SES Networks and Gogo collaborate to ensure that HTS connectivity is seamlessly deployed to more than 200 Gogo Aircraft within the first operational month of SES-15

Luxembourg | February 14, 2018– Gogo, the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced today that it has more than 200 aircraft equipped with its 2Ku inflight connectivity technology which are now utilizing the increased capacity delivered by SES-15. These aircraft came online in SES-15’s first operational month and are the first to benefit from the new high throughput satellite (HTS) capacity.

SES-15 entered service in January 2018 and is SES’s first hybrid satellite providing Ku-band wide beams and Ku-band spot-beam capacity over North America, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Due to SES-15’s high-powered HTS beams, all Gogo aircraft outfitted with its next generation modem will experience an even better customer experience with improved economics. All new 2Ku installations enter service with the upgraded modem, and all 2Ku equipped aircraft are expected to have the new modem by the end of this year.

“Gogo’s 2Ku technology is delivering industry leading performance today, but we designed the technology with an open architecture so it could take advantage of numerous enhancements over time,” said Anand Chari, Gogo’s Chief Technology Officer. “As we layer in more HTS capacity from satellites like SES-15, 2Ku’s performance will get even stronger without having to touch the aircraft.”

“Deploying HTS connectivity requires a coordinated and collaborative approach because of the spot beam design,” said Elias Zaccack, Executive Vice President Global Sales at SES Networks. “We are proud of our strong working relationship with the entire Gogo team.”

Gogo has signed capacity agreements across 11 SES satellites around the world, including agreements for HTS capacity onboard SES-15 and SES-14, which successfully launched in January 2018 and will provide additional HTS capacity over Latin America, the Caribbean, and across the North Atlantic.

While IFEC is our focus in this issue, we need to first cover a huge sale between Airbus and Emirates and this is a big deal!

Airbus/Emirates

Emirates firms up order for up to 36 additional A380 – the airlines aircraft of choice – to continue the airline’s successful growth. They signed a contract on Sunday to buy as many as 36 Airbus (AIR.PA) A380 aircraft worth as much as $16 billion at list prices, firming up an order that is crucial to the future of the world’s biggest passenger jet. The order, for 20 of the double-decker planes with an option for 16 more, was originally announced on a provisional basis in mid-January. Deliveries are to start as soon as in 2020, the Dubai-based carrier said. Airbus had previously said it would have to end production of the A380 if it failed to secure the huge Emirates deal.

Alongside the contract signing, visiting French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum discussed the expansion of air services between France and the United Arab Emirates, the airline said without elaborating. The latest order brings Emirates’ commitment to the A380 program to 178 aircraft, it said, adding that it was evaluating engine options for the new planes.

Airbus noted: The A380 is an essential part of the solution to sustainable air traffic growth, alleviating congestion at busy airports by transporting more passengers with fewer flights. The aircraft is the best way to capture growing world air traffic, which doubles every 15 years. The flagship airliner can accommodate 575 passengers in 4 classes and offers a range of 8,200 nautical miles (15,200 kilometres). The double-decker has become the passenger’s favorite resulting in higher load factors wherever it flies. The A380 is the world’s roomiest aircraft, offering the widest seats, wide aisles and more floor space. The A380 has the unique capability to generate revenue, stimulate traffic and attract passengers, who can now specifically select the A380 when booking a flight via the innovative iflyA380.com web site and the new IOS app.

To date more than 200 million passengers have already enjoyed the unique comfort of flying on board an A380. Every two minutes an A380 either takes off or lands at some of the 240 airports around the world, ready to welcome this magnificent aircraft. To date, 222 A380s have been delivered to 13 Airlines.


Gogo

Gogo Business Aviation’s innovative new inflight connectivity system – Gogo AVANCETM L3 – has received Supplemental Type Certification (STC) and Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) from the FAA. The latest connectivity solution from Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO) lets users customize their inflight experience based on their unique needs and can be installed on business aircraft of all types, sizes and ages, but is an ideal solution for smaller aircraft including turboprops and light jets. Gogo is actively fulfilling orders that have already been booked and installations are underway via Gogo’s dealer network.

AVANCE L3 delivers the benefits of the Gogo AVANCE platform to passengers and flight departments in a small, lightweight form factor, with the most affordable pricing options in business aviation. The AVANCE platform integrates a full range of Smart Cabin features, allowing passengers to simply and reliably access and use all available data, voice, maps, entertainment and cabin management system (CMS) services.

By leveraging the AVANCE platform, the L3 delivers an unparalleled level of flexibility so users can adjust their system’s capabilities up or down without anyone needing to board the aircraft. Once installed, if a customer’s needs change and they want more or fewer capabilities, Gogo can make the adjustments to the system remotely.

“AVANCE L3 delivers the ultimate in flexibility,” said Mike Syverson, senior vice president of development for Gogo Business Aviation. “The AVANCE software-centric platform gives us capabilities that are transformative to business aviation. Users are no longer constrained by the hardware itself and there’s no need for downtime in a hangar if business needs evolve and require different service levels.”

The new system provides a level of flexibility not seen before in business aviation that allows operators to tailor their passengers’ experience and control and manage the number of devices they allow to connect.

And here is the “big deal”: With AVANCE L3, anyone onboard the aircraft can stay connected to email; send text messages and make voice calls with Gogo Text & Talk (service plan required); access their favorite flight apps such as moving maps, weather and flight information; or watch movies and TV shows using Gogo Vision (service plan required). For customers looking for full internet connectivity, AVANCE L3 can be enabled to connect to the Gogo Biz data network delivering a 3G experience. It’s the ultimate in scalability and flexibility.

Look at it this way:

1. For customers primarily interested in email, voice and light internet browsing capabilities, Core enables up to five devices. Hourly and monthly service plans available.

2. For customers looking for full internet connectivity in addition to email, Plus enables up to seven devices. Monthly service plans available.

3. Delivers similar capabilities that Plus does, but Max enables up to 25 devices. Monthly service plans available.

Gogo’s dealers and OEM partners are actively pursuing multiple STCs that will certify the Gogo AVANCE L3 system for installation across a variety of business aircraft models. Most other business aircraft models will also be available for Gogo AVANCE L3 system installation utilizing existing STCs.


Thales

Thales is making a comeback into Malaysia’s Air Traffic Management (ATM) scene as it works jointly with Novatis Resources to upgrade Kota Kinabalu’s Flight Information Region’s (FIR) Air Traffic Control (ATC) system and more.

To improve air traffic services for safer and smother travel within Malaysia’s airspace, Kota Kinabalu’s FIR, one of the two in the country will be receiving this series of upgrades including a new air traffic control system, radars, ground station, surveillance systems and distance measurement equipment in the next three years.

Together with local contractor, Novatis Resources, Thales will be bringing to the table its state-of-the-art ICAO’s ASBU-ready TopSky-ATC system, its new negation new generation primary and secondary co-mounted radars, ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) ground stations and latest DVOR-DME.

Notably, over 40% of the world’s airspace and more than 70 % of Asia Pacific airspace are controlled by Thales’s TopSky-ATC. Amongst Asia Pacific countries that employ the system are Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam.

The last major Thales ATM project in Malaysia was contracted over 15 years ago. The ubiquity of the TopSky ATC in the region will give Malaysia’s DCA the advantage of interoperability with its neighboring countries.

Next, Cebu Pacific Air, a leading airline in the Philippines currently operates a fleet of 56 aircraft comprised of A319, A320, A330 and ATR 72-500. The airline also has a further 50 aircraft on order which will be delivered between 2016 and 2021. With this anticipated expansion, the airline has decided to invest in pilot operations, to ensure that flight crew day to day operations, and their mission management are at the cutting edge. As a result they have selected the Aviobook Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) solution to digitize all their current flight dispatch documentation.

Cebu Pacific Air will equip their flight crew with Thales Aviobook
Full implementation of EFB solutions enables increased situational awareness and optimized flight collaboration with airline operation centers. This contract has further broadened Thales’s expertise in avionics and airborne connectivity.


SITA/SITAONAIR

They are providing wireless connectivity on the ground to Air Mauritius’ new fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft, keeping the new-generation aircraft connected to the vital back-end systems no matter where they fly. In October 2017, Air Mauritius introduced the first two new-generation Airbus A350 aircraft with a further four expected to join the fleet over the next few years. The Airbus A350 is one of the most advanced aircraft flying today. It brings with it a unique complexity with large data exchange in its own unique protocol – Media Independent Aircraft Messaging (MIAM). This is designed to exchange large amounts of data between the aircraft and ground systems using multiple communication channels.

SITAONAIR, SITA’s sister company focused on connected aircraft,  has developed a solution to understand this complex MIAM communication and simplify integration into airline systems and processes. Additionally, Air Mauritius wanted this exchange over Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (SBB). This required SITAONAIR to work closely with all stakeholders, including Airbus and IBM, to ensure the successful launch of A350 operations and in the process, hosting the entire service in the SITA ATI Cloud.

At the gate, SITA’s wireless connectivity allows the airline to quickly and securely exchange vital aircraft information generated during flight with both the airline’s own systems as well as with Airbus and IBM. At the same time key information ahead of the next flight can be uploaded, including passenger and flight information.

This connectivity allows for rapid exchange of aircraft information which will help Air Mauritius speed up aircraft turnaround times while ensuring seamless management of the aircraft’s systems by ensuring complete connectivity globally.

SITA has also won the respected Aviation Technology Achievement at Air Transport World’s 2018 Annual Airline Industry Achievement Awards. The award was given for SITA’s work with JetBlue and the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to deliver a new secure, paperless and device-less self-boarding process, using biometric technology. This was the world’s first biometric boarding system using just a facial scan to board passengers while also completing the US customs and border exit checks. Working with JetBlue and the CBP, at Boston’s Logan International Airport, SITA demonstrated that biometric technology can reduce friction points in the airport experience including at boarding, where integrating checks with government systems is one of the hardest challenges to solve. The technology eliminates any boarding pass scanning and passport checks. Passengers just need to simply look into the camera for a quick photo and they are on their way. The integration of the airline and government systems by SITA showed how passengers can enjoy a seamless experience, while demonstrating how airlines and government border agencies can work together to enhance security.


Other Stuff

  • You might want to check out Gogo’s newsletter here.
  • Last week as we were going to press, Rob Mitchell, Communications Specialist at The Bookmark told us of a really interesting and descriptive web page on Wi-Fi that the folks at Verizon Internet have put together: “Because the topic of Wi-Fi is so complex, our experts recently created an animated guide as a follow-up to that article explaining how Wi-Fi works. It’s animations do a better job than most blog posts showing how routers send and receive Wi-Fi signals. I thought you would like to add a link to The Bookmark’s new guide as an additional resource for your viewers since they will have an easier time understanding how wifi works using our animated guide. Thank you keep up the great work on airfax.com/blog!” Check it out, it’s really interesting. And if you have something that might help understanding in this business, let us know.
  • PDT (Astronics) came out today with their incredible 2018 CES Trend Report – and it is a winner. You can check it out here. While it is not IFEC, it is very good.
  • The International Federation of Robotics just made an interesting observation. Considering global robot average density is 74 per 10,000 workers and Europe has 99/10,000, the US has some 84/10,000, but the winner is Republic of Korea with an astounding 631/10,000!
  • Interested in Asian aviation growth? Hear what Airbus has to say: “While air traffic is doubling every 15 years in the world, the Asia-Pacific fleet is set to almost triple by 2036. For services, this translates into more than a third of the global MRO business coming from this region by 2036. This represents more than $660 billion – the sum total of the accumulated spending during the next two decades, and encompasses the following segments: Components; Line maintenance and Airframe base maintenance and Engine maintenance.”
  • We got a note from Galgus (Wi-Fi folks) and they noted they are on tour: next stage Mobile World Congress! From February the 26th till March the 1st, Barcelona will hold the Mobile World Congress 2018 (MWC18) and Galgus will be there with its own booth for the second year in a row. The Galcus booth will be located in the Spanish Pavilion (Congress Square CS30) and you will be able to find them on booth #23.
  • Airbus has been testing (and using) the SLS (Satellite Landing System) and you aviation tekkies need to get up to speed on this one. They note that the final approach segment is equivalent to a ground-based ILS beam! Here is a great slide presentation of the technology and Airbus deserves a pat on the back on this one!

Editor’s Note: Last week we mentioned that we had a lot of Airbus and Boeing sales info data – Here it is.

Isle of Wight | February 13, 2018– Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) specialists IFPL will be showcasing their latest power solutions at AIX 2018 in Hamburg, Germany.

With new consumer devices adopting USB-C as standard, IFPL will demonstrate how airlines can easily transition from USB Type-A to USB Type-C, either with or without USB-Power Delivery (USB-PD). IFPL will be demonstrating its Reversible USB-Type A and Type C combination outlet that will allows airlines to support their passengers through the transition period from USB-Type A to USB Type C. IFPL has developed two combination variants, firstly a variant which has its existing high power reversible USB-Type A combined with a USB-Type C designed to work with the existing on-board power architecture, providing airlines a simple and low-cost upgrade path. Secondly, IFPL has developed a Reversible USB-Type A and Type C combination outlet that supports USB-Type C, with USB Power Delivery supporting Power Delivery Rules 1 to 4 delivering providing up to 60 watts of power to power laptops, as well as the regular Portable Electronic Device (PED) power.

IFPL will also demonstrate how and why it has sensibly split the 28V to USB-Power Delivery converter from the outlet. This allows for much easier seat integration and heat dissipation, plus allows airlines to take advantage of existing in-service DC power supplies, whilst future proofing the outlet. This will allow airlines to take advantage of the next generation DC in- seat power supplies that have USB-Power Delivery built in as a standard, allowing commonality of outlets across the fleets.

USB Power Delivery is the new standard for consumer electronics providing up to 100 watts of DC power (limited to 60 watts on aircraft). This is more than enough to power a laptop, smartphone, games console or camera, whilst significantly reducing the requirement for airlines to provide the more expensive AC power solutions, especially in economy. This unit has been designed to seamlessly integrate into the seat and deliver high levels of reliability. Visitors to stand 4B20 can see IFPL’s new USB power delivery and USB-C outlet and discuss industry adoption of this technology.

In previous shows IFPL demonstrated their in-service high power and data USB-A outlet and they have extended this range to include the new 2020 USB-A outlet. This unit has been designed to allow seamless integration into the seat delivering an ergonomic and aesthetic advantage over traditional outlets enhancing the passenger’s experience. The modular design ensures easy on wing replacement should the connector become damaged and allow for an easy upgrade path to USB-C in the future. To demonstrate this IFPL has been working with key industry partners to develop a new range of power solutions that focus on ensuring ergonomic and aesthetic seat integration. The modular approach has delivered a system that maximises the use of the physical space of the seat and seamlessly incorporates the outlets into the seat arm. The result is an attractive installation of a fully integrated system to enhance the passenger experience.

IFPL has announced its inductive charging unit that delivers wireless charging at the seat and once again these units have been designed to enable seamless integration into the seat. IFPL will show supporting design concepts for seatback PED holders and trays that provide USB and/or inductive charging. IFPL has been working with a number of seat vendors who will be displaying at AIX and they will be demonstrating how they have successfully integrated IFPL’s inductive charge unit into their seat.

IFPL has enhanced the capability of its existing 1225 unit, the 110V AC Universal Remote Power Outlet, with the addition of a high-power USB-A socket and will be demonstrating the new 2011 unit on the stand.

Latest audio jack technology

IFPL is a world-leader in audio jack technology – enhancing the customer experience and providing a total cost of ownership advantage to the airline. The audio jack is a critical component of any IFE system and IFPL believes that delivering high quality sound, with high unit reliability and minimising the impact of Customer Induced Damage (CID) is vital in maintaining customer satisfaction. To this end, IFPL has developed proprietary technology and products that differentiates their audio solutions in the market. These include:

Long Life Range
IFPL Long Life technology delivers a highly robust and reliable audio jack that minimise the effects of CID. The high quality materials and design ensures that these jacks are robust and have been tested to over 100,000 insertions. IFPL use this Long Life technology for single, double and triple jacks. Additionally, IFPL’s design ensures that each pin socket can work as single pins ensuring additional redundancy in the dual and triple pin solutions.

Rapid Fit Range
IFPL’s Rapid Fit technology delivers a solution to allow rapid on wing maintenance. The unit has been designed with a replaceable cassette, which house the jacks whilst keeping the expensive electronics in the main housing. The cassette can typically be replaced in less than 30 seconds allowing for rapid on wing replacement whilst keeping maintenance costs at a minimum.

INCAM Range
IFPL’s Integrated Noise Cancelling Audio Module (INCAM) technology allows noise cancelling in the jack rather than the headset, allowing all passengers to enjoy noise cancelling technology with the simple addition of a low-cost microphone in the headset. This keeps the headset cost low whilst providing a significantly enhanced audio experience for the passenger.

Breakaway MagSignal Range
IFPL’s patented MagSignal technology virtually eliminates CID. The headset can be pulled from any angle and simply detaches from the magnetic plug without damaging the jack or the headset. This extends the life of the headset and the jack and avoids CID. The floating magnets ensure a signal is maintained at all times during turbulence and vibration. MagSignal has been tested to over 250,000 attachments/detachments, demonstrating the robust capability of this technology.

IFPL’s latest seat back contactless payment solutions

IFPL lead the way when it comes to deploying contactless Near Field Communication (NFC) for payment systems and personalisation with global OEMs and airlines now using IFPL’s technology inflight.

AIX 2018 will see IFPL demonstrate NFC allowing airlines to provide easy seat back payment items, therefore increasing ancillary revenues. This has the ability to change the dynamic of the IFE systems value proposition, as passengers now have a combined entertainment and retail platform allowing them to browse, order and pay at their own convenience. Combine this with connectivity, big data, passenger personalisation and broader distribution channels to deliver to the gate or at home, and the airlines have the ability to develop significant new revenue streams.

As always, IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display and the expert team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirements that visitors to AIX 2018 may have.

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

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

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

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

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

Wireless connectivity at the gate will allow the aircraft to connect to vital aircraft, airline systems

Port Louis | February 8, 2018– SITA is providing wireless connectivity on the ground to Air Mauritius’ new fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft, keeping the new-generation aircraft connected to the vital back-end systems no matter where they fly.

In October 2017, Air Mauritius introduced the first two new-generation Airbus A350 aircraft with a further four expected to join the fleet over the next few years. The Airbus A350 is one of the most advanced aircraft flying today. It brings with it a unique complexity with large data exchange in its own unique protocol – Media Independent Aircraft Messaging (MIAM). This is designed to exchange large amounts of data between the aircraft and ground systems using multiple communication channels.

SITAONAIR – SITA’s sister company focused on connected aircraft – has developed a solution to understand this complex MIAM communication and simplify integration into airline systems and processes. Additionally, Air Mauritius wanted this exchange over Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (SBB). This required SITAONAIR to work closely with all stakeholders, including Airbus and IBM, to ensure the successful launch of A350 operations and in the process, hosting the entire service in the SITA ATI Cloud.

At the gate, SITA’s wireless connectivity allows the airline to quickly and securely exchange vital aircraft information generated during flight with both the airline’s own systems as well as with Airbus and IBM. At the same time key information ahead of the next flight can be uploaded, including passenger and flight information.

This connectivity allows for rapid exchange of aircraft information which will help Air Mauritius speed up aircraft turnaround times while ensuring seamless management of the aircraft’s systems by ensuring complete connectivity globally.

Donald Li Ying, Vice President – Information Systems at Air Mauritius, said: “As Air Mauritius begins to introduce a new-generation of connected aircraft such as the Airbus A350, it is vital that we have a partner that can support the transfer of data both in the air and on the ground. This is vital to leverage the full benefit that connected aircraft can bring to the airline and our passengers.”

Maneesh Jaikrishna, SITA Vice President Indian Subcontinent, Eastern & Southern Africa said: “The continued growth in connected aircraft such at the Airbus A350 is opening new possibilities to enhance the passenger experience on board as well drive new efficiencies in how these aircraft are managed.”

“These new aircraft have become flying data centers which rely on world-class connectivity in order to exchange information on everything from engine data, passenger requirements to updates at the destination. This requires reliable, fast connectivity no matter where the aircraft finds itself. At SITA we are working with airlines globally to support that connectivity and ensure that the full benefits of connected aircraft can be unlocked.”

A total of 30% of airlines are already operating connected aircraft within their fleet and 73% of airlines will either operate or have taken delivery of connected aircraft in the next three years, according to SITA Air Transport IT Insights 2017.

First Europe-wide integrated LTE network created with 300 base stations

European Aviation Network satellite launched, tested and ready for service

Fast broadband access in the sky for passengers and airlines

British Airways, part of IAG Group, first commercial customer

Bonn | February 5, 2018– Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat have, together with their technology partner Nokia, completed the key technological step in the development of the European Aviation Network (EAN), the world’s first integrated S-band satellite and complementary LTE-based terrestrial network built for Europe.

With the set-up of around 300 base stations across all 28 member states of the European Union, as well as Switzerland and Norway, the ground network component of EAN has become the first ever Europe-wide integrated LTE network. The completion of the network follows Inmarsat’s successful launch of its EAN satellite last summer, which has since been extensively tested in orbit and has been fully operational since September 2017.Unmatched Connectivity for Passengers

Serving the aviation industry and its passengers, the European Aviation Network is a pioneering technological achievement and a truly innovative European project. It provides seamless connectivity over land and water, and offers a high bandwidth service to passengers – currently over 75 Mbit/s connection speed to the aircraft – as airlines using the service do not share network capacity with any non-aviation customers. Passengers will be able to use social media, share pictures and stream high-bandwidth content at speeds they are used to experience at home.

EAN is also designed to fulfill not only current but also future passenger demand for inflight connectivity as the integrated LTE ground network is fully scalable to meet increasing connectivity needs in the coming years.Game-changer for Airline Industry

The European Aviation Network will be available for airlines to offer commercially from H1 2018, serving as a game-changer for airlines and their customers. The service has been trialed during several flights to test the integrated satellite and complementary LTE ground network. The test flights have confirmed that EAN meets its design performance in practice, providing an unmatched low-latency performance of less than 100 ms.

Airlines will be able to install the small and light-weight EAN equipment quickly and easily, typically during overnight breaks for individual aircraft and turnaround times for entire fleets of just a few months.

International Airlines Group (IAG), which includes airline brands such as British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, is the launch customer for the new service and has already commenced installations of EAN equipment on aircraft.

“With the completion of the first ever integrated pan-European LTE ground network component we are now able to fully support EAN’s satellite connectivity and maximize the performance of the EAN system,” said Rolf Nafziger, Senior Vice President, International Wholesale Business at Deutsche Telekom. “The network is specifically designed to meet future capacity demands for connectivity in the European airspace, with passenger volumes expected to double in the next 15 years.”

“EAN is the world’s first dedicated aviation connectivity solution which effectively combines space and ground-based components, overcoming the traditional limitations of inflight internet,” said Frederik van Essen, Senior Vice President at Inmarsat Aviation. “Bringing connectivity to the skies is a complex effort and we could only realize this through strategic collaboration with our European partners.”

“EAN’s ground network had to meet technical prerequisites that are quite different from ‘normal’ LTE networks: it needs to work at speeds of up to 1,200 km/h, at heights of 10 km and requires large cells of up to 150 km,” said Thorsten Robrecht, Vice President Vertical Network Slices at Nokia. “Our joint endeavor breaks the technological boundaries between ground and air on connectivity”

For more information on the European Aviation Network, please visit www.europeanaviationnetwork.com      

Starting off with our BUZZ this week, we wanted to acquaint you with Duncan Jackson, FlightPath 3D President and tell you that we have always been impressed with the company’s advanced view of internet mapping for aviation and the team’s designed-in product advantages. We urge you to visit their site and be sure to stop by their booth at upcoming airshows to discover what an advanced digital mapping company is all about. While you are there, be sure to see where the world of inflight mapping is headed. This week, airplane news took the center stage, so here we go …


Airbus

The A350-1000, the newest member of Airbus’ leading Widebody family, has embarked on a three-week Demonstration Tour to the Middle-East and Asia-Pacific region.The tour follows the completion of a successful flight test campaign, which lasted less than one year and culminated in joint EASA and FAA type certification, demonstrating the aircraft’s excellent design, performance and maturity. The A350-1000 tour comes ahead of the first customer delivery to Qatar Airways in the coming weeks. During the tour, the A350-1000 flight test aircraft (MSN065) will visit 12 destinations to demonstrate the aircraft’s exclusive features to airlines. The itinerary will see it travel over 30,000 nautical miles. The aircraft will stop for several days in Singapore, where it will be on static display from 6 to 8 February at the Singapore Airshow 2018. (see below).

MSN065 is one of the three Airbus A350-1000 test aircraft and is equipped with a fully functional cabin (40 business class, 36 economy plus class and 219 comfort economy class seats).

The A350-1000 is the latest member of the A350 XWB family, showing high level of commonality with the A350-900 with 95% common systems part numbers and Same Type Rating. As well as having a longer fuselage to accommodate 40 more passengers than the A350-900 (in a typical 3-class configuration), the A350-1000 also features a modified wing trailing-edge, new six-wheel main landing gears and more powerful Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines. To date 11 customers from five continents have placed orders for a total of 169 A350-1000s. You can follow the A350-1000 tour live on twitter: @airbus and #A350XWBtour if you are into that stuff.

Next, Airbus has launched a new iflyA380 iOS app that takes advantage of Apple’s latest technology, to open the doors of its iconic A380 aircraft to more passengers worldwide. The new app enhances Airbus’ existing iflyA380.com booking assistant with more choices, features and content and new possibilities to interact with the A380 (including taking a sneak peek at the cockpit). Customers today increasingly expect to design their own experiences and the app gives them the power to do so. Booking flights and staying updated with real-time notifications is just the beginning. Travelers will also enjoy a wide range of exclusive innovative services linked to the A380, including the option to explore destinations based on geolocation and personal interests and cabin discovery in Virtual Reality. You might also enjoy a connected and immersive in-flight experience based on an Augmented Reality feature. “Response to the iflyA380.com website has been fantastic.” says Marc Fontaine, Airbus Digital Transformation Officer. “The iflyA380 app is a new step for Airbus towards offering digital services that directly benefit consumers and allow them to design their own experiences.” With the new app, Airbus set out to make the passengers’ favorite flying experience even more memorable, from travel inspiration to their final destination.

Singapore Airshow 2018 – Airbus will be the largest international exhibitor at the upcoming Singapore Airshow, showcasing a selection of its latest products, services and innovations in the commercial aircraft, defense, space and helicopter markets. The show takes place at the Changi Exhibition Centre in Singapore, 6-11 February. The highlight at the static display will be the new long-range A350-1000 widebody aircraft, which will stop at the show as part of a three-week demonstration tour around the Asia-Pacific region. Set to enter commercial service in the coming weeks, the A350-1000 is the larger version of the A350 XWB Family, which has been especially successful with airlines in Asia


Boeing

Boeing announced its investment in Berkeley, Calif.-based Cuberg, Inc., a startup founded by former Stanford University researchers developing next-generation battery technology for potential aerospace and industrial applications. Cuberg developed an advanced battery cell that is designed to be a drop-in solution to existing large-scale battery manufacturing processes. It combines a lithium metal anode, proprietary electrolyte and high-voltage cathode to achieve high energy density and thermal durability. “Cuberg’s battery technology has some of the highest energy density we’ve seen in the marketplace, and its unique chemistries could prove to be a safe, stable solution for future electric air transportation,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president of Boeing HorizonX. Since it was established in April 2015, Cuberg has grown with several rounds of financing and grant funding, and signed a multimillion-dollar joint development agreement with an industrial battery manufacturer. Cuberg CEO Richard Wang is currently a member of the Cyclotron Road entrepreneurial research fellowship program located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Cuberg previously participated in the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy’s Innovation Transfer Program at Stanford University and was named one of the top seven startups in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2016 National Cleantech University Prize competition.

“We are excited to partner with the world’s largest aerospace company to extend Cuberg’s battery capabilities to help power the aerospace platforms of the future,” said Wang. “With funding from Boeing, we will expand both our team and our research and development facilities to help customers integrate our batteries into their products, while also scaling up our technology to fully automated production.” Boeing HorizonX Ventures led this second seed investment round, which included a follow-on investment by HPC Energy Services, a Canadian integrated oil and gas product and service company. This is Boeing HorizonX Ventures’ first investment in an energy storage company since the fund was established in April 2017.

Editor’s note: We should mention that the US International Trade Commission gave four thumbs down to Boeing’s complaint about the Canadian CS100 hurting their sales – Delta said: “Delta is pleased by the U.S. International Trade Commission’s ruling rejecting Boeing’s anticompetitive attempt to deny U.S. airlines and the U.S. traveling public access to the state-of-the-art 110-seat CS100 aircraft when Boeing offers no viable alternative. The airline looks forward to introducing the innovative CS100 to its fleet for the benefit of Delta’s employees, customers and share owners.”


Inmarsat

Inmarsat has been crowned a winner at the Inflight Middle East Awards in Dubai for its ground-breaking inflight broadband service, GX Aviation. Inmarsat received the highest votes from an independent panel of judges in the ‘Connectivity Enablement’ category, taking the lead over other competitors in the market.Offering state-of-the-art, uninterrupted, global inflight connectivity, GX Aviation enables airline passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an onboard connectivity experience that is comparable to the mobile broadband services they may receive on the ground.The service currently boasts a constellation of four satellites, flying in a geostationary orbit, providing global coverage across commercial airline routes. The Inflight Middle East award is also reflective of Inmarsat’s continued investment in the network to ensure passengers are provided with the quality Wi-Fi they have come to expect at 35,000 feet. A new, very high-throughput satellite will launch next year to provide even more capacity across the Middle East, Europe, and the Indian subcontinent. Inmarsat’s new inflight internet solution has more than 1,300 commercial aircraft expected under signed contracts. GX Aviation is already commercially available with launch customers Lufthansa Group and Air Astana, while additional mandates have also been won from other leading airlines such as AirAsia Group, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Avianca and Norwegian Air Shuttle.

Airlines connect to the GX network using exclusive new JetWave terminals produced by Honeywell Aerospace. The terminals are designed for ease of installation and maintenance to assure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market, allowing installation with minimal labor and using standard tools available in maintenance hangars.


HappyOrNot

Yes, that is their company name and we found an interesting story about them in the New Yorker, Feb. 5 issue. You can read it here Customer Satisfaction at the Push of a Button | The New Yorker

The company installs simple terminals that you advise your feelings about a place or a thing (mostly). Here is a tiny part of the push button product story you should read: “HappyOrNot’s international breakthrough came at Heathrow Airport. Passengers had been complaining that security workers there were rude and incompetent, and, as the 2012 Summer Olympics approached, the airport’s executives worried about the imminent influx of international visitors. They positioned HappyOrNot terminals so that passengers could use them as they cleared security. The executives were now able to identify problem locations in real time, and security workers in low-rated areas could see when they were viewed as more annoying than colleagues in other parts of the airport. Very quickly, Theisen told me, Heathrow security’s over-all passenger-satisfaction scores rose by more than half.” Here is the point – It is often difficult to get customer views if they have to fill out a big form or even talk to a reviewer. IFExpress firmly believes that this is the future of customer reviews.  The only real issue we see is that people are most likely to take the time to participate in a review if they have had a bad experience vs. a good one – its just human nature to express themselves more when annoyed vs. taking the time to point out a positive experience. Upset; however, and you want to do something!


More Stuff

How about an inside view the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital –
A Look Inside The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital | MRO Network

We understand Global Eagle has a deal with SES for increased Ku-Band inflight entertainment capacity above the US and Hawaii. Just in case you don’t know, SES provides reliable and secure satellite and ground communications solutions and push for breakthroughs in connectivity for people worldwide. Read more 

The 29th Annual International Women in Aviation Conference is, March 22-44, 2018, at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada. Homepage | Women in Aviation International

London, UK | January 25, 2018– Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has been crowned a winner at the Inflight Middle East Awards in Dubai for its ground-breaking inflight broadband service, GX Aviation. Inmarsat received the highest votes from an independent panel of judges in the ‘Connectivity Enablement’ category, taking the lead over other competitors in the market.

Offering state-of-the-art, uninterrupted, global inflight connectivity, GX Aviation enables airline passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an onboard connectivity experience that is comparable to the mobile broadband services they may receive on the ground.

GX Aviation currently boasts a constellation of four satellites, flying in a geostationary orbit, providing global coverage across commercial airline routes. The Inflight Middle East award is also reflective of Inmarsat’s continued investment in the network to ensure passengers are provided with the quality Wi-Fi they have come to expect at 35,000 feet. A new, very high-throughput satellite will launch next year to provide even more capacity across the Middle East, Europe, and the Indian subcontinent.

The latest accolade from Inflight Middle East adds to a growing number of awards for Inmarsat’s inflight Wi-Fi services, including ‘World’s Leading Inflight Internet Service Provider’ at the World Travel Awards. It comes hot on the heels of news that Qatar Airways will provide GX Aviation onboard more than 130 aircraft, consisting of Airbus A350s and Boeing 777s, and Emirates intends to install the service on its Boeing 777X aircraft fleet.

Ben Griffin, Vice President, Middle East, Africa and South Asia at Inmarsat Aviation said: “Consistent, reliable high-speed connectivity opens a new world of service innovation and personalisation to today’s airlines. This latest industry recognition attests to our commitment to provide the best inflight connectivity to passengers within the Middle East and we’re looking forward to seeing more and more passengers experiencing our award-winning broadband in the sky.”

Inmarsat’s game-changing new inflight internet solutions has more than 1,300 commercial aircraft expected under signed contracts. GX Aviation is already commercially available with launch customers Lufthansa Group and Air Astana, while additional mandates have also been won from other leading airlines such as AirAsia Group, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Avianca and Norwegian Air Shuttle.

Airlines connect to the GX network using exclusive new JetWave terminals produced by Honeywell Aerospace. The terminals are designed for ease of installation and maintenance to assure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market, allowing installation with minimal labour and using standard tools available in maintenance hangars.

Inmarsat is transforming the global aviation industry with a vision of bringing complete connectivity to every aircraft and flight path in the world. As the only aviation broadband provider capable of connecting the complete aircraft from cabin to cockpit, Inmarsat’s world-leading passenger solutions are complemented by its best-in-class safety and operations services.

Well, this year we will skip the predictions (a subject we have addressed in the past) because there is so much changing, it is hard to keep up. If you need some future predictions, here is a YouTube video that is extensive for future changes around us  and while aviation is not mentioned much (manufacturing only), the security issues confounding your daily work and home life will undoubtedly affect aviation – more on that subject later in this issue. Either way, it will be wise to “keep on your toes”… and yes, that is what triggered the above graphic.

Next, since IFExpress is very involved with the interior of your favorite airplane, we were somewhat amazed by a British Airways announcement that would install non-reclining seats on their A320’s and A321’s.  When we dug into the application, we wondered just how long a flight could be made with this “challenging” seat design on these so called “short haul” aircraft. Here are our findings: the A320neo can travel up to 3,500 nautical miles and the A321neo 3,697 nautical miles. In the US, traveling from JFK to LAX would be about 2,700 flight miles, fully within the capability of these planes. This translates to roughly 5 hours 21 minutes of flight time, given head/tail winds. That’s a long time in the air without a reclining seat. However, there is a trend with experienced, frequent flyers where they opt not to recline their seats out of consideration for their fellow passengers over their own personal comfort on “short haul” flights; thus, negating the concern for fixed seatback units for some passengers. If passengers accept fixed seatbacks, this trend could easily carry over to other airlines. Stay tuned on this one.

Enough of this chatter, lets get on with the news:


AIX – Crystal Cabin

It is one of the most coveted awards in the international aviation industry. Year after year, suppliers, major aircraft manufacturers, universities, news publishers, and airlines alike join the fray in the hope of holding aloft one of the snow-white Crystal Cabin Award trophies. In 2018, the most prestigious prize for aircraft cabins and passenger comfort will be presented for the 12th time, with a record number of entries for the fifth year in a row. 91 innovative concepts from 18 countries have made it onto the shortlist this time round. The spectrum ranges from individual lightweight components to a long-haul VIP aircraft with on-board cinema, from a practical economy-class module to a first-class suite. In the industry, a victory in the Crystal Cabin Award is the equivalent of a knighthood, and the global media resonance is significant too. The decisions of the 28 expert jury members on this year’s pioneering aviation concepts will be finalized on 10 April, 2018, during the industry’s leading trade show, the Aircraft Interiors Expo (10 — 12 April, 2018).

The Crystal Cabin Award, initiated by the cluster Hamburg Aviation, is awarded in eight categories: “Cabin Concepts”, “Cabin Systems”, “IFEC”, “Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment”, “Material & Components”, “Passenger Comfort Hardware”, “University”, and “Visionary Concepts”.


AAR

AAR (Wood Dale, Illinois), a leading integrator of aviation supply chain solutions, announced it will provide in-flight connectivity logistics, repair and aftermarket management services to Viasat, a global communications company. Through this partnership, AAR’s OEM Aftermarket Solutions group will manage the aftermarket inventory pool of Viasat components including modems, antennas, radomes, wireless access points (WAPs) and power supply units (PSUs). These components will be deployed on a forward-exchange basis to support Viasat’s current and future airline customers.

“AAR’s scalable solution allows Viasat to leverage our aviation aftermarket expertise through our comprehensive logistics and repair processes,” said Carl Glover, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Parts Supply, Americas, AAR. “This global program supports Viasat’s current and future airline customers to ensure maximum system component availability.”

AAR began in 1951 as a vision and a venture, a small entrepreneurial enterprise providing equipment for the newly emerging commercial aviation industry. Today, AAR is a global provider of aviation services to commercial and government customers worldwide. The company was incorporated in 1955 as Allen Aircraft Radio in 1955 and changed its name in 1969 to AAR Corp. The Midwest US company was voted the Top Airframe MRO Provider Worldwide by the industry in 2016.


SECURITY- RazorSecure

As you might know, the main vulnerabilities of WPA2 are set to be nullified by an incoming Wi-Fi standard called, understandably, WPA3. See link.

Further, and discovered last year, an exploit known as KRACK permits attackers to view users data traffic, passwords, email and so on. With higher encryption (192 – bit security) data safeguards will be increased.

Last week IFExpress noted a security question to a number of industry security tekkies on this subject and this week, we feature a response from Lewis Oaten, Chief Technology Officer at RazorSecure of Great Britian who is in the IFEC security business. If you remember, we asked about the new WPA3 Wi-Fi security standard and it’s application to IFE and he wrote IFExpress: “In contrast to the KRACK announcement, this is of far more interest. I remember Samual Miller, Thales’ Product Security Officer, pointing out: “passengers are not vulnerable [to KRACK] when connecting to onboard Wi-Fi because those networks typically do not use WPA2” (see link). But, we have to remember that KRACK is a way of defeating the encryption on a wireless network and if the network is open, then there is no encryption to defeat in the first place. Any connected user can steal passengers’ data if those passengers are not using HTTPS or a personal VPN.

This is where WPA3 will have the most positive impact as it introduces a method for encrypting network traffic on open networks, such as those used for passengers in aviation. This is becoming especially important with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May this year. An operator of IFE where users to send Personally Identifiable Information across an open, unencrypted and insecure WiFi network, may not be putting in place appropriate controls to protect such information. Of course, any mitigation must be considered in light of the cost and state of the art, but once WPA3 is released it will become an essential control measure to mitigate this elephant-in-the-room type security risk.

More broadly, WPA3 introduces 4 new security measures:

  1. Improving the security against dictionary attacks – which is    especially problematic when users choose simple passwords.
  2. Authenticating devices which do not have a graphical interface.
  3. 192-bit security suite, designed to better secure industrial, government and defense networks.
  4. Introduction of individualized data encryption which means that connections are encrypted, even if the user does not need to type in a password, such as those on open networks.

On the subject of compatibility, this will become clearer once more technical details are forthcoming during 2018. There may be additional load on hardware, but assuming the manufacturer has left some headroom and can firmware update the device then it may well be possible to upgrade older hardware. Kind regards, Lewis.”

Editor’s Note: Boeing, interestingly, has patented some cyberattack simulation technology for pilot training.Two British experts back in 2012 discovered “backdoors” in B787 computer chips and now with Spectre and Meltdown intrusion into Intel, AMD, and other chips, this might be a big deal for aviation. Here is more on the Spectre and Meltdown: The impromptu Slack war room where ‘Net companies unite to fight Spectre-Meltdown | Ars Technica We should point out that there has been little information about aviation hacking, but it is coming …


LUFTHANSA

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

The service provided by SITA has transformed how customer calls to Lufthansa Group airlines are handled. A close integration between SITA’s global voice network and Lufthansa InTouch’s Genesys contact center platform, ensures a caller – regardless of their location – is automatically and directly routed to a consultant best equipped to meet their specific requirements. These calls are allocated according to the routing policies defined by Lufthansa InTouch on their Genesys platform. SITA’s Unified Communications portfolio has allowed Lufthansa InTouch to consolidate voice, data and audio into one platform while effectively connecting the airline to its far-flung destinations.


BOEING & AIRBUS

BOEING delivered 763 aircraft (455 737NGs; 74 737 MAXs; 14 747s; 10 767s; 74 777s; 136 787s) in 2017 vs 748 (490 737NGs; 9 747s; 13 767s; 99 777s; 137 787s) in 2016. It booked 1,053 (912 net) orders vs 848 (668). The company has backlog of 5,864 aircraft.  Boeing Co. landed 912 jetliner orders last year worth some $134.8 billion, as surging sales of its highly profitable B737’s and B787’s that changed sales reporting direction … which ultimately resulted in a share price of $336.13 (today)! Also we should note that the B787-10 (third B787 variant with 171 currently on order) has secured FAA certification. Watch for delivery to Singapore Airlines in the near future – it is an 18 ft stretch from the B787-9.

AIRBUS delivered 718 aircraft (377 A320ceos; 181 A320neos; 67 A330s; 78 A350s; 15 A380s) in 2017 vs 688 (477 A320ceos; 68 A320neos; 66 A330s; 49 A350s; 28 A380s) in 2016. It booked 1,229 (1,109 net) orders vs 949 (731) with a current backlog of 7,265 aircraft. They noted that total deliveries reached 718 – four percent higher than the previous record and there were 1,109 total net orders from 44 customers; book-to-bill ratio of 1.5. Interestingly, the company said  it is on track to deliver 60 A320s per month by mid-2019 and 10 A350s per month by end of 2018. Lastly, Emirates signed an agreement for up to 36 additional A380’s with a commitment to grow its flagship A380 fleet.

Time spent on a plane is no more synonymous of boredom.

Passengers onboard easyJet,Iberia Express, Volotea and XL Airways can now better enjoy the moment

of flying by reading about what to do and where to go to their final destination. Immfly’s onboard digital services platform provides downloadable travel guides, from hundred cities covered by the airline’s routes, available in several languages and formats.

Barcelona, Spain | January 23, 2018– Immfly’s onboard digital services platform is 100% dedicated to guaranteeing the passenger can get the most of its experience while flying. The onboard travel guides are a useful feature to anticipate plans and close decisions before landing. At the same time, it is a powerful place for cities increase its visibility and to raise awareness of the endless activities available to be there discovered and explored.

Destination Overview
City Lifestyle

Immfly gives the passengers the opportunity to get to know the city before touching the ground. The history and background of the city, the lifestyle of its citizens, the local culture and customs, the typical and traditional gastronomy of the region, the must-see and visited places, the unmissable secret spot overlooking the heart of the city or the sunset near the ocean, all of these information is now available for consult. The destination guide’s access is not restricted to the onboard experience. Instead of that, Immfly’ guides accompany and travel along the entire passenger’s trip, from the flight and while on the ground, by being downloaded in pdf files and stored in passengers own smart devices.

Tips
Nightlife, food & drinks and much more

Travel means discover the unknown and experience new and unforgettable places. Immfly’s travel guides suggest million of possible activities for any type of trip and traveller’s profile.
Tips for the ones who love to go out and have fun in a bustling city, the most famous places to eat and drink, the historical museums, the ideal place to go shopping, a walking tour by the city, are just some examples of what these travel guides are capable of.

Weather on destination

As part of planning, knowing the weather conditions on the final destination could be very useful. Immfly provides information on local weather conditions and forecasts which helps to
better organize the plans according to it.

Shopping online

Immfly’s digital services offer the best activities and transfer services in all destinations managed and in contact with different partners. Besides being informed, passengers can actually buy activities such as museums entrances, a touristic bus trip, a football game, while flying. Additionally to that, Iberia Express has developed a microsite where passengers can even purchase before and after the moment of flying, by simply accessing the Iberia Express activities website. The time spent on a plane, seated, is no more synonymous with wasting time. Now it is possible to plan in advance and avoid lines in the most searched places.

Onur Air has signed component repair and access (pool) contract with Turkish Technics for its Airbus A330 aircraft. The contract will be effective until 2023

Istanbul | January 19, 2018–The contract comprises component repair and access on ATA (The Air Transportation Association) Chapter basis. Access to components will be available from Turkish Technic Istanbul main base and worldwide pooling stations. Repair work of the components will be carried out at the Turkish Technic Sabiha Gokcen facilities, the biggest MRO facility in the region.  The contract has enhanced the existing strong business partnership between the parties, and will be contributing to the development of the Turkish global aviation industry.

Turkish Technic CEO Ahmet Karaman declared: “Offering its services to the most important A330 operating airline, Turkish Airlines; Turkish Technic is an important trademark providing MRO services to more than 700 aircraft through 3 continents. We have been delivering high-end services for Onur Air’s A320 fleet since 2012, and we thank our counterparts for their renewed confidence in choosing Turkish Technic component repair and access services for their A330 fleet.   

Onur Air CEO Teoman Tosun said: “We are pleased to entrust the leading trademark, Turkish Technic, with the maintenance of our aircraft. We put our confidence in the globally recognized services provided by Turkish Technic. He also added that the services to be provided by Turkish Technic were selected for being the ideal solutions for Onur Air Airbus A330 operations.”

Air transport IT specialist names top global executive to drive organization in the Americas

Atlanta, Georgia | January 18, 2018–SITA, the global provider of IT and communications to the air transport industry, has announced the appointment of Diana Einterz as SITA President, Americas. She will be responsible for developing and driving the strategic direction for SITA in the region leading SITA’s team that manages the delivery of solutions to hundreds of airlines, airports and governments across the Americas.

A highly experienced global leader, Diana comes to SITA from Orange Business Services (OBS), a key SITA partner, where she was Executive Vice President of the French Major Clients Division. While there, she held a series of global leadership roles during her 11-year career, including Senior Vice President for the Americas region.  Diana also spent seven years with Equant where she led customer services, field operations and integration services. Prior to Equant, Diana served in a variety of executive posts for AT&T.

Barbara Dalibard, SITA, CEO, said: “Technology is transforming the air transport industry and SITA is partnering with airlines, airports and governments across the Americas during this transformation. Diana’s depth of experience delivering technology and network solutions to support businesses as they evolve and meet competitive challenges will be instrumental in this role. She will lead our team in the Americas as we continue to drive greater efficiencies and create a more seamless passenger experience for our customers throughout the region.”

Diana was born and raised in the United States. She expanded her international leadership journey when she attended McGill University in Montreal, Canada where she completed her studies in Mathematics and Computer Science. She will be based at SITA’s Americas’ headquarters in Atlanta, USA

This week in IFExpress, we have two interesting stories, one on Guestlogix and their view of onboard sales/selling, and the other on one of the two hideous computer hardware vulnerabilities, Spectre and Meltdown. Lets get started with the IFEC focused one.

GUESTLOGIX

For starters, we should start by telling our readers that a few years back, we wrote an article on Guestlogix’s approach to onboard retailing and the use of special technology in the cabin. Quite a bit has changed at the company since then, and a recent note from one of their strategy folks caught our eye: “Guestlogix has undergone quite a few changes – new management team, new product roadmap, new vision for the airline industry.” Whoa, that’s a lot of “new”! We thought we had better take a look into the changes and Guestlogix’s new approach to selling merchandise onboard a commercial aircraft.

First, to set the stage, we should mention that Guestlogix is a global company that develops (and provides) airline commerce technology and solutions that help carriers generate ancillary revenue.

Recently, Guestlogix published a report that makes the connection between passenger experience and the psychological phenomenon of “learned helplessness.” What is learned helplessness? It’s a behavior pattern where passengers experience a lack of control from check-in to landing. This feeling leads to frustration (with the airline) and general apathy toward air travel. And this experience makes passengers less inclined to spend and more inclined to view air travel negatively.

For airlines, the first step to satisfying passengers and increasing revenue is to make them feel in control by empowering them to use their mobile devices at every touchpoint. The question is how will empowered passengers improve the airline’s bottom line?

Ever since the airline industry was deregulated, airlines have been “unbundling” fares and charging for ancillary services, which has helped drive down the cost of air travel. Passengers want low fares, but they don’t like the resultant trade-off where they are forced to sacrifice quality of service in exchange for low fares. They have accepted the trade-off – begrudgingly – but the result has been a long deterioration of passenger experience as passengers come to see air travel as an experience to be endured rather than enjoyed.

After decades of learned helplessness, passengers have reached their breaking point and are demanding change from airlines – and they are taking to social media to voice their frustration. Consequently, airlines have been forced to make changes. Guestlogix notes in its report that 20% of consumers are more likely to switch brands after just one negative experience, and 25% are more likely to complain about the company. The opposite is also true – just one memorable customer experience leads to a significant increase in purchases and recommendations. With airlines depending more than ever on ancillary revenue (which has increased some three-fold over the last few years), the problem of “learned helplessness” has to be solved if airlines hope to reduce the financial impact of negative passenger experience, and maximize ancillary revenue opportunities.

The important message here is that Guestlogix has identified and solved the connection between negative passenger experience and airline revenue, and have developed a technology platform that solves both problems at the same time, which will help the airline industry finally realize the unfulfilled promise of deregulation for better air travel. The report is available and free to download here at the Guestlogix website.

We spoke with Guestlogix about their new airline commerce platform, but before we go into more detail, here is a brief summary of the solution: “The new airline commerce platform from Guestlogix is built on the rails of the best on-the-ground e-commerce technologies which include passenger analytics and product mix optimization, data-driven sales and marketing tools and comprehensive payment functionality. Guestlogix delivers more opportunities for onboard ancillary revenues than any other alternative, while improving today’s typical passenger experience. For passengers, that means having control, comfort and choice.”

Here are some more detail: “The data-driven platform connects selling with passenger psychology – making customers feel like the airline knows them and can anticipate their needs and desires. Airlines that can execute on a personalized, ‘consumerized’ and mobile passenger experience will have tremendous advantage over competitors who can’t – or won’t – deviate from entrenched, legacy approaches.”

Furthermore: “The airline commerce platform is built around the combined power of a flight attendant POS and a consumer-facing passenger app. The passenger mobile app serves as a personal concierge allowing the user to browse the onboard catalog, make completely friction-less payments with multiple methods and currencies and take control of their comfort with personalized, relevant merchandise. Flight attendants can access the platform through the POS app on the airline’s device of choice, open and close ordering with a single touch, quickly review passenger orders (including pre-orders) and monitor inventory.”

So, we see that Guestlogix has developed a software solution (actually an entire full-suite platform) to improve passenger experience and onboard selling. You can get more detail (and pictures of the solution) at their website: www.guestlogix.com. For now, let’s dig a little deeper without getting too technical. The Guestlogix platform has three main components: Management Console, Flight Attendant POS, Passenger Experience App.

Management Console

The management console makes it easy for flight crews and sales and marketing teams to monitor sales performance across flights and run personalized, data-driven campaigns based on predictive analytics – giving them deep business intelligence on what individual passengers want or may need. From the management console, airlines can add any kind of ancillary merchandise, both physical goods (such as food and beverage) as well as non-physical merchandise (upgrades, media, destination activities). The management console also streamlines inventory management and uses data analytics to help airlines stock inventory more intelligently and reduce waste. The strength of the management console is its ability to synthesize multiple data streams and provide actionable business intelligence for improving onboard selling and significantly increasing revenue, while providing passengers with the quality of personalized retail they have come to expect from brands such as Starbucks and Uber. “Insights” is the tool group within the management console that enables airlines to manage their operations and build campaigns all in one platform, including reports, snapshots, performance, and forecasting (for example, to compare high-performing and low-performing routes). Above all, the software is easy to use and intuitive, making data analytics quick and easy.

Flight Attendant POS

The flight attendant POS is key to connecting operations and revenue management at the passenger (purchases) level, including the ability to make payments in multiple forms and currencies (including cash + loyalty points, cross-border payments), and the ability to up-sell and cross-sell with personalized, data-driven campaigns targeted to each individual passenger. The platform works on Apple or Android devices. With the flight attendant app, crews can open and close orders easily, keep track of sales, process payments and much more. The flight attendant app is tightly integrated with the passenger app for easy communication and order fulfillment that makes onboard selling easier and faster.

Passenger Experience App

The passenger experience app serves as a “digital concierge” that makes it easy for passengers to browse inventory, place orders and make payments. By creating a seamless, friction-less and personalized retail experience, the airline not only ensures higher revenue but increases satisfaction and builds loyalty. Airlines can add any kind of inventory to the catalog (not just food and beverage) and passengers can make purchases before, during or after the flight (seat upgrades, “jump the line” privileges, destination activities). Order tracking makes it easy for passengers and flight attendants to view, edit or cancel an order. The passenger app can also store a customer’s preferred payment method as well as mileage/loyalty points, making it easy for airlines to integrate loyalty programs with ancillary merchandising. Overall, the passenger app creates a personalized passenger experience where the passenger is in control and can take direct action when they feel frustrated, stressed or just feel like spending.

Currently, onboard sales and service are still largely dependent on legacy POS devices that were built to process orders and payments, but largely disconnected from any passenger systems. This is backward and inconvenient for both passengers and flight attendants increasingly accustomed to doing everything – from hailing an Uber to ordering pizza – on a mobile app or voice-controlled device. Guestlogix’s platform was built to make service faster and easier for flight attendants, improve passenger experience (and break the cycle of learned helplessness), and use powerful data analytics for more personalized, targeted selling and significantly higher revenue.

Check out the Guestlogix website and see how they have solved the “big picture” problem of improving passenger experience while increasing revenue at the same time. Good Stuff!


* Editor’s Note: The BUZZ backgrounder!

If you don’t know Max Lingua (G.U.E. Tech – CEO), well, you should. Why? Because, as a gaming genius, he always has something to say about virtually everything. We asked for a short BUZZ, and what he said (Play. Life is a game) is short and to the point – but what he sent was the BUZZ and More – a description and meaning of the short phrase. We thought you might like to read it!

“Most players are currently indulging in casual and RPG on the ground, with a ratio movie-watcher to game players of 2:1 in the sky, when we compare top-watched with top-played. We have scenarios where the top-played game is getting as many eyes as a blockbuster that has been flying for few weeks. Games generally age better, you can keep playing them, but you hardly watch the same movie twice (unless you have a very short memory span…) when you catch the next flight. When IFE is done right, travel is a continuation of your ludic [ you can see I studied Latin 🙂 ] experience, a homey comfort above the clouds. We all do. Play, I mean. We wear a suit or shorts. On our own or in a group. For fun or serious business. We adjust our role as we go. We win and we lose. A promotion, a lost love, a new car. What we play on a computer screen is just one of the many games and roles we play every day, an escape or a reflection. No wonder casual games (an evasion) and role-play games (an identity) are so popular. That’s all we do. Play. Life is a game of games.”

 

London, UK | January 9, 2018–Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), the global event that showcases innovations in aircraft passenger experience, will return to the Hamburg Messe from 10th – 12th April 2018, for the 19th annual AIX.

The leading event will host 500+ exhibiting companies, more than 1,200 airline buyers from 268 unique airlines and lessors and almost 14,000 visitors.

Over 30 new exhibiting companies including 3D Systems, General Aerospace GmbH and Vanema will join longstanding exhibitors such as Acro, Boeing, Gogo, Haeco, Inmarsat, Molon Labe, Panasonic Avionics and Thales.

The week will commence with the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) on Monday 9 April and is set to examine the impact of futuristic travel trends on the air and rail industries. Visitors to the event will hear from speakers including Rosalyn Gough, Cabin Quality Product Manager at Thomas Cook Group Airlines, José Rui Marcelino Chief Executive Officer of Almadesign and Raymond Kollau Founder or AirlineTrends. The event will also feature breakout sessions exploring Convergence and Mobility, Sustainability and Flexibility and Personalising the passenger journey, followed by the popular Industry Networking Party.

2018 will not only see AIX span a larger floor space, but introduce new and improved networking opportunities to ensure that attendees can easily initiate business discussions and maximise their time spent at the event.

Both visitors and exhibitors can enhance their show experience by using My Event on their mobile or desktop to build their own itinerary. The tool enables all attending AIX to create a personal list of must-see contacts and book meetings before and during the show, as well as tagging key products and CabinSpace Live sessions of interest.

Visitors to this year’s show will also have the opportunity to hear industry leaders discussing the latest trends and insights on the aircraft cabin, consolidation and the interiors supply chain and the future of IFE, in the Cabin Space LIVE Seminar theatre.

Polly Magraw, Event Director, Aircraft Interiors Expo comments: “As AIX approaches its milestone 20th anniversary in 2019, the 2018 show illustrates how the event has evolved to become a platform for companies right across the passenger experience sector, and the world’s largest event dedicated to aircraft interiors.

“For the thousands of influential airline buyers who attend the show each year, AIX covers the full spectrum of aircraft interiors from cabin design innovations to in-flight entertainment and connectivity. This enables our exhibitors to generate highly-targeted business leads and network with the who’s who of the aircraft interiors industry. For visitors, AIX is the perfect place to connect with the entire supply.”

AIX returns to join the Passenger Experience Week line up, comprising four leading events in one destination – the Passenger Experience Conference, AIX, World Travel Catering and On Board Services Expo (WTCE) and new to 2018, Passenger Technology Solutions. The new event will offer attendees a chance to discover and source the latest developments in passenger technologies from mobile initiatives, IT solutions, big data and analytics technology and payment technology suppliers – all enhancing the passenger experience.

With all Passenger Experience Week events being staged under one roof, the Hamburg Messe is the destination to discover the latest cabin interiors, inflight entertainment and connectivity, onboard technology, passenger comfort, catering and retail offerings to create the ultimate passenger experience.

For more information about Aircraft Interiors Expo please visit: http://www.aircraftinteriorsexpo.com

Thales will equip the subsidiary airlines of HNA Group with its latest In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system on its fleet of 42 wide-body A330 and 17 A350 XWB aircraft.

  • Thales selected by HNA Group to equip new 42 A330 and 17 A350 XWB fleet with the latest IFE innovations.
  • AVANT IFE and Ka-band connectivity will be fully integrated on the A330 and A350 to provide a premium passenger experience.

California | January 9, 2018– Thales will equip the subsidiary airlines of HNA Group with its latest In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system on its fleet of 42 wide- body A330 and 17 A350 XWB aircraft. The first AVANT A330 aircraft has entered into service in late 2017 and the first AVANT A350 aircraft is expected to enter into service in the 3rd Quarter of 2018.

HNA group manages several subsidiary airlines, including Hainan airlines, Capital Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, Lucky Air and West Air. In 2017, Hainan Airlines was honored as Top 10 Airlines by SKYTRAX, a global research firm and provider of professional aviation evaluation services with a focus on airline and airport services. The subsidiary airlines of HNA group already have a combined fleet of over 50 A330 aircraft flying with Thales IFE systems. HNA Group’s selection of Thales is a further demonstration of the carriers trust in Thales’s commitment to making the travel experience more enjoyable for their passengers.

As part of this commitment, Thales is investing resources in the region to further enhance the integration of software and media capabilities that will enrich passenger experience and satisfy local market demands.

AVANT, Thales’s state-of-the-art Android IFE solution, will provide HNA Group Airlines’ passengers a highly customizable experience with a robust selection of features and applications. The new fleet will be equipped with the latest AVANT full high-definition monitors, the most lightweight ever deployed, featuring the Avii Touch Passenger Media Unit. Avii provides intuitive navigation, full android smartphone look and feel, and acts as a second entertainment screen. Integration of Ka-band connectivity to the AVANT IFE system will provide a fully connected premium passenger experience.

Thales FlytCARE, the nose-to-tail- maintenance of in-flight technology ensuring the highest levels of performance, already provided on current HNA Group Airline fleet, will be expanded to these new aircraft. The dedicated Aircraft Technical Services team, will support system reliability for the enhancement of passenger experience.

Substantially increased bandwidth, greater reliability, enhanced network management and new operational tools

Las Vegas | January 8, 2018–Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has today introduced a major evolution of its satellite connectivity service with the introduction of its third generation communications network.

Panasonic’s third generation network is built to meet the growing connectivity demands of airlines and their passengers. Throughout the first quarter of 2018, aircraft from a number of airlines will be transitioned to Panasonic’s new network. In addition, Panasonic subsidiary, ITC Global, will leverage Panasonic’s new broadband network to deliver connectivity to its energy, maritime and enterprise customers.

Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Our new satellite communications network is more than just greater bandwidth – it represents a major evolution in our approach to partnering with customers to deliver the highest standards of service and to ensure that their passengers enjoy an unmatched, connected experience inflight.”

The new communications network is built on Panasonic’s high throughput satellite service, which today covers all dense mobility traffic areas around the globe with high throughput spot beams and wide overlay beams that support Panasonic’s global inflight television service. When combined with the rollout of the company’s new satellite modem, developed in conjunction with Newtec, Panasonic now offers bandwidth up to twenty times greater than previously available. This supports the provision of services such as fast internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, improved TV picture quality and a broader channel choice, the capability to offer 3G phone services, and greater bandwidth for crew applications.

The network is backed by a range of new measures Panasonic has launched to provide higher levels of support to its customers. These initiatives are channelled through Panasonic’s new Customer Performance Center, which drives enhanced network performance, reduced outage times, and faster response and resolution times for all customer inquiries.

The Customer Performance Center offers a range of value-added services including traffic shaping tools, live monitoring and management of the user experience, and Panasonic’s ZeroTouch service, which enables real-time content loading, validation and management.

Additionally, Panasonic is offering new business intelligence tools and reports that provide customers with the data and analytics to deliver targeted pricing and advertising campaigns.

Today, over 1,800 aircraft flying routes all around the world use Panasonic’s global high-speed inflight connectivity service. The company expects more than 10,000 aircraft to be connected to its world-class global high-speed communications network by 2025.

Communications expert with a long-standing track record in aviation IT

Raunheim | January 8, 2018– Lufthansa Systems today announced that Ansgar Lübbehusen took over as the company’s Head of Marketing & Communications effective January 1, 2018. In this role he will be responsible not only for communications but also for the entire marketing activities of Lufthansa Systems.

Ansgar Lübbehusen started his career at Lufthansa Systems in 2004 after earning a degree in business administration. In the more than 13 years that he has worked for the aviation IT specialist, he has held various positions in Marketing, Communications and Business Development. After five years in Strategic Marketing, Lübbehusen worked for Lufthansa Systems Americas in the USA from 2009 to 2013. During this time, he was responsible for marketing and market development as well as press and public relations.

Back in Germany, he worked in Business Development at Airline Solutions, taking over a leading position in project management in which he managed communications via online platforms, among other things. In June 2015, Ansgar Lübbehusen took over as Head of Corporate Communications and press spokesman.

More information on Ansgar Lübbehusen on the social Web: Xing;LinkedIN

Former president of Delta Design Systems at Cohu brings deep technical and industry experience 

Irvine, California | January 3, 2018–

Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), through its wholly owned subsidiary Astronics Test Systems (ATS), today announced the expansion of its senior staff with the hiring of Samer Kabbani as Executive Vice President of Sales and Business Development.

Mr. Kabbani’s notable career spans more than 20 years in the semiconductor capital equipment industry, where he served in a variety of engineering, corporate business development and executive management roles. He joins Astronics Test Systems after a 14-year tenure at Cohu, where he served in key senior management roles, including president of Delta Design Systems. Mr. Kabbani led the strategy and overall execution of the business unit’s automation, thermal and vision product lines.

“We are thrilled that Samer is joining the Astronics family,” comments Jim Mulato, President of Astronics Test Systems. “He is a seasoned executive and a proven entrepreneur with a demonstrated track record of delivering innovative products to top tier customers. We anticipate that he will make an immediate impact as we continue to evolve ATS as the premier provider of test solutions across multiple sectors.”

“I am delighted to join Astronics and be part of their innovative culture,” Mr. Kabbani stated. “With several industry-leading products under its belt and a highly agile and talented team, Astronics Test Systems is growing across a number of exciting industry opportunities. I look forward to playing an integral role in deploying disruptive and highly enabling solutions to our customers.”

Mr. Kabbani holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University and has completed various management and development programs to further his education at the University of California, San Diego and Northwestern University. Throughout his career, he accumulated more than 20 patents and is a registered inventor in the areas of IC thermal management, photoresist processing, factory automation, vision alignment and inspection.

Astronics Test Systems leverages nearly 60 years of experience to offer automatic test expertise to electronics manufacturers in the aerospace, military, semiconductor, medical, space, mass transit and automotive industries. ATS designs solutions in collaboration with customers to ensure optimal performance of the world’s most advanced electronic products.

 

SITA’s BagJourney will provide accurate real-time information on each and every bag

Moscow, Russia | December 21, 2017– Aeroflot has become the first airline in Russia to provide real-time location information for all the baggage it handles, choosing  SITA, the global IT provider, to deliver an end-to-end baggage tracking solution using its BagJourney system.

BagJourney allows Aeroflot to accurately track passengers’ bags at key points along their journey, including at check-in, loading onto the aircraft, transfer and arrival at the destination airport. BagJourney provides a precise picture of a bag’s location. It uses baggage data from 400-plus airports and 500 airlines that passes through SITA’s global, fully-managed baggage message and distribution service, BagMessage.  This makes it possible for the airline to keep passengers informed about the status of their baggage or to quickly trace a bag if it does go missing. Aeroflot’s employees will also be able to provide customers with complete information on their baggage.

Kirill Bogdanov, Deputy CEO for IT at Aeroflot, said: “Baggage tracking is just the latest example of how Aeroflot is focusing on technology innovations that improve the customer experience. We recognize that baggage is such an important area for passengers, and through this solution we will be able to provide them with more certainty on where their bags are at every step of the journey.”

Dmitry Krasnov, SITA VP Russia and CIS, said: “Aeroflot has a great track record of embracing technology to enhance the passenger experience. With SITA’s BagJourney, the airline can permanently track bags, reducing the likelihood of a bag being mishandled in the first place. This will have a tremendously positive impact for passengers while making the airline’s baggage operation far more efficient and significantly reducing the number of mishandled bags.”

According to SITA’s 2017 Baggage Report, the rate of mishandled bags in 2016 was at a record-low of 5.73 bags per thousand passengers, down from a peak of 18.88 bags per thousand passengers in 2007. This improvement has been directly attributed to the use of technology to more efficiently and accurately manage baggage. The rate is set to improve even further thanks to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Resolution 753’s requirement for comprehensive baggage tracking which comes into effect in June 2018.

SITA’s BagJourney can become the core platform of a ready-to-go solution for airlines looking for a cost-effective way of providing the tracking data to their passengers or fulfilling IATA Resolution 753.

Lufthansa Systems delivers relevant flight data for calculating Santa Claus’ optimum route around the world

Raunheim | December 19, 2017–To make sure the man with the white beard and red suit can deliver all his gifts on time again this year, a team of experts from Lufthansa Systems worked with representatives from the MATHEON Research Center and Konrad Zuse Institute Berlin to calculate the shortest round trip around the globe. The project was launched by the German “Wissenschaft im Dialog” research initiative at the end of 2016.

The team discovered that Santa Claus needs approximately 406 hours, or almost 17 days, to reach every single child in the world. In doing so, he would travel 365,174 kilometers, equivalent to more than nine times the circumference of the Earth. The optimal flight route takes him from the North Pole via Europe and the Middle East to Russia, and then on to Asia and back to Africa. After that, the sleigh travels on to North and South America, stopping off in Hawaii before heading for Papua New Guinea and Australia. Santa’s return journey includes one or two more stops in Asia, on the Arabian peninsula and in Europe before he can final enjoy a well-deserved rest back at the North Pole. As the route leads from west to east across the International Date Line, he even loses a day along the way. Nevertheless, Santa’s ability to stop time led the team to conclude that this will be no problem and that all children will once again wake up to a Christmas surprise or two again this year.

Flight planning solutions always calculate the shortest flight connection between two waypoints, while taking into account factors such as flight time, aircraft type, fuel consumption and weather. The calculation for this project was based on the following simplified assumptions: The route begins at the North Pole and includes 1,305 destinations around the world. To save time, Santa Claus does not land en route. Instead, he throws presents from his sleigh and lets his regional elves distribute them. He flies at a constant speed (900 km/h) and altitude (10 km). His ground speed (speed relative to the surface of the Earth) takes the wind into account. It increases with a tailwind and decreases with a headwind, and Santa also compensates for crosswinds. Santa has to stop time to complete the long journey, which means weather conditions also remain constant – the assumption uses the conditions at 23:00 UTC on Christmas Day 2015. As he carries a bottomless sack of presents, the weight of gifts for two billion children is not included in the calculation. Similarly, overflight fees are not taken into account in this case. Under these conditions, a connection with minimal fuel consumption (or reindeer food) also has the shortest flight time.

Crossovers, loops and apparent detours on the route are not mistakes. A longer flight route can be faster and save more fuel than what appears to be the best direct connection in a large arc. In addition, Santa Claus’ status as a role model for children everywhere means he must remain on the network of airways. This global network has around 300,000 routes at each of approximately 30 permitted altitudes.

Aviation IT specialist Lufthansa Systems contributed the relevant airways network data for this project together with additional weather and aircraft performance information. Flight planning experts are thoroughly familiar with these criteria, as around 120 airlines with a total of more than 6,000 aircraft worldwide use Lufthansa Systems’ Lido/Flight 4D flight planning solution, which has been successful in the market for just over 20 years and has a market share of 45 percent in Europe alone. If Santa Claus adds connectivity to his sleigh in future, it will even be possible to incorporate live weather data from Lido/Navigation into the calculation.

Anyone wanting to follow Santa’s route can download the appropriate KML file at www.wissenschaft-im-dialog.de. Direct link: https://tinyurl.com/yatfma89
Google Earth must be installed in order to view the file.

December 18, 2017– SITAONAIR is celebrating a decade since the first ever inflight cellular data transmission and the birth of Mobile ONAIR.

Since that initial transmission was made onboard an Airbus A318 flight on 17 December 2007, it has been installed in more than 550 aircraft, serving the changing needs of commercial, VIP and governmental flights alike.

Over the past decade, and with support from SITAONAIR’s industry partners, the service has been made available across all aircraft types, from single-aisle to long-range – with more than 20 million passengers connecting for voice, SMS and data transmission in 2017 alone.

Reflecting on that first flight, Veronique Blanc, CTO at SITAONAIR (then OnAir) in 2007, says: “The launch of Mobile ONAIR and the first cellular data transmission was very exciting for everyone involved. Back then, even before the widespread use of smartphones, we knew that what we were doing was hugely innovative, and paving the way for the future of inflight connectivity.”

SITAONAIR and satellite communications provider Inmarsat worked in partnership on that milestone flight ten years ago, and since these exciting early days, the service has continued to evolve, with developments such as the recent deployment of cutting-edge inflight 3.5G mobile network services over the high-speed broadband satellite connectivity of Inmarsat’s GX Aviation. This aviation industry first sees passengers and crew benefit from high-speed and seamless connectivity, which is comparable to the home experience. 

Mobile ONAIR also enables passengers to utilize simple, secure and reliable connections that contribute to 43% of frequent fliers citing cellular connectivity as their primary choice. This is complemented by the continued evolution of pricing models, from the comparatively expensive price-per-use model that dominated until 2013, to the unlimited mobile data bundles commonly seen today, and the ‘Roam Like at Home’ model, which is set to become the norm across Europe. 

Thanks to SITAONAIR’s work in obtaining regulatory approval and securing mobile operator partnerships, the Mobile ONAIR service is truly global. It is easy to forget a time, not so long ago, when passengers turned off mobile phones onboard an aircraft. SITAONAIR, together with partners and customers, has helped secure the regulatory approval, at state and industry level, to make the dream of inflight mobile connectivity a reality for the whole industry.

Passenger experience 

SITAONAIR’s latest infographic highlights how cellular data is a crucial ingredient for a first class passenger experience, cementing Mobile ONAIR’s relevance in the connected airspace.

Gregory Ouillon, Chief Technology Officer at SITAONAIR, says: “It’s remarkable to think that it was just ten years ago that SITAONAIR launched the world’s first inflight mobile service onboard an international flight. 

“Ten years is a long time in aviation, however, and the solution now has evolved to become an essential component of the full cabin connectivity experience, allowing passengers to use their mobile phones as they would on the ground. 

“One major shift has been the trend towards the convergence of Wi-Fi and cellular technologies, which delivers the best of both worlds. Passenger expectations can be met by offering a hybrid experience that can leverage the advantages of both a Wi-Fi and a cellular connection. Importantly, SITAONAIR is one of the few industry players with the knowledge, assets and skills base to make this convergence happen.” 

This convergence is essential to meet the demands of the modern passenger. With 50-100 billion Internet connected devices expected to be in circulation by 2020, ranging from fitness trackers to thermostats, mobile network operators will play a central role in connecting these devices, both on the ground and in the air.

Moving towards the future 

From supporting this burgeoning IoT movement, to the introduction of wider cellular trends like ‘Roam Like at Home’ to the air, our new infographic examines the future of Mobile ONAIR and inflight passenger communication, as SITAONAIR and its partners see it. 

Frederik van Essen, Inmarsat Aviation Senior Vice President says: “Passenger expectations around inflight connectivity have dramatically evolved over the past decade. Inmarsat worked shoulder-to-shoulder with SITAONAIR ten years ago to pioneer the first ever inflight mobile phone call and data connectivity on an international flight. 

“Today, we are together introducing unprecedented new capacities with GX Aviation, ensuring that airline passengers can browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an onboard connectivity experience comparable to the mobile broadband services they may receive on the ground.” 

FliteStream® T-Series Delivers Fast, Seamless In-flight Internet and TV

East Aurora, NY | December 13, 2017– Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), a leading supplier of advanced technologies and products to the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced the success of the recent in-flight demonstrations of its FliteStream® T-Series tail- mounted connectivity system. The system, provided by Astronics’ wholly owned subsidiary Astronics AeroSat, is now certified and in production.

Astronics AeroSat conducted the demonstration flights in collaboration with its connectivity partners Panasonic Avionics (network operator) and Satcom Direct (reseller partner). Astronics AeroSat invited various subject matter experts,
dealers, MROs, and owner-operators to experience the FliteStream® connectivity
performance first-hand on a Gulfstream G-IV aircraft in the skies above Las Vegas during the NBAA business aviation trade show in October, 2017.

Demonstration flight attendees were invited to use their personal devices to try out the connectivity performance. Multiple users simultaneously operated up to 22 separate devices to text, make voice and video calls, stream video and audio, securely connect to offices via VPN, and email large files.

The 28 passengers who flew on four separate flights experienced:

  • A minimum of 4 Mbps connectivity (commonly reaching over 7 Mbps) on Panasonic’s wide beam

    network. The new high-throughput satellite (HTS) network, layered with the wide beam network, will be introduced to the business aviation market in the second half of 2018, promising more capacity, speed and live TV channels to improve the passenger experience.

  • Streaming video (e.g. IPTV – internet-delivered television, Netflix, Hulu)
  • Streaming audio (e.g. Spotify)
  • Large file data transfers (e.g. 28 MB+ files)
  • Full flight system tracking and performance (taxi, take-off, climb, cruise, descent, and landing)

“On every flight, we had people doing everything from e-mailing and text messaging to FaceTime calls. The number of devices actually used in flight ranged from a minimum of 17 to as many as 22 devices simultaneously. All of the participants were very impressed with the connectivity capability,” explained Rick Brainard, Director of Business Development at Kaiser Air.

He continued, “We performed all of our demos in flight, under real conditions, unlike others showing just on-ramp performance. I went into the demonstrations with high confidence that the demo flight attendees would be impressed with the system. Each demo flight confirmed that, not only is the Astronics AeroSat FliteStream T-Series a great system for our clients, it is a great system that brings incredible value to the passengers and crew.”

The FliteStream T-Series system is available now and can be purchased through MRO facilities, for installation on business and VIP aircraft.

About the FliteStream T-Series Satellite Connectivity Antenna

Astronics AeroSat’s FliteStream solutions are the only products available with patented “Rexolite® Lens” technology, which creates the most efficient, reliable and highest-performing connectivity systems available. The FliteStream T-Series provides high-speed internet, live IPTV and DBS-TV in a single antenna.

Key features include:

  • Seamless connectivity for passengers to browse the

    internet, send and receive emails, make calls using Voice- Over-IP (VoIP), access virtual private network (VPN) services, conduct video conferences and enjoy favorite work or entertainment applications

  • Highest performing Ku-band SATCOM antenna system, critical for maintaining low angle satellite coverage while flying at higher latitudes, where most flights occur
  • A five-piece LRU system: antenna, antenna controller, low power transceiver, power amplifier and diplexer
  • Compliance with RTCA DO-160 & RTCA DO-178

    Astronics AeroSat keeps people connected no matter where they fly. For over a decade, Astronics AeroSat has provided fuselage- and tail-mounted satellite communications (SATCOM) solutions for general aviation, business aviation, commercial transport, VVIP/heads of state and military aircraft around the world. Learn more at Astronics.com.

This week we have a new technology update on a product that we knew was coming – well because our personal devices use it – wireless charging technology. We were both quite excited and impressed when we heard it was heading for the plane. Naturally, we were interested in the issues of wireless interior interference and issues around the solution to wireless signal suppression. Why? Face it, the the US FAA and FCC want to know about and be involved in any additional wireless sources on aircraft – especially to power devices. However, with devices like iPhones using wireless charging technology as the latest prime source of power, somebody had to do it!

In case you don’t know what wireless charging is, we note that it is the power transfer from an external source to a device, with no wires attached. A power charging pad is the source and is usually supplied with alternating current – while your device has a receiver built in if it supports the technology. Sometimes the “receiver” is built into the device case and sometimes it is built into the electronic circuitry. Either way, the technology is based on the concept of inductive charging, much like a radio, but the difference is in the frequency, power used and transmitted, while the technology of the “receiver’ in the device.

The next issue is the distance the receiver (in your device) is placed from the transmitter (in the power sending coil). It is very close so that the power sent over the magnetic field is “wirelessly connected” to your device. Of course, your device uses direct current (battery – not alternating current) – but hey, that is what rectifier diodes are for in your phone, or whatever, and they convert AC to DC Power!

Lastly, there are a couple of present day technologies for charging personal devices but Qi (pronounced “Chee”) and Powermat are the big dogs – and since Qi is a standard that has been developed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) for inductive charging over distances of up to 40mm, it pretty much wins the standardization and vendor choice to build (and now to be) on planes. We should mention that Qi has three separate power specifications, starting with low power (up to 5 watts delivered) for watches and other devices but the WPC is approving the 15 Watt unit used for in-aircraft usage. Here are some of the device manufacturers that are Qi users: Apple (in their new phone), Samsung, HTC, Huawei, Sony, Motorola, Blackberry, and Nokia employ Qi-based designs. Off the record, we know of about 30 phones today that are Qi supported. So much for the technology, here is the company developing the technology, Astronics – and IFExpress talked with Dennis Markert, Business Developer about their inductive power product offering:

Astronics

Q. Mr. Markert could you give some basic operations information about RFI charging that Astronics is developing?

Dennis: We’ve designed our Wireless Charging Module (WCM) to provide up to 15 Watts of power. We’ve done this to “future proof” the product and be compliant with fast charger requirements.

Q. What charging system is used in the application – Qi or Powermat? 

Dennis: We’ve designed our WCM to be compliant with Qi standard. Qi has emerged as the standard for the latest consumer products including the recent announcements that the iPhone 8 is Qi compatible.

Q.What devices will it charge (generally)?

Dennis: Any Qi enabled device.

Q. Please tell our readers the impact (RF wise) of a full plane of transmitting devices?

Dennis: Arbitration occurs between the device to be charged and the WCM. Meaning that you have to place a valid device on the charger, an arbitration occurs determining if this is a valid device and what charging level to provide. One could use the analogy of our 110VAC outlet units. The units do not have usable 110VAC at the outlet until a valid device is plugged in, and at that time, 110VAC is enabled and available.

Q. Any RFI issues?

Dennis: We have designed a proprietary EMI shield which is embedded in the WCM.

Q. Has Astronics tested a Qi device on a plane?

Dennis: WCM Qualification testing is scheduled and expected for completion by the end of Q1 2018.

Q. How many seats can be installed on a plane? All?

Dennis: Sure, every seat could have a charger and the Qi network will behave just like our existing EmPower system. Using our head end (AMCU) we will power manage the available service on the aircraft.

Q. Are these devices installed in a tray table?

Dennis: Yes, we have integrated and demonstrated this at AIX Hamburg and APEX as concept pieces. We envision integration into first and business class furniture, seat pockets, tray tables etc.

Q: Any customers?

Dennis: We have two very large airlines customers  very interested and working with the OEM’s (airbus and Boeing) to have our product installed on their line fit aircraft

Q. Any comments from Boeing or Airbus?

Dennis: We’ve introduced a number of technologies for line fit installation so this is a very familiar process for us. Our TSA and NOE have been submitted to Boeing and Airbus. As expected, this is a new technology and system so we are working closely with them to develop the necessary specification and requirements in order to obtain line fit offerability.

Readers, Stay Tuned on this technology – why? Wireless charging is the future of many portable devices and the longer the flight, the more battery juice you need. Enough Said!


Gogo

Gogo provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced today that it now has more than 500 aircraft flying with its 2Ku technology with more than 400 of those installations taking place in 2017. The company has also shortened install times to around 30 hours, which is less than half the time that it typically takes to install a broadband satellite connectivity solution.

“We are setting a new industry standard in terms of technology deployments in aviation.  We continue to set the bar higher in terms of speed of installation and will finish the year within the install range we set for 2017,” said John Wade, Gogo’s executive vice president and COO.  “We know that when passengers experience the 2Ku difference they travel happier which, in turn, makes our airline partners happy.  So, we are investing in finding ways to get 2Ku aircraft online as fast as we can.” Total awards for 2Ku inflight connectivity solution have now surpassed 2,000 aircraft. Gogo has added more than 550 aircraft awards in 2017 alone.


SITAONAIR

More than 90% of airlines are set to ramp up investment in advancing wireless services for cabin crew and pilots over the three years to 2020 – an 18% increase since SITA’s 2016 Airline IT Trends survey. This is according to award-winning connected aircraft services expert SITAONAIR, as it presents SITA’s 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights into the connected aircraft. Over a third (34%) of airlines expect to receive connected aircraft deliveries within the next three years, compared with more than a fifth (21%) in SITA’s 2016 Airline IT Trends Survey. SITA’s 2017 Insights also found 69% of carriers committing to a major program (40%) or R&D/trial (29%) to establish full satellite broadband connectivity to aircraft. Enhancing the passenger experience is far and away the connected aircraft’s biggest encountered and perceived benefit, according to 43% of airlines. A combined 31% meanwhile, cited operational benefits across maintenance and aircraft health monitoring, cockpit and cabin, as the chief advantages of a connected aircraft. In testament to this, 78% of surveyed carriers reported automatic aircraft data management as an investment priority – 33% through major programs, 45% in R&D programs – by 2020. Enhancing the passenger experience is far and away the connected aircraft’s biggest encountered and perceived benefit, according to 43% of airlines. A combined 31% meanwhile, cited operational benefits across maintenance and aircraft health monitoring, cockpit and cabin, as the chief advantages of a connected aircraft. In testament to this, 78% of surveyed carriers reported automatic aircraft data management as an investment priority – 33% through major programs, 45% in R&D programs – by 2020. When asked for their investment focuses up to 2020, 94% of airlines surveyed as part of SITA’s 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights study cited wireless services for cabin crew or pilots (64% in major programs; 30% in R&D or trials). This was closely followed by 91% of carriers targeting investment in wireless inflight services for passengers (54% in major programs; 37% in R&D or trials). SITA’s connected aircraft Insights data also reveals airline ambitions to boost Wi-Fi data bandwidth in the years to come, with 60% of airlines surveyed planning to, or having already implemented, high-speed Wi-Fi by 2020.

Assessing airlines’ most-coveted inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) services, the insights found that providing a destination services app was the technological advancement that carriers are most enthusiastic to establish by 2020 (72% – up from 46% in 2016). This was closely followed by a Duty Free shopping app (61%, a rise from 48% last year). Passengers’ preference for enjoying inflight entertainment (IFE) via BYOD – e.g. with a ‘second screen’ of their own – was reinforced for a second consecutive year, with 24% having invested in Wireless IFE to passengers’-own devices and 46% planning to do so by the end of 2020. Providing infotainment to personal devices or apps – namely, news, magazines and books – and inflight communication services, proved similarly high in the airline IFEC shopping list, at an additional 47% and 43% each against the airlines that have already implemented. On the hot topic of pricing for delivering onboard Wi-Fi passenger services, roughly the same proportion of ‘tails’ expressed ambitions to provide free (an additional 43%) and paid-for Wi-Fi sessions (an additional 42%) by 2020 – with many airlines already exploring business models.

A significant proportion of operators revealed a desire to invest further in mobile technologies for passengers and crew, reflecting the “always available” trend on the ground, and with potentially transformational benefits for crew and passenger engagement and service on-board.  A stark 87% of surveyed carriers in 2017 (compared to 75% in 2016) have implemented or plan to implement mobile services to enhance customer relationship management in the next three years. 75% of surveyed carriers expressed ambitions to invest in major programs around apps for passenger mobile services. Around half (47%) of carriers are focusing investment on major programs for social media-hosted passenger services; and a total 44% plan on major programs or R&D/pilot programs for wearable technologies for staff.

Reflecting on the findings, SITAONAIR’s Vice President of Strategy, Dominique El Bez, said: “Our industry’s connected aircraft vision, with its complete, connected inflight experience, is irrefutably here to stay. Airlines are increasingly aware of the value-added benefits presented by in-flight connectivity options that we at SITAONAIR are experts in delivering, to advance their RoI. On the cabin connectivity side, these benefits span everything from enhancing airlines’ brand perception in the eyes of passengers, by enabling them to stay connected to their digital lives when they fly via Wi-Fi or cellular, to digitizing cabin crews to personalize the passenger experience with intelligent, CRM-integrated applications. From supporting airlines to monetize inflight connectivity services with clever onboard sponsorship partnerships; or supporting passengers’ choice to enjoy wireless inflight entertainment; to empowering passenger autonomy through delivering connected mobile applications and services to keep them informed and entertained on the move.

“For the cockpit, airline flight operations, management, and safety, connected solutions bring a significant lift to efficiencies and safety procedures. How? From deploying digital solutions that deliver the latest flight context information into the hands of pilots; ever-evolving our flight tracking and flight planning solutions to ensure airlines meet ICAO recommendations to frequently report fleet positions; to providing secure multilink communications to support every stage of flight. We also see accelerating industry interest in managing and harnessing the power of aircraft data. Such innovation advances flight and MRO operations with predictive and enriched aircraft operations. Amongst the emerging technologies reported by airlines, 67% plan to invest into initiatives around the Internet-of-Things, 52% around Artificial Intelligence and 44% on wearable technology for staff. All present amazing potential for enhancing airlines’ operations inflight and on the ground.”

Mr El Bez continued: “We at SITAONAIR want to see more airlines able to achieve their connected aircraft aims, however. We truly believe the air transport industry needs to work harder to empower the world’s airlines to get connected, by embracing our open platforms approach to inflight connectivity innovation. Our pioneering ‘open cabin’ attitude is already creating harmony across airline fleets and avionics, and data-rich customer relationship management systems, helping deliver airlines’ unique passenger experiences without expensively overhauling their fleets.”

(Editor’s Note: To checkout the great SITAONAIR 2020 vision infographic click here)


Inmarsat

Inmarsat  was recently crowned the ‘World’s Leading Inflight Internet Service Provider’, marking the end of another breakthrough year with its next generation GX Aviation and European Aviation Network (EAN) wifi solutions for airline passengers. The prestigious accolade was announced at the World Travel Awards 2017 in Phu Quoc, Vietnam. It follows a comprehensive online voting process, with participation from thousands of travel and tourism executives across the world, in addition to specialist consumer travel buyers.

Inmarsat’s game-changing new inflight internet solutions have the fastest uptake in the market, with more than 1,300 commercial aircraft expected under signed contracts for GX Aviation and EAN. Both of these solutions are introducing a new gold standard in global and regional inflight wifi, allowing airline passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an onboard connectivity experience that is comparable to the mobile broadband services they may receive on the ground.

Early adopters of GX Aviation and EAN include world-leading airlines such as Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, IAG, AirAsia, Singapore Airlines, Norwegian, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings and Avianca.

 


More Stuff

Several Lido/Navigation solutions being used successfully

Rauheim | December 12, 2017–Lufthansa Systems today announced that Congo Airways is using several of its products, specifically the paper-based Lido/eRouteManual maps, the paperless Lido/mPilot navigation solution, Lido/FMS data for flight management systems and the Lido/FPLS flight planning service.

Congo Airways was established in 2014, with flight operations commencing in 2015. “We were looking for products that would deliver added value from day one. We were quickly impressed by the solutions from Lufthansa Systems. Thanks to their high quality and short delivery times, we were able to meet our internal schedule and successfully and swiftly establish us in the market,” said Désiré Balazire Bantu, Chief Executive Officer & Accountable Manager at Congo Airways.

Congo Airways is benefiting from several solutions: The paper-based Lido/RouteManual maps and the mobile Lido/mPilot solution help pilots with the processes involved in flight preparation and operation. The maps feature true-to-scale topographical information and meet the highest standards of precision and quality. Layout, colors and symbols are identical in the maps’ paper and electronic versions. These maps are generated directly from the Lido/FMS navigation database. The FMS database contains all important route information such as altitude data, airways and airport data for optimizing navigation and supporting autopilots on board modern aircraft.

The navigation data, which is based on global aeronautical information, are updated every 28 days according to the AIRAC cycle. The Lido/FPLS flight planning service automatically calculates reliable routes for flight operations, taking into account factors such as cost, flight time and fuel consumption.

“We are pleased to be able to support Congo Airways in growing its business. This example shows that not only large but also smaller airlines benefit from Lufthansa Systems’ solutions. This is true even if they are forced to map or build flight operations under difficult circumstances while emphasizing high levels of quality and safety,” said Marco Cesa, Senior Vice President Regional Management EMEA at Lufthansa Systems.

Congo Airways commenced flight operations in 2015. The company is based at N’djili Airport, Kinshasa, and has a fleet of five aircraft; two more have been ordered. While the carrier has mainly served cities within the Democratic Republic of the Congo up to now, this year’s schedule also includes international destinations in Africa.

Final Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency Approval Received and Pilatus Set to Deliver to First Customer

East Aurora, NY | December 11, 2017–Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), a leading supplier of advanced technologies and products to the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced today that its CorePower® System, provided by its wholly owned subsidiary Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems (AES), was recently certified by Pilatus Aircraft Ltd on the new PC-24 Super Versatile Jet platform.

Click here to view the entire release.