Home' Asian Aviation : AAV April 2014 Contents AsianAviation | APRIL 2014 35
These carriers have largely been attracted by the
system's low-weight but full capabilities. In particular,
the FTTS eliminates "bulky seat boxes" of other
installed systems that intrude into passenger foot
space. Lumexis says the FTTS is the lightest system
and installation weight available today at 2.27kg (5lb)
per passenger seat fully installed. Weight saving
has been achieved by using a new IFE architecture
including reducing the head-end box count and
weight; eliminating area distribution boxes, bulky seat
electronics boxes and separate passenger control
units; replacing heavy copper Ethernet cables with
fibre optics and minimising the weight of all boxes.
Zodiac Inflight Innovations (formerly IMS) has also
picked up its fair share of airline orders for its RAVE
system. RAVE has more than 20 airline customers
including Sri Lankan Airlines, Air Transat, EC Air,
Lufthansa, Brussels Airlines, Austrian Airlines and
Air Niugini. Last year, the system was being installed
on aircraft at a rate of five per month.
Most recently, Zodiac revealed that Scandinavian
Airlines is RAVE's first line-fit customer, with RAVE to
be retrofitted on seven A330s and A340s and four
new aircraft. The system will be flying with SAS from
early 2015. Zodiac is pursuing other line-fit platforms,
as is Lumexis with the FTTS.
RAVE typically weighs around 2kg per seat, according
to Harry Gray, vice-president sales and marketing.
Weight-savings have been achieved through the
use of a seat-centric architecture rather than the
more traditional server-centric architecture of earlier
generation systems. RAVE comprises a single major
LRU in the seat; no distribution boxes or complex
head-end servers; a slim and low-weight seat display
that stores all of the content locally in removable SD
cards; and a single major LRU in the head-end.
DigEcor's GLIDE system, meanwhile, was
launched last year by US charter carrier Air
Transport International on its Boeing 757s, with the
system selected as it met ATI's cost, reliability and
functionality requirements. GLIDE is DigEcor's first
embedded system, with the manufacturer previously
focusing on portable players. As a result, GLIDE
benefits from the weight and simplicity advantages
of portables, weighing less than 2kg per seat.
DigEcor was acquired last year by Australian
company Total Aviation Solutions after the two
companies had worked together on the GLIDE
But if it's a wireless system you want to allow
passengers to use their own devices onboard
there's another whole heap of choices, in addition
to the Thales AVA and Panasonic eXW. Lufthansa
Systems' BoardConnect, for example, in service
with Condor, Lufthansa, Virgin Australia and Virgin
America, allows passengers to log on to the airline's
entertainment portal and watch content on their
own familiar devices, or airline-supplied consumer
devices. Most recently the system was selected by
El Al Israeli Airlines for 10 737s and two 767s.
Unlike traditional IFE systems with complicated
wiring to each seat, BoardConnect is based on a
WLAN with two to five access points in the cabin
and cabling to connect the access points to the
server. Content is streamed to passenger devices,
with the system supporting iOS, Android, Windows
8, conventional Windows or Apple devices.
Compared to a traditional IFE system, installed on
a 767, BoardConnect is 500kgs lighter which can
save around 80 tons of fuel a year, according to the
Meanwhile, solutions that deploy consumer devices in-
flight such as the Apple iPad continue to prove popular
with airlines. Bluebox, for example, has 17 customers
for its iPad solution, with the latest customers being
Hawaiian Airlines and Etihad. In March, the company
announced that Bangkok Airways is the latest to put
Bluebox's Ai portable solution into service, with the
Thai carrier using the iPad Mini for its business class
passengers. Bluebox has been particularly successful
in the Asia-Pacific region, where customers include
Jetstar, Bangkok Airways, Scoot, Thai Airways
International and Garuda, with the scale of the region
meaning it is perfectly suited to an iPad solution, says
Alan McInnes, business development manager.
The next step for Bluebox is its WiFi streaming
solution, the European launch customer for which is
currently testing the system on a 737 ahead of a full
fleet solution, says McInnes.
With such a wealth of choices on offer, and more
under development, there's no need to be bored on
a flight in the future.
DigEcor was acquired last year by
Australian company Total Aviation
Solutions after the two companies had
worked together on the GLIDE system
Zodiac's RAVE has more than 20 airline customers.
Singapore Airlines launched Panasonic's new eX3 system on its 777-300ERs last year.
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