American could dump Gogo in-flight internet for faster ViaSat

Michael Garko, Fly Guys Blog

American Airlines is looking to potentially end its contract with in-flight internet provider Gogo early and switch to US-based rival ViaSat.

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Photo courtesy Dallas Morning News

American filed a lawsuit in district court in Tarrant County, Texas on Friday against Gogo, stating that it has found a faster provider in ViaSat.

In the suit, American claims that the terms of its contract with Gogo allow the airline to renegotiate or terminate its contract if another company offers a better service according to The Star-Telegram.

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“After carefully evaluating the new technology and services in the marketplace, American has decided to exercise its rights under the Agreement and recently notified Gogo that ViaSat offers an in-flight connectivity system that materially improves on Gogo’s air-to-ground system,” American states in the suit.

Gogo has long been a leading provider for in-flight internet services, but stiff competition has rendered Gogo’s product sluggish. Rivals ViaSat and Panasonic Avionics have quickly caught up to, and surpassed, Gogo’s service.

ViaSat already provides its service to JetBlue, United and Virgin America in the U.S. It is also expected that Australia’s Qantas will announce a deal next week with ViaSat to provide the service to its passengers onboard its aircraft.

However, the suit may just be a strategy move by the Fort Worth-based airline.

“Gogo may respond with a proposal, and we will evaluate all of our options,” American Airlines told Business Insider.

According to the current contract, Gogo is allowed to submit a competing proposal to American which Gogo said it intends to do related to its satellite technology, 2Ku.

“We believe that 2Ku is the best performing technology in the market and look forward to discussing our offer with American,” Gogo said in a statement.