Qantas plans to add in-flight entertainment to its regional jet operations. The carrier’s QantasLink group will add wireless IFE to its jets in partnership with streaming IFE provider Bluebox Aviation Systems.
It’s not insignificant either that we’re demonstrating that our W-IFE systems can replicate offerings of traditional aircraft avionics-based installed systems and proving the value of low-cost W-IFE systems across larger fleets.– David Brown, Business Development Director, Bluebox
The Bluebox Wow W-IFE system will fly initially on Airbus A320 aircraft. It will expand from there to the Fokker F100, Boeing 717, and Alliance Airlines’ Embraer E190 aircraft. The Bluebox Wow system allows streaming entertainment content directly to passenger devices over a captive wireless network.
Passengers will be able to access content either via the Qantas Entertainment App or app-free via web browser. The carrier intends to include movies, TV, audio books and podcasts for passenger consumption on board.
Qantas and Bluebox will deliver the aircraft-powered version of the hardware for the on-board service. This recently certified option allows for a semi-permanent installation on board rather than swapping the hardware out for battery recharging all the time. But the alteration requirements for the plane are minimal and the on-board footprint remains very small.
To Business Development Director David Brown the plug-in option is a gateway to larger installs and more mature markets:
Just as Bluebox Wow expanded the market for IFE in its original battery-operated form, we’ll now see it capture more of the W-IFE market, given its lower cost of deployment and digital platform scope for everything from entertainment to touch-free retail and to even more as digital in-flight services develop.
With plans to expand the plug-in STC to the additional fleet types for QantasLink, Bluebox opens up even more markets (though the total addressable Fokker 100 fleet is certainly limited).
The software can also be activated on the Airbus Open Software Platform IFE offering. This Airbus-managed solution allows for airlines to choose the software provider while leveraging standardized hardware. The first installation of that system, on a Titan Airways A321LR, runs the BlueBox software as well.
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