AirAsia Group signs MoU for upgrade to GX Aviation inflight Wi-Fi
Fast growing LCC turns to Inmarsat for its inflight broadband requirements
Inmarsat has reinforced its partnership with Asia’s leading low cost airline AirAsia, after the carrier signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to install GX Aviation – Inmarsat’s next generation inflight broadband service – across the group’s Airbus A320 and A330 fleets, subject to final contract.
The carrier, which was named the world’s best low cost carrier for the eighth successive year in 2016, already uses Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband solution. The upgrade to GX Aviation will allow AirAsia passengers to access reliable, seamless high-speed broadband on their flights.
In announcing the deal, Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group CEO, said that this kind of service was a must for modern-day flyers.
“Travelers today expect fast, reliable broadband wherever they are, whether it's on the ground or 30,000 feet in the air. GX Aviation's market-leading capabilities represents a step-change in inflight connectivity that allows us to close the gap between the on-ground and on-board experience.
Our guests will be able to enjoy extra fast internet connectivity as well as free movies, music, articles and games on our ROKKI IFEC platform. Not only that, they can shop for meals, merchandise and duty-free from the comfort of their own seats, which also allow us to better understand what our guests want so we can continue to improve on our inflight offering.”
Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, added: “GX Aviation is now live and operational, introducing an unprecedented new era of inflight broadband for passengers. We are delighted that a hugely respected and successful low-cost carrier such as AirAsia has selected it.
“GX Aviation’s global and consistent performance provides AirAsia Group with the commercial flexibility needed to quickly deploy the service on routes across Asia, the Middle East and Australia. Inmarsat and AirAsia share many of the same traits and this preliminary agreement is not only great news for our partnership, but importantly, it's a truly exciting development for their passengers too.”
GX Aviation has redefined passenger inflight Wi-Fi since its launch in 2016. Lufthansa Group, Air New Zealand, Norwegian, Air Astana and Singapore Airlines have also signed up for the service, recognising the opportunities that it brings – from streamed entertainment and enhanced e-commerce, to personalised offers that can transform passenger relationships and build loyalty.
AirAsia will begin installation in 2017. The innovative Malaysian airline flies to 165 destinations across 25 countries. This forms the most extensive network across Asia and Australia and comprises nine affiliate airlines: AirAsia Berhad (Malaysia), AirAsia Indonesia, Thai AirAsia, Philippines AirAsia, AirAsia India, AirAsia Japan, AirAsia X, Thai AirAsia X and Indonesia AirAsia X.
The charismatic Fernandes bought the then-ailing airline for the token sum of RM1 (approx. USD 0.25 cents) in 2001, and within two years had paid off the carrier’s RM40 million debt (approximately $9m). Since then, the airline has gone from strength to strength, a fact underlined in early 2017 when it was announced that AirAsia was to become the first Asian low cost carrier to fly to American airports.
With the APAC region – and particularly China – set to become the source of more than half of a predicted worldwide increase of 3.4bn air passengers over the next 20 years, it’s unsurprising that forward-looking airlines such as AirAsia are seeing the benefits of joining the connectivity revolution.