Ift Launches First Flight With Casino Gambling On Swissair Md-11
NEW YORK (Jan. 27) BUSINESS WIRE -Jan. 27, 1997--Interactive Flight Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: FLYT) has officially become the first-ever provider of inflight gambling following the first flight of a Swissair MD-11 aircraft featuring Interactive Flight Technologies' Inflight Entertainment Network (IFEN).
The Swissair launch also establishes IFT as the first to provide interactive video-on-demand to an entire aircraft -- the system will be offered in all three seating classes. IFT had previously been the first company to provide video-on-demand to an airline when Alitalia began offering its system over a year ago.
"We are very pleased to have achieved these goals which have consistently eluded our competitors," commented Michail Itkis, IFT's chairman and CEO. "We are delighted to have our inflight entertainment system available on a distinguished and prominent air carrier such as Swissair. I am also happy that our growth and development will continue forward, as we have been accepted as the preferred supplier to Qantas Airways for their inflight entertainment system."
The IFT system features the largest touchscreen displays ever installed in an aircraft cabin, offering passengers quick and easy access to up to twenty movies, 60 hours of music, several computer games, and casino-style gaming including lotto, keno and video slot machines. With IFT's Inflight Entertainment Network, Swissair passengers will be able to enjoy a full range of entertainment options which are unavailable anywhere else in the marketplace.
Following a trial phase in which passengers' responses to and and acceptance of the new system will be carefully monitored, the new system will be installed on all sixteen MD-11s and five Boeing 747s of Swissair's long-haul fleet.
"With much excitement, we anticipate the day when the entire Swissair fleet includes the IFT system as part of its inflight entertainment package," Itkis said.
According to Swissair, "IFT's new inflight entertainment and information system offers individual interactive entertainment of the highest possible quality."
IFT's system is described as "offering passengers the chance to put together their own personal entertainment and relaxation program as they speed between Zurich and New York, Nairobi or Hong Kong."
Itkis added, "The first Swissair flight equipped with IFT's system represents a milestone in our goal to become the leading full-service entertainment company serving the airline industry." Not only will travelers be able to select their personal favorites from initially ten (later twenty or more) movies and later on 60 hours of music and arts in ten different languages; with the system's new "video and audio on demand" philosophy, they will also be able to decide when to use the system and how long to use it for. The new system will also continue to offer the "Airshow" information about the progress of the flight that has already been proved so popular with customers -- with the added advantage that this information, too, can now be called up as and when desired. Swissair's new inflight entertainment and information system really does put the passenger in charge of their own entertainment station.
Swissair is increasingly turning its "world's most refreshing airline" slogan into concrete reality for its customers. Not content with winning laurels once again for "best overall performance" from the independent Air Track survey of the air transport sector, the Swiss carrier will be further enhancing its inflight product, introducing a new entertainment system that should help all its passengers -- in First, Business and Economy -- pass their hours aloft as pleasantly and enjoyably as can be.
"The IFT system offers our passengers a whole raft of benefits," says Karl Laasner, Swissair's product manager with responsibility for the innovative facility. "It's not just more comprehensive than before; it also gives the user far more individual choice, with the biggest personal touchscreens that have ever been installed in an aircraft cabin," Laasner continues. "The passenger can decide exactly what they want to see and when. They'll never have to miss that start of the inflight movie or their favorite audio program again!"
"The new individualized concept and the broader choice of entertainments are just what today's passenger wants and expects," adds Ludovic Bauer, head of Product Development at Swissair. "Our philosophy is to give our customers a long-haul flight that is as enjoyable as can be. With IFT's inflight entertainment and information system, that's exactly what we'll be doing."
The IFT system will offer all the facilities available on the current inflight entertainment program -- including one movie, one video game and the full music program -- entirely free of charge. Except in First Class additional movies will cost USD 7.95 each, and further video games will be available for USD 5.00 per hour. All payments must be by credit card: VISA, EUROCARD/MasterCard and American Express are accepted.
The IFT system also offers passengers the opportunity to play games of chance with cash prizes up to USD 3,500.00 and a maximum loss of a modest USD 200.00, all for a maximum USD 1.00 stake. In accordance with Swiss law, only games such as lotto, keno and video slot machines are offered; casino games such as roulette and poker are not available. For legal reasons, games of chance will not yet be offered on flights to and from the United States.
Overall responsibility for monitoring games of chance, their rules of play and Swissair's compliance with the relevant laws and regulations will rest with the Swiss National International Lottery Board. The board will also receive all net profits remaining after deductions of operating expenses. These profits will go into the overall lottery fund, for allocation to various social and cultural projects around the country.
The IFT system will be used for a two-month inflight trial period, during which passenger reactions will be carefully monitored. Provided all goes well, the system will be extended to all sixteen MD-11s and five Boeing 747s that make up the carrier's long-haul aircraft fleet. For technical reasons, the system will not be introduced in the First Class cabin until April 1997.
Preparations for the new system also include extensive training for the flight attendants who will need to operate it. Not that the new technology should pose too many problems: Swissair deliberately chose IFT because the system it offers is so user-friendly and easy to operate.
Once it has been successfully installed, there are virtually no limits to the facilities that can be added to the IFT system: TV channels (news and sports), computer networks, electronic newspapers, laptop connections, shots of the aircraft from externally mounted cameras, and public services such as online flight, car and hotel reservations or shopping, to name just a few. Thus, the screens and shared monitors on which films and information are currently shown will largely disappear from the aircraft cabin as they are superseded by this new and innovative system -- a system that offers optimum choice, of program and of scheduling, to the traveling guest.
Interactive Flight Technologies Inc. is a pioneer of digital inflight entertainment, including casino-style gaming, video-on-demand, video games and interactive shopping. IFT's proprietary system offers more than 20 digitized movies per flight -- which can be started, paused and stopped at any time. This 100 percent interactive system responds to the passenger's touch while a 9.5" color screen, the largest on any airline, provides high-quality digitized movies. IFT's system is currently available on Alitalia Airlines and the company has agreements to install its system with Swissair and Debonair Airlines.
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