DN - Defence Notes

Jet Airways and Kingfisher court the kid market

8th November 2008 - 19:49 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Leading Indian carriers Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines, which recently announced a partnership designed to fend off the worst of the downturn, have both turned to the Disney organisation for help in emphasising their child-friendly credentials.  

Jet Airways has launched a Disney-based IFE festival for children called World of Wonders (WOW). Set to run for two months, it’s a compilation of Disney Channel hits such as Hannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Phineas & Ferb, and Wizards Of Waverly Palace.

Kingfisher has teamed with Disney Publishing to bring its young passengers the Little Wings package, comprising an inflight activity magazine, entertainment and Disney giveaways.

The new offerings are a further extension of two airlines’ already impressive IFE and connectivity activities.

Jet Airways is installing Panasonic’s eFX in its Boeing 737s and eX2 in its Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A330-200s. The airline uses Inmarsat’s Classic Aero satcoms system to support in-seat voice and data for text messaging, email and live text news at up to 9.6kbit/sec in the Airbus A330-200s.

Kingfisher’s IFE offering includes live TV and audio/video-on-demand at every seat on domestic routes. Its primary IFE vendor is Thales Avionics, which has supplied systems for the A320-family aircraft, A330s and A340s that the airline has in service or on order. Various configurations of TopSeries i-3000 and i-4000 have been selected for 54 A320-family aircraft, and i-5000 with inflight television capability is earmarked for five A330s and five A340s.

The carrier is also installing broadcast IFE in its ATR 72-500 regional turboprop fleet. The hardware is a DVD-based system from French supplier Vision Systems, which specialises mainly in cabin interiors, video systems for passenger displays and other functions, windows and cockpit sun visors.      

Kingfisher has ordered a total of 35 ATR 72s and plans to fit them all with the system. The ATRs are used to fly from Indian secondary cities to the country’s main hubs at Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Bangalore, and to feed Kingfisher’s current main fleet of Airbus A320-family aircraft.

The ATR installation comprises 17 colour LCD drop-down screens mounted along with loudspeakers for audio in the cabin overhead, a head-end unit to handle CDs and DVDs, and a crew control panel. The screens measure 12.7cm by 9.3cm, weigh 0.2kg each and are spaced every two or three seat rows along both sides of the cabin.

The airline has ordered Honeywell’s MCS-7200 Inmarsat satcoms terminal for installation in the new Airbus A330s and A340s that it has begun to receive. The system can support up to six voice channels and four Swift 64 64kbit/sec channels or two 432kbit/sec SwiftBroadband channels. It is scheduled to be used to deliver OnAir’s Webmail and Webchat services this year, with Internet access and onboard mobile phone to follow next year.

Passengers will pay for Webmail and Webchat on a per-flight basis, and for Internet access per kilobyte of data downloaded. Mobile phone users will incur costs similar to international roaming rates and will be billed by their usual mobile operators.

OnAir’s Internet service will allow users to access the Internet and private networks from wired or wireless laptops, BlackBerry-type devices or the seatback IFE system. The Webmail service will give access to existing Web-based email accounts, allowing users to preview the contents of inboxes at no charge before purchasing the service. Webchat will support personal instant messaging via existing AIM (AOL), ICQ, MSN Messenger/Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger accounts.

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