It launched as Gogo Vision Touch. Delta Air Lines would be the initial customer but plans were in place to expand the offering to other airlines. Those plans still exist in a roundabout way, but it no longer appears that Gogo is involved in the product as Delta carries this wireless IFE solution forward.
Panasonic Avionics Corporation
Singapore Airlines pressed its latest A350 configuration into service this week. Adelaide is the first destination to see the mid-haul plane and its new Thales AVANT entertainment and Inmarsat GX connectivity systems on board.
Can a massive airline deliver disruption in the inflight entertainment world? Delta Air Lines hopes the answer is yes as its Delta Flight Products (DFP) group formally launches its wireless IFE solution. Can a massive airline deliver disruption in the inflight entertainment world? Delta Air Lines hopes the answer is yes as its Delta Flight Products (DFP) group formally launches its wireless IFE solution. That's bad news for pretty much every other vendor in the inflight entertainment market today.
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.
The add-on order for ten more Delta A330-900neo aircraft is not nearly as significant as a couple of the cabin amenity changes it includes.
Maybe it has never truly been cheap for passengers, but airlines historically took advantage of great deals from suppliers to secure inflight wifi connectivity solutions relatively inexpensively. As those vendors now seek financial stability more than market share a shift is underway. Is the era of cheap wifi over? (And did it ever really exist?!?)
Global Eagle posted strong revenue numbers in Q3, with its content and aviation connectivity segments showing particular strength. The company also announced a couple "take away" deals that see it grabbing business from competitors. Those moves come at a cost, however, especially on the connectivity side. The increased revenue from these deals over the long term is welcome but a short term cash crunch could be bad for business.
Inmarsat reported a jump in inflight connectivity revenue in Q3, continuing the activation and growth of its GX Aviation solution on aircraft around the world. The numbers suggest additional frames are finally generating revenue, a welcome advance for the company after the first such income was generated just last quarter. Inmarsat also disclosed that at least two recently announced customer wins remain as unsigned, lending credibility to claims that the deals are not yet final. The company also outlined additional details on how it expects the Panasonic partnership to grow.
Two stories should deliver a net boost for Global Eagle headed into Thursday's earnings release. They are not both good news (and one remains unconfirmed), but the positive outweighs the negative significantly.