Inmarsat and Honeywell launch business aviation’s ‘fastest L-band’


EBACE reports

Business aviation’s “fastest L-band inflight connectivity service” is expected to come into service in the first half of 2023, according to Inmarsat and its partner Honeywell. The service, SwiftJet, is powered by Inmarsat’s ELERA satellite network and an upgraded Honeywell terminal.

SwiftJet represents a real step change in what customers can do on the aircraft,” Kai Tang, head of Business Aviation, Inmarsat told Corporate Jet Investor at the EBACE event in Geneva. “What we previously offered, 432 kilobits per second, is the fastest L-band in existence for aviation. Now you’ll be able to do up to 2.6 megabits per second. This is six times more powerful than what was previously provided.”

The increased speeds that SwiftJet offers will give customers enhanced capabilities for video calls, web browsing, email, texting and cloud-syncing. Video applications which were previously challenging over L-band, such as Netflix and YouTube will also be accessible.

SwiftJet utilises hardware from partner Honeywell. Existing customers of Inmarsat’s Swift Broadband service will benefit from an upgrade path without needing to replace any externally-mounted aircraft equipment, while new customers will experience the same ease of installation as with any Inmarsat L-band terminal.

Adam Sheppard, director of Aircraft Connectivity, Honeywell Aerospace said: “With Inmarsat, we have created a straightforward upgrade path for SwiftBroadband customers, giving them easy access to unprecedented internet speeds over L-band without having to change wiring or antenna hardware.”

Inmarsat already provides connectivity solutions to 4,500 aircraft that will benefit from the new service.A lot of those 4,500 aircraft have Honeywell kit onboard with an antenna and terminal. Next year, when we flip the switch and turn on the service for customers, they will have already had

SwiftJet has been developed based on Inmarsat’s 40-year history of providing connectivity solutions, said Tang. Its work to build a global maritime safety at sea service, as part of a UN directive, has allowed Inmarsat to establish its ground and satellite infrastructure across the planet. “This service had to work exactly the same no matter where you were in the world,” Tang told CJI. “That is part of our DNA, and a part that helped build a global service that ensures end to end connectivity.”

Partnership with governments and international entities, such as the UN , had enabled Inmarsat to access technologies and build its infrastructure in numerous jurisdictions worldwide. “This is what allows customer to just turn their device on and it works. That’s really how it should be.”

Business jet connectivity is becoming ever more important, as revealed by a recent survey conducted by Corporate Jet Investor Quarterly, in partnership with Inmarsat. For example, 46% of respondents believed that enjoying the same online access in the air as on the ground will become more important over the next 12 months

As the latest addition to Inmarsat’s portfolio of business aviation inflight connectivity services, SwiftJet will be available alongside Jet ConneX (JX) and SwiftBroadband which have been activated on thousands of jets worldwide. All of Inmarsat’s services are powered by its ELERA satellite network

Business jet connectivity should always be a seamless process for the principal, said Tang. “ Our ethos is if we’ve done our job, then you don’t hear us abouts us. The principal on the aircraft shouldn’t care how their laptop or streaming works, it should just feel like magic.”