June 21 2022  |  Partnerships, Collaborations & Acquisitions

Qatar Airways inks deal with Panasonic Avionics to provide IFEC for 777x fleet

By Jane Hobson

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation (left) and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker

At AIX, Qatar Airways announced it has signed an agreement with Panasonic Avionics for its inflight entertainment solution, Astrova, designed to enhance passenger engagement and drive operational efficiency. Qatar’s fleet of 40 777x's is the first aircraft type to feature the new innovation. which was introduced at the interiors expo. With this agreement, Qatar is the first airline to sign as a launch customer globally.

Astrova, by Panasonic Avionics, is part of the company’s new approach to the market by helping airlines achieve a powerful and targeted way of engaging with passengers through IFE. By also re-imagining the ownership experience, airlines will benefit from faster on-wing upgrades and maintenance, commonality in media loading, spares and repairs, and significant weight reductions compared to other seat-end architectures. The selection of Astrova also underscores Qatar Airways’ ongoing commitment to the environment and sustainability, and directly addresses both companies' efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Panasonic Avionics’ newest IFE seat-end solution features a cinema-grade 4K OLED with High Dynamic Range (HDR) experience. With perfect blacks and cinematic colors in its palette, OLED technology is widely regarded as the ultimate in display quality. With 22-inch screens in Business Class and 13-inch in Economy, Qatar’s passengers will immerse themselves in stunning visuals that are even further enhanced with HDR for the absolute best possible home theater experience, reads the June 14 press release.

Complementing Astrova’s unsurpassed video performance is Panasonic Avionics’ high-fidelity audio, which will deliver high-definition sound over both traditional wired connections and Panasonic Avionics’ award-winning Bluetooth technology.

The monitor is a singular design featuring gentle curves, and soft rounded touch-points, that invite passengers to engage in Qatar’s entertainment and brand experience. It also offers programmable LED lighting that enables airlines to optimize the cabin environment to complement various phases of flight with animated sequences synchronized to improve the passenger experience and reduce eye strain.

The system is designed to stay at the forefront of consumer trends and inflight entertainment products and services throughout its lifetime. Key hardware and software components have been designed to evolve over time to meet changing market requirements and satisfy ever-increasing passenger expectations. This helps ensure that travelers will always be able to seamlessly interface their personal devices to the IFE system to create the same omnichannel, multiscreen, multi-purpose environment which they are accustomed to at home.

For example, a removable peripheral bar ensures that Astrova can easily evolve to allow people to interact with the solution over time. This means that passengers will always be able to fast charge devices with USB power even if new power requirements are introduced. In addition, this key feature means that passengers will be able to connect headphones or devices even if Bluetooth technologies or standards change.

Finally, Astrova is a seamless blend of newly developed hardware, software, and enterprise solutions that revolutionize the in-flight entertainment experience. Qatar will be able to offer the latest digital solutions and applications that cater to the personal and business needs of passengers each time they board an aircraft.

"We are pleased that Qatar Airways, one of the premier airlines in the world, has chosen Astrova for its fleet of 777x aircraft," said Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation. "Using our IFE innovation, Qatar Airways can leverage the latest consumer innovations to deliver unique passenger experiences to drive higher Net Promotor Scores, enhance passenger engagement, increase revenue, and achieve even greater operational efficiencies through IFE. We are very honored to launch this exciting new product and for Qatar to be the first to sign as the launch customer for the 777x aircraft type."

"Panasonic Avionics Corporation has a long history of building market-leading IFE solutions, and today, we are excited to unveil that Qatar Airways will be the launch customer of the new Astrova screens onboard our fleet of 777x's," said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker. "Our partnership is a testament to our commitment to providing a second to none customer experience. This industry-leading solution will provide our passengers with a cinema-grade, 4K OLED clarity that will captivate them when watching our latest blockbusters using Oryx One IFE system."

The selection of Astrova, by Panasonic Avionics, underscores Qatar Airways’ ongoing commitment to the environment and sustainability. The airline’s corporate strategy has been at the forefront of the international news agenda. Some of the airline’s 2021-2022 achievements in the field of sustainability include:

  • The first carrier in the Middle East to join the IATA Turbulence Aware data exchange platform
  • The first carrier in the Middle East to join the ICAO Global Coalition for Sustainable Aviation
  • The first carrier to make a carbon transaction on the IATA Aviation Carbon Exchange (ACE) via IATA Clearing House (ICH) to open a new chapter in the promotion of innovation towards environmental sustainability and voluntary carbon offsetting programmes
  • The first cargo carrier to join the IATA CO2NNECT platform offering a new voluntary carbon offsetting programme for air cargo shipments
  • The roll out of our bespoke e-learning programme to increase environmental sustainability awareness amongst staff
  • The collaboration with oneworld® Alliance in developing the outline path to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, and committed to a collective target of using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for 10 percent of combined fuel volumes by 2030
  • The successful transportation of seven lions to nature reserves in South Africa free of charge, as part of our Rewild the Planet initiative, under the WeQare sustainability programme

These important initiatives, along with Qatar Airways' commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, solidify their position in taking a leading role in protecting the planet for future generations, ensuring these issues are firmly embedded in its corporate culture and customer-facing services.

Panasonic Avionics’ Astrova will be the host screen of Qatar Airways’ award-winning Oryx One system; offering passengers more than 5,000 entertainment options, from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, games, and much more. Passengers can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the airline’s on-board Super Wi-Fi and GSM service. The Oryx One app is available for download from Google Play and Apple App stores, offering access to entertainment listings and downloadable digital content 24/7.

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