A couple weeks ago hopes were high for a new antenna system in flight testing. That dream appears to have come back down to earth as Spirit Airlines‘ first A321 with the Thales FlytLive kit installed reentered flight services this week.
Ship N661NK returned to Spirit’s operational fleet in Fort Lauderdale on Monday and quickly began a normal rotation of passenger service. The aircraft flew to Colombia then back to Fort Lauderdale before continuing to Detroit and Las Vegas. At Las Vegas a few photos were secured showing the kit installed atop the aircraft. Alas, they appear to show the older radome style from Thales, not a newer, flatter design that would indicate the Thinkom ThinAir Ka2517 Ka-band antenna system on board. It is also the same radome as that no flying with Air Canada‘s 737 MAX and the ThinAir kit is understood not to be in certification process on the 737 MAX at this time.
The radome design is flatter than the kit used by Inmarsat, Viasat, Panasonic Avionics or Global Eagle. That detail is part of what drove the initial speculation. But it is still not as flat as the Gogo 2Ku radome. Details on exactly what antenna sits underneath remain elusive. But, for now, it appears the search for the ThinAir kit on an A320 family aircraft remains alive.
With thanks to MikeAlpha83 for securing the photo.