Collins and SES will bring fast, resilient inflight connectivity to business aircraft

Collins Aerospace has buddied up with satellite operator SES to offer the fastest broadband speeds in flight to business aviation customers in the US. Announced on the 12th September, the launch customer will be VistaJet, who will become the first user of LuxStream aboard its business jets.

Vistajet
VistaJet’s Globals will be the launch customer. Photo: Pedro Aragão via Wikimedia

In this deal, Collins plans to provide the hardware itself including the onboard router, and the broadband network will be serviced by its own ArincDirect arm. The satellite provision will be via SES’ Ku-band satellite network.

The partners say that the system as a whole will provide connectivity of up to 25Mbps in the United States and 15Mbps globally. LeAnn Ridgeway, vice president and general manager, Information Management Services for Collins Aerospace commented in a press release,

“In-flight connectivity is often cited by operators as the most important experience to provide on board, especially for long-range flights. By working with SES to bring LuxStream to the business aviation segment, we’re meeting that need by providing speeds and services that are unparalleled in the industry.”

Collins’ one-stop shop

While many inflight WiFi installations require the coordination of several parties; hardware manufacturers, service providers, satellite companies and more, in this case, Collins is aiming to be almost a complete one stop service provider.

Collins
Collins wants to be a one stop provider. Photo: Collins

As well as making the routers, it is providing the Astronics tail-mounted antenna and the KuSAT-2000 terminal. As both the manufacturer and the hardware provider Collins are in a unique position to offer its customers unparalleled levels of support, from setting up the service to configuring components and even to handling data to and from the aircraft.

The target market for LuxStream is largely the retrofit market. Specifically, the aerospace company is looking to equip larger cabin business jets including Gulfstream, Globals and Challengers. Collins says that the new solution will provide high quality bandwidth, capable of supporting multiple streams of UHD content and an always on service bolstered by the redundancy and resilience of the SES satellite network.

Powered by SES

SES is the operator of more than 70 satellites that are in both MEO and GEO locations. Although the network is yet to go live, it has undergone extensive testing and is shaping up to be a promising product.

John Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks commented on the partnership, saying,

“LuxStream is powered by SES’s global geostationary high-throughput and wide satellite beams, as well as a flexible, intelligent ground network. Its performance has been validated extensively with a large number of passengers who were able to easily access the internet and stream entertainment content to their personal devices at 25Mbps.”

SES satellite
The SES network will launch early next year. Photo: SES

The network is set to launch in January 2020, which will see it being put to good use with VistaJet Globals. This will be following the first supplemental type certificates, which is being worked on by Collins, and will also see Gulfstream IVs included in the certification.

AIN Online reports that this is expected in the first quarter of 2020. Vista Global has 116 aircraft in operation worldwide and is headquartered in Dubai.

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