FlyNet takes off again: Lufthansa relaunches broadband Internet on-board

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East Meadow, NY, Oct. 12, 2009 — In mid-2010, when Lufthansa reintroduces FlyNet, its satellite-based Internet on-board service, the airline’s customers will once again be able to communicate above the clouds via broadband Internet. In addition to the wireless Internet access, the newly improved service will permit inflight data transfer over standard GSM/GPRS mobile networks. This will enable Lufthansa passengers in the future to also send text messages by mobile phone and transfer data via smartphones such as PDA, iPhone or BlackBerry devices. Together with its new business partner, Panasonic, Lufthansa plans to equip a major part of its long-range fleet with FlyNet within the first year of operation.

An innovator in inflight Internet service, Lufthansa’s FlyNet relaunch will again position the airline as a world leader in on-board connectivity and as one of the only carriers to offer a broadband service on inter-continental routes. “In terms of personal communications, Lufthansa customers can look forward to superior inflight service,” said Lufthansa CEO and Chairman Wolfgang Mayrhuber. “On long-haul routes, we offer business travellers, in particular, a range of communication options on par with those available at land-based hotspots or premium hotels.” FlyNet thus rounds out the communications services available to Lufthansa passengers throughout the entire travel chain.

“We are thrilled to be working with Lufthansa as the launch customer for Panasonic’s new broadband service, exConnect,” said Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics Corporation. “Lufthansa’s previous experience with passenger connectivity makes them the ideal launch customer for the eXConnect service. Lufthansa was a true pioneer with their FlyNet branded service. We are proud to bring FlyNet back to their passengers.”

Lufthansa is focusing on providing high bandwidth, which is essential for unrestricted web surfing, email/file transfer including attachments, and the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). In addition, this quality bandwidth will enhance the possibility of additional operational applications such as telemedicine, in which a patient’s vitals can be quickly transmitted to a ground station.

FlyNet is impressively user-friendly. Passengers with a Wifi or GSM/GPRS-compatible device can log on from any point in the aircraft cabin. Depending on the device they are using (i.e. a laptop or a smartphone), passengers can choose to be billed via a mobile service provider or pay by credit card. Various price models are planned – ranging from a one-hour flat rate to a monthly flat rate. Passengers should also be able to redeem award miles for use of the Wifi Internet connections. The exact price for specific products will be announced at a later date.

With this new service, Lufthansa is building on its positive experience with Lufthansa FlyNet. On January 15, 2003, the world’s first scheduled flight providing broadband Internet access on-board took off via a Lufthansa commercial flight. From May 2004 until the end of 2006, when the service was then withdrawn by Lufthansa’s former partner Connexion by Boeing, broadband wireless Internet connectivity gained in popularity and the technology proved highly reliable. By that time 69 of Lufthansa’s long-range aircraft were equipped with FlyNet, making the Lufthansa fleet the largest Internet-enabled fleet in the world, with about 30,000 users per month.

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