Neuilly-sur-Seine, France and Seattle, WA | February 25, 2014– At a ceremony held today at the Boeing facility in Seattle, China Southern took delivery of the first Boeing 777-300ER aircraft equipped with the new generation Thales TopSeries AVANT in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) system, making China Southern the launch customer for the world’s most advanced Thales passenger system.

China Southern is the largest airline in Asia by fleet size and the fifth largest airline in the world by number of passengers. Thales already equips the airline’s Airbus A330 aircraft with its IFEC systems and will now install the award winning AVANT system on all 10 Boeing 777- 300ER scheduled to enter into service for the airline between 2014 and 2016. The first of these aircraft will fly from Seattle back to the airline’s main hub in Guangzhou, Baiyun International airport where it is scheduled to enter into regular service on March 2nd, between Guangzhou and Shanghai Hongqiao. It is believed that China Southern will use the Boeing 777-300ER to fly direct between Guangzhou and New York.

The fourth-generation TopSeries AVANT system is ideal for all commercial aircraft types. Its unique design eliminates the electronics box under cabin seats, thereby improving passenger comfort and enhancing weight efficiency. China Southern will benefit from the system’s scalable design which will allow the airline to offer significant differentiation between classes, such as single touchscreen in economy and interactive multi-screen in business. The AVANT system is also based on the Android operating system, which accommodates a wide range of both off-the-shelf and airline-specific applications.

System programs are offered in five languages, English, Simplified Chinese, French, Japanese and Korean. Beyond the convenience of on-demand entertainment, passengers have a wide selection of applications including an interactive 3D map, 25 games, flight connection information, e-books, e-shopping and a picture viewer. Electronic surveys are also available in support of passenger-airline relations.

China Southern will also benefit from service support provided by Thales’s Airline Operations Centre, which will provide round the clock monitoring of all seats and enable response and maintenance within 4 hours of a fault being detected anywhere in the world.
Prior to the departure of the maiden flight of the first China Southern Boeing 777-300ER from Seattle, Mr Zhang Zifang, COO of China Southern, said “These aircraft play a crucial role in our international growth strategy and being the launch customer for the AVANT system is a important move for us to offer an advanced experience to our passengers.”

Dominique Giannoni, Thales Vice President and CEO of the In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity business line, added “The Chinese market is one of the most dynamic in the world, and we are delighted to experience the launch of our new system with China Southern. This is a major milestone for Thales and we anticipate that passengers will really enjoy their in-flight experience and the new features that the AVANT system will bring them.”

Aircraft Interiors Middle East (Dubai) | February 5, 2014–

Thales, leader in In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) and Turkish Airlines, flag carrier of the Republic of Turkey and member of the Star Alliance, announce the Thales TopSeries AVANT in-flight entertainment system has been officially selected on board 25 of its A321 and 20 of its B737 aircraft.

Turkish Airlines is the world’s largest carrier by number of destinations and enjoys an average fleet age of just over 6 years, well below all its main European peers. The carrier achieved a huge 23.6% growth in 2013 with over 50 million passengers. It utilised this success and young fleet to develop a bold and successful strategy, positioning itself as one of the top airlines for passenger comfort. As a result, SKYTRAX, the world’s premier airline review service has, for the past three consecutive years voted Turkish Airlines Europe’s best airline.

This commitment to the passenger experience is reflected in the airline’s choice to operate the latest generation, award winning Thales TopSeries AVANT IFE system. The system is easily equipped on all advanced, single and twin aisle Airbus and Boeing aircraft and its unique design eliminates the electronics box under each cabin seat therefore improving passenger comfort and driving weight efficiency, both key drivers for the single aisle segment. The system’s scalable design allows Turkish to offer differentiation between classes such as single touchscreen in economy and interactive multi-screen in business. The AVANT system is also based on the Android Operating System, which accommodates a wide range of both off-the-shelf and airline specific applications easily integrated using the unique Thales Software Developers Kit (SDK).

A further element of the selection was Turkish Airlines’ ability to use Thales’s highly experienced global service and support network to ensure optimal system performance especially in fast turnaround situations, driving maximum passenger satisfaction and comfort.

Turkish Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer Dr. Temel Kotil has stated that: “Superior service is the distinguishing mark of Turkish Airlines, separating us from our competitors. We are trying to offer our passengers the best examples of Turkish hospitality while onboard. We are aware that the in- flight services are the significant components for the satisfaction of our passengers and we continue to raise the bar. We are continuing to work on meeting the expectations of our passengers by constantly innovating to delight and surprise our guests as in this innovation. And with this new in-flight entertainment system we are convinced that we will bring an added value to the comfort of our passengers. All of these changes display the desire of Turkish Airlines to provide an unmatched travel experience.”

Commenting on the agreement, Dominique Giannoni, Chief Executive Officer of Thales’s In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC), said: “Turkish Airlines’ focus on providing passengers with an exceptional in-flight experience is reflected in both its efforts to build a solid IFE platform within single aisle aircraft whilst still providing a “wow-factor” to the passenger experience. Our AVANT solution is well positioned to bring these benefits to fruition: All classes enjoy full capacitive touchscreens in line with latest consumer technology. Premium class passengers will also enjoy the multiscreen environment provided by the award winning handheld touchscreen media unit. We are very honoured to work with Turkish Airlines on its path towards growth and excellence.”

Turkish Airlines and Thales have also agreed to a 10 year service agreement for the provision of media content support to ensure a dynamic and engaging passenger experience.

Turkish Airlines will start taking delivery of its A321 fleet in March 2015 and its’ B737 aircraft in January 2016.

Perhaps, the biggest non-hardware news at APEX this year was the introduction of new CEO of Thales Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Company, Dominique Giannoni. Mr. Giannoni (above left) has been in a Thales leadership position for more than 15 years focused on both military and commercial aerospace markets. He joined Thales in 2003 as head of the company’s Underwater Systems business line for Submarines and then later lead the Thales Military Avionics Business Line. In all, he has been in the military and commercial sector for 6 years and actually ran an avionics factory for a time. In July 2013, he was appointed to the position of CEO for the company’s In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) business and was introduced to the IFE press at APEX. Dominique has worked in the Telecom world as well as the French Defense Ministry and has a Masters Degree from MIT. In this new capacity, Dominique will take the business through its next growth phase rounding out the operations (grow the brand) advanced products and services with added-value propositions to global airlines (grow the customer base). It appears Thales has the right man for the job but he will have his work cut out for him. We expect to see him very involved in new product development activity to increase the product depth, and to be immersed in the relationship between Thales and their CETC partner in China. In-house, we expect him to fine-tune a lot of the operations as he gets more involved with the product line and customer requirements. No doubt, roles and missions will change at Thales. We should also mention the new position that Alan Pellegrini (above right) fills – President and CEO, Thales USA. Long-time IFE’er Pellegrini is now responsible for all Thales US companies and will have offices in Irvine and Washington, DC.

IFExpress did a little research on Alan’s work history and it is impressive to see the companies that benefited from his tenure: CEO, IMS; President, Panasonic Transportation Systems; Senior VP, Panasonic Avionics; President & CEO Tenzing; VP Marketing & Sales Rockwell; VP Marketing & Sales Hughes Avicom. Thales has assembled a strong management team and the next dew years ought to be interesting. Good luck Alan and Dominique!

Airbus has delivered their 2013 – 2032 Market Forecast and you can watch the 1 hour YouTube version. Also, check out the great market infographic. If you need an Airbus Android App, try this one – or an Airbus iOS App. Enjoy!

A while back we did a story on the newly designed aircraft retractable monitor with its developer and designer, Yukio Sugimoto. If you have a technical bent you may remember that his product was an engineer’s dream instead of a mechanical nightmare that often plagues these devices. In all fairness, the FAA restrictions and requirements on retractable monitors are moderately onerous, especially considering the fact that they must operate with power that is subject to dropping out for up to 150 milliseconds… not to mention issues like the necessity to retract under loss of power or emergency situations. This explains the high mechanical parts count and resultant weight increase of competitive units, not to mention stored energy springs and clutches to facilitate zero power retractions. The ACS patent pending solution involves storing energy in capacitors – that’s the simple answer but it is a circuitry design solution as well! Check out the spy shot of the mechanicals here. The unit sports 9.7 and 12 inch monitors and FAA certification testing is now underway and at last count passed 250,000+ cycles and is going strong. In fact, he is guaranteeing a 50,000-cycle non-failure or 5 year warranty. Yukio noted, “The new, bigger display actually retracts flat against the outside of the PSU while the rest of the frame and the electronics are buried in the PSU itself – the box sits between the rails while the display (and cover) protrudes ½ an inch above the surface and folds flat against it… and, the unit is installed on an A319 bizjet.” Mr. Sugimoto, who has a history of industry soothsaying, hinted earlier that the market for retracts might be on the rise in the single-aisle market and, in some cases, in conjunction with wireless! With recent interactive and second screen technology intros there may soon be some interesting deals afoot!

One of the best and most exciting part of this job is ‘discovery by chance’ of a new technology or a new product… this year was no different and there were many. This next product was discovered by the classic accidental rendezvous followed by a “You gotta see this” and Hratch Astarjian (Mr. BOSE) never fails to surprise and amaze us with demo’s of wonderful and ingenious audio products. This time it was the QC 20i Noise Cancelling in-ear headphones. We will get to sound in a minute but first; here is a picture of what we are talking about with a new BOSE IFE representative Danielle Glassman. If you remember the line of Quiet Comfort headphones, they are always seen on the heads of passengers on planes and airports. For us, it is impossible to travel today without them. Screaming kids, aircraft noise and weird, travel, next door neighbors are all alleviated. Two problems do exist tho – they are bigger than one likes and when someone needs your attention (like the cabin crew) they have to hit you on the arm. The QC’s are that good at noise cancellation. Now the QC 20 and QC 20i show up with in-ear sized tip and a switch for letting in outside noise when needed (QC 20) and an inline mic/control switch as well (QC 20i). If you remember the control box on your bigger QC’s… that has been replaced by a new box that houses the microelectronics and rechargeable lithium-ion battery, but now, it is the size of a thin USB drive. The QC 20 product uses USB 5 volt power charging and gets 16 hours of use each time. When we tested them on the show floor for a couple minutes we could not distinguish them from the old QC’s… in fact, they sounded a bit better. Check them out!

Correction: The Lumexis Server contains 1.5 TB of SSD memory, not 60 GB as we reported last week.

Neuilly-sur-Seine, France / Irvine, CA | July 9, 2013– Thales is pleased to announce the appointment of Dominique Giannoni as the new CEO of their In-flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) business. With a deep rooted background in aviation and telecommunications sectors, Giannoni has vast business experience that relies on excellence in systems integration and program management. He joined Thales in 2003 as head of the company’s Underwater Systems business line for Submarines and then later leading the Thales Military Avionics Business Line. Prior to Thales, Giannoni held different management positions at Capgemini within the Telecom & Media division as well as with the French Defence Ministry (DGA).

As the new CEO for the Thales IFEC business line, Giannoni will take the business through its next growth phase rounding out the operations advanced products and services with added-value propositions to global airlines.

Commenting on his appointment, Dominique Giannoni said “I am delighted to be taking on this next challenge in such an exciting market, one which has proven to be a key part of Thales’s success as a leader in the aerospace industry. Our Inflight Entertainment systems are at the heart of our clients’ strategy and we constantly strive not only to simply meet their expectations but to propose innovative and competitive solutions. It therefore gives me great pleasure to become part of the IFEC organization’s future endeavours with our airline customers, OEMs and partners”.

With its headquarter office in California, the IFEC business is directly associated with Thales’ US operation led by Alan Pellegrini, a long-time veteran in the in-flight entertainment market and now non-executive Chairman to the IFEC business in support of the organization’s strategic direction and customer relationships.

“This working relationship will highly benefit our customers and our position in the in-flight market. Dominique’s in-depth technical knowledge, aerospace experience and leadership qualities are a perfect fit into the IFEC organization. I look forward to working together with him” said Alan Pellegrini, CEO and President of Thales USA.

Dominique Giannoni is 44 years old. He holds a Master of Science degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), an Engineering degree from ENSTA ParisTech and a Management Degree from INSEAD. He has been admitted to take part in the 65th defense policy session of the Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale (IHEDN).