LAN has also signed on to use Thales’ GateSync product, which offers a secure ground network for aircraft communications and content loading. The system relies on proven Wi-Fi, WiMax, and GSM connectivity frequencies, and can stream content and data across all three networks simultaneously or individually. GateSync will support LAN’s single-aircraft trial of AVA.
The LAN deal reflects a continuing trend in the industry that sees airlines selecting an array of different IFE providers and solutions, rather than pledging their allegiance to a single one. LAN, for instance, recently debuted the Panasonic Avionics eX2 embedded IFE system on its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Thales, which developed AVA in partnership with Siemens, has been laying the groundwork for the LAN trial since early 2012. The trial will be conducted beginning in December on flights operating within LAN’s regional South American network.
Passengers will be able to log into a captive, LAN-branded portal to access a wide range of content including a flight map, films, short subject programming, music, news, games, an eReader for magazines, and a special version of LAN’s web site. AVA protects content using studio-accepted Digital Rights Management technology thru Verimatrix.
LAN’s decision to trial a wireless IFE solution should not be interpreted as a precursor to the carrier offering full-fledged inflight connectivity in the near future. Company managers recently said they are unconvinced that a viable connectivity solution is available for their region at this time.