Saudi Arabian Airlines has deepened its relationship with Panasonic Avionics by signing a deal today at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg to install the company’s eXO overhead IFE system on 30 Airbus A320s it has on order. Deliveries of the aircraft begin in November.

Business-class passengers will watch content on 13.3in individual screens while passengers in economy class will use retractable overhead screens, which Panasonic says “provide a home theatre experience throughout the cabin”.
Saudia director general Saleh Aljasser flew in to Hamburg to sign the agreement during AIX. Panasonic’s eXO offering “exceeded expectations”, Aljasser tells Flight Daily News. He also says the airline is “looking at different options” for broadband in-flight connectivity. The carrier has already installed OnAir’s SwiftBroadband-based connectivity solution on 29 of its aircraft.

Separately, Panasonic Avionics announced that its near-field communication (NFC) reader is now available for in-seat production at multiple aircraft original equipment manufacturers.
The in-flight entertainment and connectivity provider describes this as “a first for the aviation industry”. The use of NFC-enabled devices is growing, and Panasonic expects its technology to be used for a range of non-payment applications. For applications that do require payment, its NFC reader is EMV compliant with MasterCard, and compliance with other credit card companies is expected in the coming months.
“For airlines, EMV payments on IFE platforms should help eliminate potential transaction liabilities that they face today,” says Panasonic Avionics chief executive Paul Margis. “In addition, passengers will be able to synchronise their own trusted token to the IFE system and create unique ‘just-for-me’ experiences without compromising any of the personal data stored on their own device.”

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Source: Flight Daily News