Malaysia Airlines (MAS) launched audio- and video-on-demand (A/VOD) capability on one of its Boeing 777s this month. It is the first stage of a programme that will see the airline's entire 777 and Boeing 747-400 fleet equipped with the latest in-flight entertainment (IFE) feature.

A/VOD, which allows passengers to stop, start, rewind and fast forward their audio and video entertainment, is running off the Matsushita System 2000E in the first and business class sections of the 777. The aircraft is operating from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong, Perth and Amsterdam. MAS' 777 and 747-400 fleets, which are already equipped with the System 2000E, will be upgraded to A/VOD progressively, says Emphasis, which is responsible for the airline's IFE programme. The initial A/VOD offering is 15 films and 10 CDs. The service will not be extended to economy class.

On-demand capability has been long sought by IFE airline pioneers. A/VOD was originally launched by Swissair on its Boeing MD-11s and 747s running off Interactive Flight Technologies' hardware, but that system has been switched off since the crash of a Swissair MD-11 off Nova Scotia last year. Singapore Airlines (SIA) was the first carrier to launch an A/VOD service on the System 2000E. SIA launched a one-aircraft A/VOD trial in September 1997, but the feature was withdrawn late last year and reintroduced in June following hardware and software upgrades to improve reliability (Flight International, 7-13 July).

The introduction of A/VOD is the latest stage in MAS' interactive IFE programme, which includes 12 video channels, 18 audio channels, games, information services, a news service updated via satellite, and communication services. The airline plans to add an e-mail via satellite service by March, and is studying Internet and live television services, says Emphasis.

Source: Flight International