Aircell, the world’s leading provider of airborne communications, reports that 2009 represented a major turning point in business aviation connectivity. This is due almost exclusively to the rapid proliferation of two new airborne communications technologies - Aircell High Speed Internet (via the Aircell® Network) and SwiftBroadband (via the Inmarsat-4 series of satellites). In 2009, Aircell added both these new technologies to its business aviation product line.
John Wade, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Aircell, said, “After a generation of effort, the industry’s ‘airborne office’ concept became a genuine reality for business aviation in 2009. For the first time, passengers in all sizes of business aircraft - even the light and midsize categories - can use their own devices to access the entire Internet just like they’re accustomed to doing on the ground. Previously, these services were only available to the largest of business aircraft. Aircell is proud to have played a key role in reaching this memorable milestone. 2010 will extend this trend as system installations continue and employees at an increasing number of companies see how productive it is to be fully connected while they fly.”
Demand for the Aircell High Speed Internet system is at record levels. More than 300 orders have been received since shipments began in June 2009 - an adoption rate that exceeds all previous product introductions. Aircell will continue working to fulfill its backlog as it moves into 2010.
Due to its performance, reliability and ease of use, Aircell High Speed Internet has been met with rave reviews in the market. After completing a series of charter trips equipped with Aircell High Speed Internet, one U.S.-based Falcon 2000 Chief Pilot said, “To say the least, the reaction from passengers was all smiles. One group said they didn’t want to get off the airplane - they were pounding away on their Blackberrys and laptops. Everybody just loves the system.”
Aircell’s Wade continued, “We exceeded even our own high expectations this year. In this economy, our record order intake makes it abundantly clear that Inflight Internet is seen as a business accelerator and that companies trying to increase productivity see the benefit of keeping their employees working while they fly. This year, Aircell’s two new connectivity systems were quickly adopted by virtually every segment of business aviation including charter, fractional, managed, OEM and military/government, as well as traditional flight departments and fleet operators.”
Along with first shipments of its Aircell High Speed Internet and SwiftBroadband products (in June and July, respectively), 2009 included a number of additional major milestones and announcements in business aviation:
* Aircell announced a second Aircell High Speed Internet equipment package - the ATG 5000. Designed to offer service on a standalone basis, the ATG 5000 began shipping this month on schedule.
* In June, Cessna Aircraft selected the Aircell High Speed Internet system as a factory option aboard its Citation XLS+, Citation Sovereign and Citation X business jets.
* In June, Aircell began shipping its SwiftBroadband solution for factory installation at a major business aircraft manufacturer.
* In September, Falcon Jet selected the Aircell High Speed Internet system as a standard option aboard its entire fleet of business jets at the factory.
* In October, Hawker Beechcraft selected both the Aircell High Speed Internet system and Aircell’s SwiftBroadband solution for its line of midsize Hawker business jets at the factory.
* Clay Lacy Aviation became the world’s first Part 135 Charter operator to offer Aircell High Speed Internet.
* Flight Options became the world’s first fractional ownership provider to offer Aircell High Speed Internet.
* In November, Aircell expanded its global presence into the Middle East by appointing an Aircell sales and service representative and naming ExecuJet Middle East as its first dealer in the region.
In addition to Aircell High Speed Internet’s popularity in the business aviation market, the commercial airline version - Gogo® Inflight Internet - has been selected by airlines representing more than half of the North American mainline market. The system is flying today with American Airlines, Virgin America, Delta Air Lines, Air Canada, United Airlines and AirTran Airways. It is coming soon to Northwest Airlines, US Airways and Continental Airlines. Aircraft are being equipped at a rapid rate and Aircell expects to have the system flying on 700 airline aircraft by year-end. Aircell is expecting its two millionth Gogo user session in early 2010.