GX Aviation achieves key milestone

16 June 2015: Inmarsat and Honeywell Aerospace have successfully completed the first phase of hardware and satellite network flight tests for GX Aviation broadband services, paving the way for a new era of in-flight wireless connectivity similar to what is available at home or in the office.

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Honeywell’s JetWave-branded hardware enables airplanes to connect to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite constellation for GX Aviation global Ka-band in-flight Wi-Fi services.

The tests, which included streaming YouTube videos and live radio, online conference calls, downloading files and more, were conducted in the UK this month (June), validating GX Aviation’s ability to deliver high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity while over land and water.

Successful connection

The tests demonstrated a successful connection between the JetWave hardware and Inmarsat’s first Global Xpress satellite, I-5 F1, which powers GX Aviation services for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. This follows the ground-based high-speed and performance tests completed in March 2015.

“We are on the cusp of a new era of connectivity in the skies, and the successful testing of our JetWave hardware with Inmarsat’s GX Aviation network is a critical step in getting this service ready for public use,” said Jack Jacobs, vice president of Safety and Connectivity at Honeywell Aerospace.

“Airlines, passengers and pilots continue to demand better, more consistent and faster in-flight Wi-Fi to make their jobs easier and travel experience better. The successful results of the recent tests signify that Honeywell and Inmarsat will soon satisfy these demands.”

Broadband experience

Inmarsat Aviation president Leo Mondale said, “These flight tests are an exciting step toward the launch of GX Aviation and bringing a true broadband experience to the market.

“With GX Aviation, airlines and their passengers can finally experience a connectivity service equivalent to what they are used to on the ground.

“Just having Wi-Fi on board is no longer a differentiator – in the future it will be about the quality of the service. With GX Aviation and Honeywell’s JetWave equipment, Inmarsat will provide a seamless, consistent passenger experience, across all airline routes.

Connected aircraft

“Everyone is talking about the ‘connected aircraft’ or ‘e-enabled aircraft’ – until now this has just been a vision because no one has had access to a true fast internet service. GX Aviation changes all that. We will set the standards for broadband in the sky.”

Mondale says the team of Honeywell, Inmarsat and iDirect staff are working very closely to bring GX to market. “This is the coming together of the first part of the eco-system. Next step is announcing our line-fit arrangements.

“And we will be standing behind our value added reseller partners to support them to meet the needs of their airline customers, ensuring airlines have a choice of service providers to meet their individual needs for in the cabin.”