Editors Note: We caught up with Mr. McLaughlin at an airport in the US recently and asked a few question about his company and the state of the IFE services industry.
Forty years ago, (1974) Rob and Helen Lynch started an inflight entertainment service provision service in Sydney Australia by answering an advert in a Sydney newspaper. They then competed for tailored passenger audio programming and won the Qantas Airways contract, one which they still provide today. Over the years they turned the small Stellar Entertainment business into one of the world’s premier shops for all types of entertainment services. They are now a full-service content provider, offering world-class IFE, video and audio production and post-production, music composition, content acquisition and much, more. With five offices around the world (including the US and Canada) and over 65 employees, they are truly a world-class programming provider. Their head office is located in Glebe, Sydney and specializes in inflight entertainment, including programming and management of Hollywood and international films, TV, music, games, digital books and magazines. Further, they provide encoding, metadata management, video and audio duplication and consulting services. From a IFE perspective, they provide audio and video entertainment, content acquisition and media sales. Having watched Stellar grow over the last 40 years one new product developments piqued our interest at a recent conference, particularly in the area of media sales. IFExpress talked to their new CEO/Managing Director, Peter McLaughlin about the new personal device-directed product, H2H Connect. Peter noted that Stellar’s media sales division is definitely one of the industry leaders in terms of experience and global reach. Further, they manage multiple Asia Pacific airline accounts for some 12 Asia Pacific airlines, and representing them around the world. Stellar has a significant presence in China as well. Stellar operate as ‘Sky Victory Technology’ a joint venture based in Beijing. It’s a CSP set up specifically to service China’s airlines exclusively. Currently, Sky Victory supplies content licensing and/or technical services to China Southern and China Eastern. Stellar also develops and supplies print advertisements, in magazines and television commercials, on traditional inflight screens and for the latest range of portable media players.” He went on to note that one of the airlines concerns is about their relationship with their guests/passengers is the ability to connect with their clients, not only on the plane, but over the entire travel experience. Their new service product Home2Hotel Connect is a Stellar in-house development that gives the airline a tool to keep their passengers engaged via PED content before, during, and after their trip. The app-based service, as Peter noted, “Puts the inflight entertainment choice on the device because, in the end, the control will always ends up where it should, in the passengers hands.”
IFExpress: If a passenger loads the H2H Connect App, what can it do?
Peter: “There is a bit about the service on our website but it essentially increases a way to connect to and engage passengers from the time they buy their ticket to when they arrive in their hotel – concierge service, video programming, audio programming, over 2000 digital publications that they can download and take with them, surveys, bookings, destination info, and shopping… H2H is a flexible tailored solution they can use throughout their journey, and it’s available for both iOS and Android devices.”
IFExpress: We gather, then, that you see IFE a bit differently. How do you help airlines get this “connection” with passengers?
Peter: ”We act as a consultancy to carriers in technology – one carrier wanted to connect streaming to passengers tablets and our folks came up with a solution. Another problem dealt with server software – we have another team of approximately 10 software experts that we use to help solve almost any software problem… apps, streaming, server issues, whatever. If airlines want to do something technically in the cabin, we can help… portable devices, social media, we help engage with the airline… If someone has a technical issue we can find a solution.”
IFExpress: Do airlines see IFE the way Stellar does?
Peter: “IFE is about engaging… look at the way TV stations use Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. They are trying to capture an audience. Airlines just don’t have a lot of experience with that. When I was with Qantas we had a problem when they became a “business” and we had to refocus and re-drive the brand as an “airline”. The airlines have traditionally seen the IFE as a service, not as an integral part of the marketing mix.”
IFExpress: We gather that Stellar is pretty sold on this “engagement” software solution?
Peter: “Yes, we even have turned our interactive software capability into entertainment and communication for hospitals. In many ways the problem is similar to fliers, patients/guests are just tied to the hospital for a longer period of time.”
IFExpress: For readers that don’t know much about Stellar, can you tell us a bit more?
Peter: “We are based in Australia, but Stellar is a global company. We have dealt a lot in Asia, and the Pacific, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur; we even have facilities in Los Angeles that I visit as well. We have relationships with all the movie distributors in the world and almost 500 of the worldwide wholesalers. Further, Stellar has a significant presence in China as well. We operate as ‘Sky Victory Technology’ a joint venture based in Beijing. It’s a CSP set up specifically to service China’s airlines exclusively. Currently, Sky Victory supplies content licensing and technical services to China Southern and China Eastern. Since we do have international airline commitments, Stellar is so committed to the industry that we have a 24/7 technical service center hotline to help our customers anytime… I would also note that our Kuala Lumpur office is a significant Technical and Production facility servicing our Asian clients. We employee 20 Malaysians in that office and contribute significantly to the Malaysian economy.”
IFExpress: Does the fact that you are in the US visiting mean you are looking at this market?
Peter: “We are definitely looking at the US market as a future growth potential since we create a lot of our own content, we feel that Stellar has a bit of different spin on content production. We have a base in Los Angeles, as I mentioned, today and with the addition of US customers we would probably increase that office.”
IFExpress: What about all the competition out there, will that affect your business model?
Peter: There’s a lot of competition going on and a lot of consolidation in this industry… we don’t plan on going anywhere. Stellar Entertainment is in the business for the long haul.”
IFExpress: Doesn’t that mean that Stellar will have a lot of market challenges in the future?
Peter: “With respect to market challenges, we are experiencing a lot of competition and facing competitive consolidation. But in truth there are always market challenges. We have to adjust our model to ensure we remain competitive – we have come from a background of service but we are continually refining our product. We believe in providing service and value to airlines rather than using a cookie cutter approach. We are looking at ways to reduce costs for airlines and stay on top of passenger trends… we talk to passengers all the time. Connectivity is a good example: the financial hole all the connectivity has gone into is a lot bigger than the pile of money from it – those seatback phones are a good example.”
IFExpress: We keep hearing that the IFE content industry is changing, care to comment on it?
Peter: “There is a lot of change going on in the industry. There appears to be a drive by a certain group to control the content and it is not good for the airlines, or for other competitors. It will stifle creativity because they are beholding to a stockholder and the stock price, not the airline. If airlines are not careful they will find that they could end up being dictated to in the IFE space. Along with that there is a lot of technology happening… take connectivity, it has not taken a hold as much as they would have hoped. Two reasons – reliability and price. Further, on long haul flights, the demand doesn’t seem to be there. I note that in America there might be a law banning inflight telephone calls and America is a leader… it’s one we are all watching. Wireless streaming is what is getting traction at the moment and we have seen it succeed for a number of our clients and for Low cost carriers or new entrants with narrow-bodied aircraft or airlines with no imbedded IFE system it is gaining interest over connectivity. One thing is clear in the airline industry, airlines need/want to reduce cost and eliminating weight off an aircraft is a very attractive option.”
IFExpress: If you are talking about a content monopoly do you have any final thoughts?
Peter: “I have never met anyone that thinks monopolies are good, except of course, the monopoly themselves.”
Singapore | February 27, 2014– Lion Group’s Indonesian full-service carrier Batik Air and Malaysian affiliate Malindo Air have decided that their new aircraft are to have back-of-seat inflight entertainment systems from US company Lumexis Corporation.
“We have chosen to have Lumexis Corporation’s award-winning Fibre-To-The-Screen (FTTS) embedded IFE system for our Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft, starting with the aircraft due for delivery in this year’s second-half,” says Batik Air CEO, Capt. Achmad Luthfie.
“Batik Air will be the first airline in the world to have the Lumexis IFE system on board an Airbus A320-family aircraft,” he says, adding that to achieve this milestone Batik Air and Lumexis Corporation spent time and effort consulting with Airbus and industry regulators. “We feel it is worth the effort, because the Lumexis IFE system provides the airline and the travelling public with several key benefits,” says Luthfie.
Unlike some other IFE systems, this ultra-broadband fibre optic network completely eliminates bulky seat boxes that sometimes intrude into the passenger’s foot space. This weight saving, together with also eliminating large and very heavy copper data cables, reduces fuel burn, generating significant cost savings for the airline.
The Lumexis system uses touch screen technology which means passengers no longer need to use a separate remote control to change channels or adjust the volume. The IFE LED screen on Batik Air and Malindo Air’s 737s will be 10.1 in for economy and business-class passengers. For business-class passengers travelling on Batik Air’s A320s, the screen size will be 12.1 in and for economy-class it is 10.1 in.
Content provided on the IFE system includes video-on-demand in HDD1080. “The fact that Batik Air is a full-service carrier means we believe in providing passengers with the very best. That includes a top quality IFE system with a wide selection of top TV programs and movies from Hollywood and around the world,” says Luthfie.
Malindo CEO, Chandran Ramamurthy, says: “We chose the Lumexis IFE system because we could see that there are clear benefits. Malindo is positioned as a hybrid carrier, but we promise to provide the same level of service as a full-service carrier. Providing back-of-seat inflight entertainment, with a wide selection of TV programs and movies to choose from, is just one of the ways we deliver on our brand promise.”
Malindo Air will receive its first Lumexis equipped aircraft in August.
Lion Group president Director, Rusdi Kirana, says: “I can see that Lumexis is very much a challenger brand in the IFE market. The company is working to win airline customers by delivering a product that provides a number of key benefits. Batik Air is also a challenger brand. It is an airline that delivers a number of benefits to passengers, including a very high standard of inflight service. ”
Kirana adds: “I am very impressed with the user interface on the Lumexis IFE system and how passengers can access onboard services such as inflight catalogue shopping, using this interface. One of the key areas we are focusing on at Lion Group is increasing auxiliary revenue.”
Lumexis CEO, Doug Cline, says: “The team at Lumexis is honored to have gained the trust of such a strong and growing organization as Lion Group. We are committed to assuring Lion Group’s continued success by providing an ultra-reliable, ultra-light weight system that outperforms even the most costly competitor. Because FTTS absolutely has the lightest installed weight-per-seat of any embedded IFE system flying today, Lion Group carriers and its affiliates will be able to operate over very long routes, while burning substantially less fuel.”
- A330 confirms its position as Asia’s favourite wide-body
Toulouse, France | February 28, 2014– Skymark Airlines, Japan’s third largest airline has taken delivery of the first two A330-300s out of a total of ten on lease. Skymark Airlines becomes the first Japanese carrier to operate Airbus’ market leading, A330 wide-body aircraft.
Skymark Airlines’ A330s, configured in a very high comfort, all ”Green Seat” cabin with 271 seats, will start scheduled flights in April 2014 from Tokyo Haneda to Fukuoka. Skymark Airlines has also announced plans for A330-300 services from Tokyo Haneda to Sapporo and Naha at a later date.
Shinichi Nishikubo, President of Skymark Airlines, said: “We are confident that with these cost-efficient, reliable A330-300s in our fleet, we will grow our business and win market share by attracting passengers who demand only the highest levels of comfort. Together with our A380s to come, we confirm Skymark’s intention to remain at the forefront of our market, having one of Japan’s youngest, most modern fuel-efficient fleets.”
John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers, said, “The A330 is the most popular wide-body aircraft in Asia and we welcome Skymark Airlines to our expanding family of A330 operators in this fast growing, dynamic market. We also look forward to seeing Skymark Airlines succeed with their A330’s thanks to the aircraft’s unbeatable economics, versatility and best-in-class passenger comfort.”
The A330-300 received Validation Type Certificate (VTC) from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in January 2014. Skymark Airlines signed a Flight Hour Services (FHS) components contract with Airbus covering support for all of 10 leased A330 aircraft. Airbus Customer Services will provide spare parts availability guaranteed through an extensive scope of more than 700 line replaceable units. Skymark Airlines’ A330s will be equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.
Airbus’ comprehensive, modern wide-body Family is the market leader in Asia, having outsold the competition by two to one over the last five years. Over half of the wide-body aircraft to be delivered in the future to Asian carriers are Airbus aircraft.
The A330 Family, which spans 250 to 300 seats, and includes Freighter, VIP, and Military Transport/Tanker variants, has now attracted more than 1,300 orders, with over 1,000 aircraft flying with more than 100 operators worldwide. The A330 is one of the world’s most efficient aircraft with best in class operating economics. With numerous ongoing product improvements, it still remains the most cost-efficient and capable aircraft, averaging dispatch reliability well above 99 percent.
World ATM Congress, Madrid | March 4, 2014– In the run up to the FIFA World Cup™ this year, and the Olympics in 2016, SITA is working with the Comissão de Implantação do Sistema de Controle do Espaço Aéreo (CISCEA) in its drive to upgrade Brazil’s air traffic management technology. CISCEA is the body responsible for developing and implementing new technologies for DECEA, the Brazilian Air Navigation Service Provider.
SITA, the world’s leading provider of air traffic management communications and IT solutions, already provides Departure Clearance (DCL) and Digital-Automatic Terminal Information Service (D-ATIS) datalink services at both Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo’s GRU Airport. These solutions will now be extended to 23 airports across Brazil.
Major Brigadier Carlos Vuyk de Aquino, President of CISCEA, said: “Brazil has the busiest airspace in South America and we are very proud to be hosting two of the world’s biggest sporting events. We want everyone flying to, from and within Brazil to have smooth and uneventful journeys. It is therefore essential that our air traffic managers have access to the very best technology available.
“This investment is not only for these big events, but is part of SIRIUS, DECEA’s major modernization program. A cornerstone of this program is the delivery of datalink services at Brazil’s main airports to transform air traffic communications. We have been working with SITA over the past ten years and we are confident that the SITA team will deliver exactly what we need.”
DCL, using SITA’s datalink solution integrated with local systems, streamlines departure control. The pilot requests departure clearance by sending a text message to the control tower and the controller responds, also by datalink. Likewise, using D-ATIS, real-time airport operational and weather information is transmitted to the pilot over datalink. Together DCL and DATIS will reduce overloading of the VHF voice frequency and so improve overall efficiency and safety.
Philip Clinch, SITA Vice President of Aircraft Services, said: “Using datalink makes flying more efficient and even safer. The transmission of data in text format is highly reliable. It reduces workload for both air traffic controllers and pilots by improving the accuracy of their communications. And information can be transmitted at any phase of the flight, in advance of the busy time period of departure and approach.”
The project began in December 2013 and is progressing as planned. The technology is being delivered in batches to four airports at a time and will be completed in time for the Olympic Games in 2016.
Mumbai | March 4, 2014– Accelya, the leading provider of financial and business intelligence solutions to the Airline industry, today announced that it will manage critical financial processes for Bangkok Airways, Asia’s boutique airline. The scope of services includes the complete Book-to-Cash cycle including passenger revenue accounting, cargo revenue accounting, sales audit, card billing and miscellaneous billing.
The data from the financial processing will integrate seamlessly into Accelya’s EverestAirTM platform, to provide strategic MIS to all stakeholders.
“Accelya will be looking after our financial processes with speed, accuracy and quality standards that are the best in the industry. We see great value in the strategic MIS that we will derive from the integration across financial processes”, saidKhun Viroj Satitharopagorn, Vice President – Accounting, Bangkok Airways
The engagement with Accelya will enable Bangkok Airways to:
- Integrate critical financial processes
- Account for all flight revenues through a single provider
- Declare revenues accurately and on time
- Centralise and standardise credit card payments
- Achieve compliance benefits, including SSAE 16 and PCI DSS
- Get strategic MIS across passenger, cargo, ancillary and miscellaneous revenues
The benefits to Bangkok Airways will be delivered through Accelya’s industry leading solutions: REVERA® NEXT Revenue Accounting, VIVALDI card management, FinesseMBSTM Miscellaneous Billing and Accelya Sales Audit.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Vipul Jain, CEO and Managing Director, Accelya Kale Solutions, said, “We are delighted that Bangkok Airways has chosen us as a strategic partner to manage their critical financial processes. There is great value in taking an integrated approach towards the Book-to-Cash cycle for all revenues in the airline – passenger, ancillary, cargo or miscellaneous. We also see huge value in the MIS that can be unlocked by transforming the data into actionable intelligence”.
London, UK | March 4, 2014– Bluebox Avionics is delighted to announce that Asia’s leading regional carrier, Bangkok Airways, has introduced its award winning Bluebox Ai portable IFE solution across select services. Utilizing the iPad mini platform, Bluebox Ai provides the airline’s Business class passengers with access to a wide range of movie content including the latest Hollywood releases. Bluebox Ai is also delivering catalogue of movies, TV programs, audio and interactive games in a service that is designed to differentiate the Bangkok Airways passenger experience.
Mr. Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, President of Bangkok Airways is delighted with the system and timing of its introduction. “We are excited to introduce this award winning portable IFE system to our passengers. Delivering an outstanding passenger experience is at the heart of our ethos and what better way to demonstrate this than our latest investment which will deliver a powerful and engaging IFE experience.”
David Brown, Joint Managing Director of Bluebox Avionics is equally enthusiastic. “Bangkok Airways has operated a portable IFE service for several years so has very clear expectations of the system both today and for the future. We are delighted that Bangkok Airways selected Bluebox to meet these needs and we look forward to a long and prosperous relationship.”
East Aurora, NY | March 3, 2014– Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace and defense industries, announced that it completed on February 28, 2014, the acquisition of substantially all of the assets and liabilities of EADS North America’s Test and Services division (EADS T&S) for approximately $53 million in cash plus a preliminary net working capital adjustment of $17 million. EADS T&S will be reported in Astronics’ Test Systems segment.
Astronics had previously announced that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire EADS T&S on January 21, 2014.
EADS T&S, located in Irvine, California, is a leading provider of highly engineered automatic test systems (ATS), subsystems and instruments for the semi-conductor, consumer electronics, commercial aerospace and defense industries. EADS T&S provides fully customized testing systems and support services for these markets. It also designs and manufactures test equipment under the well-respected test instrument brands known as Racal and Talon.
EADS T&S was founded in 1950 as Racal Electronic Group and currently has about 210 employees
- Etihad Aviation Group to include Etihad Airways, the newly formed Hala Group including travel and tourism management and global loyalty companies, Etihad Airport Services, and Group support functions
- New executive appointments include Chief Operating Officer Etihad Airways; Chief Operating Officer Hala Group, and Chief Operating Officer Equity Partners who will oversee investments in other airlines
March 3, 2014– Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, today announced the next step in its long-term business strategy, with the creation of the Etihad Aviation Group, a new structure marking the transition from a single entity airline to a wider global aviation group.
The new Etihad Aviation Group structure, headed by James Hogan as Group President and Chief Executive Officer, distinguishes the functions relating purely to Etihad Airways and those required to interface with and support the growth and success of its subsidiaries, joint venture companies and equity partners.
Group President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said: “Ten years ago we started life as a small regional carrier, but with global ambitions. Since then we have grown to become one of the world’s leading passenger and cargo airlines, and have expanded and diversified our operations outside the core airline business laying the foundations to become one of the leading aviation and travel groups in the world.
“It is important that this exciting new approach and philosophy is reflected in the way we organise ourselves. The new Etihad Aviation Group structure reflects this diversification and is a natural development to deliver continued and sustainable success for Etihad Airways and its partners.”
A new position of Chief Operating Officer Etihad Airways has been created to oversee the day-to-day running of the core airline. Recruitment for this position is ongoing and the successful candidate will oversee the major areas of Marketing, Sales, Operations, Technical, Cargo, Flight Operations, Guest Services, Guest Experience, and Safety and Quality.
In addition to the core airline, the Etihad Aviation Group also includes a division to coordinate and manage Etihad’s investment in its equity airline partners, and a new role of Chief Operating Officer Equity Partners will be created within the new structure to ensure an ongoing interface between the airline and its equity partners.
The position will be responsible for leading the identification and realisation of synergy benefits across the equity alliance, as well as having direct responsibility for Air Seychelles and Air Serbia in which Etihad Airways has a management responsibility. Recruitment for this position is ongoing.
A key element in the new structure is the establishment of the Hala Group, led by Chief Operating Officer Hala Group, Peter Baumgartner, formerly Chief Commercial Officer Etihad Airways. The Hala Group has been formed recognising the airline’s commercial opportunities which have grown beyond air travel across a variety of travel and hospitality businesses.
The Hala Group will bring businesses together to drive commercial value for Etihad Airways, for Abu Dhabi and for the airline’s equity alliance partners. It combines travel management provided by Hala Travel Management, destination management services of Hala Abu Dhabi, the internationally expanding wholesale and tour operating business, Etihad Holidays, and other major start-up initiatives such as a new global loyalty company.
Functions providing support to the wider Etihad Aviation Group will continue to be led by James Rigney as Group Chief Financial Officer, Ray Gammell as Group Chief People and Performance Officer, and Kevin Knight as Group Chief Strategy and Planning Officer. There will also be a new position of Group Chief Technology Officer for which recruitment is also ongoing.
Mr Hogan added: “These are very exciting developments for our business and the strong team we have created in our new structure will greatly enhance and improve the way we work in harmony with our partner airlines and subsidiaries.
“It will ensure that we work more closely than ever before to maximise the tremendous opportunities and deliver a sustainably profitable future for Etihad Airways and wider Etihad Aviation Group members, while ensuring we meet ambitious targets relating to revenue, cost, and synergy benefits.”
Geneva, Switzerland | February 26, 2014–
OnAir’s Wi-Fi connectivity is set to revolutionise ANA’s onboard experience by giving passengers access to a free, constantly refreshed infotainment portal. The portal contains both English and Japanese content, from a range of categories including news, business, arts and culture, technology, and sports. The content is constantly updated via satellite connectivity.
Alongside the infotainment portal, passengers using Internet OnAir will be able to use their smartphone, tablets and laptops to stay in touch with the world 35,000 feet below. They can send emails, update their Facebook page, tweet, and surf the internet and more, just as they would use a hotspot on the ground. ANA is set to launch its OnAir Wi-Fi service on selected international flights.
ANA is a prominent world carrier and is our first customer in Japan. It was voted Airline of the Year for 2013 by Air Transport World. In 2012, it carried 45 million passengers, making it the largest airline in Japan by passenger numbers. ANA flies to 31 international and 50 domestic cities, with a fleet of 232 aircraft serving a network of 175 routes.
ANA has opted for OnAir because it is the only provider offering consistent global coverage. OnAir has a unique network of regulatory authorizations from over 100 countries and more than 350 roaming agreements with mobile network operators. These are complimented by Inmarsat SwiftBroadband, the only satellite network specifically designed to provide consistent global coverage. OnAir’s cost-effective, scalable solutions are ready for future technologies such as GX.
Internet OnAir is being retrofitted to ANA B767-300 and B777-300 aircraft. The service will be provided in partnership with JSAT MOBILE Communications Inc., a joint venture of SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation and Inmarsat Solutions. It will be introduced on selected flights between Japan and Asia, before being added onto other European and North American routes.
“We are very excited to be expanding our Asia business,” said Ian Dawkins, OnAir CEO. “Passengers now expect to fly in a connected aircraft, and ANA has recognised and acted on this. New services like those which enable passengers to access on demand content and live streaming mean that it is a very exciting time to be introducing connectivity onto your aircraft.”
The ANA announcement also marks the first time a B767-300 has been retrofitted with OnAir services. This means that OnAir’s services are now available on all types of aircraft flown by the world’s major airlines.
Laptop interface: how the portal looks when accessed on a laptop
Smartphone interface: the mobile specific version of the portal
- ends -
Thales had a milestone event today in the first delivery announcement of the latest Thales TopSeries AVANT in-flight entertainment and connectivity IFEC system. As launch customer for the newest system, China Southern selected “the world’s most advanced Thales passenger system”. Why is it important? In case you have been asleep for that last few months you have not seen the aircraft manufacturers predictions that half the worlds traffic growth will occur in the Asia-Pacific region. Indeed, the market for aircraft (and thus IFEC systems) looks to be a whopping 13,000 aircraft to the tune of almost $2 T… that’s Trillion!
At a ceremony held today at the Boeing facility in Seattle, China Southern took delivery of the first Boeing 777-300ER aircraft equipped with the new generation Thales TopSeries AVANT in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) system, making China Southern the launch customer for the world’s most advanced Thales passenger system.
China Southern is the largest airline in Asia by fleet size and the fifth largest airline in the world by number of passengers. Thales already equips the airline’s Airbus A330 aircraft with its IFEC systems and will now install the award winning AVANT system on all 10 Boeing 777- 300ER scheduled to enter into service for the airline between 2014 and 2016. The first of these aircraft will fly from Seattle back to the airline’s main hub in Guangzhou, Baiyun International airport where it is scheduled to enter into regular service on March 2nd, between Guangzhou and Shanghai Hongqiao. It is believed that China Southern will use the Boeing 777-300ER to fly direct between Guangzhou and New York.
The fourth-generation TopSeries AVANT system is ideal for all commercial aircraft types. Its unique design eliminates the electronics box under cabin seats, thereby improving passenger comfort and enhancing weight efficiency. China Southern will benefit from the system’s scalable design which will allow the airline to offer significant differentiation between classes, such as single touchscreen in economy and interactive multi-screen in business. The AVANT system is also based on the Android operating system, which accommodates a wide range of both off-the-shelf and airline-specific applications.
Why the latest press release from Panasonic release is worth reading: The following excerpts from today’s announcement from Panasonic, to the best of our knowledge, is the first mention of tying in airline operations, aircraft health conditioning, crew ops, EFB, maintenance operations, airplane conditions, and weather in one package…not to mention one terrific information/entertainment service package. Although these functions and their bundling have been discussed for years, this is the “Big Apple” of connectivity and delivers the payoff of a problem noted in the early nineties by the President of Douglas Aircraft when he stated that only node in the airline network not automated was the airplane itself!
Singapore Airlines has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) to explore opportunities to leverage Panasonic’s Global Communications Services to change the way it conducts business.
With the signing of the MOU, the two companies will look to use Panasonic’s Global Communications Services to streamline operations across key areas including:
- Tie broadband-equipped aircraft into the airline operations network to improve aircraft location monitoring and view aircraft speed, altitude and other performance parameters in real time
- Deliver real-time aircraft health monitoring, engine data transmission, critical systems monitoring, and detection and communication of issues prior to arrival
- Increase cabin crew and flight deck efficiency with live customer relations management, electronic flight bag, operations and maintenance air to ground communications, and real-time information about icing, turbulence and other critical weather updates
- Enhance the passenger experience with greater levels of personalization, more robust infotainment.
- Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics Corporation said, “Connectivity has the potential to change the airline industry in the same way the internet changed the way business is done everywhere on the ground. We salute Singapore Airlines for recognizing the enormous value a truly connected aircraft can bring to their operations.”
- Panasonic and Singapore Airlines also announced a long term Power By The Hour Maintenance Contract covering the maintenance, repair and support of Panasonic IFE equipment through 2024. The Singapore based Panasonic and SIAEC Joint Venture, Panasonic Avionics Corporation Services Singapore (PACSS) will play a central role in the execution of this agreement. The contract further enhances ties between the two industry leaders.
Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics Corporation said, “Connectivity has the potential to change the airline industry in the same way the internet changed the way business is done everywhere on the ground. We salute Singapore Airlines for recognizing the enormous value a truly connected aircraft can bring to their operations.”
Panasonic and Singapore Airlines also announced a long term Power By The Hour Maintenance Contract covering the maintenance, repair and support of Panasonic IFE equipment through 2024. The Singapore based Panasonic and SIAEC Joint Venture, Panasonic Avionics Corporation Services Singapore (PACSS) will play a central role in the execution of this agreement. The contract further enhances ties between the two industry leaders.