Perhaps you noted that your ticket over to Hamburg was more expensive than last year’s, some writers have noted that the increase in all airline costs have grown over that last 5 or 6 years and that has boded well for the airlines. This may seem counterintuitive, but the doubling of fuel costs from approximately $1.50 per gallon to over $3.00 per gallon has actually helped the airlines. The airlines have adjusted to the new reality and dropped inefficient routes, gotten rid of older fuel guzzlers, added more (new) aircraft seats and IFE, and raised prices. They themselves have gotten more efficient, and in the process, have given the economic thumbs down to startups that, in the past, have beaten them at their own game and basically made it unprofitable to compete with the “new” efficiency. In a recent Associated Press article, writer Jeff Mayerowitz said; “ Virgin America was the last major new US carrier. But since it started flying in August 2007, The San Francisco-based airline has lost hundreds of million dollars. It didn’t post its first annual profit until last year and that was only after it stopped its rapid expansion.”
While the costs of airline fuel, and just about everything else airline, has gone up, so have the ticket prices. This means that the newer oil prices have actually helped our industry, and while the resultant ticket prices might be unpleasant for travelers, the increase has helped our industry. Logically then, AIX is growing because the airlines are again growing… as demonstrated by airline stock growth. When they are doing well, our industry follows. To give you a better idea of the success of ticket price increases and the growth of ancillary revenue lets look at rise in airline stock prices (value). Note that these are the number increases NYSE traders are assigning to next year US airline stock valuations.
AIRLINE STOCK PRICE INC. YTD STOCK PRICE TARGET 2014
Delta 16 % $25 (up +49%)
Southwest 22 % $53 (up +27%)
United 11 % $44 (up +30%)
American 34 % $42 (up +32%)
* Data as of April 2, 2014 – Fuel Price increase as a result of any Ukraine actions not taken into account. (Data – CNBC)
The message here is: the last two years have been positive for airlines and with the normal financial impact lag, 2014 should be a good year for IFEC.
Now for the show and this week we will tell you about some of the newer stuff we saw but you must remember that there are hundreds of interesting vendors and we could only visit a little over 20+ as time would permit.
Aircraft Cabin Systems’ Yukio Sugimoto came to AIX and we got him to pose in front of his New Technology retractable video display patent approval but we even more were excited about their teaming with TEAC. The IFE products company was brought back to life by Yoshi (Randy) Fuyama and his team. While we wont take you through the organizational ordeal, we note that with the SD Memory Card Video Reproducer and the ACS retractable displays, an airline can build a remarkably inexpensive IFE system that is virtually trouble free and lightweight.
Next, we should tell you about a couple of the newcomers, Solid State Inflight and Lock’N’Charge. First, Solid State is iPad/Content Solution Provider proved that iPads are becoming the “go-to” personal entertainment device… and now an airline can get a turnkey iPad model from one company, complete with locking/charge storage unit that rolls onboard from another company. Solid State will customize the tablet content (looks great), provide early window content, and deliver and set up the ground handling, as noted by Mark O’Brien. The UK-based company is a believer in helping vision impaired to get their IFE and PrivatAir is their first customer. While the storage and charging unite were demonstrated next door by Kevin Pillay whose ‘lock’n’charge’ devices were some of the best we have seen Solid State & LocknCharge
PCX.com is run by a very nice man named Cyril Jean. The company is a content provider and has a beautiful multimedia solution that was one of the best we have seen at AIX.Supported by UBIFRANCE, The company’s unique approach has enabled it to produce a range of products which access multimedia applications without the need of an onboard Internet connection. Cyril notes, “For our principal service which provides destination information, we will be unveiling our partnerships with major travel guides and travel entertainment for destinations. During the trade show, we will also be pleased to reveal strategic partnerships offering airlines new opportunities for their loyalty programs (FFP & Loyalty)”. PCX.com announced a series of strategic partnerships during the show and you can visit PX.com and brush up on your French.
You remember Brian Mooney, right? Cabin attendant turned Mr. Arinc, turned Mr. Allegiant, he showed IFExpress an iPad solution that really was first class, and we note, the iPad software product now has coverage in the cockpit, as well as the cabin as a report and manual device, a “Buy-on-Board” tablet, an ePIL (electronic passenger list) device, as well as a messaging unit. Check out the screen and you can contact Brian for further information.
Here are a few job changes you might want to note:
Michael Reilly is now with Arconics.
Pete Chilson is now representing JANA (Technical Publications).
Kerry Farrish is with Panasonic.
Lastly, we wanted to say to ‘hello’ to all our new (and old) friends and advertisers we saw at AIX. You don’t know how good it is to meet someone that subscribes to IFExpress, and from more than one, we heard, “I read your newsletter every week and it is good to finally meet you.” That makes it all worthwhile!
- Expanded TAC offerings provide improved analysis, visualization, information management
Annapolis Junction, MD | April 16, 2014– Boeing [NYSE: BA] has expanded its line of TAC analytic software with three new products to bolster customers’ data monitoring, information management and analysis abilities.
TAC+, Mobile TAC and the TAC+ Investigation Module enhance the existing line of Boeing knowledge management software, enriching data discovery capabilities and providing a new access point for users to constantly monitor content.
“These improvements help analysts sift through extensive volumes of data to focus on relevant information and form quick, decisive conclusions,” said Sparky Olsen, director of Boeing’s Intelligence Systems Group.
Mobile TAC, the first mobile application designed for the TAC software line, allows users to view real-time, secure data on their mobile device. It allows on-the-go access to real-time information, plus the ability to collaborate and take action while working remotely.
The Boeing TAC+ software upgrade is designed to help analysts make more accurate, rapid, informed decisions. It features a new user-friendly interface with streamlined, single-click navigation and improved workflow, resulting in faster data sorting capabilities. Other upgrades include a powerful new geospatial tool embedded directly into the interface to enhance situational awareness.
The TAC+ Investigation Module seamlessly organizes data gathered through the TAC interface into structured case files. This capability allows users to perform customizable, in-depth, collaborative analysis.
Launched in 2006, the TAC line of products is a trusted and widely used knowledge management technology that persistently monitors data in real time and extracts relevant information.Boeing is showcasing the TAC line of products in live demonstrations at the GEOINT Symposium in Tampa, Fla.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world’s largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $33 billion business with 58,000 employees worldwide. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.
SITA to Establish Command Centre and Help Transform SAA’s Technology
Johannesburg, South Africa | April 22, 2014– South Africa’s leading airline, South African Airways (SAA), will outsource its domestic network services and its desktop and associated server support services to air transport IT specialist, SITA. In a five-year deal announced today, SITA will also establish a round-the-clock Command Centre for desktop and network management and will help the airline implement various transformational projects in information technology.
Phinda Ncala, Chief Information Officer, South African Airways, said: “In order to enhance passenger service and ensure we remain competitive in the market, we need to transform the way IT Operations delivers services to the business. This new agreement builds on our long-standing relationship with SITA, and will ensure IT and business alignment, while integrating new innovations and reducing our costs.”
As part of its desktop support services, SITA will provide a catalogue of services to automate delivery processes for authorized users, improving delivery time and quality. In addition, SITA will offer role-based profiling to ensure the airline is providing the right device and service to each user based on their specific needs. The agreement covers 130 international sites, 30 South African sites and more than 7,000 desktop and laptop devices. SITA will also support the airline’s high-speed, resilient domestic network.
Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa, said: “SITA is helping South African Airways virtualize, standardize and consolidate its IT environment in order to decrease operational costs and increase efficiency. We’re working together to upgrade the airline’s technology and to create new governance in its IT to ensure changes happen in a highly efficient and structured manner. At the same time, we’re collaborating on new innovations like establishing a comprehensive mobility capability and making the most of the airline’s WiFi networks.”
SITA has provided outsourced desktop and associated server and domestic network services to SAA for the last 13 years. This new agreement is an extension of the previous deal. SITA has partnered with Business Connection Limited (BCX), South Africa’s leading systems integrator, who will provide leadership in process standardization as well as technical support specialists. SITA is also working closely with HP, which will manage the airline’s data centre.
SAA is Africa’s most-awarded airline and flies to 40 destinations worldwide. In its domestic market, it has an extensive schedule operating 554 flights in total per week. Regionally, SAA offers 24 destinations across the African continent. SAA’s international network creates links to all major continents from South Africa through 10 direct routes and code shares, with daily flights from Johannesburg. The airline has won the ‘Best Airline in Africa’ Award in the regional category for 11 consecutive years. Mango, its low cost carrier, and SAA hold the number one and number two successive spots as South Africa’s most on-time airlines.
Atlanta, GA | April 16, 2014– Providing mobile services to tech-savvy passengers just got easier for 120 airlines and ground handlers with the upgrade of iTravel® by SITA. This service, from the global IT provider to the air transport industry, allows airlines to implement passenger booking and check-in apps for Android and Apple phones and a web app for mobile usage on other devices.
Designed for users of SITA’s Horizon Reservations and Departure Control Services, iTravel incorporates the latest user interfaces taking advantage of smart phone technology to provide a better service to passengers. An added benefit for the IT departments of airlines is that iTravel uses a SITA API. This means that any changes to platforms, such as an upgrade to the Apple iOS, will be managed by SITA with the updates made available to all users.
iTravel provides a future-proofed solution that enables airlines to respond to passengers’ increasing demands to use their mobile devices at every step of the journey. The use of geo-location and flight search using graphical maps allows passengers to be presented with relevant deals based on their current location in a very attractive and interactive user interface. Already four airlines are using the latest update of iTravel with all reporting increases in mobile services usage by their passengers.
Allison O’Neill, SITA Vice President, Passenger Solutions, said: “Passengers want to use their mobile devices throughout their journey and 76% carry a smartphone but usage rates for services such as check-in and booking, remain below 5%. More than three quarters of passengers list usability concerns and limitations of the device as reasons for lack of usage. At SITA we have addressed this by making iTravel as user friendly as possible. We have also made it easy for airlines to implement so that they can have mobile as a strong channel in their distribution mix.”
Mobile services are now a real option for airlines as iTravel is quick and easy to deploy. SITA’s API ensures that developers are isolated from complex airline business processes. In addition, SITA’s keeps the API up-to-date. For example, it ensures that boarding passes are fully IATA and TSA compliant so that airlines do not need to make changes. iTravel delivers secure and streamlined access to shopping, booking, check-in, flight and airline Information, and loyalty functionality. It also provides valuable business intelligence on the customer’s behavior and value to the airline. Together this offers airlines more opportunities to connect with their passengers and in time to increase ancillary revenues.
More than 120 airlines and ground handlers use Horizon Reservations and Departure Control Services and now, with iTravel, they have the opportunity to introduce world-class mobile services to their passengers.
Broomfield, CO | April 15, 2014– Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), announces that its business aviation group, Aircell, has named the organizations receiving the company’s highest dealer honor for 2013 – the Aircell 51,000 Five. The award recognizes the highest-performing organizations in the company’s global dealer and distributor network, as chosen by the Aircell executive team.
Recipients of the Aircell 51,000 Five award for 2013 are as follows (in alphabetical order):
• Cessna Citation Service Center
• Duncan Aviation
• Hawker Beechcraft Services
• West Star Aviation
Award selection is based on dealers’ demonstrated commitment to helping customers get the most out of in-flight connectivity, as well as their technical expertise, sales performance and other factors.
Representing a pinnacle of achievement for an Aircell dealer, the award’s name was inspired by the highest altitude reached by aircraft in the business aviation industry – 51,000 feet. Trophies were presented to each organization in a ceremony held recently during the Aircraft Electronics Association’s Annual International Convention & Trade Show in Nashville, TN.
El Segundo, CA | April 11, 2014– Teledyne Controls, the aircraft data and information management business, has obtained an STC (Supplemental-Type Certificate) for its enhanced Airborne Data Loader (eADL) to be used on the Boeing 747-400, 757, and 767 aircraft models.
Certification will enable airlines operating these Boeing aircraft to harness Teledyne’s eADL technology to increase data load speeds, reduce aircraft turnaround times, and significantly improve the operational effectiveness of their respective fleets.
Steve McDonnell, Director, Aircraft Integration and Certification at Teledyne Controls, says that the eADL provides immediate and demonstrable competitive advantage:
“Navigation Data Bases (NDBs) have to be changed every 28 days,” he explains, “and comprise a set of floppy disks that have to be loaded manually, each one in turn. If one of those disks fails to load, the process has to start all over again. With eADL, however, the speed of loading is the same but it is automatic, which means the engineer can spend that time doing better things.
“It means an airline can significantly reduce its dependence on floppy disks and all of the hassle that goes with it, and considerably improve the control and management of essential software.”
Teledyne Controls’ eADL greatly simplifies the distribution, onboard storage and management of loadable software applications and databases across an airline’s operation, eliminating the need to reproduce, distribute, and load countless floppy disks every month. In a single action, Loadable Software Airplane Parts (LSAP) can be quickly uploaded to the eADL with a single USB memory stick, alleviating repetitive manual methods.
The distribution process can be automated even further with Teledyne’s Wireless GroundLink® Data Loading (WGL-Dataloading™) system. This solution allows Software Parts to be directly transmitted from the LoadStar® Server Enterprise (LSE) ground system to the eADL internal mass memory. The memory capability not only alleviates searching for software disks during line operations, but it also allows the entire contents of the aircraft’s software binder, or data vault, to be carried and stored electronically on every aircraft.
“For customers who want the eADL installed as standalone, it is a very simple installation,” Steve continues. “It is effectively plug-and-play. For customers who want to distribute Software Parts to the eADL via WQAR, an installation kit can also be provided.”
These 757, 767 and 747-400 certifications add to Teledyne’s growing portfolio of STC’s for the eADL enabling retrofit installation onto the industry’s most popular aircraft models, including the A319/A320/A321 and 737NG families of airplanes.
Hamburg, Germany | April 11, 2014– Ancillary Revenue represents a $46bn industry for the global commercial air transport sector. At present these revenues are experiencing a 30% year on year growth. Thales expects that the on-board portion of this revenue, which today accounts for 15% of the total, will become an ever more crucial driver for airline profits.
The IFE leader is therefore announcing the delivery of its onboard payment application that brings self-service to the air by enabling passengers to purchase items directly through the TopSeries AVANT system. The system platform is now compliant with the PCI Data Security Standards (DSS) and will fly onboard a major carrier in Q2 2014.
By bundling many different payment methodologies into a single package, Thales aims at enhancing the passenger experience whilst at the same time enabling airlines to further their ancillary revenue generation streams.
The application, developed by GuestLogix, allows for greater flexibility and ease of access to payment options for passengers, all linked to the easy to use credit card reader equipped on AVANT. This functionality opens the doors to a vast array of pay-for services including shopping for destination items such as ground transportation, tourist attraction packages and selected store catalogue shopping, as well as on-board shopping from duty free to in-flight entertainment access or inflight catering for airlines that do not offer these as a complementary service.
66 per cent of travellers would use their mobile phones inflight
Hamburg, Germany | April 10, 2014– A poll of German travellers has revealed a huge appetite for inflight mobile services including SMS, email and mobile-enabled internet access in the aircraft cabin.
Over 66 per cent of Germans surveyed said they would use their mobile phones during a flight if they had the option, mainly to stay entertained during long hours in the air.
Almost half (47 per cent) of those would use an inflight mobile connection for surfing the internet and just over a fifth (21 per cent) would check social media sites, while 58 per cent would opt for text messaging.
Almost a third (32 per cent) of people said they would use the service to make a call or check voicemail at 30,000ft.
The survey of 2,000 German consumers conducted by AeroMobile, a leading mobile phone operator for the aviation industry, reflects Germany’s increasing appetite for mobile technology.
More than half of people questioned said they expect inflight mobile connectivity to become standard in the next few years and 60 per cent believe an airline with an inflight mobile service is cutting edge.
“The results of this survey certainly reflect our experience at AeroMobile,” said Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile.
“In 2013 we saw close to an 80 per cent increase in the number of travellers using their mobile phones in the aircraft cabin and data usage on our network went up 10 fold. We also saw a 50 per cent increase in SMS traffic.”
German flag-carrier Lufthansa launched its inflight mobile phone service with AeroMobile earlier this year and has confirmed it will roll out mobile connectivity across its entire long-haul fleet of over 100 aircraft.
The AeroMobile network allows passengers to roam just as they would abroad. The company has live roaming agreements with over 250 mobile phone operators worldwide, including German networks T-Mobile, Vodafone, e-Plus and O2 Germany.