In a little less than a month, Lufthansa plans to make an announcement of re-introducing Internet connectivity on all of its overseas flights. This will be their second attempt, but using the equipment already present on their intercontinental planes.
Launched in summer of 2001, Connexion by Boeing ushered a new era of travel experience by using satellite technology to get the Internet to the passengers inside the planes. However, the system was very complex and heavy, causing limited acceptance. The carrier stopped offering in-flight Internet when Boeing shut down its Connexion by Boeing service in 2006.
For some odd reason, Lufthansa did not remove equipment from its planes, flying with approximately 1.7 ton of extra drag generated by the satellite receiver and other equipment [plus the weight of the equipment itself]. Given the size of Lufthansa's equipped fleet [60 planes], it probably amount to more than a million dollar loss per plane per year, or roughly 200 million dollar loss since the service ended. Overall, Lufthansa lost around half a billion USD on "Connexion by Boeing" and it is of no wonder that the carrier now wants to get that equipment back into use.
According to the sources we have in hand, Lufthansa decided to sign a deal with Panasonic Aero, US-based part of Japanese giant Matsushita. During 2010, Lufthansa should re-introduce broadband service to majority of their routes and begin fitting newer planes with the equipment from 2012 onwards.
Sources said that the first Airbus A380 for Lufthansa won't have broadband Internet, but that as of 2012, that should be arranged as well.
It doesn't stop there, though. Lufthansa also wants to introduce in-flight Internet to all of its narrowbody planes, e.g. planes that fly in and around the European continent. For this service, this airline giant is now in design stages of an open bidding process that will commence in 2010, and should be ready for Introduction in 2012.
Given the rate of hype that various airline carriers around the globe are discussing, 2015 might be the year when majority of flights will be "online". We can't wait.
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