Airshow, GlobalStar Scrap Plans for Airborne Web Link
Some three months after an enthusiastic announcement, cabin-entertainment specialist Airshow of Tustin, Calif., and low-cost satellite data provider GlobalStar have halted development of high-speed airborne Internet services in light of GlobalStar’s increasingly desperate financial situation. An Airshow spokesman said it is unlikely that a GlobalStar-based airborne datalink service can be brought to market “at this time,” adding, “Whether or not it can become a marketable, for-sale product, we’ll know in the future, but this decision delays the program by at least a year.” He said Airshow is backing away from the program because of the uncertainty of GlobalStar, “but we want our customers to know that airborne Internet connectivity is still a key part of our strategy.” Qualcomm, an early partner with Airshow in the GlobalStar venture, recently retracted an offer to become the chief investor in a plan to rescue the ailing satellite telephone firm. GlobalStar had only $197 million in cash at the end of last year after losing $216 million and is now scrambling for another major source of funding. GlobalStar has said it will seek bankruptcy protection if reorganization plans fall through.