Delta Selects Viasat’s In-Flight Connectivity | Boeing News | Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year and Goodbye 2020!!

Phew, 2020 is over and what a year it was, but unfortunately, not in a good way for the majority of humanity.

As 2021 becomes commences, the aviation transportation industry is experiencing a myriad of changes. Terms like ‘recovery’ or ‘reset’ will be popular; however, the phrase ‘industry redesign’ could easily be the biggest deal. The world of public transportation may have to add the words like ‘caution’, ‘immunity’ and ‘contact-less’ to their title as COVID- 19 and its mutations affect everything we do while we travel. Unlike issues with older aircraft interiors, poor inflight food, slow inflight data rates, or malfunctioning IFE; passenger health & welfare will inevitably dominate our profession for sometime, despite the development of COVID-19 vaccinations. This is especially true as the virus continues to evolve and mutate, which is clearly the case.

Additionally, some airlines, like jetBlue have re-scaled their transportation solutions by redefining their aircraft size.  As of this month (January 2021), jetBlue has 267 airplanes in service, with remaining orders for 142 jetliners. Despite having 11,000 workers that have taken a voluntary leave, the airline obviously feels that the passenger capacity of their aircraft fleet needs to be reduced as well. Consequently, they have ordered some 70 A220-300’s which will each seat 130 passengers, the first of which is now flying. And IFExpress is certain other carriers may well follow suit in the very near term.

Clearly, the future of aviation transportation is changing. While electric vehicles are somewhere on the horizon, better passenger isolation with improved inflight environments just may be the new ‘big deal’ if the flight transportation market is to return to its previous scale and job market size. Furthermore, in the USA, we expect our passports to be more health communication oriented and it is possible that a traveler’s COVID-19 health status could be added to them, especially if it provides immunization information, in fact, this is exactly what Israel is developing in their new ‘green passport’.

Inflight entertainment & communication is important; however, for 2021 immunization is the key and the correlating availability of  traveler health data will be what enables the air travel industry to rebound. Stay Tuned! (Editor’s Note: By the way, when/if you do get a COVID-19 immunization shot(s), you might want to keep a copy of that info in your passport – we certainly will!)


Viasat & Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines has selected Viasat’s industry-leading, next-generation Ka-band satellite in-flight connectivity (IFC) solution for more than 300 mainline narrow-body aircraft, including both new delivery and retrofits on A321ceo, 737-900ER and select 757-200 aircraft. Delta expects to bring the Viasat technology onboard these aircraft starting summer 2021, with Delta having the option to add additional fleets.

Delta will be upgrading its current IFC system to Viasat’s more advanced Ka-band satellite-powered technology to provide all customers with enhanced and reliable in-flight internet capabilities—including faster, more consistent connections and an ability to stream all types of entertainment and popular over-the-top content—to any internet-ready device, gate-to-gate. The Viasat/Delta relationship will lay the groundwork toward a true full, fast and free in-flight internet experience as well as future enhancements and personalization on customer seatback screens.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to delight our customers and offer an unparalleled onboard experience,” said Bill Lentsch, chief customer experience officer, Delta. “In working with Viasat, we gain the tools needed to deepen customer interactions and bring us closer to delivering more personalized in-flight content as well as an ability to consistently provide free, fast, streaming Wi-Fi in the future.”

“Delta is committed to optimize the customer journey, and we’re committed to helping them build a foundation toward a better in-flight internet and entertainment experience,” said Rick Baldridge, president and CEO, Viasat. “We have a proven in-flight connectivity solution that is high-quality, streaming-capable and can scale to meet Delta’s growing customer demand. We’re proud to be part of their connected ecosystem.”

Delta’s aircraft will be outfitted with Viasat’s latest Ka-band IFC system, and will be compatible with Viasat’s complete fleet of satellites, including Viasat’s first-generation spacecraft and partner satellites; its second-generation spacecraft ViaSat-2, and the forthcoming ViaSat-3 class of satellites, which are expected to offer global coverage with nearly eight times more capacity than Viasat’s current fleet—which means even more enhanced connectivity and streaming services to keep up with expected increases in demand.

For more information on how Delta plans to accelerate the future of in-flight connectivity, check out the Q&A with Delta’s Director of Brand Experience In-Flight Entertainment & Wi-Fi, Ekrem Dimbiloglu – found in Delta’s News Hub.


Boeing News

Qatar Airways Cargo took delivery of three Boeing 777 Freighters as the airline continues to build its cargo division with the world’s largest and most capable twin-engine freighter. The milestone also marks the 200th 777 Freighter to be delivered.

The triple delivery comes as air freight is playing a pivotal role amid the COVID-19 pandemic – including transporting newly approved vaccines – and is projected to increase more than 4% over the next two decades.

With the arrival of the trio of 777 Freighters, Qatar Airways Cargo now operates 24 of this airplane model along with two 747-8 Freighters. As one of the leading air cargo carriers in the world, Qatar’s dedicated freighter fleet serves more than 60 freighter destinations worldwide via its world-class Doha hub and also delivers freight on the belly-hold deck of passenger aircraft to an extensive network.

“With the arrival of these new freighters, we are injecting more capacity in the market which is very much required during the pandemic. The added capacity will also enable us to support the logistics around the COVID-19 vaccination, which is projected to be one of the greatest logistical challenges for the industry,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker. “With our investments in innovation and fleet, we are able to fulfill our customers’ logistical requirements and facilitate the continuity of global trade.”

The 777 Freighter can fly 4,970 nautical miles (9,200 kms) and carry a payload of 224,900 pounds (102,010 kg). The airplane’s long range translates into significant savings for operators like Qatar Airways Cargo as fewer stops reduce landing fees, congestion, cargo handling costs and delivery times.

“During these challenging times, Qatar Airways Cargo has been transporting humanitarian relief and medical goods to those in need, and we are proud that their growing fleet of 777 Freighters is supporting such a commendable effort,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president, Commercial Sales and Marketing, The Boeing Company. “We deeply appreciate our long-standing partnership with Qatar Airways and their confidence in the 777 Freighters as the backbone of their expansive global air cargo operations.”

The 777 Freighter is now Boeing’s top selling freighter. Customers from around the world have ordered 242 777 Freighters since the program began in 2005, including a record 45 units in 2018. Boeing, the market leader in air cargo aircraft, provides more than 90% of the dedicated freighter capacity around the world, including new production and converted freighters.


Other News

If you have never head of Claude Shannon, do be surprised, especially if you are an electrical engineer. Claude Shannon in 1948 determined a mathematical communication theory and; “he laid the foundation for the entire communication infrastructure underlying the modern information age.” In the wonderful article by Davis Tse in Quanta Magazine lays out the story: “Today’s information age is only possible thanks to the groundbreaking work of a lone genius”. Below is the link to the article which contain the summary of his technology and link to his thesis/paper on the subject of his communication theory. Noted Tse: “Before Shannon, the problem of communication was primarily viewed as a deterministic signal-reconstruction problem: how to transform a received signal, distorted by the physical medium, to reconstruct the original as accurately as possible. Shannon’s genius lay in his observation that the key to communication is uncertainty. After all, if you knew ahead of time what I would say to you in this column, what would be the point of writing it?” If you want to see some data on a genius who never won a Nobel Prize check out the article: How Claude Shannon’s Information Theory Invented the Future | Quanta Magazine Further, Tse goes on: “This single observation shifted the communication problem from the physical to the abstract, allowing Shannon to model the uncertainty using probability. This came as a total shock to the communication engineers of the day.”

And finally, here is another source about the man and his brilliant solutions.

(Editor’s Note: If you don,t like mathematics, you might not want to check out Shannon’s communication theory report and graduate thesis … just read the article by Tse. And, if you don’t think this subject has anything to do with IFEC, remember, data communication is involved with connectivity in a big way.)

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