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Qatar Airways appoints Thales to supply In-Flight Entertainment and Communications solutions

Qatar Airways has selected Thales to provide in-flight entertainment and communication systems for the airline’s Boeing 787 aircraft.

The appointment will see Thales supplying the airline its TopSeries system, which features a range of onboard product solutions, including passenger touch screen displays, interface options for personal electronic devices and 3D audio technology.

Qatar Airways will also be the launch customer of Thales’ new passenger handset controller with multi-tasking capabilities. The control unit is an intelligent device that enables passengers to play games and navigate through the in-flight entertainment system using touch screen technology.

Broadband connectivity will be integrated into the IFE system, allowing the potential for every passenger to access current news, sports, social networks and other mobile applications.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said that the in-flight offering on the airline’s B787 fleet will be a step beyond what is currently available in the sky.

“Qatar Airways is proud to be at the forefront of the aviation industry. Our 787 aircraft will be equipped with the industry’s leading in-flight entertainment and communications technology, and we are looking forward to showcasing to our passengers just why we continue receive awards and accolades for our in-flight product.”

“The airline is continuing to expand at a rapid pace and with the opening of New Doha International Airport in addition to the delivery of our first B787s scheduled for 2011, the future is looking very bright indeed,” Al Baker said.

The Doha-based carrier has outstanding orders of 30 firm and 30 optional Boeing 787-8 aircraft due for delivery from 2011.

Thales’ TopSeries for the B787 is a lightweight design and a leading choice for configuring the B787 aircraft. With the addition of its integrated connectivity features, Qatar Airways takes a leading position in the industry.

Alan Pellegrini, Vice President and General Manager of Thales’ Inflight Entertainment Systems business said: “We are very pleased to be working with Qatar Airways on the installation of IFE and Connectivity on their new B787 aircraft. Our team is committed to their success and desire to bring innovation to their passengers.”

Qatar Airways had previously appointed Thales to provide in-flight entertainment and communications systems for 24 brand-new single-aisle A320 family aircraft as well as six retrofits for A320s already in the airline’s fleet. The systems include touch-screen technology, with seat-back screens in Economy as well as communication tools such as mobile phone connectivity. The airline offers SMS and data services on these aircraft.

Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 83 aircraft to 89 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and North America. Long-term, the fleet size is set to rise to 120 aircraft by 2013 and destinations served increase to 120 over the next three years. The airline has orders for more than 200 aircraft pending delivery worth over US$40 billion.

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