AT&T Says: ‘No Thanks’ and Other Stories


The big deal this week is the announcement from AT&T on Sunday that they are no longer courting the inflight Wi-Fi business, and we all wondered when it was going to happen. Lets face it, Gogo has the US market sewed up for years and we only wondered when AT&T was going to come to the same conclusion. While their LTE solution might have been a bandwidth improvement, we seem to remember that they had to work with other providers to rent space on their towers. Faced with the choice of teaming or acquiring, they folded their cards. That plus aircraft equipment costs must have generated a long-term profit quandary. Our insiders reported just that… it’s a bad deal from the cost of getting into the business. Today, Gogo stock price is up at $18.19 per share. Enough said!

Through the new ARINCDirect, Rockwell Collins will offer its more than 3,500 flight support services customers (BizJet) around the globe the latest in intuitive flight planning using state-of-the-art online and mobile platforms; award-winning regional and international trip support; comprehensive weather services; a full spectrum of cabin connectivity options; and flexible and integrated flight operations and scheduling services. They highlighted their new ARINCDirect at the company’s eNBAA exhibit, which featured a number of new services and capabilities, some of which we may eventually see in commercial aviation including: New extensions of Rockwell Collins’ Flight Operating System (FOS) that will promote new levels of integration between the ARINCDirect application and the flight scheduling and operations management software. Their latest connectivity capabilities to help keep the cabin and crew connected in-flight, an innovative tankering feature to help business aviation operators better manage fuel costs, and an integrated weight and balance/performance feature in the ARINCDirect iPad app Moving forward. A company spokesman said that Rockwell will focus on key enhancements to the portfolio that will make the passenger experience as seamless as home and office environments, and enable operators to manage their business as effectively as possible. “We’re looking at further integration of our ARINCDirect services with our cabin and flight deck offerings,” he said. “We also see great potential in analyzing the data that crosses our network, for individual aircraft or across a fleet, to improve efficiency and productivity. With the new ARINCDirect, Rockwell Collins is uniquely positioned to provide our business aviation customers with services for the flight deck, cabin, back office and everywhere in between.” Now, IFExpress wonders when similar offerings will be made to the commercial airline community? Lastly, we note that Rockwell Collins recently announced it is teaming with China-based airline seat maker Hubei Ali Jiatai to install PAVES On-demand. The two companies have entered into a memorandum of understanding to achieve technical offerability for the complete IFE seat solution on Next-Generation Boeing 737 aircraft.

We heard from Charlie Pryor about the latest Inmarsat construction effort. As the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, today announced that it has completed construction of the final four satellite access stations (SAS) for its Global Xpress (GX) fleet. This represents a significant milestone in the rollout of GX, the world’s first, global high-speed broadband Ka-band network, which is scheduled for global commercial service introduction early in the second half of 2015. GX Aviation will deliver 50Mbps broadband connectivity to both commercial and business aircraft. It is the only Ka-band network to provide consistent global coverage. The new GX stations are located in Lino Lakes in Minnesota, USA; Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada; with two sites near Auckland, New Zealand. Two further stations – in Fucino, Italy and Nemea, Greece – are already operational, servicing the first Global Xpress satellite that covers the Indian Ocean region. All six GX SAS will act as gateways between the broadband traffic routed via the three Inmarsat-5 (I-5) satellites and terrestrial fixed networks. Each SAS delivers full ground segment redundancy for GX services, delivering highest quality resiliency, reliability and availability, for example at times of adverse weather, and offering a powerful differentiator to traditional regional Ku-band networks.

Inmarsat has been providing GX services to government customers in the Indian Ocean region since 1 July 2014 and GX Aviation is on track to be available for airlines from mid-2015. “Completing our ground network is an important step in rolling out our global GX service, which is on course to be in service by early in the second half of 2015,” said Leo Mondale, President, Inmarsat Aviation. “The inflight connectivity market is growing rapidly, with passengers around the world increasingly expecting to be connected when they are flying. And they want a comparable level of service to what they are used to on the ground. It is paramount airlines have access to high speed and high capacity connections that provide the same reliable service wherever they fly across the world. GX Aviation is the only global network that can provide seamless, high capacity Ka-band connectivity fit for purpose for airlines. The launch of GX globally in 2015 is perfectly timed to meet passenger and airline demand.”

The first satellite in the GX constellation I5F1 was launched late 2013. The remaining satellites are expected to be launched early in 2015.

If you keep up with BizJet new cabin technology, you know Flight Display Systems is a market leader and David Gray is the guy that made it happen… now as it happens, they have been sold: “Flight Display Systems, a leading developer and manufacturer of cabin management systems, in-flight entertainment solutions, and special mission military displays, today announced that it has been acquired by Harbert Private Equity Fund III. Reed Macdonald has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. The acquisition will fuel continued growth, expand engineering and production capabilities, and further enhance partner relationships.”

In the past, we have shared Giame Porcu’s of Thales trade show/event observations because he always has something to say, and yes, he does have a slight bias, but read beyond that… if you did not get to China’s Zuhai Air Show, it is an interesting update.

Bits & Pieces

Each year we like to look at this SpeedNews product to see what and when it is happening in the industry – it is very good and useful for your 2015 scheduling.

Think you know about radiated emissions? Take this test and see

IFExpress ran into Beth de Young (past CEO, Zodiac Lighting Solutions/IDD) at AIX and note that she is now in a new “Corporate” job as Vice President, Business Development, Lease Customers. Her previous role is now occupied by Mr. Thierry Despres, CEO Zodiac Lighting Solutions.

If you like aircraft at airshows, stunt planes and guitars (in that order), you will like this video!

Looking for the fastest inflight Wi-Fi? Look no further The Challenge of Finding the Fastest In-Flight Wi-Fi – Skift

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