Thales Emirates

Patrick Brannelly, Emirates, announces a partnership with the adoption of the AVANT in-flight entertainment system on Emirates’ Boeing 777X fleet, plus an innovation center in Dubai. Image: Lim Kok Wee

APEX Insight: Thales announced at APEX EXPO today that it has secured a deal to equip Emirates’ future Boeing 777X fleet with AVANT in-flight entertainment systems. The order is the result of Thales’ commitment to establish Discovery Dubai, an innovations center in the United Arab Emirates.

Emirates has selected Thales’ AVANT in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution for the first 50 of its fleet of 150 Boeing 777X aircraft. The order is the result of Thales’ commitment to establish Discovery Dubai, an innovations center in the United Arab Emirates, along with maintenance and repair facilities, enabling the airline to have more influence in the development of future projects.

“This experience will evolve as Emirates wants to evolve,” says Dominique Giannoni, chief executive officer, Thales InFlyt Experience. “AVANT has been designed from the start to follow this incremental evolution,” he said, citing the need to keep up with the fast-pace of technology.

“I hope the biggest surprise will be the experience for the customers.” –Patrick Brannelly

Patrick Brannelly, vice-president of Customer Experience, In-flight Entertainment and Connectivity at Emirates, said Thales’ innovation was complementary to the innovation of the Boeing 777X. “Disruption is when you challenge everything and think, ‘How can we do it better?’ The goal is for when that aircraft delivers, it will be full of surprises, and I hope the biggest surprise will be the experience for the customers.”

While deliveries of Emirates’ first 777X aircraft are scheduled for 2020, Discover Dubai is expected to open in two years. “We need to be close to our airline customers and to Emirates,” said Giannoni. “Not only because we need to work hand in hand on a daily basis, but also to understand their context, their demographics, their strategy.”

AVANT, an open Android-based IFE system that also flies on other Gulf carriers, including Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways and Oman Air, is expected to be the first IFE solution to debut on the 777X. However, Qatar Airways, which uses the AVANT IFE system on its fleet of Airbus A350s, is scheduled to be the launch customer of the aircraft.