All Nippon Airways (ANA) announced that it would offer Wi-Fi Internet access on its international routes starting from July 2013. The service uses a satellite connection and will be offered by Geneva-based provider OnAir. ANA will invest about $12 million in the project.
It will not offer Wi-Fi on its domestic routes, as flight time is too short to give the service enough added value, according to the company.
The technology has been available for some years, but many companies have remained offline. Boeing failed with one of the first such projects in 2006 and Lufthansa was among the first that dared to bring the wireless Internet back to the airplanes, in cooperation with Panasonic Avionics, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In the U.S., most companies use a technology that transmits to towers placed on the ground. This is functional when the planes are above the ground, but makes it difficult when they fly over the oceans. OnAir, as well as other providers like Row 44 and Panasonic Avionics have solved this problem by connecting to satellites instead. This alternative offers larger bandwidth and more stable connections, but it requires higher investment.
ANA considered to work with OnAir and Panasonic, before choosing the first because their solution was fitting better to ANA’s midsized planes. The airline did not say anything about how much passengers will have to pay for the service.