Press Release
Press Release



Virgin signs for AirCell broadband Air To Ground System
Virgin signs for AirCell broadband Air To Ground System
September 14, 2007


Virgin America is the first airline to commit to a fleet fit of the North American air-to-ground passenger broadband system due to be introduced by AirCell next year. Last month American Airlines announced that it would carry out a trial of the AirCell service.

Virgin America plans to introduce the service some time next year. Passengers in the carrier’s Airbus A319s and A320s will be able to access the Internet and private networks either through their own wireless-enabled devices or through Red, Virgin America’s Panasonic-based in-seat IFE system at every seat. Capabilities will include MSN, Googletalk, Yahoo!, Skype and AIM Webmail from the seatback via the TALK onboard chat facility, and an array of context and destination-related content.
Pricing will be announced closer to service introduction.

Colorado-headquartered AirCell is developing a North American system based on EV-DO cellular technology that will deliver megabit data rates to aircraft equipped with lightweight antennas and transceivers. Inside the aircraft the capability will be made available to passengers either via 802.11a/b/g WiFi or through the embedded IFE system. The company plans to introduce the system across the contiguous states of the USA next year, offering it to both the airlines and business aviation.

Virgin America is the second carrier to associate itself with the AirCell broadband service. At the beginning of last month American Airlines said that it would trial the service on the 15 Boeing 767-200s that it operates between New York and San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami. Installation work on the aircraft – which will include the fitting of two antennas on the belly and one on top of the fuselage - is due to begin before the end of the year.

The service will be made available for a fee in all cabins. American says that if the trial is successful,
AirCell broadband could be implemented in the rest of its domestic fleet.