Emirates passengers will soon enjoy high-speed in-flight broadband connectivity onboard the airline’s upcoming Airbus A350s, with the service set to come online by 2024.
The new internet service will be powered by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation, which uses Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network—the world’s only globally available broadband network—designed explicitly for high-speed inflight connections.
The new service will allow passengers more opportunities to ‘fly better,’ according to Emirates. In addition, its partnership with Inmarsat should allow Emirates customers to browse the internet, stay connected with family and friends, and scroll through social media during any phase of the flight—even when flying over the Arctic on routes from Dubai to destinations like Seattle or Los Angeles.
“Delivering a world-class onboard experience has always been paramount to Emirates, and we understand the importance of being connected during flights,” said Adel al Redha, Chief Operating Officer at Emirates.
“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.”
Redha added that the airline has constantly been searching for ” ways and options to improve the connectivity.”
The GX network is currently powered by five Ka-band satellites but will be boosted with an additional seven satellites as part of Inmarsat’s expansion. Two of the new satellites will be Inmarsat-6s, which according to Emirates, are the “most sophisticated commercial communications satellites ever built.”
A further three new satellites will be placed into geostationary orbit, providing extra speed, capacity, and resilience to the network. At the same time, the remaining two will be put into a highly elliptical orbit, providing internet access to transatlantic flights traveling over the Arctic.
“We are delighted that Emirates has joined the GX Aviation family,” said William Huot-Marchand, Senior Vice President of Inflight Connectivity at Inmarsat Aviation. “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.”
Adding high-speed internet is one of many updates that Emirates is making to its fleet. The carrier is also retrofitting 120 planes with updated interiors, unveiling the first last week.
The airline is also investing in an updated food and beverage menu and has plans to introduce a next-generation inflight entertainment system across all its new aircraft.