As the new Thales/Spirit Airlines Ka-band inflight wifi connectivity solution inches closer to flight testing it appears necessary to dispel one rumor about timing and opine on a very different one about the antenna technology that will be used on board.
Outgoing Spirit Airlines CEO Bob Fornaro is no stranger to the inflight connectivity world, even if his current airline is a late adopter of such services. Fornaro oversaw the fleet-wide deployment of connectivity at AirTran. He saw the value it could deliver and the pains that poor performance and limited availability caused for passengers and the airline. Now he wants to bring a new model to market and lead the connected ULCC revolution, starting with the Thales kit installed on his company's fleet. Will this secret sauce work?
An additional 550+ aircraft now have live television on board. The Gogo TV product activated across three airlines in recent weeks, quickly adding live content to the company’s offerings. And more planes are coming online soon.
Work on the first Spirit Airlines aircraft to receive its Thales-supplied inflight wifi connectivity hardware is underway. Installation efforts started this week at an MRO with Thales overseeing the work.
Is Gogo worth more split in half rather than as a single company? Since the management transition earlier this year that idea has been floated more than once. CEO Oakleigh Thorne suggested that either the Business or Commercial Aviation halves should be worth more than the current market cap. He's also suggested that splitting the company along those lines would be a relatively easy transaction to pull off, with BizAv owning the ATG network and Commercial the satellite services. With an impending deadline to refinance the company's debt it seems like such a move could solve a lot of the problems. We know that various suitors have put offers on the table for all or part of the company and that those are being evaluated by the Board of Directors. Here's how one of them could play out.
Spirit Airlines will add inflight wifi as it seeks to improve the onboard passenger experience. The carrier's full fleet will carry Thales FlytLIVE hardware by the end of Summer 2019.
Major drama in the inflght connectivity world this afternoon as joint venture partners Eutelsat and Viasat are splitting on a major project. Eutelsat is launching KONNECT, its own massive increase in Ka-band capacity in 2021 and has new partners to work with on that deal. Oh, and it is bailing on its potential partnership for the ViaSat-3's EMEA coverage.
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.
JetBlue is tweaking its inflight connectivity plans, securing its relationship with ViaSat while pushing Thales out as an integrator. That's mostly good news, unless you're Thales.
JetBlue's A320 fleet upgrade will be a little different than initially announced, mostly in a good way. Newer entertainment and connectivity solutions are now (officially) part of the plan.