Flight Options plans to equip most of its fleet of fractionally owned business jets with Aircell’s high-speed Internet system, a decision that will give the company’s aircraft owners and jet card customers in-flight Wi-Fi access anywhere over the continental U.S.
The first installations are due to begin later this year and continue through 2011. Flight Options owns and operates more than 110 airplanes, including the Hawker 400XP, Hawker 800XP, Citation X, Embraer Legacy 600 and, joining the fleet in the coming months, the Embraer Phenom 300 light jet.
Each aircraft in the program will receive an Aircell Axxess cabin communications system with the ATG 4000 high-speed Internet unit and integrated Iridium satcom system. The Aircell service, made available to business jet customers earlier this year, provides Internet access at “DSL-like” speeds in flight.
The service is available to passengers of several airlines through GoGo, an Aircell-branded offering that went live last year. The Aircell 3G network includes 92 ground towers strategically positioned around the country that provide data rates to the cabin that average around 2.2 mbps.
With the announcement made yesterday at NBAA’09, Flight Options becomes the second large business jet fleet operator to commit to the Aircell data service. Southern California charter operator Clay Lacy Aviation earlier in the year said it will equip its fleet of more than 60 owned and managed business jets with the hardware needed to access the high-speed Internet service.
Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft and Dassault all have announced that the Aircell equipment will be offered as options on new airplanes. In addition, Aircell dealers and installers have been making the hardware available on a variety of business airplanes.
List price for the ATG 4000 and Axxess equipment is around $85,000, not including installation. The service, which is available above 10,000 feet anywhere over the continental U.S., costs around $2,000 a month for full-rate access and $900 a month for a “light” usage offering.