Gogo is lowering the altitude at which passengers can begin using its connectivity services from 10,000 ft above ground level to 3,000 ft for a significant portion of its air-to-ground fleet beginning 20 July.
By enabling connectivity to begin at 3,000 ft, passengers will receive up to an additional 15-20 minutes of connectivity on many flights. The service will be available on business aviation aircraft equipped with Avance L5 or L3 systems.
The lower service altitude will give aircraft that fly shorter flights and spend little to no time above 10,000 ft the opportunity to take advantage of in-flight connectivity for the majority of their flights. Approximately 25 per cent of flights by Gogo equipped jets have durations under 60 minutes.
“The additional connectivity time is a significant enhancement and will deliver even more value to customers,” says Sergio Aguirre, president of Gogo Business Aviation. “It makes connectivity available to those who believed inflight Wi-Fi wasn't an option because they fly shorter routes.”
Gogo will begin a phased process to enable service at 3,000 ft through ground-system configuration and remote software updates, all without requiring any onboard manual intervention. It will also offer the additional service time with no additional fees.
Approximately 1,300 Avance systems flying in business aviation will benefit from this change. Gogo has conducted hundreds of test flights of this product enhancement on approximately 50 aircraft during the past four months and has found that service at 3,000 ft will be available at most locations throughout the contiguous United States.
“In our flight testing, we found that the Avance L5 consistently performed well at altitudes below 10,000 ft and provided a quality connectivity experience for our passengers,” explains Tim Eames, chief pilot for Odin 123, which participated in several test flights for Gogo. “The additional time to conduct business or make arrangements was valuable and appreciated by our passengers.”
The customer experience will be similar across both the Avance L5 and L3 systems and on the qualifying ATG-4/ACPU2-equipped commercial fleet. Testing shows that although service may not be available everywhere and system performance may vary from airport to airport, Gogo's service guarantees apply once an aircraft reaches 10,000 feet above AGL.
Until now, Gogo enabled access to its connectivity services beginning at 10,000 feet AGL. Through software and configuration changes, as well as some modifications to the network, Gogo determined it was possible to provide service at a lower altitude using its licensed spectrum in the 850 MHz range.