Farnborough was a big success for Airbus, who beat out Boeing almost 2 to 1, at least based on aircraft sales dollars there – $75.22B and $40.2B respectively, sort of! At show’s end, Airbus had some 496 aircraft orders/commitments from the show and Boeing chalked 201, but there were some deals in the works. There were 121 A330neo commitments, and 317 A320neo orders that included the 3,000th order of that family. Yes, Airbus beat Boeing “at the show” but a decision by Emirates in June to cancel 70 A350’s ($21B) and another decision in July to accept a Boeing deal for 150 B777x’s, with the right to purchase 50 more somewhat changes the picture. Since Emirates also cancelled the A350 orders, they might actually exercise the 50 B777 option. So where do they stand? While not technically a ‘Farnborough deal’, Emirates is purchasing 115 B777-9Xs and 35 B777-8Xs, the deal value adds over $70B to Boeing’s larder. Industry estimates say a big deal like this is only worth $31B, but if you add that to the $40.2B the show netted Boeing, it looks as if they are at least the July winner! (By the way, the Qatar 777X order announced at the show is indeed a firm order, so we are told.)

To help understand, we contacted Boeing and got this response: “There were no surprises on our end at the air show. We know that Airbus stockpiles orders specifically for the air show, while Boeing announces orders throughout the year. While the air show orders totals you list are correct, I should point out that Boeing went into the air show with more net orders for the year (Boeing 649, Airbus 290)—and we left the air show with more net orders for the year (Boeing 783, Airbus 648). The air show is simply one week out of 52″.

After reading Boeing’s Current Market Outlook we wondered how big the total IFE market over the next 20 years? Lets have some fun.

Below is the projected (20 years) airplane market in the study. We then made a seat number estimate at the average number of seats on each option. Finally, we picked an average seat IFE price of $5000 per seat with the assumption that each and every seat received IFE. Obviously our assumptions will not happen in real life; however, we wanted to get a feel for the cumulative market size, and based on a yearly IFE sale today of $2 – $3 Billion dollars, our dollar number estimate is roughly three quarters what is currently spent per year but we thought our readers would find the process interesting… and feel free to plug in your own numbers.

IFE 20-Year Market Growth Chart

If you look at the total seats from the aforementioned chart and multiply each seat by our $5,000 IFE estimate, you will get $36,208,250,000 as a total value of 20 years worth of seats. Now, divide by 20 years and the yearly total is $1.81B per year estimated average.

Lets stop for a minute and talk about the $5000 per seat for IFE. First, it is not realistic to assign IFE for every seat on the plane, on every plane, and the same value for every class of seat…we know that. And $5000 is probably good for a coach seat but we have heard numbers or upper class seats of at least $20,000… and we haven’t even mentioned inflation. Further, the aircraft seat numbers were arrived as an average number of seats per plane in the categories outlined in the Current Market Outlook. Our goal was not to give readers a NUMBER that reflects the some value that is slightly real today, but rather, a “water cooler” talkable number and a system to get there. Of course, real data clouds the result but we wanted a “number’ and thought this way, you could enter your own data and installation predictions/prices and show your boss how smart you are!

We should also note that the “number” does not include connectivity and new product developments and derivatives. Nor do we consider technology developments on the ground. If you look at IFE today and the consumer demand for IFE or connectivity, our numbers 20 years ago would seem way out of place today.

Then, for 20 years of IFE sales we average about $1.81B per year! We know the price per seat is going to go up, we know that there will be a lot of wireless connectivity and in-seat power and there will be many aircraft with no IFE. We also know an “average” seat count is not correct, and on and on. So don’t send us letters about how our assumptions are out of whack… we know it, we just wanted to get an average ‘feel’ of 20 years worth of value of the IFE business!

Along with the growth of the IFEC market value there is the growth in the design of IFEC, and the change in the content used. That is to say, in twenty years, IFEC will be different, and the content used in the new hardware will be different (i.e., 3D, 4D, “n”D, hi res., and so on). Make no mistake, it will change, not necessarily because the IFEC vendors want lighter weight hardware, not necessarily because airlines want different, higher quality content, but because passenger wants and needs will change just like they have over the last 10 years. If you think airlines are looking at HD video display because they want it, you might think again. It is the passenger home entertainment quality that keeps the demand for better movie quality. Today, if they are not satisfied with the screen, out comes the laptop, iPad, and in many cases, the personal telephone handset. What we are saying is, today it is the passenger that drives the IFEC requirements. If you need more proof, consider inflight Wi-Fi connectivity. Home Internet speeds are the driver that keeps the folks like Gogo, Panasonic and others awake at night. You climb aboard the most sophisticated flying machine ever invented and bring along a handheld device that has the fastest, lowest power consuming device/processor ever invented, and you just naturally expect the rest of the experience to be sterling because at your end, you have paid your dues. Guess what, connectivity to aircraft has not grown with the airplane technology, it came 90 years afterward so expecting it to develop at the same rate is unreasonable… it just is.

In reality, the IFE answer in the future could either be full-up everything, or nothing… based on what you believe passengers will bring aboard. In reality the answer may be both, and everything in between. If the past is any indicator, the aforementioned statement is probably going to be true. Want more proof, a reader sent us a link to one of the best airline position articles we have seen. As airlines become “hybrids” the world of aviation continues to change. It’s about Southwest, but we think you will get the message.

Next week we will have a look into the future with two if the best in IFE… Rich Salter and Michael Childers… don’t miss it.

For you history buffs, we supply a link and note we received in from a reader: “On Saturday, July 12, I led a walk-around tour at the Museum of Flight – covering the history of Boeing jetliners. My thrust was perhaps a little different from that which some may have expected. For me, the success of Boeing’s jet transport line was not the designing, and building, and flying of the 707 – it was something else – a subtle but profound attitude change inside Boeing. And the critical event was not the kick-off order for the 707 from Pan Am, but rather the later order from American Airlines – Bob Bogash.” The 707 is 60

Farnborough, UK | July 16, 2014– Rockwell Collins today announced that its Venue™ cabin management and high-definition (HD) entertainment system was recently selected by Sabena Technics for installation aboard a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ).

“Venue emulates the home electronics experience by supplying high-definition entertainment features to the aircraft cabin,” said Claude Alber, vice president and managing director, Europe, The Middle East and Africa (EuMEA) for Rockwell Collins. “Venue also offers flexible user interfaces that allow business to be conducted seamlessly.”

The updated BBJ cabin will feature HD monitors and digital audio throughout the aircraft for watching Blu-Ray Disc® movies and other high-resolution content, such as real-time flight information from Rockwell Collins’ Airshow® 3D Moving Map. These features are built upon a fault-tolerant, ruggedized fiber optic backbone that insures maximum system availability while providing necessary bandwidth to integrate the latest consumer technologies.

The BBJ aircraft will be supported 24/7 by Rockwell Collins’ market-leading customer service team, with over 2,000 staff and technicians operating from 46 service bases worldwide.

Venue, the leading cabin management and HD entertainment system for business aircraft with more than 400 installations, includes the features and functionality of the most advanced home entertainment systems and executive suites. Learn more about Venue here: http://www.rockwellcollins.com/venue/.

  • Modified 737-700C to be delivered to U.S. Navy

Renton, WA | July 16, 2014/PRNewswire/– Boeing (NYSE: BA) rolled out the 5000th Next-Generation 737 this week. The airplane is a Boeing C-40A Clipper, a modified 737-700C, that will serve as a transport aircraft for the U.S. Navy.

“This milestone is another testament to the popularity of our Next-Generation 737 and represents the confidence our customers have in the work of our team,” said Beverly Wyse, vice president and general manager, 737 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The 737 is hugely popular with both our commercial and military customers because of its efficiency and proven reliability.”

Utilizing the 737 commercial platform takes advantage of the proven efficiencies, manufacturing processes and performance of the existing Next-Generation 737 production system. Boeing’s P-8 maritime patrol aircraft, Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) and the C-40 are among the 737 military derivatives.

“The quality and dependability of these aircraft are directly linked not simply to their design, but to the hardworking men and women who build them,” said Vice Admiral Robin Braun, chief of Navy Reserve and commander, U.S. Navy Reserve Force.

To date, orders stand at 6,804 for Next-Generation 737s and 2,109 for 737 MAXs. Total 737 orders have surpassed 12,000 including Classics and more than 100 orders for military derivatives.

“With more than 280 different customers, it’s easy to see why the 737 is the best selling airplane in the world,” said Wyse.

  • Marks first of its kind ‘take-off-to-touchdown’ information management solution

Farnborough, UK | July 16, 2014– Rockwell Collins today announced it has reached a major milestone in implementing a complete take-off-to-touchdown advanced information management solution as Cathay Pacific begins operational evaluation of the company’s eEnabled Aircraft Solution on three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

“The solution we’re implementing for Cathay Pacific represents a broader trend in our industry as airlines look to fully harness the capabilities and applications that high-speed air-to-ground connectivity can provide,” said Jeff Standerski, senior vice president, Information Management Services for Rockwell Collins. “We commend Cathay Pacific for pioneering this effort, as it becomes the first airline in Asia to begin the implementation of an almost fleet-wide eEnabled solution, the most advanced of its kind.”

Working in collaboration with Cathay Pacific, Rockwell Collins is designing and supporting the implementation of a common aircraft network across Cathay Pacific’s fleet of B777, B747-400F, B747-8, and Airbus A330 aircraft as well as Dragonair’s A330 and A320/1 aircraft. The network will serve as a full-time global air-to-ground data communication and information management service, supporting both current and future high-speed connectivity. Rockwell Collins, with Cathay Pacific, has the only eEnabled fully integrated and regulation-compliant aircraft solution flying today.

Rockwell Collins’ ARINC eEnabled Aircraft Solution allows for secure information management of flight operations, data communication services, cabin services, maintenance, diagnostics and vital safety information throughout flight, enhancing operational efficiencies and reducing costs. It improves accuracy of fueling requirements, provides potential for increased payload, and allows for automatic upgrades of installed and portable electronic flight bags.

“Rockwell Collins’ ARINC eEnabled Aircraft Solution enables us to create a highly functional, seamless communications platform, allowing us to improve the speed, accuracy, deployment and presentation of information between the aircraft and ground infrastructure,” said Cathay Pacific’s Mark Hoey, General Manager Operations. “The ability to connect airborne systems to ground-based information technology systems in real time will result in improved operational efficiency and increased maintenance effectiveness, as well as provide a number of exciting service enhancements.”

  • Order includes purchase rights commitment for 50 additional 777Xs
  • Airline also announces intent to order four 777 Freighters, options for another four

Farnborough, UK | July 16, 2014/PRNewswire/– Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Qatar Airways have finalized an order for 50 777-9Xs, valued at $18.9 billion at current list prices. The 777X order, first announced as a commitment at the 2013 Dubai Airshow, was part of the largest product launch in commercial jetliner history.

In addition, the airline announced a commitment for 50 additional 777-9X purchase rights. If exercised, that would take Qatar’s 777X order tally to 100 airplanes valued at $37.7 billion at list prices.

Qatar Airways also announced their intent to order four 777 Freighters and options for four more, with a combined value of $2.4 billion at list prices.

“Qatar Airways continuously builds upon its successful fleet program, and this latest announcement demonstrates the quality equipment we acquire to deliver on our signature Five-Star service,” said His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways. “The Boeing 777 is the backbone of our fleet and is highly amenable to the standards Qatar Airways upholds. We look forward to building on our legacy with the next-generation 777-9X.”

“Qatar Airways took delivery of its first 777 a few short years ago, and we are honored to see this partnership continue to grow and strengthen,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner. “Today signifies a new chapter in our relationship with Qatar Airways’ endorsement of the 777X, as well as their ongoing confidence in the value of the 777 Freighter. These orders validate the market-leading role that the 777 and now the 777X will continue to play in the Middle East’s passenger and cargo market.”

The 777X will introduce the latest technologies including the most advanced commercial engine ever – the GE9X by GE Aviation – and an all-new high efficiency composite wing that has a longer span than today’s 777. The 777X family includes the 777-8X and the 777-9X, both designed to respond to market needs and customer preferences.

The 777-9X will be 12 percent more fuel efficient than any competing airplane, necessary in today’s competitive environment. The 777-8X is 5 percent more efficient than its competitor at all ranges while providing for new network opportunities. Design of the 777X is underway and production is set to begin in 2017, with first delivery targeted for 2020. To date, the 777X has accumulated 300 orders and commitments from six customers worldwide.

Boeing is the undisputed air cargo market leader, providing over 90 percent of the total worldwide dedicated freighter capacity. The 777 Freighter is capable of flying 4,900 nautical miles (9,070 km) with a full payload and general cargo market densities, making it the world’s longest-range twin-engine freighter. The airplane’s range capability translates into significant savings for cargo operators: fewer stops and associated landing fees, less congestion at transfer hubs, lower cargo handling costs and shorter cargo delivery times.

  • Extends preference for all-Boeing single-aisle fleet

Farnborough, UK | July 16, 2014/PRNewswire/– Boeing [NYSE:BA] and Hainan Airlines today announced that the two companies are finalizing terms and working toward a purchase agreement for 50 737 MAX 8s, reaffirming the Chinese airline’s preference for an all-Boeing single-aisle fleet.

The commitment, valued at more than $5.1 billion at current list prices, will be subject to the approval of the Chinese government and will be posted on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website once all contingencies are cleared.

“The 737 is the backbone of our single-aisle fleet,” said Adam Tan, vice chairman and president of Hainan Group. “The new 737 MAX will help our airline grow, become more efficient and offer five-star service for our passengers.”

“It is a privilege to welcome Hainan Airlines as Boeing’s newest 737 MAX customer,” said John Wojick, senior vice president of Global Sales and Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “As China’s first Skytrax 5-star airline, Hainan continues to modernize its fleet with market-leading next-generation airplanes, including the 787 Dreamliner and now the 737 MAX. We are confident that the 737 MAX will play a significant role in Hainan’s continued success.”

The 737 MAX has surpassed 2,100 orders from 42 customers worldwide and is the fastest selling airplane in Boeing history. The 737 MAX incorporates the latest-technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.

The 737 MAX 8 provides customers with more flexibility and cost efficiency than the competition in the heart of the single-aisle market. Airlines operating the 737 MAX 8 will see an 8 percent operating cost per seat advantage over the A320neo.

  • Industry initiative to study noise reduction procedures

Farnborough, UK | July 16, 2014– Airbus, British Airways (BA), Heathrow Airport (LHR) and NATS (the main air navigation
service provider in the United Kingdom) have launched a unique partnership to study and develop operational procedures to reduce the number of people affected by noise around London’s Heathrow. The study will use British Airways’ A380. The A380 is recognised as one of the quietest aircraft today.

This project utilises the capabilities of the A380, the quietest aircraft of its size, and looks at how the aircraft manufacturer, airline, airport and air navigation services provider can further reduce the noise impact of flight operations for local communities. Airbus ProSky, the Air Traffic Management (ATM) subsidiary of Airbus is in charge of designing the departure and arrival procedures based on NATS, LHR and BA recommendations.

The four cross-industry partners have announced a three-stage ‘Quieter Flight’ project.

· The first stage identifies the operational improvements that are possible. These include for departures for example, reducing thrust and optimising the height at which the aircraft is flown. Changes to these departure procedures have the potential to significantly reduce noise levels.

· The second stage will see the testing and training of procedures in a British Airways flight simulator.

· Once all the project stages are complete, the partners expect to bring all the operational improvements together into a series of demonstration flights with the A380, starting from early next year. These procedures will then be made available to other operators and airports around the world.

Airbus’ executive Vice President, Customer affairs, Christopher Buckley said: “the A380 is the ideal aircraft to conduct the “Quieter flights” because it has the latest state of the art technologies that allow optimised paths to be flown very precisely. The A380 is able to further reduce the noise of what is already the quietest aircraft of its type. Together with Airbus ProSky, we are honored to be a key player in this unique industry project that addresses a real issue worldwide.

British Airways’ environment strategy manager, Captain Dean Plumb said: “The A380 is the ideal aircraft for this project as it has unique operational capabilities that can be adjusted to reduce noise during take-off and landing. The next step for the Quieter Flight Partnership is to train our pilots to use the optimised noise procedures in the simulator and then to test these improvements in flight trials.”

Matt Gorman, Sustainability Director for Heathrow said “We are really pleased to be working closely with industry partners on this project. Heathrow is at the forefront of international efforts to tackle aircraft noise and collaborations such as this form part of our long term commitment to do this whilst also safeguarding the connectivity and growth that Heathrow provides.”

Ian Jopson, NATS Head of Environmental and Community Affairs, added: “Air traffic management has a vital role to play in tackling the impact of aircraft noise and NATS has an excellent track record of working with the rest of the aviation industry and community groups on this important issue. The Quieter Flight project, brings together the expertise of the whole industry, and when combined with the wide range of other initiatives we are working on, will help make a difference to those people living under the flightpath.”

  • Lessor confirms strong market demand for the efficient A320neo Family

Farnborough, UK | July 17, 2014– Hong Kong Aviation Capital (HKAC), a fast growing aircraft leasing company based in Hong Kong, has signed a firm order with Airbus for a total of 70 A320neo Family aircraft (40 A320neo and 30 A321neo)

The contract was finalised at the 2014 Farnborough Airshow by Donal Boylan, CEO of HKAC and John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. The agreement follows the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed at the 2013 Paris Air Show.

“We are pleased to have finalised the order for 70 A320neo Family aircraft with Airbus. The green credentials of the NEO is one of the key factors for us to choose the aircraft and through reduced fuel burn and emissions, HKAC will enable its airline clients to reduce operating cost while improving their environment impact,” said Donal Boylan, CEO of HKAC. “In addition, the A321neo will enable operators to deliver reduced operating cost per seat, and better compete where airport slots are restricted,” added Donal Boylan.

“We are delighted to welcome Hong Kong Aviation Capital as a new customer for the NEO. It demonstrates the continuing confidence of the market in the world’s most popular and efficient single-aisle aircraft. The A320neo Family is a valuable and profitable asset for lessors and operators”, said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers.

HKAC currently has a portfolio of over 50 single and twin aisle Airbus aircraft. It provides financing leasing services to several airlines in Asia and worldwide. This is HKAC’s first direct order with any aircraft manufacturer.

The A320neo “new engine option” incorporates many innovations, including latest generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices, which together deliver 15 percent in fuel savings and a reduction of 3,600 tonnes of CO2 per aircraft per year. With more than 3,000 orders received from more than 57 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent of the market, clearly demonstrating its leadership.

  • Customers endorse newly launched A330neo with 121 commitments;
  • A320neo Family continues to outpace the competition with 317 orders
  • Airbus achieves the 3,000th A320neo Family order during the show

Farnborough, UK | July 17, 2014– During the 2014 Farnborough Air Show, Airbus won US$75.3 billion worth of business for a total of 496 aircraft, making it by far the largest Farnborough show for Airbus – both in terms of dollar value and also in the number aircraft. The deals comprise Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) for 138 aircraft worth $36.9 billion and purchase orders for 358 aircraft worth $38.4 billion.

The show kicked-off with the launch of the A330neo, followed by a brisk slew of announcements from major customers for a total of 121 A330neos worth $33.2 billion. Leading the charge was Air Asia X with a deal for 50 A330-900neos worth $13.8 billion. This landmark selection from one of Asia’s fastest growing carriers, in addition to the stamp of approval from the leading lessors ALC, Avolon and CIT, have together provided further proof that Airbus and Rolls-Royce have made the right choice to build on the outstanding success of the medium-range A330 airliner with the latest technology Trent engines. Furthermore, in doing so, Airbus is proud to continue to develop this platform as the ideal complement to its bigger and long-range brother, the A350 XWB, in the Airbus leading Widebody Family.

In the single-aisle sector, Airbus’ A320 Family garnered an impressive 363 commitments worth $39.0 billion. Of these, the orders for 317 A320neo and A321neo aircraft worth $34.4 billion is a further reflection of how the A320neo Family continues to outpace the competition. To add the icing to the cake, Airbus achieved the 3,000th A320neo Family sale during the show. The milestone was reached when SMBC Aviation Capital ordered 110 A320neo aircraft, marking the show’s biggest vote of confidence for the leading Single Aisle aircraft Family.

John Leahy, Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer, Customers said: “The orders and commitments we’ve received at this record-breaking Farnborough for both the A330neo and A320neo families are together an unequivocally resounding endorsement for these most cost-efficient aircraft.” He adds: “For both our single-aisle and widebody categories, the high representation of lessors – widely regarded as the global ‘barometer’ of the industry – is indicative of the long term confidence in the capacity needs for sustainable growth for the airlines in the years ahead.”

Airbus is a leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern family of airliners, ranging in capacity from 100 to more than 500 seats. Airbus has delivered more than 8,500 aircraft to some 360 customers worldwide and has a backlog of more than 5,500 aircraft. Airbus has design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the US, China, India, Japan and in the Middle East.

  • Net commercial orders for 2014 rise to 783

Farnborough, UK | July 17, 2014/PRNewswire/– Boeing (NYSE: BA) marked 40 years as an exhibitor at the Farnborough International Airshow this week by highlighting its innovative, efficient commercial airplanes and its advanced defense capabilities.

Boeing announced a new 200-seat 737 MAX 8 option that will give airlines up to 11 more seats of revenue. This latest addition to Boeing’s comprehensive product and services line-up will deliver 20 percent fuel-consumption savings compared to today’s Next-Generation 737.

Boeing also announced new details about the interior of the 777X
. The new model will build on the award-winning interior of today’s 777 and apply 787 Dreamliner cabin innovations: higher cabin humidity, windows more than 15 percent larger and a cabin that is 16 inches (40.6 cm) wider than the competition, allowing airlines a variety of economy class seat widths.

Boeing unveiled its new Maritime Surveillance Aircraft at Farnborough. The aircraft, based on a Bombardier Challenger 605 business jet, will provide customers with maritime and overland surveillance, anti-piracy, coastal security and search-and-rescue capabilities.

Boeing signed a memorandum of collaboration with Paramount Group to jointly develop defense and security opportunities in key international markets. Paramount Group is Africa’s largest privately owned defense and aerospace business.

Customers demonstrated their strong confidence in the family of Boeing commercial products, announcing orders and commitments for 201 Boeing airplanes valued at more than $40.2 billion at list prices. Additional orders announced this week will be posted today on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website, bringing the number of net orders for 2014 to 783.

“Over 40 years of exhibiting at Farnborough, Boeing has consistently demonstrated its commitment and drive to innovate and develop game-changing products, equipment and services across the commercial and defense sectors,” said Charlie Miller, vice president of International Communications. “Farnborough 2014 was filled with excitement and enthusiasm among our customers, partners and suppliers and strong endorsement of our product line with commercial orders that bring our tally this year to 783.”

Boeing products flying at the show include the new 787-9 Dreamliner, the P-8A Poseidon — a military derivative of the company’s Next-Generation 737-800 — and the multi-role F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighter.

Two aircraft from the Boeing-Royal Aeronautical Society “Schools Build a Plane Challenge” will arrive at the show later today. This initiative provides young people in UK secondary schools with the opportunity to learn new skills by building an operational light aircraft from a kit. The two airplanes are scheduled to participate in the flying display on Friday and remain on static display for the public demonstration events.

Read more…

  • Beer to lead Spafax’s growing technical team in California

London | July 21, 2014– Global content and media agency Spafax has appointed Andy Beer to Vice President Technical Services.

Beer joins Spafax in this new role in the company’s Orange County office, bringing more than 10 years of experience in the IFE industry. He is also a member of the APEX Technical Committee, and will continue his place as a Spafax representative.

Beer was previously Vice President of Technology for Inflight Productions. He started his career in the music industry, as technical manager at Master Rock Studios and Phoenix Sound Ltd in London.

“We are thrilled to have Andy join Spafax and could not have a better candidate for leading our California operations,”Tony Taverner, Chief Technical Officer, Spafax. “We’re confident in Andy’s ability to grow out the California service offerings and be working on cutting edgetechnologies that support our clients globally.”

Spafax’s technical services team of 25 in Orange County, California is the production and fulfillment hub for our worldwide inflight entertainment (IFE) business. Spafax currently works with over 25 major airline clients to program, license and deliver their IFE content.

  • Contract marks growth in Integration Test and Release for Spafax

London | July 17, 2014– Global content and media agency Spafax has extended its service offering through a new contract with leading airline Virgin Atlantic.
Virgin Atlantic selected Spafax to handle all technical services for their inflight entertainment system, Vera. As part of this role, Spafax will provide integration test and release, encoding plus timeline and metadata management.

“Our continued growth with Virgin Atlantic demonstrates Spafax’s ability to exceed Virgin Atlantic’s expectations and provide best in class services for its customers,” Tony Taverner, Chief Technical Officer, Spafax. “This opportunity is unique as we are able to further our talents with the addition of integration test and release to our offering.”

“Our inflight entertainment is a key differentiator and plays a vital role in the overall Virgin Atlantic customer experience. We know that we can rely on Spafax to provide a reliable service and have selected them for their proactive approach towards streamlining services, creating efficiencies and providing a cost effective service. The Spafax team provide an extremely high level of technical expertise and we look forward to a mutually beneficial long term partnership,” says Reuben Arnold, Brand and Customer Engagement Director at Virgin Atlantic.

Integration test and release is a specialty in the IFE sector and Spafax is proud to now offer this service to its clients.

The Technical Services work will be supported by a new team in London and Spafax’s Orange County, California office, the production and fulfillment hub for our worldwide inflight entertainment (IFE) business. Spafax currently works with over 25 major airline clients to program, license and deliver their IFE content.

This news follows the recent announcement of the summer launch of Spafax-published ruby magazine on Virgin Atlantic’s Little Red UK domestic flights.


As we all expected, Airbus pulled out a new plane solution to the B787 “problem” at Farnborough,  and announced that the company is launching the A330neo. It will provide 14% fuel savings per seat and first delivery is expected within 42 months (end of 2017).  The A330neo will not only have new engines, but a larger wingspan. Over-all weight reduction will be at least 800 kg. Kiran Rao, Airbus Executive Vice President, Strategy and Marketing said that the passengers will be the big winners alongside the airlines as they will see a “new look” and an even more comfortable cabin on the A330neo. He said: “Today we are announcing the A330neo. The A330neo is, of course, taken from the A330. The A330 has been one of our most successful aircraft in the Airbus wide-body family. We have sold over 1300 airplanes, and have nearly 100 customers worldwide. This is one of the most successful aircraft in the wide-body category that Airbus has produced; in fact the world has produced. And what we are doing is making this aircraft which is already great, we are making it better.”

Mr. Rao went on; “Fuel is extremely important when it comes to operating an aircraft. Because of the fuel prices that we have today, the cost of fuel represents half of the total cost of operating an aircraft. So any advantage that we can bring, the airlines have of course put the pressure on us to make sure we deliver fuel efficiency and with over 14% fuel efficiency per seat improvement, the A330neo will quickly be a great success. We have learned a lot of lessons of course in building the A320neo that is why we are able to do the A330neo in a shorter period of time. And what the airlines are asking us for is an A330neo as soon as they can get it. So with a 42-month program we will be able to deliver the first A330neo at the end of 2017. The A330 has a very comfortable cabin. Every passenger in economy class has an 18″ seat, that is much more than you get in an 787. So if we take the cabin, you take the improvements that we will give to the lighting, the improvements we will give to the sidewalls and the larger overhead bins, we will improve the crew rest areas for the pilots and cockpit crew. Well, put all that together and we will deliver an airplane where the passenger is the real winner.”

Here is the point… he went on to say, “The A330neo delivers a 14% improvement in fuel per seat. 14% improvement will make us as efficient as today’s 787. If we couple that with the lower maintenance costs and the higher passenger count of the A330 we have an airplane that will deliver lower cash operating costs than that of the 787 and lets not talk about price. But I can tell you that if we put everything together we will have a much better proposition to the airlines than the 787 has.”

For our readers Airbus noted: “Cabin evolution through an innovative use of the cabin space, the A330-900neo will accommodate up to 10 additional seats (from 300 to 310), while the A330-800neo will seat up to six additional passengers (from 246 to 252) – and retain the same high comfort standard as today’s A330, with 18-inch wide seats in economy class. Moreover, all passengers will enjoy a 21st century on-board experience, including fourth-generation high-definition in-flight entertainment (IFE), full connectivity plus the same full-LED mood lighting as in the A330’s big brother – the A350 XWB. The LED cabin lighting will be lighter and cheaper to maintain than traditional illumination while offering unlimited mood-lighting customization scenarios.”

We wondered about the IFE statement and note that Airbus also referred to the IFE on the A350 as fourth generation. So what they’re saying is that they expect AVANT and Panasonic’s eX3, which is what delivers on today’s A330s, to carry over to the A330neo, possibly with some new features and capabilities being developed in the meantime.

There have been a lot of orders for newer Boeing and Airbus wide-bodies and backlogs could push out deliveries for those planes for five or six years. Airbus says they can deliver the “modified” A330 in less than four years. The expected price is in the category as the $250+ million dollar Boeing B787 plane price range. Since the A350 (300 – 350 pax) runs around $295 million dollars and seats 300 to 250 passengers, it makes an interesting playing field in the years to come. Luckily, Boeing and Airbus “own” this large, wide-body market but we predict the real competition will be with future, narrow-body planes as there are at least five manufacturers in that one.

Editors Note 1: Air Lease Corp. agreed to order 25 A330neo-900s for delivery beginning in 2018, and noted that, “at $275m for -900, the A330neo has a “compelling price difference” compared to any other widebody”.

Editors Note 2: When interviewed by an Aviation Week reporter, Jim McNerney, Boeing CEO backtracked on his “No more moon shots…” statement. He went on to explain – “What I would like to have done is pursued 70 percent of the technology that still would have satisfied 95 percent of [customer desires]. It would have gotten to them quicker, and it would have cost us less. I can think of five or six specific examples of things we did that didn’t add much to the performance or the efficiency of the airplane. We’ve just got to be a little more careful.” Naturally, Aviation Week next asked, if the B787 was a mistake and Mr. McNerney noted, “That’s not the point I was trying to make—the 787 is a wild success. We built a very compelling airplane, but we could have gotten it into the field a couple of years earlier. It would have cost us less, and our customers would have had 95 percent of the performance sooner. You get excited about these projects, and things creep into the design and you lose discipline sometimes. We just need to be reminded about that.” Looks like a confession to us!

Editors Note 3: The 2014 APEX EXPO (Sept. 15 – 18) in Anaheim registration can be found here and the Aircraft Exteriors Expo Americas (Seattle, WA Oct. 14- 16) free registration can be found here.