Inmarsat has reached a milestone in its Jet ConneX business aviation WiFi solution, as more than 600 business jets worldwide have now activated the system. Revealed this week in a press release from the company, Inmarsat celebrated their achievement whilst at the NBAA exhibition in Las Vegas.
The milestone number of installations and activations is a testament to the popularity of Inmarsat’s solution. More than 600 installations in less than three years of availability is an impressively rapid uptake. Kai Tang, Senior Vice President at Inmarsat, commented in a press statement,
“Today marks a significant milestone both for Inmarsat and the business aviation industry as a whole. By successfully achieving more than 600 Jet ConneX installations in just under three years, we have highlighted the ever-increasing demand for global, reliable and high-speed Wi-Fi for business aviation users.
“Jet ConneX has already established itself as the gold standard for business aviation inflight broadband services. Looking ahead, our ambitious plans to build on these capabilities will introduce unprecedented new opportunities to our market and also for our global network of value added resellers – Collins Aerospace, Honeywell and Satcom Direct.”
JetConneX is currently the leading product for linefit on a range of business jet models, including Bombardier, Dassault and Gulfstream. Right now, the smallest aircraft capable of supporting the required antenna for Jet ConneX are Falcon 2000s and Challenger 605s. However, with the introduction of next-generation flat panel antennas, the system will be able to be rolled out in much smaller aircraft too.
Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX system relies on the Honeywell manufactured JetWave hardware, and functions through its Global Xpress Ka-band network. This currently provides high-speed broadband connectivity in most parts of the world but is set to be expanded greatly in the coming years.
Composed of just four high throughput satellites, Inmarsat has plans to launch eight more over the coming years. The next to launch will be GX5, which Inmarsat says will “significantly boost Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network capacity, meeting the growing demand for reliable mobile broadband connectivity across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.”
The 2022 gamechanger
Of the forthcoming launches, GX6A and GX6b will be launched in 2021 and 2022. These two will be used to add capacity where demand is highest. Following these, three more satellites will launch in 2023 to give what Inmarsat is calling ‘dynamic coverage’. GX7, 8 and 9 will be able to target capacity improvements in specific areas as and when it’s needed.
While all this is very exciting, the real game-changer will come in 2022, as GX10A and 10B will take off. In partnership with Space Norway, these two satellites are designed to give coverage over the Arctic Circle, an area of Earth that has been devoid of WiFi to date.
These will be the first satellites to be placed into Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO), and will provide connectivity for flights taking a path over the Arctic. Emirates has already proclaimed its support for the initiative, as one of the airlines most often flying over the Arctic between the Middle East and the USA.