The concept of real-time aircraft tracking has become a global issue over that past few years. Needless to say, aircraft position data has become a focus for ICAO and the airlines. Many hardware manufacturers are stepping up and generating solutions that utilize, in many cases, existing connectivity. Panasonic has one such a product and we thought our readers would find it interesting because it utilizes existing installed hardware.

IFExpress had the opportunity to have a Q&A with Jeff Rex, Director, Panasonic Avionics Corporation about the new non-transponder-based aircraft position tracking service on offer.

1.Please name and describe the ground and airborne products involved in the Panasonic’s tracking solution.

Our global tracking system is based on Panasonic’s Global Communications Services (GCS) and FlightLink™ satcom solutions. By adding the AirMap application to either of these satcom solutions airlines can meet the normal and abnormal tracking requirements proposed for the GADSS.

Both flight tracking solutions provide a non-transponder-based aircraft position report available even in extreme remote and oceanic areas of the globe, either over Ku or a dedicated Iridium satellite data link. Each aircraft is monitored in real-time through a web-based tracking tool, called AirMap.

2. There are 3 issues we see – location data acquisition, transmission of the data (satcom, we presume), and ground handling of the data. Can you outline each solution?

Aircraft position and identification data from either our FlightLink or GCS solution is sent to our ground based servers. AirMap is the graphical interface that provides a visual representation of the aircraft’s flight path, altitude, and location. It allows airlines to view and interact with this tracking data. It also generates alerts to support the GADSS requirements as well as satisfying other operational needs. The tracking interval is completely customizable to an airline’s requirements and is manually adjustable. When combined with the core satcom system, the application also offers support for voice and text messaging in the event that an airline’s ground operations want to communicate with the aircraft.

For existing FlightLink and GCS satcom users no additional on-board equipment is required to activate Panasonic’s flight tracking solution. The only incremental costs are those associated with introduction of the AirMap application into the airline operations center.

3. Which is the lowest cost solution?

We are letting customers know that if they have eXConnect or FlightLink, then they can have flight tracking for only an incremental fee.

4. The US FAA is working on this problem and has some recommendations. Does the Panasonic solution agree with their needs?

eXConnect and FlightLink both meet the ICAO’s GADSS concept of operations. The standards and recommended practices specifications for both normal and abnormal tracking are still in development, and Panasonic will adjust our products as needed once released.

5. What are other valuable uses for Panasonic’s solution(s)?

FlightLink is a complete end-to-end solution that includes multi-function atmospheric and GPS sensors, dedicated two-way satellite communication system and ground-based data management and quality assurance. It is compatible with all aircraft types and the communication architecture provides a two-way information exchange at any altitude, and even over the poles. In addition to flight tracking, FlightLink enables incredibly accurate and high-resolution weather forecasts, real-time icing reports, turbulence reports, and improved operational support for airlines through AOC communications to and from an aircraft.

eXConnect is our global Ku-band broadband connectivity service. It covers 99.6% of all air travel hours and is installed on 1250 aircraft that fly routes all across the globe. Like FlightLink, it offers a two-way information exchange at any altitude. However, like all non-Iridium satellite solutions, it is not available over the poles. eXConnect is used for both passenger Wi-Fi and television services as well as for operational efficiency applications unlocked by the power of the connected aircraft. For instance, it enables real-time engine monitoring, telemedicine, live updates to EFBs and much more.

6. Is the solution, or portions of the solution, flying today?

Our existing FlightLink and GCS satcom users will require no additional on-board hardware to use Panasonic’s flight tracking solution. The only incremental costs are those associated with introduction of the AirMap application.

The current generation of AirMap tracking solution was launched in June 2016 and is currently being trialed by three airlines.

Read the press release on this product.

More IFEC & Aviation News:

A) Each year, turbulence incidents cost airlines approximately $100 million due to crew and passenger injuries, unscheduled maintenance, operational inefficiencies, and revenue lost while planes are out of service. In fact, studies have shown that aircraft encounters with turbulence are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in the commercial airline industry. The Weather Company, an IBM Business (NYSE: IBM) has announced a groundbreaking deal with Gogo Business Aviation (NASDAQ: GOGO) that will enable the delivery of real-time turbulence reports and alerts directly to pilots, dispatch and other operations personnel. Mark Gildersleeve, president of business solutions at The Weather Company, announced today at The Weather Company Aviation Conference that Gogo will be implementing Weather’s patented Turbulence Auto PIREP System (TAPS), a turbulence detection algorithm, on their aircraft-based communications server. The TAPS software will reside on Gogo’s server, which provides access to the necessary data generated by the aircraft to create reports of turbulence intensity. Gogo’s US-based air-to-ground and global satellite communication network is used to send the reports for immediate action in flight operations and weather forecasting. This is the first time a non-traditional system on the aircraft will be used to help enhance flight safety. Traditionally, flight operations personnel, pilots and aviation meteorologists received coded verbal reports with limited information on flight conditions, also known as PIREPS. Due to multiple reasons, including a lack of cockpit data connectivity, pilots were not able to get real-time updates. Using the Gogo network, pilots in the cockpit will now be able to access real-time turbulence reports and forecaster created alerts through Weather’s flight planning and operations applications and aircraft communication displays.

“Leveraging Gogo’s expanded fleet of aircrafts, The Weather Company can quickly share real-time turbulence data directly with pilots and dispatchers, thereby improving crew and passenger safety,” said Gildersleeve. “It is a great example of the Internet of Things in action, where we are collecting massive amounts of data very quickly and then using that insight to provide guidance to all flights that will be traveling through impacted air space.”

“In this increasingly connected world, it’s no longer just about passenger connectivity, we have to consider all the other ways we can leverage the available technology to enhance the overall flight experience and improve safety – such as a connected aircraft,” said Andrew Kemmetmueller, vice president of connected aircraft services, Gogo. “Our ability to provide access to real-time data through our network will help pilots and operations teams improve flight planning, and ultimately, help airlines deliver the best in-flight customer experience throughout a flight.” In addition to real-time alerting, Weather will be able to leverage the TAPS reports to continually improve turbulence forecasts, the skill of Weather’s overall forecast model, and the WSI Total Turbulence solution. Some customers of WSI Total Turbulence have seen a reduction in turbulence injuries and unnecessary turbulence-induced maintenance inspection by about 50% each. The reports will also empower Weather’s team of 40 aviation meteorologists to alert clients of weather-related safety risks globally. The Weather Company, an IBM Business, is the world’s largest private weather enterprise, helping people make informed decisions – and take action – in the face of weather. The company offers the most accurate, personalized and actionable weather data and insights to millions of consumers and thousands of businesses via Weather’s API, its business solutions division, and its own digital products from The Weather Channel ( and Weather Underground ( The company delivers up to 26 billion forecasts daily for 2.2 billion locations.

B) GOGO was selected by Delta Private Jets to equip its fleet of >70 business jets with Gogo Biz 4G inflight connectivity for 2Q17. Check out the full press release here.

C) We note that the Iran/Boeing airplane deal at $25B will include new versions of the B737, B777-300ER’s, and B777-900’s. A deal with Airbus includes some 73 wide bodies and 45 single ails worth an estimated $27B!

D) This study may explain aircraft Wi-Fi usage… be sure to check it out!

E) Take the time to watch this movie on Boeing’s patent for their solar airplane, it is great and unusual!

F) Thompson Aerospace is in the news!

Lake Forest, CA | June 9, 2016– Panasonic Avionics today announced that it is offering worldwide satellite tracking to all Global Communications Services and FlightLink™ customers.

Today, the company’s Global Communications Services and FlightLink solutions, when combined with Panasonic’s AirMap application, immediately satisfy ICAO’s Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System definitions for both normal and abnormal tracking.

Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics said, “Today, we can seamlessly enable flight tracking on over 1,500 aircraft, and we expect to extend this capability to over 3,500 aircraft over the short term. We believe that this service will ultimately help improve the operational efficiency and safety of commercial air travel.”

To support these satellite-based solutions, Panasonic has deployed extensive ground and aircraft based communications solutions that enable tracking of aircraft in a variety of configurable and tailored update rates that support airline operations and exceed the minimum requirements of the current ICAO guidance. The AirMap application is the airline portal into these operations and provides them a graphical way to monitor, track and receive alerts on their aircraft.

Unlike many proposed technologies, Panasonic’s flight tracking is based the company’s Ku-band eXConnect broadband and Iridium satellite communications solutions. This allows airlines to integrate cockpit and crew communications with their flight tracking capabilities. This gives them the opportunity to use voice or text messaging to contact an aircraft based on the situational awareness they receive from Panasonic’s tracking solutions.

Margis added, “Our airline partners have already made a commitment to purchase a satellite communications system for passenger and/or operational usage. With only incremental cost to add the AirMap application, they will have an elegant and cost-effective solution without having to spend even more capital on a separate tracking technology.”

Portland, OR | September 29, 2015– Peninsula Airways (PenAir), one of the largest regional airlines in Alaska and the Northeast U.S., has selected Panasonic Avionics’ (Panasonic) FlightLink® for 18 SAAB SF340 and three SAAB 2000 aircraft. With FlightLink, PenAir adds aircraft operation center (AOC) voice, data, and aircraft positioning and tracking to its fleet of SAAB aircraft.

Danny Seybert, Chief Executive Officer for PenAir said, “Given our location, and the unique routes we fly, we wanted a solution that would allow us to stay in constant contact with our aircraft. After reviewing all the options, only Panasonic could deliver the hardware and services that would help us run our airline even more safely and efficiently.”

Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Panasonic Avionics said, “PenAir has been a valued customer for many years, and we are very happy to deepen that relationship with a connectivity service that is so critical to their operational efficiency. FlightLink gives PenAir a cost-effective way to improve their situational awareness, even in areas where traditional satellite solutions are not available. This is a perfect example of how an airline can look to Panasonic to satisfy their critical communications needs.”

FlightLink lets airlines make better-informed operational decisions and track their aircraft during flight. It supports hundreds of commercial aircraft operated by over a dozen partner airlines with flight-deck voice and data communications over Iridium’s satellite network These connected aircraft benefit from a wide range of aviation applications that enhance the operations of partnering airlines, including automatic, global real-time aircraft position reports.

It provides real-time non-transponder based aircraft position reports anywhere in the world. The system includes a dedicated Iridium satellite data link and operates automatically, requiring no crew involvement. Each FlightLink-equipped aircraft can be monitored in real time through a web-based tracking tool. Additionally, the system can independently capture and relay aircraft systems’ information, and the weather environment in which the aircraft is flying.

FlightLink also includes the small and lightweight TAMDAR sensor, which collects thousands of highly detailed and accurate readings from the upper atmosphere each day. The atmospheric data being gathered off of these aircraft provides better situational awareness back to PenAir’s AOC. The data can also be used by Panasonic to develop future improved weather forecasts that would benefit the Alaska aviation community as a whole.

Inflight Wi-Fi provider (Gogo) has discontinued its deal to provide roaming Internet access for customers of Boingo airport Wi-Fi, announced in a notice sent to Boingo customers yesterday. In the past, users of Boingo could log on to Gogo with the same password. The company said to it’s customers; “Because you’re a loyal Boingo user who has logged in to the inflight Wi-Fi services provided by our partner Gogo, we thought it was important to let you know that effective June 1, that will no longer be possible.” As an“ease of service deal” only, we suspect more is going on here. The note from Boingo went on: “We’d like to apologize for this change, since we know our customers really appreciated this convenience.” Boingo and Gogo inked a deal in 2011 and Gogo has “opted not to renew its roaming contract with Boingo.” The airport Wi-Fi service provider noted that it still has roaming agreements with Deutsche Telekom, for access on international flights who services nine other international airlines and we were wondering if this cancellation was a notice to the industry that Gogo might be heading in another direction – Airport Wi-Fi? It makes a lot of sense since a ground application at the airport – both before takeoff and upon landing – it could usher in a new line of service and revenue for Gogo… but that is just a guess on our part. Stay Tuned!

Here are a couple news notes from Global Eagle – “IFE Services, a subsidiary of Global Eagle Entertainment (NASDAQ:ENT), announced today that it has developed Iberia’s new inflight entertainment (IFE) content app. Called ‘IberiaOnBoard’, the freely downloadable app allows travellers to check out all of the IFE content available to them on their upcoming Iberia flights. Every movie and TV show is listed by genre and has a trailer with accompanying useful information including synopsis, cast, director, rating, duration and language availability. Music album information lists tracks and their times. A special Kids’ section showcases all of the specially selected children’s content on offer inflight. Mobile app development is just one of many new products Global Eagle Entertainment has introduced to the airline industry recently as the world’s leading inflight entertainment content and connectivity provider continues its focus to innovate on behalf of clients.” And the second “Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq: ENT) announced today that its subsidiary IFP has entered into a multi-year agreement with Etihad Airways to provide inflight entertainment (IFE) content programming across its entire fleet, as well as to its partner airlines Air Serbia and Air Seychelles. Starting this quarter, IFP will provide a rich and varied program of regional and international content including popular movies, TV shows and audio programming to support the airline’s world-renowned guest experience. “We’re thrilled to have been selected by Etihad Airways for its content services,” added Walé Adepoju, Executive Vice President of Customer Solutions for Global Eagle Entertainment. (Editor’s Note: Strangely, the market has reacted negatively – “Global Eagle Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ:ENT) takes the last spot on today’s list of midday losers. Its price dropped -8.27% even after the announcement that its subsidiary IPF has entered into a multi-year agreement with Etihad Airways to provide inflight entertainment and content programming. In Soros’ investment portfolio since March 2013, ENT’s price has fallen -23.87% YTD,” noted Motley Fool.)

On another note, BE Aerospace just purchased EMTEQ, the LED lighting company who has a large investment in replacement lighting. The very profitable BEA has quite a business in the Boeing Sky Interior and we suspect they may be looking to garner more retrofit LED lighting work. The deals come about a month after B/E said it may be putting itself up for sale as part of “exploring and evaluating” its strategic alternatives. “Demand for comprehensive and integrated solutions for power management, lighting and connectivity within the aircraft cabin is growing,” Amin Khoury, B/E’s chairman and co-chief executive, said in a statement. ”The combination of our lighting and power management systems business with EMTEQ’s highly complementary lighting, cabin management and power systems businesses, as well as their electrical and connectivity expertise, will allow us to expand our product and service offerings in the commercial airliner and business jet markets.”

If you have been wondering why we have been covering the real-time aircraft inflight positioning brouhaha it is because there are a lot of potential links between inflight entertainment hardware (severs for example), and the connectivity platforms and data acquisitions that serve them. Yes, we are out on a limb here but we have been talking to a number of companies, new and some presently in the IFE business, who feel that there is a need to get this job done. While some see the potential of revenues based on position acquisition, weather, system data, and performance information, if data connections to the ground are established, it might fulfill an age-old discussion that claimed that the aircraft is the last remaining un-served node on the airline network. As it turns out, there is some compatibility. A good example is Panasonic’s FlightLink. Compatible or not, companies in our industry are racing to get in the business (or related industries) by acquisition, developing new services, and is some cases, new start-ups. This brings us to a “Stay Tuned” note for an upcoming article on Wisscom. You probably never heard of them but you might in the near future.

Now, while still on the previous subject, IATA Chief, Tony Tyler, in a recent speech referring to safety challenges, said the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 pointed to an immediate need. “A large commercial airliner going missing without a trace for so long is unprecedented in modern aviation. It must not happen again. IATA, ICAO and experts from around the world are working together to identify the best recommendations for improved global tracking. By September, we will deliver draft options to ICAO,” he said. Watch this one.

Recently, an IATA news release noted the following: “The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts the global airline industry will generate $18 billion in profits this year, but far from being a cause for cause for celebration, Director General Tony Tyler called this forecast a “challenge.” “The brutal economic reality is that on revenues of $746 billion, we will earn an average net margin of 2.4%,” Tyler said June 2 at the IATA Annual General Meeting in Doha, Qatar. “That’s less than $6 per passenger.” Tyler noted profits are improving, and the average return on invested capital (ROIC) today is 5.4%, higher than it has historically been, but that is short of what he said is the 7-8% ROIC investors demand.” We wonder if future IFE sales have fallout from this development, but it certainly explains the drive for ancillary revenue. Interestingly AIER noted in February 2014, commercial airlines—the buyers of commercial aircraft, the transportation sector’s third major component—hit a new record high in their revenue passenger load factor (the ratio of revenue passenger miles divided by available seat miles in passenger services, a measure of the portion of aircraft seating capacity that is actually sold and utilized).”

A recent article in a communication weekly noted “Rumors have been rampant over recent months regarding Google’s satellite ambitions, which are tied to a desire to increase its information-gathering prowess (think Google Earth and Google Street View) as well as an effort to extend wireless broadband services worldwide and, thus, create a larger market for its other Internet-based products, including search, YouTube and more.” Further, we understand Facebook is also eyeing a similar solution for worldwide social media domination. FierceTech Wireless went on; “I would expect the (Google) constellation to be launched in two phases, with the higher altitude satellites providing complete global coverage, and the lower satellites being added later, in between the initial nine planes, to provide additional capacity. It also seems likely that the system could include inter-satellite crosslinks (within each of the two halves of the constellation) given the near polar orbit that is planned,” he wrote in a blog on his TMF Associates website.” You note, nothing was mentioned about inflight connectivity but watch this space.

We found a very quick synopsis on inflight Wi-Fi installations/pricing – Check it out. And speaking of inflight Wi-Fi, here is a pretty good primer on the subject.

It looks like UAL has selected to use iOS for their content distributionUnited Airlines updates iOS app to support exclusive, free in-flight video content

If you plan to go to the APEX EXPO in September (15 – 18) here is your first notice from IFExpressRegistration

Lake Forrest, CA and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | May 25, 2014– The tragic disappearance of flight MH370 is still very present in all of our minds.

In an initiative to improve the handling of similar situations in the future the United Nations’ ITU (International Telecommunication Union) and the Government of Malaysia will host an expert dialogue on May 26-27 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Panasonic Avionics has been invited to participate in this event, contribute to their technical expertise, and present FlightLinkTM, a fully integrated aircraft communication, tracking and weather information solution.

This communication system has been provided free of charge to airlines from its launch in 2004. It offers Iridium Communications for cockpit voice, text and operational data as well as real-time fleet monitoring and simultaneously tracks all Panasonic equipped aircraft – 24/7/365 around the globe. Aircraft tracking services range from positioning reporting at no more than 5-minute intervals to live flight data streaming.

Additionally, Panasonic Weather Solutions delivers real-time weather analytics and fleet monitoring by communicating data from TAMDAR weather sensors installed on over 300 aircraft. This is the only global satellite network dedicated to aeronautical connectivity, and with it, Panasonic enables passengers, crew and aircrafts to stay in touch with the ground throughout their flights.

Andy Fellows Vice President of Panasonic for the Asia, Japan and China regions will present on behalf of Panasonic on 26th May.

There will be a webcast for the opening ceremony and closing press conference. To schedule an in-depth interview with a Panasonic expert please contact: Brian Bardwell, Corporate Communications Manager -Panasonic Avionics Phone: +1 949.462.1742 Email:

Tucked into a corner of this year’s Panasonic Booth at AIX in Hamburg was a computer display screen running an actual map with moving indications of commercial aircraft flying their scheduled routes. While this wouldn’t seem odd in many other booths, it caught our eye as it was marked “FlightLink” and had nothing to do with IFE. Panasonic’s Don DeBlasio, Sr. Director, Corporate Strategic Initiatives, was on hand and told IFExpress that Panasonic had acquired a company, previously known as AirDat and now named Panasonic Weather Solutions, just prior to the 2013 AIX Hamburg show. The product is now installed on over 300 aircraft providing Iridium communications, flight tracking and weather, data day in and day out, to commercial customers worldwide. We were caught a bit speechless because the newly named FlightLink solution was humming along in the booth of the largest IFE vendor in our industry. Obviously, Panasonic saw something we did not, but more about that later. If you guessed that the California company was expanding it’s horizons, you might be on the right track… but more of that later too.

From a definition perspective, let’s look at the features of the FlightLink service. FlightLink is a global communications (voice & data) system that delivers aircraft flight tracking and dynamic event alerting as well as weather reporting. FlightLink is an independent GPS-based system that features triggered event reporting, with archived data, all supplied through a secure web portal. In other words, Panasonic has read the commercial aviation tealeaves: airlines will need more data about the flight environment going forward. Significant is the fact that Panasonic, an IFE company, has decided to move into the next phase of their growth and development – Beyond The Cabin. Historically, the company grew the IFE market. Next, and with the addition of satcom availability it moved into the connectivity world and now has orders for over 2,000 plane installations. The progression is obvious, IFE + Connectivity, and now adding FlightLink: Iridium flightdeck communications, flight tracking, dynamic event alerting and weather data. It appears to us that Panasonic aims to make a broad mark into the aviation market and if you talk to Paul Margis or David Bruner you have to come away with that perspective.

To give our readers a better idea of how the system works, here is a bit of dialog we had with Don at the show that might set the stage for a better understanding of FlightLink:

IFExpress: Tell us a bit about FlightLink and what it is designed to do?

Don: “We feel that the name appropriately captures the overall product solution of ‘linking’ the aircraft with the ground, whether it’s for flight deck voice or data via Iridium, tracking the aircraft’s location and communicating other parameters, or gathering precise weather data for Panasonic Weather Solutions.” He went on, “Our message is constant connectivity with the aircraft. With FlightLink, we’re now streaming data from the aircraft and expanding Panasonic’s capabilities into flight deck connectivity. This new name enables differentiation from our Ku-band connectivity solution.”

IFExpress: Can you give our readers a better idea of what we are talking about when we describe the FlightLink System?

Don: “It’s a very simple system comprised of: a forward-lower fuselage mounted external weather sensor; a 3 MCU box called the TPCU that contains: Iridium radio transceivers, independent GPS, data processing and aircraft interfaces; and an antenna (small, iPhone size) for Iridium & GPS.”

IFExpress: Can you give us an idea of coverage?

Don: “Today, Iridium is global (including polar and remote oceanic). In 2015, Iridium will launch their NEXT platform which will also offer true global coverage with even higher bandwidth than what is available today.”

IFExpress: With over 300 installations, the system is, we assume, certified?

Don: “We have FAA and EASA STCs already in hand for numerous airframes, as well as FAA PMA.

IFExpress: With knowledge of winds aloft there must be reduced fuel burn, and we assume, other savings?

Don: “There will be significant opportunities for airlines to use FlightLink to improve operational efficiencies. For example, they can leverage improved wind grids to improve an aircraft’s approach for landing.

IFExpress: During a flight what data is sent between the aircraft and the airline network center (via the Panasonic FlightLink Center)?

Don: “Typically, we are delivering aircraft position (lat & long), altitude, heading, ground speed, GPS time stamp. With the weather sensor, we are also gathering data on wind, temperature, relative humidity, icing, turbulence/EDR (Eddy Dissipation Rate). More options are available as well, if the airline wants to truly leverage the service.”

IFExpress: With the installation of GCS (Global Communications Services) in over 400 planes today (eventually over 2000) we see value in using the greater bandwidth of Ku for the data, realizing that Ku it is not as global as Iridium? In other words is this tied to a bigger plan… a shift to Ku-Band for more data?

Don: Panasonic’s concept of a truly connected aircraft is one with an optimized flow of data through our Ku-band GCS network as well as Iridium.

We at IFExpress are convinced that as a reasonably priced communications, flight tracking & weather data solution, FlightLink has an important job to do and we believe that FlightLink and ADS-S are complimentary components of an overall CNS/ATM aviation industry strategy. ADS-B is for global air traffic management and control. The Panasonic solution enables airline communications with, and connectivity to, their aircraft knowing 100% of the time when and where they are, not relying on the presence of ADS-B or ATC transmissions.  It also provides an independent communications link for airline operations which enables the movement of any amount of desired data over that link. In summary, FlightLink at this point is an answer for many aspects of the “C” (Communication) of CNS/ATM, potentially providing significant help into the ATM portion, especially via weather. The “N” (Navigation) should likely be left up to the FMS manufacturers and the “S” (Surveillance) likely left up to those that make TCAS, ATC Transponders, WX, and TAWS/EGPWS.

Make no mistake; FlightLink is not designed to compete with ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance) the next generation of ATC communication and reporting system. Years ago, FlightLink started as a flightdeck communication and weather data collection system. But, if you are thinking about recent events, you might be like the rest of us. ”Hey, there is another use…”

On Another Front:

AT&T is to be in the US inflight Wi-Fi business, or so the press is saying. Using ground-based antennas (Whose and where?), AT&T will be featuring 4G LTE connectivity to provide greater bandwidth to planes starting as early as 2015, and notably, using the existing AT&T spectrum. Honeywell is named in the new program as a partner, and, we understand Gogo’s stock is down. Think about it, with AT&T’s more than 116 million wireless subscribers, 16.5 million total broadband subscribers and service for many of the world’s largest corporations, including all of the Fortune 1000, they have leverage. Expect new and hi value deals if you are a customer and fly domestically! We will have more on this later as the AT&T solution develops.

Hamburg, Germany | April 9, 2014– Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), the world leader in in-flight entertainment and communications, has signed Icelandair as a customer for its FlightLink solution. FlightLink leverages Iridium’s global satellite-based communications solution to support flight deck voice and data, independent GPS, continuous real-time aircraft tracking, and weather data aggregation everywhere commercial airplanes fly. Aircraft that are equipped with FlightLink are connected to an airline’s ground operations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.

A key component of FlightLink is Panasonic’s patented Tropospheric Airborne Meteorological Data Reporting (TAMDAR) sensor, which collects extremely high quality weather data from the atmosphere during the flight. Data is streamed back in real time via satellite to Panasonic’s weather operations center. It is then assimilated into specialized, high-speed computing clusters that produce the weather industry’s most accurate forecast information used by Fortune 500 companies, governments, insurers, energy providers, investors and commercial airlines to make intelligent business decisions.

Icelandair, Iceland’s national carrier, will install the FlightLink system, including TAMDAR across its fleet of 21 Boeing 757s, allowing key weather data gathering from the North Atlantic and Arctic regions, as well as throughout significant parts of Europe and North America. Weather data gathered by the system will enable improved operational efficiencies for Icelandair and more accurate weather forecasts for the aviation community throughout Iceland.

As part of the relationship, Panasonic will also be providing FlightLink’s TAMDAR data from Icelandair aircraft to the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO). The installation of FlightLink and the associated streaming of weather data will greatly increase the quantity and quality of weather information available in the region. TAMDAR data received by the IMO will be ingested into local weather models to improve regional aviation forecasts in Iceland.

“Icelandair’s unique network over the Arctic and North Atlantic makes it a key partner for Panasonic,” said Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics Corporation. “The ability to connect an aircraft to an airline’s ground operations and the incredibly accurate weather data obtained will be a key driver for greater operational efficiency, and we welcome them to our global partnership – this offers huge opportunities for the industry.”

The data from the TAMDAR system provides significant potential cost saving advantages through superior four-dimensional data analysis and numerical weather prediction. Improvements in forecast accuracy allow numerous industries to enhance their operational efficiency, save on fuel costs, and better prepare for significant severe weather events.

TAMDAR is installed across a network of hundreds of commercial aircraft that are operated by more than a dozen partner airlines throughout the northern hemisphere. It collects tens of thousands of highly detailed and accurate readings from the atmosphere each day.