Insight | Why predictability is the new luxury in business aviation


Why predictability is the new luxury in business aviation


As Principals return to the skies, the importance of reliable and consistent connectivity to business aviation will only increase. In an environment where time is the most valuable asset, choosing a connectivity solution that is seamless and reliable is essential.

If there’s one thing the events of the last few months have shown us, it’s that we live in uncertain times. Make no mistake, business leaders, C-suite executives and high net worth individuals hate uncertainty. Which is why in an era of unprecedented instability and turbulence, the notions of reliability and predictability are prized above all others.

These priorities are acutely felt in the world of business aviation (BGA). Spending $50m on an aircraft is not just a flashy status symbol, nor is it just about luxury. Such an outlay is a considered business decision – it makes sense for an individual whose greatest and most valuable asset is time.

“This is,” says Kai Tang, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Vice President BGA, “the driving rationale behind someone that utilises business aviation. The value of time.”

Having a private jet, says Tang – or chartering or leasing a business aircraft – means these individuals don’t have to go to the nearest major commercial airport. They don’t have to sit in security, or wait at the gate, or worry about time lost accommodating anyone else’s schedule but their own. When they fly, they do so by the most direct route, land at the nearest convenient regional airport and when their meeting is over, they can fly back immediately, thus ruling out the need for an overnight hotel stay.

“These passengers demand the best,” explains Tang. “And so they can justify the expense because of the time savings. And more recently, it can provide better certainty in terms of health and personal safety.”

When it comes to business aviation, Inmarsat Aviation’s inflight connectivity solutions reflect care and concern about time savings since they offer reliability and consistency designed for the exacting demands of the BGA sector, including extensive global coverage, guaranteeing connectivity wherever principals want to fly.

The value of predictable connectivity

Over the last few months the importance of reliable and consistent connectivity has skyrocketed. Across all levels of society our relationship with technology has deepened during these uncertain times. We are now more digital than ever. As such it’s imperative that senior executives – or principals – remain connected at all times.

“When these individuals board a plane,” says Tang, “it’s all about email and video conferencing. What better way to continue maximising their time than to be able to stay connected while in the air?”

Consistent and seamless high-speed Wi-Fi is crucial to these flyers– something Inmarsat Aviation has been delivering to the BGA sector for over two decades, via its inflight connectivity solutions for business aviation, SwiftBroadband, and more recently Jet ConneX, or JX. In an environment where a principal’s day is planned down to the last minute, being disconnected – if only for a few minutes – is a big deal. As soon as they take off, these individuals are hosting meetings and videoconferences.

“If the connectivity solution ends up being particularly inconsistent or unreliable, there will be no patience for downtime,” Tang suggests. “Murphy’s Law dictates that it will fail at the worst possible time – when the principal is at a critical juncture of a videoconference. There will be no patience for excuses, no patience for ‘we’re looking into it.’”

“Focus on the entire service”

So whilst some providers will look to highlight one particular aspect of the customer experience, Inmarsat recommends focusing on the entire service. Is it consistent and reliable? Does the provider have a track record of delivering quality? Do they have a history of meeting expectations for speed and quality, anywhere and at any time?

“At Inmarsat, we were built on a heritage of providing globally reliable and consistent safety services,” says Tang, pointing out that those looking for a service provider should consider some key questions.

He continues: “Ask about global reliability and the consistency of the connectivity solution, the thought and investment in value added services tested by time and customer satisfaction. What matters is that the end to end system, including the equipment, the infrastructure, the satellites and the service support all work together to provide a reliable and consistent user experience. Don’t forget to ask about the VAR service delivery – this is the key touchpoint for the customer. Inmarsat’s stable of Value Added Resellers offer knowledge, experience and responsiveness second to none when it comes to engaging with customers and addressing their needs.” 

Avoiding volatility and risk

The risk of unproven and unreliable connectivity is something principals won’t tolerate. And if this pause in normal proceedings has enabled one thing to become crystal clear it’s how significant connectivity will be in the recovery of the BGA market.

“The pandemic has amplified the value of connectivity to everyone,” says Tang. “We are a global village where everything and everyone is connected. We no longer have the tolerance for anything but instant communication. As our customers eagerly return to the skies, to get back to business, and reestablish the physical ties that are still important to global businesses they cannot afford to be disconnected from the rest of the network.”

This is something that Inmarsat has been doing for aviation for over 30 years. Our network is designed for global mobility - this capability, and the stability it provides, eliminates any unnecessary risk and volatility – it’s predictable.

As Tang says: “Our focus and our customer’s requirements and demand for connectivity have grown with us. Jet ConneX has been a successful and reliable service for more than four years now, but the demand for this global service was something we anticipated more than 10 years ago. We don’t just have a 30-year history of providing the most reliable and consistent connectivity solutions for aviation worldwide, we also have a history of building ahead of need.”

Interest in private flying surges – with reliable connectivity as a key differentiator

The market-leading capabilities of Jet ConneX – designed for those who demand the gold standard – means it provides a seamless digital transition for its users from the ground to air. Since launch, there have been over 800 installations and the critical business jet OEMs (Gulfstream, Bombardier and Dassault) use the solution as their preferred line-fit option.

Of course none of this could be achieved without Inmarsat’s long-established global partner ecosystem. Thanks to the expertise offered by the likes of Satcom Direct, Honeywell and Collins Aerospace, Jet ConneX remains the preferred choice for business leaders.

As for the rest of the year and into 2021, Tang predicts a surge of interest in private flying through chartered, fractional or even outright ownership – not least because it’s the safest, most sanitary and controlled environment for principals looking to get back to business quickly. In a recent industry broadcast conference organized by Corporate Jet Investor, it was estimated that the average commercial flight involves 700 touchpoints, while a private aviation flight only involves 20. In the same conference, several private aviation industry experts shared the tremendous uptick they’ve seen in interest in private aviation due to concerns generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think you’ll see an associated surge in expectation that aircraft will come equipped with connectivity and not just linefit deliveries,” he explains. “As transactions for pre-owned aircraft ramp back up, we’ll continue to see the expectation where a connected aircraft will be valued much more and an unconnected one will be considered antiquated. OEMs and charter companies alike already see reliable and consistent global connectivity as a differentiator.”

Business aviation provides the necessary safety and security requirements businesses need to ensure the health and safety of their employees as alternatives carry more risk to principal welfare than ever. Additionally, the same productivity benefits that have always made business aviation appealing, have only increased as a result of rapid technological adoption. In this new world, principals will want to achieve more than ever before on a business jet – they will need to be able to do whatever they want to wherever they are flying, as fast as possible, whether it’s a board meeting, downloading highly confidential material for review or jumping on a video call with friends and family.

As demand grows for business aviation, Jet ConneX ensures this gold standard of service at all times. Global coverage and capacity are always assured, and as technology adapts, Inmarsat’s fully funded technology roadmap promises readiness for the future.

It’s this level of reassurance and predictability – bound up in the dynamic capabilities of our connectivity solutions and underpinned by Inmarsat’s promise of seamless consistency and reliability – that will assure even the most exacting BGA principal.