Lion Air just upped the competitive ante for its newest subsidiaries by choosing the Lumexis inflight entertainment system for its narrowbody flights on its subsidiaries Batik Air and Malindo Air. When they begin taking delivery of their Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s later this year, they will be fitted with Lumexis’s light-weight Fiber-To-The-Screen (FTTS) system.
The move is a perfect illustration of a trend that will flower in the next few years – embedded IFE systems on narrowbody aircraft. Indeed, Lumexis CEO Doug Cline expects embedded IFE technology to be fitted on “well north of 25%” of narrowbody aircraft in the near future. And, Lion Air can tell you why.
“The greater fuel efficiency of the new 737s, A320s and A321s we are taking for our premium airlines Batik Air and for our low-cost Malindo Air means they will be flying longer distances and that requires an inflight entertainment system,” Lion Air spokesperson Leithen Francis told Runway Girl Network.
“We will be the first A320 operator in the world to get this system when Batik takes delivery of its first A320 in June. Both Batik and Malindo, which takes its first aircraft equipped with the Lumexis system in August, are challenger brands. They are new airlines working to win over consumers and we see the Lumexis system as a challenger brand with clear benefits. The system has less weight and does away with the under-seat boxes which is a huge weight savings for reduced fuel burn. Another thing that impresses us is the touch-screen technology which is very responsive. It also doesn’t have a separate remote control, just simply the touch screen technology.”
Francis, who would not discuss the value of the order, pointed out that the acquisition for Batik and Malindo opens up a whole new market for Lumexis. Batik Air will be taking 10 aircraft this year and 24 aircraft next year. It has orders for 777-300ERs and 787s, although a decision on IFE systems for those aircraft has yet to be made, according to Francis. For Malindo, which combines what the company calls “exceptional air services” with low fares and added values, it is expecting to take delivery of 24 737-900ERs next year.
The world’s first fully-fiber-optic-based HDTV IFE system, Lumexis FTTS is billed as reducing weight by 60% per seat over traditional systems by eliminating all equipment boxes between the server and the in-seat screens, and has fewer parts than legacy IFE systems. Lumexis’ Cline suggests that FTTS also offers the greatest future expandability, with virtually unlimited growth in applications and functionality.
The triple-redundant system architecture offers multiple services, a dual-fiber-optic cable network and in-seat content storage for ultimate fail safe reliability, Cline told Runway Girl Network yesterday from Singapore, before the announcement was made with Lion Air. Coupled with the fuel efficient Boeing and Airbus narrowbodies, the two new airlines are expected to have an efficiency to help them compete in their respective markets in East Asia, Indonesia and Malaysia. The IFE systems will not be deployed aboard Malindo’s ATR 72-600s given their short stage lengths, according to Francis.
“This order is one heck of an important contract for us,” says Cline. “The entire world is watching Lion Air and its subsidiaries. It is an extremely valuable association for us. With the Boeing MAX and Airbus [A320] neo, aircraft will be flying longer and longer legs and airlines will really need to provide that embedded entertainment system for passengers. Other low-cost carriers are also compressing the seating so you really need to have a good IFE system to distract passengers.”
He notes that Lion Air is now developing a premium brand with Batik Air which will grow in the next 20 years without having to change its IFE equipment except for making software upgrades. The network has very high bandwidth, far more than what the legacy IFE systems can deliver.