News From Panasonic, Inmarsat, SITAONAIR, Boeing and Others

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PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) announced an agreement with Nelco Limited (Nelco) to provide satellite connectivity services to customers flying into India and over Indian airspace. With this agreement, Panasonic becomes the first satellite communications provider to begin inflight connectivity (IFC) operations under Nelco’s Department of Telecommunications license for In-Flight and Maritime Connectivity (IFMC), in accordance with the Flight and Maritime Rules. As a result of this agreement, Panasonic, and its subsidiary ITC Global, now offer connectivity to both aircraft and maritime vessels operating within India. With the implementation of the agreement and subject to regulatory approvals from relevant authorities, Indian full-service carrier Vistara may become the first airline in the country to offer satellite connectivity on international flights. With equipment already installed on more than 2,500 aircraft, vessels, and other platforms, Panasonic and ITC Global are already delivering connectivity services to customers in the aviation and maritime markets, providing them with access to satellite-based high-quality broadband internet services over India.

Panasonic’s inflight connectivity service is currently offered by more than 65 airlines globally. The GSAT 14 satellite will ensure that passengers onboard Panasonic-connected flights will enjoy a full suite of connected services while flying over Indian airspace or into India. At this time, over 700 aircraft from over 30 airlines installed with Panasonic’s connectivity solutions have begun using the GSAT 14 satellite. Panasonic’s inflight connectivity solutions will enable passengers to stay connected while they fly. Along with its subsidiary, AeroMobile, Panasonic is working with Nelco, the Department of Telecommunications – India, and local telecoms organizations to deliver seamless connectivity for data, text and voice services, accessible via a passenger’s mobile device in flight.

The service will be available on aircraft equipped with this service traveling across Indian airspace, and is expected to launch on Vistara in early 2020 – the first Indian-based airline to offer a service of this kind to passengers. Panasonic and Nelco have been working together to bring in-flight and maritime connectivity over India since March 2019. The agreement was signed by Panasonic, Nelco and Tatanet services on September 13, 2019. Since September, Panasonic and Nelco have been integrating networks to enable connectivity services using bandwidth from Indian satellites landing in Nelco’s teleport in Mumbai, India.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat announced that it will bring its world-leading maritime, aviation and enterprise connectivity solutions to customers based in Saudi Arabia through new partner agreements.

The company additionally announced that it has secured new spectrum licenses to deliver both its narrow-band (L-band) and high-capacity broadband (Ka-band), Global Xpress (GX), services in Saudi Arabia, enabling Saudi-based businesses to deploy these services for the first time. Fixed and mobile satellite telecommunications distributor Sada Al Ammah and Global Beam Telecom have been appointed as Inmarsat’s first distribution partners in Saudi Arabia and the region and they will work closely with Inmarsat’s Maritime, Aviation and Enterprise businesses to roll-out services in the region. Global Beam Telecom & Sada Al Ammah will work with Inmarsat’s Enterprise business to bring the benefits of its award-winning connectivity services to land-based users in the Middle East. Inmarsat’s Aviation business will work with Sada Al Ammah to deliver cockpit safety services and passenger cabin broadband Wi-Fi connectivity (GX Aviation for commercial airlines and Jet ConneX for business jets) to companies based in Saudi-Arabia, enabling airline and business aviation passengers to browse the internet, stream video and music, check and update social media and more during their flights. Inmarsat’s L-band network provides best-in-class connectivity services for users on land, at sea and in the air. The network enables a wide range of use cases such as fleet management, remote analytics, data transfer and other IoT/M2M applications in areas with non-existent or unreliable connectivity. Focus areas for these use cases will include oil and gas, transport and aid and non-governmental organizations (NGO). Further capacity is set to benefit customers in Saudi Arabia and beyond soon, as the recently-launched GX-5 satellite comes into commercial service in 2020, to meet the surging demand for high-capacity broadband across the skies and seas of Europe and the Middle East.


SITAONAIR

Ivory Coast carrier Air Côte d’Ivoire is extending its relationship with inflight connectivity partner SITAONAIR across its new fleet of A320neo aircraft, enabling enhanced levels of passenger satisfaction.

The deployment, due in September 2020, will see Air Côte d’Ivoire’s new fleet enter into service with both SITAONAIR’s Mobile ONAIR and Internet ONAIR Wi-Fi over Inmarsat’s cutting-edge GX Aviation network.

The airline’s selection is set to meet increasing passenger demand for the ultimate level of speed and seamless connection. SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR portal also provides Air Côte d’Ivoire with a host of additional services with the potential for new ancillary revenue, as well as personalized content for its passengers.The addition of SITAONAIR’s Mobile ONAIR services on top of enhanced Wi-Fi connections offers the airline and its passengers the best of both worlds. Passengers can enjoy a seamless mobile connection in the air, as on the ground, while increased connectivity bandwidth provides enhanced reliability.

Mr. René Decurey, Chief Executive Officer, Air Côte d’Ivoire, comments: “It’s true that passenger expectations are growing. There is also increasing pressure to provide tailored services that cover the breadth of our passengers’ needs and data consumption. As Air Côte d’Ivoire continues to concentrate on enhanced, new generation inflight connectivity services for true passenger satisfaction, SITAONAIR is the obvious, trusted partner to support our ambitions.”

Stephan Egli, Commercial VP Middle-East, Africa & Europe, SITAONAIR, adds: “Having previously deployed SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR solution over SwiftBroadband, the move to GX reflects Air Côte d’Ivoire’s dedication to delivering true passenger satisfaction that’s future-proofed. By offering mobile and Wi-Fi services onboard, SITAONAIR is able to provide an inflight connectivity service to passengers that delivers a unified, seamless and fast experience that costs less. SITAONAIR is proud to be Air Côte d’Ivoire’s long-term partner in this venture.”

Also from SITAONAIR:

SITAONAIR has been instrumental in the expansion of Very High Frequency (VHF) coverage throughout Turkey, during the development of the country’s largest new airport hub in Istanbul, which opened in April 2019. SITAONAIR’s expansion of the current VHF infrastructure enhances operations for airlines serving the regional domestic market and the country’s main airports. In addition to the 29 existing VHF antennae which currently serve Turkey’s main cities, including Istanbul, Ankara, and Antalya, SITAONAIR is planning to install a further 14 at six additional sites across the country. This will include six new antennae at Istanbul Airport which opened its doors on 6 April 2019. Istanbul Airport covers around 76.5 square kilometers and plans to accommodate up to 200 million passengers per year upon the completion of all phases. The developments come at a time when Istanbul’s air transport management services face increasingly busy traffic through the flight corridor between Europe and Asia, which spans the region, following the recent closure of Istanbul Atatürk Airport.


SD

SD, the business, military, and government aviation solutions provider, is expanding its hardware portfolio with the launch of a new tail-mounted antenna series. The announcement, which heralds the launch of the SD Plane Simple antenna portfolio, positions SD as a single source provider of end-to-end connectivity solutions for business jet and government operators worldwide.

The new tail-mounted antenna system offers two variants for operation in Ku- or Ka-band frequencies. The Ku-band variant is expected to be available for STC in early 2021, followed by the Ka-band version later in the year. With only two line-replaceable units (LRUs) and a network agnostic design, the common form factor and wiring simplify the installation, which allows owners and operators to equip aircraft with a connectivity system compatible with future technological developments. Partnerships with Inmarsat for Jet ConneX service delivery and Intelsat for FlexExec connectivity have already been established.


IMMFLY

Immfly introduces Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. films on Club Express Onboard, the digital inflight entertainment and services platform it operates on Iberia Express. The airline surprises passengers on the Madrid-Copenhagen route by screening the Joker, the film which received the most Oscar nominations of any film in 2020. The crew provides earphones and mobile device holders to all passengers with which they can comfortably enjoy screening the film wirelessly using their smartphones while enjoying complimentary popcorn. Passengers who found themselves on the special celebratory flight, were surprised with free popcorn, earphones and mobile device holders to enhance their IFE experience. Immfly has progressively enhanced the Iberia Express IFE service since it first launched the pioneering service in 2014, helping the airline further boost its Net Promoter Score. Practically 50% of the passengers which access Club Express Onboard, the digital services and entertainment platform Immfly provides on Iberia Express, do so to consume entertainment content. Over a third of the users, 37%, enjoy movies, 18% opt for TV shows and 13% for digital press and magazines.


BOEING

Boeing and ANA HOLDINGS INC. (ANA HD) announced the Japanese airline group decided to acquire up to 20 more 787 Dreamliner airplanes (see today’s IFExpress rectangle). The agreement with Boeing includes 11 787-10s, one 787-9 and options for five 787-9s valued at more than $5 billion at list prices. The airline also plans to acquire three new 787-9 airplanes from Atlantis Aviation Corporation.

Once the agreements are finalized, it will be ANA’s sixth order for the ultra-efficient and passenger-pleasing Dreamliner and bring their overall 787 order book to more than 100 airplanes.

“Boeing’s 787s have served ANA with distinction, and we are proud to expand our fleet by adding more of these technologically-advanced aircraft,” said Yutaka Ito, Executive Vice President of ANA and ANA HD. “These planes represent a significant step forward for ANA as we work to make our entire fleet even more eco-friendly and further reduce noise output.”

With this order, the airline will add 11 of the largest and most fuel-efficient Dreamliner models, the 787-10 to its world-class fleet. Powered by a suite of new technologies and a revolutionary design, the 787-10 set a new benchmark for fuel efficiency and operating economics when it entered service in 2018. The airplane allows operators to achieve 25 percent better fuel efficiency per seat compared to older airplanes in its class.

ANA sees the 787-10 as the perfect airplane to replace previous domestic 777 models that are slated for retirement.

“Introducing the 787-10 on our domestic routes will help ANA Group maintain its leadership role and improve our ability to operate as a responsible corporate citizen,” Yutaka Ito said.

ANA became the global launch customer of the 787 Dreamliner when it placed its initial order in 2004. Since then, like half of all Dreamliner operators, the Japanese carrier has placed follow-on orders. However, ANA is in a class by itself as the world’s biggest 787 operator with 71 airplanes in its fleet and 12 more to be delivered prior to the latest agreement. The new deal will bring the 11 additional 787-10 airplanes, one 787-9 and options for five more 787-9 jets.

ANA is also in the launch customer group for Boeing’s new 777X.

“ANA has grown into one of the leading airline groups in Asia by continually raising the bar for customer satisfaction and investing in the most technologically-advanced and capable fleet. We are truly honored that ANA HD is coming back to order more 787 planes with plans to boost their Dreamliner fleet to more than 100 jets,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing, The Boeing Company. “We are confident that the unique capabilities of the 787-10 will continue to safely serve its passengers with best-in-class comfort and reliability.”

The 787 Dreamliner is playing an important role in reducing carbon emissions around the world. Since the first 787 entered commercial service in 2011, the Dreamliner family has saved more than 48 billion pounds of fuel. In addition, the 787 fleet’s noise footprint is 60 percent smaller than those of the airplanes it replaces.

ANA HD’s new 787 jets will be powered by GE’s GEnx-1B engines. The new engines will contribute to the 25 percent improved fuel efficiency per seat of the 787-10.

Also from Boeing:

Boeing announced it has dedicated the remaining $50 million of a previously announced $100 million fund to support humanitarian needs in communities affected by the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents. The Boeing Community Investment Fund will work directly with victims’ families to enable them to donate to eligible charities of their choosing. The company will partner once again with Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros on the fund’s creation, allocation and distribution. Feinberg and Biros will immediately begin working with families, governments and other interested parties to identify eligible charitable organizations. All monies distributed by Feinberg and Biros will be independent of any resolution provided through the legal process. ollowing months of extensive discussions with victims’ families, government officials, community leaders and others, we determined the best path forward – both for those who lost loved ones and the communities affected by these accidents – is to empower the families to decide how to allocate these funds,” said Tim Keating, Boeing’s executive vice president of Government Operations, who oversees the company’s charitable activities. “Through this donation, it is our hope the families will be able to honor their loved ones in a manner that is both personal and meaningful to them while also creating a lasting legacy in their communities around the world.”

Work also continues on the previously announced $50 million Boeing Financial Assistance Fund, which is providing near-term financial assistance to families of the victims.
“When we made our initial $100 million pledge, our first priority was to ensure that we provided families with immediate financial assistance,” said Keating. “Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros have made tremendous progress on that effort. Given their success and the trust they have built with the families, we have now asked Ken and Camille to oversee the important work of connecting families with the charitable organizations they deem most meaningful.”


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