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In November 2011, Jetstar, a low-fare airline that serves Australia, New Zealand, and the western rim of the Pacific, introduced an inflight entertainment (IFE) system that displays the latest Hollywood movies, TV shows, music, games, and electronic books and magazines on Apple iPads that passengers rent for $10 to $15 per flight.
The system was developed in partnership with Bluebox Avionics, a British company that developed the wireless hardware and operation software, and Stellar Inflight, a leading provider of inflight content and technical services. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, Stellar has offices in Los Angeles, Kula Lumpur, and Dubai. Jetstar started with 3,000 iPads, available on the Airbus fleet that serves the airline’s Asia network.
“Doing things first and doing them differently are key to Jetstar’s success,” said Jetstar CEO Bruce Buchanan. “We’ve listened to our customers and know in-flight entertainment is an important part of their overall travel experience, so we’ve made sure the new iPads offer the very best viewing experience.”
An alternate, and even more cost effective, approach to Wi-Fi IFE deployment is available from ASIG. Recognizing that more than 80% of the flying public, whether business or leisure traveler, already carry their own web enabled device such as a laptop, smartphone, etc. in their on-board luggage. Their approach is to defer the expenses associated with acquiring, accounting for, and maintaining a fleet of rental iPads or other tablet devices and deploy a stand-alone content distribution technology which support all industry standards including HTML/HTML5, MP3 and H.264 video streaming to name just a few. The OnBoard Server delivers a Wi-Fi buffet of AVOD (Audio/Video On-Demand) content to them and was certified in 2010 for a customer’s Boeing 737 NG. Users access the aircraft IFE system from their personal devices in a way that they are most accustomed to, intact with their personally customized content settings.
Powered by Avionica equipment and integrated with the satLINK satcom system, the OnBoard terminal measures 10.5-by-7.2-by-1.65-inches. Easily removable, it is securely mounted in a lockable dock; combined, the server and mount weigh 9 pounds. Keeping pace with new technology is simply a matter of remotely and wirelessly pushing content updates or plugging a freshly updated server into the dock. OnBoard can also reduce the time and money it takes to keep an aircraft mission ready by storing all the necessary manuals, databases, LRU operating software, and other data.
Combining an OnBoard system with ASIG’s EmPower In-Seat Power Supply system (LRU’s by Astronics AES) will keep the passengers’ personal electronic devices operating at full capacity throughout the flight. The system delivers filtered power that eliminates the hazards of improper charging, eliminating hazards to the aircraft, passengers and crew. It is a unified system that will make your passengers’ travel experience rewarding and your company memorable.
Until next time, stay 5x5, mission ready, and Wired!