Panasonic Avionics and Inmarsat have agreed a new long-term partnership under which Inmarsat's GX Aviation service will become Panasonic's exclusive provider of Ka-band in-flight connectivity for commercial aviation.

As part of the deal, which has an initial term of 10 years, Panasonic will now be able to offer Inmarsat's high-speed broadband connectivity service, GX Aviation.

"Panasonic will continue to invest in its own network and, with GX Aviation as a primary offering for new business, will be perfectly positioned to serve both its current and future customers," says a joint statement from the companies.

Having been involved in the in-flight connectivity space since launching Ku-band-based service in 2009, Panasonic says it now has around 2,000 aircraft in operation with in-flight connectivity services.

In 2016, satcom specialist Inmarsat began rolling out its next-generation GX Aviation service – based on its Global Xpress Ka-band satellite network – to support broadband in-flight connectivity.

The partners notes that their agreement is non-exclusive. "Inmarsat will continue to sell its GX services through existing sales partners, and directly to airline customers, partnering on a case-by-case basis. Panasonic will retain and continue to provide its Ku-band services," they say. The agreement is restricted to GX Aviation and does not extend to other Inmarsat services such as its short-haul-focused product European Aviation Network.

Under the terms of the tie-up, Inmarsat will also now be able to offer its commercial aviation customers Panasonic's services. Those include the support provided by Panasonic's customer performance centre and technical services teams.

The partners say the collaboration, already being deployed with a mutual customer, "presents a unique opportunity to leverage" Inmarsat's track record of global mobile connectivity and Panasonic's IFE and connectivity services. They will also co-operate on development of a next-generation GX Aviation terminal.

"By delivering this step change in aviation services capability, airlines will have access to new and better solutions that address widely recognised industry challenges of capacity, coverage and compatibility," the partners say. "This will give greater quality, consistency of experience and more choice to airlines and their passengers in the in-flight connectivity market."

Panasonic Avionics chef executive Hideo Nakano states: "For over 10 years, Panasonic has remained steadfast in its commitment to the connected aircraft. Still, many airlines have more than one connectivity partner, and this strategic collaboration ensures that even more airlines have access to a wide variety of industry-leading digital solutions."

He adds that bringing GX Aviation into its portfolio recognises the need for in-flight connectivity consistency across multiple fleets.

Source: Cirium Dashboard