Bringing internet access for mobile devices to short and medium haul flights following success of long haul connectivity with FlyNet
From early summer 2016, Lufthansa will be the first network airline in Europe to offer broadband on board its short and medium haul flights.
This will enable passengers on continental flights and flights within Germany to enjoy the full freedom to communicate and to use the internet with a wide bandwidth above the clouds.
The first aircraft will be fitted with the new technology in early summer 2016.
The new service from Lufthansa and its technology partner Inmarsat is based on the most modern broadband satellite technology from Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network (Ka-band) and offers seamless, reliable coverage on short and medium-haul flights.
Inmarsat recently launched the third satellite in this global constellation and Lufthansa will be its first aviation customer.
Since December 2010, Lufthansa was the first airline to offer broadband internet access on its intercontinental flights with FlyNet, which has been available on all 106 long haul aircraft in the Lufthansa fleet since the beginning of this year.
Carsten Spohr, chairman of the executive board of Deutsche Lufthansa, commented: “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 service new will enable passengers to make the most of broadband internet access on their own mobile devices via a wireless network, from email to streaming. On top of this, 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, said Lufthansa.
Lufthansa Technik will integrate all systems and components into the aircraft, while Lufthansa Systems will provide the technical infrastructure needed to establish an internet connection on board. This work will include tasks such as setting up network operations in the aircraft, which is the main technical requirement for a wireless network on board and providing the software required for the operation of an Internet portal.
Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik are additionally planning a long term global partnership in order to also be able to offer other airlines a modern on-board IT platform (BoardConnect) with broadband internet access that can be used for a number of different purposes. Both the Lufthansa Group and future clients in the third party market will benefit from the additional services and lower risks provided by this partnership.
With regard to the future, 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 promising and innovative 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.