- Özgür Töre
Emirates has selected Inmarsat as the inflight connectivity provider for its incoming fleet of Airbus A350s, as part of a commitment by the United Arab Emirates airline to ensure passengers ‘fly better’.
The milestone agreement marks an expansion of the long-standing partnership between Emirates and Inmarsat. It will enable the airline to provide advanced, high-speed inflight broadband using Inmarsat’s award-winning GX Aviation solution onboard 50 Airbus A350s, which enter service in 2024. As a result, passengers will be able to stay connected with family and friends, browse the internet, and enjoy social media, all from the comfort of their seat.
The Airbus A350s will be the first Emirates aircraft to take advantage of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which powers the world’s first and only globally available high-speed broadband network, ensuring passengers can enjoy uninterrupted global connectivity, no matter their destination.
The GX network currently consists of five Ka-band satellites and will be further enhanced with the addition of seven more satellite payloads as part of Inmarsat's fully funded technology roadmap. This includes two Inmarsat-6s, the most sophisticated commercial communications satellites ever built, both of which are scheduled to enter service this year.
These will be followed by three additional satellites in geostationary orbit – adding speed, capacity, and resilience – and two in highly elliptical orbit, which launch later this year and enter service next year, enabling the world’s only commercial mobile broadband service for aircraft flying in higher elevations and across the Arctic, such as routes between the Middle East and North America.
William Huot-Marchand, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Vice President of Inflight Connectivity, said “We are delighted that Emirates has joined the GX Aviation family. This will be the first fleet with Emirates to be equipped with our highly advanced GX Aviation solution.
"GX Aviation is well positioned to meet growing passenger expectations around a digital onboard experience, offering high-speed connectivity with uninterrupted global coverage across all flight routes, even over the Arctic. We look forward to working closely with Emirates on the rollout and other exciting innovations that build on its excellent track record of providing a best-in-class passenger experience.”
Adel al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, said “Delivering a world-class onboard experience has always been paramount to Emirates and we understand the importance of being connected during flights. Over the years, we have worked closely with Inmarsat and our supplier partners to ensure all our aircraft offer Wi-Fi connectivity. We look forward to finding ways and options to improve the connectivity on-board our aircraft by utilising GX Aviation for our Airbus A350 fleet. The advanced capabilities being introduced by the forthcoming satellites are particularly important, as this will boost capacity across our global network, including aircraft flying over the Arctic for routes between the Middle East and America.”
GX Aviation’s truly global inflight connectivity will unlock a range of new possibilities for Emirates. With its ice platform having been awarded Skytrax’s World's Best Inflight Entertainment 17 years in a row, adding non-stop global connectivity to its onboard offering will further reinforce the airline’s unwavering commitment to deliver a world-class passenger experience. This is more important than ever, with Inmarsat’s latest Passenger Experience Survey finding that more than three-quarters (77%) of passengers worldwide say inflight Wi-Fi is important to them – 40% more than before the pandemic. Moreover, 97% say they now use their personal devices onboard, so it’s clear that providing a reliable, high-quality, and continuous connection is crucial to giving passengers the best experience.