Inmarsat’s inflight broadband solution, GX Aviation, has seen its commercial service introduction on selected Lufthansa Group short haul and medium haul flights across Europe. Passengers on Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines – with Lufthansa Group’s low-cost carrier Eurowings also set to introduce the service soon – will now have high-speed internet access.

A groundbreaking service
It’s the result of a strategic and commercial partnership between Inmarsat and Lufthansa Group. So far, almost 80 Airbus A320 family aircraft from the Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings fleets have been fitted for GX Aviation.

Passengers can access the service on the device of their choice through the FlyNet portal. Three pricing packages are available, allowing passengers to choose whether they want to stream videos, surf the web or simply send emails or messages.

Additionally, flyers will be able to take advantage of a 10-minute, 10 MB ‘Try FlyNet’ service so they can see the capabilities before they commit to buying a package. Payment can be made in multiple ways – from credit card to PayPal.

Mario Franci, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Vice-President of European Sales and Revenue and Inflight Services, describes the commercial introduction of GX Aviation as a landmark occasion for the aviation industry.

“With GX we can literally say that this service is the present and not the future… The passengers are happy, as the first results of our tests show, and surfing and streaming above the skies of Europe is now a reality.”

Speaking at a reception at Inmarsat’s London headquarters to celebrate the launch, Lufthansa’s Head of IFEC Technology, Floris Reimbold, is equally enthusiastic. He says: “It’s a great milestone. After such a long time of development, testing and preparation, it’s cool to see this baby now walking. The passengers are happy, as the first results of our tests show, and surfing and streaming above the skies of Europe is now a reality.”

A shared revenue initiative
One of the key aspects of the launch is the partnership between Inmarsat and the Lufthansa Group. This is a real partnership of equals with both sides of the venture invested jointly in its success. The deal is structured so that both earn from any revenue that the service makes.

“This is really a revenue share-based venture,” explains Franci. “We both have interest in the success of the service. Inmarsat and Lufthansa have designed the service together, we are promoting the service, servicing the passengers and maintaining the service going forwards.”

He continues: “It’s a proper partnership. Lufthansa is a very big airline group and it’s very significant that it has chosen Inmarsat in not just having a supply of connectivity, but a partnership to design the connectivity. I think that we all recognise that the industry, particularly in Europe, is still waiting to see how connectivity is going to develop. The fact that Lufthansa decided to go with Inmarsat and that we have defined what that service will be together is a really big achievement.”

An extended version of this article appears on inmarsataviation.com