Successful test flight shows EAN on track to launch
The EAN test flight has showed it’s possible to access high-quality Wi-Fi across Europe
The first flight trials to test both the satellite and ground network for the European Aviation Network (EAN) service have been successful. Thanks to the groundbreaking integration and partnership of Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom, EAN is on schedule for arrival, giving European passengers the opportunity to enjoy some of the world’s best inflight connectivity.
Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, and Deutsche Telekom, joined forces with Cobham, Thales and Nokia using a CESSNA 550 Citation II, which was provided by Dutch company NLR.
The test flight first travelled across Germany, then to Belgium, France, and finally Spain, covering 5,000 km of European airspace to really test the quality of the Wi-Fi connectivity.
And these aren’t the only flights planned. Further flights are planned over the next few weeks to test integration of the Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) and Complementary Ground Component (CGC) terminals.
Yet another milestone has been reached for EAN, which is the world’s first dedicated aviation solution to combine space and ground-based components to deliver high-speed inflight broadband to airlines. The recent test flights show that EAN meets its design performance in practice, which is big news for European airlines and their passengers.
Philip Balaam, the president of Inmarsat Aviation said: “These flight trials, together with the recent news that Ofcom in the UK is the latest European regulator to license our ground stations, moves EAN a step closer to going live by the end of this year and entering commercial service in 2018. This will be a game changer for the airline market, offering passengers a new gold standard in connectivity, with unmatched high capacity, low-latency performance.”
According to a recent groundbreaking study by LSE, Wi-Fi is crucial for European airlines and will successfully deliver new broadband enabled ancillary revenue services, boosting income for airlines, and providing a better flying experience for passengers.
Rolf Nafziger, Senior Vice President, International Wholesale Business at Deutsche Telekom, said: “European airspace is one of the busiest in the world and passenger volumes are expected to double in the next 15 years, with an increasing number of people wanting to stream videos or send e-mails at the same time whilst in the air. A combined system that seamlessly integrates satellite connectivity with a complementary LTE-based network on the ground will create the much-needed additional capacity to meet demand now and in the future.”
The success of this test flight shows that EAN is on track to enter commercial service in early 2018, with regulatory approval across the vast majority of participating nations already achieved.