This week we have a lot of stories that will interest you and we thought we would start our offering with a light interview we recently had with a really nice guy, Cyril Jean of PXCom, located in France. Some three years ago, we met Cyril at an APEX luncheon where he joined our table with an introduction, a business card, and a conversation loaded both with future hope and enthusiasm. Whats not to like? So, after the few years of starting an inflight entertainment company we asked via email how it was going and he wrote the following answers. We thought you, our readers, might find them interesting:
1. Cyril, how many airplanes do you have service on today?
Answer: “We have 71 for Eurowings and 20 for Iberia Express.”
2. OK, what airlines can you mention that you are providing service to?
Answer: “For the moment Eurowings & Iberia. I think that within one month we will be able to operate on 3 new airlines.”
3. Please tell our readers how long have you been in the IFE business?
Answer: “PXCom was created 3 years ago, and yet we have been working in the IFE business for 10+ years.”
4. Cyril, could you please name you products/services for our readers.
Answer: “Our destination guides (see the image above) do not have a specific name. Also, the advertisers pay for a PXPage (interactive page integrated directly in the guide) or for a PXApp (microsite that can be accessed directly from the guide).”
5. Perhaps you could tell our readers where are you located and if this affects whom you service?
Answer: “We are located in Bordeaux (FRANCE), but our first customers (advertisers) are within Europe. With the upcoming additional airlines we intend to develop in Asia, Middle East and Americas.”
6. Please more completely identify your “products” or services for our readers as we know you are developing some interesting IFE solutions?
Answer: “We supply destination related services: from informative content (destination guides) to destination services (taxi booking, hotel pre-checking) – when we have the opportunity to supply onboard aircraft equipped with connectivity. We have also a second activity, soon live on the first airlines, which is Digital Inflight Advertising. Please note that this latter mentioned product will be subject to a specific PR release when it becomes live.”
7. Can you now give our readers an updated airline/product picture?
Answer: “For the moment it’s Eurowings our launch airline for the interactive guides, and we also provide Iberia Express with destination related advertising offerings. We have currently 7 other airlines in process for product integration, among which, 3 of them will be unveiled before end of September.”
IFPL celebrated a major milestone this year supplying their two-millionth industry part to a key Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). Now in their 20th year of trading, IFPL reached their two-millionth unit, just four years after the first million, demonstrating their continued sustainable growth in leading the way in IFEC peripherals. Chief Operating Officer, Tim Young, proudly accepted the two-millionth unit from the company’s Head of Production, Marcus Baker. Tim says, “It is a testament to the whole IFPL team, that the two-millionth part followed so soon after reaching our first million. IFPL investments in quality systems, manufacturing and product development capability combined with the development and introduction of new NFC, USB, audio jacks and passenger control units, means that we aim to reach our three-millionth unit even sooner.” The innovative IFPL two-millionth unit is IFPL’s Noise Cancelling Audio Jack (p/n 1155). IFPL’s Integrated Noise Cancelling Audio Module (INCAM) technology is designed to minimize cabin background noise – ensuring that aircraft passengers enjoy a more relaxed and restful journey, while also benefiting from clarity of sound via the passenger Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system. Passengers may still use their own noise-cancelling headphones, however IFPL’s INCAM enables the airline to provide noise cancelling to all its passengers by simply relocating the costly and complex headset electronics into the jack module. Therefore noise-cancelling headsets are not required, only the addition of inexpensive microphones in the ear cups that are used to pick up the ambient noise. This improved technology enables all aircraft passengers to benefit from a more enjoyable and enhanced in-flight experience. The 1155 Noise Cancelling Audio Jack is part of an extensive range of IFPL products and IFEC solutions, which includes the new reversible USB power and data module, Dual-pin MagSignal audio and the latest in NFC contactless payment technology.
Honeywell has achieved final certification from Inmarsat for JetWave, the company’s package of exclusive hardware that will allow pilots, passengers, operators and maintenance personnel to connect to GX Aviation, the revolutionary new in-flight broadband service from Inmarsat. Users can consistently and more quickly surf the internet, check emails, stream music and videos, and shop online without drop-off throughout their flight, even when flying over oceans. The final type approval certificate confirms that the system functions as designed and completes the process to bring GX Aviation to the aerospace market. The certification centers on operation in all environmental conditions with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which comprises three satellites already launched and functioning. This ensures that passengers, pilots and other airline personnel have access to high-speed, consistent and reliable broadband service by GX Aviation on flights worldwide, with speeds similar to those experienced at home or in the office.
The Future Travel Experience Global show is “Vegas” on Sept 7 – 9 and you can get all the info here. Noted Daniel Coleman: “It has taken a lot of work, but I am very proud and excited by the plans for FTE Global 2016, with our valued event partners making great contributions to bringing the event to life: McCarran International Airport, APEX, ACC, AAAE and Airport Terminal of the Future.”
AeroMod International and SITAONAIR today jointly announce a partnership to install SITAONAIR wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) services on Philippine Airlines. The rapid installation program will see AeroMod International deploy a consistent cabin experience across Philippine Airlines fleet and implement the systems in record time. This industry leader in avionics and airplane structural modification and repair services commenced installation of the SITAONAIR wireless IFE system on Philippine Airlines’ Airbus A321 fleet in July. Under the program, Philippine Airlines will have one wireless IFE-installed aircraft returned to service every day. Market analysis by AeroMod reveals that only 13 percent of non-U.S. airlines have wireless IFE fully deployed. Despite this, a recent SITA survey of passengers worldwide showed IFE is now more commonly consumed via Wi-Fi on a personal device, rather than on the aircraft’s seat-back screen (46% vs 44%, with 10% using both). Additionally, two thirds (65%) of passengers would choose to access it via their own devices if wireless IFE was available. “86 percent of passengers take a smartphone onto a plane and they would prefer to also use them to access IFE. These networks therefore need to be highly robust in order to deliver HD quality video to all passengers,” said David Lavorel, CEO of SITAONAIR. “AeroMod has an enviable track record for installations that are both of exceptional quality and are turned around quickly, getting the planes back in the air as soon as possible.”
We wanted to point out one writer who weekly features the present and future of satcom usage and his name is Tim Farrar… a writer, speaker, and aficionado of that venue of connectivity. We thought you might find one chart that he has posted and since it talks about “who has what” in the satcom universe, you might find it interesting… a little bit of research on his site might also be useful… especially the SES chart he has included on the above mentioned link. But, there is a lot more there.
Global Eagle Entertainment has entered into a global distribution agreement between GEE’s Entertainment in Motion and The QYOU, a leading provider of curated and hosted online short-form content for the Video Everywhere age. The broad-based deal gives GEE and its affiliated companies access to The QYOU catalog and new production targeting distinct passengers with peppy morning, family afternoon and late-night styled content. The video segments will cover various categories including extreme sports, artist spotlights, dance, beauty, and comedy. Content will be accessible on airline seatback portals and personal entertainment devices enabled by airlines and cruise liners. The agreement grants exclusive and worldwide airline and maritime distribution rights, and non-exclusive distributions rights in other U.S. and Canada non-theatrical markets.
On another GEE front, Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today launched a new interactive data dashboard designed to provide the traveling public with access to aggregated flight operations information for U.S. airlines and airports across the country. The dashboard, displayed at airlines.org, was produced in partnership with Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (GEE) and will provide the current operation status for the top 30 U.S. airports by passenger volume.
A4A partnered with GEE to develop this dashboard as a resource for industry partners and others who have a need for aggregated on-time performance data at the airport level or based on current weather patterns. The dashboard, tapping into GEE’s unsurpassed aviation data analytics capabilities, is complete with scroll-over maps, real-time flight departures, completions, cancellations, on-time performance and weather conditions at the national and local airport level. This new resource also provides a detailed, rolling 30-day analysis of completed and canceled flights. GEE’s solution will enhance this offering by adding current analysis tools of all U.S. flight operations.
Phoenix, AZ | August 22, 2016– Honeywell (NYSE: HON) achieved final certification from Inmarsat for JetWave™, the company’s package of exclusive hardware that will allow pilots, passengers, operators and maintenance personnel to connect to GX Aviation, the revolutionary new in-flight broadband service from Inmarsat. Users can consistently and more quickly surf the internet, check emails, stream music and videos, and shop online without drop-off throughout their flight, even when flying over oceans.
The final type approval certificate confirms that the system functions as designed and completes the process to bring GX Aviation to the aerospace market. The certification centers on operation in all environmental conditions with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which comprises three satellites already launched and functioning. This ensures that passengers, pilots and other airline personnel have access to high-speed, consistent and reliable broadband service by GX Aviation on flights worldwide, with speeds similar to those experienced at home or in the office.
JetWave has also been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency for safety, environmental and installation standards.
“Inmarsat’s certification of our JetWave hardware means that customers don’t have to wait for a high-speed, global connectivity service. It’s available and ready for installation now,” said Carl Esposito, vice president of Marketing and Product Management, Honeywell Aerospace. “A recent Honeywell survey found that 84 percent of travelers say that it is important to have an in-flight Wi-Fi experience identical to what they have at home or in the office, and airlines around the world will now be able to meet their customers’ demands with GX Aviation.”
“GX Aviation is the ultimate broadband solution for the skies. It is a truly global service that has been engineered with aircraft mobility in mind, ensuring that airlines, business aviation operators and leading aircraft companies can offer high-quality connectivity even at 40,000 feet, using a single network from a single provider,” said Leo Mondale, Inmarsat Aviation president. “We are delighted with the performance of Honeywell’s JetWave terminals, which have been designed for ease of installation and maintenance to ensure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market. This final certification is an essential part in opening the doors to this exciting new era of in-flight broadband, available to our customers anytime and anywhere, with absolutely no limits in terms of deployment to their fleets.”
- AeroMod begins equipping Philippine Airlines A321 aircraft;
returns newly wireless IFE-equipped aircraft every day
Melbourne, Florida and Geneva, Switzerland | August 18, 2016– AeroMod International and SITAONAIR today jointly announce a partnership to install SITAONAIR wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) services on Philippine Airlines. The rapid installation program will see AeroMod International deploy a consistent cabin experience across Philippine Airlines fleet and implement the systems in record time.
This industry leader in avionics and airplane structural modification and repair services commenced installation of the SITAONAIR wireless IFE system on Philippine Airlines’ Airbus A321 fleet in July. Under the program, Philippine Airlines will have one wireless IFE-installed aircraft returned to service every day.
“This agreement with a worldwide aircraft connectivity leader such as SITAONAIR capitalizes on our growth to provide operational support to customers around the world,” says AeroMod President Gary Girard.
Market analysis by AeroMod reveals that only 13 percent of non-U.S. airlines have wireless IFE fully deployed. Despite this, a recent SITA survey of passengers worldwide showed IFE is now more commonly consumed via Wi-Fi on a personal device, rather than on the aircraft’s seat-back screen (46% vs 44%, with 10% using both). Additionally, two thirds (65%) of passengers would choose to access it via their own devices if wireless IFE was available.
Improving the customer experience is a key driver for commercial airlines, and wireless IFE systems allow a wide range of content to be made available directly to passengers’ personal devices. SITAONAIR’s system delivers reliability and cost savings as well as easy installation and maintenance. Now with AeroMod rapid installations, these products can be rolled out across an entire airline’s fleet in a matter of weeks. All combine to make an especially appealing fit for airlines.
“86% of passengers take a smartphone onto a plane and they would prefer to also use them to access IFE,” says David Lavorel, CEO of SITAONAIR. “These networks therefore need to be highly robust in order to deliver HD quality video to all passengers. AeroMod has an enviable track record for installations that are both of exceptional quality and are turned around quickly, getting the planes back in the air as soon as possible.”
AeroMod relocated its corporate headquarters to Orlando Melbourne International Airport in April 2016. Its new 114,000-square-foot site takes advantage of Melbourne’s position as the fastest growing aviation and aerospace manufacturing center in the United States.
“Our new facility was designed to offer connectivity and IFE installations significantly faster than other MROs,” says Girard. “To prevent fleet-planning disruption, we can also adapt to customers’ needs and send a qualified team to the customer’s chosen location, anywhere in the world, as we have been doing for Philippines Airlines.”
Philippine Airlines is the national carrier of the Philippines, operating in over 40 international and over 30 domestic destinations. Its key focus areas are flight route network expansion, fleet modernization and service innovation. PAL aims to achieve five-star rating in five years by implementing key initiatives anchored on the branding philosophy Heart of the Filipino.
Perhaps the on big news release today was found on Digital Music News. They note that after a couple years of litigation, UMG settled for a $15 million dollar payment with an additional 1,360,544 shares of GEE stock. Some 4,500 songs were allegedly infringed as well as videos. Earlier, we estimated that worst case, the deal could hit GEE with a deal worth hundreds of millions, however, we now have a settlement with the lawsuit dismissal and no admission of guilt or liability. Actually, GEE will survive this story and we think they will continue to do well. We also note that GEE’s PR folks did not respond to our request for information (no surprise). Here is the whole story. And here is another link with a different spin.
Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) and Yahsat today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore new ways to offer a broadband connectivity solution serving several mobility markets in the Middle East within the next three to five years. In addition, while final terms are still being negotiated, the MOU allows both parties to further investigate the launch of a Yahsat satellite constellation that would serve Panasonic’s general mobility needs in aviation, maritime and terrestrial transportation, and also give Yahsat the ability to use Panasonic communication related technologies and services where practical. Moving forward, Yahsat and Panasonic will assess the various technical requirements for such an offering. The companies will explore a wide range of factors including the type of frequency to be used, the coverage and capacity needed to serve flight routes in this region, the type of antenna and radome to be used, and the certification requirements of such a solution.
In addition to the previous news story, Virgin Atlantic builds on in-flight entertainment innovation by adding live TV to 787s. Customers travelling with Virgin Atlantic this summer will now be able to tune in to live television onboard its 787’s, thanks to a partnership with Panasonic Avionics and IMG. This new service will be available to customers travelling on the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner and initially three channels will be available – Sport 24 for all the live sporting action from around the world, and BBC World News and CNN International for breaking news around the clock. Sport 24 will be showing action from the Rio 2016 Olympics Games, Premier League, NFL, UEFA Champions League, NBA, Tennis Grand Slams, Bundesliga, Formula 1, Golf Majors, MotoGP, and the Ryder Cup.
Recently, the folks at Honeywell conducted an interesting IFE Survey that begins: “In Honeywell’s third connectivity survey passengers shared increased frustration with current in-flight Wi-Fi offerings. It’s clear that consistent, faster in-flight Wi-Fi is a must.”
Here is a quick review of the situation: “Nearly 3 of 4 passengers are ready to switch airlines today to have access to a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connection. In addition, out of more than 1,000 American travelers polled, annoyance is growing, with just 22 percent reporting their in-flight Wi-Fi to be extremely reliable over the past 12 months, a dip from 27 percent in 2014.” The survey revealed three key reasons airlines need to act quickly or risk losing business:
1. Wi-Fi is the Premium Service Travelers Demand.
- Lack of in-flight Wi-Fi has become intolerable as passengers shared they’d be disappointed or frustrated without access to this service.
2. Wi-Fi Should Be Like Breathing. Simple, Reliable and Not Something Travelers’ Worry About.
- Reliable connections on flights anywhere in the world and fast speed to stream audio or video to sites like YouTube or Netflix are essential to passengers’ Wi-Fi experience.
3. Millennials Mean Business When it Comes to Wi-Fi.
- More millennials than older generations have switched from their preferred airline to an airline that has better in-flight Wi-Fi options.
Here is how the study unfolded: A survey of airline passengers by Honeywell (NYSE: HON) reveals more than increased frustration with current in-flight Wi-Fi offerings compared with the company’s 2014 study. Nearly 3 of 4 passengers are ready to switch airlines today to have access to a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connection. In addition, out of more than 1,000 American travelers polled, annoyance is growing, with just 22 percent reporting their in-flight Wi-Fi to be extremely reliable over the past 12 months, a dip from 27 percent in 2014.
If you don’t want to sort out their findings, the following is a summary: 1. Traveler Loyalty Lies With Wi-Fi, 2. Consistent Connections Are Critical Everywhere, 3. Millennials Value Wi-Fi More Than Most.
IFExpress really found some results interesting enough to ask a few more questions of Honeywell’s Gwennie Chung.
1. We would like to know more about the questionnaire?
ANS: The Honeywell Aerospace Connectivity 2016 Survey was conducted between April 11th and April 20th, 2016 among 1,008 Americans ages 18 and over who have used in-flight Wi-Fi in the last 12 months.
2. Where were they interviewed – on-line, mail?
ANS: Using an e-mail invitation and an online survey.
2. Are you talking about working Millennials or any other factors?
ANS: In this survey, Millennials are (travelers) born between 1982 and 1998.
3. Was travel price/cost involved. If not, why not?
ANS: Yes, we did have a question on pricing but the way it was framed, we find that it may not be relevant/accurate relative to the current landscape and decided not to use this data.
4. Domestic vs International connectivity preferences?
ANS: We did not distinguish domestic vs international for every question but… For a majority of travelers, it’s essential to experience a reliable connection throughout their entire flight anywhere in the world (90%), and fast speed to stream audio or video from sites like YouTube or Netflix (83%). (I myself, also don’t care where I’m traveling too, I would like to have the same service anywhere I’m going to.)
6. Preferences (when I did this stuff) were: 1.Airline, 2. Price, Time….IFE and Connectivity was 5th or 6th…and
I realize that was when planes had props, however, I would be interested in today’s preference order.
ANS: We did not have this ranking.
7. Did you get any results for old timers (like me)?
ANS: We did compare Millennials to older generations.
More millennials than older generations (73 percent versus 63 percent) say Wi-Fi availability impacts the flights they book. Because they value a connected experience more than older generations, more millennials find it important to have fast speed to stream content (89 percent versus 77 percent), and more than 1 in 4 have switched from their preferred airline to an airline with better in-flight Wi-Fi options (27 percent versus 15 percent).
8. Can you get any validation of the required bandwidth for a full plane of connectivity mavens… I am trying to figure out how much is “enough”!
ANS: Most travelers find it essential to experience a reliable connection throughout their entire flight anywhere in the world (90 percent), and one that is fast enough to stream audio or video from sites such as YouTube and Netflix (83 percent).
We don’t have any information to share on this as there are too many variables.
9 Did you separate demand/price for staggered connectivity – 1. Texting, 2. Email, 3. Surfing, 4.Streaming. Does Honeywell see
a variable pricing as a solution – “The more you pay, the more you get”?
ANS: No, we did not.
10. So here is the bottom line: Will people change airlines, regardless of flight or connectivity cost, just to have Internet?
ANS: As the survey data shows, more than 1 in 5 (21 percent) have already abandoned their preferred airline for an option with better in-flight Wi-Fi (up from 17 percent in 2014).”
(Editor’s Note: A “Thank You” to Gwennie and the the entire Honeywell team and we would like to add one thing – while the study focused on Wi-Fi because that is the connectivity of today on aircraft, we are aware that cheaper, non-WiFi solutions are in the works and we suspect technology like Bluetooth, which is on the horizon just might cause the term “connectivity” to be used instead of just Wi-Fi!)
Gogo is announcing that they have received regulatory approval from various Chinese regulatory bodies through their local partner China Telecom Satellite, and will work with China Telecom Satellite to offer in-flight connectivity service on international flights operating in and out of China starting in October. “This is really a ground-breaking moment as we expand our global reach as an organization into China and other parts of the world. For passengers on Gogo equipped flights currently flying into China, this means they will be able to enjoy seamless service once they reach Chinese air space,” said Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small. “We believe China Telecom Satellite will be a very strong and effective partner for China’s in-flight communication market and both parties will extend the cooperation to Chinese airlines in the future.” We also note, Gogo currently has one International airline partner operating with service to China, and recently announced it has signed a term sheet with Beijing based Shareco Technologies to install its 2Ku in-flight connectivity technology on 50 commercial aircraft for Shareco’s airline partners, including Hainan Airlines and Beijing Capital Airlines. In addition to in-flight connectivity, Gogo will also provide its wireless in-flight entertainment solution – Gogo Vision – for Shareco to install on these aircraft. Noted Michael Small: “For passengers, this means on Gogo equipped flights currently flying into China, they will be able to enjoy seamless service once they reach Chinese air space.” You can read more about this partnership on here on Concourse.
Sadly, we report: “I Just wanted to pass the news to you that I am leaving Thales for family reasons. I am moving back to TN and will be leaving the Aviation industry. Its been a great run but it is time to focus on my family after the last 10 years of much travel. Mike Moeller, Vice President, Business Development.”
(Editor’s Note: Mike, we will miss your animated presentations for sure, but mostly, we will miss your wonderfully fun and valuable show booth designs!)