IFE & CONNECTIVITY UPDATE
Gogo TV enables airlines to deliver live television content to a passengers’ own Wi-Fi enabled device and can also be integrated into an airline’s existing seat-back entertainment system
videos, check social media and more during flights. In 2015, Inmarsat signed a 10-year strategic agreement with the Lufthansa Group, which included the selection of GX for Aviation for Lufthansa’s European Continental fleet of more than 180 aircraft, in addition to more than 30 Austrian Airlines A320 family aircraft, and 69 A320 family aircraft from the Eurowings fleet. Inmarsat also signed an agreement with Singapore Airlines in the same year. “Interest in the service has equally continued to be strong in 2016 and early 2017, with Air New Zealand, Norwegian and Air Astana all set to be equipped with GX for Aviation,” says van Essen. Inmarsat will be launching the European Aviation Network (EAN) this year. As the first solution in the world to integrate connectivity from a satellite — operated by Inmarsat —and an LTE-based ground network — operated by Deutsche Telekom — EAN will provide an inflight broadband experience for millions of airline passengers traveling throughout Europe — all 28 European Union states, together with Norway and Switzerland. “This is a revolutionary hybrid broadband solution which combines satellite coverage with a 4G LTE ground network,” says van Essen. “It is designed specifically to expand capacity for high-traffic flight paths and busy airport hubs.” The network recently passed a major milestone, with the successful test and validation of the EAN Satellite Access Station in Nemea at the beginning of February. “We have contracted Arianespace to launch our S-band satellite for the European Aviation Network on an Ariane 5 heavy lift launch vehicle in mid-2017,” adds van Essen. Looking ahead, the company plans to continue prioritizing the advancement of aviation safety. The only system of its kind, SwiftBroadband–Safety, can trigger one-minute position reporting and stream data off aircraft in real time, creating a “Black Box in the Cloud.” “Such technology will be vital in improving communications between aircraft and their operators,” says van Essen.
Above and beyond Internet and entertainment provider Gogo has experienced continued success with its inflight connectivity solution, 26 | PAX INTERNATIONAL | MARCH/APRIL 2017
2Ku. In 2016, Gogo had several major airlines commit to bringing 2Ku on board, including Air Canada, Aeromexico and IAG (Iberia, British Airways) and is now flying on more than 125 aircraft globally on Delta Air Lines, Aeromexico and GOL Airlines. Gogo recently proved its 2Ku service continues to operate at peak performance at speeds of more than 100 Mbps to the aircraft by using its proprietary 2Ku antenna along with its new generation modem and a high-throughput satellite on Gogo’s test aircraft, the Jimmy Ray. “Our new modem upgrades the performance of both our 2Ku and our Ku global satellite services,” says John Wade, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Gogo. “The proprietary features of the new modem significantly increase throughput and reliability to and from the aircraft,” he adds. “Gogo Ku system has been performing well and will continue to deliver even better as we roll out installations of our new modem in the second half of 2017.” To date, about two-thirds of Gogo’s connected aircraft are on the ATG-4 technology. Gogo is currently working to launch a second-generation air-to-ground network that will deliver ground-like speeds to aircraft. As for Gogo’s inflight entertainment offerings, Gogo Vision adds almost no incremental weight to an aircraft that already has the company’s connectivity. Gogo’s content cycle is shifting from 60 days to 30 to meet its airline partners’ desires to deliver fresh and new content to passengers. Gogo’s latest achievements in passenger experience and IFE is its Gogo TV solution, Gogo’s live IPTV offering. Gogo TV enables airlines to deliver live television content to a passengers’ own Wi-Fi enabled device and can also be integrated into an airline’s existing seat-back entertainment system. Gogo’s airline partner GOL Airlines in Brazil will be the first to launch live TV on their Gogo-equipped flights this year. Looking ahead, Gogo is moving beyond passenger connectivity. The provider has already taken the Internet of Things (IoT) to its advantage by providing improved services and connectivity to passengers, and is now focused on engaging partners to bring the benefits of IoT to airline operations in order to better business efforts and safety protocols. “We’ve already started connecting flight attendants, pilots and crew, through enhanced messaging applications and other services and eventually will connect the entire aircraft itself through our Connected Aviation Services,” Wade explains. “In fact, we’ve already connected 50,000 flight attendant and crew tablets, with the first application being real-time credit card processing and Delta is the first airline to go live with a cutting-edge turbulence avoidance application.”
Prioritizing performance Bringing the advantages and efficiencies of a high-speed bi-directional broadband internet to aviation for the first time, SmartSky Networks is launching a new 4G airto-ground high-speed internet service in the U.S., with international deployment on the roadmap. This 4G net-