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

Global brands targeted by destination.

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

Sampling on Board: Red Bull really gives you wings!

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

Digital content offered to a captive audience.

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

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

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

British Airways Trials AlloSky VR Headsets from SkyLights

British Airways customers will be transported to their own 3D cinema in the skies as the airline exclusively trials a new virtual reality headset in a UK first.

From now until the end of 2019, customers traveling on select flights in First from London Heathrow to New York JFK will be able to enjoy a selection of award-winning films, documentaries and travel programs in 2D, 3D or 360° formats.

The headsets from VR eyewear specialists, SkyLights, allow customers to fully immerse themselves in 3D view regardless of the position they are sat in. The experience even works when they are lying fully flat.

British Airways is the first UK airline to trial the technology and has worked with experts to select a range of therapeutic programs, including guided meditation and sound therapy, specifically designed for customers who have a fear of flying.

Sajida Ismail, Head of Inflight Product at British Airways, said: “We are always looking at the latest technology to enhance our customers’ experience on the ground and in the air. Virtual reality has the power to revolutionize in-flight entertainment and we’re really excited to trial these new glasses as they should create a unique and memorable journey for our First customers”.

The AlloSky virtual reality headsets are designed by SkyLights, a former alumni of British Airways’ parent company IAG’s Hangar 51 start-up accelerator program.

Earlier this year, British Airways trialed the technology at Heathrow Terminal 5, giving customers a glimpse of the Club World cabin through virtual reality.

2019 is British Airways’ centenary year. The airline has launched BA 2119: Flight of the Future, a first-of-its-kind exhibition at Saatchi Gallery throughout August, British Airways’ birthday month. The exhibition, in collaboration with the Royal College of Art, is based on global research commissioned by British Airways to identify what aviation could look like in the future. It is also showcasing Fly, a virtual reality experience tracing humankind’s relationship to flying from the earliest imaginings of Leonardo da Vinci and his ornithopter, to the Wright Brothers’ success on Kitty Hawk and the first passenger flight to Paris. Users can also experience Concorde, the brand new A350 and the imagined flight of future.

British Airways is investing £6.5 billion for its customers over five years, including the installation of the best quality Wi-Fi and power in every aircraft seat, fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft. The airline has introduced its Club Suite, a new business class seat with direct aisle access. British Airways is also hosting a range of activities and events throughout the year to explore the future of sustainable aviation fuels and the aviation careers of the future.


Inmarsat

Inmarsat, a global mobile satellite communications, announced that DSNA, France’s Air Navigation Services Provider (ANSP), has signed an agreement to join a consortium of European ANSPs supporting the modernization of air traffic management (ATM) over Europe through the Iris program. DSNA is the latest partner to join the ground-breaking Iris program to improve air traffic management across Europe’s congested airspace.

In partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), Inmarsat is leading the Iris program to deliver significant benefits to airlines and ANSPs across Europe by enabling secure, high-bandwidth, satellite-based datalink communications.

The program reinforces Inmarsat’s position as a major driving force behind technological innovation in mobile satellite communications and aviation connectivity; leadership that is sustained through substantial on-going investment and a powerful network of technology and manufacturing partners.

The aim of Iris is to deploy digital controller-pilot communications to modernize air traffic management across Europe’s congested airspace and to relieve existing congested radio frequencies. ANSPs will be able to rely on Iris’ certified, efficient and reliable datalink to increase ATM efficiency, relieve air traffic controller workload and enhance flight safety.

Iris is also designed to enable ‘4D’ trajectories, pinpointing an aircraft in four dimensions: latitude, longitude, altitude and time, which is one of the major concepts defined in the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) modernization program. This will enable precise tracking of flights and more efficient management of traffic by allowing pilots and controllers to collaborate on flight trajectories and calculate the shortest available routes, cruise at optimum altitudes, and use continuous climb and descent pathways to reduce delays, save fuel and address environmental factors.

DSNA joins five major European ANSPs already involved with implementing Iris. This includes  DFS (Germany), ENAIRE (Spain), ENAV (Italy), EUROCONTROL MUAC (North-West Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) and NATS (UK). These ANSPs handle the majority of European air traffic and are participating in an Initial Operational Capability (IOC) pilot with Inmarsat and ESA.

As part of their involvement in the Iris program, DSNA will capture performance data from pilot flight demonstrations, which is critical as they operate in one of Europe’s the largest and busiest sections of airspace. In addition, their participation better prepares DSNA for the program’s continued rollout and commercial service introduction.

The latest agreement is a significant further milestone for the Iris program.  It follows the announcement in March that Iris had entered its commercial implementation phase after the successful conclusion of an extensive five-year research program. Full commercial service is scheduled to begin in the 2021-2022 time-frame.

Iris is powered by Inmarsat’s award-winning SB-S digital aircraft operations platform, using its world’s leading L-band satellite constellation, which has underpinned global safety services for 40 years. Inmarsat is scheduled to launch two new, advanced L-band payloads to join its award-winning fleet in 2020 and 2021, further cementing the company’s long-term commitment to the highly reliable services it offers over this spectrum.


Boeing

Boeing delivered the first of eight 787-10 Dreamliner airplanes to Vietnam Airlines via lease from Air Lease Corporation. The Vietnamese flag carrier plans to put the 787-10 – the most fuel-efficient twin-aisle airplane in the industry – on the busiest routes in its expanding network.

The new 787-10 will complement Vietnam Airlines’ existing fleet of 787-9 jets. Both feature the Dreamliner’s ultra-efficient technology and passenger-pleasing comforts. The 787-10 is longer than the 787-9, providing the space to carry 40 more passengers and more cargo and helping it offer the lowest operating costs per seat of any twin-aisle jet in service today. Vietnam Airlines is outfitting its 787-10 models with 367 seats (24 in business class and 343 in economy class). In addition to its size and fuel efficiency, the 787-10 can cover long distances. With a published range of 6,430 nautical miles (11,910 km), the 787-10 can fly more than 95 percent of the world’s twin-aisle routes.

With the delivery to Vietnam Airlines, the 787-10 continues to expand its global presence. More than 30 of this Dreamliner model have been delivered to six operators since the airplane entered commercial service last year. Airlines are deploying the 787-10 around the world, especially in Asia as it is home to more than half of all 787-10 destinations.

To optimize the performance of its 787 fleet, Vietnam Airlines uses Boeing Global Services solutions such as Airplane Health Management (AHM) to capture real-time flight data and enable predictive maintenance. AHM is powered by Boeing AnalytX, a collection of software and consulting services that transform raw data into greater efficiency during every phase of flight.

On another note, the FAA is adopting an airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Boeing Company Model 737-8 and 737-9 airplanes. This AD requires a maintenance records check to determine if any main slat track assembly has been removed, an inspection of the main slat track assemblies for a suspect lot number or a lot number that cannot be determined, and applicable on-condition actions. This AD was prompted by a report that certain main slat track assemblies were manufactured incorrectly and are affected by hydrogen embrittlement. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.


Other News:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SmartSky Networks

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


OTHER NEWS

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

August 13, 2019– Step onto an aircraft and the chances are good that BAE Systems developed the electronics that enabled its flight. From controlling the aircraft to keeping its engine running at peak performance, BAE Systems moves the world by serving more than two million passengers each day. In fact, every second of everyday a plane safely takes off and lands because of our products. BAE Systems introduced fly-by-wire technology to military aircraft over four decades ago. In fact, both the F-16 and the F-18 flew in 1976 with our systems. Just five years later, we introduced fly-by-wire on a commercial aircraft, the A310. These systems receive inputs from the pilot and command the actuators to move the surfaces accordingly.

Our active inceptors – ‘active sticks’ – provide intuitive tactile feedback that helps pilots control the aircraft and maintain a stable flight. While our innovation started with military aircraft more than 25 years ago, we recently became the first to integrate the same technology on a commercial aircraft with Gulfstream’s G500. These sticks are the world’s first certified commercial active inceptors and earned us, along with Gulfstream, the 2017 Aviation Week Technology Laureate Award.

To further assist pilots, we’ve created flight deck systems with intuitive, streamlined cockpit interfaces that optimize the performance of aircraft. These systems are on more than 12,000 aircraft around the world and serve as the conduit between pilots and their aircraft. The idea behind our systems is to simplify actions for pilots based on the challenges that they face.

We also keep passengers on the move with full authority digital engine controls (FADEC) that power more than 30,000 aircraft around the world. Our FADECs have logged over 1 billion flight hours on military and commercial aircraft. Engine controls receive command from the pilot’s thrust control levers, as well as a multitude of sensors to control the injection of fuel in the combustors. To maximize fuel, the FADECs control the stationary airfoils inside the engine’s fan. The airfoils, also known as stators or vanes, help the aircraft to be most efficient by managing its bypass on the engine.

Venture outside the cockpit to the cabin aisle and you’ll find that our systems create a better flight experience for passengers and crews. To create that experience we give crews the tools to manage power, lighting, climate, and communication systems on more than 2,000 aircraft.

For nearly a half century we’ve solved some of the toughest challenges in aviation, while bringing forth innovative solutions that changed the flight experience for pilots, passengers and crews. Over time a lot has changed, but our desire to push the limits of what is possible remains a constant.

We are building on our past to set the pace for the future of aviation as we embrace autonomous and hybrid-electric systems on aircraft. In the years ahead, we will remain steadfast in providing the controls and avionics that have helped keep our customers flying. Our eyes are on the future and we are focused on writing the next great chapter of aviation history.

London, UK | August 6, 2019– OneWeb, the global communications company whose mission is to connect everyone, everywhere, is pleased to announce that Ben Griffin has been appointed to the role of Vice President for Commercial Aviation, leading its newly formed Commercial Aviation team.

In his new role, based at OneWeb’s White City, London HQ, Ben is responsible for delivering in-flight connectivity solutions, harnessing the power of Low Earth Orbit satellites with unprecedented speed and low latency, to the airline fraternity.

Ben brings 20 years’ aviation experience to OneWeb, the last 15 of which were spent in the aircraft connectivity sector, most recently with Inmarsat for eight years.    He will bring deep experience of the connected aircraft world to OneWeb.

Ben Griffin commented: “I am delighted to have joined a company with so much potential. The OneWeb offering is by a long way, simply the best technology, best suited to the aviation market. It stands to significantly change the landscape of passenger connectivity with its ability to deliver consistently strong internet coverage across the world in a way that is often promised, but rarely delivered.”

He added: “Right now airlines are not getting value for what they are paying for, nor a consistently acceptable level of service globally.  We we will change that when our service goes live and we invite passengers to not only bring their own device, but to use their own device, which will bring huge benefits to both passengers and airlines.”

OneWeb will power applications in aviation using global availability of high capacity speeds and lowest latency, delivering seamless broadband to ultimately maximize the passenger experience.

International aviation debut planned at APEX EXPO in September

OneWeb is building a global communications network in space with an initial constellation of 650 satellites in Low Earth Orbit, scaling up to 1,980 satellites that will be 1,200 km from Earth, to deliver a connectivity everywhere.  With a successful launch of its first satellites in February 2019 and recent high-speed video streaming during its system tests, OneWeb is on track to begin monthly launches starting in December 2019 as it prepares for partial service in 2020 and global commercial service in 2021.

OneWeb will be attending APEX EXPO in Los Angeles, California from September 9th to 12th.

SmartSky Networks has been busy. First, the company announced their collaboration with Snowflake Software in early April. The collaborative effort between the two companies will occur through SmartSky’s Skytelligence Aviation Data Marketplace. In case you don’t know about Skytelligence, it is an open marketplace for shared data and services that powers transformation by eliminating the need for multiple contracts, complex integrations, and high upfront capital costs. Snowflake Software provides secured data access to the latest fused and validated aviation data from its Laminar Data Hub cloud platform through Skytelligence, which facilitates application developers to rapidly deploy and simplify the support of aviation-based applications.

The continued growth of available aviation data has software developers and service providers eager to deliver innovative services, optimize operations and improve the inflight experience. Skytelligence is an open marketplace for shared data and services that powers this transformation by eliminating the need for multiple contracts, complex integrations, and high upfront capital costs. Snowflake Software has provided secured data access to the latest fused and validated aviation data from its Laminar Data Hub cloud platform through Skytelligence. This access allows application developers to rapidly deploy and simplify the creation and support of aviation-based applications.

Through comprehensive data ownership and privacy controls, Skytelligence promotes and enables widespread access to external data and algorithms across platforms which had previously remained elusive due to the lack of standards and inflexibility of legacy aviation IT systems. This lack of common standards results in extensive normalization efforts increasing both the time and cost for application developers getting to market. Skytelligence accelerates innovation through efficient access to the industry’s leading APIs and data, enabling application developers and service providers to capture new revenue opportunities and reduce costs through enhanced passenger experiences and optimized operations.

“Providing access to Snowflake’s Laminar Data Hub through Skytelligence supports our goal of connecting the aviation ecosystem to an integrated set of public, private and proprietary data, as well as services through the network-independent software framework. Now the brightest minds in the aviation community are empowered to build applications that transform the flying experience, mitigating flight delays and minimizing maintenance costs,” said one SmartSky representative.

Furthermore, they have announced that they have initiated the final site completion phase of its next generation Air-to-Ground (ATG) network for business and commercial aviation, launching later this year. SmartSky’s airborne network, which began its nationwide deployment a few years ago, incorporates many 5G wireless technologies that have been experienced during a large number of highly successful inflight demonstrations for the media and market. The company’s unique technology has received the critical threshold regulatory certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Communications Commission.

SmartSky uses 5G technology broadly and the network’s future-ready design can incorporate advancements appropriate for ATG as those technology upgrades become available. We were told that their aviation network already includes many 5G components/features like those being used in new terrestrial network builds. Here are some examples: Software Defined Radios, Network Slicking, Low Latency Architecture, Network Function virtualization, Beam-forming, Primary Internet Gateway Relocation.

SmartSky states that they offer the most compelling user experience to the aviation traveler because of the dedicated secure signal to each aircraft from their patented single-beam-per-aircraft network architecture that eliminates the noise and congestion other networks typically experience.


EUROPEAN AVIATION NETWORK
The European Aviation Network (EAN), the fastest inflight broadband service in Europe, is now being offered by airlines to more than 30,000 passengers across the continent each day, allowing them to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media, enjoy real-time interactive gaming, and more during flights. Currently under a ‘soft launch’ phase with initial airline customers, the award-winning connectivity solution can already be accessed on more than 100 routes from key destinations such as London, Madrid, Barcelona, Athens, Lisbon, Prague, Rome and Vienna. To date, almost two million passengers have traveled on flights with access to EAN. Building upon unique European infrastructure, EAN marks a paradigm shift in the airline passenger experience for the continent, with incomparable speeds, uninterrupted coverage and significantly lower latency than any other inflight broadband network in the market. Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “EAN has established an unprecedented new benchmark for inflight broadband, not only in Europe but on a global basis. It combines the expertise of Europe’s most innovative companies to provide best-in-class connectivity unmatched by any other solution. We have been working with our initial airline customers to monitor and fine-tune the service during their soft launches before it’s rolled out on their wider fleets. We are extremely pleased with the initial response from both the airlines and their passengers, which is testament to the important role EAN is already playing in the European aviation industry. This vision of a unique, pan-European high-speed inflight connectivity network is being deployed with advanced infrastructure in the skies and on the ground.”

Developed by Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom (DT) in partnership with leading European companies such as Thales, Nokia, Airbus, Cobham and EAD Aerospace, EAN has been designed from scratch specifically for the needs of European aviation. It delivers consistent inflight broadband across Europe, one of the world’s most congested airspaces, with more than one billion passengers and 11 million flights per year. For airline customers, EAN also offers the fastest ever installation time for a connectivity solution, requiring under nine hours per aircraft, meaning significantly less downtime. Combined with the system’s low weight, low drag and low maintenance, this results in lower overall operation costs.


AIRBUS
Indonesian carrier Lion Air received its first A330-900, becoming the first airline from the Asia-Pacific region to fly the A330neo. The aircraft is on lease from BOC Aviation and is the first of 10 A330neos set to join the airline’s fleet. The A330neo will be used by Lion Air for non-stop long-haul services from Indonesia. These include pilgrimage flights from cities such as Makassar, Balikpapan and Surabaya to Jeddah and Medina in Saudi Arabia. The flight time for such routes can be up to 12 hours. Lion Air’s A330-900 is configured for 436 passengers in a single-class configuration. The A330neo is the true new-generation aircraft building on the most popular wide body A330’s features and leveraging on A350 XWB technology. Powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, the A330neo provides an unprecedented level of efficiency – with 25% lower fuel burn per seat than previous generation competitors. Equipped with the Airbus Airspace cabin, the A330neo offers a unique passenger experience with more personal space and the latest generation in-flight entertainment system and connectivity.


BOEING
Boeing announced it will recognize an impact to earnings when it releases second-quarter 2019 results on July 24.
Boeing will record an after-tax charge of $4.9 billion1 ($8.74 per share) in connection with an estimate of potential concessions and other considerations to customers for disruptions related to the 737 MAX grounding and associated delivery delays. This charge will result in a $5.6 billion reduction of revenue and pre-tax earnings in the quarter. While the entire estimated amount will be recognized as a charge in the second quarter, the company expects any potential concessions or other considerations to be provided over a number of years and take various forms of economic value. Additionally, Boeing’s estimated costs to produce the aircraft in the 737 accounting quantity increased by $1.7 billion in the second quarter, primarily due to higher costs associated with a longer than expected reduction in the production rate. The increased 737 program costs will reduce the margin of the 737 program in the second quarter and in future quarters.

Boeing continues to work with civil aviation authorities to ensure the 737 MAX’s safe return to service, and these authorities will determine the timing of return to service. For purposes of the second-quarter financial results, the company has assumed that regulatory approval of 737 MAX return to service in the U.S. and other jurisdictions begins early in the fourth quarter 2019. This assumption reflects the company’s best estimate at this time, but actual timing of return to service could differ from this estimate. The second-quarter financial results will further assume a gradual increase in the 737 production rate from 42 per month to 57 per month in 2020, and that airplanes produced during the grounding and included within inventory will be delivered over several quarters following return to service. Any changes to these assumptions could result in additional financial impact.
“We remain focused on safely returning the 737 MAX to service,” said Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg. “This is a defining moment for Boeing. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the flight crews and passengers who fly on our airplanes. The MAX grounding presents significant headwinds and the financial impact recognized this quarter reflects the current challenges and helps to address future financial risks.”

Boeing Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Enterprise Performance and Strategy Greg Smith added, “We are taking appropriate steps to manage our liquidity and increase our balance sheet flexibility the best way possible as we are working through these challenges. Our multi-year efforts on disciplined cash management and maintaining a strong balance sheet, in addition to our strong and broad portfolio offerings, are helping us navigate the current environment.” Boeing’s previously-issued 2019 financial guidance did not reflect impacts related to the 737 MAX. Due to the uncertainty of the timing and conditions concerning 737 MAX return to service, new guidance will be issued at a future date.

Boeing will issue its full second-quarter earnings release on July 24 and discuss the company’s financial results and outlook, including impact of 737 MAX grounding, during a conference call that day.

On another note, Boeing also announced that it has dedicated $50 million of a previously announced $100 million fund to provide near-term financial assistance to families of the victims of the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Flight 302 accidents. Boeing also announced that it has retained Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, renowned experts in establishing and overseeing victims’ compensation funds, to design and administer the fund. The $50 million fund represents the initial expenditure of a $100 million pledge by Boeing to address family and community needs of those affected by the accidents. All monies distributed by Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros will be independent from any resolution provided through the legal process.


OTHER NEWS

Facility opening celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony and will serve as the new operational base for Astronics CSC

Waukegan, IL | July 19, 2019–Astronics Corporation (Nasdaq: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for global aerospace, defense, and other mission critical industries, announced today that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certifications (CSC), has moved its operations to a new office and manufacturing facility in Waukegan, Illinois.

The new facility enables the expansion of manufacturing capacity and certification services. The facility officially opened on July 18, 2019 with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Astronics senior executives along with representatives from the City of Waukegan.

“We are very excited to move into this beautiful new space. The combination of office space and manufacturing capability will help us meet increasing demand now and in the future,” said Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics CSC. “Astronics CSC now has the ability to develop, produce and certify products all within one location, which enables a faster, more efficient production process to satisfy customer product needs. We were also honored to have Sam Cunningham, the mayor of the City of Waukegan, join us to cut the ribbon during our ceremony, officially opening this wonderful facility.”

Waukegan is located approximately 20 miles north of Astronics CSC’s Lake Zurich Design Center. Both locations are linked by close proximity to I-94, a major interstate highway.

Key features of the newly leased facility include:

  • 123,000 square feet for factory production
    • 4,400 square foot FAA-approved repair station, where products can be repaired without need for third-party recertification
    • 11,200 square feet of warehouse storage
  • 44,000 square feet for office, divided between two stories for research and development, engineering, product support and administration

Astronics CSC serves as the global market leader for inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for aircraft, specializing in connectivity hardware, integration engineering, and certification services. Together with other Astronics subsidiaries, Astronics CSC offers the most complete set of IFEC hardware solutions available from a single vendor.

Aircraft Interiors Expo lands in Los Angeles on 10-12 September 2019

Los Angeles, CA | July 22, 2019–

Aircraft Interiors Expo Los Angeles (AIXLA) – the only global fall event dedicated to the cabin interiors industry – has revealed an impressive programme of CabinSpace Live seminar sessions that will feature at this year’s show running from 10-12 September in Los Angeles.

Free to attend for all visitors, the carefully curated programme will bring together some of the world’s leading experts to present the latest seating trends and innovations, scientific research, material innovations and technologies that will optimise passengers’ sense of wellbeing.

Opening the programme, Gary Weissel, Managing Officer at Tronos Aviation Consulting, will join James Blackwell, Director of Sales at RECARO Aircraft Seating, and Tim Garvin, Sales at Pexco Aerospace, for a panel discussion on the outlook for aircraft interiors. They will debate the critical market forces impacting the market supply chain in the coming year and the challenges airlines and their industry partners face implementing interiors specification programmes.

Additionally, Helge Sachs, Senior Vice President of Product Innovation at Diehl Aviation, will deliver a talk oninnovating seamless user experiences for passengers and crew. He will share insight into the company’s customer-centric innovation strategy and some of the initiatives that will create tomorrow’s intelligent cabin.

James Blackwell will return for a panel discussion: Are you sitting comfortably?, where he will be joined by Elijah Dobrusin, Vice President of Development and Strategy at EnCore, and Tom Lipscomb, Senior Project Manager at PriestmanGoode. Together they will investigate the latest seating trends and innovations that will differentiate the passenger experience and deliver a more competitive cabin for airlines.

Elsewhere, Jennifer Coutts Clay will lead a keynote session on flying for all – creating an accessible cabin. Joining her will be Hank Scott, Chief Executive Officer, Molon Labe Seating, Tom Lipscomb of PriestmanGoode and Michele Erin, Founder and President of All Wheels Up. By bringing together a cross-section of experts, this roundtable discussion will provide attendees with a comprehensive understanding of the opportunities and issues that need to be addressed to improve accessibility and passenger experience for all.

Doug Christensen, Technical Lead for Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ ecoDemonstrator program that takes new products and innovative solutions out of the lab and onto a dedicated test aircraft, will share insights on how this approach helps address the challenges to implementing innovation. He will also explore the learning benefits for engineers and designers, plus the collaborative opportunities.

Finally, Matthew Nicholls, Sales Director at Tapis Corporation, will host a seminar on innovating for comfort, offering insights into the latest comfort science research, materials innovations and technologies that will enhance a passenger’s sense of wellbeing. Nicholls will also present a keynote session on making sense of premium economy cabins in which he will profile premium economy customers and explore the choices they make on the ground, as well as how the interiors supply chain can help meet their expectations in the cabin, plus the premium economy trends to watch in the Americas market.

For more information and to register to attend AIXLA this September to get full access to the CabinSpace Live sessions, please visit https://www.aircraftinteriorsexpo-us.com/registration.

The company’s d:fine CORE 4288 Headset Microphones giving entertainment staff at TUI Group’s ‘Holiday Village’ resorts the flexibility to deliver even more dynamic shows.

Alleroed, Denmark | July 23, 2019–The Entertainment Department (tedgroup), acompany that specializes in creating and implementing live shows and bespoke entertainmentfor thevacationsector, has brokered an investment in DPA technology by ordering 77d:fine CORE 4288 Headset Microphoneson behalf of TUIGroup.

The headsets, which were supplied by London-based DPA dealer LMC Audio, are now beingused across 12 TUIGroup ‘Holiday Village’resorts worldwide. Others are also being used onthe Marella Cruise Explorer fleet of ships, for which theon-ship entertainment offering is also provided bytedgroup.

“Earlier this year,we were asked to re-write the technical specification for TUI’s Holiday Villageresorts, a brand that has long been renowned for using innovative technology such as LEDwalls,” saysMatt Spence, head of AV for tedgroup. “We saw this as a great opportunity tointroduce headset microphones, which we knew would benefit the brand’s entertainment offering. Having both hands free on-stage gives our entertainment teams much more freedomof movement. This is a massive advantage when people are singing and dancing, and also when they are running interactive audience participation events such as game shows.”

tedgroup recommended DPA’s d:fine CORE 4288 Headset Microphones because they offer exceptional audio quality. Having the same brand across each resort’s entire entertainment team also delivered tonal consistency and made it easier for technical staff to become familiar with the product.“We already have a lot of DPA microphones in our own hire stock,so we know they sound great,”adds Spence. “We’ve always had very good experiences with them.”

The d:fine CORE 4288Headset Microphones benefit from CORE by DPA amplifier technology that was introduced in 2017 to huge critical acclaim. Developed to create an even clearer sound,from a whisper to a scream, CORE by DPA minimizes distortion and expands dynamic range so that microphones give a clearer and more open sound across the entire level range.

“Durability and ease of use were also key factors in our choice of DPA,”continues Spence.“These microphones will be used for up to five hours every night, across the entire six-month summer season, so they need to be tough and robust to withstand that kind of use. After liaising with LMC, we ensured we received the units in time for our intensive pre-season ten-day training course that all tedgroup technical staff and cast undertake at our rehearsal venue in St. Albans[England]. Staff from DPA’s UK division came along to help with training everyone on using the microphones including correct methods of installation and preventative maintenance techniques.Additionally, because the mics were being used in hot resorts and inevitably come into contact with a lot of sweat, the make-up cover and sweat-stopper on the boom are a massive plus-point.”

In addition to providing entertainment packages to vacation companies, tedgroup also produces audio visual installations, sports and well being programs and merchandise retail products. Since its formation,it has created more than 400 original shows for theatres on land and at sea,and these have been watched by more than six million people in over 35 different countries.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


AIRBUS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


BOEING

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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


OTHER NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INMARSAT
Inmarsat announced that its award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband service has been selected by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) for its brand new fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft. SAS has ordered a number of new Airbus A350 aircraft as part of an extensive fleet renewal program, the first of which will be delivered from the Airbus factory in Toulouse at the end of this year with GX Aviation pre-installed. The aircraft has been named ‘Ingegerd Viking’ and will officially enter service on  January 28, 2020, serving long-haul routes to destinations such as Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Beijing, Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong. GX Aviation’s unique proposition of fast, seamless global coverage was a key factor in its selection by SAS. GX Aviation will be a key part of the world-class experience in the new aircraft’s economy, premium economy and business class cabins, allowing passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream video and audio, check social media, instant message and more, with speeds on par with mobile broadband on the ground. The airline will also benefit from major upcoming enhancements to the GX network, with additional capacity being introduced by three new satellites launching in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Furthermore, Inmarsat recently signed an agreement with Airbus Defence & Space to develop a pioneering new generation of GX satellites, which  the company says will mark a transformative step-change in inflight broadband capabilities. The ground-breaking satellites, named GX7, 8 & 9, are optimized for real-time mobility and feature thousands of dynamically-formed beams that direct capacity with laser-like precision over high-demand areas.


MORGAN STANLEY RESEARCH
Entering the Paris Air Show, investor concerns included order activity, aftermarket trends, and Defense health amongst others. But, the event addressed these overhangs and eased the subdued A&D cycle sentiment, in MSR’s view. Here are Morgan Stanley Research’s 5 key global takeaways from the Paris Air Show: 1) Order flow was light, but better than expected; 2) Boeing is making progress on the MAX slowly but surely; 3) Airbus announced the XLR and noted a supportive outlook at its analyst event; 4) Supplier commentary showed a degree of confidence in the outlook, albeit with production risks lingering; and 5) A lack of panic on Defense trends, while Bizjets are not doing a whole lot.


SPAFAX
Global entertainment and media agency Spafax, a leading providers of media, entertainment and content marketing services to the airline industry, announced it has been selected by Japan Airlines (JAL) to license, curate and deliver its short-form content selection onboard all aircraft including TV shows, documentaries and compilations. Spafax’s entertainment efforts for JAL will be led out of its Hong Kong office and be supported by its entertainment teams in London and Southern California. Spafax’s first content cycle for JAL is due for delivery by August 2019.


AIRBUS

  • During the 2019 Paris Air Show, Airbus achieved new business for 363 commercial aircraft, comprising 149 firm orders and 214 commitments. In addition to these totals, airlines and lessors also converted 352 existing aircraft orders – mostly from the A320 single-aisle aircraft up to the larger A321neo and also to the new A321XLR, clearly reflecting Airbus successful strategy in offering customers longer-range aircraft in this segment. Moreover, Le Bourget saw successes for the A220 which won new business for 85 aircraft, and for the widebody A330neo for which Airbus received orders and commitments for 24 new aircraft. The star of the show was clearly the new A321XLR – the next evolutionary step from the A321LR. The XLR is world’s most efficient and longest-range single-aisle aircraft, which will enable operators in this segment to access markets requiring even more range and payload. Overall, this newest model won orders for 48 aircraft, commitments for a further 79 aircraft and 99 conversions from A321 to XLR. These came from a wide range of launch customers from around the world.
  • Airbus is saddened that one of its founding fathers, Roger Béteille, who not only shaped Airbus’ first commercial aircraft – the A300B – but also Airbus Industrie, passed away on 14 June at the age of 97.
    Born in Aveyron, France, in 1921, Roger Béteille studied at Supaéro in Toulouse before joining France’s SNCASE, which later became Sud Aviation, in 1943. He received his pilot’s licence in 1945, becoming thereafter flight test engineer in 1952. He was part of the flight test team on the Caravelle’s first flight. In July 1967, the idea to develop a 300-seater all new wide-body twinjet was progressing and Mr Béteille was appointed chief engineer for the A300 program at Sud Aviation. It soon became clear that launch customers Air France and Lufthansa wanted a smaller product. From the very start, Roger Béteille nurtured a dream: to found an aircraft family. “I was convinced that Airbus would never take off with a single aircraft,” he explained. “Potential customers would wonder if we’d still be around in ten or 20 years’ time.” His dream truly came to fruition towards the end of his career, when in March 1984 he managed the formal launch of the A320.
    Roger Béteille was instrumental in developing its fly-by-wire (FBW) controls, with increased flight safety and wider fuselage, all of which were key to its huge commercial success. Fly-by-wire also enabled the start of cockpit commonality and cross-crew qualification for pilots across Airbus aircraft.
  • China Southern Airlines took delivery of its first of 20 A350-900 becoming the newest operator of this latest generation and highly efficient twin-engine, long-range widebody aircraft. The Guangzhou-based carrier operates an Airbus fleet of 335 aircraft, including 282 A320 Family aircraft, 48 A330 Family aircraft and 5 A380 aircraft (figures at the end of May 2019). China Southern’s A350-900 aircraft features a modern and comfortable three-class cabin layout of 314 seats: 28 business, 24 premium economy and 262 economy. The airline will initially operate the new aircraft on its domestic routes from Guangzhou to Shanghai and Beijing, followed by flights to international destinations.

BOEING
Boeing launched its latest round of flight-testing to assess new technologies that could address real-world challenges for airplane operators and passengers — from enhancing safety and sustainability to improving the flying experience. The company is debuting a Boeing 777 that will serve as the 2019 flying test bed for 50 projects. “This is the latest addition to our ecoDemonstrator program, where we look at how crew and passengers can have a better experience and how technologies can make flying safer, more efficient and more enjoyable,” said Mike Sinnett, vice president of product strategy and future airplane development at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Using the 777 flying test bed lets us learn faster and move forward on improvements much quicker and with greater fidelity in defining their value.” Among the technologies being tested on this year’s ecoDemonstrator program are:

  • Sharing digital information between air traffic control, the flight deck and an airline’s operations center to optimize routing efficiency and safety.
  • An electronic flight bag application that uses next-generation communications to automatically provide rerouting information to pilots when weather conditions warrant.
  • Connected cabin technologies that make galleys and lavatories smart, and monitor cabin conditions such as temperature and humidity to facilitate automatic adjustments.
  • Cameras to provide more passengers with a view outside the airplane.

Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program first took to the skies in 2012. Five airplanes — a 737-800, 787-8 Dreamliner, 757, Embraer E170 and 777 Freighter — have tested 112 technologies through 2018. More than a third of the technologies have transitioned to implementation at Boeing or by program partners. Nearly half remain in further development while testing on the other projects was discontinued after learnings were accomplished. Among the technologies now in use are iPad apps that provide real-time information to pilots, enabling them to reduce fuel use and emissions; custom approach path information to reduce community noise; and a camera system on the 777X that will help pilots avoid ground obstacles. A key part of the ecoDemonstrator program is collaboration with industry partners to jointly test technologies and share learnings that advance aviation. More than a dozen partners are participating in the 2019 program, including an industry consortium developing a connectivity standard for networked cabins of the future known as iCabin. Flight tests will be conducted this fall. The flights will include a trip to Frankfurt Airport in Germany, where the ecoDemonstrator’s technology mission will be presented to government officials, industry representatives and STEM students to help inspire the next generation in aerospace leadership. A majority of the test flights will fly on sustainable aviation fuel to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and demonstrate the fuel’s viability.

Aviation connects our world by efficiently and rapidly moving people, opening new economic opportunities and transporting food and goods all over our planet. Aviation promotes global understanding, generating rich cultural exchanges and thereby contributing to peaceful co-existence. At the same time, climate change has become a clear concern for our society. Humanity’s impact on the climate requires action on many fronts. The aviation industry is already taking significant action to protect the planet and will continue to do so. Aviation contributes to two percent of human-made carbon dioxide emissions. The industry has challenged itself to reduce net CO2 emissions even while demand for air travel and transport grows significantly. Through the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), the aviation industry became the world’s first industrial sector to set an ambitious target: reduce CO2 emissions to half of year 2005 levels by 2050, and to limit the growth of net CO2 emissions by 2020. We are on track to meet those near-term commitments, including the 2019 implementation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) program as agreed upon by the nations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The Chief Technology Officers of seven of the world’s leading aviation manufacturers are now each working at an unprecedented level to ensure the industry meets these aggressive and necessary commitments.

The Strategy
There are three major technological elements to sustainable aviation:

  1. Continuing to develop aircraft and engine design and technology in a relentless pursuit of improvements in fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions.
  2. Supporting the commercialization of sustainable, alternate aviation fuels. Around 185,000 commercial flights have already proven that today’s aircraft are ready to use them.
  3. Developing radically new aircraft and propulsion technology and accelerating technologies that will enable the ‘third generation’ of aviation.

Aviation will continue to rely on liquid fuels as the fundamental energy source for larger and longer-range aircraft for the foreseeable future. Even under the most optimistic forecasts for electric-powered flight, regional and single-aisle commercial airplanes will remain operating in the global fleet with jet fuel for decades to come. Therefore, the development of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) which use recycled rather than fossil-based carbon and meet strong, credible sustainability standards is an essential component of a sustainable future. Five pathways for production of SAFs have already been approved for use, with commercial scale production of one of these pathways already in place. We believe that accelerating production scale-up of all commercially viable pathways, while simultaneously developing additional lower cost pathways, is the key to success. This work is already underway at research institutions and within companies in various industrial sectors. What is needed is an expansion of government support for technology development, production facility investment, and fuel production incentives around the world.
We are fully supportive of any fuel, which is sustainable, scalable, and compatible with existing fuels. We will work closely with fuel producers, operators, airports, environmental organizations and government agencies to bring these fuels into widespread aviation use well ahead of 2050. Other factors, such as efficient air traffic management and aircraft routing that minimizes fuel consumption also have a vital part to play. Our industry has demonstrated significant progress on reducing noise and other environmental impacts and will continue to do so.

Aviation is at the dawn of its third major era, building on the foundation laid by the Wright brothers and the innovators of the Jet Age in the 1950s. Aviation’s third era is enabled by advances in new architectures, advanced engine thermodynamic efficiencies, electric and hybrid-electric propulsion, digitization, artificial intelligence, materials and manufacturing. Larger aircraft will begin to benefit from novel designs that will further improve efficiency through management of aircraft drag and distributing propulsion in new ways. New materials will enable lighter aircraft, further improving efficiency. We are excited by this third generation of aviation and, even though all of the represented companies have different approaches, we are all driven by the certainty of its contribution to the role of aviation in a sustainable future. We believe aviation is entering its most exciting era since the dawn of the Jet Age. This third era promises a transformative positive impact on lives around the globe — and we stand ready to make it a reality.


OTHER NEWS

Augments radio test solution offerings

East Aurora, NY | July 1, 2019– Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for global aerospace, defense, and other mission critical industries, announced today that it has acquired Freedom Communication Technologies, Inc. (FCT) a developer and manufacturer of communication test equipment for the land-based mobile radio test market providing innovative solutions to Long-Term Evolution (LTE) high-speed wireless communications customers globally. Astronics has acquired 100% of the equity of FCT for $22 million in cash.

Peter J. Gundermann, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer commented, “FCT is a leader in wireless communications testing, primarily for the civil land mobile radio market. Their market focus and technology complements those we already have, and together, we will offer a broader range of test solutions to an expanded market. The acquisition gives us a stronger market position in the radio test arena, a strong brand for our offerings and a larger addressable market. We are excited to expand our test capabilities and to bring FCT on board with our Test business.”

Based in Kilgore, TX, FCT was founded in 2015 and offers communications analyzers for testing and maintaining Land Mobile Radio (LMR) communications systems. FCT also provides an extensive range of capabilities, including automated radio testing and alignment, coverage mapping, and interference analysis.

In 2018, FCT had $11 million in revenue and is expected to contribute approximately $10 million in revenue in the second half of 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hong Kong | June 11, 2109–Hong Kong business aviation consulting firm Asian Sky Group (ASG) has concluded its work as Inspection & Acquisition Consultant and Completion Manager for an Asia-based client on an ultra-long-range, wide-body VIP ACJ330 aircraft. This marks the second ACJ330 completion project for ASG.

“The project was particularly challenging due to the status of the aircraft at the start and the compressed timeline for completion,” says ASG Managing Director, Jeffrey Lowe. “ASG’s benefit to the client was its ability to provide from a single source all the necessary services to complete the project, which included representing the client with the completion center to overseeing matters of engineering and certification.”

ASG provided support to the client throughout the nine-month completion process. This support began in the initial stages, with ASG appointed Inspection and Acquisition Specialist assisting on the negotiation and execution of the aircraft purchase agreement and the technical inspection of the aircraft. ASG was then appointed Completion Manager, overseeing the installation of the cabin and exterior painting, a review of the records, as well as maintenance management. ASG had a team of specialists on-site to oversee the project daily, ensuring quality work, fit and finish.

Following the delivery of the ACJ330, ASG has commenced its next completion management project for an Asia-based ACJ320 Neo.

Lufthansa Systems is currently engaged in various AI initiatives and projects covering flight scheduling, turnaround processes and passenger apps 

Raunheim, Germany | June 13, 2019–Air traffic is growing at an average annual rate of five percent. In 2035 around 40,000 aircraft will share the airspace – twice as many as today. Already today there are sometimes bottlenecks, in the air as well as on the ground. This can lead to delays or even flight cancellations, resulting in frustrated passengers and high costs for the airlines. To meet these challenges, the industry is looking for solutions based on artificial intelligence (AI). As one of the world’s leading airline IT specialists, Lufthansa Systems is involved in various projects in this field.

“Artificial intelligence is almost ubiquitous today, and its potential is huge. This is why we have been working on this topic for years,” explained Mubashir A. Tariq, Head of Innovation and Portfolio Management at Lufthansa Systems. “AI solutions are based on the extensive data that is already available from the many different solutions used by Lufthansa Systems’ broad international customer base. The aim is to make even more effective use of the limited resources available without compromising the stability of the systems”.

The trick is to use this data in a smart and practical way. Lufthansa Systems founded a subsidiary in 2015 to handle this. zeroG employs around 50 data scientists and data engineers. They are highly sought-after experts in the field of intelligent data use and the development of AI solutions, and they also have a deep understanding of airline processes. In all of their AI projects, Lufthansa Systems and zeroG involve their customers in the development process early on in order to adapt the solutions to specific conditions and work with the widest possible range of real data.

Deep Turnaround is all about avoiding delays in ground operations, specifically the turnaround process. Using video recording, an algorithm analyzes the turnaround process (e.g., passengers disembarking, cleaning starts, catering on site, fuel trucks missing) and keeps everyone updated on the current status in real time. If necessary, the parties involved can take measures to speed up the process or counteract any bottlenecks to ensure a punctual turnaround.

The aiOCC project is investigating how to simplify the work of ops controllers. In collaboration with zeroG, an AI solution is being developed which analyzes historical data and uses the findings to suggest ways of optimally adjusting current flight operations in the event of irregularities. Machine learning is also being used here, meaning that the system continually learns and gets smarter the longer it runs. aiOCC is now in an early research phase with selected customers of NetLine/Ops ++.

Intelligent network planning is the focus of a research project carried out with Lufthansa Group Hub Airlines and zeroG. AI will be used to analyze the behavior of revenue management systems in order to make forecasts for optimal network planning.

To improve the digital passenger experience, Lufthansa Systems has developed a mobile SDK for integration in passenger apps which calculates waiting times at airports using an AI-based prediction model. This makes it easier for passengers to plan how much time they need to reach the gate. The inTime SDK can be easily integrated into any existing passenger app offered by an airline.

“The various concepts are being developed and tested together with airlines,” Tariq said. “From our perspective, AI will fundamentally change the way software solutions are developed. Instead of programming fixed or parameterized business processes, the algorithms of the future will be derived from data. AI-based technologies are paving the way for the digital future.”


The acquisition of Gemalto was the prime focus of Thales during AIX. “This is a special day for Thales,” said Philippe Carette, Thales InFlyt Chief Executive. The 4.8 Billion euro acquisition of the digital security provider provides the company with a strong role in digital security that will cover the entire credit card chain in the digital world – everything from data generation, to the real-time decision report will come under their blanket. With regards to the IFEC space, it specifically brings additional capacity to the passenger experience and personalization.  Facial recognition/identification is a prime example. “Our customers are looking more and more at digital platforms and digital transformations,” said Carette. “Since 2014 Thales has heavily invested in digital transformation, this includes cyber security. In fact, we have roughly invested 7B Euro. Airlines are more and more seeking solutions beyond IFE and this includes security.” Carette went on to say that this acquisition represents a series of highly complementary technologies and competencies across Thales’ five vertical markets: aerospace; space, ground transportation; digital identity & security; and defense & security.

At AIX, the Thales booth showcased the company’s vision of the digital passenger journey, focusing on the value-add for the passenger. One of these focal points was identification. Thales looked at the IFE and the seat with the focus that each passenger is unique. They are working on linking the crew application with the IFE system in order provide the cabin crew with some very specific information about the passenger in order to ease the workload of the crew and enhance the passenger journey in the process. All of this is being facilitated by the capabilities that Gemalto brings to the table. Thales products like Digital Wallet and AirFree are examples that enrich the passenger experience and journey.

Some developments to keep an eye on from Thales over the next 6 – 9 months include InFlyt-360 Select passenger interface’s entry into the marketplace. Select includes a targeted advertising service, as well as, a new IPTV live television offering and a voice-over-Wi-Fi telephone service (of course this feature isn’t available in North America!). During the press conference, Thales InFlyt Experience VP of Marketing Richard Perrot said,  “This will provide a near Netflix-like experience.”  And Perrot claims the integrated targeted advertising aspect will purportedly “multiply the revenue generation potential by a factor of six.” IPTV uses GX Aviation connectivity from Inmarsat and will feature 8, 10, or 12 channels of live TV on the aircraft.  The company also announced that the launch customer for the product is Spirit Airlines.

IFExpress believes that the rest of 2019 will be significant to watch from a development standpoint. Bringing Gemalto into the mix and the roll out of the InFlyt-360 Select product are critical and it is crucial that Thales hits these milestones over the coming months.  The next 6-7 months are going to be exciting indeed!


IFPL

IFExpress received the following note from Geoff Underwood of IFPL. “I wanted to inform your readers of a change in our senior management team. On 31 May 2019, Tim Young will retire from the position of Chief Operating Officer. Tim has worked with IFPL since 2010 and undertaken the role of COO since January 2013. I wish Tim well for the future. Replacing Tim as COO is Neil McGregor who joined IFPL on 24 April. A comprehensive process of handover is currently underway to ensure that Neil is fully up to speed by the end of May. Neil has a first class honours degree in mechanical engineering and very extensive Lean / CI experience most notably with Caterpillar. Please join me in welcoming Neil to IFPL.”


GOGO

Gogo a global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced it will install a third 2Ku system on an Airbus A319 business jet operated by K5-Aviation, an operator of ACJ aircraft. The installation will be the first to be done on an Airbus ACJ319neo, and it is scheduled to be completed this summer. The installation design and system integration will be managed by Fokker Techniek B.V. under its ACJ319 EASA STC, and will be completed at its facilities in Woensdrecht, The Netherlands as part of the green ACJ319neo aircraft VIP completion. Gogo’s 2Ku technology is the leading in-flight connectivity technology available to business aviation customers flying larger private aircraft and on commercial airlines operating globally. Gogo’s 2Ku technology delivers industry-leading performance globally with peak antenna speeds of 70 Mbps – enabling passengers to do the same online activities while airborne that they do on the ground. For business aviation, that means live video conferencing, fast Internet browsing and streaming video. 2Ku is designed to take advantage of innovations happening in space and is compatible with newer high-throughput and other anticipated satellites, which means that the technology and user experience can continue to improve without the need for invasive changes to the aircraft. This flexibility means Gogo’s customers can be confident the system is future ready and ahead of the curve from a technology perspective. Gogo has more than 1,100 2Ku aircraft online and has a backlog of approximately 900 2Ku aircraft across 18 of the largest airlines around the globe. 2Ku remains one of the most successful in-flight connectivity products ever developed.


AIRBUS

  • Airbus celebrated the delivery of its 12,000th aircraft ever in its 50-year history. The aircraft was an A220-100, assembled in Mirabel, Canada and handed over to U.S.-based Delta Air Lines. The aircraft is the 12th A220 delivered to date to Delta Air Lines since the carrier received its first A220 in October 2018. The A220 started scheduled service with Delta in February 2019. Delta is the first U.S. airline to operate the A220 and is the largest A220 customer, with a firm order for 90 aircraft. This milestone delivery of a Canadian-made Airbus aircraft to a U.S.-based airline highlights the growing presence of Airbus in North America. Since Airbus’ leadership of the A220 program became effective on July 1st 2018, ground was broken in January this year in Mobile, Alabama for the construction of a second A220 final assembly line, set to start deliveries to U.S. customers in 2020.
  • Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has chosen the A321LR as its private jet for luxury worldwide travel, launching a new role for the Airbus corporate jet family. The aircraft will enter service in 2021. Airbus’ A321LR is one of the newest aircraft in its NEO[1] family, and features new engines and wingtip-mounted Sharklets – as well as extra fuel tanks in the cargo-hold. These features give the A321LR the efficiency and range to fly nonstop to landmark sights around the world, while maintaining the ability to land at nearby airports. The Four Seasons Private Jet experience defines modern luxury aviation, encouraging meaningful connections between people and places while delivering a seamless and highly personalized journey,” says Christian Clerc, President, Worldwide Hotel Operations, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Building on the tremendous success of our Private Jet program to date, with consistent sell outs, wait-lists, and near perfect guest satisfaction rates, our drive to continuously innovate and push the conventional limits of travel has led to this new opportunity to experience Four Seasons like never before.”
  • The German government has placed a firm order for three ACJ350-900 XWBs, becoming the first government customer for the type, which has already been ordered by private customers. The aircraft are destined for a mix of government, troop transport and medical evacuation roles. Delivery of the first aircraft is planned for 2020, and the other two in 2022. Cabin outfitting will be facilitated by ACJ’s Easyfit cabin-outfitting concept, which features pre-installed attachments and standardized interfaces that greatly simplify installing walls and furniture in a carbonfibre fuselage. The A350 XWB is the first Airbus aircraft to feature a carbonfibre fuselage and wings, which are immune to fatigue and corrosion, as well as saving weight. Its technological features also include the greater comfort of a lower cabin-altitude, simpler and faster transition-training for pilots through the newest version of Airbus’s common cockpit, and aerodynamically efficient wings that adapt their shape in flight. Total A350 XWB orders stand at around 900, more than 250 of which are already in airline service.

Editor’s Note: As the technical, FAA, and PR challenges face Boeing on the recent impacts of the two B737 MAX accidents, we see a few issues facing Boeing and the FAA in the future:
1. Boeing might have to place a new president in the Airplane Company that has been dotted lined to Muilenburg (President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Boeing Company) who has experience and is very technical!
2. The FAA and Boeing will see management and structure changes as a result, especially with product design review.
3. This situation is going to have management, legal and financial ramifications that exceed earlier expectations.


OTHER NEWS

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

TAKING THE PAIN OUT OF THE DIGITAL JOURNEY

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

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

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

  • Where do we start taking out the pain?

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

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

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

  • How do we help the industry overcome that fear?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ENHANCING YOUR REALITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He went on to make the following statements/questions:

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

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

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

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

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


GOGO

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


THALES

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

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

OTHER NEWS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


INMARSAT

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


VISION BOX

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


INFLIGHT VR

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


AIRBUS

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

OTHER NEWS

April 15, 2019–The organisers of Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS), which returned to the Hamburg Messe 2-4 April 2019 during Passenger Experience Week, have today announced CloudLounge and BudJet as winners of its inaugural PAX TECH HACK, which saw around 50 international developers and innovators battle it out for their share of the €10,000 prize pool.

The PAX TECH HACK, backed by supporting organisation IATA, asked participating developers to respond to one of two challenges: the Inflight Passenger Community Challenge or Boost Airport Retail Challenge. After a short welcome and introduction to Passenger Experience Week, 12 teams were formed with developers uniting to combine ideas before undertaking 48-hours of non-stop coding on the PTS show floor.

Winners of the Inflight Passenger Community Challenge, CloudLounge, included first-time hackathon participants Tugberk Duman, Minja Silvennoinen and Tatjana Förster. Together they created an easy-to-use personal networking experience that enables passengers to use an IFE camera or QR code to join the virtual lounge of a fellow traveller.

Speaking about the win, Tugberk Duman said: “It’s a great feeling to win, especially as a team of three when we’re competing against larger teams of developers and designers. We had a good focus throughout the challenge and clicked as a team. We believe the world is moving forward and instead of creating more Apps for our personal devices, we can make use of the industry’s existing infrastructure.”

Team BudJet, which included developers Evgeny Becker, Peter Martischka, Simon Hanke, Lukas Antesberger and Natalie Moschner were chosen as winners of the Boost Airport Retail Challenge for their solution which matches passengers with products available at an airport based on a designated budget. The App helps passengers navigate through an airport passing by shops of interest, helping maximum their time at the terminal, while driving revenue opportunities for retailers.

Speaking about the winners, expert panellist Sylvain Guilbon, Head of Customer Program Management, SITAONAIR, said: “As judges, what impressed us the most was the level of professionalism and quality brought to the final project presentations, after 48 hours of non-stop work. The presentations were not only polished and thorough, but took into consideration prototype functionality and clearly identified the pain points that the projects would address, as well as the potential business models to bring these ideas to market.

“Both teams addressed specific use cases in the passenger journey with an innovative approach and clear, concise, yet out-of-the-box, thinking. Being focussed on safety, first and foremost, the aviation industry tends to move at its own pace. It’s fantastic to see game-changing ideas like these that can enable air transport to be, not only safer, but faster and more enjoyable.”

Guilbon was joined by fellow expert panellists Pierre Charbonneau, Director, Passenger Experience & Facilitation, International Air Transport Association (IATA); Dr Stathis Kefallonitis, Founder & President, branding.aero and Noesis Analysis Labs; and Katie Murphy, Portfolio Director, Passenger Experience Week.

Speaking about the PAX TECH HACK, Pierre Charbonneau said: “I believe this industry has a unique edge over many others in the fact that most people travel for business or pleasure, and everyone has their own view of what could be improved. The next generation of aviation professionals are increasingly immersed in technology, and by working with digital suppliers and software developers, the pool for which new ideas can be facilitated is unlimited. Initiatives like the PAX TECH HACK are crucial in helping to stimulate innovation for the industry.”

Archana Sharma, Exhibitor Director, Passenger Technology Solutions, added: “All of our PAX TECH HACK developers deserve a huge round of applause for their hard work and determination. The solutions presented provided a unique insight into the opportunities offered by technology and a glimpse into the future of the passenger journey and what we can expect to see onboard.”

Passenger Technology Solutions returns as part of Passenger Experience Week 2020 from 31 March – 2 April to provide a platform that enables those responsible for cabin design, in-flight entertainment, connectivity, technology, passenger comfort, travel catering and onboard retail to deliver on the demands of the 21st century passenger.

For more information visit: https://www.passengertechnologysolutions.com.

Frankfurt am Main | April 2, 2019–Dive into a whole new world of on-board entertainment: SunExpress once again drives innovation and will be offering inflight entertainment via virtual reality headsets in several aircraft during summer season. The innovative concept was implemented together with the start-up Inflight VR and will be offered successively from the end of May onwards on flights departing from Antalya.

The virtual reality headsets will be available on board of the aircraft. For a fee of eight Euro they offer passengers a whole new 360-degree entertainment experience: From exciting blockbusters with private cinema feeling to entertaining destination clips and meditative relaxation videos. The complete entertainment contents are stored in the headsets so passengers just strap the glasses over their heads and lean back.

“With the introduction of VR entertainment, we write the next chapter in our innovation story” says Peter Glade, Chief Commercial Officer at SunExpress. “Our collaboration with Inflight VR gives us a flexible, cost effective and logistically sound solution. We are proud to be offering our passengers this possibility on selected flights departing from Antalya.”

SunExpress has a long-standing track record of driving innovation in the airline industry and working with start-ups. For instance, SunExpress is the world’s first airline to offer its customers the option of booking flights by voice command via Amazon Alexa. Besides that, the carrier just recently launched a cooperation with food delivery start-up Foodora to offer a unique choice of modern on-board menus on selected routes.

“We believe in the tremendous potential of VR to change the way passengers experience media, explore places and spaces, as well as in the added value and opportunities it creates for companies like SunExpress to interact with the customers in new ways and generate additional revenue streams”, says Raphael Baumann, Chief Commercial Officer of Inflight VR.

Bringing Virtual Reality on board of an aircraft requires a high level of technology integration application efforts: Providing flexible integration options while always taking into account cabin safety measures. Addressing concerns detrimental to the VR user experience. Protecting content. Generating revenue. These topics were tackled successfully by Inflight VR’s unique business and technology expertise.

It’s all about making Virtual Reality a business reality.

New design exhibition stand for the first time at AIX in Hamburg | Responsible marketing with sustainable materials and ecological advertising media

Raunheim, Germany | April 1, 2019– Lufthansa Systems employs IT and aviation experts who are passionate about their products and customers – real insiders. This is what the new image campaign of the airline IT specialist conveys: “We’re into IT”. The new slogan is also an invitation to customers and partners to take a closer look. Wherever digitalization and aviation come together, Lufthansa Systems and its solutions are also involved.

This basic idea, which Lufthansa Systems published at the end of January at the same time as a new design, is also reflected in the new booth concept for trade shows. This stand will be used for the first time at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg. The key visual shows people who literally merge with the matter in the background. In an extraordinary way, digital, analogue and living components are combined at the stand of the airline IT specialist.

“Our concept is consciously very futuristic and modern. At first glance, it should convey the fact that we at Lufthansa Systems are flexible in all directions and can adapt to the requirements of the respective project. We are open to cooperation with partners and want to revolutionize the airline world together with them and our many customers,” says Ansgar Lübbehusen, Head of Marketing & Communications at Lufthansa Systems.

The award-winning BoardConnect platform will be presented with a new service for partners under the name BoardConnect Dock. (More on this in the press release of April 1.)

Likewise, a new range of advertising materials, which are always in high demand, was developed. Lufthansa Systems attached particular importance to sustainability in the newly selected articles. “The debate about plastic waste and sustainability does not stop at IT and marketing either. We are proud to be able to make a contribution to greater sustainability with our environmentally friendly gift articles,” adds Lübbehusen. Plastic ducks and articles that do not create any real added value are now a thing of the past. In contrast, Lufthansa Systems invites customers and partners to its stand for a cup of coffee in a portable and recyclable mug. Not only during AIX a useful utensil.

 

 

 

Vitoria-Gasteiz (Alava), Spain – Aernnova has recently completed the acquisition of Structural Integrity Engineering (SIE), an aircraft engineering company headquartered in Chatsworth (California) with regional offices in Seattle (Washington) and Madrid (Spain).

With this acquisition, Aernnova reinforces its growth strategy in North America and adds engineering and certification expertise that complements its aeronautical engineering division and DOA services.

Mr. Iñaki López Gandásegui, Chairman & CEO of Aernnova, said “We are proud to announce SIE as the newest member of the Aernnova family of aerospace firms. SIE’s reputation for the highest quality FAA certification expertise, structural design & engineering, analysis, and systems integration skills will fit well in our North American growth plans. “

Dr. Matt Creager, who will continue as SIE’s President, said “We are honored to have secured the confidence of Aernnova’s management based on SIE’s strong reputation for engineering in structures and systems integration and our track record in delivering quality for our customers. We look forward to working as part of Aernnova’s international engineering and manufacturing team to deliver high quality solutions for our customers.”

Before we get started on IdeaNova’s new content security solution for aircraft entertainment data we should tell our readers that as inflight entertainment content is getting to be higher quality, as you might guess, movie providers are getting more concerned about hacking and content copying because they have a lot invested in it. Thus, the value of secured DRM is a bigger deal, and security solutions are what will provide travelers with newly released content. So, along came IdeaNova and their solutions.

The above IFExpress rectangle is the graphic that accompanies IdeaNova’s press release (IdeaNova Technologies, Inc) for their new hardware secured server platform. We thought our readers might be interested in seeing a bit more about the company as you will see and hear more about them in the coming months. We asked their industry advisor, Rich Salter (who many of you know), and he helped us with understanding the next generation of software-based entertainment security. First, we wanted a bit more information for our readers and the company told us: “With new requirements put in place by studios for onboard DRM license servers, IdeaNova, a leader in Inflight Entertainment (IFE) and secure streaming, announced it is the first to implement these procedures with the launch of its Hardware Secured Server Platform. The new Secure DRM Server, which expands the integrity for all high-quality streaming security needs, can generate DRM licenses for video on demand or live streaming content.”

When we set out to explain this new ‘system security feature’ we contacted IdeaNova and asked a few questions. Rich Salter told IFExpress: “Those of you who have been at recent APEX TECH conferences may recall that Juraj Siska (IdeaNova’s CEO) and Phil Watson (Panasonic) have been reporting on their efforts to update our APEX document 0415 to add security provisions for premium content (e.g., HD and early window). IdeaNova is one of the very few companies in our IFE space that really understands the inner-workings of cloud content preparation (encoding/encryption/packaging content in the cloud), DRM license servers and onboard servers to stream the encrypted content to passengers, and secure video players (to decrypt the content and display it at the seat). The few companies that really understand this are key to all of us continuing to get HD and early window content at the seat. I originally met Juraj (IdeaNova) a couple years ago at a TECH conference. Then, I was referred to him again when I called a major DRM provider to get a referral to a consultant to help my previous company out of a DRM player jam (he fixed our DRM SW problem in about a week!)” Rich went on: “IdeaNova is HQ’d in Naperville, Illinois (just west of the windy city of Chicago), and they have employees around the world doing SW development. CEO Juraj Siska, (a recent IFEC BUZZ speaker) and CTO Janne Pelkonen and their SW team are experts at processing content for IFE in the cloud and providing onboard servers and players to keep early window content secure (i.e., keeping the studios happy and airlines happy in streaming content to passengers’ devices).”

We asked a few more questions and the company responded:

1. Why was the security software developed?

IdeaNova: “The new server is more secure. It provides security that studios are asking for. This is especially the case for content that falls into the category of ‘early window content’ or ‘higher quality content’.”

2. How it was developed?

IdeaNova: “It was developed internally by our engineers by redesigning our Inplay License Servers from scratch. When we learned that these new requirements were requested by studios and likely to be approved by APEX, we started with the development. The process was not simple, as we were learning new technology and had to deploy our software on platforms we were not familiar with up to that point.”

3. How about a little history of the company and its founder for our readers?

IdeaNova: “The company has a decade of history of building secure streaming systems (IFE) for aviation. Both Juraj Siska and Janne Pelkonen have several decades of experience in IT consulting.“

4. Well then, can you tell our readers what the content industry is saying about the design?

IdeaNova: “We are reviewing this solution with the studios and IFE vendors. Some of the IFE vendors are excited about this implementation and complemented us on the speed of deployment (we are the first in the industry) and ability to migrate it easily from the prior versions of our software.”

Juraj added: “Hardware secured” server means that DRM cryptographic operations and certain security functions are executed in special hardware, which is separate from the main processing unit, making it harder to compromise and almost impossible to replicate for malicious purposes. This is unlike traditional software implementations where software is much easier to copy.”

We then asked Rich what pieces of hardware and software IdeaNova provided, and he told IFExpress: “One clarification: the hardware chip on the motherboard is not IdeaNova’s chip; rather, it is an industry standardized chip. IdeaNova is the first to implement the chip’s use in the IFE market, as the studios are specifying that it be used for their latest HD and even higher quality content.

You can find more info on this here.

Trusted Platform Module (TPM, also known as ISO/IEC 11889) is an international standard for a secure cryptoprocessor, a dedicated microcontroller designed to secure hardware through integrated cryptographic keys. Stay Tuned on this one!


MORE NEWS

IFPL will be demonstrating their latest audio products that utilize Bluetooth technology at AIX Hamburg. A leader in passenger audio jack technology, IFPL deliver high quality sound and exceptional unit reliability giving an enhanced customer experience. The addition of Bluetooth technology to their ever-growing suite of products is an exciting development for the UK-based company.

IFPL’s Dave Phillips comments, “The growth of the range of products is in response to the growing demand from global airlines that rely on IFPL for innovative, design-led products. The key focus has been to reduce Customer Induced Damage (CID), therefore keeping the total cost of ownership low over the lifetime of the product.”

Phillips adds, “AIX 2019 is a fantastic opportunity to see the broad range of products that are now flying on many aircraft around the world and we look forward to showcasing our new Bluetooth technology Long Life audio jack.”
The following products will be available to view:

  • Bluetooth technology is now available in the highly reliable Long Life audio jack. This allows passengers to connect to a wireless or wired headset through the Bluetooth integrated unit.
  • Long Life is IFPL’s original audio jack range. Available in single, double and triple variants, the highly reliable audio jacks are designed to minimize CID. These jacks are incredibly robust and have been rigorously tested to over 100,000 insertions.
  • Rapid Fit audio jacks enable fast maintenance turn-arounds, achieved in less than 30 seconds with a cost-effective replacement cassette. This low-cost cassette contains the jack, allowing the key electronics to be protected in the main housing.
  • Integrated Noise Cancelling Audio Module (INCAM) cancels noise in the jack rather than the headset. This keeps the headset cost low and passengers can still enjoy the benefit of noise cancelling technology.
  • MagSignal innovative technology virtually eliminates CID thanks to the magnetic plug. A headset can be pulled from any angle without damaging the jack or the headset, significantly prolonging the life of both components.
    MARCH 2019
  • Push Through Pins causing audio failure are a thing of the past. Broken pins are simply pushed through to a collector at the back of the unit.

Visit AIX 2019 to experience the latest integrated Bluetooth audio products and innovative solutions at Booth 4B20.


THALES
Thales to lead EU project on drone geofencing technologies to secure future U-space Paving the way for future drone traffic increase, SESAR Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) is supporting the European Commission U-space initiative by researching and developing new services for safe, efficient and secure access to airspace of a large number of drones. The Geosafe project is part of the founding services for the development of drones operation. Engaged in the creation of solutions that will make tomorrow’s mobility possible, Thales will manage the project, supported by the competences of Aeromapper, AirMap, Atechsys and SPH Engineering.


AIRBUS
Airbus and China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS) signed a General Terms Agreement (GTA) covering the purchase by Chinese airlines of a total of 300 Airbus aircraft. The GTA was signed in Paris, France by Guillaume Faury, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and future Airbus CEO, and Jia Baojun, Chairman of CAS, in the presence of visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron. The GTA comprises of 290 A320 Family aircraft and 10 A350 XWB Family aircraft, reflecting the strong demand in all market segments including domestic, low cost, regional and international long haul from Chinese carriers. According to Airbus’ latest China Market Forecast 2018 to 2037, China will need some 7,400 new passenger and freighters aircraft in the next 20 years. It represents more than 19 percent of the world total demand for over 37,400 new aircraft.
By the end of January 2019, the in-service Airbus fleet with Chinese operators totaled some 1,730 aircraft, of which 1,455 are A320 Family, and 17 are A350 XWB Family planes.
(Editor’s Note: This is interesting timing.)

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) has taken delivery of its first A380 at a special ceremony in Toulouse, becoming the 15th operator of the world’s largest passenger aircraft. The delivery ceremony was attended by ANA HOLDINGS President and CEO Shinya Katanozaka and hosted by Airbus CEO Tom Enders. ANA has ordered three A380s and will operate the aircraft on the popular route between Tokyo Narita and Honolulu from May 24. Each ANA A380 will feature a special livery depicting the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, also known as the Honu. The livery on the first aircraft is painted in blue, while the second will be green and the third orange.
ANA’s A380 is configured in a premium layout seating 520 passengers. The upper deck features eight suites in First Class, 56 Business Class seats that convert to fully flat beds and 73 Premium Economy seats. Economy Class is located on the main deck, where ANA offers a spacious layout seating 383 passengers, including 60 Couch Seats. The aircraft features ANA’s very latest in-flight entertainment systems, as well as full connectivity in all classes. Following today’s delivery to ANA, there are currently 232 A380s in service with 15 airlines worldwide, flying on 120 routes across the globe.


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