Company head of aircraft interior marking, customer affairs Zuzana Hrnkova says that when A350 development got underway customers told the airframer they wanted the latest generation IFE products from Panasonic and Thales. But during customer focus groups two years ago airlines also said they were interested in light or simplified IFE solutions as well.
“So we have listened to the market and there is an ongoing RFP with the different suppliers to offer light IFE,” says Hrnkova, “which could be seat-centric or another type of solution”.
The airframer’s intention for the time being is to select one light IFE supplier, says Hrnkova. As for expanding the vendor list she states: “We will see what the market is saying.” She says a decision should be rendered “very soon”, roughly at the end of the first quarter of beginning of second quarter 2013.
Airbus’ decision to close-in on a light IFE supplier partner coincides with recent declarations made by The IMS Company that it is now ready to consider line offerability of its seatcentric RAVE system after both airframers and airlines pressed the company to make RAVE available on new-build aircraft.
Lumexis has previously said it has made headway in its quest to gain linefit offerability with major airfamers for its ‘fibre-to-the-screen’ (FTTS) fibre optics-based in-flight entertainment system.
It is also conceivable that Airbus could decide to offer wireless IFE as an option. Boeing last week announced plans to offer wireless IFE across its portfolio of aircraft.