SmartSky Beats Gogo’s Patent Challenge

SmartSky Networks announces that it has summarily defeated industry incumbent Gogo’s challenge brought before the US Patent & Trademark Office (‘USPTO’) nearly six months ago, proving SmartSky’s longstanding position that its ‘947 patent, which covers some of the most essential features of a 5G air-to-ground (‘ATG’) network, like beamforming and seamless cell tower handoffs, was and shall remain valid.

“Gogo has been proven unequivocally wrong in its challenge. We continue to believe they will have great difficulty commercializing their future 5G network without infringing on SmartSky’s expansive intellectual property portfolio,” said SmartSky Chairman and CEO Haynes Griffin. “Gogo has said many times in the past that our IP didn’t matter and wasn’t valid.  The fact that Gogo bothered to challenge this patent clearly indicates that our IP does in fact matter.  Moreover, the fact that the USPTO ruled in SmartSky’s favor based only on a subset of SmartSky’s opening arguments reinforces the strength of this patent since it was likely targeted due to a combination of its relevance and Gogo’s perception of their own likelihood of success. Furthermore, this ruling reaffirms the strength of SmartSky’s entire portfolio.  Now everyone can know that Gogo’s assertions have been thoroughly debunked.”

In dismissing Gogo’s challenge, the USPTO ruled that Gogo “has not demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of prevailing in demonstrating that at least one challenged claim” among the 20 claims of the patent, is unpatentable.

“This win comes in a forum that statistically favored Gogo, and was made in connection with an asset Gogo likely handpicked for attack with the best shot that they could take.  The failure of their effort this early in the process is both a repudiation of the baseless claims Gogo has made regarding our patent portfolio in the past, and an important validation of our claims to the contrary.  That said, we understand that the importance of our portfolio may dictate further challenges, and we remain poised to defend both the portfolio and the intellectual property it protects,” said SmartSky President Ryan Stone.

In April 2020, Gogo challenged one (No. 9,312,947) of SmartSky’s now more than 180 patents supporting its in-deployment, next generation ATG network with 5G technologies.  SmartSky had three months to respond, which it did, and the USPTO then had three months to determine whether Gogo’s challenge was worth further review. It was not.

With this decisive win behind it, SmartSky is focused on finishing its network deployment and launching commercially in 2021.  “The market leader tried to undercut SmartSky, but justice has been served and the little guy has won this battle,” Stone said. “We are an innovation driven company and have developed key enabling technologies to transform connectivity in aviation.  The USPTO ruling rightfully affirms the intellectual property protection SmartSky has earned on just one of the many patents we’ve developed critical to advancing inflight connectivity.”


Gogo

Gogo Business Aviation commented on the decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) not to review U.S. Patent No. 9,312,947 (“the ‘947 patent”) granted to SmartSky Networks, LLC. As previously, disclosed Gogo requested that the PTO examine the validity of the 947 patent. “We disagree with the PTO’s decision not to review the 947 patent,” said Sergio Aguirre, president of Gogo Business Aviation. “To be clear, Gogo reiterates our strong belief that we are not infringing any valid patent held by SmartSky. Furthermore, neither the PTO’s decision nor SmartSky’s patent portfolio in any way impairs our ability to continue to successfully expand, to launch Gogo 5G or to enhance our position in the business aviation market. Today, our systems are flying on more than 5,550 business jets, including more than 1,000 AVANCE L5 systems and nearly 450 L3 systems providing connectivity to business aircraft of all types and sizes.” Aguirre continued, “We are committed to continuing to set the standard for inflight connectivity in business aviation as we progress toward the launch of Gogo 5G and further enhance the scale and profitability of our Business Aviation segment.”


Astronics

Astronics Corporation announced the rollout of the new AP-MARS, or AutoPoint Multi-Axis Robotic System, an automated circuit card troubleshooting and test development system. The system adds flying probe technology to the existing PinPoint series of circuit card troubleshooting and test systems, delivering test, maintenance and schematic generation all in one system.
AP-MARS enables users to maintain and repair electronic assemblies without the availability of technical data. The system also works well with obsolete or aging systems with little to no original equipment manufacturer (OEM) support. By automating the capabilities of the PinPoint system, AP-MARS eliminates human error associated with mis-probing and significantly reduces the probing process time and number of touches per pin. Using Circuit Interrogation Analysis (CIA), the system employs a set of algorithms to identify nodal groups and verify the signal path for each net, reducing the number of probing iterations by over 80%.
“For many years, PinPoint has established a proven capability to generate schematics for circuit cards and has become an invaluable tool for the defense industry,” says Jim Mulato, President of Astronics Test Systems. “AP-MARS leverages our commitment to support legacy equipment while integrating forward-looking technology, enabling our customers to become more efficient.”

PinPoint was originally developed by Diagnosys which was acquired by Astronics Corporation in November 2019 and is now incorporated into the Astronics Test Systems (ATS) business.

For complete AP-MARS product details, to view the datasheet, or to request a quote, please visit Astronics.com.


Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has unveiled the “Welcome Aboard Collection”a selection of inflight products and solutions designed to help airlines address passenger concerns during COVID-19. The Collection can be customized to an airline’s existing fleet. It consists of both inflight entertainment (IFE) elements and other solutions designed to help augment airlines’ efforts to create a safer and healthier travel experience, while reducing costs and reinforcing their commitment to the passenger and their crew. Other solutions in the Collection help airlines to reduce touchpoints through smarter “less touch” technology such as Onboard Reader to digitize print publications and Companion App to integrate the passengers’ trusted personal device into the IFE experience. This can help ensure that seat back IFE consoles are complementary to the traveler’s personal devices, thus limiting passengers’ touch while still enabling the full IFE experience.

The Collection also includes solutions to enhance the cabin experience and deliver care through wellness solutions such as the nanoe™ Air Cleanser, which improves air quality by generating nano-sized electrostatic atomized water particles that can suppress odors and inhibit certain viruses, bacteria, and allergens.
Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “These are challenging times for the airline industry, and we have leveraged our proven track record in digital innovation in the aircraft cabin to deliver solutions that can help make travel a safer experience for passengers and cabin crew.”

The Collection includes other innovative solutions such as Active Surfaces that allow for easy wipe-down from flight-to-flight and ZeroTouchTM services, which enable airlines to administer content updates remotely, greatly reducing the manual labor and physical presence typically associated with these efforts.


Boeing News

The Boeing Company named B. Marc Allen as chief strategy officer and senior vice president, Strategy and Corporate Development, reporting to President and CEO David Calhoun. The company also announced Christopher Raymond as the company’s chief sustainability officer, a newly created position reporting to Executive Vice President, Enterprise Operations and Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith. The appointments are effective Oct. 1. Allen, first appointed to the company’s Executive Council in 2014 as president of Boeing International, will now take on responsibility for the enterprise’s overarching strategy, including long-term planning; global business and corporate development; and strategic investments, acquisitions and divestitures. He most recently served as president of Embraer Partnership and Group Operations, leading the associated business and integration teams, before terminating the partnership in April 2020. Before joining the Executive Council, Allen served in leadership positions across the enterprise as president of Boeing Capital Corporation, president of Boeing China, vice president for Global Law Affairs and general counsel to Boeing International.

As Boeing’s first chief sustainability officer, Raymond will be responsible for further advancing Boeing’s approach to sustainability that is focused on environmental, social and governance priorities, stakeholder-oriented reporting and company performance. Operating within the Enterprise Operations, Finance and Sustainability organization, Raymond will lead a team that collaborates across Boeing’s commercial, defense and services businesses and its enterprise functions in support of the company’s commitment to responsible and inclusive business practices and positive global impact.

“Despite our current headwinds, we remain focused on innovating and operating to help make the world a better place for future generations,” Smith said. “Chris will partner with Dave, myself and the entire Executive Council to bring together our efforts toward environmental stewardship, social progress and values-driven governance from across the enterprise and deliver a truly integrated focus on sustainability. Appointing a chief sustainability officer is an important next step as we continue to elevate and sharpen our focus on sustainability in partnership with our customers as well as across Boeing’s operations, throughout our supply chain and in our communities. Chris is the right person for the job.”

Boeing also announced $700,000 in grants from the Boeing Charitable Trust to help local communities with the ongoing humanitarian and environmental crisis caused by wildfires burning along the West Coast of the United States. Boeing is providing $500,000 to the American Red Cross to support its fire relief efforts in Washington, Oregon and California. Additionally, Boeing is donating $200,000 to provide food assistance in these states where significant numbers of the company’s employees live and work. $100,000 is being given to Northwest Harvest in Washington, and $50,000 apiece to the Oregon Food Bank and Redwood Empire Food Bank in California. “Thousands of our families, friends and neighbors have been displaced around the west,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and the company’s senior executive in the region. “We are committed to helping them through this exceptionally challenging time.” Boeing’s grant to the Red Cross will provide shelter, food and essentials for those who have been displaced from their homes due to the wildfires. These funds will also assist in the ongoing evacuation and aid delivery response in impacted communities. Consistent with Boeing employee gift match programs, the company will also match qualifying employee contributions made to eligible nonprofits for wildfire relief efforts.

On another note, Boeing announced a firm order from an unidentified customer for two 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF), as well as agreements to open additional conversion lines in Guangzhou, China, and Singapore to meet strong market demand. Based on the popular Next-Generation 737, the 737-800BCF offers operators newer technology, lower fuel consumption and higher reliability than other standard-body freighters. Primarily used to carry express cargo on domestic or short-haul routes, the airplane is capable of carrying up to 23.9 tonnes (52,800 pounds) and flying up to 2,000 nautical miles (3,750 kilometers). The 737-800BCF now has 134 orders and commitments. To date, Boeing has delivered 36 737-800BCF to more than 10 operators across four continents. The Boeing freighter family, which includes production and converted freighters, provides more than 90 percent of the world’s freighter capacity, offering an unmatched selection of capacity and capability with superior economics in every freighter size.


Other News

We are roughly six months into the COVID-19 global pandemic and in that time-frame our industry, and many others, have witnessed some radical and dynamic shifts. As we know, the leisure and family holidays have almost been eradicated with COVID. The air travel industry prior to the pandemic hummed along with business travel accounting for approximately 60% – 70% of all airline revenue, but perhaps the greater worry is the shift to webinars, ZOOM, Skype and many other forms of internet meetings, which may turn out to be the bigger sucker-punch, resulting in the cancellation of business travel with longer fiscal consequences. And some analysts are predicting that it will take a little more than 3 years for business travel to begin to rebound.

In the meantime, there is no end in sight from the move to remote work. Over the past few months many major companies have announced some form of permanent or long-term work-from-home scenarios. COVID-19 has shown and convinced companies such as REI, Ford, Twitter and others that their employees are capable of performing their jobs at home, and may even be performing better. The result is a massive reduction in the corporate office footprint. The uptick is these companies will save huge leasing costs and their employees will be thrilled they no longer face heinous daily commutes, but what will be the ancillary costs – and there will be inevitably be some. And one of these may well be a reduced need for business travel.

As with any crisis, the longer it goes on the more we learn. And often, our initial attempts to improve a process or make a situation safer are either in vein or are proven to be ineffective, or possibly counter productive, over time. In the case of the pandemic and airlines, one such circumstance may turn out to be the changes which were implemented in the boarding process. In an effort to minimize close contact between passengers, several U.S. carriers and some international carriers, began to board their flights from the rear of the jetliner to the front. New research is now indicating that it may actually do the opposite! Scientists from the USA have recently found that starting the boarding process from the back rows actually increases the amount of time spent by passengers milling about in the aisles to load bags in the overhead compartments prior to taking their seats.

But the boarding procedure is merely one example of how airlines are stumbling to make travel safe during COVID-19, and lure back passengers. Inconsistent policies in regards to leaving the middle seat vacant are also being instituted and so far there is no scientific evidence to back the benefit and/or necessity of doing so. Needless to say, there are large holes in both the data and the research, which inevitably bogs down the path forward. We are experiencing a situation where there is a vast amount of expert opinions but there is a scarcity of good data to back them up. And we are dealing with a leery, fearful public.

Another area that is a source of confusion and concern for the passenger is cabin air quality and the air filtration system on an airplane. As many of us in the industry know, the air in the cabin of an aircraft is passed through filters that are equal to those used in hospital operating rooms, thus there seems to be minimal danger of infection from circulated air but this is not common knowledge to the average passenger. However, the risk is in the cabin long before the air is recirculated. When we talk, cough, or sneeze respiratory droplets are released which will go to the passenger next to you long before they get circulated through the jetliner’s air filtration system. In fact a government-funded 2012 study concluded that between 3 – 20 passengers on a flight of four hours onboard a twin-aisle that were seated near a person with influenza would most likely become infected – and the flu is thought to be less contagious than COVID-19. The study also showed that if passengers wore N95 masks (high quality masks worn by medical workers in dangerous environments but not widely available to the general public) that the odds of infection dropped to nearly zero. The study did not analyze the benefits from wearing cloth face masks but the researchers predict they would decrease the likelihood of contracting the virus but not be as effective a N95.

A more recent 2018 study that was published by the National Academy of Sciences stated that there was a ‘high probability’ that passengers seated within one row of a traveler with influenza would be infected on a trans continental flight.

The aviation industry in the U.S.A. has been adhering to the advice of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and so far there have been ‘no known cases’ of infection from COVID-19 onboard U.S. flights. The industry has been nimble in their reactions to a rapidly evolving situation and has been working in conjunction with medical experts on decisions pertaining to cleaning and operational procedures. No-contact check-in is another example. But needless to say the issue begs for more research. Enforcing the necessity of wearing masks, plane disinfecting and other safety procedures are all logical, but unfortunately there is currently no solid evidence to show that these precautions will overcome the risks of the tight environment of the jetliner cabin.

Lastly, since 2015 the Government Accountability Office has been calling for a plan to respond to a pandemic scenario but so far government agencies have been unwilling to draw up a formal plan for the aviation sector.


SmartSky Networks

SmartSky Networks has filed a federal lawsuit against its former radio contractor, Wireless Systems Solutions LLC (WSS), after terminating the WSS contract and asserting that WSS misappropriated SmartSky’s intellectual property. SmartSky’s lawsuit alleges improper actions by WSS, two related entities (DAG Wireless LTD and DAG Wireless USA), and three of their senior leaders.

“We have pledged to defend our intellectual property vigorously because it is critical to our success. In this situation, WSS failed to complete what it was contracted to do for SmartSky.  Simultaneously, we believe WSS attempted to sell our product as its own, including through an alter-ego company formed after we began working with WSS yet involving the same people,” said Ryan Stone, SmartSky President.

“This activity has caused a delay in SmartSky bringing our next-generation WiFi network to the aviation market,” Stone said. “We’re transferring WSS’s former work scope to contractors who have performed well for us in the past on other aspects of our program.”

SmartSky recently closed on more than $40 million in additional equity funding, $10 million in new debt, and now expects to launch its network in 2021. Demand is increasing for connectivity on aircraft, and SmartSky believes there is plenty of runway for innovation in this space.


Gogo

Gogo Inc.commented on the disclosure that certain affiliates of GTCR, a leading private equity firm, have acquired a 14.8% interest in Gogo’s common stock.

“We welcome GTCR’s interest in Gogo and look forward to an ongoing and constructive dialogue as we execute our strategic plan,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s President and CEO. “We believe GTCR shares our vision for Gogo and the opportunity to continue to create value for all shareholders.” “We believe Gogo’s decision to focus on its leading business aviation business will create a stronger company that is well-positioned to grow in an attractive market,” said Mark Anderson, Managing Director at GTCR. “We look forward to supporting Gogo as it completes the sale of the commercial aviation business and seeks to capitalize on the compelling opportunity in business aviation.”


Some Stumbling Blocks with Facial Recognition

An audit of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the GAO found facial recognition programs fell short in a few areas:

  • Performance tracking. Although the tech accurately identified over 90% of those exiting the U.S. by air, it didn’t consistently photograph all travelers—and there’s no mechanism to alert officials when the technology misses minimum requirements.
  • Partner audits. CBP can conduct audits on all of its partners, but as of May, it had audited just one of more than 27 airlines.
  • Clear communication. U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens can opt out of facial recognition, but CBP consistently failed to make that known.
  • According to CBP officials, a t the end of 2019, out of 16 million passengers scanned, facial recognition helped identify seven “impostors”.
  • Zoom out: Facial recognition technology still has many issues and glitches, which include racial and gender biases. And the probability of a false positive are very high.

Other News

Galgus, new member of the WiFi Alliance

The WiFi Alliance is a global organization in which the main players related to this wireless technology participate, whether they are operators, hardware manufacturers, or software developers.

It is also the benchmark certifier for WiFi technology, having completed more than 50,000 certifications since 2000. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ seal of approval designates those products capable of offering a user experience according to their expectations of WiFi connectivity.

For Galgus, this membership is a recognition of its technology – patented in Europe and the USA -, that is used daily by more than a million people around the world and, in addition, it’s an endorsement for its WiFi4EU projects: the European Commission’s plan to provide WiFi connectivity to municipalities throughout Europe. A project in which Galgus has already deployed its technology in around twenty locations.

WiFi is the main option to connect to the Internet. Thus, more than half of the Internet traffic is done using this wireless connection technology. A technology that, in these times of pandemic and a new normal, is playing a fundamental role, offering users the possibility of working, studying, and enjoying themselves remotely.

Since last July 1, Galgus is a member of the main international organization for WiFi technology, being one of the few Spanish companies that have achieved it to date.

The WiFi Alliance (www.wi-fi.org) is responsible for leading, developing, and adopting the standards agreed by the WiFi industry. To do this, it fosters collaboration between member companies, thus promoting innovation in this field.

WiFi Alliance importance is appreciable when reviewing its list of member companies. Thus, global giants such as Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook, Nokia, or Samsung; telecommunications operators such as Telefónica, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, or Orange or manufacturers such as Acer, Logitec or Motorola, are part of this organization.

Galgus CEO and Co-Founder, Jose González, points out that “for our company, having been admitted as members of the WiFi Alliance is a recognition of the development in WiFi technology that we have been making for more than six years. This achievement is comparable to the patents that our products have obtained in the US and Europe”, adding: “This is something that gives not just added value for our brand but also for our clients and society”.

This membership represents a reinforcement in Galgus’s commitment to its consolidation as a reference provider in the European Commission’s WiFi4EU (WiFi for Europe) program. A project, with which the European Union wants to promote WiFi connectivity for citizens in public spaces such as parks, squares, official buildings, libraries, health centers, museums, etc. To achieve this, it has provided a budget of 120 million euros between 2018 and 2020 that will be allocated to the deployment of state-of-the-art WiFi equipment in public life centers.

To date, and within the framework of this pan-European project, Galgus has deployed its WiFi solution in around twenty locations throughout Spain. “It’s great to feel that we are helping to bridge the digital divide in so many places. With digitization, the business, development, and growth opportunities for these towns will undoubtedly grow exponentially”, Gonzalez stressed.


British Airways

British Airways’ award-winning on board magazine, High Life, is moving online to ba.com and will offer access to content for customers before, during and after a flight.

Created with publishing house, Cedar, the magazine will also include a new section for Business Life which will replace the current on-board paper versions of both publications.

Each issue will include monthly audio stories, photo experiences and live panels so customers can experience the magic of travel on the go wherever they are in the world. The magazine will continue to feature first person stories from travel experts and carefully curated guides for exploring cities across the world.

As well as trusted travel content, High Life digital will keep customers updated with any changes to the airline’s customer experience and route network. The new digital format also means that the airline can update content in real-time with any developments in this Covid-19 era.

The magazine will be emailed to five million Executive Club customers every month and customers can download the magazine on board, using the airline’s in-flight WIFI for free.

High Life will also continue to offer British Airways’ partners and advertisers new opportunities to reach the airline’s customers with products and offers, through BA media*

Hamish McVey, British Airways’ Head of Brand and Marketing said: “Our High Life magazine has been a source for travel inspiration for our customers for nearly half a century. When we trialled moving High Life online at the beginning of this year, it was a great success.

“We know our customers value technology and a contactless journey, especially in the current climate, so we are delighted to now be able to provide over five million customers a month with digital High Life.  We hope this new digital magazine will help customers plan their holidays with our expert holiday guides, as well as provide the latest information as we make important changes to our customer experience.”

Clare Broadbent, Cedar’s CEO said, “High Life online is now here: online, on email, and on board through your personal device, bringing wonderful and trusted travel inspiration to bigger audiences than ever before. With High Life’s mix of expert writers, photographers and audio-visual storytellers sharing the latest travel ideas from around the world, we can’t wait to help travellers to dream, plan and take off in 2020 and beyond.”

The airline’s on-board magazine, first took to the skies 47 years ago in 1973 and has provided British Airways’ customers with inspiration ever since. The magazine has document significant milestones in the airline’s history including the launch of Concorde and the A380, as well as featuring cover stars such as Sir Paul McCartney, Tracey Emin, Idris Elba and HRH The Prince of Wales.

Click here to visit High Life


Satcom Direct

Satcom Direct (SD), the business aviation solutions provider, has achieved a significant milestone for its FlightDeck Freedom® datalink service by activating its 2,000th aircraft. The head-of-state customer signed for the service to take advantage of its unique configuration options, ability to integrate third-party flight planning services, evolving compliance support, and the streamlining of flight crew and ground operations workflow.

Specifically designed for business and military aviation, FlightDeck Freedom® features an open architecture design to support every type of avionics and datalink-capable airframe and can be customized to meet each customer and/or aircraft platform’s mission needs.  On launch in 2007 it was the first datalink service to give customers the freedom – hence the name –  to select, upload from, and communicate with preferred third-party trip planning services and today is still the only datalink service provider with a comprehensive offering of flight planning options.  FDF also continues to be the only service that supports flight deck and cabin communications enabling crew to monitor connectivity and troubleshoot issues in real time to better manage passenger expectations.

In addition, FDF enhances operational safety through direct delivery of automated notifications including hazardous weather, route and security alerts, and supports real time aircraft and fleet tracking worldwide, which can be monitored from the ground and in the air. The unique GeoNotification feature details when aircraft are approaching a defined geographic area which may affect connectivity or be defined as sensitive airspace.

Integrated with SD Pro®, the digital flight operations management system, data shared through FDF synchronizes flight crew with ground operations keeping team members informed about aircraft performance in real time to support improved flight operations, budgeting and maintenance scheduling.  FDF also supports fleet compliancy with FANS, ADS-C and CPDLC to meet evolving Air Traffic Control safety requirements and the changing landscape of business aviation operations.

“Our focus is to always enable our customers to manage their flights and operations using the services, products and systems that best suit their needs. FDF was one of our first services built using open architecture to allow integration of third-party services. Reaching this milestone demonstrates the market’s hunger for integrated services that streamline the workflow. As the digitization of aviation continues to evolve, we will continue adapting and modifying our products to meet the changing requirements of flight crew, ground operations and the business aviation infrastructure,” says President of Satcom Direct Business Aviation, Chris Moore.


ASM

Aircraft Systems and Manufacturing, Inc. (ASM), a wholly-owned subsidiary of JANA, Inc., announced it has achieved FAA Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) after completing the extensive application and preparatory effort coordinated through the FAA’s Delegation Systems Certification Office. This appointment allows ASM’s ODA unit to conduct an array of aircraft design certification functions and approvals typically provided by the FAA.

This designation enables ASM to directly provide certification approvals for avionics and aircraft system integration solutions for Part 25 aircraft, functions which are typically conducted by the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Service. This provides aerospace companies with a much shorter path to certification as it bypasses the lengthy wait times often associated with submitting documents to the FAA for review and approval.

“This is a big step forward for us as an organization,” says ASM President Edward A. (Ean) Niland. “It not only shows the faith that the FAA has in our people and our processes, but it allows us to streamline the STC certification process for the airlines, MRO’s and equipment OEM’s that we work with, which is as important in this current business climate as it ever has been.”

Pete Chilsen, ASM’s Vice President of Sales, believes that the company’s new designation will provide much needed relief to certification project timelines for companies throughout the aviation industry. “Our designation as an ODA allows us to offer our customers a much higher level of service than we ever could have before. It gives aircraft owners, operators and integrators a new path toward expedited certification, which has been a serious issue for many of them in the past few years. The sheer volume of new and supplemental aircraft type design certification programs continues to increase, and we are proud to be able to offer our services to supplement the diligent efforts of the FAA.”


Airbus: August In Review

Airbus’ 2020 gross orders by August 31st totaled 370 aircraft with net orders of 303,  after the year’s cancellations. The company registered 1 new order for an ACJ320neo and no cancellations in August.

In August, Airbus delivered a total of 39 aircraft spread out between  35 A320 Family aircraft including the first A321neo to Gulf Air, two A330 including the first A330-900 to Portuguese carrier Orbest and two A350.

Airbus’ backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of August 31st stood at 7,501 comprising  524 A220s, 6,091 A320 Family aircraft (including 6,034 A320neo Family), 319 A330s (including 285 A330neo Family), 558 A350 XWBs and nine A380s.


China Eastern Airlines Uses Big Data From ‘Clear Your Plate’ Initiative

“Wow! You finished all your food. Well done, little handsome,” a stewardess said to a little boy on flight MU5427 of China Eastern Airlines (China Eastern) on August 18. The praise aroused a round of warm applause from other passengers.

The occasion described above was actually a common scene on flights of China Eastern since the company actively joined the nationwide “Clear Your Plate” initiative 2.0 against food waste in China with actual practice.

China Eastern has asked flight attendants to verbally remind passengers to not waste food and take only what they need, and added labels with the words “‘Clear Your Plate’ initiative” onto the packages of in-flight meals.

Besides in-flight friendly reminders of the initiative, China Eastern has also put up eye-catching signboards bearing slogans such as “Take as much as you need, and say ‘no’ to food wastage”, as well as “Strictly practice thrift and oppose waste” in its VIP rooms at airports across the country.

Moreover, the company has taken advantage of big data in in-flight meal preparation and established an effective food preparation scheme as part of the efforts to curb food wastage.

According to relevant statistics, the system can save about 100 kg to 150 kg of food materials on a daily basis for the in-flight meal processing workshop of China Eastern in Shanghai alone.

In order to make sure the amount of food prepared for each flight is reasonable, China Eastern’s catering staff now pay real-time attention to flight information and changes in passengers’ seats through the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system of the company, and adjust the amount of food for flights timely before delivery.

Recently, China Eastern launched an innovative “souvenir-like” snack for long-haul flights which are not during breakfast or dinner time, substituting home-made exquisite cakes, bread, fruit and desserts kept in lunch boxes or bags for the previous airline snacks, so that passengers can take the snacks away if they could not finish them on the plane.


OTHER NEWS

GOGO and INTELSAT

Gogo Inc. announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Commercial Aviation (CA) business to Intelsat S.A. (“Intelsat”) for $400 million in cash, subject to customary adjustments. The Gogo Board of Directors has approved the transaction. Intelsat expects to finance the transaction utilizing cash on hand and borrowings under its $1 billion debtor-in-possession credit facility and has obtained support from key economic stakeholders, as well as approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division, to complete the acquisition. The transaction, which is expected to close before the end of the first quarter 2021, remains subject to customary closing conditions and certain regulatory approvals.

“Following a competitive strategic review process, we’re confident this transaction unlocks the full value of the CA business for shareholders,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s President and CEO. “Combining CA, the leading inflight connectivity provider, with Intelsat, the world’s largest global satellite operator, will create the leading vertically-integrated IFC business in the world, with the additional resources and scale to support continued growth and innovation as demand for commercial air travel recovers.”

“With shared values and a clear commitment to working with the CA team to grow the business, we are confident Intelsat is the right partner. I am extremely grateful for the CA team’s efforts – particularly over the past few months. Today’s announcement is a testament to the strength of the business they have built,” Thorne said.

Gogo, which will remain a public company, will use the proceeds from the transaction to improve its net debt position and continue to invest in growth opportunities such as Gogo 5G. With greater financial flexibility, including a lower cost of capital over time, the new Gogo will be better positioned to enhance the scale and profitability of its Business Aviation (BA) segment, which is uniquely well-positioned in an attractive and under-penetrated market.

“This transaction creates a stronger and more focused Gogo, with the singular strategic imperative of serving the business aviation market with the best inflight connectivity and entertainment products in the world,” Thorne said. “The BA market continues its sharp recovery and strong demand growth trajectory, and our BA segment is exceptionally well-positioned to drive long-term value creation in that industry.”

As part of the transaction, Gogo will enter into a 10-year network services agreement under which Intelsat will have exclusive access to Gogo ATG services for the CA market in North America, subject to minimum revenue guarantees of $177.5 million.

Intelsat intends to operate the CA business as an independent business unit, led by current CA President John Wade. The CA business will remain based in Chicago.


FLYING COLOURS

Flying Colours Corp., the North America-headquartered refurbishment, completions and MRO specialist, has redelivered a third modified Bombardier Challenger 850 to an undisclosed Fortune 500 company. The aircraft was originally completed from green by Flying Colours in an executive VIP layout and returned to Flying Colours for reconfiguration as a 19-passenger corporate shuttle this spring.


HAMBURG AVIATION

In 2021, in view of the global Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on global air travel, there will be two special categories for the Crystal Cabin Award, the leading global accolade for innovations in the field of aircraft cabin and on-board products: “Clean & Safe Air Travel” and the “Judges‘ Choice Award”.

The two categories were developed by a task force of the Crystal Cabin Award Association, which is led by Hamburg Aviation, in collaboration with members of the expert jury, spread over four continents. “Clean & Safe Air Travel” is targeted at innovations for aircraft in the areas of health, hygiene, safety, and cleanliness. The “Judges’ Choice Award” has been designed for entries that would otherwise have been submitted in one of the eight regular categories, including Cabin Systems and In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity. The two special categories will also be open for student submissions

Award ceremony in April 2021 in Hamburg

Winners of these special categories shall, as always for the Crystal Cabin Award, be chosen by an international jury of almost 30 experts in parallel with the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg in April 2021. At the same time, winners of the coveted trophies will also be selected from the existing finalists in the eight main categories. The current Crystal Cabin Award round was temporarily suspended in March this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Entries for the two special categories may be lodged online at www.crystal-cabin-award.com from 1 October.

New format: “Crystal Cabin meets…” podcast launched

There have already been successful solutions for on-board hygiene among the finalists and winners of the previous 14 years of the Crystal Cabin Award. Now, a new podcast series has been launched, “Crystal Cabin meets…”, available at www.crystal-cabin-award.com, with experts from the aviation industry and former entrants talking about their experiences over recent months and what they expect the future to bring.
First up are the companies Dimer and Honeywell. The former was a finalist in 2017 with its “GermFalcon” concept, a cabin trolley to be pushed through the aircraft during ground time, killing bacteria with UV light. The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a leap in interest in the product, and it is now being marketed as Honeywell UV Cabin System as part of a strategic partnership, with real-life airline tests already underway. The “Crystal Cabin meets…” podcast can be heard on the official website and on important podcast platforms such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify.


BOEING

Boeing donated $10.6 million to a group of 20 nonprofits working to address racial equity and social justice in the United States. The funding package is part of the company’s previously announced multi-year commitment that includes a mix of local and national-level grants aimed at increasing the number of minority and underserved students pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and diversifying the aerospace talent pipeline. Grant money also will fund programs that work to address criminal justice reform and health care gaps in underserved and minority communities.

“At Boeing, we acknowledge the toll that systemic racism and social injustice have had on people of color, particularly Black communities here in the United States,” said David Calhoun, Boeing president and CEO. “As we work internally to confront these issues, we also remain focused on addressing the causes and impacts of racism and social inequality in the communities where our employees live and work. With today’s financial commitment to this group of nonprofit partners, we are hopeful that together, we can begin to make real advances in our ongoing pursuit of equality.”

The announcement builds on Boeing’s history of partnering with organizations that improve access for and address inequities in communities of color. Over the past five years, Boeing has invested more than $120 million to support under-served communities – including racial equity and social justice programs in those communities – across the United States. Boeing plans to make additional announcements related to its racial equity and social justice investment strategy in the future.


OTHER NEWS

  • Heard of the Celia aircraft? The Potentially Revolutionary Celera 500L Aircraft Officially Breaks Cover – The Drive You Will!
  • Aviation Game anyone? ‘Airplane Mode’ Wants to Be the Worst Real-Time Flight Simulator – Review Geek
  • And, if you were wondering about a supersonic airliner aircraft – here is one! The Colorado startup dreaming up a return to supersonic flight | Engadget
  • We had never heard of Lillian Bland who, we understand, flew her own self built airplane in 1910 (Amelia Earhart was only 10 then)! Here’s more – Lilian Bland: The Flying Feminist Who Built Her Own Plane Why didn’t we ever hear of her?
  • Ugh! Opinion: Forget International Travel For A While? | Aviation Week Network
  • A historic flight – Historic Israel-UAE flight opens possibility for $6.5B in trade | Seeking Alpha
  • Aviation Tekkie Bob Bogash sent us a note on the potential manufacturing move of the Boeing 787 from Everett, Washington to South Carolina (presently, components of the aircraft are manufactured in both locations). His comments reflect a long history of acquired companies and closed manufacturing/production locations that irredeemably changed the economies of the cities that once housed those major aviation production facilities.: ”Well, you heard it here first, picture aerospace in SoCal or Long Island – a distant memory, and by increasingly few people to boot, replaced by Costco (no exaggeration – in 1963 I worked at Douglas in Culver City, a giant plant with 8,000 engineers building the Thor, Thor-Delta, and the S-IVB third stage for the Saturn V (and DC-8 engine pylons.)  I went back past that place in 1995, it was just a vacant lot.  Now – it’s a Costco.)  Right next door was the Hughes Aircraft plant and airfield.  They built 269A helicopters and did a lot of classified work.  Hughes had a 10,000 ft runway where B-52s and B-58s used to land.  Check it out on a sat pic and you will only one building is still standing from that giant facility.  Grumman Bethpage is another example.  There are many – (BTW, Hughes sold the 269A (later 300) helo to Schweitzer Aircraft (of glider fame) in Elmira, NY; they also built Grumman Agcats – crop dusting biplanes.  Sikorsky bought Schweitzer, Lockheed bought Sikorsky; the Schweitzer plant was closed.)
    Expect Renton to head down the same road.  As the 737 builds out its backlog, anything new (????) will get built elsewhere, and Renton will become waterfront condo’s and Home Depots. But, there will be a plaque. 
    On 8/22/20 9:01 AM, wallawine1@gmail.com wrote: Rep. Larsen, who participated, said Stan Deal offered reassurance that “our presence in Washington is unwavering.” The operative word is “presence” – that could mean a rented office in a strip mall with Boeing on the door.”
    Bob also noted: “With the foxes running the hen house, soon all the chickens will be gone, and then the hen house will be converted into a pig sty.”
    Bob B.

First, we wanted to tell our readers that we had a difficult time starting this product review. Why? Because we were so blown away with the quality at any sound level we were challenged to find descriptive words that would adequately describe the BOSE 500’s amazing performance. But it’s small size (smaller than a box of cereal) kept us trying to figure out how the BOSE folks did it!

However, before we tell you about the performance, here are some features that BOSE claims:

  • It is a single speaker box that does not require another for excellent stereo – speaker layout in it does the trick!
  • Superior voice pickup.
  •  Six preset volume adjustment buttons.
  • A BOSE Music App (for phone/tablet) that is an excellent music source using Google or Apple music.
  • Built in voice assistant.
  • Control via voice, touch, or via the App.
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth source connectivity (and an AUX input that works great!).
  • Apple AirPlay2

And if you want more details and specifications, here is the product website link: Bose Home Speaker 500 | Bose which will provide a lot more information on this amazing product.

To get our readers started, we asked the tekkie geniuses at BOSE who designed this amazing sound product a few questions that kept cropping up in our electrical engineering mindset as we were reviewing the ‘500’:

Q: We have a lot of BOSE speakers but never had anything like the “500”! What amazes us is the frequency response, clear sound at all power levels, and the small size. How is this done?

A: “Official answer from our head of acoustics for speakers: “Magic. (plus years of experience designing transducers, systems, and state-of-the-art electronics.)”

Q: OK, we get that but what most people may not realize is the “500” speaker is an amplifier and speaker that simulates a stereo audio solution. We add more input signal from our sources and the output can go well over anything we ever listen to – clearly! We assume there is good amplification inside the small box, but is there some other stuff that we don’t know about in the technology?

A: “Achieving the performance of the Home Speaker 500 is a combination of good “bones” – the design of the transducer (the driver that moves the air), the enclosure, and the amplifier – with a lot of massaging of performance through modern DSP (digital signal processing). DSP lets us really maximize performance of a compact system – it allows for fine-tuning of frequency response for the best, most balanced and natural sound. And then within that DSP we apply sophisticated limiters of our own design which let the system play surprisingly loud, even at low frequencies, without ever getting into audible distortion.”

Q: And speaking of the small box, how the heck does something that small sound so well? We have built and used many speakers in our lives but we have never heard anything so good that was such a small size. We assume solid state power is the basic amp and some signal characteristics are modified to drive the special speakers correctly but what is different? And speaking of speakers, what the heck kind of speakers this small can deliver sound at this level and quality and we assume there is more there than in other speaker solutions?

A:”That’s the ‘good bones’ we’re referring to. We have a lot of experience designing transducers with low distortion and high output. With the Home Speaker 500 we also employed a ported design for the enclosure, and we have some patented strategies that let us get more bass output from that port without air noise or whistling. Good design pushes the output limits up past what was previously possible, and smart DSP lets us work right up to those limits without exceeding them.”

Q: We have been using the auxiliary input because we want to play stuff from our 20,000+ songs on Apple Music and we assume, today, folks are happy with Google or Alexa; however, we consider the AUX stereo input as important as the connected sound sources. Our question is: ‘Is there a frequency performance difference between the AUX input and the “connected” sources? I have compared the two and see no difference – in fact, the Bluetooth source is remarkable!

A: “Thanks! The signal path is the same once the signal gets into the system, so there should be no noticeable difference.”

Q: We assume the “voice pickup” is only for the “connected” source and control of operations for the sources – not the AUX input?

A: “That’s correct, with one slight exception. There’s no way to send control commands over an AUX cable like there is with connected sources like Bluetooth or built-in music services – so you can’t use “Alexa, pause” or “Hey Google, next track” with AUX. But if you ask it to Pause, it will mute the input for you.”

Q: And, we are still working on: “Control doesn’t stop at just voice. You can tap the top controls to play, pause or skip tracks, or manage it all from the BOSE Music app. And you can set up to six different presets for playlists, Internet radio stations and more, so your favorites are just a tap away.” Any additional information on this would be useful.

A: “Sure. The idea here is that we don’t want to prescribe how you should use the speaker – we want you to be able to use whatever control method is most natural for you, or most convenient given the context of the moment you find yourself in. So if you’re an app person, you can control everything from our app. Or if you want a quick connection to whatever is playing on your phone or another device, you can use Bluetooth – once you’ve set it up once in your phone’s settings, just tap the Bluetooth button to reconnect (this is good for visiting friends too – it allows them to quickly connect). And then there’s the easiest method of all: no phone involved, just use the buttons on the product. You can set the 6 numbered buttons to your six favorite stations, like presets in a car – say, #1 could be your favorite local radio station, #2 could be your spouse’s favorite Spotify playlist, etc. And then all you have to do to get music playing is tap one of those buttons. Plus, you can control volume, play/pause, or next/previous (double- or triple-tap the play/pause button) on the top of the speaker too.”

Q: We are still wondering what the other model – the “300” – is all about. Does it work with the “500” to add a stereo speaker? Personally, to us, the “500” is very acceptable stereo.

A: “The Home Speaker 300 is the Home Speaker 500’s younger brother. They work together – not for stereo mode, since the Home Speaker 500 is already stereo (more on that in a second!) – but in multi-room groups so you can connect them together all around your home and have them play in sync.
If you like one, you’ll probably like the other – they have similar sound profiles, but of course there are a few key differences. The Home Speaker 500 is more powerful, and has two transducers firing outward, straight left and straight right – a unique acoustic architecture that projects a wide stereo sound image from a compact size (try listening to a song like ‘Elsie’ by Nickel Creek or ‘Money’ by Pink Floyd with your eyes closed to get a sense of that wide stereo sound bouncing off your walls, giving the impression of a much larger speaker than your eyes would suggest).”
“Meanwhile the Home Speaker 300 uses a single down-firing transducer, aimed at a specially designed reflector, to bounce sound outwards in an even 360-degree pattern for true omnidirectionality. This provides a great listening experience for everyone, and also allows wall reflections to produce a nice wide mono soundstage.”

Before we get too focused on entertainment, we should also mention that the BOSE 500 has a lot of audio source choices: Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora, TuneIn, Deezer, iHeart Radio and SirusXM (and anything from your phone or tablet) all work with the BOSE 500. Conveniently, the Bose Home Speaker 500 can play music directly from streaming music services over Wi-Fi®, controlled either by Amazon Alexa (where available) or using the BOSE Music app. The BOSE Home Speaker 500 also has Bluetooth® and Apple AirPlay 2 capabilities and a standard 3.5 mm auxiliary line-in jack. Basically, the ‘500’ is the next generation entertainment device and we can’t say enough about its performance!

What we found really amazing about the BOSE Home Speaker 500 was it’s clarity and volume – as loud as we could play the device from a digital source (our computer using iTunes as the music source) there was no distortion, and frequency response did not drop off as the volume increased to maximum. We don’t remember any audio device we have previously owned that maintained the same frequency response at maximum volume, and such an incredibly small size too boot. None!

Frequency response also really caught our ears as everything we played on the unit kept the sound quality as the volume was increased. Further, The 5 pound solid state single box has a very good stereo effect and we suppose that the right and left facing internal speakers alter the sound output to provide an actual right and left stereo sound that imitates 2 separate speakers.

We found ourselves turning up the volume on tunes that have a particular base or instrument sound. Why? Because we wanted to see if the increased volume would cause either speaker or amplifier loss, sound dropout, or noise increase. We must say that never happened, no matter how high we pumped up the volume! How do they do that in an audio system unit that is 8” high, 6.5” wide, and 4.25 inches deep?

Also, we thought using recorded functions to replay through the AUX input might not get as good quality playback because of how the music was recorded, stored, or originally played. In all our tests, the playback through Amazon or Google were the most consistent quality output and frankly, since we were able to play what we wanted, we were pretty happy! However, we should point out that we don’t have streaming audio services like Pandora, Spotify or XM Radio but we are certain the BOSE 500 would do their audio content justice as well.

While the sound is the main feature of the ‘500’, the Bt approach is clearly the ‘new connectivity’ game in entertainment. Obviously, it plays off your devices and, if you need to run it from your PC or other audio device output, using the AUX input to connect your media source works just fine. In other words, it is designed to work with today’s content delivery options (portable devices via Bluetooth); however, it still works with other input sources via the wired input (AUX).

Another feature you can just turn on or off is built-in Voice Control. “Play”, “Pause”, “Shuffle” and even “Skip” works by just turning on the microphone function on top of the speaker. With Google Assistant or Alexa built in as part of the control, if you want something – just ask! We discovered this is a great feature if you are listening and typing! And, we understand future software updates will add new features as well.

While we tested and listened to the ‘500’ at loud levels, we know most listeners will be using this kind of audio device at normal or lower levels to just enjoy background sound, while working or entertaining. Because of the wide audio bandwidth capability of the ‘500’, music at lower levels still had great bass performance and high frequency clarity. While we suspect BOSE slightly boosts both ends of the audio spectrum at low volume levels, the result sounds just plain clear and enjoyable. We did not ask BOSE if this was designed in but we suspect that this is part of the performance design – and it really works well! In fact, after we completed testing the ‘500’ at high volume we left the unit on with a reduced volume while we were working because it was so enjoyable. What we noticed was that the clarity of the ‘500’, even at low volume, was an improvement over other audio entertainment devices we have experienced – we could clearly hear the vocals and understand them even when the song was greatly reduced in volume. From our perspective, this is another advantage of high quality speaker performance – with a well designed internal amplifier. And yes, it was a lot better than listening to audio music that can be ‘mushy’ in devices that keep the frequency performance the same at all levels. The ‘500’ never seemed to deliver the wrong sound, regardless of volume level. What a treat!

Lastly, we really want to give BOSE and the impressive engineering team a gold star for this product. Before we experienced the audio quality of the ‘500’, our initial impression, looking at its’ small size and casing, made it hard to believe the unit could deliver such quality and beautiful loudness. And speaking of the its appearance, BOSE told IFExpress the ‘500’ is actually sheathed in a single seamless piece of aluminum using a new process BOSE developed! We want to tell our readers that they just have to listen to them to believe their performance. In fact, as we write this we are sitting at our computer and the ‘500’ is next to us working – with the audio level well over what we should be listening to! We are hooked, and your team deserves an award for this product!

From an IFE perspective, someday we could possibly see the ‘500’ being installed in the First Class Suites of airliners, such as, Etihad, Emirates, Singapore and others. To IFExpress, the BOSE 500 exemplifies the prestige, quality, performance and the type of service these airlines seek to offer their top tier customers.

Editor’s Note: If you ever get the chance to listen to the BOSE Home Speaker 500 we urge our readers to do so. We were blown away and, no doubt, you will be too!


Other News

  • The terrible Boeing plane production reductions have hurt a couple industries we know – Safran Cabin and Carlisle Interconnect! Carlisle Interconnect Facility Closure AND Multinational Boeing supplier furloughs hundreds without pay during coronavirus shutdown | The Seattle Times
  • This release is from Gogo who is selling their commercial inflight telephony service, most probably as a result of the Covid -19 flight reductions by travelers. We have heard that because of 55% lower revenues it has begun talks to sell commercial aviation business to a buyer. Here is why from a press release they have published:
    • Consolidated revenue of $96.6 million; Net loss of $86.0 million; Adjusted EBITDA(1) of negative $15.9 million.
    • Combined engineering, design and development, sales and marketing and general and administrative expenses declined 27% from Q1 2020 and 35% from Q2 2019 reflecting aggressive cost control measures.
    • BA Reportable Segment Profit of $27.2 million with nearly 50% segment profit margin.
    • Cash and cash equivalents were $156.3 million as of June 30, 2020. This reflects $53 million of interest payments made in the second quarter and compares with total cash and cash equivalents of $214.2 million as of March 31, 2020.
    • The Company achieved break-even unlevered Free Cash Flow for the quarter.
    • The Company has retained investment bankers and is in a process to sell its CA division.
  • We have been big fans of Visual Capitalist (not political) and the recent data on COVID – 19 is just plain interesting – especially the testing done on a per case basis per country! Global COVID Containment: Confirmed Cases, Updated Daily And yes, you can use your cursor to see the testing per day, per country data in the last 160 days, or so! No, this is not IFE news, but hey, if we didn’t have the disease we would have a lot more flying to report on!

Last month Boeing issued this small statement in its quarterly results and market realities report: “While our 767 and 747 rates remain unchanged, in light of the current market dynamics and outlook, we’ll complete production of the iconic 747 in 2022. Our customer commitment does not end at delivery, and we’ll continue to support 747 operations and sustainment well into the future.” – Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. In case you missed it, the big commercial airplane market is changing, at least for the next few years.

In 2014 Lufthansa was delivered the 1500th Boeing 747; however, the development of more efficient twin engine aircraft has helped decrease the demand for the biggest commercial jet – not to mention recent travel reductions caused by the pandemic. In case you need a bit more info on the final version of the Boeing 747’s, the – 8I, here are some specs and data:

  • Seats: (3-class) approx. 410
  • Range: 14,815 km (8000 nm)
  • Length: 76.4 m (250 ft 8 in)
  • Wingspan: 68.5 m (224 ft 9 in)
  • Height: 19.4 m (63 ft 6 in)
  • Engine: 4 (GEnx-2B)

Further,  for a better idea of the historical family tree, there have been 6 variants that were developed over the 50 years the jet has been flying: (747-100, 747-200B, 747-300, 747-400, 747-400ERF, and 747-8I).

  • Weight (Model Dependent) – Weight Empty (358,000 lbs. to 6100,000 lbs.)
  • Max Take-Off Weight (Model Dependent) – (735,000 to 970,000 lbs.)
  • Total Number Manufactured (To Date -1558 )

(Editor’s Note -The links attached here should get you the additional info you need – How Many Variants Of The Boeing 747 Have Been Made? – Simple Flying and here – Boeing 747)

Face it, the Boeing 747 changed air travel in many ways: It was the first twin aisle/wide-body commercial airline aircraft, it’s size enabled a lot more freight to be transported on each flight, and it caused almost every big commercial airport to be increased to accommodate it and the resulting traffic increase. When it went into service in the early 1970’s, air travel grew exponentially worldwide. One retired airline employee told IFExpress that the Boeing 747 cut airline passenger flight costs in half! In a sense, the 52 year old plane created the new world of flying that we experience and see today. In fact, we asked a retired Boeing Executive and serious aviation buff to tell us a little about the aircraft’s history, and here is what Bob Bogash told IFExpress:

“The 747 was ‘the airplane that brought inexpensive air travel to the masses.’ That’s what you see in so many write-ups about the 747. I don’t agree. The 707 and DC-8 brought inexpensive air travel – by jet to the masses a decade earlier. The 727/737/DC-9 brought the speed and comfort of jets to first intermediate, and then shorter range routes. There were millions of people flying thousands of jet transports before the 747 came along. Rather, the 747 solved the problem – then thought to be a temporary solution – of the historic progression of transport airplanes – ever bigger, ever faster. The SST was supposed to be the solution to the “faster” part of that history. But, of course, it was stillborn. The question at the time the 747 was developed would be how to go “bigger.

Both the 707 and the DC-8 (and later the 727/737/DC-9) solved that problem the same way Constellations and DC-4/-6/-7’s did – by getting longer. By the time Douglas introduced the DC-8-60 series (a 37 ft stretch), that airplane had gotten seriously “long.” (Ever ridden in the back of one???)

Boeing had a problem (similar to the current 737 series) in that the 707 had short landing gear (saves a lot of weight and makes the airplane easier to work on while on the ramp.) A DC-8 stretch was not in the cards for the 707 without a major redesign. Plus, the main instigator for bigger was, as always, Pan Am. They didn’t want an even longer single aisle tube and were thinking “bigger” – as in MUCH BIGGER. Like Double the size. Pan Am’s proposed solution was a double-decker.

Drawing on the technology of their failed USAF C-5 competition, Boeing thought WIDE, instead of HIGH, and eventually the twin-aisle airplane was created and Pan Am bought into the design. Eventually, the twin-aisle became the standard for numerous medium to longer range transports. Of course, with double the seats, ticket prices came down and pax loads went up, hence more and more people flew – the factoid promulgated by so many writers.

If you want to know why the 747 has a hump on the front, well it’s so the pilot can sit on his wallet! Actually, it’s because the 747 was viewed as an interim airplane pending the arrival of the SST, and so freighter capability was built in from the start. A hinged nose allowed straight in loading of intermodal containers, and so the cockpit had to be bumped up to provide clearance. It’s interesting that in the twilight of its years, the 747 continues to prosper as a freighter.”

Another good Boeing 747 history book was written about the 747 ‘big boss’ and he was the man behind the airplane. Joe Sutter spent his career and tech life at Boeing and, as many say, he was considered the ‘father’ of the Boeing 747. In his book “747”, he tells a lot about the development and history of the plane, the company, and events you will not find anywhere else. Poignantly, he talks about the program and his many meetings, thoughts, and deeds that determined the first flying model. His viewpoints on the program were something that were not immediately obvious during the production program kickoff, but important none-the-less: I am often referred to as the father of the 747. If people want to call me that, that’s fine as long as they recognize I wasn’t alone. The 747 has three fathers, the other two being Juan Trippe of Pan American World Airways and Boeing’s Bill Allen. Trippe pushed hard for a high-capacity airlines in the 1960’s. Bill Allen shared his friend’s vision and had the courage to launch the 747 despite a long list of very good reasons not too. If it weren’t for them, history would have taken a different course.From our perspective, this book was one of the most interesting Boeing 747 development stories published because it details a history and if you find aircraft technical development interesting, this one really relays the technical story by the engineering father. Here is the info on Joe’s book: 747, Joe Sutter, with Joe Spenser, Smithsonian Books.

Logically, such a game-changing, iconic aircraft had an impact on inflight entertainment as well. IFExpress reached out to John Courtright of SIE Inc. and long time IFEC aficionado about his thoughts on the significance of the 747 to IFE. Here is what he had to say:

“The introduction of the 747 into passenger service was a high-water mark for long distance travel for a much bigger mass market than offered before.  The 747 spanned the IFEC history timeline from overhead film and videotape exhibition to digital delivery of content to the passenger seats.   The 747 airframe offered different technical challenges as entertainment technologies improved.

Recall that the initial 747-100 and 747-200 aircraft came out prior to the so-called digital revolution.  The video systems were 16mm film and the challenge was primarily structural because the concern was where to install the projector systems in each of the cabins.  Due to the size of the projector, the 747 Upper Deck had the least amount of overhead clearance to squeeze an Inflight Motion Pictures or Transcom (later Sony).  The film canisters needed to be installed close to the projectors and there were hilarious incidents of the film breaking or coming off their spool and spilling out into the cabin area.  Note that it was not hilarious for the flight attendants.

The advent of Beta and VHS video tape technologies removed the film storage and feeding problem but did not change a thing when it came to projector installation.  The Beta tape machines, promoted by Transcom (later Sony) and the VHS tape players, provided by Avicom did allow the introduction of CRT  displays to be installed in tricky corners of the 747 such as bulkhead locations or in the forward part of the upper deck.  This was pre-LCD display technology so the CRTs were bulky and required maintenance on a regular basis.

In the mid ’80s, in-seat IFE systems were introduced by Avicom, Airvision, Sony Transcom (now Burrana), among others and the 747 presented a very big challenge: SIZE.  The 747 could hold 400+ passengers and the sheer size of the aircraft made it a big challenge from a  distributed processing viewpoint.  The initial x86 processors initially could handle only 6-to-8 rows of passenger IFE.   Latency and multi-channel processing was rudimentary to say the least but still an improvement over the overhead IFE systems.  As processor speeds increased (486, Pentium, and above), the in-seat IFE service quality elevated the passenger experience tremendously with more channels and lower latency.  In effect, the 747 was the impetus and challenge required to establish a whole new level of individual passenger entertainment technologies.  So, as you see, size does matter.”

Sadly, as we noted earlier, the plane’s life is coming to an end, so wrote the CNN folks: “For the first time in 48 years, you can’t buy a ticket on a US airline to fly on a Boeing 747. On January 3 (2018), Delta Air Lines Flight 9771 touched down in Marana, Arizona, an arid boneyard for stored and cannibalized jetliners. A three-hour-and-33-minute journey from Atlanta. The last of the airline’s 16 jumbo Boeing 747-400s flew to a desert retirement, ending travel operations by passenger airlines in the United States. Both Delta and United Airlines have been saying goodbye to the jumbo for months. A final domestic revenue flight, a last international trip, a final charter. Those last trips became more of a farewell tour than a formal end.”

And finally, we note that The Economic Times wrote: “The Boeing 747’s slow descent into retirement from commercial service just got steeper with British Airways’ announcement Friday it would be pulling the jumbo jet from the skies as the coronavirus pandemic forces it to cut back operations and cut costs. BA’s announcement follows moves by a number of other airlines that have retired their 747s and their Airbus A380, another jumbo-sized four-engine jet made by Boeing’s European rival. The fact the planes have four engines means they consume more fuel, which means they can cost more to operate and cause more pollution if not full.” And that pretty much says it all!

From a personal travel perspective, the retirement and end of production for the 747 is bittersweet. The IFExpress team has logged many international flight hours onboard this game changing aircraft, and it is by far our favorite jetliner. To this day, we will always try to select an international route that still operates the Queen of the Sky. In the aircraft’s infancy it epitomized the romance and allure of air travel – all that space, the inflight lounges –  it made you feel like you didn’t just purchase a seat, you purchased a spacious environment and an experience that happened to take you to exotic destinations that you only had dreamed of traveling to or read about. Even as LOPA’s changed, and seat configurations became more dense and seat pitch continued to drop, the 747 still somehow remained less-cramped than other jetliners. Perhaps, it was because it was like returning to a well known, old friend that you knew would reliably transport you from point A to point B. There has always been a sense of nostalgia affiliated with walking down the jet-way to board a 747, harkening back to the glory days of air travel. There may be sleeker, more efficient, higher performance aircraft out there but the stately, classic 747 will always have a special place in our hearts long after production has ceased and the last commercial flight has flown. Thanks for all the wonderful memories.

Here a couple more interesting sites on the Boeing 747:
Boeing ending production of 747; 50 years since first passenger flight – Business Insider

Boeing to stop production of 747 jumbo jet in 2022 – CBS News

5 Things You Likely Never Knew About Boeing’s 747

Boeing 747: Queen of the Skies for 50 years – CNET

The Amazing Story of the Boeing 747 in 12 Photos

Boeing 747s Still Use Floppy Disks to Get Critical Software Updates


Lufthansa Systems

Lufthansa Systems announced the migration of Eurowings, a longstanding Lido Flight 4D customer, to the cloud delivery platform Global Aviation Cloud. Going forward, the Lufthansa Group’s point-to-point airline will use the flight planning solution from Lufthansa Systems as a cloud service. The cloud environment enables Eurowings to optimize routes in a more flexible and reliable way. The integration of services into the Global Aviation Cloud was developed specifically to meet the needs and security standards of airlines, particularly now as they face increased complexity due to the global pandemic.

Eurowings is the first airline within the Lufthansa Group to use the new technology and drive digitalization in its flight operations. “We are very pleased with the enormous increase in processing speed the migration has brought. At the same time, operations have always remained stable and reliable,” said Timo Rapp, Head of Integrated Operations Control Center (IOCC) at Eurowings. “It was a very smooth cutover process as Lufthansa Systems was very efficient in providing all the necessary support required for the transition. Even in these extremely difficult times due to the current pandemic, pushing this migration with high priority was worth the effort.”

In addition to the Lido product suite for flight planning and navigation, Lufthansa Systems has integrated its solutions for ground operations (NetLine), inflight entertainment (BoardConnect) and finance management (SIRAX®) into the Global Aviation Cloud. Making the shift to cloud services has proven a major challenge in the aviation industry, but Lufthansa Systems has completely overhauled its software architecture to accelerate the development of on-demand services. Lufthansa Systems has created a forward-looking infrastructure based on various technologies such as Kubernetes and Terraform, which deliver key administrative, operational and technological benefits. Today, more than 16 products and applications from Lufthansa Systems are cloud-ready and over 50 customer environments have already been set up. Especially in the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, cloud services enhance airlines’ ability to adapt to a changing market environment.

Cloud solutions no longer require applications, systems and resources to run locally on a physical server as specific software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions are available. With a growing number of accessible data centers operating in almost all regions around the world, Lufthansa Systems can provide its services in close proximity to customer sites, which enables faster data transmission. “The Global Aviation Cloud increases the flexibility, scalability and security of our applications,” said Dr. Thomas Wittmann, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “We work hand in glove with our customers from implementation to management, ensuring that we are continuously innovating and paving the way for a more digital and smarter future of airline operations.”

There are more than 7,500 commercial aircraft worldwide operating with Lido Flight 4D. The flight planning solution calculates the most suitable route for each flight based on all relevant flight data, such as weather conditions and the current airspace situation, fully integrated notices to airmen (NOTAMs) and any further restrictions that may apply. Implementing the solution enables flight dispatchers to react faster and work more efficiently. After the preparations for the Global Aviation Cloud were concluded by the end of 2019, five Lido Flight 4D customers upgraded to the cloud service. Despite the challenging situation caused by the pandemic, Lufthansa Systems plans to implement the majority of service transitions by the end of the year.


Other News

While the economy seems to be slowly picking up, recent breakouts seem to tell us that a vaccine is the most important thing that can happen – worldwide! But the question is when? Everybody is affected and passenger travel is one of the worst victims. Airlines everywhere are suffering, laying off workers and in the USA future layoffs seem inevitable. For example the following layoffs are what we are hearing if US airlines don’t get any additional funding from the US government: Alaska Airlines said they will be sending out some 1,600 notices soon (4,200 nationwide and it is reported that the majority of these numbers will be from flight attendants); United has 3,900 pilots at risk if assistance is not provided. Furthermore, not long ago they warned some 35,000+ employees of the risk of potential layoffs; and American is looking at some 25,000 furloughs as well. One big question is what the Governments will do for airlines worldwide. More importantly, if a vaccine for COVID-19 is created, how long will it take to get dispersed, and resultantly, how long will it take for the air market to return? One report predicts 2024! Air travel not expected to recover until 2024


GOGO

As part of its continued cost reduction initiatives to align the scale of its organization with current demand for aviation connectivity services, Gogo is eliminating 143 fulltime positions, predominantly from the Company’s Commercial Aviation business.

“As the pandemic continues to impact commercial airline travel, we are taking additional actions as part of our comprehensive 16-lever strategy to reduce costs. Based on our current expectations of the scope and timing of a recovery in the industry and our Commercial Aviation business, reducing our workforce has become a necessary step. We do not take this action lightly, but we believe it is critical in our efforts to preserve our financial flexibility, while maintaining the quality of our service and relationships with our customers,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s President and CEO.

The reduction in force will take effect on August 14, 2020, and represents approximately 14% of the Company’s overall workforce. In addition to the reduction in force, Gogo will continue certain furloughs and maintain the salary reductions that were previously implemented. In keeping with the previously announced 16-lever plan to reduce costs, Gogo will continue to pursue non-personnel cost-savings levers, including renegotiating terms with suppliers, delaying aircraft equipment installations, deferring purchases of capital equipment, reducing marketing and travel expenses, and eliminating non-essential spend.


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation Reports 2020 Second Quarter Financial Results

  • Sales for the quarter were $123.7 million with bookings of $61.5 million
  • Net loss was $(23.6) million, after goodwill impairment charges of $12.6 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $9.2 million, or 7.4% of sales
  • Cash from operations was $18.3 million for the quarter, $41.5 million year-to-date

AIRBUS

AIRBUS had €1.14b net loss in 2Q20 (vs €1.2b profit in 2Q19) on 55% lower revenues; Commercial Aircraft lost €1.9b (vs €1.2b profit) on 65% lower revenues. Employment remains flat from Jan 1.

AIRBUS says commercial aircraft are now being produced at rates under new production plan announced in April; however, it is further dropping A350 rate from six to five per month for now. It adds that 145 commercial aircraft could not be delivered as scheduled in 1H20 due to COVID-19.


BOEING

The company reported second-quarter revenue of $11.8 billion, GAAP loss per share of ($4.20) and core loss per share (non-GAAP)* of ($4.79), primarily reflecting the impacts of COVID-19 and the 737 MAX grounding (Table 1). Boeing recorded operating cash flow of ($5.3) billion.

“We remained focused on the health of our employees and communities while proactively taking action to navigate the unprecedented commercial market impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun. “We’re working closely with our customers, suppliers and global partners to manage the challenges to our industry, bridge to recovery and rebuild to be stronger on the other side.”

In the second quarter, Boeing restarted production operations across key sites following temporary pauses to protect its workforce and introduce rigorous new health and safety procedures. Despite the challenges, Boeing continued to deliver across key commercial, defense, space and services programs. The company also resumed early stages of production on the 737 program with a focus on safety, quality and operational excellence. Following the lead of global regulators, Boeing made steady progress toward the safe return to service of the 737, including completion of FAA certification flight tests.

To align to the sharp reduction in commercial market demand in light of COVID-19, the company is taking several actions including further adjusting commercial airplane production rates and reducing employment levels. “The diversity of our balanced portfolio and our government services, defense and space programs provide some critical stability for us in the near-term as we take tough but necessary steps to adapt for new market realities,” Calhoun said. “We are taking the right action to ensure we’re well positioned for the future by strengthening our culture, improving transparency, rebuilding trust and transforming our business to become a better, more sustainable Boeing. Air travel has always proven to be resilient – and so has Boeing.”

The latest Boeing NPRM on the 737-8 and 737-9 (737 MAX) aircraft.

(Editor’s Note: Boeing had $2.4B net loss in the second quarter this year, but less than in 2019 ($2.9B in the same quarter last year) and we note they have $326B backlog. Watch for the B737 to build slower, as well, while the goal will ultimately be some 30 per month. Also, Boeing reports the 747-8 will end in 2022. Further, we expect the company to shut down production of the 787 Dreamliner in Everett because of the slow-down and move existing production to South Carolina, no doubt because of demand and reduced labor costs. Be prepared, there will be more job cuts!)

 


COMING ATTRACTION

Next week we will deliver our readers a report on an amazingly small, incredible sounding BOSE product that you might consider getting for your family as you are all staying at home during COVID-19. And, yes, if you can’t send one of your youngsters to school, you have an audio out.


OTHER

Gogo’s new 3,000ft service altitude is giving AVANCE customers 20 more minutes of inflight Wi-Fi time: Here are 6 productive ways to spend it. Ask any busy professional, and they’ll all agree that time is their greatest, and most limited, asset. That’s why Gogo worked tirelessly to lower its network service altitude from 10,000ft AGL to just 3,000ft. It’s a big change that will give Gogo AVANCE customers, on average, an extra 20 minutes of inflight connectivity. Plus, for the first time ever, smaller aircraft that don’t typically fly above 10,000 feet will now have the opportunity to enjoy seamless inflight connectivity for the majority of their flight.

Why is 20 more minutes of Wi-Fi a big deal? Here’s a list of 6 productive things you could do to make valuable use of your flight time:

1. Join a Zoom or Teams group meeting – Connect live with your colleagues sooner, and for longer during your flight.

2. Download The Pomodoro Technique on Audible – Learn how to use this legendary time management strategy. The Pomodoro Technique (Audiobook) by Francesco Cirillo | Audible.com

3. Check and reply to your email – On average, professionals check their email 15 times per day, or every 37 minutes.

4. Watch Simon Sinek’s: How Great Leaders Inspire Action – This TED talk is 18 minutes and hugely popular. Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action | TED Talk

5. Binge on the news – On the Gogo network, the most popular sites with business travelers are Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, NBC, the New York Times and ESPN.

6. Schedule a ride and find a great place to eat

According to Gogo bizav customers, Yelp and Uber are 2 highly valuable personal apps.
There’s so much more you can do to maximize 20 extra minutes. And connecting at lower altitudes is yet another example of why AVANCE is connectivity’s smartest platform: allowing Gogo to quickly and easily deploy new innovations for our customers.


PANASONIC

Air Tanzania has selected Panasonic Avionics’ (Panasonic) inflight entertainment (IFE) and connectivity systems to enhance the passenger experience onboard its Airbus A220 aircraft. The airline has equipped two of its A220s with Panasonic’s eX1 IFE solution which is specifically designed for narrowbody aircraft. Each seat will feature elegant full HD seatback monitors, complete with touch displays and handsets, and an intuitive, personalized interface. Passengers will have access to USB and laptop charging power points at every seat.

Air Tanzania’s A220s will also be fitted with Panasonic’s inflight Wi-Fi service. Panasonic’s next generation connectivity enables fast internet to video streaming, all powered by its new satellite modem featuring bandwidth up to twenty times greater than previously available.

The announcement marks the extension of Panasonic’s relationship with Air Tanzania following the airline’s selection of its inflight entertainment and connectivity solutions for two of its Boeing 787 aircraft and two Airbus A220s in 2018. “By selecting Panasonic’s inflight entertainment and connectivity systems, Air Tanzania can deliver personalized, immersive entertainment to every passenger, no matter where in the cabin they are seated,” said Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation. “These inflight experiences will help Air Tanzania encourage brand loyalty, keeping their valued customers coming back time and time again.”

The flag carrier of Tanzania was the first African airline to take delivery of the A220 in November 2018 and January 2019. It operates a fleet consisting of the Dash 8-Q400, Airbus A220 and Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. “Operating our new A220 equipped with Panasonic’s IFE and Wi-Fi service brings together the right culture, values, and expertise to fulfil our goal of satisfying our customers—which is part of our vision.” said Eng. Ladislaus Matindi, CEO & Managing Director of Air Tanzania. “The installation of Panasonic’s systems allow ATCL operations to adjust to the new market realities. With highly-standardized facilities, Air Tanzania will expand its geographic reach by merging with other partners—especially foreign ones. This will also further strengthen our operations through more innovative strategies and allow us to remain competitive in today’s emerging markets.”

Also from PAC: Panasonic Avionics Corporation has announced the appointment of Joe Bentley as Chief Technology Officer.

Bentley, who joins Panasonic, will be responsible for leading all aspects of the company’s software and systems engineering teams, cloud, hardware, and IT/security. He will serve as a key member of Panasonic’s executive team and be directly responsible for an organization of over 800 employees spread across Panasonic’s Lake Forest, California headquarters, as well as the Bay Area office and other global locations.

Bentley was previously Senior Vice President, Engineering at Hulu where he led its 700-person engineering, program, and research organizations across three international offices. During his tenure, Hulu doubled subscribers to over 30 million while becoming the largest digital multichannel video programming distributor (DMVPD) in the US. Prior to joining Hulu in 2018, Bentley was Vice President, Software Engineering at GoPro, leading the company’s overall software research and development and launching its award-winning mobile apps to over 150 million devices worldwide and bringing its spherical Fusion camera to market. From 2012-2015, he was Director, Digital Products at Amazon, where he launched the market-leading Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick and led the development of the first-of-its-kind feature, the award-winning Voice Search through Alexa. Fire TV Stick was the fastest-selling product in Amazon’s history.


BOEING

Boeing and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, have finalized agreements for several supply chain solutions. These agreements strengthen Etihad’s commitment to ensuring the on-time performance and availability of its aircraft. The solutions included in the minimum 10-year agreements will help the airline simplify asset and maintenance management, reduce spare parts costs and improve parts availability. The new contracts include Boeing’s Component Services Program, Landing Gear Exchange program and Quick Engine Change kit purchases.

The agreements continue the strategic partnership between Boeing and Etihad Airways announced during the Dubai Air Show in 2019.

Etihad Airways joins the growing list of customers that trust Boeing solutions to enable and support the future growth of their 787 Dreamliner fleet, pushing the Boeing share of the 787 fleet’s component services market to almost 30 percent. This includes a 50 percent share of the 787-10 variant, covering both in-service fleet and orders on backlog.

Also from Boeing: FAA says when it issues NPRM for AD affecting the 737 MAX, it will keep commitment to transparency and provide 45 days for public comment on proposed design changes and crew procedures, which would most likely mean the aircraft will not return to service until 4Q20 at earliest. (SpeedNews)

And more Boeing News: DHL Express and Boeing announced that it will add four 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF) as part of the logistics company’s efforts to continue modernizing and growing its fleet with cost-efficient and reliable freighters. This step is part of DHL’s effort to modernize its long-haul intercontinental fleet in order to fly more eco-friendly and cost-efficiently. The aircraft are converted from passenger to freighter configuration by Boeing to fit the needs of DHL Express and meet the rising global demand for express services.
The world’s most efficient medium wide-body twin-engine freighter, the Boeing 767 freighter family boasts the lowest direct operating costs, best payload-to-weight ratio and allows airlines to develop new opportunities in the long-haul, regional and feeder markets. The 767-300BCF has virtually the same cargo capability as the 767-300F production freighter with approximately 50 tonnes structural payload at a range of approximately 3,000 nautical miles (5,556 kilometers) and 412,000 pounds (186,880 kilograms) maximum takeoff weight.

 


OTHER NEWS

FlightPath3D

FlightPath3D announced that it won the ‘Preferred App’ award and was joint winner of the ‘Best Innovation’ award at Airbus’s First Online Hackathon. In addition to Airbus, several airlines judged and selected the award winners.

FlightPath3D President Duncan Jackson said, “We integrated duty-free merchandising, advertising, and the ability to buy with a payment solution into our map. 3rd party apps used our destination content, street maps, and flight tracker to augment their already highly- functional apps.”

Jackson adds, “Now more than ever, our industry needs to realize the potential of digital transformation. There is synergy in our app community, and we observed our map being integrated into more services, and more services using our API features than any other app.”

“From July 7th to 9th, Airbus organized the first Online Hackathon, designed to develop On Board Digital Solutions on an Airbus Open Software Platform to support better operations in a post-COVID world – part of their #KeepTrustInAirTravel initiative. I’m immensely proud of our team who worked round the clock to show what we could do.”, says FlightPath3D CEO Boris Veksler.

Veksler continues, “We leveraged our HTML/WebGL streaming 3D map and via our Open API platform integrated 3rd party content into our map, and vice versa provided map features into 3rd party apps. The innovation we achieved is linked to the openness of the Airbus platform, and to the eco-system of App developers that are compatible with the platform.”

Click on the link to learn more about their Map API Features


Airbus

Airbus is expanding its sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) operations, now including aircraft deliveries from its site in Hamburg, Germany. Air Transat took delivery of two brand new A321LR on lease from AerCap. Both used a 10 per cent sustainable aviation fuel blend to fly the aircraft from Hamburg to Montreal, Canada, non-stop.

Airbus has already successfully established SAF flights out of Hamburg with its Beluga transport aircraft since December 2019. This commercial delivery is another milestone that underlines Airbus’ continuing commitment to minimizing air transportation’s environmental impact – which includes becoming the first aircraft manufacturer offering customers the option of receiving new jetliners with sustainable fuel in their tanks. Such delivery flights have been available since 2016, starting from the Airbus headquarters production facility in Toulouse, France, followed by Mobile, Alabama, USA. Airbus offers this option as part of its strategy to promote the more regular use of sustainable fuels within the aviation industry. The fuel for Air Transat’s A321LR aircraft delivered from Hamburg was supplied by Air bp and produced by Neste.

Airbus and Air Transat have a long history of cooperation on environmental affairs. Airbus supported the airline to launch its environmental program 13 years ago and both have worked together on environmental projects such as fuel efficiency. Air Transat has been operating Airbus single-aisle and widebody aircraft since 1999.

“Sustainability and efficiency are essential for our customers and for Airbus. Sustainable aviation fuel developments will play a key role in reducing the environmental footprint of the aviation industry. By using sustainable aviation fuels on delivery flights with partners like AerCap and Air Transat, who are flying the aircraft from Hamburg to their Canadian home-base nonstop, we take concrete action to contribute to a more sustainable aviation future,” said Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer Airbus. “We are very pleased to be a part of this historic milestone, working together with our partners at Airbus and with our long-time customer, Air Transat, to help them meet their sustainable growth ambitions,” said Philip Scruggs, President and Chief Commercial Officer of AerCap. “AerCap is committed to facilitating the move towards more sustainable air travel underpinned by its target to transition its fleet to approximately two-thirds new technology aircraft by 2021.”
“It is an honor for us and a sign of confidence from Airbus to be its first customer to take advantage of this new delivery option at its Hamburg plant,” said Jean-François Lemay, President and General Manager, Air Transat. “This initiative is part of our commitment to reducing our own carbon footprint while contributing to the achievement of the airline industry’s ambitious decarbonization targets.” Both of these delivery flights will be carbon-neutral because the kerosene fossil fuel portion will be offset by the purchase of carbon credits.

We are proud to be the first Canadian carrier to operate carbon-neutral flights, and we will continue to pursue our commitment to providing our passengers with a travel experience that takes account of our environmental footprint,” Mr. Lemay continued.


Boeing

Boeing announced a number of services orders and agreements to support international customers, streamline their operations and enhance their future growth. These supply chain solutions will simplify customers’ asset and maintenance management, inventory and operating costs, while improving parts availability. The agreements for Boeing’s digital solutions will provide cost savings fleet-wide, enhance airline crew situational awareness and increase operational efficiency.

“As airlines and operators continue to respond to the current challenges facing the global air travel industry, our partners are moving forward, integrating creative solutions to continue connecting people around the world,” said Ted Colbert, president and CEO, Boeing Global Services. “Boeing is working closely with our customers around the world, delivering the customized solutions they need to improve operational efficiency, support their fleets, and reduce their costs.”

Supply chain agreements include:

  • Alaska Airlines signed its largest consumable and expendable services agreement, with a multiyear agreement for solutions which include a Tailored Parts Package and Quick Engine Change kits. The agreement supports Alaska’s fleet of Boeing 737 airplanes and provides price and availability benefits that allow the airline to streamline its maintenance operations. The Tailored Parts Package consists of 2,900 part numbers. Throughout the term of this three-year agreement, Boeing anticipates the shipment of nearly 800,000 parts and four Quick Engine Change kits, which will be used to configure spare engines to allow for quick return of an airplane to service when an engine needs to be repaired or replaced.
  • All Nippon Airways, the largest airline in Japan, announced a partnership with Boeing Global Services to install a 787-9 galley facility in its new training center to enhance crew training opportunities. All Nippon Airways also signed an agreement for ten 767 Quick Engine Change kits.

Agreements for data-driven solutions include:

  • Xiamen Airlines, Japan Airlines, and All Nippon Airways have signed agreements to acquire the Optimized Maintenance Program that combines advanced data analytics with Boeing’s engineering expertise to help airlines achieve greater airplane availability and more efficient maintenance operations. To date, the Optimized Maintenance Program has been delivered to 24 airlines and approved by their local regulatory agencies to support a total of 2,519 Boeing airplanes across several models. Xiamen is the first airline in China to adopt the program.
  • A number of customers in China, including Suparna Airlines, Zheijiang Loong Airlines, West Air, Guangxi Air, Urumqi Air, and Air Changan signed agreements for Boeing digital solutions that enhance operational efficiency, further streamline paperless operations in the flight deck, and optimize flight planning capabilities. Boeing provides tailored charting for more than 74 percent of the commercial aviation market; supplies digital navigation data to more than 58 percent of global airlines; and delivers flight deck solutions to 67 percent of the world’s airlines. Overall, two-thirds of all global airline flights use Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB) navigation and charting applications on a daily basis.
  • Vistara, an Indian full-service carrier and a joint venture of Tata group and Singapore Airlines, has added to their suite of Boeing Global Services crew solutions with a multiyear agreement for Crew Pairing to improve operational and readiness efficiency and reduce airline costs. The solution will help optimize crew planning operations for approximately 1,100 crew members across Vistara’s 40 Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

Boeing and Etihad Airways will use a 787-10 Dreamliner to test ways to reduce emissions and noise as part of the aerospace company’s ecoDemonstrator program before the airline accepts delivery of the airplane this fall. The collaboration, which includes extensive sound measurement testing with industry partners, builds on a strategic sustainability alliance Boeing and Etihad formed in November 2019. “This is the latest program under Etihad’s industry-leading strategic partnership with Boeing, focusing on innovating real-world solutions to the key sustainability challenges facing the aviation industry,” Etihad Aviation Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Douglas said. “The ecoDemonstrator program is founded on innovation and sustainability — and these are core values for Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. Etihad and Boeing see a great opportunity to collaborate and share knowledge to minimize the impact of aviation on the environment.” The ecoDemonstrator program utilizes commercial aircraft to test technologies that can make aviation safer and more sustainable now and into the future. The 2020 program, which will begin testing in August, is the first to use a Boeing 787-10. Boeing and Etihad will work with industry-leading partners, including NASA and Safran Landing Systems, to conduct aircraft noise measurements from sensors on the airplane and the ground. The data will be used to validate aircraft noise prediction processes and the sound reduction potential of aircraft designs, including landing gear, that are modified for quieter operations.

In addition, a flight will be conducted during which pilots, air traffic controllers and an airline’s operations center will simultaneously share digital information to optimize routing efficiency and enhance safety by reducing workload and radio frequency congestion.

Test flights will be flown on a blend of sustainable fuel, which significantly lowers aviation’s environmental footprint. The testing program is expected to last about four weeks before Etihad enters its Boeing 787-10 into service.


Other News

AND SOME SAD NEWS

We contacted a few people about the passing of Bill Baltra, long time IFE aficionado, and one noted: “He had contributed excellent services to MAS as VP for many years. I think he was a first employee of Matsushita Avionics Systems in USA and worked together with Yukio Sugimoto for a long time. He was funny, clever and gentle also always making people happy around him.” We think that note is the way we will always remember Bill!

Miltope: Reliable In The Extreme

IFExpress recently had the opportunity to connect with the Miltope team and we discovered that the company is celebrating 45 years in the aviation sector, specifically 20+ in the commercial aviation space. In conjunction with this milestone, they have rebranded and you will notice their new logo in today’s publication.

Miltope has a long-standing history of setting the standard for commercial aviation applications that can withstand the harshest conditions. “Reliable in the extreme, is how we approach everything we do,” said Jack Haley, President and CEO of Miltope. “Whether with our customer relationships or our hardware design and development, Miltope’s capabilities are defined by this mantra. This philosophy relies on a common, open architecture approach of satisfying performance requirements to minimize integration challenges, enhance capability, and ultimately provide the best value solution. And our new logo, the Rhino, embodies this dedication to ruggedized, reliable hardware.”

In an area where technology capabilities evolve rapidly, designing systems that can remain relevant and innovative over the long lifecycles required for the aviation sector is always a challenge. Miltope understands these challenges as well as the complex, technical operating environment and what is required of their rugged devices. This understanding is a critical element in their product design and ensures that Miltope’s rugged systems accommodate technologies well into the future.

With over 20,000 products installed, Miltope is an industry leader in wireless networking solutions for the commercial aviation industry. This includes their very capable servers and access points. One of the unique aspects the company brings to the table is wireless network optimization. The nMAP2 802.11ac Multifunction Access Point uses Cognitive HotspotTM Technology (CHT) and soon CHT Plus to optimize and cyber secure the cabin network and maximize its capacity and distribution for the benefit of the passenger and the airline. nMAP2’s sense their environment and adapt the wireless network performance components accordingly. They cooperate with neighboring nMAP2’s, allowing them to manage all available resources, prevent interference and balance the network usage. This provides clear and fast wireless capacity throughout the cabin, ensuring secure communications and minimizing interference. The CHT Plus upgrade adheres to the WPA3 standard, includes an WIPS (Wireless Intrusion Prevention System) and offers Hotspot 2.0 capabilities. Each nMAP2 has two radios, providing both IEEE 802.11a/n/ac operation and 802.11a/g/n for legacy client devices. We are told that wireless data rates up to 1.7 Gbps may be achieved with 802.11ac.

Miltope also offers an ARINC 763 compliant Cellular Terminal Wireless LAN Unit (cTWLU) that is based on the nMAP2 hardware. This is a wireless gateway from an aircraft LAN to a ground based LAN that automates data delivery without the delays and costs associated with human intervention. The cTWLU provides IEEE 802.11b/g/n or 802.11ac wireless operation plus 3G/4G cellular operation modes. This is a compact and secure interactive web based interface to a software management tool with proven reliability, requiring no maintenance. It is software upgradeable to support evolving security, connectivity and authentication protocols.

The xMAP is the next generation airborne wireless access point product family member from Miltope and is foundational to a software platform for wireless data in the cabin. Whether streaming cashed content, e-mails through the Internet, cabin IoT data or crew communications, the adaptive wireless network manages, optimizes and cyber-secures data flow for each aircraft and across the fleet. This hardware and software solution significantly expands network capabilities and throughput, while incorporating exceptional software features and functions, including the additional features CHT Plus offers for the nMAP2 upgrade. The xMAP will feature 802.11ax, CHT, embedded SSD providing distributed content caching, cyber security, intelligent client connection and roaming, and WPA3.

IFExpress expects to see the latest updates to the nMAP2 and the cTWLU at the next trade show, and Miltope has told us they will be rolling-out the xMAP in 2021, and other new products and services over the next several years.

Lastly, we want to congratulate Miltope on celebrating 45 years in aviation and be sure to check out their video!


Panasonic: Middle East Airlines Selects Panasonic Avionics For A321 Family IFE and Connectivity

Panasonic Avionics  has been selected by Middle East Airlines-Air Liban (MEA) to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for 15 of its Airbus A321 family aircraft.

Upon delivery from July 2020 onwards, 9 A321neos will become the first connected aircraft to join MEA’s fleet. They will be linefitted with Panasonic’s eX1 seatback IFE solution, designed specifically for narrowbody aircraft.

eX1 offers elegant full HD seatback monitors, complete with touch displays and handsets, and an intuitive, personalized interface. Passengers will have access to USB and laptop charging power points at every seat as well.

MEA’s A321neos will also be fitted with Panasonic’s inflight Wi-Fi service, with a host of next generation connectivity benefits from fast internet to video streaming, all powered by its new satellite modem which offers bandwidth up to twenty times greater than previously available.

Panasonic’s high-performance connectivity is a powerful way for airlines to build brand loyalty by delivering new and personalized content to passengers inflight.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Middle East Airlines to enhance the passenger experience on their A321 family aircraft with our world-class inflight entertainment and connectivity. The Middle East is a dynamic and strategically important region for Panasonic Avionics.”

Mohamad El Hout, Chairman – Director General of MEA, said; “We are happy to partner again with Panasonic Avionics. MEA’s new aircraft is equipped with its state-of-the-art inflight entertainment systems including WiFi connectivity for the first time, reflecting the company’s ambition to provide customers with the best products the industry has to offer.”


FTS Innovative Connectivity: Ka-band Inflight Connectivity System Goes Live on Qingdao Airlines

FTS, a provider of wireless Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions, announced that its XStreamSAT Ka-band Inflight Connectivity System has officially gone live on Qingdao Airlines. A grand ceremony was held on 7 Jul 2020 in Qingdao, China to commemorate this momentous occasion, followed by a live inflight broadcast media event on the debut flight QW9771 from Qingdao to Chengdu.

FTS XStreamSAT is the first Ka-band inflight connectivity system to launch in China, following the award of both FAA STC and CAAC VSTC airworthiness certification, after installation on one Qingdao Airlines A320 aircraft. The official launch marks the culmination of relentless team effort by FTS, China Satcom, TDT Link and other valued partners.

XStreamSAT is FTS’ state-of-the-art flagship product that equips the aircraft with highspeed satellite broadband connectivity. The full onboard system comprises of Cabin Wireless Network, MODMAN (Modem and Manager), satellite antenna subsystem, radome, adapter plate and other structural parts. For the China market, it has been optimized to connect with China Satcom’s Chinasat-16 Ka-Band High-Throughput Satellite (HTS), offering unprecedented bandwidth in excess of 150Mbps for each aircraft.

On the debut flight, passengers connected to the onboard wireless network using their own mobile devices and were treated to a galore of over 2000 entertainment selections, curated inflight shopping catalogue with over 500 items (supporting online payment), flight map and of course, the highspeed internet access. A live inflight broadcast was hosted on the ever-popular Douyin (Chinese version of Tik Tok) platform, showcasing smooth 2-way live video communication between the flight and ground audiences.

With the completion of extensive testing and commercial launch, FTS is working to accelerate the fleet-wide installation on all of Qingdao Airline’s fleet of 25 Airbus A320/321 aircraft. To realize its vision of fully connected Digital Aircraft, FTS will be progressively introducing other applications in areas such as flight operations, flight safety, aircraft maintenance, cabin crew services etc. Following the successful launch on Qingdao Airlines, FTS has announced to the world that it is now a serious contender in the Inflight Connectivity solution provider space and looks forward to engaging global airlines and markets on a wider scale. For more information contact marketing@fts.aero


SITA

German leisure airline Condor is making significant enhancements to fuel optimization through the deployment of eWAS to more than 700 pilots and dispatchers. The signing with SITA’s aircraft domain of expertisewhich includes the provision of eWAS Pilot and eWAS Dispatch applications – brings several major benefits for the popular holiday airline. As severe weather events become more frequent and intense, eWAS Pilot delivers both forecasts and satellite-based observation data, enabling Condor’s crews to avoid the avoidable and create more economic, intelligent, and flexible flight plans.

Through enhanced route optimization, Condor is further ensuring the safety and wellbeing of its passengers, pilots, and crews, as well as addressing demands to lessen environmental impact, by reducing unnecessary fuel consumption and limiting turnaround times, achieving significant fuel- and cost-savings.

eWAS Dispatch, which has been developed in collaboration with dispatchers themselves, will improve workflow by providing the same, real-time, graphically optimized view and information as pilots, enhancing processes and collaboration across dispatch and cockpit teams.

Christian Schmitt, Managing Director Operations of Condor, says: “At Condor, our focus has always been delivering on the promise of quality to our passengers and ensuring the highest safety standards for customers, crews and pilots. As an existing SITA customer, its aircraft communications technology has enabled us to collaborate more efficiently. Taking this next step in our partnership enables us to further enhance our operations and increase fuel economy, reflecting our strong emphasis on ecological responsibility.”

Stephan Egli, Commercial VP Europe, Middle East & Africa, SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, comments: “The expectation for real-time data flow is growing rapidly, with a host of changing mandates and regulations to ensure that flying is safer and more sustainable than ever. Alongside this, we want to enable our airline customers to provide real passenger satisfaction and optimize costs wherever possible. We’re pleased to continue our work with Condor to transform its optimization plans into reality and help them achieve this.”

The announcement comes just months after SITA’s acquisition of GTD Air Services – its collaborative partner in the development of the eWAS portfolio – which seeks to help airlines embrace a digital shift, making flying safer, more efficient, enjoyable and sustainable. The move is set to accelerate SITA’s existing Digital Day of Operations application portfolio, reinventing the operation of aircraft, flights, and the passenger experience.

Florent Birling, Head of eWAS Portfolio, SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, adds: “We’re excited to enable Condor to stay ahead in the post-COVID-19 environment by deploying new solutions for their pilots and dispatchers. We are further developing our flight efficiency and green operation solutions to allow airlines to reduce their cost and CO2 footprint.”


Flight Aware

FlightAware will provide Metron Aviation with access to the world’s largest flight tracking network and data fusion platform, including data from FlightAware’s terrestrial Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receivers in more than 195 countries delivering extensive flight data and surveillance position updates that will provide a valuable resource for Metron Aviation’s portfolio of Air Traffic Management (ATM) services and tools. The broad coverage of the world’s air traffic that FlightAware offers provides real value to Metron Aviation’s abilities to provide highly accurate demand predictions, for a more comprehensive operational picture, hours ahead of time.

As the first initiative of this relationship, Metron Aviation in partnership with CANSO will supply global ANSPs with their Horizon product with integrated FlightAware surveillance data as a complementary Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. Horizon will provide real-time demand prediction capabilities for airports and airspace to help mitigate the uncertainty regarding the restart of air traffic operations as the industry begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
FlightAware is a digital aviation company and operates the world’s largest flight tracking and data platform. With global connectivity to every segment of aviation, FlightAware provides over 10,000 aircraft operators and service providers as well as over 13,000,000 passengers with global flight tracking solutions, predictive technology, analytics, and decision-making tools.


Airbus

Airbus delivered 36 commercial aircraft in June 2020, representing a slight increase compared to 24 in May and 14 in April and bringing the total for the first half of the year to 196 deliveries.

In H1 2020, Airbus booked a total of 298 net commercial aircraft orders. This compares to 389 aircraft in H1 2019. The decrease reflects the COVID-19 crisis. By aircraft type, a total of 11 A220s, 157 A320 Family, 5 A330s and 23 A350s were delivered in the first half of 2020.


Other News

IdeaNova Technologies Updated Ad Player Feature

IdeaNova Technologies has updated their Inplay Player 6 product with advertising capabilities. The newest ad playback feature allows monetization of video content through dynamic pre-roll and midroll ad insertion.

This new feature offers seamless navigation with markers indicating where the ad will be placed within the player, as well as the option to skip ads after the mandatory viewing time has expired. The ad skip functionality (See today’s IFExpress Image) is configurable per ad, giving inflight entertainment providers the ability to control this functionality based on their business requirements.

IdeaNova CTO Janne Pelkonen said, “We believe that customers at every level can benefit from this new technology,” Pelkonen continued with “All supported Inplay platforms can benefit from this new, standard – VAST compliant option to monetize on any video streaming solution. Our enhanced Ad platform is very flexible allowing a wide variety of ad content presentation, content management and reporting.”

The largest benefit of this offering is that it allows the entire platform, and therefore airline carrier, to generate additional revenue from streaming Hollywood and other video content across passenger owned devices. The use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) within aircrafts relieves airlines of the additional work of keeping seatback displays properly functioning. Also, with new safety guidelines and the hope to limit shared surfaces, use of PEDs keeps the cabin safer, adding to a more enjoyable passenger experience. This new ad serving technology is also available on seatback displays, giving airlines uniform platform for managing and displaying advertising content.

IdeaNova and IMD teams have been working in cooperation to integrate AirSAS advertising server. AirSAS.aero is a secured SaaS adserving solution that enables every stage of a digital advertising campaign without consuming any bandwidth during the flight.

The campaign management rules are set on AirSAS platform before to be sent inside the aircraft, they include audience targeting and specific routes choice. No campaign is being broadcasted without the approval of the airline carrier. The follow-up of the ad campaign with detailed reporting is available as soon as the flight is over when the aircraft is landing.

IMD CEO Jean-Marc Chevassus believes, “The sourcing of advertisers is being optimized through the connection between AirSAS AdServer and the first inflight advertising private marketplace: AirPMP”. AirPMP.aero is already aggregating the audience of 32 airlines offering an incredible volume exceeding 100 million inflight displays and video ad inventory/month and accessible by any media buyer at any time.

Every renown AdServer can connect to AirPMP, provided it meets minimum requirements especially regarding IVT (InValid Traffic). The marketplace enables an advertiser access to the audience details of any fleet across the world and immediately submits the media plan to both airline carriers and advertisers for seamless inflight digital advertising campaigns. Check out IdeaNova’s website for more information.


IFPL

IFPL have developed an advanced USB outlet that enables airlines to raise ancillary revenues and increase NPS (Net Promotional Score).

A standard USB sized Type A outlet gives you the ability to charge passengers for use of aircraft power. This is all managed using the existing online app. Alternatively, revenue can be generated through the selling of advertising space. The advert is triggered onto the passengers PED (Personal Electronic Device) when the cable is inserted into the unit.

With a drop in operations and revenue as a result of the Coronavirus, this maybe an ideal opportunity for airlines to review the installation of USB in seat power, combined with creating a brand new revenue stream. Contact IFPL for more information at innovate@ifpl.com


Gogo Now Providing Inflight Connectivity Beginning At 3,000 Feet

Gogo will lower the altitude at which passengers can begin using its connectivity services from 10,000 feet above ground level (AGL) to 3,000 feet AGL for a significant portion of its air-to-ground (ATG) fleet beginning July 20, 2020.

By enabling connectivity to begin at 3,000 feet, passengers will receive up to an additional 15-20 minutes of connectivity on many flights. The service will be available on business aviation aircraft equipped with AVANCE L5 or L3 systems, and on commercial aviation regional jets equipped with Gogo ATG-4 and ACPU2 technology.

The lower service altitude will enable aircraft that fly shorter flights and spend little to no time above 10,000 feet the opportunity to take advantage of in-flight connectivity for the majority of their flights. Approximately 25% of flights by Gogo equipped regional jets have durations under 60 minutes.

“The additional connectivity time is a significant enhancement and will deliver even more value to customers,” said Sergio Aguirre, president of Gogo Business Aviation. “It makes connectivity available to those who believed inflight Wi-Fi wasn’t an option because they fly shorter routes.”

Gogo will begin a phased process to enable service at 3,000 feet through ground-system configuration and remote software updates – all without requiring any onboard manual intervention. And Gogo will offer the additional service time with no additional fees.

Approximately 1,300 AVANCE systems flying in business aviation will benefit from this change, as will roughly 650, or 40%, of the commercial airline regional jets equipped with Gogo connectivity.

“By lowering the altitude where passengers can be connected, we’re improving the service to our airline customers and their passengers,” said John Wade, president of Gogo Commercial Aviation. “Passengers who fly shorter routes will now be able to be connected, allowing them to make the most of their time during those flights.”

Gogo has conducted hundreds of test flights of this product enhancement on approximately 50 aircraft during the past four months and has found that service at 3,000 feet will be available at most locations throughout the contiguous United States.

“In our flight testing, we found that the AVANCE L5 consistently performed well at altitudes below 10,000 feet and provided a quality connectivity experience for our passengers,” said Tim Eames, chief pilot for Odin 123, LLC, that participated in several test flights for Gogo. “The additional time to conduct business or make arrangements was valuable and appreciated by our passengers.”

The customer experience will be similar across both the AVANCE L5 and L3 systems and on the qualifying ATG-4/ACPU2-equipped commercial fleet. Testing shows service may not be available everywhere and system performance may vary from airport to airport, Gogo’s service guarantees apply once an aircraft reaches 10,000 feet above ground level (AGL).

Until now, Gogo enabled access to its connectivity services beginning at 10,000 feet AGL. Through software and configuration changes, as well as some modifications to the network, Gogo determined it was possible to provide service at a lower altitude using its licensed spectrum in the 850 MHz range.


Thales

Yannick Assouad joins Thales. She will serve as Executive Vice President, Avionics, starting October 1, 2020.

She will take over from Gil Michielin, who will be retiring
Yannick Assouad will be a member of the Executive Committee of Thales, reporting to Patrice Caine, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer. She joined Thomson-CSF’s Radars & Countermeasures business as an engineer in 1986, and later served as head of the thermal analysis department, then head of its thermal and mechanical engineering department.
From 1998, she was Technical Director and then Chief Executive Officer of SECAN (Société d’Études et de Constructions Aéronavales), the French subsidiary of Honeywell specializing in air conditioning systems for aircraft. She was appointed Chairman of SECAN in 2000 and oversaw the aerospace company’s recovery after the 2001 crisis. In 2003, she joined Zodiac, initially as head of the services business of its Intertechnique subsidiary. Appointed to Zodiac Aerospace’s Executive Committee in 2007, she created the group-wide Services business segment. In 2010, Yannick Assouad became responsible of Aircraft Systems segment, which was facing difficulties, and turned around the business through a policy of offensive innovation, centralized purchasing and lean manufacturing. During this time, she also oversaw several acquisitions, including the in-flight entertainment business IMS in California. In 2015, she became Head of Zodiac Cabin and was appointed to the Executive Board of Zodiac.


Emirates

The airline has removed economy class seats on 10 777-300ERs to carry up to 17 tonnes or 132 cu meters of additional cargo per flight. This includes the 50 tonne cargo capacity in belly. We understand this modification required 640 man-hours of work on each aircraft modified.


Boeing

  • Norwegian Air canceled orders for 97 Boeing jets, the largest cancellation since the MAX issues began. We note the airline is also suing Boeing for previous payments made for the 92 737 Max aircraft and five 787 Dreamliners. Norwegian has canceled the orders because of financial troubles.
  • Boeing employed over 160,000 people at the end of 2019, though COVID-19 prompted the company to announce a 10% workforce reduction. It had cut 12,000 jobs as of the end of May. Airbus announced workforce reductions of up to 15,000 (out of a total of ~134,000), also in response to reduced travel demand.
  • Due to its high share price and the small number of companies included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, changes in Boeing stock have an outsized impact.
  • Boeing’s Everett Washington factory is the largest building in the world by volume, and it claims to be the largest private employer in Washington State.
  • Boeing and the FAA have completed a 3 day test of certification requirements for the Boeing 737 MAX in a starting effort to return the plane to service after 15 months of grounding. After the data is reviewed, a certification is expected as well as approve a pilot training program and other details before the jet can go back to work! Noted the FAA, “The agency is following a deliberate process and will take the time it needs to thoroughly review Boeing’s work, and we will lift the grounding order only after FAA safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards.”
  • Boeing completed its 12th COVID-19 transport mission, using a Boeing Dreamlifter to bring personal protective equipment (PPE) to the United States. Working in partnership with the state of Utah, Atlas Air Worldwide, H.M. Cole, Cotopaxi, Flexport and UPS, the company transported 500,000 protective face masks bound for students and teachers across Utah returning to classrooms this fall. The state of Utah will distribute the face masks free of charge to school districts across the state with the greatest need. H.M. Cole, a custom clothing store, donated 250,000 masks – with 100,000 of those masks sized for children. Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear brand based in Salt Lake City, donated an additional 250,000 masks and converted one of its jacket manufacturers for temporary face mask production. Boeing donated the cost of the mission transport into Utah, with Atlas Air operating the flight on behalf of Boeing. Flexport and UPS helped coordinate customs assistance for the PPE shipment. “As students return to school this fall, it will be important that they have masks available,” said Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “We thank Boeing and these partners for everything they’ve done to support our ‘A Mask for Every Utahn’ initiative and make it possible for our students to have these masks and help keep Utahns safe.” “As a Benefit Corporation, we’re believers that businesses have a duty to utilize their influence and resources to positively impact the world,” said Davis Smith, Cotopaxi Founder & CEO. “We are proud to partner with the state of Utah and Boeing to help our hometown community as we fight this pandemic. Face masks are one of the key tools the public has to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and we’re thrilled that our efforts can help teachers and students safely get back in the classroom. “Similar to previous airlift missions facilitated by Boeing, the Dreamlifter – a converted Boeing 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter – flew the mission with the face masks stored in the lower lobe of the airplane. Following the delivery in Salt Lake City, the Dreamlifter will return to its home base in North Charleston, South Carolina, for a 787 components delivery in support of the global aerospace supply chain. “Boeing is proud to continue to use our resources to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said David Calhoun, Boeing President and CEO. “Today’s delivery, our 12th COVID-19 response airlift mission, expands our support of essential workers to include teachers and their students across the state of Utah so they have the protective tools they need to safely and confidently return to their classrooms.” To date, Boeing has helped transport more than four million units of PPE – including the in-house production of more than 39,000 3D-printed face shields – to frontline health care professionals and communities in need.

Other News

Today’s image is ANA’s A380 with the Orange Honu Livery. It made us smile and thought our readers would enjoy seeing it as well.

PXCOM

PXCom luanches Sanitized Travel-dedicated apps for IFEC platforms. It is a proven fact that keeping the middle seat empty is nonsense both economically speaking and from an overall hygiene standpoint. It has been widely debated over the past few weeks.

However, inflight social distancing can be organized. Once again, PXCom brings to the market evidence that inflight servers can be used far beyond plain entertainment, by launching the In-Cabin Mobility Management (IC2M by PXCom) software suite dedicated to dramatically improve the inflight social distancing.

Such suite is formed of 4 modules that the airline can choose either separately or in a bundle:

  • Toilets Queuing Management to avoid passengers gathered around the restrooms,
  • Overhead bin access regulation to ensure minimum distance as a passenger wants to access to its personal belongings
  • Disembarkation Process, to organize a guaranteed social distance as the passenger leave the aircraft.
  • Muti-chat: Passenger chat to avoid passengers from different rows physically connecting to discuss and also, passenger to cabin crew chat to minimize surface contact.

“Our customers are really excited about these capabilities, as we anticipate a 60% drop down of unmanaged in-cabin movement” states Cyril JEAN, PXCom CEO, “Of course all these digital services are fully customizable in order to integrate each of our customer’s management rules in consistency to its product experience.”

Empty the seat back pocket

Earlier in 2018, Marketplace analyzed over 100 samples on 18 flights, finding mold, staph and potentially harmful pathogens. It is not about proven or non-proven contagion threat; it is all about the trust factor and passenger’s concern for their health and safety.

To respond to this passenger expectation, PXCom has also launched the digitized safety & hygiene card.

Upon his first connection, the passenger is displayed a swipeable safety and hygiene card, in his desired language, which content is directly bound to the aircraft he is seating in. Thanks to PXCom technology, the content of this interactive card is managed from the cloud-based back office and can be updated as often as the hygiene measures evolve, through the media content update process.

At the end of the swipe, the passenger can either acknowledge and be redirected to the homepage of the IFE GUI or jump into the destination airport’s specific hygiene measures.

This innovative offering complements solutions from PXCom that are already flying for inflight mag digitization, interactive meals menu cards and onboard shopping catalog, that are also ancillary revenues generators.

Of course, air regulations still require the safety card to be physically present onboard the aircraft, but thanks to PXCom solution, cabin crew can be informed in real time about which passenger has not been through the card, offering such passenger to be provided with printed copies.

Trust is the new currency

Among the airline community, everybody has been largely informed that flying is still highly secure when it comes to contamination risks whenever passengers and cabin crew wear masks. But beyond the airline professionals, casual passengers are widely frightened by the idea of being contaminated during their flight.

As a result, PXCom Post-Covid solutions not only bring new capabilities for inflight hygiene, but they are also highly valuable assets that help airlines in regaining passenger confidence.

Easy to roll out on the w-IFE/IFC platforms, as any PXCom solutions, these new digital services are compliant with any seatback screens platform.

Definitely, an important differentiating marker in an ever-tougher period.


GOGO

Gogo Business Aviation hit 3,000 daily flights late last week, showing strong signs of recovery from the COVID-19 related single-day low-point of 378 daily flights in mid-April.

“I’m encouraged because we’re seeing several positive trends taking shape in the market,” said Sergio Aguirre, president of Gogo Business Aviation. “We’ve strived to be a good partner with our customers to get through a very difficult time together, and we’re now in the midst of a measurable recovery as flight activity increases.”

Business aviation hit a low point in mid-April when many aircraft owners chose to park their aircraft and 30 percent of Gogo Business Aviation’s accounts chose to reduce their spending through either account suspensions or service-plan downgrades.

Since that time, however, nearly 60 percent of Gogo’s suspended customers have reactivated their service, with approximately 80 percent reverting to their original service plan.

The number of flights flown with active Gogo service onboard has continued to increase, reaching 3,039 flights last Thursday, close to Gogo’s pre-COVID average of 3,500 flights per day. Gogo is actively working with customers to reactivate service quickly as flying activity increases, and installations of new AVANCE L5 and L3 are on the rise.

“I’ve been amazed with the level of productivity and engagement our employees have delivered to help our customers, and the company, get through this unique and challenging time,” Aguirre added. “And from an innovation standpoint, we have several positive developments that will be released in the coming weeks that will make your Gogo inflight experience even better.”


SITA

The global air transport industry is grappling with one of the single biggest challenges it has ever faced: how to recover from a historic decline in air travel, caused by COVID-19. While travel restrictions are starting to ease, and the ATI is beginning to remobilize, no-one knows exactly what the next few months will bring. What is clear, however, is that the industry will need to be able to adapt to a new – and changeable – operating environment; one that requires operators to keep passengers feeling safe and reassured, keep flights to time, and meet sustainability targets – all on a tightened budget.

Digitalization is vital here. Airlines and other businesses are going to need the flexibility, adaptability and automation offered by digital transformation to ride out the pandemic’s fall-out, adjust their business models and succeed into the future. To help them do it, they’ll need the right mix of solutions and expertise on their side – digitalizing to adapt to the needs of the future.

Many airlines are facing restart with a scaled back and more scattered workforce. They are also weighing up a lot of big unknowns: which routes should be reopened and when, depending on country restrictions? How many passengers will return, and how quickly? Which aircraft should fly or be grounded? And what size flight and cabin crew will they need to serve them?

Airlines are facing all these questions, while knowing the rules could change from one day to the next. Digitalizing technologies and innovations enable enhanced air/ground connectivity, communications and operational efficacy, and pool the latest real-time information, to support informed and timely decision-making. These prime resources help airlines flex and adapt to changing needs. While ideally being fast and simple to deploy, and intuitive to use, digital tools can also streamline routine tasks through automation to minimize workload.

Such solutions are very much the remit of SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, SITA’s connected aircraft domain of expertise.
Digitalizing to work smarter and leaner is the key. SITA has developed a suite of connected applications and services, and technological capabilities that help airlines work in this more flexible, adaptive, automated and collaborative way. They help bring enhanced operational- and cost-effectiveness, while giving greater visibility over the ‘live’ nose-to-tail operation – whether that’s around situational weather events or restrictions, identifying the least cost-routing channels available for ACARS messaging, the status of passenger, cargo and aircraft health, or fueling requirements.

With the SITA crew applications, airlines can ensure passenger safety and satisfaction onboard, while alleviating paper-based processes to make flights more sustainable.
Their cabin connectivity solutions, meanwhile, give passengers the low-touch autonomy they desire, enabling them to use their own devices to surf, stream, and pay and verify, contact-free.

And, for all of SITA’s solutions and services, they strive to work closely with customers to develop flexible business models that can readily adapt to reflect needs as they change.
“We’re here to help you through.”

SITA FOR AIRCRAFT is proud to play a part in advancing the flexible, agile solutions that can support their customers through this challenging time. They are 100% dedicated to the industry and its success and are here to help it navigate the right path to recovery.

Find out more by exploring their website.


AIRBUS

Following an extensive two-year flight test program, Airbus  successfully concluded its Autonomous Taxi, Take-Off and Landing (ATTOL) project.In completing this project, Airbus has achieved autonomous taxiing, take-off and landing of a commercial aircraft through fully automatic vision-based flight tests using on-board image recognition technology – a world-first in aviation. In total, over 500 test flights were conducted. Approximately 450 of those flights were dedicated to gathering raw video data, to support and fine tune algorithms, while a series of six test flights, each one including five take-offs and landings per run, were used to test autonomous flight capabilities.

The ATTOL project was initiated by Airbus to explore how autonomous technologies, including the use of machine learning algorithms and automated tools for data labeling, processing and model generation, could help pilots focus less on aircraft operations and more on strategic decision-making and mission management. Airbus is now able to analyze the potential of these technologies for enhancing future aircraft operations, all the while improving aircraft safety, ensuring today’s unprecedented levels are maintained.

Airbus will continue research into the application of autonomous technologies alongside other innovations in areas such as materials, alternative propulsion systems and connectivity. By leveraging these opportunities, Airbus is opening up possibilities for creating new business models that will transform how aircraft are developed, manufactured, flown, powered and serviced.

The rapid development and demonstration of ATTOL’s capabilities was made possible due to a cross-divisional, cross-functional, global team comprising of Airbus engineering and technology teams, Airbus Defence and Space, Acubed (Project Wayfinder), Airbus China and ONERA under the leadership of Airbus UpNext.

Also From Airbus:

Airbus plans to further adapt to COVID-19 environment. Airbus announced plans to adapt its global workforce and resize its commercial aircraft activity in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This adaptation is expected to result in a reduction of around 15,000 positions no later than summer 2021. The information and consultation process with social partners has begun with a view to reaching agreements for implementation starting in autumn 2020.

The commercial aircraft business activity has dropped by close to 40% in recent months as the industry faces an unprecedented crisis. Commercial aircraft production rates have been adapted accordingly. Airbus is grateful for the government support that has enabled the Company to limit these necessary adaptation measures. However with air traffic not expected to recover to pre-COVID levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional measures to reflect the post COVID-19 industry outlook.

Following the in-depth analysis of customer demand that has taken place over recent months, Airbus anticipates the need to adapt its global workforce due to COVID-19 by approximately:

● 5,000 positions in France
● 5,100 positions in Germany
● 900 positions in Spain
● 1,700 positions in the UK
● 1,300 positions at Airbus’ other worldwide sites

These figures include the Airbus subsidiaries Stelia in France and Premium AEROTEC in Germany. However, they do not include approximately 900 positions stemming from a pre-COVID-19 identified need to restructure Premium AEROTEC in Germany, which will now be implemented within the frame of this global adaptation plan. The details of this COVID-19 adaptation plan need to be finalized with social partners.
While compulsory actions cannot be ruled out at this stage, Airbus will work with its social partners to limit the impact of this plan by relying on all available social measures, including voluntary departures, early retirement, and long term partial unemployment schemes where appropriate.

“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. “The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic. Now, we must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers. To confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures. Our management team and our Board of Directors are fully committed to limiting the social impact of this adaptation. We thank our governmental partners as they help us preserve our expertise and know-how as much as possible and have played an important role in limiting the social impact of this crisis in our industry. The Airbus teams and their skills and competences will enable us to pursue our ambition to pioneer a sustainable future for aerospace.”


OTHER NEWS

What You May Encounter The Next Time You Fly

All of us know that we will experience many changes in the travel process as ‘non-essential’ air travel opens again. But what will it look like? And what are the airports and airlines doing to make the process safer? And is it sustainable over time? These are all questions that we have asked ourselves and have heard voiced from other industry pundits as well. So, let’s take a look at what has been, and or is being, implemented throughout the travel journey in the U.S.A. at this time.

Airports:

The safety, health and well-being of travelers is always a priority at any airport. But with COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting have certainly been stepped up. For example, at our local airport, Seattle Tacoma International, they have increased the frequency of cleaning with medical-grade products with an emphasis on high-touch areas and over 250 hand sanitizer stations have been added throughout the terminal. The Seattle Port Authority says that they have spent 5,270 hours cleaning and disinfecting each week and have “spritzed, sprayed, and dispensed over 1,010 gallons of hand sanitizer, more than 4,500 ounces of disinfecting spray and 1,135 containers of sanitizer wipes. “And we are certain other airports are following similar safety and disinfecting procedures.

Airports are also working on quickly converting bathrooms that aren’t already touch less to new fixtures for paper towels and automatic soap dispensers, as well as, faucets that are sensor-based and toilets with automatic flush features.

Every two hours the security checkpoints are being cleaned while deep cleaning and sanitizing TSA bins occurring after hours. Airports are also adding electrostatic sprayers that dispense a mist onto surfaces for an even coating of disinfectant that kills germs, such as COVID-19, in an effort to disinfect surfaces more often.

Plastic protective barriers that buffer interactions between travelers and airport employees are also common place, much like what we are experiencing in grocery stores, drug stores, etc.

In an effort to observe social distancing, decals are found on the floor throughout the facility at check-in counters, self-serve kiosks, baggage drop, baggage claim and throughout the TSA process. Travelers are also expected to wear a face covering throughout any touch points, to meet Center for Disease Control (CDC) requirements.

The Gate:

There are decals to remind people to observe 6 feet (2 meters) of social distancing during interactions with customer service representatives and other passengers. Seats in the gate area may be blocked in an effort to adhere to social distancing.  Overhead monitors and screens often contain reminders about this as well. And plastic barriers are in place at customer service desks.

Boarding Procedures:

Currently, many airlines have already started testing new methods of boarding in an effort to reduce the amount of cross passenger contact and observe social distancing.  Passengers are asked to stay seated until their row is announced, and many airlines are boarding in smaller groups, back –to-front.

But compared to the aircraft itself, which has well circulated air as long as the engines are running, the boarding procedure and area is poorly ventilated with passengers in close proximity to one another. Boarding is the riskiest part of air travel right now, at least from a COVID-19 perspective. Just think back to the crowded queue where we have historically been smashed together like sardines at the gate, on the jetway, and en-route to our seat prior to take-off.

There are some deceptively simple solutions that in the long run may change the way we board. Over the years, boarding order has typically started with anyone needing extra assistance (small children, the elderly, etc.), followed by higher status flyers on down to those of us traveling in steerage. It is not only an inefficient and time-consuming process, but it is a stressful one as well. Passengers lined up like they are on a commuter train, bumping into one another, hoisting bags into overhead bins, or walking up and down looking for available bin space is something we have all witnessed and experienced. Let’s face it; this is a COVID-19 droplet cross contamination haven.

In a poorly ventilated area like the jet bridge, packing people in close proximity even while wearing facemasks is a highly risky scenario and is needlessly dicey when there are better ways to accomplish the boarding procedure.

A few changes could include the following: boarding from the back of the aircraft forward; boarding window seats first, followed by the middle seats, then aisle seats. Organizing these sections in small groups in the gate area before sending them down the jetway takes time and space but could definitely lead to a new and improved boarding process. Another scenario that could reduce the number of people each traveler comes into contact with is boarding from both the aircraft nose and the tail of the aircraft, but this has its own set of organizational issues and would require a group of passengers loading from the tarmac via a set of mobile stairs, etc. Whichever changes to the boarding procedure an airline elects to implement there will assuredly be a learning-curve by both the ground crew and the passengers themselves, so it may be a good thing that load factors aren’t too high as these new strategies are put into place.

A total 180-degree approach to carry-on luggage could also make the process far more efficient and reduce the number of touchpoints as well. By promoting and rewarding checked luggage there would be fewer gate-side check-ins, less shifting and shuffling of overhead bags, and a faster loading process overall.

As biometrics become more prevalent the use of scanners to match your face with your identity will further reduce the contact between ground staff and travelers. This will also speed up the process as the amount of time spent fumbling for boarding passes and/or mobile phones will be eliminated. The biometric software needs some tweaks, but it is well on its way as it is already being utilized for some border control entry points.

The Aircraft:

Planes are equipped with hospital-grade HEPA filters that typically remove 99.95% of airborne particulates.

The air flows from the ceiling to the floor and creates completely new air in the cabin 20 to 30 times an hour so the air filtration systems cycle outside air onboard every 3 minutes. If you want more filtered air, be certain to open your personal air vent after you’re seated – that air is filtered for your seat only. Studies have shown that due to the frequency of air circulation, cabin air filtration is comparable to what is found in hospitals.

Airlines are requiring their guests to wear face coverings throughout any touch points and during the flight experience except when consuming food or drink. Most airlines have masks available for passengers in case they don’t have them.  If travelers refuse to wear a face mask they will be denied boarding and, in many cases, given the opportunity to reschedule their flight. Details about these requirements are provided to passengers in their pre-trip communications.

For the time being, some airlines are providing travelers more space and flexibility in order to achieve social distancing onboard by blocking off all middle seats on large aircraft and aisle seats on smaller aircraft.

In the U.S.A. all airline employees and business partners who cannot maintain six feet of social distance during interactions with travelers or co-workers, including pilots, flight attendants, and customer service representatives.

Aircraft Cleaning:

Airlines are continuing to use disinfectants that use high-grade, EPA registered disinfectants to sanitize critical touch points like tray tables, seat belts, overhead bins, armrests and lavatories, etc.

New cleaning techniques and equipment are being implemented by many airlines to reduce the already low risk of onboard transmission often include the following: 1) Electrostatic disinfectant sprayers, which emit a safe, high grade EPA cleaning solution that sanitize the overhead bins, armrests, tray tables, seatbelts, lavatories, etc. 2) between flights, dedicated cleaning crews cover the most critical areas using the high-grade EPA disinfectant. They also clean the pilot/flight attendant spaces. 3) Individual hand sanitizer wipes are available onboard.

With all of the procedures in place, it is beginning to feel like air travel is perhaps safer than it ever has been – at least from a COVID-19 perspective! One thing is for certain, these changes will continue to be tailored over time and they are most likely here to stay for the foreseeable future.


Other News

Honeywell working to protect people returning to work and public places with individual personal protective equipment kits

Phoenix, AZ | June 2, 2020–Honeywell is helping provide a safer and healthier travel experience with new Honeywell Safety Packs designed to better protect airline passengers and crew while flying.

The kits — which come in sealed packets containing gloves, masks and hand wipes — are a part of Honeywell’s comprehensive efforts to help protect people as they return to public spaces and workplaces. These efforts include new technology to detect elevated body temperature, monitor air quality in buildings and determine if people in large groups are social distancing properly. Beyond use for air travel, the Honeywell Safety Packs will also be available for use in office buildings, warehouses, retail stores, sports arenas, schools and other public spaces.

“We strive to provide airlines with products and systems that help keep their passengers and employees safer,” said Mike Madsen, president and CEO, Honeywell Aerospace. “That goal of making safety simple and accessible remains the same, but the solution has evolved. Through collaboration with other Honeywell businesses, we acted quickly to develop a brand-new solution for aircraft hygiene.”

A recent informal survey conducted by Honeywell found that frequent flyers desire personal protective equipment, and that an array of solutions will help give them peace of mind to travel again.

“Health and safety are at the core of everything we do at Honeywell, and we’re bringing new solutions to the market that build on our long legacy of safety innovation,” said Will Lange, president of Honeywell’s personal protective equipment business. “From body temperature monitoring systems powered by artificial intelligence to N95 face masks, we’re helping improve safety for workers and workplaces.”

Honeywell offers two versions of the safety packs for air travel: one for passengers and one for the flight crew. The passenger version is designed for single use and contains latex-free gloves, a safety mask and hand wipes. Kits for crews and airline employees are available for single or longer-term use, with an option for a reusable version that has a mask with interchangeable filters, reusable safety glasses and hand wipes.

Both versions of the safety kits come in resealable bags for easy transportation and are available for airline, cargo and business aviation aircraft. The kits’ packaging can also be branded by the airline.

Honeywell Safety Packs are part of a strategic initiative among Honeywell’s businesses to come together to quickly develop solutions that are helping important sectors of the global economy recover. In addition

to this product family, Honeywell is also developing a full line of products to help airlines manage new protocols for cleaning, screening and social distancing.

From the check-in line to the cockpit, Honeywell’s experience in air travel, spanning components, airport management systems, personal protective equipment and building management technologies, makes it uniquely positioned to craft innovative solutions for the individual needs and challenges of airlines, airports and aircraft operators worldwide. In addition to air travel, across Honeywell, the company offers similar products for buildings, workers, manufacturing, entertainment, health care and supply-chain solutions.

FlightPath3D Update:

IFExpress recently had an opportunity to touch base via Zoom with Jon Norris, vice-president of Marketing, FlightPath3D and he gave us a glimpse of the latest developments we would have seen if AIX Germany had taken place. Building on their stellar moving map to enhance the inflight experience, as well as, increasing the potential for sponsorship revenue and analytics; the company has focused on three key areas of development: 4K, Flying Over Places, and a Data Dashboard.

Native 4K Moving Map:

When an existing airline customer was installing 4K inseat screens, FlightPath3D saw an opportunity to ‘jump ahead’ and began work on a higher resolution moving map. The result is their new native 4K version that provides a crisper and clearer product while offering the same views from the aircraft (satellite to street level, flight deck, & window) that their customers love – but with sharper detail.

Flying Over Places:

FlightPath3D also planned to introduce a new feature called, Flying Over Places. This new offering is available on both seatback and wireless IFE systems. It adds both educational and historical facts to the moving map. The information automatically plays as the flight progresses and via a window-in-window feature allows passengers to drill down and get more data on various POI en route through drop downs. It also tells the traveler what the aircraft’s distance is from the different destinations. Norris told IFExpress that the platform supports sponsorship/advertising. “There is potential for sponsored points of interest which could provide additional revenue to airlines while giving relevant promotions to passengers.”

Big Data Dashboard:

Why is Big Data so important? Big Data has tremendous potential to enhance the passenger experience and is one of the most important trends driving the evolution in today’s air travel. If leveraged properly it has the power to: 1) create a personalized inflight service by harnessing billions of social experiences 2) predict demand for specific flights by learning passenger desires 3) generate ticket sales and ancillary revenue.

The FlightPath3D software Data Dashboard has the capability to provide the airline with additional information about their passengers. While flying, the moving map software has the capacity to collect information on what the passenger is viewing and provide that data to the airline. Before this begins to sound too much like ‘Big Brother’, the data that FlightPath3D collects does not target a specific passenger but gives the airlines the trends of each flight. For example, on a flight between LAX and JFK the software reports to the airline that 20% of the passengers were looking at information on San Francisco, CA; 10% were looking at data on London, UK; and 1% were viewing information on Seville, Spain. The airline then has the potential to adjust their future scheduled flight routes accordingly, put a larger or smaller aircraft on a segment, etc. The Dashboard can also provide information on the number of viewings for sponsored content, may it be restaurants, specific sight-seeing tours, hotels, etc. All this helps build a picture for the airlines. Data captured from the passenger interactions from trip planning and route searches can provide: 1) insight to passenger desire and future travel intentions 2) rankings for specific route and destination categories 3) follow on e-commerce and booking opportunities.

Given these new product features and developments, it came as no surprise to us that the company had a very strong first quarter prior to the pandemic and IFExpress is looking forward to our next flight post-COVID-19 when we can experience first-hand some of these latest innovations from FlightPath3D!


SpaceX

After an aborted attempt on Wednesday May 27 due to inclement weather conditions, this past Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, the world watched history unfold as NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley were launched into space by NASA and SpaceX to journey to the International Space Station (ISS). Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon hurtled into space from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The successful launch returned the United States to human spaceflight for the first time in 9 years since NASA ended its Space Shuttle program. Over the past 9 years, the USA has used Russian rockets to send US astronauts up to the International Space Station (ISS).

This represents the culmination of the SpaceX Crew Dragon human spacecraft development program. It is also a milestone in a public-private partnership that has been developed over the past decade. The Commercial Crew Program was initiated by NASA in 2010 in an effort to smooth the path for the next generation of domestic spaceflight, as well as, retool their launch capabilities. NASA selected both SpaceX and Boeing as partners in these endeavors. And Elon Musk’s SpaceX Demo-2 launch this past Saturday was the first crewed launch attempt in the program – this is a big deal!

Of equal significance is that SpaceX has been transporting cargo to the International Space Station via uncrewed spacecraft since completing their successful uncrewed abort test in January. Whereas Boeing, the other NASA partner, experienced an ‘inflight anomaly’ during their Starliner test flight in December and a future launch date has yet to be established. Of course SpaceX has experienced development challenges as well, a Falcon rocket blew up while inflight, a Crew Dragon capsule was destroyed in a ground test explosion, etc. but they overcame these challenges beating Boeing to the punch. SpaceX and Musk have made progress and continued to proceed with their innovations by learning from their failures.

One of the unique features of SpaceX’s Falcon rocket booster is that it can be used repeatedly. Historically, when rocket boosters have returned to earth they crash land in to oceans and are a lost leader, so to speak. In contrast, Falcon rockets return to earth after first-separation and land on a recovery ship for future use. Saturday’s Falcon successfully landed on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

However, Musk’s innovation didn’t stop with the rocket and spacecraft. The astronauts’ space suits were partly designed by Musk and look nothing like the flight suits we have come to expect. These were far more futuristic and streamlined!

Saturday’s launch is the start of a test mission that will clear the way for regular Dragon flights later this year, with SpaceX engineers evaluating and analyzing every aspect of the spacecrafts performance. Behnken and Hurley will remain in orbit up to 120 days.

Until recently, Elon Musk has primarily been affiliated with PayPal and his development of Tesla. But he has certainly cemented his place in the minds of young and old alike with SpaceX and the Crew Dragon. He founded the California-based SpaceX, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies in 2002.

One thing is for certain, SpaceX is returning human spaceflight to the United States with their advanced system and in conjunction with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program it is a turning point for America’s future in space exploration, laying the groundwork for future missions to the ISS. And whether you take geopolitical or strategic reasons into consideration, it is good to have our own human launch capability.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to watch the launch live, check out this link

And perhaps one of the coolest and most amazing is the Falcon Rocket landing

(Editor’s Note: Space flight is not normally an area IFExpress would cover. However, the world is presently struggling with a global crisis that is battering peoples health and nations economies, so a successful new space endeavor is auspicious and uplifting. It represents a renewal of optimism and signals what we can achieve when we set our minds to it and work together. So from our perspective, SpaceX has given us a reason to be both amazed and inspired. We hope it makes you feel that way too.)


Other News

Commerce subcommittee to hold hearing tomorrow on role of aviation in mitigating the spread of COVID-19

Washington DC | March 3, 2020–  Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, sent letters to major airlines and airports asking for their plans of action in response to the rapidly spreading coronavirus (or SARS-CoV-2, abbreviated as COVID-19) and its effects on commercial aviation and the traveling public. To date, there have been nine coronavirus deaths in Cantwell’s home state of Washington.

The letters come one day before the committee’s Subcommittee on Aviation and Space will hold a hearing on the role of the aviation industry in containing the spread of COVID-19.

“Since COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China late last year, the virus has spread to a number of countries throughout the world, including the United States, by air travel,” Senator Cantwell wrote to major airlines. “This spread has raised understandable concerns by public health officials and the traveling public about measures that can be taken to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 through air travel.”

Senator Cantwell also wrote, “…we want to work with U.S. air carriers to fully understand and mitigate risk to air carrier personnel and the traveling public.” 

In her letters, Cantwell requested specific information regarding pandemic response plans, aircraft and airport cleaning policies, existing protocol for notifying passengers when any serious communicable disease is detected, and flight cancellation policies when a passenger suspects that they have a serious communicable disease.

Senator Cantwell questioned the airlines and airports on the impact to consumers, asking them to detail their policies “for notifying other passengers on a flight or within a terminal where COVID-19 or other serious communicable disease is detected in a person transiting the facility.” 

The full text of the letters can be found HERE and HERE.

Today’s image is of three Boeing Dreamlifters that were carrying eye goggles and face shields from China to the United States.

Since the last issue of IFExpress our industry is continuing to try to find a tenuous path forward. Many airlines are converting passenger cabins into cargo friendly environments (see the story below from Carlisle IT) in an effort to get their assets back flying. We are also seeing how the airlines are moving forward in regards to passenger transport: the requirement for wearing face masks onboard, loading from the tail-forward, etc. As the weeks unfold, we will begin to see what the new ‘normal’ may start to look like. IFExpress is leading off with an feature from Laurent Safar, CEO of Adaptive Channel (an IFE and digital press CSP) regarding what a post-COVID-19 world may mean for inflight magazines.


The Future of Inflight Magazines in a Post-Coronavirus World

By Laurent Safar, CEO of Adaptive Channel

2020 has not been – and will, most likely, not be – the year that any of us expected. Of course, I’m referring to the COVID-19 pandemic that has effectively shut down all aspects of the travel industry, with the aviation industry being particularly hard hit.

Although the CARES Act in the US (and other international governmental aid packages) offers airlines a lifeline in these financially-challenging times, no airline will come out of this unaffected – but some will be facing a much better financial outlook, post-Coronavirus, than others.

What are the factors that will decide which airlines are most successful, post-virus?

This can be answered in one word: innovation.

Now is the time for airlines to establish their post-Coronavirus operational strategy so they will be ready when the demand returns. Airlines must dig deep and truly think outside-of-the-box when it comes to how they will fulfill passengers’ needs, while cutting costs and boosting revenue.

New Priorities

The current crisis will accelerate all digital transformations that are already underway. Like the travel industry, COVID-19 has caused significant changes to the retail industry; specifically, the need for online shopping as a replacement to brick-and-mortar stores, both because of consumers’ increased vigilance about potential contagions and government shut-down of non-essential businesses.

Although it’s impossible for us to travel digitally (until Captain Kirk makes that possible!), the aviation industry can learn quite a bit from the way the switch to digital happened, almost overnight, in the retail industry.

As in the retail industry, post-Coronavirus travelers will expect a very different travel/inflight experience. Health and safety will be front-of-mind for passengers and, they will be looking to airlines to implement strategies to protect them from potential contagions that they may encounter while traveling; as such, inflight amenities and services will need to be considered and updated to address passengers’ health-related concerns, post-Coronavirus.

It’s common knowledge that an airline cabin can contain many different contagions. While most passengers assume the bathroom and seats would have the most germs, the truth shows that many surprising places – like the seat pocket, seatbelt, tray table and fan nozzle – actually have a great deal more bacteria, perhaps because the obviously dirtier places are cleaned/sanitized regularly by crew.

A Canadian study showed that “Seat pockets are extremely dirty, with a high aerobic count, mold, coliforms, and E.coli found on various samples.”

If that’s not enough, a study by Auburn University, showed that “MRSA germs could survive for up to 7 days on seat pocket cloth.” As well, “cold and influenza viruses can survive for hours on fabric and tissues, and even longer (up to 48 hours) on nonporous surfaces like plastic and metal,” making the seat pocket – and the glossy inflight magazine that comes out of it, a potential health liability.

So how can airlines provide for their germ-conscious passengers in a post-Coronavirus world?

First, it’s important to put yourself in your germ-conscious passengers’ shoes; you’ll quickly see that the airplane and seats could be perceived, by passengers, as a possible cesspool of germs – and your airline must act today to ensure that you’re ready to greet these passengers – with their new needs and wants – when the industry picks up again.

Today’s passengers will want some pretty big changes: of course, more regular disinfection must be a priority post-virus – including the seat, seatbelt, tray table and seatback pocket – even during short turnarounds. Another very important way to significantly decrease passengers’ exposure to contagions, is to eliminate hard copy inflight magazines and, instead, share the same content via a digital magazine. The switch from hard-copy newspapers to digital newspapers, readable on the same device as digital magazines, is another way to offer passengers the press content that they want, both inflight and in the lounge, from the safety of their own device (via the airline’s mobile app or a web portal in lounges).

A recent Future Travel Experience article agreed: “ – passengers may be more wary of touching inflight entertainment (IFE) screens and may turn to their own devices en masse. There could be an opportunity here for airlines, or more specifically airline apps. Airlines may have more success in convincing passengers to use their apps if it adds value at every touchpoint – from checking in and navigating through the terminal, to controlling IFE and even interacting with cabin crew – creating a real opportunity for them to promote relevant ancillary services through their mobile apps to an almost captive audience.”

If you’re still not convinced about the value of digital press content in a post-Coronavirus world, here are some other key benefits to this innovative strategy:

BOOST ANCILLARY REVENUE

Digital press content gives airlines incredible insight into passengers’ interests, needs and wants. The content-rich nature of newspapers and magazines gives airlines the opportunity to mine data that will improve their ability to deliver targeted, compelling ads more effectively to the right passenger, at the right time – drastically improving an airline’s travel retail conversion rates, by leveraging up-selling and cross-selling opportunities.

CUT COSTS

Eliminating hard copy press is also a great way to cut airlines’ operational costs; by eliminating the extra weight that hard copy newspapers and magazines add to each flight, airlines will experience a significant cost reduction on fuel. “According to research from Boeing, removing the weight of print newspapers and magazines equates to an annual savings of over $4.5 million for a fleet of wide-body aircraft operating 1,000 flights per day.”

As well, offering digital press eliminates the logistical costs associated with providing hard copy newspapers and magazines, giving airlines another way to decrease their operating costs, during this very difficult time.

SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT, ONE FLIGHT AT A TIME

Today’s passengers are also very environmentally conscious, giving airlines who prioritize improving their overall environmental impact a significant financial advantage when appealing to travelers. By eliminating paper waste from hard copy newspapers and magazines (and the weight associated with them) onboard, airlines use less fuel on each flight, decreasing the airline’s overall carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and improving their carbon footprint – and, as a result, making their airline much more attractive to potential guests.

It’s A Brand New (Digital) World

As you can see, the change from hard copy inflight magazines and newspapers to digital press will improve your PaxEx and NPS, create new ancillary revenue opportunities, offer valuable ways to cut logistical and operational costs, give your airline a financial advantage over other airlines who aren’t prioritizing improving their environmental impact and, most importantly, it will reassure health conscious travelers of their safety during their flight.

Airlines worldwide have already started implementing the switch to digital press inflight because they recognize their passengers’ general discomfort with touching anything they don’t know is completely clean and sanitized; we expect to see many more forward-thinking airlines adopting digital press, through their IFE solution, in the coming weeks and months – after all, it will be an operational imperative for all airlines worldwide during the very – slow- Coronavirus-impacted travel market – and beyond!

About Adaptive

Adaptive is an experienced inflight entertainment (IFE) and digital press content service provider (CSP) for the global aviation industry. Adaptive’s industry-leading IFE solution, ACES, delivers curated IFE content in multiple languages, encompassing diverse, globally relevant media at touchpoints throughout the entire customer journey: before, during and after the flight.

More information can be found at adaptive-channel.com or by email at contact@adaptive-channel.com.


Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) Is Making The Passenger Cabin Cargo Friendly

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT), a division of Carlisle Companies Incorporated (CSL), is pleased to announce special missions and temporary passenger cabin reconfigurations for airlines seeking to move more cargo on their passenger aircraft. Tenencia, a CIT company and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Design Organization Approvals (DOA), and Production Organizations Approvals (POA) holder, offers turnkey kit design, procurement, installation support as well as regulatory approval services to give airlines greater flexibility in optimizing their aircraft.

“We are committed to helping our customers and the aerospace industry navigate these uncertain times,” said Jeff Behlendorf, director of product management, integrated products at CIT. “Our expertise in cabin reconfiguration and aircraft certification enable airlines to quickly pivot and adapt to evolving market conditions, which call for additional methods of transporting critical goods while the industry experiences a low demand for passenger travel.”

CIT offers a full-range of capabilities for minimal or more complex configurations, including:

  • Rapid development and EASA DOA approval of complete cabin reconfiguration and new cargo Layout of Passenger Accommodations (LOPA)
  • Special missions support, including patient transport
  • Cargo restraint and net installation
  • Floor cargo loading evaluation
  • Cabin seat removal to reduce wear and tear on the passenger interior
  • Cockpit equipment and avionics modifications

These capabilities are part of CIT’s nearly 80-year history of providing the highest quality aircraft modification packages using Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for airlines, avionics manufacturers, and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) partners. The company is also a member of the Independent Aircraft Modifiers Alliance (IAMA), an alliance of leading companies in the avionics industry that are committed to common standards for documentation and quality of STCs. This new offering helps airlines meet evolving fleet needs in today’s challenging environment.

For more information, please contact Tenencia via email.


Airbus

Airbus logged net orders in April for nine commercial aircraft from its A320 product line from Avolon. By April 30th, Airbus’ gross orders in 2020 totaled 365 aircraft. After cancellations the net orders stand at 299 aircraft. During the month, 14 deliveries were made from the A320, A330 and A350 XWB aircraft families. Business in April brings the overall total orders logged by Airbus since its creation to 20,407 commercial aircraft, which includes 15,572 A320 Family aircraft, 1,819 A330s, 930 A350 XWBs, 642 A220s and 251 A380s. In April, 12 A320neo Family aircraft were delivered. For Airbus widebody aircraft, one A350 XWBs was provided in the A350-900 configuration; along with one A330ceo. Among the month’s notable deliveries was the first 100% e-deliveries to Pegasus Airlines. Airbus’ backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of 30th April stood at 7,645, comprised  6,217 A320 Family aircraft, 529 A220s, 322 A330s, 568 A350 XWBs and nine A380s.


Boeing

Three Boeing Dreamlifters Transport PPE to South Carolina for COVID-19 Recovery Efforts Across the State:

  • Boeing transported more than 150,000 protective eye goggles and face shields as part of the company’s ongoing COVID-19 airlift efforts
  • Partnered with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to deliver the goggles and face shields to frontline health care professionals in the MUSC Health system
  • PPE to be used by MUSC Health care team members to assist with statewide COVID-19 community testing and outreach efforts, which are critical to recovery and a staged economic revitalization

Three Boeing Dreamlifters Transport PPE to South Carolina for COVID-19 Recovery Efforts Across the State – May 11, 2020


Other News

 

 

 

This past week the industry gathered together via a live online broadcast event hosted by Apex and Inmarsat Aviation to address the challenges the aviation sector is facing as a result of the global pandemic and economic crisis. More than 3,000 individuals logged on to watch and participate in the 7+ hour event. The synopsis is outlined below and there is a link provided if you didn’t manage to attend the live session. Overall, there was a thread of cautious optimism throughout the various presentations/discussions but there was no sugar coating the fact that we are all in for a long, hard road on the way to recovery. Over the coming weeks, we will see more and more of  these live broadcast events as the industry seeks a path forward. Welcome to the new normal! So let’s delve into this week’s news.


FlightPlan

The global aviation industry came together on April 29, 2020 for a unique all-day broadcast event to encourage collaboration during the most challenging and unpredictable time in its history. FlightPlan: Charting a Course into the Future, hosted by Inmarsat Aviation and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), saw more than 50 leading voices exchange views on the present and future of aviation. Over 3,000 viewers tuned in from almost 100 countries worldwide for a series of live debates, interviews and news analysis. Experts voice confidence in eventual bounce-back for aviation industry Nick Careen, Senior Vice President of Airport Passenger Cargo and Security at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), observed that although the COVID-19 pandemic has “no parallel to draw upon in recent memory –  the airline industry has illustrated time and time again that if there’s any industry in the world that knows how to deal with a crisis, it’s this one”. Careen predicted that changes to airline passenger journeys as a result of COVID-19 may include staggered boarding processes, alongside faster adoption of biometrics and self-service technologies in the airport. Christoph Mueller, who has previously served as CEO of Malaysia Airlines and Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Emirates Group, gave some reassuring words of encouragement to airlines: “I have a lot of confidence that at least a lot of airlines will come out of this crisis with a new and regained strength.”

In an interactive poll[1], FlightPlan viewers were invited to share their own predictions on the COVID-19 recovery phase throughout the day. Highlights from the results included:

  • Four in ten (43%) predicted that recovery will take from 18 months to three years
  • Four in ten (44%) said the industry was poorly prepared for COVID-19
  • Nearly two fifths (36%) stated that governments have helped the industry to navigate the pandemic, but could have done more
  • 9 in 10 (87%) expect to see more deep cleaning and slower turnarounds
  • 86% believe that personal protective equipment (PPE) will become standard for cabin crews in the coming months
  • 8 in 10 (80%) expect thermal scanners to become part of the passenger journey
  • Only 9% see blood tests for airline passengers becoming the norm

Unified effort essential to tackling aviation’s environmental impact

Discussing some of the ambitious sustainability targets the industry has previously set itself, such as net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the experts agreed that collaboration was fundamental. Anko Van Der Werff, CEO of Avianca, argued that “the whole ecosystem needs to work together on this.” Paul Stein, Chief Technical Officer at Rolls Royce, added that the impact of single-nation initiatives has been limited and a “coalition of the willing” with industry bodies, airlines, manufacturers and fuel providers is needed.
Encouragingly, industry leaders expressed confidence that COVID-19 will not interrupt progress on sustainable aviation and may even push the topic higher on the agenda. Stein reflected that “the post-COVID-19 world is going to be one that will recognize the fragility of the planet – sustainability isn’t just going to come back to the point it was before COVID – it’s going to be an even stronger issue.” The FlightPlan poll results reflected this view, with 40% of respondents agreeing that COVID-19 will accelerate the drive to reduce emissions. Digitization will catalyze industry recovery and future growth Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, spoke about the power of connectivity to drive global development and industry recovery. Although “2019 already feels as though it belongs to a different era”, Pearce remarked that the pandemic has not slowed the fourth industrial revolution. “I believe that digitalization lies at the heart of our ability to first survive this crisis, and then to drive our ability to rebound from it and start to thrive in whatever new reality lies in front of us.”

The next generation of passengers were at the center of a discussion around the need for airlines to continue preparing for the future. Behavioral scientist Rory Sutherland spoke of Generation Z’s “incredible need to travel”, observing that his own children “don’t see it as a privilege – they kind of see it as a right”. Aviation analyst Alex Macheras delved deeper into their digital expectations, adding that “if airlines are going to better satisfy Gen Z, inflight connectivity will continue to be a driving force.” Other experts agreed that these attributes, paired with growing spending power, will put young passengers in the driving seat when it comes to digital transformation in the cabin. Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “As we look towards recovery and ensuring long-term resilience, there will be no one-size-fits all approach. However, it will remain important that airlines can differentiate for customers. It’s clear that the safety of consumers will continue to be at the forefront in this new world, and that digitization and innovation will be crucial to driving much-needed efficiencies, reducing environmental impact and improving passenger experience.”

Reflecting on the event, Dominic Walters, Vice President at Inmarsat Aviation, commented: “In times of crisis, it’s imperative that industries collaborate to find the best way forward. With so many of this year’s leading aviation events cancelled, we wanted to connect the industry in a unique and helpful way, and the response has been phenomenal. Together, more than 50 leading voices shared a clear shared message – that while the aviation industry contends with a period of extreme uncertainty, these clouds will eventually clear. Now is the time to focus on accelerating our recovery and rebuilding an industry that is stronger, more agile and fit for the future.” And, you can watch the whole event here.


Thales

Thales has deployed the world’s first GSMA-certified eSIM activation solution on Google Cloud. This solution will offer telecom operators secure and highly scalable support to manage increases in mobile subscriptions for eSIM-capable devices. It also lets them benefit from the reliability of Google Cloud’s carbon neutral technology. eSIM adoption is being fueled by a new generation of smartphones, tablets, wearables and new IoT use-cases. Thales’ subscription management expertise not only ensures seamless remote activation of a vast number of devices, but also provides data analytics and protection of the subscriber’s data.

  • Thales to use Google Cloud technology to deliver highly secure and scalable activation of eSIM (embedded SIM) capable devices.
  • The solution enables telecom operators to support a massive global increase in the volume of embedded mobile subscriptions (ABI Research expects around 1 Billion eSIM-capable devices to be shipped annually by 2024).
  • The Thales-operated solution provides secure eSIM management services and provides compliance with data protection and privacy requirements.

Airbus

Airbus posted 481m Euro net loss for 1Q20 (vs 40m Euro net profit in 1Q19) on 15% lower revenues, citing COVID-19. It has withdrawn all delivery guidance after already reducing monthly production rates to 40 A320s, two A330s, six A350s and four A220s. It has net cash position of 3.6b Euro. Furthermore, the airframer is furloughing some 3,200 workers in Broughton in the UK.

Airbus is developing a modification for A330 and A350 family aircraft which will enable airlines to install freight pallets directly onto the cabin floor seat tracks, after removal of the economy-class seats. This solution will help with the airlines’ own business continuity, and also alleviate the global shortage of ‘belly-freight’ air cargo capacity due to the widespread grounding of long-haul aircraft in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, it helps the industry to address the high demand for humanitarian flights to transport large quantities of medical equipment and other supplies rapidly over large distances to where they are needed.

Compared with loading cargo onto seats, this Airbus solution facilitates easier and quicker loading and unloading operations, as well as reduced ‘wear & tear’ to the seats themselves. Other important benefits include the added security of robust fire protection, and the 9g load restraint capability to prevent anything from shifting in flight. The modification is packaged for operators as an Airbus Service Bulletin (SB). Under this arrangement Airbus defines the engineering work-scope and also manages the process for obtaining the one-time certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Its scope includes the removal of the seats & IFE (Inflight entertainment), installation of cargo pallets and associated safety equipment – and also the re-installation of the original passenger cabin elements for reverting back to passenger operations. The SB approach will also be valid beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.


Boeing

On April 30, 2020  Boeing  released the following Statement on the Bond Offering: “We’re pleased with the response to our bond offering today, which is one of several steps we’re taking to keep liquidity flowing through our business and the 17,000 companies in our industry’s supply chain. The robust demand for the offering reflects strong support for the long-term strength of Boeing and the aviation industry. It is also in part a result of the confidence in the market created by the CARES Act and federal support programs that have been put in place – a testament to the Administration, Congress and the Federal Reserve. As a result of the response, and pending the closure of this transaction expected Monday, May 4, we do not plan to seek additional funding through the capital markets or the U.S. government options at this time. The bond offering includes debt instruments with an aggregate principal amount of $25 billion across seven tranches with maturities ranging from three to 40 years. We will continue to assess our liquidity position as the health crisis and our dynamic business environment evolve.”

On April 30, 2020 Boeing conducted a productive and successful first flight of the second 777X airplane. Captain Ted Grady, 777X project pilot, and Captain Van Chaney, 777/777X chief pilot, flew for 2 hours and 58 minutes over Washington state before landing at Seattle’s Boeing Field at 2:02 p.m. Pacific. Designated WH002, this airplane is the second of four in a dedicated flight test fleet and will test handling characteristics and other aspects of airplane performance. An array of equipment, sensors and monitoring devices throughout the cabin allows the onboard team to document and evaluate the airplane’s response to test conditions in real time. The 777X test plan lays out a comprehensive series of tests and conditions on the ground and in the air to demonstrate the safety and reliability of the design. To date, crews have flown the first airplane nearly 100 hours at a variety of flap settings, speeds, altitudes and system settings as part of the initial evaluation of the flight envelope. With initial airworthiness now demonstrated, the team can safely add personnel to monitor testing onboard instead of relying solely on a ground-based telemetry station, unlocking testing at greater distances. The 777X includes the 777-8 and the 777-9, the newest members of Boeing’s market-leading widebody family. Below is a comparison between the dash 8 and dash 9:

  • Seat Count (Typical 2-class)
    777-8: 384 passengers
    777-9: 426 passengers
  • Engine
    GE9X, supplied by GE Aviation
  • Range
    777-8: 8,730 nautical miles (16,170 km)
    777-9: 7,285 nautical miles (13,500 km)
  • Wingspan
    Extended: 235 ft, 5 in (71.8 m)
    On ground: 212 ft, 8 in (64.8 m)
  • Length
    777-8: 229 ft (69.8 m)
    777-9: 251 ft, 9 in (76.7 m)
  • Program Launch: 2013
  • Production Start: 2017
  • Ground Testing: 2019
  • First Flight: January 25, 2020
  • First Delivery: 2021

Additionally, “BOEING announced plan to lower its number of employees by roughly 10% company wide, including 15% cut across its commercial airplanes and services businesses, as well as corporate functions.”

Lastly, the First Quarter Financial Results are listed below:

  • Financial results significantly impacted by COVID-19 and the 737 MAX grounding
  • Revenue of $16.9 billion, GAAP loss per share of ($1.11) and core (non-GAAP)* loss per share of ($1.70)
  • Operating cash flow of ($4.3) billion; cash and marketable securities of $15.5 billion
  • Total backlog of $439 billion, including over 5,000 commercial airplanes

Other News

As expected, our industry is continuing to contract as a result of the ongoing pressures from COVID-19. Today’s issue of IFExpress features announcements from industry vendors and OEMs about current and forecasted reductions in their work force. Airlines are starting to address what flying may look like with social distancing still in effect but after the Stay Home, Stay Safe orders are loosened. This is certain to be a continuing discussion in the weeks ahead. The IFExpress team will keep you appraised as this story continues to evolve.

Now let’s take a look at some of the announcements from the past seven days.


GOGO

Gogo announced that effective May 4, it will furlough approximately 60% of its workforce and reduce compensation for most other employees as part of a broad-based cost reduction plan due to the impact of COVID-19. The furloughs will impact more than 600 employees across all three of Gogo’s business segments. The time and duration of those furloughs will vary based on workload in individual departments. Salary reductions will begin at 30% for the CEO, then 20% for the executive leadership team, and feather down from there. In addition, Gogo’s Board of Directors has agreed to reduce their compensation by 30%. Certain types of employees, such as hourly workers, will not have their compensation reduced. Approximately 60% of Gogo’s revenue comes from its two commercial airline segments. Passenger traffic on commercial airlines using Gogo’s service has declined 95% this month compared to the prior year, resulting in a projected 60-70% reduction in sales for the month of April. The remaining 40% of Gogo’s revenue comes from its business aviation segment which has seen a sharp decrease in flight activity. Additionally, since many business aircraft are flying less frequently, there has been an increase in requests for one-month account suspensions and a dramatic decrease in new plan activations for the month of April. “The health and safety of our employees and customers is our first and most important priority, but the long-term health of our business is also a critical focus area,” said Oakleigh Thorne, president and CEO of Gogo. “In March, we announced 16 levers that we can employ to dramatically lower our costs in order to ensure our long-term viability, and we believe we are implementing the appropriate measures to accomplish that goal.”

In addition to personnel actions, the Gogo 16-lever plan includes, among other actions, renegotiating terms with suppliers, delaying aircraft equipment installations, deferring purchases of capital equipment, reducing marketing and travel expenses and eliminating non-essential spend. “We established best- and worst-case scenarios and action plans against the 16 levers based on market conditions against those scenarios,” Thorne said. “Based on where the market is today, we believe these personnel actions are necessary, and if conditions worsen, we have additional levers to pull if needed.”

Gogo also announced that it has applied for an $81 million grant and a $150 million loan under the recently enacted CARES Act. If Gogo receives government assistance, it will modify the personnel actions announced to comply with the terms of that assistance. Prior to this announcement, Gogo has already implemented several cost-cutting measures related to personnel, including a hiring freeze, suspension of 2020 merit salary increases, and deferral of the CEO’s 2019 bonus. Gogo had $216 million cash on hand as of the close of business on April 20, 2020, including $22 million drawn under its revolving credit facility.

Gogo intends to provide an update on its response to the pandemic and share further details on the steps it is taking to strengthen its financial position when it hosts its first quarter 2020 earnings conference call. “The impact of COVID-19 on air travel, and a challenging economy in general, mean we have to make tough decisions, including implementing these essential cost reductions,” said Thorne. “I am proud of our Gogo employees, who have risen to the challenge to ensure that our business continues to operate smoothly and effectively during this difficult time.”


BOEING

On April 21, 2020 Boeing announced key organization and leadership changes aimed at driving greater cross-company integration and continuous improvement; aligning enterprise services to current business conditions while increasing value; streamlining senior leadership roles and responsibilities; and preparing now for the post-pandemic industry footprint. The changes are effective May 1.

A newly formed group — Enterprise Operations, Finance & Strategy — will consolidate several important areas, bringing together teams responsible for manufacturing, supply chain and operations, finance, enterprise performance, strategy, enterprise services and administration. Led by Greg Smith, executive vice president, Enterprise Operations, and chief financial officer, this new global organization will embed operational excellence and consistent lean principles across Boeing and its supply chain, and restore production and supply chain health as Boeing and the broader aerospace industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Corporate Audit will join Smith’s new group and continue to report directly to the Boeing Board of Directors Audit Committee as it does today, providing independent, objective assurance and advisory services to improve company operations.

Jenette Ramos, senior vice president of Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Operations, will bring 34 years of Boeing experience, leadership and operational skills to a special assignment in support of Smith and Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun.

The company also is combining its legal and core compliance programs, including global trade controls, ethics and business conduct, into a single organization led by Brett Gerry, chief legal officer and executive vice president of Global Compliance. This approach will enhance Boeing’s already strong compliance and internal governance program through focused accountability for, and a more integrated approach to, Boeing compliance responsibilities. It also will help the company proactively address new legal and compliance obligations arising from an increasingly complex global regulatory environment.

To accelerate this important work and to build on the existing strength of its compliance and ethics program, Boeing soon will name a chief compliance officer who will be responsible for leading the company’s compliance, ethics and trade control activities. This person will report to Gerry, with a direct reporting line to Calhoun and the board’s Audit Committee on compliance and ethics issues.

Finally, Boeing Government Operations, led by Executive Vice President Tim Keating, will assume responsibility for the company’s Global Spectrum Management activities, which ensure the safe, efficient and compliant use of radio frequency spectrum in Boeing products and operations.

“I am confident these changes will drive greater alignment among our functions; better equip our commercial, defense and space, and services businesses to deliver on customer commitments in a changing marketplace; and support our continuous efforts to develop talent through challenging leadership assignments,” said Calhoun. “Special thanks to Greg, Brett, Tim and Jenette for taking on new leadership responsibilities.”

Coinciding with these organization changes, Diana Sands, senior vice president of the Office of Internal Governance and Administration, has decided to retire from Boeing later this year after nearly 20 years with the company and following a thorough transition of responsibilities. “Over the past two decades, Diana has played a key role in developing an industry-leading ethics and compliance program, served in several critical finance roles and been a strong advocate for advancing diversity and inclusion across the company,” said Calhoun. “The Boeing Board of Directors and I are deeply grateful for Diana’s leadership, integrity and dedicated service.”

Also from Boeing: 

On April 25th the company announced that it has terminated its Master Transaction Agreement (MTA) with Embraer, under which the two companies sought to establish a new level of strategic partnership. The parties had planned to create a joint venture comprising Embraer’s commercial aviation business and a second joint venture to develop new markets for the C-390 Millennium medium airlift and air mobility aircraft. Under the MTA, April 24, 2020, was the initial termination date, subject to extension by either party if certain conditions were met. Boeing exercised its rights to terminate after Embraer did not satisfy the necessary conditions. “Boeing has worked diligently over more than two years to finalize its transaction with Embraer. Over the past several months, we had productive but ultimately unsuccessful negotiations about unsatisfied MTA conditions. We all aimed to resolve those by the initial termination date, but it didn’t happen,” said Marc Allen, president of Embraer Partnership & Group Operations. “It is deeply disappointing. But we have reached a point where continued negotiation within the framework of the MTA is not going to resolve the outstanding issues.”

The planned partnership between Boeing and Embraer had received unconditional approval from all necessary regulatory authorities, with the exception of the European Commission.

Boeing and Embraer will maintain their existing Master Teaming Agreement, originally signed in 2012 and expanded in 2016, to jointly market and support the C-390 Millennium military aircraft.

Lastly, Boeing Dreamlifter Transports 1.5M Face Masks for COVID-19 Response

  • Partnered with Prisma Health, Atlas Air and Discommon Founder Neil Ferrier to bring 1.5 million medical face masks to healthcare professionals in South Carolina
  • Boeing Dreamlifter becomes the largest aircraft ever to land at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport
  • Additional airlift transport missions with the Boeing Dreamlifter and ecoDemonstrator are planned in the future

OTHER NEWS

Letter from the Editor

The stay-at-home orders have affected millions of people, resulting in unprecedented unemployment rates in the U.S. and Europe, which are rising higher and faster than they ever have before. Compared to a year ago, the global aircraft capacity in available seat-miles is currently down by approximately 59%. Add to this that IATA is forecasting airline losses to exceed $252 billion, which could easily be revised upward in the next few weeks. The understatement of the week is that COVID-19 is having a devastating effect on our industry.

Damage has been done, much like what we experienced after September 11, 2001, and the financial crisis of 2008 – but on an even greater, global scale and we may well have past the point of a V-shaped recovery. As those events changed how governments, businesses, and the public functioned; so will this forever change us as well.

What might we expect these changes to look like? It is not unreasonable to expect new procedures to be put into place to manage the risk of reinfection: body temperature scanners at airports, immunization passports for travelers on every flight – much like today’s security screening but focused on the traveler’s health. After 9/11 it took the flying public almost a decade to adjust to the changes in travel and accept the ‘new normal’. So it is not unrealistic to expect that it will take a while for passengers to embrace the travel process post COVID-19.

Also, virtual meetings are becoming part of everyone’s lives – even those who are the most technologically challenged seem to be using applications like Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, etc. to fill the need to socialize. I am willing to bet that each of you has used one or more of these in the past week to stay connected with friends, family, and colleagues. For work, the virtual meeting has become business as usual right now and we are all discovering, out of necessity, how easy and useful these video conferences can be. This will undoubtedly contribute to a slower uptake in passenger traffic growth once things begin to return to ‘normal’, or should I say, the new normal.

The pandemic has also had an impact on the number of aircraft anticipated to be in service in 2021. The forecast is there will be 1,200 fewer jetliners flying than last year (2019). This is also going to impact the number of pilots, maintenance technicians, flight crew, attendants, etc. needed.

This is all a vivid reminder that aviation has, and always will be, a cyclical business. Historically, with each upturn in the cycle, our industry grows, renews and often performs better than it did before. This is what we need to keep focused on right now. The only big question we currently face is how long will this down turn last?

Stay Home, Stay Healthy – Tricia

Patricia Wiseman – Editor, Publisher & Co-Founder


SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct (SD), the business aviation solutions provider, is launching a new webinar series to ensure customers remain continually informed and updated about SD products, services and partner relationships. Grouped by product category, the inaugural webinars will explain the latest SD updates and product enhancements by delivering content created in direct response to customer queries and information requests. The agendas incorporate themes that are relevant and essential for effective management of flight operations and aim to improve customer understanding of the extensive SD Xperience portfolio. Each webinar will also detail how to maximize new and existing products in dynamic, unpredictable operating environments to effectively manage evolving situations. The first four workshops are scheduled as follows:

  • 21 April, 13:00 UTC – SD Connectivity: detailing network and service updates along with SD partner information.
  • 05 May, 13:00 UTC – SD Hardware: updates on router, modem and antenna products and how best to select and optimize them.
  • 19 May, 13:00 UTC – FlightDeck Freedom®: latest on datalink services supporting mandatory requirements for the flight deck.
  • 02 June, 13:00 UTC – SD PostFlight and SD Pro®: updates on platform functionality and optional third party integration.

The one-hour webinars will be delivered online to registered SD clients by an SD subject matter expert. Materials will be conveyed through presentations, graphics and interactive tools and are designed to stimulate participation and discussion, whilst allowing customers to address individual needs and queries. For customers unable to participate, the webinars will be available for review through the SD Learning Management System (LMS) portal after each workshop.


GALGUS

IFExpress received an email from Jose Gonzalez, CEO & Co-Founder of Galgus. Galgus is part of the Wi-Fi community and works in the IFEC industry with VT Miltope on their CHT (Cognitive Hotspot Technology). Galgus has put together a YouTube video show casing how important Wi-Fi is and how the technology is facilitating working, studying, entertaining and engaging remotely during this pandemic. We thought we would share their tribute and recognition with you, our readers. Can you imagine this quarantine without #WiFi? – YouTube


COLLINS AEROSPACE

Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp., recently announced Troy Brunk has been named president, Interiors, reporting to Collins Aerospace president Stephen Timm. He succeeds Dave Nieuwsma, who was recently named president, Avionics, for Collins Aerospace. In his new role, Brunk leads a broad portfolio of aircraft interior systems for seating, lighting, galley, oxygen, passenger service, evacuation, de-icing, lavatory, waste and potable water for commercial and military customers around the globe. Brunk’s 27-years with Collins Aerospace has included leadership roles of increasing responsibility. Most recently he served as vice president and general manager for the Communication, Navigation & Guidance Solutions portfolio for the company’s Mission Systems business. In this role, Brunk oversaw a broad portfolio of military applications and solutions, ranging from communication and navigation, to actuation and guidance, and health and fuel sensing systems. Brunk also served as vice president and general manager for Airborne Solutions, where he oversaw the avionics and flight deck solutions for military fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.


VALOUR

Valour Consultancy, an independent provider of market intelligence services to firms in the global aerospace and maritime markets, is delighted to reveal that it has been honored with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. The company is one of a select group of organizations nationally to be recognized with the accolade, which is the highest official UK award available to British businesses. Valour’s award is given for outstanding achievement in the category of International Trade after increasing its overseas sales by an incredible 157 per cent over the last three years.

“It goes without saying that we are immensely proud of this achievement, which is the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice in establishing Valour as a reputable source of business intelligence” said co-founders, Joshua Flood, Craig Foster and Daniel Welch. The trio also expressed their gratitude to those that have supported the company’s phenomenal growth in recent years. “This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff who have consistently delivered outstanding results and often make themselves available at all hours to answer client enquiries. We’d also like to give a special mention to those companies located around the world that continue to have faith in us to provide them with the means to make more informed business decisions, even in these uncertain times”. Valour Consultancy is headquartered just outside of Grantham in the United Kingdom and maintains additional offices in London, as well as in Melbourne, which is home to its subsidiary, Valour Consultancy Australia. Since its founding in 2012, the firm has become a trusted provider of insight and analysis to many of the world’s largest companies. This includes aircraft manufacturers, large global satellite operators, multinational service providers and a range of the world’s best-known airlines.

Valour Consultancy will celebrate the award during a royal reception for Queen’s Awards winners and intends to host its own celebration later in the year.


LUFTHANSA

#WeAreInThisTogether is Lufthansa’s motto in these unusual times and the carrier is setting a sign to express its bond with the airline’s passengers: Frequent flyers who considerably contribute to the airline’s success get access to all the digital publications that they usually are only provided with when flying. Media Carrier as a leading provider of digital content supports this initiative, providing its technical platform and content for this initiative. Frequent flyers get an access to 781 newspapers and magazines from around the world and enjoy digital reading. The portfolio meets every taste, containing business papers, lifestyle publications, regional newspapers and international magazines, and offers daily inspiration and entertainment. All publications can easily be downloaded in pdf format to any digital device and are then available to read for an unlimited period of time. Apart from free offers, users can also buy publications.


AIRBUS

Airbus SE shareholders approved all resolutions on the agenda for its 2020 Annual General Meeting, including the election of two new directors, while René Obermann formally succeeded Denis Ranque as Chairman at a Board meeting immediately afterwards. Owing to the global coronavirus outbreak, shareholders were encouraged to vote by proxy instead of attending the AGM physically in Amsterdam, in line with public health and safety measures. Shareholders showed a very high level of voting and strong engagement despite the COVID-19 situation, with 575 million votes expressed, up 5% compared to the 2019 AGM and representing around 74% of the outstanding share capital. On 23 March, Airbus announced that it was withdrawing a voting item from the original AGM agenda related to the proposed payment of the 2019 dividend. The withdrawal of the dividend proposal was one of a number of measures announced by the Company to bolster liquidity and its balance sheet in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Following shareholder approval, Mark Dunkerley and Stephan Gemkow each joined the Board as non-executive directors for a period of three years. Dunkerley has extensive experience of the commercial airline and aviation industry and is currently a Member of the Board of Spirit Airlines, Inc., while Gemkow is a Member of the Board of Amadeus IT Group and a former airline executive with 22 years at Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

The mandates of non-executive directors Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. and Lord Drayson (Paul) were each renewed for three years. Denis Ranque and Hermann-Josef Lamberti both stepped down as planned from the Board and its committees at the close of the AGM. At the meeting immediately following the AGM, the Board approved the planned appointment of René Obermann as Chairman of the Board of Directors. In April 2019, Airbus announced that Obermann had been selected by the Board to succeed Denis Ranque as Chairman. As previously stated, Denis Ranque asked to leave the Board to pursue other interests when his mandate expired at the close of the 2020 AGM, following seven years as Chairman. “It has been a great honour to serve Airbus as Chairman these past years and I extend my best wishes to René, the Board and the Company as a whole,” said outgoing Airbus Chairman Denis Ranque. “I’d also like to thank shareholders for their support along these years and today for having voted through these important AGM resolutions at a very high level despite the COVID-19 outbreak. With a renewed management team, under Guillaume’s strong leadership, and an experienced Board, your Company is in good hands as it heads into its sixth decade.”


BOEING

Boeing will resume all Commercial Airplanes production in a phased approach at its Puget Sound-region facilities this week, after suspending operations last month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At all of its sites, the company has taken extra precautions and instituted comprehensive procedures to keep people safe and fight the spread of COVID-19.

“The health and safety of our employees, their families and communities is our shared priority,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and senior executive in the Pacific Northwest. “This phased approach ensures we have a reliable supply base, our personal protective equipment is readily available and we have all of the necessary safety measures in place to resume essential work for our customers.”

Approximately 27,000 people in the Puget Sound area will return to production of the 747, 767, 777 and 787 programs, supporting critical global transportation infrastructure, cargo services and national defense and security missions. The 737 program will resume working toward restarting production of the 737 MAX. Boeing South Carolina remains in a suspension of operations at this time. Earlier this week Boeing restarted mostly defense production operations in the region with approximately 2,500 people. Employees in the Puget Sound for the 737, 747, 767 and 777 will return as early as third shift on April 20 with most returning to work by April 21. Employees for the 787 program will return as early as third shift April 23, with most returning to work by April 24.
The company’s practices reinforce enhanced cleaning, employee health and physical distancing in partnership with employees. Aligned with federal and state guidance, these practices include:

  • Staggered shift start times to reduce the flow of employees arriving and departing work
  • Visual controls such as floor markings and signage to create physical distance
  • Face coverings will be a requirement for employees at Boeing sites in Washington. Employees are strongly encouraged to bring in their own procedural mask or face covering; those who do not have a mask available will be provided with one.
  • Providing required personal protective equipment to employees working in areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained for an extended period
  • Asking employees to perform self-health checks before coming to work and to stay home if they are ill
  • Employee wellness checks at the beginning of every shift and voluntary temperature screening at many manufacturing locations
  • Contact tracing when an employee tests positive for COVID-19 to reduce risk to teammates
  • Continued virtual meetings and employees who can work from home will continue to do
  • Transportation and common areas adjusted for physical distancing
  • Hand-washing stations in high-traffic areas and additional cleaning supplies available

Enhanced measures will continue until conditions allow for a return to regular work and cleaning processes. Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance on COVID-19, assess impact on company operations and adjust plans as the situation evolves.

Boeing completed its first COVID-19 transport mission, using a 737-700 aircraft from its corporate fleet to bring personal protective equipment (PPE) from China to the United States. Working in partnership with FIRST Robotics Founder Dean Kamen, the company transported 540,000 medical-grade face masks that will be delivered to healthcare professionals battling COVID-19 in New Hampshire. Kamen, who has a longstanding relationship with Boeing through FIRST Robotics, is also a founder of DEKA Research and Development Corporation. “Another life-saving delivery of PPE has arrived in New Hampshire,” said Governor Chris Sununu.

Boeing continues to support local communities and the heroic healthcare professionals working tirelessly to stop the spread of COVID-19. Additional airlift transport missions with the Boeing Dreamlifter and ecoDemonstrator are planned in the future. Boeing is coordinating closely with U.S. government officials on how to best assist areas with the greatest need. “I want to personally thank Governor Sununu, the entire New Hampshire congressional delegation and Dean Kamen for their leadership in helping secure and distribute this much-needed personal protective equipment for our frontline healthcare workers and first responders here in New Hampshire,” said Dave Calhoun, Boeing president and CEO. “We are honored to have conducted today’s airlift mission and we look forward to providing continued support in the fight against this pandemic.”

Also from Boeing: Brazil’s GOL reached agreement with Boeing on financial compensation related to 737 MAX grounding and then they cancelled 34 of their remaining 129 MAXs on order.


OTHER NEWS

“Overall, it could be a very bad year for the economy,” Ben Bernanke said. “The U.S. economy could shrink 30% or more this quarter as stay-at-home orders aimed at slowing the coronavirus outbreak choke off business.” Unfortunately, this scenario is not limited to the U.S.  – for the most part it is a global issue facing a broad spectrum of businesses, including aviation. We continue to see a reduction in activity in the aviation sector, primarily due to the decrease in demand for air travel due to COVID-19 and it looks like this may well be the trend for a good part of 2020. Many airlines have parked/stored the majority of their fleet, some routes are flown with a handful of passengers – if the carrier is lucky, and airframers are looking at order cancellations and reduced aircraft deliveries for 1Q20. It goes without saying that our industry is undergoing a radical change and all sectors within it are bracing for the trickle-down effect on their businesses. In fact, one of the major IFEC vendors has reduced their staff by 200+ people in the last week – most likely the first of many companies to do so. The IFExress team will endeavor to keep you appraised of the latest developments, so stay tuned.


AIRBUS
After a solid commercial and industrial performance at the beginning of the year, Airbus is now revising its production rates downwards to adapt to the new Coronavirus market environment.

In Q1 2020, Airbus booked 290 net commercial aircraft orders and delivered 122 aircraft. A further 60 aircraft were produced during the quarter, highlighting the solid industrial performance, however they remain undelivered due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

36 aircraft were delivered in March across the different aircraft families, down from 55 in February 2020. This reflects customer requests to defer deliveries, as well as other factors related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The new average production rates going forward have been set as follows:
● A320 to rate 40 per month
● A330 to rate 2 per month
● A350 to rate 6 per month

This represents a reduction of the pre-coronavirus average rates of roughly one third. With these new rates, Airbus preserves its ability to meet customer demand while protecting its ability to further adapt as the global market evolves.

Airbus is working in coordination with its social partners to define the most appropriate social measures to adapt to this new and evolving situation. Airbus is also addressing a short-term cash containment plan as well as its longer-term cost structure.

“The impact of this pandemic is unprecedented. At Airbus, protecting our people and supporting the fight against the virus are our chief priorities at this time. We are in constant dialogue with our customers and supply chain partners as we are all going through these difficult times together”, said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury. “Our airline customers are heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. We are actively adapting our production to their new situation and working on operational and financial mitigation measures to face reality.”

In its effort to support the fight against the COVID-19, Airbus has carried out extensive work in coordination with social partners to ensure the health and safety of its employees. This has been achieved by implementing new stringent work standards and processes. Airbus is contributing to the development, sourcing and ferrying of medical equipment, including facemasks and ventilators, in support of medical health services.


BOEING

Today (April 14, 2020), Boeing announced their 1Q 2020 deliveries for commercial aircraft, which totaled 50 jetliners – compared to 149 in 1Q 2019. The 50 aircraft were comprised of the following: five 737s, zero 747s, ten 767s, six 777s, and twenty-nine 787s.

The company has also been hit by an additional 75 737 MAX cancellations from Irish leasing company Avolon, bringing the total number of jetliners removed from the company’s order book in March to 300+ aircraft as airlines adjust their fleets in response to COVID-19.

Also, Boeing will deliver the first set of reusable 3D-printed face shields to support healthcare professionals working to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) accepted the initial shipment of 2,300 face shields this morning. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will deliver the shields to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, which has been established as an alternate care site to treat patients with COVID-19. Boeing is set to produce thousands more face shields per week, gradually increasing production output to meet the growing need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the United States. Distribution of additional face shields will be coordinated with HHS and FEMA based on immediate needs. Boeing is producing face shields with additive manufacturing machines at company sites in:

  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • China Lake, El Segundo, and Huntington Beach, California
  • Puget Sound region of Washington State
  • Mesa, Arizona
  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Portland, Oregon

Boeing subsidiaries Argon ST in Smithfield, Pennsylvania, and Aurora Flight Sciences in Bridgeport, West Virginia, are also participating in this project. Solvay, a long-time Boeing supplier, provided the clear film for the face shields. Another supplier, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, donated the elastic used for the adjustable headband. Face shield production and donations are part of a larger Boeing effort to leverage company and employee resources to aid with COVID-19 recovery and relief efforts. To date, the company has donated tens of thousands of units of PPE – including face masks, goggles, gloves, safety glasses and protective bodysuits – to support healthcare professionals battling COVID-19 in some of the hardest-hit locations in the United States. Boeing has also offered use of its unique airlift capabilities, including the Boeing Dreamlifter, to help transport critical and urgently needed supplies to healthcare professionals. The company is coordinating closely with government officials on how best to provide airlift support. “Boeing is proud to stand alongside many other great American companies in the fight against COVID-19, and we are dedicated to supporting our local communities, especially our frontline healthcare professionals, during this unprecedented time,” said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun. “History has proven that Boeing is a company that rises to the toughest challenges with people who are second to none. Today, we continue that tradition, and we stand ready to assist the federal government’s response to this global pandemic.”


OTHER NEWS

Geneva | April 7, 2020– The International Air Transport Association has released  new analysis showing that some 25 million jobs are at risk of disappearing with plummeting demand for air travel amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Globally, the livelihoods of some 65.5 million people are dependent on the aviation industry, including sectors such as travel and tourism. Among these are 2.7 million airlines jobs. In a scenario of severe travel restrictions lasting for three months, IATA research calculates that 25 million jobs in aviation and related sectors are endangered across the world:

  • 11.2 million jobs in Asia-Pacific
  • 5.6 million jobs in Europe
  • 2.9 million jobs in Latin America
  • 2.0 million jobs in North America
  • 2.0 million jobs in Africa
  • 0.9 million jobs in the Middle East

In the same scenario, airlines are expected to see full year passenger revenues fall by $252 billion (-44%) in 2020 compared to 2019. The second quarter is the most critical with demand falling 70% at its worst point, and airlines burning through $61 billion in cash.

Airlines are calling on governments to provide immediate financial aid to help airlines to remain viable businesses able to lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained. Specifically, IATA calls for:

  • Direct financial support
  • Loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market
  • Tax relief

“There are no words to adequately describe the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the airline industry. And the economic pain will be shared by 25 million people who work in jobs dependent upon airlines. Airlines must be viable businesses so that they can lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained. A lifeline to the airlines now is critical,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Looking Ahead: Re-booting the Industry

Alongside vital financial relief, the industry will also need careful planning and coordination to ensure that airlines are ready when the pandemic is contained.

“We have never shuttered the industry on this scale before. Consequently, we have no experience in starting it up. It will be complicated. At the practical level, we will need contingencies for licenses and certifications that have expired. We will have to adapt operations and processes to avoid reinfections via imported cases. And we must find a predictable and efficient approach to managing travel restrictions which need to be lifted before we can get back to work. These are just some of the major tasks that are ahead of us. And to be successful, industry and government must be aligned and working together,” said de Juniac.

IATA is scoping a comprehensive approach to re-booting the industry when governments and public health authorities allow. A multi-stakeholder approach will be essential. One initial step is a series of virtual meetings—or summits—on a regional basis, bringing together governments and industry stakeholders. The main objectives will be:

  • Understanding what is needed to re-open closed borders, and
  • Agreeing solutions that can be operationalized and scaled efficiently

“We are not expecting to re-start the same industry that we closed a few weeks ago. Airlines will still connect the world. And we will do that through a variety of business models. But the industry processes will need to adapt. We must get on with this work quickly. We don’t want to repeat the mistakes made after 9.11 when many new processes were imposed in an uncoordinated way. We ended up with a mess of measures that we are still sorting out today. The 25 million people whose jobs are at risk by this crisis will depend on an efficient re-start of the industry,” said de Juniac.

Summit dates are being confirmed in the expectation of a start before the end of April.

Today’s Rectangle: IFPL’s Bluetooth Technology Embedded in a Seat Arm Cap.


Hi, it’s Tricia! The IFExpress team just wanted to reach out to the IFEC community and our readers during this crazy time that we all are going through. If there is any news or coverage we can give your company, products and/or services don’t hesitate to contact us – we are here to help get your message out. Direct all inquiries to my attention at plwiseman@gmail.com. Through team work our industry will weather this storm. Stay healthy and stay safe.


IFPL

Even in these challenging times, IFPL never fails to amaze us with their innovative approaches. This time, the peripherals experts have given us a ‘virtual product tour’ of what we would have seen at their booth this past week if AIX Hamburg 2020 had not been canceled. Let’s delve into their virtual tour:

Virtual AIX 2020 Day 1:

Ad Power – this product is an innovative way to provide passengers with in-seat USB power that can be monetized by the airlines.

When a PED (personal electronic device) is connected to the seat USB, the solution activates pop-up advertising if the passenger hasn’t purchased power prior to boarding. This is an opportunity for additional ancillary revenue for the airline. Battery anxiety is a recognized growing area of potential stress for travelers and onboard USB power offers passengers a solution to this issue.

Virtual AIX 2020 Day 2:

Day 2 of the virtual tour focused on integration innovations. IFPL is continually looking for new areas to implement passenger connectivity as airline seats continue to get smaller and lighter. The company has introduced its own Bluetooth technology into the top of the seat arm cap (super cool and it is today’s cover image)! Another innovation is placing two reversible USB-A connectors into the rear of the seat arm. One of the primary advantages of having USB ports in this location is that power can be provided without having to worry about the depth available within the seat back. And the USB ports can still be accessed even if the arm is lifted!

Virtual AIX 2020 Day 3:

IFPL understands that modifying a seat is not always an option. With this in mind they have developed under seat solutions which can be attached to the spar with no modifications required!

This is a simple and elegant solution for implementing power under the seat. In fact, the seat spar carrier can be adapted for different power outlets but still maintain a standardized design language. Here is an example of a low profile rapid fit unit that can easily be removed while leaving the carrier in place.

Thanks IFPL! We can’t wait to experience these innovations in person and look forward to seeing the Isle of Wight Team at the next IFEC Expo.

If you want to learn more about IFPL’s product innovations before the next conference contact them via email at innovate@ifpl.com


GOGO CHALLENGES SMARTSKY PATENT

The business division of Gogo has submitted a petitionto the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office requesting an inter partes review of U.S. Patent No. 9,312,947 (“the ‘947 patent”) granted to SmartSky Networks, LLC.

An inter partes review re-examines the caims in a patent to determine whether or not they are valid.

“We strongly believe that the ‘947 patent granted to SmartSky is not valid,” said Sergio Aguirre, president Gogo Business Aviation. “We have submitted evidence of published materials clearly showing that well before SmartSky asserts to have invented the concepts in the ‘947 patent, others had conceived of the claimed subject matter. Further, we believe there are many of SmartSky’s patents that are not valid. This is only one of many patents we could have challenged in a patent review.”


AIRBUS

Airbus continues to purchase and supply millions of face masks from China, the large majority of which will be donated to governments of the Airbus home countries, namely France, Germany, Spain and the UK. An Airbus flight test crew has just completed its latest mission with an A350-1000 test aircraft. This is the third of such missions between Europe and China. The aircraft returned to France with a cargo of 4 million face masks on Sunday 5 April. The A350-1000 left Toulouse, France, on Friday 3 April, reaching the Airbus site in Tianjin, China on 4 April and returning to Hamburg the same day. Since mid-March, the previous two missions were performed by and A330-800, and A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). Airbus also deployed an A400M and its Beluga fleet to transport shipments of masks between its European sites, in France, Germany, the UK and Spain. Airbus will continue to support the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic wherever possible. “I would like to pay tribute to all the Airbus teams, globally, supporting the fight against COVID-19. They’re living our values in assisting those who are saving lives every day”, said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO. ” Airbus is focused on the health and safety of its employees and supporting its customers and the industry eco-system with business continuity. At the same time Airbus is contributing to many vital public and private services and working with partners who rely on aircraft, helicopters, space and security solutions to carry out life-saving missions in support of the global pandemic. Airbus is deploying its employees, their expertise and know-how and leveraging technology in this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, for example in designing and manufacturing ventilators and 3D printed visors which are critical resources for hospitals. The Company is partnering with other organizations in unprecedented ways to achieve this goal as fast as possible

Airbus SE is closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation worldwide and is in constant dialogue with its customers, suppliers and institutional partners. Airbus is in the process of assessing the implications of the pandemic on its operations and the potential mitigation measures that could be implemented. The Company will not provide further comment at this stage.

Skytra:

Skytra, the new Airbus’ venture for airline risk management, and Exactpro Systems, a specialist independent software quality assurance firm, sign a Master Services Agreement.

  • The software testing collaboration between Skytra and Exactpro will provide the stakeholders with additional confidence in the quality of Skytra’s derivatives trading platform prior to go-live in a transparent, regulated and secure environment.
  • Skytra Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Airbus based in London. It was established in 2019 to produce new air travel indices and to launch and operate a regulated trading venue. Skytra works in close partnership with air travel and financial market experts to develop new risk management instruments for the benefit of the entire air travel industry.

BOEING

Boeing will temporarily suspend all 787 operations at Boeing South Carolina (BSC) until further notice, starting at the end of second shift on Wednesday, April 8. This impacts the Airport Campus, Emergent Operations, Interiors Responsibility Center South Carolina and Propulsion South Carolina. “It is our commitment to focus on the health and safety of our teammates while assessing the spread of the virus across the state, its impact on the reliability of our global supply chain and that ripple effect on the 787 program,” said Brad Zaback, vice president and general manager of the 787 Program and BSC site leader. “We are working in alignment with state and local government officials and public health officials to take actions that best protect our people.” BSC teammates who can work remotely will continue to do so. Those who cannot work remotely will receive paid leave for 10 working days of the suspension, which is double the company policy. After 10 days, teammates will have the option to use a combination of available paid time off benefits or file for emergency state unemployment benefits. All benefits will continue as normal during the suspension of operations, regardless of how teammates choose to record their time. Pay practice details have been made available to all teammates. During this time of suspension on the 787 program, Boeing will continue to conduct enhanced cleaning activities at the site and monitor the global supply chain as the situation evolves. When the suspension is lifted, the 787 program will take an orderly approach to restarting production with a focus on safety, quality, integrity and meeting customer commitments.

Boeing is extending the temporary suspension of production operations at all Puget Sound area and Moses Lake sites until further notice. These actions are being taken in light of the company’s continuing focus on the health and safety of employees, current assessment of the spread of COVID-19 in Washington state, the reliability of the supply chain and additional recommendations from government health authorities. During the suspension, the company will continue to implement additional health and safety measures at its facilities to protect employees. These measures include new visual cues to encourage physical distancing, more frequent and thorough cleaning of work and common areas and staggering shift times to reduce the flow of employees arriving and departing work, among many other improvements. “The health and safety of our employees, their families and our communities is our shared priority,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal. “We will take this time to continue to listen to our incredible team and assess applicable government direction, the spread of the coronavirus in the community and the reliability of our suppliers to ensure we are ready for a safe and orderly return to operations.” The volunteers who have been supporting essential site and services work should continue to report to their assigned shifts. Puget Sound area and Moses Lake employees who can work from home should continue to do so. As the suspension of operations continues, Boeing will monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and associated impact on all company operations. Boeing sites that remain open are being monitored and assessed on a daily basis.


OTHER NEWS

COVID-19

Geneva | April 2, 2020–The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic data for February 2020 showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) fell 14.1% compared to February 2019. This was the steepest decline in traffic since 9.11 and reflected collapsing domestic travel in China and sharply falling international demand to/from and within the Asia-Pacific region, owing to the spreading COVID-19 virus and government-imposed travel restrictions. February capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) fell 8.7% as airlines scrambled to trim capacity in line with plunging traffic, and load factor fell 4.8 percentage points to 75.9%.

“Airlines were hit by a sledgehammer called COVID-19 in February. Borders were closed in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. And the impact on aviation has left airlines with little to do except cut costs and take emergency measures in an attempt to survive in these extraordinary circumstances. The 14.1% global fall in demand is severe, but for carriers in Asia-Pacific the drop was 41%. And it has only grown worse. Without a doubt this is the biggest crisis that the industry has ever faced,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

International Passenger Markets

February international passenger demand fell 10.1% compared to February 2019, the worst outcome since the 2003 SARS outbreak and a reversal from the 2.6% traffic increase recorded in January. Europe and Middle East were the only regions to see a year-over-year traffic rise. Capacity fell 5.0%, and load factor plunged 4.2 percentage points to 75.3%.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ February traffic plummeted 30.4% compared to the year-ago period, steeply reversing a 3.0% gain recorded in January. Capacity fell 16.9% and load factor collapsed to 67.9%, a 13.2-percentage point drop compared to February 2019.

European carriers’ February demand was virtually flat compared to a year ago (+0.2%), the region’s weakest performance in a decade. The slowdown was driven by routes to/from Asia, where the growth rate slowed by 25 percentage points in February, versus January. Demand  in markets within Europe performed solidly despite some initial flight suspensions on the routes to/from Italy. However, March data will reflect the impact of the spread of the virus across Europe and the related disruptions to travel. February capacity rose 0.7%, and load factor slipped 0.4 percentage point to 82.0%, which was the highest among regions.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 1.6% traffic increase in February, a slowdown from the 5.3% year-over-year growth reported in January largely owing to a slowdown on Middle East-Asia-Pacific routes. Capacity increased by 1.3%, and load factor edged up 0.2 percentage point to 72.6%. 

North American carriers had a 2.8% traffic decline in February, reversing a 2.9% gain in January, as international entry restrictions hit home and volumes on Asia-North America routes plunged 30%. Capacity fell 1.5%, and load factor dropped 1.0 percentage point to 77.7%.

Latin American airlines experienced a 0.4% demand drop in February compared to the same month last year. This actually was an improvement over the 3.5% decline recorded in January. However, the spread of the virus and resulting travel restrictions will be reflected in March results. Capacity also fell 0.4% and load factor was flat compared to February 2019 at 81.3%.

African airlines’ traffic slipped 1.1% in February, versus a 5.6% traffic increase recorded in January and the weakest outcome since 2015. The decline was driven by around a 35% year-on-year traffic fall in the Africa-Asia market. Capacity rose 4.8%, however, and load factor sagged 3.9 percentage points to 65.7%, lowest among regions.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Demand for domestic travel dropped 20.9% in February compared to February 2019, as Chinese domestic market collapsed in the face of the government lockdown. Domestic capacity fell 15.1% and load factor dropped 5.6 percentage points to 77.0%.

Chinese airlines’ domestic traffic fell 83.6% in February, the worst outcome since IATA began tracking the market in 2000. With the easing of some restrictions on internal travel in March, domestic demand is showing some tentative signs of improvement.

US airlines enjoyed one of their strongest months in February, as domestic traffic jumped 10.1%. Demand fell  toward the end of the month, however, with the full impact of COVID-19 expected to show in March results.

The Bottom Line

“This is aviation’s darkest hour and it is difficult to see a sunrise ahead unless governments do more to support the industry through this unprecedented global crisis. We are grateful to those that have stepped up with relief measures, but many more need to do so. Our most recent analysis shows that airlines may burn through $61 billion of their cash reserves during the second quarter ending 30 June 2020. This includes $35 billion in sold-but-unused tickets as a result of massive flight cancellations owing to government-imposed travel restrictions. We welcome the actions of those regulators who have relaxed rules so as to permit airlines to issue travel vouchers in lieu of refunds for unused tickets; and we urge others to do the same. Air transport will play a much-needed role in supporting the inevitable recovery. But without additional government action today, the industry will not be in a position to help when skies are brighter tomorrow,” said de Juniac.

Read the full report for February 2020 (pdf)

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