Panasonic Avionics Corporation, part of the Japanese-based Panasonic family has developed Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) compliant NFC technology in its in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems.

Industry observers had recently predicted on-board NFC applications were a few years away, but the technology giant Panasonic plans to launch the new technology with airlines in the summer of 2015.

NFC-enabled in-flight entertainment (IFE) system  (source
NFC-enabled in-flight entertainment (IFE) system (source

Flight passengers and crew will be able to use NFC-enabled smart phones, mobile devices and cards in-flight in many unique ways including:

  • High value transactions and purchases
  • Synchronization of personal data to create just-for-me experiences
  • Recognition of a passenger’s Frequent Flyer status via NFC card or phone, giving access to benefits or promotions, such as free Wi-Fi for Gold members
  • Enabling crew to check in and out for duty using NFC
  • Pairing of NFC-enabled devices with the embedded IFEC system, allowing airlines to push information to passengers during their flight

Due to recent events, analysts expect there to be huge growth in the use of NFC-enabled phones, with 200 million phones already in circulation capable of offering mobile payments. This prediction was reinforced by the recent announcement that the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will utilize NFC for their new Apple Pay service. Research has shown that approximately 70% of airline passengers take smart phones on board and it is estimated that by 2016  more than 55 % of smart phones will be NFC-enabled. All the top 50 mobile carriers globally have shown some form of commitment to NFC contact-less payment and its future development.

Enabling NFC on board of an airplane during flight further reinforces Panasonic’s vision of the ‘seamless passenger travel thread’ and will integrate with the industry’s other NFC initiatives in baggage handling, check in and airport logistics.

The CEO of Panasonic Avionics, Paul Margis said: “This new technology will allow passengers around the world to personalize their travel experience and intensify their relationship with their airline in incredibly valuable ways.” We have seen the demand from airlines and their passengers, and after two years of research and development, we are proud to continue our innovation leadership by delivering this latest technology solution to our customers.”

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