Southwest Makes Connected Aircraft Deals With GEE, Panasonic

By Woodrow Bellamy III | December 14, 2016
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[Avionics Magazine 12-14-2016] Southwest Airlines has announced new In-flight Connectivity (IFC) agreements with Panasonic Avionics Corp., and Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE).  The agreement with Panasonic provides for their Global Communications Services, which include WiFi and live television, to be offered on a portion of the carrier’s fleet, with the first Panasonic equipped aircraft scheduled to enter service in late 2017.  The agreement with GEE extends the carrier’s use of the company’s Airconnect connectivity system and services.
Southwest’s inaugural flight to Cuba landing. Photo: Southwest Airlines.
The North American domestic carrier says the new agreements will align with its planned introduction of Boeing 737 Max aircraft next year to replace its fleet of Boeing 737-300 Classics. By the end of 2017, Southwest Airlines is targeting to operate a 100 percent Wi-Fi-equipped fleet of more than 700 aircraft. 
Southwest expects its IFC speeds to increase, although no specifics on available connection speeds have been given. 

Southwest’s first Panasonic-equipped aircraft is scheduled to enter service in  late 2017.  

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