Posted on: 14 February 2014 by Mark Howells
WestJet has signed a multi-year agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) to provide the airline with a new in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) system which will allow passengers to access the internet in-flight, view live streaming television, on-demand movies, magazines and more.
Passengers will be able to use their own personal electronic device (PED) or laptop computer to receive live and stored content streamed wirelessly from a server on board each WestJet Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft. Airtime packages will also be available to surf the internet, access email or plan a vacation. Tablets will be available for those guests not travelling with a device.
"We are very excited to take the next step in the evolution of our in-flight entertainment system," said Marshall Wilmot, WestJet Vice-President, Product and Distribution. "We were proud to be the first Canadian airline to offer live television on board our aircraft beginning in 2004, and today we are announcing a completely new system designed to offer WestJet guests a broader selection of entertainment options than ever before."
"We know that roughly 75 per cent of our guests are bringing their own devices on board today," added Wilmot. "They tell us they want the opportunity to connect to check their email, put the finishing touches on a presentation or keep in touch with family and friends.”
WestJet will also install USB/110 volt power outlets in new, slimmer seats on its aircraft to enable passengers to charge their devices or keep them charged while using the entertainment system. And, with a mix of free and paid content, the new system offers the airline additional ancillary revenue opportunities.
Panasonic will install the IFEC solution on one WestJet Boeing Next Generation aircraft before the end of 2014 at which time the airline will perform tests to fine-tune the system. The airline aims to equip its entire fleet with the system over the next several years.