AirAsia goes high speed with Inmarsat GX

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Inmarsat’s GX Aviation inflight broadband has gone into service with low cost airline AirAsia. Via its RedBeat Ventures subsidiary, ROKKI, AirAsia’s connectivity will be faster and more reliable than ever before.

AirAsia Inmarsat
AirAsia’s Inmarsat GX powered IFC has gone live. Photo: Inmarsat

AirAsia’s Group President, Aireen Omar, commented in a press release,

“As the pioneer of LCC inflight Wi-Fi in the region, we are always looking for ways to redefine the inflight digital experience for our guests. Introducing Ka-band, powered by ROKKI, is the next logical step in this process, with the enhanced inflight connectivity allowing our guests to stay connected throughout their journey and perform data-intensive activities such as live-streaming. This also enables better real-time analytics, allowing us to offer more personalised services to AirAsia’s 100 million guests annually.”

President of Inmarsat Aviation, Phillip Balaam, praised the relationship between the provider and AirAsia, calling the upgrade a ‘bold and innovative’ offering. Speaking in the press release, he commented,

“We are confident that AirAsia’s upgrade from basic connectivity to the industry’s gold standard inflight broadband will be warmly embraced by passengers. Our teams continue to work closely together to install GX Aviation on the rest of AirAsia’s fleet of Airbus A320 and A300 aircraft, making it available to millions of new passengers each month.”

The technology is live on eight AirAsia planes so far. Photo: AirAsia

Free trial for passengers

To mark the commercial launch of the service, AirAsia is offering WiFi on flights free of charge for up to 10MB of use. The free trial is available to passengers on GX equipped aircraft until the 30th September.

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As well as inflight connectivity, the Inmarsat solution integrates seamlessly with AirAsia’s entertainment and ecommerce platform. In total, the system will provide access to free video, music, shopping, games, news and more, from passenger’s personal devices.

So far, six aircraft in operation with AirAsia Malaysia are equipped with the GX Ka-band system. Two operated by AirAsia Thailand are also up and running. Air Asia are planning to roll out the service to all its Airbus A320 and A330 aircraft over the next 12 months.

AirAsia’s WiFi plans range from 10MB for RM9 ($2.15), sufficient for some low data chat apps, up to 200MB for RM58 ($13.84). Passengers can also pay for WiFi using AirAsia’s loyalty currency, Big Points.

Bolstering GX to be fit for the future

Inmarsat has previously estimated the number of fliers globally to double by 2037. As such, the company is already making plans to ready the GX network so that it’s fit for the future. Over the next three years, Inmarsat has planned for the launch of three additional GX payloads.

Inmarsat satellite launch
Inmarsat will launch three additional payloads over the next three years. Photo: Inmarsat

As well as this, the company has recently signed an agreement to develop the next generation of GX satellites, GX7, 8 and 9. Each features thousands of dynamically-formed beams that direct capacity over high-demand areas. Following these will be GX10A and 10B, Inmarsat’s dedicated Arctic payloads which promise to give connectivity to one of the most remote regions on earth.

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