GX Aviation takes flight on Virgin Atlantic

Inmarsat’s revolutionary inflight broadband solution GX Aviation will transform passenger experience on the airline

Inmarsat’s standing as the pioneering world leader in global mobile satellite communications has been reaffirmed following Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural Airbus A350-1000 flight from London to New York.

Not only was the transatlantic crossing the first for the carrier’s new Airbus A350 aircraft, but it also marked the official unveiling of Inmarsat’s next-generation, inflight broadband solution, GX Aviation, on the airline. To mark this significant event, Virgin Atlantic is offering its customers free access to the award-winning broadband network for the next month.

The high-speed coverage will enable Virgin Atlantic’s customers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights – with speeds comparable to mobile broadband on the ground.

Virgin Aircraft

The gold standard of inflight broadband

Between now and 2021, the carrier will take receipt of 12 Airbus A350-1000s with GX Aviation – the world’s first inflight broadband network with seamless, reliable global coverage provided through a single operator – pre-installed on delivery. Virgin Atlantic has selected Deutsche Telekom as the internet service provider for the aircraft, having already worked together on the airline’s 787 and A330 fleets since 2014.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said the partnership between Inmarsat and Virgin Atlantic will transform passenger experience as the airline’s customers begin to benefit from the gold standard of inflight broadband.

“As one of the aviation industry’s greatest innovators, Virgin Atlantic is focused on providing a world-class experience onboard its aircraft,” he said.

“And that’s exactly what customers can expect when flying on the airline’s brand new Airbus A350s from today. In addition to exciting new suites and social spaces, they will have access to a broadband service with fast, reliable and consistent coverage powered by GX Aviation.”

A world-class experience

Virgin Atlantic’s Head of Inflight Services, Gail Yates, also applauded the airline’s maiden A350 flight and acknowledged the participation of Inmarsat in pushing the boundaries of passenger experience.

“Today we celebrated an exciting milestone for Virgin Atlantic as the first aircraft in our new Airbus A350-1000 fleet took to the skies,” she said.

“We are always looking to raise the bar and provide our passengers with a world-class experience. An industry-leading inflight connectivity solution is a fundamental part of this offering and we are delighted to have Inmarsat’s GX Aviation onboard to offer high-speed inflight broadband to our customers.”

The news comes in what is turning out to be an important year for Inmarsat. Not only does the owner and operator of the world’s best global portfolio of satellite networks celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2019, but a number of significant recent events have also capped a memorable year.

Approximately 1,700 aircraft are currently expected under signed contracts for Inmarsat’s next-generation inflight broadband solutions for airlines, with a new business pipeline of approximately 3,000 aircraft worldwide.

Eager to bring their passengers the next-generation inflight connectivity, Gulf Air (Bahrain's national carrier), Air Senegal, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Taiwanese start-up carrier Starlux, all selected the GX Aviation Ka-band connectivity solution.

To meet this growing demand, Inmarsat has a fully-funded development roadmap, including three further Ka-band payloads. A fifth GX satellite will be launched later this year and two sixth-generation satellites are scheduled to launch in 2020 and 2021. In addition, the next evolution of the network – with satellites GX7, 8, 9, 10A & 10B – will make GX the most agile and flexible constellation ever conceived, assuring customers that their growing requirements will continue to be met.