Thales con­fi­dent in-flight en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems set for take­off

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By ZHU WENQIAN zhuwen­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Thales Group, a lead­ing French aerospace com­pany that pro­duces in-flight en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems, said it is bullish on the growth po­ten­tial of the China mar­ket, and plans to in­crease its re­search and devel­op­ment in the coun­try.

“China pro­vides us a lot of new ideas, tal­ented en­gi­neers and in­no­vated pro­duc­tions and is a seedbed for innovation. We have long-term plans to es­tab­lish innovation teams in China to pro­vide ser­vices for the coun­try and other mar­kets,” said Lau­rent Guyot, chair­man and CEO of Thales China.

Cur­rently, Thales ac­counts for about 65 per­cent of the mar­ket share of in-flight en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems for wide-bod­ied air­craft in China.

“The mar­ket for in-flight en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems changes very fast. We will con­tinue to make in­no­va­tions and en­rich the mul­ti­me­dia con­tents of the sys­tems,” Guyot said.

“Thales has been up­grad­ing the real-time cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ences based on our big data anal­y­sis. We can con­trol and upgrade the in-flight en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems con­tent from our ground con­trol cen­ter and sup­ple­ment the con­tent at any time.”

When it comes to vir­tual re­al­ity, or VR, Thales said this op­tion in the in-flight en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems still re­quires some time to be of­fered.

“It of­ten re­quires a lot of pre­vi­ous ver­i­fi­ca­tion work for those new tech­nolo­gies that will be ap­plied to the avi­a­tion in­dus­try, in­clud­ing the VR tech­nol­ogy. Be­sides, it re­quires the recog­ni­tion of air­lines be­fore the spe­cific im­ple- men­ta­tions,” he said.

By 2024, the mar­ket value of global in-flight en­ter­tain­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems is ex­pected to reach $9.82 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Grand View Re­search, a San Fran­cisco- based mar­ket re­search and con­sult­ing agency.

The com­pany said con­sumers will have in­creas­ingly higher de­mand for in-flight en­ter­tain­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems, as it be­comes eas­ier for pas­sen­gers to get more high-def­i­ni­tion mul­ti­me­dia con­tent on the planes.

In 2012, Thales and China Elec­tron­ics Tech­nol­ogy Group Corp formed a joint ven­ture, and the China-based com­pany will pro­duce a set of in-flight en­ter­tain­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems for the muchan­tic­i­pated C919, a large home­grown pas­sen­ger jet man­u­fac­tured by Com­mer­cial Air­craft Corp of China Ltd.

COMAC ear­lier said that the first test flight of the C919 is ex­pected to be con­ducted later this year or in early 2017. Thales said it is now closely co­op­er­at­ing with COMAC, and ad­vanc­ing the in-flight en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem project based on the timetable.

The project for the C919 will lo­cal­ize R&D for in-flight en­ter­tain­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems for large civil­ian jets, and the joint ven­ture will also pro­vide ser­vices for air­lines world­wide.

“We plan to de­velop more lo­cal strate­gic part­ner­ships with Chi­nese com­pa­nies and in­no­vate with them. We are com­mit­ted to co­op­er­a­tion with Avi­a­tion In­dus­try Corp of China and COMAC, and will con­tinue to pro­vide state-ofthe-art so­lu­tions to Chi­nese air­lines,” Guyot said.

XU YING / FOR CHINA DAILY

A girl watches a car­toon movie while on board an Air­bus A380 of China South­ern Air­lines.

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