Air Berlin has begun a €1.5 million ($1.8 million) programme to retrofit its entire fleet of 38 Boeing aircraft with Airtrack. The system is Lufthansa Technik's challenge to Airshow's dominance in the cabin moving-map display market.

After several months of tests, the airline will equip its entire fleet with Airtrack in November, becoming launch customer for a system that was jointly developed by LHT and TEAC Aerospace Technologies. AirTrack provides 2D and 3D topographical maps and satellite imagery, using a terrain image database with 30m (98ft) per pixel as standard - although more detailed images are available. It also provides simulations of the view from the cockpit and from windows on either side of the fuselage.

TEAC Aerospace is a private US company spun off from Japan's TEAC this year and is providing the software for Airtrack, while LHT is providing the hardware, and handling certification and product installation. It has been designed so only the existing moving-map system control unit needs to be replaced. "The advantage with this system is that we have control over the programming of the unit, which was not the case with the existing system," says Siegfried Olivo, technical director at Air Berlin.

"The flow time between creating customised material and introducing it on to the screen often took a couple of months and this, of course, was not acceptable."

Olivo says Air Berlin is planning to introduce advertisements as a revenue-generating opportunity and it will take full advantage of airline promotional opportunities that the flexible system allows.



Source: Flight International