The era of the Airfone air-to-ground radiotelephone system comes to an end on December 31 when Aircell, the new owner of the Airfone network, plans to shut the service down. Aircell purchased the Airfone network from LiveTV earlier this year and will use the Airfone frequencies to expand and meet growing demand for its Gogo and Gogo Biz airborne broadband Internet services. The Airfone frequencies are adjacent to those used by the Gogo service.
Honeywell has entered the detailed design phase of the satellite communications (satcom) system hardware it is developing for Inmarsat’s new Global Xpress Ka-band satellite network. The company aims to secure Inmarsat network access approval for the satcom system in 2014.
Cobham Satcom (formerly Thrane & Thrane, Booth 2107) has announced that its Aviator 300 SwiftBroadband solution has been approved by EASA under a supplemental type certificate (STC) for installation in the Cessna 550, 550 Bravo and S550.
The STC was developed in partnership with Danish company Scandinavian Avionics (Booth 373). The companies are also looking at certifying the system for additional aircraft in the Citation family, such as the 500, 552 and 560. SwiftBroadband is already approved for the Citation X, Embraer Legacy 600/650 and Bombardier Challenger 300.
Satcom Direct (Booth 455) has signed an agreement with Honeywell to be a distributor for the Inmarsat GX Aviation Ka-band service, for which Honeywell itself is a value-added reseller. The Florida-based communications specialist will also be a distributor of GX avionics equipment. The service is scheduled to be commercially available early in 2015 and is designed to offer “consistent, high-capacity broadband coverage around the world.” For example, users should be able to stream Internet content live or hold uninterrupted video calls from 30,000 feet.
Arinc Direct (Booth 1200) is showcasing the preproduction version of Xplore, a communications service that offers, on an iPad, Acars messaging, voice and a messaging platform for SMS and instant messaging and BlackBerry email services. The new product is “in the final stages of testing before certification and full production,” according to Arinc Direct, which is taking pre-orders at the EBACE show.
Inmarsat and partner Honeywell are poised to launch what Inmarsat describes as the “game-changing Global Xpress aviation service,” that will ultimately provide high-capacity broadband coverage and worldwide data transfer rates of up to 50 mbps.
Inmarsat (Booth 921), a major player in mobile satellite communication services, offered a preview of GX Aviation at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, last month.
Satcom Direct (Booth 455) has signed up to become a reseller of OnAir’s in-flight GSM mobile phone service. The U.S.-based company will market the Mobile OnAir product to business aircraft operators.
A Dassault Falcon 7X operated by Swiss-based Amjet Executive has become the first aircraft of its type to be fitted with OnAir’s in-flight mobile phone and Wi-Fi equipment. The charter operator started offering passengers the connectivity services on May 1, just five months after Dassault announced the availability of Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir as line-fit options on the long-range 7X in December 2012. Amjet took delivery of its 7X from Dassault’s completions center in Little Rock, Arkansas, on April 26.
Aircell will sponsor the process to obtain supplemental type certificates (STCs) for European operators that choose to have its Aviator 200 SwiftBroadband satellite communications system installed. The company has signed an agreement with P3 Voith Aerospace of Hamburg to develop the STCs for Aviator 200 installations in Europe.
The program includes a complete, no-cost STC for operators that have the Aviator 200 system installed by an authorized Aircell dealer and also activate a new SwiftBroadband service under its monthly plan, said the company.
International Communications Group (ICG) is scheduled to begin deliveries of its new eRouter in the second quarter.
The “customer-inspired” modifications to the design are expected to “enhance performance [and] make it easier for operators to perform maintenance, set up configuration and access Sim and memory cards without removing the unit from the aircraft.”