“Flexible thinking and collaboration” are key to meeting demands of today’s digital airlines says OneWeb’s Ben Griffin


OneWeb and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (PAC) announced a deal last week to market, sell, and deliver OneWebs high-speed, Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Connectivity to commercial airlines worldwide. OneWeb VP Mobility Services, Ben Griffin talked to APEX Media about why partnerships of this sort will be key moving forward.  

“The only way to provide airlines and passengers with faster, more consistent and truly global broadband service is with a variety of technologies and partnerships,” OneWeb VP Mobility Services, Ben Griffin told APEX Media on the eve of the Expo. “Leveraging the power of existing networks and augmenting them with the clear benefits of LEO is the way forward.” 

Noting that OneWeb’s recently-announced agreement with PAC is significant for OneWeb as it allows them to leverage PAC’s reputation, expertise, and reach while also seamlessly integrating OneWeb’s connectivity solution into existing IFEC infrastructure, Griffin said the keyword moving forward is collaboration. 

“We’re witnessing the dawn of a new era for mobile connectivity where new technologies as well as new flexible thinking and collaboration will finally meet the needs to today’s digital airline and digital passenger,” added Griffin.

PAC will offer OneWeb’s global service standalone or paired with PAC’s award-winning GEO service, which covers 99.6% of the world’s flight routes. Adding support for OneWeb highlights PAC’s dedication to a multi-orbit strategy and will offer airlines more choices, with top-tier products supporting forward link speeds approaching 200 Mbps and return link speeds of up to 32 Mbps everywhere, including polar routes. Offering coverage and performance that will both improve the in-flight surfing and streaming experience for passengers as well as open the door to new passenger experiences like live gameplay, video conferencing, and VoIP communication.

Panasonic expects to support OneWeb-equipped aircraft in the second half of 2023 and will make its catalogue of cloud-enabled, broadband-connected applications available over the OneWeb network — including mobile phone connectivity, ARCTM moving map, ZeroTouchTM content management, and related services. 

“Airline passenger expectations, and therefore the demands of our airline customers, continue to change,” said John Wade, Vice President of Panasonic Avionics’ In-flight Connectivity Business Unit. “Passengers are accustomed to high-speed, low-latency connections supporting remote collaborative working environments, high-quality video streaming, and real-time gameplay. With OneWeb, we can now offer that experience everywhere our customers fly. This is truly exciting [news] for the in-flight connectivity market.”