Posted on: 10 April 2014 by Mark Howells
Industry giants Rockwell Collins and Thales both announced at the show that they have been appointed as value added resellers (VAR) for Inmarsat’s next generation GX Aviation Ka-band service to airlines.Rockwell Collins, through its recent acquisition of ARINC, will bring Ka-band service to airline customers worldwide, which should come online in the first half of 2015. Inmarsat predicts that the service will provide internet speeds of 50Mbps virtually everywhere in the world and says it “is set to change the shape of inflight connectivity.”Inmarsat has had a long-term strategic relationship with Rockwell Collins and ARINC, which is now part of Rockwell Collins’ Information Management Services (IMS) business. Since the launch of Inmarsat’s aviation services over 20 years ago, ARINC has provided cockpit voice and data services for airlines over Inmarsat’s networks, while Rockwell Collins has been providing Inmarsat-enabled avionics. Rockwell Collins is already a reseller of GX Aviation airtime in the business aviation market segment, and will now be able to provide an offering to airlines to support all of their satcom connectivity from the cockpit to the cabin.Thales, too has become a VAR for Inmarsat. The announcement follows the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement signed in September 2013, which made SwiftBroadband and GX Aviation the primary and preferred satellite connectivity services for Thales’ TopSeries IFEC system. This extended partnership follows Thales’ recent acquisition of JetBlue subsidiary LiveTV.The first of three GX Aviation satellites is already in orbit and undergoing final testing, with the second and third scheduled to be in place before the end of the year. The airborne hardware is in the production phase; testing and certification will happen in early 2015, at which point GX Aviation will be available for airlines.The remaining two satellites, which will cover the Atlantic and Pacific regions, will be launched in the second and third quarters of this year.Inmarsat has also contracted Boeing for a fourth satellite to be used to complete the global constellation in case of any failures. This satellite is scheduled for delivery in mid-2016, according to Miranda Mills (pictured), Inmarsat’s president of aviation.
Liz Moscrop, Inflight / Inflight-Online.com