Singapore Airlines goes digital with in-flight magazines

Singapore Airlines has introduced an electronic version of its its three in-flight magazines – SilverKris (in-flight magazine), KrisShop (sales catalogue); and KrisWorld (entertainment guide) – on its KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system. The digital magazines will be high resolution and passengers will be able to choose their own font, search by keyword, and zoom in to aid reading. Singapore Airlines says it is the first in the world to offer an e-magazine. The e-magazines are part of a trial with a Singapore-based company, SmarttPapers Aviation. and Singapore Airlines says it eventual goal is to create a paperless aircraft.

The airline may extend the initiative at a later date to cover other publications, including menu cards and the more than 100 international and local magazines carried in the cabin. This is “in line with efforts to reduce the amount of paper carried on board, thus reducing weight and saving fuel”, the carrier said in a statement. “E-books and e-magazines have gained popularity and we want to offer these to our customers.” The digital magazines made their debut on 2 B777-300ERs on 31 July, and will be followed by 2 A380s, before being rolled out Singapore Airlines aircraft equipped with the Panasonic eX2 IFE system.

Spurred by high oil prices, Emirates in July 2008 announced it would fly ‘paperless’ with its new A380 aircraft. The airline at that time said it would remove all seat-pocket paper – inflight magazines, entertainment guides and shopping catalogues – and replace them with content shown on the seat-back screens. The move would lighten the aircraft by a tonne (2 kg per seat times 500 seats). However, it is unclear whether the Emirates paperless A380 has ever ‘materialized’. 

Singapore Airlines’ iniative is likely to be followed by Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific. Virgin Atlantic will be offering a new in-flight entertainment system on its new A330s, the first of which will arrive in February 2011. Besides features such as passengers ratings for programmes, the ability to create playlists, and instant messaging between seats, Virgin says it is also working on plans to introduce an E-reader to display digital newspapers and magazines on the seatback with touch screen technology to turn the pages. Cathay Pacific’s new Panasonic IFE system, to be rolled out by 2012, is also reported to feature a digitized in-flight magazine. 

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