SD announces industry-first monthly pricing model for SD Plane Simple Electronically Steered Antenna

Satcom Direct, the business aviation solutions provider, at EBACE 2024, launched a new portfolio of pricing plans for customers equipping the SD Plane Simple Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA). Operators and owners equipping aircraft with the low-profile, advanced technology ESA can choose from several options, including an industry first three-year plan, that offers a fixed monthly fee of US$15,000 with no initial capital outlay.

The innovative plan covers the costs of the SD hardware and connection to the Eutelsat OneWeb Low Earth Orbit (OneWeb LEO) Ku-band satellite constellation, which will deliver a terrestrial-type connectivity experience with speeds of up to 195Mbps download to the airframe and 36Mbps upload. The fully duplex terminal unlocks the full capability of the OneWeb LEO service and will easily provide passengers with access to an enterprise-grade inflight connectivity experience.

Designed to deliver high-speed connectivity to a more inclusive set of airframe sizes, the ESA will offer smaller airframe owners access to high-speed broadband for the first time, and mid-to large-cabin size operators a powerful LEO solution. “With our new plans, which are similar to the cell phone model many of us subscribe to, we are changing the parameters for business and general aviation connectivity by providing a more transparent and easy-to-administer connectivity option,” says Satcom Direct President Chris Moore. We know that smaller airframe owners are often more cost-conscious, run operations with just one or two aircraft, and need services requiring minimal administrative management, while larger aircraft operators constantly seek enhanced fiscal management solutions. With our monthly pricing models, we are addressing both requirements.

Recognizing that inflight high-speed broadband will be a first for many owners and operators, SD adds value by including entry-into-service guidance, software tools, award-winning 24/7/365 customer support, and customized training services to optimize the connectivity solution. We want to make sure our clients have the best experience possible. By connecting to the OneWeb LEO constellation, we are introducing a brand new class of connectivity to a whole new set of users as well as providing another great option for our existing customers. We are once again breaking the mould with these original pricing models as we deliver purpose-built satellite technology and a groundbreaking service, Moore adds.

Flight testing for the ESA begins in August as validation flights are undertaken on a Cessna Citation Jet 1 and Cessna Caravan. The development so far points to the ESA being as reliable and consistent as the existing Plane Simple Ka-band terminal and the Ku-band variant, which has performed consistently well globally since rollout.

OneWeb is committed to delivering reliable connectivity to all business aviation aircraft, no matter where they fly. The first-of-a-kind pricing model including SD hardware together with service from OneWeb will secure broadband connectivity for operators of any airframe size at a fixed operating cost, adds Head of Business Aviation at Eutelsat OneWeb, Jason Sperry,

Once the ESA is in service—which is planned for Q1 2025customers can easily equip or enhance existing satcom installations, with the ESA terminal, which consists of just two Line Replaceable Units (LRUs). The compact, fuselage-mounted flat panel antenna and Satcom Direct Modem Unit (SMU) are simple to install and are future-proofed to stay aligned with the changing connectivity landscape.