News From Thales:

IFExpress came away from our time at the Thales Booth in Singapore with a number of highlights that are outlined below:

1) First, in September of this year Thales announced their relationship with SES to provide a dedicated connectivity service over the Americas that will be optimized for the commercial aviation industry. The relationship with satellite operator SES will offer high throughput satellite connectivity in the Ka-band. Two of the satellites are already in orbit and the service will be launched in mid-2017. The third satellite in the network, manufactured by Thales Alenia Space, is targeted to launch in 2020. What is the benefit of all this? Thales states that the satellites are purpose built for aviation and are directed to cover where the majority of aircraft routes fly, which are much different than residential home coverage. In the interim, Thales has access to some of SES’s current transponder space. The service from Thales is dubbed FlytLIVE. Noted Thales, “To meet the needs of a growing market, SES will procure a new satellite specifically designed for the needs of FlytLIVE and manufactured by Thales Alenia Space to be launched in 2020. The satellite’s architecture is based on Thales Alenia Space’s all-electric version of the Spacebus NEO platform, the highest performing satellite in the global connectivity market.” FlytLIVE will be a full end-to-end solution that will include a modular antenna, multi-frequency radome, in-cabin Wi-Fi and portal platform. It will also provide bandwidth and session management, operational support tools, line maintenance, content delivery and turnkey service and support.

The company went on to say, “Thales InFlyt Experience, Thales Alenia Space and SES specifically developed the network and satellite architecture for the unique connectivity requirements of commercial aviation customers resulting in better services, more efficient operations and cost savings. SES will operate the satellites and the ground network. The services will be ready for airline and passenger use by summer of 2017 and will be provided by two satellites that are currently in-orbit. The third satellite in the network to be launched, SES-17, will be optimized for the fast-moving aviation and mobility market over the Americas. It will provide new Ka-HTS bandwidth over this region to meet the current and future speed, coverage and quality expectations of crowded skies and increasing passenger service demands as regional airline passenger traffic is forecasted to nearly double by 2030.”

We understand that the satellite will have some 200 spot beams of various sizes, allowing for flexible allocation over high-traffic airline routes assuring the most efficient delivery of Internet, real-time content delivery and live television. They went on to say that SES-17 will cover the Americas (North, South, and Central), Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean. IFExpress believes their goal will be to build a network that provides higher data rate broadband connections and improves coverage while keeping capacity and quality.

2) During APEX Singapore Thales and Emirates announced that the AVANT inflight entertainment system was selected for the airline’s future fleet of 150 777X jetliners. Here are the highlights of the deal: a) Thales plans to establish an innovation center, Discovery Dubai, and maintenance station in Dubai that will be managed by Thales. b) Thales will be the first to equip its inflight entertainment systems on the 777X aircraft platform. Deliveries are to commence in 2020.

The press release notes: “Thales is committed to using its strengths in technological innovation, communications, big data management and cyber security to enhance Emirates inflight experience leadership position. The airline’s award winning inflight entertainment system, ice is an industry leader in passenger experience, and Thales’s partnership with Emirates will focus on helping the airline drive the highest standards of innovation for ice, from in-seat entertainment to wireless cabin connectivity.”

3) During our interview with Duc HuyTran, Vice President, Marketing and Strategy for Thales InFlyt Experience, he stated that there are 3 pillars to Thales IFEC: connectivity, IFE, and their InFlytCloud service offering. “The combination of our state-of-the-art AVANT inflight entertainment solution, connectivity offerings and InFlytCloud platform are driving new innovations in passenger engagement,” said Tran during the meeting. “Thales is a solutions provider and we are working closely with airlines to build these customized solutions around their fleets, routes and passengers.” Throughout our interview, it was clear to IFExpress that Thales is customer driven at all levels of the organization.

One of the three pillars is the new InFlytCloud service. InFlytCloud is a platform that allows airlines to manage their operations and passenger experience related data via the InFlyt Experience Application Portal. The key here is data, something which the vendors need to provide and the airlines need to understand and use. In the past we have referred to this industry changing feature as ‘Big Data’. Tracy DeCuir, Vice President of Business Infrastructure and Services said, “One key feature of InFlytCloud is that the data is customizable by the user, not just the airline. With this feature the user can deep-dive in on any platform. More importantly, the data is accessible in real-time.” We should also note that the system is scalable, flexible, and brandable by both the OEM and airline. The reader should note that this is another instance of an IFE vendor who realizes the value of Big Data.


Bose:

First, we want to introduce Gary DiLeo, BOSE’s IFEC Sale Representative, and welcome him to the industry. Gary is the new Hratch Astarjian who is now involved with “…sales, business development, marketing and service functions globally.”

Next, we have to tell our readers about something just short of amazing. OK, make that AMAZING.  The BOSE QuietComfort QC35 Bluetooth Wireless Headphones are the best headphones we have ever tested! Here is what BOSE says: “Our other wireless headphones are the SoundSport Wireless Headphones (a Bluetooth, in-ear audio headphone), the SoundSport Pulse (similar to the SoundSport, but it also incorporates heart rate sensors, for people who workout), the QuietControl 30 Wireless Headphone (in-ear noise cancelling – like the QC20, but wireless.  It allows you to increase or reduce the amount of noise reduction you get depending on your environment and preference).  You can see all of these on our website.”

But we want to concentrate here on the BOSE QC35 – and we need to set up our readers, especially those who have used wired BOSE headphones in the past. You probably noted a couple things – BOSE headsets are the best sounding over-the-head earphones you can buy, because they deliver incredible bass notes, crystal clear highs, and if you have noise cancellation, they have virtually no background/outside noise. This has been progressively true with every model we have used over the last 10 years. The QC35’s offer something else with the aforementioned audio quality – they offer a few things more than great sound – no wires, and smart technology. But hold on – the BOSE QC35’s are also like no headphone you ever have used.  Besides no wires, they are ‘smart’ and communicate to you in one of 11 languages (your choice) and represent the next generation in wireless audio headphone entertainment – all via the BOSE Connect app. We were expecting a good set of headphones with no wires, but instead it turned out to be fabulous set of headphones, with no wires and with ‘smart technology’ THAT TALKS TO YOU! Further, the built in voice prompt tells you what’s going on, and on my Apple hardware, it tells me what device I am connecting and connected to. This has value when you are streaming around more than one Bt device.

From an audio point of view, the audio is incredibly clean, pure, and very rich. The bass is most impressive (And yes, you can hear the base drum kick in Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love”…). Noise cancellation is splendid – no background SHHHhhhhh when the music is off. Move your head while the music is playing and no change, no phase shift, nothing – just the music. You’ve got your own controls on the headphones – volume up, volume down, power off/on/connect. A light tells you power on/battery-low and a blue light indicates Bluetooth searching. A white light (in the blue light lens) tells you that you are on hold for a call. When a call does come in if you are listening to the music on your phone, for example, it automatically switches the music on hold till the call ends.

Of course you have your standard controls on the headphones: volume up, volume down, power off/on/connect. We note that there is a light indicates power on/battery low and a blue light for Bluetooth searching. And when using them with a phone, the smart technology from the BOSE Connect app kicks in – just dial or answer the phone for a music fade down. When your call is done, Miss BOSE says, “Call ended” and delivers your music where the song was cut off. While they will work with your Bt phones, Bt iPods, Bt computers without the BOSE Connect app, we loaded the app on an Apple 5S and WOW it allowed us to name the headset, control volume, monitor the headphone dc power level, told us that the Bt was on, kept track of the past connections, on/off timer, voice prompt control, 11 languages, and touch NFC (touch and it connects via BT). It also features product details and a user manual in the app – nice touch. Move your head while the music is playing and there is no audio change, nothing – just the music. As for range – we tried 60 feet and around a corner and down a set of stairs with no degradation – absolutely none.

Lastly, we have to say they are not cheap – QC35 $349 – but since they are the best, they are worth every penny. When you buy these for a gift, you are not just giving a gift – You are delivering an EXPERIENCE. If you are going to test them in a store, load the BOSE Connect app first (its free), then plan to test the full EXPERIENCE, in the store. You won’t be disappointed. (Editor’s Note: As we noted above, from a range point of view, we don’t see why they won’t work on a plane. In fact, your audio source could be stored in your carry-on since you can control your audio entertainment from your seat without wires.)

A Late Discovery: If you think your playing device needs Bluetooth for the QC35s to work, guess again. As we were going to press we discovered that Bose provides a stereo cable that plugs into the headset and connects to your PED so that you can use them with non-Bluetooth equipped players. Cleverly, the end that plugs into the PED is thin enough to fit in it when you have a case or an external battery on it!


Other News:

This year, Boeing was building 777s at a rate of 8.3 per month or 100 per year. The company then announced a cut to 7 jets per month, starting this month. They just announced that they don’t have enough orders to maintain the current 777 widebody jet program production rate of 7 airplanes per month and will cut production in Everett to 5 airplanes per month beginning in August. (B777x where are you?)

  • French flag carrier was launch customer for 777-300ER, 777 Freighter

Paris, France | April 26, 2016– Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Air France marked a milestone today with the delivery of the airline’s 70th 777.

The French flag carrier has played a pivotal role is the success of the 777 program and was the launch customer for both the 777-300ER in 2004 and the 777 Freighter in 2009. Air France took delivery of its first 777-200ER in March 1998.

“The 777 range has been one of the pillars of Air France’s fleet growth,” said Frédéric Gagey, CEO of Air France. “The Boeing 777 has gained a reputation for its reliability, economic performance and comfort, offering our passengers the highest standards.”

Since the late 1950s when it took delivery of its first 707, Air France has operated nearly every commercial airplane Boeing has produced. Today, the 777 is the workhorse of the Paris-based carrier’s long-haul fleet, with the airline serving more than 179 destinations in 80 countries last year.

“Air France has successfully utilized 777 variants across both its passenger and cargo operations for two decades to remain at the forefront of commercial aviation in terms of performance, economics and passenger comfort,” said John Wojick, senior vice president Global Sales and Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We are honored that a carrier as prestigious as Air France has chosen the 777 to form the backbone of its long-haul fleet and are proud of our historic partnership that stretches back more than 60 years.”

Air France is part of the Air France-KLM Group, which is the second largest 777 operator in the world. The Group also has unfilled orders for 25 787 Dreamliners as well as lease agreements for an additional 12 787s.

Seattle, WA | July 21, 2015– Boeing [NYSE:BA] and EVA Air have finalized an order for five 777 Freighters. The order, valued at more than $1.5 billion at list prices, will represent the first 777 Freighters to join EVA Air’s fleet, and the first to be delivered to a Taiwanese airline.

Boeing first announced EVA Air’s intent to order the five 777 Freighters at the 2015 Paris Air Show last month.

“Airfreight is an important link in global trade,” EVA Air Chairman K.W. Chang said. “We are investing in the most advanced aircraft and committing ourselves to continuing to ensure efficient, reliable service. Quality service and flight safety are our top priorities at EVA and we apply the same high standards to cargo services. We are determined to make EVA the world’s best airline for both passenger and cargo services.”

The Taiwanese airline plans to use the new freighters to bolster its fleet on trans-Pacific and Asian routes in an effort to meet growing demand in the air cargo market.

“As EVA Air continues to modernize their world-class freighter fleet, we are honored that they have selected the 777 Freighter to maintain their position as one of the largest cargo airlines,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “This order further validates the strength of the long-term partnership between EVA Air and Boeing over the last several decades.”

EVA Air currently operates more than 35 Boeing airplanes, including 20 777-300ERs. With 13 additional 777-300ERs on order – both direct purchased and leased – EVA will become one of the largest 777 operators in the world. The carrier plans to grow its operational twin-aisle fleet to more than 60 airplanes by the end of 2025.

“We are pleased to be the first airline in Taiwan to introduce Boeing 777 freighters,” EVA President Austin Cheng said in his remarks. “EVA participated in development of the Boeing 777-300ER and became a launch customer. We now fly 21 Boeing 777-300ERs and have 13 more on order. We have made the right choice as our experience with this aircraft’s advanced technology and excellent performance indicates what we can expect from the Boeing 777 freighters. These freighters will be the backbone of our air cargo service for the next decade.”

The 777 Freighter is the world’s largest and longest range twin-engine freighter, capable of flying 4,900 nautical miles (9,070 kilometers) with a full payload at general cargo market densities. The airplane’s range capability translates into significant savings for cargo operators: fewer stops and associated landing fees, less congestion at transfer hubs, lower cargo handling costs and shorter cargo delivery times.

According to the Boeing World Air Cargo Forecast, global air freight traffic is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 4.7 percent, doubling the cargo traffic over the next 20 years.

Boeing is the undisputed air cargo market leader, providing over 90 percent of the total worldwide dedicated freighter capacity.

Paris Air Show, Le Bourget, France | June 15, 2015– Boeing [NYSE:BA] announced today at the Paris Air Show that EVA Airways intends to purchase five 777 Freighters. The commitment, valued at more than $1.5 billion at list prices, represents the first 777 Freighters to join EVA’s fleet and will be posted to Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website once finalized.

The Taiwanese airline plans to use the new freighters to bolster its fleet in an effort to meet growing demand in the air cargo market.

“EVA Airways has been a loyal Boeing 777 customer for many years and we are honored that they have selected the 777 Freighter to join their fleet,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “This agreement demonstrates the unrivaled efficiency and value of the 777 Freighter and we look forward to finalizing this order to further extend our strong partnership.”

EVA Airways currently operates more than 35 Boeing airplanes in its fleet, including 20 777-300ERs. EVA is one of the world’s leading 777-300ER operators with unfilled orders for 14 777-300ERs – both direct purchased and leased. The carrier plans to grow its operational twin-aisle fleet to more than 60 airplanes by the end of 2025.

The 777 Freighter is the world’s largest and longest range twin-engine freighter, capable of flying 4,900 nautical miles (9,070 kilometers) with a full payload at general cargo market densities. The airplane’s range capability translates into significant savings for cargo operators: fewer stops and associated landing fees, less congestion at transfer hubs, lower cargo handling costs and shorter cargo delivery times.

According to the Boeing World Air Cargo Forecast, global air freight traffic is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 4.7 percent, doubling the cargo traffic over the next 20 years.

Boeing is the undisputed air cargo market leader, providing over 90 percent of the total worldwide dedicated freighter capacity.

Seattle, WA | February 12, 2015– Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Korean Air today finalized an order for five 777 Freighters. The order, valued at more than $1.5 billion at current list prices, will add further efficiency and reliability to Korean Air’s all-Boeing freighter fleet.

As one of the world’s largest cargo airlines, Korean Air currently operates an all-Boeing freighter fleet of 26 airplanes that includes 17 747-400 Freighters, five 747-8 Freighters and four 777 Freighters.

“We truly value our enduring partnership with Korean Air and we are pleased that they have selected the 777 Freighter to bolster their all-Boeing Freighter fleet,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of NE Asia Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “This order further demonstrates Korean Air’s commitment to excellence and will help the airline maintain its position as a leading global airline.”

Korea’s flag carrier currently operates 86 Boeing passenger airplanes and has unfilled orders for nearly 40 additional airplanes, including 12 777-300ERs, 10 747-8 Intercontinentals, 10 787-9 Dreamliners, two 747-8 Freighters and six 777 Freighters.

The 777 Freighter is the world’s longest range twin-engine freighter, capable of flying 4,900 nautical miles (9,070 kilometers) with a full payload at general cargo market densities. The airplane’s range capability translates into significant savings for cargo operators: fewer stops and associated landing fees, less congestion at transfer hubs, lower cargo handling costs and shorter cargo delivery times.

According to the Boeing World Air Cargo Forecast, global air freight traffic is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 4.7 percent, doubling the cargo traffic over the next 20 years.

Boeing is the undisputed air cargo market leader, providing over 90 percent of the total worldwide dedicated freighter capacity.

Los Angeles, CA | December 22, 2014– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq: ENT), a worldwide leading provider of content, connectivity and digital media solutions to airlines, today announced that it has received Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval to install its Ku-band satellite connectivity system on Boeing 777 aircraft.

Beginning in January 2015, airlines can equip their B777 aircraft with GEE’s connectivity system.

“This STC approval is a testament to GEE’s technological leadership and expansion in the in-flight connectivity market,” explained Aditya Chatterjee, Senior Vice President, Connectivity Systems and Chief Technology Officer at GEE. “The B777 has received more orders than any other wide-body aircraft, and GEE’s STC approval is an important achievement in the growth of Ku-band satellite connectivity to airlines.”

  • Optimized Maintenance Program to apply advanced analytics tools

Singapore | November 3, 2014– Boeing [NYSE: BA] and ANA (All Nippon Airways) today announced they are teaming up to implement operational improvements for ANA’s fleet. The improvements are aimed at reducing costs and increasing efficiency of maintenance operations for ANA’s current and future 777 models as part of the Boeing Optimized Maintenance Program (OMP) service.

“The efficient performance of our 777 and 777X fleet together with Optimized Maintenance Program will be value added to our operations,” said Takeo Kikuchi, Director of Engineering, ANA. “We were very pleased with Boeing’s offer of services to center on cost reductions in our 777 fleet maintenance operations, and we look forward to working with the Boeing teams to achieve these improvements.”

ANA recently finalized orders for 20 777-9Xs and six 777-300ER airplanes. The Boeing Optimized Maintenance Program targets improved maintenance costs for ANA’s current 777-300 fleet as well as future deliveries of the 777X airplanes. Improvements will include reduced scheduled maintenance labor costs, lower materials costs and faster airplane maintenance turn times.

The Optimized Maintenance Program provides a competitive advantage to an airline by applying specialized analytics tools as well as Boeing’s unique airplane design and certification knowledge to identify ways to streamline airplane maintenance programs. Boeing Commercial Aviation Services’ Professional Services teams will perform analysis of ANA historical maintenance data and develop a maintenance program for ANA’s 777 fleet.

“The Optimized Maintenance Program is one of the many ways we are giving our customers the Boeing Edge, by combining our team’s experience and knowledge with advanced analytics tools to identify all of the strengths, constraints and opportunities that factor into an airline’s maintenance programs,” said Ken Sain, director of Professional Services, Boeing Commercial Aviation Services. “In the span of a few short months, we will work together with ANA and their local regulatory agencies to develop the most effective and efficient maintenance program for ANA’s 777 fleet.”

By evaluating and analyzing a maintenance program, including logbooks, scheduled maintenance data, component maintenance records and other metrics, Boeing develops recommendations for maintenance program enhancements customized to accommodate the unique operating environments and specific operational goals of the airline. Boeing technical consultants also work directly with local regulatory authorities to secure approval and agreement on any recommended maintenance program changes.

Boeing’s OMP services have also recently been adopted by several other airlines, including Ryanair and Cathay Pacific.

Boeing is hosting a presentation highlighting its OMP services, entitled “Maintenance Program Optimization” at Aviation Week MRO Asia this week in Singapore.

  • Fuselage Automated Upright Build expected to yield safety, quality benefits

Everett, WA | July 14, 2014/PRNewswire/– Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced that it is in the final phases of testing and production readiness of a new method for building 777 fuselages as part of its ongoing technology investment strategy.

Known as the Fuselage Automated Upright Build, or FAUB, this Advanced Manufacturing technology improves workplace safety and increases product quality. This technology has been in development by Boeing since 2012.

With this new technology, fuselage sections will be built using automated, guided robots that will fasten the panels of the fuselage together, drilling and filling the more than approximately 60,000 fasteners that are today installed by hand.

FAUB offers numerous benefits including an improvement in employee safety. The nature of the drilling and filling work makes it ideal for an automated solution. More than half of all injuries on the 777 program have occurred during the phase of production that is being automated. In addition, the automated system is expected to reduce build times and improve first-time quality of the build process.

“This is the first time such technology will be used by Boeing to manufacture widebody commercial airplanes and the 777 program is leading the way,” said Elizabeth Lund, vice president and general manager, 777 program and Everett site, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We’re excited to continue improving the production process here and we’re positioning ourselves to begin building 777X airplanes in the future.”

The 777 program has already begun testing FAUB at a facility in Anacortes, Wash. Production readiness preparations are underway and the system will be installed in Everett in a new portion of the main factory that is under construction now. The technology is expected to be implemented in the next few years.

The robotic system, designed for Boeing by KUKA Systems, is the latest in a series of strategic Advanced Manufacturing moves on the 777 program, which have already included new systems for painting wings and other drilling operations

El Segundo, CA | November 20, 2013–  

A fifth generation Aircraft Wireless LAN Unit (AWLU) from Teledyne Controls, the aircraft data and information management business, has been successfully certified by Boeing as a Buyer Furnished Equipment (BFE) option for installation on all new 777 production aircraft.

The AWLU enables the secure, reliable and cost-effective transfer of data to and from the aircraft. In this 777 application, the AWLU provides the wireless transfer of Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) and/or Onboard Networking System (ONS) applications data.

The new AWLU is a compact, lightweight and cost‐effective networking solution that provides high-speed ground based off‐board wireless connectivity for any systems on‐board the aircraft, using 3G/4G cellular and optional WiFi technology. It is designed to be easily upgradeable to newer cellular standards as they become available.

“The AWLU provides a critical component of any airlines e-enabled aircraft strategy,” said Larry Levine, Vice-President of Marketing and Sales at Teledyne Controls.  “Using cellular and/or 802.11 WiFi technologies, the AWLU provides a secure, reliable and cost-effective link to connect the aircraft to the airline network to support current and future applications as they are developed.

Teledyne’s wireless solutions include the Wireless GroundLink® system (WGL) and the fifth-generation AWLU . Previous generations of these products have been flying in commercial service for over a decade and have given Teledyne a wealth of experience in the wireless transmission of data for the airline industry.  Additionally, Teledyne has recently signed a Technical Services Agreement (TSA) with Boeing to develop and certify in 2014 its Terminal Cellular System (TCS) for the Boeing 787, bringing communications capability similar to the AWLU to that airplane model.

El Segundo, CA | October 24, 2013– Teledyne Technologies Incorporated (NYSE:TDY) announced today that The Boeing Company has awarded Teledyne Controls a landmark contract to develop and supply the next generation of aircraft data acquisition systems for the Boeing Next Generation 737 and 737 MAX and the new information management system for the 777, Next -Generation 737, 737 MAX and 747-8 production aircraft.

As an integral part of the contract, the data acquisition and information management solution includes two newly-developed avionics units: the enhanced Digital Flight Data Acquisition Unit (eDFDAU) and the Network File Server 2 (NFS2), designed to further improve flight safety, efficiency and maintenance.

“The trust and confidence that Boeing has shown in awarding Teledyne this contract confirms our position as the leading provider of aircraft data acquisition and information management systems,” said Robert Mehrabian, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Teledyne. “We are proud to continue our commitment of delivering ‘intelligence in flight’ to the world’s major aircraft manufacturers and airlines.”

The NFS2 and eDFDAU are the next evolution of avionic systems that Teledyne supplies to Boeing and airlines today. Teledyne’s current DFDAU is installed in over two thirds of all of the Next-Generation 737s manufactured today as Buyer Furnished Equipment (BFE), while the current generation NFS1 is standard equipment on the 747-8, an option on the 777, and targeted to be introduced as standard fit on the Next-Generation 737 in January 2014, and on the 777 soon thereafter.

The new eDFDAU/NFS2 system will be offered as a single source Seller Furnished Equipment (SFE) option on the Next-Generation 737 in 2016, and be SFE standard equipment on the 737 MAX. The NFS2 is also expected to replace the NFS1 on the 777 once available.

“Teledyne’s experience and innovation continues to be recognized by Boeing in providing not only the latest state-of-the-art data acquisition and network server systems but also a collaborative approach in support of Boeing’s Commercial Aviation Services (CAS) offerings and solutions,” said Masood Hassan, president of Teledyne Controls.