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Other Resellers and Distributors of Inmarsat GX Aviation | Business Aviation NewsAs Inmarsat’s latest satellite constellation, Global Xpress, or GX as it is commonly known, nears completion, Honeywell Aerospace are thinking ahead, and planning to deliver equipment to airlines ready for the entry of GX into service later this year.

GX will deliver high-speed satellite broadband over the Ka-band, which is set to completely change in-flight connectivity with speeds of up to 50Mbps.

The possibilities for the use of GX include mobile technology, which is a burgeoning sector in both commercial and corporate aviation. The benefits will be felt in the cabin and on the flight deck, where real-time applications for pilots and flight crew, such as flight deck weather, flight tracking and inflight messaging will increase safety aspects across many flight operations.

Other Leading Providers of Inflight Internet & CommunicationsGogo, global aviation communications providers, who recently acquired FAA regulatory approval for its in-flight connectivity solution, has today announced that it may break its own records for installs during 2015.

With a backlog of more than 1000 commercial aircraft installs and a growing base in the business aviation sector, the company expects that at least 50% of its backlog will be scheduled and installed this year, which will break records for the company, who also expect to bring online 500 additional commercial sector installs by the end of the year.

In-flight connectivity solutions are big business this year and with upgrades and retrofits for NextGen systems, Gogo and other global communications providers are in for a busy time!

Inmarsat Satellite Communications Systems for Business AviationInmarsat, British satellite communications network is considering the possibility of becoming a direct provider of its integrated air-to-ground (ATG)-S band inflight connectivity service, soon to be launched in Europe. Currently, Inmarsat partners with resellers for its services.

Leo Mondale, Inmarsat president of aviation said, “Going direct is not a strategy or goal of ours per say, but we’re looking at a pretty dramatically changing environment when giant name brands in telecommunications are entering the business, and so there is much higher interest in adjacent markets like mobile communications to cause us to want to study the right way to go to the market.”

Although no fixed plans have been settled, Inmarsat are considering an industry sector that is consistently selling bundles, and following ViaSat’s decision to sell directly to airlines, partnering with Thales/LiveTV, the satellite giant is looking at the sector with a different set of eyes.

“We are actually just a connectivity provider,” says Mondale. We don’t build equipment, and we don’t want to sell content. Our bundle is multiple connectivity platforms, given to the right geography, irrespective of what type of aircraft or how big a fleet. That makes us different because we’re not saying ‘buy IFE and we’ll give you connectivity for free’. We say ‘you decide, and we want to give you the best connectivity.”

Inmarsat are in no hurry to make a decision, and are considering all their options. Current reseller partnerships will not be affected.

Cabin Connect for Comprehensive SolutionsRockwell Collins, through its acquisition of ARINC Inc. last year plan to become a one-stop-shop for airlines for IFE and on-board connectivity solutions.

Cabin Connect, operating over Inmarsat SwiftBroadband, provides Wi-Fi and inflight connectivity on a global scale. Next year, via its recently-finalised agreement with Inmarsat to become a Value Added Reseller for Global Xpress – GX Aviation – Rockwell Collins will focus on Cabin Connect retrofitting, urging customers to begin now with Cabin Connect on the lower bandwidth of L-band SwiftBroadband and upgrade to Ka-band ‘when you and your customers are ready’.

Cabin Connect, with its cabin connectivity solution, plus avionics and ACARS datalink services for the flight deck, could deliver a complete package to airlines. Huy Tran, director of marketing and business development for Rockwell Collins said, “There’s many companies who have a single product line, not many companies actually have the full breadth. The companies that are going to be successful are the ones that have all the product lines, because airlines don’t want to shop around for various components.”

Rockwell Collin effectively dropped out of the IFE marketplace in 2006, but the introduction of their new PAVES system and subsequent MoU with Hubei Ali Jiatai, Chinese aircraft seat-makers to include PAVES in next-gen Boeing 737’s for Chinese carriers has placed them firmly back in action. The plans for the ARINC Cabin Connect suite will cement their stake in the current and future market of IFE.

In a market where there is close competition, Rockwell Collins is confident that Cabin Connect will fulfill IFE connectivity promises and deliver a comprehensive solution for global airlines.

Other Leading Providers of Business Aviation ServicesIt has been announced that Aircell, Gogo Inc’s business aviation communications provider, has been rebranded to firmly define the company’s two divisions – commercial and business aviation – and will now be known as Gogo Business Aviation.

Business aviation service providers bring aircraft communications services to the business aviation sector exclusively. Many providers have two divisions, as the requirements differ hugely in each sector.

Aircell has been trading since 1991 and are well-known for in-flight connectivity and Wi-Fi solutions using satellite network availability.

“Gogo’s mission is to advance aviation by connecting every aircraft with the most trusted communications services on and above our planet. Having our commercial and business aviation divisions share a brand will make more people aware of the full breadth of our business,” said Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small. “The rebranding will also help travellers recognize their favourite Gogo services, whether they’re aboard an airline, corporate, fractional or charter aircraft – anywhere in the world”.

“We’re thrilled to introduce Gogo Business Aviation as the next evolution of our brand,” said Gogo Business Aviation’s executive vice president and general manager, John Wade. “The past five years has seen a remarkable menu of in-flight capabilities emerge for business aircraft operators, including Internet, e-mail, voice, texting, personal smartphone usage, movies, TV episodes, news, weather, cockpit data and more. And at the same time, the onboard equipment has become orders-of-magnitude smaller, lighter and more affordable. These truly are exciting times.”

The rebranded division will also be relocating its headquarters to larger premises a short distance away to fully appreciate the focus of its market, while continuing to share expertise and technology, in addition to the brand name.

Business Passengers Enjoy Full ConnectivityBusiness passengers demand high levels of cabin electronics these days to enable them to work as effectively in the air as they can on the ground. The most highly sought-after commodities being aircraft internet, high-speed connections to download presentations and business documents and the ability to research and access email accounts.

In addition, however, there is also an increasing requirement for ambient lighting, charging facilities for phones and tablets, HD flat screen TV, video and in-flight entertainment features.

In an ever-changing marketplace, it is almost impossible to keep up with the technology; the solutions to these requirements getting faster, more sophisticated and with higher-quality connections.

ARINC Direct stay ahead of the competition with seamless connectivity for business passengers via satellite communications from Inmarsat and Iridium networks. High-speed and high-quality connections offer a truly global coverage with flight tracking capabilities that are also increasing in demand in the wake of the tragic disappearance of flight MH370.

Business passengers travel in comfort and can continue to work effectively with scalable cabin electronics solutions from ARINC Direct.

Other Cabin Services ProvidersTo help reduce operational costs, Finland airline, Finnair has announced its decision to outsource cabin services for 20 long and short-haul flights over the next two years. It is not yet clear about the related impact this will have upon current personnel.

This is not breaking news, as Finnair have been finalising cost-saving measures since March, particularly in the area of cabin services. Finnair has had a cost reduction program in place since 2011, aiming to reduce operational expenses by 18 million EUR. The options include personnel reductions including redundancy, temporary lay-off, hours reductions or a combination of all these options. The cabin services outsourcing plan will go ahead and will be trialled in order to determine the best course of action moving forward for the airline. Finnair will also examine the cost implications of setting up a subsidiary to take over the cabin services functions.

Ville Iho, Chief Operating Officer for Finnair made the following statement, “Finnair has once more met with representatives of the Finnish Cabin Crew Union (SLSY) in an effort to find a common cost reduction solution that would make it possible to avoid outsourcing. SLSY offered 2.9 million EUR in permanent, instant savings, as well as 4.8 million EUR savings that would be achieved within a 20-year time period. This is mainly the same as SLSY’s previous offer. In addition, as a new element, SLSY proposed approximately 4 million EUR temporary savings for a period of one year. In exchange, SLSY required two year protection against lay-offs. Unfortunately, this is too far from the savings that Finnair requires. We cannot continue with our current cost structure, which is why we need to make instant, permanent changes to it. We proposed a solution that would see 12 million EUR of the cost reductions implemented immediately and the remaining 6 million EUR over a longer period of time. Even this compromise did not lead to an agreement.

He added that partnership negotiations for outsourcing are proceeding well, with potential partners in Finland, Europe and Asia. No rushed decisions will be made and careful negotiation and planning will be ensured.

In-flight Connectivity Solutions ProvidersBritish satellite communications company, Inmarsat has announced its intention to deliver high-speed, EU-wide in-flight connectivity with a unique integrated telecommunications network including an order for a new s-band satellite, Europasat.

“We believe that the same in-flight connectivity opportunity exists in Europe and that, with the support of EU telecoms regulators, Inmarsat can rapidly bring to market unique, high speed aviation passenger connectivity services to meet this market demand on an EU-wide basis,” said Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce.

Inmarsat capabilities already include seamless coverage via Global Xpress and will place them ahead of the competition for in-flight connectivity for passengers.

Widespread interest is being shown by major airlines and passengers could soon be looking forward to the same connectivity that is currently only enjoyed by the business aviation community, with the deployment of Europe’s first 4G broadband network.

Currently, the company are working on shared system to reduce initial costs in partnership with Hellas-Sat, a non-competing European satellite operator and Thales Alenia Space for the construction of a satellite on a shared basis. Europasat will also support the next-gen emergency network services for public protection and disaster relief.

The aviation network deployment, planned for the end of 2016, will be enabled by Inmarsat’s current existing authorisation to operate integrated satellite and terrestrial communications in 30MHz of S-band frequencies spanning the 28 Member States of the European Union. The licensing process has already begun with EU member states and Inmarsat has received strong support for its application from a high number of EU telecommunications regulators. It is hoped that a consistent regulatory foundation can be accomplished quickly in order to facilitate the swift implementation of the services for the benefit of businesses and passengers across the EU.

Cabin Services Solutions ProvidersAtlanta-based Delta Airlines have announced that they will not allow in-flight voice calls on their flights ahead of the impending final ‘vote’ by the FAA to lift the ban on cell phone usage.

In an internal memo, Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta said, ‘Last week the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to seek public comment in consideration of lifting its ban on in-flight cell phone use. Delta will not allow cellular calls or internet-based voice communications onboard Delta or Delta Connection flights.

Our customer research and direct feedback tell us that our frequent flyers believe voice calls in the cabin would be a disruption to the travel experience. In fact, a clear majority of customers who responded to a 2012 survey said they felt the ability to make voice calls onboard would detract from – not enhance – their experience. Delta employees, particularly our in-flight crews, have told us definitively that they are not in favour of voice calls onboard.

Delta has moved quickly when technological and regulatory breakthroughs provide opportunities to make flying better for our customers. That is why we were the first to file our plan with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to allow customers to use portable electronic devices below 10,000 feet. Similarly, if the FCC lifts its ban on cellular use in flight, Delta will move quickly to enable customers to use text, email and other silent data transmission services gate to gate.’

Since no decision has yet been reached on the proposed lift, it is still unclear whether passengers may yet be chatting about their journeys using in-flight voice calls – certainly, Mr Anderson has made Delta’s position clear on the subject.

Today, however, there is an ever-growing demand for cell phone use in-flight. Business aviation in particular experience high levels of expectation from their executive passengers as they operate the office-in-the-sky.

Industry-leaders, such as ARINC, offer high-speed passenger connectivity for emails and broadband, as an understanding within the industry realises the need to enhance cabin services, therefore increasing competition and allowing airlines to stay ahead of the game.

Many critics say that there is no real need for in-flight voice calls, with the level of connectivity now available in the cabin. It remains to be seen whether the ban will be lifted and it seems that opinion is divided. Maybe we will see ‘voice-call-seats’ or areas of the plane that will be designated ‘non-voice-call’ to be booked in advance like the years-old ‘non-smoking’ seats – the jury is still out on this moot point.