SES assembled a league of fellow satellite service providers to deliver global Ka-band connectivity to airlines from geostationary and medium earth orbit (GEO and MEO) birds, an open architecture it stated enables regional players to access a global footprint.

The company struck agreements in principle with NEO Space Group, AeroSat Link and Hughes Communications India to launch the SES Open Orbits Inflight Connectivity Network, which will use multi-orbit and multi-waveform capacity to provide services usually found on terrestrial networks, including video, data and communications.

SES explained the service will intelligently steer traffic “from one interoperable Ka-band network to another” to provide continuous service to aircraft.

Elias Zaccack, global head of aviation for SES, proclaimed the network “the future of inflight connectivity”, one which airlines “must have to differentiate and futureproof” their services.

“It will allow airlines to roam seamlessly across multiple satellites and orbits to deliver the best quality inflight connectivity services”.

NEO Space Group is a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Philippe Carette, head of the aerospace segment at PIF, said the deal involves NEO Space Group’s network covering Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and will set “new expectations across the inflight connectivity market” by delivering a service which “goes well above and beyond traditional industry standards”.

SES noted the service “will be easily accessible” to companies participating in an Airbus connectivity programme to which it is a managed service provider, adding it is also negotiating with Boeing.