SAS to add in-flight Internet to all long-haul routes

SAS will add in-flight Internet to all long-haul flights from next month, it said Monday.

Broadband Internet access will soon be available across all Scandinavian Airline System long-haul flights, the airline said Monday.

SAS plans to offer The Boeing Co.'s Connexion by Boeing service on all such flights from next month, and will begin rolling out the service on Monday on flights between Copenhagen and Seattle, it said in a statement, which was jointly issued with Boeing. The airline has been offering the service on a trial basis on some flights between Copenhagen and Seattle since last year.

Seattle is home to SAS's two largest corporate account customers in North America: Microsoft and Boeing, the airline said.

Connexion by Boeing provides suitably equipped aircraft with a satellite-linked Internet connection of about 5M bps downstream from the Internet to the aircraft, and 1M bps upstream from the aircraft to the Internet. The service is offered throughout the aircraft via wired LAN connections or wireless LAN, depending on the aircraft's configuration. Users pay about US$30 for access throughout the flight or about US$10 for 30 minutes and US$0.25 for each additional minute.

The connection supports all major Internet functions including e-mail, Web browsing, instant messaging, multimedia streaming and corporate network access via a virtual private network (VPN). Trials of a new service offering live television will begin this year with Singapore Airlines.

Boeing had signed firm deals for the service with six airlines covering 177 aircraft as of the end of 2004, it said in its earnings announcement last week.

Connexion by Boeing entered commercial service in May 2004 when Lufthansa began offering it on flights between Europe and the U.S. The German airline currently offers service on flights between Frankfurt or Munich and Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Toronto, Teheran and Tokyo.

Japan's All Nippon Airways began offering the service on flights between Tokyo and Shanghai in November, and Japan Airlines System (JAL) started the service in December on flights between Tokyo and London. Boeing has also signed a deal with Taiwan's China Airlines and preliminary deals with South Korea's Asiana Airlines and Korean Air.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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