Well, it has finally happened. A former Connexion by Boeing (CBB) customer, Japan Airlines (JAL), has confirmed plans for removing from its Boeing widebodies the Mitsubishi Electric (MELCO) antenna that supported the now defunct airborne connectivity service.
Over the last year, the in-flight entertainment/communications industry has speculated about whether the likes of JAL – and CBB launch customer Lufthansa – might seek out a provider willing to assume the service requirements of CBB (and let that big ole MELCO antenna stay put).
Panasonic, for one, proposed a solution that would support that very scenario, as part of a wider commitment to its own Ku band-based connectivity system.
But it wasn’t meant to be for JAL, which says the MELCO antennas will come off in 2008. “At the moment we are focusing on broadband connectivity options similar to CBB rather than using an on-board mobile phone station called a ‘picocell’,” says a JAL spokesman.
As previously reported here, Lufthansa is strongly believed to have selected a team that includes T-Mobile for its connectivity needs.