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Leading Cabin Services Solutions ProvidersThe partnership of Honeywell and Inmarsat has announced that they have completed the critical design review (CDR) for the GX Aviation avionics, and hope to gain certification later this year. Once certification is achieved, the product is expected to be introduced in spring 2015.

The GX Aviation system will bring ‘home equivalent’ wireless internet to both passenger aircraft and business jets elevating the experience for passengers in terms of connectivity and cabin services.

This follows the successful launch of Inmarsat’s latest Ka-band satellites, Inmarsat-5 F1, the first of three that will be launched this year. The new network will enhance global coverage and offer the high-speed connections that are in increasing demand in the industry.

The review will enable continued progress and is a milestone for the joint-managed project.

In-Flight Connectivity Solutions ProvidersOnly weeks after the U.S. lifted the ban on in-flight connectivity, Global Eagle Entertainment showcased their new satellite Internet system at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The company claims that their satellite connection provides a more reliable system than air-to-ground providers.

“The satellite is already there and it’s possible to have more bandwidth when needed,” said Simon McLellan, chief engineer for Row44, the technology division of California-based Global Eagle, continuing his explanation that a satellite connection, “allows you to expand the capacity when the demand grows.”

With the demand for passenger in-flight connectivity with mobiles and tablets, and with the limitations lifted, the sky is no longer the limit for aviation communications providers.

Global Eagle have already signed a deal with Southwest Airlines and are set to rival Gogo, who have announced modifications to their ground-based connections in order to provide a hybrid system that will utilise both land and satellite transmissions.

Installation and set up of the system will cost carriers in the region of $300,000 to $500,000 – a cost that will be recouped via passenger fees for the use of the in-flight connectivity services. Some carriers may offer a free connection to premium or first class passengers, but demand is so great for in-flight connectivity, that it will become a matter of competitive interest over the coming year.

Business aviation passengers travelling on private aircraft have enjoyed in-flight connectivity for some time, as expectations are high for these premium services when high-end executive travellers need to operated effectively in their airborne offices.

It is expected that many providers will follow the trend for in-flight connectivity, in spite of the mixed bag of opinions from some big airlines – we shall see!

 

Blogging from Space with in-flight internetWe have all heard of in-flight internet and many of us may have used it during long-haul flights.  In-flight internet providers are constantly striving for faster, cheaper and more accessible features for passengers.  But what about in-flight internet from space?

In-Flight Internet from Space may be here sooner than you think, as SatWest Communications prepare to test a temporary wi-fi hotspot in space on board a rocket.

“It’s our first test of the technology in space,” said Brian Barnett owner of SatWest, “We use the technology on the ground, and in airplanes already, and this will be the first test in space.”

Internet in Space will require an infrastructure to send messages and Mr Barnett is aware of the private sector demand for such technology, as well as Universities across the world.

The rocket will have aboard a satellite phone and an email device.  After launch in New Mexico, there will be a series of messages sent from high school students in Albuquerque – famous lines and quotes from space movies, to be exact.

Once receive by a Phoenix ground station, the messages will be relayed to the closest Iridium satellite to the rocket, which will be travelling at a maximum altitude of 112 kilometers, just past the edge of space.

Currently the International Space Station does have the facility to transmit messages to the ground via NASA systems and although in the experimental stages, the SatWest technology aims for a cheaper and simpler option with the permanent installation of wi-fi.

 

Aircraft Internet & Wi-Fi Services for Business AviationIn-flight Wi-Fi is not breaking news; its popularity continues to grow as passengers begin to expect more from flight operators in terms of connectivity.

In light of this, GoGo has introduced its latest in in-flight technology, giving Smartphone users the opportunity to make phone calls and text as though they were on the ground.

The GoGo air-to-ground connection will operate through the aircraft’s wireless network instead of the picocells, traditionally used for telephone connections.

New rules, sanctioned by the FAA, now give passengers permission to use their electronic devices; Smartphones and tablet technology during the entire flight, even during take-off and landing, of course, still subject to the requirements of the individual airlines.

Data transfers must still be restricted to ‘airplane mode’ and transmissions across cellular networks are still a ‘no-no’, but with a GoGo app, Smartphone users will be able to roam on the aircrafts in-flight service as though they were on the ground.

Other providers of such in-flight Wi-Fi solutions, such as ARINC Direct, offer seamless connectivity to business aviation passengers.  The business passenger places a generally higher demand upon the airline operators in terms of connectivity and welcome the ‘office-in-the-sky’ scenario.

In-Flight Wifi Service ProvidersThe first A320 family of Airbus, single-aisle jet aircraft to be fitted with the company’s Airline Network Architecture (ALNA v2) will soon roll off the assembly line in Toulouse, France.

The equipment will offer passengers internet access with in-flight Wifi and mobile telephone services in readiness for new relaxed rulings about the use of passenger technology in the air.

The A320 family will join the other Airbus A330, A380 and the new A350 XWB families to be refitted with the ALNA v2 equipment.

In-flight Wifi and GSM offerings are hot property in the aviation industry at the moment, with passenger demand for connectivity growing by the day.  In the business sector and private jets, it is expected, in order for company executives to be able to work as efficiently and effectively in the air as they can in their ground-based offices.

Service providers such as ARINC Direct bring a complete suite of passenger connectivity products to the table of business aviation and offer innovative, cost effective and seamlessly operational solutions to in-flight Wifi, telephone, fax and conference video with their unique Inmarsat and Iridium satellite services.

in flight wifiLast week, the UK’s OFCOM began a deliberation into the possibility of the authorisation of the use of ESOMPs to enable in-flight wifi with speeds capable of streaming content from sites such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix.

If the proposed license of a new satellite system is approved, the connections, up to 10 times faster than current in-flight wifi could be available in the air, on the ground within the UK rail networks and on-board ships as soon as 2014.

In the U.S. the FCC have already authorised the use of Earth Stations on Mobile Platforms (Sumps) which are the key to enabling the fast connections on a global scale.

It is unclear, as yet, just how many of the British-owned airlines will actually use the technology, given the inevitability of high costs.  Upgrades to equipment would be needed and some airlines are reluctant to commit at this stage, as users on-board may be dismissive of the high prices, preferring to remain connected with the 3 or 4G mobile option.

ARINC, U.S. based industry-leading passenger communications providers offer, under the US regulations, next-generation passenger connectivity solutions for commercial and business jet aircraft with CabinConnect.

in-flight wifiIt looks like the days of turning off our mobile devices on aircraft could one day be behind us as the demand grows for passenger in-flight wifi connectivity.  Many passengers now want to tweet their journey or update Facebook statuses as they fly, posting photos of the clouds, their meals or cities from the air.  Social networking, as we all know, is huge and in-flight wifi is a necessary fuel for that fire.

Recent surveys show that a quarter of British holidaying passengers out of 5,000 believe that free in-flight wifi is not only necessary, but a human right, according to HolidayExtras, although it is also recorded that 84% of these passengers are unwilling to pay the current high rates charged for in-flight wifi.

Now that the US FAA declared the use of the new models of mobile phones and device safe to use in ‘airplane mode,’ the floodgates are open in terms of demand for cheaper, faster in-flight wifi connectivity and this leaves many airlines thinking about the possibilities for revenue versus the inevitable costs involved with upgrades to their existing equipment.

Within the next few years, Inmarsat, the British satellite communications network, will be launching three new satellites, which will give global connectivity possibilities and could spell faster and cheaper in-flight wifi, but, until then, with only four commercial airlines currently offering free in-flight wifi, competition is slim and the cost implications for the passenger still high.

While business passengers enjoy the versatility of in-flight wifi, it looks to be a while before the demand is met for the average holidaymaker.

in-flight wifi

In-Flight WiFi

According to many airlines, in-flight WiFi provision gives them a ‘competitive advantage’ in the commercial aviation industry.

As the competition grows fiercer, it seems that in-flight wi-fi will become less of an advantage and more of a normality according to a report by ‘routehappy.com,’ a site that ranks airlines.  Their report says that currently 38% of US flights offer internet connectivity and long haul or the most popular routes, such as non-connecting California-New York are offering in-flight WiFi.

Although it is still a small percentage of flights overall, it shows that, as passenger demands for in-flight WiFi grows, the more likely that it will become standard practice and airlines will be looking to offer faster, better and cheaper in-flight WiFi to remain competitive.

The debate grows after the FAA’s announcement last week that it will be lightening up about the use of electronic devices on-board, allowing passengers on certain flights to carry on using their Smartphones instead of the insistence of powering down before take off.

Most airlines provide ‘GoGo’ for in-flight WiFi, but with dramatic price fluctuations and intermittent signal, the marketplace is broadening and the opening into business aviation for passengers wishing to work in the sky and on the move means that a push into the Ku-band for international connectivity is the way forward.

Aircraft in-flight Wifi provider, ARINC, already offer truly global connectivity with their Inmarsat/iridium satellite network connectivity and are leaders in the business of aviation communications.

Gogo expects that in-flight wifi for business travellers will become a required expense and not an optional one and are experimenting on new pricing models as it is still early days for in-flight wifi connectivity.

Only time will tell…