11th JULY 2013: Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, announced that the first flight for a Chinese airline equipped with passenger Wi-Fi connectivity internet access took place on 3rd July, on an Air China Airbus A330 flying from Beijing to Chengdu. The aircraft used Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband service provided by Inmarsat’s Chinese partner MCN.
The Inmarsat SwiftBroadband based cabin Wi-Fi connectivity allowed all passengers to access the Internet for web browsing, instant messaging and other applications. This capability is the result of the close cooperation between Air China and MCN, Inmarsat’s leading Chinese distributor. The Chinese aviation regulator, the Chinese Aviation Authority of China (CAAC), was also closely involved in the project from the start to ensure that all necessary approvals were in place for the system and Inmarsat service.
“Inmarsat is delighted to have been selected by Air China for this important milestone in Chinese aviation. This underlines Inmarsat’s commitment to the Chinese market, and is the result of our on-going investments in SwiftBroadband, the appointment of our Chinese distribution partners and the work we have done together to gain regulatory approval for SwiftBroadband in China,” said Miranda Mills, President Aviation, Inmarsat.
“Supplying SwiftBroadband for this project is a result of MCN being approved and officially able to offer all Inmarsat services in China. MCN are proud to be the partner in this most important project, servicing the Chinese aviation market. This highlights MCN’s commitment to developing state of the art solutions utilising the SwiftBroadband service,” said Mr Yin Lin, Deputy Director General of MCN
A recent report by Skyscanner Ltd, surveying 1,000 Chinese passengers showed that 83 per cent of the respondents would be willing to pay for an in-flight Wi-Fi service. This percentage went up to 90 per cent among those aged between 25 and 34.
“The rapid growth of the Chinese aviation market, together with a great demand for in-flight connectivity is making these very exciting times for MCN,” concluded Mr Yin Lin.
Thales and Inmarsat today signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to add Thales as a partner in marketing Inmarsat’s connectivity solutions to the commercial aviation market.
Air China and Honeywell Aerospace sign a Memorandum of Understanding to install and test GX Aviation on Air China’s A330 aircraft, expected in the second quarter of 2015.
Saudia is expanding its inflight connectivity program on routes between the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and most of Saudia worldwide destinations.