Lufthansa gets certification to install Ka-band equipment on its planes and will start service later this year
Lufthansa will start offering in-flight Wi-Fi on its short and medium-haul routes from October, with the entirety of its Airbus A320 fleet connected to Inmarsat’s satellite broadband network from mid-2018.
The German carrier has received certification to install Ka-band antennas on commercial aircraft, proving the equipment does not affect their ability to fly. Lufthansa’s in-house technical team install the system, which is invisible to passengers.
The first plane was equipped in June and the company will test the system for functionality and stability over the next few weeks. Other airlines within the Lufthansa Group will follow after.
Lufthansa In-flight Wi-Fi
The network will be strengthened by LTE ground infrastructure built and operated by Deutsche Telekom and both components will comprise the ‘European Aviation Network’ that will cover all major European air routes.
Inmarsat’s holds S-band spectrum licences across all 28 EU member states and will work with 300 LTE sites managed by Deutsche Telekom. Each of these sites will have a range of 80km – eight times the standard range of an LTE site – and is capable of transmitting data at the operating altitude and speed of an aircraft.
It is claimed the speeds will be as good as passengers’ home broadband.
Lufthansa first offered in-flight broadband in 2003, but had to discontinue it because the Boeing satellites that powered the service ceased operations. It started again in 2010 on some long-haul routes and Lufthansa has 107 equipped aircraft – a fleet that it claims is the largest Wi-Fi equipped in the world.
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