Aircalin offers cabin connectivity with GX Aviation

Aircalin has partnered with SITAONAIR to offer passengers and crew inflight connectivity for the first time, all powered by Inmarsat’s award-winning GX Aviation broadband solution

One of the biggest news announcements at APEX Expo last year was Aircalin’s plans to introduce high-speed inflight connectivity across its new fleet of Airbus A320neo and A330neo aircraft, which are being delivered over the next couple of years as part of the airline’s strategic development programme.

Less than 12 months later and Aircalin has returned to the global trade show with an impressive update. It has worked with aviation technology company SITAONAIR to implement a world-class solution, powered by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation, that is already keeping passengers and crew connected onboard its first A330neo. Rollout will continue at full pace on the rest of the fleet, with a second A330neo set to be activated next month.

This is a significant milestone for Aircalin, which is based in the French territory of New Caledonia in the South-West Pacific and offers flights to destinations such as Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Aircalin 1st A330 neo with GX

The airline’s passenger connectivity is offered through SITAONAIR’s popular Internet ONAIR solution, which supplies much more than just a fast and reliable connection using GX Aviation. Aircalin can now bring its passengers an exceptional level of personalization and interactivity – delivering a truly innovative and forward-thinking inflight connectivity experience.

“Our passengers are increasingly demanding ‘at home’ internet capability during flights, so that they can carry on with their digital lives without interruption,” commented Aircalin’s CEO Didier Tappero. “And SITAONAIR’s GX Aviation-enabled Internet ONAIR provides Aircalin passengers with remarkable connectivity.”

The service is available free-of-charge for Aircalin’s business class passengers, while premium economy passengers receive a free hour of connectivity and economy class passengers are charged a small fee.

During a recent interview with website Runway Girl Network, Aircalin’s chief commercial officer William Le Grand explained that the airline chose a solution powered by GX Aviation because of its performance and because it is least affected by coverage blackspots in the Pacific region. In fact, Pacific blackspots were the reason the airline had not previously invested in inflight connectivity

“With the deployment of Internet ONAIR on its new aircraft, Aircalin is really setting out its stall as a new-generation flight provider,” commented SITAONAIR CEO David Lavorel. “We know the importance of the connected aircraft, and are confident that, going forward, Aircalin’s passengers will draw immense satisfaction from their inflight experience.”

Not only has this new service strengthened the airline’s commercial offering to passengers but day-to-day cabin crew processes are also being significantly improved through SITAONAIR’s connected CrewTab solution.

CrewTab is a simple application that cabin crew can access onboard via tablet computers, to enable them to streamline workflow and optimise processes, replacing lengthy paper-based processes. The new digitised processes mean that information will be more readily available and easier for cabin crews to find both during and after each flight, helping to reduce delays caused by lost documents or time spent filling in forms.

The new system will also be integrated into the airline’s air-ground IT systems, allowing processes to be synchronised, data flow to be standardised, and making information analytics-ready and easy to assess. The idea is that, cumulatively, this will all lead to further cost savings in the future because the reduction in weight previously caused by the paper processes will lead to better fuel economy, whilst also reducing environmental impact.

“The adoption of SITAONAIR’s connected CrewTab solution and Internet ONAIR portal enables our airline to modernise in synchronicity with the aviation industry,” concludes Aircalin’s CEO Didier Tappero. “Not only are we saving time and costs, but we’re also providing a more personal and individualised experience for each of our passengers, as well as making a commitment to improved fuel economy.”

SITAONAIR’s David Lavorel framed those benefits well, summarising: “We’re pleased to be continuing on the journey to bringing enhanced operational ability and passenger satisfaction to Aircalin. I believe that through the ever-evolving capabilities of CrewTab and Inmarsat’s GX Aviation, its crews and passengers alike will benefit.”