The rise and rise of Jet ConneX

As the business aviation market becomes more buoyant, Inmarsat’s inflight Wi-Fi solution ensures private flyers remain always-on

The common wisdom in business says that if your company isn’t moving forwards, sooner or later it will start to move backwards. So while the announcement that Inmarsat’s business aviation connectivity service, Jet ConneX, had undergone its 275th installation in May 2018 – less than 18 months after it entered commercial service – was cause for celebration, the goal, of course, was to reach the next milestone.

And on the eve of this year’s NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), the take-up momentum of the only global, high-speed inflight Wi-Fi solution for business jets shows no sign of abating.

Inmarsat’s Director Business Aviation, Christine Lawson, explains that the best gauge of success for Jet ConneX is how fast it’s being adopted in the OEM market, where all four of the major players – Gulfstream, Bombardier, Dassault and Embraer – have already chosen the service as their preferred line-fit option.

“We're seeing uptake rates above 90%,” she states, “and in the aftermarket they're not too far behind. We're going to be at 400 aircraft by the time we reach NBAA. And that’s a 125 aircraft increase from EBACE, which was only a few months ago.”

But this validation of Jet ConneX doesn’t end there. Speaking at Boston’s APEX Expo recently, Lawson anticipated that by the time NBAA rolls around in 2019, those 400 installations will have doubled to 800.

It’s no idle boast. With 40 STC approvals already secured, including all Boeing and Airbus VVIP type models, Jet ConneX offers everything for those that require an office in the sky.

So what is it that differentiates Jet ConneX from other services? A major factor, according to Lawson, is its global coverage.

Dassault Falcon taxiing in snow

“We're the only option out there that covers 100% of airline routes,” she explains. “And every island in between. So for a director of maintenance worrying about where the boss wants to go for spring break. Don't worry. Even if it's Bora Bora, we've got you covered.”

The data plans are also beneficial, she says.

“We offer the best data plans in the industry with 15 megabits per second. You’re guaranteed to be able to support multiple streaming devices because even though the aircraft may only have a passenger load of maybe two or three people, we know that they all carry three to four devices with them. And that's ok.”

And in SATCOM Direct, ARINC Direct and GoDirect, Inmarsat is working alongside some of the best distribution partners in the industry.

“They provide a number of value added services for every budget and every aircraft type,” confirms Lawson.  

There is more welcome news for the BGA community. After a lull following the financial crisis of 2008, reports suggest that optimism within business aviation is the highest it’s been for a decade.

In early 2018, data released from the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) showed that business aviation traffic in Europe had enjoyed 12 months of interrupted growth for the first time in 10 years. This is reinforced by the latest JETNET iQ Survey which suggests that the level of global industry optimism has rebounded to a new high.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s monthly business jet reports also show that international business jet operations are increasing, with a 2.25% increase in flights over the past year.

Business jet with sunset behind

So, from NBAA and into 2019, the BGA market looks set for a period of sustained growth. Inmarsat’s services will help propel this community onwards and upwards. After all, it’s always about moving forwards.