Qantas turns catering trolleys into onboard iPad ‘sync & charge’ carts

Hot on the heels of the announcement that Qantas has started the rollout of its new Q-Streaming wireless inflight entertainment service comes an interesting look behind the scenes. Qantas’ Q-Streaming service will see every seat on Qantas’ B767 aircrafts get an iPad that provides passengers with access to more than 200 hours of content, streamed from an onboard server. Passengers who own an iPad, laptop or smartphone will also be able to view the same content through a separate application, but it is unclear when this feature will be introduced.

Qantas has also indicated that it is looking at ways to evolve the Panasonic-based technology platform further. According to the airline’s Domestic CEO Lyell Strambi, “This could include the addition of internet access, live television and the ability to order food, drinks and duty- free goods via the iPad.” More on the Qantas’ Q-Stream system in this report by Australian Business Traveller.

iPad galley carts
In order to keep all 256 iPads onboard the B767 fully charged for return flights, multiple flights during the day, as well as to simplifly logistics, Qantas has partnered with Australian IT equipment designer and manufacturer PC Locs that will see the company deliver a fleet of customised galley carts to support the airline’s new IFE service.

PC Locs will supply Qantas with iPad charging carts, which essentially are normal galley trolleys that have been re-kitted to store, transport, sync and charge up the devices onboard. The iPad carts will be deployed on the airline’s Boeing 767 fleet, which operates on routes across Australia and between Australia and Honolulu, Hawaii.

James Symons, CEO of PC Locs, said the partnership is the result of a six month collaboration between the company and Qantas to design and deliver a high-tech ‘sync and charge’ galley cart. Each airplane will carry four of these carts providing 256 iPads for passengers to use. “Together we worked through the many challenges that come with developing the right technology and equipment needed to support the constant use of hundreds of iPads on each flight. Our solution is designed to specifically integrate with the Qantas personnel work environment and adhere to strict aviation standards,” said Symons.

Deployment of the PC Locs solution has recently started and is scheduled for completion by March 2013.

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