Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom conduct test flights for European Aviation Network


Inmarsat, Deutsche Telekom, Nokia and Thales have tested the European Aviation Networks (EAN) in a flight programme conducted in four test sites in the UK.

EAN is an integrated satellite and air-to-ground network dedicated to providing in-flight broadband services for the European aviation industry and the passengers travelling across Europe.

Expected to be launched by next year, EAN features onboard equipment provided by Thales and ground network supplied by Deutsche Telekom and Nokia.

“The actual performance and quality of the in-flight datalink exceeds design expectations and is truly game-changing for European airlines."

During the latest test flight, the EAN's onboard equipment and ground network were tested and validated.

Deutsche Telekom and Nokia have also jointly achieved the first EAN live over-the-air connection in the latter’s Stuttgart-based laboratory.

Inmarsat aviation president Leo Mondale said: “EAN is progressing extremely well, both on the ground, as well as in the air, to achieve the world’s first integrated service providing true in-flight broadband experience.

“The actual performance and quality of the in-flight datalink exceeds design expectations and is truly game-changing for European airlines.

“We look forward to further successful testing milestones working with all the EAN partners to bring together this integrated system.”

The company noted the flight tests were mainly performed to see if the LTE network could successfully attach to the ground system.

Developed for EAN, the LTE ground network is different from usual LTE networks and required to work at speeds of up to 1,200km/h, at cruising altitudes requiring cells of up to 150km.

Once operational, Nokia will manage the operations of EAN from its global delivery centre in Romania.