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GX retrofit of QR 777 fleet Imminent

Posted 15 May 2017 · Add Comment

By Barbara Saunders. Prototype installation of Inmarsat's Global Express (GX) Aviation inflight broadband solution for Qatar Airways' 53-strong Boeing 777 fleet is scheduled to begin this month with technology provider INMARSAT saying the system could be put into passenger use for the carrier late July or early August depending upon certification schedules.

INMARSAT recently secured Qatar Airways as the first Middle East customer for the GX following a rigorous evaluation and selection process which took over a year to complete. The deal was forged directly with the airline as opposed to via distribution partners “at the request of the customer” according to Ben Griffin, INMARSAT’s Regional Director Middle East and Africa.

“It is our biggest contract in the region and the first for the GX in the region. It is a powerful endorsement for the solution and gives us great credibility for additional negotiations,” said Griffin. “We are currently talking to other prospects within the Middle East, India and Africa across our distribution options and expect to be able to drip feed news of various other customer commitments throughout the rest of the year.”

INMARSAT claims the GX Aviation service is the world’s first inflight connectivity solution with reliable, seamless high-speed global coverage provided through a single operator. The solution is said to give airlines the freedom to provide unique passenger experiences that go beyond basic broadband to include streamed entertainment, advanced inflight shopping, and digital and personalised services.

The GX solution is being line fitted into QR’s delivery-due A350 fleet while the scheduling of retrofits into its operating A350s remains to be finalised. In all around 130 Qatar Airways airliners will operate the solution. “The result will be an outstanding solution for a customer that demands and delivers five-star services,” added Griffin.

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