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SwiftAir to enhance Southwest's IFEC offering

Soon-to-be acquired Row 44 has teamed with Dallas-based technology company SwiftAir to provide interactive in-flight travel guides for Southwest Airlines' fleet of more than 350 wi-fi enabled aircraft,

The guides will debut in 2013 on flights headed to to 11 cities, with more options to come throughout the year. Passengers using the service will be able to view tours of the city as well as purchase exclusive ticket deals from businesses, restaurants and other companies to redeem after touching down.

The free platform will be part of Southwest's inflight entertainment interface that passengers access with their personal electronic devices (PEDs). The airline uses Row 44's Ku-band connection to provide entertainment via these devices rather than installing embedded seatback units in the aircraft. The airline plans to complete wifi installations on its Boeing 737-700s and 737-800s by mid-2013, or 70% of its fleet.

Global Eagle Acquisition announced Friday that it would combine Row 44 and a majority stake in content provider Advanced Inflight Alliance (AIA) to create an "entertainment in motion powerhouse," and this deal provides some insight into the future offerings the company will provide.

The crux of Global Eagles' business model is to combine entertainment aggregation expertise of AIA with the technical ability to install Ku-band satellite installations so that passengers can access a full range of entertainment options on their personal electronic devices. Global Eagle has said it also wants to integrate ancillary revenue opportunities for airlines into its offering as well, which the partnership with SwiftAir demonstrates.

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