The name has changed, but the faces are familiar: The former Hughes-Avicom inflight entertainment manufacturer is appearing at an airshow for the first time under its new owner, Rockwell Collins.

Since completing its acquisition of Hughes-Avicom in December, Rockwell Collins has already scored a major coup.


Ken McNamara, vice-president and general manager of the newly-christened Rockwell Collins Passenger Systems, says the new alliance is already making a "huge" difference.

"We were immediately able to begin to capture the synergies that will help us to operate more efficiently," McNamara says.

At Asian Aerospace '98 it will be a case of "-two families getting together and getting to know each other. We'll be learning how they operate and they'll be learning how we operate. It will be a great opportunity for both sides

"We are similar, but also dissimilar. We are a small, but fast-moving and entrepreneurial company. Rockwell Collins is very mature and big."

Passenger Systems will be featuring its new Total Entertainment System (TES) at the show. So far, it has sold the interactive, individual seat entertainment system to Thai Airways, American Airlines, Lan Chile Airlines and TAM.

It has also just secured a major contract with British Airways, which cancelled plans to buy an entertainment system from B/E Aerospace so that it could instead purchase the TES system. The contract will see TES installed on about 100 widebody aircraft, with first installations planned for October.

Initially, the systems will offer distributed video plus some interactive options. A planned second phase will upgrade the systems to full video-on-demand (VOD) mode, when passengers will be able to select a film whenever they want, as well as stop, start, rewind or fast-forward just as they would if they were at home.

"British Airways is approaching this in a very smart way," says McNamara. "They start with the basics, but in time move up to a full VOD system. That way, the degree of risk is low."

McNamara says that customers familiar with the Hughes-Avicom name are responding enthusiastically to the ownership change.


"People never really believed that we had a real home within Hughes and thought we were not receiving the attention from our parent company that we deserved. Now we have a parent that is in the business and cares about it," says McNamara.

The worldwide field support that Rockwell Collins has for its commercial aviation systems will provide a major benefit to the new Passenger Systems division, he points out.

Source: Flight Daily News