Over the past year, there have been numerous IFEC personnel changes that have the potential to impact and influence the direction our industry is charting. Thales and Gogo have many new entrants to the industry on their employment roster, as well as, new leaders at the helm; while the vast majority of Panasonic’s upper management has been rolled over in the past 18 months. As new folks enter the market we strongly expect both product and product direction changes in the inflight & avaition arena. With these new teams in place, we also anticipate new market opportunities to open up with the cross pollination from other technology industries where many of these new entrants stem from. Debt will also become a driver that will focus modifications of current business products and create new product directions. One area we see with a strong growth is data. Data from passengers, from the airlines, and data from (and to) hardware. Specifically, we see the potential of new data products/analytics about the aircraft and it’s hardware. With the growth of data, we expect malware increases as well – something is bound to happen. While we will watch and report what we see coming, keep your eye on the future of AI and it’s ability to help determine product condition and passenger needs!

Now, lets get down to this week’s news highlights:

THALES

Sichuan Airlines is celebrating the entry into service of their new A350 XWB. Thales is delighted to join their partner in celebrating this important milestone. This is the first Airbus A350 in China to be equipped with Thales AVANT IFE system. They have relied on Thales to help deliver their promise to exceed passenger expectations by equipping their new A350 XWB with AVANT. With its sleek and lightweight design, Thales’s high performing IFE solution provides the passengers of Sichuan Airlines an exceptional inflight experience and a vast selection of entertainment during their flight. The onboard entertainment services include a variety of television series, the most recent feature films, music, and games. This further strengthens the relationship between Sichuan Airlines and Thales who is already the airline’s preferred business partner in avionics – including Flight Management System for their A320/A330 fleet, customer support and innovative services. Thales is proud of this partnership and the extended collaboration with Sichuan Airlines to provide the best inflight experience. “Thales is honored to equip Sichuan Airlines new A350 XWB aircraft with our state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system, AVANT. We support Sichuan Airlines ambitions to drive the highest level of passenger satisfaction as we work together to shape new opportunities to provide a truly unique experience to all travelers.” – Philippe Carette, CEO, Thales InFlyt Experience


SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct, the business aviation connectivity, software and hardware provider, has confirmed its first Jet ConneX installation for Deer Jet subsidiary, Hongkong Jet. The ultra-high-speed Ka-band service, powered by Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite constellation, is being supplied to a privately-owned Gulfstream G650ER, managed and maintained by Hongkong Jet. Installed at Gulfstream’s Long Beach, CA. facility and activated by SD in early summer, the system delivers unrivaled cabin access to the highest data speeds available to business aircraft in the sky. “The principal runs a large, international Chinese conglomerate so the ability to use voice and text services, download and email documents, and surf the web, are fundamental to his business. His family often travels with him and they want to stream video, watch favorite TV series, and big sporting events. The need to deliver constant, reliable, secure connectivity is essential. With Jet ConneX installed the cabin is truly a home from home, as well as an office in the air,” says Mike Walsh, chief commercial officer, Hongkong Jet.

The Satcom Direct Router, SDR, seamlessly delivers the high-speed connectivity throughout the G650ER cabin to all passenger devices. In addition, data integrity is maintained by the SD suite of cyber security software solutions which while managed by the SDR, are supplemented by certified SD experts, to proactively mitigate potential threats and block intrusion attempts in real-time.“The data security offering, the standard of SD global customer service, and the ability to respond 24/7 to resolve potential issues, played a significant part in our decision to appoint them as the Ka-band provider. Our clients expect us to maintain the aircraft to the highest standards and we rely on SD to meet and exceed those expectations in terms of connectivity,” said Denzil White, chief executive officer, Hongkong Jet.


SITAONAIR

SITAONAIR’s EFB Weather Awareness Solution (eWAS) is the latest application certified by Inmarsat for use across its next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) communications platform for the flight deck, allowing airlines to now receive the latest weather view in real-time during flights. Following its certification under Inmarsat’s Aviation Certified Application Provider (CAP) program, eWAS users will now be able to seamlessly utilize SITAONAIR’s best-in-class technology for pilots using real-time SB-S datalink connectivity. The popular pilot weather solution offers up to-date views of severe weather, which can then enable a smoother, more efficient inflight experience for passengers and crew – and avoid related cost implications that were once deemed unavoidable. Severe turbulence, lightning, ice crystallization and other volatile weather phenomena can significantly impact an airline’s bottom line, with a single weather event sometimes costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, in addition to negatively impacting on-time performance targets. Such weather phenomena can rapidly appear, shift location, and grow in intensity, posing an increasing problem for airlines that traditional weather briefing packages cannot deal with.


BOEING/AvionX

Boeing named Brendan Curran president of Boeing AvionX, an organization formed last year to pursue the development and production of avionics and electronics systems. Curran, who has more than 20 years of aerospace industry leadership, joins Boeing from Crane Co., where he served as president of the Aerospace & Electronics Group. In this newly-created position, Curran will work across Boeing’s commercial, defense and services businesses to further mature the company’s aftermarket strategy. He will help advance overall capabilities of the Boeing AvionX organization to provide greater value to customers while driving long-term services growth. Curran will report to Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services. “The success of Boeing AvionX depends on aftermarket technologies and innovations that exceed our customers’ needs, as well as developing avionics products that add value to our commercial and government platforms,” said Deal. “Brendan’s extensive expertise, especially as it relates to aftermarket strategies, will enable us to harness incredible opportunities so we can provide our customers more value throughout the life-cycle of their investments.”Prior to Crane Co., Curran was vice president of Business Development, Strategy and Partnerships for commercial engines at Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Company. Before that, Curran was vice president and general manager of Repair and Supply Chain for Hamilton Sundstrand, a United Technologies Company.

Curran will be based in Plano, Texas, home to Boeing Global Services headquarters.


PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has appointed Catherine L. Razzano as Chief Compliance Officer. Catherine will be responsible for overseeing Panasonic’s compliance with laws, regulatory requirements, policies and procedures, and will report directly to the General Counsel of Panasonic Corporation of North America (PNA) with a dotted line reporting structure to Panasonic’s Chief Executive Officer, Hideo Nakano.

She joins Panasonic from General Dynamics Corporation where she held the position of Assistant General Counsel and Director from 2010. Her responsibilities included counsel on business and legal strategies, budget management for the legal department and serving as lead counsel to the company’s Government Relations Department. At General Dynamics, she also focused on the company’s compliance with anti-bribery laws, export controls, economic sanctions and other trade embargoes, anti-boycott regulations, anti-money laundering laws, and third-party intermediary agreements and due diligence requirements.


Gogo

Gogo, the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, today announced its financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2018.

“Our BA segment achieved its highest ever quarterly revenue and EBITDA and we believe this segment is well positioned for continued growth,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s President and CEO. “Our CA-NA segment showed solid service revenue growth over Q2 2017, excluding American Airlines. Our 2Ku operating metrics continue to improve and are helping to drive increased customer satisfaction.”

“Our second quarter results were elevated by the strong BA performance, a reduction and the timing of operating costs, and higher CA Net Service Revenue, among other items, and we maintain our 2018 Adjusted EBITDA guidance range of $35-$45 million,” said Barry Rowan, Gogo’s Executive Vice President and CFO. “We are beginning to realize the benefits of our ‘Gogo 2020’ plan and we believe these operational improvements will drive strong EBITDA growth going forward.”

Check out the financial report here.


OTHER NEWS

Ultimate Rewards travel is now powered by Expedia Partner Solutions technology giving cardmembers the ability to search and redeem for over a million flights, hotels, things to do and more

Delaware | August 13, 2018– Chase Card Services (NYSE:JPM) and Expedia Group announce a strategic alliance that will enhance the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel hub with more choices, new capabilities and even more redemption flexibility. Chase cardmembers will have access to an enhanced Ultimate Rewards travel booking experience featuring Expedia Group’s industry leading network of flights, hotels, vacation rentals, car rentals, as well as more than 25,000 experiences and activities. The enhanced experience is currently available to Chase Freedom® and Freedom Unlimited cardmembers, and will be introduced to Chase Sapphire® and Ink cardmembers over the next few months.

“Our cardmembers are searching, booking and redeeming for travel in Ultimate Rewards more than ever, and together with Expedia Group we are taking the experience to the next level,” said Lorraine Hansen, Head of Ultimate Rewards and Loyalty Solutions at Chase. “Whether on desktop or mobile, we are providing simpler and smarter booking tools with over a million options to search, delivering even more value and flexibility to Ultimate Rewards cardmembers.”

Within the new Ultimate Rewards travel experience, powered by Expedia Partner Solutions, eligible Chase cardmembers will have access to:

  • Expedia Group’s best in class travel inventory: Ability to search and redeem for travel across 272,000 lodging options around the world, more than 250 airlines and dozens of car rental options.
  • Opportunities to experience even more: Search and book more than 25,000 activities and tours, attractions, nightlife and more.
  • Special Seasonal Discounts: Access to special discounts and seasonal offers from thousands of hotels and activities.
  • Enhanced customer experience: Improved self-service options to cancel a hotel or car rental booking online. Plus, Ultimate Rewards travel within the Chase mobile app, will be backed by Expedia Group’s leading technology.
  • Increased flight fare and seat selection transparency: Total trip cost will be displayed at check-out, making it easy to see the points and cash needed to redeem for travel. Plus, more flight search options by class and opportunities to upgrade throughout the booking process, as well as integrated seat review content powered by SeatGuru.
  • 24/7 Customer support: Enhanced self-help portal for basic travel questions, and always-on phone customer support.

More enhancements will be introduced over the next several months.

“Expedia Group has the unique ability to take any person from anywhere through an array of travel products and we are excited to wire up the Chase Ultimate Rewards platform with the technology that makes that happen, so they can pass this on to their travel loving customers,” said Ariane Gorin, President, Expedia Partner Solutions brand. “The flexibility of the Expedia Partner Solutions technology offering opens the door to the widest selection of travel products for customers, so they can redeem their points for travel in an easy to use, modern online travel marketplace.”

Cardmembers will continue to access Ultimate Rewards by logging in on desktop or mobile, and have the same flexibility to redeem for travel with points, using their Chase credit card, or a combination of both.

Chase Ultimate Rewards is the loyalty and rewards platform for Chase Freedom, Sapphire and Ink cardmembers. In addition to redeeming for travel, cardmembers have options to redeem for experiences, gift cards, cash back, paying with points for a statement credit, and more.

Take a brief tour of the new Ultimate Rewards travel portal here: traveltour.chase.com.

Cyprus | August 13, 2018–Hermes Airports welcomes LEVEL to Cyprus, part of the established IAG (International Airlines Group) and one of the world’s largest airlines family. LEVEL is a new low-cost airline, that commenced operations in June 2017.

The new airline inaugurates its presence in Cyprus by introducing the route Vienna-Larnaka.

In a statement, Ms Maria Kouroupi, Senior Manager Aviation Development, Marketing and Communication, said that «we are delighted to welcome LEVEL to Larnaka airport. Our flight schedule is continuously enriched as a result of our aviation development strategy to expand our network, both in regard to its routes frequency and destinations. The selection of Cyprus by LEVEL reconfirms the confidence vote that Cyprus enjoys by many airlines and tour operators, especially during the last few years. We are confident that the Cypriot travelling public will embrace this great opportunity offered by LEVEL and use this connection with Vienna and schedule memorable trips to one of the most popular and exiting tourist destinations of Europe».     

The flights by LEVEL started on August 11th, 2018 and will be operated with an Airbus A321 three times weekly. More precisely, the airline will conduct flights every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Hong Kong | August 8, 2018–Satcom Direct, the business aviation connectivity, software and hardware provider, has confirmed its first Jet ConneX installation for Deer Jet subsidiary, Hongkong Jet. The ultra-high-speed Ka-band service, powered by Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite constellation, is being supplied to a privately-owned Gulfstream G650ER, managed and maintained by Hongkong Jet.

Installed at Gulfstream’s Long Beach, CA. facility and activated by SD in early summer, the system delivers unrivalled cabin access to the highest data speeds available to business aircraft in the sky. “The principal runs a large, international Chinese conglomerate so the ability to use voice and text services, download and email documents, and surf the web, are fundamental to his business. His family often travels with him and they want to stream video, watch favorite TV series, and big sporting events. The need to deliver constant, reliable, secure connectivity is essential. With Jet ConneX installed the cabin is truly a home from home, as well as an office in the air,” says Mike Walsh, chief commercial officer, Hongkong Jet.

The Satcom Direct Router, SDR®, seamlessly delivers the high-speed connectivity throughout the G650ER cabin to all passenger devices. In addition, data integrity is maintained by the SD suite of cyber security software solutions which while managed by the SDR, are supplemented by certified SD experts, to proactively mitigate potential threats and block intrusion attempts in real-time.

“The data security offering, the standard of SD global customer service, and the ability to respond 24/7 to resolve potential issues, played a significant part in our decision to appoint them as the Ka-band provider. Our clients expect us to maintain the aircraft to the highest standards and we rely on SD to meet and exceed those expectations in terms of connectivity,” said Denzil White, chief executive officer, Hongkong Jet.

“We have supplied connectivity to the G650ER for some time and upgrading to the Jet ConneX offering was a natural next step to fulfil the owners growing connectivity needs. SD is the world’s largest reseller of Jet ConneX and we have exceptional experience in managing, monitoring and delivering the solution. This know-how adds significant value to our customers and ensures we are able to provide enhanced customer support levels, as well as pro-active data security,” said SD President, David Greenhill.

The latest Ka-band upgrade bolsters the existing relationship between SD and Hongkong Jet and is the first in a number of confirmed connectivity upgrades SD will supply to the management company fleet over the next twelve months.


This week we have plenty of news from some regular contributors and others as well. So let’s get started!

IMMFLY

The new onboard entertainment and digital services platform “Wamos On Air”, designed and developed by Immfly, is now available and passengers will be pleased with a broad range of entertainment possibilities easily accessible via their own personal devices (phones, tablets, and laptops). The major goal of both companies is to exceed travelers aspirations and improve their customer journey while providing a digital transformation through entertainment and content marketing. The airline that has 1.000.000 annual passengers, counts now with an in-flight digital platform “ Wamos On Air ”, that is available in Boeing 747-400, also called as “Jumbo” aircraft. Passengers can easily access the onboard service by activating the airplane mode on the mobile, tablet or laptop; selecting the Wi-Fi network and typing www.wamos-onair.com at the browser.

Several movies, but also TV-shows, Press, Magazines, Kids section are now at passenger’s fingertips disposal. Recent examples such as “The Shape of Water”, “The Revenant”, “The Greatest Showman”, “X-Men”, “Birdman” and many others, make the Wamos’s aircraft space a cinema on air, with an atmosphere that breathes digital experiences. As the airline’s audience is considerably diverse, Wamos Air and Immfly focused on providing different content modules for every type of passenger (distinct ages and languages). There is Kids section dedicated to the youngest, Music in documentary format, multiple games, all of that available both in English and Spanish languages.

Headquartered in Barcelona, Immfly was founded in 2013 by Pablo Linz and Jimmy Martínez von Korff, with the support of more than 50 influential multinational partners. The company is leading the development of internet connectivity, ready on-board digital platforms worldwide with focus in Europe,


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation, a leading supplier of advanced technologies and products to the global aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries, reported financial results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2018. Results for the quarter and the first six months of 2018 include the results of Telefonix PDT, which was acquired on December 1, 2017 and Custom Control Concepts (“CCC”), which was acquired on April 3, 2017.

Click here to view the entire release, including financial statements.


BLUEBOX

This August, pending final regulatory approvals, Bluebox will bring wireless IFE to the skies of India across Vistara’s current fleet of 21 Airbus A320 aircraft, with more A320 aircraft on the way. As part of a new fare families announcement yesterday, Vistara announced the introduction of ‘Vistara World’, its free in-flight entertainment system with more than 70 hours of video and audio content streamed wirelessly onto personal handheld devices and laptops. Today, Bluebox is thrilled to confirm that Bluebox Wowhas been selected as the technology solution to deliver ‘Vistara World’ to passengers on board Vistara flights.

‘Vistara World’ is expected to be rolled out fleet-wide in August 2018, subject to regulatory approvals. It will offer a content-rich multimedia library that includes music in genres like Pop, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Electronica, English Retro and Indian, Bollywood and Hollywood movies of various categories such as Drama, Romance, Comedy, Thriller, Action, Adventure, etc., Indian and International short programs as well as a variety of reading material including Vistara’s in-flight magazine.

Mr. Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara, elaborated, “With the introduction of wireless streaming of in-flight entertainment content, we will deliver on a product that our customers said they desired, enhancing overall customer satisfaction and experience with an efficient and cost-effective IFE solution.”

“We’re eagerly awaiting the final approvals required so that we can deliver wireless IFE to the Indian skies aboard Vistara,” said David Brown, Business Development Director, Bluebox. “Bluebox Wow is a powerful and convenient solution that suits Vistara’s current needs, and flexible enough to support the airline’s future growth as well, ensuring ‘Vistara World’ keeps passengers engaged on Vistara’s expanding route network.”

Bluebox’s portable wireless streaming platform provides content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, providing the capability of storing up to 1.6 Terabytes of film, TV, audio, games and other digital content. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, it is a discrete, portable, lunchbox-sized unit. Stowed securely in overhead bins, each box’s single, swappable rechargeable battery delivers up to 15 hours of simultaneously streamed video content.


INMARSAT

Inflight Wi-Fi is a key driver in forming customer loyalty and satisfaction among today’s airline passengers, according to the industry’s largest poll of passenger attitudes. The fourth annual global Inflight Connectivity Survey is published today by Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, in association with market research company Populus[1]. Wi-Fi is already an essential part of everyday life on the ground with more than three quarters of those surveyed (78%) believing that it is “fundamental” to daily life. With more than half of passengers (55%) describing inflight Wi-Fi as crucial, meeting the demand for Wi-Fi in the skies is key to improving passenger experience and driving loyalty. Wi-Fi is now so critical to passengers that two thirds (67%) would be more likely to rebook with an airline if high-quality Wi-Fi was on offer. Globally, passengers ranked inflight Wi-Fi as the fourth most important factor that they consider when choosing an airline, behind airline reputation, free checked baggage and extra leg room.

The impact of inflight Wi-Fi on loyalty and satisfaction is particularly significant for passenger groups most keen to remain connected in the air. High-value customers, parents and young passengers are among those most likely to use inflight Wi-Fi services: nine in ten business travellers (90%), parents travelling with children (90%) and 18-30 year olds (91%) plan to use the service if it’s offered when they next fly.

Onboard Wi-Fi could also lead to more productive business trips, as almost nine in ten business travelers (87%) would use inflight Wi-Fi to continue working on the plane. Access to Wi-Fi is also an important driver of choice for nervous flyers, as more than half (51%) said that they would use the technology to remain in contact with family and friends on the ground.

The majority of today’s airline passengers are so keen to get online that they will sacrifice other inflight amenities for internet access. Inmarsat’s 2016 Inflight Connectivity Survey revealed that more than half of passengers (54%) would choose Wi-Fi over an inflight meal. Today, passengers are adding alcohol to the list of inflight amenities they would sacrifice to get online, with more than half (53%) suggesting they are even prepared to give up their inflight alcoholic drink in exchange for access to Wi-Fi.

As demand for inflight Wi-Fi soars, uptake is similarly high as two thirds (65%) of passengers that had access to the service in the past year chose to use it. However, the demand for quality onboard Wi-Fi is significantly outstripping supply on the fleets of airlines across the globe, as less than half of passengers globally (45%) traveled on flights where it was offered.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Wi-Fi is essential to daily life on the ground, and airline passengers see no reason why their time on a flight should be restricted or spent any differently. Whether it’s used for sending that important work email, entertaining the children or even connecting with fellow passengers, staying online is becoming a crucial part of the inflight experience for today’s airline passengers.” He continued: “As the only provider to offer a complete global satellite network, Inmarsat is making high-speed inflight Wi-Fi a reality for passengers on leading airlines across the globe. As demand for quality services continues to soar, we are delighted to be able to bring these services to life for passengers and allow them to stay connected to their daily lives on the ground.”

Global survey highlights

  • 81% of passengers would use inflight Wi-Fi if it was available on their next flight, rising to 91% of 18-30 year olds, 90% of business travelers and 90% of passengers traveling with children
  • 65% of passengers that have had access to inflight Wi-Fi in the last year used it
  • 70% of passengers would be likely to recommend inflight Wi-Fi having tried it previously
  • 74% of business travelers feel that inflight Wi-Fi is crucial, with almost nine in ten (87%) stating that if inflight Wi-Fi was available they would be likely to work and be productive on a plane
  • Quality is key: for more than half of passengers (54%), no Wi-Fi at all is better than a poor quality service
  • Over two thirds of passengers (67%) would be more likely to re-book with an airline if high-quality inflight Wi-Fi were available
    • This likelihood to re-book rises to 81% of passengers traveling with children, and 83% of business travelers
  • More than half (53%) would be willing to give up their inflight alcoholic drink to get online. (Boy, this one is hard to believe-Editor)

Other News