We continue this week with some interesting people and products we saw during AIX in Hamburg at Astronics and Rockwell Collins.


Astronics:

When you were at AIX you surely would have seen the latest ‘lightweight’ inseat power system from the folks at Astronics. What really caught our attention was the weight of the ‘Direct Current Power Supply’ itself – but we will save that data for the Astronics spokesperson, Ken Adwan, Senior Business Development Manager, who told IFExpress: “The DCPS is actually capable of supporting (30) USB outputs operating at 2.1 Amp simultaneously. The zone-based DCPS, which provides DC power to the seats weighs in at 3.8 lb. (nominal). The result is that a typical narrow body system, providing (175) total High Output USB Power ports to the passenger seats will have a shipset weight and price that are 30% to 40% lower than a traditional seat-based power supply architecture. That system would be comprised of a total of (8) zone-based DCPS units.” (Be sure to check out the high level system graphic for the USB UltraLite system and data sheet for the P/N 1375-2 DC Power Supply Unit (DCPS).) What really caught IFExpress’s attention was the statement on the data sheet: “Power conversion efficiency greater that 85%,”…and that has to be some kind of record for an airborne AC to DC converter. Typically they run about 80% or less!

Rockwell Collins:

“Hi there, I’m Jeff Sare” was our first introduction to the new Vice President, Sales & Marketing Air Transport Cabin Solutions Commercial Systems at the Rockwell Collins booth. IFExpress was told: “We were really impressed with Jeff when he was a consultant to Rockwell Collins and we brought him on board to help out the IFEC efforts. Jeff brings a wealth of industry knowledge about in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions, an area of growing interest for airlines to keep up with fast-changing passenger requirements,” said Scott Gunnufson, Vice President, Commercial Sales, Marketing and Support at Rockwell Collins. Further, from the Rockwell Collins news release about Jeff; “For more than two decades, Sare has served in a number of leadership roles in the air transport in-flight entertainment (IFE) and connectivity marketplace, from IFE manufacturers and connectivity providers to airline marketing. In his new role, Sare will lead a sales and marketing team focused on Rockwell Collins’ complete portfolio of PAVES IFE and connectivity solutions that meet the passenger engagement needs of any airline, including seat-centric IFE, broadcast and wireless IFE, high-speed broadband connectivity, moving map and passenger services systems,” stated the company. We note, Jeff is a very pleasant, easy to talk to person and we encourage folks in our industry to say hello.

During the interview, we asked where the IFE industry is heading and Jeff indicated the following: “IFE seems to have stabilized. We are seeing appropriate and significant growth in both wide and narrow body aircraft markets. At the same time, IFE Wi-Fi growth is also explosive. The demand for connectivity and some control over your environment is on fire. There is a demand for end-to-end connection to the passenger. Further, new technology opens up new opportunities. B-2-B is driving innovations that help airlines manage their business. Our customers are the airlines… full stop!

“Rockwell Collins’ inseat video has gone into service line fit at both OEMs. In-seat availability is running near 100%. In fact, Biman Bangladesh launched in late November 2015 and they are flying at 99.98% – the .02% was a pinched wire,” said Sare.

We also asked about IFE in the aviation ecosystem and Mr. Sare went on: “There are two business case studies worth mentioning: What Apple did was to build an entire ecosystem that explained their vision for the iPhone and what it could do – think apps here,” he noted. “Further, Tesla is doing the same in the automotive industry.” The company sees that solution, and Jeff implied that Rockwell Collins will take advantage of their IFE solution, and with their acquisition of ARINC, will leverage the aviation communication platform. He went on to say: “There are fourteen thousand commercial aircraft, some five thousand business jets, one thousand airports and some three hundred and sixty airlines in this environment… Rockwell Collins sits in the middle of this aviation ecosystem.” We get it!

We should also note that Rockwell Collins was awarded an Airbus supplier trophy for “Cabin BFE Supplier Support in 2015” at Aircraft Interiors and the team was rightfully proud of their efforts in winning. The awards followed Airbus’s supplier support rating process, which drew in-service feedback from more than 133 of Airbus customers worldwide.” The news release also said, ‘Rockwell Collins, which was also top ranked in the category last year by Airbus customers, was credited for its ability to continuously provide reliable equipment and complementary technical support, its effectiveness of operational support services and finally, customer feedback on cost of ownership.”

If you didn’t get the big picture, one of the big Rockwell Collins focuses is on data. They note: “By 2030, the number of active air transport and business aircraft is expected to grow to 85,000 (Editor’s Note: Given that today there are around 30,000) – with 80 percent of those equipped with new information-management systems. These developments are making a seamless secure and integrated aviation ecosphere a reality.” Aviation and information, two pre-separated words, now have a reality that Rockwell Collins see’s as a future reality. The flow of data along with the future is where Rockwell Collins is placing their bets. Here is a list of future information solutions they see:

1. Intuitive, information-enabled flight decks and aircraft that use data from on-board and external sources to provide new levels of analysis and awareness for pilots, airlines and manufacturers
2. Cabin solutions that change the paradigm from passenger entertainment to passenger engagement while helping airlines achieve their goals
3. Airport operations that streamline passenger processing, increase efficiencies and enhance revenue
4. A robust and flexible network that pairs bandwidth to manage information across the aviation ecosphere with the necessary security to keep our passengers and our airspace safe.
5. A future airspace that leverages the flow of shared information to address the congestion of today with a new model of aircraft and airspace management.

So, if information is the future of aviation data, then they expect massive amounts to infect our aviation space – Massive Amounts! This includes maintenance, scheduling, freight, airplane performance, and much more in networks on and off the aircraft. Rockwell Collins has four Principles when it comes to handling all this data:

Principle 1. Match the Right Data With the Channel.
Principle 2. Interoperability Matters.
Principle 3. Make the Best Use of Data.
Principle 4. Peace of Mind is Paramount.

We also wish to point out the paramount importance of security, and when this subject is addressed by Rockwell Collins, they say: “As systems become increasingly interconnected, interdependent cyber security has become a growing concern in civil aviation. Network security threats are diverse and persistent; a large part of the data that traverses private aviation networks is sensitive and relates to passengers’ reservations.”

They go on: “In this environment, security is essential Today, private aviation networks like those from Rockwell Collins are outfitted with multiple firewalls and security mechanisms to ensure that the security of critical communications is airtight, and that policies and protections align with IATA security rules and mandates. As we explore new channels of communication to meet the needs of the information age, we must ensure that they can support those same levels of security at every moment of transmission.” We couldn’t agree more.

Further they state: “But peace of mind goes beyond ensuring messages are protected at every point of transmission – it’s also about ensuring the information arrives at its intended destination in a timely manner. Even as our industry embraces new technology like ACARS over IP and standardized, web-based applications like XML Web Services, we believe the curation of message delivery is a critical component of information management – knowing exactly where a message is at any given moment, and if something goes wrong, where that error occurred and what backups are available to ensure the message arrives at its destination.”

In conclusion, Rockwell Collins notes: “In aviation’s information age, an ever-increasing volume of data streams across the sky and around the earth. Developing faster ways to transmit, store, process and access that information – leveraging the latest ground- and satellite-based communications technologies – will be necessary to ensure our industry can take full advantage of the opportunities ahead.” Stay Tuned In on this one as aviation data will be taking a big uptick of storage and connectivity in the future… for almost every reason!


Other News:

  • If you have not been following TMF Associates Blog, you might start here: TMF Associates blog » The exploding inflight connectivity market?
  • You might want to watch “The Age of Aerospace,” a multi-piece aviation documentary sponsored by Boeing… now on YouTube
  • If you are planning on attending EXPO Asia and APEX in Singapore at the end of October, be sure to check out the ‘View Location Map‘… and bring your credit card because the Ferrari dealership is a short walk away!
  • If you are in charge of airline food, you probably want to see what foods are trending in favor and declining. Here is a good source of info: Google Food Trends Report. And yes, it might be true in your kitchen as well!
  • We got an interesting email recently that went: Per the following link,  I have a few questions:
    1. I wonder if Airbus also invested in BOC’s aircraft leasing firm?
    2. Does an investment in BOC give Boeing an advantage when selling airplanes into China?  (Duh!)
    3. Is this the cost of doing business, i.e. selling airplanes, in China?
    In answer to the above we found the following:
    1. China will become the “single-most important market” for plane-leasing companies over the next five years, Domhnal Slattery, chief executive officer of Dublin-based lessor Avolon Holdings Ltd., said in an April Interview.
    2. Coy as ever, Cook’s somewhat cryptic remarks naturally led to an avalanche of speculation, particularly given rumors that Apple is  developing its own electric car. Other commentators took the position that Apple’s investment was simply an old-fashioned way to curry favor with the Chinese government. (Check out the full article here)

Chicago | May 11, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, and SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation (“SKY Perfect JSAT”), Asia’s leading provider of satellite services, announced today that the two companies have entered into partnership for increased satellite connectivity over Japan.

Gogo will leverage the JCSAT–5A satellite high throughput beam to increase capacity, which ultimately means better performance for its service to Japan Airlines (JAL). To kick off the new agreement, Gogo will be offering passengers on all JAL domestic flights 15 minutes of free Wi-Fi on each flight.

“Gogo has built its networks to be open, which means we can leverage numerous satellites in the Ku-band around the world,” said Anand Chari, Gogo’s chief technology officer. “SKY Perfect JSAT is the largest satellite operator in Asia and by leveraging their high capacity JCSAT–5A satellite, we are able to deliver more bandwidth at lower costs to customers like JAL and their passengers.”

“We are sincerely honored to be a partner with Gogo,” stated Shinji Takada, President & Chief Executive Officer, SKY Perfect JSAT. “This year, we are launching several satellites including JCSAT-14 and JCSAT-15 which have very unique Ku-band coverage over Pacific region and Indian ocean region, Further, we have announced to launch Horizons 3e, a newly Ku-band HTS, in 2018. We will continue to satisfy growing demand in the mobility market with our satellites”

Gogo and SKY Perfect JSAT has also partnered to provide satellite communications services over the Pacific region with the new JCSAT-14 satellite which was successfully launched on 6th May.

EBACE, Geneva | May 17, 2016– Dahlgren Duck & Associates (DDA), the Dallas, Texas-based supplier of custom-made fine dining ware, bespoke luxury amenities and art works for private jets, returns to this year’s EBACE 2016 – booth Y103 – with a strengthened management team and transforming business. Joining CEO Scott Ritter, a regular EBACE visitor, will be Philip Brunger who has stepped into the role of VP Sales and Business Development.

Philip is responsible for new strategic growth worldwide and will be using EBACE as a platform to highlight the company’s growing range of services for operators, OEMs, completion centers and private owners. Philip previously spent more than ten years at Dallas Market Center in the trade show management business. He built a network across multiple industries, and developed product expertise within a variety of sectors as he grew business internationally.

DDA has also appointed Mark Murray to the position of Chief Financial Officer. Following a successful twenty-year career working in the financial consultancy and investment arena Mark has joined DDA to enhance the company’s financial efficiency, develop new systems to support internal accounts and improve the customer experience. Supporting the two senior management appointments DDA has bolstered its account management services with the appointment of two account assistants and two account managers.

“DDA has always positioned the customer service experience at the heart of its business as what we do is very much about personal service. The appointment of two industry leaders in their field, and a further four team members to support them reflects the importance we give to this section of our business,” said Ritter of the growth.

DDA investing in advanced technology to support business.

DDA is also embracing technology to enable platforms that can be customized to enhance the specification, selection and ordering process for all its clients. The technology, which is being custom developed, will sit behind a new website to provide a more convenient means of interacting with the DDA team. As the business targets individual clients from Asia, the Middle East and a growing North American market, the technology will allow clients to follow their projects in real time, request modifications and reorder items should they become damaged, whilst anywhere in the world. A refreshed marketing campaign will also present a new contemporary look for the business that will appeal to existing customers, and is anticipated to attract a new set of clients entering the business jet space.

Ritter states, “We are staying true to our origins but we recognize that to take our business forward we need to respond to changing market demands and expectations, to modernize luxury. This has informed our decision to invest in the highest quality people and improve our technology to support the delivery of a brand people want to do business with. The web, combined with our specified technology, enables us to showcase our incredible product portfolio, capabilities and expertise unlike any other platform, and allows us to interact with clients in a completely new way. This really is an incredibly exciting time for DDA.

DDA will be displaying a number of their unique products created on behalf of aviation clients throughout EBACE. The team has also retained the services of boutique aviation PR agency Emerald Media to support their international expansion plans.

  • Leo the robot speeds up bag drop by collecting passengers’ baggage before they enter the terminal

Geneva | May 17, 2016– Passengers arriving at Geneva Airport in the past few days have received help with their bag drop from Leo, an innovative baggage robot developed by air transport IT provider SITA, which is being trialed outside the airport’s Terminal 1.

Leo is a fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot that has the capacity to check in, print bag tags and transport up to two suitcases with a maximum weight of 32kg. It also has an obstacle avoidance capability and can navigate in a high-traffic environment such as an airport.

Leo provides a glimpse into the future of baggage handling being explored by SITA Lab and is the first step to automating the baggage process from the moment passengers drop their bags to when they collect them. Using robotics and artificial intelligence, bags will be collected, checked in, transported and loaded onto the correct flight without ever having to enter the terminal building or be directly handled by anyone other than the passengers themselves.

Leo – named after the Italian Renaissance inventor and engineer Leonardo da Vinci who built what is now recognized as the world’s first robot – comes to the assistance of passengers as they approach the terminal building. Touching Leo’s Scan&Fly bag drop interface opens the baggage compartment doors to allow passengers to place their bags inside. After the passengers have scanned their boarding passes, the tags are printed and can be attached to the bag. With the bags loaded and tagged, the compartment door closes and Leo displays the boarding gate and departure time.

Leo then takes the bags directly to the baggage handling area where they are sorted and connected to the correct flight. The doors of the robot can only be reopened by the operator unloading the baggage in the airport.

The use of robots such as Leo means that in future fewer bags and trolleys will enter the airport terminal, reducing congestion and making airport navigation easier.

Dave Bakker, President Europe at SITA said: “Through the innovative work of the SITA Lab we are able to tackle some of the key challenges that face airports today. Leo demonstrates that robotics hold the key to more effective, secure and smarter baggage handling and is major step towards further automating bag handling in airports. Leo also provides some insight into the potential use of robots across the passenger journey in future.”

Massimo Gentile, Head of IT at Genève Aéroport, said: “In a busy airport such as Geneva Airport, the use of a robot such as Leo limits the number of bags in the airport terminal, helping us accommodate a growing number of passengers without compromising the airport experience inside the terminal. Leo also proves the case for increased use of robotics to make passengers’ journey a little more comfortable, whether it is checking in baggage, providing directions or helping them through the security process.”

Leo, which was built for SITA by BlueBotics, is part of SITA’s showcase of technology at the 2016 Air Transport IT Summit taking place from 24-26 May in Barcelona.

To watch Leo in action at Geneva Airport click on the following link: www.sita.aero/baggagerobot

  • Innovative NetLine/Ops ++ operations control platform and NetLine/Sched schedule management solution successfully implemented for all subsidiary airlines

Raunheim, Germany | May 17, 2016– Lufthansa Systems today announced that the four members of the Thomas Cook Group Airlines are managing their flight operations from Belgium, Germany, Denmark and the UK with the NetLine/Ops ++ operations control platform. They are also using the NetLine/Sched schedule management solution to optimize their schedules. Following the successful cutover at Thomas Cook UK last year, the remaining subsidiaries – Condor, Thomas Cook Belgium and Thomas Cook Scandinavia – migrated to the innovative operations solutions over the past months.

“The Thomas Cook Group Airlines consist of four airlines with different cultures and experiences as well as different processes which have been evolved historically. The successful implementation of the new platforms is a key milestone in terms of harmonizing our processes and acting like one Airline,” said Peter Hauptvogel, Director IT at Thomas Cook Group Airlines.

NetLine/Ops is now being used by almost 70 airlines around the world, 31 of which have already deployed NetLine/Ops ++. This new-generation solution offers Operations Control Center (OCC) staff full transparency around current flights and potential operational disruptions because airlines need to be able to manage schedule changes – both planned and unplanned – in a way that minimizes their effect on passengers.

The Thomas Cook Group is the first multinational airline group to manage four international OCCs using a single operations control platform. The operations control solution offers functions which facilitate information management and enable a higher degree of automation. As a result, the airline will be warned early in case of potential disruptions that might occur due to weather or longer maintenance periods. This allows operations controllers to take preventative action in order to avoid delays or even cancellations, thus improving the punctuality of flight operations. Delays cost airlines more than USD 26 billion worldwide. According to the latest OAG (Official Airline Guide) report, airlines that use NetLine/Ops or NetLine/Ops ++ are among the most punctual in the world.

The NetLine/Sched schedule management solution supports airline scheduling. Airlines must regularly adjust their schedules in response to competitors or updated sales and marketing plans. This places high demands on their scheduling system. It must be capable of fully supporting the development, management and implementation of alternative network strategies. NetLine/Sched gives airline employees access to high-quality optimization tools which enable them to take both operational and economic aspects into account in order to improve schedule quality. NetLine/Sched also helps evaluate “what-if” scenarios and automatically calculates their commercial efficiency. The schedule management solution is currently being used by nearly 60 airlines worldwide.

“The Thomas Cook Group Airlines are already using several products from Lufthansa Systems. We are therefore especially pleased to provide them with NetLine/Ops ++ and NetLine/Sched, the ideal solutions for managing their flight operations and schedules,” said Marco Cesa, Senior Vice President Regional Management EMEA at Lufthansa Systems. “Thanks to constructive teamwork, we were able to complete the cutover at Condor, Thomas Cook Belgium and Thomas Cook Scandinavia within just seven weeks.”

Picture description (copyright: Lufthansa Systems): NetLine/Sched supports airline scheduling

EBACE | May 16, 2016– Flying Colours Corp. returns to this year’s EBACE in a buoyant mood, (Booth WO63) having confirmed signing the first customer for INAIRVATION’s pre-engineered retro-fit cabin solution for Bombardier Global aircraft types. Flying Colours, which was named a North American partner by the Austrian-based joint venture between Lufthansa Technik and F/LIST during NBAA 2015, is already working with the European partners on the design engineering for the cabin. The undisclosed client confirmed the order in late April. Work on the project has already begun. The aircraft induction at Flying Colours is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2016, whilst re-delivery is anticipated to be in the first quarter of 2017.

The launch customer has selected the baseline INAIRVATION package to blend with the new interior. The refit will incorporate the nice® HD Cabin Management and Inflight Entertainment system (IFE/CMS) from Lufthansa Technik. The system’s functionality will be integrated into new ergonomic side-ledges which are pre-engineered and manufactured by F/LIST. These modules will be delivered and installed during the retrofit process, which will take place at the Flying Colours’ Peterborough, Ontario headquarters.

The INAIRVATION components are just one piece of the larger cabin refurbishment project. The Global Express will undergo extensive reconfiguration of just about every part of its interior. The existing seats are to be replaced with Global 6000 frames and covered in a variety of exotic leathers. The lighting system will incorporate a rainbow spectrum of choices all controlled by the nice® HD CMS. A stone granite floor will be installed in the entrance galley area, including the forward lavatory, as well as the aft lavatory, and will complement the veneers and design of the monuments and seats. Carbon fiber veneers will be laid on the cabinetry to enhance the contemporary style of the interior. The final designs are expected to be ready by the end of June 2016. The exterior of the aircraft will also be re-painted following a custom paint scheme using all metallic paints. The retrofit will be certified via an STC obtained by Flying Colours.

“We are really pleased to have signed up the first customer for the INAIRVATION offering. Having worked with the customer before on a number of other projects he trusts our engineering design experience, and knows we will effectively realize his cabin vision. We explored a number of options for him, but he chose the INAIRVATION concept knowing that combined with our interior capabilities it was the most cost, and time efficient solution for him. He really appreciates the value the INAIRVATION elements bring to the mix,” said Sean Gillespie, Executive VP Flying Colours.

INAIRVATION Co-CEO Philip von Schroeter adds, “When we started the JV, we had concerns that it could take us a while to really bring across the added value of the INAIRVATION offering to the market. Our excellent partnership with Flying Colours helped us to quickly develop the joint retrofit offering for the Bombardier Global family. The fact that only six months after announcement of our retrofit program we are well into our first project, with more in the pipeline, shows that we must have hit “a sweet spot” in the market. INAIRVATION and its shareholders Lufthansa Technik and F/LIST are very pleased with this outcome.”

London, UK | May 12, 2016– IMG is to launch a second live sports channel for the inflight market to complement its Sport 24 channel – the only 24/7 live sports channel produced exclusively for airlines.

Sport 24 Extra will launch on June 1st 2016, and take advantage of the premium live sport available in order to provide passengers with a choice of live events during busy periods in the sporting calendar.

The new channel is an extension of the exclusive relationship between Panasonic and IMG for the provision of Sport 24 and demonstrates both companies commitment to delivering an unrivalled inflight sports experience. Sport 24 is the world’s only live 24/7 sports channel for the airline industry and already broadcasts Barclays Premier League, Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League, Formula 1™, NBA, NFL, Ryder Cup, golf majors and tennis grand slams.

Roll out of Sport 24 Extra will begin on Emirates and Turkish Airlines, with other carriers to follow. Sport 24 is currently available across 11 airlines.

Richard Wise, SVP at IMG Media, said: “IMG’s ongoing collaboration with our partners at Panasonic enabled us to develop Sport 24 Extra which meets the growing desire of passengers wanting to see more premium live sport on airlines. We have such an outstanding portfolio of premium sport and the new channel will enable passengers to select from top events taking place at the same time.”

David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communications Services at Panasonic Avionics, said: “Sport never stops and neither do Panasonic and IMG. We’re bringing a constantly improving and evolving inflight experience. The launch of the Sport 24 Extra channel reinforces the importance we place on enhancing the in-flight experience for passengers all over the world through continued innovation.”

Panasonic’s eXTV television network uses the company’s eXConnect in-flight Ku-band communications service, including the same Ku antenna and onboard components, to deliver high-quality, television programming to passengers during their flight. It provides live, uninterrupted content to aircraft flying all over the world, even over oceans.

  • Mobile app provides ground agents with relevant real-time information for smart collaboration

Geneva | May 12, 2016– SITA, the IT provider to the air transport industry, has worked with Microsoft to deliver a Windows 10 universal app – SITA AirsideApp – a sophisticated mobile application that transforms ground operations at airports. This app, which fully digitizes processes, works on phones and tablets and can also be used with wearable computing devices for efficient hands-free operations.

Microsoft and SITA jointly developed AirsideApp to replace the current paper-based and slow manual processes by integrating the multiple airline, airport and ground handler systems used during ground operations. The app collects and shares information in real time and presents an easy-to-use interface on Windows 10 mobile devices and tablets for ground agents. In addition, notifications and status updates can be provided on the Microsoft Band allowing for hands-free updates on the go.

SITA’s mobile app is in use today at a leading Asian airline and at airports in Asia and the Middle East where it has been shown to reduce administration time to process forms and manuals by as much as 30% and increase the accuracy of time-stamped activity recording by up to 25%.

Craig Dewar, Sr. Director, Windows Commercial Product Marketing, Microsoft, said: “Microsoft has collaborated with SITA to develop this mobile solution because of SITA’s unique expertise across airline, airport and ground-handling operations. SITA’s understanding of the business processes enabled our joint design teams to deliver an app that takes advantage of the latest mobile and wearable technology and Windows 10 to provide an agile and efficient way of working at airports worldwide.”

SITA AirsideApp allows seamless integration with the variety of back-end systems in use at airports, including departure control systems, flight information, roster and inventory management and third party services. The app’s integration to these various data sources combined with mobile precision timing ensures contextual and relevant data are displayed to ground agents based on their individual work activities.

Dan Ebbinghaus, Senior Vice President, Communications and Infrastructure, SITA, said: “SITA and Microsoft have focused development on improving the workflow for ground staff at airports. By moving from paper-based checklists and operations, SITA AirsideApp eliminates fragmented processes and enables workforce collaboration. This agile way of working means it is easier to make the right decision quickly every time.”

SITA AirsideApp opens the possibility to digitize additional ground processes from any location, on any mobile device. It enables real-time monitoring of events and processes from teams and third parties. All activity recorded and collected by mobile users, such as fuelling, cleaning, catering deliveries, gate openings and passenger check-in, are displayed for supervisors on a clear business intelligence dashboard. In addition, by enabling better information sharing and communication across mobile users it improves collaboration across various groups to provide better real-time visibility of event and improve disruption management.

AirsideApp can also support mobile point-of-sales allowing agents to easily sell ancillary services such as lounge access, seat upgrades, excess bag charges or duty-free orders. This can be done on the spot without the hassle of paper-based operations and inventory reconciliation.

SITA AirsideApp is a cloud-based mobility solution designed to be easily customized and integrated within individual and unique customer ecosystems. It is backed by SITA’s global services team of more than 2,000 IT service professionals and field engineers on the ground at airports. Together they proactively monitor SITA application and network services 24/7, identifying and resolving issues before they have an impact.

SITA AirsideApp is part of SITA’s showcase of technology at the 2016 Air Transport IT Summit taking place 24-26 May in Barcelona.

  • Agreement paves way forward to a future-proof airport

Valletta | May 11, 2016– Malta International Airport has entered into a strategic partnership with global air transport IT specialist SITA which is geared towards boosting the airport’s operational excellence and putting it at the forefront of technology in the aviation industry.

The partnership – which came into effect from May 10, 2016 – will allow Malta International Airport to focus on strategic investment and innovation as SITA takes over the airport’s day-to-day ICT operations. The partnership will help improve ICT service levels, optimize airport operations and enhance the overall passenger experience.

SITA’s experience in managing large-scale ICT transformation programs around the world will be extended to Malta International Airport, and support it in integrating ICT at the heart of its growth strategy over the long term.

Malta International Airport welcomed 4.62 million passengers in 2015 and is expected to grow by more than 2% this year. The company has also unveiled an ambitious investment program which includes a €28m terminal expansion. Work on Phase 1 of the project is scheduled to commence later on this year.

Alan Borg, CEO of Malta International Airport said: “We recognize that developing our ICT infrastructure is fundamental to our future growth. In light of this, we are delighted to be partnering with SITA, the market leader in this industry, and look forward to working together on a digital blueprint to meet our future demands.”

Dave Bakker, SITA President, Europe said: “As a global supplier of end-to-end solutions to the broader air transport industry, we are in the unique position of being able to support the full gamut of airport, airline, and government systems found in airports today. This allows us to take our service to the industry a step further, by managing the end-to-end ICT infrastructure for airports while guiding their future investment to ensure cost savings and improved service delivery.”

ARCONICS:

Our meeting with Michael Reilly, VP e-Enablement + Entertainment, pointed out one fact for sure: “Arconics  is hardware agnostic – we are a software company!” To give you a better idea about Arconics, here is a mention of one of their products, CloudStore, we published earlier this past month: “Tigerair Australia has selected the Arconics CloudStore Wireless IFE software platform for installation on its B737-800 aircraft. Over time, the deployment will be fleet-wide and more features introduced to the platform as part of the partnership.” Now, here is a bit more about the product we also published earlier: “CloudStore by Arconics, the next generation, feature-rich, scalable and cost effective Wireless In-Flight Entertainment (W-IFE) platform, has been selected by Tigerair Australia for the airline’s first short-haul services to Bali commencing March 2016. Flights between Australia and Denpasar are operated by Virgin Australia International, providing a Tigerair Australia service, and are subject to regulatory approvals. CloudStore will allow Tigerair Australia to offer a mix of free and paid content offerings to their customers on the Boeing 737-800 fleet of aircraft which the airline will use for its international services. Content will be a mix of Hollywood and Australian movies as well as international and local TV programs, music and real-time destination mapping. Over time, more features will be introduced to the platform.”

Here is the big deal – CloudStore Wireless IFE is driven by the passenger experience, but it also features powerful backend functionality, including rich data analytics in near real-time, to support on-the-go commercial and service decision-making. Further, the product delivers improvements in the IFE content delivery cycle. Airline staff can publish their own content builds and prepare aircraft media: they no longer have to wait to import media from an integrator, and can update content on the platform without delays.

Mr. Reilly also noted that: “Corendon Dutch Airlines has selected the Arconics CloudStore Wireless IFE software platform for installation on its B737-800 aircraft. Arconics will provide a turnkey solution for Corendon Dutch Airlines, including the software platform, mobile apps, and content licensing and encoding. Content for the go-live system will include Hollywood and Dutch movies, television shows, music, moving map, and destination content for the guests of Corendon Dutch Airlines.”

EFB and Document Management for Flight Operations are also two big areas of Arconics’ efforts. They provide these services for Qatar (their biggest customer), as well as Cathay Pacific , Ryanair, Are Lingus, and Philippine Airlines. Noted Mr. Reilly: “We are hardware agnostic, Arconics is a software company. We can do a complete turn-key approach or we can work on a modular basis.  Since we are hardware agnostic, we can fit into any mold, as every aircraft is different. Further,” he noted, “Arconics is growing rapidly, as a result of the need for our services – we now have 45 people, while just a couple years ago, we were at 12.”

Arconics shines in software development applications, and Mr. Reilly told IFExpress that the reason App development is a big deal is because each airline is different, and since the company is an experienced software developer, they are still a size that that allows flexibility – the message here is they are a software provider but because of their size they can provide different levels of service dependent on the demand. In Arctics case…one size fits all!


KID Systeme:

“Entertaining connected passengers” is KID-Systeme’s mission and ambition and at Aircraft Interiors Expo 2016 KID-Systeme featured SKYpower Combined, which is the latest iteration of SKYpower to help facilitate this goal. SKYpower Combined is an in-seat passenger power unit that allows the airline to select from the following outlet options: a combined 110-volt AC and a 2.1 amp USB power source in one outlet; a single 110-volt AC outlet; a dual 2.1 amp USB charge per outlet; or a single 2.1 amp USB outlet. There is a streamlined power box per seat group that is either mounted under the seat or on a seat leg. The product is designed to guarantee airline passengers fast and simultaneous power to use their tablets, smartphones and/or laptops inflight. Green production and a focus on economy are very important manufacturing elements to KID-Systeme. “SKYpower is made in Germany, which has strict stipulations for the manufacturing. Our production is based on economy of resources and an efficient logistical approach,” said Maren Muente PR & Communications of KID-Systeme. “As a result, SKYpower is a very green product. Minimal shipping distance is just one example of this eco consciousness. We call it the next generation of power.” SKYpower Combined is currently in product development with the first shipset to be delivered in fourth quarter 2016.

The company also featured several concepts and project studies. One such study, Qi inductive seatback charging, was developed in conjunction with Recaro. Another project study on display was “Watchdog” – an alarm mechanism that detected whether the airplane door was deactivated before the exit door handle is released. Watchdog is a preventive and reliable warning system with integrated motion detection. It is an easy ‘plug & play’ installation. The primary object of the product is to reduce the number of accidental evacuation slide deployments… a costly and embarrassing occurrence!

We also want to mention a couple of the the KID-Systeme awards that they have recently won. At AIX, the folks from KID-Systeme garnered the Airbus Cabin BFE Supplier Award, and the affable Patrick Schrot, General Manager of KID-Systeme GmbH, told IFExpress: “We were one of six suppliers who received the Airbus Cabin BFE Supplier Award 2015 for “excellent” rating! A great honor and special highlight at this year’s 2016 AIX!” Airbus spotlighted the suppliers of Buyer-Furnished-Equipment (BFE) for its jetliner cabin interiors, acknowledging those companies that achieved notable customer satisfaction levels in 2015 with awards given to these top performers during Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany. Here is what Airbus said about the award process: “The suppliers recognized by Airbus were identified through the company’s Supplier Support Rating process, which captured in-service feedback from over 130 Airbus customers. Buyer-Furnished-Equipment refers to items selected and purchased by the customer when acquiring a jetliner, which is then installed in the aircraft. For cabin interiors, typical examples include passenger seats, galleys and in-flight entertainment systems. The suppliers were evaluated based on the following criteria: the ability to provide continuously reliable equipment and associated technical support; effectiveness of operational support services, bench marked against Airbus’ industry-leading supplier support standards; and customer feedback concerning cost of ownership.”

KID was also duly proud of their 2015 Gold Performance Excellence Award from Boeing. The Boeing Company issues the award annually to recognize suppliers who have achieved superior performance. 107 of 530 suppliers received the Gold level of recognition. KID maintained a Gold composite performance rating for each month of the the 12-month performance period. “The Gold Award is a clear statement of our customer focused way of working. Rising from Silver to Gold status makes us very proud,” said Patrick Schrot. KID Systeme supplies SKYpower for the Next-Generation 737 and 757 single aisle aircraft, as well as, the 747,767, and 777 twin aisle jetliners.


PXCom:

IFExpress stopped by to catch up with PXCom’s Cyril Jean at AIX and he had some interesting updates for us. In case you don’t remember, PXCom offers airlines a way of enriching their IFE by including a full-scale media that integrates tourist/destination content and/or advertising. They produce destination tourist guides in multimedia format and can integrate additional profiling and CRM related solutions into any IFE platform. PXCom states that they have the potential to help airlines increase their net income per passenger on operated destinations by up to 40%. Currently, PXCom is working with three European airlines and are on more than 100 aircraft, integrating with three different IFE systems. During AIX 2016, they announced a partnership with IMM International, a world-leading agency with over 30 years in inflight media advertising, serving 150+ airlines.Our expertise lies in supporting brands in their multi-channel campaigns aiming at reaching the traveler, including digital,” explained Nicolas Devos, IMM’s CEO. “This encompasses pre- and post-flight. The partnership with PXCom brings the missing piece of the puzzle: the digital inflight advertising.” This enables any brand to launch an efficient digital inflight ad campaign on any IFE platform. “IMM brings the advertisers, their expectations and a strong mobile & web advertising experience to reach the travelers,” stated Cyril Jean, PXCom’s CEO, “We work with the airlines and IFE manufacturers, in the assets definition, in order to get the right balance between #PaxEx and expected revenues. Then we connect to the IFE, and open a new revenue stream for the airline.”


Other:

  • The folks at SITA have been a big proponent of the Internet of Things (IoT), especially where it concerns airports. They note: “Today, 83% of passengers carry a smartphone and this is now the unifying technology in transport that will provide a connected end-to-end experience. SITA’s report shows that smartphones are reshaping travel behavior and with growth rates of around 80% or more at the check-in and boarding pass stages it is clear passengers are keen to use their own technology.” The go on to say: The groundwork by the air transport industry to establishing the infrastructure and processes that enable more seamless travel experiences is well under way and gathering further momentum. Over the next three years the vast majority of airlines and airports are planning to invest in mobile services for passengers and most airports will also be financing self-service processes. You might want to read more from the SITA folks in their paper: “The Future is Connected.”
  • With our limited travel budget we have found that there are at least two means to improve your long-haul flight:  a) The first is to buy an upgrade to economy plus (or your airline’s equivalent brand) at around $200/$300 per international flight segment; and b) the other way is to purchase a pair of BOSE QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones. The later will only require an initial expenditure for the first flight! Not to mention, you can use them with your Smartphone too! –  PLWiseman | Editor, Publisher & Co-Founder of IFExpress & Airfax.com/blog