American Airlines chief Gerard Arpey told me yesterday during an earnings conference call that management has not made a final decision about whether to progress with fleet-wide installations of Aircell's air-to-ground (ATG) connectivity solution, Gogo.
The carrier has offered Gogo on its transcontinental Boeing 767s since last summer. And passengers have raved about the service.
Asked by this journa-blogger if American intends to extend Gogo to the rest of the fleet, Arpey said: "We haven't made that decision yet. We're still evaluating the efficacy of that whole programme. I don't think it would be too terribly long before we make the final decision [concerning fleet equipage]."
Efficacy. What a great word. It's simply not used enough these days. It means the capacity for producing a desired result or effect.
So if passengers love Gogo, what could be the hold-up at American? It is logical to assume that the carrier may be taking a wait and see approach until other Internet service providers come to market, such as Row 44, which could offer a Ku band-based overseas solution if/when it gets rolling.
To this end, there may be a bit of competitive pressure on the international front. Last week Lufthansa upped the ante, vowing to reinstate satellite-based connectivity on overseas flights in 2009.
For the record, Aircell has said it is exploring overseas options too. One of its customers, Air Canada, told me last September that it will turn to Aircell for ATG services over North America and will adopt Aircell's overseas offering when that is decided.
(Photo of American Airlines passengers on Douglas DC-6 from 1949)