Ethiopian to enhance passenger experience with Airbus’ Airspace Link HBCplus and Inmarsat’s GX Aviation High-Speed Inflight Broadband Service
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia— Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest airline, announced at the recently held Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany that it will offer advanced, high-speed inflight broadband to passengers onboard its upcoming Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.
The airline said it will use GX Aviation provided by Inmarsat, recently acquired by Viasat, and selected through the Airbus Airspace Link HBCplus program which will enable its latest aircraft to stay connected while flying.
Wi-Fi connectivity in the sky is a priority for most passengers with Inmarsat’s survey showing 82% of passengers are more likely to rebook with an airline that offers quality inflight Wi-Fi.
The first of Ethiopian Airlines’ Airbus A350-1000 aircraft is set to be delivered in the Third Quarter (Q3) of 2024, with passengers able to benefit from GX Aviation’s world-class connectivity technology. This supports the airline’s Vision 2035 Strategy which focuses on expanding its fleets, enhancing its passenger experience and maintaining its leading position in the airline industry.
“Connectivity is a crucial part of our services and products; and bringing Inmarsat’s best-in-class GX Aviation service to our passengers, as part of Airbus’ HBCplus program, is a major step forward. We want to give our passengers the possibility to stream, surf, and chat from thousands of feet in the air, no matter where their route or destination is. Inmarsat’s seamless, truly global inflight connectivity will be vital to deliver this. We look forward to a very successful partnership with Inmarsat and Airbus, now and in the years to come,” said Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO MesfinTasew.
Niels Steenstrup, President, Inmarsat Aviation, said: “We were selected as the first managed services provider (MSP) for the Airbus HBCplus program last year, with a scope that includes connectivity, digital portal services and ISP capability. The fact that we have already been selected by two leading airlines is a great achievement and we are excited about delivering our award- winning GX Aviation inflight broadband to Ethiopian Airlines’ passengers starting from next year. This will enable them to stream videos, browse the internet, shop online, enjoy social media and more, all from the comfort of their seats and using their personal devices.”
Andre Schneider, Airbus VP Cabin and Cargo Program, said they are delighted with Ethiopian Airlines’ decision, saying, “Initially encompassing Ka-band services, it will enable the airline to connect to a choice of Managed Service Providers (MSPs), in this case with Inmarsat – via a new certified terminal and antenna built as part of the aircraft.”
Powered by Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite network, GX Aviation delivers world-class connectivity on every aircraft, on any route, and for every passenger. Airline customers will also benefit from seven more Inmarsat satellite payloads entering service by 2025, increasing its Ka-band network fleet to 12.