Commercial, Embedded Avionics

Thales, CETCA in IFE Joint Venture for C919

By Tish Drake | March 27, 2012
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Thales and China Electronics Technology Avionics Co., Ltd. (CETCA) signed a joint venture agreement to support the integration of Thales TopSeries in-flight entertainment system into the new C919, manufactured by Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC). The Joint Venture Operations are expected to begin in third quarter of 2012, following final approval by the relevant authorities. Designed and built in China, the 156–190 seat C919 will first take flight in 2014 with aircraft deliveries scheduled to begin in 2016.

Thales said its system will be a scalable platform offering services ranging from interactive audio capability through to full in-seat on-demand services, with an emphasis on minimizing weight, cost and power consumption. Future evolution of the system will likely include wireless networks and connectivity. This Joint Venture takes C919 as the first initiative, and sells in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems and equipment to COMAC and other Chinese OEMs. In addition, based on customer requirements, the Joint Venture will provide products and system integration in support of Thales’s core IFEC business to related aircraft worldwide, the companies said.

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

Zeng Li, general manager of CETCA, said the “C919 program is just the start. China’s civil aviation industry is under fast development and the partnership with Thales has great potential.” Over the next 20 years, the China market is forecast to deliver 4,330 new aircraft with 71 percent being single aisle aircraft (excluding retrofit aircraft). The Joint Venture is in a position to leverage and evolve current technologies that optimize offerings for the single aisle and regional markets.

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