If and when Southwest Airlines reaches agreement on financing installation of Row 44′s Ku-band connectivity system on its fleet of Boeing 737s, an important Row 44 supplier, AP Avionx, will be standing at the ready.
California-based AP Avionx is supplying the modem data unit (MDU) and server management unit (SMU) for Row 44.
“When you’re a company like us, you’re not going to put millions of dollars of equipment on the shelf. But turning that faucet on for us will be easy,” AP Avionix director of business development Michael Humphrey told me in October at the WAEA convention in Palm Springs, where the firm showcased a new 802.11n cabin wireless access point called Cab-n-Connect (Yes, it’s quite possible that I like black boxes WAY too much. But Cab-n-Connect is worth a look).
“We can meet near-term demand and they [Southwest] can’t outfit as fast as we can produce,” added Humphrey.
Fast equipage. What’s that? It sounds like a foreign concept these days. Earlier this week, Southwest said it was still in negotiations with Row 44, despite an August 2009 announcement that the airline will fit its massive 540-plus aircraft fleet with Row 44, the same deal that garnered the highly-coveted number one spot on the RWG “top five most important IFEC moments in 2009” list, ahem.
Southwest says it is still targeting the first quarter for roll-out of the system, however. So, there is no contract but you’re still rolling it out? Gotcha.
A lot of companies are no doubt waiting with bated breath for the Southwest deal with Row 44 to be finally inked. [Before Row 44 received FCC authority last year, antenna supplier Aerosat warned the regulator that its financial health would deteriorate if the agency continued to delay granting approval to Row 44. The FCC ultimately approved Row 44. But, here's hoping Aerosat has the same shelf-stocking approach as AP Avionx.]
While it gets the most press, Southwest is not Row 44′s only customer and, by default, not the only deal that Row 44′s suppliers are waiting to see movement on.
Scandinavian budget carrier Norwegian in April 2009 announced plans to outfit its Boeing 737-800 fleet with Row 44. Equipage was expected to start with one -800 in the fourth quarter.
I asked Norwegian for an update this week. A spokeswoman for the airline says Norwegian is waiting for FAA approval and, after that, approval from EASA. She could provide no further detail at this time.
Details. Who needs details? They are SO pesky in the world of IFEC.
On a completely unrelated aside, did you see what OnAir CEO Benoit Debains said today about the Airbus/SITA joint venture’s possible interest in bidding on AeroMobile, which was placed into administration on 21 December?
I suppose next you’ll want details on why Telenor, which owns 99.88% of AeroMobile, would appear to prefer to buy the company under administration rather than sort things out without that restructuring vehicle? And does Arinc care, what with its staggering 0.12% ownership? Oh, tell-me-more. Nah, tell-me-no-more. It’s time for bed.