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SmartSky‘s push towards launching its air-to-ground inflight connectivity solution took a significant step forward earlier this month. The first commercial aircraft to carry the company’s kit is currently in the shop getting the system installed. The move comes just seven months after the contract was announced and five months after the STC was issued.
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The installation comes as JetSuiteX rebrands its operations to JSX. The concept, a Joyful Simple eXperience, takes the company’s pseudo-private jet experience and further separates it from the charter operations run under the JetSuite branding. It is also what JSX considers the final missing piece in bringing the best travel experience to its passengers.
Through our partnership [with SmartSky], JetSuiteX will once again disrupt the status quo, this time by enabling our customers to stay just as productive while in flight as they are on the ground. Not only does this underscore our commitment to providing the most innovative air travel solution in the industry, it allows our customers to empty their inbox or share as many #jetsuitex selfies as they wish while still in the air!– JetSuiteX CEO Alex Wilcox
The carrier already delivers more legroom, with only 30 seats on its ERJ-135 aircraft. That’s three fewer rows than other commercial operators of the type. Travelers depart from the business aviation terminals and can stay in the lounge area until five minutes before departure.The extra time and stress associated with commercial air travel is mostly eliminated. And with high speed WiFi on board – expected to be free at launch – JSX passengers have one more reason to appreciate the experience.
The announcement indicated an expectation that the service would go live in Q4 2019; this first aircraft install timing matches up with that expectation. It should be flying in test mode by the end of September, with multiple aircraft installed and the service commercially available later in the year.
Read More: JetSuiteX going online with SmartSky wifi
This also depends on the terrestrial network being online and ready to serve the JSX routes. SmartSky recently reiterated that it “has made progress on rollout of the network, including outfitting towers with the equipment needed.” The company still expects to be live more broadly across the United States by the end of the year.
Pacing of this deal almost rivals that of Citilink Indonesia getting its GX Aviation kit installed by Mahata Aero Tecknologi. This deal, however, appears more financially stable and less likely to unravel in an accounting audit debacle.
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