Amended to included US Airways' own correction of prior comment.
US Airways is in the process of installing Lumexis' fibre-to-the-screen IFE systems on a single Airbus A320 in preparation for trial.
The carrier yesterday told RWG it had begun a one-month trial of the system. In an email today, however, a US Airways spokesman says: "Testing has not started. We've begun installation and begin an initial round of testing once that's complete to get FAA approval. Testing for customers will begin at a date that I'll share with you as soon as it's firmed up."
The trial was originally slated to occur last fall, but was put on hold after Lumexis ran into a flammability issue on one of the items in the system's installation.
US Airways CEO Doug Parker later revealed that the carrier is working with two vendors on seat-back IFE to replace drop-down IFE that on 1 November was turned off and subsequently ripped out of the domestic A320 family fleet (the carrier's Boeing 737s are not equipped with IFE). The identity of the second vendor has not been revealed. Loads to speculate about on that one, but I digress.
The Lumexis IFE system uses military-proven fibre optics as the basis for its platform. Lumexis claims the system is lighter and less expensive than standard IFE platforms.
US Airways asked specifically that the Lumexis seat-back screens include a credit card swipe so that it has the ability to sell pay-per-view movies, drinks and food, and possibly initiate catalogue sales.
But I'm not sure what can be accomplished with a one month trial other than determine if the system works or not (of course, I'm now not sure if it's going to be a one-month trial).
I can tell you that if it does work, proves satisfying to passengers (who show a willingness to pay) and US Airways sees the value in equipping its domestic fleet, Lumexis is going to shake things up a little bit in the installed IFE sector. And who doesn't like a little shaking? But I think we best keep the hula-hoops in the closet for now.