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Boeing returns to Ku connectivity linefits for Turkish 777

Turkish Airlines will take delivery of the first Boeing 777-300ER with Panasonic Avionics' Ku-band satellite-supported Global Communications Suite (GCS) - including in-flight Internet and IPTV - from Boeing on 23 September, marking a return to Ku connectivity linefits by the US airframer.

The move comes over five years after Boeing famously ceased offering its own Ku-band supported connectivity solution, Connexion by Boeing, to carriers.

It also follows an internal decision by the airframer to placard the cockpits of 777s fitted with Honeywell Phase 3 liquid crystal display units as the units have shown to be susceptible to electro magnetic interference (EMI). The placards, like those used on Emirates' 777s and myriad Boeing 737NGs in the United States, will bear strict instructions that pilots are not to use connectivity on the flight deck, according to sources.

A service bulletin to address the EMI issue is expected to be released by Boeing next year.

In a statement today Turkish boasted that it will be the first carrier to offer live, in-flight television on transatlantic flights when it puts the new 777 into revenue service. The Panasonic eXTV television network uses the IFEC giant's eXConnect Ku-band pipe to deliver programming to passengers.

"It will provide live, uninterrupted content to aircraft flying all over the world, even over oceans. The service will offer several channels [such] as BBC World, BBC Arabic and Euronews on available Turkish Airlines flights," said Turkish.

The carrier also noted that it will be "among [the] first European carriers" to introduce Internet access to passengers.

Former Connexion customer Lufthansa re-launched in-flight high-speed Internet on transatlantic flights late last year under a partnership with Panasonic.

Turkish said it will deliver "the first 777-300ER with GCS system from the Boeing company on 23 September 2011. Turkish Airlines also plans to launch this system on its existing aircraft, 11 Boeing 777-300ER and 10 Airbus A330-200 in the near future."

The system has been installed linefit by Boeing, confirms a Panasonic spokesman.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear when Panasonic partner AeroMobile's in-flight GSM solution known as eXPhone - also part of the GCS suite - will again be offered linefit by Boeing. A source said the airframer has ceased linefits of eXPhone after it was discovered that some leaky feeder cables already installed on aircraft fitted with eXPhone failed flammability testing.

Boeing could not provide immediate comment.

For more news about the latest developments in in-flight entertainment and connectivity, check out Flightglobal's Runway Girl blog.

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