Boeing close to linefit connectivity for 787

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Boeing says it is working to include "a full set" of connectivity options in the 787 catalogue by the end of the year.

The long-awaited announcement will allow prime partners Panasonic Avionics and Thales to install their respective inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions as a standard option for new 787 aircraft, with full functionality. The 787 can be retrofitted for mobile and wi-fi connectivity after delivery, but the catalogue option will allow these features to be a part of the aircraft before it rolls off the production line.

Boeing also says that the first IFEC systems will be linefit on the 747-8 and the 777 by the end of 2013. Services include inflight entertainment, mobile and wi-fi services and live television. Boeing says it is also in the process of developing new connectivity systems for the 737, which already includes wiring provisions for connectivity.

Wireless streaming to passengers' personal devices - a widely-discussed topic at the Airline Passenger Experience Association Expo this week - will be available on new Boeing aircraft from 2014. The entertainment content will be streamed from a head-end server to each device on the aircraft.

David Bruner, vice president of Panasonic Avionics' global communications service, underscored the customer demand the company has been seeing for 787 connectivity. He says that several existing customers for its global communications suite have upcoming deliveries for 787s, providing a ready market for the new services.