Preparation for the rollout of a big BoardConnect Connectivity project. Image via Lufthansa Systems

Preparation for the rollout of a big BoardConnect Connectivity project. Image via Lufthansa Systems

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of APEX EXPO this year, APEX Media is looking back at its members’ most significant achievements. Today, we revisit Lufthansa Systems’ introduction of wireless in-flight entertainment with its BoardConnect solution.

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At ITB Berlin in March 2011, Lufthansa Systems premiered its BoardConnect wireless in-flight entertainment (IFE) product and announced Condor as the launch customer. Requiring just a server and five wireless access points throughout the cabin, Lufthansa Systems estimated the fuel savings compared to a traditional wired IFE product on Condor’s Boeing 767-300 fleet amounted to 80 metric tonnes per aircraft.

According to Lufthansa Systems, the idea for BoardConnect was born in 2008. After establishing a fully IP-based audio-and-video-on-demand solution for the cruise-ship industry – dubbed the Mobile Infotainment System – the company’s innovation management and business development teams began working with a small team of engineers to transfer the solution to commercial aviation.

BoardConnect received the Crystal Cabin Award for Passenger Comfort in 2012, and shortly afterwards announced that the leading film studios had approved early window content on the platform for playback on secured airline-owned devices.

“So far, 17 airlines have chosen our BoardConnect solution, covering almost 900 aircraft – installed or portable, with or without connectivity. And our customer base is continuously growing.” – Jan-Peter Gänse, Lufthansa Systems

In 2013, Virgin Australia became the first carrier to implement a fleet-wide rollout of the system. The airline still relies on a combination of BoardConnect, integrated with Gogo’s 2Ku connectivity solution, and BoardConnect Portable, launched in 2015 with Eurowings and Azul Airlines as one of the first wireless IFE systems without any aircraft installation requirements. Both solutions evolved into successful products under the direction of Norbert Müller, who occupied the role of SVP BoardConnect from 2011 to 2017.

In 2017, Jan-Peter Gänse took on the role of head of Passenger Experience at Lufthansa Systems. Today, his team is focusing on BoardConnect Dock, an open digital platform that allows airlines and their partners to adopt and customize on-board services with a variety of applications.

“So far, 17 airlines have chosen our BoardConnect solution, covering almost 900 aircraft – installed or portable, with or without connectivity. And our customer base is continuously growing,” said Gänse.

See more posts from the 40 Success Stories campaign.