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Friday, November 18, 2011

Etihad Selects Panasonic IFE in $1 Billion Deal

Etihad Airways selected in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems from Panasonic Avionics, of Lake Forest, Calif., for the carrier's entire long-haul fleet of wide-body aircraft, in a transaction worth more than $1 billion at list prices.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways CEO, and Paul Margis, Panasonic CEO, signed a letter of intent on Thursday for a 10-year exclusive agreement for in-flight entertainment and communications (IFEC) solutions, including mobile phone services in conjunction with AeroMobile. The deal currently being finalized will include a full service maintenance contract.

Etihad Airways and Panasonic are developing a plan to deploy Panasonic's eX2 and eX3 IFEC systems on 100 new aircraft, in addition to the 16 aircraft already equipped with the eX2 system. Under the agreement, Etihad Airways will install Panasonic’s eX2 system on its new Airbus A380s, Boeing 787s, and Boeing 777-300Ers, and will use Panasonic’s eX3 solution for its new Airbus A350s.

The deal also includes the installation of Panasonic’s Global Communications Suite, which provides in-flight broadband connectivity, mobile phone service and live television content, across Etihad Airways’ entire fleet of existing and to-be-delivered wide body aircraft.

“It is essential that we offer the most engaging and dynamic in-flight entertainment for our guests – especially on longhaul flights. We went through a comprehensive technical and commercial evaluation of what was out there in the market. Panasonic will support Etihad Airways’ commitment to delivering a system that will enable us to stay at the leading edge in this all-important area,” Hogan said.

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