Qatar Airways, Inmarsat Expand IFC Partnership
Qatar Airways has expanded its partnership with Inmarsat to provide inflight connectivity (IFC) on its Boeing 737-10 and 787-9 fleet, ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Doha in November.
GX Aviation, Inmarsat’s high-speed global inflight broadband service, has been rolled out on other Qatar Airways aircraft; under the new agreement it has already been activated on the airline’s first seven 787-9s. Inmarsat partner Safran Passenger Innovations handles supplying the terminal and supporting installations.
Qatar Airways became the launch customer for GX Aviation in the Middle East and North Africa over four years ago on its 777s and its Airbus A350 XWBs.
The carrier provides one hour of free access to its “Super Wi-Fi,” powered by GX Aviation, with the option to purchase full access for the remainder of each flight. The seamless broadband will be available across the airline’s aircraft and flight routes.
According to Inmarsat, the GX network currently consists of five Ka-band satellites and will add seven more satellites as part of Inmarsat’s fully funded technology roadmap. This includes two Inmarsat-6s, both of which are scheduled to enter service in 2023, followed by three additional satellites in geostationary orbit and two in highly elliptical orbit, enabling commercial mobile broadband service for aircraft flying in higher elevations and across the Arctic.
Inmarsat said the GX network will also play a crucial role in the ongoing growth of Inmarsat’s ORCHESTRA mesh network, which will bring existing geosynchronous (GEO) satellites together with low earth orbit satellites (LEO) and terrestrial 5G.