• First presentation of new gaming add-on to BoardConnect at APEX EXPO in Los Angeles | Exclusive pre-conference in the Lufthansa #FlyingLab above the Atlantic

Raunheim/Los Angeles | August 29, 2019– Lufthansa Systems today announced that it will be showcasing the new inflight gaming component on its BoardConnect open IT platform at this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Expo (APEX EXPO) in Los Angeles from September 9-12. The company has digitally adapted the fantasy card game Galaxy Duel and integrated it into the platform in partnership with gaming provider Gladi8torGalaxy Duel offers features such as an eSports league, leaderboards and live streaming. The brand-new prototype of the inflight game will be on show at stand 1901, where it can be tested with an exclusive invitation.

Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect technology enables airlines to use the onboard IT platform for their specific applications, with possibilities extending far beyond mere entertainment. By integrating onboard gaming into BoardConnect, airline IT specialist provider Lufthansa Systems is responding to the ever-expanding gaming market, where it sees an opportunity for airlines to adapt their inflight entertainment to their passengers’ different needs and stand out from their competitors by offering an enhanced passenger experience.

“With 17 airlines having already opted for BoardConnect, our platform is being used on almost 900 aircraft,” said Jan-Peter Gänse, Head of Passenger Experience Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “By developing the open BoardConnect Dock platform, we have enabled our customers to expand the inflight entertainment solution to include a wide range of applications and thus offer their passengers a personalized service. The possibilities are endless. Inflight gaming is just one of many conceivable enhancements.”

Exclusive kick-off event: Lufthansa #FlyingLab en route to APEX EXPO

Before the official launch of APEX EXPO 2019, Lufthansa Systems is organizing a pre-conference on flight LH 452 from Munich to Los Angeles on September 7 in partnership with Lufthansa and APEX. The largest passenger aircraft in the Lufthansa fleet A380 will serve as a flying innovation platform as it crosses the Atlantic, setting the stage for “powering the next generation of passenger experience” and giving industry leaders an opportunity to showcase the latest trends and developments in the passenger experience space. The co-initiator and host of this FlyingLab flight is Lufthansa Systems CEO Olivier Krüger, who will kick off the event by welcoming interesting people taking part in the discussions.

All of the passengers on board can follow the expert presentations live, try out innovative new products and enjoy music performed live in the cabin. The speakers and their presentations can be streamed live to any WiFi-enabled device on board. The event will be broadcast onboard via the BoardConnect solution, illustrating one of the many different possible applications for Lufthansa Systems’ digital platform.

For the first time, a FlyingLab flight will include a design sprint session in which selected passengers can participate and develop new ideas for an enhanced passenger experience with the help of industry experts. The results of this workshop will be presented to the other passengers on board and the most promising suggestion will then be implemented.

BoardConnect Dock

With its new BoardConnect Dock solution, Lufthansa Systems is providing technology, content and financing partners with a BoardConnect framework for creating their own onboard program. Depending on the partner, this might include a connectivity portal, classic IFE content or a platform with booking options and targeted advertising to generate additional revenue.


BoardConnect is Lufthansa Systems’ complete solution for the digital passenger experience that continues to address airlines of all sizes with different business models. In addition to traditional IFE features such as moving maps, movies, music, games and destination information, customers can choose the content they want from a wide range of services available through Lufthansa Systems’ strong partner network. This content can also be provided simply and easily from the cloud if desired.

New cooperation enables airlines to better monetise their IFE offerings

Raunheim, Germany | April 18, 2018–Lufthansa Systems today announced that it will work closely together with programmatic inflight advertising specialist Inadvia. The partnership will lead to increased advertising revenues for Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect customers by allowing them to monetise their in-flight entertainment (IFE) through the global digital programmatic marketplace.

“How to monetise the entertainment and connectivity offerings is always a crucial topic for our airline customers. That´s why we are delighted to be partnering with Inadvia”, says Jan-Peter Gaense, Head of Passenger Experience Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “Our BoardConnect open aircraft IT platform has all of the necessary advertising standards built in already, and we believe the integration of the Inadvia capabilities on the platform represents the strongest possible approach in the market today.”

After announcing new partnerships and customers last week at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, this is another example on how easy and flexible the open aircraft IT platform BoardConnect enables additional features and services. This new partnership allows Lufthansa Systems to add yet more value to its customers by being at the cutting edge of the migration to a more scalable and sustainable way of effectively monetising in-flight entertainment, while at the same time allowing airlines to remain in complete control of their environment.

Programmatic advertising automates the process of buying and selling media and Inadvia is the world’s first programmatic video advertising platform dedicated to in-flight media. The company has solved the technical challenges involved in plugging IFE systems into the programmatic advertising ecosystem, by setting media-industry friendly standards and being able to work in both disconnected and connected environments.

In recent years, programmatic and digital video advertising have shown enormous growth, but there has been no infrastructure available for airlines to fully access those advertising budgets. This changes with the cooperation between Lufthansa Systems and Inadvia.

“Beyond having a proven IFEC solution in BoardConnect, Lufthansa Systems have consistently shown us how forward-thinking they are in their adoption of some of the necessary standards the advertising and media industry require to invest, and that makes them a wonderful partner for Inadvia.” says Tim Letheren, Director, Inadvia, “Working with BoardConnect gives us an opportunity to display how programmatic advertising allows the highest possible sell-through rates, incredibly competitive revenue yield, and provide passengers with more relevant advertising than ever before.”

Lufthansa Systems and castLabs are working on new technology that allows movies to be played in a browser on iOS devices

Raunheim, Germany | March 19, 2018– Lufthansa Systems, with its wireless BoardConnect IFE solution, and partner castLabs will soon enable browser-based playback of DRM-protected movies on iOS devices. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management and regulates the copy protection of digital movie files. This new technology means that passengers will no longer need to pre-install an app to enjoy movies and TV series on their own iOS devices while on board a flight.

The latest version of iOS from Apple, 11.2, allows protected video content to be played on smartphones and tablets in the Safari browser. Previously, this was only possible with the help of a separate player app. “If passengers can simply enjoy our entertainment offering on their own devices as they wish instead of having to install an app before departure, we believe this will increase the number of users,” said Jan-Peter Gaense, Head of Passenger Experience Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “This not only improves the passenger experience but also creates a larger potential target audience for the airline’s advertising activities and ancillary revenue opportunities. Airlines also benefit from greater usability, as they no longer need to offer a separate app for their entertainment offerings.”

Different operating systems and device suppliers currently use different encryption formats for video file copy protection. This means that the same content has to be stored in several different formats for all passengers to be able to access it regardless of which device they are using. The new DRMtoday Onboard solution from castLabs changes all that. castLabs uses the Common Media Application Format (CMAF), which has a secure encryption converter. This means that airlines will only need to store a single encrypted video file on the aircraft for each movie or TV series that can then be safely used on any device.

“We are delivering technology that makes DRM-protected movie files playable on all devices, and in BoardConnect, Lufthansa Systems has a proven and comprehensive IFEC solution with which to provide its entertainment offering – a perfect combination,” said Michael Stattmann, CEO of castLabs.

Both companies are currently working on integrating DRMtoday’s new functionality into BoardConnect to give passengers app-free access to onboard entertainment in the future. Passengers simply connect their own devices to the aircraft’s WiFi and are automatically taken to the airline’s entertainment homepage. From there, they can watch all content through their browser, regardless of their device’s model and operating system.

Digitalization in the aircraft: Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik present collaborative connectivity solutions / New messenger app for mCabin

Raunheim/Long Beach | September 19, 2017–
Passengers now expect the same level of connectivity in the air that they enjoy on the ground. This is why Lufthansa Systems is focusing on connectivity at this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Expo (APEX) in Long Beach, California. Group subsidiary Lufthansa Technik is sharing a stand for the first time. The two Lufthansa Group companies, who collaborate closely in providing on-board Internet and entertainment, are both presenting their own connectivity solutions. Lufthansa Systems will demonstrate the multi-award-winning BoardConnect wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) platform and its different hardware versions, while Lufthansa Technik will showcase its LConnect hardware and service package. The airline IT provider is also presenting its new mCabin/Messenger app, one of the apps of the mCabin Product Line. Visit Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik fromSeptember 26 to 28 at APEX at stand #453.

“Like every other aspect of our lives, aviation is becoming ever more digital. Our BoardConnect solutions help make the time spent during the flight part of the passenger’s digital travel experience. This is about much more than just pure IFE solutions. People want to be connected. On-board Internet offers countless possibilities for further improving and personalizing services,” said Jan-Peter Gaense, Director Project & Certification BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems. “And to provide a reliable Internet connection to our customers, we count on our colleagues at Lufthansa Technik.”

Cooperation between Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik
Two years ago, Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik entered into a long-term global partnership to offer airlines inside and outside of the Lufthansa Group a modern, multi-functional on-board IT platform (based on BoardConnect) with broadband Internet access. Lufthansa Systems is supplying BoardConnect Plus, the required technical infrastructure, such as the server and access points. If necessary, the digital BoardConnect platform with its open architecture can serve as the basis for an Internet portal. Lufthansa Technik – with its many years of experience in the field of aircraft modification – is handling the integration of all systems and components in the aircraft. The LConnect hardware and service package also covers all work required under aviation and certification regulations.

“Together we are in an ideal position to meet the growing demand for on-board Internet. The installation of LConnect takes a maximum of four days and can be carried out during a regular idle period. Parallel to this, our colleagues from Lufthansa Systems can install the BoardConnect systems in the cabin,” said Lukas Bucher, Head of Connectivity Programs at Lufthansa Technik. “We can therefore quickly provide fast broadband Internet access on fleets of any size.”

The primary partner for the satellite connection is Inmarsat, but the Lufthansa subsidiaries also work with other connectivity providers depending on the airline. The solution is currently being used successfully with three different satellite providers. BoardConnect is already running on a total of nearly 400 aircraft, and another 300 will follow in the next twelve months.

The BoardConnect product suite
BoardConnect enables passengers to use streaming technology during a flight to access an airline’s entertainment program on their own devices. The product suite includes three hardware versions: In addition to the permanently installed classic BoardConnect solution, there is the flexible BoardConnect Portable version and the BoardConnect Plus connectivity solution. The digital BoardConnect 5.0 platform runs on all three versions. Lufthansa Systems is also providing content such as movies, TV series, music and magazines with its BoardConnect Media Services. All products work in perfect harmony with each other and can be acquired separately or in combination.

New app in the mCabin product line
Lufthansa Systems is also presenting mCabin/Messenger – the messaging app for iOS, UWP and Android. Since this messaging service is role-based, users do not need to know the name and phone number of the message recipients, only their professional role and, if necessary, the flight number. The app is aimed at cabin crew and ground staff alike and enables fast, direct digital communication. It allows all airline employees to send important operational messages directly to the right person.

“Our mobile solutions for airline employees and cabin crew provide optimum support for airlines of all sizes with all business models as they digitalize their on-board processes. Airlines have expressed a lot of interest in this,” said Julie Ingleson, Product Manager Mobile Solutions/mCabin.

The modular mCabin crew app ensures smooth crew management and optimized processes during every phase of crew service. In addition to mCabin/Messenger, the product line includes two other apps: mCabin/Library+ document management application and mCabin/CityGuide travel guide platform.

Watch the new mCabin/Messenger video:https://www.lhsystems.com/solutions/mobile-solutions/mcabinmessenger

Watch the personal invite from Jan-Peter Gaense to visit Lufthansa Systems at APEX: https://youtu.be/0dJFB_LWyRI

  • Indian Low-Cost Carrier will introduce in-flight entertainment and e-commerce based on Lufthansa Systems´ digital platform BoardConnect

Raunheim, DE | April 20, 2017– The Indian airline SpiceJet will offer in-flight entertainment (IFE) and e-commerce, soon. SpiceJet will equip the whole fleet with BoardConnect Portable from Lufthansa Systems. Both companies signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to this effect after the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg. Passengers of SpiceJet will be able to use the new offer within 2017.

“Enhancing customer experience and comfort on-board has always been our prime focus at SpiceJet. SpiceJet expects to be the first low-cost carrier in India to provide this unique entertainment and shopping experience to its customers. This is yet another step towards ensuring a Red, Hot and Spicy experience for our customers, every time they step into a SpiceJet flight,” says Ajay Singh, Chief Managing Director at SpiceJet.

BoardConnect Portable is an all-in-one solution combining all of the technical components needed for an IFE system – such as a server and access points – in a single device, the Mobile Streaming Unit (MSU). An MSU is about the size of a conventional tablet, powered by a battery module, thus avoiding any elaborate cabling. MSUs therefore qualify as non-permanently installed equipment and can be mounted or removed without affecting other components in the aircraft, for example in the galley. This eliminates high costs for hardware, fitting and certification. Additionally, an integrated modem allows rapid wireless updates of content while the aircraft is on the ground. Furthermore, the BoardConnect digital platform caters for easy hosting and seamless integration of third party elements such as e-commerce. This concept convinced SpiceJet. In the near future, passengers can access a variety of entertainment and e-commerce offers of SpiceJet during a flight via their own smartphones and tablets.

“We are proud that with SpiceJet, an extraordinary innovative low-cost airline from India has chosen our award-winning IFE solution BoardConnect Portable,” says Norbert Mueller, Senior Vice President BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems. “We are looking forward to team up with SpiceJet for a fast and smooth roll-out project.”

SpiceJet is an Indian low-cost carrier based in New Delhi. With a fleet of 55 aircraft of the types Boeing 737 and Bombardier Q 400 SpiceJet offers mainly domestic flights within India and connections to destinations in Southeast Asia.

As always just before AIX Hamburg, it gets newsy and so it isn’t surprising that this week we have a lot for our readers to peruse. And, we fully expect the media to continue to build leading up to AIX and throughout the first few days of the show. As 2017 moves ahead, Boeing and Airbus are increasing their production efforts to catch up with orders (Backlog: Airbus = 6792 planes and Boeing = 5678 aircraft) while airplane purchases are thinning out. The near term IFEC market is looking good but the real question is what happens 3 years from now? Stay Tuned on this one as it will be interesting to see IFEC changes that integrate with a multiplicity of connected carry-on devices and technology innovations. And with that said, lets get started:

Lufthansa Systems

At this year’s AIX Lufthansa Systems will showcase exciting new features of its multiple award-winning IFE solution BoardConnect and its enhanced crew app mCabin. The user experience stands at the heart of new developments. Lufthansa Systems will present a major new release of BoardConnect with a new user interface. “Airlines can differentiate and easily adapt the UI without costly and time-consuming reprogramming. Furthermore, the BoardConnect architecture will become even more flexible – it is easy for airlines to personalize, add or remove features – making it the best platform for the connected aircraft. Our unique container technology allows to integrate applications for cabin, cockpit and crew in addition to IFE and connectivity.”

Lufthansa Systems further expands its existing partner network. Thus, airlines can benefit from this flexibility by tailoring their IFE offer to the needs of their target group, which ensures satisfied passengers and brings in additional revenues. At AIX Lufthansa Systems will announce new partnerships, which will provide additional services and functionalities. “Thanks to our latest technology upgrade BoardConnect becomes kind of a cloud provider in the sky hosting complete applications of third parties within the open platform. Additional services can be included fast and flexible. This enables airlines to enhance the digital experience of their passengers and supports them to complete their digital transformation goals. The new digital platform is available with or without connectivity. Lufthansa Group started the go-live of the new BoardConnect based connectivity service in Europe early 2017. Together with Lufthansa Technik and Inmarsat, Lufthansa Systems is currently equipping aircraft of Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings. During the show, Lufthansa Systems will give an update on the current roll-out projects for connectivity services and announce new customers.”

The company will also present a whole new mCabin product suite. The mobile solutions for cabin crews are perfect for supporting airlines of all sizes and business models in their process of digitalization. Prior to departure and during the flight, the mCabin crew app provides the cabin team with all of the flight and passenger service information they need. This is an app designed for excellent passenger communication, smooth crew management and optimal processes at every stage of the crew duty day. mCabin is available on Windows and iOS and has been further enhanced in its modularity. Airlines can select modules and thereby tailor mCabin according to their individual needs. mCabin/CityGuide is an exclusive guidebook platform for the crew with local information and tips about the crew’s destinations. Additionally, Lufthansa Systems has developed some great new features for mCabin and another separate app in the mCabin suite which will be presented at the AIX. In general, Lufthansa Systems sees an increased demand for a mobile solution like mCabin in the market with both passengers and crew members expecting a greater digital experience on board. During the show, Lufthansa Systems will give an update on further developments and planned cooperations regarding the mCabin suite. Visit Lufthansa Systems and learn more about BoardConnect at booth no #2E24


Gogo has reached a major milestone by installing its 3,000th commercial aircraft with in-flight connectivity. Today, the company has 3,000 commercial aircraft and more than 4,200 business aircraft, totaling 7,200 aircraft installed. More than 130 of the 3,000 commercial aircraft are now installed with Gogo’s industry leading 2Ku technology that leverages Gogo’s global satellite network. “The demand for in-flight connectivity continues to grow at a rapid pace and we are quickly moving beyond connecting passengers to connecting flight attendants, pilots and eventually components on the planes themselves,” said Michael Small, president and CEO at Gogo. “To meet this demand, Gogo has invested in the best broadband networks to meet the needs of global aviation — no matter the size of the aircraft or where that aircraft flies. “Most of the 7,200 aircraft are connected using Gogo’s North American ground network, but an increasing number of commercial aircraft are now flying on Gogo’s global satellite network.

2Ku relies on the new low profile, high efficiency Ku-band satellite antennas that outperform other connectivity solutions in the global aviation market. Since the announcement of Gogo’s 2Ku technology, 12 airlines representing more than 1500 aircraft have signed up for the service. Nearly all of these aircraft are expected to be installed by the end of 2018.

“Whether an aircraft is flying on our global satellite network or on our North American ATG network, we are delivering industry leading performance in terms of coverage, cost, capacity and reliability. With high-throughput satellites being added to our global network and an upgrade being made to our ATG network, both networks will bring even better performance in 2017 and beyond,” added Small.

Gogo, which provides aircraft connectivity, had revenue of $597 million in 2016, expects positive free cash flow in 2019, a year earlier than previous guidance, and expects 2Ku installs on 450 to 550 aircraft in 2017.


Thales, SES S.A. and Hughes Network Systems (HUGHES) announced a set of strategic agreements to enhance the delivery of FlytLIVE – 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 JUPITER 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. Further, SES contracted 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. Further, SES is to purchase multiple JUPITER System gateways from Hughes and contract ground segment operations to Hughes to bring seamless connectivity to Thales FlytLIVE network. 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. Lastly, we note that Thales selected Hughes JUPITER System Aeronautical platform for its next-generation IFC solution. 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.


Inmarsat has announced today that International Airlines Group (IAG) has signed a contract to be the launch customer of Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN). 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. Airlines include Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling with installation having already commenced on the British Airways fleet, with three aircraft fitted to date. EAN allows European passengers to use their personal devices for internet browsing, video streaming, gaming and other online services, with unmatched high capacity and 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.


Drop&Fly, SITA’s bag-drop unit, has been awarded the prestigious 2017 iF Design Award: Public Product, in recognition of its state-of-the-art design and intuitive user interface.

Drop&Fly provides passengers with an easy-to-use interface which makes checking-in bags a convenient and pleasant experience. Its one-step self-bag drop process, which allows passengers to print their tags and check-in their bags at the same time, delivers a fast, customer-centric passenger experience. It is fully customizable to the individual needs of the airport and its hybrid functionality enables a switch from self-service to an agent-assisted mode in a matter of seconds. The iF Design Award, recognized as a symbol of design excellence around the world, confirms SITA’s expertize in matching form and function.


  • Stockholders approved the ROCKWELL COLLINS and B/E AEROSPACE merger.
  • Kelvin Boyette’s Latitude Aero did the Aircraft Interiors promo right – he showed us where his booth is located
  • And lastly, Geoff Underwood, CEO of IFPL has a second calling, sorta – Check it out!

APEX Expo, Singapore and Raunheim Germany | October 25, 2016– Lufthansa Systems is currently presenting new modules for its multi-award-winning BoardConnect inflight entertainment platform at APEX in Singapore (24–27 October). These include an innovative sound experience and a new Moving Map.

“Airlines are constantly striving to make the passenger experience even more pleasant and varied. We are therefore interested in continually expanding the range of entertainment and service options offered by our BoardConnect platform,” said Norbert Müller, Senior Vice President BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems.

With the new Virtual Sound module, passengers can enjoy a cinema-like sound experience while watching movies on board – on their own smartphones or tablets, regardless of the type of headphones they use. Lufthansa Systems is working with various technology partners whose solutions simulate a virtual surround sound to boost the excitement and drama of blockbusters.

Along with the latest films, one of the most popular inflight entertainment offers is the Moving Map. Travelers like to know where they are currently flying and how far it is to their destination. The new Moving Map gives passengers a virtual view out the window. Instead of displaying the route in 2D on an atlas map, the landscape is now shown from a realistic perspective, as if you were actually flying over the mountains, rivers and cities. Passengers can also switch between the window view and the cockpit view, which allows them to virtually see the landscape from the pilotsʼ perspective.

Airlines that opt for the wireless BoardConnect IFE platform can offer their passengers varied entertainment on the passengersʼ own devices, thus avoiding complicated installation and certification procedures. Depending on their target groups and needs, airlines can choose from a wide range of entertainment options including movies, TV shows and audio programs as well as shopping opportunities and destination guides. These new optional product features are available to customers as of now.

  • Partner network expands possibilities / New service for crew members

Raunheim, Germany | October 20, 2016– Lufthansa Systems today announced that at this year’s APEX in Singapore it will present innovations relating to its multi-award-winning BoardConnect and BoardConnect Portable inflight entertainment (IFE) solutions as well as an additional feature for its mCabin crew app.

“Our developments in the IFE field are currently being shaped largely by the trends toward digital transformation and commercialization,” said Norbert Müller, Senior Vice President BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems. “Connectivity is becoming an increasingly important topic for airlines because passengers expect to be able to use the same online and streaming services on board as on the ground. Our BoardConnect platform is the ideal enabler for this. We have also expanded our partner network so that airlines can tailor their IFE offers perfectly to the needs of their respective target groups.”

Together with Inmarsat and Lufthansa Technik, Lufthansa Systems has established a long-term partnership to offer airlines a modern, multifunctional on-board IT platform with broadband access.

Thanks to the open software architecture of the BoardConnect platform, partner services in the areas of entertainment, infotainment and ancillary revenues can also be integrated easily. The diverse, high-quality offers benefit passengers as well as airlines, since integrated ads and services provided through subscriptions generate additional revenues. Together with its partners, Lufthansa Systems covers the entire travel chain, from researching a trip, to booking a flight, hotel and excursions, and finally following up after the journey.

Lufthansa Systems will use sample language versions for the Asian market, including Chinese, Japanese and Malaysian, to demonstrate the attractiveness of its BoardConnect platform for airlines worldwide. The services can also be easily adapted to other languages.

BoardConnect enables passengers to stream content to their own tablets or smartphones during a flight. In addition to the permanently installed “classic” version of BoardConnect, Lufthansa Systems offers a flexible BoardConnect Portable solution. Its advantage is that all of the technical components are combined in a single device which can be installed quickly and easily on any aircraft. BoardConnect Portable received the renowned Crystal Cabin Award in spring 2016.

Lufthansa Systems will also be presenting a new module for its mCabin crew app at APEX. mCabin/CityGuide is an exclusive guidebook platform for the crew with local information about all of an airline’s destinations. In addition to layover information such as contact details, the crew hotel and pick-up times, the app offers tips and tricks for excursions and restaurants. The tips are entered by the crew itself, which makes the app a highly personalized crew travel guide. Crew members can rate and comment on locations they have already visited, so these recommendations are continually updated and optimized. Crew management has an editing and administration tool at its disposal to check entries and update content as required.

Prior to departure and during the flight, the mCabin crew app provides the cabin team with all of the passenger service information they need, including a passenger manifest complete with information about the passengers’ seats, status, food preferences and special requirements. And to bring mobility to IFE, the BoardConnect crew front-end has been integrated into mCabin.

APEX will take place from October 24–27 at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Center in Singapore. Visit Lufthansa Systems at stand 1737.

KID-Systeme’s SKYfi Club – a wireless streaming onboard platform for passenger and corporate aircraft – has been selected by Saudia as linefit on it’s fleet of 20 A330 and 30 A320. Saudia will present this premium content streaming ‎service as unique passenger experience under their brand SAUDIA SKYfi . SKYfi Club streams content to passengers’ personal electronic devices, allowing them to access the available entertainment options, such as movies, e-books and magazines. The technology is based on the trusted ALNA (Airline Network Architecture) connectivity platform, which flies on over 650 aircraft already. Note: We had a few questions about the system and asked Product Manager Johannes Ferstl and Peter SchetschineKID-Systeme General Manager, but more on that in a minute.

The mature system provides a scalable and modular architecture adaptable to customer needs. It enables a wide range of additional services such as GSM telephony, internet access and data services. Further, SKYfi can be complemented by SKYpower, KID-Systeme’s in-seat power and cabin power management system. Of course, IFExpress got curious and asked the following:

1. Can you tell our readers a bit more about your featured ALNA (airline network architecture).

ANSWER: The ALNA system is able to provide GSM/GPRS and WLAN (IEEE 802.11) connectivity services within the aircraft cabin during cruise flight phase. The onboard telephony and WLAN services are enabled above an altitude of 3000m (10.000ft.) and disabled below an altitude of 3000m. During taxi, take-off and landing and below 3000m altitude all radio transmissions are switched off. During cruise flight the service can be de-activated manually at any time. Service activation and de-activation is indicated by a chime, the PAX signs (No-Mobile-Signs) and by the cabin crew (via passenger announcement). The ALNA system consists of several hardware devices e.g. the Head End Server Unit (HESU) and software applications e.g. the system monitoring software.

2. Can you tell us which airlines fly the SKYfi Club today?

ANSWER: As of today one airline flies SKYfi Club: Saudi Arabian Airlines. More than six hundred shipsets of SKYfi phone and web were deployed previously.

3. Your view, we assume, is that connectivity and flying are very important?

ANSWER: “Connectivity is more than staying in contact. It’s part of our lifestyle. SKYfi Club extends this lifestyle by being entertained.” Noted Johannes Ferstl, Product Manager Connectivity. Peter Schetschine, General Manager KID-System also said: “The industry demands more and more for flexibility and adaptable technical solutions. Based on a scalable and modular architecture SKYfi paves this way into a well entertained and connected world on board. Furthermore our streaming solution supports the BYOD trend which will continue to be strong and present in future.”

4. We assume the line-fit is in progress?

ANSWER: The first Saudia A330 Regional was our first line-fit installation. Further line-fit installations are in progress and deliveries will happen soon.

5. Lastly, could you provide a block diagram of the hardware?

ANSWER: See above.

Saudi noted: “We are very happy to continue working with KID-Systeme who has always been a reliable partner and supplier for our integrated cabin power systems, says Eng. Saleh Al-Jasser, Director General of Saudia. “Offering wireless content streaming is the next step paving the way to an improved inflight experience and satisfy passenger’s needs. Therefore we are very excited to cooperate with KID-Systeme to enlarge our inflight entertainment selection. This opens up a whole new world of opportunities for the connected passenger on board.”

Actually, the first aircraft delivery to Saudi Arabian Airlines was in mid-August 2016. All aircraft will be line-fit equipped with SKYfi lounge solution, starting with the aircraft type A330.

Lufthansa Systems:
As you might know, Lufthansa Systems equipped nearly the whole Eurowings A 320 fleet with BoardConnect Portable at the beginning of August and their Corporate Communications Manager told IFExpress: “This award winning IFE solution really makes a difference, since the implementation on more than 70 aircraft only took one weekend and was a huge success. Since then Eurowings passengers can enjoy Entertainment with music and movies on short- and medium haul flights. At our booth at the Aviation Festival in London (8 – 9 September, New routes, new revenues, new business models | Aviation Festival 2016) we will show how BoardConnect Portable and our other BoardConnect products work. And we are happy to answer your questions regarding new IFE trends and the upcoming connectivity launches within and outside the Lufthansa Group. Our experts will be at the Aviation Festival both days and you can find us at booth #38.”

Gogo announced that it has promoted John Wade to the role of executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer of Gogo. Wade has more than 30 years of experience in the aviation industry including numerous leadership positions in the avionics and in-flight communications industry. For the past eight years, he has served as the general manager of Gogo’s business aviation division where he built the division into a market leader. Before joining Gogo, John served as the CTO at OnAir and also worked at Tenzing and GEC Marconi on their IFE and IFC products. Wade will now be responsible for Gogo’s operations, quality control, commercial airline account management and commercial sales. He will still maintain oversight over Gogo’s business aviation division, but Gogo veteran Sergio Aguirre is being promoted to serve as senior vice president and general manager of Gogo’s business aviation division. (Editor’s Note: IFExpress cannot go on without noting that John Wade is one of the ‘Best In IFE’, as we feel he is both a knowledgeable and gracious executive in his dealings with members of the press. John always takes the time to address our questions, no matter how technical or topical they may be. All the while presenting an air of ‘Nothing is impossible.’)

Rockwell Collins:
In a move that will provide Rockwell Collins’ customers and prospects with more aviation connectivity options, the company announced that it has been licensed to sell satellite services in Brazil. The global license, authorized by Anatel, gives Rockwell Collins the ability to sign distribution and service agreements with any satellite entities and customers operating in Brazil.

If your thing is next generation Avionics, you might want to visit AVIONICS for NextGen – 2016, in Washington DC, Sept 28 – 29, 2016: Check out the agenda.


  • From the Color Correction Department comes a story that is probably better called Color Confusion. The issue here is cabin lighting and reading on LED devices. We stumbled on it after we read this online story; “Airlines Add Mood Lighting to Chill Out Passengers”. First you need to read this article  on the color used in an a cabin lighting schemes designed to provide a restful inflight experience… possibly even sleep. Here is what stood out to us in the piece: “Like Virgin Atlantic, American uses amber during the dinner service, “sort of like candlelight in a restaurant,” said the managing director of onboard products. For sleep periods, it uses a deep blue, which designers chose after considering — and rejecting — a reddish glow. “Red is sometimes associated with fire,” continued the director of onboard products — “never a good thing on an airplane.” It makes sense, but we wondered if the nature of blue light effects might be more science based, because we had done a cabin lighting study a few years back and we remembered blue light differently? Next we did a bit of research and found an interesting light color/sleep study in of all places, Instructables. You can read it here. It’s a very analytical color-based evaluation made by an individual, all based on the test data he ran over one year. The conclusion? The color blue is the wrong color if you want to allow the generation of natural melatonin to help sleep come on. Further, Apple product makers and Android device products offer an app that limits the blue light. In devices like iPhones and iPads with iOS 9.3 (and on) offer a feature called “Night Shift” which is built in to the operating system. Just go to Settings>Display & Brightness> and turn on Night Shift. Perhaps, more study is needed to match passengers, rest, and time of day but we will be using it on our devices. You can read more about the issue here too – Amazon rolls out ‘blue shade’ tool for Fire tablets to allow people to read at night | Daily Mail Online
  • Not long ago we reported that Singapore had not reported any Zika virus but we discovered we were a couple weeks behind the actual data, as it has now been discovered there. Take precautions – Zika virus: Singapore confirms 41 locally transmitted cases – BBC News
  • And speaking of Singapore: Going to Singapore and have T-Mobile? You might find this interesting: “Visitors simply need to download a configuration file and perform a one-time setup for auto-connection to the participating cities’ hotspots,” IDA said in a release of the WBA’s City Wi-Fi Roaming Project. IFExpress will have more on Singapore later.
  • Traveling to the US? You might have to cough up your online presence!Traveling to US? Agencies want to Spy on your Social Media activities right from Airport
  • And finally, Flyers Rights (NonProfit Airline Consumer Org.) has an interesting Report Card for US Congress and it’s not good!

Aviation Time-Wasters:

  • As of August 1, Eurowings passengers can enjoy premier entertainment on their own smartphones and tablets

Raunheim, Germany | August 3, 2016– Over 400 songs, blockbuster movies, TV shows, games and numerous audiobooks – Eurowings passengers on business trips and summer vacation alike can now enjoy a broad range of inflight entertainment on their own mobile devices. As of August 1, Lufthansa Systems had completed the biggest go-live of a portable IFE solution for a well-known airline to date. More than 70 aircraft – nearly the entire Eurowings A320 fleet – were equipped with BoardConnect Portable over the weekend. The remaining planes will follow by the middle of the month.

Immediately after boarding, when the plane is still on the ground, passengers can pass the time before takeoff by using the entertainment program. They can decide in advance which features they want to use during the flight and view the latest blockbusters in their entirety even on shorter flights, because the content remains available after landing until the aircraft is at the gate. Along with the entertainment options, including music and audiobook streaming via Napster as well as current films and TV shows, the system called Wings Entertain offers access to the onboard shop, the menu and information about airports and cities. Another popular feature is the Moving Map, which shows the aircraft’s current position.

“An innovative IFE solution like BoardConnect Portable fits very well with our business model. With Wings Entertain, we are offering our passengers a modern entertainment platform and thus improving their travel experience,” said Oliver Wagner, CEO of Eurowings. “And not only that – thanks to our large partner network and the ability to integrate paid content and marketing campaigns, we can generate additional revenues with the new IFE system.”

BoardConnect Portable is even easier to use and more flexible than the conventional BoardConnect solution from Lufthansa Systems. The advantage of the all-in-one solution is that all of the technical components needed for an IFE system – such as a server and access points – are combined in a single device called Mobile Streaming Unit (MSU). An MSU is about the size of a conventional tablet, weight less than 1.5 kg and can be brought on board easily during regular flight operations.

Since they do not require elaborate cabling, MSUs qualify as non-permanently installed equipment and can be mounted or removed, for example in the galley or in overhead compartments, without affecting other components in the aircraft. This eliminates high costs for hardware, fitting and certification and enables the system to be transferred immediately for further use in leased aircraft as well. An integrated LTE modem allows rapid wireless updates of content while the aircraft is on the ground.

“BoardConnect Portable was unveiled in the fall of 2015, and right from the start there was great interest particularly from niche airlines with smaller fleets,” reported Olivier Krüger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “But the flexible use and reliability of the application won over other, larger airlines as well. We are proud that we were able to gain a customer like Eurowings in such a short period of time and install Portable so quickly on the entire fleet.”

  • Napster is the first streaming service in Germany to offer in-flight music
  • The complete offerings include music and audio books for adults and children in Lufthansa’s in-flight entertainment system
  • The partnership is set to begin in Summer 2016

Frankfurt, Germany | July 18, 2016– Napster has taken over the skies as the first music streaming service in Germany! Streaming services are enjoying increasingly more popularity, whether at home, on the way to work, at the gym or on vacation at the beach. To enjoy the diverse range of music in the air, Napster and Lufthansa Systems have formed a strategic partnership. Lufthansa Systems is one of the world’s leading suppliers in the Airline Industry and already equips a variety of airlines across the globe with its innovative BoardConnect platform, as well as the corresponding entertainment content. Through Lufthansa System’s BoardConnect, Napster will offer passengers selected playlists and audiobooks for adults and children, making traveling more enjoyable and entertaining. By this summer, Napster and Lufthansa Systems together want to equip the first airline with the service, Eurowings.

Aside from having access to the extensive selection of music and audio books from Napster, the greatest feature is that passengers will no longer have to use the built-in aircraft screens to access the media content, but will also be able to connect their own smartphones or tablets with BoardConnect via onboard WLAN. With this connection, users can enjoy a selection from the music-streaming pioneer. The Napster playlists, as well as audio books will be updated monthly and provide plenty of popular and up-to-date content for all ages.

Patric Niederländer, Vice President of Business Development Europe at Napster, said of the cooperation with Lufthansa Systems, “Napster has always stood for innovation. We are pleased to have developed, together with our partner Lufthansa Systems, an attractive proposition with which we move into another business segment. Our aim is to offer all music lovers the best and most multifaceted listening experience – whether on the ground or in the air.”

“Diverse onboard entertainment programs are increasingly becoming a competitive advantage for airlines,” says Olivier Krüger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “We are pleased to have found in Napster an important partner, who brings with it its music expertise and will in the future provide our BoardConnect platform with an exciting program.”

In addition to the selected music program on board, Napster will initially offer all Euro Wings passengers discounts after their flight. That means that all passengers who register during the flight can then enjoy three months of Napster for just one euro and discover new music through playlists, recommendations and advice. Favorite artists, albums or single tracks, as well as individually created playlists, can be stored and easily managed in the user archive. Favorite songs and albums can also be accessed by up to three devices, i.e. smartphones, tablets or computers with iOS, Android or Windows operating systems. The premium service also allows users to download individual songs, albums, or playlists to access offline, which requires no mobile data or Wi-Fi – the perfect solution for enjoying music on the move. The completely ad-free catalog of more than 40 million music tracks, as well as the more than 15,000 audio books of all genres for users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, leaves nothing to be desired.

Napster Deutschland – Stephanstraße 5 – 60313 Frankfurt am Main

  • Portable IFE solution for short- and medium-haul flights and innovative mCabin crew app

Raunheim/Hamburg, Germany | April 4, 2016– Lufthansa Systems today announced that it will present its multi-award-winning BoardConnect wireless infotainment platform – both the classic version and the all-in-one BoardConnect Portable – at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg. The IFE platform now offers shop functionalities which enable airlines to place offers from partner companies in order to generate additional revenues. Visitors to AIX can also find out about the innovative mCabin crew app, which is now available for Windows 10 as well.

In order to keep pace with current developments in the industry, airlines are looking for low-cost solutions which give their passengers an individualized and contemporary travel experience. Lufthansa Systems has addressed these needs by developing BoardConnect Portable. “Our all-in-one solution allows airlines to offer their passengers a cutting-edge IFE system without having to invest in expensive hardware,” said Norbert Müller, Senior Vice President BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems.

BoardConnect Portable is even easier to use and more flexible than the conventional BoardConnect solution. Its advantage is that all of the technical components needed for an IFE system – such as a server and access points – are combined in a single device, the Mobile Streaming Unit (MSU). An MSU is about the size of a conventional tablet, weight less than 1.5 kg and can supply up to 50 passengers with top-quality streamed content. Since MSUs qualify as non-permanently installed equipment, airlines don’t incur high installation and certification costs.

As with the conventional BoardConnect systems, passengers can use an app to stream content to their own tablets or smartphones during a flight – including video and audio on demand, games, a shop and a moving map with points of interest (POI) relating to various topics.The open platform architecture allows for an easy integration of services that generate additional revenue for the airlines and their partners, such as hotel bookings, tickets for events or places of interest at the destination and additional advertising.

BoardConnect Portable is already proving popular: Lufthansa’s subsidiary Eurowings will use the product in the future so that it can offer its customers on-board entertainment even on short- and medium-haul flights. The portable solution from Lufthansa Systems is also one of the finalists in this year’s Crystal Cabin Award in the “Electronic Systems” category. This renowned industry award is traditionally presented during AIX.

Visitors to the trade fair can also find out about the innovative mCabin crew app, which has recently become available for Windows 10. Lufthansa Systems further developed this software solution so that it can be used on Microsoft’s new universal Windows platform (UWP), which enables crews to access all of the software’s functions through a comfortable, intuitive user interface regardless of the device.

mCabin provides the cabin team with all of the passenger service information they need, including a passenger manifest complete with information about the passengers’ seats, status, food preferences and special requirements. mCabin’s features include interactive duty rosters as well as an option for adding notes to documents such as crew briefings and synchronizing them via an existing Internet connection. Thanks to its powerful reporting capabilities, incidents on board can be immediately processed digitally. And to bring mobility to IFE, the BoardConnect crew front-end is being integrated into mCabin.

  • Lufthansa Systems enters into partnership with Canada’s premier research and technology organization

Raunheim, Germany | September 29, 2015– Lufthansa Systems announced today that they have entered into a strategic partnership with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). Under the agreement, the aviation IT specialist will make its BoardConnect in-flight entertainment solution available for use in the research facility’s cabin simulator. At the same time, specialists from both organizations will collaborate on the further development of the innovative IFE system.

The National Research Council is currently building a brand new Cabin Comfort and Environment Research facility. The facility has been designed to authentically simulate the entire airport and aircraft environment, from check-in to cabin – including vibration, noise and in-flight entertainment. It will assist airlines, aircraft manufacturers and other aviation industry suppliers to investigate the passengers’ travel experience and develop new technologies to improve their comfort and satisfaction before, during and after the flight.

With BoardConnect, NRC will be able to offer its airline customers a proven IFE system that is already in service with international airlines. For its part, Lufthansa Systems will gain an opportunity to showcase its wireless IFE platform in an authentic and pioneering environment. Both existing and potential customers will be able to test the system live in a modern, high-quality setting.

“We plan to cooperate closely with the National Research Council in the future in terms of features and functionalities,” says Norbert Müller, Senior Vice President BoardConnect. “Like ourselves, NRC has many highly capable software developers. This partnership will enable us to benefit from each other’s expertise and experience and has the potential to greatly enhance the creative development of our BoardConnect platform in the future.”

The research center, currently under construction in Ottawa, Canada, will open its doors during the summer of 2016. BoardConnect is expected to be installed by the end of this year.

  • The mobile payment solution SK100 of YouTransactor facilitates the payment of in-flight entertainment services designed by Lufthansa Systems for airlines.

Portland, Oregon, APEX EXPO | September 29, 2015– GMX YouTransactor, the software publisher and hardware manufacturer of mobile payment solutions for transport operators, and Lufthansa Systems GmbH & Co. KG, one of the world’s leading providers of IT services for the airline industry, announce today at APEX Expo the joint demonstration of their solutions.

Airline companies are offering to their passengers a great diversity of in-flight entertainment (IFE) services. Besides enriching passengers’ travel experience, the wireless IFE platform BoardConnect also makes cabin crew’s live easier and increases airline business options. During a flight, passengers can enjoy a variety of entertainment like movies or music. Additionally, airlines can communicate with their passengers while generating additional revenues at the same time.

To demonstrate how much payment of BoardConnect IFE services can be facilitated, Lufthansa Systems has selected the SK100 mobile payment solution from GMX YouTransactor. The solution empowers cabin crew’s capabilities to offer user-friendly payment options (contactless NFC, mag stripe, chip & pin and cash) via the use of a BoardConnect WiFi-connected compact handheld device.

  • APEX 2015: New version of the IFE solution especially for short- and medium-haul flights

Raunheim | September 28, 2015– Lufthansa Systems today announced that it will showcase a new version of BoardConnect Portable, its multiple award-winning in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution, at this year’s APEX in Portland, Oregon. Visitors to the trade fair can also get the latest on new features for the BoardConnect wireless infotainment platform and the mCabin crew app.

BoardConnect Portable is even easier to use and more flexible than the conventional BoardConnect solution. The portable version is designed for carriers wishing to avoid high capital outlay in permanently installed hardware and install IFE mainly in smaller aircraft that are used for short- and medium-haul flights. The advantage of the new all-in-one solution is that all of the technical components needed for an IFE system – such as a server and access points – are combined in a single device, the Mobile Streaming Unit (MSU). An MSU can supply up to 50 passengers with top-quality streamed content. This means that in narrow-body aircraft two to three MSUs are sufficient to provide all passengers with a special IFE experience.

Another positive aspect is the ease of installation. An MSU is about the size of a conventional tablet and weighs less than 1,5 kg, so there is no need for elaborate cabling. MSUs therefore qualify as non-permanently installed equipment and can be mounted or removed without affecting other components in the aircraft, for example in the galley. This eliminates high costs for hardware, fitting and certification – plus in leased aircraft the system can be transferred immediately for further use. What is more, an integrated modem allows rapid wireless updates of content while the aircraft is on the ground.

Italy’s Air Dolomiti will be the first carrier to use the new flexible IFE solution BoardConnect Portable. The provider and the airline recently signed a corresponding letter of intent for further cooperation.

The conventional BoardConnect system is a wireless IFE solution that passengers can use to stream content to their own tablets or smartphones during a flight with an app. The solution’s established features include video and audio on demand, games, a shop and a moving map with points of interest (POI) relating to various topics. But BoardConnect is more than a conventional IFE system: it enables airlines to provide their passengers with additional services along the entire travel chain. With the new On-Ground Portal, passengers can now see what entertainment will be available on board even before their flight and find their favorite movies or put together playlists of their favorite music. Furthermore, other services to generate additional revenue for the airlines and their partners, such as hotel bookings, tickets for events or places of interest at the destination plus additional advertising, can be straightforwardly integrated thanks to the open platform architecture.

Visitors to the APEX can also find out more about the mCabin crew app. mCabin is a state-of-the-art, professional tool that supports cabin attendants in all stages and processes before, during and after a flight. The app contains information for the in-flight service such as a list of all passengers together with details of passenger seat numbers, status, meal preferences and special assistance. For crew management mCabin’s features include interactive duty rosters, briefing documents and the assignment of working positions based on the flight attendants’ qualifications. Thanks to its powerful reporting capabilities, incidents on board can be immediately processed digitally. Via an existing Internet connection the crew can also promptly communicate important information directly to flight operations. Another new feature is that it is now also possible to display a number of services on the new Microsoft Band and Windows phones. The mCabin crew app is compatible with BoardConnect and its operations can be synchronized.

Visit Lufthansa Systems at this year’s APEX in Portland from September 28 through October 1, stand # 1029, Hall A.

  • Maximum flexibility with BoardConnect: Lufthansa Systems offers Neos individual content for passengers from different tour operators

Raunheim | September 23, 2015– Lufthansa Systems today announced that the Italian airline Neos will soon offer its passengers innovative in-flight entertainment (IFE) via the wireless BoardConnect infotainment system. The IFE platform from Lufthansa Systems enables passengers to access information, entertainment and services on their own devices. The two companies recently signed a five-year contract for the solution.

“We were won over by the system’s reliability and 100-percent in-flight availability. With BoardConnect we can offer our passengers exactly the kind of modern in-flight entertainment that matches our brand,” said Carlo Stradiotti, CEO of Neos.

The wireless BoardConnect IFE solution enables passengers to access a wide range of entertainment content during a flight, including movies, TV shows, music and games, by connecting to a WiFi network through an app on their own tablets or smartphones. The system also includes a shop and a moving map with points of interest (POI) relating to various subjects.

Neos is an airline that offers a variety of services and as such benefits in different ways from the flexibility of the BoardConnect IFE system. Neos usually flies with passengers who have booked trips through different travel providers. BoardConnect makes it possible to offer these passenger groups different content. Neos also operates full charter flights and can now provide these customers with a special service: In addition to the existing entertainment program offered through BoardConnect, additional content relating to the travel destination or the company organizing the charter flight, for example, can now be included in the system at short notice.

“Neos is the latest European airline after Lufthansa and EL AL to opt for our BoardConnect IFE solution,” said Marco Cesa, Senior Vice President Regional Management EMEA at Lufthansa Systems. “We are especially pleased that Neos is taking full advantage of the platform’s flexibility to offer individualized services to its customers as required.”

BoardConnect will initially be installed in the three Boeing 767-300ER aircraft in the Neos fleet. The agreement covers BoardConnect itself as well as additional certification regarding the extended functionalities of the IFE system in this aircraft by Lufthansa Technik. The two subsidiaries of the Lufthansa Group are working very closely together in this context to offer their customer a full-service installation of the new IFE solution.

Neos is the official airline of the Italian tourism company Alpitour. The airline is based in Somma Lombardo and specializes in flights for various travel providers. It carries passengers to numerous European and intercontinental destinations with its fleet of six Boeing 737-800W and three 767-300ER aircraft.

Caption (Copyright Lufthansa Systems): With BoardConnect passengers can enjoy in-flight entertainment on their own devices.

  • Award-winning wireless solution sets new standard in in-flight entertainment

Kelsterbach, Germany | October 23, 2013–EL AL Israel Airlines has selected the wireless in-flight entertainment system BoardConnect to offer its passengers a rich choice of entertainment and information on its flights. The award winning solution will be installed on 10 Boeing 737 and 2 Boeing 767. BoardConnect sets a new standard in in-flight entertainment. Using their laptops, tablet PCs or smartphones EL AL passengers will be able to access on-demand audio and video and other content.

“BoardConnect represents a very essential asset to our overall product enhancement strategy. With BoardConnect we will be able to offer our passengers a significantly advanced travel experience”, said Elyezer Shkedy, CEO of EL AL. “EL AL is one of the first airlines worldwide and the first airline that provides this service from Israel to Europe and vice versa, which offer sophisticated in-flight infotainment not only on wide-body aircraft, but on 737-class aircraft as well. This gives us a significant competitive advantage.”

“We are proud that EL AL as one of the leading Middle East carriers has selected BoardConnect”, said Stefan Hansen, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “This award-winning solution is a great example of successful innovation by Lufthansa Systems. It is a revolution in IFE, which not only takes in-flight entertainment to a new level but opens up entirely new ways how airlines communicate and interact with their passengers on-board.”

Lufthansa Systems BoardConnect sets a new standard in many respects. Unlike conventional in-flight entertainment systems for commercial aircraft, BoardConnect does not require any complicated wiring for each seat. Instead, it works with a regular WLAN and depending on aircraft size needs only two to five access points in the cabin to stream a broad variety of content to every passenger’s device. The solution is user-friendly and impressively versatile. It can be used with iOS, Android, Windows 8 as well as conventional Windows or Apple devices.

BoardConnect is more flexible than conventional in-seat IFE systems for commercial aircraft. The installation doesn’t need an extensive downtime like a major overhaul or a cabin refurbishment. This saves costs and allows for a fast rollout of the product. Less complexity and of-the-shelve components lead to high reliability and lower maintenance cost for BoardConnect. Additionally it is not only a high performance solution but also lightweight, if compared with embedded in-seat IFE. This means for a Boeing 737 an airline will save about 50 tons of fuel per aircraft per year.

See you at Aircraft Interiors America in Seattle? Today, the The Seating & IFE Integration Symposium begins at the Washington State Convention Center and the event and is a one day feature wherein industry experts lead presentations and debates on the evolving relationship between the seat and inflight entertainment & connectivity systems. The floor opens Tuesday night with a preview and for two days following will accommodate visitors. By the way, there is a new AIX App.

Before we get into the ‘meat’ of this IFExpress, we wanted to give some mention to Mark Thompson, (CEO, Thompson Aerospace) and his team at APEX for their clever promotions, and while this is not the medium to cover promotions, Thompson Aerospace concocted an easy way for attendees to build their own advertising banner for his IFE system, built on the spot by the attendee (get the message?),  and offered an Internet tablet to the advert that got the most ‘hits’ at the show on their system. Not to be outdone by his tablet deal was the ‘Free Money’ campaign (Our words not his) that rewarded everyone that heard his spiel with a gold $1 coin. He was telling airlines that advertising and promotion on his IFE was like free money. You bet he had our attention… free money, we liked it!

At APEX, Lufthansa Systems had their official press briefing on the sale announcement of their BoardConnect IFE system to parent company airline, Lufthansa. The deal covers some 20 Lufthansa A321 aircraft and will begin in the summer of 2014 and Lufthansa Technik will carry out installation. To date, the company noted that there are some 30 active BoardConnect aircraft flying. Presently, the BoardConnect shop is up and running and the BoardConnect folks are looking into progressive developments like NFC and content upgrades such as games and onboard advertising. BoardConnect is focusing on single aisle installations in a retrofit application while they, no doubt, will also work on twin aisle solutions. “Line-fit is our eventual goal,” according to Dr. Jorg Waber, Corporate Communications. We note that the Lufthansa Systems solution uses an app-based approach to content delivery (User download on board or on-ground) and thus DRM requirements are met for Early-Window content. Further, their moving map solution is imbedded in the app and does not rely on browser-based workings inside passenger PED’s. We will have more on Lufthansa Systems developing IFE solutions in the future. Stay Tuned.

No IFE exposition would be complete without the creative new product concepts from Geoff (and Claire) Underwood of IFPL. The crew was in true form at APEX this year and two new product concepts stood out – their Contactless Retail System (CRS) and their answer to a magnetic breakaway earphone jack. The Contactless Retail solution is ingenious, as it does not require seat power to read credit cards (NFC) or communicate with the head-end for information storage and credit card charge updates. It does so through a battery that only requires changing every 5 years (guaranteed). The seatback device (about the size of an iPod) uses E Ink (electrophoretic) display technology for a readable and low power screen. Need to charge for seat power, drinks, food… here is your answer. Unused, the display goes to sleep but awake, it ‘talks’ via a low power wireless connection to the front-end cabin crew terminal. The unit only powers up when activated by a user at the seat. This product ought to get some award at a future show as it breaks a lot of barriers for display technology, power, and communication technology. We also note that their breakaway headset jack has a new magnetic solution… it uses only one magnet and gives virtually 180 degrees of breaking direction. This is a great product and it simplifies the issues surrounding magnets and positioning them on the jack and plug… not to mention weight and price.

Quite by accident, the IFExpress team ran into Todd Hamblin (VP Business Development) at APEX and he gave us a pretty convincing reason as to why we should run a story on his company, Global Aerospace Design Corp. After a little research we thought it a good idea as well. Firstly and right up front, we don’t do many stories about after sale, new cabin reconfiguration projects (like IFE and connectivity), but these folks have been doing this kind of work for years now and our readers might need some help from them. With partners like Zodiac, Astronics, Thales, Avio and others, we thought we had better listen to their story.

From a description point of view, Global Aerospace is an engineering services organization that provides aircraft integration and certification services to airlines, maintenance repair organizations, and aviation equipment manufacturers. A complete list of services relating to certification and installation are as follows:  Consulting, Program Management, Purchasing, Installation Design, Certification Support, On-Site Installation Support, Product Support and Business Development. Further Global provides its customers the ability to install new systems into existing aircraft and return the aircraft to revenue service in the most efficient manner. If you want to look at it this way, Global takes care of the installation and certification process after your hardware is sold to an airline and you might want to contact them for background info or specification updates. “Global is comprised of ex-airline personnel who are experts at aircraft integration and certification, and have a complete understanding of how the system will be maintained once on the aircraft,” explained Mr. Hamblin. “With the benefit of having DERs, certified A&P mechanics and licensed pilots on staff, Global can truly take a program from beginning to end.”

We sought out an airline reference to back up Mr. Hamblin’s praise of their services and we got this quote from Mr. Tahawar Durrani, GM of Engineering Services at Air Nugini – “On behalf of Air Niugini Engineering Services, I would like to thank all the Global team for a job well done. They have a professional, hardworking and dedicated team with a high sense of duty, engineering acumen and spirit to work effectively in an environment with competing milestones and alternating time-lines.” Global has over 30 years of efficient FAA and EASA certification experience. If you have the job of installing and certificating IFE and Wi-Fi or need to understand the process, be sure to give Todd Hamblin a call at +1 513 304 9315 (thamblin@gadc.com) and check out this link (Icelandair Partnership and Global Data Sheet) for a bit more information about their experience and services. All the new single-aisle IFE and connectivity hardware shown at APEX is going to need install and certification assistance and these folks in Cincinnati, Ohio just may be your installation solution.

An old friend popped up at APEX, Peter McLaughlin (see this week’s IFEC Buzz). As CEO of Stellar Entertainment, Peter has an airline past at Qantas and we first met him there in the early 90’s. This fellow knows the IFE business and showed a few new products the Stellar team is flogging. One caught our eye – their Home-to-Hotel digital Newspaper & Magazine service. But there’s more and we will cover their offering in a future Hot Topic. By the way, they will also be at AIX Hamburg 2014!

Last week we noted these new BOSE QuietComfort 20 headsets and here is link to the official image and the press release/spec.


— Award-winning wireless solution sets new trend in in-flight entertainment

Kelsterbach, Germany | July 8, 2013– At the 6th China Inflight Entertainment & Communications Summit 2013 in Shanghai Lufthansa Systems is presenting its award-winning wireless in-flight entertainment system BoardConnect. Unlike conventional in-flight entertainment systems for commercial aircraft, BoardConnect does not require any complicated wiring for each seat. Instead, it works with a regular WLAN based on the established WiFi standard and needs only a few access points in the cabin to deliver a broad variety of content to every passenger. The innovative IFE solution has attracted interest from airlines all over the world including several Chinese carriers. “China is a very promising market for us, not only because of the strong growth, but because airlines and their customers are very receptive for innovative technologies”, said Olivier Krueger, SVP Regional Management Asia/Pacific at Lufthansa Systems.

BoardConnect sets a new standard in in-flight entertainment. Using their laptops, tablets PC or smartphones passengers are able to access on-demand audio and video as well as information about their destination. Using the eReader functionality of BoardConnect passengers can read electronic magazines in many languages including Chinese while airlines will be able to reduce the number and weight of magazines and newspapers they carry onboard. BoardConnect is impressively versatile. It can be used with iOS, Android and conventional Windows devices including Windows 8 operating system.

“BoardConnect is the great example of successful innovation. It was developed with a strong focus on ease of use and operations, maximum flexibility and low lifecycle cost”, said Norbert Mueller, Senior Vice President BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems. “In all these aspects it is superior to conventional IFE systems.” The installation doesn’t need an extensive downtime like a major overhaul or a cabin refurbishment. Instead it can be done during regular maintenance checks. This saves costs and allows for a fast rollout of the product.

Additionally, the trend-setting solution is less complex and uses of-the-shelve components. This means high reliability and lower maintenance cost. Since BoardConnect is lighter than conventional IFE systems, airlines can also achieve considerable fuel savings with it.

– Strong rise in revenues with external customers – Pioneering work in cloud computing

Kelsterbach, Germany | March 18, 2013– Lufthansa Systems today announced that it ended the past business year with a further increase in its revenues and earnings. The company generated revenues of EUR 609 million (+1.7%) with an operating result of EUR 21 million (+10.5%) in 2012. Revenues with external customers rose by 11.3% to EUR 256 million. Although the market for IT services in the airline industry was particularly affected by price pressures and difficult growth prospects, Lufthansa Systems succeeded in closing contracts with a volume of EUR 649 million in 2012, thus laying the foundations for further profitable growth.

“The revenue increase with a growing number of external customers and our high volume of incoming orders show that we have significantly improved our competitive position through restructuring and the changes initiated in the context of the Lufthansa Group’s SCORE program,” said Stefan Hansen, CEO of Lufthansa Systems AG. “We want to achieve above- average growth in the German market and the international airline business in the coming years.” Thanks to its customer focus, rapid decision-making and great agility, Lufthansa Systems is able to react quickly to its customers’ needs. “We’re proud of our high degree of technological expertise, but the decisive factor for our customers is that this enables us to promptly develop customized solutions with high added value for them.”

Through numerous contracts with new and existing customers, Lufthansa Systems was able to further expand its leading role in the airline IT sector over the past year. Lufthansa Passage, Lufthansa Cargo and Star Alliance renewed their contracts for the management of their worldwide data networks based on SkyConnect. Malaysia Airlines was another customer opting for this product. The Air France-KLM Group and Ryanair were acquired as important new customers for the Lido/Flight flight planning solution. Singapore Airlines extended its contract for another eight years. Numerous airlines opted for myIDTravel, the integrated solution for managing staff travel which is already being used by more than 160 airlines worldwide.

Hansen sees particularly high potential outside the airline industry. Here, Lufthansa Systems concluded consultancy contracts with Volkswagen in 2013 and is taking over the operation of all business-critical credit card processes for the travel management specialists AirPlus. The Hamburg Port Authority commissioned additional services from the company as part of its project to update the port railway IT network to ensure the continued operation of the railway in the face of a growing volume of goods and limited capacity. “Innovation, years of project experience and our comprehensive understanding of complex business processes make us a very desirable partner,” Hansen said. “We’re aiming for disproportionately high growth in the German market in the coming years.”

“Our continued high volume of incoming orders is the result of our consistent focus on the market and on customers on all levels,” Hansen explained. “Our goal is to make our customers more competitive. This is why we continually invest in the development of new products and services using the latest technologies.”

A company defined by innovation

The Guest Service Portal is of one the innovative solutions successfully launched by Lufthansa Systems last year. The first integrated entertainment and business intelligence platform for the hospitality industry has sparked a great deal of interest internationally. The Guest Service Portal makes travel more comfortable, facilitates communication between guests and service staff during the entire trip and improves service processes. Shortly after the market launch, well-known customers from the cruise ship industry like Hurtigruten opted for the solution.

The BoardConnect wireless in-flight entertainment solution has set a new technological trend by enabling passengers to access a wide range of information and entertainment options using their own tablets, laptops or smartphones. BoardConnect received two coveted international innovation awards in 2012. The solution is already being tested by the launch customer, Condor, as well as by Virgin Australia. Lufthansa carried out tests on an Airbus A320, and further discussions are currently underway with this airline and other potential customers.

Within the Lufthansa Group, too, Lufthansa Systems is an important innovation driver. In the context of the Lido@LH project, all Group airlines are migrating their flight planning to Lido/Flight. Together with harmonized dispatch processes and the establishment of a central dispatch center, this will lead to significant cost reductions in the Group. To better meet the specific requirements of the Group, Lufthansa Systems established the new Lufthansa Infrastructure profit center at the start of 2013.

Leading position in cloud computing

Lufthansa Systems places special emphasis on quickly identifying and taking advantage of new technologies and IT trends, especially cloud computing. “In this technically challenging field, we’re a pioneer when it comes to making the technology available to our customers,” Hansen said. “We intend to expand our position through continual investment and innovation.”

Thanks to its global network of modern data centers, Lufthansa Systems is in an outstanding position to fulfil the individual security and compliance requirements of a wide range of customers. The company has a great advantage in that its data centers are designed to meet the high security standards of the aviation industry. Lufthansa Systems has already achieved a virtualization rate of 85 percent in its data centers.

– Wireless access to information and entertainment on short- and medium-haul flights

Kelsterbach, Germany | December 4, 2012 — Lufthansa German Airlines today began testing the BoardConnect in-flight entertainment system from Lufthansa Systems on an Airbus A320 stationed in Munich. The Lufthansa Systems solution, which Lufthansa offers as “my mediaworld”, will enable passengers in business and economy class on flights from Munich to 34 short- and medium-haul destinations to watch Hollywood films, read digital newspapers and look up information about their destinations. The service is available via laptop, tablet computer or smartphones which can connect to the on-board infotainment server.

Unlike conventional in-flight entertainment systems, BoardConnect does not require any complicated fixed wiring for each seat. Instead, it works with a regular WLAN based on the established standard, meaning that just a few access points need to be installed in the cabin. This makes it possible for the first time to offer passengers on short- and medium-haul aircraft such as the Airbus A320 family and the Boeing 737 an extensive range of information and entertainment. Such aircraft currently make up two thirds of the entire global fleet.

“Airlines can leverage the BoardConnect technology to distinguish themselves clearly from their competition also on shorter routes,” said Norbert Müller, Program Manager BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems. “By offering a wide range of information and entertainment for their passengers, airlines are setting new service standards.”

Since almost no wiring is required to transmit data in the cabin, airlines can install BoardConnect during routine maintenance or night stops without the need for additional ground time. Conventional IFE systems, on the other hand, require several weeks of downtime. Consequently, installation and maintenance costs and efforts are much lower.

It enables airlines to offer a wide range of information and entertainment that can be updated quickly and easily. The solution also presents airlines with an opportunity to introduce new personalized on-board services and generate additional revenue through in-flight sales, for example.

BoardConnect received two coveted awards this year: Lufthansa Systems won the Crystal Cabin Award at the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2012 in Hamburg for this innovative solution, and in September the product received the prestigious Avion Award at the Apex Expo as “Best Single Achievement in Passenger Experience (Vendor)”.

– Wireless IFE solution named Best Single Achievement in Passenger Experience / Second major industry award in a row

Long Beach/Kelsterbach | September 18, 2012 — Lufthansa Systems received the aviation industry’s coveted Avion Award at a gala ceremony during the APEX EXPO 2012 in Long Beach last night. The IT provider’s wireless in-flight entertainment system, BoardConnect, was voted Best Single Achievement in Passenger Experience (Vendor) by a jury of experts from the airline passenger experience industry and members of the media, ranking it first in a strong field of “game-changing” services and solutions. The jury praised BoardConnect as the single most important innovation influencing the passenger experience in the last year.

Norbert Müller, Head of Program Management BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems, stated, “This prize is an accolade for our efforts to develop a true innovation enabling an entire aircraft full of passengers to access wireless entertainment right from their own mobile devices. Today we have aircraft in regular operations where more than 250 passengers stream content to their PEDs at the same time, and this is not the end. The award shows that our idea has landed in the industry.”

BoardConnect is a wireless in-flight entertainment system that comprises a server on board the aircraft and a few wireless access points throughout the cabin. BoardConnect offers audio and video on demand on wireless-enabled passenger electronic devices as well as embedded screens in the aircraft cabin. This innovative solution is extremely cost-efficient and reliable, and it enables airlines to offer a wide range of information and entertainment that can be updated quickly and easily. BoardConnect also opens up the opportunity for new personalized on-board services and new ways of generating revenue through in-flight sales, for example.

Since no wiring is required to transmit data in the cabin, airlines can install Board Connect during routine maintenance or night stops without the need for additional ground time. The solution is also extremely reliable and incurs much lower operating costs than previous systems. The elimination of wiring and data transmission hardware can reduce the weight significantly which also result in fuel savings.

The Avion Award is the second major industry award for BoardConnect this year. At the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg in March, the solution already won the prestigious Crystal Cabin Award 2012.

If you think this week’s SPEAKERS’ CORNER is an IFE history lesson, you might be wrong. The article penned by Dr. Jorg Liebe, Lufthansa Systems CIO, is more about where IFE is going than where it has been. IFExpress asked Dr. Liebe to give us a view from the LHS streaming, Wi-Fi-based IFE perspective and we expect you will get an insight into the next phase of onboard entertainment. And, if you get a chance to meet our “speaker”, be sure to do so, besides being a knowledgeable expert, he is one nice individual!

The Evolution of In-Flight Entertainment – by Dr. Jorg Liebe

While the first in-flight movie was shown in 1921 to passengers onboard Aeromarine Airways, it took almost another 40 years before in-flight movies were offered on a regular basis to passengers on-board an aircraft. The invention of automated 16 mm film projection technology not requiring a projectionist to show movies was the cornerstone technology to enable this development.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, CRT-based projectors distributed throughout the cabin began to appear, offering in-flight movies not only projected on a screen at the front of a cabin, but making in-flight movies reasonably visible to all passengers. The first in-seat system was developed in 1988, using 2.7-inch LCD technology to offer audio / video content to an individual passenger.

At the turn of the century new systems appeared, offering for the first time on-demand content to passengers, thus enabling them to choose from a variety of movies and other content options, including which movie(s) to watch, and when during the flight to watch them.

At the same time live TV content was streamed for the first time to passenger’s individual screens. For the last 40 years, the evolution of in-flight entertainment has been from communal screens to individual seat-back screens, and from linear broadcast of content to audio and video on demand. Screen size has grown, picture quality improved, and as content storage capability increases, airlines race to increase the volume of content stored, often offering hundreds of hours of content to passengers. All this tremendously benefited the passenger who was required to remain more or less fastened to his/her seat, and whose attention was now occupied as time passed on-board an aircraft.

However, the systems airlines installed on-board became more and more complex. Most IFE systems in operation today are hardwired from a so-called head-end system all the way to the in-seat screens or drop-down screens. The system offers audio and video predetermined or on-demand throughout the cabin based on a head-end system storing all content, and distributing the content through wired connections over switches to seat boxes. The seat boxes in turn disperse the content to the individual screens or drop-down screen, with each seat box covering two or three screens. Failures in the distribution of the signal or the head-end system usually affect many if not all passengers. Also, occasional reboots usually affect groups of passengers.

To reduce systemic failures, suppliers are beginning to include content storage/delivery redundancies in their systems. Secondary paths between the head-end and in-seat screens are being built in, along with zone wiring redundancies. Installation is complex and generally requires substantial time during which the aircraft is out of revenue service. In addition, maintenance is complex and time-consuming as well. Due to the various components distributed throughout the cabin for operation the system weight is substantial, reducing the cargo or passenger capacity of an aircraft and adding to the carbon footprint of the airline.

In order to circumvent some of the issues of wired IFE systems, especially high total cost of ownership and system weight, handheld IFE solutions have sometimes been implemented. Initially flight crews distributed handheld DVD players and content DVDs. In later offerings digital players–purpose-built or consumer-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware repurposed for IFE–with internally stored content were used. Most recently, with the advent of tablet PCs those devices have been hardened and are now offered as handheld IFE devices. One of the biggest shortcomings of handheld solutions is the high logistics and maintenance effort. Especially, recharging of the handheld devices and content updates seem to prevent high implementation rates. Part of this limitation is being mitigated by expansion of in-seat power. Most airlines view handheld solutions especially valuable in cases where remaining aircraft utilization is limited and in turn render other IFE solutions commercially unfeasible. Still, the effort to (re-)charge the devices and update the content needs to be taken into account.

Seat-centric systems are an evolutionary step, being developed primarily based on the experience and feedback of handheld solutions. The idea behind seat-centric systems is to install a handheld device in the seat. Due to the standalone capability of the handheld device, almost no interdependency between individual screens exists. Therefore, only a passenger with a malfunctioning screen is affected—and spares can be made available.

Typically, a seat-centric screen will contain content storage such as one SD card with current content available for passenger screening, and a second SD card to which next month’s content is being loaded in the background over the wired or wireless system from a head-end. In turn, seat-centric systems do not require recharging nor manual content update, thus overcoming the predominant shortcomings of handheld devices. Installation is less complex and maintenance requires less effort due to fewer system components. Also, system weight is drastically reduced, seemingly making seat-centric solutions the new winner.

However, while content is usually updated via wireless LAN, current seat-centric systems are missing live video streaming capabilities. With the advent of live TV, broadcasting current news updates into an aircraft, as well as live streaming of camera views–e.g. cockpit view, tail mount and/or bottom view–such streaming capabilities are becoming increasingly important. To circumvent that issue and adding such capability, installations may add wired connection (screen to screen) to accomplish streaming capabilities as well as content update, however again adding weight and complexity to the setup.

At the time of the development of seat-centric systems, two other trends spurred the development of yet another system idea. On the one hand, passengers often brought their own electronic devices on board. Those devices had initially been primarily notebooks. But with the proliferation of smart phones and tablets, more and more these types of devices are seen in aircraft cabins. As market research shows, nowadays more than 80 % of passengers bring their own screens on board.

On the other hand, those devices are wireless LAN-enabled. And most often not just any wireless LAN, but increasingly a kind of wireless LAN that enables high quality video broadcast. Current wireless LAN systems still supporting previous installations in devices are capable of delivering high quality video content to tens of individual devices from one access point and–adding access points throughout the cabin–to literally hundreds of devices.

Both technology trends enabled a new kind of in-flight entertainment, getting rid of almost all wires altogether and at the same time not requiring in-seat screens. In-flight entertainment is, thus, a matter of providing appropriate software on passenger’s devices to ensure integrity and security of the entertainment content. Now this seemingly addresses all issues previously faced with installing in-flight entertainment systems on board aircraft. The systems contain only a few components, namely a content server ensuring delivery of encrypted content over a couple of wireless LAN access points to devices the passenger brings on board the aircraft.

Obviously installation time is drastically reduced as is maintenance and operational effort. In addition, the system weight is drastically reduced from almost a ton to less than 200 pounds. Also, utilizing passenger devices even enables higher innovation cycles, participating in new, ever-developing, fascinating device capabilities to enable things such as gaming functions based on accelerometers.

In addition to utilizing passenger’s personal electronic devices, developments are underway to develop wireless based in-seat screens. Losing some of the weight reduction – still based on fully functional tablet-type devices such as in-seat screens – enabling a seat-centric approach to in-flight entertainment while maintaining the streaming capability of the system, without adding wires and complex distribution of content, seems to be the logical step forward in in-flight entertainment.

Airlines deploying such a system can rely on every passenger having access to the system while still maintaining fast installation and ease of operation and maintenance. At the same time, new so-called second screen capabilities, to ancillary revenue generation, are available as passengers are still able to utilize their own personal electronic devices.

So what’s next in in-flight entertainment? Well, in-flight Internet is here already. With wireless entertainment and Internet capabilities, new passenger services are just around the corner. The seemingly unreachable passenger “strapped to their set” is suddenly well in reach…

– BoardConnect provides wireless access to a wide range of entertainment and information – cost savings and new revenue opportunities for airlines

Kelsterbach | September 3, 2012– On board a flight from Frankfurt to the Greek island of Rhodes and back, Condor and Lufthansa Systems have unveiled the future of in-flight entertainment for the general public. BoardConnect, the wireless in-flight entertainment system with Condor as its launch customer gives passengers traveling with their own laptops, tablet PCs and smartphones direct access to an extensive range of movies, music and information on board an aircraft. From mid-September, Condor passengers will be able to enjoy this revolutionary technology in a test run. Passengers can check the routes on which BoardConnect is available on board the Boeing 767-300 with the registration D-ABUZ on the Condor website condor.com under “Stars am Himmel.”

“In-flight entertainment is an important part of the travel experience and a way to stand out from the competition, particularly in the leisure segment,” said Rainer Kröpke, Head of Product Management and Marketing for Condor Flugdienst GmbH. “An innovative solution like this just fits with the Condor brand and our goal of offering passengers the most pleasant way to fly.”

“BoardConnect marks a new era in in-flight entertainment, with a broad offering for passengers, greater flexibility and lower costs,” said Norbert Müller, Head of BoardConnect Program Management at Lufthansa Systems AG. “Thanks to the innovative technology, airlines that install BoardConnect will set the standard in in-flight entertainment and will be able to unlock new revenue potential at the same time.”

BoardConnect is a WiFi network that comprises a server on board the aircraft plus several wireless access points in the cabin. This innovative solution is extremely cost-efficient and reliable, and it enables airlines to offer a wide range of information and entertainment that can be updated quickly and easily. BoardConnect also opens up the opportunity for new personalized on-board services and new ways of generating revenue through in-flight sales, for example.

Since no wiring is required to transmit data in the cabin, airlines can install Board Connect during routine maintenance or night stops without the need for additional ground time. The solution is also extremely reliable and incurs much lower operating costs than previous systems. The weight savings generated by the elimination of wiring and data transmission hardware reduce fuel consumption in a Boeing 767-300ER by over 80 metric tons per year.

Lufthansa Systems: Like every good new idea in IFE, wireless systems are now being offered by a number of suppliers. Nonetheless, it’s difficult not to consider the first in that marketplace to be the clear leader–and, yes, we’re talking about Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect.

We talked to the man whose idea it was in Hamburg at AIX, Dr. Joerg Liebe, CIO of Lufthansa Systems and the visionary behind this hot new platform. Lufthansa Systems was the first to offer a complete wireless system– not just a concept. With Condor they were the first supplier to sell wireless to an airline. And with their Virgin America deal were the first to take a big customer away from the reigning IFE platform providers.

The soft-spoken, Southern California-educated Dr Liebe gave us a thorough, candid and thoughtful description of this product and where it’s going. Modestly suggesting that the platform is designed to be sold to airlines which don’t currently have IFE, rather than aimed at taking business away from the IFE duopoly, Dr Liebe says that BoardConnect has three models: 1. A head-end server streaming to airline-provided SDUs. 2. A head-end streaming to airline-provided tablets. 3. A head-end streaming to passenger-owned devices or a combination of these. It should also be noted that some studios have approved early window content streamed from the server to the installed BoardConnect IFE seat units. The approval is only applicable to the BoardConnect system and tablets, but not PEDS; however, to the best of our understanding this is a first!

With sales to both Virgin America and Virgin Australia, and the AIX buzz about a very successful trial with Qantas, Dr Liebe may have to step out from behind his modest facade and brag a little! But somehow that doesn’t seem his style! The BoardConnect concept not only appealed to us but the jury at the Crystal Cabin Awards had the same inclination!

Panasonic: When Panasonic takes on a big project they usually do it right and the process ends up being a long, cautious march to the solution. For just under 10 years now, we have been covering pieces and parts of a global communication offering from the Lake Forrest, CA company. In fact, this is the first year we have gotten solid numbers on customer installations and the non-announcement announcement indicates they have been doing their homework. This story is multi-faceted so we will break it down for you in bullet points because this year’s AIX is where it has all come together. In the press announcement, Panasonic’s David Bruner noted that there was a real tipping point in demand in 2011 for inflight connectivity. Bruner went on to state that every single airline now believes they have to have GSM capability and broadband offerings on their fleet. “Not just big aircraft,” he noted, “but small ones too. And these services need to work exactly the same way in the air as on the ground so there is no passenger learning curve.” Basically, this translates to WiFi, cell connections, and streaming video. All hot products on big and small aircraft – even those with premium entertainment systems.
• Panasonic has been pressing to close out their coverage of the Ku network globally. There is a lot of coverage already in the northern hemisphere and by tying in to IS14 from Intelsat they will snag seamless coverage from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America. This is a key piece to the Panasonic network and it is now in place. Additional capacity has been added to Australia, New Zealand and the Trans Tasman. The General Electric 23 satellite will serve the South East Asia, Australia, and South East Pacific connections.
• Panasonic has also reached commercial agreement with Airbus for line fit on the A380. This means they can eliminate the retrofit costs and they also noted that they will be adding offerability on the A350 as well. Panasonic has been undertaking this objective for the past 4 years. With respect to Boeing and the 787, Panasonic reports they are making progress on the 787 linefit as the result of their work on the 777.
• A major step in any satellite network is the ground connectivity portion. In an investment move, Panasonic elected to take a majority share of an existing satellite service provider, AeroMobile. AeroMobile operates a ground network that manages the relationship between the airline connectivity and the cell phone roaming partner. This feature is what Telenor brings to the party and Panasonic does not have, nor do they want, this additional complexity. As a result, Telenor, a minority shareholder is not leaving and is “absolutely involved in the venture”. AeroMobile switches from satellite to a global telco system on the ground where traffic routing begins. Furthermore, Panasonic provides pure IP traffic to AeroMobile, who translates it out to the network. Today, AeroMobile has a significant number of aircraft flying with Swift Broadband and in effect, AeroMobile is platform agnostic. This represents a great marriage for Panasonic.
• Did we mention that Panasonic announced they have 1300+ aircraft already signed up for their Global Communication Suite? Consequently, Panasonic has been searching for the best broadband network to provide economical service to airlines and passengers. Panasonic is focusing on designing a new Ku band network by providing maximum capability in areas where airplanes fly and none where they do not via spot beam selection. There goal: Maximum bandwidth at the lowest cost. To achieve this they are working with a new un-named partner who is “a player with global capability and of the highest quality in the industry”. This bodes well for eXTV.
• The net result of all this activity will be a service offering beginning in 2015 with North America and the North Atlantic covered first. Europe to Asia will follow and finally all of Asia.
• Along the way, Panasonic developed a Ka Band antenna as a candidate for high through put capacity. The irony was they found that capability in Ku. Noting that the airborne antenna is the most difficult design part of the process, by sticking with Ku very little change occurs to the aircraft – this is a major plus for the airline. (Note: One could assume that Panasonic has found clever ways to gang and steer spot beams in satellites with that capability. Obviously, receiver design plays a significant part in this as well.)
• The majority of the 20+ existing eXPhone customers will continue to work with the Ku equipped aircraft. These include operators like Virgin Atlantic, Malaysia Airlines, and Emirates. Gulf Air and Lufthansa will be onboard soon. We also understand Cathay Pacific, SAS, Turkish Airlines, and Etihad have signed up.

Editor’s Note: Mea Culpa! In case you lost your copy of Wheelock’s Latin, it means we are sorry to the nice folks at D.e.u.t.s.c.h. because we misspelled their name in the last issue of IFExpress. We say it again, “Mea Culpa!”