Qatar Airways, Inmarsat certify GX inflight internet on 777 fleet


Get ready for faster inflight internet service on Qatar Airways flights. The carrier’s first Boeing 777 aircraft is now installed with the Inmarsat GX high speed inflight internet system and received the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) authority to operate that system from European regulators. Ship A7-BAV was the first to receive the hardware, flying with the kit installed (but not yet active to passengers) since mid-June.

A7-BAV, The first Qatar Airways 777 to carry the Inmarsat GX radome, with its new hardware attached
A7-BAV, The first Qatar Airways 777 to carry the Inmarsat GX radome, with its new hardware attached

With this STC certification in hand Inmarsat and Qatar Airways can begin the broad installation and activation of the product on the 43 777s in its passenger fleet, joining the A350s that are receiving the GX kit at the Airbus factory. In all some 130 Qatar Airways aircraft are planned to be fitted with the system. Based on the current fleet that would include the A330, A380 and 787s the carrier flies, essentially covering the entire long-haul operation with faster inflight internet service.



There are two significant aspects of this certification, both described by Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation:

This is the first STC to be attained and managed solely by our team at Inmarsat, and taking this momentous step with one of the world’s leading carriers has strengthened our position as a key player in the inflight connectivity market.

With GX Aviation already equipped on Qatar Airways’ latest Airbus A350s, the first Boeing 777 retrofit installation already complete and several more underway, we are now gearing up to launch GX Aviation across the flagship fleet. We’re looking forward to seeing Qatar Airways’ passengers experience consistent, reliable and high-speed Wi-Fi in the sky when the service goes live later this year.



Obviously getting the product into service matters most for passengers. Having a higher capacity platform available to deliver the connectivity passengers want at an affordable price is critical to improving the passenger experience. And installing 43 more frames matters for the company as well as it seeks to grow revenue to cover the massive cash outlay involved in building the satellite constellation now flying.

But for the company the internal managing of the STC process is arguably more significant. Developing these processes internally rather than through third parties is a major step forward in Inmarsat’s ability to deliver solutions to its airline customers.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

4 Comments

  1. Hopefully the teething pains will subside soon. From my understanding, there are lots of software challenges and limitations

    1. On the GX platform in general or the QR implementation?

      I was on the big Lufthansa/Inmarsat media event flight that dropped service for roughly half the trip. That was not a shining moment but it was also ~6 months ago. It absolutely takes time to get these systems online and fully debugged to handle a full complement of users. But I don’t doubt that GX will be there soon enough.

  2. Flew on QR A350 between DOH and SIN, with unusable internet. Did some of their A350s install a different product?

    1. Yup. They had the old SITAONAIR L-band kit installed on some planes. It is slow and expensive. GX is WAY better than that.

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