Lufthansa Technik (LHT) is to start its first third-party installations of the Connexion by Boeing on-board internet service this year, after securing a contract from Star Alliance partner Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), despite satellite coverage restrictions in Sweden.

LHT is to install its FlyNet software, which provides passengers with internet access, on seven Airbus A340-300s and four Airbus A330-300s from the fourth quarter. SAS will be using the same wireless local area network technology used by Lufthansa, and LHT says it expects to become the supplier of choice for all other Star Alliance carriers. Contracted work to equip All Nippon Airways aircraft has not yet been scheduled.

LHT received European Aviation Safety Agency certification in June for the Airbus A340-300 installation, and expects approval shortly for the A340-600 and A330-300, says Ulf Hallmann, LHT director of engineering services, speaking on the inaugural Connexion flight between Munich and Tokyo.

Installations for all 11 SAS aircraft will take place in Copenhagen. Current installation time of two weeks is expected to be cut to less than 10 days by year-end, and be halved eventually. LHT expects to equip around 50 aircraft this year and up to a further 200 by the end of next year.

Connexion by Boeing has coverage problems in northern Sweden. Current satellite coverage extends up to 78¡ north throughout most of the northern hemisphere after the introduction of a new mechanically steered antenna and increased access to Ku-band satellite capability last month on polar routes. Full global coverage is expected over the next two years.



Source: Flight International