Aircraft Cabin Management

Bluebox to provide touch-free retail and IFE to UK start-up

UK start-up airline Flypop has selected Bluebox Aviation Systems to provide an ancillary revenue-generating retail and in-flight entertainment solution on board its Airbus A330 aircraft. The airline is on target to launch with its initial aircraft in October, thereafter adding an aircraft every six months, and Bluebox will be deploying aircraft-powered Bluebox Wow wireless IFE (W-IFE) on these wide-body aircraft.

Targeting the visiting friends and relatives traveller market, Flypop’s low-cost business model will benefit from the ancillary revenue opportunity that portable W-IFE systems offer airlines, particularly in the post-pandemic environment. Bluebox Wow’s low-cost deployment model, combined with the ancillary revenue generating potential of paid-access to IFE and retail sales on board, is said by the carrier to “epitomise the value of portable W-IFE systems to airlines”.

Describing the selection of Bluebox’s digital platform, Flypop’s founding director & chief technology officer, Bobby Bhakar said: “Flying long-haul flights on a low-cost basis means we have to be creative in how we balance revenue and service. Thankfully, Bluebox’s wireless IFE platform provides a means to deliver both – for Flypop to generate revenue at the same time we can offer services to keep our passengers engaged and entertained on board during our direct flights between the UK and South Asia.”

Bluebox CEO Kevin Clark added: “We’re always excited to welcome new customers on board and new airlines always elevate that excitement further, but to announce this while our sector is only just beginning to emerge from the effects of the pandemic is a whole new level. We couldn’t have asked for a better validation of the value we’re able to offer our customers and their passengers – a digital service helping airlines earn while engaging and entertaining their passengers.”

Bluebox is providing Flypop with an integrated solution that will enable several ancillary revenue streams for the airline, most by directly engaging with passengers via their own personal devices during their flight. The retail solution will enable touch-free ordering and payments for food & beverages, as well as gifts and other onboard retail products and will support the airline’s trolley-based retail. Though available once on board, passengers will also be able to pre-purchase IFE access within the booking path. Bluebox will also enable other ancillary revenue generating features and content, such as Gladi8tor Gaming, through LXM Group.

Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of films, TV and audio programmes, games and other digital content. Bluebox’s retail solutions offer both ‘card present’ and ‘card not present’ transactions, enabling pre-paid purchases, as well as onboard touch-free sales. With a “remarkably low cost of ownership” according to the supplier, Bluebox Wow comes as a discrete, portable, lunchbox-sized unit stowed securely in overhead bins and is available in battery or aircraft-powered options.

Last December, Bluebox announced that it had successfully delivered the first integration of wireless inflight entertainment (W-IFE) software into the Airbus Open Software Platform (OSP). The system was part of a line-fit OSP installation on Titan Airways’ first new Airbus A321LR

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