Lufthansa starts BoardConnect tests

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Lufthansa has started testing Lufthansa Systems' BoardConnect in-flight entertainment system on an Airbus A320 aircraft based in Munich, which will travel on 34 short-to-medium haul routes with the technology.

This will be the first test of BoardConnect on the airline, says Lufthansa Systems, a subsidiary of Lufthansa Group. The testing process will last three months and Lufthansa will analyse several criteria before making a decision about whether to roll out the system onboard its narrowbody fleet.

The BoardConnect setup on the Lufthansa A320 uses an onboard server to transmit data to passengers' personal electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones while in flight. The connectivity platform can be installed during overnight or routine maintenance visits.

Lufthansa is one of three airlines now testing BoardConnect. Condor, Thomas Cook's charter subsidiary and the launch customer for BoardConnect, started a five-month trial of the system in September with a Boeing 767-300 aircraft. Virgin America has also been internally testing the system as part of its upgraded Red in-flight entertainment platform on an Airbus A320. Virgin Australia will follow with tests of the system "shortly," Lufthansa Systems says.

Lufthansa is using a different in-flight entertainment option for its widebody fleet. In May, it signed a deal with California-based IMS to install its seatback Rave system for about 80 widebody Airbus A330-300s, A340-300 and -600s and Boeing 747-400s. Zodiac Aerospace announced it had signed a letter of intent to acquire IMS on 21 November during its year-end earnings call, a deal it expects to firm up by the end of the year.