Honeywell, Boeing seal inflight comms pact

Honeywell and Boeing have signed a technical services agreement to research and develop technologies for the next generation of high-speed, in-flight wireless connectivity on Boeing platforms including the 787, 777, 737NG and 747-8.

With this agreement, Honeywell and Boeing are addressing passengers’ increasing demands for faster, more reliable in-flight connectivity on iPads, smartphones, tablet devices and laptops while over land and crossing oceans.

The agreement will allow Boeing and Honeywell to jointly research, test and develop the hardware, software and potential services that will utilize GX Ka-band satellites, powered by Inmarsat’s Global Xpress constellation, and begin the necessary activities to support GX Ka-band equipment installation aboard new aircraft in 2015.

Global Xpress will offer unprecedented data rates and bandwidth, backed by Inmarsat’s quality standards, performance and global reach. It will provide the same experience as terrestrial broadband and is the only Ka-band network designed to provide consistent global coverage. Travellers will be able to do everything from real-time social media updates to videoconferencing and multimedia presentation development while in flight, virtually anywhere in the world, with an experience similar to being at home or in the office.

Beyond passenger comfort, the Honeywell-developed hardware and system for GX Aviation will also introduce new services to aircraft operators, airlines and air traffic control such as predictive maintenance and better aircraft communications that will take advantage of a fast, reliable and global connectivity service, essentially creating a truly ‘connected aircraft’.

Honeywell and Inmarsat signed an agreement in 2012 to provide global in-flight connectivity services to business, commercial and government aviation customers around the world. Under the terms of the terminal agreement, Honeywell exclusively will develop, produce and distribute the onboard hardware that will enable users to connect to Inmarsat’s GX Aviation network. The first Inmarsat GX Ka-band satellite, being built by Boeing, is expected to launch in late 2013, and Inmarsat and Honeywell continue to track toward making global service available for commercial, business aviation and government customers in 2015.

Carl Esposito, Vice President, Marketing and Product Management, Honeywell Aerospace, said: “The current in-flight connectivity landscape offers only a narrow field of overland flight paths in the U.S. and select international markets, is unreliable, and does not adequately address passengers’ burgeoning desire for a true global in-flight connectivity offering. Both Boeing and Honeywell understand this demand for global connectivity and are collaborating to ensure that airlines are equipped to provide passengers with the fastest and most reliable global in-flight connectivity experience possible through GX Aviation.”

Dan Murray, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Chief Engineer of Electronic Systems added: “Boeing is working with Honeywell to develop and ultimately apply Ka technology on Boeing platforms as an offering which can be selected and brought to market by our airline customers worldwide.”

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