Lufthansa and Boeing have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will make the industry-leading European air carrier the international launch customer for the Connexion By Boeing high-speed Internet service.
The agreement calls for the breakthrough broadband communication service to be installed on Lufthansa`s intercontinental fleet. The initial installation will be a DLH 747 aircraft, which will be equipped with the service to conduct a three-month development program prior to installation on the fleet.
Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed. During the announcement at the Paris Air Show, executives from both companies lauded the agreement and its implications for airlines worldwide and the global flying public.
In coming months, Connexion by Boeing will work closely with Lufthansa to define the level of services that will be offered to their airline passengers.
The agreement with Lufthansa builds on the increasing momentum of Connexion by Boeing in the marketplace after the announcement of the alliance between Boeing and American, Delta and United to develop broadband e-mail and Internet services for launch in the second half of 2002.
Meanwhile, Airbus said last Thursday that its narrowband e-mail service and Internet access is already available in test form on some Air Canada and Singapore Airlines flights, with more coming soon. Airbus took a 30% stake in Tenzing Communications to build narrowband systems for its planes, and there are plans to move up to broadband at a later date.
Demand for e-mail and Internet access during airline flights is not surprising, given the rapidly-growing number of travelers going online to plan trips and seek travel information.
A survey released by NFO Plog found a 10% jump in travel site visits among business travellers over last year, while leisure travellers went online for information 27% more than a year ago.