Star Alliance member Lufthansa has begun flight-testing its 'FlyNet' in-flight Internet service in preparation for re-launch within several weeks.

"The tests for the next generation of FlyNet are going well and we are confident to launch in late summer," a Lufthansa spokesman reveals to ATI and Flightglobal.

"Right now, we are running tests on four aircraft," he adds.

Lufthansa previously said it would reinstate FlyNet by mid-year, so the new timeframe represents a slight slippage in the carrier's planned roll-out.

Panasonic Avionics is playing a pivotal role in switching on FlyNet on the majority of 70 Lufthansa aircraft already fitted with Connexion by Boeing (CBB) hardware and MELCO antennas.

The in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) giant's contract with Lufthansa also calls for Panasonic to fit its eXConnect Internet solution - which boasts a new-generation EMS antenna - on the rest of Lufthansa's long-haul fleet by the end of 2011.

Panasonic partner AeroMobile's mobile connectivity service - which allows passengers to use their GSM handsets during flight and has been branded as eXPhone by Panasonic - will also be offered to Lufthansa passengers.

The eXPhone service will operate over the Ku-band pipe that also supports Lufthansa's high-speed Internet service.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news