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Inflight broadband is set to take off in APAC

More and more airlines sign up for Wi-Fi in the sky

Airlines across Asia-Pacific have been rushing to get connected. So who’s signed up? And what will high-quality, global inflight broadband mean for airlines in the region? 

Singapore Airlines is getting connected

Singapore Airlines got the ball rolling in September 2017 when SITAONAIR activated GX Aviation on one of the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The plane will operate with SITAONAIR’s full suite of high-speed cabin connectivity services, including its inflight Wi-Fi hub, mobile data services and digitised devices for cabin crew. 

SITAONAIR will continue rolling the service out on other aircraft in the Singapore Airlines fleet, continuing the five-year partnership between the two companies.

Singapore Airlines has also unveiled new cabin products for its Airbus A380 fleet, the first major revamp in 10 years. The media launch revealed new first-class suite products with standalone full-flat beds measuring 27in by 76in, which can be stowed when not in use. There’s also a 21in wide leather chair in the suite, and the new, revamped planes will be equipped with Inmarsat’s GX Aviation.

Broadband is coming to the Philippine Airlines fleet

Philippine Airlines has also decided to make its high-speed passenger connectivity ambitions a reality. As well as being installed across the existing B777 fleet that currently uses SwiftBroadband, GX Aviation will be line-fitted to the airline’s new Airbus A350s and A321s.

Once up and running, SITAONAIR’s bespoke inflight connectivity package will deliver high-speed, consistent connectivity to both passengers and crews.

Air New Zealand is trialling GX too

In October 2017, Air New Zealand began trialling its new inflight Wi-Fi service – powered by GX Aviation – on one of its long-haul Boeing 777-300 aircraft. Over the coming months, the airline will roll out Wi-Fi capability across its international jet fleet.

Air New Zealand Boeing 777

"Travellers today expect fast, reliable broadband wherever they are, whether it's on the ground or 30,000 feet in the air"

AirAsia Group signs contract to offer Inmarsat’s GX Aviation on more than 120 aircraft

The deal covers all existing and future Airbus A320 and A330 aircraft across AirAsia's network, which includes long-haul carrier AirAsia X. The deal may also cover other types of future aircraft, like the Airbus A350.

Inmarsat Aviation President Philip Balaam said: “The scale of this contract, covering more than 120 existing aircraft and one of the industry’s largest order-books for additional aircraft, showcases our status as a global market leader in advanced inflight broadband.”

And the APAC connectivity revolution continues

Collins Aerospace recently made an intriguing announcement that ‘a large Asia Pacific-based airline’ has selected the firm to provide connectivity to its fleet of 100 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

CabinConnect™, the wireless inflight connectivity and entertainment solution from Collins Aerospace, will enable passengers to surf the internet, use social media, check their emails and stream on-board entertainment using their personal devices.

Why are airlines keen to connect?

Sky High Economics – a new study by the London School of Economics – shows that a huge $10.3bn broadband-enabled ancillary revenue opportunity is coming to the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, a 2017 survey of 9,000 airline passengers revealed that travellers now consider Wi-Fi an essential freedom, rather than a luxury.

Airlines now recognise that this kind of service is a must for modern-day flyers. “Travellers today expect fast, reliable broadband wherever they are, whether it's on the ground or 30,000 feet in the air,” says Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia. 

Way more than Wi-Fi

As the skies get busier, airlines will also need the very best inflight safety solutions to enable optimum use of precious airspace. One of Asia’s largest carriers, Shenzhen Airlines, is now flying with SB-S, Inmarsat’s next generation IP-based broadband service for the operations and safety flight deck. It makes Shenzhen the first commercial air transport carrier to install next generation flight deck broadband on narrow body A320s.

In November, Inmarsat Aviation won the Inflight APAC Connectivity Enablement Award. The award 'celebrates the connected cabin' in aviation and Inmarsat won against other providers in the region. Alexander Preston, Inflight editor said, ''Inmarsat's future-proofing investment in providing reliability connectivity via its GX Aviation satellite constellation and JetWave terminal was cited as the decisive factor by the independent judging panel. This award acknowledges the operational and passenger experience benefits which GX offers. The Inflight team congratulates Inmarsat on their ongoing commitment to inflight connectivity.''

High-quality inflight Wi-Fi has the power to transform passenger experience, safety and operational efficiency. Now, the leading aviation players in the Asia-Pacific region – and their passengers – are enjoying the benefits that this connectivity brings.