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Boeing to build Wi-Fi into planes from 2013

Jennifer Scott

Boeing has announced it will build in Wi-Fi connectivity into its lines of 747-8 and 777 planes from the end of 2013.

Boeing said the technology would be installed at the production line stage and enable passengers to use mobile phones, the internet and even stream live TV en route.

Boeing is considering extending the capabilities of its 737 aircraft, which already includes provisional wiring for advanced connectivity systems. Boeing is offering retrofits of its 787s, firstly to enable mobile and Wi-Fi coverage, but to hopefully include video streaming by the end the year.

"We're always working to ensure that our products offer the airlines of the world the most modern and robust technologies available to provide their passengers with an exceptional flying experience," said Mike Sinnett, senior chief engineer of airplane systems for Boeing.

"Passengers want the option of staying connected to email and the internet and other online offerings when flying. We've looked across the industry and are partnering with several connectivity system providers across our family of airplanes."

Boeing is working with are Panasonic, with its global communication suite; and Thales, with its TopConnect system, which should enable all Boeing planes built after 2014 to stream video.

A number of airlines have announced plans to bring more connectivity on-board in the last few months, including Virgin Atlantic, which plans to be the first British airline to allow mobile calls on its planes; and Lufthansa, which will bring Wi-Fi connectivity to its intercontinental flights.

 


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