Satellite communication specialist Satcom1 appointed Henrik Zinck its new CFO. In that position he will develop the company’s finance and IT departments. Zinck has held management positions at several satellite and telecommunications companies, including VSAT, Emperion and CBB Mobil. He is based at the company’s Copenhagen headquarters.
Aircell unveiled Gogo Vision, an entertainment service that runs on Aircell’s new UCS 5000 router and delivers on-demand movies, television shows and flight information to any device in the cabin. Operators that install Gogo Vision will be able to update content wirelessly via Aircell’s new Gogo Cloud service, which will be available at FBOs such as launch provider Signature Flight Support.
Business aviation stands to be one of the beneficiaries of Cobham Satcom’s new Aviator S family of satellite communications systems, which should be FAA-approved some time in 2015. The UK-based group, which last year acquired satcom specialist Thrane & Thrane, unveiled the Aviator S technology at June’s Paris Air Show. The key breakthrough is the company’s success in reducing the number of boxes required for the system from three to two, by incorporating the amplifier and diplexer into the antenna unit.
Duncan Aviation (Booth No. C8543) recently received supplemental type certification (STC) for installation of broadband connectivity on three Citation 525A models.
Elliott Aviation is pursuing STCs for Aircell’s new ATG 2000 broadband system in the Hawker 800/850/900, Phenom 300, King Air 350 and King Air B200/B200GT. It hopes to have the approval in hand by next year’s first quarter. The Aircell ATG 2000 is a cabin broadband wireless system aimed at midsize and light jets and turboprops. It allows passengers to connect to the Internet on their laptops, smartphones and tablets.
Aircraft cabin connectivity just keeps getting better and better, and now Aircell has expanded its Gogo Biz Internet connection to include voice capability.
Because Gogo Biz operates on Aircell’s air-to-ground technology, which taps into the ground cellphone network, the company claims “voice calls are among the clearest in aviation, on par with mobile phone calls on the ground.”
Aircell is now offering the ATG 2000, a new equipment package that provides Gogo Biz in-flight Internet and voice services at an “affordable” price aboard aircraft with fewer users or lighter passenger loads, such as light jets and turboprops. The $57,000 (without installation) system allows for web browsing and e-mail for up to three devices at a time, as well as optional voice service with up to two simultaneous calls. It is also compatible with Gogo’s new Text & Talk service, in addition to the Gogo OnePhone cabin handset.
Aircell will expand its Gogo Biz service to include voice capabilities beginning October 1. Gogo Biz was 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, the company claims.
China Satellite Communications and Row 44 owner Global Eagle Entertainment have signed a memorandum of understanding to help Chinese airlines that want to add in-flight connectivity services. The agreement will also allow Row 44 customer airlines to continue delivering in-flight connectivity services while flying into and over China. The agreement calls for Row 44 to provide hardware and software to support satellite-based in-flight connectivity.
Aircell, which currently owns and operates the Airfone air-to-ground telephone network, is on track to shut down the system at the end of this year. While some operators may hope that Aircell will keep Airfone running a bit longer so they can avoid having to replace their systems, Aircell has made it clear that Airfone is going away. According to John Wade, Aircell executive v-p and general manager, “The December 31, 2013, shutdown date is firm.