One interesting thing about an increase in connectivity, there is a plethora of uses for it that weren’t always in the planning stage! Our lead story this week is based on a use for connectivity that made the possibility of turbulent weather reporting a reality via the use of a flight crew tablet, a Flight Weather Viewer app, and of course Gogo connectivity.  The following is just one usage for increased connectivity on planes. Our image this week is one from the Gogo website and we thought you might find it an interesting addition to the weather story.

While today’s feature is a far cry from IFE, it is one of improved flight experience via connectivity. IFExpress was not surprised when we found out that the folks at Delta were involved in reducing the impact of inflight turbulence and so we did a bit of research. We asked Gogo what the story was and we were directed to Delta talks turbulence for a bit of background. Delta airlines has had their eyes on reducing turbulence impact for some time and to give you an idea of the magnitude of the turbulence solution, here is one sentence from the article that sums up the value of ‘working the problem’: “According to NASA’s Weather Accident Prevention Project, turbulence costs airlines approximately $100 million every year. It also makes customers and crews uncomfortable, and in rare cases, can even cause a few bumps and bruises on board.”

Obviously, the issue for Delta is turbulence, but the issue here for Gogo is connectivity, and when we contacted their communication source, Morgan Painter, she noted: “…we are really excited about this partnership and have heard great feedback from DL’s pilots around improved flight safety and efficiency – as the article mentions, some even have been calling it “an industry game changer”. This is just another partnership that gets us one step closer to the reality of a connected aircraft.” Aha, the magic words you will hear more and more about in the future… and the reason we found this turbulence solution intriguing relies on The Connected Aircraft. Gogo noted:Check out this link,  it includes information about our technologies, airline partners and vision for the connected aircraft.”

As we mentioned earlier, our rectangle is a picture of the aircraft hardware involved in the Delta solution which also employs a Delta Flight Weather Viewer App on the crew devices, all working through Gogo connectivity. Together the system and the crew get the information they need to make the right flight decisions to handle turbulence: climb, descend, slow down, or change route. “Predicting the where, when and intensity of turbulence is notoriously difficult to do. But Delta has developed a new, industry-leading app that’s helping pilots better spot and avoid it.”

“For Gogo, we are providing the broadband connection between the Delta tablet EFB (Microsoft Surface) and associated app and ground servers,” the company notes. Here’s what Delta says: “Setting Delta’s app apart from similar technology, the data is customized by aircraft type, since turbulence affects a 737 narrowbody differently than a much larger A330. It is also available in real time, thanks to fast and secure connectivity via Gogo’s in-flight Wi-Fi network, instead of through the traditional ACARS digital datalink system that’s been in place since the late 1970s. Bandwidth and network speeds offered by Gogo vs. legacy datalinks is a key difference inherent with our technology where latency is measured in milliseconds for supporting successful TCP/IP communications.”

With more than 16 commercial airlines, 2,800 connected aircraft (and some 7,000 business jets), Gogo is in a good place to help a lot of fliers. Network speed and data connectivity will certainly change the world of commercial flying… and besides it’s hard to enjoy inflight entertainment when the plane is bouncing all over the sky.

(Editor’s Note: We wanted to give our readers a view of what hardware is involved in the connectivity solution and that is why we chose the airplane graphic. You will probably understand the Ku antenna, onboard server, and internal cabin pax Wi-Fi antennas. However, there are two boxes that we had to get a bit more data on: KANDU and MODMAN. For you tekkies: “The MODMAN (Modem and Manager) is the interface between the antenna and our equipment, and is responsible for converting the satellite data stream. This in turn feeds into the onboard Gogo server and on to the cabin wireless access points, allowing your devices to connect over Wi-Fi. The KANDU (Ku/Ka Aircraft Networking Data Unit) is what physically controls the antenna. It interfaces with the aircraft navigational systems to control the movement of the antenna. The KANDU is also responsible for making sure the system reconnects to the right satellite as a single satellite can only cover a certain area, which means longer flights may switch between 2 or even 3 different satellites.” There, now you know… )


Panasonic:
Panasonic today announced that its weather division, Panasonic Weather Solutions, is providing ground operations weather forecasting to Denver International Airport. The company’s Forecasting Center of Excellence (FCoE) provides detailed station-based weather forecasting, as well as enhanced weather forecasting for significant convective and winter weather events.

Panasonic’s FCoE delivers unparalleled weather forecasting information, with days-out accuracy, via customized products that offer at-a-glance ease of use, while their meteorologists utilize highly-accurate and unique atmospheric datasets, as well as sophisticated 4D quality control and proprietary forecasting models, to provide Denver International Airport ground operations with state-of-the-art and unmatched forecasting for informed decision making.

CEO, Paul Margis, said: “Our Weather Solutions division sets the standard for world-class weather forecasting. We are proud to partner with Denver International Airport Ground Operations to deliver the most accurate weather information available for operational safety and efficiency.” He also noted: “Denver International Airport can be confident that the weather forecasting they receive from Panasonic will provide them with an operational advantage, from proper staffing levels to staging the right equipment and materials appropriate to the weather circumstance.”


Inmarsat:
A career in the rapidly expanding space industry is not just about launching and flying spacecraft according to Inmarsat, a world leader in mobile satellite communications. Announcing the company’s search for its next generation of ‘space pioneers’, the company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Michele Franci, emphasised that to remain a global leader, Inmarsat is focused on attracting world-class engineering talent.Inmarsat’s third ‘Technology Development Programme’ (TDP), which was launched today at New Scientist Live in London with British ESA astronaut Tim Peake and graduates from Inmarsat’s second TDP programme, is designed to start the space engineering careers of five STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) graduates. The winning candidates, selected from UK and European universities, will have the opportunity to undertake a two-year placement with Inmarsat and the offer of a permanent position on the successful completion of the program.


SITA:
The Greater Orlando Aviation Administration (GOAA) today unveiled a new standard in airport displays that will span the length of five football fields to create a fun and interactive check-in experience for the 42 million passengers who travel to and from Orlando International Airport every year. SITA, the air transport technology provider, has partnered with Synect to design and install the ultra-high definition video wall, which fully integrates with the airport operational systems to deliver dynamic way-finding along with flight information, destination time and weather, security and gate information. In addition, the family-friendly airport can now display engaging games to entertain its young travelers and decrease perceived wait times.

The digital canvas, which will span 1,560 feet (475 metres), comprises more than 700 55” LG LCD screens to create a vast and continuous video wall, essentially creating digital wallpaper. The new digital experience at Orlando also includes installations from the curb side to the terminals, including outdoor digital displays, self-check-in and way-finding video walls.

  • Sept. 22 WTO ruling confirms the EU failed to comply with its obligation to remedy $17 billion in illegal launch aid and other subsidies
  • WTO also finds that Airbus received new illegal subsidies for the A350, which are reported to be almost $5 billion
  • Ruling sets the stage for the United States to seek up to $10 billion in annual retaliatory tariffs on EU imports

Chicago, IL | September 22, 2016– A World Trade Organization compliance panel today ruled that the European Union has failed to comply with its obligation to remedy the massive subsidies European governments have provided to create and sustain Airbus for more than 40 years.

Rather than comply with their WTO obligations to remedy the $17 billion in past subsidies provided to Airbus, the WTO found that EU Member States provided Airbus with new illegal launch aid – reportedly almost $5 billion – so they could launch the new A350. The WTO was explicit: “[I]t is apparent that the A350 XWB could not have been launched and brought to market in the absence of LA/MSF [Launch Aid].” The WTO previously found that essentially no model of the entire Airbus fleet would exist today – including the A300, A310, A320, A330, A340 and A380 – were it not for the illegal subsidies provided by the European governments.

“Today’s historic ruling finally holds the EU and Airbus to account for their flouting of global trade rules,” said Dennis A. Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and CEO. “This long-awaited decision is a victory for fair trade worldwide and for U.S. aerospace workers, in particular. We commend the administration, specifically the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Congress for their unwavering commitment to this matter and to enforcing global trade rules,” he said.

“The World Trade Organization has now found that Airbus is and always has been a creature of government and of illegal government subsidy,” said Boeing Executive Vice President and General Counsel J. Michael Luttig. “The day of reckoning for launch aid has finally arrived. Prior WTO rulings found that Airbus itself likely would not even exist without illegal launch aid, equity infusions, and infrastructure support. Today the WTO went further and found that Airbus’ existence continues to depend upon illegal, trade-distorting government subsidies in the form of launch aid, most recently for the A350 XWB – which reportedly totals almost $5 billion,” he said.

Luttig explained that under prior WTO rulings the EU had an obligation to remedy the subsidies for its past airplanes, including the A380. “Instead, the EU compounded the illegal practice by giving Airbus additional launch aid for the A350 XWB. After any appeal of today’s compliance ruling, the next step for the U.S. government is to obtain WTO authorization to impose billions in retaliatory duties. The U.S. government has previously calculated those to be up to $10 billion annually.”

Today’s ruling confirms that Airbus both failed to withdraw old subsidies and instead put in place new subsidies for a grand total of almost $22 billion (principal amounts only). That includes $15 billion in launch aid for each Airbus commercial aircraft program from the A300 through the A380, and $2 billion in non-launch aid subsidies. The WTO also ruled for the first time that Airbus received illegal launch aid for the A350 XWB. News reports put the total for that program at almost $5 billion. Echoing prior rulings, the WTO panel also found that Airbus and its current product line likely would not even exist without launch aid.

“No form of government support compares to launch aid – in terms of amount, nature, or effects,” Luttig said. “Launch aid created entire aircraft programs – indeed, an entire aircraft company – as the WTO found today. This is a type of government support that the WTO has found, over and over again, to be unequaled both in nature and amount, unfair to Boeing and United States workers, and flatly illegal under global trade rules. Today’s ruling confirms that these illegal subsidies will now end.”

Luttig stressed that the final stages of the case against Airbus subsidies are independent of the European cases against the United States and that the EU needs to act now. “The cases are separate and distinct,” he said. “The EU lost this compliance case for the simple reason that it did nothing to remedy its massive subsidies which have had profound effects on the commercial airplane market. Whatever happens in the European cases against the United States, launch aid and other illegal government support for Airbus will now come to an end.”

Toronto, Ontario | September 26, 2016– GuestLogix Inc.(“GuestLogix” or the “Company”), the leading global provider of onboard retail and payment technology to the airline and passenger travel industry, announced it has successfully emerged from creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (Canada) (the “CCAA”) under a new ownership group and CEO, Mike Abramsky. With a renewed financial footing and new leadership, GuestLogix is now a viable, debt-free private company with the resources necessary to pursue its growth plans and the continued advancement of its onboard retail technology platform. GuestLogix’ new owners are a Canadian investor group with a strong track record of investing in high-growth technology businesses, and include Stornoway Portfolio Management Inc., Bridgecorp Canada Inc., Logan Peak Capital Inc. and Klass Capital Corporation.

GuestLogix’ new CEO, Mike Abramsky, is a global technology leader with a solid track record of leading businesses to sustainable growth, client value and profitability. A seasoned technology executive, for two decades Mike has held leadership positions at Argus Software, Delrina Corp, Xerox and other organizations. Mike was also a Managing Director for RBC Capital Markets. Mike holds a Bachelor and Master of Science in Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Boston) and an MBA from Harvard University.

“This is a very exciting time for GuestLogix,” said Mike Abramsky, CEO, GuestLogix Inc. “With a solid and engaged team, and many of the largest and most diverse set of airline and travel partners as loyal customers – along with the most comprehensive onboard retail solution in the industry – GuestLogix remains the global leader in the in-flight ancillary revenue space. We are well positioned to help our clients and partners drive strong ancillary revenue, and to offer differentiated passenger retail experiences driving customer loyalty.”

“We are delighted to have Mike Abramsky lead the team and global business at GuestLogix,” commented Scott Reid President & founder of Stornoway Portfolio Management. “With a strong track record of revitalizing the operations of global firms, Mike brings deep expertise in leading world-class technology companies to drive unique and strong client value.”

Under Mike’s leadership, GuestLogix plans to continue to bring to market innovative, value-added solutions that power the travel industry’s most popular onboard retail offerings – whether in use by thousands of Flight Attendants or via self-service systems such as in-flight entertainment seat back screens and onboard streaming solutions. GuestLogix also powers the retail and ticketing systems of rail operators as well as the world’s largest airport lounge company. GuestLogix currently processes transactions in 144 countries around the world and supports a global client base which in turn serves over 2.4 million travelers daily.

  • Spanish regional airline renews contract for flight planning solution from Lufthansa Systems

Raunheim, Germany | September 27, 2016– Lufthansa Systems today announced that the Spanish regional airline Air Nostrum has renewed its contract for the Lido/Flight flight planning solution for another four years. The contract renewal is accompanied by a migration to the new product generation Lido/Flight 4D. With this Air Nostrum will benefit from an even better integration, a more modern graphical user interface and display, 4D optimization and extensively automated flight planning and control processes.

“We have been using the flight planning solution from Lufthansa Systems since 2005 because the product is very reliable and meets our needs,” said Carlos Lloréns, Ground Operations Director at Air Nostrum. “The new generation Lido/Flight 4D impressed us above all with the range and quality of its functions.”

The core features of the IT solution are the integrated and continually updated aeronautical database and the so-called optimizer. Based on all flight-related data, weather conditions and the current airspace situation including any restrictions, Lido/Flight 4D calculates the most suitable route for each flight.

Around 120 airlines with a total of more than 6,000 aircraft are currently using the flight planning solution from Lufthansa Systems, which has been successful on the market for more than 15 years. In June of this year, the first release of the new Lido/Flight 4D product generation was unveiled at the Lido/Flight User Group Conference – the next one is coming up this fall. This year’s releases cover certain basic components for migrating to current technologies as well as the first functional innovations and improvements for takeoff and landing weight optimization, crew briefing and route optimization.

“Air Nostrum’s contract renewal shows that our investment in the refinement of the solution based on feedback from our customers has paid off,” said Marco Cesa, Senior Vice President Regional Management EMEA at Lufthansa Systems. “Our innovative solution offers reliability and flexibility, simplifies routine tasks and makes it possible to quickly make the right decisions in critical situations.”

In various comparative analyses based on thousands of flight plans, Lido/Flight was able to reduce fuel costs by an average of 2 percent, cut flying times by 1.9 percent and save 1.6 percent of air traffic control fees compared to its competitors.

Air Nostrum operates under the Iberia Regional brand mostly within Spain, although it also serves destinations in Europe and North Africa. The Spanish airline is based in Valencia and is one of the three largest regional airlines in Europe.

Picture description (copyright: Lufthansa Systems): Airlines can optimally plan their routes with Lido/Flight from Lufthansa Systems.

  • Common and Class B stockholders to receive Class B Stock

East Aurora, NY | September 26, 2016– Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), a leading supplier of advanced technologies and products to the global aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries, announced a 15% stock distribution of Class B Stock to holders of both Common and Class B Stock. Stockholders will receive three shares of Class B Stock for every twenty shares of Common and Class B Stock held on the record date of October 11, 2016, with an ex-dividend date of October 6, 2016. The Company expects the new shares to be distributed on or about October 18, 2016. Fractional shares will be paid in cash.

Astronics initially distributed shares of Class B Stock to Common and Class B stockholders in 1987, and has made distributions of Class B shares in each of the previous five years. After the distribution, approximately 19.4 million Common and 9.5 million Class B shares are expected to be outstanding.

Astronics Class B Stock is entitled to ten votes per share while Common Stock is entitled to one vote per share. The economic value of one share of Class B Stock is equivalent to one share of Common Stock. Class B Stock is not a tradable security, but is convertible, at all times and without cost to the shareholder, into one share of Astronics Corporation Common Stock, which is tradable and provides shareholders of Class B Stock access to the market. Subject to certain exceptions, shares of Astronics Class B Stock automatically convert into an equal number of shares of Common Stock upon transfer.

Information regarding the Class B share distribution and instructions to convert Class B stock into Common stock can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions page of the Investor Relations section at www.astronics.com. Registered shareholders and brokers should contact the Company’s transfer agent, Wells Fargo Shareowner Services at (800) 468-9716, regarding the conversion of Class B Stock to Common Stock. Wells Fargo is the agent for the distribution.

  • Digital canvas redefines passenger experience as part of airport’s multi-million dollar renovations

Orlando, Florida | September 26, 2016– The Greater Orlando Aviation Administration (GOAA) today unveiled a new standard in airport displays that will span the length of five football fields to create a fun and interactive check-in experience for the 42 million passengers who travel to and from Orlando International Airport every year.

SITA, the air transport technology provider, has partnered with Synect to design and install the ultra-high definition video wall, which fully integrates with the airport operational systems to deliver dynamic way-finding along with flight information, destination time and weather, security and gate information. In addition, the family-friendly airport can now display engaging games to entertain its young travelers and decrease perceived wait times.

John Newsome, IT Director, Greater Orlando Airport Authority (GOAA), said: “Renovating our ticket lobby to make check-in faster and more enjoyable for more passengers is a key component of our capital improvement plan. This innovative video display redefines the check-in experience by keeping our passengers informed and entertained as they check-in, while also allowing airlines to promote their brands, engage on social media and even offer last-minute upgrades and purchases on larger-than-life displays.”

The digital canvas, which will span 1,560 feet (475 metres), comprises more than 700 55” LG LCD screens to create a vast and continuous video wall, essentially creating digital wallpaper. The new digital experience at Orlando also includes installations from the curb side to the terminals, including outdoor digital displays, self-check-in and way-finding video walls.

Matthys Serfontein, Vice President, Airport Solutions, SITA, said: “Orlando’s new video wall is a fantastic showcase of how technology can transform the passenger experience. It is visually exciting, informative and engaging.

“Most importantly it is fully integrated with the operational systems we provide to the airport. This means that passengers will have access to accurate real-time information. There is also the opportunity to display predictive information, such as expected wait times at security or baggage collection. The sharing of all this information helps to reduce the anxiety of passengers as they make their way through the airport.”

SITA has partnered with video wall experts and content development agency, Synect. Their sophisticated content strategy is focused on driving Orlando International’s brand as a family-friendly travel destination through brightly-colored interactive games and by creating a stress-free passenger experience. The entire video wall network is tightly integrated with SITA AirportCentral the airport’s operational system and SITA AirportVision®, its flight information display system, which opens up the possibility to visualize real-time accurate travel-data in spectacular and eye-catching ways.

“This is one of the highest resolution video walls in the world, with many complex layers of content, but what’s truly remarkable is that the video wall can consume all of that activity and data and display it in a delightful, cohesive experience,” Synect Founder and CEO Yahav Ran says. “We’re capitalizing on existing data systems along with new and emerging technologies to create a powerful solution for the airport and a seamless, memorable experience for the traveler.”

Orlando International is the second busiest airport in Florida and 14th busiest in the U.S. It has 18,000 employees and generates $31 billion in direct and indirect revenue for the regional economy. Orlando International Airport strives to value and delight its customers through an airport-wide focus and design concept known as The Orlando Experience®.

Australia | September 22, 2016– At this year’s Apex Expo, the Stellar Entertainment team will be launching its new, industry-first product, pixL™.

The product of several years of development at Stellar’s facilities throughout Asia and the U.S., pixL™ is a modern web app, providing airlines with a comprehensive ecosystem of entertainment. pixL™ acts as a ‘one-stop-shop’, where an airline can review all available content, view trailers, read reviews and explore data analytics about passenger usage on IFE systems across their fleet.

pixL™ has millions of listings, complete with language and subtitle options and availability information from the major Hollywood labs. pixL™ handles purchase orders, music streaming, catalog management, preview screening and budgets.

Says Rob Lynch, Chairman of the Stellar Group, “pixL™ is unique to Stellar and is a big leap forward in the monthly content shortlisting and management process of our industry. With pixL™, an airline has choice and control over its content in a way that has never been possible before.

pixL™ is the tool for the future of the airline entertainment content industry.”

To make an appointment at Stellar’s booth #1215, contact info@stellargroup.com.

Minneapolis, Minnesota | September 22, 2016– Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) today announced that its weather division, Panasonic Weather Solutions, is providing ground operations weather forecasting to Denver International Airport. The company’s Forecasting Center of Excellence (FCoE) provides detailed station-based weather forecasting, as well as enhanced weather forecasting for significant convective and winter weather events.

Panasonic’s FCoE delivers unparalleled weather forecasting information, with days-out accuracy, via customized products that offer at-a-glance ease of use.

Panasonic’s expert meteorologists utilize highly-accurate and unique atmospheric datasets, as well as sophisticated 4D quality control and proprietary forecasting models, to provide Denver International Airport ground operations with state-of-the-art and unmatched forecasting for informed decision making.

Panasonic Avionics CEO, Paul Margis, said: “Our Weather Solutions division sets the standard for world-class weather forecasting. We are proud to partner with Denver International Airport Ground Operations to deliver the most accurate weather information available for operational safety and efficiency.”

Margis continued, “Denver International Airport can be confident that the weather forecasting they receive from Panasonic will provide them with an operational advantage, from proper staffing levels to staging the right equipment and materials appropriate to the weather circumstance.”