As always just before AIX Hamburg, it gets newsy and so it isn’t surprising that this week we have a lot for our readers to peruse. And, we fully expect the media to continue to build leading up to AIX and throughout the first few days of the show. As 2017 moves ahead, Boeing and Airbus are increasing their production efforts to catch up with orders (Backlog: Airbus = 6792 planes and Boeing = 5678 aircraft) while airplane purchases are thinning out. The near term IFEC market is looking good but the real question is what happens 3 years from now? Stay Tuned on this one as it will be interesting to see IFEC changes that integrate with a multiplicity of connected carry-on devices and technology innovations. And with that said, lets get started:
At this year’s AIX Lufthansa Systems will showcase exciting new features of its multiple award-winning IFE solution BoardConnect and its enhanced crew app mCabin. The user experience stands at the heart of new developments. Lufthansa Systems will present a major new release of BoardConnect with a new user interface. “Airlines can differentiate and easily adapt the UI without costly and time-consuming reprogramming. Furthermore, the BoardConnect architecture will become even more flexible – it is easy for airlines to personalize, add or remove features – making it the best platform for the connected aircraft. Our unique container technology allows to integrate applications for cabin, cockpit and crew in addition to IFE and connectivity.”
Lufthansa Systems further expands its existing partner network. Thus, airlines can benefit from this flexibility by tailoring their IFE offer to the needs of their target group, which ensures satisfied passengers and brings in additional revenues. At AIX Lufthansa Systems will announce new partnerships, which will provide additional services and functionalities. “Thanks to our latest technology upgrade BoardConnect becomes kind of a cloud provider in the sky hosting complete applications of third parties within the open platform. Additional services can be included fast and flexible. This enables airlines to enhance the digital experience of their passengers and supports them to complete their digital transformation goals. The new digital platform is available with or without connectivity. Lufthansa Group started the go-live of the new BoardConnect based connectivity service in Europe early 2017. Together with Lufthansa Technik and Inmarsat, Lufthansa Systems is currently equipping aircraft of Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings. During the show, Lufthansa Systems will give an update on the current roll-out projects for connectivity services and announce new customers.”
The company will also present a whole new mCabin product suite. The mobile solutions for cabin crews are perfect for supporting airlines of all sizes and business models in their process of digitalization. Prior to departure and during the flight, the mCabin crew app provides the cabin team with all of the flight and passenger service information they need. This is an app designed for excellent passenger communication, smooth crew management and optimal processes at every stage of the crew duty day. mCabin is available on Windows and iOS and has been further enhanced in its modularity. Airlines can select modules and thereby tailor mCabin according to their individual needs. mCabin/CityGuide is an exclusive guidebook platform for the crew with local information and tips about the crew’s destinations. Additionally, Lufthansa Systems has developed some great new features for mCabin and another separate app in the mCabin suite which will be presented at the AIX. In general, Lufthansa Systems sees an increased demand for a mobile solution like mCabin in the market with both passengers and crew members expecting a greater digital experience on board. During the show, Lufthansa Systems will give an update on further developments and planned cooperations regarding the mCabin suite. Visit Lufthansa Systems and learn more about BoardConnect at booth no #2E24
Gogo has reached a major milestone by installing its 3,000th commercial aircraft with in-flight connectivity. Today, the company has 3,000 commercial aircraft and more than 4,200 business aircraft, totaling 7,200 aircraft installed. More than 130 of the 3,000 commercial aircraft are now installed with Gogo’s industry leading 2Ku technology that leverages Gogo’s global satellite network. “The demand for in-flight connectivity continues to grow at a rapid pace and we are quickly moving beyond connecting passengers to connecting flight attendants, pilots and eventually components on the planes themselves,” said Michael Small, president and CEO at Gogo. “To meet this demand, Gogo has invested in the best broadband networks to meet the needs of global aviation — no matter the size of the aircraft or where that aircraft flies. “Most of the 7,200 aircraft are connected using Gogo’s North American ground network, but an increasing number of commercial aircraft are now flying on Gogo’s global satellite network.
2Ku relies on the new low profile, high efficiency Ku-band satellite antennas that outperform other connectivity solutions in the global aviation market. Since the announcement of Gogo’s 2Ku technology, 12 airlines representing more than 1500 aircraft have signed up for the service. Nearly all of these aircraft are expected to be installed by the end of 2018.
“Whether an aircraft is flying on our global satellite network or on our North American ATG network, we are delivering industry leading performance in terms of coverage, cost, capacity and reliability. With high-throughput satellites being added to our global network and an upgrade being made to our ATG network, both networks will bring even better performance in 2017 and beyond,” added Small.
Gogo, which provides aircraft connectivity, had revenue of $597 million in 2016, expects positive free cash flow in 2019, a year earlier than previous guidance, and expects 2Ku installs on 450 to 550 aircraft in 2017.
Thales, SES S.A. and Hughes Network Systems (HUGHES) announced a set of strategic agreements to enhance the delivery of FlytLIVE – Thales’ connected inflight experience solution, offering the most advanced and efficient aeronautical connectivity solution available in the Americas. Under the agreements, SES contracts capacity on Hughes EchoStar XVII and EchoStar XIX high throughput (HTS) Ka-band satellites to complement its AMC-15 and AMC-16 network giving FlytLIVE the only redundant coverage network in North America. SES will also purchase multiple JUPITER System gateways from Hughes to qualify Thales to deploy its FlytLIVE service on Hughes JUPITER Aeronautical platform. This will allow Thales to initiate its next-generation connected inflight experience offering in North America this year. Further, SES contracted Hughes for service on EchoStar XVII and EchoStar XIX HTS satellites, and combines them with its AMC-15 and AMC-16 network, to provide a four-satellite constellation for the launch of Thales FlytLIVE network. The four-satellite network strengthens Thales’ FlytLIVE network as it enters initial operations in 2017 and in advance of the milestone launch of SES-17 Ka-band HTS satellite, planned for 2020. Further, SES is to purchase multiple JUPITER System gateways from Hughes and contract ground segment operations to Hughes to bring seamless connectivity to Thales FlytLIVE network. SES will also purchase multiple Hughes JUPITER System gateways to support traffic carried over AMC-15 and AMC-16, as well as SES-17, when it enters service. FlyLIVE’s network will deliver industry leading speed and capacity for support of growing passenger service demands and will comfortably accommodate forecasted traffic increases through the launch of SES-17, which is manufactured by Thales Alenia Space and configured with close to 200 spot beams and coverage tailored to aviation and mobility markets. Lastly, we note that Thales selected Hughes JUPITER System Aeronautical platform for its next-generation IFC solution. At the center of the new service is Hughes high-performance JUPITER system that is already in operation for broadband enterprise and consumer services in other major markets globally and will be introduced for aeronautical use on the Thales FlytLIVE network. Unique features of the network include rapid beam-to-beam and satellite-to-satellite switching and DVB-S2x transmission. Thales has already begun service testing using its new Thales Ka-band aero antenna and the Hughes JUPITER technology.
Inmarsat has announced today that International Airlines Group (IAG) has signed a contract to be the launch customer of Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN). IAG plans to equip in excess of 300 aircraft with EAN and aims to have 90% of its short haul fleet complete by early 2019. Airlines include Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling with installation having already commenced on the British Airways fleet, with three aircraft fitted to date. EAN allows European passengers to use their personal devices for internet browsing, video streaming, gaming and other online services, with unmatched high capacity and is the first solution in the world to integrate connectivity from a satellite, operated by Inmarsat, and a complementary LTE-based ground network, operated by Deutsche Telekom.
Drop&Fly, SITA’s bag-drop unit, has been awarded the prestigious 2017 iF Design Award: Public Product, in recognition of its state-of-the-art design and intuitive user interface.
Drop&Fly provides passengers with an easy-to-use interface which makes checking-in bags a convenient and pleasant experience. Its one-step self-bag drop process, which allows passengers to print their tags and check-in their bags at the same time, delivers a fast, customer-centric passenger experience. It is fully customizable to the individual needs of the airport and its hybrid functionality enables a switch from self-service to an agent-assisted mode in a matter of seconds. The iF Design Award, recognized as a symbol of design excellence around the world, confirms SITA’s expertize in matching form and function.
- Stockholders approved the ROCKWELL COLLINS and B/E AEROSPACE merger.
- Kelvin Boyette’s Latitude Aero did the Aircraft Interiors promo right – he showed us where his booth is located
- And lastly, Geoff Underwood, CEO of IFPL has a second calling, sorta – Check it out!
Chicago, IL | January 19, 2017– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it has promoted Jon Cobin to Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Gogo.
Cobin has served in a leadership position at Gogo for six years, most recently as head of strategy and global sales for Gogo’s commercial aviation division. In his new role, he will continue to manage strategy and sales, but will take on the added responsibilities of managing Gogo’s product and marketing teams.
Under Jon’s leadership the company has experienced numerous successes, including adding more than 1,000 2Ku aircraft to the backlog in 2016.
“Gogo is at the forefront of technology development and innovation and combining our strategy group with product, sales and marketing enables us to better align the organization around meeting the needs of our global airline partners,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “Jon’s proven leadership makes him the right person for this role.”
Prior to Gogo, Cobin served as the head of strategy at Centennial Communications and held positions of increasing responsibility as a strategy consultant at Dean & Company and in investment banking at J.P. Morgan. He received his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, from Dartmouth College.
Museum of Flight at Boeing Field:
I recently had a meeting at the Seattle Museum of Flight on Boeing Field. While my visit was business… I left the meeting… and lost my sense of time and history – because once you see an old aircraft that fought in a war, or provided the transportation for a historical event, or was the first of it’s kind, you just get lost… lost in time, and possibly lost in space. Interestingly, you become part of the event that the person, plane or spacecraft was famous for… or you become immersed in the art background and signage describing the history and achievement of the craft. One visitor told us that he and his kids were fascinated by the description and experiences of the museum’s individual plane tour guides, who in many cases had flown that aircraft. It is also easy to get wrapped-up in the in mood lighting surrounding the planes in the halls, especially in the periods like those in the WW1 Hall and WW2 Halls. While it has been a long time, as a child, I would have given anything to see what I saw last week at the Museum of Flight. One suggestion, however, don’t let your children say the same thing.
OK, if you want a fast tour of the Museum here it goes: Museum Galleries, Airpark, Great Gallery, Lear Gallery, Personal Courage Wing, Red Barn, & Space Gallery. That’s 7 galleries, many halls, 29 exhibits + a museum store, 140 real aircraft, 12 spacecraft, pre-1900s to 2010s types, from 73 manufacturers… and some 40 of 140 shown planes in the air and on the ground in the Great Gallery. Founded in 1965, the Museum of flight has been growing since it’s inception, but we think the real hero was T. Wilson… he made “The” museum building on Boeing Field happen.
As a bit of museum background, here is what the website says:
“Museum of Flight is devoted to the preservation and sharing of aviation and aerospace history and technology.
Founded as the Pacific Northwest Aviation Historical Foundation in 1965 by a group of local Boeing engineers and aviation enthusiasts, the Museum’s collection was established out of a desire by the group to preserve artifacts and materials representing the entire evolution of flight and to prevent them from being lost, destroyed and forgotten with time. Since 1965, The Museum of Flight’s collection has come to be regarded as one of the best air and space museum collections in the world. The Museum’s collection contains over 150 aircraft, over 25,000 small objects (classified as anything smaller than an aircraft), over 90,000 books and periodicals, over 15,000 aircraft manuals and technical reports and nearly 5,000 cubic feet of archival materials including an estimated four million images. As a Smithsonian Affiliate institution and an accredited American Alliance of Museums institution, we continuously endeavor to meet their standards and best practices in all aspects of our operations, especially in regards to caring for and preserving our collection.”
The Pavilion (across the street form the main Museum building) is incredibly large and hosts an many big planes in a covered outdoor building. One writer said it is larger than two football fields! The new “hanger” effectively doubles the museum foot print, in fact it adds 3 acres of aviation history floor space! It is home for some 19 iconic planes like the world’s first Boeing 747 Jumbo, the 787 Dreamliner, the British Airways Concorde (SST – the last to fly in revenue service), B-17, B29, and B-47 bombers. The site has a convenient “air” bridge to get you there. This inclined walkway is defiantly a better way to reach the Pavilion, not to mention, listening to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” playing on the loudspeakers there topped the experience. As with all airplanes, pictures never do them justice but here are a few shots we took that should give you a better idea of the flight scene there are here.
You can fly in on your own plane or in a commercial airline to Boeing Field or Sea-Tac, and if you have a child that likes aviation, you MUST take her or him to see the real planes. You might ask why is this trip worth the effort? The answer is simple: because they can climb in and touch and feel what aviation is all about… and it is about more than planes. It is about flying, it’s about education, and it’s about history… but it is also about fun!
OmniAccess, a leading supplier of integrated communications solutions to super yachts and cruise-ships, and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), today unveiled a tailored XTS “extremely high throughput” satellite network for multiple mobility markets. Details on this new communications service are available to key customers that visit the OmniAccess booth at the Monaco Yacht Show. OmniAccess and Panasonic began collaborating on XTS high-throughput satellite designs in September 2015 in order to bring unprecedented levels of capacity and performance to OmniAcess’ existing Super yacht and cruise customers. Through this agreement OmniAccess has secured access to Panasonic’s existing HTS capacity, currently contracted capacity and the future XTS satellite network, bringing industry-leading capacity and performance to its yachting and cruise ship markets. Leveraging Panasonic’s existing global high-speed satellite network, OmniAccess is already providing industry-leading connection speeds of over 200 Mbps to select individual customers.
Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “We announced our partnership with OmniAccess at the Monaco Yacht Show last year, and since then, we’ve been able to develop solutions that have improved our operational efficiencies and also delivered higher performance and better service to OmniAccess’ super yacht customers. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with OmniAccess to establish a new standard in high-bandwidth services for the mobility market.”
(Editor’s Note: Normally we wouldn’t place a news release that predominately refers to maritime in our publication. However, in this instance we believe it to have relevance as the relationship between Panasonic Avionics and OmniAccess refers to “multiple mobility markets”, “XTS high-throughput satellite” and “Leveraging Panasonic’s existing global high-speed satellite network”. After all, a revenue stream is a revenue stream whether it is initiated from an ocean or the air! And we wouldn’t be surprised to see more of these relationships in our industry.)
APEX 2016 will see the very latest in connectivity, payment and power solutions from IFEC specialists IFPL, on Booth 1745 at the Singapore based show.
IFPL leads the way when it comes to deploying contactless payment systems NFC (Near Field Communication) on-board aircraft, with global OEM’s and airlines using this technology for seat back in-flight retail and customer personalization. APEX 2016 will see IFPL demonstrate its new NFC ‘Pin-On-Screen’ solution that enables high value off line transactions by removing the current low value payment barrier. This step change will allow airlines to expand and sell high value items thus increasing ancillary revenues.
With portable and wearable tech now widespread, visitors to APEX can also see IFPL’s USB- C and USB-A units, both providing hi-speed data and power.
As always, innovation from IFPL will be on display with the company demonstrating its new integrated seat arm concept. This will reflect its ability to customize peripherals to support the design language, aesthetics and ergonomics required for true IFE and seat integration.
IFPL will be demonstrating their ‘Charge-2-Charge’ solution for both inductive and USB charging – this will enable airlines to generate additional revenue from passengers wishing to charge their portable devices during flights. Demonstrations will also be available for their popular 110V A/C power outlet and its combination 110V and USB-A & C.
Solving the problem of broken headphone sockets are IFPL’s MagSignal Audio units. Cost neutral when compared with traditional sockets, MagSignal Technology allows the headset cable to be pulled and detached from any angle without detriment; reducing customer induced damage (CID) and maintenance disruption to aircraft.
As always IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display and the team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirement that visitors to APEX 2016 in Singapore may have.
Gogo recently announced that it will partner with Air France-KLM to connect its existing long-haul fleet representing 124 aircraft, with an airline option to install the technology on additional aircraft in the future. The fleet of aircraft receiving Gogo’s 2Ku technology will include numerous aircraft types, including the Boeing 777 and Airbus A330s. “We are delighted to bring Gogo’s industry leading 2Ku technology to one of the largest airlines in the world and two of the most iconic brands in commercial aviation,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “2Ku delivers a ground-like performance to aircraft flying around the world today, including the ability to stream video. One of the many benefits of 2Ku is that it’s built on an open architecture and can leverage new technology advancements in the future, which means the technology will get even better over time and will provide passengers with a superior connectivity experience now and in the future.” The first aircraft is expected to be in service end of next year, with the bulk of the installations taking place during 2018-2019.
The company also announced that it is developing its next generation ground-based technology to better serve the connectivity needs of business and commercial aviation in North America. This technology will offer a ground-like performance, including the ability to stream videos, for business aviation aircraft, commercial regional jets and select narrow-body aircraft operating within the United States and Canada. The new network will use unlicensed spectrum, a proprietary modem and a new beam-forming antenna to produce peak network speeds of more than 100 Mbps. This next generation ground-based network for the aero market will utilize LTE technology and leverage Gogo’s existing first generation North American network and infrastructure of more than 250 towers.
“Leveraging our first generation network is key to making this next generation network highly reliable and economical to deploy,” said Anand Chari, Gogo’s CTO. “Gogo’s next generation network will also be backward-compatible with Gogo’s first generation network, which means an aircraft will be able to seamlessly switch between Gogo’s fthe two networks networks similar to how a cell phone on the ground connects to the fastest available network.”
The benefits of this new network for commercial aircraft operating within the United States and Canada include: low equipment cost and weight, overnight installation, and low drag on the aircraft due to the small size of the antennas. It also has big advantages in terms of latency compared to satellite solutions.
Aircraft outfitted with one of Gogo’s earlier generation air-to-ground technologies will simply need to be outfitted with a new modem and blade antenna to take advantage of the new service.
The service is expected to be available in 2018. Great article this morning. Separately, we have got big news this morning from Gogo as we announce our next generation ground network to support IFC in North America. We now have upgrade paths to more than 100 Mbps for both our North American ground-based and our global satellite networks. This will enable passengers to do everything they can do on the ground, in-flight. The network will use unlicensed spectrum and will require minimal updates for an aircraft.
(Editor’s Note: You should probably read this as well.)
SmartSky Networks’ patented SmartSky 4G radio system completed the major milestone of receiving FCC certification, clearing the way for deployment of the ultra-fast SmartSky 4G air-to-ground network later this year, with nationwide service launching in mid-2017. Haynes Griffin, SmartSky Chairman and CEO, stated, “After investing tens of millions of dollars and over five years of research and development effort, SmartSky’s now certified technology has unlocked enough spectrum to be able to offer, for the first time, the reliable use of a sophisticated, custom-designed 4G system that can deliver an office-like internet experience in the air for both business aviation and commercial aviation customers.”FCC certification is the culmination of work to develop and patent protect the multiple bodies of technology that uniquely enable SmartSky to make use of the unlicensed 2.4 GHz spectrum band, all without causing harmful interference to or receiving interference from the operation of the same band on the ground. Despite the widespread assertion that aviation-related spectrum reuse in the unlicensed band would not be feasible, SmartSky has successfully solved the challenge by implementing new technical methods that are broadly covered by its robust and growing portfolio of 20 granted patents. Additional patents are pending.
Reed Hundt, SmartSky’s Vice Chairman of the Board and former Chairman of the FCC, remarked, “Long ago, the FCC authorized the allocation of large blocks of unlicensed spectrum to foster innovation and encourage competition. Today, we see the amazing results of that prescient regulation, which has resulted in ubiquitous Wi-Fi on the ground. By application of novel technologies using 2.4 GHz unlicensed spectrum, SmartSky’s breakthrough will finally give the aviation industry the superior connectivity now taken for granted terrestrially.”
Roberson and Associates, a highly regarded independent wireless industry consulting firm, investigated the ability of SmartSky’s radio technology to seamlessly coexist with terrestrial Wi-Fi. CEO Dennis Roberson, who is also Chairman of the FCC’s Technical Advisory Council, commented, “SmartSky’s technology solution is transparent to Wi-Fi users on the ground, enabling the air-to-ground sharing of the 2.4 GHz unlicensed band.”
SmartSky’s technology and patent portfolio is not limited to the unlicensed band. Most of the patents apply to any frequency and any waveform in any high speed air-to-ground network. Because these are broad patents, SmartSky enables underlying technical advances to be incorporated into its conceptual solution. “Over time, this will allow SmartSky to keep pace with the latest advances in computing, antennas, radios and networking while still being protected by our foundational patents,” said Griffin.
Continuing a relationship that has lasted over 70 years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has renewed its Aeronautical Mobile Communications Service (AMCS) agreement with Rockwell Collins. Under the agreement, the company will continue to provide Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications, including position reports, aircraft requests and ATC clearances, between the FAA and aircraft flying in U.S. oceanic airspace.
Uber Transportation in Singapore!
Lastly, here is a Singapore treat from the nice folks at Uber, the transportation app company. It’s easy to use: In the app, choose your ride and set your location. Once you get matched, you’ll see your driver’s picture and vehicle details, at the same time, you can easily track their estimated time of arrival on the map. No phone calls to make, no pick-ups to schedule. With 24/7 availability, request a ride any time of day. Here is how you can get started: Download the Uber app and register for an account. You’ll have the option to input your credit card or opt for cash payment. To enjoy a $15 FREE ride, simply enter the code IFEXPRESS into the Promotions tab! Hurry – the code is valid until 31 October 2016.
IFExpress: John, we assume you will be moving to the Chicago area… any expectations? Any trepidations?
J.W.: “Yes, I have relocated to the Chicago area and am thrilled to be joining my colleagues here to start launching the 2Ku era. As for trepidations, having spent the last eight winters in Colorado, I’m not quite sure what Chicago winters will bring, less skiing I’m sure.”
IFExpress: Regarding your new areas of responsibility (operations, quality control, commercial airline account management and commercial sales) which do you think will give you the most challenges and which the most enjoyment?
J.W.: “The role in itself will present many challenges as well as enjoyment across all departments as we begin the journey of rolling out 2Ku to our airline partners. Making sure that deployment goes as smoothly as possible is a large part of my new role as COO.
Over the years, I have discovered I have a natural love for optimizing operations within organizations and am really looking forward to leading those functions within Gogo’s commercial aviation business.
For one of my challenges, I’d say learning to manage the folks in sales, as I used to be one myself.
Putting in place the foundation of 2Ku for our airline partners that have clearly recognized 2Ku’s operational excellence is certainly the most exciting challenge. More than 1,200 aircraft across 12 airlines have made commitments to this technology that will change the face of air travel on a global scale. To be leading that innovation is not only a huge milestone at Gogo, but in aviation as well.”
IFEXpress: From a bigger perspective, can you: A. give our readers the today view of Gogo, B. tomorrow’s view under your new leadership, and C. the product view of the next 5 years at Gogo.
J.W.: “Right now is really a very exciting time for Gogo. As the summer travel season comes to an end for the airlines, we are truly stepping into full 2Ku production mode. By the end of the year, we have committed to having 75+ 2Ku aircraft installed and into 2017 and 2018, we’ll be ramping up production quite a bit to get through our backlog of 1,200 aircraft. Given how quickly the airline industry has taken to 2Ku and recognized its technological advantages, I expect in the next five years that we will announce many global partnerships for 2Ku. Additionally, we will continue to expand our product offerings, focus on bringing the connected aircraft to life and develop our next generation regional ATG network that will be a big benefit to both CA (commercial aviation) and BA (business aviation).”
IFExpress: We understand that is some markets (biz jet?), Gogo offers a text/data service (low speed), why is that not offered for a low cost solution for the many users who want minimum service on a commercial service airplane?
J.W.: “We actually do have a messaging pass for commercial aviation (CA) passengers. For CA, this messaging application enables passengers to stay in touch with the ground with popular messaging applications including iMessage, WhatsApp, Viber, etc. If passengers are T-Mobile customers, they can also take advantage of free in-flight texting on all Gogo equipped flights.
For BA and CA both, the service actually works on high speed networks. In general, we think that low speed networks will become increasingly more focused on the cockpit v. passenger services.”
IFExpress: Can you tell our readers a little about how the business aviation market differs from the commercial airline market and do you envision entering other markets like military, etc.?
J. W.: “If there is one major differentiator between BA and CA it’s in the size of the fuselage hence the antenna technologies which are applicable. With Gogo’s range of products for both BA and CA, Gogo is extremely well positioned to service both markets.
In terms of BA vs CA, from an operations perspective, there are striking similarities with the big difference being access to aircraft. Commercial airlines are not keen on taking planes down to change technologies, which creates challenges when you are delivering new technologies. But there are definitely more similarities than differences.”
In closing, John told IFExpress; “While I’ve had a lot of fun over the last eight years managing the BA group, I’m realizing my real passion is in the big airplane world. It’s truly great to be back in the airline world once again and I’m looking forward to seeing all my old friends in Singapore.”
With over 30 years in the aviation industry, Jorge Mompo has joined the digEcor team as the new Director North, Latin America and Caribbean Sales. Mompo will be based in the America’s office in Springville, Utah and will be handling all Sales and Marketing activities in the Americas’ region. Jorge began his aviation career in the areas of Business Aviation Technical and Support, subsequently moving into IFE where he held diverse Engineering and Sales & Marketing positions in companies including Sony Trans Com, Panasonic and Lumexis, serving mainly the Americas. Mompo commented, “There are numerous growth opportunities in the Region where digEcor’s comprehensive integrated flight experience suite of products for IFE and cabin will be a perfect fit for current and future needs. I’m looking forward to continuing my close working relationships with all the customers in the Americas Region encompassing Airlines, OEMs and MROs.” Jorge will be at Singapore at the digEcor booth and you can contact him here: +1 (305) 781-9798 Mobile – +1 (801) 691-7257 Office
Thales, a global leader in space, avionics, and connected inflight entertainment, announces two milestone agreements with SES, the world’s leading satellite operator. With these agreements, Thales will offer airlines and their passengers FlytLIVE, the most efficient inflight connectivity experience over the Americas. FlytLIVE by Thales will start operating mid 2017 using in-orbit satellites. Thales signed an agreement with SES for tailor made connectivity services over the Americas optimized for commercial aviation.
With FlytLIVE, inflight connectivity solution, airlines will receive the best connection speeds for passengers and passenger entertainment using Ka-band HTS, they claim.
Two currently in-orbit satellites comprise the initial network for the Americas; a third satellite provided by Thales Alenia Space – will be launched in 2020 to meet anticipated market growth over the Americas.
(Editor’s Note: IFExpress will have more on this deal soon.)
- ARINC, AEEC, Rockwell Collins are putting on their big show in Toulouse France this year (Oct. 13 – 14) and a couple meetings caught our eye – specifically 7E Next Generation Cabin Data Bus and New ARINC Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System. Here is more info – ARINC Industry Activities | AEEC | Upcoming Mid-Term | Meeting Material | Drafts for Adoption Consideration
- The FAA says don’t turn on or charge your Samsung’s new Note 7 on an airplane! FAA Warns Airline Passengers Not To Use Samsung Smartphone The Wireless Week reported: “There have been dozens of aircraft fires caused by lithium batteries, so many that the batteries are no longer welcome as cargo on passenger flights. In one of the most recent incidents, a Fiji Airways Boeing 737 was preparing for takeoff from Melbourne, Australia, when smoke was discovered coming from the cargo bay. The plane was evacuated and the cargo unloaded. The source of the fire turned out to be lithium-ion batteries in a passenger’s checked bags. Hoverboards and e-cigarettes are banned from flights for the same reason.” Here is another article on the subject.
- If you get a new iPhone (7) but you have earphones with a jack… no worries on board. Just get a Lightening Dock… or, here are four other solutions 5 Ways To Use Headphones With iPhone 7 And iPhone 7 Plus | Redmond Pie and use those jacked earphones!
OK, AS9100 Certification may not seem like a big deal to you (and we had to look it up) but it turns out that in aviation, quality management is a very big deal… with every airplane part! So, you might ask, what can be so difficult about setting up a Quality Assurance program? Plenty, in fact we counted well over 200 action items, systems, documents, records, developments, implements and more actions need to complete the certification. In fact, if you want to finally see what all this “quality” certification means, check out this “easy” outline of the cert actions
Notes IFPL: “IFPL are delighted to have achieved certification to AS9100C. This is a key stage in the develop- ment of IFPL and demonstrates that our Management Systems are mature and robust. IFPL recognizes that compliance with quality accreditations forms the foundations of their business success. Quality is in the DNA of the company culture, engaging employees to continually improve systems and products to benefit our customer satisfaction.
IFPL’s facility is based on the Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of the UK. The leadership team at IFPL ensures that the management system activities are carried out in accordance with the Quality Management System, the European Aviation Safety Agency requirements of EASA Part 21G and the newly awarded International Aerospace Standard AS9100C.”
They went on to say, “Quality, reliability, and safety are critical values for the aerospace industry. The BSI only award the certificate once their rigorous and stringent criteria has been met. Both of these certifications high- light IFPL’s commitment to meeting and exceeding the increasingly stringent industry requirements for aerospace related products and assures our manufacturing processes consistently meet or exceed the requirements and expectations of customers presenting the most challenging of applications.” And, in case you didn’t know, CEO Geoff Underwood founded IFPL almost 20 years ago and it has the largest portfolio of proven IFEC products and services in its sector. They are proud to supply the world’s leading inline manufacturers and airlines, who have come to rely on them to provide inspiration to the enhancement of their passengers’ experience; delivered through their innovative product design and proven reputation for reliability. For more information on the IFPL products check out the following link: IFPL – Connecting Your Passengers
1. 2Ku is now up and flying across three airline partners – Aeromexico, Delta and Virgin Atlantic
2. 2Ku is installed on about a dozen aircraft
3. Gogo has now received six STCs to install the technology on various aircraft types
4. By the end of 2016 Gogo expects to have 75-100 2Ku installations. For 2017 that number increases to 350-450 and in 2018 increases again to 500-700 install.
5.Gogo was selected by Delta Private Jets to equip its feet of >70 business jets with Gogo Biz 4G inflight connectivity for 2Q17.
6. Want see something cool? Watch this Gogo 2Ku hardware installation on a GOL B737-800 – Gogo Inflight Internet Video: Behind the scenes with the first Gogo 2Ku installation on GOL – Gogo Concourse
At the end of June, Inmarsat has announced that its advanced Global Xpress (GX) Aviation in-flight connectivity service has been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the Airbus A320 aircraft family, bringing it a step closer to being available as line-fit or retrofit on every major Airbus and Boeing airframe. Here is a link for more information – GX Aviation certified for Airbus A320 aircraft – Inmarsat
OTHER (somewhat related) NEWS
1. We have to thank Bill Baltra for this one. Have you heard about ModoBag. Yep, you ride your bag now, and if you don’t believe it, check out this video – Modobag: World’s First Motorized, Rideable Luggage! – YouTube We contacted them but there was no response. you be the judge of their product if it achieves acceptability; besides, it might not look too cool in a skirt! Cruise the airport on top of a piece of motorized luggage
2. This may explain today’s aircraft Wi-Fi usage: Major study links low internet usage to slow broadband – BBC News
3. IFExpress recently asked Rich Salter (Engineering Consultant) about issues involved with security and IFEC and he had 3 points for your consideration:
a. There is an ARINC group addressing onboard cyber-security, and see the presentation made by Boeing’s Derek Schatz at a recent ARINC CSS meeting.
b. Panasonic has begun a partnership with hackers: Continuing what its Director of Security Engineering and Information Security Officer Michael Dierickx called a proactive approach to security, Panasonic Avionics Corporation developed a bug bounty program through HackerOne. The program is aimed at bolstering security of Panasonic’s inflight entertainment systems.
While the announcement coincided with the start of the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, the company will kick off the bug bounty program at the DefCon Conference later this week and will extend an invitation to participate to what Dierickx referred to as a select group of hackers.”We have extensive processes in place to identify potential and emerging vulnerabilities, and we also engage with security consultation firms who provide penetration testing and other services,” Dierickx said in a release. “Still, these teams bring a fresh perspective and innovative ways to search for potential issues.” (Editor’s Note: More on this next week.)
c. And we had an FAA man present on security at the last Tech Conference.
Finally, We should mention what the feds say about aviation security – this may be VERY timely: Securing the NextGen aviation network
4. If you are Traveling to the US, you might have to cough up your online presence! – Traveling to US? Agencies want to Spy on your Social Media activities right from Airport and Attention US-bound tourists: Social media accounts subject to inspection
5. SpeedNews reports: INMARSAT conducted survey that found 92% of airline pax would like to access onboard connectivity; 54% over inflight meals.
6. See if you are getting old by analyzing your travel messaging:
What is the impact of text and messaging apps on travel? | Hotel Management
7. Go ahead, spend the money on a good set of headphones: On airplanes, good headphones make good neighbors – Elliott
And lastly, we want to tell you about a publication that we think is really useful and incredibly data rich – it’s called Airline Weekly and it is delivered by the internet each Monday. The Weekly is usually 12 pages long and covers airline/airport happenings worldwide. The Weekly is a subscriber-supported publication, paid for by readers who want a more interesting, more valuable read about the airline business. Each Monday, Airline Weekly reports who’s flying where, new marketing approaches, fleet, finance and key airline and airport data. And most importantly, Airline Weekly readers will enjoy insightful analysis and new ideas found nowhere else. For example, the weekly sections include: Weekly News Review, Fleet Info, Finance, Marketing, Airports, Environment, Routes & Networks, and Around the World. If you want worldwide airline info, this publication is the one… and, they will give you a few free publications for your evaluation. Get it! Airline Weekly – Shouldn’t a publication about an interesting industry be, well, interesting?
Also, you might want to check out their weekly podcast. It is a great weekly update.
Chicago, IL | May 4, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that Delta Air Lines has increased its commitment to Gogo’s industry leading in-flight connectivity technology – 2Ku. This increases Delta’s total number of 2Ku committed aircraft to more than 600.
“Delta customers have expressed an interest in their time in the air being as productive as their time on the ground, and 2Ku satellite offers a vastly upgraded in-flight Wi-Fi experience,” said Tim Mapes, Delta’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “By committing to more aircraft with 2Ku technology, we’re providing Delta customers with faster and more reliable in-flight connectivity as a part of Delta’s commitment to always delivering the industry’s best on-board services.”
“With 2Ku, Delta will be able to deliver a better inflight experience to its passengers wherever they fly around the world,” said Jon Cobin, Gogo’s Executive Vice President, Global Airline Business Group. “We know how important it is to Delta to bring this technology to passengers and we plan on getting it deployed on these aircraft as soon as possible.”
Gogo’s 2Ku technology is designed to be open so it’s compatible with multiple satellite networks, which means the technology will be upgradeable over time without having to touch the aircraft. This flexibility will help ensure Delta is future ready and ahead of the curve from a technology perspective.
2Ku installations have already started on the 737-800 and A319 fleets, and additional Delta fleets will be retrofitted with the new system. Delta will operate more than 35 aircraft with 2Ku by the end of 2016.
- Gogo’s 2Ku Technology to Connect British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia Long-haul Aircraft
Chicago, IL | May 5, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it will partner with International Airlines Group (IAG) to bring Gogo’s 2Ku technology to 118 British Airways, four Aer Lingus Boeing 757 and up to 15 Iberia long-haul aircraft.
IAG is one of the largest airline groups in the world and is the first European airline group to commit to Gogo’s 2Ku technology. The fleet of Gogo-installed aircraft will include numerous long-haul aircraft types, including the Boeing 787 and Airbus A380.
“We are delighted to bring Gogo’s industry leading 2Ku technology to three of the most iconic brands in commercial aviation,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “2Ku is delivering a ground-like performance to aircraft flying around the world today. But one of the many benefits of 2Ku is that it’s built on an open architecture and can leverage numerous Ku satellites around the world today and new advancements in the Ku-band coming online in the future. This means the technology will get even better over time and will provide passengers with a superior connectivity experience now and in the future.”
The first British Airways aircraft is expected to be in service early next year. The bulk of the installations are expected to be completed by 2019.
- Gogo Vision also now Live on Select Aeromexico Boeing and Embraer aircraft
Chicago, IL | April 21, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that its industry leading global connectivity technology – 2Ku – is now live on Aeromexico. The first aircraft to fly with 2Ku is an Aeromexico Boeing 737-800 aircraft with Sky Interior serving several destinations in the Americas. Today, the airline has five aircraft installed with the new 2Ku system.
“This is a groundbreaking milestone for Gogo as it signifies that the 2Ku era has officially taken flight,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “Aeromexico was the first to commit to the service and we couldn’t be more excited to have their passengers be the first to experience this game changing technology.”
The 2Ku service will be free on Aeromexico for a limited time. In addition to 2Ku, Gogo’s wireless in-flight entertainment solution, Gogo Vision, is now flying on 11 Boeing 737-700 and Embraer aircraft flying across Aeromexico’s regional network.
“As Mexico’s global airline, we continue to push the envelope in terms of improving the passenger experience,” said Andres Conesa, Aeromexico’s CEO. “This partnership will bring the best connectivity technology to our passengers so they can stay connected within Mexico and abroad.”
Gogo’s 2Ku technology is designed to be open so it’s compatible with multiple satellite networks, which means the technology will be upgradeable over time without having to touch the aircraft. This flexibility will help ensure Aeromexico is future ready and ahead of the curve from a technology perspective.
“The great news for Aeromexico is they get a leading technology today that will only get better in the near future as newer high-throughput satellites come online,” added Small.
This issue starts the review of show vendors we talked to during AIX 16 but, as you know, there were over 500 IFE booths so we will do the best in the next few issues to cover those we had the opportunity to interview. Noted also, we have uploaded all our show still shots and you can find them here. Over the next few weeks we will try to outline all we talked to so hopefully you will get a better understanding of the some of the show participants and their products, whether you went to Hamburg or not. Further, we try to dig a little deeper into company products and services – no matter what size the company we talk to, because quite often new ideas spring from new talent – let’s get started.
Hamburg really scored the visitors at their 17th annual AIX show and with well over 16,000 visitors and 180 airlines, it’s no wonder that Gogo brought their B737-500 test airplane to the Hamburg airport for demo rides on the 2Ku system. No we weren’t on it, but we got in contact with Gogo’s Steve Nolan and he had a few interesting comments that we wanted to share with our readers. Firstly, we note that the Gogo/Airbus installation partnering on Airbus Bizjets is a solution that encompasses the retrofit installation of 2Ku on new A350 aircraft. And while we are on this subject, Gogo announced that they have partnered with Airbus to install, on a retrofit basis, 2Ku on new Airbus A350 aircraft. Delta will be the first U.S. airline to launch domestic 2Ku service as its first narrow-body aircraft takes flight later this month. Currently, they have more than 850 aircraft commitments to 2Ku across 10 airlines. And why, Steve told IFExpress that connectivity is booming: “We recently conducted a global study on in-flight connectivity and entertainment and found that the demand for in-flight connectivity services continues to soar and drive passenger behavior. When it comes to Wi-Fi, wireless entertainment, Live TV, App messaging and mobile voice, all categories lead the international demand over the US/Canada. Our global study showed that when choosing a flight, more than half of global travelers factor Wi-Fi into their choice of airline. The U.S. market has become virtually saturated with in-flight Wi-Fi and wireless in-flight entertainment. But, the interest in these services is even greater for travelers in the rest of the world, where the proliferation of in-flight connectivity is still in its early stages. Outside the U.S. and Canada, 86 percent of travelers say they are interested in using in-flight connectivity vs. 75 percent within the U.S. and Canada. When it comes to wireless in-flight entertainment, 76 percent of global travelers show interest vs. 67 percent of U.S. and Canadian travelers. The percentage of passengers boarding a flight with at least one Wi-Fi enabled device also continues to climb. Today, 90 percent of global passengers brought at least one Wi-Fi enabled device on-board their last flight. When it comes to smartphones and tablets, Android is the operating system of choice among global travelers. There are more than twice as many Android powered smartphones as iPhones being carried onboard the world’s commercial aircraft but we serve iOs as well.”
We also asked Steve about their status of AeroMexico and he noted that If you don’t remember, Gogo has signed a definitive agreement with Aeromexico, Mexico’s global airline, to provide in-flight Internet and wireless in-flight entertainment service on Embraer and Boeing 737 aircraft operated by Aeromexico. They are flying with their first aircraft (more installed) and they have been touting their service. Aeromexico was the first airline to commit to 2Ku and Gogo expects to deliver peak speeds of more than 70 Mbps to the aircraft and more than 100 Mbps to the aircraft when next generation satellites become available. They note that their 2Ku antenna is two times more spectrally efficient than other antennas in the commercial aviation market, which makes it capable of providing more bandwidth at less cost. We think “Muy Pronto” says it all!
Lastly, we want to commend Gogo for their production and free distribution of their 100+ page book: “From the Ground Up: How the Internet of Things will Give Rise to Connected Aviation.” The book gathers insight from more than 30 of the foremost leaders in aviation and technology and is free here. Get one… It is a very good introductory aviation read on IoT.
Next we move on to Axinom, the European Software folks who absolutely understand data needed to supply inflight entertainment (content management system), DRM, and content delivery. Before we get lost in their buzz word methodology, we will let Marketing Manager Sara Pepic tell their story. But before we do, you might want to download the overview of their ‘products’ in aviation. Noted Sara: “The products/services we provide to the In-flight entertainment (IFE) service providers are: Axinom Content Management System (CMS), Axinom Digital Rights Management (DRM), Axinom Content Delivery System (CDS). We concentrate 100% on software, no hardware. We do not resell hardware, we provide software running on proven-standards based commercial off the shelf hardware certified for the aviation industry.” She went on to describe their software service: “There are three areas where you can understand the need for the above mentioned products:
a. The digital rights management and players (Google Widevine, Apple Fairplay, Microsoft PlayReady) to be able to play Hollywood content (this is “premium content”) on personal devices and any digital platform basically.
b. The content management system that allows you to manage all kinds of content (movies, newspaper, magazines, crew and passenger information, flight information, shopping items, payments, health data, etc.).
c. The content delivery system you need for two purposes: to bring all kinds of digital content over different pipes (4G 3G, Satellite, USB, SD, WiFi,…) to and from the vessel, and you need it to manage this in a protected and secure way.”
“Therefore,” she continued, “we recommend you watch the following video explanation. In this video, CEO Axinom Aerospace Ralph Wagner and Stefanie Schuster (Business Developer for Axinom Products) explain the entire workflow of Axinom Content Delivery System. How the content (e.g.news, magazines, live content, passenger data, aircraft and flight data, music, shop items, reporting data etc.) can be securely and robustly synchronized between on-ground and on-board storage. Some very important features of these products may be found on the following page under ‘Key Highlights’.”
Assuming you have downloaded the three (3) product charts, but in case you haven’t there are two reasons why you should – 1. Because it is clearly the way to understand what software and services they sell, and what their software does…and where it does it. 2. Never have we seen the full universe of related software, hardware, and task management needed for content handling in one understandable chart (3 actually). Get them and see what we mean, if for no other reason, Axinom understands the content universe and you need a copy of it to understand how and where the content lives in an IFE system – Brilliant!
After the show, we were curious enough about Axinom to ask their CEO to answer a few questions and you can find his answers here.
Finally, here are a few links to videos that explain the whole story – study them and you will probably know more about content management software than your boss!
Axinom in the aerospace industry:
(Editor’s Note: We were really impressed with this company for at least 2 reasons. First, they were the first group that developed a cartoon layout of the IFE content world that we never understood, and secondly, they are very nice people and helped us with the story considerably – give them a call if your content is in need of help!)
VTS is an off-shoot of Inflight Services Inc. the company which pioneered and very first to install a movie entertainment system on board a commercial aircraft about 45 years ago. Inflight was for many years the main supplier entertainment systems to the airline industry. When Inflight ceased operations at the end of 1986, the core of its senior technical staff joined in forming Video Technology Services Inc., VTS to continue supplying the customer airlines with advanced video products and the highest levels of service. The company was bought out recently, we chatted with Web Barth, one of the new management and he said: “An airline with 180 VTS DVP units on 17 aircraft has ‘documented’ a $1 Million annual savings on videotape maintenance and that does not include the savings from the videotape logistics and replacement expense.” He went on: “When you have some airline repeat for 15+ years, you get to know a lot about maintaining older systems and airlines needs with regards to maintaining entertainment quality with affordable practical solutions.” VTS’ products, we learned, include a full range of audio, video and communication equipment for system installation on any type of aircraft configuration including individual, overhead, and Audio/Video On Demand via seat integrated entertainment systems. The company stressed their ‘lowest industry price’ more than once and it seems that it is a feature they are quite proud of… noted Barth: “VTS understands how a broken seatback system provides a huge passenger service problem, especially on older long haul aircraft, but $4 – $6,000 per seat for a new seatback system ($2-$5 Million replacement) that investment in older aircraft can be daunting. The solution is the new VTS Seatback Retrofit and Upgrade System, which simply removes the old seatback monitor and very heavy video cables and junction boxes and then installing a new VTS Streaming Server and WAPs and VTS high definition seatback, touch screens, powered by the older system’s seat power, each with its own WiFi antenna and receiver. The benefits are: Immediate IFE System Improvement, cost, weight and fuel savings; Video resolution increases 400% and with new and larger screen 7″ vs 5.6″, with modern movie format 16 x 9”. The biggest benefits are savings; 1/3 of cost of conventional system replacement and very significant fuel saving by reducing 80% of the weight (500 pounds vs 2,500+pounds), which could pay for the new and better entertainment system in 2-4 years in fuel savings alone.” We asked about installation and he told IFExpress: “Now, airlines can have an affordable, super light weight In-flight entertainment system that can be installed in hours and on any sized aircraft from commuters, regional jets to Wide-bodies of any age providing the first entertainment system or IFE replacement/supplement system. Further, they can have fleet wide IFE even in their smallest aircraft or cost effectively replace/supplement an obsolete system. The VTS Streaming system server and WAPs weigh about 20 pounds and install in a few hours. For some airlines out VTS Turnkey Entertainment Content Programs can be very attractive as VTS can also provision and frequently refresh entertainment content in various languages for airlines worldwide.” It looks like airlines that want a low cost, lightweight system have another solution, VTS – check out their website or give Web a call.
VTS Video Technology Services, Inc., 8 Aerial Drive, Syosset, New York 90000
Telephone: +1 (516) 937-9700
- Ben Fuller is now with fts-aero and is Director of Marketing, Americas.
- Need a new, small earphone for travel? You might wait for the SONY Xperia. It could be the future of high tech earbuds!
- Heard about WebRTC? You might find someone on your next flight using it…legally or illegally, we guess? WebRTC – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Want a bigger seat back screen on your plane? Please Let These Meganormous Screens Be the Future of Flying | WIRED
Trip Note: Lufthansa provided a great flight to Hamburg and here’s a great DLH B747 seat tip… try to get in row 29… same leg spacing as Economy Plus but at the regular economy price!
- Delta Air Lines Will Take Delivery of 2Ku-Equipped A350s in 2017
Chicago, IL | March 6, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it has partnered with Airbus subsidiary’s Airbus Corporate Jet Centre (ACJC) to install, on retrofit basis, its ground-breaking in-flight connectivity technology – 2Ku – on new Airbus A350 aircraft.
Until now, only first-generation gimbaled antennas have been available for the A350. Under this new agreement, airlines may elect to add Gogo’s 2Ku system to the A350 on a retrofit basis with a factory authorized installation from ACJC. Delta Air Lines will be the first customer for such installation and expects delivery of its first 2Ku-equipped A350 in 2017. Additionally, Delta will be the first U. S. airline to launch domestic 2Ku service as its first narrow-body aircraft takes flight later this month.
“We are looking forward to working with Airbus Corporate Jet Centre to offer this product to airlines,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “Working with ACJC and Airbus to make 2Ku available on the A350 is great news for airlines interested in the most future-proof in-flight connectivity solution.”
Gogo has announced 2Ku awards for more than 850 aircraft.
“We are delighted to answer Airbus operators’ needs and bring this new technology to the A350 on a retrofit basis,” said Joël Frugier, General Manager for Airbus Corporate Jet Centre. “We are here to serve Airbus Customers and support their cabin and connectivity upgrade requests”
Chicago, IL | March 23, 2016– Last week Gogo flew out to Austin for South by Southwest to show off our newest satellite technology, 2Ku, on our very own 737 test plane, “The Jimmy Ray.” Check it out.
Experience the interactive Multimedia News Release here
Chicago, IL | March 21, 2016– Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless in-flight entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it has expanded its connectivity partnership with Air Canada to include its international fleet, including the Boeing 787.
Air Canada is the only Canadian carrier offering customers in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity across its entire fleet of narrow-body aircraft in North America. Under the new agreement, Gogo’s 2Ku connectivity technology will be installed on Air Canada’s wide-body international aircraft, starting with the Boeing 777 this fall.
“We are excited about extending our relationship with Air Canada to bring our 2Ku technology to its international fleet,” said Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small. “The performance of Gogo’s 2Ku technology is unmatched in global aviation today and is built on the concept of an open system with the ability to leverage dozens of Ku-band satellites in orbit. We’ve also built it to leverage any of the new Ku-band LEO satellite constellations coming on line in the future. This system design will enable Air Canada to continue to deliver industry leading connectivity to its passengers for the foreseeable future.
“Air Canada is pleased to announce it will offer customers the ability to stay connected whenever and wherever they fly by extending in-flight, North American connectivity to its wide-body aircraft flying overseas using satellite technology,” said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada. “While business travelers will welcome satellite Wi-Fi service as a productivity tool, it will have widespread appeal for all travelers by allowing them to stay in touch, access the internet and enjoy additional entertainment options throughout their entire journey.”
Chicago, IL | February 29, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it will upgrade its satellite modem for use with its next generation 2Ku and Ku satellite technologies. The new modem will begin flight testing on Gogo’s Boeing 737 test lab – the Jimmy Ray – in the coming months, with commercial delivery expected to begin in 2017.
The proprietary features of the new modem will significantly increase throughput from the satellite to end users on the aircraft. The modem will be capable of delivering 400 Mbps to an aircraft, which will be more than enough to support the anticipated capacity of next generation high-throughput satellites. The modem will also have the capability to simultaneously supporting IP streaming and IPTV.
“Just like your home or office Wi-Fi set-up, you can make improvements to the amount of bandwidth delivered, but if the modem can’t support that bandwidth, you can create a choke point in the network,” said Anand Chari, Gogo’s chief technology officer. “Gogo’s next generation modem is being built with a lot of room to spare so it will be ready to handle data delivered from next generation high throughput satellites and beyond.”
Gogo has partnered with Gilat Satellite Networks for the development of the new modem. Gogo and Gilat together are developing advanced mobility management features that will be incorporated into the new modem. Gogo has been lab testing the new modem, which has already delivered 200 Mbps using Gogo’s 2Ku antenna.
“This incredibly fast modem is an example of how we are building our network on an open architecture so that our customer can seamlessly migrate to the fastest and cheapest new satellite technologies as they come online,” said Chari. “Our 2KU antenna is twice as spectrally efficient as any other antenna, and this modem will allow us to deliver that speed advantage to our customers. It also will allow our customers to seamlessly upgrade to the new Ku High Throughput Satellites (HTS) that have just started to be launched, and the massive-scale low earth orbit (LEO) constellations planned over the next decade.”
Gogo has already begun the licensing approval process for the new modem through the FCC and the FAA.
Chicago, IL | February 23, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it has inked one of the largest satellite capacity deals ever in the aero market with global satellite operator SES to meet the growing demand for high-speed inflight connectivity.
The deal is for major High Throughput Satellite (HTS) spot beam and wide beam capacity aboard the
SES-14 and SES-15 satellites, which are scheduled for launch in 2017. The two advanced HTS satellites will cover North America including Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico and Canada, as well as Central and South America, Caribbean and the North Atlantic. Gogo will also have access to HTS capacity on an additional SES-12 HTS satellite, which is also set to launch in 2017, with high-powered spot beam and wide beam coverage over Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Russia.
“Gogo is all about bringing the best customer experience to our aviation partners; this deal will dramatically increase bandwidth and drive overall costs per bit down by orders of magnitude,” said Anand Chari, Gogo’s chief technology officer. “2Ku was originally designed to take advantage of these satellite enhancements. Airline partners who already committed to 2Ku will be able to take advantage of this new arrangement once the systems are flying without any equipment modifications.”
“SES is very pleased to cultivate our longstanding relationship with Gogo, a leading provider of inflight connectivity. SES has developed the very best hybrid HTS solution in the world, fully capable of meeting the dynamic and ever-changing demands of airlines and their passengers, who expect a connected living room experience anywhere they go,” said Elias Zaccack, SES’s Senior Vice President, Commercial, for the Americas Region and SES’s MSC Data Mobile Leader. “SES’s HTS satellite constellation offers unique features for aeronautical connectivity, including Hawaii-to-Rome, and Arctic Circle-to-Patagonia connectivity along with a fully redundant network, low cost and low weight and drag of onboard equipment, backward compatibility, and high quality gate-to-gate service with the best possible availability.”
In addition to bringing unprecedented capacity for in-flight connectivity, Gogo’s deal with SES will also bring more capacity for an even better experience for Gogo’s live television product – Gogo TV.
“Obviously, increased capacity will drive a better customer experience, and we are driving significant value for our airline partners by developing systems that are open and capable of leveraging new technologies as they become available,” added Chari.
Recently, IFExpress visited Gogo offices and flight tested the new 2Ku Services – we offer our trip report to our readers!
Gogo Offices – Downtown Chicago
On 11/12/15 we proceeded to Chicago as a result of an invitation from Gogo to flight test their new 2Ku airborne connectivity system. Installed on a B737, the system is only one of the three predominant connectivity platforms developed and operated by Gogo. Two are the existing air-to-ground, lower speed data systems available today – Gogo ATG and ATG4. The new 2Ku system operates on data transmitted from the ground to satellites and then (in a test mode) down to a B737 platform which operates out of Gary, Indiana International airport.
After a tour of their new facilities in the downtown Chicago Loop (next to Boeing), where some of the hardware was displayed, we listened to a presentation by their customer care manager. He told us that 79% of their usage questions were for chat messaging, 10% was for calls (business jets), and 11% was for email issues. We don’t know how this was measured – based on digital data bits, time, or measurements of the indicated usage, but “Clearly,” they noted, “the growth trend is toward digital chatting!” And we agree – SMS and text messaging are the future.
Further, Gogo noted that their Chat Help was a very useful solution to customers who need help on the plane, and it is done via their (the pax) devices without logging on to the service on the plane. Here is a breakdown of their chat help subject issues – 53% logging on, 8% billing and subscriptions, 13% video issues, 13% dropped calls, and 3% general. They noted that they use customers contact data daily to analyze the Gogo product/service. This capability to chat with the Gogo help personnel (located in Boulder, Colorado) will be utilized on all products – ATG, ATG 4, and 2Ku. They even have a feature wherein a customer and a helper can co-browse (with the customers permission) and walk them thru a customer screen. Further, they can even take over their device for assistance in the most challenging cases.
In Engineering, we saw an elegant noise free area for simulation installation inside a theoretical aircraft. They will use this facility for mostly 2Ku installations now. The primary software room was for in system testing and integration… there were some 10 rows of floor to ceiling cabinets with all types of hardware that were under test, all with various loads of software – quite impressive. Interestingly, there is very little encryption on all ground to aircraft communication but we believe that is under evaluation at this time. Gogo told us that they have a proprietary data communication but not at the level one would see in the DOD.
We were surprised that Gogo builds virtually no equipment – they spec it out. What they do is software, and a lot of it. We don’t have time here to cover that subject but the network solution, along with the hardware, is software… and Gogo is quite proud of it.
The Network Operation Center (NOC) was very impressive. Basically Gogo monitors every airplane and keeps track of any issue that could impact their operations. Further, they can communicate with each flying system to ascertain how their product is performing. Some 20 large screens and people work 24/7 to monitor their products – very impressive. The center monitors worldwide aircraft – commercial or business installations. This solution is really done right and nothing is left out…. even tracking outages. We really wonder why they weren’t presently offering an aircraft data download solution . When asked, they replied that that is the next market they will be pursuing and IFExpress will begin watching that potential product with them next. We should also mention that they monitor all their ground sites there as well.
However, we did note that they have introduced some real time product purchasing in their service with the likes of Amazon and others. It remains to be seen how successful this effort will be but the service is available on some airlines today. We were surprised that Monday and Thursday were the “active” day for higher sale traffic. However, this may have to do with the business community’s travel schedule.
Gogo told us that today they have some 246 ground installations (for ATG and ATG4 – 800 to 900 MHz range). Gogo started operations with 96 of these ground based antenna sites and are continually adding more to their network. They do not foresee dropping sites either, and if internal aircraft network or system status data ever takes off, they will have a lot of applicability as the data will probably be more resident in the slower speed service. Further as aircraft get more high speed communication links, it might be a good home for data reception, aggregation and forwarding. And as you might guess, data to the aircraft probably exceeds data from it, so that may be another case in point for obtaining aircraft performance data like engine parameters and history, fuel levels, battery and power data and so on for the future. Face it, any data communication service, to and from the aircraft, has a future and the Gogo’s existing system is an obvious home. Expect to hear more about this feature in the future.
Aircraft Communication Testing
Next we went to the airport and walked out to the Boeing 737 at the small Gary Indiana International Airport. The dual circular panel ThinKom Ku antenna is flat and consists of two flat plane antennas, electronically steered… all under a radome (behind of the wings) on the top of the plane. On the test aircraft, the antenna can be seen.
Inside the aircraft, it is configured as one would expect a demonstrator might be. Five rows of Business class seats 2 x 2 for front visitors and approximately 30 coach seats for other visitors in the back, Gogo employees, and vendors. Our flight had mainly press attendees occupying approximately some 20 visitor seats. Four Gogo folks were in attendance to help Wi-Fi users and demo Gogo broadcast streaming TV. The tests were provided to some 40 reporters and camera persons… on 2 flight trials – one in the morning for 20 and one in the afternoon for the rest.
Once in flight (and it was a very turbulent flight), we began the trial of the service. The system did not feature any setups or complicated directions – just load the “gogoinflight” password in your Wi-Fi permissions and the system was ready for browsers, Facebook, chat or whatever app, and “game on”!
Realistically, we expected setup issues but there were none. Important to note, each member of the press had a minimum of 2 devices running all the time, while some had three. In fact, one individual had 8 YouTube videos running simultaneously.
During testing we ran Speedtest to see system loading and saw extremes form 1 to 20 Gigabits per second Internet speeds. Perhaps the average was around 5 to 6 GB/sec. connectivity speeds. If we assume 50 to 60 devices were running simultaneously, total available speeds were excellent.
To sum up the experience – “Time went so fast flying with Wi-Fi, bad weather was not an issue and we were disappointed to land so soon!”
Rockwell Collins debuted PAVES seat-centric in-flight entertainment (IFE) system has entered into service on a new Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 delivered to Biman Bangladesh Airlines. The company’s advanced large-screen, high-definition (HD) IFE system is featured in both business and economy classes. With PAVES, airlines are able to develop their own look and experience for passengers as well as efficiently manage non-DRM content via Rockwell Collins’ graphical user interface (GUI) developer kit through a web portal management tool. Further, the system features an open-software architecture to support customized and third-party applications with minimal effort. (IFExpress notes that this was an in-sequence installation at the Boeing Renton, WA. facility.)
Next year, there may be a way for folks in the know to address IFExpress readers. Technical, IFE industry views and visions are all a possibility and we just might feature your thoughts and words – Stay Tuned!
First, from Gogo. Here is the attached note that came with the news release – “I wanted to send you some exciting news this morning that I thought you might be interested in. We cleared a major regulatory hurdle to get our next generation satellite technology flying. This technology will bring more than 20x the bandwidth of our original technology, and will launch on Aeromexico and Virgin Atlantic later this year. See the attached and let me know if you have any questions.” – Morgan Painter
FAA Clears Gogo’s Next Generation In-flight Internet Technology for Takeoff
Approval Clears Hurdle for Launch of Service that will Bring 20x Bandwidth Increase
Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the leading provider of in-flight connectivity, announced today that it has received the final Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the FAA required to launch Gogo’s 2Ku next generation satellite connectivity service. The technology is currently installed on Gogo’s 737-500 test plane and is now cleared for in-flight testing. Gogo expects to launch commercial service of its 2Ku technology later this year.
“This is a significant milestone for Gogo and a seminal event for in-flight Internet,” said Gogo’s chief technology officer, Anand Chari. “We believe this will be the best performing technology for the global commercial aviation market bar none. Clearing this regulatory hurdle brings us one step closer to enabling our airline partners and their passengers to enjoy the future of in-flight Internet.”
Seven commercial airlines have signed up for either a trial or fleet deployment of 2Ku covering more than 500 commercial aircraft. Gogo expects to launch commercial service later this year and begin rapid installation of the backlog of 500 aircraft in 2016.
2Ku is expected to deliver peak speeds of more than 70 Mbps to the aircraft, which is more than 20 times the bandwidth provided by Gogo’s first generation Air to Ground solution in the U.S. More information about this technology can be found here.
If you are interested in the Expo Americas from the folks at Aircraft Interiors, November 4 – 5, in Seattle, check out this link
And now from Boeing, here is a release from them that is their view of the new airplane market from 2015 – 2034. What caught us off guard was Boeing’s view of the 400+ seat aircraft market… might there be some bias? Boeing Sees Demand in China for 6,330 Airplanes Valued at Nearly $1 Trillion – Chinese fleet will almost triple by 2034, with need for 4,630 single-aisle airplanes – Low-cost carriers, international expansion are key drivers of soaring airplane demand:
Boeing (NYSE: BA), China’s leading provider of commercial airplanes, today projected a demand in the country for 6,330 new airplanes over the next 20 years. Boeing released its annual China Current Market Outlook (CMO) today in Beijing, estimating the total value of those new airplanes at $950 billion.
“Despite the current volatility in China’s financial market, we see strong growth in the country’s aviation sector over the long term,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Over the next 20 years, China’s commercial airplane fleet will nearly triple: from 2,570 airplanes in 2014 to 7,210 airplanes in 2034, with more than 70 percent of these deliveries accommodating growth.”
“China’s aviation market is incredibly dynamic, from its leading airlines to its startups and low-cost carriers,” said Ihssane Mounir, vice president of Sales and Marketing for Northeast Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Boeing is committed to serve customers in the world’s largest airplane market by providing the most fuel-efficient airplanes and services to support their growth and profitability.”
As China becomes the world’s largest domestic air travel market, Boeing is forecasting demand for 4,630 single-aisle airplanes through 2034. This sector is driven by growth in new carriers and low-cost airlines in developing and emerging markets, as well as continuous expansion in established airlines. In fact, the efficiency and flexibility of single-aisle aircraft like the 737 helps Chinese carriers connect and stimulate growth along the Economic Belt as part of the One Belt, One Road Strategy. Tinseth said the Next-Generation 737-800 and new 737 MAX 8 – Boeing products at the heart of the single-aisle market – offer airlines the best fuel efficiency, reliability and capability.
China’s low-cost carriers are currently responsible for about 8 percent of single-aisle market demand, rising to 25-30 percent of demand by 2034, Tinseth noted. “The 737 MAX 200 will have the lowest fuel costs – 20 percent per seat – versus today’s most efficient single-aisle airplanes,” Tinseth said. “737 MAX fuel efficiency and the 737’s position as the industry’s most reliable airplane offer Chinese low-cost carriers competitive advantages as they grow new business.”
Boeing forecasts that the widebody segment will require 1,510 new airplanes, led by small and medium widebody airplanes such as the 777-300ER (Extended Range), 777X and the 787 Dreamliner. Tinseth stressed that Chinese airlines have more than doubled their long-haul international capacity over the past three years, in large part following the delivery of 747-8 Intercontinental airplanes to Air China and 777-300ERs and 787s to several leading Chinese carriers.
“Enabled by China’s growing middle-class population, new visa policies and the underlying strength of its economic growth, this expansion is expected to continue, and in fact accelerate,” Tinseth said. “The 777, 787 and 747-8 are perfectly positioned to support Chinese airlines’ continued globalization.”
Worldwide, Boeing projects investments of $5.6 trillion for 38,050 new commercial airplanes to be delivered during the next 20 years. The complete global forecast is available here.
Today, Boeing jets are the mainstay of China’s air travel and cargo system. More than 50 percent of all the commercial jetliners operating in China are Boeing airplanes. Over 8,000 Boeing airplanes fly throughout the world with integrated China-built parts and assemblies. China has a component role on every current Boeing commercial airplane model – the Next-Generation 737, 747, 767, 777, as well as the world’s newest and most innovative airplane, the 787 Dreamliner.
For more information on the China forecast, visit this hyperlink.
And now, for more LINK News:
The folks at Investopedia had tabulated at lease three things travelers want, and this caught our eye: “For some of you, it might not be any surprise that Millennials are even more willing to pay extra for different things while traveling. Even though they are known for valuing minimalism, Millennials are used to having the luxury of convenience – not to mention the ability to check Facebook or text their friends.” – 3 Things Travelers Value When Flying
How about FlightView’s survey that determines how far travelers will go for convenience, demand for premium services, and the role information and operational efficiency plays in driving gate-side revenue.
Here’s one that we find interesting – “How to enable AT&T Wi-Fi calling on iOS 9.”
How to enable AT&T Wi-Fi calling on iOS 9 – CNET (Interestingly, an AT&T source says: “This is AT&T catching up with T-Mobile and others that have had Voice-over-IP for some time. This is where the handset uses an IP connection over Wi-Fi rather than connecting using LTE to a cellphone tower for voice calls. AT&T did not have this conversion available for some time – but they are introducing a variety of new features including VOLTE (Voice over LTE) which is an IP based Over the top solution which will be more cost effective than pure LTE cellular connections. Gogo already manages this by blocking the IP ports at a Network layer level that support VoIP. In the same way that they block HBO go and Netflix video streaming services. “OnAir will do the same – as will ViaSat.”) Oh well, we guess this won’t work on a plane…
The folks at Aviation Week did a splendid piece on ‘The Connected Aircraft’, a NASA project with Alaska Airlines and Virgin America that covers the ‘other” uses of connectivity beyond IFE – NASA Ushers In Connected Aircraft Benefits to Two Airlines | Commercial Aviation content from Aviation Week
If your ‘thing’ is radiation effects on aviation electronics at altitude on planes, you might like – Planet Analog – William Murray – Process Management for Radiation Effects at Altitude
Lastly, here is a great site for comparing mileage award miles from various airlines for a flight from Chicago to LA – AwardAce Compares Flight Prices in Rewards Miles
Firstly, we want to congratulate the folks at SmartTray (Astronics) for being a Crystal Cabin Award Finalist! Astronics cleverly saw the future of the product and set up an agreement “…to exclusively market, sell, and manufacture SmartTray’s new passenger device-friendly aircraft tray table solutions that facilitate hands-free use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) including smartphones.”
The SmartTray website tells the whole product story… almost. The device is pretty much as advertises: The X1 features a groove/clip in the rear of the tray that is a device stand (iPad etc.) in the rear of the tray table leaving room to work, eat, drink… you got the picture. Version X2 clips the tablet to the tray in the tray upright position and X4 is for First Class. Both Nick Pajic Sr. and Jr. of SmartTray were on hand at the Astronics booth and added a classy presentation capability for all their products.
However, it is the X3 that caught our attention! Here is text from the X3 page:
“SmartTray X3, in development, will transform decades old food tray designs into modern, cutting edge technology tablet device IFE at a fraction of the traditional seat embedded IFE systems costs. SmartTray X3 is economy class solutions for an airline with IFE capability wanting a cost-effective narrow body solution. Works with existing IFE servers. Content preloaded or streamed.”
This says to us, Astronics will be in the seatback, mechanical docking station business for airline owned IFE soon. The next question to ask is if FAA certification of installed tablets (or semi-installed, if you like) on the horizon? While we saw no tablet power solution on the SmartTray, and the company did not discuss this solution, can that be next? After all, Astronics major’s in aircraft passenger seat power. We understand there is a major airline installation deal in the works for this summer that will include trays installed inline and retrofit. You can read more about the Astronics deal with SmartTray here. Here is the real deal: If this all comes about with powered airline tablets, the next question to ask: Is this the future of IFE? (Editor’s Note: If you have a clever and safe solution to running power to the installed device interface plug over the moving tray arms and flopping trays, we bet Astronics might like to hear about it.)
We should also mention the newest member of the EMPOWER family, the Model 1191-4X that provides 110 VAC and 5 Volt USB (2.1A) for three seats. Note the lighted USB power jack above the 110 AC receptacle. The 1191-4X In-Seat Power Supply unit is a “smaller profile” than the USB-only (Model 1325-1 on the left) In-Seat Power Supply.
You remember Skypower, the inseat power source and perhaps, SKYfi an on-board connectivity platform for passenger and corporate aircraft to provide a wide range of on-board communication options, media applications and services. SKYfi can be installed on virtually every aircraft type and architecture. The lean system has certified hardware and uses different communication interfaces, making it very flexible… and attractive. We should also note, ‘SKYfi club’ is installed on Cebu Pacific Air, the largest airline n the Philippines.
At AIX, KID-Systeme also had their usual in-cabin connectivity solutions but what got our attention was their inseat display solutions shown. KID has been working with Lufthansa Tecknik for a Qantas installation using an iPad-based IFE solution.
While in the KID booth we were quite impressed with the in-seat concepts that the team has been working on and thought you might like to check them out if you did not get into to their exhibit at AIX. Their universal tablet holder solutions were really quite interesting and we note that they was an embedded IFE, noting that it is a concept study and a final product would not be a KID brand. In other words, KID would team with another vendor for the solution.
First, check out the tablet holder mechanism that resides behind the fold down tray.
Now, check out the tray tablet holder. Note that you can see the tablet holder mentioned in the previous shot. The spring loaded black clip is designed to provide a positive downward force holding the tablet in place.
This image is the protected insert device power source. Note: the area under the socket could contain available power information on a tag.
Here is an image of their simplest add-on device holder, probably for a small tablet or phone.
The seatback installation is an adjustable seatback display design and this image shows use of a clear sliding screen designed to hold a tablet, when the LCD display is recessed back in the seatback permitting the support of a personal device and meeting FAA HIC requirements.
We also wanted to mention that the folks from BAE Systems announced their launch customer at AIX for their Intellicabin IFE solution with India’s Vistara Airlines. With 3 aircraft now installed (6 Biz seats, 36 Economy Plus, and 96 economy), they have a total of 20 A320 installations ordered. The system uses one server, 3 Kontron WAP’s and we are told that some 50 passengers are covered per server. Here is an image of the system on display at AIX.
PDT + Telefonix did a great job of trend prediction and observation at AIX. Be sure to check out their new ad in this issue of IFExpress to see the report!
Here is a note we just got in from the folks at Zodiac Inflight Innovations and you might want to check the presentation: “We are very excited to be a part of the Global Connected Aircraft Summit again this year! Our VP of Business Development Connectivity, Dr. Axel Jahn is speaking on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 2:20pm. He will be speaking on the topic of Cyber-Security and How a Connected Aircraft can Manage this threat. Click Here to view the entire agenda!”
You might want to read this bit of analysis about the US Congress and flying…
Gogo secured an FAA STC to install new 2Ku antenna on its 737-500 flying lab for testing; it expects the second STC by end 2015 to launch commercial service.
Sadly, we note the passing of Arthur Jamieson, who is remembered from his early days at British Caledonian to the founding of the InFlight Entertainment Co. Services at St Mary’s Church, Church Street, Hartfield, East Sussex, TN7 4AG, on Friday 12th June, at 11.00 a.m. Followed by a wake, to be held at: The Gallipot Inn Upper Hartfield.
Our “cover shot” this week is the newest Inmarsat “bird” designed for their new high speed global broadband network. Called Global Xpress (GX), the seamless product, when finalized, will be worldwide. The Global Xpress constellation will be made up of three satellites. The first GX satellite, Inmarsat-5 F1, is now in service over Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and the second (pictured above) – which will serve the Americas and Atlantic Ocean Region – is launching on 1 February 2015. The third satellite, which has been built and is set for launch soon, will cover the Pacific Ocean Region. Between them, the three satellites will provide consistent global coverage. Full global coverage is scheduled for early in the second half of 2015. GX will offer upgradable bandwidth that allows airlines flexibly to adapt to changing requirements. The satellite was built by Boeing at its El Segundo Development Center in the Los Angeles area. GX Aviation operates in the Ka-band, and will provide up to 50Mbps to the aircraft. Five GX Value Added Resellers are in active discussions with potential airline customers, two of which have been successful (Gogo and OnAir). Gogo announced that Vietnam Airlines will have GX Aviation on its B787s and A350s and OnAir has announced that Qatar will have GX Aviation on its A350s.
Gogo, the global inflight aero communications service provider, announced yesterday that it’s on track for record aircraft installs in 2015. The company now has a backlog of well more than 1,000 commercial aircraft, more than half of which are expected to be installed in 2015. With the large backlog in commercial aviation and the company’s current trends in business aviation, Gogo expects to install a record number of aircraft in 2015. Recently announced domestic regional jet installs and certain international fleet wins are expected to make up the bulk of the installs for 2015. Gogo expects to bring 500 additional commercial aircraft online by the end of this year, which would bring the total number of commercial aircraft equipped with its connectivity service to more than 2600. Of the new installs, around 25 percent are expected to be international aircraft. In addition to new installs, Gogo continues to upgrade previously-installed ATG systems to its next generation ATG-4 technology, which triples peak speeds to the aircraft and brings more capacity to the sky. More than a third of the aircraft on which ATG was installed have been upgraded to ATG-4. Gogo expects close to half the commercial fleet operating in the U.S., or more than 1,000 aircraft, to be upgraded to the newer technology by the end of 2015. In addition to the ATG-4 roll-out, Gogo is on track to launch its global satellite solution – 2Ku – in the second half of 2015. 2Ku is expected to bring peak speeds of more than 70 Mbps to an aircraft, a 20 fold increase when compared to Gogo’s original ATG technology.
We asked a number of readers about why they thought SkyMall went under (Chapter 11) and we got a huge amount of email in response. Here are just a few of the salient comments readers made:
John Courtright (SIE) noted: “Virtually any of the boutique-like products found in the SkyMall catalog could be purchased online directly from the seller or through Amazon. Much of SkyMall’s inventory was drop shipped which means they didn’t have to hold a lot of inventory but they did have to hold some (that means money)… SkyMall had a pretty good and beautifully automated, for its time (late ’90s) fulfillment center in the Phoenix area but automated fulfillment centers require VOLUME in ever increasing levels. Other online retailers simply took away their market share.”
Mark Thompson (Thompson Aerospace) told us: “SkyMall did not have a real time buying option, so they lost out on the impulse buying marketing and their items were high cost items, so once off the aircraft people would not buy due to competition… As well over 100B a year is spent by international travelers just to the US a year, we view the airlines as missing out a chance at a 5 to 10 percent commission from sites like Commission Junction… Hopefully with SkyMall being out of business, we can finally create a Cabin Entertainment and Marketplace to truly provide billions in free revenue to airlines.“
Another savvy IFExpress reader’s opinion seems to be along the same lines and noted:
· S/M Items not unique in the Marketplace, and those attracted to such merchandise can probably get it cheaper on the Internet via such net retailers as Amazon. [Price as well as shipping]
· Those airlines (Delta; US Air; etc.) who canceled their ‘subscriptions’ to Sky Mall probably didn’t get the revenue [Sharing] they were promised from SkyMall, as their total sales dwindled these past few years. And, in parallel, the product producers in the catalog probably didn’t get the revenue for each advertising dollar they were paying SkyMall to be in the catalog. [when was the last time you saw Neiman Marcus in SkyMall?]
· Greater ‘entertainment’ options by those passengers targeted by SkyMall: the savvy and high earning passengers — who travel and used to buy stuff – can more easily download entertainment; catalogs; and information onto their own devices and are less enticed to explore the on-board magazine for merchandise or sales.
· Competition (at least that I have seen for the ‘foreign’ carriers) from the airlines’ own sales/marketing catalogs (e.g. JAL, SIA, BA, AF, Lufthansa, ANA, etc. etc.). These catalogs might offer small savings due to duty free and can cater to ‘off shore’ customers much easier. In the case of ANA and JAL, they offer on-site delivery of goods as soon as the passengers deplane at the arriving airport (if the merchandise is not readily available on the plane, from local stores/stock)
· Greater Availability of RF bandwidth on Internet equipped a/c means less need for bored passengers to skim through the printed page.
Obviously, our readers have a pretty good handle on the issues facing SkyMall during the last couple of years. We wonder if the company could have done anything to avoid the situation?
Lets take the IFE vs connectivity argument a bit farther and to that end: after we sent out a few questions to readers about the subject of fliers knowing what to expect in the way of IFEC and how that affects ticket decision. we got a few good answers back – here is a good one:
Q: If you were the traveling public, how then do you know who has what, and do you care?
ANS: “For the traveling public, it’s much harder to determine which IFE supplier is on which airline. Good, and Bad systems, get press/media reviews and you can read complaints about IFE on the Internet – rarely compliments. Word of mouth, as in advertising, is strong, but usually for frequent fliers. But as you noted in your text: IFE isn’t exactly high on anyone’s radar: behind costs; schedules; meal; seat comfort (which seems to be a growing sore point – pun intended – to many airline travelers); and just plain friendliness and attention by flight attendants.”
Q: Our guess is that connectivity is the “who-has-what” hot ticket today, not entertainment!
ANS: “I would agree. And as you know from my previous comments, I think the IFE company that focuses on connectivity and content will survive and thrive. IFE companies need to evolve to help the airlines expand their offerings and content and functions which allow the tech savvy passengers to use whatever device they wish to bring onboard: laptops; tablets; cell phone; etc. IFE companies focused more on HW will wither and die. Wireless connectivity will supersede wired. But most of all, the IFE companies need to keep and increase their relationships with content providers. Initially, it is/was with studios and record companies, but you will probably see announcement (some already) of IFE companies securing deals with the likes of Netflix; Google; HBO; Showtime; PBS; You Tube; etc.”
Q: We are beginning to think that personal devices have removed that requirement – because if the plane doesn’t have what I want, Ill take out my headphones and iPod, or iPad and not worry about it. Do you agree?
ANS: “Yes, fully agree. If the airlines don’t have the content, the passengers will bring their own. I suspect the company that can allow the passenger to download latest content at the airport (if the passenger hasn’t already done so at home or office) ahead of the flight will continue to grow in size and profits. Companies just need to find the right revenue model. [Must be some good MBAs out there working that aspect?!!]”
While discussing Inflight Entertainment subjects with some knowledgeable experts, we got side-tracked on the subject of “How do you know who (airline) has what IFEC” and one person sent us to the Alaska Airlines website that perfectly describes their wireless connectivity and entertainment solutions for guests flying with them. This “Beyond Entertainment” link should interest a lot of our readers.
If you are up to speed on the Marriott Hotel chain Mi-Fi blocking history, you might want to read Ned Levi’s opinion on user Wi-Fi vs hotel Wi-Fi service. Arguments on both sides may show up elsewhere and the issue is more than money.
In an Aviation Week Viewpoint article, Capt. Bob Colvin lays out the need and development logic for a “truly long range 757 replacement.” Read it for the aircraft design analysis..this pilot knows planes.
Congratulations to STG Aerospace’s new Engineering Director, Neil Thomas!
And finally, the IFExpress solution to SkyMall’s exit, we call it “Amazon Plane”. And yes, it does not exist today. We put our heads together over a few glasses of wine and came up with a new Duty Free solution that will probably never be implemented but the issue of lower cost booze can be a motivator. First you start with the concept of Duty Free Booze, then you add on-aircraft and/or in-Duty Free Shop ordering and paying, and lastly, Amazon fulfillment services. Got it? No more carrying around booze and gifts that can’t go through TSA – Amazon Plane gets you your stuff when you get home!
Itasca, IL | January 26, 2015– January 26, 2015 – Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), a leading global aero communications service provider, announced today that it’s on track for record aircraft installs in 2015. The company now has a backlog of well more than 1,000 commercial aircraft, more than half of which are expected to be installed in 2015. With the large backlog in commercial aviation and the company’s current trends in business aviation, Gogo expects to install a record number of aircraft in 2015. Recently announced domestic regional jet installs and certain international fleet wins are expected to make up the bulk of the installs for 2015.
Gogo expects to bring 500 additional commercial aircraft online by the end of this year, which would bring the total number of commercial aircraft equipped with its connectivity service to more than 2600. Of the new installs, around 25 percent are expected to be international aircraft.
In addition to new installs, Gogo continues to upgrade previously-installed ATG systems to its next generation ATG-4 technology, which triples peak speeds to the aircraft and brings more capacity to the sky. More than a third of the aircraft on which ATG was installed have been upgraded to ATG-4. Gogo expects close to half the commercial fleet operating in the U.S., or more than 1,000 aircraft, to be upgraded to the newer technology by the end of 2015.
“Operationally, what the talented group at Gogo has accomplished and is set to accomplish in 2015 is unprecedented in this industry and continues to amaze me,” said Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small. “Between installing new service and upgrading our original ATG service to ATG-4, our installation team expects to touch 1,000 aircraft in various parts of the world in 2015. We are excited about where we are going in terms of bringing new aircraft online and adding significantly more capacity to the network.”
In addition to the ATG-4 roll-out, Gogo is on track to launch its global satellite solution – 2Ku – in the second half of 2015. 2Ku is expected to bring peak speeds of more than 70 Mbps to an aircraft, a 20 fold increase when compared to Gogo’s original ATG technology.
“2Ku will bring significantly more bandwidth at what we estimate will be half the costs of competing solutions available in the market today,” added Small. “We believe this technology is transformative for global aviation in terms of Internet speeds, capacity, coverage, costs and reliability.”
The big news this week is from Gogo: The company announced today that it has received regulatory approval from the FCC to operate its next generation in-flight connectivity technology – 2Ku. The FCC approval clears a major hurdle in the path to launching the new service. The approval is a blanket approval from the FCC for Gogo to operate its 2Ku system on 1,000 aircraft. “Clearing the necessary regulatory hurdles to provide this service to an aircraft flying anywhere around the globe is no small feat. Gogo has proven it is a leader at navigating these environments for all aircraft types no matter where they fly,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “We are happy that the launch of 2Ku is proceeding as planned and are continuing to work with the FAA on approval for installation.” Gogo expects the new 2Ku technology will outperform other global connectivity solutions currently available in the market. The new antenna technology is expected to deliver peak speeds to the aircraft of more than 70 Mbps. The advantages of 2Ku are significant. The antenna is more spectrally efficient which means it will produce more bandwidth at less cost than competitive solutions. 2Ku’s performance benefits will be even more dramatic in tropical regions where other satellite solutions degrade significantly due to restrictions associated with operating at high skew angles. The antenna itself is only 4.5 inches tall and the low profile produces very little incremental drag on the aircraft. The 2Ku antenna and its increased spectral efficiency are compatible with today’s Ku satellites and future Ku satellites, including future spot beam satellites. When future satellite technologies become available, Gogo expects peak speeds for the service in excess of 100 Mbps. Because the antenna can be used with any Ku-satellite, it also avoids the single point of failure that comes with reliance on a single satellite for connectivity in a given region, and offers airlines much desired redundancy and reliability.
If you forgot about what 2Ku actually is, and how it works, we have a perfect solution – look here!
Aircraft Interiors Expo 2014 will again be at the Hamburg Messe, April 14 – 16 this year in Germany and you can keep abreast at www.aircraftinteriorsexpo.com. To steal from their press release: “The countdown is now on for next year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo which takes place at the Hamburg Messe in Germany from 14-16 April 2015. Organized by Reed Exhibitions, Aircraft Interiors Expo 2015 will be the essential hub for the aircraft interiors industry to view groundbreaking new products and innovative technologies, as well as networking with exhibiting companies and professional visitors on both the conference and show floors. The demand for air travel, particularly from new emerging markets, will see the global airline fleet witness extraordinary growth over the next decade. Developing markets in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East will continue to serve as the main catalyst for this upward trend. According to a recent Airbus global market forecast for 2014-2033, China will need more than 5,300 new passenger aircraft and freighters at a total market value of US$820 billion – this represents 17% of the world total demand for over 31,000 new aircraft during the next 20 years. Factors such as the increase in demand for cabin customization to enhance passenger comfort, together with increasing passenger growth rates, are boosting the cabin interior market worldwide. The cabin seats market is predicted to be best overall performer in the sector.”
As they note about the exposition; “Aircraft Interiors Expo is the world’s largest event dedicated to sourcing the latest innovations, technologies and products for the cabin interiors, inflight entertainment and passenger comfort industries. Taking place in Hamburg from 14- 16 April 2015 the exhibition attracts thousands of buyers and decision makers from major scheduled, regional and charter airlines and offers the opportunity to meet face to face with suppliers and manufacturers covering the full spectrum of the industry.” Also, we note that a total of 74 submissions were received for the Crystal Cabin Award 2015. After detailed examination we understand, the six members of the preselection committee have approved 68 of these for the shortlist. In the next stage, the international jury of 25 experts, including representatives of various airlines, aircraft manufacturers, suppliers, and technical service providers, along with university professors, consultants and specialist journalists, will now evaluate all accepted entries, so that the finalists for the seven categories can be nominated shortly before the Aircraft Interiors Expo (14 – 16 April, 2015). The winners will be crowned, as they are every year, at a formal gala event held in association with the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg.
Also, don’t forget the other reason for going, the World Catering and Onboard Services Expo will take place there as well. “Visitors will include onboard services and retail buyers, food and beverage buyers as well as procurement representatives from air and rail travel operators. The exhibitor base includes providers of snack foods, pre-prepared meals, food service equipment, hygiene products and services, food packaging, passenger comfort products and onboard retail items. In other words, you had best go because all your friends and competitors will be there. By day we will be roaming the floor (more on that later) but we will have more later on this event!
An ‘“industry source” sent this update on the new CEO at Zodiac Inflight Innovations – please welcome him: Zodiac Aerospace is pleased to announce the appointment of Matt Smith as CEO of Zodiac Innovations (Zii) as of January 19th, 2015. Matt replaces Rod Farley who will enter retirement at the end of January. Rod has been an integral part of creating Zii, serving as a leader in the former IMS Company and Zii CEO for the last 2 years. His customer focus has been instrumental in making Zii a key player in the IFEC industry. We are going to miss Rod and wish him all of the best in his future.
Matt joins Zii from Panasonic Avionics Corporation where he spent the last 6 years and was recently Senior VP of Operations. He was also the Chairman of Panasonic Corporation Singapore (PACSS) joint venture. Previously, Matt was with Rockwell Collins in both Avionics and Inflight Entertainment, and Honeywell Aerospace in Avionics. Matt has a Bachelors and Masters Degree of Electrical Engineering from the University of Wyoming. Matt will be based in Brea, CA office.
The folks at Bell-Pottinger sent us an Alitalia update and here is a condensed version: “Change is underway at Alitalia as they will introduce new routes, new product and service standards, a new cost management strategy and new branding, as the foundations to build a premium global airline representing the best of Italy. Mr Hogan (CEO) said that Alitalia’s major investors had set a clear deadline for the airline to deliver profitability by 2017. He said; “We need to create a performance-based, customer-focused culture which results in a sustainably profitable airline, one which can grow over the long term.” Alitalia and Etihad Airways and its partners are exploring opportunities to improve jointly fleet efficiency. For example, Alitalia is in the process of relocating 14 Airbus A320s to airberlin, and looking into options with Etihad Airways to acquire additional wide-body aircraft for Alitalia. Alitalia will also have opportunities to receive aircraft from Etihad Airways’ existing fleet order book. Alitalia Società Aerea Italiana (alitalia.com) is a completely private company that started operations on January 1, 2015. The new Alitalia is a limited company with an Italian majority share and a 49% share owned by the industrial partner Etihad Airways, U.A.E.’s national airline.”
As you may know, 2014 was certainly the year of the “hack” and data breaches are now a weekly event. The folks at Zenedge provided a very good infographic on the subject and we provide it here for you. While the aviation industry and aircraft have seemingly been lightly affected, you might want to view the 1 hour Internet Webinar Recording that SITA and Recorded Future put together.
You might enjoy reading Aviation Week’s Person of the year article, especially the Letters To The Editor!
Lastly, did you know that powdered alcohol is on its way to your local liquor store… if your state doesn’t ban it first. Called Palcahol, the powder, when mixed with water or mix, can deliver vodka or rum flavored drinks with the booze built-in. Boy are the inflight passenger requests for water going to increase.
Itasca, IL | January 15, 2015– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), a leading global aero communications service provider, announced today that it has received regulatory approval from the FCC to operate its next generation in-flight connectivity technology – 2Ku. The FCC approval clears a major hurdle in the path to launching the new service. The approval is a blanket approval from the FCC for Gogo to operate its 2Ku system on 1,000 aircraft.
“Clearing the necessary regulatory hurdles to provide this service to an aircraft flying anywhere around the globe is no small feat. Gogo has proven it is a leader at navigating these environments for all aircraft types no matter where they fly,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “We are happy that the launch of 2Ku is proceeding as planned and are continuing to work with the FAA on approval for installation.”
Gogo expects the new 2Ku technology will outperform other global connectivity solutions currently available in the market. The new antenna technology is expected to deliver peak speeds to the aircraft of more than 70 Mbps.
The advantages of 2Ku are significant. The antenna is more spectrally efficient which means it will produce more bandwidth at less cost than competitive solutions. 2Ku’s performance benefits will be even more dramatic in tropical regions where other satellite solutions degrade significantly due to restrictions associated with operating at high skew angles. The antenna itself is only 4.5 inches tall and the low profile produces very little incremental drag on the aircraft.
The 2Ku antenna and its increased spectral efficiency are compatible with today’s Ku satellites and future Ku satellites, including future spot beam satellites. When future satellite technologies become available, Gogo expects peak speeds for the service in excess of 100 Mbps. Because the antenna can be used with any Ku-satellite, it also avoids the single point of failure that comes with reliance on a single satellite for connectivity in a given region, and offers airlines much desired redundancy and reliability.
Gogo expects the new service to be available for the commercial aviation market in the second half of 2015.
Itasca, IL | August 26, 2014– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), a leading global aero-communications service provider, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement with Aeromexico, Mexico’s global airline, to provide in-flight Internet and wireless in-flight entertainment service on at least 58 Embraer and Boeing 737 aircraft operated by Aeromexico. Gogo previously announced, in December 2013, that it had agreed on the principal terms and conditions with Aeromexico related to the service. As part of the definitive agreement, at least 20 of Aeromexico’s 737 aircraft will receive Gogo’s next generation in-flight connectivity solution – 2Ku. Aeromexico is the first airline to commit to 2Ku.
“We couldn’t be more excited to work with Aeromexico to bring Gogo connectivity and Gogo’s wireless in-flight entertainment solution – Gogo Vision – to Mexico and beyond,” said Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small. “Aeromexico’s commitment to 2Ku is evidence of the advantages that 2Ku brings to the market – especially for aircraft that operate in tropical regions around the world.”
The advantages of 2Ku are significant. Gogo believes that 2Ku is the fastest solution available in the marketplace and expects it to deliver peak speeds of more than 70 Mbps to the aircraft at launch and more than 100 Mbps to the aircraft when next generation satellites become available. The 2Ku antenna is two times more spectrally efficient than other antennas in the commercial aviation market, which makes it capable of providing more bandwidth at less cost.
2Ku’s performance benefits will be even more dramatic in the tropical regions of the globe where the performance of other satellite solutions degrade significantly due to restrictions associated with operating at high skew angles.
Gogo expects both its connectivity service and Gogo Vision to be available to Aeromexico passengers beginning in the fourth quarter of 2015.
“As the airline that connects Mexico and Mexico with the world, we look forward to being the first Mexican carrier and the first in Latin America to offer our passengers in-flight Wi-Fi via Gogo, the leader in this space” said Aeromexico’s CEO, Andrés Conesa. “The decision to deploy 2Ku is a natural fit for many of our 737 aircraft and it assures that our passengers will have the latest technology available at launch.”
In the last issue we noted Gogo, the inflight connectivity company, recently provided IFExpress a glimpse of the technology they plan to implement within a broad spectrum of aircraft connectivity options in the future, worldwide. (You might also check out a total airline connectivity market review article by Ed Perkins in AirFareWatchdog a few days ago.)
As we noted last time, Gogo, on an installation basis, is far and away the world leader of in-air connectivity with over 6000 (commercial and business) aircraft equipped with the company’s services across its ATG and satellite technology platforms, and located over mostly North American soil today. This number includes business jets; however, both Panasonic (“2000 committed aircraft with just over 460 installations”) and Row44 (“more than 550” installations worldwide), OnAir, Thales, and others are working diligently to get their gear installed as well.
With some 900 airlines (reference: Boeing Current Market Outlook) and over 20,000 jet airplanes in service, there is more work to do and as we previously mentioned, there is a future 20-year projected demand for 35,280 new jet airplanes. Needless to say, the market will grow based on numbers alone. But inside the plane, as bandwidth goes up and more users sign on, the services will have to simply provide more bandwidth if airlines and service providers are to grow their service business and appease customers appetite for faster connections and lower prices. We should point out that bandwidth availability is roughly a function of the transmitted frequency of the sources used for connectivity. Yes, multiple antennas and multiple transmitters can, of course, increase the received data on each plane. But, in general, providers like Gogo are reaching for transmitted frequency increases like those used in satellite communication. Not only are they the solution for over-water connectivity, they use microwave frequencies that are higher, and thus contain more data bandwidth. This rough relationship explains why UHF (cell tower frequencies around 850 MHz which are today’s Gogo service frequencies) is less favored today, and thus explains the shift to Ku and Ka bands that operate at much higher frequencies. Ku band operates at 12 to 18 GHz, with a factor of 20 times the bandwidth, or more; and Ka band frequencies operates at 26.5 to 40 GHz, with a factor of roughly 50 times more bandwidth, or more. Information increase can actually be way better than that, but we won’t go into modulation schemes here. We also note that frequency interference is also a big deal and will not be covered either… but it is a daunting problem! Currently, Ka band might be a limit in the upper frequencies for radio transmission that go to the ground as weather (moisture droplets) in clouds and such limit signal paths and cause attenuation.
Back to the Gogo future: If you refer to the rectangular image in our masthead, sometimes called the “Gogo Ecosystem”, it shows the complete frequency future for Gogo’s planned bandwidth growth and that should tell you what the company is planning in the way of service increases. Don’t forget, Gogo is a service/system provider and much of their advanced hardware like antennas and receivers are made by other, independent manufacturers like ThinKom and AeroSat – check below. Additionally, some of the following service offerings cover North America (ground-to-air primarily) and much of the rest of the world use satcom-based service offerings.
SBB – Swift Broadband/L Band
The signal will be detected by an antenna on the top of the hull and will be a low speed, vertical L-Band antenna mounted on the top of the airplane (Biz Aviation).
With a proven track record of performance, reliability, and scalability, Gogo’s ATG-based service will continue to provide a rich user experience for connected travelers by featuring 3G wireless utilizing EV-DO Rev. A. Service is via an aircraft-to-ground, bottom mounted, standard VHF band blade antenna.
Gogo’s ATG-4 service will significantly enhance the existing ATG network and improve per aircraft capacity through the addition of a Directional Antenna, Dual Modem and EV-DO Rev. B technologies. This new platform is backward-compatible and allows for upgrades to existing ATG systems through low-cost retrofits. The antenna is a Modified VHF Band Blade Antenna mounted on the bottom of the hull and is larger than standard VHF antenna.
Gogo announced in May 2012, that it will partner with satellite equipment provider, AeroSat, to bring a Ku-satellite solution to commercial airlines. A Ku-satellite solution will allow Gogo to offer airlines connectivity services that extend beyond the United States, including transoceanic routes, and will serve the needs of some of our airlines partners in the near-term until Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Ka-satellite service becomes available. Honeywell supplies the antenna and uses a new AeroSat Ka band “small” tracking antenna.
Gogo was named a service provider for Inmarsat’s Global XpressTM satellite service in November 2011. Inmarsat has also selected Gogo’s business aviation subsidiary, Aircell (Biz Aviation), as a distribution partner for the business and government aviation markets.
Gogo Ground to Orbit (GTO)
Ground to Orbit is a proprietary hybrid technology that combines the best aspects of existing satellite technologies with Gogo’s Air to Ground network. This technology uses a satellite for receive, only, and Gogo’s Air-to-Ground network for the return link to the ground. Gogo GTO offers peak speeds of 60 Mbps or more to aircraft flying throughout North America and will be available in 2014. This requires an ATG-4 antenna on the hull bottom for land reception and a low profile Thinkom phased array antenna on the top of the fuselage. Think of GTO as the same performance as 2Ku, it’s just set up for North American operations and leverages ATG-4 for the return link to the ground instead of the second phased array satcom antenna. There are several operational benefits to using ATG-4 for the return link – namely a little bit of weight savings and delay (latency). Because satcom connections suffer from latency of some 800 milliseconds a ground return is much faster, while aircraft-to-ground data usage is about one tenth of that (or less) going the other way. GTO IMAGE
Gogo’s newest service relies on new low profile, high efficiency Ku-band satellite antennas. 2Ku will offer peak speeds of 70 Mbps or more to aircraft flying around the globe and will be available in mid-2015. This new technology will utilize the same low-profile antennas as Gogo’s Ground to Orbit (GTO) technology, which will be deployed for aircraft flying in North America; however, instead of utilizing Gogo’s Air to Ground solution for the return link to the ground, 2Ku will have two low-profile, high efficiency, ThinKom Ku band satellite antennas. The new technology will deliver peak speeds to the aircraft of more than 70 Mbps.
Lastly, we should note two additional items – Gogo now has Text & Talk features available via an Android and iOS App but we should mention that as of today, the airlines have not chosen the “Talk” part… but that’s probably coming. Secondly, the headquarters are moving from Itasca, Illinois to downtown Chicago… on or near the Chicago River where every St. Patrick’s Day the river is dyed green, the color of money!
Here are some images of that Montana train derailment of Boeing B737 fuselages that will bring tears to your aviation loving eyes! You may not have seen a few of these and it sure makes an argument for manufacturing them in Washington.
Say goodbye to Karin Pellmann, one of the best Communication/PR person in the business, who moves on from Global Eagle to bigger and better things with a new account! Good Luck Karin!
Wanna see something cool? Here’s a cockpit mockup from Rockwell Collins of a B757/767 with new 15.1 inch displays – designed for fleet commonality with B787 and B737NEO’s.
Condolences – Gary Vanyek, Thales, passed away recently – Service Information Visitation, Saturday, July 12, 2014 11:00am – 2:00pm. Peek Funeral Home, 7801 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683 (714 893-3525).
- Expects New Technology to Outperform Other Connectivity Solutions in the Global Commercial Aviation Market
Itasca, IL | April 8, 2014– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), a leading aircraft communications service provider to the global aviation industry, announces the next step in its technology roadmap for global connectivity – 2Ku. Gogo expects this new technology to outperform other global connectivity solutions currently available in the market. Japan Airlines is expected to be among the first to trial this advanced technology.
This new technology will utilize the same low-profile antennas as Gogo’s Ground to Orbit (GTO) technology, which will be deployed for aircraft flying in North America; however, instead of utilizing Gogo’s Air to Ground solution for the return link to the ground, 2Ku will have two low-profile, high efficiency Ku-band satellite antennas. The new technology will deliver peak speeds to the aircraft of more than 70 Mbps.
“Gogo has proven time and again that it’s the leader in developing and operationalizing new technologies for the aero market. 2Ku is the next step in our technological evolution and is a ground breaking new technology for the global commercial aviation market,” said Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small. “When we launched our in-flight Internet service five years ago, we were able to deliver peak speeds to the aircraft of 3.1 Mbps through our ATG network. About a year ago, we began deployment of our next generation ATG-4 service, which took peak speeds to 9.8 Mbps. Our GTO solution takes the peak speed to 70 Mbps in the U.S. and 2Ku brings 70 Mbps to the rest of the world.”
The advantages of the 2Ku antenna are significant. The antenna is approximately two times more spectrally efficient than other antennas in the commercial aviation market, which means it will produce more bandwidth at less cost. The spectral efficiency also makes it the most TV friendly solution in the market. The antenna itself is only 4.5 inches tall, which reduces drag on the aircraft compared to other satellite solutions. 2Ku’s performance benefits will be even more dramatic in the tropical regions of the globe where other satellite solutions degrade significantly due to restrictions associated with operating at high skew angles.
The 2Ku antenna and its increased spectral efficiency are compatible with today’s Ku satellites and future Ku satellites, including future spot beam satellites. Because the antenna can be used with any Ku-satellite, it avoids the single point of failure that comes with reliance on a single satellite for connectivity in a given region, and offers airlines much desired redundancy and reliability.
“We anticipate that this technology will deliver peak speeds of 70 Mbps to the plane when initially launched and more than 100 Mbps when new spot beam satellite technologies become available,” added Gogo’s chief technology officer, Anand Chari.
Gogo expects the new service to be available for the commercial aviation market in mid-2015.