Panasonic Avionics will double its wi-fi installations after receiving a supplemental type certificate (STC) from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a Boeing 777-200 radome that meets new bird strike testing requirements.
The connectivity provider has commitments to outfit more than 150 777-200s with the hardware to support its Ku-band wi-fi system, it says. It expects to receive an STC in April for the Boeing 757 aircraft type and another in September for the Boeing 767.
“Airlines are requiring that their aircraft be connected quickly, and the demand for Ku-band in-flight connectivity services is enormous," says Paul Margis, president and chief executive of Panasonic Avionics. "This week’s STC approval marks a major step forward in our rapid installation programme."
Gogo announced earlier this week that it had also received an STC for its own 777-200 radome from the FAA and Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB), which will allow it to ramp up Ku-band wi-fi installations for Japan Air Lines.
Panasonic expects to equip more than 800 aircraft with wi-fi by the end of the year at a rate of up to 40 installations per month. The firm passed 400 installations earlier this week with the installation of Ku-band wi-fi on a United Airlines Boeing 747-400 deployed on routes to China.
The FAA’s new bird strike testing requirements for large radomes has delayed several wi-fi installations across the industry since coming to light last year, including those for Panasonic Avionics and Gogo. Panasonic Avionics estimates that about 20% of its planned installations in the last fiscal year that ended 31 March 2013 were affected by the new testing requirements.