Boeing is "looking at" providing in-flight connectivity as a linefit option on the 787 twinjet, but admitted it is "something we haven't committed to at this point".

In contrast Airbus is offering multiple solutions for its A350 XWB family.

Speaking at the APEX conference, Boeing commercial vice-president of marketing Randy Tinseth said the timing for bringing connectivity to the 787 is "up to customers".

The airframer was badly burned by its own failed foray into airborne internet, Connexion by Boeing, which was closed at the end of 2006. The company has also been preoccupied of late, as it focuses on delivering the long-delayed 787.

But Tinseth's admission comes at a time when airlines all over the world are fitting their aircraft with in-flight connectivity, and its European rival has offered connectivity linefit for a couple years.

Airbus vice-president of marketing Bob Lange said: "I think the trend towards mobile connectivity is obvious. People talk about supplier furnished equipment and buyer furnished equipment but I prefer to talk about passenger furnished equipment."

Referencing the fact that the Flight Daily News journalist interviewing him was using a smart phone to do so, Lange said: "When you're on your next flight you're going to be taking that with you and using that in-flight. So we have to provide that connectivity. It's a given for me."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news