Lufthansa, Panasonic deal for in-flight Internet

October 12, 2009
A Lufthansa plane stands on the tarmac of the Airbus plant in Hamburg. The German flag carrier and Japanese electronics giant Panasonic have teamed up to offer passengers wireless Internet on long-haul flights from 2010.

German flag carrier Lufthansa and Japanese electronics giant Panasonic have teamed up to offer passengers wireless Internet on long-haul flights from 2010, the airline said on Monday.

Long-haul business passengers will enjoy services comparable "with those available at powerful hotspots or upmarket hotels," Lufthansa boss Wolfgang Mayrhuber said in a statement.

"The service will gradually become available on all Lufthansa's long-haul flights worldwide," the firm said.

Spokesman Michael Lamberty told AFP that prototypes would be tested towards the end of this year, with the aim of rolling out the service on 50 long-haul planes in mid-2010.

Passengers will also be able to send text messages via and transfer data via handheld communication devices like Blackberries or iPhones, he added.

While in-flight Internet is fairly common on domestic flights in the United States, it is still comparatively rare for airlines to offer the service on long-haul flights, Lamberty said.

Lufthansa withdrew a similar service at the end of 2006 after it failed to take off.

(c) 2009 AFP

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