UPDATE: Banging on Boeing’s door for connected aircraft

UPDATE 2: I just saw OnAir chief Benoit Debains at the Row 44 booth – are these two talking? hmmmm – and suffice it to say that Benoit is ready to do another jig, since OnAir says its solution will be line-fit offerable on the 787 (see blog post below).

During a recent unveiling of its connectivity suite in London, Thales promised that the launch customer for its new connected in-flight entertainment would be BIG.

Well, it’s safe to say that Thales didn’t disappoint.

By now you’ve no doubt heard that Qatar will offer the Inmarsat SwiftBroadband-supported Thales IFEC solution on up to 60 Boeing 787s. Cha-freaking-ching.

Obviously, this is fab news for all players involved, Thales, Inmarsat, OnAir and Qatar. Significantly, however, the Qatar deal is big news for 787 customers, many of which have been banging on Boeing’s door for cabin connectivity from the get-go (Retrofit your 787 with connectivity? Uh, no thanks.)

I chatted with V Australia’s Greg Mashlin today. He knows a thing or two about banging on Boeing’s door for connectivity on new-delivery aircraft. V Australia is launching a SwiftBroadband-supported Panasonic/AeroMobile connected IFE solution on its 777s in the near term. But the carrier wanted the solution on delivery. Yes, V Australia is among the carriers that pressured Boeing to agree a connectivity plan for the 777, says Mashlin. “Very much so.”

On a personal note, I’m relieved that my inside info on this particular Thales deal was accurate. I thought I was going to have to pair back my wine intake tonight. Crisis averted!

Turn the sound up all the way on this video of my chat with Thales in London.


(Photo above from Dave Sizer’s Flickr photo stream.

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5 Responses to UPDATE: Banging on Boeing’s door for connected aircraft

  1. David Parker Brown May 18, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    It seems odd that Boeing is so reluctant to assist in getting in flight connectivity to airlines and passengers. Do you get a feeling what the hold up is?

    David

  2. RobH May 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    I agree with sir David: You should do a little digging to find out why Boeing is being so asinine. You would think that, at some point, Boeing would actually try to inspire loyalty in their customers as opposed to telling them (foolishly) that something can’t be done. Goes against common business sense.

    Anyway, never be afraid of a great wine, but don’t embarrass yourself either :)

  3. Dave May 18, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    There is never a good reason to pare back your wine intake. If anything you should switch to Port… it has the added goodness of Brandy already added to fine Portuguese wine making for an alcohol content of ~20%.

    Anyways, getting back to Boeing… it seems there is an astonishing level of arrogance that pervades their ranks. If the customer wants something, and your rival are planning on obliging, you had damn well better offer that capability.

    But given the fiasco that the entire 787 project has been despite the progress in flight testing, is this any surprise?

  4. Dr Mojoh May 18, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

    Interestingly Qatar has just received their first widebody with Thales SBB capability in the shape of the B777F.

  5. Beverage Dispenser May 19, 2010 at 6:11 pm #

    I’m going to book a flight on one of these aircraft as soon as possible. I don’t even care if I want to go to the destination! ;-P