Shenzhen Airlines conducts breakthrough test flights using Inmarsat’s SB-S connectivity solution on Boeing 737 aircraft


Successful demonstration of digital cockpit application, conducted alongside CTTIC, marks an important first for Chinese aviation, laying the foundation for ambitious digital transformation efforts.

Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, today announced that its SB-S connectivity platform for aviation operations and safety has successfully powered the first ever test of a digital cockpit application on a Boeing 737 aircraft within Chinese domestic civil aviation.

The tests were conducted by Shenzhen Airlines, in partnership with Inmarsat and China Transport Telecommunication Information Group Company Limited (CTTIC), during a number of flights between Beijing and Chongqing. SB-S provided a two-way communication channel between Aircraft Operations Centre (AOC) flight dispatchers and airline crew, allowing multiple different activities to be demonstrated, such as text message verification, video communication, voice messages and 6D position tracking.

In addition, flight dispatchers were able to send the crew uploads of meteorological radar pictures in real time, while the crew sent pictures of cockpit equipment and conducted video calls mid-flight.

SB-S, winner of the Jane’s Air Traffic Control (ATC) Technology Award, combines cutting-edge satellite technology with secure IP connectivity to meet the needs of aviation data communications in the digital age. As the world’s first and only global, secure broadband platform for aviation operations and safety, it provides airlines with capabilities and benefits no other satellite communications provider can deliver.

Zhang Yi, Inmarsat’s China Managing Director, said: “Our SB-S connectivity platform has already been retrofitted on more than 130 Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft from the Shenzhen Airlines fleet, in partnership with CTTIC. The success of these recent test flights are not only a significant milestone in our continued rollout of SB-S with Shenzhen Airlines, but also supports China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, which sets out ambitious targets to develop and advance the country’s civil aviation industry.

“We look forward to building on the positive momentum of these flights and exploring how SB-S can be used to advance integrated cockpit communication with Shenzhen Airlines.”

Shenzhen Airlines’ maintenance engineers and CTTIC conducted ground tests and inspections

Further information

About Inmarsat 

Inmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. It owns and operates the world’s most diverse global portfolio of mobile telecommunications satellite networks, and holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band, Ka-band and S-band, enabling unparalleled breadth and diversity in the solutions it provides. Inmarsat’s long-established global distribution network includes not only the world’s leading channel partners but also its own strong direct retail capabilities, enabling end to end customer service assurance.

The company has an unrivalled track record of operating the world’s most reliable global mobile satellite telecommunications networks, sustaining business and mission critical safety & operational applications for more than 40 years. It is also a major driving force behind technological innovation in mobile satellite communications, sustaining its leadership through a substantial investment and a powerful network of technology and manufacturing partners.

Inmarsat operates across a diversified portfolio of sectors with the financial resources to fund its business strategy and holds leading positions in the Maritime, Government, Aviation and Enterprise satcoms markets, operating consistently as a trusted, responsive and high-quality partner to its customers across the globe.

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Jonathan Sinnatt/Matthew Knowles
Corporate Communications 
Tel: +44 (0)20 7728 1518/1355
[email protected]   

Robeel Haq
Head of Communications, Inmarsat Aviation
Tel:  +44 (0)20 7728 1352
[email protected]