Delta Air Lines is taking more direct control over the installation of Gogo‘s 2Ku inflight connectivity product on the carrier’s fleet. While initial installations were performed at the Airbus Corporate Jet Centre (ACJC) in Toulouse, France further deliveries will see the kit added by Delta’s in-house technicians in Minneapolis or Atlanta. The shift comes as the carrier continues its rapid deployment of 2Ku across multiple aircraft types; some 300 are fitted already. Both Gogo and Delta declined to comment for this report.
Delta is currently installing the Gogo 2ku Wifi in Minneapolis. However, this will change at the end of the year when DL moves that modification work to ATL (from #6).
— A350 Production (@A350_Production) November 29, 2017
In April 2016 Gogo and Airbus announced a partnership for the ACJC to handle the 2Ku installs on the A350 with Delta as a launch customer. While not a true linefit offering the company presents the option as factory-installed, streamlining the install/delivery process for airline customers.
“We are looking forward to working with Airbus Corporate Jet Centre to offer this product to airlines,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “Working with ACJC and Airbus to make 2Ku available on the A350 is great news for airlines interested in the most future-proof in-flight connectivity solution.”
That deal is different from the one Gogo and Airbus struck for fitting 2Ku on other types. Gogo is working towards a true linefit solution with Airbus’ help on the A320, A330 and A380 lines. In all cases the net effect is a solution airlines see as de-risked. But for carriers with larger internal TechOps groups that de-risk may not be worth the costs.
Getting the kit installed at the factory comes with a significant price tag. For larger airlines with in-house expertise it often can make more sense to save some money and run the installs as part of the aircraft induction process. It does require a larger direct CapEx – if linefit the up-front costs are rolled in to the overall aircraft number and potentially then into a financing arrangement – and the competence. A large enough operation, particularly in the maintenance and technical services area, can save a lot of cash for the airline.
Delta is no stranger to such efforts. The carrier has run its own Gogo install lines for years now. As the largest Gogo customer Delta is well-versed in that install process and making it work. This latest shift in the installation process shows off that development nicely. With no official comment from any party the details around this decision are not 100% confirmed, though the shift is. But he idea of saving money and keeping in-house staff up-to-date on the technologies and processes makes a lot of sense.
For other A350 customers the ACJC installation option remains. Gogo’s flexibility on this front is not disappearing.