Tag Archives: IFE

BA New Seat Design & IFE on Boeing 777-300ER

This first of six new British Airways Boeing 777-300ER has onboard the airlines latest design concepts and new inflight entertainment system from Thales.

I had the pleasure to be onboard Flight No. BA9178C which left and returned to Heathrow on 26th Aug 2010

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The aircraft took off on time at 15:15 from Terminal 5 Heathrow and conducted a four hour test flight over the North Sea.

In the new ‘World Traveller’ cabin is the latest Thales in-flight entertainment, including:

  • a video touch screen that is 35 per cent larger than the current screen
  • a greater choice of movies, television and music
  • a USB and RCA combo port, enabling personal electronic devices to connect with the in-flight entertainment system
  • an in-seat power socket to power devices throughout the flight

Additionally in the new ‘World Traveller Plus’ cabin the Thales in-flight entertainment has:

  • a video touch screen that is 60 per cent larger than the current screen
  • two USB ports and an RCA port.

British Airways will operate this first aircraft between Chicargo, Dubai, Delhi and Mumbai

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IFE: iPad Flight Entertainment

Image from Apples Website

Just read this article ‘Apple iPad could revolutionise travel guides and inflight entertainment’ .

I suddenly had a vision of passengers bringing on board their own entertainment tailored to their own preferences, not a bad vision considering the considerable investment made by operators into the IFE industry.

Just imagine there would be no installation/maintenance of cable to every cabin seat, expensive hardware failure, happy passengers playing Monopoly, Scrabble etc via WiFi, not forgetting access to operators website to update/up sell products such as Car hire, Hotels, Duty Free etc.

Operators would become ISP’s ….. everybody’s happy, could this be a vision of the future ?

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A Case For Aircraft Security

Comments on Connectivity crossover and the case for cockpit security’ do highlight an interesting debate on the subject of security for the new generation of eEnabled aircraft.

This is not the first discussion on the subject, as since the FAA Special Conditions No. 25-356-SC and 25-357-SC were published in Jan 08 a number of interesting debates have been triggered.

I have observed the many issues in this area for a number of years and here are some of my personal opinions.

With major airlines worldwide investing in a variety of IFE and connectivity solutions, keeping an ever-increasing techno aware passenger informed and entertained, is an important requirement for operators.

Retro- fitting of new IFE systems has been carried out successfully for many years … but todays newer IFE systems are introducing for the first time TCP/IP connectivity as an integral part of the aircraft and for airlines this introduced a new set of security risks and challenges.

Since the successful first flight of the 787 Dec 2009 and previous entry into service of the A380, Airline operational focus switched to the challenge of the new safe operation of eEnabled aircraft fleets, in particular Connectivity, Integration and Security. Airlines needed to understand the wider operational challenges of eEnablement.

One of the most obvious new challenges of eEnablement is the exposure of an airlines existing (in some cases substantial) ground based back office IT systems to what is essentially a hostile Aircraft environment.

Protecting both aircraft and ground based networks, became a operational requirement and airline operators of eEnabled Aircraft needed to be satisfied they had an appropriate IT architecture in place.

Companies with global business interests issue employees with network ready devices for connecting to back office systems from any worldwide location. They consider each other as hostile until successful authentication has been achieved.

Today’s eEnabled aircraft have the same requirement, but with one major exception, connected passenger devices could not be successfully authenticated and could never be trusted. Yet they will be connected to the operators onboard networks via WiFi, USB, RJ-45 etc. which in turn will have connections to the Airlines operational systems.

Airframer’s such as Airbus and Boeing are aware of the connectivity issues and have solutions to help control the different connectivity options. However given the potential complexity of an Airlines back office systems and operational processes, they do point out that integration and security are the operators responsibility and that any weakness may impact on an aircrafts airworthiness.

It is accepted by the aviation industry individuals and groups exist who have subversive agendas. These individuals (see diag) could be onboard the aircraft, at the airport, in fact, practically any location globally.

Q – Will the aircraft become a target for attack
A – Absolutely, the challenge exists. Airline security solutions will be tested.

Q – What if an attack succeeded.
A – Without doubt the impact to an Airlines safety and security would be brought into question and could subsequently impact the airlines Brand.

Q – Should IT networks be physically isolated onboard eEnabled aircraft.
A – Yes, this would help Airlines manage Connectivity, Integration and minimise the overall risk to the aircraft Security.

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