Cathay Pacific plans in-flight broadband, live TV from 2012

The system will also support cell phone calls and emails

Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways plans to offer in-flight broadband, cell-phone service and live television on its aircraft from early 2012, it said Wednesday.

The airline will use the eXConnect system supplied by Panasonic Avionics that can deliver a 50Mbps Internet stream via satellite to aircraft. That stream will be split between passenger Internet service and crew applications, such as the transmission of real-time flight data back to the airline's base of operations.

The satellite link will also support data and voice cell-phone calls and carry a handful of live TV stations and some pay-per-view programming.

As a first step towards the service, the two companies have signed a preliminary agreement to introduce the services across the entire Cathay Pacific and Dragonair fleets.

Cathay Pacific is the first Asian airline to announce plans to launch the service but its planes won't be the first in the skies to offer it. Germany's Lufthansa plans to launch in-flight Internet access on some of its routes in the next few months as part of a roll-out that will see the majority of its long-haul fleet equipped by the middle of 2011.

Lufthansa was launch customer for Connexion by Boeing, an earlier in-flight Internet service that operated from 2001 until 2006.

The service was adopted by carriers in Europe, the Middle East and Asia and initially supported by several U.S. airlines, but the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and subsequent turbulence in the U.S. airline industry meant no North American carrier ever launched the service. It was this failure to crack the U.S. market and the tough conditions in the aviation market that eventually led to the closure of the service.

In-flight Internet has since come to North American flights based on the Aircell GoGo in-flight Internet service.

It relies on ground-based towers so is cheaper to fit on aircraft but coverage doesn't extend far beyond the U.S. The Panasonic service is technically more sophisticated and uses a network of satellites to maintain a signal even while aircraft are flying over oceans.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags broadbandinternettelecommunicationsatelliteCarriersCathay Pacific AirwaysPanasonic Avionics

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?