APEX EXPO, Long Beach, 19 September 2023 – Building on Airbus’ success of the first launch selections for its Airspace Link HBCplus on the A350 from Emirates and Ethiopian Airlines – revealed at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in June – and while it further expands the customer base for its built-in satcom connectivity solution across more Airbus aircraft Families, Airbus is gearing-up for introducing the complementary Ku-band HBCplus offer.
To this end Airbus has selected Safran Passenger Innovations (SPI) as its Ku-band satcom hardware supplier, integrating Get-SAT’s Electronically Steerable Antenna (ESA). Being both *GEO and *LEO compatible, this antenna will unlock simultaneous multi-beam operation for HBCplus Ku-band services for which first entry into service is expected in the course of 2026.
Ku-band MSPs confirmed
Since they were revealed during the 2023 AIX, Intelsat and Panasonic Avionics Corporation have respectively signed contracts and are thus confirmed as launch Managed Service Providers (MSPs) for the Ku-band multi-orbit LEO/GEO HBCplus offering.
Maximilian Ruecker, VP Cabin Procurement Seats, IFE and Electronics says: “As the aircraft OEM, Airbus is looking forward to delivering state-of-the-art built-in aircraft connectivity technology together with Safran Passenger Innovations, integrating Get-SAT’s electronically-steerable antenna to harness multiple satellite constellations. In parallel, our expanding catalogue of selected Managed Service Provider partners – now joined by Intelsat and Panasonic Avionics Corporation – will deliver a fantastic customer experience for airlines’ Airbus Family aircraft through lightning fast internet in-flight.”
With the HBCplus customer base and product offer growing, Airbus builds the foundation of its open ecosystem Airspace Link platform which opens-up the interdependence of hardware with its accompanying software service. Currently, Airbus’ HBCplus’ offer for airlines encompasses Ka-band (*GEO) and *MEO, using SPI’s integrated terminal modem with Thinkom Solutions’ antenna, together with Viasat and SES as the selected MSPs.
*GEO = GEostationary Orbit
*LEO = Low Earth Orbit services (such as OneWeb)
*MEO = Medium Earth Orbit
Group photo left to right: Ingo Wuggetzer, Vice President-Cabin Marketing-Airbus; Dave Bijur, Sr. VP of Commercial Aviation-IntelSat; John Wade, VP Inflight Connectivity-Panasonic; John Andrews, VP Connectivity-Safran; Matt Smith, CEO-Safran; Frederik Van Essen,VP Business Development-IntelSat; Tim Sommer, VP Product & Services Strategy-Airbus; Marc Fischer, SVP Engineering Cabin and Cargo-Airbus.