NetForecast Service Monitors Airline Passenger Wi-Fi Experience | Bluebox Receives STC For Aircraft-Powered W-IFE | Gogo Business Aviation News | Boeing, SkyNRG & SkyNRG Americas Announce Partnership | Other News

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NetForecast

In advance of a Department of Transportation proposal to mandate fee refunds when inflight Wi-Fi “doesn’t work,” NetForecast is launching a new service to independently and proactively monitor passenger Wi-Fi experience quality—enabling airlines to identify and correct Wi-Fi performance issues. The service, QMap® Inflight Internet Experience Monitoring, continuously measures the passenger Wi-Fi experience from personal electronic devices, and reports on end-to-end network experience quality in near real-time. The service notifies airlines when the passenger experience degrades below pre-determined thresholds, and locates problem areas along the network path within the aircraft Wi-Fi network, between the aircraft and the ground station, and beyond that to intermediate networks and network destinations.

End-to-end monitoring is important because the quality of a passenger’s Wi-Fi experience depends on the aggregated quality of service delivered by all elements along the network path. NetForecast’s QMap service is calibrated to reflect realistic performance expectations for each network technology (e.g., geosynchronous satellite, cellular, low earth orbit satellite, etc.).

According to Rebecca Wetzel, NetForecast President: “As members of the Airline Passenger Experience Association’s Connectivity Working Group, we collaborated with the industry to create a specification that provides guidance for measuring and assessing passenger inflight Wi-Fi experience quality. We are excited to put that industry guidance to work with our new QMap service to empower airlines to deliver the best possible experience to their Wi-Fi connected passengers.”

NetForecast is a privately held, woman-owned company headquartered in Charlottesville VA. It is an independent provider of internet performance measurement and data usage accuracy audit solutions. NetForecast customers provide Internet service to over 60 percent of US broadband Internet subscribers.


Bluebox

Bluebox Aviation Systems has been granted an Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the aircraft-powered version of its wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) system, Bluebox Wow. Issued by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to Design Organization Approval (DOA) holder Aerospace Engineering Solutions, the STC applies to all Airbus A320 Family aircraft. The STC was approved after testing was completed with a soon-to-be-announced customer in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The granting of this STC is an exciting and major milestone for us as we continue to sign up new airline customers eager to return to the business of delivering exceptional digital in-flight experiences to their passengers,” said James Macrae, CTO, Bluebox. “Our original version of Bluebox Wow, with its swappable battery system, has been a game-changer in the IFE market, introducing a cost-effective way to deploy IFE to airlines that might never have considered it before due to the high costs involved with installing fully embedded systems. But as the demand for W-IFE has grown – in conjunction with the development of our more powerful digital platforms that our customers can use for engaging their passengers and earning ancillary revenue – we’re attracting the interest of airlines with larger fleets. By utilizing aircraft power, Bluebox Wow devices can deliver the same digital IFE services without a battery present, eliminating the need for logistics management of batteries, and still offering a considerably lighter and lower-cost system than fully fitted W-IFE.”

Macrae continues: “The STC also includes automatic Pause on PA functionality that pauses playback in the event of announcements from the flight deck or cabin crew. Further, by removing the battery completely from this version of Bluebox Wow, we avoid the need for complicated battery/flight status logic and control and the possible risks involved with that – making it much easier to ensure our system is DO-178 compliant. It’s a simple and elegant approach.”

Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games, and other digital content. These services can be offered to passengers on a complimentary basis or paid for via payment card or voucher access with no cabin crew interaction required. Bluebox also offers onboard retail services, including the ability to order and pay for products and services via passenger devices with full inventory synchronization, in parallel to traditional sales from galley carts via cabin crew point-of-sale devices. In addition to onboard touch-free sales, Bluebox’s retail solutions also enable pre-paid (booking path) purchases. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, Bluebox Wow is a discrete, lunchbox-sized unit, typically stowed securely in overhead bins.

With battery- and aircraft-powered versions of Bluebox Wow, the linefit option for Bluebox’s W-IFE platform available on Airbus OSP and retrofit on traditional avionics grade hardware, Bluebox’s range of hardware options for its digital in-flight platform ensures the greatest choice and flexibility are available to customers, especially those with different aircraft types and fleets of any size. This also means that Bluebox can deploy a consistent customer experience across a fleet – whether that be to provide more traditional entertainment content, offer food & beverage or retail sales on board or through the passenger journey, or deliver other innovative services designed to engage passengers and build customer loyalty as well as increase ancillary revenue.


GOGO

Cirrus Aircraft has selected Gogo Business Aviation’s  AVANCE L3 system to be installed as a factory option on new production G2+ Vision JetTM aircraft.

The G2+ Vision Jet is the first “Personal Jet” aircraft to add Gogo’s inflight connectivity service. Cirrus joins Gogo’s distinguished list of aircraft manufacturers that offer Gogo equipment from the factory, which includes all nine of the largest manufacturers of business aviation aircraft in the world.

“The need and desire to be connected in flight is not bound by aircraft size or aircraft mission – everyone who flies in their own aircraft deserves to have fast, reliable connectivity,” said Mark Sander, vice president of OEM sales for Gogo. “The AVANCE L3 is clearly the best solution for personal jet owners and operators who want, fast, reliable inflight connectivity on the most reliable network for aviation.”

Cirrus’s selection of the AVANCE L3 highlights the increasing desire for connectivity on aircraft of all sizes and mission types. The L3 delivers the power of the AVANCE platform in the lightest and smallest form factor available, enabling passengers and crew to be connected to email, browse the web, or access AVANCE L3’s other value-added features such as moving maps, news feeds, and flight information.

“Last year Gogo lowered its minimum service level from 10,000 feet AGL (above ground level) to 3,000 feet AGL which provides additional connectivity time to each flight,” Sander continued. “Today we’re seeing a trend where connectivity has become increasingly important on smaller aircraft such as light jets and turboprops.”

Launched in 2016, the Vision Jet defined a new category in aviation – the Personal JetTM – with its spacious pilot and passenger-friendly cabin featuring panoramic windows, reclining seats, comfortable legroom for five adults and two children and the only turbine aircraft with a whole airframe parachute system as standard equipment. The G2+ Vision Jet is a versatile single-engine jet capable of adapting to the unique needs of business and personal travel missions.


Boeing

Boeing, SkyNRG and SkyNRG Americas announced a partnership focused on scaling the availability and use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) globally. Boeing will also invest in SkyNRG Americas’ SAF production project, for which Alaska Airlines is a previously announced partner.

“Sustainable aviation fuels are safe, proven and offer the greatest potential to reduce our industry’s carbon emissions in the near, medium and long term,” said Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond. “This partnership is an important milestone on our journey to decarbonize aerospace, while ensuring that its societal and economic benefits are available to people everywhere.”

Boeing, SkyNRG and SkyNRG Americas will work together to accelerate SAF development globally, focusing on scaling production capacity, building awareness and engaging stakeholders throughout the value chain, including airlines, governments and environmental organizations.

“We are extremely proud to take the longstanding Boeing-SkyNRG relationship to this new level. We have always been strong collaborators and through this teaming effort, we’re strengthening our relationship even further,” said Maarten van Dijk, Managing Director of SkyNRG.

As a leader in the SAF industry, SkyNRG sources and supplies SAF, develops production capacity, advises on policy decisions, manages corporate SAF programs and takes the high road on sustainability. SkyNRG Americas is a new company focused on growing SAF production in North America. Its first dedicated U.S. production facility for SAF will supply airports and airlines on the West Coast. Boeing’s investment in the project includes the advance purchase of SAF from this facility for use in company flight tests and other operations.

“We are thrilled to be in this partnership with Boeing and grateful for their leadership by providing an advance payment for SAF from our first facility. With this teaming agreement, SkyNRG Americas will be able to accelerate our efforts to expand the SAF industry throughout North America,” said John Plaza, CEO of SkyNRG Americas.

The partnership builds on Boeing’s long-term industry leadership and investment in SAF. The company began SAF test flights in 2008 and helped gain approval for commercial use in 2011. The Boeing ecoDemonstrator uses SAF for all flight test programs and completed the world’s first commercial airplane flight using 100% SAF in 2018. Earlier this year, Boeing committed that its commercial airplanes will be capable and certified to fly on 100% SAF by 2030.

“Our industry will need a strong, reliable supply of SAF to address climate change and drive adoption,” said Raymond. “We aspire to partner and help create that supply.”


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