BAE Systems’ Ehtisham Siddiqui poses after making the Vistara announcment at AIX last year. Image credit: Maxim Sergienko.

APEX Insight: On schedule, BAE Systems’ IntelliCabin has achieved Supplemental Type Certification after a successful installation on its launch customer, Vistara, last month.

A year after announcing Indian-based airline Vistara as the launch customer of its IntelliCabin streaming in-flight entertainment solution, BAE Systems has announced today that it’s received its Supplemental Type Certificate from EASA and the GDCA in India. The solution went live on March 2, 2016.

“There were no blips; it went better than expected,” Ehtisham Siddiqui, vice-president and general manager, Controls and Avionics Solutions at BAE Systems, tells APEX Media. Vistara currently has nine A320 aircraft in service, but will reach a total of 13 A320ceo by the end of 2016 and seven A320neo by 2018. According to Siddiqui, the airline will progress installation of IntelliCabin across its entire fleet.

AirWorks assisted BAE Systems with the first installation, which was completed in three nights without interrupting service. “The teams worked really well together,” Siddiqui says. “It was streaming as soon as they turned the switch on. It was a magical feeling.”

Siddiqui tells APEX Media that Vistara is now exploring how it can refine its operations. In addition to other operational logistics, ancillary revenue is a key area of consideration. “They’re looking at how much they want to expand advertising, onboard purchasing, etc.,” Siddiqui says. Much of what the airline determines will be based on passenger feedback surveys they collected within the system.

“This is an emerging market,” says Siddiqui. He accredits the rapidly growing wireless in-flight entertainment trend – particularly on short-haul flights – with increasing customer interest in the IntelliCabin product, many of which, he says, are in the “decision phase.”

Bolstered by the growth of device-based IFE, Siddiqui shares that BAE Systems has also seen a lot of interest in its in-seat power solution. Unlike traditional systems that prioritize charge on a first-come, first-serve basis, the solution’s smart switches provide rapid charge to the devices that are most drained.

At last year’s APEX EXPO in Portland, Oregon, BAE Systems stunned the industry by announcing that it had secured an agreement with a major Hollywood studio to stream early window content to devices. The announcement prompted a great deal of industry speculation and conversation. When asked to comment on any developments, Siddiqui said, “We stand by the announcement. It’s been an ongoing discussion in the industry as to how things should be handled. Things are in a holding pattern.”

Katie is a writer for APEX Media, based in Toronto, Ontario.