EBACE 2011: Cessna Chooses Aircell Aviator 300

 - May 17, 2011, 2:00 AM

Cessna Aircraft has selected Aircell’s Aviator 300 satcom system as optional equipment for the Citation XLS+, Sovereign and Citation X starting with 2012 models. Broomfield, Colorado-based Aircell is a master distributor for Thrane & Thrane’s SwiftBroadband products, including the Aviator 200, 300 and 350 systems, and is displaying the full range of Aircell inflight connectivity products here at EBACE (Stand 1735). The Aviator 300 works on Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband satellite network, providing email and light Internet access at up to 332 kbps with global coverage.

The Aviator 300 for the Cessna models is integrated with Aircell’s Access cabin system, which adds two Iridium satellite voice channels and an in-cabin wireless access point. Voice calls can be made on integrated cabin handsets. The Aviator 300’s Internet capability includes sending and receiving email with attachments and access to the Web and corporate VPNs using WiFi-enabled laptop computers, tablets, electronic flight bags and smartphones.

Wichita, Kansas-based Cessna is also offering Aircell’s ATG 4000 high-speed Gogo Biz Internet service for the XLS+, Sovereign and Citation X. Gogo Biz works in the continental U.S. and parts of Alaska and delivers speeds roughly the same as home Internet access.

“The demand for in-flight connectivity continues to increase rapidly,” said Mark Paolucci, Cessna senior vice president of sales and marketing. “It’s quickly becoming a vital element of the travel experience.”

In the European business aviation market, demand for in-flight connectivity has been growing rapidly during recent months, according to Aircell. “We’re fielding more inquiries, giving more proposals and performing more installations,” said Florent Feltrin, regional sales director southwestern Europe for Aircell dealer Jet Aviation.

Aircell’s Aviator 200 has added a number of aftermarket certifications recently, including the Hawker Beechcraft King Air 200, Citation CJ1 and Bombardier Challenger series. Certification programs are also under way for additional airframes, including Falcon 2000EX/LX, Embraer Legacy, King Air 350, Citation XLS, Gulfstream IV and Douglas DC-8. The Aviator 200 uses a small-gain antenna, making it easier to install and certify. The system offers global email, light Internet and voice service, all for about $60,000.

In other news, the company will soon begin shipping its Aircell Smartphone, which runs on the Android platform. It claims the new device makes placing airborne calls as easy and convenient as calling on the ground.