Emirates will provide passengers a further opportunity to “fly better” with the installation of new high-speed, in-flight broadband powered by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation onboard 50 new Airbus A350 aircraft, which are expected to begin service in 2024.
The new arrangement will significantly enhance the travel experience for passengers by improving connection and expanding global coverage, especially on flights over the Arctic.
The Airbus A350s will be the first Emirates aircraft to utilise Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which powers the world’s first and only globally accessible broadband network, ensuring that passengers can enjoy uninterrupted global connectivity regardless of their location, including the North Pole. The sophisticated high-speed capabilities of the broadband will allow Emirates passengers to stay in touch with family and friends, surf the web, and enjoy social media from the comfort of their seats.
The GX network that will enable Emirates’ inflight broadband now consists of five Ka-band satellites and will be enhanced with the addition of seven more satellite payloads in accordance with Inmarsat’s fully funded technology plan. This includes two Inmarsat-6s, the most advanced commercial communications satellites ever developed, both of which are slated to enter operation in 2023. These will be followed by three additional satellites in geostationary orbit – adding speed, capacity, and resilience – and two in highly elliptical orbit to enable the only commercial mobile broadband service for aircraft flying at higher altitudes and across the Arctic, such as routes between the Middle East and North America.
Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, Adel al Redha, stated, “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. We look forward to finding ways and options to improve the connectivity on-board our aircraft by utilising GX Aviation for our Airbus A350 fleet. The advanced capabilities being introduced by the forthcoming satellites are particularly important, as this will boost capacity across our global network, including aircraft flying over the Arctic for routes between the Middle East and America.”
William Huot-Marchand, senior vice president of Inflight Connectivity for Inmarsat Aviation, stated, “We are 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 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.”
Emirates has also launched connectivity enhancements for Skywards members, including complimentary internet access for all Skywards Gold or Silver members travelling in Business Class, in addition to First Class, as well as Platinum members travelling in any cabin class.
Having recently won a number of global travel and aviation awards, such as ‘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 year, ‘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 A350’s is the most recent 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 to enhance the airline’s customer service.