Clay Lacy Aviation will become the first Part 135 charter operator to offer Aircell's in-flight broadband service to passengers.

The Van Nuys, California-based company operates one of the largest multi-type jet charter fleets in the world.

Installation of Aircell's air-to-ground (ATG)-based High Speed Internet system across Clay Lacy's business jet fleet will begin this month with the retrofit programme expected to be complete by mid-2010.

Financial terms of the deal have not been released.

"We recognize that business aircraft are an important tool for increasing productivity and full Internet connectivity is a crucial element of that. Everyone we've spoken to about this new system has reacted positively and we believe it is yet another example of Clay Lacy's commitment to providing the highest level of safety, service and value to its owners and charter customers," says Clay Lacy president Brian Kirkdoffer.

Ed Hogan, a Clay Lacy customer and owner of the two Gulfstream 450s that will be first to receive the new system, says: "This is the same fundamental service that has become so popular with commercial airlines and their passengers. Its reliability and functionality has been tested and proven by literally thousands of consumers. Being fully functional with a laptop and BlackBerry turns the aircraft into a 500+ mph office. This service will significantly enhance productivity and should be extremely popular with owners and charter customers alike."

Aircell's ATG-based broadband system is marketed to commercial carriers as Gogo. Several operators, including AirTran Airways, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Virgin America are currently providing Gogo in-flight connectivity to passengers.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news