Aircell will shut down the Airfone air-to-ground communications network as scheduled on December 31, and after that date Airfone users will no longer be able to make calls. Business aviation Airfone users have been using MagnaStar systems to make calls, and a variety of options are available to upgrade or replace those systems.
Aircell is still offering discounts on its ATG2000, ATG4000 and ATG5000 Gogo Biz air-to-ground equipment, and with a $9,995 software upgrade these can deliver Aircell’s new smartphone-based Text & Talk service. The Aircell ATG2000 retails for $57,000 and works with up to three devices.
MagnaStar users can continue to use their systems if hooked up to a satcom system, and Teledyne Controls continues to support MagnaStar systems. Besides Aircell service and installed satcom systems, companies such as ExecJet Mobile and Arinc Direct have portable Iridium satellite communications devices that can be used for voice calls and emailing/texting. Starting prices are about $25,000, and costs are higher if there is no Iridium transceiver already installed in the aircraft. While ExecJet’s Bizjet Mobile systems are available now, the Arinc Xplore device won’t be available until early next year.