The carrier has signed an agreement to install Panasonic’s Global Communications Suite across its entire fleet.
The retrofitting is expected to take two years to complete, starting this September, and will see Gulf Air become the first carrier to offer Panasonic’s eXTV live television service across continents.
According to the press release passengers will be able to enjoy “an avant-garde, cutting-edge experience onboard with fully integrated broadband connectivity that offers high speed internet, 3G-4G mobile data speed connectivity, voice over the internet (VOIP), streaming videos and the world's first in-flight live TV satellite stream across continents”.
Panasonic's eXTV service provides global and regional channels, while eXConnect will provide wifi internet access, and mobile phone calls will be enabled through eXPhone, in collaboration with Aeromobile’s inflight mobile phone technology, allowing passengers to use their mobile, Smartphone or BlackBerry to call, text, email, and browse and use their applications throughout the flight.
Fellow Middle Eastern carrier Oman Air became the first airline to offer inflight wifi and mobile phone access last year (see online news May 4, 2010), and several carriers including Aeroflot, Air New Zealand, Emirates and TAM offer onboard connectivity (click here for more information).
Report by Mark Caswell