Airbus, SITA and Tenzing Join Forces to Offer In-Flight Broadband Internet Services

The needs of airlines to equip their aircraft cost-effectively with a full suite of passenger
communications services will now be easier to meet, following today’s
announcement that industry leaders Airbus, SITA INC
and Tenzing will form a
new company. These services will allow passengers to keep in touch via
their own mobile phones, laptops and PDAs in flight.The portfolio of solutions to be offered will meet passengers’ expectations
to be able to use their own devices and to be billed through their normal
mobile operator or Internet Service Provider (ISP).  Typical international
roaming rates will apply for mobile use and laptop and PDA connectivity
will be charged on a usage basis.

The advantage to airlines is the availability of a cost-effective,
evolutionary and commercially viable path for full bi-directional broadband
communication to and from each aircraft.  The services, to be available on
Airbus and Boeing aircraft, will be based on technology that offers
airlines a minimal up-front capital investment, a straightforward up-grade
path to new services, and low overall operating costs.

SITA, as the majority shareholder, will play a leading role in the new
company.  Francesco Violante, Managing Director of SITA INC, said, “The aim
of the new company is to become the world’s leading provider of cabin
connectivity products and services. These services will seamlessly extend
the personal communications world of all travellers to the aircraft cabin.
Airlines will benefit by having the ability to tailor the offer to their
short and long haul fleets and the control to create the social environment
that best suits their passengers. We believe this breakthrough will create
a new dimension in airline passenger services.”

Patrick Gavin, Executive Vice President of Customer Services at Airbus,
said, “I see this New Company as the ‘first-in-the-class’ in its business,
and capable of providing a fleet-wide, scalable and affordable offer to the
airlines and the passengers. The teaming of SITA’s expertise and strength
in communication services for the airlines with Tenzing’s unique
e-mail/internet capability is a key improvement in the offer available
today to our airline customers.”
The deal is subject to final approval from the respective Boards of each
company.
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