Passengers flying on JetBlue's new A321LR will be able to watch live sports in-flight

JetBlue to offer live sport in-flight

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Passengers flying on JetBlue's new A321LR will be able to watch live sports in-flight

Panasonic Avionics will supply live sports in-flight onboard JetBlue’s Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft.

JetBlue’s new fleet of Airbus A321LR aircraft due to be delivered from 2021 onwards, will be outfitted with the service, which expands the airline’s IFE options with Sport 24, with satellite-based streaming facilitated by the airline’s connectivity provider.

Mariya Stoyanova, Director of Product Development, JetBlue, said: “JetBlue’s commitment to our customers’ onboard experience is one we take extremely seriously. Installing this award-winning live sports platform on our new international fleet of A321LRs will ensure they remain entertained and connected at 30,000ft.”

Pac-Man and other retro games are coming to airlines equipped with Panasonic IFE

Partnership brings retro games in-flight

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Pac-Man and other retro games are coming to airlines equipped with Panasonic IFE

Panasonic Avionics is to strengthen its in-flight entertainment gaming portfolio.

The deal with Japanese multinational videogame publisher and developer, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, will see games such as Pac-Man, Dig Dug and Galaga become available on aircraft equipped with Panasonic IFE.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “The gaming industry is one of the few that have seen significant growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This demonstrates the value global consumers place on games and their unique ability to take players on digital adventures and provide connections to different communities.”

Naoki Katashima, Managing Director of BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, added: “The COVID-19 pandemic that struck the world has greatly affected and changed our way of life. As the world comes together in overcoming the pandemic, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment has partnered with Panasonic Avionics to provide our universally acclaimed game content to be enjoyed in-flight, with hope of the day to come when travellers are free to enjoy the skies again.”

APSAST-6D satellite in manufacture

First XTS satellite goes live

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APSAST-6D satellite in manufacture

The APSTAR-6D satellite (pictured during manufacture), the first extreme high throughput satellite (XTS) from Panasonic, has entered service over the Asia-Pacific region.

According to Panasonic APSTAR-6D is an integral part of its third-generation communications (Gen-3) network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites, placing capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.

The company is set to complete the upgrade of the 2,544 aircraft installed with its connectivity service to its Gen-3 network within the next month. Over 1,000 commercial aircraft are committed to being installed with its connectivity services and linked to the Gen-3 network from the outset.

APSTAR-6D was jointly designed by APSATCOM and Panasonic Avionics. It will provide airlines with multiple gigahertz of new Ku-band capacity over China and high-density routes around East Asia, including Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia using narrow XTS spot beams.

In addition, APSTAR-6D provides high throughput satellite (HTS) coverage over its full field of view including the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Australia and the Southern Oceans down to Antarctica, which includes areas not served by any other HTS satellite.

Panasonic Avionics is currently engaged in active and ongoing trials with airlines to demonstrate the high data rate capabilities of its Gen-3 network. The company expects that airline passengers flying in the region served by APSTAR-6D will also take advantage of the enhanced connectivity that XTS delivers to use high-bandwidth apps in flight.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “We are planning further investment in our global network of Ku-band satellites for use by commercial airlines in the years ahead. For example, our second XTS, Eutelsat 10B, is due to launch next year and will provide enhanced connectivity over Europe and the Middle East. Additional capacity commitments are also planned.”

APSTAR-6D was successfully launched in July 2020 from Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

A screen shot from Arc, Panasonic's new personalised 3D moving map

Arc 3D in-flight map takes off with Vistara

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A screen shot from Arc, Panasonic's new personalised 3D moving map

Indian full-service carrier, Vistara is to launch Panasonic Avionics’ new, state-of-the-art, 3D in-flight map application, Arc.

Installed initially on Vistara’s Boeing 787-9, the map platform will be progressively made available on the airline’s brand new A321neo aircraft as well.

According to Panasonic, Arc is inspired by the latest design thinking of contemporary digital and gaming experiences and enables airlines to leverage the high viewership of in-flight moving maps.

Available in all cabins via overhead monitors, seatback screens, video handsets as well as on passengers’ mobile devices connected to the in-flight Wi-Fi, passengers will now be able to choose from over 20 distinct map views in 4K for various phases of flight, incorporating 3D satellite imagery, local and global views, and a personalised feature that enables passengers to see the aircraft’s relative position to their selected map location throughout their flight.

Features such as the Kids Map and street map views will be introduced in a subsequent release.

Vinod Kannan, Chief Commercial Officer, Vistara commented: “In-flight entertainment plays an extremely important role in the overall experience of flying with an airline, especially on a long flight. Our partnership with Panasonic has helped us in bringing state-of-the-art IFE systems and satellite connectivity to our customers. Arc, with trailblazing capabilities, will not only help us keep our customers engaged on their flights, but also open up a whole new medium for us to interact with them. We are delighted to make this cutting-edge application a part of the award-winning Vistara experience in our continuous effort to maximise customer delight.”

Vistara was announced as the platform’s launch customer in 2019, with installation expected in 2020.

Arc, aims to expand the traditional map into a fully integrated experience within Panasonic’s IFEC ecosystem, particularly by aligning it with Panasonic’s entertainment solution, Theatre, and e-commerce solution Marketplace, backed by its NEXT Cloud infrastructure.

American Football is just one of the sporting rights IMG Sport 24 has

Partners enhance live in-flight sports delivery

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American Football is just one of the sporting rights IMG Sport 24 has

Passengers will continue to enjoy live sports content in-flight following the agreement between Panasonic and IMG to extend and expand their long-standing relationship.

Under terms of the new deal, Panasonic gains all international in-flight rights to Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra, exclusively providing these channels to any airline, regardless of the in-flight entertainment system or connectivity network they use.

Richard Wise, SVP, Content and Channels, IMG Media, said, “This latest agreement with Panasonic will bring our Sport 24 broadcast to millions more passengers across more global airlines in the years ahead. This new deal also conveys the confidence both parties have in the recovery of the airline industry post the pandemic, especially now that vaccines are being rolled out around the world.

“Panasonic’s role as the official provider for our channels is a significant step in the growth of live sport as in-flight entertainment. Premium live coverage of the world’s major sports tournaments and events is a must-have for airlines wanting to cater to and engage with their customers. We’re proud to be part of this exciting development for the in-flight industry.”

As part of the agreement, Panasonic Avionics and IMG intend to work together to develop new sports content offerings that could be made available under the Sport 24 umbrella.

Almost 1,000 aircraft around the globe are connected with the company’s live television service, of which Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra are an integral part.

Qatar Airways Boeing 777 aircraft

Qatar Airways begins IFE upgrade on Boeing 777 fleet

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Qatar Airways Boeing 777 aircraft

Qatar Airways has been confirmed as the launch customer for Panasonic’s new EcoFW 10” in-flight entertainment (IFE) upgrade program.

The seatback IFE monitors on the airline’s fleet of 37 Boeing 777 aircraft will be updated with Panasonic’s new EcoFW 10” monitor upgrade – creating a next-generation HD passenger experience while extending the life of the fleet’s IFE system, and reducing operational costs.

Panasonic’s IFE upgrade program, which can be achieved on an aircraft during routine overnight maintenance, includes the installation of a new passenger entertainment server.

This provides passengers with a wider range of content and helps to modernize the airline’s offering and keep up-to-date with the demands of changing consumer preferences. This also enables the airline to achieve faster media loading times – all without any increase in weight, and with dramatically improved reliability levels.

The first aircraft from Qatar Airways’ 777 fleet has completed its IFE upgrade this week.

Qatar Airways Senior Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Communications,  Salam Al Shawa, said: “With one of the youngest and most technologically-advanced fleet in the skies, Qatar Airways is known for its outstanding onboard experience, as well as a leader of innovation within the global aviation industry.”

“We are delighted to work with Panasonic to bring the next generation EcoFW HD screens to our award-winning Oryx One in-flight entertainment system, enabling our passengers to enjoy an enhanced journey on board our fleet as part of the airline’s exceptional five-star service.”

AA Festive playlist

American Airlines introduces new Wi-Fi subscription plan

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AA Festive playlist

American Airlines has introduced a new Wi-Fi subscription plan, agnostic of service provider.

The new plan replaces the Gogo monthly subscription, previously only valid on Gogo- and Viasat-equipped aircraft. As of 10 November, passengers can purchase a subscription that’s valid on all three Wi-Fi providers: Gogo, Panasonic and Viasat.

Customers with a monthly Gogo subscription will receive notice from 16 November with instructions on how to move their current subscription plan to the American Airlines Wi-Fi Subscription Plan.

To purchase or move to the American Airlines Wi-Fi Subscription Plan, customers need to be an AAdvantage member and have an email and primary credit card with a US billing address saved in their AAdvantage account.

American recently began the rollout of aainflight.com, a new in-flight Wi-Fi portal that provides a unified entertainment and connectivity experience. The portal enables customers to use their AAdvantage credentials and stored credit card information to purchase flight passes for internet access on aircraft equipped with Gogo and Viasat internet services. If customers don’t have an AAdvantage account and prefer not to sign up for one, they can continue to purchase individual flight passes as a guest.

The airline has also launched its annual holiday channel featuring holiday classics including A Christmas Story, Home Alone and Elf. All in-flight entertainment on board American flights is free and can be streamed to a passengers’ own electronic device.

Apple Music with its curated playlists like Holiday Hits, R&B for the Holidays, and Children’s Christmas, can also be accessed for free in flight on Via-Sat equipped flights.

ZIPAIR IFE portal from GoMedia

ZIPAIR set to launch with focus on onboard service

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ZIPAIR IFE portal from GoMedia

ZIPAIR, Japanese Airlines’ new low-cost carrier, is readying to launch passenger services on 16 October between Tokyo to Seoul.

ZIPAIR has been operating the route as a cargo-only service since 12 September 2020.

Passengers on the fleet of Boeing 787-8 aircraft will be able to place orders for meals and products using their smartphone and tablet devices via the airline’s in-flight self-ordering and payment system.

The Inflight Self-Ordering and Payment System is a collaboration with Collins Aerospace allowing passengers to browse the shopping catalogue, view inventory availability, place orders on-demand, and make credit card payments using smart devices without any assistance from the cabin crew.

The airline has partnered with GoMedia to provide complimentary access to a range of onboard entertainment via their own devices, using in-flight connectivity provided by Panasonic Avionics. A selection of movies, ZIPAIR special content and promotional offers will be available on board. ZIPAIR is the first airline to use GoMedia’s content platform as its in-flight entertainment system.

Roger Matthews, Managing Director at GoMedia, said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for GoMedia as we take the company from the land to the air for the first time. Our infotainment solution has already proven hugely valuable, available to rail and coach passengers worldwide and we are proud to be bringing our platform to the aviation market in 2020. We have enjoyed working closely with ZIPAIR to develop this new solution.”

Shingo Nishida, President of ZIPAIR, adds: “ZIPAIR is an affordable airline to fly with, but that doesn’t mean that our passengers will have to compromise on onboard entertainment. By working with GoMedia, we can provide a seamless experience for those travelling with us, enjoying a range of global and local content delivered direct to their handheld devices. We look forward to extending the service in 2021.”

As a ZIPAIR special offering, passengers will be able to watch original music videos provided by SONY Music exclusively on board ZIPAIR.

Panasonic welcomes passengers aboard

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Panasonic Avionics has unveiled its “Welcome Aboard Collection” – a suite of in-flight products and solutions designed to help airlines address passenger concerns during the current pandemic.

Customisable to an airline’s existing fleet, the collection consists of both in-flight entertainment (IFE) elements and other solutions.

To reduce touchpoints through smarter “less touch” technology, Onboard Reader digitises print publications, while Companion App integrates a passengers’ personal electronic device into the IFE experience.

Enhancing the cabin experience and promoting wellness solutions, the nanoe Air Cleanser improves air quality by generating nano-sized electrostatic atomised water particles that can suppress odours and inhibit certain viruses, bacteria and allergens.

The Collection includes other solutions such as Active Surfaces that allow for easy wipe-down from flight-to-flight and ZeroTouchA services, which enable airlines to administer content updates remotely, greatly reducing the manual labour and physical presence typically associated with these efforts.

Joe Bentley, Panasonic Avionics CEO

New CTO for Panasonic Avionics

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Joe Bentley, Panasonic Avionics CEO

Panasonic Avionics has appointed Joe Bentley as Chief Technology Officer.

Bentley, who has joined Panasonic from Hulu where he was Senior Vice President, Engineering, will be responsible for leading all aspects of the company’s software and systems engineering teams, cloud, hardware, and IT/security.

“I am delighted to welcome Joe Bentley to Panasonic Avionics.” said Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation. “His proven track record in successfully delivering digital innovation makes him a natural fit as we continue to build remarkable IFEC solutions that enhance the airline passenger experience.”

“Bringing together a world-class team with a rich legacy of engineering prowess is humbling,” said Bentley. “I am excited to deliver scalable, in-flight entertainment platforms that will enable airlines to increase efficiency and promote passenger loyalty.”