It sounded too good be true. Remember last year, when I reported
live from a flight from Frankfurt to Chicago? I had the rare opporunity to sit in one of the first airplanes equipped with Boeing's Connexion service
, which allowed me to surf the Net in high-speed during the flight. Now it looks like the venture hasn't been as successful as many of us had anticipated. As the Wall Street Journal reported
last week, Boeing is considering selling Connexion or shutting it down altogether.
The Chicago aerospace company has reached out to a number of commercial-satellite operators and other potential suitors who might be interested in buying the business or becoming a major partner, these people said. If Boeing can't reach a suitable deal, said one person familiar with the talks, the company is prepared to pull the plug on the service, even though it works as advertised and is being used by a handful of international airlines on long-haul flights, including Lufthansa, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines and others.
The articles cites various reasons for the alleged failure of Connexion:
- lack of interest among U.S. airlines
- little interest of passengers to pay the access fee ($10-$27)
- many airlines lean toward a much-cheaper technology with less capacity that relies on traditional cellular networks.
Satellite operator SES Global is rumored as a potential buyer of the service, which has cost Boeing approximately $1 billion since its start in April 2000. Some industry experts say Connexion today may not be worth more than $150 million.