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Thales details IFE offering on Air France's new A380

Thales has detailed the in-flight entertainment (IFE) offering that will be made available to passengers aboard Air France's new Airbus A380 aircraft.

Air France on 30 October took delivery of its first A380. The 538-seat, three-class A380 will be placed into revenue service on 23 November on the Paris-New York JFK route.

The widebody comes equipped with Thales' TopSeries IFE system, which offers large-widescreen displays and features a broad range of entertainment, including about 100 on-demand movies, 300 audio CDs, 26 games, live camera, flight information map, in-seat chat and a customised menu option for children, says Thales.

Air France is the first airline to equip each seat in its 'Affaires' business and 'Voyageur' economy cabins with a USB socket, enabling passengers to download content such as flight schedules, information on Air France, destinations guides, games for children, as well as relaxation videos and podcasts.

Thales notes that the TopSeries IFE system is the first passenger system of its type to integrate on-demand entertainment and in-seat power to accommodate personal electronic devices.

"With a growing market share that today exceeds 40%, this web-based system is scalable to any aircraft and has been selected by more than 50 airlines worldwide," says the manufacturer.

Air France's A380 is not fitted with an in-flight connectivity solution. Air France-KLM vice-president and general manager, USA Christine Ourmieres recently said the group's technology experts are studying various solutions but have not made a decision.

Thales's connectivity strategy is centred on Inmarsat's SwiftBroadband aeronautical service over L-band satellites.

The company has secured a raft of customers for SwiftBroadband-supported connectivity, be it used for basic cockpit solutions or the Thales TopConnect solution with GSM, which is offered in partnership with Airbus/Sita joint venture OnAir.

Thales is also working on an integrated in-flight entertainment system that harnesses this technology.

The firm recently opened a new "Connectivity Suite" in London. The brand new facility enables Thales to give a first hand experience of the latest airborne connectivity capabilities available from the manufacturer.

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