Whilst having a cup of tea with IMDC’s Robert Smith at Aircraft Interiors in Hamburg we chatted about the impending iPad Inflight Revolution and Robert had some thoughts that we liked and asked him to share with our readers. Here is what he told IFExpress:
“On April 3, 2010 Apple released the iPad and effectively created a new type of consumer device. The touchscreen tablet sold 3 million units in its first 80 days on sale, passed 100 million units in 2012 and shipped an estimated 19.5 million devices in Q1 2013.
Apple is now not the only major company in this sector. Sales growth of Android based devices has meant that despite Apple’s growing sales figures, at the end of the first quarter 2013 Apple held 39.6 per cent of the global tablet market, down from 58.1 per cent in the same period 2012. Total tablet sales overall are up 142 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2013 (All figures according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker).
Especially relevant for inflight is the growth of smaller, more portable tablet devices such as the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini which itself accounted for 63% of all iPads sold over Q1 2013. Such a significant, seemingly permanent, and highly relevant trend in consumer technology has not gone unnoticed by the inflight passenger technology sector.
Portable media players for inflight use are not a new idea, but these latest consumer tablets represent a step change in both functionality and desirability over anything that has gone before them. As a result we have had a second wave of interest in portables from airlines and a supplier response to make these devices available for passenger usage as a form of inflight entertainment.
There has been plenty of early enthusiasm from a number of airlines wanting to announce that their passengers will be offered tablet devices onboard. Early projects were subject to delays but recently there have been a number of deployments of iPads and Samsung Galaxy tablets for inflight. Is this the start of a trend for inflight which will eventually become as pervasive as it has been for consumer technology?
Answering that question requires analysis of three key areas: hardware, logistics, and content. We evaluate the issues within each area below. Importantly, the impact of each issue can vary greatly according to an airline’s individual circumstance. The result is, as for all inflight technologies, there is no single ‘best’ solution for all airlines.
- Device Specifications
- It is without doubt that it is the hardware that has attracted attention to these devices. Tablets are thin, with high image quality and responsive touchscreen interfaces. There are differences in the different devices, and different generations of the same device, yet most are impressive when compared to typical alternatives for inflight. Despite continual increases in battery technology, battery life is an issue for inflight deployment in particular. Facilitating charging cycles may require for duplicate stock to be held. This issue is magnified when an aircraft is used on multiple sectors in which case airlines may have to introduce multiple hubs for device re-charging. The number and length of flight sectors may necessitate rotations of tablet stock for certain aircraft more than once per day.
- Although the hardware itself has been the driver of interest in tablets, the hardware specifications of any particular tablet are far from the most important factor. A small number of products and even smaller number of suppliers make up the majority of consumer tablets. An essential point is that the size of the consumer market will make the inflight sector largely insignificant to manufacturers. As a result they have little or no motivation to cater for airline requirements and devices should be evaluated in terms of the work required to adapt them for an airline’s requirements.
- Airline Supplier Support
- Airline suppliers have taken on the challenge of delivering consumer tablets to passengers. From an airline perspective, it is important to identify how a potential supplier will match an airline’s particular environment. Issues to consider include: how much capacity is there in the supplier’s deployment pipeline, ability to perform operational and software updates, content integration with or without a CSP already in place, ability to adjust the GUI to changing requirements, and flexibility in number of content updates.
- Responsiveness is crucial; the supplier must be able to support an airline in maximizing its investment within the short life of the tablet. Speed is essential when these devices are currently being updated with new hardware and software every 6-12 months.
- Logistics Requirements
- IMDC advocate evaluating the total cost of ownership when evaluating any new inflight technology. An airline considering introducing tablets will almost certainly incur significant logistical costs that need to be included in the business model.
- Logistical costs will include: loading the devices onboard, distributing to passengers, reclaiming units from passengers, cleaning, maintaining, and returning units back to base for recharging the batteries and updating content.
- The impact of these logistical requirements will vary greatly according to airline circumstance but can make the largest contribution to total cost of ownership and justify special attention in the planning and evaluation process.
- Costs from Increased Weight
- The weight of all required equipment should be taken into account when evaluating portables. Equipment can include the tablet and all required peripherals such as any cover that protects it, headphones, and charging leads if required. Additionally there might be storage equipment required.
- Fuel costs are not the only potential penalty from additional weight; a cargo offset cost may be relevant to an airline. If additional storage is required on the aircraft, there is likely to be existing equipment that has to be removed, which itself presumably has some value that would need to be factored in.
- Limitations due to Short Flight Lengths
- Shorter flight lengths severely limits the potential value of tablets to passengers. Traditional high value movie content is naturally not possible unless the passenger has time to select and view it. There are large segments of ‘flight time’ where tablets might well not be available to passengers. Regulations will likely prevent tablets from being allowed to be switched on before take-off, then there might still be time required for distributing tablets, collecting payment, and time for passengers to choose their content for the flight.
- Delivering compelling non-movie content is certainly possible, but typically requires more frequent content loading (daily news), and/or identification and delivery of tailored content (connecting gates, destination information).
- Content Security
- The value proposition of tablets for inflight is, as with many inflight technologies, largely based on delivering movie content to passengers. Software, DRM, and hardware configurations offered by tablet suppliers should protect from any risks of piracy and be approved by Hollywood studios. The challenge in gaining studio approval for consumer tablets inflight will depend in part on the airline supplier, and how they can work with the manufacturer of the tablet they provide.
- Passenger Take-up According to Amount of Content
- If an airline is considering deploying tablets as a source of revenue then the content selection and content quantity is crucial to the business case. The total quantity of content available, particularly recent Hollywood content, will largely dictate how compelling a tablet offer is to passengers. However, each extra unit of content creates decreasing additional value to the passenger and a balance must be struck that accounts for the marginal cost of adding content.
- Advertising Expectations
- Expectations of revenue from advertising should be kept realistic. There are many limitations to the potential of advertising as a source of revenue for any inflight technology. Inflight offers relatively low volumes compared to ground advertising. As a result it is necessary to place the same ads multiple times to ensure sufficient reach. Such repetition can then impact on passenger experience.
- The choice of advertisers is also limited for inflight, particularly on international sectors where global brands are most relevant. Any timing delays for inflight then limit potential advertising again, to general brand awareness campaigns rather than time sensitive promotions.
- Specifically, tablets are still a fairly new medium, and are therefore less proven and less comparable than other inflight media. The end result is that advertisers are (for now) more cautious compared to older and tested medium like inflight magazines.
- Provision of Apps
- The consumer success of tablets owes a lot to the range of applications available on them. When considering inflight deployment it is likely that the tablets will not benefit from an internet connection. As a result app selection for tablets inflight is limited to apps that can operate offline. Secondly, an airline must be certain that all necessary rights for inflight deployment are obtained from app developers if they are to be made available to passengers.
The issues identified above provide somewhat of a reality check for the concept of providing consumer tablets for inflight. The extent of these challenges are not so great that they rule out such deployments as a rational choice for all airlines, nor are they so insignificant that we can declare an end to embedded IFE systems.
The significance of each issue is likely to change over time, as will consumer technology and competing inflight technologies. And, as already stated, the impact of each issue will depend heavily on an airline’s individual circumstances. As a result there is no easy answer (of course!).
Forming the right strategy for inflight product will be more likely with a clear understanding of an airline’s circumstances and ambitions, as well as an up to date and impartial understanding of both available inflight technologies, and passenger preferences and behaviors. Doing so is no easy task, but will help to maximize any investment in inflight technology.”
About the Author:
IMDC assists airlines and their partners in optimizing their investment in cabin and communications technologies since 1999. IMDC’s consultants are experts in Media, Content, Technology, Connectivity and Airline Operations. The company is widely recognized as the leading organization in this sector for Market Research, Executive Training, Product Evaluation, Independent Strategy development and Project Management.
Editor’s Note: This week’s IFEC BUZZ features a father-daughter team. Bill Kendrick is known through VT Miltope and Amanda Kendrick, who was visiting Hamburg at AIX, is a Delta cabin crew
member based in Boston… and a real IFE expert!
Satellite Beach, FL | May 20, 2013– Satcom Direct, provider of satellite voice, fax, datalink and Internet communications solutions, has signed an agreement with OnAir to be a value-added reseller for its GSM mobile phone service, Mobile OnAir, on VIP and business aviation aircraft.
OnAir is a leading provider of global in-flight connectivity services. It uses Inmarsat SwiftBroadband and offers consistent global coverage for in-flight GSM services through a unique network of regulatory authorizations from over 90 countries and more than 350 roaming agreements with mobile network operators.
By becoming a reseller of Mobile OnAir, Satcom Direct will enable business and corporate aviation passengers and crew to use their mobile phones in a similar manner as they do on the ground during flights in global regions that authorize mobile use during flight operations.
Mobile OnAir works in the same way as international roaming where the user turns on the phone and uses it, and all charges are included in the user’s standard mobile phone bill.
“We are excited to be working with OnAir to offer customers the ability to use their mobile devices for voice communications, text messaging and mobile data,” said David Greenhill, President of Satcom Direct. “Partnering with OnAir allows us to further support our growing international presence by providing GSM services to our customers travelling internationally in combination with our cockpit and cabin connectivity solutions.”
“It is beyond question that business jets must have connectivity: that discussion is over. As the leading global provider of connectivity, it is therefore our job to ensure our services are widely accessible,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of OnAir. “Satcom Direct is one of the largest satcom providers in the industry and having it as a Mobile OnAir reseller provides a good opportunity for OnAir to reach further into the business aviation market.”
Plaisir, France | May 21, 2013– The IMS Company, based in Brea, California, which specializes in providing “Passenger Centric” In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) technology for the commercial aircraft market was acquired by Zodiac Aerospace in January 2013.
In conjunction with the existing IFE activity within the Zodiac Aerospace group based in Plaisir, France, a single business unit dedicated to IFE will be formed with its headquarters in Brea, California. With this acquisition, Zodiac Aerospace becomes the premier choice for passenger centric lightweight IFE. This integration provides greater resources and global support to the IFE team as they continue to grow in the In-Flight entertainment industry, and expand the passenger-centric IFE technology.
A new organization is put in place. Rod Farley has been named the new CEO of Zodiac Aerospace’s In- Flight Entertainment activities. Larry Girard has been named Executive Vice President. Steve Hawkins as CTO will run engineering and Shannon Biggs has been hired as Senior Vice President of Operations. Additionally Patric Boigas has been named Director of European Operations for the IFE unit in France.
Switzerland | May 17, 2013– DeliSky, the Swiss international inflight catering service provider, has launched an iPad and iPhone App to maximise the efficiency of its unique catering order system. The DeliSky catering order system previously only available online, offers free access to a network of carefully selected, premium catering providers such as top notch restaurants, hotels and specialised inflight catering companies known for their highest quality standards and finest cuisine at over 120 airports worldwide.
Sascha Gassmann, Managing Director of DeliSky comments: “The simple to use App enables our clients to easily manage their inflight catering orders with a clear overview of costs. All the menu prices and total order amounts are indicated. You can create, save and send catering orders, check on availability – useful especially when planning around busy events such as the F1 Season – and also add useful information such as packaging instructions that help catering partners deliver exactly what is desired. It makes life considerably easier for busy flight attendants and operations departments.”
Clients can access the service 24/7 by simply purchasing the App from the Apple Store at no cost and by registering at www.delisky.com to obtain a personal login.
Daniel Hulme, Managing Director of Alison Price On Air welcomed the initiative. “As a specialist executive jet inflight catering provider within the DeliSky network, we have been very impressed with the efficiency of the order process and the level of detail and accuracy of information received. We also welcome the open and direct feedback from clients so that we can continue to deliver the best service possible.”
Founded in 2009, DeliSky services are available at over 120 airports worldwide to which it has successfully delivered over 2000 inflight catering orders. The company supplier portfolio currently includes 55 aviation caterers, restaurants and hotels. In addition to its partner network DeliSky offers bespoke catering solutions by sourcing catering at destinations that do not offer dedicated inflight services. Looking to the future, the company plans to strengthen its already significant presence in Europe, and expand its worldwide network by increasing its partner network across Asia, the Middle East, the Americas and Africa, where it is regularly receiving requests from. The App will also be continually improved as further enhancements and useful features are added.
- First in Chin to benefit from more fuel savings
May 17, 2013– China’s largest operator of Airbus aircraft, China Eastern Airlines, has taken delivery of its first A320 aircraft equipped with Sharklet fuel saving wing-tip devices, becoming China’s first carrier to do so. The aircraft is also the first Sharklets equipped A320 assembled and delivered in Tianjin.
The A320, powered by IAE V2500 engines, features a comfortable two class cabin, seating 158 passengers with eight in business class and 150 in economy. The A320 will make its first commercial flight from Shanghai to Dalian on May 18.
“As the first and biggest Airbus customer in China, China Eastern and Airbus have long-term good cooperation. China Eastern is honored to be the first customer of A320 with sharklets in China. In the near future, China Eastern will further expand our sharklet equipped A320 family fleet”, said Shu Mingjiang, Vice President Flight Operations, China Eastern.
“We are delighted that China Eastern Airlines has taken delivery of its first Sharklet equipped A320. It is a mark of our close ties that the biggest Airbus fleet operator in China is also the first Chinese carrier to benefit from up to four per cent reduction in fuel costs”, said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers.
Sharklets are made from light-weight composites and are 2.4 meters tall. They are an option on new-build A320 Family aircraft and standard on all members of the new A320neo family. They offer operators up to four per cent fuel burn reduction on longer range sectors and provide the flexibility of either adding an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.
China Eastern is one of the largest airlines in China and is the first Chinese airline operating Airbus aircraft in 1985. Now it operates an Airbus fleet of over 230 aircraft including A300s, A319s, A320s, A321s, A330s and A340s.
Airbus Tianjin Delivery Centre has delivered 126 aircraft since June 2009 and it plans to deliver 46 aircraft in total in 2013.
- Program includes ‘no charge’ certification packages for operators installing Aviator 200 systems
EBACE, Geneva, Switzerland | May 20, 2013– Aircell, a leading provider of in-flight connectivity equipment and services to the business aviation market, announces that it has signed an agreement with P3 Voith Aerospace GmbH, Hamburg, Germany, to develop several new Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for the Aviator 200 in-flight connectivity system in the European market.
Under the program, Aircell will provide complete, no-cost STCs to operators installing an Aviator 200 system at an authorized Aircell Dealer and activating a new SwiftBroadband service plan with Aircell. Plans for the first STC in the program are now being finalized, and the company is seeking aircraft to be used as the certification platform for future STCs.
“Providing no charge certification packages to operators will significantly reduce installation costs and allow more people to enjoy the productivity-enhancing benefits of in-flight connectivity in Europe,” said John Wade, Aircell’s Executive Vice President and General Manager. “By establishing this program in partnership with members of the European business aviation community, Aircell continues to support the proliferation of in-flight connectivity services.”
For full program details, interested operators are encouraged to contact Jean-Luc Rosenfeld, Aircell’s European Sales Manager, on +41 32 841 2838 or email@example.com.
In related news, Aircell recently became a Distribution Partner and Service Provider for Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband service. Aircell recently debuted its new SwiftBroadband monthly service plans, which feature rates that automatically decrease as data usage increases, no locked pricing requirements and no overage fees. More information about SwiftBroadband and Aircell’s new monthly service plans is available at www.aircell.com/swiftbroadband.
May 21, 2013– Airbus is introducing a new corporate jet customer care centre (C4you) for its private jet customers, aimed at providing dedicated access to an experienced team.
Customers will be able to get technical advice on both their airframe and their cabin through a single point of contact, and will also be able to benefit from packaged services, such as arrangements to implement service bulletins (SBs).
They will be able to benefit from the more than 120 years of experience of a team of four dedicated professionals, co-located within Airbus’ Airtac centre in Toulouse, who will be complemented by field service representatives that are based in Asia and the Middle East.
In addition to flying fewer hours than airliners, corporate jets are typically operated by small teams, and Airbus has long recognised the need to provide additional support to complement the technical advice, training and spares that is provided to all of its 500-plus customers and operators.
The new C4you service thus adds to the tailored support that Airbus already provides to its private jet customers, through services such as dedicated customer support directors, low utilisation maintenance programmes, and flight hour services.
The aim is to help customers and operators get the best out of their Airbus aircraft, by helping them to fly efficiently, as well as safely, whatever their operation, and wherever they fly.
Airbus corporate jets share the same basic airframes and engines as the world’s most modern airliner family, from which they are derived.
They differ mainly in having private cabins and, in the case of those derived from the A320 Family, additional features – such as extra fuel-tanks for intercontinental range, built-in airstairs for airport autonomy and a richer specification.
This means that Airbus corporate jet customers benefit from the robust reliability that comes from an aircraft that has been designed for the rigours of airline service, and that they are never far from the training and maintenance facilities of other operators, almost everywhere that they fly.
Airbus corporate jets have won more than 170 sales to date, and are flying on every continent, including Antarctica.
-Taiwanese airline will use NetLine/Sched and SchedConnect/Long-term cooperation
Kelsterbach, Germany | May 21, 2013– Lufthansa Systems today announced that the Taiwanese airline EVA Air will use IT solutions from Lufthansa Systems for its scheduling and codeshare management. The airline has signed a 10-year contract for the use of NetLine/Sched for scheduling and SchedConnect for codeshare management and schedule distribution. Using the latest IT solutions will enable EVA Air to optimize its scheduling processes and the management of its codeshare flights while lowering costs and increasing revenues.
“An optimum schedule is a decisive competitive factor for airlines in a hotly contested market. This is why we have decided to replace our in-house solution and rely on the technological know-how of the airline IT experts at Lufthansa Systems. This will bring us significantly closer to our goal of becoming a leading global network carrier,” said Jerry Wu, DJVP of Project Division, at EVA Air.
NetLine/Sched covers all processes for medium- to short-term flight scheduling. Airlines can use the solution to modify their flight plans and schedules in a way to increase the overall capacity utilization of their aircraft. The systems also make it possible to evaluate “what if” scenarios and gauge their cost-effectiveness. The system supports planners in making decisions and provides high-quality optimization tools to improve the quality of flight schedules from an operational and commercial perspective.
SchedConnect offers a high degree of automation, calculating the optimum codeshare assignments based on the current flight schedules every day. The system processes schedule data of more than 150 airlines worldwide. If a minimum connecting time is violated due to a schedule change or if a partner flight is canceled, the system automatically assigns the marketing flight number to another suitable connecting flight. Changes are sent through the reservation systems to travel agents and customers as well as to the operations and passenger-related systems of the airlines involved. Lufthansa Systems offers its codeshare management solution as an Application Service Providing (ASP) model, delivering 24/7 server operation and state-of-the-art infrastructure services.
“Following the successful introduction of Lido/Flight last year, we are delighted that EVA Air has opted for additional products from our portfolio. The NetLine/Sched and SchedConnect IT solutions will optimize the airline’s scheduling and codeshare management and pave the way for its membership in the Star Alliance,” said Olivier Krüger, SVP Regional Management Asia/Pacific at Lufthansa Systems.
Headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, the Taiwanese carrier EVA Air was founded in 1989 as a subsidiary of the Evergreen Group. From its base at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the airline serves a dense route network of 64 destinations in Taiwan and abroad with its fleet of 61 passenger and cargo aircraft. EVA Air will become a member of the Star Alliance from June 18th.
Geneva, Switzerland | May 21, 2013– Rockwell Collins today announced that its Venue™ cabin management and high-definition (HD) entertainment system was recently selected for installation aboard a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ)—its fifth selection on a narrow-body VIP aircraft in the last nine months.
“Venue’s popularity continues to grow for modernizing large VIP cabins due to its scalability, ease of installation and flexibility to accommodate new technology,” said Dave Austin, vice president and general manager, Cabin Systems for Rockwell Collins. “Venue’s design also offers weight savings, which provides additional benefit in large business jets like BBJs.”
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. Such features are built upon a fault-tolerant, ruggedized fiber optic backbone which insures maximum system availability while providing necessary bandwidth to integrate the latest consumer technologies.
Once fielded, the aircraft will be supported 24/7 by the 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 250 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/.
Geneva, Switzerland | May 21, 2013– Rockwell Collins today announced that its Tailwind® 500 and 550 Multi-region in-flight Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) TV systems now enable live high-definition (HD) and high-compression digital video (MPEG-4) programming to business and VIP aircraft cabins. The company is the first to make these capabilities available.
Rockwell Collins’ Tailwind is a fully integrated, proven cabin TV system that delivers live DBS programming from Ku-band free-to-air (FTA) TV providers.
“Adding live HD programming to the cabin will enrich the passenger experience and resemble what has become the norm in many homes,” said Steve Timm, vice president and general manager, Flight Information Solutions for Rockwell Collins.
With Tailwind, passengers have access to the most comprehensive selection and widest regional coverage of live TV programming in the air or on the ground. The addition of HD and MPEG-4 video enables hundreds of additional channels in the cabin.
Rockwell Collins’ Tailwind with HD and MPEG-4 capability will be an option for new aircraft and available as an upgrade to fielded systems beginning in mid-2013.
Luxembourg | May 21, 2013– Intelsat S.A. [NYSE: I], the world’s leading provider of satellite services, today announced that its subsidiary, Intelsat Jackson Holdings S.A. (“Intelsat Jackson”), intends to offer $2,000,000,000 aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2023 (the “2023 notes”). Intelsat Jackson’s obligations under the notes will be guaranteed by certain of its parent and subsidiary companies.
In addition, Intelsat Jackson intends to offer $635,000,000 aggregate principal amount of its 65/8% Senior Notes due 2022 (the “2022 notes” and together with the 2023 notes, the “notes”). The 2022 notes will be issued under the same indenture as Intelsat Jackson’s existing 65/8% Senior Notes due 2022. Intelsat Jackson’s obligations under the 2022 notes will be guaranteed by certain of its parent companies. The 2022 notes will not be guaranteed by Intelsat Jackson’s subsidiaries.
The net proceeds from the sale of the notes, together with other available cash, are expected to be used by Intelsat Jackson to repay all amounts outstanding (approximately $868 million principal amount) under its two senior unsecured credit agreements.
In addition, Intelsat Jackson expects to make a dividend to Intelsat (Luxembourg) S.A., which will use such funds and other available cash to redeem all of its 11¼% Senior Notes due 2017 in its previously announced redemption on June 12, 2013. The remaining net proceeds are expected to be used to pay related fees and expenses and for general corporate purposes.
The notes referred to above will be offered and sold to qualified institutional buyers in accordance with Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and to persons outside the United States in accordance with Regulation S under the Securities Act and applicable exemptions from registration, prospectus or like requirements under the laws and regulations of the relevant jurisdictions outside the United States. The notes will not be registered under the Securities Act and, unless so registered, may not be offered or sold in the United States except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable state securities laws. The notes referred to above will also not be registered in any jurisdiction outside of the United States and no action or steps will be taken to permit the offer of the notes in any such jurisdiction where any registration or other action or steps would be required to permit an offer of the notes.
The notes may therefore not be offered or sold in any such jurisdiction except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the relevant requirements of laws and regulations of such jurisdictions.
No prospectus as required by the Directive 2003/71/EC (and the implementing laws and regulations in the relevant member states) has been filed with respect to the notes and therefore no offers of notes may be made in any Member States of the European Economic Area unless made pursuant to an exemption under the Directive 2003/71/EC (and the implementing laws and regulations in the relevant Member States).
This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy the notes or any other securities of Intelsat, nor shall there be any offer, solicitation or sale of the notes in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.
Lyngby, Denmark | May 21, 2013– Cobham SATCOM’s AVIATOR 300 SwiftBroadband solution has received a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for its use aboard a range of Cessna aircraft.
Developed by Cobham SATCOM partner and avionics specialist Scandinavian Avionics, the STC covers the Cessna 550, 550 Bravo and S550 and provides further opportunities for application to the Cessna 500, 552 and 560 series with separate certification approvals.
The STC for the light corporate jet includes the installation and activation of the AVIATOR 300’s built-in Wi-Fi option and use of the AVIATOR Wireless Handset, providing a compact and complete broadband solution for an extensive range of communication capabilities.
Michael R Truelsen, President at Scandinavian Avionics, said: “We see a big potential for this STC as the Cessna Citation series aircraft are very well represented in Europe. We have already had a huge interest for such installations so we are particularly pleased to announce that we have the STC available on the AVIATOR 300 for these Cessna models.
“This STC is significant because we are planning to expand the STC to cover the Cessna 500, 552 and 560 series as well. We can also use the data from this STC to cover the AVIATOR 200 system, with the Low Gain Antenna, if a customer wants an even smaller and lighter system.
“The AVIATOR 300 is very well suited to all business jet aircraft as the office in the sky functionality is key in the business jet market. Passengers will be able to use their own devices, such as tablets and smartphones, as the STC includes WiFi functionality in the cabin for use of the internet at rates up to 332 kbps, while the wireless handset is available for voice connectivity to the ground.”
The AVIATOR 300 features a compact and lightweight Intermediate Gain Antenna (IGA) to ensure a low profile on the fuselage. With data speeds up to 332 kbps, the system provides for fast and reliable connectivity on Inmarsat SwiftBroadband services, supporting high quality, low-cost voice calling and the full complement of data services.
Kim Gram, VP Aeronautical, Cobham SATCOM, added: “This STC is significant as it introduces many more business passengers to the benefits of global wireless Internet connectivity. The AVIATOR 300 will enable them to use smart phones, personal tablets and laptops for a multitude of applications during all phases of flight.”
The AVIATOR 300 is part of Cobham’s cutting-edge SwiftBroadband product portfolio and provides a cost effective solution for a wide range of airframes, with a full range of features and options. In addition to the Cessna aircraft, the system has been certified for several key aircraft including the Citation X, G200, Embraer 135 (Legacy 600/650) and Bombardier Challenger 300.
The full Cobham SATCOM AVIATOR range includes the AVIATOR 700 and 700D, AVIATOR 350 with High Gain Antenna (HGA), AVIATOR 300 with IGA as well as the exceptionally compact and lightweight AVIATOR 200 with Low Gain Antenna (LGA).
For further information please visit www.cobham.com/satcom.
- Amjet Executive takes delivery of fully connected aircraft
EBACE, Geneva | May 21, 2013– Amjet Executive SA is the first Falcon 7X operator to have OnAir’s inflight mobile phone and Wi-Fi products linefit installed on Dassault’s flagship aircraft.
OnAir announced the availability of Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir as catalogue options on the Falcon 7X at MEBA, in December 2012. The connectivity services on the European business jet operator’s brand new aircraft were activated on 1 May 2013.
Amjet Executive, which is exhibiting one of its aircraft at EBACE, provides charter services from its Geneva-based office. It also manages the operations and maintenance of aircraft on behalf of owners. The company took delivery of the Falcon 7X, registered SX-JET, from Dassault’s facility in Little Rock, Arkansas, on 26 April.
“It is certainly a pleasure to fly on our aircraft, but it must also be productive time. Your office needs to go with you and an integral part of that is being able to stay in touch, both by phone and email, as if you were on the ground,” said Captain Abakar Manany, Chairman of Amjet Executive SA. “We selected OnAir because it is the only company that can provide both GSM and Wi-Fi connectivity for business jets, everywhere in the world.”
Mobile OnAir enables business jet passengers to use their mobile devices exactly as on the ground. It works in the same way as international roaming: simply turn on your phone and start using it. All charges are included in the user’s standard mobile phone bill, making the payment process both simple and transparent.
Internet OnAir creates a Wi-Fi network in the aircraft, providing Internet access through any Wi-Fi-enabled device, including smartphones, tablets and laptops.
“Just five months after our linefit agreement with Dassault, we are now announcing the first delivery. It shows both the high level demand for inflight connectivity in the business jet market and that we deliver on our promises”, said Ian Dawkins, CEO of OnAir. “More than ever, given the economic climate, a business jet has to be a quantifiable business tool. Passengers must be able to work during the flight. For that to happen, they need to be able to use their mobile phones and laptops as if they were at their desks. That is what OnAir delivers.”
Luxembourg | May 20, 2013– Intelsat S.A. [NYSE: I], the world’s leading provider of satellite services, today announced that its subsidiary, Intelsat Jackson Holdings S.A. (“Intelsat Jackson”), has received the requisite consents to amend certain terms of the indenture governing its 8½% Senior Notes due 2019 (the “Notes”) in connection with its previously announced Consent Solicitation (defined below).
The amendments, among other things, amend the indenture governing the Notes so that Intelsat Jackson and its restricted subsidiaries would be permitted to make certain Restricted Payments (as defined in the indenture) if, after giving effect to such transaction on a pro forma basis, Intelsat Jackson’s Debt to Adjusted EBITDA Ratio (as defined in the indenture) would be less than or equal to 6.0 to 1.0, in each instance of such Restricted Payment, rather than 5.5 to 1.0 (the “Proposed Amendments”).
As previously announced, on May 13, 2013, Intelsat Jackson solicited the consent of the holders of the Notes to the amendments described above (the “Consent Solicitation”).
The Consent Solicitation is subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Consent Solicitation Statement, dated May 13, 2013, as modified by Intelsat’s press release of earlier today increasing the Consent Payment to $22.50 (the “Consent Solicitation Statement”).
As of 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on May 20, 2013 (the “Consent Time”), Intelsat Jackson has been advised by Global Bondholder Services Corporation, as Depositary for the Consent Solicitation, that the requisite consent of noteholders was obtained, and Intelsat Jackson and Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, as trustee under the indenture governing the Notes, entered into a supplemental indenture implementing the amendments to the indenture governing the Notes.
This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any notes or any other securities of Intelsat, nor shall there be any offer, solicitation or sale of the notes in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful. The consent solicitation is being made solely pursuant to the Consent Solicitation Statement and related materials, copies of which will be delivered to all holders of Notes. The consent solicitation is not being made to, and consents will not be accepted from or on behalf of, holders in any jurisdiction in which the making of the consent solicitation or the acceptance thereof would not be in compliance with the laws of such jurisdiction. Holders are urged to read the Consent Solicitation Statement carefully. Persons with questions regarding the consent solicitations should contact the solicitation agents, Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, at 11 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010, Attn: Liability Management Group, at (800) 820-1653 (toll free) or (212) 325-2476 (collect), Barclays Capital Inc. at 745 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019, Attn: Liability Management Group, at (800) 438-3242 (toll free) or (212) 528-7581 (collect) or BofA Merrill Lynch, at 214 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28255, Attn: Debt Advisory, at (888) 292-0070 (toll free) or (980) 388-1457 (collect). Requests for copies of the Consent Solicitation Statement and the related Consent Letter should be directed to the Tabulation and Information Agent, Global Bondholder Services Corporation, at (866) 804-2200 (toll free) or (212) 430-3774 (collect).
- Passenger Choice Awards provide airlines with valuable passenger opinions about the entire flight experience
New York, NY | May 20, 2013– If only airlines could read their passengers’ minds. They can come close with the Passenger Choice Awards! As the FAA contemplates rules related to portable electronic devices, the traveling public can weigh in on every aspect of the trip any time they would like by participating in this airline-focused awards program. In addition to getting recognition for doing what works, airlines have the benefit of seeing exactly what moves passengers one way or the other.
The Passenger Choice Awards were created to recognize airline achievements in the passenger experience and to give airlines useful data on how flyers view specific services. The program gives passengers a virtual hotline to airlines to keep them in the know on what’s working and what needs improving – meaning the passenger voice can be heard with each and every flight.
“This is valuable information that is specific to our airline, coming from the people who travel with us,” said Alfy Veretto, Manager of IFE and Partnerships for Virgin America. Virgin America took home the 2012 award for Best Overall Passenger Experience (Up to 50 IFE Equipped in Fleet) and several other Passenger Choice Awards. “In this industry, finding ways to improve the passenger experience is always evolving. The more information we have, the better the experience becomes.”
The survey, available year-round at www.passengerchoiceawards.com, is customizable and asks passengers to rate aspects of the travel experience that are applicable to them. Questions cover ticketing, ground experience, comfort, inflight entertainment and more. Results are tabulated by ratings and research specialists at The Nielsen Company, and results are sent to participating airlines.
Travelers can fill out the survey multiple times and are encouraged to do so every time they fly. Awards categories include inflight publications, connectivity and communications, food and beverage, informational videos and entertainment, cabin ambiance and pre-departure experience. Past winners include Southwest Airlines (Best Inflight Publication), Norwegian (Best Inflight Connectivity & Communications) and Singapore Airlines (Best Food & Beverage).