New solution keeps flight crews connected with the ground

New solution allows airline crews to keep in touch with the ground
New solution allows airline crews to keep in touch with the ground

A new solution has been launched that will enable aircraft crews to stay in touch with their colleagues on the ground.

Developed by in-flight Wi-Fi provider, Gogo, the new ‘Crew Connect’ system is a messaging platform that allows flight crews to communicate by voice or text messaging with ground crews while the aircraft is in flight. The solution is an app-based service, available on Android, Apple and Microsoft devices.

“Today, numerous airlines are issuing their flight attendants and pilots Wi-Fi-enabled tablets and smartphones, which are capable of utilising aircraft connectivity. Crew Connect leverages that trend,” explained Ash ElDifrawi, Gogo’s chief commercial officer.

“The only other way for cabin crew to communicate off the aircraft is through traditional flight deck voice or datalink systems, which have historically been difficult and expensive to utilise for in-flight cabin crew communication.

“This service will give airlines an inexpensive way to keep crew connected and informed while in the air, with the ultimate goal of helping airlines improve efficiency,” he added.

The new technology is based on IP messaging platform technology. As well as allowing crew members to send messages to ground staff, it will also enable the airline to send communications to an entire aircraft, fleet or region. The tool includes status notifications like “message read” and “on aircraft” and a ‘hot button’ that can connect instantly to various airline departments, such as dispatch, scheduling and maintenance.

And while it is optimised for Gogo’s network, Crew Connect is also available to airlines using other in-flight connectivity suppliers.

Such a tool could have been useful in recent instances when communications between the aircraft and ground were lost, such as the disappearance of flight MH370.

“Crew Connect is another example of how Gogo is driving industry-leading innovation on its in-flight network to unlock the potential of the connected fleet,” added ElDifrawi.  “We will continue to work with airline partners to create products and service that help them achieve their individual goals from an operational perspective.”

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