Hawaiian Airlines is the first major airline to provide Starlink’s complimentary high-speed, low-latency broadband internet access to every guest onboard flights between the islands and the continental US, Asia and Oceania. The carrier will equip its Airbus A330 and A321neo aircraft, as well as an incoming fleet of Boeing 787-9s, with Starlink’s satellite internet connectivity service.
Qatar Airways offers ‘QVerse’ virtual reality
Qatar Airways entered the metaverse at the end of April 2022 by launching QVerse, a novel virtual reality (VR) experience for visitors to the airline’s website. Users of the www.qatarairways.com/QVerse website can now virtually tour and navigate the Premium check-in area at Hamad International Airport (HIA), the cabin interior of the airline’s aircraft, including the Business Class - Qsuite, and the Economy Class cabin, by using their own personal electronic devices (PEDs). The national carrier of the State of Qatar is also the first global airline to introduce a MetaHuman cabin crew offering a digital interactive customer experience.
Intelsat to provide LATAM narrowbody connectivity service
Intelsat will provide connectivity service on LATAM’s fleet of Airbus narrowbodies, including A320s and A320neos based in Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. The installations will include up to 160 total aircraft and will take three years to complete. Approximately 70 new-delivery aircraft are expected to be installed with Intelsat’s 2Ku system by Airbus, prior to delivery to LATAM, at its manufacturing sites in the US and Europe. When completed, the entire fleet of LATAM narrow body aircraft will be served by Intelsat’s IFC service.
American A321LXR, 787-9 aircraft to launch with Thales Avant IFE
American Airlines has selected Thales’ AVANT IFE solution to equip its new Airbus A321XLR and Boeing 787-9 aircraft for transcontinental and international travel. American’s aircraft (service entry expected in 2023) will be the launch customer flying with Thales’ new line of Optiq displays, which has 4K high dynamic range (HDR) seatback screens enhanced with Samsung QLED proprietary technology. The system is capable of Bluetooth connection at each seat, which allows passengers to pair their wireless headphones to the system. Premium Class seats will have 17-inch displays accompanied with a 5-inch touchscreen handset offering a true second-screen experience. Premium Economy and Economy Class will feature 13.3-inch displays and 11.6-inch displays, respectively.
Canada Jetlines selects Moment for A320 IFE
Canada Jetlines has selected Moment to equip its growing Airbus 320 fleet, with a state-of-the-art digitization suite and IFE portal once operations commence in early 2022. The Flymingo Box system offers a flexible, aircraft-powered digital suite to enhance passenger experience, aircraft operations, and provide unparalleled wireless inflight entertainment options. The IFE also deploys real-time travel information and a seamless e-commerce platform, placing power and ease of use at passengers’ fingertips throughout their journey. With a projected growth of 15 aircraft by 2025, Canada Jetlines said it “aims to offer the best-in-class operating economics, customer comfort and fly-by-wire technology, providing an elevated guest centric experience. The Flymingo Box will build on this with its browser-based platform, enabling secure streaming on personal devices. By integrating this dynamic program, the new leisure airline aims to elevate passengers’ experience and enhance comfort in the cabin while creating ancillary revenue opportunities.”
Royal Brunei, Anuvu partner on IFEC
Royal Brunei Airlines selected high-speed connectivity and entertainment solutions provider Anuvu to serve as the airline’s content service provider from February 2022. The partnership will offer a wide variety of premium entertainment, including bespoke customer solutions, to fit airline budgets and boost passenger experiences for onboard entertainment.
Malaysia Airlines accelerates digitalization with Flymingo Connect
IFE provider Moment is scheduled to roll out pilot tests on this state-of-the-art IFE portal starting in January 2022 on selected aircraft on Malaysia Airlines’ B737-800 fleet. Upon successful trials, Malaysia Airlines will subsequently deploy this throughout its entire B737-800 fleet, offering unparalleled entertainment streaming, real-time travel information, and a compelling and seamless e-commerce platform – putting incredible power combined with ease of use at passengers’ fingertips.
OneWeb, GDC Advanced Technology collaborate on IFEC terminal
Satellite communications network developer OneWeb unveiled a joint development agreement with engineering company GDC Advanced Technology to certify new aviation terminals for OneWeb’s future low earth orbit (LEO) constellation. Under the agreement, announced on Nov. 30 at the APEX Expo in Long Beach, California, the companies will develop satcom terminals sized for airliners and smaller aircraft, and apply for supplemental type certifications to install the hardware on several different aircraft types. The agreement also allows for the partnership to offer the equipment as a line-fit system to aircraft manufacturers.
Fly Baghdad, Moment partner on wireless IFE
Fly Baghdad will deploy Moment’s Flymingo Box wireless IFE solution on the Iraqi carrier’s fleet of five Boeing 737NGs.
SIA upgrades 737s with Panasonic Avionics IFEC
Singapore Airlines (SIA) selected Panasonic Avionics’ eX1 IFE solution for its new fleet of 37 Boeing 737-8 aircraft. The system features full-HD seatback monitors in both the business and economy class, which also includes capacitive touchscreen displays and USB charging ports. Each business class seat’s IFE comes with an additional handset and in-seat power outlets.
Rex rolls out Wi-Fi on 737 fleet
Rex Airlines began the rollout of Wi-Fi across the Australian airline’s fleet of Boeing 737-800NG aircraft at the end of November 2021. Intelsat’s 2Ku Wi-Fi systems have been installed on four of the fleet of six 737s; the remaining will be similarly equipped in a few months. Business class travelers will enjoy complimentary internet Wi-Fi throughout their journey. Passengers in economy will also enjoy free internet Wi-Fi until the end of November after which they’ll be able to access the internet for a small fee. Rex passengers will also have access to a new Inflight Entertainment (IFE) portal featuring inflight information, weather and a variety of free-of-charge TV shows and movies which will all be refreshed on a regular basis.
China Airlines introduces new wireless IFE for 737s
Taiwan-based China Airlines has introduced Fantasy Sky Wireless Entertainment System for its Boeing 737-800 fleet. The system is currently in trial-run mode and will officially launch in 2022. This service caters to the everyday habits of travelers and their demand for audio-visual on demand (AVOD) services. At the same time, it helps to reduce contact inside the cabin, which enhances our epidemic prevention efforts. For an optimal audio-visual experience, travelers should bring their own headphones and smart devices.
World2Fly A350s to be equipped with SITA’s ONAIR platform
Spanish airline World2Fly is equipping its Airbus A350-900s with SITA’s Internet ONAIR solution, which enables passengers to browse the internet, stream video and audio, shop online, or keep in touch with friends and loved ones. The seamless experience uses the GX Aviation inflight broadband solution. offers passengers the same broadband reliability and consistency in the air as they are used to on the ground. World2fly’s A350-900s feature a single-class cabin layout with 432 seats. The Mallorca-based airline will expand its fleet and operate flights from Madrid to leisure destinations such as Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) and Cancún (Mexico).
Panasonic to deliver IFE to Emirates premium economy cabin
Panasonic Avionics has been selected by Emirates Airline to deliver a suite of inflight entertainment (IFE) solutions for its Premium Economy cabin being introduced on 105 of Emirates’ Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft, with the first scheduled to enter service in the summer of 2022.
Saudia’s A321neo, XLR aircraft to be equipped with GX Aviation, OneFi
GX Aviation and OneFi will be available on Saudia’s upcoming fleet of 35 Airbus A321neos and A321XLRs, with the aircraft connected to the advanced connectivity service using a new ultra-high performance terminal by GDC Technics. The first installation of GX Aviation is expected in late 2022. Inmarsat’s OneFi platform will serve as a catalyst for Saudia to monetize its inflight connectivity by bringing a host of onboard services together within a single portal interface. The solution, which launched two months ago in September 2021, allows passengers to order food, beverages and duty-free items, enjoy e-books, newspapers and magazines, receive the latest information for their flight and destination, and sign into Saudia’s AlFursan frequent flyer program, all in real-time from their seat.
Iraqi Airways selects Panasonic Avionics for IFEC solutions
Iraqi Airways selected Panasonic Avionics to provide IFEC solutions for its new fleet of 21 narrowbody and 10 widebody aircraft. These aircraft, which includes five Airbus A220s, 16 Boeing 737 MAX and 10 787 aircraft types, will be line-fitted with Panasonic’s X Series IFE solutions and are expected to enter service in October 2022. Panasonic Avionics’ X Series offers full HD seatback monitors with capacitive touch displays and handsets, and an intuitive, personalized interface. Passengers will have access to USB and laptop charging power points at every seat as well. The X Series portfolio also includes eXW, which delivers a premium passenger experience to passengers’ personal devices.
Saudi Arabian Airlines selects Panasonic Avionics 4K IFE
Panasonic Avionics signed an agreement with Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) at the Dubai Airshow to provide its latest 4K and Bluetooth audio inflight entertainment (IFE) innovations on its 35 new Airbus A321neo family aircraft. Panasonic Avionics’ NEXT IFE system will be installed on 20 new Airbus A321neo and 15 Airbus A321neoXLR aircraft.
Rex to progressively roll out Wi-Fi on 737 fleet
Australian regional Rex Airlines is progressively rolling out Wi-Fi on its fleet of Boeing 737-800NG aircraft from Nov. 11, 2021. Intelsat’s 2Ku Wi-Fi systems have been installed on four of the fleet of six jets in the 737 fleet and the remaining will be similarly equipped in a few months. Business class travelers have access to complimentary Wi-Fi; economy class passengers will have free internet Wi-Fi until the end of November, after which they’ll be able to access the internet for a small fee. Rex passengers will also have access to a new IFE portal featuring inflight information, weather and a variety of free-of-charge TV shows and movies which will all be refreshed on a regular basis.
Jambojet introduces IFE
Kenyan LCC Jambojet has introduced inflight entertainment (IFE), in partnership with Global Onboard Partners, which enables customers to access content stored on the IFE box through their mobile and other electronic devices like laptops via a wireless network only available in the aircraft. With exclusive offers, rewards, and dynamic maps to help passengers find the best places to stay, food to eat and attractions to visit, passengers can use Jambojet Destination Explorer to make the most out of their travel experience and see the best of each incredible destination in Jambojet’s network.
Delta partners with Peloton
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines has partnered with interactive fitness platform Peloton to offer a new “Classes in the Clouds” collection of wellbeing-focused content that includes guided meditations and stretches from your airplane seat. The collection marks the first time Peloton content will be available on a non-Peloton platform.
Air Belgium inks three-year IFE contract with Anuvu
Air Belgium signed a three-year contract with high-speed connectivity and entertainment solutions provider Anuvu to incorporate its Iris platform into its IFE. According to Anuvu, Iris is a pay-monthly service for aviation clients that “brings the best movies and entertainment onboard.” In addition to Iris’ core channels, Anuvu said it will provide the airline with French movies and destination documentaries from Belgium to Curaçao, Guadeloupe and Martinique and will soon be adding Mauritius and Reunion islands.
UIA selects Inflight Dublin for Wireless IFE
Inflight Dublin has been selected by Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) to provide its end-to-end wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) solution, Everhub. The multi-year deal sees Inflight Dublin initially equipping 15 of UIA’s aircraft with its DO-160G certified Everhub portable wireless server.
Intelsat to provide IFEC for Air France A220s
Air France has selected Intelsat to install its 2Ku high-speed, satellite-based inflight connectivity solution on 60 new Air France A220-300 aircraft. With deliveries beginning in 2021, the aircraft will fly to short- and medium-haul destinations of the Air France network.
Air Belgium, Panasonic venture to provide IFEC for A330neos
Panasonic Avionics will provide IFEC for Air Belgium’s new Airbus A330neo aircraft. The airline’s two new A330neos, the first of which entered into service in late October 2021, will be fitted with Panasonic Avionics’ full HD seatback monitors, complete with handsets, touch displays, and personalized interfaces. Air Belgium’s passengers will also experience inflight connectivity, powered by Panasonic Avionics’ global network of high-speed, high-bandwidth satellites, delivering a host of next-generation connectivity benefits such as fast internet and inflight mobile phone services. The system will also feature Arc, Panasonic Avionics 3D in-flight moving map platform.
Ava Airways selects Moment’s Flymingo Box for A320 fleet
Ava Airways—a Dominican Republic airline venture—has selected Moment’s Flymingo Box for its wireless IFE service across its fleet of Airbus A320s. The airline plans to begin services in 2022 with services between its hub at Santo Domingo and the Caribbean, Latin America, North American, European, and later, African destinations.
Middle East Airlines to trial Panasonic Avionics’ inflight live TV
Middle East Airlines-Air Liban (MEA) has started a two-month trial of Panasonic Avionics’ inflight Live Television service. The service was rolled out on MEA’s fleet of nine Airbus A321neoLR aircraft on Oct. 1, 2021. Panasonic Avionics’ Live Television service connects passengers to on-the-ground entertainment from their seats. The integrated service enables passengers to watch news channels including the BBC World and CNN International, along with live sporting action in partnership with Sport 24.
AERQ launches AERENA platform
AERQ launched its modular and open IT platform AERENA, which is designed to facilitate greater passenger engagement onboard the aircraft. AERQ, which is a joint venture between LG Electronics and Lufthansa Technik, hopes the new platform will lead to a deeper understanding of passengers’ inflight behaviors and needs, which would in turn open new revenue opportunities for airlines and selected partners. The platform is enabled by fully digitalized cabin touchpoints such as an in-seat system and cabin digital signage.
Inmarsat unveils OneFi
Inmarsat on Sept. 21 unveiled a new customer experience platform solution called OneFi, which serves as a catalyst to monetize inflight connectivity by “bringing a host of onboard services together within a single portal interface that passengers can easily access using their own personal devices.” According to Inmarsat, OneFi will enable passengers to order food and beverages, purchase seat upgrades, receive the latest flight and destination information, and sign up for frequent flyer programs, all in real-time, from their seat. In addition, Inmarsat said passengers can browse the internet, stream videos and audio, shop online and enjoy other ecommerce offerings, using high-speed inflight broadband that airlines could choose to offer free of charge, funded through OneFi’s sponsorship and advertising features. Inmarsat is in advanced discussions with a number of airlines about adopting the new platform and hopes to make an announcement on an inaugural customer within the next three to six months.
Panasonic Avionics to provide IFEC for Aeroflot 777-300ERs
Panasonic Avionics will upgrade Aeroflot’s inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) for its Boeing 777-300ER retrofit program. The agreement will see Aeroflot’s fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft retrofitted with Panasonic Avionics’ eX3 IFE system and satellite-based IFC system, creating an enhanced cabin experience for Aeroflot’s passengers. Panasonic Avionics’ eX3 system features the industry’s largest selection of integrated entertainment options including full 1080p HD monitors, in-seat power, and HD video handsets with capacitive touch. It can deliver more than 700 hours of on-demand entertainment, offering 1080p content with enhanced video color support.
Emirates launches virtual reality experiences
Emirates Airline has launched virtual reality (VR) experiences to enable customers to experience its products before they purchase them—such as first-class private suites, the A380 Onboard Lounge, premium economy cabin, or view the cabin around your own seat. The VR technology is available on emirates.com, via the Emirates app, and now on the Oculus Store for Oculus Rift users.
Panasonic APStar 6D service achieves peak speeds on China Eastern flight
A partnership between Panasonic Avionics, China Eastern Airlines, APT Mobile SatCom Ltd. (“APSATCOM”) and China Telecom Satellite Communications (“CTSat”) achieved a new performance milestone for inflight connectivity service over China, using Panasonic Avionics’ new Extreme Throughput Satellite (XTS) service on the APStar 6D communications satellite. On a recent China Eastern Airlines’ flight, MU5105, passengers saw average speeds up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) to the aircraft, with peak speeds reaching 200 Mbps. As a result, passengers were able to enjoy services like streaming video, video conferencing, downloading large files, and high-speed web browsing, on multiple devices, all at the same time.
QantasLink to launch Bluebox Wow wireless IFE system
Bluebox Aviation Systems will deploy its Bluebox Wow W-IFE system the fleet for QantasLink, the regional airline for the Qantas Group. The system will launch on Airbus A320s, then expand to its Fokker F100, Boeing 717, and Alliance Airlines’ Embraer E190 aircraft. The Bluebox Wow system is expected to enhance the regional airline’s service on board, providing entertainment content directly to passenger devices over a captive wireless network. The IFE content will include movies, TV, audio books and podcasts. Access to the Bluebox Wow system will be integrated with the Qantas Entertainment app to help facilitate a seamless flight-to-flight IFE experience, but will also be available app-free with simple browser access for anyone who does not have the Qantas Entertainment app loaded on their device.
Anuvu to provide IFC to Turkish Airlines’ A321 family
High-speed connectivity and entertainment solutions provider Anuvu has obtained a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the installation of its Airconnect Global Ku inflight connectivity (IFC) system onboard Airbus 321 aircraft for Turkish Airlines.
Cathay Pacific rolls out Panasonic 4K IFE on A321neos
Cathay Pacific Airways is launching Panasonic Avionics’ full cabin 4K ultra-high-definition inflight entertainment (IFE) on its new fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft. The Hong Kong-based airline’s economy class seats will feature 11.6-in. personal screens, while business class will feature 15.6-in. personal screens. The on-demand services feature one of the largest movie and TV libraries available on a regional single-aisle aircraft. The rollout of Panasonic Avionics’ screens also include Bluetooth audio streaming, enabling Cathay Pacific’s passengers to watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters in 4K using their own Bluetooth-enabled headphones.
China Eastern launches Panasonic Avionics’ Live Television Service
China Eastern Airlines is the launch customer in China for Panasonic Avionics’ inflight Live Television. The service will be rolled out across its entire widebody fleet of Airbus A330, A350 and Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft in the future, initially providing their passengers with live coverage from major local broadcasters, such as CCTV and CGTN. Live Television is enabled by Panasonic Avionics’ third-generation (Gen-3) communications network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites. The network covers over 99% of all routes, and places capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.
Royal Jordanian expands Bluebox wireless IFE
Royal Jordanian (RJ) has expanded its SkyConnect wireless inflight entertainment (W-IFE) service to its Embraer E175 and E195 aircraft. Originally launched in 2019 with a deployment of Bluebox Wow on its Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft, the expansion occurred in conjunction with several enhancements from Bluebox. Enhancements included upgraded Bluebox Wow boxes across the RJ fleet, a refresh to the passenger interface and conversion to app-free DRM content delivery, which removed a previous requirement for passengers to download an app prior to flights in order to access SkyConnect on board.
Cathay Pacific A321neo equipped with Intelsat 2Ku system
Intelsat (formerly Gogo Commercial Aviation) today announced that the first factory-installed Intelsat 2Ku system has been delivered on an A321neo aircraft. The 2Ku system was installed by Airbus at its factory in Hamburg, Germany as part of its High Bandwidth Connectivity Service (HBCS) and delivered to Cathay Pacific.
Icelandair to provide Viasat IFC on MAX 9s
Viasat is set to activate inflight connectivity (IFC) onboard Icelandair’s Boeing 737 MAX 9s after receiving a supplemental type certificate from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Icelandair expects all Viasat-enabled aircraft to be installed by April 2022. The Viasat-equipped aircraft will connect to Viasat’s high-capacity satellite network. Over Europe, this network includes the KA-SAT satellite and could include others like Avanti’s Hylas constellation in the future. When traveling over the US, Iceland and the Atlantic Ocean, the aircraft will connect with several other Viasat satellites, including ViaSat-2.
Air Dolomiti enhances IFE system
Lufthansa Group’s Italian airline, Air Dolomiti has updated and enhanced its inflight entertainment (IFE) system, which is provided by Lufthansa Systems. IFE via Wi-Fi has been available since 2017 and installed on all Air Dolomiti aircraft. The service is free of charge and accessible to all passengers simply by setting their device (smartphone, tablet, laptop) into flight mode and activating Wi-Fi. Access is quick and easy via www.boardconnect.aero and no additional device-specific app is needed. The new solution provides a better and more efficient service, and opens up further opportunities to integrate future digital innovations. The IFE system allows passengers to connect even at high altitude, accessing a wide range of content for free: major Italian, German and international newspapers, magazines, videos, mini-games, music, destination guides and live tracking of the aircraft position, as well as updated information on the company's special offers and/or partners and on in-flight events. All content is available in three languages: Italian, English and German.
Vietnam Airlines, Viettel ink inflight internet partnership
The Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group will provide internet connectivity to aircraft operated by Vietnam Airlines using an air to ground (ATG) network as part of their freshly signed strategic cooperation deal for 2021-2025. Under the pact, Viettel will support the national flag carrier in digital transformation, including the offering of systems for business management, infrastructure services and IT. Another system for customers’ self-check-in will also be built. Vietnam Airlines will continue to provide products and services for Viettel under a preferential trade policy as well as coordinate with the telecom services provider to build a service ecosystem for customers of both sides.
Brazil’s Azul partners with Viasat for free IFC
São Paulo-based Azul and California-based communications company Viasat have partnered to offer free inflight Wi-Fi service. The agreement includes outfitting more than 100 aircraft across the Azul fleet. In June 2021, the free inflight connectivity (IFC) service is available on 17 Airbus A320/321 and two Embraer E195-E2 aircraft, with installations ongoing.
Thales upgrades AVANT Up IFE
Thales has elevated the inflight entertainment (IFE) experience with AVANT Up, which features a new line of displays, power supply solutions, personalization and airline revenue generation capabilities. It offers displays (4K high dynamic range HDR) enhanced with Samsung QLED technology, and a 30% decrease in weight. More than 30 airlines are equipped with the AVANT IFE system.
SIA to launch inflight e-shopping platform
Singapore Airlines (SIA) will offer live online shopping on board its Airbus A350 aircraft from June 28, 2021, when the KrisShop e-commerce platform becomes available via the KrisWorld inflight entertainment (IFE) system. This service will then be progressively rolled out across the SIA network. SIA and KrisShop are working with AirFree, Thales, and Panasonic Avionics to offer this all-new in-flight e-shopping experience for its customers. It leverages an industry-first air-to-ground connectivity technology, which connects KrisShop directly to the aircraft IFE system and enables both live updates on product availability and credit card authorization.
Air Cairo chooses Moment wireless IFE
EgyptAir LCC Air Cairo has selected Moment’s wireless IFE system, Flymingo Box, on its seven-strong Airbus A320 fleet, which is expected to reach 19 by the end of 2024.
UK startup Flypop selects Bluebox Wireless IFE
Bluebox Aviation Systems
UK startup airline flypop has selected Bluebox Aviation Systems to provide an ancillary revenue-generating retail and inflight entertainment solution on board its Airbus A330 aircraft. The airline is on target to launch with its initial aircraft in October, and will add an aircraft every six months with aircraft-powered Bluebox Wow wireless IFE (W-IFE).
JetBlue selects Viasat IFC for A220s, A321LRs
JetBlue Airways selected Viasat’s inflight connectivity (IFC) solution for its new Airbus A220-300s and A321LRs. On both aircraft types, Viasat will continue to power JetBlue’s popular high-speed IFC service, which it has delivered since 2013, allowing customers to stream video and music, browse websites, connect to email, use apps and more—all for free on their own personal electronic devices. Additionally, Viasat will provide its live inflight TV solution to both aircraft seatback entertainment systems, delivering real-time broadcast content via Viasat’s high-capacity satellite network.
Flydubai enhances 737 IFE experience
Flydubai in May introduced a complimentary inflight entertainment streaming service to its fleet of 36 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, offered by connectivity provider AIRTIME. This will replace the seatback entertainment system in the economy cabin. Flydubai VP-inflight product Daniel Kerrison said that over the next few months, the airline will offer Bluetooth headphone pairing on its Boeing MAX aircraft allowing passengers “to bring their own headphones and connect wirelessly to our seat-back entertainment system.”
Delta plans high-speed Wi-Fi by end 2022
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines is outfitting nearly all of its domestic mainline fleet with high-speed Wi-Fi by the end of 2022. The Atlanta-based airline will initially equip more than 300 aircraft with high-speed (Ka-Band) satellite connectivity, powered by Viasat, by the end of 2021—setting in motion an aggressive installation timeline and scale to modernize the onboard experience. Delta’s first Viasat-enabled aircraft, a new Airbus A321, will enter regular service May 1. Additional aircraft are scheduled to enter service in June, beginning with remaining new A321s, Boeing 737-900s and 757-200s. The airline plans to outfit these fleets with the new service by the end of 2021.
KLM-Viasat partnership brings Wi-Fi to European flights
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, will partner with global communications company Viasat to bring connectivity to 18 of the airline’s Boeing 737-800 fleet and 21 of its Embraer E195 aircraft. The 737-800’s are expected to be outfitted with Viasat’s latest inflight connectivity (IFC) equipment by the end of 2021, and in service by early 2022, and specifics around the Embraer E195 fleet will be announced at a later time. Both fleets will operate European flight routes only. KLM will initially offer three inflight connectivity packages—Messaging, Surf, and Stream—on all Viasat-equipped aircraft. The Messaging option will give all passengers 30 min. of free text messaging via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, among other messaging apps. The Surf and Stream options, which can be purchased inflight, will give passengers the ability to do more on board, with options to surf the internet/email as well as enjoy full video and audio streaming.
Norway’s Widerøe to trial Everhub IFE
Norwegian regional airline Widerøe plans to equip its three Embraer E190-E2s with Inflight Dublin’s portable wireless Everhub server. During a six-month trial scheduled to begin in June, Widerøe passengers will be able to access a variety of media¬—including films, TV shows, publications and games—via a web-based app.
Peach launches digital inflight services
Japan’s Peach Aviation has co-developed a new inflight entertainment (IFE) system—called Digital Inflight Service—with Asahi Television Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and TEAC. The system provides passengers with video-on-demand, a moving map and an ordering system for inflight shopping, which can be accessed via passenger smartphones and tablets.
Global Eagle achieves IFE certifications for 737s
High-speed connectivity provider Global Eagle gained two supplemental type certificates (STCs) for it Airconnect Global Ku inflight connectivity (IFC) system. The STC also allows Global Eagle to install server and wireless access point components developed by Turkish Technic, showcasing Global Eagle’s ability to adapt to customer-preferred equipment. Working with Turkish Technic, the second new STC will see the installation of Global Eagle’s Airconnect Global Ku satellite IFC solution on Turkish Airlines’ narrowbody fleet and, in conjunction with Global Eagle and Profen's teleport infrastructure, the team will offer inflight connectivity solutions on Turkish Airlines’ short-haul international and domestic routes.
Qatar Airways introduces Zero-Touch technology on A350
Qatar Airways is introducing its Oryx One inflight entertainment (IFE) system across the Airbus A350 fleet as part of the airline’s latest COVID-19 safety measures. The Zero-Touch technology, introduced in partnership with the Thales AVANT IFE system, will enable A350 passengers to pair their personal electronic devices (PEDs) with their seat-back IFE screen by connecting to “Oryxcomms” Wi-Fi and simply scanning a QR code displayed on the screen. They can then use their PEDs to navigate and enjoy more than 4,000 options on offer through the airline’s Oryx One IFE system, limiting the frequency of onboard surface contact and providing greater peace of mind throughout the duration of their journey.
Panasonic XTS satellite set to go live over Asia-Pacific
Inflight connectivity over the Asia-Pacific region is set to get a boost as a new extreme high throughput satellite (XTS)—APSTAR-6D—enters service. The satellite is jointly designed by APSATCOM and Panasonic Avionics, and will provide airlines with multiple gigahertz of new Ku-band capacity over China and high-density routes around East Asia, including Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, using narrow XTS spot beams. Panasonic Avionics is set to complete the upgrade of the 2,544 aircraft installed with its connectivity service to its Gen-3 network. Over 1,000 commercial aircraft are committed to being installed with its connectivity services and linked to the Gen-3 network from the outset.
Vistara is launch customer for Panasonic Arc 3D inflight map
India’s Vistara upgraded the map application in its inflight entertainment (IFE) system and became the launch customer for Arc, Panasonic Avionics’ 3D inflight map application, on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The map platform will be progressively made available on the airline’s new Airbus A321neo aircraft as well. Arc will be available in all cabins—in the overhead monitors, seatback screens, video handsets as well as on passengers’ mobile devices connected to the in-flight Wi-Fi. Vistara passengers will now be able to choose from over 20 distinct map views in 4K for various phases of flight, incorporating everything from stunning 3D satellite imagery, local and global views, down to a personalized feature that enables passengers to see the aircraft’s relative position to their selected map location throughout their flight. More equally engaging features such as the Kids Map and street map views will be introduced in a subsequent release.
Qatar Airways upgrades 787-8 fleet with Thales AVANT IFE
Qatar Airways is upgrading its Boeing 787-8 fleet with Thales’ AVANT IFE system, the latest high definition (HD), capacitive touch screen technology enabling passengers to navigate the graphical user interface with familiar gestures from their smartphone or tablet. Thales said the lightweight screens are two to three times brighter than the former technology, featuring more than 16 million colors for a brilliant viewing experience. “The AVANT system offers a large selection of features and applications with high capacity servers to store over a terabyte of industry leading media content including the latest HD movies, TV show episodes and music collections,” Thales said. “Business class passengers will enjoy 17-in. Full HD touch screens; the main cabin will feature the same high-quality experience with 12-in. smart displays.”
Malaysia Airlines launches online shopping platform
Malaysia Airlines’ frequent flyer program, Enrich, has launched a new online shopping platform called Enrich Shoppe. Powered by RebateMango, Enrich Shoppe provides a fun, easy and quick way for Enrich members in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Philippines to earn Enrich Miles for purchases from over 500 e-commerce brands such as Tumi, Sephora, Michael Kors, Watsons, JD Sports, Uniqlo, Cotton On, and many more. This partnership adds significant value and provides convenience for Enrich members to instantly earn up to 10X Enrich Miles earned for every USD1 spent on Enrich Shoppe. These acquired Enrich Miles can be utilized to redeem for flights, hotel stays via Enrich Hotels and Temptations’ inflight duty-free products, as well as a variety of lifestyle vouchers, exclusive dining vouchers or add more comfort to their next travel by redeeming them for seat upgrades and Golden Lounge Access.
Delta, Viasat partner to upgrade narrowbody IFC
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines finalized a deal with Viasat for the satellite operator to supply high-speed Wi-Fi to more than 300 mainline narrowbody aircraft. Viasat systems will be installed on Delta’s Airbus A321ceo, Boeing 737-900ER and select 757-200 aircraft. The Atlanta-based airline expects to bring the Viasat technology onboard these aircraft starting summer 2021, with the option to add additional fleets.
Aeroplay supplies Air India with IFE content
Boutique content service provider Aeroplay Entertainment was selected by Air India to provide complete inflight entertainment (IFE) content. customized content will offer a complete inventory of movies and television shows from across the world in various international and regional languages, including English, Arabic, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese.
Bluebox integrates wireless IFE into Airbus OSP
Bluebox Aviation Systems
Bluebox Aviation Systems delivered the first integration of wireless inflight entertainment (W-IFE) software into the Airbus Open Software Platform (OSP). Deployed with customer Titan Airways, an independent charter airline in the UK, the system was part of a line-fit OSP installation on the carrier’s first new Airbus A321LR delivered from Airbus to Titan on Oct. 26, 2020.
Thales introduces ‘Ready to Fly’ portfolio
Thales has introduced “Ready to Fly”—a portfolio of solutions for a safer and healthier travel journey. The Ready to Fly portfolio of solutions offered by Thales are designed to help our airline customers restore passenger confidence in air travel during the crisis and in a post pandemic world. The Ready to Fly “touchless” solutions allow passengers to safely control the inflight entertainment system with their personal phone or tablet for a full IFE experience, including digital versions of onboard paper menus, magazines and important safety and health information. To reduce physical interactions with the crew, while maximizing services, the Thales Travel Assistant solution will enable passengers to request and receive automated information on the seatback monitor. The crew will also have the ability to gather information, receive notifications and control the cabin from their own secure personal phone or tablet.
New inflight entertainment technologies are rapidly evolving to deliver faster connectivity services.
Linda Blachly is Senior Associate Editor for Air Transport World and Aviation Week. She joined the company in July 2010 and is responsible for producing features for Air Transport World’s monthly magazine and engaging content for the aviationweek.com. She is based in the Washington DC office.