AirFi Nears Rollout Completion on Eastern Airlines’ 767 Fleet

Eastern Airlines is just one tail away from having outfitted all ten of its B767 aircraft with AirFi’s FASE (Fully Autonomous Semi-Embedded) wireless IFE solution. The airline sees this deployment as an important key to unlocking improved passenger experience, operational efficiency and revenue generation potential.

This successful installation effort, completed in Miami by AirFi America (MEKCO Group), marks the second North American deployment for AirFi.

“Eastern was looking for an onboard solution to both improve passenger experience and generate new cross-platform opportunities,” said Steve Harfst, CEO Eastern Airlines. “AirFi allows us the achieve both while also giving our customers a touch-less entertainment experience onboard. We strive to do everything possible to make traveling a safe and enjoyable experience.”

Eastern Airlines (which has an average flight length of 5-6 hours) is now offering a broad selection of inflight entertainment through AirFi and boutique CSP partner, West Entertainment. On their own personal devices, passengers can watch the latest Hollywood releases, award-winning classics and must-watch TV programs (comedy, drama, kids, documentaries, lifestyle). 90% of the content is also available in Spanish.

How does it work?

To create the onboard streaming solution, four compact and ruggedized AirFi Venus boxes (less than 2 kg/4.5 lbs each) are simply placed in overhead storage bin of each twin-aisle aircraft. They create a closed Wi-Fi network (sometimes called “Near-Fi” in industry circles), which passengers connect to, using any Wi-Fi enabled personal device such as a mobile phone, tablet or laptop. Once connected, they can begin streaming entertainment directly through the browser, without the need to download an app.

The FASE option for installation adds a layer of security because the boxes are physically “attached” to the plane, though still classed as carry-on equipment – meaning no STC is required. FASE also connects the boxes to aircraft power supply (so battery life isn’t an issue) and automates the power on/off function.

“We’ve installed all our planes in as little as one day, while upgrading other aspects of the cabin,” said Harfst. “Quick deployment and the quality streaming entertainment were probably the main reasons we wanted to work with AirFi, but we’ve also become very excited about the other ways we can use the AirFi platform to improve our customer experience.”

What’s next?

Eastern plans to install the AirFi solution its first two B777 aircraft and will soon use it to launch a new buy-on-board catalogue that passengers can use to browse, order and pay for food, beverage and comfort items right from their seats.

“Ancillary revenue is an important part of our strategy and allowing our team members to collect these fees and charges more effectively using AirFi will continue to be vital to our growth. Digitizing online sales significantly streamlines ancillary revenue,” commented Harfst.

To ensure that passengers can enjoy all the features of the AirFi system and still have full a full battery charge when they arrive at their destination, Eastern is also working with MEKCO Group to retrofit its aircraft with in-seat USB power solutions for charging electronic devices.

Check out their infographic


Wizz Air Launches Chatbot Amelia

Wizz Air, Europe’s fastest growing airline announces the introduction of its chatbot, Amelia. WIZZ’s new virtual assistant will further raise the company’s customer experience standards and will enable customers to easily acquire information related to their flights while also providing a number of useful general information to the traveling public.

Wizz Air’s new chatbot was inspired by Amelia Earhart, the American aviation pioneer who was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Wizz Air is a company of inclusivity, diversity and of infinite career opportunities and is a fierce supporter of gender equality. Naming its chatbot after such a fantastic woman, the airline wishes to pay tribute to all women in aviation and underpin its commitment to a more gender-equal industry.

At WIZZ we believe in a future where everyone has the opportunity to live up to their full potential. We work hard to develop our services to enhance our customer experience and to empower our people and support the communities we serve.

Amelia the chatbot is happy to answer general questions related to COVID-19, special assistance, baggage, payment methods, check-in, voluntary cancellation, traveling with infants, WIZZ services (e.g. WIZZ Discount Club, WIZZ Flex, WIZZ Priority, Seat Selection) and questions related to several other topics. This new virtual assistant is free for all, and enables customers to find information fast and easy without having to interact with anybody, without communicating with agents via e-mails or over the phone and without scrolling through the airline’s site. Live chat with agents is also available and free, should customers have questions which exceed Amelia’s knowledge.

We at Wizz Air are committed to developing a better chat experience, and to achieve that we need customers to use the chatbot and help it learn and improve based on customers’ demand and feedback. The chatbot function is currently available in English for a limited number of issues, however it is gradually rolled out to cover a continuously growing number of topics to more and more customers visiting wizzair.com. Besides the newly introduced chatbot, live chat agents will be supporting the customers in all questions related to WIZZ flights and services as long as no changes to the bookings are needed to be made which would require payments. For requests requiring payments, Wizz Air already provides a number of self-service options directly from the WIZZ account as well as call center support.

Zsuzsa Poos, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer at Wizz Air, commented: “I am delighted to introduce Amelia, our virtual assistant who is a real gamechanger in Wizz Air’s customer experience solutions. Automating and digitalizing our processes is key in delivering ever higher customer satisfaction. Wizz Air is dedicated to broadening Amelia’s expertise and to supporting our passengers with an always expanding array of self-service options to manage their travel details. Let’s welcome Amelia on board.”


OneWeb

OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, has confirmed the successful launch of all 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. This launch brings OneWeb a step closer to its ‘Five to 50’ ambition, which enables the start of commercial service by the end of the year.

Lift-off occurred on 26 April at 23:14 BST. OneWeb’s satellites separated from the rocket and were dispensed in nine batches over a period of 3 hours 52 minutes with signal acquisition on all 36 satellites confirmed.

This successful launch brings its total in-orbit constellation to 182 satellites. These will form part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity, including commercial inflight applications and represents 60 percent of the constellation required to enable its connectivity solution to reach all regions north of 50 degrees latitude by June 2021.

This is the third in a five-launch ‘Five to 50’ program, enabling OneWeb to offer services across the United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Artic Seas and Canada, and will be switched on before the end of the year. OneWeb then intends to make global service available in 2022.


Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) and 8tree announced a partnership to make available the revolutionary and OEM-approved dentCHECK® dent-mapping/reporting service at select Panasonic Technical Services (PTS) regional line stations: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), London Heathrow (LHR) and Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD).

This new service offering will allow Panasonic Avionics’ customers yet another convenient, accurate and efficient way to protect their commercial aircraft investment, avoiding unnecessary cost and time delays. Further, the service will complement PTS’s existing line of best-in-class products and services, continuing its history of being a premier service solution provider.

Panasonic Avionics supplies and services In-Flight Entertainment and Communication (IFEC) systems. The company’s customer base includes more than 300 airlines located across the globe.

As a key business unit within Panasonic Avionics, PTS provides Spares, Repairs, Line Maintenance and Technical Services, which includes Training, Technical Publications and Support Services, at more than 50 locations globally. PTS’s customized solutions are designed to ensure equipment serviceability at the lowest possible through-life cost.

Also from PAC:

Panasonic Avionics announced the appointment of Andrew (Andy) Masson as Vice President of Product & Portfolio Management.

Andy joins Panasonic from Adient Aerospace, Boeing’s aircraft seat joint venture with Adient, where he served as CEO.
At Panasonic, Andy will lead its global Product & Portfolio Management team and guide the company’s product and services strategy to deliver innovations and value to customers. He will improve and expand customer-focused product management processes and manage development and execution across the product lifecycle for Panasonic’s market-leading IFEC products, digital solutions and aftermarket services.

Andy will report to Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics. Sain says: “I am confident that Andy’s broad and relevant experience, track record and enthusiasm will greatly enhance Panasonic’s product portfolio to benefit customers worldwide. He will build upon a legacy of innovation as we continually strive to make flying an experience everyone looks forward to.”

Prior to his tenure with Adient Aerospace, Andy held several leadership positions at Boeing, including Director of Engineering and Chief Engineer for Modifications and Freighter Conversions, and Director of Interior Modifications and Inflight Entertainment (IFE). Andy also served as Executive Vice President, Engineering and Operations for Continental Data Graphics (CDG) and UK Managing Director. He began his career at CDG as Operations Director, 787 Operations Manager and Service Bulletin Retrofit Engineer. Andy holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK and will be based in Irvine, California.


Gogo

Jet Edge, a leader in full-service private aviation, is proud to announce a new partnership with Gogo Business Aviation, the industry’s top inflight internet provider. The long-term partnership will upgrade Jet Edge’s AdvantEdge and Managed super-mid and large cabin fleet to AVANCE L5, Gogo’s most popular connectivity system that delivers a robust inflight 4G Wi-Fi experience.


Other News

  • We understand the airline industry is looking at losses of $47.7B in 2021. Not to mention, we hear last year’s losses were $126.4B!

European Aviation Network

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued a milestone decision answering a set of questions referred to the ECJ in proceedings initiated by Eutelsat (and supported by Viasat) regarding Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN). The decision rejects the arguments of Inmarsat’s competitors, which have been trying for years to deprive European consumers of the pro-competitive, innovative and efficient EAN service offering.

Inmarsat operates EAN with Deutsche Telekom and has always known that its EAN platform complies with applicable EU rules.

Brad Swann, Inmarsat General Counsel, said: “Inmarsat welcomes the ruling of the European Court of Justice rejecting our competitors’ arguments aimed at limiting the operation of the European Aviation Network. EAN is an asset for Europe as a whole and it is proving very popular with passengers and airlines. Inmarsat looks forward to continuing to provide the rapidly growing number of EAN users with a world-leading in-flight connectivity experience.”

This decision by the ECJ is final and binding.

Inmarsat has always known that the allegations made by its competitors were entirely without merit and fundamentally misconceived. The legal actions by Inmarsat’s competitors were filed with the sole intention of artificially creating legal and regulatory uncertainty around EAN. The claims of Inmarsat’s competitors have been rejected by all national administrations in the 27 EU Member States and in the UK. Legal actions have also been rejected by courts in the countries where litigation was initiated by either Viasat or Eutelsat, including the UK (including on appeal, now final and binding), Germany and Belgium, as well as in not less than four other earlier decisions of the Court of Justice of the EU (three by the General Court and another one of the Court of Justice).

EAN is an award-winning inflight broadband solution based on outstanding technological innovation developed by European businesses, which has taken years of hard work and commitment by Inmarsat, Deutsche Telekom and a range of European technology partners to deliver. It is providing high quality connectivity services to thousands of passengers on hundreds of flights across Europe. The successful operation and roll-out continues and over the coming months thousands more European airline passengers will be able to experience a world-class cabin Wi-Fi service.


Gogo

Jet Edge, a leader in full-service private aviation, is proud to announce a new partnership with Gogo Business Aviation, the industry’s top inflight internet provider. The long-term partnership will upgrade Jet Edge’s AdvantEdge and Managed super-mid and large cabin fleet to AVANCE L5, Gogo’s most popular connectivity system that delivers a robust inflight 4G Wi-Fi experience.
Jet Edge offers the most extensive and elevated selection of point-to-point super-mid Bombardier Challenger and large cabin Gulfstream aircraft in the United States, and will have the first-ever fleet to be entirely equipped with Gogo AVANCE L5. The conversion is slated for final completion by end of Q3-2021. The commitment to an all-AVANCE L5 Charter fleet has already begun, with over 20 aircraft now equipped with Gogo’s 4G Wi-Fi connectivity. Gogo’s advanced system enables the use of popular streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu, video conferencing, and on-demand movie viewing. Passengers are able to access high-speed internet for web browsing on their personal smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Real-time data for cockpit apps, and remote diagnostics and support are also available.


Boeing

Boeing and Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) announced the aircraft lessor is growing its 737 MAX portfolio with an order for 15 737-8 jets. DAE had been investing in the 737 MAX by buying jets from existing customers and leasing them back to the carriers. The new order is DAE’s first direct 737 MAX purchase from Boeing as it modernizes its portfolio for better economic and environmental performance.

The order will appear on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website once finalized.

Firoz Tarapore, Chief Executive Officer of DAE, said: “We are delighted to deepen our already strong relationship with Boeing. Including this order, we own and manage 162 Boeing aircraft. An increasing number of global aviation regulators are returning the MAX to the skies. We are confident in the success of these aircraft as domestic and regional air travel are seeing strong signs of recovery.”

The new purchase is DAE’s second investment in the 737 MAX in the past year. In the third quarter of 2020, the lessor signed an agreement with American Airlines to purchase and lease back 18 new 737-8 airplanes. Since the agreement, the lessor has delivered 17 of the jets to the U.S. carrier. DAE previously completed a similar purchase-leaseback deal with Brazilian carrier GOL for five 737-8s.

“DAE has been instrumental in helping its customers realize the operating economics and environmental performance of the 737-8. We are delighted that they have come back to add more 737 aircraft to its growth plan as it positions itself for the recovery in commercial passenger traffic,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing. “We are honored by DAE’s trust in the 737 family and we look forward to partnering with them to serve the fleet requirements of airlines around the world.”

The 737-8 is a member of the 737 MAX family which is designed to offer more fuel efficiency, reliability and flexibility in the single-aisle market. The airplane can fly 3,550 nautical miles – about 600 miles farther than its predecessor – allowing airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. Compared to the airplanes it replaces, the 737-8 also delivers superior efficiency, using 16% less fuel and significantly reducing CO2 emissions and operating costs.

Also From Boeing:

Boeing projects global and diversified funding will continue to flow into the aircraft financing sector as the aviation sector navigates the global pandemic and vaccine deployment continues to accelerate.

“Financiers and investors understand the industry’s resilience and the long-term fundamentals that make aircraft a valuable asset class,” said Tim Myers, president of Boeing Capital Corporation. “Despite the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 on the global aerospace industry, there generally continues to be liquidity in the market for our customers, and we expect it to further improve as travel begins to rebound.”

The 2021 Current Aircraft Finance Market Outlook (CAFMO), the first published since 2019, reflects Boeing’s near-term view of market dynamics and assesses financing sources for new commercial airplane deliveries. Due to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, the 2021 CAFMO excludes its customary one- and five-year industry financing projections.

“Industry fundamentals continue to show varying degrees of strength in different markets depending on the regional trends of the global pandemic,” Myers said. “We expect that capital will continue to be routed into the sector by established players and as new entrants seek opportunities during the industry’s recovery.”

The 2021 CAFMO reports the aircraft financing environment ended 2020 with enough liquidity to finance deliveries, but with stresses particularly in the bank debt and tax equity markets. The 2021 CAFMO, an introductory video and regional financing data is available at here. Select highlights include the following:

  • At the industry level, commercial aircraft delivery funding volume totaled $59 billion, a 40% decrease from 2019 levels.
  • The top sources of Boeing delivery financing were cash, bank debt and capital markets, and 100% of Boeing deliveries were financed by third parties.
  • Aircraft lessors executed a significant volume of sale-leaseback transactions, and the industry-wide leased fleet climbed to 46%.
  • Capital markets for aviation volumes were 70% higher than 2019.
  • Commercial banks shored up the aviation industry’s need for liquidity early in the pandemic, but long-term bank debt became one of the less utilized forms of financing.
  • Institutional investors and funds continued to seek aviation exposure, stepping up as some financiers paused and sector credit spreads widened.
  • Export credit agencies remain a small but important funding source during the pandemic.
  • Credit-enhanced financing saw further progress as a complementary funding source, totaling to 4% of the financing mix for Boeing deliveries.

The Boeing 2020 Commercial Market Outlook, a separate annual 20-year forecast addressing the market for commercial airplanes and services, projects passenger traffic growth at an average rate of 4% per year. The global commercial fleet is expected to reach 48,400 by 2039, up from 25,900 airplanes today.


Galgus

All Nippon Airways (ANA) Adopts Adaptive’s ACES, Mobile IFE Solution, Fleetwide to Digitalize its Inflight Magazine, Newspapers & Magazines

As of April 1, 2021, Adaptive is proud to announce that their sophisticated mobile digital press solution, ACES, became available fleetwide on All Nippon Airways (ANA) flights. The airline – Japan’s largest and 5-star airline for eight consecutive years – made the decision to switch to digital press to reduce ANA’s carbon footprint by eliminating more than 1500 tons of paper emissions per year, and create a more hygienic inflight experience, while significantly increasing the selection of media for passengers.

Not only in the lounge and inflight, ANA passengers will be able to access ACES’ digital press content from anywhere, through the airline’s booking and reservations app, on their own device, including the ANA Group’s inflight magazines, “TSUBASA -GLOBAL WINGS-,” and other popular newspapers and magazines, available in multiple languages.

ACES’ software development kit (SDK) approach has already demonstrated its efficiency with leading carriers such as Singapore AirlinesQatar AirwaysSASTAP Portugal, and ANA asked Adaptive to take the platform to the next level, to match their vision and innovative approach to IFE offerings that fit what passengers will expect, especially post-COVID.

“As many passengers are still fearful of touching anything, the decision for ANA to replace hard-copy materials with digital press is very forward-thinking and truly demonstrates the airline’s commitment to passenger safety and offering the best possible inflight experience, while at the same time reducing costs,” said David Fairand, COO of Adaptive. “At Adaptive, we are thrilled to provide ANA’s passengers with access to the top digital press content from the safety and comfort of their own device, via ACES’ seamless integration into ANA’s mobile app. Through the app, passengers can download content up to 24 hours before the flight using an internet connection, and it will remain available on their device for 24 hours after the flight lands, no matter where the passenger is physically located.”

“As part of our response to COVID-19 outbreak, ANA has suspended providing printed publications onboard. Our new service will give our customers access to a significantly larger selection of media – even more options than we used to provide before the spread of COVID-19,” said Tom Mano, Vice President of Products & Services Planning at ANA. “Our new service will also allow customers to select and enjoy newspapers and magazines – not only during the flight, but also during the time on the ground – to enhance our seamless digital customer experience in the safest way possible, which we will continue to upgrade as part of our mid-term strategy. This new service will, at the same time, make our operations more sustainable, as we’ve made a long-term commitment to adhering to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”


IFPL Announces Acquisition of Cobalt Aerospace

IFPL is excited to announce that they have acquired specialist aerospace design and manufacturing company Cobalt Aerospace Group Limited.

Cobalt Aerospace develop innovations that provide comfort, safety, convenience, and ambience to enrich air travel for both passengers and operators. Their product portfolio includes class-leading LED mood lighting, the world’s first-to-fly wireless chargers and new emergency floor path marking system, GLS-7.

IFPL has known the Cobalt Aerospace team since the company’s formation in 2013 and have watched with interest as they successfully bought several innovative solutions to market. IFPL is  confident that by combining the considerable skills and expertise within both businesses, they will be able to significantly broaden and strengthen their offering to their customers.

Here is just a snapshot of the products that this merger will make available to IFPL’s customer base:

  • Cobalt Spectrum
    The original drop-in LED mood lighting. Offering a virtually unlimited number of colors and lighting effects alongside superior reliability, Cobalt Spectrum is capable of enhancing any aircraft cabin with the brightest and best LED lighting.
  • Cobalt Unplugged
    Able to seamlessly integrate into arm rests, bar tops, and more, Cobalt Unplugged wireless chargers keep mobile phones, tablets, and laptops fully charged; ensuring passengers and crew stay happy.
  • GLS-7 Emergency Floor Path Marking
    GLS-7 photoluminescent floor path marking is proudly the most economical system on the market: customers can save up to 70% on competitor products, with no compromise on quality. Durable, and waterproof, GLS-7 is completely reliable as it operates without the use of electricity.

Excitingly, Cobalt Aerospace will also bring their specialist certification knowledge and status as a UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Part 21J Design Organization to the IFPL Group. This means we will be able to support customers with classifying and approving aircraft changes across a variety of areas including avionics, cabin interiors, and electrical systems.

The companies want to take the time to reassure you of several things that will not change:

  • IFPL will continue to operate as IFPL, and Cobalt Aerospace will continue to operate under their brand name. Both businesses will operate under the umbrella company IFPL Group Limited.
  • You will continue to work with the same people you are currently in contact with – the companies are retaining all of our staff in their current positions. This acquisition simply means they will have more expertise available!
  • Any services and products the companies are currently providing you with will continue without hindrance.
  • The way you contact either IFPL or Cobalt Aerospace will not change – they still have the same phone number, the same website, and the same email addresses.

Lufthansa Systems & Emirates Airline Extend Their Long-Standing Partnership

Lufthansa Systems and Emirates Airline have extended their long-standing partnership by signing a seven-year contract for the iPadOS-based charting solution for pilots Lido mPilot – including the Airport Moving Map Lido AMM – and the renewal for the Airport Mapping Database Lido AMDB. The airline and its pilots will continue to benefit from increased situational awareness, safety, efficiency, and a reduction in workload.

“We are happy to continuously support our airline customers with our cutting-edge products and services – especially as flights are slowly starting to pick up again around the world,” said Dr. Bernd Jurisch, Head of Flight & Navigation Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “This contract extension highlights the ongoing trust our customers place in us as a leading provider of aviation IT solutions, and we look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with Emirates.”

Emirates is one of the world’s leading airlines, and it first started using the Lido Flight Planning Solutions in 1996. The airline became an early adopter of the Windows-based charting application Lido eRoute Manual in 2008, and it has now opted to include the iPadOS-based charting application Lido mPilot as part of its flight operations solutions suite. This application optimizes workflows for pilots and improves their situational awareness, and most recently, it introduced a built-in dark mode button, a terrain layer on the enroute map, and the depiction of five weather phenomena.

Lido mPilot provides pilots with all necessary navigation charts, documents and messages on their iPads. The application boasts an intuitive user interface, data visualized using the acclaimed Lido Route Manual charting standard, enroute weather and terrain, and more than thirty user configurations. The Lido AMDB is a highly accurate and reliable airport mapping database developed by Lufthansa Systems. The certified database displays the spatial layouts of airports in a geo-referenced manner to enable the onboard EFB airport moving map application and advanced ground avionics functions. It includes the geometry of runways, taxiways and buildings, as well as functional information.

The Lido Flight Operations Solutions product family from Lufthansa Systems offers the aviation industry products and services in three key areas: Lido Data Solutions, Lido Flight Planning Solutions, and Lido Pilot Solutions. With its Lido products, Lufthansa Systems helps its customers increase safety, lower costs, and reduce workloads across the entire mission – both on the ground and in the air.


Thales New CEO of InFlyt Experience

Thales announces the appointment of TK Kallenbach as Chief Executive Officer of the InFlyt Experience business effective April 5, 2021. In his role, Kallenbach will drive the digitalisation of Thales’s portfolio and connected IFE platform to deliver innovative, market-driven solutions that bring value to our global airline customers. He will report directly to Yannick Assouad, Executive Vice-President Avionics at Thales, leading strategic corporate initiatives to position the company for sustained growth and market leadership.


SkyAware

FlightAware, the largest global provider of flight information and proprietor of the world’s largest Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) network, announced SkyAware Anywhere, a free software that provides a fused view of an individual’s various ADS-B receivers. This easy-to-use solution provides users with a secure, raw view of everything their ADS-B receivers are seeing in real-time on one map, from anywhere they have an internet connection.

Interested in Joining the ADS-B Community?

FlightAware operates a worldwide network of ADS-B and Mode S receivers that track ADS-B or Mode S equipped aircraft flying around the globe. You can view our coverage map here. FlightAware offers PiAware, ​the do-it-yourself ADS-B receiver that can be built with a Raspberry Pi for under $99, and the FlightFeeder, a free, prebuilt ADS-B receiver for hosts located in areas needing additional coverage.​

SkyAware Anywhere is free for all FlightAware ADS-B hosts, and compatible with all FlightAware devices including PiAware and FlightFeeders. There is no additional hardware, software, or update required for those with existing FlightAware ADS-B receivers.


Other News

  • It sure looks like Boeing plans to dramatically reduce their presence in  of Washington State as a 215 acre site that was the Commercial headquarters in Renton, Washington has gone on the market. Beyond that they are trying to sell some 2.5 Million square feet of office space there as well. We also understand 5 other properties will be sold around the greater Seattle area, as well as, some 300+ acres of unused property. A Boeing Press Person noted: “There is a headquarters but you have to think of it differently than a traditional headquarters building, The flag is planted temporarily, as Stan (Deal – President) and members of his leadership team move from location to location.” While Boeing laid off almost 15,000 jobs last year, the company is looking to reduce their Washington real estate by some 30%. Further, in-house speakers say they will not be leaving, but it sure looks like the company’s future lies in Chicago and South Carolina (and many other smaller installations around the US). The Northwest may just be a site of manufacturing, and as the PR folks noted, that the 737 MAX will be in Renton until 2031. It is our expectation that the Northwest will be a standard manufacturing location for one or two models and the management will be looking to go to the lowest cost manufacturing areas, mostly based on labor costs. Time will tell.
  • We have been fans of Anthony Bourdain for some time and one quote he had about travel really worked for us: ““It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn.” Rest in peace, Anthony!

Correction: In last week’s edition of IFExpress, we covered Panasonic Avionics’ trial in late 2020 providing passengers unlimited Wi-Fi. One sentence read: “Prior to the trial the average passenger consumed 1.6 GB of data which jumped to 3 GB during it.” It should have been: “Prior to the trial the average passenger data consumption per aircraft was 1.6 Gb of data which jumped to 3 GB during it.”

Panasonic Avionics

In late 2020, Panasonic Avionics, in conjunction with a major airline, conducted a trial providing passengers unlimited inflight Wi-Fi. The trial ran over several months with the goal of finding out how the airline could enhance the relationship with their passengers by providing high-quality onboard Wi-Fi. Specifically, it allowed them to better understand if Wi-Fi boosted passenger loyalty; to see if Wi-Fi facilitated a better understanding of passenger behavior; and if better Wi-Fi correlates to an increase in potential revenue.

The Wi-Fi experiment was quietly rolled out on 109 aircraft with very limited promotion but once available, the service was quickly discovered by passengers – and they began streaming. On average, the engagement time per user increased by 23%, streaming content was viewed 41 minutes more with YouTube and Netflix being the top choices watched by passengers and music aficionados tuned into their Spotify and Apple Music Apps to stream their favorite tunes. Prior to the trial the average passenger data consumption per aircraft was 1.6 GB of data which jumped to 3 GB during it.

The trial ran during the holiday travel times, which had the highest travel numbers since the start of the pandemic. Even with the increased load factors, complaints about slow inflight internet rates fell by up to 46% in December and 61% in January! Amazing.

The most significant takeaways from the trial: 1) Fast, reliable, highspeed internet is a cornerstone of the passenger experience. 2) Increased usage of streaming apps, either via PEDS or seatback screens, provide a big opportunity for increased revenue-generating ads and content for the airlines.

Panasonic states that the trial was possible because of their Gen-3 network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites that direct capacity to where it is needed most. Panasonic reports that In February, their first of high-throughput satellite (XTS) joined their network and entered service over Asia-Pacific. Also, the new Newtec modems played an integral part in the success of the trial. Additionally, the migration from Panasonics’ previous generation IFEC technology means faster browsing and higher reliability in video streaming. The Gen-3 network also enables 4G and VoIP services and powers Live TV channels like Sport 24.

The trial proved that passenger demand for highspeed, high quality internet is growing. This is supported by: 1) an increase in long-haul flights 2) passengers are carrying more connected devices 3) high customer expectations for technology and airlines. Further, the increase in BYOD (bring your own device) will continue the drive the demand for high quality, connectivity. Perhaps more significantly, this increasing expectation and new demands for inflight services are encouraging airlines to brand their onboard entertainment experiences, not only for the seatback IFE, but also the BYOD and to coordinate these efforts with the IFEC manufactures.

Embracing highspeed, reliable connectivity will put airlines in a better position to meet their passenger needs, both now and in the future, whether the service is free or paid. As the industry begins to recover from the pandemic, maximizing connectivity will be a major differentiator.

Also From Panasonic Avionics & JetBlue:

JetBlue announced  that it has selected Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) for its live sports in-flight offering on the airline’s Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft.

This offering will expand JetBlue’s transatlantic inflight entertainment options to include one  channel of live sports, Sport 24, with satellite-based streaming facilitated by the airline’s connectivity provider. JetBlue’s new fleet of Airbus A321LR aircraft due to be delivered from 2021 onwards, will be outfitted with the service.

Panasonic is the exclusive provider of Sport 24, the world’s first and only live in-flight sports platform. It broadcasts 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, connecting airline passengers to over 16 hours of premium live content from over 30 different global sports leagues each day.

From 2021, JetBlue’s customers will be able to enjoy all the live action from the world’s top sporting events, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, all four Tennis Grand Slams, all four Golf Majors, the NRL, the UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, Bundesliga, and more.

Sport 24 creates a unique viewing experience for passengers – from the casual to the avid sports fan – which results in a dwell time almost three times higher than the most popular US sports channel.

Almost 1,000 aircraft across the globe are installed with Panasonic’s Live Television service, of which Sport 24 are an integral part.


Hiring Trends Survey: Covid-19 Impact Results

JSfirm.com, an aviation job website, released their Hiring Trends Survey for 2021. Of the hiring professionals, executives, and business owners surveyed, over 50% are projecting growth in 2021. Additionally, 66% of those surveyed did not cut any jobs in 2020, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

In summary:

  • 200 aviation companies across various sectors were surveyed
  • 84% are projecting moderate growth in 2021
  • 93% expect to hire in the 2nd Quarter (Apr – Jun) of 2021
  • Pilots, maintenance & avionics technicians remain in highest demand

Sam Scanlon, Managing Partner of JSfirm.com, said, “The results of our recent survey are encouraging for the industry. It’s interesting to see how many companies were not affected too much by the pandemic: airlines make the headlines, but the fact is, the small to medium size companies that make up the majority of our infrastructure made it through the past year and are now gearing up for growth.” He continued, “Overall traffic on our website continues to increase from both job seekers and companies – we are anxious to see how the remainder of 2021 plays out.”


Morgan Stanley
Airlines: More than Just a Re-Opening Trade; Fundamentals Still Supportive of Upside: Upgrade UAL, ALK; Initiate on AAL

Morgan Stanley (MS) reiterates their Attractive view on the US Airlines despite the stocks up 85% in the last 5 months. With a clear path to re-opening now in focus, they look out to 2022+ and find consensus numbers are too low given their view of strong volume and cost tailwinds. MS are ~30%+ above consensus in 2023.

They initiate coverage on American Airlines (AAL) at Underweight. MS upgrades Alaska Air Group (ALK) from Equal-weight to Overweight and United Airlines (UAL) from Underweight to Equal-weight. Remain Overweight on Southwest Airlines (LUV), JetBlue Airways (JBLU), Allegiant Travel (ALGT) and Delta Airlines (DAL).

MS sees ~30% upside to our price targets and 45% upside to consensus 2023 estimates, on average, driven by quick rebound of air traffic, structural cost savings and a supportive jet fuel environment. They also believe a Roaring ’20s/Swinging ’60s-like macro environment can drive traffic significantly higher than a 2019 baseline level, in a bull case. MS sees the most upside at names with the most idiosyncratic tailwinds especially LUV, JBLU, ALK and ALGT though international and corporate could also surprise to the upside relative to expectations keeping the Legacies in play (especially DAL).

Morgan Stanley also believes the market is missing a few powerful tailwinds driving upside to our estimates vs. consensus:

1. 2022+ estimates still do not reflect a rapid reopening. The circumstantial evidence points to the bull case on a traffic recovery. Yet, consensus is modeling in 2022 revenues ~20% below and 2022 ASMs (Available Seat Miles or volume) ~10% below 2019 levels, which we believe is too conservative. MS continues to expect a return to 2019 ASM levels on average by end 2021/early 2022, which implies 2022 ASMs at least equal to 2019 levels.

2. 2019 is the wrong baseline to use for 2023 and beyond. They used 2019 as the baseline for the reopening but consensus (and the market) appear to be maxing out at that level. MS believes the ceiling for air traffic can be significantly higher in a Roaring ’20s/Swinging ’60s like macro environment, which is possible given the strength of consumer balance sheets. In the 1920s, passenger car miles driven nearly doubled in 5 years above the WW1/Spanish flu baseline of 1918 and again after WW2 in the 1950s, while the emergence of commercial air travel saw passenger volumes up 6x in 5 years. While travel today is certainly more mature, we would not be surprised to see the return of the “golden age” of travel in the 2020s, which would represent upside to our numbers.

3. Structural cost savings suggest margin upside on rising volumes. Several airlines have provided either LT structural cost savings targets (UAL, JBLU, AAL) or benchmarks for achieving 2019 CASMxF (Cost per Average Seat Mile ex-fuel) levels (DAL, LUV). These targets imply margins should be comfortably higher than 2019 levels, if 2022/23 revenues are at a similar level, as expected.

4. Jet fuel pricing is in a sweet spot. Despite jet fuel prices rising 40% off the 2Q20 bottom, we note that: a) fuel prices are still comfortably below 2019 levels, b) current levels could be supportive of industry pricing, and c) our Energy team believes that in the long-term oil prices will stabilize at $50-55/bbl level (vs. ~$60 today), providing further support for structurally higher margins than 2019.

Riding the biggest waves in the rising tide + Idiosyncratic catalysts characterize our top picks.  Morgan Stanley likes airlines with catalysts that will help them outgrow the rising tide. This means Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) and Ultra Low Cost Carriers (ULCCs) with a US Domestic Leisure footprint that will rebound first though we expect International and Corporate travel at Legacy carriers to catch up in 2022. Also, we prefer stocks with idiosyncratic catalysts, including LUV (MAX transition, new corporate/GDS integration), JBLU (fleet renewal, international operations, AAL alliance), ALK (MAX transition, AAL alliance) and ALGT (20% larger fleet). They also prefer Airlines that are likely to start returning cash to shareholders first, given limited to no balance sheet impairment. Legacy airlines are likely to experience the rear of the rising tide and the balance sheet needs to be fixed before cash return or growth investments can occur. DAL is their top Legacy pick.

MS initiates on AAL at UW and a $20 PT (20% downside to the current price) – we believe AAL will rise with the industry tide of returning air traffic and they like its young aircraft fleet which could limit capex pressure in the critical years ahead. However, with the stock up over 50% YTD, positioning is no longer skewed as negative as it used to be, which raises the bar. Our FY23 EPS is roughly 40% below 2019 levels. They are also upgrading ALK from EW to OW (PT from $49 to $90 or 30% upside) and UAL from UW to EW (PT from $38 to $65 or 12% upside) as they see more favorable relative risk-rewards than previously.

Risks to their bullish view include another black swan macro event, labor shortages/disruptions, runaway inflation that pressures the consumer’s balance sheet, safety issues (like COVID resurgence or MAX in 2019) and sharp jet fuel inflation could put our 2022/23 estimates at risk.


Other News

 

 

FLIGHTPATH3D

FlightPath3D announced that during Q1/2021, their install base has surpassed 3,000 aircraft and that they’re looking forward to continued and accelerated growth throughout 2021. Duncan Jackson, FlightPath3D President, says, “We’re seeing absolute signs of recovery in flights and see good growth going forward through 2021. We’re optimistic about the market and expect to surpass 4,000 aircraft within a year.” There is a sustained increase in air travel and aircraft returning to service. Geographic markets, domestic and international services, commercial and business sectors are all recovering, albeit at a different pace. Jackson adds, We are seeing some of our customers in Asia and Oceania flying close to their 2019 passenger numbers for domestic flights. In addition, our North American airline customers seem to be on the verge of a rapid increase in travel demand. Boris Veksler, FlightPath3D CEO “We’re pleased to see 737 MAX deployments once again as they make their way back into revenue service. Our optimism is further amplified by the news around forward bookings from our airline customers and the growth we’re experiencing in the business aviation sector.” In light of the pending rebound in travel demand, with people beginning to plan trips in numbers not seen for more than a year, FlightPath3D has been busy creating new applications that help passengers find flights, routes, and destinations based on personal profiles and experience desires. Veksler says, “We’re excited to help airlines with their recovery with new apps to facilitate passenger interests to be matched to destinations, and flights or activities matched with traveler motivations. Our engineers are levering data science and large data sets to solve this.”

For additional information, please visit the FlightPath3D website or email them at crew@flightpath3d.com


BOEING

Boeing and Southwest Airlines announced the carrier will continue to build its business around the 737 MAX family with a new order for 100 airplanes and 155 options across two models. The deal comes after a multi-year fleet evaluation by Southwest and means that Boeing and its suppliers could build more than 600 new 737 MAX jets for the airline through 2031. Southwest had been exploring options to modernize the largest component of its fleet: the 737-700 that serves the airline’s needs for a 140-150 seat airplane. With the new agreement, the airline reaffirmed the 737-7 as its preferred replacement and growth airplane. The jet will complement the 737-8, which serves Southwest’s needs for a 175-seat model. Both 737 MAX family members will reduce fuel use and carbon emissions by at least 14% compared to the airplanes they replace, helping to improve operating costs and environmental performance. Southwest said the solution allows it to maintain the operational efficiencies of an all-Boeing 737 fleet to support its low-cost, point-to-point route network. “Southwest Airlines has been operating the Boeing 737 series for nearly 50 years, and the aircraft has made significant contributions to our unparalleled success. Today’s commitment to the 737 MAX solidifies our continued appreciation for the aircraft and confirms our plans to offer the Boeing 737 series of aircraft to our Employees and Customers for years to come,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest’s chairman and CEO. “We are proud to continue our tradition of being the world’s largest operator of an all-Boeing fleet.” “In addition to supporting our efforts to operate sustainably and efficiently, the 737 MAX offers Employees and Customers travel comforts such as a quieter cabin, larger overhead bin spaces, seating with adjustable headrests, and more galley space for onboard service,” said Mike Van de Ven, Southwest’s chief operating officer.

The new purchase agreement takes Southwest’s order book to 200 737-7s and 180 737-8s, more than 30 of which have already been delivered. Southwest will also have 270 options for either of the two models, taking the carrier’s direct-buy commitment to more than 600 airplanes. The airline also plans additional 737 MAX jets through third-party lessors. “Southwest Airlines has long been a leader and bellwether for the airline industry and this order is a big vote of confidence for commercial air travel. As vaccine distribution continues to pick-up, people are returning to the skies and fueling hopes for a full recovery and renewed growth across our industry,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We are deeply honored by Southwest’s continuing trust in Boeing and the 737. Their fleet decision today brings more stability for our biggest commercial program and will ensure that our entire 737 family will be building new airplanes for Southwest for years to come.”

As part of the agreement, Southwest will also expand its use of Boeing’s digital solutions to support its 737 MAX fleet, including Airplane Health Management, Maintenance Performance Toolbox and digital navigation charting tools. Boeing will also provide system software upgrades and new wireless communications-enabling equipment to support Southwest’s operations.

About the 737 MAX Family
Designed and built in Renton, Washington, the 737 MAX family delivers efficiency, flexibility and reliability for the single-aisle airplane market. The 737-7 can fly 3,850 nautical miles, the longest range in the MAX family and 1,000 nautical miles farther than its predecessor. This derivative seats a maximum of 172 passengers, compared to the 737-8’s 210 maximum seats. The 737-8 can fly 3,550 nautical miles. This additional capability allows airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. Every 737 MAX features the new Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead storage bins. Other technical specifications can be found here.


MORGON STANLEY REPORT (MS)

Airlines: Corporate Travel Survey 2021: Slow Recovery

Travel managers see a slower recovery for travel versus prior surveys, with a return to pre-Covid levels after 2023. Travel budgets are expected, on average, to be 15% below 2019 by 2022. The shift to virtual continues to increase, with one quarter of 2022 travel volumes expected to shift to virtual. MS conducted an online survey of ~200 corporate travel managers between March 3-15, who represent cUS$7B of typical annual travel spend. This survey is the third wave since the Covid pandemic started, which the company finds interesting to track changes in trends as we return to normal. Overall, recovery expectations have been deteriorating, likely due to extended travel restrictions, with a return to pre-Covid levels of business travel just likely post 2023.

Travel budgets still expected to be below 2019 levels by 2022.

MS thinks the increase in travel restrictions globally has had a negative effect on the return of business travel. In their prior survey (October 2020), respondents expected travel budgets in 2021 to fall on average 54% vs 2019; for 2H21, the expectation is for budgets to be down 44.7% vs 2H19, showing a slight improvement against 1H21. For 2022, respondents now expect a reduction of 15.5% on travel budgets vs 2019. While this implies a strong recovery expected in 2022 vs 2019, at this point respondents are not yet expecting a return to normal levels by next year: 67% of respondents expect 2022 travel budgets to still be below 2019 levels. Yields are expected to go down in 2021 (-2.6% vs 2019), likely due to subdued demand, with some recovery expected in 2022 (yields up 2% vs 2019).

Shift to virtual should reduce travel volumes by over ¼ by 2022.

The trend of some shift of travel volumes into virtual keeps increasing: on average, respondents expect that 27% of meetings will shift into virtual by 2022, an increase from 22% in October 2020 and 19% in July 2020. Only 7% of respondents expect minimal impact (<10%) on travel volume by virtual meetings in 2021, and 15% in 2022.

Mass vaccination continues to be the key catalyst for the return to travel. Widespread availability and administration of vaccination is the biggest catalyst to increase business travel in H2 2021, at 79%, followed by business requirement at 58%. This is largely unchanged versus the past surveys and could be a trigger for a faster recovery, if global programs are successful.

Conclusions for Europe: The results of the survey confirm the slow recovery in business travel. MS thinks the expected reduction in passenger volume of c40% for 2021 is in line with the market view for 2021 capacity, though MS sees some downside risk to this figure, given the continued delay in corporate travel and the replacement of travel by virtual meetings, unless mass vaccination programs progress faster than anticipated. All in all, weaker demand and 27% convergence of travel into virtual events should negatively affect legacy carriers (Lufthansa, IAG and Air France-KLM, in that order) more than low cost carriers (easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz). MS continues to prefer Ryanair and Wizz (OW), over Lufthansa and AF-KLM.

Conclusions for US Airlines: From a US perspective, the survey results are a reminder that despite the widespread optimism (that MS shares) on the pace and trajectory of re-opening related pent up demand, there remains uncertainty and choppiness around the recovery. It is also a reminder that much remains up in the air, especially with respect to corporate/international travel and timing of vaccination. MS notes that the airlines recently shared some of their own surveys/views around a corporate travel recovery, which echoed some of these findings – perhaps with a more bullish tone even. MS continues to remain bullish on the pace of recovery and expects a return to 2019 levels of traffic by late 2021/early 2022, though MS expects US Domestic Leisure/VFR travel to return first and International and Corporate to return “last” by early 2022. This drives our preference for LCC and ULCC carriers over Legacy carriers, which are more exposed to International /Corporate travel and on average have had more cap structure damage during the pandemic. LUV, JBLU, ALGT and DAL are our top picks in the space.


OTHER NEWS

  • BuzzFeed has this great trick: 3. “On an airplane, if my seat-mate is hogging the armrest or being too chatty, I grab the barf bag. Works every time.” People Are Sharing Effective Psychological Tricks They Use In Everyday Life, And I’m Blown Away By Some!
  • And speaking of the virus (we assume), if you have AstraZeneca questions, read this: How good is the AstraZeneca vaccine – and is it really safe? 5 questions answered
  • Electric & Hybrid Aerospace Technology virtual conference looks very good so check it out – Conference Programme | Electric & Hybrid Aerospace Technology Virtual ‘Live’
  • If you travel a lot (after the pandemic) and you wear glasses, you will no doubt notice that your glasses are smudged all the time. Here is a great solution for easy, NO CLOTH wiping! It’s a little plastic cleaner that fits in your pocket and works better than anything else we have ever used – PEEPS! Yep, that is the name of the product … and no … they didn’t pay us, it is just a great product and we thought we would share it with you


QUIVER TREE MEDIA

QuiverTree Media has teamed up with ikonoTV, the
world’s first art streaming platform, providing access to content from worldwide collections, archives, galleries and museums inflight. The collaboration provides innovative new access to the art world, broadening access to works with new reach. Passengers are given the opportunity to quietly contemplate great works in a silent streaming format onboard from personal devices and also seat-back screens. The rich variety of works includes masterpieces such as The Garden of
Earthly Delights by Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch, the Naked Maja from the Prado’s Goya Collection through to ancient gems such as the exquisite Nefertiti Bust dating back to c. 1345 B.C.

The concept of streaming Art in Silence enables flight passengers to immerse themselves in the works without the distraction of sound, commentary or any element which could interfere in the sentiment evoked by the visual experience. “Continuing to inspire guests onboard with fresh, remarkable experiences made possible with digital expertise is part of QuiverTree Media’s DNA. We are privileged to lead the transformation of the inflight content offering as a disruptive CSP and unlock exceptional new opportunities for airlines with technical innovation” says Guillem Gassó, VP Commercial at QuiverTree Media.

QuiverTree Media and ikonoTV began recently commenced roll out of the innovative content introducing it onboard several launch airlines including Iberia Express, Volotea, Air Nostrum, Pegasus and Sun Express. The offering coincides with the current closure of many museums and other cultural venues as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The decision to enable greater access to art during a time of increased restrictions was a conscious effort given the demonstrated abilities the medium has on personal well being. Organisztions which promote the benefits of art as a contributor to both physical and mental well being include the WHO (source: Euronews 21.11.2019). Contact
press@quivertree-media.com or markevitch@ikonotv.art


OneWeb and SatixFy sign agreement for In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) compact terminal.

OneWeb, the global communications network powered from Space and SatixFy UK, a leading multi-beam antenna and terminal design specialist, have signed an agreement to develop a new In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) terminal that will work over the OneWeb network as well as on Geostationary (GEO) satellite networks. SatixFy UK has formed a Joint Venture with Singapore Technology Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering), called JetTalk, to exclusively commercialize the IFC terminal for Commercial Aviation markets. The agreement reaffirms OneWeb’s ambitions in the global aerospace arena as it sets out its roadmap to support commercial, regional, business and government aviation users.

The IFC terminal will unleash the power of OneWeb’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation and deliver a ‘home-equivalent’ inflight broadband experience, while also allowing operators to complement their legacy GEO service. The product is based on SatixFy’s Electronically Steered Multibeam Antenna (ESMA) technology, developed together with JetTalk and provides multibeam capability and operates simultaneously on multiple LEO and GEO satellites.

Well positioned to bring ESMA technology to the market earlier than originally anticipated, SatixFy, has recently completed the development of Tx tile of 576 elements and Rx tile of 1024 elements, that can be used as building blocks for the planned terminal. The tiles, which have been co-developed together with JetTalk, have completed initial testing and are currently being implemented inside a terminal product. The OneWeb IFC terminal will integrate the OneWeb modem as well as a GEO network one, inside the terminal.

“Suitability for all aviation applications” – Ben Griffin, OneWeb VP Mobility. OneWeb is confident of its suitability for all aviation applications – commercial, regional, business and government aviation use-cases. Ben Griffin, VP Mobility at OneWeb, said: “OneWeb is creating IFC solutions which offer a significant increase in the whole passenger traveling experience. This agreement with SatixFy represents a major milestone for OneWeb Aviation, as we plot our path to facilitating onboard connectivity, globally, on commercial airliners and corporate jets, large and small.”

“The ability to deploy multi-beam, multi-satellite, multi-orbit IFC terminals is key in SatixFy’s offering developed in partnership with ST Engineering through our Joint Venture – JetTalk.” says Yoel Gat, SatixFy’s CEO. “Aggregating capacity from multiple satellites will give customers the grade of service they expect on flights. This great leap forward is made possible thanks to the continuous support by ESA and UK Space Agency.”

Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth at the UK Space Agency, said: “The last year has shown connectivity has never been more important to our daily lives, and it is exciting to see SatixFy and OneWeb working together to provide aircraft with broadband internet for the first time. The new aviation terminal will make use of the Prime, Beat and Sx3099 ASIC chips developed with UK Space Agency backing, showing how supporting our most innovative companies leads to results that make a real difference for people all over the world.”
Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, said: “Space and satellites are becoming increasingly important to the digital economy and there is a need to get data all the time and everywhere – even at 35,000ft. ESA is proud to have supported SatixFy in the design of the chips used for this terminal – enabling the digital transformation of society using telecommunications satellites.”

In case you aren’t familiar with OneWeb or SatixFy here is a little data on each of them:

OneWeb will enable connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities. It is implementing a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites with a network of global gateway stations and a range of user terminals to provide an affordable, fast, high-bandwidth and low-latency communications service, connected to the IoT future and a pathway to 5G for everyone, everywhere. OneWeb is enhancing the experience of air travel and its network will deliver the speed, consistency and reliability that passengers expect to have in the sky for work or leisure. Find out more at

SatixFy is a vertically integrated company that provides chips and products across the entire satellites communications (satcom) value chain. Its products enable critical remote connectivity applications globally and incorporate the latest technological advances. SatixFy designs its own silicon proprietary chips, codes its software, builds its products and designs end-to-end systems for use in various applications and services, such as in-flight connectivity, IoT, communication payloads, consumer broadband, and more. The company leverages its research and development (R&D) and technical capabilities to design standard based communication products and systems with the most desirable qualities, such as: higher capacity, lower power consumption, lower weight, and lower cost.


BOEING

Deep space exploration took an important step forward on March 21, 2021. The cryogenic core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket completed hot fire testing at NASA’s Stennis Space Center as part of the SLS rocket’s Green Run test campaign on the B-2 test stand. The test, which included a full-duration, eight-minute engine burn, demonstrated successful core stage operation and will be used to help certify the stage for flight. “I want to thank the extraordinary individuals who make up the NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Boeing teams who designed, developed, produced and tested the all-new SLS core stage to enable sustainable human exploration of deep space,” said John Shannon, Boeing SLS vice president and program manager.

(Editor’s Note: We understand Boeing has put up for sale some 310 acres in the south Puget Sound region (specifically in Pierce County). They plan to reduce the Puget Sound land operation region by 30% and we wonder if the Northwest Boeing reduction is a part of the cost reduction of the new team? We will also see if more production is moved East in the future, as well!)


IATA has postponed the 77th annual meeting from June 27-29 in Boston, MA.


OTHER NEWS

  • Here is a story which explains why Southwest Airline ramp agents are very important! Southwest Airlines Ramp Agent Reunites Toddler With Buzz Lightyear | TravelPulse (Hey, if my Buzz Lightyear was lost I would be devastated!).
  • Apparently, things are looking up? Reports indicate that 2 weeks ago US air travel was down 55% from the same time period in 2019. But as of today, we understand that it is only down around 48%. WooHoo!
  • Here is an email quote we got from a reader and we offer you the chance to copy it: “This email is a natural product made from recycled electrons. The slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and in no way are to be considered flaws or defects.” Thanks, Ken!
  • Looking for a video explaining AI at the introductory level? Try this: AI in Science Fiction vs. AI in Reality | IE

SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct (SD), a business aviation solutions provider, is bolstering access to its Crewmember Network and Connectivity Training certificate program, aeroCNCT, through a new agreement with DaVinci Inflight Training Institute, a Florida-based flight crew training company. The SD aeroCNCT certified course is now being taught by an SD training professional at the DaVinci Institute on a quarterly basis. Theoretical and practical teaching leads to a professional credential upon successful completion of the course and examination.

The addition of aeroCNCT to the DaVinci curriculum aims to support the needs of an increasing amount of flight crew requiring comprehensive understanding of in-flight connectivity solution management. Designed to familiarize students with multifaceted connectivity concepts, the course includes modules on cabin network management, network applications and tools, and flight operation preparation. The resulting accreditation gives the flight professional the confidence to troubleshoot connectivity issues and serves to raise industry standards.

“We understand that connectivity is an essential element of the flight experience and that for flight crew it is a growing area of responsibility. DaVinci recognizes that providing reliable training enhances the opportunity for greater professional development, so it makes sense to team up to offer our dedicated course through the institute. The aeroCNCT course complements existing DaVinci modules, and we hope that by providing a wide selection of courses at a single location, attendees can optimize the full training potential available at the institute,” explains John Kummer, SD senior vice president strategy.

DaVinci offers a wide range of courses for flight attendants and crew, including culinary, cabin safety, and service training among others. “We believe that by adding tangible value to professional development with certified courses we are improving career prospects for our students and enhancing the business aviation sector. We are frequently asked for educational support relating to connectivity, so we are excited to add the SD connectivity module to our curriculum. We know it will appeal to many of our existing customers and be of great interest to new ones too,” says John Detloff, chief operating officer at DaVinci.

Since its launch three years ago, more than 200 crewmembers have successfully completed the aeroCNCT course and SD is now welcoming returning students for certification renewal.


BOEING

Boeing and private investment firm 777 Partners announced  an agreement to add 24 B737-8s to the firm’s diverse aviation portfolio, with purchase rights for an additional 60 airplanes. The Miami-based company will place the single-aisle airplanes with its growing portfolio of low-cost carrier investments around the world.

In addition to aircraft leasing, 777 Partners strategically invests in a host of aviation businesses, from operating carriers to technology-driven solutions. The firm’s travel sector strategy is largely focused on innovative solutions for interlining, passenger connectivity, and creating new commerce channels for its airline investments and customers.

“We could not be more excited to partner with Boeing on this transformative order for our growing aviation business. The 737-8 aircraft are a fantastic addition to our aviation portfolio and will enable our partners to leverage the jets’ superior economic performance to deliver low fares for their passengers while reducing their carbon footprint,” said Joshua Wander, founder and managing partner of 777 Partners. “The retrenchment of traditional carriers globally has created an unprecedented market opportunity for more agile and cost-efficient operators. These aircraft will enable our operators to accelerate the recovery in the destinations they serve. We are humbled to call one of America’s greatest manufacturers our partner in this endeavor.”

The B737-8 can fly 3,550 nautical miles, about 600 miles farther than its predecessor. This additional capability allows airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. The 737-8 reduces fuel use and CO2 emissions by 16% compared to the airplanes it replaces, and that superior fuel efficiency means lower operating costs and a smaller environmental footprint. Every airplane features the new Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead storage bins.

“777 Partners has gained a reputation for investing in high-growth markets and we are delighted to welcome them to the Boeing 737 family. This is a significant order that speaks to 777 Partners’ belief in the 737-8 and the market recovery ahead. We look forward to delivering these jets and supporting a safe and successful entry into service with 777 Partners’ affiliates,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing. 777 Partners is a Miami-based private alternative investment firm that invests across a number of high growth attractive verticals. Founded in 2015, 777 Partners initially applied its expertise in underwriting and financing of esoteric assets to diversify across a broad spectrum of financial services businesses, asset originators and financial technology/service providers. In recent years, the firm has broadened its mandate and now invests across six different industries: insurance, consumer and commercial finance, litigation finance, direct lending, media and entertainment, and aviation.


FLIGHTAWARE

FlightAware, a global provider of real-time and historical flight tracking information and insights, announced that it has been awarded a General Services Administration (GSA) contract from the United States Government. As a GSA schedule contract awardee, FlightAware becomes a trusted vendor of aviation data and applications for all approved GSA buyers. FlightAware is an American-owned and operated small business that can quickly and reliably deliver the world’s most complete aviation data and insights to the GSA purchaser. The GSA approval extends FlightAware’s aviation intelligence platform seamlessly to the government sector with data provided both in out-of-the-box and fully customizable formats. FlightAware’s APIs, like Firehose and AeroAPI, allow users to integrate flight data into customer products, while FlightAware’s applications such as FlightAware Global allow sophisticated tail and fleet monitoring. GSA buyers looking to learn more about FlightAware’s data offerings can visit: industry.flightaware.com/usgovernment

Synoptic Data PBC, the leading weather data aggregation and distribution platform, and FlightAware, the largest global provider of flight information and insights, today announced a partnership to deliver real-time Mode-S derived aircraft weather data via Synoptic’s API services to weather-sensitive users in the public and private sector.

Synoptic is expanding its aircraft-based observations offering by leveraging FlightAware’s capability to deliver global derived temperature and wind data throughout the vertical extent of the atmosphere using FlightAware’s complete historical and predictive aviation information platform, Firehose. Utilizing Mode-S weather data from tens of thousands of flights daily across the globe, Synoptic will provide its customers with a rich source of vertical weather profile information to enhance and improve weather forecast accuracy, increasing the amount of available aircraft weather data by as much as 400% in some situations. In addition to direct use in aviation operations, weather data collected from aircraft is one of the most important inputs to both global and regional Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models. Being able to incorporate additional data like FlightAware’s Mode-S data, especially in data sparse regions, will increase weather model accuracy and allow customers the ability to deliver better forecasts, contributing to public safety, operational efficiencies, and effective planning.

“The drop in air travel due to COVID has dramatically reduced the volume of critical airborne observations worldwide, impacting NWP weather forecast accuracy by as much as 30 percent. This partnership provides an important additional source of vertical wind and temperature data that will have a direct impact on NWP performance, improving weather forecasts and by extension, improving operational efficiency for all weather-impacted businesses,” said Steve Woll, President of Synoptic Data PBC.


OTHER NEWS

  • Let’s face it, the future of trade shows is questionable because of the virus risks and we have been waiting for some solutions that might work to help present new products. Well, the folks at Asian Sky Group have come up with one option and if you think this might be a partial solution, check out this demo video of GatoR introduced by Jeffery Lowe – Jeffrey Lowe introduces GathR: the next-gen virtual communication / networking platform. Jeffrey Lowe introduces GathR: the next-gen virtual communication / networking platform – YouTube
  • If you are a mechanical engineer you will love this video – The Antikythera Cosmos. The story is amazing and so is the video! The mechanical display of the universe developed and built around gears and brass display parts is a wonderful story on Gizmodo – New Model of Ancient Astronomical Device Reveals a ‘Creation of Genius’ and is the result of a rusted discovery off the coast of Crete in 1901. The 2000 year old device is an amazing development in its time. The video on Vimeo is a very good development description of the device that has taken over 100 years to resolve – especially since only one third of the device was discovered under water. Vimeo said – “The UCL Antikythera Research Team struggle to solve the front of the Antikythera Mechanism—a fragmentary ancient Greek astronomical calculator—revealing a dazzling display of the ancient Greek Cosmos.” They are correct! The Antikythera Cosmos on Vimeo And if you are wondering why this old mechanical technology story is in IFExpress, it is because we think our readers might find the history of knowledge and technology older than we are taught. And, along the same lines, the question of earlier flight history just may be somewhere developed, tested and hidden so well that we have not heard about it yet!

Abu Dhabi Airports Launches Rapid Covid-19 Testing

  •  In-airport laboratory facilities provide Covid-19 PCR test results in approximately 90 minutes
  • All arrivals from all destinations (except transit passengers) to benefit from free rapid testing
  • Rapid testing service launched in partnership with Pure Heath, the region’s largest laboratory operator, and UAE-based Tamouh Healthcare
  • Introduction of new testing process for arriving passengers is a reflection of Abu Dhabi Airports’ commitment to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of passengers, staff and visitors while facilitating air travel procedures

Abu Dhabi Airports, in partnership with Pure Health and Tamouh Healthcare, has launched rapid free Covid-19 PCR testing for all arrivals, except those in transit, with results provided in around 90 minutes. The new state of the art RT-PCR lab offers testing within Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to facilitate air travel procedures and support quarantine tracking procedures.

Designed to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of travelers and staff at Abu Dhabi International Airport, the new Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing process is free for arriving passengers and offers results in approximately 90 minutes. The laboratory has the capacity to test more than 20,000 travelers and staff per day.

The establishment of the PCR testing laboratory falls in line with the directives and vision of His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports, to contain the spread of Covid-19 while continuing to deliver a smooth and seamless travel experience at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Shareef Hashim Al Hashmi, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “Through partnering with Pure Health and Tamouh Healthcare, Abu Dhabi International Airport is now able to offer travelers state-of-the-art rapid testing services delivered by a dedicated laboratory facility. The introduction of the RT-PCR Covid-19 testing is a milestone achievement in our ongoing efforts to facilitate the safe resumption of international air travel and support the recovery of the aviation industry.”

“That we now offer a dedicated PCR testing laboratory within the airport is testament to our commitment at Abu Dhabi Airports to continuously innovate and look for new ways to deliver a safe, smooth and seamless travel experience for all our passengers. The new rapid testing facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport, developed in partnership with many of our stakeholders, will not only enable passengers to confidently travel to Abu Dhabi, but significantly enhance the efficiency of our operations while supporting global efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19,” added Al Hashmi.

All passengers arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport through both terminals 1 and 3 will be tested at the AUH PCR testing facility. Results of the Covid-19 tests will be shared by SMS and WhatsApp, as well as being available on the Alhosn mobile application. Passengers can leave the airport once they have finalized the PCR test processes.

Passengers who receive a negative PCR test and are arriving from the list of ‘green’ countries outlined by the government of Abu Dhabi, will not have to self-isolate. Those arriving from countries not on the ‘green’ list will have to self-isolate for a period of ten days, and will require a quarantine wristband fitted at the PCR testing tent attached to the airport.

Passengers transiting through the airport will not be tested prior to departing for their final destinations.

The lab, being developed and operated by Pure Health – the region’s largest laboratory operator – and the healthcare and passenger facility, being developed by UAE-based Tamouh Healthcare, will have the capacity to test more than 20,000 travellers per day. The 4,000 square metre facility will operate around the clock with up to 190 staff.

The launch of rapid Covid-19 testing services follows Abu Dhabi Airports’ introduction of a comprehensive range of health and safety measures at Abu Dhabi International Airport, including a specially trained team of Wellness Ambassadors equipped to support passengers by answering common questions relating to keeping healthy during travel, encouraging social distancing, and providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

In addition, the airport has deployed touch-less elevator technology, SterixEco Gates sterilization tunnels, thermal scanning cameras, as well cameras with facial recognition capabilities that alert staff if passengers or visitors to the airport are displaying symptoms of Covid-19 or not wearing facemasks.

Check out the link for the latest Covid-19 information at Abu Dhabi International Airport.


Satcom Direct Begins Airborne Validation of Plane Simple™ Ku-band Tail Mount Antenna System

One year after announcing the launch of the Plane Simple™ Satcom Antenna Systems, Satcom Direct has begun rigorous airborne testing of its advanced technology, purpose-built Ku-band tail mounted antenna system.

The transition from development to ground assessment to the aerial testing phase aims to validate the full performance capabilities of the Ku-band terminal. Inflight trials will also confirm the system’s integration with the SD ecosystem of hardware, software and supporting ground infrastructure. The antenna, which is now equipped on SD’s Gulfstream aircraft, will be stretched to the limits of its capabilities while providing empirical feedback about its functionality in an aerial environment.

“It is our company philosophy to always bring products to market that we have validated internally, and we are in a unique position to have the ability to undertake system testing on our own aircraft which gives us direct performance feedback,” says Satcom Direct Founder and CEO, Jim Jensen.  “The aerial validation is the next step in becoming a single source provider of end-to-end connectivity solutions for business and government operators worldwide, which will streamline the connectivity ownership experience and customer support services.”

The aerial testing follows successful completion of intense drive testing completed in Melbourne, Florida using a customized mobile platform. SD’s investment in the hardware series is satisfying the broadening segment of the business aviation sector’s appetite for flexible, reliable, cost effective connectivity solutions. The Plane Simple tail-mounted antenna system will support super-mid to large-size jets and is being developed in partnership with Germany-based QEST, Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH, a worldwide market leader in innovative aeronautical antennas.

“Aviation is moving toward a digital industry, and data is the foundation for informed decision making by operations, finance and maintenance departments. It is essential that we can offer powerful connectivity solutions to a much broader business aviation audience which also support enhanced data management and analytics. The start of our inflight testing within a year of announcing the hardware expansion highlights just how committed we are to meeting these market needs,” concludes Jensen.
The Plane Simple Ku-band antenna is the first in a series of antenna systems being developed by SD.  As a Value-Added Manufacturer (VAM) and service provider (SP) for Iridium Certus, SD is also designing and manufacturing a Plane Simple antenna system for compatibility with the new network offering from Iridium, while also providing the service direct to the business aviation community. The company is aiming to launch a Ka-band variant tail mount antenna in 2022, followed by an electronically steered, fuselage mounted phased-array antenna which will deliver high-speed connectivity via upcoming LEO constellations.


Suspension of  Retaliatory Tariffs

US agreed to temporarily suspend all retaliatory tariffs on direct exports from UK resulting from the Airbus dispute in a new joint approach to longstanding trade conflict over aerospace tariffs; this follows UK’s decision to suspend Boeing tariffs against the US from January. – Source: Speednews


Other News

  • “All us engineers or retired engineers always look at math as a baseline of our education. Why? Because all our education was based on, or explained with, math. Obviously, if your education experience occurred a while ago, it is interesting to review it … I guess? Anyway, here are 17 equations that probably had a part in your education  … and yes, it may be a bit challenging. Keep up, that is the message here!” – TJW
  • This is a big deal. Why? Aviation competition … but find out what CRAIC is first:  CRAIC Plans 3 Versions Of Its New Widebody: The ‘CR929’ – Simple Flying

PANASONIC AVIONICS

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has selected BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, a leading Japanese multinational videogame publisher and developer, to strengthen its in-flight entertainment gaming portfolio.

Panasonic Avionics has incorporated BANDAI NAMCO’s ever-popular, flagship games and will begin rolling them out to airlines and their passengers across the globe on its immersive in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution.

Retro games are seeing a resurgence and BANDAI NAMCO has developed some of the most recognized games in pop culture history such as DIG DUG, PAC-MAN, and GALAGA. PAC-MAN is to date, one of the most iconic brands in gaming, and passengers will soon be able to enjoy it and other globally-recognized games on aircraft equipped with Panasonic’s IFE.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “The gaming industry is one of the few that have seen significant growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This demonstrates the value global consumers place on games and their unique ability to take players on digital adventures and provide connections to different communities.”

Naoki Katashima, Managing Director of BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic that struck the world has greatly affected and changed our way of life. As the world comes together in overcoming the pandemic, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment has partnered with Panasonic Avionics to provide our universally acclaimed game content to be enjoyed in-flight, with hope of the day to come when travelers are free to enjoy the skies again.”


ENCORE INFLIGHT

Encore Inflight, a leading inflight content distributor which set up an office in Singpaore late last year, secured its first major client Cinewav, to provide specialty content that can be enjoyed across multiple venues without compromise to sound quality.

With more than a decade’s experience in providing content to more than 130 airlines, Encore will continue to leverage its network of global distributors to program, curate and rights manage all content for use via Cinewav.

Cinewav is a unique platform and mobile app that allows users to watch movies on big public spaces whilst using the complementary mobile app which allows users to listen to the audio seamlessly on their own phones. Replacing the need for huge speakers, this mobile app guarantees high quality immersive personal experience, eliminates noise pollution, scaling to as many users as possible, and encourages the use of novel event spaces.

Christian Lee, Co-founder of Cinewa said, “My Co-founder Jason Chan and I are really excited to appoint Encore as curators for the Cinewav platform. Jovita and her team have built the prestigious Encore brand by finding, acquiring and distributing the top International independent film gems that deserve to be watched by global audiences. The Cinewav solution came to us as filmmakers when we found that event screenings of our films always lacked great audio, despite attracting record crowds. Even in cinemas the audio would often need tweaking to match what we had meticulously mixed for audiences. That’s when we thought ‘what if we could deliver the perfect audio mix to every member of the audience regardless of location and size?’ We then embarked on a 2-year journey to achieve the synchronization of high quality audio on smartphone with visuals on a big screen. The effort paid off as we now have a world first, patent pending technology, that some are saying is more immersive than the traditional cinema experience.”

Jovita Toh, CEO of Encore Media said, “I have bee a fan of Cinewav founders Christian and Jason since I distributed their festival award winning movie Jimami Tofu more than 5 years ago. This dynamic duo’s passion for film continues to inspire me. Together, Cinewav and Encore hopes to bring back the magic and allure of outdoor movie screenings.”


 A BIT OF AVIATION HISTORY: The Last Flight of the Boeing 727 Prototype Airplane

5 years ago today on March 2, 2016 after 25 years of restoration the Boeing 727 protype airplane flew its last flight. It was restored at the Museum of Flight Restoration Center at Paine Field, Everett, Washington by a great group of volunteers, donors like United Airlines, FedEx and help from the Museum of Flight, Guy Amico, SOAR, FAA, and many others.

The United Airlines 727 flew a short flight to the Museum of Flight on Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington. Be sure to check out the video on YouTube


OTHER NEWS

SMARTSKY

SmartSky Networks announced that it has closed on more than $32 million in additional equity and debt funding as it prepares for the launch of its next-generation aviation Wi-Fi connectivity service later this year.

“In a display of confidence in the future of SmartSky’s groundbreaking technology and services, we received new funds from our institutional investors,” said SmartSky CEO David Helfgott.

SmartSky’s office-grade inflight Wi-Fi service for business and commercial aviation uses the pioneering company’s uniquely scalable, single-beam-per-aircraft approach, which is backed by a substantial patent portfolio and years of flight testing.  Building on this transformative capability, the company is enabling advanced new applications through Skytelligence®, its digital innovation platform, to improve safety and efficiency while providing the industry with new ancillary revenue sources.

 


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation Reports 2020 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Results
* Fourth quarter sales of $114.8 million; full year sales of
$502.6 million
* Fourth quarter pre-tax loss of $7.5 million and net loss of $20.0 million due to the non-cash reserve of $14.1 million against deferred tax assets
* Fourth quarter Adjusted EBITDA* was $2.9 million
* Fourth quarter bookings were $116.0 million, demonstrating sequential improvement
Backlog at end of the year was $283.4 million


BOEING

Boeing Statement on United Airlines Flight 328:

“Boeing is actively monitoring recent events related to United Airlines Flight 328. While the NTSB investigation is ongoing, we recommended suspending operations of the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines until the FAA identifies the appropriate inspection protocol. “Boeing supports the decision yesterday by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, and the FAA’s action today to suspend operations of 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines. We are working with these regulators as they take actions while these planes are on the ground and further inspections are conducted by Pratt & Whitney. “Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.”

Also from Boeing:

The Boeing Company board of directors announced that directors Arthur D. Collins Jr. and Susan C. Schwab will retire from the board when their terms expire and will not stand for reelection at the company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders. The board also named chairs to its six board committees, to take effect following the yearly voting for the election of directors at Boeing’s annual shareholder meeting, which is scheduled to occur on April 20. “We are grateful for Art and Susan’s distinguished service on our board,” said Boeing Chairman Larry Kellner. “Boeing has benefited enormously from their committed and dedicated service.” Collins joined the board in 2007 and most recently chaired the Compensation Committee and served as a member of the Governance, Organization and Nominating Committee. Schwab joined the board in 2010 and most recently served as a member of the Compensation Committee, and the Governance, Organization and Nominating Committee. “It has been a privilege to serve alongside Art and Susan,” said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun. “They made meaningful and lasting contributions to our company, and to the aerospace industry, which is foundational to the global economy.”
“In line with our thorough succession planning process, the board will continue to take steps to identify a pipeline of diverse candidates with appropriate expertise who bring qualified perspectives,” Kellner added.

In addition, the following directors were named committee chairs, effective upon their reelection to the board at the company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders:

  • Admiral Edmund Giambastiani Jr. will continue to chair the Aerospace Safety Committee
  • Akhil Johri was named chair of the Audit Committee
  • Lynn Good was named chair of the Compensation Committee
  • Robert Bradway was named chair of the Finance Committee
  • Ronald Williams was named chair of the Governance, Organization and Nominating Committee
  • Adm. John Richardson will continue to chair the Special Programs Committee.

 


OTHER NEWS

  • There are issues in aircraft manufacturing and you might want to read: Opinion: Will Boeing Become The Next McDonnell Douglas? | Aviation Week Network Be sure to read the reader comments …
  • AVIATION CYBERSECURITY – FAA Should Fully Implement Key Practices to Strengthen Its Oversight of Avionics Risks. Check it out here.
  • Do you read daily AXIOS Navigate? You might like it. Axios Navigate
  • If you don’t think aircraft noise is a concern, you might want to read this: How Noise Pollution Hurts the Heart – The Atlantic
  • George Denis Patrick Carlin (You know, George Carlin, the comedian) once said something very technical that is quite true: “Electricity is really just organized lightning.” (Editor’s Note: We are still trying to understand why we thought you needed to read this?)

PANASONIC AVIONICS

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has today announced a major evolution in its in-flight connectivity offering as its first extreme high throughput satellite (XTS) enters service over the Asia-Pacific region.

The APSTAR-6D satellite is Panasonic Avionics’ latest investment in in-flight connectivity for passengers on commercial aircraft. It is an integral part of its third-generation communications (Gen-3) network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites, placing capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.

Panasonic Avionics is set to complete the upgrade of the 2,544 aircraft installed with its connectivity service to its Gen-3 network within the next month. Over 1,000 commercial aircraft are committed to being installed with its connectivity services and linked to the Gen-3 network from the outset.

Connectivity is integral to the success of Panasonic Avionics and enables a wide range of services to airlines and their passengers. In addition to in-flight WI-FI, these include Live Television with the world’s only global live sports channels delivered in partnership with IMG, an integrated solution with OneMedia to deliver real-time ads, real-time transactions that open up a huge range of in-flight retail possibilities, and the ability to personalize the passenger experience through solutions such as Panasonic Avionics’ Companion App and much more.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “Today is a milestone moment for Panasonic Avionics as we go live with the newest generation of in-flight connectivity. Our third-generation communications network delivers the targeted, flexible use of extreme high throughput capacity, ensuring we can meet the needs of our airline customers with cost-effective and reliable high bandwidth services well into the future.”

APSTAR-6D was jointly designed by APSATCOM and Panasonic Avionics. It will provide airlines with multiple gigahertz of new Ku-band capacity over China and high-density routes around East Asia, including Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia using narrow XTS spot beams.

In addition, APSTAR-6D provides high throughput satellite (HTS) coverage over its full field of view including the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Australia and the Southern Oceans down to Antarctica, which includes areas not served by any other HTS satellite. Tailoring the capacity to areas of demand will provide Panasonic Avionics’ airline customers with better service, unprecedented coverage and the ability to dramatically increase throughput. This opens the doors for airlines to further customize their connectivity offerings to meet the evolving expectations of their passengers.

Panasonic Avionics is currently engaged in active and ongoing trials with airlines to demonstrate the high data rate capabilities of its Gen-3 network. The company expects that airline passengers flying in the region served by APSTAR-6D will also take advantage of the enhanced connectivity that XTS delivers to use high-bandwidth apps in flight.

21 Asian carriers, representing over 800 aircraft, have already selected Panasonic Avionics for in-flight connectivity, including many of the region’s leading airlines, such as Air China, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Xiamen Airlines.

Jeff Sare, Vice President, In-Flight Connectivity Solutions at Panasonic Avionics, says: “Panasonic Avionics is committed to long term investment in its high bandwidth, global Ku-band network, and the service entry of APSTAR-6D is the latest step in that journey.”

Sare continued: “We are planning further investment in our global network of Ku-band satellites for use by commercial airlines in the years ahead. For example, our second XTS, Eutelsat 10B, is due to launch next year and will provide enhanced connectivity over Europe and the Middle East. Additional capacity commitments are also planned.”

Panasonic’s third-generation communications network supports improved airline and passenger experiences including faster internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, improved live TV picture quality and broader channel choice, 4G phone services, and greater bandwidth for crew applications.

The network is backed by Panasonic’s Customer Performance Center, which drives improved network performance, greater reliability, and faster response and resolution times, along with business intelligence tools and reports that provide customers with the data and analytics to deliver and monitor targeted pricing and advertising campaigns.


VALOUR CONSULTANCY IFC REPORT

A new report from Valour Consultancy, an award-winning provider of market intelligence services, foresees the number of aircraft installed with in-flight connectivity (IFC) doubling from 9,026 at the end of 2020 to approximately 18,500 in 2029. These figures factor in the full impact of COVID-19, including the cancellation of retrofit projects and delayed deliveries of new aircraft.

The report, “The Future of In-Flight Connectivity – 2020 Edition,” predicts that over the next two years, the installed base will grow slowly, by around 800 aircraft, marking a 70% decrease in net new installs across the period compared to pre-COVID-19 estimates. The majority of these IFC systems will be linefit. “The pandemic has caused airlines to defer new wide-body deliveries, postpone IFC retrofit programs and to retire older aircraft in favour of smaller, more agile and fuel-efficient planes. Despite this, low level activity is still expected, with 70% of net new IFC installations between now and 2022 to take place on narrow-body jets,” explains its author, Daniel Welch.

The study looks beyond COVID-19 and provides detailed commentary on factors that will help to create a more sustainable IFC business model as the industry begins to recover. “IFC service providers are going to find new wins hard to come by over the next couple of years as airlines rein in their spending. But there is plenty to do in terms of delivering a better quality of service to existing customers,” says Welch. “The pandemic is driving change in the passenger experience and many airlines are using this period to revisit their digital strategies. It’s clear we’re going to see a greater emphasis placed on contactless interactions, customer reassurance and the seamlessly digital journey. IFC can, at the very least, enhance many applications linked to these areas and, as a result, will become more integral to airlines than before the pandemic hit.”

The “captive portal” is another subject explored in the report. It cites how the likes of American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and others are taking ownership of IFC services by introducing portals that harmonize what the passenger sees and embrace a holistic approach to loyalty and onboard retail services. Welch continues, “In the past, passengers flying with an airline that has multiple IFC services in use across its fleet have typically been exposed to the nuances of these deals, paying different rates based on the hardware/service onboard, be it from Gogo, Inmarsat, Panasonic or Viasat. Having a harmonized experience reduces friction during the login process, but also drives ancillary opportunities. Deploying an engaging portal is an achievable short-term win for carriers that already have IFC or wireless IFE that will continue to drive long-term growth.”

Valour Consultancy is a provider of high-quality market intelligence. Its latest report, “The Future of In-Flight Connectivity – 2020 Edition,” is the newest addition to the firm’s highly regarded aviation research portfolio. Developed with input from more than 30 companies across the value chain, the study includes more than 200 tables and charts along with extensive commentary on key market issues, technology trends and the competitive environment. For more information send an email to info@valourconsultancy.com


QUIVER TREE & AUDIBLE

Reaching New Heights: QuiverTree Media collaborates with Audible, an Amazon company

QuiverTree Media collaborates with Audible, an Amazon company, to bring the best in digital spoken-word entertainment onboard. One of the world’s largest sellers and producers of audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment, will further boost visibility of its subscription channel across Europe accessing inflight audiences with QuiverTree Media. Passengers are able to enjoy captivating storytelling onboard their flight and choose from binge-worthy audiobooks, exclusive podcasts, bite-sized audio content, and genre-bending Audible Originals.

Stories that speak volumes

The QuiverTree Media and Audible collaboration has already started making the content available on the fleets of Iberia Express and Air Nostrum, following the successful launch of Audible’s service for Spanish listeners in October. The collaboration reinforces Audible’s offer for this territory, giving passengers a unique opportunity to discover exclusive audiobooks and podcasts in a captive inflight environment. Through this collaboration, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum count with content designed to appeal.

Through this collaboration, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum count with content designed to appeal to young and old audiences alike, bringing together acclaimed Audible Originals such as V is a Vis: la cara B , Pequeñas Revoluciones para Crecer and E l Móvil de Mendes to titles produced in collaboration with Guía Repsol and the ISDI Business School. The selection is complemented with a series of exclusive Audible children’s titles such as Peter Pan , The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.

In addition to offering Audible interactive digital branded assets on inflight entertainment platforms, QuiverTree is enabling the company to provide passengers that enjoy the service inflight tailored incentives, which include special promotional benefits if they subscribe to the service. “Our collaboration with Audible is a great example of the unique capabilities QuiverTree Media delivers as a CSP, pairing inflight experience enhancement for airlines with advertising and subscription benefits for OTTs.” says Julia Maruny, Media & Partnerships at QuiverTree Media. “The fact QuiverTree Media shares many customer-centric and technological innovation values with Audible, reinforces this collaboration with great potential to reach and inspire more customers together.”


OTHER NEWS


Thales

Qatar Airways is upgrading its Boeing B787-8 fleet with Thales’s AVANT IFE. The IFE system features an innovative, New Generation user experience unique to Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways is one of the fastest growing and highly acclaimed airlines in the world, consistently earning a 5-Star rating by Skytrax. With a fleet of the latest-generation aircraft and an unrivaled level of service, Qatar Airways has a steadfast vision to provide the best in-flight experience to its passengers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline remained unwavering in its commitment to upgrade the current fleet of Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner with Thales AVANT inflight entertainment (IFE) system. If your dream is to soar in the skies as a pilot, it’s indispensable to have the best flight training in order to achieve that dream.

Qatar Airways has been eager to replicate the innovative AVANT experience on their Boeing B787-8 aircraft without disrupting the utilization of the fleet and minimizing down time during the retrofit installation. To achieve this ambition, Thales has developed an upgrade program to adapt the existing legacy system to incorporate new AVANT screens and servers into the existing seats and aircraft infrastructure. This turnkey approach includes delivery of full seat modification, hardware and all required certifications, as well as the ability to leverage media integration commonality across the Qatar Airways’ fleet equipped with AVANT.

Qatar Airways Senior Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Ms. Salam Al Shawa, said: “As a leader of innovation within the global aviation industry, we are always looking for ways to further enrich our already exceptional 5-Star on board experience for passengers. With the latest in-flight technology, including lightweight screens, greater content storage and full HD touch screens, we are delighted to work with Thales in bringing the most advanced AVANT IFE system on board our Boeing 787-8 fleet.”

Upgrading to AVANT IFE on the Boeing B787-8 fleet introduces the latest High Definition (HD), capacitive touch screen technology enabling passengers to seamlessly navigate the graphical user interface (GUI) using familiar gestures from their smartphone or tablet. The lightweight screens are two to three times brighter than the former technology, featuring more than 16 million colors for a brilliant viewing experience.

The AVANT system offers a large selection of features and applications with high capacity servers to store over a terabyte of industry leading media content including the latest HD movies, TV show episodes and music collections. Business class passengers will enjoy 17” Full HD touch screens; the main cabin will feature the same high quality experience with 12” smart displays.

“Qatar Airways continues to be a leader in the recovery of the aviation industry, maintaining a paramount commitment to service and to the enrichment of the passenger journey. Together we have developed a turnkey upgrade program with a seamless customer experience and continued installation despite the crisis. With the AVANT IFE system, passengers on Qatar Airways Boeing B787-8 aircraft will enjoy a 5-star experience.” Philippe Carette, Chief Executive Officer, Thales Inflyt Experience.


KID Systeme

KID-Systeme GmbH, a subsidiary of the Airbus Group, announces a change in its multi-member Board with the appointment of Stefan Stolzki as Managing Director.

Currently Head of Customer Services for Cabin Electronics at Airbus Operations and KID-Systeme, Stolzki takes over the position from Peter Schetschine with immediate effect.

KID is managed in a dual leadership set-up. Next to Fokke Mentjes, Stefan Stolzki will be responsible for the overall revenue generation including business development, product line management, sales, customer program management, marketing communications and events.

Stolzki is a graduate of the University of Applied Sciences in Lübeck, Germany. After graduating in Industrial Engineering, he held various senior management positions in Logistics and Customer Service at Satair and Airbus Operations.

“I am very excited to be named Managing Director. KID-Systeme was created by the insight and innovative thinking of aerospace visionaries, and has been built into a customer centric team of cabin experts. I look forward to shaping the future with the team and our network, including the Board of Directors, customers, our industry partners, and especially the people working here who dedicate themselves to the success of KID every day.”, Stolzki said.

KID-Systeme belongs to the Cabin and Cargo family within the Airbus Group, its product portfolio encompasses seat power, cabin and cargo safety features as well as on-board connectivity products and services.


AERQ

AERQ announced that the joint venture between LG Electronics and Lufthansa Technik has joined the Hamburg Aviation Network. AERQ is headquartered in Hamburg and has the goal to improve and evolve the digitalization of the cabin experience with an innovative digital ecosystem. Lufthansa Technik, one of AERQ’s parent companies, is a founding member of Hamburg Aviation. Hence, it was a logical conclusion to become a member of the cluster.

The location Hamburg has developed a leading global position in the field of cabin systems. The presence of cabin expertise at the site is carried to the world not least through the AIX trade fair and the Crystal Cabin Award. It is not only a matter of maintaining the level, but also of exploiting further potential in order not to relinquish global leadership.

“AERQ contributes to Hamburg Aviation’s value chain by providing airlines with cabin solutions that allow them to tap into new business models, drive ancillary revenues and generate operational efficiencies,” said Arnd Kikker, Managing Director at AERQ. “Our hardware, software and data solutions drive the aircraft cabin’s digitalisation, which is another competence field of Hamburg Aviation.”

“The alliance of the city, companies, science and associations creates added value for all players through trusting and efficient cooperation for an innovative aviation location and for the mobility and jobs of tomorrow. We are happy that AERQ with its innovation power has decided to be part of the Hamburg Aviation cluster. Both sides will profit from the collaboration,” said Ulf Weber, Managing Director at Hamburg Aviation.

“Although it is a challenging time for our industry, we believe that it can be an opportunity, too. We feel that especially now given the current circumstances digital and passenger centric products will flourish. In the meantime, our OLED-based Transparent Class Divider concept was shortlisted for the Crystal Cabin Award 2020 and we are planning on participating at the next AIX, too,” said Sang Soo Lee, Managing Director at AERQ.


Sustainable Aero Lab

The aviation industry has historically been the most innovative when facing crises. While global air travel is still severely challenged by the COVID19 pandemic, another game-changing crisis can already be outlined today: In the next decades, the effects of climate change will dramatically influence aviation and its business models. At the same time, this development poses a great opportunity for the aviation industry to regain a revolutionary state of mind, unlocking new fields of technology, business and cooperation.

To support and accelerate this transition of aviation on a global scale, numerous partners and initiatives from Hamburg have joined ranks to form the Sustainable Aero Lab. The new lab will be a global fast track program for startups and projects that can prove their tangible impact on reducing the climate footprint of aviation.

Sustainable Aero Lab to Drive Industry Discussion and Serve as Acceleration Network for Startups

To achieve this, the Sustainable Aero Lab will globally bring together startups, experienced mentors, investors and industry players into one room where founders receive highly focused feedback in a transparent live session four times a year. The first session will be held virtually in February 2021.

The Sustainable Aero Lab also strives to be an international agenda-setter for discussing the relevant issues and questions around the sustainable transformation of aviation, with all stakeholders involved.

Mentors at Sustainable Aero Lab: Leading Individuals from Aviation, Green Tech and Finance

Mentors at Sustainable Aero Lab comprise of world-leading experts from aviation, green tech, and finance. The Sustainable Aero Lab invites individuals with relevant background and experience to help the startups, and will ask for limited time commitment only. Exchange between the mentors is a key benefit even for partners from big corporations.

While the selection process is still ongoing, the Sustainable Aero Lab team is honored to, among others, have already secured the commitment of industry executive Nico Buchholz (former Lufthansa EVP Fleet Management & SVP at Bombardier), renowned aviation analyst at Leeham Company Bjorn Fehrm, long-time Bombardier innovation director Fassi Kafyeke, Ampaire SVP of Global Operations Susan Ying (also formerly Boeing, COMAC), and ex-Facebook director and venture capitalist Christian Hernandez Gallardo as mentors.

Hamburg-Based Initative with Global Scope

The Sustainable Aero Lab is a project driven by Hamburg-based Density Ventures and its CEO Stephan Uhrenbacher, a renowned serial entrepreneur and investor (most prominently: founder of Qype, Avocadostore, 9flats), who also serves as CEO of the Lab. As associated partners, the Hamburg Aviation cluster network, and ZAL Center of Applied Aero Research will also contribute significantly to the new initiative. The Sustainable Aero Lab is supported by the Hamburg Ministry of Economics and Innovation (BWI), and funded through the Hamburg Investment and Development Bank (IFB).

Michael Westhagemann, Hamburg’s Senator for Economics and Innovation:

“The sustainable change that the aviation industry is facing will come with many new opportunities. To unlock these, we need open discussions and higher speed. The Sustainable Aero Lab will put its focus on exactly these points. As one of the world’s leading aviation sites, Hamburg strives to be a leading place for the development of sustainable aviation technologies as well.”

Open for Startup Submissions and Further Lab Partners

The Sustainable Aero Lab is actively scouting for founders and innovators who desire to be part in the first cohort of the Lab. Selected startups will receive A level mentoring on their most pressing objectives. The Lab will not ask for any shares, repositioning or generic pitches. Detailed information on the selection criteria and the application process can be found on www.sustainable.aero.

All individuals, institutions and companies who would like to contribute to the Sustainable Aero Lab in other forms are encouraged to get in touch as well. As a platform for open innovation, the Sustainable Aero Lab is looking to welcome anyone who can add value towards reducing the climate footprint of aviation.


Carlisle IT

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CarlisleIT), a division of Carlisle Companies (CSL), is pleased to announce the award of a new Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the European Aviation Safety Association (EASA) for installation of Satellite and Communication (SATCOM) provisions on Airbus A320 series aircraft.

EASA STC 10075259 installs all aircraft structural provisions, outside aircraft equipment and electrical integration packages for the Honeywell JetWave Ka system. The installation package is certified for application on A319, A320, and A321 aircraft, using CarlisleIT’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) approved solution. CarlisleIT provided all design, qualification, approvals and certification resources associated with the STC. The kits are manufactured at CarlisleIT’s Franklin, Wisconsin factory.

“CarlisleIT’s extensive certification experience, including 202 STCs and 100 VSTCs, ensures that any equipment installation is completed safely and in compliance with airworthiness regulations, regardless of location,” said Chris Rawley, product line manager, aircraft connectivity solutions at CarlisleIT. “This STC opens the door for our European customers to take advantage of an existing, qualified SATCOM installation solution for the Airbus A320 family of aircraft.”

CarlisleIT leads the market in aerospace SATCOM applications, with over 2500 installations delivered worldwide. From component manufacturing to fully integrated engineered solutions, CarlisleIT has the capability and flexibility to support its customer needs.

Inmarsat

Inmarsat announced its participation in a ground-breaking new initiative funded by the UK Government to develop the country’s first automated, zero carbon regional air transportation network. Project HEART (Hydrogen Electric and Automated Regional Transportation) will develop hydrogen powered, automated and remote piloting solutions for small aircraft carrying between 9 and 19 passengers, traveling ‘short hops’ of fewer than 500 nautical miles. In addition to its environmental credentials, the convenient zero-carbon travel option aims to enable scalability and lead to reductions in operating costs, door-to-door travel times and ticket prices. Up to 100 licensed airfields throughout the UK will be made available as part of the initiative, which is expected to enter service in 2025.

Existing ‘short hop’ air travel is economically unsustainable and reliant on government subsidies to cover high maintenance and running costs. Current operations, which require two onboard pilots, depend upon expensive and polluting gas turbine powertrains.

Project HEART offers an affordable alternative that address these deficiencies with next generation technology and a ‘system-of-systems’ approach, bringing together a network of experts to re-develop the entire aviation ecosystem. As part of this approach, Inmarsat will help to power a hybrid connectivity solution that seamlessly combines its satellite communications with terrestrial networks, enabling remote ‘digital’ co-piloting and journey critical communication in the cockpit. This allows the human pilot and the digital co-pilot functions, designed by Blue Bear Systems Research, to work together effectively and operations to be managed remotely. The technology will be evaluated on Britten-Norman aircraft.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Project HEART represents a greener, smarter and more efficient future for aviation. We are proud to support this important project of the UK Government, utilizing our 30 years of experience in satellite communication, navigation and surveillance for both commercial and private aviation, as well as expertise in unmanned vehicle traffic management. Working alongside our extensive network of partners, including Honeywell Aerospace, we are particularly excited about enabling remote operations for aviation networks of the future.”

Project HEART is led by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and is funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Future Flight Challenge (FFC). The consortium comprises of leading UK technology companies that will contribute resources in the areas of technology, operations, infrastructure and think tank experience.

Other innovations in development for the project include hydrogen fuel cell powertrains for aircraft (led by ZeroAvia), hydrogen refueling solutions (led by Protium), and a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) platform, with integrated sub regional flight travel mode (led by Fleetondemand), with acceptance testing headed by The Transport Research Institute of Edinburgh Napier University. In addition, architects Weston Williamson + Partners will lead on new airport infrastructure design, while the airline Loganair and Highland and Island Airports Limited will lead on accommodation of automation and hydrogen fueled aircraft operations.


Panasonic Avionics

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) and IMG have agreed to extend and expand their long-standing relationship to deliver live sports content to the world’s leading airlines.

The companies have signed an agreement giving Panasonic Avionics all international in-flight rights to Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra, the world’s only global live sports channels. Airlines that offer Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra will be able to connect their passengers to unmissable live sporting moments from around the world with live content available in real-time.

Per the terms of the agreement, Panasonic Avionics will exclusively provide IMG’s Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra channels, to any airline, regardless of the in-flight entertainment system or connectivity network they use. Sport 24 is the only truly global, live sports channel that is available to airlines, and it’s exclusively available from Panasonic Avionics. It includes exclusive in-flight coverage of the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, NFL, NBA, NHL, Tennis Grand Slams, Golf Majors and the Ryder Cup, the NRL, and much, much more live sporting action. It broadcasts 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, connecting passengers to over 16 hours of premium live content each day. Over 30 different global sports leagues, federations and unique events will be shown in 2021, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and UEFA Euro. As part of the agreement, Panasonic Avionics and IMG intend to work together to develop new sports content offerings that could be made available under the Sport 24 umbrella.
Panasonic Avionics’ live television service creates an exciting entertainment experience by offering premium live sports and news as it unfolds. In this new golden era of television, this service gives passengers the ability to watch anything they want, when, and where they want. Airlines that include live television as part of the in-flight experience, have an opportunity to stand out as thought leaders in a crowded marketplace.

Almost 1,000 aircraft around the globe are connected with the company’s live television service, of which Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra are an integral part.


Boeing

Boeing and BBAM Limited Partnership announced the lessor is expanding its 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter fleet with six firm orders and six options. The agreement brings BBAM’s 737-800BCF orders and commitments to 15 and highlights the continued strength of the e-commerce and express cargo market.

“As we look ahead to expanding our cargo fleet, the 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter provides the performance and efficiency our customers need,” said Steve Zissis, CEO of BBAM. “Adding these highly capable freighters to 276 Boeing airplanes in our managed fleet helps to further strengthen our leadership position in the marketplace.”

Based on the popular Next-Generation 737, the 737-800BCF is meeting customer demand for a newer-generation freighter that offers higher reliability and lower fuel consumption and operating costs per trip compared to other standard body freighters. Primarily used to carry express cargo on domestic or short-haul routes, the airplane is capable of carrying up to 23.9 tonnes (52,800 pounds) and flying up to 2,025 nautical miles (3,750 kilometers). Since entering service in 2018, the 737-800BCF has won more than 150 orders and commitments.

“BBAM is one of the industry’s leading full-service leasing companies and has built their reputation on smart investments. We are honored that BBAM has selected more 737-800BCFs, based on the success of our standard body freighters in their portfolio,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing’s senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing. “The continued strong demand for the 737-800BCF demonstrates the critical role these converted freighters play in the growing express and e-commerce market.”

BBAM is the world’s largest dedicated manager of investments in leased commercial jet aircraft, providing over 200 airline customers in more than 50 countries with fleet and financing solutions over the last three decades. BBAM is the only manager in the aircraft leasing industry focused exclusively on generating investment returns for third-party investors. BBAM currently has more than $28 billion of assets under management and employs over 150 professionals at its headquarters in San Francisco and in additional offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Zurich, Dublin and Santiago. For more information about BBAM, please visit its website at www.bbam.com.

Also From Boeing:

Boeing is setting an ambitious target to advance the long-term sustainability of commercial aviation, committing that its commercial airplanes are capable and certified to fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuels by 2030. Boeing has previously conducted successful test flights replacing petroleum jet fuel with 100% sustainable fuels to address the urgent challenge of climate change.

According to the Air Transport Action Group, U.S. Department of Energy and several other scientific studies, sustainable aviation fuels reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80% over the fuel’s life cycle with the potential to reach 100% in the future. Today, sustainable aviation fuels are mixed directly with conventional jet fuel up to a 50/50 blend — the maximum allowed under current fuel specifications. In order to meet aviation’s commitment for reducing carbon emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2050, airplanes need the capability to fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuels well before 2050.

“Our industry and customers are committed to addressing climate change, and sustainable aviation fuels are the safest and most measurable solution to reduce aviation carbon emissions in the coming decades,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal. “We’re committed to working with regulators, engine companies and other key stakeholders to ensure our airplanes and eventually our industry can fly entirely on sustainable jet fuels.”
Boeing’s commitment is to determine what changes are required for its current and future commercial airplanes to fly on 100% sustainable fuels, and to work with regulatory authorities and across the industry to raise the blending limit for expanded use.

“With a long history of innovation in sustainable aviation fuels, certifying our family of airplanes to fly on 100% sustainable fuels significantly advances Boeing’s deep commitment to innovate and operate to make the world better,” Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond said. “Sustainable aviation fuels are proven, used every day, and have the most immediate and greatest potential to reduce carbon emissions in the near and long term when we work together as an industry.”

Boeing has been a pioneer in making sustainable aviation fuels a reality, partnering globally with airlines, industry, governments and research institutions to expand limited supplies and reduce the fuels’ cost. Boeing worked with airlines, engine manufacturers and others to conduct biofuel test flights starting in 2008 and gain approval for sustainable fuels in 2011. In 2018, the Boeing ecoDemonstrator flight-test program made the world’s first commercial airplane flight using 100% sustainable fuels with a 777 Freighter, in collaboration with FedEx Express.

Sustainable aviation fuels can be made from a wide variety of feedstocks, including non-edible plants, agricultural and forestry waste, non-recyclable household waste, industrial plant off-gassing and other sources. Sustainability of the fuels is assured through strong, credible sustainability certifications through third-party organizations such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials.


Latecoere/Aircraft Cabin Systems

We note that we have received a note from the ACS folks with a change of address (.2 miles south of the previous location) to:
Latecoere Interconnection Systems US, Inc.
18047 NE 68th Street
Suite B130
Redmond, WA 98052
USA


Other News

Inmarsat, a global mobile satellite communications provider, has been crowned the ‘World’s Leading Inflight Internet Service Provider’ for the fourth year in a row at the World Travel Awards 2020.

The prestigious accolade was announced following a year-long search for the world’s top travel, tourism and hospitality brands, with the latest edition of the World Travel Awards attracting a record number of votes from across the world by industry professionals and members of the public.

Inmarsat once again retained its title in recognition of its market-leading GX Aviation and European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight broadband solutions, which enable airline passengers to browse the internet, shop online, stream videos, enjoy social media and more seamlessly during their flights. Inmarsat airline customers include Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Iberia, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia and Virgin Atlantic.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Last year was particularly challenging for the aviation industry, which faced its biggest crisis to date as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In response, we have been working closer than ever with our airline customers, both old and new, to support their evolving needs as they navigate through the storm and head towards a future recovery. It is uplifting, therefore, to receive an award where the industry itself helped to determine the winner. This accolade reinforces our position as the global market leader and is dedicated to our talented employees and partners for their continued hard work and dedication over the past year, even in the toughest of circumstances.”

Inmarsat crossed a number of important milestones last year as part of its extensive, fully-funded technology roadmap. This included the commercial service introduction of GX5, Inmarsat’s most powerful satellite to date, last month. Conceived, designed and procured principally to meet the needs of aviation customers, GX5 delivers approximately twice the capacity of the entire existing GX satellite fleet (GX1-GX4) combined. It is essential to support rapidly growing demand for airline and business aviation connectivity in Europe and the Middle East. 

Inmarsat’s technology roadmap will see seven further satellite launches by 2024: five in geostationary orbit – adding speed, capacity and resilience – and two in highly elliptical orbit, which will enable the world’s only commercial mobile broadband service in the commercially and strategically critical Arctic region.

Other highlights of 2020 included the development of an advanced new lightweight, low drag terminal for GX Aviation in partnership with GDC Technics and the launch of GX+ North America in collaboration with Hughes, bringing unrivalled inflight Wi-Fi to North American airlines and passengers.


NEW SST IN DEVELOPMENT

It is not surprising that IFEC news and information is pretty quiet during the pandemic. The equation is simple: less people; less flights; less travel; and aircraft delivery delays or cancellations all result in less demand for IFEC in the short term.

Having said that, it appears there is one aviation area that is experiencing a resurgence in development and/or exploration – supersonic flight. Companies like Boon Overture and Aerion are not sleeping, and you might ask, what has this to do with IFEC? Well, probably not much in the immediate future; however, as folks improve the speed of flying we would expect a future of more advanced, smaller, lighter, better performing IFEC.

We say “expect” because we have little or no information on this future subject, but we were wondering what we might see … and the word “might” is used here since weight and size on these eventual airplanes will be a big issue. To give you a better idea, lets first see what Wikipedia says about the SST subject:

Wikipedia – “A supersonic transport (SST) is a civilian supersonic aircraft designed to transport passengers at speeds greater than the speed of sound. To date, the only SSTs to see regular service have been Concorde and the Tupolev Tu-144. The last passenger flight of the Tu-144 was in June 1978 and it was last flown in 1999 by NASA. Concorde’s last commercial flight was in October 2003, with a November 26, 2003 ferry flight being its last airborne operation. Following the permanent cessation of flying by Concorde, there are no remaining SSTs in commercial service. Several companies have each proposed a supersonic business jet, which may bring supersonic transport back again.”

Further, Wikipedia notes: ”For all vehicles traveling through air, the force of drag is proportional to the coefficient of drag (Cd), to the square of the airspeed and to the air density. Since drag rises rapidly with speed, a key priority of supersonic aircraft design is to minimize this force by lowering the coefficient of drag. This gives rise to the highly streamlined shapes of SSTs. To some extent, supersonic aircraft also manage drag by flying at higher altitudes than subsonic aircraft, where the air density is lower.”

Next, we tried to find out more about the Concorde IFE hardware and the British Science Museum noted: “Brochure, ‘For your entertainment in flight : Supersonic Stereo : Five stereo programs specially produced for Concorde’. Part of collection of in-flight material gathered by Alastair Greenlees who flew on Concorde in January 1978 and with BOAC from Manchester Airport.” Admittedly, a multichannel IFE audio service was quite good since  flight time was reduced by roughly 50%. Concorde In-flight Entertainment Brochure | Science Museum Group Collection

Also we found a wonderful website that features the history and present news on the heritage Concorde here: Heritage Concorde
which features a great video about the plane that you can watch here: (3) UK Concorde first nose move – Heritage Concorde – Project Salute – YouTube. And yes, if yes, if you want more Concorde “stuff’, check out this Etsy site: Concorde Supersonice Transport Gray Travel Folder Inflight | Etsy

We should mention that the IFE we found on the Concorde was some 6 channels of audio entertainment, and having noted that, we expect the “future” products from the likes of Boom and Aerion will reflect the growing demand for real-time connectivity. And we firmly believe that satcom and Wi-Fi connectivity/streaming to PEDs will be a must. We’ve been asking ourselves what engineering and certification requirements there will be for a satcom radome aboard an SST – stay tuned on this one! There is one certainty, whichever IFEC offering is selected, it will be the ‘brightest and shiniest’ available! After all, why put old technology on such a technologically advanced aircraft?!

Articles have also noted that the earlier supersonic designs had to minimize weight and space because of increased drag and limited aircraft engine performance, newer technology will surely provide more and better personal space than its SST predecessor.

The passenger capacity of the new SST appears to be less than half of the Concorde’s. However, with the current trend toward smaller load factors this may end up being an advantage for future operators.

Here are some interesting links on the aviation future:


AIRBUS

The airframer delivered 566 commercial aircraft in 2020 vs 863 in 2019:

A220 Family: 38 vs 48 (2019)
A320ceo Family: 15 vs 91 (2019)
A320neo Family: 431 vs 551 (2019)
A330ceo: 6 vs 12 (2019)
A330neo: 13 vs 41 (2019)
A350: 59 vs 112 (2019)
A380: 4 vs 8 (2019)
A220: 64
A320 Family: 296
A330: 2
A350:

Airbus recorded 383 new orders (268 net):
A220: 64
A320 Family: 296
A330: 2
A350: 21

Aircraft Cancellations – 115 (2020), backlog stood at 7,184 aircraft on December 31.


BOEING

The company recorded 184 new orders in 2020 (-471 net of cancellations/conversions).

737 MAX: 112
737NG: 18
767: 11
777: 13
787: 29
747: 1

And they delivered 157 commercial aircraft in 2020 compared to 380 in 2019:

737 MAX: 27 vs 57
737NG: 16 vs 70
767: 30 vs 43
777: 26 vs 45
787: 53 vs 158
747: 5 vs 5


OTHER NEWS

This topic may be up your alley – What is Quantum Computing. If it’s not, but you are interested, below is a free 27 page report. As a quote from the article: “Soon, quantum computers could change the world. Quantum computing is the processing of information that’s represented by special quantum states. By tapping into quantum phenomena like “superposition” and “entanglement,” these machines handle information in a fundamentally different way to “classical” computers like smartphones, laptops, or even today’s most powerful supercomputers.” CBINSIGHTS has a real understanding of the subject … we think! What Is Quantum Computing?

Happy New Year and Goodbye 2020!!

Phew, 2020 is over and what a year it was, but unfortunately, not in a good way for the majority of humanity.

As 2021 becomes commences, the aviation transportation industry is experiencing a myriad of changes. Terms like ‘recovery’ or ‘reset’ will be popular; however, the phrase ‘industry redesign’ could easily be the biggest deal. The world of public transportation may have to add the words like ‘caution’, ‘immunity’ and ‘contact-less’ to their title as COVID- 19 and its mutations affect everything we do while we travel. Unlike issues with older aircraft interiors, poor inflight food, slow inflight data rates, or malfunctioning IFE; passenger health & welfare will inevitably dominate our profession for sometime, despite the development of COVID-19 vaccinations. This is especially true as the virus continues to evolve and mutate, which is clearly the case.

Additionally, some airlines, like jetBlue have re-scaled their transportation solutions by redefining their aircraft size.  As of this month (January 2021), jetBlue has 267 airplanes in service, with remaining orders for 142 jetliners. Despite having 11,000 workers that have taken a voluntary leave, the airline obviously feels that the passenger capacity of their aircraft fleet needs to be reduced as well. Consequently, they have ordered some 70 A220-300’s which will each seat 130 passengers, the first of which is now flying. And IFExpress is certain other carriers may well follow suit in the very near term.

Clearly, the future of aviation transportation is changing. While electric vehicles are somewhere on the horizon, better passenger isolation with improved inflight environments just may be the new ‘big deal’ if the flight transportation market is to return to its previous scale and job market size. Furthermore, in the USA, we expect our passports to be more health communication oriented and it is possible that a traveler’s COVID-19 health status could be added to them, especially if it provides immunization information, in fact, this is exactly what Israel is developing in their new ‘green passport’.

Inflight entertainment & communication is important; however, for 2021 immunization is the key and the correlating availability of  traveler health data will be what enables the air travel industry to rebound. Stay Tuned! (Editor’s Note: By the way, when/if you do get a COVID-19 immunization shot(s), you might want to keep a copy of that info in your passport – we certainly will!)


Viasat & Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines has selected Viasat’s industry-leading, next-generation Ka-band satellite in-flight connectivity (IFC) solution for more than 300 mainline narrow-body aircraft, including both new delivery and retrofits on A321ceo, 737-900ER and select 757-200 aircraft. Delta expects to bring the Viasat technology onboard these aircraft starting summer 2021, with Delta having the option to add additional fleets.

Delta will be upgrading its current IFC system to Viasat’s more advanced Ka-band satellite-powered technology to provide all customers with enhanced and reliable in-flight internet capabilities—including faster, more consistent connections and an ability to stream all types of entertainment and popular over-the-top content—to any internet-ready device, gate-to-gate. The Viasat/Delta relationship will lay the groundwork toward a true full, fast and free in-flight internet experience as well as future enhancements and personalization on customer seatback screens.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to delight our customers and offer an unparalleled onboard experience,” said Bill Lentsch, chief customer experience officer, Delta. “In working with Viasat, we gain the tools needed to deepen customer interactions and bring us closer to delivering more personalized in-flight content as well as an ability to consistently provide free, fast, streaming Wi-Fi in the future.”

“Delta is committed to optimize the customer journey, and we’re committed to helping them build a foundation toward a better in-flight internet and entertainment experience,” said Rick Baldridge, president and CEO, Viasat. “We have a proven in-flight connectivity solution that is high-quality, streaming-capable and can scale to meet Delta’s growing customer demand. We’re proud to be part of their connected ecosystem.”

Delta’s aircraft will be outfitted with Viasat’s latest Ka-band IFC system, and will be compatible with Viasat’s complete fleet of satellites, including Viasat’s first-generation spacecraft and partner satellites; its second-generation spacecraft ViaSat-2, and the forthcoming ViaSat-3 class of satellites, which are expected to offer global coverage with nearly eight times more capacity than Viasat’s current fleet—which means even more enhanced connectivity and streaming services to keep up with expected increases in demand.

For more information on how Delta plans to accelerate the future of in-flight connectivity, check out the Q&A with Delta’s Director of Brand Experience In-Flight Entertainment & Wi-Fi, Ekrem Dimbiloglu – found in Delta’s News Hub.


Boeing News

Qatar Airways Cargo took delivery of three Boeing 777 Freighters as the airline continues to build its cargo division with the world’s largest and most capable twin-engine freighter. The milestone also marks the 200th 777 Freighter to be delivered.

The triple delivery comes as air freight is playing a pivotal role amid the COVID-19 pandemic – including transporting newly approved vaccines – and is projected to increase more than 4% over the next two decades.

With the arrival of the trio of 777 Freighters, Qatar Airways Cargo now operates 24 of this airplane model along with two 747-8 Freighters. As one of the leading air cargo carriers in the world, Qatar’s dedicated freighter fleet serves more than 60 freighter destinations worldwide via its world-class Doha hub and also delivers freight on the belly-hold deck of passenger aircraft to an extensive network.

“With the arrival of these new freighters, we are injecting more capacity in the market which is very much required during the pandemic. The added capacity will also enable us to support the logistics around the COVID-19 vaccination, which is projected to be one of the greatest logistical challenges for the industry,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker. “With our investments in innovation and fleet, we are able to fulfill our customers’ logistical requirements and facilitate the continuity of global trade.”

The 777 Freighter can fly 4,970 nautical miles (9,200 kms) and carry a payload of 224,900 pounds (102,010 kg). The airplane’s long range translates into significant savings for operators like Qatar Airways Cargo as fewer stops reduce landing fees, congestion, cargo handling costs and delivery times.

“During these challenging times, Qatar Airways Cargo has been transporting humanitarian relief and medical goods to those in need, and we are proud that their growing fleet of 777 Freighters is supporting such a commendable effort,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president, Commercial Sales and Marketing, The Boeing Company. “We deeply appreciate our long-standing partnership with Qatar Airways and their confidence in the 777 Freighters as the backbone of their expansive global air cargo operations.”

The 777 Freighter is now Boeing’s top selling freighter. Customers from around the world have ordered 242 777 Freighters since the program began in 2005, including a record 45 units in 2018. Boeing, the market leader in air cargo aircraft, provides more than 90% of the dedicated freighter capacity around the world, including new production and converted freighters.


Other News

If you have never head of Claude Shannon, do be surprised, especially if you are an electrical engineer. Claude Shannon in 1948 determined a mathematical communication theory and; “he laid the foundation for the entire communication infrastructure underlying the modern information age.” In the wonderful article by Davis Tse in Quanta Magazine lays out the story: “Today’s information age is only possible thanks to the groundbreaking work of a lone genius”. Below is the link to the article which contain the summary of his technology and link to his thesis/paper on the subject of his communication theory. Noted Tse: “Before Shannon, the problem of communication was primarily viewed as a deterministic signal-reconstruction problem: how to transform a received signal, distorted by the physical medium, to reconstruct the original as accurately as possible. Shannon’s genius lay in his observation that the key to communication is uncertainty. After all, if you knew ahead of time what I would say to you in this column, what would be the point of writing it?” If you want to see some data on a genius who never won a Nobel Prize check out the article: How Claude Shannon’s Information Theory Invented the Future | Quanta Magazine Further, Tse goes on: “This single observation shifted the communication problem from the physical to the abstract, allowing Shannon to model the uncertainty using probability. This came as a total shock to the communication engineers of the day.”

And finally, here is another source about the man and his brilliant solutions.

(Editor’s Note: If you don,t like mathematics, you might not want to check out Shannon’s communication theory report and graduate thesis … just read the article by Tse. And, if you don’t think this subject has anything to do with IFEC, remember, data communication is involved with connectivity in a big way.)

Wood Dale, Illinois | December 16, 2020–AAR (NYSE: AIR), a leading provider of aviation services to commercial and government operators, MROs and OEMs, has extended its agreement with Viasat (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, to provide logistics, repair and aftermarket management services for Viasat’s in-flight connectivity products.

AAR’s OEM Solutions team will continue to manage the aftermarket inventory pool of Viasat components including modems, antennas, radomes, wireless access points (WAPs) and power supply units (PSUs) as well as third party logistics and aircraft on ground (AOG) support.

“Our goal is to deliver the gold standard in support to our aviation customer base — from factory-new components to their aftermarket needs,” said John Daly, Viasat Vice President, Business Operations, Global Mobile Solutions. “By extending our relationship with AAR, we can ensure we are providing exceptional, comprehensive aftermarket services and support to meet growing in-flight connectivity global demand.”

“AAR’s services allow Viasat to further leverage our aviation aftermarket expertise through our comprehensive logistics and repair management,” said Eric Young, AAR Senior Vice President OEM Solutions. “This global program supports Viasat’s airline customers to maximize component availability. We look forward to continuing our successful relationship with Viasat in bringing their advanced connectivity services to more airlines and passengers globally.”


AIR ASTANA

Air Astana has received a prestigious Five Star Major Airline award from the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX). This is the third time that Air Astana has received a Five Star award from APEX. The awards were presented at the end of a highly successful virtual FTE (Future Travel Experience) APEX event during December 8 and 9th attended by 200 airlines and 200 airports all over the world. (Editor’s Note: Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan, operates domestic and international flights from hubs in Nur-Sultan and Almaty. The company was incorporated in late 2001 and commenced operations on 15th May 2002. The Air Astana fleet consists of Boeing 767/757, Airbus A320 Family aircraft including A320neo, A321neo and A321LR and Embraer E190 / E190-E2.)

Air Astana became the first carrier from Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Eastern Europe to be awarded the prestigious 4-Star rating by Skytrax at the World Airline Awards in 2012 and was also named ‘The Best Airline in Central Asia and India’ that year. Both achievements were repeated every year through until 2019. Air Astana has also received TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards in the “Regional Carrier in Asia” and “Passenger Comfort” categories for the past three years and a 5-Star in the “Major Regional Airlines” category from APEX in 2019.


CERTAPET

Recently, the US Department of Transportation released their final ruling regarding service animals on airplanes. A service animal is defined as a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. DOT determined that carriers are not required to recognize emotional support animals (ESA’s) as service animals and may treat them as pets. While the rules may vary carrier to carrier, this means that the protections afforded those with ESA’s will no longer be valid. Instead, they will most likely have to pay a fee to bring their re-classified pet aboard an aircraft.

HOWEVER – the DOT actually made it easier than ever for people to fly with their animals. See the attached infographic for all of the reasons why.


CARLISLE INTERCONNECT TECHNOLOGIES (CIT)

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) announced that it has received a patent for its third generation of ARINC 791/792 Adjustable Fittings for existing and emerging aerospace applications. The new patented fittings allow for simple, error-proof, and efficient installation performed using only basic hand tools. The ARINC 791/792 Adjustable Fittings significantly reduce installation compared to traditional methods as they do not require special fixtures or tools, shims, or match drilling.

This new solution is ARINC 791/792-compliant as well as RTCA/DO-160 and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) qualified. Adaptable to existing ARINC 791, these fittings also incorporate ARINC 791/792 slip requirements with z-axis (height) adjustability to support conversion from ARINC 791 to 792 equipment installation. These fittings ensure the lowest possible installation height for electronically steered antenna (ESA) applications, provide z-axis adjustability to account for structure variations, and minimize labor on the line or at the MRO.

“Our team has remained dedicated to providing next-generation solutions that meet current needs and stand up to future challenges, while also improving performance and reducing cost,” said Chris Rawley, Product Line Manager, Aircraft Connectivity Solutions at CarlisleIT. “These new adjustable fittings for ARINC 791/792 systems serve as a certified and proven solution to meet the evolving needs of aircraft developers, withstand harsh and demanding environments, and support innovation across the aerospace industry.”

With more than 80 years’ experience, CarlisleIT has a proven history of meeting customer demands. This new solution represents the company’s innovative approach to satisfying OEM requirements alongside the installation needs of next-generation equipment. To learn more about CarlisleIT’s complete line of System Installation Kit products, visit www.carlisleit.com.


BOEING

Boeing announced a new 10-year agreement with North American carrier Frontier Airlines to implement a range of crew, flight-planning and operations tools to enhance efficiency for the airline. These digital solutions from Boeing’s Jeppesen product range provide fleet-wide cost savings across regional and international routes, enhance airline crew-planning processes and increase operational reliability.

In addition to its digital navigation and charting services from Boeing, Frontier Airlines will use a new Jeppesen digital solutions suite that provides day-of-operations decision-support tools, including:

  • Flight-planning and scheduling services to enhance flight operations and enable on-time departures and efficient routing
  • Crew management, tail assignment and operations-control tools that optimize schedules and aircraft utilization in the short- and long-term planning horizon, including day-of-operation issue detection and schedule recovery to minimize issues due to unexpected events.

“As commercial aviation emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Frontier Airlines is poised to continue its exceptional growth, utilizing Boeing’s analytics-powered tools to maximize performance and reduce costs during this critical moment for our industry,” said Ted Colbert, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services. “This is a great example of our partnership with customers like Frontier to turn Boeing’s unparalleled digital expertise into operational bottom-line advantages.”

Frontier Airlines is committed to “Low Fares Done Right.” Headquartered in Denver, the company operates more than 100 aircraft with a route network spanning the U.S., the Caribbean and Mexico. With 160 new planes on order, Frontier will continue to grow to deliver on the mission of providing affordable travel across America.

Also from Boeing:

China Airlines unveiled the first of six Boeing 777 Freighters, officially becoming the 20th operator of the world’s largest and longest range twin-aisle freighter. The 777 Freighter joins the airline amid growing demand for dedicated freighters as operators grapple with the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. China Airlines aims to increase its cargo capacity by 15% in 2021 and is planning to launch the 777 Freighter on routes connecting Taipei with North America — a key market with strong demand and escalating yields. An operator of all-Boeing freighter fleet, China Airlines debuted its new 777 Freighter during a ceremony in Taipei to mark the carrier’s 61st anniversary. The airline is set to take five more 777 Freighters as part of an order announced at the 2019 Paris Air Show.

The 777 Freighter is the world’s largest, longest range and most capable twin-engine freighter. The airplane has a range of 9,200 km (4,970 nautical miles) and can carry a maximum payload of 102,010 kg (224,900 lbs). The airplane will allow China Airlines to make fewer stops and reduce associated landing fees on long-haul routes, resulting in the lowest trip cost of any large freighter.

The 747 and 777 freighters, both of which make up China Airlines’ world-class freighter fleet, are capable of carrying tall and outsized cargo loads on 3-meter (10-foot) tall pallets. This common main-deck pallet height capability enables interchangeable pallets, adding to the versatility of both models.

In addition to commercial airplanes, Boeing provides China Airlines with total life cycle support services to streamline parts provisioning and flight and maintenance operations. The entire China Airlines fleet uses Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro, which provides access to digital navigation charts and interactive maps to optimize performance and enhance situational awareness.

China Airlines also recently signed an agreement for Airplane Health Management (AHM), which tracks real-time airplane information, providing data and decision support tools that allow technicians to quickly and correctly resolve maintenance issues. This allows airlines to take proactive actions based on AHM-generated alerts, reducing disruptions to operations and the costs associated with unscheduled maintenance. With the agreement, China Airlines joins more than 100 global customers using the AHM solution.


OTHER NEWS

  • Better get ready for youthful scientists solving problems that we don’t seem to see or understand – TIME’s 2020 Kid of the Year: Meet Gitanjali Rao | Time
  • “On December 4, 2020, Boeing retired two of its long serving chase planes…” This incredible flight history is by a friend and writer, and pilot … and just about everything else – Bob Bogash. Yes, it is very interesting stuff for aviation lovers. Buried within is a story about about an amazing aviation expert, Lockheed designer Kelly Johnson who designed the first chase plane model… – Boeing Chase Airplanes
  • IATA once again has published some good advice “Best Practices for COVID-19 Market Stimulation” and you can read it here: IATA – Best Practices for COVID-19 Market Stimulation

FTE & APEX Virtual Expo

The FTE & APEX Virtual Expo is under way and it is the first time the industry has been able to gather together to see the latest technological innovations and discuss how COVID-19 is being tackled. So far Biometrics and touchless solutions are hot topics. In the coming issues of IFExpress we will be delving into the virtual booth demonstrations and product reviews, as well as, highlight some of the APEX Tech Committee sessions and presentations from the 2 day conference.

In today’s issue, we will focus on the Opening Keynote interview of Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO, Qatar Airways who discusses how Qatar Airways has fought their way through the pandemic maze over the past 9 months. He is interviewed by Aaron Heslehurst who is a News Anchor & Presenter for the BBC World News.

Akbar Al Baker: First and foremost we are a resilient airline. We will always find a way to do business and serve our passengers. At the start of COVID-19 there were 100s of thousands of passengers that were stranded by airlines when they shut down and stopped flying. The airlines didn’t realize that there were people who were desperate to get home. We at Qatar Airways wanted to step in and at the time of these challenges and be an airline that would serve them and take them to their loved ones. In this we were very successful. We never reduced our destinations to less than 30 and continued to operate about 150 flights per week. Also did a lot of repatriation flights.

Aaron: You also didn’t reduce your inflight service during this time, while some airlines reduced their inflight meals, etc. Qatar Airways still offered their ‘Dine on Demand’ service. Again, how did you make that decision and how did you make it COVID safe?

Answer: There is always many ways to skin the cat. We started to pre-pack items, put everything on the tray to decrease the interaction between the crew and the passengers and in addition to this we also wanted to make sure that every thing was only served one time, making certain that the crews exposure was limited while not decreasing the level of service and maintaining the quality of the product for the passenger. An example is single use menu cards in business class and no menu card in economy class. This was made certain the passenger didn’t get contaminated by the pandemic in anyway.

Aaron: How have the many decisions Qatar has made during this pandemic to benefit their passengers come off?

Answer: Very well. Our decisions have shown passengers that Qatar Airways is not about extracting revenue during difficult times and taking advantage of people. Qatar allowed booking changes with no fee, change the continent, take cash for refunds – all at no fee. 600,000 refunds were given and we have extended tickets up to 2 years and/or provided vouchers. We have done everything to mitigate any anxiety that the customer might have when suddenly an airport was closed or the airline grounded their airplane. This is the time when you really reflect the standards and value of traveling on Qatar Airways. It put a lot of financial strain on an airline but at the end of the day it is the duty of the airline not to take advantage under these circumstances.

Aaron: Your employees have been working besides thousands upon thousands of travelers. How have you safeguarded and protected your employees with a very low infection rate?

Answer: At the very beginning we had a spike. And we as a small country had to take strict precautions: stop travel into the country, adopt a strict testing regime. Many places in the world have experienced a 2nd and/or 3rd wave, but in Qatar things are normal. By normal I mean the new normal: you have to wear a mask, you have to social distance, there are restricts on how many people can be in a restaurant, , there are restricts on how many people can be in a site of worship, there are restricts on how many people can be in a car. And through these measures we have kept a very tight lid on the pandemic. We have less than 150-200 cases per day. Qatar has been extremely transparent in reporting their cases and as of today Qatar has just 2,500 infected people. Getting the world’s highest quality of medical treatment regardless of nationality, your country of origin, whether you are a resident or not. And we have one of the lowest death rates.

Aaron: When do you think people will be able to have a proper visit or layover?

Answer: It depends on how quickly we can vaccinate our entire population. Qatar has been at the forefront of investing in companies that are developing vaccines. And we anticipate having the vaccine in stock by 1Q2021. Once there is enough vaccine to inoculate all of the residents of Qatar, restrictions will eventually be loosened and move towards the new normal.

Aaron: Your premium lounges and lounges during this time have been open and you managed to maintain the level of service. In fact, you kept the buffets open – even though they were touchless. Again, during a pandemic where this virus can spread like wildfire, why did you do it and how did you manage it?

Answer: It is very easy. First and foremost, everything in the buffet was served to you – anything you wanted was delivered to you by a chef. All the starters were pre-packed and all the bread was pre-packed. Again, when there is a will to do something whether it is providing a quality product on the ground or inflight, we found ways that where anything was touched it was handled by one of our professionals and if a passenger touched something that it was taken away with them. By adhering to these simple rules we made certain that there was nearly 0% risk coming back to our passengers.

Back to the lounges, we closed one of the large lounges because of the reduction in travelers. We are currently expanding the airport and opening new airport lounges that are designed with minimal contact between passengers both in the lounges and duty free area. We have taken advantage of the slow down in passengers to enhance our facilities.

Aaron: The role of innovation, what role will that play in your airline and the entire industry?

Answer: Innovation has never stopped at Qatar Airways and it is something that is always driving our industry as a whole. We have contactless check-in, boarding gates, entry/exit points. After Amsterdam, we were the next airport to deploy UV robots going through the entire airport to disinfect. We are one of the first airlines to deploy the Honeywell aircraft disinfecting systems. We are making certain that our staff is properly clad in masks, gloves and goggles. We have made certain the staff inside the airport is provided with PPE masks and following strict hygiene rules. All these new technologies, systems and processes have made certain that 99.998% of the travelers with Qatar Airways have not been exposed to the virus.

Aaron: Talking about Onboard, what about Premium Economy? Is this something you’ve hinted at? What is in store for 2021?

Answer: I have always mentioned we will never introduce a premium economy at Qatar Airways. Because the economy seat of Qatar Airways and the economy service is far ahead of premium economy. Actually, if you have used premium economy seats in airplanes, 99 out 100 of those products is very uncomfortable. In fact, in my opinion the airlines are pulling the wool over your eyes. They are giving the same level of services with just a little more food and beverage in a fancy glass or a larger tray. It is the same kind of amenities of someone paying half your fare. So why should we try to repackage something and call it premium economy.

Aaron: But didn’t you de-bundle some of your business class services? No lounge access, cannot pre-book a seat – so what was your thinking?

Answer: That is correct. Actually, we have bundled not only business class but economy class because there are a lot of things you don’t actually need. For example, in business class why do you need to select your seat? Or why do you need lounge access when you are only going to be in the airport 15 or 20 minutes prior to departure and are just going to be heading straight to the gate? So we offer our passengers the opportunity to save a little money if these features are not important to them.

Aaron: How has this been working for you? Has it been popular?

Answer: It has been very popular. People like flexibility. They like the concept of not having to pay for a service they are not going to use. The same with economy, we are giving the passenger the option of choosing the services and/or products they will use or want en route.

Aaron: Let me ask you this, across the industry the suppliers along with the airlines are deeply suffering. What words do you have for our supplier friends out there?

Answer: Good times will come back. The only thing is we will have to take the pain and it will be survival of the fittest. Even in civilization it has always been survival of the fittest of the civilized people. We will need to be very agile in these difficult times. And for the supply chain of the airlines and the aviation industry, I would request the governments that they stand with these supply chains because these are very highly advanced, technologically developed companies who need to be sustained because you will need them down the line when the industry starts to ramp up.

There will be more failures as we continue to move through this pandemic. People will become more relaxed and until everyone is vaccinated this will not be over. There are nearly 8 billion people around the world and this is not going to happen tomorrow. So people need to be prepared to be cautious – to help their people, their governments, and their country so we don’t face a severe third wave of the pandemic.

Aaron: In the past, you have had some tough love for the One World Alliance. Earlier this year Alaska Airlines announced its intent to join the alliance and there were talks about a Seattle to Doha flight. What does the addition of Alaska Airlines mean for One World and what additional steps will strengthen the alliance in the future?

Answer: Alaska is a very large airline in the western United States. One World, though it has a strong partner in American Airlines in the USA, we were not very strong in the western affluent part of the country. With the induction of Alaska Airlines we are filling the void we had in the western USA. Once we become an operator into Seattle and the alliance membership of Alaskan Airways into One World provides us with a very good platform into the West Coast. It will be our third in the West Coast.

Aaron: Were you involved in the courtship?

Answer: No, to be honest I was not. We need One World to keep growing and we want to be the largest alliance between the three. We were very displeased with One World with American challenging our government ownership, our growth in Europe – which had nothing to do with getting into the United States through the back door. This is now in the past and we have a very good relationship with American. We still have not the type of relationship I would like with Qantas and we have a very good relationship with everyone else. And I hope, a developing relationship with Delta Air Lines who has a relationship with one of the airlines we are an investor in, and that is LATAM in South America. So I now see the light at the end of the tunnel with our membership in the One World Alliance.

Aaron: Now about the code share partnership with Air Canada. Briefly, how did you forge a new partnership during the pandemic?

Answer: At the beginning of this I said to you that we will always find new ways to be innovative and develop our airline. I am a big believer in mutual benefit – a business relationship should never just be one way. Our business relationship with Air Canada, we found an opportunity in this difficult period to strike a deal that will benefit both our airlines. During these times, we need to take every dollar that is on the table. We need to forget about our ego and realize we are not invincible. This pandemic showed everybody that even the strongest are not invincible. Even the largest airlines went to their government with the begging bowl in hand and before this is over it will happen again.

Aaron: What is it IATA needs to do?

Answer: They need to restart our industry. They need to put regulations in place that is not mismatched by each government. IATA needs to let the governments know that they need to stand with IATA and the ICAO – they need to help kick start the industry on which millions of jobs depend, which contribute trillions of dollars to the GDP. IATA needs a strong leader to facilitate this in the coming months.

Aaron: How much worse is it going to get before it gets better? What are you expecting for 2021?

Answer: I hope we are not going to have to cut more people than we already have. It is the most difficult thing for me to tell people that have helped build this airline that they have to go. I have promised these people when we start ramping up again, we will approach them first. I am confident with the vaccine that the airline will gradually start ramping up. Even during the pandemic we have added 4 new destinations to our routes.

Aaron: And to end on a positive note, how is Qatar preparing for 2022 FIFA?

Answer: The planning is being done by the Supreme Committee and everything should be in place by the end of 2021. All will be ready for the fans and spectators to have the best time during their visit to our country.


PXCom

PXCom launches PX2GO.

Passengers can now benefit from a single entry-point to access a unique platform that encompasses communication, services and entertainment throughout their entire journey, from the moment they book their ticket until reaching final destination.

Thanks to a holistic approach, the passenger can access all the relevant information related to health and safety rules before, during, and upon arrival of the flight, useful information and services dedicated to their flight as to their destination, Duty-Free services, airport, transport, and catering offers. They can also enjoy a seamless and uninterrupted entertainment experience, from the lounges & boarding gates, and resume during the flight, as well as the luggage belt.

The portfolio of services and contents is automatically adapted to the stage of the journey, to provide the most relevant experience in the right context.

PX2GO can be white labeled and integrated both into the airline existing app and wireless IFE. Discussions are on the go with seatback screen manufacturers to extend the feature to long haul flights.

PX2GO cares about passengers’ concerns and expectations in regard to their data privacy usage. Hence, the platform provides transparency and full control of personal data, keeping highest digital confidence throughout their entire journey.

Open Platform

PX2GO has been designed to accept third-party apps & services, to ensure a one- stop-shop experience for the passenger.

Solutions such as Digital Health Passport, geo navigation in the airport, private transfer offerings…can easily be integrated within PX2GO.

The platform is also prepared to manage IoT-based experience such as beacons in the airports and NFC transactions.

PX2GO can be used as a whole, as well as unitary components, to avoid multiple apps download.

ROI-driven

Beyond the NPS improvement, PX2GO comes with all the monetization capabilities, from programmatic advertising to brand content to shopping experience.

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


GOGO

Gogo has once again set a new standard for inflight entertainment (IFE) in business aviation with the announcement of Gogo Vision 360 – a premium IFE service that features a compelling and comprehensive suite of services, including an upgraded 3D moving map.

Available with the newly released AVANCE 4.2 software update, Gogo Vision 360 is available for activation via a call to Gogo customer care as a new service or as a free upgrade for existing Gogo Vision customers with a Gogo AVANCE L5, L3 or SCS system installed on their aircraft. Activation will occur automatically over the air with no downtime required.

Gogo Vision 360 offers unlimited streaming of on-demand movies, TV programming and news, along with digital magazines and a state-of-the-art 3D moving map, all at a fixed monthly price eliminating the unpredictability and often high costs associated with inflight streaming video and audio.

All Gogo Vision content is updated automatically each month through a seamless delivery via Gogo Cloudport, either in a customer’s own hangar or at Gogo Cloud locations throughout the U.S. and in Europe. Gogo Vision is the only IFE service that delivers content updates over-the-air. Currently, there are nearly 900 active Gogo Vision users online.

“Gogo Vision has become an essential part of the inflight experience for many of our passengers and operators,” said Sergio Aguirre, Gogo’s president. “Passengers want to be productive during their flights, but they also need downtime. The addition of a new 3D moving map will provide a new interactive experience for passengers that we’re excited to offer. Vision 360 is an important next step in our commitment to deliver the best inflight connectivity and entertainment experience to business aviation.”

Gogo’s 3D moving map, delivered through a partnership with FlightPath3D, features engaging flight and travel information that is interactive and can be displayed in a variety of views. Additional highlights include:

  • Game-like 3D interactive experience with high resolution satellite imagery
  • Immersive virtual reality window seat views, cockpit head-up-display and aircraft 360
  • Fascinating historical information about landmarks, attractions, and places as they’re flown over
  • Entertaining points of interest (POIs) that auto-play en route with distance and direction indicator
  • Real-time flight data such as ground speed, altitude and heading.

In addition to the Gogo 3D interactive moving map, Gogo Vision 360 users will have access to a host of additional content including an entertainment lineup that includes unlimited viewing of more than 150 of the latest Hollywood movie releases and popular TV shows, including popular Disney movies and TV programming; eMagazines and news clips; and, coming soon, destination weather.

There are 30 digital magazine titles available on Gogo Vision 360 from well-known titles including Golf Digest, Forbes, Wine Spectator, Newsweek, Wired, People, and Town & Country. Customers onboard will get the most current issue as well as the previous issue for each publication.

“In the ongoing COVID-19 environment in which we’re living, digital publications have proven to be very popular with passengers because they no longer have to worry about who else might have been holding a magazine like they do when it is printed on paper,” Aguirre continued. “eMagazines are not only convenient and up to date, but they offer a safer option that helps ensure passenger health.”

For those interested in global news, a wide array of current news topics from Bloomberg News have been added including global business, investing, technology, automotive, energy and top business and finance stories from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the United States.

Gogo Vision 360 is configurable for Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish. Audio tracks for movies and TV episodes are offered in English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Also new, Gogo is offering three Gogo Vision packages.

Gogo Vision Standard
Gogo Vision+
Gogo Vision 360
Base 3D Moving Map
Premium Gogo 3D Moving Map
Premium Gogo 3D Moving Map
News Clips
News Clips
Unlimited TV and Movies
Destination Weather (coming soon)
eMagazines
News Clips

Cloudport
eMagazines

Destination Weather (coming soon)
Cloudport

International Languages

Destination Weather (coming soon)
Gogo Vision Standard will be offered at no cost to any customer with an AVANCE system onboard. Gogo Vision+ will be offered at $500 per month, while Gogo Vision 360 will cost $849 per month.


BOEING

Boeing and Ryanair announced that Europe’s largest airline is placing a firm order for 75 additional 737 MAX airplanes, increasing its order book to 210 jets. Ryanair again selected the 737 8-200, a higher-capacity version of the 737-8, citing the airplane’s additional seats and improved fuel efficiency and environmental performance. “Ryanair’s board and people are confident that our customers will love these new aircraft. Passengers will enjoy the new interiors, more generous leg room, lower fuel consumption and quieter noise performance. And, most of all, our customers will love the lower fares, which these aircraft will enable Ryanair to offer starting in 2021 and for the next decade, as Ryanair leads the recovery of Europe’s aviation and tourism industries,” said Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary.

O’Leary and Ryanair leaders joined the Boeing team for a signing ceremony in Washington, D.C. Both companies acknowledged COVID-19’s impacts on air traffic in the near-term, but expressed confidence in the resilience and strength of the passenger demand over the long term. “As soon as the COVID-19 virus recedes – and it likely will in 2021 with the rollout of multiple effective vaccines – Ryanair and our partner airports across Europe will – with these environmentally efficient aircraft – rapidly restore flights and schedules, recover lost traffic and help the nations of Europe recover their tourism industries, and get young people back to work across the cities, beaches and ski resorts of the European Union,” O’Leary said.

Ryanair is the launch customer for the high-capacity 737-8 variant, having placed its first order for 100 airplanes and 100 options in late 2014, followed by firm orders of 10 airplanes in 2017 and 25 in 2018. The 737 8-200 will enable Ryanair to configure its aircraft with 197 seats, increasing revenue potential, and reduce fuel consumption by 16 percent compared to the airline’s previous airplanes.

“Ryanair will continue to play a leading role in our industry when Europe recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and air traffic returns to growth across the continent. We are gratified that Ryanair is once again placing its confidence in the Boeing 737 family and building their future fleet with this enlarged firm order,” said Dave Calhoun, president and CEO of The Boeing Company.

“Boeing remains focused on safely returning the full 737 fleet to service and on delivering the backlog of airplanes to Ryanair and our other customers. We firmly believe in this airplane, and we will continue the work to re-earn the trust of all of our customers,” Calhoun said.

Boeing Executive Vice President of Enterprise Operations and Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith will speak at the Credit Suisse Virtual Industrials Conference on December 4 at 8:50 a.m. ET. Visit https://kvgo.com/credit-suisse/boeing-2020 to access a link to the live broadcast of the conference. Individuals should check the website prior to the session to ensure access to the audio stream.


OTHER NEWS

Panasonic Avionics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also from Panasonic:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Burrana to attend FTE/APEX Virtual Expo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ATPs or FSATs.

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

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

Learn more at Burrana.aero


BBC to join FTE APEX Virtual EXPO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


IATA

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

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


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


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

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


OTHER NEWS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Panasonic Avionics

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

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

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

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

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

Also from Panasonic:

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

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

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


IATA

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

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


Boeing

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

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

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

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

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

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


Other News

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

Preparedness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Capacity

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

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

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

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

INMARSAT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CARLISLE IT

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

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

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

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

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


BOEING

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

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

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


GOGO

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

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

GALGUS

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


OTHER NEWS

INMARSAT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


THALES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


BOEING

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

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

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

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

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

Nonprofits receiving immediate grant funding include:

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

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

Also From Boeing:

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

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


OTHER NEWS

Thales, Nokia and SkyFive

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

Improved connectivity, enhanced experience

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

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

Easy installation, savings for airlines

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

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

Collaborating to create a safe, global network

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

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


Air Travel Consumer Report: July 2020 Numbers

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

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

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

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

July On-Time Performance

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

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

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

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

July Cancellations

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

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

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

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

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

Tarmac Delays

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

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

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

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

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


This Is A Big Deal and a Great Article!

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

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

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

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


Boeing

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


Other News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be sure to check out this infographic.



FLIGHTPATH3D

FlightPath3D Now Comes With More Places Than You Can Imagine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SMARTSKY

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

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

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

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

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

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


INMARSAT

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

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

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

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

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

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


BOEING

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


STELLAR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS