• Thales and JetBlue close the $399m LiveTV deal.
  • The LiveTV deal strengthens Thales’s IFEC product and service offering with connectivity as a key driver.
  • The acquisition increases Thales’s operational footprint in the USA and enhances the Group’s global IFEC presence.
  • Neuilly-sur-Seine, France and Irvine, California | June 10, 2014– Thales today announced the closing of the acquisition of LiveTV from JetBlue. As part of the arrangement, the two companies will form a partnership that focuses on innovation for both passengers and airline operations.

    Passengers increasingly expect broadband connectivity at all times. Airlines want to enable their passengers to have access to this connected environment within the aircraft, allowing them to interact with both social media and professional networks in the air. The acquisition of LiveTV is part of Thales’s strategy to meet passenger demands by delivering high quality, fast connections while meeting airline needs for greater operational efficiency. LiveTV has equipped more than 700 aircraft worldwide with a range of competitive products, focused on high performance connectivity services.

    LiveTV provides outstanding solutions for passenger connectivity, live
    television and wireless video services. The combination of this offering with the advanced Thales AVANT entertainment system firmly aligns the Thales In Flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) business to its long-term focus on connected services for passengers and airline operators within all industry segments, from premium to low-cost.

    Robin Hayes, President of JetBlue referenced the additional benefits of the
    deal to the airline, “JetBlue was careful to find a buyer that will be a key partner in advancing IFEC solutions. I am confident that Thales will continue to deliver innovation and long term value.”

    With more than 500 employees and projected revenues for 2014 estimated at over US$150m, Florida-based LiveTV is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Thales USA, reporting to Dominique Giannoni, vice president Thales IFEC business.

    As a result, Thales strengthens its operational footprint in the USA and
    enhances the Group’s global IFEC presence.

    This was a pretty good year for Thales if AIX is any barometer of the economic weather for the French giant (2011 – 13.2 B Euros). The California-based, IFE arm of the the company has hit what looks to be a home run. For Thales CEO Alan Pelligrini, it all appears to be coming together to plan. For starters, Thales just secured their first B787 line fit customer (unnamed) for AVANT to be delivered in the 2014 time-frame on an Airbus A350 XWB aircraft. The Crystal Cabin winning product is Android friendly and a new App Portal has just been commissioned to support it. (Interestingly, due to overwhelming demand beta registration for the Thales Android App Portal is now closed. Watch for the launch soon.) AVANT is now in it’s fifth generation and the jumbo passenger touch screens/web cam will be sporting gesture control in the next generation. Yes, we see a live face-time app in your flying future. The launch customer for AVANT is QATAR Airways. We predict, AVANT will be Thales biggest seller yet.

    Number two in the good news department is the show announcement of a joint venture with China Electronics Technology Avionics (CETCA) to provision IFE on China’s COMAC C919. With some 4000 single-aisle planes forecast in China’s future, Thales is in a great position to capture a lion’s share of that business.

    The C919 is a 156 to 190 seat jetliner competing with the likes of the A320neo and B737 MAX. Thales will be involved in integration and future sales to other Chinese customers. CETCA’s General Manager, Zeng Li was on hand at AIX to sign the agreement and it was obvious that he felt Thales had their foot in the China door. Time will tell.

    On completely different matters, we submit the following two topics:

    Remember our recent comments on the use of infographics at OnAir? It appears that others have the same idea and we stand by our recommendation for their use in this communication heavy industry. Getting your point across quickly is the name of the game and the trucking folks seem to think accordingly. One good read and I know all I ever wanted to know about trucking. Can you say the same about your communication tools and products?

    Here is a short read on an outsiders view of inflight telephony with some interesting statistics… and great reader comments.