Saudia Airlines (Saudia) have today signed a major agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) for the installation of the Astrova IFEC solution on up to 30 aircraft in its fleet.

Global manufacturer of customised in-flight entertainment Panasonic Avionics will provide the Astrova solution with the aims of improving passenger enhancement and reducing operational costs.

This agreement oversees the refurbishment of 30 Saudia aircraft fleet, including 12 Airbus A330s and 18 Boeing 777s.

Astrova is said to help create a full sense of immersion for Saudia’s passengers, with industry-leading 4K OLED screens featuring the best high-definition capability available.

This ensures the best picture quality in combination with high-quality audio delivered by Panasonic Avionics’ most recent Bluetooth technology.

Additionally, Panasonic Avionics is collaborating with Saudia to improve IFE maintenance capabilities in the Kingdom with its premier MRO, Saudi Aerospace Engineering Industries (SAEI).

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Saudia has acknowledged that leveraging strategic connections with reliable partners like Panasonic is critical for accelerating growth and obtaining a substantial economic future.

Saudia Group general director Ibrahim Al-Omar stated that Panasonic will help the Kingdom and Saudia achieve their localisation goals by enhancing passenger experience and introducing cutting-edge technologies, which are innovating the aviation sector.

Al-Omar said: “At Saudia, we are constantly looking to improve the guest experience onboard our aircraft by investing in new technologies and upgrading our systems. Thanks to this partnership with Astrova, our guests will be able to experience the best of in-flight entertainment, with more personalised features, making their journey with us truly memorable.

“As SAEI expands, their commitment to localisation continues to grow as they collaborate with several companies to enhance the capabilities of their technicians to provide service not only in the Kingdom but to the MENA region as a whole. Panasonic’s work with SAEI will be an instrument to the local market, as it will open up jobs for Saudis while providing repair capabilities”.

According to Boeing, Saudi Arabian Airlines are known as the ‘jewel of the Middle East’ – they are the largest airline in the Middle East and the 25th largest in the world.

In addition, GlobalData’s market insights of the Gulf Cooperation Council in 2022, highlighted an influx in the tourism approach from Saudi Arabia, after introducing a new tourism programme they aim to welcome 55 million international visitors by 2050.  

As seen in the graph below, GlobalData has predicted the future trends for international air arrivals in Saudi Arabia, from 2017-2027, which aligns with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund programme (PIF) for a modernised future by 2030.

Panasonic Avionics provides a modernised aircraft experience by providing 100W of direct current electricity to each passenger, allowing travellers to rapidly charge their devices and creating an at-home environment in the sky.

Furthermore, the latest IFE seat features incorporated by Panasonic Avionics’ include programmable LED lighting, which improves the passenger experience and allows Saudia to tailor the cabin atmosphere.

The partnership’s alignment with the Kingdom’s 2030 vision was emphasised by Panasonic Avionics CEO Ken Sain, as well as how the corresponds to the strategic objectives of the airline.

Sain said: “We are delighted to sign this agreement with our longstanding customer, Saudia. The installation of Astrova on its wide-body fleet indicates the airline’s commitment not only to sustainability but also to its customers and the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision.

“Astrova provides Saudia with an innovative IFE solution that will enhance engagement with its passengers and is easy to upgrade without full or costly interior changes.”

The PIF, which is regarded as Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund and a major economic stimulant, is essential to reaching the Kingdom’s 2030 vision.

Through this relationship, Saudia and Panasonic have united their ambitions to the Kingdom’s 2030 vision as the PIF’s immediate objectives include creating strategic economic alliances, cultivating connectivity and innovating boldly.