Inmarsat and Panasonic Avionics have agreed a new strategic collaboration, for an initial 10-year period, that enables them to combine services to offer broadband inflight connectivity (IFC) paired with solutions and services to customers in the commercial aviation industry worldwide.
They say this collaboration will enable airlines, aircraft manufacturers and passengers to benefit from the combined expertise of the two companies that have been at the forefront of technology and innovation for nearly four decades.
Under the terms of the agreement, Inmarsat will become Panasonic’s exclusive provider of Ka-band IFC for commercial aviation.
Panasonic will now be able to offer Inmarsat’s high-speed, broadband connectivity service, GX Aviation, powered by Global Xpress.
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.
In addition, Inmarsat will be able to offer Panasonic’s market-leading portfolio of services and NEXT solutions to Inmarsat’s commercial aviation customers. This includes customer support services available from Panasonic’s Customer Performance Center and Technical Services teams.
The companies say the collaboration, which is already being deployed with a mutual customer, presents a unique opportunity to leverage Inmarsat’s global mobile connectivity, and Panasonic’s in-flight entertainment, digital services and connectivity solutions.
Looking forward, Inmarsat and Panasonic will also collaborate on the development of a next generation GX Aviation terminal, as well as new connectivity-enabled services, data analytics and technology to improve overall end-to-end performance.
They say 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”.
This will give greater quality, consistency of experience and more choice to airlines and their passengers in the IFC market, which by some estimates could exceed $100 billion by 2035.
Rupert Pearce, Chief Executive Officer, Inmarsat, said: “Our highly complementary collaboration with Panasonic combines the unique expertise and proven capabilities of both companies to create a market-leading in-flight connectivity offer for aircraft manufacturers, airlines and their passengers.
“IFC is a substantial and fast-emerging sector where the quality of customer experience is paramount. Reliable, high-quality IFC is no longer a luxury for passengers, but an expectation, and will play a vital role in securing an airline’s competitive position in a market.
“Today’s landmark announcement is clear evidence of Inmarsat delivering on its strategy and strengthens our conviction that, building upon the success of the global GX network, aviation will be a significant individual growth driver of our overall business.
“It also demonstrates Inmarsat’s commitment to becoming the reference IFC network for airlines around the world.
“We look forward to working closely with Panasonic as we develop the relationship and accelerate our respective innovation roadmaps to ensure we continue to provide airlines and passengers with the world’s leading IFC experience.”
Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer, Panasonic Avionics, said: “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.”
“By adding GX Aviation into our NEXT Online portfolio, we’re recognising the need for IFC consistency across multiple fleets and enabling digital solutions and services with unified customer support. It’s really a win-win for customers.”
“After all, there’s nothing quite like watching your favourite sporting event on the seatback, shopping for products that are relevant to your life and interests, or using apps that personalise your journey.”
“Clearly, this is truly a tremendous opportunity for our industry. We look forward to working with Inmarsat to provide a wider suite of services and solutions to the world’s airlines.”