Emirates has finalised plans to offer its passengers around the world additional opportunity to fly better and enjoy a new high-speed, inflight broadband powered by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation, onboard 50 new Airbus A350 aircraft scheduled to enter service in 2024.
The new agreement will incredibly improve the passenger’s experience with enhanced connectivity and greater global coverage, even on flights over the Arctic. The Airbus A350s will be the first Emirates aircraft to take advantage of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which powers the world’s first and only globally available broadband network, ensuring passengers can now enjoy uninterrupted global connectivity, no matter their destinations, including the North Pole.
The advanced high-speed capabilities of the broadband will enable Emirates passengers to stay connected with family and friends, browse the internet, and enjoy social media, all from the comfort of their seats.
According to the Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, Adel al Redha, “delivering a world-class onboard experience has always been paramount to Emirates and we understand the importance of being connected during flights. Over the years, we have worked closely with Inmarsat and our supplier partners to ensure all our aircraft offer Wi-Fi connectivity.”
He said that Emirates is looking forward to finding ways and options to improve the connectivity on-board its aircraft by utilising GX Aviation for its Airbus A350 fleet. The advanced capabilities being introduced by the forthcoming satellites, he said, are particularly important, as this will boost capacity across the airlines’ global network, including aircraft flying over the Arctic for routes between the Middle East and America.
In a separate statement, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Vice President of Inflight Connectivity, William Huot-Marchand, said his company is delighted that Emirates has joined the GX Aviation family. “This will be the first fleet with Emirates to be equipped with our highly advanced GX Aviation solution.” GX Aviation, he said, is well positioned to meet growing passenger expectations around a digital onboard experience, offering high-speed connectivity with uninterrupted global coverage across all flight routes, even over the Arctic. “We look forward to working closely with Emirates on the rollout and other exciting innovations that build on its excellent history of providing a best-in-class passenger experience.”
The GX network that will power the Emirates inflight broadband currently consists of five Ka-band satellites and will be further enhanced with the addition of seven more satellite payloads as part of Inmarsat’s fully funded technology roadmap. This includes two Inmarsat-6s, the most sophisticated commercial communications satellites ever built, both of which are scheduled to enter service in 2023.
These will be followed by three additional satellites in geostationary orbit – adding speed, capacity, and resilience – and two in a highly elliptical orbit, to enable the world’s only commercial mobile broadband service for aircraft flying in higher elevations and across the Arctic, such as routes between the Middle East and North America. Emirates has also introduced connectivity enhancements for Skywards members – including complimentary internet access throughout the flight for all Skywards Gold or Silver members travelling in Business Class, in addition to First Class, and Platinum members travelling in any cabin class.
Having recently won a slew of global travel and aviation awards including; ‘Best Airline in the World’ at the ULTRAs 2022, and a ‘World Class Award’, ‘5 Star Global Official Airline Rating’, and ‘Passenger Choice Award for Best Global Entertainment’ at APEX 2023, and ‘World’s Best Economy Class’, ‘World’s Best Economy Class Catering’ and for the 17th consecutive time, ‘World’s Best Inflight Entertainment’ at Skytrax 2022 – Emirates continues to deliver on its brand promise to ‘fly better’.
The plan for high-speed inflight broadband onboard A350s is the latest addition to Emirates’ multi-billion-dollar investment into its onboard product and passenger experience; which also includes the largest known fleet retrofit project of 120 aircraft, extensive investment into menu development and food and beverage experiences, the planned introduction of next-generation inflight entertainment systems on incoming aircraft, and a hospitality training programme designed by the world’s most renowned hotel school – Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne.