February 14, 2014
WestJet has tapped Panasonic Avionics to provide the airline’s next-generation inflight entertainment (IFE) system, including satellite-based Wi-Fi, the carrier reported today.
The system will feed content, including live television and the internet, to personal electronic devices (PEDs) that 75% of WestJet’s passengers already carry onboard, says WestJet VP Product and Distribution Marshall Wilmot. Tablets also will be available to rent.
New seats being installed on the carrier’s 737 fleet include USB/100 volt power outlets to keep devices powered up.
WestJet plans to test and certify the system on at least one aircraft this year and outfit its entire fleet by 2018.
Earlier this month, the carrier indicated that certification of the Wi-Fi portion could take longer than the streaming video content, which could mean a phased rollout of the complete offering.
Panasonic says its IFE line has 275 airline customers.