Lufthansa Systems is evaluating the potential of joining up its Lido flight operations software with its mCabin crew app and BoardConnect inflight entertainment system to offer a connected-aircraft solution.

“Safety services is definitely an area that we are looking at, but we don’t have product yet,” Lufthansa Systems director project and certification Jan-Peter Ganse told ATW at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. “There is whole new field out there that we can now work with.”

BoardConnect is a bring-your-own-device wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) system, which comes with the option of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress connectivity, while Lido is a well-established for electronic flight bag solutions and operational data. For cabin services, Lufthansa Systems offers the mCabin crew app.

However, Ganse said there is potential for Lufthansa Systems to use the IFE connectivity pipe for other purposes. “Why not use it for more?” he said, such as real-time Lido updates and to provide data to the cockpit and cabin crew during the flight, for operational and customer service uses.

“We are now seeing airlines go to the connected aircraft, so we are working very strongly with Inmarsat and the European Aviation Network (EAN),” Ganse said.

EAN is an air-to-ground network, which uses land-based masts with a range of around 160km. This means it can also be accessed across limited water masses, such as the English Channel and the Mediterranean Sea. EAN will undergo trials next year on Lufthansa’s narrowbodies. “It is an awesome opportunity for us,” Ganse said.

It is comparatively easy to add air-to-ground capacity, as it only requires additional masts rather than satellite launches. While the speed of air-to-ground is “significantly faster,” said Ganse, the size of the beam is far smaller than a satellite-based solution.