Airbus launches flexible high bandwidth connectivity solution for airlines

Airbus has launched a flexible satellite connectivity solution that will be offered as an SFE (supplier furnished equipment) line-fit catalogue option and also for retrofit on all its programmes.

The solution is called ‘Airspace Link HBCplus’. It initially encompasses Ka-band services, and will enable airlines to connect to a choice of managed service providers (MSPs) via a new certified terminal and radome built as part of the aircraft. In the future Airbus plans to extend HBCplus to include MSPs which offer Ku-band services.

“We are excited to offer airlines a new connectivity service solution that will provide improved speed and reliability for passenger experience and more flexibility,” said Airbus’ VP cabin & cargo programme André Schneider. “Together with our leading industry partners we are pleased to enable future connectivity business opportunities in the context of the Airspace Link open ecosystem.”

Airbus has selected connectivity satcom leader Inmarsat as the first MSP, contributing its ‘GX Aviation’ inflight broadband solution which Airbus said offers reliable and seamless passenger experience with global coverage and capacity for future growth. Additional MSPs will join the HBCplus offering in due course.

Inmarsat Aviation’s president Philippe Carette commented: “We are honoured that Airbus has chosen Inmarsat as the first managed service provider for this transformative connectivity catalogue solution and is putting its trust in our award-winning GX Aviation service across all of its aircraft programmes. Inmarsat looks forward to working closely with our partners Airbus and SPI to deliver continuous innovation for airlines and their passengers worldwide.”

Safran Passenger Innovations (SPI) has been selected as the terminal provider and hardware integrator of ThinKom’s antenna technology – targeted for Ka-band services which delivers high data throughput and reliability combined with aircraft fuel savings thanks to the antenna’s lower drag radome.

Safran Passenger Innovations’ CEO Matt Smith commented: “Safran Passenger Innovations is delighted to be selected as the equipment supplier for Airbus’ Airspace Link connectivity solution. We are excited to be a part of the next evolution in the IFC industry by providing the technology for airlines to select the connectivity services most suited to their needs. We look forward to working with Airbus and our partners on this industry-changing endeavour.”

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