Posted on: 11 October 2011 by Ross McSweeny
Gulf Air received its first A330-200 aircraft retrofitted with Panasonic’s Global Communications Suite, offering live television onboard.
The Bahrain carrier claims to be the world’s first airline to offer a global live television service using the communications and entertainment solution, ‘Sky Hub’. Passengers onboard will also have full broadband connectivity to access internet and mobile phone services.“It is another important milestone in our customer service journey as we unveil our latest inflight entertainment system, ‘Sky Hub’ on our fleet,” commented Gulf Air Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Samer Majali. “We are bringing to you, for the first time in the world, fully integrated broadband connectivity offering high speed internet with high speed Wi-Fi and data services, voice over the internet (VOIP), streaming videos and the world’s first in-flight live TV satellite stream across continents.”“I am sure this avant-garde, cutting-edge technology will fundamentally change our passengers’ communications and entertainment experience onboard setting a new standard for in-flight entertainment," added Mr Majali.“We are very excited and honoured to have helped Gulf Air become the first carrier in the world to offer a truly amazing passenger entertainment experience with broadband connectivity for high speed internet access, mobile voice and data services, and a live television service that includes some of the world’s most popular news programming and live sporting events,” declared Paul Margis, Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics Corporation.Using Panasonic’s Global Communications Suite, Gulf Air will offer two-way broadband connectivity at speeds of up to 50 Mbps to the aircraft, enabling faster browsing, chatting and other internet based services. In addition, business travellers can access their virtual private network (VPN) to send and receive emails while watching live-news and stock market updates. They can connect their personal device to the in-flight Wi-Fi network, and log into the service through Deutsche Telekom, the wireless internet service provider onboard.
On routes across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Gulf Air will offer content-rich entertainment in addition to live, uninterrupted television services such as news from BBC World News, BBC Arabic and Euronews, and football games on IMG Media’s Barclays Premier League channel.“We are excited about our future collaboration with Gulf Air. Together, we can now offer a new and bigger international group of customers the use of high-speed Internet access also in the sky,” commented Olivier Baujard, Chief Technology Officer of Deutsche Telekom. “The expansion of our Wi-Fi offering is an important element in the development of our networks and in addressing the demands of the Gigabit-Society."Panasonic’s mobile voice and data service, offered in collaboration with AeroMobile’s award winning in-flight mobile phone technology, will enable passengers to use their mobile phone, Smartphone or BlackBerry device to call, text, email, browse the internet and use other applications throughout the flight. They will also be able to use GSM-enabled tablets and laptops to go online in-flight.“AeroMobile is delighted to be supporting this world first from Gulf Air – our 10th customer,” said Pal Bjordal, CEO of AeroMobile. “With many roaming partners throughout the Middle East, we’re perfectly positioned to help their passengers stay in touch whilst in the air.”
The Panasonic’s Global Communications Suite is planned to be installed across Gulf Air’s entire fleet of aircraft.