Inmarsat – the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, and Deutsche Telekom, the leading integrated telecommunications company, have successfully completed the first flight trials to test both the satellite and complementary ground network for their European Aviation Network (EAN) service.

EAN is the world’s first dedicated aviation solution to combine space and ground based components to deliver robust, ultra-lightweight, high-speed inflight broadband to airlines. The recent flights demonstrated that EAN meets its design performance in practice; a significant milestone for the project consortium, as well as European airlines and their passengers.

Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom conducted the evaluation with partners Cobham, Thales and Nokia using a CESSNA 550 Citation II provided by Dutch company NLR. The aircraft was flown across Germany, Belgium, France and Spain, covering approximately 5,000 km of European airspace, to test integration of the Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) and Complementary Ground Component (CGC) terminals. Further flight trials are scheduled over the coming weeks.

Inmarsat Aviation President Philip Balaam said: “These flight trials, together with the recent news that Ofcom in the UK is the latest European regulator to authorise the ground-based stations as part of the EAN, moves the project a step closer to commencing commercial service with our launch customer, which we expect to take place in the first half of 2018. This will be a game-changer for the airline market, offering passengers a new gold standard in resilient and scalable inflight broadband, with unmatched high capacity, low-latency performance.”