Lufthansa, Boeing install Internet Link on Airplane

Lufthansa AG, Europe`s No. 2 airline, said yesterday it has equipped one of its planes with The Boeing Co.`s technology to allow passengers access to e-mail and the Internet, a first for any civilian airliner.

Lufthansa`s Flynet division fitted one of its Boeing 747-400 aircraft with equipment from the Seattle-based Connexion unit of Boeing, the carrier`s project leader Birkard Wigger said at a Frankfurt briefing.

“The system will be tested over the coming months, and it will be available to passengers by the end of the year,” Wigger said.

is the first customer for the new Connexion product, which will use high-speed, broadband data links to allow passengers to send e-mail, use the Internet and eventually view live television broadcasts. Boeing has said it`s working with 17 airlines on the new technology. Plans for carriers to invest in the service were shelved after the Sept. 11 hijackings deepened a slump in air travel.

Connexion may be big enough in five to seven years to make a difference to Boeing`s overall results, the Chicago-based plane maker has said. Boeing had sales of $58.2 billion last year. Connexion competes with closely held Tenzing Communications, also based in Seattle and partly owned by Toulouse, France-based Airbus.


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