Airbus is making no apologies for its insistence that in-flight connectivity service providers be integrated with its ALNA (Airline Network Architecture) V2. And Jonathan Norris, VP cabin design for the European manufacturer, made that point crystal clear at the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) single focus connectivity workshop last week in Everett, Washington.
In what could well have been the key quote from the show floor – or, at very least, one of the key quotes – Norris said:
“Airbus is not opposed to competition either from service providers or hardware suppliers. Satcom or whatever other means of ‘off-aircraft’ connectivity is not the sole domain of an IFE provider. We have a need for off-aircraft connectivity which is becoming more and more non-IFE related, and more related to cockpit and flight-critical communications, and we don’t believe that this is a domain where we should be beholden to one or more IFE suppliers.
“We are more than happy to support different service providers but they need to meet the architectural requirements of the aircraft. At the moment we don’t have applications from other service providers that meet these requirements.”
What does this mean for AeroMobile and Panasonic, the latter of which has branded AeroMobile’s in-flight mobile connectivity service as eXPhone, as part of its broader connectivity suite? Their application to become linefit on new Airbus aircraft at present apparently does not meet the airframer’s requirements.