AirFi to launch new portable wireless IFE at AIX Hamburg

The AirFi wireless IFE device is being trialled on some of KLM's single-aisle flights.
The AirFi wireless IFE device is being trialled on some of KLM’s single-aisle flights.

Netherlands-based AirFi is launch a new generation of wireless IFE hardware at Aircraft Interiors International (AIX) in Hamburg.

The new Venus box enables airlines to stream a wide variety of content to passengers’ own mobile devices using Wi-Fi while in flight.

This content can include newspapers and magazines in multiple languages, HTML 5 games, onboard chat, crew interface functions, video, payment portals and more.

The new wireless IFE hardware solution, also offers a series of improvements over its predecessor.

Job Heimerikx, CEO at AirFi, said: “The Venus AirFi Box is robust and attractive. New materials and manufacturing techniques enable custom colours (the existing Moon box is grey) with a tight, durable, and modern design to help it handle the tough job of being a completely portable piece of cabin equipment.”

Wireless IFE

The Venus wireless IFE AirFi also improves on its Moon predecessor by offering an integrated moving-map feature and automated aircraft positioning display.

“Our latest technology can stream full HD video to as many as 22 passengers at the same time, or more passengers at lower resolutions. We’ve also added an ergonomic hand-grip, which will be appreciated by flight crew, catering providers, or whoever moves them around,” Heimerikx added.

AirFi says both the Moon AirFi Box and Venus AirFi Box use a safe, yet powerful, Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery pack that can last for up to 15 hours and re-charge in as little as four. LiFePO4 cells have a constant discharge voltage and are considered far more stable than Lithium Ion chemistries.

Both boxes employ HTML 5 technology, which means passengers don’t need to download an app for quick and easy access onboard streaming services.

Airlines already using the AirFi Moon Box, or those with Moon on order, can upgrade to Venus for an incremental hardware cost.

AirFi will showcase the Venus AirFi Box and begin taking orders on stand 2C70 at Aircraft Interiors Expo, April 5-7, in Hamburg.

AirFi has also confirmed that Dutch flagship carrier KLM has been actively trialling the AirFi box portable inflight entertainment (IFE) solution onboard Boeing B737 passenger aircraft since the beginning of March.

The units have been used on the carrier’s daily flights between Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and Madrid, and Amsterdam Schiphol and Istanbul.

Through to early summer, passengers flying these selected KLM flights can use their personal mobile devices to connect to a free onboard Wi-Fi network created by AirFi boxes and positioned throughout the cabin in overhead bins.

Once connected, passengers enter a 100% KLM-branded environment called ‘KLM in the Cloud’. There, they are free to enjoy newspapers, get destination information, browse a retail selection, chat seat-to-seat, join the KLM frequent flyer program or visit the “Kid’s Place” – with short videos featuring KLM’s popular jumbo-jet personality, Bluey.

During the four-month trial period, KLM will evaluate the content delivery capabilities, data collection opportunities, passenger uptake and operational feasibility of the AirFi portable IFE devices.

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