Boeing has announced it will abandon its Connexion unit providing high-speed Internet service on planes. Boeing said in June that it was reviewing the future of the service, which enabled passengers on Connexion-equipped flights to access the Internet over a satellite-based broadband connection. Only 12 airlines, mostly Asian carriers flying long-haul such as Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Air China, had signed up for the service. In Europe, Lufthansa and Scandinavian Airlines had also subscribed. The airlines typically charged 30 dollars per flight or 10 dollars for 30 minutes of in-flight Internet access via satellite.
“Over the last six years, we have invested substantial time, resources and technology in Connexion by Boeing,” Boeing chief executive Jim McNerney said in a statement Thursday. “Regrettably, the market for this service has not materialized as had been expected. We believe this decision best balances the long-term interests of all parties with a stake in Connexion by Boeing,” he said.
We’ve followed this story since ANA signed on in January 2004 and by summer that year it seemed like they were gaining momentum with Luftansa, JAL Singapore and China airlines also coming onside. As of spring 2005 they were tweaking price points and in August 2005 it cleared Intel’s Wireless Verification Program.
Boeing said it expected that most of the 560-odd people employed by Connexion would find jobs elsewhere in the aviation group. But some redundancies are possible, company spokesman John Dern said. Boeing said that in the second half of 2006, it would book a pre-tax charge of up to 320 million dollars, or 26 cents per share, arising from costs related to the termination of Connexion.Full story here.