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Lufthansa takes 'air mail' to new heights

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com 6 November 2002

The historic expression "air mail" has just transformed into a true high-tech label. Project team members of Lufthansa and Connexion by Boeing have transmitted the first e-mail via broadband internet connection from a scheduled airliner.

The Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 christened "Sachsen-Anhalt" and registered as D-ABTE was on a flight from Frankfurt to Washington. A standard laptop was connected with the Lufthansa intranet via a secure internet connection (Virtual Private Network). Thus, the flying online-office by Lufthansa and Connexion by Boeing has made a large step closer to reality.

Several further, more sophisticated test runs are planned for the coming weeks in order to ensure a dependable operation. The public test for all passengers of the "Sachsen-Anhalt" starts January 15. For three months all passengers will be able to use Lufthansa FlyNet (working title of the new service) for free with their own laptop or loan equipment available on board. For this purpose the Boeing 747-400 shuttles back and forth between Frankfurt and Washington with flight numbers LH 418 and LH 419.

"Every day we receive 'Air Mails' now. I am especially delighted about this since they prove that even an ambitious idea can be realized successfully and as planned at Lufthansa", says Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG and CEO of Lufthansa German Airlines. "Especially business travelers will value the significantly improved possibilities to communicate while being on board."

"We are profoundly pleased at this pioneering demonstration of this exciting new airborne communication service in conjunction with our customer, Lufthansa," said Connexion by Boeing President Scott Carson. "Continued success will forever change the way we stay in touch with the things that are important to each of us while in flight. We've challenged our team to ensure this success continues and that the entire system is robust, capable and service ready when it's introduced to Lufthansa's passengers early next year."

In the meantime, Lufthansa FlyNet has successfully passed the first series of internal tests. All system functions worked straightaway, such as sending and receiving of mails with text and photo file attachments. Moreover, the portal jointly developed with Tomorrow Focus AG offering news, stock exchange, weather and travel information has successfully finished the first test run.

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