Boeing [NYSE: BA] has selected Thales as the first recommended in-flight entertainment provider for the all-new 787 Dreamliner.
The new Thales system, called the TopSeries i-8000, uses a wireless network to deliver DVD-quality video to each seat on the airplane. The Thales product interfaces with the Connexion by BoeingSM system that provides broadband connectivity for the 787 and allows passengers to access the Internet and e-mail systems.
Thales, based in Paris, France, will open a new engineering laboratory in California to support the testing of the new system.
"By working with our airline customers to understand their in-flight entertainment needs, we clearly identified many tangible benefits of a wireless system," said Mike Bair, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. "Customers will be more comfortable as we are eliminating much of the equipment that typically is housed under their seats. In addition, we are saving weight and cost while providing a very high quality of service."
The wireless concept will also allow airlines to more quickly reconfigure their airplanes to meet changing demands, reducing the amount of time it takes to change seating arrangements from hours to minutes.
"We anticipate that the 787 will be a strong-selling aircraft and the TopSeries will be a perfect complement," said Brad Foreman, vice president and general manager for Thales' in-flight entertainment business.
The 787 is a family of three super-efficient airplanes that will provide passengers with a better flying experience. The 787-8 Dreamliner will carry 223 passengers in three-classes of seating with a range of up to 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 kilometers). The 787-3 will carry 296 passengers in two-class seating on ranges up to 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 kilometers). The 787-9, a longer version of the 787-8, will carry 259 passengers in three classes with a range of 8,300 nautical miles (15,400 kilometers).
Thales is a leading international electronics and systems group, serving defence, aerospace, security and services markets worldwide. The Group employs 61,500 people throughout the world and generated revenues of 10.3 billion euros in 2004. Thales has been a Boeing supplier for many years. Other Thales work on the 787 includes the Integrated Standby Flight Display, the Electrical Power Conversion System (PCS), and synthetic training equipment.