Panasonic Avionics revealed at the show today it has taken a majority stake in in-flight connectivity pioneer AeroMobile Communications.

California, USA-headquartered Panasonic Avionics' onboard eXPhone product uses AeroMobile's airborne mobile phone service, and is a "key element in the company's long term in-flight connectivity and communications strategy", says Panasonic.

Telenor - previously AeroMobile's sole owner - retains a minority stake in the company.

Panasonic and AeroMobile are sharing a stand (6F15) following the announcement of the deal.

"We believe that, as a result of this transaction, our customers will benefit from an increased level of integration between our two companies," says Yasu Enokido, Panasonic Avionics president.

Pål Bjørdal, AeroMobile president, adds: "We believe that this arrangement demonstrates the importance of this business both to Telenor and Panasonic, and by taking an active ownership position, Panasonic is clearly demonstrating its commitment to supporting this business in the future."

Panasonic says AeroMobile will "continue to operate as an independent company", offering in-flight voice and data services, maintaining its global telecom roaming agreements.

The eXPhone enables passengers to use their mobile phones to make and receive voice calls and SMS text messages in flight, along with data services such as emails.

Operators of the eXPhone include Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and Malaysia Airlines, and Lufthansa and Gulf Air will soon join them. Commitments have been secured from Etihad, SAS, Cathay Pacific and Turkish Airlines.

Source: Flight Daily News