New IFE Products Aim To Benefit Both Passengers And Airlines

seatback inflight entertainment
Credit: Aerq

1. New Approach to IFE 

Company: AERQ

Product: Founded in 2019 as a joint venture between LG Electronics and Lufthansa Technik (LHT), AERQ is hoping to turn the aircraft cabin into an arena for new ideas and business opportunities. The company is leveraging LHT’s expertise in certification and installation of inflight entertainment (IFE) systems alongside LG’s consumer electronics experience. AERQ has developed a cloud-based, modular open IT platform called Aerena to maximize passenger engagement onboard. Aerena consists of touchpoints such as an in-seat IFE system with 4K monitors and cabin digital signage based on the latest OLED technology. The joint venture is in talks with several airlines about projects and also exploring partnerships in areas such as e-commerce, advertising and gaming.

2. Component-Level Support 

Company: Video Refurbishing Services

video refurbishing tools and equipment
Credit: Video Refurbishing Services

Product: Video Refurbishing Services (VRS) is a repair station certified by the FAA and European Union Aviation Safety Agency that provides component-level services for IFE equipment and avionics. Its repair capabilities for IFE include LCD monitors, file servers, seat electronics boxes, cabin management units and handsets. VRS provides repair station services from its Chicago area facilities, which it shares with sister company IFE Products. VRS recently increased capabilities to support the latest LCD technologies in line with increased adoption of smart monitors for seatback IFE.

3. Wireless IFE Transformation 

Company: Inflight Dublin

Inflight Dublin equipment
Credit: Inflight Dublin

Product: Inflight Dublin has traditionally targeted long-haul airlines operating widebodies with traditional seatback IFE systems. To target narrowbody operators, it recently developed an IFE product called Everhub combining Inflight Dublin’s hardware, software and entertainment content into a single platform that allows passengers to wirelessly stream content on their own devices from an onboard server. Inflight Dublin says 10 more global airlines will deploy Everhub in the first quarter of 2022. Although Everhub was designed to be durable and low-maintenance, Inflight Dublin provides in-house engineering capabilities to maintain its wireless IFE hardware.

4. IFE Powerhouse

Company: Panasonic Avionics

seatback inflight entertainment screens
Credit: Panasonic Avionics

Product: With its IFE systems installed on more than 15,000 commercial aircraft, Panasonic Avionics says its products power approximately 70% of the global IFE-equipped fleet. In late 2021, its IFE systems were selected by airlines including Aeroflot, Air Belgium, Emirates, Saudia and Singapore Airlines. Its Panasonic Technical Services arm provides maintenance for IFE equipment from more than 45 line maintenance and repair stations worldwide, including spares support, AOG support and technical training.

5. Suite of New IFE Products

Company: Astronics Corp.

Astronics Corp. equipment
Credit: Astronics Corp.

Product: Based in Aurora, New York, Astronics Corp. provides a wide variety of connectivity and data products for aircraft, including its Sierra portable IFE system and EmPower in-seat power product line. Its newest IFE platform, the Edge, uses distributed network computing to eliminate the need for a traditional headend server. Astronics recently began offering antimicrobial formulations of its EmPower in-seat power system outlet units, and it will soon release UltraLite Gen2, its second-generation zonal in-seat power product. Although Astronics performs most product repairs in-house, it also works with its customers’ preferred MROs and offers global support through partner companies.

Lindsay Bjerregaard

Lindsay Bjerregaard is managing editor for Aviation Week’s MRO portfolio. Her coverage focuses on MRO technology, workforce, and product and service news for, Aviation Week Marketplace and Inside MRO.