Panasonic Avionics

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) announced the appointment of Hernan Abbes as Vice President, Global Sales.

In his new role, Hernan will play a pivotal leadership role in driving business growth and nurturing strong relationships with new and existing airline customers. He will report directly to CEO, Ken Sain, and have worldwide responsibility for developing and implementing strategic sales initiatives across Panasonic Avionics’ range of products, services and solutions.

Hernan will oversee efforts to strengthen customer relationships, listen to and understand customer needs, propose innovative solutions and share the voice of the customer feedback within Panasonic. As a member of Panasonic’s senior leadership team, he will also participate in strategy formulation and key decisions across the business.

Hernan assumes his role with a deep knowledge of Panasonic, its people and its customers, having joined the business in 2011 as an Account Manager for the Americas region. He progressed quickly upwards through a series of sales roles, and was appointed Regional Vice President for the Americas and Oceania in 2019.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Hernan is a valuable addition to Panasonic’s senior leadership team, and a skilled and proven executive who is passionate about customers, meeting their needs and exceeding expectations. Under his leadership, I have no doubt that our company will elevate our responsiveness and customers will benefit from his expertise and dedication.” Hernan Abbes, Vice President, Global Sales of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “I am truly excited about my new role, and look forward to leading Panasonic’s team of incredibly talented sales executives. Our industry is facing challenging times but with the skill of our people and the strength and innovation of our services and solutions, I am confident that Panasonic will continue to grow as the provider of choice for airlines across the globe.”

Hernan Abbes’ started his career at Boeing, and then at Raytheon, as an electrical engineer developing wiring diagrams and cable assemblies, before he took a role at Thales Avionics as an installation engineer. He later transitioned into a Senior Account Manager role for Thales’ Latin America region selling In-Flight Entertainment and avionics. He has also held roles as a consultant to Gogo and a strategic account manager at Carlisle Interconnect Technologies.

Also from Panasonic:

Panasonic announced Qatar Airways as the launch customer for its new EcoFW 10” inflight entertainment (IFE) upgrade program. The seatback IFE monitors on the airline’s fleet of 37 Boeing 777 aircraft will be updated with Panasonic’s new EcoFW 10” monitor upgrade – creating a next-generation HD passenger experience while extending the life of the fleet’s IFE system, and reducing operational costs.

Panasonic’s IFE upgrade program, which can be achieved on an aircraft during routine overnight maintenance, includes the installation of a new passenger entertainment server. This provides passengers with a wider range of content and helps to modernize the airline’s offering and keep up-to-date with the demands of changing consumer preferences. This also enables the airline to achieve faster media loading times – all without any increase in weight, and with dramatically improved reliability levels.

The first aircraft from Qatar Airways’ 777 fleet has completed its IFE upgrade this week. This commitment from Qatar Airways marks the latest milestone in a longstanding partnership with Panasonic, which first started in 2000. A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by Skytrax. Headquartered in Doha, the airline was launched in 1997 and is the national carrier of the State of Qatar. Qatar Airways Oryx One in-flight entertainment system offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options, from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games. and much more.

Additionally, PAC also announced the appointment of Abby Bried as Vice President and General Counsel. Abby will advise on laws, regulations, public policy, ethics and risk that impact the company. She will oversee and lead Panasonic Avionics’ legal team in its delivery of legal services and other resources throughout the company to accomplish its corporate goals, strategies and priorities. She will also serve as a member of Panasonic Avionics’ senior leadership team, developing and leading its corporate legal strategy.

Abby will report directly to Jessica Hodkinson, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Panasonic Corporation of North America, with a dotted line reporting structure to Panasonic Avionics’ President and Chief Executive Officer, Ken Sain.

Ken Sain said, “We are delighted to welcome Abby to Panasonic Avionics. With her longstanding experience and proven track record as a legal counsel, and deep rooted knowledge of aviation, we know she will be a great asset to our business.”

Abby has over twenty-five years of experience in the aviation industry as a trusted legal advisor and business partner at three major US carriers – Northwest Airlines, Continental Airlines and United Airlines, where she was Associate General Counsel from 2012 to 2017.

She joins Panasonic Avionics from the international law firm, Jenner & Block LLP, where she was a Washington DC-based partner, building a new aviation and aerospace practice group that focused on commercial aviation as well as emerging technologies in operational and manufacturing areas.

Abby said, “As aviation recovers from its biggest economic challenge, Panasonic Avionics will play a crucial role in transforming the customer experience and enhancing airline operations, and I am thrilled to be joining this innovative industry leader at this critical time.”

Abby is recognized as a global legal, compliance and diversity leader in the aviation industry, with key roles in trade associations including IATA (International Air Transport Association) and A4A (Airlines for America). She is also the past President of the International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA).

She attended Southern Methodist University where she studied Political Science and Asian Studies, followed by a juris doctorate from Mitchell Hamline School of Law.


Burrana to attend FTE/APEX Virtual Expo

Burrana, a market leader in the inflight entertainment (IFE) and cabin technology industry has, like all companies in aviation been shocked by the devastation COVID-19 has had on airlines worldwide. We are optimistic that the FTE/APEX Virtual Expo will rejuvenate our industry and assure everyone that together we will rise.

We are delighted to participate as a platinum sponsor in this pioneering digital event where our team can reconnect with our customers and industry colleagues to share the benefits of new products and services designed to solve challenges that stand in the way of sustainable airline success.

The recently launched RISE platform delivers just this, with speed to market advantages for our customers as well as the flexibility to pivot if market pressures demand.

RISE is a flexible, scalable, and configurable IFE platform that consists of hardware, software, apps and services delivering seatback, wireless and overhead entertainment, as well as in-seat power, for narrow and wide body aircraft covering linefit and retrofit installations. The platform has been thoughtfully designed to grow with you as your business grows, ensuring longevity and relevance for your onboard product. Powered by a single software stack, shared hardware, and common power backbone, RISE can easily be scaled up or down depending on business need.

During the FTE/APEX Virtual Expo, just like an in-person event, we will present all our products and services within the context of booked one-on-one meetings.

We have something special to share with our current PAVES customers and airlines looking at replacing legacy overhead and PRAM solutions.

We will take airlines through the detail of the RISE platform itself – the “products” – Seatback, Wireless and Overhead Entertainment as well as In-Seat Power. We will also showcase our innovative solution to give airlines the unprecedented ability to change the User Experience themselves, without costly

ATPs or FSATs.

Airlines and industry colleagues can meet with and chat to our leaders across sales and marketing during the entirety of the expo according to time zones, covering Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

We very much look forward to seeing you there! Drop into our booth to view videos, book a meeting, have a chat, or visit the OnDemand Conference Session to learn How Burrana is Solving old IFE challenges in new ways. Join our LIVE session, hosted by Dave Pook at the Burrana booth, An Introduction to our RISE Platform.

Learn more at Burrana.aero


BBC to join FTE APEX Virtual EXPO

BBC World News and BBC Studios today announced their presence at the Virtual EXPO on 8-9 December, where they will be showcasing their world class programming, exhibiting on a virtual stand and taking part in a number of thought leadership sessions with some of the most high profile names in the industry.

BBC World News presenter Zeinab Badawi will moderate the opening keynote session on day two of the Virtual EXPO, “CEO Perspectives on the Global Industry Recovery”. This deep-dive with a panel of global industry figures will look at the methods by which air-transport can achieve the fastest possible recovery whilst innovating, and collaborating. Panellists will include Jeffrey Goh, CEO, Star Alliance, Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO, IATA, as well as other well-known industry names. Aaron Heslehurst, presenter of “Talking Business” will hold in-depth interviews with CEOs from a number of global airlines to share their experiences and learnings from the last months.

Jon Farrar, Global VOD Director, BBC Studios, will take part in the Inflight Track panel discussion investigating how the industry can drive confidence in navigating on-board content disruption. With content creation and audience behaviour changes in content consumption being one of the most important changes brought on by the global pandemic, Jon and his fellow panellists will share their thoughts on what opportunities and threats these changes pose for airlines and suppliers and discuss which areas should they be investing in now when money is scarce.

As part of the EXPO, the BBC will have a virtual stand manned 24 hours a day where they will meet with customers, and where visitors will have the chance to learn about the upcoming slate of new titles the BBC has to offer.

The BBC Studios collection represents the best of bold, British storytelling from its in-house production arm, and high-quality UK independents. It includes uniquely ambitious dramas, such as Emily Mortimer’s The Pursuit of Love, with a stellar cast including Lily James, Andrew Scott and Dominic West; Small Axe, the first television project from award-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen, which has achieved a world first with two films from the series selected for the Cannes Film Festival; The North Water starring Hollywood actors Colin Farrell and Jack O’Connell; and The Watch, inspired by characters created by Sir Terry Pratchett.

New titles being showcased at the Virtual EXPO will include This is Going to Hurt based on Adam Kay’s international best-seller, and starring Ben Whishaw, as well as A Perfect Planet, the latest landmark natural history series in the global hit Planet franchise.

Zina Neophytou, Vice President, Out Of Home, BBC Studios, says: “No one is under any illusion that the airline industry has had an easy year. As a long-standing partner, BBC Studios and BBC World News are helping to support the road to recovery at this event with access to some of the most high profile names in the industry, who can offer practical learnings the audience can apply to their own businesses. Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that every passenger has the best possible inflight experience and we can also help navigate this by providing the most creative and high quality programming on the planet.”


IATA

Here is an article from the folks at IATA with an evolution of the distribution impacts: “The potential size of the delivery is enormous. Just providing a single dose to 7.8 billion people would fill 8,000 747 cargo aircraft. Land transport will help, especially in developed economies with local manufacturing capacity. But vaccines cannot be delivered globally without the significant use air cargo.”

IATA – The Time to Prepare for COVID-19 Vaccine Transport is Now


SOUTHWEST AIRLINES
Here is a letter from Gary Kelly, Chairman of the Board and CEO
of Southwest Airlines about the return to service of the Boeing 737 MAX – 737 MAX News and Updates | Southwest Airlines


SOME INTERESTING AVIATION EVENTS
We understand that UNITED, AMERICAN and BRITISH AIRWAYS is offering free COVID-19 testing to travelers on transatlantic flights.

IFExpress has learned that DELTA AIR LINES will continue to block middle seats through end of March 2021.


OTHER NEWS


Editor’s Note: Last week the software gremlins wrecked havoc on our publishing process. Our apologies for the truncated Hot Topic. Needless to say, this week we have made certain last week’s omitted  content is included. Mea culpa!

FlightPlan: Aviation Leaders Debate Solutions to Rebuild Passenger Confidence in Industry’s Largest Live Broadcast Event

Leaders from across the global aviation industry came together for a live broadcast on November 11th, which explored strategies to accelerate recovery and future growth in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. FlightPlan: Strategies for Recovery, hosted by Inmarsat Aviation and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), saw over 50 industry voices exchange views on the present and future of aviation.

Six months on from the hugely successful first FlightPlan broadcast event in April, with aviation still in the depths of one of its most extreme crises to date, the industry’s largest-ever virtual assembly returned to connect leaders on the digital stage once again. More than 3,500 viewers tuned in from almost 90 countries worldwide for a series of live debates, interviews and analysis.

Summarizing the day’s events, Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, commented: “FlightPlan is a unique platform that brings together the aviation industry during this difficult time to share views, exchange best practice and strategize for the future. Yesterday’s edition attracted record audience numbers in comparison to our inaugural FlightPlan broadcast in April and we are delighted that so many leading voices participated. Together, we reflected on the challenges faced in 2020, the progress made to date, and of crucial importance, the trends that will guide the next phase of recovery.

“A wide range of initiatives have already been executed to make flying viable and safe – from an overhaul of cleaning protocols to greater social distancing across the passenger journey. Under different circumstances, many of these changes could have taken years to introduce. The next phase will delve even further into the passenger mindset, ensuring that consistent policies, measures and technologies are implemented to restore confidence in airline travel. While many hurdles still lie ahead, the single most overwhelming sentiment expressed during FlightPlan was one of optimism.”

A particular highlight of the day was the launch of Inmarsat’s ‘Passenger Confidence Tracker’, the world’s largest survey of airline passengers since the pandemic began. Reflecting the views and attitudes of almost 10,000 respondents from 12 countries, it revealed that 83 per cent of air passengers expect their travel habits to change in the long-term as a result of COVID-19.

Reflecting on what the industry can take from the study in order to rebuild confidence, Niels Steenstrup, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Vice President of Inflight Business, told viewers: “The fundamental message is about consistency. Passengers want to be able to board a plane anywhere and be confident that the same hygiene practices are being followed. They want a consistent set of safety standards around the world, and more consistency on quarantine rules.

He continued: “Worries about flying are all too often a result of inconsistencies and lack of assurance about what they will be met with at the airport, on the plane or at the destination. Co-operation between nations will undoubtedly help restore passenger confidence.”

Agreeing with Steenstrup, Peter Harbison, Chairman of CAPA Centre for Aviation, added that “a harmonious and standardized way for looking after passengers” is needed. “The biggest problem is the unilateralism we have seen develop,” he said.

Another key theme of the day was the growing relevancy of trust and reputation. Robert Carey, Chief Commercial and Customer Officer at easyJet, said: “In an economic downturn, customers want value and a brand they can trust.” This is supported by data from the ‘Passenger Confidence Tracker’, which finds 44 per cent of passengers believe reputation is now a more significant factor when choosing an airline than it was pre-pandemic.

“Trust is super critical for any brand, but certainly for those that have a safety component like airlines,” agreed Anton Vidgen, APEX President and Air Canada Head of Brand Experience. “It was important before the pandemic and it’s especially important during the pandemic.”

There was a clear focus throughout FlightPlan on the importance of digital solutions as a short-term solution to boost confidence and safety, through reducing touchpoints and interactions throughout the journey experience.

Gustavo Nader, Thales’ Head of Strategy, IFE and Connectivity, noted a growing trend for traveler autonomy, enabled by digitization. “Travelers are increasingly reliant on self-directed resources to get information about their travel experience,” he said. “Airports and airlines will be required to accelerate their digital transformation in a way that increases the independence of the traveler and reduces their reliance on touchpoints and interactions.”

Airline leaders echoed this, arguing that the pandemic has accelerated their digital transformation plans. Vidgen noted that Air Canada has already adopted touchless bag check and is exploring innovative technologies from biometrics to automatic gate boarding. Implementing touchless technologies throughout the journey, he believes, will ensure “that customers feel confident and can serve themselves as much as possible”.

Matt Klein, CCO of Spirit, noted another shift in passenger habits: the uptake of ancillary services. “The Spirit business model, with optionality of services, is working. There is a lot of value for guests with that and our ancillary revenue generation numbers are back where they were last year,” he stated. Research from the Passenger Confidence Tracker supports Klein’s comments, with value added services – such as extra legroom and free baggage – becoming increasingly important to passengers in 2020.

Despite the deep challenges facing aviation as a result of the pandemic, FlightPlan speakers expressed positivity in how the industry has adapted at speed, and shared optimism for the recovery phase. Perry Cantarutti, SVP Alliances, Delta Air Lines, commented that “we’re learning to realize that we can’t let it [COVID-19] conquer our ability to live our lives and run our businesses, but we have to be able to do that in a safe way”. He noted that growing travel confidence in the US domestic market in particular is an “encouraging” sign.

According to Andrés Castañeda, CMO and CXO, AeroMexico, the pandemic has led the airline – and the wider industry – to identify ways to be more agile in the future. “We can change our processes and policies faster than we ever thought we could,” he said. “With COVID, we need to reimagine how we operate to bring trust back to customers. That has been a silver lining of the past eight months.”

Ben Smith, CEO of AirFrance KLM reiterated this, stating: “The crisis has forced us to be more agile. It’s forced us to really try and be a step ahead of our competitors”. He ended with a note of optimism for the industry: “People have family and friends around the world. People like holidays. People have businesses. That’s not disappearing. If borders are open, they will come back.”

While acknowledging that passenger habits will have changed, easyJet’s Carey shared the sentiment that the appetite for travel will not dissipate. Reflecting on the passenger of the future, he said: “Are they going to interact with us [airlines] differently? Absolutely. But the brands set up to win are going to have a really bright future.”

All interviews and content aired at FlightPlan are available to view on-demand via https://flightplan.wavecast.io/

The ‘Passenger Confidence Tracker’ report is available to download free-of-charge here.


Panasonic Avionics

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) announced the appointment of Hernan Abbes as Vice President, Global Sales.

In his new role, Hernan will play a pivotal leadership role in driving business growth and nurturing strong relationships with new and existing airline customers. He will report directly to CEO, Ken Sain, and have worldwide responsibility for developing and implementing strategic sales initiatives across Panasonic Avionics’ range of products, services and solutions.

Hernan will oversee efforts to strengthen customer relationships, listen to and understand customer needs, propose innovative solutions and share the voice of the customer feedback within Panasonic. As a member of Panasonic’s senior leadership team, he will also participate in strategy formulation and key decisions across the business.
Hernan assumes his role with a deep knowledge of Panasonic, its people and its customers, having joined the business in 2011 as an Account Manager for the Americas region. He progressed quickly upwards through a series of sales roles, and was appointed Regional Vice President for the Americas and Oceania in 2019.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Hernan is a valuable addition to Panasonic’s senior leadership team, and a skilled and proven executive who is passionate about customers, meeting their needs and exceeding expectations. Under his leadership, I have no doubt that our company will elevate our responsiveness and customers will benefit from his expertise and dedication.” Hernan Abbes, Vice President, Global Sales of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “I am truly excited about my new role, and look forward to leading Panasonic’s team of incredibly talented sales executives. Our industry is facing challenging times but with the skill of our people and the strength and innovation of our services and solutions, I am confident that Panasonic will continue to grow as the provider of choice for airlines across the globe.”

Hernan Abbes’ started his career at Boeing, and then at Raytheon, as an electrical engineer developing wiring diagrams and cable assemblies, before he took a role at Thales Avionics as an installation engineer. He later transitioned into a Senior Account Manager role for Thales’ Latin America region selling In-Flight Entertainment and avionics. He has also held roles as a consultant to Gogo and a strategic account manager at Carlisle Interconnect Technologies.

Also from Panasonic:

Panasonic announced Qatar Airways as the launch customer for its new EcoFW 10” inflight entertainment (IFE) upgrade program. The seatback IFE monitors on the airline’s fleet of 37 Boeing 777 aircraft will be updated with Panasonic’s new EcoFW 10” monitor upgrade – creating a next-generation HD passenger experience while extending the life of the fleet’s IFE system, and reducing operational costs.

Panasonic’s IFE upgrade program, which can be achieved on an aircraft during routine overnight maintenance, includes the installation of a new passenger entertainment server. This provides passengers with a wider range of content and helps to modernize the airline’s offering and keep up-to-date with the demands of changing consumer preferences. This also enables the airline to achieve faster media loading times – all without any increase in weight, and with dramatically improved reliability levels.

The first aircraft from Qatar Airways’ 777 fleet has completed its IFE upgrade this week. This commitment from Qatar Airways marks the latest milestone in a longstanding partnership with Panasonic, which first started in 2000. A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by Skytrax. Headquartered in Doha, the airline was launched in 1997 and is the national carrier of the State of Qatar. Qatar Airways Oryx One in-flight entertainment system offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options, from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games. and much more.


IATA

Here is an article from the folks at IATA with an evolution of the distribution impacts: “The potential size of the delivery is enormous. Just providing a single dose to 7.8 billion people would fill 8,000 747 cargo aircraft. Land transport will help, especially in developed economies with local manufacturing capacity. But vaccines cannot be delivered globally without the significant use air cargo.”

IATA – The Time to Prepare for COVID-19 Vaccine Transport is Now


Boeing

Boeing and Allen University announced today a new $1.5 million partnership to establish the Boeing Institute on Civility at Allen University. The Boeing Institute will be a national hub for teaching and provide programming aimed at advancing civil discourse in America and across the globe.
“The Institute on Civility will become a powerful catalyst for helping to promote thoughtful, civil discourse,” said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun. “Empowering students and the broader community to debate public issues with civility and respect is an important step on the journey to developing lasting societal solutions.”

“The reach of The Boeing Company is particularly compatible with the university’s aspiration to demonstrate that service to the greater good does not stop in one’s own community, but has the obligation to be expansive,” said Allen University President Ernest McNealey. “While the Institute is the centerpiece of the Waverly Project, all aspects of it will confidently pursue a better future and honor those who did so in the past.”

“I want to thank Dr. McNealey, Mr. Calhoun and Bishop Green for their support of this Institute on Civility. We are at an inflection point in this great country and we must learn to share our lives together,” said Congressman Jim Clyburn (S.C.-6). “This Institute means a whole lot to me, this institution, this state and this nation.”

Boeing funding will support the renovation of the historic Good Samaritan-Waverly Hospital, which will house the Institute once construction is complete. The Institute will include a memorial to honor the nine victims of the 2015 Mother Emanuel AME Church tragedy in Charleston, S.C., and be the home to the South Carolina African American Hall of Fame.

Today’s investment builds on Boeing’s commitment to advancing racial equity and compliments the company’s recent $10 million investment in similar causes. Over the last five years, Boeing has invested more than $17 million in organizations to expand access and address inequities for communities of color across South Carolina.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We expect the FAA to formally unground the Boeing 737 MAX this week, most likely middle to end of the week after voting by the house say some sources. We note that the plane won’t start flying right away: Airline storage is one issue, there will be new training effort, and, of course, updating each aircraft with new software in the flight control system. Good Luck Boeing!


Other News

Geneva | September 9, 2020–The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged governments to begin careful planning with industry stakeholders to ensure full preparedness when vaccines for COVID-19 are approved and available for distribution. The association also warned of potentially severe capacity constraints in transporting vaccines by air.

Preparedness

Air cargo plays a key role in the distribution of vaccines in normal times through well-established global time- and temperature-sensitive distribution systems. This capability will be crucial to the quick and efficient transport and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines when they are available, and it will not happen without careful planning, led by governments and supported by industry stakeholders.

“Safely delivering COVID-19 vaccines will be the mission of the century for the global air cargo industry. But it won’t happen without careful advance planning. And the time for that is now. We urge governments to take the lead in facilitating cooperation across the logistics chain so that the facilities, security arrangements and border processes are ready for the mammoth and complex task ahead,” said IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.

“Delivering billions of doses of vaccine to the entire world efficiently will involve hugely complex logistical and programmatic obstacles all the way along the supply chain. We look forward to working together with government, vaccine manufacturers and logistical partners to ensure an efficient global roll-out of a safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Facilities:  Vaccines must be handled and transported in line with international regulatory requirements, at controlled temperatures and without delay to ensure the quality of the product. While there are still many unknowns (number of doses, temperature sensitivities, manufacturing locations, etc.), it is clear that the scale of activity will be vast, that cold chain facilities will be required and that delivery to every corner of the planet will be needed. Priorities for preparing facilities for this distribution include:

  • Availability of temperature-controlled facilities and equipment – maximizing the use or re-purposing of existing infrastructure and minimizing temporary builds
  • Availability of staff trained to handle time- and temperature-sensitive vaccines
  • Robust monitoring capabilities to ensure the integrity of the vaccines is maintained

Security: Vaccines will be highly valuable commodities. Arrangements must be in place to keep ensure that shipments remain secure from tampering and theft. Processes are in place to keep cargo shipments secure, but the potential volume of vaccine shipments will need early planning to ensure that they are scalable.

Border Processes:  Working effectively with health and customs authorities will, therefore, be essential to ensure timely regulatory approvals, adequate security measures, appropriate handling and customs clearance. This could be a particular challenge given that, as part of COVID-19 prevention measures, many governments have put in place measures that increase processing times. Priorities for border processes include:

  • Introducing fast-track procedures for overflight and landing permits for operations carrying the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Exempting flight crew members from quarantine requirements to ensure cargo supply chains are maintained
  • Supporting temporary traffic rights for operations carrying the COVID-19 vaccines where restrictions may apply
  • Removing operating hour curfews for flights carrying the vaccine to facilitate the most flexible global network operations
  • Granting priority on arrival of those vital shipments to prevent possible temperature excursions due to delays
  • Considering tariff relief to facilitate the movement of the vaccine

Capacity

On top of the transport preparations and coordination needed, governments must also consider the current diminished cargo capacity of the global air transport industry. IATA warned that, with the severe downturn in passenger traffic, airlines have downsized networks and put many aircraft into remote long-term storage. The global route network has been reduced dramatically from the pre-COVID 24,000 city pairs. The WHO, UNICEF and Gavi have already reported severe difficulties in maintaining their planned vaccine programs during the COVID-19 crisis due, in part, to limited air connectivity.

“The whole world is eagerly awaiting a safe COVID vaccine. It is incumbent on all of us to make sure that all countries have safe, fast and equitable access to the initial doses when they are available. As the lead agency for the procurement and supply of the COVID vaccine on behalf of the COVAX Facility, UNICEF will be leading what could possibly be the world’s largest and fastest operation ever. The role of airlines and international transport companies will be critical to this endeavour,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.

The potential size of the delivery is enormous. Just providing a single dose to 7.8 billion people would fill 8,000 747 cargo aircraft. Land transport will help, especially in developed economies with local manufacturing capacity. But vaccines cannot be delivered globally without the significant use air cargo.

“Even if we assume that half the needed vaccines can be transported by land, the air cargo industry will still face its largest single transport challenge ever. In planning their vaccine programs, particularly in the developing world, governments must take very careful consideration of the limited air cargo capacity that is available at the moment. If borders remain closed, travel curtailed, fleets grounded and employees furloughed, the capacity to deliver life-saving vaccines will be very much compromised,” said de Juniac.

INMARSAT

The ‘Passenger Confidence Tracker’ is the world’s largest survey of airline passengers since the pandemic began. It reflects the views and attitudes of 9,500 respondents from 12 countries across the globe about the future of flying.

While the majority of passengers (60%) feel satisfied with the aviation industry’s response to the challenges of COVID-19, the survey reveals areas of opportunity for airlines to encourage passengers back to the skies.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “With safety and reputation becoming even more important to today’s flyers, there is a clear need for airlines to differentiate themselves in order to encourage passengers back onto their flights. Digitalization lies at the heart of both; minimizing critical touchpoints in the passenger journey to improve confidence, all the while keeping passengers connected and entertained.”

Only a third (34%) of passengers surveyed have taken a commercial flight since the pandemic began, and this appears to have sparked a shift in attitudes to flying. Four in ten passengers (41%) expect to travel less by any means and a third (31%) plan to fly less. This sentiment is even higher among Asian passengers, with 58 per cent in India and 55 per cent in South Korea planning to travel less in the future.

Despite this change, there are early signs that travelers are beginning to feel confident about flying again; almost half (47%) of passengers surveyed expect to feel ready to fly within the next six months.

The study reveals significant variance across the world when it comes to passenger confidence about flying in light of the pandemic1. Hungarian and British fliers are most confident, with 26 per cent and 16 per cent respectively saying they would get on a flight today. Asian passengers are less so; over a third (35%) of South Koreans expect not to fly again until COVID-19 disappears.

Passengers are currently more fearful of catching the virus abroad than on the plane3. In fact, many think they are at a greater health risk in other environments, such as the gym and public transport4. Recent IATA research supports this, suggesting people are more likely to be struck by lightning than catch COVID-19 on a plane.5

While passengers largely feel confident at passport control, security and communicating with cabin crew, they are less comfortable visiting the toilet inflight, and being in close proximity with others. The study indicates that solutions that minimize touchpoints and reduce interactions would go furthest in addressing pain points – such as contact-less payments inflight (83%) and staggered security queues (84%).

When it comes to ensuring personal safety, passengers have disregarded the automatic 14-day quarantine6. Instead, the results show a desire for a consistent set of measures to make the journey safer – such as mandatory face coverings, or a 48-hour test before travel.7

Almost half of passengers (44%) say that reputation is now a more significant factor when choosing an airline than it was pre-pandemic. It has therefore never been more vital for airlines to differentiate and gain a competitive edge.

The research highlights that improving inflight experience is one way to achieve this. From extra legroom (43%) to free baggage (39%), value added services are becoming increasingly important to passengers returning to the skies.

Digital solutions are fast-becoming essential to an enjoyable inflight experience, with almost four in ten (39%) agreeing that onboard Wi-Fi matters more today than ever before. This is most significant for Indian and Brazilian passengers.8 Destination status alerts, real time luggage tracking and pre-clearing immigration on the plane – all enabled by cabin connectivity – are among the top new aspects of the journey passengers want to keep post-pandemic.9

Inmarsat is transforming the global aviation industry by bringing complete connectivity to every aircraft and flight path in the world. Passengers can browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an onboard connectivity experience on par with broadband services available on the ground. In addition, Inmarsat’s flight deck solutions combine cutting-edge satellite technology with secure IP broadband connectivity for enhanced operational efficiency and safety.


CARLISLE IT

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) announced that customers in the United Kingdom and Europe can now purchase RF microwave cable assemblies online directly from its Blackburn UK facility. The website’s Cable Configurator feature allows customers to shop for and create their own RF assembly custom built for their specific application needs.

Customers now have instant access to pricing information and can buy products online with direct shipping to their location. This new eCommerce offering simplifies the purchasing process and helps speed-up turnaround times.

Since 1999, CIT’s Blackburn facility has delivered quality and cutting-edge technology in the field of standard and custom RF cable assemblies, RF test and measurement devices, RF coaxial connectors, harnesses, and custom copper assemblies. These products are designed to meet the unique challenges of customers in the Military & Defense, Aerospace, Test & Measurement, Medical, and Industrial markets.

“Our Blackburn location has built a strong reputation for both high-performance solutions and the support we provide our customers,” said Peter Lewis, Director of Operations and Finance–Blackburn. “We are continuing to evolve our new web store to better serve our customers and provide easier access to the supplies they need to create the next breakthrough that drives their business forward.”

Visit CIT’s European webstore to shop for and purchase RF cables from CIT’s Blackburn facility.


BOEING

The Boeing Company named Jinnah Hosein (today’s IFExpress image) as the company’s vice president of Software Engineering, effective immediately. In this newly created role, Hosein will report to Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief engineer and senior vice president of Engineering, Test & Technology, and will focus on further strengthening Boeing’s focus on software engineering across the enterprise. “The continued advances in software makes excellence in software engineering an imperative for our business,” said Hyslop. “Jinnah will be charged with defining and leading Boeing’s strategy for software engineering, which includes providing capabilities, technologies, processes and secure and accurate systems to meet the needs of all our customers across the entire product life cycle.” Hosein will lead a new, centralized organization of engineers who currently support the development and delivery of software embedded in Boeing’s products and services. The team will also integrate other functional teams to ensure engineering excellence throughout the product life cycle. “Safety, quality and integrity underpin the mission of our software engineering team, and building on this solid foundation, Jinnah will be a transformational leader for Boeing,” said Dave Calhoun, Boeing president and CEO. “Jinnah’s broad experience and fresh perspective will elevate our performance and accelerate the important work we’ve already begun in this area.”

Hosein brings extensive experience as a software engineering leader across several innovative, high-tech companies. He joins Boeing after serving as vice president of Software Engineering for Aurora, a self-driving vehicle company, in Palo Alto, California. He led the company’s software organization for the development of those vehicles and developed Aurora’s high-integrity software life cycle to deploy autonomous architecture to on-road vehicles.

Previously, Hosein held leadership roles at SpaceX, where he led software development for Falcon, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Crew Dragon and other flight vehicles, and at Tesla, where he helped develop autopilot software. In addition, he served as Google’s director of software engineering for cloud networking and was one of the original members of Google’s Site Reliability Engineering team.


GOGO

Gogo, a global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced its financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

  • BA results improved sequentially, reflecting continuing industry recovery from impact of COVID-19.
  • Total revenue of $66.5 million; Net loss of $8.9 million; Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $30.2 million.
  • ATG aircraft online reached 5,577 with average monthly service revenue of $2,996, down 2% and 6%, respectively, from their pre-COVID-19 quarterly peaks.
  • Cash and cash equivalents were $117.5 million as of September 30, 2020 compared to total cash of $156.3 million as of June 30, 2020.
  • On November 6, 2020, Gogo entered into an agreement to issue $50 million of its 9.875% Senior Secured Notes due 2024 to provide buffer liquidity.
  • The sale of Commercial Aviation to Intelsat (the “Transaction”) remains on track to close before the end of the first quarter 2021. Gogo has cleared the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust process and received all foreign antitrust approvals, with FCC and CFIUS clearance and one foreign telecommunications approval still required.
  • Gogo has more than $800 million in federal tax NOLs and interest expense carryforwards which will reduce income tax expense in the future.

GALGUS

Galgus raises 2.5 million euros to finance its growth and boost its international expansion. The startup Galgus has developed a technological solution that optimizes the operation of Wi-Fi networks by providing intelligence to their access points, increasing performance by 400%, and improving user experience. Galgus’ patented solution is used daily by more than one million people worldwide when they connect their smart devices to the Internet while traveling by road, air, rail, or sea transportation, or while staying in a hotel or attending a congress, among others.


OTHER NEWS

INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a leader in global, mobile satellite communications, unveiled details of a next-generation terminal for its award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband solution, which has been developed in collaboration with GDC Technics, an industry leader in engineering & technical services, modifications and electronic systems.

The innovative light weight, low drag terminal is available to airlines across the world today and has been designed to ensure that the connectivity needs of data-hungry passengers are met for generations to come, allowing them to stream high definition videos, enjoy online video games, download documents and more using their personal devices.

Following a range of technology assessments and test flights over the past 12 months, the powerful new terminal has demonstrated its ability to consistently deliver the highest levels of connectivity on board aircraft, even over the world’s busiest airspaces. In addition, upcoming enhancements to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network will further bolster the terminal’s performance in the near future.

The next-generation terminal includes a robust flat panel antenna developed by Thinkom, which has millions of flight hours behind it. In addition, it has been integrated with smart dual aero modem technology that supports Inmarsat’s ground-breaking new GX+ North America service, announced with Hughes Network Systems last week.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “GX Aviation is well established as the gold standard in inflight broadband and we have a fully-funded technology roadmap to ensure it remains the unrivaled choice for aviation connectivity. This includes the addition of seven more satellites into our global GX network over the next four years, as well as cutting-edge hardware innovation such as this new terminal.”

“As a result, our existing and future customers are perfectly positioned to meet increasing passenger expectations for consistent, reliable, high-speed connectivity wherever they fly. There is already interest and excitement for this solution – especially around the terminal’s enhanced performance and its simple integration with both legacy systems and existing partners. GDC, as an experienced and credible aerospace company, has proved an exceptional partner on this project.”

Brad Foreman, Chief Executive Officer of GDC Technics, said: “The global inflight connectivity market is fast evolving and we have enjoyed working with Inmarsat to develop this next-generation terminal for GX Aviation, which is not only lightweight and low drag, but also boasts one of the lowest engineering failure rates in the market. We are hugely excited about the partnership and look forward to working with Inmarsat and its partners to bring this new terminal to airlines across the world.”

The new GDC Technics terminal has been certified and is now flying on Boeing 737-700 aircraft. Additional retrofit and linefit certifications are currently in progress and expected to be available by the end of this year, including retrofit options for the Airbus A320/330 family, and the Boeing B787 and B777 aircraft. Customers can either select a ‘low profile’ configuration for the terminal, which drives exceptional operational efficiency, or an option with standard tri-band radomes for the retrofit market. Both options, coupled with a very high reliability antenna, ensures a reduced cost of ownership.


THALES

Thales launches its Identity Verification Suite, a secure biometric solution for customer onboarding:

  • Thales’s Gemalto Identity Verification Suite (IDV) minimizes ID fraud risks by verifying document authenticity so that service providers can digitally check identities of new customers.
  • IDV is designed to onboard more users in a secure remote environment, offering a smooth user experience.
  • The 100% automated solution leveraging Thales Artificial Intelligence, guarantees user privacy, high-level security and deployment flexibility.

Thales, a leader in digital security, has launched its Identity Verification Suite, in response to the rising need of remote client onboarding. With privacy and user experience as its heart, the IDV Suite enables a secure and 100%-AI identity verification service. It integrates the latest facial recognition technology, document security features recognition and machine learning engines. The solution addresses the Covid-19 environment with touchless interactions, allowing service providers to reach end users via their mobile handsets or the web.

Secure identity verification has become a crucial part of online security and digital onboarding, and constitutes a significant opportunity for businesses. In cases such as digital enrollment or KYC (Know Your Customer) regulations, ID verification is critical in order to efficiently detect fraud and therefore build user trust in the digital world.

The IDV Suite designed by Thales allows a secure and smooth user journey for markets from the travel industry (airlines and airport security, car rental companies, public and private transportation), telecom operators, banks, citizen services (International Driving Permit), and all types of online service providers looking to meet their KYC needs. To ease the deployment of the solution, Thales provides flexible onboarding options including a highly secure connection to Thales IDV server in SaaS (Solution as a service) mode.

The modular solution offers flexibility to deploy a single solution across all channels, whether through mobile applications, websites, or a network of dedicated document scanners, thus aligning with the security expectations of each industry. From checking the validity of the Machine-Readable Zone (MRZ) of an ID document to more advanced control under white light, infra-red and UV checks, the suite can also securely perform contactless NFC verification using the chip of e-documents.

Advanced facial biometric technology is also a key feature in the IDV Suite, integrating passive liveness detection to facilitate end-user experience. The customer is asked to take a selfie, and then the solution transparently analyzes the liveness of the selfie and securely matches it against the portrait on the ID document, allowing for quick and efficient identity biometric verification.


BOEING

In observance of National Native American Heritage Month in November, Boeing committed $1.3 million to support Indigenous communities across the United States.

The investment package includes $300,000 in grants for Southwest Tribal Nations to improve access to clean water, bridge the digital divide in education and provide better natural disaster response and preparation. The package also includes $140,000 in grants in the Pacific Northwest and a $60,000 grant in Oklahoma supporting STEM education programs for students. An additional $840,000 will fund future projects for Native American and Indigenous communities to be detailed at a later date.

“We recognize the toll on Native American and Indigenous communities from centuries of injustice, and we take seriously our role in supporting education and development in these communities,” said Marc Allen, Boeing’s chief strategy officer, senior vice president of Strategy and Corporate Development and enterprise executive sponsor of the Boeing Native American Network. “Today’s exciting announcement continues our longstanding efforts to lift up equity and opportunity in the communities where our employees live and work.”

The new investments build on the company’s previously announced multi-year commitment to combat racism and advance racial equity and social justice at all levels.

In the past two years, Boeing and its employees have invested close to $660,000 in organizations supporting Native American and other Indigenous communities – bringing the company’s global support for these populations to $2 million. In addition, the company’s employee-led Boeing Native American Network Business Resource Group promotes awareness for the richness and diversity of Native American and Indigenous cultures, encourages STEM careers for Native American youth and provides training opportunities for Native Americans and others to develop their professional and personal skills.

Nonprofits receiving immediate grant funding include:

  • Partnership with Native Americans: A $125,000 investment will support tribal self-sufficiency by providing training and equipment to Native American tribes that will help increase effectiveness in preparing for and responding to natural disasters.
  • DigDeep: A $100,000 investment will fund the “Navajo Water Project,” which provides residents on the Navajo Nation access to water, job training and equipment. This Indigenous-led, locally staffed program develops wells to pump, treat and store clean water, which is delivered by trucks to off-grid home water systems.
  • Puget Sound Educational Service District: A $75,000 investment will provide funding for the Red Road Project, a culturally infused STEM curriculum led by Native American educators that will reach 400 K-12 Native American students in four Pierce County, Washington, school districts. The Puyallup and Muckleshoot Tribes also support this program.
  • Oklahoma State University Foundation: A $60,000 investment will fund a paid summer internship program for high school juniors and seniors. The program will offer Native American students the opportunity to work alongside faculty and undergraduate engineering students at the university’s Unmanned Systems Research Institute.
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society: A $50,000 investment will support the Together Towards Tomorrow (T3) Fund, which provides one-time scholarships of $500 to 1,000 Indigenous students enrolled in an accredited U.S. college or university who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Mentor Washington: A $45,000 investment will support the Native American Career Connect STEM program, a partnership with the Nisqually Tribe that increases Native American students’ engagement and success in school through group mentorship and career exploration.
  • Fort Apache Heritage Foundation: A $25,000 investment will provide immediate technology access to White Mountain Apache tribal students in Arizona currently learning from home without computers or internet access.
  • Washington MESA: In partnership with the Red Road project, this $20,000 investment will fund the Washington MESA (Math, Engineering, Science Achievement) program, which delivers hands-on STEM exploration opportunities to 160 Native American middle school students in Pierce County, Washington.

Boeing plans to make additional announcements related to its racial equity and social justice investment strategy in the future.

Also From Boeing:

In the 3Q20 Boeing posted $466m net loss on $14.1b revenues vs $1.2b profit on $20b in 3Q19. By the end of 2021 the company also expects a workforce of approximately 130,000 employees (vs >161,000 on Jan 1, 2020); The commercial airplane division lost $1.4b (vs $40m in 2019) with 56% lower revenues.

And Lastly: A reader sent these articles to IFExpress and we found them rather interesting: Airbus stopped consuming cash in 3Q2020 – Leeham News and Analysis and Boeing Brings Bond Sale on Heels of Downgrade to Junk’s Edge.


OTHER NEWS

Thales, Nokia and SkyFive

Following successful rollout across Europe, Thales in the UK, Nokia and SkyFive are launching a new 4G LTE Air to Ground (A2G) solution to a global market. Delivering a fibre like connectivity experience, A2G significantly improves the inflight access to web, streaming and on-line games to passengers. In addition to improved passenger experiences, aircraft operators will benefit from significantly shortened installation times, minimizing the time aircraft are out of operation.

Improved connectivity, enhanced experience

Offering seamless connectivity with speeds up to 100Mbps and latency of less than 50ms, this 4G LTE solution connects aircraft to high-speed Wi-Fi from the ground up. Utilizing existing 4G technology, A2G connects aircrafts with the nearest purpose-built on-ground towers, seamlessly handing over between masts mid-flight to create consistently fast 4G connectivity throughout journeys. The high speeds and reduced latency are achieved through the impressive 4G LTE performance, combined with the short distances between the aircraft and towers, which are densely grouped to prevent aircrafts sharing bandwidth. The network’s design also means A2G has greater capacity per km2 than current satellites.

Aboard A2G enabled aircraft, the experience for passengers will be comparable to using a 4G mobile phone service on the ground. The easy-to-access connection will make it possible for passengers to make uninterrupted video-conferencing calls, watch live TV or stream the latest series in HD from their own handset.

Easy installation, savings for airlines

As the aviation sector emerges from its biggest challenge yet, A2G presents an opportunity for carriers to make significant savings, improve customer experiences and increase ancillary revenues. Compared with SATCOM systems, the compact nature of the 4G antenna reduces CO2 emissions and cuts installation times down to just 12 hours, meaning aircraft spend less time out of operation while technology is installed.

Once installed, new 4G enabled in-flight capabilities will create an aircraft environment for an Internet of Things in which operational efficiencies such as engine offload data can be viewed in real time, customer experience can be measured and targeted advertising can be introduced. Better connectivity can also support the facilitation of new COVID-19 safety protocols as they are implemented.

Collaborating to create a safe, global network

The technology is being rolled out in regions around the world where domestic and international carriers will be able to use the 4G masts on land. It has been developed through a collaborative partnership with Thales providing the onboard terminal (modem+RF) and antenna; Nokia responsible for on-ground infrastructure and SkyFive’s patented software algorithms ensuring that aircraft can reliably connect at high speeds, high altitudes and across long ranges. With 30 years of experience in connecting airlines and proven European Aviation Network success, Thales has leveraged its expertise to ensure the benefits of the faster speeds do not come at the expense of a secure platform.

Andy Humphries, Managing Director, Flight Avionics at Thales in the UK, commented: “For airlines, passenger connectivity and operational efficiency have been strategic imperatives in the past and are even more pronounced in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. At Thales, we have used our expertise to deliver proven fast and reliable aircraft hardware and software solutions underpinned by a robust worldwide support network. Combined with SkyFive’s specialism in A2G services and Nokia’s mobile network infrastructure, the project will bring industry disrupting performance for passengers and airlines alike, with reliable Wi-Fi and low transmission latency delivered with low upfront investment and operational costs. We believe A2G will help to expedite the recovery of the sector by transforming the air travel experience while reducing costs as people start flying again.”


Air Travel Consumer Report: July 2020 Numbers

The U.S. Department of Transportation on October 23, 2020 released its September 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on reporting marketing and operating air carrier data compiled for the month of July 2020.  The full consumer report and other aviation consumer matters of interest to the public can be found at http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer.

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency has resulted in significant changes to airline schedules and operations, contributing to airlines’ on-time performance and cancellation statistics in July 2020.

The 10 marketing network carriers reported 370,859 scheduled domestic flights in July 2020 compared to 237,264 flights in June 2020 and 717,684 flights in July 2019. Of those 370,859 scheduled flights, 0.8%, 2,926 flights, were canceled. As a result of schedule reductions and cancellations, the carriers reported operating 367,933 flights in July 2020, compared to 236,234 flights in June 2020, the all-time monthly low of 180,151 flights in May 2020 and 194,390 flights in April 2020.

A flight is listed as canceled if it was listed in a carrier’s computer reservation system during the seven calendar days prior to scheduled departure but was not operated.  Canceled flights are included in calculations of on-time arrival performance.

July On-Time Performance

In July 2020, reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 90.5%, down from the 92.7% on-time rate in June 2020 but up from the 76.9% rate in July 2019.  See July Data Spotlight for scheduled, canceled, and operated flights by marketing network by month.
Highest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates July 2020 (ATCR Table 1)

1.    Southwest Airlines – 94.5%
2.    Alaska Airlines Network – 92.5%
3.    Hawaiian Airlines Network – 91.7%

Lowest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates July 2020 (ATCR Table 1)

1.    JetBlue Airways – 85.4%
2.    Allegiant Air – 85.5%
3.    Frontier Airlines – 87.0%

July Cancellations

In July 2020, reporting marketing carriers canceled 0.8% of their scheduled domestic flights, a higher rate than 0.4% in June 2020 but a lower rate than 2.1% in July 2019.

Lowest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights July 2020 (ATCR Table 6)

1.    Spirit Airlines – 0.1%
2.    American Airlines Network – 0.6%
3.    Southwest Airlines – 0.7%

Highest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights July 2020 (ATCR Table 6)

1.    Hawaiian Airlines Network – 4.1%
2.    Frontier Airlines – 3.2%
3.    JetBlue Airways – 2.8%

Tarmac Delays

In July 2020, airlines reported 39 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, compared to no tarmac delays reported in June 2020 and 58 tarmac delays reported in July 2019.  In July 2020, airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to no tarmac delays reported in June 2020 and three tarmac delays in July 2019.  Extended tarmac delays are investigated by the Department.

July Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours (ATCR Table 8)

  1. American Airlines flight 4912 (operated by Piedmont Airlines) from Mobile, Ala. (MOB) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 7/21/20 – delayed 4 hours and 51 minutes on the tarmac at Charlotte
  2. American Airlines flight 3862 (operated by Envoy Air) from Charlottesville, Va. (CHO) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 7/21/20 – delayed 4 hours and 40 minutes on the tarmac at Charlotte
  3. American Airlines flight 5075 (operated by PSA Airlines) from Syracuse, N.Y. (SYR) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 7/21/20 – delayed 4 hours and 36 minutes on the tarmac at Charlotte

July International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours (ATCR Table 8A)

There were no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights in July.


This Is A Big Deal and a Great Article!

“Specifically, FAA has not assessed its oversight program to determine the priority of avionics cybersecurity risks, developed an avionics cybersecurity training program, issued guidance for independent cybersecurity testing, or included periodic testing as part of its monitoring process,” GAO said in the report.

Another key finding in the report is more guidance on independent testing to be integrated into the way the agency certifies new airplanes. GAO’s six recommendations include the following:
Here are the recommendations:

  • Identify the “relative priority of avionics cybersecurity risks compared to other safety concerns and develop a plan to address those risks.”
  • Implement new training for agency inspectors “specific to avionics cybersecurity.”
  • Include independent testing in new guidance for avionics cybersecurity testing of new airplane designs
  • Develop procedures for “safely conducting independent testing” of avionics cybersecurity controls in the deployed fleet
  • Coordinate a tracking mechanism for ensuring avionics cybersecurity issues are resolved among “internal stakeholders.”
  • Review oversight resources the agency has currently committed to avionics cybersecurity.

This is a good article: GAO Report Says Airlines Need New Cybersecurity Testing Policy for Avionics Systems – Aviation Today


Boeing

Check out this link for a very good ‘big picture’ of Boeing, especially the top executive and it also includes the recent additions.


Other News

INMARSAT AND HUGHES BRING UNRIVALED INFLIGHT CONNECTIVITY TO NORTH AMERICAN AIRLINES AND PASSENGERS

GX+ North America will seamlessly combine the Hughes JUPITER satellite fleet, which has the largest Ka-band satellite capacity over the US, with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress, the widest, most resilient global network, to offer faster, more reliable inflight Wi-Fi.

Inmarsat, a world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, and Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), the global leader in broadband satellite networks and services, unveiled a major strategic collaboration that marks an important new step change for North American commercial airlines and their passengers.

The companies have joined forces to launch a transformational aviation connectivity solution, which has been specifically designed for North American commercial airlines and is available today. GX+ North America seamlessly integrates the unrivaled capacity of the Hughes JUPITER™ High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) constellation across North America with the extensive worldwide coverage and resilience of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) HTS satellite network, bringing a unique combination of unprecedented capacity, speed and reliability to the region, unavailable from any other satellite provider.

The ground-breaking new solution underscores the strategic vision of Inmarsat and Hughes as they look past the pandemic and into the future needs of commercial airline fleets in North America, whose passengers will require ubiquitous connectivity as they return to the skies.

The ultra-high capacity of GX+ North America will, for the first time, make it possible for North American airlines to meet increasing passenger demand, including the surge in traffic expected from free-of-charge inflight Wi-Fi. Today, satellite networks are trying to serve thousands of commercial aircraft in the world’s busiest airspace, and as they reach capacity, airlines will struggle to meet the demands of data-hungry passengers who want reliable, affordable, high-speed Wi-Fi while on board.

For too long, North American airline passengers have had to settle for constrained bandwidth activities such as email and limited messaging while on board flights. GX+ North America will give passengers the freedom to stream videos and audio, shop online, check and update social media, and catch up on work, all while in the air.

The superior capabilities of GX+ North America mean that North American airlines no longer need to compromise on speed, reliability, availability or coverage for inflight broadband, even when flying at full capacity over the busiest airport hubs. This also offers full flexibility for route planning, even on short notice, as the solution can cover any route worldwide through the GX global network — whether to Hawaii, Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean, across the Gulf of Mexico, to Central and South America, across the Atlantic or even to the most extreme northern latitudes.

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “GX has firmly established itself as the reference inflight connectivity solution for today’s demanding passengers and is used by airlines worldwide. We are very confident that this game-changing collaboration with Hughes, combining their market-leading depth of capacity with Inmarsat’s award-winning passenger connectivity solution, delivers for the first time, inflight broadband that is consistently superior regardless of the number of passengers using the service or where they are traveling. It is truly a ‘no compromise’ solution for airlines that no other service provider can offer. We’ve also ensured the transition path for airlines upgrading from other connectivity providers is simple, quick and cost efficient.”

“This strategic collaboration is further evidence of Inmarsat’s strength, resilience and innovation despite these unprecedented times in our industry. As a number of connectivity providers in North America face financial challenges and airlines are forced to reconsider their choice of supplier, Inmarsat’s offer continues to go from strength to strength.”

Paul Gaske, Executive Vice President and General Manager, North America division at Hughes, said: “We are proud to partner with Inmarsat to launch GX+ North America. This unique strategic collaboration leverages the full power of the JUPITER System, including the depth of capacity of our Ka-band High-Throughput Satellite fleet, as well as our JUPITER gateways and modems. Combining the Hughes JUPITER System and Inmarsat’s leading inflight connectivity solution, GX+ North America marks a new era for inflight connectivity.”

The new solution will be provided and managed end-to-end by Inmarsat. Prototype flights are expected to start later this year with commercial availability scheduled for 2021.

GX+ North America utilizes a robust Ka-band flat panel antenna from Thinkom, with millions of flight hours behind it, together with smart dual aero modem technology powered by Inmarsat’s aviation solutions that intelligently chooses the optimal satellite path with no service interruption or delay for passengers.

Looking forward, as commercial aviation returns to growth and aircraft return to the skies, Inmarsat and Hughes will continue to anticipate and respond to the North American market’s evolving needs. Expanding the service over the next four years alone, the Hughes and Inmarsat combined constellation of seven GX and JUPITER satellites will more than double to a total of 15 spacecraft. These additional satellites include the Hughes ultra-high capacity JUPITER 3 satellite and Inmarsat’s seven advanced, fully-funded next generation GX satellite payloads (6A, 6B, 7, 8, 9, 10A & 10B), which will enhance capacity and coverage throughout the world, including the Arctic.

Be sure to check out this infographic.



FLIGHTPATH3D

FlightPath3D Now Comes With More Places Than You Can Imagine

FlightPath3D announces that Flying Over Places is now included as a new view in all 3D map products. A retrofit is available for all existing 3D map installs.

FlightPath3D President Duncan Jackson said, “Flying Over Places significantly expands our map feature set with the integration of over 50,000 points of interest (POIs) that auto-play as the flight progresses, providing historical information about landmarks, attractions, and places as they’re flown over en route.”

Jackson adds, “We want every airline to be able to inform their customer what they can see out the window, with each point displaying its distance and direction.”

“This, and our many other map features, help provide an innovative and consistent passenger experience across multiple aircraft types and IFE systems. So you can continue to elevate your brand and differentiate your inflight service”, says FlightPath3D CEO Boris Veksler.

Veksler continues, “We design and deploy apps that are available as an Android, iOS or Linux app, can be streamed as a web service or API, and as widgets that can be embedded in other applications.”

To conclude, Veksler says, “We have the largest team of map specialists and geospatial engineers in the industry, building software selected by all the leading IFE vendors, and we’ll continue to lead, innovate and elevate the passenger experience.”

NOTE: Video of Flying Over Places for embed/viewing here.


SMARTSKY

SmartSky Networks announced that mobile broadband communications technology executive David Helfgott has been named CEO, reflecting the company’s upcoming transition from the development and deployment stage to an operational aviation broadband communications services and products company.

“On behalf of both the SmartSky board and management, I am delighted to welcome David to our team, reflecting our longstanding company plan. His extensive technology and mobile communications experience will help us ensure that all of our operations reflect the high level of quality set by our transformational connectivity technology,” said Haynes Griffin, outgoing CEO who will remain as Executive Chairman.

“I am honored to be selected to lead SmartSky at this exciting inflection point,” said SmartSky CEO Helfgott. “When you look at SmartSky’s unique positioning and expansive patent portfolio, it highlights the company’s incredible potential and culture of sustained innovation. Since COVID-19 first began to impact the inflight communications industry, SmartSky has proven its resilience in many ways, having added more than 40 patents since January 2020, successfully defended its IP from a challenge brought by an industry incumbent, closed on funding of more than $50 million in additional equity and debt, and overhauled its radio technology supply chain on the way to completing the deployment and launch of its network next year.”

Helfgott most recently was President & CEO of phased-array antenna developer Phasor, which was recently acquired by Hanwha Systems. Prior to this, he held several senior executive roles including President & CEO of Inmarsat Government; President of Tactical Wireless Communications for Cobham; President & CEO of Datapath and President & CEO of SES Government.

Haynes Griffin, who has been SmartSky’s Chairman and CEO since 2013, also was the founding CEO of Vanguard Cellular and a past Chairman of CTIA, a major wireless industry trade association.

SmartSky is reinventing connectivity, building a next-generation inflight WiFi network from the ground up. The company also is developing pioneering aviation data products to improve safety and efficiency while providing the industry with novel ancillary revenue sources. SmartSky’s unique single-beam-per-aircraft inflight WiFi approach is backed by 190 patents and over 1,000 hours of flight testing.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat announced that it will provide engineering support, communications services and equipment to Cranfield University’s Digital Aviation Research and Technology Center (DARTeC) consortium, supported by Honeywell Aerospace.

Set to open at Cranfield University during the first quarter of 2021, DARTeC will spearhead UK research into digital aviation technology. The center will address the most pressing research challenges facing the aviation industry, including the integration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles into civilian airspace, increasing the efficiency and reliability of airports and aircraft through technology, and creating a safe and secure shared airspace.

Inmarsat and Honeywell Aerospace will support the Center’s research by providing Aspire 400 satellite communications terminals, airtime and engineering expertise in the Saab 340B flying test-bed and test lab for evaluation and development of future applications and solutions. The Saab 340B will effectively serve as a ‘flying laboratory’ to evaluate multiple advanced radar systems and airborne digital communications.

John Broughton, Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations and Safety, Inmarsat Aviation said: “Advances in digital aviation are driving innovation opportunities in all aspects of the airline industry. Today’s commitment with Honeywell Aerospace to support DARTeC highlights the importance of creating a collaborative research environment in the aviation industry. We are looking forward to working closely with other members of the DARTeC community to reap the rewards of a digital aviation industry for many years to come.”

Mark Goodman, Director of Product Management, Honeywell Aerospace said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Inmarsat to support the DARTeC consortium and bring the benefits of the digital revolution to the aviation industry. There is no time to waste in responding to the opportunities of digital transformation and ensuring that the industry is ready to serve the needs of our airlines today and tomorrow.”

Through the DARTeC consortium, members are able to create, develop and test next generation air traffic control (ATC) applications for manned and unmanned aviation that will utilize digital voice and data. Members will also have access to Inmarsat’s Iris program fully serviced aircraft for testing, evaluation and demonstrations as well as conducting live Iris test flights with specific air navigation service providers (ANSPs).


BOEING

The European Union has been authorized by the WTO to impose $3.99b in annual tariffs on US imported goods. This includes Boeing aircraft and has done so as a result of illegal subsidies to the company.


STELLAR

Stellar boarding music boosts Virgin Australia Brand. Passengers traveling on Virgin Australia and VARA (Virgin Australia Regional Airlines) will now hear customized boarding music as of September 2020, a first for the airline group. The original piece was written in-house at Stellar Entertainment and replaces the commercially available music playlists previously played onboard the airline for years.

Stellar Entertainment’s Creative Director, Brad Power, describes the composition:

“Our latest piece draws on deep house and Balearic beats to create a fresh, vibrant and modern sound that is upbeat without being too exuberant. Perfect for a contemporary airline looking to do something a little different.”

Bespoke boarding music offers airlines an opportunity to create their own unique brand identity and sound, one that passengers can always relate to their experience onboard that airline. This area of expertise is just one of many offerings from Stellar’s fully equipped, multi-studio facilities specializing in various audio solutions and services, such as original music composition and sound design.

Director of Licensing at Stellar, Sam Allen remarks, “A bespoke piece doesn’t stop at boarding music. It can be implemented across the airline via other platforms and applications such as advertising campaigns and promotional buzz reels, to optimize usage as part of an over-arching sonic strategy.”

Besides rolling out this new signature music across the fleet for boarding and disembarking, Virgin Australia and VARA have also implemented it as on-hold music for their phone lines. Working directly with Stellar Entertainment has given the airline group the ability to license the music as needed, allowing for greater flexibility in how and where they use the new sound. This also includes a financial benefit, with a direct license with Stellar saving the airline group royalty fees paid to local collection agencies.

This is the second composition from Stellar Entertainment to be used by an airline, following the bespoke piece used by Malaysia Airlines earlier this year.

To hear the new boarding music for Virgin Australia and VARA, click here.

To listen to a broader range of audio samples from our in-house composition team, click here.


OTHER NEWS

Airline Forum 2020:Virtual exchange accelerates the transformation to the “New Normal” of aviation

One of the largest airline IT conferences gathers representatives of 70 airlines | Despite the challenges faced by the airline industry, Lufthansa Systems presents cutting-edge innovations and welcomes new customers.

Around 500 users will come together today at the 13th edition of the Airline Forum, the airline IT user conference organized by Lufthansa Systems. The Airline Forum unites around 70 airlines from all over the world who successfully use the ground operations solutions and commercial solutions from Lufthansa Systems. This year’s installment of the Airline Forum entitled “Transforming into the ‘New Normal’” will see the user community meet in a fully virtual format for the first time in the event’s long-standing history. Coming together on a digital platform, the participants will learn about the latest developments in the portfolio offered by the airline IT specialist that will help airlines to navigate through the crisis and return to the skies.

The use of modern technologies and a solid data basis will be key for the industry to get back on track after the global standstill of air passenger traffic. Data analyses, machine learning algorithms, other artificial intelligence (AI) methods and cloud solutions will enable airlines to make better and faster decisions in a constantly changing market environment. At the Airline Forum, Lufthansa Systems presents its latest innovations that enable airlines to transform their business to this “New Normal”. Faced with the need to optimize capacity utilization and recover from the economic downturn, industry players will benefit from the latest developments such as the optimizers for hub restructuring in network planning and scheduling, the enhanced functionalities for easier interaction between crew members in NetLine/Crew and the New Demand Indicators (NDI) Dashboard.

Due to the challenges arising in the wake of the global pandemic, airlines now more than ever appreciate the benefit of such innovative solutions. “Despite the difficulties faced by the industry, we were able to attract several new external customers recently and are particularly proud to welcome Air Transat, the Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), NEOS and Pegasus Airlines at the Airline Forum,” said Olivier Krueger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “The first-hand feedback provided by our airline customers at the conference will contribute directly to the continual improvement of our solutions, which is why the close exchange with our user community is vital for a sustainable recovery and the successful future of our industry.”

This years’ edition of the Airline Forum features a high-profile keynote speech and a broad range of expert-led sessions covering all topics that move airlines most in the current situation. Olivier Krueger and Dr. Thomas Wittmann, both CEOs of Lufthansa Systems, will kick-off the event with their opening remarks, and they are pleased to welcome Dr. Roland Schütz, EVP and CIO Lufthansa Group Airlines and Digital Initiatives, as keynote speaker. In his presentation, he will provide insights into the role played by IT in times of COVID-19. Attendees can choose their own individual program from eight product tracks and 48 product sessions. Dedicated breakout sessions will help create an informal environment, where all participants have the opportunity to connect with product experts and users from other airlines.

On the path to recovery: digital event formats drive customer dialogue in the “New Normal”

The pandemic is accelerating the adoption of digital ways of engaging that reduce the number of in-person events and facilitate remote exchange with customers. Responding to the need for social distancing while enabling close customer interaction, Lufthansa Systems launched an online conference series back in April. Called “Let’s talk about IT”, this conference series features Lufthansa Systems experts openly sharing their expertise to support airlines in adapting to the new circumstances faster and more efficiently. After eight editions, the virtual events season continued with the Lido User Group Conference 2020, an industry-leading flight operations solutions user conference, which took place virtually with more than 380 attendees from 110 airlines.

“We are delighted to see so many of our customers participate in our virtual events. Even though the format is different, these events continue to deliver tangible benefits for our customers,” said Dr. Thomas Wittmann, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “Meeting industry colleagues and exchanging ideas has always been an important foundation of our business – whether in-person or on a digital platform. In these turbulent times, we are doing our best to facilitate remote interaction, maintaining a close dialogue with our customers and preparing them for the full restart of the airline business.”


FlightAware

FlightAware announced that United Airlines has integrated its predictive data tool into the airline’s operational toolset to help decrease the instance of preventable delays; reduce missed passenger connections; and help prevent flight cancellations. FlightAware operates the world’s largest flight tracking and data platform, fusing thousands of data sources around the world to provide the most accurate and comprehensive flight tracking intelligence. Over half of all estimated arrival time (ETA) predictions for U.S.-based airlines are now powered by FlightAware data.

“It is more important than ever that United operates at the highest levels of efficiency to ensure our customers have a seamless travel experience,” said David Kensick, Managing Director of Network Operations Control, United Airlines. “By leveraging data from FlightAware, we are further able to accurately time our operations to provide reliable service and minimize any disruptions to our schedule.” United will utilize FlightAware’s data throughout its operations, including the United.com website, the United mobile app, gate displays and in all internal operational systems. Predictive data will also be used in United’s Connection Saver tool, which automatically scans flights for customers who are making tight connections to determine if the connecting flight can be held without inconveniencing other customers. With the new fully integrated solution, United will further increase its ETA accuracy and consistency. FlightAware receives data from air traffic control systems, ground stations and satellite networks across the globe. This data is combined with FlightAware’s proprietary AI models and algorithms to provide the most comprehensive flight tracking solutions to airlines. “We’re proud to offer a level of accuracy in our predictions that will enhance operational capabilities at United, and help improve the travel experience,” said Daniel Baker, FlightAware CEO.(FlightAware.com)


GOGO

Gogo Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has adopted a Section 382 Rights Plan (the “Plan”) to preserve and protect Gogo’s ability to utilize its large net operating loss carryforwards (“NOLs”) and other tax assets.

As of December 31, 2019, Gogo had approximately $580 million of federal tax NOLs, $430 million of state tax NOLs and $196 million in federal interest expense carryforwards which could be used in certain circumstances to reduce its future tax liability. The purpose of the Plan is to protect Gogo’s ability to use these tax assets, which would be substantially limited if Gogo experienced an “ownership change” as defined under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code. In general, an ownership change would occur if one or more of Gogo’s shareholders who are deemed to be owners of 5 percent or more of its shares under Section 382 collectively increase their aggregate ownership of Gogo’s shares by 50 percentage points or more (measured over a rolling three-year period). Under the Plan, Gogo is issuing one Right for each share of its common stock outstanding at the close of business on October 2, 2020. Shareholders are not required to take any action to receive the Rights. Gogo intends to submit the Plan to a vote of its stockholders at its 2021 annual meeting. The Plan will expire on the day following the certification of the voting results for Gogo’s 2021 annual meeting, unless Gogo stockholders ratify the Plan at or prior to such meeting, in which case the Plan will continue in effect until September 23, 2023, unless terminated earlier in accordance with its terms.


IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for the development and deployment of rapid, accurate, affordable, easy-to-operate, scalable and systematic COVID-19 testing for all passengers before departure as an alternative to quarantine measures in order to re-establish global air connectivity. IATA will work through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and with health authorities to implement this solution quickly.

International travel is 92% down on 2019 levels. Over half a year has passed since global connectivity was destroyed as countries closed their borders to fight COVID-19. Some governments have cautiously re-opened borders since then, but there has been limited uptake because either quarantine measures make travel impractical or the frequent changes in COVID-19 measures make planning impossible. The economic cost of the breakdown in global connectivity makes investing in a border-opening testing solution a priority for governments. The human suffering and global economic pain of the crisis will be prolonged if the aviation industry—on which at least 65.5 million jobs depend—collapses before the pandemic ends. And the amount of government support needed to avert such a collapse is rising. Already lost revenues are expected to exceed $400 billion and the industry was set to post a record net loss of over $80 billion in 2020 under a more optimistic rebound scenario than has actually unfolded.

IATA’s public opinion research revealed strong support for COVID-19 testing in the travel process. Some 65% of travelers surveyed agreed that quarantine should not be required if a person tests negative for COVID-19.

Passengers’ support for testing is evident in the following survey results:

  • 84% agreed that testing should be required of all travelers
  • 88% agreed that they are willing to undergo testing as part of the travel process

In addition to opening borders, public opinion research also indicated that testing will help to rebuild passenger confidence in aviation. Survey respondents identified the implementation of COVID-19 screening measures for all passengers as effective in making them feel safe, second only to mask-wearing. And, the availability of rapid COVID-19 testing is among the top three signals that travelers will look to for reassurance that travel is safe (along with the availability of a vaccine or a treatment for COVID-19).

IATA’s call is to develop a test that meets the criteria of speed, accuracy, affordability and ease of use and that could be administered systematically under the authority of governments following agreed international standards. IATA is pursuing this position through ICAO, which is leading efforts to develop and implement global standards for the safe operation of international air services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The evolution of COVID-19 testing is progressing rapidly on all parameters—speed, accuracy, affordability, ease of use and scalability. Deployable solutions are expected in the coming weeks. “By calling for the establishment of a global approach to COVID-19 testing for all passengers before departure we are sending a clear signal of aviation’s needs. In the meantime, we are gaining practical knowledge from the testing programs that already exist as part of the various travel bubble or travel corridor initiatives around the world. We must continue with these valuable programs which move us in the right direction by building testing experience, facilitating essential travel and demonstrating testing effectiveness,” said de Juniac. COVID-19 testing before departure is the preferred option as it will create a “clean” environment throughout the travel process. Testing on arrival dents passenger confidence with the potential for quarantine at destination in the event of a positive result.
There will be many practical challenges to integrating testing into the travel process establishing the protocols to safely manage large-scale testing across all industry stakeholders. “The ICAO process is critical to aligning governments to a single global standard that can be efficiently implemented and globally recognized. Airlines, airports, equipment manufacturers and governments will then need to work in total alignment so that we can get this done quickly. Each day that the industry is grounded risks more job losses and economic hardship,” said de Juniac.

IATA does not see COVID-19 testing becoming a permanent fixture in the air travel experience, but it will likely be needed into the medium-term for air travel to re-establish itself. “Many see the development of a vaccine as the panacea for the pandemic. It will certainly be an important step, but even after an effective vaccine is globally recognized, ramping up production and distribution is likely to take many months. Testing will be a much-needed interim solution,” said de Juniac.


Other News

SmartSky Beats Gogo’s Patent Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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


Gogo

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


Astronics

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

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

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


Panasonic

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

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

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


Boeing News

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

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

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

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

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


Other News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SmartSky Networks

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

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

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

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


Gogo

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

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


Some Stumbling Blocks with Facial Recognition

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

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

Other News

Galgus, new member of the WiFi Alliance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


British Airways

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

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

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

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

The magazine will be emailed to five million Executive Club customers every month and customers can download the magazine on board, using the airline’s in-flight WIFI for free. This airline definitely has one of the best WiFi services a business could have.

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to visit High Life


Satcom Direct

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

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

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

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

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


ASM

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

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

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

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


Airbus: August In Review

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS

GOGO and INTELSAT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


FLYING COLOURS

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


HAMBURG AVIATION

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

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

Award ceremony in April 2021 in Hamburg

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

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

New format: “Crystal Cabin meets…” podcast launched

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


BOEING

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Other News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Things You Likely Never Knew About Boeing’s 747

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

The Amazing Story of the Boeing 747 in 12 Photos

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


Lufthansa Systems

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

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

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

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

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


Other News

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


GOGO

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

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

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


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation Reports 2020 Second Quarter Financial Results

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

AIRBUS

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

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


BOEING

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


COMING ATTRACTION

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


OTHER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


PANASONIC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


BOEING

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

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

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

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

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

 


OTHER NEWS

FlightPath3D

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

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

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

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

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

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


Airbus

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

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

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

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

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


Boeing

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

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

Supply chain agreements include:

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

Agreements for data-driven solutions include:

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

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

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

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


Other News

AND SOME SAD NEWS

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

Miltope: Reliable In The Extreme

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


SITA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Flight Aware

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

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


Airbus

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

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


Other News

IdeaNova Technologies Updated Ad Player Feature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


IFPL

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

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

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


Gogo Now Providing Inflight Connectivity Beginning At 3,000 Feet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thales

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

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


Emirates

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


Boeing

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

Other News

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

PXCOM

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

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

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

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

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

Empty the seat back pocket

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trust is the new currency

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

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

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

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


GOGO

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

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

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

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

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

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


SITA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more by exploring their website.


AIRBUS

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

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

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

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

Also From Airbus:

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

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

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

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS

What You May Encounter The Next Time You Fly

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

Airports:

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

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

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

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

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

The Gate:

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

Boarding Procedures:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Aircraft:

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

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

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

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

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

Aircraft Cleaning:

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

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

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


Other News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FlightPath3D Update:

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

Native 4K Moving Map:

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

Flying Over Places:

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

Big Data Dashboard:

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

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

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


SpaceX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Other News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Future of Inflight Magazines in a Post-Coronavirus World

By Laurent Safar, CEO of Adaptive Channel

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

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

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

This can be answered in one word: innovation.

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

New Priorities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOOST ANCILLARY REVENUE

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

CUT COSTS

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

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

SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT, ONE FLIGHT AT A TIME

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

It’s A Brand New (Digital) World

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

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

About Adaptive

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, please contact Tenencia via email.


Airbus

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


Boeing

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

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

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


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