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FAA air agency certification for Lumexis

28th March 2009 - 03:03 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Fibreoptic IFE pioneer Lumexis has ticked a small but important box in its campaign to become a mainstream supplier to the air transport industry.

The Costa Mesa, California-based company currently has its Fibre To The Screen (FTTS) system on trial aboard a single Airbus A320 operated by US Airways. The system, serving 150 seats in the aircraft, was installed in January and received FAA supplemental type certification at the beginning of this month. Lumexis has now been awarded Air Agency status by the local FAA Flight Standards District Office.

The new approval means that the company’s repair station, located next to Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, is fully authorised to offer a high level of repair service to the airlines that may install FTTS in their fleets.

US Airways launched a 60-day trial of FTTS on March 9. The low-weight, high-bandwidth system is available to passengers flying between Santa Ana (California), Phoenix and Atlanta. As implemented on the A320, FTTS offers 227 options totalling more than 250 hours of content: 30 films, 86 television programmes, four audio books, 100 music CDs and seven games.

The airline is keen to assess the revenue-generation potential of the system and will activate payment for premium content later in the trial. Passengers will be able to select content via their touchscreens and pay for it by swiping a debit or credit card through an in-seat unit. The airline plans to try out multiple pricing options during the trial.

Meantime, Lumexis chief executive Doug Cline is both crossing his fingers for a favourable outcome with US Airways and pushing on some readily opened doors at leading carriers in Europe and Asia. “We’ve been well received everywhere and we plan to land a launch customer before too long,” he says.

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