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February 07, 2011

Gogo Expands In-flight Content with Private Funding

By Michelle Amodio, TMCnet Contributor

Aircell’s Gogo, which has been turning commercial airplanes into WiFi (News - Alert) hotspots, is looking toward an expansion in 2011. The company closed a $35 million deal with existing investors to fund its growth in both commercial and business aviation.

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"2010 was the year in-flight Internet went mainstream and Aircell established its leadership in this exciting new mobile Internet venue," said Michael Small, Aircell president and CEO, in a press release. "Since securing our exclusive spectrum license in 2006, we've raised more than $500 million."

Existing investors include Ripplewood Holdings, a major private equity group, Blumenstein/Thorne Information Partners and other investment entities associated with investor/entrepreneur Oakleigh Thorne.

Gogo’s rival, Row 44, raised $37 million in its own funding to expand abroad. Small says Gogo also plans to expand internationally, noting that “if nothing else (there’s) the opportunity to serve international fleets of U.S. airlines.”

Gogo communications systems are now available as original equipment at every major manufacturer in the business aviation industry since Bombardier Aerospace tapped Aircell in October. Moving forward in 2011, Aircell expects to increase its base of installed aircraft by an average of three per day in the airline market.

Gogo is available on all AirTran Airways, Virgin America and mainline Delta Air Lines flights; as well as flights operated by Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines and U.S. Airways, with service on Frontier Airlines expected to begin shortly.


Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet Contributor. She has years of experience in business and marketing. Previously, she worked in broadcast journalism and as an editor abroad in London, England for a privately owned magazine. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf