Every once in a while we all go to a meeting, see a presentation, or visit an industry show that is a significant event in our industry’s persona… this year it has to be Aircraft Interiors in Hamburg, Germany. Obviously a lot of our readers could not attend and we are aware of that fact. We planned to talk to as many folks as we could to provide some of the experience but the job is becoming so bigger than the IFExpress team… much bigger. From a numbers perspective, there were over 135 vendors (out of 500+) who featured inflight entertainment and/or connectivity. With the cabin interiors market growing at almost 9% per year, it’s no wonder that the IFEC portion of the show saw some 13% increase in space. We fully expect the final total number of show visitors to reach 10,000+ this year as a new best.

One of the first things that struck us was the preponderance of iPads. They were in the products, they were in the hands of the product demonstrators, and they were in the hands of visitors. They were everywhere. Yes, there were tablets too, and phones… but the world of mobile connectivity is here, but of course, you knew that. But it was obvious this year that the vendors and the airlines now know it as well. About the only thing we did not see with an iPad was a mechanical drop down frame for an iPad retractable IFE system. Wait till next year!

And speaking of trends, wireless connectivity is what the inside of the cabin is all about. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, data communication and cell frequencies will flood the cabin with information in forthcoming cabin solutions. This means that there is a huge amount of data about you and your preferences flying in every direction in the plane. We are quite interested in who owns that data, and believe us, everyone has a different answer about who does. We asked there and we will keep this question alive in future issues.

The first day of AIX (before the booth opening on day 2) holds a very interesting Passenger Experience Mini Conference. This meeting consists of a morning general session and splits into 4 afternoon plenary sessions.

Of particular interest in the morning session was Teague’s (Devin Liddell) presentation on “Co-Making”…the process of a brand (an airline in our case) collaborating with a like-minded brand in a different industry. What makes this interesting is the fact that they are not about traditional co-branding and more about breakthrough innovations. Here are some quotes that we found interesting:

  • “Partnerships are our most powerful currency.”
  • “The capacity to partner has a big impact on influencing the passenger.”
  • “We need to go beyond – we must make things together.”
  • “The old philosophy was co-branding = co-marketing. The new philosophy is co-branding = co-making. The concept is more about innovation together.”
  • “An example of a co-making scenario that exists today is JW Marriott and TSA.”

Editor’s Note: The above example places TSA approved and checked luggage in a secure storage at Marriott, thus providing more for Marriott customers.

If you made it to the Break Out Sessions the first day of PAXEX, you got a valuable inside to the connected passenger and the coming PED environment as well. In fact there is good and bad in the approach! First the good: The four Breakout Sessions were one of the best things at AIX and were titled: 1. Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity: A Voyage of Discovery and Opportunity, 2. Hospitality and Service – Making the Onboard Experience Memorable, 3. The Cabin: Getting Smarter about Space and Comfort, 4. Protecting the Brand: Cabin Maintenance. Which one would you go to? And that’s the Bad… one can’t go to them all, but there is an answer. The presentations are available here (they will cost you 50 Euros) and you can find them here: http://www.pexconference.com/Presentations/

And yes, we do have one story about the sessions. In Breakout Session 1, Angela Vargo of Southwest Airlines spoke about their use and focus on the value of gate-to-gate connectivity. After her presentation IFExpress asked if Southwest realized that with satellite connectivity, there was no antenna “shading” by buildings that ground-based connectivity towers face, a fact that was not mentioned in the presentation. “Boy do we,” she said emphatically! We guessed that was a marketing yes!

Next week we will start the booth coverage in detail and by then we hope to have Flicker images online (Just click on the Flicker image at the top right of IFExpress)… that is, if our bag arrives!

Waukegan, Illinois | April 9, 2014– Telefonix, Inc, a design, manufacturing and management company, announces
today that is has been selected by Gogo, Inc. (Itasca, Illinois) to develop the ACPU-2 for Gogo’s connectivity service. Gogo is the preeminent provider of airborne connectivity solutions enabling airline passengers to stay connected.

The ACPU-2 includes all the original interfaces of the original ACPU, and is designed to plug & play in the same aircraft tray and with the same interface cabling as the original ACPU.

New ACPU-2 features include advanced processing capabilities offered by dual– Intel® 3rd Generation Core™ i7 quad core processors, ARINC 429, expanded Gigabit Ethernet ports supported by a Layer 2/3 Gigabit Ethernet switch, avionic discretes, onboard WiFi radio, GSM Terrestrial modem, and extended onboard multi-Terabyte SSD mass storage capability.

Other enhancements were included as part of the learning curve afforded by Gogo’s experience with over 2,000 ACPU aircraft installations. Some of these enhancements include a persistent E ink type display to show the software revision to maintenance personnel even when the power is removed from the unit. The ACPU-2 also includes an autonomous microcontroller to monitor the health state of the internal processor cards.

Pat Walsh, Sr. Vice President of Engineering at Gogo, states, “In our search for a company to develop and manufacture the ACPU-2, we focused on companies that not only offered a history of developing airborne certified hardware, but companies that could offer real design innovation and an eagerness to do whatever it takes to meet our mutual goals. We felt we got the best of both worlds with our selection of Telefonix.”

Michael Kuehn, Telefonix, Inc. President underlines the faith that Gogo has placed in Telefonix to develop the ACPU-2 as a cornerstone of their ABS system offering. “Telefonix is extremely happy and proud to have been selected by Gogo for the ACPU-2 program. It underscores Gogo’s confidence in our capabilities and our commitment to this important program and to meeting the expectations of Gogo’s customers going forward.” Currently, the ACPU-2 is in the final stages of its DO-160G qualification program, in preparation for early Q2 deliveries to Gogo. Michael Kuehn adds, “Our development team has worked jointly with Gogo’s engineers and are on schedule to meet Gogo’s development and installation schedule. We look forward to a very successful launch of the ACPU-2.”

Aircraft Interiors, Hamburg | April 9, 2014– Based out of King Fahd International Airport, in Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, SaudiGulf Airlines will operate domestic and international services from different airports in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The international route network will focus on main capitals in the Middle East and Gulf as well as the Indian subcontinent.

The aircraft equipped with individual Inflight entertainment in both economy and first class compartment will be operated by Saudi Al-Qahtani Group’s wholly owned and newly launched national carrier for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – SaudiGulf Airlines.

The aircraft’s Economy Class Cabin will feature 8”9 displays at every seat and First Class Cabin will be equipped with 12”1 displays together with the award winning Thales TouchPMU, android based touchscreen passenger media unit.

SaudiGulf will take delivery of its Thales IFE equipped four (4) A320 aircrafts starting February 2015. It is anticipated the airline will begin operations in Q1 2015.

  • Complete IFEC solutions now available from an Industry Leader

Aircraft Interiors, Hamburg | April 9, 2014– Inmarsat, (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, has announced an agreement for Thales, a leader in inflight entertainment & connectivity (IFEC), to join the list of GX Aviation Value Added Resellers. This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement signed in September 2013, which made SwiftBroadband and GX Aviation the primary and preferred satellite connectivity services for Thales’ TopSeries IFEC system.

This extended partnership follows Thales’ recent signing of the binding agreement with JetBlue for the acquisition of their fully owned subsidiary LiveTV, which further extends Thales’ overall passenger connectivity capability. GX Aviation, Inmarsat’s Ka-band service, will enable Thales to offer airlines a full IFEC offering from hardware to connectivity services, consistently on all flights across the world.

“People are used to having broadband wherever they are; at home, in the office and on the move,” said Dominique Giannoni, CEO of the InFlight Entertainment and Connectivity of Thales. “We are making sure Thales can provide airlines with the very best connectivity solutions, so passengers can remain connected to their professional and social networks, as well as have access to the broadband services they increasingly expect. GX Aviation is a very important part of the jigsaw, providing worldwide high speed connectivity.”

GX Aviation will provide Internet speeds of up to 50Mbps virtually everywhere in the world when it becomes available for the commercial aviation market, scheduled for the first half of 2015. It is the only Ka-band solution built to deliver a global network for mobile assets, such as aircraft.

“Thales is a major player in the inflight entertainment and connectivity market. Under this agreement, more opportunities open up for airlines to access GX Aviation in packaged IFEC solutions,” said Miranda Mills, President, Inmarsat Aviation. “The most important thing is that it is great news for airline passengers all over the world, who will soon have high-speed Internet connections, live TV broadcasts and a huge range of new connectivity applications.”

The first of the three Inmarsat-5 satellites to provide GX Aviation’s consistent global coverage is already in orbit and undergoing final testing, with the second and third scheduled to be launched by the end of the year. The GX Aviation airborne hardware has begun initial production and is on schedule to complete certification and testing in early 2015.

  • The Crystal Cabin Award 2014 goes to DIEHL Aerospace, B/E Aerospace, Schott, ZIM Flugsitz, Lufthansa Technik, Paperclip Design and Delft Tech. University

Aircraft Interiors, Hamburg | April 8, 2014– This year’s winners of the world’s most famous and highly regarded prize for aircraft interiors have been decided. DIEHL Aerospace, B/E Aerospace, Schott, ZIM Flugsitz, Lufthansa Technik, Paperclip Design and Delft Technical University were amongst the seven winners to raise the glowing white trophies in the Ball Room of the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski on the banks Hamburg’s Outer Alster lake this evening. Just yesterday, each of the 21 finalists appeared in person before the 24 international experts of the Judging Panel for final questions. Initially, 54 submissions from 12 nations made it onto the shortlist. The Crystal Cabin Award, an initiative of Hamburg Aviation, was presented in 2014 for the eighth time during the “Aircraft Interiors Expo” cabin trade fair.

Prof. Dr Peter Vink of the Delft University of Technology, Chairman of the Judging Panel, was clearly taken with the innovation bandwidth of the winners’ concepts, commenting, “This year’s Crystal Cabin Awards winners are international role models for the industry. They have more than earned their trophies. They are impressive proof that, year after year, we keep seeing innovations in the aircraft interiors market.” The crowning of the winners in Hamburg took place in the presence of 180 selected international guests at a gala dinner.

The first Crystal Cabin Award of the evening, in the “Greener Cabin, Health, Safety & Environment” category, was presented by Judging Panel member and founder of Bishop GmbH Aeronautical Engineers, Peter Bishop, to DIEHL Aerospace. The German cabin fitting specialist has developed DACAPO, a power-saving, self-sufficient cabin system using rechargeable and replaceable battery trolleys. The trolleys can simply be swapped and the battery systems recharged during aircraft ground time.

The trophy for “Industrial Design & Visionary Concepts” was presented by Judging Panel member Michael Kaye of Germanwings. Celebrations were in order for US-based cooperative partners B/E Aerospace and Teague. Their Advanced Lavatory in a particularly slimline toilet module which allows for six additional seats to be integrated into an aircraft without sacrificing space or comfort within the toilet cabin and without restricting the space for passengers in other seating rows.

Dr Bernd Egert, Secretay of State in the Department of Economic Affairs, Transport and Innovation, crowned the victor in the “Material & Components” category, won by German glass manufacturer Schott with an innovative lightweight glass structure for cabin windows, made out of glass composites with a foil coating. The new structure is not only more robust and easier to clean than conventional window plastic; it also allows for significantly larger cabin window panes. Another major advantage is the significant reduction in both fuel consumption and emissions thanks to the enormous 40 percent weight saving.

The trophy for the “Passenger Comfort Hardware” category was presented by Ingo Wuggetzer, Vice President Cabin Innovation & Design at Airbus and member of the Judging Panel. The prize here went to ZIM Flugsitz for the short-haul and medium-haul EC-00 seat, with a new, patented backrest concept. It includes, for example, a new folding table structure, a new backrest itself, and an innovative connection between the backrest surface and the upholstery to make cleaning easier.

Katie Murphy from Reed Exhibitions, organiser of the Aircraft Interiors Expo, presented the Crystal Cabin Award for the “Passenger Comfort Systems” category to Lufthansa Technik. The Hamburg company’s acWAP is a high-speed WLAN router that even supports such data-intensive applications as video streaming and online games throughout the cabin. The  new system will already enter into operation this summer on board 20 Lufthansa Airbus A321 aircraft.

Ian Barbizon from the British trade magazine Aircraft Cabin Management announced the winner in the “Premium Class & VIP” category. The Crystal Cabin Award for this exclusive category was won by Paperclip Design from Hong Kong. The company’s victorious Convertible Long Haul Seat Concept is an innovative solution, a seating area that can be converted from Premium Economy to a Full-Flat Business Option in next to no time. This allows airlines to adapt the allocation of Business and Economy seats on a long-haul flight based on load factors.

The seventh and final award of the evening was present by the Chairman of the Judging Panel, Prof. Dr Peter Vink, for the “University” category. His was the honour as he presented the trophy to his very own TU Delft. Three students who convinced the twenty-four members of the Judging Panel with “Sense the Transitions”, an innovative in-flight entertainment concept where videos are projected onto the backrest of the seat in front, showing information about the culture, history and natural environment of the land area currently below the aircraft. Informative, interactive pop-up menus and audiovisual info graphics on a flexible OLED touchscreen display can also be integrated to add to the depth of the experience.

 

Aircraft Interiors, Hamburg | April 9, 2014– Kuwait Airways became the tenth Middle East customer to choose OnAir as its connectivity provider, for 12 new aircraft as part of its privatization and complete fleet upgrade. The airline has ordered five A330s and seven A320s, all of which will be line fitted with Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir. The first A320 and first A330 will be delivered in December 2014 and May 2015 respectively.

OnAir is now the pre-eminent provider in the Middle East, which is fast emerging as the leading region in the world for inflight connectivity. This was recognised at Aircraft Interiors Middle East show where OnAir was named Best Connectivity Provider at the Inflight IFEC Awards.

Established in 1954, Kuwait Airways is an international airline flying routes all over the world, needing connectivity coverage wherever it flies. OnAir connectivity uses Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband global network. Alongside its widespread regulatory coverage, this means OnAir can provide Kuwait Airways’ passengers the same level of service on all of KAC’s network.

Kuwait chose to line fit its new aircraft with Airbus’ ALNAv2 network architecture. This line fitting option is affordable and does not require any additional antennae.

“OnAir was the right offering for us,” said Rasha Al-Roumi – Kuwait Airways Chairperson. “On top of the proven SwiftBroadband service which is available line fit on our new aircraft now, OnAir has GX Aviation capability waiting in the wings. We can offer passengers the connectivity they expect from a leading airline, as well as formulate a plan for the easy transfer to GX Aviation when it is available.”

OnAir’s SwiftBroadband solution has a clear deployment path to GX Aviation, Inmarsat’s imminent high speed network. OnAir’s service is ready for the next major step in inflight connectivity.

“Kuwait Airways chose OnAir because of our proven credentials in the Middle East market,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of OnAir. “Only we can deliver the consistent global coverage that passengers want, so they can stay in touch with the family, friends and colleagues throughout their journey.”

Hamburg, Germany | April 8, 2014– Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has opened a new world of airline ancillary revenue opportunities with the launch of AdConnect, a pioneering addition to Panasonic’s portfolio of OneMedia Advertising Solutions.

Up until now, advertising solutions have typically enabled airlines to serve content to their in-flight Wi-Fi portal. AdConnect takes this to a new dimension by allowing airlines to generate advertising revenue throughout the entire duration of an in-flight Wi-Fi session, even after a passenger leaves the airline portal and begins to surf the Web.

Panasonic, the industry’s only global, broadband private network operator, has partnered with MediaShift to bring this patented technology to the in-flight cabin environment. MediaShift’s Monetization Platform (MMP) enables Panasonic and its airline partners to generate advertising revenue by introducing a variety of advertising products within a user’s internet WI-Fi session. Selected advertising campaigns will appear within any web page that a passenger visits.

The service adheres to Internet Advertising Bureau standards and guidelines and creates incremental revenue opportunities without any degradation to the content on the website or to the user experience.

Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics, said: “We are committed to helping our airlines partners extract maximum value from investments they’ve made in our in-flight entertainment and communications solutions.

“With the launch of our AdConnect service, we are able to provide a more personalized experience to passengers, and generate more revenue for our customers.”

David Grant, Chief Executive Officer of Mediashift, Inc, said: “Our decision to partner with Panasonic Avionics, the leader in delivering in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions to the in-flight market, was easy. We are excited to have the opportunity to integrate our patented WI-FI ad technology solutions with world class Panasonic solutions.”

MediaShift’s MMP technology is currently being deployed at over 5,000 hotels in North America, and many of the largest US airport Wi-Fi networks. AdConnect will capitalize on this technology and deliver targeted advertising, assuring the right message reaches the right audience at the right time, creating value for all.

Whether on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, the AdConnect platform opens the way for premium brands to engage airlines’ captive passenger audiences. AdConnect will harnesses the power of data from on-the-go audiences to serve personalized ads, content and incentives based on specific behavioral data, location and device types to these highly targeted customer segments.

Initial technology integration activities are limited to the ground integration efforts within Panasonic Global Communications Services, ground network infrastructure. This reduces the complexities of deploying software within the aircraft environment, and avoids the need for Acceptance Test Procedures (ATP), and supports a faster time to market for the solution.

AdConnect will be available to airlines that have selected Panasonic’s Global Communications Services. The technology will be available immediately for North America with other regions of the world coming online shortly thereafter.

Hamburg, Germany | April 8, 2014– Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), a world leader in in-flight entertainment and communications (IFEC) systems, will deliver its industry-leading eX3 in-flight entertainment and communications solution to Air Canada for 37 wide body aircraft.

Under terms of the agreement, Panasonic will linefit install eX3 on Air Canada’s 37 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.  Deliveries commence with the airline’s first 787 aircraft in Spring 2014.  Air Canada currently has five Boeing 777-300 aircraft equipped with Panasonic’s eX2 system.

“Panasonic’s eX2 system has been very popular with our passengers.  With the introduction of our new Dreamliner fleet, we are very excited to launch an even more advanced system that will include a deep portfolio of applications and services that will immerse our customers in a truly next-generation in-flight experience,” said Craig Landry, Vice President, Marketing, for Air Canada.

With eX3, Air Canada’s passengers will be able to watch more than 600 hours of entertainment on larger, higher definition screens that are up to 18-inches in business class and enjoyhigher definition touch screens at every seat featuring an advanced intuitive interface that will be easy and pleasant to navigate.

According to Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation: “Panasonic is very excited about the growing relationship with Air Canada, and we are thrilled to have been selected as their IFEC provider for their 787 program. We are very happy to partner with Air Canada on exciting applications and services that leverage the unmatched performance of our system in order to delight passengers and foster even higher levels of brand loyalty.”

London, UK | April 8, 2014– Today, Solid State Inflight, developer of a next generation iPad-based IFE solution, and In Flight Solutions (IFS), a multi-service inflight and operations aviation provider, announced their new partnership. The partnership enables the offer of the industry’s only iPad-based IFE solution with full ground handling and logistics support.

As part of the partnership, Solid State will deliver early window content including movies, TV episodes, magazines and games through a branded, customized user interface, while IFS will handle all technical and logistical issues on the ground, before and after take-off – all for one low, per-flight fee, which makes it easy for all airlines to afford the top IFE solution without any capital outlay. IFS’ ground handling and logistics support also eliminates the need for all traditional device management tasks such as time-consuming content refreshes, software updates, syncing, etc., making it truly a zero-touch IFE solution for airlines looking for an easy-to-implement and easy-to-manage service.

“We developed the most sophisticated iPad-based IFE technology possible, but knew that it needed to be offered as part of a turnkey entertainment solution to provide the greatest value to our airline clients,” said Arthur Drewitt, co-founder of Solid State Inflight. “Our partnership with IFS presented the answer. Now, we are able to offer the newest, most popular content and a complete, end-to-end, zero-touch IFE product that will satisfy every carrier’s needs, from deployment through hardware and software support.”

Using Solid State executive’s prior IFE experience, the development team has raised the bar on iPad-based IFE solutions – making Solid State’s solution the most innovative, flexible and reliable product on the market. For example, Solid State created a sophisticated back-end content management system that enables remote content updates, which can be executed monthly, weekly, daily and even at the last minute – addressing a common problem experienced when using  other iPad IFE software.

“Solid State’s ability to perform remote content updates, along with our ground handling services, will make device management tasks much easier and ensure up-to-date quality entertainment for passengers on flights of any size, “said Bernardo Fonseca, President/CEO at IFS. “We are looking forward to working with Solid State to enable carriers to provide passengers with the most revolutionary IFE technology in the air.”

Solid State Inflight and IFS have already signed and deployed the first shared client (further details to come next week).

  • 5th Generation satellite network completes cockpit to cabin service offering

Aircraft Interiors, Hamburg | April 8, 2014–Inmarsat, (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services and Rockwell Collins, (NYSE: COL), a pioneer in communications, aviation electronics and information management, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to make Rockwell Collins a Value Added Reseller (VAR) of GX Aviation Ka-broadband service.

Under the terms of the agreement, Rockwell Collins, through its recent acquisition of ARINC, will bring the newest generation of Ka-band service to airline customers worldwide. GX Aviation is scheduled to be available for the commercial aviation market segment in the first half of 2015. It will provide Internet speeds of 50Mbps virtually everywhere in the world and is set to change the shape of inflight connectivity.

Inmarsat has had a long-term strategic relationship with Rockwell Collins and ARINC, which is now part of Rockwell Collins’ Information Management Services (IMS) business. Since the launch of Inmarsat’s aviation services over 20 years ago, ARINC has been a leading provider of cockpit voice and data services for airlines over Inmarsat’s networks, while Rockwell Collins has been providing Inmarsat-enabled avionics. Rockwell Collins is already a reseller of GX Aviation airtime in the business aviation market segment, and upon agreement will be able to provide a full solution offering to airlines to support all of their satcom connectivity needs from the cockpit to the cabin.

“Rockwell Collins is committed to providing the best in class connectivity solutions for our customers,” said Jeff Standerski, senior vice president, Information Management Services (IMS) for Rockwell Collins. “Airlines need to know they can provide the same service on every flight, all over the world, and that is what Inmarsat provides. The imminent launch of GX Aviation is very exciting and we are looking forward to working with airlines to bring a broad range of new applications to airlines and passengers.”

Standerski added “Combining GX Aviation with our strong portfolio of existing Rockwell Collins products for the cabin, such as our PAVES inflight entertainment and Airshow moving map system product lines will add tremendous value for our customers and their passengers.”

“We are building an exceptional network of resellers for GX Aviation, and we’re looking forward to continuing our tremendous 20-year history of working with Rockwell Collins and ARINC,” said Miranda Mills, President, Inmarsat Aviation. “The very best companies in the industry are working to ensure GX Aviation is widely available for airlines and therefore their passengers. For the first time, passengers will have access to the same level of high speed broadband throughout entire flights.”

The first of three GX Aviation satellites is already in orbit and undergoing final testing, with the second and third scheduled to be in place before the end of the year. The airborne hardware is in the production phase; testing and certification will happen in early 2015, at which point GX Aviation will be available for airlines.

Aircraft Interiors, Hamburg | April 8, 2014– After equipping its A330 and B777 fleets with OnAir’s services, Saudia’s B787 aircraft will become the latest fleet to be connected. All of Saudia’s long-haul fleets are now connected with OnAir.

Saudia is the second B787 operator to offer OnAir connectivity, reaffirming OnAir’s position as the leading inflight connectivity provider.

The first of Saudia’s eight B787s is due for delivery in December 2015. Saudia’s decision to include OnAir connectivity on its Dreamliners confirms the success of OnAir’s GSM and Wi-Fi services on its other fleets. The airline has seen a 400 percent increase in mobile data usage and 254 percent increase in internet usage over the last 12 months. The aircraft will be equipped with a Thales TopConnect solution enabling access to OnAir’s Wi-Fi Internet and mobile phone services over Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (SBB).

The provision of OnAir connectivity services on this B787 fleet marks a significant milestone in Saudia’s efforts to implement a seamless, consistent brand offering across all its fleets. Saudia’s commitment to OnAir as its preferred service provider is integral to the effective execution of this strategy. The versatility of OnAir’s services make them the right ones to be launched across a variety of aircraft types.

“Saudia is very happy to be expanding our cabin connectivity with OnAir services,” said Mr. Abdul Mohsen Jonaid, Chief Commercial Officer of Saudia. “We have seen how well our inflight connectivity has been received by passengers and OnAir is the natural choice for us when we decided to include connectivity on our B787s. Passengers want and expect to be connected and we want to provide the best passenger experience.”

OnAir connectivity has been flying with Saudia for four years. During this time, OnAir has partnered with the airline through various fleet expansions, as well as providing connectivity for new routes that the airline has introduced. OnAir has provided the level of coverage necessary to maintain a high consistency of service across all the routes that Saudia flies.

“It is great to see new agreements coming as the result of existing relationships with airlines,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of OnAir. “Saudia’s entire long range fleet is now connected with OnAir. We have gained Saudia’s trust by consistently delivering on all our commitments. This has cemented our long term partnership and put it firmly on track for future growth.”

  • First Sale of Dedicated VVIP Broadband Connectivity Solution
  • Leverages Partnership with Associated Air Center

East Aurora, NY | April 8, 2014– Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace and defense industries, announced today that Astronics AeroSat, its wholly-owned subsidiary and manufacturer of Ku-band airborne connectivity solutions, has secured its first VVIP customer for FliteStream™, a satellite broadband solution for the VVIP aircraft market. FliteStream provides a global connectivity solution expressly designed for VVIP and business aviation customers, who demand the highest level of service and performance from airborne broadband systems. The initial FliteStream installation will be performed by Associated Air Center, StandardAero’s Large Transport Category VVIP completions center in Dallas, TX, aboard a new Boeing B747-8 for an undisclosed customer. As part of the complete FliteStream solution, Astronics AeroSat will be providing the full installation design and STC data package.

“We were very impressed with both the capability and range of customized service offerings that Astronics AeroSat delivers through its FliteStream solution,” said Jack Lawless, Chief Executive Officer of Associated Air Center. “When dealing with VVIP aircraft, it’s essential that we offer a well-designed, complete solution that can be tailored to the worlwide operating needs of our customers,” he added.

“We created the FliteStream solution for elite aviation markets, and we’re gratified that an organization as capable and well-regarded as Associated Air Center would be our customer,” noted Skip Feher, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Astronics AeroSat. “Because the FliteStream connectivity service is not shared with commercial airline passengers, it offers a more robust and predictable broadband experience that’s not susceptible to choke points in areas of high density airline traffic, making it extremely attractive to VVIP customers,” Mr. Feher concluded.

The one-stop FliteStream solution is designed for performance and customer convenience. It features AeroSat’s highly efficient, patented “Lens Horn” antenna technology, a defined upgrade path to Ka-band, and a Certification Assistance Program™. Worldwide, 24/7 AOG support with a single point of contact is also included.

FliteStream service plans feature customer-defined options for geographic regions and bandwidth requirements. These service plan options will ensure that each VVIP operator will receive the
service level that meets the unique needs of his or her demanding business.

  • Expects New Technology to Outperform Other Connectivity Solutions in the Global Commercial Aviation Market

Itasca, IL | April 8, 2014– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), a leading aircraft communications service provider to the global aviation industry, announces the next step in its technology roadmap for global connectivity – 2Ku. Gogo expects this new technology to outperform other global connectivity solutions currently available in the market. Japan Airlines is expected to be among the first to trial this advanced technology.

This new technology will utilize the same low-profile antennas as Gogo’s Ground to Orbit (GTO) technology, which will be deployed for aircraft flying in North America; however, instead of utilizing Gogo’s Air to Ground solution for the return link to the ground, 2Ku will have two low-profile, high efficiency Ku-band satellite antennas. The new technology will deliver peak speeds to the aircraft of more than 70 Mbps.

“Gogo has proven time and again that it’s the leader in developing and operationalizing new technologies for the aero market. 2Ku is the next step in our technological evolution and is a ground breaking new technology for the global commercial aviation market,” said Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small. “When we launched our in-flight Internet service five years ago, we were able to deliver peak speeds to the aircraft of 3.1 Mbps through our ATG network. About a year ago, we began deployment of our next generation ATG-4 service, which took peak speeds to 9.8 Mbps. Our GTO solution takes the peak speed to 70 Mbps in the U.S. and 2Ku brings 70 Mbps to the rest of the world.”

The advantages of the 2Ku antenna are significant. The antenna is approximately two times more spectrally efficient than other antennas in the commercial aviation market, which means it will produce more bandwidth at less cost. The spectral efficiency also makes it the most TV friendly solution in the market. The antenna itself is only 4.5 inches tall, which reduces drag on the aircraft compared to other satellite solutions. 2Ku’s performance benefits will be even more dramatic in the tropical regions of the globe where other satellite solutions degrade significantly due to restrictions associated with operating at high skew angles.

The 2Ku antenna and its increased spectral efficiency are compatible with today’s Ku satellites and future Ku satellites, including future spot beam satellites. Because the antenna can be used with any Ku-satellite, it avoids the single point of failure that comes with reliance on a single satellite for connectivity in a given region, and offers airlines much desired redundancy and reliability.

“We anticipate that this technology will deliver peak speeds of 70 Mbps to the plane when initially launched and more than 100 Mbps when new spot beam satellite technologies become available,” added Gogo’s chief technology officer, Anand Chari.

Gogo expects the new service to be available for the commercial aviation market in mid-2015.

Lake Forest, CA | April 7, 2014– An A380 line-fitted with broadband in-flight connectivity service from Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has been delivered to Lufthansa.

The A380, was fitted at Airbus with Panasonic’s award-winning Global Communications Services. Over the next twelve months, Panasonic will equip an additional 11 linefit A380s with its global connectivity service.

David Bruner, Vice President of Global Communications Service at Panasonic, says: “For the first time, A380 passengers will be able to experience truly global, full broadband connectivity that’s only available from our Ku-band Global Communications Service.

“Our unique service lets passengers browse the Internet, access their VPN, and send email at high speeds, giving them a service similar to what they would expect on the ground.

Panasonic’s inflight connectivity is supported by a satellite network that covers over 99.6% of commercial flights meaning that passengers on this increasingly popular aircraft will benefit from high speed connectivity virtually everywhere they fly.”

For the A380, Panasonic’s in-flight Wi-Fi provides two-way broadband communications to an aircraft and lets passenger surf the internet, email, access social networks. It also enables other crew and passenger applications.

The aircraft will also feature Panasonic’s global, live eXTV television service and a channel lineup that delivers Al Jazeera, BBC World News, CNBC, CNN International, EuroNews, NHK World Premium, Sky News Arabia and Sport 24, to passenger devices and high resolution displays in every seat.

  • Dining in the sky, even for economy class, that is the aim of Foodcase. MI Airline has extended its ‘Connected Crew’ and ‘AirFi’ products to make this happen

Amsterdam, The Netherlands | April 4, 2014– Foodcase and MI Airline, both airline-related industry companies based in The Netherlands, jointly announce the introduction of a new inflight restaurant catering model. This product provides information to passengers on meal options, ingredients and nutrition, while allowing communication of a desired meal from their seat on a personal device. In addition, it communicates passenger questions or shortage information to the cabin crew, and it will activate oven-positions in meal preparation, which assists the crew in delivering the passenger’s preferred meal.

Wilbert de Louw, CEO of Foodcase, says, “Together with our strong partners, we have succeeded in launching an innovative assortment of fine food flavors. The new solution enables our customers to create more freedom of choice for passengers, enhancing crew efficiency, while at the same time reducing waste and logistic cost. We just LOVE food and food should not go to waste.”

Both companies have released a video demonstrating the features and benefits of this new and innovative concept. As an example, passengers will be able to order a preferred starter, main course and dessert using their own device, or order directly with the cabin crew, as if they are dining in their favorite restaurant.

Job Heimerikx, CEO of MI Airline, says, “The cooperation with Foodcase is yet another example of how MI’s technology can be used to innovate inside the cabin. We strongly support passenger centricity. Enabling passengers to compose their own meal, while at the same time improving crew efficiency with the latest tablet technology. Enhanced inflight processes utilizing our technology, following our popular ‘Connected Crew’ and last month the introduction of ‘AirFi’, our portable onboard Wi-Fi.”