More From Singapore APEX
This week’s Zodiac Inflight Innovations (Zii) rectangle should give you an idea of the relative growth of RAVE AVOD customers over the past year or so. RAVE’s sales and marketing Guru, Harry Gray told IFExpress at APEX: “It has been a good year. In the last ninety days, we have acquired six new RAVE customers.” It should be noted, that RAVE has over 250 aircraft flying with inseat systems and almost 300 with RAVE wireless systems. Some of the new customers are prominent and market leading airlines. A recent press release from Singapore noted: “ – four new A350 customers, 150 committed B737Max aircraft, their first A380 customer as well as over 200 Global Express Connectivity equipped aircraft committed with the first installation scheduled early in 2017. Zodiac Inflight Innovations is quietly becoming a force in the world of IFEC. Zii first hit the IFE scene with their revolutionary new Seat Centric IFE system in 2011 and just five years later they are growing with over 45 airline customers, over 550 aircraft in service, and over 650 aircraft in committed backlog.” Noted Harry, “RAVE is: Reliable, Affordable, and Very Easy (to install, operate and maintain) – that is why it has been a success.” He also noted that the retrofit market has been very stable, and as of late, line fit is definitely growing. “Our RAVE systems are much easier to maintain than traditional IFE systems which allows airlines to maintain their own aircraft without the added expense of paying a traditional IFE provider for support” says Matt Smith, CEO for Zodiac Inflight Innovations. “Zii is a company that is different by design; our focus is always on putting our customers first. We want to be a company that Airlines want to work with; customer focused and innovation driven, we relentlessly pursue our core value of RAVE – Reliable, Affordable and Very Easy. It’s more than a name, it’s who we are.”
This year Zii has added an aftermarket support package to round out their portfolio of products. With RAVE Care, an airline can tailor a support package to its specific needs for a fixed price per month per aircraft. RAVE Care can include everything that an airline needs to maintain and operate their IFE systems, including spares, repairs, customer abuse and even content integration. Included in RAVE Care is a software guarantee that means airlines never have to worry about the cost of updating their Passenger User Interface and features over the lifetime of the system.
Kontron’s latest equipment developments include their ACE Flight 4608 8 core onboard server, which has the capability to do a lot more than inflight entertainment. For example, Kontron’s early systems featured solid state drives which were in the 100 GB but today their servers will feature 7 TB drives that are all solid state. The important point to note is that communication/connectivity enhancements are a real future capability. The Kontron team told us that Kontron specializes in cabin systems as well as security and safety certifications. Furthermore, the 4608 server excels at data processing onboard, the benefit to the airline is that they don’t have to wait to get the information off the aircraft when it is on the ground – once again proving that the big data technology is becoming an expectation and a reality. They also received FAA PMA for their Cab-n-Connect A100 wireless access point (PIX). It should be noted that it delivers next-generation HD video and is certified on Boeing, Airbus, and Embrear aircraft. (Editor’s Note: Since 2005 Kontron has added new IFE and connectivity equipment every year. This year seven new products and iterations were unveiled: the ACE Flight 4780 MODMAN, ACE Flight Server 4608, the ACE Flight Server 4600, the ACE Flight Server 2600, and the ACE Flight Server 1600, the ACE Flight Server 904 and the Cab-n-Connect A100.)
This year APEX introduced a ‘Cool Award’ that was selected by industry peers. PXCom was the recipient of this award, probably because of the recognition of many of the companies’ innovations such as seat back wireless IFE compatible destination guides and destination information. IFExpress has had the pleasure of knowing Cyril Jean of PXCom for several years now and we have reported on their many innovative IFE communication developments and we were thrilled that their IFE peers acknowledged their creativity. Congratulations PXCom!
We had the opportunity to meet GEE’s new Director of Marketing, Nancy Harvey during APEX. She was happy to discuss their recent content agreement with Qatar Airways, which was announced during the expo. The deal is a new one for GEE that expands on their longstanding relationship with the airline and covers several years where they will provide movies, music, audio, and TV for on 164 aircraft, as well as, 8 charter jets and 12 business jets. (Editor’s Note: In our November 15th issue of IFExpress we discussed GEE’s recent JV with Shareco of HNA Group. Joint venture would exclusively provide inflight connectivity hardware and entertainment services on HNA airlines, comprising over 320 aircraft today with the potential to grow to over 500 planes. Shareco plans to invest up to $416 million in GEE stock at $11 per share through a combination of primary and secondary share purchases. Under terms of the contemplated transactions, GEE and Shareco would form a JV to provide IFEC and passenger monetization services to HNA airlines.)
The first of three A350-1000 development aircraft to fly – MSN059 – landed at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport France at 15.00hrs local time after successfully completing its first flight which lasted four hours and 18 minutes. Powered by Rolls-Royce’s new Trent XWB-97 engines, the aircraft traversed south-western France, during which the crew explored the aircraft’s handling and flight envelope. (See the full press release in “News Releases” below.)
On another front, Airbus plans to increase delivery rate of their A350 next to some 80 aircraft next year.
Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg on Monday named Kevin G. McAllister president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, succeeding company Vice Chairman Ray Conner in that role. Muilenburg also appointed Stanley A. Deal president and CEO of Boeing Global Services, a new business unit to be formed from the customer services groups within the company’s existing commercial airplanes and defense, space and security business units. McAllister joins Boeing from GE Aviation. Deal is a veteran Boeing executive. Conner, 61, will continue to serve as Boeing vice chairman through 2017. He will work closely with McAllister in the months ahead on a purposeful hand-off of customer, supplier, and community and government relationships, and to ensure continuity of operations and customer support. Conner also will provide strategic oversight and guidance for the company’s transition to a single integrated services business and remain involved in ongoing product development strategy at Commercial Airplanes. Deal will begin immediately finalizing and executing detailed and deliberate plans to structure and organize the new business while ensuring all near-term customer commitments are met and value is maximized over the long term. Deal and McAllister join Caret as business unit leaders reporting directly to Muilenburg. They also become members of the company’s Executive Council. The appointments are effective Nov. 21, 2016.
World Trade Organization Ruling
The World Trade Organization (WTO) today rejected virtually all of the European Union’s challenges to the Washington state tax incentives. The EU challenged seven different state tax incentives. The WTO rejected entirely the EU’s challenge to six of the seven incentives and rejected most of the challenge to the seventh. The WTO held only and narrowly that a reduction in Washington state’s Business and Occupancy (B&O) tax rate for future 777X revenues is inconsistent with the WTO agreements. The WTO threw out all of the EU’s other challenges to various incentive programs and left untouched even the B&O tax rate as it applies to revenue from the other Boeing models produced in Washington state–the 737, 747, 767, 777 (current model) and 787. In total, the EU claimed that Boeing had received $8.7 billion in subsidies. This claim was rejected by the WTO, which found future incentives totaling no more than $50 million a year to be impermissible. The WTO found that to date Boeing has received no benefit from the 777X rate incentive, and will not until 2020, because the first airplane will not be delivered until then. In light of today’s decision and the massive liability that the WTO has found against the EU and Airbus, we expect the EU and Airbus to appeal the decision.