AirAsia Group signs contract to offer Inmarsat’s GX Aviation high-speed broadband on more than 120 aircraft



Inmarsat and AirAsia have put the finishing touches to a landmark deal that will see Inmarsat’s revolutionary high-speed broadband service, GX Aviation, installed on more than 120 Airbus aircraft




The deal covers all existing and future Airbus A320 and A330 aircraft across AirAsia Group, including long-haul operator Air Asia X. It also has the scope to include any additional aircraft types due for delivery in years to come, like the Airbus A350.

Just six months after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the contract has now been signed by Inmarsat and AirAsia Group, through its subsidiary ROKKI. The first installations across the fleet of Asia’s foremost low cost airline, together with the launch of commercial service, are scheduled to begin in the first half of 2018.

The scale of this contract showcases Inmarsat’s status as a global market leader in advanced inflight broadband

Inmarsat Aviation President Philip Balaam, was particularly effusive about the deal, not least because of AirAsia’s large order book. He said: “The scale of this contract, covering more than 120 existing aircraft and one of the industry’s largest orderbooks for additional aircraft, showcases our status as a global market leader in advanced inflight broadband. Inmarsat has the fastest growing service uptake in our market, with more than 1,300 aircraft expected under signed contracts, both installed and under backlog, for our next generation GX Aviation and European Aviation Network (EAN) solutions.”

Balaam continued: “AirAsia Group is one of the aviation industry’s leading innovators and we are delighted that GX Aviation will play a key role in their future service offering. The fact that we have signed this contract within months of announcing a Memorandum of Understanding is testament to AirAsia’s confidence in GX Aviation and builds on its successful track record as a leading customer of our SwiftBroadband service.”

The innovative Malaysian airline group 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. Earlier this year AirAsia was named as “World’s Best Low-Cost Airline” for the 9th year in the row by Skytrax.

AirAsia Group’s visionary CEO, Tony 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 earlier this year when it was announced that AirAsia was to become the first Asian low-cost carrier to fly to American airports.

GX Aviation's market-leading capabilities represent a step-change in inflight connectivity that allows us to close the gap between the on-ground and on-board experience

Tony Fernandes also pointed out the benefits of this milestone deal, commenting: “GX Aviation will form the backbone of AirAsia’s digital cabin offering. By delivering inflight connectivity that’s indistinguishable from what you get on-ground, our guests will be able to stay connected in ways that matter to them, whether it’s streaming movies or music, checking social media, messaging friends or catching up with work emails.

Coupled with our ROKKI entertainment and e-commerce platform featuring free movies, music, articles and games as well as shopping, AirAsia guests will soon be able to enjoy one of the richest digital inflight experiences in Asia, while also enhancing our knowledge of our guests with very rich data.”

This contract supports Inmarsat’s strategy of providing airlines with tailored, scalable capacity by designing, owning and operating a global network of High-Throughput Satellites (HTS). GX Aviation is the world’s first in-flight connectivity solution with seamless, reliable high-speed global coverage provided through a single operator and offering guaranteed minimum data rates.

The connectivity revolution just took another huge leap forward for APAC passengers.