The Colombian airline Avianca is the first carrier in Latin America to make its aircraft available for the provision by Inmarsat of GX Aviation. The deal will see Inmarsat’s next generation inflight broadband service installed on all of Avianca’s Airbus A320, A330 and Boeing 787 fleets.
“The reason this is so important is that it is the first win for Inmarsat and GX in the Americas,” says Raymundo Villar, Inmarsat’s Regional Director for Latin America.
The deal is interesting for a number of reasons. Currently, some US airlines such as Delta and American offer IFC on flights to South American destinations. So, now Inmarsat will offer full IFC to Avianca’s passengers. Globally, Lufthansa already runs the service, and Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines and others have also signed up to GX Aviation.
Hernán Rincón, Chief Executive Officer of Avianca, says the agreement with Inmarsat will benefit both airline and passengers: “Today, technology is one of Avianca’s fundamental pillars. Therefore, and to allow our travellers to be always connected, we have signed an agreement that will allow us to continue advancing in our digital transformation with the support of Inmarsat.”
It’s notable that Rincón was CEO of Microsoft Latin America before moving to Avianca. He recently suggested that the airline would become a digital company that “happens to transport passengers.” This is very much in keeping with the widespread industry view that IFC is the key part of aviation digitisation.
The deal is also important for Latin America. Until now, the continent has lagged behind other regions with IFC, particularly North America, where it’s widespread. However, this may actually be an advantage. It means that, over the next few years, Avianca airlines’ planes will be fitted with GX Aviation. This is a faster, more reliable form of IFC than the first-generation solutions that many North American airlines currently use. Fliers using these older technologies will have to wait for the next upgrade cycle to experience GX.
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Source : INMARSAT PLC.