Posted on: 05 December 2014 by Mark Howells
An Airbus A340-300 aircraft, which is installed with Panasonic Avionics’ (Panasonic) eXConnect in-flight Wi-Fi system, has been chartered from Lufthansa Airlines by the German Foreign Office and converted into a hospital aircraft for patients diagnosed with Ebola.
Having eXConnect on-board will allow volunteer pilots and flight attendants along with medical staff direct access to Wi-Fi internet and email services for essential air-to-ground communications during the emergency flights.
“Since the founding of Panasonic, our company has been committed to using technology to improve peoples' lives,” commented Panasonic Avionics’ CEO Paul Margis. “We are very excited to support this humanitarian cause and believe our global communication technology will enable medical professionals to more effectively care for patients.”
The A340-300, which features isolation chambers surrounded by airtight tents with negative pressure, is due to be available for missions in any country from December. It was converted from a passenger aircraft called the “Villingen-Schwennigen” by Lufthansa Technik in a matter of weeks. The aircraft is now known as the “Robert Koch”, as the conversion was carried out in partnership with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).
Unlike the smaller aircraft that have been sporadically available to date, the facility can provide comprehensive intensive care on board.
The “Robert Koch” project is due to run for a period of six months, and already over 700 pilots and flight attendants have volunteered to take part in the humanitarian mission.