Inmarsat unveils EU aviation service

London-based satellite operator Inmarsat has announced a link-up with British Airways to be their launch client for an EU-wide ‘Aviation Network Programme’. This will see a Europe-wide passenger ‘in seat’ connectivity service using a new satellite being built on a j-v basis with Arabsat-owned HellasSat, now dubbed Europasat.

The official statement reads: “Inmarsat and Hellas-Sat have contracted with Thales Alenia Space for the construction of a satellite on a shared basis such that each partner will retain exclusive rights to a separate payload. The satellite is expected to be delivered for launch by the end of 2016. As a result of the satellite sharing agreement, Inmarsat’s costs for the manufacture, launch, insurance and operations of Europasat are expected to be approximately $200 million, which is half of what it would have cost to deploy an S-band satellite on a stand-alone basis. The majority of the expected cost will be incurred over the period until the end of 2016.”

Meanwhile, Inmarsat’s half-year results show total revenues for the half-year to June 30 of $652.3 million (up 1.9 per cent from $640.3 million same period last year), and a profit before tax of $168.3 million, down from last year’s $185.5 million.

For the quarter year to June 30th Inmarsat’s total revenues were down slightly on last year’s numbers at $307.6 million (against $326.6 million).

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