Posted on: 23 September 2015 by Ross McSweeny
Spring Airlines has become the launch customer for an Airbus A320 in-flight Wi-Fi cabin distribution system created by Kontron with Chinese avionics company Fair Link Century that allows passengers to stream HD video content and access music, games, news and cabin online chat.
With the support of Fair Link Century, Kontron obtained airworthiness approvals including an FAA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) and a Validated STC from the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC). Spring Airlines plans to install the solution on a second aircraft during October 2015 after receiving positive feedback on trial flights.
Kontron’s solution provides the complete set of hardware that deploys an 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi environment in an A320 cabin, including its ACE Flight 4600 airborne server, Cab-n-Connect A100 cabin wireless access point (pictured), system control panel and installation kit.
Chinese avionics company Fair Link Century also developed the operating software to address the application’s requirements for both passengers and cabin crew as well as embedding Chinese video content and other entertainment options for market orientation purposes.
“The A320 STC is a significant step forward in Kontron’s strategy to offer open architecture system solutions to the global aviation market,” said Andy Mason, VP avionics systems and programme management, Kontron. “A key component to our strategy is partnerships with innovative companies such as Fair Link, who provide the application software solution pre-validated on the Kontron hardware system as well as the local content that is unique to the Chinese market.”
“The growth of the aviation market in China represents a significant opportunity for Kontron and we have positioned ourselves accordingly over the past three years,” continued Xiaowei Peng, general manager of Kontron China. “With the opening of the new Kontron China headquarters in Beijing, we have anticipated the state-of-the-art manufacturing and support capabilities that the market will require.”
Changwen Yuan, Fair Link Century’s president, explained, “The current solution is just the first step in our business operation and relationship between Spring Airlines and Fair Link Century. With a successful VIP flight on Spring Airlines in July, and positive feedback from the passenger service, we are now working on plans for a connectivity prototype. Whether based on Ku-Band or Ka-Band technology, we plan to roll out our advanced solutions to our local airline partners. We expect that thousands of aircraft will be installed with Fair Link and Kontron’s fully functional and automatic solutions in the next three to five years.”
Kontron has since announced that several undisclosed commercial airlines and business jet customers also plan to deploy the company’s next-generation avionics products to form the backbone of new on-board Wi-Fi systems.