PHOENIX, 10 Dec. 2013. Inmarsat’s GX Aviation program harnesses Honeywell Aerospace (NYSE:HON) technology to provide travelers with a home- and office-like wireless connectivity experience even at 30,000 feet by the year 2015. Inmarsat launched the first of three satellites in the Global Xpress constellation network, the Inmarsat-5 F1.
“GX Aviation is changing the face of in-flight connectivity,” explains Miranda Mills, Inmarsat president, aviation. “It will be the world’s first global Ka-band network, specifically designed to provide connectivity to aircraft, and will enable a whole range of new services for both passengers and crew.”
The three-satellite constellation will deliver “the world’s first truly global, high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi, offering passengers, airlines, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) consistent connectivity for commercial, military, and business aircraft over land and sea,” officials say.
“Passengers want to stay connected online even when they are flying at 30,000 feet. They expect to have an experience that mimics the Internet in their home or office,” says Jack Jacobs, vice president of marketing & product management at Honeywell. “With the launch of Inmarsat’s first satellite in the Global Xpress constellation, passengers, and airlines will get exactly what they desire: faster in-flight Wi-Fi that provides everybody with the ability to shop, access email, connect with friends on social networking sites, and enjoy live streaming for entertainment with a consistent connection across oceans and regions.”
The F1 satellite will first cover the Indian Ocean region. The remaining satellites are expected to launch in the second and third quarters of 2014, providing global coverage by the end of 2014.
In September 2013, Honeywell released a survey of more than 3,000 global airline passengers that signaled a major shift in the definition of airplane passenger comfort and confirmed an increasing demand for global, transoceanic, fast, and consistent in-flight wireless connectivity.
The survey showed:
More than three in four fliers surveyed think wireless access should always be available on airplanes.
Almost 90 percent of fliers would give up an amenity on their flight — preferred seats, extra legroom and more — to be guaranteed a faster and more consistent wireless connection.
Beyond passenger comfort, the Honeywell-developed avionics and hardware for GX Aviation will more effectively enable new services for aircraft operators and airlines, such as predictive maintenance and better aircraft communications that will take advantage of fast, consistent, and global connectivity, essentially creating a truly “connected aircraft,” officials say.