat also recently announced the commercial launch of its next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety service (SB-S).
Pearce added: “We also announced last week an agreement for our safety products and services with two major distributors in China, one of the largest aviation markets over the long-term.”
He said its GX installation programme continues to gain traction, with a total of 245 aircraft installations achieved by the end of the quarter. It expects the installation rate to ramp-up during the remainder of the year.
Pearce added: “We signalled before that, that there can be a long lag between aircraft capture, and eventual entry into commercial GX IFC services.
“And now at last, the first commercial GX IFC services are starting to go live in the coming months, including with Euro Wings, and Austrian from our Deutsche Lufthansa Group contract as well as Qatar Airways, who announced only this week that they have started their service rollout to passengers.
On the European Aviation Network for the sizable European short-haul segment, he said Inmarsat continued to make decent progress.
“Anyone who has experienced the extensive ongoing air trial has been then blown away by the capabilities of the new service,” he said.
Pearce said the air-to-ground network component for EAN is now complete, the satellite component is operational, and all of the required regulatory authorisation is now in place, with Spain the latest country to gain the license for the air-to-ground component.
Referring to Viasat and Eutelsat, Pearce said: “Some of our competitors are trying to disrupt and derail regulatory processes across Europe, though we remain on track.”
He said Inmarsat will continue to launch in accordance with the timeline that it has agreed with its launch customer, the IAG Group.
On news that India has now authorised the use of inflight connectivity in the country, Pearce said Inmarsat intends to play a full part in that marketplace.
“As you know, we are one of the very few global satellite operators to have a ground infrastructure in India. We intend to follow with further infrastructure to deploy all of our services in India, in the waterways and in the airspace over India,” he said.
- Transcript material used from SeekingAlpha.com