The skies over Japan will be a bit more connected starting in 2014 thanks to a deal between Japan Airlines and in-flight internet provider Gogo. The deal calls for the entire domestic JAL fleet – 77 planes – to be fitted with Gogo’s gear, keeping them online during their flights within the country. The addition of internet services is part of a larger plan which will also see a number of other upgrades to the JAL domestic fleet, including new seats and more flights with a premium cabin offering.
Unlike the service with their USA-based partners the JAL/Gogo implementation will be satellite-only; this is the first Ku-only partner gogo has signed on with. Using Ku-band service will allow Gogo and JAL to take advantage of existing satellite coverage in the area and to have the systems online in mid-2014. JAL indicated in their release that the service would be fee-based, not complimentary.
Moving forward with a wholly satellite-based solution reinforces Gogo’s place as a technology-agnostic provider of connectivity in the aviation market. So long as the platform is reliable Gogo is willing to consider it as a base for their service. As connectivity platforms mature that positioning bodes well for Gogo; being able to adapt their solution to any connection, not just ones they manage directly, should open up more opportunities such as this one down the line.
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