In Hamburg, on Aircraft Interiors International’s opening day, Thales announced a host of new technologies specifically designed to align the company strategies to enhance the passenger experience with increasing airlines’ return on investment. Having integrated LiveTV activities, Thales will now be able to offer a unique IPTV service for a near-real-time feed of live television programs. By using real-time satellite feeds, popular television events, such as sports matches, will be streamed to all airplanes equipped with IPTV services from a dedicated Thales lab tasked with controlling, transcoding, and disseminating the TV signal via the Thales connectivity system. This offer is made viable through Thales’s strong ability to develop global rights management and its effective use of content, which differentiates it from any other type of service, in that, Thales will broadcast only the valuable events from various content providers to the aircraft and record the programs for on-demand playback. This solution eliminates irrelevant programming and makes the most efficient use of the aircraft bandwidth. Traditional TV streaming services simply pipe content directly from TV networks, prohibiting any control over what is broadcast. The Thales solution is a significant step forward as it allows airlines to stream relevant content that effectively targets their customers, giving passengers more choice and control over their television experience.
Thales also introduced their near field communications (NFC) for payment transactions using its systems. Through the remote module developed for the AVANT system, airlines will now be able to configure their IFE to accept this growing “Tap and Go” technology to allow passengers to make instant payments for all on-board transactions. Regardless of the airline’s business model, ancillary revenue generation streams are becoming ever more important and NFC technology will facilitate payment transactions, improving the passenger experience and increasing airlines’ revenue streams. Another another new technology is an enhanced digital magazine experience, the result of a partnership with Zinio, the world’s largest digital newsstand, boasting over 6,000 titles in 33 languages. With the use of Zinio’s Android inflight application for digital magazines, available through the Thales App portal, passengers will be able to access an unrivalled choice of content ranging from the world’s biggest brands to niche specialist titles. Interests and topics covered include news, politics, technology, art, style, travel and more. Thales also offers a solution which provides an enhanced passenger experience while simultaneously opens up avenues of exciting new revenue generation to airlines, due to attractive licensing and sponsorship models, as well as potential new business relationships with publishing houses and advertisers.
The company continues to evolve its AVANT platform to ensure its continued technological superiority amongst all other in-flight entertainment systems. On the opening day of the Aircraft Interiors International show in Hamburg, Thales announced several new technology evolutions that will be made available on AVANT. These underpin the success of the modular design of the system and highlight the proven track record of the most advanced in-flight entertainment system on the market. First and foremost, the cornerstone of the passenger interface, the AVANT screen, will now be larger, with 10-22” HD in-seat displays for the economy cabin and up to a 24” and 32” Ultra HD for premium cabins. These new screens will bring passengers a vivid and cinematic picture quality, no different than what they can expect from the best home-entertainment systems. Airlines will incur a significant benefit from a 35% reduction in weight and 20% reduction in power per screen. Equipped with the latest generation quad-core processors, USB 3.0 for PED charging, the displays will be faster and will able to have a greater local storage capacity than 512GB units.
Additionally, Thales announced the long awaited next-generation Touch Passenger Media Unit (PMU) controller. With a 70% larger 5” multi-touchscreen, this evolution of the award-winning Android-based TPMU is equipped with haptic feedback, letting the user register their commands. It represents a game-changing user interface that lets the passenger interact with the seatback display in a unique manner. A revolutionary point-in-air motion sensor lets the user navigate the content simply by pointing the TPMU at screen. This allows the passenger to both navigate the content through the TPMU while keeping the trademark second screen experience. (Editor’s Note: We couldn’t do this Thales report with out the help of Mike Moeller and Giaime Porcu – Mike for his time in explaining the new InFlyt concept and Giaime for his excellent daily Thales write-ups – perhaps other vendors will consider this solution for reporters!)
Noted Giaime Porcu, Thales Communication: “From a market perspective the IFEC world faces three key challenges as we all know, 1) A growing global fleet and the growing demand for IFEC systems on single aisle and shorter routes, 2) A more tech minded passenger requiring higher levels of technology interaction at all times, and 3) Intense competitive pressure for airlines to differentiate their brand and foster brand loyalty.” He went on: “Thales estimates that by 2025 70% of the global fleet will be equipped with in-cabin connectivity. Already, all RFPs in the market for the past 2 years have included a form of connectivity. We also know that the market is reaching a level of maturity that is driving down costs which is opening up new segmenting opportunities in areas like low cost, single aisle and shorter routes. All this lead to our strategic decision to change the paradigm of our offer. As Dominique GIannoni mentioned in his press conference: 1) Our strategic vision is to become the Number 1 provider of IFEC solutions in the world, 2) Passengers want an immersive, personalised, and connected experience, and 3) Airlines no longer accept IFE to be a static cost centre, they want a positive branding and marketing tool to drive customer retention and direct monetization . The result is simple, with the integration of Thales IFEC and LiveTV we were able to bridge the gap on all these market needs and are the only ones in a real position to do so.”
(Editor’s Note: Here is an important piece about the “new” Thales reshaping (and rebranding) of the inflight experience – it is called InFlyt. Check it out.)
The microwave antenna world is in for a radical change and the folks from Kymeta are using metamaterials to make it happen! First, a Wikipedia definition: “Metamaterials are materials engineered to have properties that have not yet been found in nature. They are made from assemblies of multiple elements fashioned from conventional materials such as metals or plastics. The materials are usually arranged in repeating patterns, often at microscopic or smaller scales that are smaller than the wavelengths of the phenomena they influence. Metamaterials derive their properties not from the properties of the base materials, but from their designed structure. Their precise shape, geometry, size, orientation and arrangement gives them their properties.
Appropriately designed metamaterials can affect waves of electromagnetic radiation or sound in a manner not observed in bulk materials. Those that exhibit a negative index of refraction for particular wavelengths have attracted significant research. These materials are known as negative index metamaterials.”
And, thus we have an update of a IFExpress Exclusive story we ran in the summer of 2013. Kymeta, if you remember at the time, was the solid-state antenna company who didn’t want to say much about the technology as it was in the Ku Band, pre-development stage but from the looks of the unit shown at AIX, they are really up a couple of generations with a virtually flat device, a couple of inches thick.
If metamaterials are not your thing, here is a definition of the application from the Kymeta website: “Broadly defined, electromagnetic metamaterials result from arranging naturally occurring materials in such a way that they produce an electromagnetic response not found in nature. On the mTenna suite of products, tunable elements are arranged in a precisely calculated pattern. Radiofrequency (RF) energy is scattered when the elements are activated, holographically generating a beam. The direction of the beam is defined by the specific elements that are electronically activated—a design that allows for both continual and instantaneous changes in direction.” Look at the antenna like this – between two layers of special glass, metamaterials are deposited much like a printed circuit. The materials, “circuit” design, material used, and the activation elements develop a clean antenna waveform that, in many cases, can “see” beyond 180 degrees, with no moving parts – a star performer on the equator. We also understand that by 2016 they will have a conformal aviation antenna ready to go. Check out the picture we took at AIX with one of their engineers, Kenny Kirchoff (no kidding), and be sure to visit their website! (Editor’s Note: We should mention that clever Honeywell is the first partner we know for the Kymeta aviation product, but Boeing and Airbus will be in the loop because you just can’t pass up an external antenna a few inches thick.)
A couple weeks prior to the show, Rockwell Collins announced the choice of Craig Elliot as VicePresident, Airline Cabin Sales and Marketing, for the company as follows: “Rockwell Collins today announced that Craig Elliott has been named vice president, Airline Cabin Sales and Marketing. Craig brings strong industry knowledge and customer focus to his new role along with extensive business relationships that he has built through his 20 years working in a variety of positions at Rockwell Collins,” said Scott Gunnufson, vice president and general manager, Commercial Sales, Marketing and Support at Rockwell Collins. “Most recently, Elliott served as senior director of Airline Sales at Rockwell Collins, working with airlines throughout the world to equip their fleets with the latest avionics and IFE systems. In his new role, Elliott will lead a sales and marketing team focused on the Rockwell Collins’ full suite of cabin solutions for air transport aircraft. This includes a number of systems and applications, including PAVES™ On-demand, PAVES™ Broadcast, PAVES™ Wireless, ARINC Cabin Connect, Airshow® 3D Moving Map and air-to-ground high-speed connectivity. Elliott holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa.” So much for the news release… now, we have an opinion too – Craig is one of the smartest and nicest folks we have ever worked with in aviation! Our past experience is proof. He will be great with customers and the company engineers alike and we wish him the best. He told IFExpress; “Rockwell Collins won the #1 Supplier Supplier Award from Airbus as a Cabin Solution Provider. It revolved around the airlines giving their inputs regarding supplier products (Rockwell and their competitors) and out team won, even when we were up against other cabin suppliers, seats providers, galley hardware manufacturers and the like…we were number one, and we couldn’t be more pleased.” This points out why Craig Elliot will succeed… he is upbeat, positive, and a good role model for sales and marketing teams – her gets everyone involved. And, lest we forget, Rockwell (and ARINC) have some very interesting products on the cusp of announcement, but alas, that is all we can say for now!
IFExpress had a reason to contact Richie Sugimoto over at ACS and he told IFExpress: “We just delivered 42” HD LCD monitors that comply with DO-160G, Section 16, Current Harmonics (Variable Frequency Power) which directly applies to the A380, A350 and B787. Our brand new 65” HD LCD monitor will also meet these standards by the end of this year.”
The Airline Retail Conference (ARC) is coming up on 2nd & 3rd June at London Olympia it is the leading networking platform for airline buyers and suppliers in the fields of airline retail and ancillary revenue. The event also explores the impact and implications of the ‘Always-Connected-Passenger’ To give you a little more information, please see the link here which contains all the information for the up and coming event.
We are still trying to get our hands around this past month’s Gogo announcement – “Interest in In-Flight Connectivity Higher for Passengers Outside the U.S., According to Recent Gogo Global Study on In-Flight Connectivity.” You can find the report here. Here is what Gogo said: “(Gogo) recently conducted a global study on traveler interest in in-flight connectivity and connectivity related products and services. The study revealed that interest in these products and services is significantly higher outside the U.S. despite the fact that fewer connected aircraft are operating internationally as compared to within the U.S.” And, we thought, US travelers had more connected, carry-on devices? What gives? We would like to hear from you on why.
- SITA’s BagJourney Offers Cost Effective, Global Bag Tracking
Abu Dhabi | May 18, 2015– Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has chosen air transport IT specialist, SITA, for end-to-end baggage tracking services. Powered by SITA’s Air Transport Industry Cloud, SITA‘s new BagJourney service gives the airline a cost-effective and accurate way to track passengers’ bags anywhere along their journey, from check-in to the destination airport.
Etihad Airways’ Chief Information and Technology Officer, Robert Webb, said: “We are always looking for ways to improve the guest experience, and we know that delayed luggage is a major pain point. With SITA’s BagJourney, we can follow guests’ bags through every stage of their travels, which helps reduce mishandling and delays. We can also provide the latest baggage tracking information to crew while they are on the move via CrewTablet, our tablet application for crew operations, so we can address any problems more quickly.”
BagJourney uses baggage data that passes through SITA’s global, fully-managed baggage message and distribution service, BagMessage, and provides it to Etihad Airways via a web application programming interface. This information can then be shared as needed with Etihad Airways’ crew and airport staff. In the future, the airline could also extend this service to guests so they can follow their own bags via a smartphone app. BagJourney is also integrated with SITA’s global bag tracing and matching solution, WorldTracer®.
Hani El-Assaad, SITA President for the Middle East, India and Africa, said: “With BagJourney, Etihad Airways will be able to track passengers’ bags no matter where they are in their journey. So even if bags are delayed, they can easily see the bag status and can proactively notify passengers. According to our 2014 Passenger IT Trends Survey, collecting baggage at the destination is the most frustrating travel step for passengers globally, with 27 per cent of passengers wanting significant improvement. So it is important that all airlines continue to invest in baggage technology, especially as rising passenger numbers put more pressure on baggage operations.”
According to SITA’s 2015 Baggage Report, the rate of mishandled bags in 2014 was 7.3 bags per thousand passengers, down from a peak of 18.88 bags per thousand passengers in 2007. Baggage tracking is set to improve further in coming years as a as a result of IATA Resolution 753: Baggage Tracking. The resolution, which goes into effect in 2018, requires IATA members to “maintain an accurate inventory of baggage by monitoring the acquisition and delivery of baggage.” By using BagJourney, Etihad Airways is already meeting this requirement.
SITA has led the air transport industry in providing baggage tracking and tracing solutions for the air transport community for more than 20 years. Today, more than 200 airports and 500 airlines worldwide use its baggage management solutions. By facilitating communications between airlines as well as local baggage handling and reconciliation systems, SITA helps ensure that bags reach their correct destination. Its proprietary BagMessage system delivers more than 2.5 billion messages between airline departure control systems and automated baggage systems annually. And more than 2,800 airport locations use SITA’s WorldTracer system for tracing mishandled bags.
Geneva | May 18, 2015– Rockwell Collins has entered into a strategic partnership with ICG (International Communications Group, Inc.) to offer its eRouter (ERT-100 and ERT-120) smart cabin routers to the company’s ARINCDirectSM business aviation customers.
“Offering a smart router as part of our solution provides access to on-board content and allows us to create value-added services for our customers,” said David Stanley, staff vice president, ARINCDirect for Rockwell Collins. “We can now provide end-to-end solutions that integrate our ground and air applications to save business aviation operators time and expense, while improving the overall passenger connectivity experience. The ICG eRouter provides superior capabilities at a very affordable cost.”
For business aviation, smart routers are now a necessity for aircraft connectivity enablement. They provide data and voice routing services for aircraft applications and are developed specifically to meet aviation standards and requirements. In addition to managing on board networks like Ka, Ku, L-Band, ATG and GSM within the cabin, the router enables more flight departments and crews to access ARINCDirect service offerings such as Follow Me GSM over Wi-Fi, media content, international trip planning and weather services by acting as the communications gateway for any number of connected devices onboard.
The smart router also supports cabin crew, flight deck and aircraft system data communication requirements, enabling flight crews using the ARINCDirect Flight Planning app to access their account and update flight plans, weather, charts and trip documents while en route.
“The ICG eRouter has a robust set of features to include 3G/4G LTE connectivity for on-ground data transfers as well as channel bonding capabilities and next generation acceleration/compression software for faster data speeds in the air,” said Darren Emery, ICG’s Director, Connectivity Products and Program Management. “Rockwell Collins customers will benefit from features such as routing based on the lowest cost given the available networks and bandwidth allocation disseminated in the right amount to the right places, making for a positive passenger experience.”
“In addition to all of its features and functionality, the ICG eRouter has one other important distinction,” notes Stanley. “It is service agnostic and gives operators the freedom to choose their satcom provider. Having a choice in providers is beneficial to users by keeping the service costs competitive as well as driving innovative value-added solutions.”
- Free equipment packages available to select Gogo customers adding Inmarsat SwiftBroadband capabilities
Geneva | May 20, 2015– Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), a leading provider of in-flight connectivity and entertainment solutions to the global aero market, introduces an unprecedented new customer loyalty program that makes the benefits of global in-flight connectivity more accessible than ever.
The program enables select, existing Gogo customers to receive free SwiftBroadband equipment packages when they complete installation at an authorized Gogo dealer and activate a new, five-year SwiftBroadband airtime contract with Gogo.
In-flight connectivity services dramatically increase the productivity and enjoyment of the business aviation travel experience for passengers and flight crews. The services can also increase aircraft resale values and provide a competitive edge in charter & fractional markets. Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband service provides voice and data services with near-global coverage at all altitudes and on the ground.
John Wade, Gogo’s Executive Vice President and General Manager said, “Through the years, Gogo has been recognized for creating the industry’s most generous loyalty programs and today’s announcement continues that trend. Never before has an in-flight connectivity equipment package been offered at no cost. With connectivity playing an increasingly-important role in travelers’ lives, we expect this program to give our existing customers even greater access to a fully-connected in-flight experience.”
The loyalty program is available to existing Gogo customers with non-N-registered aircraft, as well as customers with the company’s Gogo Biz in-flight Internet service installed. To qualify, customers must activate a new, five-year SwiftBroadband service contract with Gogo. Installation and certification costs at an authorized Gogo dealer are the responsibility of the customer. Program begins in July 2015 and expires March 31, 2016. For complete details and restrictions, operators are invited to contact Gogo or an authorized Gogo dealer.
- US airport and airline executives share best practices, address growing demand for border efficiency and security
Atlanta | May 21, 2015– SITA, the global provider of border security and IT solutions to governments, airlines and airports, today announced the formation of the SITA Border Automation User Group. The inaugural meeting, hosted by Orlando International Airport May 20-21, explored how to drive greater efficiency and passenger satisfaction as the demand for automation grows.
The most recent SITA Passenger Trends Survey found that U.S. air travelers rank time-consuming security procedures among the top two areas for improvement. This frustration is likely to worsen, as international travel to the U.S. is projected to grow by up to 6 percent each year over the 2014-2019 timeframe.
Paul Houghton, SITA President, Americas, said: “SITA is committed to working together with our customers and early adopters of border automation technology to deliver the best passenger experience. Our automated passport control (APC) kiosks, which are already widely used in the US, and our automated border control gates, are part of an end-to-end suite of solutions designed to facilitate and provide a more secure passenger journey throughout the airport and across borders.”
SITA brought together airlines, airports and government representatives from across the US, along with experts in border technology, to explore ways to improve the passenger experience while maintaining security. The two-day session included discussions on best practices for integrating next-generation technology such as beacons, mobile apps and Wi-Fi, as well as how to optimize Federal Inspection Station (FIS) design.
John Newsome, Director, Information Technology, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, said: “GOAA began processing international travelers from visa waiver countries with Phase 3 SITA APC Kiosks more than a year ago. We reduced the time required to complete the immigration process for those travelers to 90 seconds, or often much less, reducing stress for our travelers and impact on our facilities. Since the launch and based on the measured improvements, GOAA has added kiosks to both of our FIS facilities, and we are eager to continue improving the experience for international travelers by partnering with SITA to drive further border automation innovation.”
SITA is a world leader in providing border control technology and has developed its border control solutions in close collaboration with border agency partners worldwide, as well as airlines, airports and industry groups. SITA’s iBorders® portfolio provides the air transport community with a complete set of capabilities to transform border security and facilitate the travel experience through information, intelligence, optimized interactions with passengers and comprehensive insights to enhance every aspect of border operations.
Around 30 governments globally use SITA’s iBorders® systems and capabilities to keep their borders secure and transform their border security operations. Many international airports in the USA, including JFK New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Diego and Tampa, have biometric immigration kiosks provided by SITA. And more are coming on stream; by the end of 2015 SITA will have provided close to 450 kiosks to 11 international airports, around half of all APC kiosks in use.
- Launches the Sustainable Aviation Engagement Programme
France | May 21, 2015– Airbus has launched the “Sustainable Aviation Engagement Programme”, a long-term partnership programme set up to help airlines reduce their environmental footprint through a tailored offering of services and expertise.
Based on four pillars (aircraft technology, aircraft operations, Air Traffic Management -ATM- and sustainable aviation fuels), the programme enables airlines to minimise their environmental impact, by harnessing the full potential of Airbus’ latest generation, fuel efficient aircraft to minimise fuel burn and noise in their operations. Airbus will accompany each airline throughout the deployment of the programme.
The Sustainable Aviation Engagement Programme is currently in a phase of developing pilot projects, during which Airbus will work closely with Cathay Pacific, British Airways and KLM. The feedback and learning from these three pilot projects will be taken on board before the programme is extended to operators worldwide from 2016.
“We are very pleased to see the Sustainable Aviation Engagement programme taking shape with world leading airlines as British Airways, Cathay Pacific and KLM”, said Jean-Luc Taupiac, Airbus’ Head of Environment.” By working closely with our customers and building long-term partnerships we offer them tailored solutions and expertise to meet their environmental objectives. The benefits unfolded with the ‘Perfect Flight”, a winning combination of using latest aircraft technology, best aircraft operations, optimized Air Traffic Management and sustainable aviation fuels, really unlocks the full potential to minimize the environmental footprint.”
Jonathon Counsell, British Airways’ Head of Environment said:
“We really welcome the opportunity to work closely with Airbus to demonstrate the step change in environmental performance of the next generation of aircraft delivering significantly lower noise and carbon emissions”
Dr. Mark Watson, Head of Environmental Affairs, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited said:
“As a leading airline that has set ambitious targets to address its environmental impacts and integrate sustainability into all aspects of its business, Cathay Pacific seeks to work with strategic partners that understand the significance of the challenges posed by future growth. Our engagement with Airbus is a key opportunity to work together to draw upon the potential that advanced aerospace technology offers in this regard, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and noise. The learning derived from the programme will enable us to drive future improvements within our business and contribute to reducing the industry’s overall environmental footprint.”
Eileen van den Tweel, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Manager Innovation said:
“KLM is the leading airline in the development of a market for sustainable biofuel. In 2014 KLM launched a series of biofuel flights to Aruba and Bonaire that lasted six months, operating an A330-200. We worked intensively with Airbus during the entire project, to research the engine performance during the biofuel flights. Airbus’ sustainable aviation engagement program is a logical next step in this cooperation, enabling us to expand our relationship to other areas than biofuel. Together with Air France, KLM has been ranked the most sustainable airline in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for ten consecutive years, and our ambition is to keep this leading position. Cooperation with Airbus and other partners in our supply chain is very important”
Airbus works constantly to mitigate its environmental impact and reduce not only CO2 emissions, but other emissions linked to climate change and air quality, as well as noise, through its innovative technologies and cross-industry partnerships. New technologies are constantly in development and Airbus invests around two billion Euros per year in R&D to develop incremental innovations that will further enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of all our aircraft.
Germany | May 21, 2015– Going forward, Spanish airline Volotea plans to schedule its aircraft use with the NetLine/Sched IT solution from Lufthansa Systems. The two companies recently signed a five-year agreement to this effect.
NetLine/Sched enables Volotea to arrange its schedules to make the best possible use of its available fleet. The solution’s high degree of automation supports planners and speeds up processes. “What-if” scenarios and their cost-effectiveness are also continually taken into account during planning. Volotea will also be using the NetLine/Sched module Slot Manager. Airlines can benefit substantially from automating the complex slot management process as it speeds up the entire flow of information and automatically processes coordinator requirements. Depending on the number of slots that can be used, Slot Manager enables airlines to achieve significant cost savings.
Volotea, the European airline for small and mid-sized cities, offers direct flights at attractive fares. Its fleet consists of 19 Boeing 717. The company made its first flight in April 2012. In 2015, Volotea operates 153 routes on 65 regional capitals and medium European cities, of 8 countries (France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, Czech Republic, Croatia and Israel). Since its creation, Volotea has transported 5 million passengers in Europe.
Los Angeles | May 20, 2015– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (“GEE”) (Nasdaq:ENT), a market-leading media and connectivity provider to the travel industry, today announced that it has been selected by Avianca Holdings to provide the in-flight entertainment service onboard its subsidiary airlines.
The agreement, underscores GEE’s strong foothold in the Latin American market. Currently, GEE provides IFE content and software solutions to over a dozen airlines in the region.Through this long-term agreement, GEE will provide a variety of international and regional inflight entertainment (IFE), including movies, TV programming and audio, to Avianca’s fleet of 168+ aircraft. The agreement will also be extended to provide content services on the 33+ A320neo aircraft that the airlines recently committed on order from Airbus. In addition, GEE will also provide content technical services to the airlines.
“We’re delighted to be selected as the content service provider across Avianca’s entire fleet,” explained Amir Samnani, Senior Vice President of Content at GEE. “Latin America is an important market for GEE, as it is one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Our agreement with Avianca highlights our commitment to meeting the needs of our global customers through our regional presence and expertise.”
Avianca’s CEO, Fabio Villegas, said: “The alliance with GEE will allow Avianca travelers to enjoy a new onboard experience, with a wide offer of high quality content that will make our flights much more enjoyable. Its experience and knowledge in IFE systems for commercial airlines make GEE, without a doubt, the ideal partner for Avianca.
Geneva | May 20, 2015– Satcom Direct will promote its new SkyStream channel bonding and aggregation service during EBACE 2015, booth D051 and static display 16. Delegates will learn how the service, powered by the company’s exclusive Satcom Direct Router (SDRTM), provides a significant upgrade in airborne data speeds.
Satcom Direct’s SkyStream channel bonding and aggregation technology allows customers to combine multiple streaming channels of Inmarsat Swiftbroadband to achieve higher data rates for real-time communications applications. The technology embedded in the SDR enables customers to bond two to four channels of service. This provides a larger data pipe to facilitate high-data-rate applications like video conference and streaming video.
People expect their smartphones, tablets and laptops to work on their aircraft just like they would on the ground, and Satcom Direct is committed to providing that experience,” said Ken Bantoft, vice president of technologies and development “SkyStream lets connectivity devices work globally at the fastest speeds possible.”
SkyStream can deliver speeds of up to 1.4mbps of throughput for aircraft with four-channel systems. The aircraft must be equipped with the SDR, SkyStream software key and SwiftBroadband satellite service.
- ViaSat Yonder High-Speed Internet Service Enables the Fastest, Global, Satellite-Based Business Jet Cabin Connectivity Available Today
Geneva | May 19, 2015– ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), an innovator in broadband and communication technologies and services, today announced it has been selected by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation as the sole source Ku-band equipment supplier to outfit Gulfstream’s large cabin business jets with ViaSat Yonder® high-speed internet service. The ViaSat equipment is available on Gulfstream’s existing large cabin aircraft (G450, G550, G650) and new aircraft (G500, G600) either as a factory option, or as an aftermarket install.
The new agreement builds on a previous third-party relationship, where ViaSat has provided global Ku-band in-flight connectivity hardware to Gulfstream and hundreds of its customers for nearly 10 years. With today’s announcement, ViaSat will now directly provide the ViaSat Mobile Terminal 1500, which includes a Ku-band antenna, modem and antenna control unit, to enable the Yonder service on an extended line of Gulfstream large cabin aircraft. Service remains available through ViaSat’s service providers.
“Gulfstream is recognized as providing an exceptional in-flight passenger experience, which includes ensuring best-in-class internet service provided by ViaSat,” said Ken Peterman, senior vice president and general manager, ViaSat. “We have the ability today to offer the fastest business jet in-cabin internet service with Yonder, and the foresight to meet tomorrow’s bandwidth demand with our Exede In The Air service to ensure Gulfstream business jet passengers can stay connected no matter where they fly.”
ViaSat Yonder business aviation service delivers an unmatched internet experience through its global Ku-band network, plus a path toward an enhanced online in-flight experience with its Exede® In The Air service. Already available to commercial passengers, the Exede In The Air service leverages ViaSat’s leadership in high-capacity Ka-band satellite technology and will ensure business aviation passengers receive a ‘best available network’ service when roaming across ViaSat’s Ka- and Ku-band satellite network. For more information on ViaSat’s high-speed internet service for business aviation, visit: www.ViaSat.com/general-aviation.
Geneva | May 19, 2015– Satcom Direct will be launching its new AeroIT certification and preparatory course to international clients at this year’s EBACE on stand D051. Launched in the USA in March 2015, it is the world’s first information technology certification for aviation and equips aircraft technicians with vital knowledge of today’s sophisticated airborne communications systems.
The Satcom Direct Training Programme, launched at EBACE 2014, currently offers training classes and technology seminars in Farnborough, Geneva, Hong Kong, Johannesburg and Dubai. The programmes in each location are being expanded to include the AeroIT certification which was created by Satcom Direct in cooperation with CompTIA’s Examplify subsidiary. The existing courses cover all technical networks in aviation communications and are a suggested prerequisite for the AeroIT training that provides advanced knowledge and certification testing. A study guide is also available for self-guided preparation. The subsequent AeroIT certification proctored exam will be offered at any Pearson VUE testing center, worldwide. The certification is valid for three years and must then be renewed. Attendees will have the opportunity to register for the AeroIT prep course at the event.
“AeroIT expands upon the existing base of knowledge and focuses on the IT aspects of avionics systems. It’s a great way for technical team members to add value to their flight department and enhance their own professional development,” said Head of Training Sanaa Saadani.
Aircraft technicians need to be IT experts to efficiently serve owners’ and operators’ communications needs. Satcom Direct has developed AeroIT in response to this demand. It builds on the existing Training Programme, which includes a foundation course focusing on troubleshooting and SATCOM schematics. A course about Inmarsat aviation provides training on legacy and next generation Inmarsat systems, whilst an IP and voice course focuses on introducing maintenance and operational professionals to troubleshooting IP networks, which are vital to today’s aircraft.
“Satcom Direct is committed to investing in improving the knowledge base within the aviation industry to increase the effectiveness of corporate Flight Departments,” said Jim Jensen, Satcom Direct founder and CEO. “We recognize that the onboard IT systems are developing rapidly, and we want to be sure customers are confident and capable of supporting the technology. Offering this to our international client base is the next step in setting a standard for the industry, worldwide.”
All members of the Satcom Direct support staff are required to obtain AeroIT certification along with Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and CompTIA Network+ credentials.
Columbus, OH | May 18, 2015– Spirit Aeronautics recently returned a Cessna Citation 650 aircraft back to its owner after a total interior refurbishment utilizing carbon fiber accents and design elements that delivered a stunning result.
While not a typical type or size of aircraft for refurbishment at Spirit Aeronautics, the design and details included elements found on much larger aircraft such as carbon fiber inlays, blackened wood laminates, multi-layer high build gloss coatings, new Corian countertops and multi-layer foam seats with clean minimalist lines and tight stitching.
“From the beginning of this project the client was attracted to clean European styling combined with western comfort which is very challenging in an aircraft of this size”, stated Tony Bailey, President & COO of Spirit Aeronautics. “Top it off; the client did not want to change the certification basis of the aircraft so we had to look for stylings that gave a minimalist impression without adding or removing any of the current furnishings.”
The result was deep black wood laminates accented with carbon fiber inlays on the solid surfaces including the Drink Rails, Galley and Lavatory. The seats were modernized using high end graphite charcoal grey leather combined with tight stitching and multi-layer hand shaped foam with contoured lumbar for a sleek and simple appearance. The carpet was specifically crafted for this application utilizing a two tone block pattern that gives the illusion of warm depth making the walkways appear larger. In addition, the interior was further updated with brushed nickel plating on all the metal surfaces, new LED Lighting and upgrades in the In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system.
“This aircraft was a challenge but we were fortunate to have a great customer with exceptional taste to work with”, continued Bailey. “Some of the obstacles we faced with this project were not typical with a traditional interior. For example, the wood and carbon fiber surfaces required additional layers during the high gloss finish process which induced trim and fit problems that had to be meticulously resolved. Compounding the problem was the black color which highlighted every imperfection and blemish requiring extra care and constant touch-up. In addition, the customer only had a very narrow window for all of the work to be completed which required long hours and amazing dedication from our team to get it accomplished. In the end, the result is an absolutely beautiful interior!”
The Citation 650 was refurbished for a confidential customer and is believed to be the first of its type with the inclusion of carbon fiber accents on black wood stylings. It is a very modern and sleek design with all the attitude of a Formula One race car!
- Industry’s first touchscreen primary flight displays to be certified aboard multiple King Air models, aircraft deliveries begin this summer
Geneva | May 18, 2015– Rockwell Collins today announced that pilots flying new Beechcraft King Air 350i, 250 and C90GTx turboprops from Textron Aviation Inc. will experience intuitive, eyes-forward flying with its Pro Line Fusion® flight deck. The system is expected to certify for all three new-production King Air models in the upcoming months, with aircraft deliveries to begin this summer starting with the King Air 250.
Pro Line Fusion for the King Air features commercial aviation’s first touchscreen primary flight displays. The touchscreens bring pilots intuitive interactive maps, easy-to-use icons, and the ability to simply touch the items that they want to control.
“Textron Aviation is enhancing its Beechcraft King Air line with an advanced, state-of-the-art avionics system that transforms pilot operations,” said Craig Olson, vice president and general manager, Business and Regional Systems for Rockwell Collins. “Now, whether flying a factory-new airplane or installing Pro Line Fusion as an upgrade in a fielded King Air, pilots will enjoy extensive situational awareness and a revolution in simplicity.”
Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line Fusion ushers in a new era for King Air owners with:
• Three 14-inch widescreen LCDs with advanced graphics, configurable windows, and touchscreen or point-and-click navigation
• Synthetic vision as a standard feature, including Rockwell Collins’ patented airport dome, and extended runway centerlines with mile markers to better orient the pilot from top of descent through final approach
• Touch-interactive maps with eyes-forward flight planning, high-resolution topography, real-time onboard weather radar overlays, obstacles, and special-use airspace and search patterns for expanded situational awareness and reduced workload
• A fully loaded package of baseline equipment for operation in modernizing global airspace: DO-260B compliant ADS-B, SBAS-capable GNSS, localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches, radius-to-fix (RF) legs and more
• Baseline geo-referenced electronic navigation charts that display own-ship aircraft position for enhanced situational awareness during approaches
• Easy and fast database updates using a standard USB drive port on the front of the displays, or the optional Aircraft Information Manager wireless data loading service
• Selectable video windows on the displays for viewing inputs from Enhanced Vision System (EVS) or other external cameras.
Pro Line Fusion is software-upgradeable for easy updates and also provides the backbone for integrating future enhancements such as Rockwell Collins’ HGS™-3500 Head-up Guidance System, EVS-3000 Enhanced Vision System, MultiScan™ weather radar and Airport Moving Map.
Pro Line Fusion is already certified as an upgrade for fielded King Air aircraft with Pro Line 21™. Coming soon, operators will have the opportunity to upgrade to the large Pro Line Fusion touchscreen displays being installed on new King Airs through Textron Aviation’s factory-owned service centers. Pro Line Fusion upgrades for earlier King Airs equipped with Pro Line II are also nearing certification and will be available through Rockwell Collins-authorized dealers worldwide.
Rockwell Collins’ award-winning Pro Line Fusion, which is featured on a full range of business aircraft, air transport and military special missions aircraft, provides pilots with state-of-the-art technology and the tools needed to quickly and intuitively manage aircraft performance in all phases of flight—from startup to shutdown. The system has flown more than 150,000 flight hours aboard more than 275 in-service business airplanes.
Geneva | May 18, 2015– Rockwell Collins has been selected to provide the FalconCabin HD+ cabin management and entertainment system for Dassault’s new Falcon Jet 5X and Falcon Jet 8X business aircraft. With this selection, Rockwell Collins builds upon its role as Dassault’s sole cabin system supplier for its entire new aircraft fleet*.
“Falcon Jet cabins are renowned for exceptional comfort and performance, and our customized cabin solution for the 5X and 8X, which is based on our industry-leading Venue system, will utilize advanced technologies to create this environment for passengers to work, rest and play,” said Greg Irmen, vice president and general manager, Flight Controls and Information Systems for Rockwell Collins. “Our many years of working with Dassault were key to this selection and we look forward to elevating this relationship to a whole new level.”
Rockwell Collins’ Venue-based cabin system for Falcon Jet 5X and Falcon Jet 8X will provide customization capabilities for flexibility to accommodate intuitive, easy-to-control cabin interfaces and consumer technologies that passengers desire. It will also include content programming options and the latest version of Rockwell Collins’ interactive Airshow® 3D Moving Map to keep passengers informed and engaged throughout their journey.
New Zealand | May 18, 2015– Leading New Zealand-based aviation technology company Phitek Systems has won the Endace Innovative Hi-Tech Hardware Product Award for its range of magnetic aviation audio jacks.
Phitek’s award entry demonstrated how it had met the challenge of delivering high-quality audio with smart electronic hardware in the highly regulated aviation industry.
Problems with traditional audio connectors can leave a passenger without access to inflight entertainment (IFE) – an experience they will forever associate with that airline – and for the airline significant replacement costs of up to US$1,000 a jack.
Phitek’s solution was to reimagine how audio might be delivered in the cabin using magnetic connection points eliminating the need for pins. Complex electronic engineering was deployed to create a product that is unique in the global aviation market.
Phitek CEO, Roy Moody, said Phitek’s magnetic jacks addressed both passenger and airline operator challenges. “We delivered an audio jack that eliminates pin breakage, can adapt to any IFE system, airline or passenger headphones; and delivers high-quality audio.”
Moody said Phitek then had to pass all the very stringent aviation regulations to get its product flying. “Our magnetic jacks have been tested for whether they are flame and water-proof, whether they continue to function at -55 degrees Celsius and up to near boiling temperatures and a myriad of other tests that non-aviation consumer electronic devices are not normally expected to, or could pass.”
Moody said the award endorsed the company’s smart approach to technology design. “This stamp of approval from a highly respected award demonstrates the quality, creativity and ability of Phitek to deliver innovative technology in the aviation cabin.”
Phitek’s magnetics jacks are sold through all major IFE companies including Panasonic, Thales, Rockwell Collins and Zodiac driving export revenue growth of over 30% year-on-year for the past three years.
The judges narrowed down a record number of submissions to 54 finalists in 12 categories. Phitek’s aviation magnetic jacks were chosen as a winner over entries from Dairy Automation, SnapitHD and Solar Bright with the judges mentioning Phitek’s “impressive product design and deep understanding of the market”.