Dubai: Emirates to offer high-speed inflight broadband service next year

New high-speed, inflight broadband powered by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation will be available on 50 new Airbus A350 aircraft — scheduled to enter service in 2024



The advanced high-speed capabilities of the broadband will enable Emirates passengers to stay connected with family and friends, browse the internet, and enjoy social media during the flights. — Supplied photo
The advanced high-speed capabilities of the broadband will enable Emirates passengers to stay connected with family and friends, browse the internet, and enjoy social media during the flights. — Supplied photo
by

Muzaffar Rizvi

Published: Wed 11 Jan 2023, 2:12 PM

Last updated: Wed 11 Jan 2023, 3:20 PM

Emirates on Wednesday announced plans to offer high-speed inflight broadband service to its passengers by next year.

In a statement, the Dubai-based airline said new high-speed, inflight broadband powered by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation will be available on 50 new Airbus A350 aircraft — scheduled to enter service in 2024.

The advanced high-speed capabilities of the broadband will enable Emirates passengers to stay connected with family and friends, browse the internet, and enjoy social media during the flights.

The Airbus A350s will be the first Emirates aircraft to take advantage of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which powers the world’s first and only globally available broadband network, ensuring passengers can enjoy uninterrupted global connectivity, no matter their destination, including the North Pole, according to the statement.

The airline had placed an order for 50 of the A350-900 XWB aircraft worth $16 billion at list prices at the Dubai Airshow in 2019. Initially, the delivery of aircraft was planned to start in May 2023 and run until 2028, but it is rescheduled due to Covid-19 pandemic.

"Delivering a world-class onboard experience has always been paramount to Emirates and we understand the importance of being connected during flights. Over the years, we have worked closely with Inmarsat and our supplier partners to ensure all our aircraft offer Wi-Fi connectivity," Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ chief operating officer, said.

$2b investment plan

Emirates is investing over $2 billion to enhance its inflight customer experience, including a massive programme to retrofit over 120 aircraft with the latest interiors, plus an array of other service improvements across all cabins starting in 2022.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ chief operating officer, said the airline is finding ways and options to improve the connectivity on-board our aircraft by utilising GX Aviation for our Airbus A350 fleet.
Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ chief operating officer, said the airline is finding ways and options to improve the connectivity on-board our aircraft by utilising GX Aviation for our Airbus A350 fleet.

The plan for high-speed inflight broadband onboard A350’s is the latest addition to Emirates multi-billion-dollar investment into its onboard product and passenger experience.

"Now we’re rolling out a series of intensive programmes to take Emirates’ signature inflight experiences to the next level,” Sir Tim Clark, president Emirates airline, said in a statement in August.

Technology roadmap

The GX network that will power the Emirates inflight broadband currently consists of five Ka-band satellites and will be further enhanced with the addition of seven more satellite payloads as part of Inmarsat's fully funded technology roadmap. This includes two Inmarsat-6s, the most sophisticated commercial communications satellites ever built, both of which are scheduled to enter service in 2023.

"These will be followed by three additional satellites in geostationary orbit – adding speed, capacity, and resilience – and two in highly elliptical orbit, to enable the world’s only commercial mobile broadband service for aircraft flying in higher elevations and across the Arctic, such as routes between the Middle East and North America.

"We look forward to finding ways and options to improve the connectivity on-board our aircraft by utilising GX Aviation for our Airbus A350 fleet. The advanced capabilities being introduced by the forthcoming satellites are particularly important, as this will boost capacity across our global network, including aircraft flying over the Arctic for routes between the Middle East and America," Al Redha said.

William Huot-Marchand, Inmarsat Aviation’s senior vice-president of Inflight Connectivity, said the company is delighted that Emirates has joined the GX Aviation family.

"This will be the first fleet with Emirates to be equipped with our highly advanced GX Aviation solution. GX Aviation is well positioned to meet growing passenger expectations around a digital onboard experience, offering high-speed connectivity with uninterrupted global coverage across all flight routes, even over the Arctic," he said.

"We look forward to working closely with Emirates on the rollout and other exciting innovations that build on its excellent history of providing a best-in-class passenger experience," he said.

Rewarding Skywards members

Emirates have also introduced connectivity enhancements for Skywards members — including complimentary internet access throughout the flight for all Skywards Gold or Silver members travelling in Business Class, in addition to First Class, and Platinum members travelling in any cabin class.

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com

ALSO READ:


More news from Business