Panasonic, Thales bemoan 787 delay, say it had significant impact

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Repeated delays to the Boeing 787 programme have had a profoundly negative impact on in-flight entertainment hardware suppliers Panasonic Avionics and Thales, with the latter firm revealing today that the delay has affected the way in which it deals with Airbus on the A350.

"I'd be lying if I said [the 787 delay] didn't have a significant impact," Panasonic Avionics executive director, corporate sales and product management Neil James said during an Avionics Magazine online webinar.

Together with the Boeing strike, the Airbus A380 delay and the global economic recession, the 787 delay had "a huge impact" he says.

Panasonic Avionics, a California-headquartered unit of multinational corporation Panasonic, is not obligated to disclose the financial cost to the firm of the 787 delay "but it was significant enough for us to really draw a breath and take stock of where we were", says James.

The firm was, however, "very blessed to have a very broad customer base in all the various regions in the world" plus robust business for IFE retrofits, he says.

Consequently, Panasonic Avionics was able to work its way through the 787 delay and economic downturn but "it wasn't funny", adds James.

Like Panasonic, Thales Avionics says the impact of the 787 delay on its IFE business was substantial.

"It is a significant impact and I wouldn't want to put a dollar figure to it, but it's not something that we would take lightly and it is affecting the way in which we deal with Airbus on the A350," says vice-president of sales and marketing for Thales' IFE business, Jeff Sare, who also participated in the webinar.

He did not provide further detail about how the 787 delay is affecting how Thales deals with the A350. And neither Panasonic nor Thales disclosed the amount of hardware they have shelved in anticipation for 787 deliveries.