Fri. Dec 8th, 2023
Panasonic Enhancing Satellite Capacity for In-Flight Connectivity Expansion

Panasonic Avionics, a division of Panasonic Corporation, is taking steps to advance its worldwide expansion strategy by boosting its satellite capacity. The company has formed strategic agreements in various regions and is deploying High Throughput Satellite capacity in China and Japan with the goal of improving in-flight connectivity.

To support its In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) broadband service, Panasonic has secured Gigabit-class capacity on the SuperBird-9 satellite operated by SKY Perfect/Jsat. This service is expected to launch in the first half of 2027. SuperBird-9, utilizing the Airbus OneSat framework, is capable of dynamically reconfiguring coverage areas in Geosynchronous transfer orbit, primarily benefiting Japan’s in-flight connectivity market.

This strategic move is driven by the increasing demand for high-quality in-flight internet services. Panasonic’s services are already utilized by major airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Saudia, and United Airlines, providing superior connectivity to approximately 2.7 billion passengers annually across their combined fleet of 2544 aircraft. John Wade, VP for IFC at Panasonic Avionics, highlighted the growing demand for service and the importance of investments like SuperBird-9.

However, there have been delays that have pushed back the anticipated launch of the service from 2024 to 2027. These delays have raised questions about the validity of the launch contract with SpaceX Starship, which is expected to be ready by late 2026 when the satellite is prepared for launch. Despite these challenges, Panasonic Avionics remains committed to expanding its Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite capacity in order to meet the escalating demands for in-flight connectivity.

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