New York | February 12, 2018– SITA has won the respected Aviation Technology Achievement at Air Transport World’s 2018 Annual Airline Industry Achievement Awards. The award was given for SITA’s work with JetBlue and the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to deliver a new secure, paperless and deviceless self-boarding process, using biometric technology.

This was the world’s first biometric boarding system using just a facial scan to board passengers while also completing the US customs and border exit checks. Working with JetBlue and the CBP, at Boston’s Logan International Airport, SITA demonstrated that biometric technology can reduce friction points in the airport experience including at boarding, where integrating checks with government systems is one of the hardest challenges to solve. The technology eliminates any boarding pass scanning and passport checks. Passengers just need to simply look into the camera for a quick photo and they are on their way. The integration of the airline and government systems by SITA showed how passengers can enjoy a seamless experience, while demonstrating how airlines and government border agencies can work together to enhance security.

Barbara Dalibard, CEO of SITA, said: “Our vision is to make air travel easy, for airlines, airports and, ultimately, for passengers.  Integrating biometrics with the industry’s existing infrastructure, IT systems and processes, along with multiple security and border control systems, can be complex but it delivers a remarkably simple solution. Our work with JetBlue and the US CBP shows how SITA delivers secure and seamless travel to the industry today.

“The ATW Airline Industry Achievement Awards recognize excellence in the air transport industry, looking in particular at outstanding performance, innovation, and superior service. I am very proud that the innovative work of the SITA team has won this award and would like to thank our partners, in particular JetBlue, for recognizing our expertise to develop this technology for them.”

The ATW Awards will be presented at The Mansion House in Dublin, Ireland on 27 March 2018.

SITA infrastructure supports more than 11-million customer interactions every year

Frankfurt, Germany | January 15, 2018– Lufthansa InTouch, responsible for managing customer service across the Lufthansa Group, has again selected SITA to manage its service center communication network and key infrastructure elements, ensuring that more than 11-million customers are connected to service agents every year.

SITA, a long-standing partner to Lufthansa InTouch, will continue to manage and maintain its service center communication network and key infrastructure to meet the airline group’s constantly evolving needs. SITA supports more than 500 local numbers in more than 90 markets, efficiently delivering traffic via a global IP network across seven service centers managed by a team of 2,230 staff speaking more than 30 languages.

The service provided by SITA has transformed how customer calls to Lufthansa Group airlines are handled. A close integration between SITA’s global voice network and Lufthansa InTouch’s Genesys contact center platform, ensures a caller – regardless of their location – is automatically and directly routed to a consultant best equipped to meet their specific requirements. These calls are allocated according to the routing policies defined by Lufthansa InTouch on their Genesys platform.

Through this optimization, Lufthansa InTouch has benefited from savings in transmission costs of up to 20% as well as significantly improved call quality, notably by eliminating forwarding of calls between sites.

SITA’s Unified Communications portfolio has allowed Lufthansa InTouch to consolidate voice, data and audio into one platform while effectively connecting the airline to its far-flung destinations.

Erik Mosch, CEO of Lufthansa InTouch, said: “Our customer service consultants at Lufthansa InTouch are the main point of contact for all our passengers across Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian airlines. They represent the airline and are there to assist passengers 24 hours a day – whether by phone, email, chat or social media. Supporting this fast-moving organization requires a partner we can rely on. SITA is such a partner, ensuring that our customers are quickly connected to an agent that can assist them in their own language in every market we fly to.”

Sergio Colella, SITA President for Europe, said: “We have leveraged our global experience and footprint to provide a service that is able to meet the evolving needs of Lufthansa InTouch. We understand that technologies change, new destinations are added and passengers shift the way they communicate. Our strength is to meet those changes with the most efficient communication infrastructure that supports an effective interaction with each of their customers.”

Welcome back to IFEC in 2018, and thank you for following us throughout 2017. Having said that, this coming New Year ought to be one of the most interesting years for our technology, and almost everything else for that matter. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we wanted to pass along a short 2018 New Year message from Joe Leader, CEO of APEX and IFSA: “As we launch into 2018, APEX celebrates its 40th year of serving the passenger experience industry with every major airline in the world. The year ahead will see ancillary revenue tying into more facets of new products. In addition, we expect that this is the year that in-flight Wi-Fi surpasses 50% of available seat miles worldwide. It’s going to be an incredible year with major advancements.” We have a feeling he is right on track for this industry and he said it – the IFEC future will be a big deal in 2018, and we certainly agree – with inflight Wi-Fi becoming the passenger necessity. Furthermore, we agree with Mr. Leader’s comment that over 50% of available seat miles will have access to inflight Wi-Fi this new year, with the result being  new innovations that will generate both passenger and flight revenue. Thanks Joe!

Next, we thought it be interesting to delve into some specifics for 2018, as we do almost every year with some reported IFExpress efforts from last January 2017. One prediction that stood out was from an “un-named” provider who said: “The exponential growth of cabin Wi-Fi usage within the confines of the same aircraft will lead to more congestion in the cabin – passenger data to-and-from aircraft will more than quadruple in 2017.” Along the same lines last year, Joe Leader of APEX sent similar predictions: “Connectivity announcements and deployment will hit a new high for the industry and In-flight entertainment continues its expansion with more global IFE system installations and upgrades.” We knew that something like this was coming as well, but what’s new (or what’s news) is the speed at which this is happening. Perhaps, data quadrupling 2017 from 2016 may be a push; however, lets look at what the folks at Inmarsat say today: “Inflight broadband is changing the airline industry and revolutionizing passengers’ expectations of the onboard experience. That is the conclusion from the third annual global Inflight Connectivity Survey, published today by Inmarsat …Overwhelmingly, passengers now expect the same levels of connectivity and access to online services whilst they are at 30,000 feet as they receive on the ground. As such, 60% of all passengers say that inflight Wi-Fi is now a necessity rather than a luxury. The majority (61%) of global passengers who have experienced high-quality inflight Wi-Fi rate it higher on their list of priorities than inflight entertainment when choosing an airline.” The report went on: Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “High-quality inflight Wi-Fi is changing the way people think about flying and how they spend their time in the air. Whether using the time to work, to connect with friends and family, or to pass time shopping or viewing entertainment, the availability of inflight broadband has become a major factor when choosing an airline.””

Last year in IFExpress we wrote about the value of messages and that connectivity was the solution for doing so – what we said then is even more relevant today: “While 2016 may have a few techno-changes from 2015 and summary numbers differ, we are riding the same messaging train! Since technology and media have grown so much (at least in the US) folks are spending more time on it than sleep or work (Business Insider), there appears to be plenty of opportunity time for messaging (Facebook, Twitter, and the like) but messaging will be even bigger. If you don’t believe it, just watch the ‘head down time’ at a public function where time is spent on devices – it’s less invasive and non-interruptive. Why is this a boom time for messaging, you might ask? The answer must lie in new, portable communication technology for one. If, as some writers predict, we spend over half of our waking day with media and technology, and because the devices and connectivity mediums are there, plain and simple, we will text. From a broader perspective, time on major digital activities will increase, and has done so for each year, for the last 5 years.” Needless to say, we do not expect the demand to diminish as far as passengers expectations for messaging real-time inflight, in fact, we anticipate the demand to grow exponentially.

Another couple areas of predictive interest last January were Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning. We noted in our IFExpress predictions: “Maintenance of aircraft will see more outsourcing, new technology products like AI and voice technology used in maintenance products, and more consolidation in the MRO world (Maintenance Repair Overhaul).” A recent IATA meeting in November 2017 featured speakers on both subjects – Finnair’s Rogier van Enk talked about using “Artificial Intelligence to assist customer service agents in managing the increasing volume of interactions with customers over social media channels,” while SITA’s Wayne Matrose shared knowledge of predicting disruptions with the use of “Neural Networks, to try and better predict the likelihood of a disruption to an airline’s scheduled movements. What data was used and how it was sourced? The importance of data quality and cleansing to make it both usable and useful. What can be predicted and what are the current limitations found with this technology (e.g. Black Swan events) – Ultimately, what changes are required to maximize the operational value of accurate predictions”

Another area we covered was seating and while we were on target for smaller seating, there was on area we missed. Here is what we said in early 2017: “Narrower aircraft seats are coming in 2017, especially in newer low class offerings where only certain sized carry-on baggage will be permitted – smaller and surely less comfortable as well. We already know United Airlines has a new low cost Basic Economy package that will be copied by others. The rub will be what limitations will be placed on passengers who do not have the airline reward travel card! Hey, many folks can travel short flights and put up with almost anything. It is all a function of what they have to take with them. And yes, cheaper seats will be located in the back of the plane.”

What we missed for 2017 was the new “beyond” Basic Economy package rolled out this past year with these extreme lack of features : even lower cost seats, seat selection and upgrades are not available, group and family seating is not available, full-sized carry-on bags are not permitted, one personal item is allowed, flight changes and refunds are not allowed, certain MileagePlus and Premier member benefits are not available, and they are the last boarding group. However, United notes: Basic Economy fares provide most of the same inflight services and amenities that are available with standard Economy — such as food and beverages, United Wi-FiSM and inflight entertainment.

One area where IFExpress fell short in our forecast for 2017 was company employees. We predicted the following for 2017: We fear aviation manufacturing layoffs”…While employee data is a little shaky because of the multitude of companies within a large corporation; we predicted a decline in employees from 2016 to 2017. When we looked in 2016, Boeing had 150K+ workers – today, it is around 174K. Airbus is also up.

We should also note that there are a lot of industry changes (not aviation) that will affect IFEC in the coming year. Video on Demand/LiveTV will surely eventually affect inflight entertainment and connectivity. Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain may as well. In 2018 blockchain will move beyond standard banking applications to money transfer, insurance, digital identification and even insurance, it will be on the aviation near horizon. Similarly, edge computing (near the source of data to reduce transmitted data) could be at the heart of aviation control, monitoring and data communication. With the airplane a trove of unanalyzed data and passengers desire to send and receive more data, connectivity, IFE, and TV, data will be the new connection from the air to the ground and vise-versa – not to mention smart bag issues, power-at-a-distance charging systems; as well as, increased satellite payloads ($11B – 2017 to $18B – 2022) and service providers.

Anyway, another year has passed and IFExpress is now in its 26th year and we still love the craziness of this entertainment and connectivity based aircraft show, albeit, it is getting harder to stay current with all the ups (and downs) of technology, connectivity, seat shrinkage, increased baggage payments, super long haul travel, passenger biometrics, security, and political impacts on the rights and preferences of travelers. There are even bigger changes coming: Net Neutrality and it’s effect on aviation and connectivity neutrality, higher prices coming, airport and possible airplane biometrics, Wi-Fi vs embedded IFE, prospective “splitter” customers, younger airline customers, and even Amazon in the business! However, because each year we are surprised, entertained and enlightened by the creativity and brilliance of many of the industry engineers, marketeers and developers, we again will close with the words of Arthur C. Clarke: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Enjoy the MAGIC!

Editor’s Note: Just in case you feel like quitting this year, watch this — and NEVER GIVE UP!

Vision-Box has just implemented a paperless biometric self-boarding
solution to expedite passenger flow and improve traveler experience


Princeton, NJ | December 20, 2017–
Los Angeles Airport is trialing an advanced biometric self-boarding solution by Vision-Box to clear travelers flying out of the USA in a contactless, quick and secure way.
The new passenger flow solution allows travelers to board their aircraft in just a few seconds simply by looking into a high-resolution face capture system at the traveler- friendly flow-control gateway. No need to present their travel document or boarding pass anymore. The system deployed by Vision-Box captures a live, high quality image of the traveler’s unique biometric facial traits, for US Customs and Border Protection to match it against the passenger’s file containing the digital facial token captured at the initial immigration process. This process permits as well to virtualize the process of sending the boarding-pass details to the Airline Departure Control System, using face as a token to reconcile the passenger and his flight. After assuring the identity and eligibility of the passenger on that specific flight, the gateway then opens and the traveler can swiftly board the aircraft.

The solution combines an effective human-factor centric design along with key security features, such as biometric data capture of superior quality in a complex environment in seconds. This combination consequently delivers high-performance reliable match against the authorities’ biometric database, pre-processed by Vision-Box anti-spoofing and liveness checks technology. In spite of the fact that the solution is ready to rely solely on biometrics, it accommodates other possible workflows that include boarding-pass scan, seat re-assignment or multiple additional verification modalities.

Security, safety, efficiency, and a unique, traveler-centric experience are the cornerstone of the project developed in the scope of a partnership between LAX and Vision-Box, supported by US Customs and Border Protection Agency under the umbrella of the US Biometric Exit trial program. British Airways was the first airline to begin expediting boarding procedures using the new contactless technology.

Justin Erbacci, chief innovation and technology officer at Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the airport oversight and operations department, said, “This industry-first deployment of innovative solutions from the US Customs and Border Protection and Vision-Box, shows the amazing potential of using biometrics to speed up the boarding process while maintaining safety and security. We have been very impressed with the results thus far, and love to see the passengers’ excitement at being some of the first in the world to use facial recognition”.

Miguel Leitmann, Chief Executive Officer and Founder at Vision-Box explained the reasons for success: “Vision-Box made use of state-of- the-art biometric technology, able to deliver high quality data that drastically enhance matching accuracy, sustained by in-house developed Deep Machine Learning engines for superior facial capture. The results present a solution that addresses current security, efficiency and flow-control challenges in a relevant, revolutionary way. We are very proud to have come up with an industry- changing solution that all stakeholders involved in the process rely on. In the end, it’s about collaboratively raising the security and efficiency standards while eliminating obstacles from the traveler’s way, offering frictionless interactions and the best experience to guests until they’re comfortably seating in the aircraft.

The new contactless platform has been installed on three stands of Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles Airport and will be tested by a number of other airlines after New Year’s Eve.

December 5, 2017–Further enhancing aviation safety and efficiency in Brazil’s airspace, air navigation service provider, the Department of Airspace Control (DECEA), is working with SITAONAIR to expand ATS datalink services for main airports in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

Following previous successful datalink installations, DECEA is expanding ATS datalink services for departure clearance (DCL) and digital ATIS (d-ATIS) for control towers at both Santos Dumont and Campinas airports.

The announcement marks an important step in the country’s role as the regional datalink pioneer, and will play a central role in the wider transformation and modernization program currently taking place across Brazilian airspace and airport infrastructure.

The latest upgrade program follows SITAONAIR’s successful introduction of datalink technology across 23 Brazilian airports in preparation for the World Cup and the Rio Olympics. Since then, Brazilian airlines such as TAM, GOL and Azul are leading the way, representing nearly 91% of total generated traffic. In total, more than 3.5 million d-ATIS and DCL messages are transmitted every year.

Brig. Luis Ricardo Nascimento, Head of Operations at DECEA says: “Following the major success of our existing airport datalink services, we are pleased to be working with SITAONAIR again to further expand services to important regional and international aviation hubs at Santos Dumont and Campinas airports.

“Our relationship with SITA, and now SITAONAIR, stretches back to the deployment of an ACARS VHF system in 1985, and we are very happy to continue making use of SITAONAIR’s vast aviation experience today.

“The latest expansion of ATS datalink services with SITAONAIR underlines both the strength of our relationship and our commitment to make flying in Brazil even safer, more reliable and more efficient.”

François Bardin, Director Air Traffic Solutions at SITAONAIR, added: “SITAONAIR is delighted to work with DECEA as it continues its transformation program, and we hope that this will encourage other ANSPs in the region to adopt a similar strategy.

“As well as the benefits to DECEA itself, the latest announcement marks another important step in the region’s connected aircraft revolution, allowing airlines and passengers in Brazil an even greater level of safety and efficiency.

“By improving the accuracy of their communications and allowing information to be transmitted at any stage of the flight, workloads for both air traffic controllers and pilots will be reduced – ultimately delivering an improved service for the ever-increasing volume of passengers in the region.”

To find out about SITAONAIR’s connected aircraft portfolio, visit www.sitaonair.aero, speak to your local SITAONAIR contact or submit an enquiry form online.

Gogo

Gogo announced today that Air Canada is now the first North American airline to offer the choice of complimentary Gogo Wi-Fi to their most frequent flyers. Each year, Air Canada recognizes its most frequent flyers with Altitude status and offers them the ability to choose select privileges to personalize their travel experience. Beginning later this year, the airline will offer Altitude Elite 75K and Super Elite 100K members the opportunity to select complimentary 6- and 12-month unlimited use passes, respectively, for inflight connectivity on board Air Canada, Air Canada Express and Air Canada Rouge operated flights. Members will be able to choose this Select Privilege as part of the 2018 Altitude benefit year. The passes will also be eligible for use on Gogo’s 2Ku service, a leading high-speed satellite Wi-Fi solution.


AIRBUS

Following an intensive flight test campaign performed in less than a year, the A350-1000 has received Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The certified aircraft is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines.

The EASA A350-1000 Type Certification document was signed by EASA’s Certification Director, Trévor Woods, and the FAA A350-1000 Type Certification document was signed by FAA’s International Section Manager, Bob Breneman. Both certificates were handed over to Airbus Executive Vice President Engineering, Charles Champion. “Receiving the A350-1000 Type Certification from EASA and FAA less than one year after its first flight is an incredible achievement for Airbus and for all our partners who have been instrumental in building and testing this superb widebody aircraft,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus COO and President Commercial Aircraft. “The A350-1000 benefits from the maturity of its successful brother, the A350-900, which has translated into excellent right-on-time performance. We now look forward to deliver the first aircraft to Qatar Airways by the end of the year.” The Type certification is a requirement for the aircraft to enter commercial service. This milestone comes after an intensive flight test trials that have taken its airframe and systems beyond their design limits to ensure the aircraft successfully meets all airworthiness criteria. The three A350-1000 flight test aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce engines successfully accumulated over 1,600 flight hours. Of these 150 flight test hours were completed with the same aircraft in an airline like operational environment to demonstrate its readiness for entry into service. Hi-resolution images of the A350-1000 are available at AirbusNewsroom .


Siemens-Airbus-Rolls Royce

Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens have formed a partnership which aims at developing a near-term flight demonstrator which will be a significant step forward in hybrid-electric propulsion for commercial aircraft. The three companies together announced the groundbreaking collaboration, bringing together some of the world’s foremost experts in electrical and propulsion technologies, at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London. The E-Fan X hybrid-electric technology demonstrator is anticipated to fly in 2020 following a comprehensive ground test campaign, provisionally on a BAe 146 flying testbed, with one of the aircraft’s four gas turbine engines replaced by a two megawatt electric motor. Provisions will be made to replace a second gas turbine with an electric motor once system maturity has been proven.

“The E-Fan X is an important next step in our goal of making electric flight a reality in the foreseeable future. The lessons we learned from a long history of electric flight demonstrators, starting with the Cri-Cri, including the e-Genius, E-Star, and culminating most recently with the E-Fan 1.2, as well as the fruits of the E-Aircraft Systems House collaboration with Siemens, will pave the way to a hybrid single-aisle commercial aircraft that is safe, efficient, and cost-effective,” said Paul Eremenko, Airbus’ Chief Technology Officer. “We see hybrid-electric propulsion as a compelling technology for the future of aviation.”
The E-Fan X demonstrator will explore the challenges of high-power propulsion systems, such as thermal effects, electric thrust management, altitude and dynamic effects on electric systems and electromagnetic compatibility issues. The objective is to push and mature the technology, performance, safety and reliability enabling quick progress on the hybrid electric technology. The program also aims at establishing the requirements for future certification of electrically powered aircraft while training a new generation of designers and engineers to bring hybrid-electric commercial aircraft one step closer to reality. As part of the E-Fan X program, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens will each contribute with their extensive experience and know-how in their respective fields of expertise:
– Airbus will be responsible for overall integration as well as the control architecture of the hybrid-electric propulsion system and batteries, and its integration with flight controls.
– Rolls-Royce will be responsible for the turbo-shaft engine, two megawatt generator, and power electronics. Along with Airbus, Rolls-Royce will also work on the fan adaptation to the existing nacelle and the Siemens electric motor.
– Siemens will deliver the two megawatt electric motors and their power electronic control unit, as well as the inverter, DC/DC converter, and power distribution system. This comes on top of the E-Aircraft Systems House collaboration between Airbus and Siemens, launched in 2016, which aims at development and maturation of various electric propulsion system components and their terrestrial demonstration across various power classes.

And lastly, Airbus has appointed Eric Schulz now ex-Rolls Royce
exec as Exec. VP – Chief of Sale, Marketing & Contracts for Commercial Aircraft (new John Leahy) in early 2018.


SITA

Flights are now operating at Terminal 4, Cancun International Airport, Mexico’s newest airport terminal. The airport’s operator, ASUR, has used innovative technologies from SITA, the global provider of IT to the world’s airports, to ensure a great experience for the more than 21 million passengers that pass through the airport each year.

Cancun International has experienced rapid growth over the last 10 years with passenger numbers doubling as the Caribbean resort’s popularity has risen. It is now Mexico’s busiest airport for international passengers. In a multi-year agreement, SITA is providing technology which enables ASUR to expand Cancun Airport’s capacity and to provide flexible services to meet the needs of the 47 airlines that use it.

The new terminal has 36 SITA AirportConnect® self-service check-in kiosks and a further 104 common-use workstations for check-in and boarding. The passenger systems will run on SITA AirportConnect Open, the common-use platform that allows any airline to use any agent desk, gate position or self-service kiosk. This allows the airport to organize passenger processing most efficiently. SITA’s Airport Management solution is already used at Cancun and will now manage operations across all four terminals. This solution provides ASUR with real-time data to better anticipate, plan and control operations, assigning assets and resources more effectively.

SITA AirportVision, the dynamic media rich flight information display system will also be used in Terminal 4 to provide real-time updates to passengers throughout the check-in and boarding areas.

ASUR operates 10 airports across Mexico and the Caribbean that together serve close to 30 million passengers a year. Cancun International is the largest of the ASUR airports and in September was named ‘Mexico & Central America Leading Airport 2017’ at the World Travel Awards.

Air Senegal SA has become the latest airline in Africa to introduce SITA’s passenger services system (PSS) to manage every aspect of their operation – from reservations and pricing to ticketing and departure control. The airline is one of a growing number of carriers on the continent that have turned to SITA to provide technology solutions to better manage their passenger operations. Already 15 airlines and ground handlers in Africa use SITA’s Horizon® Passenger Management and Distribution solution while 100 airlines and ground handlers around the globe have used it to board more than 123 million passengers and check in 158 million travelers each year.Horizon offers the most comprehensive, integrated range of passenger management services available today. Its infrastructure is built on a flexible platform of core systems required by every airline, allowing each carrier to customize the system to meet their specific business requirements and to accommodate future growth. Air Senegal, the west African country’s new national airline, has turned to SITA to provide a full suite of services – including reservations, ticketing, airfare distribution and departure control – that will support the launch of the airline’s first flights later this year.


Rockwell Collins

The National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) and its Vetrepreneur magazine have named Rockwell Collins one of the top 25 United States-based companies dedicated to veterans — earning the distinction as a 2017 Military Friendly® Supplier Diversity Program. Rockwell Collins received the honor for its continued incorporation of veteran-owned businesses into its supplier diversity programs. NaVOBA stated that companies who are chosen to be awarded are companies who realize that doing business with veterans isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s simply a smart business decision.


More Aviation News

Aviation hacker do exist and here are three web locations for the stories from Milton Security that you might have missed:

Polish Airline Shut Down For a Few Hours by Hackers – Milton Security

Cyberhijacking an Airplane Is Impossible – Milton Security

Report Outlines How Airplanes Can Be Hacked From In-Flight WiFi – Milton Security

The US Department of Transportation puts out a monthly report on airlines flight delays, mishandled baggage, complaints, and incidents reports. Want to know the most reliable airline last month – here is the answer! Air Travel Consumer Reports for 2017 | US Department of Transportation

Need some chip sized speakers for those inflight devices? Here is one source…and yes, they have noise cancellation! MEMS Design Shrinks Speakers to Chip Scale | EE Times

The folks at Destination Tips have listed 12 things that you would think are permitted on a plane. Gel innersoles for shoes surprised us! 12 Surprising Things Not Allowed On Planes These Days – Destination Tips

Well, this is not necessarily aviation but it could be in any presentation. 5 Data Storytelling Tips for Creating More Persuasive Charts and Graphs

Travelers expect mobile services and biometrics to speed up their journey 

Mumbai | November 23, 2017–As passengers in India become more familiar with the use of technology – particularly mobile – they expect to use it more on their airline journey. This is according to the 2017 SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey, a global survey released by IT provider SITA and co-sponsored by Air Transport World.

While the use of technology among Indian airline passengers remains high at check-in (87%) and booking (52%), 2017 saw tremendous growth in usage at other points in the journey. The research showed while adoption remains low, self-bag drop usage climbed to 21% from 12% in 2016.

Passengers are also demanding new mobile services with 83% saying that they would definitely use flight updates on their mobile. And they would use their mobile for baggage services too: 82% would report mishandled bags and 79% would track their bags in real-time. This comes as no surprise with more than one billion Indians using at least one mobile device in 2016 of which 300 million are using a smart device[1].

Maneesh Jaikrishna, SITA Vice President Indian Subcontinent, Eastern & Southern Africa said: “In India, travelers are increasingly demanding the use of self-service and mobile technology in the airport to speed up their journey. This expectation, in many cases, is running ahead of availability in Indian airports today.”

The research shows 54% of passengers would rather opt to use self-bag drop than go to an airline check-in counter, compared to 33% globally and well ahead of current usage.

Jaikrishna said: “This is good news for the industry as it provides airports and airlines the opportunity to fully benefit from technology to speed up the journey and drive operational efficiencies, helping them meet the demands of rapidly growing passenger numbers across the country.”

India is expected to see passenger numbers grow by 337 million over the next 20 years to 2036, more than tripling from the 141 million passengers in 2016.2

Another area that is gaining the attention of passengers is the use of biometrics. India’s national biometric identity system is the largest in the world with over one billion enrolled members and Indian passengers have shown greater willingness to use biometrics to speed up their journey through the airport. In 2017, 70% of passengers in India said they would definitely use biometrics if given the option, removing the need to show a passport or boarding card at key points in the airport. This was well above the global average of 57%.

India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation is working with the air transport industry to create a “digitally unified flying experience” where citizens’ national biometric identification cards and foreigner’s passports are optionally linked with the databases of airlines, airports and other stakeholders to deliver a seamless, paperless travel experience at every step in the journey.

Jaikrishna said: “Many travelers are comfortable with the use of biometrics and see the benefits of using them on their travels. This aligns perfectly with the need to find more efficient ways to manage rising passenger numbers with current resources. There is little doubt that technology is the key to resolving India’s constraints on airport infrastructure.”

The survey was conducted across seven Indian airports, representing 71% of passengers in the country.

Air Senegal becomes the newest airline to use SITA’s Horizon

Kigali | November 13, 2017–Air Senegal SA has become the latest airline in Africa to introduce SITA’s passenger services system (PSS) to manage every aspect of their operation – from reservations and pricing to ticketing and departure control.
The airline is one of a growing number of carriers on the continent that have turned to SITA to provide technology solutions to better manage their passenger operations. Already 15 airlines and ground handlers in Africa use SITA’s Horizon® Passenger Management and Distribution solution while 100 airlines and ground handlers around the globe have used it to board more than 123 million passengers and check in 158 million travelers each year.

Horizon offers the most comprehensive, integrated range of passenger management services available today. Its infrastructure is built on a flexible platform of core systems required by every airline, allowing each carrier to customize the system to meet their specific business requirements and to accommodate future growth.

Air Senegal, the west African country’s new national airline, has turned to SITA to provide a full suite of services – including reservations, ticketing, airfare distribution and departure control – that will support the launch of the airline’s first flights later this year.

Philippe Bohn, CEO of Air Senegal, said: “We have an ambition to establish Air Senegal as a key carrier in West Africa and make our presence felt across the continent. In order to achieve this ambition, it is important that we have a passenger management system that takes care of every aspect of operating the airline and delivers a smooth experience for our passengers every step of the way. SITA is a key partner in providing this technology and we are in the process of implementing this solution ahead of our launch flights later this year.”

Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India & Africa, said: “The air transport industry in Africa is emerging as a major growth market in terms of passenger growth. Our presence and experience on the continent, together with the real business value offered by Horizon, has placed us in an ideal position to support both the continent’s emerging and established airlines, using a passenger management platform that can accommodate airlines of any size, fleet or operating model.”

SITA Lab publishes research findings

London | November 8, 2017– SITA Lab, the research team of the air transport industry’s IT provider SITA, today revealed the learnings from research it carried out with British Airways, Heathrow, Geneva Airport and Miami International Airport into ‘smart contracts’ residing on a blockchain.

Blockchain has been heralded as a transformational technology for many industries. While several use cases have been identified for the air transport industry, the opportunity of using ‘smart contracts’ for shared control of data by airlines and airports is one which promises real benefits. SITA Lab today issued FlightChain, a paper outlining the findings of its research conducted with its airline and airport partners.

The air transport industry is highly-connected and there is a need for ‘single source of truth’ for various data used by different stakeholders. Control of shared data is a key concern for all. Blockchain offers potential to share data in a controlled way. SITA recognizes, however, that there is a need for research so the industry can take the right approach, to ensure governance, standards, compliance, security and more.

This research project was initially established by SITA Lab with Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited (HAL) and International Airlines Group (IAG) with Geneva Airport and Miami International Airport participating. Called FlightChain, it was devised to investigate a single source of truth for flight data.  The “flight data problem” is a well-known issue in the industry – namely, there is no single source of the truth and the data that does exist, is not easily accessed by all parties.

While there are many cases of airlines and airports collaborating to share flight data, this data still resides in separate silos. When there are flight delays, this results in differences between passenger apps, airport FIDS, airline agents. FlightChain ensures all stakeholders have the same information.

Jim Peters, CTO, SITA, said: “Our FlightChain project has demonstrated that blockchain is a viable technology to provide a single source of truth for data for airlines and airports, specifically for real-time flight information. While there are other technologies available for sharing data, the use of blockchain, and smart contracts in particular, provides ‘shared control’ and improves the trustworthiness of the data. This research with our partners shows the potential of blockchain for sharing data across the air transport industry.”

FlightChain was established as a private permissioned blockchain (implemented on both Ethereum and Hyperledger-Fabric) that stores flight information on the blockchain, using a smart contract to arbitrate potentially conflicting data. British Airways, Geneva Airport, Heathrow and Miami International Airport provide flight data that is merged and stored on the blockchain. During this project more than two million flight changes were processed by the smart contract and stored on FlightChain.

Stuart Harwood, Heathrow Automation and Innovation, HAL, said: “Heathrow’s participation in FlightChain with SITA Lab has been very valuable. We are still early in the blockchain technology cycle and more research is required but FlightChain has shown the opportunities for shared control of data with our industry partners.”

Peters, added: “In a real-world network, it will be important to manage the changes to the smart contract as it affects all participants. Industry bodies such as ACI and IATA, working with SITA as the neutral IT provider to the air transport community, could be involved in the establishment of the contract. In fact, we can imagine a future where industry standards are written directly as smart contracts instead of published as PDF documents.”

Glenn Morgan, Head of Digital Business Transformation at International Airlines Group (IAG), said: “Now we’ve proven the technology, we are really excited by the opportunities that blockchain can create in the industry. We will work with IATA and ACI to ensure the best practices are in place.”

The research paper published today details key lessons learned regarding governance, smart contracts, system security and system performance, scalability and reliability. Along with a view on the use of public versus private blockchain networks for the air transport industry.

Download the full Report

flydubai’s network in Russia to grow to 11 points served by 47 weekly flights

 Dubai | October 25, 2017–

Dubai-based flydubai today announced the start of its new daily flights to Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) from 29 November. This will increase the airline’s frequency to the Russian capital to double daily with the existing service to Vnukovo International Airport (VKO).

flydubai first started operating to Moscow in 2014 and has grown its network in Russia to 11 unique points.  Makhachkala, Ufa and Voronezh being the latest additions with operations commencing in October 2017. Along with these newest points on flydubai’s network the airline operates direct flights to Kazan, Krasnodar, Mineralnye Vody, Moscow (VKO), Rostov-on-Don, Samara and Yekaterinburg.

Commenting on the launch, Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer of flydubai, said: “We are excited to be offering our passengers more options to access two different points of the Russian capital. The launch of our new daily flights to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport is based on the increase in demand for more affordable and reliable direct links to the UAE and beyond.”

The airline, which recorded a 45% growth in passenger numbers to Russia in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016 and is the first carrier to operate direct flights to Sheremetyevo International Airport from the UAE. The airport is one of the three airports serving the city of Moscow, along with Domodedovo International Airport and Vnukovo International Airport, and is one of the largest airports in Russia.

Jeyhun Efendi, Senior Vice President Commercial (UAE, EU, ME, CIS) for flydubai, said: “Russia continues to be a very important market for flydubai. We have been committed to opening up underserved markets and adding frequency based on demand across our network.  Our commitment is demonstrated by the increase of our operations to 11 points and 47 weekly flights to the Russian market. We are also looking forward to increasing our frequency to 52 weekly flights from mid-December which provide our passenger with more convenient timings and options for travel to and from Dubai.”

flydubai operates flights to more than 95 destinations in 44 countries offering passengers from Russia greater opportunity to connect onwards on the flydubai network to popular routes like Male (Maldives), Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Zanzibar (Tanzania) via Dubai’s aviation hub. Business Class and WiFi are available on flydubai’s flights to Russia.

Early this year, the UAE Cabinet granted citizens of the Russian Federation entry visa on arrival valid for 30 days for the first time, renewable one time only for another 30 days, which has contributed to the increase in passenger numbers from Russia as per Dubai Airports reports.

Flight Details

Flights between Dubai (DXB) and Sheremetyevo (SVO) will start on 29 November 2017 with flights on sale from 25 October. flydubai’s FZ 917/918 will operate daily between Dubai International, Terminal 2 and Sheremetyevo International Airport.

Business Class return fares will start at AED 5,050 and are inclusive of all taxes and 40kg checked baggage. Economy Class return fares from Dubai to Sheremetyevo will start at AED 1,250 including 7kg hand baggage.

Flights can be booked through flydubai’s website (flydubai.com), Contact Centre in Dubai on (00971) 600 54 44 45, the flydubai travel shops or through our travel partners.

Euro Air Transport IT Summit, Hamburg | October 18, 2017–The air transport industry has cybersecurity as a top priority with 95% of airlines and 96% of airports investing resources into major cybersecurity programs or pilots over the next three years. Yet research released today from global IT provider SITA shows there is still room for improvement with only one third of boards at airlines, and a fifth at airports, having fully integrated cybersecurity into their business plans.

Speaking today at a gathering of European air transport industry leaders, Barbara Dalibard, CEO of SITA, highlighted that while cybersecurity is the number one priority for almost all airlines and airports, it demands more attention and must be higher on industry board agendas.

Dalibard said: “Recent global cyber attacks demonstrate the risks and the need for a proactive approach. The air transport industry is highly connected and reliant on partners. We must work as a community to fight the global threat to cybersecurity. While we are pleased to see a 46% increase in the number of airlines prepared to deal with major cyber threats over the past year, there is still more to be done. The industry should move from dealing with common cyber threats to being prepared for major ones. As the technology provider owned by industry members, SITA is committed to invest in, and lead, the community effort to maximize cybersecurity. Together we can ramp up the industry’s defenses and ensure we remain one step ahead of any threat.”

SITA has conducted in depth research into the level of cybersecurity maturity at airlines and airports in the fight against this global threat. The results show that there are very high levels of security awareness among staff at airlines (82%) and airports (85%). This year, beyond cybersecurity protection, the industry is focusing on threat detection and response management. Already CIOs at 69% of airlines and 47% of airports are implementing security events and correlation monitoring, while security incident response management is being put in place at 77% of airlines and 60% airports.

Dalibard added: “Airlines and airports are building their critical defenses and preparing to deal with common threats but we must all bring it to the highest level and integrate cybersecurity at executive and board level. Together we must identify, detect and react to cyber threats and protect the industry’s assets from attack.”

Having identified the challenge, SITA earlier this year partnered with Airbus to address the air transport industry’s distinct concerns and created a unique CyberSecurity Aviation Security Operations Center (SOC). It acts like a cyber control tower with an integrated combination of processes, people and technology to detect, analyze, respond to, and report on cybersecurity incidents.

Markus Braendle, Head, Airbus Cybersecurity, said: “The air transport industry has unique cybersecurity challenges because of the varied and increasing use of smart end points across a largely distributed infrastructure. Digital transformation is enabling the air transport industry to deliver better services to its customers, but raising its threat exposure. Together SITA and Airbus CyberSecurity bring expertise and solutions to help airlines and airports monitor their digital assets to detect and respond to incidents.”

The SOC is part of a broader portfolio of SITA products and services that help airlines and airports identify threats and protect against, detect and respond to cyber attacks.

SITA also operates the Community Cyber Threat Center, a security information sharing service run on behalf of SITA’s more than 400 air transport industry members. It enables actionable information on cyber threats to be shared in a timely manner among key industry stakeholders.

These initiatives are part of SITA’s commitment to lead the air transport community fight against cyber threats and to improve the integration of cybersecurity into business plans at board level at airlines and airports.

SITA’s 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights are available here. Over the coming months, further insight into the results will be made available.

SITA technology will allow airlines at one of the world’s biggest airports to track bags at every step

Istanbul | October 9, 2017– İGA, contractor and designated operator of Istanbul New Airport, has appointed SITA to implement its innovative baggage tracking solution at what will be one of the world’s largest airports, allowing airlines to meet IATA Resolution 753’s baggage tracking requirements from day one.

The airport, due to open in 2018, will have capacity to accommodate 90 million passengers a year. Upon completion of all four phases, the passenger capacity will reach over 200 million passengers annually and will be required to track more than 75,000 bags an hour. The potential for bags to be mishandled in such a busy environment will be significantly reduced with SITA’s baggage solution by providing information on where every single bag is on its route through the airport.

SITA’s baggage solution provides the IT infrastructure that makes it possible for airlines to track bags at key points in the journey, including check-in, transfer and arrival. Airlines will also be able to receive updates on where their baggage is at each step of the journey, allowing them to comply with IATA Resolution 753.

Yusuf Akçayoğlu, CEO of İGA Airports Construction said: “We fully understand that having the right technology will be essential to the successful operation of the new airport and future-proofing it for decades to come. It is also critical to ensuring our passengers fully benefit from our new, world-class facilities by providing innovative systems that make the journey through the airport enjoyable and effortless. We are confident that we will conclude this cooperation successfully.”

Ersin İnankul, CIO of İGA Airports Construction said: “In building a new facility, we have the opportunity to implement technology or capacity to accommodate new technologies. One of the technologies that will become a must-have is baggage tracking to meet the June 2018 deadline of Resolution 753. As a service to our airlines, we have partnered with SITA to implement the technology to meet the requirements from day one of operation.”

Jihad Boueri, SITA Vice President Airports for Middle East, India and Africa said: “Baggage is one key area where technology is improving the passenger experience. Increasingly airlines and airports are helping to relieve the anxiety of waiting for bags to arrive by providing real-time information on the status of their bags to passengers. At the same time, by understanding where a bag is at any point in its journey, airlines will be able to act proactively to ensure that a bag is correctly allocated to a flight, ensuring it arrives with the passenger at their destination.”

SITA’s Baggage Report 2017 showed that baggage management by airlines globally improved again in 2016 as the industry focuses on technology investments. According to the report, the rate of mishandled bags was 5.73 bags per thousand passengers in 2016, down 12.25% from the previous year and the lowest ever recorded.

As airports strive to find new ways to optimize operational processes and operating margins, the power of intelligent data analytics is presenting a new business opportunity for airport management. vb dashboxTM is a new Vision-BoxTM application that leverages operational data streams to transform everyday passenger data into meaningful business intelligence.

Lisbon, Portugal | September 6, 2017– Throughout the past decade, modern international airports have faced mounting challenges, from ensuring regulatory compliance, reducing traveler risk, enhancing passenger safety, facilitating flow capabilities, and optimizing its operating margins in a highly competitive industry. While the multiplying numbers of electronic passenger clearance touchpoints are easing some of these pressures, the amount of raw data these systems provide to authorities are exposing a new business opportunity for a more efficient and expedient airport environment.

In announcing the release of vb dashboxTM, Vision-BoxTM, the worldwide leader in passenger experience and border control solutions, is addressing this opportunity with a powerful new application that reshapes and reframes the way airports manage real-time passenger data intelligence streams, transforming them into a holistic airport passenger travel and behavioral information data center. vb dashboxTM accomplishes this by improving the everyday decision-making process, operational performance, and cost control of airport management by enhancing the granular detail of the information streams and providing practical tools to drill-down into metrics and key performance indicators of all airport and passenger data.

Integrated into the OrchestraTM Management Platform, the new and innovative web- based vb dashboxTM analytics application is designed to harness, analyze and give meaning to this raw data, giving all airport stakeholders the ability to manage and communicate business challenges more effectively and achieve better operational results. Together with OrchestraTM, vb dashboxTM extends the overall value of Vision-Box’s biometric solutions portfolio by offering an aggregated informational view of the entire airport walkthrough process, giving stakeholders a detailed view of passenger metrics and displaying the data in smart, penetrating graphics, available on all laptop, tablet and mobile platforms.

vb dashboxTM optimizes this viewing experience by allowing users to customize their personal performance flow analytics display. The visualization is customized using a widgets library, offering the user the capacity to create a tailored and personalized dashboard suited for individual data needs and offering particular insights into airport operations. This provides a live operational monitoring of the entire passenger clearance process with remote process control and a holistic view of data in clear, easy-to-read, interactive, and real-time charts.

The simple to use, browser-based, drag-and-drop interface uses a highly responsive design that gives any non-technical user an effective and dynamic experience, instantly responding to changes in parameters by applying different filters to assist in narrowing down the results to get to the core of the smart data. This can include business intelligence parameters, technical solution performance and passenger flow statistics among a myriad of other capabilities.

Highly secure, vb dashboxTM utilizes a privacy-by-design role-based control of the analytics and management of the data, with access and visualization restricted to authorized users. With 24/7 access to in-depth quality data intelligence, including passenger trends, solution performance, and full operational control across multiple locations and devices, vb dashboxTM offers key stakeholders the ability to share files and charts across the business network via robust reports with powerful filtering and drill-down capabilities.

“Vision-Box’s mission has always been to assist stakeholders in the aviation sector to achieve a higher level of airport operational efficiency while providing a safe and effective product, reduce risks, and improve operating costs”, says Miguel Leitmann, Vision-BoxTM CEO. “With this powerful new analytical tool, Vision-Box is delivering on this mission in giving airport authorities the ability to leverage their data into actionable business intelligence and optimize their processes through better utilization of information.”

The vb dashboxTM powerful integrated tools enable airport authorities to harness intelligent data capabilities to drive operational processes and business decisions. The availability of real-time data overview enables authorities to stay on top of complex passenger relationships and processes, providing a live real-time system performance overview to drive better decision making, real-time corrective actions, operational and quality of KPIs, plus much more, with seamless data analytics.

Cyber security, cloud services and passenger self-service top three priorities for air transport industry

Geneva | September 5, 2017– Airlines and airports are estimated to spend nearly US$33 billion on IT this year, according to the SITA 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights released today. And they are focusing their technology investments on similar priorities. Top of the agenda for CIOs at both airlines and airports, are investments in cyber security and cloud services. In addition, they are prioritizing investments in passenger self-service.

SITA’s research of the world’s airlines and airports shows that IT spend remains strong. Airlines’ spend as a percentage of revenue will rise to an estimated 3.30% or US$24.3 billion[1] in 2017. For airports, the rise is to an expected 5.05% for this year or US$8.43 billion. Looking ahead to 2018 over 70% of airlines and 88% of airports are expecting IT spend to increase or remain at the same levels as today.

As IT spend increases, both airlines and airports agree that the number one priority for their investments is cyber security. Nearly all of them – 95% of airlines and 96% of airports – plan to invest in major programs or R&D on cyber security initiatives over the next three years. This shows alignment across the industry on the importance of investing in this area.

Ilya Gutlin, President, Air Travel Solutions, SITA, said: “The air transport industry is going through digital transformation and focusing its attention on protecting the business and passengers; making it more efficient; and improving the passenger experience. Cyber-attacks are a very real threat in the highly interwoven air transport industry so building solid defenses is essential. Cloud services provide important efficiencies which play a key role in keeping costs down. Investments in self-service improve passenger satisfaction as they welcome the independence and efficiencies it delivers.”

Gutlin continued: “When it comes to IT investment, airports and airlines are aligned to provide better, more secure service to customers. The interdependencies built into air transport systems mean investments and improvements in all these areas, by airlines and airports alike, will continue to contribute to a strong global industry.”

Antoine Rostworowski, Director, Airport Customer Experience and Technology, Airports Council International (ACI), said: “SITA’s research, which was co-sponsored by ACI, reveals valuable insights for our industry. It is encouraging to see the alignment of investment priorities among airports and airlines, which reflects the collaboration between ACI and IATA on best practices. ACI and IATA have joint initiatives such as Automated Border Control, end-to-end baggage tracking (Facilitation), Data Exchange, Common-Use (Airport IT) and Smart Security. Industry partners such as SITA and others are also involved in these initiatives to make airports more efficient and to improve the passenger experience.”

Cloud services are another top investment priority with 95% of airlines and 85% of airports planning to invest over the next three years, continuing an upward trend that SITA has recorded since 2015. The third key area of investment that was highlighted by both airlines and airports is to provide extra self-service options to passengers.

Airlines are focusing on providing mobile services. Today the vast majority of airlines provide check-in (73%), boarding (70%) and flight status notifications (68%) via mobile and by 2020 more than 97% plan to do so. A key area of growth will be providing real-time flight updates over social media which will jump from 31% of airlines doing so to 92% in the next three years.

Providing a seamless experience is key to the airlines. In total, 94% rate streamlining services into a single app as a priority, with 58% rating this as a high priority. Mobile app capabilities and usability are developing quickly and an increasing number of airlines plan to use mobile as a customer service tool, including at times of disruption.

At airports, self-service processes at check-in, bag drop and boarding are increasingly popular with passengers and 89% of airports are investing in these processes. Airports operators have a keen focus on improving the journey through the terminal and are looking to new technologies such as the Internet of Things, beacons and sensors, to support their goals. SITA’s insights show that 80% are investing, or planning to invest, in these technologies over the next three years. Nearly three quarters, 74%, are investing in way-finding solutions and 68% in solutions to improve personalization for the passenger.

SITA’s IT Trends are well established as the global benchmark research for the air transport industry. Senior IT executives at the top airlines and airports took part in the research earlier this year. The 2017 results once again provide a clear insight on the air transport industry’s IT strategic thinking and developments.

SITA’s 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights were released today and are available here. Over the coming months, further insight into the results will be made available.

With vacations and pre-show quietness, our IFExpress search and discovery for news and industry input is lightweight this week; however there are some stories that we found so lets get started with a couple of news pieces from Rockwell Collins – and no, we have no more on a potential UTC buyout.

Rockwell Collins
The company will showcase business aviation solutions for the Latin American market, including flight deck, connectivity, cabin and service solutions at the 15th Annual Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Expo, from Aug. 15-17.

“This year we are showcasing even more of our business portfolio at LABACE to meet the needs of our customers in the region,” said Fernando DosSantos, director of sales and marketing, Americas for Rockwell Collins. “We are committed to increasing our footprint here in Brazil with broader avionics, cabin, service and connectivity offerings.”
At the company’s exhibit (booth #2016), experts from Rockwell Collins will be available to discuss the following key offerings:

  • Venue cabin management system: Our leading, most reliable and innovative cabin management system on the market, now equipped on more than 1,000 business aircraft cabins
  • Stage content service: Total content delivery solution that enables passengers to stream media, including digitally-protected movies and TV shows, to their personal devices from an easily refreshed, robust onboard server through wireless access points
  • CASP: Three levels of service, all delivering superior customer support, budget predictability and consistent aircraft availability for all the Rockwell Collins components on board your aircraft
  • ADS-B Out compliant solutions: Regulatory agencies across the globe are mandating implementation ADS-B Out, as well as other airspace mandates, as part of overall airspace modernization programs. ADS-B technology enables aircraft to continuously broadcast GPS derived aircraft position, heading and velocity information to ground stations connected to air traffic control

Next, TCS World Travel has installed Rockwell Collins’ CabinConnect wireless in-flight connectivity system on its custom-configured Boeing 757, operated by TAG Aviation. The fully operational system was launched on August 9, 2017 when 50 guests departed for a 23-day trip across Eurasia. “Our brand is about redefining luxury travel by providing highly personalized, enriching experiences for our guests from the comfort and convenience of our private jets,” said Shelley Cline, TCS World Travel president. “We chose Rockwell Collins for cabin connectivity because we needed a dependable solution that will keep our guests connected almost anywhere in the world.”

Through the new service, TCS World Travel guests can use an aircraft-provided iPad or their own devices to check email or browse the internet in flight, as well as access news, sports and weather information with a reliable connection that is similar to the quality and speed they experience when on the ground. The TCS World Travel system includes Rockwell Collins’ Airshow Mobile for Browsers, a 2D moving map system that keeps pace with guests wherever they fly. “Rockwell Collins was able to customize the system to interface with our onboard lecture system,” continued Cline. “This allows our guests to receive a live presentation from a travel expert about an upcoming destination that is broadcast to interested guests via the provided onboard iPads.”

“As a leading aircraft communications and service provider, we worked closely with TCS World Travel to understand their individual needs and requirements, and were able to outfit their aircraft with an operational system in just seven months,” said Alexis Hickox, head of Business Development, Cabin Solutions for Rockwell Collins. “Bringing together our aviation expertise with our knowledge of the Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) network has enabled us to provide TCS World Travel with a service that is very much in line with their mission of creating unforgettable travel experiences for their guests.”

Astronics
Astronics Corporation , a leading supplier of advanced technologies and products to the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Astronics PECO, was awarded a contract to provide its next-generation fuel tank access doors (FTAD) for the new family of long-range Boeing 777X aircraft. In addition, Astronics PECO received a follow-on award for its FTAD product for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The new 787 and 777X fuel tank access doors will utilize the latest in fuel tank door structural materials and designs for carbon fiber composite wing technologies. The doors will be manufactured by Astronics PECO in Clackamas, Oregon. These awards are in addition to a previous award in which Astronics PECO was selected to provide passenger service units (PSUs) for the 777X.

SITA
Lanseria International Airport is investing in SITA’s self-service technology that will add new convenience for passengers while providing improved common-use functionality for airlines. Using SITA’s self-service systems, passengers will now be able to quickly check-in and drop their bags before proceeding directly to the gate without having to visit a traditional check-in counter. In a first for a South African airport, passengers who have checked-in online or on their mobile device can now tag and drop their bags in less than a minute using SITA’s Scan&Fly self bag-drop units. Scan&Fly’s plug-and-play design allows the bag-drop solution to be easily installed onto existing airport check-in desks, maximizing terminal space while leveraging the speed of self-service. Using SITA’s Airport iValidate, Lanseria International Airport will be able to automatically verify all types of boarding passes, including home-printed A4 and mobile boarding passes, increasing security and speeding up the check-in process for passengers.

Behind the scenes, the airport will roll out new baggage reconciliation technology from SITA, providing passengers with greater confidence that their baggage will arrive with them at their destination. It will help airlines using the airport to comply with IATA’s Resolution 753, which requires that they track bags at key points during the journey. The airport is also upgrading its common-use kiosks and desk infrastructure to use SITA’s cloud-based solution, eliminating the need for local servers. This common-use infrastructure is critical in providing greater flexibility for airlines operating from the airport by allowing them to share common-use terminal equipment (CUTE) for check-in and boarding.

US MOBILE
A US wireless carriers going to launch unlimited access in aircraft from 120 countries and with some 20 airlines, so they say. We understand unlimited pricing of $10/ month for inflight Wi-Fi and with global coverage! The founder noted, ”Customers will also enjoy in-flight connectivity on all the major airlines at a more affordable price than what the airlines and other comparative services are offering. This Unlimited Wi-Fi plan is a game-changer when you travel abroad. Instead of paying for international roaming, which can be quite costly, you have a whole network of hotspots ready to be used anywhere in the world.” Stay Tuned!

Aircraft Interiors Expo – Long Beach CA.
In February, Reed Exhibitions and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) announced a long-term strategic co-location agreement for the fall expo event in co-ordination with the International Flight Services Association (IFSA). This year’s event will take place from 26-28th September 2017 at the Long Beach Convention Centre, California, and is the only fall event dedicated to the Passenger Experience Industry. The events will welcome more than 300 exhibitors from a wide range of renowned companies exhibiting at AIX Long Beach and APEX, including Acro Aircraft Seating, Avio Interiors, Diehl, Gogo, Inmarsat, Isovalta, Panasonic, Geven, Thales to name just a few. Over 30 unique airlines such as; Etihad Airways, American Airlines, Singapore Airlines, British Airways and many more from across the world are already confirmed to attend with many more expected to register in the run up to the show. Katie Murphy, Senior Exhibitor Director at Reed Exhibitions, said: “To have virtually all of the exhibition space already sold is testament to the growing popularity of the fall event dedicated to the passenger services industry. “AIX Long Beach brings together APEX, IFSA and AIX into a powerful partnership and to have generated so much interest already gives us great confidence that it is quickly becoming established as the must-attend event for the passenger experience industry in the fall.” The co-located passenger experience event is the largest in the fall, showcasing the latest innovation, technologies and products in the industry, such as galleys, lighting, cabin management systems, IFEC and passenger services.


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SITA enables Miami Airport app users to quickly tap and clear immigration and customs

Miami International Airport (MIA) is the first airport in the world to bring the convenience of Mobile Passport Control, the fast entry process into the USA, into its own airport app experience. US citizens and Canadian visitors arriving into Miami can now use the MIA Airport Official app to submit details to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and simply receive a barcode on their phone to present for clearance.

This convenient service, developed by global air transport IT provider SITA and certified by US CBP for Mobile Passport Control, speeds up the entry process into the USA. As an integral part of MIA’s official app, the new mobile service builds on the personal travel assistant experience already being offered to Miami’s passengers.

“The goal of our mobile app has always been to put as many services as possible in the palm of the traveler’s hand,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González. “Now, with the help of SITA’s innovative technology, in addition to easily finding your way to all you need at MIA, North American passengers can now also breeze through passport control with the same customer-friendly travel app.”

Miami International Airport offers more flights to Latin America and the Caribbean than any other US airport. It is America’s third-busiest airport for international passengers, with more than half of its 44.6 million passengers on international travel.

SITA offers the service as an SDK (software development kit). The SDK has been authorized by CBP for airports, airlines and other travel app providers to incorporate the entry process into their own mobile app.

Randy Pizzi, SITA President, Americas, said: “We are very pleased to be a technology partner with MIA as they become the first to incorporate the convenience of US CBP Mobile Passport Control into their airport application. Passenger satisfaction increases when technology solutions, like SITA’s, make it easy for passengers to manage their journey using just one convenient application on their own smartphone or tablet.”

SITA’s innovative design ensures the CBP requirements are met, which reduces the certification process for app developers. It enables eligible travelers to use an airport or airline’s app on their mobile device to submit their passport information and answer CBP inspection-related questions prior to CBP inspection. The convenient service does not require pre-approval and is free to use.

Today the SDK from SITA is available to any international airport in the USA or any airline flying passengers to the USA. SITA is also in discussions with other governments who are looking to digitize their landing card, customs and border clearance procedures. Providing such services via mobile devices enables direct communication with travelers which supports secure pre-clearance and helps streamline the passenger journey.

After a successful tendering process launched in December 2016, Vision-Box is now ready to unleash one more world-premiere: a ground-breaking Automated Border Control solution will be delivered, further securing the country’s borders and providing a seamless biometric-driven experience to arriving passengers.

Canberra, Australia | July 27, 2017–Vision-Box has today entered into a contract with the Australian Government to deliver the world’s first automated ‘contactless’ traveller clearance processes for people arriving in Australia by air at all international airports.

This contract was celebrated in the scope of the Seamless Traveller program and will expand Vision-Box’s successful presence in Australia initially sustained by its important work on the project that began in 2015 after the Australian Government selected the company to provide biometric border control SmartGates at all Airports’ departures.

This three-year contract will deliver the next generation of Automated Border Control passenger-processing technology. Vision Box’s latest innovations will assist the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection to collect and verify biometric data from all passengers arriving at Australian International Airports.

It will also deliver a new capability that will enable known travellers to self-process through the border without the need to physically use a passport (contactless), entirely relying on facial recognition technology.

Miguel Leitmann, Chief Executive Officer and co-Founder of Vision-Box said that “This contract represents an unparalleled milestone in the history of automation at the border, since it is the first time a government will implement biometric identification through contactless services. We are permanently investing in R&D to bring innovation at the service of more secure and frictionless border control solutions. By selecting Vision-Box, the Australian Government once again puts its trust onto us, to build their leading ambition, which is an amazing recognition to our commitment to society in this respect. This is the result of our long-term dedication and the teamwork we have been able to nurture with the DIBP, and I am very proud of what our people have achieved for our customer and how they feel being part of something bigger: making the world a better place”

New SITA services includes South Africa’s first self-bag drop and mobile boarding

Johannesburg, South Africa | July 26, 2017– Lanseria International Airport is investing in SITA’s self-service technology that will add new convenience for passengers while providing improved common-use functionality for airlines. Using SITA’s self-service systems, passengers will now be able to quickly check-in and drop their bags before proceeding directly to the gate without having to visit a traditional check-in counter.

In a first for a South African airport, passengers who have checked-in online or on their mobile device can now tag and drop their bags in less than a minute using SITA’s Scan&Fly self bag-drop units. Scan&Fly’s plug-and-play design allows the bag-drop solution to be easily installed onto existing airport check-in desks, maximizing terminal space while leveraging the speed of self-service.

Using SITA’s  Airport iValidate, Lanseria International Airport will be able to automatically verify all types of boarding passes, including home-printed A4 and mobile boarding passes, increasing security and speeding up the check-in process for passengers.

Behind the scenes, Lanseria International Airport will roll out new baggage reconciliation technology from SITA, providing passengers with greater confidence that their baggage will arrive with them at their destination. It will help airlines using the airport to comply with IATA’s Resolution 753, which requires that they track bags at key points during the journey.

The airport is also upgrading its common-use kiosks and desk infrastructure to use SITA’s cloud-based solution, eliminating the need for local servers. This common-use infrastructure is critical in providing greater flexibility for airlines operating from the airport by allowing them to share common-use terminal equipment (CUTE) for check-in and boarding.

Gavin Sayce, Chief Operating Officer of Lanseria International Airport, said: “Our passengers and airlines have always valued the ease of use when travelling through Lanseria International Airport. The investment in new technology – together with new infrastructure such as the multi-storey parking we are building – is aimed at maximizing this convenience. We want this airport to remain the airport of choice for both airlines and their passengers.”

Lanseria International Airport, north of Johannesburg, has established itself as a favored low-cost hub for passengers to quickly and conveniently connect to South Africa’s other main cities. FlySafair recently joined Kulula and Mango in operating flights from Lanseria to Cape Town, Durban and now George. The airport handles over 2 million passengers a year and the existing passenger terminal is being extended to accommodate more airlines and flights.

Maneesh Jaikrishna, Vice President Indian Subcontinent, Eastern & Southern Africa said: “Our research shows that an overwhelming number of passengers prefer to use technology rather than a human interaction when in the airport. They value the control and convenience that self-service options such as self-bag drop and mobile boarding provide. This is the case with Lanseria International Airport where passengers are accustomed to a smooth passage through the travel steps.”

Lido/Flight User Group Conference 2017: Lufthansa Systems’ customer event focuses on interaction, information and cooperative development

Raunheim | May 31, 2017– Lufthansa Systems today announced that it will present the first Integrated Flight Support prototype, the future core module of its new Lido/Flight 4D product generation, at this year’s Lido/Flight User Group (LUG) Conference. The conference will offer an insight into technical innovations related to the flight planning system as well as an opportunity for intensive interaction among the 170 product experts and customers attending. The LUG Conference is taking place from May 31 to June 1 in Paris, the headquarters of this year’s partner airline, Air France.

“Integrating different systems is an essential aspect of modern flight planning. Flight data is very dynamic. To get an overview of the current situation in the air, everyone involved needs the same sources of information. Airports, air traffic control and customer systems should be able to exchange data in real time. This is the only way for employees on the ground and on the flight deck to make right decisions based on the same information,” said Philipp Barzen, Head of Product Strategy Lido/Flight at Lufthansa Systems.

The core features of the Lido/Flight 4D flight planning solution are the integrated and continually updated aeronautical database and the optimizer. The system calculates the most suitable route for each flight based on all flight-related data, taking into account weather conditions and the current airspace situation including any restrictions. By migrating to the new product generation, customers will benefit from a modern architecture offering even better integration of relevant data from adjacent systems, a modern graphical user interface and display, 4D optimization and extensively automated flight planning and control processes.

Lufthansa Systems is taking an agile approach to the further development of Lido/Flight 4D. This means that customers are continually involved in the process. In addition to the two big annual customer events – the LUG Conference in the spring and the LUG Forum in the fall – the Lido/Flight-Team is holding workshops and gathering feedback on new features. The second release of Lido/Flight 4D R6.2.0 is planned for the fall of 2017 and will include improvements to crew briefing and route optimization. This is followed by another important milestone in the spring of 2018, a technical release with a complete migration to Linux. The prototype, which provides a glimpse into the future of Lido/Flight 4D, goes even further: It shows the new interface as well as other new functions, such as integrated navigation maps from Lido/Navigation.

“Along with the integrated map display, we are expanding our strategic cooperation with the Lido/Flight and Lido/Navigation product teams to create even better applications for pilots,” Barzen said. One example is the new Lido/mBriefing app, a mobile briefing solution with a direct interface to the Lido/mPilot mobile navigation solution.

During the LUG Conference, product experts will explain the new features of Lido/Flight 4D to customers in various sessions. They will also talk about the technical prerequisites for migration and discuss training concepts. Lufthansa Systems is thus taking a holistic approach to flight planning optimization and supporting its customers in the areas of further development and migration.

The product known previously as Lido/Flight has performed successfully in the market for more than 20 years. Since 2015, Lufthansa Systems has been working intensively on developing the new Lido/Flight 4D generation. Around 120 airlines with a total of more than 6,000 aircraft are currently using the flight planning solution from Lufthansa Systems. More than one half of all flights in Europe are calculated using Lido/Flight 4D. In various comparative analyses based on thousands of flight plans, Lido/Flight was able to reduce fuel costs by an average of 2 percent, cut flying times by 1.9 percent and save 1.6 percent of air traffic control fees compared to its competitors. Thanks to this savings potential, Lido/Flight 4D will pay for itself after an average of about one year.

2017 Air Transport IT Summit – Barcelona, Spain | May 24, 2017– SITA, the IT specialist that is transforming air travel through technology, today rolled out several community innovation demos with an eye toward the future at this year’s Air Transport IT Summit. These forward-looking innovations are part of SITA’s 2016 multi-million investment across five main focus areas to explore new solutions to some of the air transport industry’s most pressing challenges.

The five areas are; new baggage tracking capabilities to meet IATA’s Resolution 753; identity management to enable secure and rapid passenger flow through airports; the facilitation of IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC); an industry-wide disruption warning system; and enhancing cyber security across the industry.

Demos shocased included the innovative WorldTracer Ground Delivery Baggage Tracking App which allows airlines to track delayed bags until they reach their final destination and Travel Identity of the Future, a new approach to identity management to enable secure and rapid passenger flow through airports. The multi-million dollar community innovation investment is over and above SITA’s continued investment in new products. It is aimed at looking further into the future of promising technologies or new ways of doing things that could have a big impact and significant benefit to the air transport community.

In addition, SITA announced seven new member benefits to enhance nine offers made available in 2015. The offers, exclusive to SITA’s 400 plus members, consist of free trials and preferential contract terms for services. These include SITA’s Mobile Boarding Pass API, which gives airlines flexibility to easily create and distribute mobile boarding passes and SITA’s sophisticated baggage services BagConnect and WorldTracer Tablet. Members can also benefit from free consultancy services for SITA’s cloud services and Horizon solutions along with preferential terms for messaging services SITATEXT Online and the new MessageIntelligence Archive.

Jappe Blaauw, President of the SITA Council, said: “SITA is a member-driven organization and these offers are designed to offer value and support in the areas that we know our 400 plus members are interested such as improved baggage management, driving the adoption of mobile self-service and taking advantage of cloud services. These exclusive offers will allow our members to quickly evaluate and adopt new and efficient technologies across the air transport industry.”

The Air Transport IT Summit, which is attended by more than 400 air transport industry professionals, also provides SITA with the opportunity to recognize its valued members. Working with its air transport industry partners to define next-generation technology for more than 65 years, SITA recognized numerous milestone members including 60 years of partnership with Air Serbia, Middle East Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines and Qantas Airways. And 50 years of partnership with Adria Airways, Arabian Airlines, Libyan Airlines, Meridiana Fly, Saudi Arabian Airlines and United Airlines.

First payment solution to support secure payments on common-use platforms now available

Brussels, 2017 Air Transport IT Summit | May 24, 2017– SITA has launched the first payment solution which addresses the need for airlines to be able to accept payments securely at airports when using a shared IT infrastructure. SITA AirportConnect Common Use Payment Service enables payment transactions by multiple airlines on a single payment terminal. Importantly, this is possible with any, and all, of the departure control systems the airlines choose to use.

Airlines use common-use or shared IT infrastructure at airports around the world and this ground-breaking solution has been developed by SITA to support airlines that wish to accept payments at common-use check-in desks, kiosks and bagdrop areas for baggage fees, upgrades and other ancillary charges. SITA’s new solution uniquely combines point-to-point encryption (P2PE) technology, with Europay, Mastercard, Visa (EMV) and Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant chip card payment terminals, applications and processes, to allow multiple merchants to use the same terminal while meeting PCI security standards.

SITA has implemented this service with a major European airline at a common-use airport where rigorous testing proved the effectiveness of the encryption technology for chip, magnetic stripe and contactless card payment transactions.

SITA’s common-use payment service meets the unique operational challenges of airlines. It allows airlines to share the same point of sale (PoS) and PIN entry devices (PEDs) at the airport, while continuing to use their preferred payment service providers and banks. This maximizes the benefits of the airline’s existing commercial relationships. Importantly, the service is also designed to minimize fraud risks by implementing encryption with EMV card readers and provides support for a secure payment solution aligned with credit card brand approvals.

Barbara Dalibard, CEO, SITA, said: “This new service, integrated with our SITA AirportConnect platform, allows airlines, airports and other air transport industry stakeholders to accept credit card payments in a common-use environment in line with Payment Card Industry standards. Our service features point-to-point encryption to provide a powerful, flexible solution for all stakeholders to ensure the protection of customer data.”

P2PE in SITA AirportConnect Common Use Payment Service delivers significant benefits including making account data unreadable by unauthorized parties. It “de-values” account data because it cannot be abused – even if stolen. In addition, P2PE can simplify compliance with PCI DSS (Data Security Standard) requirements for airlines and airports by reducing the number of addressable requirements during a PCI security assessment.

SITA AirportConnect Common Use Payment Service further enhances the community values that are central to common-use across the industry. It is the culmination of work with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Common Use Working Group in collaboration with various payment industry leaders, including Verifone, Thales and Smart Technology Solutions.

Peter Galvin, Vice President Strategy at Thales e-Security said: “Thales’s extensive expertise and leadership in the payment security market, enriched by our long-standing partnerships with leading payments processing vendors, allows us to help innovators such as SITA deliver the high levels of performance and security required for payment processing.”

The payment terminals available as part of SITA’s service are capable of supporting PCI compliance requirements for an airline’s passenger credit card data handled through SITA’s CUTE/CUPPS/CUSS system. PCI compliance certification, however, still requires an end-to-end security review by each airline of its own full payment process.

Initially available for SITA AirportConnect workstations, the service will be rolled out to support SITA’s common-use kiosks and bagdrop stations over the coming months.

Autonomous, mobile kiosks will move themselves to where they are needed in the airport

Geneva, Switzerland | May 22, 2017–  SITA Lab, which explores the future of technology in air travel, has unveiled KATE, an intelligent check-in kiosk that will autonomously move to busy or congested areas in the airport as needed, promising to relegate check-in queues to the past.

Using various data sources – including flight and passenger flow information – KATE can identify where additional check-in kiosks are required to reduce passenger queue times at check-in. KATE uses existing SITA data systems such as Day of Operations Business Intelligence and FlightInfo API.

Multiple robotic kiosks can be automatically or manually deployed simultaneously and in formation to assist passengers, providing airports and airlines greater flexibility in managing peaks in passenger flow. The kiosks can also communicate through a Cloud service to ensure that the right number of kiosks are at the right position when needed, making them highly responsive to changes in the airport. A design patent application for the kiosks is currently underway.

Renaud Irminger, Director of SITA Lab, said: “The peak and troughs in the flow of passengers presents a challenge to many airlines and airports and we have been approached by many customers requesting a solution. They want kiosks which can be easily deployed when and where they are needed. Building on SITA’s successful AirportConnect® Open platform, and our previous work with robotics, KATE leverages new technologies to provide operators much more flexibility and efficiency in the way they will use their kiosks in future.”

SITA’s cutting-edge robotic kiosk makes use of geo-location technology to find its way through the airport. KATE will use Wi-Fi to connect to vital airline and airport systems, dispensing with the need for cabling or other fixed attachments. This allows the kiosk to move around freely across the airport terminal, using obstacle avoidance technology to avoid bumping into people or things.

KATE and her fellow robotic kiosks will automatically return to their docking stations when they are low on power or need to be resupplied with boarding passes or bag tags.

One of the key benefits of SITA’s autonomous kiosk is that it can be deployed anywhere inside the airport as well as other offsite locations such as train stations. This is particularly relevant during periods of disruption – such as weather delays or flight cancellations – where additional kiosks can be moved from landside to airside to check-in large numbers of rebooked passengers. KATE provides passengers access to her easy-to-use interface to check-in and print bag tags.

KATE follows in the footsteps of LEO, SITA’s fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot launched at the 2016 Air Transport IT Summit in Barcelona, Spain last year.

KATE, SITA’s autonomous kiosk, will be on display at this year’s Air Transport IT Summit taking place in Brussels, Belgium from May 23-24, 2017.
Watch KATE in action in the following video clip: https://youtu.be/oQ69r-2VX-I

Washington | May 2, 2017– Exhibiting at Connect:ID, Vision-Box has unveiled a new integrated Biometric Exit solution which allows border authorities to efficiently collect the necessary information to assist in identifying persons of interest based on accurate identity verification and rules-based monitoring of travel patterns.

With the tremendous growth of the number of travelers and national entry and exit points, many countries are vulnerable to illegal immigration, identity fraud, smuggling, or trafficking. All the while legitimate travelers line up in long queues to get to their families, reach their holiday destination or to get to their business meetings. At a time when security threats haunt international borders around the world, one of today’s greatest challenges is to find a pragmatic balance between security and facilitation.

An effective immigration system requires an end-to-end process that collects exit data and correlates it with entry data. The goal is to ensure that a traveler cannot depart using someone else’s identity or have someone depart on his or her behalf. Without biometrically verified exit data, there is no meaningful way to accurately determine whether foreign nationals have overstayed his or her visa. The challenge is to collect and match relevant data in a reliable and efficient manner.

Exhibiting at Connect:ID, in Washington, Vision-Box has unveiled an integrated Biometric Entry-Exit system which allows Border Authorities to efficiently collect the necessary information to assist in apprehending illegal immigrants and over stayers based on accurate identity verification and rule-based monitoring of travel patterns. Building upon the company’s renowned innovative approach to integrated Border Management and Traveler Facilitation, the system features a powerful orchestration platform connecting different land, air and sea border immigration systems with traveler- centric self-service touchpoints for biometric verification at every national Entry-Exit point.

An Entry-Exit system is, however, only as strong as its weakest link. As such, the physical touchpoints used by passengers must comply with appropriate specifications. The most recent self-boarding gate technology launched by Vision-Box paves the way for the highest standards in on-the-move matching accuracy and efficiency against biometric systems of record while adhering to pragmatic security protocol focused on facilitated travel. In the new paradigm, the creators of the first eGate in the world have taken it to the next level, seamlessly merging previously disparate processes into harmonized, efficient passenger facilitation with the benefit of biometric authentication.

“The successful future of integrated border control relies on stakeholders collaboration, engaged in the joint management of a privacy responsible ecosystem with the passenger at the epicenter, guaranteeing a sustainable, safe and effective entry/exit process, unleashing the power of biometrics to the next level”, stated Jean-François Lennon, Vice President for Global Business Development and Sales of Vision-Box. The company will be demonstrating the technological basis for the new Biometric Entry-Exit solution at stand #506.

IFEC’ers, it is almost here – AIX 2017 that is – and we cannot wait. Over the next few issues, IFExpress will be providing a ‘sneak peek’ from a few AIX vendors. Additionally, we have a ‘Special Story’ for the AIX Show Edition – stay tuned and read on!

Aircraft Cabin Systems

ACS is very busy these days with the design on their second-generation 12.1” retractable monitor. Even though their first-generation model was highly accepted in the marketplace, “We are constantly striving to give our customers what they want” says Richie Sugimoto (shown above) including a very robust design offering high value. Customers have appreciated the overall simplicity of the unit, including the lighter weight and less moving parts providing a quieter unit in operational mode. Most importantly, customers love the ease of installation when upgrading their aircraft from older monitors. These units are offered for both the Airbus and Boeing series of aircraft. They are designed for AC power and with HDSDI video input, provide a clear, crisp quality picture. The first-generation retractable monitors utilize a patented, mechanical design developed by Mr. Yukio Sugimoto and was developed to be a mechanical plug-and-play attachment to either the existing B737 PSU’s or for the Airbus planes.

ACS has also been working on a new design of 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) Modular Monitors. This new design concept allows the support of customizable input/output modules, allowing for the unit functionality with a wide variety of IFE systems. This unique design concept can meet the industry multiple demands with adding additional or different modules. This design is in the testing phase and expect production to release product to the marketplace in Q2. Available screen sizes range from 27” up to 75”.

All products are designed and manufactured in their Redmond, WA facility that is an AS9100 Certified facility. ACS will be at the upcoming AIX show in Hamburg, if in the area, stop by and see all of the new technology they are working on at stand 2C30 to discuss your needs.


digEcor

This year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg will be unprecedented for Chief Executive David Withers and team as far as depth and breadth of solutions and in an increased presence both in size of booth and team in the IFEC zone, Hall B4 at stand 4E20. digEcor having recently expanded their sales team to include additional resource in the Middle East and Africa Region with the appointment of Eduardo Protasio, (from EuroAtlantic Airways) a new appointment for Asia Pacific in Stu McGraw commencing 27 March (previously QinetiQ and Virgin Australia) as well as Jorge Mompo’s appointment (previously Lumexis) as Sales Director of the America’s since AIX 2016. Headed by VP Global Sales, Paul Thorpe, digEcor are looking forward to what this will mean for the developing growth of the company and are looking forward to introducing this new team to visitors this year.

digEcor has been busy these past 12 months and has a handful of announcements to make at AIX 2017 they are keeping close to their chest. The GLIDE embedded system is making headway in the market as well as the continued success of digEcor’s passenger power for 2.1A USB and 110V power solutions, including pre integrated solutions with innovative seat vendors. Since AIX Hamburg 2016 digEcor has launched four new product lines including Passenger Service Solutions, LED Cabin Lighting, Cabin Management and digEcor’s own Moving Map.

digEcor’s mission to enable all airlines to create an extraordinary travel experience is still personified through their modular, flexible and tailored approach to meet the needs of airlines and vendors alike. The Integrated Flight Experience portfolio is still the only fully integrated system from one single vendor available today comprising GLIDE Embedded and Portable IFE, In-Seat Power, LED Cabin Lighting, Passenger Service Solutions, Cabin Management, Wi-Fi to stream content, ENGAGE application for crew, Tape Replacement and Content Services.

digEcor is showcasing this experience at AIX this year by cabin for Economy, Premium, Business and First class. In partnership with Avio Interiors, Geven Spa, Skypaxx, Thompson Seating and Pitch Aircraft Seating Systems, digEcor is primed to educate visitors by cabin or product, depending on the interest.


FTS New Brand Logo Identity

This past week, FTS proudly launched their new company logo. Here is what they had to say:

Over the past two years, FTS business has grown and evolved. In line with our expansion globally, across U.S. and Europe, as well as the addition of new exciting product range, it’s time for a change!

With a sharp and crisp font and brighter blue used, it is a modernized look which reflects our core values – constantly innovating, cutting-edge technology and revolutionize the business.

Being a newcomer, FTS strives to revolutionize the IFEC industry with new business ideas, innovative product offerings and high quality hardware.

We do not follow the norm. We set ourselves apart. This is what we strive for and we are excited to share that with you.

Our new logo will have its first appearance in AIX 2017.

Check us out and see you at booth 2E34!


AIX

Twenty One products and ideas are in the finals of the 2017 Crystal Cabin Awards, the world’s most renowned prize for innovation in aircraft interiors. From a parking guidance system for cabin baggage to a lavatory mirror that displays on-board video and information as if by magic, the finalists’ submissions include innovative ideas for pretty much every aspect of the cabin – revealing today how we will be flying in the world of tomorrow. In the field of “Cabin Concepts” in particular, the giants are lining up for a showdown: Bombardier, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are all hoping for a trophy in the same category. With 85 shortlist entrants from 21 nations, the 2017 Crystal Cabin Awards have been more popular and more international than ever before in their 11 years of history. The seven winners of the coveted Crystal Cabin Award trophies will be announced on the first evening of the Aircraft Interiors Expo (4 – 6 April, 2017) in Hamburg, Germany.


Boeing

Boeing and CDB Aviation Lease Finance (CDB Aviation) announced an order for 30 737 MAX 8 airplanes. The order, valued at $3.3 billion at current list prices, was previously unidentified on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website. Based in Dublin, Ireland, CDB Aviation operates as a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co LTD (CDB Leasing) (HKEX stock code:1606). With registered capital of $US50 million and a fleet of over 200 aircraft, CDB Aviation has over 10 years’ experience in the business and is one of the largest and most influential Chinese-owned aviation leasing companies.
And while we are on Boeing, keep your eye on the new midsize airplane demand for the companies next new plane. Boeing expects to launch a new larger B737 beyond the B737 MAX by the end of 2017. Also expect it to fall below the B787 passenger payload. The so-called B797 will probably seat from 200 to almost 300 passengers over a range of some 4300 to 5300 nautical miles – in the older B767-200 payload-range footprint. Single vs twin aisle is a big deciding factor as well as competition with their existing B737 fleet and it’s growth. Here is more reading for your airplane interest

Customers Press Boeing To Launch New Midsize Widebody Aircraft Soon | Commercial Aviation content from Aviation Week

Boeing’s Plan For Bigger 737 MAX Meets with Industry Doubts 

Boeing’s talking with airlines about a ‘797,’ and they like what they hear | The Seattle Times

The Boeing 737 MAX Is the Most Underrated Plane of All Time — The Motley Fool


SITA

SITA, recently announced the formation of the Secure Journeys Working Group to address today’s airport security threats in the USA and to work towards creating a secure and efficient passenger experience throughout the airport. The launch of the Secure Journeys initiative is in response to the current security climate and recent attacks on non-secure areas of the airport, including the Brussels airport bombing and Fort Lauderdale airport shooting. Members of the working group cite these incidents as examples that demonstrate the need to rethink the approach to getting passengers through the airport quickly and safely. The newly extended group will address growing challenges, including:

  • Moving passengers and baggage more rapidly through non-secure areas of the airport, such as check-in and baggage claim areas;
  • Reducing and effectively managing security wait times to reduce lines of people in non-secure areas;
  • Incorporating biometrics for passenger screening authentication;
  • Addressing ways in which identity management solutions can be used along with data analytics to reduce the growing concerns around the insider threat.

Bad Aviation Joke: A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, ‘I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.’ OK, the worst science joke then: Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, ‘I’ve lost my electron.’ The other says ‘Are you sure?’ The first replies, ‘Yes, I’m positive.’

Waterloo, ON | March 16, 2017– NAVBLUE, representing the RNP Implementation Synchronised in Europe (RISE) project Consortium, was pleased to accept the Performance-Environment Award at the Single European Skies award ceremonies, held last week at the World ATM Congress in Madrid.

The Single European Skies Awards were established to recognise initiatives that raise awareness of and motivate Performance Based Navigation (PBN) Implementation as a means to cultivate more efficient European skies through improved accessibility and safety of airports while still enhancing the flight efficiencies that promote social and customer benefits.

The “Performance-environment” category selected the RISE project because of its success in demonstrating, in real world environments, the benefits of performance-based navigation (PBN) in providing shorter approaches and optimized descent profiles thereby reducing fuel burn and CO2 emissions, while providing tracks avoiding noise sensitive zones.

The RISE project excelled at demonstrating its success in several criteria including, contribution to increasing capacity and safety of ATM systems, potential to be replicated over the ATM network; contribution to reducing the impact of air transport on the environment as well as its benefits for both citizens and passengers

The project included a wide range of activities, from the design of more than 40 PBN procedures, validation of these procedures on Full Flight Simulator, to training of the Air Traffic Controllers and flight trials conducted over ten participating airports.

The results from the extensive flight trials conducted by RISE partner airlines and ANSPs in France,Greece,Cyprus and Portugal enable wider implementation of RNP in Europe. The collaborative spirit of the RISE project also brought together a number of airlines with a similar philosophy towards developing PBN, demonstrating the benefits of deploying these operational techniques in a synergistic approach along with helping to expand their implantation at other airports.

Through questionnaires completed by Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) and flight crews and through flight data recordings, the project received very positive feedback and has been deemed to be a tremendous success that is bringing to the industry numerous safety enhancements, environmental benefits through reduced fuel consumption and noise disturbances while also providing greater airport accessibility.

The RISE Project is a two year SESAR demonstration project that was led and co-financed through the SESAR Joint Undertaking; it was managed by NAVBLUE, in collaboration with multiple stakeholders including: four air navigation service providers (ANSPs) – DCAC (Cyprus), NAV Portugal, DSNA (France), HCAA (Greece) –, three airline operators – Air France, Novair and TAP Portugal and numerous participant airlines including Aegean, EasyJet, Emirates and Air Corsica.

Above all, the RISE project demonstrates that through collaboration and cooperation between aviation industry stakeholders, working towards a common goal, can lead to outstanding results.