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SkyFive IFC China, SkyFive AG and Thales release a new ATG antenna for the Chinese market to flight testing

SkyFive IFC China, SkyFive AG and Thales today unveiled a new Air-to-Ground antenna, which is designed for the specific system requirements of China.

MUNICH, BAVARIA, GERMANY, May 29, 2024 / -- China has set out on an ambitious mission to connect their national skies with a high-performance Air-to-Ground (ATG) system. According to Valour Consultancy, there are over 4000 Chinese commercial aircraft today out of which only 5% are connected, which stands in stark contrast to China as the world’s largest market for terrestrial mobile services, surpassing 1 billion 5G connections in 2024 according to GSMA.

Given the high demand for extending broadband to the sky, ample radio spectrum was commissioned for ATG. SkyFive IFC China, SkyFive AG and Thales have teamed up to address this opportunity and designed an innovative passive aircraft antenna that caters to the specific ATGsystem requirements of the Chinese market. The first prototype of this antenna is now ready and qualified to be used for flight test campaigns.

Based on the results of flight testing, the antenna design will be further evolved towards the final commercial product, which will include functional and aerodynamic enhancements. Customers from China can see the ATG antenna prototype on the booths of SkyFive and Thales at Aircraft Interiors Expo, which takes place in Hamburg, Germany, from 28-30 May.

Li Kun, CEO of SkyFive IFC China, said: „China is an ideal market for ATG from all perspectives, and its size and currently low airline adoption of inflight connectivity justifies bespoke system development. Together with Thales and SkyFive AG, we are once more proving the immense performance and capacity gains that mobile technology introduces to aviation. “

Yves Ambiehl, Aerospace Communications Vice President Sales, BD & Marketing in Thales, said: “We’re excited to bring our unique expertise in antenna technology to SkyFive AG and SkyFive IFC China as a keystone of next generation Air To Ground inflight connectivity for China market. This 5G Air To Ground passive antenna will naturally complement our existing offering of 3G and 4G antennas.”

About SkyFive IFC China:
SkyFive Inflight Connectivity (Beijing) Co. Ltd. is a sister company of SkyFive AG, operating independently as the leading provider of true broadband Internet services for China’s aviation industry. Leveraging Air-to-Ground (ATG) technology successfully deployed in the European Aviation Network (EAN), we are committed to developing and implementing our cutting-edge 5G ATG solution to enable seamless connectivity across China's skies. With extensive global operational experience, SkyFive IFC China aims to establish itself as the foremost leader in China's inflight connectivity market.

About SkyFive AG:
SkyFive provides Inflight Connectivity services based on its unique Air-to-Ground technology. The company’s mission is to deliver true broadband services to airline passengers, enable the real-time transfer of vast amounts of aircraft data, and support ultra-reliable low latency communications required for the mass proliferation of Advanced Air Mobility. SkyFive connects aircraft of any kind and size through giant cells in the sky, thereby leveraging the performance and cost benefits of the 4G and 5G mobile ecosystem. SkyFive was established as a spin-off from Nokia in 2019, is headquartered in Munich, Germany, and operates several sites for R&D and service delivery in major aviation markets.

About Thales:
Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) is a global leader in advanced technologies specialized in three business domains: Defence & Security, Aeronautics & Space, and Cybersecurity & Digital identity.
It develops products and solutions that help make the world safer, greener and more inclusive.
The Group invests close to €4 billion a year in Research & Development, particularly in key innovation areas such as AI, cybersecurity, quantum technologies, cloud technologies and 6G.
Thales has close to 81,0001 employees in 68 countries. In 2023, the Group generated sales of €18.4 billion.
1 Excluding Transport business, which is being divested

Stephanie Robrecht
SkyFive AG
+49 491 712661154
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