Position: Senior vice president and CTO, Aircell
Age: Declined to say
Location: Itasca, Ill.
Aircell recruited Cruz, one of the founders of Airfone, to jumpstart its in-flight broadband business. Five years later, the company is rolling out service through American Airlines and Virgin America. Where other companies have failed, Aircell might succeed: It’s the first service to win support from a domestic carrier, and because it uses cellular—not satellite—technology, users pay just $12.95 to surf the Web on a transcontinental flight, compared with as much as $30 for the discontinued Boeing Connexion service.
Over the next year, Cruz wants to see more airlines adopt the technology and offer it on more flights. More important, he expects in-flight broadband to change the way we work—and the way we play. “You’re on your way to Disney World and you want to start booking reservations to restaurants,” Cruz said. “I can’t think of anyone that doesn’t have a need.”
Did You Know: In his spare time, Cruz collects and restores antique lab equipment.