Potpourri, 927 Words Worth…


One of the AIX show quotes that stood out was from Aurelie Branchereau-Giles, PR & Comms Officer, OnAir, and she summed up the OnAir ‘difference’ thusly: “What makes OnAir stand apart – consistent coverage, wherever our customers fly. You can see it in our customer base: we have more airline customers in more places than any other connectivity provider. We’ve worked hard to build a network of authorizations from over 100 countries, as well as roaming agreements with more than 350 mobile network operators. No-one else can provide the same coverage and that’s why airlines around the world come to OnAir time after time.” By Aurelie Branchereau-Giles, PR & Comms Officer, OnAir. And while we are on the subject, OnAir released the first customer for OnAir Play – Philippine Airlines is the launch customer of OnAir Play, OnAir’s latest Wireless-IFE product, on all the airline’s new international routes. The company noted: “OnAir Play is revolutionizing the way people consume content during the flight, by combining multimedia inflight entertainment with Internet OnAir. Passengers stream or download the on-demand content they choose to their own personal electronic devices, like they do at home using TV channels’ on-demand apps. And because the W-IFE will be fully integrated with the plane’s connectivity, time-critical information, such as live news and sports highlights, will be constantly updated throughout the flight.”

With regard to Boeing engineering redistribution in the US, one reader wrote in to IFExpress; Progressive thoughts for decades for manufacturing companies was to have engineers as close as possible to the plant floor – even right on the floor (my idol Kelly Johnson did that 50-60 years ago). When we did the 757, just having half of engineering spread all over Renton in leased buildings was big-time bad news, and the endless teleconferences were more bad than good. Here’s the problem in a nutshell – (today) Boeing thinks that designing and building transport airplanes is an off-the-shelf commodity that can be set up anywhere in a green-field and staffed with local people who last week worked at McDonalds! For more see this article.

Top 10 best US airlines, in infographic format. (Editor’s Note: This graphic was not developed by the IFExpress team.)

Undoubtedly, airlines with connectivity will see more demand. Then, connectivity is one key to more passengers. Why? One source was quoted; “The way we work, the products we sell, and how industries operate are shaped by information. Any role, function or department that can be improved by information will change, and rapidly. Consequently, information and the technology enabling its use are becoming competitive weapons, and the basis of delivering previously inconceivable value to customers.” CNN Money, Aaron Levie. Face it, airlines will at least be in the information service business and they know it – that’s why there is a Wi-Fi gold rush!

Food for thought! Another reader responded (off the record) to an IFExpress article about battery powered personal hardware used for IFE. “The question you (IFExpress) missed was; Although certification is not strictly required for carry-on devices, due to recent battery fires on 787 and rules regarding ELC batteries for carry-on’s suggests that any airline will require battery testing prior to (equipment) placement on board and what are the fire precautions for thermal runaway? Certification (for these devices) is a real issue… the battery requirements for radios and CPU’s for 80 people would be such that the batteries are regarded as an explosive device, and as such, certification (although not legally needed today) would be required for an airlines piece of mind.”

We could not let this go without a mention, but Ford CEO Mulally is retiring from Ford where he spent his years after leaving Boeing in 2006. He was known there as the man who bet on the company, by betting the company ($23 Billion), and won. While stories at Ford are legendary, early on he chalked “Can’t we just work together?” on a blackboard during a heated “he-said, she-said” meeting at Ford, and thus, began the corporate turnaround. At Boeing, the Puget Sound Biz Journal reported: “Washingtonians close to the aerospace industry often mourn Mulally’s decision to leave Boeing to become CEO of Ford Motor Company in 2006, saying that if he’d stayed, the years of chaos with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner wouldn’t have happened. Mulally ran the Boeing Commercial Airplanes division from 1998 to 2006.” No doubt, the logistical nightmare of the B787 outsourcing and the shift to worldwide production plagued the Dreamliner delivery schedule and caused Boeing to purchase two South Carolina companies. The rest there is history. Mulally was Executive VP of Boeing when IFExpress interviewed him and since we lost our notes from way back then, we remember one thing, his mantra – “Work Together”. We guess he did not mean it geographically.

Have you heard that AT&T may buy DirecTV? This really makes the rumors of AT&T getting into the US inflight connectivity market interesting. The airplane phones and Wi-Fi connectivity were thought to be sent up via 4G LTE from the ground. The DirecTV deal brings speculation betting on the possibility of voice and data satcom-based connectivity. We say “speculation” because if an AT&T satcom antenna gets installed onboard for DirecTV, why not do the whole connectivity job via satellite? One issue may be the usage cost, but what does it cost to install a couple hundred ground-based antennas?

With the naming of the Washington State University’s Business School after Scott Carson we have to mention that not only is he a great choice for the honor, Scott, during his Boeing tenure, was one of the nicest Boeing VIP’s IFExpress ever worked with. Go Coug’s!

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