Thales is opening a new facility in Singapore today that will employ more than 400 in activities encompassing its complete electronics and systems product portfolio. The France-based company also is set to announce a new long-term avionics spares and component maintenance deal with Hainan Airlines for the support of its Airbus A340-600 fleet.
Hainan Airlines, China’s fourth-ranking airline company by fleet size and its larger privately owned carrier, operates 500 domestic and international routes from 10 Chinese locations. It flies a mix of more than 70 Airbus and Boeing aircraft and has 50 jets on order.
Olivier Guibert, Thales vice president for the Asia-Pacific region, told AIN that under the six-year, avionics-by-the-hour contract the company will take care of all aspects of Hainan’s A340-600 components in a single package. This includes the provision and storage of on-site components at the main base in Haikou, as well as access to a pool of spare parts and component repair on a flight-hour basis. According to Guibert, the program is aimed at providing maximum value to the airline by offering asset availability and reduced overall operating costs.
Thales already works closely with Hainan Airlines, which has selected the TopSeries in-flight entertainment (IFE) system for its five Airbus A330-200s (with another eight on order) and the eight Boeing 787 widebodies that it is operating. The Airbuses are configured with the TopSeries audio and video on-demand system throughout all classes with Thales’s 10.6-inch widescreen displays in first class and 8.9-inch widescreen displays in economy.
Separately, Air China, the country’s second largest commercial airline, has selected Thales to provide IFE systems for 15 Boeing B777s and 10 Airbus A330-300s on order. Thales won the contract in the face of competition from its main rival, Panasonic of Japan.
Air China previously ordered 20 IFE systems for its existing A330-300s. According to Guibert, Thales holds 80 percent of the IFE market share in the Chinese airline sector.