Collins Aviation Services has won a five-year contract to provide product support for British Airways' seatback-installed in-flight entertainment systems on its Boeing 747s and 777s. The deal includes an option to renew for a further four years.

Collins Aviation Services will provide support for the repair of the Rockwell Collins Passenger Systems' Total Entertainment System (TES) installed on BA's 747s and 777s at Rockwell's UK site in Reading. Collins will also be responsible for managing spares provisioning and logistics support.

BA has six aircraft -three 747-400ss and three 777s - fitted with the TES, comprising a personal television screen at each seat, offering 12 channels of audio and video entertainment. The aircraft, which serve Asia, the Caribbean and South Africa, are the first of over 100 747s and 777s to have the TES over the next two years.

Rockwell Collins is applying "enormous resources" to the BA programme, says Alan Pellegrini, vice-president of marketing and sales at Rockwell Collins Passenger Systems. The BA contract, involving equipping more than 100 widebodies in quick succession, is a huge undertaking, he concedes.

BA and Rockwell admit that they had problems at the start of the installation programme in January. The project start-up was a difficult period and slow progress was made, admits Kevin George, BA senior manager interactive video.

"We have big programmes happening concurrently [BA, American Airlines, Air France, Delta Air Lines] with major product development. We had to ramp up production 300% at the same time as major development of the TES," says Pellegrini.

BA and its suppliers in the IFE programme have adopted Boeing's "Working Together" approach and, in April, the partners signed a document detailing each company's responsibilities.

Source: Flight International