Inmarsat’s milestone deal with Airbus heralds a new chapter for aviation’s connectivity revolution

A fleet of pioneering new satellites will break new ground for global inflight broadband as customer demand continues to grow.

A new generation of game-changing satellites is set to transform inflight broadband across the world. Inmarsat, the pioneering market-leader in global mobile satellite communications, has signed a deal with Airbus to develop the next phase of its Global Xpress (GX) network, which powers its award-winning GX Aviation and Jet ConneX inflight connectivity services for airlines and the business aviation market.

Forming part of an innovative, long-term vision to develop the most agile, flexible, diverse and cost-effective constellation ever conceived, Airbus has been chose to deliver Inmarsat’s newest fleet of satellites. The three satellites - GX7, 8 & 9 - which are scheduled to launch from 2023, will herald a new dawn for inflight broadband capabilities across the world.

Airline and business aviation customers will benefit from the satellites’ real-time mobility and thousands of dynamically formed beams that can direct capacity with laser-like precision over high-demand areas. With the world’s airspace continuing to grow at unprecedented levels this ultra-high power capacity will be welcomed by customers operating over high demand flight routes and across busy airport hubs.

Purposefully designed to be ultra future-proof, the GX network is both agile and scalable. It will immediately relocate capacity in line with real-time flight patterns, new routes and seasonal demand surges across the globe. This gives airline and business aviation customers the confidence to invest in state-of-the-art services for passengers moving forwards.

Moreover, GX can rapidly grow capacity for customers through in-orbit repositioning or even launching a new satellite, which makes it perfectly suited to meet the needs of the ever-changing global aviation industry.

At the same time as hailing the deal with Airbus, Inmarsat Aviation’s President Philip Balaam said the inventive partnership was further proof that Inmarsat remains at the vanguard of aviation’s on-going connectivity revolution.

Computer Generated Image of Global Xpress satellite

“Inmarsat pioneered an exciting new era for global inflight connectivity with GX Aviation and we are proud to once again be at the forefront of industry innovation with our game-changing new generation of satellites,” he commented. “The next evolution of GX assures customers that their requirements will continue to be met, not only today, but into the next decade and beyond. It also demonstrates once again that we have the strategic vision, expertise and financial commitment to stay ahead of competitors.”

The deal comes at an exciting time for Inmarsat in the year it celebrates its 40th anniversary of operating the world’s most reliable global mobile satellite networks.

Balaam said: “This is the most advanced and agile satellite network ever conceived and no other provider has a clearer commitment to technology enhancements. Building upon our 40 year heritage in global mobile connectivity, the next evolution of GX is made possible by our investment in an infrastructure built specifically for robust and secure mobility – from satellites, ground stations, hardware, software and cybersecurity, to our unrivalled partner ecosystem.”

And instead of the usual six-year procurement lifecycle, the new satellites will be delivered in record time - further demonstrating Inmarsat’s commitment to quickly facilitating growing customer demand. Additionally, each of the satellites will be equipped for remote upgrades to ensure the network remains at the cutting-edge of innovation.

The satellites build upon the existing GX high-speed global network, which consists of four satellites already in operation and three more being launched over the next three years, starting with GX-5 later this year. Airline customers already benefitting from GX Aviation’s advanced capabilities include Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia, Norwegian, Avianca, Citilink and Philippine Airlines. And with backward compatibility, existing customers benefit from even greater capabilities of the GX network.

The impact on the business aviation market will be equally profound, explains Kai Tang, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Vice President of Channel. “Jet ConneX has firmly established itself as the gold standard for business aviation inflight broadband,” he commented. “Our GX7, 8 & 9 satellites will introduce an unprecedented wealth of new capabilities to our market and for our partners to build on. The news has already elicited an overwhelming response and we look forward to implementing the technology with our global network of value added resellers – Collins Aerospace, Honeywell and Satcom Direct.”

Inmarsat Aviation President Phil Balaam with Airbus Head of Space Systems, Nicolas Chamussy