Just three weeks into his new job as CEO of Iridium Satellite, Matthew Desch is here in Orlando with a message. “Yes, Iridium is still around, and not only around but enjoying strong growth.”
It didn’t take long for Iridium resellers to start targeting MagnaStar customers after service provider Verizon Airfone announced plans to exit the general aviation business. AirCell has introduced Axxess EZ, a two-channel Iridium satcom system that is intended as a direct replacement for the old MagnaStar phones.
Iridium has entered into preliminary discussions with satellite manufacturers about potential replacements for its network of low-earth-orbit communications satellites. The company is in the early stages of developing a satellite replacement strategy, according to a spokesman, who said the company plans to start serious design work around 2009.
Iridium said the number of aircraft fitted with its satellite communications equipment has grown by more than 100 percent in the last year. Iridium subscribers in the aviation market recently surpassed 5,000, the company announced, adding that the number of aircraft fitted with Iridium-based data systems has grown 200 percent in the last 12 months.
Fractional provider NetJets has ordered 50 AirCell ST 3100 Iridium satellite communication systems for its fleet of Hawker 400XP light business jets. The satellite phones will be installed in the 400XPs before retail delivery at Raytheon Aircraft Services in San Antonio, in the coming months, according to AirCell, which began marketing Iridium services in 2002.
International Communications Group (ICG) is at Heli-Expo’06 with its newest Iridium-based cabin tele-communication unit (CTU), a single-channel system optimized for helicopter and very light jet use.
Cessna Aircraft has selected Axxess, an Iridium-based cabin information system from AirCell, as a factory option for the Citation X, Sovereign and XLS. Axxess, introduced at the NBAA Convention in November, is a wireless broadband-ready satcom system designed for midsize to large business jets. The standard Axxess system includes two Iridium satellite communications channels for voice and narrowband data services.
The clock is ticking for Iridium, the global satellite communications service that has made its mark by providing voice and low-rate-data communication services for a growing list of customers around the world.
It didn’t take long for Iridium resellers to start targeting MagnaStar customers after Verizon Airfone’s July announcement that it plans to exit the general aviation business. AirCell last month introduced Axxess EZ, a two-channel Iridium satcom system that is intended as a direct replacement for the old MagnaStar phones.
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