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  1. Technology
January 27, 1998

INTERACTIVE FLIGHT BLAMES LOSSES WEAK IN-FLIGHT MARKET

By CBR Staff Writer

Interactive Flight Technologies Inc, which two years ago was enthusing about inflight entertainment systems has hit hard times as airlines have decided against installing its equipment. The Phoenix, Arizona based company saw year end results hit by a downturn in interest for in-flight systems with Swissair reducing its order and Qantas Airways Ltd deciding against installing them altogether. The company is now considering strategies for alternative deployment of its capital into other business areas due to the uncertainties of the in-flight entertainment business. On Monday it announced fiscal year end results showing a net loss of $51.02m to October 31, 1997, up from a net loss of $19.27m for the same period last year. Revenue for the year was $11.10m, an increase of $8.12m over the same period last year. IFT faces many challenges in the months ahead. The company believes that airlines are concentrating their capital expenditures on new or additional aircraft rather than the acquisition of new in-flight entertainment systems. Accordingly, the market for in-flight entertainment systems appears to be very weak, commented chief executive Michail Itkis. Revenues generated by initial installations of the company’s Entertainment Network on Swissair were far below expectations, while in July Qantas said it had decided not to install a new interactive in-flight entertainment system on its long haul fleet. Qantas had previously chosen the company’s system as its preferred tender for the possible supply of a new interactive in-flight entertainment system for 48 aircraft. In addition, the company has not managed to obtain additional contracts for sale of the Entertainment Network beyond the Swissair contract and has no backlog for installations after this March either. Italian airline, Al Italia, installed a version of the company’s its digital video-on-demand in-flight entertainment system in first class seats on one of its MD-11 planes in 1995.

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