This week’s edition of “What’s under that radome?” comes to us from Toulouse, where Iberia‘s first A350-900 broke cover. The carrier shared a few photos on Twitter and the aircraft is sporting a line-fit radome on the fuselage.
— Iberia (@Iberia) February 20, 2018
Recent inflight internet connectivity installs for the carrier focused on the Gogo 2Ku product. That push was part of a broader, 100+ aircraft deal between IAG and Gogo to fit out long-haul aircraft. But with the new A350s IAG and Iberia chose a different path.
The 2Ku kit is not a line-fit option on the A350 line today. Delta took its early A350s with the 2Ku installation at the Airbus Corporate Jet Center. The work was performed after contractual delivery but before the aircraft flew home for entry-in-service. Delta eventually chose to handle the installations in-house rather than at the Airbus facility. Iberia could have chosen the not-quite-linefit ACJC install option, of course. It did not.
This is not the only Gogo customer to recently choose another option for new deliveries. Aeromexico picked Viasat as its connectivity provider on the 737 MAX fleet with the line-fit availability believed to be a significant motivator for that decision. Gogo did score a commitment last week from Aeromexico for 9 additional retrofit installs on existing 737-800 aircraft.
As for what’s under the Iberia radome, no one appears to be publicly claiming the contract win as of yet. The carrier currently offers connectivity through SITAONAIR, Panasonic Avionics and Gogo. It is also slated to carry the Inmarsat EAN kit on its single-aisle fleet starting later this year. Panasonic is a line-fit option on the A350 as is the Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) platform. Those two are the obvious contenders at this time for providing connectivity to the new Iberia A350 fleet.