Airbus will develop innovative satellites with greater capacity, capabilities and agility to cement GX Aviation’s long-term future as the world’s flagship inflight broadband solution.
30 May 2019: Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, today announced a contract with Airbus Defence & Space (Airbus) to develop a pioneering new generation of satellites for its Global Xpress (GX) network, which will mark a transformative step-change in inflight broadband capabilities for airlines across the world.
Airbus has been selected to deliver Inmarsat’s newest fleet of satellites as part of a long-term strategy to develop the most agile, flexible, diverse and cost-effective constellation ever conceived. The satellites, named GX7, 8 & 9, are optimised for real-time mobility and feature thousands of dynamically-formed beams that direct capacity with laser-like precision over high-demand areas.
With focused, ultra-high-power capacity layered over high demand flight routes and airport hubs during peak hours, the satellites will revolutionise aviation connectivity. The network will immediately relocate capacity in line with real-time flight patterns, new airline routes and seasonal demand surges across the globe, future-proofing the ability for airline customers to invest in a consistently high quality of service for passengers into the future.
The network can rapidly grow capacity for customers through in-orbit repositioning or even launching a new satellite, making it perfectly suited to meet the aviation industry’s ever-changing needs. In addition, each satellite will be equipped for remote upgrades to ensure the network remains at the cutting-edge of innovation.
Breaking from industry tradition to enable a faster response to growing customer demand, the next-generation GX satellites will be delivered significantly faster than traditional procurement lifecycles.
Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “GX is the most advanced and agile satellite network ever conceived and no other provider has a clearer commitment to technology enhancements. Building upon our 40 year heritage in global mobile connectivity, the next evolution of GX is made possible by our investment in an infrastructure built specifically for robust and secure mobility – from high performance satellites, ground stations, hardware, software and cybersecurity, to our unrivalled partner ecosystem.”
The new satellites are scheduled to launch from 2023 and build upon the existing GX high-speed global network, which consists of four satellites already in operation and three more being launched over the next three years, starting with the GX5 satellite later in 2019.
The GX network powers Inmarsat’s award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband, which has world-leading airline customers such as Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia, Norwegian, Avianca, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings, Citilink, Garuda and Philippine Airlines. The newly announced satellites provide backward compatibility, allowing existing customers to benefit from even greater capabilities of the GX network.
“Inmarsat pioneered an exciting new era for global inflight connectivity with the launch of GX Aviation and we are proud to once again be at the forefront of industry innovation with our game-changing new generation of satellites,” added Balaam. “The next evolution of GX assures customers that their requirements will continue to be met, not only today, but into the next decade and beyond. It also demonstrates once again that we have the strategic vision, expertise and financial commitment to stay ahead of competitors.”
Director of Corporate Communications
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Head of Communications, Aviation
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Inmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. It owns and operates the world’s best global portfolio of satellite networks, specifically designed for customer mobility, 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 networks, sustaining business and mission critical safety & operational applications for 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 and Aviation satcoms markets, operating consistently as a trusted, responsive and high quality partner to its customers across the globe.