Kuwait Airways expects to bring the Airbus A330-800 into service during Q2 2020. The carrier is the launch customer for the type and holds the most orders for the –800 variant with eight planned for the fleet. While little has been shared about the cabin interior configuration planes we do have one small bit of data. This week Panasonic Avionics confirmed that its X series inflight entertainment system will be on board when the planes are delivered.
As Kuwait Airways develops its long-haul network with the introduction of its new A330-800neo fleet, Panasonic Avionics is honored to be their partner of choice in enhancing their inflight passenger experience.– Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation
The Kuwait Airways A330-800neo will fly in a two class configuration, featuring economy class and business class on board. All passengers will have access to HD touch screens and a mix of USB and 110V universal outlet charging facilities at every seat. Touch screen video control handsets will also fly on board.
The Kuwait Airways A330neo joins the carrier’s A320 and 777-300ER aircraft with the X series IFE experience installed. The carrier’s A330ceo fleet carries Thales‘ IFE solution; that deal is one of several at the heart of a corruption lawsuit in California that was referred to arbitration.
The A380-800 is still working through its certification efforts, but Airbus expects those to complete “early” this year. Delivery and entry into service should follow soon thereafter.
Notably absent from the announcement is any mention of inflight connectivity on the new planes. Panasonic Avionics provides the Ku-band satellite connection on the carrier’s 777-300ER fleet. The carrier previously committed to add Inmarsat‘s GX Aviation solution, with SITAONAIR as integrator, to its A320neo aircraft as they join the fleet. The older A330 and A320 planes are also connected via SITAONAIR, but with the lower capacity SwiftBroadband/L-Band solution.
Presumably the A330neo planes will also fly with the GX kit on board based on this trend, though that remains unconfirmed. Kuwait Airways could not be reached for comment. While Panasonic and Inmarsat have some joint venture efforts underway it does not appear that this deal takes advantage of that relationship.