Airborne internet service provider Tenzing Communications is to modify its Inmarsat Swift64-based satellite communications service in an effort to break into the business aviation market.

Airbus-backed Tenzing, which successfully completed full-scale tests of its email offerings using the Swift64 high-speed satellite connection in February, says only minor changes to the system's graphical user interface were required before launch. Tenzing is marketing the system as a cheaper, lightweight option to recently launched competing broadband services.

John Wade, executive vice-president for strategic planning at Tenzing, says the company received enquiries from several corporate aircraft owners now using expensive, low-speed links. The company is targeting smaller business aircraft, as antennas needed for other high-speed services cannot be accommodated on smaller jets, he adds.

Tenzing has teamed with AirCell to provide a wireless local area network on board private business jets. The system uses a commercially available portable server and standard laptop computers, since under Part 91 rules, the use of wireless devices is at the pilot's discretion. If successful, supplemental type certificates for business jet types will be sought to allow for use in fractional and charter jets.

Tenzing is flying demonstrations with a Cessna Citation CJ1.

Source: Flight International