Melbourne Australia March 5, 2010 — ASiQ limited announced today the release of the world’s first aircraft Bluetooth Access Point.

Ron Chapman ASiQ’s CEO stated “up until now passengers have only had very expensive options for in flight mobile phone communications however, with the evolution of our SafeCell App, combined with our new Bluetooth Access Point, airlines will now be able to offer their passengers affordable SMS, MMS, voice messaging and text email on the popular device of choice, the mobile phone. Better still SafeCell eliminates GSM roaming charges, as it does not require a GSM Picocell connection to deliver its services.”

Bluetooth access points are more efficient, as they operate as a Personal Area Network (PAN) and unlike Wi-Fi do not have the expensive and cumbersome process of connecting to the internet, in order to establish a link. The SafeCell App is unique in that file sizes are so small, even a narrow band satellite link can accommodate the basic texting needs of every passenger. Plus, Bluetooth can transmit at up to 3 megabits per second, which means it can accommodate any data or media requirement.

With ASiQ’s proprietary PAN design, two access points can cover a narrow body aircraft such as a Boeing 737 or Airbus 320. Up to 192 mobiles can be logged on to an Access Point, which more than covers every passenger onboard the aircraft.

Ron believes Bluetooth has an enormous future, which is justified by the latest ABI research.

First News Briefs for December 8, 2009 extract states “ABI Research reports that nearly 2 billion Bluetooth chipsets are forecast to ship in 2014 alone. More than half will be found in wireless handsets. In 2014, Bluetooth will be found in 70 percent of all handsets and 83 percent of all netbooks.” Compare this to the fact that less than 10% of mobiles have Wi-Fi and it’s clear to see why Bluetooth is the best solution.

When you consider that SafeCell systems will costs as little as $10k per aircraft, compared to GSM based systems costing around $500k per aircraft and a Wi-Fi system costing around $100K per aircraft for a US domestic airline and up to $350k for an intentional airline, there is no comparison.

Several airlines have been following the progress of SafeCell which was patented in January this year and Ron expects to announce the first installation of the new access point in the second quarter of 2010.


Here is a link to a great synopsis of Wi-Fi installations onboard commercial airlines. It is one of the best we have seen and we know some of you cannot let a week go by without indulging your inner techie! Your next edition of IFExpress will be in your in-box in January 2010.


The Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane #1 successfully lifted off from Paine Field in Everett, WA at 10:27 AM. The airplane will conduct an initial flight test and then land at Boeing Field in three to five hours.

The Boeing Company has a web site with information and video at

Here are links to additional stories from local media sources covering the first flight:

You read it right, this holiday season in the US (sorry Europe, Asia) Google from Silicon Valley is providing travelers at 47 US airports free Wi-Fi. The free service commenced November 10 and runs till January 15, 2010. At Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) and Burbank (BUR) airports, Google’s Andrew Pederson told us that the service will continue indefinitely. Google said, “… we like people online.” Rightfully so! This free offering from Google led to the ‘Virgin-Airlines-Free-Holiday-Inflight-Wi-Fi’ that was initiated about a month ago, helping drive the airborne leg. However, we were most interested in the airport arrangement and contacted SEA and BUR asking about the deal drivers – why forgo revenue that can easily exceed $100K per year?

Perry Cooper from progressive Seattle-Tacoma airport told us that they were very excited about the offer since they had a free Wi-Fi concept in their internal planning for 2010 and Google came along at just the right time. Seattle is now winding down a contract with AT&T, but expects everything to be in place in the very near future. At BUR airport, a spokesperson was not so optimistic about a free Wi-Fi future but this is where you readers can help. In fact US airports like SFO and LAX are not participating, probably because they do have exclusive service providers or advertising contracts and cannot participate; however, if travelers make it a point to contact their airport authority on the web or by phone and thank them if they participated in the free airport Wi-Fi from Google or tell them to adopt the Google deal if they did not…this could take off.

Check the links below for more information about participating airports. Further, send this Hot Topic to airport authorities in Asia, Europe and your backyard and help make a difference. We have all seen costly pay phones almost disappear at airports (killed by cell phones) and as a replacement, service providers and most airports alike, jumped on the paid Wi-Fi bandwagon. Gouging (yes, we said gouging) the traveling public seems natural in that greed driven environment. IFExpress has been on a mission for free airport Wi-Fi and we finally have a chance to change airports — so do your part. Remember, this is only a free service through the holidays. We recommend our readers beg their local airports and Google to keep this service alive after January 15, 2010. In many instances Google is installing the infrastructure and we fear that the airports may well turn them over to paid providers after the event closes.

There is one catch though, it is free, it is public, and there will be some bad actors trying to steal identities, passwords, and your money. There are a few safeguards and we have a link below to PCWorld’s common sense precautions you should consider if you do surf a la Google.

We should mention that Google has asked for charitable contributions in lieu of connectivity payments – they only ask that you contribute to a very worthwhile charity, Engineers Without Borders (link below). Come to think of it, a few of our readers could probably contribute an idea or two. Feel free to do so, these folks are only trying to make the world a better place thru brainpower.

In Memoriam, we note the passing of long-time, IFE good guy, Gar Westfal. We knew him and loved the man like everybody else. Want a role model? Try Gar… he was the best!

EVERETT, Wash., Nov. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Boeing (NYSE: BA) has completed installing reinforcements within the side-of-body section of two more 787 Dreamliners.

Over the weekend, employees at Boeing’s facility in Everett, Wash., finished reinforcing the full-scale static test airframe and the second Dreamliner designated for flight test. Installations were completed Nov. 11 on the first flight-test airplane.

The modification entails installing new fittings at 34 stringer locations within the joint where the wing is attached to the fuselage.

“Our focus now is on completing the static test later this month, which will validate the modification,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. “Concurrently we are restoring the airplanes and completing the functional tests required to fly by the end of the year.”

The static test airframe is being refitted with strain gauges and instrumentation required for testing. Access doors, systems, seals and fasteners removed from airplane No. 2 to provide access are being restored in preparation for continued testing on the airplane. The first 787 also is being restored.

Fancher said the program is on track to fly the 787 by the end of the year.

“We are building momentum with each milestone we achieve,” Fancher said. “This team is focused on its goals and bringing us ever closer to first flight.”

New Airbus customer boosts A350 XWB orders beyond 500

Ethiopian Airlines has today ordered 12 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft, bringing total orders for the A350 XWB family to 505, not even three years after launch of the programme.

In selecting the A350-900 to operate from their hub in Addis Ababa on routes to Europe, the US and Asia, Ethiopian Airlines becomes a new member in Airbus’ family of over 300 customers.

“We are committed to investing in industry leading technology to maintain our unrivalled reputation in Africa whilst continuing to grow” said Mr Girma Wake, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. “The A350-900 uses new technology to bring superior passenger comfort and a step change in fuel efficiency to our rapidly expanding operations.”

“The A350 XWB’s extra efficiency and cabin-comfort will strengthen Ethiopian Airlines’ position as a leader and benchmark in African aviation” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO. “More than 500 orders from 32 customers is a clear endorsement that the A350 XWB is shaping the future of air travel.”

The A350 XWB Family is Airbus’ response to widespread market demand for a series of highly efficient medium-capacity long-range wide-body aircraft. With a range of up to 8,300 nm / 15,400 km, it is available in three basic passenger versions.

The A350 XWB has the widest fuselage in its category, offering unprecedented levels of comfort, the lowest operating costs and lowest seat mile cost of any aircraft in this market segment. Powered by two new generation Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines, the A350 XWB Family is designed to confront the challenges of high fuel prices, rising passenger expectations, and environmental constraints.

Firm orders for the A350 XWB now stand at 505 from 32 customers worldwide.

HONG KONG, 12 November 2009 – Emphasis Media, a company of PubliGroupe, garnered a number of awards for its customer publications at the recent 39th Creativity Annual Awards.

Considered one of the longest running international advertising and graphic design competitions in print, web, advertising and media design, this year’s judges were from some of the United States’ most prestigious design firms.  

From thousands of entries received all over the world, the winners selected this year by the panel represent 36 countries.

CNN Traveller, the magazine published for the renowned global news organisation, CNN International, won Gold and Silver awards in the Photography, Magazine, Single Unit category.

Silkwinds, the inflight magazine of SilkAir, Singapore Airlines’ regional carrier, received Gold and Silver awards in the Typography, Magazine category.

Dan Hayes, editor of CNN Traveller magazine commented, “We’re delighted to have received these awards. CNN Traveller strives to showcase the finest photography from around the world, in conjunction with some of the best travel writing you’ll find anywhere. The award-winning stories, from Xinjiang and North Korea, demonstrate how far CNN Traveller goes in search of a really gripping and newsworthy story.”

Innes Doig, Emphasis Media’s Editorial Director, remarked,  “We are thrilled that the creativity of Silkwinds magazine has once again been recognised at these prestigious awards. They are a credit to the Emphasis Media design team as well as to SilkAir which has continually encouraged us in our use of innovative typography.”

GREENSBORO, NC. – November 13, 2009 – Tyco Electronics’ AMP NETCONNECT business unit has announced that the third-party test laboratory GHMT AG has completed the first independent study of UTP (“Unshielded Twisted Pair”) vs. STP (“Shielded Twisted Pair”) systems for 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GBASE-T). With the growing demand for IP bandwidth and end-user driven high speed services like the transmission of huge media entertainment files, medical records or research files, this study offers conclusive proof that the ideal cabling infrastructure system to support 10GBASE-T and larger applications is shielded copper.

This first-of-a-kind comparative study of two U/UTP and one F/UTP and two S/FTP systems from five market-leading vendors was conducted “live” using real 10GBASE-T equipment and traffic in environmental conditions established in international MICE (Mechanical, Ingress, Chemical and Electromagnetic) classifications. The study was conducted by GHMT AG, an independent test laboratory founded in 1992, an ISO/IEC 17025 certified third-party lab and one of the world’s leading cabling test labs. GHMT specializes in cabling and systems, EMC analysis and concepts, as well as wireless applications.

Key findings in the GHMT study include:

  • 10GBASE-T is very noise sensitive due to higher transmission frequency and lower signal levels caused by more complex coding schemes
  • Shielded systems offer high coupling attenuation and therefore extraordinary ANEXT (Alien cross-talk) and EMC performance
  • Unshielded systems show significantly weaker ANEXT performance and coupling attenuation because of balance-only based noise reduction
  • Unshielded systems failed four out of five electromagnetic immunity tests as specified by the international MICE definitions to describe different environmental levels
  • Shielded systems work with 10GBASE-T “by design”, while UTP systems require an increased level of time consuming and costly “immunity installation” practices

Full details of the study can be found at:

Web site:
Tyco Electronics Ltd. is a leading global provider of engineered electronic components, network solutions, specialty products and undersea telecommunication systems, with fiscal 2009 sales of US$10.3 billion to customers in more than 150 countries. We design, manufacture and market products for customers in a broad array of industries including automotive; data communication systems and consumer electronics; telecommunications; aerospace, defense and marine; medical; energy; and lighting. With approximately 7,000 engineers and worldwide manufacturing, sales and customer service capabilities, Tyco Electronics’ commitment is our customers’ advantage. More information on Tyco Electronics can be found at

The AMP NETCONNECT business unit of Tyco Electronics, develops, manufactures, and supplies a comprehensive range of communications infrastructure systems and products for customer-owned networks in most every industry. As a leading provider of commercial premises structured cabling systems for optical fiber and twisted-pair copper technologies, Tyco Electronics has broadened its AMP NETCONNECT product portfolio to include a complete line of infrastructure management solutions, data center solutions, 10 Gigabit solutions secure network solutions, and asset management solutions. More information on AMP NETCONNECT products can be found at and

Since its establishment in 1992 as a vendor-independent and impartial test lab, GHMT AG has been concerned with the complex field of physical transmission security in networks, computer centers, and industrial plants. GHMT AG provides high-end services including analyses, expert opinions and concepts, as well as tests, expert inspections and the development of installation standards in the areas of: Cabling & Systems, Electromagnetic Compatibility and Wireless Applications.

DUBAI, UAE [Dubai Airshow 2009] – November 13, 2009 – Aircell, the world’s leading provider of airborne communications, announces that it has expanded its worldwide presence by appointing Shoukry Shokralla as its sales & service representative in Abu Dhabi.

In his new role, Shokralla is responsible for supporting existing Aircell operators in the region and assisting prospective customers with their airborne communications needs. He will also provide Tier 1 support services, supplementing Aircell’s existing infrastructure in Europe and elsewhere in the world. He reports to Andrew Geist, Senior Vice President – Business Aviation Solutions.

Shokralla has over 28 years of experience in avionics and communications services and has extensive knowledge in marketing and technical disciplines. Fluent in Arabic, French and English, he is an experienced, FAA-certified pilot with multi-engine and instrument ratings. He holds an Electrical Engineering degree from California State University, Northridge, in the United States.

John Wade, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Aircell, commented, “Even with the challenges of the current economic climate, business aviation continues to experience growth in the Middle East. Aircell is a global company and it’s important for us to provide comprehensive support and local representation in such a key region. We’re delighted to have Shoukry join the Aircell team. His decades of avionics and communications experience and market knowledge will be invaluable as Aircell expands its activities in the region.”

Aircell offers a complete line of airborne communications systems and services. For global connectivity using laptops and smartphones, Aircell’s new SwiftBroadband solution is particularly suited to business aircraft operators in the Middle East. It allows passengers to seamlessly use their personal devices for e-mail and light Internet services in flight. They can also use the system’s integrated cabin handsets to make and receive voice calls. Aircell’s SwiftBroadband solution is powered by Thrane & Thrane.

Aircraft operators and dealers may reach Shoukry Shokralla directly at +971.50.318.0320 or

DUBAI, UAE [Dubai Airshow 2009] – November 16, 2009 – Aircell, the world’s leading provider of airborne communications, continued its Middle East expansion today by announcing the appointment of ExecuJet as its first authorized dealer in the Middle East. With its facility at the Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates, ExecuJet Middle East offers a full range of business aviation services.

John Wade, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Aircell, commented, “ExecuJet is one of the premier business aircraft service facilities in the Middle East and we’re pleased to have them join our global dealer & distributor network. A significant part of Aircell’s success comes from best-in-class representation at the dealer level and ExecuJet’s capabilities and expertise will be a critical part of achieving that in the Middle East.”

ExecuJet established its Dubai base in 1999 and was one of the first independent companies to offer business aviation services in the region. In 2008, ExecuJet Middle East was awarded ‘Business Jet Provider of the Year’ by Aviation Business Awards and ‘Best Jet Provider’ by AVEX Business Aviation Awards.

Nick Weber, Maintenance Director, ExecuJet Middle East, commented, “With the business world increasingly focused on executive productivity, inflight connectivity is clearly one of the hottest topics in aviation right now. Offering voice, Internet and e-mail services in a light equipment package, Aircell’s new SwiftBroadband solution is an ideal system for customers that want to remain productive and efficient while they fly. We’re very pleased to partner with Aircell because they have relationships with all the major aircraft manufacturers, fractional programs and top dealers. Their reputation for products and support in the global marketplace is unmatched.”

Today’s announcement follows Aircell’s recent appointment of Shoukry Shokralla as sales & service representative in Abu Dhabi. Shokralla will work closely with ExecuJet Middle East as it completes requisite dealer training and begins to work with Aircell customers.

Aircell offers a complete line of airborne communications systems and services. For global connectivity using laptops and smartphones, Aircell’s new SwiftBroadband solution is particularly suited to business aircraft operators in the Middle East. It allows passengers to seamlessly use their personal devices for e-mail and light Internet services in flight. They can also use the system’s integrated cabin handsets to make and receive voice calls. Aircell’s SwiftBroadband solution is powered by Thrane & Thrane.

The Execujet Aviation Group
The ExecuJet Aviation Group is a leading global business aviation organisation offering a diverse range of services including pre-owned and new aircraft sales, aircraft management for private and commercial registered aircraft, aircraft charter, aircraft maintenance, aircraft completions management and fixed base operations. Headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland, ExecuJet has operations in five regions – Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and South Africa, embracing a workforce of over 800 experienced staff.

About Aircell

Aircell is the world’s leading provider of airborne communications and a single-source, turnkey provider of equipment, service, and technical support. With a global sales and support presence, its products are offered by virtually every fixed- and rotor-wing airframe manufacturer in business aviation, and are installed aboard the world’s four largest fractional ownership fleets. As winner of an exclusive FCC frequency license in 2006, Aircell has built a revolutionary new mobile broadband network for commercial and business aviation. In 2008, the Aircell® Network and its inflight portal, known as Gogo®, revolutionized the commercial airline passenger flight experience by delivering a robust Internet experience at 35,000 feet. The Aircell Network provides airlines with connectivity to operations and a path to enhanced cabin services such as video, audio, television and more. A similar feature set is available to Business aircraft operators. Aircell has facilities in Broomfield, Colorado, and Itasca, Illinois. Aircell’s vision is to give everyone the ability to stay In Touch, In Flight®. For more information about Aircell, please visit

One of the bigger surprises at this year’s WAEA Conference in Palm Springs was the alliance between digEcor and Shanghai Lefeel Media Technology Co., Ltd. The result of this collaboration is a series of new handheld product offerings: 7” and 10” touch screen entertainment units and new services to go along with them. Boasting up to 20 hours of battery life the players should see service introduction in 2010. The contractual partnership between digEcor and Lefeel also includes a curser-driven, new-player development project. A curser-based unit has been a concept that Brent Wood of digEcor has envisioned for a number of years now. digEcor and Lefeel have also partnered with other entities in the development of these new products. “We have made the process of consulting with airlines, flight attendants, and passengers alike a high priority in our product development. We appreciate the help of our airline partners that provided valuable feedback during various steps,” said digEcor President Brad Heckel.

On the services front, digEcor plans to make inflight shopping a reality on a major carrier in December. They noted that the ancillary revenue to be gained from purchases is very important to their airline partners. Furthermore, a banner-type advertising service will be implemented, as well as, gaming and gambling applications, similar to what is available on the Internet today. Not solely focused on the aircraft, the digEcor people have hinted at developing other ground-based airline applications.

A surprise announcement also included the unveiling of a new PMA-based service from digEcor. The company has garnered FAA approval to offer PMA repair for other IFE vendor hardware. We think this might be a first in our industry!

From our perspective this is a new marketing posture from digEcor, not only are they expanding their service base but they are branching out to include higher value, new technology products and applications and in the process are developing new markets for their services. The IFExpress team came away from the WAEA feeling that we saw a new and evolving digEcor.