Rockwell, SmartSky, Satcom Direct and Others!

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Rockwell Collins

Switzerland-based AMAC Aerospace has selected a full suite of Rockwell Collins’ cabin products for the world’s first Airbus ACJ320neo VIP aircraft, which is due for delivery to Acropolis Aviation, the UK VIP charter operator, in the fourth quarter of 2019. AMAC is scheduled to begin outfitting the aircraft at its Basel, Switzerland, facilities before the end of 2018. AMAC and Acropolis selected Rockwell Collins’ market-leading Venue HD cabin management and entertainment system to provide their passengers with an engaging in-flight experience. Venue is now installed on more than 1,100 aircraft ranging from turboprops to long-range business jets and VIP aircraft. Also included in the product suite is the Stage on demand wireless streaming solution, Airshow Moving Map and the company’s innovative Viu LED interior lighting system. Acropolis Aviation will benefit from Venue’s fault-tolerant, rugged fibre optic backbone, which ensures maximum system availability while providing necessary bandwidth to integrate the latest consumer technologies. It also features intuitive cabin controls for its passengers to easily manage their ride environment, both from on-board interfaces and personal devices.

Stage on demand, recently introduced on Acropolis Aviation’s ACJ319, G-NOAH, features a total content delivery solution from Rockwell Collins that will allow all its 19 VIP passengers to stream media, including Hollywood digital rights management (DRM)-protected movies and TV shows, to their personal devices from an easy-to-refresh, robust onboard server through wireless access points. Content is selected by flight departments from a frequently updated cloud-based media catalogue. The selected content can then be loaded on the aircraft server in a variety of ways, including both physical and wireless.

Rounding off the cabin offering is Viu LED lighting, which includes a series of innovative products customizable to fit different brands via a full range of easy to integrate high intensity color options for any type of aircraft, new or retrofit. Viu is integrated with the Venue CMS to allow for control functions.


SmartSky

Duncan Aviation is pleased to announce its partnership with SmartSky Networks, as the latter company launches its new 4G LTE-based inflight connectivity network. The air-to-ground (ATG) network delivers a true office-in-the-sky environment with unprecedented speed, reliability, and security. With low latency and high bandwidth, passengers will enjoy the same connectivity capabilities they do on the ground: streaming video, chatting, texting, playing games and video conferencing. Working with SmartSky Networks, Duncan Aviation’s Engineering & Certification department helped develop the first Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for a Cessna Citation Excel.

“It is an honor to partner with Duncan Aviation, a company that has a well-deserved reputation for outstanding customer service,” said Bryan Rapp, Account Manager with SmartSky Networks. “We believe this partnership confirms SmartSky’s commitment to deliver the very best in resources for our customers as well.” The SmartSky 4G LTE system received FAA approval for the Citation Excel STC in January and aircraft Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) in March. Duncan Aviation representatives should be contacted to schedule installation on aircraft.


Satcom Direct

Satcom Direct, the business aviation connectivity, software and hardware provider, has strengthened its European presence with the opening of its fourth European office. Situated at EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, one of Switzerland’s busiest executive aviation centers, the office is located in close proximity to a number of Europe’s leading completion, Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) centers where upgrades and completions of large-, narrow- and wide-body cabins form a significant part of the MRO business.

It positions SD at the heart of Europe’s satcom installation business and supports the increased demand for the installation of Jet ConneX, the ultra-high-speed data transfer service, for large-cabin, long-range jets. Powered by SD hardware and software applications Jet ConneX delivers the fastest connectivity in the skies. SD was one of the first companies to prove the Ka-band technology for business aviation, and now supplies over 70% of activated tails using the service worldwide. To maximize this experience SD has developed industry-first Service Level Agreements (SLA), which include onsite support, proactive monitoring, outage notifications and guaranteed email and phone call response times. The Basel team will support the SLAs and provide configuration, installation and educational support to SD customers in the region. To mark the office opening, members of the SD team partnered with business colleagues from Inmarsat, Gulfstream and Viasat to deliver Europe’s first SD CwC (Connecting with Customers) event.  The one-day meeting reflected the ethos of the annual U.S. experience which welcomes more than 300 SD customers and partners to a three-day forum covering every aspect of business aviation connectivity. More than 50 industry experts attended the inaugural event which heralds the launch of CwC internationally.


Southwest Airlines/iHeartRadio

Southwest Airlines announced a new collaboration with iHeartRadio to bring iHeartMedia’s free all-in-one digital music and live streaming radio service to Customers as the exclusive music offering within the onboard entertainment portal on Southwest flights. Through the onboard entertainment portal integration with iHeartRadio, Customers can enjoy all their favorite musical genres including alternative rock, country, hip hop, R&B, Top 40 hit music, and more. From these genres, passengers can choose their favorite live radio station or pick from hundreds of artists to launch their very own custom artist radio station featuring music from that artist and those similar. In addition, iHeartRadio will also bring Customers expertly-curated station themes perfect for inflight listening like Pass the Time and Kids Zone.

“Our Customers and Employees are passionate about music,” said Ryan Green, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Southwest Airlines. “And for Southwest, music is a part of a larger story—it’s an ongoing investment in enhancing our Customers’ travel experiences. Through this partnership with iHeartRadio, we will create the soundtrack to our Customers’ journeys as we connect them to what is important in their lives.”

“We continue to expand iHeartRadio’s massive distribution platform to ensure that we are available everywhere our listeners are with the products and services they use most,” said Michele Laven, President of Strategic Partnerships for iHeartMedia. “We are proud to team up with Southwest Airlines to bring the music, radio stations, and on-air personalities people love inflight, continuing to entertain our listeners and Southwest passengers as they travel to their destinations.”

Customers can access iHeartRadio free of charge through the onboard entertainment portal on their personal devices to begin their listening experience. Once activated, the music will continue play as long as the entertainment portal is open in a tab, allowing Customers to browse the rest of the portal, check the flight tracker or utilize the web if they have purchased WiFi access.

Customers who already have the iHeartRadio app installed on their devices will be able to play their personalized music and favorite podcasts directly from the app while onboard Southwest flights. Those passengers who already subscribe to iHeartRadio’s All Access on demand subscription service will also have access to their entire music library and saved playlists as well as enjoy millions of songs and albums instantly. The free service is available on the more than 690 WiFi-equipped aircraft serviced by Global Eagle. Due to licensing restrictions, iHeartRadio may not be available onboard WiFi-enabled international flights. The iHeart Radio product is available only on WiFi-enabled aircraft. For more information please visit southwest.com/wifi.


Airbus

Airbus and the European member States France, Germany, Spain and the UK have agreed on some amendments to A380 and A350XWB Reimbursable Launch Investment (RLI) loans.

This allowed the European Union to notify the WTO of an additional set of compliance measures, responding to Tuesday’spublication of the WTO Appellate Body report. In its report, the WTO had clarified that the European Union and Airbus have achieved compliance in respect of the vast majority of the support at issue but considered that some remaining obligations required minor adjustments. Those have now been addressed by the EU. The terms of these amendments – like the terms of the original RLI contracts themselves – remain confidential but they are aligned with current market conditions.

Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) has created a new cabin design concept, called Harmony, which combines the comfort and space of a widebody cabin with the practicality to suit the longest of flights. Harmony seamlessly combines the benefits of Airbus Corporate Jets’ VIP widebodies – such as comfort, space and quietness – to produce a consistently harmonious customer experience. It builds on the Airspace cabin brand from the Airbus airliner family. Initially proposed for the new ACJ330neo Family[1], which features new-generation engines and Sharklets, Harmony can also suit other Airbus widebodies, such as the ACJ350 XWB

Lufthansa Group has firmed-up a previous option for six further Airbus A320neo, following a decision by the company’s supervisory board at the beginning of May. The latest agreement brings Lufthansa Group’s total order for the A320neo to 122 (77 A320neo and 45 A321neo). In addition, the airline signed an order for three more A320ceo, bringing the Group’s A320ceo orders to 273. With a total of 395 A320 Family aircraft on order, the Lufthansa Group is also Airbus’ biggest A320 operator with nearly 400 A320 Family aircraft in service. Lufthansa was the launch operator of the A320neo. Manufacture of the first ACJ320neo[1] has begun, with elements taking shape across Europe and final assembly due to begin in June, followed by the first delivery of the “green” aircraft to Acropolis Aviation of the UK in the last quarter of this year.  A second ACJ320neo will follow by year-end.

Deliveries of the first ACJ319neo, for K5 Aviation, will begin in the second quarter of 2019, marking a further step in the creation of the new corporate jet family. Orders for the ACJ320 Family now total nine aircraft, comprising three ACJ319neo and six ACJ320neo aircraft.


Boeing

Boeing Co.-backed startup Zunum Aero plans to deliver its first hybrid-electric plane in 2022 to JetSuite Inc., setting the stage for a new era in regional flying. JetSuite, a small charter airline with plans to expand a commercial operation nationally, eventually will receive as many as 100 aircraft that seat up to 12 passengers each, Zunum co-founder Matt Knapp said in a statement Monday. JetBlue Airways Corp. has invested in Zunum and JetSuite. The charter operator is also backed by Qatar Airways. The new aircraft will eliminate the roar of combustion-based engines, powered instead by twin propulsors attached to the rear of its frame. The ducted, or covered, fans will be driven by electric motors. A conventional fuel-powered motor will serve as a back-up system at the outset.


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