Pakistan flag carrier to equip Airbus A310s and Boeing 747s with server-free system

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has selected Delta-Beta In-Flight's Self-Contained In-Seat Entertainment System (SCISE) to equip six Airbus A310s and two Boeing 747s. Delta-Beta's selection is as a major boost to the IFE system manufacturer because launch customer Varig cancelled its programme to equip its Boeing MD-11s with SCISE following the airline's financial difficulties.

SCISE is unlike other IFE systems in that it requires no servers or seat boxes, and only passenger display units. This provides considerable weight savings and is less complex than traditional IFE systems. SCISE uses video transmission optimisation technology to distribute digital content to each passenger on-demand via a touchscreen.

Delta-Beta has had formal notification of its win at PIA and is negotiating the details of its contract, says Henry DeBey, the California-based company's president. The A310s will be equipped throughout the aircraft, while the 747s will feature SCISE in business class, with installations set to start in the first quarter of 2003.

SCISE was installed in the first class cabin of one Varig MD-11 before the Brazilian carrier cancelled the programme. The system has been performing well with Varig, however, with a 99.7% availability, says DeBey.

Delta-Beta is continuing its innovative approach to IFE with the development of a unit that projects an infrared virtual keyboard on to the seatback tray table to allow short message service and e-mail to be offered via the system. The unit was developed by Israeli company Virtual Key Board with software produced by Delta-Beta.

The manufacturer displayed the innovation at the World Airline Entertainment Association exhibition in Seattle in late September to get airline feedback. There has been "overwhelming acceptance" of the unit, says DeBey, adding that the manufacturer plans to offer it as an option to its system.

Source: Flight International