Global Eagle offering 400 Mb/s to IFE customers
August 13, 2018
By Chris Forrester
In-Flight Entertainment supplier Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) continues to expand its European presence, saying that it is now adding installations on LOT Polish Airlines, and during Q2 it completed installs on Norwegian’s 737 fleet. “Norwegian offers free WiFi and has one of the highest Wi-Fi Web browsing take rates of any airline globally,” GEE’s CEO Joshua Marks told equity analysts during the company’s results presentation.
Marks added that GEE is now the largest independent distributor of Hollywood, Bollywood and Chinese content to its customers. Those customers are viewing live TV on some 850 aircraft, and 25 million unique passengers annually. GEE is also serving 190 cruise ships with more than 150,000 ‘connected’ cabins.
GEE’s Q2 revenues topped $166 million (up 6.6 per cent), with EBITDA of $20.4 million (up 23 per cent). For 2018, GEE is guiding revenue in the range of $655 million to $670 million.
“Southwest Airlines continues as our flagship partner and we are thrilled to see the positive impacts that our investments are having on Southwest passenger experience,” added Marks. “Our Southwest fleet continues to grow, now exceeding 700 aircraft. And if you’ve flown Southwest recently, you’ve seen the additional performance as we overlaid SES’ HTS, high throughput satellite capability, on our existing network. We’re excited about how SES HTS is performing thus far in service.”
GEE also works with Intelsat, Telesat and other satellite operators.
“I can also confirm that our previously announced unnamed European customer will install a substantial number of aircraft in the second half of this year. We have received FAA retrofit approval for the new three-axis antenna that will go on these aircraft, which can deliver data rates exceeding 400 megabits per aircraft. The customer has placed orders and paid deposit. We expect this fleet to exceed 100 aircraft by the end of 2019,” said Marks.
GEE is active in India (with JET Airways) and China.