In a move which would greatly improve fuel efficiency, Cathay Pacific is considering the removal of seatback inflight entertainment systems from its entire fleet.
John Slosar, CEO of the Hong Kong-based airline told HK Finance that “Given the popularity of tablet PCs, passengers no longer need some of the onboard entertainment facilities, like for example, the seat back personal TV screens [PTVs].”
Cathay Pacific says that removing the PTVs would save between one and two tons of weight per plane so the fuel savings are likely to be significant.
However, says Slosar stresses that “it remains an idea at the present time. The carrier would wait for another five or six years before tablet PCs became more popular with the travelling public at large before taking action.”
Instead of PTVs, Cathay would provide at seat power sockets so passengers could plug in the device of their choice.
Because all airlines are anxious to cut their fuel bills, Cathay’s move may well be adopted by other carriers in years to come. Much depends on the future cost of aviation fuel which, of course, nobody can predict with any accuracy.
Malaysian budget carrier Air Asia X set the ball rolling a couple of years ago when it axed inflight entertainment from its entire long-haul fleet. It means that unless passengers bring along their own entertainment they must rent portable devices from the cabin crew. And there are only a limited number of these stocked for hire on each flight.
At the time, the budget carrier’s consultant Tim Claydon explained to businesstraveller.com that “In years to come we feel there will be an increase in customers bringing their own entertainment devices on board.”
Added Air Asia X’s CEO Azran Osman Rani, “We’ve decided to move away from IFE screens on the seat backs. Demand simply isn’t there to cover the massive cost of the system, the Hollywood content and the extra weight and complexity of the wiring.”
A further consideration is the fact that as passengers become more sophisticated they are less likely to be entertained by a typical airline’s bland offerings.
Report by Alex McWhirter