DUBAI: Qatar picks Thales for A350 IFE

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Middle Eastern carrier Qatar Airways has committed to fitting Thales' in-flight entertainment systems to its Airbus A350s.

The agreement covers all 80 of the Doha-based carrier's A350s - comprising 40 -900s and 20 each of the -800 shrink and larger -1000.

Thales, which disclosed the deal at the Dubai air show, said Qatar would take its TopSeries Avant equipment.

"This next-generation system combines the strengths of earlier platforms with advanced technologies, such as high definition video, solid state hard drives and faster processors," it added.

Qatar Airways is the launch customer for all three A350 variants, although delivery of the first, the -900, has slipped to 2014.

Qatar Airways chief Akbar Al Baker described the system as the "industry's leading in-flight entertainment technology".

It will include passenger touch screen displays, from 10.6in to 17in, and be compatible with travellers' own electronic devices.

Avant will also feature "three-dimensional audio", said Thales, which will give the effect of high fidelity "surround sound".

Thales also said it is working to make its TopConnect Ka-band product available on the A350, enabling broadband connectivity.