Planes, Thranes, And A Messe Meet!


Let’s start out this week with a new Aircell aeronautical equipment package for Swift Broadband service that’ll roll out at EBACE 2010 in Geneva this week. Two featurers of the new hardware are Thrane & Thrane’s new AVIATOR 200 and a very interesting antenna. Here’s the skinny on the radios for our techno readers: “Thrane & Thrane’s innovative AVIATOR 200 simultaneously provides data speeds up to 200 kbps and a single AMBE 2 channel for voice calls, providing smaller aircraft with a complete airborne communications solution where this was not achievable before. These data and voice services can be accessed via wired or wireless connections built into the AVIATOR 200, alleviating the need for external wired and wireless routers.” The second part of the hardware equation is the new, small, low-gain, blade antenna – still capable of voice and data speeds up to 200 kbps. We have included a picture of the antenna in this issue and it is perfect for bizjets (Weight: 1.5 lbs., Height: 4.57 in., Length: 11 in., Width: 4.25 in.). Here is the full story.

Next, we came across a report on a hot, 37 page, very detailed UBS Financial document. It was reported in an article in the Seattle PI Blogs with the titillating title: “Airlines Have Ordered Too Many Planes”. Within the body, you can read about some 793 aircraft over-ordered by world airlines and 250 that are supposedly under-ordered. If one believes these numbers, the next 9 months ought to be interesting for IFE vendors! This report seems contrary to recent upturned economic indicators and we wondered if smart folks in our industry had the same opinion? We asked a couple of aviation professionals, and got these answers:

“Regarding passenger demand forecasts, GE’s Ian Gurekian at the 2008 SpeedNews Conference said that, generally speaking, industry passenger demand forecast have been wrong.  Most forecasts show a monotonically rising demand slope in the neighborhood of 3-6% over a couple year period. But he demonstrated that this demand slope almost never happens!  The passenger demand slope is highly volatile.  It ranges from a -3% to a positive 13% over periods as short at one year. This is a very bad forecasting environment so it is no wonder that the number of big jets on order is “over sold.” – John Courtright – SIE

“Have airlines over-ordered new aircraft? I suppose that’s possible. But look at what United did recently. They ordered new aircraft at a time when they could leverage the best OEM pricing. And they weren’t just building a bigger fleet–they were purchasing aircraft that fit their revised business model–one that says fly fewer seats to more destinations and keep the planes full. And they ordered aircraft that were more fuel-efficient, and the orders are spread over what appears to be a realistic timeline. And another and–they might just merge with Continental to bring about a more efficient airline. Delta provides another example–they deferred ordering additional aircraft and reinvested in expanding IFE and improving their cabins. These kinds of decisions do not indicate over-ordering.” Michael Childers – Lightstream Communications.

Ultimately, one reader got it right: “The UBS Wealth Management division has open short sales on Boeing and EADS stock.”

Lastly readers, don’t forget the upcoming AIX in Hamburg, Germany on May 18 – 20. We hope to bring you the latest news in IFE from the floor. And just to prove your IFExpress team go to any length to bring you the lowdown on IFE and connectivity, we are flying to Hamburg via Reykjavik on a B757…GULP!


One Response to “Planes, Thranes, And A Messe Meet!”
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