28 July 2016: Inmarsat partner Lufthansa Technik has been certified to install Global Xpress (GX) Aviation on long-haul Airbus A340 aircraft.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approval marks another important milestone in ensuring Inmarsat’s next generation in-flight connectivity service is available as linefit or retrofit on every major airframe in the market.
Lufthansa Technik received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the EASA after it successfully installed a Honeywell Aerospace-designed Ka-band antenna for GX Aviation onboard an Airbus A340 aircraft in Germany.
The STC validates and approves Lufthansa Technik’s highly efficient installation process for the Airbus A340 family, which can be completed within days or during regular maintenance schedules – including all electrical modifications inside and outside the aircraft fuselage.
GX Aviation has attracted extremely strong interest from airlines, business aviation operators and airplane lessors with long-range aircraft such as the Airbus A340 family in their fleets. Hundreds of A340s are currently operated worldwide and, in total, more than 600 million passengers have flown over 20 million flight hours on the popular wide-body jetliners.
The STC was awarded within weeks of Lufthansa Technik receiving certification from EASA to install GX Aviation on the Airbus A320 short-haul aircraft family, which forms the backbone for nearly half of the world’s aircraft fleets.
GX Aviation will launch this year as the world’s first broadband internet solution for aircraft with seamless global coverage, delivered through a single operator. It allows passengers and airline crew to browse the internet, check social media, stream videos, access company resources and more, with similar fast and reliable broadband as they receive on the ground.
GX Aviation has been selected by airlines including Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Air Astana and Jazeera Airways, in addition to leading business jet manufacturers. Final global testing is now underway with Inmarsat’s partner Honeywell Aerospace, whose exclusive JetWave terminals will connect airlines to the unprecedented new in-flight connectivity offering.
Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “GX Aviation has become widely recognised within the global aviation industry as being the ultimate new connectivity solution for commercial airlines, private jet operators and aircraft lessors, allowing them to provide a superior passenger experience and gain a valuable competitor advantage.
“The service has been developed over the past five years as the only end-to-end solution in which every component – from the satellites, ground network and terminals to the cabin networks, internet features and support – has been engineered with mobility in mind.
“It will be widely available on all popular aircraft types, both as retrofit and linefit, to ensure maximum flexibility for airline fleets. This is reflected in the STCs received to date – ranging from Airbus A340 long-haul, Boeing 757 medium-haul and Airbus A320 short-haul aircraft to Bombardier’s 5000 and 600 private jets – and there are several additional certification programmes currently underway as we approach the finishing line for launching GX Aviation.”
The Airbus A320 and A340 certifications have highlighted the success of Inmarsat’s long-term partnership with Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik, which is a trusted partner for installing the required systems and components on board aircraft, together with aeronautical and statutory regulations.
Bernd Freckmann, Vice President Base Maintenance Services at Lufthansa Technik, said: “We are delighted about obtaining the certification from EASA to install GX Aviation on Airbus A320 and A340 aircraft within weeks of each other and expect to keep the momentum going with follow-up STCs for Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 aircraft before the end of 2016.
“Interest from airlines has been extremely positive, especially at a time when they are investing heavily to enhance their passenger experience and brand value. Our consistent, stable and fast in-flight broadband experience has also appealed to other markets, such as governments and private operators.
“Inmarsat, Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Systems are leaders in our respective markets and by combining our individual capabilities, we can offer a powerful multifunctional connectivity solution that is unparalleled in global aviation. Our partnership was formed as part of the GX Aviation contract signed by the Lufthansa Group, but is also available to other airlines.
“We have received extremely positive interest at a time of major investments by airlines to enhance their passenger experience and brand value. In addition, our consistent, stable and fast in-flight broadband experience has appealed to private operators, governments and other markets.”