The landmark contract signed by Inmarsat and AirAsia Group, through its subsidiary ROKKI, covers all existing and future Airbus A320 and A330 aircraft operated across the AirAsia Group, including the long-haul operator AirAsia X. The agreement also has the scope to include any additional aircraft types due for delivery in the coming years, such as the Airbus A350.
The first installations of GX Aviation onboard AirAsia Group aircraft, together with the launch of commercial service, are both scheduled to commence in the first half of 2018.
Inmarsat Aviation President Philip Balaam said, “AirAsia Group is one of the aviation industry’s leading innovators and we are delighted that GX Aviation will play a key role in their future service offering. The fact that we have signed this contract within months of announcing a Memorandum of Understanding is testament to AirAsia’s confidence in GX Aviation and builds on its successful track record as a leading customer of our SwiftBroadband service.
“The scale of this contract, covering more than 120 existing aircraft and one of the industry’s largest orderbooks for additional aircraft, showcases our status as a global market leader in advanced inflight broadband. Inmarsat has the fastest growing service uptake in our market, with, following this agreement, more than 1,300 aircraft, expected under signed contracts, both installed and under backlog, for our next generation GX Aviation and European Aviation Network (EAN) solutions.”
AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes said, “GX Aviation will form the backbone of AirAsia’s digital cabin offering. By delivering inflight connectivity that’s indistinguishable from what you get on-ground, our guests will be able to stay connected in ways that matter to them, whether it’s streaming movies or music, checking social media, messaging friends or catching up with work emails. Coupled with our ROKKI entertainment and e-commerce platform featuring free movies, music, articles and games as well as shopping, AirAsia guests will soon be able to enjoy one of the richest digital inflight experiences in Asia, while also enhancing our knowledge of our guests with very rich data.”
This contract supports Inmarsat’s strategy of providing airlines with tailored scalable capacity by designing, owning and operating a global network of High-Throughput Satellites (HTS). GX Aviation is the world’s first in-flight connectivity solution with seamless, reliable high-speed global coverage provided through a single operator. It is the only service in the market that guarantees minimum data rates, ensuring that airline passengers can browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an onboard connectivity experience comparable to the mobile broadband services they may receive on the ground.
AirAsia Group will connect to the GX network using exclusive new JetWave terminals produced by Honeywell Aerospace. The terminals are designed for ease of installation and maintenance to assure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market, allowing installation with minimal labour and using standard tools available in maintenance hangars.