American Airlines has completed the first
aircraft installation of the Aircell Internet broadband connectivity
solution at American’s Kansas City maintenance base.American, which will
be the first U.S. airline to offer customers Aircell’s Internet broadband
solution, plans to install and test the technology in 2008 on all 15 of its
Boeing 767-200 aircraft that primarily fly transcontinental routes.
“There’s a tremendous amount of intrigue and appeal for travelers to be
able to utilize the Internet when traveling 30,000 feet above the United
States at 500 miles per hour,” said Dan Garton, American’s Executive Vice
President - Marketing. “Connectivity is important to our business customers
and those who want to use their PDAs and laptops for real-time,
full-service, inflight, broadband Internet, e-mail and VPN. With this test
of Aircell’s technology, American Airlines is demonstrating our commitment
to enhancing the travel experience for our customers and meeting their
evolving needs when it comes to connectivity and communications.”
Prior to customer use, the first aircraft featuring Aircell’s broadband
Internet service will begin flying for rigorous systems and beta testing
pending certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Aircell’s exclusive air-to-ground broadband system will provide
customers with an Internet connection, VPN (virtual private network)
access, and e-mail capabilities through all Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, PDAs and
portable gaming devices. Customers will experience speeds similar to
wireless, mobile, broadband services on the ground. The Aircell system is
designed to provide full data service - cell phone and Voice Over IP
(Internet Protocol) services will not be available.
“American Airlines is an industry leader and innovator in customer
services,” said Jack Blumenstein, CEO & President, Aircell, LLC. “Aircell
is delighted to partner with American to provide flyers with a full,
inflight, Internet connectivity experience.”
p> Aircell’s broadband service will also provide:
— Complimentary access to AA.com including services such as gates and
times, fares and AAdvantage information,
— Access to the Wall Street Journal Digest Edition,
— Compatibility with VPNs that provide access to corporate intranets and
— And seamless coverage over the continental U.S. above 10,000 feet.
Aircell will offer the connectivity solution to American Airlines
customers in all classes of service on the B767-200 aircraft for a fee.
Pending successful connectivity trials on B767 aircraft, American could
extend Aircell’s inflight broadband service to the remainder of its
Aircell’s air-to-ground inflight Internet system for commercial
aircraft uses three lightweight antennae installed on the outside of the
aircraft. One antenna, the PCS/GPS antenna, is mounted on the top of the
aircraft, and the other two antennae are mounted to the bottom of the
aircraft. Customers access the broadband signal using their own Wi-Fi
enabled devices, which communicate directly with wireless access points
that are distributed evenly throughout the aircraft cabin ceiling. The
signal will be transmitted through the 3mhz signal from air to ground using
92 cellular towers throughout the continental United States.
The installation work of Aircell’s equipment will be performed by
American’s mechanics, represented by the Transport Workers Union. American,
a founding member of the onewold(R) Alliance, conducts nearly 90 percent of
its own maintenance work in-house and provides maintenance for other
aviation and aerospace companies as well.