Etihad Airways is to be launch customer for the Thales Top Series i-5000 in-flight entertainment system (IFE) on the Airbus A380, with a deal expected to be signed by the end of the year.

Industry sources say the airline recently became the first to select Thales for its A380s. Etihad confirms that it has informed Thales of its intention to equip its entire Airbus fleet (including A330s and A340s) with the system as well as its Boeing 777s, but is yet to sign a firm contract.

Thales is competing with Matsushita Avionics Systems' eX2 IFE on the A380, with the latter claiming three customers, including Emirates. Etihad says it expects to firm up its commitments with Airbus for four A380s "by the end of the year", and will also finalise its engine selection soon.



Source: Flight International