There was a lot of interesting news this week, but lets start out with our rectangle story on SITAONAIR and their FlightTracker.

SITAONAIR

ICAO recommendations calling for airlines to report flight positions every 15 minutes became official on Thursday 8 November 2018  – and SITAONAIR is helping multiple airlines around the world meet them, thanks to its cutting-edge AIRCOM FlightTracker.

Major airlines including Avianca BrasilAzulNorwegian Air ShuttleSingapore Airlines and Vistara, already use AIRCOM FlightTracker, across more than 250,000 flights a month. In delivering flight precision, enhanced awareness and reinforced safety, FlightTracker enables airlines to unlock greater operational effectiveness in an increasingly congested airspace, to minimize costs and support passenger satisfaction. The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System (GADSS) recommendations compel airlines to commit to minimum standards of aircraft tracking, with the aim of improving safety, detection of aircraft in distress, and efficient and effective search and rescue. The ICAO urges operators to report aircraft positions at least once every 15 minutes as of Thursday 8 November 2018, and additional aircraft distress processes will be added from 2021.

SITAONAIR has led the way in preparing airlines for this major milestone in aviation safety. Its ground-based, easy-to-implement AIRCOM FlightTracker software system guarantees regular flight position updates, without requiring any new avionics or modifications to aircraft.

Gathering data from multiple global sources – including FlightAware’s Firehose data feed – it bridges gaps between air navigation services provider tracking, to offer 100% global flight tracking with position updates at least once-per-minute. The FlightAware feed delivers live aircraft position data from its terrestrial network of ADS-B receivers, as well as from Aireon’s space-based ADS-B network, which, hosted on the Iridium NEXT constellation, is now providing live flight tracking.

In incorporating this space-based ADS-B data, SITAONAIR’s enhanced FlightTracker gives airlines the tools to receive the precise position, speed and altitude of their airborne fleet anywhere in the world – even over oceans and polar regions. They are also able to exceed the ICAO 15-minute recommendation, in readiness for 2021’s anticipated one-minute recommendation.

Discover SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM FlightTracker by exploring our whitepaper, webinar and videos online.


ZODIAC

Zodiac Inflight Innovations (Zii) appointed Benjamin Asmar as VP IFE Products and Strategy.  In this role, Asmar will lead Zii’s product group to further develop and deploy innovative products and services for its RAVE inflight entertainment system. Ben joins Zii from Virgin Australia Airlines where he held positions leading the product development and customer experience for the airline. Most recently he led a team of 20 product and project  professionals whose job it was to imagine and implement the ‘next big thing’ to blow customers’ minds, challenge the status quo and push the limits to develop truly unique Virgin experiences through the best products in the industry.We are looking forward to Ben bringing his airline perspective to our team, helping Zii to continue the RAVE tradition of bringing unprecedented product innovations to our market, says Larry Girard, Executive VP & Chief Commercial Officer. Ben exclaimed I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the Zii team.  RAVE is a fantastic product and the team at Zii have really thought about what makes airline operations difficult and frustrates passengers when it comes to Infight entertainment and have gone about removing these pain points to give passengers a world class IFE experience whilst reducing operational overheads. I’m looking forward to working with the team to continue to drive innovation in Passenger Experience.


SITA

SITA, a specialist in air transport communications and IT solutions, announced the acquisition of private company MEXIA Interactive (“MEXIA”), a global provider of curb-to-gate passenger analytics for the air transport industry. The company, founded in 2011, is based in Winnipeg, Canada. The acquisition will enhance SITA’s existing airport operations and passenger flow management solutions. Customers will benefit from a comprehensive and predictive view of passenger flow information that will result in greater operational efficiencies and improved services. MEXIA’s technology identifies and predicts bottlenecks in various queues such as check-in, security and taxi lines while monitoring the amount of time passengers spend in airports. The company also helps airports find non-aeronautical revenue potential by providing shopper numbers, conversion rates, and trends through insights on passengers dwelling in the airport. MEXIA currently works with some of the largest and most influential airports around the world.


digEcor

The digEcor and Jamco Aero Design and Engineering (JADE) partnership was announced at the FTE Asia Expo in Singapore. JADE’s structural, electrical and systems engineering design expertise will play a major role in retrofitting aircraft with digEcor’s Cabin Technology products in the Asia Pacific region. digEcor Chief Executive, David Withers, said that he was pleased to have modification expert JADE on board as a key partner. “JADE is a strong player in the Asia Pacific region and has years of Airbus and Boeing aircraft cabin modification and engineering services experience.”


SPAFAX

Spafax, a leading provider of media, entertainment and content marketing services to the airline industry, announced that it has been selected by Air China to exclusively license and curate its Hollywood movie selection, as well as working together on all other video content. The parties formalized this partnership by signing the letter of intent at the inaugural China International Import Expo held in Shanghai. Spafax also announced the opening of a new office and team in Beijing that will serve in support of Air China. The WPP Group through its Tenthavenue and Kinetic subsidiaries have built up a strong multi-year working relationship with Air China, and have been invaluable in assisting Spafax to quickly establish a local presence.


SATCOM DIRECT

Following on from the SD Xperience launch at NBAA, Satcom Direct is taking its Gulfstream GIV on a circumnavigation of the globe to showcase the power of the new connectivity offering to the international business aviation community. A team of SD executives, including Chief Operating Officer Chris Moore, will spend just under ten days flying the aircraft into leading business aviation destinations to demonstrate the full SD Xperience in-situ, in-cabin.Long term SD customers will be invited to witness the power of SD Xperience first hand. The fully-synchronized, end-to-end connectivity solution combines the full suite of SD cabin and cockpit communications services, aircraft connectivity hardware, and flight operations software to deliver consistent connectivity around the world. Adding extra power to the portfolio is the newly introduced FlexExec broadband service, for which SD is the Master Distributor, delivered in partnership with Intelsat (NYSE: I) and Astronics AeroSat. Business aviation’s first dedicated connectivity service will join existing service providers in the SD portfolio to ensure SD customers benefit from customized, seamless, synchronized,  consistent on-demand global connectivity. SD Xperience customers also benefit from SD ground infrastructure as the SD Data Center enables the application of existing compliance and security protocols for aircraft networks to mitigate cyber-attack and maintain data integrity.


GOGO

Gogo Business Aviation’s latest connectivity solution for light jets – Gogo AVANCE L3 – has been selected by Airshare for installation across its entire fleet of Embraer Phenom 100 aircraft. Airshare operates 11 Phenom 100 aircraft in its fleet, and is recognized as one of the most cost-effective fractional aircraft providers in private aviation for business and leisure travelers. The company also features Embraer Phenom 300s within its fleet, many of which are equipped with Gogo’s connectivity systems onboard. Airshare has also committed to installing AVANCE L5 on all new Phenom 300 aircraft it adds to the fleet in the future.


OTHER NEWS

Food For Thought:

We don’t think anyone in our industry will dispute the fact that connectivity is here to stay. Passenger expectations are driving that demand, and airline operations are too. However, have any of you IFEC aficionados noticed that the rate of connectivity installations is slowing down? This may seem a bit surprising given all the hype over connectivity, point in fact, over the past five- or six-years connectivity has been the primary focus of every trade show this publication has attended: AIX, APEX, FTE, etc. Think about the buzz phrases: gate-to-gate, end-to-end passenger experience, the connected aircraft – they all focus on the use of connectivity to improve the airlines’ ability to touch the traveler throughout their journey and tailor their experience to meet expectations. So why the slow down? One factor we believe is that operators are grappling with decisions regarding Ka- vs. Ku-band. A connectivity decision is a costly venture and is typically a hardware commitment for their fleet for the next 7 – 10 years. The airlines are faced with sifting through all the pros and cons of each solution to determine which is the most viable and reliable option to fit their model. Now throw in the possibility of the LEOs and things became a lot more complicated. Also, antenna installations are not a penny a dozen – they are expensive and complex. Add to that the recent statements released by the FAA regarding antenna/radome installations and the Airworthiness Directive issued by EASA and airlines are likely to pause over making a quick decision. Given these issues, we also expect it to be more challenging for some connectivity suppliers to generate near-term investment capital.

Needless to say, connectivity suppliers and hardware vendors have made a large commitment and there are many players in the field – maybe too many. As we mentioned in an earlier issue of IFExpress, we expect continued consolidation within our industry. Along those lines, we have heard that one of the majors in the IFE arena is making a play for the commercial division of a major connectivity company, as well as, the connectivity portion of second significant industry vendor – despite one or both of the potential acquisition companies having issues with significant debt. We are hearing DIP (debtor-in-possession) financing is being discussed. The company making the acquisition overtures evidently sees the potential is greater than the risk involved. And interestingly, they will also become a Ku-band operator, as well as, a GX Aviation (Ka-band) reseller.  If the stars align, these acquisitions will launch them into the first-tier position in the Big Three – at least as far as connectivity is concerned. We live in interesting times.


SmartSky:

During APEX we had the opportunity to sit down with Nancy Walker, the new CCO, and Ryan Stone, president of SmartSky Networks, to discuss the status of their 4G LTE air-to-ground (ATG) connectivity service roll-out. Nancy joins SmartSky with 30+ years of experience in the aviation industry having worked for NASA, Harris, LiveTV and Thales.

We were told that SmartSky is in the process of standing their ground towers, and at the time of the interview 77% of them were in the final stages of installation/completion. Currently, the company is focusing their ground-based installation activity on very specific channels: New York to Chicago and Chicago to Florida. The team said they are well on the way to launching their first business aviation customer and that they are in an active demonstration phase. Nancy told us that they have 1,000 of ours of flight test time logged on three different aircraft models and that they had just received their 96th patent!

What SmartSky offers using their 2.4 GHz unlicensed spectrum and patented 4G LTE beamforming technology is a path to get data off the aircraft very quickly. In fact, they claim their high bandwidth capability off the aircraft is unique to their service offering. The SmartSky ‘pipe’ is designed to provide 4 GB/hour to the aircraft and 3 GB/hour off the aircraft. What this translates to is a low latency network that allows users to receive large attachments in their email, and easily stream video on their Wi-Fi enabled PEDs. Ryan Stone went on to say that SmartSky is using a highly patented technology that helps make the system more secure. Not only do they use encryption technology, but the system utilizes a very narrow and specific beam, requiring a low power level to transmit to the ground; therefore, security is innately enhanced.

Since our interview in Boston, Penstastar Aviation developed an Approved Model List (AML) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) that permits SmartSky installations on the Gulfstream GIV-X models and GV-SP as well, and the first customer installation has occurred in the business aviation market.  The company is looking to enter the commercial realm but firmly believes that more general aviation operators will be utilizing the system before airlines enter the mix.  It wouldn’t surprise us if a North American carrier were to add the SmartSky Network onto their aircraft in conjunction with an already installed connectivity system. After all, that is a current airline trend: multiple suppliers for connectivity. This is one to watch!


AIRBUS

A330 – 800
The first A330-800 development aircraft to fly, MSN1888, landed at Toulouse-Blagnac, France at 2:35pm local time after successfully completing its first flight which lasted four hours and four minutes. The aircraft, the second member of the A330neo Family, is powered by the latest technology Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 turbofans. “Today’s first flight of the A330-800 is the latest addition to our efficient Widebody family,” said Guillaume Faury, President Airbus Commercial Aircraft. “The A330-800 is an exceptionally versatile ‘route-opener’, offering unbeatable economics for airlines – encompassing everything from short to very-long haul widebody missions.” He added: “We look forward to the successful flight-test campaign, leading to certification next year.”

The A330-800’s development program will include around 300 flight-test hours, paving the way for certification in 2019. Its sibling, the larger A330-900 family member, recently completed its development testing and certification program which validated the A330neo Family’s common engines, systems, cabin and flight & ground operations.

The A330neo comprises two versions: the A330-800 and A330-900. Both of these widebody aircraft incorporate new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, nacelle, titanium pylon, new wings and offer an exclusive ‘Airspace by Airbus’ passenger experience. The larger A330-900 will accommodate up to 287 seats in a typical three-class layout, while the A330-800 typically will seat 257 passengers in three classes. At the end of September 2018, Airbus’ order book includes 13 customers who have placed orders for a total of 224 A330neos, with more to be added soon.

Airbus will fly an airBaltic A220-300 new generation single aisle aircraft, to five cities in four countries as part of a world demonstration tour.  The A220 demonstration tour is a great opportunity for Airbus to showcase its newest family member in front of airlines and media and to offer a close up view of the aircraft`s outstanding characteristics, comfort, and performance, that benefit both operators and passengers alike. airBaltic’s A220-300 features a comfortable cabin arrangement able to accommodate 145 passengers in true widebody comfort. The Latvian airline already operates 13 A220-300s out of a total of 50 ordered. The A220 is the only aircraft purpose built for the 100-150 seat market, it delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and true widebody comfort in a single aisle aircraft. The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least 20 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. With a range of up to 3,200 nm (5020 km), the A220 offers the performance of larger single aisle aircraft.With an order book of over 400 aircraft to date, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market.

A220 – 300 TOUR

The A220-300 will first attend the Zhuhai airshow (China) from November 5th until November 8th before flying to Chengdu on November 9th. The aircraft will continue on its journey with a stopover in Koh Samui (Thailand) on November 10th  before flying to Kathmandu (Nepal) on November 11th. After that the airBaltic A220 will go to Istanbul (Turkey) on November 12thbefore returning to its home base in Riga (Latvia) on November 14th.


IATA

The  group forecasts an annual increase in global traffic growth over the next 20 year-end to double emplacements (8.2 Billion) by 2037. Interestingly (and expectantly), China will become the world’s greatest aviation market (to, from, within) the country supposedly by mid – 2020’s. Look for India to become third!


ICELANDAIR & WOW AIR

It looks like Iceland Air just bought out Wow Air and they will still operate separately out of the Icelandic aviation market. With less than 4% of the transatlantic market, both airlines have “challenging” profit issues and this may be a start to reduce that stress. While Wow had been working on a public offering before this announcement, the airlines appear to have seen value in the joining before that event occurrence. The naming of the final organization might be interesting.


GOGO

Gogo Announces Third Quarter 2018 Financial Results as follows:

  • Consolidated revenue of $217.3 million, up 26% from Q3 2017
  • Net loss of $37.7 million, an improvement of 17% from Q3 2017
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) increased to $21.1 million, up 63% from $13 million in Q3 2017
  • BA segment profit increased to $35.2 million, an increase of 65% from Q3 2017
  • 898 2Ku aircraft online on 14 global airlines, with 113 aircraft coming online in Q3 2018

OTHER NEWS

  • Perhaps it’s time for women to be more involved with the aviation industry because it sure seems so in some other areas? Here’s a quote from an interesting article in Business Insider: “In what may well have been a first in any country’s history, Iceland’s government actually studied whether macho posturing led to its economic meltdown. Its conclusion can be summed up in one word: yes.” Iceland ranks high for gender equality – Business Insider
  • Looking for work? Read this!! Here’s What Hiring Managers Actually Care About

IFPL:

Charge-to-Charge is a patent pending solution that IFPL unveiled during APEX. As the name suggests, the new product enables an airline to monetize the USB power. There are two scenarios for a passenger to pay for USB inseat power inflight. 1) During the purchase of an airline ticket, a payment option to include for power during the flight may be selected. 2) Or via a preloaded mobile app, most likely the airline app, a passenger in route could elect to purchase inseat USB power. The USB outlet would communicate with the traveler’s PED via the app, allowing that device to be charged.

IFPL also showcased a reversible power outlet that supports both USB-A to USB-C as many consumer electronics are making the transition from one standard to the other. The company is always innovative, and they also demonstrated a concept seatback 15-watt Qi wireless inductive charging feature. They anticipate certification for the product by year-end.

Lufthansa Systems:

BoardConnect Portable was the focal point for Lufthansa Systems during APEX. The next generation system is capable of streaming inflight entertainment content to 100 passengers, which is more than double its previous capacity. It can be combined with a product from Lufthansa Technik called BoardConnect Portable/Link that facilitates low bandwidth SMS messaging and real-time online payments during flight. Furthermore, the product needs an antenna but requires no STC! Operational health and usage statistics are also features that the new BoardConnect boasts.

PDT an Astronics Company:

One of the forward-thinking technologies we experienced at APEX came from PDT/Astronics. They demoed a concept technology called LiFi. This wasn’t the first time we have heard about LiFi, far from it. However, it was the first time we experienced such a successful demonstration of the technology and we can see future applications for this technology inflight 5 or 10 years down the road. What is LiFi? LiFi is a high speed, bidirectional, and fully networked wireless communication of data using light. When an electrical current is applied to an LED light bulb, a stream of light (photons) is emitted from the bulb. LED bulbs are semiconductor devices, which means that the brightness of the light flowing through them can be changed at extremely high speeds, allowing a signal to be sent by modulating the light at different rates. The signal can be received by a detector which interprets the changes in light intensity as data. This cannot be seen by the human eye. This technique allows data to be transmitted to-from an LED light bulb at very high speeds. In fact, LiFi can get up to 11 Gbps, whereas, standard 802.11ad is in the 7Gbps range. LiFi only works for line of sight transmission but there is no interference with critical instrumentation. LiFi is significantly more secure than other wireless technologies because light can be contained in a physical space – physical barriers and adjustments can be implemented to contain and protect the light. It also works with 10%-90% light illumination. In other words, Li-Fi is rapidly modulated LED that has the capability to securely link a passenger’s PED well beyond traditional Wi-Fi. We realize it was a demo, but we watched a movie streamed via LiFi. There was virtually no latency and you could block the light, stopping the movie, and move your hand and the movie played right where we left off without any noticeable delay. We were impressed and cannot wait for this technology to be available in the home and in the air in the future!

RebelRoam:

One of the reasons we so enjoy attending expos like APEX is having the opportunity to meet new entrants to the IFEC space. RebelRoam is one such company. The Estonian-based company has developed a smartphone app, dubbed RebelRocket, that addresses three issues: speed, cost, and security – all frequent issues affiliated with public Wi-Fi networks whether they be on the ground or airborne. Here is a broad view of how it works. First, the app automatically encrypts all the content secure to any public Wi-Fi network. Secondly malware and ads can be blocked which reduces webpage load time. Third, it also optimizes video streaming. In other words, the app enhances any connection made through any Wi-Fi network. This sounded like a pretty cool product to us and we expect to hear more from RebelRoam over the coming months!

Kontron:

Kontron unveiled their portable Cab-n-Connect P100 wireless streaming platform for the commercial avionics market. The new platform is stated to be both flexible and robust while being in a small form factor (9.8 inches x 3.5 inches x 12.6 inches). It utilizes 802.11ac/abgn radios and features dual hot-swappable batteries to enable 12+ hours of streaming video. The P100 platform has up to 8 TB of onboard storage, as well as, RSSD for quick content updates.

Immfly announced that they selected Kontron for the Pegasus Airlines wireless IFE program. The Turkish-based low-cost carrier selected Kontron to supply their A320 and B737 fleet (81 aircraft) with the ACE Flight 4600 airborne servers, RSSDs, CWAPS and installation kits.

The company also inked a deal with Air Esurfing, a fully owned subsidiary of Air Media online Group, to jointly explore the China aviation Wi-Fi market. The Air Esurfing system solution plans to integrate Kontron’s ACE Flight Server and Cab-n-Connect WAPs for inflight connectivity application for China’s Ku-band and Ku/Ka-band HTS capacity.


MORE INDUSTRY NEWS

Astronics:

Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics AeroSat, had its FliteStream connectivity solutions tested, qualified, and approved to operate across Intelsat’s FlexExec business aviation service. Astronics Aerosat’s FliteStream connectivity solutions are the first inflight terminals to obtain approval to operate over Intelsat’s FlexExec service. FliteStream is a widely deployed satellite broadband data solution of fuselage- and tail-mount SATCOM products designed for government, commercial, business and VVIP aviation operators and passengers.

Spafax:

Global content agency Spafax was nominated this week for two B2B Brave Awards, an initiative hosted by global media platform and Europe’s largest marketing website: The Drum. The B2B Brave Awards celebrate excellence in B2B campaigns produced for digital and Out-of-Home as well as strategic initiatives in data, artificial intelligence, PR, social media and more. The awards are judged by a panel who have extensive experience in the B2B industry, including representatives from Stein IAS, LinkedIn, IBM, Momentum Worldwide, Adobe, MRM McCann, Ogilvy and more.

Spafax is a finalist in the following two categories:

  • Best Use of Artificial Intelligence: Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa for American Airlines
  •  Best Native/Sponsored Content Program: Business Traveller TV

About Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa

Powered by AI, the Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa Skill that allows airline passengers to “ask Alexa” about what movies, television shows, and music will be available on board their upcoming flight. The first of its kind, the Skill was launched with American Airlines, who wanted to introduce a way for their customers to use their Alexa-enabled devices to plan their journey and get excited about the entertainment on their upcoming flight.

Skywise:

Airbus has presented its new reliability analysis software at MRO Europe 2018. Called “Skywise Reliability”, this new solution has been developed by Airbus and is offered with Skywise Core. The application integrates all relevant fleet-wide data – such as part replacements, flight plans and delays and historical maintenance actions – and fully automates reliability reporting, saving airlines hours per week. Furthermore, it allows users to ‘drill down’ into trends to truly diagnose root causes so they can allocate resources to mitigate recurring operational interruptions (OIs).

Skywise Reliability also complements internal data with worldwide anonymised fleet data so that airlines can proactively assess reliability performance against industry benchmarks and understand whether a recurring issue is unique or a more systematic issue. Thanks to Skywise Reliability, airlines have already reported that they can typically reduce the reliability process time from one week to one day – saving significant time in collecting / sorting / processing the data and producing reports. Since its launch in June 2018, 28 airlines have been connected to Skywise Reliability, including easyJet, Allegiant, WOW Air, Bangkok Airways, and Etihad. The service provides interactive and ready-to-use dashboards to simplify the reliability process and increase its efficiency. It allows users to measure in-service fleet performance, explore operational data and benchmark fleet data (eg. fleet utilisation, operational interruptions and in-service issues, LRU removals, logbook data etc.) with other operators and the worldwide Airbus fleet. Thanks to Skywise Reliability, airline engineers and technicians can easily set up alerts (for example on mean time between unscheduled removal (MTBUR) of a line-replaceable unit (LRU) versus guaranteed MTBUR), and analyse trends, build reliability reports and collaborate.

Inmarsat:

Inmarsat, a provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced the appointment of Kai Tang as Senior Vice President of Business and General Aviation (BGA). Kai joins the Inmarsat Aviation business from Inmarsat Government, where he held the role of Chief Commercial Officer. Kai is an experienced satellite communications professional with industry expertise ranging across government, maritime and aviation. During his seven years at Inmarsat, he has held the role of Vice President of Commercial Strategy and Operations for Inmarsat’s U.S. Government Business Unit, and also played a key role within the company’s Global Xpress development programme.

He will be responsible for Inmarsat’s ground-breaking portfolio of connectivity services for the business aviation industry, including its global, high-speed Jet ConneX inflight Wi-Fi solution, which delivers an in-the-air broadband experience comparable to on-the-ground connections. In addition, he will oversee next year’s business aviation launch of the European Aviation Network (EAN), the world’s first inflight broadband that combines dedicated satellite coverage with a complementary LTE-based ground network.

SITA:

SITA announced that it will deploy a further 15 Scan&Fly units at Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (klia2), following the successful implementation of 15 units earlier this year. Baggage processing time has been cut in half for AirAsia passengers using SITA’s Scan&Fly bag drop technology at klia2 terminal, taking between 30-40 seconds on average compared to 75 seconds previously and reducing the wait time for check-in by 40%. The addition of SITA Scan&Fly into the check-in process has resulted in dramatic improvements in the overall check-in times. Prior to implementation the average wait time for passengers at klia2 terminal was around seven minutes but with SITA’s efficient baggage processing technology supporting the airline agents this has fallen 40% to just four minutes and increased the capacity of this area of the airport.


OTHER NEWS

OK, let’s kick off this IFExpress with some “trends” we saw at the show in Boston. These aren’t predictions but just observations and we will of course talk about them in the weeks to come.

  • Big IFE seems very interested in satcom. This sort of makes sense, especially if there is a future payback.
  • Show booths are seemingly getting a little smaller?!
  • Connectivity is becoming more of industry focal point.
  • People’s personal devices are affecting the industry in at least 2 ways: They may impact the future IFE embedded installations and the inseat power folks are all smiles.
  • There is a next generation system and it looks amazing, especially since it can help you enjoy the flight experience better.
  • Software Analytics in a big supplier’s booth blew us away because they have a working user system hardware/software application. If you have their hardware, they can provide an incredible total aircraft system monitor that knows if and where failures are. Further, the application allows the airline to monitor content usage, per tail, per seat, per route! (More on this later).
  • As satcom frequency bands go up, aircraft satcom dishes are getting a little smaller and lower in height.
  • Speaking of satcoms, LEO systems are garnering more interest every day.
  • There is a new player knocking on the door of the Big 3 IFEC camp.
  • One vendor has found a way for you to pay for your PED power usage – on the plane!

Some Highlights from APEX EXPO:

PANASONIC

During Panasonic’s media briefing, Panasonic’s Chief Technology Officer, David Bartlett discussed the three overall areas of focus for the company: 1) Improving customer satisfaction by providing the passenger a seamless experience, 2) Improving operational efficiency, and 3) How to use digital transformation to drive revenue and new business opportunities. As a result, Panasonic has been focusing heavily on artificial intelligence and machine learning and their new NEXT cloud-based platform allows them to leverage these new technologies. Panasonic has also strengthened their existing relationship with Black Swan for Artificial Intelligence.

Andrew Mohr, Head of Innovation at Panasonic Avionics, unveiled their new Wellness Suite of products, which is one of the four pillars of the NEXT product line. The Wellness suite features five products: premium lighting, active noise control, nanoe air quality, the Detalytics Health app, and Mimi personalized audio. The premium LED lighting product is targeted to hit the market in 2020 and will have various scenarios that the traveler can select from, including circadian rhythm, sleep, mealtime, and/or entertainment. The noise control product that was discussed, and demoed in the booth, was in a premium seat whereby the external noise was reduced by 15 decibels without the use of headphones. The technology is adaptable to each seat configuration and will calibrate inflight to each passenger’s seat. It has a frequency range of 80-400Hz and in-seat controls, integrating with the passenger IFE. It too will be launched in the 2019/2020 time frame.

Nanoe was another wellness feature. This is an air cleansing technology, that is currently used on the ground in Japan and in automobiles including Range Rover and Jaguar, that creates nano droplets of water to remove airborne odors and pathogens. But get this, the ionized water droplets are 15,000 times smaller than a human hair follicle!! The nano-sized electrostatic atomized particles are distributed at 480 billion nm particles per second, resulting in the removal of viruses, bacteria, fungi and odors from the cabin.

Artificial intelligence comes into play with the Detalytics health app. AI is used to assess various aspects of a passengers’ health/wellness and deliver accurate recommendations to them via the app. Perhaps the most amazing offering in the Wellness product suite came from Mimi audio technology. Mimi is an app that uses a specialized algorithm that tests and tunes the audio headphones to the passengers’ specific hearing requirements.  The passenger can either answer a series of specific hearing related questions or simply select their gender and age – the results are truly phenomenal! The health and wellness market has been a huge success on the ground with all the wearable technologies available today, whether it be a FitBit, Apple Watch4, Garmin, etc. It was only a matter of time before this booming industry reached into the airline market.  As expected, Panasonic indicated they have an undisclosed launch customer. All this is attainable because of the NEXT open platform.

Panasonic also announced an IFEC deal with Uzbekistan Airways for 3 B787-8 and 2 A320neo aircraft. The X-Series IFEC system, in conjunction with a suite of connectivity services, will be line-fit installed on the new jets. A personalized, home theater experience, with HD screens and high-power USB charging at every seat, AVOD, and capacitive multi-touch screens. The aircraft will also be outfitted with inflight Wi-Fi service. The B787-8 will also have live television and the ability for passengers to use their mobile phone in flight. All the aircraft in this contract are slated to enter into service in January 2019.

Egyptair also selected Panasonic for 15 A320neo aircraft. The X-Series IFEC platform will be line-fit installed on the new narrow-body aircraft, starting in 2020. Business Class will boast 13-inch HD personal screens, a video handset and high-power charging facilities at every seat. Economy Class will have 10-inch HD screens incorporating a USB power point, with charging facilities at each seat group. Inflight Wi-Fi service will also be available; as well as, inflight shopping options and a 3D flight path moving map. Egyptair has also opted to use OneMedia, Panasonic’s advertising platform, to target onboard advertising campaigns by categories including seat class, flight destination, origin city, content categories, and languages.

GOGO

On the opening day of the exhibition floor, Gogo announced that their IPTV product, dubbed Gogo TV, is up and flying on three global airlines, delivering live television to 550+ aircraft. Sports, news, and other content is either delivered to the passengers’ Wi-Fi enabled PEDs or enabled into the seatback IFE system. The airline can customize channel options, allowing their passengers to view popular networks in their country and/or region. Gogo TV is available via the Gogo 2Ku high-speed satcom service. Gogo TV uses High Efficiency Video Coding compression that facilitates bandwidth usage up to 40%. The system also combines multiple channels into a single multicast stream (statistical multiplexing), resulting in a highly efficient solution that offers the best possible perceived video quality while using the least total bandwidth.  Gogo also announced that Air France launched Gogo’s 2Ku high-speed connectivity system on an A330 and B777 with installations being underway on the balance of Air France’s long-haul fleet of 83 jetliners.

THALES

American Airlines and Thales announced during the EXPO that the airline has selected AVANT IFE System for their 22 new B787-8 Dreamliners that are scheduled to enter into service in 2020. Business Class travelers will have 17-inch HD Flex screens and the Thales handheld controller, Avii, that also has the capability to be used as a second screen. Premium Economy will have 12-inch Fit HD screens, while economy will have the 10-inch version.

In the Thales booth, the highlights were on their three-tiered IFEC offering: 1) CORE – their streamlined entertainment product that has a low time to market and uses the Thales developed standard GUI. This product is line-fit offerable at both Boeing and Airbus today, 2) AVANT– uses the current platform that Thales has developed but facilitates more design choices and a degree of customization for the airlines, and 3) PRESTIGE – which is a high-end product that is co-designed and co-innovated by the airline and Thales working closely together to tailor the passenger experience. Presently, both the CORE and AVANT products are available.

Thales also addressed their commitment to Big Data, which they said not only facilitates personalization for the passenger but also has implications for airline operations and its associated costs. Closely related is Artificial Intelligence (AI), with they see playing a significant role in preventative maintenance by utilizing just-in-time parts shipping. Thales stated they are fully dedicated to connectivity and their Ka-band technology investment. They added that they are presently looking into 5G as well. And lastly, but certainly not least, they indicated that Thales has a commitment to Cyber Security.  The indicated that the Thales IFEC group was fortunate to have the Thales Group investing in the aforementioned categories.

Thales also announced that Vietnam Airlines strengthened their partnership with the airline’s selection of AVANT IFE for their new B787-10 fleet of aircraft. This agreement expands their existing relationship for the airline’s A350 and B787-9 fleets with AVANT IFE and turn-key maintenance services.

HOT TEAM = ENCORE

For the past few years, we have been impressed by the inflight entertainment content folks out of Hong Kong and we wanted to introduce you to Jovita Toh’s Encore team …“is made of a group of in-flight veterans who have individually evolved within the inflight and content industries, enhanced their expertise with polished skills, exchanged personal time and effort for added knowledge, enabled the organizations they work for with necessary insights and are now joining forces to extend their collective experience to the exciting world of inflight entertainment”… we couldn’t have said it better! You can find out more here. Watch these folks because they will be content suppliers of the future! PS, they turn out a great monthly newsletter – contact Tommy Ko.


Other News:

AIRBUS

The Board of Directors of Airbus SE (stock exchange symbol: AIR) has selected Guillaume Faury as future Airbus Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Faury, 50, who currently serves as President Airbus Commercial Aircraft, will succeed Tom Enders, 59, who remains CEO until the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 10 April 2019, when the appointment of Faury as executive member of the Board will be submitted to shareholders. Guillaume Faury served in various senior management roles at Eurocopter from 1998 to 2008. Starting in Engineering, then Flight Test, he later became Executive Vice President for Commercial Programmes, then Executive Vice President for Research and Development. In 2009, Faury joined Peugeot S.A., where he served as Executive Vice President for Research and Development as a Member of the Managing Board. In May 2013, Faury returned to Airbus as CEO of Airbus Helicopters and in early 2018 he took the helm of Airbus Commercial Aircraft. Denis Ranque will continue as Chairman of the Board of Directors until the end of his mandate in April 2020, as foreseen in the staggered board succession process, introduced at AGM 2016. At that time and after seven years as Chairman, Denis Ranque has requested to leave the Board to pursue other interests. The Board will commence the process of selecting a new Chairman in due course having regard to, as expressed in its internal rules, the importance of maintaining international diversity at Board and Management level.

NOTES OF INTEREST

Boston, USA | September 26, 2018–Mahata Aero Teknologi (MAT), an Indonesian wireless technology provider, today announced a partnership with GMF AeroAsia as part of a 10-year inflight connectivity contract with low-cost airline Citilink.

GMF AeroAsia, part of the Garuda Indonesia Group, will support the installation of Inmarsat’s award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband onboard 50 Citilink Airbus A320 aircraft, working alongside Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik.

Together, the partners will implement a world-class Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) connectivity offering for passengers across the Citilink fleet, supporting the airline’s continued work to provide an innovative onboard experience and enhance loyalty among its growing customer base.

Citilink, which is also part of the Garuda Indonesia Group, was named Asia’s Best LCC at the TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards 2018 and has a four-star rating by Skytrax. Its installations of GX Aviation are expected to commence later this year.

GX Aviation is the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight connectivity service delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of High-Throughput Satellites (HTS). It allows passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights.

Iwan Setiawan, Managing Director of PT Mahata Aero Teknologi (MAT), said: “We are working with leading companies in the inflight connectivity market to ensure the onboard wifi offered to Citilink passengers is gold-standard. In addition to Inmarsat, Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik, we are delighted to welcome GMF AeroAsia to this important project. Their rich knowledge, expertise and world-class facilities will ensure the installation process is efficient and smooth. I believe this collaboration will benefit each party involved in the long run.”

Ben Griffin, Inmarsat Aviation Regional Vice President, said: “This is a fast-moving project, with Citilink only signing its fleet-wide contract for GX Aviation two months ago. We now welcome GMF AeroAsia to the project and look forward to commencing installation work in the coming months. This shows the impressive agility and determination of Citilink to quickly meet passenger demand for next-generation inflight broadband, together with its various project partners.”

Los Angeles, USA | September 25, 2018–Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. [NASDAQ: ENT] today announced that it is bringing global destination recommendations to passengers’ finger tips inflight with trusted content from the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor – without the need for internet access or a seatback screen.

The new service is called “Air Cities” and is available through Global Eagle’s award-winning Airtime inflight platform, which wirelessly streams content and other services directly to passengers in flight. Jet Airways of India is the first customer for wireless Air Cities.

“Every passenger wants the world at his or her fingertips, and Global Eagle is constantly seeking innovative products to satisfy the rising demand for unique content on board,” said Global Eagle CEO Josh Marks.

Global Eagle’s Air Cities service provides destination guides that are curated from content supplied by TripAdvisor. This includes points of interest within specific categories, such as Accommodation, restaurants, and experiences Passengers will see locations that are top-rated by global travelers, photos, and reviews. No internet connection will be needed to view the content.

“Air Cities is part of an expansive product offering for airlines to offer passengers,” said Marks. “Global Eagle offers the leading movie, TV, music and gaming content in the industry, as well as flight tracking, education and other options, with advertising and sponsorship opportunities that generate revenue.”

FTS & Global Onboard Partners sign agreement to provide industry-transforming ancillary revenue services to airlines.

Boston, USA | September 25, 2018– FTS and Global Onboard Partners are proud to announce at the APEX EXPO Boston 2018 their agreement to work together to promote, design, and offer a seamless inflight entertainment and ancillary revenue service for airlines around the globe. FTS, a global provider of wireless inflight entertainment and connectivity solutions, and Global Onboard Partners, a provider of unique inflight advertising products, will combine their patented onboard technology, hardware and products to offer airlines the most comprehensive, revenue generating IFE solution in the industry.

“Global Onboard Partners maintains a network of sales partners and advertising brands that can reach more than 350 Million passengers a year across the global network,” said Global Onboard Partners CEO Kirk Adams, “Integrating our extensive network and our unique products into the FTS XStream hardware and software makes perfect sense and is allowing us to eliminate the costly barrier to entry for an embedded IFE system. We can now offer a full-service, certified IFE system, including all hardware, software, and ancillary support, with no costs up front. We provide the full system for a low, flat monthly fee comparable to a portable system which gives both FTS and Global Onboard Partners the opportunity to expand our footprints in the industry and grow moving forward.”

FTS SVP Darrel Chua added, “We are very excited to work with Global Onboard Partners and their talented team. Our fully integrated XStream IFE solution will not only be a market leader for its hardware and software but will be capable of tapping into new and unique proven ancillary revenue opportunities for airlines.”

Another APEX has gone by and there were some interesting changes and new technologies at the Boston Experience. Specifically, here are a few of the event “big deals” we saw. And you should note, some of the technologies and business deals will be with us for years and impact the industry for some time. Here are just a few of the deals and trends to watch, and note, in the forthcoming weeks, we will do future stories on many more vendors and many more products beyond the quick look presented here:

  • Panasonic and Inmarsat announced a strategic partnership to expand their relationship of inflight connectivity at Ku and Ka bands. This collaboration has the potential to offer a better inflight connectivity solution worldwide because of the existing fixed satcom installations at some 22,300 feet. Watch this relationship as it unfolds.We understand that the deal will be finalized by the end of October.
  • Another “big deal” is the clever acquisition of Rockwell Collins Paves IFE hardware, software, manufacturing, and manpower solution by digEcor. While the official announcement will be made later, almost everyone we saw had the story. The acquisition is a brilliant growth path for digEcor. Interestingly, Paul Margis and Gene Connelly were in the picture and no doubt were fans of a wider product base offerings. With some 1400 (est.) planes installed with Paves, digEcor is off and running with a full range of IFE, not to mention some items of which are line fit offerable at both Boeing and Airbus!
  • Astronics displayed a wide range of products including their IFE solutions. Included was an overhead bin sensor that will advise if passengers (or crew) left an object behind. This product can detect the bin environment including temperature, humidity, chemicals, as well as carry-ons left behind. Another potential product that we really liked was a light connectivity (LiFi) cabin solution displayed by Mark Schwartz of PDT. Their test displayed a video (high res) with no wired connection. More on this in future articles.

You will be able to see a lot more of the show on our website in the form of images in the coming weeks, as well as, finer tuned and more detailed articles on the expo.

In general, the expo this year told us the following:

1. In general, the IFE industry is developing smaller, lighter weight modular systems. A perfect example of this is the Panasonic NEXT System which is planned for the B777X in 2020. They cleverly built a room wall with the hardware laid out with connection paths so that the system and its options were easily understood – great communication concept.

2. One of the big aviation travel features is connectivity and passengers continue to demand contact with the ground. Further, since so many of today’s PEDs have entertainment capability, inflight bandwidth demand is escalating!

3. Analytics of everything on the plane is increasing and data requirements are growing to help improve plane/ground connectivity.

4. Panasonic is breaking some new ground in the application of improved passenger flight experience and wellness. This will be a big deal in future travel, especially in upper classes. To give you an idea of one of the areas impacted, entertainment hearing improvement was demonstrated with the software on an iPad that adjusted frequency response based on a traveler’s entered age. It was amazing!

6.The connectivity industry is now in a waiting pattern to see if LEO satcom technology will come on line as purported. Obviously, bandwidth requirements are growing and since the satcom density is greater with LEO’s, the ability of more bandwidth is there. Watch this one!

7. People are returning to the IFE industry and a good example, is Mythopoeia. The company is making a new IFE solution and it’s leader is Terrence Bonar!

8. Artificial Intelligence has landed in inflight entertainment and many airlines now use companies like Black Swan Data to better connect passengers from flight-to-flight and use algorithms to load products and prices.

9. No doubt you have heard, but people changes seem to be a big part of the industry this year. Stay Tuned on this one.

10. KID Systems has the slickest seatback USB plug – It just slides/snaps in and has no external power wires! We will have pix for you soon.

And yes, there was much more to see, which we will cover in future editions of IFExpress!


APEX OPENING SESSION SUMMARY

As usual APEX started of the week-long event with a Welcome & Introduction seminar, what was unique about this year’s opening was there were 6 C Level airline executives present that addressed their airline’s focus for the next 12 months. Their topics ranged from how to utilize personalization, the implementation of bio-metrics, and improving connectivity.  Below are the highlights from each airline representatives’ presentation.

The first to speak was American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, who focused on the airline’s transformation since the acquisition of US Airways in 2013. Mr. Parker stated that they have invested over $26 billion in the process of which $19 billion has gone to the acquisition of 500 new jetliners. He stated there is a night to day difference in their onboard offering over the past 5 years. An example is they no longer have an inseat IFE offering onboard their 737 MAX. Instead, they feature 12 channels of live television, as well as, paid for Wi-Fi streaming to PEDs. He also stated that premium economy will soon be available on all of American Airlines international fleet and that it has been well received and is in high demand on those aircraft that it has been installed on.

Stephen Kavanagh, CEO & executive director of Aer Lingus was the next to address the APEX throng. He stated that starting in 2019 the airline was going to refresh their brand. This will encompass free 20 MB of free Wi-Fi for economy class service. A new livery and new flight crew uniforms are included in the package. The refresh will be included on 12 new A321neo long-range jets. The updated image will reflect Aer Lingus’ modern outlook, as well as, their desire to be the leading value carrier across the Atlantic. The airline is also focusing on making changes based on Net Promoter Score (NPS) and are targeting to be in the 40 – 50 point range across all business categories. Examples of areas that have greatly improved their NPS yield are improved quality in their audio headsets and investing in better IFE screens – improvements that transformed their onboard passenger experience, bumping their NPS up significantly.

Passenger service improvements were the focus of Aeromexico’s CEO Andres Conesa. Mr. Conesa stated that it was irrelevant if you offered great inflight service, IFEC, or wonderful seats unless your flight departed on time. He stated that the most important thing is consistency and the way that Aeromexico is aiming to achieve this is through branded fares that allow the passenger to tailor their ticket to exactly what they want, as well as, standardizing their fleet from 7 different aircraft models down to 3 has also facilitated their plan. Presently, whether it is an international short, medium or long-haul flight passengers will have access to connectivity, IFE, free food and drink.

LATAM Airlines Group also considered NPS. Their NPS indicated that passengers were most concerned about the cabin experience. Consequently, the airline plans to invest $400 million over the next 3 years to retrofit the cabins on 67% of their fleet. Claudia Sender, CEO of LATAM Brasil and VP of Customers for LATAM Airlines Group said that the program will commence in January of 2019. The airline will be revamping the passenger experience in an effort to provide a more relaxing space. Simultaneously, LATAM will be expanding its route network through their joint venture with the IAG Group and American Airlines.

Calin Rovinescu, president and CEO of Air Canada, addressed the rebrand that Air Canada is currently undergoing. Having recently launched Rouge, the airline’s leisure brand, they wanted to make certain that Air Canada was distinguished as their mainline brand maintained its role as a leading brand globally. The first step towards maintaining this clarification between product offerings was the launch of a new livery for Air Canada – a black tail with the return of the red maple leaf. New food and beverage offerings, new uniforms and the rebranding of their premium product are part of the program as well. All of this sounds fairly normal until Mr. Rovinescu started discussing the 5-star restaurant and BMW limousine service for their full-fare international business class passengers at Air Canada’s Toronto hub! Mr. Rovinescu was also the recipient of the APEX Life Time Achievement Award.

Spirit Airlines CEO, Robert Fornaro spoke during one of the educational tracks dubbed Invest in The Guest: Utilization of Technology to Enhance PaxEx. During the breakout session Mr. Fornaro looked back to the early days of the leisure carrier, stating that what they had to offer the traveler was low prices and that was about it. When Fornaro took the helm he airline wanted to “invest in the guest” but didn’t want to select any connectivity offering, he wanted a solution that would fit Spirit’s business model. This led Spirit to be the launch customer for Thales’ FlytLIVE high throughput Ka-band satellite service. The system not only provides streaming capabilities, but the platform allows access to a large amount of analytics which facilitate ancillary revenue generation, understand the passenger, develop their value proposition, and truly fine tune their passengers experience.

Company says offer of award-winning IFE solution for visually impaired passengers is “the right thing to do”
APEX EXPO, Boston USA | September 24, 2018– At APEX EXPO, Bluebox Aviation Systems has announced that all existing and new customers of Bluebox’s iPad-based IFE platforms will benefit from the company’s development of Bluebox aIFE, an app for visually impaired passengers that won a Crystal Cabin Award earlier this year. For all Bluebox iPad devices currently in service, Bluebox offers to provide the upgrade free of charge, in line with device update cycles. The combined build platform will also be offered to any new customers of iPad-based IFE deployments at no extra cost. The combined build enables cabin crew to switch between the standard IFE mode (Bluebox Ai or Bluebox Hybrid, a Wi-Fi enabled version of Bluebox Ai) and accessibility mode (Bluebox aIFE) depending on a passenger’s needs.

“Since launching Bluebox aIFE with Virgin Atlantic, we developed a way of combining the standard and accessible versions on the same device,” said Kevin Clark, CEO, Bluebox. “Recognising how simple it is to update Virgin Atlantic’s iPads, we thought we would be just extend the same capability to all of our customers. Having worked with a group of visually impaired people in the system’s development, and hearing the feedback from Virgin Atlantic passengers about what it means to be able to use the system, we felt it was the right thing to do, and could be our contribution to directly improving the passenger experience of visually impaired passengers around the world.”
Bluebox worked closely with Virgin Atlantic and a group of visually impaired people from the UK charity Guide Dogs in the development of the original Bluebox aIFE platform, which has been entertaining passengers with visual impairments aboard Virgin Atlantic flights serving destinations across North America, the Caribbean, Africa, China, India and the Middle East.
The combined build offers airlines providing IFE a two-in-one solution for ensuring IFE is available to all passengers throughout their flight – at a tap of an on-screen button, a cabin crew member selects the accessible version for someone who is visually impaired, or the standard IFE mode. When the devices are offered for rent during a flight, it means visually impaired passenger can take up the offer just like anyone else. Or, where the devices are used for service recovery on an aircraft with seatback IFE, it means the same device can be used as the primary screen for a visually impaired passenger or as a backup if any other passenger’s seatback screen malfunctions.
Bluebox will upgrade devices in line with the deployment cycles of existing customers taking up the offer, working with them closely to ensure they understand how the new functionality works. For any new customer of Bluebox Ai or Bluebox Hybrid, the combined build with Bluebox aIFE can be included in the initial deployment.

Powerful and flexible, Kontron Cab-n-Connect™ P100 delivers high-quality streaming for up to 100 users from a single unit

Augsburg, Germany & Boston, USA | September 24, 2018– Kontron, a leading global provider of IoT/Embedded Computing Technology (ECT), today introduced its portable Cab-n-Connect P100 wireless streaming platform for the commercial avionics industry. Providing a flexible and robust solution, this small form factor IFE&C system utilizes dual 802.11ac/abgn radios that innovatively deliver high-quality streaming for up to 100 client devices enabling airlines to support an individual aircraft’s in-flight entertainment needs. Realizing its value in delivering a powerful and mobile IFE&C solution, the Cab-n-Connect P100 is already being evaluated by several customers.

Measuring just 9.8-inches (25cm) x 3.5-inches (9cm) x 12.6-inches (32cm), the portable Cab-n-Connect P100 system features dual hot-swappable batteries that enable more than 12 hours of streaming video. The P100 platform offers up to 8 terabytes (TB) of onboard storage giving almost unlimited capacity to add engaging content. In addition, the system’s removable storage device (RSSD) allows for quick content updates. The Cab-n-Connect P100’s operating system supports Docker Applications and Virtual Machines to further simplify IFE content management system integration. The unit provides an intuitive interface for the cabin crew to manage the system and it also provides status information via an OLED display.

Based on Kontron’s highly reliable, open-architecture COMe-bDV7R Computer-on-Module, the Cab-n-Connect P100 provides Intel Atom processor C3000 series server-grade processor performance with 8 gigabytes (GB) of RAM. Different C3000 series and Broadwell-DE series processors along with memory options are possible. Futher options include an integrated 4G LTE cellular modem.

Kontron’s ongoing strategy is to support partners and airline customers with critical system components that meet the connected aircraft wireless and network backbone requirements. With this commitment, Kontron has built a strong reputation for providing breakthrough IFE&C platforms that help accelerate development for quick time-to-market at the lowest cost of deployment. There are currently more than 4,000 commercial aircraft and business jets operating worldwide with Kontron equipment on board.

For detailed information on the Cab-n-Connect P100 specifications, please see:https://www.kontron.com/downloads/datasheets/c/cab-n-connect-p100_preliminary-ds-09.19.18-.pdf

To learn more about Kontron’s avionics product portfolio, please visit: https://www.kontron.com/industries/avionics

Milestone affirms Astronics’ position as the leading provider of wireless access points for commercial aircraft

East Aurora, NY | September 24, 2018–Astronics Corporation (Nasdaq: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries, announced today that its wholly owned subsidiary Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC) has shipped more than 10,000 cabin wireless access points (CWAPs) to enable inflight connectivity systems on aircraft. With this milestone, Astronics’ CWAPs serve as the most broadly accepted 802.11ac CWAPs in the market today.

“We started this product line in 2015 under the former company name of Telefonix, and in just 3 years have become the world leader in enabling entire fleets of aircraft to provide fast, reliable inflight connectivity access for improved passenger experiences,” said Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics CSC. “We work with the major inflight entertainment providers, and by listening closely, we’ve been able to deliver streamlined, high-performance CWAPs with the features they need to augment today’s advanced IFE systems.”

About the CabinACe-2 Cabin Wireless Access Point

Part of the Summit Line of inflight entertainment hardware systems from Astronics CSC, the CabinACe-2 is the most recent version of its CWAP with a design that leverages the market leading access point from Aruba Networks, Inc. The CabinACe-2 is currently in production and has undergone extensive testing in compliance with Boeing Line Fit (BLF), Airbus Interior Services (AIS), as well as DO-160G retrofit testing. Extremely efficient in design and easy to install, features include:

  • Linefit offerable for Boeing and Airbus aircraft
  • Aruba/HPE Wave 2 Support, providing enterprise class security and control features
  • Exclusive worldwide radio support firmware, enabling the regulatory domains to be changed dynamically based on geo/location data
  • 200,000+ hour MTBF
  • DO-160G certified with Astronics-provided Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) through its own FAA/EASA STCs
  • FCC, ISED, CE and Chinese MIIT regulatory approval.

Astronics CSC provides current system configuration testing and creates performance enhancements in its Wi-Fi System Integrations Lab. Customers can purchase the CabinACe-2 as a standalone component or as part of a complete Summit Line of inflight connectivity hardware from Astronics.

Astronics CSC serves as the experienced, global market leader for in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for aircraft. The Company specializes in connectivity hardware, integration engineering, and certification services. Together with other Astronics subsidiaries, Astronics CSC offers the most complete set of IFEC hardware solutions available from a single vendor.

Immfly offers the opportunity to airlines to engage passengers with an amusing experience that starts at the airport and continues while flying

APEX EXPO, Boston MA | September 24, 2018– The digital services platform Immfly, that, until now, could only be accessed onboard, can now entertain the passengers on the ground, while waiting for the flight. Based on the passengers’ access ratio and satisfaction level with Immfly’s platform, the company decided to extend, and specially, anticipate its offer to the airport. Airport vip lounges, or pre-boarding areas at the terminals can now have Immfly’s digital services at their disposal.

The day of the flight
The extension

The day of the flight means not only the flight but also beforehand in the airport, where only very few airlines can have a digital relationship with its customers.

From the moment someone looks for travel inspiration to the time it gets back home, there are several touch-points that constitute a commercial opportunity for airlines and its partners to interact with customers and get the most of those interaction in the form of revenue or in the form of customer satisfaction. Many airlines have done a great job using their digital channels and capabilities to communicate in a more personal and personalised way with their customers at most of those touch points, but still, there are significant gaps in that digital customer journey. There are still touch points that are not being used in a digital way. The biggest digital gap is the day of the flight, “the moment of truth” for NPS, the phase that most affects customer perception of the whole experience.

A seamless experience
Its benefits

Immfly offers now the opportunity to not only entertain passengers during that typically hectic time, improving their experience through personalization and choice, but also a new opportunity to monetize that digital relationship.

It is the chance to improve customer experience at the airport through entertainment and service at the same time that opens a new opportunity for ancillary revenues such as seatupgrades or activities at destination. Eventually, everything that could be done and enjoyed during the flight, can now be done before, on the ground.

Jimmy von Korff Martinez, co-founder of Immfly states “Combining the in-flight entertainment platform with the in-airport platform that offers the same entertainment content will allow customers to browse and select content before the flight for watching it later. In the same way will allow them to start watching a movie while waiting to board and continue watching the same movie in-flight, or to book or buy an activity on their final destination, which means passengers will benefit from a seamless experience and content consumption before and during the flight”.

From the airport, during the flight and post-flight, the Immfly wireless digital platform lets the airline expand the digital relationship with its customers, the data collection and revenue generation opportunities, and imp

At this year’s APEX we thought it would be interesting to watch out for the following as examples of potential show announcements: consolidations; large companies seeking smaller companies and ancillary products; and even passenger apps that help expand business, save money and allow for personalized customer experiences. And without saying, there will be more industry changes to write about in the coming weeks. True to form, this week’s Hot Topic primarily pertains Astronics, a big player that is getting even bigger. With recent acquisitions, Astronics is expanding and diversifying within the aviation realm. We were fortunate enough to have some questions answered by Executive Vice President, Mark Peabody and several other company Division Presidents.

1. Mark, could you please provide us with a broad statement on company updates: number of subsidiaries, number of employees, locations, and a broad product focus to set the stage?

Astronics serves the world’s aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries with innovative power, lighting, connectivity, interiors, structures, and service solutions. Comprised of 11 subsidiaries, the Company employs nearly 3,000 team members in locations around the globe.

2. How many of the Astronics’ subsidiaries deal with data and connectivity for the aviation industry and who are they?

Five of Astronics subsidiaries provide connectivity and data solutions for the aviation industry, as outlined below:

  • Astronics Ballard Technology – Aircraft data systems
  • Astronics AeroSat – Connectivity solutions including IFC antennas and radome systems
  • Astronics Connectivity Systems & Certification (formerly Telefonix and Astronics Armstrong Aerospace) – Inflight entertainment hardware systems, including installation design, kitting, and certification
  •  Astronics Custom Control Concepts – VIP IFE and CMS systems
  • Astronics PGA – VIP IFE and CMS systems

Astronics CCC and PGA often cooperate on providing solutions together for the VIP/BizAv markets. For the purposes of this article, we will include information from Astronics Ballard Technology, Astronics AeroSat, and Astronics CSC, where their product lines serve the needs of commercial transport.

3. What specific products/systems (antennas, WAPs, servers, data storage, etc.) does Astronics currently manufacture via their subsidiaries?

For commercial aircraft, Astronics offers a broad system of hardware and software components to help customers create complete system solutions. These include:

Aircraft Data Systems – New smart sensing systems, aircraft interface devices, avionics I/O computers, avionics test & simulation interfaces, and other data and connectivity related products.

Inflight Entertainment Hardware Systems – Cabin wireless access points, IFE content loaders and servers, modem managers, custom IFEC LRUs, corded and cordless control units, and systems certification services.

IFC Antennas and Radome Systems – Complete connectivity system solutions including Aircraft SATCOM Ku-band antenna systems, aircraft radomes, adapter plates, and other necessary system components.

Here is a link that outlines our offerings.

Power to Support IFE. In addition, we support inflight entertainment and connectivity for the airlines with integrated IFE seatback power systems. We also support the passengers in a BYOD environment by providing in-seat power systems to keep their devices charged while consuming content.

4.What features and benefits do the data and connectivity products from Astronics have over the competition?

  • Collaborative partner with product development, engineering, integration, and certification services for program success
  • Proven experience in the ecosystem – serve all major IFE ad IFEC providers with the most pertinent technology to provide a solution
  • Customer-centric solutions ranging from a simple LRU to an entire system
  • Breadth of product line, single supplier advantage
  • System agnostic hardware components, supports most IFE suppliers
  • Open architecture systems, putting the customer in control of their data
  • Vertically integrated engineering for fast solution deployment
  • Systems installation design, kitting, and certification, in house

5. Broadly speaking, how many aircraft have this type of your equipment installed today?

We have some systems with large installed bases, and some that are new to the market. Some of our product lines are on a few hundred aircraft, and in other connectivity product lines, we estimate that we supply about 85% of long haul aircraft. The numbers of installations, and the numbers of systems per aircraft, are not always reported back to us. In general, we estimate that Astronics connectivity and data solutions are in service on thousands of commercial aircraft worldwide.

6. We asked Mark what types of data and connectivity are provided. Specifically, is Astronics providing any other types of data connectivity besides passenger related – if any? Flight data, computational analysis, AI? And how is it used: on the aircraft, on the ground, both?

Here are the inputs from three of our various Division Presidents.

From Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology: Astronics Ballard Technology provides connectivity from aircraft data systems to pilot and crew devices. Through our aircraft interface device products including the webFB and webCS, we host applications that can process that aircraft data and provide useful information in real-time to pilots and crew as well as off the aircraft (with a connectivity system). We work with third party software developers that create helpful applications such as en-route optimizations, fuel savings, weather avoidance, electronic logbooks, data processing/analytics on the aircraft, storage of operational manuals/procedures, and many more. We also provide a Quick Access Recorder application that allows for collection of aircraft data to be downloaded off the aircraft later for analysis.”

From Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC): “Astronics CSC’s Summit Line of connectivity products serve up passenger connectivity on board the aircraft. Our offerings include servers, content loaders, cabin wireless access points, and other related equipment for the industry’s inflight entertainment providers. We estimate that over time, we have enabled the internet of flight with 16,000 LRUs plus 20 million IFEC cradle and cord reel assemblies in both linefit and retrofit installations.”

And from Matt Harrah, President of Astronics AeroSat: “Equipment from Astronics AeroSat bridges the connectivity on and off the plane to deliver passenger connectivity via Ku-band satellite networks (both traditional wide-beam and next generation HTS spot-beam satellites). Passengers use our bandwidth for internet streaming (emails, text, videos, movies, etc). Our FliteStream Series antennas come in both tail-mount and fuselage-mount versions and serve as today’s highest performing antenna technology, with a bandwidth/spectrum RF efficiency that provides the least impact to satellite network operators while providing cost benefits for aircraft operators. Astronics’ IFC system incorporates an open architecture, with the ability to work across satellite networks and minimize connectivity costs. Finally, our new AeroShield Radom System delivers the lowest drag to reduce fuel burn costs for aircraft operators with connectivity.”

7. Let us now continue with Mark: As a result of these company acquisitions that can deliver complete IFE systems, has this caused Astronics to rethink what and how you sell? In other words, some of the newer subsidiary acquisitions never sold directly to the airline, instead they were suppliers to other IFEC vendors. Is there a new strategy now? Along the same lines, historically when we have visited the Astronics booth at a trade show we would see various ‘boxes’ that help comprise an IFE system. Can we now expect to see an “Astronics IFE System(s)” in the near future?

Astronics intends to remain system agnostic and primarily support our partners in creating complete IFE systems. Our solutions enable global airlines, inflight connectivity providers, systems integrators, and airframe manufacturers to create seamless connectivity experiences.

8. Was there a future company strategy involved in the acquisition of companies involved in data, data analysis, data transmission/acquisition or did acquisitions happen more based on dollars and/or complimentary diversification to the existing business model?

Astronics looks opportunistically at companies that are available to acquire and certainly considers long-term strategy as part of our decision to move forward.

9. In the past, Astronics has been a data communicator. Do you see a future whereby Astronics is going to be a data analyzer? In other words, historically Astronics data efforts have been directed more toward passenger data. Do you see Astronics adding more data sources and considering data analysis? Furthermore, since around 1990, aviation has seen an increasing value of, and usage of data, to-and-from the aircraft. As technologies like Artificial Intelligence and massive data analysis have provided better analytical information of things like engines and onboard computers, the use of data both to-and-from the airplane is helping things like maintenance, failure prediction and longer operational usage. Thus, data is becoming a very new and important part of aircraft operations, fault isolation and monitoring. Add this to an increase of passenger usage of data to-and-from the plane will be another part of data growth. The only question is will the airplane use one or multiple data systems and connectivity to deliver the data to the ground? While passenger data has been primarily (we guess) Astronics connectivity reason, we were wondering if this new data avenue is part of your future data goals?

Astronics understands the importance of data and analytics. Our goal is to enable our airline and airframe customers to access their data, and use this data to run their operations more efficiently. We provide the hardware, firmware, and software to make this happen. Let’s hear from Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology on this subject as well: “The choices of what networks to use on the aircraft along with the number and types of off-aircraft connectivity systems to implement are challenging issues that our customers face. Given our breadth of experience in aircraft data systems and the integration of various hardware systems to all work together, we believe that we are a great partner to our customers when navigating these choices.”

10. One or more of your recent subsidiary acquisitions have established manufacturing business relationships with China and Astronics has successfully marketed the EmPower product line to Chinese airlines over the years. As an industry leader with this much experience in the PRC, how do you see the recent trade disagreements between the USA and Chine affecting the IFEC industry as a whole?

Business climates can suddenly change. Trade disagreements can affect our industry, and we focus on ensuring our business offers a balanced global reach so that we can absorb the ebb and flow of these issues.

11. What will Astronics be showing at APEX in Boston?

At this year’s APEX Expo, Astronics will display a variety of power and connectivity solutions that improve passenger experiences and aircraft operational efficiencies. For seamless passenger and crew connectivity, Astronics will demonstrate a newly certified FliteStream inflight connectivity system hardware plus their Summit Line inflight entertainment system hardware. In power solutions, Astronics will present a breadth of new EmPower in-cabin products for use by passengers and crew, including a new wireless charging module and a new USB Type-C passenger power system. The Astronics SmartTray passenger PED holder will round out the offerings.

During the show, booth visitors who tweet a photo from the Astronics booth with the tag @AstronicsCorp and the hashtag #APEXexpo will be entered to win an iPad with an Apple store gift card to enjoy IFE content on the way home. View all of these solutions and enter to win in the Astronics booth, #343.

For additional information on Astronics power and connectivity solutions, visit Astronics.com.

Astronics also plans to demonstrate some brand new technologies, including an intelligent bin sensing solution, which provides bin capacity and other bin data to crews for increased safety, faster passenger boarding times, and improved operational efficiencies. The other new technology Astronics will feature is an exploration of Li-Fi, and ideas for harnessing it for use on aircraft. Li-Fi leverages light to send information, in contrast to Wi-Fi, which uses radio waves. Proven capable of transferring unprecedented data at several Gigabits per second, Li-Fi could eventually empower passengers to download an HD video in just a few seconds, for example.


INMARSAT & PANASONIC

Inmarsat and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) have agreed a strategic collaboration, for an initial ten-year period, that enables them to combine their highly complementary market leading services to offer broadband in-flight connectivity (“IFC”) paired with high-value solutions and services to customers in the commercial aviation industry worldwide.

This collaboration will enable airlines, aircraft manufacturers and passengers to benefit from the combined expertise of two companies that have been at the forefront of technology and innovation for nearly four decades.

Under the terms of the agreement, Inmarsat will become Panasonic’s exclusive provider of Ka-band IFC for commercial aviation. Panasonic will now be able to offer Inmarsat’s high-speed, broadband connectivity service, GX Aviation, powered by Global Xpress, the world’s first global Ka-band satellite network, owned and managed by a single operator. Panasonic will continue to invest in its own network and, with GX Aviation as a primary offering for new business, will be perfectly positioned to serve both its current and future customers.

In addition, Inmarsat will now be able to offer Panasonic’s market-leading portfolio of services and NEXT solutions to Inmarsat’s commercial aviation customers. This includes customer support services available from Panasonic’s Customer Performance Center and Technical Services teams.

The collaboration, which is already being deployed with a mutual customer, presents a unique opportunity to leverage Inmarsat’s proven track record of high-quality and innovative global mobile connectivity, and Panasonic’s market-leading in-flight entertainment, digital services and connectivity solutions.

Looking forward, Inmarsat and Panasonic will also collaborate on the development of a next generation GX Aviation terminal, as well as new connectivity-enabled services, data analytics and technology to improve overall end-to-end performance.
By delivering this step-change in aviation services capability, airlines will have access to new and better solutions that address widely recognized industry challenges of capacity, coverage and compatibility. This will give greater quality, consistency of experience and more choice to airlines and their passengers in the IFC market, which by some estimates could exceed $100 billion by 2035[1].

Accurascan is participating in the Apex Expo with an aim to showcase its Passport and ID Card OCR scanning solution at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, USA.

September 13, 2018– Accurascan, a leading R&D company today announced its participation in the upcoming Apex Expo at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) at booth #104 from September 24 – 27, 2018. According to company CEO – Mr Yasin Patel, “We are participating in the event to offer our incredible Passport & ID Card OCR scanning solution for faster web and mobile check-in for airlines.” Highly useful for Border Security, faster Immigration Process and enhancing Customers Experience.

Organized by the Airline Passenger Experience Association, the event is likely to attract thousands of industry professionals and companies from all over the world and will prove to be a brilliant platform for the company to create business opportunities too.

The skilled developers and designers of Accura Technolabs have developed a robust OCR scanning engine that runs on mobile devices and web platform. Offering Android, iOS, Web SDK & API to customize or integrate the same with any existing application to further extend its potential in facilitating fast scanning of Passport and ID cards for KYC, Quick User On boarding, Web & Mobile Check-in.

The company is also offering a Web API (application program interface) to meet the scanning needs of various industry verticals in an inexpensive way.

Forget the plane mode, it is time to switch to “Shopping mode”

Paris, France | September 21, 2018–The French start-up SKYdeals will present the first solution of inflight “Shoppertainment” at APEX EXPO in Boston from 24th to 27th of September 2018 at booth 154. This gathering is the industry’s largest PaxEx event exclusive to experts and decision-makers committed to elevating the level of the worldwide airline passenger experience.

SKYdeals offers a new shopping experience to onboard passengers

SKYdeals aims at becoming the leader of e-commerce for travelers.

Providing the best targeted deals on products and destination services to passengers during their time of travel and entertaining them with its innovative inflight shoppertainment features.

SKYdeals developed the first marketplace allowing brands and destination services to lively promote targeted deals and last-minute offers to all connected passengers while in the air. Depending on the vendor, delivery mode can be home delivered or collect at the gate of arrival.

This technology can be implemented in only two weeks and without any investment thanks to its “Plug & Play” catalogs.

Based on a revenue sharing model, SKYdeals also offers to airlines a new source of revenues from inflight connectivity. During this event, SKYdeals will present their technology and revenues simulations which show all the potential of inflight e-commerce.

Soon in the air

Further to a first test in 2017 on Paris-Punta Cana line from French Bee, SKYdeals will soon deployed on long and short-haul flights from major Asian and European airlines.

After Apex Expo event, SKYdeals will fly away back to France to expose to the TFWA Digital Village in Cannes (September 30th– October 5th), the Duty Free and Travel Retail Global Summit.

Gains 250 Watts of AC Outlet Power for Cockpit Electronics and Electronic Flight Bags 

Witchita, Kansas | September 20, 2018–True Blue Power, a leading provider of advanced power solutions for the global aviation industry, announced today that a major U.S. airline has selected the company’s TI250 Series DC-to-AC Inverter to provide AC power to cockpit electronics and electronic flight bags (EFBs) on board the airline’s fleet of Airbus, Boeing, and McDonnell Douglas passenger aircraft. The airline joins more than 50 commercial partners, worldwide, equipped with True Blue Power inverters, voltage converters and USB charging ports.

“Commercial airlines are asking for certified, economical DC-to-AC power solutions,” said Tom Genovese, Director of Commercial Airline Sales for True Blue Power. “Our TI250 inverter is FAA/EASA TSO certified, which allows installation through engineering order (EO). The cost savings of the unit and the efficiencies gained during installation made the True Blue Power inverter the clear choice. To date, we have delivered 650 inverters for this particular airline’s fleet.”

The True Blue Power TI250 Inverter provides 250 watts of wall outlet power from the aircraft’s 28 VDC input. Engineered to run cooler and featuring a fanless design, it is highly efficient, saves energy and reduces weight. True Blue Power inverters are lighter, smaller and more economical than competing units. The company’s line of certified power products offer unique benefits and are an ideal fit for commercial aircraft in need of crew and passenger power. The inverter’s exceptionally low price point is less than a quarter the price of Original Equipment Manufacturers’ (OEMs) alternatives.

True Blue Power’s line of advanced power solutions is on display in exhibit #504 throughout APEX EXPO, September 24–27, at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. For more information, contact Tom Genovese, Director of Commercial Airline Sales, at 316-634-4520 or visit truebluepowerusa.com.

If you have just decided to attend APEX/AIX Boston and are looking for hotels near the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) checkout the Seaport District. We note that three of the hotels located near the BCEC are full for the dates of the show but there are at least seven large ones nearby and many more a taxi ride away, so open the map on the following link for the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and nearby hotels: Seaport District Hotels

Here is a visitors guide that might help during your visit to Boston. The guide has 19 pages of restaurants alone and tons of hotels: 2018 OVG (148 pages your computer). This is all you need to locate just about anything you will need while visiting the city. And yes, it has a map and bus routes! Lastly, here is the latest floor plan for exhibitors to see who is where.

Also, do not forget the Aircraft Interiors Expo, Boston (AIX, Boston) will be there as well, as it is the fall’s only meeting place for the passenger experience industry, organized by Reed Exhibitions, it is the sister event to AIX Hamburg. The co-location with APEX EXPO and IFSA EXPO enables the entire supply chain and airlines to experience the full spectrum of aircraft interior products and passenger services in one city.

So now, lets get down to this week’s news:


LUFTHANSA SYSTEMS

More robust, more powerful: BoardConnect Portable enables high-quality streaming for up to 100 users from a single device. Lufthansa Systems will present this new generation of its award-winning solution at this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Expo (APEX) in Boston (September 25 to 27). The brand-new prototype will be displayed at booth no. 753. Lufthansa Technik will present its Lconnect hardware and service package at the same stand.

“With BoardConnect, we are currently one of the fastest-growing providers for wireless in- flight entertainment (IFE) in the aviation industry, and we are among the top five in the market with our multi-award-winning solution and wide product range,” said Jan-Peter Gänse, Head of Passenger Experience Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “The demand for IFE and IFEC solutions continues to grow. Our close cooperation with Lufthansa Technik and other partners gives us a decisive competitive advantage here.”

The new generation of BoardConnect Portable is even more flexible, powerful and robust, with an impressive modular concept. The new Mobile Streaming Unit (MSU) corresponds to a real server platform including all necessary access points. It can supply twice as many users with high-quality IFE streaming as the first generation. This means that in future one MSU will still be powerful enough to support one single-aisle aircraft, even if the airline expects higher usage rates. Thanks to its modularity, the new BoardConnect Portable can be individually tailored to the needs of the airline.

BoardConnect Portable can also be supplemented with Iridium NEXT technology upon request. This product, known as BoardConnect Portable/Link, has a low bandwidth and enables services such as messaging and online payment. The required antenna can be installed in a suitable position in the cabin without the need for an STC. The smart STC-free service is part of the Lconnect product family from Lufthansa Technik and only requires a minor modification. Lconnect comprises all relevant services to equip an aircraft with IFE and IFEC. In addition to the physical installation, this includes all required aeronautical and regulatory work, conversion planning and materials supply, the manufacture of diverse high- end components such as the WLAN access point, the supply of materials in regular flight operations, and the repair of defective components.

Another highlight from Lufthansa Systems will take place even before the trade fair opens this year. For the first time in the history of the APEX EXPO, the event will start above the clouds with an exclusive pre-conference on board an Airbus A350. The Lufthansa #FlyingLab APEX EXPO on September 22nd on Flight LH424 from Munich to Boston is being organized by Lufthansa in cooperation with Lufthansa Systems and APEX. Videos of the live presentations will be streamed via WLAN so passengers can follow them on their own smartphones, tablets or laptops. The WLAN on board is based on BoardConnect. This is one more example of the variety of potential uses of the digital platform. “We are delighted to present the Lufthansa #FlyingLab for the APEX EXPO this year together with Lufthansa and APEX. This exceptional event at an altitude of 10,000 meters will vividly show how innovative technologies and smart ideas can contribute to a new dimension of the passenger experience,” said Olivier Krüger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems.

BoardConnect enables passengers to use streaming technology during a flight to access an airline’s entertainment program on their own devices. The product suite includes four hardware versions: In addition to the permanently installed classic BoardConnect solution, there is the flexible BoardConnect Portable version as well as the BoardConnect Plus (broadband) and BoardConnect Portable/Link (messaging) connectivity solutions. The digital BoardConnect 5.0 platform runs on all versions. Thanks to its modern docker technology, the software enables additional digital services from partners to be integrated quickly and easily. Lufthansa Systems is also providing content such as movies, TV series, music and magazines with its BoardConnect Media Services. All products work in perfect harmony with each other and can be acquired separately or in combination. The different versions make it possible to scale the use of the products as needed.

Image: New BoradConnect Portable Case


LATECOERE

Latécoère, through its Interconnection Systems branch – No. 2 worldwide in onboard wiring and No. 1 worldwide in embedded video systems- has been selected for its “Direct View” cabin video system by Lufthansa Technik as part of its redesigned A320 cabin offering.This equipment was specially designed to allow the flight crew to maintain a watch for passenger safety issues during critical flight phases and responds perfectly to the priority issues for on-board security.

The Latécoère “Direct View” system is a high-tech solution providing a direct view of passenger seating and aisles throughout all flight phases. Developed in close co-operation with Lufthansa Technik and EASA representatives, over 130 shipsets of aircraft parts are already scheduled for delivery.

Latécoère remains confident in its ability to extend its offering to other customers with Lufthansa Technik, one of the leading providers of maintenance, repair, overhaul and modification services for civil aircraft.


GORE

W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. (Gore) will exhibit an extensive collection of GORE Aerospace Cables and Materials for in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) at the APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) Expo in Boston, MA, on September 24-27, Booth 801. For decades, Gore has provided the aerospace industry with new and trusted solutions that deliver failure-free performance in challenging conditions. Gore’s high-performance solutions in durable, compact, flexible and routable designs meet today’s and tomorrow’s requirements for reliable high-speed data transfer and high-bandwidth signals on digital networks. Passengers and flight crews can take off and stay connected on devices and critical systems while traveling, and installers will find them easier and faster to route in narrow aircraft configurations.

Solutions that will be on display at the expo include GORE Microwave/RF Assemblies that deliver precise radio frequency for Ka, Ku and L Band satellite applications, as well as GORE Leaky Feeder Antennas that deliver constant connectivity to a variety of wireless networks. Also featured will be GORE Aerospace High Speed Data Cables that support the latest open-source architectures and standardized protocols such as HDMI, USB, Ethernet, and more. Finally, Gore will be showing their revolutionary cable jacket systems that are proven to meet stricter industry requirements for more durability and protection in difficult aircraft environments.


FLAME DISTRIBUTION

Flame Distribution will be launching over 400 hours of new content this autumn and will be attending this year’s APEX Expo to offer its latest acquisitions to Inflight buyers worldwide.

Thomas Gould, VP Content Sales, Worldwide Transport & Digital at Flame Distribution, who is attending APEX Expo, commented: “Inflight sales are an important focus for Flame. I am really looking forward to meeting clients old and new and continuing to forge strong relationships with buyers at this year’s market.”


AIRFREE

Airfree, the marketplace of the sky that reinvents the inflight shopping experience onboard connected aircraft, will exhibit during the APEX show in Boston next week.They are announcing this week our selection in Starburst Accelerator program – the startups incubator specializing in aerospace – to accelerate our international development. You can discover more on their introduction video here


AIRBUS

  • AIRBUS appointed Christian Scherer as Chief Commercial Officer, replacing Eric Schulz, who resigned. The company is expected to name Scherer’s replacement as CEO in the coming days. Scherer will start his new assignment with immediate effect. He will report to Airbus Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tom Enders. Christian Scherer, CEO of ATR since October 2016, held many senior management positions within the Group. At Airbus, where he started his career in 1984, Christian was Head of Contracts, Leasing Markets and Deputy Head of Sales as well as Head of Strategy and Future Programmes. At Airbus Defence and Space, he headed Marketing & Sales. Born in Duisburg, Germany, and raised in Toulouse, France, Christian Scherer holds an MBA Degree from the University of Ottawa in international marketing and graduated from the Paris Business School (ESCP).
  • The first A380 for All Nippon Airways (ANA) took to the skies, completing a maiden flight from the Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse, France to the Airbus site in Hamburg, Germany. The aircraft is now being prepared for cabin installation and painting in the airline’s special A380 livery. ANA HOLDINGS INC. placed a firm order for three A380s in 2016, becoming the first customer for the superjumbo in Japan.  The first delivery is scheduled early 2019, and the A380 will initially be operated on the popular Tokyo-Honolulu route. To date, Airbus has delivered 229 A380s, with the aircraft now in services with 14 airlines worldwide.
  • AIRBUS booked 274 orders (219 net) in 2018, through August 31.

BOEING

  • Boeing awarded a $3 million grant to the George W. Bush Institute’s Global Leadership Impact Center. The grant, part of a previously announced $10 million donation to the Institute, will support women’s empowerment and global leadership programs aimed at promoting education, healthcare and economic opportunity for women around the world.
  • Boeing and Air Peace of Nigeria today announced a new order for ten 737 MAX 8 airplanes during a signing ceremony in Lagos. Air Peace already operates Boeing 737s between major cities in Central and West Africa. The airline, which recently added Boeing 777s to its fleet, is looking to soon launch its international flight operations.
  • The Boeing Company announced that Phil Musser, senior vice president of Communications, will depart the company in early November due to personal and family considerations. Anne Toulouse, current Boeing vice president of Global Brand Management, will replace Musser on an interim basis until a permanent successor is named.
  • A Boeing B787 completed a SFO – Zurich flight powered by a blend of biojet fuel (30%) derived from Carinata, an oilseed crop that can be grown like food crops. Agrisoma Biosciences (Canada) partnered with United and World Energy to complete the test.
  • BOEING booked 738 orders (581 net) in 2018.

Ted Neck’s Passing

Ted Neck, who was the long time representative for Panasonic and responsible for many of the trade show exhibits that graced the WAEA and APEX. Ted died unexpectedly on Thursday, 9/13 from a heart attack. Services are pending. They will be held in LA/Playa Vista area of California – where Ted and his wife, Rachel, reside – but time and place not fixed as of this writing. The family would be interested in Ted’s friends and co-workers sharing any stories they may have about working/partying with Ted. “If anyone wants to attend the services and speak, please let them contact me at  ken_lew@ieee.org I have taken the responsibility to filter the inputs and present them to the family to see if there is time and space at the service for many speakers from Ted’s working life.”


Other News

Technologies will explore new ideas for how connectivity can enhance future passenger experiences and airline operations

East Aurora, NY | September 17, 2018– Astronics Corporation (Nasdaq: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, will demonstrate two new technologies intended to improve an aircraft’s passenger experience and operational efficiency at the upcoming APEX Expo in Boston, in booth #343, from September 25-27.

Introducing the Astronics Smart Aircraft System

Throughout the three-day event, Astronics will demonstrate its
pioneering Smart Aircraft System technology, which includes
the new Intelligent Bin Solution. This patent pending system
uses Internet of Things (IoT) connection technologies to
detect and report in real time the status of overhead stowage
bins, which speeds aircraft boarding processes and reduces
passenger stress. The company will preview software
applications that provide a visual indication of remaining bin
space, even if the bin is closed, to enable cabin and gate crews to quickly direct passengers to available bin locations and know when to start checking bags.

In addition to providing a more efficient boarding process that can reduce costly delays, the bin sensors deliver cabin safety benefits during the flight by detecting outgassing events from hazardous devices, such as lithium-ion batteries, minutes before smoke or fire occurs. With this early detection, a notification is sent instantly to crewmembers who can proactively take action and contain in-flight battery events before they cause passenger alarm and lead to costly aircraft diversions.

“We started researching and investing in wireless sensing technology several years ago in anticipation of airline customer needs,” explained Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology. “This research has expanded into a comprehensive IoT sensing and wireless mesh system that will help airlines gain valuable insight to drive operational savings in all aspects of flight. We are excited to be previewing it at APEX Expo.”

Astronics was recently granted several U.S. patents on the innovative technology with others pending. The latest generation Intelligent Bin System prototype is currently in laboratory testing with a major airline in anticipation of in-service trials in an operational environment.

Previewing Li-Fi Applications for Aircraft

In a second technology demonstration, PDT, an Astronics Company, will demonstrate some new potential applications for the emerging technology of Li-Fi, in a collaboration with pureLiFi. Li-Fi leverages light to send information, in contrast to Wi-Fi, which uses radio waves. Proven capable of transferring data at an unprecedented several Gigabits per second, Li-Fi could eventually empower passengers to download an HD video in just a few seconds, for example.

“This is a brand new technology and we are exploring ways in which it can improve the passenger, and even crew, experience on an aircraft in terms of connectivity,” said Mark Schwartz, Vice President of PDT. ”Li-Fi may be a future passenger experience delighter and we are excited to explore and discuss these possibilities with it.”

Powered Solutions

Keeping passengers’ electronic devices (PEDs) powered is increasingly important on the connected aircraft as more airlines incorporate a “bring your own device” business model for enjoying inflight entertainment. In support of this, Astronics will demonstrate a myriad of innovations including the recently introduced wireless charging module as well as the new EmPower® USB Type-C outlets and companion in-seat power supply system.

Astronics brings a long history of innovation and successfully introducing new technologies and products to market, including the EmPower passenger in-seat power technology that has had a profound impact on the passenger experience. The new technology explorations plus proven power solutions can provide a foundation for future aircraft manufacturers, airlines, IFE providers and other industry participants to improve experiences for passengers while also improving cost and time efficiencies for aircraft operators.

Astronics will give demonstrations of these and other technologies on-demand throughout the three days of the exhibit. Appointments can also be made by emailing events@astronics.com.

Per usual, the next few weeks will be filled with news about the upcoming EXPOS and the companies exhibiting in Boston, so lets tackle this week’s news.

PXCom

PXCom is excited to announce that it has partnered with Charlotte Dodson TV and SkyLights to deliver more innovative content solutions: PXCom’s flagship end-to-end solution, XPLore by PXCom, now enables airlines and their partners to onboard-upload any kind of content material. PXCom natively- integrates editorial content, sponsored content, and even call to actions (offered to passengers throughout the entire journey: pre-, in- and post-flight) in a consistent way via various channels (mobile, web, and of course IFE/C).

TRAVELWELL is a personal lifestyle and wellness channel, supporting passengers throughout the entire journey. A comprehensive library of exercises, nutrition, destination knowledge and meditation experiences are available for viewing in video, audio, digital and VR formats. TRAVELWELL offers the latest innovation and tech advances that will provide clients with a one-stop shop for accessing a world of wellness, wherever they go. Shop for the latest well-being products; relax before the flight through anti-stress tips; use guided routines to stretch during your travels in order to arrive refreshed; simply explore the destinations inflight – rejuvenating spas, organic health spots, the fascinating local cultures soon to be encountered – thanks to a full digital experience on the mobile app, on IFE and on SkyLights’ latest VR headset (AlloSky – see rectangle above). Travel far and wide, confident in the knowledge that TRAVELWELL has your wellness covered – to ‘feel good’ on the go.

Charlotte is your wellness journey companion, guiding you ‘along the way’. Discover a vast range of sensationally-delivered information and inspiration – from the depths of tropical forest exploration, to relaxing on stunning beach sands – as Charlotte guides you through simple yet visually-rich (and easy-to-navigate) content that will serve to both rejuvenate and refresh yourself along the journey. No matter the itinerary, Charlotte is there with you every step of the way.

Join in and travel well. Visit us at APEX Boston | 24-27 September BOOTH 750. More about PXCom on www.pxcom.aero 


IFPL

IFPL will be demonstrating their latest audio products in Boston at APEX  in addition to a broad range of products that are currently flying on many aircraft around the world. IFPL has supplied more than 2.5m units in a 22 year history.


THALES

  • In November 2016, Thales was chosen by Hong Kong Airlines to equip their new A350 and A330 aircraft with AVANT IFE and connectivity solutions and FlytCare services.
  • AVANT, Thales’s state-of-the-art Android IFE solution, will provide Hong Kong Airlines’ passengers a customizable experience with a robust selection of features and applications.
  • Hong Kong Airlines A350 will fly with Ka-band connectivity offering fastest airborne internet speeds to their passenger. Entry into service is set for September 2018.ck up your components from the right side.

VISION-BOX

Vision-Box and Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) — operators of Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (BLR Airport) in south India – signed today an agreement to launch paperless biometric self-boarding technology, aimed at transforming the passenger experience and creating future-ready Airport.

The goal of the program is to simplify the journey by making it paperless from registration to boarding. Biometric technology will identify passengers by their face as they move across the Airport, avoiding stops and the repeated presentation of boarding passes, passports or other physical identity documents.

With the implementation of the biometric technology, BLR Airport will become the first Airport in India to have an end-to-end solution for paperless air travel.


AIRBUS: AUGUST 2018

Airbus booked orders for five A320 Family jetliners in August while delivering a total of 54 aircraft from its A220/A320 single-aisle product lines and widebody A330/A350 XWBs.The new business involved three A320ceo (Current Engine Option) aircraft for Lufthansa and two A321neo (New Engine Option) versions for Air New Zealand. Both airlines currently operate large fleets of A320 Family jetliners.

These transactions bring net orders during the first eight months of 2018 to 219 aircraft. In the single-aisle series, the total was composed of 11 A319/A320/A321 jetliners in CEO configurations and 145 A319/A320/A321s in NEO versions. Widebody net orders during the January-August timeframe were for four A330ceo and four A330neo aircraft, along with 36 A350 XWBs and 14 A380s.

Airbus deliveries in August were made to 32 customers, with single-aisle jetliner handovers involving three A220s and 42 A320 Family jetliners (including 31 in the A320neo/A321neo versions). In the widebody category, four A330-200/A330-300s and five A350-900/A350-1000s were delivered during the month. Milestone handovers in August included the initial A350 XWB for Air China and the first to Sichuan Airlines (via AerCap), along with Gulf Air first-delivered A320neo. With the months order and delivery activity taken into account, Airbus overall backlog of jetliners remaining to be delivered stood at 7,415 aircraft at 31 August, representing approximately nine years at current production rates.

With over 2,000 already registered, students can now access to the purpose-built digital competition platform in order to upload their idea in Round 1 of the competition. Airbus launched the sixth Fly Your Ideas competition in June 2018 and the next generation of innovators can now submit their proposals tackling one of the six challenges set out by Airbus (Electrification, Data Services, Cyber Security, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality). Students need to fill an online questionnaire about their idea, highlighting the technology behind it, market analysis, originality, added value and potential obstacles. In order to visualize the idea, the teams must also submit a simple sketch. The Round 1 submission phase ends on 16 November 2018 and is followed by an online assessment where a team of Airbus specialists recruited from across the business will review and evaluate all submitted ideas. The live final of Fly Your Ideas will be held in 2019, where students will have the opportunity to showcase their ideas to an audience of industry experts. Fly Your Ideas is a global competition for universities and students from all over the world to innovate for the future of aerospace, including Commercial, Defence & Space and Helicopters. Airbus is seeking ideas that could change aerospace in the decades to come and create a safer, cleaner and better-connected world. The competition is an opportunity for students to build valuable employment skills including teamwork, project management and presentation skills and to apply their classroom learning to real-world challenges. As well as joining Airbus on site to further develop their ideas, up to six finalist teams will compete to share a prize fund of € 45,000 and the chance to take their idea forward within the industry.

Since the competition launched in 2008, over 20,000 students from more than 650 universities in over 100 countries have been involved. Since 2012, the competition has been supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO underlines the value of this partnership. “Fly Your Ideas is an inspirational endeavor for students around the world and UNESCO is proud to be a part of this initiative. The new challenges will allow students to think outside the box and come up with sustainable solutions for global problems beyond aerospace – exactly what the world needs from our future generations!”


OTHER NEWS

Africa´s fastest growing airline relies on proven flight planning solution

Raunheim | September 10, 2018– Lufthansa Systems and Ethiopian Airlines Group today announced the introduction of Lufthansa Systems’ Lido/Flight 4D solution in Ethiopian’s flight planning system. This new generation of the proven flight planning solution from Lufthansa Systems offers extensive automation and optimization functions for flight planning and control processes. Ethiopian Airlines will be using Lido/Flight 4D for the next five years.

“We are pleased to further cement our collaboration with Lufthansa Systems by upgrading our flight planning system to Lido/Flight 4D, having used the Lido Flight Planning Service Lido/FPLS for the last five years. Lido/Flight 4D is one of the most effective flight planning solutions worldwide and has been rewarding in augmenting our efforts to optimize flight planning and control endeavors in our expanding service and latest technology acquisition. With the introduction of Lido/Flight 4D, we are aiming to further optimize our routings and flight planning processes, thereby reaping benefits in terms of reduced flying time and fuel consumption,” said Tewolde GebreMariam, Group Chief Executive Officer at Ethiopian Airlines.

The core features of Lido/Flight 4D are its integrated and continually updated aeronautical database and the so-called optimizer. Lido/Flight 4D calculates the most suitable route for each flight based on all flight-related data, weather conditions and the current airspace situation including any restrictions.

Around 120 airlines with a total of more than 6,000 aircraft are currently using Lufthansa Systems’ flight planning solution, which has been successful in the market for more than 17 years. The most recent releases covered certain basic components for migrating to current technologies as well as functional innovations and improvements for takeoff and landing weight optimization, crew briefing and route optimization. In various comparative analyses based on thousands of flight plans, Lido/Flight was able to reduce fuel costs by an average of 2 percent, cut flying times by 1.9 percent and save 1.6 percent of air traffic control fees compared to its competitors.

“The contract with Ethiopian Airlines is strategically important to us,” said Marco Cesa, Senior Vice President Regional Management EMEA at Lufthansa Systems. “The deal will be noticed throughout Africa and strengthens our position in the local market. The reliability and flexibility of our product won over Ethiopian Airlines and will provide considerable support to the carrier going forward.”

APEX is coming, September 23 through 27, in Boston, Massachusetts. We will have more on the upcoming event in the next few weeks. You should know that Boston is the largest city in that state and home to some 660,000 folks. It was founded in 1630 and is home of Boston Commons, Freedom Trail, and of course, Harvard.

Let’s get started with a new augmented reality app developed by SITA and Virgin Atlantic. Over the past decade, SITA and Virgin Atlantic have often worked together to drive innovation in technology. In 2013, the two companies partnered to develop award-winning Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch technology enabling Virgin Atlantic concierge staff in the airline’s Upper Class Wing to deliver the industry’s most high tech and personalized customer service. SITA is the communications and IT solution provider that transforms air travel through technology for airlines, at airports and on aircraft. The company’s portfolio covers everything from managed global communications and infrastructure services, to eAircraft, passenger management, baggage, self-service, airport and border management solutions. Owned 100% by more than 400 air transport industry members, SITA has a unique understanding of its needs and places a strong emphasis on technology innovation. We should also note that Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson 34 years ago with innovation and customer service at its core. Today Virgin Atlantic carries 5.5 million customers annually.

SITA/VIRGIN ATLANTIC

Virgin Atlantic is introducing innovative training technology – as part of an innovation collaboration with SITA, the leading global IT provider – that allows the airline’s cabin crew to use augmented reality to familiarize themselves with new aircraft. Using an iOS app, cabin crew use augmented reality to walk through and acquaint themselves with the layout of Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft without even visiting the airport or getting onto the plane. To complement the existing classroom-based training, this app allows crew members to see the cabin projected as a portal in front of them and are able ‘walk into’ the cabin. The AR app simulates the full-size view of the interior cabin, giving crew a feel for their new working environment, including accurate spatial awareness. This allows the airline to train crew on new aircraft in a fun and engaging way from the airline’s headquarters in Crawley, London.Augmented reality presents several interesting use cases in the air transport industry, ranging from sales, training, operations and improvement to the passenger experience. SITA Lab, SITA’s strategic technology research arm, and Virgin Atlantic have teamed up to identify and test some of the more promising use cases, starting with the crew training app. Over the past decade, SITA and Virgin Atlantic have often worked together to drive innovation in technology. In 2013, the two companies partnered to develop award-winning Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch technology enabling Virgin Atlantic concierge staff in the airline’s Upper Class Wing to deliver the industry’s most high tech and personalized customer service.


THALES

Thales has appointed Jean-Paul Ebanga, as Vice-President of Flight Avionics activities. Flight Avionics provides secured, natively connected systems and services that are in operation on two out of every three aircraft flying around the world every day. He reports to Gil Michielin, Executive Vice-President for Avionics.

Jean-Paul will accelerate business model renewal and digital transformation of our flight avionics activities to the benefit of long term growth” declared Gil Michielin, “his sound experience in the aerospace domain and his track record of commercial and industrial successes worldwide will be key assets.” After starting his career at Philips, Jean-Paul Ebanga joined Snecma in 1988, then Safran, where he held several leadership positions in electronics, systems and aircraft engine. In 2001, Jean-Paul Ebanga was appointed Vice President and General Manager of Snecma Control Systems. He was subsequently appointed Vice President of Snecma’s Commercial Engine Division. From 2007, he served as chairman & CEO of PowerJet, a joint company between Snecma and Saturn (Russia). In 2011, he became President & CEO of CFM international, a joint company between Safran and GE (USA) until February 2017 when he joined Safran head office as SVP Corporate Strategy

Mr. Ebanga is graduated from the ENSEM Engineering School.


IFPL

Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) specialists IFPL will be demonstrating how easy it will be for airlines to make the transition from USB-A to USB-C at APEX 2018 in Boston, USA. IFPL’s latest USB development enables airlines to easily transition from USB Type A to Type C using their existing USB-A onboard power architecture or supporting the newer USB-Power Delivery architectures that can provide up to 60W of power whilst designing their outlets to enable seamless seat integration.  IFPL will be demonstrating the Patent Pending USB Charge To Charge technology offers a clever way for airlines to charge their passengers to turn on the USB power and also launch adverts and promotions when the passenger plugs in their device.As always, IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display. An expert team will be on hand to discuss your requirements on booth #707 at APEX 2018.


STATESIDE CABINSPACE LIVE/APEX

Aircraft Interiors Expo, Boston (AIX) the fall’s only meeting place for the passenger experience industry, has today announced the agenda for the stateside CabinSpace LIVE Seminar Theatre.

Taking place at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Centre, the action-packed agenda will see visitors treated to expert insight on implementing innovation in the cabin interior.

Encouraging candid debate on the topic, the audience will be invited to share experiences relating to product developments, methodologies and materials to accomplish the best onboard interior solutions. Amongst the varied topics up for discussion, trends to be explored include:

Certification & Compliance: Designing for Regulations 

Delving into best practice design, this session looks at the product journey from the drawing board, through to development and finally placement on the aircraft. Looking at the place of compliance and regulation in the process, the audience will hear from experts about how to overcome challenges associated with regulation in the most time and cost-effective ways. To bring the topic to life and in order to learn from the experience of others, Senior Program Managers from AAR will share their experiences designing for regulation.

Session takes place on Tuesday 25thSeptember from 11:00 am – 11:45am

New Manufacturing Technologies – Capitalising on 3D Printing Capabilities

Keeping costs low whilst exploring new technologies has long been an issue for the aviation industry. This session will explore how manufacturing capabilities such as 3D printing are enabling innovative aircraft interiors products and parts without, increasing costs. From differentiating your business in a crowded market, to after-life use of printed parts, this session explores how to maximize the benefits of investing in 3D printing.

Session takes place on Tuesday 25thSeptember from 15:15pm – 16:00pm

Spatial Dynamics

Bringing together a panel of industry-leading experts, this keynote discussion on spatial dynamics looks at how to maximize cabin space and make it work for passengers, operational staff and crew alike. From balancing overhead bin space with headroom and ensuring innovative technology meets passengers’ ergonomic needs, spokespeople from airlines, OEMs and seating companies discuss space and its use inflight.

Session takes place on Wednesday 26thSeptember from 14:00pm – 15:00pm

To view the full agenda for CabinSpace LIVE, please click here.


AIRBUS
For the third time in a week, Airbus Perlan Mission II has set a new world altitude record for a glider, this time soaring the engineless Perlan 2 to 76,124 feet, in the process collecting vital data on flight performance, weather and the atmosphere. Yesterday’s flight by pilots Jim Payne and Tim Gardner surpasses even the maximum recorded altitude in level flight of the U.S. Air Force’s famous U-2 Dragon Lady reconnaissance aircraft: 73,737 feet, flown by pilot Jerry Hoyt on Apr. 17, 1989. The U-2 is powered by an engine that generates 17,000 lbs. of thrust. By contrast, the Perlan 2 is engineless, weighs just 1,500 pounds, and soars to its record altitudes on rare stratospheric air currents formed by mountain winds combining with the Polar Vortex.

In a single week, Perlan has set and then surpassed a world altitude record three times:

  • Aug. 26, 2018: Jim Payne and Morgan Sandercock soar to 63,100 feet, besting the record of 54,000 feet set by Airbus Perlan Mission II on Sept. 3, 2017
  • Aug. 28, 2018: Jim Payne and Miguel Iturmendi reach 65,600 feet
  • Sept. 2, 2018: Jim Payne and Tim Gardner climb to 76,124 feet

The overall altitude record for level flight of a manned airplane is held by the SR-71 Blackbird at 85,069 feet. The pressurized Perlan 2 glider is designed to fly to 90,000 feet, conditions permitting.Airbus Perlan Mission II will continue its 2018 flying season through mid-September, when the season for stratospheric mountain waves in the southern hemisphere begins to die down, and the all-volunteer Perlan Project team will return from Patagonia to homes in the U.S. and around the world. The number of flights remaining will be determined by weather conditions.


BOEING/VIRGIN AUSTRALIA

Boeing and the Virgin Australia Group announced the airline is adding the largest and most efficient member of the 737 MAX family to its growing single-aisle fleet. The carrier has converted ten orders for the 737 MAX 8 for the larger MAX 10 variant.

The airline, which has a number of 737 MAX 8s on order, said it saw the value of adding the MAX 10 to the mix as the aircraft will provide additional capacity and flexibility. With its headquarters in Brisbane, Australia, the Virgin Australia Group is the country’s second-largest airline with a fleet of more than 130 aircraft. The Next-Generation 737 has formed the backbone of the Group’s fleet with more than 80 currently in operation and the 737 MAX is expected to bolster the Group’s fleet. The MAX 10 is the largest member of the 737 MAX aircraft family. The airplane will offer operators the lowest cost per seat mile of any commercial aircraft[1] and fly 200 nautical miles (370.4 km) farther than today’s Next-Generation 737s. This extended range means that the 737 MAX 10 will be able to cover 99 percent of single-aisle routes around the world.

Virgin Australia joins more than 20 customers who have placed over 500 orders and commitments for the MAX 10. In all, the 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane family in Boeing history, having attracted more than 100 customers and nearly 4,700 orders. For more information and feature content, visit www.boeing.com/commercial/737max.


OTHER NEWS

The partnership will provide a regional component service and repair center to support inflight connectivity products for Asia Pacific airline customers

East Aurora, NY | September 4, 2018–Astronics Corporation (Nasdaq: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries, announced today that its wholly owned subsidiary Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification has entered into a long-term agreement with Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (HAECO Group). Under the agreement, the two companies will establish a service center to provide Astronics and its airline customers with Line Replaceable Unit (LRU) services in China and Asia Pacific.

In accordance with the agreement, HAECO Group
subsidiary HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen)
Ltd. will establish a fulfilment center to provide specialized engineering and component services, including test, maintenance and repair of Astronics CSC’s SummitTM inflight connectivity LRUs. HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) offers extensive experience as the authorized repair center for a wide range of component OEMs, with a proven track record of serving component repair needs of airlines in the region.

Astronics CSC selected HAECO Group for this partnership because of the company’s comprehensive aircraft engineering and maintenance operations in the Asia Pacific region. “As our Summit line of IFEC products experiences increasing demand in the Asia Pacific and China markets, we sought a partnership to enable a regional component service and repair center to deliver localized support for these customers,” said Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics CSC. “We’re happy to announce the appointment of HAECO and look forward to continuing to strengthen this relationship.”

Clement Au, General Manager of HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen), said, “We are excited to begin a business partnership with Astronics CSC. With our combined technical expertise and vast experience, we are confident that the Component Services Centre will provide reliable, high quality in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) product maintenance services to airlines in the Asia Pacific region.”

Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification serves as the experienced, global market leader for in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for aircraft. The Company specializes in connectivity hardware, integration engineering, and certification services. Together with other Astronics subsidiaries, Astronics CSC offers the most complete set of IFEC hardware solutions available from a single vendor.

Reaffirms Gogo’s Third-Party Revenue Strategy with Airline Partners

Chicago | September 4, 2018– Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced today a partnership with Brazilian mobile provider TIM, to offer discounted Wi-Fi to their PRA MIM Elite Black customers on Brazilian carrier, GOL Linhas Aéreas.

TIM PRA MIM, TIM’s loyalty program, gives elite members of their post-paid mobile plan benefits from partner companies. This benefit will be live starting September 3 and runs through Oct. 3and offers TIM’s most loyal customers a 30 percent discount on Wi-Fi passes on the airline. GOL will offer this promotion on all Gogo 2Ku equipped aircraft.

“Airline passengers comprise a captive audience for global brands. They are highly sought after by third-party brand partners like TIM, who want to engage with them,” says John Wade, Gogo’s president of commercial aviation. “Driving passenger satisfaction through free or discounted Gogo inflight connectivity is a win/win for our airline partners and for Gogo.”

Rockwell Collins’ industry-leading MiQ seating platform has been chosen by Turkish Airlines for the business class cabin of its new fleet of medium-haul, single-aisle aircraft. Initial deliveries of 92 shipsets for Airbus A321neo aircraft and deliveries of 77 shipsets for Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are now underway.

The MiQ platform was selected for the superior passenger experience it delivers to business class travelers with a comfortable, ergonomic reclining position, including a four-way adjustable headrest and leg rest. The seat also provides a large console for passenger storage. Aisle seats feature level access in which the aisle-side armrest retracts downwards to allow passengers extra width in the seat, as well as enabling them to swing their knees into the aisle so window-seat passengers may move in and out of the row.

“We are very excited to introduce our latest business class seats in our new generation 167 narrow body aircraft. As we continue to take firm steps to increase our passengers’ comfort to an even higher level, we now place those state-of-the-art seats, having special features such as seat back inflight entertainment screens, retractable privacy panels, accessible personal stowage and power outlets, in our new medium-haul fleet. With keeping a close eye into customer expectations, we will continue to present the highest standards with our cabin and seat designs in the future,” said Ahmet Olmuştur, Turkish Airlines Chief Marketing Officer.

“The modular design elements of the MiQ seating platform allowed us to work closely with Turkish Airlines to provide a customized configuration that includes a new privacy feature to ensure that business class passengers enjoy an optimal flight experience,” said Mark Vaughan, vice president and general manager for Interior Systems at Rockwell Collins. “In addition, we designed custom leather dress covers to fully reflect the airline’s brand.”

MiQ’s award-winning design is available for business class and premium economy seating for both narrow- and wide-body aircraft.


ASTRONICS

Astronics is celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary! Happy Anniversary from IFExpress! and, oh yes, Astronics PGA Solutions was selected by AMAC Aerospace for a VIP jet completion program – A Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental VIP jet will incorporate Astronics PGA inflight entertainment and cabin management systems.


SITA

GOL, Brazil’s largest airline, is introducing new self-service bag-drop technology to speed up the airport experience. Passengers of the carrier, can now use SITA’s Scan&Fly to check in their bags when flying domestically from Rio de Janeiro International Airport and will soon be able to do so at São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport as well. This self-service option halves the time it takes to check in a bag and gives passengers more control over their journey. Each year, GOL flies around 32 million passengers. Providing significant reductions in the time it takes to check in is a major bonus for passengers, as well as helping GOL reach the targets set as part of the IATA Fast Travel program.

Sergio Quito, Vice President of GOL Operations, said: “GOL has always pioneered the use of innovative processes. Self-service is important for us because it improves the customer experience and helps streamline our operations. SITA’s self bag-drop technology provides what we look for – it is fast, reliable and easy to use.”SITA is retro-fitting Scan&Fly units at each airport. Using them, passengers will be able to check in their baggage in just 40 seconds. As well as the units themselves, SITA also provided consultancy to develop the optimized processes in both airports, integrating the solution into the airlines’ and airports’ infrastructures. Elbson Quadros, SITA Vice President, Latin America, said: “Our goal is to use technology to improve the passenger experience and to make airline and airport operations more efficient. Our self bag-drop solution does exactly that. We are proud to have GOL as the first airline to adopt this technology in Latin America.”

SITA is providing 24/7 support both on the ground and through the SITA Command Centers, which proactively detect issues to avoid any passenger disruption. That monitoring ranges from tracking surges in internet usage which might have an impact on the airport, to alerting the team on the ground that bag tag paper supplies are running low.


AIRBORNE WIRELESS NETWORK

Airborne Wireless Network announced that they are implementing a 30,000-to-1 reverse stock split. every 30,000 shares of the Company’s common stock outstanding will be automatically combined into one new share of common stock without any action on the part of Airborne Wireless Network stockholders.  As a result of the reverse stock split, there will be approximately 296,000 shares of common stock outstanding (subject to adjustment due to the effect of rounding fractional shares into whole shares).


AIRBUS

Airbus Perlan Mission II, the world’s first initiative to pilot an engineless aircraft to the edge of space, made history again yesterday in El Calafate, Argentina, by soaring in the stratosphere to a pressure altitude of over 62,000 feet (60,669 feet GPS altitude). This set a new gliding altitude world record, pending official validation.

The pressurized Perlan 2 glider, which is designed to soar up to 90,000 feet, passed the Armstrong Line, the point in the atmosphere above which an unprotected human’s blood will boil if an aircraft loses pressurization. This marks a second glider altitude world record for Jim Payne and Morgan Sandercock, the same two Perlan Project pilots who soared the Perlan 2 to 52,221 feet GPS altitude on Sept. 3, 2017, in the same remote region of Argentine Patagonia. The 2017 record broke a previous record that was set in 2006, in the unpressurized Perlan 1, by Perlan Project founder Einar Enevoldson and Steve Fossett.

“This is a tremendous moment for all the volunteers and sponsors of Airbus Perlan Mission II who have been so dedicated to making our nonprofit aerospace initiative a reality,” said Ed Warnock, CEO of The Perlan Project. “Our victory today, and whatever other milestones we achieve this year, are a testament to a pioneering spirit of exploration that runs through everyone on the project and through the organizations that support us.”

“Innovation is a buzzword in aerospace today, but Perlan truly embodies the kind of bold thinking and creativity that are core Airbus values,” said Tom Enders, Airbus CEO. “Perlan Project is achieving the seemingly impossible, and our support for this endeavor sends a message to our employees, suppliers and competitors that we will not settle for being anything less than extraordinary.”

Another first-of-its kind achievement this year for the Perlan Project was the use of a special high-altitude tow plane rather than a conventional glider tow plane. During yesterday’s flight, Perlan 2 was towed to the base of the stratosphere by a Grob Egrett G520 turboprop, a high-altitude reconnaissance plane that was modified for the task earlier this summer. Operated by AV Experts, LLC, and flown by chief pilot Arne Vasenden, the Egrett released Perlan 2 at around 42,000 feet, the approximate service ceiling of an Airbus A380.


BOEING

Boeing reports that the Asia Pacific region will have the greatest global demand for new civil aviation personnel over the next 20 years. The region is projected to account for 33 percent of the global need for pilots, 34 percent for technicians and 36 percent for cabin crew.

The 2018 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook is an industry forecast of new aviation personnel demand. It is closely tied to projections for new airplane deliveries around the globe. As with personnel demand, the Asia Pacific region leads demand for new commercial airplane deliveries over the next 20 years. Forty percent of all new passenger airplane deliveries in the next 20 years will be delivered to airlines in the Asia Pacific region.

According to the outlook:

  • The 20-year demand for new commercial sector pilots in the region remains strong at 240,000. While demand decreased five percent, this was driven by regional trends that indicate a peak in pilot retirements in the first decade of the forecast and a softening of replacement demand in the later years, due to a younger generation entering the pilot ranks long before reaching mandatory retirement age.
  • New commercial technician demand decreased five percent to 242,000. This is due to advancements in product development on the 737 MAX, which have resulted in increased maintenance efficiencies. Overall, maintenance hours required over the life of the airplane will be reduced.
  • New commercial cabin crew demand increased three percent to 317,000 due to anticipated fleet mix, cabin configuration and regulatory requirements.

For the first time, the outlook included the helicopter and business aviation markets. The inclusion of these sectors increases the region’s demand to 261,000 pilots, 257,000 technicians and 321,000 cabin crew.

Leading the region in projected demand for new pilots, technicians and cabin crew:

  • China: 128,500 pilots; 126,750 technicians; 147,250 cabin crew
  • Southeast Asia: 48,500 pilots; 54,000 technicians; 76,250 cabin crew
  • South Asia: 42,750 pilots; 35,000 technicians; 43,250 cabin crew

“Strong demand for pilots in the region continues, and we expect that this will continue for the next several years,” said Keith Cooper, vice president of Training & Professional Services for Boeing Global Services. “Through our pilot training solutions, including the Pilot Development Program, we are helping to ensure a pipeline of pilots is ready to meet the industry’s demand.”

Boeing’s Pilot Development program is an accelerated training program intended to guide pilots from early stage ab-initio training through type rating as a first officer.


OTHER NEWS

Since APEX/AIX are within the next 30 days, we thought it was a good time to feature some of the IFEC products you will see there! Let’s get started.

IFPL

Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) specialists IFPL will be showcasing their latest power solutions at APEX 2018 in Boston, USA, with a full range of innovative products on display at the show.

IFPL will demonstrate how airlines can easily anticipate the power connectivity requirements of their passengers with a clever combination of a Reversible USB-A and USB-C. This combination offers 10W and 15W with a Power Delivery option that can provide up to 60W from the USB-C outlet. IFPL has sensibly split the 28V to USB-Power Delivery converter from the outlet.

Working with key industry partners, IFPL has delivered the innovative 2020 USB-A outlet which allows seamless integration into the seat. This system delivers an ergonomic and aesthetic advantage over traditional outlets. The modular design ensures easy on-wing replacement should the connector become damaged and allows for an easy upgrade path to USB-C. The result is an elegant installation of a fully integrated system that enhances the passenger experience whilst removing weight and complexity.

At APEX IFPL will show the latest design concept for a seatback PED (Portable Electronic Device) holder that provides USB and inductive charging. This bolsters the recent announcement of an inductive charge unit that delivers wireless charging at the seat, also designed to be seamlessly integrated.

IFPL will demonstrate how to turn USB power into ancillary revenue with its Patent Pending ‘Charge To Charge’ solution. This innovative solution allows airlines to be able to charge a passenger to turn on their USB power outlet and/or launch adverts or promotions when the passengers plug in their device, providing multiple ancillary revenue streams. This process is managed using only the airlines App and IFPL’s USB outlet providing an easy upgrade to current or planned installations by replacing the existing outlet for an IFPL Charge to Charge unit.

Another IFPL innovation is an integrated audio and Bluetooth jack. This is an upgrade to existing IFE systems to allow passengers to easily connect their own headphones, thereby further enhancing the customer experience. The audio jack is a critical component of any IFE system and IFPL believes that delivering high quality sound, with high unit reliability and minimizing the impact of Customer Induced Damage (CID) is vital in maintaining customer satisfaction.

For over 20 years IFPL has delivered a range of Long Life, Rapid Fit, INCAM and Breakaway MagSignal products and solutions. An expert team will be on hand to discuss your requirements on booth #707 at APEX 2018.


SITA

Xiamen Airlines, which is experiencing major growth across its domestic and international network, is using sophisticated software from SITA to set its fares competitively in all markets. The airline, which handled 32.7 million passengers in 2017, is highly profitable. It has achieved profits 31 years in a row and is now using SITA Airfare Insight to optimize its fares-related decision making. More than 180 million fares are published worldwide at any one time, and typically full-service airlines will update fares throughout their distribution network of GDSs, travel agencies and websites, several times a day.

By using SITA’s Airfare Insight Xiamen Airlines can stay ahead of the competition. It can set its fares based on a clear view of what its competitors are doing in markets across the world. Airfare Insight automatically identifies the relevant fare changes in the marketplace. It then immediately ensures appropriate prices are in place to support the airline’s overall commercial strategy. Chen Rong, Committee Secretary, Passenger Marketing & Sales, Xiamen Airlines, said: “Filing fares at the right price and at the right time can have a significant impact on profit margins.

SITA’s technology enables our commercial team at Xiamen Airlines to have the right fares distributed to the right customers. It also gives us the capability to analyze all our fares and manage them across multiple locations and time zones, which is vital as we expand our route network.” Today, Xiamen Airlines serves nearly 400 domestic and international routes covering China, Southeast and Northeast Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. With 1,074 destinations in 177 countries making sure the right fares are published in the right markets is challenging.

SITA Airfare Insight automatically identifies the relevant fare changes in the marketplace. It then immediately ensures appropriate prices are in place to support the airline’s overall revenue management and sales strategy.May Zhou, SITA Vice President & General Manager, East Asia, said: “Xiamen Airlines is one of China’s great successes with decades of profitability. Industry studies indicate that correct pricing can contribute 3-10% to overall revenues and SITA’s technology allows the airline to distribute all fares to customers at the ideal price point with head-office knowledge and approval. Airfare Insight also simplifies the end-to-end fares management process while putting competitive fares in key markets. A winning formula for this growing airline.” By achieving profits for 31 years in a row Xiamen Airlines has been an airline that has remained profitable for the longest period in China’s civil aviation industry. It enjoys the highest international financial rating among the Chinese airlines.


SITAONAIR

In an important next step for its innovation development program, Rossiya Airlines has implemented SITAONAIR’s CrewTab to advance its cabin crew operations.

Rossiya Airlines has worked closely with SITA and SITAONAIR – the SITA Group’s subsidiary and air travel industry’s connected aircraft service expert – to deliver its tailored CrewTab solution. Designed to optimize cabin crew work processes and activity, the device has been fully integrated with Rossiya Airlines’ information systems, enabling 450 Rossiya Airlines crew members to access all necessary flight information inflight via their iPad 4th Gen® tablet devices.

Currently, airlines typically provide such information in paper formats. By contrast, a key benefit of CrewTab is its ability to digitize workflows, streamline reporting, eliminate operational duplication and provide a complete flight information picture, quickly and efficiently. Rossiya’s CrewTab solution is available on regular and seasonal flights, as well as flights-to-order.

By enabling remote Internet access to airline information resources and systems, SITAONAIR CrewTab helps Rossiya to improve performance at key points in the onboard service experience. It does this by helping to streamline the interaction between the airline’s internal organizational units, supporting a more efficient document flow system, enhancing staff processes and reducing costs.

Cabin crews spend more time talking to passengers than anyone else in an airline, and are, therefore, central to the passenger experience. Deploying a tactile, responsive and information-rich technology, such as CrewTab, presents Rossiya with immediate benefits and advances to both the quality and efficiency of its cabin experience.


SkyLights
Today, SkyLights announces the launch of Skykids, its Immersive VR entertainment created especially to entertain children aged 6 to 12 on long-haul flights. The service, which lets children watch curated 2D, 3D and forward-facing 360° films in their own wearable cinema, was deployed fleet-wide on July 1st with SkyLights’ long-standing client XL Airways. Having seen significant success since day one,  SkyLights will continue the service beyond its initial holiday season scheduling.

According to a study commissioned by Emirates in 2017, children under 12 get bored 50 minutes into long-haul flights. With entertaining children identified as parents’ biggest concern when flying, and unruly kids voted the second most annoying type of passenger in Expedia’s 2017 passenger study, Skylights saw an opportunity to upgrade the customer experience of all passengers onboard. As a result, Skykids was developed, combining a fun and engaging VR headset design with a premium catalog curated especially for kids in partnership with 20th Century Fox. Going forward, SkyLights will offer airlines the new service alongside its flagship Allosky business class amenity solution. With this addition, the company aims to consolidate its position as the leading provider of VR entertainment for airlines.

SkyLights is an American-French company that leverages Cinematic VR as premium passenger entertainment. It has a signature immersive-IFE solution that transports passengers to their own, private, in-flight movie theater where they can enjoy 3D, 2D and VR content on a wide-angle cinema screen. On average, passengers use the device for 4 hours with a 90% recommendation rate.


AIRBUS

The first ACJ320neo[i] has been assembled on programme, fitted with CFM International LEAP-1A engines and painted in ACJ house-colours, in preparation for a first flight in the coming weeks.

After delivery to Acropolis Aviation of the UK in the last quarter of this year, the aircraft will enter outfitting at AMAC in Basle, Switzerland, where an Alberto Pinto-designed cabin will be installed, and be repainted in the customer’s colors. Like the airliner versions from which it is derived, the ACJ320neo Family features new-generation engines and Sharklets, saving around 15 per cent in fuel and delivering a leap forward in inter-continental range. The resulting ACJ320neo can fly 25 passengers 6,000 nm/11,100 km or 13 hours – enabling routes such as London to Beijing or Cape Town and Moscow to Los Angeles – while the ACJ319neo can fly eight passengers 6,700 nm/12,500 km or 15 hours. Featuring the widest and tallest cabins of any large business-jet, the ACJ320neo Family delivers similar operating costs and better residual value, while being about the same size. Orders for the ACJ320neo Family stand at nine aircraft, comprising three ACJ319neo and six ACJ320neo aircraft.


OTHER NEWS