S7 Technics has expanded its capabilities, adding the installation of Wi-Fi modules to its list of aircraft services, aiming to meet the “growing” needs of airlines upgrading their aircraft with connectivity.
Following a preparation period, S7 Technics along with a project developer organisation have installed Wi-Fi modules on several narrow-body aircraft in Aeroflot’s fleet.
The retrofitting was split into two stages, firstly the modules for distributing information from the on-board server and all necessary wiring are installed, then the aircraft are equipped with external internet communication modules to connect to passengers’ personal devices.
From March of last year until September 2019, 34 Airbus A320s have undergone the first stage of retrofitting and S7 Technics specialists are now planning to carry out the second retrofitting stage on 26 Aeroflot aircraft during 2020.
“New technologies and passengers’ needs will drive the implementation of internet access services on board,” commented Oleg Glukhov, Moscow’s S7 Technics base deputy production manager. He pointed out that access to the internet in-flight is becoming “an obligatory attribute of a modern airline”, particularly for carriers in countries such as the USA.
Glukhov continued: “Over time, it will come to Russia and neighbouring countries as well. Therefore, we consider that retrofitting aircraft with wi-fi modules is a promising prospect in the very near future. Some of Russia’s airlines are already actively working on this issue and plan to equip their aircraft with internet access points in the near future.”
The company decided to enter the market in order to meet the “growing needs” of airlines looking to upgrade their aircraft with in-flight internet access.
To prepare for the first project, specialists from Moscow’s S7 Technics Domodedovo airport base visited the Czech Republic facilities of JOB AIR Technics, which has extensive experience in these modifications.
The retrofits were performed under the company’s EASA Part 145 certificate. Three avionics experts, three structural repair specialists, a structural engineer and logistics and technological support engineers were all involved in the work, whilst interiors staff were also involved to ensure easy access to areas where modifications were being made.
Kirill Bogdanov, Deputy CEO for IT at Aeroflot said the introduction of in-flight entertainment and connectivity services is a global trend, with increasing passenger demand for onboard connectivity, commenting: “Our response to customer wishes is a gradual implementation of wireless Internet access across our entire fleet. As a result, all Aeroflot’s long-range aircraft are already fitted with wireless Internet access, and we gradually rolling out appropriate equipment on our medium-range aircraft. Today, 62 A320s are equipped with a free IFE; passengers can connect to multimedia content uploaded to the on-board server from any mobile device during the flight. ‘Internet on board’ service, which provides Wi-Fi Internet access during the flight, will be available on these aircraft next year.”
Images: S7 Technics