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China Airlines Operates First GX Aviation Service

Apr 13,2022

When China Airlines¡¯ first Airbus A321neo aircraft entered commercial service on Sunday (27 March) it ushered in a new era of high-speed Wi-Fi for passengers flying on the Taiwanese national carrier.

China Airlines has ordered a total of 25 Airbus A321neos as part of a narrowbody fleet replacement programme that aims to support its regional network expansion and meet long-term growth in passenger volumes.

The fleet of aircraft offer an enhanced onboard experience that includes Inmarsat¡¯s high-speed GX Aviation inflight Wi-Fi. Access is provided via the Internet ONAIR solution from Inmarsat¡¯s partner SITA and the system proved a hit during the inaugural flight from Taoyuan to Hong Kong, allowing passengers to seamlessly browse the internet and stream content from the comfort of their seat.

GX Aviation is powered by Global Xpress (GX), the world¡¯s first and only globally available broadband network, offering infight connectivity on par with mobile Wi-Fi on the ground. The GX network currently consists of five Ka-band satellites and will be further enhanced with the addition of seven more satellites as part of Inmarsat¡¯s fully-funded technology roadmap. This includes two Inmarsat-6s, the most sophisticated commercial communications satellites ever built, both of which are scheduled to enter service in 2023. They will be followed by three additional satellites in geostationary orbit ¨C adding speed, capacity and resilience ¨C and two in highly elliptical orbit, enabling the world¡¯s only commercial mobile broadband service for aircraft flying in higher elevations and across the Arctic.

All 25 of China Airlines¡¯ A321neo aircraft will be equipped with GX Aviation and Internet ONAIR, alongside other new cabin features such as fully-flat seats in Premium Business Class, the latest inflight entertainment system, and 4K high-solution displays.

According to Inmarsat¡¯s latest Passenger Confidence Tracker (the largest global survey of its kind since the pandemic began), 41 per cent of the 10,000+ respondents believe having Wi-Fi on flights is even more important now than before Covid-19, allowing them to stay connected with friends and family, and supporting a touch-free environment.

The company¡¯s senior vice president of inflight connectivity business Niels Steenstrup said: ¡°We are delighted to welcome China Airlines as our latest GX Aviation inflight broadband customer, especially at a time when the carrier is welcoming millions of its passengers back to the skies. The fact that this is our second new airline customer announcement with SITA in recent months is testament to our successful partnership and also reinforces strong demand for our market-leading connectivity, despite the challenges that Covid-19 has presented to the aviation industry over the past two years.¡±

Katrina Korzenowski, Asia Pacific vice president at SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, commented: ¡°Providing a digital and touchless onboard experience will be the key to increasing passenger confidence as air travel recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. Our Internet ONAIR technology, coupled with Inmarsat¡¯s GX Aviation connectivity, offers China Airlines the perfect blueprint for a world-class inflight broadband offering onboard its Airbus A321neo aircraft and we¡¯re proud to be working together to achieve this. It also means that SITA is now providing a full suite of services, from cockpit to cabin, to China Airlines.¡±

China Airlines will begin increasing its service frequency from the end of March. Cross-strait services consist of the Beijing, Shanghai (Pudong), Xiamen and Chengdu routes. The Songshan-Shanghai (Pudong) route will be increased to six services per week; the Taoyuan-Shanghai (Pudong) route will be increased to five services per week; the Kaohsiung-Shanghai (Pudong) route will be increased to three services per week, while the Hong Kong route will be increased to five passenger-carrying services per week.

The airline also plans to increase the frequency of its Asian routes from April onwards, including added services to Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore, Penang (Malaysia), Manila (Philippines), Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi (Vietnam), Phnom Penh (Cambodia). Tokyo (Narita), Osaka, Fukuoka and Nagoya in Japan will also all have their service frequency increased and two new services to Songshan-Tokyo (Haneda) start in May.

Further afield, from mid-May there will be five weekly services to the Los Angeles area and regular passenger carrying flights to Europe will be provided to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London and Vienna.

Source: Aviation Business News

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