Today’s Image: the new Airbus A330-200 MRTT air-bridge flight between Europe and China delivering additional face mask supplies to support the COVID-19 crisis.


ECLIPSE GLOBAL CONNECTIVITY & DISPLAY INTERACTIVE

Eclipse Global Connectivity and Display Interactive have signed a strategic agreement to provide end-to-end Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions to airlines and business aviation operators worldwide. The agreement, which came into effect on March 15, 2020, sees Eclipse Global Connectivity taking an equity position in Display Interactive (DI) and becoming their first industry-based shareholder.

“This agreement brings our relationship to a new level,” said Marc Pinault, CEO Eclipse Global Connectivity. “We have a long-standing relationship with Display Interactive and we are con – dent that our respective partners and customers will see an immediate benefit from this partnership. We are combining the quality and flexibility of DI’s proven wireless solution for air- lines with the technical, design and security expertise of our own connectivity systems, plus our long-time engineering and certification know-how. As a result, we can o er a comprehensive IFE solution to our customers.”

Highlighting the value that the partnership will bring to airline operators, Display Interactive’s CEO, Tarek El Mitwalli says, “Over the past 18 months, Display Interactive has invested heavily in the transformation of its wireless entertainment solution into an engagement and ancillary plat- form—focused on revenue generation. Adding connectivity will multiply revenue opportunities and open new business models for airlines.”

Eclipse Global Connectivity and Display Interactive are creating a one-stop shop for airlines, to streamline the implementation process, roll-out and service operation. Airlines, including Qatar Airways, Corsair International, and the former Joon / Air France, rely on DI’s solutions. British Airways, Philippine Airlines, and Ethiopian airlines, among others, y with Eclipse Technics, the aircraft modification arm of Eclipse Global Connectivity, solutions on board. Leveraging this expertise in technical design, kit manufacturing, STCs and engineering studies, both companies will o er an end-to-end inflight entertainment and connectivity solution under a single point of contact and a unique SLA (Service Level Agreement), reducing costs and delays.

Intending to demonstrate immediate benefits, Eclipse Global Connectivity and DI are launching a new entity based in Shanghai, China, which will be jointly operated under a new name. The company will commence operations in mid-2020, the schedule slightly impacted by the CO- VID-19 pandemic.

The new company will provide a customized, localized version of the complete Eclipse Global Connectivity and Display Interactive IFEC solution, fully integrated into the Chinese aero and digital ecosystems.

“Our main goal is to serve Chinese airlines directly in-country,” observed Thierry Carmes, COO at DI. “This means customizing our solution to fully meet airline- and business-partner-specific requirements, as well as supporting their programs and operations locally on a day-to-day basis. We are keen to demonstrate that our IFEC model will work in China—with the same benefits and performance as elsewhere. This is an invigorating challenge, and a deep motivation for our local teams, particularly since many connectivity programs have not yet delivered expected results.”

“Airline demand for airborne connectivity in China is growing, but not satisfied yet,” explained Marc Pinault. “Our strategy is to bring solutions that are already in common use in Europe or the Middle East, and deliver them with the Chinese operator and passenger specifically in mind. Our shared intention is to adapt and to become an integral part of the Chinese IFEC ecosystem.”

Display Interactive and Eclipse Global Connectivity are looking forward to providing cost-effective, innovative IFEC solutions that generate ancillary revenues, and being ready for when the aviation industry ramps-up service again in a few months. Their overriding aim is to offer a complete off-the-shelf solution from nose-to-tail, that ts all kinds of aircraft and delivers a visionary passenger experience and benefits for operators.


Editorial Courtesy of VT Miltope: Software Defined Cabin Wireless Networks

For two decades, cabin wireless functionality has been driven by aviation standards such as ARINC 763 and ARINC 628 Part 1. The industry has evolved through IEEE 802.11a to 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6). Each time the “standards upgrade” resulted in a higher functionality, often simply related to higher data throughput rates.

Unfortunately, these evolving standards resulted each time in changing radio equipment; subsequently, driving new access point hardware designs. At that time the technological race between the various vendors was determined by who was able to adapt the previous “box” to the new standard faster.

Meanwhile the factors that drive the evolution of the value and services generated by, and with, the cabin Wi-Fi networks for passengers and airlines are no longer just determined by the latest transmission standard. They are driven by various other functionalities of the Wi-Fi network that can be implemented through software solutions and do not necessarily need a change in hardware. The system complexity shifts from designing new hardware towards establishing a hardware infrastructure that can handle continuous functionality or performance improvements via software changes.  Software becomes the leading design entity creating value and flexibility, with hardware providing the processing platform.

Two examples for such software based added-value solutions are Hotspot 2.0 -allowing for seamless Wi-Fi roaming between different providers, systems and modes of transportation – and the embedding of Cyber Security applications to incorporate continuous network monitoring and anomaly detection as essential functionalities of the systems operation.

Miltope Corporation’s next generation cabin wireless solution, the xMAP, is driven by this evolved design philosophy. It enables the xMAP to be an adaptable foundational component to any wireless network in the aircraft.


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation announced actions the Company has taken to address the impact the coronavirus, or COVID-19, is having on the aerospace industry and its business. Peter Gundermann, Astronics Chairman and CEO, noted, “This is an unprecedented situation in our industry and we have to take measurable actions. First and foremost is the safety of our team members. We have implemented enhanced cleaning protocols, increased spacing of workstations, work-from-home wherever possible, minimization of visitors, meetings and travel as well as emphasizing the importance of personal hygiene and responsibility.”


AIRBUS

Airbus has deployed a new air-bridge flight between Europe and China to deliver additional face mask supplies to France, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom health systems in support of the COVID-19 crisis efforts (today’s rectangle). The aircraft, an Airbus A330-200 undergoing conversion as Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), took off on 26 March at 19.15 local time (CET) from Airbus’ Getafe site near Madrid. (Spain) reaching the Airbus site in Tianjin (China) on 27 March. The aircraft, operated by an Airbus crew, returned to Spain on 28 March at 04.05 local time (CET) with a cargo of more than 4 million face masks. In recent days, Airbus had already organized flights from Europe and China with A330-800 and A400M aircraft to donate thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services around Europe.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury provides an update on the Company’s action to support the fight against Covid-19.
 Airbus CEO statement on Covid-19 – YouTube

The Spanish Government announced new measures on 29 March in the fight against COVID-19. These measures are taking effect between Monday 30 March and Thursday 9 April inclusive and restrict all non-essential activities across the country. Some key activities in Commercial Aircraft, Helicopters and Defence and Space remain essential. Minimum activity in these areas for necessary support functions such as Security, IT, Engineering, will remain under the stringent health and safety measures implemented by Airbus to protect its employees against the COVID-19 pandemic. All other activities in Commercial Aircraft, Defense and Space as well as Helicopters in Spain will be paused until 9 April, the date when it is foreseen that restrictions will be lifted. Airbus will closely work with its social partners to apply the social measures applicable under the latest restrictions. Airbus employees in Spain whose jobs are not linked to production and assembly activities and can work from home will continue to support Airbus business continuity in these difficult times. As a leading company, Airbus needs to retain its ability to support the global crisis efforts, support customers, suppliers and continue to bring its essential contribution to society.


BOEING

Boeing announced a temporary suspension of production operations at its Puget Sound area facilities in light of the state of emergency in Washington state and the company’s continuous assessment of the accelerating spread of the coronavirus in the region. These actions are being taken to ensure the well-being of employees, their families and the local community, and will include an orderly shutdown consistent with the requirements of its customers. Boeing plans to begin reducing production activity and projects the suspension of such operations to begin on Wednesday, March 25, at sites across the Puget Sound area. The suspension of production operations will last 14 days, during which Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and its associated impacts on all company operations. During this time, we will be conducting additional deep cleaning activities at impacted sites and establishing rigorous criteria for return to work.

Editor’s Note: Boeing said they will be using 3D printing to develop and build face shields for medical personnel. They intend to transport the mask cargo on a Dreamliner – all this with their advanced technology and engineering personnel.


COVID-19


OTHER NEWS

Today’s Rectangle: AirFly Pro


PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Times are tough! Depression just may be around the corner. Read this: Deutsche Bank Economists forecast “severe recession” due to Covid-19 – Newsroom And as of Saturday, 3/21/20, the US numbers jumped up. Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Are Growing Faster In The United States Than Any Other Country In The World  I guess the message here is: As this virus grows, airline and travel news will dwindle, so IFEC news just might be a bit reduced!

The Farnborough Airshow – this year’s largest aerospace expo and a showcase for tens of billions of dollars of business deals – has become the latest major event to be canceled because of the coronavirus crisis, organizers said last week.

Editor’s Note: To give you an idea of how exposed the airline industry is to the impact of Coronavirus, the folks at Moodys Investor Service categorized it a 100% – the biggest exposure to financial risk!


AIRFLY

Despite the current state of air travel, we thought it might be  time to present an article about wireless earphone solutions for travel. The product for review is from the folks at AirFly – a Bluetooth wireless transmitter/receiver for your wireless entertainment earphones, in the case of the Pro version, a device that will receive Bt audio entertainment from an iPod/iPhone/or most Bt enabled devices and send it to a receiver/amplifier in your car, train, plane, or whatever mode of transport you choose.

This is an incredible product that amazed us with quality, small size (57 mm x 25.5 mm x 11 mm & weighs 15.5 grams – about the size of a pack of chewing gum), long life battery and a lot of functionality. Our product review should not only give you an idea about the value of the AirFly Pro, but IFExress feels this is the missing link between wireless headphones and wired headphone jacks because it it creates the wireless Bluetooth link between the audio source and your wireless earbuds or headphones on airplanes. We note, that there are Bt audio jacks being supplied in the industry (IFPL’s is a great product), but not all aircraft have it installed, especially the older jetliners that have not been recently refurbished.

AirFly offers four product variations:  AirFly Classic (one headphone), AirFly Duo (2 headphones & USB-C), AirFly USB-C (2 headphones & charges via USB-C with pass through power), and AirFly Pro (connects 2 headphones & has a receive mode that provides audio input to a device like a car radio). We tested the Pro and it delivered audio to two Bluetooth headsets – like it would do in an airplane; you and your seat mate could hear the same audio. Check out their website if you have questions or want to see more data on this clever product – AirFly Pro | Bluetooth transmitter connects wireless headphones to wired audio jacks – Twelve South Here’s how works:

  1. Be sure to charge the AirFly Pro module before you leave on a trip via a USB charge jack in the back. The company says you will be able to get some 16 hours of use out of it so virtually all of your flights will be supported.
  2. Setting up the device with your earphones or headphones is easy. We plugged in the AirFly jack to our signal source (iPod) and when we figured out how to put our Bose earphones in the “connect” mode the earphones and the AirFly paired immediately with a fixed light on each when connected. You will be surprised at the quality – it sounds as good as your earphones can deliver.
  3. So, when the movie begins on your next long flight, plug AirFly Pro into your seat’s headphone jack to listen to the movie with whichever premium noise cancelling wireless headphones you employ.

The company lists some of the usable headphones on their website (and there are a lot) but it worked with every Bt stereo headphone we tested. We need to also say the audio was really unbelievable and now we can take that hike with the iPod, without the wires – smooth! We also tried sending a Bt signal from our iPod with music on it through the device when it was plugged into the car radio input port – and it was great. Also, the unit can operate while charging if plugged into the USB power connection.

Lastly, we contacted AirFly and we asked their Marketing Director, Marlee Luttrell if the device was universal, and she said: “Absolutely! AirFly can pair any device with a 3.5m audio jack to almost any Bluetooth-enabled headphones (even hearing aids!). There are so many uses for AirFly beyond in-flight entertainment. A few of my favorites:- plugging into an amp or record player audio jack to listen to your guitar or records wirelessly- pairing Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids with your TV- Listen to your Nintendo Switch with your wireless headphones”

Beyond the auto or airline application this great little invention can be used in the gym, used in gaming, or on your boat. We even tried a wireless remote speaker and the sound was great!

Editor’s Note: Here is what might be happening to Bluetooth Audio – Bluetooth’s LE Audio allows better audio quality, hearing aid support – CNET


AIRBUS

Airbus SE announced that it expects production and assembly work to partially resume in France and Spain on Monday, 23 March following health and safety checks after the implementation of stringent measures. In addition, the Company is supporting efforts globally to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

Airbus has carried out extensive work in coordination with its social partners to ensure the health and safety of its employees, while securing business continuity. The implementation of these measures required a temporary pause in production and assembly activities at the French and Spanish sites for a period of four days. Work stations will only re-open if they comply with the new health and safety measures in terms of hygiene, cleaning and self-distancing while improving the efficiency of operations under new working conditions.

The same measures are being deployed across all other sites without full interruption.

For other non-production activities globally, Airbus continues to support home-working where possible. Some employees will be asked to return to support business continuity following the implementation of these new measures. In February, the Airbus Final Assembly Line in Tianjin, China, reopened following a temporary production stoppage related to the coronavirus outbreak and is now operating efficiently.
Airbus is supporting those in the health, emergency and public services that rely on its aircraft, helicopters, satellites and services to accomplish their critical missions. In addition, in the past days, the Company has donated thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services around Europe and has started to use its test aircraft to obtain larger quantities from suppliers in China. A first flight with a test A330-800 aircraft has this weekend transported approximately 2 million masks from Tianjin back to Europe, of which the large majority will be donated to the Spanish and French authorities. Additional flights are planned to take place in the coming days.

  • “Health and safety is our number one priority at Airbus so the work stations at our sites in France and Spain will only re-open if they meet the required standards. I’d like to salute the strong commitment from our employees to ensure business continuity in close cooperation with our social partners and other stakeholders. At the same time we are doing all we can to support those on the frontline to fight the coronavirus and limit its spread. We try to live up to our values, humbled by the complexity of the situation, and contribute as much as we can to society in these very difficult times,” said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury.

Airbus is committed to ensuring the health and safety of its people while maintaining delivery capability for its products and services to its customers

Also, Airbus SE announced measures to bolster its liquidity and balance sheet in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it continues to assess the ongoing situation and the impact on its business, customers, suppliers and the industry as a whole.

Reflecting the Company’s prudent balance sheet policy and to ensure financial flexibility, Airbus’ management has received approval from the Board of Directors to: secure a new credit facility amounting to 15 billion Euro in addition to the existing 3 billion euro revolving credit facility; withdraw the 2019 dividend proposal of  1.80 euro per share with an overall cash value of approximately 1.4 billion euro; and suspend the voluntary top up in pension funding. Given the limited visibility due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, the 2020 guidance is withdrawn. Operational scenarios, including measures to minimize cash requirements, have been identified and will be activated depending on the further development of the pandemic.

With these decisions, the Company has significant liquidity available to cope with additional cash requirements related to the coronavirus. Liquidity resources previously standing at approximately 20 billion euro, comprising around 12 billion euro in financial assets at hand and around 8 billion euro in undrawn credit lines, were further bolstered by converting an existing 5 billion euro credit line into a new facility amounting to 15 billion euro. Available liquidity now amounts to approximately 30 billion euro.

By maintaining production, managing its resilient backlog, supporting its customers and securing financial flexibility for its operations, Airbus intends to secure business continuity for itself even in a protracted crisis. Safe and efficient air travel is a key backbone of global economic development and cultural exchange. Airbus therefore highly welcomes governmental efforts around the globe to stabilize this industry by supporting the financial health of its airline customers and its suppliers. Airbus continues to monitor the overall health of the industry.

Airbus has convened its 2020 Annual General Meeting in Amsterdam on 16 April. Due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, Airbus discourages physical attendance and strongly encourages shareholders to vote by proxy in line with public health and safety measures.


BOEING

Boeing announced several decisions to support the company as it navigates through the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring the company is positioned for the industry’s recovery. Decisions include:

  • CEO Dave Calhoun and Board Chairman Larry Kellner will forgo all pay until the end of the year.
  • The company will suspend its dividend until further notice.
  • Boeing will extend its pause of any share repurchasing until further notice. The company previously suspended its stock buyback program in April of 2019.
  • Boeing is drawing on all of its resources to sustain operations, support its workforce and customers, and maintain supply chain continuity through the COVID-19 crisis and for the long term.

Boeing announced a temporary suspension of production operations at its Puget Sound area facilities in light of the state of emergency in Washington state and the company’s continuous assessment of the accelerating spread of the coronavirus in the region. These actions are being taken to ensure the well-being of employees, their families and the local community, and will include an orderly shutdown consistent with the requirements of its customers. Boeing plans to begin reducing production activity today and projects the suspension of such operations to begin on Wednesday, March 25, at sites across the Puget Sound area. The suspension of production operations will last 14 days, during which Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and its associated impacts on all company operations. During this time, we will be conducting additional deep cleaning activities at impacted sites and establishing rigorous criteria for return to work.
“This necessary step protects our employees and the communities where they work and live,” said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. “We continue to work closely with public health officials, and we’re in contact with our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders who are affected by this temporary suspension. We regret the difficulty this will cause them, as well as our employees, but it’s vital to maintain health and safety for all those who support our products and services, and to assist in the national effort to combat the spread of COVID-19,” Calhoun added.

Production employees should continue to report for their assigned shifts today and will receive guidance on their role in the suspension shutdown process. Puget Sound area-based employees who can work from home will continue to do so. Those who cannot work remotely will receive paid leave for the initial 10 working days of the suspension – double the company policy – which will provide coverage for the 14 calendar day suspension period.

“We will keep our employees, customers and supply chain top of mind as we continue to assess the evolving situation,” Calhoun said. “This is an unprecedented time for organizations and communities across the globe.”
When the suspension is lifted, Boeing will take an orderly approach to restarting production with a focus on safety, quality and meeting customer commitments. This will be a key step to enabling the aerospace sector to bridge to recovery. Boeing is working to minimize this suspension’s impact on the company’s ability to deliver and support its defense and space programs, and ensure the readiness of our defense customers to perform their vital missions. Boeing will work closely with those customers in the coming days to develop plans that ensure customers are supported throughout this period. Critical distribution operations in support of airline, government, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) customers will continue.


OTHER NEWS

Today, ARC begins releasing key airline ticketing data compiled from weekly sales by U.S. travel agencies, including online, corporate, and retail organizations. We will publish this information each Monday in a rolling four-week table. For more information, please refer to the notes section below.

Arlington, VA | March 23, 2020–Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) today reported the following consolidated airline ticketing volume variances, compared to the same period in 2019. These totals represent sales generated by US travel agencies* and processed through the ARC settlement system. Data figures are for the seven days ending March 22, 2020. More in-depth, custom data is available from ARC for purchase. Please click here for more information.

Tickets Issued for All Itineraries:

7-Day Period Ending:

Ticket Variance
vs. Same Week 2019

Sales Variance
vs. Same Week 2019

March 1

-15.6%

-8.9%

March 8

-25.5%

-22.2%

March 15

-45.2%

-43.6%

March 22

-80.1%

-63.2%

Year-to-Date (YTD)

-14.78%

-19.58%

Variances in Tickets Sold by Segment for All Itineraries:

7-Day Period Ending

Corporate

Online

Leisure/Other

March 1

-8.6%

-18.7%

-17.8%

March 8

-32.3%

-17.6%

-31.3%

March 15

-65.2%

-29.4%

-49.1%

March 22

-89.5%

-77.7%

-73.9%

Year-to-Date (YTD)

-16.62%

-13.82%

-14.33%

Average Air Ticket Price for U.S. Domestic Round Trips:

7-Day Period Ending

Change from
prior week

Average Ticket Price

March 1

1.9%

$499

March 8

-12.6%

$437

March 15

-16.8%

$363

March 22

-7.6%

$336

Year-to-Date (YTD)

-2.4%
(Avg. Weekly Change)

$470

*Notes

  • Results are based on weekly sales data ending March 22, 2020, from 11,800 U.S. retail and corporate travel agency locations, and online travel agencies. Results do not include sales of tickets purchased directly from airlines and are not net of refunds or exchanges.
  • Average ticket price (in USD) for a round-trip ticket settled through ARC for an itinerary that included only U.S. domestic travel.
  • Total sales are equal to the total amount paid for a ticket, which includes taxes and fees.

IMMFLY

Immfly announced it has secured a long term partnership with International Airlines Group.

Immfly’s specialist onboard software services will support the development and maintenance of IAG’s universal platform (.air). The platform has already deployed the most advanced connectivity service across a large part of the Group’s fleet to deliver a consistent digital customer experience, with built in flexibility to tailor the offering to each airline’s brand and customer proposition.

IMMFLY provides onboard connected digital services specialized in enhancing customer experience, optimizing operations and maximizing revenues. The announcement follows a long standing pioneering wireless IFE collaboration of more than 5 years between Immfly and the Group’s airline Iberia Express. IAG now intends to enhance the .air platform with new features, products, services and retail opportunities designed to progressively unlock new revenue streams and increase customer satisfaction.

“The partnership with IAG and Immfly brings together a world leading airline group composed of top tier aviation brands in Ireland, UK and Spain, with the industry’s foremost partner for pioneering cabin digitization” said Immfly’s Executive Chairman Jimmy Martinez von Korff. “Together, IAG and Immfly will provide digital engagement tools and resources that will enhance the journey of millions of customers.”

“The partnership with Immfly will enable IAG to deliver new personalised services and expand the product range offered to our customers across entertainment, retail and loyalty” said Andrea Burchett, Group Head, IAG Connect at International Airlines Group. “We are excited to work together to develop services that innovate and disrupt the market by leveraging our combined knowledge and expertise for the benefit of our customers and airlines”.


CARLISLE IT & GILAT SATELLITE NETWORKS

Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. announced the collaboration with Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT).

Gilat’s Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA) was the first-ever to demonstrate in-flight operation over Ka on a commercial aircraft. A series of successful test flights took place over the last few months over GEO and LEO satellites. The ESA terminal is a fully electronic beam steering, no moving parts terminal, featuring wide instantaneous bandwidth, wideband frequency support, instantaneous beam switching and gate-to-gate operation. The elegant compact design by CIT exhibits an ultra-low profile, small footprint and an all-inclusive offering of outdoor antenna equipment in a single line replacement unit for: antenna, baseplate, skirt and transparent radome.

“Gilat is most pleased to join forces with its partner, Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, and to present Gilat’s ESA terminal in CIT’s booth at Satellite,” said Roni Stoleru, Vice President Antenna Products & Strategy at Gilat. “Carlisle Interconnect Technologies’ team is the expert in innovative Thermal Management Solutions (TMS) and we couldn’t be more pleased with the elegant and compact design of Gilat’s proven technology for which we are already seeing significant market interest.”

“We are delighted to collaborate with Gilat and to display the ESA terminal in our booth in Satellite 2020,” said Kris Samuelson, Director of Sales, IFCE/Interiors at CIT. “Gilat’s proven and scalable technology easily integrates our Thermal Management Solution for both the small form factor business and general aviation market, as well as the commercial aviation market.”


GOGO

Fouth Quarter and Full-Year 2019 Highlights:

  • Consolidated revenue of $221.3 million in Q4 2019, up 2% from Q4 2018; Net loss of $22.4 million in Q4 2019
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $34.4 million in Q4 2019, resulting in record full-year 2019 Adjusted EBITDA of $145.6 million
  • Record BA Reportable Segment Profit of $41.7 million in Q4 2019, up 17% from Q4 2018
  • 2019 Cash Flow from Operating Activities of $64.1 million; Free Cash Flow(1) improvement of $162.6 million in 2019 versus 2018, significantly exceeding guidance of improving Free Cash Flow by at least $100 million for the year
  • Reached 1,407 2Ku and 1,657 total CA satellite aircraft online as of December 31, 2019, with a backlog of nearly 950 2Ku aircraft(2), which included 150 new commitments from existing customers in the quarter. In Q4 2019, 2Ku aircraft online increased by 118.
  • As of January 28, 2020, total flights on Gogo’s AVANCE L5 and L3 systems reached 244,000, totaling 154 million miles flown. These milestones were reached approximately two years after the L5 launch in late 2017
  • Qatar Airways selected Gogo’s 2Ku solution for high-speed inflight connectivity and live TV on 70 Boeing and Airbus aircraft, with service expected to begin in 2020

SITA

SITA and trade association ULD Care hope to bring new efficiency to the air cargo industry by exploring the use of blockchain to digitally track and record change of custody of airline cargo containers or Unit Load Devices (ULDs) across their journey. By eliminating inefficiency, embedding always-on tracking of ULDs and abandoning redundant paper systems, the use of blockchain is expected to save the industry $400m a year in improved efficiency, fewer losses and prevention of damage. The proposed platform also offers a wide range of authentication and trust-based benefits, reducing the risk of tampering, cybercrime, trade-based money laundering, fraud, and illicit trade. Today more than 800 million ULDs are in use by airlines yet the system used to track these ULDs has only been partial digitalized and relies on incomplete data sharing and record keeping. The proposed blockchain system improves efficiency by making use of all data points across the air cargo journey and provides a platform that aggregates and processes the ULD data in a trusted and secure way. The PoC will extend and upgrade the current ULD interlining platform to include non-airline third parties such as ground handlers via open APIs and a new modern interface. The results will transform the industry by lifting the veil on a myriad of previously unknown factors like damage reports. Knowing the location of all ULD’s (and therefore cargo) at all times means companies can accurately track where loss or damage occurs and recover the costs without dispute. For any given shipment there can be up to 12 custodian companies monitoring and tracking the cargo, with many relying on paper documents making the process cumbersome and undermined by trust and transparency issues. Blockchain presents a near-perfect solution to address these industry pain points with huge time and cost-saving potential. This project forms part of SITA’s Global Blockchain Alliance which is leading exploration into blockchain’s potential for the air transport industry. SITA’s role, as the air transport community’s IT provider, is to provide governance for the global alliance, support the working groups, deliver all required blockchain technology components and ensure proper alignment and validation with regulators and international standardization bodies.


GLOBAL CONNECTED AIRCRAFT SUMMIT WARNING

“To our Global Connected Aircraft community: Let us sneak in a few words among the torrent of emails you’re getting about the Coronavirus. As we near the end of a terrible week during which the spread of COVID-19 officially became a global pandemic and its economic fallout dramatically worsened, we are hoping for the best possible health outcome for you, your loved ones and your colleagues. We are watching the situation closely. With regard to our upcoming Global Connected Aircraft Summit event, scheduled for June 2-3 in Denver, the health and well-being of attendees, speakers and exhibitors is our greatest priority. We have not yet taken the step of postponing or canceling the conference, since this is such a fast-moving story and the show’s early summer timing gives us a little more opportunity to assess. As of this writing, information is still hard to come by on when infections are likely to peak in the United States or how far into the future the current suspensions on conferences, sporting events and other large gatherings in March and April should remain in effect. Whatever happens, we will keep you posted.”


COURTESY of  SEEKING ALPHA

“Without a lifeline from governments we will have a sectoral financial crisis,” according to the International Air Transport Association, which called for extending lines of credit to airlines, reducing infrastructure costs and cutting taxes. IATA last week estimated that the crisis could wipe out some $113B of industry revenue, in a forecast that did not include the U.S. clampdown on European travel. “There is a heightened concern there will be increased airline bankruptcies in 2020 given the fallout from the coronavirus,” added Cowen analyst Helane Becker. “We expect some governments to step in to help some airlines, but ultimately we expect more airlines to fail this year than last year.”


BOEING

Boeing is freezing new hiring and overtime except in certain critical areas to preserve cash as the coronavirus compounds the fallout from a year-old grounding of its 737 MAX. News that Boeing was planning to draw down the rest of a $13.8B loan it took last month sent shares tumbling 18% on Wednesday, their biggest one-day percentage drop since 1974. Other issues: Boeing booked 46 cancellations last month, resulting in a net loss of 28 orders, as carriers switch from the grounded MAX to other planes.


US CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines for “community mitigation strategies” to limit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, which include recommendations for “social distancing”—a term that epidemiologists are using to refer to a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people and hopefully stymie community transmission of the virus.

Note: We got an email in from Kelvin Boyette, CEO Latitude Aero
“Here is a quick LinkedIn post I composed discussing how airline’s current cabin decontamination methods, using fogging and non-approved chemicals, causes damage to the aircraft seating.”

Editor’s Note: The US Federal Reserve, advised “The coronavirus outbreak has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States,” and they will cut interest rates to near-zero on 3/15/20 and launch a massive $700 billion quantitative easing program to isolate the economy from the effects of the virus. It will take the form of $500 billion of Treasury’s and $200 billion of agency-backed mortgage securities. The Fed said the purchases will start on Monday with a $40 billion installment. Interestingly, in 2014, Bill Gates saw the problem in his TED Talk Bill Gates suggests, to put all our good ideas into practice, from scenario planning to vaccine research to health worker training. he notes: “There’s no need to panic – but we need to get going.”

Bill Gates: The next outbreak? We’re not ready | TED Talk


COVID-19

As you can well imagine, with COVID-19 running rampant throughout the world, air travel is being destroyed and the airlines are feeling the hurt – big time! The world is getting hit, while in Seattle companies like Alaska Airlines stock has dropped some 44%, the value of Boeing stock has plunged 48% at the time of this writing! Today (3/17/20) the world has some 196,639 cases and it will continue to climb.

Presently, scientists don’t know exactly when the disease will peak but we suspect 2 months is optimistic and this timeframe will be telling in the US and globally as well. Below the equator, the virus is just beginning to hit and we expect third world countries will be hit the hardest. There is no virus innoculation in sight and that means the airlines/travel/hotel industries will continue to be in big trouble. In actual fact, the travel industry is in disarray, and will get worse in the short term.

If you want to stay up on travel, check out: Coronavirus & Travel Industry: Breaking News & Impacts – Coronavirus & Travel Industry: Breaking News & Impacts – Skift , and here is the Airline Industry Coronavirus Impact: Coronavirus & Airlines: Coronavirus & Airlines: Breaking News & Updates – Skift

Noted AXIOS: “Last year, 46 million passengers flew on roughly 200,000 flights between the U.S. and the 26 affected European countries, says IATA. In March 2019, international visitors arriving from Europe (excluding the U.K.) accounted for about 29% of total overseas arrivals to the U.S., according to the U.S. Travel Association. Those visitors spent approximately $3.4 billion in the U.S., the group said.”

Lastly, we suggest you WASH YOUR HANDS frequently and keep your distance from just about everybody. Good Luck and Stay Healthy!


OTHER NEWS

Challenges and Opportunities In Today’s IFE Market

By: Juraj Siska of IdeaNova

Building an IFE system into an airline platform is more attainable than ever before. With advancements in technology and a growing proportion of younger passengers expecting entertainment during their flight, integration is both affordable and necessary. Although there are some challenges, there are also many opportunities to include an IFE system in your airline.

Challenges to Including IFE on Your Aircraft

IFE providers need to pay attention to studio requirements, which have increased significantly for display as well as headend servers located on the aircraft.  These requirements range from various operational procedures which are there to ensure data integrity, to authenticity and the ability to handle a wide range of common malicious activities such as physical theft.  Another group of requirements is specific to the hardware the IFE providers choose to either play or stream media content.  For example, to stream higher quality video (content that is higher than Standard Definition) displays and headend servers must be equipped with hardware components that ensure hardware based protection for managing and using content keys.  This is a shift that has recently been documented by studios and industry representatives in the Apex 0415 v2 specification.

Opportunities to Include IFE on Your Aircraft

However, even with studio challenges, content is also more accessible – directly in-browser, eliminating the need for the download of applications or browser plugins (a nuisance that was finally put to bed when the majority of browser vendors stopped supporting plugins).  Content is also more standardized, allowing interoperability between products from Apple, Microsoft and Google.  This results not only in a better user experience but also operational efficiencies gained by deploying only one set of content that can be played equally well on Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android phone or tablet.

There is also an increasing amount of content being made available, ranging from standard Hollywood studio content to independent movies or video created by famous Internet celebrities – widely sought by especially younger audience.

An important opportunity has emerged in IFE, and that is affordability.  The cost of an IFE system is rapidly decreasing.  This is enabled by the cost of hardware (Moore’s law) and the ability to stream content directly to personal devices.  Retrofitting cabins with new displays and wires can be costly and time consuming, but the implementation of a portable IFE system that streams wirelessly to passengers’ personal devices is much simpler and faster to rollout.  Improvements in wireless technology also aid in this trend, by making wiring between IFE servers and displays no longer necessary.  Additionally, new wireless specs (e.g. WiFi 6 and LiFi) are eagerly anticipated by the industry to bridge IFE technology to all aspects of aviation.  A common misconception is that IFE needs to be accompanied with IFC.  While connectivity is important and adds to overall passenger satisfaction, it is not mandatory for a functional IFE.  This drives the cost further down.

IFE Can Be Part of Your Airline Operations

It is always advantageous to be apprised of the capabilities that a new technology can bring to the table in the form of improved passenger experience or optimized workflow.  We are at a junction in IFE where what used to be an expensive value proposition, affordable for only the largest airlines, is now realistic and accessible to all aircraft operators.  Airlines and operators should embrace this opportunity to improve the passenger experience and retain customers.


AIRBUS

Benefiting from a maximum take-off weight increase to 251 tonnes, the A330neo offers a significant 650-nautical mile boost in range – or six tonnes more payload – when compared to the A330neo’s current 242-tonne version. This increase in range responds to evolving market needs, enabling airlines to benefit from the unique economics of the A330neo on even longer routes. Taking to the skies for the first time this past week from Toulouse, France, was the 251-tonne A330-900 – which provides the perfect fit for longer trans-Pacific or Asia-Europe routes. The A330-900 is the longer-fuselage A330neo version, seating 260-300 passengers in a typical three-class cabin configuration. The shorter-fuselage A330-800 – which accommodates 220-260 passengers in a three-class configuration, will open up very-long-range Pacific routes for the 251-tonne version, while delivering the lowest seat-mile cost in its category.

Since the beginning of the year Airbus logged net orders for 274 commercial aircraft from its A220, A320 and A350 XWB product lines in activity. During the month of February, Airbus recorded no new orders. In February Airbus delivered 55 aircraft to 35 customers. Single-aisle deliveries in February involved 40 A320 Family aircraft (composed of 37 NEO versions and three in the CEO configuration); plus four A220s. For Airbus widebody aircraft, seven A350 XWBs were provided in the A350-900 configuration and two A350 XWBs in the A350-1000 configuration; along with two A330 Family aircraft (composed of one NEO version and one CEO). Airbus registered three new airlines in its A320neo operator base this month and among the month’s notable deliveries was the first A350-900 delivered to AEROFLOT out of 22 aircraft of the type on order. Airbus’ backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of 29th of February stood at 7,670. This total was comprised of 6,209 A320 Family aircraft and 547 A220s, as well as 328 A330s, 577 A350 XWBs and nine A380s.

The overall total orders logged by Airbus since its creation to 20,382 commercial aircraft, which includes 15,522 A320 Family aircraft, 1,823 A330s, 935 A350 XWBs, 658 A220s and 251 A380s.


SITA

How Will 5G Transform Air Travel?

SITA, the leading IT provider for the air transport industry, has made six predictions about how ultra-fast 5G networks will bring major change for airports, airlines, and passengers. With download speeds of up to 400MB per second, 5G will be a game-changer.

The potential for innovation is huge and airports, airlines, and passengers will feel the force of 5G in very different ways. SITA’s predictions are based on unique IT insights and emerging air transport industry technology trends. They follow hot on the heels of 5G trials like the recent ones carried out by both London Gatwick Airport and Beijing’s new Daxing International Airport services which signpost our entry into a new era of ultra-connected air travel. Gilles Bloch-Morhange, VP SITA Platform, said: “5G is already enhancing our existing applications at airports, for aircraft communications, airport operations, baggage management, and of course passenger processing. And it’s impossible to talk about 5G without discussing Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and the other applications it enables. We’re already using 4G for IoT applications for several applications around our biometric passenger processing solution, such as Smart Path and baggage management and the uptake of 5G will provide many more opportunities.” 5G is coming fast. According to CSS Insight data*, there will be 340 million 5G connections globally by 2021 and a staggering 2.7 billion by 2025, mostly in developed markets. In money terms, in the aviation industry 5G amounted to just USD 0.2 billion in 2019 but is projected to reach USD 4.2 billion by 2026.

Fast forward: how will we use 5G in 2025?

5G will be the lifeblood of IoT

5G will soon be commonplace at airports and the idea of everything intelligently connected to everything will be viable.

The Internet of Things (IoT) brings the inherent need to manage increasing amounts of objects and therefore data. Today’s 4G technology can manage around 10,000 devices in each square kilometer; a 5G network can manage a million. Multiple objects at airports will interact with people and objects will interact among themselves. With 5G, connectivity will be much more fluid and flexible. The new networks will enable massive data flows, providing secure, real-time, predictive and historic views of airport operations. This will make collaboration between airports, airlines, ground handlers, air traffic managers and concession holders easier and effective. The result will be the intelligent monitoring of queues throughout the airport and tracking and controlling autonomous vehicles that assist passenger journeys. Vehicles on the ramp will be served by connected smart tugs and baggage carts. Wheelchairs, mobile kiosks, and robotic assistants will be controlled remotely. It is not all about bandwidth. 5G’s low latency will make autonomous vehicles much safer. With signals going up to 100 times faster than 4G, the speed of digital instructions will make the difference between a vehicle traveling tens of meters or just a few centimeters before taking corrective action.

5G will power air transport-specific AI applications

5G connected Artificial Intelligence (AI) will solve major pain points at airports and borders. For example, biometrically matching passengers to their bags will be simple. AI will be able to recognize unique scuff marks, creases, and material characteristics to distinguish between seemingly identical bags and match them to the correct passenger. AI-assisted computer vision will continually scan boarding gate areas and intelligently predict capacity issues for hand luggage on flights and enable staff to act accordingly before boarding.

5G will drive operational efficiency, increase ancillary revenues and cut costs.

Putting IoT and 5G together will offer great opportunities for airlines and airports to unlock the value of all their data to deliver tangible business benefits. All airport assets will be connected, making monitoring efficiency and optimizing usage much simpler. It will, for example, provide the tools to make vehicle usage around the airport more efficient, delivering considerable savings in fuel costs and overall resources, including labor.

5G will mean exploitation of the potential of ‘flying data centers’

5G will enable the next-generation aircraft to exchange vast amounts of data around the airport and at the gate. The fast transmission of aircraft data, and analysis of that data, will enable pro-active maintenance, quicker aircraft turn-around, more on-time departures and, most importantly, an improved customer experience. Convergence of 5G and satellite communications will serve the end-to-end approach of the aircraft as an IoT-flying device, connecting it with all the relevant systems. Airports will control Wi-Fi quality and have improved disruption management capabilities We see opportunities in licensed and unlicensed 5G spectrums thanks to new 5G standards. Airports will have more control of quality of service in their private and public spaces, converging 5G with Wi-Fi networks to create a seamless mobile experience, with continuous connectivity.

5G is likely to replace the commonly used digital radio communications service TETRA, which is only voice-enabled, for operational and mission-critical services, providing a secure network for running airport operations. Airport staff will have access to real-time rich video updates and live feeds based on evolving scenarios and locations, as well as CCTV feeds for computer vision analysis for many functions and enabled remote biometrics.

5G will deliver the digital traveler promise

For passengers, real-time augmented reality and personalized mobile services will be provided, combining all data exchanged from the various applications and interactions with the building and objects. The airport will provide passengers with relevant, contextualized information and services to assist and entertain them. HD films will download in seconds, entire series will be available to watch offline almost instantly and passengers will be able to live stream sports events in crystal clear quality, no matter how busy the airport.


OTHER NEWS

  • IATA is now projecting global passenger revenue losses of $63b-$113b in 2020 due to the Coronavirus outbreak; no estimates are yet available for the impact on cargo operations.
  • Curious about the size of the Airbus A380 vertical stabilizer? Check out number 7 in this image (#7 BrightSide photo – 20+ Things That Are So Awfully Big, It’s Inappropriate There are 22 people standing at the base! (Editor’s Note: The other images are amazing as well!)
  • Trying to figure where to move and get a tech job? San Francisco and a few other cities saw most growth in new tech jobs – Vox
  • If jet engine operation is a mystery to you – here is a good introduction to how they operate – How A Jet Engine Starts – YouTube
  • We Were Wondering: As the ‘virus’ blasts the airline industry, companies like Airbus and Boeing are going to feel their losses later this year. And speaking of Boeing, as upper management from New York, Chicago, or wherever, works to redevelop and rebuild the Boeing 737 MAX, we wonder if they have considered an upper level observation team of top retired expert design/management/manufacturing heroes (such as Alan Mullally, for example) who could provide teamed guidance/assistance/recommendations on the corrections to the ’737?

By no means could anyone refer to me as an alarmist; however, the potential impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the global economic marketplace could be significant and it has the potential to dramatically impact how we live our day-to-day lives, as well as, the aviation industry in general.

One can argue that COVID-19 is not anymore dangerous than the common flu – but this is irrelevant if people perceive it to be more contagious and deadly. It all boils down to fear, especially fear of the unknown, and the potential for overreacting, and travelers are especially susceptible. A state of panic can quickly be reached, and if that happens, we can say goodbye to rational thought.

The airline industry is perhaps more vulnerable than many other businesses as the majority of people don’t need to fly but they still need groceries, household items, etc. In other words, travel tends to be discretionary. As many of us may remember, we have seen this before with 9/11 and then, to some degree, with SARS a year or two later. Many people opted not to fly because they were scared of circumstances that were beyond their control. And it took a while for the airline industry to rebound.

Our industry is facing a huge problem, as COVID-19 is moving towards a global pandemic. Some sources have compared it to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 that infected an estimated 500 million people and killed roughly 20-50 million. In fact, Bill Gates refers to COVID-19 as a “once-in-a-century” pandemic . If COVID-19 was restricted to a single region (let’s say Asia) most airlines have the capacity to cope with a region that is underperforming; however, with COVID-19 taking hold in Europe, many of that regions carriers are restricting flights and the ‘alarm bells’ are beginning to ring in regards to the decrease in demand and its affiliated affect on the bottom line. And now it has a foothold in North America as well. If we look at the current problems the Asian carriers are facing, we can see how bad this could get. In fact IATA is forecasting that the Asia-Pacific airlines could lose roughly $28 billion in revenue during 2020 as a result of the virus.

How might the airline industry react? To address the traveler concerns, airlines may begin to clean the domestic/short-haul aircraft more thoroughly, implementing similar procedures like they do now for long-haul flights – disinfecting after each flight. Alterations to the inflight service by reducing the amount of interaction between the flight attendants and passengers could also been seen on some carriers. Also, the airlines may dramatically discount fares in an effort to increase demand and fill seats. And to further align supply/demand, we could easily see airlines park some of their jets, especially older and less fuel-efficient models.

On another front there is a broiling dispute between airlines and the CDC. In the USA there is increasing pressure from the CDC on airlines to assist with the efforts on controlling the spread of COVID-19 by providing more complete passenger data about international travelers. Airlines have responded that collecting this information is the responsibility of the federal government. It is reported that airline executives are to meet with Vice President Pence tomorrow on the subject of the coronavirus. It will be interesting to watch how this unfolds and to see the long-term impact this sort of information gathering will have. Like so many things, once these types of procedures are in place, they rarely are removed.

However, the results of the COVID-19 might help Boeing. With a decrease in the number of people traveling and a reduction in the number of routes being flown, one could argue that the airlines that have been hindered by the grounding of the MAX may be happy its return to service is delayed.

As with any crisis, there is a trickle down effect to other industries and IFEC will most probably be impacted by delayed deliveries and/or order cancelations. Much depends on how long the rate of infection continues to climb. It is too early to truly understand what the basic reproduction number (R0 = the number of individuals statistically to catch the disease from 1 individual) of the coronavirus but as of mid-February it appears to be similar to flu.

The questions we face are: How to move forward? How do we adjust to weather the storm that is COVID-19? What changes do we make in order to not only survive, but possibly, thrive?

One IFE company in Ireland has already filed for bankruptcy sighting COVID-19 as the culprit and they may well not be the last.

Below are some hyperlinks that are both interesting and informative. If you only have time to read one, I highly recommend, “Coronavirus On The Latin Bridge”.

 

Using Big Data to Fight the COVID-19 Epidemic in China

Just How Contagious is COVID-19? This Chart Puts It In Perspective

Global Cases of COVID-19: John Hopkins CSSE

Recession Fears Are Rising Globally


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation Reported their 2019 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Results. Below are the highlights:

Fourth quarter sales of $198.4 million; full year sales of $772.7 million
• Consolidated orders for the quarter were $156 million
• Fourth quarter net loss of $34.1 million includes restructuring and impairment charges and legal reserves totaling $51.7 million
Backlog at the end of the year was $360 million


AXINOM

Continuing with its initiative of standardization in digital aerospace, Axinom has become the first digital solutions provider in the industry to provide a production common media application format (CMAF) with cipher block chaining encryption (CBCS). The technology eliminates the need for a native app and multiple file-formats to deliver the video content to mobile devices that can utilize browsers and DRM protection for playback.

The first successful adoption by a notable industry-leading integrator came in the form of a streaming solution that utilizes Axinom VIP (Video Ingest and Processing) to encode and package video assets in the CMAF file format. “The CMAF format paired with the common encryption scheme makes the assets interoperable across device platforms while maintaining industry-grade security,” says Ralph Wagner, CEO, Axinom. “This is a crucial step in our initiative to bring standardization in the digital vertical of the aerospace industry.”

Advancement in on-board entertainment delivery:

Smart and portable devices have become a crucial part of consumer experience and adopting this trend to aerospace not only enhances the value but also makes digital operations more efficient. A multi-screen IFEC offering with modern technological solutions allows passengers to use whatever devices (bring your device scenario) on-board to consume entertainment or connectivity.

Today, Axinom’s product-stack is enabling companies across aerospace industries to leverage the multi-screen trend. Advancement brings forth the following capabilities:

  • Axinom VIP encapsulates the video assets into a single format that is compatible with both HLS and MPEG-DASH streaming
  • Axinom VIP with CBCS mode common key encrypts video assets, described in either an m3u8 (HLS) or MPD (MPEG-DASH) playlist
  • Axinom DRM (Digital Rights Management) delivers licenses to on-board devices for content protection and playback

Providers are also realizing cost benefits as the new solution eliminates the need for an app, multiple file-formats, and vast amounts of space for the storage and playback of videos. Moreover, the comprehensive solution extends to a large number of commonly used devices and platforms, making it extremely practical.


AIRBUS

Aeroflot, the Russian flag carrier and member of the SkyTeam alliance, has taken delivery of its first A350-900, becoming the launch operator of the latest generation widebody aircraft in Eastern Europe and CIS. Aeroflot’s A350-900 features a distinctive new livery embracing its almost 100 year heritage. Aeroflot has a total of 22 A350-900 aircraft on order and operates an Airbus fleet of 126 aircraft (107 A320 Family and 19 A330 Family aircraft). Aeroflot’s A350-900 features a brand new elegant cabin design, offering a spacious three-class cabin layout with 316 seats: 28 private Business Class suites with full-flat seats, 24 Comfort Class with extra legroom and 264 Economy Class. In addition the latest generation Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment system, HD screens and Wi-Fi connectivity will ensure enhanced experience for all passengers on long-haul flights. Aeroflot will operate its A350-900 from Moscow to a number of destinations including London, Dubai, New York, Miami, Osaka and Beijing.


BOEING

Boeing  named Susan Doniz as the company’s chief information officer and senior vice president of Information Technology & Data Analytics, effective in May. She will succeed Vishwa Uddanwadiker, who has served in an interim capacity since October 2019. In this role, Doniz, 50, will oversee all aspects of information technology, information security, data and analytics for the world’s largest aerospace company. She also will support the growth of Boeing’s business through IT- and analytics-related revenue generating programs. She will report to Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun, serve on the company’s Executive Council and be based in Chicago. Doniz joins Boeing from Qantas Group, where she has served as Group chief information officer since January 2017. In that role, she oversaw technology innovation, development and integration, digital capabilities and cybersecurity across the Group’s companies, including Qantas Airlines, QantasLink, Qantas Loyalty and Jetstar. Doniz has more than 25 years of global technology leadership experience, including strategic roles at SAP, Aimia and Procter & Gamble. She holds a bachelor’s degree in applied science and engineering from the University of Toronto, and serves as vice chair of the Digital Transformation Advisory Council of the International Air Transport Association.


OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) announced an agreement with Nelco Limited (Nelco) to provide satellite connectivity services to customers flying into India and over Indian airspace. With this agreement, Panasonic becomes the first satellite communications provider to begin inflight connectivity (IFC) operations under Nelco’s Department of Telecommunications license for In-Flight and Maritime Connectivity (IFMC), in accordance with the Flight and Maritime Rules. As a result of this agreement, Panasonic, and its subsidiary ITC Global, now offer connectivity to both aircraft and maritime vessels operating within India. With the implementation of the agreement and subject to regulatory approvals from relevant authorities, Indian full-service carrier Vistara may become the first airline in the country to offer satellite connectivity on international flights. With equipment already installed on more than 2,500 aircraft, vessels, and other platforms, Panasonic and ITC Global are already delivering connectivity services to customers in the aviation and maritime markets, providing them with access to satellite-based high-quality broadband internet services over India.

Panasonic’s inflight connectivity service is currently offered by more than 65 airlines globally. The GSAT 14 satellite will ensure that passengers onboard Panasonic-connected flights will enjoy a full suite of connected services while flying over Indian airspace or into India. At this time, over 700 aircraft from over 30 airlines installed with Panasonic’s connectivity solutions have begun using the GSAT 14 satellite. Panasonic’s inflight connectivity solutions will enable passengers to stay connected while they fly. Along with its subsidiary, AeroMobile, Panasonic is working with Nelco, the Department of Telecommunications – India, and local telecoms organizations to deliver seamless connectivity for data, text and voice services, accessible via a passenger’s mobile device in flight.

The service will be available on aircraft equipped with this service traveling across Indian airspace, and is expected to launch on Vistara in early 2020 – the first Indian-based airline to offer a service of this kind to passengers. Panasonic and Nelco have been working together to bring in-flight and maritime connectivity over India since March 2019. The agreement was signed by Panasonic, Nelco and Tatanet services on September 13, 2019. Since September, Panasonic and Nelco have been integrating networks to enable connectivity services using bandwidth from Indian satellites landing in Nelco’s teleport in Mumbai, India.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat announced that it will bring its world-leading maritime, aviation and enterprise connectivity solutions to customers based in Saudi Arabia through new partner agreements.

The company additionally announced that it has secured new spectrum licenses to deliver both its narrow-band (L-band) and high-capacity broadband (Ka-band), Global Xpress (GX), services in Saudi Arabia, enabling Saudi-based businesses to deploy these services for the first time. Fixed and mobile satellite telecommunications distributor Sada Al Ammah and Global Beam Telecom have been appointed as Inmarsat’s first distribution partners in Saudi Arabia and the region and they will work closely with Inmarsat’s Maritime, Aviation and Enterprise businesses to roll-out services in the region. Global Beam Telecom & Sada Al Ammah will work with Inmarsat’s Enterprise business to bring the benefits of its award-winning connectivity services to land-based users in the Middle East. Inmarsat’s Aviation business will work with Sada Al Ammah to deliver cockpit safety services and passenger cabin broadband Wi-Fi connectivity (GX Aviation for commercial airlines and Jet ConneX for business jets) to companies based in Saudi-Arabia, enabling airline and business aviation passengers to browse the internet, stream video and music, check and update social media and more during their flights. Inmarsat’s L-band network provides best-in-class connectivity services for users on land, at sea and in the air. The network enables a wide range of use cases such as fleet management, remote analytics, data transfer and other IoT/M2M applications in areas with non-existent or unreliable connectivity. Focus areas for these use cases will include oil and gas, transport and aid and non-governmental organizations (NGO). Further capacity is set to benefit customers in Saudi Arabia and beyond soon, as the recently-launched GX-5 satellite comes into commercial service in 2020, to meet the surging demand for high-capacity broadband across the skies and seas of Europe and the Middle East.


SITAONAIR

Ivory Coast carrier Air Côte d’Ivoire is extending its relationship with inflight connectivity partner SITAONAIR across its new fleet of A320neo aircraft, enabling enhanced levels of passenger satisfaction.

The deployment, due in September 2020, will see Air Côte d’Ivoire’s new fleet enter into service with both SITAONAIR’s Mobile ONAIR and Internet ONAIR Wi-Fi over Inmarsat’s cutting-edge GX Aviation network.

The airline’s selection is set to meet increasing passenger demand for the ultimate level of speed and seamless connection. SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR portal also provides Air Côte d’Ivoire with a host of additional services with the potential for new ancillary revenue, as well as personalized content for its passengers.The addition of SITAONAIR’s Mobile ONAIR services on top of enhanced Wi-Fi connections offers the airline and its passengers the best of both worlds. Passengers can enjoy a seamless mobile connection in the air, as on the ground, while increased connectivity bandwidth provides enhanced reliability.

Mr. René Decurey, Chief Executive Officer, Air Côte d’Ivoire, comments: “It’s true that passenger expectations are growing. There is also increasing pressure to provide tailored services that cover the breadth of our passengers’ needs and data consumption. As Air Côte d’Ivoire continues to concentrate on enhanced, new generation inflight connectivity services for true passenger satisfaction, SITAONAIR is the obvious, trusted partner to support our ambitions.”

Stephan Egli, Commercial VP Middle-East, Africa & Europe, SITAONAIR, adds: “Having previously deployed SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR solution over SwiftBroadband, the move to GX reflects Air Côte d’Ivoire’s dedication to delivering true passenger satisfaction that’s future-proofed. By offering mobile and Wi-Fi services onboard, SITAONAIR is able to provide an inflight connectivity service to passengers that delivers a unified, seamless and fast experience that costs less. SITAONAIR is proud to be Air Côte d’Ivoire’s long-term partner in this venture.”

Also from SITAONAIR:

SITAONAIR has been instrumental in the expansion of Very High Frequency (VHF) coverage throughout Turkey, during the development of the country’s largest new airport hub in Istanbul, which opened in April 2019. SITAONAIR’s expansion of the current VHF infrastructure enhances operations for airlines serving the regional domestic market and the country’s main airports. In addition to the 29 existing VHF antennae which currently serve Turkey’s main cities, including Istanbul, Ankara, and Antalya, SITAONAIR is planning to install a further 14 at six additional sites across the country. This will include six new antennae at Istanbul Airport which opened its doors on 6 April 2019. Istanbul Airport covers around 76.5 square kilometers and plans to accommodate up to 200 million passengers per year upon the completion of all phases. The developments come at a time when Istanbul’s air transport management services face increasingly busy traffic through the flight corridor between Europe and Asia, which spans the region, following the recent closure of Istanbul Atatürk Airport.


SD

SD, the business, military, and government aviation solutions provider, is expanding its hardware portfolio with the launch of a new tail-mounted antenna series. The announcement, which heralds the launch of the SD Plane Simple antenna portfolio, positions SD as a single source provider of end-to-end connectivity solutions for business jet and government operators worldwide.

The new tail-mounted antenna system offers two variants for operation in Ku- or Ka-band frequencies. The Ku-band variant is expected to be available for STC in early 2021, followed by the Ka-band version later in the year. With only two line-replaceable units (LRUs) and a network agnostic design, the common form factor and wiring simplify the installation, which allows owners and operators to equip aircraft with a connectivity system compatible with future technological developments. Partnerships with Inmarsat for Jet ConneX service delivery and Intelsat for FlexExec connectivity have already been established.


IMMFLY

Immfly introduces Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. films on Club Express Onboard, the digital inflight entertainment and services platform it operates on Iberia Express. The airline surprises passengers on the Madrid-Copenhagen route by screening the Joker, the film which received the most Oscar nominations of any film in 2020. The crew provides earphones and mobile device holders to all passengers with which they can comfortably enjoy screening the film wirelessly using their smartphones while enjoying complimentary popcorn. Passengers who found themselves on the special celebratory flight, were surprised with free popcorn, earphones and mobile device holders to enhance their IFE experience. Immfly has progressively enhanced the Iberia Express IFE service since it first launched the pioneering service in 2014, helping the airline further boost its Net Promoter Score. Practically 50% of the passengers which access Club Express Onboard, the digital services and entertainment platform Immfly provides on Iberia Express, do so to consume entertainment content. Over a third of the users, 37%, enjoy movies, 18% opt for TV shows and 13% for digital press and magazines.


BOEING

Boeing and ANA HOLDINGS INC. (ANA HD) announced the Japanese airline group decided to acquire up to 20 more 787 Dreamliner airplanes (see today’s IFExpress rectangle). The agreement with Boeing includes 11 787-10s, one 787-9 and options for five 787-9s valued at more than $5 billion at list prices. The airline also plans to acquire three new 787-9 airplanes from Atlantis Aviation Corporation.

Once the agreements are finalized, it will be ANA’s sixth order for the ultra-efficient and passenger-pleasing Dreamliner and bring their overall 787 order book to more than 100 airplanes.

“Boeing’s 787s have served ANA with distinction, and we are proud to expand our fleet by adding more of these technologically-advanced aircraft,” said Yutaka Ito, Executive Vice President of ANA and ANA HD. “These planes represent a significant step forward for ANA as we work to make our entire fleet even more eco-friendly and further reduce noise output.”

With this order, the airline will add 11 of the largest and most fuel-efficient Dreamliner models, the 787-10 to its world-class fleet. Powered by a suite of new technologies and a revolutionary design, the 787-10 set a new benchmark for fuel efficiency and operating economics when it entered service in 2018. The airplane allows operators to achieve 25 percent better fuel efficiency per seat compared to older airplanes in its class.

ANA sees the 787-10 as the perfect airplane to replace previous domestic 777 models that are slated for retirement.

“Introducing the 787-10 on our domestic routes will help ANA Group maintain its leadership role and improve our ability to operate as a responsible corporate citizen,” Yutaka Ito said.

ANA became the global launch customer of the 787 Dreamliner when it placed its initial order in 2004. Since then, like half of all Dreamliner operators, the Japanese carrier has placed follow-on orders. However, ANA is in a class by itself as the world’s biggest 787 operator with 71 airplanes in its fleet and 12 more to be delivered prior to the latest agreement. The new deal will bring the 11 additional 787-10 airplanes, one 787-9 and options for five more 787-9 jets.

ANA is also in the launch customer group for Boeing’s new 777X.

“ANA has grown into one of the leading airline groups in Asia by continually raising the bar for customer satisfaction and investing in the most technologically-advanced and capable fleet. We are truly honored that ANA HD is coming back to order more 787 planes with plans to boost their Dreamliner fleet to more than 100 jets,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing, The Boeing Company. “We are confident that the unique capabilities of the 787-10 will continue to safely serve its passengers with best-in-class comfort and reliability.”

The 787 Dreamliner is playing an important role in reducing carbon emissions around the world. Since the first 787 entered commercial service in 2011, the Dreamliner family has saved more than 48 billion pounds of fuel. In addition, the 787 fleet’s noise footprint is 60 percent smaller than those of the airplanes it replaces.

ANA HD’s new 787 jets will be powered by GE’s GEnx-1B engines. The new engines will contribute to the 25 percent improved fuel efficiency per seat of the 787-10.

Also from Boeing:

Boeing announced it has dedicated the remaining $50 million of a previously announced $100 million fund to support humanitarian needs in communities affected by the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents. The Boeing Community Investment Fund will work directly with victims’ families to enable them to donate to eligible charities of their choosing. The company will partner once again with Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros on the fund’s creation, allocation and distribution. Feinberg and Biros will immediately begin working with families, governments and other interested parties to identify eligible charitable organizations. All monies distributed by Feinberg and Biros will be independent of any resolution provided through the legal process. ollowing months of extensive discussions with victims’ families, government officials, community leaders and others, we determined the best path forward – both for those who lost loved ones and the communities affected by these accidents – is to empower the families to decide how to allocate these funds,” said Tim Keating, Boeing’s executive vice president of Government Operations, who oversees the company’s charitable activities. “Through this donation, it is our hope the families will be able to honor their loved ones in a manner that is both personal and meaningful to them while also creating a lasting legacy in their communities around the world.”

Work also continues on the previously announced $50 million Boeing Financial Assistance Fund, which is providing near-term financial assistance to families of the victims.
“When we made our initial $100 million pledge, our first priority was to ensure that we provided families with immediate financial assistance,” said Keating. “Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros have made tremendous progress on that effort. Given their success and the trust they have built with the families, we have now asked Ken and Camille to oversee the important work of connecting families with the charitable organizations they deem most meaningful.”


OTHER NEWS

 

Image: Airbus A330-800 receives EASA Type Certification


THALES

Sichuan Airlines selects Thales CORE IFE for its future fleet of A350 aircraft to deliver on their promise for exceptional passenger experience. Entry into service is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2021. Sichuan Airlines new A350’s will include a two-class cabin configuration equipped with 17” displays in business class, 12” displays in economy class and new state-of-the-art SELECT graphical user interface (GUI) featuring the latest user-experience technologies creating the most intuitive passenger experience ever while celebrating Sichuan Airlines’ brand. Passengers will enjoy the most current applications and vast selection of entertainment during their flight including a variety of television series, films, music, and games.

Thales’s CORE IFE system is based on the proven AVANT platform, benefiting Sichuan Airlines with a streamlined process for configuration and delivery at the most competitive cost of ownership. CORE is packaged with Thales support services. Through this selection, Thales further expands its partnership with Sichuan Airlines. The airline’s current fleet of A350 is flying with the AVANT system and Thales is the preferred business partner in avionics – including Flight Management Systems for their A320/A330 aircraft as well as customer support and services. Over 1 million passengers each day enjoy Thales in-flight technologies. In China, Thales is working together with airlines to drive the highest level of passenger satisfaction by providing a truly unique experience to all travelers.


AIRBUS

The A330-800 received joint Type Certification (today’s rectangle) from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The aircraft’s certification flight-test campaign was successfully performed by aircraft MSN1888, which completed the program in 370 flight test hours and 132 flights since its first flight in November 2018. The A330-800, part of a true new-generation A330neo family, is the most efficient longest range entry-level widebody and incorporates new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, a new 3D-optimised wing and new Sharklets using lighter composite materials. Together, these advances bring a significant reduction in fuel consumption of 25 per cent compared with older generation competitor aircraft of similar size. Certified initially with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 242 tonnes for a range capability of up to 7,500 nautical miles, the A330-800 will typically seat 220 to 260 passengers in three classes, or up to 406 travelers in a single-class high-density configuration. To date the A330neo Family has won 337 firm orders from 22 operators. In the A330-800, passengers can expect the highest levels of comfort, with the aircraft featuring the award-winning Airspace by Airbus cabin with larger overhead storage, advanced cabin mood lighting and the latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity. Operationally, the A330neo shares a common pilot type-rating with the larger A350 XWB, which facilitates minimum flight training cost and maximum pilot productivity. Maintenance personnel will also benefit from the aircraft’s new Skywise data connectivity features which will help them to predict potential issues before they arise, thus ensuring maximum productivity of the aircraft in revenue service.

On another note, Green Africa Airways, Nigeria’s Lagos-based airline, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 50 A220-300 aircraft, one of the major orders to be placed globally for the A220 program and the largest ever from the African continent.

Furthermore, Airbus SE, the Government of Québec and Bombardier Inc. have agreed upon a new ownership structure for the A220 program, whereby Bombardier transferred its remaining shares in Airbus Canada Limited Partnership (Airbus Canada) to Airbus and the Government of Québec. The transaction is effective immediately. This agreement brings the shareholdings in Airbus Canada, responsible for the A220, to 75 percent for Airbus and 25 percent for the Government of Québec respectively. The Government’s stake is redeemable by Airbus in 2026 – three years later than before. As part of this transaction, Airbus, via its wholly owned subsidiary Stelia Aerospace, has also acquired the A220 and A330 work package production capabilities from Bombardier in Saint-Laurent, Québec. This new agreement underlines the commitment of Airbus and the Government of Québec to the A220 program during this phase of continuous ramp-up and increasing customer demand. Since Airbus took majority ownership of the A220 program on July 1, 2018, total cumulative net orders for the aircraft have increased by 64 percent to 658 units at the end of January 2020.

Bombardier transfers its remaining interest in Airbus Canada Limited Partnership (Airbus Canada) to Airbus SE and the Government of Québec. Airbus now holds 75 percent of Airbus Canada with the Government of Québec increasing its holding to 25 percent for no cash consideration Bombardier work packages for the A220 and A330 will be transferred to Airbus, through its subsidiary Stelia Aerospace, securing 360 jobs in Québec Bombardier will receive US$591M, net of adjustments, of which US$531M was received at closing, and is released of its future funding capital requirement to Airbus Canada.

Lastly, Airbus and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enable urban air mobility (UAM) in Singapore. The MOU was signed at the Singapore Airshow 2020 between Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice-President, Engineering, Airbus and Kevin Shum, Director-General of CAAS. The collaboration aims to bring UAM services and platforms to reality in Singapore’s urban environment, with the target to enhance industry productivity and improve the country’s regional connectivity. As part of the agreement:

  • Airbus and CAAS will collaborate to define and develop an initial UAM service with an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The parties will specifically work together to realise the Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system and services to support the initial use-case.
  • For such UAM operations, both parties will co-operate on fostering public acceptance, developing standards, and establishing necessary safety frameworks.
  • Finally, Airbus and CAAS will study the feasibility and requirements for further UAM services that include leading-edge cargo and passenger transportation solutions.

BOEING News

The Boeing Company reached a tentative agreement with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) on a new four-year contract extension that would run through 2026 covering approximately 18,000 engineering and technical employees, nearly all of whom are in Washington and Oregon. SPEEA’s Executive Board has endorsed the offer, which will be put up for a vote by the membership and is expected to run from Feb. 24 to March 9, 2020 via mail-in ballots. The current contract is set to expire in 2022.Highlights of the agreement include:

  • Annual salary adjustment funds – Under the tentative agreement, Boeing and SPEEA will establish fixed salary adjustment funds for each year, 2020 through 2026, replacing the prior indexed formula.
  • Paid leave – Boeing will apply the Company’s existing 12-week Paid Parental Leave policy to SPEEA-represented employees. By virtue of the contract extension, SPEEA-represented employees in Washington will now also be covered by the Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Health care benefits – Under the tentative agreement, employees will continue receiving competitive benefits with no change in plan design for medical, dental and vision plans. Beginning in 2023, employees’ contributions will be based upon their salary.
  • Employee Incentive Plan (EIP) – The Employee Incentive Plan target will be raised from 3.85% of eligible earnings to 5% of eligible earnings.

On another note, Boeing forecasts airlines in Southeast Asia will need 4,500 new airplanes over the next 20 years, valued at $710 billion at list prices. Single-aisle airplanes continue to be the main driver of capacity growth in Southeast Asia. This growth helps to stimulate the demand for commercial aviation services, which are forecasted to be worth $785 billion between 2019 and 2038.

“Three countries from Southeast Asia – Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia – made the top 10 list of countries that added the most airline seat capacity since 2010. Vietnam has experienced the strongest growth out of the three at nearly 15% per year, followed by Thailand and Indonesia at approximately 10% respectively,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of Commercial Marketing at Boeing. “With an expanding middle-class, in market that continues to liberalize, coupled with a strong domestic, regional and international tourism sector, Southeast Asia has become one of the world’s largest aviation markets.”While single-aisle airplanes dominate the forecast, this region will also require a significant amount of widebody airplanes, in terms of value and the number of units. The demand is driven by airlines adapting to the evolving business environment and new long-haul expansion opportunities. Widebody airplanes will make up 19% of new airplane deliveries, enabling carriers in the region to serve new international long-range city pairs.

Aviation growth in the region is expected to drive the need for 182,000 commercial pilots, cabin crew, and aviation technicians to fly and to maintain the airplane fleet across Southeast Asia. This demand is projected based on a mix of new airplane deliveries, annual aircraft utilization rates, crewing requirements by region and regulatory requirements.

In the air cargo sector, after declines in 2019, global freight volumes are projected to recover in 2020 due in large part to solid industrial production and world trade. Over the long-term, air cargo is projected to grow 4.2% through the forecast period. Freighters will remain the backbone of the cargo industry with the need for 1040 new and 1780 converted freighters over the next 20 years.

Worldwide, Boeing projects the need for 44,040 new commercial airplanes valued at $6.8 trillion and the demand for aftermarket services totaled at $9.1T over the next 20 years. The complete forecast is available here.

Furthermore, Boeing announced supply chain agreements at the Singapore Airshow with multiple airlines and operators. The agreements will enable Asia-Pacific carriers to leverage Boeing’s global supply chain to streamline maintenance, repair, and operations.

Recent supply chain services agreements include:

  • All Nippon Airways, the largest airline in Japan, has expanded an agreement for consumable and expendable services to their entire fleet.
  • Cathay Pacific, the home carrier of Hong Kong, renewed a multiyear agreement for consumable and expendable services building on a long-standing partnership for spare parts inventory management.
  • Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corporation (EGAT), an MRO with a long-standing partnership between EVA Air and General Electric, reached a multiyear Tailored Parts Package agreement. The customized agreement provides comprehensive part coverage from Boeing’s network of global distribution centers to support EGAT’s maintenance, repair, and overhaul operations to a host of global airlines in its service portfolio.
  • HAECO, a leading MRO, has reached an expanded agreement for consumables and expendables parts support to include additional supply chain solutions.
  •  Xiamen Airlines has reached a three-year agreement for a Tailored Parts Package to support their full fleet of Boeing Next Generation 737 and 787 Dreamliner airplanes.
  • KAEMS signed agreement with Boeing for its first integrated inventory management solution for consumables and expendables parts in support of their growing MRO capability.

These agreements focus on material solutions that offer customers more inventory control and greater logistics flexibility, by relying on Boeing for material support. Boeing works with customers to identify their operational priorities and build the Tailored Part Package and Consumable and Expendable Services that allow airlines to focus on operations and not parts and inventory management.

Boeing estimates the commercial services market, including business aviation and general aviation, in the Southeast Asia region will reach $3.4 billion over the next 20 years. This growth is driven by demand for customizable maintenance programs and maintenance personnel. Boeing’s aftermarket supply chain, a key capability in supporting increased lifecycle value for customers, provides customers with customizable and flexible materials support tailored to their needs.

Lastly, Boeing announced orders and agreements that will enable growth for multiple Asia-Pacific airlines in a rapidly developing region. These digital solutions lower costs across fleets for regional and international operators, enhance airline crew situational awareness and increase operational efficiency.
New digital solutions orders and agreements include:

  • Vistara, an Indian carrier and a joint venture of Tata group and Singapore Airlines, has signed an agreement for multiple services to support their entry into service of new 787-9 aircraft, including Boeing Maintenance Performance Toolbox and Airplane Health Management tools. Powered by Boeing AnalytX, these tools provide real-time, custom alerting, fleet data to enhance maintenance capabilities. Vistara has signed a new five-year agreement to receive Jeppesen Crew Rostering and Boeing Alertness Model tools to improve operational efficiency and crew planning capabilities.
  • Air Tahiti Nui joins more than 100 international customers using Boeing Airplane Health Management by signing a multiyear agreement to access real-time maintenance and engineering data and support to enhance maintenance and operational decisions for their 787 fleet.
  • Bamboo Airways will integrate several digital solutions to support their new 787 fleet, with new agreements finalized for Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB), Electronic Document Browser and Onboard Performance Tool capabilities. These digital tools enable flight crews to perform real-time weight and balance and takeoff and landing calculations to reduce maintenance costs, optimize payload capacity and streamline cockpit operations.
  • Sichuan Airlines has agreed to a multiyear contract for Jeppesen JetPlanner Pro services to enhance flight planning capabilities. The tool generates optimized routes and efficient flight plans in complex airspace to achieve lower operating costs, using the industry leading flight planning engine.
  • Virgin Australia Group has signed a seven-year agreement for Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB) and digital navigation chart services, to increase operational efficiency. The agreement extends a long-term relationship between the airline and Boeing for Jeppesen navigation services that provide increased flight deck efficiency.

OTHER NEWS

Astronics

Astronics announced that it has received the 2019 GOOD DESIGN Award in the transportation category for the design excellence of its portable inflight entertainment (IFE) product, Sierra.

The GOOD DESIGN Awards are presented by the Chicago Athanaeum Museum of Architecture and Design plus the Metropolitan Arts Press Ltd. Founded in Chicago in 1950, the program remains the oldest and world’s most recognized authority for design excellence worldwide. Astronics’ Sierra was selected for this award from a record number of submissions from the world’s leading manufacturers and design firms, representing the most important influential corporations in the design industry.

“We’re excited to announce that Sierra has been recognized by the Chicago Athenaeum for the 2019 GOOD DESIGN Award,” said Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC). “Receiving this award acknowledges Sierra as the leader in bringing smart design paired with technology innovation to portable IFE.”

Astronics’ Sierra is an affordable, scalable IFE solution that delivers IFE as a standalone unit from a single battery or, when installed and powered, can employ multiple units merged into a single network to cover a larger aircraft cabin. Sierra enables passengers to enjoy hundreds of hours of streaming audio, video, digital magazine content, and more. Sierra stands up to the rigors of flight in the overhead bin while delivering streaming content that matches the experience of installed IFE without the need for a supplemental type certificate (STC).


Inmarsat

Inmarsat announced that its award-winning GX Aviation solution has powered more than one million free inflight broadband sessions for Air New Zealand passengers. The impressive milestone was achieved approximately one year after Air New Zealand switched to a free-of-charge model for its inflight broadband service. GX Aviation is currently available on almost 25 aircraft within the Air New Zealand fleet, operating on Trans-Tasman, Pacific Island, US and London routes. This includes a combination of Boeing 777-200, 777-300 and 787-9 aircraft, in addition to Airbus A320 and A321 neos. In addition to reaching the one million milestone, last December was Air New Zealand’s biggest month ever for free inflight Wi-Fi sessions, with more than 122,000 customers connecting. This beats the airline’s previous record of 103,000 sessions in July 2019. This surge in uptake for free inflight Wi-Fi from Air New Zealand passengers chimes with recent findings from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), as part of the final installment of their “Sky High Economics” report with Inmarsat Aviation. The research found that there is an immediate $33 billion market share shift available for airlines developing the digital inflight experience. The report also revealed that Gen Z (born between 1997-2012) will become the largest group of airline flyers by the end of the next decade, bringing with them new expectations of technology and travel.


Immfly

The global in-flight digital services and entertainment (IFE) company headquartered in Barcelona, Spain announced it secured strategic investment from Boeing HorizonX in 2019. Immfly’s advanced digital solution enables airlines to efficiently and remotely manage onboard digital products and services on all aircraft types, including in-flight entertainment content, flight information, advertising and onboard sales. 

“This investment will help further establish Immfly as the industry’s leading partner for pioneering cabin digitalization and reinforce our ability to provide global services,” said Immfly Executive Chairman Jimmy Martinez von Korff. “Boeing and Immfly share a common vision to continue growing the digital capabilities provided to airlines to enhance their onboard experience and develop new revenue streams.”

“Boeing’s strategic investment in Immfly drives innovation across the entire passenger journey.” said Brian Schettler, senior managing director for Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “Immfly’s digital cabin solution is fundamentally changing how airlines around the world are engaging with their passengers during flight.” 

Immfly is one of just four companies outside the United States to join the Boeing HorizonX portfolio. The company will showcase its digital services in the HorizonX “What’s Next” booth at the Singapore Airshow this month with other members of the HorizonX portfolio.

Immfly is an award-winning provider of Connected Digital Services and Best in Class In-flight Entertainment. Immfly S.L. is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, with global offices serving full service, low cost and regional airlines worldwide. Immfly’s digital services reach millions of passengers across hundreds of destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia and North and South America.


OneWeb

OneWeb, a global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone everywhere, confirms its upcoming launch of 34 satellites has been scheduled for Thursday 6 February at 2142 (GMT) / Friday 7 February 0242 (local time) from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. This marks the start of a regular launch campaign during 2020 that will rapidly grow OneWeb’s first phase constellation of 648 satellites and represents one of the largest civilian satellite launch campaigns in history. Each satellite forms an integral part of the high-speed global satellite broadband network and together will activate OneWeb’s first customer demos by the end of 2020 to provide full commercial global services for sectors such as maritime, aviation, government and enterprise in 2021.


Airbus

Airbus has reached final agreements with the French Parquet National Financier (PNF), the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO), and the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) resolving the authorities’ investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption, as well as with the U.S. Department of State (DoS) and the DoJ to resolve their investigations into inaccurate and misleading filings made with the DoS pursuant to the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Airbus has agreed to pay penalties of 3,598 million Euro plus interest and costs to the French, U.K. and U.S. authorities. The settlements with each authority are as follows: PNF 2,083 million Euro, the SFO 984 million Euro, the DoJ 526 million Euro and the DoS 9 million Euro of which 4.50 million Euro may be used for approved remedial compliance measures. Airbus received credit from the authorities for having reported and for its consistently strong cooperation during the investigations.
Convention Judiciaire d’Intérêt Public with the PNF

Airbus has agreed to enter into a Convention Judiciaire d’Intérêt Public with the PNF. This agreement does not amount to an admission of liability. Under this agreement, the PNF has agreed to suspend prosecution of Airbus for a duration of three years. Prosecution will be discontinued if Airbus complies with the terms of the agreement throughout this period, which it is committed to doing. The agreement also contains an obligation for Airbus to submit its compliance program to targeted audits carried out by the Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA) over a period of three years.

Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the SFO

Airbus has agreed to enter into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the SFO. This agreement does not amount to an admission of liability. Under this agreement, the SFO has agreed to suspend prosecution of Airbus for a duration of three years. Prosecution will be discontinued if Airbus complies with the terms of the agreement throughout this period, which it is committed to doing. In light of the continuing monitorship to be conducted by the French Anti-Corruption body, the AFA, no independent compliance monitor will be imposed on Airbus under the agreement with the SFO.

Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the DoJ

Airbus has agreed to enter into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the DoJ. Under this agreement, the DoJ has agreed to suspend prosecution of Airbus for a duration of three years. Prosecution will be discontinued if Airbus complies with the terms of the agreement during this period, which it is committed to doing. No independent compliance monitor will be imposed on Airbus under the agreement with the DoJ.

Consent Agreement with the DoS

Finally, Airbus has agreed to enter into a Consent Agreement with the DoS. Under this agreement, the DoS has agreed to settle all civil violations of the ITAR outlined in Airbus’ voluntary disclosures identified in the Consent Agreement, and Airbus has agreed to retain an independent export control compliance officer, who will monitor the effectiveness of Airbus’ export control systems and their compliance with the ITAR.

For legal reasons, Airbus cannot make any comment on the agreed Statements of Facts published by the investigating authorities. Airbus has taken significant steps to reform itself and to ensure that this conduct will not reoccur. Airbus has significantly enhanced its compliance system under the supervision of an Independent Compliance Review Panel. The Company is committed to conducting business with integrity.Airbus will continue to cooperate with the authorities in the future, pursuant to the agreements, and to install a strong Ethics & Compliance culture within the Company


Boeing

Boeing  announced a donation of 250,000 medical-grade respiratory masks to address medical supply shortages in China. The masks will be provided to local health officials battling the spread of the coronavirus in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, and Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province. “Our thoughts continue to be with all those in China dealing with the health impacts related to the coronavirus,” said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. “Through our donation, it is our hope that we can help limit the spread of this virus and ease the burden on local aid workers and medical personnel.” The health and well-being of Boeing employees and their families remains a top priority for the company. Boeing continues to monitor the situation closely and has advised employees to heed all local public health warnings. To date, the company has provided 25,000 medical-grade respiratory masks for employees working in the region.

Check out the 4th Quarter here – Boeing Reports Fourth-Quarter Results – Jan 29, 2020


Other News

B777X First Flight

We are going to start this IFExpress by looking into the Boeing 777 Series and then delve into the B777X and it’s first flight. First a little history. The Widebody Boeing 777 family, commonly referred to as the ‘Triple Seven’ aircraft began life and launched in the Fall of 1990, rolled out in June of 1994, first flew on June 12, 1994, then went into commercial service approximately one year later in 1995. In 2004, a longer range version was rolled out. The Boeing 777 is reportedly the largest twin engine aircraft being manufactured today and the original jetliner had a capacity of 300 to 368 passengers. It should also be note that the 777 series competes with the Airbus A350 family that was launched in 2004, which carries some 300 to 350 passengers and now includes A350 XWB. Here is a comparison video that came out in June of 2018 – (109) Boeing 777x vs A350-1000 .! Which one is your favorite – YouTube

Now let’s get back to the Boeing 777X, the world’s largest twin-engine airplane. The B777 family currently includes B777-200ER and B777-300ER aircraft that are 209 and 242 feet long, respectively, with a 200/212 foot wingtip-to-wingtip difference, per plane model. The dash 200ER and 300ER are the original basis of the B777 models; however, in November of 2013, Boeing announced the B777X. The B777X has 2 variants: the dash 8 (384 pax and 8,690 nmi) and the dash 9 (426 pax and 7,525 nmi) and is a major update to the 777 family. The B777X is the testing and certification baseline for the aircraft with the first successful test flight on Saturday January 25, 2020. This plane is 251 feet long and has a range of some 7,525 nmi. It will typically seat approximately 414 passengers and cost a reported (although airlines will not pay this much) some $442 million with a wing span of 235 feet, decreasing to 212 ft. when the tips are folded. This means that the wings have a fold-up tip that is approximately 11.5 feet long – a big industry first for a jet of this magnitude. Watching the video of the first landing of the B777X really showed a difference in this iteration’s size compared to its predecessors. When looked at head-on the extreme wing span is evident, despite being folded upon touch down (we assume to avoid taxi collisions) and the vertical stabilizer is incredible – the top of reaches 64 feet 7 inches high off the ground!!

Boeing also migrated some of the technologies found in the 787 Dreamliner onto the B777X. The size and function of the passenger cabin’s windows and the appearance of the flight deck are just of a few of the adapted features.

We should also be mention the new GE90, dual rotor, axial flow, high bypass turbofan engine that is, in a word, amazing. It is derived from the General Electric GE90 with a larger fan, advanced materials like CMCs, higher bypass ratio (10 to 1) and compression ratios, it proposes improved fuel efficiency by 10% over its predecessor and is rated for 105,000 foot pounds of engine thrust and weighs almost 20,000 pounds!

Finally, here are some of the many B777X videos for your enjoyment!


Gogo

Gogo announced the upcoming launch of a new digital rights management (DRM) service that enables playback of video-on-demand content in the most popular browsers without additional plug-ins or app downloads. Developed in partnership with castLabs, the new solution allows each title to be packaged for browsers like Safari and Chrome on all operating systems with a single file using the latest file format – Common Media Application Format or CMAF – in the industry. The single encrypted file format allows for Gogo’s inflight entertainment (IFE) service, Gogo Vision, to maximize the airlines library size and store 50% more content than other solutions.  The roll-out of this new technology will be complete in the first half of 2020.

“Gogo is the first in the industry to launch a streaming solution that uses a single encrypted file format to play video across the most popular browsers,” said Blane Boynton, SVP of Product for Gogo. “castLabs is our technology enabler, and a well-known and trusted DRM vendor in the industry. By removing the need for an app or plug-in, Gogo provides a seamless experience to our airline partners and their passengers.”

“Gogo is leveraging our updated PRESTOplay and DRMtoday solutions that utilize the latest advances in streaming technology to deliver a single version of content to all modern browsers, agnostic to the various DRM systems they support,” said Michael Stattmann, Founder of castLabs. “Gogo is indeed the first to use the latest CMAF file format with ‘cbcs’ encryption to enable an app-free inflight entertainment experience on mobile devices. We look forward to a strong partnership with Gogo as we support more streamlined ways to offer content to their customers.”


Lufthansa Systems

Lufthansa Systems is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The airline IT specialist is looking back proudly at the many milestones in its history of shaping the digitalization (the act or process of converting from analog to digital) of the airline industry. In 1995, Lufthansa outsourced its IT department to its newly founded subsidiary, which has experienced a remarkable development in recent years. “We now employ around 2,400 people at our locations in 16 countries and, together with our start-up company zeroG, have established ourselves as one of the leading IT providers in the airline industry,” said Olivier Krueger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “Today, we offer our more than 350 customers worldwide a comprehensive range of IT solutions, many of which are market-leading.”

Although digitalization was still in its infancy and the internet was still uncharted territory in the year the company was founded, Lufthansa Systems lived by its slogan “We’re into IT” from the very beginning. Thanks to its many years of experience within the Lufthansa Group, the company was able to keep its finger on the pulse of Europe’s most successful airline and acquire extensive technical expertise. This gave rise to an impressive product portfolio that covers many of an airline’s processes on the flight deck, in the cabin and on the ground. Lufthansa’s pioneering role soon enabled Lufthansa Systems to establish modern and efficiency-enhancing IT solutions across the entire aviation industry. LOT Polish Airlines was the first customer that saw Lufthansa Systems  break into the external airline market. With many other airlines following suit, Lufthansa Systems’ innovative solutions gradually became established on the worldwide market. Before long, the IT specialist was able to support customers of all sizes and business with its solutions.

Offering groundbreaking innovations such as FlyNet, the first flying hotspot, which first got off the ground with Lufthansa in 2003, or accounting tools such as SIRAX, which significantly enhanced the efficiency of revenue accounting, Lufthansa Systems became an industry pioneer at an early stage. The development of the paperless flight deck was another game changer, as paper maps were gradually replaced by digital programs and modern apps that display weather, airspace and traffic information in real time. Meanwhile, a new era of inflight entertainment began with the first wireless solution, BoardConnect, which enabled passengers to access onboard entertainment on their own devices for the first time.

Lufthansa Systems is also one of the market’s leading providers in network planning, route optimization and flight navigation. The NetLine suite, for example, covers the entire process from network planning, flight planning and code shares to crew management until the day of operations and provides the ideal basis for decision-making by connecting data in a smart way. Lido Flight 4D is a  Lufthansa Systems  solution that helps customers to optimize their flight routes and thus reduce flight times and fuel consumption. This in turn makes an important contribution to airlines’ environmental efficiency, as less fuel consumption means fewer carbon emissions. Airlines can also reduce their environmental footprint by eliminating all paper-based maps and documentation for navigation.

“Based on these developments and the experience it has gained along the way, Lufthansa Systems today is an important and reliable partner when it comes to digitalization and aviation expertise. Leveraging our strong portfolio of innovative initiatives, we will continue our tradition of shaping the future of digital aviation,” said Dr. Thomas Wittmann, CEO of Lufthansa Systems.

In 2015, the former Lufthansa Systems AG was realigned and the infrastructure part of the business was sold to IBM. By focusing on the airline sector and implementing an agile set-up, the company is in a position to quickly and profitably apply its IT expertise for the benefit of its customers. With this in mind, Lufthansa Systems established the Aviation Campus and thus created an environment enabling digital innovation that promotes the exchange of ideas and the exploitation of synergies. Current projects and developments include migrating products to a cloud-based platform and supporting airlines in harmonizing their IT systems in operations. Applying the Total Mission Optimization (TMO) approach,  Lufthansa Systems is further optimizing its market-leading Lido solutions for dispatchers and flight deck crews. This achieves a strong integration of functionality and data, which enables the airline operation center and the flight crew to collaborate in an even more effective way.

The smart use of data is one of the key success factors in the future of aviation. Using artificial intelligence, Lufthansa Systems and the start-up company zeroG are jointly working on projects to avoid delays in ground processes and are investigating ways to make the work of ops controllers easier.

In recent years, Lufthansa Systems has evolved into an important integration partner and consultant both within and outside the Lufthansa Group. The aim of the company’s growing consulting unit is to optimize everyday flight operations processes and design them in a way that makes them more profitable.

On Another Note:
Lufthansa Systems announced that the national carrier of the Republic of Rwanda is now using the NetLine/Sched and ProfitLine/Price solutions. These products will optimize RwandAir’s complex flight scheduling and efficiently determine the best ticket prices based on the current market situation as well as supply and demand. RwandAir and its passengers will both benefit from these important control tools, which will simplify scheduling and support the airline’s expansion of its route network and available flights.
NetLine/Sched, the schedule management system from Lufthansa Systems, helps airlines to make quick and well-founded decisions when creating and optimizing their flight schedules while taking operational and economic aspects into account. Using NetLine/Sched, airlines can take measures quickly and effectively to optimize their schedules.
ProfitLine/Price is a comprehensive pricing system which considers the current competitive situation, price trends and underlying fare structures. It covers all core processes in both reactive and proactive pricing for published and market fares. In addition to enabling airlines to react swiftly to market changes, the system provides powerful analysis tools for developing effective pricing strategies. Its integrated pricing simulation model goes one step further by forecasting revenue changes based on fare modifications.


AIRBUS

In the context of the investigations by the French Parquet National Financier (PNF), the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the U.S. authorities, Airbus has reached agreement in principle with the authorities.The investigations by the above authorities relate to allegations of bribery and corruption and to inaccuracies in filings made with the U.S. authorities pursuant to the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The agreement with the SFO was the subject of a preliminary court ruling today and will require final judicial approval in a U.K. court. Furthermore, agreements with the PNF and the U.S. authorities also remain subject to approval by French court and U.S. court and regulator, respectively. The court hearings in France, the U.K. and the U.S. are expected to take place on 31 January 2020. If approved by the courts, the agreements will result in Airbus taking a provision of € 3.6 billion for the payment of potential penalties to the French, U.K., and U.S. authorities, which will be booked in Airbus’ 2019 accounts. Further details will be provided once the agreements have been finalized. (Editor’s Note: This article on the subject is worth a read!)


OTHER NEWS

  • From Bob Bogash, aviation historian, this past week:
    “ALL EYES ON A DIFFERENT BOEING JET: The first test flight of Boeing’s new jetliner, the 777X, is tentatively scheduled for later this week. Given the situation with the MAX, the new plane will likely be scrutinized by the public as it moves toward being delivered to airlines next year. One of the 777X’s key new features, folding wing tips, has been specifically called out by House Transportation Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). DeFazio has repeatedly cited the 777X wings as an example of the kind of change to a plane that he thinks needs more oversight. 50 years ago last week (Jan 22), the first revenue trip of a 747 left JFK for LHR – Pan Am. The scheduled departed time was on Jan 21, but the flight departed 7 hours late – thus, actually at 0150 hrs on Jan 22.) The airplane, with 336 passengers, had problems with a faulty door closing mechanism, the cargo loading, and ultimately, one of its engines – Number 4. The Clipper Young America, N747PA, was the aircraft that was supposed to have inaugurated the world’s first 747 service on Pan Am’s blue ribbon JFK – LHR route. It had a BTB (Block Turn Back) due to engine surge and overheat and returned to the gate. Due to the engine situation it suffered, the honor went to Clipper Victor, N736PA. Clipper Victor is also the aircraft that collided with the KLM 747 at Tenerife, Norte in 1977. Bob B.”
  • Having a problem with logging on at airports? There is a way to do so, but WARNING, there is no security like SSL. So, only use it when the other data links are busy or don’t work! NeverSSL – helping you get online. Further, Zapier has some public Wi-Fi suggestions.
  • WARNING: Do not go to Wuhan: China Travel Advisory and things are getting worse China’s Xi warns virus is ‘accelerating’, country facing ‘grave situation’ – CNA

BOEING

Roughly 10 months after the 737 MAX was grounded, David Calhoun has started as Boeing’s new CEO. In an email to employees Calhoun said “Many of our stakeholders are rightly disappointed in us, and it’s our job to repair these vital relationships. We’ll do so through a re-commitment to transparency and by meeting and exceeding their expectations.” But despite a ‘fresh start’ Congress will have Boeing under a microscope. Apparently, an SEC filing “an additional long-term incentive award valued at approximately $7 million which will be earned only upon continued employment and the achievement of several key business milestones, including full safe return to service of the 737 MAX.” and three Democratic senators (Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)) have apparently sent a letter to the Boeing board asking them to remove this incentive payment for Calhoun saying the award “represents an inappropriate incentive for Mr. Calhoun to pressure regulators and attempt to rush the 737 MAX back into the sky before its safety is guaranteed.”


MOMENT (FLYMINGO) & SURINAM AIRWAYS

Moment, the French technology company specialized in entertainment and passenger solutions for the aviation industry, has been selected by Surinam Airways (SLM) to integrate the Flymingo Box solution aboard the airline’s fleet to give passengers access to an in-flight entertainment platform.

Based in Suriname, in the city of Paramaribo, Surinam Airways operates as the country’s national carrier, and has flights to international destinations such as the Netherlands, the Caribbean, Netherlands Antilles, United States, Guyana and Brazil. Surinam Airways was looking to offer its passengers a unique service in terms of entertainment and to optimize the traveling experience, and chose the French company Moment, after evaluating several solutions, to equip its fleet.

Flymingo Box is a Wireless In-Flight Entertainment solution based on a patented portable server with the capacity to broadcast a catalog of 10,000 hours of content and which can offer IFE streaming to 100 passengers simultaneously. Characterized by its power and ultra-compact size, it enables passengers to access a smooth streaming service from any type of device, without the need for an application. Thanks to Moment app-free technology, passengers will be able to enjoy Surinam Airways’ DRM-protected content directly from their personal device browser.

Moment will also be responsible for the acquisition of content for Surinam Airways’ wireless IFE and Panasonic seat-back screens.  As a result, passengers will access on board a varied catalog of premium content including recent movies and series, documentaries, cartoons, games and music playlists.

“We are very pleased to be part of Surinam Airways journey, who has chosen our Flymingo Box solution to enhance and personalize the onboard traveler experience. This partnership highlights the quality of our solutions and their ability to enrich the flying experience,” says Michael Serres, COO and co-founder of Moment. “Thanks to its innovative, simple and flexible solution, Moment will make a significant contribution to improving passenger service.”

Radjesh Radjkoemar CEO at Surinam Airways states: “As an international airline, it was essential for us to differentiate our service by offering passengers an enjoyable entertainment solution that responds to their needs. Moment was the right partner since their solution Flymingo Box met all of our criteria in terms of reliability, installation, choice of content and price. ”

Rachel Kolf-Deira, Surinam Airways CFO adds “Moment technology is unique in its ability to reduce costs for our airline, deliver higher operational efficiency and increase customer satisfaction. We are delighted to start this partnership and bring a truly innovative and cost-effective solution onboard.”


SITAONAIR

Wizz Air has become the first carrier on the continent to deploy SITAONAIR’s pioneering, airline-integrated ACARS over IP service, using terrestrial cellular networks. This development comes as the airline extends its longstanding relationship with SITAONAIR for its AIRCOM Cockpit Services.

The ACARS over IP service, using terrestrial cellular, is delivered in partnership with Teledyne Controls and will be deployed across Wizz Air’s entire existing and future fleet. The enablement of automatic ACARS-based reporting brings huge benefits for the airline, resulting in improved aircraft movement control and more efficient turnaround at any airport.

This deployment will complement SITAONAIR’s existing Very High Frequency (VHF) ACARS radio network coverage and extend coverage to Wizz Air’s entire operation. The service also brings enhanced resilience through the interoperable use of cellular and ACARS networks.

Additional benefits of ACARS over IP include increased network capacity, as well as faster and more cost-effective transmission of data.

Konstantin Milarov, M.Sc., Technical Services Manager, Wizz Air, comments: “The ability to extend our datalink coverage and implement automatic ACARS-based reporting and processes is a huge benefit for Wizz Air. We are pleased to be continuing our relationship with SITAONAIR and are delighted to pioneer this with ACARS over IP services together. We will be able to move forward with better and more efficient aircraft timing reporting and conduct data transmissions across our entire network.”

SITAONAIR is able to deliver the solution by integrating terrestrial cellular services into its core AIRCOM datalink network, using Teledyne Controls’ GroundLink Comm+ system.

Murry Skelton, Senior Director of Aircraft Solution Strategy, Teledyne Controls, says: “Our partnership with SITAONAIR offers airline customers like Wizz Air a quick, easy upgrade option to enable secure ACARS transfer while the aircraft is on the ground. We believe this can bring huge benefit to airlines, as is being demonstrated by Wizz Air as a true innovator in the area of aircraft communications.”

As part of the renewal, Wizz Air will further manage its air-to-ground communications with AIRCOM FlightMessenger. The SITAONAIR solution integrates and translates data into a format that can seamlessly feed in to any IT infrastructure, helping to improve efficiency and effectiveness. With AIRCOM FlightMessenger, Wizz Air will be able to easily extract key data from ACARS messages, and add data from other sources, into an easy-to-understand format for distribution by email or SMS.

SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM Product Manager, Euan Mitchell, adds: “We at SITAONAIR are thrilled to be developing our longstanding relationship with Wizz Air and enabling the airline to become the first in Europe to adopt our pioneering ACARS over IP service, using terrestrial cellular. We look forward to the continued close partnership with Wizz Air and helping support them in their operational efficiency and long term growth.”

To find out more about SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM services, visit www.sitaonair.aero, speak to your local SITAONAIR contact, or submit an enquiry form.


AEEC

Here is a note from the AEEC folks: “On behalf of the AEEC Executive Committee and American Airlines, I’m pleased to extend this invitation to attend the upcoming AEEC General Session to be held May 11-14, 2020 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona. Subject matter experts from industry will speak in four technical Symposiums:

  • Big Data
  • Topics Trending in Aviation
  • Value of Standards for Airline Operating Efficiency
  • Aircraft Connectivity

Like previous years, the Avionics Maintenance Conference (AMC) will meet in parallel. The event is billed “AEEC/AMC 2020” and we are expecting about 700 people.”


AIRBUS

BOC Aviation Limited (“BOC Aviation” or the “Company”) has ordered 20 new Airbus A320neo aircraft. A minimum of ten and up to 12 of these A320neo aircraft have been committed for lease to Avianca S.A. (“Avianca”) based in Bogota, Colombia.

Avianca is the commercial brand for the collection of passenger airlines and cargo airlines under the umbrella company Avianca Holdings S.A. Avianca has been flying uninterrupted for 100 years. With a fleet of 175 aircraft, Avianca serves 76 destinations in 27 countries within the Americas and Europe. With more than 21,000 employees, Avianca earned US$4.8 billion in 2018 and transported 30.5 million passengers.

BOC Aviation is a leading global aircraft operating leasing company with a fleet of 509 aircraft owned, managed and on order. Its owned and managed fleet was leased to 92 airlines worldwide in 40 countries and regions as at 30 September 2019. BOC Aviation is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx code: 2588) and has its headquarters in Singapore with offices in Dublin, London, New York and Tianjin. For more information, visit www.bocaviation.com.

Also from Airbus: Airbus delivers strong 2019 commercial aircraft performance 863 aircraft deliveries, 8 percent higher than in 2018 1,131 new aircraft orders, 768 net orders, backlog stands at 7,482 aircraft.

In 2019, deliveries comprised:

  • A220 Family: 48 v 20 in 2018 (since the A220 became part of the Airbus Family: 1 July 2018)
  • A320 Family: 642 v 626 in 2018. Of these, 551 were NEO Family v 386 in 2018
  • A330 Family: 53 v 49 in 2018. Of these, 41 were NEO Family v 3 in 2018
  • A350 Family: 112 v 93 in 2018. Of these, 25 were A350-1000 v 14 in 2018
  • A380: 8 v 12 in 2018

The BelugaXL has entered into service, providing Airbus with 30% extra transport capacity in order to support the on-going production ramp-up of commercial aircraft programs. The aircraft, which is an integral part of Airbus’ industrial system, made its first operational flight on the 9 January. This is the first of six BelugaXL to begin work alongside the BelugaST predecessors, with the additional aircraft being introduced between 2020 and 2023. Launched just over 5 years ago, in November 2014, the entry into service milestone marks yet another successful achievement for the internal aircraft program which was awarded Type Certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in November 2019, following an intensive flight test campaign that saw the BelugaXL complete more than 200 flight tests, clocking over 700 flight hours.

At 63 meters long and 8 meters wide, the BelugaXL has the largest cargo bay cross-section of all existing cargo aircraft worldwide. The BelugaXL can carry two A350 XWB wings compared to the BelugaST, which can only carry one. With a maximum payload of 51 tonnes, the BelugaXL has a range of 4,000km (2200nm).

The BelugaXL is based on an A330-200 Freighter, enabling the re-use of existing components and equipment and is powered by Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines. The lowered cockpit, the cargo bay structure and the rear-end and tail were newly developed jointly with partners, giving the aircraft its distinctive look. The BelugaXL is the latest addition to Airbus’ transportation portfolio. While air transport remains the primary method for transporting large aircraft components, Airbus also uses road, rail and sea transport to move parts between its production sites. Like the BelugaST, the aircraft will operate from 11 destinations in Europe, continuing to strengthen industrial capabilities and enabling Airbus to deliver on its commitments.


MORE BOEING NEWS

  • American Airlines and Aeromexico agreed on financial compensation from Boeing on the Boeing 737 MAX grounding requirements.
  • Congratulations, Boeing! Boeing announced an AU$1 million donation from the Boeing Charitable Trust for recovery and relief efforts associated with the ongoing Australian bushfires. “Boeing’s global team, including our 3,800 employees across Australia, are deeply saddened by the tragic impact of the Australian bushfires,” said Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer (Interim) Greg Smith. “Through our partnership with the Australian Red Cross, we are working quickly to bring recovery and relief efforts to those residents most impacted by these devastating fires.” The contributions will be directed through the Australian Red Cross and designated for Australian bush fires. Disaster relief efforts in the region align with Boeing’s ongoing commitment to the communities where the company has a presence. Australia is the company’s largest footprint outside the US. Boeing is active and engaged in Australian communities, contributing more than AU$800,000 in charitable contributions in 2019. Consistent with existing Boeing employee gift match programs, the company will also match qualifying employee contributions made to eligible nonprofits for Australian bush fire relief efforts.

OTHER NEWS

Well, Happy New Year everybody! It’s the beginning of 2020 and IFExpress is back with a lot of aviation news for you. Thanks for joining us and Stay Tuned!

2020 PREDICTIONS

  • “Fiber and free-space optical networks are coming to the cabin in 2020 – for higher bandwidth, weight reduction, and future-proofing.” – Rich Salter: Industry Consultant
  • “One more Management Change in Boeing because the 737 Max will not be settle this year.” – Anonymous
  • “Due to war in the Middle East, oil will go up 50% in spite of US oil production increases (as will gasoline prices.) Trump/Current Administration will further pull back Environmental Regulations in order to support the war and increase ‘contributor’s’ profits on the false presumption it is necessary to support war efforts.” – Anonymous
  • “China will surpass the USA in both technology and military development, esp. in area of hypersonic missile development.” – Anonymous
  • “Major hack of Defense Companies that will be covered up by the DoD.” – Anonymous
  • Bold and Outrageous Predictions for the Travel Industry in 2020 – Skift

SMARTSKY

SmartSky Networks has received an additional $25 million from funds managed by the Global Credit Opportunities team at BlackRock, after surpassing an important network deployment milestone on its way towards beginning commercial operations during the second quarter of 2020.

Funds managed by the Global Credit Opportunities platform at BlackRock previously committed to a $75 million credit facility, with $50 million drawn initially. The final $25 million was contingent upon the company making substantial progress on the nationwide network rollout, which it achieved in November. “SmartSky has consistently been able to attract capital from top companies because there is strong support for our technology in aviation connectivity,” said Haynes Griffin, SmartSky Chairman and CEO. “We appreciate the continued confidence from a respected and sophisticated firm such as BlackRock.” SmartSky is reinventing connectivity, building a new-generation network from the ground up with a novel single-beam-per-aircraft approach using both proven 4G LTE and emerging 5G technologies. After eight years of development backed by more than 140 patents and over 1,000 hours of flight testing, including by aircraft owners, airlines, fleet managers and journalists, SmartSky’s network is frequently called the best performing WiFi network in aviation as it progresses towards launch in 2020.

“Customers have a huge pent-up demand for a fully capable airborne network that provides a phenomenal 10x better experience in the sky while also opening significant possibilities for advancing aviation in maintenance, environmental, operational, financial, and other areas,” said Ryan Stone, SmartSky President.
SmartSky is maximizing the benefits of high-performance connectivity through its digital solutions platform, Skytelligence, which enables advanced applications and services. For example, SmartSky recently announced that Skytelligence services support its collaboration with the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) crowdsourced effort to mitigate and avoid turbulence in real time across the skies. The results are expected to lower turbulence related injuries, provide smoother flights, and save costly aircraft repairs for both business and commercial aviation.

SmartSky Networks is based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle and was formed in 2011 by senior telecommunications and aviation executives seeking to transform aviation through disruptive communications technologies and related tools. SmartSky is rolling out its innovative air-to-ground network in 2020. The network takes advantage of patented spectrum reuse, advanced beamforming technologies and 60 MHz of spectrum for significantly enhanced connectivity. SmartSky’s network uniquely enables a productive experience in the air similar to on the ground, including unmatched capacity for data transmissions both to and from the aircraft. This real-time, low latency, bidirectional data link makes SmartSky the best in-flight user experience, and a key enabler for the new and enhanced apps, services, and hardware.


AIRBUS

Airbus delivered 863 aircraft in 2019, according to unconfirmed reports; it had been projecting around 860.

U.S.-based Spirit Airlines has finalized a purchase agreement with Airbus for 100 A320neo Family aircraft. In October, the two parties had signed and announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the purchase of up to 100 of the aircraft – a mix of A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo – to meet the airline’s future fleet requirements. Spirit is based in South Florida and is the fastest-growing airline in the United States, with flights throughout the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. The airline will announce an engine selection at a later date. Featuring the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky, the best-selling A320neo Family, comprising the A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo, will deliver a fuel-burn reduction of approximately 20% as well as 50% less noise compared to previous-generation aircraft, thanks to incorporating the very latest technologies including new-generation engines and Sharklets. Firm orders worldwide for the A320neo Family now have surpassed 7,300 from more than 110 global customers.


BOEING

Boeing announced that J. Michael Luttig, 65, valued Counselor and Senior Advisor to the Boeing Board of Directors, has informed the Board of his long-considered retirement at year end. Luttig, who served as Boeing’s General Counsel from 2006 until assuming his current responsibilities in May 2019, has been managing legal matters associated with the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents, and advising the Board on strategic matters.

On December 23, 2019 Boeing announced that its Board of Directors named current Chairman, David L. Calhoun, as Chief Executive Officer and President, effective January 13, 2020. Mr. Calhoun will remain a member of the Board. In addition, Board member Lawrence W. Kellner will become non-executive Chairman of the Board effective immediately. The Company also announced that Dennis A. Muilenburg has resigned from his positions as Chief Executive Officer and Board director effective immediately. Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith will serve as interim CEO during the brief transition period, while Mr. Calhoun exits his non-Boeing commitments. The Board of Directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the Company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders. Under the Company’s new leadership, Boeing will operate with a renewed commitment to full transparency, including effective and proactive communication with the FAA, other global regulators and its customers. “On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I am pleased that Dave has agreed to lead Boeing at this critical juncture,” Mr. Kellner said. He added, “Dave has deep industry experience and a proven track record of strong leadership, and he recognizes the challenges we must confront. The Board and I look forward to working with him and the rest of the Boeing team to ensure that today marks a new way forward for our company.”
Mr. Calhoun said, “I strongly believe in the future of Boeing and the 737 MAX. I am honored to lead this great company and the 150,000 dedicated employees who are working hard to create the future of aviation.”


OTHER NEWS

We realize these following links are not aviation/IFEC related. However, the wild fires in Australia are a global concern. We have contacted our friends down-under and they are okay; however, they all need help down there – please get involved! Here are some noteworthy links on the subject:

Lastly, here is your free song (and video) to help ring in the New Year – hope you like Dwight Yoakam and his Long White Cadillac! Dwight Yoakam – Long White Cadillac official video – YouTube

(Today’s image is of the MTM Robotics facility in Mukilteo, Washington – recently purchased by Airbus.)

ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation announced that Robert S. Keane has joined its Board of Directors, effective December 9, 2019. Mr. Keane is Chairman and CEO of Cimpress (Nasdaq: CMPR), which provides mass customization services through its group of companies and is strategically focused on investing in and building entrepreneurial, customer-centric businesses.
Peter J. Gundermann, Chairman, President and CEO of Astronics, commented, “Robert brings an entrepreneurial spirit, significant public company experience and deep business acumen, which are valuable attributes for our evolving Board of Directors. We believe he will be a solid ambassador for shareholders. We welcome Robert’s contributions as we advance our strategy for profitable growth to build shareholder value.”

Mr. Keane founded Cimpress in 1995 and has grown the group to $2.75 billion in revenue with a market capitalization of $3.3 billion. Prior to Cimpress, he was employed for seven years by Astronics. He began his career in business management consulting. Mr. Keane is a graduate of Harvard College, where he earned his B.A. in economics, and INSEAD (France), where he earned his M.B.A. Mr. Keane is a son of the late Kevin Keane, former Chairman of Astronics.

The addition of Mr. Keane brings the Astronics Board to nine directors, eight of whom are independent.


SITA

SITA is installing its Scan&Fly ( Scan&Fly | SITA ) self-service bag drop for LATAM Airlines Group at 18 airports in five countries in the Americas as part of its work to transform its airport experience. The first eight kiosks are up and running at Brasilia International Airport and the remaining 97 units will be gradually implemented at other airports over the coming months. The technology means passengers will be able to check in their bags in under 40 seconds.

The majority of the 105 bag-drop units will be deployed in Brazil with the other units being installed in other airports in the region. LATAM is Latin America’s leading airline group, flying around 72 million passengers annually. As passenger numbers increase, airports are having to become more efficient and the smart use of technology is the only way to make that happen. Many airports are faced with capacity constraints, which in turn can lead to long queues. For airports that don’t have either the resources or the space to expand, SITA Scan&Fly can be installed onto existing check-in desks and conveyor belts offering up to 60% increase in terminal capacity, a 40% reduction in operational costs and an improved passenger experience.

SITA is the leading provider of airport technology in Latin America, covering all areas, including passenger processing, airport operations, baggage, border management and aircraft communications. The combination of all these technologies drives efficiencies for airports, airlines, government agencies, ground handlers, and, most importantly, passengers.


AIRBUS

The Air France–KLM Group has decided to place a firm order for 10 additional widebody A350-900s, which will take its total order for the type to 38 aircraft. By acquiring the industry’s most efficient and technologically advanced widebody aircraft, the airline will benefit from a significant reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions. The A350s are intended to be operated by Air France. Airbus has acquired industrial automation company, Air France-KLM currently operates a fleet of 159 Airbus aircraft. The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, a carbon fiber fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these features translate into unrivaled levels of operational efficiency with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions. The A350 XWB’s Airspace by Airbus cabin is the quietest of any twin-aisle and offers passengers and crews the most modern in-flight products for the most comfortable flying experience. By the end of November, the A350 XWB Family had received 959 firm orders from 51 customers worldwide, making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.

Airbus has acquired industrial automation company, MTM Robotics, for an undisclosed sum – (see today’s rectangle). The move deepens Airbus’ commitment to expanding advanced robotics capabilities within its manufacturing processes. The MTM business will retain its current leadership and 40-person staff, as well as its facility in Mukilteo, Washington, near Seattle. “We are pleased and excited to become a part of the Airbus family and look forward to further integrating our products and approaches into the Airbus industrialization chain,” said MTM founder, Mike Woogerd.

The acquisition is the latest chapter in a trusted, ten-year-plus relationship between the companies, with multiple MTM light automated robotics systems currently in use at Airbus manufacturing facilities. While MTM will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus Americas, Inc., headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, it will continue to serve other customers in the aerospace industry. Since 2003, MTM has deployed more than 40 aerospace manufacturing systems comprised of machines, tools, machine software, enterprise software and support throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The acquisition marks the latest step for Airbus in its industrialization roadmap, aimed at leveraging the time- and cost-saving benefits associated with using robotics in the manufacture and assembly of its commercial aircraft.
“The competitiveness of tomorrow will be determined by both designing the best aircraft and by building the most efficient manufacturing system, in parallel,“ said Michael Schoellhorn, Airbus Chief Operating Officer.“ Automation & robotics are central to our industrial strategy. We are very happy to welcome MTM Robotics as a family member and take a step forward on this exciting endeavor together.”

“MTM perfectly fits Airbus’ ambition for engineering and innovative manufacturing solutions while maintaining agility,” explained Patrick Vigié, Head of Industrial Technologies at Airbus. “Airbus and MTM Robotics each believe that tomorrow’s automation in aircraft manufacturing can and must be lighter, more portable and less capital intensive,” explained Vigié. “By joining our efforts and skills, we are well positioned to establish industry wide standards for the factory of tomorrow, “he said.


BOEING

JUST IN: Boeing announced on 12/16/19 that it is temporarily halting the assembly lines in Renton, Washington from January, with no timeline defined for a restart. Good news for the 12,000-strong Renton workforce: Boeing will preserve their jobs by keeping some on 737 work and redeploying the rest to other facilities in the region. (Editor’s Note: At this time, Boeing has not stated when the manufacturing line of the 737 MAX will restart. This may be dependent on FAA approval.)

Boeing Statement: Safely returning the 737 MAX to service is our top priority. We know that the process of approving the 737 MAX’s return to service, and of determining appropriate training requirements, must be extraordinarily thorough and robust, to ensure that our regulators, customers, and the flying public have confidence in the 737 MAX updates. As we have previously said, the FAA and global regulatory authorities determine the timeline for certification and return to service. We remain fully committed to supporting this process. It is our duty to ensure that every requirement is fulfilled, and every question from our regulators answered. Throughout the grounding of the 737 MAX, Boeing has continued to build new airplanes and there are now approximately 400 airplanes in storage. We have previously stated that we would continually evaluate our production plans should the MAX grounding continue longer than we expected. As a result of this ongoing evaluation, we have decided to prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft and temporarily suspend production on the 737 program beginning next month. We believe this decision is least disruptive to maintaining long-term production system and supply chain health. This decision is driven by a number of factors, including the extension of certification into 2020, the uncertainty about the timing and conditions of return to service and global training approvals, and the importance of ensuring that we can prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft. We will continue to assess our progress towards return to service milestones and make determinations about resuming production and deliveries accordingly. During this time, it is our plan that affected employees will continue 737-related work, or be temporarily assigned to other teams in Puget Sound. As we have throughout the 737 MAX grounding, we will keep our customers, employees, and supply chain top of mind as we continue to assess appropriate actions. This will include efforts to sustain the gains in production system and supply chain quality and health made over the last many months. We will provide financial information regarding the production suspension in connection with our 4Q19 earnings release in late January.

On Another Note: Boeing delivered 24 aircraft in November vs 79 in Nov 2018, and has now delivered 345 in 2019. Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg reports that the board of directors today declared a regular quarterly dividend of two dollars and five and one-half cents ($2.055) per share. The dividend is payable March 6, 2020, to shareholders of record as of February 14, 2020.

New Boeing Media Relations Director – (12) Michael Friedman | LinkedIn

 


OTHER NEWS

  • Whether you know it or not, times for technology development are changing and Ms. Sarayu Srinivasan is well aware of them. WIRED notes: “Sarayu Srinivasan is a venture capitalist, operating executive, and founder. Srinivasan is currently a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow detailed to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where she is a senior adviser and private sector/venture capital expert working on the Cross-Agency Priority Goal Lab-to-Market.” Her opinion article in WIRED is one of the scary ones. Correct, but scary. She writes about industry and government co-working, and while she amplifies the US need for national and government teaming, her message is probably worldwide. She notes: “We can no longer wait for serendipitous ingenuity to flow downstream. There is no time for the fortuitous experiments of Darpa and Rand to organically develop into the commercial internet decades later.” I guess we never realized the extent of government funding of technology development because her message about Apple blew us away. See what you think – Industry Must Team up With Government to Keep America on Top | WIRED
  • No doubt, you know that runway numbering systems use the world magnetic field as a reference. They use numbers from 1 to 36 as compasses point the runway direction to the nearest 10 degrees. Guess what, the earth’s magnetic field is moving fast (2.5 degrees in the last 22 years). It gets worse – the poles reverse about every 500,000 years, and the present switch is some 280,000 years late! Earth’s Magnetic North Pole Is Hightailing It Toward Siberia The folks at Interesting Engineering just ruined my day!

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation has signed a multi-year agreement for Ku-band capacity on two multi-beam payloads on the EUTELSAT 10B satellite, due to be launched in 2022. This contract with Eutelsat Communications will enable Panasonic to provide multiple gigahertz of new extreme throughput (XTS Ku-band connectivity) to airlines and their passengers flying over a wide area across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Panasonic will continue to optimize its worldwide network and add more state-of-the-art satellite capacity in high-density regions to ensure it can deliver very high performance everywhere its customers fly. This satellite also provides high performance over lower density area such as Africa. EUTELSAT 10B will be the second XTS satellite to join Panasonic’s connectivity network which has been developed to meet the growing connectivity demands of airlines and their passengers and is designed to place capacity where it’s most needed across the globe to meet demand. Panasonic’s connectivity network supports the provision of services such as high-speed internet, live television, video streaming, VoIP applications, 4G mobile services scalable to 5G, and greater bandwidth for crew applications. The network is backed by Panasonic’s Customer Performance Center, which proactively monitors network performance and upcoming maintenance needs 24/7/365 to support airline operational efficiencies. Currently, approximately 2,200 aircraft flying routes all around the world use Panasonic’s global high-speed inflight connectivity service.


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation introduced the ATS-3100 Vector Signal Transceiver-based Radio Solution (VRS), a turnkey, consolidated radio test platform for field testing of military tactical, land mobile and avionics radios.

The ATS-3100 VRS is the fifth-generation of radio
test solutions from Astronics, now capable of
testing emerging software-defined radio (SDR)
waveforms, modern multi-band radios and
legacy radios (e.g. SINCGARS) from any original
equipment manufacturer (OEM). Leveraging the PXI Vector Signal Transceiver (VST) from National Instruments (NI), the platform delivers the fastest test times and widest bandwidth (up to 1GHz) in a radio test solution, enabling high throughput, reduced mean time to repair (MTTR) and maximum uptime of critical radios in the field.

“As radio technology continues to evolve, we are dedicated to providing our customers with support for their most critical assets in the field, from legacy radios to future waveforms,” commented Jim Mulato, President of Astronics Test Systems. “We’re excited to partner with NI on this next-gen solution to deliver superior performance, wider instantaneous bandwidth, and user- programmable capability to our customers that include the military, police, firefighters and other first responders, as well as commercial pilots.”

“By combining Astronics’ deep industry knowledge and test program set (TPS) development expertise with NI’s instrumentation platform and technology, our partnership is accelerating the deployment of advanced tactical radio technologies to deliver the future of radio test now,” said Christer Ljungdahl, Principal Strategist, Aerospace and Defense at NI.

Built on the ATS-3100 PXI Integration Platform, the ATS-3100 VRS joins Astronics’ radio test family that includes the ATS-3100 RTS and the portable CTS-6010. These share a common software framework and test executive, delivering synergy from depot to field in a holistic solution. The modular architecture of the platform facilitates an upgrade path for future technology insertions, extending the life of the platform and allowing flexibility as maintenance needs change.

Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine recently recognized the ATS-3100 VRS with an Innovators Award. Receiving gold level honors this year, this is Astronics’ third Innovators Award from the publication, where the ATS-6100 Wire Fault Tester (WFT) and the CTS-6010 Tactical Radio Test Set both received platinum honors in 2018 and 2017, respectively.

For complete product details, to view the solution sheet, or to request a quote, please visit Astronics.com.


AIRBUS

The Month In Review: November 2019

Airbus marked another month of high-volume bookings with new orders logged for 222 commercial aircraft in November, covering the A320neo Family, A330neo and A350 XWB members of its product line – bringing the overall number of orders booked by the company to more than 20,000. During November, a total of 77 single-aisle and widebody aircraft were delivered to customers.
The new business was paced by announcements during the 2019 Dubai Airshow, including Air Arabia’s firm order for 120 single-aisle A320 Family aircraft, comprising 73 A320neo, 27 A321neo and 20 A321XLR extra-long-range versions. Also in the spotlight at Dubai was Emirates Airline’s purchase agreement for 50 widebody A350-900s; along with a firm order from flynas, Saudi Arabia’s first low-cost airline, for 10 A321XLRs.
Other widebody order bookings during November involved 16 A330-900 versions of the A330neo for Cebu Pacific, 10 A330-900s for CIT Leasing, and four A330neo aircraft in the A330-800 configuration for an unidentified customer. Completing the month’s new business was easyJet’s order for 12 additional A320neo aircraft. Commercial activity in November raised the total number of aircraft orders won by Airbus since its creation to 20,058.
Deliveries in November were composed of 56 A320 Family (55 NEO versions and one CEO aircraft), 11 A350 XWBs in both the A350-900 and A350-1000 configurations, five A330s (four NEOs and one CEO), four A220s and one A380.
Among the month’s notable deliveries were the first A350-900s received by Fiji Airways (through DAE Capital) and Scandinavian carrier SAS; along with the first A320neo to Air Corsica (leased from ICBC Leasing) and an A321neo to Air Asia.
Taking the latest orders, deliveries and cancellations into account, Airbus’ backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of 30 November stood at 7,570. This total was comprised of 6,193 A320 Family aircraft, 628 A350 XWBs, 432 A220s, 306 A330s, and 11 A380s.

SKY, a Chilean-based ultra-low-cost carrier, has signed a Purchase Agreement with Airbus for 10 A321XLRs. The airline will expand its international route network with the new aircraft. The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step in the A320neo/A321neo Family, meeting market requirements for increased range and payload in a single-aisle aircraft. The A321XLR will deliver an unprecedented narrow-body airliner range of up to 4,700nm, with 30 percent lower fuel consumption per seat compared with previous-generation competitor jets, allowing airlines to expand networks by making new longer routes economically viable. According to the latest Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF), Latin America will need 2,700 new aircraft in the next 20 years, more than double today’s fleet. Passenger traffic in Latin America has doubled since 2002 and is expected to continue growing over the next two decades. Specifically in Chile, traffic is expected to increase from 0.89 trips per capita to 2.26 trips in 2038. SKY has been an Airbus customer since 2010 and became an all-Airbus operator in 2013. The airline’s fleet of 23 A320 Family aircraft serves national and international routes connecting Chile to Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay.


BOEING

Boeing to Give $48 Million in Grants to More Than 400 Global Charitable Organizations

  • Total corporate giving is on track to surpass $230 million in 2019
  • Funding includes an $8 million investment to build the aviation t
  • Employees will donate nearly $40 million to charitable causes in 2019

OTHER NEWS

  • The folks at NextDraft have compiled 7 collections of the most incredible pictures of 2019 and we are convinced that you will be as blown away as we were – Oh Caption, My Caption And, you can get a free subscription to NextDraft – just check out the bottom of the link page.
  • Don’t think transportation is changing? Check this out – The New Transportation Leaderboard – Travel & Mobility Tech And click on the New Transportation Leaderboard to full-screen it.
  • You had better learn about Quantum Computing -”It’s gonna crush Moore’s Law,” so say the folks at CB Insights. “Moore’s Law is significant because it means that computers and computing power both get smaller and faster over time. However, Moore’s law is slowing down (some say to a halt), and consequently, classical computers are not improving at the same rate they used to.” Check out the story but if you need a bit more info; “Quantum computers differ from classical computers in that improvement for the latter mainly relies on advancement in the materials that make up transistors and microchips. Quantum computers do not use transistors (or classical bits). Instead, they use qubits. Qubits are the basic units for processing information in a quantum computer.” What Is Quantum Computing?
  • Well, Popular Science has a great online article with some of the best images we have ever seen in a promo piece. It is called The 100 Greatest Innovations of 2019. Now, why did we mention it? Well if you check the Entertainment Section: “Noise-canceling tech typically does an A-plus job muffling babbling co-workers or rumbling commuter trains, but it can cause collateral damage: The army of mics and processors murders call quality. Bose’s newest headphones balance your voice and the din of the room. Two outward-facing microphones on the earcups listen to the outside world, while another pair focuses on capturing your voice. Four more inside the cans monitor sound near your ears to keep everything in balance. The array creates the strongest noise-canceling headphones available and the clearest calls around.” We asked Hatch Astrarjian about the new product and he said: ”Although I have not used the NC-700 headphones, I’m told the focus was not only on providing excellent noise reduction, but also on providing superior performance in communications, even when the user is in a noisy environment. Our customers have acknowledged the effectiveness, and benefit, of our technology.” 100 greatest innovations of 2019: Best of What’s New | Popular Science We will test them when we get our hands on them for a flight! Stay Tuned!
  • You have to check out Talk to Transformer the folks at Recomendo say. Here is the intro; “See how a modern neural network completes your text.” So, we thought IFE might be a good test and we typed: “Inflight entertainment will be changing.” And here is what we got back from the AI tekkie talker system – “Just when you thought there weren’t enough airlines to fly around, the number of seats will soon get higher, in part because the travel industry’s biggest carriers will start taking over some commercial flights in the next few years. Aer Lingus and Air France-KLM currently own about 70% of all commercial flights in Europe, while it’s not yet clear if British Airways or Emirates will be able to take over any commercial airline flights in the coming years. Air France-KLM Chairman Anthony D’Arrigo”. So here’s the value: If you cant think of anything to fill out a newsletter (like this one), just type in your thoughts and see what happens! Talk to Transformer

Turkish Airlines Ranks Highest in Overall Satisfaction among Airlines Flying to Europe; Japan Airlines Ranks Highest among Airlines Flying to Asia

Costa Mesa, CA | December 4, 2019– Great food—the spicier the better—plus good customer service and a positive track record are the primary drivers of passenger satisfaction on international airline flights. In a stark departure from the price-driven culture of domestic airline customer behavior, the J.D. Power 2019 Airline International Destination Satisfaction Study,SM released today, finds that cost and fees are notably less important than in-flight services when it comes to delighting passengers on international flights.

The Airline International Destination Satisfaction Study is a new syndicated study that measures passenger satisfaction with airline carriers flying from North America to Europe and from North America to Asia. It is based on performance in nine factors (in order of average importance across both models): in-flight services; cost and fees; aircraft; flight crew; check-in; boarding; immigration; baggage; and reservation.

“A low fare may be the best way to attract a first-time international passenger,” said Michael Taylor, Travel Intelligence Lead at J.D. Power, “but retaining passengers on routes to Europe and Asia is all about delighting customers with great in-flight experiences. One of the most powerful ways to do that is with food and beverage offerings that are unique to the airline’s culture and that manage to deliver flavor at altitude, where it has been proven that taste buds grow less sensitive.”

Following are some of the key findings of the 2019 study:

  • In-flight services—especially food and beverage—are key to passenger satisfaction: In-flight services, such as food and beverage and in-flight entertainment, are the primary drivers of passenger satisfaction among international travelers. On flights to Europe and Asia, more than half of the overall in-flight passenger experience is dictated by food and beverage. In-flight services are more important to passengers bound for Asia or Europe; whereas passenger satisfaction with long-haul flights within North America is more of a value proposition primarily driven by cost and fees.
  • But the food could be better…: While the food and beverage factor is key to passenger satisfaction, there is room for improvement. Overall passenger satisfaction with food and beverage offerings is currently lower than that of satisfaction with in-flight entertainment options. On flights to Europe, overall satisfaction with in-flight entertainment is 53 points higher (on a 1,000-point scale) than for food and beverage. On flights to Asia, that gap is 22 points.
  • Track record matters when it comes to airline selection: The primary drivers of airline selection among international passengers are past experience with the airline (40%); good customer service (36%); convenient scheduling (35%); reputation (33%); and lower ticket price (31%). Other variables, which weigh heavily on airline selection among domestic travelers—such as availability of a direct flight, no luggage fees and Wi-Fi access—play a much less significant role in airline selection among international travelers.

Study Rankings

Among carriers flying from North America to Europe, Turkish Airlines ranks highest in passenger satisfaction with a score of 833. Virgin Atlantic (829) ranks second, while British Airways and Delta Air Lines (815) rank third in a tie.

Among carriers flying from North America to Asia, Japan Airlines ranks highest in passenger satisfaction with a score of 869. Delta Air Lines (861) ranks second and Korean Air (854) ranks third.

The J.D. Power 2019 Airline International Destination Satisfaction Study measures passenger satisfaction with airline carriers flying from North America to Europe and Asia. The study is based on responses from 6,287 passengers and was fielded in September-October 2019.

London | December 4, 2019–Technavio has been monitoring the global connected aircraft solutions market and the market is poised to grow by USD 3.16 billion during 2019-2023 at a CAGR of almost 15% during the forecast period. Request Free Sample Pages

The market is driven by the growing focus on improving the overall passenger inflight experience. In addition, real-time monitoring of connected aircraft using ground connectivity is anticipated to further boost the growth of the connected aircraft solutions market.

Customer satisfaction has emerged as a top priority among aircraft operators. This is driving the aircraft operators to take measures to prevent aircraft delays, leverage connectivity in aircraft, and install more inflight entertainment options to improve the overall passenger inflight experience. Inflight connectivity not only includes wireless inflight entertainment but also consistent global coverage for inflight mobile phone and Wi-Fi services. Thus, the growing focus on improving the overall passenger inflight experience is expected to drive market growth during the forecast period.

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Major Five Connected Aircraft Solutions Market Companies:

GOGO LLC.

GOGO LLC. is headquartered in the US and operates the business under various segments such as Commercial Aviation North America, Commercial Aviation Rest of World, and Business Aviation. The company offers Connected aircraft solutions including Gogo FLEX Inflight System, Gogo 2Ku, Gogo Portal, Gogo Vision, and others.

Honeywell International Inc.

Honeywell International Inc. is headquartered in the US and offers products through the following business units: Aerospace, Honeywell Building Technologies, Performance Materials and Technologies, and Safety and Productivity Solutions. The company offers solutions such as GoDirect Cabin Connectivity, GoDirect Flight Preview, Aircraft Data Gateway, and others.

Inmarsat plc.

Inmarsat plc. is headquartered in the UK and operates under various business segments, namely Maritime, Government, Aviation, Enterprise, and Central Services. The company offers Connected aircraft solutions including Jet ConneX, Swift 64, European Aviation Network, GX Aviation SB-S, and Classic Aero.

Panasonic Corporation

Panasonic Corporation is headquartered in Japan and offers products through the following business segments: Appliances, Eco Solutions, Connected Solutions, Automotive and Industrial Systems, and Other. The company offers solutions such as High-Throughput Satellite, Extreme Throughput Satellite, eXPhone, Electronic Flight Bag, eXConnect, eXTV, and others.

Thales Group

Thales Group is headquartered in France and offers products through the following business segments: Aerospace, Transport, and Defence and Security. The company offers Connected aircraft solutions including Aviovision, Guavus, Avii, iTPCU-sk, FlytLINK, AVANT, GEN 4, and others.

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Connected Aircraft Solutions End-users Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2019 – 2023)

  • Civil aviation
  • Military aviation

Connected Aircraft Solutions Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2019 – 2023)

  • APAC
  • Europe
  • MEA
  • North America
  • South America

Technavio’s sample reports are free of charge and contain multiple sections of the report, such as the market size and forecast, drivers, challenges, trends, and more. Request a free sample report

Related Reports on Industrials include:

Commercial Aircraft Doors Market – Global Commercial Aircraft Doors Market by type (passenger doors, cargo doors, and others) and geography (APAC, Europe, MEA, North America, and South America).

Aircraft Braking Systems Market – Global Aircraft Braking Systems Market by application (commercial aviation, military aviation, and general aviation) and geography (APAC, Europe, MEA, North America, and South America).

Astronics Corporation announced a new cooperation with China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC). The collaboration between Astronics and CMC will create a channel for Astronics to provide Chinese airlines, OEMs and service providers with state-of-the-art inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) hardware and certification services for compliance in China and the United States. On November 6, Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC), and Ruan Guang, Chairman of CMC, signed the cooperation agreement at the Second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China. Top executives from Astronics and China Genertec, the shareholder of CMC, witnessed the signing ceremony.

“This agreement enables Astronics to serve Chinese aircraft enterprises with the world’s most advanced IFEC hardware technology and certification services, and strongly positions us in the fastest growing aerospace market in the world,” says Michael Kuehn.

(Editor’s Note: If you would like more information on the Astronics Inflight Entertainment System hardware: Inflight Entertainment System Hardware)


DUBAI

Last week the 2019 Dubai Airshow resulted in over $54 Billion in total sales (industry estimates) of all airplanes. Airbus and Boeing each snagged multi-billion dollar orders, and this week, we thought you might like to review some of the commercial sales listings and deals. Airlines are also reconsidering their fleets based on the economy, future aircraft development, and a myriad of ‘wait-and-see’ challenges facing manufacturers and airlines alike. There were some 60,692 trade show attendees. Here are some of the stories of sales and deals at the show.

Airbus:

Boeing:


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, announced that its GX Aviation inflight broadband solution can now be accessed by passengers traveling on Air France’s brand new Airbus A350 aircraft. Air France’s first Airbus A350, named ‘Toulouse’, was delivered with GX Aviation installed. The aircraft entered commercial service in October with an inaugural flight to Toronto, which it will serve daily throughout the winter season. The aircraft will eventually operate to six destinations on four continents from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. GX Aviation is a key part of Air France’s Airbus A350 onboard experience in all three cabins – economy, premium economy and business class. The airline offers three different Wi-Fi packages: a free ‘Message’ pass to send and receive messages throughout the flight; a ‘Surf’ pass costing to surf the internet, read and send emails; and a ‘Stream’ pass to enjoy high-speed internet, streaming and downloads, with the ‘Message’ and ‘Surf’ passes included.

Air France is the latest airline to launch commercial service with GX Aviation, powered by the world’s first and only globally available broadband network. It will also benefit from major upcoming enhancements to Inmarsat’s GX network, with additional capacity being introduced by eight new GX payloads scheduled to launch in the coming four years, starting with GX5, which launched on 22 November. This pioneering new generation of GX satellites represents a transformative step-change in inflight broadband capabilities. These include the ground-breaking GX7, 8 & 9 satellites, which feature thousands of dynamically-formed beams that direct capacity over high-demand areas, and the innovative new GX10A & 10B Arctic payloads, which will be the only broadband satellite service dedicated to this region.


AIR ASTANA

Air Astana has been awarded the best in Central Asia for “Food, Drink and On-Board Entertainment Systems” from APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) at a ceremony held in Singapore on 13th November 2019. The APEX rating is based on online reviews of passengers and verified by an independent external audit company. In total, more than a million flights by more than 600 airlines around the world were rated on a 5-point scale on: seat comfort, on-board service, food and drink, entertainment systems and wi-fi service. APEX is a European rating agency, which evaluates the levels of passenger service worldwide and is considered one of the most prestigious and reputable ratings organizations in the airline industry.

In September 2019, Air Astana received an APEX 5-star rating among major carriers for the second time.


BOEING

Boeing marked a key milestone as thousands of employees gathered for the debut of the first 737 MAX 10 at the company’s Renton, Washington factory. During a ceremony, Boeing leaders highlighted the team’s accomplishments and recognized their efforts in completing production of the newest member of the 737 MAX family. “Today is not just about a new airplane. It’s about the people who design, build and support it,” said Mark Jenks, vice president and general manager of the 737 program. “This team’s relentless focus on safety and quality shows the commitment we have to our airline customers and every person who flies on a Boeing airplane.” The 737 MAX 10, the largest variant of the MAX family, can seat up to 230 passengers and offers the lowest seat-mile cost of any single-aisle airplane ever produced. The airplane will now undergo system checks and engine runs prior to first flight next year. “I’m honored to take this airplane on its first flight and show the world what you’ve put your heart and soul into,” 737 Chief Pilot Jennifer Henderson told the employee crowd. The 737 MAX 10 currently has more than 550 orders and commitments from more than 20 customers around the globe.

(Editor’s Note: This airplane has over 500 Boeing orders!)


OTHER NEWS

November 6, 2019–Through AlphaWise, we conducted a global survey of 200+ corporate travel managers responsible for airline negotiations. Overall, 2020 budget and demand growth are expected to step-up moderately.

We highlight the following key takeaways:

  1. Global Corporate Volumes and Pricing are Decelerating for Air Travel. Respondents in our survey anticipate ~3.4% global passenger volume growth (response-weighted), which is below last year’s ~5.1%. And on the airline pricing side of the equation, it is seeing a similar step-down with growth of ~1.3% versus the previous year at ~1.8% (both response-weighted).
  2. Travel Budgets Should Grow Slower Into 2020. Over the past year, corporate travel revenues have remained steady despite the volatile backdrop. That said, growth in budget expectations for air and hotel are set to be lower with respondents expecting ~4.0% growth into 2020 compared to last year’s forecast of ~5.7%.
  3. North America Domestic Remains the Leading Region. Global volume and pricing expectations vary quite a bit across the relevant regional exposures for US airlines. Specifically, North America Domestic is the strongest region again this year given its volume and pricing expectations at ~2.3% and ~1.9%, respectively, followed by LatAm, Transatlantic, then Asia Pacific.
  4. Premium Policies are Becoming More Stringent, But with Discounts Steady. Along with lower budget expectations, premium travel policies are becoming more conservative with a ~2x increase in managers pointing to more stringent policies in 2020. And on discounts, they remain steady and within the historical range of 10-15%.
  5. Delta is Still Best-in-Class. DAL has consistently screened as the preferred airline amongst corporate travel managers and again held this position based on performance across all polled categories. As such, we expect the airline to hold off any material share shift in the near-term, though note that UAL has made some gains in its relative positioning.
  6. Declining LCC Corporate Share Reversed. This year found corporate travel managers reversing the trend of decreasing LCC use with an up-tick YoY. Specifically, the travel budget allocated for low cost carriers increased to ~12% from the prior year’s ~9%. Overall, we view this trend as a potential disrupter for the Legacies over the long-term.

Read more here.

Amsterdam | November 6, 2019–

TripActions, the fastest-growing business travel platform trusted by the world’s most innovative companies, announced it’s adding the best of inventory from Lufthansa Group airlines to its New Distribution Capability (NDC) enabled marketplace for its 3,000+ enterprise customers and their travellers. Its new direct connection with Lufthansa Group airlines gives travellers the ability to book the best available inventory directly within the TripActions platform. Business travellers may now access inventory from the airlines in the Lufthansa Group including: Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, and Brussels Airlines.

“In all that we do, we look to drive a win-win-win in the marketplace: A win for business travellers, travel managers, finance leaders and their organisations, and our partners and suppliers”

With TripActions connected directly to Lufthansa Group airlines’ Direct NDC API, the benefits to business travellers will include the most competitive fares, bundles, and access to exclusive ancillary services. Content will be displayed as enabled by the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) NDC standard.

“TripActions joining Lufthansa Group airlines’ NDC Partner Program is an important step forward for corporate customers to benefit from modern airline retailing. With our combined technology, the Lufthansa Group airlines’ NDC Smart Offer and TripActions’ global reach, we strongly believe in the strength of our partnership and ability to enhance the traveler shopping experience across Europe, Asia, and North America,” said Heike Birlenbach, Senior Vice President Sales Lufthansa Hub Airlines and Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Hub Frankfurt.

“As a mission-driven company and culture focused on the user, we’re thrilled to expand our global inventory in partnership with Lufthansa Group airlines to continue delivering the best experience in business travel,” said Danny Finkel, VP of Booking Experience and Supplier Strategy at TripActions. “Enabling direct relationships with suppliers to bring expanded global inventory choice to travellers has been a top priority for TripActions––including leading NDC-enabled business travel first with United Airlines in June and launching a direct connection with Southwest Airlines in October. Following massive traction and positive traveller and travel manager response, we’re thrilled to expand our NDC deployment with the Lufthansa Group airlines.

“In all that we do, we look to drive a win-win-win in the marketplace: A win for business travellers, travel managers, finance leaders and their organisations, and our partners and suppliers,” added Finkel. “With this expanded inventory, business travellers win with increased choice. Travel managers, finance leaders, and their organisations win with increased cost savings, spend visibility, and the ability to fulfill duty of care. Finally, partners and suppliers win as they bring more of their content into our platform with increased personalisation opportunities.”

Lufthansa Group airlines’ NDC Smart Offer is expected to be launched in the TripActions platform over the upcoming weeks. For more information, visit the TripActions blog.

GOGO

Gogo together with Eutelsat Communications announced a new satellite capacity agreement for high-speed inflight connectivity services. As part of the new multi-year agreement, Gogo has leased HTS bandwidth on EUTELSAT 10B satellite, to be leveraged over Europe and the Middle East. The new satellite is set to launch in 2022. “We are advancing capacity capabilities given the growing demand for high-speed inflight connectivity services,” said Oakleigh Thorne, president and CEO of Gogo. “Through our partnership with Eutelsat, Gogo 2Ku will continue to enable the best passenger experience for global airlines.” Noted Eutelsat, “We are thrilled about our ongoing relationship with Gogo, a long-standing partner and a leading provider for inflight connectivity,” said Philippe Oliva, Chief Commercial Officer. “This agreement highlights the relevance of our newly ordered EUTELSAT 10B for inflight connectivity and we look forward to supporting Gogo as they increase capacity in Europe and the Middle East to provide the best services to their airline partners.”

On another note, Gogo was recognized at the fourth annual CIO & CDO Summit in Shanghai, China, in late September for an award with the Best Digital Solution for excellence in digital and intelligent airline solutions. “This is a proud moment for Gogo and being recognized with this award further demonstrates how Gogo is delivering the best products and services to our global airline partners and their customers,” said Oakleigh Thorne, CEO of Gogo. “We are excited for the potential we have to bring Gogo 2Ku to the Chinese market, as well as other markets in the Asia Pacific region.”The award criteria included creating major innovation breakthroughs; overcoming substantial technology challenges and bottlenecks; offering an industrial-leading product with high availability, stability and sustainability; operational excellence; and being a well-known brand with a good reputation.


AIRBUS

India’s IndiGo placed a firm order for 300 A320neo Family aircraft. This marks one of Airbus’ largest aircraft orders ever with a single airline operator. This latest IndiGo order comprises a mix of A320neo, A321neo and A321XLR aircraft. This will take IndiGo’s total number of A320neo Family aircraft orders to 730. IndiGo is among the fastest growing carriers in the world. Since its first A320neo aircraft was delivered in March 2016, its fleet of A320neo Family aircraft has grown into the world’s largest with 97 A320neo aircraft, operating along side 128 A320ceos. The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step from the A321LR which responds to market needs for even more range and payload, creating more value for the airlines. The aircraft will deliver an unprecedented Xtra Long Range of up to 4,700nm – with 30 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation competitor jets. At the end of September 2019, the A320neo Family had received more than 6,650 firm orders from nearly 110 customers worldwide.

Also from Airbus, Vietnamese carrier Vietjet announced that it will add the A321XLR to its fleet, with a firm order for 15 aircraft and the conversion of five A321neo aircraft from its existing backlog. The announcement was made during a visit to Airbus headquarters in Toulouse by Vietjet President & CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, hosted by Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. During the visit, the airline also signed a new training agreement with Airbus Services. This will see Airbus position two new A320 Family full flight simulators at the carrier’s training center in Ho Chi Minh City. Airbus will also provide a range of training services to the airline and its instructors. Vietjet will be among the first airlines to receive the A321XLR. The addition of the aircraft to its fleet will allow Vietjet to expand further its network, flying longer routes across Asia, as well as to destinations as far afield as Australia and Russia.

And more Airbus news: Cebu Pacific (CEB), a carrier based in the Philippines, has signed a firm order with Airbus for 16 long-range A330neo aircraft. The order firms up the wide-body portion of a previously announced Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which also includes commitments for 10 A321XLR and five A320neo single-aisle aircraft. The A330neo ordered by Cebu Pacific is a higher-capacity version of the A330-900, with up to 460 seats in a single-class configuration. Cebu Pacific plans to operate the aircraft on trunk routes within the Philippines and the rest of Asia, as well as on longer range services to Australia and the Middle East.

Also, Wizz Air Holdings Plc, the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, announced that, as part of the Indigo Partners deal, it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus S.A.S. (“Airbus”) relating to exercising a part of its existing options for the purchase of 20 Airbus A321XLR aircraft. The present order will be delivered over the course of three years starting in 2023. The A321XLR variant will be operated with 239 seats, the same as the A321neo to ensure full fleet commonality with Wizz Air’s existing fleet. The XLR aircraft can also be utilized on Wizz Air’s existing network with the same efficiency. Completion of the order remains subject to approval by Wizz Air shareholders, as appropriate.

And lastly, Airbus selected twenty-two new start-ups to join its BizLab for the launch of the fifth accelerator program, providing a platform to develop previously untapped technologies and ways of working in the aerospace sector. During the six-month acceleration program, the start-ups will receive support from an international team of experts from various fields and have access to dedicated coaching staff, networking opportunities and co-working spaces. Hailing from nine countries around the world, the twenty-two new start-ups were selected out of 704 applications from 59 countries. One of the main criteria used in the selection process were the synergies between the start-up projects and Airbus’ sustainability, environment and innovation strategy in the fields of reduction of emissions and alternative propulsion technology, additive manufacturing, data analytics, robotics, smart protection and testing systems and artificial intelligence. The selected start-ups will join a unique consolidated global network and be based on one of Airbus’ four BizLab campuses; Toulouse (France), Hamburg (Germany), Bangalore (India) and Madrid (Spain). Airbus BizLab is a global aerospace business accelerator where start-ups and Airbus intrapreneurs speed-up the transformation of innovative ideas into valuable businesses. Since starting in 2015, Airbus BizLab has used this “hybrid” concept to accelerate 72 start-ups and 54 internal projects, which have raised a combined €23.5 million.


BOEING

Boeing and Air Premia announced the Korean startup airline plans to buy five 787-9 Dreamliner airplanes, following an agreement to lease three 787-9 jets from Air Lease Corporation earlier this year. Air Premia, which plans to launch operations in 2020 is poised to become South Korea’s second Dreamliner operator. The commitment, valued at $1.4 billion at list prices, will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website when it is finalized. The 787-9 is a super-efficient widebody airplane that can fly 296 passengers in a standard configuration with a published range of 7,530 nautical miles (13,950 km). The Dreamliner model, powered by a revolutionary design and advanced engines, enables airlines to reduce fuel use and emissions by 20 to 25 percent compared to previous airplanes. The combination of unrivaled fuel efficiency and long range capabilities of the 787-9 has helped airlines save more than 40 billion pounds of fuel and open more than 235 non-stop routes. With its base at Seoul Incheon International Airport, Air Premia announced its plan to launch operations in September 2020. The carrier will initially operate regionally in Asia before expanding its network to Los Angeles and San Jose by 2021.”


FORECAST

J.P. MORGAN is forecasting delivery of:
379 Boeing/881 Airbus/40 Embraer aircraft in 2019;
1,000 Boeing/930 Airbus/63 Embraer aircraft in 2020;
1,057 Boeing/967 Airbus/64 Embraer aircraft in 2021;
and 936 Boeing/1,035 Airbus/57 Embraer aircraft in 2022.


OTHER NEWS

 

ASTRONICS

Astronics Advanced Electronics Systems (AES) introduces an onboard, innovative, aircraft cabin inductive Wireless Charging Module (WCM) that provides airlines and passengers with a convenient way to charge their wireless-enabled devices such as smartphones, MP3 players, cameras, and tablets. Astronics’ WCM provides wireless charging capability for passenger smart phones and other devices, and is ideal for both forward fit and aftermarket retrofit. Presently, we understand this product is slated for installation on business aircraft but we thought our readers would be interested in a technology application that could eventually migrate to the commercial marketplace. Wireless Charging Module | Astronics


PANASONIC

  • Cathay Pacific is bringing the latest live sporting events to inflight entertainment, starting with the 2019 Rugby World Cup, following an announced agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic). Cathay Pacific, which already offers three channels of live news inflight through Panasonic’s live television service, is enhancing this offering with the immediate addition of Sport 24 – a 24/7 live sports channel for airlines operated and owned by IMG – a global leader in sports, events and media – offered exclusively by Panasonic. With Panasonic’s live television platform and IMG’s exclusive sports programming, Cathay Pacific’s passengers will be able to watch live action from the 2019 Rugby World Cup, along with a host of the world’s most popular sporting events over the coming months including the English Premier League, Bundesliga, The Masters, Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, The Open Championship, Ryder Cup, Roland Garros, The Australian Open and Wimbledon.
    This exciting new addition to Cathay Pacific’s inflight entertainment offering is already live on the newest aircraft to enter its fleet – the technologically advanced Airbus A350, which offers unrivaled passenger comfort on the many routes it operates from Hong Kong including Auckland, Barcelona, Brussels, Cape Town, Christchurch, London Gatwick, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Melbourne, Singapore, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Vancouver. In addition to its live television service, Panasonic is the principal provider of inflight entertainment systems for Cathay Pacific’s fleet of over 130 aircraft.
  • LCS and Academy are finalizing a memorandum of understanding with Panasonic Avionics that will remove the pain of boarding a flight just as your team is gearing up to hit the LCS stage, or hours in the air without any action from the Rift to keep you company. Panasonic is set to become the exclusive in-flight partner of the LCS and Academy. This will enable aircraft equipped with Panasonic’s IFE systems to have access to LCS and Academy games as part of their expanding premium content offering, so fans never need miss out on League esports action again. The plan is for LCS and Academy games to be available from launch in a near live format.
  • Panasonic Avionics Corporation subsidiary, AeroMobile, and leading telecommunications operator TrueMove Thailand, a subsidiary of True Corporation Plc, partnered to launch an inflight data roaming bundle for their customers. The inflight bundle, which commercially launched in September 2019, will place inflight mobility at the heart of TrueMove Thailand’s roaming packages. As the first operator in the country to launch an inflight roaming bundle, this agreement further cements TrueMove Thailand‘s position as a market innovator and respected service provider, with a highly competitive offering that brings more value and a greater experience for their 28 Million+ customer-base.  Customers who subscribe to the inflight service will be able to use their mobile phones to browse the internet, send and receive emails, texts and calls and stay in touch with friends on social networks, whilst traveling on AeroMobile equipped aircraft. The service is currently available to post-paid customers that purchase the inflight bundle and will enable TrueMove Thailand’s customers to enjoy more value and convenience when traveling. AeroMobile provides technology and global coverage that allows the safe use of passengers’ own mobile phones onboard aircraft.

LUFTHANSA TECHNIK

Lufthansa Technik welcomed Chinese service provider Air Esurfing Information Technology Co., Ltd., which it will help in providing aircraft with the first ever inflight connectivity solution for the Chinese market. Further contract partners include Honeywell (antenna hardware provider) and China Satcom (satellite provider).

According to a new 5-year agreement, Lufthansa Technik will design and certify Ka-band-based connectivity retrofit packages for both the Airbus A320ceo and A320neo aircraft families as well as the Boeing 737NG and 737MAX. The company will also work with Air Esurfing Information Technology Co., Ltd. to provide the respective CAAC validated EASA Supplemental Type Certificate (VSTC) to support Chinese airlines. Moreover, Lufthansa Technik will take care of material supply and material handling services for the installation of the packages, that can be tailored to each of Air Esurfing’s airline customers and their specific requirements.
ARE, in full name Beijing Air Esurfing Information Technology Co., Ltd. , was founded in 2013, and is wholly owned by Yuehangyangguang Network Technology Co., Ltd.. Besides its headquarters in Beijing, ARE has also set up a technology research, development and testing center for its products in Shenyang. Conclusively, ARE has grown to be a one of a kind high-tech enterprise in China. Relying on its parent group’s advantages in traditional media & advertising operation in aviation, after years of hard working, ARE’s business evolved in many aspects of the aviation internet business chain. Thus, the company’s portfolio now comprises integrated IFEC solutions, the sale of aviation materials as a distributor, the integration of airborne Wi-Fi systems, the development and customization of onboard entertainment software, the offering of airworthiness modification solutions, and the distribution of advertising, film & television media rights in aviation. Moreover, ARE is engaged in various airborne internet business co-operations. Its three series products, the Star Joy, Star Wing and Star River service platforms developed by ARE, provide mature and customized aviation internet technology solutions and business operation solutions to airlines. Through its open, compatible and flexible business cooperation model, ARE has reached cooperation with many domestic airlines on the mutual construction and operation of an airborne aviation internet system.


SITA

Ghana Airports Company Limited extended its agreement with SITA to manage and support all airport passenger processing, baggage management, and airport operations systems across Kotoka International Airport’s newly commissioned Terminal 3 for the next five years. SITA’s technology will be vital in positioning the airport as the pre-eminent hub in West Africa, leading the way in passenger automation and operational efficiency. This follows SITA’s successful deployment of these systems to support the opening of the new terminal in October last year. These systems include common use check-in desks and self-service check-in kiosks, allowing the airport to maximize its capacity by enabling airlines to cost-effectively share the same infrastructure. The airport will also make use of SITA’s state of the art baggage management technology that will assist airlines in reconciling and tracking bags across the journey. On the operational side, SITA’s Airport Management Solution will simplify planning and real-time operational control by facilitating collaborative decision-making among stakeholders while optimizing the use of airport resources. It will also support revenue management with its billing and reporting functionality. Over the next five years, SITA will be responsible for the maintenance and operations of these key systems and integration with other airport systems


INFLIGHT VR

After weeks of thorough planning and development with the teams at SunExpress, LEGO, Pico Interactive and Lasker Cross-Media, Inflight VR’s branded, immersive #virtualreality passenger experience is now live on many XQ flights from #antalya – oh, and they are celebrating it with a uniquely painted Airbus A320. The company said they couldn’t be more excited and thankful on the day of their company’s five year anniversary.


AIRBUS

  • Airbus and Delta Air Lines are forming a digital alliance to develop new predictive maintenance and health-monitoring solutions for airline customers worldwide from 2020. To be accessed via a unified portal through the Skywise platform, the cross-fleet solutions will harness each member’s expertise in airframes, systems and engines. Delta Air Lines will be the first user of the enriched predictive maintenance solution. This partnership builds on an already successful platform of technical collaboration between Airbus and Delta: In October 2018, Delta entered into a multi-year contract with Airbus to apply Skywise Predictive Maintenance to its A320 and A330 fleets – covering around 400 aircraft. Moreover, in June this year, Airbus and Delta joined forces to offer A220 component repair and material services for Airbus’ A220 Flight Hour Services (FHS) program.
  • Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) launched the iflyACJ.com website, allowing VIP travelers to easily plan their World above the world travel with ACJ charter operators. The new website will appeal to VIP travelers because it groups together in a single place information about the Airbus corporate jet offerings of 12 operators – such as details of their spacious cabins, characteristics and tailored on-board services.

BOEING

Boeing announced the launch of ForeFlight Dispatch, a team flight planning component of its web application that delivers a next-generation, multi-user, schedule-to-mobile flight planning capability for flight operations of any size. With Dispatch, flight plans are created by pilots, dispatchers, or automatically via integrated scheduling systems to generate “cleared-as-filed” routes, briefings, and operational flight plans, which are then synchronized with the ForeFlight Mobile application on crew devices. Flight watchers or dispatchers can then monitor flights or make changes to flight plans, and all changes are automatically synced back to crew devices, resulting in a more productive flight operation. Customers across North America and Europe have already tested the new capabilities with live flight operations in an extensive beta program. The inaugural customer of ForeFlight Dispatch, Flexjet, is a preeminent operator committed to deploying the latest technology throughout the organization.

Boeing has inspected some 810 Boeing 737NG’s for cracking of the “pickle forks” in the wing fuselage mounts on The Boeing Company Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes. It could adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane. We understand they found issues on some 38 aircraft.

Boeing has made significant progress over the past several months in support of safely returning the 737 MAX to service as the company continues to work with the FAA and other global regulators on the process laid out for certifying the 737 MAX software and related training updates. The company has also made significant governance and operational changes to further sharpen its focus. MediaRoom – News Releases/Statements

Editor’s Note – This might be a big deal for Boeing – “A person briefed on the matter said Boeing failed to turn over the documents to the FAA for four months and that the Justice Department is also in possession of the messages” noted an article from Reuters.” Apparently Boeing knew of MCAS aggression in 2016 and misled FAA . However, it looks like some test pilots in Boeing knew about “issues” with MCAS and was only reported their words on Oct. 17 to the FAA. It may not be the best news for Mr. Muilenburg.


OTHER NEWS

Immfly

Airplane travel can often be a hectic experience. It is quite common for people who travel to feel stress, anxiety or to just worry about what comes next. In short, travel days are loaded with obligations. These obligations result in obstacles to thinking and living in the present.

For this reason, Immfly has partnered with Journey Meditation, the company on a mission to help all people lead happier, healthier lives. By integrating the meditation practice into the aircraft environment, the two companies aim to elevate the travel experience and improve flight journeys for a more peaceful passenger experience.

Journey Meditation was founded in 2015 when the company’s founder, Stephen Sokoler, identified the need to make meditation more approachable and accessible. The goal was simple but powerful: to help people live happier lives with greater clarity and peace of mind.

Journey is dedicated to giving people the opportunity to experience and embrace meditation principles in their daily routine. Through Journey LIVE, the company’s live group meditation app, users are able to participate in expertly led tutorials among a diverse and supportive community.

“We are thrilled to bring Journey LIVE into Immfly’s best-in-class flight experiences,” said Stephen Sokoler, Founder of Journey Meditation. “Travel can be particularly stressful and for some, quite nerve wracking. By bringing meditation aboard aircraft, we hope to improve the overall experience no matter where you are in your personal practice”.

Onboard Meditation Classes

Thanks to Immfly’s IFE & Digital Services, flying passengers can now enjoy 15-minute classes taught by Journey Meditation certified teachers worldwide. Travelers are guided by professionals who help bring mindfulness into everyday life.

Sessions on relieving stress and anxiety, improving performance, sleep and relationships and generally promoting happiness are provided in addition to guidance on the basic principles of learning how to meditate.

The partnership with Journey Meditation enables Immfly to deliver airline customers an even richer range of content with regularly updated videos which give passengers the privilege to watch content onboard which would normally be unavailable to the public at large. Following on their onboard experience, customers can choose to become subscribers to Journey Meditation’s app and continue benefiting from guidance in their daily lives.

Julia Maruny, Head of Content at Immfly adds “ The ability to pair our technology which enables dynamic delivery of fresh content onboard, with rich and relevant content that inspires well being, is something we are very proud of at Immfly. We are excited to be Journey Meditation’s first airline partner. Their mission to promote happiness and well being sits squarely with Immfly’s content strategy to enhance the onboard experience. ”

Unique Modules & SaaS Services
Recent: A digital well-being program for today’s society.

Wowing customers with premium content and unique modules is an essential pillar of Immfly’s proposition. Through constant innovation, the connected digital services company is constantly identifying new opportunities to create products and services that enable airlines deliver sustained differentiation and enhance passenger experience. With movies and TV shows, specialist content channels and incentives, activities in destination, audiobooks & e-books, 3D moving maps, interactive games, and now Journey Meditation’s well-being channel, Immfly’s content team is on a relentless mission to deliver fresh and enjoyable engagement onboard.

(Editor’s Note: I have not personally experienced the Journey Meditation app; however, I have used other meditation/relaxation apps and have found them to be very useful inflight in order to gain a few needed hours of sleep. They are also great when jet lag wakes you up at 2:00 a.m.!)


SITAONAIR
Vietnam Airlines (VN) is cementing its status as the country’s premier national carrier by becoming the first Vietnamese airline to offer inflight connectivity (IFC) – through a partnership with SITAONAIR and Inmarsat satellite telecommunications operator VISHIPEL. The collaboration will see the delivery of pioneering inflight internet services across its fleet, offering digitally-demanding passengers the onboard connectivity they want, and enabling them to stay connected with work and family. Partnering with long-standing Vietnamese satellite provider, VISHIPEL, has been integral to delivering this first-of-its-kind solution for the region. VISHIPEL has played an important role in Vietnam’s national development strategy for information and communication, and this regional expertise, together with SITAONAIR’s industry experience, has ensured that services are tailored for the Vietnamese market. Inflight Wi-Fi is now available aboard four of Vietnam Airlines’ A350 aircraft, making VN the first airline in the country to offer onboard Wi-Fi to meet high regional demand, enhancing the passenger experience and moving closer towards international 5-star quality standards, while digitally transforming its services. SITAONAIR’s best-in-class Internet ONAIR IFC portal will provide seamless Wi-Fi access to VN’s passengers, and enable exceptional levels of personalization and interactivity through customization, to reflect the airline’s own branding requirements.


Airbus
Airbus delivered the 1,000th A320neo Family aircraft. The aircraft, an A321neo produced in Hamburg, Germany, was delivered to Indian airline IndiGo. IndiGo is the world’s biggest customer for the A320neo Family with orders totaling 430 aircraft. Since its first NEO was delivered in March 2016, its fleet of A320neo Family has grown into the world’s largest with 96 aircraft operating alongside 129 A320s. In an extremely competitive aviation market, the fuel efficient A320 Family has been instrumental in IndiGo’s rise to become India’s largest airline by fleet size and passenger numbers. The A320neo Family is assembled at Airbus’ four global sites: Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; Tianjin, China; and Mobile, USA. The world’s first A320neo was delivered in January 2016 and the program has achieved milestones every year since: the first A321neo in 2017; the first A321LR in 2018 and the launch of the A321XLR in 2019. The A320neo program was designed with fuel efficiency in mind. Building on the A320ceo’s popularity, the aircraft delivers 20% reduced fuel burn as well as 50% less noise compared to previous generation aircraft. Seating up to 240 passengers, depending on cabin configuration, the A320neo Family features the widest single aisle cabin in the sky and incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets. At the end of September 2019, the A320neo Family had received more than 6,660 firm orders from close to 110 customers worldwide. Airbus delivered 71 aircraft (seven A220s; eight A320ceos; 40 A320neos; four A330s; 12 A350s and an A380) in September vs 69 in September 2018, and has so far delivered 571 of the 880-890 planned for 2019.

Thales and Airbus CyberSecurity, two European leaders in critical information systems and cybersecurity, join forces to support operators of vital importance against cyber attacks. Combining their sovereign products, Thales’s cyber attack detection system Cybels Sensor and the Airbus CyberSecurity’s Orion Malware solution will provide businesses and organizations with a qualified solution delivering unrivaled results. Solution offers unparalleled detection capacities and enables in-depth investigation, combining detection with incident response

Air Austral, France’s Réunion Island-based airline, signed a firm order for three A220 aircraft, Airbus’ newest family member. With this order Air Austral becomes the first A220 customer based in the Indian Ocean region. Benefiting from a 20% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, the A220s will enable Air Austral to reduce its costs and carbon footprint on international routes in the region. The design of the new clean sheet single-aisle aircraft allows for more seats, offering extra revenue potential to airlines, especially to those located in remote areas, and extra usable cargo volume capacity. The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market; it delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and widebody passenger comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least a 20 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft, along with significantly lower emissions and a reduced noise footprint. The A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft. The A220 had an order book of over 500 aircraft at the end of September 2019.


BOEING
Boeing announced that its Board of Directors  separated the roles of chairman and chief executive officer. Dennis  Muilenburg continues as CEO, president and a director. The board elected David L. Calhoun, current independent lead director, to serve as non-executive chairman. The board said splitting the chairman and CEO roles will enable Muilenburg to focus full time on running the company as it works to return the 737 MAX safely to service, ensure full support to Boeing’s customers around the world, and implement changes to sharpen Boeing’s focus on product and services safety. This decision is the latest of several actions by the board of directors and Boeing senior leadership to strengthen the company’s governance and safety management processes. Calhoun said, “The board has full confidence in Dennis as CEO and believes this division of labor will enable maximum focus on running the business with the board playing an active oversight role. The board also plans in the near term to name a new director with deep safety experience and expertise to serve on the board and its newly established Aerospace Safety Committee.” “I am fully supportive of the board’s action. Our entire team is laser-focused on returning the 737 MAX safely to service and delivering on the full breadth of our company’s commitments,” said Muilenburg.

The company delivered 26 aircraft (two 737NGs; 747-8F; four 767s; seven 777s; 12 787s) in September vs 87 in September 2018, and has to date delivered 302 aircraft in 2019 vs 568 a year ago.


Other News

Spirit airlines receive the most negative comments overall

October 14, 2019–Social media is bridging the gap between brands and customer experience, allowing consumers to voice their opinions in real-time for the whole world to see.

We all know poor reviews and negative comments can make or break a brand’s reputation. With 330 million active users, Twitter, in particular, has become an extensive platform for engaged customers to reveal both praise and complaints in equal measure.

With this in mind, travel insurance comparison site InsureMyTrip analyzed over 96,000 tweets over a two-week period1 – using a unique sentiment analysis tool – to discover which of the nine largest US airlines receive the most positive and negative mentions.

Spirit Airlines has the highest proportion of poor reviews, with nearly 70 percent of its Twitter mentions containing a negative sentiment. Over a third of negative keywords in Spirit’s mentions were due to delays or cancellations.

This comes as no surprise, as Spirit recently found itself in hot water with its passengers over its alleged ‘hidden’ bag fees. Spirit even faces a lawsuit after its customers accused the company of knowing its online travel agents hid ‘gotcha’ bag fees customers are expected to pay at the airport.

Frontier Airlines followed closely with 64 percent negative mentions, receiving the highest number of complaints about ‘customer service’ (8.9%) compared to any other airline analyzed.

American Airlines was in the third position with 56 percent of negative tweets overall.

At the other end of the spectrum, Southwest Airlines tops the list with 70 percent of its Twitter mentions considered positive. When analyzing the sentiments, ‘customer service,’ ‘luggage,’ and ‘food’ were the words with the best scores.

These findings are also a testament to Southwest Airlines’ latest accolade as the sixth best airline in the world, announced earlier this year.

Interestingly, although it performed well overall, Southwest Airlines received the highest number of negative mentions for keywords regarding seating (15.7%), as passengers are not assigned seats. Instead, they’re given a boarding group, indicating where they should line up when they’re at the gate ready to board.

Allegiant Air and Alaska Airlines followed closely with 64 and 62 percent positive mentions, respectively. With both airlines receiving hardly any negative mentions for their ‘luggage,’ ‘money,’ ‘seats,’ and ‘food’ offerings.

‘Delay’ is the most commonly tweeted negative keyword overall for eight of the nine airlines, with United Airlines receiving the highest negative percentage for this keyword (23.6%). This is followed by ‘cancel’ – the most popular negative keyword for Spirit Airlines overall (18.5%) – and customer service takes third place.

Ronni Kenoian, Manager of Marketing and eCommerce at InsureMyTrip, commented:

“Social media is often where passengers turn to voice their opinions in real-time. And Twitter is one of the most powerful communication tools available.

It is interesting to see how positive and negative customer feedback stack up — and, in turn, how airlines respond in an effort to improve customer service.”

InsureMyTrip has put together a handy infographic looking at the findings in more detail, which can be viewed here.

Airbus at APEX Los Angeles

During APEX Expo in Los Angeles, Airbus discussed their in-flight trials of IoT connected cabin technologies on board an A350-900 Flight Lab aircraft. In doing so, Airbus becomes the first aircraft manufacturer to undertake such flight-testing of actual connected cabin innovations. The platform, known as the Airspace Connected Experience, was unveiled at the APEX Expo Boston in 2018. The airframer said this technology will usher in a new personalized experience for passengers and provide opportunities for improving airlines’ ancillary revenues and operational efficiencies.

The Flight Lab aircraft is one of the original A350-900 certification flight-test aircraft and is fitted with an Airspace cabin which now serves as the ideal platform to evaluate the new connected cabin technologies in flight. In conjunction with their best-in-class cabin partners, an initial set of working elements have been installed. These include prototypes of the Connected iSeat (Recaro), the Connected Galley (gategroup), a remote wireless cabin management control system, a large OLED display and importantly, the first step of Airbus’ new “IoT backbone” which includes an open software platform. These innovations are all now being tested in flight.

Airbus said that the connected cabin ecosystem will enable significant value-adding services for passengers, airlines and crews. Possible examples include:

  • Passengers will receive a more personalized travel experience specifically targeted to the individual needs and preferences, based on the available data. In particular this covers remote and pre-ordering of preferred meals, booking of private bin space, setting of individual seat positions as well as a tailor-made inflight IFE offer.
  • Airlines will be able to generate additional ancillary revenues through personalized retail and advertisement as well as new services, all enabled by the IoT approach. Furthermore, airlines will be able to improve their operational efficiency applying predictive maintenance, avoiding waste and making crew services more efficient. Other opportunities can easily be created and applied via apps.
  • Crews will find a better working environment and more efficient tools, digitally enabled by real-time data from the IoT platform throughout the cabin. A mobile smart device will allow crews to monitor and operate all components.

Customer-centric approach

The in-flight tests are part of their customer-centric approach, which began with workshops to create and prioritize innovative concepts, followed by an extensive phase of on-ground testing and customer evaluation of the connected elements. The subsequent testing of these innovations in an Airbus Flight Lab environment is key to bringing an integrated Connected Experience to fruition – being able to validate and refine them in a real airborne cabin. In particular, the tests allow the various elements to be operated and monitored during a normal flight cycle, especially with regard to the end-to-end data flow robustness within the systems and between them. The next steps will continue testing of the current setup, then close the feedback loop with airlines using Airbus’ Customer Experience Teams (CET) forum, by around year-end.

More Airbus News

  • Airbus SE notes the decision of the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding the level of countermeasures it authorizes the United States to impose on products from the European Union (EU). If the United States Trade Representative (USTR) chooses to impose tariffs on the importation of aircraft and/or aircraft components, this will create insecurity and disruption not only to the aerospace industry, but also to the broader global economy. Yet it is still avoidable. In the coming months, the WTO will determine the amount of tariff countermeasures the EU can impose on US products – including imported Boeing aircraft – in the parallel counter case regarding illegal subsidies to Boeing. The WTO has already found that the US failed to address illegal subsidies causing harm to Airbus. This will provide the EU with grounds to claim countermeasures on US products at a level that could exceed US sanctions. If applied, these tariffs on both sides will severely impact US and EU industries, putting high costs on the acquisition of new aircraft for both US and EU airlines. Aviation is a global industry. Evidence of that is the fact that close to 40 percent of Airbus’ aircraft-related procurement comes from US aerospace suppliers. This US supply chain supports 275,000 American jobs in 40 states through spending that has totaled $50 billion in the last three years alone. If tariffs are applied, the entire global industry will be harmed. The only way to prevent the negative effects of these tariff would be for the US and EU to find a resolution to this long-running dispute through a negotiated settlement.
  • Airbus inaugurated its highly automated fuselage structure assembly line for A320 Family aircraft in Hamburg, showcasing an evolution in Airbus’ industrial production system. With a special focus on manufacturing longer sections for the A321LR, the new facility features 20 robots, a new logistics concept, automated positioning by laser measurement as well as a digital data acquisition system. These will further support Airbus’ drive to improve both quality and efficiency while bringing an enhanced level of digitization to its industrial production system. For the initial section assembly, Airbus is using a modular, lightweight automated system, called “Flextrack”, with eight robots drilling and counter-sinking 1,100 to 2,400 holes per longitudinal joint. In the next production step, 12 robots, each operating on seven axes, combine the center and aft fuselage sections with the tail to form one major component, drilling, counter-sinking, sealing and inserting 3,000 rivets per orbital joint. Besides the use of robots, Airbus is also implementing new methods and technologies in material and parts logistics to optimize production, improve ergonomics and shorten lead times. This includes the separation of logistics and production levels, demand-oriented material replenishment as well as the use of autonomous guided vehicles. The Hamburg structure assembly facility is responsible for joining single fuselage shells into sections, as well as final assembly of single sections to aircraft fuselages. Aircraft parts are equipped with electrical and mechanical systems before eventually being delivered to the final assembly lines in France, Germany, China and the US.

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) announced the award of a new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) supplemental type certificate (STC) for installation of satellite communications (SATCOM) provisions on Boeing B777-300 and B777-300ER series aircraft. This award helps ensure consumers have the high-quality, in-flight connectivity that they have come to expect each time they fly. 

The specified FAA STC allows for the installation of structural provisions and the outside aircraft equipment package for a cabin upgrade incorporating a dual-band (Ka/Ku) terminal. The dual-band terminal allows for in-flight network switching across Ku- and Ka-band satellite networks, providing more reliable in-flight entertainment and communication access to travelers. 

The certified installation design follows a previously issued FAA STC for Airbus A320 series aircraft. CIT provided all design, qualification, approvals, and certification resources associated with the installation. The aircraft equipment packages were manufactured and conformed at the company’s facility in Franklin, Wis.

CIT leads the market in aerospace SATCOM applications, with over 2,500 installations delivered worldwide. From component manufacturing to fully-integrated engineered solutions, CIT has the capability and flexibility to support various consumer needs. Contact CIT via email for additional information.


Inmarsat
Inmarsat signed a contract with the European Space Agency for phase two of the ground-breaking Iris air traffic modernization program, which will include important flight trials across Europe to assess the service in a real operational environment. Iris is being developed to deliver powerful benefits to European aviation by enabling high bandwidth, cost-effective satellite-based datalink communications over Europe. The program contributes to the delivery of the ‘Single European Sky’, which focuses on modernizing air traffic management and air navigation efficiency. Satellite communications reduces the pressure on ground-based frequencies, which third party reports have indicated will be under significant capacity stress in the next 5-10 years.
As part of the program’s second phase, flight trials will be conducted on approximately 20 aircraft flying commercially over a six-month period starting in 2020, allowing Iris to be assessed in a real operational environment. Selected airlines will take part in the demonstration, with the support of leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), to evaluate the Iris program for air traffic control (ATC) and airline operational communications (AOC) across continental Europe. Also in this phase, Inmarsat will work with ESA to prepare for pan-European certification of the Iris service provider and define a distribution agreement. In addition, Inmarsat and its partners, such as Thales Alenia Space, will prepare for future air traffic control requirements through research & development and prototyping. This will include transitioning to the Aeronautical Telecommunications Network/Internet Protocol Suite (ATN/IPS) standard, which will make the service truly global. Iris was initiated in 2014, when ESA selected Inmarsat to lead a consortium of European technology companies to develop the program, including Airbus, Boeing, Honeywell and Thales, in addition to leading ANSPs across the continent, such as DFS (Germany), DSNA (France), ENAIRE (Spain), ENAV (Italy), EUROCONTROL MUAC (North-West Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) and NATS (UK). Iris is powered by Inmarsat’s award-winning SB-S digital aircraft operations platform operating on its L-band network that has underpinned global safety services for 40 years. Inmarsat is scheduled to launch two new, advanced L-band payloads to join its existing fleet in 2020 and 2021, further cementing the company’s long-term commitment to the highly reliable safety communications services it offers to the aviation community over this spectrum.


Boeing
Boeing is funding the creation of a state-of-the-art laboratory facility dedicated to the research and testing of autonomous aerial vehicles within Stanford University’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The Boeing Flight & Autonomy Laboratory features a control room and maker area, the newest motion-capture cameras and sensor networks, and a public observation area. The lab is the latest support by Boeing in Stanford’s Aero/Astro department. In addition to the $2.5 million contribution to fund the Boeing Flight & Autonomy Laboratory, located in the Durand Building, Boeing is a founding member of the Stanford Aero/Astro Launch Fund for a new undergraduate program in aeronautics and astronautics. The inaugural class in that program will graduate in 2020.


Other News

True Blue Power unveils ultra-fast, 60-watt, USB-PD charging ports

Wichita, Kansas | October 8, 2019– True Blue Power, a leading provider of certified USB power products for the aerospace industry, today announced the company’s newest ultra-fast charger, the TA360 Series USB-PD Charging Port. Designed to power new and future electronic devices, the high-speed charging ports use USB Power Delivery (PD) technology to provide 60 watts of power per port.

“True Blue Power is at the forefront of USB product development. Adding this advanced USB-PD technology to our product line ensures pilots, passengers and crew have access to cutting-edge, in-flight USB power now and well into the future,” said Erik Ritzman, True Blue Power Director. “The TA360 series future-proofs aircraft for years to come.”

Ultra-fast charging / Maximum power
USB Power Delivery (PD) is the fastest charging technology available. It provides 4 times more power than traditional USB-A and USB-C chargers. USB-PD charging ports offer intelligent voltage output, allowing each specific device to receive the maximum level of power possible. While PD-compatible electronics benefit most from this new technology, the TA360 Series also supports traditional USB-A and USB-C devices.

60 watts of True Blue Power per port   
The latest PD-compatible smartphones, tablets, electronic flight bags (EFB) and laptop computers benefit from the TA360 Series’ variable power output. The ultra-fast charger delivers 5–20 volts at 3 amps, providing up to 60 watts of power per PD port and is available in three primary configurations.

Installation / Protection
The TSO-certified TA360 Series offers easy in-seat, cabin, cockpit and galley installation, and protects itself and the electronic device from short circuit, power surges, overload and over temperature. True Blue Power USB-PD chargers are a drop-in replacement for the company’s TA102 and TA202 Series chargers. All True Blue Power USB Charging Ports offer a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

The TA360 Series USB-PD Charging Port will be on display in booth C8717 throughout the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention and Exhibition at the Las Vegas Convention Center October 22 – 24. For more information, contact Erik Ritzman, True Blue Power Director, at 316-630-0101 or visit truebluepowerusa.com.