The official unveiling is set for Monday in Nadi but Fiji Airways cannot wait to tease some details around its new 737 MAX aircraft. Among them, confirmation that the inflight entertainment and connectivity will be provided by Panasonic Avionics. The partnership was reported to PaxEx Premium subscribers last month.
It was supposed to be a massive shift of market share in the inflight connectivity world. Former Panasonic Avionics executive David Bruner claimed significant numbers of Southwest Airlines aircraft would see the Global Eagle kit uninstalled, replaced with PAC's solution, along with the ongoing line-fit deliveries. Instead Global Eagle is replacing PAC on the small number of 737s that were installed. And that might not even be the largest challenge Panasonic faces today.
In the couple months since PAC's partnership announcement with Inmarsat the company has pushed a two pronged approach to its future business. One one side sits the core competencies of its inflight entertainment business. On the other, driven by many of the new faces in the company's leadership, comes a shift towards a services operation. Both sides face challenges.
Fiji Airways is just weeks away from delivery of the carrier's first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. With that delivery the airline joins the ranks of carriers delivering wifi connectivity in the sky. The aircraft carries the necessary hardware for inflight connectivity on board. Official details on the vendor remain unclear but we have a pretty good idea what's under the hump.
The first Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 is starting to come together in Toulouse, France. Parts for MSN 274 are arriving at the final assembly line and there's an interesting surprise atop the aft fuselage section: A radome.
Gogo 2Ku installations continue to spread globally. Cathay Pacific is the latest airline to be spotted with the radome atop its aircraft.
Airline passengers in China and across Asia will soon have access to significantly more inflight wifi connectivity bandwith. Panasonic Avionics and APSATCOM announced the first “XTS” ultra-high speed Ku-band satellte, set to launch in early 2019.
Virgin Atlantic’s newest used plane features the seats and entertainment system the carrier’s passengers have come to know and love. But it is missing the newest amenity – inflight wifi connectivity – and that’s unlikely to change.
Interjet is the latest airline to add inflight wifi to its fleet. The carrier took delivery of its first A321neo last week and with that adds Ku-band connectivity from Panasonic Avionics to the inflight amenities on offer.
Calling it a next generation network may be a slight stretch but Panasonic Avionics is making some changes to how it delivers inflight connectivity. Adding bandwidth is the (relatively) easy part. Blocking the updates no one needs on a plane is harder but also a potentially more significnat improvement to the passenger experience.
Passengers flying across the Pacific Ocean are set for a major upgrade in inflight connectivity performance. Panasonic Avionics and Eutelsat announced this week that Eutelsat 172b is now in service, delivering a massive increase in capacity to the market, particularly for the routes aircraft use between the United States and Asia.