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British Airways Completes Rollout Of ‘World Leading’ Inflight Internet

18 January 2021 - Simple Flying

Inmarsat’s unique inflight connectivity network for Europe, the European Aviation Network, has reached a new milestone this week. Launch customer British Airways has confirmed it has completed the rollout of the system on all its short-haul fleet.

The EAN began a soft rollout in March 2019 with IAG. Specifically, this included installation and activation on British Airways’ Airbus narrowbody aircraft. Following this, more aircraft and airlines in the IAG family were equipped, including Vueling, making it the first low-cost airline to offer WiFi connectivity.

The service relies on terrestrial connectivity provided by Deutsche Telecom, backed up by a mobile satellite service. The system was designed from the ground up to cope with the unique challenges of Europe. Dense airspace populated by busy hubs is a challenge for maintaining high-speed connections, but it’s a nut Inmarsat was keen to crack.

Speaking to Simple Flying in 2019, Dominic Walters, Vice President at Inmarsat Aviation, explained the goals of the network, saying,

“EAN is an immensely bold vision for Europe. We’ve really delivered in conjunction with our partner Deutsche Telekom one of the most innovative inflight connectivity solutions. It combines satellite and ground systems to deliver the fastest connectivity. It enables us to scale quickly as and when necessary.”

Last May, Inmarsat announced a capacity upgrade for the network, increasing peak data rates by around 30-35%. Users can now expect download speeds of around 100Mbps on equipped aircraft.

With EAN set to take off on more airlines, Inmarsat’s customers can be confident they are in good hands. The company was named the ‘World’s Leading Inflight Internet Service Provider’ for the fourth year in a row at the World Travel Awards 2020.

The accolade is a reflection of Inmarsat’s market-leading GX-Aviation network, as well as the EAN solution. Customers using the Inmarsat service include Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Iberia, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia and Virgin Atlantic.

Speaking about the award, President of Inmarsat Aviation Philip Balaam commented,

“Last year was particularly challenging for the aviation industry, which faced its biggest crisis to date as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In response, we have been working closer than ever with our airline customers, both old and new, to support their evolving needs as they navigate through the storm and head towards a future recovery.

“It is uplifting, therefore, to receive an award where the industry itself helped to determine the winner. This accolade reinforces our position as the global market leader and is dedicated to our talented employees and partners for their continued hard work and dedication over the past year, even in the toughest of circumstances.”

Over the course of 2020, Inmarsat achieved a number of milestones across its business. These included the launch of its game-changing GX5 satellite, adding huge amounts of capacity to the GX network, as well as the launch of GX+ North America in partnership with Hughes.

Source: Simple Flying

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