To celebrate the 40th anniversary of APEX EXPO this year, we’re looking back at APEX members’ most significant achievements. Today, we review how AirFi demonstrated the potential of portable wireless in-flight entertainment with the creation of its AirFi box five years ago.
According to Job Heimerikx, co-founder and CEO of AirFi, the idea for a portable wireless in-flight entertainment solution – which would become known as the Moon AirFi box – came as the result of another product his company, MI Airline, created for the airline industry back in 2010.
“We came up with an electronic point of sale (POS) solution – Connected Crew – and sold our first system to Arkefly. It worked really well and has gone on to become the world’s second-most deployed cabin mobile POS system, but we initially suffered performance issues using Bluetooth. We added a simple walk-on Wi-Fi hotspot, and that’s where the idea for the Moon AirFi box was born.”
The Moon box was introduced to the in-flight entertainment market in 2014 and within 12 months had secured multiple contracts with airlines including Estonian Air and Transavia. By the end of 2015, 100 boxes had been deployed. In April 2016, the company introduced the Venus AirFi box, which included a moving map for passengers, as well as an ergonomic hand grip for the airline staff moving the boxes around!
The Venus AirFi box
Today, following countless partnerships with varying entertainment brands from Mashable to Dance24, and the arrival of an aircraft-powered variant, AirFi’s portable wireless in-flight entertainment solution is now flying with 47 airlines. The company is currently introducing an in-flight connectivity (IFC) component to its offering, having announced plans to launch its AirFi LEO solution with Atlantic Airways in October 2018.
Heimerikx said, “Where our simple ultra-lightweight system has replaced much heavier, fuel-inefficient installed systems, it’s also nice to know we’ve helped save the planet a little bit!”