Saturday, October 26, 2019

Surf net in Indian skies from early 2020 with Inmarsat 'Global Xpress'

New Delhi: From next year foreign airlines with onboard WiFi flying to, from and over India will be able to offer passengers inflight connectivity along with desi airlines that choose to offer this service on their aircraft to both domestic and international travellers. Inmarsat, a leading provider of global mobile satellite communications which has tied up with BSNL, is going to offer its “Global Xpress” (GX) services in Indian skies from early 2020.

This will mean foreign carriers like Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates, United and Lufthansa — that currently switch off their onboard WiFi over Indian airspace — can continue to keep passengers connected here too. Indian carriers that choose to offer this facility can do so for both domestic and international passengers. So far only on SpiceJet’s grounded Boeing 737 Max have the equipment for onboard WiFi and Vistara’s Dreamliner Boeing 787s are likely to come loaded with that when their induction begins in a few weeks.
Apart from Inmarsat-BSNL, an Airtel subsidiary has also got the “in-flight and maritime connectivity” (IFMC) license from department of telecommunications (DoT). Airtel did not comment on when it plans to start that service. Both Indian and foreign airlines will need to take connectivity from a licensed Indian player, with Inmarsat-BSNL likely to be first to go live next year.

“Inmarsat is looking forward to providing Global Xpress services over Indian skies for both domestic and overflight customers from early next year. We are working closely with our Indian partners, in accordance with the nation’s in-flight and maritime connectivity policy, to do so,” Inmarsat spokesman Matthew Knowles told TOI from London.
26/10/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India
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