becomes the first airline in North America to expand and offer
on-board Email and Internet Services to its passengers on all its
aircrafts starting in the fall of 2001.
in-flight email and Internet services allow customers to send and
receive emails and to browse a selection of business and general
lifestyle focused web content, uploaded from the Internet several
times an hour, via their own laptop computer. Travellers access
the service through Bell Mobility's existing on-board
communications system available in all classes of service.
the aircraft an extension of their office environment,” Air Canada
spokesperson Laura Cooke said. “The service is targeted at
business customers, who want to be able to keep in touch while
they are travelling and make good use of their time.”
One year ago,
Air Canada and Tenzing signed their first memorandum of
understanding to test the system. In November 2000, Air Canada
became the first carrier in the world to offer the system to its
customers on a free trial basis.
8,000 people registered for the free trial, which was set up on
five of the airline's Boeing 767s. Air Canada surveyed about 500
of them to get their opinions on content and pricing.
“We are very
pleased with the customer feedback from our trial. Our passengers
were very enthusiastic about the service and told us that they
considered onboard email and Internet a key element in determining
their choice of airline,” said Calin Rovinescu, Executive Vice
President, Corporate Development and Strategy.
“If you're a
business traveller, having the ability to keep in touch while
you're in the air does have value,” said Mark Quigley, an analyst
with the Yankee Group in Canada.
of services might very well cause someone to choose an airline (which)
offers them over one that doesn't."
especially on long overseas flights, he said.
Air Canada has
signed a letter of intent with Seattle-based Tenzing
Communications Inc., a global communications provider, to install
the system, which will be compatible with PCs, Macs and some
personal digital assistants or hand-held computers.
congratulate Air Canada for becoming the first North American
carrier to deploy email and web services over the next few years,”
said Alan Pellegrini, President and Chief Operating Officer at
Tenzing Communications Inc. “Tenzing provides both airlines and
their passengers with the most economic and comprehensive
in-flight connectivity service and we are pleased to help Air
Canada's customers make their flight more productive with access
to email and web content.”
made similar announcements with a number of airlines around the
world including Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Singapore Airlines and
Varig of Brazil.
Atlantic's service, to begin this year, will be provided on a
pay-as-you-go basis. The company said it would cost “a couple of
dollars” for each e-mail message.
hasn't yet set its pricing plan, but expect something similar.
Cooke said Air Canada's e-mail will be “competitively priced” and
browsing Web content will be free.
though, the test system in five jets is still up and running and
access the system by registering for the service on the Air Canada
website at www.aircanada.ca/tenzing. The end of 2003 will complete
the deployment of the system.