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SKYLink Launched in Europe

 - December 11, 2006, 8:39 AM

Arinc Direct plans to deploy its Skylink broadband satellite service for business aircraft in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) by the end of this year.

The company said earlier this month that it has obtained operating licenses for Skylink in nine European countries and will deploy Ku-band satellite coverage by the end of September. Coverage of the North Atlantic flight tracks is due to follow in the first quarter of 2006.

“We have focused our initial licensing efforts on the European countries that represent the highest proportion of business aircraft flights,” said Robert Thompson, senior director, satellite services. “We plan to extend Skylink coverage to 16 additional EMEA countries as early as the first quarter of 2006.”

ViaSat, which developed and manufactures the Skylink avionics for Arinc, has teamed with Eutelsat subsidiary Skylogic to offer Skylink-compatible mobile broadband satellite access services in the EMEA regions.

Gulfstream offers Skylink technology as broadband multi-link on its G350, G450, G500 and G550 business jets; provides it as a retrofit installation across its in-production large cabin range; and can install the equipment on other business aircraft through General Dynamics Aviation Services.

New technology will provide seamless handoffs for aircraft moving between different Ku-band satellite coverage regions or between Ku-band satellite coverage regions and Inmarsat Swift 64/128 coverage regions, a feat Arinc says has never been accomplished before.

This month the vendor added voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) telephony to the Skylink service and plans to add a fully managed fax over IP (FoIP) service by year’s end. Arinc is also working with ViaSat to investigate a fuselage-mounted alternative to the existing tail-mounted system that would be suitable for mid-size business jets.