• Independent consulting: Digitization and increasing complexity result in growing demand for professional consulting in the aviation industry.

Raunheim, Germany | October 6, 2016– The airline IT specialist Lufthansa Systems is further expanding its Consulting division to meet the growing demand for professional consulting in the airline sector. The reason for this is that competitive pressure is rising on airlines in the international market. In order to stay profitable, they must explore new fields of business and continually optimize their existing processes. The Consulting team supports airlines in all of these areas and provides independent consultation throughout the life cycle of a project.

“Thanks to our many years of experience in the market, we offer our customers a unique combination of well-founded expertise in every aspect of airline IT as well as extensive consulting covering all airline processes,” said Olivier Krüger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “We also identify forward-looking issues early on and incorporate them into our consulting, such as the real-time planning and control of airline operations, automated flight operations and the changes instigated by the NDC (New Distribution Capability) initiative of the IATA.”

The consulting experts at Lufthansa Systems have spent more than 20 years working for international airlines of all sizes with various business models. While most consultancies specialize in a single area, Lufthansa Systems covers the entire spectrum of consulting for airlines, thus ensuring that problems are always examined holistically. What sets Lufthansa Systems’ consultants apart is their independence. When it comes to choosing the right IT solution, they always focus on the needs of the respective customer. They evaluate solutions in a neutral and professional way and work with the customer to find the best product – regardless of whether it comes from Lufthansa Systems or a competitor.

“To continue to meet the growing demand for professional consulting, we are currently looking for qualified specialists for our team, which we want to triple in size by 2018,” Krüger said. “Our consultants work in organizational development, supervise process management programs and plan change projects in close collaboration with our customers.”

Many current projects in the industry are being driven by digitization. From navigation solutions on the iPad to crew planning forecasts based on data analyses, mobility and big data are important and forward-looking issues for airlines. As industry experts and specialists, the Lufthansa Systems consultants today are already dealing with the issues of tomorrow. What will airline processes look like in the future? What changes are companies facing? How can airlines respond to these changes in time? When it comes to these questions, too, the consultants of Lufthansa Systems are the right people to ask. They help their customers stay one step ahead of the challenges of tomorrow.

Los Angeles, CA | August 8, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment (ENT) (“GEE”), a leading provider of satellite-based connectivity and media to rapidly expanding mobility markets, today announced that it has signed a contract with Avianca Brasil to provide inflight connectivity to the carrier’s full fleet of over 40 aircraft. Avianca Brasil operates in 24 airports with over 200 daily flights in South America.

GEE has been the provider of inflight entertainment content services to Avianca Brasil and its partner airline, Avianca, since June 2015. This agreement, which will expand the relationship with the Brazilian airline, demonstrates the ability of GEE’s technology and content solutions to deliver an unparalleled connectivity and entertainment experience to airline passengers. The service will utilize and incorporate certain assets from EMC, the company recently acquired by GEE, including already procured satellite bandwidth in the region and the Speednet technology to improve browsing speeds. More details on the service will be provided as Avianca Brasil nears the official launch of inflight connectivity for its passengers.

Singapore | July 26, 2016– Passengers using Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) can now check in faster due to the implementation of Rockwell Collins’ new ARINC vMUSE™ mobile passenger processing solution. IGI, India’s busiest airport and the largest in South Asia, is the first airport to implement ARINC vMUSE, which gives airlines the ability to check in travelers wherever and whenever needed.

“‘Passenger delight’ is a driving principle that has helped shape our company, services, goals and all that we stand for today,” said Jeewan Khulbe, Head of IT at Delhi International Airport Ltd. “ARINC vMUSE mobile from Rockwell Collins is a way to improve the passenger experience and to provide our airports with cutting-edge solutions when traditional systems are not enough.”

ARINC vMUSE mobile enables airline and ground handling agents to utilize a tablet-based application to check in passengers from anywhere in an airport. Key reasons IGI selected ARINC vMUSE mobile include:

  • Providing the airport with a cost effective way to accommodate its rapid growth without additional infrastructure.
  • Enabling the airport to help airlines reduce queues during winter months when weather can cause irregular operations due to flight disruptions.
  • Providing a specialized check-in tool that enables airlines to offer an added level of service, like off airport check in or seat upgrades, for elite passengers.

“IGI understands the value that these new technologies will bring–especially improving operations,” said Paul Hickox, head of Airport System Sales for Rockwell Collins. “It is one of the many reasons IGI has repeatedly been honored by industry groups as one of the world’s leading airports for both quality and customer service.”

Since 2009, IGI has benefitted from the implementation of Rockwell Collins’ ARINC airport solutions. In addition to ARINC vMUSE mobile, the airport has deployed ARINC vMUSE™, ARINC SelfServ™ Kiosks, ARINC VeriPax™ Passenger Reconciliation System and ARINC BagLink™ for baggage messaging to facilitate passenger processing and reduce congestion.

  • Lufthansa Industry Solutions implements the new S1000D industrial standard in the DocManage product suite / One system for all older and newer types of aircraft

Hamburg/Noderstedt | July 13, 2016– Asiana Airlines has given Lufthansa Industry Solutions the assignment of introducing a comprehensive new generation in the technical documentation of its aircraft fleet. To this end, the IT service provider is implementing the new S1000D industrial standard into the DocManage product suite, the document library and operating sheet solution from Lufthansa Industry Solutions for aircraft maintenance and overhaul.

Using this MRO solution from Lufthansa Industry Solutions, Asiana Airlines can manage the technical documentation of all older and newer types of aircraft in its fleet with a single system. The DocManage update is linked to the upgrade of the document library on DocSurf Mobile and is expected to be completed by the time Asiana commissions the A350 in March 2017.

“We use DocManage now for more than ten years. It is an important software for our maintenance which is used by 1,000 users daily”, said Sang-Youel Lee, Manager Maintenance Administration, Asiana Airlines. “Based on the successful cooperation with Lufthansa Industry Solutions and the functionality of the product we have decided for the product upgrade. We are now looking forward to make use of the new technology and functionality. This will further increase the benefit for our maintenance.”

The reason for this comprehensive modernization is that the exchange of technical documentation between the aircraft manufacturer and the MRO operation for newer types of aircraft, such as the Airbus A350, no longer follows the familiar standards of SGML-based and revised manuals, such as AMM (Aircraft Maintenance Manual) or IPC (Illustrated Parts Catalog), but the newer S1000D industrial standard instead. This new standard requires a completely different treatment with regard to processing and software when it comes to documenting aircraft maintenance. The documentation is no longer organized in manuals, but rather in a large number of independent data modules with entirely new XML content structures.

Lufthansa Industry Solutions has been distributing successful IT solutions for the technical documentation of aircraft maintenance and overhaul for more than a decade in the form of its DocManage product suite. One of the major international customers for this system is Asiana Airlines, which has been using DocManage as a solution for technical documentation and creating operating sheets since 2004.

  • Over 500,000 new pilots required

Farnborough, UK | July 11, 2016– In the next 20 years (2016-2035), according to Airbus’ Global Market Forecast, passenger traffic will grow at an average 4.5% a year, driving a need for over 33,000 new aircraft above 100 seats (32,425 passenger & 645 freighters greater than 10 tonnes) worth US$5.2 trillion. By 2035, the world’s aircraft fleet will have doubled from today’s 19,500 aircraft to almost 40,000. Some 13,000 passenger and freighter aircraft will be replaced with more fuel efficient types.

Urbanisation and increased wealth in emerging economies particularly in Asia is powering air traffic growth. With a combined population of over six billion people, these economies will grow at 5.6 percent per year and the propensity to travel will triple to 75 percent of its population. Within 10 years China’s domestic air traffic will become the world’s largest. In economies like Western Europe or North America, air traffic growth will be 3.7% percent.

Whilst GDP remains a key driver in traffic growth, we see private consumption (a component of GDP) becoming a more significant economic variable on some important flows including domestic China and domestic India. Middle classes in emerging markets will double to 3.5 billion people by 2035.

Globally, by 2035, 62 percent of world population will be city dwellers and the number of aviation mega cities will rise from 55 to 93 by 2035. These centres of wealth creation many 47 of which are already schedule constrained airports will account for 35 percent of world GDP. In 20 years the number of daily long haul passengers travelling to, from, or via aviation mega cities, will more than double to 2.5 million.

Airbus’ global services business which today spans six customer support centres, and 14 training centres is set to expand further as the next 20 years sees a requirement for some one million pilots and engineers (560,000 new pilots, 540,000 new engineers) to fly the and maintain the new aircraft.

“While established European and North American markets continue to grow, Asia-Pacific is the engine powering growth in the next 20 years. China will soon be the world’s biggest aviation market and together with emerging economies, further population concentration, and wealth creation, together these will help to fuel strong air traffic growth,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “We are ramping up production to meet market demand for our leading aircraft products and we will also ramp up our customer service offerings to meet the increasing demands of air transportation.”

In the widebody market, Airbus forecasts a trend towards higher capacity aircraft and forecasts a requirement for over 9,500 widebody passenger and freighter aircraft over the next 20 years, valued at some US$2.8 trillion. This represents 29% of all new aircraft deliveries and 54% by value. Most widebody deliveries (46 percent) will be in the Asia Pacific region. In this segment, Airbus’ A330, A330neo, A350 XWB and the A380 offer the most comprehensive widebody product range between 200 and above 600 seats

In the single aisle market, where the A320 Family and the latest generation A320neo Family are firmly established as the global market leaders, Airbus forecasts a need for over 23,500 new aircraft worth US$2.4 trillion. This represents 71 percent of all new units. Asia Pacific will take 39 percent of these deliveries.

Traffic growth is leading to larger aircraft which have grown by over 40 percent since the 1980s as airlines select larger aircraft or up-size existing backlogs. Larger aircraft like the A380 combined with higher load factors make the most efficient use of limited airport slots and contribute to rising passenger numbers as confirmed by London’s Heathrow Airport. A focus on sustainable growth has enabled fuel burn and noise reductions of to fall by at least 70 per cent in the last 40 years. This trend continues with innovations like the A320neo, the A330neo, the A380 and the A350 XWB.

  • SITA-operated center is key to managing airline’s reservations across 13 destinations

Baghdad, Iraq | July 4, 2016–
With the help of global aviation IT provider SITA, Iraqi Airways has opened its new reservation contact center in Amman, allowing the airline to better manage its reservations across 13 countries. The center will be operated by SITA.

As the airline continues to rebuild its international business, it requires reliable infrastructure that allows it to manage it reservations globally and at home from a single reservation center. It also needs to accommodate a growing demand from passengers for multi-channel support, including voice, email and chat.

Leveraging SITA’s Unified Communications portfolio has allowed the airline to consolidate voice, data and audio into one platform while the cloud-based infrastructure delivers secure, reliable connectivity which effectively links the airline to its far-flung destinations. With SITA’s global presence in more than 200 countries and territories as well as more than 1,000 airports, it was possible to connect all 13 destinations seamlessly to the central reservations center.

Having SITA’s Horizon® Passenger Management & Distribution system already in place, Iraqi Airways was also able to integrate the new center with the airline’s reservation, ticketing, e-commerce, inventory and departure control systems. Using a new-generation graphical interface, agents are quickly and speedily able to make or change bookings.

As part of the management agreement, SITA recruited all agents and trained them to use the various elements of the passenger services system.

Osama Al Sadr, CEO of Iraqi Airways, said: “As we continue to expand of our network across the globe, we needed a world-class reservation center that could assist our passengers across our network 24/7. SITA was able to quickly provide us with a global presence with a fully-trained team. It also ensured that the center was able to accommodate our future growth as our network and operation continues to expand.”

Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India, and Africa said: “SITA’s global presence and infrastructure made it possible to quickly develop a reservation center to support Iraqi Airways’ international network expansion. We understood, as an emerging airline, they needed a solution that was both world-class and efficient. That helped us deliver a solution that fits and supports their business.”

The reservation center will be manned by agents who are able to assist passengers in English, Arabic and Kurdish.

The concept of real-time aircraft tracking has become a global issue over that past few years. Needless to say, aircraft position data has become a focus for ICAO and the airlines. Many hardware manufacturers are stepping up and generating solutions that utilize, in many cases, existing connectivity. Panasonic has one such a product and we thought our readers would find it interesting because it utilizes existing installed hardware.

IFExpress had the opportunity to have a Q&A with Jeff Rex, Director, Panasonic Avionics Corporation about the new non-transponder-based aircraft position tracking service on offer.

1.Please name and describe the ground and airborne products involved in the Panasonic’s tracking solution.

Our global tracking system is based on Panasonic’s Global Communications Services (GCS) and FlightLink™ satcom solutions. By adding the AirMap application to either of these satcom solutions airlines can meet the normal and abnormal tracking requirements proposed for the GADSS.

Both flight tracking solutions provide a non-transponder-based aircraft position report available even in extreme remote and oceanic areas of the globe, either over Ku or a dedicated Iridium satellite data link. Each aircraft is monitored in real-time through a web-based tracking tool, called AirMap.

2. There are 3 issues we see – location data acquisition, transmission of the data (satcom, we presume), and ground handling of the data. Can you outline each solution?

Aircraft position and identification data from either our FlightLink or GCS solution is sent to our ground based servers. AirMap is the graphical interface that provides a visual representation of the aircraft’s flight path, altitude, and location. It allows airlines to view and interact with this tracking data. It also generates alerts to support the GADSS requirements as well as satisfying other operational needs. The tracking interval is completely customizable to an airline’s requirements and is manually adjustable. When combined with the core satcom system, the application also offers support for voice and text messaging in the event that an airline’s ground operations want to communicate with the aircraft.

For existing FlightLink and GCS satcom users no additional on-board equipment is required to activate Panasonic’s flight tracking solution. The only incremental costs are those associated with introduction of the AirMap application into the airline operations center.

3. Which is the lowest cost solution?

We are letting customers know that if they have eXConnect or FlightLink, then they can have flight tracking for only an incremental fee.

4. The US FAA is working on this problem and has some recommendations. Does the Panasonic solution agree with their needs?

eXConnect and FlightLink both meet the ICAO’s GADSS concept of operations. The standards and recommended practices specifications for both normal and abnormal tracking are still in development, and Panasonic will adjust our products as needed once released.

5. What are other valuable uses for Panasonic’s solution(s)?

FlightLink is a complete end-to-end solution that includes multi-function atmospheric and GPS sensors, dedicated two-way satellite communication system and ground-based data management and quality assurance. It is compatible with all aircraft types and the communication architecture provides a two-way information exchange at any altitude, and even over the poles. In addition to flight tracking, FlightLink enables incredibly accurate and high-resolution weather forecasts, real-time icing reports, turbulence reports, and improved operational support for airlines through AOC communications to and from an aircraft.

eXConnect is our global Ku-band broadband connectivity service. It covers 99.6% of all air travel hours and is installed on 1250 aircraft that fly routes all across the globe. Like FlightLink, it offers a two-way information exchange at any altitude. However, like all non-Iridium satellite solutions, it is not available over the poles. eXConnect is used for both passenger Wi-Fi and television services as well as for operational efficiency applications unlocked by the power of the connected aircraft. For instance, it enables real-time engine monitoring, telemedicine, live updates to EFBs and much more.

6. Is the solution, or portions of the solution, flying today?

Our existing FlightLink and GCS satcom users will require no additional on-board hardware to use Panasonic’s flight tracking solution. The only incremental costs are those associated with introduction of the AirMap application.

The current generation of AirMap tracking solution was launched in June 2016 and is currently being trialed by three airlines.

Read the press release on this product.

More IFEC & Aviation News:

A) Each year, turbulence incidents cost airlines approximately $100 million due to crew and passenger injuries, unscheduled maintenance, operational inefficiencies, and revenue lost while planes are out of service. In fact, studies have shown that aircraft encounters with turbulence are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in the commercial airline industry. The Weather Company, an IBM Business (NYSE: IBM) has announced a groundbreaking deal with Gogo Business Aviation (NASDAQ: GOGO) that will enable the delivery of real-time turbulence reports and alerts directly to pilots, dispatch and other operations personnel. Mark Gildersleeve, president of business solutions at The Weather Company, announced today at The Weather Company Aviation Conference that Gogo will be implementing Weather’s patented Turbulence Auto PIREP System (TAPS), a turbulence detection algorithm, on their aircraft-based communications server. The TAPS software will reside on Gogo’s server, which provides access to the necessary data generated by the aircraft to create reports of turbulence intensity. Gogo’s US-based air-to-ground and global satellite communication network is used to send the reports for immediate action in flight operations and weather forecasting. This is the first time a non-traditional system on the aircraft will be used to help enhance flight safety. Traditionally, flight operations personnel, pilots and aviation meteorologists received coded verbal reports with limited information on flight conditions, also known as PIREPS. Due to multiple reasons, including a lack of cockpit data connectivity, pilots were not able to get real-time updates. Using the Gogo network, pilots in the cockpit will now be able to access real-time turbulence reports and forecaster created alerts through Weather’s flight planning and operations applications and aircraft communication displays.

“Leveraging Gogo’s expanded fleet of aircrafts, The Weather Company can quickly share real-time turbulence data directly with pilots and dispatchers, thereby improving crew and passenger safety,” said Gildersleeve. “It is a great example of the Internet of Things in action, where we are collecting massive amounts of data very quickly and then using that insight to provide guidance to all flights that will be traveling through impacted air space.”

“In this increasingly connected world, it’s no longer just about passenger connectivity, we have to consider all the other ways we can leverage the available technology to enhance the overall flight experience and improve safety – such as a connected aircraft,” said Andrew Kemmetmueller, vice president of connected aircraft services, Gogo. “Our ability to provide access to real-time data through our network will help pilots and operations teams improve flight planning, and ultimately, help airlines deliver the best in-flight customer experience throughout a flight.” In addition to real-time alerting, Weather will be able to leverage the TAPS reports to continually improve turbulence forecasts, the skill of Weather’s overall forecast model, and the WSI Total Turbulence solution. Some customers of WSI Total Turbulence have seen a reduction in turbulence injuries and unnecessary turbulence-induced maintenance inspection by about 50% each. The reports will also empower Weather’s team of 40 aviation meteorologists to alert clients of weather-related safety risks globally. The Weather Company, an IBM Business, is the world’s largest private weather enterprise, helping people make informed decisions – and take action – in the face of weather. The company offers the most accurate, personalized and actionable weather data and insights to millions of consumers and thousands of businesses via Weather’s API, its business solutions division, and its own digital products from The Weather Channel (weather.com) and Weather Underground (wunderground.com). The company delivers up to 26 billion forecasts daily for 2.2 billion locations.

B) GOGO was selected by Delta Private Jets to equip its fleet of >70 business jets with Gogo Biz 4G inflight connectivity for 2Q17. Check out the full press release here.

C) We note that the Iran/Boeing airplane deal at $25B will include new versions of the B737, B777-300ER’s, and B777-900’s. A deal with Airbus includes some 73 wide bodies and 45 single ails worth an estimated $27B!

D) This study may explain aircraft Wi-Fi usage… be sure to check it out!

E) Take the time to watch this movie on Boeing’s patent for their solar airplane, it is great and unusual!

F) Thompson Aerospace is in the news!

(IFExpress Readers: It is fairly obvious which image above is the SITA robot, Leo. (the middle image). However, in searching for a good robotic image for this week’s story, we came across a number of pictures that caught our interest (and imagination) as you can see above – PLW)

While we had some fun with the concept of airport robots, the folks at SITA are very serious about the future of robot technology in use with aviation – in this week’s case, airport baggage handling. We talked with Stephane Cheikh from SITA Lab who answered a number of questions we thought our readers might find interesting. While the future is rather unclear as to the use of robots in aviation solutions, handling passenger baggage appears to be one logical application. So, we asked a few folks at SITA and their communication people about LEO. Leidar’s Charlie Pryor told IFExpress when we asked the question about the application: “It’s really part of a bigger story about automation throughout the airport. And it is very much a trial at this stage, albeit an interesting one of course.”

Here are a few questions we asked of Stephane:

1. IFExpress: Let’s get started with robot power, we assume it is charged via wall power during the night and via alkaline or lead batteries while in use?

“Leo runs on two lead batteries which can last between 24 to 48 hours depending on the type of operations required. The robot is programmed to autonomously return to its base station to get charged when it’s running low on battery power.”

2. IFExpress: Please describe the way a human interacts with the robot?

“Leo does not directly communicate with passengers. In the case of Geneva Airport Leo was positioned outside 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 bags. 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 while the passenger heads straight to the gate, bypassing the check-in hall. Being a fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot, Leo is able to transport bags from the point of bag drop to where they are handed over to be injected into the baggage handling system.

The doors of the robot can only be reopened by the operator unloading the baggage in the airport. For the purpose of the proof of concept at Geneva Airport, the baggage robot was monitored at all times.”

3. IFExpress: Please describe how it finds its way to the required destination? I presume robot speed is fixed?

Using GPS technology, Leo is programmed to follow a specific route from where the bag drop takes place to where the bags are handed over and injected into the baggage handling system. The robot’s speed is fixed but is able to stop if it detects passengers passing in front of it.”

4. IFExpress: Will airport inside destinations required any new facility construction?

“SITA hopes to continue further trials and proof of concepts to probe how robots such as Leo can be incorporated into airports. This will vary from customer to customer.  SITA continues to work with the industry to ensure that the baggage robot is able to meet the requirements of our airport customers.”

5. IFExpress: Has an approximate cost/price been determined of the robot?

“Leo is still a proof of concept and as such SITA is unable to provide a cost or price.”

6. IFExpress: Please describe and detail the human/movement sensors and protections?

“The robot has two laser-based sensors: one in front and one at the back of Leo. The robot is programmed to stop when the sensors detect an object either in front or behind. Sometimes if an object is close but still a safe distance away, the robot will decelerate until it is free of the object and then re-accelerate.
Leo also has an obstacle avoidance mode where it will go around an object – within certain thresholds.”

7. IFExpress: If I were an airline or airport, why would I want this device/system in my airport?

“During the trial at Geneva Airport, Leo demonstrated how, by taking the bag drop process out of the terminal building, the number of trolleys and bags in the terminal could be significantly reduced.

Leo also provides an early glimpse into the future of baggage processing and handling being explored by SITA Lab, SITA’s technology research team. 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.”

8. IFExpress: Are there any rough technical specs available?

“As Leo is still in a developmental stage, we are not able to disclose more details than what has already been provided above.”

9. IFExpress: How would an airline or airport contact SITA/manufacturer of the robots if they wanted to test out a system?

“Airlines or airports can reach out their SITA representatives in their respective regions or contact us through the www.sita.aero website.”

(And yes, this is not an IFEC story per se; however, we wanted to check in on the future of robot technology in our business. Interestingly, SITA has been working the robot solution for some time now and, who knows, it may even be on an airplane in the future… and you may get your future headsets from one – Patricia Wiseman, Editor)

IFEC News:

1:  Here is a news release from Gogo about their new relationship with Aeromexico: Today, Gogo partner Aeromexico announced the launch of a pilot program to provide complimentary in-flight access to Netflix. Netflix members onboard select Aeromexico flights within Mexico, Central & South America will be able to stream the best programming available in the skies, including hit series Orange Is The New Black, Club de Cuervos and Chef’s Table, on their phones, tablets, and laptops at no cost starting on June 17th and through October 17th 2016.

The “Netflixabordo” experience is made possible by our next generation 2Ku satellite wifi system, which offers passengers a ground-like experience, including the ability to stream video.”As the first airline to launch with Gogo’s new 2Ku technology, we couldn’t be more excited to help Aeromexico bring this great new passenger experience to life,” said Dave Bijur, Gogo’s regional president. “Gogo’s industry-leading 2Ku technology is enabling passengers to connect using any Wi-Fi enabled device and experience all of Netflix’s hit series just as they would at home.”

“Passengers on aircraft equipped with the new Gogo 2Ku technology will be notified by the Aeromexico in-flight team that they can access high-speed WiFi. Clients can then open their browser and login for free. Passengers will then be prompted to either login to their existing Netflix account or to create a new, 30-day free trial account, after which they will then be connected to the Netflix service up in the air, just like they would on the ground. Existing account holders onboard Gogo 2ku Aeromexico aircraft will be able to access Netflix at no additional cost through October 17th, while new members can sign up to enjoy a 30-day free Netflix trial – good for use both in the air, on Aeromexico 2Ku-equipped aircrafts, or on the ground.”

Gogo told IFExpress: “Netflix offering is available to everyone flying that has an account. For those passengers that might not have an account, they are able to sign up for the free 30-day trial to take advantage of this partnership. In terms of bandwidth, we are confident that 2Ku can handle the amount of people on an aircraft that will choose to stream.” – Morgan Painter

Here is another release you might find interesting – Gogo Inc. Announces Launch of $500 Million Senior Secured Notes Offering – Jun 9, 2016

2:  IFE manufacturers might just have to consider a new baggage use for a totally new application – World’s First Passenger Drone to Begin Testing

3:  You might want to check out the 35th DASC in Sacramento CA, Sept 25/29, and here are just a couple reasons: MA1: Modern Avionics Architectures – Tim Etherington, Rockwell-Collins and MM2: Aircraft Systems, Safety and Cyber-security: RTCA DO-326A guidance – Laurent Fabre, Critical Systems Labs –www.dasconline.org

4:  Here is a new IFE & Connectivity Show in the US – IFE and Connectivity USA. And, it is co-located with Innovative Aircraft Seating – USA, June 27 – 28 in Seattle, WA!

5:  From an article in ArsTechnica on creating VPN lists, we found this interesting comment – “The best use case for consumer VPNs is local network security, especially on public Wi-Fi networks in airports, hotels, cafes, and even on airplanes (especially since GoGo has been caught issuing fake HTTP certificates for YouTube, which could expose all user traffic—including users’ YouTube passwords—to the inflight broadband provider).” Here is the story

  • New Agreement Enables American to Increase Passenger Engagement and Optimize Customers’ Onboard Wi-Fi Experiences with a Proven, Scalable Internet Platform
  • ViaSat Already Recognized as the Fastest, Best Performing In-flight Internet System, Delivering Highest Quality Streaming Video and Media Experiences to Every Connected Passenger Device on the Plane

Carlsbad, CA |June 3, 2016– American Airlines (NASDAQ: AAL) has selected ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global broadband services and technology company, to outfit its new Boeing 737 MAX fleet with ViaSat’s in-flight internet service. The ViaSat in-flight internet service has been recognized with multiple industry awards for delivering the best performing, highest-quality and fastest in-flight internet experience. The service encourages higher passenger engagement per plane by offering an ‘at home’ internet experience when in-flight – with the ability to stream movies, videos, television and music, as well as surf the web, upload pictures to social media, email large files and more.

The new American planes will tap into the power of ViaSat’s advanced high capacity Ka-band satellite system, which will include ViaSat-1, ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 satellite platforms, and has more capacity in orbit than any other in-flight Wi-Fi provider. American will leverage ViaSat’s first two generation satellite platforms, which together provide more capacity than all of the commercial satellites over North America combined. When the first ViaSat-3 class satellite platform launches in 2019, it will more than double the capacity again. With its capacity-rich satellite platforms, ViaSat is able to deliver the fastest, highest quality in-flight internet service to each connected device on a plane.

“Our satellite bandwidth enables an ’at home’ internet experience that can serve everyone on the plane – and empowers innovative business models for airlines and their passengers,” said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat chairman and CEO. “We are delighted and honored to have the opportunity to work with American Airlines and help fulfill their goal of delivering the best in-flight Wi-Fi experience throughout their fleet. We believe we are now approaching the end of an era where passengers have paid very high prices for very slow connections. Our agreement highlights a significant initial step for American to deliver an onboard Wi-Fi experience every passenger will want to use.”

As an internet service provider, ViaSat already serves nearly 700,000 residential and business users with high-speed, high-quality satellite internet. The ViaSat network is also the key to supporting thousands of simultaneously connected aircraft, each with dozens to hundreds of connected devices.

  • Lido/Flight 4D principles Automation First and Management by Exception are highlighted at the 2016 Lido/Flight User Group Conference.

Raunheim, Germany | May 31, 2016– Lufthansa Systems today announced that it will present its new Lido/Flight 4D product generation at the 2016 Lido/Flight User Group (LUG) Conference. This annual conference focuses on technical innovations relating to the flight planning system as well as dialog with representatives of Lufthansa Systems’ customer base. The meeting between LUG members and Lufthansa Systems’ product experts is taking place this Wednesday and Thursday in Lisbon, the headquarters of this year’s partner airline TAP Portugal.

The core features of the flight planning solution are the integrated and continually updated aeronautical database and the so-called optimizer. Based on all flight-related data, weather conditions and the current airspace situation including any restrictions, Lido/Flight 4D calculates the most suitable route for each flight. By migrating to the new product generation, customers will benefit from a modern architecture offering improved integration, a modern graphical user interface and display, 4D optimization and extensively automated flight planning and control processes.

“Our airline customers want a reliable, flexible and innovative solution, because in an increasingly complex and dynamic environment, users have to be able to focus on critical flights,” said Rene Vierke, Director Lido Product Management & Consulting at Lufthansa Systems. “Lido/Flight 4D follows the principles of Automation First and Management by Exception, meaning that our solution simplifies routine tasks and makes it possible to quickly make the right decisions in critical situations.”

The first two releases of Lido/Flight 4D this year cover certain basic components for migrating to current technologies as well as the first functional innovations and improvements for takeoff and landing weight optimization, crew briefing and route optimization.

The new features of Lido/Flight 4D will be presented to existing customers in small groups during the LUG Conference so that individual questions and suggestions can be addressed more directly. The conference will also include presentations on the current status of the overall project, the outlook for planned future developments and opportunities to meet with the representatives of other airlines and the experts from Lufthansa Systems.

Under the name Lido/Flight the product has performed successfully in the market for more than 15 years. Around 120 airlines with a total of more than 6,000 aircraft are currently using the flight planning solution from Lufthansa Systems. In various comparative analyses based on thousands of flight plans, Lido/Flight was able to reduce fuel costs by an average of 2 percent, cut flying times by 1.9 percent and save 1.6 percent of air traffic control fees compared to its competitors.

  • 500 airline experts are attending one of the world’s largest airline IT user conferences this week to find out about new trends and solutions in the digital world.

Raunheim, Germany | May 30, 2016– “Explore a new world of solutions” is the motto of the Lufthansa Systems Airline Forum, which starts today. 500 participants from around 75 airlines worldwide will learn about the latest developments in the portfolio of the airline IT specialist. The focus is on Commercial Planning and Operations solutions from the NetLine and ProfitLine product lines. This industry meeting, which is traditionally held in the Lufthansa Training & Conference Center in Seeheim, is one of the most important events in the airline IT sector.

“We are delighted to welcome so many of our customers’ representatives to Seeheim again this year. IT is more important than ever these days. Face-to-face discussions about industry challenges and new technologies for tackling them are essential right now – for our customers, so that we can find the best solution for their particular requirements, and for us, so we can further optimize our products,” said Stefan Auerbach, CEO of Lufthansa Systems.

The next two and a half days will be devoted to more than 80 lectures and workshops as well as personal conversations with product experts and other airlines. Attendees can put together their own individual program from a comprehensive range of topics. In addition to hearing about new product developments and innovations in the NetLine and ProfitLine product lines from the experts at Lufthansa Systems and industry partners, customers will report on their own experiences with these IT solutions in selected sessions. The Thomas Cook Group will kick things off with its presentation on “The Bridge – way to success,” which covers the recently completed implementation of the NetLine/Sched and NetLine/Ops ++ solutions for all four airlines in the Group. This is a vivid example of how IT standardization can simplify and harmonize complex airline processes.

Other industry issues such as the new IATA distribution standard known as NDC (New Distribution Capability) are also on the agenda. In this context, Lufthansa Systems is working closely with JR Technologies, whose president, George Khairallah, will present a guest lecture explaining why NDC affects every airline. The new Eye Tracking function in the NetLine/Ops ++ solution is another innovative topic. This feature makes it possible to analyze the eye movements of operation controllers and display specific alerts if necessary.

Airline Forum attendees will learn extensively about new developments and have the opportunity to try them out at the on-site Market Place, because their feedback is critical to the further development and optimization of Lufthansa Systems’ products. New features, innovative solutions and the user experience while interacting with applications all play an essential role. Design and usability are growing increasingly important when it comes to using IT solutions. Lufthansa Systems is therefore also holding a design challenge during the conference. Within 28 hours, the Lufthansa Systems design team will take a use case chosen by the attendees at the start of the conference and demonstrate how this new design approach works. The team will regularly show the status of development so that customers can follow their progress and give direct feedback to the designers. The result will be presented at the end of the conference.

  • SITA reports baggage mishandling rate down 10.5% to lowest ever recorded

Geneva | April 26, 2016– The airline industry’s focus on improving baggage management is showing strong results with 2015 baggage mishandling rates dropping to their lowest ever. According to the SITA Baggage Report 2016, released today, the rate of mishandled bags was 6.5 bags per thousand passengers in 2015, down 10.5% from the previous year, less than half the rate in 2003 and the lowest ever recorded.

This improvement comes despite an 85% rise in passenger numbers since 2003. Increasing passenger volumes put pressure on the industry’s infrastructure, resources and baggage handling systems. Last year more than 3.5 billion passengers travelled and with no sign that this growth will slow down, the industry is making step-changes to how it handles baggage. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is leading the way with its call for airlines to track each bag throughout its entire journey. IATA Resolution 753, to be implemented by airlines by June 2018, will mean that bags will be tracked at every point of the journey.

Francesco Violante, CEO, SITA, said: “Over the next three years bag tracking will be in the spotlight as airlines ready themselves to implement IATA’s Resolution 753. This increase in visibility will provide more control and drive further improvements in bag handling.

“It also means that passengers will be able track their bag, just like a parcel, which will reduce anxiety and allow them to take fast action if flights are disrupted and their bags are delayed.”

Another area of change identified in SITA’s report is the growth of self-service bag services. Around 40% of airlines and airports now provide self-bag-tag printing at kiosks and more than three quarters are expected to do so by 2018. Almost a third of passengers expect to be using bag-drop – either a dedicated staffed station or fully self-service – in 2016.

How bags are tagged for their journey is also evolving. Over the past year there has been progress across the industry on permanent electronic tags which offer passengers independence and can reduce waiting times. Airlines are now trialing these tags which passengers update with their flight information for each journey via a mobile phone app. Home-printed bag tags, which offer passengers similar benefits, are a lower cost option being used by several airlines today.

Violante added: “The baggage statistics for 2015 are very encouraging, however in total, mishandled bags still cost the industry $2.3 billion last year. While this is a 3.75% reduction from 2014 it is clear that this must remain an area of focus for the industry. Passenger experience is paramount and improving baggage handling will deliver improvements for passengers along with cost savings. The technology is available to support increased tracking and improved tracing and SITA is working across the air transport community to deliver efficiencies.”

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 and 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 WorldTracer®, SITA’s system which traces mishandled bags globally.

For further details download SITA’s full report.

YOURSpace: Bear with Holiday Travel This Year – A Better Experience is Nearly Here

By Chris Smith, Founder and CEO, Area360

Today’s typical airport experience is at the very best, hit or miss. Travelers may be prepared and get to the airport on time, have a great meal while enjoying a book in a hushed terminal, and board a flight with no delays. But that’s a rare day, and the typical airport journey involves at least one complication that throws everything off.

This year, Airlines for America projects that 38 million Americans will take to the skies over the 2015 holiday season, equaling 2.2 million travelers every day between December 18th and January 3rd. That many people flowing through the nation’s airports truly puts their efficiency and customer experience to the test, and showcases their biggest problem spots – curbside congestion, snakingly-long lines to check in and get through security, and many more.

I am a geek and a frequent flier, so as I traverse through herds of people resembling The Walking Dead, I can’t help but get excited about the way passengers will experience and flow through airports in the very near future. Here’s a glimpse.

It’s 5:30 AM in the morning when your alarm sounds. You roll over and in a gurgle manage to muster a somewhat coherent sentence: “Alexa, what are my flight details this morning?”. My Amazon Echo replies, “Your Alaska Airlines flight to LA is currently scheduled to board at 11:25 AM, 15 minutes delayed. Traffic will be moderate to heavy. Would you like me to set you a reminder when it’s time to leave or order you an Uber to get you there 1hr prior to departure?” You respond, “Thanks Alexa, please order me an Uber Lux, I like to roll in style”.

As your Uber drops you at the departure door, your phone lights up with a message: “Welcome to Sea-Tac. I see you have checked in and do not have luggage, would you like to head to security?” (A few airlines already do this.) You select yes and the next screen says, “Currently, the fastest security line is 1500 feet away, would you like directions?”. Why yes, yes you would. As you walk to the security line, your phone is navigating you with turn by turn directions as accurate as Google Maps, and also happens to show you the time delta between where you’re currently waiting, and how long it will take to get to your gate on time.

Approaching the security line, an overhead screen shows your name with a green arrow under it pointing you into the TSA Pre line, as it knows you’re already approved. Upon approaching the agent stand, your boarding pass pops onto your mobile screen without your having to dig for it, and you simply tap your phone on a waist high pedestal and it reads the information. To double check, you’re required to hold your phone up to your face so that a quick facial recognition scan can be beamed via Bluetooth to the pedestal to confirm your identity.

The gate opens and allows you through to a conveyor belt that scans your bag without your having to take a single thing out, and you walk across a scale-like platform that does a quick scan to make sure nothing’s out of the ordinary, and in less than two seconds you’re done.

Next, your phone buzzes and up pops another welcome message: “Congratulations, you are through security. You have 55 minutes before your flight starts boarding – would you like to go to to the coffee shop (2 min walk), get a sandwich (6 min walk), buy something at the newsstand (1 min walk) or go to your gate (10 min walk)?”. Naturally, you select the coffee shop and lo and behold, a free drink is waiting as it’s your 10th time, this month.

After you enjoy your coffee, your phone buzzes and tells you: “Your flight is boarding in 15 minutes and you are currently 10 minutes away from your gate, would you like directions?”. You take your phone up on the offer and get there in exactly 10 minutes – no more, no less.

As you stroll up to the gate, your boarding pass pops up again and as you near the agent, you see that she’s already rolled up your favorite newspaper along with headphones for the trip.

You say “thank you” and you’re on our way.

Chris Smith is the founder and CEO of Area360, a location technology company, building products that enhance the way people engage with physical locations through the use of mobile applications and location-aware technology.

Washington | January 13, 2016– The TSA Pre✓ application program has reached a new milestone with more than 2 million travelers enrolled. TSA Pre✓, which opened its first application center in December 2013, now has more than 350 application centers nationwide, including locations at 38 airports.

“We are pleased to announce this milestone as the continued growth of the trusted traveler population allows us to better focus our resources on high-risk, unknown passengers, while facilitating travel for low-risk individuals,” said TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger. “We look forward to the continued expansion of TSA Pre✓ as we continue our drive towards having more travelers directly enrolled in trusted traveler programs.”

TSA Pre✓, an expedited screening program that began in October 2011, enables identified low-risk travelers to enjoy a smart and efficient screening experience. For TSA Pre✓ travelers, there is no need to remove shoes, 3-1-1 liquids, laptops, light outerwear or belts. In 2015, TSA Pre✓ operations began at 48 new airports. Today, TSA Pre✓ has more than 450 lanes at 167 U.S. airports.

The TSA Pre✓ application program allows U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to directly apply for TSA Pre✓. Once approved, travelers will receive a “Known Traveler Number” and will have the opportunity to utilize TSA Pre✓ lanes at select security checkpoints when flying on the 13 carriers that currently participate in TSA Pre✓: Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, OneJet, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin America and WestJet. TSA continues to work with industry to expand the number of airlines participating in TSA Pre✓.

Travelers may also enroll in one of three trusted traveler programs offered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Global Entry, NEXUS or SENTRI. Members of these programs are eligible to participate in TSA Pre✓ and do not need to apply separately; once successfully enrolled in a CBP trusted traveler program, participants must utilize their “PASSID” as their Known Traveler Number.

To learn more about TSA Pre✓, visit tsa.gov/tsa-precheck. For more information about the four trusted traveler programs that offer TSA Pre✓ eligibility, visit dhs.gov/tt.

  • Confirms continuing strong appetite for best-selling, fuel efficient A320 Family

France | January 7, 2016– BOC Aviation, the Singapore-based global aircraft leasing company owned by Bank of China, has announced an order for an additional 30 A320 Family aircraft, comprising 18 A320neo Family aircraft and 12 A320ceo Family aircraft.

“This order underscores our continued confidence in the reliability and operational efficiency of the A320 family aircraft, and reflects its popularity among our customers for short- and medium-haul routes,” said Robert Martin, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of BOC Aviation.

“BOC Aviation is a leading lessor based in a fast-growing part of the world, and its latest order not only demonstrates its continued confidence in our product for its airline customers but recognizes the A320 as a sound financial asset in its portfolio,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “We appreciate the mutually beneficial and strong relationship we have built with BOC Aviation over the past 20 years. With this order, BOC Aviation becomes one of Airbus’ top 10 customers.”

Including this latest purchase agreement, BOC Aviation’s cumulative orders to date for new Airbus aircraft have reached a total of 306, comprising 12 A330s and 294 A320 Family, including 64 NEOs.

With more than 12,300 aircraft ordered, and more than 6,800 aircraft delivered to more than 400 customers and operators worldwide, Airbus’ A320 Family is the world’s best-selling single-aisle aircraft family. The A320neo Family incorporates latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklet wing tip devices, which together deliver more than 15 percent in fuel savings from day one and 20 percent by 2020 with further cabin innovations. With more than 4,400 orders received from close to 80 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent share of the market.

  • Airline passengers want to use technology more often throughout their journey

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | January 11, 2016– Airline passengers in Brazil are happy to use technology throughout their journey and are moving in big numbers to use self-service on their smart phones, personal computers and at kiosks. These are the results of a survey released today by global air transport IT provider, SITA.

The SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey 2015 was carried out at eight international airports in Brazil that together manage 62% of all the country’s passenger traffic. It reports that Brazil’s passengers are very positive about using self-service technology.

When it comes to checking in for flights, 80% of passengers in Brazil are positive about web check-in and 76% about self-service kiosks. This compares to only 65% of passengers being positive about checking in at a desk.

At the moment, more than half of the passengers surveyed checked in at a desk, which is higher than the global average of 43%, but looking ahead the trend is dramatically moving away from this. In fact, when asked which technology they would use for their next flight, face-to-face check-in was only picked by 28% with a strong move to using personal computers (35%) and mobile devices (24%).

Elbson Quadros, SITA Senior Sales Director, Brazil, said: “Rising passenger numbers can put a strain on services at the airport but by using technology such as web and mobile check-in airlines and airports can reduce the pressure. Here in Brazil it is encouraging to see that passengers are happy to use self-service and in fact, would like more. Airlines and airports can be confident that focusing on self-service technology, especially mobile services will make passengers happier.”

Though nearly three quarters of Brazilian passengers (72%) feel positive throughout the travel experience, this is lower than the global average of 80%. It demonstrates passengers’ desire for new services which take advantage of mobile and web technologies. Passengers here are connected, 83% carry smartphones – higher than the 23% ownership rate across the general population[1] – and they want to use them when travelling.

Some new services have real appeal in Brazil: 83% of passengers would definitely use flight updates to their mobiles, while 72% want updates on their baggage collection. This is a clear opportunity for airlines and airports in Brazil to improve the passenger experience by providing information that the passengers want sent directly to their mobile phones.

The survey also shows that more passengers check-in bags at airports in Brazil than in other parts of the world. Here again they have a desire to use self-service. Currently 17% of passengers use self bag drop services but this is set to grow to 35% over the next year.

The passengers surveyed were happiest during dwell time at the airport, the time between clearing security and boarding the flight. There was a peak of 93% positive emotions at this stage of the journey with 84% valuing entertainment and 83% eating and drinking, considerably higher than global averages. These statistics are encouraging for those airports in Brazil that have focused on the concessionary model and are providing high-quality entertainment and food and beverage services to their passengers at this point of the journey.

  • 11 aircraft now equipped with streaming IFE system, branded as OnAir Entertainment
  • No modification made to aircraft interior
  • Onboard portal a twin-image of new web-based magazine design
  • Seatback decals being used to advertise OnAir Entertainment features

Ljubljana, Slovenia | December 14, 2015– Slovenia’s largest airline (1.13m passengers carried in 2014) has expanded, rebranded and transformed its traditional paper inflight magazine concept to create OnAir Magazine and OnAir Entertainment, twin content platforms available at the airline’s website and onboard its aircraft.

On Adria Airways’ beautiful new website, launched officially December 10th (www.adria.si), OnAir Magazine content has become a central theme. Editorial from the airline’s paper inflight magazine has been reformatted into compelling online stories aimed at inspiring people to explore Slovenia and destinations beyond. Online content is being updated constantly and is organized into categories such as People, Cuisine, Aviation, and Culture and History.

The digital entertainment experience continues onboard Adria’s fleet of 11 Airbus 319 and Bombardier CRJ aircraft, where OnAir Entertainment replicates and expands upon the website concept. Using AirFi boxes (powerful, lightweight server/wireless access points or WAPs) the airline is streaming magazine content, flight information, shopping catalogues, destination videos, menus, HTML5 games, chat functions and newspapers directly to passenger’s own mobile devices.

“With the introduction of OnAir Magazine and OnAir Entertainment, we have brought rich and diverse archive of content together under a single brand,” explained Iztok Franko, Adria’s marketing and IT director. “We are particularly excited about the future of the OnAir Entertainment portal, which is made possible by the AirFi box. We’re very pleased at the speed with which we were able to roll-out this service and the quality experience our passengers are now enjoying. New features will be added regularly.”

On other European short and medium-haul carriers, AirFi box Wi-Fi programs have seen initial uptake numbers between 22% and 30%. Adria Airways could do better, however, as it has taken a highly proactive approach to educating passengers about OnAir Entertainment, even creating a special seatback decal explaining how to connect.

“Adria Airways is a brilliant airline to work with,” commented Job Heimerikx, CEO of AirFi. “They’ve really explored every utility of our box, increasing passenger loyalty and affinity by providing information and entertainment in many forms. It’s rewarding to help an airline please passengers and to have the platform operational overnight on their entire fleet. The flexibility of the AirFi instantly proves itself in Adria’s multimedia strategy”

The economical AirFi box is a totally portable streaming solution (no aircraft modification is necessary), so Adria was able to avoid a number costs and certifications associated with other IFE solutions.

Visit OnAir Magazine

Recently, IFExpress visited Gogo offices and flight tested the new 2Ku Services – we offer our trip report to our readers!

Gogo Offices – Downtown Chicago

On 11/12/15 we proceeded to Chicago as a result of an invitation from Gogo to flight test their new 2Ku airborne connectivity system. Installed on a B737, the system is only one of the three predominant connectivity platforms developed and operated by Gogo. Two are the existing air-to-ground, lower speed data systems available today – Gogo ATG and ATG4. The new 2Ku system operates on data transmitted from the ground to satellites and then (in a test mode) down to a B737 platform which operates out of Gary, Indiana International airport.

After a tour of their new facilities in the downtown Chicago Loop (next to Boeing), where some of the hardware was displayed, we listened to a presentation by their customer care manager. He told us that 79% of their usage questions were for chat messaging, 10% was for calls (business jets), and 11% was for email issues. We don’t know how this was measured – based on digital data bits, time, or measurements of the indicated usage, but “Clearly,” they noted, “the growth trend is toward digital chatting!” And we agree – SMS and text messaging are the future.

Further, Gogo noted that their Chat Help was a very useful solution to customers who need help on the plane, and it is done via their (the pax) devices without logging on to the service on the plane. Here is a breakdown of their chat help subject issues – 53% logging on, 8% billing and subscriptions, 13% video issues, 13% dropped calls, and 3% general. They noted that they use customers contact data daily to analyze the Gogo product/service. This capability to chat with the Gogo help personnel (located in Boulder, Colorado) will be utilized on all products – ATG, ATG 4, and 2Ku. They even have a feature wherein a customer and a helper can co-browse (with the customers permission) and walk them thru a customer screen. Further, they can even take over their device for assistance in the most challenging cases.

In Engineering, we saw an elegant noise free area for simulation installation inside a theoretical aircraft. They will use this facility for mostly 2Ku installations now. The primary software room was for in system testing and integration… there were some 10 rows of floor to ceiling cabinets with all types of hardware that were under test, all with various loads of software – quite impressive. Interestingly, there is very little encryption on all ground to aircraft communication but we believe that is under evaluation at this time. Gogo told us that they have a proprietary data communication but not at the level one would see in the DOD.

We were surprised that Gogo builds virtually no equipment – they spec it out. What they do is software, and a lot of it. We don’t have time here to cover that subject but the network solution, along with the hardware, is software… and Gogo is quite proud of it.

The Network Operation Center (NOC) was very impressive. Basically Gogo monitors every airplane and keeps track of any issue that could impact their operations. Further, they can communicate with each flying system to ascertain how their product is performing. Some 20 large screens and people work 24/7 to monitor their products – very impressive. The center monitors worldwide aircraft – commercial or business installations. This solution is really done right and nothing is left out…. even tracking outages. We really wonder why they weren’t presently offering an aircraft data download solution . When asked, they replied that that is the next market they will be pursuing and IFExpress will begin watching that potential product with them next. We should also mention that they monitor all their ground sites there as well.

However, we did note that they have introduced some real time product purchasing in their service with the likes of Amazon and others. It remains to be seen how successful this effort will be but the service is available on some airlines today. We were surprised that Monday and Thursday were the “active” day for higher sale traffic. However, this may have to do with the business community’s travel schedule.

Gogo told us that today they have some 246 ground installations (for ATG and ATG4 – 800 to 900 MHz range). Gogo started operations with 96 of these ground based antenna sites and are continually adding more to their network. They do not foresee dropping sites either, and if internal aircraft network or system status data ever takes off, they will have a lot of applicability as the data will probably be more resident in the slower speed service. Further as aircraft get more high speed communication links, it might be a good home for data reception, aggregation and forwarding. And as you might guess, data to the aircraft probably exceeds data from it, so that may be another case in point for obtaining aircraft performance data like engine parameters and history, fuel levels, battery and power data and so on for the future. Face it, any data communication service, to and from the aircraft, has a future and the Gogo’s existing system is an obvious home. Expect to hear more about this feature in the future.

Aircraft Communication Testing

Next we went to the airport and walked out to the Boeing 737 at the small Gary Indiana International Airport. The dual circular panel ThinKom Ku antenna is flat and consists of two flat plane antennas, electronically steered… all under a radome (behind of the wings) on the top of the plane. On the test aircraft, the antenna can be seen.

Inside the aircraft, it is configured as one would expect a demonstrator might be. Five rows of Business class seats 2 x 2 for front visitors and approximately 30 coach seats for other visitors in the back, Gogo employees, and vendors. Our flight had mainly press attendees occupying approximately some 20 visitor seats. Four Gogo folks were in attendance to help Wi-Fi users and demo Gogo broadcast streaming TV. The tests were provided to some 40 reporters and camera persons… on 2 flight trials – one in the morning for 20 and one in the afternoon for the rest.

Once in flight (and it was a very turbulent flight), we began the trial of the service. The system did not feature any setups or complicated directions – just load the “gogoinflight” password in your Wi-Fi permissions and the system was ready for browsers, Facebook, chat or whatever app, and “game on”!

Realistically, we expected setup issues but there were none. Important to note, each member of the press had a minimum of 2 devices running all the time, while some had three. In fact, one individual had 8 YouTube videos running simultaneously.

During testing we ran Speedtest to see system loading and saw extremes form 1 to 20 Gigabits per second Internet speeds. Perhaps the average was around 5 to 6 GB/sec. connectivity speeds. If we assume 50 to 60 devices were running simultaneously, total available speeds were excellent.

To sum up the experience – “Time went so fast flying with Wi-Fi, bad weather was not an issue and we were disappointed to land so soon!”

Rockwell Collins debuted PAVES seat-centric in-flight entertainment (IFE) system has entered into service on a new Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 delivered to Biman Bangladesh Airlines. The company’s advanced large-screen, high-definition (HD) IFE system is featured in both business and economy classes. With PAVES, airlines are able to develop their own look and experience for passengers as well as efficiently manage non-DRM content via Rockwell Collins’ graphical user interface (GUI) developer kit through a web portal management tool. Further, the system features an open-software architecture to support customized and third-party applications with minimal effort. (IFExpress notes that this was an in-sequence installation at the Boeing Renton, WA. facility.)

Next year, there may be a way for folks in the know to address IFExpress readers. Technical, IFE industry views and visions are all a possibility and we just might feature your thoughts and words – Stay Tuned!

Geneva, Switzerland | December 7, 2015– SITA today announced that David Lavorel, currently SITA’s Senior Vice President for Corporate Development and CEO Office, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of SITAONAIR effective 1st January 2016. Lavorel succeeds Ian Dawkins who is stepping down to pursue other opportunities.

Francesco Violante, CEO of SITA, said: “During his five year tenure leading OnAir, which became SITAONAIR in January of this year, Ian has grown the Company and positioned it as a leading provider of nose-to-tail connected aircraft solutions. I would like to thank Ian for his hard work and dedication and wish him the best in the next phase of his career.”

David Lavorel joined SITA in 2000 holding pivotal roles as Head of the France Telecom Partnership management and as Vice President Mergers and Acquisitions before being appointed as Senior Vice President for Corporate Development and CEO office in 2012. In this role, David has been instrumental in driving the development and execution of SITA’s growth ambitions through a number of strategic programs and acquisitions. This includes his leading role in the development of SITA’s 2020 Vision and Strategy, the strategic evolution of OnAir as a fully owned subsidiary of the SITA Group three years ago and his leadership driving SITA’s connected aircraft strategy which led to the creation of SITAONAIR earlier this year. He has deep knowledge of the OnAir business to which he has directly contributed in recent years as a Board Director of OnAir.

Violante continued: “Under David’s leadership, SITAONAIR will continue its strategic focus on growing revenues and helping airlines realize the full potential of the connected aircraft. He is well positioned to lead the organization in its next phase of growth and we wish him much success in this new role.”

Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain | December 7, 2015– Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, is bringing the airline’s passengers a new entertainment experience, as it becomes the first airline in the Middle East to launch BBC Worldwide’s three newest genre brands onboard: BBC Brit, BBC Earth and BBC First.

BBC Brit is the home of Top Gear and so much more – blending expertise with entertainment, BBC Brit covers a rich variety of subjects: cars, adventure, life-changing moments, quirky British characters, chat show and comedy. Nature lovers can now enjoy watching BBC Earth onboard their Gulf Air flight – a channel dedicated to sharing the incredible wonders of our planet, showcasing the work of the world’s foremost factual film makers. Fans of British drama now have BBC First – the home of the very best original, innovative and compelling dramas.

Zina Neophytou, Director – Travel & Special Markets, BBC Worldwide said: “BBC Brit, Earth and First offer customers the very best of British entertainment, documentary and drama and we are thrilled that Gulf Air passengers will be the first in the region to be able to enjoy all three channels in-flight.”

Gulf Air A/Chief Commercial Officer Mr. Ahmed Janahi said: “We are delighted to partner with BBC Worldwide to share their premium new channels with our passengers, giving them a greater selection of programs. I don’t doubt that our enhanced onboard entertainment will please travellers and I look forward to receiving their invaluable feedback.”

Gulf Air’s entire fleet is equipped with the latest in-flight entertainment technology offering hundreds of channels of entertainment that include religious programs, movies, TV shows, a channel dedicated to local Bahraini productions and an instructional and informative health channel in addition to a variety of games for the airline’s younger passengers.

London, UK | December 3, 2015– Bluebox Avionics is delighted to announce that its award winning IFE applications are now available on the recently released iPad Pro. This allows airlines to offer clients portable IFE on a stunning 12.9” retina display for an evermore engaging entertainment experience. This comes at the end of a year where Bluebox cumulative shipments for iPad-based IFE devices surpassed 18,000 units since our initial launch in 2011.

Bluebox Ai, and its wireless-connected relative Bluebox Hybrid, are already widely deployed on all versions of 9.7” iPad and the 7.9” iPad mini and this latest development provides airlines with an even larger platform for the delivery of movies, TV, audio, magazines and games. With a screen size bigger than the majority of embedded systems and all in a package that is under 7mm deep and weighing in at a little over 700 grams, the latest Bluebox system variant raises the bar again for a premium IFE experience.

David Brown, Bluebox Avionics Joint Managing Director, is excited by the potential. “Coming towards the end of what has been a record breaking year for Bluebox Avionics, we are delighted to be able to expand the Bluebox portable portfolio to include the iPad Pro. We are already talking to a number of airlines about the potential for deployment in premium cabins.”

Brown continues, “We’ve had a great year rolling out new client deployments on our portable products. These have been used for a variety of purposes such as an alternative to seat back IFE, service recovery, enhancing the business class IFE experience, improving other vendors’ streaming implementations with the provision of Early Window Content, and also ancillary revenue generation. Our own wireless streaming solution, Bluebox wiFE, has generated considerable interest and starts commercial flights in January. We’ve also got a new portable product in the works that we believe will make for a very busy 2016.”

  • A total of 110 airlines plan routes using the flight planning system from Lufthansa Systems

Raunheim, Germany | December 3, 2015– The year 2015 was a successful one for the Lido/Flight flight planning system from Lufthansa Systems. In addition to several new contracts, contract renewals and product implementations, the experts of the airline IT specialist are working on the new generation of the solution, Lido/Flight 4D. Lido/Flight is being used successfully worldwide by leading airlines of all sizes, business models and alliances – including low-cost, network, cargo and charter airlines.

Lido/Flight has performed successfully in the market for more than 15 years. This year, the customer base expanded to comprise a total fleet of around 5,800 aircraft. A total of 110 airlines are currently using Lido/Flight to calculate over 30,000 flights daily. Lufthansa Systems acquired important new customers for its flight planning solution in 2015, and several existing customers renewed their contracts. “We are especially proud of our eight successful implementations – the most extensive and, in terms of the Chinese market, most important one being the implementation for China’s largest airline, China Southern. After the project implementation phase, it’s always nice to see our customers profiting from our solution in their daily business and planning optimal routes with Lido/Flight,” said Dr. Bernd Jurisch, Vice President Lido/Flight at Lufthansa Systems.

Lufthansa Systems also offers its customers the opportunity to set up a cross-airline platform for Lido/Flight. Two such platforms were successfully introduced for customers this year so that the participating partner airlines can leverage synergies and plan their flights even more efficiently. There are a number of advantages to a shared platform: First, the airlines save money thanks to the simplified infrastructure because every participating customer can access the same system from their respective sites. They also benefit from operational advantages – both in their daily work and in the event of operational irregularities. This is because the shared platform enables all of the partners to plan each other’s routes and comprehensively optimize processes in the Operations Control Center. A total of three platforms are in use, one involving four airlines and two with three airlines each.

The core features of the flight planning solution are the integrated and continually updated aeronautical database and the so-called optimizer. Based on all flight-related data, weather conditions and the current airspace situation including any restrictions, Lido/Flight fully automatically or interactively calculates the most suitable route for each flight. The system has around 2,700 configuration parameters, enabling it to be adapted to specific customer requirements and regulations. Lido/Flight provides dispatchers with significant optimization options regarding flight time, fuel consumption or costs of each flight. In various comparative analyses based on more than 4,000 flight plans, Lido/Flight was able to reduce fuel costs by an average of 2 percent, cut flying times by 1.9 percent and save 1.6 percent of air traffic control fees compared to its competitors.

Lufthansa Systems is working closely with its customers and partners on the further development of the system. The focus is on modern 4D optimization based on various target functions as well as the further automation of flight planning and control processes. “With Lido/Flight 4D, we will meet future flight planning and control demands while expanding our market share at the same time,” Jurisch explained. “We will continue to focus on this project in the new year.”

  • China Southern successfully introduced another software solution from Lufthansa Systems

Raunheim, Germany | November 18, 2015– Lufthansa Systems today announced that the Chinese airline China Southern plans its flights with Lido/Flight. Following the completion of the implementation phase, the flight planning solution from Lufthansa Systems is successfully operational since a few weeks. China Southern has been a Lufthansa Systems customer since 2007 and is also using the NetLine/Plan and NetLine/Sched solutions from the airline IT specialist for its medium- and short-range flight planning.

“We require a flight planning software that meets our needs as the largest airline in the Asian market,” said Mr. Cui Maixi, Director of Dispatch at China Southern. “With its powerful flight planning functions and automated data processing which ensures efficient flight operations, Lido/Flight from Lufthansa Systems optimally meets our requirements.”

Every day, more than 30,000 flights worldwide for over 110 airlines are calculated using Lido/Flight. The core features of Lido/Flight are the integrated and continually updated aeronautical database and the so-called optimizer. Based on all flight-related data, weather conditions and the current airspace situation including any restrictions, Lido/Flight interactively and fully automatically calculates the most suitable route for each flight. Lido/Flight provides dispatchers with significant optimization options regarding flight time, fuel consumption or costs of each flight. The system has around 2,700 configuration parameters, enabling it to be adapted to specific customer requirements and regulations. Lido/Flight is being used successfully worldwide by leading airlines of all sizes, business models and alliances – including low-cost, network, cargo and charter airlines. The system is a component of the Integrated Operations Control (IOCC) Platform from Lufthansa Systems, which facilitates comprehensive monitoring of all business processes by integrating several operations control solutions.

“We are delighted that China Southern is satisfied with our products and has opted for another solution from our portfolio. This successful, long-standing cooperation with the largest carrier in China strengthens our position in the Asian market and also highlights the great economic benefits of our products,” said Tom Vandendael, Senior Vice President Regional Management Asia Pacific at Lufthansa Systems.

Based in Guangzhou, China Southern is the largest airline in the People’s Republic of China. The airline serves 190 destinations worldwide with its fleet of 540 aircraft. China Southern is a member of the SkyTeam alliance.

Lake Forest, CA | November 12, 2015– China Eastern Airlines has today become the first Chinese carrier to launch inflight connectivity on international flights, partnering with Panasonic Avionics.

The leading Chinese carrier, which, in partnership with China Telecom Satellite, was also the first to offer Wi-Fi on domestic flights, has installed Panasonic’s award-winning eXConnect inflight connectivity system on its newest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Panasonic Avionics’ eXConnect uses the company’s global Ku-band satellite network to deliver broadband connectivity to aircraft flying all over the world – even over oceans.

This Wi-Fi connectivity service enables passengers to access a wide range of services including the internet, email, and their favorite social media sites.

Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics, said, “We have worked closely with China Eastern Airlines over several years to create the first international services from a Chinese carrier with globally-available inflight broadband.

“Today’s launch is the culmination of this special partnership, and we’ll look forward to working with China Eastern over the months ahead to roll this service out across their international network.”

The service will initially be offered on the airline’s services from Shanghai to New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, and rolled out on other routes including San Francisco and Vancouver in December.

It will also be offered on the airline’s domestic services including Shanghai to Beijing, Guangzhou, Kunming, Chengdu and Chongqing. By the end of 2015, inflight connectivity will be available on 20 of China Eastern’s aircraft.

Zhang Chi, Deputy Director of China Eastern Airlines’ Transformation Office said, “The goal of the China Eastern Airlines Transformation Office is to transform our inflight experience from a traditional air transport experience into a modern, integrated and connected service. For China Eastern Airlines, inflight connectivity and Wi-Fi go beyond allowing passengers to be connected to Internet; it also dramatically improves our service model. With a connected aircraft, all of our the service support systems will be linked and available to the passengers in real-time, which will allow us to curate an even better experience for our guests.”

Almost 1,000 aircraft are now installed with Panasonic’s eXConnect system, with over 2,500 commitments in total. Panasonic is the only in-flight connectivity service provider with linefit offerability at both Boeing and Airbus.

  • High Frequency Data Link offers true global coverage for leading Middle Eastern carrier

Dubai, UAE | November 8, 2015– Royal Jordanian Airlines is now using Rockwell Collins’ ARINC GLOBALink to provide primary communications for its fleet of aircraft. The airline, based in Amman, provides service to Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and throughout the Middle East.

“We fly extensively across desert and oceanic routes, so we needed a communications network with global coverage,” said Royal Jordanian’s President/CEO Captain Suleiman Obeidat. “Our aircraft are High Frequency Data Link (HFDL) enabled, and the Rockwell Collins ARINC GLOBALink offering includes HF connectivity. Overall, we found the suite of Rockwell Collins’ solutions to be extremely cost effective and capable of meeting our expansion strategy.”

Royal Jordanian is using Rockwell Collins’ entire suite of ARINC GLOBALink services, including Very High Frequency (VHF), SATCOM, and HFDL to meet the airline’s diverse range of aviation communication needs. The airline is also using Rockwell Collins OpCenter web-based messaging solution and future plans call for the implementation of the company’s Web Aircraft Situational Display (WebASD) to enable global flight tracking.

“The significant expansion of our ARINC global network in Europe, the Middle East and Africa announced earlier this year was a key factor in enabling us to provide the comprehensive coverage that Royal Jordanian and other airlines in this region need,” said Mike DiGeorge, vice president, Commercial Aviation and Networks for Rockwell Collins. “Royal Jordanian is the first Middle Eastern carrier to select Rockwell Collins as its primary provider, and we anticipate more airlines in the region following its lead.”