The KLM installations join group partner Air France‘s A330s in the 2Ku fitting. The first from each airline saw the install complete in parallel. Air France’s F-GZCM returned to service with the kit installed on 26 April 2018. KLM’s AKA returned to flight on 5 May 2018. Air France’s F-GZCI is also fitted.
We want to offer our customers the best possible solution to stay connected. By installing the latest WiFi technology on board on more than 120 aircraft in our long-haul fleet, we are once again illustrating our ability to innovate and provide all our passengers with the best possible experience. – Michel Pozas Lucic, Vice President Customer Innovation and Care at Air France-KLM
The installations are several months behind the initial plans. When the deal was announced the service was expected to be available “starting from end 2017.” And even with the hardware installed the service is still not active for passengers.
It is not uncommon for a new carrier to take several months to complete testing of the hardware and portal services before activating the service on its fleet. Some (usually smaller) airlines choose to further delay the activations to deliver a consistent passenger experience across the full fleet once it is available. Most carriers, however, have chosen to activate aircraft as they become available, once the vetting is complete.
In the case of KLM-Air France it is expected that the service will not be activated until after the peak summer season wraps, though the carriers are unlikely to wait until all 124 aircraft across both fleets are fitted.
Initiating the installations is good news for Gogo, though passenger activation is an arguably more important milestone. Only when passengers start using it will the real revenue boost be seen.
In addition to the four confirmed installs noted above PH-AKE is believed to be undergoing installation currently as part of a maintenance cycle. Air France’s F-GZCF and F-GZCJ are also believed to be fitted but that remains unconfirmed at time of publication.