What do US policymakers make of UK strategic thinking in the wake of the Integrated Review, and how could subsequent events affect the transatlantic defence relationship?
Meeting of connectivity minds as Lufthansa takes over bmi
Today's announcement that Lufthansa is to take control of the UK’s bmi means that two pro-connectivity managements will soon be working together.
bmi is reported to be about to launch a long-awaited single-aircraft trial of the OnAir onboard GSM service. Lufthansa was the enthusiastic and effective first user of the Connexion by Boeing broadband service and is known to be doing its best to find another operator willing to offer a comparable service making the maximum possible use of the original onboard hardware.
bmi is an early adopter in IFE as well, offering Bluebox Lite handhelds on the Airbus A320s used to operate its twice-daily Heathrow-Moscow service.
These IFE/connectivity strands will now come together following the German flag carrier’s decision to up its existing stake in bmi from 30 per cent to 80 per cent by acquiring the shares of chairman Mike Bishop for around £318 million. The deal, which is due to be finalised in the next three months, will make Lufthansa second only to British Airways at Heathrow.
In another British airline development with IFE implications, British Airways premium-centric operation OpenSkies has postponed acquisition of a fifth aircraft as a result of disappointing revenues since the carrier’s launch on Paris Orly-New York JFK this summer.
OpenSkies operates a pair of Boeing 757s in its own right and got two more when it acquired French premium-only carrier L’Avion this summer. OpenSkies’ original service offering included handheld IFE from The IMS Company of California, while L’Avion favoured digEplayer XTs from Utah-based digEcor. Though the very flexible nature of handheld would make some form of rationalisation comparatively easy, all bets could now be off until OpenSkies reaches financial flying speed.
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