Row 44 clears final hurdle to offering in-flight Internet in Europe

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Row 44 has received a supplemental type certificate (STC) from EASA to equip commercial aircraft in Europe with its in-flight broadband platform, clearing the final hurdle for the California-based company to offer the Ku-band satellite-based solution on another continent.

"Planes equipped with it will soon be flying all across Europe with a full menu of in-flight broadband services - Internet, video, e-commerce, games and more. We will be pioneering a whole new flying experience for passengers throughout Europe," says Row 44 chief commercial officer Howard Lefkowitz.

Row 44 recently told ATI and Flightglobal that it is gearing up to soon begin installing its system on Norwegian's Boeing 737-800s. Norwegian originally planned to begin equipping its -800s with Ku-band antennas and other Row 44 equipment in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Regulatory issues "took a bit longer than we expected" but Row 44 recently "lit up our Western European theatre of operations", said the spokesman, adding: "We also currently have personnel in Europe setting up our network operations centre as we speak."

Norwegian will become the third carrier to offer Row 44's in-flight high-speed Internet service. US low-cost operator Southwest Airlines is in the process of fitting its entire fleet with the system. United Airlines is testing Row 44 on a single Boeing 757 testbed aircraft.

South African carrier Mango, meanwhile, has also signed a deal with Row 44.