Thales, Gogo, Panasonic and a Few More

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IFExpress has a lot of news to cover this week, so let’s get underway!

Thales

On July 7, 2017, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted Thales a blanket license authorization for operation of its airborne terminals communicating with geostationary satellites; EchoStar XVII, EchoStar XIX, AMC-15 and AMC-16.

In only three months – from initial application to approval – the FCC granted Thales this license to use its terminals on all U.S. and non-U.S. registered aircraft anywhere in the network’s coverage footprint for all four satellites in operation. This 15-year license is a significant milestone for the launch of Thales’ FlytLIVE™ network.

And, it allows Thales to begin extensive network testing this year as initially projected, leading to commercial service availability in late 2017. In addition to other notable achievements, Thales is paving the way to conclude registrations with other regulatory administrations throughout the Americas region.

“This is a necessary step to launch service this year on our new FlytLIVE Ka-band network for the Americas,” according to Dominique Giannoni, the CEO of Thales InFlyt Experience. “This terminal will operate with all four satellites we have deployed in our network. The satellites, terminal, and network technologies are all converging to meet our program objectives.”

This is the latest development to the announcements made by Thales and SES earlier this year for a set of strategic agreements with Hughes to enhance the delivery of FlytLIVE which will provide increased capacity, coverage and redundancy over the Americas. In 2016, Thales announced its initial two agreements with SES. With these agreements, Thales will offer airlines the most efficient inflight connectivity experience and will add to its network the new SES-17 satellite – uniquely designed for Aeronautical Connectivity – to be launched in 2020.

Gogo

The connectivity provider  announced recently that its next generation modem has been introduced into commercial airline service. The proprietary features of the new modem will significantly increase throughput from the satellite to end users on the aircraft. The modem is capable of delivering more than 16x the throughput of Gogo’s existing modem, which offers plenty of room to support the increased capacity of next generation high-throughput satellites as they come online. The new modem includes dual channels to simultaneously support internet traffic and broadcast IPTV. It also features faster and more sophisticated processing that enables much shorter hand-offs from one satellite to the next“We are always looking at new innovations in each component of our connectivity solutions,” said Anand Chari, chief technology officer“This new modem greatly improves the performance of our industry leading 2Ku solution, as well as our Ku solution, and is forward compatible with new HTS satellite constellations. This modem helps us future proof our in-flight connectivity solutions.” The new modem will be retrofitted on more than 450 aircraft on which Gogo’s 2Ku or Ku systems are installed through an easy plug and play installation process. In addition, the 2Ku system installed on Gogo’s backlog of more than 1400 aircraft will include the new modem.

Panasonic

The company was selected by Air China to supply eX3 IFEC system for 10 A350s. Air China, the flag carrierand one of the major airlines of the People’s Republic of China, has selected inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions from Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) for its fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft. Under the terms of the agreement, Panasonic will provide its industry-leading eX3 inflight entertainment for 10 Air China A350 aircraft. The first of these aircraft will be delivered in December 2017. By selecting eX3, Air China will offer a unique passenger experience that includes audio and video on demand, a content library that can offer up to 300 movies, 200 TV shows, games, music, a moving map, and much more.

These A350 aircraft will also offer global connectivity services, which will allow Air China passengers to keep in touch with friends, families, co-workers and current events everywhere these aircraft fly. Panasonic operates connectivity service in 210 countries, including China.

Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “We are honored to partner with Air China on its A350 program. Because the airline’s route structure includes very long flights to all seven continents, it needed an IFEC solution that would help keep passengers entertained and offer new opportunities for it to generate revenue.

“With eX3, Air China will offer its passengers a memorable experience that lets them watch movies and television, listen to music or connect to their favorite social media applications like WeChat. The reliability, performance and flexibility of eX3 and our connectivity service makes it an ideal choice for these aircraft.”

Inmarsat

Inmarsat, provider of global mobile satellite communications, unveils the results of its third annual global Inflight Connectivity Survey. The survey, which reflects the views of 9,000 airline passengers from 18 countries across the globe, reveals:

·  60% of passengers believe inflight connectivity is a necessity not a luxury

·  61% of passengers who have experienced good inflight Wi-Fi consider it more important than inflight entertainment when choosing an airline

·  44% of passengers would stop using their preferred airline in the next year if it offered poor quality inflight connectivity

·  61% agree that inflight Wi-Fi takes anxiety out of flying because they can stay in contact with people on the ground

· 66% of parents traveling with children said IFC is a “life saver”

Inflight broadband is changing the airline industry and revolutionizing passengers’ expectations of the onboard experience. That is the conclusion from the third annual global Inflight Connectivity Survey, published today by Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, in association with market research company GfK.

Overwhelmingly, passengers now expect the same levels of connectivity and access to online services whilst they are at 30,000 feet as they receive on the ground. As such, 60% of all passengers say that inflight Wi-Fi is now a necessity rather than a luxury. The majority (61%) of global passengers who have experienced high-quality inflight Wi-Fi rate it higher on their list of priorities than inflight entertainment when choosing an airline. With airlines in every market racing to install or upgrade their Wi-Fi offering, passengers will have a choice to opt for an airline that offers high-quality broadband, and will soon turn their back on airlines not offering this. Nearly half of respondents (44%) said they would stop using their preferred airline within the next year if it did not offer connectivity enabling them to stream or browse online without interruption. The ability to connect to personal devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets now sits within the top three considerations when choosing an airline, behind ticket price (53%) and flight slots (44%) for 40% of passengers who have experienced high-quality Wi-Fi. What’s more, the ability to remain online and work during a flight is greatly improving passenger experience, according to more than half (56%) of business travellers who have previously used inflight Wi-Fi.

The survey reflects the responses of 9,000 airline passengers from 18 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and North and Latin America, and is the largest global passenger survey of its kind.

Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “High-quality inflight Wi-Fi is changing the way people think about flying and how they spend their time in the air. Whether using the time to work, to connect with friends and family, or to pass time shopping or viewing entertainment, the availability of inflight broadband has become a major factor when choosing an airline.”

He continued: “The annual Inflight Connectivity Survey has become a barometer for passenger sentiment. This year’s survey reveals that 60% of passengers believe that inflight Wi-Fi is a necessity and no longer a luxury. This will only increase as more people experience inflight connectivity. It is clear the opportunity that connectivity presents to airlines cannot be underestimated.”

Global survey highlights

·    Two thirds (66%) of parents travelling with children said inflight Wi-Fi is a “life saver” when helping to keep children occupied during flights

·   Of passengers who have experienced high-quality inflight Wi-Fi: 61% say it is more important to them than onboard entertainment 45% would rather pay for Wi-Fi than use free onboard entertainment

·    56% of passengers say a lack of reliable inflight Wi-Fi is a major cause of frustration with plane journeys

·    61% agree that inflight Wi-Fi takes the anxiety out of flying because they can stay in contact with people on the ground

·    77% of passengers would pay for inflight connectivity on short haul leisure flights, an increase from 64% in 2016. Those happiest to pay are passengers aged 25-34, parents traveling with children and passengers traveling in Asia Pacific and the United States

·    89% of passengers are willing to pay for inflight connectivity on long haul leisure flights

·    Passengers have the highest expectations of connectivity in the Asia Pacific region, where 91% of passengers are willing to pay for Wi-Fi on a long haul flight

·    52% of passengers would take advantage of the ability to purchase items during a flight and collect them upon arrival at the airport, providing huge opportunities for inflight e-commerce

AIRBUS

Airbus has delivered its 100th A350 XWB, just some 30 months after the first delivery of the world’s most modern widebody aircraft in December 2014. The 100th aircraft delivered is an A350-900 for China Airlines.

“The 100th A350 XWB milestone comes as we reach our fastest widebody production ramp-up, on track to meet the target of 10 A350 deliveries per month by the end of 2018,” said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus COO and President Commercial Aircraft. “We are especially proud to deliver today’s aircraft to our long-standing customer China Airlines. The A350 is setting new standards for long haul air travel in terms of efficiency and comfort, thus being the perfect aircraft for China Airlines to expand its long-haul network.” To date the A350 has been delivered to 14 airlines worldwide and is flying with an outstanding operational reliability rate of 99%*. “This is a remarkable statistic at this early stage of the programme,” Fabrice Bregier adds.

The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fiber fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivaled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. As the founding member of “Airspace by Airbus” cabin brand, the A350 XWB cabin provides passengers and crews the best in comfort, well-being and technology.

The A350-1000 is the new member of the A350 XWB family and benefits from its high level of commonality with the A350-900. Scheduled for Type Certification and first Customer delivery in the fourth quarter of 2017, the A350-1000 is currently performing an intensive and successful flight test campaign.

To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 847 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.


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