ANA (All Nippon Airways) and Boeing have announced that the two companies have signed a definitive service agreement for the installation of the Connexion by BoeingSM
mobile Internet service on the air carrier’s long-haul fleet of aircraft. The announcement was augmented by an agreement with SES AMERICOM for satellite coverage over the North Pacific region, to be used by ANA and other leading global air carriers.
During a joint press conference in Tokyo, Connexion by Boeing President Scott Carson praised ANA and SES AMERICOM for their contributions and support in helping to make connectivity possible for people on the move in the Asia-Pacific region.
“ANA is to be commended for moving swiftly to ensure its passengers benefit from the added value that mobile connectivity can bring to the passenger travel experience and to airline operations,” said Carson. “This agreement helps them address one of the most requested passenger amenities—??real-time, affordable connectivity—while further positioning the airline as a leader in passenger services. That service offering is bolstered by the capabilities provided to us by SES AMERICOM, which supplies us with a world-class service provider, and a coverage solution that will benefit ANA and the other leading air carriers who are helping to drive the mobility revolution that’s under way around the world.”
“Connexion by Boeing provides ANA with an innovative technology solution that we believe will best meet our customers’ expectations and needs for in-flight communications,” said Senior Vice President, Engineering & Maintenance, Shinsuke Maki. “We look forward to bringing the benefits of real-time connectivity to our passengers in the very near future.”
With the framework of the agreement in place, members of the ANA and Connexion by Boeing teams are now focusing on defining the installation schedule and the specifics regarding start of service and introductory routes, which will be announced at a future date once the current restructuring of the ANA long-haul fleet is completed. Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.
The agreement with SES AMERICOM is the logical next step in Connexion by Boeing efforts to provide service coverage on the majority of the routes served by commercial airline operators. With the additional satellite capacity, the mobile services provider can now offer in-flight connectivity coverage from the eastern U.S. seaboard to Europe and parts of Asia, continuing around the globe, reaching back to the Western United States. Connexion by Boeing recently announced its intent to expand its core business into the maritime environment. Once deployed, vessel operators in the North Pacific region will use the SES AMERICOM satellite capability to enhance ship-to-shore-communications.
Based on the terms of the agreement, SES AMERICOM will outfit its new hybrid WORLDSAT-3 satellite, to be built by Alcatel Space, with dedicated Ku-band transponders to be used by the Connexion by Boeing service. Scheduled for launch by the end of 2005, WORLDSAT-3 will provide Connexion by Boeing with satellite capacity over a region stretching as far west as Singapore and Korea, above the Arctic Circle, south below New Zealand and as far east as the western coast of the U.S. Once launched, WORLDSAT-3 will be parked in an orbital slot located at 172 degrees East and be primarily used for high-data rate connectivity services. Connexion by Boeing will begin service in portions of the North Pacific region beginning in early 2005 using interim satellite service providers until the WORLDSAT-3 satellite comes online.
Connexion by Boeing Director of Supplier Management Jeff Flagel notes that leasing transponders on Ku-band satellite presents a low-risk solution for providing satellite-based broadband services to aircraft and maritime vessels.
“Using leased, dedicated transponders is a solid, economical approach to providing the necessary system capacity, bandwidth and transoceanic coverage to commercial and private airline operators and the passengers they serve,” said Flagel. “Our agreement with SES AMERICOM is an excellent example of that strategy in a manner that not only benefits our commercial and private aircraft customers, but also allows us to expand our core business in the process.”