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British Airways excited about Internet in the air trial

Travel News Asia 21 January 2003

The first British Airways aircraft carrying the inflight internet system Connexion by Boeing is on target for its first flight date of 18 February, 2003.

British Airways engineers have been working around the clock to equip the Boeing 747-400 with the technology that will allow customers to access the internet, e-mail and their corporate intranets at 35,000 ft.

An antennae that will send and receive the signals from a satellite has been fitted to the outside of the aircraft. The server, through which the data is transferred, resides in an equipment rack fitted into the ceiling of the aircraft. More than 15,000 feet of cabling will run through the internal walls of the fuselage, into the seats, and up to the internet connection points in the arm rests in First and World Traveller Plus and by the laptop plug in the Club World flat beds.

The trial will take place over three months on a Boeing 747-400 aircraft operating the London Heathrow to New York route.

The technology could also provide British Airways with the capability to broadcast live television and radio shows - all in flight. The new system will allow travellers to send real-time e-mails at ten times the speed of traditional e-mail connections.

Martin George, director of marketing for British Airways, said: We are very excited about the Connexion by Boeing trial due to start on18 February, 2003 as this signifies a genuine innovation and a real benefit for our travellers.

Not only can passengers surf the internet while on board but they can send and receive real-time e-mails and access their corporate networks. With our research showing that 75 per cent of business travellers take laptops on  board with them and most of those who carried laptops are interested in having internet access during a flight we are confident that the trial will be a success.

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