Full speed ahead for Qatar’s Wi-Fi
Qatar announced its intention to install Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) Aviation service across its flagship fleet back in April, but actually signed the contract in late May.
This makes Qatar the first Middle Eastern airline to select the GX Aviation in-flight connectivity solution.
Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways group chief executive, said: “Qatar Airways prides itself on assessing and understanding the latest market innovations, demonstrating over and over again our ability to ride and guide trends in passenger preferences.
“By partnering with Inmarsat, we are confident that Qatar Airways will meet the highest expectations in the industry for in-flight broadband services, and avail ourselves of the many other new opportunities powered by connectivity.”
Ben Griffin, Inmarsat’s regional director Middle East and Africa, said the deal was negotiated directly with the airline rather than via a distribution partner at the request of the customer.
“We are currently talking to other prospects within the Middle East, India and Africa across our distribution options,” Griffin said. “We expect to be able to have news of various other customer commitments throughout the rest of the year.”
Confirmed customers for the GX Aviation solution now include Lufthansa, Singapore, Norwegian, Air Astana, Air New Zealand, AirAsia and now Qatar Airways. Lufthansa was the first to go live.
Speaking at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Leo Mondale, Inmarsat Aviation president, said: “Lufthansa is very satisfied with the performance of its Inmarsat GX in-flight connectivity, as are its customers – the net promoter scores from passengers using it are very positive.
“It’s a huge pleasure to get some of our milestones behind us. You’ll now see us doing very well. We’re in a market that is like selling candy to a baby.
“The fact we have more than 1,000 aircraft in backlog at this point is an incredible milestone, given that GX Aviation only went live a few months ago.
“It is further proof that the in-flight broadband revolution has truly begun; passengers are demanding quality connectivity and airlines are endorsing Inmarsat’s superior offering.”
Mondale added that Inmarsat is starting to see the availability (or not) of in-flight connectivity affect passengers’ buying habits. “It is becoming a deciding factor when passengers choose an airline,” he said.
“Passengers prefer access to connectivity over in-flight entertainment – we’ve never seen a clearer roadmap for the future.”