Boeing's in-flight broadband launches in Asia

In-flight broadband Internet access was launched in Asia on Tuesday with the take-off of Lufthansa flight 715 from Tokyo to Munich.

The service is based on The Boeing Co.'s Connexion by Boeing service and its launch in Asia follows Lufthansa AG's rollout on its flight between Munich and Los Angeles in May. The service uses a wireless LAN on board the aircraft and connects through a satellite link to offer passengers a shared Internet connection with downstream capacity of 5M bps (bits per second) and upstream capacity of 1M bps.

Launch of the service was announced at a Tokyo news conference where Lufthansa and Boeing demonstrated the connectivity by holding a live video conference with Lufthansa representatives on the aircraft.

"What is normal for us on the ground is becoming normal for us in the air," said Bernhardt Seiter, director of Lufthansa's Flynet service.

Lufthansa will offer the service every day on its flights 714 and 715 each way between Munich and Tokyo. Users have a choice of two payment schemes: US$29.95 for the entire flight or US$9.95 for 30 minutes of access and then a per-minute fee of US$0.25.

Passengers can also get free access to a Lufthansa portal called Flynet. The service consists of more than 1,000 pages of news and information, travel guides, Lufthansa-related content and shopping. Some parts of the portal, such as the news, are updated about once per hour during the flight.

At present passengers need an access device such as notebook PC or PDA (personal digital assistant) to access the content, but Lufthansa is considering adding it to the aircraft's entertainment system beginning in 2005 or 2006, Seiter said.

Later this year the airline plans to expand the service to other flights serving Asia, including flights between Germany and Osaka, Japan, and China as well as on other routes to India, the Middle East and Canada.

A number of other airlines are planning to begin offering the service this year. Three have signed agreements with Boeing: SAS AB's Scandinavian Airline Systems and Japan's All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines System. Another four have signed preliminary agreements: British Airways, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines and Taiwan's China Airlines. Qantas has not signed so far.

The airlines are hoping the service will provide them with a competitive advantage over rivals and also say the system can help them cut their own charges by improving the company's own aircraft-to-ground communications. For example, aircraft maintenance information can be sent to ground crews ahead of time, reducing turnaround time for repairs.

Lufthansa said passenger take-up of the service is currently on target. The first route on which Lufthansa offered the service, the LH425/453 flights between Munich and Los Angeles, is seeing usage levels of about 10 to 20 passengers per flight, which is in line with the airline's expectations at this point, Seiter said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?