Air China to offer in-flight Internet access

Air China Ltd., in Beijing, has signed a deal with The Boeing Co.’s Connexion by Boeing to offer Internet access on some international flights, Boeing said in a statement.

Under terms of the deal, Air China will offer the Connexion by Boeing in-flight Internet service on up to 15 aircraft, Boeing said. Installation of the equipment necessary for the service will begin in October. In-flight Internet access will initially be offered on Boeing 747-400 aircraft and may be expanded to other aircraft types, it said. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Air China joins a host of other airlines which have teamed up with Connexion By Boeing to offer in-flight Internet access. The service is currently available on some flights offered by South Korea’s Asiana Airlines Inc. and Korean Air; Japan’s All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd. and Japan Airlines Corp.; Taiwan’s China Airlines Ltd.; Germany’s Lufthansa AG; Singapore Airlines Ltd.; SAS AB’s Scandinavian Airline System; and El Al Israel Airlines.

Austrian Airlines and the United Arab Emirates’ Etihad Airways have also announced plans to offer the service on some flights.

The Connexion By Boeing service uses a satellite link to provide an Internet connection of around 5M bps (bits per second) downstream and 1M bps upstream. The service can be offered throughout the aircraft’s passenger cabin via wired LAN connections or wireless LAN. Pricing generally ranges from $10 for an hour of service to US$27 for 24 hours of Internet access.