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“Huge demand” for in-flight sat-TV

Gogo, which is one of the world’s top 3 satellite-based in-flight entertainment (IFE) providers, says that it expects ‘per-aircraft’ (ARPA – Average Revenue per Aircraft) revenues to double within 5 years. It also says that it is not worried about threats from Ka-band systems provided by Viasat (of California) or Inmarsart.

Gogo says that by 2020 there will be enough Ku-band satellite capacity over North America to serve 2800 commercial aircraft in the air at any one time, and with each aircraft having 100 passengers on-line simultaneously.  Gogo has contracts in place to supply IFE to 1300 aircraft, and has just added 124 long-haul planes for Air France/KLM.

Gogo CEO Michael Small, speaking at the company’s Investor Day, said Gogo is spending $50 million to upgrade its own Air-To-Ground network for its ‘2Ku’ service which supplies 100 Mb/s to each aircraft.  He added that this would equate to a revenue stream of some $300,000 per aircraft/year by 2021. Today’s revenues are closer to $140,000 per annum.

Today’s in-flight users get a maximum of 50 Mb/s, but this will be boosted to 100 Mb/s by the end of 2017, and helped by promised satellite launches from Intelsat and SES. Intelsat will launch its I-32e, I-33e, I-35e and I-37e (‘Epic’ satellites) over the next year or so, adding to overall capacity, while SES is adding SES-15, SES-12 and SES-14 craft over the next 2 years to add to its available bandwidth.

Panasonic Avionics, Global Eagle (GEE), Lufthansa Systems and Thales are also supplying the IFE market.

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