Wow, a busy day today in the world of in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC). For starters, Southwest Airlines confirmed it has inked an equipment purchase deal with Row 44, and now AeroMobile is confirming its emergence from administration as a new wholly-owned subsidiary of Norway-based telecommunications giant Telenor Group (which owned the majority of AeroMobile before it was placed into administration on 21 December).
Here is the entire text of AeroMobile’s press release:
AEROMOBILE SEALS FUTURE LONG TERM INVESTMENT WITH TELENOR GROUP
29th January, 2010 – AeroMobile has today finalised a long term investment in its future, with the formation of AeroMobile Communications Ltd as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Telenor Group, the world’s seventh largest telecoms company.
The move comes as the business of AeroMobile emerges from a short, 5 week period of restructure via administration. During this time, the company was managed in conjunction with the highly acclaimed firm BDO who led a successful restructuring process, and secured the outright sale of the AeroMobile business to Telenor. AeroMobile says this will enable it to maintain its industry leadership and cater to the burgeoning in-flight connectivity market.
Bjarne Aamodt, Chairman of the Board of AeroMobile and Senior Vice President in Telenor Group, says: “We are delighted to seal an investment in AeroMobile that will develop its potential in the years ahead. This innovative, award-winning business already has a proven track record and, with our long-term vision and support, we are utterly confident that it will continue to grow successfully.”
In March 2008, the AeroMobile system made possible the first authorised in-flight calls on a commercial flight with launch customer Emirates Airline. It is currently the only system in commercial operation on wide-bodied airliners. It is in service today on 68 aircraft of Emirates and Malaysian Airlines, flying to over 90 destinations across the globe, and has also been ordered by Qantas.
AeroMobile is teamed with market-leading IFEC (In-flight Entertainment and Communications) giant, Panasonic Avionics Corporation, and is a key element of the world’s first fully integrated cellular-enabled IFEC platform. AeroMobile technology, under the eXPhone brand, is an integral part of Panasonic’s new IFEC offering. V Australia is the launch customer for eXPhone.
AeroMobile’s technology is also a major component of Panasonic’s Global Communications Suite, an advanced industry first package that offers in-flight cellular, broadband Wi-Fi services and live TV. Lufthansa is the launch customer for the Global Communications Suite.
Since its launch, the AeroMobile system has been used by over 1.4 million airline passengers making it the most popular in the skies today.
AeroMobile’s CEO, Bjorn-Taale Sandberg, says: “This is a significant moment in our company’s history and a major step forward. Becoming a subsidiary of a renowned billion dollar industry giant such as Telenor Group gives us the necessary confidence to further develop the company to the benefit of our customers”
“The recent restructuring was initiated to create a better platform from which we can realise our full long-term business potential, sustain product leadership and continually offer different ways for airlines to differentiate themselves.”
Malcolm Cohen, Restructuring Partner at BDO and joint administrator, said: “It is a great result to have sold the AeroMobile business to Telenor, preserving jobs and reputation. The sale will ensure the ongoing success of the business and we wish Telenor and AeroMobile Communications the very best for the future.”