SIA to invest $400m in next-generation IFEC systems

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Singapore Airlines (SIA) has signed an agreement with Panasonic Avionics to install in-flight entertainment and communications (IFEC) systems on more than 40 of its new aircraft, which are on firm order from Airbus and Boeing.

Under the deal, Panasonic Avionics will supply IFEC systems for 20 Airbus A350s due for delivery from 2014, 15 A330-300s and eight Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Deliveries of the A330s and 777s are due to begin in 2013.

The agreement is valued at almost $400 million at list prices, SIA said in a statement.

SIA will be the launch customer for Panasonic's next-generation eX3 system for A350s and it will be the first to equip its fleet of 777-300ERs with eX3 features.

SIA's eX3 system will be the first to feature Panasonic's Global Communications Suite, which provides broadband internet, mobile phone and global live television services, on the A350s.

Enhancements for the existing KrisWorld IFEC systems have also been planned ahead of the new system's introduction and will include possible hardware upgrades.

The investment is part of a major programme by SIA to enhance its IFEC offerings. The airline recently announced a separate $50 million investment over two years to equip its A340-500s, A380s and 777-300ERs with in-flight connectivity.

"SIA has always been a leader in providing the best in-flight entertainment to our customers but we need to constantly innovate to stay ahead of the competition. The contract with Panasonic Avionics will help us do just that," Tan Pee Teck, the carrier's senior vice-president for product and services, said in a statement.