Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi ser­vice ready for take­off on China flights

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By ZHU WENQIAN zhuwen­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Gogo Inc, a Nas­daq-listed broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity so­lu­tions and wire­less en­ter­tain­ment provider to the avi­a­tion in­dus­try, said on Mon­day that it had re­ceived reg­u­la­tory ap­proval to of­fer in-flight con­nec­tiv­ity ser­vices in China start­ing in Oc­to­ber.

Chicago-based Gogo said it had re­ceived ap­proval from var­i­ous Chi­nese reg­u­la­tory bod­ies through its lo­cal part­ner China Tele­com Satel­lite Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Co Ltd, and will work with China Tele­com Satel­lite to of­fer in-flight Wi-Fi on in­ter­na­tional flights.

Gogo shares edged up 4.56 per­cent on the Nas­daq, and closed at $11.69 on Mon­day.

“This is re­ally a ground­break­ing mo­ment as we ex­pand our global reach as an or­ga­ni­za­tion into China and other parts of the world. For pas­sen­gers on Gogo equipped flights cur­rently fly­ing into China, this means they will be able to en­joy a seam­less ser­vice once they reach Chi­nese airspace,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s pres­i­dent and CEO.

“We be­lieve China Tele­com Satel­lite will be a very strong and ef­fec­tive part­ner for China’s in-flight com­mu­ni­ca­tion mar­ket, and both par­ties will ex­tend the co­op­er­a­tion to Chi­nese air­lines in the fu­ture.”

The Civil Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion of China is con­sid­er­ing lift­ing re­stric­tions on the use of mo­bile phones on air­planes, and the au­thor­i­ties are likely to amend reg­u­la­tions and re­lax the re­stric­tions by the end of this year or in early 2017, said Zhu Tao, di­rec­tor of the air trans­porta­tion di­vi­sion at the CAAC, Bloomberg re­ported.

Lyu Junli, pres­i­dent of China Tele­com Satel­lite, said: “Gogo is a lead­ing in-flight con­nec­tiv­ity ser­vice provider, and we look for­ward to a part­ner­ship that takes full ad­van­tage of our re­spec­tive abil­i­ties to de­liver su­pe­rior in-flight con­nec­tiv­ity ser­vice for both in­ter­na­tional and Chi­nese air­lines.”

Gogo cur­rently has one in­ter­na­tional air­line part­ner op­er­at­ing with its ser­vice to China. It re­cently an­nounced that it signed an agree­ment with Bei­jing-based Shareco Tech­nolo­gies Co to in­stall an in-flight con­nec­tiv­ity ser­vice on 50 com­mer­cial air­craft for Shareco’s air­line partners, in­clud­ing Hainan Air­lines, China’s fourth-largest air­line, and Bei­jing Cap­i­tal Air­lines.

In ad­di­tion to in-flight con­nec­tiv­ity, Gogo will also pro­vide its wire­less in-flight en­ter­tain­ment so­lu­tion — Gogo Vi­sion — for Shareco to in­stall on th­ese air­craft.

De­mand for in-flight Wi-Fi has reached a new high among pas­sen­gers in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, es­pe­cially in China, with a re­cent report show­ing that 90 per­cent of those sur­veyed in the re­gion say­ing that the avail­abil­ity of on­board con­nec­tiv­ity would af­fect their choice of air­lines, ac­cord­ing to In­marsat, a London-based lead­ing provider of global satel­lite com­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vices.

The report said high­de­mand among Chi­nese pas­sen­gers for use of in-flight Wi-Fi is driven by com­mu­ni­ca­tion ac­tiv­i­ties, and the in­creased need to use mo­bile mes­sag­ing apps such as WeChat.

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