Jetstar

Jetstar to install new lightweight seats with iPad holders

Much has already been written about the in-flight rental of the iPad by airlines such as Jetstar, Iceland Express and airBaltic. In June 2010, Qantas low-cost subsidiary Jetstar became the first airline in the world to offer the iPad for rent in a month-long trial on two routes out of Melbourne. Iceland Express was the first airline to introduce the device for rent on an ongoing basis in November 2010 (on transatlantic flights), while airBaltic just confirmed it will make the latest version of the device, the iPad 2, available for rent in-flight from early June 2011 on. 

Jetstar and the iPad
Initially planned to be rolled out by year-end 2010 across its fleet, but this was reportedly delayed due to contract negotiations with Apple and media outlets, Jetstar is about to roll-out the iPad as its main source of in-flight entertainment. Although no firm date has been announced yet, Group CEO Bruce Buchanan in the April 2011 edition of Jetstar’s in-flight magazine says that the introduction of iPads is ”imminent”. 

iPad seat integration
Jetstar’s iPads will include a novel feature. Flightglobal and Australian Business Traveller report that Jetstar will fit the iPads with a purpose-built case which includes a bracket that lets passengers hang the device at eye level on new ‘Pinnacle’ slimline seats from B/E Aerospace. The seats will come installed on Jetstar’s new A320s (of which it has 44 on firm order) and the airline will also retrofit around 25 aircraft with the new seats during 2011. 

B/E Aerospace has relocated the literature pocket to the top of the Pinnacle seat, which freed up more leg room and allows the iPad case to be clipped backwards onto the seat pocket at eye level. Alternatively, a flip-stand on the case lets passengers rest the iPad horizontally on the seat’s tray table. See this video demonstration for more on the workings of the iPad case. 
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Airlines increasingly make iPads available to passengers in the air and on the ground

Latvian national airline airBaltic is the first airline in Europe (and the second airline worldwide) to introduce the Apple iPad for inflight entertainment. The airline has teamed up with Bluebox Avionics to make the devices available to airBaltic passengers in the coming winter season, which starts in December 2010. The fee to rent an iPad inflight is expected to be a bit more (EUR9) than the amount airBaltic currently charges for its portable IFE device. The announcement by airBaltic is the latest in a series of introductions by airlines of the popular iPad device which was launched in January 2010. An overview of the initiatives sofar.

Jetstar
In June 2010, Qantas low-cost subsidiary Jetstar became the first airline in the world to offer the iPad for rent in a month-long trial on the Melbourne-Gold Coast and Melbourne-Cairns routes. Passengers could rent the device for AUD10 (USD8.50, EUR7.00) for the duration of the flight. The carrier at that time said it had bought several hundred iPad devices, with thirty units available on each test aircraft. Jetstar recently revealed the test was a success and that it is negotiating with Apple for ”thousands” of the devices for its fleet. The carrier is reportedly planning to begin roll-out of the device on 55 aircraft later this month and says that, based on the popularity of the trial, the number of iPads allocated to each aircraft has substantially increased.

Malaysia Airlines
According to Flight International, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) also plans to introduce iPads onboardwithin the next six months. The carrier plans to initially introduce iPads on its A330s, which only offer main-screen entertainment, and MAS is also considering bringing iPads on board some of its B737s. Despite being a full-service carrier, MAS has not ruled out charging passengers a fee or deposit to use the iPad. One option could be for passengers to book an iPad with their ticket purchase. Read full article

Asia-Pacific long-haul low-cost airlines getting ready for further expansion

Asia’s fragmented geography makes air travel an attractive option. Especially low-cost airlines have allowed many Asians to travel by plane for the first time, and there is major scope for LCC growth on medium and long-haul routes as the rapidly growing middle classes of Asia are increasingly traveling longer distances. Market liberalisation is the other growth engine, with the opening of new routes between secondary destinations, especially in China, India and Southeast Asia. 

Low-cost carriers already fly many 5-hour routes across Asia, such as Jin Air and Jeju Air from Seoul to Bangkok, and Tiger Airways from Singapore to destinations in Greater China. Indonesian low-cost carrier Lion Air also has plans to expand its regional network to China, Japan and South Korea. According to Airbus in 2009 Asian budget carriers flew an average 1,800 kilometres per flight. In comparison, the average flight length for Southwest Airlines (USA) was 1,019 km, and 978 km for Easyjet (Europe). The Asia-Pacific region is also home to 2 of the 3 long-haul low-cost airlines in the world, AirAsia X and Jetstar (airberlin is the third one). Read full article

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Jetstar first airline to test iPad as in-flight entertainment device

Last week we reported on Bluebox Avionics, who has turned the iPad into an in-flight entertainment device. The first airline to test the ‘bluebox ai’ is Jetstar, the low-cost subsidiary of Qantas. The carrier has just announced it will offer iPads for rent on select domestic routes in a two-week trial later this month. 

Passengers can rent an iPad for AUD10 (USD8.50, EUR7.00) for the duration of their flight, and watch new release movies, tv programs, and music videos, play game, read eBooks, or listen to music. Jetstar is also looking to add its in-flight magazine to the tablets. Internet browsing will be disabled as Jetstar does not offer in-flight Wi-Fi. The carrier says it has bought several hundred iPad devices, and thirty units will be available on each test aircraft. 
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Apple’s iPad to be turned into in-flight entertainment device

With more than 200,000 iPads sold per week in the U.S alone, and passengers bringing their own iPad with them onboard, the device could be a good solution for carriers without an AVOD in-flight entertainment system. With a 9.7-inch screen (about the size of an IFE screen), iPads are small, portable, give the user control over what they want to watch, listen, read or play, and are far more versatile than current AVOD handhelds. Their 10-hour battery life is good for most long-haul flights, while re-charging them is easy.

Bluebox Avionics, a company that offers in-flight entertainment products to airlines, has announced the ‘bluebox Ai’, the industry’s first iPad in-flight entertainment device. The Bluebox iPad comes pre-loaded with movies, music, games, eBook, consumer magazines via Zinio, and custom apps for each airline. The Bluebox application also connects the iPad to a portal created for the airline, and if the airline has in-flight Wi-Fi, the iPad will also be fully web-enabled. Read full article