Image: Airbus A330-800 receives EASA Type Certification


THALES

Sichuan Airlines selects Thales CORE IFE for its future fleet of A350 aircraft to deliver on their promise for exceptional passenger experience. Entry into service is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2021. Sichuan Airlines new A350’s will include a two-class cabin configuration equipped with 17” displays in business class, 12” displays in economy class and new state-of-the-art SELECT graphical user interface (GUI) featuring the latest user-experience technologies creating the most intuitive passenger experience ever while celebrating Sichuan Airlines’ brand. Passengers will enjoy the most current applications and vast selection of entertainment during their flight including a variety of television series, films, music, and games.

Thales’s CORE IFE system is based on the proven AVANT platform, benefiting Sichuan Airlines with a streamlined process for configuration and delivery at the most competitive cost of ownership. CORE is packaged with Thales support services. Through this selection, Thales further expands its partnership with Sichuan Airlines. The airline’s current fleet of A350 is flying with the AVANT system and Thales is the preferred business partner in avionics – including Flight Management Systems for their A320/A330 aircraft as well as customer support and services. Over 1 million passengers each day enjoy Thales in-flight technologies. In China, Thales is working together with airlines to drive the highest level of passenger satisfaction by providing a truly unique experience to all travelers.


AIRBUS

The A330-800 received joint Type Certification (today’s rectangle) from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The aircraft’s certification flight-test campaign was successfully performed by aircraft MSN1888, which completed the program in 370 flight test hours and 132 flights since its first flight in November 2018. The A330-800, part of a true new-generation A330neo family, is the most efficient longest range entry-level widebody and incorporates new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, a new 3D-optimised wing and new Sharklets using lighter composite materials. Together, these advances bring a significant reduction in fuel consumption of 25 per cent compared with older generation competitor aircraft of similar size. Certified initially with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 242 tonnes for a range capability of up to 7,500 nautical miles, the A330-800 will typically seat 220 to 260 passengers in three classes, or up to 406 travelers in a single-class high-density configuration. To date the A330neo Family has won 337 firm orders from 22 operators. In the A330-800, passengers can expect the highest levels of comfort, with the aircraft featuring the award-winning Airspace by Airbus cabin with larger overhead storage, advanced cabin mood lighting and the latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity. Operationally, the A330neo shares a common pilot type-rating with the larger A350 XWB, which facilitates minimum flight training cost and maximum pilot productivity. Maintenance personnel will also benefit from the aircraft’s new Skywise data connectivity features which will help them to predict potential issues before they arise, thus ensuring maximum productivity of the aircraft in revenue service.

On another note, Green Africa Airways, Nigeria’s Lagos-based airline, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 50 A220-300 aircraft, one of the major orders to be placed globally for the A220 program and the largest ever from the African continent.

Furthermore, Airbus SE, the Government of Québec and Bombardier Inc. have agreed upon a new ownership structure for the A220 program, whereby Bombardier transferred its remaining shares in Airbus Canada Limited Partnership (Airbus Canada) to Airbus and the Government of Québec. The transaction is effective immediately. This agreement brings the shareholdings in Airbus Canada, responsible for the A220, to 75 percent for Airbus and 25 percent for the Government of Québec respectively. The Government’s stake is redeemable by Airbus in 2026 – three years later than before. As part of this transaction, Airbus, via its wholly owned subsidiary Stelia Aerospace, has also acquired the A220 and A330 work package production capabilities from Bombardier in Saint-Laurent, Québec. This new agreement underlines the commitment of Airbus and the Government of Québec to the A220 program during this phase of continuous ramp-up and increasing customer demand. Since Airbus took majority ownership of the A220 program on July 1, 2018, total cumulative net orders for the aircraft have increased by 64 percent to 658 units at the end of January 2020.

Bombardier transfers its remaining interest in Airbus Canada Limited Partnership (Airbus Canada) to Airbus SE and the Government of Québec. Airbus now holds 75 percent of Airbus Canada with the Government of Québec increasing its holding to 25 percent for no cash consideration Bombardier work packages for the A220 and A330 will be transferred to Airbus, through its subsidiary Stelia Aerospace, securing 360 jobs in Québec Bombardier will receive US$591M, net of adjustments, of which US$531M was received at closing, and is released of its future funding capital requirement to Airbus Canada.

Lastly, Airbus and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enable urban air mobility (UAM) in Singapore. The MOU was signed at the Singapore Airshow 2020 between Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice-President, Engineering, Airbus and Kevin Shum, Director-General of CAAS. The collaboration aims to bring UAM services and platforms to reality in Singapore’s urban environment, with the target to enhance industry productivity and improve the country’s regional connectivity. As part of the agreement:

  • Airbus and CAAS will collaborate to define and develop an initial UAM service with an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The parties will specifically work together to realise the Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system and services to support the initial use-case.
  • For such UAM operations, both parties will co-operate on fostering public acceptance, developing standards, and establishing necessary safety frameworks.
  • Finally, Airbus and CAAS will study the feasibility and requirements for further UAM services that include leading-edge cargo and passenger transportation solutions.

BOEING News

The Boeing Company reached a tentative agreement with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) on a new four-year contract extension that would run through 2026 covering approximately 18,000 engineering and technical employees, nearly all of whom are in Washington and Oregon. SPEEA’s Executive Board has endorsed the offer, which will be put up for a vote by the membership and is expected to run from Feb. 24 to March 9, 2020 via mail-in ballots. The current contract is set to expire in 2022.Highlights of the agreement include:

  • Annual salary adjustment funds – Under the tentative agreement, Boeing and SPEEA will establish fixed salary adjustment funds for each year, 2020 through 2026, replacing the prior indexed formula.
  • Paid leave – Boeing will apply the Company’s existing 12-week Paid Parental Leave policy to SPEEA-represented employees. By virtue of the contract extension, SPEEA-represented employees in Washington will now also be covered by the Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Health care benefits – Under the tentative agreement, employees will continue receiving competitive benefits with no change in plan design for medical, dental and vision plans. Beginning in 2023, employees’ contributions will be based upon their salary.
  • Employee Incentive Plan (EIP) – The Employee Incentive Plan target will be raised from 3.85% of eligible earnings to 5% of eligible earnings.

On another note, Boeing forecasts airlines in Southeast Asia will need 4,500 new airplanes over the next 20 years, valued at $710 billion at list prices. Single-aisle airplanes continue to be the main driver of capacity growth in Southeast Asia. This growth helps to stimulate the demand for commercial aviation services, which are forecasted to be worth $785 billion between 2019 and 2038.

“Three countries from Southeast Asia – Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia – made the top 10 list of countries that added the most airline seat capacity since 2010. Vietnam has experienced the strongest growth out of the three at nearly 15% per year, followed by Thailand and Indonesia at approximately 10% respectively,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of Commercial Marketing at Boeing. “With an expanding middle-class, in market that continues to liberalize, coupled with a strong domestic, regional and international tourism sector, Southeast Asia has become one of the world’s largest aviation markets.”While single-aisle airplanes dominate the forecast, this region will also require a significant amount of widebody airplanes, in terms of value and the number of units. The demand is driven by airlines adapting to the evolving business environment and new long-haul expansion opportunities. Widebody airplanes will make up 19% of new airplane deliveries, enabling carriers in the region to serve new international long-range city pairs.

Aviation growth in the region is expected to drive the need for 182,000 commercial pilots, cabin crew, and aviation technicians to fly and to maintain the airplane fleet across Southeast Asia. This demand is projected based on a mix of new airplane deliveries, annual aircraft utilization rates, crewing requirements by region and regulatory requirements.

In the air cargo sector, after declines in 2019, global freight volumes are projected to recover in 2020 due in large part to solid industrial production and world trade. Over the long-term, air cargo is projected to grow 4.2% through the forecast period. Freighters will remain the backbone of the cargo industry with the need for 1040 new and 1780 converted freighters over the next 20 years.

Worldwide, Boeing projects the need for 44,040 new commercial airplanes valued at $6.8 trillion and the demand for aftermarket services totaled at $9.1T over the next 20 years. The complete forecast is available here.

Furthermore, Boeing announced supply chain agreements at the Singapore Airshow with multiple airlines and operators. The agreements will enable Asia-Pacific carriers to leverage Boeing’s global supply chain to streamline maintenance, repair, and operations.

Recent supply chain services agreements include:

  • All Nippon Airways, the largest airline in Japan, has expanded an agreement for consumable and expendable services to their entire fleet.
  • Cathay Pacific, the home carrier of Hong Kong, renewed a multiyear agreement for consumable and expendable services building on a long-standing partnership for spare parts inventory management.
  • Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corporation (EGAT), an MRO with a long-standing partnership between EVA Air and General Electric, reached a multiyear Tailored Parts Package agreement. The customized agreement provides comprehensive part coverage from Boeing’s network of global distribution centers to support EGAT’s maintenance, repair, and overhaul operations to a host of global airlines in its service portfolio.
  • HAECO, a leading MRO, has reached an expanded agreement for consumables and expendables parts support to include additional supply chain solutions.
  •  Xiamen Airlines has reached a three-year agreement for a Tailored Parts Package to support their full fleet of Boeing Next Generation 737 and 787 Dreamliner airplanes.
  • KAEMS signed agreement with Boeing for its first integrated inventory management solution for consumables and expendables parts in support of their growing MRO capability.

These agreements focus on material solutions that offer customers more inventory control and greater logistics flexibility, by relying on Boeing for material support. Boeing works with customers to identify their operational priorities and build the Tailored Part Package and Consumable and Expendable Services that allow airlines to focus on operations and not parts and inventory management.

Boeing estimates the commercial services market, including business aviation and general aviation, in the Southeast Asia region will reach $3.4 billion over the next 20 years. This growth is driven by demand for customizable maintenance programs and maintenance personnel. Boeing’s aftermarket supply chain, a key capability in supporting increased lifecycle value for customers, provides customers with customizable and flexible materials support tailored to their needs.

Lastly, Boeing announced orders and agreements that will enable growth for multiple Asia-Pacific airlines in a rapidly developing region. These digital solutions lower costs across fleets for regional and international operators, enhance airline crew situational awareness and increase operational efficiency.
New digital solutions orders and agreements include:

  • Vistara, an Indian carrier and a joint venture of Tata group and Singapore Airlines, has signed an agreement for multiple services to support their entry into service of new 787-9 aircraft, including Boeing Maintenance Performance Toolbox and Airplane Health Management tools. Powered by Boeing AnalytX, these tools provide real-time, custom alerting, fleet data to enhance maintenance capabilities. Vistara has signed a new five-year agreement to receive Jeppesen Crew Rostering and Boeing Alertness Model tools to improve operational efficiency and crew planning capabilities.
  • Air Tahiti Nui joins more than 100 international customers using Boeing Airplane Health Management by signing a multiyear agreement to access real-time maintenance and engineering data and support to enhance maintenance and operational decisions for their 787 fleet.
  • Bamboo Airways will integrate several digital solutions to support their new 787 fleet, with new agreements finalized for Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB), Electronic Document Browser and Onboard Performance Tool capabilities. These digital tools enable flight crews to perform real-time weight and balance and takeoff and landing calculations to reduce maintenance costs, optimize payload capacity and streamline cockpit operations.
  • Sichuan Airlines has agreed to a multiyear contract for Jeppesen JetPlanner Pro services to enhance flight planning capabilities. The tool generates optimized routes and efficient flight plans in complex airspace to achieve lower operating costs, using the industry leading flight planning engine.
  • Virgin Australia Group has signed a seven-year agreement for Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB) and digital navigation chart services, to increase operational efficiency. The agreement extends a long-term relationship between the airline and Boeing for Jeppesen navigation services that provide increased flight deck efficiency.

OTHER NEWS

Astronics

Astronics announced that it has received the 2019 GOOD DESIGN Award in the transportation category for the design excellence of its portable inflight entertainment (IFE) product, Sierra.

The GOOD DESIGN Awards are presented by the Chicago Athanaeum Museum of Architecture and Design plus the Metropolitan Arts Press Ltd. Founded in Chicago in 1950, the program remains the oldest and world’s most recognized authority for design excellence worldwide. Astronics’ Sierra was selected for this award from a record number of submissions from the world’s leading manufacturers and design firms, representing the most important influential corporations in the design industry.

“We’re excited to announce that Sierra has been recognized by the Chicago Athenaeum for the 2019 GOOD DESIGN Award,” said Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC). “Receiving this award acknowledges Sierra as the leader in bringing smart design paired with technology innovation to portable IFE.”

Astronics’ Sierra is an affordable, scalable IFE solution that delivers IFE as a standalone unit from a single battery or, when installed and powered, can employ multiple units merged into a single network to cover a larger aircraft cabin. Sierra enables passengers to enjoy hundreds of hours of streaming audio, video, digital magazine content, and more. Sierra stands up to the rigors of flight in the overhead bin while delivering streaming content that matches the experience of installed IFE without the need for a supplemental type certificate (STC).


Inmarsat

Inmarsat announced that its award-winning GX Aviation solution has powered more than one million free inflight broadband sessions for Air New Zealand passengers. The impressive milestone was achieved approximately one year after Air New Zealand switched to a free-of-charge model for its inflight broadband service. GX Aviation is currently available on almost 25 aircraft within the Air New Zealand fleet, operating on Trans-Tasman, Pacific Island, US and London routes. This includes a combination of Boeing 777-200, 777-300 and 787-9 aircraft, in addition to Airbus A320 and A321 neos. In addition to reaching the one million milestone, last December was Air New Zealand’s biggest month ever for free inflight Wi-Fi sessions, with more than 122,000 customers connecting. This beats the airline’s previous record of 103,000 sessions in July 2019. This surge in uptake for free inflight Wi-Fi from Air New Zealand passengers chimes with recent findings from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), as part of the final installment of their “Sky High Economics” report with Inmarsat Aviation. The research found that there is an immediate $33 billion market share shift available for airlines developing the digital inflight experience. The report also revealed that Gen Z (born between 1997-2012) will become the largest group of airline flyers by the end of the next decade, bringing with them new expectations of technology and travel.


Immfly

The global in-flight digital services and entertainment (IFE) company headquartered in Barcelona, Spain announced it secured strategic investment from Boeing HorizonX in 2019. Immfly’s advanced digital solution enables airlines to efficiently and remotely manage onboard digital products and services on all aircraft types, including in-flight entertainment content, flight information, advertising and onboard sales. 

“This investment will help further establish Immfly as the industry’s leading partner for pioneering cabin digitalization and reinforce our ability to provide global services,” said Immfly Executive Chairman Jimmy Martinez von Korff. “Boeing and Immfly share a common vision to continue growing the digital capabilities provided to airlines to enhance their onboard experience and develop new revenue streams.”

“Boeing’s strategic investment in Immfly drives innovation across the entire passenger journey.” said Brian Schettler, senior managing director for Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “Immfly’s digital cabin solution is fundamentally changing how airlines around the world are engaging with their passengers during flight.” 

Immfly is one of just four companies outside the United States to join the Boeing HorizonX portfolio. The company will showcase its digital services in the HorizonX “What’s Next” booth at the Singapore Airshow this month with other members of the HorizonX portfolio.

Immfly is an award-winning provider of Connected Digital Services and Best in Class In-flight Entertainment. Immfly S.L. is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, with global offices serving full service, low cost and regional airlines worldwide. Immfly’s digital services reach millions of passengers across hundreds of destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia and North and South America.


OneWeb

OneWeb, a global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone everywhere, confirms its upcoming launch of 34 satellites has been scheduled for Thursday 6 February at 2142 (GMT) / Friday 7 February 0242 (local time) from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. This marks the start of a regular launch campaign during 2020 that will rapidly grow OneWeb’s first phase constellation of 648 satellites and represents one of the largest civilian satellite launch campaigns in history. Each satellite forms an integral part of the high-speed global satellite broadband network and together will activate OneWeb’s first customer demos by the end of 2020 to provide full commercial global services for sectors such as maritime, aviation, government and enterprise in 2021.


Airbus

Airbus has reached final agreements with the French Parquet National Financier (PNF), the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO), and the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) resolving the authorities’ investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption, as well as with the U.S. Department of State (DoS) and the DoJ to resolve their investigations into inaccurate and misleading filings made with the DoS pursuant to the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Airbus has agreed to pay penalties of 3,598 million Euro plus interest and costs to the French, U.K. and U.S. authorities. The settlements with each authority are as follows: PNF 2,083 million Euro, the SFO 984 million Euro, the DoJ 526 million Euro and the DoS 9 million Euro of which 4.50 million Euro may be used for approved remedial compliance measures. Airbus received credit from the authorities for having reported and for its consistently strong cooperation during the investigations.
Convention Judiciaire d’Intérêt Public with the PNF

Airbus has agreed to enter into a Convention Judiciaire d’Intérêt Public with the PNF. This agreement does not amount to an admission of liability. Under this agreement, the PNF has agreed to suspend prosecution of Airbus for a duration of three years. Prosecution will be discontinued if Airbus complies with the terms of the agreement throughout this period, which it is committed to doing. The agreement also contains an obligation for Airbus to submit its compliance program to targeted audits carried out by the Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA) over a period of three years.

Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the SFO

Airbus has agreed to enter into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the SFO. This agreement does not amount to an admission of liability. Under this agreement, the SFO has agreed to suspend prosecution of Airbus for a duration of three years. Prosecution will be discontinued if Airbus complies with the terms of the agreement throughout this period, which it is committed to doing. In light of the continuing monitorship to be conducted by the French Anti-Corruption body, the AFA, no independent compliance monitor will be imposed on Airbus under the agreement with the SFO.

Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the DoJ

Airbus has agreed to enter into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the DoJ. Under this agreement, the DoJ has agreed to suspend prosecution of Airbus for a duration of three years. Prosecution will be discontinued if Airbus complies with the terms of the agreement during this period, which it is committed to doing. No independent compliance monitor will be imposed on Airbus under the agreement with the DoJ.

Consent Agreement with the DoS

Finally, Airbus has agreed to enter into a Consent Agreement with the DoS. Under this agreement, the DoS has agreed to settle all civil violations of the ITAR outlined in Airbus’ voluntary disclosures identified in the Consent Agreement, and Airbus has agreed to retain an independent export control compliance officer, who will monitor the effectiveness of Airbus’ export control systems and their compliance with the ITAR.

For legal reasons, Airbus cannot make any comment on the agreed Statements of Facts published by the investigating authorities. Airbus has taken significant steps to reform itself and to ensure that this conduct will not reoccur. Airbus has significantly enhanced its compliance system under the supervision of an Independent Compliance Review Panel. The Company is committed to conducting business with integrity.Airbus will continue to cooperate with the authorities in the future, pursuant to the agreements, and to install a strong Ethics & Compliance culture within the Company


Boeing

Boeing  announced a donation of 250,000 medical-grade respiratory masks to address medical supply shortages in China. The masks will be provided to local health officials battling the spread of the coronavirus in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, and Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province. “Our thoughts continue to be with all those in China dealing with the health impacts related to the coronavirus,” said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. “Through our donation, it is our hope that we can help limit the spread of this virus and ease the burden on local aid workers and medical personnel.” The health and well-being of Boeing employees and their families remains a top priority for the company. Boeing continues to monitor the situation closely and has advised employees to heed all local public health warnings. To date, the company has provided 25,000 medical-grade respiratory masks for employees working in the region.

Check out the 4th Quarter here – Boeing Reports Fourth-Quarter Results – Jan 29, 2020


Other News

B777X First Flight

We are going to start this IFExpress by looking into the Boeing 777 Series and then delve into the B777X and it’s first flight. First a little history. The Widebody Boeing 777 family, commonly referred to as the ‘Triple Seven’ aircraft began life and launched in the Fall of 1990, rolled out in June of 1994, first flew on June 12, 1994, then went into commercial service approximately one year later in 1995. In 2004, a longer range version was rolled out. The Boeing 777 is reportedly the largest twin engine aircraft being manufactured today and the original jetliner had a capacity of 300 to 368 passengers. It should also be note that the 777 series competes with the Airbus A350 family that was launched in 2004, which carries some 300 to 350 passengers and now includes A350 XWB. Here is a comparison video that came out in June of 2018 – (109) Boeing 777x vs A350-1000 .! Which one is your favorite – YouTube

Now let’s get back to the Boeing 777X, the world’s largest twin-engine airplane. The B777 family currently includes B777-200ER and B777-300ER aircraft that are 209 and 242 feet long, respectively, with a 200/212 foot wingtip-to-wingtip difference, per plane model. The dash 200ER and 300ER are the original basis of the B777 models; however, in November of 2013, Boeing announced the B777X. The B777X has 2 variants: the dash 8 (384 pax and 8,690 nmi) and the dash 9 (426 pax and 7,525 nmi) and is a major update to the 777 family. The B777X is the testing and certification baseline for the aircraft with the first successful test flight on Saturday January 25, 2020. This plane is 251 feet long and has a range of some 7,525 nmi. It will typically seat approximately 414 passengers and cost a reported (although airlines will not pay this much) some $442 million with a wing span of 235 feet, decreasing to 212 ft. when the tips are folded. This means that the wings have a fold-up tip that is approximately 11.5 feet long – a big industry first for a jet of this magnitude. Watching the video of the first landing of the B777X really showed a difference in this iteration’s size compared to its predecessors. When looked at head-on the extreme wing span is evident, despite being folded upon touch down (we assume to avoid taxi collisions) and the vertical stabilizer is incredible – the top of reaches 64 feet 7 inches high off the ground!!

Boeing also migrated some of the technologies found in the 787 Dreamliner onto the B777X. The size and function of the passenger cabin’s windows and the appearance of the flight deck are just of a few of the adapted features.

We should also be mention the new GE90, dual rotor, axial flow, high bypass turbofan engine that is, in a word, amazing. It is derived from the General Electric GE90 with a larger fan, advanced materials like CMCs, higher bypass ratio (10 to 1) and compression ratios, it proposes improved fuel efficiency by 10% over its predecessor and is rated for 105,000 foot pounds of engine thrust and weighs almost 20,000 pounds!

Finally, here are some of the many B777X videos for your enjoyment!


Gogo

Gogo announced the upcoming launch of a new digital rights management (DRM) service that enables playback of video-on-demand content in the most popular browsers without additional plug-ins or app downloads. Developed in partnership with castLabs, the new solution allows each title to be packaged for browsers like Safari and Chrome on all operating systems with a single file using the latest file format – Common Media Application Format or CMAF – in the industry. The single encrypted file format allows for Gogo’s inflight entertainment (IFE) service, Gogo Vision, to maximize the airlines library size and store 50% more content than other solutions.  The roll-out of this new technology will be complete in the first half of 2020.

“Gogo is the first in the industry to launch a streaming solution that uses a single encrypted file format to play video across the most popular browsers,” said Blane Boynton, SVP of Product for Gogo. “castLabs is our technology enabler, and a well-known and trusted DRM vendor in the industry. By removing the need for an app or plug-in, Gogo provides a seamless experience to our airline partners and their passengers.”

“Gogo is leveraging our updated PRESTOplay and DRMtoday solutions that utilize the latest advances in streaming technology to deliver a single version of content to all modern browsers, agnostic to the various DRM systems they support,” said Michael Stattmann, Founder of castLabs. “Gogo is indeed the first to use the latest CMAF file format with ‘cbcs’ encryption to enable an app-free inflight entertainment experience on mobile devices. We look forward to a strong partnership with Gogo as we support more streamlined ways to offer content to their customers.”


Lufthansa Systems

Lufthansa Systems is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The airline IT specialist is looking back proudly at the many milestones in its history of shaping the digitalization (the act or process of converting from analog to digital) of the airline industry. In 1995, Lufthansa outsourced its IT department to its newly founded subsidiary, which has experienced a remarkable development in recent years. “We now employ around 2,400 people at our locations in 16 countries and, together with our start-up company zeroG, have established ourselves as one of the leading IT providers in the airline industry,” said Olivier Krueger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “Today, we offer our more than 350 customers worldwide a comprehensive range of IT solutions, many of which are market-leading.”

Although digitalization was still in its infancy and the internet was still uncharted territory in the year the company was founded, Lufthansa Systems lived by its slogan “We’re into IT” from the very beginning. Thanks to its many years of experience within the Lufthansa Group, the company was able to keep its finger on the pulse of Europe’s most successful airline and acquire extensive technical expertise. This gave rise to an impressive product portfolio that covers many of an airline’s processes on the flight deck, in the cabin and on the ground. Lufthansa’s pioneering role soon enabled Lufthansa Systems to establish modern and efficiency-enhancing IT solutions across the entire aviation industry. LOT Polish Airlines was the first customer that saw Lufthansa Systems  break into the external airline market. With many other airlines following suit, Lufthansa Systems’ innovative solutions gradually became established on the worldwide market. Before long, the IT specialist was able to support customers of all sizes and business with its solutions.

Offering groundbreaking innovations such as FlyNet, the first flying hotspot, which first got off the ground with Lufthansa in 2003, or accounting tools such as SIRAX, which significantly enhanced the efficiency of revenue accounting, Lufthansa Systems became an industry pioneer at an early stage. The development of the paperless flight deck was another game changer, as paper maps were gradually replaced by digital programs and modern apps that display weather, airspace and traffic information in real time. Meanwhile, a new era of inflight entertainment began with the first wireless solution, BoardConnect, which enabled passengers to access onboard entertainment on their own devices for the first time.

Lufthansa Systems is also one of the market’s leading providers in network planning, route optimization and flight navigation. The NetLine suite, for example, covers the entire process from network planning, flight planning and code shares to crew management until the day of operations and provides the ideal basis for decision-making by connecting data in a smart way. Lido Flight 4D is a  Lufthansa Systems  solution that helps customers to optimize their flight routes and thus reduce flight times and fuel consumption. This in turn makes an important contribution to airlines’ environmental efficiency, as less fuel consumption means fewer carbon emissions. Airlines can also reduce their environmental footprint by eliminating all paper-based maps and documentation for navigation.

“Based on these developments and the experience it has gained along the way, Lufthansa Systems today is an important and reliable partner when it comes to digitalization and aviation expertise. Leveraging our strong portfolio of innovative initiatives, we will continue our tradition of shaping the future of digital aviation,” said Dr. Thomas Wittmann, CEO of Lufthansa Systems.

In 2015, the former Lufthansa Systems AG was realigned and the infrastructure part of the business was sold to IBM. By focusing on the airline sector and implementing an agile set-up, the company is in a position to quickly and profitably apply its IT expertise for the benefit of its customers. With this in mind, Lufthansa Systems established the Aviation Campus and thus created an environment enabling digital innovation that promotes the exchange of ideas and the exploitation of synergies. Current projects and developments include migrating products to a cloud-based platform and supporting airlines in harmonizing their IT systems in operations. Applying the Total Mission Optimization (TMO) approach,  Lufthansa Systems is further optimizing its market-leading Lido solutions for dispatchers and flight deck crews. This achieves a strong integration of functionality and data, which enables the airline operation center and the flight crew to collaborate in an even more effective way.

The smart use of data is one of the key success factors in the future of aviation. Using artificial intelligence, Lufthansa Systems and the start-up company zeroG are jointly working on projects to avoid delays in ground processes and are investigating ways to make the work of ops controllers easier.

In recent years, Lufthansa Systems has evolved into an important integration partner and consultant both within and outside the Lufthansa Group. The aim of the company’s growing consulting unit is to optimize everyday flight operations processes and design them in a way that makes them more profitable.

On Another Note:
Lufthansa Systems announced that the national carrier of the Republic of Rwanda is now using the NetLine/Sched and ProfitLine/Price solutions. These products will optimize RwandAir’s complex flight scheduling and efficiently determine the best ticket prices based on the current market situation as well as supply and demand. RwandAir and its passengers will both benefit from these important control tools, which will simplify scheduling and support the airline’s expansion of its route network and available flights.
NetLine/Sched, the schedule management system from Lufthansa Systems, helps airlines to make quick and well-founded decisions when creating and optimizing their flight schedules while taking operational and economic aspects into account. Using NetLine/Sched, airlines can take measures quickly and effectively to optimize their schedules.
ProfitLine/Price is a comprehensive pricing system which considers the current competitive situation, price trends and underlying fare structures. It covers all core processes in both reactive and proactive pricing for published and market fares. In addition to enabling airlines to react swiftly to market changes, the system provides powerful analysis tools for developing effective pricing strategies. Its integrated pricing simulation model goes one step further by forecasting revenue changes based on fare modifications.


AIRBUS

In the context of the investigations by the French Parquet National Financier (PNF), the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the U.S. authorities, Airbus has reached agreement in principle with the authorities.The investigations by the above authorities relate to allegations of bribery and corruption and to inaccuracies in filings made with the U.S. authorities pursuant to the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The agreement with the SFO was the subject of a preliminary court ruling today and will require final judicial approval in a U.K. court. Furthermore, agreements with the PNF and the U.S. authorities also remain subject to approval by French court and U.S. court and regulator, respectively. The court hearings in France, the U.K. and the U.S. are expected to take place on 31 January 2020. If approved by the courts, the agreements will result in Airbus taking a provision of € 3.6 billion for the payment of potential penalties to the French, U.K., and U.S. authorities, which will be booked in Airbus’ 2019 accounts. Further details will be provided once the agreements have been finalized. (Editor’s Note: This article on the subject is worth a read!)


OTHER NEWS

  • From Bob Bogash, aviation historian, this past week:
    “ALL EYES ON A DIFFERENT BOEING JET: The first test flight of Boeing’s new jetliner, the 777X, is tentatively scheduled for later this week. Given the situation with the MAX, the new plane will likely be scrutinized by the public as it moves toward being delivered to airlines next year. One of the 777X’s key new features, folding wing tips, has been specifically called out by House Transportation Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). DeFazio has repeatedly cited the 777X wings as an example of the kind of change to a plane that he thinks needs more oversight. 50 years ago last week (Jan 22), the first revenue trip of a 747 left JFK for LHR – Pan Am. The scheduled departed time was on Jan 21, but the flight departed 7 hours late – thus, actually at 0150 hrs on Jan 22.) The airplane, with 336 passengers, had problems with a faulty door closing mechanism, the cargo loading, and ultimately, one of its engines – Number 4. The Clipper Young America, N747PA, was the aircraft that was supposed to have inaugurated the world’s first 747 service on Pan Am’s blue ribbon JFK – LHR route. It had a BTB (Block Turn Back) due to engine surge and overheat and returned to the gate. Due to the engine situation it suffered, the honor went to Clipper Victor, N736PA. Clipper Victor is also the aircraft that collided with the KLM 747 at Tenerife, Norte in 1977. Bob B.”
  • Having a problem with logging on at airports? There is a way to do so, but WARNING, there is no security like SSL. So, only use it when the other data links are busy or don’t work! NeverSSL – helping you get online. Further, Zapier has some public Wi-Fi suggestions.
  • WARNING: Do not go to Wuhan: China Travel Advisory and things are getting worse China’s Xi warns virus is ‘accelerating’, country facing ‘grave situation’ – CNA

BOEING

Roughly 10 months after the 737 MAX was grounded, David Calhoun has started as Boeing’s new CEO. In an email to employees Calhoun said “Many of our stakeholders are rightly disappointed in us, and it’s our job to repair these vital relationships. We’ll do so through a re-commitment to transparency and by meeting and exceeding their expectations.” But despite a ‘fresh start’ Congress will have Boeing under a microscope. Apparently, an SEC filing “an additional long-term incentive award valued at approximately $7 million which will be earned only upon continued employment and the achievement of several key business milestones, including full safe return to service of the 737 MAX.” and three Democratic senators (Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)) have apparently sent a letter to the Boeing board asking them to remove this incentive payment for Calhoun saying the award “represents an inappropriate incentive for Mr. Calhoun to pressure regulators and attempt to rush the 737 MAX back into the sky before its safety is guaranteed.”


MOMENT (FLYMINGO) & SURINAM AIRWAYS

Moment, the French technology company specialized in entertainment and passenger solutions for the aviation industry, has been selected by Surinam Airways (SLM) to integrate the Flymingo Box solution aboard the airline’s fleet to give passengers access to an in-flight entertainment platform.

Based in Suriname, in the city of Paramaribo, Surinam Airways operates as the country’s national carrier, and has flights to international destinations such as the Netherlands, the Caribbean, Netherlands Antilles, United States, Guyana and Brazil. Surinam Airways was looking to offer its passengers a unique service in terms of entertainment and to optimize the traveling experience, and chose the French company Moment, after evaluating several solutions, to equip its fleet.

Flymingo Box is a Wireless In-Flight Entertainment solution based on a patented portable server with the capacity to broadcast a catalog of 10,000 hours of content and which can offer IFE streaming to 100 passengers simultaneously. Characterized by its power and ultra-compact size, it enables passengers to access a smooth streaming service from any type of device, without the need for an application. Thanks to Moment app-free technology, passengers will be able to enjoy Surinam Airways’ DRM-protected content directly from their personal device browser.

Moment will also be responsible for the acquisition of content for Surinam Airways’ wireless IFE and Panasonic seat-back screens.  As a result, passengers will access on board a varied catalog of premium content including recent movies and series, documentaries, cartoons, games and music playlists.

“We are very pleased to be part of Surinam Airways journey, who has chosen our Flymingo Box solution to enhance and personalize the onboard traveler experience. This partnership highlights the quality of our solutions and their ability to enrich the flying experience,” says Michael Serres, COO and co-founder of Moment. “Thanks to its innovative, simple and flexible solution, Moment will make a significant contribution to improving passenger service.”

Radjesh Radjkoemar CEO at Surinam Airways states: “As an international airline, it was essential for us to differentiate our service by offering passengers an enjoyable entertainment solution that responds to their needs. Moment was the right partner since their solution Flymingo Box met all of our criteria in terms of reliability, installation, choice of content and price. ”

Rachel Kolf-Deira, Surinam Airways CFO adds “Moment technology is unique in its ability to reduce costs for our airline, deliver higher operational efficiency and increase customer satisfaction. We are delighted to start this partnership and bring a truly innovative and cost-effective solution onboard.”


SITAONAIR

Wizz Air has become the first carrier on the continent to deploy SITAONAIR’s pioneering, airline-integrated ACARS over IP service, using terrestrial cellular networks. This development comes as the airline extends its longstanding relationship with SITAONAIR for its AIRCOM Cockpit Services.

The ACARS over IP service, using terrestrial cellular, is delivered in partnership with Teledyne Controls and will be deployed across Wizz Air’s entire existing and future fleet. The enablement of automatic ACARS-based reporting brings huge benefits for the airline, resulting in improved aircraft movement control and more efficient turnaround at any airport.

This deployment will complement SITAONAIR’s existing Very High Frequency (VHF) ACARS radio network coverage and extend coverage to Wizz Air’s entire operation. The service also brings enhanced resilience through the interoperable use of cellular and ACARS networks.

Additional benefits of ACARS over IP include increased network capacity, as well as faster and more cost-effective transmission of data.

Konstantin Milarov, M.Sc., Technical Services Manager, Wizz Air, comments: “The ability to extend our datalink coverage and implement automatic ACARS-based reporting and processes is a huge benefit for Wizz Air. We are pleased to be continuing our relationship with SITAONAIR and are delighted to pioneer this with ACARS over IP services together. We will be able to move forward with better and more efficient aircraft timing reporting and conduct data transmissions across our entire network.”

SITAONAIR is able to deliver the solution by integrating terrestrial cellular services into its core AIRCOM datalink network, using Teledyne Controls’ GroundLink Comm+ system.

Murry Skelton, Senior Director of Aircraft Solution Strategy, Teledyne Controls, says: “Our partnership with SITAONAIR offers airline customers like Wizz Air a quick, easy upgrade option to enable secure ACARS transfer while the aircraft is on the ground. We believe this can bring huge benefit to airlines, as is being demonstrated by Wizz Air as a true innovator in the area of aircraft communications.”

As part of the renewal, Wizz Air will further manage its air-to-ground communications with AIRCOM FlightMessenger. The SITAONAIR solution integrates and translates data into a format that can seamlessly feed in to any IT infrastructure, helping to improve efficiency and effectiveness. With AIRCOM FlightMessenger, Wizz Air will be able to easily extract key data from ACARS messages, and add data from other sources, into an easy-to-understand format for distribution by email or SMS.

SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM Product Manager, Euan Mitchell, adds: “We at SITAONAIR are thrilled to be developing our longstanding relationship with Wizz Air and enabling the airline to become the first in Europe to adopt our pioneering ACARS over IP service, using terrestrial cellular. We look forward to the continued close partnership with Wizz Air and helping support them in their operational efficiency and long term growth.”

To find out more about SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM services, visit www.sitaonair.aero, speak to your local SITAONAIR contact, or submit an enquiry form.


AEEC

Here is a note from the AEEC folks: “On behalf of the AEEC Executive Committee and American Airlines, I’m pleased to extend this invitation to attend the upcoming AEEC General Session to be held May 11-14, 2020 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona. Subject matter experts from industry will speak in four technical Symposiums:

  • Big Data
  • Topics Trending in Aviation
  • Value of Standards for Airline Operating Efficiency
  • Aircraft Connectivity

Like previous years, the Avionics Maintenance Conference (AMC) will meet in parallel. The event is billed “AEEC/AMC 2020” and we are expecting about 700 people.”


AIRBUS

BOC Aviation Limited (“BOC Aviation” or the “Company”) has ordered 20 new Airbus A320neo aircraft. A minimum of ten and up to 12 of these A320neo aircraft have been committed for lease to Avianca S.A. (“Avianca”) based in Bogota, Colombia.

Avianca is the commercial brand for the collection of passenger airlines and cargo airlines under the umbrella company Avianca Holdings S.A. Avianca has been flying uninterrupted for 100 years. With a fleet of 175 aircraft, Avianca serves 76 destinations in 27 countries within the Americas and Europe. With more than 21,000 employees, Avianca earned US$4.8 billion in 2018 and transported 30.5 million passengers.

BOC Aviation is a leading global aircraft operating leasing company with a fleet of 509 aircraft owned, managed and on order. Its owned and managed fleet was leased to 92 airlines worldwide in 40 countries and regions as at 30 September 2019. BOC Aviation is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx code: 2588) and has its headquarters in Singapore with offices in Dublin, London, New York and Tianjin. For more information, visit www.bocaviation.com.

Also from Airbus: Airbus delivers strong 2019 commercial aircraft performance 863 aircraft deliveries, 8 percent higher than in 2018 1,131 new aircraft orders, 768 net orders, backlog stands at 7,482 aircraft.

In 2019, deliveries comprised:

  • A220 Family: 48 v 20 in 2018 (since the A220 became part of the Airbus Family: 1 July 2018)
  • A320 Family: 642 v 626 in 2018. Of these, 551 were NEO Family v 386 in 2018
  • A330 Family: 53 v 49 in 2018. Of these, 41 were NEO Family v 3 in 2018
  • A350 Family: 112 v 93 in 2018. Of these, 25 were A350-1000 v 14 in 2018
  • A380: 8 v 12 in 2018

The BelugaXL has entered into service, providing Airbus with 30% extra transport capacity in order to support the on-going production ramp-up of commercial aircraft programs. The aircraft, which is an integral part of Airbus’ industrial system, made its first operational flight on the 9 January. This is the first of six BelugaXL to begin work alongside the BelugaST predecessors, with the additional aircraft being introduced between 2020 and 2023. Launched just over 5 years ago, in November 2014, the entry into service milestone marks yet another successful achievement for the internal aircraft program which was awarded Type Certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in November 2019, following an intensive flight test campaign that saw the BelugaXL complete more than 200 flight tests, clocking over 700 flight hours.

At 63 meters long and 8 meters wide, the BelugaXL has the largest cargo bay cross-section of all existing cargo aircraft worldwide. The BelugaXL can carry two A350 XWB wings compared to the BelugaST, which can only carry one. With a maximum payload of 51 tonnes, the BelugaXL has a range of 4,000km (2200nm).

The BelugaXL is based on an A330-200 Freighter, enabling the re-use of existing components and equipment and is powered by Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines. The lowered cockpit, the cargo bay structure and the rear-end and tail were newly developed jointly with partners, giving the aircraft its distinctive look. The BelugaXL is the latest addition to Airbus’ transportation portfolio. While air transport remains the primary method for transporting large aircraft components, Airbus also uses road, rail and sea transport to move parts between its production sites. Like the BelugaST, the aircraft will operate from 11 destinations in Europe, continuing to strengthen industrial capabilities and enabling Airbus to deliver on its commitments.


MORE BOEING NEWS

  • American Airlines and Aeromexico agreed on financial compensation from Boeing on the Boeing 737 MAX grounding requirements.
  • Congratulations, Boeing! Boeing announced an AU$1 million donation from the Boeing Charitable Trust for recovery and relief efforts associated with the ongoing Australian bushfires. “Boeing’s global team, including our 3,800 employees across Australia, are deeply saddened by the tragic impact of the Australian bushfires,” said Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer (Interim) Greg Smith. “Through our partnership with the Australian Red Cross, we are working quickly to bring recovery and relief efforts to those residents most impacted by these devastating fires.” The contributions will be directed through the Australian Red Cross and designated for Australian bush fires. Disaster relief efforts in the region align with Boeing’s ongoing commitment to the communities where the company has a presence. Australia is the company’s largest footprint outside the US. Boeing is active and engaged in Australian communities, contributing more than AU$800,000 in charitable contributions in 2019. Consistent with existing Boeing employee gift match programs, the company will also match qualifying employee contributions made to eligible nonprofits for Australian bush fire relief efforts.

OTHER NEWS

Well, Happy New Year everybody! It’s the beginning of 2020 and IFExpress is back with a lot of aviation news for you. Thanks for joining us and Stay Tuned!

2020 PREDICTIONS

  • “Fiber and free-space optical networks are coming to the cabin in 2020 – for higher bandwidth, weight reduction, and future-proofing.” – Rich Salter: Industry Consultant
  • “One more Management Change in Boeing because the 737 Max will not be settle this year.” – Anonymous
  • “Due to war in the Middle East, oil will go up 50% in spite of US oil production increases (as will gasoline prices.) Trump/Current Administration will further pull back Environmental Regulations in order to support the war and increase ‘contributor’s’ profits on the false presumption it is necessary to support war efforts.” – Anonymous
  • “China will surpass the USA in both technology and military development, esp. in area of hypersonic missile development.” – Anonymous
  • “Major hack of Defense Companies that will be covered up by the DoD.” – Anonymous
  • Bold and Outrageous Predictions for the Travel Industry in 2020 – Skift

SMARTSKY

SmartSky Networks has received an additional $25 million from funds managed by the Global Credit Opportunities team at BlackRock, after surpassing an important network deployment milestone on its way towards beginning commercial operations during the second quarter of 2020.

Funds managed by the Global Credit Opportunities platform at BlackRock previously committed to a $75 million credit facility, with $50 million drawn initially. The final $25 million was contingent upon the company making substantial progress on the nationwide network rollout, which it achieved in November. “SmartSky has consistently been able to attract capital from top companies because there is strong support for our technology in aviation connectivity,” said Haynes Griffin, SmartSky Chairman and CEO. “We appreciate the continued confidence from a respected and sophisticated firm such as BlackRock.” SmartSky is reinventing connectivity, building a new-generation network from the ground up with a novel single-beam-per-aircraft approach using both proven 4G LTE and emerging 5G technologies. After eight years of development backed by more than 140 patents and over 1,000 hours of flight testing, including by aircraft owners, airlines, fleet managers and journalists, SmartSky’s network is frequently called the best performing WiFi network in aviation as it progresses towards launch in 2020.

“Customers have a huge pent-up demand for a fully capable airborne network that provides a phenomenal 10x better experience in the sky while also opening significant possibilities for advancing aviation in maintenance, environmental, operational, financial, and other areas,” said Ryan Stone, SmartSky President.
SmartSky is maximizing the benefits of high-performance connectivity through its digital solutions platform, Skytelligence, which enables advanced applications and services. For example, SmartSky recently announced that Skytelligence services support its collaboration with the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) crowdsourced effort to mitigate and avoid turbulence in real time across the skies. The results are expected to lower turbulence related injuries, provide smoother flights, and save costly aircraft repairs for both business and commercial aviation.

SmartSky Networks is based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle and was formed in 2011 by senior telecommunications and aviation executives seeking to transform aviation through disruptive communications technologies and related tools. SmartSky is rolling out its innovative air-to-ground network in 2020. The network takes advantage of patented spectrum reuse, advanced beamforming technologies and 60 MHz of spectrum for significantly enhanced connectivity. SmartSky’s network uniquely enables a productive experience in the air similar to on the ground, including unmatched capacity for data transmissions both to and from the aircraft. This real-time, low latency, bidirectional data link makes SmartSky the best in-flight user experience, and a key enabler for the new and enhanced apps, services, and hardware.


AIRBUS

Airbus delivered 863 aircraft in 2019, according to unconfirmed reports; it had been projecting around 860.

U.S.-based Spirit Airlines has finalized a purchase agreement with Airbus for 100 A320neo Family aircraft. In October, the two parties had signed and announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the purchase of up to 100 of the aircraft – a mix of A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo – to meet the airline’s future fleet requirements. Spirit is based in South Florida and is the fastest-growing airline in the United States, with flights throughout the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. The airline will announce an engine selection at a later date. Featuring the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky, the best-selling A320neo Family, comprising the A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo, will deliver a fuel-burn reduction of approximately 20% as well as 50% less noise compared to previous-generation aircraft, thanks to incorporating the very latest technologies including new-generation engines and Sharklets. Firm orders worldwide for the A320neo Family now have surpassed 7,300 from more than 110 global customers.


BOEING

Boeing announced that J. Michael Luttig, 65, valued Counselor and Senior Advisor to the Boeing Board of Directors, has informed the Board of his long-considered retirement at year end. Luttig, who served as Boeing’s General Counsel from 2006 until assuming his current responsibilities in May 2019, has been managing legal matters associated with the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents, and advising the Board on strategic matters.

On December 23, 2019 Boeing announced that its Board of Directors named current Chairman, David L. Calhoun, as Chief Executive Officer and President, effective January 13, 2020. Mr. Calhoun will remain a member of the Board. In addition, Board member Lawrence W. Kellner will become non-executive Chairman of the Board effective immediately. The Company also announced that Dennis A. Muilenburg has resigned from his positions as Chief Executive Officer and Board director effective immediately. Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith will serve as interim CEO during the brief transition period, while Mr. Calhoun exits his non-Boeing commitments. The Board of Directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the Company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders. Under the Company’s new leadership, Boeing will operate with a renewed commitment to full transparency, including effective and proactive communication with the FAA, other global regulators and its customers. “On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I am pleased that Dave has agreed to lead Boeing at this critical juncture,” Mr. Kellner said. He added, “Dave has deep industry experience and a proven track record of strong leadership, and he recognizes the challenges we must confront. The Board and I look forward to working with him and the rest of the Boeing team to ensure that today marks a new way forward for our company.”
Mr. Calhoun said, “I strongly believe in the future of Boeing and the 737 MAX. I am honored to lead this great company and the 150,000 dedicated employees who are working hard to create the future of aviation.”


OTHER NEWS

We realize these following links are not aviation/IFEC related. However, the wild fires in Australia are a global concern. We have contacted our friends down-under and they are okay; however, they all need help down there – please get involved! Here are some noteworthy links on the subject:

Lastly, here is your free song (and video) to help ring in the New Year – hope you like Dwight Yoakam and his Long White Cadillac! Dwight Yoakam – Long White Cadillac official video – YouTube

(Today’s image is of the MTM Robotics facility in Mukilteo, Washington – recently purchased by Airbus.)

ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation announced that Robert S. Keane has joined its Board of Directors, effective December 9, 2019. Mr. Keane is Chairman and CEO of Cimpress (Nasdaq: CMPR), which provides mass customization services through its group of companies and is strategically focused on investing in and building entrepreneurial, customer-centric businesses.
Peter J. Gundermann, Chairman, President and CEO of Astronics, commented, “Robert brings an entrepreneurial spirit, significant public company experience and deep business acumen, which are valuable attributes for our evolving Board of Directors. We believe he will be a solid ambassador for shareholders. We welcome Robert’s contributions as we advance our strategy for profitable growth to build shareholder value.”

Mr. Keane founded Cimpress in 1995 and has grown the group to $2.75 billion in revenue with a market capitalization of $3.3 billion. Prior to Cimpress, he was employed for seven years by Astronics. He began his career in business management consulting. Mr. Keane is a graduate of Harvard College, where he earned his B.A. in economics, and INSEAD (France), where he earned his M.B.A. Mr. Keane is a son of the late Kevin Keane, former Chairman of Astronics.

The addition of Mr. Keane brings the Astronics Board to nine directors, eight of whom are independent.


SITA

SITA is installing its Scan&Fly ( Scan&Fly | SITA ) self-service bag drop for LATAM Airlines Group at 18 airports in five countries in the Americas as part of its work to transform its airport experience. The first eight kiosks are up and running at Brasilia International Airport and the remaining 97 units will be gradually implemented at other airports over the coming months. The technology means passengers will be able to check in their bags in under 40 seconds.

The majority of the 105 bag-drop units will be deployed in Brazil with the other units being installed in other airports in the region. LATAM is Latin America’s leading airline group, flying around 72 million passengers annually. As passenger numbers increase, airports are having to become more efficient and the smart use of technology is the only way to make that happen. Many airports are faced with capacity constraints, which in turn can lead to long queues. For airports that don’t have either the resources or the space to expand, SITA Scan&Fly can be installed onto existing check-in desks and conveyor belts offering up to 60% increase in terminal capacity, a 40% reduction in operational costs and an improved passenger experience.

SITA is the leading provider of airport technology in Latin America, covering all areas, including passenger processing, airport operations, baggage, border management and aircraft communications. The combination of all these technologies drives efficiencies for airports, airlines, government agencies, ground handlers, and, most importantly, passengers.


AIRBUS

The Air France–KLM Group has decided to place a firm order for 10 additional widebody A350-900s, which will take its total order for the type to 38 aircraft. By acquiring the industry’s most efficient and technologically advanced widebody aircraft, the airline will benefit from a significant reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions. The A350s are intended to be operated by Air France. Airbus has acquired industrial automation company, Air France-KLM currently operates a fleet of 159 Airbus aircraft. The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, a carbon fiber fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these features translate into unrivaled levels of operational efficiency with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions. The A350 XWB’s Airspace by Airbus cabin is the quietest of any twin-aisle and offers passengers and crews the most modern in-flight products for the most comfortable flying experience. By the end of November, the A350 XWB Family had received 959 firm orders from 51 customers worldwide, making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.

Airbus has acquired industrial automation company, MTM Robotics, for an undisclosed sum – (see today’s rectangle). The move deepens Airbus’ commitment to expanding advanced robotics capabilities within its manufacturing processes. The MTM business will retain its current leadership and 40-person staff, as well as its facility in Mukilteo, Washington, near Seattle. “We are pleased and excited to become a part of the Airbus family and look forward to further integrating our products and approaches into the Airbus industrialization chain,” said MTM founder, Mike Woogerd.

The acquisition is the latest chapter in a trusted, ten-year-plus relationship between the companies, with multiple MTM light automated robotics systems currently in use at Airbus manufacturing facilities. While MTM will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus Americas, Inc., headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, it will continue to serve other customers in the aerospace industry. Since 2003, MTM has deployed more than 40 aerospace manufacturing systems comprised of machines, tools, machine software, enterprise software and support throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The acquisition marks the latest step for Airbus in its industrialization roadmap, aimed at leveraging the time- and cost-saving benefits associated with using robotics in the manufacture and assembly of its commercial aircraft.
“The competitiveness of tomorrow will be determined by both designing the best aircraft and by building the most efficient manufacturing system, in parallel,“ said Michael Schoellhorn, Airbus Chief Operating Officer.“ Automation & robotics are central to our industrial strategy. We are very happy to welcome MTM Robotics as a family member and take a step forward on this exciting endeavor together.”

“MTM perfectly fits Airbus’ ambition for engineering and innovative manufacturing solutions while maintaining agility,” explained Patrick Vigié, Head of Industrial Technologies at Airbus. “Airbus and MTM Robotics each believe that tomorrow’s automation in aircraft manufacturing can and must be lighter, more portable and less capital intensive,” explained Vigié. “By joining our efforts and skills, we are well positioned to establish industry wide standards for the factory of tomorrow, “he said.


BOEING

JUST IN: Boeing announced on 12/16/19 that it is temporarily halting the assembly lines in Renton, Washington from January, with no timeline defined for a restart. Good news for the 12,000-strong Renton workforce: Boeing will preserve their jobs by keeping some on 737 work and redeploying the rest to other facilities in the region. (Editor’s Note: At this time, Boeing has not stated when the manufacturing line of the 737 MAX will restart. This may be dependent on FAA approval.)

Boeing Statement: Safely returning the 737 MAX to service is our top priority. We know that the process of approving the 737 MAX’s return to service, and of determining appropriate training requirements, must be extraordinarily thorough and robust, to ensure that our regulators, customers, and the flying public have confidence in the 737 MAX updates. As we have previously said, the FAA and global regulatory authorities determine the timeline for certification and return to service. We remain fully committed to supporting this process. It is our duty to ensure that every requirement is fulfilled, and every question from our regulators answered. Throughout the grounding of the 737 MAX, Boeing has continued to build new airplanes and there are now approximately 400 airplanes in storage. We have previously stated that we would continually evaluate our production plans should the MAX grounding continue longer than we expected. As a result of this ongoing evaluation, we have decided to prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft and temporarily suspend production on the 737 program beginning next month. We believe this decision is least disruptive to maintaining long-term production system and supply chain health. This decision is driven by a number of factors, including the extension of certification into 2020, the uncertainty about the timing and conditions of return to service and global training approvals, and the importance of ensuring that we can prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft. We will continue to assess our progress towards return to service milestones and make determinations about resuming production and deliveries accordingly. During this time, it is our plan that affected employees will continue 737-related work, or be temporarily assigned to other teams in Puget Sound. As we have throughout the 737 MAX grounding, we will keep our customers, employees, and supply chain top of mind as we continue to assess appropriate actions. This will include efforts to sustain the gains in production system and supply chain quality and health made over the last many months. We will provide financial information regarding the production suspension in connection with our 4Q19 earnings release in late January.

On Another Note: Boeing delivered 24 aircraft in November vs 79 in Nov 2018, and has now delivered 345 in 2019. Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg reports that the board of directors today declared a regular quarterly dividend of two dollars and five and one-half cents ($2.055) per share. The dividend is payable March 6, 2020, to shareholders of record as of February 14, 2020.

New Boeing Media Relations Director – (12) Michael Friedman | LinkedIn

 


OTHER NEWS

  • Whether you know it or not, times for technology development are changing and Ms. Sarayu Srinivasan is well aware of them. WIRED notes: “Sarayu Srinivasan is a venture capitalist, operating executive, and founder. Srinivasan is currently a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow detailed to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where she is a senior adviser and private sector/venture capital expert working on the Cross-Agency Priority Goal Lab-to-Market.” Her opinion article in WIRED is one of the scary ones. Correct, but scary. She writes about industry and government co-working, and while she amplifies the US need for national and government teaming, her message is probably worldwide. She notes: “We can no longer wait for serendipitous ingenuity to flow downstream. There is no time for the fortuitous experiments of Darpa and Rand to organically develop into the commercial internet decades later.” I guess we never realized the extent of government funding of technology development because her message about Apple blew us away. See what you think – Industry Must Team up With Government to Keep America on Top | WIRED
  • No doubt, you know that runway numbering systems use the world magnetic field as a reference. They use numbers from 1 to 36 as compasses point the runway direction to the nearest 10 degrees. Guess what, the earth’s magnetic field is moving fast (2.5 degrees in the last 22 years). It gets worse – the poles reverse about every 500,000 years, and the present switch is some 280,000 years late! Earth’s Magnetic North Pole Is Hightailing It Toward Siberia The folks at Interesting Engineering just ruined my day!

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation has signed a multi-year agreement for Ku-band capacity on two multi-beam payloads on the EUTELSAT 10B satellite, due to be launched in 2022. This contract with Eutelsat Communications will enable Panasonic to provide multiple gigahertz of new extreme throughput (XTS Ku-band connectivity) to airlines and their passengers flying over a wide area across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Panasonic will continue to optimize its worldwide network and add more state-of-the-art satellite capacity in high-density regions to ensure it can deliver very high performance everywhere its customers fly. This satellite also provides high performance over lower density area such as Africa. EUTELSAT 10B will be the second XTS satellite to join Panasonic’s connectivity network which has been developed to meet the growing connectivity demands of airlines and their passengers and is designed to place capacity where it’s most needed across the globe to meet demand. Panasonic’s connectivity network supports the provision of services such as high-speed internet, live television, video streaming, VoIP applications, 4G mobile services scalable to 5G, and greater bandwidth for crew applications. The network is backed by Panasonic’s Customer Performance Center, which proactively monitors network performance and upcoming maintenance needs 24/7/365 to support airline operational efficiencies. Currently, approximately 2,200 aircraft flying routes all around the world use Panasonic’s global high-speed inflight connectivity service.


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation introduced the ATS-3100 Vector Signal Transceiver-based Radio Solution (VRS), a turnkey, consolidated radio test platform for field testing of military tactical, land mobile and avionics radios.

The ATS-3100 VRS is the fifth-generation of radio
test solutions from Astronics, now capable of
testing emerging software-defined radio (SDR)
waveforms, modern multi-band radios and
legacy radios (e.g. SINCGARS) from any original
equipment manufacturer (OEM). Leveraging the PXI Vector Signal Transceiver (VST) from National Instruments (NI), the platform delivers the fastest test times and widest bandwidth (up to 1GHz) in a radio test solution, enabling high throughput, reduced mean time to repair (MTTR) and maximum uptime of critical radios in the field.

“As radio technology continues to evolve, we are dedicated to providing our customers with support for their most critical assets in the field, from legacy radios to future waveforms,” commented Jim Mulato, President of Astronics Test Systems. “We’re excited to partner with NI on this next-gen solution to deliver superior performance, wider instantaneous bandwidth, and user- programmable capability to our customers that include the military, police, firefighters and other first responders, as well as commercial pilots.”

“By combining Astronics’ deep industry knowledge and test program set (TPS) development expertise with NI’s instrumentation platform and technology, our partnership is accelerating the deployment of advanced tactical radio technologies to deliver the future of radio test now,” said Christer Ljungdahl, Principal Strategist, Aerospace and Defense at NI.

Built on the ATS-3100 PXI Integration Platform, the ATS-3100 VRS joins Astronics’ radio test family that includes the ATS-3100 RTS and the portable CTS-6010. These share a common software framework and test executive, delivering synergy from depot to field in a holistic solution. The modular architecture of the platform facilitates an upgrade path for future technology insertions, extending the life of the platform and allowing flexibility as maintenance needs change.

Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine recently recognized the ATS-3100 VRS with an Innovators Award. Receiving gold level honors this year, this is Astronics’ third Innovators Award from the publication, where the ATS-6100 Wire Fault Tester (WFT) and the CTS-6010 Tactical Radio Test Set both received platinum honors in 2018 and 2017, respectively.

For complete product details, to view the solution sheet, or to request a quote, please visit Astronics.com.


AIRBUS

The Month In Review: November 2019

Airbus marked another month of high-volume bookings with new orders logged for 222 commercial aircraft in November, covering the A320neo Family, A330neo and A350 XWB members of its product line – bringing the overall number of orders booked by the company to more than 20,000. During November, a total of 77 single-aisle and widebody aircraft were delivered to customers.
The new business was paced by announcements during the 2019 Dubai Airshow, including Air Arabia’s firm order for 120 single-aisle A320 Family aircraft, comprising 73 A320neo, 27 A321neo and 20 A321XLR extra-long-range versions. Also in the spotlight at Dubai was Emirates Airline’s purchase agreement for 50 widebody A350-900s; along with a firm order from flynas, Saudi Arabia’s first low-cost airline, for 10 A321XLRs.
Other widebody order bookings during November involved 16 A330-900 versions of the A330neo for Cebu Pacific, 10 A330-900s for CIT Leasing, and four A330neo aircraft in the A330-800 configuration for an unidentified customer. Completing the month’s new business was easyJet’s order for 12 additional A320neo aircraft. Commercial activity in November raised the total number of aircraft orders won by Airbus since its creation to 20,058.
Deliveries in November were composed of 56 A320 Family (55 NEO versions and one CEO aircraft), 11 A350 XWBs in both the A350-900 and A350-1000 configurations, five A330s (four NEOs and one CEO), four A220s and one A380.
Among the month’s notable deliveries were the first A350-900s received by Fiji Airways (through DAE Capital) and Scandinavian carrier SAS; along with the first A320neo to Air Corsica (leased from ICBC Leasing) and an A321neo to Air Asia.
Taking the latest orders, deliveries and cancellations into account, Airbus’ backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of 30 November stood at 7,570. This total was comprised of 6,193 A320 Family aircraft, 628 A350 XWBs, 432 A220s, 306 A330s, and 11 A380s.

SKY, a Chilean-based ultra-low-cost carrier, has signed a Purchase Agreement with Airbus for 10 A321XLRs. The airline will expand its international route network with the new aircraft. The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step in the A320neo/A321neo Family, meeting market requirements for increased range and payload in a single-aisle aircraft. The A321XLR will deliver an unprecedented narrow-body airliner range of up to 4,700nm, with 30 percent lower fuel consumption per seat compared with previous-generation competitor jets, allowing airlines to expand networks by making new longer routes economically viable. According to the latest Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF), Latin America will need 2,700 new aircraft in the next 20 years, more than double today’s fleet. Passenger traffic in Latin America has doubled since 2002 and is expected to continue growing over the next two decades. Specifically in Chile, traffic is expected to increase from 0.89 trips per capita to 2.26 trips in 2038. SKY has been an Airbus customer since 2010 and became an all-Airbus operator in 2013. The airline’s fleet of 23 A320 Family aircraft serves national and international routes connecting Chile to Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay.


BOEING

Boeing to Give $48 Million in Grants to More Than 400 Global Charitable Organizations

  • Total corporate giving is on track to surpass $230 million in 2019
  • Funding includes an $8 million investment to build the aviation t
  • Employees will donate nearly $40 million to charitable causes in 2019

OTHER NEWS

  • The folks at NextDraft have compiled 7 collections of the most incredible pictures of 2019 and we are convinced that you will be as blown away as we were – Oh Caption, My Caption And, you can get a free subscription to NextDraft – just check out the bottom of the link page.
  • Don’t think transportation is changing? Check this out – The New Transportation Leaderboard – Travel & Mobility Tech And click on the New Transportation Leaderboard to full-screen it.
  • You had better learn about Quantum Computing -”It’s gonna crush Moore’s Law,” so say the folks at CB Insights. “Moore’s Law is significant because it means that computers and computing power both get smaller and faster over time. However, Moore’s law is slowing down (some say to a halt), and consequently, classical computers are not improving at the same rate they used to.” Check out the story but if you need a bit more info; “Quantum computers differ from classical computers in that improvement for the latter mainly relies on advancement in the materials that make up transistors and microchips. Quantum computers do not use transistors (or classical bits). Instead, they use qubits. Qubits are the basic units for processing information in a quantum computer.” What Is Quantum Computing?
  • Well, Popular Science has a great online article with some of the best images we have ever seen in a promo piece. It is called The 100 Greatest Innovations of 2019. Now, why did we mention it? Well if you check the Entertainment Section: “Noise-canceling tech typically does an A-plus job muffling babbling co-workers or rumbling commuter trains, but it can cause collateral damage: The army of mics and processors murders call quality. Bose’s newest headphones balance your voice and the din of the room. Two outward-facing microphones on the earcups listen to the outside world, while another pair focuses on capturing your voice. Four more inside the cans monitor sound near your ears to keep everything in balance. The array creates the strongest noise-canceling headphones available and the clearest calls around.” We asked Hatch Astrarjian about the new product and he said: ”Although I have not used the NC-700 headphones, I’m told the focus was not only on providing excellent noise reduction, but also on providing superior performance in communications, even when the user is in a noisy environment. Our customers have acknowledged the effectiveness, and benefit, of our technology.” 100 greatest innovations of 2019: Best of What’s New | Popular Science We will test them when we get our hands on them for a flight! Stay Tuned!
  • You have to check out Talk to Transformer the folks at Recomendo say. Here is the intro; “See how a modern neural network completes your text.” So, we thought IFE might be a good test and we typed: “Inflight entertainment will be changing.” And here is what we got back from the AI tekkie talker system – “Just when you thought there weren’t enough airlines to fly around, the number of seats will soon get higher, in part because the travel industry’s biggest carriers will start taking over some commercial flights in the next few years. Aer Lingus and Air France-KLM currently own about 70% of all commercial flights in Europe, while it’s not yet clear if British Airways or Emirates will be able to take over any commercial airline flights in the coming years. Air France-KLM Chairman Anthony D’Arrigo”. So here’s the value: If you cant think of anything to fill out a newsletter (like this one), just type in your thoughts and see what happens! Talk to Transformer

Turkish Airlines Ranks Highest in Overall Satisfaction among Airlines Flying to Europe; Japan Airlines Ranks Highest among Airlines Flying to Asia

Costa Mesa, CA | December 4, 2019– Great food—the spicier the better—plus good customer service and a positive track record are the primary drivers of passenger satisfaction on international airline flights. In a stark departure from the price-driven culture of domestic airline customer behavior, the J.D. Power 2019 Airline International Destination Satisfaction Study,SM released today, finds that cost and fees are notably less important than in-flight services when it comes to delighting passengers on international flights.

The Airline International Destination Satisfaction Study is a new syndicated study that measures passenger satisfaction with airline carriers flying from North America to Europe and from North America to Asia. It is based on performance in nine factors (in order of average importance across both models): in-flight services; cost and fees; aircraft; flight crew; check-in; boarding; immigration; baggage; and reservation.

“A low fare may be the best way to attract a first-time international passenger,” said Michael Taylor, Travel Intelligence Lead at J.D. Power, “but retaining passengers on routes to Europe and Asia is all about delighting customers with great in-flight experiences. One of the most powerful ways to do that is with food and beverage offerings that are unique to the airline’s culture and that manage to deliver flavor at altitude, where it has been proven that taste buds grow less sensitive.”

Following are some of the key findings of the 2019 study:

  • In-flight services—especially food and beverage—are key to passenger satisfaction: In-flight services, such as food and beverage and in-flight entertainment, are the primary drivers of passenger satisfaction among international travelers. On flights to Europe and Asia, more than half of the overall in-flight passenger experience is dictated by food and beverage. In-flight services are more important to passengers bound for Asia or Europe; whereas passenger satisfaction with long-haul flights within North America is more of a value proposition primarily driven by cost and fees.
  • But the food could be better…: While the food and beverage factor is key to passenger satisfaction, there is room for improvement. Overall passenger satisfaction with food and beverage offerings is currently lower than that of satisfaction with in-flight entertainment options. On flights to Europe, overall satisfaction with in-flight entertainment is 53 points higher (on a 1,000-point scale) than for food and beverage. On flights to Asia, that gap is 22 points.
  • Track record matters when it comes to airline selection: The primary drivers of airline selection among international passengers are past experience with the airline (40%); good customer service (36%); convenient scheduling (35%); reputation (33%); and lower ticket price (31%). Other variables, which weigh heavily on airline selection among domestic travelers—such as availability of a direct flight, no luggage fees and Wi-Fi access—play a much less significant role in airline selection among international travelers.

Study Rankings

Among carriers flying from North America to Europe, Turkish Airlines ranks highest in passenger satisfaction with a score of 833. Virgin Atlantic (829) ranks second, while British Airways and Delta Air Lines (815) rank third in a tie.

Among carriers flying from North America to Asia, Japan Airlines ranks highest in passenger satisfaction with a score of 869. Delta Air Lines (861) ranks second and Korean Air (854) ranks third.

The J.D. Power 2019 Airline International Destination Satisfaction Study measures passenger satisfaction with airline carriers flying from North America to Europe and Asia. The study is based on responses from 6,287 passengers and was fielded in September-October 2019.

London | December 4, 2019–Technavio has been monitoring the global connected aircraft solutions market and the market is poised to grow by USD 3.16 billion during 2019-2023 at a CAGR of almost 15% during the forecast period. Request Free Sample Pages

The market is driven by the growing focus on improving the overall passenger inflight experience. In addition, real-time monitoring of connected aircraft using ground connectivity is anticipated to further boost the growth of the connected aircraft solutions market.

Customer satisfaction has emerged as a top priority among aircraft operators. This is driving the aircraft operators to take measures to prevent aircraft delays, leverage connectivity in aircraft, and install more inflight entertainment options to improve the overall passenger inflight experience. Inflight connectivity not only includes wireless inflight entertainment but also consistent global coverage for inflight mobile phone and Wi-Fi services. Thus, the growing focus on improving the overall passenger inflight experience is expected to drive market growth during the forecast period.

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Major Five Connected Aircraft Solutions Market Companies:

GOGO LLC.

GOGO LLC. is headquartered in the US and operates the business under various segments such as Commercial Aviation North America, Commercial Aviation Rest of World, and Business Aviation. The company offers Connected aircraft solutions including Gogo FLEX Inflight System, Gogo 2Ku, Gogo Portal, Gogo Vision, and others.

Honeywell International Inc.

Honeywell International Inc. is headquartered in the US and offers products through the following business units: Aerospace, Honeywell Building Technologies, Performance Materials and Technologies, and Safety and Productivity Solutions. The company offers solutions such as GoDirect Cabin Connectivity, GoDirect Flight Preview, Aircraft Data Gateway, and others.

Inmarsat plc.

Inmarsat plc. is headquartered in the UK and operates under various business segments, namely Maritime, Government, Aviation, Enterprise, and Central Services. The company offers Connected aircraft solutions including Jet ConneX, Swift 64, European Aviation Network, GX Aviation SB-S, and Classic Aero.

Panasonic Corporation

Panasonic Corporation is headquartered in Japan and offers products through the following business segments: Appliances, Eco Solutions, Connected Solutions, Automotive and Industrial Systems, and Other. The company offers solutions such as High-Throughput Satellite, Extreme Throughput Satellite, eXPhone, Electronic Flight Bag, eXConnect, eXTV, and others.

Thales Group

Thales Group is headquartered in France and offers products through the following business segments: Aerospace, Transport, and Defence and Security. The company offers Connected aircraft solutions including Aviovision, Guavus, Avii, iTPCU-sk, FlytLINK, AVANT, GEN 4, and others.

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Connected Aircraft Solutions End-users Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2019 – 2023)

  • Civil aviation
  • Military aviation

Connected Aircraft Solutions Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2019 – 2023)

  • APAC
  • Europe
  • MEA
  • North America
  • South America

Technavio’s sample reports are free of charge and contain multiple sections of the report, such as the market size and forecast, drivers, challenges, trends, and more. Request a free sample report

Related Reports on Industrials include:

Commercial Aircraft Doors Market – Global Commercial Aircraft Doors Market by type (passenger doors, cargo doors, and others) and geography (APAC, Europe, MEA, North America, and South America).

Aircraft Braking Systems Market – Global Aircraft Braking Systems Market by application (commercial aviation, military aviation, and general aviation) and geography (APAC, Europe, MEA, North America, and South America).

Astronics Corporation announced a new cooperation with China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC). The collaboration between Astronics and CMC will create a channel for Astronics to provide Chinese airlines, OEMs and service providers with state-of-the-art inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) hardware and certification services for compliance in China and the United States. On November 6, Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC), and Ruan Guang, Chairman of CMC, signed the cooperation agreement at the Second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China. Top executives from Astronics and China Genertec, the shareholder of CMC, witnessed the signing ceremony.

“This agreement enables Astronics to serve Chinese aircraft enterprises with the world’s most advanced IFEC hardware technology and certification services, and strongly positions us in the fastest growing aerospace market in the world,” says Michael Kuehn.

(Editor’s Note: If you would like more information on the Astronics Inflight Entertainment System hardware: Inflight Entertainment System Hardware)


DUBAI

Last week the 2019 Dubai Airshow resulted in over $54 Billion in total sales (industry estimates) of all airplanes. Airbus and Boeing each snagged multi-billion dollar orders, and this week, we thought you might like to review some of the commercial sales listings and deals. Airlines are also reconsidering their fleets based on the economy, future aircraft development, and a myriad of ‘wait-and-see’ challenges facing manufacturers and airlines alike. There were some 60,692 trade show attendees. Here are some of the stories of sales and deals at the show.

Airbus:

Boeing:


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, announced that its GX Aviation inflight broadband solution can now be accessed by passengers traveling on Air France’s brand new Airbus A350 aircraft. Air France’s first Airbus A350, named ‘Toulouse’, was delivered with GX Aviation installed. The aircraft entered commercial service in October with an inaugural flight to Toronto, which it will serve daily throughout the winter season. The aircraft will eventually operate to six destinations on four continents from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. GX Aviation is a key part of Air France’s Airbus A350 onboard experience in all three cabins – economy, premium economy and business class. The airline offers three different Wi-Fi packages: a free ‘Message’ pass to send and receive messages throughout the flight; a ‘Surf’ pass costing to surf the internet, read and send emails; and a ‘Stream’ pass to enjoy high-speed internet, streaming and downloads, with the ‘Message’ and ‘Surf’ passes included.

Air France is the latest airline to launch commercial service with GX Aviation, powered by the world’s first and only globally available broadband network. It will also benefit from major upcoming enhancements to Inmarsat’s GX network, with additional capacity being introduced by eight new GX payloads scheduled to launch in the coming four years, starting with GX5, which launched on 22 November. This pioneering new generation of GX satellites represents a transformative step-change in inflight broadband capabilities. These include the ground-breaking GX7, 8 & 9 satellites, which feature thousands of dynamically-formed beams that direct capacity over high-demand areas, and the innovative new GX10A & 10B Arctic payloads, which will be the only broadband satellite service dedicated to this region.


AIR ASTANA

Air Astana has been awarded the best in Central Asia for “Food, Drink and On-Board Entertainment Systems” from APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) at a ceremony held in Singapore on 13th November 2019. The APEX rating is based on online reviews of passengers and verified by an independent external audit company. In total, more than a million flights by more than 600 airlines around the world were rated on a 5-point scale on: seat comfort, on-board service, food and drink, entertainment systems and wi-fi service. APEX is a European rating agency, which evaluates the levels of passenger service worldwide and is considered one of the most prestigious and reputable ratings organizations in the airline industry.

In September 2019, Air Astana received an APEX 5-star rating among major carriers for the second time.


BOEING

Boeing marked a key milestone as thousands of employees gathered for the debut of the first 737 MAX 10 at the company’s Renton, Washington factory. During a ceremony, Boeing leaders highlighted the team’s accomplishments and recognized their efforts in completing production of the newest member of the 737 MAX family. “Today is not just about a new airplane. It’s about the people who design, build and support it,” said Mark Jenks, vice president and general manager of the 737 program. “This team’s relentless focus on safety and quality shows the commitment we have to our airline customers and every person who flies on a Boeing airplane.” The 737 MAX 10, the largest variant of the MAX family, can seat up to 230 passengers and offers the lowest seat-mile cost of any single-aisle airplane ever produced. The airplane will now undergo system checks and engine runs prior to first flight next year. “I’m honored to take this airplane on its first flight and show the world what you’ve put your heart and soul into,” 737 Chief Pilot Jennifer Henderson told the employee crowd. The 737 MAX 10 currently has more than 550 orders and commitments from more than 20 customers around the globe.

(Editor’s Note: This airplane has over 500 Boeing orders!)


OTHER NEWS

November 6, 2019–Through AlphaWise, we conducted a global survey of 200+ corporate travel managers responsible for airline negotiations. Overall, 2020 budget and demand growth are expected to step-up moderately.

We highlight the following key takeaways:

  1. Global Corporate Volumes and Pricing are Decelerating for Air Travel. Respondents in our survey anticipate ~3.4% global passenger volume growth (response-weighted), which is below last year’s ~5.1%. And on the airline pricing side of the equation, it is seeing a similar step-down with growth of ~1.3% versus the previous year at ~1.8% (both response-weighted).
  2. Travel Budgets Should Grow Slower Into 2020. Over the past year, corporate travel revenues have remained steady despite the volatile backdrop. That said, growth in budget expectations for air and hotel are set to be lower with respondents expecting ~4.0% growth into 2020 compared to last year’s forecast of ~5.7%.
  3. North America Domestic Remains the Leading Region. Global volume and pricing expectations vary quite a bit across the relevant regional exposures for US airlines. Specifically, North America Domestic is the strongest region again this year given its volume and pricing expectations at ~2.3% and ~1.9%, respectively, followed by LatAm, Transatlantic, then Asia Pacific.
  4. Premium Policies are Becoming More Stringent, But with Discounts Steady. Along with lower budget expectations, premium travel policies are becoming more conservative with a ~2x increase in managers pointing to more stringent policies in 2020. And on discounts, they remain steady and within the historical range of 10-15%.
  5. Delta is Still Best-in-Class. DAL has consistently screened as the preferred airline amongst corporate travel managers and again held this position based on performance across all polled categories. As such, we expect the airline to hold off any material share shift in the near-term, though note that UAL has made some gains in its relative positioning.
  6. Declining LCC Corporate Share Reversed. This year found corporate travel managers reversing the trend of decreasing LCC use with an up-tick YoY. Specifically, the travel budget allocated for low cost carriers increased to ~12% from the prior year’s ~9%. Overall, we view this trend as a potential disrupter for the Legacies over the long-term.

Read more here.

Amsterdam | November 6, 2019–

TripActions, the fastest-growing business travel platform trusted by the world’s most innovative companies, announced it’s adding the best of inventory from Lufthansa Group airlines to its New Distribution Capability (NDC) enabled marketplace for its 3,000+ enterprise customers and their travellers. Its new direct connection with Lufthansa Group airlines gives travellers the ability to book the best available inventory directly within the TripActions platform. Business travellers may now access inventory from the airlines in the Lufthansa Group including: Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, and Brussels Airlines.

“In all that we do, we look to drive a win-win-win in the marketplace: A win for business travellers, travel managers, finance leaders and their organisations, and our partners and suppliers”

With TripActions connected directly to Lufthansa Group airlines’ Direct NDC API, the benefits to business travellers will include the most competitive fares, bundles, and access to exclusive ancillary services. Content will be displayed as enabled by the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) NDC standard.

“TripActions joining Lufthansa Group airlines’ NDC Partner Program is an important step forward for corporate customers to benefit from modern airline retailing. With our combined technology, the Lufthansa Group airlines’ NDC Smart Offer and TripActions’ global reach, we strongly believe in the strength of our partnership and ability to enhance the traveler shopping experience across Europe, Asia, and North America,” said Heike Birlenbach, Senior Vice President Sales Lufthansa Hub Airlines and Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Hub Frankfurt.

“As a mission-driven company and culture focused on the user, we’re thrilled to expand our global inventory in partnership with Lufthansa Group airlines to continue delivering the best experience in business travel,” said Danny Finkel, VP of Booking Experience and Supplier Strategy at TripActions. “Enabling direct relationships with suppliers to bring expanded global inventory choice to travellers has been a top priority for TripActions––including leading NDC-enabled business travel first with United Airlines in June and launching a direct connection with Southwest Airlines in October. Following massive traction and positive traveller and travel manager response, we’re thrilled to expand our NDC deployment with the Lufthansa Group airlines.

“In all that we do, we look to drive a win-win-win in the marketplace: A win for business travellers, travel managers, finance leaders and their organisations, and our partners and suppliers,” added Finkel. “With this expanded inventory, business travellers win with increased choice. Travel managers, finance leaders, and their organisations win with increased cost savings, spend visibility, and the ability to fulfill duty of care. Finally, partners and suppliers win as they bring more of their content into our platform with increased personalisation opportunities.”

Lufthansa Group airlines’ NDC Smart Offer is expected to be launched in the TripActions platform over the upcoming weeks. For more information, visit the TripActions blog.

GOGO

Gogo together with Eutelsat Communications announced a new satellite capacity agreement for high-speed inflight connectivity services. As part of the new multi-year agreement, Gogo has leased HTS bandwidth on EUTELSAT 10B satellite, to be leveraged over Europe and the Middle East. The new satellite is set to launch in 2022. “We are advancing capacity capabilities given the growing demand for high-speed inflight connectivity services,” said Oakleigh Thorne, president and CEO of Gogo. “Through our partnership with Eutelsat, Gogo 2Ku will continue to enable the best passenger experience for global airlines.” Noted Eutelsat, “We are thrilled about our ongoing relationship with Gogo, a long-standing partner and a leading provider for inflight connectivity,” said Philippe Oliva, Chief Commercial Officer. “This agreement highlights the relevance of our newly ordered EUTELSAT 10B for inflight connectivity and we look forward to supporting Gogo as they increase capacity in Europe and the Middle East to provide the best services to their airline partners.”

On another note, Gogo was recognized at the fourth annual CIO & CDO Summit in Shanghai, China, in late September for an award with the Best Digital Solution for excellence in digital and intelligent airline solutions. “This is a proud moment for Gogo and being recognized with this award further demonstrates how Gogo is delivering the best products and services to our global airline partners and their customers,” said Oakleigh Thorne, CEO of Gogo. “We are excited for the potential we have to bring Gogo 2Ku to the Chinese market, as well as other markets in the Asia Pacific region.”The award criteria included creating major innovation breakthroughs; overcoming substantial technology challenges and bottlenecks; offering an industrial-leading product with high availability, stability and sustainability; operational excellence; and being a well-known brand with a good reputation.


AIRBUS

India’s IndiGo placed a firm order for 300 A320neo Family aircraft. This marks one of Airbus’ largest aircraft orders ever with a single airline operator. This latest IndiGo order comprises a mix of A320neo, A321neo and A321XLR aircraft. This will take IndiGo’s total number of A320neo Family aircraft orders to 730. IndiGo is among the fastest growing carriers in the world. Since its first A320neo aircraft was delivered in March 2016, its fleet of A320neo Family aircraft has grown into the world’s largest with 97 A320neo aircraft, operating along side 128 A320ceos. 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. The aircraft will deliver an unprecedented Xtra Long Range of up to 4,700nm – with 30 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation competitor jets. At the end of September 2019, the A320neo Family had received more than 6,650 firm orders from nearly 110 customers worldwide.

Also from Airbus, Vietnamese carrier Vietjet announced that it will add the A321XLR to its fleet, with a firm order for 15 aircraft and the conversion of five A321neo aircraft from its existing backlog. The announcement was made during a visit to Airbus headquarters in Toulouse by Vietjet President & CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, hosted by Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. During the visit, the airline also signed a new training agreement with Airbus Services. This will see Airbus position two new A320 Family full flight simulators at the carrier’s training center in Ho Chi Minh City. Airbus will also provide a range of training services to the airline and its instructors. Vietjet will be among the first airlines to receive the A321XLR. The addition of the aircraft to its fleet will allow Vietjet to expand further its network, flying longer routes across Asia, as well as to destinations as far afield as Australia and Russia.

And more Airbus news: Cebu Pacific (CEB), a carrier based in the Philippines, has signed a firm order with Airbus for 16 long-range A330neo aircraft. The order firms up the wide-body portion of a previously announced Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which also includes commitments for 10 A321XLR and five A320neo single-aisle aircraft. The A330neo ordered by Cebu Pacific is a higher-capacity version of the A330-900, with up to 460 seats in a single-class configuration. Cebu Pacific plans to operate the aircraft on trunk routes within the Philippines and the rest of Asia, as well as on longer range services to Australia and the Middle East.

Also, Wizz Air Holdings Plc, the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, announced that, as part of the Indigo Partners deal, it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus S.A.S. (“Airbus”) relating to exercising a part of its existing options for the purchase of 20 Airbus A321XLR aircraft. The present order will be delivered over the course of three years starting in 2023. The A321XLR variant will be operated with 239 seats, the same as the A321neo to ensure full fleet commonality with Wizz Air’s existing fleet. The XLR aircraft can also be utilized on Wizz Air’s existing network with the same efficiency. Completion of the order remains subject to approval by Wizz Air shareholders, as appropriate.

And lastly, Airbus selected twenty-two new start-ups to join its BizLab for the launch of the fifth accelerator program, providing a platform to develop previously untapped technologies and ways of working in the aerospace sector. During the six-month acceleration program, the start-ups will receive support from an international team of experts from various fields and have access to dedicated coaching staff, networking opportunities and co-working spaces. Hailing from nine countries around the world, the twenty-two new start-ups were selected out of 704 applications from 59 countries. One of the main criteria used in the selection process were the synergies between the start-up projects and Airbus’ sustainability, environment and innovation strategy in the fields of reduction of emissions and alternative propulsion technology, additive manufacturing, data analytics, robotics, smart protection and testing systems and artificial intelligence. The selected start-ups will join a unique consolidated global network and be based on one of Airbus’ four BizLab campuses; Toulouse (France), Hamburg (Germany), Bangalore (India) and Madrid (Spain). Airbus BizLab is a global aerospace business accelerator where start-ups and Airbus intrapreneurs speed-up the transformation of innovative ideas into valuable businesses. Since starting in 2015, Airbus BizLab has used this “hybrid” concept to accelerate 72 start-ups and 54 internal projects, which have raised a combined €23.5 million.


BOEING

Boeing and Air Premia announced the Korean startup airline plans to buy five 787-9 Dreamliner airplanes, following an agreement to lease three 787-9 jets from Air Lease Corporation earlier this year. Air Premia, which plans to launch operations in 2020 is poised to become South Korea’s second Dreamliner operator. The commitment, valued at $1.4 billion at list prices, will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website when it is finalized. The 787-9 is a super-efficient widebody airplane that can fly 296 passengers in a standard configuration with a published range of 7,530 nautical miles (13,950 km). The Dreamliner model, powered by a revolutionary design and advanced engines, enables airlines to reduce fuel use and emissions by 20 to 25 percent compared to previous airplanes. The combination of unrivaled fuel efficiency and long range capabilities of the 787-9 has helped airlines save more than 40 billion pounds of fuel and open more than 235 non-stop routes. With its base at Seoul Incheon International Airport, Air Premia announced its plan to launch operations in September 2020. The carrier will initially operate regionally in Asia before expanding its network to Los Angeles and San Jose by 2021.”


FORECAST

J.P. MORGAN is forecasting delivery of:
379 Boeing/881 Airbus/40 Embraer aircraft in 2019;
1,000 Boeing/930 Airbus/63 Embraer aircraft in 2020;
1,057 Boeing/967 Airbus/64 Embraer aircraft in 2021;
and 936 Boeing/1,035 Airbus/57 Embraer aircraft in 2022.


OTHER NEWS

 

ASTRONICS

Astronics Advanced Electronics Systems (AES) introduces an onboard, innovative, aircraft cabin inductive Wireless Charging Module (WCM) that provides airlines and passengers with a convenient way to charge their wireless-enabled devices such as smartphones, MP3 players, cameras, and tablets. Astronics’ WCM provides wireless charging capability for passenger smart phones and other devices, and is ideal for both forward fit and aftermarket retrofit. Presently, we understand this product is slated for installation on business aircraft but we thought our readers would be interested in a technology application that could eventually migrate to the commercial marketplace. Wireless Charging Module | Astronics


PANASONIC

  • Cathay Pacific is bringing the latest live sporting events to inflight entertainment, starting with the 2019 Rugby World Cup, following an announced agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic). Cathay Pacific, which already offers three channels of live news inflight through Panasonic’s live television service, is enhancing this offering with the immediate addition of Sport 24 – a 24/7 live sports channel for airlines operated and owned by IMG – a global leader in sports, events and media – offered exclusively by Panasonic. With Panasonic’s live television platform and IMG’s exclusive sports programming, Cathay Pacific’s passengers will be able to watch live action from the 2019 Rugby World Cup, along with a host of the world’s most popular sporting events over the coming months including the English Premier League, Bundesliga, The Masters, Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, The Open Championship, Ryder Cup, Roland Garros, The Australian Open and Wimbledon.
    This exciting new addition to Cathay Pacific’s inflight entertainment offering is already live on the newest aircraft to enter its fleet – the technologically advanced Airbus A350, which offers unrivaled passenger comfort on the many routes it operates from Hong Kong including Auckland, Barcelona, Brussels, Cape Town, Christchurch, London Gatwick, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Melbourne, Singapore, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Vancouver. In addition to its live television service, Panasonic is the principal provider of inflight entertainment systems for Cathay Pacific’s fleet of over 130 aircraft.
  • LCS and Academy are finalizing a memorandum of understanding with Panasonic Avionics that will remove the pain of boarding a flight just as your team is gearing up to hit the LCS stage, or hours in the air without any action from the Rift to keep you company. Panasonic is set to become the exclusive in-flight partner of the LCS and Academy. This will enable aircraft equipped with Panasonic’s IFE systems to have access to LCS and Academy games as part of their expanding premium content offering, so fans never need miss out on League esports action again. The plan is for LCS and Academy games to be available from launch in a near live format.
  • Panasonic Avionics Corporation subsidiary, AeroMobile, and leading telecommunications operator TrueMove Thailand, a subsidiary of True Corporation Plc, partnered to launch an inflight data roaming bundle for their customers. The inflight bundle, which commercially launched in September 2019, will place inflight mobility at the heart of TrueMove Thailand’s roaming packages. As the first operator in the country to launch an inflight roaming bundle, this agreement further cements TrueMove Thailand‘s position as a market innovator and respected service provider, with a highly competitive offering that brings more value and a greater experience for their 28 Million+ customer-base.  Customers who subscribe to the inflight service will be able to use their mobile phones to browse the internet, send and receive emails, texts and calls and stay in touch with friends on social networks, whilst traveling on AeroMobile equipped aircraft. The service is currently available to post-paid customers that purchase the inflight bundle and will enable TrueMove Thailand’s customers to enjoy more value and convenience when traveling. AeroMobile provides technology and global coverage that allows the safe use of passengers’ own mobile phones onboard aircraft.

LUFTHANSA TECHNIK

Lufthansa Technik welcomed Chinese service provider Air Esurfing Information Technology Co., Ltd., which it will help in providing aircraft with the first ever inflight connectivity solution for the Chinese market. Further contract partners include Honeywell (antenna hardware provider) and China Satcom (satellite provider).

According to a new 5-year agreement, Lufthansa Technik will design and certify Ka-band-based connectivity retrofit packages for both the Airbus A320ceo and A320neo aircraft families as well as the Boeing 737NG and 737MAX. The company will also work with Air Esurfing Information Technology Co., Ltd. to provide the respective CAAC validated EASA Supplemental Type Certificate (VSTC) to support Chinese airlines. Moreover, Lufthansa Technik will take care of material supply and material handling services for the installation of the packages, that can be tailored to each of Air Esurfing’s airline customers and their specific requirements.
ARE, in full name Beijing Air Esurfing Information Technology Co., Ltd. , was founded in 2013, and is wholly owned by Yuehangyangguang Network Technology Co., Ltd.. Besides its headquarters in Beijing, ARE has also set up a technology research, development and testing center for its products in Shenyang. Conclusively, ARE has grown to be a one of a kind high-tech enterprise in China. Relying on its parent group’s advantages in traditional media & advertising operation in aviation, after years of hard working, ARE’s business evolved in many aspects of the aviation internet business chain. Thus, the company’s portfolio now comprises integrated IFEC solutions, the sale of aviation materials as a distributor, the integration of airborne Wi-Fi systems, the development and customization of onboard entertainment software, the offering of airworthiness modification solutions, and the distribution of advertising, film & television media rights in aviation. Moreover, ARE is engaged in various airborne internet business co-operations. Its three series products, the Star Joy, Star Wing and Star River service platforms developed by ARE, provide mature and customized aviation internet technology solutions and business operation solutions to airlines. Through its open, compatible and flexible business cooperation model, ARE has reached cooperation with many domestic airlines on the mutual construction and operation of an airborne aviation internet system.


SITA

Ghana Airports Company Limited extended its agreement with SITA to manage and support all airport passenger processing, baggage management, and airport operations systems across Kotoka International Airport’s newly commissioned Terminal 3 for the next five years. SITA’s technology will be vital in positioning the airport as the pre-eminent hub in West Africa, leading the way in passenger automation and operational efficiency. This follows SITA’s successful deployment of these systems to support the opening of the new terminal in October last year. These systems include common use check-in desks and self-service check-in kiosks, allowing the airport to maximize its capacity by enabling airlines to cost-effectively share the same infrastructure. The airport will also make use of SITA’s state of the art baggage management technology that will assist airlines in reconciling and tracking bags across the journey. On the operational side, SITA’s Airport Management Solution will simplify planning and real-time operational control by facilitating collaborative decision-making among stakeholders while optimizing the use of airport resources. It will also support revenue management with its billing and reporting functionality. Over the next five years, SITA will be responsible for the maintenance and operations of these key systems and integration with other airport systems


INFLIGHT VR

After weeks of thorough planning and development with the teams at SunExpress, LEGO, Pico Interactive and Lasker Cross-Media, Inflight VR’s branded, immersive #virtualreality passenger experience is now live on many XQ flights from #antalya – oh, and they are celebrating it with a uniquely painted Airbus A320. The company said they couldn’t be more excited and thankful on the day of their company’s five year anniversary.


AIRBUS

  • Airbus and Delta Air Lines are forming a digital alliance to develop new predictive maintenance and health-monitoring solutions for airline customers worldwide from 2020. To be accessed via a unified portal through the Skywise platform, the cross-fleet solutions will harness each member’s expertise in airframes, systems and engines. Delta Air Lines will be the first user of the enriched predictive maintenance solution. This partnership builds on an already successful platform of technical collaboration between Airbus and Delta: In October 2018, Delta entered into a multi-year contract with Airbus to apply Skywise Predictive Maintenance to its A320 and A330 fleets – covering around 400 aircraft. Moreover, in June this year, Airbus and Delta joined forces to offer A220 component repair and material services for Airbus’ A220 Flight Hour Services (FHS) program.
  • Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) launched the iflyACJ.com website, allowing VIP travelers to easily plan their World above the world travel with ACJ charter operators. The new website will appeal to VIP travelers because it groups together in a single place information about the Airbus corporate jet offerings of 12 operators – such as details of their spacious cabins, characteristics and tailored on-board services.

BOEING

Boeing announced the launch of ForeFlight Dispatch, a team flight planning component of its web application that delivers a next-generation, multi-user, schedule-to-mobile flight planning capability for flight operations of any size. With Dispatch, flight plans are created by pilots, dispatchers, or automatically via integrated scheduling systems to generate “cleared-as-filed” routes, briefings, and operational flight plans, which are then synchronized with the ForeFlight Mobile application on crew devices. Flight watchers or dispatchers can then monitor flights or make changes to flight plans, and all changes are automatically synced back to crew devices, resulting in a more productive flight operation. Customers across North America and Europe have already tested the new capabilities with live flight operations in an extensive beta program. The inaugural customer of ForeFlight Dispatch, Flexjet, is a preeminent operator committed to deploying the latest technology throughout the organization.

Boeing has inspected some 810 Boeing 737NG’s for cracking of the “pickle forks” in the wing fuselage mounts on The Boeing Company Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes. It could adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane. We understand they found issues on some 38 aircraft.

Boeing has made significant progress over the past several months in support of safely returning the 737 MAX to service as the company continues to work with the FAA and other global regulators on the process laid out for certifying the 737 MAX software and related training updates. The company has also made significant governance and operational changes to further sharpen its focus. MediaRoom – News Releases/Statements

Editor’s Note – This might be a big deal for Boeing – “A person briefed on the matter said Boeing failed to turn over the documents to the FAA for four months and that the Justice Department is also in possession of the messages” noted an article from Reuters.” Apparently Boeing knew of MCAS aggression in 2016 and misled FAA . However, it looks like some test pilots in Boeing knew about “issues” with MCAS and was only reported their words on Oct. 17 to the FAA. It may not be the best news for Mr. Muilenburg.


OTHER NEWS

Immfly

Airplane travel can often be a hectic experience. It is quite common for people who travel to feel stress, anxiety or to just worry about what comes next. In short, travel days are loaded with obligations. These obligations result in obstacles to thinking and living in the present.

For this reason, Immfly has partnered with Journey Meditation, the company on a mission to help all people lead happier, healthier lives. By integrating the meditation practice into the aircraft environment, the two companies aim to elevate the travel experience and improve flight journeys for a more peaceful passenger experience.

Journey Meditation was founded in 2015 when the company’s founder, Stephen Sokoler, identified the need to make meditation more approachable and accessible. The goal was simple but powerful: to help people live happier lives with greater clarity and peace of mind.

Journey is dedicated to giving people the opportunity to experience and embrace meditation principles in their daily routine. Through Journey LIVE, the company’s live group meditation app, users are able to participate in expertly led tutorials among a diverse and supportive community.

“We are thrilled to bring Journey LIVE into Immfly’s best-in-class flight experiences,” said Stephen Sokoler, Founder of Journey Meditation. “Travel can be particularly stressful and for some, quite nerve wracking. By bringing meditation aboard aircraft, we hope to improve the overall experience no matter where you are in your personal practice”.

Onboard Meditation Classes

Thanks to Immfly’s IFE & Digital Services, flying passengers can now enjoy 15-minute classes taught by Journey Meditation certified teachers worldwide. Travelers are guided by professionals who help bring mindfulness into everyday life.

Sessions on relieving stress and anxiety, improving performance, sleep and relationships and generally promoting happiness are provided in addition to guidance on the basic principles of learning how to meditate.

The partnership with Journey Meditation enables Immfly to deliver airline customers an even richer range of content with regularly updated videos which give passengers the privilege to watch content onboard which would normally be unavailable to the public at large. Following on their onboard experience, customers can choose to become subscribers to Journey Meditation’s app and continue benefiting from guidance in their daily lives.

Julia Maruny, Head of Content at Immfly adds “ The ability to pair our technology which enables dynamic delivery of fresh content onboard, with rich and relevant content that inspires well being, is something we are very proud of at Immfly. We are excited to be Journey Meditation’s first airline partner. Their mission to promote happiness and well being sits squarely with Immfly’s content strategy to enhance the onboard experience. ”

Unique Modules & SaaS Services
Recent: A digital well-being program for today’s society.

Wowing customers with premium content and unique modules is an essential pillar of Immfly’s proposition. Through constant innovation, the connected digital services company is constantly identifying new opportunities to create products and services that enable airlines deliver sustained differentiation and enhance passenger experience. With movies and TV shows, specialist content channels and incentives, activities in destination, audiobooks & e-books, 3D moving maps, interactive games, and now Journey Meditation’s well-being channel, Immfly’s content team is on a relentless mission to deliver fresh and enjoyable engagement onboard.

(Editor’s Note: I have not personally experienced the Journey Meditation app; however, I have used other meditation/relaxation apps and have found them to be very useful inflight in order to gain a few needed hours of sleep. They are also great when jet lag wakes you up at 2:00 a.m.!)


SITAONAIR
Vietnam Airlines (VN) is cementing its status as the country’s premier national carrier by becoming the first Vietnamese airline to offer inflight connectivity (IFC) – through a partnership with SITAONAIR and Inmarsat satellite telecommunications operator VISHIPEL. The collaboration will see the delivery of pioneering inflight internet services across its fleet, offering digitally-demanding passengers the onboard connectivity they want, and enabling them to stay connected with work and family. Partnering with long-standing Vietnamese satellite provider, VISHIPEL, has been integral to delivering this first-of-its-kind solution for the region. VISHIPEL has played an important role in Vietnam’s national development strategy for information and communication, and this regional expertise, together with SITAONAIR’s industry experience, has ensured that services are tailored for the Vietnamese market. Inflight Wi-Fi is now available aboard four of Vietnam Airlines’ A350 aircraft, making VN the first airline in the country to offer onboard Wi-Fi to meet high regional demand, enhancing the passenger experience and moving closer towards international 5-star quality standards, while digitally transforming its services. SITAONAIR’s best-in-class Internet ONAIR IFC portal will provide seamless Wi-Fi access to VN’s passengers, and enable exceptional levels of personalization and interactivity through customization, to reflect the airline’s own branding requirements.


Airbus
Airbus delivered the 1,000th A320neo Family aircraft. The aircraft, an A321neo produced in Hamburg, Germany, was delivered to Indian airline IndiGo. IndiGo is the world’s biggest customer for the A320neo Family with orders totaling 430 aircraft. Since its first NEO was delivered in March 2016, its fleet of A320neo Family has grown into the world’s largest with 96 aircraft operating alongside 129 A320s. In an extremely competitive aviation market, the fuel efficient A320 Family has been instrumental in IndiGo’s rise to become India’s largest airline by fleet size and passenger numbers. The A320neo Family is assembled at Airbus’ four global sites: Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; Tianjin, China; and Mobile, USA. The world’s first A320neo was delivered in January 2016 and the program has achieved milestones every year since: the first A321neo in 2017; the first A321LR in 2018 and the launch of the A321XLR in 2019. The A320neo program was designed with fuel efficiency in mind. Building on the A320ceo’s popularity, the aircraft delivers 20% reduced fuel burn as well as 50% less noise compared to previous generation aircraft. Seating up to 240 passengers, depending on cabin configuration, the A320neo Family features the widest single aisle cabin in the sky and incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets. At the end of September 2019, the A320neo Family had received more than 6,660 firm orders from close to 110 customers worldwide. Airbus delivered 71 aircraft (seven A220s; eight A320ceos; 40 A320neos; four A330s; 12 A350s and an A380) in September vs 69 in September 2018, and has so far delivered 571 of the 880-890 planned for 2019.

Thales and Airbus CyberSecurity, two European leaders in critical information systems and cybersecurity, join forces to support operators of vital importance against cyber attacks. Combining their sovereign products, Thales’s cyber attack detection system Cybels Sensor and the Airbus CyberSecurity’s Orion Malware solution will provide businesses and organizations with a qualified solution delivering unrivaled results. Solution offers unparalleled detection capacities and enables in-depth investigation, combining detection with incident response

Air Austral, France’s Réunion Island-based airline, signed a firm order for three A220 aircraft, Airbus’ newest family member. With this order Air Austral becomes the first A220 customer based in the Indian Ocean region. Benefiting from a 20% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, the A220s will enable Air Austral to reduce its costs and carbon footprint on international routes in the region. The design of the new clean sheet single-aisle aircraft allows for more seats, offering extra revenue potential to airlines, especially to those located in remote areas, and extra usable cargo volume capacity. 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 a 20 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft, along with significantly lower emissions and a reduced noise footprint. The A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft. The A220 had an order book of over 500 aircraft at the end of September 2019.


BOEING
Boeing announced that its Board of Directors  separated the roles of chairman and chief executive officer. Dennis  Muilenburg continues as CEO, president and a director. The board elected David L. Calhoun, current independent lead director, to serve as non-executive chairman. The board said splitting the chairman and CEO roles will enable Muilenburg to focus full time on running the company as it works to return the 737 MAX safely to service, ensure full support to Boeing’s customers around the world, and implement changes to sharpen Boeing’s focus on product and services safety. This decision is the latest of several actions by the board of directors and Boeing senior leadership to strengthen the company’s governance and safety management processes. Calhoun said, “The board has full confidence in Dennis as CEO and believes this division of labor will enable maximum focus on running the business with the board playing an active oversight role. The board also plans in the near term to name a new director with deep safety experience and expertise to serve on the board and its newly established Aerospace Safety Committee.” “I am fully supportive of the board’s action. Our entire team is laser-focused on returning the 737 MAX safely to service and delivering on the full breadth of our company’s commitments,” said Muilenburg.

The company delivered 26 aircraft (two 737NGs; 747-8F; four 767s; seven 777s; 12 787s) in September vs 87 in September 2018, and has to date delivered 302 aircraft in 2019 vs 568 a year ago.


Other News

Spirit airlines receive the most negative comments overall

October 14, 2019–Social media is bridging the gap between brands and customer experience, allowing consumers to voice their opinions in real-time for the whole world to see.

We all know poor reviews and negative comments can make or break a brand’s reputation. With 330 million active users, Twitter, in particular, has become an extensive platform for engaged customers to reveal both praise and complaints in equal measure.

With this in mind, travel insurance comparison site InsureMyTrip analyzed over 96,000 tweets over a two-week period1 – using a unique sentiment analysis tool – to discover which of the nine largest US airlines receive the most positive and negative mentions.

Spirit Airlines has the highest proportion of poor reviews, with nearly 70 percent of its Twitter mentions containing a negative sentiment. Over a third of negative keywords in Spirit’s mentions were due to delays or cancellations.

This comes as no surprise, as Spirit recently found itself in hot water with its passengers over its alleged ‘hidden’ bag fees. Spirit even faces a lawsuit after its customers accused the company of knowing its online travel agents hid ‘gotcha’ bag fees customers are expected to pay at the airport.

Frontier Airlines followed closely with 64 percent negative mentions, receiving the highest number of complaints about ‘customer service’ (8.9%) compared to any other airline analyzed.

American Airlines was in the third position with 56 percent of negative tweets overall.

At the other end of the spectrum, Southwest Airlines tops the list with 70 percent of its Twitter mentions considered positive. When analyzing the sentiments, ‘customer service,’ ‘luggage,’ and ‘food’ were the words with the best scores.

These findings are also a testament to Southwest Airlines’ latest accolade as the sixth best airline in the world, announced earlier this year.

Interestingly, although it performed well overall, Southwest Airlines received the highest number of negative mentions for keywords regarding seating (15.7%), as passengers are not assigned seats. Instead, they’re given a boarding group, indicating where they should line up when they’re at the gate ready to board.

Allegiant Air and Alaska Airlines followed closely with 64 and 62 percent positive mentions, respectively. With both airlines receiving hardly any negative mentions for their ‘luggage,’ ‘money,’ ‘seats,’ and ‘food’ offerings.

‘Delay’ is the most commonly tweeted negative keyword overall for eight of the nine airlines, with United Airlines receiving the highest negative percentage for this keyword (23.6%). This is followed by ‘cancel’ – the most popular negative keyword for Spirit Airlines overall (18.5%) – and customer service takes third place.

Ronni Kenoian, Manager of Marketing and eCommerce at InsureMyTrip, commented:

“Social media is often where passengers turn to voice their opinions in real-time. And Twitter is one of the most powerful communication tools available.

It is interesting to see how positive and negative customer feedback stack up — and, in turn, how airlines respond in an effort to improve customer service.”

InsureMyTrip has put together a handy infographic looking at the findings in more detail, which can be viewed here.

Airbus at APEX Los Angeles

During APEX Expo in Los Angeles, Airbus discussed their in-flight trials of IoT connected cabin technologies on board an A350-900 Flight Lab aircraft. In doing so, Airbus becomes the first aircraft manufacturer to undertake such flight-testing of actual connected cabin innovations. The platform, known as the Airspace Connected Experience, was unveiled at the APEX Expo Boston in 2018. The airframer said this technology will usher in a new personalized experience for passengers and provide opportunities for improving airlines’ ancillary revenues and operational efficiencies.

The Flight Lab aircraft is one of the original A350-900 certification flight-test aircraft and is fitted with an Airspace cabin which now serves as the ideal platform to evaluate the new connected cabin technologies in flight. In conjunction with their best-in-class cabin partners, an initial set of working elements have been installed. These include prototypes of the Connected iSeat (Recaro), the Connected Galley (gategroup), a remote wireless cabin management control system, a large OLED display and importantly, the first step of Airbus’ new “IoT backbone” which includes an open software platform. These innovations are all now being tested in flight.

Airbus said that the connected cabin ecosystem will enable significant value-adding services for passengers, airlines and crews. Possible examples include:

  • Passengers will receive a more personalized travel experience specifically targeted to the individual needs and preferences, based on the available data. In particular this covers remote and pre-ordering of preferred meals, booking of private bin space, setting of individual seat positions as well as a tailor-made inflight IFE offer.
  • Airlines will be able to generate additional ancillary revenues through personalized retail and advertisement as well as new services, all enabled by the IoT approach. Furthermore, airlines will be able to improve their operational efficiency applying predictive maintenance, avoiding waste and making crew services more efficient. Other opportunities can easily be created and applied via apps.
  • Crews will find a better working environment and more efficient tools, digitally enabled by real-time data from the IoT platform throughout the cabin. A mobile smart device will allow crews to monitor and operate all components.

Customer-centric approach

The in-flight tests are part of their customer-centric approach, which began with workshops to create and prioritize innovative concepts, followed by an extensive phase of on-ground testing and customer evaluation of the connected elements. The subsequent testing of these innovations in an Airbus Flight Lab environment is key to bringing an integrated Connected Experience to fruition – being able to validate and refine them in a real airborne cabin. In particular, the tests allow the various elements to be operated and monitored during a normal flight cycle, especially with regard to the end-to-end data flow robustness within the systems and between them. The next steps will continue testing of the current setup, then close the feedback loop with airlines using Airbus’ Customer Experience Teams (CET) forum, by around year-end.

More Airbus News

  • Airbus SE notes the decision of the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding the level of countermeasures it authorizes the United States to impose on products from the European Union (EU). If the United States Trade Representative (USTR) chooses to impose tariffs on the importation of aircraft and/or aircraft components, this will create insecurity and disruption not only to the aerospace industry, but also to the broader global economy. Yet it is still avoidable. In the coming months, the WTO will determine the amount of tariff countermeasures the EU can impose on US products – including imported Boeing aircraft – in the parallel counter case regarding illegal subsidies to Boeing. The WTO has already found that the US failed to address illegal subsidies causing harm to Airbus. This will provide the EU with grounds to claim countermeasures on US products at a level that could exceed US sanctions. If applied, these tariffs on both sides will severely impact US and EU industries, putting high costs on the acquisition of new aircraft for both US and EU airlines. Aviation is a global industry. Evidence of that is the fact that close to 40 percent of Airbus’ aircraft-related procurement comes from US aerospace suppliers. This US supply chain supports 275,000 American jobs in 40 states through spending that has totaled $50 billion in the last three years alone. If tariffs are applied, the entire global industry will be harmed. The only way to prevent the negative effects of these tariff would be for the US and EU to find a resolution to this long-running dispute through a negotiated settlement.
  • Airbus inaugurated its highly automated fuselage structure assembly line for A320 Family aircraft in Hamburg, showcasing an evolution in Airbus’ industrial production system. With a special focus on manufacturing longer sections for the A321LR, the new facility features 20 robots, a new logistics concept, automated positioning by laser measurement as well as a digital data acquisition system. These will further support Airbus’ drive to improve both quality and efficiency while bringing an enhanced level of digitization to its industrial production system. For the initial section assembly, Airbus is using a modular, lightweight automated system, called “Flextrack”, with eight robots drilling and counter-sinking 1,100 to 2,400 holes per longitudinal joint. In the next production step, 12 robots, each operating on seven axes, combine the center and aft fuselage sections with the tail to form one major component, drilling, counter-sinking, sealing and inserting 3,000 rivets per orbital joint. Besides the use of robots, Airbus is also implementing new methods and technologies in material and parts logistics to optimize production, improve ergonomics and shorten lead times. This includes the separation of logistics and production levels, demand-oriented material replenishment as well as the use of autonomous guided vehicles. The Hamburg structure assembly facility is responsible for joining single fuselage shells into sections, as well as final assembly of single sections to aircraft fuselages. Aircraft parts are equipped with electrical and mechanical systems before eventually being delivered to the final assembly lines in France, Germany, China and the US.

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) announced the award of a new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) supplemental type certificate (STC) for installation of satellite communications (SATCOM) provisions on Boeing B777-300 and B777-300ER series aircraft. This award helps ensure consumers have the high-quality, in-flight connectivity that they have come to expect each time they fly. 

The specified FAA STC allows for the installation of structural provisions and the outside aircraft equipment package for a cabin upgrade incorporating a dual-band (Ka/Ku) terminal. The dual-band terminal allows for in-flight network switching across Ku- and Ka-band satellite networks, providing more reliable in-flight entertainment and communication access to travelers. 

The certified installation design follows a previously issued FAA STC for Airbus A320 series aircraft. CIT provided all design, qualification, approvals, and certification resources associated with the installation. The aircraft equipment packages were manufactured and conformed at the company’s facility in Franklin, Wis.

CIT leads the market in aerospace SATCOM applications, with over 2,500 installations delivered worldwide. From component manufacturing to fully-integrated engineered solutions, CIT has the capability and flexibility to support various consumer needs. Contact CIT via email for additional information.


Inmarsat
Inmarsat signed a contract with the European Space Agency for phase two of the ground-breaking Iris air traffic modernization program, which will include important flight trials across Europe to assess the service in a real operational environment. Iris is being developed to deliver powerful benefits to European aviation by enabling high bandwidth, cost-effective satellite-based datalink communications over Europe. The program contributes to the delivery of the ‘Single European Sky’, which focuses on modernizing air traffic management and air navigation efficiency. Satellite communications reduces the pressure on ground-based frequencies, which third party reports have indicated will be under significant capacity stress in the next 5-10 years.
As part of the program’s second phase, flight trials will be conducted on approximately 20 aircraft flying commercially over a six-month period starting in 2020, allowing Iris to be assessed in a real operational environment. Selected airlines will take part in the demonstration, with the support of leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), to evaluate the Iris program for air traffic control (ATC) and airline operational communications (AOC) across continental Europe. Also in this phase, Inmarsat will work with ESA to prepare for pan-European certification of the Iris service provider and define a distribution agreement. In addition, Inmarsat and its partners, such as Thales Alenia Space, will prepare for future air traffic control requirements through research & development and prototyping. This will include transitioning to the Aeronautical Telecommunications Network/Internet Protocol Suite (ATN/IPS) standard, which will make the service truly global. Iris was initiated in 2014, when ESA selected Inmarsat to lead a consortium of European technology companies to develop the program, including Airbus, Boeing, Honeywell and Thales, in addition to leading ANSPs across the continent, such as DFS (Germany), DSNA (France), ENAIRE (Spain), ENAV (Italy), EUROCONTROL MUAC (North-West Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) and NATS (UK). Iris is powered by Inmarsat’s award-winning SB-S digital aircraft operations platform operating on its L-band network that has underpinned global safety services for 40 years. Inmarsat is scheduled to launch two new, advanced L-band payloads to join its existing fleet in 2020 and 2021, further cementing the company’s long-term commitment to the highly reliable safety communications services it offers to the aviation community over this spectrum.


Boeing
Boeing is funding the creation of a state-of-the-art laboratory facility dedicated to the research and testing of autonomous aerial vehicles within Stanford University’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The Boeing Flight & Autonomy Laboratory features a control room and maker area, the newest motion-capture cameras and sensor networks, and a public observation area. The lab is the latest support by Boeing in Stanford’s Aero/Astro department. In addition to the $2.5 million contribution to fund the Boeing Flight & Autonomy Laboratory, located in the Durand Building, Boeing is a founding member of the Stanford Aero/Astro Launch Fund for a new undergraduate program in aeronautics and astronautics. The inaugural class in that program will graduate in 2020.


Other News

True Blue Power unveils ultra-fast, 60-watt, USB-PD charging ports

Wichita, Kansas | October 8, 2019– True Blue Power, a leading provider of certified USB power products for the aerospace industry, today announced the company’s newest ultra-fast charger, the TA360 Series USB-PD Charging Port. Designed to power new and future electronic devices, the high-speed charging ports use USB Power Delivery (PD) technology to provide 60 watts of power per port.

“True Blue Power is at the forefront of USB product development. Adding this advanced USB-PD technology to our product line ensures pilots, passengers and crew have access to cutting-edge, in-flight USB power now and well into the future,” said Erik Ritzman, True Blue Power Director. “The TA360 series future-proofs aircraft for years to come.”

Ultra-fast charging / Maximum power
USB Power Delivery (PD) is the fastest charging technology available. It provides 4 times more power than traditional USB-A and USB-C chargers. USB-PD charging ports offer intelligent voltage output, allowing each specific device to receive the maximum level of power possible. While PD-compatible electronics benefit most from this new technology, the TA360 Series also supports traditional USB-A and USB-C devices.

60 watts of True Blue Power per port   
The latest PD-compatible smartphones, tablets, electronic flight bags (EFB) and laptop computers benefit from the TA360 Series’ variable power output. The ultra-fast charger delivers 5–20 volts at 3 amps, providing up to 60 watts of power per PD port and is available in three primary configurations.

Installation / Protection
The TSO-certified TA360 Series offers easy in-seat, cabin, cockpit and galley installation, and protects itself and the electronic device from short circuit, power surges, overload and over temperature. True Blue Power USB-PD chargers are a drop-in replacement for the company’s TA102 and TA202 Series chargers. All True Blue Power USB Charging Ports offer a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

The TA360 Series USB-PD Charging Port will be on display in booth C8717 throughout the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention and Exhibition at the Las Vegas Convention Center October 22 – 24. For more information, contact Erik Ritzman, True Blue Power Director, at 316-630-0101 or visit truebluepowerusa.com.

  • Inflight mobile connectivity will enable subscribers to use their phones in 86 different countries

September 26, 2019–Panasonic Avionics Corporation subsidiary, AeroMobile, and leading integrated UAE telecommunications operator du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company(EITC), have partnered in an agreement that will enable du’s subscribers to enjoy inflightmobile connectivity at a better price.

Recognising a desire for its customers to stay connected when they travel, the newpartnership will expand on du’spopular international roaming plans– ‘Roaming data bundleon preferred networks’ –which currently enable subscribers to use their phones in 86 different countries for the same price as being at home.

“At du, we are constantly seeking innovative ways to transform the connected experience for our valued customer bases,” says Fahad Al Hassawi, Deputy CEO–Telco Services, EITC.“This partnership has literally taken our services and telco experience to new heights, andwe are thrilled to be expanding our connected offerings to enrich our subscribers journeysabroad.”

The international roaming bundleswill now include AeroMobile’s inflight mobile services,which will enhance the experience of travelling even further. Subscribers will be able to browse the internet and stay connected, send and receive texts, listen to voicemail, and make and receive calls on AeroMobile equipped aircraft at no extra cost, provided customers have the eligible roaming data package active.

As well as empowering du subscribers on their journeys, business customers can also benefit from always-on connectivity with Inflight roaming on their travels.

This service is available to post-paid customers and will enable du subscribers to enjoy more value, simplicity and convenience when travelling abroad than ever before.

Speaking of the agreement, Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile, Panasonic Avionicssays: “Weare proud to be working with du to bring this inflight mobile services to its customers. Theagreement demonstrates du’s ongoing commitment to offering innovative and convenientcommunication services to its customers, wherever they may be.”

AeroMobile provides technology and global coverage that allows the safe use of passengers’ own mobile phones onboard aircraft.


Biometrics are Key in Today’s Airline Strategies

The Opening Sessions of APEX had several ‘C’ level airline representatives discuss their perspectives on what has made their airlines successful. Delta Air Lines CEO, Ed Bastian, stated that Delta, “-could never compete on price alone, so we needed to find a way to distinguish ourselves from the competition.” The airline has looked to improve their passenger experience through the use of biometrics. Delta passengers can enroll in CLEAR, allowing them to use biometric iris and fingerprint recognition instead of ID documents. He also said that 50% of the airline’s revenue comes from the Main Cabin, so the economy class customer is “just as important” as those who travel in the Delta One Suites! In keeping with that philosophy, as of November 1, 2019 all international economy travelers flights longer than 6 hours will receive a welcome cocktail, hot towel service during the flight and mix-and-match meal options.

Biometrics are also playing a significant part in JetBlue’s strategy. COO Joanna Geraghty’s presentation focused on how the airline is seeking to make travel less stressful by smoothing out the airport experience for their travelers. “If you could walk right through check-in to security and on to the gate – that could revolutionize the airport experience for the traveler!” Geraghty acknowledges there are challenges to face when it comes to passengers privacy, but so far the number of travelers who have participated in the biometric check-in options has been overwhelming. JetBlue’s focus has been to offer the biometric solution to the traveling public without a fee to participate in the program.

Virgin Atlantic’s CEO Shai Weiss said the company has long-term ambitions to double their size, becoming the second flag carrier of the UK. Virgin is currently in the first hear of their three-year strategy dubbed Velocity, and the carrier is currently focusing on transforming the traveling experience by focusing on that ‘warm and fuzzy feeling’. For Virgin it is all about customer satisfaction scores and Weiss said, “It’s all about heart and that is the thing that really differentiates Virgin – it’s our special touch.”

Alex Wilcox, Co-Founder and CEO of JSX was the next to address the audience. He said that JSX is the fastest growing airline in North America. In 2018 JSX flew 1,000 flights a month, in 2019 they are averaging 2,400 flights per month and they are forecasting 4,000 flights per month in 2020. The regional jet service that allows 30 passengers to enjoy a ‘private aircraft style’ experience was launched in 2016 as JetSuiteX and has a fleet of Embraer 135s. JSX is also the launch airline for SmartSky Networks’ high speed air-to-ground connectivity product.

The biometrics theme continued on through Jeffrey Goh CEO, Star Alliance’s presentation as well. Goh said that their mantra is quite simple: “We want to make sure the passenger connects, and in fact, connects quite well.” To facilitate this, the alliance is looking at the potential for passenger biometric data interchange between their airline members. As a result, the Star Alliance has partnered with NEC Corporation in an effort to develop a platform and a frequent flyer app to facilitate a seamless travel experience. Goh said that they recognize the critical importance that the biometric data remains with the passenger and that they will seek consent from passengers at specific biometric touchpoints (check-in and boarding) for use of their personal information.

In the next issues of IFExpress we will be covering data that we discovered at the APEX EXPO in Los Angeles and will try to keep our readers abreast of new trends and technology. Here are a few of the technologies we will be tracking: new IFEC developments like portable systems, new EFBs, and battery/aircraft powered IFE with Bluetooth and RF connectivity. We will also be addressing plastic free aviation cabin solutions, new power delivery, new digital platforms and inflight TV, lighting innovations and entertainment content developments. Of note are new studies on passenger entertainment requirements and changes, as well as, IEEE 802.11ac wireless features with cognitive hot spot technologies. We were also excited about future smaller aircraft IFE and and inflight experiences with 4K video. So there is a lot to look forward to over the next few weeks!


INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Apple AirPod fans will like the new development from AirFly (AirFly | Bluetooth transmitter for Apple AirPods, Wireless Headphones – Twelve South). Yep, it is a wireless earphone adapter that connects to the audio output on the airplane IFE. It is not the only device to adapt but the writers say it is the best. How to Use AirPods to Listen to In-Flight Movies and, here’s a video on the application.
Amazon.com: Twelve South Airfly Wireless Transmitter | Connect Airpods & Wireless Headphones to Headphone Jacks at Gyms, On Airplane Entertainment Systems, and with Nintendo Switch: Cell Phones & Accessories We were curious if other headphones we like would work, so, we asked Hratch Astarjian at BOSE and he said: “This seems to simply be a Bluetooth dongle. Based on the specs I saw on Amazon, our Bluetooth headphones will work just fine. Of course, the headphones will simply reproduce the audio quality that’s coming through the IFE system which, as we both know, can sometimes be mediocre. And there’s still the challenge of having a seat jack that’s not working properly – but that’s another problem altogether.”


SITAONAIR

Singapore Airlines is able to keep its customers connected through SITAONAIR’s high-speed, reliable and advanced inflight connectivity portal, Internet ONAIR, powered by Link ONAIR over Inmarsat’s GX Aviation satellite network. The live broadcast truly demonstrated how SITAONAIR supports the airline in providing ‘always-on’, reliable connectivity for passengers who need to keep in contact with work and loved ones.

As a long-standing SITAONAIR customer, Singapore Airlines is committed to providing best-in-class inflight connectivity. The airline adopted SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR and Mobile ONAIR services in 2017, which are designed to provide super-fast and uninterrupted connection over land or sea.


INMARSAT
Inmarsat announced that its GX Aviation inflight broadband solution has entered commercial service with leading low-cost airline AirAsia. The airline is currently offering GX Aviation to passengers onboard a number of initial aircraft through its RedBeat Ventures subsidiary, ROKKI, marking a significant upgrade to their inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) experience. To celebrate the occasion, passengers are being offered a free trial on GX Aviation-equipped aircraft from today until 30 September 2019. The service integrates with the airline’s entertainment and e-commerce platform, allowing passengers to access a variety of free entertainment, music, games, news and shopping using their personal mobile devices. It will be rolled out across AirAsia’s Airbus A320 and A330 fleet over the next year. AirAsia is the latest airline to launch commercial service with GX Aviation, powered by the world’s first and only globally available broadband network. It will also benefit from major upcoming enhancements to Inmarsat’s GX network, with additional capacity being introduced by three new GX payloads, which are scheduled to launch in 2019, 2020 and 2021. In addition, Inmarsat recently signed landmark agreements to develop a pioneering new generation of GX satellites, which represent a transformative step-change in inflight broadband capabilities. These include the ground-breaking GX7, 8 & 9 satellites, which feature thousands of dynamically-formed beams that direct capacity over high-demand areas, and the innovative new GX10A & 10B Arctic payloads, which will be the only broadband satellite service dedicated to this region.


AIRBUS
The world’s passenger and freighter aircraft fleet is set to more than double from today’s nearly 23,000 to almost 48,000 by 2038 with traffic growing at 4.3% annually, also resulting in a need for 550,000 new pilots and 640,000 new technicians. By 2038, of the forecast 47,680 fleet, 39,210 are new and 8,470 remain from today. By updating fleets with latest generation fuel efficient aircraft such as the A220, A320neo Family, the A330neo and the A350, Airbus believes it will largely contribute to the progressive decarbonisation of the air transport industry and the objective of carbon neutral growth from 2020 while connecting more people globally.
Reflecting today’s evolving aircraft technology, Airbus has simplified its segmentation to consider capacity, range and mission type. For example, a short haul A321 is Small while the long-haul A321LR or XLR can be categorized as Medium. While the core market for the A330 is classified as Medium, it is likely a number will continue to be operated by airlines in a way that sits within the Large market segmentation along with the A350 XWB. The new segmentation gives rise to a need for 39,210 new passenger and freighter aircraft -29,720 Small, 5,370 Medium and 4,120 Large – according to Airbus’ latest Global Market Forecast 2019-2038. Of these, 25,000 aircraft are for growth and 14,210 are to replace older models with newer ones offering superior efficiency. Resilient to economic shocks, air traffic has more than doubled since 2000. It is increasingly playing a key role in connecting large population centers, particularly in emerging markets where the propensity to travel is among the world’s highest as cost or geography make alternatives impossible. Today, about a quarter of the world’s urban population is responsible for more than a quarter of global GDP, and given both are key growth drivers, Aviation Mega Cities (AMCs) will continue to power the global aviation network. Developments in superior fuel efficiency are further driving demand to replace existing less fuel efficient aircraft. The Small segment includes the A220 Family and all variants of the A320 Family. The core Airbus products in the Medium  segment are the A330 and A330neo Family, and can also include the smaller A321LR and XLR versions used on long-haul missions. The largest segmentation Large, is represented by the A330neo Family together with the larger A350 XWB Family which also includes the Ultra Long Range version. This segmentation will continue to be served by the A380 at the upper end.


BOEING
Boeing and Safran announced a joint investment in Electric Power Systems (EPS), a company offering a suite of safe, certifiable and lightweight energy storage products that provide high-quality power for aerospace and other markets. The joint investment will help EPS develop a highly automated industrial base capable of producing aviation-grade energy storage systems at an unprecedented scale. The investment will also support the advancement of technologies to further reduce the costs of battery systems for electric airplanes. Boeing HorizonX Ventures and Safran Corporate Ventures jointly invested in EPS during this Series A funding round. EPS is the second advanced battery solutions company to join the Boeing HorizonX Ventures investment portfolio, following an investment in Cuberg, an advanced lithium metal battery technology company, in 2018. Safran Ventures also recently invested in OXIS Energy, a UK-based leader in lithium-sulfur cell technology for high energy density battery systems. Safran is an international high-technology group, operating in the aircraft propulsion and equipment, space and defense markets. Safran has a global presence, with more than 92,000 employees and sales of 21 billion euros in 2018. Working alone or in partnership, Safran holds world or European leadership positions in its core markets. Safran undertakes Research & Development programs to meet fast-changing market requirements, with total R&D expenditures of around 1.5 billion euros in 2018. Safran is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange, and is part of the CAC 40 and Euro Stoxx 50 indices.


OTHER NEWS

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.


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