Delta Air Lines’ goal of equipping its entire long-haul fleet with satellite-based inflight Wi-Fi by 2015 took a big step forward today when its service provider, Gogo, announced it has received FAA supplemental type certification (STC) to install its Ku-band equipment on Airbus A330 aircraft.
This is Gogo’s second STC for its Ku-band satellite service on Delta; Gogo previously received FAA certification to install its Ku equipment on Boeing 747-400 aircraft. But the A330 STC represents a milestone for the company because it has been obtained alongside bird strike approval of the antenna radome by the FAA. The Boeing 747, on the other hand, is not considered to be in the bird strike zone due to its hump-like upper deck, and thus is an easier aircraft for which to secure STC for Ku.
Gogo says its Ku-band satellite connectivity service is currently in the final phases of customer testing on Delta’s 747-400 aircraft “with completion of installation for the full 747-400 fleet targeted for the middle of 2014”.
With the newly-issued A330 STC, Gogo and Delta can begin initial testing of the service on the airline’s A330 fleet before the service goes live to consumers. RGN understands that Delta TechOps in Detroit has completed installation on the first A330 with Gogo Ku.
Delta had hoped to roll out the system on its 767s first, and physical bird strike testing of the Saint-Gobain-manufactured radomes were undertaken. But placement of the radome above the wing join/wingbox has proven problematic, and the company awaits STC for this Delta workhorse aircraft.
Even so, Gogo expects to install its Ku-band connectivity service on Delta’s entire international fleet by the end of 2015, despite hiccups in its program.
Celebrating its A330 STC today, Gogo president and CEO Michael Small said, “This is another major milestone for Gogo and clears another hurdle in the process of outfitting Delta’s international fleet with Wi-Fi
“As a full-service communications company that operates a network at 30,000 feet, we are proud to offer a consistent global connectivity experience anywhere our customers fly; whether it’s on regional aircraft in the US, domestic mainline aircraft or Ku-equipped 747-400s and A330s that travel around the world.”