Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said today there will be “no time limit” in the search for a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 that has been missing since March 8. On March 28, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) announced that the search area for Flight 370 had been refined to a new location nearly 700 miles north of the earlier search region of the southern Indian Ocean.
Aircell received STC approvals from the EASA for installation of in-flight connectivity and entertainment systems on Bombardier Challenger 300s. Specifically, the certifications cover the Aviator 300 datacom system and UCS 5000 “smart” router and media server. The company said the Aviator 300 STC data package is being offered to Challenger 300 operators for a “nominal fee” when they install the system at an authorized Aircell dealer and activate a new SwiftBroadband service plan. Aircell entered the European market in 2002 and the region is now its second-largest market.
Elliott Aviation has received FAA STC approval for the activation and use of all Aircell Wi-Fi products in the Hawker 800/850/900/1000. The approval includes the newly announced ATG 2000 and ST 4300, as well as the ATG 5000, ATG 4000, Aviator 200/300/350 and Gogo Vision with UCS 5000 media server.
“Cost of the Aircell ATG 2000 for these Hawkers starts at approximately $57,000, not including installation,” said Conrad Theisen, avionics sales manager for Elliott Aviation. Downtime is eight to 10 days.
Today Aircell unveiled the ST 4300, a global in-flight communications system for business aircraft that is expected to be eligible for Fans certification. The ST 4300 combines voice, narrowband data and cockpit datalink services into a single unit. Available with one, two or three Iridium voice/narrowband data channels, as well as a dedicated Iridium data channel, the system allows business aircraft operators to configure cabin and flight-deck communications to suit their specific needs and budgets.
More than 2,000 Gogo Biz on-board broadband systems have been installed in business aircraft, Aircell announced today. This milestone was reached 4.5 years after the Gogo Biz service was introduced, which Aircell said makes “it the most rapidly adopted broadband service in business aviation history.” Jet Aviation performed the first Gogo Biz installation in June 2009 for the launch customer, a corporate aircraft operator based in the Midwest U.S. Gogo Biz allows passengers and crews to have Internet access above 10,000 feet in the continental U.S.
Honeywell and Inmarsat have finalized the critical design review of the GX Aviation avionics, which is promised to bring “home equivalent” high-speed broadband service to both business jets and airliners. Certification of the avionics is expected later this year, followed by product introduction during the first half of next year.
BizjetMobile has introduced the new Grrrilla Inmarsat-based portable communications device, which allows airborne users to access the Internet and send text messages and emails from almost anywhere in the world. Unlike its current Iridium-based systems, BizjetMobile’s Grrrilla enables users to download email attachments or surf the Internet for as long as needed.
The first Inmarsat-5 Ka-band Global Xpress satellite was launched successfully on December 8. The satellite was expected to reach its final position in a geo-synchronous elliptical orbit by the end of last month. This is the first of three satellites that will create the seamless GX Aviation high-speed satcom network, with performance up to 50 Mbps that can deliver streaming video. GX Aviation mobile broadband service is slated to begin next year, after two other satellites are sent aloft this year. Each satellite weighs more than six metric tons and can provide 89 Ka-band beams.
Inmarsat successfully launched the first of three satellites in the Global Xpress constellation network, which–when fully operational–will provide airborne broadband around the globe at speeds of up to 50 Mbps. The just-launched satellite will cover the Indian Ocean region. The remaining satellites are expected to launch in the second and third quarters of next year, providing global coverage by the end of the year. Honeywell is exclusively developing, producing and distributing the onboard hardware that will connect users to the Global Xpress network.
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.