American's Kansas City Maintenance Base Completes First of 15 Aircraft Installations for Real-Time, Internet Broadband Connectivity
American Airlines, leading the way in customer experience initiatives, has completed the first aircraft installation of the Aircell® Internet broadband connectivity solution at American's Kansas City maintenance base. American, which will be the first U.S. airline to offer customers Aircell's Internet broadband solution, plans to install and test the technology in 2008 on all 15 of its Boeing 767-200 aircraft that primarily fly transcontinental routes.
"There's a tremendous amount of intrigue and appeal for travelers to be able to utilize the Internet when traveling 30,000 feet above the United States at 500 miles per hour," said Dan Garton, American's Executive Vice President - Marketing. "Connectivity is important to our business customers and those who want to use their PDAs and laptops for real-time, full-service, inflight, broadband Internet, e-mail and VPN. With this test of Aircell's technology, American Airlines is demonstrating our commitment to enhancing the travel experience for our customers and meeting their evolving needs when it comes to connectivity and communications."
Prior to customer use, the first aircraft featuring Aircell's broadband Internet service will begin flying for rigorous systems and beta testing pending certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Aircell's exclusive air-to-ground broadband system will provide customers with an Internet connection, VPN (virtual private network) access, and e-mail capabilities through all Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, PDAs and portable gaming devices. Customers will experience speeds similar to wireless, mobile, broadband services on the ground. The Aircell system is designed to provide full data service - cell phone and Voice Over IP (Internet Protocol) services will not be available.
"American Airlines is an industry leader and innovator in customer services," said Jack Blumenstein, CEO & President, Aircell, LLC. "Aircell is delighted to partner with American to provide flyers with a full, inflight, Internet connectivity experience."
Aircell's broadband service will also provide:
-- Complimentary access to AA.com including services such as gates and times, fares and AAdvantage information,
-- Access to the Wall Street Journal Digest Edition,
-- Compatibility with VPNs that provide access to corporate intranets and email accounts, -- And seamless coverage over the continental U.S. above 10,000 feet.
Aircell will offer the connectivity solution to American Airlines customers in all classes of service on the B767-200 aircraft for a fee. Pending successful connectivity trials on B767 aircraft, American could extend Aircell's inflight broadband service to the remainder of its domestic fleet.
Aircell's air-to-ground inflight Internet system for commercial aircraft uses three lightweight antennae installed on the outside of the aircraft. One antenna, the PCS/GPS antenna, is mounted on the top of the aircraft, and the other two antennae are mounted to the bottom of the aircraft. Customers access the broadband signal using their own Wi-Fi enabled devices, which communicate directly with wireless access points that are distributed evenly throughout the aircraft cabin ceiling. The signal will be transmitted through the 3mhz signal from air to ground using 92 cellular towers throughout the continental United States.
The installation work of Aircell's equipment will be performed by American's mechanics, represented by the Transport Workers Union. American, a founding member of the onewold® Alliance, conducts nearly 90 percent of its own maintenance work in-house and provides maintenance for other aviation and aerospace companies as well.
About American Airlines
American Airlines is the world's largest airline. American, American Eagle and the AmericanConnection® airlines serve 250 cities in over 40 countries with more than 4,000 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers more than 1,000 aircraft. American's award-winning Web site, AA.com, provides users with easy access to check and book fares, plus personalized news, information and travel offers. American Airlines is a founding member of the oneworld® Alliance, which brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business, enabling them to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. Together, its members serve nearly 700 destinations in over 140 countries and territories. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle Airlines, Inc. are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation. AmericanAirlines, American Eagle, AmericanConnection, AA.com and AAdvantage are registered trademarks of American Airlines, Inc. .
Aircell LLC is the leader in global airborne telecommunications for the Commercial and Business Aviation markets. The winner of the FCC's exclusive broadband frequency license in 2006, Aircell is pioneering a revolutionary new wireless broadband system for North America. Aircell broadband system will include robust Wi-Fi hotspots that enable airline passengers to surf the Internet, use e-mail and log on to their corporate VPNs using their personal Wi-Fi equipped devices. The system will also offer airline operational- communications capabilities and provide a path to a wealth of future cabin services. Set for introduction in 2008, the new broadband service will also be available to business aircraft operators, offering a similar set of features. Aircell (http://www.aircell.com/) has facilities in Louisville, Colorado, and Itasca, Illinois.
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