G-Connect Wi-Fi launched on SA’s Mango airline

Low cost airline Mango’s entire fleet, comprising six new-generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft, is now online. The last aircraft was fitted with the service last week and assumes service today.

The last Mango airline aircraft has been fitted with G-Connect Wi-Fi connectivity. (Image: File)

The G-Connect In-Flight Wi-Fi service has exceeded all expectations with over 250 GB (gigabyte) of data usage supported by an above global average  take-up rate of 8% during the installation period. Traffic of approximately 9 000 emails, 1 678 tweets and 652 Facebook posts were logged with a total of 27 000 sessions during the beta phase, expected to end by November.

Mango and G-Connect are celebrating the completion of the fleet rollout by offering on-board connectivity at R 1 for a day pass and R 2 for a week’s access pass during October on all flights.

Over the past six years Mango has embraced technology and innovation to deliver direct business advantage says CEO Nico Bezuidenhout. “Since our launch, we have set ourselves a target of a ground-breaking innovation every year; from being the first airline on social media through to innovative payment methods such as accepting store charge cards (Edcon) and retailing flights through Shoprite and Checkers, our mobi-site and G-Connect In-Flight Wi-Fi – Mango is forging ahead at pace and it has delivered substantially to the growth of the business.” Bezuidenhout estimates that as many as 30% of Guests elect to fly Mango as a direct result of its various innovations. “Mango invests in assets that make it easier to do business with us,” says Bezuidenhout.

CEO of G-Connect, Carel van der Merwe, says that even while travelling at 855 km per hour through the sky, broadband at altitude delivers speed which compares favourably to the same broadband connectivity on terra firma. “The service has seen a 98% up-time throughout with usage, we anticipate, growing to a 12% uptake following the completion of fleet rollout,” says van der Merwe.

“Interestingly we have seen the majority of use focused on sending and receiving email, showing that the potential for upping productivity during a two hour flight has become an important business tool. We expect email traffic to increase by 60% over the next couple of months with social media posts likely growing in tandem with general usage increases.” “We expect the same trend as in other parts of the world where 50% of business travellers take Wi-Fi enabled flights to be “reachable” during business hours. We are in a competitive age during which access to information and ease of communication enhance productivity. To this end effective connectivity is essential and Wi-Fi in the sky will soon become another standard amenity – travellers will change airlines just to have it.” says van der Merwe

Global research body IMS Research says that by end 2012 it expects global aviation Wi-Fi installations to reach over 3000 aircraft, a 60% growth from 2011, with over 15 000 aircraft expected to be Wi-Fi enabled by 2021. Mango is currently the only airline on the African continent to offer the service. “It has delivered a significant competitive edge to Mango,” says Bezuidenhout, who believes that during current challenging economic conditions product differentiation has become critical in attracting customers from a declining base.

He says about airlines: “Have seat, will fly. Have Wi-Fi, will soar.”

Staff Writer