In a blow to American Airlines’ inflight entertainment system suppliers, the US major confirms to Runway Girl Network that it brought maintenance of all IFE systems in-house earlier this year.
“As part of the Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA), in February, the maintenance of all inflight entertainment (IFE) systems on our aircraft transitioned to the American Airlines Technical Operations team, allowing our team members the opportunity to further expand their IFE knowledge base and maintain these systems for our customers going forward,” an American Airlines spokesperson told RGN regarding the termination of its IFE maintenance contracts with Panasonic Avionics and Thales.
American presently offers embedded IFE on its widebody fleet, and on an ever-decreasing number of select Airbus A320 family aircraft.
Last year’s near idling of the commercial aviation fleet due to the coronavirus pandemic not only affected the sale of IFE and connectivity hardware to airlines. It meant that IFE hardware maintenance revenue – where companies like Panasonic and Thales usually thrive – was pummeled.
RGN understands that American’s decision to bring IFE maintenance in-house is not directly related to the carrier’s $550 million investment in its Tulsa maintenance facilities.
American, meanwhile, remains an outlier among US majors in its decision not to offer embedded IFE on narrowbodies flying medium- and long-haul. The carrier has, however, turned to DirecTV and Dish to bring inflight live sports and news networks to its passengers’ own devices across its domestic narrowbody fleet.
- American turns to DirecTV and Dish for inflight live sports and news
- United brings back embedded IFE under massive narrowbody overhaul
- Flying “the good A321” with seatback IFE at AA is great
- How Thales slashed weight from its latest IFE technology
- IFE giants Panasonic and Thales implement layoffs in the United States
Featured image credited to Jason Rabinowitz