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.
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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