Transforming aviation’s operational capabilities

With passenger numbers expected to continue rising in the long term, the challenges around fuel efficiency, reducing CO2 emissions, optimising airspace management and digitising aircraft maintenance are key priorities for commercial airlines.

Now more than ever, airlines are looking for every cost saving possible and the operational agility to unlock commercial and performance opportunities.

Aviation’s data revolution

Modern aircraft generate huge quantities of data from their various systems on a second-by-second basis with the Airbus A350, for example, producing four gigabytes per flying hour. This big data has immense value if airlines can process it efficiently and in a timely manner. The widespread use of real-time operations data was restricted until now by the lack of secure, broadband-speed connectivity that was distinct from passenger connectivity. This is changing with our award-winning operational connectivity services.

With our correctly connected aircraft, secure IP connectivity is now being delivered to the electronic flight bag (EFB) and it’s a game-changer for creating new operational efficiencies and optimisations.

Our services

Our offerings for secure, real-time operational data utilise our global, robust and reliable L-band network. With two further L-band payloads on our next-generation I-6 satellite constellation, capacity is future-proofed. SB-S and SwiftBroadband cover all major aviation routes, offering the same reliability, redundancy and resilience for 99.9% network availability. Quite simply, it’s the best way to power your EFB while in flight to give airlines game-changing operational advantages.


SB-S has taken the digital aircraft revolution to another level. With linefit positions secured on Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and new lightweight terminals, SB-S is the ultimate global, secure IP connection for operations and safety communications. Its capabilities are approved for ICAO’s Aircraft Control Domain (ACD) data usage, such as flight tracking, flight data streaming (the so-called ‘Black Box in the Cloud’), as well as pilot communications. SB-S also offers IP channels that can be dedicated to operations usage – with data packages optimised for data-rich EFB applications.

SwiftBroadband Operational IP

SwiftBroadband connectivity is already available to many wide-body aircraft with Classic Aero satcom terminals. This provides an easy way to introduce segregated IP connectivity to support operational applications outside of ACD data usage – such as EFB apps which use real-time data to help pilots optimise flights and enhance operations.

Fuel savings, reduced delays and fewer emissions

Digitisation using connected technologies can be applied to almost every aspect of airline operations, meaning that calculating an overall cost-saving opportunity can be complex and challenging.  A report from the London School of Economics (LSE), Sky High Economics, explored the many ways that operational connectivity creates cost savings for airlines.

Just a few examples are:

  • Aircraft fuel accounts for up to 20% of airline operating costs. Optimised flight planning made possible by inflight connectivity has been estimated to yield 2-3% fuel savings per flight.
  • 70% of all flight delays are caused by bad weather. Using real-time weather data, the connected aircraft can avoid areas of severe weather with greater confidence and precision, yielding annual savings of around 1% of fuel burn.
  • Crew scheduling issues are estimated to account for 3% of all global flight delays. Satcom connectivity can enable proactive crew management, maximising on-time departures.
  • Unscheduled maintenance accounts for approximately half of an airline’s delays. Real-time data can facilitate predictive maintenance and enable engine performance monitoring from the ground.
  • If emergency diversions were reduced through connected telemedicine, savings could total from $3.7 billion and $7 billion over the next 15 years.

All together, the connected aircraft, enabled by satellite communications, has the potential to save airlines around $15 billion annually in operational efficiencies by 2035. A number of leading airlines globally are pressing ahead with evaluations of operational connectivity in order to gain an edge and secure a competitive advantage at the front of the adoption curve.

An ecosystem of partners driving digital operations innovations

Our operational connectivity solutions come with yet another advantage – Inmarsat’s own digital distribution platform called the Aviation Certified Application Provider (CAP) Programme. It’s a cutting edge initiative that allows application developers to deliver their innovative operational applications on the SB-S platform, much like apps on today’s smartphones. The aim is to offer products that bring operational efficiency, flexibility and benefits to all of Inmarsat’s airline partners. As more and more developers launch applications on the programme, powerful new capabilities become available to make flying more efficient.

  • Lufthansa Systems - Lido Charting Application - Aeronautical navigation database and aids
  • Vistair – DocuNet – EFB content management and distribution
  • SITAONAIR – eWAS - Real-time, optimized views of weather phenomena
  • Pacelab – Flight Profile Optimiser - Live aircraft and weather data to advise flight crews on the most cost-efficient speeds and altitudes
  • Smart4Aviation - Quick access to briefing, weather, NOTAMs

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