Panasonic tipped for Air NZ system

$50 million upgrade will deliver audio and video on demand

Air New Zealand is understood to have chosen Panasonic for a $50 million-plus upgrade of its in-flight entertainment systems on the Tasman and Pacific islands routes.

It’s the second major win in the past few weeks for Panasonic. Qantas also announced it will roll out the technology in August next year in its A380 fleet.

As well as audio and video on demand, Qantas passengers will have access to email and the internet. There will be wireless connectivity throughout the plane.

Whether that will be available on the Air New Zealand planes is unknown. The airline’s public affairs department didn’t respond to several days of phone calls. However, other airline industry sources say it’s unlikely that email and internet access will be included in the Air New Zealand fleet upgrade.

Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe said in June the airline would spend more than $50 million equipping its 13 A320 and five Boeing 767 aircraft with individual on-demand personal entertainment screens.

The in-flight entertainment upgrade would give customers access to more than 450 hours of movie, television programmes and audio. The upgrade work would be done in the second half of 2008.

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