Lufthansa is talking to partners about bringing back Internet service on its long-haul fleet: Lufthansa was an early and enthusiastic Connexion by Boeing customer, putting the satellite-based service that shut down last year in 65 of its 80 long-haul planes. That was an expensive proposition, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars per plane according to sources I consulted over the last few years. Lufthansa's customers also loved the service.
While Panasonic Avionics said in third quarter 2006 that they were looking to re-establish Connexion by using more efficient, lighter-weight technology that would employ the same satellites, they stopped speaking about it after their initial attempt to get 500 aircraft committed to the plan. They expected much higher bandwidth--12 Mbps/1 Mbps versus 5 Mbps/1 Mbps for Connexion--and thus a greater variety of airline-focused and entertainment services.
Lufthansa won't discuss its partners, and Panasonic wasn't mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article that broke this news today. T-Mobile's European division is looking to bring both Internet access and cell phone/data back to the air, and Lufthansa is apparently most closely aligned with them--although the Journal says the airline has no interest in the voice part.