Qatar Airways is set to become the first international airline to install live onboard satellite television as part of a US$100 million agreement with German company Lufthansa Technik. The award-winning airline plans to introduce the new feature on its long-haul fleet of Airbus A330s by the end of the year.
The US$100 million agreement also includes engine maintenance and overhaul of the airline’s Airbus A320 family of short-haul aircraft over the next 10 years. Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker announced the agreements following the signing of both MoU’s (Memorandum of Understanding) with supplier Lufthansa Technik at the Paris Air Show in the French capital.
Lufthansa Technik will install Rockwell Collins’ Tailwind 560 product for onboard live satellite television on the airline’s fleet of 15 A330s. Passengers will be able to watch live TV from selected networks, further enhancing their inflight entertainment options. Engineers and technicians will equip the fleet with antennas and corresponding systems and integrate the TV function into Qatar Airways’ existing award-winning interactive inflight entertainment system.
In addition, Lufthansa Technik’s Engine Services in Hamburg will service the different IAE V2500 engine variants of Qatar Airways’ family of Airbus A320 aircraft under its Total Engine Support contract. Al Baker said onboard live satellite television was yet another product initiative that would differentiate Qatar Airways from its competitors even further.
“As a key player in the Middle East and international aviation market, Qatar Airways always commits itself to the highest standards of inflight entertainment and onboard amenities,” he explained.
“We continue to look at ways to improve our service levels to passengers and, by offering a variety of entertainment options, we also set new standards of comfort to ensure we are the airline of choice.”
He added: “By entrusting our engines to Lufthansa Technik, we are working with a partner that is well respected around the world for its high standards of service delivery.”
Qatar Airways’ entertainment system onboard its widebody A330 fleet is fully interactive offering Audio Video On Demand which gives passengers greater viewing and listening options. The stop, pause, rewind and forward functions provide greater flexibility allowing passengers to view movies and TV programmes from around the world at the time of their choice on their personal entertainment system.
Qatar Airways offers personal TV screens across all three cabins - Economy, Business and First Class - on its A330s with individual LCD TV screens for every passenger. At 15 inches, Qatar Airways’ First Class and Business Class personal TV screens are the largest in the Middle East, as are the Economy cabin’s 9-inch screens.
Qatar Airways is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, currently operating an all-Airbus fleet of 40 aircraft, flying to 65 destinations worldwide from its operational hub of Doha, capital of the State of Qatar. The award-winning carrier is among an elite group of international airlines ranked with a Five Star status by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry-monitoring agency.
Lufthansa Tecknik chairman August Henningsen added: “The growth in the global aviation market becomes more and more visible with the Middle East region being at the forefront of this expansion.
“Qatar Airways is a leading airline that is placing its trust in our technical expertise for two such challenging projects for which we will ensure we will dedicated special teams and provide the best possible service.”