Airbus and Boeing are going head-to-head for the lead into the MoM market and the airlines are looking for a midsize plane that costs less and will seat somewhere between 225 and 270 passengers, and fly nearly 5000 miles, in roughly 9 hours. Imagine a chart where the vertical axis represents the number of passengers/payload while the horizontal axis represents nautical miles/range.

Before getting into the plane action, lets review the Middle of the Market we keep referring to (MoM) – and here is the view from the folks at Boeing. Picture the middle market as a big oval that covers passenger capacity/load of 175 to 375 passengers and a range of approximately 3,000 to 6,000 nautical miles. However, this market is so large that it also includes jetliners at both the smaller end and larger end of the scale. The oval pictured in the link above represents the “new midsize airplane sweet spot”, which is more like 200 to 275 travelers in a two class configuration, with a reduced range of 3,500 to 5,500 nautical miles. Interestingly, the only current plane that is in this newly identified midsize market circle is the twin-aisle B767-200, which hits the oval target just about dead center!

Boeing is developing a business case and solution for the MoM  demand and their answer is a new development that some call the B797X. The real issue is twin aisle versus single.

Now, lets look at where the single aisle B737 MAX series planes are with respect to the midsize sweet spot – where, no doubt, the action will be for the next few years. Remember, we are focusing only on Boeing in this issue, but we will talk a bit about Airbus in a later Hot Topic.  Here is where the Boeing “bottom” of the MoM plane products are today:

Boeing B737 MAX 7
1 Class Seating Config. – 150 Pax.
2 Class Seating Config. – 138 Pax.
Max. Seating Config. – 172 Pax.
Range – 3,800 NM
Wingspan – 35.9 M / 117 ft. 10in.
Length – 35.6 M / 116 ft. 8 in.
Height – 12.3 M / 40 ft. 4in.
Weight – 177,000 lbs.
Price – $92.2 Million

Boeing B737 MAX 8
1 Class Seating Config. – 174 Pax.
2 Class Seating Config. – 162 Pax.
Max. Seating Config. – 200 Pax.
Range – 3,620
Wingspan – 39.5 M / 117 ft. 10 in.
Length – 39.5 M / 129.8 ft.
Height – 12.3 M / 40 ft. 4in.
Weight – 181,200 lbs.
Price – $112.4 Million

Boeing B737 MAX 9
1 Class Seating Config. – 204 Pax.
2 Class Seating Config. – 178 Pax.
Max. Seating Config. – 220 Pax.
Range – 3,595 NM
Wingspan – 39.5 M / 117 ft. 10 in.
Length – 42.2 M / 138.4 ft.
Height – 12.3 M / 40 ft. 4in.
Weight – 194,700 lbs
Price – $119.2 Million

As we noted earlier, the “new midsize market” is a smaller circle on the pax/range chart and the existing single aisle aircraft are right on the edge. Some experts are noting that the “new” midsize market concept could be difficult for Boeing because of existing B737 landing gear length limit problems coupled with the desired take-off rotation increase due to a longer single-aisle body – not to mention the new wing length needed for more load lift and potential composite additions to reduce load weight.

While looking at an estimated 2025 entry, Boeing has some time to make the decision, but they will have to consider other aspects such as aircraft model growth, fuel burn, and competition. Furthermore, we understand that over 60% of the operators want a twin-aisle wide body versus a single-aisle narrow body, with seating expectations covering 150 to 249 pax – but the jury is still out on models and respective seat numbers.

If you remember the B757 (single-aisle) and the B767 (twin-aisle) were designed to cover a larger flight range and passenger payload solutions at each end of the payload vs. range spectrum. We now have the requirement that Boeing focus on the center and build one plane (with derivatives) to solve the “market gap” problem and that will probably include more passenger comfort and expanded IFEC capability. IFExpress is betting on a twin! Further, the Boeing 797X will likely cover the 220-260 seat capacity with a designed range of some 4,500-5,000 nautical miles. But the big deal for Boeing would be the possible $150B in potential revenue!


Rockwell
Rockwell Collins will now bring high speed, secure worldwide KA-band connectivity to government aviation customers by expanding its Value Added Reseller (VAR) arrangement for Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) service. Rockwell Collins has already been providing GX and JX services to commercial and business aviation customers through previous VAR agreements.


SITA
Meet Kate! SITA Lab, which explores the future of technology in air travel, has unveiled KATE, an intelligent check-in kiosk that will autonomously move to busy or congested areas in the airport as needed, promising to relegate check-in queues to the past.

Using various data sources – including flight and passenger flow information – KATE can identify where additional check-in kiosks are required to reduce passenger queue times at check-in. KATE uses existing SITA data systems such as Day of Operations Business Intelligence and FlightInfo API.
Multiple robotic kiosks can be automatically or manually deployed simultaneously and in formation to assist passengers, providing airports and airlines greater flexibility in managing peaks in passenger flow. The kiosks can also communicate through a Cloud service to ensure that the right number of kiosks are at the right position when needed, making them highly responsive to changes in the airport. A design patent application for the kiosks is currently underway.

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

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

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

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

KATE follows in the footsteps of LEO, SITA’s fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot launched at the 2016 Air Transport IT Summit in Barcelona, Spain last year. For a better view, check out this video – https://youtu.be/oQ69r-2VX-I


AIRBORNE WIRELESS NETWORK, CA was granted experimental operating from FCC to launch ground/flight testing (using two Boeing aircraft) of its demonstration system as part of development of Infinitus Super Highway air-to-air communication system. Further they have been granted a certificate by the FCC that will allow it to conduct ground and flight tests of their demonstration system of the Infinitus Super Highway, a high-speed broadband network that will link commercial aircraft in flight.


BOEING
Boeing All-Electric Satellite for SES Will Help Improve In-Flight Connectivity and Enable Other Traffic-Intensive Data Applications. Built for SES of Luxembourg, the 702 satellite is Boeing’s fifth with all-electric propulsion; design includes metallic 3-D printed parts.

The satellite will bolster connectivity for Wi-Fi and entertainment services on flights over North America, Mexico and Central America. It will also serve the government, enterprise and maritime sectors. This 702-model satellite also demonstrates that using 3-D printed parts can improve affordability and production. More than 50 such metallic parts are on the vehicle in the primary structure.

This is the fifth Boeing satellite to be deployed with a highly efficient all-electric propulsion system.

SES-15 has a hybrid payload, including additional Ku-band wide beams and Ku-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) capability, with connectivity to gateways in Ka-band.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) safety efforts will also benefit from the satellite as SES-15 carries a Wide-Area Augmentation System (WAAS) hosted payload for the FAA.

SES has ordered 12 Boeing satellites since 1990, including SES-15. SES-15 is the operator’s first 702 all-electric satellite in its fleet.


Gogo
Global broadband connectivity provider Gogo Business Aviation is announcing that German aircraft manager and charter operator K5-Aviation is its first 2Ku business aviation customer in Europe.

2Ku is a unique, dual-antenna system developed by Gogo to bring global streaming-capable internet connectivity to large aircraft. The technology benefits from global coverage and the redundancy of more than 180 satellites in the Ku-band.

Also today, Gogo is unveiling a new suite of smart cabin systems – SCS Elite and SCS Media. Both are highly integrated cabin in-flight entertainment and voice solutions that can be personalized to fit the specific needs of passengers on a given flight.

SCS systems, according to Gogo, “can be installed on virtually any plane, big or small, flying anywhere around the globe, and we created it to be a simple, powerful way to integrate all the necessary technology on board for an enjoyable passenger experience.”

Also, If you are interested in who the travelers of tomorrow are, why their inflight preferences matter, why being mobile is so important to future travelers, expectations around future connectivity, and what role personal devices play in flight – check this download out from Gogo: Global Traveler | Gogo . We should also note that Gogo has been chosen by Airbus as a lead supplier for its High Bandwidth Connectivity (HBC) program. Being part of Airbus’ HBC program means airlines can place future aircraft orders with Airbus and have Gogo’s 2Ku technology installed at the factory on all major fleet types. Those aircraft are then delivered with the technology already installed and ready for service on day one. We wonder what Boeing is gonna do?

<strong>Early research with Microsoft HoloLens shows potential of mixed reality

Air Transport IT Summit 2017, Brussels | May 23, 2017– A new world of mixed reality is emerging and SITA Lab, the research arm of air transport IT provider SITA, is exploring its potential for airlines and airports. Today it released early results of research carried out with Helsinki Airport using Microsoft HoloLens to analyze and manage airport operations in a mixed reality environment.

HoloLens is the world’s first self-contained holographic computer, enabling users to engage with digital content and interact with holograms in the world around them. It runs Windows 10, and enables the blending of the physical and digital worlds in ways that were previously impossible. SITA worked with Helsinki Airport to use HoloLens to reproduce the airport operational control center (AOCC) in this mixed reality environment.

For this project SITA Lab used a feed from SITA’s Day of Operations technology, which is used by Helsinki Airport, and presented a new way to visualize and interact with the airport’s operational data including aircraft movement, passenger movement and retail analytics. Wearing the HoloLens, the operators had a set of screens meshed into a 3D view of the airport allowing them to correlate events from the data dashboards with an immersive real-time model of the airport.

This new way of looking at the world can provide new insights into how the airport is functioning. HoloLens also opens the possibility of being able to access the AOCC environment from any location, on or offsite, allowing experts to provide input to situations remotely.

Jim Peters, SITA CTO and head of SITA Lab, said: “Mixed reality, which combines augmented and virtual reality, is more than a new interface, it is a new way of looking at the world and allows things to be done in a new way. It enables digital and physical data to exist together.  Our early research shows that there are potential uses for airlines and airports – for operations, maintenance and training. We need to learn how to interact in this new environment. In the same way that we moved from computers to smartphones and voice recognition, now we can go beyond the screen.”

Greg Jones, MD, Worldwide Hospitality & Travel, Microsoft Corporation, said: “HoloLens is now being used across various enterprises from healthcare to engineering. SITA’s work is an example of how to extend HoloLens capabilities to manage the complexity of data and decision-making in an airport environment.  It shows how this new technology can be harnessed for the air transport industry and add value in areas from training to complex operational management.”

The SITA Lab project interfaced into multiple data sources at Helsinki Airport to create the unique view of the ever-changing operations throughout the day. This included passenger real-time location and historic density data; aircraft position data; gate information; flight status information; security wait times and retail dwell times, segmented by passenger.

Eero Knuutila, Head of Service Development, Helsinki Airport, said: “This innovative work with SITA Lab has been hugely valuable to the team at Helsinki Airport. It has opened our eyes to the possibility of using mixed reality to improve our operations. It is exciting to be the first to work with SITA on this emerging innovative technology.”

SITA Lab’s early research results show that unlike virtual reality, the mixed reality experience tends not to make people feel disorientated or nauseous. The HoloLens device itself has proven easy to learn and has a good battery life and doesn’t suffer from over-heating issues.

Peters, SITA, added: “Mixed Reality hits a sweet spot of having an experience that is fully immersive for the user, but also keeps that person in the real world. The user can interact with both and avoids the disorientation or discomfort of fully immersive virtual reality.  There are benefits to having multiple people using the headset and simultaneously interacting with the same virtual display. This could be really useful for scenario planning exercises.”

While the technology shows potential, SITA Lab points out it is early days and before enterprise use at airports issues of weight, size and durability will need to be addressed. Users must also learn how to interact in this new environment to maximize its benefits.

EBACE, Geneva, Switzerland | May 23, 2017–

Honeywell (NYSE: HON) is making it easier for business operators to manage cabin connectivity usage, billing and troubleshooting with updates to its GoDirect Cabin Connectivity suite cabin connectivity and connectivity management services. The updates allow business jet operators to control network services on the aircraft in real time by setting timers for online streaming. Users can also access Honeywell’s Aspire® and JetWave hardware to define technical issues on a broader range of satellite communication products to deliver greater efficiency. Updates to the GoDirect Cabin Connectivity services provide business aviation operators with the tools to save time and reduce costs, with more control of the aircraft cabin.

Reliable high-speed connectivity is a growing necessity for business aircraft owners, operators and passengers who use mobile devices to be more productive in the air. Therefore it is becoming increasingly important to provide fast and consistent in-flight Wi-Fi while managing overall costs. Honeywell’s GoDirect Cabin Connectivity consists of cabin connectivity and connectivity management services that put business jet owners and operators in control of satellite communication services, network troubleshooting, access, data, consumption and billing while reducing the need for third-party service support. The software streamlines service management for the business aviation market, giving owners and operators greater control of network services and easy access to hardware for troubleshooting. Honeywell provides the tools to manage aircraft connectivity networks more efficiently.

Recent upgrades to GoDirect Cabin Connectivity applications include:

Lufthansa Technik’s Two-In-One-Solution (TIOS) type approved for Boeing Business Jet 3 (737-900ER) aircraft on Inmarsat’s advanced high-speed Jet ConneX broadband network

EBACE, Geneva, Switzerland | May 23, 2017– Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced today that its next-generation Jet ConneX inflight wi-fi service is now available to a growing number of Boeing Business Jet customers worldwide using the advanced Lufthansa Technik Two-In-One Solution (TIOS) radome.

The TIOS radome, which connects to Jet ConneX using exclusive JetWave hardware produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell, was recently type approved for Boeing Business Jet 3 (based on the Boeing 737-900ER aircraft). In addition, it has already been approved for Boeing Business Jets 1 and 2, which are based on Boeing’s 737-700 and 737-800 aircraft respectively.

TIOS has been specifically developed by Lufthansa Technik to accommodate two antennas in one radome, using an innovative space-saving tail-mounted assembly that reduces drag and noise. Operators also benefit from reduced installation and operational costs.

Kurt Weidemeyer, Inmarsat’s Vice President of Business and General Aviation, said: “Boeing VVIP and corporate customers are globe trotters that need a consistent, reliable and global high-speed Wi-Fi solution now. Lufthansa Technik’s TIOS installation is faster and customers are eligible for the same data plans as fuselage mounted antenna installations. It’s a win-win, allowing Inmarsat to offer our next-generation Jet ConneX service to an even wider market.”

AviationGlass & Technology unveils its new glamourously coloured Bronze, Gold and Rose Gold AeroGlass Mirrors

EBACE 2017, Geneva, Switzerland | May 22, 2017– AviationGlass & Technology (AGT) – a Dutch company specialized in the research, development and production of glass products for the aviation industry – today announced the launch of its new range of glamourously coloured AeroGlass Mirrors for aircraft interiors. The new bronze, gold and rose gold AeroGlass Mirrors are designed to enhance style and decoration possibilities inside the cabin on both commercial and business aircraft. As with all AeroGlass products, the new glamourous mirror range can be cut into any shape and integrate special lighting as well as touch screen features for a superior on-board experience.

AeroGlass is the world’s only certified ultra-thin and lightweight glass product for aircraft interiors. It is up to 50% thinner and 25% lighter than traditional polycarbonate products yet highly robust as well as scratch and UV-resistant. Cost of ownership and maintenance are significantly reduced due to the product’s high level of durability and resistance to scratching when cleaning and handling. AeroGlass Mirrors are available in any colour and when combined with integrated lighting features provide high quality branding and luxurious personalization opportunities.

John Rietveldt, AviationGlass & Technology’s CEO, said, “Our striking new bronze, gold and trendy rose gold coloured AeroGlass Mirrors immediately add a touch of glamour inside any cabin. The beautification of aircraft interiors with high quality glass products enables commercial airlines and business jet owners to stand out with a new level of on-board luxury. In terms of aircraft interior design, our new glamourous AeroGlass Mirror is set to become the new must-have item.”

Advanced global, high-speed inflight broadband service for business jets is now offered by Bombardier, Dassault, Embraer and Gulfstream to customers worldwide

United Kingdom | May 22, 2017– Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, today announced a significant milestone for its Jet ConneX inflight broadband service, with four of the business aviation industry’s major private jet manufacturers now offering the next-generation solution to customers as a linefit option.

Inmarsat achieved the power of four with the confirmation that Jet ConneX is now available as linefit on Dassault Falcon business jets and will also be linefit on Embraer Lineage 1000E executive jets from early 2018. Jet ConneX is already the preferred linefit option on Gulfstream and Bombardier aircraft. All four companies are connecting their aircraft to the Jet ConneX service using exclusive JetWave hardware produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell.

Jet ConneX is the only global, high-speed Wi-Fi option available for business jets today. It offers the same fast and reliable connectivity in the air that has previously only been available on the ground. Using Inmarsat’s advanced Ka-band satellite network, Jet ConneX offers data plans up to 15Mbps and consistent global coverage across 100 percent of major airline routes, providing a differentiator to do business wherever and whenever.

Inmarsat designs, owns and operates its own satellite capacity, ensuring that high quality capacity is added ahead of demand; most recently through the launch of its fourth Ka-band satellite with SpaceX last week.

Kurt Weidemeyer, Inmarsat’s Vice President of Business and General Aviation, said: “Inmarsat continues to see overwhelming demand for Jet ConneX, reinforcing our status as the number one connectivity provider to business aviation customers worldwide. We couldn’t be prouder to confirm Dassault and Embraer alongside Gulfstream and Bombardier as the latest of the big four private jet manufacturers to start linefit of Jet ConneX.”

He continued: “Inmarsat has long led the way in connectivity for business jets. SwiftBroadband was the best in class when it was launched and Jet ConneX is a stellar upgrade. Reaching this milestone is testament to our strategy of listening and responding to what business aviation customers want. It’s also a great endorsement in our service from manufacturers. We look forward to continuing to build on this strategy and success in the coming months and years.”

Warren Nechtman, Vice President of Connectivity Equipment, Honeywell Aerospace, said: “Business jet operators expect to have the same experience with in-flight Wi-Fi as they do at home or in the office and that is why four business jet manufacturers have selected JetWave and Jet ConneX for their customers. Together, Honeywell and Inmarsat are improving productivity, entertainment and comfort for business aviation with truly global, high-speed connectivity.”

Honeywell’s JetWave hardware will be certified for installation on Embraer Lineage 1000E Executive Jets beginning in 2018

Geneva, Switzerland | May 22, 2017– Honeywell (NYSE: HON) has been selected by Embraer to upgrade its Lineage 1000E Executive Jets with the company’s JetWaveTM satellite communications hardware to provide global, high-speed Wi-Fi via Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX service. Whether accessing work networks, staying connected to friends and family on social media, or streaming movies, passengers will experience a new level of consistent high-speed wireless connectivity over land or sea virtually everywhere around the world at speeds similar to those found in their home.

Honeywell’s JetWave system will receive initial aircraft installation certification at the beginning of 2018 that will boost Embraer’s Lineage 1000E platform to provide passengers with reliable, high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi. Available as forward-fit and retrofit options, JetWave hardware enables a global Ka-band connection from Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX service. With Inmarsat’s global satellite coverage passengers can experience a seamless connected experience.

“Since entering the market, Embraer Executive Jets has been committed to rethinking convention in business aviation by introducing innovative technologies, higher performance standards, and premium comfort for a superior flight experience,” said Luciano Castro, vice president programs, Embraer Executive Jets. “This is just one more way that the Lineage 1000E delivers on its promise of enhancing every customer’s experience.”

“As passengers continue to demand consistent Wi-Fi performance in the cabin, operators and flight crews recognize the benefits of staying connected with those on the ground,” said Michael Edmonds, president, Services and Connectivity, Honeywell Aerospace. “With a connected cabin and cockpit, pilots and operators can improve their workload productivity and aircraft safety, while reducing costs. For passengers and the crew, this means a smoother flight experience with fewer flight delays because the ground crews can maintain constant communication with pilots to stay connected to crew on the ground.”

“Our Jet ConneX service can support multiple passengers streaming video, simultaneously, anywhere the Linage flies,” said Kurt Weidemeyer, vice president, Business Aviation, Inmarsat. “It means everyone can watch what they like, when they like, where they like.”

Dassault Falcon business jets to be equipped with first high-speed broadband Wi-Fi service to span the world

Geneva, Switzerland | May 21, 2017– Honeywell (NYSE: HON) announced today that its high-speed broadband Wi-Fi system, designed to provide aircraft with Internet speeds similar to those in homes and offices is now an option for new Dassault Falcon business jets. The system can also be installed on planes already in service. Honeywell’s JetWave antennas and hardware enable Inmarsat’s high-speed Jet ConneX service. Once installed, the system allows Dassault fliers to enjoy video streaming and phone calls, music and movie downloads, access to private company networks, online shopping, and much more through one global network with significantly fewer signal drops than other connectivity services, even over oceans.

Based on a wider wireless frequency pipe than other global satellite networks, Honeywell’s system enables global Ka-band connection. Honeywell’s JetWave is now available as an option for installation aboard new Falcon 900LX, Falcon 7X, Falcon 8X, Falcon 5X business jets with initial delivery in mid-2017. For existing Dassault customers, Honeywell’s JetWave hardware is available for current installation on the Falcon 7X and Falcon 900 Series aircraft.

“We believe that the future of business aviation lies in global connectivity. Demand from our customers and operators for reliable, high-speed, global Wi-Fi is growing exponentially,” said Olivier Villa, executive vice president, Civil Aircraft, Dassault Aviation. “Honeywell’s JetWave hardware, combined with Jet ConneX service from Inmarsat, is just the right solution to meet this need. It is one of the best offerings on the market and ensures our customers the ultimate in onboard comfort and productivity.”

“With JetWave, Dassault operators and owners can now benefit from consistent, high-speed connectivity to browse the internet, stream videos and videoconference virtually anywhere in the world,” said Michael Edmonds, president, Services and Connectivity, Honeywell Aerospace. “As truly global high-speed connectivity becomes more accessible to business jet operators, they can connect their aircraft beyond the cabin, which will help them fly safer and more efficiently, ultimately increasing the passenger experience.” Kurt Weidemeyer, Inmarsat vice president of Business Aviation, said: “Jet ConneX is the only global, high-speed Wi-Fi service option for business jets, offering levels of speed and reliability that have not previously been available in the air. We are pleased to bring this unmatched technology to Dassault’s loyal customers, giving them the ability to work, enjoy entertainment and stay in touch with what’s happening on the ground.”

Geneva, Switzerland | May 21, 2017– Satcom Direct (SD), the business aviation connectivity solutions provider, announced today at EBACE – Booth S80 – that it has signed a new exclusive provider agreement with Air Alsie, the Denmark-headquartered aircraft charter, ambulance operator and management company. The agreement marks the first time that SD and Air Alsie have partnered, and will position SD as a single source supplying a range of connectivity services across the Air Alsie fleet.

The arrangement will initially see SD providing voice and data services, as well as flight deck communication functionality to the fleet. In addition, the contract names SD as the provider for Air Alsie’s future planned connectivity solutions, including Inmarsat’s Ka-band Jet ConneX. SD will also support a cabin router upgrade program for the fleet’s Falcon aircraft, featuring the Satcom Direct Router (SDR) which enables increased functionality and control of cabin Wi-Fi networks. The SD hardware solution facilitates the use of SD value added services including GlobalVT, which allows end users to make and receive texts and calls on their own smart device, anywhere in the world.

Air Alsie operates one of Europe’s largest executive fleets including Hawker, Citation, two ATR72-500 types, Gulfstream, and a fleet of 14 Dassault Falcon aircraft, eight of which are Falcon 7X—Europe’s largest Dassault Falcon portfolio. The Air Alsie fleet also includes Dassault and Gulfstream flagship, Falcon 8X and G650ER aircraft. “Our mixed fleet necessitates partnering with a company that can create and adapt its product range to fulfill our diverse connectivity requirements, from the smallest to the largest of our jets, world-wide,” said Tom Carstensen of Air Alsie. “This is why we have chosen SD as our preferred provider.”

“As we celebrate our twentieth year in business, inking this deal with one of Europe’s leading business aviation operators demonstrates how our customer-driven approach of creating tailored connectivity packages adds value to an operator’s business. Underpinned by our global support network, we are pleased to be able to serve Air Alsie’s customers, crew and operations teams,” says Michael Skou Christensen, Managing Director EMEA for SD.

A total of 450 airline experts are attending one of the world’s largest airline IT user conferences to find out about the latest innovations in the digital world of aviation.

Raunheim, Germany | May 8, 2017– “Spice IT up! – Digitalization and beyond” is the motto of the Lufthansa Systems Airline Forum, which starts today. A total of 450 participants from around 80 airlines worldwide will learn about the latest developments in the portfolio of the airline IT specialist. The focus is on Commercial Planning and Operations solutions from the NetLine and ProfitLine product lines. “This industry meeting, which is traditionally held in the Lufthansa Training & Conference Center in Seeheim, is one of the most important events in the airline IT sector,” said Ulrike Behrens, Head of Marketing at Lufthansa Systems, who organizes the Airline Forum. Lufthansa Systems advises and supports airlines in their digital transformation. The aviation IT experts show what sustainable airline processes can look like and provide hands-on support to customers in implementing their projects.

“Digitalization has a significant influence on working processes, business models and our daily life. This applies to the aviation industry as well. The core of our company strategy is to put airlines in a perfect position for the digital future,” said Olivier Krueger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “We are delighted to welcome so many of our customers’ representatives to the Airline Forum again this year.”

The keynote speech will be held by Lufthansa CIO Dr. Roland Schuetz. Other customers will also have the opportunity to speak and report on successful projects, including United Airlines and the Israeli airline EL AL. The next two and a half days will be devoted to some 80 lectures and workshops as well as personal conversations with product experts and other airlines. Attendees can put together their own individual program from a comprehensive range of topics. The focus will be on new product developments and innovations in the NetLine and ProfitLine product lines, which will be introduced by experts from Lufthansa Systems and its industry partners.

Automation and integration are key aspects in this context. Modern technologies make it easier to collect and evaluate data in order to identify anomalies and automatically learn from them or carry out certain actions. But it is also increasingly important for IT solutions – especially in the field of operations – to be able to share this data and interact with one another in order to make the best decisions and optimize processes. Communication also plays an essential role in the digital world. It should be fast, simple and possible from anywhere. Mobile solutions and a user-friendly layout help meet these demands.

“At the Airline Forum, we present new industry trends and product portfolio developments to our customers. We also want to talk with them about market challenges, new technologies and smart solutions for their specific requirements,” said Stefan Auerbach, CEO of Lufthansa Systems.

The Market Place provides plenty of room for this dialog. This is where Airline Forum participants can try out the product innovations for themselves right after the sessions. Their feedback is critical to the further optimization of Lufthansa Systems’ products.

Isle of Wight, UK | April 13, 2017– IFPL are delighted to announce that the 2017 AIX was their best ever, with record interest shown in their innovative products and solutions.

Visitors to the stand were the first to try their latest NFC PIN on-screen high-value contactless payment product. Using the IFPL NFC payment system, passengers can quickly and securely buy not only low-value items such as beverages and food, but higher-value items including perfume, luxury gifts and high-end audio technology.

Mark Reed, IFPL Director North America said: “The IFPL team and I were thrilled to welcome record numbers of interested parties to our stand to discuss how our products can not only enhance their customer experiences, but can also increase ancillary revenue for them too.”

IFPL also demonstrated its new USB-C range, including the Rapid Fit USB-C variant and the USB-A and C combination. The USB-C demonstration can be seen in the Runway Girl Network Video. This ingenious unit has patent applied for status and enhances passenger experience by providing data and power with industry-leading reliability.

IFPL led the way in demonstrating seamless seat integration with the Nexus integrated seat arm concept and also a collaboration with Mirus Aircraft Seating. The new product features integrated USB-A, integrated capacitive touch Passenger Control Units, tray table inductive charging and an embedded solution with NFC and breakaway audio.

David Thomas, VP Business Development adds: “At IFPL we are passionate about what we do and this can be seen in the continual development of our product range. AIX has been a great boost to us and we look forward to following up on the connections we made at the show.”

If you were unable to attend AIX or would like more information about IFPL’s product range, please visit www.ifpl.com or email: innovate@ifpl.com

Here we go again! The next few issues of IFExpress will update you on what we saw at AIX 2017 – and there was a lot. We should note that while we received no show data from the PR/AIX troops, we can tell you it was BIG. Again this year, there was an IFEC Zone  that was dedicated to everything inflight entertainment and connectivity related. So here we go!

SIE & Dassault Systemes
Summary: Dassault Systemes and SIE have teamed to facilitate the development of “License-to-Fly” (LTF), a software development tool that greatly accelerates the design and certification process.  As many people know, Dassault Systemes is the provider of the aerospace industry standard 3D engineering tool CATIA, and SIE is the highly-regarded Aircraft Engineering & Certification firm responsible for numerous TC & STC projects.

LTF allows engineers, on an ongoing basis, to integrate the design development with the certification requirements thereby speeding up the Aircraft Certification process and reducing the overall cost by as much as 15%.  Known within Dassault as “Collaborative Innovation”, there is a continuous feedback loop between the design and the certification database verification that reduces error and rework in the development process.

LTF is a software design tool that enhances the standard CATIA 3D design process and aids the design engineer in understanding if their design meets certification – the key here is it tells them when they make the change with the License to Fly software if the design change is compliant with regulations, thus saving time.

Historically, designers were forced to develop drawings then check the final product/result against certification standards and by removing the “check” step days are saved in the design development process. The net result is time and labor savings and assurances that redesigns will not be required after drawing submissions. Furthermore, License to Fly permits cost efficiencies to customization. Today everyone is pushing for standards because the process of certifying custom design is so expensive, this product recognizes that customization is key and makes it affordable and efficient while doing so. The Dassault/SIE team makes a lot of sense – Dassault knows the software (CATIA) development side of the equation while the SIE folks are certification experts and the combined product will greatly improve the quality and time to market of the aircraft interiors components/assemblies that they design. Readers, expect to see a lot more written about this “smart” software.

“License-to-Fly is quite simply a huge game-changer.  LTF is the design/certification tool that moves the historically separate activities of aviation design engineering and subsequent certification work from a serial process to an integrated flow.  The result:  lower costs, shorter development time, higher quality design packages, and comprehensive compliance to regulations.  It’s an enterprise win-win for everybody,” stated John Courtright of SIE.

(Editor’s Note: IFExpress really believes that this product will change the design process. Further, we firmly believe this will be one in the many steps in the future of computer aided design in aviation. Think about this: future software technologies in almost every part of the airplane business will probably be seeing change within the next 5 years and this CATEA design development will improve and speed the design process. Additionally, the SIE people will most likely be undertaking an entirely new business sector as well.)


Spafax
“Alexa, is my Lufthansa flight on time today?” If you think your Amazon Alexa is just for your home and ground-based information – think again. Spafax demonstrated their launch of a new Alexa skill as an IFE industry first – and IFExpress LOVED it! To give you a better idea here is what their press release says:  Global content, entertainment and media agency Spafax announced its new Spafax Profile Skill for Alexa, Amazon’s revolutionary voice-activated personal assistant. This fun, interactive service will be the latest addition to Spafax’s successful Profile entertainment personalization platform. Set to debut at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, the Spafax Profile Skill combines Spafax’s proprietary entertainment technology and Amazon’s open APIs to create a dynamic voice-activated personal assistant with complete knowledge of an airline’s entertainment offering. Passengers will be able to ask Alexa about what movies, television shows and music will be available on their upcoming flight, get detailed information about individual programs and more. “The Spafax Profile Skill will further enhance the pre-flight experience, a key point of contact between airlines and their customers,” said Kevin Birchmore, Director Sales, Technical Products & Solutions, Spafax. “We’re always looking for ways to evolve our digital products and the Alexa Skill is very much in line with our vision for passengers to interact with an airline brand across multiple platforms and services.” The Spafax Alexa program is divided into 3 phases. Phase 2 will allow the passenger to view the airline entertainment content pre-flight and create a playlist after login. Phase 3 will sync with the passenger’s personal device at the seat. Presently, the service allows the passenger to view the entertainment content pre-flight and ask specific questions regarding flight status, etc.

(Editor’s Note: If you are an airline and you want to improve your airline profile skill you probably want to get a demo of the Spafax Alexa feature and consider adding this to your passenger app! More importantly, IFExpress cannot wait until this feature becomes available and we can test and use it on our Apple Watch!!)


Gogo
Here is a summary of the updates we received from the Gogo team at AIX
• Gogo has line fit for the A320, A330 and A380 for 2Ku we believe.
• Gogo is using the MODMAN (modem manager) from Kontron.
• Live television will be enabled in 3Q/4Q of 2017 and the first customer for the product will be Delta Air Lines.
• Presently, Gogo is running a 90 day 2Ku test in conjunction with Lufthansa Systems BoardConnect on Virgin Australia. The test is on a 737-8 and if all goes well it will go on the rest of the fleet.
• Currently there are 13 2Ku customers, two of which are Delta Air Lines and American Airlines.
• Gogo has recently partnered with SES for more transponder capacity.
• The company is targeting 200 installs of 2Ku by yearend 2017 and currently has a backlog of 1500 aircraft. Gogo states their focus right now is on the 2Ku product.
• Gogo is focusing moving their services beyond the passenger and now has 50K+ flight attendants connected. Their system also offers real-time credit card validation. Delta Air Lines will have their EFB’s connected via Gogo, as well as, their real-time weather service. The company noted that weather services are a key component of their cloud sourced data.
• ATG Next Generation is expected by year-end with a flight test in early 2018. The service will use a new antenna on the aircraft and new ground-based hardware as well. The hardware within the aircraft will mostly be the same but potentially with a new modem. Gogo states that the cost of upgrading to the ATG Next Gen will be relatively low because of this.


Lufthansa Systems
The following headlines sum up the news from Lufthansa Systems at AIX:

1. Surfing above the clouds: Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines going online on short haul and mid-range flights too

• Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines starting next phase of testing to include free
service to passengers
• Internet access also on inner-European routes
• Product launch in the first quarter, initially on 10 Airbus aircraft from the A320
family
• Three service packages available in future, priced at EUR 3, EUR 7 and
EUR 12.
• In the first quarter of 2017, the number of Lufthansa aircraft fitted out with Internet access will rise to around 20. One by one, the entire Lufthansa A320 fleet is to be equipped with the latest advanced technology by the middle of 2018. The re-fitting of all 31 aircraft at Austrian Airlines is planned to be completed before the end of April 2017. As well as Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines, Eurowings also has plans to bring the Internet on board its
aircraft – estimated launch is to be by the end of the first quarter 2017. A total of 69 Eurowings aircraft are to be fitted with the systems by the summer of 2017.

2. More than in-flight entertainment: The digital BoardConnect platform from Lufthansa Systems

•  Lufthansa Systems presents BoardConnect 5.0 as the perfect platform for digitalization in the aircraft / mCabin enhanced with new features and apps

BoardConnect enables passengers to stream content from an airline’s entertainment offering to their own tablets or smartphones during a flight. The BoardConnect product suite is available in three hardware versions. In addition to the permanently installed classic BoardConnect IFE solution, there is also the flexible BoardConnect Portable version. It combines all of the technical components in a single device which can be installed quickly and easily on any aircraft. BoardConnect Portable received the Crystal Cabin Award at AIX 2016. The third option available is the BoardConnect Plus connectivity solution. Lufthansa Systems is responding to the growing demand for new on-board digital services by further developing its software – with the new BoardConnect 5.0, which runs on all three versions of the system. BoardConnect 5.0 features a fresh design with a new user interface and an open platform architecture.
“Our digital BoardConnect platform is far more than just a pure IFE solution. Airlines can use it to significantly improve their passengers’ digital experience and further personalize their services. It is also part of our company strategy to share our expertise so that our customers can achieve their digital transformation goals,” said Norbert Müller, Senior Vice President BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems.
The core of the digital BoardConnect platform is its open architecture. New technologies have turned BoardConnect into a kind of cloud provider above the clouds. It enables airlines to run their own applications in the aircraft on the basis of BoardConnect. This also applies to applications from an airline’s external partners, and it supports use cases for crews and passengers. The solution makes it easier for passengers to use on-board services as well. They simply have to connect to the on-board WiFi to access all of the connected services via a standardized user interface. The layout can naturally be adapted to the individual corporate design of each airline. BoardConnect 5.0 gives airlines numerous options for integrating new offers and generating additional revenues. The platform is designed for fast and easy technical integration.
Connectivity is the future of IFE, because on-board Internet is the prerequisite for real-time communication, streaming live events and additional services from external partners. Connectivity thus remains a focal point at Lufthansa Systems – for airlines both inside and outside of the Lufthansa Group. Among other things, the aviation IT specialist is currently working with its partners Inmarsat and Lufthansa Technik to install broadband Internet on the short- and medium-haul fleets of Lufthansa, Eurowings and Austrian Airlines.

3. Lufthansa Systems and Waves Audio demonstrate Waves Nx 3D Audio and Head Tracking for inflight entertainment systems at AIX

Lufthansa Systems and Waves Audio ltd are collaborating to bring a superior and immersive 3D Audio & Surround Sound experience to airline passengers.
•  Waves Nx is a high-end 3D audio solution that works with any grade of standard stereophonic headphones, offering tremendous sound quality improvements using preexisting hardware.
• Waves Nx greatly reduces ear-fatigue, allowing users to listen to audio content over headphones for prolonged periods of time with no discomfort.
• Waves Nx enables listening to 5.1 and 7.1 content over regular headphones, bringing an unprecedented cinematic experience to in-flight entertainment systems.

4. Lufthansa Systems – the right IT partner to help airlines go digital

Everyone is talking about digitalization. Many companies are wondering how to future-proof themselves in the digital world. Lufthansa Systems turned this vision into reality a long time ago. For years, the aviation IT specialist has been advising and supporting airlines in their digital transformation, demonstrating what sustainable airline processes can look like and helping customers implement concrete projects. The spectrum includes solutions and consulting services for improving the efficiency and differentiation of all aspects of an airline as well as for optimizing the entire travel chain for passengers.

5. Lufthansa Systems acquires new customers for its digital BoardConnect platform

• Use cases at Azul Linhas Aéreas, EL AL, Air Dolomiti and Lufthansa Group airlines demonstrate the flexibility of the BoardConnect product suite

Azul Linhas Aéreas (Azul) is the first American customer for BoardConnect Portable, EL AL has opted for the portable version in addition to BoardConnect Classic, and the installation of the connectivity solution for Austrian Airlines, Eurowings and Lufthansa is progressing. BoardConnect Portable has also been successfully implemented for Air Dolomiti. This wireless in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution from Lufthansa Systems will soon be in use on more than 300 aircraft worldwide. The corresponding app has been downloaded over 5 million times. Lufthansa Systems is therefore heading into the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg this week (April 4–6) with a series of success stories as well as numerous new features to present for its BoardConnect and mCabin product suites.

Hamburg, DE | April 4, 2017– Air Caraïbes and its sister French Blue, France’s first-ever low-cost, long-haul airline, have appointed SITAONAIR to make next-gen inflight connectivity a reality across their fleets.

Trusted connected aircraft service expert, SITAONAIR, has been selected to deliver a nose-to-tail inflight connectivity solution to the Groupe Dubreuil airlines over GX Aviation’s high-speed broadband network – SITAONAIR’s first European customers to adopt it. It will enable pioneering Air Caraïbes and French Blue to advance digitally transformative cabin connectivity services with SITAONAIR’s key cabin solution, Internet ONAIR.

SITAONAIR will ensure global coverage, as well as a consistent and reliable service on the airlines’ long-haul flights between Paris, the French Caribbean and La Réunion. In doing so, it will enable the airlines to establish future-proof end-to-end connectivity services that meet growing passenger and operational data demands.

With Internet ONAIR, the airlines will be empowered to give passengers a personalized, interactive internet connection, akin to a public hotspot on the ground. Its advertising platform also supports a top priority for French Blue – of enriching customer relationships with tailored offers to passengers, as with its current live SKYDeals online shopping promotion, and generating revenue through advertising.

With its iZivision portal, supported by the high speed broadband connectivity over GX Aviation, Air Caraïbes will offer passengers free innovative services like post cards and selfies to share with their friends and family, as well as position-sharing during the flight.

Marc Rochet, President and CEO of Air Caraïbes and French Blue, says: “By launching French Blue, our vision is to provide a modern, effective, low-cost, long-range airline, with top-quality inflight connectivity, to satisfy passengers’ needs and wants, particularly of the millennial traveller, which will further enhance what we can offer them.

“Choosing SITAONAIR to deliver this, with its ONAIR applications, was natural to us. We are excited about the opportunities digital transformation presents, and have already enjoyed success with a trial of Internet ONAIR on our flights. SITAONAIR brings a respected level of service and expertise to the table, and we look forward to reaping the benefits of this partnership.”

David Lavorel, SITAONAIR CEO, explains: “It is an honour for SITAONAIR to be chosen by Air Caraïbes and French Blue to finally deliver the reality of high speed inflight broadband connectivity on their A330 and A350 aircraft.

“Of course, we know that enabling GX Aviation on these airlines will be a huge step in itself. Establishing our key Internet ONAIR service on board will take this even further. With us, Groupe Dubreuil will be equipped to harness the true value of inflight connectivity to meet the demands of the modern connected traveller and boost passenger and crew experience, operational efficiencies, and even ancillary revenues.”

For more information and to discover the full SITAONAIR connected aircraft product and service range, visit www.sitaonair.aero

First of all, we want to thank the entire AIX Staff and Team for an impressive show in Hamburg and it looks to be the largest IFEC show on record. Needless to say this translates to being the largest exposition IFExpress has ever had to cover, with the exception of CES in Las Vegas, and true to form, we just managed to touch on all the IFEC vendors but we didn’t have the opportunity to visit the seat vendors or many of the other interesting exhibits outside of the IFEC Zone! With over 100 IFEC booths filling the B2, B3, and B4 (upper and lower) halls (not to mention the other 600+ aircraft/airline/catering/whatever related booths), we were swamped and equally impressed. While the market may be changing, the suppliers list has been growing and we suspect that a product sub grouping will be an eventual booth inevitability – connectivity, seat IFE, etc. The good news – this one show will cover virtually every IFEC need, and it is also the bad news because of the sheer volume!

Hats off to AIX for putting on a remarkable trade fair and there is frankly more information there than anywhere – period. They even published and distributed a “Route Planner” before the expo but, as one attendee told IFExpress, “It’s a mindblower!”

Editor’s Note: We have to say that this show is really enormous and next year, visitors need to plot out their show stops because there is just too much to see and discover in three days. We strongly appreciate the Aircraft Interiors efforts to locate related booths in a common section(s) like the IFEC Zone but many visitors want to see the other sides of airplane businesses so they will have to plan accordingly.)

Unfortunately show data was unavailable from our sources by the time we went to press – next week maybe?

TRENDS
While the IFEC shows are not the best place to discover the future of the industry, it does provide an excellent opportunity to view the technology growth in the marketplace and it does give a glimpse of the future market trends. We believe the following categories are areas to watch for industry change:

1- IFEC Sales
In general, the aviation industry is growing, as are the businesses supporting the many sides of the process such as connectivity and wireless solutions. But while growth was seen at the show, it would be wise to keep your eye on the aircraft sales as they are an indicator of the IFEC sales (not deliveries). For example, while IFEC deliveries may be at a very high place today because of current deliveries, aircraft sales are in a downhill slide and it might be wise to watch them with a consideration to the impact on IFEC!

Airbus  2013: 1503/626*  2014: 1456/629   2015: 1080/635  2016: 731/668    2017: 6/136

Boeing  2013: 1355/628   2014: 1432/723    2015: 768/762    2016: 688/748    2017: 183/169

* The data in the table is categorized as Orders/Deliveries

As a former IFEC CEO recently told IFExpress, “The industry changes we are seeing may be an inflection point.With aircraft sales dropping off, IFEC may follow suit.” And we at IFExpress could not agree more.

Lastly, IFExpress should note that the airplane sales picture has always been sinusoidal in nature – in other words – at the correct market moment it will regain and grow as both the Boeing Future Market Outlook and Airbus Global Market Forecast suggest. The question is when.

2- Recent Personnel Changes
Watch out for an increase in layoffs, as well as, product refocusing as IFEC companies see the competition escalate. We anticipate several IFEC vendors to shift their product focus to other cabin products and services, with correlating changes and/or shifting of personnel to compensate. Rockwell, Panasonic, and Thales are at the beginning of this “inflection point” and it was evident at the show that they all were organizing their product and service offerings to be less vertical and more horizontal nature. For example, Rockwell Collins has pulled back from their seat centric and overhead IFE offering, while focusing on connectivity in the cabin. The horizontal aspect of the company’s strategy started with their acquisition of ARINC several years ago which has allowed them to infiltrate and expand the airport side of the passenger equation. Additionally, their acquisition of BEAerospace, which is still in the throws of final approval by the board, is another example of this horizontal trend. Ironically, if the BEA deal goes through Rockwell Collins will virtually touch every point within the passenger cabin, and flight deck, with the exception of an inseat IFE system.

3- IFE Product Sales Changes
One item talked about at the show was the shift toward connectivity used on the aircraft which, in some cases, has caused the removal or non purchase of in-seat display screens. Let’s face it, we all are carrying 1, 2, 3, or even 4 devices with screens on each flight today. In fact, the IFExpress team each toted 3 PEDs for our trip to Hamburg. Whether they were used for email, work, entertainment, or telephony is irrelevant… they were in our carry-ons. As more folks carry devices, there may be less need for an LCD/LED screen embedded in the seatback – but this is not a new discussion. We should also note that with improved technology comes at a cost. Frequently, when we encounter advancements in hardware technologies there will be correlating costs affiliated with said advancements: increased weight and added certification efforts/cost increases immediately come to mind; for example, the added cost and weight of satcom equipment and its various certification requirements and their affiliated costs. By no means does this indicate that advancements in hardware technologies and/or communication are not justifiable, especially when other services and information may be sent via broadband – think operations data – and how in the long run this information could facilitate airline efficiencies which will reduce costs to the operator in the future. Perhaps this is why every IFEC hardware provider we interviewed discussed expanding their data services.

4- Narrow-body Market Growth
The folks at Reportlinker (Market Research) note: “The narrow body segment is estimated to constitute the largest market share. By aircraft type, the narrow body segment of the inflight entertainment (IFE) market is estimated to have constituted the largest share in 2016. Increase in demand by regional airliners is one of the driving factors for narrow body aircraft segment, globally. According to Boeing Outlook 2016, the global fleet size of narrow body aircraft is 14,870. The Asia-Pacific region and North America have the largest fleet of narrow body aircraft, with 4,540 and 4,010 aircraft respectively. By the end of 2035, the global fleet size of narrow body aircraft is expected to reach 32,280. The number of narrow body aircraft deliveries from 2016 to 2035 is expected to be 28,140, of which the Asia-Pacific region is expected to account for almost 39.65% of the total expected deliveries by 2035”. The short story here is that not only will single aisle planes flourish, the result of the “sweet spot” in the middle market (200 – 300 pax) will see a lot of growth as well. But, the question is, what IFEC products will win application? Obviously connectivity will be a “big deal”, we think a lightweight, limited wiring IFE system could be a winner as well.

5- DATA
Obviously, big data will be the winner on all sorts of IFEC solutions because you can do more with it and when wireless technology is brought into the mix, it will win with weight reduction too. Hey, you rely on data, so the plane will have to supply it as well. But more importantly data backbones are the “must have” for the next airplanes and IFEC will probably be taking advantage of those features as needed or required by the manufacturers. In talking to all vendors, data solutions were the words to hear as they preached some clever solutions that will deliver more IFEC system data storage and processor additions, faster system data distribution, and wireless solutions that we will cover in future issues. We should probably also note that many of the vendors are looking at broader data solutions that will include the ground forwarding of information like navigation, system performance and status, and even information that is contained on the plane beyond IFEC, but in most cases, is not involved in aircraft flight for performance that will require extensive certification and security checking. A further data value might include the transmission of operational data that would help reduce costs – like navigation recommendations to avoid weather, system hardware information for product removal and repair, and even passenger hardware status for content updating and even passenger preference data. One thing is for sure, inflight data updating will fill all the available unused bandwidth!

6- SEAT POWER
We saw a a number of inseat power solutions that will eventually provide plug in power USB-C at the seatback. With personal devices becoming the passenger “device of choice”, inseat power is not far behind.

We got in an interesting quote from John Courtright/SIE that puts a few final pieces in place – he said: We are approaching the point, and perhaps have already passed the point in the IFEC market where connectivity service revenues will exceed IFE hardware revenues. Hardware will become a means-to-an-end and connectivity service revenues will drive the market, both from the passenger branding perspective but also from the operational perspective. This industry revenue model will drive much more applications development for the thin-client handhelds as well as network and data link optimization to push more data (and revenues) through the system.” Well said!

And finally, IFExpress will cover many of the products and services we saw at the show in the forthcoming weeks and we hope our readers will get a better view of the future technology and efforts the vendors are bringing to the market. Stay Tuned!

FliteStream F-310 Ideal for Aircraft to Deliver the Benefits of Next-Gen Satellite Networks

East Aurora, NY | April 3, 2017–
Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), through its wholly-owned subsidiary Astronics AeroSat, announced its latest aircraft antenna system, the FliteStream® F-310. Designed to provide the high performance needed for new spot beam satellite technology, the FliteStream F-310 delivers the highest bandwidth and fastest in-flight internet connectivity speeds in its class.

“The continued evolution of our fuselage mount
antennas for commercial and VVIP aircraft illustrates Astronics’ continued focus on providing industry- leading airborne connectivity solutions,” said Matthew Harrah, President of Astronics AeroSat. “The new F-310 provides the high performance needed for next generation Ku-band High-Throughput Satellites (HTS), which utilize faster spot beam technology in place of traditional wide beams. We look forward to working with aircraft OEMs and service partners to install and offer the fastest user experience for in- flight internet connectivity.“

The new FliteStream F-310 provides Ku-band HTS connectivity with new technology that minimizes service interruptions when switching from spot beam to spot beam in flight. Designed to replace the current FliteStream F-210 product, the F-310 uses existing mounting provisions to eliminate any impact to aircraft installation designs and provides an easy path for OEMs to upgrade to the latest Ku-Band HTS networks.

AeroSat’s FliteStream solutions are the only products available with patented “Rexolite® Lens” technology, which enables AeroSat to create the most efficient, reliable, and highest-performing connectivity systems available. Key features of the new FliteStream F-310 solution 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
  • A three-piece LRU system: antenna, antenna controller, and high power transceiver
  • Compliance with RTCA/DO-160 & RTCA/DO-178
  • Small size and light weight

Plaisir | March 29, 2017– Zodiac Aerospace will present its latest innovations in Cabin, Seats and Systems at Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg from 4-6 April at its main stand 7B40, stand 4C20 in the IFEC zone, and at stand 4E10 at World Travel Catering Expo.

At the main stand 7B40 Zodiac Aerospace will present its two finalists for the prestigious Crystal Cabin Awards: the ECOSTM baggage management system and the RevolutionTM toilet. Both products are integrated in a real size ECOSTM Cabin mockup that additionally features updated PaxPOD PSUs, DMS Lavatories, the Space-Flex v2 galley-lav aft complex, and Z300A and Z85 economy class seats with the latest RAVE IFEC products.

Other highlights at the main stand are the Zodiac Connected Aircraft Experience and the launch of three new seats: Optima, a unique business class offering the perfect balance of efficiency and comfort; Skylounge, that combines flexibility, customization and comfort, and Z400 which will sets new economy seat standards.

Get comfortably seated to view the extensive range of economy, premium economy and business class seats and the many innovations at the stand: Try the new LED lighting offer, look at the benefits of the Cabin Surveillance System or discover how the power of scent from our Five Fragrance diffuser can complete your flight experience and boost on board sales.

After your visit to the main stand, be welcomed at stand 4C20 in the IFE hall to take a look at the latest RAVE IFEC offer, and discover how you can get more control over your own flight experience with SeatNet Elite, the new Heliott Reading light and Whizper Noise control.

Finally at the World Travel Catering Expo, stand 4E10, Zodiac Aerospace will be proud to show you its latest addition to the Hybrite S trolley and container line: the smart Universal Waste Solution for trolleys. Additionally it will present the Smart Lock and Cool trolley.

Crystal Cabin Award finalist: ECOS Cabin Baggage Management System (stand 7B40)
Come and take a look at the new real size ECOS cabin mock up that includes the Crystal Cabin Award finalist ECOSTM Baggage Management System.

With checked luggage charged at a premium, more than 80% of today’s passengers try to bring theirs on board and almost half of those bags are larger than the aircraft was designed to carry. The result is a perfect storm of stress and anxiety at the boarding gate for passengers and crews alike.

ECOS is much more than a larger overhead luggage bin. It is a system which addresses cabin design and how both passengers and crews interact with it to make maximum use of limited overhead space.

Informed by extensive real-world luggage studies, proprietary passenger boarding simulations and over 35 tried and tested development prototypes, ECOS combines amazing space efficiency with unmatched ease of operation and a simple visual indicator which allows passengers to find precious space for their bags

With ECOS, a happy passenger is one who can bring what they want and depart on time. That also means stress free crews and efficient aircraft turn-around operations.

Crystal Cabin Award Finalist: The Revolution Toilet (Stand 7B40)
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest products including the Crystal Cabin Award Finalist – RevolutionTM Toilet. The RevolutionTM toilet is a modular toilet assembly that minimizes health hazards in the lavatory. It not only uses 33% less water per flush than the industry standard toilet, but also uses composite and recyclable materials for a light yet durable toilet.

One of the many improvements the RevolutionTM toilet exhibits incorporates air gaps into the toilet rinse ring. This allows the toilet shroud to seal directly to the toilet, creates more airflow for a cleaner flush, and helps prevents waste from building up under the toilet shroud reducing bacteria and odor in the lavatory. Combined with a new 360 degree spay pattern, the RevolutionTM toilet improves the overall health and safety of the passengers and crew in the lavatory.

Launching Optima, a Unique Business Class Offer, the perfect balance of
Efficiency and Comfort (Stand 7B40)

Officially launched at AIX17, Zodiac Seats latest product Optima is expected to set new standards in business class travel. Combining class leading passenger experience and improved cabin efficiency, through a unique cabin configuration that mixes in-line and angled seats, Optima can offer the uncompromised business class solution that the market was expecting.

An elevated business class experience comes from direct aisle access for every passenger, large surface areas, extensive stowage options and configurable privacy. Thanks to its seating arrangement and electrically actuated privacy screens, Optima offers an exclusively private environment for travelers wanting to relax and unwind, or passenger interaction for those travelling together. With bed lengths up to 83.5” and the option for a centerline double bed, Optima creates a sleeping experience for travelers that would typically only be associated with First Class Travel. However, Optima’s unique quality is that while it pays close attention to the needs of its passenger, it never forgets the requirements of airlines; to increase their profitability through increased passenger count. The unique cabin layout, originally designed by Acumen, allows airlines to maximize their revenue potential, offering 15% more seats in the cabin compared to standard business class products.

Optima can be tailored to the brand of the airline; thanks to its modular architecture. A variety of optional product features and customizable areas, allows each customer to embed its brand identity. This design ethos has been integrated into the product from its origination, building upon Zodiac Aerospace’s heritage and experience in manufacturing bespoke premium aircraft cabin solutions.

The perfect marriage of empathetic design and innovative engineering, Optima is the dawn of a new era in Business Class Travel.

Skylounge Core, the business class seat that combines flexibility, customization and comfort

Skylounge Core is a completely re-designed business class seat that focuses on offering class leading features and airline branding solutions while minimizing program costs. Its revolutionary product architecture enables airlines to offer the best possible experience to their passengers whilst also offering airlines customizable elements that reflect their branding and unique identity. This next generation platform offers a reliable and risk free solution with quality at its core.

A business class seat must represent the airline’s brand, but also needs to be easy to maintain. That’s why Zodiac Seats developed a modular architecture based upon the need to customize high value brand-able areas. With a few simple changes customers can make this seat their own. Zodiac Seats has created the PAX module which includes all the features dedicated to the business class passenger. Ideally located above the console it is entirely customizable from a fully open design to maximum stowage capacity option. The aisles’ privacy wings are also customizable to let airlines select between an open cabin feel or maximum privacy.

The seat is available at 42” or 44” of pitch and has been optimized for A330, B787 and A350 aircraft taking into account all the specificities of those platforms. The design integrates all the constraints of the different seat locations in the aircraft in order to reduce the number of parts. Developed with Zodiac Seats’ industrial processes in mind

Skylounge Core reduces maintenance cost and improves on time delivery performance.

Skylounge Core is a new member of the successful Skylounge family, offering a more flexible and easy to customize new offer.

New Z400 economy class seat sets new standards
Zodiac Aerospace launches a new long range economy class commercial airline seat at AIX17: Z400.

The Z400 series offers increased living space and greater weight optimization while establishing a new standard in comfort for seats in its class. In developping Z400, Zodiac Seats worked closely with ergonomics experts and the latest structural analyses software to create a design that is smooth, contemporary and completely optimized for weight with a beginning weight of 10 kg per PAX.

The sleek IFE system integrations have been designed to provide a seamless appearance accommodating up to a 13.3 inch monitor. The thinner design of the seat back, coupled with the articulating motion, provides industry leading shin clearance. The result is an ergonomically satisfying, comfortable, and enjoyable flight that will leave passengers with a fresh experience that positively reflects the airlines’ brand. Cherry on the pie is a revisited meal table design that hides a unique passenger module which is fully customizable.

Two different mock ups of the Z400 will be displayed at Zodiac Aerospace stand 7B40. This includes one with the latest IFE screen manufactured by Zodiac Inflight Innovations. The Z400 will be available on A330, A330NEO, A350, A380, 777, 777X and 787.

WhiZper Active Noise Control System (stand 4C20)
Noise is stressful. Noise is disturbing. Thanks to WhiZper, the passenger can now experience a quieter flying trip. The active noise control system protects the passenger from environmental sounds. The passenger can comfortably watch its favorite programs, listen to its own music or just read or sleep without disturbing or being annoyed by its neighbors. This headset-free technology keeps the passenger in a quiet environment and mood.

Heliott Smart Reading Light (stand 4C20)
If you have to adjust your reading light every time you change position, you quickly stop moving… and are uncomfortable! With the smart reading light, the passenger can now focus on what one’s reading, the light automatically adjusts to the passenger. Tracking the passenger’s support, Heliott always lights at the right place, at the right moment. The passenger can freely move around in its seat, comfortably enjoying his reading.

Completes funding for nationwide deployment of the patented
SmartSky 4G LTE air-to-ground network later this year

Charlotte, N.C. | March 28, 2017– SmartSky Networks, LLC (“SmartSky”) announces the closing of over $170 million in a multi-tranche Series B financing, completing the equity funding for the deployment of its nationwide network. With this financing, the Company has raised approximately a quarter of a billion dollars in equity capital. Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as exclusive placement agent on the transaction.

SmartSky is deploying the nation’s first 4G LTE-based broadband high speed wireless air-to-ground data network dedicated to providing airborne internet connectivity. At aviation industry conferences and in private meetings, SmartSky has conducted inflight demonstrations allowing partners and flight departments to experience a level of connectivity fully comparable to the internet experience in their office or home – a first for the industry. The nationwide network rollout is underway, with the vast majority of sites expected to be operational this fall.

“We are pleased to have accomplished the threshold technical and business milestones needed to close on this major capital formation step,” said Chairman and CEO Haynes Griffin. “As a result, we are moving rapidly with the deployment of our coast-to-coast national network to bring users fast, seamless connectivity in the air.”

Griffin added, “A significant number of customers joined our Early Bird waiting list to secure their spot at the head of the line. SmartSky and its partners have already begun the process of obtaining a Supplemental Type Certification (STC) needed for installation on each aircraft model type. We expect Early Bird customer installs of our patented technology to commence next quarter, immediately following completion of the first few STCs.”

A veteran of the telecommunications industry and past president of the Cellular Telephone Industry Association, Griffin, who has built cellular networks in locations across the United States, commented “Cellular has built out everywhere. Now it’s time to build up.”

New technology allows airlines to make rapid and timely changes to its airfares
Cairo, Egypt | March 21, 2017– EGYPTAIR have selected SITA’s Airfare Insight to provide the airline better visibility

of its fares across all markets as well as the ability to deliver the most competitive fares to its passengers. EGYPTAIR is among 19 airlines globally that currently use Airfare Insight, leading the market with the most comprehensive fare management technology available today.

In an increasingly competitive environment, Airfare Insight, part of the Horizon® portfolio, allows the airline to make rapid adjustments to fares and rules in response to market conditions. Using Airfare Insight, EGYPTAIR can monitor, accurately analyze the competitor landscape and quickly react to changes in the market with the right fare at the right time.

Until now airlines have typically compared fares with competing carriers using base or “filed” fares that ended up bearing little resemblance to the price paid by customers. Airfare Insight’s unique “All in Fare” functionality provides EGYPTAIR with a true view of the market pricing with a comprehensive fare that includes the base price, taxes, fees and charges for each market. EGYPTAIR also benefits from Airfare Insights’ dedicated workflow, resulting in synchronized distribution, fewer errors and market prioritization.

The ability to manage its pricing globally is key to an airline such as EGYPTAIR, which has a strong network of routes throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia as well as New York and Toronto, serving 70 destinations in 48 countries.

EGYPTAIR Holding Company’s Chairman and CEO, Safwat Mosallam, said: “In today’s competitive marketplace, pricing can change dramatically in a matter of hours. For EGYPTAIR it is vital that we understand what is happening in the market so that we can respond with accurate and competitive fares. Airfare Insight allows us to do just that.”

Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa said: “Our focus at SITA is to ensure that we make air travel easy at every step. With Airfare Insight, we deliver technology that meets this promise by simplifying how airlines manage airfares, optimizing their processes to improve their speed to market and delivering the most competitive fares available.”

Group to address today’s airport security threats and define roadmap for a safe and efficient end-to-end passenger experience
Atlanta, Georgia | March 16, 2017– SITA, the global provider of border security and IT solutions to governments, airlines and airports, today announced the formation of the Secure Journeys Working Group to address today’s airport security threats in the USA and to work towards creating a secure and efficient passenger experience throughout the airport.

The launch of the Secure Journeys initiative is in response to the current security climate and recent attacks on non-secure areas of the airport, including the Brussels airport bombing and Fort Lauderdale airport shooting. Members of the working group cite these incidents as examples that demonstrate the need to rethink the approach to getting passengers through the airport quickly and safely.

Brian Cobb, Vice President of Customer Services, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), said: “Because CVG is a mid-market airport, we have the unique ability to quickly test the effectiveness of emerging technology on security and efficiency. As a member of Secure Journeys, we can use our knowledge to help shape recommendations to the TSA and CBP based on real-world experience rather than untested concepts. We look forward to collaborating as a community to ensure the safety and convenience of the traveling public.”

Secure Journeys is an evolution and expansion of SITA’s Border Automation User Group which was formed in 2015 to facilitate implementation of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Automated Passport Control program.

The newly extended group will address growing challenges, including:

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

The value of Secure Journeys is its ability to bring together experts and representatives from across the air transport spectrum to provide input and recommendations based on their unique perspective and experience. Given the Administration’s focus on transportation security and commitment to large-scale investment for the nation’s infrastructure, the solutions and recommendations identified by Secure Journeys are vital to informing key decision makers.

David Menzel, Sales Director-Government Markets, SITA, Founding Member, Secure Journeys, said: “As the U.S. government looks for answers to a new set of threats passengers face, Secure Journeys will identify solutions to common ‘soft target’ challenges, passenger screening and insider threats and develop a set of recommended standards for U.S. airports to adopt. We look forward to continuing work with the Department of Homeland Security and our airline and airport partners to make America’s airports safer and improve the overall passenger experience from reservation to destination.”

Vision-Box, the worldwide leader in passenger experience and border control solutions announces new career opportunities in expansion of operations around the world

Lisbon, Portugal | March 14, 2017–
If you’re looking for a passionate, fast-growing company excited with amazing challenges and with a bright future ahead, don’t look any further. Vision-BoxTM is hiring!

Headquartered nearby fashionable Lisbon, Portugal, spreading with 8 offices around the world and operations in more than hundred countries in all 5 continents, the booming leader in biometric-based automated border control and identity management solutions, Vision-BoxTM, is the ideal place for career aspirations!

If you are wondering how you would fit in Vision-BoxTM, career opportunities emerge in various areas: there are plenty of open vacancies within the Software Development area, but also in the fields of Engineering, Sales, Marketing & Communication, Technical Support and Logistics. And not only in Portugal. The multi-awarded company has been growing at a fast pace in 8 offices around the world.

Requirements are different according to positions and geographies, but there are a few things all applicants need to know. Catarina Azevedo, Human Resources Director of
Vision-BoxTM, explains: “Our company is a truly worldwide team dedicated to a bold new vision. We look for energetic, ambitious and talented people that are willing and able to overcome obstacles, whilst developing their leadership. To shape our future, we need the best, most forward-looking and challenging talents in the job market.”

Why join Vision-BoxTM?

Vision-BoxTM is the happy result of the drive and skills of two visionaries with intensive experience in the science and technology fields, who in 2001 decided to take the results of their research to the ultimate test: the market. Today, Vision-BoxTM highly talented team accounts for many hundreds and has achieved the reputation of unquestioned market experts, closely working with and consulting Governments, Immigration Authorities, Airports, Airlines and other organizations challenged to improve identity management, by offering them superior, tailor-made Border Control, Identity Management and Surveillance solutions. Whatever the nature of the challenge, whether bringing unexpected innovation to the market, meeting the changing needs of our customers or the expectations of our shareholders, Vision-BoxTM has always reached for excellence and for a positive social change in the world.

Some of the vacancies are open in the headquarters in Lisbon, but there are also opportunities to strengthen the company’s activity abroad. The openings list can be consulted at Vision-BoxTM website and applications can be made through the contact: onlythebest@vision-box.com.

Vision-BoxTM is exhibiting this week at Passenger Terminal Expo in Amsterdam, so it will be an amazing opportunity for candidates who are as passionate about the industry as we are to know more about the company and liaise with some of its representatives. If you’re visiting Passenger Terminal Expo this week, don’t miss out on the opportunity to know everything about Vision-BoxTM and leave your business card!

• SES contracts Hughes for service on EchoStar XVII and EchoStar XIX HTS satellites, and combines them with its AMC-15 and AMC-16 network, to provide a four-satellite constellation for the launch of Thales FlytLIVE network
• The four-satellite network strengthens Thales’ FlytLIVE network as it enters initial operations in 2017 and in advance of the milestone launch of SES-17 Ka-band HTS satellite, planned for 2020
• SES to purchase multiple JUPITER System gateways from Hughes and contract ground segment operations to Hughes to bring seamless connectivity to Thales FlytLIVE network
• Thales selects Hughes JUPITER System Aeronautical platform for its next-generation IFC solution

Arlington, VA, Luxembourg and Germantown, MD | March 8, 2017– Today, Thales, SES S.A. and Hughes Network Systems (HUGHES) announced a set of strategic agreements to enhance the delivery of FlytLIVETM – Thales’ connected inflight experience solution, offering the most advanced and efficient aeronautical connectivity solution available in the Americas. Under the agreements, SES contracts capacity on Hughes EchoStar XVII and EchoStar XIX high throughput (HTS) Ka-band satellites to complement its AMC-15 and AMC-16 network giving FlytLIVE the only redundant coverage network in North America. SES will also purchase multiple JUPITERTM System gateways from Hughes to qualify Thales to deploy its FlytLIVE service on Hughes JUPITER Aeronautical platform. This will allow Thales to initiate its next- generation connected inflight experience offering in North America this year.

Furthermore, the system being deployed is forward compatible with SES-17, SES’ powerful Ka- band HTS satellite optimized for aviation connectivity and expected to launch in 2020, thus ensuring Thales’ airline clients have a clear and effective path for accommodating the ever- growing traffic demands of their passengers.

FlytLIVE by Thales provides an advanced, seamless inflight connectivity solution with unmatched performance and redundancy, giving passengers the full broadband Internet connectivity, including the ability to stream Internet services for video, games, social media and live television, creating an immersive and engaging experience in the air. In addition, this new service enables airlines to upload content, download operational data, and provide live television channels to their entire fleet through managed end-to-end solutions and network services.

In 2016, SES and Thales announced an agreement to procure and commercialize SES-17 and to leverage SES’ existing AMC-15 and AMC-16 satellites for FlytLIVE. This new set of strategic agreements between SES, Thales and Hughes provide Thales with an expanded scope of HTS Ka-band satellite capacity and the latest and most advanced aeronautical platform available today. The combination of Hughes EchoStar XVII and XIX Ka-band satellites with SES’ AMC-15 and AMC-16 network provide for expanded satellite capacity, coverage, and redundancy over North America. With these four satellites and the Hughes JUPITER System aeronautical platform, Thales will be positioned to offer the most comprehensive connectivity and content services for the full gamut of North American flight routes, including routes between the North East U.S. and Canada and the Caribbean, which to-date have been underserved as these flight routes are predominantly over open ocean. This combination of coverage, performance, redundancy, and network robustness will be unique to FlytLIVE.

At the center of the new service is Hughes high-performance JUPITER system that is already in operation for broadband enterprise and consumer services in other major markets globally and will be introduced for aeronautical use on the Thales FlytLIVE network. Unique features of the network include rapid beam-to-beam and satellite-to-satellite switching and DVB-S2x transmission. Thales has already begun service testing using its new Thales Ka-band aero antenna and the Hughes JUPITER technology.

SES will also purchase multiple Hughes JUPITER System gateways to support traffic carried over AMC-15 and AMC-16, as well as SES-17, when it enters service. FlyLIVE’s network will deliver industry leading speed and capacity for support of growing passenger service demands and will comfortably accommodate forecasted traffic increases through the launch of SES-17, which is manufactured by Thales Alenia Space and configured with close to 200 spot beams and coverage tailored to aviation and mobility markets.

“Our experience and position as a global leader in satellites, avionics, cybersecurity and connected inflight entertainment means we are able to deliver the most capable solutions our customers expect. With these strategic agreements with SES and Hughes, Thales FlytLIVE service will be uniquely able to deliver airlines and their passengers with an unsurpassed, connected inflight entertainment experience.” • Dominique Giannoni, CEO, Thales InFlyt Experience

“This agreement confirms once again SES’s ability to provide scalable solutions tailored to match our customers’ specific requirements. Not only are we developing SES-17, a next- generation satellite that Thales will use to meet the future inflight connectivity demands of the next decade, but we are also providing a superior, tailor-made, multi-satellite and multi-beam solution today, in 2017, utilizing assets already in orbit. This is only possible thanks to the combination of our existing robust and flexible network with our long-standing relationship with Hughes and Thales.” • Elias Zaccack, Senior Vice President of SES’s Global

Mobility Team and the Americas region, SES S.A.
“Hughes is proud to join with Thales and SES to bring our advanced JUPITER System aeronautical platform, along with the enhanced satellite coverage and capacity of our EchoStar XVII and XIX satellites, to facilitate the launch and operation of FlytLIVE’ s North American service. Our JUPITER platform will enable SES and Thales to deliver an unmatched level of inflight connectivity customer experience, and the capacity brought through our satellites will ensure that Thales’ airline clients will be able to readily accommodate the ever-growing demands and performance expectations of their passengers.” • Paul Gaske, Executive Vice President, North America, Hughes

Cwmbran, United Kingdom | March 8, 2017– STG Aerospace, a research-driven pioneer in aircraft cabin lighting, held an Open Day on 7th March at its Innovation & Engineering Centre on the Llantarnam Industrial Park, Cwmbran.

Visitors, including customers and suppliers as well as academics engaged in joint research projects and other invited guests, were given a tour of the company’s facility where the company has already created 36 jobs since it was first opened in 2015.

The tour also included demonstrations of the latest product developments from STG Aerospace. These included the company’s new LED reading light, part of its liTeMood® range which, with its patented square light pattern, minimises the light spill onto neighbouring seats and helps give passengers a sense of control over their own environment. Also being demonstrated was saf-Tglo® blu, the world’s first ever blue-glowing photoluminescent emergency floorpath marking system which creates a more calming ambience and has already won a prestigious APEX Award for Best Cabin Innovation.

At the Open Day, there were speeches from Harriet Wollerton, Aerospace Operations & Business Development Manager at ADS, the trade body for the UK aerospace, defence, security and space industries, and from John Whalley, Chief Executive of Aerospace Wales, a trade association for all companies operating in the country.

Welcoming the news, Economy Secretary Ken Skates said: “STG Aerospace is a recognised market leader in its field and has a quite remarkable global reach, exporting worldwide with its products acknowledged as industry standards. This is a considerable achievement and STG Aerospace is a very welcome addition to the dynamic aerospace sector we have in Wales.

“I am delighted Welsh Government support helped the company establish its new centre in Wales and that it has created significantly more jobs than was originally anticipated which is great news.

“Today marks an important date in STG Aerospace’s business calendar as it marks the completion of its first major strategic investment and enhanced capabilities and I wish the company every success in the future.”

The STG Aerospace Innovation & Engineering Centre is equipped with a goniophotometer, used for measuring the size, space and shape that lighting takes up, and an integrating sphere which is used to analyse colour. The Centre also has two sections of aircraft, a Boeing and an Airbus, used to visualise how new products will actually work when in service. In addition, there is a Chemistry Laboratory and a Flammability Laboratory.

“We were delighted to have this opportunity to demonstrate the full extent of our research and development facilities to so many important guests”, said Nigel Duncan, CEO at STG Aerospace. “Being at the cutting edge of research into how lighting affects people, physiologically and psychologically, is central to our product development philosophy.”

STG Aerospace’s success and rapid growth is reflected by a range of global patents and the number of major industry awards it has received, including winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise on four separate occasions.

Its Innovation & Engineering Centre in Brecon House on Llantarnam Industrial Park has an extensive R&D facility that includes a state of the art lighting laboratories and simulations of 737 and A320 aircraft.

IAG the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling will be first to offer this game changing in-flight broadband solution, reinforcing the success of Inmarsat’s aviation strategy

United Kingdom | March 8, 2017–
Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, today announced International Airlines Group (IAG) as the launch customer for its European Aviation Network (EAN) high-speed in-flight broadband service, which Inmarsat will jointly operate with its partner Deutsche Telekom. This contract is a flagship achievement in Inmarsat’s strategy to revolutionise the onboard experience for airline passengers with purpose-built next-generation connectivity solutions.

EAN allows European passengers to use their personal devices for internet browsing, video streaming, gaming and other online services, with unmatched high capacity, low-latency performance. EAN’s robust and ultra compact technology makes it uniquely qualified for the European airspace, where aircraft size, flight density and frequent aircraft manoeuvring are challenging to broadband satellite-only systems.

EAN is the first solution in the world to integrate connectivity from a satellite, operated by Inmarsat, and a complementary LTE-based ground network, operated by Deutsche Telekom.

IAG plans to equip in excess of 300 aircraft with EAN and aims to have 90% of its short haul fleet complete by early 2019.

Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “The rollout of our European Aviation Network, which we are building together with our partner Deutsche Telekom, is progressing at full pace and today’s contract signing with IAG as our launch customer has reinforced once again how Inmarsat’s aviation strategy is coming together.

“Passenger demand for in-flight broadband has never been stronger and Inmarsat’s cutting-edge technology will remain the market’s gold standard for a long time to come. We look forward to rolling out this ground-breaking service with Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, four of the most iconic brands in commercial aviation.”

It’s a neck-and-neck race for the industry’s big names in the 2017 final of the Crystal Cabin Awards. The award ceremony is on 4 April in Hamburg.

Hamburg | March 7, 2017– 21 products and ideas are in the finals of the 2017 Crystal Cabin Awards, the world’s most renowned prize for innovation in aircraft interiors. From a parking guidance system for cabin baggage to a lavatory mirror that displays on-board video and information as if by magic, the finalists’ submissions include innovative ideas for pretty much every aspect of the cabin – revealing today how we will be flying in the world of tomorrow. In the field of “Cabin Concepts” in particular, the giants are lining up for a showdown: Bombardier, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are all hoping for a trophy in the same category. With 85 shortlist entrants from 21 nations, the 2017 Crystal Cabin Awards have been more popular and more international than ever before in their 11 years of history. The seven winners of the coveted Crystal Cabin Award trophies will be announced on the first evening of the Aircraft Interiors Expo (4 – 6 April, 2017) in Hamburg, Germany.

The final in the “Cabin Concepts” category this year might be more exciting than ever before: three international “heavyweights” are going head-to-head. Two of them are leading American airlines: Delta Air Lines is offering business class passengers enclosed cabin areas with privacy partitions in its “Delta One Suite” – a luxury which was until now reserved for first class passengers. The concept is initially being implemented in Delta’s A350s. The business passenger concept from United Airlines, “Polaris”, also promises a maximum of freedom. After enjoying the exclusive Polaris Lounge with dinner service and relaxation rooms, passengers experience a new cabin configuration with all-aisle access seats in a density neutral layout, not compromising space or comfort. Also in contention for the best cabin concept is Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier with the cabin for its C Series, the first completely new short and medium-haul airliner for 30 years.

Another completely new innovation in the market this year is the “K-Reflexion Mirror” from Krüger Aviation. This finalist in the “Material & Components” category is the first plastic mirror which, thanks to its semi-transparent structure, can display safety announcements, product information and tips for the destination – in the on-board lavatory. Studio Moderna Bologna concentrates its efforts primarily on long-haul aviation seating, and its innovative, elastic material units for the aircraft seat provide a solution for the optimal distribution of body weight – almost like cushioned on clouds, above the clouds. Flexibility is the order of the day for Diehl Aircabin, and the company is tackling the typical monotonous wall surfaces in the aircraft cabin: with the help of its direct printing method, individual colours and patterns can enliven the cabin wall without the troublesome effort of removing panels.

The innovations in the “Cabin Systems” category are more in the background, but no less relevant. The “Watchdog” from Airbus addresses a problem that at first sounds absurd but in fact generates enormous costs for the aviation industry every year: accidental activation of the emergency escape chutes on the ground when crew members open the aircraft doors. The Watchdog sensor warns whenever there is a movement near the door handle, which will enable it to reduce this expensive and dangerous source of error. Zodiac Aerospace has also come up with a sensor, but in an entirely different field: the first cabin baggage management system for overhead compartments. Similar to the green arrows in multi-storey car parks, lights above the overhead baggage lockers indicate free space for cabin baggage. The concept also includes larger space for cases, so that the finalist promises a reduction in “cabin baggage anxiety”. Diehl Aerospace, together with the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, combines data and electricity cables with their newly developed “Power Line Communication”. This “free-loading” of data flows using existing power cabling on board results in an immense saving of materials and thereby weight.

Efficiency and sustainability are, as would be expected, also at the forefront in the “Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment” category. Amongst the finalists is “GermFalcon” from the US-based company of the same name. This cleaning device for cabins uses ultraviolet C light, which removes bacteria and viruses from seats and other surfaces without the use of chemical agents. The “Revolution Toilet” from Zodiac Aerospace also aims to fight bacteria. Not only does it consist of recycled composite fibre materials and save water, it is also merciless with germs on the toilet edge thanks to special vents. Airbus successfully pushed the ReTrolley all the way into the finals, a rubbish collection trolley allowing the crew to sort and compress waste while they pass through the cabin.

Bombardier is present at the Crystal Cabin Awards for the first time this year and already has a double entry in the finals. In the “Passenger Comfort Hardware” category, the Canadians present their concept of barrier-free toilets for their CRJ range of aircraft. They are facing off with Airbus, whose “Smart Cabin Reconfiguration” solution for moving aircraft seats on rails has also made it to the final. Past years have already seen ideas for efficient reconfiguration of seating depending on load. The Airbus approach now promises particularly minimal effort in both the initial installation and, most importantly, crew operation, so that the rail system may be operated without any prior mechanical knowledge. An idea creating a benefit with minimal effort for the crew is what brought Diehl Comfort Modules into the finals, too: the company’s bar module can be integrated into the gallery in just a few simple steps, magically transforming the grey and boring kitchenette into a bar or a duty-free sales counter within seconds.

Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity stays a major field of growth: More and more airlines are installing wireless connectivity solutions for passengers. The “Electronic Systems” category has two finalists which showcase this development: Lufthansa Technik’s “niceview mobile” product is offering passengers a way to follow their journey with interactive maps on their personal mobile devices. Global Eagle Entertainment has submitted a complete entertainment portal, allowing passengers to surf the internet, watch films and read magazines on their smartphones. Airbus apparently found the right frequency in communicating to the Award’s 29 international jury members this year, making it to the finals in this category also (and thus being a finalist in four categories in total) with radio-based wireless communication (WAIC – Wireless Avionics Intra-Communications). Smoke detectors, lighting and temperature regulation can be controlled with a patented radio frequency – no cables are required and it is easy for the airlines to install.

It’s back again in 2017 with creative student concepts: the “University” category. Repeating its success from last year, the Delft University of Technology has more than one idea in the final: “myseat” is the equivalent of a parking guidance system for passengers, accompanying them all the way from check-in to their seat using Bluetooth technology. The idea is to achieve a structured boarding process. Meanwhile, “The Revitalisation System” turns the cabin seating upholstery into a game controller, with body movements whilst sitting controlling the on-board entertainment system. Lengthy periods in the seat become a workout. Finalist Hamburg University of Applied Sciences has given thought to the other end of the spectrum: Independent travel for wheelchair users faces many hurdles – especially when it comes to using the on-board toilet. Thanks to its specially designed seat, the “Smart Onboard Wheelchair” from can be rolled directly over the toilet.

The seven winners of the Crystal Cabin Award 2017 will be announced during the Aircraft Interiors Expo trade fair at a gala event to be held on the evening of 4 April at the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski in Hamburg. First, all of the finalists have to personally answer the critical and probing questions of the 29 international experts on the judging panel – airline representatives, professors, aircraft manufacturer representatives, and journalists – and present their projects in an “elevator pitch”.

Next generation Cobham solution introduces significant reduction in total cost of ownership combined with industry leading high throughput, tracking accuracy and RF performance

Washington DC | March 6, 2017– Cobham has introduced a new disruptive technology platform for its expanded line of Sea Tel land-based tracking antennas. Designed as an enabler for the new breed of emerging high throughput LEO/MEO constellations that leverage cutting-edge CubeSat and SmallSat spacecraft, Cobham’s new tracking antennas lower the total cost of ownership by significantly reducing power consumption, in addition to delivering tangible savings on deployment and maintenance. Uniquely, Cobham’s next generation solution is delivered as a complete, integrated system including radome, antenna controller, feeds and customer specific RF (BUC and LNB) in addition to a built-in auto-tracking feature, improving link performance and contributing to higher throughput and availability of service for the end-user.

Currently available for L, S, C, X, Ku, Ka and E-band with antenna reflector sizes between 60 cm to 6 m, Cobham’s new Tracker range has re-written the land-based tracking antennas rulebook. Developed from the bottom up to merge over 20 years of Sea Tel land tracking antenna experience with Cobham’s cutting-edge maritime antenna stabilisation technology, the life-time cost savings facilitated by the new Tracker series supports established network operators and venture-funded start-ups to deliver even more competitive high-throughput satcom services for diverse users. Cobham has also addressed the traditional long lead time to delivery in the land-based tracking antenna segment, committing significant capacity to supporting mobility and growth in the LEO/MEO markets.

Headlining the unique new Sea Tel Tracker product line feature-set is Cobham’s new 3-Axis Zero Gravity technology for land antennas, which balances the entire system to deliver a step-change in power consumption for Cobham customers. The solution co-locates the antenna’s centre of gravity with its centre of rotation, resulting in an effortless track that requires almost no power. Regardless of size, all new Sea Tel Tracker antennas consume just 200 Watts, with further saving possible through the use of a 500-Watt back-up generator, compared to the >5KW back-up generator needed for competing antennas. A 90% reduction in capital outlay to provide power infrastructure can be achieved, while an 87%1 power consumption saving is typical.

The Cobham development team has considered all aspects of the total cost of ownership for the new Sea Tel Tracker range resulting in even more savings, including on the cost of site preparation and antenna deployment. Traditional land tracking antennas of over five meters in size require substantial foundations (up to 15ft) in order to ensure the antenna can operate and survive in high winds as well as negate shift in the base over time as the foundation settles. Due to the perfect balance of the system, Cobham’s new tracking antennas can operate in winds up to 155 mph, installed on just a 12 inch thick concrete grade pad with minimal rebar. They can even be installed temporarily on a bed of gravel while still maintaining a strong link to the network. This is achieved by automatic calibration routines which compensate for the movement of the base over time.

“The significant time and personnel commitment required to assemble antenna systems greatly contributes to the cost of system installation,” said Kirby Nell, Business Manager Large VSAT, Cobham SATCOM.“Traditional land tracking systems can take several months to build the foundation, pull power cables, install automatic power supplies and finally install the precision aligned and levelled antennas. It’s a complex, costly task, but Cobham has developed a better and simpler approach. Sea Tel Tracker antennas can be built by two skilled technicians in a matter of days. We have a heritage of being able to assemble systems quickly and easily for the maritime market, which informs our approach to deployment of the Tracker range.”

Further life-time cost savings for LEO/MEO network operators have been achieved by simplifying and reducing the requirements for on-site maintenance. Uniquely designed as a single unit, housing all components in the radome itself, the Sea Tel Tracker product line provides industry-leading Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF), so fewer engineer visits are required during the antenna’s lifecycle. Cobham’s sophisticated system design and intelligent component selection has simplified the overall system architecture, so many standard maintenance tasks take less than an hour, while many service issues can be handled remotely.

“By renewing our land tracking antenna technology platform, we can provide satellite network operators the ability to achieve a massive reduction in their operational overheads,” adds Pete Blaney, Chief Engineer, Cobham SATCOM. “Lowering the total cost of ownership across the network development and operational stages to such a level, our new Sea Tel Tracker range is set to become a catalyst for the industry to develop and implement more disruptive services that are not only possible at a new price-point for the network owner but will also help to bring costs down for end-users, while increasing performance and availability of service.”