From early summer 2016, Lufthansa will offer broadband on board its short- and medium-haul flights.
Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, comments: “Lufthansa has always been a pioneer of Internet services on board its aircraft. Having equipped all planes in the Lufthansa intercontinental fleet with our successful FlyNet® system, we are now continuing our success story by providing Internet on board our short- and medium-haul flights. We are therefore the first airline in Europe able to offer its guests an Internet surfing experience boasting the same quality and speed as they are used to at home.”
The new service from Lufthansa and its technology partner Inmarsat is based on broadband satellite technology from Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network (Ka-band). Inmarsat recently successfully launched the third satellite in this global constellation and Lufthansa will be its first aviation customer.
The service will enable passengers to make the most of broadband Internet access on their own mobile devices via a wireless network. They will not only be able to use simple email services, but also superior applications and streaming. Passengers will also be able to use their mobile phones to send and receive text messages and for the transfer of data based on their own mobile phone contract. Telephone calls on board, however, will still not be allowed due to customer preference.
Lufthansa is also committing to a flight trial programme for a new hybrid network being developed for Europe. The European Aviation Network combines an S-band satellite from Inmarsat with a complementary LTE ground network being provided by Deutsche Telekom. This technology offers potential in terms of costs and can be flexibly adapted to suit the broadband transmission demands of the future. From 2017 onwards, Lufthansa will commence a flight trial programme of the new technology.
Lufthansa operated the world’s first scheduled flight with broadband Internet access on 15 January 2003. Although it was increasing in popularity among passengers, this technically reliable broadband Internet connection via a wireless network had to be suspended in 2006 because the necessary satellites were no longer in operation. FlyNet® has been available on all 106 long-haul aircraft in the Lufthansa fleet since the beginning of this year.