Thuraya details aeronautical satcom service

Abu Dhabi, UAE-based satellite operator Thuraya Telecommunications says it has more than 200 general aviation users of its new narrowband aeronautical satellite communications service and is developing a broadband terminal.

Thuraya’s initial service offering uses its compact narrowband AviationComms terminal to provide voice, fax and 9.6 kbps circuit switch data plus internet protocol-based geo-mobile packet radio service (GmPRS) data at speeds of up to 60 kbps. It is said to be installed and operational already on board more than 200 helicopters and business jets.

The company says it plans to introduce a complete portfolio of aeronautical voice and data communications services for pilots, crew and passengers using the smallest system in the market. A broadband terminal due to complete development during the last quarter this year will provide data speeds of up to 444 kbps in standard mode and up to 384 kbps in streaming mode, as well as voice and optional onboard GSM services.

The AviationComms hardware was developed by France-based SATSYS. It features a small antenna, is very light compared with traditional terminals and is extremely cost-effective, the operator says.

“Thuraya is proud to launch this service in a thriving sector such as aeronautical communications,” says Thuraya chief strategy officer Sultan Ahmed Al Ghafli. "Like most of our products, we have ensured that the new solutions are compact, user-friendly, lightweight and affordable."

Since 2008 Thuraya’s two operational satellites have covered more than 140 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia and the Middle East, providing mobile voice, broadband, maritime, rural telephony and fleet management services to sectors such as oil and gas, mining, agriculture and NGOs. The company was founded in 1997 and is owned by what it says is a large group of strategic investors predominantly from the telecommunications and investment sectors.

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