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Sunday, Oct 2, 2022
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OC’s In-Flight Focus

If you’re taking a cross-country or international flight and have nothing to occupy your time while on the plane, don’t blame OC’s cluster of in-flight entertainment systems manufacturers and software providers.

The three largest businesses in the area, Brea’s Safran Passenger Innovations, Lake Forest-based Panasonic Avionics, and Irvine-based Thales InFlyt Experience, employ more than 4,000 people locally and occupy some 1.1 million square feet of space in the area, according to Business Journal records.

Of note, each of the three does some of its manufacturing locally.

The largest of the three area businesses is Panasonic Avionics, a unit of Secaucus, N.J.-based Panasonic Corp. of North America.

The company’s cluster of buildings in Lake Forest, off Bake Parkway, total about 600,000 square feet, and are owned by a variety of landlords. The company is among the city’s top employers, with some 2,000 workers.

Panasonic serves more than 250 airline customers worldwide, including United, American and Delta.

In addition to providing movies and TV shows for in-flight passenger pastimes, the company told the Business Journal last month that it is working to develop console video gaming for passengers, who in the future may also be able to use their own devices as part of the entertainment system through wireless streaming.

In the Irvine Spectrum, Thales InFlyt, a unit of Thales Group, makes a variety of communication systems for airliners, including seatback screens and satellite-based connectivity products.

It has a deep presence in Irvine, with local operations employing nearly 1,500, according to Business Journal data. The four buildings it is reported to occupy in the Spectrum total nearly 300,000 square feet, which makes it one of the largest tenants in that market.

—Katie Murar

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