Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi service ready for takeoff on China flights
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 ground-breaking 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 high demand 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.