• United States
Senior Correspondent

South Korea’s Asiana to offer Boeing in-flight Internet

Aug 27, 20042 mins

Asiana Airlines, one of South Korea’s main two airlines, has signaled its intention to install The Boeing Co.’s in-flight broadband Internet service, Connexion by Boeing, on its aircraft, the two companies said Thursday.

Asiana and Boeing have signed a letter of intent to install the system on Asiana Boeing 777-200ER aircraft that are scheduled to be delivered to the carrier in July next year. With the letter of intent signed, the two companies are now working out specific details of the contract such as service levels and an installation schedule for Asiana’s other aircraft. Asiana said it is likely to offer the service first on flights between South Korea and the U.S., Europe and Asian nations.

Asiana’s main rival, Korean Air, signed a similar agreement in April.

The Connexion by Boeing service uses a wired or wireless LAN on board the aircraft to connect users via satellite to the Internet. The connection is shared among all passengers and has a downstream bandwidth to the aircraft of 5M bit/sec and upstream bandwidth of 1M bit/sec. Users have a choice of two payment schemes: $29.95 for the entire flight or $9.95 for 30 minutes of access and then a per-minute fee of 25 cents.

There are plans to use up to three additional 5M bit/sec data channels to carry services such as live television.

The airline joins a growing list of carriers that have signed up for the service. Connexion by Boeing entered commercial service in May with Lufthansa AG on its flight between Munich and Los Angeles and was expanded to Asia in June on a flight between Munich and Tokyo.

Boeing has been promoting the system to airlines around the world and most of the initial enthusiasm for such a service appears to be coming from Asia. Japan’s All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines System plan to offer the service later this year as does SAS AB’s Scandinavian Airline Systems. Other airlines that have signed preliminary agreements are British Airways, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines and Taiwan’s China Airlines.