June 13 2023  |  Screens & Devices

Saudia selects Astrova seat-end IFE from Panasonic

By Alex Preston

Ken Sain, CEO of Panasonic Avionics Corporation (left), and His Excellency Engr. Ibrahim Al-Omar, Director General of Saudia Group (right)

Panasonic Avionics Corporation Panasonic Avionics Corporation and Saudi Arabian Airlines the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, have signed an agreement for the installation of the Astrova seat-end solution on up to 30 of its widebody aircraft fleet — 12 Airbus A330s and 18 Boeing 777s.

In addition to the 4K OLED screens that have the best high-definition capability available, ensuring the best picture quality coupled with high quality audio delivered by Panasonic Avionics’ latest Bluetooth technology, every passenger will have up to 100 W of direct current power, via USB-C, at their seat. Panasonic Avionics’ newest IFE seat-end solution also features programmable LED lighting that will enhance the passenger experience and enable Saudia to optimize the cabin environment.

In a June 6 statement, Ken Sain, CEO of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “The installation of Astrova on their widebody fleet indicates the airline’s commitment not only to sustainability, but also to its customers and the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision.”

In 2022, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced its 2030 Vision. The goal of this initiative is to enable citizens and businesses to fulfil their potential, diversify the economy, support local content and develop innovative opportunities for the future.

“Astrova provides Saudia with an innovative IFE solution that will enhance engagement with its passengers and is easy to upgrade without full or costly interior changes,” Sain added.

Panasonic Avionics is also working with the airline to develop IFE maintenance capabilities in the Kingdom with its leading Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO), Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries (SAEI). Working with SAEI, Panasonic Avionics will contribute to the Kingdom and Saudia’s localization objectives by enhancing SAEI’s repair capabilities, training its technicians and introducing state-of-the art technology.

In the same June 6 statement, His Excellency Engr. Ibrahim Al-Omar, Director General of Saudia Group, said: “At Saudia, we are constantly looking to improve the guest experience onboard our aircraft, by investing in new technologies and upgrading our systems. Thanks to this partnership with Astrova, our guests will be able to experience the best of in-flight entertainment, with more personalizable features, making their journey with us truly memorable.”

“As SAEI expands, their commitment to localization continues to grow as they collaborate with several companies to enhance the capabilities of their technicians. Panasonic Avionics’ work with SAEI will be instrumental to the local market, as it will open up jobs for Saudis while providing repair capabilities not only in the Kingdom but to the MENA region as a whole. In addition, this partnership contributes to the Nartaqi program, which is an initiative by Saudia aimed at driving localization by supporting the greater use of local suppliers and local businesses whilst providing quality jobs, training and development opportunities for Saudi nationals,” His Excellency added.

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