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.
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.
Aircell said its Gogo Biz service–launched in 2009 as an Internet-only service for the business aviation market–is expanding to include voice capabilities that will allow crewmembers and passengers to text and call in flight from their own smartphones, using their existing mobile numbers, starting October 1.
Constant Aviation has been awarded an Aircell dealership at its Las Vegas location. “With the expansion of our Las Vegas location at the end of last year, we wanted to provide our customers with the same service as our other locations. As the demand grows for in-flight Wi-Fi options, we knew the addition of an Aircell dealership for the new location was imperative,” said Derek Morris, avionics modification manager at Constant Aviation.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Banyan Air Service is offering upgrade solutions for the more than 1,100 operators flying with Magnastar equipment. The Magnastar is a legacy in-flight telephone system found in most GIIIs and GIVs, Challenger 601s through 604s and some Falcons, Brian Wilson, Banyan director of avionics, told AIN.
The era of the Airfone air-to-ground radiotelephone system comes to an end on December 31 when Aircell, the new owner of the Airfone network, plans to shut the service down. Aircell purchased the Airfone network from LiveTV earlier this year and will use the Airfone frequencies to expand and meet growing demand for its Gogo and Gogo Biz airborne broadband Internet services. The Airfone frequencies are adjacent to those used by the Gogo service.
Elkhart, Ind.-based charter operator Travel Management is installing Aircell’s Gogo Biz high-speed Internet service across its entire fleet of 70 Hawker 400XPs and 800XPs. It expects installations of the system to be completed by October. The company began introducing Gogo Biz aboard its 800XPs last year.