3 airlines opt out of Boeing Internet venture

Associated Press

SEATTLE — With new priorities since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, including simple survival, three U.S. airlines have dropped out of a planned joint venture with Connexion by Boeing to develop high-speed Internet access aboard jetliners, Boeing confirmed Thursday.

The project, proceeding with German launch customer Lufthansa, aims to let passengers check e-mail, surf the Internet and even watch television on board jets in flight.

Boeing plans to install and test the service in some Lufthansa planes by late next year or early 2003, spokesman Terrance Cook said Thursday.

After it’s been refined, "then the plan is to roll that service into 80 of their long-haul aircraft," he said.

In June, Boeing and three U.S. airlines — American, Delta and United — announced plans for a joint venture to install broadband access in 1,500 airplanes, 500 per carrier, with availability beginning in the second half of 2002. The service would cost a passenger about $20 an hour.

"We went off and put in two solid months of work to bring the service forward," Cook said Thursday in a telephone interview from Boeing offices in Irvine, Calif. "And then Sept. 11 hit. As you know, the world changed."

Many Americans have not flown since the terrorist attacks, which used four Boeing passenger jets as flying bombs in assaults on the Pentagon and New York City’s World Trade Center. Airlines have since drastically reduced schedules and sidelined aircraft, struggling for profitability and, in some cases, survival.

"We continued discussions even after Sept. 11 to try to find a path forward," Cook said.

"But it became increasing evident they had new priorities as a result of what was happening to the airline industry," he said. "We clearly did not want to become a distraction to them. So we subsequently came to a mutual agreement to suspend formation of the joint venture."

In an interview with The Associated Press last month at Boeing’s new Chicago headquarters, Condit said the primary market for Connexion by Boeing may now be the federal government.

The program’s focus "clearly shifts," Condit said, to take on "much more of a government and military focus. The ability to get broadband data, TV, video, on and off of airplanes is clearly something that is broadly of interest to the government."

After Sept. 11, Connexion by Boeing eliminated 200 of its 600 positions and shifted its focus to security applications.

In October, Seattle-based Tenzing Communications, another in-flight Internet access provider, laid off 80 people, about half its staff, citing the industry slowdown. Tenzing is 30 percent owned by Boeing rival Airbus Industrie.

Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

FILE - In this Monday, March 23, 2020, file photo, a worker walks near a mural of a Boeing 777 airplane at the company's manufacturing facility in Everett, Wash., north of Seattle. Beginning in 2024, some 737 planes will be built in Everett, the company announced to workers on Monday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
With 747 out, Boeing to open new 737 Max line at Everett’s Paine Field

Since the last 747 rolled out of the factory, speculation has been rife that Boeing might move some 737 Max production to Everett.

IonQ will open a new quantum computing manufacturing and research center at 3755 Monte Villa Parkway in Bothell. (Photo courtesy of IonQ)
Quantum computing firm IonQ to open Bothell R&D center

IonQ says quantum computing systems are key to addressing climate change, energy and transportation.

Nathanael Engen, founder of Black Forest Mushrooms, sits in the lobby of Think Tank Cowork with his 9-year-old dog, Bruce Wayne, on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Growing green mushrooms in downtown Everett

The founder of Black Forest Mushrooms plans to grow gourmet mushrooms locally, reducing their carbon footprint.

Barb Lamoureux, 78, poses for a photo at her office at 1904 Wetmore Ave in Everett, Washington on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. Lamoureux, who founded Lamoureux Real Estate in 2004, is retiring after 33 years. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Barb Lamoureux, ‘North Everett’s Real Estate Agent’ retires

A longtime supporter of Housing Hope, Lamoureux helped launch the Windermere Foundation Golf Tournament.

Bothell
AGC Biologics in Bothell to produce new diabetes treatment

The contract drug manufacturer paired with drug developer Provention Bio to bring the new therapy to market.

FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, March 11, 2019, rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The number of deaths in major air crashes around the globe fell by more than half in 2019 according to a report released Wednesday Jan. 1, 2020, by the aviation consultancy To70, revealing the worst crash for the year was an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX on March 10 that lost 157 lives. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, FILE)
US board says Boeing Max likely hit a bird before 2019 crash

U.S. accident investigators disagree with Ethiopian authorities over the cause of a 2019 Boeing 737 Max crash.

Store owner Jay Behar, 50, left, and store manager Dan Boston, 60, right, work to help unload a truck of recliners at Behar's Furniture on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. Behar's Furniture on Broadway in Everett is closing up shop after 60 years in business. The family-owned furniture store opened in 1963, when mid-century model styles were all the rage. Second-generation owner, Jay Behar says it's time to move on. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Behar’s Furniture in Everett closing after 60 years

“It’s time to move on.” The small family-owned store opened in 1963 and grew to cover an entire city block.

Katy Woods, a Licensed Coach, Branch Manager, and experienced Banker at Coastal Community Bank.
Coastal Community Bank Offers Classes for Businesses

To support local business owners and their teams, Coastal offers complimentary Money… Continue reading

Innovative Salon Products online fulfillment employees, from left, Stephanie Wallem, Bethany Fulcher, Isela Ramirez and Gretchen House, work to get orders put together on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, at the company’s facility in Monroe, Washington. The company began including pay, benefits and perks to its job listings over a year ago, well ahead of the new statewide mandate to include a pay range on job postings at companies with over 15 employees. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New state law requires employers to give pay range in job postings

Washington’s new pay transparency law aims to narrow wage gaps based on race or gender — though some companies may seek loopholes.

Paddywack co-owner Shane Somerville with the 24-hour pet food pantry built by a local Girl Scout troop outside of her store on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022 in Mill Creek, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
An out-paw-ring of support: Mill Creek pantry feeds pets, day or night

With help from local Girl Scouts, the Mill Creek pet food store Paddywack is meeting the need for pet supplies in a pinch.

Kelly Cameron is the woodworker behind Clinton-based business Turnco Wood Goods. (David Welton)
Whidbey woodworkers turn local lumber into art

In the “Slab Room” at Madrona Supply Co., customers can find hunks of wood native to the south end of Whidbey Island.

Siblings Barbara Reed and Eric Minnig, who, co-own their parent’s old business Ken’s Camera along with their brother Bryan, stand outside the Evergreen Way location Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, in Everett, Washington. After five decades in business, Ken’s will be closing its last two locations for good at the end of the year. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Print it or lose it: Ken’s Camera closes after decades caught on film

The local legend, processing film photos since 1971, will close its locations in Mount Vernon and Everett at the end of 2022.