Industry sources are saying that Boeing arch-rival Airbus is close to concluding a deal to provide in-flight e-mail with Redmond, WA.-based Tenzing Communications, according to automotive/aerospace industries research and analysis site e MOTION! REPORTS.net
In a story to be posted shortly, ER`s England-based Aerotechnologies Editor Ian McInnes says such a deal could have profound implications for the marketing goals of Boeing`s Connexion system.
“This Tenzing/Airbus deal, if it really is happening, could make a major dent in Boeing`s forecast for Connexion, currently at $10 billion by 2004,” says McInnes. “Airbus said last year that they would launch their own service sometime in the first half of 2002 on the new A340-600 aircraft. It looks as if they may have decided it was a better idea to go with Tenzing now and so gain a stride on arch-rival Boeing.” Jim Miller, Senior Director of Airline Alliances for Tenzing Europe, Middle East and Africa refused to confirm or deny the report. Airbus officials declined comment.
McInnes notes that Tenzing has a simpler system than Connexion in that it uses servers aboard the aircraft, and offers pre-selected web sites along with e-mail feeds. As a result, no satellite links are necessary. And as far as content is concerned, Tenzing made an agreement with Aria last year. “By keeping it simple, Tenzing has gotten ahead of the competition and reached the marketplace first,” says McInnes.
“They`ve already signed up Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic. If the Airbus deal does go through, the potential is enormous; apart from the aircraft that are already in service, the consortium has orders for more than 4200 new aircraft.”
The availability of the Tenzing system will force fence-sitting airlines, like American, to make a decision now as far as providing in-flight e-Mail and Internet access.
“They delayed their decision because of technological uncertainties,” said McInnes. “Such reasoning may now have been rendered null and void.”