#FARN10: Boeing brings enhanced IFE to 787 Dreamliner

Boeing 787.jpg

Boeing’s third 787, ZA003, has just arrived at the Farnborough air show (#FARN10), and as you’d expect, everybody is chomping at the bit to get aboard the twinjet. I had a wonderful opportunity to explore ZA003 in February during a special press event at Boeing’s Everett, Washington plant (no, I’m not rubbing it in).

ZA003 is fitted with partial interiors as part of Boeing’s flight test programme. While the aircraft is not equipped with in-flight entertainment systems, Boeing is working with suppliers Panasonic Avionics and Thales (which were profoundly impacted by the 787 delay) to ensure it can offer 787 customers the latest and greatest IFE platforms for the long-awaited aircraft. 
“IFE is a moving target,” says Mark Larson, gallery technical manager at the 787 Dreamliner gallery. Unfortunately, carriers that are taking early 787 deliveries have less flexibility to deviate much from their original IFE selection. Hear Larson discuss the issue here and then scroll down to see the 787 land at Farnborough. 

(Photo at top courtesy of Boeing)

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2 Responses to #FARN10: Boeing brings enhanced IFE to 787 Dreamliner

  1. John July 27, 2010 at 11:18 am #

    Will this allow Airbus to have a better IFE when they start delivering the A350, or could it mean that these delays on the 787 prevent a maturing of the systems to the degree that Airbus could reap the benefits.

    I suppose there is also the possibilty that it makes no difference as the 787 and A350 IFE Architectures are both so different.

    Could you shed an light on this?

  2. Mary Kirby July 27, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    Airbus has decided, at this juncture, to make three types of IFEC systems available for the A350, including an option for carriers to get Panasonic’s in-flight high-speed Internet linefit. Here is a link to my story on the matter. Connectivity is key to IFE.

    http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/runway-girl/2010/05/airbus-panasonic-agree-ifec-pl.html

    You’ll see that Airbus is quite explicit in its requirements for A350 IFEC, and I can tell you that I know Thales and Panasonic have been working like the dickens to ensure they meet Airbus’ strict specifications.

    Where Airbus and Boeing differ, right now, is that the former has clearly decided its connectivity strategy, while the latter has not. Boeing is working with Thales and Panasonic to bring SwiftBroadband-supported connectivity to the 787 (Qatar recently said it wants to have Thales’ solution linefit on its 787s), but as you can imagine, the airframer doesn’t want to suffer any more delays. So, it is not yet clear when Boeing will offer connectivity linefit. And the US airframer isn’t saying!

    If Boeing does not decide a path soon, Airbus appears to be well poised to – if not leapfrog Boeing entirely – emerge with state-of-the-art IFEC shortly after Boeing, providing it keeps the A350 on schedule.