Gulf Air to Become the First Airline in the World to Offer Full On-Board Connectivity to Passengers
Gulf Air is the First Airline to Launch Live Television – eXTV

Le Bourget, Paris – June 21, 2011–- Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain today announced that it has selected Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s (Panasonic) Global Communications Suite for worldwide in-flight broadband connectivity, mobile phone service and live television programming. Once the final terms are agreed upon, Panasonic will install its broadband Ku solution eXConnect, eXPhone and the eXTV live television network across the entire Gulf Air Fleet.

The retrofitting will be implemented progressively across the airline’s fleet beginning in September 2011 and will take two years to complete.

Gulf Air Chief Executive Officer Mr. Samer Majali said, “Gulf Air is moving forward with its new strategy of re-fleeting and introducing high quality products and services that bring a new dimension to our customers’ travel experience. It is imperative, therefore, that our fleet, both current and future, is fitted with state-of-the-art entertainment and communications systems.”

“We have selected global leader Panasonic’s Global Communications Suite after evaluating several other systems that would meet our requirement and fit in with our new strategy. This is a perfect choice as it not only offers our customers technologically superior, integrated voice, video, data, telephony and television programmes – all in hi-speed broadband connectivity – but also assures our passengers a consistently high quality product across our fleet. I am sure our passengers will be experiencing a refreshing change onboard that they wouldn’t have seen before,” he concluded.

Added Paul Margis, Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic, “Panasonic is honored to announce Gulf Air as a customer for our Global Communications Suite; it is obvious that both companies share the same belief that broadband connectivity will fundamentally change IFEC in terms of passenger experience and operational efficiency.”

“With our Global Communications Suite, Gulf Air will be able to create a deeply immersive, content-rich environment like nothing their passengers have experienced before. With applications and services such as live television, social networking, and much more – all backed by the ability to optimize and troubleshoot the system in real time– we believe that Gulf Air will set a new standard for in-flight entertainment.”

For the first time in the world, passengers will be able to enjoy an avant-garde, cutting-edge experience onboard with fully integrated broadband connectivity that offers high speed internet, 3G-4G mobile data speed connectivity, voice over the internet (VOIP), streaming videos and the world’s first in-flight live TV satellite stream across continents.

Soon, business passengers will be able to enjoy unlimited virtual private network (VPN), stay fully connected while watching live-news and stock market updates; sports fans can watch their favourite football and other matches in real-time through the world’s first in-flight live TV satellite streaming across continents while chatting with their friends.

Panasonic’s eXConnect provides two-way broadband connectivity supporting a wide range of passenger and crew applications, including Internet access, voice, data, and the ability to monitor and transmit airline operational data in real time at speeds of up to 50 Mbps to the aircraft.

The company’s eXPhone, offered in collaboration with AeroMobile’s award winning in-flight mobile phone technology means that at 20,000ft, passengers can stay in touch with loved ones, keep up to date and on top of work just as if they were on the ground. In an increasingly connected world, eXPhone allows passengers to use their mobile, Smartphone or BlackBerry to call, text, email, and browse and use their applications throughout the flight. With nothing for customers to do except turning on their devices, eXPhone mobile data also works with GSM-enabled tablets and laptops.

Pål Bjørdal, AeroMobile’s President and CEO, said: “We are delighted to confirm Gulf Air as our 10th announced customer. AeroMobile offers strong connectivity throughout the Middle East through its network of roaming partners, and this continues to increase all the time. This development is further endorsement of KU Band and the excellent bandwidth it offers, which is a requirement for today’s advanced handsets.”

Panasonic’s eXTV television network delivers high-quality, television programming to passengers during their flight. It will provide live, uninterrupted content to aircraft flying all over the world, even over oceans. The service will offer several global channels as well as regional channels.