PARIS: Gulf Air turns to Panasonic for fleet-wide connectivity

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Panasonic Avionics can add Gulf Air to its rapidly growing list of customers for in-flight high-speed broadband Internet, mobile connectivity and live television over IP after the Bahrain-based carrier confirmed its decision to fit the Ku-band satellite-based solution to its entire fleet.

Final terms of the deal have still to be agreed, but Panasonic said it expects the retrofit programme will be implemented progressively across Gulf Air's fleet beginning in September of this year and will take two years to complete.

Flightglobal's ACAS database shows that Gulf Air operates a fleet of Airbus A320 family aircraft, A330s, A340s, and Embraer E-Jets. The carrier also holds orders for 24 Boeing 787 twinjets.

"We have selected global leader Panasonic's Global Communications Suite after evaluating several other systems that would meet our requirement and fit in with our new strategy. This is a perfect choice as it not only offers our customers technologically superior, integrated voice, video, data, telephony and television programmes - all in hi-speed broadband connectivity - but also assures our passengers a consistently high quality product across our fleet. I am sure our passengers will be experiencing a refreshing change onboard that they wouldn't have seen before," said Gulf Air CEO Samer Majall.

Panasonic Avionics CEO Paul Margis observed that both Gulf Air and the in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) giant "share the same belief that broadband connectivity will fundamentally change IFEC in terms of passenger experience and operational efficiency".

In-flight Internet, mobile connectivity - provided by Panasonic partner AeroMobile - and live television comprise Panasonic's Global Communications Suite. Customers for part or all of the Global Communications Suite include Lufthansa, All Nippon Airways and Turkish Airlines among others.