Lufthansa is adding cabin IFEC upgrades from Panasonic Avionics to its fleet of Boeing 747-8 jets. (Photo courtesy of Lufthansa)
Lufthansa is upgrading its Boeing 747-8 fleet with the NEXT in-flight entertainment (IFE) system supplied by Panasonic Avionics, according to a May 19 announcement between the two companies.
NEXT is the IFE system developed by Panasonic that provides airline passengers with access to in-flight Internet, live television, and other streaming content services while also giving airlines data and analytical insights about IFE content usage trends. Under the agreement confirmed in their new announcement, Panasonic has confirmed that Lufthansa is also renewing an existing agreement for connectivity services already deployed on other Lufthansa wide body model aircraft.
“We are thrilled to be joining forces with Panasonic Avionics again,” Paul Estoppey, Head of Product Management Cabin at Lufthansa Group, said in a statement. “Our Boeing 747-8s are an integral part of our long-haul fleet, and we’re confident that this investment in Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight entertainment will be popular with our passengers.”
Panasonic will also provide mobile phone connectivity upgraded to "4G speeds" on Lufthansa's 747-8 aircraft with their AeroMobile service.
The cabin IFE agreement is divided between the 747-8's business class, which will be upgraded to 24-inch 4K screens with 10-inch control units and USB–A / USB-C, AC power, and wireless charging capabilities. In the premium economy class section, 16-inch 4K screens are being added, while 13-inch 4K screen upgrades will be added to the economy class.
"We are delighted to be partnering once again with Lufthansa with this upgrade of the passenger experience on their flagship long-haul fleet," Ken Sain, CEO of Panasonic Avionics, said, commenting on the new Lufthansa-Panasonic agreement.
The Panasonic agreement on 747-8 cabin IFEC upgrades comes following another recent long-haul Boeing fleet investment made by Lufthansa to purchase seven new Boeing 787-9s, three Boeing 777 freighters, and seven Boeing 777-8Fs. The Panasonic cabin interior upgrades are being added to a total of 19 747-8s operated by Lufthansa and the first upgraded 747-8 cabin is expected to be ready for passenger-carrying flights by the summer of 2024.