This Hot Topic may seem like the ‘long way around” to our message but, who knows, it may be worth it.

A recent article from Yesmail Interactive analyzed 6.4 billion email usage in the last quarter noted that the number of mobile orders went up some 58%, 50% of consumers view email on a mobile device, and mobile revenue increased some 52%… with desktop growing by only 18%. This got us thinking that with more flight free time, the airplane has to be a wonderful place to sell stuff because the passenger has time and the mobile devices to do so. Sure, there exist catalogs to do just that but relegating the cabin crew to retail clerks is a bad idea. However, there is the Internet.

And that may be the problem because today you have to pay for it and it is not the fastest connection available… by it’s nature. But having said that, the airplane is a great place to merchandise because us travelers have time to kill and money in our pockets. Further, if the airline crew does not have objections, everything, including tickets, could be sold on the airplane via devices such as Square or Local Register… if the Internet connection is up to the task.

As an aside, and speaking of Local Register, Amazon sees the online retailers directly competing with payment providers like PayPal, Square and others. Note that their new credit card/mobile device called Amazon Local Register is a payment solution that consists of a secure card reader and mobile app which allows businesses to accept credit and debit cards from a smartphone or tablet. Sooner or later, an Internet equipped airline is going to try it… but we digress.

It all boils down to money… and data rates. Consider Southwest Airlines who sees unused hours of availability when planes are down want to use the B737 Ku-band time from Global Eagle for data collection instead of ACARS. The point is airlines are actively reducing costs and seeking more revenue from non standard applications and data is one of them.

Which brings us back to our original essay of higher data speeds. Bear with us as this may get complicated because we want to end up at inflight voice calling.

Next, John Courtright, an executive at SIE and former Claircom (eventually sold to AT&T) executive, wrote us an interesting position/observation about inflight voice telephony:

“Referencing the two stories linked here, the FCC, per the USA Today link,  seems prepared to narrowly allow cell phone calls on passenger aircraft.

The DOT, on the other hand, is leaning to continue the ban on cell phone calls on passenger aircraft in U.S. air space (as referenced in the Ars Technica link).  The FAA is a department under the DOT (for those of you who are organizationally challenged).

The arguments line up pretty squarely.

For those in favor of cell phone calls on U.S. passenger aircraft, the points in favor are:

• What’s the big deal?  There were phones on planes before.  Remember Airfone and Claircom?  Nothing bad happened then.
• OnAir, the European connectivity firm, states that they have had no problems with cell phone users in Europe so why can’t the Americans deal with it?
• Mobile phone usage is ubiquitous, right?  We have it on trains, buses, ferry boats, in taxis and private autos so let’s expand the mobility benefits to airline passengers!
For those NOT in favor of cell phone calls on U.S. passenger aircraft, the points against airplane cell phone usage are:

• DECORUM (or more properly, the lack of decorum).  Some people talk too loud and some people don’t know when to shut up and some people talk about things that just downright creepy or scandalous.  Do you really want to know about the weekend tawdry exploits of the big, hairy guy, sitting  in the row in front of you, had with the trapeze artist at Circus, Circus?  Or the obscenity-laced comments made by some jerk loud enough for the little child to hear clearly.  Flight attendants do not want to become decorum monitors and I don’t blame them.
• The airplane is just not a desirable place to have a phone conversation.   Travel is anxiety ridden enough.  Some frequent fliers use the plane trip as a time of refuge from the tether of non-stop ubiquitous communication technologies.  Airplane flights may not turn into Yoga Ashrams but some people want to be left alone, albeit in a crowded cabin.
• Is the airborne cell phone call capability a communications conduit for bad guys?  Couldn’t hijackings, or worse, be better coordinated with onboard cell phone connectivity?
• Years back, Oregon Congressman DeFazio (whom I told you about and whom you’ve contacted), put a cell phone ban for airplanes a rider to  legislation.  I heard he hated being bothered on his PDX to Washington, D.C. flights.  I suspect he still hates them.  And so do a lot of other people”

Here’s our take on the situation – Having presented both sides of the inflight voice telephony views and the great potential for revenue generation inflight using higher data speeds and mobile devices our proposal is: What if airlines and vendors were to agree to install free, or less expensive, higher speed data connections on aircraft, would the public “accept” inflight voice telephony then? If not, what will entice them to accept inflight telephony?

  • Tablet Device Revolutionizes Inflight Crewmembers’ Role and Their Ability to Offer Even More Personalized Customer Service
  • All Inflight Crewmembers Expected to Have a Personal Device by April 2015

New York | August 14, 2014– JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ: JBLU), New York’s Hometown Airline™ announces today that it will provide each inflight crewmember with an iPad mini for use as a point of sale and document management device. Crewmembers who will be working Mint flights, JetBlue’s new premium service offering between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX) and soon San Francisco (SFO), will be among the first to use this new technology onboard, and by April 2015, every inflight crewmember will have a device for onboard use.

In addition to deploying tablets, the airline is also debuting the In-Flight Service Assistant (IfSA), a purpose-built application and crew portal through which crewmembers can access key business applications to help facilitate the delivery of exceptional customer service and enhance operational efficiency while onboard. JetBlue also plans on releasing other core business applications that will provide Crewmembers with easy access to any forms, manuals and other resources that will streamline its operation and enhance the airline’s award winning service.

“We’ve recently made a number of exciting and innovative onboard enhancements to enrich the customer experience, such as expanding inflight entertainment, introducing Fly-Fitm and being the first US carrier to allow customers to use portable electronic devices gate-to-gate,” said Joanna Geraghty, Executive Vice President, Customer Experience, JetBlue Airways. “It’s clear the connected cabin is the next big thing, and with the introduction of iPad minis, our inflight crewmembers will be able to know more about our customers onboard and will have a better sense of real time opportunities and challenges on the ground as we look for ways to enhance our customers’ experience with that information. With this new tool, the possibilities are endless.”

Currently, JetBlue’s inflight crewmembers can use the IfSA app on their iPads to access an electronic manifest that not only shows if there are customers with special needs onboard, but also identifies TrueBlue and Mosaic customers. The iPads also assist crewmembers in completing onboard purchases as a point of sale device and contains translation technology that can translate questions, comments or concerns from customers in any language.
“Our inflight crewmembers already deliver award-winning customer service. This tablet solution will allow them to deliver an even better JetBlue experience, ultimately enhancing convenience and efficiency for customers,” said Blair Koch, Vice President Commercial and Shared Development Services, JetBlue Airways. “I am honored to lead the team responsible for refreshing the JetBlue Experience.”

By December 2015, not only will inflight crewmembers be able to access their schedules, review their hotel and transportation information and acknowledge changes, but the airline can potentially provide them with limited access to customers’ JetBlue flight and onboard purchase history in an effort to personalize the onboard experience for better customer relationship management.

“We are very excited to provide our inflight crewmembers with the enhanced tools that they will need to continue delivering the award-winning JetBlue Experience,” said Rachel McCarthy, Vice President Inflight Experience, JetBlue Airways. “By giving our crewmembers tablets to use onboard, we can increase our product offerings and marketing capabilities. My hope is that our inflight crewmembers will also have their flight attendant manuals on the tablet which will allow them to have everything in one place. Additionally, with this new device, our inflight crewmembers could potentially video conference for medical emergencies or technical difficulties and become even more effective in their roles as safety professionals.”
Since the successful implementation of iPads for JetBlue’s pilots as electronic flight bags in November 2013, the iPad mini was subsequently deployed for the inflight crew. Now, both groups can conveniently work together in a connected environment and provide real-time responses to any number of situations that may arise. Additionally, inflight crewmembers will have the ability to preempt or proactively address service recovery issues while onboard.
JetBlue is progressively rolling out Fly-Fi satellite broadband internet service across its fleet. As of today, 61 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft were outfitted with this lightning fast service.

JetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airline, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 30 million customers a year to 86 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 850 daily flights. With JetBlue, all seats are assigned, all fares are one-way, an overnight stay is never required and the first checked bag is free (subject to weight and size limits and exceptions for itineraries including flights marketed or operated by other airlines). For more information please visit JetBlue.com.

  • Entertainment on demand at your fingertips on board Air Transat Airbus A310 aircraft

Montreal, Canada | August 18, 2014/CNW Telbec/– Air Transat announces the launch of its new CinePlus app for tablets and smartphones (iOS and Android). Passengers flying to Europe, the United States or the South on an Airbus A310 can now access inflight entertainment on demand more easily than ever.

“We strive to provide a unique and friendly inflight experience to our passengers, and are proud to offer them access to individual entertainment on board our Airbus A310 through their own personal devices,” said Jean-François Lemay, General Manager, Air Transat.

Passengers are invited to download the Air Transat CinePlus app, available free of charge from the App Store and the Google Play Store, before boarding in order to access a variety of inflight entertainment options (movies, television series and music) via Air Transat’s WiFi network, using their own tablet or smartphone. Those who have not downloaded the app prior to boarding or who would like to use their laptop can access this new service through their Internet browser after take-off.

Please note that Airbus A330* aircraft also provide inflight entertainment on demand via individual touch screens. Passengers travelling on an Air Transat Airbus can choose from a selection of complimentary films, TV programs and music during their flight.

* Excluding one aircraft.

Los Angeles, CA | August 19, 2014– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq: ENT), the worldwide leading provider of content, connectivity and digital media solutions to airlines, has signed an agreement with Royal Air Maroc to provide a broad array of local and international inflight entertainment (IFE) content across its entire fleet.

Starting in September 2014, Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) will provide Royal Air Maroc with a variety of movies, TV shows and audio, as well as a new African content program customized for the airline. In addition to providing content services, GEE will design an exclusive microsite to showcase Royal Air Maroc’s IFE program to passengers prior to boarding their flight.

“Royal Air Maroc is an award-winning airline poised for growth and we are proud to support it through our content services,” said Walé Adepoju, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer at Global Eagle Entertainment. “Through this agreement, we are committed to providing a complete range of services and a customized approach to content delivery aligned with Royal Air Maroc’s business strategy and passenger experience objectives.”

“We’re delighted to have selected GEE to supply a variety of inflight content to our aircraft,” commented Saïda Najioullah, Marketing Director at Royal Air Maroc. “Our partnership with GEE will support our strategy to enhance the experience for our passengers through creative and relevant content.”

Royal Air Maroc was recently named the Best Regional Airline in Africa at the 2014 World Airline Awards.

  • Successful first installation of SwiftBroadband Safety

London, UK | August 14, 2014– Inmarsat, (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, has today announced the first successful installation and on-going trials of its ACARS1-capable SwiftBroadband (SB) Safety equipment on an Airbus A319.

SB Safety enables the fast, efficient transfer of ACARS data messages over the SwiftBroadband link. Installed in May this year, Inmarsat has been closely monitoring the system on board the aircraft, which has consistently surpassed performance expectations.

“This is the start of a revolution in communications for the flight deck. It shows the way forward for Future Air Navigation Systems (FANS) for the nearly 10,000 aircraft currently relying on our Inmarsat Classic Aero services, which were launched over 20 years ago,” said Leo Mondale, Inmarsat’s President of Aviation. “SB Safety provides prioritised voice and ACARS/FANS data transmission when an aircraft is out of reach of land-based communications, which is indispensable for aircraft flying over oceans.”

As well as ACARS, SB Safety also supports flight deck voice services and IP connectivity to the flight deck, enabling other flight operations and cockpit services, such as inflight updates to Electronic Flight Bags and Flight Data Recorder downloads. It also supports aircraft position reporting and tracking, and voice transmission for Air Traffic Management communications. A range of terminal variants is available, ensuring SB Safety can meet the requirements of all aircraft types, from the largest passenger types to business jets.

“A key point is that SB Safety provides a prioritised IP data pipe for the cockpit, for both security and continuity of service” continued Mondale. “This is particularly important for airlines that use SwiftBroadband for both safety services and cabin connectivity.”

The A319’s airborne hardware is Cobham’s AVIATOR 300D, part of a range which includes low-cost terminals with low weight and drag. SITA is the communications service provider and Satcom Direct is responsible for the on-board flight deck and cabin services. The entire system has undergone SITA’s Verification and Qualification (VAQ) testing procedure.

SB Safety is expected to achieve FANS approval in early 2016, following flight trials on commercial aircraft.

1The Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) is a digital datalink system for the transmission of short messages between aircraft and ground stations via airband radio or satellite. It is a highly reliable text-based message system used extensively by the aviation industry.

  • SITA’s FMS Wind Uplink Enables More Effective Fuel Use

Beijing | August 13, 2014– One of the world’s largest airlines, Air China, is set to save around US$8 million a year in fuel costs, thanks to payload and live weather update technology from air transport IT specialist, SITA. Following extensive trials on its international routes, Air China has deployed SITA’s FMS Wind Uplink service on all international and domestic routes to constantly update key weather information for Flight Management System (FMS) calculations while en route. This enables the crew to adjust its flight path in-flight according to changing wind and weather conditions, so the aircraft uses fuel as cost effectively as possible.

Lu Yun-Guo, Senior Manager of Operation Technology, Air China, said: “We started trialing SITA’s Wind Uplink service in early 2013 and have already significantly lowered our fuel bills. In just six months, we saved close to US$2 million, and that was with implementation across only part of our fleet. We anticipate that our annual savings across our entire fleet will be in the region of US$8 million. Crew feedback has been excellent as well. I’m proud to say that Air China is the first airline to use this technology in China as part of our continuous innovation efforts.”

With SITA’s Wind Uplink service, the aircraft’s FMS can constantly analyze weather conditions on the route ahead to determine optimum altitude, fuel burn and arrival-time predictions. This helps reduce fuel consumption.

May Zhou, Vice President and General Manager, SITA China, said: “Our work with Air China provides a perfect example of how SITA is constantly innovating to help the air transport industry operate more efficiently and effectively. SITA’s Wind Uplink service will not only reduce Air China’s fuel costs, it will also enhance the safety of the flights by giving early visibility of the potential need to use contingency fuel, or, in the event of a worsening forecast, the need to divert. ”

SITA’s AIRCOM ACARS Services provide the backbone for the automatic Wind Uplink service. SITA has also installed hardware in Air China’s offices to ensure the data provided to the crew is totally under the airline’s supervision.

Air China has around 300 aircraft flying on more than 185 routes around China, Asia and the world. In 2013, it carried 48.7 million passengers, putting it in the top ten global airlines. For the past eight years, Air China has been named the number one Chinese airline in a variety of awards programs, including first in domestic aviation service in the 2013 China’s Most Valuable Brands awards. Air China was also honored at the 2013 China International Forum on Green Development for its outstanding performance in energy saving and emission reduction and its advocacy of green operations.


If you have stayed on top of the IFEC news lately, you might have seen a couple of Gogo announcements that really seem significant in the IFEC trenches – “Delta Studio” (By Gogo) and “Gogo Vision”. Lets dig a little deeper.

Here is the first part, Delta Vision: Gogo recently announced that they have “received a supplemental type certificate (STC) from the FAA to install its Gogo Vision wireless in-flight entertainment product on commercial aircraft with or without Gogo’s connectivity service.” You read it right, they announced a stand-alone, wireless entertainment system… no off plane connectivity. This means that Gogo has every intention of becoming the next big IFE player, especially since they have over 1,500 of the Vision systems flying today.

“We see this as an important enhancement to the Gogo Vision product as it allows us to provide the service without necessarily having connectivity on the aircraft,” said Ash ElDifrawi, Gogo’s chief commercial officer. “We definitely have seen demand for the standalone version of this product. Some of Alaska Airlines’ Gogo Vision equipped aircraft will be configured this way and the service will launch later this year. This new enhancement to Gogo Vision will leverage most of the existing equipment that is already used for Gogo’s core connectivity product. For airlines, Gogo Vision offers a light weight, low cost alternative to legacy seatback solutions.

“The majority of passengers today are carrying some sort of Wi-Fi enabled device on the plane,” added ElDifrawi. “Gogo Vision leverages that trend and eliminates the need for airlines to maintain expensive seatback equipment.” This is significant because not only have they worked out the challenges of working with content, they are now in your pocket on your phone, on your iPad, and coming to your laptop soon! While many of the latest IFE wanna-be’s have developed Wi-Fi systems to entice airlines that they can provide Wi-Fi hardware for a low cost, lightweight system, Gogo has over a fifteen hundred units flying. If you don’t know Gogo, they are a leading communications service provider to the global aviation industry. Using Gogo’s exclusive products and services, passengers with Wi-Fi enabled devices can get online on more than 2,000 Gogo equipped commercial aircraft. In-flight connectivity partners include Aeromexico, American Airlines, Air Canada, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Japan Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America. In-flight entertainment partners include Aeromexico, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Japan Airlines, Scoot and US Airways. In addition to its commercial airline business, Gogo has more than 6,200 business aircraft outfitted with its communications services. Back on the ground, Gogo’s 700+ employees in Itasca, IL, Broomfield, CO and various locations overseas are working to continually redefine flying as a productive, socially connected, and all-around more satisfying experience.

Now here is the second part, Delta Studio: A couple weeks back, announced that it has launched a first of its kind wireless in-flight entertainment experience with Delta Air Lines called “Delta Studio.” Basically a software implementation that helps the airline provide a better customer experience by offering entertainment (and more focused advertising selections eventually, we assume) offerings for passengers based upon their name and seat number. “They way it works,” noted Steve Nolan (Gogo), “is that after the airline verifies passenger name and seat number, the Gogo product begins a ‘learning relationship’ with the passenger, by seat number, and presents inflight entertainment offerings with the passenger’s preference in mind.” Interestingly, we note that Steve told IFExpress that for this complicated “who-watches-what-and-how-it’s-paid-for” content relationship is handled by Delta.

From Gogo’s press release on the Delta Studio: “The new wireless in-flight entertainment product will offer passengers a variety of television shows and movies that will be streamed wirelessly to passengers’ own Wi-Fi enabled devices. Passengers sitting in premium seats will be able to access all of the content free of charge, while economy customers will have access to most titles for free.”

“This type of integrated experience is a game changer for Delta and sets their entertainment offering apart from competitors,” said Ash ElDifrawi, Gogo’s chief commercial officer. “In addition, Delta Studio marks an important shift in how Gogo builds and delivers its products. Our goal is to provide the underlying technologies that enable our airline partners to create customized experiences for their customers. To access the content, a passenger can simply launch the browser on their laptop, Android or Apple tablet, or iPhone device and they will automatically be directed to Delta Studio. Gogo’s seat selection technology integrates with Delta’s flight records through an API that will serve up the appropriate content when a passenger enters their name and seat number.”

“Not only are we featuring more B-to-B products and services,” noted Nolan, “Gogo is developing software technology that allows our entertainment system to learn more about the preferences of seated passenger on a per seat basis.” As Steve pointed out, by providing products like Delta Studio, the company is giving more focus to customer branding. This is especially true and becomes valuable when there is no off-airplane connectivity that Gogo is known for. We also asked about the use and application of the passenger selection data and Steve assured us that the data is not made public nor used for later sales… at least from Gogo.

There you have it… more B-to-B and a new Wi-Fi service offering, Gogo sounds a bit like more like an IFEC player now!

  • Company’s Consultancy Business Unit Provides Valuable Insights to Streamline Processes & Elevate Ancillary Revenue Potential

Toronto, Ontario | August 11, 2014/Marketwired via COMTEX/– GuestLogix Inc. CA:GXI -1.71% , the leading global provider of ancillary-focused merchandising, payment and business intelligence technology to airlines and the passenger travel industry, today announced that its Travel RPM(TM) (Retail Performance Management) Business Unit has made a successful entry to market, helping airlines and concessionaires to optimize all aspects of their operational and retail processes and performance. The Company launched its consultancy business unit in March 2014, lending its unprecedented industry knowledge and expertise to enhance the operations of both new and existing customers. GuestLogix is pleased to report positive market penetration and program results, and anticipates continued growth as Travel RPM gains further momentum.

“In only a few short months, Travel RPM has enabled numerous travel operators and retailers to improve their retail program value,” said GuestLogix President & CEO, Brett Proud. “With over a decade of experience supporting ancillary revenue generation across the passenger travel industry, we are in prime position to help our customers tap into their true potential and make game-changing decisions that will positively impact their efficiency and bottom line. Leveraging our unrivaled insights via Travel RPM is one of the greatest services that we can offer to the industry, and the positive outcomes to-date are a testament to our deep understanding of the market.”

Providing an array of best practice services, including benchmarking and analysis as well as the development of operational processes, retail models, and custom tailored programs, the Travel RPM consultancy group aims to improve the quality and results of ancillary revenue programs for airlines and inflight retailers worldwide. Objectives range from reducing operational costs to motivating crew to improving product assortment and promotion. As a result, operators and concessionaires may benefit from improvements in retail program performance and providing an enhanced passenger experience.

“Travel RPM delivers significant value to our customers, benefitting the quality of their operations from a revenue, passenger experience and overall performance standpoint. At GuestLogix, we are dedicated to the success of our clients, and this service helps to reveal deeper insights that lead to making more well-informed business decisions,” said Ilia Kostov, EVP, Global Sales & Product Strategy, GuestLogix. “This division, led by industry veteran, Robert Illston, at the same time contributes to the Company’s ability to execute its growth strategy and objectives, and we see a bright future for Travel RPM.”

Travel RPM has executed agreements on a global scale, with notable success in the Asia Pacific region. With clients such as Satolas, Taiwan’s largest duty free retailer and subsidiary of St. Doras Enterprises, Travel RPM is building a strong portfolio of clients and success stories that will help to accelerate the unit’s performance to the next level.

  • Air France launches Betria Interactive’s FlightPath3D Moving Map & Destination City Guide this summer on the first of their 777 fleet

Irvine, California | August 12, 2014– The Air France/KLM product innovation team selected FlightPath3D from Betria Interactive to deliver their next generation Moving Map & ‘geotainment’ service. This new service recently launched on the first of its updated fleet of Air France 777s serving dozens of international routes.

“We were very impressed with the quality, performance and experience of the product and felt that FlightPath3D delivered far above all other options,” noted Peter Verheijde, Director Product Innovation at AF KLM speaking of the recent Air France 777 service launch. “FlightPath3D is a centerpiece in our new service offering and really demonstrates the capabilities of the new Panasonic in-seat experience and new premium video handsets. It was a pleasure to work with Betria and to see this program come together so quickly. They have truly exceeded our expectations.”

The FlightPath3D service for Air France supports Panasonic’s new Android Video Handset Remote Control. Air France’s service includes 25,000 named locations across the world in up to 12 languages. The City Destination Guide initially covers 36 destination cities and will expand over time to cover many more Air France destination cities with detailed, street level city maps and rich, multi-media Point-of-Interest information.

“The FlightPath3D product suite delivers both an engaging experience and a next generation service that can ensure content remains current and relevant to the passenger’s interests,” offered Boris Veksler, President of Betria Interactive. “We are excited to have such a great partner as Air France to launch our new Video Handset Application and look forward to amazing and entertaining their audience for many years to come.”

Air France is currently engaged in a major upgrading project and now offers the FlightPath3D service on brand new, high-definition touchscreen displays in all its newly unveiled passenger cabins (Economy, Premium Business and La Première). A fleet of 44 Boeing 777 long-haul aircraft is progressively being fitted out with the new cabins to ensure optimum comfort for all passengers. KLM will also be offering the FlightPath3D service on board its upgraded aircraft from November 2014.

* Android is a registered trademark of Google Inc.
* Panasonic is a registered trademark of Panasonic Corporation

  • SITA to Provide Messaging for Operations, Partner Communications and Air Traffic Control

Almaty, Kazakhstan | August 12, 2014– Air Astana has selected air transport communications and IT specialist, SITA, to provide messaging for operations, communications with partners and advanced datalink for air traffic control. The deal comes as Kazakhstan’s flag carrier prepares for future growth, following a 13.5 percent traffic increase in 2013.

In recent years, Air Astana has expanded rapidly across the CIS and Central Asian regions, becoming the travel provider of choice for many passengers flying to and from the region. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Kazakhstan’s international passenger traffic is growing at 9% annually, making it the second fastest-growing market in the world.[1]

Chamindra Lenawa, Vice President IT & eBusiness, Air Astana, said: “As Air Astana continues its growth, it is important that we have the right infrastructure in place. We use SITA because it offers excellent service quality and global coverage. Most importantly, because SITA is owned and operated by the air transport industry, the SITA team understands and responds to our needs very well.”

Dmitry Krasnov, SITA Vice President of Russia and CIS, said: “We are delighted to help support Air Astana’s expansion in this rapidly growing region. In addition, we are committed to ensuring that both Air Astana and the region have the IT and communications services they need, including developing our VHF and satellite communications network for cockpit datalink applications.”

SITA Type B Messaging underpins every operational aspect of air transport, from commercial and flight operations to ground support, baggage and cargo handling, passenger services, booking availability and aircraft maintenance. SITA operates the largest messaging network, directly connecting to over 2,400 members of the air transport community, switching over 100 million messages every day.

SITA’s AIRCOM Cockpit Datalink applications provide enhanced visibility and management of aircraft communications links and ACARS message content. They also provide operational information during flights, increasing the total benefit of ACARS investment. For example, in addition to the air traffic management datalink, Air Astana is using SITA’s Flight Management System Wind Uplink. This provides key data to the aircraft flight management system for in-flight re-analysis of weather conditions on the route ahead and can deliver savings in the region of 100Kg of fuel per flight in normal conditions. SITA will also provide the relevant back-office network optimization services for both solutions.

SITA is constantly developing its VHF coverage to support the AIRCOM Cockpit Datalink applications. It already has VHF Ground Stations at both Almaty and Astana airports, and will soon have them at Aktau and Atyrau airports, providing the most comprehensive network in the Kazakhstan.

East Aurora, NY | August 6, 2014– Astronics Corporation (Nasdaq:ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace and defense industries, announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ballard Technology, Inc. (Astronics Ballard Technology) is a key technology partner with Cathay Pacific Airways and will supply the Aircraft Interface Device (AID) for their innovative new eEnabled Aircraft Program.

Aircraft Interface Devices are an essential part of many avionics upgrades, such as electronic flight bag (EFB) and in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) systems, where they serve avionics data while protecting aircraft control domains from interference and corruption. The Cathay Pacific eEnabled Aircraft solution is an advanced system for connectivity and integration with ground systems. It provides a comprehensive, integrated electronic information exchange, which will replace existing manual processes to record, manage and distribute information for flight operations, line maintenance engineering and cabin defect management.

Extensive capabilities and a record of successful deployments were key factors in the decision by Cathay Pacific to select the Astronics AID for their eEnabled Aircraft Program. The Astronics AID is small, lightweight and rugged. It features an embedded microprocessor, high I/O density, and an internal PMC slot for functionality and I/O expansion.

“We enhanced our Aircraft Interface Device to include our Ethernet Switch Module, which allowed the unit to satisfy two of Cathay Pacific’s key system requirements in a single package. We believe this adds significant value to the eEnabled Aircraft Program by simplifying deployment and reducing system size, weight, and power consumption,” noted Peter J. Gundermann, President and CEO of Astronics Corporation.

Astronics Ballard Technology partnered with Cathay Pacific in a successful two-year development to bring the eEnabled Aircraft system to fruition. Cathay Pacific is now carrying out an Operational Evaluation with three Boeing 777 aircraft and when completed, plans to roll out the eEnabled system across its fleet of Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 passenger aircraft as well as Boeing 747 freighter aircraft. Cathay Pacific will also implement the eEnabled technology in the A330s and A320/1’s in the passenger fleet of Group airline Dragonair.