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Lufthansa to launch in-flight Web, phone system

Deutsche Lufthansa AG said Monday it will develop with Panasonic Corp. a service to offer passengers in-flight Internet and cell phone connections.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Deutsche Lufthansa AG said Monday it will develop with Panasonic Corp. a service to offer passengers in-flight Internet and cell phone connections.

Lufthansa said the service, known as FlyNet, will be available starting in mid-2010. The Cologne-based airline said it hopes to equip a major part of its long-haul planes in the service's first year, and eventually the entire long-haul fleet.

Lufthansa launched a previous version of FlyNet, which offered Internet connections but no cell phone service, in 2003. However, its partner, Boeing Corp.'s Connexion, withdrew the service in 2006.

The airline did not say how much the new service would cost for passengers, but did say various price models are planned. It said members of its frequent flier program, Miles & More, could use their points to buy the service.

Lufthansa Chief Executive Wolfgang Mayrhuber said the airline would "offer business travelers, in particular, a range of communications options on a par with those available at powerful hotspots or upmarket hotels."