Vietnam Airlines to provide wireless IFE on A321 fleet


Vietnam Airlines has a four-star airline rating from SkyTrax, but is aiming for the full five-star status through the introduction of new products and services that will benefit the passenger experience. One major factor will be the greater provision of in-flight entertainment (IFE) across the fleet for a more consistent passenger experience across the airline’s routes.

Vietnam Airlines’ international fleet of Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft, as well as some of its Airbus A321s, are already equipped with embedded IFE systems from Panasonic Avionics Corporation and Thales. Under the terms of a new two-year deal with AirFi, 37 of the carrier’s remaining Airbus A321 aircraft that are not equipped with IFE systems, will be outfitted with a set of portable AirFi boxes, allowing passengers to stream content directly to their personal electronic devices during flight.

As well as improving the passenger experience on these aircraft, and raising the average standard onboard Vietnam Airlines’ narrowbody fleet, the AirFi systems also create an opportunity for the airline to earn some additional revenues. The airline will use the AirFi boxes to enable an in-seat ordering function whereby passengers can order and pay hot and cold food, beverages, and duty-free items from their devices. The in-seat service will replace the airline’s existing inflight trolley service.

The rollout of the boxes on board the selected A321s has commenced and is scheduled for completion by mid-October, when the solution is expected to go live. Once operational, the logistics surrounding the technology will be managed by Vietnam Airlines at three airport bases in its home country: Hanoi (HAN), Saigon (SGN) and Da Nang Int’l (DAD).

A digitalisation strategy

The AirFi deal complements Vietnam Airlines’ broader digitalisation strategy, which focuses on three factors: Digital Technology, Digital Data and Digital Culture. In a bid to become Vietnam’s first digital airline by 2025, the carrier recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Visa to ensure that passengers have a secure digital experience throughout their journey.

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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