Washington | February 9, 2017– CEOs representing Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today met with President Donald Trump and senior White House officials to discuss the critical role that U.S. airlines play as drivers of the economy and job growth across the country.

“U.S. airlines are an integral part of our nation’s economy, as millions of Americans depend on safe, affordable and abundant air travel and shipping options each day”
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A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio, was joined by the following member CEOs at the White House meeting: Brad Tilden, Chairman and CEO, Alaska Air Group; Bill Flynn, President and CEO, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc.; Dave Bronczek, President and Chief Operating Officer, FedEx Corporation; Robin Hayes, President and CEO, JetBlue Airways Corp.; Gary C. Kelly, Chairman and CEO, Southwest Airlines Co.; Oscar Munoz, CEO, United Continental Holdings, Inc.; Myron Gray, President, U.S. Operations, UPS.

“U.S. airlines are an integral part of our nation’s economy, as millions of Americans depend on safe, affordable and abundant air travel and shipping options each day,” said Calio. “We are grateful to President Trump for hosting this meeting and were encouraged by his in-depth understanding of our industry and the need to reform our air traffic control system. We share his administration’s goals of growing jobs, reducing taxes and regulation, and expanding our economy. We are confident we can achieve these outcomes by working together.”

Topics for discussion included:

  • Jobs and Economic Impact: The U.S. airline industry is an integral part of the U.S. economy employing nearly 700,000 people. We operate 27,000 flights each day that carry 2.2 million passengers and 50,000 tons of cargo. See these fact sheets for more information about airlines’ investments in the customer experience and our employees, as well as how we contribute to airport financing.
  • Air Traffic Control Modernization: The flying and shipping public deserve modernized air traffic control infrastructure. Unnecessary flight delays that are often the result of outdated, WWII-era technology and procedures cost the United States an estimated $25 billion in 2016 alone. Benefits of modernization will include: enhanced safety, reduced delays, fuel savings, reduced emissions, increased capacity and greater operational efficiency. See these fact sheets to understand why our air traffic control system needs modernization.
  • Regulatory Reform: We need smart reforms that will unlock the industry’s potential to expand jobs and improve the customer experience, while maintaining the high level of safety we have today. Commercial aviation was deregulated almost 4 decades ago. Yet, we’re still subject to more than 13,000 regulations across 13 federal agencies – and that’s just in the United States.
  • Taxation: Aviation is subject to 17 separate federal aviation taxes paid by airlines and their customers. Our passengers are over taxed and a portion of TSA and CBP so-called user fees are diverted to deficit reduction and other federal spending, paid by airlines and their customers. These taxes increased from $3.7 billion in 1990 to $23.1 billion in 2016. Currently, passengers pay 21 percent of a one-stop, round-trip domestic ticket in taxes, an excessive burden on our customers. You’d be hard pressed to find an industry with a greater federal excise tax burden than U.S. airlines. While the airports want an increase on the Passenger Facility Charge, the President stated that he does not like fees.

This week, IFExpress has a lot of new product/services probably announced as Aircraft Interiors, Hamburg, 4 – 6 April, 2017 approaches. This ‘Big Deal IFEC’ show is the culmination of Passenger Experience Week in Hamburg 3 – 6 April. We will have more on the expo later but let’s return to the topics of this weeks IFExpress:


INMARSAT
Inmarsat has announced a key infrastructure milestone for its European Aviation Network (EAN), following the successful test and validation of the EAN Satellite Access Station (SAS). As the first solution in the world to integrate connectivity from a satellite, operated by Inmarsat, and a LTE-based ground network, operated by Deutsche Telekom, EAN will provide a true in-flight broadband experience for millions of airlines passengers traveling throughout Europe. The SAS is located in the Greek town of Nemea and operated under an agreement with OTE, the largest telecommunications provider in Greece and member of the Deutsche Telekom Group. Engineers undertook rigorous performance and stability tests to verify the SAS’s capabilities to serve as a reliable and robust gateway between Inmarsat’s S-band satellite and the internet. The SAS consists of a 13-meter antenna that provides feeder links to the satellite, a radio frequency sub-system and a radio access network provided by Inmarsat partner Cobham SATCOM. And if you want to see a video that does a good job of explaining the program, check out the video on  youTube


IFPL
Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) specialists IFPL will be showcasing their latest power solutions at AIX 2017 in Hamburg. With new consumer devices adopting USB-C as standard, IFPL has actively engaged its customers on how this technology can be applied to IFEC and how to transition from USB-A. Along with its baseline USB-C outlet, IFPL is currently developing a range of USB–C 3.1 peripherals and solutions. Visitors to stand 2C10, we are told, can see their USB-C outlet and discuss industry adoption of this technology.

In previous shows IFPL demonstrated their high power and data USB-A 2.0 and we covered it IFExpress. These are now in-service along with IFPL’s clever reversible option. Recently, IFPL has worked closely with GORE to develop the new USB-A 3.0 module, that combined IFPL USB 3.0 with GORE Aerospace USB 3.0 cables and provides the ideal solution for delivering high power (2A, 5V DC) and data transfer (up to 5Gbps) as per USB 3.0 requirements. This gives passengers the ability to maximize the benefits of both charging their Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) and interfacing with the Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system.

IFPL has also enhanced the capability of its existing 1225 unit, the 110V AC Universal Remote Power Outlet, with the addition of a high power USB-A socket and will be demonstrating the new 2011 unit on the stand. In addition, IFPL has been working with key industry partners to develop a new range of power solutions that focus on ensure ergonomic and aesthetic seat integration. The combined approach delivered a system that maximizes the use of the physical space of the seat and seamlessly design the USB outlet into the actual seat arm. The result is an attractive installation of a fully integrated system that has no impact on passenger legroom. As always, IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display and the expert team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirements that visitors to AIX 2017 may have.

Editor’s Note: IFPL is based on the Isle of Wight, just off the South Coast of England. Founded 20 years ago by CEO Geoff Underwood, IFPL today enjoys one of the largest portfolio of proven IFEC products and services in its sector.


SITAONAIR
Airline passengers flying to and from the Ivory Coast can now expect a connected experience, as national airline, Air Cote d’Ivoire (VRE), signs up for inflight passenger connectivity services from world-leading provider SITAONAIR. The new deal will deliver connectivity solutions to VRE’s brand new A320s, in the form of SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR and Mobile ONAIR products. With Internet ONAIR onboard, airlines can offer passengers seamless inflight internet access, connecting their personal devices by opening a browser – just as they would with a public Wi-Fi hotspot. Airlines can use Internet ONAIR to personalize their passenger relationships by developing a portal that can offer an interactive and engaging experience for the passenger. It also offers opportunities for airlines to grow their ancillary revenues. Mobile ONAIR, meanwhile, offers passengers an airborne mobile phone service that enables them to make phone calls, send texts and use their mobile phone data inflight, through an extensive number of roaming partners in Africa and across the world. In June 2017, SITAONAIR’s teams will begin activating Internet ONAIR and Mobile ONAIR on five new Air Côte d’Ivoire A320s equipped with Airbus’ Airline Network Architecture (ALNA) server platform. The services will make use of SwiftBroadband, an IP-based data service from Inmarsat that SITAONAIR, as distributor, will operate as service provider.


AirSatOne
Aviation Satcom provider, AirSatOne, announces lower rates for its SwiftBroadband connectivity. Taking care of customers is a top priority at AirSatOne and one reason why the company maintains a 99% customer retention rate. So when Inmarsat, the leader in global satellite communications, lowered its prices AirSatOne was quick to pass the savings on to its customers. Customers using AirSatOne as their service provider have access to its custom global network for the same price as the generic network used by the competition. AirSatOne’s custom network includes worldwide teleports and IP PoP (Internet Point of Presence) with advanced network security and our globally deployed Flightstream SA which provides web filtering, compression, consumption tracking and firewall customized for mobile communications.


AIRBUS
When Lufthansa’s new long-haul Airbus A350-900 enters service this coming Friday, passengers will experience a cabin lighting concept tailored to the human biorhythm for the first time – 24 different lighting scenarios on board ensure that passengers reach their destination well-rested and with less jetlag than is typical for a long-haul flight. The scientific concept for the new lighting technique originates with the “jetlite” startup, anchored in the aviation cluster, and was brought to market-readiness assisted by the six-month Airbus BizLab accelerator program.


PANASONIC AVIONICS
Effective immediately, Hideo Nakano will serve as CEO of Panasonic Avionics, succeeding Paul Margis, who has left the company. Mr. Nakano is an avionics industry veteran and was most recently the Deputy CEO of Panasonic Avionics. His previous experience at Panasonic includes serving as CFO of Panasonic’s Automotive & Industrial Systems Company, the largest of Panasonic Corp.’s four internal companies, as well as CFO of Panasonic Corporation of North America. Panasonic Avionics has also appointed Mark Jennings to serve in the new position of Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Mr. Jennings will be responsible for duties related to operations, engineering, sales and marketing. Mr. Jennings joined Panasonic Avionics in 1998 as Regional Director based in Dubai and most recently served as Vice President of Operations. Additionally, Seigo Tada has been named Chief Financial Officer of PAC. He succeeds Paul Bottiaux, who has left the company. Mr. Tada will maintain his position as VP of Finance and Controller of Panasonic Corporation of North America. Mr. Tada joined Panasonic in 1985 and has held roles of increasing responsibility within the finance function throughout his time with the company, including ten years in the United States. You can read more here.


LUFTHANSA TECHNIC
LT just completed Ka Band connectivity on it’s first VIP A330 and installing similar technology on some 32 Lufthansa A320 planes PER MONTH!


GLOBAL CONNECTED AIRCRAFT SUMMIT
Here is the agenda. The summit happens Wednesday, June 7, through Friday, June 9. this year.


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Isle of Wight | February 6, 2017– Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) specialists IFPL will be showcasing their latest power solutions at AIX 2017 in Hamburg.

With new consumer devices adopting USB-C as standard, IFPL has actively engaged its customers on how this technology can be applied to IFEC and how to transition from USB-A. Along with its baseline USB-C outlet, IFPL are currently developing a range of USB–C 3.1 peripherals and solutions. Visitors to stand 2C10 can see their USB-C outlet and discuss industry adoption of this technology.

In previous shows IFPL demonstrated their high power and data USB-A 2.0. These are now in-service along with IFPL’s clever reversible option. Recently, IFPL has worked closely with GORE® to develop the new USB-A 3.0 module, that combined IFPL USB 3.0 with GORE Aerospace USB 3.0 cables and provides the ideal solution for delivering high power (2A, 5V DC) and data transfer (up to 5Gbps) as per USB 3.0 requirements. This gives passengers the ability to maximise the benefits of both charging their Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) and interfacing with the Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system.

IFPL has enhanced the capability of its existing 1225 unit, the 110V AC Universal Remote Power Outlet, with the addition of a high power USB-A socket and will be demonstrating the new 2011 unit on the stand. In addition, IFPL has been working with key industry partners to develop a new range of power solutions that focus on ensure ergonomic and aesthetic seat integration. The combined approach delivered a system that maximises the use of the physical space of the seat and seamlessly design the USB outlet into the actual seat arm. The result is an attractive installation of a fully integrated system that has no impact on passenger legroom.

As always, IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display and the expert team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirements that visitors to AIX 2017 may have.

APEX/IFSA
The other day, we got a note from Robin Applebaum, APEX Marketing Communication Director we thought you might like to see: “I wanted to reach out to you today with some exciting news from the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and the International Flight Service Association (IFSA). This morning, APEX and IFSA announced a more tightly aligned relationship to better serve the global airline industry. This step will help to further solidify APEX as the industry’s most influential member-based organization dedicated to elevating the entire passenger experience; and will help IFSA to grow globally as the pivotal airline association of the catering and in-flight services market. While both APEX and IFSA will remain fully independent, this alliance triggers additional collaboration in the planning of association co-locations and events, joint working groups, reciprocal guest board member attendance at board meetings, as well as now having a common Chief Executive Officer serving both associations.”

When we asked for more background info, she responded: “As I am sure you are aware, APEX and the International Flight Service Association (IFSA), have had a long established ‘sister-association relationship.’ Last week’s announcement only serves to further align the two groups. As part of this strategic relationship, APEX will be leveraging IFSA to represent the foundation of the association’s catering and services sector. “This will not only help the association to grow its footprint, but will also further solidify APEX as the industry’s most influential member-based organization dedicated to elevating the entire passenger experience. For IFSA, aligning with APEX will help them to expand its reach globally, build additional strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations, and establish itself as the industry’s global representative of the growing catering and in-flight/onboard hospitality market.”

“Additionally, the inclusion of more catering and service elements at APEX events will attract greater numbers of senior airline decision makers who oversee this sector as well as IFE by offering a greater diversification of products, services and information. As demonstrated at APEX EXPO in Singapore, this type of approach yields an increase in potential customers for event exhibitors and other vendor participants. Finally, it will help to better position APEX events against the backdrop of assertive for-profit show competition.”


Gogo
“To celebrate the fleet-wide upgrade to their new JAL SKY NEXT product, the airline will start offering free Wi-Fi on all equipped domestic flights from February 1, 2017 till August 31st 2017. Connectivity is provided through Gogo using our satellite Internet technology. You’ll find the SKY NEXT product on select 777 -300, 777-200, 767-300 and 737-800 aircraft. JAL was our first international customer, and we’ve been honored to partner with them since 2014 on connectivity and entertainment for their domestic passengers.

This promotion from JAL is just one of the latest to offer Gogo products and services free to their passengers. Last year, we partnered with T-Mobile to provide free Wi-Fi to their subscribers, and most recently, Alaska Airlines rolled out their Free ChatTM product which lets passengers access popular chat apps like iMessage, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp on their smartphone.

In addition to connectivity promotions, we also provide the technology allowing airlines to offer free wireless entertainment to their customers. The product, called Gogo Vision, streams movies and TV shows from our airborne server to most mobile devices, laptops and tablets. Movies and TV shows from Gogo Vision can now be found on more than 2800 aircaft on some the largest airlines in the world. Today, many of Gogo’s airline partners are offering all or some of the content free to passengers.”


AirSatOne
Aviation Satcom provider, AirSatOne, announces lower rates for its SwiftBroadband connectivity. Taking care of customers is a top priority at AirSatOne and one reason why the company maintains a 99% customer retention rate. So when Inmarsat, the leader in global satellite communications, lowered its prices AirSatOne was quick to pass the savings on to its customers.

Customers using AirSatOne as their service provider have access to its custom global network for the same price as the generic network used by the competition. AirSatOne’s custom network includes worldwide teleports and IP PoP (Internet Point of Presence) with advanced network security and our globally deployed Flightstream SA which provides web filtering, compression, consumption tracking and firewall customized for mobile communications.

“We think this is an exciting time for the Satcom market. With more and more operators and executives finding it essential to conduct business and stay in sync with the home office while traveling, we hope reducing airtime charges will encourage more aircraft owners to invest in installing Satcom systems in their aircraft,” says Kremsreiter. Satcom systems work everywhere (except at the poles) so in addition to increasing productivity, Satcom hardware increases the aircraft’s value and worldwide marketability when it comes time to sell.


SITA
Airlines and airports are investing in technologies to help predict and prepare for future events. This is according to The Future is Predictable, a report published today by air transport IT provider, SITA. It outlines how efforts are being made to tackle the estimated US$25 billion[1] cost of flight disruptions to the air transport industry by harnessing artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, predictive analytics and other progressive technical capabilities.

SITA’s analysis reveals that predictive tools using artificial intelligence and cognitive computing are likely to be adopted by half of airlines and airports over the coming five to 10 years. However, a few front runners are already trialing predictive modeling, machine learning, and data mining. These efforts are mainly focused on initiatives that will provide passengers with more relevant information about their journey to create more seamless and personal experiences.

During 2017, SITA Lab will be validating delay predictions with airlines and airports and expects to complete up to five trials with its industry partners. The next stage will be to incorporate its delay prediction algorithm and disruption warning feeds into SITA’s services to the air transport industry. In the report, leading airports and airlines share their experiences including Gatwick Airport where a seamless passenger experience from curb to gate is the goal. Here several different areas of airport activity are tracked to measure performance and move towards predicting it.

As artificial intelligence develops the importance of maintaining the human touch is not lost on the airlines and airports. Indeed, the combination of people and artificial intelligence is described as transforming the travel experience. The science of artificial intelligence is developing quickly and airlines and airports are turning to the academic community to help them with predictive tools to tackle disruptions. SITA’s report discusses research that is being carried out with scientists from Binghamton University, State University of New York; University of Nottingham as part the European Union-funded consortium PASSME; Carnegie Mellon University; Oxford University’s Data Science Laboratory in the Mathematical Institute and University College London School of Management.

The Future is Predictable combines SITA’s global industry experience and studies with commentary and case studies from airports and airlines that are investing in the latest research and technologies.

Check out the full press release here.
For further details download SITA’s full report – The Future is Predictable


Phitek
New Zealand-based audio equipment and technology developer Phitek Systems has been sold to New York-listed Amphenol Corp, providing an exit for a number of domestic VC investors. Phitek’s previous backers include Direct Capital-managed TMT Ventures and Stephen Tindal’s K1W1 investment vehicle. TMT, which has been invested since 2005, has a direct 27 per cent and a 14 per cent holding shared with the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund. Meanwhile, K1W1 owns 39 per cent. Phitek designs and supplies aircraft in-flight entertainment interconnect products for the commercial aerospace industry. You can read more here.


Lufthansa Technik
Luftahansa Technik has announced a two-in-one solution (TIOS) antenna radome for the Boeing 737-700 and -800. The antenna, installed on the vertical stabilizer to reduce drag and positively affect the aircraft’s center of gravity, will make it possible to install Ka-band antennas to provide high-speed internet, TV connections and a high-definition camera. The radome is up to 200 lb. (100 kg) lighter than the original and is FAA validated and has an EASA Supplemental Type Certification. You can find satellite communication options, products, services and companies in MRO Links, MRO-Network.com’s searchable directory.

TIOS – Two antennas under one radome – YouTube


Notes

  • Rich Salter told IFExpress: “Re: data transmission via light (LiFi), I just signed on to Moderate a session at AIX’ Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) on April 3 in Hamburg. It is the Tech Horizons session (last one of the day) in the Connected Journey track, and one of the presenters is Prof Harald Haas of Edinburgh who is founder of PureLiFi  – and he coined the term “LiFi” too.”
  • Richie Sugimoto reports that Aircraft Cabin Systems has just received Certification of ISO9001 and AS9100 – Congratulations!

More Stuff

We started the first installment of our 2016’s predictions review in last week’s issue, so here is Part 2, or the wrap-up, from last year’s crystal ball – you can see how we did:

A) Beacons:
While last year we wrote about the future of beacon technology to be used in airports and on baggage, the market did not grow as quickly as we anticipated and this was due to a lot of factors. The following quote from tnooz sums it up pretty well: “As airports still search for use cases with value, and there is no generally accepted platform for this technology and its applications, the adoption is consequently slow.” Standards are the issue but we are happy to report some airlines are evaluating the technology.

Here is what we wrote last January:
“We have shown a number of beacon devices in pictures from the IFE trade shows but basically we are talking about mobile location, mobile intelligence or mobile sales communication devices. These are small battery free or line powered devices that communicate with your device over Bluetooth (4.1) and Wi-Fi. The folks at SITA have been developing a lot of airport related solutions and it remains to be seen when they will come aboard planes. Developed at Apple, the iBeacon Registry is their effort to get this technology started in airports and here are their services: It allows beacon owners (airlines, airports or 3rd parties) to manage their beacon infrastructure and track where they are placed in an airport. The technology enables airports to monitor beacon deployment to prevent radio interference with existing Wi-Fi access points. It provides beacons owners with a simple mechanism to set the ‘meta-data’ associated with beacons. Also, it has an API for app developers who want to use these beacons for developing travel and other related apps.”

Notes SITA: ‘The aims of the registry are to promote the use of beacons in the Air Transport Industry and reduce the cost and complexity of deployment. This can be achieved with the following design goals:

  • Promote shared beacon infrastructure to reduce cost and complexity of deployment.
  • Introduce standard beacon types and data definition to encourage reuse.
  • Provide a simple to use API to discover beacons and get meta-data about beacons.
  • Provide tools to airport operators and beacon owners to visualize and track beacons.
  • Be vendor agnostic – the service should work with beacons from any vendor.”

While airport beacon technology has not taken off as well as we expected we provide this current list of the technology and its’ applications, and the further use of wireless devices used to find things.

B) Security:

“This topic is massive and we will cover it for many times and years to come but we wanted to share one thought from an online article we read – ‘People were reported to be ‘almost universally’ the biggest weakness in information security, ahead of technology and processes..” We note, of the respondents that reported to have an insider threat or policy, 70% offer employee training to minimize risk it said “The company employs intelligence teams that study different aspects of communications, user activity, social media, suspicious activity and other details,” said one respondent. “We’re seeing a lot more hands-on training, employee monitoring, and testing to address the issue,” said Ari Kaplan, security researcher. In fact, this human focused trend will be the number one item at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, the show of new gimmick things, one venue stood out: “#1 Say Goodbye to Cool, Hello to Security and Safety. At CES we have come to expect the latest new shiny gadgets but this is the beginning of change. The world is changing and aviation will be focused on this subject this year. Just consider how many folks touch technology that plugs into planes!”

If anything, we underestimated how big this subject was to become in our aviation lifestyle. The folks at Transparency Market Research noted that the total commercial aviation market is predicted to climb to $29.3 Billion by 2021 from $25.3 B in 2016 – roughly half of the market will be Avionics retrofits, but they note: “The use of modern commercial avionics systems also makes aviation vehicles more susceptible to online hacks.” Thus, our interest in security.

Another perfect example of interest growth is the increase in security related web links we save in our browser. In the beginning of 2016 we had 9 links identified – today we have 64. While we can’t begin to identify the many stories related to security failings at airports and from airlines and aviation hackers last year, this subject will get bigger and bigger – with a possible unacceptable number in 2017 – some possibly being potential horror stories.

C) Virtual Reality:

We noted VR last year: “Don’t get too excited about virtual reality for aircraft applications. In fact, here is the view from Rick Merritt in EE Times who seems to agree: “Some people will claim virtual and augmented reality will be the next big thing in the run up to the debut of a handful of major platforms in the spring. But by fall the heat will start to fade as consumers, chilled by their high price tags and underwhelming performance, give a pass on them as gifts for Xmas 2016.”Some airlines have been flirting with the concept of VR for a number of years and have even featured the technology in their airline lounges, but we believe this technology has a long way to go before it can migrate successfully to the airborne environment, especially if motion sickness is taken into consideration.”

It also begins to look like augmented reality might have a better inflight usage and acceptance this year. As an example the airline might transmit data to augmented devices to place information on glasses or phones like location, airspeed, whatever. However, The industrial market for augmented reality, and the logistics and manufacturing AR markets in particular, will soar by more than 400% in 2017, according to a forecast by ABI Research but it is hard to see IFEC applications, at least in lower classes, except those brought aboard by passengers.

D) Other:

Lastly, we noted in Other last year: “We probably don’t need to say it but Economy Class will get more crowded, competition will drop air fares as competition ‘crams’ up – possibly a new ‘mini or micro’ class, there should be more mergers as more airlines take on the Delta World concept, deals and freebies will exist for the frequent fliers while the rest of the travelers will pretty much just exist inflight (if that’s possible) you will need better pre-boarding ID, Airbnb and Uber concepts will tempt a new US airline concept but the idea will be killed (this is a tough one in the US), and in the end VR may be needed after all to blunt the reality of coach or class.”

We think we did pretty well last year and next week we will do a little predicting again and you will see what predictions our reader have too!


Boeing:
Boeing delivered 748 aircraft in 2016 (490 737s; nine 747s; 13 767s; 99 777s; 137 787s) vs a record of 762 in 2015 (495 737s; 18 747s; 16 767s; 98 777s; 135 787s).

Boeing booked orders for 848 aircraft in 2016 (701 737s, 18 747s, 26 767s, 23 777s; 80 787s) vs 878 in 2015 (666 737s; six 747s; 49 767s; 58 777s; 99 787s), net orders totaled 668 in 2016.

Boeing ended 2016 with a backlog of 5,715 aircraft (4,452 737s; 28 747s; 93 767s; 442 777s; 700 787s), down from 5,795 in 2015 (4,392 737s; 20 747s; 80 767s; 524 777s; 779 787s) – 550 737, 17 B747, 26 767, 17 777, and 58 787.

Technically, Boeing fell 80 planes short of their goal in 2016 – their lowest year orders since 2010 – and plane sales just may slow down in 2017 as well. However, Boeing does have a total of 5,715 jets on order.

Editor’s Note: Airbus is expected to announce the delivery of up to 688 planes, according to industry rumors, as their announcement is expected January 11th. If they announce 259 orders in Dec they could beat Boeing’s 668. Expect some surprises!


Rockwell Collins:
Rockwell Collins has acquired Pulse.Aero Limited, a UK-based company specializing in self-service bag drop solutions and airline applications, to enhance the company’s passenger processing services for airports and airlines. This acquisition further expands Rockwell Collins’ Information Management Services strategy to enable the connected aviation ecosystem.“As passengers seek to take more control of their travel experience, this acquisition expands our portfolio of self-service passenger processing solutions, enabling us to streamline and simplify the passenger journey through a fully connected airport,” said Dave Nieuwsma, senior vice president, Information Management Services for Rockwell Collins. Pulse.Aero’s products and services will be integrated into the Airport Systems portfolio of Rockwell Collins’ Information Management Services business. Rockwell Collins and Pulse. Aero have worked together on several successful deployments, including Dublin Airport, where new self-bag drop units were installed, reducing queue times and improving customer service.


Valour Consultancy Study:

A new paid study is available from Valour, but here is what they say about it: “The connected aircraft represents a paradigm shift for airlines and many are now in the early stages of deploying various applications. Several have begun to embrace staged increases in electronic flight bag (EFB) capabilities often starting with one or two apps that they can later build upon, according to a new study from UK-based market intelligence firm, Valour Consultancy. The report – How the Connected Aircraft fits into the Internet of Things – thoroughly details the raft of connected aircraft applications airlines are exploring in the hope of realizing considerable cost savings and/or ancillary revenue gains. It finds that the benefits of eTechlog, eCabin Logbook and enhanced flight operational quality assurance (FOQA) programs using quick access recorder (QAR) data are becoming better understood, while aircraft health monitoring solutions are being enriched by the infusion of increased data flows from previously disparate sub-systems and other information sources on and off the aircraft. Though certain airlines are further along in their connected aircraft strategy than others, there are many challenges to be overcome, says report author, Craig Foster. “Suppliers have invested millions in developing differentiated offerings and this lack of standards has resulted in concern and confusion about investing in the wrong technology. Second, there exists little in the way of tangible metrics that show how quickly a return on investment (ROI) may be achieved from connected aircraft applications. Third, there is a perception that the act of harnessing vast amounts of data results in magical value with some undoubtedly having overstated the reality of what is possible”. Download the whole story about the study in the link above or you can contact Craig for more information at: craig.foster@valorconsultancy.com

OAG Punctuality League 2016 reveals exceptional data from Hawaiian, Delta, Detroit International and more

Key Findings:

  • Hawaiian Airlines was the most punctual airline in 2016, with an average on-time performance (OTP) of 89.9 percent.
  • Delta Air Lines finished third among all North American airlines and first among the major carriers with an average OTP of 84.3 percent.
  • United Airlines jumped past American Airlines among major U.S. carriers with an OTP of 80 percent.
  • While only four low cost carriers ranked among the top 20 airlines overall, Southwest Airlines finished fifth among all North American airlines with an OTP of 81 percent.
  • U.S. airports dominated the rankings, finishing 2016 with eleven of the top 20 airports in the major category.
  • Detroit International Airport finished as the best-performing major North American airport and third best across the globe; Salt Lake City International Airport finished second in the large airport category globally.
  • Tokyo Haneda International Airport continues to be the pinnacle of airport OTP, taking the top spot in the major airport category for the second year in a row, despite handling the fourth most airline seats of any airport in the world.


Chicago, Illinois | January 4, 2017–
OAG, the global leader in air travel intelligence, has released the results of the OAG Punctuality League 2016, the industry’s most comprehensive annual ranking of on-time performance (OTP) for the world’s airlines and airports. This year’s data saw many U.S. airlines and airports thrive, with nine airports ranking among the Top 20 in the world within the major airports category (airports with more than 20 million passengers in 2016).

“Airlines and airports continue to place an emphasis on OTP, as travelers consistently value on-time performance as a significant factor when booking travel”
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The OAG Punctuality League is derived from the most comprehensive airline schedules database in the world and is the most transparent global benchmark for the world’s airlines and airports.

Among the biggest winners were Hawaiian Airlines, which took the top spot in the airline OTP rankings, finishing 2016 with an OTP of 89.9 percent. Finishing the year as the most punctual airline represents a major jump for Hawaiian, which improved from ninth place last year. Delta Air Lines also jumped a spot from 2015, moving up to third among U.S. airlines and maintaining the top spot among major carriers.

Among U.S. airports, Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) took the top spot and finished third in the global rankings with an OTP of 85.4 percent in what was an exceptional year for airport OTP domestically.

“Airlines and airports continue to place an emphasis on OTP, as travelers consistently value on-time performance as a significant factor when booking travel,” said John Grant, senior analyst at OAG. “U.S. airports continue to stack up very well against their global counterparts, with eleven airports among the top 20 and both Detroit International and Salt Lake City International (SLC) finishing in the top two spots in their respective categories.”

In 2016, low-cost carrier (LCC) rankings remained mostly stable. Only four LCCs ranked in the top 20 of the overall airlines category. Southwest maintained its spot in the top 10 in the LCC category, finishing seventh with an OTP of 81 percent. JetBlue moved up from 18th to 15th in this category, with an OTP of 75.3 percent, but dropped out of the top 10 among North American airlines. The most punctual LCC overall was Monarch Airlines.

Among major carriers in the U.S., United Airlines overtook American Airlines this year, jumping up three spots in the rankings. The three largest carriers in the U.S. all ranked among the top 10 in North America, with Delta leading the pack at 84.3 percent (3rd), United at 80 percent (6th) and American at 78.4 percent (8th).

In addition to the nine U.S. airports in the Top 20 in the Major Airport category, eleven finished in the Top 20 of the Large Airport category, which is characterized by airports that handle 10-20M seats per year. One of the biggest movers was Portland International Airport (PDX), which jumped from outside the Top 20 in 2015 to seventh place in 2016, with an OTP of 85.1 percent. Every airport that made the Top 20 in these two categories boasted an OTP of greater than 80 percent.

Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) tops the rankings for on-time performance in 2016 in the Major Airport category. This is the second year in a row the airport has achieved this distinction — a considerable accomplishment for an airport which is among the largest and busiest in the world.

From a database of approximately 54 million flight records, OAG produces the annual benchmarking report which defines “on time” as within 14 minutes and 59 seconds of scheduled arrival/departure time.

For more insights from the OAG Punctuality League 2016, download a copy of the full report.

Well, well, another year has passed and IFExpress is now in it’s our 25th year and we still love the craziness of this entertainment and connectivity based aircraft business; albeit, it is getting harder to stay current with all the ups (and downs) of technology, personal preference, and airline profit-making. According to IATA, in 2015 U.S. airlines raked in a profit of $25.6 billion, a 241% increase from 2014. The drop in oil prices meant big savings for the industry. Airlines spent nearly $27 billion on fuel in 2015, 38% less than in 2014. The results from 2016 are yet to be compiled and it will be interesting to see how they have fluctuated.

This year (2017) looks interesting and potentially problematic for the following reasons: fuel price increases, growth of airline fees, and a large increase in delivered aircraft. In fact, IATA predicts a reduced profitability ($29 Billion) based on slower GDP and rising costs. The folks at Aviation Week are predicting a downturn as well: “After years of high profitability, the airline industry appears to be entering its next potential downturn. The International Air Transport Association is predicting much reduced profits for 2017 in most markets as airlines are no longer benefiting from lower oil prices and overcapacity increasingly becomes a problem in many segments.”

From the other side of the equation, the IATA predictions include a 5.1% increase in tourism (we have a hard time with this one because of all the political madness in the world) and the airlines will take delivery of approximately 1,700 new jetliners. New planes means new IFEC and this is good for our team. Furthermore, this obviously does not include IFEC retrofits which will increase as a result of data hungry passengers and crew. Although, focus shifts from entertainment to data connectivity demand may be in the offing. As noted almost everywhere, passengers carry-on devices, whether it is for entertainment and/or communication, is resulting in another competing growth area for IFEC, which may negatively effect some seatback entertainment growth as passenger device purchases technically outpace anything that an airline can provide. However, we do note that upper class big screens win out in the front of the plane since no one carries anything onboard with a screen over 15 inches, or so.We should also note that in-seat power is probably a related growth item and folks in this arena have seen, and will continue to see, a lot of action.

Now, lets look at what we predicted last year in the IFEC related world for 2016. We don’t want to blow our horn because a lot of our observations came from a ton of research time on the Internet –  we just did a good job of compiling the information:

A) Messaging

Last year we wrote: While 2016 may have a few techno-changes from 2015 and summary numbers differ, we are are riding the same messaging train! Since technology and media have grown so much (at least in the US) folks are spending more time on it than sleep or work (Business Insider), there appears to be plenty of opportunity time for messaging (Facebook, Twitter, and the like) but messaging will be even bigger. If you don’t believe it, just watch the ‘head down time’ at a public function where time is spent on devices – it’s less invasive and non interruptive. Why is this a boom time for messaging, you might ask? The answer must lie in new, portable communication technology for one. If, as some writers predict, we spend over half of our waking day with media and technology, and because the devices and connectivity mediums are there, plain and simple, we will text. From a broader perspective, time on major digital activities will increase and has done so for each year for the last 5 years. To a greater extent, these behaviors are clearly a dominating trend and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Further, as folks ‘cut’ their cable TV, products are rising up in the wireless world to support streaming TV via the Internet for portable devices. Check out this FierceCable article for more information on this subject.

On aircraft, we also expect to see this increase, after all some 97% of passengers (notes SITA) have devices with Facebook Messenger, What’s App, and WeChat. These devices (and apps) and limited connectivity channels are there, all we need are more lower price solutions (free or flat fee)… and yes, there are a few on the horizon and we will discuss them this year, but we digress for now. If anything will be a big deal in inflight lifestyle changes, it will be more messaging!”

We saw this one coming! Messaging just keeps growing and as the messaging options grow, so do the users. One of the best newer ones is SMS. Sending email to SMS is free for the sender, but the recipient is subject to the standard delivery charges. Only the first 160 characters of an email message can be delivered to a phone, and only 160 characters can be sent from a phone. Text-enabled fixed-line handsets are required to receive messages in text format.

Facebook Messenger is an instant messaging service and software application which provides text and voice communication. Integrated with Facebook’s web-based Chat feature and built on the open MQTT protocol, Messenger lets Facebook users chat with friends both on mobile and on the main website. In Asia WeChat is the big one while Android has HelloSMS, TextraSMS, and on and on. Further, the phone companies have a batch of their own connectivity applications. Face it, we are text message junkies and there seems to be no end because of our devices and lifestyle.

B) Audio

We noted in January of 2016, From an audio perspective, our daily life is a good predictor of what we want, and will do, on airplanes. Streaming audio is not new on the ground, with some predictors noting 4 hours of each day in that pursuit. On planes it is usually a ‘canned’ experience because connectivity to the ground is not cheap. However, with the demand of services like google Play, Amazon, MP3, NPR, Apple Music, Spotify and many more, there may be a future for advertised, real-time, (audio) streaming… if for no other reason than news. Today it’s the ‘under 17’ crowd that spend the most streaming time but they do get older and will replace the ‘over 55’ who rely mostly on AM/FM – something to think about for your next IFE system.” 

For sure, this audio solution has been replaced by video streaming requirements on our personal devices. While we have no data but our own usage, we find that if we want audio (music) on a flight, we use our portable devices. A good example is taking place on phones – the latest iPhone we obtained with 128 Gigabytes, streamed, stored audio and video are no problem. Live information like news is another story. However, we should note that with the increase of Wi-Fi, and potentially Bluetooth (and possibly optical), things in 2017 will certainly get better. With more bandwidth for storage, and increased ground connectivity, programming will expand so that even with portable stored content, more video entertainment and news will be appealing. We should note that we have heard that some low cost airlines plan no seatback entertainment but rather are relying on customers to use their personal devices for airline streamed audio and video.

C) Bags/Baggage

Last January we wrote: Perhaps the past year has been better (data not out yet), but in the previous year (2014), the passenger count that lost a bag reached 24.1 million and, we note, the trend has been dropping (2007 – 18.9 lost bags per thousand pax, down 61.3% to 2014 – 7.3 lost bags per thousand pax). However with increasing load factors, increased seating and increasing traffic, it will be a real challenge for airlines to keep up.” 

As it turns out, the airlines have been doing much better. SITA states: “2015 saw total airline passengers rise 7% from 3.3 to 3.5 billion and mishandled bags drop from 24.1 to 23.1 million, a 10% improvement with the extra passengers taken into account, costing airlines a total of US$2.3 billion. Numbers for the last decade show a steady downward trend in mishandled bags after lost bags peaked in 2007 at 46.9 million, dropping by 50% over the last nine years and saving the airline industry close to $23 billion in the process.” While the data has not been available for 2016 it looks like the airlines are on a downward trend for lost bags. SITA says: “Numbers for the last decade show a steady downward trend in mishandled bags after lost bags peaked in 2007 at 46.9 million, dropping by 50% over the last nine years and saving the airline industry close to $23 billion in the process.” With the advent of electronic and passive tagging, things should only improve.

To be continued next week.

Publishers’ Note: We plan to publish your predictions on Jan. 17 so feel free to send us your IFEC predictions as well. Just tell us if you want IFExpress to attribute your words to you or not. PLW/TJW 

  • Initial installations already completed for latest airline customer from Lufthansa Group

United Kingdom | December 22, 2016– Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced today that Eurowings is the latest airline from the Lufthansa Group to select its advanced new GX for Aviation in-flight broadband solution.

GX for Aviation will initially be equipped on 69 Airbus A320 family aircraft from the Eurowings fleet, with the option to add additional aircraft. The first installations have already been completed by Lufthansa Technik and testing is scheduled to commence in the New Year. All aircraft covered in this agreement are expected to be fitted out by the middle of 2017.

Eurowings will be the first low-cost carrier to offer GX for Aviation, the world’s only in-flight connectivity solution with reliable, seamless high-speed global coverage provided through a single operator. The service allows passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more, with connectivity on par with broadband on the ground.

In addition, Inmarsat’s GX for Aviation service will be integrated with the existing in-flight entertainment system based on Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect platform.

The contract is part of a 10-year strategic agreement between Inmarsat and the Lufthansa Group, which included the selection of GX for Aviation for Lufthansa’s European continental fleet of over 180 aircraft. The ground-breaking service will also be deployed on more than 30 Austrian Airlines’ aircraft from the Airbus A320 family, with installation and testing currently underway. Inmarsat partner Deutsche Telekom will be the Internet Service Provider for Eurowings passengers.

Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “This contract is the perfect way to close an incredible year for Inmarsat Aviation, with GX for Aviation going live and being selected by some of the world’s leading airlines. We look forward to working with Eurowings as our latest airline customer from the Lufthansa Group and the first low-cost carrier that will offer GX for Aviation.

“Airline passengers want to be connected and Eurowings recognises the commercial benefits of committing to GX for Aviation. It is the only high-speed in-flight broadband solution with uninterrupted global coverage powered by a single operator. Our global satellite infrastructure offers a seamless service, allowing us to provide high quality connectivity whenever and wherever it’s needed, even over Europe, the world’s busiest air traffic space.”

Oliver Wagner, CEO of Eurowings, said: “Eurowings has always been one of the industry’s technology leaders: We are the first low-cost airline to offer our passengers a leading in-flight entertainment system paired with broadband Internet. So the cooperation with Inmarsat Aviation regarding Internet access is a logical conclusion: technically speaking, the company currently provides the most innovative and most powerful solution available. Our customers can soon look forward to high-speed Internet on-board our aircraft.”

Eurowings will connect to the GX network using exclusive new JetWave terminals produced by Honeywell Aerospace. The terminals are designed for ease of installation and maintenance to assure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market, allowing installation with minimal labour and using standard tools available in maintenance hangars.

Telefonix PDT:

Telefonix PDT(TM) announced that they now have an STC for  Boeing 737NG – 700, 800 & 900 aircraft types for both the CabinPinnacle(TM) server and CabinACe(TM)wireless access point. The STC was just awarded prior to APEX in Singapore, and we understand that Kaiser Charter was the first installation completed in October. This STC represents the first phase of certifications and it is our understanding that phase 2 will include the CabinEdge(TM) content loader. The content loader works while the aircraft is in service and data is trickled, loading into shadow memory, and eventually ending up in the operational memory as the update is installed. Telefonix PDT is also working on garnering a similar STC for the A320 aircraft family. The STC/PMA was strategically planned to grow the company’s customer base for the 737 in the Asia region. The airlines have the data rights to use the system, with the hardware being sold, not leased. Lest you forget, Telefonix(TM) has had a long standing relationship with production in China; and, in 2017, the company has plans to establish a repair station in China, in addition to their current repair station in Waukegan, Illinois. One point that was stressed in our interview at APEX was that Telefonix PDT is not just an equipment provider, but a design and engineering services provider as well. (Editor’s Note: IFExpress has watched Telefonix PDT grow over the past 20+ years and we feel that they have developed excellent, low-cost IFE system components and the China relationships, as well as their involvement with many hardware manufactures within the industry, is proof of this. You should watch this company in the coming year – we think they are going to grow!)


Industry News:

  • Panasonic

Have you heard about the Panasonic Blog? We asked Panasonic how it came about and here is what a spokesperson said: “Matthias Walter and Estel Carbo worked very hard on this and have a plan that we thinks helps give more insights into the IFEC landscape.” Matthias Walther, Senior Manager of Integrated Marketing at Panasonic Avionics said, “Marketing these days has many facets. Hard sales has its place in marketing too but in an industry as relationship-driven as ours it’s essential to engage in a dialog that is more about education than promotion, more about solutions than product and more about value than price. Of course we will occasionally talk about us and what we bring to the table but only if we and what we write adds value to the daily lives of our customers will our blog be successful.”  Noted Panasonic: “One of the business principles of Panasonic’s founder Knosuke Matsushita describes customer focus always trumping sales concerns. In that spirit our blog intends to drive knowledge, our relationship with our customers and the quality of decision making in one direction, UP. Check it out here.

Panasonic Weather Solution

Panasonic Avionics Corporation and Safety Line unveiled a strategic partnership that will enable airlines to benefit from significant fuel savings. Panasonic Weather Solutions (PWS) provides Safety Line with enhanced global weather forecast through real-time weather data collection from its TAMDAR sensors and FlightLink Iridium system. TAMDAR data provides observations of wind, temperature, and moisture every five seconds as TAMDAR-equipped aircraft descend and ascend at nearly 300 airports across North America. It also collects about 3,500 profiles each day from several hundred additional airports located in East Asia, the Pacific, and Europe. This data is used by Panasonic’s Forecasting Center of Excellence (FCoE), which develops detailed station-based weather forecasting, as well as enhanced weather forecasting. The process is fully automated from the weather live feed to flight plan analysis and climb schedule issuance to the pilot. Airlines can reduce fuel consumption by up to 10 percent during ascent thanks to OptiClimb’s unique patented solution, which uses a combination of machine learning performance models for each individual aircraft, and the computing of optimized climb profiles issued ahead of each flight.

Also check this link The Connected Aircraft (Part I) – Curating the Internet of Me – UP – Panasonic Avionics Blog if you want to know a bit more about the connected aircraft.

  • Inmarsat

We should note that Hawaiian Airlines has experienced the benefits of SwiftBroadband-Safety delivered through Cobham advanced AVIATOR avionics and has now chosen to expand its commitment to high speed broadband in the flight deck with its A321neo. But to see the features that are provided, you must check out this Inmarsat Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System feature download – this is the future of aviation safety and you need to check it out!

  • Boeing

The FAA issued a new rule that forces Boeing 787 operators to periodically shut down and restart airplane power that reboots onboard computers to overcome a glitch that shuts down flight control computers during flight! Finding and fixing this “inconsistency” will be very, very interesting. Stay Tuned!

  • Satellite 2017

Be a part of the world’s largest gathering of the international satellite community. Taking place in Washington, D.C. March 6-9, 2017 the SATELLITE 2017 Conference and Exhibition don’t miss this opportunity to hear from executive speakers from commercial airlines, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Air Force!

  • THE ‘Donald’

Donald Trump says the new Air Force One contract should be cancelled! Perhaps Airbus will make a better offer? Then Boeing put this news release out – Boeing Statement on Air Force One – Dec 6, 2016 Or, you might want to read the following story from Gizmodo – beware there are x-rated words, so watch out!

  • Other

If you have been wondering where IoT and cloud computing are going, one answer is ‘physically portable data’. This is going to be one of the markets of the next generation cloud because of security and access as large (and now medium) data portability and cloud interaction become involved. We suspect that the airlines will see value in this if hacking gets any worse Amazon Cloud Gets A Bit More Hybrid  This just may be one futures of the medium and big data cloud storage and security.

In-Flight hook-ups now supported with AirDates “This is achieved using Multipeer WiFi between smartphones, eliminating the need to rely upon the Plane’s WiFi network or other connection.” Check it out here –  but you might need the Trusted Contacts app as well.


Quick Study: Millennials

While in Singapore, we heard one word over and over – millennial- so we thought after the show we would do the research on who they are and why they are so important to some industries. While this quick bit of data is just a speed read, we think the answers are telling and important to IFEC, especially C (Communications).

First what is a millennial? It is a person ‘reaching young adulthood around the year 2000’ the dictionary said.  Noted Goldman Sachs: “The Millennial generation is the largest in US history and as they reach their prime working and spending years, their impact on the economy is going to be huge. Millennials have come of age during a time of technological change, globalization and economic disruption. That’s given them a different set of behaviors and experiences than their parents.They have been slower to marry and move out on their own, and have shown different attitudes to ownership that have helped spawn what’s being called a ‘sharing economy.’ They’re also the first generation of digital natives, and their affinity for technology helps shape how they shop. They are used to instant access to price comparisons, product information and peer reviews.” Further, a company called iGR interviewed and surveyed millennials to get their views on communication and technology and here is what they said: “As the largest and highly communication-tech-savy generation; they are at the epicenter of our curiosity to drive decision-making for the next wave of innovation in infrastructure. Take note! The most successful service providers over the next 5-10 years will be those who best understand the emerging generations communication behavior, accurately anticipate core service wants and needs, proactively adapt and adjust business strategies, and finally, provide the most relevant solutions and services.” That about says it all and explains why the word ‘millennial’ was so popular in Singapore, especially with those who dealt with communications, connectivity, and cost!

MEBA2016 Dubai | December 6, 2016– Dahlgren Duck & Associates (DDA), experts at detailing the cabin environment, through the addition of the world’s finest crystal, china, flatware, linens and luxury amenities will be celebrating thirty years of business in the Middle East as it returns to this year’s MEBA2016 in Dubai.

DDA has developed a strong and loyal client base in the region to whom, under the guidance of CEO Scott Ritter, it continues to advise on the latest trends, styles and must haves, to enhance the cabin experience. Since its first commission with the Royal Family in Abu Dhabi DDA has worked with hundreds of Middle Eastern clients, created countless tailor-made dining, flatware and crystal sets, and fashioned several individually designed works of art. DDA has styled a variety of jet types from small business jets to large wide body aircraft, providing each with its own look and feel.

DDA has supplied a number of head of State fleets in the UAE and throughout the GCC with bespoke dinner services, luxurious bed linen and throws, sterling silver artwork, bathroom amenities and everything in-between. “We know that the passengers like what we provide on board as we often receive requests for replacements as the jet owners will take items home to enhance their residences, or give them to guests as gifts,” says Ritter.

“We love working in the Middle East which has one of the most interesting cultures and welcoming people in the world. Our understanding of the local values and nature of the people, combined with our experience, brings great value to our GCC client base. The fact we genuinely understand their individual needs allows us to translate their vision into reality,” says Ritter about working in the region. “The clients here have extremely high standards and we are pleased to be able to match and exceed their expectations.”

Recent projects for Middle Eastern clients have seen the creation of a lapis dinner service with sold lapis placemats, a triangular china and crystal collection to reflect a trio of brothers, a flatware design inspired by a shell found lying on a beach, a dinner service inspired by a mosque in Morocco, and champagne flutes that light up to highlight the bubbles. “These are not easy to produce and its our unique black book of contacts, our network of artisans and our experience that enables us to provide what will ultimately one day be museum pieces” said Ritter.

DDA will be meeting with existing and new clients during the show to talk latest trends, styles and designs. Ritter says that design requests have not changed much during the three decades of working here. “Clients still like the traditional decorated china with precious metal trims, along with the sterling and silver plated flatware. However we’ve noted that the next generation is beginning to combine contemporary themes and styles with the traditional look and feel.”

United Kingdom | December 5, 2016– Hawaiian Airlines (HAL) has selected Inmarsat’s next generation IP-based SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) platform for installation on its new Airbus A321neo (new engine option) fleet.

Inmarsat’s SB-S service will deliver secure broadband connectivity via the Cobham AVIATOR 350D system to the flight deck for all voice and data applications on HAL’s new single aisle aircraft being line fit by Airbus.

The new agreement expands the current partnership between HAL, Inmarsat, Cobham and Rockwell Collins, established during on-going in-flight evaluations of Inmarsat SB-S and Cobham’s purpose-built AVIATOR solution on-board HAL’s Boeing 767-300 aircraft, as part of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) supervised technology evaluation.

Paradigm shift
SB-S is Inmarsat’s next generation communications platform offering global, high-speed, secure IP connectivity for the flight deck. It enhances airline safety and operations through more powerful and flexible communications and the availability of real-time, in-air information for pilots, crew and air traffic management.

It represents a paradigm shift in aviation safety services, delivering always on, always secure applications such as flight data streaming (“Black Box in the Cloud”) and real-time Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications, including networked graphical weather.

Rockwell Collins provides the managed service between the Inmarsat ground stations that enable the aircraft to seamlessly communicate with HAL’s host systems, ground crews and regulatory agencies anywhere in the world without interruption.

Airline innovation
Captain Mary McMillan, Inmarsat Aviation Vice President of Safety and Operational Services, said: “Airlines with eyes on the big picture are seeking innovative ways to achieve efficiency gains and dynamically manage their fleets through the use of digital solutions.

“We are pleased that Hawaiian Airlines has experienced the benefits of SwiftBroadband-Safety and has now chosen to expand its commitment to high speed broadband in the flight deck with its A321neo’s. Clearly, the evaluation has been a great success.”

Brian Anderson, Air Transport Sales Manager, Americas, Cobham SATCOM, said: “The selection is a direct result of the team’s recent success with the Hawaiian B767 program for the FAA evaluations of SwiftBroadband-Safety service which is affirming the reliability and performance of the Cobham hardware and the Inmarsat’s satellite network.”

Industry support
Inmarsat’s SB-S has received a high level of industry support, including the recent selection by Airbus of the Inmarsat solution for its A320 and A330 aircraft families and the successful ongoing evaluations with Hawaiian Airlines.

Recently, Inmarsat, Cobham and Hawaiian Airlines announced that SwiftBroadband-Safety and Cobham avionics had enabled in-air Electronic Flight bag connectivity for the first time with Hawaiian Airlines.

Watch Hawaiian Airlines pilots and Flight Operations leadership talk about the benefits of IP broadband in the flight deck in this video

Whitepapers
Inmarsat’s whitepaper ‘SwiftBroadband-Safety: The Future Of Aircraft Communications’ can be downloaded online here.

Inmarsat’s whitepaper ‘Black Box in the Cloud Solutions’ can be downloaded online here.

France | November 26, 2016– Airbus is evaluating a new standard high-bandwidth architecture that will provide faster and more wide-reaching connectivity services on-board its modern, market-leading jetliners.

Using the in-house A330 testbed aircraft this autumn, Airbus became the first in the industry to flight demonstrate such a high-bandwidth connectivity platform – which will enable faster internet, mobile telephone services and support applications for passengers and airlines via high-throughput satellites.

Applying high-bandwidth connectivity is an important part of the company’s focus on providing a superior on-board experience – and soon will allow airline customers to choose from the range of new high-throughput satellite technologies such as Ka-band and Ku-band for continuous worldwide connectivity.

Constant innovation to improve the passenger experience

“Our goal is to extend our connectivity portfolio in new production aircraft and as retrofit,” explained Bruno Galzin, Head of Airbus’ Connectivity Programme and Upgrade Services. “Our initial testing in high-bandwidth connectivity is a new step to improve the passenger and crew experience. We already are working on new solutions in line with the latest, fast-evolving technologies so anyone can be connected on-board just like at home.”

In-flight connectivity is becoming increasingly important for passengers, who now expect to always be connected – using their own electronic devices to access the internet, exchange with those on the ground and enjoy social media.

Airlines also are demanding the need for connectivity solutions to enhance their operational communications, such as with digital cabin logbooks, telemedicine or for credit card authentication, as well as to generate ancillary cabin revenues.

Cabin connectivity for the future

With the start of testing successfully underway this autumn, Airbus is expected to be the first aircraft manufacturer to offer this standard architecture on its commercial airliners – with service entry for this solution planned for the third quarter of 2017.

Airbus’ high-bandwidth connectivity architecture will be available from multiple suppliers for applications on its A320, A330 and A380 jetliners, which supplements the A350 XWB – a “digital native” that entered service with high-bandwidth connectivity capability.

“The number of connected commercial aircraft is expected to grow from 5,000 to a volume of 16,600 over the 2015-2025 period, accounting for 62 percent of the global commercial fleet,” explained Galzin. “The innovative solutions we are currently developing will help passengers and airlines benefit from a new generation of high-throughput satellite technologies in the Ka-band and Ku-band frequencies.”

  • Over 70 Airbus A320NEOs will be fitted with a full package of avionics components that include flight management system, T3CAS and Head-up Displays. Thales will also equip 110 Boeing 737 with the Low Range radio Altimeter.

California | November 2, 2016– China Eastern is one of the largest users of Thales/ACSS products in China. The Thales FMS system is the highest selling Flight Management System with over 90% market share in China. The T³CAS solution includes the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) with Class A Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS), and Mode S Transponder updated for DO-260B with full ADS-B IN/OUT capability.

The T³CAS provides operators with proven performance and reliability of TCAS, TAWS, Mode S and Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) functions with the benefits of reduced weight, size, power consumption and costs that come from an integrated platform.

The NXT-800 NextGen Transponder is FAA and EASA compliant to meet the global Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) mandate for aircraft that are required to have ADS-B Out capability. ACSS NXT transponders, installed on thousands of aircraft worldwide, are optimized for flight in the next generation air traffic environment and contribute to reductions in flight delays and fuel consumption.

  • Thales strengthens its ties with China Southern Airlines with a major avionics contract to equip up to 80 Boeing aircraft.

California | November 2, 2016– Thales will install 30 B737NG and, with the intention to include 50 B737MAX with a package of components including the market leading Thales/ACSS TCAS3000 the Thales TopFlight SATCOM (Inmarsat) and Low Range Radio Altimeter.

China Southern is one of the largest users of Thales/ACSS products in China on both Boeing and Airbus aircraft. The system is fully compliant with all the main ATM requirements in China and is with DO260B ADS-B out, which guarantees the highest level of accuracy of information to pilots.

Topflight SATCOM (Inmarsat) is the most popular satellite communications terminal for all cockpit communications on Boeing and Airbus single aisle platforms.

“Thales considers China to be a key market for avionics components. Chinese airlines have to meet the requirements of a growing demand and they need an avionics supplier that can deliver fast, and guarantees service excellence. Thales success in China in this field testifies of the level of product maturity and service excellence Thales brings.”
Daniel Malka, Thales Vice President in charge of Avionics Services Worldwide activities

Lake Forest, California | November 28, 2016– Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) and Safety Line today unveiled a strategic partnership that will enable airlines to benefit from significant fuel savings.

Panasonic Weather Solutions (PWS) provides Safety Line with enhanced global weather forecast through real-time weather data collection from its TAMDAR sensors and FlightLinkTM Iridium system.

TAMDAR data provides observations of wind, temperature, and moisture every five seconds as TAMDAR-equipped aircraft descend and ascend at nearly 300 airports across North America. It also collects about 3,500 profiles each day from several hundred additional airports located in East Asia, the Pacific, and Europe.

This data is used by Panasonic’s Forecasting Center of Excellence (FCoE), which develops detailed station-based weather forecasting, as well as enhanced weather forecasting.

Panasonic’s expert meteorologists will use these unique atmospheric datasets, as well as sophisticated 4D quality control and proprietary forecasting models, to provide Safety Line with state-of-the-art and unmatched forecasts.

OptiClimb from Safety Line uses such highly accurate, real-time refreshed PWS weather forecasts in lieu of the standard weather parameters to offer optimized climb profiles for each flight.

The process is fully automated from the weather live feed to flight plan analysis and climb schedule issuance to the pilot.

Airlines can reduce fuel consumption by up to 10 percent during ascent thanks to OptiClimb’s unique patented solution, which uses a combination of machine learning performance models for each individual aircraft, and the computing of optimized climb profiles issued ahead of each flight.

Transavia is the launch customer for OptiClimb, and will use the solution in the operation of its fleet of 26 Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

PWS FlightLink weather sounding and tracking system is already in service on 35 Airbus A320 aircraft at Air Asia, and there are 250 aircraft in service globally with PWS TAMDAR weather sensors.

Chris Lundquist, VP Corporate Strategic Innovations said: “This partnership with Safety Line further develops our proven weather forecasting strategy and delivers clear bottom line benefits for airlines.”

Pierre Jouniaux, founder and CEO of OptiClimb added: “Optimization is highly reliant on the accuracy of the inputs fed into the algorithms. Panasonic Weather Solutions’ accurate, real-time forecasts allow us to optimize climb profiles more efficiently, saving more fuel dollars and CO2 for our joint customers.”

  • Dynamic navigation maps enable seamless navigation from gate to gate

Raunheim, Germany | November 28, 2016– Lufthansa Systems today announced that it is developing dynamic navigation maps for its Lido/Navigation product line. A fully dynamic map solution is expected to be completed by 2019. With this development, the aviation IT specialist is responding to increasing digitalization and connectivity on the flight deck.

“Dynamic navigation maps are the future. They enable seamless navigation from gate to gate, without limits. Furthermore, connected systems can provide updates in real time and supply smart information that is only shown to pilots when they need it. This gives pilots a better overview, reduces their head-down time and helps them make decisions. It will also improve the display of integrated solutions for weather or other air traffic, for example,” said Stefan Auerbach, CEO of Lufthansa Systems.

Lufthansa Systems is a pioneer when it comes to navigation solutions for airlines. More than 100 airlines worldwide use charts from the Lido/Navigation solution. The paper-based Lido/RouteManual charts were released in 2002, and in 2005 Lufthansa Systems began offering digital charts, initially for integrated flight deck systems, and now in the form of apps for Windows (Lido/eRouteManual) and iOS (Lido/mPilot). All of the charts are in color, directly display minimum safe altitudes on the approach and departure charts and include true-to-scale topographical information which meets the highest standards of precision and quality.

Unlike the route maps, the digital airport charts are largely static, and there is a separation between the terminal charts and the enroute module. In practice, this means that pilots use the terminal charts during takeoff and landing and then have to manually switch to the enroute module for the flight. The Lido/AMM Airport Moving Map, which is used to navigate between the runway and the gate, is already fully dynamic in itself, but it is still separate from the other charts. This dynamic approach is now gradually being expanded.

When all of the maps – terminal, enroute and airport – are dynamic, there will no longer be any separation between the maps for various phases of a flight. Pilots will be able to zoom directly from the enroute display into the Airport Moving Map, or move straight into the flight phase after takeoff. The advantage of this is that all flight processes from gate to gate can be seamlessly displayed in a single view. “Dynamic navigation maps are the basis for smart additional functions that will be available in the future thanks to connectivity. Through its connectivity with the aircraft, the system will be able to display the precise information that is important in a specific flight situation, thus increasing the pilots’ situational awareness,” Auerbach said.

This vision of dynamic maps and new developments for Lido/Navigation and the Lido/Flight flight planning solution will be presented this week by Lufthansa Systems at the 10th Annual Flight Operations Conference in London (November 29 to 30).

  • The industry leader in wireless in-flight platforms since 2014 in Europe, Immfly, is already providing airlines a game changer autonomous system in the rapidly growing In-flight Entertainment & Connectivity market

Barcelona, Spain | November 24, 2016– Pioneering the IFE-C Market in Europe since its launch with Iberia Express two years ago, Immfly, owning an STC for A320 and A330 aircraft, offers airlines a unique solution ready to be installed in just one night. Its unprecedented system, currently operational on three airlines, consists of one server, several WAPs and one switch in the cockpit, and proves to autonomously upgrade and download the content and the software every time the aircraft lands. The company, having achieved an industry first with its technological approach, steadily responds to the market demands and sustains its position as the industry’s prefered wireless solution in Europe.

“One of the key reasons that brought us to partner with Immfly was its unique operations management value proposition, which leaves the airline a margin of any manoeuvre” states Ricard Falomir, CIO from Iberia Express. “Upon landing the system automatically connects to the Cloud to download passenger data and process payment transactions. With Immfly onboard we just have to make sure that the hardware is on, the rest is successfully managed either by their operations team or by the system itself”.

Moreover, Immfly substantiates that connectivity is just around the corner. “According to how the market is taking shape, we propose airlines a flexible 2 step approach with no operational disruption: First Wireless IFE and then Wireless IFE & Connectivity” says Alfredo Ibáñez, CTO of the Barcelona based company, Immfly. “Given that our product is compatible with most connectivity operators and integrators, adding a connectivity system to an Immfly equipped aircraft involves a seamless integration with significant cost benefits and technological synergies”.

  • SchedConnect contract extended for another five years

Raunheim, Germany | November 24, 2016– Lufthansa Systems today announced that Avianca Holdings will continue to manage its codeshare connections with SchedConnect. This solution from Lufthansa Systems flexibly adapts the management of codeshare flights to schedule changes and offers a high degree of automation. This enables Avianca to optimize its codeshare management while reducing costs and enhancing its competitiveness. The company recently signed a five-year contract extension for the solution.

“Even though we are pleased with the Lufthansa Systems numerous products we are using already, we evaluated the codeshare management solutions of several IT providers. Especially the concept of having a system with central flight repository and real time schedule synchronization in Avianca’s airline group leads to essential benefits for us. The comprehensive codeshare management features, the high automation and synchronization of schedules within the Star Alliance airlines and beyond is a great unique selling proposition (USP) of Lufthansa Systems’ SchedConnect solution,” said Eduardo Asmar, Senior Vice President Strategy and Network at Avianca Holdings. “We expect this to deliver significant cost savings as well as additional revenues.”

SchedConnect offers a high level of automation by receiving and sending schedule data of over 150 airlines worldwide and calculating the optimal codeshare connections for the current customer schedules on a daily basis. Each and every month, five million codeshare connections on average are calculated using SchedConnect. If a minimum connecting time cannot be ensured due to a schedule change or if a partner flight is canceled, SchedConnect assigns the marketing flight number to another suitable connecting flight operated by the partner. Changes are sent through the reservation systems to travel agents and customers as well as to the operations and passenger-related systems of the airlines involved.

Avianca Holdings and Lufthansa Systems have been commercial partners since 2004. “Avianca Holdings already uses several products from our NetLine suite as well as ProfitLine/Price and Lido/Flight. Additional solutions like NetLine/Ops and NetLine/Crew are currently being implemented,” said Greg Cork, Senior Vice President Regional Management Americas at Lufthansa Systems. “By renewing this contract, we are further expanding our long-standing partnership with a strategically important customer.”

Based in Panama, Avianca Holdings is the parent group of Avianca Colombia and the TACA Group, which in turn includes regional carriers Lacsa – Costa Rica, TACA International – El Salvador, Aviateca – Guatemala, TACA de Honduras and TACA Peru. Other group airlines include Aerogal – Ecuador and Avianca Cargo. The Avianca Holdings airlines specialize in air cargo and passenger transport and operate a combined fleet of 155 aircraft. Overall, the subsidiary airlines serve 100 direct destinations in 26 countries in North, Central and South America. Avianca Holdings is a Star Alliance member, which enables it to offer its passengers connections to more than 1,300 airports in 192 countries worldwide.

  • AirportConnect® Open allows multiple airlines to use the same infrastructure

Athens | November 22, 2016– Fraport Greece, which will soon be responsible for operating, maintaining and upgrading 14 Greek regional airports over a 40-year concession period, has selected SITA’s state-of-the-art common-use terminal equipment (CUTE) to be implemented at all its airports.

Fraport Greece’s investment in the 14 regional airports is aimed at promoting the surrounding cities and regions as tourist destinations, driving increased passenger traffic, supporting both local and national economies, and providing high-quality services to passengers as well as other airport users and stakeholders. Key to this investment in infrastructure is SITA’s common-use systems, which will allow the airlines to work seamlessly at the Fraport Greece airports and to share check-in desks, kiosks and boarding areas while accessing their own airline-specific systems.

SITA AirportConnect® Open is the only common-use platform that fully integrates solutions both for agents and passengers. It delivers seamless self-service from check-in to security and boarding all the way to border security on arrival. It is Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant, supporting the security requirements of the credit card industry. SITA has supplied its AirportConnect® Open solution to more than 420 airports worldwide.

Alexander Zinell, CEO of Fraport Greece, said: “Well-managed airports worldwide have proven that they also serve as economic engines for their communities. Our aim is to reposition the 14 airports as modern, competitive gateways that support the growth of the regions and the country’s tourism industry overall. Technology will play a central role in achieving our vision for an improved passenger experience and SITA is a key partner in providing the state-of-the-art technology solutions required.”

Fraport Greece is currently working on development plans for the 14 airports that take into consideration the specific needs of each location. In total, Fraport Greece will invest around €330 million in the development of the airports’ infrastructure until 2020.

Dave Bakker, SITA President Europe, said: “With our experience in more than 1,000 airports globally, SITA has the expertise and technology to ensure that we provide the right solution for each airport. Our CUTE solution allows any airline to quickly set up and operate from any of the airports, helping Fraport Greece elevate the experience for airlines as well as their passengers.”

  • Performance and Ease of Accessibility Offered by First Intelsat EpicNG Satellite Enable Gogo to Begin Immediate Delivery of Improved Infight Wi-Fi for Passengers

Luxembourg | November 17, 2016– Intelsat (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, announced that Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, has signed an agreement for services on the Intelsat 29e satellite.

Gogo will use high-throughput services from the first satellite in the global Intelsat EpicNG network to deliver inflight Wi-Fi service to passenger airplanes operating in the heavily traveled North Atlantic route. The connectivity provided by Intelsat 29e, which began operations earlier this year, will deliver bridge services for Gogo until Intelsat 32e becomes operational in 2017. Intelsat is also providing Gogo with IntelsatOne managed services via its Mountainside, Maryland teleport.

In March 2016, Gogo signed an agreement for Intelsat to deliver next generation in-flight connectivity services via multi-layered Ku-band services on the Intelsat EpicNG satellites combined with OneWeb’s planned low earth orbit satellite constellation. Coverage will include high-performance connectivity provided by Intelsat 32e, Intelsat 33e and Horizons 3e.

“The performance of the Intelsat EpicNG satellites demonstrates the value of high-throughput satellite technology,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “When factoring in the ease of integration to Intelsat EpicNG services, we opted to begin services with Intelsat 29e immediately and transition to Intelsat 32e when it becomes operational. We look forward to expanding our reach as more Intelsat EpicNG satellites become available.”

Intelsat 33e will expand Gogo’s services across Europe, the Middle East and Asia when it begins service in the first quarter of 2017 at 60° East, and the Horizons 3e spacecraft will create a true global HTS service for Gogo when it begins operations over the Asia-Pacific region in 2018.

“Intelsat is delivering on the promise of HTS with Intelsat EpicNG, with a unique design that provides immediate improvement in performance of up to 165 percent,” said Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler. “Customers are easily transitioning to the platform, validating our backwards-compatible, open-architecture design, and this enables Gogo to begin delivering broadband-enabled inflight Wi-Fi services in the North Atlantic today. We’re proving every day that the higher performance, improved economics and simplified access delivered by Intelsat EpicNG position aeronautical service providers to rapidly scale networks on a global basis, while staying ahead of explosive data-performance requirements.”

Before we get into more Singapore IFEC stuff we wanted to mention that next year’s APEX EXPO 2017 will be held on September 25 – 28 in Long Beach, CA USA. Check out the APEX website for more info. Now, on to APEX in Singapore:

Panasonic
While this year’s Panasonic booth was a blend of the “Cool Room” and the regular product displays, they were showing new products and solutions for the IFEC crowd. And finally, we got a communication focus on the application of advertising with the launch of Captify Inflight Marketing and advertising services. Captify, which is an advanced inflight marketing platform delivers all the key features needed by airlines, their external partners and paying advertisers. Since the platform comprises the software tools and support teams that power the largest inflight marketing solution in the world – reaching 1.3 billion travelers a year! Here is the big deal – Captify enables airlines to target by seat class, route, device, language, and passenger data. With no changes to on-board media, it can increase or decrease ad loads, cap the frequency of marketing campaigns, and deliver detailed usage data in real-time. This allows airlines to optimize promotions for a wide range of optional services, partnerships, loyalty programs, and paid advertising all within a compelling passenger experience.
The platform delivers video, native display, and sponsorship options for high-impact, fraud-free marketing with best-in-class targeting and results. Using this information, Captify helps airlines and their marketing and sales partners learn more about their customers by bringing together all the passenger and behavioral data, so airlines can gain intelligence and inform business or service strategies. Captify is built to fit any airline’s business model, with access for internal marketers, external sales teams, and ongoing trafficking and testing support from Panasonic. The full-service platform includes ground-side tools for scheduling and analytics of marketing campaigns; air-side servers and APIs to integrate with any aircraft’s inflight entertainment or connectivity systems; plus Panasonic’s dedicated service teams working hand-in-hand with airlines partners, media agencies, and content providers.
Next, Panasonic Global Communications (Panasonic), A Division of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, and Newtec – a specialist in designing, developing and manufacturing equipment and technologies for satellite communications – unveiled a new, high bandwidth satellite modem, which offers Panasonic customers twenty times the bandwidth of Panasonic’s current solution. Versions of this new modem will be available across Panasonic’s mobility markets including air transport, business aviation, maritime, cruise ships, mega yachts, and river cruises. Developed in partnership, the new modem is capable of exceeding 400 Mbps, and it can scale to meet the evolving needs of airlines and their passengers by facilitating the increasing bandwidth coming on stream over the next two years as High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) and Extreme-Throughput Satellite (XTSTM) services continue to be layered over Panasonic’s existing global network. This will expand network capacity from 2,300 MHz today to 15,000+ MHz by 2017.
The next-generation modem includes three demodulators for seamless beam switching and simultaneous data and video reception and is also part of the Newtec Dialog® multiservice platform, which supports a wide range of verticals, including aviation and maritime. Featuring the award-winning dynamic bandwidth allocation Mx-DMA®, it combines the efficiency of SCPC with the dynamic bandwidth allocation capabilities of TDMA to deliver up to 300 percent more data than legacy Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) systems. Here’s the deal: By making a satcom beam narrower, Newtec delivers more power, and thus, use the full 150 MHz carrier. You remember Shannons theorem, right? This way they use a full 150MHz carrier – three times wider than Panasonic’s existing Ku-band systems. Very cool and speedy solution.
Lastly, we found Panasonic’s ZeroTouch service – it’s a unique and innovative service that simultaneously gives airlines real-time visibility into performance, improves the efficiency of its maintenance operations and also enables data transfer of passenger-facing content to an aircraft to improve the passenger experience. Panasonic’s ZeroTouch service will reduce an airline’s need to physically touch the aircraft because all interactions are managed through a virtual dashboard. By providing access to real-time passenger data, software, media and content updates can be data-driven, helping to deliver a relevant and personalized passenger experience. Updates will be sent to an aircraft via three high-speed pipes – Wi-Fi at the gate, aircraft cell modem, or even in flight using Panasonic’s global broadband eXConnect service. Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics, said: “As an industry leader and trusted partner for over 35 years, Panasonic understands the infrastructure and support airlines require. Our data-driven, real-time ZeroTouch service combines all areas of our in-house expertise to help airlines maximize the efficiencies of their business and reduce their operational expenses.”

Rockwell Collins
An announcement at the show caught us a little off guard – “Rockwell Collins to acquire B/E Aerospace for $8.3 billion in total consideration”, so we asked the RC Team about the deal but because it was so new it was a bit too early to get reliable report answers for our readers. The release went on to say, “Expected to generate run-rate pre-tax cost synergies of approximately $160 million. Transformative transaction accelerates growth and strengthens Rockwell Collins’ position as a leading supplier of cockpit and cabin solutions. “Double-digit accretive to earnings per share in first full fiscal year with expected combined five-year free cash flow generation in excess of $6 billion”, and “Diversifies and balances portfolio across OEM, airline and aftermarket.” Further it went on: “The transaction combines Rockwell Collins’ capabilities in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications, simulation and training, and information management systems with B/E Aerospace’s range of cabin interior products, which include seating, food and beverage preparation and storage equipment, lighting and oxygen systems, and modular galley and lavatory systems for commercial airliners and business jets. The acquisition significantly increases Rockwell Collins’ scale and diversifies its product portfolio, customer mix and geographic presence. On a pro forma basis, Rockwell Collins would have nearly 30,000 employees, $8.1 billion in revenues and $1.9 billion in EBITDA for the twelve months ending September 30, 2016.”
The story is probably like this: A lot of Rockwell Collins aviation earnings, including IFEC, vary greatly through the year and in many cases, IFEC may be down, while seating may be a hot item. This solution gives Rockwell a very well respected company to deliver another set of aviation products that they did not have. It also makes them a ‘nose-to-tail’ provider within that giant metal tube. And who knows, the integration of BEA into RC, may just further provide individual and combined sales products and events!

INMARSAT
One of the “big deals” in Singapore was Inmarsat, as they launched their GX Aviation inflight connectivity solution while there. GX operates at Ka-band, and unlike other solutions available today GX for Aviation is uniquely engineered to meet the needs of airlines and their passengers. Generally speaking, the higher the frequency the more bandwidth you can get out of the system, and the more bandwidth, the more users and the larger the data rates – bigger is definitely better in connectivity! The highly efficient Ka-band spot beams provide a foundation layer of global coverage designed specifically to serve high-speed users. But global coverage is only part of the story. GX offers the flexibility to add and redirect bandwidth where airlines need it most, across hub and traffic hotspots. And as demand inevitably grows, so will GX capacity, future-proofing airlines choice today. Imagine a cell network and since each satellite has 80 cells, the flexible cell approach allows the satcom receivers to hand over signals from one to another if one cell is overloaded (done today with L-band too). This is a big deal.
As we noted earlier, the GX Ka-band service is now live and Inmarsat will provide its advanced new GX for Aviation in-flight broadband solution to Austrian Airlines’ continental aircraft fleet under a new, recently announced contract. The Ka-band spot beams are extremely efficient and provide a foundation layer of global coverage specifically designed to serve a high-speed mobile audience. More than 30 Airbus A320 family aircraft from Austrian Airlines’ fleet will be equipped with GX for Aviation. We understand that the new service will allow the airline’s passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more, with service levels on par with broadband connectivity available on the ground. We should note that the first installation and testing onboard Austrian Airlines aircraft is currently underway.
Also in the GX world, Honeywell and Boeing have recently signed a technical services agreement to develop technologies for the next generation of high-speed, in-flight wireless connectivity. The two companies will jointly research, test and develop the avionics hardware, software and potential aviation services that will utilize Inmarsat’s GX Ka-band satellites. The move addresses passengers’ increasing demands for faster, more reliable in-flight connectivity on smartphones, tablets and laptops.
(Editor’s Note: We can’t leave the Inmarsat story without reporting on their incredible booth in Singapore. It basically used virtual reality to tell visitors about 10 – 15 potential applications for the GX service from Inmarsat via VR headsets. First you are fitted with the headset and told that once in the viewing room, users could focus their headsets on the logo of one of the 10 – 15 potential areas of interest: ground connectivity, inflight operation, destination information and so on. Once a connection was established with the VR headset; the viewer was presented with a short audio/video scenario. Very clever and hopefully it will be at a future show!)

RUMORS/PREDICTIONS

  • We expect to see more consolidation from mid-level vendors before AIX and it is happening NOW!

INTERESTING NEWS
Here’s a new one, or at least one we have not seen: Latitude Aero is having a Warehouse Liquidation Sale on A319 seating…  “All reasonable offers accepted” – Check it out!

  • Joint venture would exclusively provide inflight connectivity hardware and entertainment services on HNA airlines, comprising over 320 aircraft today with the potential to grow to over 500 planes
  • Shareco plans to invest up to $416 million in GEE stock at $11 per share through a combination of primary and secondary share purchases

Los Angeles, CA | November 8, 2016– GEE (“GEE”) (NASDAQ:ENT), today announced it has entered into a strategic alliance and an investment agreement with Beijing Shareco Technologies Co., Ltd. (“Shareco”, NEEQ: 837676), an affiliate of HNA Group, one of China’s largest conglomerates. GEE and Shareco plan to create a joint venture (“JV”) to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity (“IFEC”) in China and exclusively service aircraft operated by HNA airlines. Shareco will make an initial primary equity investment in GEE of approximately $103 million, as well as contemplated additional primary and secondary common equity purchases upon the formation of the JV that would bring the total expected investment to $416 million.

Under terms of the contemplated transactions, GEE and Shareco would form a JV to provide IFEC and passenger monetization services to HNA airlines. GEE would sell its equipment, including its Airconnect antennas, network services and engineering and product support directly to the JV. The JV would be the exclusive provider of IFEC to HNA aircraft. This fleet comprises over 320 aircraft today and is expected to grow to over 500 aircraft in the future.

GEE currently operates live connectivity and television services in the Chinese IFEC market, and since 2013, GEE’s Chinese growth program has included investment in a Beijing office, local engineers, partnerships with Chinese media and advertising firms, connectivity trials and teleport infrastructure. GEE works with all of the Tier-1 telecommunications providers in China and, upon implementation of the JV, expects to be well-positioned in the highly competitive China IFEC market, with the JV having exclusive access to aircraft currently comprising a significant portion of the Chinese commercial aviation market. Currently, GEE has trial contracts with Shareco to provide services to several airlines within the HNA Group.

Shareco is a Beijing-based company that has developed and implemented an established advertising and passenger monetization model as the exclusive provider of e-commerce, games, content and advertising solutions to numerous airlines within and out of HNA’s fleet, including Hainan Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines, Yangtze River Express, Tianjin Airlines and Okay Airways, among others. Shareco currently provides innovative tablet-based IFEC services to over 200 aircraft. Shareco is affiliated with HNA Group, a Fortune Global 500 corporation based in China with a proven track-record of acquisitions and investments in the aviation and travel industries.

“The transaction would bring together two industry leaders to accelerate IFEC adoption and improve the passenger experience in China. The completion of our JV with Shareco would accelerate our growth and solidify GEE as a major IFEC provider in the rapidly growing Chinese market,” said Dave Davis, CEO of GEE. “We are thrilled to partner with Shareco and HNA Group to drive new revenue opportunities and provide unparalleled connectivity and passenger entertainment products for HNA airlines and the Chinese market.”

“We are investing in GEE based on its leadership in the mobility space and unique position of offering an integrated suite of connectivity and content products,” said Jason Sun, Chairman of Shareco. “Our investment and strategic alliance will accelerate adoption of inflight connectivity, advertising and e-commerce in the Chinese market and bring a differentiated experience to passengers.”

Transaction Details

Shareco’s investment and creation of the JV is planned to occur in two stages. First, Shareco has agreed to acquire newly issued common shares of GEE for $11.00 per share, resulting in a 9.9% post-investment ownership stake. Based on GEE current shares outstanding, the initial investment is expected to total approximately $103 million for approximately 9.3 million newly issued shares of GEE. GEE will use the proceeds from this investment for general corporate purposes. The first stage of the transaction is subject to regulatory review and other customary closing conditions.

In connection with the second stage of the transactions, GEE and Shareco will negotiate binding documentation including an investment agreement providing for additional Shareco primary and secondary equity investments and a definitive JV agreement. Upon formation of the JV, Shareco would purchase up to $150 million of additional primary shares from GEE at $11.00 per share, with the proceeds used by GEE to invest in the JV as described below. In addition, in connection with the second stage of the transaction, Shareco would commence a tender offer to GEE’s stockholders to acquire shares at $11.00 per share in an amount which would result in Shareco holding an expected 34.9% ownership stake in GEE, through an expected aggregate investment of up to approximately $416 million, inclusive of both investment stages of the transaction. The second stage of the transaction is subject to the parties entering in a definitive investment and JV agreements, as well as regulatory review, GEE shareholder approval and other customary closing conditions.

GEE is expected to own up to 49% of the JV, and Shareco would own the remainder. In connection with the formation of the JV, GEE would invest up to $150 million into the JV, and Shareco is expected to contribute substantially all of its assets and liabilities, including exclusive contractual rights to provide IFEC services to HNA airlines. Upon completion of the second investment, Shareco would have the right to nominate GEE Board of Director seats proportionate to its ownership position in GEE. GEE expects to be actively engaged in the management of the JV, including having the rights to appoint key JV officers.

GEE expects that the completion of Shareco’s initial primary investment will occur during the first half of 2017, with the JV and second stage equity investments completed later in 2017.

BofA Merrill Lynch and Barclays are acting as financial advisors to GEE, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is acting as legal advisor to GEE. Moelis & Company is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Shareco. Sidley Austin LLP and Fangda Partners are acting as legal advisors to Shareco.

· ViaSat Gains Connected Aircraft Software, Wireless In-flight Entertainment, Mobile Applications and Airline Document Management Expertise
· Arconics Brings A Complementary Set of Existing Commercial Airline Customers, Including Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Among Others

Carlsbad, CA and Dublin, Ireland | November 14, 2016– ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global broadband services and technology company, today announced it acquired Arconics, an innovative provider of software solutions to the aviation industry. Through this acquisition ViaSat gains broader expertise, aviation-grade software and mobile applications to make flying safer and more efficient for pilots, cabin crews and flight operations teams as well as applications that make entertaining passengers and opening new service and revenue opportunities for airlines possible.

The Arconics connected aircraft software platform enables the Arconics App Suite, which spans wireless In-flight Entertainment (IFE), Electronic Flight Bag (EFB), Airline Document Management and Cabin Management solutions, to communicate and share data with the aircraft and, using available connectivity, to connect with ground systems across mobile or avionics platforms. Today, tens of thousands of pilots, ground staff and cabin crew members across five continents depend on Arconics software to safely and efficiently operate their fleets. Airline customers include: Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Philippine Airlines, Tigerair Australia, SpiceJet and others.

“By acquiring Arconics, we are bolstering our ability to serve the global aviation market,” said Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Mobility business, ViaSat. “We believe combining our strengths with Arconics will position ViaSat to be the market leader for connectivity, passenger services and flight deck applications and operations.”

Prior to the acquisition, Arconics had a partnership with ViaSat, primarily focused on serving the wireless IFE needs of multiple airline customers. Post-acquisition, ViaSat expects to also offer airlines real-time insight, control and agility of aircraft and flight data with highly-integrated, highly-customizable aircraft operations tools that tap into the power of ViaSat’s advanced high capacity Ka-band satellite network, which has more capacity in orbit than any other in-flight WiFi provider.

“ViaSat offers Arconics a strategic match – both culturally and technologically,” said Arconics Chief Executive Officer Niall O’Sullivan. “We know ViaSat well, having partnered with them on a number of opportunities to deliver our world-class CloudStore wireless IFE product. Together, we believe the complementary nature of the technologies and products of Arconics and ViaSat will enhance the combined company’s ability to deliver exceptional end-to-end experiences across the entire aircraft value-chain.”

In connection with the acquisition, ViaSat establishes a presence in Dublin, Ireland, and will continue to build its operations in Sydney, Australia. More than 30 Arconics team members with both technical and business expertise will join ViaSat, including Niall O’Sullivan. IBI Corporate Finance advised Arconics on the transaction. The transaction is not expected to materially affect ViaSat non-GAAP (pro forma) earnings for fiscal year 2017. However, ViaSat has not completed its valuation analysis and, accordingly, has not determined the impact to GAAP earnings.

  • Real-time updates on queuing now available at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

Atlanta, Georgia | November 1, 2016– Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, known as America’s Friendliest Airport®, is using sophisticated technology from global IT provider SITA to offer its 44 million passengers real-time information for their journey through the airport.

Passengers can now view security wait times before they travel as well as when they arrive at the airport. Today, real-time checkpoint wait times are available on the airport’s website; on flight information displays in the terminals and PHX Sky Train® stations; and on Sky Harbor’s visual paging screens in the terminals.

Committed to providing a great passenger experience, Phoenix Sky Harbor rolled out SITA QueueAnalyzer, the intelligent queue management technology from SITA and its partner iinside, following a successful two-month pilot at the airport. It is now in use at five security checkpoints in Terminals 2 and 4, providing accurate real-time information. More than 80% of passengers use Terminal 4, which is home to American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, the airport’s dominant carriers.

In addition to providing passengers with the information they need, SITA QueueAnalyzer provides airport management with dashboards to assess current wait times and view live video of lines. It also provides dashboards for quick analysis of real-time information against historical data, allowing for better allocation of resources to avoid bottlenecks. Airports across the USA are focusing on improving queue management and SITA’s technology will be in operation at a number of high-volume airports before the end of the year.

Randy Pizzi, SITA President, Americas, said: “Passengers want the right information at the right time and SITA QueueAnalyzer ensures that Sky Harbor provides accurate information at every touchpoint. Not only does it monitor wait times but it can predict queue times at key checkpoints so that lines can be managed more efficiently. This is a great example of smart technology being used to deliver a better passenger experience.”

SITA QueueAnalyzer is also being installed as part of Sky Harbor’s Terminal 3 modernization and will come online later this year, when the first phase of the terminal project is completed.

California | November 1, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: ENT) today announced the start of a commercial trial of inflight connectivity and entertainment services on an Air China Boeing 777 aircraft. The commercial trial follows a successful technical trial and will be conducted in partnership with Air China, China Unicom and China Satcom under license from the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

GEE’s Airconnect Global™ system transforms the flying experience by adding high-value, high-interest connectivity services to internet access. GEE’s solution will provide Air China passengers with fast and reliable broadband internet service. The ground-breaking trial also will include an Air China-branded entertainment portal with live streaming of three Chinese-language television stations, video on demand with Hollywood and Chinese content, games and destination guides. This trial is the first in China to offer full-cabin television streaming and is an important milestone in GEE’s Chinese growth program, which includes investments in local personnel, engineering and software development resources, innovative new revenue generating services, relationships with Chinese media and advertising firms, and teleports.

“A fully connected experience is increasingly becoming a top priority among travelers in China who want to stay informed and entertained throughout their flights,” stated Zhang Yun, GM of Products and Services for Air China. “Air China believes that innovative connectivity services will be important generators of value for our passengers and our airline. The rich media content supports our long-term plan for broader connectivity deployment.”

“Air China’s choice of GEE as its partner in these important trials demonstrates our unique technical and commercial strengths in the Chinese market,” said Dave Davis, Chief Executive Officer for GEE. “Success in the B777 trial will lay the groundwork for future cooperation between Air China and GEE, and will place GEE undeniably at the forefront of deep, broad inflight internet and entertainment capabilities for the Chinese market.”