Thales Announces AA as Launch Customer for its 4K HDR Optiq IFE Displays


A mockup of an Airbus A321XLR in the American Airlines livery. Image via Airbus

American Airlines (AA) is to install Thales’ latest AVANT in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution on its incoming Airbus A321XLR and Boeing 787-9 fleets, which are scheduled to enter service on transcontinental and international flights in 2023.

This announcement will see AA become the launch customer for Thales’ new line of high-performance Optiq displays, which will give passengers access to 4K high dynamic range (HDR) seatback screens enhanced with Samsung’s proprietary QLED technology.

Premium-class travelers will enjoy 17-inch displays alongside a five-inch touchscreen handset that will offer a true second-screen experience. Screens in premium economy and economy class will feature 13.3-inch displays and 11.6-inch displays, respectively.

The system is capable of providing a Bluetooth audio connection at each seat, and will include high-power 60-watt USB type C and AC outlets at each seat across all classes. Furthermore, premium-class passengers will also benefit from AA’s high-speed in-flight connectivity system, which will provide the airline with real-time health monitoring and reporting on its performance.

Yannick Assouad, EVP Avionics at Thales, commented, “American Airlines has trusted Thales as an in-flight entertainment supplier for more than a decade and is now to equip its new A321XLR and Boeing 787-9 aircraft with the latest AVANT IFE solution. As air travel begins to recover, Thales continues to invest in digital innovations that create value for our customers. We’re truly excited to provide these solutions to American and its customers.”

Thales revealed details of its AVANT Up IFE solution in June 2021, a big selling point of which is that the 4K HDR displays are also 30% lighter than previous models thanks to the use of polycarbonate material instead of glass.

AA placed an order for up to 50 A321XLR aircraft at the Paris Air Show in 2019. This included a conversion of 30 A321neo orders to A321XLRs. The carrier also converted five of its Boeing 787-8 aircraft orders to the larger 787-9 variant in April this year