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Thales-led joint venture to provide IFE for COMAC C919

Thales, and China Electronics Technology Avionics (CETCA) – whose parent company is China Electronics Technology Corporation (CETC) – are to create a joint venture company to integrate the Thales IFE system in the cabin of the new C919 aircraft from the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).

Designed and built in China, the first member of the 156-190 seat C919 family will make its inaugural flight in 2014 with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2016.

The Thales system installed will be a scalable, modular platform which will include interactive audio solutions through to full in-seat on-demand services. According to Thales, future evolutions of the system may include wireless networks and connectivity.

“The Thales system is the popular IFE solution flying today in China and we look forward to our technical teams coming together for a successful launch on the new C919 aircraft,” said Alan Pellegrini, managing director for the Thales Inflight Entertainment business.

This new business relationship, says Thales, underscores its position as a leading aerospace cabin and systems integrator and its commitment to the China market. Thales airline customers in China include Air China, China Eastern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Shanghai Airlines (now part of China Eastern) and Hong Kong Airlines. For these and other carriers, Thales will continue to expand its product support capabilities in Beijing, establish nearby media distribution centres, and develop new partnerships with application developers. The deal with COMAC and CETCA, Thales nores, demonstrates its ability to build relationships that provide immediate value to China and its local airlines.

“The global strength of Thales Group and our investment and growth strategy in partnership with CETCA and COMAC is a strong combination that can ultimately change the landscape of the civil aerospace marketplace in China. We fully expect that there will be strong demand for the C919 in China and we are proud to be part of this new market entry,” declared Olivier Guibert, president, Thales China and North Asia region.

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