Thales confident in-flight entertainment systems set for takeoff
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.
A girl watches a cartoon movie while on board an Airbus A380 of China Southern Airlines.