Inmarsat partner Lufthansa Technik certified to install GX Aviation on long-haul Airbus A340 aircraft
Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has achieved another important milestone in ensuring Global Xpress (GX) Aviation is available as linefit or retrofit on every major airframe in the market, after the next generation in-flight connectivity service was certified for the Airbus A340 aircraft.
Inmarsat’s partner Lufthansa Technik received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) after it successfully installed a Honeywell Aerospace designed Ka-band antenna for GX Aviation on board an Airbus A340 aircraft in Germany.
The STC validates and approves Lufthansa Technik’s highly-efficient installation process for the Airbus A340 family, which can be completed within days or during regular maintenance schedules, including all electrical modifications inside and outside the aircraft fuselage.
GX Aviation has attracted extremely strong interest from airlines, business aviation operators and airplane lessors with long-range aircraft such as the Airbus A340 family in their fleets. Hundreds of A340s are currently operated worldwide and in total, more than 600 million passengers have flown over 20 million flight hours on the popular wide-body jetliners.
The STC was awarded within only weeks of Lufthansa Technik receiving certification from EASA to install GX Aviation on the Airbus A320 aircraft family, which forms the backbone for nearly half of the world’s aircraft fleets, showcasing once again the in-flight connectivity service’s ability to meet the rigorous testing requirements of aviation safety agencies.
GX Aviation will launch this year as the world’s first broadband internet solution for aircraft with seamless global coverage, delivered through a single operator. It allows passengers and airline crew to browse the internet, check social media, stream videos, access company resources and more, with similar fast and reliable broadband as they receive on the ground.
GX Aviation has been selected by renowned airlines such as Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Air Astana and Jazeera Airways, in addition to leading business jet manufacturers. Final global testing is now underway with Inmarsat’s partner Honeywell Aerospace, whose exclusive JetWave terminals will connect airlines to the unprecedented new in-flight connectivity offering.
Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “GX Aviation has become widely recognised within the global aviation industry as being the ultimate new connectivity solution for commercial airlines, private jet operators and aircraft lessors, allowing them to provide a superior passenger experience and gain a valuable competitor advantage.
“The service has been developed over the past five years as the only end-to-end solution in which every component, from the satellites, ground network and terminals to the cabin networks, internet features and support, has been engineered with mobility in mind.
“It will be widely available on all popular aircraft types, both as retrofit and linefit, to ensure maximum flexibility for airline fleets. This is reflected in the STCs received to date – ranging from Airbus A340 long-haul, Boeing 757 medium-haul and Airbus A320 short-haul aircraft to Bombardier’s 5000 and 600 private jets – and there are several additional certification programmes currently underway as we approach the finishing line for launching GX Aviation.”
The Airbus A320 and A340 certifications have highlighted the success of Inmarsat’s long-term partnership with Lufthansa Technik, which is a trusted partner for installing the required systems and components on board aircraft, together with aeronautical and statutory regulations. Lufthansa Systems, as an aviation IT specialist, also worked with Inmarsat and Lufthansa Technik to supply the required infrastructure onboard the aircraft as part of the A320 STC and can offer additional passenger applications based on its BoardConnect product line.
Bernd Freckmann, Vice President Base Maintenance Services at Lufthansa Technik, said: “We are delighted about obtaining the certification from EASA to install GX Aviation on Airbus A320 and A340 aircraft within weeks of each other and expect to keep the momentum going with follow-up STCs for Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 aircraft before the end of 2016.
“Inmarsat, Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Systems are leaders in our respective markets and by combining our individual capabilities, we can offer a powerful multifunctional connectivity solution that is unparalleled in global aviation. Our partnership was formed as part of the GX Aviation contract signed by the Lufthansa Group, but is also available to other airlines. We have received extremely positive interest at a time of major investments by airlines to enhance their passenger experience and brand value. In addition, our consistent, stable and fast in-flight broadband experience has appealed to private operators, governments and other markets.”