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

PXCOM

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

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

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

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

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

Empty the seat back pocket

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trust is the new currency

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

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

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

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


GOGO

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

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

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

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

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

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


SITA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more by exploring their website.


AIRBUS

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

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

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

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

Also From Airbus:

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

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

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

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS

What You May Encounter The Next Time You Fly

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

Airports:

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

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

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

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

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

The Gate:

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

Boarding Procedures:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Aircraft:

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

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

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

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

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

Aircraft Cleaning:

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

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

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


Other News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FlightPath3D Update:

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

Native 4K Moving Map:

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

Flying Over Places:

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

Big Data Dashboard:

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

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

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


SpaceX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Other News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Future of Inflight Magazines in a Post-Coronavirus World

By Laurent Safar, CEO of Adaptive Channel

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

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

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

This can be answered in one word: innovation.

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

New Priorities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOOST ANCILLARY REVENUE

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

CUT COSTS

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

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

SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT, ONE FLIGHT AT A TIME

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

It’s A Brand New (Digital) World

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

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

About Adaptive

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, please contact Tenencia via email.


Airbus

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


Boeing

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

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

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


Other News

 

 

 

This past week the industry gathered together via a live online broadcast event hosted by Apex and Inmarsat Aviation to address the challenges the aviation sector is facing as a result of the global pandemic and economic crisis. More than 3,000 individuals logged on to watch and participate in the 7+ hour event. The synopsis is outlined below and there is a link provided if you didn’t manage to attend the live session. Overall, there was a thread of cautious optimism throughout the various presentations/discussions but there was no sugar coating the fact that we are all in for a long, hard road on the way to recovery. Over the coming weeks, we will see more and more of  these live broadcast events as the industry seeks a path forward. Welcome to the new normal! So let’s delve into this week’s news.


FlightPlan

The global aviation industry came together on April 29, 2020 for a unique all-day broadcast event to encourage collaboration during the most challenging and unpredictable time in its history. FlightPlan: Charting a Course into the Future, hosted by Inmarsat Aviation and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), saw more than 50 leading voices exchange views on the present and future of aviation. Over 3,000 viewers tuned in from almost 100 countries worldwide for a series of live debates, interviews and news analysis. Experts voice confidence in eventual bounce-back for aviation industry Nick Careen, Senior Vice President of Airport Passenger Cargo and Security at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), observed that although the COVID-19 pandemic has “no parallel to draw upon in recent memory –  the airline industry has illustrated time and time again that if there’s any industry in the world that knows how to deal with a crisis, it’s this one”. Careen predicted that changes to airline passenger journeys as a result of COVID-19 may include staggered boarding processes, alongside faster adoption of biometrics and self-service technologies in the airport. Christoph Mueller, who has previously served as CEO of Malaysia Airlines and Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Emirates Group, gave some reassuring words of encouragement to airlines: “I have a lot of confidence that at least a lot of airlines will come out of this crisis with a new and regained strength.”

In an interactive poll[1], FlightPlan viewers were invited to share their own predictions on the COVID-19 recovery phase throughout the day. Highlights from the results included:

  • Four in ten (43%) predicted that recovery will take from 18 months to three years
  • Four in ten (44%) said the industry was poorly prepared for COVID-19
  • Nearly two fifths (36%) stated that governments have helped the industry to navigate the pandemic, but could have done more
  • 9 in 10 (87%) expect to see more deep cleaning and slower turnarounds
  • 86% believe that personal protective equipment (PPE) will become standard for cabin crews in the coming months
  • 8 in 10 (80%) expect thermal scanners to become part of the passenger journey
  • Only 9% see blood tests for airline passengers becoming the norm

Unified effort essential to tackling aviation’s environmental impact

Discussing some of the ambitious sustainability targets the industry has previously set itself, such as net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the experts agreed that collaboration was fundamental. Anko Van Der Werff, CEO of Avianca, argued that “the whole ecosystem needs to work together on this.” Paul Stein, Chief Technical Officer at Rolls Royce, added that the impact of single-nation initiatives has been limited and a “coalition of the willing” with industry bodies, airlines, manufacturers and fuel providers is needed.
Encouragingly, industry leaders expressed confidence that COVID-19 will not interrupt progress on sustainable aviation and may even push the topic higher on the agenda. Stein reflected that “the post-COVID-19 world is going to be one that will recognize the fragility of the planet – sustainability isn’t just going to come back to the point it was before COVID – it’s going to be an even stronger issue.” The FlightPlan poll results reflected this view, with 40% of respondents agreeing that COVID-19 will accelerate the drive to reduce emissions. Digitization will catalyze industry recovery and future growth Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, spoke about the power of connectivity to drive global development and industry recovery. Although “2019 already feels as though it belongs to a different era”, Pearce remarked that the pandemic has not slowed the fourth industrial revolution. “I believe that digitalization lies at the heart of our ability to first survive this crisis, and then to drive our ability to rebound from it and start to thrive in whatever new reality lies in front of us.”

The next generation of passengers were at the center of a discussion around the need for airlines to continue preparing for the future. Behavioral scientist Rory Sutherland spoke of Generation Z’s “incredible need to travel”, observing that his own children “don’t see it as a privilege – they kind of see it as a right”. Aviation analyst Alex Macheras delved deeper into their digital expectations, adding that “if airlines are going to better satisfy Gen Z, inflight connectivity will continue to be a driving force.” Other experts agreed that these attributes, paired with growing spending power, will put young passengers in the driving seat when it comes to digital transformation in the cabin. Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “As we look towards recovery and ensuring long-term resilience, there will be no one-size-fits all approach. However, it will remain important that airlines can differentiate for customers. It’s clear that the safety of consumers will continue to be at the forefront in this new world, and that digitization and innovation will be crucial to driving much-needed efficiencies, reducing environmental impact and improving passenger experience.”

Reflecting on the event, Dominic Walters, Vice President at Inmarsat Aviation, commented: “In times of crisis, it’s imperative that industries collaborate to find the best way forward. With so many of this year’s leading aviation events cancelled, we wanted to connect the industry in a unique and helpful way, and the response has been phenomenal. Together, more than 50 leading voices shared a clear shared message – that while the aviation industry contends with a period of extreme uncertainty, these clouds will eventually clear. Now is the time to focus on accelerating our recovery and rebuilding an industry that is stronger, more agile and fit for the future.” And, you can watch the whole event here.


Thales

Thales has deployed the world’s first GSMA-certified eSIM activation solution on Google Cloud. This solution will offer telecom operators secure and highly scalable support to manage increases in mobile subscriptions for eSIM-capable devices. It also lets them benefit from the reliability of Google Cloud’s carbon neutral technology. eSIM adoption is being fueled by a new generation of smartphones, tablets, wearables and new IoT use-cases. Thales’ subscription management expertise not only ensures seamless remote activation of a vast number of devices, but also provides data analytics and protection of the subscriber’s data.

  • Thales to use Google Cloud technology to deliver highly secure and scalable activation of eSIM (embedded SIM) capable devices.
  • The solution enables telecom operators to support a massive global increase in the volume of embedded mobile subscriptions (ABI Research expects around 1 Billion eSIM-capable devices to be shipped annually by 2024).
  • The Thales-operated solution provides secure eSIM management services and provides compliance with data protection and privacy requirements.

Airbus

Airbus posted 481m Euro net loss for 1Q20 (vs 40m Euro net profit in 1Q19) on 15% lower revenues, citing COVID-19. It has withdrawn all delivery guidance after already reducing monthly production rates to 40 A320s, two A330s, six A350s and four A220s. It has net cash position of 3.6b Euro. Furthermore, the airframer is furloughing some 3,200 workers in Broughton in the UK.

Airbus is developing a modification for A330 and A350 family aircraft which will enable airlines to install freight pallets directly onto the cabin floor seat tracks, after removal of the economy-class seats. This solution will help with the airlines’ own business continuity, and also alleviate the global shortage of ‘belly-freight’ air cargo capacity due to the widespread grounding of long-haul aircraft in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, it helps the industry to address the high demand for humanitarian flights to transport large quantities of medical equipment and other supplies rapidly over large distances to where they are needed.

Compared with loading cargo onto seats, this Airbus solution facilitates easier and quicker loading and unloading operations, as well as reduced ‘wear & tear’ to the seats themselves. Other important benefits include the added security of robust fire protection, and the 9g load restraint capability to prevent anything from shifting in flight. The modification is packaged for operators as an Airbus Service Bulletin (SB). Under this arrangement Airbus defines the engineering work-scope and also manages the process for obtaining the one-time certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Its scope includes the removal of the seats & IFE (Inflight entertainment), installation of cargo pallets and associated safety equipment – and also the re-installation of the original passenger cabin elements for reverting back to passenger operations. The SB approach will also be valid beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.


Boeing

On April 30, 2020  Boeing  released the following Statement on the Bond Offering: “We’re pleased with the response to our bond offering today, which is one of several steps we’re taking to keep liquidity flowing through our business and the 17,000 companies in our industry’s supply chain. The robust demand for the offering reflects strong support for the long-term strength of Boeing and the aviation industry. It is also in part a result of the confidence in the market created by the CARES Act and federal support programs that have been put in place – a testament to the Administration, Congress and the Federal Reserve. As a result of the response, and pending the closure of this transaction expected Monday, May 4, we do not plan to seek additional funding through the capital markets or the U.S. government options at this time. The bond offering includes debt instruments with an aggregate principal amount of $25 billion across seven tranches with maturities ranging from three to 40 years. We will continue to assess our liquidity position as the health crisis and our dynamic business environment evolve.”

On April 30, 2020 Boeing conducted a productive and successful first flight of the second 777X airplane. Captain Ted Grady, 777X project pilot, and Captain Van Chaney, 777/777X chief pilot, flew for 2 hours and 58 minutes over Washington state before landing at Seattle’s Boeing Field at 2:02 p.m. Pacific. Designated WH002, this airplane is the second of four in a dedicated flight test fleet and will test handling characteristics and other aspects of airplane performance. An array of equipment, sensors and monitoring devices throughout the cabin allows the onboard team to document and evaluate the airplane’s response to test conditions in real time. The 777X test plan lays out a comprehensive series of tests and conditions on the ground and in the air to demonstrate the safety and reliability of the design. To date, crews have flown the first airplane nearly 100 hours at a variety of flap settings, speeds, altitudes and system settings as part of the initial evaluation of the flight envelope. With initial airworthiness now demonstrated, the team can safely add personnel to monitor testing onboard instead of relying solely on a ground-based telemetry station, unlocking testing at greater distances. The 777X includes the 777-8 and the 777-9, the newest members of Boeing’s market-leading widebody family. Below is a comparison between the dash 8 and dash 9:

  • Seat Count (Typical 2-class)
    777-8: 384 passengers
    777-9: 426 passengers
  • Engine
    GE9X, supplied by GE Aviation
  • Range
    777-8: 8,730 nautical miles (16,170 km)
    777-9: 7,285 nautical miles (13,500 km)
  • Wingspan
    Extended: 235 ft, 5 in (71.8 m)
    On ground: 212 ft, 8 in (64.8 m)
  • Length
    777-8: 229 ft (69.8 m)
    777-9: 251 ft, 9 in (76.7 m)
  • Program Launch: 2013
  • Production Start: 2017
  • Ground Testing: 2019
  • First Flight: January 25, 2020
  • First Delivery: 2021

Additionally, “BOEING announced plan to lower its number of employees by roughly 10% company wide, including 15% cut across its commercial airplanes and services businesses, as well as corporate functions.”

Lastly, the First Quarter Financial Results are listed below:

  • Financial results significantly impacted by COVID-19 and the 737 MAX grounding
  • Revenue of $16.9 billion, GAAP loss per share of ($1.11) and core (non-GAAP)* loss per share of ($1.70)
  • Operating cash flow of ($4.3) billion; cash and marketable securities of $15.5 billion
  • Total backlog of $439 billion, including over 5,000 commercial airplanes

Other News

As expected, our industry is continuing to contract as a result of the ongoing pressures from COVID-19. Today’s issue of IFExpress features announcements from industry vendors and OEMs about current and forecasted reductions in their work force. Airlines are starting to address what flying may look like with social distancing still in effect but after the Stay Home, Stay Safe orders are loosened. This is certain to be a continuing discussion in the weeks ahead. The IFExpress team will keep you appraised as this story continues to evolve.

Now let’s take a look at some of the announcements from the past seven days.


GOGO

Gogo announced that effective May 4, it will furlough approximately 60% of its workforce and reduce compensation for most other employees as part of a broad-based cost reduction plan due to the impact of COVID-19. The furloughs will impact more than 600 employees across all three of Gogo’s business segments. The time and duration of those furloughs will vary based on workload in individual departments. Salary reductions will begin at 30% for the CEO, then 20% for the executive leadership team, and feather down from there. In addition, Gogo’s Board of Directors has agreed to reduce their compensation by 30%. Certain types of employees, such as hourly workers, will not have their compensation reduced. Approximately 60% of Gogo’s revenue comes from its two commercial airline segments. Passenger traffic on commercial airlines using Gogo’s service has declined 95% this month compared to the prior year, resulting in a projected 60-70% reduction in sales for the month of April. The remaining 40% of Gogo’s revenue comes from its business aviation segment which has seen a sharp decrease in flight activity. Additionally, since many business aircraft are flying less frequently, there has been an increase in requests for one-month account suspensions and a dramatic decrease in new plan activations for the month of April. “The health and safety of our employees and customers is our first and most important priority, but the long-term health of our business is also a critical focus area,” said Oakleigh Thorne, president and CEO of Gogo. “In March, we announced 16 levers that we can employ to dramatically lower our costs in order to ensure our long-term viability, and we believe we are implementing the appropriate measures to accomplish that goal.”

In addition to personnel actions, the Gogo 16-lever plan includes, among other actions, renegotiating terms with suppliers, delaying aircraft equipment installations, deferring purchases of capital equipment, reducing marketing and travel expenses and eliminating non-essential spend. “We established best- and worst-case scenarios and action plans against the 16 levers based on market conditions against those scenarios,” Thorne said. “Based on where the market is today, we believe these personnel actions are necessary, and if conditions worsen, we have additional levers to pull if needed.”

Gogo also announced that it has applied for an $81 million grant and a $150 million loan under the recently enacted CARES Act. If Gogo receives government assistance, it will modify the personnel actions announced to comply with the terms of that assistance. Prior to this announcement, Gogo has already implemented several cost-cutting measures related to personnel, including a hiring freeze, suspension of 2020 merit salary increases, and deferral of the CEO’s 2019 bonus. Gogo had $216 million cash on hand as of the close of business on April 20, 2020, including $22 million drawn under its revolving credit facility.

Gogo intends to provide an update on its response to the pandemic and share further details on the steps it is taking to strengthen its financial position when it hosts its first quarter 2020 earnings conference call. “The impact of COVID-19 on air travel, and a challenging economy in general, mean we have to make tough decisions, including implementing these essential cost reductions,” said Thorne. “I am proud of our Gogo employees, who have risen to the challenge to ensure that our business continues to operate smoothly and effectively during this difficult time.”


BOEING

On April 21, 2020 Boeing announced key organization and leadership changes aimed at driving greater cross-company integration and continuous improvement; aligning enterprise services to current business conditions while increasing value; streamlining senior leadership roles and responsibilities; and preparing now for the post-pandemic industry footprint. The changes are effective May 1.

A newly formed group — Enterprise Operations, Finance & Strategy — will consolidate several important areas, bringing together teams responsible for manufacturing, supply chain and operations, finance, enterprise performance, strategy, enterprise services and administration. Led by Greg Smith, executive vice president, Enterprise Operations, and chief financial officer, this new global organization will embed operational excellence and consistent lean principles across Boeing and its supply chain, and restore production and supply chain health as Boeing and the broader aerospace industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Corporate Audit will join Smith’s new group and continue to report directly to the Boeing Board of Directors Audit Committee as it does today, providing independent, objective assurance and advisory services to improve company operations.

Jenette Ramos, senior vice president of Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Operations, will bring 34 years of Boeing experience, leadership and operational skills to a special assignment in support of Smith and Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun.

The company also is combining its legal and core compliance programs, including global trade controls, ethics and business conduct, into a single organization led by Brett Gerry, chief legal officer and executive vice president of Global Compliance. This approach will enhance Boeing’s already strong compliance and internal governance program through focused accountability for, and a more integrated approach to, Boeing compliance responsibilities. It also will help the company proactively address new legal and compliance obligations arising from an increasingly complex global regulatory environment.

To accelerate this important work and to build on the existing strength of its compliance and ethics program, Boeing soon will name a chief compliance officer who will be responsible for leading the company’s compliance, ethics and trade control activities. This person will report to Gerry, with a direct reporting line to Calhoun and the board’s Audit Committee on compliance and ethics issues.

Finally, Boeing Government Operations, led by Executive Vice President Tim Keating, will assume responsibility for the company’s Global Spectrum Management activities, which ensure the safe, efficient and compliant use of radio frequency spectrum in Boeing products and operations.

“I am confident these changes will drive greater alignment among our functions; better equip our commercial, defense and space, and services businesses to deliver on customer commitments in a changing marketplace; and support our continuous efforts to develop talent through challenging leadership assignments,” said Calhoun. “Special thanks to Greg, Brett, Tim and Jenette for taking on new leadership responsibilities.”

Coinciding with these organization changes, Diana Sands, senior vice president of the Office of Internal Governance and Administration, has decided to retire from Boeing later this year after nearly 20 years with the company and following a thorough transition of responsibilities. “Over the past two decades, Diana has played a key role in developing an industry-leading ethics and compliance program, served in several critical finance roles and been a strong advocate for advancing diversity and inclusion across the company,” said Calhoun. “The Boeing Board of Directors and I are deeply grateful for Diana’s leadership, integrity and dedicated service.”

Also from Boeing: 

On April 25th the company announced that it has terminated its Master Transaction Agreement (MTA) with Embraer, under which the two companies sought to establish a new level of strategic partnership. The parties had planned to create a joint venture comprising Embraer’s commercial aviation business and a second joint venture to develop new markets for the C-390 Millennium medium airlift and air mobility aircraft. Under the MTA, April 24, 2020, was the initial termination date, subject to extension by either party if certain conditions were met. Boeing exercised its rights to terminate after Embraer did not satisfy the necessary conditions. “Boeing has worked diligently over more than two years to finalize its transaction with Embraer. Over the past several months, we had productive but ultimately unsuccessful negotiations about unsatisfied MTA conditions. We all aimed to resolve those by the initial termination date, but it didn’t happen,” said Marc Allen, president of Embraer Partnership & Group Operations. “It is deeply disappointing. But we have reached a point where continued negotiation within the framework of the MTA is not going to resolve the outstanding issues.”

The planned partnership between Boeing and Embraer had received unconditional approval from all necessary regulatory authorities, with the exception of the European Commission.

Boeing and Embraer will maintain their existing Master Teaming Agreement, originally signed in 2012 and expanded in 2016, to jointly market and support the C-390 Millennium military aircraft.

Lastly, Boeing Dreamlifter Transports 1.5M Face Masks for COVID-19 Response

  • Partnered with Prisma Health, Atlas Air and Discommon Founder Neil Ferrier to bring 1.5 million medical face masks to healthcare professionals in South Carolina
  • Boeing Dreamlifter becomes the largest aircraft ever to land at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport
  • Additional airlift transport missions with the Boeing Dreamlifter and ecoDemonstrator are planned in the future

OTHER NEWS

Letter from the Editor

The stay-at-home orders have affected millions of people, resulting in unprecedented unemployment rates in the U.S. and Europe, which are rising higher and faster than they ever have before. Compared to a year ago, the global aircraft capacity in available seat-miles is currently down by approximately 59%. Add to this that IATA is forecasting airline losses to exceed $252 billion, which could easily be revised upward in the next few weeks. The understatement of the week is that COVID-19 is having a devastating effect on our industry.

Damage has been done, much like what we experienced after September 11, 2001, and the financial crisis of 2008 – but on an even greater, global scale and we may well have past the point of a V-shaped recovery. As those events changed how governments, businesses, and the public functioned; so will this forever change us as well.

What might we expect these changes to look like? It is not unreasonable to expect new procedures to be put into place to manage the risk of reinfection: body temperature scanners at airports, immunization passports for travelers on every flight – much like today’s security screening but focused on the traveler’s health. After 9/11 it took the flying public almost a decade to adjust to the changes in travel and accept the ‘new normal’. So it is not unrealistic to expect that it will take a while for passengers to embrace the travel process post COVID-19.

Also, virtual meetings are becoming part of everyone’s lives – even those who are the most technologically challenged seem to be using applications like Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, etc. to fill the need to socialize. I am willing to bet that each of you has used one or more of these in the past week to stay connected with friends, family, and colleagues. For work, the virtual meeting has become business as usual right now and we are all discovering, out of necessity, how easy and useful these video conferences can be. This will undoubtedly contribute to a slower uptake in passenger traffic growth once things begin to return to ‘normal’, or should I say, the new normal.

The pandemic has also had an impact on the number of aircraft anticipated to be in service in 2021. The forecast is there will be 1,200 fewer jetliners flying than last year (2019). This is also going to impact the number of pilots, maintenance technicians, flight crew, attendants, etc. needed.

This is all a vivid reminder that aviation has, and always will be, a cyclical business. Historically, with each upturn in the cycle, our industry grows, renews and often performs better than it did before. This is what we need to keep focused on right now. The only big question we currently face is how long will this down turn last?

Stay Home, Stay Healthy – Tricia

Patricia Wiseman – Editor, Publisher & Co-Founder


SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct (SD), the business aviation solutions provider, is launching a new webinar series to ensure customers remain continually informed and updated about SD products, services and partner relationships. Grouped by product category, the inaugural webinars will explain the latest SD updates and product enhancements by delivering content created in direct response to customer queries and information requests. The agendas incorporate themes that are relevant and essential for effective management of flight operations and aim to improve customer understanding of the extensive SD Xperience portfolio. Each webinar will also detail how to maximize new and existing products in dynamic, unpredictable operating environments to effectively manage evolving situations. The first four workshops are scheduled as follows:

  • 21 April, 13:00 UTC – SD Connectivity: detailing network and service updates along with SD partner information.
  • 05 May, 13:00 UTC – SD Hardware: updates on router, modem and antenna products and how best to select and optimize them.
  • 19 May, 13:00 UTC – FlightDeck Freedom®: latest on datalink services supporting mandatory requirements for the flight deck.
  • 02 June, 13:00 UTC – SD PostFlight and SD Pro®: updates on platform functionality and optional third party integration.

The one-hour webinars will be delivered online to registered SD clients by an SD subject matter expert. Materials will be conveyed through presentations, graphics and interactive tools and are designed to stimulate participation and discussion, whilst allowing customers to address individual needs and queries. For customers unable to participate, the webinars will be available for review through the SD Learning Management System (LMS) portal after each workshop.


GALGUS

IFExpress received an email from Jose Gonzalez, CEO & Co-Founder of Galgus. Galgus is part of the Wi-Fi community and works in the IFEC industry with VT Miltope on their CHT (Cognitive Hotspot Technology). Galgus has put together a YouTube video show casing how important Wi-Fi is and how the technology is facilitating working, studying, entertaining and engaging remotely during this pandemic. We thought we would share their tribute and recognition with you, our readers. Can you imagine this quarantine without #WiFi? – YouTube


COLLINS AEROSPACE

Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp., recently announced Troy Brunk has been named president, Interiors, reporting to Collins Aerospace president Stephen Timm. He succeeds Dave Nieuwsma, who was recently named president, Avionics, for Collins Aerospace. In his new role, Brunk leads a broad portfolio of aircraft interior systems for seating, lighting, galley, oxygen, passenger service, evacuation, de-icing, lavatory, waste and potable water for commercial and military customers around the globe. Brunk’s 27-years with Collins Aerospace has included leadership roles of increasing responsibility. Most recently he served as vice president and general manager for the Communication, Navigation & Guidance Solutions portfolio for the company’s Mission Systems business. In this role, Brunk oversaw a broad portfolio of military applications and solutions, ranging from communication and navigation, to actuation and guidance, and health and fuel sensing systems. Brunk also served as vice president and general manager for Airborne Solutions, where he oversaw the avionics and flight deck solutions for military fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.


VALOUR

Valour Consultancy, an independent provider of market intelligence services to firms in the global aerospace and maritime markets, is delighted to reveal that it has been honored with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. The company is one of a select group of organizations nationally to be recognized with the accolade, which is the highest official UK award available to British businesses. Valour’s award is given for outstanding achievement in the category of International Trade after increasing its overseas sales by an incredible 157 per cent over the last three years.

“It goes without saying that we are immensely proud of this achievement, which is the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice in establishing Valour as a reputable source of business intelligence” said co-founders, Joshua Flood, Craig Foster and Daniel Welch. The trio also expressed their gratitude to those that have supported the company’s phenomenal growth in recent years. “This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff who have consistently delivered outstanding results and often make themselves available at all hours to answer client enquiries. We’d also like to give a special mention to those companies located around the world that continue to have faith in us to provide them with the means to make more informed business decisions, even in these uncertain times”. Valour Consultancy is headquartered just outside of Grantham in the United Kingdom and maintains additional offices in London, as well as in Melbourne, which is home to its subsidiary, Valour Consultancy Australia. Since its founding in 2012, the firm has become a trusted provider of insight and analysis to many of the world’s largest companies. This includes aircraft manufacturers, large global satellite operators, multinational service providers and a range of the world’s best-known airlines.

Valour Consultancy will celebrate the award during a royal reception for Queen’s Awards winners and intends to host its own celebration later in the year.


LUFTHANSA

#WeAreInThisTogether is Lufthansa’s motto in these unusual times and the carrier is setting a sign to express its bond with the airline’s passengers: Frequent flyers who considerably contribute to the airline’s success get access to all the digital publications that they usually are only provided with when flying. Media Carrier as a leading provider of digital content supports this initiative, providing its technical platform and content for this initiative. Frequent flyers get an access to 781 newspapers and magazines from around the world and enjoy digital reading. The portfolio meets every taste, containing business papers, lifestyle publications, regional newspapers and international magazines, and offers daily inspiration and entertainment. All publications can easily be downloaded in pdf format to any digital device and are then available to read for an unlimited period of time. Apart from free offers, users can also buy publications.


AIRBUS

Airbus SE shareholders approved all resolutions on the agenda for its 2020 Annual General Meeting, including the election of two new directors, while René Obermann formally succeeded Denis Ranque as Chairman at a Board meeting immediately afterwards. Owing to the global coronavirus outbreak, shareholders were encouraged to vote by proxy instead of attending the AGM physically in Amsterdam, in line with public health and safety measures. Shareholders showed a very high level of voting and strong engagement despite the COVID-19 situation, with 575 million votes expressed, up 5% compared to the 2019 AGM and representing around 74% of the outstanding share capital. On 23 March, Airbus announced that it was withdrawing a voting item from the original AGM agenda related to the proposed payment of the 2019 dividend. The withdrawal of the dividend proposal was one of a number of measures announced by the Company to bolster liquidity and its balance sheet in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Following shareholder approval, Mark Dunkerley and Stephan Gemkow each joined the Board as non-executive directors for a period of three years. Dunkerley has extensive experience of the commercial airline and aviation industry and is currently a Member of the Board of Spirit Airlines, Inc., while Gemkow is a Member of the Board of Amadeus IT Group and a former airline executive with 22 years at Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

The mandates of non-executive directors Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. and Lord Drayson (Paul) were each renewed for three years. Denis Ranque and Hermann-Josef Lamberti both stepped down as planned from the Board and its committees at the close of the AGM. At the meeting immediately following the AGM, the Board approved the planned appointment of René Obermann as Chairman of the Board of Directors. In April 2019, Airbus announced that Obermann had been selected by the Board to succeed Denis Ranque as Chairman. As previously stated, Denis Ranque asked to leave the Board to pursue other interests when his mandate expired at the close of the 2020 AGM, following seven years as Chairman. “It has been a great honour to serve Airbus as Chairman these past years and I extend my best wishes to René, the Board and the Company as a whole,” said outgoing Airbus Chairman Denis Ranque. “I’d also like to thank shareholders for their support along these years and today for having voted through these important AGM resolutions at a very high level despite the COVID-19 outbreak. With a renewed management team, under Guillaume’s strong leadership, and an experienced Board, your Company is in good hands as it heads into its sixth decade.”


BOEING

Boeing will resume all Commercial Airplanes production in a phased approach at its Puget Sound-region facilities this week, after suspending operations last month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At all of its sites, the company has taken extra precautions and instituted comprehensive procedures to keep people safe and fight the spread of COVID-19.

“The health and safety of our employees, their families and communities is our shared priority,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and senior executive in the Pacific Northwest. “This phased approach ensures we have a reliable supply base, our personal protective equipment is readily available and we have all of the necessary safety measures in place to resume essential work for our customers.”

Approximately 27,000 people in the Puget Sound area will return to production of the 747, 767, 777 and 787 programs, supporting critical global transportation infrastructure, cargo services and national defense and security missions. The 737 program will resume working toward restarting production of the 737 MAX. Boeing South Carolina remains in a suspension of operations at this time. Earlier this week Boeing restarted mostly defense production operations in the region with approximately 2,500 people. Employees in the Puget Sound for the 737, 747, 767 and 777 will return as early as third shift on April 20 with most returning to work by April 21. Employees for the 787 program will return as early as third shift April 23, with most returning to work by April 24.
The company’s practices reinforce enhanced cleaning, employee health and physical distancing in partnership with employees. Aligned with federal and state guidance, these practices include:

  • Staggered shift start times to reduce the flow of employees arriving and departing work
  • Visual controls such as floor markings and signage to create physical distance
  • Face coverings will be a requirement for employees at Boeing sites in Washington. Employees are strongly encouraged to bring in their own procedural mask or face covering; those who do not have a mask available will be provided with one.
  • Providing required personal protective equipment to employees working in areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained for an extended period
  • Asking employees to perform self-health checks before coming to work and to stay home if they are ill
  • Employee wellness checks at the beginning of every shift and voluntary temperature screening at many manufacturing locations
  • Contact tracing when an employee tests positive for COVID-19 to reduce risk to teammates
  • Continued virtual meetings and employees who can work from home will continue to do
  • Transportation and common areas adjusted for physical distancing
  • Hand-washing stations in high-traffic areas and additional cleaning supplies available

Enhanced measures will continue until conditions allow for a return to regular work and cleaning processes. Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance on COVID-19, assess impact on company operations and adjust plans as the situation evolves.

Boeing completed its first COVID-19 transport mission, using a 737-700 aircraft from its corporate fleet to bring personal protective equipment (PPE) from China to the United States. Working in partnership with FIRST Robotics Founder Dean Kamen, the company transported 540,000 medical-grade face masks that will be delivered to healthcare professionals battling COVID-19 in New Hampshire. Kamen, who has a longstanding relationship with Boeing through FIRST Robotics, is also a founder of DEKA Research and Development Corporation. “Another life-saving delivery of PPE has arrived in New Hampshire,” said Governor Chris Sununu.

Boeing continues to support local communities and the heroic healthcare professionals working tirelessly to stop the spread of COVID-19. Additional airlift transport missions with the Boeing Dreamlifter and ecoDemonstrator are planned in the future. Boeing is coordinating closely with U.S. government officials on how to best assist areas with the greatest need. “I want to personally thank Governor Sununu, the entire New Hampshire congressional delegation and Dean Kamen for their leadership in helping secure and distribute this much-needed personal protective equipment for our frontline healthcare workers and first responders here in New Hampshire,” said Dave Calhoun, Boeing president and CEO. “We are honored to have conducted today’s airlift mission and we look forward to providing continued support in the fight against this pandemic.”

Also from Boeing: Brazil’s GOL reached agreement with Boeing on financial compensation related to 737 MAX grounding and then they cancelled 34 of their remaining 129 MAXs on order.


OTHER NEWS

“Overall, it could be a very bad year for the economy,” Ben Bernanke said. “The U.S. economy could shrink 30% or more this quarter as stay-at-home orders aimed at slowing the coronavirus outbreak choke off business.” Unfortunately, this scenario is not limited to the U.S.  – for the most part it is a global issue facing a broad spectrum of businesses, including aviation. We continue to see a reduction in activity in the aviation sector, primarily due to the decrease in demand for air travel due to COVID-19 and it looks like this may well be the trend for a good part of 2020. Many airlines have parked/stored the majority of their fleet, some routes are flown with a handful of passengers – if the carrier is lucky, and airframers are looking at order cancellations and reduced aircraft deliveries for 1Q20. It goes without saying that our industry is undergoing a radical change and all sectors within it are bracing for the trickle-down effect on their businesses. In fact, one of the major IFEC vendors has reduced their staff by 200+ people in the last week – most likely the first of many companies to do so. The IFExress team will endeavor to keep you appraised of the latest developments, so stay tuned.


AIRBUS
After a solid commercial and industrial performance at the beginning of the year, Airbus is now revising its production rates downwards to adapt to the new Coronavirus market environment.

In Q1 2020, Airbus booked 290 net commercial aircraft orders and delivered 122 aircraft. A further 60 aircraft were produced during the quarter, highlighting the solid industrial performance, however they remain undelivered due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

36 aircraft were delivered in March across the different aircraft families, down from 55 in February 2020. This reflects customer requests to defer deliveries, as well as other factors related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The new average production rates going forward have been set as follows:
● A320 to rate 40 per month
● A330 to rate 2 per month
● A350 to rate 6 per month

This represents a reduction of the pre-coronavirus average rates of roughly one third. With these new rates, Airbus preserves its ability to meet customer demand while protecting its ability to further adapt as the global market evolves.

Airbus is working in coordination with its social partners to define the most appropriate social measures to adapt to this new and evolving situation. Airbus is also addressing a short-term cash containment plan as well as its longer-term cost structure.

“The impact of this pandemic is unprecedented. At Airbus, protecting our people and supporting the fight against the virus are our chief priorities at this time. We are in constant dialogue with our customers and supply chain partners as we are all going through these difficult times together”, said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury. “Our airline customers are heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. We are actively adapting our production to their new situation and working on operational and financial mitigation measures to face reality.”

In its effort to support the fight against the COVID-19, Airbus has carried out extensive work in coordination with social partners to ensure the health and safety of its employees. This has been achieved by implementing new stringent work standards and processes. Airbus is contributing to the development, sourcing and ferrying of medical equipment, including facemasks and ventilators, in support of medical health services.


BOEING

Today (April 14, 2020), Boeing announced their 1Q 2020 deliveries for commercial aircraft, which totaled 50 jetliners – compared to 149 in 1Q 2019. The 50 aircraft were comprised of the following: five 737s, zero 747s, ten 767s, six 777s, and twenty-nine 787s.

The company has also been hit by an additional 75 737 MAX cancellations from Irish leasing company Avolon, bringing the total number of jetliners removed from the company’s order book in March to 300+ aircraft as airlines adjust their fleets in response to COVID-19.

Also, Boeing will deliver the first set of reusable 3D-printed face shields to support healthcare professionals working to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) accepted the initial shipment of 2,300 face shields this morning. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will deliver the shields to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, which has been established as an alternate care site to treat patients with COVID-19. Boeing is set to produce thousands more face shields per week, gradually increasing production output to meet the growing need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the United States. Distribution of additional face shields will be coordinated with HHS and FEMA based on immediate needs. Boeing is producing face shields with additive manufacturing machines at company sites in:

  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • China Lake, El Segundo, and Huntington Beach, California
  • Puget Sound region of Washington State
  • Mesa, Arizona
  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Portland, Oregon

Boeing subsidiaries Argon ST in Smithfield, Pennsylvania, and Aurora Flight Sciences in Bridgeport, West Virginia, are also participating in this project. Solvay, a long-time Boeing supplier, provided the clear film for the face shields. Another supplier, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, donated the elastic used for the adjustable headband. Face shield production and donations are part of a larger Boeing effort to leverage company and employee resources to aid with COVID-19 recovery and relief efforts. To date, the company has donated tens of thousands of units of PPE – including face masks, goggles, gloves, safety glasses and protective bodysuits – to support healthcare professionals battling COVID-19 in some of the hardest-hit locations in the United States. Boeing has also offered use of its unique airlift capabilities, including the Boeing Dreamlifter, to help transport critical and urgently needed supplies to healthcare professionals. The company is coordinating closely with government officials on how best to provide airlift support. “Boeing is proud to stand alongside many other great American companies in the fight against COVID-19, and we are dedicated to supporting our local communities, especially our frontline healthcare professionals, during this unprecedented time,” said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun. “History has proven that Boeing is a company that rises to the toughest challenges with people who are second to none. Today, we continue that tradition, and we stand ready to assist the federal government’s response to this global pandemic.”


OTHER NEWS

Geneva | April 7, 2020– The International Air Transport Association has released  new analysis showing that some 25 million jobs are at risk of disappearing with plummeting demand for air travel amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Globally, the livelihoods of some 65.5 million people are dependent on the aviation industry, including sectors such as travel and tourism. Among these are 2.7 million airlines jobs. In a scenario of severe travel restrictions lasting for three months, IATA research calculates that 25 million jobs in aviation and related sectors are endangered across the world:

  • 11.2 million jobs in Asia-Pacific
  • 5.6 million jobs in Europe
  • 2.9 million jobs in Latin America
  • 2.0 million jobs in North America
  • 2.0 million jobs in Africa
  • 0.9 million jobs in the Middle East

In the same scenario, airlines are expected to see full year passenger revenues fall by $252 billion (-44%) in 2020 compared to 2019. The second quarter is the most critical with demand falling 70% at its worst point, and airlines burning through $61 billion in cash.

Airlines are calling on governments to provide immediate financial aid to help airlines to remain viable businesses able to lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained. Specifically, IATA calls for:

  • Direct financial support
  • Loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market
  • Tax relief

“There are no words to adequately describe the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the airline industry. And the economic pain will be shared by 25 million people who work in jobs dependent upon airlines. Airlines must be viable businesses so that they can lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained. A lifeline to the airlines now is critical,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Looking Ahead: Re-booting the Industry

Alongside vital financial relief, the industry will also need careful planning and coordination to ensure that airlines are ready when the pandemic is contained.

“We have never shuttered the industry on this scale before. Consequently, we have no experience in starting it up. It will be complicated. At the practical level, we will need contingencies for licenses and certifications that have expired. We will have to adapt operations and processes to avoid reinfections via imported cases. And we must find a predictable and efficient approach to managing travel restrictions which need to be lifted before we can get back to work. These are just some of the major tasks that are ahead of us. And to be successful, industry and government must be aligned and working together,” said de Juniac.

IATA is scoping a comprehensive approach to re-booting the industry when governments and public health authorities allow. A multi-stakeholder approach will be essential. One initial step is a series of virtual meetings—or summits—on a regional basis, bringing together governments and industry stakeholders. The main objectives will be:

  • Understanding what is needed to re-open closed borders, and
  • Agreeing solutions that can be operationalized and scaled efficiently

“We are not expecting to re-start the same industry that we closed a few weeks ago. Airlines will still connect the world. And we will do that through a variety of business models. But the industry processes will need to adapt. We must get on with this work quickly. We don’t want to repeat the mistakes made after 9.11 when many new processes were imposed in an uncoordinated way. We ended up with a mess of measures that we are still sorting out today. The 25 million people whose jobs are at risk by this crisis will depend on an efficient re-start of the industry,” said de Juniac.

Summit dates are being confirmed in the expectation of a start before the end of April.

Today’s Rectangle: IFPL’s Bluetooth Technology Embedded in a Seat Arm Cap.


Hi, it’s Tricia! The IFExpress team just wanted to reach out to the IFEC community and our readers during this crazy time that we all are going through. If there is any news or coverage we can give your company, products and/or services don’t hesitate to contact us – we are here to help get your message out. Direct all inquiries to my attention at plwiseman@gmail.com. Through team work our industry will weather this storm. Stay healthy and stay safe.


IFPL

Even in these challenging times, IFPL never fails to amaze us with their innovative approaches. This time, the peripherals experts have given us a ‘virtual product tour’ of what we would have seen at their booth this past week if AIX Hamburg 2020 had not been canceled. Let’s delve into their virtual tour:

Virtual AIX 2020 Day 1:

Ad Power – this product is an innovative way to provide passengers with in-seat USB power that can be monetized by the airlines.

When a PED (personal electronic device) is connected to the seat USB, the solution activates pop-up advertising if the passenger hasn’t purchased power prior to boarding. This is an opportunity for additional ancillary revenue for the airline. Battery anxiety is a recognized growing area of potential stress for travelers and onboard USB power offers passengers a solution to this issue.

Virtual AIX 2020 Day 2:

Day 2 of the virtual tour focused on integration innovations. IFPL is continually looking for new areas to implement passenger connectivity as airline seats continue to get smaller and lighter. The company has introduced its own Bluetooth technology into the top of the seat arm cap (super cool and it is today’s cover image)! Another innovation is placing two reversible USB-A connectors into the rear of the seat arm. One of the primary advantages of having USB ports in this location is that power can be provided without having to worry about the depth available within the seat back. And the USB ports can still be accessed even if the arm is lifted!

Virtual AIX 2020 Day 3:

IFPL understands that modifying a seat is not always an option. With this in mind they have developed under seat solutions which can be attached to the spar with no modifications required!

This is a simple and elegant solution for implementing power under the seat. In fact, the seat spar carrier can be adapted for different power outlets but still maintain a standardized design language. Here is an example of a low profile rapid fit unit that can easily be removed while leaving the carrier in place.

Thanks IFPL! We can’t wait to experience these innovations in person and look forward to seeing the Isle of Wight Team at the next IFEC Expo.

If you want to learn more about IFPL’s product innovations before the next conference contact them via email at innovate@ifpl.com


GOGO CHALLENGES SMARTSKY PATENT

The business division of Gogo has submitted a petitionto the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office requesting an inter partes review of U.S. Patent No. 9,312,947 (“the ‘947 patent”) granted to SmartSky Networks, LLC.

An inter partes review re-examines the caims in a patent to determine whether or not they are valid.

“We strongly believe that the ‘947 patent granted to SmartSky is not valid,” said Sergio Aguirre, president Gogo Business Aviation. “We have submitted evidence of published materials clearly showing that well before SmartSky asserts to have invented the concepts in the ‘947 patent, others had conceived of the claimed subject matter. Further, we believe there are many of SmartSky’s patents that are not valid. This is only one of many patents we could have challenged in a patent review.”


AIRBUS

Airbus continues to purchase and supply millions of face masks from China, the large majority of which will be donated to governments of the Airbus home countries, namely France, Germany, Spain and the UK. An Airbus flight test crew has just completed its latest mission with an A350-1000 test aircraft. This is the third of such missions between Europe and China. The aircraft returned to France with a cargo of 4 million face masks on Sunday 5 April. The A350-1000 left Toulouse, France, on Friday 3 April, reaching the Airbus site in Tianjin, China on 4 April and returning to Hamburg the same day. Since mid-March, the previous two missions were performed by and A330-800, and A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). Airbus also deployed an A400M and its Beluga fleet to transport shipments of masks between its European sites, in France, Germany, the UK and Spain. Airbus will continue to support the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic wherever possible. “I would like to pay tribute to all the Airbus teams, globally, supporting the fight against COVID-19. They’re living our values in assisting those who are saving lives every day”, said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO. ” Airbus is focused on the health and safety of its employees and supporting its customers and the industry eco-system with business continuity. At the same time Airbus is contributing to many vital public and private services and working with partners who rely on aircraft, helicopters, space and security solutions to carry out life-saving missions in support of the global pandemic. Airbus is deploying its employees, their expertise and know-how and leveraging technology in this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, for example in designing and manufacturing ventilators and 3D printed visors which are critical resources for hospitals. The Company is partnering with other organizations in unprecedented ways to achieve this goal as fast as possible

Airbus SE is closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation worldwide and is in constant dialogue with its customers, suppliers and institutional partners. Airbus is in the process of assessing the implications of the pandemic on its operations and the potential mitigation measures that could be implemented. The Company will not provide further comment at this stage.

Skytra:

Skytra, the new Airbus’ venture for airline risk management, and Exactpro Systems, a specialist independent software quality assurance firm, sign a Master Services Agreement.

  • The software testing collaboration between Skytra and Exactpro will provide the stakeholders with additional confidence in the quality of Skytra’s derivatives trading platform prior to go-live in a transparent, regulated and secure environment.
  • Skytra Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Airbus based in London. It was established in 2019 to produce new air travel indices and to launch and operate a regulated trading venue. Skytra works in close partnership with air travel and financial market experts to develop new risk management instruments for the benefit of the entire air travel industry.

BOEING

Boeing will temporarily suspend all 787 operations at Boeing South Carolina (BSC) until further notice, starting at the end of second shift on Wednesday, April 8. This impacts the Airport Campus, Emergent Operations, Interiors Responsibility Center South Carolina and Propulsion South Carolina. “It is our commitment to focus on the health and safety of our teammates while assessing the spread of the virus across the state, its impact on the reliability of our global supply chain and that ripple effect on the 787 program,” said Brad Zaback, vice president and general manager of the 787 Program and BSC site leader. “We are working in alignment with state and local government officials and public health officials to take actions that best protect our people.” BSC teammates who can work remotely will continue to do so. Those who cannot work remotely will receive paid leave for 10 working days of the suspension, which is double the company policy. After 10 days, teammates will have the option to use a combination of available paid time off benefits or file for emergency state unemployment benefits. All benefits will continue as normal during the suspension of operations, regardless of how teammates choose to record their time. Pay practice details have been made available to all teammates. During this time of suspension on the 787 program, Boeing will continue to conduct enhanced cleaning activities at the site and monitor the global supply chain as the situation evolves. When the suspension is lifted, the 787 program will take an orderly approach to restarting production with a focus on safety, quality, integrity and meeting customer commitments.

Boeing is extending the temporary suspension of production operations at all Puget Sound area and Moses Lake sites until further notice. These actions are being taken in light of the company’s continuing focus on the health and safety of employees, current assessment of the spread of COVID-19 in Washington state, the reliability of the supply chain and additional recommendations from government health authorities. During the suspension, the company will continue to implement additional health and safety measures at its facilities to protect employees. These measures include new visual cues to encourage physical distancing, more frequent and thorough cleaning of work and common areas and staggering shift times to reduce the flow of employees arriving and departing work, among many other improvements. “The health and safety of our employees, their families and our communities is our shared priority,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal. “We will take this time to continue to listen to our incredible team and assess applicable government direction, the spread of the coronavirus in the community and the reliability of our suppliers to ensure we are ready for a safe and orderly return to operations.” The volunteers who have been supporting essential site and services work should continue to report to their assigned shifts. Puget Sound area and Moses Lake employees who can work from home should continue to do so. As the suspension of operations continues, Boeing will monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and associated impact on all company operations. Boeing sites that remain open are being monitored and assessed on a daily basis.


OTHER NEWS

COVID-19

Geneva | April 2, 2020–The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic data for February 2020 showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) fell 14.1% compared to February 2019. This was the steepest decline in traffic since 9.11 and reflected collapsing domestic travel in China and sharply falling international demand to/from and within the Asia-Pacific region, owing to the spreading COVID-19 virus and government-imposed travel restrictions. February capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) fell 8.7% as airlines scrambled to trim capacity in line with plunging traffic, and load factor fell 4.8 percentage points to 75.9%.

“Airlines were hit by a sledgehammer called COVID-19 in February. Borders were closed in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. And the impact on aviation has left airlines with little to do except cut costs and take emergency measures in an attempt to survive in these extraordinary circumstances. The 14.1% global fall in demand is severe, but for carriers in Asia-Pacific the drop was 41%. And it has only grown worse. Without a doubt this is the biggest crisis that the industry has ever faced,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

International Passenger Markets

February international passenger demand fell 10.1% compared to February 2019, the worst outcome since the 2003 SARS outbreak and a reversal from the 2.6% traffic increase recorded in January. Europe and Middle East were the only regions to see a year-over-year traffic rise. Capacity fell 5.0%, and load factor plunged 4.2 percentage points to 75.3%.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ February traffic plummeted 30.4% compared to the year-ago period, steeply reversing a 3.0% gain recorded in January. Capacity fell 16.9% and load factor collapsed to 67.9%, a 13.2-percentage point drop compared to February 2019.

European carriers’ February demand was virtually flat compared to a year ago (+0.2%), the region’s weakest performance in a decade. The slowdown was driven by routes to/from Asia, where the growth rate slowed by 25 percentage points in February, versus January. Demand  in markets within Europe performed solidly despite some initial flight suspensions on the routes to/from Italy. However, March data will reflect the impact of the spread of the virus across Europe and the related disruptions to travel. February capacity rose 0.7%, and load factor slipped 0.4 percentage point to 82.0%, which was the highest among regions.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 1.6% traffic increase in February, a slowdown from the 5.3% year-over-year growth reported in January largely owing to a slowdown on Middle East-Asia-Pacific routes. Capacity increased by 1.3%, and load factor edged up 0.2 percentage point to 72.6%. 

North American carriers had a 2.8% traffic decline in February, reversing a 2.9% gain in January, as international entry restrictions hit home and volumes on Asia-North America routes plunged 30%. Capacity fell 1.5%, and load factor dropped 1.0 percentage point to 77.7%.

Latin American airlines experienced a 0.4% demand drop in February compared to the same month last year. This actually was an improvement over the 3.5% decline recorded in January. However, the spread of the virus and resulting travel restrictions will be reflected in March results. Capacity also fell 0.4% and load factor was flat compared to February 2019 at 81.3%.

African airlines’ traffic slipped 1.1% in February, versus a 5.6% traffic increase recorded in January and the weakest outcome since 2015. The decline was driven by around a 35% year-on-year traffic fall in the Africa-Asia market. Capacity rose 4.8%, however, and load factor sagged 3.9 percentage points to 65.7%, lowest among regions.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Demand for domestic travel dropped 20.9% in February compared to February 2019, as Chinese domestic market collapsed in the face of the government lockdown. Domestic capacity fell 15.1% and load factor dropped 5.6 percentage points to 77.0%.

Chinese airlines’ domestic traffic fell 83.6% in February, the worst outcome since IATA began tracking the market in 2000. With the easing of some restrictions on internal travel in March, domestic demand is showing some tentative signs of improvement.

US airlines enjoyed one of their strongest months in February, as domestic traffic jumped 10.1%. Demand fell  toward the end of the month, however, with the full impact of COVID-19 expected to show in March results.

The Bottom Line

“This is aviation’s darkest hour and it is difficult to see a sunrise ahead unless governments do more to support the industry through this unprecedented global crisis. We are grateful to those that have stepped up with relief measures, but many more need to do so. Our most recent analysis shows that airlines may burn through $61 billion of their cash reserves during the second quarter ending 30 June 2020. This includes $35 billion in sold-but-unused tickets as a result of massive flight cancellations owing to government-imposed travel restrictions. We welcome the actions of those regulators who have relaxed rules so as to permit airlines to issue travel vouchers in lieu of refunds for unused tickets; and we urge others to do the same. Air transport will play a much-needed role in supporting the inevitable recovery. But without additional government action today, the industry will not be in a position to help when skies are brighter tomorrow,” said de Juniac.

Read the full report for February 2020 (pdf)

Today’s Image: the new Airbus A330-200 MRTT air-bridge flight between Europe and China delivering additional face mask supplies to support the COVID-19 crisis.


ECLIPSE GLOBAL CONNECTIVITY & DISPLAY INTERACTIVE

Eclipse Global Connectivity and Display Interactive have signed a strategic agreement to provide end-to-end Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions to airlines and business aviation operators worldwide. The agreement, which came into effect on March 15, 2020, sees Eclipse Global Connectivity taking an equity position in Display Interactive (DI) and becoming their first industry-based shareholder.

“This agreement brings our relationship to a new level,” said Marc Pinault, CEO Eclipse Global Connectivity. “We have a long-standing relationship with Display Interactive and we are con – dent that our respective partners and customers will see an immediate benefit from this partnership. We are combining the quality and flexibility of DI’s proven wireless solution for air- lines with the technical, design and security expertise of our own connectivity systems, plus our long-time engineering and certification know-how. As a result, we can o er a comprehensive IFE solution to our customers.”

Highlighting the value that the partnership will bring to airline operators, Display Interactive’s CEO, Tarek El Mitwalli says, “Over the past 18 months, Display Interactive has invested heavily in the transformation of its wireless entertainment solution into an engagement and ancillary plat- form—focused on revenue generation. Adding connectivity will multiply revenue opportunities and open new business models for airlines.”

Eclipse Global Connectivity and Display Interactive are creating a one-stop shop for airlines, to streamline the implementation process, roll-out and service operation. Airlines, including Qatar Airways, Corsair International, and the former Joon / Air France, rely on DI’s solutions. British Airways, Philippine Airlines, and Ethiopian airlines, among others, y with Eclipse Technics, the aircraft modification arm of Eclipse Global Connectivity, solutions on board. Leveraging this expertise in technical design, kit manufacturing, STCs and engineering studies, both companies will o er an end-to-end inflight entertainment and connectivity solution under a single point of contact and a unique SLA (Service Level Agreement), reducing costs and delays.

Intending to demonstrate immediate benefits, Eclipse Global Connectivity and DI are launching a new entity based in Shanghai, China, which will be jointly operated under a new name. The company will commence operations in mid-2020, the schedule slightly impacted by the CO- VID-19 pandemic.

The new company will provide a customized, localized version of the complete Eclipse Global Connectivity and Display Interactive IFEC solution, fully integrated into the Chinese aero and digital ecosystems.

“Our main goal is to serve Chinese airlines directly in-country,” observed Thierry Carmes, COO at DI. “This means customizing our solution to fully meet airline- and business-partner-specific requirements, as well as supporting their programs and operations locally on a day-to-day basis. We are keen to demonstrate that our IFEC model will work in China—with the same benefits and performance as elsewhere. This is an invigorating challenge, and a deep motivation for our local teams, particularly since many connectivity programs have not yet delivered expected results.”

“Airline demand for airborne connectivity in China is growing, but not satisfied yet,” explained Marc Pinault. “Our strategy is to bring solutions that are already in common use in Europe or the Middle East, and deliver them with the Chinese operator and passenger specifically in mind. Our shared intention is to adapt and to become an integral part of the Chinese IFEC ecosystem.”

Display Interactive and Eclipse Global Connectivity are looking forward to providing cost-effective, innovative IFEC solutions that generate ancillary revenues, and being ready for when the aviation industry ramps-up service again in a few months. Their overriding aim is to offer a complete off-the-shelf solution from nose-to-tail, that ts all kinds of aircraft and delivers a visionary passenger experience and benefits for operators.


Editorial Courtesy of VT Miltope: Software Defined Cabin Wireless Networks

For two decades, cabin wireless functionality has been driven by aviation standards such as ARINC 763 and ARINC 628 Part 1. The industry has evolved through IEEE 802.11a to 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6). Each time the “standards upgrade” resulted in a higher functionality, often simply related to higher data throughput rates.

Unfortunately, these evolving standards resulted each time in changing radio equipment; subsequently, driving new access point hardware designs. At that time the technological race between the various vendors was determined by who was able to adapt the previous “box” to the new standard faster.

Meanwhile the factors that drive the evolution of the value and services generated by, and with, the cabin Wi-Fi networks for passengers and airlines are no longer just determined by the latest transmission standard. They are driven by various other functionalities of the Wi-Fi network that can be implemented through software solutions and do not necessarily need a change in hardware. The system complexity shifts from designing new hardware towards establishing a hardware infrastructure that can handle continuous functionality or performance improvements via software changes.  Software becomes the leading design entity creating value and flexibility, with hardware providing the processing platform.

Two examples for such software based added-value solutions are Hotspot 2.0 -allowing for seamless Wi-Fi roaming between different providers, systems and modes of transportation – and the embedding of Cyber Security applications to incorporate continuous network monitoring and anomaly detection as essential functionalities of the systems operation.

Miltope Corporation’s next generation cabin wireless solution, the xMAP, is driven by this evolved design philosophy. It enables the xMAP to be an adaptable foundational component to any wireless network in the aircraft.


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation announced actions the Company has taken to address the impact the coronavirus, or COVID-19, is having on the aerospace industry and its business. Peter Gundermann, Astronics Chairman and CEO, noted, “This is an unprecedented situation in our industry and we have to take measurable actions. First and foremost is the safety of our team members. We have implemented enhanced cleaning protocols, increased spacing of workstations, work-from-home wherever possible, minimization of visitors, meetings and travel as well as emphasizing the importance of personal hygiene and responsibility.”


AIRBUS

Airbus has deployed a new air-bridge flight between Europe and China to deliver additional face mask supplies to France, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom health systems in support of the COVID-19 crisis efforts (today’s rectangle). The aircraft, an Airbus A330-200 undergoing conversion as Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), took off on 26 March at 19.15 local time (CET) from Airbus’ Getafe site near Madrid. (Spain) reaching the Airbus site in Tianjin (China) on 27 March. The aircraft, operated by an Airbus crew, returned to Spain on 28 March at 04.05 local time (CET) with a cargo of more than 4 million face masks. In recent days, Airbus had already organized flights from Europe and China with A330-800 and A400M aircraft to donate thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services around Europe.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury provides an update on the Company’s action to support the fight against Covid-19.
 Airbus CEO statement on Covid-19 – YouTube

The Spanish Government announced new measures on 29 March in the fight against COVID-19. These measures are taking effect between Monday 30 March and Thursday 9 April inclusive and restrict all non-essential activities across the country. Some key activities in Commercial Aircraft, Helicopters and Defence and Space remain essential. Minimum activity in these areas for necessary support functions such as Security, IT, Engineering, will remain under the stringent health and safety measures implemented by Airbus to protect its employees against the COVID-19 pandemic. All other activities in Commercial Aircraft, Defense and Space as well as Helicopters in Spain will be paused until 9 April, the date when it is foreseen that restrictions will be lifted. Airbus will closely work with its social partners to apply the social measures applicable under the latest restrictions. Airbus employees in Spain whose jobs are not linked to production and assembly activities and can work from home will continue to support Airbus business continuity in these difficult times. As a leading company, Airbus needs to retain its ability to support the global crisis efforts, support customers, suppliers and continue to bring its essential contribution to society.


BOEING

Boeing announced a temporary suspension of production operations at its Puget Sound area facilities in light of the state of emergency in Washington state and the company’s continuous assessment of the accelerating spread of the coronavirus in the region. These actions are being taken to ensure the well-being of employees, their families and the local community, and will include an orderly shutdown consistent with the requirements of its customers. Boeing plans to begin reducing production activity and projects the suspension of such operations to begin on Wednesday, March 25, at sites across the Puget Sound area. The suspension of production operations will last 14 days, during which Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and its associated impacts on all company operations. During this time, we will be conducting additional deep cleaning activities at impacted sites and establishing rigorous criteria for return to work.

Editor’s Note: Boeing said they will be using 3D printing to develop and build face shields for medical personnel. They intend to transport the mask cargo on a Dreamliner – all this with their advanced technology and engineering personnel.


COVID-19


OTHER NEWS

Today’s Rectangle: AirFly Pro


PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Times are tough! Depression just may be around the corner. Read this: Deutsche Bank Economists forecast “severe recession” due to Covid-19 – Newsroom And as of Saturday, 3/21/20, the US numbers jumped up. Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Are Growing Faster In The United States Than Any Other Country In The World  I guess the message here is: As this virus grows, airline and travel news will dwindle, so IFEC news just might be a bit reduced!

The Farnborough Airshow – this year’s largest aerospace expo and a showcase for tens of billions of dollars of business deals – has become the latest major event to be canceled because of the coronavirus crisis, organizers said last week.

Editor’s Note: To give you an idea of how exposed the airline industry is to the impact of Coronavirus, the folks at Moodys Investor Service categorized it a 100% – the biggest exposure to financial risk!


AIRFLY

Despite the current state of air travel, we thought it might be  time to present an article about wireless earphone solutions for travel. The product for review is from the folks at AirFly – a Bluetooth wireless transmitter/receiver for your wireless entertainment earphones, in the case of the Pro version, a device that will receive Bt audio entertainment from an iPod/iPhone/or most Bt enabled devices and send it to a receiver/amplifier in your car, train, plane, or whatever mode of transport you choose.

This is an incredible product that amazed us with quality, small size (57 mm x 25.5 mm x 11 mm & weighs 15.5 grams – about the size of a pack of chewing gum), long life battery and a lot of functionality. Our product review should not only give you an idea about the value of the AirFly Pro, but IFExress feels this is the missing link between wireless headphones and wired headphone jacks because it it creates the wireless Bluetooth link between the audio source and your wireless earbuds or headphones on airplanes. We note, that there are Bt audio jacks being supplied in the industry (IFPL’s is a great product), but not all aircraft have it installed, especially the older jetliners that have not been recently refurbished.

AirFly offers four product variations:  AirFly Classic (one headphone), AirFly Duo (2 headphones & USB-C), AirFly USB-C (2 headphones & charges via USB-C with pass through power), and AirFly Pro (connects 2 headphones & has a receive mode that provides audio input to a device like a car radio). We tested the Pro and it delivered audio to two Bluetooth headsets – like it would do in an airplane; you and your seat mate could hear the same audio. Check out their website if you have questions or want to see more data on this clever product – AirFly Pro | Bluetooth transmitter connects wireless headphones to wired audio jacks – Twelve South Here’s how works:

  1. Be sure to charge the AirFly Pro module before you leave on a trip via a USB charge jack in the back. The company says you will be able to get some 16 hours of use out of it so virtually all of your flights will be supported.
  2. Setting up the device with your earphones or headphones is easy. We plugged in the AirFly jack to our signal source (iPod) and when we figured out how to put our Bose earphones in the “connect” mode the earphones and the AirFly paired immediately with a fixed light on each when connected. You will be surprised at the quality – it sounds as good as your earphones can deliver.
  3. So, when the movie begins on your next long flight, plug AirFly Pro into your seat’s headphone jack to listen to the movie with whichever premium noise cancelling wireless headphones you employ.

The company lists some of the usable headphones on their website (and there are a lot) but it worked with every Bt stereo headphone we tested. We need to also say the audio was really unbelievable and now we can take that hike with the iPod, without the wires – smooth! We also tried sending a Bt signal from our iPod with music on it through the device when it was plugged into the car radio input port – and it was great. Also, the unit can operate while charging if plugged into the USB power connection.

Lastly, we contacted AirFly and we asked their Marketing Director, Marlee Luttrell if the device was universal, and she said: “Absolutely! AirFly can pair any device with a 3.5m audio jack to almost any Bluetooth-enabled headphones (even hearing aids!). There are so many uses for AirFly beyond in-flight entertainment. A few of my favorites:- plugging into an amp or record player audio jack to listen to your guitar or records wirelessly- pairing Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids with your TV- Listen to your Nintendo Switch with your wireless headphones”

Beyond the auto or airline application this great little invention can be used in the gym, used in gaming, or on your boat. We even tried a wireless remote speaker and the sound was great!

Editor’s Note: Here is what might be happening to Bluetooth Audio – Bluetooth’s LE Audio allows better audio quality, hearing aid support – CNET


AIRBUS

Airbus SE announced that it expects production and assembly work to partially resume in France and Spain on Monday, 23 March following health and safety checks after the implementation of stringent measures. In addition, the Company is supporting efforts globally to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

Airbus has carried out extensive work in coordination with its social partners to ensure the health and safety of its employees, while securing business continuity. The implementation of these measures required a temporary pause in production and assembly activities at the French and Spanish sites for a period of four days. Work stations will only re-open if they comply with the new health and safety measures in terms of hygiene, cleaning and self-distancing while improving the efficiency of operations under new working conditions.

The same measures are being deployed across all other sites without full interruption.

For other non-production activities globally, Airbus continues to support home-working where possible. Some employees will be asked to return to support business continuity following the implementation of these new measures. In February, the Airbus Final Assembly Line in Tianjin, China, reopened following a temporary production stoppage related to the coronavirus outbreak and is now operating efficiently.
Airbus is supporting those in the health, emergency and public services that rely on its aircraft, helicopters, satellites and services to accomplish their critical missions. In addition, in the past days, the Company has donated thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services around Europe and has started to use its test aircraft to obtain larger quantities from suppliers in China. A first flight with a test A330-800 aircraft has this weekend transported approximately 2 million masks from Tianjin back to Europe, of which the large majority will be donated to the Spanish and French authorities. Additional flights are planned to take place in the coming days.

  • “Health and safety is our number one priority at Airbus so the work stations at our sites in France and Spain will only re-open if they meet the required standards. I’d like to salute the strong commitment from our employees to ensure business continuity in close cooperation with our social partners and other stakeholders. At the same time we are doing all we can to support those on the frontline to fight the coronavirus and limit its spread. We try to live up to our values, humbled by the complexity of the situation, and contribute as much as we can to society in these very difficult times,” said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury.

Airbus is committed to ensuring the health and safety of its people while maintaining delivery capability for its products and services to its customers

Also, Airbus SE announced measures to bolster its liquidity and balance sheet in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it continues to assess the ongoing situation and the impact on its business, customers, suppliers and the industry as a whole.

Reflecting the Company’s prudent balance sheet policy and to ensure financial flexibility, Airbus’ management has received approval from the Board of Directors to: secure a new credit facility amounting to 15 billion Euro in addition to the existing 3 billion euro revolving credit facility; withdraw the 2019 dividend proposal of  1.80 euro per share with an overall cash value of approximately 1.4 billion euro; and suspend the voluntary top up in pension funding. Given the limited visibility due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, the 2020 guidance is withdrawn. Operational scenarios, including measures to minimize cash requirements, have been identified and will be activated depending on the further development of the pandemic.

With these decisions, the Company has significant liquidity available to cope with additional cash requirements related to the coronavirus. Liquidity resources previously standing at approximately 20 billion euro, comprising around 12 billion euro in financial assets at hand and around 8 billion euro in undrawn credit lines, were further bolstered by converting an existing 5 billion euro credit line into a new facility amounting to 15 billion euro. Available liquidity now amounts to approximately 30 billion euro.

By maintaining production, managing its resilient backlog, supporting its customers and securing financial flexibility for its operations, Airbus intends to secure business continuity for itself even in a protracted crisis. Safe and efficient air travel is a key backbone of global economic development and cultural exchange. Airbus therefore highly welcomes governmental efforts around the globe to stabilize this industry by supporting the financial health of its airline customers and its suppliers. Airbus continues to monitor the overall health of the industry.

Airbus has convened its 2020 Annual General Meeting in Amsterdam on 16 April. Due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, Airbus discourages physical attendance and strongly encourages shareholders to vote by proxy in line with public health and safety measures.


BOEING

Boeing announced several decisions to support the company as it navigates through the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring the company is positioned for the industry’s recovery. Decisions include:

  • CEO Dave Calhoun and Board Chairman Larry Kellner will forgo all pay until the end of the year.
  • The company will suspend its dividend until further notice.
  • Boeing will extend its pause of any share repurchasing until further notice. The company previously suspended its stock buyback program in April of 2019.
  • Boeing is drawing on all of its resources to sustain operations, support its workforce and customers, and maintain supply chain continuity through the COVID-19 crisis and for the long term.

Boeing announced a temporary suspension of production operations at its Puget Sound area facilities in light of the state of emergency in Washington state and the company’s continuous assessment of the accelerating spread of the coronavirus in the region. These actions are being taken to ensure the well-being of employees, their families and the local community, and will include an orderly shutdown consistent with the requirements of its customers. Boeing plans to begin reducing production activity today and projects the suspension of such operations to begin on Wednesday, March 25, at sites across the Puget Sound area. The suspension of production operations will last 14 days, during which Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and its associated impacts on all company operations. During this time, we will be conducting additional deep cleaning activities at impacted sites and establishing rigorous criteria for return to work.
“This necessary step protects our employees and the communities where they work and live,” said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. “We continue to work closely with public health officials, and we’re in contact with our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders who are affected by this temporary suspension. We regret the difficulty this will cause them, as well as our employees, but it’s vital to maintain health and safety for all those who support our products and services, and to assist in the national effort to combat the spread of COVID-19,” Calhoun added.

Production employees should continue to report for their assigned shifts today and will receive guidance on their role in the suspension shutdown process. Puget Sound area-based employees who can work from home will continue to do so. Those who cannot work remotely will receive paid leave for the initial 10 working days of the suspension – double the company policy – which will provide coverage for the 14 calendar day suspension period.

“We will keep our employees, customers and supply chain top of mind as we continue to assess the evolving situation,” Calhoun said. “This is an unprecedented time for organizations and communities across the globe.”
When the suspension is lifted, Boeing will take an orderly approach to restarting production with a focus on safety, quality and meeting customer commitments. This will be a key step to enabling the aerospace sector to bridge to recovery. Boeing is working to minimize this suspension’s impact on the company’s ability to deliver and support its defense and space programs, and ensure the readiness of our defense customers to perform their vital missions. Boeing will work closely with those customers in the coming days to develop plans that ensure customers are supported throughout this period. Critical distribution operations in support of airline, government, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) customers will continue.


OTHER NEWS

Today, ARC begins releasing key airline ticketing data compiled from weekly sales by U.S. travel agencies, including online, corporate, and retail organizations. We will publish this information each Monday in a rolling four-week table. For more information, please refer to the notes section below.

Arlington, VA | March 23, 2020–Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) today reported the following consolidated airline ticketing volume variances, compared to the same period in 2019. These totals represent sales generated by US travel agencies* and processed through the ARC settlement system. Data figures are for the seven days ending March 22, 2020. More in-depth, custom data is available from ARC for purchase. Please click here for more information.

Tickets Issued for All Itineraries:

7-Day Period Ending:

Ticket Variance
vs. Same Week 2019

Sales Variance
vs. Same Week 2019

March 1

-15.6%

-8.9%

March 8

-25.5%

-22.2%

March 15

-45.2%

-43.6%

March 22

-80.1%

-63.2%

Year-to-Date (YTD)

-14.78%

-19.58%

Variances in Tickets Sold by Segment for All Itineraries:

7-Day Period Ending

Corporate

Online

Leisure/Other

March 1

-8.6%

-18.7%

-17.8%

March 8

-32.3%

-17.6%

-31.3%

March 15

-65.2%

-29.4%

-49.1%

March 22

-89.5%

-77.7%

-73.9%

Year-to-Date (YTD)

-16.62%

-13.82%

-14.33%

Average Air Ticket Price for U.S. Domestic Round Trips:

7-Day Period Ending

Change from
prior week

Average Ticket Price

March 1

1.9%

$499

March 8

-12.6%

$437

March 15

-16.8%

$363

March 22

-7.6%

$336

Year-to-Date (YTD)

-2.4%
(Avg. Weekly Change)

$470

*Notes

  • Results are based on weekly sales data ending March 22, 2020, from 11,800 U.S. retail and corporate travel agency locations, and online travel agencies. Results do not include sales of tickets purchased directly from airlines and are not net of refunds or exchanges.
  • Average ticket price (in USD) for a round-trip ticket settled through ARC for an itinerary that included only U.S. domestic travel.
  • Total sales are equal to the total amount paid for a ticket, which includes taxes and fees.

IMMFLY

Immfly announced it has secured a long term partnership with International Airlines Group.

Immfly’s specialist onboard software services will support the development and maintenance of IAG’s universal platform (.air). The platform has already deployed the most advanced connectivity service across a large part of the Group’s fleet to deliver a consistent digital customer experience, with built in flexibility to tailor the offering to each airline’s brand and customer proposition.

IMMFLY provides onboard connected digital services specialized in enhancing customer experience, optimizing operations and maximizing revenues. The announcement follows a long standing pioneering wireless IFE collaboration of more than 5 years between Immfly and the Group’s airline Iberia Express. IAG now intends to enhance the .air platform with new features, products, services and retail opportunities designed to progressively unlock new revenue streams and increase customer satisfaction.

“The partnership with IAG and Immfly brings together a world leading airline group composed of top tier aviation brands in Ireland, UK and Spain, with the industry’s foremost partner for pioneering cabin digitization” said Immfly’s Executive Chairman Jimmy Martinez von Korff. “Together, IAG and Immfly will provide digital engagement tools and resources that will enhance the journey of millions of customers.”

“The partnership with Immfly will enable IAG to deliver new personalised services and expand the product range offered to our customers across entertainment, retail and loyalty” said Andrea Burchett, Group Head, IAG Connect at International Airlines Group. “We are excited to work together to develop services that innovate and disrupt the market by leveraging our combined knowledge and expertise for the benefit of our customers and airlines”.


CARLISLE IT & GILAT SATELLITE NETWORKS

Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. announced the collaboration with Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT).

Gilat’s Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA) was the first-ever to demonstrate in-flight operation over Ka on a commercial aircraft. A series of successful test flights took place over the last few months over GEO and LEO satellites. The ESA terminal is a fully electronic beam steering, no moving parts terminal, featuring wide instantaneous bandwidth, wideband frequency support, instantaneous beam switching and gate-to-gate operation. The elegant compact design by CIT exhibits an ultra-low profile, small footprint and an all-inclusive offering of outdoor antenna equipment in a single line replacement unit for: antenna, baseplate, skirt and transparent radome.

“Gilat is most pleased to join forces with its partner, Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, and to present Gilat’s ESA terminal in CIT’s booth at Satellite,” said Roni Stoleru, Vice President Antenna Products & Strategy at Gilat. “Carlisle Interconnect Technologies’ team is the expert in innovative Thermal Management Solutions (TMS) and we couldn’t be more pleased with the elegant and compact design of Gilat’s proven technology for which we are already seeing significant market interest.”

“We are delighted to collaborate with Gilat and to display the ESA terminal in our booth in Satellite 2020,” said Kris Samuelson, Director of Sales, IFCE/Interiors at CIT. “Gilat’s proven and scalable technology easily integrates our Thermal Management Solution for both the small form factor business and general aviation market, as well as the commercial aviation market.”


GOGO

Fouth Quarter and Full-Year 2019 Highlights:

  • Consolidated revenue of $221.3 million in Q4 2019, up 2% from Q4 2018; Net loss of $22.4 million in Q4 2019
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $34.4 million in Q4 2019, resulting in record full-year 2019 Adjusted EBITDA of $145.6 million
  • Record BA Reportable Segment Profit of $41.7 million in Q4 2019, up 17% from Q4 2018
  • 2019 Cash Flow from Operating Activities of $64.1 million; Free Cash Flow(1) improvement of $162.6 million in 2019 versus 2018, significantly exceeding guidance of improving Free Cash Flow by at least $100 million for the year
  • Reached 1,407 2Ku and 1,657 total CA satellite aircraft online as of December 31, 2019, with a backlog of nearly 950 2Ku aircraft(2), which included 150 new commitments from existing customers in the quarter. In Q4 2019, 2Ku aircraft online increased by 118.
  • As of January 28, 2020, total flights on Gogo’s AVANCE L5 and L3 systems reached 244,000, totaling 154 million miles flown. These milestones were reached approximately two years after the L5 launch in late 2017
  • Qatar Airways selected Gogo’s 2Ku solution for high-speed inflight connectivity and live TV on 70 Boeing and Airbus aircraft, with service expected to begin in 2020

SITA

SITA and trade association ULD Care hope to bring new efficiency to the air cargo industry by exploring the use of blockchain to digitally track and record change of custody of airline cargo containers or Unit Load Devices (ULDs) across their journey. By eliminating inefficiency, embedding always-on tracking of ULDs and abandoning redundant paper systems, the use of blockchain is expected to save the industry $400m a year in improved efficiency, fewer losses and prevention of damage. The proposed platform also offers a wide range of authentication and trust-based benefits, reducing the risk of tampering, cybercrime, trade-based money laundering, fraud, and illicit trade. Today more than 800 million ULDs are in use by airlines yet the system used to track these ULDs has only been partial digitalized and relies on incomplete data sharing and record keeping. The proposed blockchain system improves efficiency by making use of all data points across the air cargo journey and provides a platform that aggregates and processes the ULD data in a trusted and secure way. The PoC will extend and upgrade the current ULD interlining platform to include non-airline third parties such as ground handlers via open APIs and a new modern interface. The results will transform the industry by lifting the veil on a myriad of previously unknown factors like damage reports. Knowing the location of all ULD’s (and therefore cargo) at all times means companies can accurately track where loss or damage occurs and recover the costs without dispute. For any given shipment there can be up to 12 custodian companies monitoring and tracking the cargo, with many relying on paper documents making the process cumbersome and undermined by trust and transparency issues. Blockchain presents a near-perfect solution to address these industry pain points with huge time and cost-saving potential. This project forms part of SITA’s Global Blockchain Alliance which is leading exploration into blockchain’s potential for the air transport industry. SITA’s role, as the air transport community’s IT provider, is to provide governance for the global alliance, support the working groups, deliver all required blockchain technology components and ensure proper alignment and validation with regulators and international standardization bodies.


GLOBAL CONNECTED AIRCRAFT SUMMIT WARNING

“To our Global Connected Aircraft community: Let us sneak in a few words among the torrent of emails you’re getting about the Coronavirus. As we near the end of a terrible week during which the spread of COVID-19 officially became a global pandemic and its economic fallout dramatically worsened, we are hoping for the best possible health outcome for you, your loved ones and your colleagues. We are watching the situation closely. With regard to our upcoming Global Connected Aircraft Summit event, scheduled for June 2-3 in Denver, the health and well-being of attendees, speakers and exhibitors is our greatest priority. We have not yet taken the step of postponing or canceling the conference, since this is such a fast-moving story and the show’s early summer timing gives us a little more opportunity to assess. As of this writing, information is still hard to come by on when infections are likely to peak in the United States or how far into the future the current suspensions on conferences, sporting events and other large gatherings in March and April should remain in effect. Whatever happens, we will keep you posted.”


COURTESY of  SEEKING ALPHA

“Without a lifeline from governments we will have a sectoral financial crisis,” according to the International Air Transport Association, which called for extending lines of credit to airlines, reducing infrastructure costs and cutting taxes. IATA last week estimated that the crisis could wipe out some $113B of industry revenue, in a forecast that did not include the U.S. clampdown on European travel. “There is a heightened concern there will be increased airline bankruptcies in 2020 given the fallout from the coronavirus,” added Cowen analyst Helane Becker. “We expect some governments to step in to help some airlines, but ultimately we expect more airlines to fail this year than last year.”


BOEING

Boeing is freezing new hiring and overtime except in certain critical areas to preserve cash as the coronavirus compounds the fallout from a year-old grounding of its 737 MAX. News that Boeing was planning to draw down the rest of a $13.8B loan it took last month sent shares tumbling 18% on Wednesday, their biggest one-day percentage drop since 1974. Other issues: Boeing booked 46 cancellations last month, resulting in a net loss of 28 orders, as carriers switch from the grounded MAX to other planes.


US CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines for “community mitigation strategies” to limit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, which include recommendations for “social distancing”—a term that epidemiologists are using to refer to a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people and hopefully stymie community transmission of the virus.

Note: We got an email in from Kelvin Boyette, CEO Latitude Aero
“Here is a quick LinkedIn post I composed discussing how airline’s current cabin decontamination methods, using fogging and non-approved chemicals, causes damage to the aircraft seating.”

Editor’s Note: The US Federal Reserve, advised “The coronavirus outbreak has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States,” and they will cut interest rates to near-zero on 3/15/20 and launch a massive $700 billion quantitative easing program to isolate the economy from the effects of the virus. It will take the form of $500 billion of Treasury’s and $200 billion of agency-backed mortgage securities. The Fed said the purchases will start on Monday with a $40 billion installment. Interestingly, in 2014, Bill Gates saw the problem in his TED Talk Bill Gates suggests, to put all our good ideas into practice, from scenario planning to vaccine research to health worker training. he notes: “There’s no need to panic – but we need to get going.”

Bill Gates: The next outbreak? We’re not ready | TED Talk


COVID-19

As you can well imagine, with COVID-19 running rampant throughout the world, air travel is being destroyed and the airlines are feeling the hurt – big time! The world is getting hit, while in Seattle companies like Alaska Airlines stock has dropped some 44%, the value of Boeing stock has plunged 48% at the time of this writing! Today (3/17/20) the world has some 196,639 cases and it will continue to climb.

Presently, scientists don’t know exactly when the disease will peak but we suspect 2 months is optimistic and this timeframe will be telling in the US and globally as well. Below the equator, the virus is just beginning to hit and we expect third world countries will be hit the hardest. There is no virus innoculation in sight and that means the airlines/travel/hotel industries will continue to be in big trouble. In actual fact, the travel industry is in disarray, and will get worse in the short term.

If you want to stay up on travel, check out: Coronavirus & Travel Industry: Breaking News & Impacts – Coronavirus & Travel Industry: Breaking News & Impacts – Skift , and here is the Airline Industry Coronavirus Impact: Coronavirus & Airlines: Coronavirus & Airlines: Breaking News & Updates – Skift

Noted AXIOS: “Last year, 46 million passengers flew on roughly 200,000 flights between the U.S. and the 26 affected European countries, says IATA. In March 2019, international visitors arriving from Europe (excluding the U.K.) accounted for about 29% of total overseas arrivals to the U.S., according to the U.S. Travel Association. Those visitors spent approximately $3.4 billion in the U.S., the group said.”

Lastly, we suggest you WASH YOUR HANDS frequently and keep your distance from just about everybody. Good Luck and Stay Healthy!


OTHER NEWS

Challenges and Opportunities In Today’s IFE Market

By: Juraj Siska of IdeaNova

Building an IFE system into an airline platform is more attainable than ever before. With advancements in technology and a growing proportion of younger passengers expecting entertainment during their flight, integration is both affordable and necessary. Although there are some challenges, there are also many opportunities to include an IFE system in your airline.

Challenges to Including IFE on Your Aircraft

IFE providers need to pay attention to studio requirements, which have increased significantly for display as well as headend servers located on the aircraft.  These requirements range from various operational procedures which are there to ensure data integrity, to authenticity and the ability to handle a wide range of common malicious activities such as physical theft.  Another group of requirements is specific to the hardware the IFE providers choose to either play or stream media content.  For example, to stream higher quality video (content that is higher than Standard Definition) displays and headend servers must be equipped with hardware components that ensure hardware based protection for managing and using content keys.  This is a shift that has recently been documented by studios and industry representatives in the Apex 0415 v2 specification.

Opportunities to Include IFE on Your Aircraft

However, even with studio challenges, content is also more accessible – directly in-browser, eliminating the need for the download of applications or browser plugins (a nuisance that was finally put to bed when the majority of browser vendors stopped supporting plugins).  Content is also more standardized, allowing interoperability between products from Apple, Microsoft and Google.  This results not only in a better user experience but also operational efficiencies gained by deploying only one set of content that can be played equally well on Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android phone or tablet.

There is also an increasing amount of content being made available, ranging from standard Hollywood studio content to independent movies or video created by famous Internet celebrities – widely sought by especially younger audience.

An important opportunity has emerged in IFE, and that is affordability.  The cost of an IFE system is rapidly decreasing.  This is enabled by the cost of hardware (Moore’s law) and the ability to stream content directly to personal devices.  Retrofitting cabins with new displays and wires can be costly and time consuming, but the implementation of a portable IFE system that streams wirelessly to passengers’ personal devices is much simpler and faster to rollout.  Improvements in wireless technology also aid in this trend, by making wiring between IFE servers and displays no longer necessary.  Additionally, new wireless specs (e.g. WiFi 6 and LiFi) are eagerly anticipated by the industry to bridge IFE technology to all aspects of aviation.  A common misconception is that IFE needs to be accompanied with IFC.  While connectivity is important and adds to overall passenger satisfaction, it is not mandatory for a functional IFE.  This drives the cost further down.

IFE Can Be Part of Your Airline Operations

It is always advantageous to be apprised of the capabilities that a new technology can bring to the table in the form of improved passenger experience or optimized workflow.  We are at a junction in IFE where what used to be an expensive value proposition, affordable for only the largest airlines, is now realistic and accessible to all aircraft operators.  Airlines and operators should embrace this opportunity to improve the passenger experience and retain customers.


AIRBUS

Benefiting from a maximum take-off weight increase to 251 tonnes, the A330neo offers a significant 650-nautical mile boost in range – or six tonnes more payload – when compared to the A330neo’s current 242-tonne version. This increase in range responds to evolving market needs, enabling airlines to benefit from the unique economics of the A330neo on even longer routes. Taking to the skies for the first time this past week from Toulouse, France, was the 251-tonne A330-900 – which provides the perfect fit for longer trans-Pacific or Asia-Europe routes. The A330-900 is the longer-fuselage A330neo version, seating 260-300 passengers in a typical three-class cabin configuration. The shorter-fuselage A330-800 – which accommodates 220-260 passengers in a three-class configuration, will open up very-long-range Pacific routes for the 251-tonne version, while delivering the lowest seat-mile cost in its category.

Since the beginning of the year Airbus logged net orders for 274 commercial aircraft from its A220, A320 and A350 XWB product lines in activity. During the month of February, Airbus recorded no new orders. In February Airbus delivered 55 aircraft to 35 customers. Single-aisle deliveries in February involved 40 A320 Family aircraft (composed of 37 NEO versions and three in the CEO configuration); plus four A220s. For Airbus widebody aircraft, seven A350 XWBs were provided in the A350-900 configuration and two A350 XWBs in the A350-1000 configuration; along with two A330 Family aircraft (composed of one NEO version and one CEO). Airbus registered three new airlines in its A320neo operator base this month and among the month’s notable deliveries was the first A350-900 delivered to AEROFLOT out of 22 aircraft of the type on order. Airbus’ backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of 29th of February stood at 7,670. This total was comprised of 6,209 A320 Family aircraft and 547 A220s, as well as 328 A330s, 577 A350 XWBs and nine A380s.

The overall total orders logged by Airbus since its creation to 20,382 commercial aircraft, which includes 15,522 A320 Family aircraft, 1,823 A330s, 935 A350 XWBs, 658 A220s and 251 A380s.


SITA

How Will 5G Transform Air Travel?

SITA, the leading IT provider for the air transport industry, has made six predictions about how ultra-fast 5G networks will bring major change for airports, airlines, and passengers. With download speeds of up to 400MB per second, 5G will be a game-changer.

The potential for innovation is huge and airports, airlines, and passengers will feel the force of 5G in very different ways. SITA’s predictions are based on unique IT insights and emerging air transport industry technology trends. They follow hot on the heels of 5G trials like the recent ones carried out by both London Gatwick Airport and Beijing’s new Daxing International Airport services which signpost our entry into a new era of ultra-connected air travel. Gilles Bloch-Morhange, VP SITA Platform, said: “5G is already enhancing our existing applications at airports, for aircraft communications, airport operations, baggage management, and of course passenger processing. And it’s impossible to talk about 5G without discussing Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and the other applications it enables. We’re already using 4G for IoT applications for several applications around our biometric passenger processing solution, such as Smart Path and baggage management and the uptake of 5G will provide many more opportunities.” 5G is coming fast. According to CSS Insight data*, there will be 340 million 5G connections globally by 2021 and a staggering 2.7 billion by 2025, mostly in developed markets. In money terms, in the aviation industry 5G amounted to just USD 0.2 billion in 2019 but is projected to reach USD 4.2 billion by 2026.

Fast forward: how will we use 5G in 2025?

5G will be the lifeblood of IoT

5G will soon be commonplace at airports and the idea of everything intelligently connected to everything will be viable.

The Internet of Things (IoT) brings the inherent need to manage increasing amounts of objects and therefore data. Today’s 4G technology can manage around 10,000 devices in each square kilometer; a 5G network can manage a million. Multiple objects at airports will interact with people and objects will interact among themselves. With 5G, connectivity will be much more fluid and flexible. The new networks will enable massive data flows, providing secure, real-time, predictive and historic views of airport operations. This will make collaboration between airports, airlines, ground handlers, air traffic managers and concession holders easier and effective. The result will be the intelligent monitoring of queues throughout the airport and tracking and controlling autonomous vehicles that assist passenger journeys. Vehicles on the ramp will be served by connected smart tugs and baggage carts. Wheelchairs, mobile kiosks, and robotic assistants will be controlled remotely. It is not all about bandwidth. 5G’s low latency will make autonomous vehicles much safer. With signals going up to 100 times faster than 4G, the speed of digital instructions will make the difference between a vehicle traveling tens of meters or just a few centimeters before taking corrective action.

5G will power air transport-specific AI applications

5G connected Artificial Intelligence (AI) will solve major pain points at airports and borders. For example, biometrically matching passengers to their bags will be simple. AI will be able to recognize unique scuff marks, creases, and material characteristics to distinguish between seemingly identical bags and match them to the correct passenger. AI-assisted computer vision will continually scan boarding gate areas and intelligently predict capacity issues for hand luggage on flights and enable staff to act accordingly before boarding.

5G will drive operational efficiency, increase ancillary revenues and cut costs.

Putting IoT and 5G together will offer great opportunities for airlines and airports to unlock the value of all their data to deliver tangible business benefits. All airport assets will be connected, making monitoring efficiency and optimizing usage much simpler. It will, for example, provide the tools to make vehicle usage around the airport more efficient, delivering considerable savings in fuel costs and overall resources, including labor.

5G will mean exploitation of the potential of ‘flying data centers’

5G will enable the next-generation aircraft to exchange vast amounts of data around the airport and at the gate. The fast transmission of aircraft data, and analysis of that data, will enable pro-active maintenance, quicker aircraft turn-around, more on-time departures and, most importantly, an improved customer experience. Convergence of 5G and satellite communications will serve the end-to-end approach of the aircraft as an IoT-flying device, connecting it with all the relevant systems. Airports will control Wi-Fi quality and have improved disruption management capabilities We see opportunities in licensed and unlicensed 5G spectrums thanks to new 5G standards. Airports will have more control of quality of service in their private and public spaces, converging 5G with Wi-Fi networks to create a seamless mobile experience, with continuous connectivity.

5G is likely to replace the commonly used digital radio communications service TETRA, which is only voice-enabled, for operational and mission-critical services, providing a secure network for running airport operations. Airport staff will have access to real-time rich video updates and live feeds based on evolving scenarios and locations, as well as CCTV feeds for computer vision analysis for many functions and enabled remote biometrics.

5G will deliver the digital traveler promise

For passengers, real-time augmented reality and personalized mobile services will be provided, combining all data exchanged from the various applications and interactions with the building and objects. The airport will provide passengers with relevant, contextualized information and services to assist and entertain them. HD films will download in seconds, entire series will be available to watch offline almost instantly and passengers will be able to live stream sports events in crystal clear quality, no matter how busy the airport.


OTHER NEWS

  • IATA is now projecting global passenger revenue losses of $63b-$113b in 2020 due to the Coronavirus outbreak; no estimates are yet available for the impact on cargo operations.
  • Curious about the size of the Airbus A380 vertical stabilizer? Check out number 7 in this image (#7 BrightSide photo – 20+ Things That Are So Awfully Big, It’s Inappropriate There are 22 people standing at the base! (Editor’s Note: The other images are amazing as well!)
  • Trying to figure where to move and get a tech job? San Francisco and a few other cities saw most growth in new tech jobs – Vox
  • If jet engine operation is a mystery to you – here is a good introduction to how they operate – How A Jet Engine Starts – YouTube
  • We Were Wondering: As the ‘virus’ blasts the airline industry, companies like Airbus and Boeing are going to feel their losses later this year. And speaking of Boeing, as upper management from New York, Chicago, or wherever, works to redevelop and rebuild the Boeing 737 MAX, we wonder if they have considered an upper level observation team of top retired expert design/management/manufacturing heroes (such as Alan Mullally, for example) who could provide teamed guidance/assistance/recommendations on the corrections to the ’737?

By no means could anyone refer to me as an alarmist; however, the potential impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the global economic marketplace could be significant and it has the potential to dramatically impact how we live our day-to-day lives, as well as, the aviation industry in general.

One can argue that COVID-19 is not anymore dangerous than the common flu – but this is irrelevant if people perceive it to be more contagious and deadly. It all boils down to fear, especially fear of the unknown, and the potential for overreacting, and travelers are especially susceptible. A state of panic can quickly be reached, and if that happens, we can say goodbye to rational thought.

The airline industry is perhaps more vulnerable than many other businesses as the majority of people don’t need to fly but they still need groceries, household items, etc. In other words, travel tends to be discretionary. As many of us may remember, we have seen this before with 9/11 and then, to some degree, with SARS a year or two later. Many people opted not to fly because they were scared of circumstances that were beyond their control. And it took a while for the airline industry to rebound.

Our industry is facing a huge problem, as COVID-19 is moving towards a global pandemic. Some sources have compared it to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 that infected an estimated 500 million people and killed roughly 20-50 million. In fact, Bill Gates refers to COVID-19 as a “once-in-a-century” pandemic . If COVID-19 was restricted to a single region (let’s say Asia) most airlines have the capacity to cope with a region that is underperforming; however, with COVID-19 taking hold in Europe, many of that regions carriers are restricting flights and the ‘alarm bells’ are beginning to ring in regards to the decrease in demand and its affiliated affect on the bottom line. And now it has a foothold in North America as well. If we look at the current problems the Asian carriers are facing, we can see how bad this could get. In fact IATA is forecasting that the Asia-Pacific airlines could lose roughly $28 billion in revenue during 2020 as a result of the virus.

How might the airline industry react? To address the traveler concerns, airlines may begin to clean the domestic/short-haul aircraft more thoroughly, implementing similar procedures like they do now for long-haul flights – disinfecting after each flight. Alterations to the inflight service by reducing the amount of interaction between the flight attendants and passengers could also been seen on some carriers. Also, the airlines may dramatically discount fares in an effort to increase demand and fill seats. And to further align supply/demand, we could easily see airlines park some of their jets, especially older and less fuel-efficient models.

On another front there is a broiling dispute between airlines and the CDC. In the USA there is increasing pressure from the CDC on airlines to assist with the efforts on controlling the spread of COVID-19 by providing more complete passenger data about international travelers. Airlines have responded that collecting this information is the responsibility of the federal government. It is reported that airline executives are to meet with Vice President Pence tomorrow on the subject of the coronavirus. It will be interesting to watch how this unfolds and to see the long-term impact this sort of information gathering will have. Like so many things, once these types of procedures are in place, they rarely are removed.

However, the results of the COVID-19 might help Boeing. With a decrease in the number of people traveling and a reduction in the number of routes being flown, one could argue that the airlines that have been hindered by the grounding of the MAX may be happy its return to service is delayed.

As with any crisis, there is a trickle down effect to other industries and IFEC will most probably be impacted by delayed deliveries and/or order cancelations. Much depends on how long the rate of infection continues to climb. It is too early to truly understand what the basic reproduction number (R0 = the number of individuals statistically to catch the disease from 1 individual) of the coronavirus but as of mid-February it appears to be similar to flu.

The questions we face are: How to move forward? How do we adjust to weather the storm that is COVID-19? What changes do we make in order to not only survive, but possibly, thrive?

One IFE company in Ireland has already filed for bankruptcy sighting COVID-19 as the culprit and they may well not be the last.

Below are some hyperlinks that are both interesting and informative. If you only have time to read one, I highly recommend, “Coronavirus On The Latin Bridge”.

 

Using Big Data to Fight the COVID-19 Epidemic in China

Just How Contagious is COVID-19? This Chart Puts It In Perspective

Global Cases of COVID-19: John Hopkins CSSE

Recession Fears Are Rising Globally


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation Reported their 2019 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Results. Below are the highlights:

Fourth quarter sales of $198.4 million; full year sales of $772.7 million
• Consolidated orders for the quarter were $156 million
• Fourth quarter net loss of $34.1 million includes restructuring and impairment charges and legal reserves totaling $51.7 million
Backlog at the end of the year was $360 million


AXINOM

Continuing with its initiative of standardization in digital aerospace, Axinom has become the first digital solutions provider in the industry to provide a production common media application format (CMAF) with cipher block chaining encryption (CBCS). The technology eliminates the need for a native app and multiple file-formats to deliver the video content to mobile devices that can utilize browsers and DRM protection for playback.

The first successful adoption by a notable industry-leading integrator came in the form of a streaming solution that utilizes Axinom VIP (Video Ingest and Processing) to encode and package video assets in the CMAF file format. “The CMAF format paired with the common encryption scheme makes the assets interoperable across device platforms while maintaining industry-grade security,” says Ralph Wagner, CEO, Axinom. “This is a crucial step in our initiative to bring standardization in the digital vertical of the aerospace industry.”

Advancement in on-board entertainment delivery:

Smart and portable devices have become a crucial part of consumer experience and adopting this trend to aerospace not only enhances the value but also makes digital operations more efficient. A multi-screen IFEC offering with modern technological solutions allows passengers to use whatever devices (bring your device scenario) on-board to consume entertainment or connectivity.

Today, Axinom’s product-stack is enabling companies across aerospace industries to leverage the multi-screen trend. Advancement brings forth the following capabilities:

  • Axinom VIP encapsulates the video assets into a single format that is compatible with both HLS and MPEG-DASH streaming
  • Axinom VIP with CBCS mode common key encrypts video assets, described in either an m3u8 (HLS) or MPD (MPEG-DASH) playlist
  • Axinom DRM (Digital Rights Management) delivers licenses to on-board devices for content protection and playback

Providers are also realizing cost benefits as the new solution eliminates the need for an app, multiple file-formats, and vast amounts of space for the storage and playback of videos. Moreover, the comprehensive solution extends to a large number of commonly used devices and platforms, making it extremely practical.


AIRBUS

Aeroflot, the Russian flag carrier and member of the SkyTeam alliance, has taken delivery of its first A350-900, becoming the launch operator of the latest generation widebody aircraft in Eastern Europe and CIS. Aeroflot’s A350-900 features a distinctive new livery embracing its almost 100 year heritage. Aeroflot has a total of 22 A350-900 aircraft on order and operates an Airbus fleet of 126 aircraft (107 A320 Family and 19 A330 Family aircraft). Aeroflot’s A350-900 features a brand new elegant cabin design, offering a spacious three-class cabin layout with 316 seats: 28 private Business Class suites with full-flat seats, 24 Comfort Class with extra legroom and 264 Economy Class. In addition the latest generation Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment system, HD screens and Wi-Fi connectivity will ensure enhanced experience for all passengers on long-haul flights. Aeroflot will operate its A350-900 from Moscow to a number of destinations including London, Dubai, New York, Miami, Osaka and Beijing.


BOEING

Boeing  named Susan Doniz as the company’s chief information officer and senior vice president of Information Technology & Data Analytics, effective in May. She will succeed Vishwa Uddanwadiker, who has served in an interim capacity since October 2019. In this role, Doniz, 50, will oversee all aspects of information technology, information security, data and analytics for the world’s largest aerospace company. She also will support the growth of Boeing’s business through IT- and analytics-related revenue generating programs. She will report to Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun, serve on the company’s Executive Council and be based in Chicago. Doniz joins Boeing from Qantas Group, where she has served as Group chief information officer since January 2017. In that role, she oversaw technology innovation, development and integration, digital capabilities and cybersecurity across the Group’s companies, including Qantas Airlines, QantasLink, Qantas Loyalty and Jetstar. Doniz has more than 25 years of global technology leadership experience, including strategic roles at SAP, Aimia and Procter & Gamble. She holds a bachelor’s degree in applied science and engineering from the University of Toronto, and serves as vice chair of the Digital Transformation Advisory Council of the International Air Transport Association.


OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) announced an agreement with Nelco Limited (Nelco) to provide satellite connectivity services to customers flying into India and over Indian airspace. With this agreement, Panasonic becomes the first satellite communications provider to begin inflight connectivity (IFC) operations under Nelco’s Department of Telecommunications license for In-Flight and Maritime Connectivity (IFMC), in accordance with the Flight and Maritime Rules. As a result of this agreement, Panasonic, and its subsidiary ITC Global, now offer connectivity to both aircraft and maritime vessels operating within India. With the implementation of the agreement and subject to regulatory approvals from relevant authorities, Indian full-service carrier Vistara may become the first airline in the country to offer satellite connectivity on international flights. With equipment already installed on more than 2,500 aircraft, vessels, and other platforms, Panasonic and ITC Global are already delivering connectivity services to customers in the aviation and maritime markets, providing them with access to satellite-based high-quality broadband internet services over India.

Panasonic’s inflight connectivity service is currently offered by more than 65 airlines globally. The GSAT 14 satellite will ensure that passengers onboard Panasonic-connected flights will enjoy a full suite of connected services while flying over Indian airspace or into India. At this time, over 700 aircraft from over 30 airlines installed with Panasonic’s connectivity solutions have begun using the GSAT 14 satellite. Panasonic’s inflight connectivity solutions will enable passengers to stay connected while they fly. Along with its subsidiary, AeroMobile, Panasonic is working with Nelco, the Department of Telecommunications – India, and local telecoms organizations to deliver seamless connectivity for data, text and voice services, accessible via a passenger’s mobile device in flight.

The service will be available on aircraft equipped with this service traveling across Indian airspace, and is expected to launch on Vistara in early 2020 – the first Indian-based airline to offer a service of this kind to passengers. Panasonic and Nelco have been working together to bring in-flight and maritime connectivity over India since March 2019. The agreement was signed by Panasonic, Nelco and Tatanet services on September 13, 2019. Since September, Panasonic and Nelco have been integrating networks to enable connectivity services using bandwidth from Indian satellites landing in Nelco’s teleport in Mumbai, India.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat announced that it will bring its world-leading maritime, aviation and enterprise connectivity solutions to customers based in Saudi Arabia through new partner agreements.

The company additionally announced that it has secured new spectrum licenses to deliver both its narrow-band (L-band) and high-capacity broadband (Ka-band), Global Xpress (GX), services in Saudi Arabia, enabling Saudi-based businesses to deploy these services for the first time. Fixed and mobile satellite telecommunications distributor Sada Al Ammah and Global Beam Telecom have been appointed as Inmarsat’s first distribution partners in Saudi Arabia and the region and they will work closely with Inmarsat’s Maritime, Aviation and Enterprise businesses to roll-out services in the region. Global Beam Telecom & Sada Al Ammah will work with Inmarsat’s Enterprise business to bring the benefits of its award-winning connectivity services to land-based users in the Middle East. Inmarsat’s Aviation business will work with Sada Al Ammah to deliver cockpit safety services and passenger cabin broadband Wi-Fi connectivity (GX Aviation for commercial airlines and Jet ConneX for business jets) to companies based in Saudi-Arabia, enabling airline and business aviation passengers to browse the internet, stream video and music, check and update social media and more during their flights. Inmarsat’s L-band network provides best-in-class connectivity services for users on land, at sea and in the air. The network enables a wide range of use cases such as fleet management, remote analytics, data transfer and other IoT/M2M applications in areas with non-existent or unreliable connectivity. Focus areas for these use cases will include oil and gas, transport and aid and non-governmental organizations (NGO). Further capacity is set to benefit customers in Saudi Arabia and beyond soon, as the recently-launched GX-5 satellite comes into commercial service in 2020, to meet the surging demand for high-capacity broadband across the skies and seas of Europe and the Middle East.


SITAONAIR

Ivory Coast carrier Air Côte d’Ivoire is extending its relationship with inflight connectivity partner SITAONAIR across its new fleet of A320neo aircraft, enabling enhanced levels of passenger satisfaction.

The deployment, due in September 2020, will see Air Côte d’Ivoire’s new fleet enter into service with both SITAONAIR’s Mobile ONAIR and Internet ONAIR Wi-Fi over Inmarsat’s cutting-edge GX Aviation network.

The airline’s selection is set to meet increasing passenger demand for the ultimate level of speed and seamless connection. SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR portal also provides Air Côte d’Ivoire with a host of additional services with the potential for new ancillary revenue, as well as personalized content for its passengers.The addition of SITAONAIR’s Mobile ONAIR services on top of enhanced Wi-Fi connections offers the airline and its passengers the best of both worlds. Passengers can enjoy a seamless mobile connection in the air, as on the ground, while increased connectivity bandwidth provides enhanced reliability.

Mr. René Decurey, Chief Executive Officer, Air Côte d’Ivoire, comments: “It’s true that passenger expectations are growing. There is also increasing pressure to provide tailored services that cover the breadth of our passengers’ needs and data consumption. As Air Côte d’Ivoire continues to concentrate on enhanced, new generation inflight connectivity services for true passenger satisfaction, SITAONAIR is the obvious, trusted partner to support our ambitions.”

Stephan Egli, Commercial VP Middle-East, Africa & Europe, SITAONAIR, adds: “Having previously deployed SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR solution over SwiftBroadband, the move to GX reflects Air Côte d’Ivoire’s dedication to delivering true passenger satisfaction that’s future-proofed. By offering mobile and Wi-Fi services onboard, SITAONAIR is able to provide an inflight connectivity service to passengers that delivers a unified, seamless and fast experience that costs less. SITAONAIR is proud to be Air Côte d’Ivoire’s long-term partner in this venture.”

Also from SITAONAIR:

SITAONAIR has been instrumental in the expansion of Very High Frequency (VHF) coverage throughout Turkey, during the development of the country’s largest new airport hub in Istanbul, which opened in April 2019. SITAONAIR’s expansion of the current VHF infrastructure enhances operations for airlines serving the regional domestic market and the country’s main airports. In addition to the 29 existing VHF antennae which currently serve Turkey’s main cities, including Istanbul, Ankara, and Antalya, SITAONAIR is planning to install a further 14 at six additional sites across the country. This will include six new antennae at Istanbul Airport which opened its doors on 6 April 2019. Istanbul Airport covers around 76.5 square kilometers and plans to accommodate up to 200 million passengers per year upon the completion of all phases. The developments come at a time when Istanbul’s air transport management services face increasingly busy traffic through the flight corridor between Europe and Asia, which spans the region, following the recent closure of Istanbul Atatürk Airport.


SD

SD, the business, military, and government aviation solutions provider, is expanding its hardware portfolio with the launch of a new tail-mounted antenna series. The announcement, which heralds the launch of the SD Plane Simple antenna portfolio, positions SD as a single source provider of end-to-end connectivity solutions for business jet and government operators worldwide.

The new tail-mounted antenna system offers two variants for operation in Ku- or Ka-band frequencies. The Ku-band variant is expected to be available for STC in early 2021, followed by the Ka-band version later in the year. With only two line-replaceable units (LRUs) and a network agnostic design, the common form factor and wiring simplify the installation, which allows owners and operators to equip aircraft with a connectivity system compatible with future technological developments. Partnerships with Inmarsat for Jet ConneX service delivery and Intelsat for FlexExec connectivity have already been established.


IMMFLY

Immfly introduces Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. films on Club Express Onboard, the digital inflight entertainment and services platform it operates on Iberia Express. The airline surprises passengers on the Madrid-Copenhagen route by screening the Joker, the film which received the most Oscar nominations of any film in 2020. The crew provides earphones and mobile device holders to all passengers with which they can comfortably enjoy screening the film wirelessly using their smartphones while enjoying complimentary popcorn. Passengers who found themselves on the special celebratory flight, were surprised with free popcorn, earphones and mobile device holders to enhance their IFE experience. Immfly has progressively enhanced the Iberia Express IFE service since it first launched the pioneering service in 2014, helping the airline further boost its Net Promoter Score. Practically 50% of the passengers which access Club Express Onboard, the digital services and entertainment platform Immfly provides on Iberia Express, do so to consume entertainment content. Over a third of the users, 37%, enjoy movies, 18% opt for TV shows and 13% for digital press and magazines.


BOEING

Boeing and ANA HOLDINGS INC. (ANA HD) announced the Japanese airline group decided to acquire up to 20 more 787 Dreamliner airplanes (see today’s IFExpress rectangle). The agreement with Boeing includes 11 787-10s, one 787-9 and options for five 787-9s valued at more than $5 billion at list prices. The airline also plans to acquire three new 787-9 airplanes from Atlantis Aviation Corporation.

Once the agreements are finalized, it will be ANA’s sixth order for the ultra-efficient and passenger-pleasing Dreamliner and bring their overall 787 order book to more than 100 airplanes.

“Boeing’s 787s have served ANA with distinction, and we are proud to expand our fleet by adding more of these technologically-advanced aircraft,” said Yutaka Ito, Executive Vice President of ANA and ANA HD. “These planes represent a significant step forward for ANA as we work to make our entire fleet even more eco-friendly and further reduce noise output.”

With this order, the airline will add 11 of the largest and most fuel-efficient Dreamliner models, the 787-10 to its world-class fleet. Powered by a suite of new technologies and a revolutionary design, the 787-10 set a new benchmark for fuel efficiency and operating economics when it entered service in 2018. The airplane allows operators to achieve 25 percent better fuel efficiency per seat compared to older airplanes in its class.

ANA sees the 787-10 as the perfect airplane to replace previous domestic 777 models that are slated for retirement.

“Introducing the 787-10 on our domestic routes will help ANA Group maintain its leadership role and improve our ability to operate as a responsible corporate citizen,” Yutaka Ito said.

ANA became the global launch customer of the 787 Dreamliner when it placed its initial order in 2004. Since then, like half of all Dreamliner operators, the Japanese carrier has placed follow-on orders. However, ANA is in a class by itself as the world’s biggest 787 operator with 71 airplanes in its fleet and 12 more to be delivered prior to the latest agreement. The new deal will bring the 11 additional 787-10 airplanes, one 787-9 and options for five more 787-9 jets.

ANA is also in the launch customer group for Boeing’s new 777X.

“ANA has grown into one of the leading airline groups in Asia by continually raising the bar for customer satisfaction and investing in the most technologically-advanced and capable fleet. We are truly honored that ANA HD is coming back to order more 787 planes with plans to boost their Dreamliner fleet to more than 100 jets,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing, The Boeing Company. “We are confident that the unique capabilities of the 787-10 will continue to safely serve its passengers with best-in-class comfort and reliability.”

The 787 Dreamliner is playing an important role in reducing carbon emissions around the world. Since the first 787 entered commercial service in 2011, the Dreamliner family has saved more than 48 billion pounds of fuel. In addition, the 787 fleet’s noise footprint is 60 percent smaller than those of the airplanes it replaces.

ANA HD’s new 787 jets will be powered by GE’s GEnx-1B engines. The new engines will contribute to the 25 percent improved fuel efficiency per seat of the 787-10.

Also from Boeing:

Boeing announced it has dedicated the remaining $50 million of a previously announced $100 million fund to support humanitarian needs in communities affected by the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents. The Boeing Community Investment Fund will work directly with victims’ families to enable them to donate to eligible charities of their choosing. The company will partner once again with Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros on the fund’s creation, allocation and distribution. Feinberg and Biros will immediately begin working with families, governments and other interested parties to identify eligible charitable organizations. All monies distributed by Feinberg and Biros will be independent of any resolution provided through the legal process. ollowing months of extensive discussions with victims’ families, government officials, community leaders and others, we determined the best path forward – both for those who lost loved ones and the communities affected by these accidents – is to empower the families to decide how to allocate these funds,” said Tim Keating, Boeing’s executive vice president of Government Operations, who oversees the company’s charitable activities. “Through this donation, it is our hope the families will be able to honor their loved ones in a manner that is both personal and meaningful to them while also creating a lasting legacy in their communities around the world.”

Work also continues on the previously announced $50 million Boeing Financial Assistance Fund, which is providing near-term financial assistance to families of the victims.
“When we made our initial $100 million pledge, our first priority was to ensure that we provided families with immediate financial assistance,” said Keating. “Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros have made tremendous progress on that effort. Given their success and the trust they have built with the families, we have now asked Ken and Camille to oversee the important work of connecting families with the charitable organizations they deem most meaningful.”


OTHER NEWS

 

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