Air TV to Deliver Satellite Programming to Aircraft

BBC World, the BBC`s 24-hour international news and information channel, will soon be available to audiences on the move though the AirTV
global satellite network, which will deliver television broadcasts to airlines flying all major global routes.

The initiative responds to a growing demand by international travellers for up-to-the-minute news and information from around the world.

BBC World`s programming line-up will be delivered live to airliners through AirTV`s network of four geostationary S-Band satellites. Each of these platforms will deliver 60 channels of satellite television, plus e-mail and Internet connectivity. AirTV plans to start its direct-to-aircraft (DTASM) service in 30 months.

“We are pleased to have BBC World as part of AirTV`s core team of content providers,” said John Larkin
, AirTV`s Chairman and CEO. “BBC World is the global reference in international news and information programming, and AirTV`s DTA platform will ensure that airline passengers worldwide will have real-time access to this trusted source.”

BBC World is the BBC`s global news and information channel, broadcasting 24 hours a day from its base at BBC Television Centre in London. BBC World provides news, business and weather 24 hours a day, plus the best of the BBC`s award-winning current affairs, documentary and lifestyle programming. This is currently provided to airlines via tape delivery, while satellite and cable distribution is used to serve over 222 million homes, hotels and cruise liners around the world. The channel offers an hourly balance of news for 30 minutes, followed by magazine-type programs - allowing every hour of the day to be primetime.


Commenting on the project, William Mould, Head of Travel Distribution at BBC World, said, “We are delighted to be part of this new project which will change the way people are informed when they are flying. BBC World will be in a great position to offer travellers more up to date news and information than ever before, keeping them abreast of the issues that matter most wherever they are travelling.”

BBC World also will also be available via the AirTV satellite network for expanded coverage to the maritime industry and remote global locations that are currently unable to receive the TV channel reliably. The AirTV satellite network will operate at the very high data rate of 80 Mbps per satellite (320 Mbps globally with the four-satellite network).

In addition to television, AirTV also will provide airborne connectivity to both passengers and flight crews. For business and leisure travelers, this allows high-speed access to e-mail and the Internet. For flight crews, it means safety and operational data will be delivered more than 1,000 times faster than the current 9.6 Kbps standard.

One of the first new applications for AirTV`s service is expected to be weather information that can enable flight crews to anticipate, and possibly avoid, in-flight turbulence.

The AirTV system is being developed by an industry team composed of world leaders in their fields: Alcatel, Arianespace, CMC Electronics and SITA. AirTV also has established strategic alliances with Tenzing Communications and Rockwell Collins, which will provide on board equipment and infrastructure to support the AirTV system.