Panasonic playing key role in US Airways' business-class revamp

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US Airways has selected Panasonic Avionics' eX2 in-flight entertainment and communications (IFEC) platform for its 15 new Airbus A330-200s, as part of a larger revamp of the Star Alliance member's transatlantic business-class product.

The first A330 aircraft with eX2 entered service in June of this year. But a further 14 of the type are earmarked to be equipped with the audio/video on demand (AVOD) platform.

The system allows each passenger to access a wide variety of content and applications via 12.1in, adjustable touch screen monitors. It enables US Airways "to tailor the IFEC solution to their specific passenger requirements", says Panasonic.

Economy-class passengers aboard US Airways' new A330-200s will have 9in monitors and a USB port.

Financial details of the agreement between US Airways and Panasonic have not been disclosed.

While an initial US Airways A330-200 has been installed with eX2, the system will be introduced as part of the carrier's new 'Envoy Suite' when it debuts the offering in its A330-200 premium cabins in December.

Forming the basis of each suite is Sicma Aero Seat's new Cirrus lie-flat seat. As reported by ATI and Flightglobal in June US Airways is launching the James Park Associates-designed Cirrus seat, which boasts a unique reverse herringbone design.

The suites will also offer a technology panel with an adjustable personal reading light, power outlet for laptops, USB port for charging small electronics and a dual satellite telephone/entertainment controller.

US Airways says its entire A330 fleet will be updated with the suites in business class by summer 2012. Specifics concerning the equippage of US Airways' A330-300s have not as yet been detailed, however.

"We're excited about bringing this industry-leading concept to our customers," says US Airways senior vice-president marketing and planning Andrew Nocella. "The innovative cabin layout and thoughtful design of the Envoy Suite allows for greater comfort and functionality for our international travelers."