How does a major satellite connectivity company solve the problem of congestion at crowded (air)ports without disrupting billions of dollars in existing infrastructure? It is an answer that, much like the network (and ogres), comes with lots of layers.
Another small satellite constellation is coming, this time from a rather unlikely source. Inflight entertainment and connectivity middle-man Anuvu (formerly Global Eagle) will bring MicroGEO satellites into service, launching its first constellation in partnership with next-generation satellite manufacturer Astranis.
The product will still be known at 2Ku, at least for now. But the in-flight connectivity company previously known as Gogo Commercial Aviation officially changed its name to Intelsat Commercial Aviation, less than a year after closing on the transaction.
How can an airline justify a massive, expensive project coming off the absolute worst year the aviation industry ever experienced? For Azul CEO John Rodgerson, the answer was easy. “The way I look at it is when we invite somebody on board the aircraft we want them to feel as if they’re at home.” And today that at-home experience means access to fast, free, internet connectivity.
With the “completion of all technical milestones and the opening of the first fully operational coverage zone,” the SmartSky in-flight connectivity network is beginning to come online. Route-based flight demonstrations can be performed, marking a major pivot point as it moves towards certification and commercial launch.
Spirit Airlines is now online in the sky. The first few planes fitted with the company’s in-flight wifi connectivity offering recently entered service for passenger use, though a formal launch is not expected until later this year.
Global Eagle is moving closer to a Ka-band in-flight connectivity solution. The company recently cleared a critical milestone in the verification phase for the Global Eagle Airconnect Ka IFC terminal to be used with Canadian satellite operator Telesat’s planned Lightspeed low-earth orbit (LEO) network.
Fast, free, FlyFi wifi on board every flight is a key value proposition from JetBlue. The carrier’s new A220 fleet features the same Viasat-powered satellite connectivity as the older aircraft, but how it came to be on the planes is a bit different from prior deliveries.
Delta Air Lines will launch its new, Viasat-powered in-flight connectivity era this weekend. The first A321ceo equipped with the Ka-band satellite connectivity gear expects to enter regular scheduled service on 1 May.
Getting a 5G air-to-ground network into service in the USA is a tough task, with schedules continuing to slip and questions about the hardware involved. But in China the new services are expected to launch soon, and expand quickly. Powered by Chinese manufacturer ZTE, a new network could be online in a matter of months.