Panasonic airlines

PARIS — Panasonic Avionics, which has purchased Ku-band satellite capacity for in-flight connectivity covering many of the world’s principal air routes, on July 25 said it concluded an agreement with China Telecom’s satellite telecommunications subsidiary to extend the service into Chinese airspace.

Lake Forest, Calif.-based Panasonic, which in 2012 became the first big customer for satellite fleet operator Intelsat’s new Epic high-throughput Ku-band satellite system, currently in development, said a formal contract on the Chinese service should be signed in time to begin providing commercial links late this year.

The memorandum, with China Telecom Satellite Communications Ltd., includes allowing Panasonic’s current non-Chinese customers to use their Panasonic eXConnect service in Chinese airspace, the company said.

“While there is still work to be done in order to complete the cooperation agreement, we have made great progress with China Telecom Satellite towards providing this very important service to our airline customers and their customers,” Panasonic Chief Executive Paul Margis said in a statement. “We believe China Telecom Satellite will be a very strong and effective partner for China’s in-flight communication market.”

China Telecom Satellite said in a statement that Panasonic has “an established track record and [is] proving to be a strong provider of high-quality in-flight communications services to both international and Chinese airlines.”

Peter B. de Selding was the Paris Bureau Chief for SpaceNews.