Panasonic Avionics has secured a long-sought commercial agreement with Airbus to linefit its broadband connectivity service onboard Airbus A380s.
The company announced the linefit approval on the first day of Aircraft Interiors in Hamburg and is targeting the first line-fit A380 with its global communications suite to be equipped in 2014. It supports Panasonic's in-flight broadband Internet access and the mobile phone service through Aeromobile.
"Over the next 24 months we will work with Airbus to put in the place the technical parts that go with it," explains Panasonic vice president of global communications services David Bruner. "For airlines the A380 is a flagship service and they want to have the best services onboard. They want to put it in service straight away. The customers would like the aircraft to come [equipped] from Airbus and to eliminate the need to retrofit. So it's a really important milestone for us."
Rival connectivity provider OnAir is already linefit on the A350 and A380 and it marks Panasonic's second linefit connectivity at Airbus, following on from the A350. "It means the two premier aircraft from Airbus we will have a linefit capability," says Bruner. He says the company will continue to look at the "commercial feasibility" of securing linefit on the A330, especially if demand for the aircraft remains strong.