Continental Airlines appears to be revising connectivity plans as the US major ramps up installation of live television systems on narrowbody aircraft this summer.

The carrier had intended to offer LiveTV's basic Kiteline instant messaging and email product in addition to its television system but a connectivity deal with the JetBlue subsidiary is no longer a certainty.

"Currently, we are watching the industry to determine the best type of Wi-Fi service to offer to our customers," a Continental spokeswoman says.

In the meantime, the carrier continues installation of LiveTV's latest generation live television system, dubbed LTV3 under a partnership with DirecTV.

One Boeing 737-900ER outfitted with LTV3 entered commercial service on 3 April and a second aircraft with the systems will be placed into service this week. The Continental system currently offers 77 channels and up to 80 channels will eventually be available.

"We are tracking DirecTV usage daily and are pleased with the overall performance of the system," the spokeswoman says.

Narrowbodies will be equipped with television systems at a pace of 15 aircraft per month starting in the summer, a Continental executive said recently during an investors call.

LTV3 will be available on 757-300s, and all of Continental's 737NG aircraft, including the -700, -800, -900 and -900ER.

Roughly 90 aircraft will have live television systems by the end of 2009 and more than 200 aircraft will be outfitted by the end of 2010, the spokeswoman says.

First class passengers will receive complimentary access to the system and LTV3 will cost $6 for other passengers.

Continental originally signed up for LiveTV's second generation offering, the 36-channel system now flying on JetBlue, but the carrier later opted for the 80-channel LTV3.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news