China Eastern Airlines' new Airbus single aisle fleet will feature surveillance systems, flight management systems and head up displays' from Thales, the French aerospace manufacturer said Thursday, Jan. 9.
The Chinese carrier will add Thales' latest avionics solutions to a fleet of 60 Airbus A320s that it purchased for $5.4 billion in 2012. Delivery of those aircraft is scheduled to begin this year.
According to Daniel Malka, vice president and general manager of avionics services worldwide at Thales, said the purchase should prepare the airline for future Air Traffic Management (ATM) requirements in China. Airbus signed a partnership
in September to modernize the nation's air traffic system, focusing on air traffic flow management and the implementation of Required Navigation Performance Authorization Required (RNP AR) approaches at Chengdu Airport and Instrument Landing Systems at Beijing Capital Airport.
“China Eastern, already one of our main customers for FMS systems, has now become our largest customer for T3CAS Surveillance Systems and Head -Up Displays in China, which we feel will lay the foundations for future ATM requirements in this region," said Malka.
Among the Thales solutions selected by China Eastern is the company's ACSS T3CAS surveillance platform, which is compliant with future ATM requirements in Europe. The system features a performance based Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) and an ADS-B capable transponder in a 6 MCU package, along with a full range of ADS-B In functions; which would prepare China Eastern for ADS-B future airspace mandates in the region, should regulations follow U.S. FAA directives.
The Chinese carrier will also likely use the new Thales-equipped aircraft on several new routes that were introduced using A320s in December, including flights between Ningbo (NGB) and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK), and Wuxi (WUX) to Singapore (SIN).
China is expected to lead the global increase in passenger demand on domestic routes through 2016 with an additional 193 million passengers projected to travel domestically on Chinese carriers over the next three years.