UPDATE: I've included a link to the BDO statement, and added some questions we need to think about.
Before I begin this blog, I need to give a shout out to in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) news site AirFax.com, which today reported a "rumor central" tidbit that AeroMobile has been placed into administration, and linked to the following London Gazette document.
AeroMobile has just confirmed to me that it has in fact been placed into administration in the UK (bankruptcy and administration mean different things in different countries so be sure to read the BBC's tutorial if you need a refresher).
Read the BDO statement here: BDO media statement.DOC
AeroMobile, a partnership between Arinc and Telenor, is in the process of fitting its in-flight mobile connectivity solution to Emirates' fleet.
Below are statements from Telenor and Emirates. Note that Telenor - which owns 99.88% of AeroMobile - appears poised to try and scoop up the whole company at auction. And both parties stress that they expect business to continue as usual despite this latest turn of events.
But the questions being asked now are A) Will Telenor succeed in buying the whole kitten caboodle? B) Will Panasonic Avionics, partnered with AeroMobile on eXPhone, make a bid? C) Could another party emerge at auction? Ohhhhhhh. Wild times in the world of IFEC and it's only January!
"Last month (Monday, December 21) AeroMobile was placed into administration. This is a move to secure the future funding of the business and trading will continue entirely as normal.
"AeroMobile has been engaged in a process to secure new investment into the company for a period of several months. As demand for connectivity solutions in the airline industry has increased significantly, interest from potential investors has been significant and offers have been received.
"Telenor believes in the viability of the company after re-structuring and we have expressed our intent to put in a bid for the company and secure further funding, which means there is at least one investor committed to taking the company forward.
"The administration period is expected to be at most a few weeks.
"Telenor has guaranteed ongoing funding during the administration period which means that AeroMobile continues as usual. The company will have money to pay its bills and salaries."
"Emirates' agreement with AeroMobile is unaffected by this development.
"We, and our passengers, have been delighted with the development of the AeroMobile service, which is now operating on 65 of our aircraft.
"There has been a rapid acceleration in usage of the service this year. In the first 12 months after our March 2008 launch, we had 168,000 users - however in the last eight months alone we have had a further 1.1 million users. It has proved an extremely popular service.
"We look forward to the continued roll out of AeroMobile across our fleet during 2010."