Lumexis secures full-fleet customer for fiber optic IFE

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US company Lumexis has secured a customer for its fiber-to-the-screen (FTTS) in-flight entertainment (IFE) system in a landmark deal that will bring fresh competition to a market dominated by embedded IFE hardware giants Panasonic Avionics and Thales.

Installation of FTTS systems across an undisclosed carrier's entire fleet is scheduled to begin in 2010, reveals Lumexis CEO Douglas Cline.

The deal was won based on a virtually flawless flight trial of a full nose-to-tail, supplemental type certified installation on a US Airways Airbus A320 aircraft.

"The US Airways flight trial of the Lumexis uniquely total fiber optic system demonstrated to the entire airline community an unprecedented level of reliability and performance in AVOD [audio/video on demand] delivery, games and commercial transaction support," says Cline, adding that the trial also validated the company's belief that this technology "would dramatically lower the airlines' cost of ownership for full AVOD systems - fundamentally changing the competitive landscape forever".

Cline says California-based Lumexis is receiving a great deal of attention from a wide swath of major international carriers and original equipment manufacturers around the world, despite the global economic recession.

"While it is obvious that airlines' lack of capital for cabin retrofit in the current economic climate has dramatically reduced the level of those activities, we are continuously responding to requests for detailed proposals from substantial operators. In simplest terms, we are finding more business than we can handle and taking on only that which we can fully support," he says.

A long-time industry veteran Cline previously headed up Sony Trans Com and developed the Passport AVOD system. He is joined on the Lumexis leadership team by Richard Salter, co-founder of moving map display maker Airshow.

Lumexis will compete in the narrowbody embedded IFE space with Panasonic, Thales, Rockwell Collins and JetBlue Airways subsidiary LiveTV. Panasonic and Thales are the market leaders for installed IFE on widebody aircraft, although a number of legacy systems are still in operation today.