Some of the newest and most exciting concepts for airline interiors — from bicycle-style seats, to modular sleeping berths, to 1080p high-definition IFE video — were on display last week at the 19th annual Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany.
A record-breaking number of attendees and exhibitors came together at the Hamburg Messe convention center April 10–12 to envision the future of the passenger experience. More than 14,000 people, 600 exhibitor companies and representatives from 260 airlines attended the show, according to AIX.
As a hugely influential event within aviation, AIX is often the spot where companies choose to unveil new technologies, partnerships and deals. Panasonic Avionics was, of course, no exception. At our booth we took the opportunity to show off our new flexible NEXT ecosystem focused on loyalty, marketplace and theatre to over 780 airline customers who stopped by.
We also made a number of exciting announcements. In case you missed them, here’s a quick rundown:
Panasonic Avionics is on the move! We’re heading up to Silicon Valley to set up a new office. It will be almost entirely focused on developing Internet of Things (IoT), as well as cloud and data analytics for NEXT, our new inflight entertainment and connectivity platform.
Cloud computing is becoming a juggernaut in data storage, processing and analytics. As airline customers’ demands for ubiquitous internet grow, connecting the passenger experience to the cloud is the next step in the evolution of the inflight environment.
Our NEXT platform offers three solutions — Loyalty, Marketplace and Theatre — that will work to deliver a level of insight into passengers airlines have never seen before, while also enabling new revenue drivers. Imagine, for instance, near-real time content licensing or usage-based payments. NEXT will also monitor operations data including maintenance and IFEC systems’ health.
Airline customer loyalty begins with the passenger experience. That’s the impetus behind Panasonic Avionics’ NEXT Loyalty, which debuted in late 2017 with launch partner Singapore Airlines.
In essence, NEXT Loyalty is a personalization tool that enables airlines to transform a generic customer interaction into an ongoing relationship. On Singapore Airlines flights, it appears to passengers as the myKrisWorld onboard entertainment service. The program allows passengers to resume unfinished movies from previous flights, receive entertainment recommendations and save preferences for future viewing.
As airline ticket prices continue to drop and further diminish margins, the industry is focused on developing new ways of generating revenue. In recent years passengers have encountered baggage fees, meals for purchase and paid Wi-Fi access — all easy monetization targets. What remains is a far more sophisticated beast to tame: Inflight shopping.
David Bartlett, CTO of Panasonic Avionics said, “There is a vast, untapped opportunity for inflight retail and revenue generation, that will be enabled by our NEXT Marketplace solution.”
In a new partnership with gategroup — a world leader in airline retail and catering that serves 700 million passengers a year — Marketplace will enable airlines to deliver targeted, highly effective inflight offerings that keep passengers engaged.
Panasonic Avionics is the IFEC partner of choice for Turkish Airlines and Egyptair as the two airlines seek ways of standing head and shoulders above their competition.
On Turkish Airlines, Panasonic’s X Series IFEC system and a suite of connectivity services will be installed on 50 aircraft, to be delivered to the airline starting in June 2019. The customized IFEC solution includes inflight Wi-Fi, mobile phone usage and global live TV, which will be fitted on 25 Boeing 787-9s and 25 Airbus A350-900s. The system will feature a personalized home-theatre experience with HD screens, on-demand audio and video entertainment, USB outlets and Panasonic’s Integrated Personalization Service, which allows for higher levels of personalization. (More details here.)
Egyptair will also get a taste of Panasonic’s X Series on six Boeing 787-9 aircraft. The new system will include 18-inch HD seatback screens in Business class and 12-inchers in Economy. Passengers will be able to enjoy high-speed Wi-Fi, watch live TV and do calls and texts. “High-quality inflight Wi-Fi is changing the way people think about flying and how they spend their time in the air,” said Safwat Musallam, Chairman and CEO of Egyptair Holding Company, of the decision to partner with Panasonic Avionics. “We needed a solution not only capable of providing a reliable system, but also a truly immersive inflight experience to our passengers.”
“There is a vast, untapped opportunity for inflight retail and revenue generation, that will be enabled by our NEXT Marketplace solution.” — David Bartlett, CTO of Panasonic Avionics.
At AIX we announced a new partnership with Air Austral, a French airline operating primarily in the Indian Ocean area, and Safety Line, a French company that uses data to save fuel.
Together with Panasonic Avionics’ connectivity solutions, the triad will work on delivering fuel savings to the airline’s narrowbody and widebody aircraft. Air Austral will implement Safety Line’s OptiClimb and test its OptiCruise and OptiDescent solutions on its fleet. OptiClimb will allow the carrier to save up to six percent of fuel during ascent by presenting ideal climb profiles to pilots that are based on historical flight data, weather and machine learning.
AIX 2018 was a remarkable show for all of us at Panasonic Avionics. We’d like to thank all of our customers, partners and friends for spending time with us. We hope you saw, first-hand, our commitment to being a lifetime partner in the success of your business.
We also want to extend our appreciation to all the press, consultants and industry experts who stopped by to learn more about how we help airlines connect the business and pleasure of flying.
See you next year!