Spotlight: Lufthansa First With Fleet-Wide Broadband
Boeing [NYSE: BA] has inked a deal with German air carrier Lufthansa to be the first airline to rollout the Connexion by Boeing satellite-based in-flight broadband service on a fleet-wide basis. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The in-flight broadband connectivity service will be offered beginning in 2004 on Lufthansa’s fleet of approximately 80 long-haul jets, including Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft.
Lufthansa’s interest in the program fits its tradition as an industry forerunner of technological innovations to serve its customers, said Wolfgang Mayrhuber, who becomes the chairman of the airline’s executive board on June 18.
The challenge of trying to turn the new service into a profitable endeavor has led Connexion by Boeing and Lufthansa to work on a host of payment options. The options include allowing passengers to gain full access to the Internet either by paying service access fees or by using bonus miles from Lufthansa’s “Miles and More” program.
Connexion by Boeing also has signed Lufthansa Technik to support the installation of the mobile information service in the Lufthansa fleet. Lufthansa Technik will help in the design, planning and installation of the service, as well as supply an installation kit and supporting service bulletins for the Boeing team.
Both Japan Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) [OTC:SASDF] have announced their intent to install the service on their long-range aircraft at a later date, Connexion by Boeing officials said. In addition to Lufthansa, British Airways [NYSE: BAB] has also used Connexion by Boeing in service demonstrations. The service also will be available to the executive private and government aircraft in the United States.
(Terrance Scott, Connexion by Boeing, 206/655-9350)