Inmarsat: 25 years of innovation in aviation

Communication is vital to aviation. Whether it’s for the operational and safety services needed to coordinate 100,000 flights around the world each day, or the wireless broadband passengers now expect onboard, consistent and reliable voice and data are mission critical and commercially imperative.

Inmarsat has been providing consistent and reliable communication to the aviation industry for more than 25 years. Established in 1979 to provide safety services to shipping, Inmarsat launched its satellite service for aviation in 1990 – the first from a civil operator. Today Inmarsat delivers high-speed mobile data connectivity to over 11,000 aircraft across all sectors, making it the most widely used operator in the industry for cabin, cockpit and operational communications.

Innovation and investment

Communication is a core business to Inmarsat, not a fringe benefit, and it’s backed by the accountability that comes from managing networks that are wholly owned. Inmarsat’s fleet of 12 satellites comprise the most versatile and reliable commercial satellite constellations in the world, serving not only aviation, but also the construction, maritime and media industries, and international aid agencies, with industry-leading quality of service.

Inmarsat has a strong track record of innovation and investment in aviation. Its Classic Aero services, for example, remain the industry standard – used by most of the world’s leading airlines. SwiftBroadband was the first satellite service to meet the needs of both cockpit and cabin, with separate and secure communication channels for voice and data. The European Aviation Network goes further still. It’s the first integrated air-to-ground satellite network in Europe and will deliver the world’s fastest mobile broadband service to commercial airline passengers across all 28 European Union member states.

Global Xpress is Inmarsat’s latest satellite network. The result of a US$1.6bn, five-year investment programme, Global Xpress powers both GX Aviation for commercial airlines and Jet ConneX for business aviation. Together with the European Aviation Network, it brings high-speed inflight broadband to all the world's flight paths.

Passenger connectivity is only one part of Inmarsat’s proposition and the company is unique in offering certified aviation safety services alongside those for the cabin. Classic Aero has been delivering critical cockpit communications and flight tracking services to commercial and business aviation customers for more than 25 years, and the prioritised high-speed data links offered by the next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety will soon bring a host of new operational and safety benefits. 

The inflight broadband revolution

Consistent and reliable high-speed inflight communication has been a long time coming, but the wait is over. Always-on broadband to the cabin and cockpit will unlock new entertainment and productivity experiences for passengers, and new efficiencies for aviation operators – and this is just the beginning. The revolution is here and it’s going to change all sectors of the industry.

Inmarsat is at the forefront of this revolution. Already a trusted provider of dependable passenger, operational and safety services, Inmarsat is committed to providing the fast, scalable and tailored connectivity to meet aviation needs across the entire value chain. With more than three decades’ experience in launching satellites and two as leaders in satellite communications for aviation, the airline and aviation industry has no more capable partner than Inmarsat for realising the potential of the complete connected aircraft.