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Airbus and Tenzing achieve breakthrough in low-cost airborne e-mail

 

24 February 2003 Press Release

TOULOUSE, France (February 24, 2003) ? Airbus and Tenzing today unveiled the next step in their evolutionary approach to in-flight internet access, announcing the successful completion of the first full-scale test of Tenzing email services using the INMARSAT Swift 64 service over a standard high-gain L-band SATCOM antenna. This demonstrates to the airlines a scaleable, reliable and affordable systems solution for passenger e-mail and Internet access.



"Passengers will pay even less for in-flight e-mail access because of this key communication system enhancement," said Alan McGinnis, Chief Executive Officer of Tenzing. "It also will enable us to offer premium services such as live web browsing, VPN support and access to corporate networks."



The system combines hardware and software from Airbus, Rockwell Collins, and Tenzing. It uses an aircraft's existing high-gain SATCOM antenna and available worldwide coverage, making it affordable for airlines to deliver both e-mail and live Internet services to passengers. More than 1800 aircraft worldwide are installed with this type of SATCOM antenna. The solution is designed to support short, affordable retrofits, making it possible for airlines to equip their entire fleet in mere months. It can also be upgraded to new generations of the high-speed data link with minimal impact.



"Rockwell Collins supports the emergence of connectivity in the global air transport market," said Jan Timmers, Rockwell Collins managing director of Airbus. "This is a great step forward in providing e-mail and Internet services onboard aircraft." "The AFIS system with Rockwell Collins high speed data solution and Tenzing passenger messaging service uses the existing L-band SATCOM infrastructure, which means it is inexpensive to install, provides a low cost option for end users and has global coverage today," said Olivier Andries, Senior VP Products and Services Policy of Airbus.



The A318 aircraft used for the demonstration is equipped with the Airbus in-Flight Information System (AFIS) hosting Tenzing?s email software connected to the ground network. Connectivity was provided using the INMARSAT Swift64 service to transmit messages at 64 kbps over Rockwell Collins' SAT-906 SATCOM system and HST-900 high-speed data transceiver. Several major airlines have expressed interest in the system, which is now available for installation.



In addition to passenger applications, the AFIS system will host applications targeting the airlines' operational needs, which will take advantage of the high speed Swift64 data connection to the ground.



About Airbus



A leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS.



About Rockwell Collins



Rockwell Collins (NYSE: COL) is a leader in the design, production and support of communications and aviation electronics solutions for government and commercial customers worldwide. Additional information is available at www.rockwellcollins.com.



About Tenzing



Tenzing Communications, Inc. is the market leader for installed airline email and messaging solutions allowing travelers to use their laptops or seatback video screens to stay connected. The company has been providing the Tenzingâ System to passengers with laptops on Cathay Pacific Airways since April 2002, which now has 40 aircraft equipped with the service. Tenzing is also providing short message service (SMS) to cell phones and email accounts via seatback video screens on Virgin Atlantic Airways. The company is currently negotiating with several other U.S. and international carriers. Major investors include Airbus and Rockwell Collins.

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