Lufthansa to install BoardConnect on 20 A321s

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Lufthansa Systems' wireless in-flight entertainment (IFE) offering BoardConnect will be installed on Lufthansa's Airbus A321 fleet following six months of trials, says the wireless entertainment provider at the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) expo in Anaheim on 9 September.

Lufthansa Technik will equip 20 of the carrier's A321 aircraft beginning in the summer of 2014. This is about a third of the airline's A321 fleet. The timeline for outfitting any other narrowbody aircraft in the fleet would be determined after those installations, says Norbert Mueller, senior vice-president, BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems.

The maintenance provider has designed a wireless access point to transmit multimedia content to the aircraft that meets the future "802.11ac" industry standard for wi-fi as well as today's wireless local area networks.

BoardConnect can provide streaming multimedia content to 250 passengers' devices simultaneously by installing multiple wireless access points, says Mueller.

Lufthansa will be the first mainline carrier in Europe to provide the IFE system on flights within the region and plans to deploy BoardConnect on medium-haul routes. It features movie content on passengers' own devices through digital rights management (DRM) technology approved by major studios.

The system will also include a shopping module as well as an updated interactive moving map that Lufthansa is showcasing in Anaheim this year.

The carrier announced in December 2012 that it began testing BoardConnect on a Munich-based A320 aircraft on 34 short-to-medium haul routes.

In May 2012, Lufthansa 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.