How does an airline go about comparing the inflight wifi connectivity options available on the 787 Dreamliner? Lots of contract details about pricing and delivery timeframes are certainly critical, but occasionally the data is summed up into two slides in a briefing deck. For Italian charter operator NEOS the contest settled between Viasat and Panasonic Avionics back in 2017. It appears the carrier chose neither vendor, but the summary of the positioning from the two finalists is intriguing.
After years of insisting it would not fly two inflight entertainment companies delivered great news for travelers last week: Bluetooth headphones integration on inflight entertainment systems will be available to airlines very soon. Both Panasonic Avionics (PAC) and Zodiac Inflight demonstrated the solution at the recent APEX EXPO in Boston.
Panasonic snagged a pair of IFE/C deals this week, adding 20 aircraft to the backlog. These are still Ku connectivity contracts, not yet taking advantage of the new InmarPAC partnership announced last week.
The annual APEX EXPO is less than 24 hours away and anticipation for this year’s event is high. Many suppliers are promising big new throughout the week. In the inflight connectivity world it remains to be seen if anything will top the Panasonic Avionics/Inmarsat announcement from last week. Of course new order announcements are anticipated and will likely be big news. But what additional news will develop during the week?
Panasonic Avionics Corporation (PAC) and Inmarsat are poised to reshape the inflight connectivity world with a landmark deal. The ten year strategic collaboration project will see PAC sell Inmarsat's Ka-band GX connectivity solution while Inmarsat bundles some of PAC's data analytics and services offerings into its sales efforts. Is this the consolidation the market so desperately craves?
Connectivity installations slow slightly over the summer, allowing an opportunity to take a big picture look at the industry and where the various players sit in terms of connected aircraft and future commitments. Compared to a year ago some players have shifted positions, even as the total committed count increases. The latter is definitely good news for all involved while the former is better for some than others.
Panasonic Avionics has a new marketing boss with a strong background in cloud services and AI systems. It will be interesting to follow the company’s shift in focus as the leadership team continues its rebuild after the bribery scandal, especially as IFE/C or airline-related experience appears an optional qualification.
A decade of bribery and illicit payments came to an abrupt end a couple years ago. Now Panasonic Avionics is looking to move on. The company settled its case with the US Department of Justice and SEC, paying massive fines but avoiding further issues.
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.
What will it take to deliver a truly frictionless inflight wifi connectivity experience to passengers? The newly formed Seamelss Air Alliance, backed by big names including Delta Air Lines, OneWeb, and Airbus, hopes to develop standards and processes that make the connection and billing process flow smoothly throughout the aviation connectivity ecosystem. That could be a huge win if it works.