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Lufthansa shuts down internet access

As Boeing phases out Connexion

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Lufthansa will start the New Year without internet access on its flights. The German company had equipped 66 of its 80 long-range jets with a fast Internet connection that even worked over the Atlantic. However, Lufthansa took the service from Connexion by Boeing, which will end the business on December 30.

The end of service, announced this Summer, was said to be in the "long-term interests of all parties with a stake in Connexion by Boeing." Although the product worked well and customers were happy, the global market for the service has not developed satisfactorily, Boeing says.

Connexion was conceived in April 2000, at the height of the Internet bubble. In June 2001, Lufthansa committed to be the first foreign carrier to use the service. However, most other airlines had to cut costs, and were in no mood to shell out $500,000 per plane for the equipment. Throughout 2004 and 2005, Connexion did manage to sign up some more European, Asian, and Middle Eastern airlines, including Israel's El Al and Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates. Despite the late uptake, the service remained unprofitable.

There are no plans to transition the service to another provider. Lufthansa says it will look for a different solution later in 2007.®

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