Panasonic Avionics has completed the latest phase in its continuing investment in in-flight connectivity with the activation of extreme high throughput (XTS) satellite coverage over China and the Asia Pacific region.

    The beam over Asia Pacific from APSTAR 6D, Panasonic Avionics’ first XTS satellite, has gone live through teleports in Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Perth. This will enable airlines based in the region and others flying over it to benefit from its greatly enhanced satellite capacity, says the company.

    APSTAR 6D went into its first stages of operation in early 2021 and is now providing airlines flying across Asia Pacific with multiple gigahertz of new Ku-band capacity over China, including high-density air traffic routes across East Asia using XTS spot beams. APSTAR delivers 90 beams across the whole region and 50 Gbps in capacity.

    The satellite is an integral part of Panasonic Avionics’ third-generation communications (Gen-3) network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites. The network, covering over 99 per cent of all routes, places capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.

    Panasonic Avionics’ Gen-3 network supports improved airline and passenger experiences including faster internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, improved picture quality and broader channel choice and 4G phone services, plus greater bandwidth for crew applications.

    Commenting on the development, Panasonic Avionics’ VP of in-flight connectivity services, Jeff Sare said, “China and the Asia Pacific region is a strategically important market for Panasonic Avionics and a key priority in our roadmap for introducing increased satellite capacity. Chinese airlines can now enhance their in-flight experience and brand value by enabling their passengers to enjoy our industry-leading connectivity in the skies.”

    Panasonic Avionics is planning a range of further investments in in-flight connectivity in the next two years. These include the increase in satellite coverage over Russia this month with SES NSS-12 satellite and further capacity over the Middle East this autumn with the addition of the SES12 HTS satellite capacity.

    The next XTS satellite to join Panasonic Avionics’ Gen-3 network, Eutelsat 10B, is due to launch next year, entering into service in 2023. It will provide enhanced connectivity to airlines and their passengers flying over Europe and the Middle East.

    These developments are all said to be integral to Panasonic Avionics’ strategy of utilising the right satellite from the right partner to meet the evolving market demand and provide superior connectivity services and coverage across the globe.

    More than 2,500 aircraft are now connected to the Gen-3 network, with a total of 3,750-plus aircraft from around 100 airlines committed to Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight connectivity service. These include over 800 aircraft from 21 Asian carriers, including China Eastern, Air China, China Southern and Xiamen Airlines.

    In May, Panasonic Avionics marked the two-year anniversary of the launch of Arc, its 3D inflight moving map platform, by unveiling a range of new and upcoming features.

    Since its debut two years ago at Aircraft Interiors Expo 2019, Arc has experienced one of the highest adoption rates of any Panasonic Avionics digital service, with confirmed orders with 17 airlines globally on over 300 aircraft, according to the company.