Suppliers of airline avionics, connectivity and cabin interiors are reaping the benefits of the boom in commercial aircraft sales to China.


Weve had a fantastic year, says Jinsong Xia, deputy CEO of Thales China. Weve seen success in all our core businesses, and especially avionics and inflight entertainment (IFE) systems.


Weve had multiple successes on flight critical systems including head-up displays(HUD), flight management systems (FMS) and surveillance and safety (T3CAS).


On IFE we've had good success, including a major success with a key airline for multiple platforms. In fact, says Xia, Thales has a 65% market share in IFE in China. Thales total so far, with two months of the year remaining, is to provide avionics on more than 400 mainly single-aisle Airbus and Boeing aircraft across multiple airlines including China Southern and China Eastern.


A total of 154 Airbus 320NEOs will be equipped with a full component package including Thales FMS, Thales/ACSS T3CAS terrain collision avoidance systems, ELT Integra, radio altimeters and HUDs. Thales will also be equipping over 150 737MAX aircraft with different sets of components, including over 100 TopFlight Imarsat SATCOM systems and 50 with both TCAS3000SP and low range radio altimeters.


Chinese airlines have been investing heavily in the 737NG platform and Thales has been the supplier of choice on these new versions of the popular Boeing single aisle, for components ranging from TopFlight Inmarsat SATCOM, TCAS3000SP and low range radio altimeter. The group signed contracts on over 80 aircraft.


Xia notes that more than 100 Airbus aircraft have been ordered with Thales HUD, mainly dual rather than single installations. On Boeings, Thales had about 30-40 aircraft equipped at the end of 2015 with more than another 130 on order. HUD equipment is being mandated by the CAAC with a steady ramp-up towards full compliance by 2025.


Asked how Thales had won so much business, Xia pointed to its long-term business partnerships in China. We are one of the largest operators in China. We are actually Chinese! he said.

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