Emma Kelly/LONDON


British Airways is resuming installations of Rockwell Collins Passenger Systems' Total Entertainment System (TES) on its widebody fleet after a temporary halt in the programme following initially disappointing seat availability figures.

The airline claims improved performance of the TES, which is installed on 24 Boeing 747s and 777s, but says there is "still more work to be done" to meet its requirements.

The TES was chosen for BA's long-haul fleet after the failure of its previously selected interactive IFE system - B/E Aerospace's Multi-Media Digital Distribution System - to meet its availability/reliability standards. At least 100 widebodies are to have TES.

In a recent issue of its in-house publication BA News, the airline's director of technical operations Colin Matthews concedes that the number of faults reported on the first 15 747s and nine 777s was "simply unacceptable", resulting in the airline stopping installations until system availability improved.

The carrier's 747 average dispatch availability figures show that in August last year the number of seats with the TES unavailable peaked at 60. By the end of the year, the number of seats not available was closer to BA's target of four. Availability on the BA fleet now runs at about 98.7%, says Rockwell, which inherited the TES when it acquired Hughes- Avicom International in late 1997.

A modification to the IFE system's junction boxes underneath the seats, designed to provide improved protection, is to be completed by the end of March.

BA will not introduce more services to the 12 video- and audio-channel systems until there is a "stable period" of performance, says Kevin George, senior manager interactive video. He says customer satisfaction with the seatback-installed IFE system is "leaping".

Source: Flight International