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.
Aircell will sponsor the process to obtain supplemental type certificates (STCs) for European operators that choose to have its Aviator 200 SwiftBroadband satellite communications system installed. The company has signed an agreement with P3 Voith Aerospace of Hamburg to develop the STCs for Aviator 200 installations in Europe.
The program includes a complete, no-cost STC for operators that have the Aviator 200 system installed by an authorized Aircell dealer and also activate a new SwiftBroadband service under its monthly plan, said the company.
Aircell recently completed its acquisition of Airfone from LiveTV. 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. To expand capabilities, Aircell’s Gogo in-flight Internet service will branch into Airfone’s frequencies, which are adjacent to those currently used by Gogo and Gogo Biz. To accommodate this expansion, the Airfone service will be permanently decommissioned on December 31.
Constant Aviation has been named one of the top five highest-performing Aircell dealers. Constant Aviation’s Wi-Fi STCs include the Hawker 800A/XP, 850XP, 900XP, the Citation X, the Phenom 300, the Legacy 600 and the EMB-135LR. STCs on the Beechjet 400A/XP and executive-configured Boeing 737 are in the final stages of FAA approval.
Aircell’s Gogo Biz in-flight Internet service for business aircraft will be expanded to include coverage over Canada starting in the first quarter of next year, the company announced today. At present, Gogo Biz allows passengers and flight crews to have 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. No roaming fees will be assessed when using Gogo Biz in Canada, Aircell noted.