Comac opens up C919 to IFE innovation

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Comac is cutting deals left and right to bring new in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems to its C919 aircraft.

For instance, Thales has just signed a letter of intent with Comac and a memorandum of understanding with China Electronics Technology Avionics to create a joint venture company that will integrate the Thales IFE system in the cabin of the C919 aircraft.

“The Thales system installed will be a scalable platform offering a modular entertainment experience which will include interactive audio solutions through to full in-seat on-demand services. Future evolutions of this system may include wireless networks and connectivity,” says Thales in a statement today.

The deal falls on the heels of Comac’s announcement in October that it has selected Rockwell Collins to provide a seat-centric IFE system for the C919 (and in so doing, Rockwell is effectively jumping back into the in-seat IFE game).

SkyGem.JPGBut lo, there’s more. Flightglobal’s Australian correspondent Will Horton says Comac is also working with a firm called SkyGem for new IFE. Note, this appears to still be in the “pitching” stage.

I’ll let you know when the pictures surface on Flightglobal (yep, Will has got the goods from the #Zhuhai10 show in China).

SkyGem bills its interactive IFE as “revolutionary”.

The system “uses the latest network architecture and technology in TV broadcasting, audio/video on-demand, games, and point of sales to enhance airline revenue”, says the company.

It’s clear that airlines will have numerous choices of IFE for the C919. But I gotta wonder if the sector is getting to be a bit of a crowded house (i.e. can all the newbies really capture enough business to stay alive?)

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