02 August, 2007: High-speed broadband connectivity is to be tested by American Airlines on US domestic flights next year.
The experiment will be conducted on Boeing 767-200 aircraft that primarily fly transcontinental routes.
Passengers will have access to a high-speed internet connection, VPN and e-mail capabilities through Wi-Fi-enabled laptops and PDA devices in all classes for an unspecified fee.
If the connectivity solution is successful, it could be extended to the rest of the airline´s domestic fleet.
The technology will use three antennas installed on the outside of the aircraft. Technology firm AirCell will provide cellular towers throughout the continental US to transmit the signal. The signals received will be 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi signals.
The technology from AirCell is subject to strict requirements set by the US Federal Aviation Administration through an exclusive license from the Federal Communications Commission. Both agencies oversee the use of broadband and wireless signals by aircraft flying over the continental US.
The airline´s marketing executive vice-president Dan Garton said: "We understand that broadband connectivity is important to our business customers and others who want to use their PDAs and laptops for real-time, inflight broadband communications.
"We consider it a 30,000-foot answer to many of our business travellers´ needs."