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Inflight Internet expands rapidly

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For thousands of business jets and airliners, the high-speed Internet becomes increasingly a necessity. Most passengers expect this kind of service – and are mostly ready to pay for too.

Aircell, the world's leading provider of inflight connectivity, is at the NBAA convention this week highlighting the role being played by the new generation of inflight Internet services as companies look to boost corporate productivity and efficiency in today's economy.

According to Aircell, the past two years have seen a meteoric rise in adoption for Aircell's Gogo Biz and Gogo Inflight Internet services.

· Before Aircell launched Gogo in mid-2008, there were an estimated 200 business and airline aircraft – worldwide – equipped with a true high speed Internet connection.

· Today, after just over a year in the business aviation market, shipments & orders for Gogo Biz are already approaching 1,000 units.

· In the airline market, Gogo is now flying on more than 1,000 aircraft. Eight airlines currently offer the service on more than 3,800 daily flights, with more aircraft being equipped on a daily basis.

"Inflight Internet is a prime example of what companies are doing to counter the effects of the current economy," said John Wade, Aircell's Executive Vice President and General Manager. "With corporate investment still being curtailed in many areas, the rapid adoption of these services speaks directly to the value companies place on keeping their employees connected and productive while they fly," he concluded.

The company points out that the benefits of a full-speed Internet connection are being embraced by all segments of the business aviation industry.

Reportedly, XOJET became the first operator in the charter industry to offer Gogo Biz on every aircraft in its fleet. "Saying that Gogo Biz has been a huge hit would be an understatement," according to XOJET CEO Blair LaCorte. "Our entire fleet is now fully wireless-enabled, which differentiates us from other operators. Our business customers count on the service on every flight and now view it as essential. Once they fly with it, they never want to be without it."

Statistics tell that several business aircraft manufacturers are now offering Gogo Biz service from the factory. The affordability and small size of Gogo Biz equipment have enabled Cessna Aircraft Company to offer inflight connectivity on its midsize jets since earlier this year. Roger Whyte, Cessna's senior vice president of Sales & Marketing, said, "Connectivity has become a highly desirable service, and it is quickly becoming commonplace aboard business aircraft."

Example: Nextant Aerospace selected Gogo Biz for its 400XT aircraft modernization program, which is bringing greater efficiency and performance to the original Beechjet 400A/XP aircraft. Jim Miller, President of Nextant Aerospace, said, "By incorporating all the latest technologies, we're making the 400XT a state-of-the-art aircraft in every respect. Naturally, that includes connectivity. Gogo Biz is the only service in aviation that offers a true high speed Internet experience with equipment small and affordable enough for a light jet."

Many of the largest fractional ownership providers are in the process of installing Gogo Biz. "Inflight Internet is a highly-requested service and people appreciate being able to use their own laptops and PDA's to do virtually everything they do at home or in their office," said Fred Reid, President of Flexjet. "It's a small price to pay for the return it gives our customers in productivity, efficiency and convenience."

For the business aviation market, Aircell is offering two Gogo Biz equipment packages:

  • ATG 5000. Provides Gogo Biz inflight Internet service on a standalone basis.
  • ATG 4000 with Aircell Axxess. Provides Gogo Biz inflight Internet service, along with multiple channels of Iridium Satellite service for global voice and narrowband data service.

The Gogo Biz monthly service plans start as low as $395/month. Through its diverse line of airborne communications products, Aircell offers one of the business aviation industry's largest selections of network services. These services span multiple technologies, including air-to-ground, low-earth orbit satellite and geostationary satellite.

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