Inmarsat formalised a ten-year strategic partnership with Lufthansa Group in October 2015. As part of the agreement, Inmarsat will provide high-speed inflight connectivity services for passengers onboard the European continental fleet of Lufthansa, with a framework also provided to extend the services to other airline brands within the group.

Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) Aviation will power connectivity services onboard more than 150 Lufthansa aircraft, the first of which will be equipped and tested in early summer 2016. Additional aircraft will be added in due course and Lufthansa will also trial Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN), which combines an S-band satellite with a complementary LTE ground network being provided by Deutsche Telekom, in 2017.

Inmarsat’s next generation connectivity services will enable Lufthansa passengers to make the most of broadband internet access on their own mobile devices via a wireless network onboard their flight. They will not only be able to use simple email services, but also superior applications and even streaming. On top of all this, passengers will also be able to use their mobile phones to send and receive text messages and for the transfer of data based on their own mobile phone contract. Telephone calls on board, however, will still not be allowed due to Lufthansa Group customer preference.

Lufthansa Technik will integrate all systems and components into the aircraft thanks to its many years of experience in the field of plane modification. This work will not only include installation activities, but also all tasks required in terms of aviation and licensing law.

Lufthansa Systems will provide the technical infrastructure needed to establish a well-functioning onboard internet connection. This work will include tasks such as setting up network operations in the aircraft, which is the main technical requirement for a wireless network onboard, and providing the software required for the operation of an internet portal.