Lufthansa issues tender to equip short-haul fleet with Internet


Lufthansa has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to bring inflight Internet to its short- and medium-haul routes.

A “call for tenders” has already been issued, says the carrier in a statement celebrating the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) initiative to make ‘flight mode’ for passengers’ own electronic devices a thing of the past, pending a safety assessment process by airlines.

Noting that passengers may soon be able to leave their smartphones, tablets and laptops switched on gate-to-gate, as a result of the EASA effort, Jens Bischof, member of the Lufthansa board – sales, product & marketing, says, “This is a logical step and we hope that it will get a green light soon from the airplane manufacturers and the German Federal Aviation Authority.

“For our guests who already value our broadband Internet on all long-haul routes, this is a practical addition.”

It is not yet known with certainty when and for which aircraft types the new EASA regulations will apply, says the carrier. The technical basis for the global easing of restrictions on the use of electronic devices has to do with tests done on the board systems of commercial aircraft which were proven to be well shielded, it adds.

Lufthansa offers Panasonic Avionics’ Ku-band satellite-supported inflight connectivity solution on its long-haul aircraft. It has also been rolling out Panasonic unit AeroMobile’s inflight GSM offering as well. Crucially, however, while the AeroMobile service supports text and data use, voice functionality is disabled.

Telephone conversations on board Lufthansa’s aircraft – including over the Internet – “are not welcome”, the carrier stresses. “This is not for technical reasons, but rather survey data has shown that many passengers worry that telephone conversations on board will be bothersome.”