Global Eagle posted strong revenue numbers in Q3, with its content and aviation connectivity segments showing particular strength. The company also announced a couple "take away" deals that see it grabbing business from competitors. Those moves come at a cost, however, especially on the connectivity side. The increased revenue from these deals over the long term is welcome but a short term cash crunch could be bad for business.
Global Eagle Entertainment
Global Eagle took Albatross One, its flying testbed, on a field trip to Canada last week and the results proved incredibly positive. The inflight connectivity provider partnered with satellite-operator Telesat to deliver data across the Phase 1 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite and geostationary Anik F3 using a common on-board antenna from Qest and modem from Gilat. The test flight proved that transitions from the GEO satellite to LEO and back can work on the company's gimbal-mount Ka-band antenna solution. During inflight testing, the team successfully demonstrated industry-leading data upload speeds from the aircraft, engaged in uninterrupted video chatting and movie streaming, and experienced the lowest latency of any satellite connection to date.
The test flights are the latest step in Global Eagle's efforts to position itself as a technology leader in the inflight connectivity world. Company executives have talked up the new constellation since the test satellite launched at the beginning of 2018. During the recent APEX EXPO in Boston LEO connectivity was a frequent topic of conversation. For Alexis Steinman, SVP Aviation Solutions, there is no subtlety in the company's plans: "We are betting big on LEO." With this latest successful test expect that bet to continue to grow.
Global Eagle is “back in the rapid innovation game.” That was the message delivered last month at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) 2018 in Hamburg, Germany. And some of the IFE developments definitely fit that mold.
After taking nearly a year to unwind the complexity of its financials following a string of acquisitions Global Eagle is finally ready to move forward on executing its plan. Leadership and funding changes announced this week are a major step forward on that front.
Gogo is the first inflight connectivity provider to pass data on the SES-15 Ku-band satellite. That’s great news for passengers, and it should get even better soon as others join that party.
Aeromexico's first 737 MAX rolled off the assembly line at Renton last week and all indications are that, unlike the company's 737-800s, it will not be flying with the Gogo 2Ku solution.
SES and Yahsat have more capacity in the sky thanks to an Arianespace launch last night. The launch suffered from anomalies after the second stage ignition and the satellites were not inserted where initially expected, though both companies report control of their assets.
Lufthansa Technik will soon be installing more inflight connectivity. The 737MAX is the target this time, with stronglikelihood of the Inmarsat GX solution being delivered.
Thales is the latest IFE/C vendor to partner with Chinese conglomerate HNA Group to deliver entertainment and connectivity services on board. But will they really fly? Concerns about the financial stability of HNA raise significant concerns about the long-term viability of the offerings.
More live TV is now flying in South America. Brazilian airline GOL and Gogo agreed to launch Gogo TV this year on the carrier’s fleet of 119 737s.