Passengers and the experts were equally enthusiastic about the practical test this spring. Now Lufthansa is going one step further and will become the first airline company worldwide to introduce broadband Internet on board its entire long-haul fleet. Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Lufthansa AG, and Scott Carson, President of Connexion by Boeing, signed a corresponding agreement in Frankfurt. The contract calls for the successive equipping of a total of around 80 Boeing 747-400 as well as Airbus A340 and A330 long-haul aircraft from the beginning of next year. “The Internet is being given wings and will enable the mobile business traveller to make better use of his flying time”, said Wolfgang Mayrhuber. “Internet on board will open up new perspectives in future: from entertainment to telemedicine.” Scott Carson added: “Through this agreement, Lufthansa has clearly taken a position of leadership within the aviation industry in recognizing the added value that broadband connectivity can bring to its passengers and to its airline operations,” said Connexion by Boeing President Scott Carson. “We salute them for their pioneering spirit and the vision we share for enhancing the travel experience for their passengers and for creating new value opportunities for their airline operations.” Mayrhuber pointed out the great importance attached to technological development by Lufthansa: “Lufthansa was always a pioneer of technological developments in aviation. In this connection, our focus is on the customers and their needs. A will to innovate, customer-orientation and a high level of quality will continue to be the key to our success in future. That is why even in economically difficult times we are investing in the latest technology.”
As was the case during the trials of the Lufthansa FlyNet between January and April, Lufthansa will also offer an exclusive free portal during normal operations. It will provide comprehensive Lufthansa information as well as news, weather, stock market and destination region data. This portal, which will be permanently updated by satellite during the flight, simultaneously represents a unique new marketing platform for partner companies of the airline. In addition, passengers can surf in the Internet without hindrance or set up a secure data connection via Virtual Private Network (VPN) to the company`s own Intranet or mail server. For the first time in aviation, FlyNet will make the wireless access of conventional laptop computers and other mobile terminals possible with the WLAN technology. In preparation for the commercial service introduction, Connexion by Boeing and Lufthansa are working on a host of payment options that will allow passengers to enjoy full access to the Internet including the use of Miles and More bonus miles or payment of a nominal service access fee.
At the same time, August W. Henningsen, Chairman of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Technik AG, signed another agreement with Connexion by Boeing with respect to the development work for the installation of the satellite communication system. The principal element in this contract, is to support Connexion by Boeing in the design and planning of the installation on the long-haul aircraft of the Lufthansa fleet. Furthermore, Lufthansa Technik will produce a corresponding installation kit with service bulletins and make it available to Connexion by Boeing. Lufthansa will thereby, continue to be actively involved in the design, modification and certification process.
Lufthansa Technik has already carried out the equipping of the first trial aircraft worldwide, a Lufthansa Boeing 747-400, and had it certified according to the regulations of the European Joint Aviation Authority (JAA). Thanks to their extensive experience in the development of communication systems for VIP and business travel aircraft, the Hamburg engineers made an important contribution to the successful start of Lufthansa FlyNet.