WestJet Saves Time and Money With Remote Media Loading

Company Profile

WestJet is a Canadian carrier with 100 routes including extensive domestic operations, a number of Caribbean routes, and several European destinations.

For the longest time, software, content, and media uploads have been weeks-long affairs done manually aboard aircraft by technicians. WestJet decided it wanted to speed things up to better manage its resources and operations, while still maintaining control over its in-flight entertainment portfolio.

Panasonic Avionics ZeroTouch™ takes advantage of over-the-air transfer capabilities, allowing airlines to do uploads and downloads remotely. Instead of two weeks, WestJet can now complete a media delivery in two days— “a HUGE win for us,” says Kris Valckx, Sr. Fleet Engineer at WestJet, “especially in these crucial times where we have to be vigilant about costs while continuing to stay nimble in the market.”

Especially critical in the current market, ZeroTouch enables airlines to accomplish more with fewer resources and staff. Here’s how.

The Challenge

Previous methods of getting updates to fleets were cumbersome and slow, with no visibility into what was being transferred nor the progress of delivery. It was also expensive, as it took considerable time and technical operations resources to carry out. WestJet wanted to keep its digital materials current with many small updates, rather than time-consuming “big bang” updates that routinely put aircraft out of service for long periods of time.

Panasonic’s Approach

With ZeroTouch’s over the air (OTA) delivery service, Panasonic created an ecosystem in which ground and airside systems coordinated loadable kit releases for all targeted aircrafts.

This delivery service provides a secure and synchronized account of all required release kits on the airside system, done discreetly in the background.

The Solution

Panasonic Avionics designed a new ground infrastructure for dynamic file kit preparation and packaging, which supports all known kit types typically loaded to aircraft, such as system operating software, AVOD media content, and non-AVOD content.

The network architecture supports bidirectional communication between the airside and groundside systems, which facilitates near real-time status reporting and control messages. The service’s web-based Fleet Management application—considered the
system of record, or single source of truth—can be accessed by computer or smart device. It ensures all targeted aircraft get only the files they were meant to have on board—no more and no less.

The Result

In the last six months, WestJet has transferred 34.6 TB in content, media, and offloads –all done remotely. ZeroTouch has allowed the airline to pivot its staff to more pressing issues like critical maintenance and disinfection.
As with other Panasonic products, ZeroTouch will evolve through our customers’ valued collaboration and feedback—and WestJet is already looking forward to the next iterations.

“I know we’re only scratching the surface as we start using this. It’s been a great learning opportunity for us as an airline, and for Panasonic as we work together to identify new ways to use this amazing product. I think there’s a tremendous opportunity amongst the airlines to learn from each other’s experiences, and to coordinate how we want this product to continue to develop.”

Kris Valckx
Sr. Fleet Engineer for WestJet

Learn More About ZeroTouch

Want to know how remote media, software, and content management might work for your airline?