The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN) does not infringe European Union law and is therefore not incompatible with the European legislative framework.
Inmarsat operates EAN with Deutsche Telekom.
Its decision, which answers questions referred to in the ECJ in proceedings initiated by Eutelsat in February 2018 (and subsequently supported by Viasat), which sought to annul the decision to grant Inmarsat rights of use for complementary ground components (‘CGCs’) of mobile satellite systems.
Ruling on a request for a preliminary ruling from the Conseil d’État, the Court of Justice, in its judgment, provides an interpretation of ‘mobile satellite systems’ and of the concepts of ‘CGC’ and ‘mobile earth station’ 4 in the light of the MSS decision. In addition, the Court provides clarification concerning the powers of the competent authorities of the Member States to grant, or to refuse to grant, to an operator the authorisations necessary for the provision of the components of mobile satellite systems.
Brad Swann, Inmarsat General Counsel, said: “Inmarsat welcomes the ruling of the European Court of Justice rejecting our competitors’ arguments aimed at limiting the operation of the European Aviation Network. EAN is an asset for Europe as a whole and it is proving very popular with passengers and airlines. Inmarsat looks forward to continuing to provide the rapidly growing number of EAN users with a world-leading in-flight connectivity experience.”
This decision by the ECJ today is final and binding.
According to Inmarsat, the claims of its competitors have been rejected by all national administrations in the 27 EU Member States and in the UK. Legal actions have also been rejected by courts in the countries where litigation was initiated by either Viasat or Eutelsat, including the UK (including on appeal, now final and binding), Germany and Belgium, as well as in not less than four other earlier decisions of the Court of Justice of the EU (three by the General Court and another one of the Court of Justice).
The full European Court of Justice ruling is available here.