Thales expects signing of next gen in-seat IFE solution to Gulf carriers
Thales InFlyt Experience is expecting, before June, to sign up “several big orders” from Gulf customers for its next generation in-seat IFEC solution, which will offer passengers a connected experience including IPTV customisable streaming content embedded in the seatback and via personal devices.
William Huot-Marchand, VP sales and Marketing, Thales InFlyt Experience said the expectation follows “very good feedback” from regional carriers.
Huot-Marchand, who has dubbed Gulf carriers as “IFE leaders” which are setting new design, functionality and connectivity norms with larger screens and more entertainment choices, says the next gen system combines the strengths of earlier platforms with advanced technologies, such as screens with the highest definition capabilities, solid state hard drives with higher memory capacity to store additional content and faster processors, to deliver an enhanced, ground-breaking connected passenger experience. The company has already sold its new Thales AVANT™ system to Qatar Airways for its A350 fleet and on many other Gulf carriers including Saudia, Kuwait Airways and Oman Air. Thales’ systems also allow for the integration of passengers’ personal electronic devices to the system so each can navigate seamlessly through the IFEC system and stream content. The in-seat screen will also feature 3D audio, giving a high fidelity, surround sound effect.
Thales is also working closely with the Airbus A350 programme team to make its Ka-Band solution available on A350 XWB aircraft enabling the Qatari national carrier to provide affordable worldwide broad band connectivity. Qatar Airways’ Airbus A350, will be fitted with Thales connectivity system using Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) constellation which will be operational this year. “Connectivity is the big thing,” says Huot-Marchand
Qatar Airways has also selected the Thales Touch Passenger Media Unit (Avii), a revolutionary handheld media device which enables passengers to multi-task as they would on the ground, making the Doha-based carrier the first in the world to offer the best-in-technology product with air mouse functionality allowing intuitive navigation in the system with the help of a pointer.
According to Huot-Marchand, Gulf airlines are heading the charge towards more robust and reliable IFE systems looking for ‘home-in-the-air’ solutions as they strive to “develop passenger engagement and build loyalty and brand commitment.”
The next-gen systems are also ultra-light-weight to reduce operating costs. “The basic requirements of airlines remain more space, less weight and reliability,” said Huot-Marchand. “IFE customers have tolerated too much for too long and now demand robust systems which are more reliable and much lighter.”