Cautious but confident, Gogo issued a report this morning declaring success in mitigating the deicing fluid issues on its 2Ku inflight wifi antenna hardware. More than 2,600 potential deicing events showed zero affected aircraft so far this winter.
The first UON-equipped aircraft entered commercial service this week. The Saudia A320 HZ-ASB began passenger service with the new inflight connectivity kit installed on 10 November 2019. The aircraft serves Geneva from Saudia’s hubs in Riyadh and Jeddah.
Maybe it has never truly been cheap for passengers, but airlines historically took advantage of great deals from suppliers to secure inflight wifi connectivity solutions relatively inexpensively. As those vendors now seek financial stability more than market share a shift is underway. Is the era of cheap wifi over? (And did it ever really exist?!?)
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.
Two stories should deliver a net boost for Global Eagle headed into Thursday's earnings release. They are not both good news (and one remains unconfirmed), but the positive outweighs the negative significantly.
Gogo revised its expectations for 2020 and beyond, announcing updated goals as the company continues its drive towards profitability. Alas, details on those revised targets will not be shared with investors. CEO Oakleigh Thorne shared that the new math takes into account "more realistic expectations" of satellite costs and the shift to the airline-directed model. Assuming the new numbers are part of the Q3 '18 numbers they should help the company significantly, though there are indications some parts of the operation could revert to higher costs. The inability for global revenue to keep pace with growth in North America is also concerning given the company's current backlog.
Fiji Airways is just weeks away from delivery of the carrier's first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. With that delivery the airline joins the ranks of carriers delivering wifi connectivity in the sky. The aircraft carries the necessary hardware for inflight connectivity on board. Official details on the vendor remain unclear but we have a pretty good idea what's under the hump.
Adding a new type to an airline’s fleet is interesting in its own right. China’s Juneyao Airlines added the 787-9 Dreamliner last week and it is more significant than most similar expansions, both for passengers and China’s aviation industry growth.
Low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations promise higher capacity and lower latency for connections. They also bring significant challenges, mostly owing to far more frequent satellite switching to maintain a connection. Add in an airplane moving though the sky and the complexity increases further. Multiple vendors are now moving through the testing process, with plans to deliver functional solutions as early as 2019, well ahead of the satellite constellations being ready for such connections.
Lufthansa Technik recently performed the first major connectivity modifications on Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. Neither LHT nor the airline will confirm the customer involved but PaxEx.Aero research suggests it is the Global Eagle kit on flyDubai’s A6-MAX frame.