Inflight connectivity provider Gogo is in talks with several Middle Eastern airlines—including Dubai-based Emirates, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad and Qatar Airways—to provide its 2Ku satellite internet system, the company said at the Dubai Air Show.

Gogo’s 2Ku system is not currently installed on any airlines in the region, but the system’s satellite coverage extends to the region, Gogo SVP-international Niels Steenstrup said. Both the UK’s British Airways and Virgin Atlantic operate Gogo 2Ku-equipped aircraft into the region, demonstrating its reach, he added.

Operators in the region were early adopters of inflight connectivity and are at the point where systems need to be upgraded or replaced, Steenstrup said. This, he believes, will make the Gogo 2Ku product competitive in the Middle East.

The 2Ku product is built for future capability and growth, obviating the need for frequent hardware upgrades. Steenstrup said the system could offer speeds of up to 400 Mbps, but these speeds now are cost-prohibitive to provide and are not necessary for passengers’ current streaming and browsing needs.

The 2Ku system also can accommodate increased usage that will come as airlines increasingly offer connectivity for free, Steenstrup said. The company does not release take rates, but Steenstrup said the system can offer fast connectivity even if all passengers on a flight use the system. However, he noted, take rates tend to be much closer to one-third of the passengers on a typical flight.

Gogo has installed the 2Ku system on 400 aircraft worldwide and has a backlog of 1,900 aircraft, he said.

Most of the company’s installed base is in North America and Europe, but future growth will come from Asia Pacific and the Middle East, Steenstrup said.

Madhu Unnikrishnan, madhu.unnikrishnan@aviationweek.com