At a press conference at AIX Hamburg, Dominique Giannoni, CEO Thales InFlyt Experience, said that its regional Ka-band inflight connectivity solution for North America is at the final stage of testing and will be going live with an airline in the USA.
Giannoni wouldn’t be drawn on who the airline is, but it is widely rumoured to be Air Canada.
Last year, SES and Thales Alenia Space outlined how new functionality aboard the upcoming SES-17h satellite will offer greater efficiency and flexibility for its inflight connectivity.
“We have invested heavily in a facility in Florida where we can test SES and GX connectivity, including the WAPS, portals and antennas. It’s a significant investment for Thales and its shows how committed we are,” Giannoni said.
“We are here for the long run and are fully committed to the business.”
Giannoni said 2017 was a record year for Thales InFlyt Experience, in which it expanded its portfolio of customers.
“We continue our investment in connectivity, partnering with Inmarsat on GX,” he said. “We are on time with the market expectation — it is a very competitive market and airlines are looking for partners that can offer more than just connectivity.”
“Get Connected” reported that Thales personnel had been seen testing Yahsat’s Ka-band solution on Etihad Engineering’s flying test bed at the 2017 Dubai Air Show. So does this mean that Thales might partner with Yahsat?
“We are talking to a number of satellite providers,” Giannoni said. “We want to work with leaders in the market. Airlines have expectations that can constantly evolve with us,” he said.
Giannoni said Thales was monitoring both its IFE and connectivity solutions from its facility in Orlando, Florida and has expanded its scope to cover cybersecurity.
“We take cybersecurity very seriously and ensure that the necessary measures are built into our systems from day one,” he said.
“But as the threats evolve we have to move too. Our team in Orlando is dedicated to monitoring cybersecurity threats and we are leveraging Thales’ experience in this field from other business areas in the group.”
He said Thales was also accelerating its digital transformation and is leveraging connectivity, big data, cyber security and artificial intelligence to bring value to its customers.
“This will help us enhance both the passengers’ and the airlines’ experience,” he said.
Thales also announced that its InFlyt360 IFEC solution has been expanded with the addition of two new offerings — CORE and PRESTIGE — which join AVANT.
Thales’s CORE inflight entertainment solution is designed to achieve the “best value and most competitive cost of ownership, with a set of key applications and digital services to meet airline and passenger expectations”.
PRESTIGE offers a “multi-dimensional and personalised experience commissioned by the airline and master crafted to elevate their brand with a unique, SIGNATURE user interface”. The system will feature ultra HD (4K) displays.
Giannoni said each is aimed at maximising passenger satisfaction, loyalty and airline revenue.