AIX2011: Thompson debuts 1Net on Bahrain Air, saving around US$5m in fuel

Irivine CA-based connectivity provider Thompson Aerospace launched its 1Net infotainment solution on an Airbus A319 flown by Bahrain Air on April 1, providing the carrier with what the company website claims will be some $5,360 of fuel savings per seat over seven years.

At 132 seats per aircraft, this tots up to an impressive $4.9m per plane.The savings come from ancillary revenue generation. Much like Google Adwords, companies such as restaurants and theatres at the destination bid to offer their expiring products on board at discounted prices. These are served onto the seatback screen under a menu option providing destination information. Each time a passenger clicks through to check out an offering the airline receives a fee. Each time a passenger actually books, Bahrain Air also receives a fee, coming out at between US$2 and US$6 per flight. Mark Thompson CEO Thompson Aerospace explains: “This will revolutionise on board infotainment. We are not an IFE services provider; rather we help augment an airline’s ancillary revenues. There is also a banner ad running at the bottom of the screen generating money to pay our fee. We had banked on around 20 advertisers, but had to stop at 61 this has been so successful.”The key behind the system is an onboard-personalised Infotainment portal, comprising an 8.5” display, offering a passenger point of sale, an embedded capacitive keypad on the right hand side of the screen with audio and USB interfaces. Thompson adds: “The trick is that there is no touch screen. We use jpegs, which are quick to download and change for each flight, and the keypad on the side is where the customer makes their choices. IT is very robust. We are not in the business of selling spares, we sell replacements at the same cost per unit as the original.”Thompson Aerospace not only provides the hardware, but also works with advertisers at each destination to provide content. There is also a cabin attendant portal providing control and maintenance for the offering.A modular, multi-client, multi-purpose aircraft network, 1Net is a LAN based on two connectivity servers employing i7-620 LE 2 GHz processors with 4Gb of RAM and 1Tb of solid-state memory, all packaged in a 2MCU, 6.5lb enclosure.Functions supported include embedded cell phone and 802.11b WiFi, and ARINC 429. An Ethernet switch power unit connects the server to up to eight clients simultaneously, and the entire system is scalable.…And aims to raise US$1m to help blind children seeThompson Aerospace is also aiming to raise US$1m to support the ORBIS charity that helps blind children throughout the world. The charity flies a converted McDonnell Douglas DC-10 Flying Eye hospital, with an on board surgical suite and provides medical training, tools and technology to local partners in 88 countries.The fundraising will help ORBIS replace its 40-year old DC-10 with a newer aircraft containing a new operating theatre.

Liz Moscrop, Inflight

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