China Southern is the largest airline in Asia by fleet size and the fifth largest airline in the world by number of passengers. Thales already equips the airline’s Airbus A330 aircraft with its IFEC systems and will now install the award winning AVANT system on all 10 Boeing 777-300ER scheduled to enter into service for the airline between 2014 and 2016. The first of these aircraft will fly from Seattle back to the airline’s main hub in Guangzhou, Baiyun International airport where it is scheduled to enter into regular service on March 2nd, between Guangzhou and Shanghai Hongqiao. It is believed that China Southern will use the Boeing 777-300ER to fly direct between Guangzhou and New York.
The fourth-generation TopSeries AVANT system is ideal for all commercial aircraft types. Its unique design eliminates the electronics box under cabin seats, thereby improving passenger comfort and enhancing weight efficiency. China Southern will benefit from the system’s scalable design which will allow the airline to offer significant differentiation between classes, such as single touchscreen in economy and interactive multi-screen in business. The AVANT system is also based on the Android operating system, which accommodates a wide range of both off-the-shelf and airline-specific applications.
System programs are offered in five languages, English, Simplified Chinese, French, Japanese and Korean. Beyond the convenience of on-demand entertainment, passengers have a wide selection of applications including an interactive 3D map, 25 games, flight connection information, e-books, e-shopping and a picture viewer. Electronic surveys are also available in support of passenger-airline relations.
China Southern will also benefit from service support provided by Thales’s Airline Operations Centre, which will provide round the clock monitoring of all seats and enable response and maintenance within 4 hours of a fault being detected anywhere in the world.
Prior to the departure of the maiden flight of the first China Southern Boeing 777-300ER from Seattle, Mr Zhang Zifang, COO of China Southern, said “These aircraft play a crucial role in our international growth strategy and being the launch customer for the AVANT system is a important move for us to offer an advanced experience to our passengers.”
Dominique Giannoni, Thales Vice President and CEO of the In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity business line, added “The Chinese market is one of the most dynamic in the world, and we are delighted to experience the launch of our new system with China Southern. This is a major milestone for Thales and we anticipate that passengers will really enjoy their in-flight experience and the new features that the AVANT system will bring them.”