Qingdao Airlines Reaffirms Commitment to Deploy High Speed Inflight Satellite Internet for its Fleet
Beijing, China – 11 May 2021 – Qingdao Airlines announced in a contract-signing ceremony that it is fully committed to expand and accelerate the deployment of high-speed in-flight satellite Internet on its aircraft fleet. This follows the successful evaluation of the first commercial high-speed Internet flight trial in China that was launched by Qingdao Airlines on July 2020. This marks a major milestone in this groundbreaking collaboration project whereby FTS is supplying the Xstream™ high-speed satellite inflight system while TD Link Technology is providing internet service operations.
The Xstream™ system suite developed by FTS comprises of XstreamSAT™ satellite communication, XstreamLITE™ cabin WiFi, and XstreamOP™ cloud management platform. It is the first China developed IFEC system to receive all three major international airworthiness STC certifications from FAA, EASA and CAAC. The system is integrated with China Satcom’s ChinaSat-16 Ka-HTS satellites and is capable of providing up to 150 Mbps bandwidth between aircraft and ground. Over the past 10 months, the trial aircraft has flown more than 1,200 flights flawlessly with impeccable service, delighting Qingdao Airlines passengers with unprecedented inflight connected experience equivalent to ground 4G performance, with services such as movies, social media, live video broadcast, maps and e-commerce (with mobile payment).
FTS XStreamOP™ ground-based cloud management platform which has been in service since beginning trial has proven to be critical in ensuring service delivery with real-time monitoring of airborne systems, connectivity status, as well as consolidating all inflight data for ground analytics. This open cloud architecture enables the airline and service providers to integrate with airline backend IT to provide an efficient and easy-to-use method of managing all the on-board internet equipments and services.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has brought far-reaching and fundamental impact to aviation, the China domestic air travel is leading the industry in terms of recovery and even growing beyond pre-COVID period. A spokesperson at FTS commented they are seeing more confidence, optimism and interest from domestic airlines on making long term investment on Inflight connectivity as they believe this is a pivotal enabler to drive digital transformation of passenger service, airline operations and auxiliary revenue from which airlines could benefit to achieve recovery and long-term sustainability.
The decision from Qingdao Airlines is not taken lightly especially in the current challenging climate. It came after rigorous scrutiny of trial results concluded that FTS system performance, reliability and benefits far exceeded airline expectations. Mr Wu Longxue, President of Qingdao Airlines said: “After Qingdao Airlines launched the high-speed inflight Internet flight, it not only won strong accolades from passengers but also created a new business model of ‘Internet + Aviation’, making Qingdao Airlines a role model for the domestic industry.” Qingdao Airlines’ innovative and pioneering spirit has attracted strong endorsement and support from local government, CAAC and industry bodies. After carefully weighing all these factors and firmly believing in the benefits of connected aircraft, the airline stood firm in its decision to go full steam and accelerate the fleet-wide adoption of inflight connectivity.
In preparation for the accelerated fleet wide deployment, FTS is ramping up its operations and capabilities. It announced that it has obtained CAAC PMA certification and Part 145 maintenance and repair overhaul approvals for its range of components. With its strong R&D presence, manufacturing and support network in China, FTS is well positioned to provide prompt and comprehensive service to support the airlines in China, while also remained fully compliant to governmental and regulatory requirements.