Private-jet owners are getting closer to being able to stream their favorite high-definition television shows while shuttling between continents at close to the speed of sound.
Bombardier Inc. says its largest business aircraft will have Internet service comparable to that obtainable on the ground starting in 2016. The Global jet family will use a system sold by Honeywell International Inc., Bombardier said today as it becomes the first planemaker to offer the technology.
TV-quality Internet video would mark the latest upgrade in the rush by suppliers to outfit executive jets — a niche where innovations often debut before reaching commercial aircraft. Many plane buyers don’t bother with international Wi-Fi because current offerings are so “sketchy,” said Greg Raiff, chief executive officer at consultant Private Jet Services Group LLC.
“A shockingly large percentage of these airplanes aren’t equipped to provide any sort of Internet access when traveling outside the domestic U.S.,” said Raiff, whose firm advises clients on in-flight connectivity. “It seems like the industry has finally woken up to the need.”
Honeywell’s JetWave system will get signals from three Inmarsat PLC satellites that will be in place in 2015, allowing Internet speeds “several times faster” than the current satellite- and ground-based systems, said Brad Nolen, director of marketing and product analysis for Montreal-based Bombardier.
The connection will be the first to let airborne users “perform the kind of tasks we perform at home on the Internet,” Nolen said in a telephone interview. Bombardier isn’t releasing the cost or the speeds of the two packages it plans to offer, he said.
Honeywell said in May that JetWave is capable of delivering download speeds of as much as 33 megabits per second for business aircraft. Streaming high-definition television programs, such as Netflix Inc.’s popular “House of Cards” drama series, requires 5 megabits per second, according to the Los Gatos, California-based Internet subscription service.
ViaSat Inc.’s Yonder Premium, a satellite service currently available on private jets such as the Gulfstream top-of-the-line G650, has speeds of as much as 2 megabits per second. The service doesn’t cover certain areas, including India and China.
The JetWave service will be available starting in 2016, when Bombardier’s Global 7000 is set for its first delivery.
The jet, which lists for $72.4 million, can seat 17 passengers and two pilots. Its boasts a range of as much as 7,300 nautical miles (13,520 kilometers) and can fly as high as 51,000 feet. The Global 8000, due in 2017, can go 7,900 nautical miles. JetWave service also will be available on the more than 500 Global 5000 and 6000s now in service, Nolen said.
An aviation Internet system with worldwide reach can cost $50,000 to $250,000, or about the same as flying on a large-cabin private jet to Europe from the U.S. West Coast, according to Raiff of Seabrook, New Hampshire-based Private Jet Services.
Honeywell, based in Morris Township, New Jersey, has an exclusive contract with Inmarsat to provide the hardware planes need for connection and has the master service agreement to provide resellers the bandwidth for private aviation.
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