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Continental looks to complete LTV3 installs on 737s by year-end

Continental Airlines is looking to complete installation of LiveTV's latest generation live television system on its Boeing 737 narrowbodies by the end of this year.

During a 9 March presentation at the JP Morgan Aviation, Transportation and Defense conference, Continental chief executive Jeff Smisek said the carrier has already installed LiveTV's so-called LTV3 system on a total 71 aircraft. This includes Continental's entire fleet of 737-900ERs, and a portion of its 737-800 and 737-900 fleets.

Continental hopes to finish installing LTV3 on its 737 fleet by the end of 2010, says Smisek.

The system is also slated to be fitted to the airline's Boeing 757-300 fleet. Once the 757 retrofits are finished, expected in June 2011, Continental will offer live television on the majority of aircraft flying in its domestic network.

LTV3 offers over 95 channels of DIRECTV television, as well as eight channels of previously recorded programming, such as premium movies, sitcoms and dramas. The service is complimentary in first class and available at each seat in economy class for $6 per flight.

While Continental is bolstering its in-flight entertainment (IFE) offering with LTV3, the carrier also intends to equip 21 757-300s with Aircell's pay-for-service Gogo in-flight broadband system.

Announcing the Aircell deal last year, the carrier also said it would follow through with a previously-announced plan to offer LiveTV's basic Kiteline email and messaging service for free on 30 737-900ERs, in a move aimed at helping it decide the path to take on Wi-Fi in the future.

However, Continental's experiment with Kiteline - previously slated to occur in the first quarter - is now understood to be delayed.

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