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American Airlines is all ready to Gogo

3rd April 2009 - 15:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


American Airlines has decided to fit the Aircell Gogo passenger broadband system in more than 300 aircraft of its domestic fleet over the next two years following a successful nine-month trial in 15 Boeing 767s. 

“We are pleased that the results of our trial were positive and we have decided to move forward,” says American marketing VP Dan Garton. The airline plans to install the Aircell system on its Boeing MD-80 and 737-800 fleets, beginning with 150 MD-80s this year.

Gogo is available in the USA via a ground network of around a hundred cellular-type base stations. But Aircell is eager to extend the service offshore and is known to be studying satellite options. It is reported that specific hardware solutions could include the advanced Ku-band aircraft antenna being developed by EMS Technologies and Israeli partner Starling. Aircell chief executive Jack Blumenstein said recently that trials of a potential solution could take place in the next year or so.

Aircell’s other Gogo customers include Delta (including recent acquisition Northwest) and Virgin America, which have opted for fleet fits, and Air Canada, which plans to offer the service to passengers on US-bound flights soon and to extend it across its domestic fleet in due course. United Airlines is due to launch a trial soon.

Starting in the second half of this year, United will offer Gogo on p.s., the New York-Los Angeles/San Francisco premium service that it launched in 2004. p.s. is operated with 13 Boeing 757-200s configured in three classes - first, business and premium economy. Gogo will be offered in all classes for a flat fee of $12.95 per flight.

“United will assess customer feedback with us to determine additional rollout plans,” says Aircell. The airline’s decision to offer Gogo on a small, specialised fleet initially resembles the American Airlines strategy of a thorough in-service evaluation before making any commitment to a permanent and wider implementation. 

The Shephard News Team


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