Gogo has received a supplemental type certificate (STC) from the FAA to provide an IFE-only service to airlines who have opted-out on connectivity antennae. Alaska Airlines will be the launch customer.
The IFE-only Gogo Vision product “utilizes much the same equipment that our Wi-Fi service utilises,” Steve Nolan, Director of Communications at Gogo tells Skift. “The content is stored on a server on the plane and served to passengers through an in-cabin Wi-Fi system. You don’t need an app to use the service. You simply need to launch your browser and you will be directed to a library of movies and TV shows.”
Because of the particular nature of the FAA’s approvals processes, a product cleared to fly with one particular configuration cannot make a “major change” to its product without separate approval. Changing over from an antennae-dependent in-flight connectivity (IFC) product with content offerings, to a stand-alone content server IFE qualifies as “major change,” as the FAA defines it. Clearing this approvals hurdle, pits Gogo head-to-head with IFE suppliers (large and small) who already provide a stand-alone wireless IFE option to airlines around the world.