IFExpress is back from a week in sunny Los Angeles, California where many new developments in the IFEC arena were on exhibit at APEX EXPO 2019. As we mentioned to many of you during the show, 2019 has predominately been a ‘step change’ year; however, there were a few exceptions, which we will cover in upcoming issues of IFExpress. But here are a few trends and highlights from last week’s exhibition.

One of the primary discussions during APEX was the need to assure the quality of service the passenger experiences while inflight. Much of this discussion focused around IFEC, especially, the quality of Wi-Fi and streaming content as well as data. The size of the pipe to/from the aircraft does not necessarily determine what the quality of the experience will be for the passenger. Think about your recent experience at a hotel. Many times the routers are bogged down with too many residents connecting to their nearest node, resulting in slow internet speeds. In fact, many times it is difficult to do simple email, not to mention streaming video and this is on the ground! This is where intelligent allocation comes in to play with the Wireless Access Points – an area that several IFEC hardware providers have tackled head on.

Having said that, another area of concern that has, and will continue to be, voiced was the issue of privacy and security around the individual traveler’s personal data. This translates to the need for an increasingly cybersecure system. Last week, we did see an increase in the number of companies addressing the issue of cybersecurity within the aviation sphere. At APEX there were several software security specialists working in conjunction with hardware manufacturers to layer security software within Wireless Access Points (WAPs). As an industry, both the airlines and the IFEC vendors are continuing to focus on the issues of hacking and maintaining the passengers’ faith and trust that their personal information is secure. This is an issue that is here to stay.

On another note, further developments were on display that included LiFi (a mobile wireless technology that uses light instead of radio frequencies to transmit data), which we had seen for the first time at APEX 2018 in Boston. Some companies are looking at using this innovative technology for streaming content to passenger devices, while others are exploring what opportunities this technology provides for uploading/downloading data to/from the aircraft on the ground. One thing is for certain, LiFi is here to stay and this is a technology that we will see implemented in our industry in the near term.

Some major advancements have been made in the area of satcom antennas since AIX 2019. We were very impressed with the new antenna development project from Safran Passenger Innovations (formerly Zii). IFExpress first caught a glimpse of the antenna in April at AIX 2019. Destined for delivery in 2021, this antenna will be approximately 35 kg – roughly 2/3 lighter than today’s antennas and will have a smaller foot print and lower profile! We will be covering more from the SPI booth in a later issue. But we foresee smaller, lighter, and more dynamic antennas as a much-needed industry trend.

in abundance at the show, were 4K displays but the real issue is 4K content – its availability and whether or not the movie houses will approve the onboard IFE systems to run them! More on this to come as well. Also, regarding content, Touch and Castlabs announced a joint-venture (ABOVE) to move the passenger entertainment supply chain to the cloud. This is an open, standards-based platform for the encoding, storage and distribution of encoded video and related metadata through cloud-based services. This JV has the potential to revolutionize content processing, approval and delivery workflows, while increasing efficiencies and functionality.

Another area that continues to gain traction within the industry is the concept of health and wellness. This is a definite growth area with airlines and vendors embracing it. The continued desire of the airlines to engage their passengers with technology and services that meet their expectations and ease the stress of the travel experience is here to stay. One IFEC supplier said, “Imagine getting off a long-haul flight and feeling better than you did when you boarded!” Lofty expectations and it remains to be seen whether or not this objective will be achievable. However, these applications will certainly help, not hinder, the travel experience.

None of the aforementioned would be possible without the new, massive solid-state drives that are embedded in today’s IFEC in conjunction with the proliferation of installed connectivity services, artificial intelligence and biometrics. As these four technologies evolve in the IFEC industry the amount of data that can be garnered about each individual traveler and their expectations will result in a tailored travel experience from the moment the ticket is booked, throughout the journey itself, until the passenger reaches his/her destination. The industry has long talked about touching the end-to-end passenger experience and how it will facilitate the airlines ability to meet, and possibly exceed, expectations of those utilizing their services whether it be for leisure or business travel. It is the belief of IFExpress that we are finally on the cusp of being able to deliver on that promise.

Over the next few weeks, our publication will review what we had the opportunity to see and experience during APEX EXPO. We will start with some highlights from the Thoughts and Leadership Conference on Monday September 9, as well as, some of the afternoon’s information tracks. During the following weeks we will do a deeper dive into the interviewed companies and their technologies. As always, thanks for subscribing and reading IFExpress!


APEX/IFSA AWARD WINNERS

Members of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and the International Flight Services Association (IFSA) honored their peers as they celebrated the top innovators from airlines and vendor partners around the globe during the inaugural APEX/IFSA Award Ceremony. Winners were announced Monday evening (9/9/19) during the ceremony at APEX EXPO. “APEX is proud to highlight the most innovative approaches to business in passenger experience from our member airlines and vendors. We honor these organizations who have shown exemplary dedication and innovation to advancing the passenger experience,” says Maura Chacko, co-chair of the APEX Awards Committee.

Winners were determined by industry and media judging panels.

APEX Award Winners are:

  • Fiji Airways  Best Lounge Innovation: Fully Qualified Nannies at Fiji Airways Premier Lounge
  • SriLankan Airlines – Best Marketing Innovation: Spirit of SriLankan Airlines & The Magic of Vesak
  • VT Miltope  Best Inflight Connectivity Innovation: Securing Wireless Cabin Networks for the Future
  • American Airlines  Best Inflight Entertainment Innovation: Calm on American Airlines

Newcomer of the Year Award Winner is:

  • Flight Center Instituto de Aviación – Flight Attendant VR Training Program

IFSA Award Winners are:

  • American Airlines – Best Inflight Food or Beverage: Zoës Kitchen Partnership
  • Clip Limited – Best Onboard Amenity: JetBlue Mint Kits

New this year is the APEX/IFSA Awards for Best Cabin Innovation and Best Product or Service. These awards recognize outstanding achievements in creating a thoughtful new cabin environment and innovations in passenger comfort, including seats, design, lighting, temperature control, air quality and more. 

APEX/IFSA Award Winners are:

  • Astronics – Best Cabin Innovation: Intelligent Bin Solution/Smart Aircraft System
  • Air New Zealand – Best Product or Service: Skycouch Improvements

2020 APEX + Crystal Cabin Award Winner is:

AIRBUS – Best Customer Journey Experience: Connected Experience

Life Time Achievement Award Winner is:

Brinder Bhatia (see photo in right hand column)


AIRBUS

Comlux placed a new order for an ACJ320neo, re-affirming its role as the largest single customer for the aircraft and taking its total orders for the type to four. The deal means that Comlux has now ordered a total of 20 Airbus corporate jets. Cabin outfitting will be done by Comlux Completion in Indianapolis. Corporate jet orders and commitments for A320neo Family-derived aircraft now total 15.


OTHER NEWS

Barcelona, Spain | September 17, 2019–This last summer, Red Bull and Immfly delivered an on-board product sampling and brand activation marketing action to flying passengers.

Global brands targeted by destination.

Immfly implemented a campaign for a newcomer product from Red Bull’s portfolio. Passengers flying to Balearic Islands were entertained with a free sample of the Red Bull Coconut Edition drink, a great start to a holiday with a cold, fresh energy boost before landing in a Balearic Paradise.

Sampling on Board: Red Bull really gives you wings!

The Austrian brand was the latest using a choice of sophisticated tools and unique onboard media formats (video streaming on customers’ personal devices, dedicated digital channels and onboard sampling) provided by Immfly’s specialist advertising unit. After defining a clear target audience paired to specific destinations, thousands of Red Bull Coconut Edition cans were distributed this summer on more than 80 flights to customers en route to Ibiza, Menorca, and Mallorca.

Digital content offered to a captive audience.

The Red Bull brand also chose to sponsor several channels of Immfly’s Inflight Entertainment System (IFE), which impacted a specific customer segment in a captive environment. This enabled cut-through to an audience in an uncluttered media environment with exclusive messaging, and resulting a tailormade digital campaign streamed on passengers’ own devices.

All campaigns are monitored and analyzed, allowing marketing managers to make better decisions on future actions. Ideal for new product launching, this data collected facilitates optimization campaigns in real-time to maximize ROI.

As Ramón Rodriguez, Advertising Manager at Immfly says “ More and more brands rely on us given our clear value proposition: a captive environment where brands can interact with their target audience while delivering a tangible benefit. ”

APEX & Los Angeles, California | September 11, 2019– All Nippon Airways (ANA) has begun equipping selected Boeing B777-300ER aircraft with SITAONAIR’s state-of-the-art Internet ONAIR Wi-Fi portal, powered by GX Aviation.

In partnership with JSAT MOBILE Communications Inc. (JSAT MOBILE), SITAONAIR has boosted ANA’s major upgrade for passengers, through the deployment of its Internet ONAIR Wi-Fi portal over Inmarsat’s ground-breaking Ka-band satellite network. The solution will provide ANA passengers with seamless, reliable and secure internet connectivity, anywhere in the world.

Passengers flying on corporate-heavy business routes will now be able to keep in touch with the office, even at 35,000 feet, as well as continuing to connect with their lives on the ground, from browsing and shopping to emailing and chatting with loved ones.

Working together with JSAT MOBILE – which is dedicated to providing the Japanese market with the latest mobile satellite services – has enabled SITAONAIR to establish and expand its relationship with ANA. This significantly enhances the airline’s offering to tech-savvy passengers.

JSAT MOBILE’s President & CEO Eiichi Yoda comments: “We’re pleased to have the opportunity to work with our partner SITAONAIR to support ANA in providing Wi-Fi services to its demanding base of connected passengers. JSAT MOBILE’s regulatory expertise and close customer coordination, together with SITAONAIR’s industry-connectivity solutions powered by Inmarsat’s reliable and expanding GX Aviation network, enables ANA to benefit from a seamless and future-proof solution.”

“SITAONAIR has taken huge strides to deliver a next-gen experience for passengers,” says SITAONAIR’s CEO David Lavorel. “Internet ONAIR draws upon our expertise as a provider of inflight technology, to provide an ‘always-on’, convenient Wi-Fi solution that is ahead of the game.”

“We are proud to partner with All Nippon Airways to deliver our award-winning inflight connectivity to its fleet.” SITAONAIR’s VP Customer Programs, Yann Cabaret adds: “With the installation of Internet ONAIR, ANA passengers will be guaranteed smooth and seamless connectivity, now and into the future.”

To find out more about SITAONAIR’s cabin services, visit www.sitaonair.aero

After successful proof-of-concept achieved in 2019, initial roll-out phase scheduled for spring 2020 on 100+ Boeing aircraft

APEX Expo and Los Angeles | September 9, 2019– Kontron, a leading global provider of IoT/Embedded Computing Technology (ECT), today announced that it has signed a contract to supply integrated In-flight Entertainment & Connectivity (IFE&C) equipment to a major Europe airline specializing in leisure and charter travel. The initial phase of this fleet-wide deployment calls for systems to be installed on the airlines’ 100+ Boeing aircraft in time for the company’s busy 2020 spring and summer schedule.

Specifically, Kontron is providing flight hardware for open-architecture IFE and IFE&C systems, including the company’s ACE Flight™ 4608 high-performance avionics server, Cab-n-Connect™ A100 Cabin Wireless Access Point (CWAP) and ACE Flight™ Removable Storage Drives (RSSDs) following a successful proof-of-concept that took place in 2019. Kontron systems give the airline the platforms necessary to deliver wireless IFE and streaming video-on-demand, TV, games and additional entertainment choices with the ability to add additional services and applications to enhance the customer experience.

“Based on our history of successful deployments, Kontron has earned its position as the number one supplier of open-architecture systems and LRUs for the global IFE&C market,” said Andy Mason, General Manager of Global Avionics at Kontron America. “We anticipate fast growth for this leisure market segment across EMEA, which includes large aircraft fleets that are not yet WiFi or connectivity-enabled.”

“This new program could not have been accomplished without the close working relationship we’ve established with the airline. I commend the project teams’ success in ensuring the proof-of-concept installation, deployment and operation was trouble-free,” said Jon Moseley, Head of Avionics Business Development for EMEA at Kontron Europe. “As airline customers increasingly demand additional services such as wireless IFE and inflight connectivity, we are seeing more commercial carriers accelerate their roll-out plans.”

Kontron has built a strong reputation for providing groundbreaking IFE&C platforms that help accelerate development for quick time-to-market at the lowest cost of deployment. There are currently more than 4,500 commercial aircraft and business jets operating worldwide with Kontron equipment on board. Kontron and parent company, S&T, are both global companies. This corporate reach allows the Kontron Avionics team, mainly based in San Diego, California, to support airline and aviation customers throughout the world.

Kontron will showcase its entire line of rugged, open-architecture hardware platforms, software and services for IFE and IFE&C systems at the APEX Expo, September 9-12, 2019 in Los Angeles, booth #1647.

During AIX we sat down with the Zii team and discussed RAVE and the next evolution of their full-up AVOD product dubbed ULTRA. Below is the fruit of that interview and several emails since then! While at their booth, we were shown (and amazed) at the size, and we mean thinness, of the screen. The point here is the display, its accompanying storage, control and communication hardware electronics will not create seatback installation issues! Here is a quick overview of some of the features, advantages, and benefits of RAVE UlLTRA.

RAVE ULTRA is Seat-Centric, not Server-Centric

RAVE ULTRA, continues the company’s commitment to Seat-Centric IFE and their commitment to everything RAVE has stood for from its inception. In fact, Seat-Centric is the key to their dedication to ‘stress free IFE’ for their airline customers. You may ask: Seat-Centric? How does that differ from a Server-Centric system? When SPI formerly IMS, first addressed the issue of providing IFE to airlines they approached the problem from a different perspective than most traditional IFE hardware solutions – they elected to design a seat-centric solution, as opposed to a server-centric solution. A traditional IFE system has a head-end (consisting of several file and media servers) and multiple distribution boxes between it and the passenger display unit. The larger (HD/UHD quality and increased quantity) content demands and logistics problems that the IFE industry is facing are amplified in the IFE Server Centric Systems, but not so with a Seat-Centric System. Seat-Centric IFE provides an elegant answer to onboard entertainment that is enhanced by its simplicity: A System Control Unit in the electronics bay connected via a Gigabit Ethernet backbone to each Smart Display at each seat – that’s it. The bi-directional loop system architecture provides network stability and redundancy, so if there is a network break on one side of the data connection, the data communication is automatically routed through the other.  Additionally, since the entertainment content is stored at the seat, even if there was a total network failure, the passenger would have full access to all the content stored locally on the display.

RAVE ULTRA Delivers More for Passengers Because of the Cloud

In addition to locally stored content at the seat, the SCU also stores additional entertainment content enhancing the overall capacity of titles offered to the passenger.  RAVE cloud is flying today and Safran is further enhancing cloud capabilities by utilizing content file sharing between the seats thus multiplying the content capacity available to each passenger.  Because of the Cloud-based data gain, 10 Terabytes of capacity is dynamically available for content making it, perhaps, the IFE system with more data for each passenger than any system today. More data means more content and that means more happy users – it’s that simple!  It’s important to note that the content file is “transferred” (not “streamed”) to the passenger so there are no inherent network latency issues as compared to server-centric systems when streaming simultaneously to 300 passengers.  With the combination of locally stored and cloud content – passengers can enjoy HD/UHD entertainment and the airlines can more easily manage content loading without the long ground time.

We asked Ben Asmar, VP IFE Products, about RAVE ULTRA and 4K Displays

Question 1 – We understand that RAVE ULTRA is now delivering 4K displays for aircraft entering service in 2020.  4K displays offer superior resolution, can you help our readers understanding the impact of offering this to their passengers?  Are there any considerations that should be understood for an existing system upgrade versus new installation?

Response: We know from our customers that IFE is a critical component to the overall inflight experience, having a significant impact on Customer Experience scores. As the market continues to grow more competitive, airlines are continuing to look for ways to differentiate from their competitors. We believe that having the latest in consumer technology such as 4K Ultra High Definition displays in every cabin class is a fantastic differentiator, and our customers agree.  Interest in our new range of RAVE ULTRA displays is unprecedented. When we designed RAVE ULTRA, we took a ground-up approach. We kept the features that make our customers love RAVE, such as our seat-centric architecture and dockable displays then married this with the latest in multimedia processors, cutting edge 4K LCD panels that are typically used in high end laptops, and we even introduced Bluetooth audio for every seat on the plane.

How is your system able to support 4K content for every passenger? 

Response: We get asked this question often, and the answer for us is easy.  Thanks to our seat-centric architecture, content is played locally at each seat display and not streamed over a network.  Even with every passenger watching 4K content, the RAVE system continues to operate seamlessly on a 1 gigabit Ethernet backbone, meaning we are very well positioned to support both the line fit and retrofit markets. There is no requirement for aircraft backbone upgrades for airlines to access the full benefits of RAVE ULTRA, unlike other IFE systems with many servers that stream content to the seats.

How can you store all that 4K content at every seat when it’s so much larger? 

Response: As I mentioned, when we designed RAVE ULTRA, we found the latest in Multimedia processors. This allowed us to take advantage of the advances in video compression technologies and video encoding standards such as H.265 to keep files smaller but not sacrifice video quality. As well, we have the RAVE Cloud that allows Airlines to store large multi-terabyte content sets in the on-board Cloud and makes content instantly available at the seat centric screens when that content is not stored locally.  It’s important to note, that we are still not streaming content with RAVE Cloud. When a passenger selects a Cloud title, the content is being copied as fast as possible across our network and stored locally. The video starts playing while the content continues to download in the background.

In reality, we know it will be quite some time before 4K content is commonplace for IFE, as our industry deals with the standards and security required to distribute 4K content. However, RAVE ULTRA is designed for today and the future. We have gone to great lengths to ensure the necessary security requirements are in place to support playback of Hollywood DRM protected 4K content. Even though the standards are not yet ratified, we are confident that the systems we have will meet the requirements. In the meantime, Airlines can benefit from RAVE ULTRA immediately, as our system will upscale content to the highest possible level based on the definition of the source file. What this means is all content looks better on a RAVE ULTRA display.

Question 2 – Can you tell our readers what airplane /airplane model will get the first 4K display, and are the airlines planning any special video for the application? 

Response: We are very excited to be bringing RAVE ULTRA to market in 2020 and have a number of airlines that have selected it for line fit and retrofit programs with both Airbus and Boeing. Our first installations are planned for both Boeing and Airbus single aisle aircraft followed by our first wide body installation on a Boeing B777X all delivering in 2020. Each of these customers will install RAVE ULTRA displays in every cabin class including Bluetooth audio for every seat on the plane.

RAVE ULTRA is a great fit for both narrow body and wide body aircraft, and we are certainly seeing strong demand across both aircraft types.  Our System with RAVE ULTRA is about 30% lighter than our previous generation systems.  This lower weight meets a critical requirement for airlines that are flying ultra-long haul sectors and is fully operational with only a handful of LRU’s (Line Replaceable Units) while still being able to scale to support the complex architectures of today’s modern wide body aircraft.

Question 3 – More consumers are using Bluetooth headsets/earbuds and want to utilize them in the aircraft for IFE.  Please describe how RAVE has implemented Bluetooth in the entire cabin supplied with audio and at the same time preventing interference to users with other Bluetooth applications?

Response: One of the key elements of RAVE ULTRA is to give all passengers access to the same technology they use on the ground, in the air and not just in the premium classes.  Research suggests that Bluetooth headsets now outsell wired headsets, so we think that people will just expect to be able to use these on a plane, and with RAVE ULTRA they can. Our engineers have spent a lot of time testing and refining our solution to ensure we can reliably offer Bluetooth audio to every passenger on a wide body aircraft. We are able to do this by adjusting the power output of the Bluetooth transmitter and minimizing the transmission radius of the signal, this allows us to re-use the Bluetooth signal many times over in the aircraft avoiding signal congestion and audio quality degradation.

Question 4 – Is VBR a technology that efficiently communicates with networks and displays and if so, can you give our readers what kinds of savings in data and communication technology are used and what kinds of communication savings perspective are involved (data rate savings, hardware choice and design, application improvement and equipment type and design)?

Response: VBR (variable bitrate) is a method used in media encoding that allows for the bitrate to vary with the goal to maintain quality on complex scenes and save space on simple ones. This is a method supported by our current and future generation of products. This technology allows our content to maintain a high level of quality without the need for high levels of storage.  With CBR (constant bitrate), the platform suffers in quality and has high storage requirements.  This results in higher cost storage and limits the number of titles a platform can support.  The reduction in size with VBR also helps the transport of media being loaded on the platform reducing the load times due to the smaller file sizes .  In the on-wing platform, network backbone bitrates are reduced which eliminates the need for RAVE to build out oversize network paths (i.e. aircraft backbone upgrades) reducing the overall hardware costs.

Question 5 – Please tell our readers how giant video quality changes and weight savings can be achieved at the same time reducing size and weight?

Response: Airlines are telling us that weight is critically important as ultra-long haul point-to-point flights are gaining popularity, and passengers’ expectations around technology are increasing significantly. We knew, when designing RAVE ULTRA, we had to achieve both goals that were seemingly at odds with each other. So how did we do it? We completely changed our design philosophy and repackaged our displays into a ‘tablet-like’ design that significantly reduced form factor and weight. RAVE ULTRA 4K panels are lighter and have smaller borders than their predecessors.  We partnered with LG Electronics on this project as they are a market leader in consumer electronics and brought their skill in packaging consumer electronics to RAVE.  We are taking advantage of the laptop market’s use of lightweight, low power and low profile display panels and incorporating them in our new RAVE ULTRA 4K displays.

Be sure to stop by the Safran booth #2142 during APEX to experience RAVE ULTRA.


CARLISLE IT

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) will exhibit its industry-leading installation solution for Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA) technology at this week’s APEX EXPO trade show in Los Angeles. CIT will showcase its integration of thermal management design in packages suitable for business and regional aircraft in the South Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center, Booth No. 1933.

CIT’s extended capabilities into the integration of an installation solution compatible with ESA technology addresses even the toughest of In-Flight Entertainment, Connectivity & Interiors (IFECI) challenges. The aerodynamic design allows for a simplified, standardized, and universal SATCOM installation, resulting in lower maintenance, reduced cost of ownership, and improved speed-to-market for customers.

CIT has long provided airlines and manufacturers with high-performance wire and cable, including optical fiber, for the most advanced interconnect solutions and market-leading products. At APEX, they will showcase expanded capabilities for IFECI equipment with its installation solution for ESA technology into the aerodynamic and structural package design of business and regional aircraft. Using the ARINC 781 footprint for SATCOM on business and regional aircraft, CIT takes advantage of existing OEM provisions to improve airlines’ speed-to-market. Aerodynamic design models establish a low drag shape that advances in-flight cooling and efficiently moves heat load from antenna chips to radiator zones. This efficient transportation of heat maintains uniform temperatures over large areas to optimize antenna operating conditions.

During APEX, CIT is offering a variety of opportunities to learn about the integration of installation solutions for ESA technology and interact with industry experts, users, and partners. The following may be explored at the CIT booth 1933:

  • Light weight backshells
  • Fiber optic harnesses
  • Octax 10GB connections – Solo, 38999, ARINC 600, and more
  • Aerospace wire, coaxial, and cable for high-speed data, custom constructions, and harsh environments
  • Antenna blind mate connection solutions
  • Seal3D fuselage feed-thru connectors
  • Lightweight avionics trays and hold downs
  • Single aisle bagbin video control center

CIT presentations and features at the conference include:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 10, and Wednesday, Sept. 11, beginning at 1 p.m.: Ice cream social with the Carlisle team to see the new installation solution features for ESA technology
  • Video illustrating the antenna selections and flow simulation for drag optimization
  • Additional image, graphic and video assets available for instructional use and informational needs

Please contact Kris Samuelson via email at Kris.samuelson@carlisleit.com or via phone at 253-318-0768 to schedule an appointment during APEX.


OTHER NEWS

 

  • OneWeb will provide the world’s first global LEO satellite broadband coverage for aircraft and passengers that will deliver high-speed, low latency service seamlessly over all air routes, including the Arctic region.
  • OneWeb’s global aviation connectivity service will be available for customer demos in 2020 – with full service launching in 2021.

September 9, 2019–OneWeb, a global communications company with a mission to connect everyone, everywhere, is set to revolutionize in-flight connectivity by delivering a seamless, global fiber-like broadband service to any air route, short or long-haul flights, and over the polar region.

Working with carefully selected distribution partners, OneWeb’s communications network is designed to allow airlines to offer passengers and crew a significantly faster and more reliable experience in accessing data and internet services in-flight. This game-changing service will be available over airline routes previously not possible to connect, such as Arctic routes. It will also allow airlines to meaningfully fulfil their digitization programs across the whole passenger journey – from booking to inflight, landing and onward journeys.

With OneWeb’s high-speed, low latency capabilities, passengers will feel the difference and improvement wherever they travel. Live TV, content streaming services such as Netflix, real-time gaming, accessing cloud applications, as well as web browsing, email and social media, all of which have become part of passengers’ daily lives, will now become a much richer experience.

OneWeb’s inflight services will be available in a variety of packages to suit the needs of all types of airlines, with fit for purpose onboard equipment to match each airline’s requirements.

“The airline community is restricted by the throughput and latency constraints of today’s in-flight connectivity services. There is an acknowledged need for a step change and our global airline services will democratize the connectivity experience, enabling everyone to enjoy high-speed, low latency connectivity, even on 500-passenger aircraft,” said Ben Griffin, OneWeb’s VP Commercial Aviation.

“Our vision for aviation is fully customized, truly global passenger broadband. We are excited to launch OneWeb to the aviation industry and look forward to working with distribution partners to bring our service to life,” he added.

Participating for the first time at the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Expo in Los Angeles, CA (September 9th to 12th), OneWeb will be highlighting its global aviation connectivity services, including plans for complete polar coverage across the northern tracks and live service within two years.

The global Wireless In-Flight Entertainment & Digital Services vendor incorporates UGOsmart to its technology suite. This new addition aims at empowering airlines teams with real-time data to monitor IFEC systems and adjust service offering

Paris, France | September 3, 2019– Display Interactive announces the launch of UGOsmart, its latest solution designed for airlines to better collect, centralise and analyze in-flight generated data. Designed for IFEC and ancillary airlines teams and updated in real time, UGOsmart feeds a smooth decision-making process. Combined with the flexibility and scalability of UGO IFEC solution, it ensures maximal IFEC operational efficiency.

With the launch of UGOsmart, the French company wants to provide airlines with a solution to address the main data analytics and visualization issues that the industry faces on a regular basis: overwhelming of information, inflexible analytics, and blurry visibility on IFEC ROI.
‘UGOsmart is not just a data analytics tool, but a seamless data visualization solution that presents animated data and tells business stories. We believe that this is the best way to transform data into insights, and most importantly, into tactical and strategic decisions. The power of UGOsmart resides also in its transversality, as it gathers diverse data for all airline’s members involved into a IFEC program.’ explains Tarek El Mitwalli, Display Interactive CEO.
With this seamless technology powered by Display Interactive, airlines can now:
  • Better control onboard ancillary revenues and connectivity usage in real time, and compare it to previous periods and trends,
  • Get instant insights of passengers’ behaviours and IFE preferences,
  • Improve operational efficiency by closely monitoring the performance of their systems and implementing fast changes.
Delivering a 360° value with powerful technologies and ongoing services
Display Interactive launches UGOsmart after years of deployment of its wireless IFE system, named UGO, in well-known airlines. The new DataViz solution is the final piece for the IFEC provider to cover the full cycle of an IFEC program: from design and implementation of UGO entertainment & digital services platform, to its day-to day operations, and now the analysis and evaluation of results thanks to UGOsmart.
In addition to its technology suite, the French organisation accompanies all its airline customers with UGOlife, an all-inclusive ongoing full service support that guarantees operational efficiency as well as optimal durability and success. “Designing UGO and complementing it with UGOlife and UGOsmart was crucial for us, because airlines operate IFEC on a daily basis, and most legacy systems don’t provide any support to focus on the road ahead. Our philosophy has always been to empower airline’s teams and to keep the hassle of operational issues out of their minds. While UGOsmart allows our customers to make the right decisions, we can guarantee with UGOlife that these will result in immediate changes on the in-flight servers and therefore, in the passenger experience”. adds El Mitwalli.

Isle of Wight | September 4, 2019–Leading Inflight Entertainment & Connectivity (IFEC) provider, IFPL, celebrated a major milestone this month, supplying their three millionth industry part.

The three-millionth part was delivered to a world leading Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), just three years after the two-millionth, demonstrating continued sustainable growth.

IFPL Chief Operating Officer, Neil McGregor commented; “It is a testament to the whole IFPL team, that we have reached this new milestone so soon after reaching two million units, and is a testament to the investment we have made in our quality systems, and our manufacturing and product development capability. This combined with the development and introduction of new products, means that we aim to reach our four-millionth unit even sooner.”

The innovative three millionth unit is a twin USB-A product. The power outlet contains two reversible USB-A outlets with lightguides for easy location. The bi-directional insertion means that whichever way round the passenger tries to insert their USB connector they will always get it right.

This USB port is part of an extensive range of products which includes our latest USB power and data technology. See these products at the Airline Passenger Experience in Los Angeles this September.

At the upcoming APEX Expo in Los Angeles, California IFPL will demonstrate their latest innovative in-seat power and integrated peripheral solutions at booth #1229. The Isle of Wight company has an impressive range of passenger interface solutions. In addition to the existing peripherals, the new USB-Power Delivery and integrated AdPower technology will be on display. Here are some of the product offerings not to miss during next week’s Expo:

USB Power Delivery

USB Power Delivery is a new standard for charging consumer electronics. This enables airline passengers to power larger portable devices such as laptops and more demanding tablets. As these devices become more common, IFPL’s products provide a low-cost solution for all airlines.

USB-A or USB-C

The line fit USB-A unit delivers in-seat integration and is a cost-effective solution. However, consumer devices are adopting USB-C as standard. Airlines are increasingly asking themselves, what is the best solution for their passengers?

During APEX IFPL will demonstrate how airlines can easily transition from USB-A to USB-C. The Reversible USB-A and USB-C Rapid Fit combination outlet will allow airlines to support all of their passengers. These solutions incorporate IFPL Intellectual Property and will seamlessly integrate within the seat, delivering high reliability.

AdPower

Incorporating design and technology innovation, AdPower is the latest solution to monetize USB power. Dave Phillips, Head of Business Development says, “a short passenger advert enables the airline to gain access to ancillary revenue in partnership with their media agency.” This is an innovative way to provide passengers with in-seat USB power that can be monetized by airlines. Be sure to see the AdPower product in action at their booth.

Inductive Charging

By working with leading seat vendors, IFPL will demonstrate the successful integration of inductive charging solutions within the seat. This enclosed unit has high reliability designed-in, resulting in significantly lower Customer Induced Damage (CID).

Bluetooth Audio Jack

To address the growing trend of Bluetooth headsets, IFPL has designed the latest 3.5 mm Long Life audio jack to include Bluetooth connectivity allowing passengers to pair wirelessly or use a wired headset. This enables the airline and the passenger to select their choice of headset. Airlines can choose to sell Bluetooth headsets on-board and gain additional ancillary revenue. It is also an easy upgrade for existing IFE systems.

A prime benefit of Bluetooth Audio is that it reduces CID while providing a more modern audio experience. There are two pairing options: 1) a capacitive touch button with LED indicator confirms pairing, or 2) a software upgrade to the seat-back monitor will confirm a successful pairing.

As there are no moving parts, the life of the audio jack is extended so the risk of CID is reduced. This solves accidental damage of the audio jack when the customer stands up with the headphones on. This unit is in service through leading Business Jet Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)’s. IFPL has optimized the Bluetooth signal strength for superior performance.

Within this Bluetooth product, the patented Long Life audio jack has been added so that passengers can use their wired headsets should they choose.

The Bluetooth Audio Jack is a 2019 APEX/IFSA Award Finalist. Be sure to stop by booth #1229 for a demonstration of this latest innovation.


AIX Los Angeles

In just one week, Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) will land in Los Angeles for the fall’s global meeting place for the passenger experience industry. Celebrating the best of aircraft cabin innovation and design, the event is set to welcome leading seating manufacturers, suppliers of flooring, galley equipment, fasteners, air conditioning systems and lighting/LED equipment – each showcasing their latest products and services to industry professionals.

Here are the top reasons why you shouldn’t miss this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) Los Angeles.

Expert speaker seminar program
The return of the popular CabinSpace Live seminar program will offer attendees valuable insight into the latest trends, challenges and opportunities facing the industry. More than 20 expert speakers will take to the stage to create an interactive forum for discussions on the future of aircraft interiors, with topics including cabin accessibility, innovation for comfort, premium accommodation and air quality.

State-of-the-art products on show
AIX LA comes with the promise of the best cabin technology awaiting the eager eyes of industry experts, suppliers and buyers.

Held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, more than 50 of the industry’s leading companies will be present with Diab, Improvage Precision and Jamco Corporation, showcasing the latest, most innovative materials for cockpit doors, while those looking for new lavatory and waste equipment will be able to engage with Certified Thermoplastics Co Inc, SIMONA Boltaron and REGENT AEROSPACE.

Setting the standard for high-density aircraft seating for both wide and narrow-body cabins, Aviointeriors S.p.A will unveil its new concept business class seat that mirrors ‘Ying Yang’ configuration – the ADAGIO range. Currently, narrow-body fuselage aircraft are being trialed as the new way to travel long-haul, but with a better economic and environmental footprint. For example, Airbus recently unveiled the A321XLR – responding to industry needs for improved range. The new model offers value for airlines by bringing 30% lower fuel burn per seat, with an unprecedented range of up to 4,700m – 15% more than the A321LR.

Unrivaled networking opportunities
New to AIX Los Angeles, leading OEMs, airlines and tier 1 suppliers will be taking part in the event’s newly launched meetings program, AIX Connect. Designed to help representatives from key airlines connect with exhibitors during the show, it will enable the interiors community to build business connections and discuss new projects.

Against the backdrop of the city of Angels
Whether meeting some of the most recognizable industry professionals in aviation or reflecting on the latest ground-breaking cabin ideas, Los Angeles is set to provide a suitable backdrop for new and exciting business opportunities for all attendees this fall. And, amid plenty of exciting new developments to see inside the convention centre and networking events to keep attendees busy, visitors can also take advantage of one of the world’s most popular destinations in the world– Los Angeles.

Three events in one location
Aircraft Interiors Expo will be co-located with APEX EXPO and IFSA EXPO, enabling attendees to experience the full spectrum of aircraft interiors products and passenger services in one location, bringing together more than 3,500 qualified industry professionals.

For more information and to register to attend AIX LA this September, please visit this site.


BLUEBOX and VISTARA

Bluebox Aviation Systems and Vistara are marking the 1st anniversary of the launch of “Vistara World” by going app-free. Vistara World is the airline’s free wireless streaming in-flight entertainment (IFE) service which streams content from the Bluebox Wow portable wireless IFE platform to passenger devices.

Since launching last year, Vistara World has been progressively rolled out to Vistara’s entire fleet of 31 aircraft, including Airbus A320 and the recently inducted Boeing 737-800NG aircraft.

As well as enabling passengers to stream IFE via the Vistara World app, Bluebox and Vistara will now provide passengers with an app-free solution. From September 1, 2019 passengers are able to watch Vistara’s DRM-protected content from their personal device browser*, without downloading the app. Previously only DRM-less content could be viewed without the app.

Vistara’s evolving content library includes a flight moving map, movies, TV shows and music in varying genres. In addition, one of the most popular elements of Vistara World is the membership enrollment page for “Club Vistara”, the airline’s loyalty program.

“At Vistara we continue to invest in enhancing our service offerings to stay ahead of the curve. In the last year we have flown over 5 million customers who have consumed a variety of engaging content on ‘Vistara World’ and enjoyed the Vistara experience even more. The Bluebox platform’s convenience, robust capabilities and flexibility will now take this experience a notch higher,” said Mr. Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Commercial Officer, Vistara.

“As well as providing secure, revenue-generating, feature-rich, and cost-effective wireless IFE platforms, we aim to make these as friction-less as possible for both our airline customers and their passengers,” said David Brown, Business Development Director, Bluebox. “With device software now available to enable us to provide app-free DRM content, we are able to make it easier for passengers to access the platform. That, in turn, means more of the benefits to Vistara of deploying the system can be realized – both in terms of positive passenger experience and the ancillary revenue generated by the system.”

* Technical requirements app-free DRM content viewing: 

  • Smartphones: iOS 11.2+ with Safari and Android v5+ with Chrome v75+
  • Laptops: Chrome V69+ and Safari V11

AIRBUS News

AirAsia X finalized a firm order with Airbus for an additional 12 A330-900 and 30 A321XLR aircraft. AirAsia X currently operates a fleet of 36 A330-300s on services to points within the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East. In addition, in August the first A330neo joined the fleet of AirAsia’s Bangkok-based long haul affiliate, AirAsia X Thailand. The aircraft is the first of two leased A330neos joining the airline’s Thai affiliate by the end of the year.

The new contract increases the number of A330neo aircraft ordered by AirAsia X to 78, reaffirming the carrier’s status as the largest airline customer for the type. Meanwhile, the A321XLR order sees the wider AirAsia Group strengthen its position as the world’s largest airline customer for the A320 Family, having now ordered a total of 622 aircraft.


BOEING News

During the Moscow Air Show, Boeing and Aeroflot announced a contract to modify passenger cabins on 18 of the Russian flagship carrier’s 777-300ERs. Boeing will perform engineering work and supply component kits for the planned cabin interior reconfiguration. Aeroflot is a member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance and serves 159 destinations in 54 countries. Aeroflot’s 249-strong fleet is the youngest of any airline worldwide that operates more than 100 aircraft.

Also, Boeing and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced that the carrier has ordered two more 777-300ERs. The order, valued at $751 million at current list prices, was previously attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website.

The 777-300ER can seat up to 396 passengers in a two-class configuration and has a maximum range of 7,370 nautical miles (13,650 km). The airplane is the world’s most reliable twin aisle with a schedule reliability of 99.5 percent. Operating out of its home base in Amsterdam, the KLM Group serves a global network of 92 European cities and 70 intercontinental destinations with a fleet of 209 aircraft. The carrier operates 29 777s, including 14 777-300ERs. It also flies 747s and the 787 Dreamliner family.


OTHER NEWS

  • First presentation of new gaming add-on to BoardConnect at APEX EXPO in Los Angeles | Exclusive pre-conference in the Lufthansa #FlyingLab above the Atlantic

Raunheim/Los Angeles | August 29, 2019– Lufthansa Systems today announced that it will be showcasing the new inflight gaming component on its BoardConnect open IT platform at this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Expo (APEX EXPO) in Los Angeles from September 9-12. The company has digitally adapted the fantasy card game Galaxy Duel and integrated it into the platform in partnership with gaming provider Gladi8torGalaxy Duel offers features such as an eSports league, leaderboards and live streaming. The brand-new prototype of the inflight game will be on show at stand 1901, where it can be tested with an exclusive invitation.

Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect technology enables airlines to use the onboard IT platform for their specific applications, with possibilities extending far beyond mere entertainment. By integrating onboard gaming into BoardConnect, airline IT specialist provider Lufthansa Systems is responding to the ever-expanding gaming market, where it sees an opportunity for airlines to adapt their inflight entertainment to their passengers’ different needs and stand out from their competitors by offering an enhanced passenger experience.

“With 17 airlines having already opted for BoardConnect, our platform is being used on almost 900 aircraft,” said Jan-Peter Gänse, Head of Passenger Experience Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “By developing the open BoardConnect Dock platform, we have enabled our customers to expand the inflight entertainment solution to include a wide range of applications and thus offer their passengers a personalized service. The possibilities are endless. Inflight gaming is just one of many conceivable enhancements.”

Exclusive kick-off event: Lufthansa #FlyingLab en route to APEX EXPO

Before the official launch of APEX EXPO 2019, Lufthansa Systems is organizing a pre-conference on flight LH 452 from Munich to Los Angeles on September 7 in partnership with Lufthansa and APEX. The largest passenger aircraft in the Lufthansa fleet A380 will serve as a flying innovation platform as it crosses the Atlantic, setting the stage for “powering the next generation of passenger experience” and giving industry leaders an opportunity to showcase the latest trends and developments in the passenger experience space. The co-initiator and host of this FlyingLab flight is Lufthansa Systems CEO Olivier Krüger, who will kick off the event by welcoming interesting people taking part in the discussions.

All of the passengers on board can follow the expert presentations live, try out innovative new products and enjoy music performed live in the cabin. The speakers and their presentations can be streamed live to any WiFi-enabled device on board. The event will be broadcast onboard via the BoardConnect solution, illustrating one of the many different possible applications for Lufthansa Systems’ digital platform.

For the first time, a FlyingLab flight will include a design sprint session in which selected passengers can participate and develop new ideas for an enhanced passenger experience with the help of industry experts. The results of this workshop will be presented to the other passengers on board and the most promising suggestion will then be implemented.

BoardConnect Dock

With its new BoardConnect Dock solution, Lufthansa Systems is providing technology, content and financing partners with a BoardConnect framework for creating their own onboard program. Depending on the partner, this might include a connectivity portal, classic IFE content or a platform with booking options and targeted advertising to generate additional revenue.

BoardConnect

BoardConnect is Lufthansa Systems’ complete solution for the digital passenger experience that continues to address airlines of all sizes with different business models. In addition to traditional IFE features such as moving maps, movies, music, games and destination information, customers can choose the content they want from a wide range of services available through Lufthansa Systems’ strong partner network. This content can also be provided simply and easily from the cloud if desired.

Toulouse, France | September 3, 2019– Hi Fly, the privately owned Portuguese wet lease specialist operating an exclusive all-Airbus fleet, has taken delivery of a new A330neo on lease from Air Lease Corporation (NYSE: AL). The aircraft is configured with 371 seats in a two class layout, with 18 high comfort lie flat business class seats and 353 economy seats. All seats are equipped with the latest generation in-flight entertainment system, and mood lighting is available throughout the aircraft

The A330 will be deployed to further expand Hi Fly’s long haul wet lease and charter operations worldwide. Hi Fly operates an all Airbus fleet of 20 aircraft including four A320 Family aircraft, 15 A330 / A340 Family aircraft and one A380.

As a wet lease specialist Hi Fly provides aircraft on lease for short notice airline operations, with crew, maintenance and third-party insurance provided in a service-ready package.

The A330neo Family is the new generation A330, comprising two versions: the A330-800 and A330-900. The A330neo Family aircraft shares 95 percent commonality with the previous A330. It builds on the proven economics, versatility and reliability of the A330 Family, while reducing fuel consumption by 25% per seat versus previous generation competitors and increasing range by up to 1,500nm compared to the majority of A330s in operation.

The A330neo is powered by Rolls-Royce’s latest-generation Trent 7000 engines and features a new wing with increased span and new A350 XWB-inspired Sharklets. The cabin provides the comfort of the new Airspace amenities including state-of-the-art passenger inflight entertainment and Wifi connectivity systems.

Astronics plans to introduce new power and connectivity technologies at next month’s APEX in California. The company told IFExpress that the new technologies bring together a set of power, connectivity, and data solutions that help airlines and airframe manufacturers improve the passenger flight experience while providing cost and operational efficiencies.

New Product Offerings:

One innovation to be featured is the Edge Cabin Network Platform (think cabin Wi-Fi) to support IFE customers with a smarter, scalable hardware solution. The Edge is intended for wide bodies, narrow bodies and regional jets. “We’re taking inflight connectivity hardware to ‘the edge’ of innovation with this new IFE platform introduction,” said Michael C. Kuehn, President of Astronics CSC. “Our new Edge Cabin Network Platform employs the power of a distributed computing system architecture to eliminate weighty servers while improving the passenger Wi-Fi experience. With this new strategy of a distributed architecture, IFE providers can provide a scalable, secure system, offering airlines the option to deploy only as many as they may need to create the optimal, cost- and performance-effective configuration.”

To make future retrofits even easier, Astronics is introducing its EmPower Xpress product, an on-seat USB outlet housing solution for its EmPower in-seat power product line. EmPower Xpress easily adjusts to the seat rail, either forward or rear-mounted, for maximum flexibility. Attaching to the seat without affecting the seat structure means the installation can occur quickly and without the need for seat service bulletins. “With this new retrofit solution for in-seat power, the airlines now have a faster, easier, more configurable retrofit method than ever before,” explained Aaron Clarke, Vice President of Cabin Electronics for Astronics AES. “For very little extra effort, airlines can now offer the inflight charging services that today’s passengers expect on every flight.”

The latest version of its webFB Aircraft Interface Device (AID), which includes an extended Wi-Fi range to wirelessly connect to cabin IFEC systems, enabling real-time data collection and transfer to the ground will also be on display in their booth. Ultra compact and easy to install, this smart AID acts as a server and a router to provide a cost-effective AID solution without the need for aircraft mods.

Update: Future Technology Explorations

You can always count on Astronics to bring some innovative technology up for discussion any time you stop by their booth. This year, the explorations will continue in the Li-Fi arena plus feature alternate gesture control technology applications for use on aircraft. “We’re planning to show gig speed Li-Fi capabilities for potential cabin Li-Fi applications,” explained Mark Schwartz, Vice President of PDT, an Astronics company. “We’ll also feature alternate gesture control, which uses electric currents from your brain to move objects. And finally, we’ll show some Li-Fi gate data link applications, and how it can populate the CWAP with content according to your seat number.”

They will also be featuring their innovative, patented Smart Aircraft System is Internet of Things (IoT) network technology that autonomously collects and aggregates data from a wide range of sensors installed in the aircraft cabin. The system, demonstrated by Astronics throughout APEX, collects nearly any type of sensor data and wirelessly transmits this data to locations and applications where the crew can improve airline operational efficiency. For example, the system can sense seat occupancy and position, depletion of consumables like paper towels, and the status of safety equipment such as flashlights and lifejackets.

A primary application of this technology, the Intelligent Bin Solution, will be on display. This leading edge, patent-pending system is able to detect and report—in real-time—information about the status of overhead bins such as the percentage of fullness, which speeds aircraft boarding processes and reduces passenger stress. In addition, the system reports the temperature, humidity, pressure, and air quality within the bin, which helps detect outgassing events such as those that precede a lithium-ion battery fire. This early warning can increase safety and avoid costly aircraft diversions.

“Our new Smart Aircraft System integrates hundreds of advanced sensors with our webCS wireless communication server to collect and present meaningful data to crew members on their portable electronic devices,” explains Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology. “There are a multitude of uses for this new system, which brings new data and insights into the hands of the crew to increase efficiency, improve safety, and lower operating costs.”

The Intelligent Bin Solution is an APEX/IFSA Award Finalist, and they are expected to start airline trials later this year.

Tech Talks:

Throughout APEX, Astronics will feature Tech Talks in the booth. Topics include:

  • A Look Ahead at What’s Next for the Internet of Flight
  • Scalable Concepts for Integrating Portable IFE
  • Considerations When Selecting a Wireless Charging Solution for Commercial Aviation Applications
  • Securing, Deploying, and Managing the Next Generation Aircraft Interface Devices
  • Improving Cabin Efficiencies using Smart Aircraft Sensor Data

Visit Astronics at APEX Booth #1429.


CRYSTAL CABIN AWARDS

The finalists have been named for the Crystal Cabin Award special category, “Best Customer Journey Experience”. Nominees for the trophy, to be presented during the APEX Expo in Los Angeles, honoring the best integrated solution for passengers, are: the “Connected Experience” application from Airbus, a voice-controlled lavatory from Diehl, and light-based data transfer for Air France with “LiFi Power” from Latécoère.

A life without apps is barely conceivable, from controlling the lighting in our living rooms to cashless payment for pizza delivery. The “Connected Experience” from Airbus brings this comfort to the aircraft cabin. “Pasta or chicken” – passengers can order either, direct from their smartphones. And the app can also confirm whether or not the cabin baggage will fit in the overhead locker, avoiding unnecessary suitcase stress. Thanks to the networked cabin, the crew can regulate temperature and lighting as well as communicate with passengers.

“Please turn on the water faucet”: The “Voice-controlled Lavatory” from Diehl makes it possible to use the aircraft toilet without touching it, an attractive option both for passengers with restricted mobility and for the hygiene-conscious. From flushing the WC to operating the trash can, all essential aspects of the lavatory can be controlled by voice commands in several languages. And thanks to the modular system, this innovation from Hamburg, Germany can easily be retrofitted.

As light as light: Latécoère already presented “LiFi Power”, transmitting data using light, at this year’s Paris Air Show. Crew communication could soon be wireless, and data transmission speeds up to one hundred times conventional wiring will bring a whole new dimension to passenger entertainment and connectivity. Air France has already integrated this innovation in one of its cabins.

This category in the Hamburg Crystal Cabin Awards operates outside the regular entry phase, and will be presented on 9 September as part of the APEX Awards at the APEX EXPO and Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas trade fairs in Los Angeles. The award ceremony in LA also ushers in the new submission phase for the eight main categories of the Crystal Cabin Awards, to be presented in Hamburg on 31 March 2020. Amongst the winners in 2019 were such renowned industry representatives as Airbus, Collins Aerospace, Recaro and United Airlines.

A complete overview of the finalists with contact details and images is available for download here.


AIRBUS

The first A220-300 for EgyptAir successfully completed its inaugural test flight from the Mirabel assembly line. The first of 12 aircraft EgyptAir has on order is due to be delivered to the Cairo-based airline in the coming weeks. The A220 for EgyptAir will provide passengers with superior comfort, its innovative cabin design featuring the widest economy seats of any single-aisle aircraft and panoramic windows for more natural light. The aircraft which is outfitted with a brand new cabin layout of 134 seats, will now enter its final phase of completion before delivery. The A220 delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and true wide-body comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least 20% lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. With a range of up to 3,400 nm (6,300 km), the A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft. nMore than 80 A220 aircraft are flying with 5 operators on regional and transcontinental routes in Asia, America, Europe and Africa, proving the great versatility of Airbus’ latest addition.


BOEING

  • BOEING is increasing 767 production from 2.5 to three per month.
  • BOEING is planning to hire a few hundred temporary employees at Moses Lake, Washington to help prepare new 737 MAXs for delivery by installing new MCAS software and performing required maintenance and other updaters.

OTHER NEWS

AIRBUS
Airbus logged orders for 33 commercial jetliners in July – paced by the wide-body A350 XWB and A330neo, while making 69 deliveries during the month from across its product line of A220, A320 Family, A330, A350 XWB and A380 single-aisle and wide-body aircraft – which included numerous “firsts.”

The wide-body new business was led by Air China’s acquisition of 20 A350 XWBs in the A350-900 version. This Chinese carrier already is a major Airbus customer, currently operating A350-900s, along with A330s, A319s, A320s and A321s.

Also logged in July was Virgin Atlantic’s booking for eight A330-900s to support the UK carrier’s fleet renewal and expansion; this agreement originally was announced at the 2019 Paris Air Show. Completing the month’s wide-body bookings was Dubai Aerospace Enterprise’s acquisition of two A350-900s.

Single-aisle orders in July involved two A320neo jetliners for Spain’s Iberia and one ACJ319 Airbus Corporate Jetliner for a private customer.

The month’s deliveries were made to 41 customers overall, with the activity led by 52 jetliners provided from the single-aisle A320 Family. Notable deliveries included the first A321neo for South Korea’s Asiana Airlines, and the initial A321LR long-range version delivered to Aer Lingus of Ireland. Two A220 jetliners – the newest addition to Airbus’ single-aisle aircraft line-up – were delivered during July as well.

Wide-body aircraft provided to customers involved seven A330s in both the NEO and CEO versions, seven A350 XWBs in the A350-900 and A350-1000 configurations, along with one A380. Delivery “firsts” in July included the no. 1 A350-1000 for British Airways and the first A330-900s delivered to Air Calin of New Caledonia and Indonesia’s Lion Air.

Taking the latest orders, deliveries and cancellations into account, Airbus’ backlog of jetliners remaining to be delivered as of 31 July stood at 7,198 aircraft. The single-aisle total was composed of 5,822 A320 Family jetliners and 431 A220s; while the wide-body tally involved 618 A350 XWBs, 276 A330s and 51 A380s.

AirAsia has taken delivery of its first A330neo aircraft, to be operated by its long-haul affiliate AirAsia X Thailand. The aircraft was delivered via lessor Avolon and is the first of two A330neos set to join the airline’s fleet by the end of the year. With its enhanced economics the A330neo will bring a step-change in fuel efficiency for AirAsia’s long haul operations. The new generation A330neo will be based at Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport in Thailand, supporting the airline’s growth and network expansion plans to key markets such as Australia, Japan and South Korea. The AirAsia X Thailand A330-900 features 377 seats in a two-class configuration, comprising 12 Premium Flatbeds and 365 economy class seats.


SmartSky Networks

SmartSky has partnered with Mosaic ATM to further enhance SmartSky’s Skytelligence open marketplace and framework infrastructure to connect aviation applications and services developers. The expanded Skytelligence allows for the development of new data and services products to improve the efficiency of aviation operations.

SmartSky’s open interface and integration environment now includes more ways to optimize and improve the flight experience for every aviation-related company, from airlines and aircraft owners to data managers and developers.

“SmartSky’s patented system for five-dimensional trajectory optimization with continuous re-planning is an industry breakthrough, and accessing this capability via a software as a service model is a game-changer. This feature allows developers to take advantage of the combination of several data sources and services, including weather and traffic constraints, to quickly and cost-effectively build enhanced services,” said Chris Brinton, Mosaic ATM CEO.

Mosaic has provided SmartSky with expertise to expand upon and refine the Skytelligence concept, including unique insights for data processing, transformation and fusion techniques to increase Skytelligence’s data offering. SmartSky and Mosaic will continue to collaborate to develop applications and services related to airport data, convective weather data, navigation aids and more.

Using Skytelligence reduces development investment and accelerates outcomes. Application developers and service providers now can realize new revenue while enhancing passenger and flight deck experiences and optimizing operations.


BOEING
A Boeing-built 702 digital satellite called Amos-17 will provide affordable internet access and other communications services to undeserved parts of Africa as well as Europe and the Middle East. The satellite launched today from Cape Canaveral, Florida at about 7:00 p.m. It will enter service in a few months after on-orbit tests and moving to its final position over Africa.

Built on Boeing’s 702 satellite platform, AMOS-17 will deliver television, internet and data services to a potential market comprising hundreds of millions of people in its coverage regions. With both fixed and steerable beams, the multi-band AMOS-17 satellite can provide continual service to long-term customers while moving bandwidth to accommodate short-term demand for high capacity throughput, for example, during special events or natural disasters. “AMOS-17 is packed with innovations so that it can support many challenging missions,” said Chris Johnson, president, Boeing Satellite Systems International, Inc. “We are proud to support Spacecom in their use of satellite technology to bring services, promote economic development and foster a greater sense of connection to people around the world.”


OTHER NEWS

  • Perhaps one of the best applications of self-driving autos is on the airport, or at least, an application analysis of auto usage for airplane/airport applications? Under the hood of Waymo’s self-driving fleet project
  • While reading about the satcom applications of inflight communication, we came across a PR release that the folks at Gogo will introduce 5G systems for usage on aircraft in 2021. What got us interested was the 5G phone usage on aircraft in the future. In case you missed it, here is the release – Gogo to launch 5G network in 2021 – May 29, 2019
  • Optics are not our expertise, however, most aviation folks use binoculars to watch take-offs and landings. This lead-in gives us an amazing solution to a standard problem we found that most of us are aware of: “It’s a problem that plagues even the priciest of lenses, manufactured to the most exacting specifications: the center of the frame might be razor-sharp, but the corners and edges always look a little soft.” Here is the solution by a Mexican physicist that you just have to read. And, oh yes, check out the solution formula! A Mexican Physicist Solved a 2,000-Year Old Problem That Will Lead to Cheaper, Sharper Lenses.
  • If you plan to storm US Area 51 on September 20 this year, we don’t recommend it, in fact, we warn the planned raiders, it might be a life threatening event. Legal expert Devin Stone really put the story and resultant warnings together expertly. While fines and jail time are minimal results, your life might be the “big one”. What Would Happen To You If You Were Caught ‘Invading’ Area 51? – Digg
  • Ever heard of “Intellectual Debt”, a subject by Harvard Professor Jonathon Zittrain? Here is a good article on the new subject discussion. We found the technical version specifically interesting in the article he wrote: “Two crashes of Boeing’s new 737 MAX 8 jets resulted in the worldwide grounding of its MAX fleet. Analysis so far points to problem of technical debt: the company raced to offer a more efficient jet by substituting in more powerful engines, while avoiding a comprehensive redesign in order to fit the MAX into the original 737 genus.” The subject is related to the dangers of AI and problems we don’t totally understand because systems will produce data that we don’t understand and pass it along to other AI systems: while machine learning systems can surpass humans at pattern recognition and predictions, they generally cannot explain their answers in human-comprehensible terms.” So here is the article – you decide it’s validity: Intellectual Debt: With Great Power Comes Great Ignorance
  • Need to learn more about AI, check out the AI presentation and high level overview of the chip landscape by James Wang, AI Research Lead at ARK Invest. Good Stuff, includes AI hardware innovation (GPU chips), Light and Quantum Computers, AI chip market, 3 unique markets and market size, and more! This Is A Very Good Presentation!! The AI Chip Landscape in 2019: Competition is Heating Up
  • Here is another AI discussion with a Tech entrepreneur who said: “In 10 years, AI will significantly shorten capacity and route planning cycles in air travel”. However he mentions a company called Assaia who makes an AI solution that improves airport turnarounds (Watch their video). Tech entrepreneur Stephan Uhrenbacher: In 10 years, AI will significantly shorten capacity and route planning cycles in air travel

We have been promising a retired Boeing engineer and a classic airplane restoration buff a story as soon as we had space, and while it is not about InFlight Entertainment, it is Old Flight Entertainment – sorta. Anyway, we thought this aviation story was too good not to be published. More importantly, this tale is about his work rebuilding and saving one of the most important American airplanes, the Lockheed Constellation. It was designed and produced for public aviation transportation from 1943 to 1958 and flew till the 1990’s with 856 being built. And yes, we have flown in one.

Bob sent us the story a couple of weeks ago and as much as we love aviation history and aircraft restoration images, we wondered just how much the IFEC folks would respond to a bit of aviation history. After waiting for a news story that was late, we decided that history was better than nothing – so here we go! Oh, and be sure too check out the many photos of the project here.

“People ask what I do in my retirement. I tell them I run an Animal Sanctuary for Airplanes. A Sanctuary with a ‘No Kill’ policy. About 25 Saves into this unforeseen new life after Boeing, I currently have about 8 more in various stages of ‘Salvation’. Like down at the dog pound, many have had very bleak prospects for surviving, but somehow we have muddled through with mostly good outcomes (but not all.).”

“And so, we come to this forlorn Connie – one of six I have worked on (being especially partial to this beautiful aircraft.). She really was the very last mutt at the end of the long row of cages and seemed completely unadoptable, by even the softest hearts, when – 3-4 years ago – I got this call from a hotel guy in New York. “They were building a new hotel at JFK airport in NYC, and did I know –” Well, as they show on some of those dog shows on TV, sometimes even the mangiest mutt turns out to be a Star. And the rest, as they say, is history.”

“As I’m very fond of saying: To Scrap a Connie is to Commit a Mortal Sin!”

Be sure to check out Bob’s website:  Trains, Planes, etc. One look at it and it is clear that he is a pilot, aviation lover, airplane historian, a former Boeing Director, and so much more.


Last Week’s Hot Topic: By the way, last week we ran a story on the Galgus and this week we got a team picture.


AIRBUS

New business announced in June provided a significant mid-year boost as Airbus logged orders in June for 145 single-aisle jetliners from its A320 and A220 families, while delivering 76 aircraft from the company’s A220, A320, A330, A350 XWB and A380 product lines. With Airbus’ Paris Air Show launch of the A321XLR – which will become the longest-range single-aisle airliner – bookings now stand at 44 aircraft. Joining the list of initial customers for this “Xtra Long Range” version of the A321neo were: U.S.-based American Airlines, ordering 20; Qantas of Australia, acquiring 10; Spain’s Iberia, with eight aircraft; and Aer Lingus for six (making the Irish carrier a new customer for the A320neo Family).

The A321XLR represents the A320neo jetliner series’ next evolutionary step, responding to market needs for even more range. It brings 30% lower fuel burn per seat than previous-generation competitor aircraft while delivering an unprecedented range capability of up to 4,700 nautical miles. Service entry of the A321XLR is targeted for 2023.

Also in June’s new business, Airbus registered bookings for 86 other jetliners from the A320neo Family, composed of: 23 A320neo and 13 A321neo aircraft for an unidentified customer; 30 A320neo versions for Saudi Arabian Airlines; 18 A320neo aircraft for Japan’s All Nippon Airways; and two A320neo jetliners for Atlantic Airways of the Faroe Islands (becoming a new A320neo customer).

Airbus’ order book for the A220 Family also increased during the month, with acquisitions of the A220-300 longer-fuselage variant by two U.S.-based carriers: JetBlue Airways, ordering 10; and five for Delta Air Lines. Both airlines are repeat customers for the A220 Family.

Leading the single-aisle aircraft deliveries in June was the A320 Family, with 54 provided in both the NEO and CEO versions (including the first A321neo for JetBlue), along with six A220s.

Wide-body deliveries during the month were led by the A350 XWB, with a total of 10 aircraft provided in both the A350-900 and A350-1000 versions. Notable handovers involved the initial A350 XWBs for China Southern Airlines and Japan Airlines – both receiving A350-900s. Completing the wide-body activity in June were deliveries of five A330neo aircraft and one A380.

Taking the latest orders and deliveries into account, Airbus’ backlog of jetliners remaining to be delivered stood at 7,276 aircraft as of 30 June. The single-aisle tally was composed of 5,871 A320 Family jetliners and 473 A220s; while the wide-body backlog was comprised of 605 A350 XWBs, 275 A330s and 52 A380s.

Atlantic Airways, the Faroe Islands flag carrier, has taken delivery of its first A320neo, MSN8918. Leased from Air Lease Corporation, this aircraft is powered by CFMI LEAP-1A engines and is configured in an all-economy cabin layout. With its new Airbus fleet member Atlantic Airways will further develop its European network. The airline, an Airbus customer since 2008, already operates an all-Airbus fleet of three A320 Family aircraft (currently two A319ceos and one A320ceo). In addition, the airline also recently placed a firm order for two additional A320neos.

Featuring the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky, the efficient A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver more than 20 percent fuel and CO2 savings as well as a 50 percent noise reduction. With more than 6,500 orders received from over 100 customers, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent of the market.


BOEING

The Boeing Company announced deliveries across its commercial and defense operations for the second quarter of 2019. Boeing delivered 239 aircraft in first half of 2019 vs 378 in the first half of 2018. Heres the breakdown:

Model 2nd Quarter Year-to-Date
737 24 113
747 2 4
767 10 22
777 12 22
787 42 78
TOTAL 90 239

And lastly, congratulations to GE for their recent world record for thrust –  developing the most powerful commercial aircraft jet engine after reaching 134,300 pounds (test performance). This achievement breaks the record held by GE’s GE90-11B engine of 127,900 pounds set in 2002.


OTHER NEWS

The folks at Galgus sent us a note: “Yesterday, was a special day for Galgus as we launched release # 9 of our Wi-Fi optimization software. This version comes with lots of new features, some of them never seen before. Our team has put a lot of enthusiasm and expertise made of listening, detecting and building WiFi solutions for the market.” So, to find out the new software features, we checked out the “secret” Galgus site and here are a few of the features of their new software to be announced in a couple days:

  •  Advanced Mesh with Self-Healing, Dynamic Re-Routing, QoS and Power Control
  • Unveiling of Hidden MAC Addresses
  • New Modular Licenses and an Auto-Download Licensing System to Easy License Upgrades to Access New Features
  • High Density Scenarios
  • Support of Multi-thread Operation
  • WPA Enterprise with Radius Support + Dynamic VLANs (802.1x)
  • Location of Connected Clients with Real or Randomized MAC Addresses
  • Zero-Touch Provisioning
  • Discovery of IEEE 802.11 Amendments Supported by User Devices
  • Better Algorithms, Bug Fix Binaries, Cloud Manager…and More!

So with all the new features of the Wi-Fi software, we asked the Galgus team a few questions that we all could understand.

1. Please describe how big, and where the Galgus software (CHT Wi-Fi Optimization) is used.
Presently, 800+ airplanes worldwide are flying with our SW inside. Besides that, CHT is also deployed in Hotels & Resorts, covering 400,000 sqf. outdoor areas; also a Convention Center with a capacity of 3,000 people served with 18 access points, there, 100+ events are celebrated every year. In the railway industry the whole fleet of a British operator (45+ trains) are equipped with our technology. Also is important two mention that we have presence in two cruise ships in the Mediterranean Sea, +400 buses worldwide and even in a 55,000 people stadium of the Spanish soccer first division!

2. Does the CHT software effect data speeds on aircraft Wi-Fi?
Yes it affects: it improves the speed even for the weakest of the devices with respect to the case without CHT. In case it refers to whether our protocol occupies a lot of bandwidth: no, it is not noticeable.

3. What hardware vendors and airlines are customers of this software?
In the airline industry, we work with VT Miltope, they are our main customer. Regarding which airlines our software is deployed, due to confidentiality agreements we can’t unveil which ones are they.

4. Also, please describe what the software does that is different and why.
The new software comes with a nice set of new and improved features. Among them, we would like to underline the location of connected clients with real or randomized MAC addresses. Using only the WiFi network, without diminishing its performance, CHT is able to locate connected devices whether they randomize their MAC address or not. This is all achieved without the user having to install anything additional or modify their device. The network owner can access this information and compare it to quality of service metrics in our dashboard Cloud Manager.

Also, as a second mail innovation, with our new release we ensure network security and customer privacy by dynamically assigning an individual VLAN to each customer. This feature allows the accomplishment of enterprise grade projects where security and privacy is a must But, there are much more new features included and the July 10 webinar will cover the new content.

5. Will this software and features be displayed at any future airshow?
Yes absolutely. Jointly with VT Miltope, we regularly attend the main events in the industry, such as the AIX in Germany or APEX in the USA. At both them or at any other that we finally attend, we will introduce all new and improved features that our new release brings with them. And yes, they have a book available on Amazon


INMARSAT
Inmarsat announced a contract to introduce two new payloads for its Global Xpress (GX) network in partnership with Space Norway and its subsidiary Space Norway HEOSAT, supporting the continued fast-paced development of its award-winning GX Aviation and Jet ConneX inflight connectivity solutions.
The new payloads, GX10A & 10B, will provide Inmarsat’s airline and business aviation customers with even more capacity to meet rapidly growing demand for seamless, reliable, high-speed mobile inflight broadband. In addition, the satellites will be fully compatible with current and future terminals, ensuring that both existing and new customers will reap the benefits from this latest extension to the network. Scheduled to launch in 2022, GX10A & 10B will be the first satellites in the GX network to be placed into Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO), showcasing Inmarsat’s highly innovative and flexible approach to providing customers with gold-standard connectivity.

The satellites are designed to deliver enhanced capacity for aircraft flying in higher elevations and across the Arctic. They will be operated by Space Norway’s Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission (ABSM) team and seamlessly integrate into the GX network.


AIRBUS
Azores Airlines, the Azores archipelago-based carrier, has taken delivery of its first of three A321LRs to be leased from Air Lease Corporation “ALC” becoming the latest operator of the long-range single-aisle aircraft. Powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines, the Azores Airlines’ A321LR comprises 190 seats in a two-class configuration (16 Business class seats and 174 seats in Economy) offering premium wide-body comfort in a single-aisle aircraft cabin and with single-aisle operating costs. With this new A321LR, the Portuguese operator will continue its strategy of growth and network expansion to European destinations as well as transatlantic routes between the Azores and North America.


BOEING
Ahead of Independence Day in the U.S., Boeing announced $100 million in funds to address family and community needs of those affected by the tragic accidents of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. These funds will support education, hardship and living expenses for impacted families, community programs, and economic development in impacted communities. Boeing will partner with local governments and non-profit organizations to address these needs. This initial investment will be made over multiple years. “We at Boeing are sorry for the tragic loss of lives in both of these accidents and these lives lost will continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and on our minds for years to come. The families and loved ones of those on board have our deepest sympathies, and we hope this initial outreach can help bring them comfort,” said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and CEO. “We know every person who steps aboard one of our airplanes places their trust in us. We are focused on re-earning that trust and confidence from our customers and the flying public in the months ahead.” Boeing will release additional information in the near future. Consistent with Boeing’s regular process for employee charitable donations, company employees will also have the opportunity to make donations in support of the families and communities impacted by the accidents. Boeing will match these employee donations through December 31, 2019.

BOEING announced it is providing $100m in funds to address family and community needs of those affected by the 737 MAX accidents of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. These funds will support education, hardship and living expenses for impacted families, community programs, and economic development in impacted communities. Boeing will partner with local governments and non-profit organizations to address these needs. This initial investment will be made over multiple years.


OTHER NEWS

  • Folks under the age of 35 have a lot of innovations says the MIT folks – and, half are women -it’s a good sign!
  • What is biohacking? The new “science” of optimizing your brain and body. – Vox
  • Do you wonder how supersonic planes can fly with glass windshields? Well, you have a point and here is an answer on how it might be done. NASA’s New Supersonic Jet Will Be Missing a Front Window
  • Applied Science, that’s what the over 200 short videos are on technology are about on YouTube. Here’s the description and they are technically right on and very good: “See interesting applications of science and technology. You’ll see how an electron microscope was built in a home shop, how an X-ray backscatter system works, how to make aerogel, and many other hi-tech projects. Topics usually include electromechanical systems, chemistry, and electronics. Hosted by Ben Krasnow.” 109) Applied Science – YouTube
  • Boeing’s 777-x has similar characteristics to 747, however it does so with only 2 engines Boeing: 777X and Boeing: 777X Reveal
  • A lot of times when you are flying from or to a small airport on one airline, there is little information on where the others who fly there have connections to. It can be frustrating because most airlines want you to fly them and reasonably dont show you who else flies there. If you need a better list of what airlines fly to an airport here is a site called FlightsFrom that does that. Here is a website that covers that problem – Worldwide routes and flights from all airports – FlightsFrom.com
  • So, if you are afraid of new cars with potentially incorrect self-driving systems, had you ever considered self flying(landing) planes? Watch a plane land itself truly autonomously for the first time | TechCrunch
  • Having been fans of Leo Laporte for technical reporting in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, he now has a show called The Tech Guy. Leo is now 62 and hosts a show that covers technology and if you remember shows like Call For Help and Screen Savers, well, he is back and has a weekly show/newsletter on TWiT.tv and iOS Today as a podcast. Hey, it must be popular as then show this week is Episode 726! and a weekly newsletter that you can get them here Subscribe or iOS Today – Hey it’s free!

Airline and business aviation customers to reap benefits from latest GX Aviation and Jet ConneX enhancements, following new contract for extra coverage and capacity in the Arctic

London | July 3, 2019–Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, today announced a contract to introduce two new payloads for its Global Xpress (GX) network in partnership with Space Norway and its subsidiary Space Norway HEOSAT, supporting the continued fast-paced development of its award-winning GX Aviation and Jet ConneX inflight connectivity solutions.

The new payloads, GX10A & 10B, will provide Inmarsat’s airline and business aviation customers with even more capacity to meet rapidly growing demand for seamless, reliable, high-speed mobile inflight broadband. In addition, the satellites will be fully compatible with current and future terminals, ensuring that both existing and new customers will reap the benefits from this latest extension to the network.

Scheduled to launch in 2022, GX10A & 10B will be the first satellites in the GX network to be placed into Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO), showcasing Inmarsat’s highly innovative and flexible approach to providing customers with gold-standard connectivity.

The satellites are designed to deliver enhanced capacity for aircraft flying in higher elevations and across the Arctic. They will be operated by Space Norway’s Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission (ABSM) team and seamlessly integrate into the GX network.

The contract announcement is another significant milestone in the continued evolution of GX and comes less than a month after Inmarsat’s decision to invest in three new transformational satellites (GX7, 8 & 9) to be built by Airbus Defence & Space. These will further increase network flexibility and efficiency through multi-beam, high-throughput capacity that can be directed to service areas of high demand, and fully dialed up and down depending on customer needs in the region.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Over the past 40 years, Inmarsat has pioneered the latest in cutting-edge satellite innovation, a tradition we are proud to continue with the long-term development of our GX network. In the past month alone, we have announced five significant new payloads, raising the bar for industry investment and marking an unprecedented step-change in inflight mobile broadband capabilities for airlines and business aviation.

“We have now committed to a total of eight more payloads that will join the GX network’s four existing satellites starting from later this year. However, GX is much more than just a satellite network, it’s a complete end-to-end solution and we have been equally ambitious in developing our ground stations, hardware, software and cybersecurity framework. This infrastructure, built specifically for robust and secure mobility, is unique to Inmarsat and will position us as an innovator putting our customer needs at the heart of our business decisions.”

The GX network powers Inmarsat’s award-winning GX Aviation, which boasts world-leading airline customers such as Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia, Norwegian, Avianca, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings, Citilink, Garuda and Philippine Airlines. The network also powers Inmarsat’s highly successful Jet ConneX inflight broadband solution, which has already been installed on more than 500 business aviation aircraft across the world.

SITA
More than 100 of the world’s airlines and airports gathered in Belgium this week as SITA, the air transport IT provider, celebrated its 70th anniversary. The organization, which has been at the heart of the airline industry since 1949, marked the occasion by announcing record revenues of US$1.7 billion in 2018. As SITA recorded a significant turning point in its business, it also showcased its commitment to continuous and collaborative innovation.


Upcoming Show
Aircraft Seating – On the 20 – 22nd of August, Airbus and Boeing will be joining the world’s leading Aircraft Seating Manufacturers and Airlines, at the only North American conference to focus specifically on designing and building the Aircraft Seat of the future. Join the the 4th International Innovative Aircraft Seating Conference is Seattle this August. Partner Content – Get Ready to Connect.


PARIS AIRSHOW AIRPLANE SALES SUMMARIES

AIRBUS – 383 new aircraft + 349 up-sized orders total worth $44.5 Billion (market prices). For a total of 5 different aircraft types, there were 26 customers, 82 firm orders, 236 MOU’s, 65 Options, 349 airplane model swaps.

BOEING – 292 new aircraft worth $33.9 Billion (market prices). For a total of 7 different aircraft types, there were 10 customers, 10 firm orders, 247 MOU’s/LOI’s, 25 options, and no swaps.

Editor’s Note: Remember, announced sales has 3 types: firm orders/ memorandum of understanding/ letters of intent. Please note that they are in order of expectability. If you want more data, check out ANALYSIS: Paris air show 2019 order tracker – update


AIRBUS

JETBLUE AIRWAYS
JetBlue Airways will add the A321XLR to its already large fleet of Airbus aircraft and increase its existing order for Airbus A220s. JetBlue has contracted to convert 13 existing A321neo orders into firm orders for the new A321XLR, which Airbus revealed this week at the Paris Air Show. Also, JetBlue has firmed up an order for an additional 10 A220-300 aircraft from existing options. JetBlue, a New York-based low-cost airline that differentiates itself with a high-quality passenger experience, will integrate the A321XLR and the A220-300 into its growing network of routes to a variety of key destinations. JetBlue now operates 193 A320 and A321 aircraft, has orders for 85 A321neos, and previously ordered 60 A220-300s. In April, JetBlue converted 13 A321neo aircraft in its existing order to the LR (long range) version.

FLYNAS
Flynas, Saudi Arabia’s first low-cost airline, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for 10 A321XLR aircraft, the longest range variant of the A320. As part of the commitment, the airline will also upsize 10 of the A320neo it currently has on order to the A321neo. Flynas operates a fleet of 30 A320ceos and 2 A320neos. Since its inception in 2007, Flynas has set ambitious growth plans to continuously develop its fleet in order to carry more passengers. In 2018 the airline carried around 6.6 million passengers on 60,000 domestic and international flights.

The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step from the A321LR which responds to market needs for even more range and payload, creating more value for the airlines. From 2023, it will deliver an unprecedented Xtra Long Range of up to 4,700nm – 15% more than the A321LR and with 30% lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation competitor aircraft. This will enable operators to open new world-wide routes such as India to Europe or China to Australia, as well as further extending the Family’s non-stop reach on direct transatlantic flights between continental Europe and the Americas.

NORDIC AVIAION CAPITAL
Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 20 A220 Family aircraft. The deal was signed at the Paris Air Show between Martin Møller, NAC Chairman and Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer. NAC serves over 76 well established airline customers in 51 countries. The agreement represents the first major order for the A220 from a leading regional lessor confirming the versatility of the aircraft to support mainline and regional airline network expansion. The A220 is the only aircraft purpose built for the 100-150 seat market; it delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and widebody passenger comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least 20 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. The A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft.

AMERICAN AIRLINES
American Airlines, the world’s largest airline, will acquire 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft, the new longer-range version of Airbus’ hugely successful A321neo. The purchase agreement includes the conversion of 30 of American’s existing A321neo slots to A321XLRs and incremental orders for an additional 20 A321XLRs. The A321XLR will have the longest range of any single-aisle commercial jetliner. The added range of up to 4,700 nm will allow airlines to operate the aircraft from U.S. East Coast airports to medium-size European cities. As a further enhancement of the A321neo and A321LR, the A321XLR will have a maximum takeoff weight of 101 metric tonnes without sacrificing performance. The A321XLR is powered by the same engines, and has more than 90 percent commonality with the A321neo. American, based in Fort Worth, Texas, is the largest Airbus operator in the world with 422 Airbus aircraft. Including today’s announcement, American has outstanding orders for 115 A321neos and A321XLRs from Airbus.

SKYWISE
Accenture, Capgemini, FPT Software, IBM, and Sopra Steria have signed agreements with Airbus to become early adopters of the Skywise Partner Programme. As part of the programme, these world-leading companies will benefit from dedicated training and certification so they develop more robust, richer applications within Skywise on behalf of an airline. Certified partners will have access to their own working space on Skywise and to additional platform features. The Partner Programme builds on the exponential growth of the Skywise platform and aims to further accelerate innovation by connecting Skywise users with a global network of leading developers. As such, the programme paves the way for an open Aerospace ‘app-store’ to speed up the industry’s digital transformation.

ACCIPTER
Dublin-based leasing company Accipiter Holdings signed a Purchase Agreement to acquire 20 A320neo aircraft. The order, which was disclosed during the Paris Air Show by Paul Sheridan, Accipiter CEO and Isabelle Floret, Head of Leasing Markets, had been completed in March 2019, and was listed in the order books as undisclosed. The new single-aisle aircraft will further expand the portfolio of Accipiter Holdings, which aims to be a leading player in the global leasing market and is wholly owned by Hong Kong’s CK Asset Holdings Ltd. Together with Vermillion, its joint venture with Mitsubishi Corporation subsidiary MC Aviation Partners (MCAP), Accipiter manages a total portfolio of just under 150 owned and committed aircraft.

CHINA AIRLINES
Taiwan’s China Airlines (CAL) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) for 11 A321neo aircraft and will acquire another 14 aircraft of the type on lease. CAL has selected the A321neo to meet future requirements in the single aisle category. These 25 aircraft will join the Airbus fleet at the airline currently comprising 23 A330s and 14 A350 XWBs. With the A321neo, China Airlines will be able to operate their single aisle flights with unmatched levels of efficiency and comfort, benefitting from the highest commonality of the Airbus product range. The A321neo is a member of the best-selling A320 Family incorporating the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver at least 20 percent fuel savings by 2020. At the end of May 2019, the A320neo Family had received more than 6,500 firm orders from over 100 customers worldwide.

INDIGO PARTNERS
Indigo Partners and three of its airlines will acquire 50 of the new Airbus A321XLR long-range, single-aisle jetliners. The Memorandum of Understanding includes new orders for 32 A321XLRs and the conversion of 18 existing A320neo family orders. Indigo Partners LLC, based in Phoenix, Arizona, is a private equity fund focused on worldwide investments in air transportation. Indigo has major ownership stakes in four low-cost airlines, including Frontier Airlines (U.S.), JetSMART (Chile), Volaris (Mexico) and Wizz Air (Hungary). The four carriers now operate a combined 295 Airbus planes and, with the new commitments, have 636 on order. Twenty of the A321XLRs will be allocated to Wizz Air, 18 to Frontier, and 12 to JetSMART.


BOEING
Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg reports that the board of directors  declared a regular quarterly dividend of two dollars and five and one-half cents ($2.055) per share.

Boeing and Turkmenistan Airlines announced the airline’s plan to extend its long-haul operations by adding a fourth 777-200LR (Long Range) airplane to its fleet. The commitment, valued at $346.9 million at list price, will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website once it is finalized. The Boeing 777-200LR is the longest range commercial airplane in the world, capable of connecting virtually any two cities in the world nonstop. It has a maximum range of 15,843 kilometers (8,555 nmi) and carries more passengers and revenue cargo farther than any other jetliner. The 777-200LR is equipped with the powerful GE90-110B1L commercial jet engine, and can seat up to 317 passengers in two-class configuration.

ASL
ASL Aviation Holdings DAC (ASL) and Boeing signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 20 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF), bringing the world’s first Next-Generation 737-800 freighter conversion to 120 orders and commitments, from eight customers. The agreement includes 10 firm orders and 10 purchase rights. Operating on six continents, ASL provides network solutions to express freight integrators, transporting more than 357,000 metric tonnes of cargo in 2018. Boeing predicts that 2,650 freighters will be delivered between 2018-2037, with more than 60 percent of these deliveries comprised of passenger-to-freighter conversions. The 737-800BCF carries more payload – up to 23.9 tonnes (52,800 lbs.) – and flies farther – 2,000 nautical miles (3,750 km) compared to 737 Classic freighters. It also offers operators improved fuel efficiency, lower operating cost, and higher reliability than previous standard-body freighters.

QATAR AIRWAYS
Qatar Airways, one of the world’s leading air cargo carriers, announced a commitment to purchase five additional 777 Freighters from Boeing. The deal, valued at $1.8 billion at list prices, was unveiled at the Paris Air Show and signed in the presence of His Excellency Jassim Saif Ahmed Al-Sulaiti, Qatari Minister of Transport and Communications. Qatar Airways has rapidly grown its air cargo operations to serve more than 60 global destinations, becoming one of the top international air freight operators in the world. The latest freighter deal builds on the airline’s 777 Freighter order book as the airplane has become the backbone of Qatar Airways freighter fleet. It currently operates 23 freighters, including 16 Boeing 777 Freighters. The 777 Freighter is the world’s largest and most capable twin-engine freighter. It can fly 4,970 nautical miles (9,200 kilometers) with a payload of 224,900 lbs (102,010 kg). The airplane’s long range translates into significant savings as fewer stops mean lower landing fees, less congestion, lower cargo handling costs and shorter delivery times.

CHINA AIRLINES
Boeing and China Airlines announced the airline’s intent to order up to six 777 Freighters to modernize its cargo fleet. China Airlines plans to transition to the world’s largest and longest range twin-engine freighter as it launches operations from Taipei to North America and Europe – two key markets that provide higher yields for the carrier. The order will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website once it is finalized. The 777 Freighter is capable of flying 4,970 nautical miles (9,200 km) with a maximum payload of 102,010 kg (224,900 lbs). The airplane will allow China Airlines to make fewer stops and reduce associated landing fees on these long-haul routes, resulting in the lowest trip cost of any large freighter and superior ton-mile economics. In addition, the 777 Freighter features market-leading capacity for a twin-engine freighter, accommodating 27 standard pallets, measuring 96 inches by 125 inches (2.5 m x 3 m) on the main deck. This allows for lower cargo handling costs and shorter cargo delivery times. China Airlines operates 51 Boeing airplanes. The addition of 777 Freighters will enable the carrier to streamline maintenance and parts for its 777 fleet. The carrier uses a number of Boeing Global Services solutions to support their operations, including Boeing’s Airplane Health Maintenance and Maintenance Performance Toolbox on all of their 777, 747-400 and Next-Generation 737 aircraft. These data-driven platforms track real-time airplane information, providing maintenance data and decision support tools that allow technicians to quickly and correctly resolve issues. On the ground and in the air, China Airlines’ entire fleet uses Jeppesen’s FliteDeck Pro and access to digital navigation charts to optimize performance and enhance situational awareness.


OTHER NEWS

London | June 19, 2019– A new two-part report from Valour Consultancy predicts strong growth in the aircraft seating and in-seat power markets over the next ten-years. The market intelligence firm’s latest data reveals that the commercial aircraft seating market will be worth $4.9 billion in 2028 – up from $3.8 billion in 2018. The proportion of total in-service seats with in-seat power, meanwhile, is set to increase from about 38% to 66% over the same timeframe.

Both markets are set to become markedly more competitive over the next few years according to report author, Craig Foster. “Today, the aircraft seating market is an oligopoly dominated by three companies – Safran Seats, Collins Aerospace and Recaro Aircraft Seating, which together, account for about three-quarters of annual revenues. However, with aircraft OEMs now more open to adding new products into previously impenetrable airframer catalogues and a series of well-documented delays to seat deliveries caused by engineering, supply chain and certification issues, barriers to entry have come down significantly. As a result, a clutch of new players are seeking to chip away at the dominance of the big three.”

“And with airlines keen to avoid their passengers falling victim to so-called ‘low-battery anxiety’ and continued growth in the adoption of in-flight connectivity and wireless in-flight entertainment, the retrofit opportunity for in-seat power – especially in the largely untapped single-aisle segment – will represent an increasingly fierce battleground going forward. 2018 saw Astronics and KID-Systeme generate a combined 98% of total revenues with six or seven companies fighting over the remainder. But with the likes of IMAGIK, Burrana and Inflight Canada all winning sizeable contracts recently, concentration of power is set to shift” continued Foster.

A blurring of the lines between categories as the industry moves away from four clearly-defined cabin classes (economy, premium economy, business class and first class) is also creating opportunities. “Super first class is emerging and mini-rooms, rather than seats, are seen to represent the ultimate in comfort and a way to differentiate top-tier service from an ever-improving business class where suites with sliding privacy doors are becoming more commonplace. Furthermore, premium economy and fully flat business class beds with direct aisle access on single-aisle aircraft will become increasingly important as longer-range narrow-bodies like the new A321XLR and 737 MAX are deployed more frequently. The likely knock-on effect is increased demand for multiple in-seat power options in these more premium cabins” Foster concluded.

Valour Consultancy is a provider of high-quality market intelligence. Its latest report “The Future of Aircraft Seating and In-Seat Power” is the newest addition to the firm’s well-regarded aviation research portfolio. Developed with input from more than 30 companies across the value chain, the study includes 93 tables and charts along with extensive commentary on key market issues, technology trends and the competitive environment. For a full table of contents and report scope, visit this website.

June 24, 2019–Etihad Airways has bolstered flight safety by choosing to deploy SITAONAIR’s rich and intuitive EFB Weather Awareness Solution, eWAS, across more than 100 aircraft.

Ahead of its official launch on 6 April 2019, the eWAS solution was trialed by a select group of Etihad pilots throughout 2018 with extremely positive results, cementing its undeniable business and safety benefits for airlines, pilots and flight operations alike. More than 18,000 pilots across multiple carriers have now trialed the solution globally.

SITAONAIR’s eWAS – developed in partnership with GTD – is a user-friendly, cloud-hosted application that significantly improves situational awareness and reduces many of the costs associated with weather avoidance. It allows pilots to study areas of turbulence along their flightpaths, preparing them for alternative routing well in advance.

“The safety of our passengers and crew is our highest priority,” said Captain Guy Farnfield, Etihad’s Head of Flight Operations Support. “The advanced communications connectivity on modern aircraft significantly improves the quality of data available to pilots, and the real-time information provided by SITAONAIR enhances their ability to anticipate, safely navigate or avoid major weather fronts. This system is delivering safety and efficiency benefits to Etihad, and improving the experience of our guests and our crews.”

Not only does eWAS support safer flight plan routes, but it also enables more economical, intelligent and flexible operations by providing greater situational awareness of significant weather threats. The solution integrates with all leading flight planning vendors, is fully scalable and requires almost no new airline IT infrastructure. Available on either iOS or Windows, eWAS is fully compatible with most major mobile and tablet devices. With its highly efficient compressed data, eWAS can be easily updated over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G on the ground, and over a cabin or cockpit broadband link in-flight.

Stephan Egli, Commercial VP Europe, Middle East & Africa, SITAONAIR, adds: “Globally we have seen a huge shift towards bringing greater value and efficiency to airline operations in recent years. Airlines such as Etihad want to unlock their connected aircraft value and, most importantly, improve safety. As an aviation industry game-changer in the field of intelligent weather avoidance technology, eWAS is the perfect tool to enable Etihad’s ambitions. eWAS is used in production by over 10,000 pilots at multiple airlines. We believe that by embracing the age of digital transformation, we will support Etihad’s focus on bolstering safety in the skies, as well as operational efficiency.”

During AIX Inmarsat celebrated the 1000th installation of their inflight broadband services (GX, JetConneX, and EAN) and discussed how they envisioned the strategy to create a global network to provide Ka-band coverage 8 years ago and how far they have come since its conception. Presently, four satellites are up, and they will have the 5th up later this year. The 5th satellite on its own will have more capacity than the previous 4 combined and it will be focused on Europe and the Middle East, which are high capacity corridors. The next generation of GX satellites are a quantum leap to place their capacity in the right place at the right time. As a result, they will have a dedicated beam to track with no hand-off and provide redundancy and different visibility from other orbits.

On the network side, Inmarsat said that it will be hard for their competition to stay close as these new birds will have ground station redundancy; whereas, “some of our competitors face the situation where the loss of a single satellite equals the loss of everything. This is not the case for Inmarsat. From a security standpoint, this is important as our largest customers are governments. We have set a very high bar when you take into consideration all the aforementioned points”.

Since Aircraft Interiors Inmarsat announced that Airbus Defense & Space will design, build and manufacture the next generation of geostationary Ka-band for their Global Xpress network. GX7, GX8 and GX9 are each set to deliver twice the total capacity of the current GX network and will enable the delivery of multiple gigabits per second to passengers’ electronic devices. These new satellites will be the first to make use of the OneSat product line from Airbus. All three satellites are scheduled to be in orbit by the end of 2023, with GX7 and GX8 due to be launched in the first half of ‘23, and GX9 by the same year’s end. Inmarsat said that GX7, GX8 and GX9 satellites will be capable of creating smaller, more precise, dynamically formed beams than today’s GX satellites, which will result in their ability to deliver capacity to high-demand areas when needed. Inmarsat will use software to relocate capacity real-time and the new satellites will feature on board processing capabilities and active antennas.

Lastly, there is now a formal offer from a Canadian consortium for the acquisition of Inmarsat. We were told that they have been in formal discussions since January of this year. The Inmarsat Board has declared in favor of accepting the offer. The offer was to be presented to the shareholders for a vote on in May of this year and they anticipate closure in 4Q19. It has to pass all the antitrust laws and various government security approvals. All of the latest information on this is available on the Inmarsat website.


GOGO

Gogo, a global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced its plans to build a 5G network for aviation. The new air-to-ground (ATG) network will be designed for use on business aviation aircraft, commercial regional jets and smaller mainline jets operating within the contiguous United States and Canada. Gogo expects the network to be available for business and commercial aviation in 2021. “We expect to launch Gogo 5G at the same time as the terrestrial telecommunications companies are deploying the same generation of technology on the ground – a first in the inflight connectivity industry,” said Oakleigh Thorne, CEO of Gogo. “Gogo 5G is the next step in our technology evolution and is expected to deliver an unparalleled user experience, pairing high performance with low latency and network-wide redundancy. “Gogo will build the 5G network on its existing infrastructure of more than 250 towers and will use unlicensed spectrum in the 2.4GHz range, along with a proprietary modem and advanced beamforming technology. Gogo’s 5G infrastructure will support all spectrum types (licensed, shared, unlicensed) and bands (mid, high, low), and will allow Gogo to take advantage of new advances in technology as they are developed. Similar to how wireless carriers provide redundancy across their networks, Gogo will continue to employ its 3G and 4G networks throughout the continental U.S. and in Canada that will provide backup to the 5G network when needed.When compared to satellite technologies, ground-based network technologies in general deliver certain operational advantages – specifically lower cost of operation and lower latency. Gogo is committed to provide easy upgrade paths to 5G for existing Gogo air-to-ground customers.


AIRBUS

Airbus launched a global campaign celebrating the company’s 50 year anniversary, showcasing key moments of pioneering progress throughout the past five decades.

The campaign begins by marking 50 years since the French Minister of Transport, Jean Chamant and the German Minister of Economic Affairs, Karl Schiller, signed an agreement at the 1969 Paris Air Show for the joint-development of the A300 aircraft, a first European twin-aisle twin-engine jet for medium-haul air travel.

Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus said: “Airbus’ story is one of ambition and progress, and has been a showcase of European integration. Over five decades, we have brought together civil and defence aviation businesses from throughout the continent. For 50 years, we have pioneered many firsts through our passion and innovation, transforming the industry and helping to move society forward. Airbus is a story of incredible men and women, a story of great achievements in the past and, above all, in the future.”
Running from 29 May to 17 July, the campaign will bring stories to life through new, engaging content published across Airbus channels. With a new story released each day, for 50 consecutive days, the campaign will highlight the people and ground-breaking innovations that have driven the company. The campaign shines a light on many different aspects of the Airbus business, including commercial aircraft, helicopters, space and defense, in addition to programs and initiatives. The 50th anniversary campaign also looks to the future, exploring how Airbus continues to shape the industry with pioneering innovations that address some of society’s most critical issues, whether that be pioneering electric flight to reduce emissions, digitising aerospace design, or developing new urban air mobility options.

Airbus industrial sites will also celebrate this milestone, starting in Toulouse with a fly over from the full Airbus Commercial Aircraft family accompanied by the Patrouille de France at 12:00pm today.

Also from Airbus:
The change of name of CSALP to Airbus Canada Limited Partnership, which was announced in March 2019, will come into effect on June 1, 2019. The new name reflects the majority interest of Airbus in the partnership since July 1, 2018. The partnership is adopting the Airbus logo as its single visual identity. Over the course of the coming weeks, the new name will be applied to the limited partnership’s documentation, materials and branded items. The Airbus and Bombardier logos will continue to be displayed side-by-side on the building exteriors in Mirabel, reflecting production activities on the site for both the Airbus A220 and Bombardier CRJ aircraft families.

About the limited partnership
Headquartered in Mirabel, Québec, the limited partnership is responsible for the development and manufacturing of the Airbus A220 family of single-aisle passenger aircraft. Majority owned by Airbus SE, partners include Bombardier Inc. and Investissement Québec (acting as mandatory for the government of Québec). The limited partnership employs approximately 2,200 at its headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Mirabel. The second A220 manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama will start production in the third quarter of 2019.


OTHER NEWS

You may not have had the opportunity to swing by the Cadami and aeroLiFi booth during AIX in April, but never fear, your intrepid IFExpress reporters have you covered!

Cadami

Cadami is an expert and a market leader in coded caching and media transmission technology. Their technology allows you to provide a huge library of high-quality multi-media content to more users without updating your hardware. Cadami technology has its roots in academic research into the theoretical potential of coded caching and transmission. It is our understanding from talking with Cadami during AIX that currently, they are the only company making these techniques available commercially.

During AIX 2019, Cadami announced the launch of their Wi-Fi cabin technology. As we know, there are significant benefits to using a wireless network (think less cabling, weight, installation costs, etc.). However, much of the current Wi-Fi technology has limited utility because the aircraft cabin is a crowded environment, often making it very hard to provide the right bandwidth to transmit high quality content. Thomas Kuehn, managing director of Cadami, said, “Wireless transmission of high-quality IFE content has always been just out of reach. Our network technology solutions make it viable. Our technology is already flying on nearly 200 aircraft, operating over cabled networks and giving passengers around the world access to thousands of films. The next stage is to start WiFi. Using Efficient Coded Caching, we can both overcome the current WiFi limitations while providing the same libraries people are used to with Netflix and Amazon Prime.”

How does the Cadami technology differ? They use a technology called Efficient Coded Caching, which is a unique, patented combination of the latest coded caching with advanced transmission techniques to make highly efficient use of the network infrastructure and seat-back screens. The result is to effectively increase bandwidth by a factor of between two and five. Translated, it means an airline can viably use a Wi-Fi network to make a large library of HD and 4K video content available to every passenger on the biggest aircraft, without jeopardizing quality.

Thomas Kuehn concluded, “We are constantly pushing the boundaries of what technology can do, to provide airlines with more efficient solutions and their passengers with an even better experience.”

aeroLiFi

At APEX Boston, IFExpress saw a demonstration of LiFi technology and during AIX 2019 we saw a threefold increase in the number of LiFi applications from various vendors. One such exhibitor was aeroLiFi. “We enlighten the future of your communications, using light to transmit data. We use LiFi, which in turn uses existing LED lights to send and receive data, including Internet access and IFE content,” Birger Timm, Managing Director of aeroLiFi, said, “LiFi provides a stable communications link that doesn’t degrade and that has enough capacity for each passenger to stream HD and 4K content. We do that by reducing the number of people using each cell, giving airlines the ability to provide a consistent data stream to a lot of people in a small area.”

What is the big deal about LiFi? LiFi uses both the visible and invisible light emitted by LEDs to transmit IFE data and an Internet connection. It doesn’t require a complex infrastructure: it just needs the server and backbone, with LED lights to transmit and receive data. Every LED bulb is a potential access point. And, LiFi offers more bandwidth, higher data transfer rates and increased data security. In fact, aeroLiFi states that LiFi is both safe and secure because it uses light waves and not microwaves, drastically reducing ‘electrosmog’. It is also very hard to hack because it depends on a line of sight connection.

Timm continued, “It’s not impossible to hack into a LiFi network, just very hard. You have to get between the light source and the receiver. In an aircraft, that effectively means you need to be sitting on someone’s knee and that’s very noticeable. In fact, LiFi is so secure that it is already being looked at for use in the cockpit for flight critical applications.

We asked about using LiFi during the nighttime and were told that the technology can use both visible light and infrared; therefore, access points can continue working during the plane’s ‘night’.

Furthermore, aeroLiFi team has wide experience in the IFEC industry, in lighting and across the aviation sector, and we were told that Prof Harald Haas, the father of LiFi, is the company’s scientific advisor. aeroLiFi has integrated Cadami’s coded caching technology into its solution, helping to increase the stability of the solution, as well as the size of the video content library available. The caching element also means the content will not be interrupted if the light source is blocked for some reason, for example someone walking along the aisle putting their hand over the receiver.

Lastly, Timm concluded, LiFi is perfect for the aircraft cabin because it requires minimal physical infrastructure, it provides stable and consistent data transmission, and it’s safe.


Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has opened its first Innovation Studio in Pleasanton, California. Breaking ground as the first of five planned locations worldwide, Panasonic’s new Innovation Studio in Pleasanton will serve as a hub for innovation, ideation and solution-building. It is designed as a space where airlines and partners will gather and co-create the future of travel experience.

David Bartlett, Chief Technology Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Innovation is at the center of everything Panasonic Avionics does. Our new facility in Pleasanton will play a major role in fostering our collaboration ethos, and is the first of five such hubs that will enhance and enrich the future inflight travel experience for passengers around the globe, helping travel to become the fourth place.” The Innovation Studio is located close to Silicon Valley which is recognized as a global center for tech innovation. The facility will act as a hub from which Panasonic will work with airlines to investigate, illuminate and implement new ways of transforming the passenger experience in a socially collaborative environment. Panasonic’s Innovation Studios across the globe will all be located in close proximity to major destinations, leading universities and centers with an established innovation and start-up culture. Each studio will be a place for companies to leverage Panasonic’s skilled workforce to prototype, showcase and evaluate product concepts, digital solutions and user experience paradigms.

About the Fourth Place
The fourth place has become Panasonic’s rallying cry to the aviation industry to improve the experience of travel. The fourth place ties into the concept introduced in 1989 by the sociologist Ray Oldenburg who coined the term “the third place” – the first place being home, the second work and the third a neutral zone where people can interact and collaborate with their communities. Panasonic believes that the act of traveling is the fourth place.

Image: Panasonic’s Innovation Studio Opening


Airbus

Delta Air Lines took delivery of its first A330-900, one of 35 A330neos the Atlanta, Georgia-based airline has on order. With new fuel-efficient engines, aerodynamic improvements, and the advanced Airspace by Airbus cabin the A330-900 will give Delta a premier long-haul, widebody aircraft with exceptionally low operating costs. Delta was the launch customer for the A330-900, ordering 25 in November 2014 and an additional 10 last year. With the addition of the A330-900, Delta is now operating both of Airbus’ newest widebody models. It has 13 A350-900s in its fleet with another 12 on order. Delta operates more than 265 Airbus aircraft including A321s and A220s, and the airline’s order backlog with Airbus exceeds 270 including 100 A321neos. Delta is one of the world’s leading airlines, an industry pacesetter. As the A330-900 is placed into service on Delta’s global network, it will complement the airline’s growing widebody fleet of A330s and A350s, setting new standards for efficiency, profitability, and provide passengers with extraordinary travel experiences. An environmental milestone was set as a Delta crew ferried the new A330-900 back to the company’s Atlanta base using a jet fuel blended from conventional sources and non-petroleum synthetic fuel. Delta will initially base its A330-900s at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where it will operate the aircraft on flights to Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo Narita. Delta will configure its A330-900s for 281 passengers, including 29 in business-class suites, 28 in premium economy, 56 in extra-legroom economy seats, and 168 in standard economy. The aircraft will feature Delta’s new internally developed in-flight entertainment system. The A330neo is a true new-generation aircraft, building on the features of the popular A330 features and leveraging technology developed for the A350 XWB technology. Powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, and featuring a new wing with increased span and A350 XWB-inspired Sharklets, the A330neo provides an unprecedented level of efficiency – with 25 percent lower fuel burn per seat than previous generation competitors. Equipped with the Airbus Airspace cabin, the A330neo offers a unique passenger experience with more personal space and the latest generation in-flight entertainment system and connectivity. The A330-900 can accommodate 287 seats in a typical three-class layout or up to 440 for high-density configurations with a range of up to 7,200 nautical miles.


Boeing

Boeing and Air New Zealand announced the airline plans to add the largest 787 Dreamliner model to its world-class fleet with a commitment to buy eight 787-10 airplanes valued at $2.7 billion at list prices. The carrier, known for its global network and long-range operations, says the 787-10 complements its current 787-9 and 777 fleet by offering more seats and greater efficiency to grow its business. The 787-10 is the largest member of the super-efficient and passenger-pleasing Dreamliner family. At 224 feet long (68 meters), the 787-10 can serve up to 330 passengers in a standard two-class configuration, about 40 more than the 787-9 airplane. Powered by a suite of new technologies and a revolutionary design, the 787-10 set a new benchmark for fuel efficiency and operating economics when it entered commercial service last year. The airplane allows operators to achieve 25 percent better fuel efficiency per seat compared to the previous airplanes. Air New Zealand was a global launch customer for the 787-9 and today operates 13 of the Dreamliner variant. With another 787-9 on the way and the 787-10 airplanes in the future, the airline’s Dreamliner fleet will grow to 22. Air New Zealand’s widebody fleet also includes seven 777-300ERs and eight 777-200ERs, which it is progressively replacing with this announced aircraft order.


Other News


Mea Culpa! Apologies to our IFExpress readers and Thales for last week’s publishing snafu. If you didn’t get the opportunity to read the revised publication, here is the link.

Prestigious airline integrates e-paper library of German media distribution expert into its mobile app

Munich | May 27, 2019– Better flight experience for Singapore Airlines’ passengers with Media Carrier: The Munich-based media distribution expert today announced that Singapore Airlines is the first Asian airline client to tap into its premium e-paper library, following a tender process.

Under the terms of service which took effect from 1 October 2018, Media Carrier will deliver a selected collection of international digital newspapers and magazines that are integrated via a FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server into the e-Library section of Singapore Airlines’ mobile app. Passengers will be able to choose from more than 120 premium publications from 22 countries in 12 languages to individually curate their on-board reading. These publications were picked by Singapore Airlines from Media Carrier’s wide- ranging portfolio.

Passengers using the app can download and read as many publications as they like free of charge within a time frame specified in the app. Downloaded publications remain saved as PDFs in the app so that passengers, if needed, can continue reading later. The publications are provided in their full versions and familiar print layout for easy and intuitive reading and browsing.

“We are delighted that Singapore Airlines is the first Asian airline to join Media Carrier’s client portfolio. As Singapore Airlines is one of the world’s best airlines, this is a great testimonial for us. Our profound expertise and wide range of premium publications, including many Asian ones, enabled us to convince a major player in the aviation sector of our services. Our focus on and commitment to the highest quality standards for our offerings and services certainly played a role in this context,” comments Media Carrier managing director Philipp J. Jacke.

“Digital tools such as our e-paper library enable airlines to offer their passengers the first-class service they expect. Digitalisation has by now become part and parcel of the modern service industry and value-enhancing digital products considerably contribute to increasing customer satisfaction.”

 

(Image: Dinosaur Planet from the ARC 3D Map Suite of Young Explorers from Panasonic Avionics)

During AIX Hamburg Panasonic Avionics Corporation (PAC) focused on their position as a strategic partner shaping the future travel experience in conjunction with their airline customers and ecosystem partners. PAC said, “We are looking at ways to address the new era in travel that responds directly to changes in passengers’ expectations.”

You may well remember that during APEX Boston, the company launched their Wellness solutions – a collection of comfort and care technologies that promote well-being – and in Hamburg, they announced that Etihad is the official launch customer for the offering. “One of the biggest challenges air passengers face when travelling across multiple time zones is jet lag. To help passengers combat this, Panasonic, in collaboration with Detalytics, has developed a new innovation called Jet Lag Adviser, and this is being integrated into Etihad’s passenger app.  The Jet Lag Adviser takes a range of passenger inputs including chronotype, circadian rhythms, height, weight, the nature of travel, and travel information such as flight times, routes and zones and uses its artificial intelligence engine to produce personalized jet lag plans for passengers with tailored advisories to help them reduce jet lag.”

They are also increasing their range of Wellness solutions with the launch of Calm and myNoise. Calm is one of the premiere apps for sleep, meditation and relaxation and will introduce a series of visual and audio enhancements for passengers that will be integrated into Panasonic’s Wellness solutions. Categories include Breathing & Meditation, and Nature Scenes to reduce stress and aid relaxation, Sounds & Music for relaxation and sleep, and audio Sleep Stories to help passengers rest. myNoise is a collection of soundscapes that travelers can listen to that facilitate relaxation, sleep, focus and enjoyment. Based on the elapsed time in flight and an individual jet lag schedule, Panasonic will recommend different soundscapes to help passengers relax, focus and enjoy their flight by reducing inflight anxiety and aiding sleep, neutralizing the ambient noise for a more focused mindset, and helping them express their creativity for the best possible experience.

One of their major announcements in Germany was the launch of the ARC Inflight Map Platform, which is a “revolutionary” 3D inflight map application and service for Panasonic’s NEXT and X Series IFEC systems. In a nutshell, ARC brings a wide range of innovative new features to the traditional inflight map application, while expanding that concept into a fully integrated experience within the IFEC system. In other words, the map has evolved into a service technology with extensive configuration options, improved passenger experience, premium point of interest content and analytics to optimize passenger interaction. “This is the first truly personalized map application,” said Andrew Mohr, Head of Innovation for PAC. Designed and built by Sweden-based Tactel, the development work is largely over and the product will enter into service in the first quarter of 2020. The short-term focus is on developing detailed content of regions so descriptions are available when an aircraft flies over them. Andrew is particularly pleased about ARC’s Suite of Young Explorers for children, which boasts features like: Dinosaur Planet (see the article image above), Pick a Planet, Design Your World, and new games, which will be announced shortly. “I’ve been advocating for a children’s moving map interface with dinosaurs for years!” said Mohr.

ARC goes hand-in-hand with another newly announced cloud-based service called Insights, which is a comprehensive data analytics offering that provides an in-depth view of onboard experiences to empower smarter business decisions. Insights capabilities include: diagnostics and descriptive analytics, predictive and prescriptive analytics, behavioral and sentiment analytics – all enable a personalized experience for the passenger and facilitate improved operational efficiency for the airline by harvesting onboard and third-party data from various passenger touch points including IFE, connectivity, location and weather monitors, as well as, social media. Oh, and of course, all this is done in real-time. Data analytics specialist Black Swan is working with Panasonic on the Insights project. When ARC and Insights are combined, a powerful tool is at the airline’s fingertips, or should we say wingtips!

All of these developments facilitate the concept of travel as the fourth place, which Panasonic focused on during their presentation in the Digital Trends Stream of the Passenger Experience Conference (covered in previous issue of IFExpress); as well as, during their press briefing at AIX. “We are the airlines’ strategic partner for shaping the future travel experience,” said David Bartlett CTO of PAC. “Imagine what flying could be like when a personally curated experience promotes, rest, wellness, and maybe even a sense of play.”


GOGO

Gogo Announces First Quarter 2019 Financial Results

Key Highlights for Q1 2019:

  • Consolidated revenue of $200 million–at the high end of our preliminary estimated range of $197 million to $200 million provided on April 15, 2019
  • Net loss of $16.8 million–39% year-over-year improvement
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $38 million–as compared with $11.9 million in Q1 2018
  • Net Cash Used in Operating Activities of $(6.2) million; Unlevered Free Cash Flow of $11.1 million (1)
  • Subsequent to the end of the first quarter, Gogo completed its previously announced offerings of $925 million aggregate principal amount of 9.875% senior secured notes due 2024 and commenced a tender offer for the outstanding 3.75% senior convertible notes due 2020

AIRBUS

  • The first A330neo of the Americas has been delivered to Azul Linhas Aéreas on lease from Avolon, becoming the first airline from the Americas to fly the A330-900. The aircraft is the first of 15 A330neo ordered by Avolon. The A330neo, Airbus’ new generation A330 aircraft, will be used by the airline to expand its international route network between Brazil and Europe and the United States. Fitted with a three-class cabin accommodating 34 business class, 96 economy Xtra and 168 economy class seats, the A330neo offers passengers greater comfort along with the newest and the most advanced in-flight experience while the airline will benefit from the aircraft’s unrivalled operating economics. The A330neo is the true new-generation aircraft building on the most popular wide body A330’s features and leveraging on A350 XWB technology. Powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, the A330neo provides an unprecedented level of efficiency – with 25% lower fuel burn per seat than previous generation competitors. Equipped with the Airbus Airspace cabin, the A330neo offers a unique passenger experience with more personal space and the latest generation in-flight entertainment system and connectivity.
  • The first A330-900 widebody destined for Delta Air Lines made its inaugural test flight Tuesday from Toulouse airport. The highly fuel-efficient twin-engine jet, one of 35 Delta has on order, is due to be delivered to the Atlanta, Georgia-based airline in the coming weeks. The A330-900 is the larger of the two A330neo variants that Airbus launched in 2014. The A330neo brings significant efficiency improvements while also introducing the award-winning Airspace by Airbus cabin, which offers the newest and most advanced in-flight experience with extra personal space, larger overhead luggage bins, latest generation in-flight entertainment system and state-of-the-art ambient lighting. Incorporating the latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, along with aerodynamic enhancements – including new extended composite wingtips which provide 3.7 metres of increased overall wing-span, as well as increased lift and reduced drag – the A330neo is a more efficient aircraft, delivering 25% lower fuel burn than previous generation aircraft and the lowest seat-mile cost in its category. The A330-900 range is 6,550 nautical miles in a typical three-class configuration.
  • Deliveries April 2019: Airbus logged orders for a total of five A350 XWB and A330neo widebody jetliners in April and delivered 70 aircraft during the month from across its A220, A320, A330neo and A350 XWB single-aisle and widebody product lines. Deliveries in April were made to 35 customers. In the single-aisle sector, Airbus provided three A220s, and 57 A320 Family aircraft (47 in the NEO configuration, along with 10 CEO versions). For widebody jetliners, two A330neo jetliners were provided during the month, along with eight A350 XWBs (in both the A350-900 and A350-1000 configurations). Taking the latest orders, deliveries and cancellations into account, Airbus’ backlog of jetliners remaining to be delivered as of 30 April stood at 7,287 aircraft.

OTHER NEWS

 

 

 

This issue of IFExpress continues on the Digital Trends journey from the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) in Hamburg, Germany. We will wrap up the coverage up by navigating our readers through the final two sessions.

TAKING THE PAIN OUT OF THE DIGITAL JOURNEY

This was the first new stream in the afternoon and it focused on how the latest technology can both help and support new innovations that engage the passenger. And how there are multiple digital/mobile tools from different companies that are on offer to the passenger that can help, but also make the experience complex and disconnected. It also addressed the challenges our industry faces in sharing customer data and what issues specifically need to be tackled on an industry level.

This session was run a little differently from the previous streams. Questions were posed by the moderator, then each panelist addressed the question.

The panelists were: Dennis Baur – Head of Conichiwa; Steven Bailey – Chief Sales Officer of AOE; and Konsta Hansson – Managing Director of Reaktor Aero.

  • Where do we start taking out the pain?

Dennis Baur of Conichiwa: Conichiwa works with many different companies in our industry from airlines, to airports, and hotels. “There are currently so many independent apps available to the traveler of today.  Many, if not most, of these apps are not connected (to each other) and the data points aren’t being shared. The result is clearly a disjointed passenger journey.” The industry needs to leverage the data and work towards a more connected experience for the traveler by sharing the information. Dennis used the term ‘super apps’ to achieve this concept.

Steven Bailey of AOE, is a long-time expert in the digitalization of international companies, as well as, their business and IT vision. We focus on helping clients with their digital transformation and multi-channel e-commerce strategies. “When we undertake a journey, 80% of it is planed ahead, but 20% is an impulse driven purchase. However, there are cultural drivers that differ with both travelers and airlines. For example, Asians want to pre-plan the journey, have planned purchases, etc. Sharing customer data is a really crucial point. Our industry needs to look at becoming customer centricpeople plan in advance and are using their devices to leverage their journey.”

Konsta Hansson of Reaktor. In case you are not familiar with Reaktor, they are a digital design consulting firm that works across multiple industries. “We as an industry, need to focus on what the passenger wants and needs to get done throughout their journey.” Konsta went on to discuss the concept of the importance of customer centric product development. “Because we work across multiple industries, we can see what different clients/users do across those different settings. The key is to understand what the people are trying to get then providing them with something that addresses those needs that truly works to get things done.”

  • How do we help the industry overcome that fear?

Konsta: “By maybe trying the smaller things first. As an industry, we have fear about what will happen when the passenger is provided with the right type of information that they need. For example, that their bag didn’t make the flight. “

Dennis: Suggested using sensing technologies and beacons, which provide data that the airline can leverage. “Start with implementing digital technology along the customer journey – beacons are an example. Everyone wants this, but no one is speaking to each other and no one is actually addressing the need. Design it in a user centric way.”

Steven:Retail and services in airports are like a different part of the airport and don’t really share data with the other portions of an airport, like parking, and services (disabled, etc). Treating it like a fraternity not a trinity. Sharing data is paramount for success. Finding a solution is paramount. Look at customer journey and make it customer centric. Sharing the data, no matter what the source. Data falls into 2 buckets: GDPR (VERY Personal stuff) and Common Data. Is there a possibility that GDPR could overcome this by having the traveler signing up for some basic information being shared about you?”

Konsta:Data can be very generic but still be very useful. When you are using general data there are no issues about privacy. It is quite common to merge different data sources in other industries, which is quite beneficial.”

Steven: “Minor steps are significant. For example: a passenger hasn’t boarded plane, so unload their luggage and let the passenger know that there is a hotel right around the corner and that they can buy pajamas, or whatever they need for the unexpected stay.”

Dennis: “The current infrastructure is very fragmented. How quickly can your company deploy and move? In this industry, we tend to be so behind. – it is the nature of the aviation industry; whereas, the passenger journey itself is quite agile.”

Konsta:It is about being nimble and fast. Not about products really. It is about what addresses the customers’ problem. This must be in the forefront of the airline’s/airport/s mind. A lot of this stuff isn’t about IoT, it is empowering the people to do something. Sometimes the problem is much simpler than building or opening another application. Block chain will be the next thing coming up, especially with the loyalty programs and payment. At the moment this is API based. It is going to take some time, so now we need to take time and make small steps first. Always look at the customer. We are in the time where people have to have the guts to go into OPEX (a type of software for automation that provides tremendous speed to IT). There are algorithms that have been developed in other industries, could they be used after the fact to prove that the system/product could be used? This may be a way to get the industry to embrace something, by proving after the fact, that the process/analysis works. Must leave it up to the customer about when and where they want to engage.” He went on to say that when it comes time to test/trial, “You have to use actual passengers and users, in order for you to know whether it will be used.“ He also had advice on how to start this process, “How do we begin? Start with something small first. Select one small project somewhere and start doing something in a new way. This is how you start to change a mindset. Often, digitization is put on the sidelines and is laughed at. We need to ask where we want to be in 5 -10 years and how much funding are we going to put at it and it needs to be additional revenue, not filtered off another area. Have a strategy to go forward over the next 12 months and when do you plan to go live with it. This is a type of barrier that we see all the time. The C levels want it but it the mid-level managers are pushing back. Based on fear that their jobs will be lost. Konsta finished with this: “Do something that will break your own business model and try to identify what other companies will try to do in your sector. Look at additional revenues and your customers. Take the pain out build something that works. Quality is important if you want to take the pain out. Start small.”

ENHANCING YOUR REALITY

Panelists for this session: David Dicko – CEO Skylights; Fachrul Iman Alghozali – Product Development Analyst for GMF AeroAsia; Claire Nurcombe – Head of Marketing, Stelia Aerospace; Fabian Birgfeld – Founder & Managing Direction of W12, A TCS Interactive digital Design Studio; and Greg Caterer – CEO of Neutral Digital

The first to address the attendees was David Dicko from SkyLights. For those of you who aren’t familiar with SkyLights, they are a company that is deploying cinematic VR inflight. David said, “VR inflight is a technology that is able to overcome the special constraints of the cabin and ‘transport’ the passenger away from the cabin environment. SkyLights offers full HD, 3D AND 2D experiences.” He went on to say that over the past three (3) years they have done 7,000+ flights and have been commercially deployed on Garuda Indonesia, Alaska Airlines, and Air France. “The average usage time is 3 hours with a 94% passenger satisfaction rate,” said David. “Airlines that have offered the product have shown an improved NPS, a differentiated experience, and increased their brand awareness.” He went on, “Some of the obstacles have been headset comfort, nausea, and the passenger announcements (PA). One of the biggest issues is passenger comfort over the long haul. And comfort is key. Nausea can be solved by not doing VR when we don’t need to, and when we do show 360-degree content we must be careful how that content is made and reproduced. Passengers need to follow 10k feet rules, passenger announcements. Either address via Wi-Fi or through the audio.” David went on to say that airlines who have selected and/or trialed the SkyLights product have done extensive internal analysis on their passenger experience; need a differentiator for the passenger experience and feel that the cabin experience is a key precondition to stay competitive.”

Fachrul Iman Alghozali was the next presenter and gave an update on their VR trial with SkyLights which commenced after APEX in Boston 2018. He said the trail looked at comfort, entertainment and anxiety. Some of the challenges to flying with VR that they experienced were: Safety & Authorities’ Regulation; Operational Habit Change; Passenger Feedback; MRO & Ground Support Perspective; Supply Chain; System Integration; and Maintain Reliability. Fachrul said as far as the PA integration, they came up with a single cable integration and the PA was connected to the Wi-Fi server.

Here are two charts from the presentation: Evaluation on the Garuda Deployment and What We Know.

Claire Nurcombe of Neutral Digital (ND) was the next panelist. “ND has been working with SkyLights for a little over year to look at the integration opportunities. We have been looking at the following issues: How do we integrate it into seat and what are the certification issues? What do we need to overcome to achieve that? What is the real value of integrating VR headsets into the seat? We can do 4D cinema where the seat vibrates/moves to mimic what is going on in the screen (explosions, etc.) There is an Opal seat on SkyLights booth at the Expo. We worked together to create a massage/wellness environment and it can create a much more convincing environment for the passenger”.

Claire went on to say, “On the subject of VR, we are just starting out as a seat manufacturer. Reducing our cycles and can quickly check assumptions and validations. Can be done prior to building the mock-up. From a pragmatic point of view, it is how we are using it. VR is just starting its journey. It has left the gadget/gimmick stage. “

She closed with, “If we as a seat manufacturer can get rid of the inseat screen we can radically change how the seat fits into the aircraft and what it can be like. “ 

The Core Applications of VR in the Aviation Sector was the title of Greg Caterer of Neutral Digital’s presentation. Greg told the audience, “ND came up with the idea of a storyfied version of an in-cabin experience for Air Canada. We discovered that there are both cost and memorability benefits to putting the passenger experience at the center and trying to improve it via VR.  Cabin crew and ground operations training modules (interactive VR training) we critical. There was also seat visualization collaboration between Pearsonlloyd (the seat designer) and Neutral Digital. We established three (3) pillars for success: marketing, training and design. All of the 3 pillars have the passenger experience improving at their core.”

Take a look at this chart from Greg’s presentation that discusses the Key Benefits of Using VR.

The final speaker of the afternoon was Fabian Birgfeld, founder & Managing Direction W12.

Fabian started his presentation by discussion the following lessons learned, focusing on the audience: 1) obviously the importance of customer journey 2) with delocalization of the customer. Ask yourself, how do you craft freedom and fold it into the experience?

He went on to make the following statements/questions:

  • People don’t want to be locked in.
  • How do you use technology to enhance the customer experience?
  • Why is customer experience so incredibly important?
  • Compare the living room experience with everything else is out there.
  • Look at customer service & experience.
  • How do you leverage technology to influence tomorrow?
  • Everything is connected. Customers expect a seamless experience(s).
  • It is all about the data.
  • The customers expect tailored experiences. The data exists and we should use the information to tailor the experience.
  • Voice changes everything. Customers expect conversational experiences. Remote is a huge constraint compared to voice and gestures.
  • The artificial turns natural. Our reality is changing fast. That is a broad spectrum of reality and the customer is going to choose what is their choice.

“The customer journey starts the moment you conceive the journey through your return home. It is important that it is seamless and that is key. It is a reality that Netflix, Amazon Prime are what the consumer is used to, and it is what they expect moving forward.” Said Greg, “Never look at these things as a singular experience but together: brand, offer, tech – this is what comprises the experience framework.”

Greg continued, “Brand is so important. If you solve the brand issue you have solved 90% of the problem that is out there. You can future proof your offering. Digital changes extremely fast once you get hooked into the cloud.”

“Technology: We must create platform agnostic experiences. Work across all platforms to provide a consistent experience. Right now, the lowest hanging fruit is in the AR (augmented reality) space because you can cover the entire journey. Think of the opportunities/concepts: Airportal – the destination at the gate and bring the destination forward; Peek and book – see before you buy; and Travel tag – leaving your mark.”

Editor’s Note: This wraps up the Passenger Experience Conference Digital Trends Stream. Next week we will move on to some of the hardware and concepts we saw during the Aircraft Interiors Expo itself. So stay tuned!


GOGO

Gogo Inc. announced that it has determined that the consummation of the offering and sale of $905 million aggregate principal amount of 9.875% senior secured notes due 2024 by Gogo Intermediate Holdings LLC (“Holdings LLC”), the Company’s direct wholly owned subsidiary, and Gogo Finance Co. Inc., a direct wholly owned subsidiary of Holdings LLC and the Company’s indirect wholly owned subsidiary, satisfies the financing condition to its previously announced cash tender offer for any and all of its outstanding 3.75% Convertible Senior Notes due 2020.


THALES

Thales announces that Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, chose Thales’ Ka-band connectivity solution for their B787-9 and A321Neo-E (LR) aircraft. The airline is renowned for its traditional hospitality and its commitment to being an industry leader by developing products and services that reflect the evolving needs and aspirations of their passengers for a modern travel experience.

  • Gulf Air selects Thales’ Ka-band connectivity solution for its B787-9 and A321Neo-E (LR) fleet.
  • Thales will provide a robust, modular and full-featured connectivity platform for a best in class experience onboard leveraging Global Xpress Ka-band satellite network.
  • In 2016, Gulf Air selected Thales’ AVANT IFE system for their complete fleet renewal program.

OTHER NEWS


From IFExpress’ perspective, this year’s Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) in Germany was worth the battle with Monday morning jetlag! As we all know, not all conference content is created equal, and many times, the opening remarks/panels are a bit mundane; however, the 2019 PEC provided us with some salient questions and concepts that kept our attention.

Insights from Industry Leaders  was the title of  the opening session and the panel was comprised of Jóhanna Bergi, CEO of Atlantic Airways; Dr. Christian Langer, Chief Digital Officer of the Lufthansa Group & Managing Director Lufthansa Innovation Hub; Jeremy Drury, Director Digital & E-Services Star Alliance; Juha Jarvinen, Executive Vice President of Commercial, Virgin Atlantic; and moderated by Dr. Joe Leader, CEO of APEX & IFSA.

Joe Leader started the session by saying that he is seeing a stronger focus on the inflight experience and personalization to the passenger experience with more ancillary revenue attached to the end-to-end service. His example: Etihad is offering some business class touches in their economy service. And he went on to say that, “No matter the size of your airline or the scope of your mission, it is the attention to details that matter.”

The first panel member to address the crowd was Ms. Johanna A. Bergi – CEO Atlantic Airways; who stated that Atlantic Airways was established 31 years ago and is the carrier of the Faroe Islands. Ms. Bergi discussed the uniqueness of the Faroe Islands, how they have been connected politically to Denmark since the 14th century but are geographically located near the coast of Scotland, and how travel and tourism is important to their community. “We want to promote our country in a modern way.” Sustainability is key to their airline and the Faroe Island community as a whole. “We are going full speed into sustainability, we have purchased new aircraft for their fuel saving and we are also using sustainable packing with a pre-order system for catering in an effort to minimize waste.” They offer the AirFi IFE system to their passengers. Content is upload when the aircraft is on the ground, but gives the passengers a feel of being connected, even though they are not connected real-time.

Next to address the conference was Dr. Christian Langer – Chief Digital Officer & Managing Director Lufthansa Innovation Hub who told us that the Lufthansa Group has changed how they look at digital information. He asked the question, “How do we drive innovation?” He said that within their organization they rely on the people within it to provide the innovative concepts, not a single group or the board itself. Dr. Langer stated that they also give monetary awards for concepts that are successful. He asked which other industries may be converging with ours? And said that we are often influenced by the auto industry and he could see a time when cabin interiors might be manufactured by the auto industry, as they have the same problems to solve. However, the innovation cycle of the auto industry is far quicker– every 15 – 24 months, compared to that of the aviation industry . He said, “Our industry takes years and years. I think we, as an industry, need to speed up this cycle given passenger expectations.” He went on to say, “What is the impact that digital industries will have on the passengers? How can we understand what they are doing and how can we influence it? How can we speed up internal processes to be on par with these start-ups?  How can we adopt the new technologies/services, your IT needs to be able to adopt? If you don’t have the API ready, how can you adopt? Speed is of the essence and we as an industry need to speed up the process.” In closing, Dr. Langer said, “Keep your basics straight. Improve your basics and it will have a big influence. Airlines, ask yourself: How on time? How clean are the cabins? What is your ecological footprint? What is the technological footprint? We think these things are very important.  Fix your basics, have them be brilliant and you will be successful.”

The next speaker was Mr. Jeremy Drury – Director Digital & E-Services Star Alliance. Mr. Drury said that his focus is to make the customer journey better. One of the primary ways to achieve this is make certain that the airline has access to quality data on each customer and that the hand-off of that information from carrier-to-carrier within the alliance is better in order to facilitate the passenger journey“The customer is king,” said Drury, “Which ever channel the customer elects, it is important that the customer can stay within that channel throughout their journey to get everything they need. So, you don’t need to download a billion apps.” Seat selection on a multi-segment, multi-carrier trip was used as an example: You have downloaded the United app onto your phone as they are your carrier of choice. You are traveling on them for the first leg of your journey, then connecting onto a Singapore Airlines operated flight. You should be able to select/change your seat, etc. on the Singapore operated flight using the United Airlines app.

Drury went on to say, Biometrics are a big deal. What principals as an alliance do you maintain between services and privacy? It is difficult, biometrics services need to be tracked and transferred throughout the journey. We are working out ways to solve the problems in order to deliver but with explicit consent, because the customer owns themselves.” He went on to say that airlines have to ask themselves the following: what services will be available through the various airlines’ applications? Baggage tracking, directions through the airport (guidance options within the airport), easier informational items (lounge is an example). And how can airline/alliance speed up rate of approval? In terms of loyalty propositions: What is the future of loyalty? How would/could blockchain be used? How close are we to having that as part of the world? The need for redemption opportunities. In order to do this, we need to build up a series of people and products that can be leveraged in that eco system. Block chain is the perfect airline alliance product. It is an ideal technology. “We have a way to go before it reaches fruition, but the Star Alliance is starting to look at this, “said Drury.

The last to present was Juha Jarvinen – Executive VP of Commercial, Virgin Atlantic. Juha said that Virgin has always been an iconic airline that historically has been a bit bolder, a bit braver and has embraced a certain look and feel. A key part of their identity is to “be yourself” and diversity is very important to their airline culture. He went onto say the airline has a 3-year strategy program: 1) We need technology but must focus on the people because it is the people that make a difference 2) Need to start growing. It is important to expand and be in a growth mode 3) How do we expand our global network with our partnerships? Established a relationship with AirFrance/KLM (31%) and Delta Air Lines (49%) and have acquired Flybe (will focus on short haul segments) – these relationships will dramatically change and strengthen Virgin Atlantic.

What is Virgin Atlantic’s vision: DNA is to be different, bolder but they are now adding more airlines to the joint Atlantic family, which gives them a global network in an entirely different way. Mr. Jarvinen stated that they now have a substantial business not just a leisure airline. Juha went on to say they are creating a new loyalty program for the UK market – It is all about the customer data: how do we customize and personalize the offering? They have been asking themselves: “What slows down adoption for an airline? When looking at airline alliances, the members adapt and change at different rates. So, we work with a few airlines that are more agile and then roll out the product/service/strategy after it has been tested and trialed with the other airlines.

Another area that Mr. Jarvinen talk about was passenger data. “Do airlines have the capacity to protect the passenger’s data? Do people trust airlines to protect their data? This is a crucially important area. We have had examples of data breaches with airlines around the world. All passenger data and loyalty data must be protected. This is on the top of the agenda. This is a topic where airlines must work together.”

Juha rounded up his discussion by stating: Whoever is closest to the customer wins the customer. Google announced the gamification of gaming (basically puts it in the cloud) a few weeks ago, this provides an opportunity for the airlines when it comes to gaming and/or IFE.

Loyalty programs could truly benefit from gamification. Also, what is the next stage of the journey?  Example: asking Siri where your gate is, is the plane on time, etc. So, whoever gets there first wins.”

Next week IFExpress will focus on the Digital Trends Break Out Sessions, so stay tuned!


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a leader in global mobile satellite communications,  announced that its award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband solution will be available to passengers onboard Virgin Atlantic’s brand new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. Virgin Atlantic is scheduled to receive 12 Airbus A350-1000s over the next three years, with GX Aviation pre-installed upon delivery. The service will be available once the first of these aircraft takes to the skies from late summer 2019, allowing passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, check social media, instant message and more, with speeds on par with mobile broadband on the ground. GX Aviation is the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight connectivity service delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of high-throughput satellites. It was revealed as part of Virgin Atlantic’s new onboard offering on the A350-1000 earlier this week, with other key features of the aircraft including an entirely new Upper Class cabin with brand new suite and social space. More than 1,600 aircraft are currently expected under signed contracts for Inmarsat’s next-generation inflight broadband solutions for airlines, with a new business pipeline of approximately 3,000 aircraft worldwide. To meet growing demand, Inmarsat has a fully-funded development roadmap, including three further Ka-band payloads. A fifth GX satellite will be launched later this year and two sixth-generation satellites are scheduled to launch in 2020 and 2021. In addition, planning is underway for the next generation of GX satellites.


VISION BOX

New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport Terminal One Group and Vision-Box have signed a cooperation agreement to modernize passenger processing and roll out one of the largest biometric boarding airport platforms in the USA. A seamless biometric-based passenger management platform will be implemented, allowing for passengers to board without needing to show their passports or boarding passes. Lufthansa will be the first carrier to offer the technology at JFK Terminal One, their largest USA operation, with Air France, Japan Airlines, and many others expected to follow suit, as the terminal is home to a total of 26 international carriers.


INFLIGHT VR

In an effort to appeal to their young and increasingly technology hungry customer demographic, innovative Korean low- cost carrier Jin Air has partnered with Inflight VR to offer Virtual Reality (VR) inflight entertainment to its passengers. Jin Air will trial 10 devices on daily flights between Seoul, South Korea and Da Nang, Vietnam to get additional passenger insight on usage preferences and the adequate rental price before deploying it to their whole fleet.


AIRBUS

  • Airbus has launched first operations of a new Skywise service – Skywise Health Monitoring (SHM) – with Allegiant Air on its A320s. Dynamically coupled with Skywise Reliability Services (SRS) and Skywise Predictive Maintenance (SPM), SHM is hosted on Skywise, gathering live diagnostic feeds from the aircraft through its *ACARS link to the airline’s information system. Using the power of the Skywise aviation data platform, SHM collates and centralises the alerts, flight-deck effects, maintenance messages etc., prioritizes them, correlates any faults with the relevant troubleshooting procedures, highlights operational impacts, provides the maintenance history of the system (from the logbook and **MIS information collected through Skywise Core and stored in the data lake), allowing effective tracking of the alerts. When fully deployed, and following the in-service feedback from Allegiant Air and other ‘early adopters’, SHM will support airlines’ Maintenance Control Centers, Line Maintenance and Engineering departments in identifying, prioritizing, analyzing and handling in-service events, enabling quicker decision-making and preparation of the optimal solution to ensure aircraft on-time dispatch and minimizing AOG risks. Overall, SHM saves airlines time and decreases the cost of unscheduled maintenance. Natively interfaced with SPM and SRS to provide an integrated user-experience, and also ready to harness the new on-board Flight Operations and Maintenance Exchanger (“FOMAX”) data router which can capture over 20,000 real-time aircraft parameters, SHM enables end-to-end unscheduled event management/fixes for example by anticipating tools and parts’ availability closest to the aircraft. More early adopters will join in the months to come to pilot SHM for other Airbus aircraft, including A330, A350 and A380. *ACARS = Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System **MIS = Maintenance Information System
  • Airbus appointed Julie Kitcher as Executive Vice-President Communications and Corporate Affairs, effective immediately. In this role, she joins the Airbus Executive Committee leading all external and internal communication activities, reporting to Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
  • Airbus SE appointed a new Executive Committee led by Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury, following approval from the Board of Directors. The changes are effective immediately. The Executive Committee supports the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in his duty of managing the day-to-day operations of Airbus’ business and is the Company’s top executive body. It comprises the Heads of Divisions and major Functions.
    Dominik Asam, Chief Financial Officer; Thierry Baril, Chief Human Resources Officer; Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice-President Engineering, Bruno Even, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Helicopters; John Harrison, General Counsel; Dirk Hoke, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Defence and Space; Julie Kitcher, Executive Vice-President Communications & Corporate Affairs; Philippe Mhun, Executive Vice-President Programmes & Services; Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer; Michael Schöllhorn, Chief Operations Officer; Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer

OTHER NEWS