Etihad Airways, the national airline of theUnited Arab Emirates, has selected Panasonic Avionics Corporation to provide the in-flight entertainment systems and in-flight connectivity, including broadband Internet and live TV, for the airline’s entire long-haul fleet of wide body aircraft.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, and Paul Margis, Panasonic Avionics’ Chief Executive Officer, recently signed a letter of intent for a 10-year exclusive agreement for in-flight entertainment and communications (IFEC) solutions, including mobile phone services in conjunction with AeroMobile.
The deal currently being finalised, which is valued at more than US$1 billion at list prices, will include a full service maintenance contract.
Etihad Airways and Panasonic are developing a plan to deploy Panasonic’s eX2 and eX3 IFEC systems on 100 new aircraft, in addition to the 16 aircraft already equipped with the eX2 system.
Under the agreement, Etihad Airways will install Panasonic’s eX2 system on its new Airbus A380s, Boeing 787s, and Boeing 777-300Ers, and will use Panasonic’s eX3 solution for its new Airbus A350 aircraft.
The deal also includes the installation of Panasonic’s Global Communications Suite, which provides in-flight broadband connectivity, mobile phone service and live television content, across Etihad Airways’ entire fleet of existing and to-be-delivered wide body aircraft.
Mr Hogan said: “It is essential that we offer the most engaging and dynamic in-flight entertainment for our guests – especially on longhaul flights. We went through a comprehensive technical and commercial evaluation of what was out there in the market. Panasonic will support Etihad Airways’ commitment to delivering a system that will enable us to stay at the leading edge in this all-important area.”
Mr Margis said: “We are very honored at the opportunity to work with one of the world’s leading airlines on an IFEC solution for its aircraft, including the new Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 aircraft. Etihad Airways is a very important and valued customer for Panasonic, and we look forward to delivering an uncompromising IFEC solution and in-flight connectivity service that offers passengers an unparalleled entertainment experience.”