Panasonic IFE and connectivity for WestJet

WestJet has signed a multi-year agreement with Panasonic Avionics for the latter to provide the airline with a new inflight entertainment (IFE) system with the ability to feature wireless satellite internet connectivity, live streaming television, on-demand movies, magazines and other content.

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 737NG. Airtime packages will also be available to surf the internet and access email. 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 inflight entertainment system,” commented 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.”

The airline says that the addition of WiFi is a strategic step forward to enable passengers, especially business travellers, to make their time in the air as productive as possible. “We know that roughly 75% of our guests are bringing their own devices on board today,” said Marshall 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. Our continually improving schedule and network, now combined with wireless connectivity, along with our WestJet Rewards programme and our Plus package with more space to work and additional amenities, is part of our ongoing effort to enhance our value proposition for business travellers.”

WestJet will also install USB/110 V power outlets in new, slimmer seats on its aircraft to enable customers 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.

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