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Impact of new technologies on the business aviation industry

Impact of new technologies on the business aviation industry

The global pandemic has transformed our daily lives and continues to have a heavy impact on the world. Globally companies have also been forced to accelerate the adoption of new emerging technologies to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

This also had an impact on the business aviation industry from a technology perspective. We remain confident and optimistic that the business aviation industry will rebound in the long term. This has a lot to do with the unique experience of flying private, and the ability to make the cabin experience what you want – a respite for entertainment, a place of work and anything in between. Tied to creating that experience is reliable and future-ready connectivity. Yet years have passed, and some operators are still selecting to outfit their aircraft with older, congested Ku-Band connectivity services often due to already installed Ku-Band radomes instead of  the newer, faster and proven Ka-Band satellite communications system.

Business jet passengers and operators know what they want: inflight Wi-Fi that is fast, reliable and available anywhere in the world. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, business jet passengers expect the same user experience at 40,000 feet that they enjoy on the ground, in their home or office. This means providing them with internet access that will not slow down, become unreliable or drop completely when multiple devices are connected to read email, conduct Skype calls and stream video. The benefit and value of predictable, resilient and seamless connectivity can all be realized when using a Ka-Band connectivity service.

The fact remains that most aircraft flying today are ready for a connectivity upgrade as most of the older systems are based on an era where technology was not as prevalent as it is now. We have 5G smartphones, Zoom meetings are the norm, buying online is commonplace, video on demand and other business functions now happen virtually. There has never been a greater demand on bandwidth and connectivity. The best equipped operate on the Ku-Band and probably connect with top speeds in the 3-4 mbps range – too slow to satisfy most discriminating business aviation passengers.

Performance of Ku-Band systems has improved in recent years with typical speeds now around 18 mbps. However, with Honeywell’s JetWave Ka-Band satellite communications system, which connects to the Inmarsat Jet ConneX satellite communications service, speeds up to 33 mbps can be achieved. This exceeds the speed of many ground-based Wi-Fi services, and with network availability numbers above 95 percent. Inmarsat owns and operates the Ka-Band satellite communication system that seamlessly spans the world delivering high bandwidth and reliability. Additionally, Inmarsat continues to significantly invest to further enhance coverage and bandwidth for future growth.

Another major difference is the frequency of each band as this will affect the quality of the connection provided. Ku-Band uses frequencies in the lower GHz range, while Ka-Band uses frequencies in the higher GHz range. With a higher frequency, you can get more bandwidth from a Ka-Band system, which means a higher data transfer rate and better performance.

With our Honeywell Forge Cabin Connectivity suite of services and applications, our Ka-Band enabled JetWave SATCOM solution and Inmarsat’s high-speed connectivity services, busy executives do not have to worry about connectivity even on international and transoceanic trips. With a Ka-Band solution, executives can now not only send and receive emails but also download and upload huge graphic intensive files and stream live videos that would not have been possible previously.

Honeywell offers a variety of Jet ConneX Ka-Band service plans to choose from which provide minimum committed upload and download speeds and also included is a monthly data usage. Operators should be aware that installation cost is only one decisive factor in choosing a system and in-service charges require more attention. It is recommended to carefully compare in service price offerings for Ka-Band vs. Ku-Band in order to make an informed decision.

Lastly, Honeywell’s unique SATCOM offerings can help make the most of your connected aircraft investment. The time is now for aircraft operators and owners to upgrade to a Ka-Band satellite communications system as you are not just investing for today but also for the long-term future where technology will become even more deeply etched in our lives.

Alois Sanktjohanser
Senior Director, Business & General Aviation, EMEAI, Honeywell

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