Commercial, Embedded Avionics

Virgin America Adds IFE Technology Partner

By Tish Drake | September 15, 2011
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Photo courtesy Virgin America

Virgin America selected Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect platform as the technology partner for its Red in-flight entertainment system. The companies unveiled the new platform at this week's Airline Passenger Experience exhibition in Seattle.

Virgin America said the system, which is slated for launch in late 2012, will feature a hybrid technology that will give travelers a variety of ways to play, interact, connect and be entertained at 35,000 feet – similar to the multi-faceted consumer technologies they have access to in their lives on the ground. BoardConnect will replace complex legacy in-flight entertainment systems via an onboard WiFi network. It will allow Virgin America to build a next iteration of Red that offers the best of both worlds: a larger, high-definition touch-screen seatback monitor with full WiFi connectivity. This month, Virgin America launches back-end testing of the new platform on its first aircraft, a new Airbus A320 aptly named: #nerdbird.

“The idea behind Red has always been to reinvent the flight experience, by offering travelers more options, more control, more content and more interactivity. Even though we believe that Red has raised the bar and is still head and shoulders above anything else in the U.S. skies, we’re not the kind of Company that rests on our laurels,” said David Cush, president and CEO of Virgin America. “Our focus on innovation is a core part of our business model and guest offering, and BoardConnect will allow us to not only leap even further ahead of the airline pack, but also pace the larger consumer trends in mobile technology. We now have the architecture we need to design a dynamic entertainment experience that is the next logical iteration of Red.”

Although further design details and functionality for the new system are still under development, the new Red platform will be entirely interactive, connective and entertaining – with content and services offered both via the seatback system and guests’ personal electronic devices. The new Red platform will offer travelers an unmatched range of media and connectivity choices via the seatback, as well as the option to connect their personal electronic devices to the system.

“We’re pleased to announce that an airline known for its unique design, inventiveness and the quality of its entertainment experience will be the launch partner for BoardConnect. BoardConnect opens a new world of opportunities for airlines and their passengers. It is a perfect example for how Lufthansa Systems as a technology leader in airline IT provides innovative solutions which help their customers in many ways to set new standards in passenger service, lower their cost and stay ahead of their competition,” said Stefan Hansen, CEO and chairman of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Systems. “BoardConnect gives airlines an unprecedented degree of flexibility to develop new entertainment applications as well as to create new sources of ancillary revenue.”

For more on in-flight connectivity systems, tune in for Avionics Magazine's Sept. 28 Webinar, Internet at 30,000 Feet: In-Flight Connectivity Technologies and Trends. Visit for more information.

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