Swedish Airline SAS Will Test In-Flight Internet

[London, ENGLAND] Swedish airline SAS announced Wednesday
it will test a wireless Internet system developed by
Seattle-based Tenzing Communications that runs on-board
aircraft.

Claiming it as a “world’s first,” SAS will also work with
Telia Mobile in getting the system up and running. Telia
Mobile has already installed networks for wireless services
at airports and other public places so that travelers can
be online at various stages of their trip.

Jan Olson, head of SAS products and service development,
said the new wireless technology creates possibilities for
SAS passengers to gain access to e-mail and Internet both
on-board and on the ground.

“During 2001, all SAS lounges will be equipped with this
wireless network. In future, we will also offer innovative
services to make the customer’s travel easier. Telia and
Tenzing play key roles in this effort,” said Olson.

Much pioneering work needs to be done before e-mail and
Internet access become ubiquitous on passenger aircraft.
Safety fears have been paramount in the minds of the
regulating authorities, pending a proven system that
separates flight communications and controls from the
passengers’ use of computers.

SAS intends to go ahead with a test of the Tenzing system
during 2001. The test will give lap-top users access to
an Internet server on-board the aircraft. In turn, the
server will link to a ground station when the aircraft is
airborne, with content being transmitted and updated at
regular intervals.

E-mail and the Web represent just the first stage of
what Tenzing plans for airline passengers. Developers
believe they will be able eventually to implement broadband
connections on-board aircraft using advanced satellite
technology.

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