AERQ AERENA Inseat System in every seat aboard the Discover A320. This image was taken from the back of the aircraft, looking forward.

Discover Airlines A320 ready to take flight with AERQ open IT platform


When you think about the embedded inflight entertainment market, venerable names like Panasonic Avionics, Safran Passenger Innovations and Thales likely spring to mind. Each aerospace giant has secured airline customers around the world for their respective IFE systems. But there is a new player in town called AERQ, and the first implementation of its seat-centric seatback IFE solution is about to take flight on an Airbus A320 operated by German leisure carrier Discover Airlines.

A joint venture between LG Electronics and MRO giant Lufthansa Technik, AERQ has approached the IFE market in a novel way from the very beginning: rather than lead off with a hardware-intensive pitch, it has instead focused on developing AERENA, an open IT platform aimed at empowering airlines to gain complete control over their digital cabin experience and customize their digital onboard product rapidly.

In a statement published today, AERQ reveals that its ‘AERENA Inseat System’ has been installed and EASA type certified on an eight-year-old A320 (D-AIUQ) operated by Discover Airlines. AERQ’s 14” 4K screens have been integrated into the Geven Essenza slimline seats flown by Discover.

“This implementation has been realised through a collaboration and innovation partnership between AERQ, Discover Airlines and Lufthansa Group Innovation Runway,” says AERQ, noting that Lufthansa Group Innovation Runway fosters solution-finding within the Lufthansa Group and with external partners.

A passenger is using the AERQ AERENA Inseat System. A bright GUI is in view in Discover's colors of blue and white.

Discover Airlines will be able to profit from AERENA’s agility which allows rapid updates of all content. Image: AERQ

From 29 March, the AERENA-equipped A320 will serve medium-haul flights in support of the airline’s 2024 summertime schedule. It will also serve as a testbed for all parties, putting AERENA through its paces to showcase how it supports a state-of-the-art cloud-based infrastructure, boosts digital cabin innovations throughout the travel journey, facilitates greater passenger engagement onboard the aircraft, and inspires interaction through a personal device-friendly environment.

“Our goal is to test the system in everyday life and understand how to further improve and personalise the travel experience through feedback and usage behavior from our guests,” explains Discover Airlines director product & marketing Maximilian Meintgens.

AERQ and Lufthansa Group logos up close on the side of the Discover A320 in the hangar.Indeed, various use cases will be tested aboard the A320 to fully realize the potential of AERENA. “Passengers can benefit from personalised offers and information digitally, including access to the onboard catering menu [and] to a variety of applications, such as booking tours for their destinations. This approach enables passengers to make even more effective use of their travel time,” says AERQ.


Runway Girl Network reached out to the joint venture to learn more about this flight trial.

“One of the main goals is to prove the agility and flexibility that airlines gain with AERENA Experience Studio in regards to updating content, customizing their UI and managing applications and services within days,” explains AERQ director of marketing, communications & partnerships Verena Bintaro.

Streamlining third-party app development is a particular focus. “A/B testing of content and UI changes will lead to optimization of the passenger experience and offerings that will ultimately lead to the potential of enhancing ancillary revenues,” notes Bintaro.

She confirms to RGN that PED integration and pairing with the IFE system will be introduced from the start. “Passengers will be able to use it as a remote control for the monitor, for gaming, and for moving map and destination content. This will be further enhanced with more applications and services.”

Furthermore, the system will offer Bluetooth functionality, enabling passengers to pair their own headsets for audio. Device pairing and Bluetooth functionality are now generally considered must-haves for modern IFE systems.

A passenger is pairing their mobile device with the AERQ AERENA Inseat System on board.AERQ further boasts that by using smart data capturing, analytics, and matching, Discover Airlines will be able to learn about its passengers’ entertainment demands and address them specifically. And so, RGN asked if there are any GDPR privacy hurdles to offering a truly personalized experience in Europe? For instance, do passengers have to “opt-in” in any way?

Says Bintaro:

At this stage the passenger has the option to answer a quick survey digitally in the beginning of the flight to receive a more tailored experience. Data analytics will be used to enhance the passenger experience respecting GDPR regulations.

AERQ is presently working to secure supplemental type certification (STC) on other aircraft types, but says it cannot share more details at this stage. Discover’s Meintgens notes, however: “The insights we gather during the test phase will make an important contribution to the further development of the inflight entertainment experience for the entire Lufthansa Group.”

Discover A320 with the words "next level entertainment on board" seen on its livery.

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All images credited to AERQ