Boeing poised to make integrated IFE/seats offerable on 787

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Boeing is poised to make the first integrated seats with in-flight entertainment (IFE) linefit offerable on its 787 aircraft.

A spokesman for the airframer says: "The 787 programme is working with seat suppliers and IFE suppliers to evaluate the new 'integrated seat plus IFE products'. The offerability process at Boeing evaluates seats and IFE to fully understand the design prior to granting 'offerability'.

"As of 1 November no integrated seat plus IFE products have been granted offerability by the 787 programme, but we are close to completing reviews for the first integrated products."

He notes that "several airlines" have expressed interest in integrated IFE/seats "due to better performance, lighter weight and aesthetic benefits". As such, Boeing expects the first integrated seats with IFE to be offerable "in the near future".

Last year IFE giant Panasonic Avionics unveiled the first-ever truly integrated IFE/seat under partnership with Weber Aircraft and product development firm Teague, and promised that the design would prove revolutionary.

The firm's prediction proved accurate. Panasonic's Integrated Smart Monitor (formerly known as Fusion) embedded into Weber's slimline seat has attracted Delta Air Lines as a launch customer, and paved the way for a sea change in how IFE vendors and aircraft seat makers do business, with all parties working together on a standard solution for the cabin before an airline even places its aircraft order.

During this year's Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Thales unveiled its own integrated IFE/seat project with B/E Aerospace for Qatar Airways and IFE newcomer Lumexis displayed the result of a collaboration with Recaro for FlyDubai. The latter product is now flying on a FlyDubai Boeing 737, and will be retrofitted to FlyDubai's 737s as they roll off the line.

An integration project between Panasonic and B/E has attracted the attention of United Airlines. According to a source, United wants Boeing to make the seats linefit offerable for the Boeing 787s that are slated to be delivered to the carrier next year. The early 787 slots were held by United's merger partner Continental Airlines.