British Airways and Connexion by Boeing SM, a business unit of The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA), announced that the recent successful introduction of in-flight Internet connectivity effectively demonstrated the power of broadband and met all established objectives for passenger usage.
During the three-month service demonstration that commenced on February 20 on selected flights between London and New York, airline passengers were able to stay in touch with family, colleagues and the office, and to send and receive e-mails, access the World Wide Web or their firewall-protected corporate intranets, and entertain themselves -- all in real-time.
"For British Airways, this clearly was not a technical demonstration of the Connexion by Boeing service, but a validation of how passengers might use the service and their willingness to pay for in-flight connectivity," said Kevin George, senior manager -- Marketing Brands for British Airways. "Based on those goals and a preliminary look at the data we have received from the trial, it effectively met our objectives."
"We clearly are heartened by the system reliability and passenger response that was demonstrated during the three-month service demonstration with British Airways," said Connexion by Boeing President Scott Carson. "Their leadership in presenting the service to their passengers and helping to establish pricing-acceptance parameters will prove tremendously beneficial as we finalize preparations for commercial service in early 2004."
Unlike existing in-flight communication services based on narrowband technology, where capabilities are limited and kilobyte-based pricing can be extremely expensive, the Connexion by Boeing service on British Airways provided an affordable fixed-price, robust, satellite-based broadband connection to aircraft that allowed for simultaneous, multifaceted applications for both crew and passengers.
In addition to gathering information on passenger pricing preferences, British Airways and Connexion by Boeing used the three-month demonstration to gain as much information as possible about service content, ease-of-use and overall network functionality. Based on a preliminary look at data gathered during the service demonstration, the following information was revealed:
Teams from British Airways and Connexion by Boeing currently are conducting a thorough analysis of data gathered during the service demonstration. British Airways then will review the findings and factor them into its decision on equipping its long-haul fleet of aircraft with the service. In addition, the Connexion by Boeing team is continuing to work the global regulatory process, complete and certify the next-generation antenna and further define the satellite and ground-based networks that will help broaden the availability of broadband connectivity in flight.
Connexion by Boeing is the mobile information services provider bringing high-speed Internet, data and entertainment connectivity to aircraft in flight. The service is available today to the executive services market in the U.S., including operators of private and government aircraft. The Connexion by Boeing team recently announced a definitive service agreement with Lufthansa Germany Airlines to outfit its fleet of 80 long-haul aircraft with the innovative service beginning in early 2004, and a contract with Lufthansa Technik to handle the actual fleet installation. In addition to successful service demonstrations with Lufthansa and British Airways, both Japan Airlines and SAS have announced their intent to install the Connexion by Boeing service on of their long-range aircraft. For additional information, visit the Connexion by Boeing web site.