Gogo, ViaSat, A350 XWB, and More …


Wow! there is a lot going on in the business and we start off with a new Gogo President, Oakleigh Thorne, a big stockholder who has a history of 30 years of leadership experience – here is the release:


Gogo announced that Oakleigh Thorne has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Thorne’s appointment follows the mutual decision by Michael J. Small and the Gogo Board of Directors for Mr. Small to step down as President and Chief Executive Officer, and as a director of the Company. Mr. Thorne, a director of the Company since 2003, has approximately 30 years of leadership experience with significant operational and financial expertise. He currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Thorndale Farm LLC, the family office of the Thorne family, which is the largest Gogo shareholder, owning approximately 30 percent of the Company’s outstanding common stock. Mr. Thorne has served in numerous senior management positions, including as Chief Executive Officer of two public companies.

From May 2000 until July 2007, Mr. Thorne served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of eCollege.com.  Under Mr. Thorne’s leadership, he drove a five-fold increase in equity value which culminated in the sale of the company for more than $500 million. Earlier in his career, Mr. Thorne served as Chief Executive Officer of Commerce Clearing House (CCH) and led a significant operational transformation that culminated in CCH’s $1.9 billion sale to Wolters Kluwer in 1996.

“I am excited to work with the Gogo team as we move forward with urgency to execute on four strategic priorities: driving quality for airlines and passengers, sharpening our operational focus, achieving profitability with the money we have in the bank and driving shareholder value,” said Mr. Thorne. “We are highly confident in our ability to achieve our strategic and financial objectives as we improve execution and realize our significant growth opportunities.”

Ronald T. LeMay, Chairman of the Gogo Board of Directors, said, “With our best-in-class technology and capabilities, the Board believes that Gogo has a clear path to achieving our objectives and that now is the right time to transition leadership. After a comprehensive search process, the Board determined that Oak is the best person to help Gogo achieve our next phase of growth. Oak is a seasoned executive with a strong track record and his interests are aligned with all shareholders. Oak has made significant contributions to Gogo as a member of our Board and has a deep understanding of our business, strategy and operations. On behalf of the Board, we also thank Michael for building Gogo into a global leader and we wish him the best.”

(Editor’s Note: 2Ku has had success both in North America and internationally as well with some significant carriers selecting their 2Ku satellite offering: Delta, American, British Airways, Air France and Cathay Pacific – to name a few. As many of us in the industry are aware, Gogo has experienced some difficulties with the 2Ku antenna -oscillation along with a few other technical issues as well, which we hear the company is addressing. It is IFExpress’ speculation that stockholders are concerned with their investment given the aforementioned issues and the fact that Gogo has not seen a profitable quarter since their IPO in 2011. If we were an investor, we would also be worried about the new telecommunications coming down the pipe within the next few years – possibly 5G, and what that will mean for Gogo, as well as, other legacy connectivity providers in the IFEC realm. As a result, we wouldn’t be surprised to find Gogo courting a major telecom to help solve some of these problems in the very near future.)


Today, communications company Viasat debuted the fastest satellite internet available in the US — up to 100 megabits per second. It’s thanks to the Via-Sat 2 satellite system, which serves North America, Central America, the Caribbean and a small part of northern South America. Viasat is now also offering tiered unlimited data plans, from 12 to 30 megabits per second. The plans top out at $100 per month.

One of the goals of satellite internet is to provide a high-speed internet connection to homes located in areas that don’t have the ground infrastructure to support it. “The innovations we’re making across our satellite system allow us to do extraordinary things, from moving the satellite industry up-market by delivering premium services, speeds and plans that give consumers new choices in their internet service provider, to helping bridge the digital divide in the U.S. today,” said Mark Dankberg, Viasat’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. In addition to home internet, Viasat is also planning on using its Via-Sat 2 satellite to provide faster and more reliable domestic in-flight internet.

Satellite internet is becoming a bigger market, as the cost of access to space is lowered thanks to companies like SpaceX. Indeed, SpaceX itself is dipping its toes into the arena with the recent launch of two prototype satellites in its planned constellation.

Via-Sat 2 may have just launched in June of 2017, but the company is already working on the three-satellite Via-Sat 3 constellation. The new system is designed to blanket the world in high-speed internet access, with data speeds of up to 1 terabyte per second. It’s scheduled to launch in 2020 for America’s satellite, with the two covering the rest of the world to follow.

(Editor’s Note: We asked nice-guy, Don Buchman, Vice President and General Manager, Commercial Aviation to give our readers a bit more on the growing ViaSat inflight connectivity solution, and he told IFExpress: “We know our airline customers and their passengers expect a great Wi-Fi experience, gate-to-gate. We invested in ViaSat-2, our next-generation satellite and ground network technology, to further extend our lead in offering airlines the most capacity available in the sky with even better economics. These factors enable us to give more airlines, their passengers and their crew faster speeds and higher-quality connectivity at the best in-flight connectivity cost.

It’s our job to ensure our in-flight internet service matches our customers’ high standards and expectations. Our ViaSat-2 satellite system nearly double the capacity of ViaSat-1, which means we can deliver even faster speeds; serve higher streaming demands—even in highly-congested air corridors and hubs; and enable optimal video streaming capabilities for the best in-flight viewing experiences onboard. Additionally, ViaSat-2 offers seven times more coverage as compared to ViaSat-1, which means we can now provide the highest-quality internet service to more locations, including: across the continental U.S., to the Caribbean and across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. And finally, ViaSat-2 essentially doubles the bandwidth economics over our prior generation satellite system, which enables us to offer in-flight internet service at the best cost to the airline.

Our technology takes a substantial leap forward—compared to any other in-flight internet service—which allows us to connect more passengers today, while accommodating the broadband demands of tomorrow.”)

Crystal Cabin Awards

In 2018 there are now 24 pioneering finalists for on-board innovations, the winners to be announced as every year, as part of the leading global trade fair for aircraft cabins, the Aircraft Interiors Expo (10 – 12 April in Hamburg), at a gala dinner to be held at the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski on the evening of Monday, 10 April. The winners will then present their concepts once more at the Expo in the Crystal Cabin Award Gallery, Hall B3, 1st floor, on Thursday 12 April, at 11 AM. Information on all finalists will be available there throughout the entire Expo.2018 finalists: 24 pioneering on-board innovations for airliners | CRYSTAL CABIN AWARD

Big Data/AI

It looks like Boeing and Microsoft are partnering for a efforts in the Big Data and AI and you can learn more here:Boeing and Microsoft: Taking the next step together in digital aviation – Transform  and here Your next Boeing flight may be getting a cloud and AI upgrade, courtesy of Microsoft – TechRepublic We do understand the deal will focus on Big Data to improve fuel consumption and improve maintenance. Further, you can be sure these two technologies will make their way into aviation and travel to improve the flight experience more and more in the next few years.


The first Ultra Long Range version of the A350 XWB has rolled out of the Airbus final assembly line in Toulouse. The latest variant of the best-selling A350 XWB Family will be able to fly further than any other commercial airliner and will enter service with launch operator Singapore Airlines later this year. Altogether, Singapore Airlines has ordered seven A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft, which it will use on non-stop flights between Singapore and the US, including the world’s longest commercial service between Singapore and New York.

Following completion of the airframe assembly, the first aircraft has now moved to an outdoor station where it will undergo extensive ground tests, prior to installation of its Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

The aircraft will then embark on a short flight test program to certify the changes over the standard A350-900 that will bring the additional range capability. These include a modified fuel system that increases fuel carrying capacity by 24,000 L or 6340 Gal., without the need for additional fuel tanks. The test phase will also measure enhanced performance derived from aerodynamic improvements, including extended winglets.

With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 280 tonnes, the A350 XWB Ultra Long Range is capable of flying up to 9,700 nautical miles or over 20 hours non-stop, combining the highest levels of passenger and crew comfort with unbeatable economics for such distances.

The A350 XWB is an all new family of widebody long-haul airliners shaping the future of air travel. The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivaled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. The A350 XWB features an Airspace by Airbus cabin offering absolute well-being on board with the quietest twin-aisle cabin and new air systems.

To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 854 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever. Singapore Airlines is one of the largest customers for the A350 XWB Family, having ordered a total of 67 A350-900s, including the seven Ultra Long Range models. The carrier has already taken delivery of 21 A350-900s.

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