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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Panasonic signs LOI to provide airborne connectivity to C919

By Mary Kirby
Panasonic Avionics has inked a letter of intent (LOI) with China's Comac to provide in-flight communications systems for the C919 narrowbody.

"While final terms are still being negotiated, the LOI allows the parties to immediately begin working on a custom communications solution that will let passengers use their own devices for mobile phone services and Internet access on board Comac's C919 aircraft while in flight," says Panasonic in a statement.

Panasonic has teamed with Chengdu-based avionics specialist China Electronics Technology Avionics (CETCA) to help implement its strategy.

"China is one of the world's most connected societies, and passengers onboard Comac's C919 aircraft will be able to enjoy a high quality mobile phone and Internet experience at 30,000ft," says Panasonic Avionics CEO Paul Margis.

Panasonic joins a growing list of companies that intend to offer in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) products and services on board the C919. Thales in November signed a letter of intent with Comac and a memorandum of understanding with CETCA to bring a solution to the twinjet.

A month earlier Comac announced its selection of Rockwell Collins to provide seat-centric IFEC for the C919. Rockwell Collins is teaming with Shanghai Aero Measurement-Controlling Research Institute (SAMRI) on the deal.

The 156-to 190-seat C919 narrowbody is expected to take its first flight in 2014

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