Jet ConneX accelerates to business aviation milestone

Less than 18 months after its commercial launch, Inmarsat’s innovative  Jet ConneX  high-speed broadband service has already reached 275 installations

We live in a world filled with recommendations. Netflix uses sophisticated computer algorithms to suggest movies. And user opinions on online review websites can make or break a business or product overnight.

For business aviation, the equivalent of a five star review is the endorsement and adoption of a service by all four major OEMs: Gulfstream, Bombardier, Dassault and Embraer. They all chose Jet ConneX as their preferred line-fit option. Even aftermarket giants such as Jet Aviation and Standard Aero raced the OEMs to have original Jet ConneX supplemental type certificates (STCs) of their own.

In addition, there are more than 85 STC approvals already secured, including all Boeing and Airbus VVIP type models. This means that if your aircraft can fit the JetWave hardware manufactured by Honeywell then a STC already exists and install can begin today.

275 jets are now connected

Subsequently, less than 18 months after rolling out Jet ConneX’s commercial launch, Inmarsat is now celebrating the successful activation of its 275th installation. This landmark event is another testament from customers to the quality of Jet ConneX.

Michael Rack, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Vice President of Core Business, notes that the 275th installation of Jet ConneX is a major validation of the service from customers.

"They want to have the same experience no matter where they are on the planet. Jet ConneX is the only solution that can deliver that"

“In the business jet community, manufacturers, owners and passengers are all looking to have the very best products and services, so word about standout offerings travels fast,” he says.

Dassault Falcon 50 Business Jet Landing

“Early adopters of Jet ConneX, from Fortune 500 flight departments, have put the solution through their own, rigorous testing and commended its merits after experiencing the results first-hand. Without their endorsement to their peers and feedback to the OEMs we would not be reaching this milestone so quickly.”

It’s a subject close to Rack’s heart. When quizzed about the performance of Jet ConneX at AIX in Hamburg, earlier this year, he was overwhelmingly positive.

“Things are going gangbusters with JX at this point,” he said. “[The numbers are] growing every month at an unbelievable rate. And the customers are extraordinarily happy. We had one example of a Fortune 100 CEO who had to travel on Super Bowl Sunday – which he did not want to do. But because he had Jet ConneX on board his aircraft he was able to stream the entire game at the same time as he was preparing for his business meetings.”

Business aviation rising

And for those that require an office in the sky, this stuff matters. After a few tough years following the financial crisis, business aviation is once again on an upward trajectory. According to the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), the latest data for business aviation traffic in Europe shows a full 12 months of uninterrupted growth, for the first time since 2008.

A new report commissioned by EBAA and produced by Booz Allen Hamilton in collaboration with Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt (DLR), also highlights the sector’s revitalisation. The report, entitled Business Aviation: Economic Value and Business Benefits, found that business aviation not only ‘stimulates economic growth in Europe’ but also provides a huge amount of value for the European economy and to European business.

Passengers expect seamless global connectivity

Unsurprisingly, Jet ConneX is central to delivering this productivity in Europe and beyond. Rack points out that it’s the only global solution that can actually deliver the same connectivity experience no matter where you are in the world.

He states: “The types of customers who are involved in the BGA market, be they Fortune 100 CEOs, movie stars or rock stars, want to have the same experience no matter where they are on the planet. And they travel all over the place, all the time. Jet ConneX is the only solution that can deliver that.”

As for the future, Rack says Jet ConneX will mirror the development of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network that powers Jet ConneX. There are plans for more satellite launches, both for the fifth GX satellite and an additional two more under contract for its sixth generation.

“Those (satellites) are going to introduce far more capacity than we have in the network today,” Rack explains. “We have a nice base layer of coverage around the world with the existing GX satellites and JX uses the GX service for that. So the roadmap really is to add more capacity over high traffic regions like Europe so customers can have room to grow.”

Ultimately, it’s those speeds and Jet ConneX’s consistent and seamless coverage that is the definitive recommendation. It’s a fact not lost on Rack.

“I’ve had lots of conversations over the past few months with BGA operators,” he says, “and something that really was magic a couple of years ago – the idea of being able to deliver high-speed Wi-Fi, reliably and globally, to a business jet travelling at hundreds of kilometres an hour at over 30,000 feet – has now become so ‘every day’ that they want to know what we are going to do next!”

EAN for business aviation

Alongside Jet ConneX’s sterling opening 18 months, Inmarsat’s BGA involvement also sees its game-changing European Aviation Network (EAN) enter this competitive market by early 2019.

EAN is the world’s first inflight Wi-Fi solution that integrates connectivity from a satellite and an LTE-based ground network. And following a successful launch in the commercial airline market, Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, believes it will also be a game-changer for business aviation, offering high-speed Wi-Fi for the first time to a broad range of aircraft, from small turboprops to Citations, Learjets, Phenoms and more.

“EAN is ideal for any customer whose mission keeps them predominantly in Europe,” he says. “Our projections show that the European business aviation fleet will grow beyond 5,000 aircraft in the coming years. We expect a strong uptake for EAN and with a network capability of over 75Mbps, we will offer a variety of data plans and speeds to meet every budget. Work has already commenced with a large business aviation launch customer for the service and planning for our first STC is underway.”

As the business aviation world moves ever faster, Inmarsat’s services are leading from the front.