Tenzing’s In-flight Internetainment

Seattle-based Tenzing Communications announced early last month that the commencement of a joint technical trial deploying the its Tenzing system on five of Air Canada’s aircraft.

A member of the Tenzing in-flight test team stationed onboard an Air Canada Boeing 767, Tail ID AC 607, flown by Air Canada Chief Pilot, Captain Jim Guild and First Officer Chris Ketellapper, sent the first in-flight email. The email was sent from the aircraft via the Tenzing Airborne Network Server (ANS) to the Tenzing Ground Control System (GCS) contained in the Tenzing Network Operations Center (NOC) located in Seattle.

The test, which was completed on Tuesday, September 5, 2000, marked the first time in history that in-flight email was sent upon a commercial aircraft utilizing a system specifically designed to support email communication.

Air Canada’s Spokesperson Dick Griffith told seattle.internet.com, in an interview earlier this morning, that Air Canada will continue to test the email system over the next six months on six of its 767 aircraft.

According to Griffith, participation in the test in on an invitation basis only to the airline’s frequent flyer Aeroplan members. The passengers will be able to try out the email system free of charge.

Considering that Vancouver, Canada is a main hub for the airline, it is very likely that Seattle area internet professionals flying on Air Canada out of Vancouver will have the opportunity to check out the system.

In addition to the multi-faceted email capabilities currently being tested on board the select Air Canada aircraft, Tenzing will provide frequent business travelers with business focused Internet content and terrestrial services including global roaming, Internet access, and a frequent traveler services program.

Tenzing has also recently announced agreements with Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Singapore Airlines will begin onboard testing of Tenzing’s in-flight Internet content and email services later this year.

As regard Cathay Pacific, the installation of their new high speed, 1.5 Mbps Primex EMPORT Local Area Network (LAN), the airline will be able to operate their in-flight system at 30 times the speed of existing 56 kbps telephone-based aircraft networks. Deployment of the system is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2001.

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