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FARNBOROUGH 2010: Thomson Dreamliners will have broadband and HD IFE

Thomson Airways, the European lead operator of the Boeing 787, plans to equip the eight aircraft it has ordered with broadband internet and 1,000 hours of in-flight entertainment viewed on high-definition screens as it seeks to make long-haul holiday destinations more accessible.

"The 787 will enable us to fly further than our competitors and offer a new class of inflight experience for our customers, especially on long-haul holidays " says Peter Long, CEO of Thomson parent group TUI Travel.

Mood lighting, higher humidity levels and aromatherapy fragrances will help reduce the symptoms of jet lag, and a bar area will provide passengers with unlimited fresh fruit smoothies and mineral water. Long says a recent survey found 43 percent of people would consider flying long haul for a single week’s holiday if jet lag symptoms were reduced.

Panasonic is providing the IFE hardware for the Thomson 787s, but discussions with broadband service providers are still under way, he says.

Thomson expects to start 787 operations in January 2012. Potential new Dreamliner destinations include Borneo, Madagascar, Namibia, Buenos Aires, Cambodia, Ecuador, Vietnam and Honolulu. "The prize is being able to fly direct to destinations our competitors can’t reach," Long adds.

Bernard Fitzsimons, editor, Inflight/Inflight-Online
Farnborough, UK

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