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Inmarsat Aviation and SITAONAIR to jointly invest in the future of aviation cockpit communications

 

 

19 October 2016

Inmarsat has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to appoint SITAONAIR as a distribution partner for its next generation SwiftBroadband-Safety aviation service.  

A pre-agreement between the two companies has outlined the intention for SITAONAIR to supply commercial airlines and business aviation operators with SwiftBroadband-Safety, an advanced new service from Inmarsat that will transform cockpit and aircraft operations. 

SwiftBroadband-Safety represents a paradigm shift in the advancement of aviation safety services by utilising secure IP-based broadband connectivity that far exceeds the capabilities of other alternatives in the market. The ‘always on and always secure’ solution enables a range of breakthrough aviation applications, including flight data streaming (‘Black Box in the Cloud’) and real-time Electronic Flight Bag applications, such as networked graphical weather.  

It also enables air traffic management modernisation programmes throughout the world and fulfils the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System (GADSS), including flight tracking, by offering reliable and secure satellite surveillance and communications (FANS/ACARS).  

SwiftBroadband-Safety hardware is available for initial retrofit installation on existing aircraft today and is scheduled to become a standard option on new aircraft deliveries from 2018. The service builds on Inmarsat’s reputation as a provider of high-quality voice and data service to 95% of the world’s trans-oceanic aircraft fleet.  

Inmarsat’s MoU with SITAONAIR marks the latest expansion of a successful partnership between both companies. SITAONAIR is currently a major distributor of Inmarsat’s Classic Aero satellite communications service and will now be able to provide migration options for existing customers to SwiftBroadband-Safety. It also provides the global aviation industry with access to Inmarsat’s current in-flight broadband service, SwiftBroadband, and its next generation offering for commercial airlines (GX Aviation) and business aviation (JetConneX).  

SwiftBroadband-Safety has received a lot of industry support that has reinforced its status as the flightdeck communications platform for the future, including its recent selection by Airbus for its A320 and A330 aircraft families, and successful ongoing trials by Hawaiian Airlines.  

Frederik van Essen, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, said: “SITAONAIR has been a trusted partner of Inmarsat for over 25 years. Together we have been providing benefits for the wider airline industry, such as enhancing trans-oceanic flights, optimising routes and reducing fuel consumption. We plan to continue this progress in the future as the benefits of secure broadband are brought into the cockpit. 

“The aircraft is now a fully connected node of the airline’s IT network. Inmarsat is the only global provider to offer both reliable, secure cockpit communications as well as the most advanced passenger connectivity, allowing our airline customers to customise data solutions.”

David Lavorel, CEO of SITAONAIR, said: “SwiftBroadband-Safety is a transformational step for the industry and we are proud to include it in our service portfolio as a powerful enabler of SITAONAIR’s nose-to-tail connectivity solutions. Through our engagement with the airlines, SITAONAIR believes the industry is ready to embrace SwiftBroadband-Safety’s secure IP-based services to the cockpit. We are developing services and applications that will leverage this secure IP-based communications services platform to enhance both safety and operational efficiency.  

“We aim to offer simple service packages that include generous data allowances to ensure that managing crew communication costs becomes much simpler and enable airlines to fully unleash the potential of next generation cockpit and air traffic control technology. These packages will also power global worldwide flight tracking at no additional connectivity cost. We are pleased to extend and expand our work with Inmarsat in delivering this new capability.”