WestJet has signed a multi-year agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation for a new, full-service IFE system with the ability to feature wireless satellite internet connectivity, live streaming television, on-demand movies, magazines and more. The first system will be installed before the end of the year.
Guests will be able to use their own PED or laptop computer to receive live and stored content streamed wirelessly from a server on board each OF WestJet’S B737S, while Airtime packages will also be available to access the internet. Tablets will be available for those guests not travelling with a device.
“We are very excited to take the next step in the evolution of our inflight entertainment system,” said Marshall Wilmot, WestJet’s Vp of product and distribution. “We were proud to be the first Canadian airline to offer live television on board our aircraft beginning in 2004, and today we are announcing a completely new system designed to offer WestJet guests a broader selection of entertainment options than ever before.”
The addition of wi-fi is a strategic step forward to enable guests, especially business travellers, to make their time in the air as productive as possible. “We know that roughly 75% of our guests are bringing their own devices on board today,” said Wilmot. “They tell us they want the opportunity to connect to check their email, put the finishing touches on a presentation, or keep in touch with family and friends.”
WestJet will also install USB/110 volt power outlets in new, slimmer seats on its aircraft to enable guests to charge their devices or keep them charged while using the entertainment system. And, with a mix of free and paid content, the new system offers the airline additional ancillary revenue opportunities.