Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world's leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced today that Qatar Airways has become the first Middle East megacarrier to select its advanced new GX Aviation in-flight broadband solution.
In a landmark agreement, the next-generation service will initially be available to Qatar Airways passengers on board more than 130 aircraft, consisting of Airbus A350s and Boeing 777s.
GX Aviation technology has already been equipped on Qatar Airways' latest Airbus A350s; installations on the airline's remaining Airbus A350s, together with the Boeing 777s, will commence on a retrofit basis from this summer.
GX Aviation is the world's first in-flight connectivity solution with reliable, seamless high-speed global coverage provided through a single operator. It allows airline passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an on board connectivity experience on par with broadband services available on the ground.
Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: "Qatar Airways is one of the world's most successful, fastest growing and in-demand airlines, with an unwavering focus on providing the best service possible. It has offered Inmarsat's SwiftBroadband connectivity solution for over five years now. However, with our next generation GX Aviation service now live, its upgrade to true broadband on more than 130 aircraft initially will ensure passengers have access to consistent, reliable and high-speed connectivity wherever they fly.
"Qatar Airways considered all available options in the connectivity market and selected Inmarsat due to our unique infrastructure, proven aerospace partners, and committed long-term development strategy. Broadband transformation on the ground is already well advanced and we are able to transfer that into the very challenging in-flight environment, working with Qatar Airways to make connectivity a success. Our networks are engineered with multiple layers for redundancy and global coverage. Our design philosophy is to scale up capacity over time to fit the route systems of our airline customers and reflect the industry's real needs."
Qatar Airways' rollout of GX Aviation-equipped aircraft is scheduled to commence this summer. The service will integrate with Qatar Airways' award-winning in-flight entertainment system and ensure that connectivity initiatives, such as its passenger app and aircraft technology, will be strengthened using dependable in-flight broadband. GX Aviation also complements the airline's latest passenger experience innovations, including its unique and revolutionary new Qsuite premium travel experience.
His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, said: "Qatar Airways prides itself on assessing and understanding the latest market innovations, demonstrating over and over again our ability to ride and guide trends in passenger preferences. By partnering with Inmarsat, we are confident that Qatar Airways will meet the highest expectations in the industry for in-flight broadband services, and avail of the many other new opportunities powered by connectivity."
Qatar Airways will connect to the GX network using exclusive high-efficiency JetWave terminals produced by Inmarsat partner 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.
The selection of GX Aviation follows a separate announcement that Qatar Airways has activated an advanced new space-based system, supplied by Inmarsat, to track all of its flights across the world. Inmarsat worked exclusively with Qatar Airways to develop this cutting-edge solution, which utilises Inmarsat's market-leading satellite technology to provide the exact real-time location of the airline's aircraft in latitude and longitude.