Lufthansa connectivity to return in second half of 2010

Frankfurt
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German flag-carrier Lufthansa aims to have at least 50 widebody aircraft offering on-board broadband Internet and mobile services when it revives its FlyNet service in the second half of next year.

It has confirmed today that it will partner with Panasonic Avionics to relaunch broadband connectivity.

Lufthansa was the leading user of the former Connexion by Boeing service, which was switched off by the manufacturer nearly three years ago. The carrier has since been working to revive connectivity and, as earlier reported by ATI, has turned to Panasonic's eXconnect broadband product.

Lufthansa becomes the launch customer for the Panasonic service. The solution also offers mobile telephony services, enabling passengers to send messages via mobiles and smartphones, but there are no plans to enable voice calls on board.

"We were overwelmed by the demand from customers [of the original connectivity service] so we looked for an alternative," said Lufthansa CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber today in Frankfurt. "Lufthansa wants to remain the innovator and technology leader."