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Lufthansa achieves a first with sending of e-mail from airliner

Adding a new definition to the term "air mail," Lufthansa and Boeing Corp. have announced that the first e-mail sen...


November 5, 2002  


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Adding a new definition to the term “air mail,” Lufthansa and Boeing Corp. have announced that the first e-mail sent via a broadband Internet connection from onboard a scheduled commercial airline, successfully reached its recipient.

Members of the Lufthansa and Connexion by Boeing project team, a mobile information service provider, simultaneously activated the onboard system and the satellite network for the first time and sent the historic transmission last Friday aboard the Lufthansa 747-400, “Sachsen-Anhalt.”

The long-haul aircraft was cruising over the North Atlantic south of Greenland at an altitude of 35,000 feet (10,668 meters). With a speed of 910 km/h, flight LH 418 was on its regular route from Frankfurt to Washington, D.C.

During the flight, a standard laptop computer was connected to the system via a secure, firewall-protected Internet connection, a virtual private network or VPN, to the Lufthansa corporate intranet. Boeing and Lufthansa personnel have since analyzed he system data to ensure the accuracy of the results.

“Every day we receive ‘air mails’ now. I am especially delighted about this since they prove that even an ambitious idea can be realized,” said Wolfgang Mayrhuber, chief operating officer of Lufthansa German Airlines. “Business travelers especially will value the significantly improved possibilities to communicate while onboard.”

Commencing with the Lufthansa service demonstration, airline passengers will be able to choose from a multitude of personalized real-time services,including Internet and firewall-protected intranet access, e-commerce, entertainment content, transmission and receipt of data, shopping, travel and destination information.

In the meantime, Lufthansa FlyNet — the working title of the Lufthansa service — has successfully completed the first series of internal tests. All components and functions of the system operated trouble-free, allowing the
sending and receipt of e-mails with large text and photo files.

Commercial passengers flying the “Sachsen-Anhalt” aircraft will be able to begin using the system on January 15, 2003. For three months all passengers can use Lufthansa FlyNet with their own laptops or rental laptops onboard
without charge on trans-Atlantic flights between Frankfurt and Washington Dulles (LH 418 and LH 419). Lufthansa has intentionally selected two daytime flights to gain as much information as possible about passenger use of the
service.


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