South Korea’s Aero K Partners with Skytrac on A320 Cellular Connectivity

Aero K, a South Korean startup low cost carrier, has partnered with Skytrac Systems to add cellular connectivity to its fleet of Airbus A320s. (Aero K)

Aero K Airlines, a low-cost startup carrier based in South Korea, has entered into a partnership with Skytrac Systems to enable global mobile data coverage to its fleet of Airbus A320s operated on domestic and international flights.

The airline is the final stages of obtaining an aircraft operating certificate with plans to begin domestic flights from Cheongju International Airport next month. Under the partnership, Aero K’s fleet is being equipped with Skytrac’s Dynamic Air Link 200 (DAL-200) wireless communications and data technology that provides cellular data coverage in more than 200 countries.

“Our goal is to become the leading airline in Northeast Asia, and that means investing in our pilots and infrastructure so we can optimize efficiencies right out of the gate,” said Aero K Airlines Chief Operating Officer Stuart Cross. “We are pleased to select SKYTRAC due to their position as a market leader in intelligent connectivity.”

Cellular data service on Aero K’s A320s will be enabled by Skytrac’s partnership with GigSky, first announced in a Jan. 29 press release. That partnership integrated enterprise level SIM card technology provided by GigSky into the purchase of data plans sold by Skytrac to give operators the ability to improve data sharing across their fleet.

The service will also auto-select the best performing national mobile network based on where Aero K aircraft are operating.

When the GigSky partnership was announced, Ruben Stepin, director of GADSS and airline business development for Skytrac, described it as a “a significant development as instead of operators utilizing and expensing personal or local SIM cards, an organization can now manage all their SIMs from one location, using one supplier and one giant pool of data for seamless global data connectivity.”

Aero K pilots will also use Skytrac’s mobile data coverage for pre- and post-flight electronic flight bag (EFB) cockpit connectivity. Flight crews can also use tablet devices to access flight plans, weather reports, eTechLogs and charting map updates using the new cellular data service, Skytrac said.

Skytrac’s partnership with Aero K is one of the latest digital investments by the airline, after announcing its decision to adopt Comply365’s operational content management platform to manage operational manuals and creating of analytics reports. The Aero K partnership is the latest new airline adoption announced by Skytrac in recent weeks, after confirming another new airline, Quebec-based OWG, will use its satcom technology for a fleet of Boeing 737-400s.

Operations for Aero K are scheduled to launch despite the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) projection that Asia Pacific region airlines are expected to be the hardest hit by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on an air travel. IATA is projecting global revenue losses for the airline industry to total $84.3 billion for 2020, with the Asia Pacific region expected to collectively account for $29 billion of that.

The region’s airlines will see passenger demand drop by 53.8 percent this year, while capacity is projected to be reduced by 39.2 percent, according to IATA.

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