LONDON – On September 8, the United Arab Emirates carrier, Emirates, announced that it has invested in a new next-generation IFE (In-Flight Entertainment) system for its incoming fleet of Airbus A350’s.
The IFE Investment
For Emirates’ inbound Airbus A350 aircraft, which are currently scheduled to begin delivery in 2024, Emirates has invested over $350 million in putting next-generation IFE’s into their fleet as part of their Fly Better initiative. The carrier currently has 50 of the Airbus A350-900 type on order.
The system they have selected is Thales’ new AVANT Up IFE system which features Optiq 4K QLED HDR displays, an industry-first for an IFE system to feature Samsung’s QLED technology.
This will mean that passengers will benefit from a crystal clear and vibrant IFE screen with over one billion different colours for the best viewing experience.
This will certainly be a perfect match for Emirates’ ice system, that already provides over 5,000 channels of multi-language TV, movies and music as well as the world’s first inflight shopping channel, EmiratesRED.
Not only this, but Thales’ new system has a new ‘live’ TV feature where passengers will be able to watch a wider choice of live TV and news in a QLED display.
The system’s Optiq feature allows for passengers to connect multiple bluetooth devices to the IFE system as well as built-in Wi-Fi, which means passengers can connect their phones, tablets, headphones or even a gaming controller to the system.
The new IFE will also provide up to 60 watts USB-C to fast-charge passengers personal devices. This is coupled with Thales’ Pulse, which is a new power management technology that will ensure that no matter how many passengers are charging their devices at the same time, the charging performance will not be effected.
Emirates management statement
Commenting on their new IFE investment, Emirates Chief Operating Officer, Adel al Redha, has said, “Emirates has always regarded inflight entertainment as an essential aspect of our onboard experience, and we were in fact the first airline to put personal screens onto every single seat onboard when that was far from the norm over 30 years ago.”
“Today, Emirates remains unmatched in inflight entertainment content and experience, having won best-in-the-sky awards consecutively for the past 14 years. Our investment in next-generation Thales systems for our new A350 fleet will further our lead, enabling us to deliver even better experiences to our customers. Watch this space.”
Adding to al Redha’s comments, Yannick Assouad, Executive Vice-President of Thales Avionics says, “At Thales we are proud to partner with Emirates in their mission to Fly Better.”
“Thales’ AVANT Up brings to Emirates the latest consumer technologies and capabilities to the aircraft. Combining our Optiq 4K QLED HDR displays, award-winning dynamic power, and next-generation digital services, Emirates customers can expect the extraordinary.”
The new QLED displays for Emirates’ inbound Airbus A350’s will certainly be a welcomed by their passengers. However, what certainly grabs our attention is Adel al Redha’s comments of “Watch this space”, meaning that Emirates has more passenger experience improving technologies in the works.
These are likely to be featured on their new Airbus A350’s, Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Boeing 777X’s, but it won’t be surprising to see if they also make it to their existing Boeing 777’s and Airbus A380’s.