Cathay Pacific to deploy broadband on flights

It signs MOU with Panasonic Avionics for provision of full broadband connectivity

New Delhi: Flyers on Cathay Pacific Airways will soon be fully connected during flights as the airline plans to deploy full broadband connectivity for all passengers on all Cathay Pacific and Dragonair flights. Cathay Pacific and Panasonic Avionics Corporation have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the provision of full broadband connectivity on all Cathay Pacific and Dragonair passenger aircrafts. The service will include a broadband service, a GSM phone service and a free entertainment portal available to all passengers from the seatback screens and passenger devices.

With this, Cathay Pacific becomes the first airline in Asia to announce its intention to deploy Panasonic Avionics Global Communications Suite broadband connectivity solution. It is also the first airline globally to announce an intention to provide the solution across its full fleet. The services will launch from early 2012, subject to regulatory approval.

While final terms are still being negotiated, the MOU allows the parties to immediately begin developing the plan to provide connectivity for passengers together with promotional, sponsorship and e-commerce opportunities for Cathay Pacific partner brands.

The Panasonic Avionics connectivity solution for Cathay Pacific will comprise the eXConnect broadband service, eXPhone GSM phone service, and a CX-branded free-of-charge entertainment portal - accessible through all passenger devices and seatback screens - that will include a range of content updated during the flight, access to airline and partner sites, e-commerce, airline-specific advertising, and live television with a unique pay-per-view capability for special events.

eXConnect provides two-way broadband connectivity supporting a wide range of passenger and crew applications, including Internet access, voice, data, and the ability to monitor and transmit airline operational data in real time at speeds of up to 50 Mbps to the aircraft.

eXPhone, offered in collaboration with AeroMobiles GSM mobile phone technology, allows passengers to use their mobile phones, smart phones and BlackBerry devices onboard to make voice calls, send SMS text messages or utilise data services and stream content wirelessly to their iPod, iPhone and iPad. eXPhone gives the airline flexibility and full control over the services offered including restricting certain services when appropriate.

"Connectivity will form an important part of our overall customer proposition. Having that connectivity integrated closely with our video on demand entertainment system is especially valuable as it means that all passengers will be able to use the service. We believe that being connected is now an expected part of everyday life not just for business purposes but also to stay in touch with family and friends. This system will allow passengers to be as in touch as they wish to be while enjoying the great Cathay Pacific and Dragonair service," says Alex McGowan, Head of Product for Cathay Pacific.

"We are very proud and thrilled to be working with Cathay Pacific. We are committed to serving the needs of the ever-growing markets in China and Asia. With Panasonic Avionics Global Communications Services, Cathay Pacific will be the first airline in Asia to offer passengers the most innovative inflight entertainment and communication options onboard commercial aircraft," said, Charles Ogilvie, Executive Director of China for Panasonic Avionics Corporation.

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