Boeing announced today it would be shutting down Boeing Connexion, its In-Flight Internet service available on some long-range service. Unfortunately, Boeing could not find a buyer for the division, which only has ten customers: Lufthansa, Singapore, SAS, El Al, All Nippon, Japan Airlines, Asiana, China Air, Etihad Airways and Korean Air with a total of only about 156 commercial aircrat equipped.
The system, which has a $500,000 or more installation price, was not purchased by any US carrier, although many showed interest. With the financial issues of the last five years, none has been able to afford it.
LiveTV, an in-flight entertainment company which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jetblue, as reported at Engadget.com, purchased spectrum previously belonging to Verizon’s Airfone service for 7.02 million dollars in June. The remaining portion was sold to a company called Aircell. Both companies have expressed interest in using the bandwidth for mobile data communications for the passengers.
It is unclear whether either company will succeed in providing telecommunications service to US carriers or even the carriers who will be losing it at the end of the year from Boeing. But, if wireless internet comes to planes, we for one will applaud. With the noise present on aircraft, we continue to believe that cellular service should remain a ground-only option.