Despite the Covid-19 pandemic representing one of the most difficult business environments in the history of aviation, Gogo has indicated that its 2020 results will have ended with more business aviation air-to-ground (ATG) connectivity subscribers than it had at the beginning of 2020. Gogo entered 2020 with 5,669 ATG subscribers online, and it says the year should have ended with more than 5,700 subscribers online.
“We have an incredibly strong and resilient business,” said Sergio Aguirre, Gogo’s president of business aviation. “This year has been such a difficult challenge, but our rapid recovery proves that inflight connectivity and entertainment are must-haves for today’s private aviation passengers.”
A combination of factors drove Gogo’s year-over-year increase in subscribers, including new installations (primarily the AVANCE L5 and L3) – work which continued throughout the pandemic – and customers who having previously suspended their service, resumed it as air travel became less restricted. Gogo reports it saw a “significant increase” in new system installations in the third and fourth quarters of 2020 compared to the second quarter, including a notable increase in AVANCE sales in December versus previous months. Gogo now has more than 1,150 AVANCE L5 and more than 500 AVANCE L3 systems installed and flying.
Gogo saw the deepest impact of the Covid-19 restrictions on its customers’ operations in mid-April, when flight activity was down 91% from the high in mid-February. Flight activity has bounced back significantly since then to approximately 80% of the pre-Covid highs, while charter operations are back at nearly 100%. Regarding charter flights specifically, activity online and megabytes consumed has increased “dramatically”, according to Gogo.
At its lowest point in early-May, 22% of Gogo’s subscribers suspended service, while another 22% downgraded their service plans. Today, 78% of those who suspended their service have unsuspended and 92% of those who downgraded plans have either returned to their original plan or upgraded to a higher plan. Combined, 75% of those who had suspended or downgraded their plan have moved back to their original plan or upgraded.
“From an operational standpoint, like everyone else, we had to make some significant modifications to adjust to the pandemic, and we did that fairly quickly,” Aguirre continued. “We have not missed a single delivery on new equipment or on any repairs during the pandemic. Our people really rose to that challenge, and we continued to innovate.”
During 2020, Gogo also developed and introduced several significant product and service enhancements. Those enhancements include:
- Lowered service level from 10,000ft above ground level (AGL) to 3,000 feet AGL, providing an additional 15-20 minutes of connectivity time on most flights, and enabling connectivity for shorter flights that don’t typically reach 10,000ft AGL, or spend little time at that altitude.
- Introduced Cloudport – a small, simple device that enables automatic over-the-air updates to Gogo Vision content, which is completed while an aircraft is parked in the hangar. Cloudport eliminates the need for operators to physically update their system each month, saving time and expense for operators and for Gogo.
- Launched Gogo MIX, which allows operators to customise their inflight wi-fi networks and connectivity preferences and deploy changes remotely.
- Launched Gogo Vision 360, which offers unlimited streaming of on-demand movies, TV programming and news clips, along with digital magazines and a state-of-the-art 3D moving map, all at a fixed monthly price, eliminating the unpredictability and often high costs associated with inflight streaming video and audio. Gogo Vision 360 is integrated into every AVANCE system and offers a viewing experience that is instantly and easily available on passengers’ personal devices.
- Released the AVANCE 4.2 software upgrade, which includes the new 3D moving map and other elements embedded within Gogo Vision 360.