One of the businesses bidding to fill the void left when Boeing ditched its Connexion in-flight connectivity service has slashed initial forecasts of the size of the aircraft orderbook it needs.

Panasonic, offering to replace Connexion as part of a wider commitment to its own connectivity system, revealed at Aircraft Interiors Expo 2007 in Hamburg last week that the decision in recent months to form various partnering arrangements has led to a radical revision of necessary aircraft orders from an original 500 down to 50.

The company was displaying Starling's Ku-band antenna on its booth at the show in addition to the services of software technology and roaming services provider Boingo Wireless. A satellite system provider not present at the show is understood to be the third partner.

Panasonic says: "We want to leverage on the back of the businesses of partners who are involved in communications systems and in-flight entertainment."

The company says it remains in discussion with three airlines - but is yet to secure a launch customer - and is aiming to be ready to implement its alternative system as early as the year-end.

Source: Flight International