Boeing Frontiers
February 2003
Volume 01, Issue 09
Top Stories Inside Quick Takes Site Tools
Connexion by Boeing

Surfing from 40,000 feet

Connexion by Boeing helps passengers soar to new heights of connectivity with broadband service


As you read this, Lufthansa passengers crossing the Atlantic between Frankfurt and Washington, D.C., are expanding the frontiers of aviation and communications.

Since Jan. 15, passengers aboard Flights 418 and 419 have been discovering that, for the first time in the history of flight, altitude no longer means isolation from the rest of the world. Using their laptops and personal digital assistants—or taking advantage of loaner laptops Lufthansa is providing during the three-month service demonstration, passengers are:

• Getting the latest, most up-to-date news online.
• Accessing files on—or saving files to— their companies' computer networks.
• Accessing personal or company e-mail accounts, and sending or receiving e-mails complete with attachments.
• Surfing the Internet at will

They are doing all this at the speed of light on a Boeing 747-400 jetliner, an aircraft that is far longer than the Wright brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk.

Wolfgang Mayrhuber and Scott CarsonWith the departure of Lufthansa Flight 418 at 1:10 p.m. on Jan. 15, 2003, the age of airborne commercial broadband communications began, less than three years after the Boeing board of directors gave the go-ahead to offering the Connexion by Boeing service.

On the eve of the inaugural service, Connexion by Boeing and Lufthansa took time to celebrate the Working Together relationship that was key to bringing the service to market.

"With broadband connectivity, the Connexion by Boeing service gives travelers new and unprecedented choices for managing their time in flight and on the ground," said Connexion by Boeing President Scott Carson. "Lufthansa is widely recognized and respected as a leader in innovation, in communication and in customer service, and it is demonstrating to its passengers today what the world of tomorrow will be like."

Lufthansa has branded its inflight broadband services, which is powered by Connexion by Boeing, as FlyNet. "The very idea of FlyNet was exciting, but what really inspired me was the enthusiasm, the professionalism and the stamina of our team during its implementation," said Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Deputy Chairman of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

So began an era in which commercial airline travelers can enjoy what previously had been the realm of test engineers, business executives and some government officials: the ability to send and receive messages from the ground, using the Internet; to view information displayed on the World Wide Web; and to use password-protected intranets to send and receive messages, revise documents, and view attachments.

Lufthansa German Airlines and Connexion by Boeing announced at the 2001 Paris Air Show that Lufthansa would be the international launch customer for the pioneering service. Following successful completion of the 90-day demonstration aboard flight 418 and flight 419 (the return flight to Frankfurt), plans call for Lufthansa Technik to install Connexion by Boeing equipment on 80 long-haul airplanes used on Lufthansa's international routes.

Since the Lufthansa announcement in 2001, British Airways, Japan Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines System also have signed on as customers of Connexion by Boeing. The service is licensed for commercial use over the continental United States and its territorial waters, and for experimental use over countries bordering the Lufthansa and British Airways routes across the North Atlantic. Connexion by Boeing also is in use aboard private and government-owned executive aircraft, operating on the Ku-band frequency spectrum, with leased transponders on existing satellites relaying the signals.

British Airways will begin its own 90-day demonstration of the service beginning on the 18th of this month aboard another 747-400—Flight 175 between London and New York. JAL and SAS plan to introduce the service aboard their international fleets in 2004.

Connexion by Boeing, a business unit of The Boeing Company, is based in Seattle, Wash., and Irvine, Calif.


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