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!
KID-Systeme’s SKYfi Club – a wireless streaming onboard platform for passenger and corporate aircraft – has been selected by Saudia as linefit on it’s fleet of 20 A330 and 30 A320. Saudia will present this premium content streaming service as unique passenger experience under their brand SAUDIA SKYfi . SKYfi Club streams content to passengers’ personal electronic devices, allowing them to access the available entertainment options, such as movies, e-books and magazines. The technology is based on the trusted ALNA (Airline Network Architecture) connectivity platform, which flies on over 650 aircraft already. Note: We had a few questions about the system and asked Product Manager Johannes Ferstl and Peter SchetschineKID-Systeme General Manager, but more on that in a minute.
The mature system provides a scalable and modular architecture adaptable to customer needs. It enables a wide range of additional services such as GSM telephony, internet access and data services. Further, SKYfi can be complemented by SKYpower, KID-Systeme’s in-seat power and cabin power management system. Of course, IFExpress got curious and asked the following:
1. Can you tell our readers a bit more about your featured ALNA (airline network architecture).
ANSWER: The ALNA system is able to provide GSM/GPRS and WLAN (IEEE 802.11) connectivity services within the aircraft cabin during cruise flight phase. The onboard telephony and WLAN services are enabled above an altitude of 3000m (10.000ft.) and disabled below an altitude of 3000m. During taxi, take-off and landing and below 3000m altitude all radio transmissions are switched off. During cruise flight the service can be de-activated manually at any time. Service activation and de-activation is indicated by a chime, the PAX signs (No-Mobile-Signs) and by the cabin crew (via passenger announcement). The ALNA system consists of several hardware devices e.g. the Head End Server Unit (HESU) and software applications e.g. the system monitoring software.
2. Can you tell us which airlines fly the SKYfi Club today?
ANSWER: As of today one airline flies SKYfi Club: Saudi Arabian Airlines. More than six hundred shipsets of SKYfi phone and web were deployed previously.
3. Your view, we assume, is that connectivity and flying are very important?
ANSWER: “Connectivity is more than staying in contact. It’s part of our lifestyle. SKYfi Club extends this lifestyle by being entertained.” Noted Johannes Ferstl, Product Manager Connectivity. Peter Schetschine, General Manager KID-System also said: “The industry demands more and more for flexibility and adaptable technical solutions. Based on a scalable and modular architecture SKYfi paves this way into a well entertained and connected world on board. Furthermore our streaming solution supports the BYOD trend which will continue to be strong and present in future.”
4. We assume the line-fit is in progress?
ANSWER: The first Saudia A330 Regional was our first line-fit installation. Further line-fit installations are in progress and deliveries will happen soon.
5. Lastly, could you provide a block diagram of the hardware?
ANSWER: See above.
Saudi noted: “We are very happy to continue working with KID-Systeme who has always been a reliable partner and supplier for our integrated cabin power systems, says Eng. Saleh Al-Jasser, Director General of Saudia. “Offering wireless content streaming is the next step paving the way to an improved inflight experience and satisfy passenger’s needs. Therefore we are very excited to cooperate with KID-Systeme to enlarge our inflight entertainment selection. This opens up a whole new world of opportunities for the connected passenger on board.”
Actually, the first aircraft delivery to Saudi Arabian Airlines was in mid-August 2016. All aircraft will be line-fit equipped with SKYfi lounge solution, starting with the aircraft type A330.
As you might know, Lufthansa Systems equipped nearly the whole Eurowings A 320 fleet with BoardConnect Portable at the beginning of August and their Corporate Communications Manager told IFExpress: “This award winning IFE solution really makes a difference, since the implementation on more than 70 aircraft only took one weekend and was a huge success. Since then Eurowings passengers can enjoy Entertainment with music and movies on short- and medium haul flights. At our booth at the Aviation Festival in London (8 – 9 September, New routes, new revenues, new business models | Aviation Festival 2016) we will show how BoardConnect Portable and our other BoardConnect products work. And we are happy to answer your questions regarding new IFE trends and the upcoming connectivity launches within and outside the Lufthansa Group. Our experts will be at the Aviation Festival both days and you can find us at booth #38.”
Gogo announced that it has promoted John Wade to the role of executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer of Gogo. Wade has more than 30 years of experience in the aviation industry including numerous leadership positions in the avionics and in-flight communications industry. For the past eight years, he has served as the general manager of Gogo’s business aviation division where he built the division into a market leader. Before joining Gogo, John served as the CTO at OnAir and also worked at Tenzing and GEC Marconi on their IFE and IFC products. Wade will now be responsible for Gogo’s operations, quality control, commercial airline account management and commercial sales. He will still maintain oversight over Gogo’s business aviation division, but Gogo veteran Sergio Aguirre is being promoted to serve as senior vice president and general manager of Gogo’s business aviation division. (Editor’s Note: IFExpress cannot go on without noting that John Wade is one of the ‘Best In IFE’, as we feel he is both a knowledgeable and gracious executive in his dealings with members of the press. John always takes the time to address our questions, no matter how technical or topical they may be. All the while presenting an air of ‘Nothing is impossible.’)
In a move that will provide Rockwell Collins’ customers and prospects with more aviation connectivity options, the company announced that it has been licensed to sell satellite services in Brazil. The global license, authorized by Anatel, gives Rockwell Collins the ability to sign distribution and service agreements with any satellite entities and customers operating in Brazil.
If your thing is next generation Avionics, you might want to visit AVIONICS for NextGen – 2016, in Washington DC, Sept 28 – 29, 2016: Check out the agenda.
- From the Color Correction Department comes a story that is probably better called Color Confusion. The issue here is cabin lighting and reading on LED devices. We stumbled on it after we read this online story; “Airlines Add Mood Lighting to Chill Out Passengers”. First you need to read this article on the color used in an a cabin lighting schemes designed to provide a restful inflight experience… possibly even sleep. Here is what stood out to us in the piece: “Like Virgin Atlantic, American uses amber during the dinner service, “sort of like candlelight in a restaurant,” said the managing director of onboard products. For sleep periods, it uses a deep blue, which designers chose after considering — and rejecting — a reddish glow. “Red is sometimes associated with fire,” continued the director of onboard products — “never a good thing on an airplane.” It makes sense, but we wondered if the nature of blue light effects might be more science based, because we had done a cabin lighting study a few years back and we remembered blue light differently? Next we did a bit of research and found an interesting light color/sleep study in of all places, Instructables. You can read it here. It’s a very analytical color-based evaluation made by an individual, all based on the test data he ran over one year. The conclusion? The color blue is the wrong color if you want to allow the generation of natural melatonin to help sleep come on. Further, Apple product makers and Android device products offer an app that limits the blue light. In devices like iPhones and iPads with iOS 9.3 (and on) offer a feature called “Night Shift” which is built in to the operating system. Just go to Settings>Display & Brightness> and turn on Night Shift. Perhaps, more study is needed to match passengers, rest, and time of day but we will be using it on our devices. You can read more about the issue here too – Amazon rolls out ‘blue shade’ tool for Fire tablets to allow people to read at night | Daily Mail Online
- Not long ago we reported that Singapore had not reported any Zika virus but we discovered we were a couple weeks behind the actual data, as it has now been discovered there. Take precautions – Zika virus: Singapore confirms 41 locally transmitted cases – BBC News
- And speaking of Singapore: Going to Singapore and have T-Mobile? You might find this interesting: “Visitors simply need to download a configuration file and perform a one-time setup for auto-connection to the participating cities’ hotspots,” IDA said in a release of the WBA’s City Wi-Fi Roaming Project. IFExpress will have more on Singapore later.
- 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 finally, Flyers Rights (NonProfit Airline Consumer Org.) has an interesting Report Card for US Congress and it’s not good!
- Thirty Old Aviation Sheet Music Covers:
30 Hundred-Year-Old Sheet Music Covers Celebrating the Joy and Thrill of Flight
- Amazon Video now lets you download video’s and TV directly to Android SD cards – for your next flight, of course! Amazon Video now lets you download movies and TV straight to Android SD cards | The Verge
Chicago, IL | August 30, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it has promoted John Wade to the role of executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer of Gogo.
Wade has more than 30 years of experience in the aviation industry including numerous leadership positions in the avionics and in-flight communications industry. For the past eight years, he has served as the general manager of Gogo’s business aviation division where he built the division into a market leader. Before joining Gogo, John served as the CTO at OnAir and also worked at Tenzing and GEC Marconi on their IFE and IFC products.
“Gogo has built its industry leadership on technology development and innovation, as we now work to deploy our new 2Ku technology on more than 1,200 aircraft over the next two years, it’s going to be incredibly important for us to build a truly world-class global operation to match our technological leadership,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “I believe John is the right person to lead these efforts.”
Wade will now be responsible for Gogo’s operations, quality control, commercial airline account management and commercial sales. He will still maintain oversight over Gogo’s business aviation division, but Gogo veteran Sergio Aguirre is being promoted to serve as senior vice president and general manager of Gogo’s business aviation division.
- Affordable new system enables in-flight e-mail and use of personal smartphones
Dallas, TX | April 8, 2015– [AEA International Convention & Trade Show] – Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), a leading provider of in-flight connectivity and entertainment solutions to the global aero market, announces the ATG 1000 – a new connectivity system particularly well-suited for light jets, turboprops and owner-flown aircraft.
Via the Gogo Biz network service, the ATG 1000 enables high-performance e-mail with attachments and calling and texting with passengers’ own smartphones and mobile numbers.
The ATG 1000 is software-upgradable, which gives customers the unique ability to add connectivity features – such as web browsing – at any time, simply by purchasing a software key.
Beyond passenger use, in-flight connectivity continues to grow in popularity among flight crews. In the future, the ATG 1000 is also expected to support select cockpit and operational applications.
Originally launched for the business aviation market in 2009, the Gogo Biz network service utilizes Gogo’s unique air-to-ground technology, providing service coverage throughout the continental U.S. and portions of Alaska and Canada above 10,000 feet.
ATG 1000 – Key Capabilities
- High-performance e-mail with attachments – via traditional e-mail clients and web mail
- Calling & texting with passengers’ own smartphones and mobile numbers
- Connect up to five personal Wi-Fi devices – including smartphones, tablets and laptops
- Compatible with the Gogo OnePhone cabin handset (optional)
- In the future, it is expected to provide connectivity to power select, third-party cockpit and operational applications
- Complete ATG 1000 system MSRP is $35,000, excluding dealer installation and optional accessories
John Wade, Gogo Business Aviation’s executive vice president and general manager, said, “We’re pleased to introduce another new Gogo Biz equipment package to the business aviation market. The ATG 1000’s affordability will make a connected in-flight experience accessible to a whole new category of aircraft. With high-performance e-mail and personal smartphone use, it’s basic connectivity that’s anything but basic.”
ATG 1000 shipments are expected to begin this summer.
Dallas, TX | April 8, 2015– [AEA International Convention & Trade Show] – Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), a leading provider of in-flight connectivity and entertainment solutions to the global aero market, announces a series of additional data plans now available to business aircraft operators.
An important and rapidly-growing part of Gogo Business Aviation’s business is providing monthly voice and data airtime for Gogo Biz, SwiftBroadband and Iridium customers. The company offers a full range of easy-to-understand plans along with a suite of tools and support services that help customers monitor and manage their monthly usage.
John Wade, Gogo Business Aviation’s executive vice president & general manager, said, “As the popularity of in-flight connectivity continues to increase, choosing the right monthly plan is more important than ever. By making three additional plans available, we’re giving business aircraft operators more options and greater flexibility. Benefits include the predictability of an unlimited data plan and the opportunity to save thousands of dollars every month simply by bundling their in-flight connectivity services with Gogo Business Aviation – as well as the ability to consolidate their billing into a single monthly invoice.”
Overview of New Data Plans, Now Available from Gogo Business Aviation
Multi-Network Data Bundle
- Get Gogo Biz & SwiftBroadband data from Gogo and get a 20% discount on both services every month.
- Choose from any available data plan for each network service.
Gogo Biz Unlimited Data Plan
- For the most predictable and worry-free connectivity experience
- $3,995/month – includes unlimited data.
Gogo Biz 1000 Data Plan
- An additional plan option for lighter users
- $1,895/month – includes 1 GB of data and $3.95 per additional MB.
Multi-aircraft discounts are also available for the company’s Gogo Biz and SwiftBroadband data plans.
Broomfield, CO | September 2, 2014– Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), a global aero-communications service provider, announces that Aircell, the company’s business aviation division, has rebranded as Gogo Business Aviation.
The Aircell brand can be traced back 23 years to the company’s original founding in 1991. Gogo Business Aviation will build on the Aircell tradition using the same people, passion and culture of innovation that made it business aviation’s most trusted in-flight connectivity brand. The only company to offer all three of business aviation’s most popular network technologies – Gogo Biz®, SwiftBroadband and Iridium – the company offers solutions to fulfill any customer need, aircraft type or geography.
As Gogo continues to expand its leadership position, its business and commercial aviation divisions now share a single, global brand. Operationally, the divisions will continue exchanging expertise and technologies while remaining solely focused on their respective markets.
“Gogo’s mission is to advance aviation by connecting every aircraft with the most trusted communications services on and above our planet. Having our commercial and business aviation divisions share a brand will make more people aware of the full breadth of our business,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “The rebranding will also help travelers recognize their favorite Gogo services, whether they’re aboard an airline, corporate, fractional or charter aircraft – anywhere in the world,” concluded Small.
“We’re thrilled to introduce Gogo Business Aviation as the next evolution of our brand,” said John Wade, Gogo Business Aviation’s executive vice president and general manager. “The past five years has seen a remarkable menu of in-flight capabilities emerge for business aircraft operators, including Internet, e-mail, voice, texting, personal smartphone usage, movies, TV episodes, news, weather, cockpit data and more. And at the same time, the onboard equipment has become orders-of-magnitude smaller, lighter and more affordable. These truly are exciting times.”
To accommodate its continued rapid growth, Gogo Business Aviation will soon be relocating its headquarters near its existing location in Broomfield, Colorado, USA. The new facility will house all Gogo Business Aviation operations with more than double the present location’s square footage.
- Marks First European Certification for Company’s New In-flight Router and Media System
Broomfield, Co | March 26, 2014– Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), announces that its business aviation group, Aircell, has received Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for installation of in-flight connectivity and entertainment systems aboard Bombardier Challenger 300 business jets. The certifications cover the AVIATOR 300 and UCS 5000 systems.
John Wade, Aircell’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, said, “We’re pleased to see the first European certification completed for UCS. Since we introduced UCS in October, market reception has been very good and a number of additional certifications are currently in progress. In addition, the new AVIATOR 300 STC and incentive program makes in-flight connectivity more affordable than ever for Challenger 300 operators in Europe.” Aircell entered the European market in 2002 and the region now stands as the
company’s second-largest global market.
AVIATOR 300 System – In-flight Internet and Voice
The AVIATOR 300 system enables near-global email, light Internet and voice capabilities via Inmarsat’s satellite-based SwiftBroadband service. Passengers and crew can send and receive e-mail with attachments, surf the web, access a corporate VPN and more, using their own Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, tablets, electronic flight bags, and smartphones. They can also place and receive voice calls using integrated cabin handsets. Aircell’s SwiftBroadband solutions are powered by Cobham SATCOM.
The standard AVIATOR 300 STC data package is being offered to Challenger 300 operators for a nominal fee when they install the system at an authorized Aircell dealer and activate a new SwiftBroadband service plan with Aircell. This significantly reduces an operator’s overall installation cost.
UCS 5000 System – Aircell’s New Smart Router/Media Server
The UCS 5000 is the business aviation industry’s first all-in-one smart router and media server. It’s a backbone system that manages and simplifies the way passengers access today’s vast menu of in-flight connectivity, entertainment and information. In addition to providing business aircraft with requisite router functionality and equipment interfaces, it offers the optional bonus of a full-fledged media server and in-flight entertainment (IFE) service – Gogo Vision – all in a single unit. Gogo Vision is an on-demand IFE service
that gives passengers a rotating library of the latest movies and TV episodes – along with news, flight progress information and destination weather. UCS also offers passenger-to-passenger file transfer and screen sharing capabilities.
- Reaching more than 2,000 business aircraft in less than five years, Gogo Biz is the most rapidly-adopted broadband service in business aviation history
Broomfield, CO | February 13, 2014/PRNewswire/– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), announces that its business aviation group, Aircell, has now surpassed 2,000 Gogo Biz system installations in the business aviation market. This milestone was reached only four and one half years after the service’s introduction in June 2009, making it the most rapidly-adopted broadband service in business aviation history.
“The business aviation market’s passion for the service continues to exceed our expectations,” said John Wade, Aircell’s Executive Vice President and General Manager. “This brings total adoption to more than 4,000 air-to-ground systems in the business aviation and commercial aviation markets.”
Jet Aviation, a member of Aircell’s global dealer network, performed the first Gogo Biz installation in 2009. The launch customer was a corporate aircraft operator based in the Midwest U.S. Blake Hogge, Jet Aviation’s senior manager of Avionics Sales in the U.S., said, “In less than five years, in-flight connectivity has become a “must-have” item – many of our customers won’t fly without it. People love the ability to stay connected and productive while they fly,” he concluded.
This week’s cover shot is from the NBAA floor and we feature a couple products we have heard about and thought our readers might find interesting. Since it came in fist, here is Sky Definition’s new 4k Ultra High Definition, 50″ Network Display. Sky Definition is a small Redmond, Washington company headed up by Bill Baltra Jr. and is exhibiting a device at the show. It is interesting that biz jet aircraft will probably become the debut arena for the Ultra HD technology. UHD comes in 2 flavors, 4K (2160p) and 8K (4320p) and you can learn more here. This amazing bulkhead display has a built in media server and can share media content with other network devices – it is a complete entertainment answer for business jets. Drop by booth C11240 if you are at the show.
The second story that rolled out at the 2013 NBAA in Las Vegas, NV is from Aircell. The company, already well known in the commercial IFE/Connectivity business, will now feature wireless DRM content delivery and air-to-ground connectivity to passenger devices specifically geared for smaller aircraft such as business jets. Today, they announced an entertainment solution that dovetails with their connectivity products… and a few more products and services that support them, not to mention some early sales activity.
The Aircell story comes via a discussion with John Wade, Aircell’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, in which he told IFExpress, “If you are going to be at NBAA you should stop by. We’ve got a BUNCH of really exciting announcements that Aircell will be be releasing… a few real game changers, and I’m not exaggerating!” The next thing we knew, we received five news releases detailing the announcements and here are the releases in summary:
1. Aircell Introduces Gogo Vision. Business Aviation’s first complete, turn-key in-flight entertainment system. Provides on-demand movies, TV episodes, news, flight information and destination weather. Includes the industry’s first fully-automatic content updates. This announcement also has historical significance because it marks Aircell’s entry into the in-flight entertainment business.
2. Aircell Announces Gogo Cloud. The industry’s first nationwide digital content distribution network, allowing fully-automatic wireless updates for Gogo Vision, Aircell’s new IFE service. Gogo Cloud is available at select Signature Flight Support locations – as well as for individual flight department facilities.
3. Aircell Introduces the UCS 5000. The industry’s first all-in-one smart router and media server.
4. XOJET Selects Gogo Text & Talk. Will be first full-fleet operator of the service, which allows passengers to call and text using their own smartphones – and their own mobile numbers.
5. Clay Lacy Aviation Selects Gogo Text & Talk. Service to be deployed throughout Clay Lacy’s charter fleet, allowing passengers to call and text using their own smartphones – and their own mobile numbers.
To recap, Aircell has announced the following new product/service offerings and here are the IFExpress ‘Cliff Notes’ on their function:
· UCS is… A system that gives you all the next-gen router features you need – PLUS it’s a fully-functioning media server – all in a single box. Not just a router, not an empty server. The first all-in-one smart router and media server in Business Aviation.
· Gogo Vision is… A complete, turn-key in-flight entertainment and information service – on-demand movies, TV shows, news, flight info and destination weather. Not a “bring-your-own” solution. The first service of its kind in Business Aviation.
· Gogo Cloud is… A service that gives you fully-automatic Gogo Vision updates. It’s available in two places – select Signature locations and your own hangar. The first service of its kind in Business Aviation.
· Gogo Text & Talk is… A service that lets you use your own smartphone to call & text in flight – with your own number. It works over Wi-Fi with Gogo Biz service. The only service like it in Business Aviation.
· Gogo OnePhone is… A next-generation cabin handset.
One new feature that we were still trying to wrap our minds around is the Talk & Text service offering. According to Aircell’s John Wade the service doesn’t behave like a microcell, but rather uses Wi-Fi and Aircell’s onboard digital data connectivity (via their ground-based or satcom-based connectivity) and not the user’s cell provider to make the connection – the PED becomes the handheld entertainment and connectivity device on the plane. “This,” John told IFExpress, “is the way Aircell (and many others) see the future of onboard entertainment and connectivity and it is certainly the future for business aircraft. Except for bulkhead mounted monitors, we see our approach as the future on business jets.”
Lest we forget, the Aircell folks have solved the problem of getting DRM-based hardware to the plane itself and has developed and begun implementation of a wireless content uploading solution that supports the new WI-Fi solution. Called Gogo Cloud, the service will be available at select Signature Flight Support facilities, as well as available for individual corporate flight department hangars. In flight the DRM content is stored aboard their server and obtains a key from a transmission to the ground to OK the service and log the planes content usage. This connection assures legitimacy and provides a database of usage for the operator.
Finally, during our interview with John, he offered to let IFExpress test the Aircell Talk & Text system by calling him from the ground while he was airborne on a biz jet which he was about to board. So, exactly two hours after we finished and were sure he was airborne we rang his cell phone, and rang and rang, and rang. Our call went to voice mail and we left a message. Naturally we thought the worst. It works sometime but not all times – “Typical, for airborne connectivity magic,” we noted. Two minutes later our phone rang; “Hello,” the voice said, “It’s John and I was on the phone when you called, but I got your message and am ringing you back. We are somewhere over Cedar Rapids at 36,000 feet and I can hear you fine.” “Hello John,” I said, somewhat shocked and taken aback. “I guess you win. This might just be the future.”
- Aircell will offer GX Aviation satellite airtime to the business aviation market
Las Vegas, NV [NBAA 2013] | October 22, 2013– Aircell (NASDAQ: GOGO), a leading provider of in-flight connectivity equipment and services to the business aviation market, announces that it has been appointed by Honeywell Aerospace as a distribution partner and airtime reseller for GX Aviation (GX), Inmarsat’s emerging Ka-band satellite service in the business aviation market.
The first globally-available, high-speed broadband service, GX Aviation will offer unprecedented bandwidth and online performance to the aeronautical market. GX Aviation is scheduled to enter service in early 2015.
The agreement was signed with Honeywell, which is the designated business aviation reseller and hardware provider for GX Aviation.
“Honeywell’s high-speed Ka-band connectivity solutions will support the growth trajectory in consumer electronics enabling more and more flexible cabin capabilities,” said Mike Edmonds, Vice President, Marketing and Product Management of Aerospace Services at Honeywell Aerospace. “Honeywell and Aircell will work together to offer airtime for business jet travelers through truly global, consistent and high-speed connectivity.”
John Wade, Aircell’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, said, “We’re pleased to be selected to offer this important new service to the business aviation market. Aircell already offers one of the most comprehensive in-flight connectivity portfolios in the industry, and offering GX Aviation services is a very logical addition.”
Announcement Expands Aircell’s Suite of Services
Adding the GX Aviation service to its portfolio will expand Aircell’s product and service offering and further support its mission to meet any business aircraft’s need for communications, connectivity and entertainment, regardless of aircraft type or geography.
A number of unique Aircell features will be available to GX Aviation customers. One example is the company’s new Gogo Text & Talk service – which allows passengers to call and text via Wi-Fi in flight, using their own smartphones and mobile numbers. Customers will also be able to receive a single monthly invoice for all their Aircell in-flight services.
Aircell will announce specific GX Aviation monthly service plans and rates at a later date.
- Gogo Text & Talk service allows passengers to call and text via Wi-Fi in flight, using their own smartphone and mobile number. Company also adds voice capabilities to existing Gogo Biz service.
Broomfield, CO | August 28, 2013– Aircell (NASDAQ: GOGO), a leading provider of in-flight connectivity equipment and services to the business aviation market, announces that its Gogo Biz service will expand to include voice capabilities, beginning October 1st. Gogo Biz was originally launched in 2009 as an Internet-only service in the business aviation market.
Because Gogo Biz operates on Aircell’s air-to-ground technology, its voice calls are among the clearest in aviation – on par with mobile phone calls on the ground. As a “two-in-one” service, Gogo Biz offers Internet and voice capabilities from a single system, which can eliminate the need for separate systems, dramatically reducing equipment requirements and installation costs.
Monthly voice plans for Gogo Biz start at $134.95/month, which includes 60 voice minutes.
In flight, passengers and flight crews can use the new Gogo Biz voice capabilities on their own smartphones and/or with Aircell’s new cabin handsets, as detailed below:
- Gogo Text & Talk. Your Own Smartphone, Your Own Number
Gogo Text & Talk is an exclusive new service that allows passengers to use their own smartphones for calling and texting in flight – with their own mobile number.
It’s easy to use because it mimics the native features and operation of the passenger’s smartphone. Passengers can use their own contact lists and hands-free devices. Features like Caller ID and call histories are supported. Calling someone in flight is as simple as dialing their number.
Gogo Text & Talk is a game-changing service because it operates over Wi-Fi technology (not cellular) and uses the passenger’s own mobile number (not an auto-attendant, two-step dialing or call-forwarding protocol). Because the service is 100% software-based, it can be added to any standard Gogo Biz equipment package without additional hardware, weight or installation downtime. This makes Gogo Text & Talk practical for aircraft as small as light jets and turboprops – while being hundreds of thousands of dollars less expensive than traditional, picocell-based solutions, which offer similar capabilities.
Available with any Gogo Biz system, Gogo Text & Talk is obtained by purchasing a software key for the aircraft’s onboard equipment and installing a free app on passengers’ smartphones. The service will be available for iPhone 4, 4S and 5 beginning October 1st. Support for select Android devices will begin on November 1st. More information is available at www.aircell.com/gogotexttalk.
- The Gogo OnePhone. Aircell’s Next-Generation Cabin Handset
The new Gogo OnePhone offers superior voice quality and the industry’s most advanced noise reduction technology. Its big, bright, touchscreen display and Android-based operating system mean it’s very easy to use. High-end industrial design and carefully-chosen finishes and materials make it a perfect complement to any business aircraft interior. Wired and wireless options are available.
Shipments of the Gogo OnePhone will begin October 15th. More information is available at www.aircell.com/gogoonephone.
John Wade, Aircell’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, commented, “Although in-flight Internet has captured the world’s interest in recent years, customers never stopped asking for the ability to use their own smartphone – with their own number – to call and text while they fly. We firmly believe in the future of in-flight voice service and the role it plays in our ‘always on’ lifestyles. With today’s introduction of voice capabilities for Gogo Biz, a new cabin handset and the ability to use personal smartphones, customers have more options than ever,” he concluded.
– Spectrum will be utilized to boost capacity of Gogo and Gogo Biz in-flight Internet services; Airfone service to be decommissioned December 31, 2013
Broomfield, CO | April 15, 2103– Aircell, a leading provider of in-flight connectivity equipment and services to the business aviation market, has completed its acquisition of the Airfone business unit of LiveTV, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of JetBlue Airways Corporation. The agreement includes LiveTV’s 1 MHz air-to-ground spectrum license, as well as the Airfone in-flight communications service, network infrastructure and back-office operational assets.
“We’re delighted to welcome Airfone customers and dedicated employees to the Aircell family,” said John Wade, Aircell’s Executive Vice President and General Manager.
With a history dating back to the 1970’s, the Airfone service currently operates on frequencies adjacent to those utilized by Aircell’s Gogo Biz in-flight Internet service in the business aviation market – as well as Gogo in the commercial airline market. To support the ongoing expansion of those services, the Airfone service will be permanently decommissioned on December 31, 2013.
Airfone subscribers can visit www.airfonetransition.com to obtain complete details about the pending network shutdown – including timelines, FAQ’s, replacement system options, contact information and more.
To help ease the transition for affected operators, Aircell is offering special replacement incentives on a number of its voice and Internet systems. The incentive program – available exclusively to current Airfone subscribers through December 31, 2013 – allows customers to preserve or expand their in-flight communications capabilities at below-market costs.
“In-flight communications have become an indispensable part of the business aviation experience. To ensure operators aren’t without needed communications capabilities after the December 31 Airfone service shutdown, customers with MagnaStar units are encouraged to begin planning their transition now,” said Wade.
Las Vegas, NV | March 26, 2013– Aircell, a leading provider of in-flight connectivity equipment and services to the business aviation market, announces additional details regarding the pending expansion of Gogo Biz® in-flight Internet service for business aircraft operating in Canada.
Today, Gogo Biz allows passengers and flight crews to enjoy high-speed Internet access above 10,000 feet in the continental U.S. and portions of Alaska, using their own Wi-Fi enabled laptops, tablets, smartphones, electronic flight bags and other mobile devices. Gogo Biz was originally launched to the business aviation market in 2009 with service coverage in the Continental United States. Alaskan coverage was added in 2010.
Notes on the Canadian expansion of Gogo Biz in the business aviation market:
• Gogo Biz is expected to be available in portions of Canada beginning in the first
quarter of 2014.
• No roaming fees will be assessed when using Gogo Biz in Canada. Customers’ selected
Gogo Biz monthly service plan will allow them to use the service anywhere its available
in the Continental U.S., Alaska and Canada.
• Map outlining anticipated Canadian coverage areas for Gogo Biz, which will include the
most populous regions and flight routes: http://www.aircell.com/maps/canada
• Map outlining North American coverage areas for Gogo Biz, after Canadian service
becomes available: http://www.aircell.com/maps/northamerica
John Wade, Aircell’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, said, “Along with serving the connectivity needs of business aircraft based in Canada, the Gogo Biz expansion will further support aircraft as they travel between the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia. The Canadian expansion will allow Gogo Biz customers to connect everywhere the service is available in the Continental U.S., Alaska and Canada – all with a single monthly service plan, with no roaming fees.”
New EASA STC Enables Faster, More Affordable Follow-on Installations for Existing Challenger Operators
BROOMFIELD, CO – October 8, 2010 – Aircell, the world’s leading provider of inflight connectivity, today announced that its AVIATOR 300-based SwiftBroadband solution has received a Supplemental Type Certification (STC) from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for Bombardier Challenger business aircraft.
Christopher Whiteside is President of A J Walter Aviation, the UK-based owner of the Challenger 604 used as the certification platform. “We waited a long time to select an Internet system for our aircraft – airborne communications are notoriously confusing and we wanted to make the right decision,” commented Mr. Whiteside. “Aircell’s SwiftBroadband system has transformed the way we conduct business in flight. We can now use our BlackBerrys, laptops and iPads anywhere in the cabin over the Wi-Fi link. It maximizes my time en route because I can receive and send e-mail and stay in contact.
“The system couldn’t be simpler to use. When I enter the aircraft, my phone automatically connects to the aircraft’s ‘hotspot’ and that’s it. The installation and certification process went very smoothly and aircraft downtime was just two weeks. Compared to earlier technologies, our SwiftBroadband system is faster, easier and all together less expensive. It has completely changed the travel experience and I couldn’t work effectively without it,” concluded Mr. Whiteside.
Completed by Avionicare Ltd of Essex, UK, the new EASA STC covers Aircell’s AVIATOR 300-based SwiftBroadband equipment package, including Wi-Fi service and a fuselage-mounted Intermediate-Gain Antenna (IGA). The STC is valid for all Bombardier Challenger models, including the CL-600, CL-601, CL-604 and CL-605. Aircell’s SwiftBroadband solutions are powered by Thrane & Thrane.
John Wade, Aircell’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, said, “Aircell’s SwiftBroadband solution is a perfect fit for operators that require affordable, global connectivity services. We’re pleased to see it being adopted by Challenger operators in the European community.”
The SwiftBroadband certification package is now being offered to other installation facilities for a nominal fee, reducing the time and expense required for follow-on installations. “For operators looking to increase the productivity of their Challenger by adding e-mail and light Internet services, this new STC reduces their required investment significantly,” said Peter Harland, Managing Director of Avionicare, Ltd.
For more information about Aircell’s SwiftBroadband solutions or the new Challenger STC, operators and dealers should contact Jean-Luc Rosenfeld, Aircell’s European Sales Manager, at +41 (32) 841 2838 or email@example.com.
Through a comprehensive product portfolio, Aircell offers one of the industry’s largest selections of network services – including Iridium Satellite, Inmarsat SwiftBroadband and Gogo Biz™ Inflight Internet. These services span multiple technologies, including air-to-ground, low-earth orbit satellite and geostationary satellite. All Aircell products are available through the Company’s worldwide dealer and distributor network.
This week we sorted through a plethora of information bits for our readers to digest and are presenting them here in some order of importance…sorta. The “smiling” face that adorns this issue of IFExpress is that of John Wade, long-time IFE’er. John has been promoted to Executive Vice President and General Manager of Aircell’s Business Aviation Services. As a lifer in IFE, John has been associated with most of the connectivity providers during the turbulent beginnings of the technology. We asked John for a comment and he sends the following; “Aircell’s broadband system is making incredible inroads into the business aviation marketplace. For years operators have been waiting for a system that makes broadband a reality and affordable and we have finally achieved that with the systems we are now deploying.” You can read the full press release here. Congratulations John!
The next infobit comes by way of Russia with the announcement from Aeroflot, which plans in-flight telephony installations later this year. The air carrier will install four aircraft (A320’s and A330’s) by the end of 2010. The Russian communications providers, MegaFon will host the ground hardware with support from their own network and service provision deals with foreign mobile operators that support via roaming agreements. Internet, SMS will be supplied by onboard Wi-Fi, although, we understand voice is optioned. We have heard from one source that service will be GSM format and use 1.8 MHz bandwidth. While we initially thought that one of the European inflight connectivity providers might be first inline to deliver hardware for the ground infrastructure and avionics, we are starting to refocus our thinking on the US connectivity provider, Aircell. Stay Tuned.
Our next target is Boeing. Check out the challenge of cold soak testing of the B787 here.
If you travel and like to keep abreast of the happenings in your home town, you might like to check out this URL and keep it bookmarked for your next trip.
For the IFE contest lovers in our readership, Wired Magazine is looking for a few good soothsayers. If you think you know the future of Inflight Entertainment, perhaps you ought to enter this one.
There seems to be a large number of AIX travelers hesitant about purchasing tickets from the US to Hamburg because of that pesky Icelandic volcano whose name shall forever be a source of spelling and pronunciation challenge to us. It seems that tickets are a bargain so he (or she) who hesitates is left behind!
Lastly, someone sent us this exchange between a tower and an airline crew some years ago and we still fell over laughing:
Tower: “TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 degrees.”
TWA 2341: “Center we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?”
Tower: “Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?”
That’s All Folks!
Appointment Comes as Aircell Experiences Rapid Adoption
of Inflight Internet in Business Aviation Market
BROOMFIELD, CO – April 22, 2010 – Aircell, the world’s leading provider of airborne
communications, today announced the promotion of John Wade to Executive Vice President
and General Manager, Business Aviation Services.
As a member of Aircell’s executive staff, Mr. Wade is responsible for overseeing the success
and direction of the company’s rapidly growing Business Aviation Services division in
Broomfield, CO. He reports to Michael Small, Aircell’s President and CEO.
Since Mr. Wade joined Aircell in November 2008, the company has launched two significant
new inflight connectivity products in the business aviation market. The Aircell High Speed
Internet system provides full-speed Internet service via the Aircell Network in the continental
U.S., and Aircell’s SwiftBroadband solution provides global voice and data connectivity for light
Internet service via the Inmarsat I-4 satellites.
“Aircell is a longstanding provider of airborne communications equipment, service and support
to the business aviation market,” said Aircell CEO Michael Small. “Our momentum in business
aviation is higher than it’s ever been. We began shipping the Aircell High Speed Internet system
in the middle of last year and have already delivered more than 200 systems, with a backlog
extending well beyond that. Systems are performing beyond expectation and the feedback
we’ve had from the market has been extremely positive. Business aviation is a key part of
Aircell’s future and we’re pleased to recognize that by having John assume the executive vice
president role,” he concluded.
Mr. Wade has more than 22 years of experience in avionics and inflight communications. Prior
to joining Aircell, he served as Chief Technical Officer and General Manager at inflight mobile
phone and Internet provider OnAir. He has also held senior executive positions at Tenzing
Communications, PRIMEX Aerospace Company and GEC Marconi In-Flight Systems, among
others. He is the co-author of two patents.