Boeing, Honeywell collaborate, while Gogo increases credit facility

Boeing and Honeywell announced a new agreement targeting development of new in-flight wireless connectivity platforms for Boeing aircraft. In addition, Gogo and Row 44 released news regarding their separate in-flight connectivity initiatives.

Aircraft maker Boeing joined with Honeywell, signing a technical services agreement under which they will research and develop technologies for in-flight wireless connectivity on Boeing platforms including the 787, 777, 737NG and 747-8.

The companies expect to research, test and develop the hardware, software and potential services that will utilize GX Ka-band satellites, powered by Inmarsat's Global Xpress constellation. The first Inmarsat GX Ka-band satellite, being built by Boeing, is expected to launch in late 2013. Boeing and Honeywell said they will initiate necessary activities to support GX Ka-band equipment installation aboard new aircraft in 2015.

The Honeywell-developed hardware and system for Inmarsat's GX Aviation network will also introduce new services to aircraft operators, airlines and air traffic control such as predictive maintenance and improved aircraft communications. Honeywell and Inmarsat signed an agreement in 2012 to provide global in-flight connectivity services to business, commercial and government aviation customers around the world.

In other news, Gogo said it closed on a $113 million increase to its existing $135 million credit facility arranged by Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan in June of 2012. The in-flight connectivity provider expects to use proceeds of the debt financing to fund its global expansion and for general operating purposes.

Further, Gogo announced a new partnership with Thales, a supplier of in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems (IFEC), to offer line-fit solutions based on the Thales TopSeries Avant platform and Gogo's connectivity services. Gogo currently offers solutions based on Inmarsat's Global Xpress Ka-band satellite service, Ku-band satellite and air-to-ground (ATG) technologies. 

"Gogo has both an excellent track record and a technology that harmonizes extremely well with the Thales IFEC platform. It brings two best of breed capabilities together and will give airlines exclusive passenger experiences with an economical and global connection. This gives us the benefit of accessing satellite based connectivity services through Gogo's reseller agreements with its satellite partners as well as Gogo's ATG network where available," said Alan Pellegrini , president and CEO of Thales USA. 

Satellite-based inflight Wi-Fi provider Row 44 also made news this week, announcing that it completed installation on 60 of Norwegian Air Shuttle's Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Norwegian Air Shuttle was the first airline to offer high-speed Internet connectivity on flights within Europe and is now also the first airline in Europe to perform a broad commercial rollout of video on demand directly to passengers' own Wi-Fi-enabled devices, said Row 44. Future installations of the Row 44 solution aboard Norwegian Air Shuttle are expected to begin later this year.

Row 44's in-flight entertainment service, based on Ku-band satellites, is offered on nearly 500 aircraft flying worldwide.

For more:
- see this Boeing and Honeywell release
- see this Gogo release and this release
- see this Row 44 release

Related articles:
ZTE tests air-to-ground FDD-LTE network
Report: FAA may loosen restrictions on passenger access to iPads, Kindles
Row 44, Gogo mark in-flight Wi-Fi milestones
Gogo installing satellite and ATG service for American Airlines
Emirates to allow in-flight cellphone calls via OnAir
Boeing to enable in-flight Wi-Fi and cell phone connectivity on new 747s and 777s

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