September 10 2019  |  Tech & Hardware

Thales brings duty free shopping into the cabin with e-comm platform

By Jane Hobson

Thales announced today a partnership with inflight marketplace provider airfree to launch an e-commerce platform that will bring airport duty free shopping into the cabin. The service will debut with a major airline by the end of 2019.

The airfree marketplace will be the first to offer duty free services with ground fulfillment at more than 350 airports worldwide. The partnership expands the current offering from a small selection to thousands of items and product categories.

The onboard shopping platform supports fast browsing similar to online shopping at home. Hundreds of airport offerings are incorporated into the marketplace and made available through the inflight entertainment system on seatback and personal electronic devices. Passengers can browse and purchase items in a single place, single session and single payment. Product choices are tailored to the passenger route and passengers can pay for orders and enjoy exclusive offers based on frequent flyer status.

The Thales/airfree branded marketplace reduces the logistics and manpower required for traditional onboard duty free items, while increasing passenger choice and airline revenue. With proprietary bandwidth optimization technology, the airfree platform reduces satellite data consumption compared to traditional technologies.

“At Thales, we master the entire digital ecosystem to bring true and sustainable value to our airline customers and their passengers. We are excited to partner with airfree for the onboard duty free marketplace, enabling airlines to grow inflight revenue and transform the shopping experience for their passengers,” Sylvia Arndt, Vice President of Digital Services at Thales InFlyt Experience, said in a statement released by the company today.

Etienne de Verdelhan, CEO of airfree, said: “This technical and commercial partnership is a great step in the development of our startup. There are strong synergies between Thales and airfree and together we can propose a model that has a high value for the Airlines.”

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