China remains, somewhat surprisingly, one of the least connected aerospace markets in the world. Once again, however, there are hints that could change with the deployment of a massive air-to-ground network. Backed by local airlines, telecom companies, and – most importantly – the government, efforts are once again underway to deliver a trial ATG network in the country.
Air Canada's A321 fleet will soon fly with the Intelsat 2Ku in-flight internet solution. Under the agreement the carrier will upgrade its offering for 15 existing aircraft, while also taking 15 new deliveries with the system installed from the Airbus factory in Hamburg.
Deutsche Telekom continues to smooth the process for buying WiFi on board. The company launched the FlyNet application, in partnership with Lufthansa, to help customers connect across any of the airline's flights, regardless of the underlying internet service provider. And there's a lot more to come.
Electronically steered antennae (ESAs) are coming to commercial and business aviation. But not everyone is in a hurry to get there. Two companies with ESA products on their roadmap took a step back focusing on existing, proven technology platforms instead.
SpaceX can now deliver its satellite-based internet service to "Earth Stations in Motion," paving the way for the network to go live on airplanes, ships, and other moving vehicles. The FCC ruling is a major step forward for Starlink's consumer and enterprise services, including plans to activate service on commercial aircraft later this year.