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30 planes signed up for in-flight wifi
Satellite operator Inmarsat (ISAT) secured a deal with Austrian Airways to deliver its Global Xpress passenger broadband solution.
Among only a few commercial suppliers of satellite connectivity, Inmarsat’s geostationary satellites surround the earth and can fire spot beams to antenna located on planes flying long-haul routes.
Inmarsat’s big move into aviation comes at a cost – it is paying up-front for customers to install the specialist antennae in order to speed adoption. Management expects a one-third increase in group revenue from the project in coming years but analysts are fretting about financing pressure because of Inmarsat’s $3bn of net debt.