GOL Boeing 737-700 aircraft. Photo: GOL

MIAMI — Brazilian carrier Gol is betting big on in-flight connectivity, signing a deal this week with Gogo to fit its entire fleet – more than 130 aircraft – with the 2Ku satellite-based solution. The initial Gol aircraft are expected to be fitted starting in mid-2016.

In addition to internet connectivity, the deal calls for the Gogo Vision onboard video solution and Gogo TV, a new, streaming live TV solution Gogo has developed, to be deployed on the planes.

GOL Boeing 737-800
GOL Boeing 737-800

The Gogo TV offering will convert live television into streaming content, allowing it to be delivered over the data network along with other customer internet traffic. Because of the high-capacity service available on the 2Ku system Gogo believes that this is the ideal way to deliver the TV solution for passengers and airlines alike.

The benefits of the 2Ku solution, using the electromechanical antennae from Thinkom, will further benefit Gol, which operates primarily in the equatorial region where traditional satellite systems are prone to interference issues due to skew angle. Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO, furthered that point:

We believe that 2Ku will be the best performing technology in the global aero market.  This performance is expected to be even better near the equator, where a large percentage of GOL’s aircraft operate.

As the largest customer commitment outside of North America, this order represents a significant win for Gogo and the satellite-based connectivity market in general. It also presses the in-flight entertainment and connectivity market forward in Brazil where Azul, started by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, has offered live TV in-flight since its launch. This deal with Gogo helps Gol to compete on that front.