Improving systems mean customers will demand better connections in-flight.
New York (USAsian Network Business & Industry News) Mon, Apr
14, 2014 - The improving systems mean customers will demand better
connections in-flight. Some frequent fliers with status on several
airlines say they choose flights based on Wi-Fi availability. But the
variety of systems poses tough decisions for airlines, which risk
choosing a technology that could become outdated. Ingram, the CFO of
Hawaiian Airlines, said the choice and cost of a system is especially
important for his fleet since it mostly carries people on vacation -
people who don't want to be tethered to the office. "The
technology in the Wi-Fi space for trans-Pacific flying is still
evolving," he said, "so we haven't made any final
decisions yet." Lufthansa knows the perils. It originally worked
with Connexion, a Boeing unit developing in-flight Wi-Fi that operated a
decade ago but failed to attract enough customers. "We were a
little bit unfortunate," chief executive Christoph Franz said.
"We had spent millions to equip our aircraft." Lufthansa has
since outfitted more than 90 percent of its long-haul planes with
satellite connectivity. But it is taking a step-by-step approach for
other planes, outfitting about 30 Airbus A321s with a system that can
stream content from an onboard server to handheld devices, but
doesn't connect to the internet. "We need a decent provider
for that, but we didn't want our customers to wait," Franz
said. He expects a "triple-digit-million" euro investment to
outfit the full fleet. "We are ready to do this," he said.
"But we have to look at the bill. We will see which system at the
end of the day turns out to be the most affordable and the
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