Panasonic Avionics takes entertainment to new heights. The company, which is a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation of North America, makes in-flight entertainment and communications systems that allow airborne passengers to get their fix of live TV, movies, music, interactive games, and travel guides. Its Global Communications Suite and X Series offer internet access, telephone service, and broadband connectivity. These systems are usually installed either overhead or in airplane seatbacks. Customers include most commercial airline carriers and aircraft manufacturers, such as Airbus and Boeing. Panasonic Avionics has operations in the US, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Customers who enjoy the company's in-flight entertainment offerings include Virgin Atlantic Airways, which is the first UK long-haul airline to deploy Panasonic Avionics' Communications Suite (broadband, phone service, and entertainment portal) across its leisure fleet. Other customers include Hong Kong Airlines and Air New Zealand, as well as Lufthansa and All Nippon Airways. Cathay Pacific Airways is the first Asia-based commercial airline to deploy the company's Communications Suite across its entire fleet, including its subsidiary Dragonair aircraft.
In 2010 the company combined its technologies with those of Lufthansa Technik (a Lufthansa subsidiary) to create a new business named idair. The joint venture will develop, manufacture, and sell in-flight systems for entertainment, communications, and cabin management for aircraft designed with the VIP customer in mind. Slated for incorporation are such products as iPod and iPhone controls, ipTV, media and game libraries, among many others.
In addition to its in-flight entertainment products, the company offers services that include maintenance and repair, interactive software engineering, systems installation, training, and a 24/7 customer support center. Panasonic Avionics designs and builds its systems for both commercial and private aircraft. In 2009 the company launched its Panasonic Airline Television Network, which will provide television channels licensed by Panasonic.
Panasonic Avionics has found quite a market in China and has opened a regional headquarters in Hong Kong to support customers in that region. The company also has an integration center in Shanghai and a presence in Beijing and Guangzhou. China's airlines are investigating ancillary revenue strategies for the market. – less