Report: Airline content providers press for downloads.

In-flight entertainment system providers are courting Apple Computer for the ability to offer iTunes music and video downloads to airline passengers. According to Flight International, executives from leading in-flight providers Thales and Panasonic both disclosed ongoing talks with Apple for such a service during a trade event in Germany last week. Apple would not confirm or deny any negotiations.

Music and video is just one of the many e-commerce opportunities in-flight providers hope to add in future aircraft, potentially letting passengers redeem frequent flier miles to pay for downloaded content.

However there are several challenges, not the least of which is getting Apple’s approval. Songs downloaded to the onboard system would need to have permission allowing users to transfer purchased songs to their laptop. There are also issues related to copyright and royalties for music purchased in international airspace.

In related news, technology Web site techrepublic.com reported March 29 that vending machine selling iPods and iPod accessories have begun popping up in airports in San Francisco and Atlanta.