INMARSAT WINS ‘SATELLITE OPERATOR EXCELLENCE’ ACCOLADE FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR AT AVIATION ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

Inmarsat has taken top honors at the Aviation Achievement Awards, after being crowned winner in the ‘Satellite Operator Excellence’ category for the second consecutive year. The prestigious accolade was presented during an awards ceremony in Dubai, with special praise from the judging panel for Inmarsat’s ‘exceptional leadership, innovation and resilience’ over the past year.

As the aviation industry continues to recover from the unprecedented global impact of Covid-19 on air travel, Inmarsat was hailed for providing outstanding support to customers of its market-leading cockpit and cabin connectivity solutions in both the airline and business aviation markets. It also achieved a number of contract wins, installations and activations, with the latest milestones including:

  • GX Aviation selected by more than 35 airlines (including SAUDIA as a new customer) and activated on over 550 aircraft, with approximately 1,000 additional aircraft in the order book.
  • European Aviation Network(EAN) becoming available on more than 265 aircraft, with Greek national carrier AEGEAN joining British Airways, Iberia and Vueling as a new airline customer.
  • More than 215 aircraft flying with SB-S, with new customers including Cebu Pacific and Tunisair.
  • Thousands of business jets equipped with Jet ConneXand SwiftBroadband.
  • Launch of OneFi airline passenger experience platform to monetize inflight connectivity.

Judges for the awards, which are primarily focused on the Middle East, described Inmarsat as a ‘pioneer of satellite innovation, achieving an impressive number of industry firsts during the last 12 months’. They added that ‘Inmarsat enjoyed another strong year of milestones, from launching I-6 F1, the largest and most sophisticated commercial communications satellite, to unveiling it to transformative ORCHESTRA network, which draws together the benefits of multiple technologies to create one cohesive solution’.

Neale Faulkner, Inmarsat Aviation’s Regional Vice President Europe, Middle East and Africa (MEASA), said “Inmarsat prides itself on being a customer-centric organization and we are delighted that the Aviation Achievement Awards have once again acknowledged the outstanding service we provide, alongside our world-class partner ecosystem, to both airline and business aviation customers. Although Covid-19 has continued to impact air travel during the last 12 months, conditions are improving thanks to the re-opening of borders and easing of travel restrictions, which is helping to boost passenger numbers.

“Inmarsat is excited about the fundamental role that connectivity will play in this exciting new era for aviation, from providing an enhanced onboard experience that boosts passenger confidence and unlocks new revenue opportunities for airlines, to transforming operations and safety by powering concepts such as ‘4D’ trajectories and electronic flight bags. Our latest innovations, such as the ELERA and ORCHESTRA networks that were also praised by the award judges, will further enhance our capabilities and unlock even more innovations for decades to come.”

Kenneth Mitchen, Executive Director at Creative Middle East Media, organizer of the Aviation Achievement Awards, said “Satellite connectivity has played a vital role in aviation for many years now and its importance has only grown since the global pandemic. For airline and business aviation passengers, connectivity is keeping them connected with friends, family and colleagues, allowing them to catch up on work or keep entertained with streaming, social media and more, while also supporting a touchless journey onboard the aircraft. It’s also vital for enhancing operations and safety to become more efficient and cost effective. However, to achieve all of this, you need to work with a forward-thinking and innovative satellite operator. Inmarsat has a successful track record of delivering for its customers and we congratulate them on once again winning our Satellite Operator Excellence Award for 2022.” 


INMARSAT AND DEUTSCHE TELEKOM CELEBRATE THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF EUROPEAN AVIATION NETWORK BEING OFFERED COMMERCIALLY BY AIRLINES

Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom are celebrating the third anniversary of their award-winning European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight broadband being offered commercially by airline customers. To date, more than 50 million passengers have enjoyed access to the advanced, high-speed connectivity solution on over 420,000 flights across the continent with British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and AEGEAN.

As Europe’s fastest inflight broadband service, EAN allows passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media, enjoy real-time interactive applications such as gaming, and more. It has marked a paradigm shift in the airline experience, with incomparable speeds, uninterrupted coverage and significantly lower latency than any other inflight Wi-Fi network in the continent.

EAN has now been activated on more than 265 aircraft, including the entire British Airways short-haul fleet. These numbers will continue to grow in the coming years, as final roll-out progresses with Iberia and Vueling – both members of the International Airlines Group (IAG) alongside British Airways – in addition to all of Greek national carrier AEGEAN’s existing and new Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft.

EAN’s popularity reached new heights last year, with record usage as passengers returned to the skies. This aligns with Inmarsat’s latest Passenger Confidence Tracker, the largest global survey of its kind, which found that 41% of the 10,000 respondents believed inflight Wi-Fi had further increased in importance post pandemic. The results also indicated digital solutions that keep passengers connected and minimize their contact with cabin crew and fellow travelers are helping to boost travel confidence.

Philippe Carette, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Back in March 2019, British Airways became the first airline to make our EAN inflight broadband service commercially available to passengers. It has since been joined by Iberia, Vueling and most recently AEGEAN, which have all been able to delight passengers with the highest standard of connectivity on short and medium haul flights. EAN has played an important role in enhancing their onboard experience, unlocking new revenue opportunities for airlines and instilling greater confidence in air travel following the pandemic. We’re delighted to celebrate this anniversary with our partners and customers, especially at a time when passenger usage of EAN is now higher than ever before, showing an increased desire to stay connected post Covid-19.”

Rolf Nafziger, Senior Vice President, Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier and Global Business, said: “EAN is Europe’s leading inflight connectivity service for good reason, offering reliable, uninterrupted, high-speed broadband on par with services on the ground. Now, airlines are fighting hard to win back customers, and EAN is the best solution available to meet the needs of their passengers, who want to be connected and entertained onboard. Our joint EAN service with Inmarsat means we can continue to help airlines put their passengers first, by providing the fastest and most reliable connectivity available.”

As the world’s first inflight broadband solution that combines dedicated satellite coverage with a complementary LTE-based ground network, EAN has been developed by Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, and Deutsche Telekom, in partnership with leading European companies such as Thales, Nokia, Airbus, Cobham and Eclipse Technics. Specifically designed to meet the needs of European aviation, it delivers the fastest speeds over one of the world’s most congested airspaces, plus the quickest installation times and easy scalability to meet growing demand in the future.


THALES ALENIA SPACE WITH HELP FROM MICROSOFT DEMONSTRATE ON-ORBIT COMPUTE TECHNOLOGIES ONBOARD THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION TO GATHER UNMATCHED EARTH OBSERVATION INSIGHTS

Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%),  announced a strategic collaboration with Microsoft to explore the enablement of new capabilities in the Space Edge Computing (SEC), Artificial Intelligence Space Observation tools (DeeperVision) and Digital Ground Segment.

In particular, Thales Alenia Space plans to deliver advanced connectivity, analytics and compute in space with Space Edge Computing (SEC) with Microsoft. To this end, the companies will demonstrate and validate on-orbit computing technologies and potentialities onboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2023. Thales Alenia Space will deploy a powerful on-orbit computer, an on-orbit application framework, and high-performance Earth Observation sensors to unlock new on-orbit climate data processing applications for the benefits of our planet sustainability. Thales Alenia Space will work with Microsoft Research in remote sensing, computer vision and climate science to demonstrate the potential of next-generation on-orbit compute for Earth observation. This space edge computing capacity will allow gathering faster, to-the-point Earth observation insights immediately applicable for our planet’s surveillance, understanding and protection.


PLATTSBURG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT SUCCESSFULLY DEPLOYS ANALOGIC’S ConneCT™  CHECKPOINT SECURITY SCREENING SOLUTION

Analogic Corporation announced it has successfully deployed its ConneCT™ Computed Tomography (CT) checkpoint security screening system at a US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint in Plattsburgh International Airport (PBG) in New York. The deployment is part of the TSA’s new Checkpoint Property Screening Systems (CPSS) program which will have Analogic deploy over 300 Mid-size CPSS Systems into airport security checkpoints across the country. Analogic Corporation expects the new CT screening technology to significantly improve both aviation security as well as the passenger experience by providing enhanced 3D images to security officers and by limiting divesture and increasing throughput, all in a touch-free environment.

Tom Ripp, CEO of Analogic said, “This is an important milestone for Analogic because it demonstrates our commitment to advanced technology, to operational efficiency, and to the satisfaction of the traveling public. This is the first true step on the journey toward implementation of totally friction-less security processing.” Mr. Ripp continued: “Coming only months after our contract award, this deployment is a tribute to the hard work of the TSA, the team at Plattsburgh, our airport partners, and Analogic’s dedicated employees.”


ASL ORDERS UP TO 20 ADDITIONAL B737-800 CONVERTED FREIGHTERS TO DRIVE ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

Dublin-headquartered ASL Aviation Holdings (ASL) and Boeing announced an order for up to 20 additional 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF). The agreement is for 10 firm orders and 10 purchase rights.

“This new order is an important element of our fleet renewal program, and we are delighted to expand our partnership with Boeing on the 737-800BCF,” said Dave Andrew, Chief Executive, ASL Aviation Holdings. “The 737-800BCF offers increased reliability and performance, and equally its lower fuel burn reduces our environmental footprint. This is very important to ASL as an aviation group committed to environmental sustainability in aviation.”

This is ASL’s second order for the 737-800BCF and including options, will bring the organization’s total 737-800BCF orders and commitments with Boeing to 40 aircraft. The aircraft will be converted by Boeing at approved MRO sites including STAECO in Jinan, China and at Boeing’s London Gatwick MRO facility in the United Kingdom.

“We are honored to play a crucial role in the fleet renewal underway across ASL Aviation Holdings’ operation,” said Jens Steinhagen, director of Boeing Converted Freighters. “Boeing Converted Freighters support progress towards sustainability goals by providing operators like those under the ASL Group umbrella an economical way to replace less efficient, older-generation freighters.”

The 737-800BCF carries more payload – up to 23.9 tonnes (52,800 lbs.) – and flies farther – 2,025 nautical miles (3,750 km) compared to 737 Classic freighters.

 

 

 

SMARTSKY

Flying Colours Corp. the international maintenance, repair, overhaul, and completions company, signed an agreement with North Carolina-based SmartSky Networks to act as a sales and installation facility for SmartSky’s air-to-ground connectivity equipment.

Sales and installation of the advanced antennas and aircraft base radio will be available through Flying Colours Corp.’ Peterborough, ON. and St. Louis, MO. locations. The continued strengthening of the business aviation sector is driving greater use of connected services for avionics, aircraft health monitoring, and cabin WiFi. This is increasing the demand for inflight connectivity that is dependable, immediate, and secure, and necessitating a wider variety of options for owners and operators.

“Every time we talk to a customer about refurbishment, or completions, we have the connectivity conversation. We already have extensive experience upgrading and installing connectivity equipment, and regularly advise on the most suitable options for a customer’s mission profile. Adding the SmartSky equipment to our roster brings yet another dimension to our offering as it expands the choice for those seeking an unparalleled connectivity experience that supports both the cabin, and the aircraft, in North America,” says Kevin Kliethermes, director of sales, Flying Colours Corp.

The SmartSky Networks’ flagship equipment consists of two sleek antennas and a small aircraft base radio (ABR). The antenna and radio design has been optimized for business aviation use by providing high throughput to and from the aircraft – a key requirement for today’s cloud-native applications and services. Flying Colours Corp. will be providing the entire shipset through SmartSky’s latest Early Arrival promotion, and already has equipment available for immediate installation on many STC’d aircraft types.

“We are pleased to add Flying Colours Corp. to our community of partners and share in their commitment to delivering the highest quality and performance for business aviation’s connectivity needs. Their track record of delivering exceptional aftermarket services, developing STC’s, and installing innovative systems has established Flying Colours Corp. as a sought-after provider for business aviation.”


PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has been named the winner of the 2021 Popular Science Best of What’s New Award in its Aerospace category.

Panasonic Avionics won the award for its eX1 in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution for narrowbody aircraft, featuring Bluetooth audio technology which enables easy connections between wireless headphones and seatback IFE screens. This solution was launched earlier this year on United Airlines’ new Boeing 737 MAX fleet and has also debuted with Cathay Pacific Airways.

Panasonic Avionics’ eX1 IFE Bluetooth solution is available at every seat, across both premium and economy cabins. The company’s unique approach optimizes emitted Bluetooth signal levels to each passenger’s personal living space, significantly reducing the chance of interference or cross-connections between seats. With this new product enhancements, customers can use their personal Bluetooth headphones which has become an increasingly popular trend in the consumer space.

Bluetooth audio is an integral part of Panasonic Avionics’ X Series and NEXT Series IFE systems. Incorporating the latest advancements in antenna design and radio wave forming, Panasonic Avionics’ NEXT Series IFE employs a patented industry leading solution to deliver an augmented cinematic experience in every cabin class.

Popular Science’s Best of What’s New is a definitive list of up to 100 of the most incredible and innovative technologies and products from the past year, with this year being its 34th edition. To win, a product or technology must represent a significant step forward in its category.

To pick the winners, Popular Science’s editors vet thousands of candidates – ranging from feats of engineering to hyper-intelligent software, with an entry process designed to ensure that they learn about the maximum number of technologies and products.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “For over thirty years, these prestigious awards from Popular Science have captured some of the greatest steps forward in innovation and development. Panasonic Avionics is honored to join this select group.”


INMARSAT

Inmarsat celebrated the fifth anniversary of GX Aviation, its most successful passenger inflight broadband service to date. Since entering commercial service in 2016, the award-winning solution has been selected by more than 35 airlines and activated on over 550 aircraft, with approximately 1,000 additional aircraft in the order book.

Powered by Global Xpress (GX), GX Aviation has transformed the airline passenger experience, offering reliable, consistent and high-speed infight connectivity on par with mobile Wi-Fi on the ground. It unlocks a host of new ancillary revenue streams for airlines and ensures they meet rising expectations from passengers to stay connected, browse the internet, stream video and audio, enjoy social media, shop online and more while on a flight.

Millions of passengers have enjoyed access to GX Aviation over the years, with major airline customers including Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, AirAsia, Eurowings, Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Philippine Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. This impressive list continues to grow, with installations underway or planned with existing and new customers, including SAUDIA, as announced at the Dubai Airshow last month.

This latest milestone for GX Aviation comes at a critical time for the aviation industry, with the pandemic having accelerated passenger demand for digital inflight experiences. Inmarsat’s 2021 Passenger Confidence Tracker, the largest and most comprehensive global survey of its kind since the pandemic began, found that digital solutions that keep passengers connected and minimize their contact with cabin crew and fellow passengers can go a long way in boosting confidence. In addition, out of the 10,000 respondents, 41% believed inflight Wi-Fi had further increased in importance after the pandemic.

Philippe Carette, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “GX Aviation has transformed the global inflight broadband market, offering unprecedented performance that has been truly embraced by airlines and their passengers. We celebrate its fifth anniversary with our world-class partner ecosystem, including industry-leading distributors such as Safran, SITA, Thales, Collins Aerospace and Honeywell.”

“Each of these companies has a relentless focus on providing the best possible onboard experience, so airlines can meet evolving passenger needs and maximize the vast commercial possibilities of inflight connectivity. Together, we have established GX Aviation as our most successful passenger broadband service and Inmarsat is investing more than ever to cement its leadership for decades to come.”

The GX network currently consists of five Ka-band satellites and Inmarsat’s technology roadmap will offer a number of major enhancements. Seven further satellites are set to launch by 2024, starting with the first Inmarsat-6, I-6 F1, in December 2021. This is the most sophisticated commercial communications satellite ever built and will be followed by four additional satellites in geostationary orbit – adding speed, capacity and resilience – and two in highly elliptical orbit, enabling the world’s only commercial mobile broadband service for aircraft flying in higher elevations and across the Arctic.

However, GX is more than just a global satellite network, it is a complete end-to-end solution and Inmarsat has been equally ambitious in developing its ground stations, hardware, software and cybersecurity framework. This includes a next-generation terminal developed with GDC Advanced Technology, featuring GDC’s dual modem manager (MODMAN), with components by Kontron, together with a proven, reliable and high-performance flat panel antenna by ThinKom. Following a range of technology assessments and test flights, the powerful new terminal has demonstrated its ability to deliver the highest levels of connectivity, even over the world’s busiest airspaces.

And More …

Inmarsat, announced that the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved and certified an advanced, next-generation terminal that will optimize further the performance of its market-leading GX Aviation inflight broadband solution.

The recently-awarded Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) authorizes the powerful new Falcon 300 terminal to be installed on Boeing 737 aircraft, marking a significant milestone for the lightweight, low-drag solution. Developed with GDC Advanced Technology, a leader in engineering and technical services, modifications and electronic systems, the terminal includes GDC’s dual modem manager (MODMAN), with components by Kontron, together with a proven, reliable flat panel antenna by ThinKom.

The certification was obtained under GDC’s Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program from its facility in Fort Worth, Texas. STCs for additional aircraft types are now underway, in addition to linefit plans for Boeing and Airbus airframes, reinforcing Falcon 300’s suitability for a wide range of fleets.

Demand for inflight connectivity has soared as passengers start returning to the skies after the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Inmarsat’s recently released 2021 Passenger Confidence Tracker, the largest and most comprehensive global survey of its kind since the pandemic began, 41% of respondents believe that having Wi-Fi on their flights is even more important now than pre-COVID. Wi-Fi allows them to stay connected with friends and family and supports a touch-free environment.

To meet evolving passenger demands, airlines around the world can benefit from the ultra-high performance capabilities of the new terminal. Available today, it was selected recently by SAUDIA, the national airline of Saudi Arabia, as part of an agreement for GX Aviation to be installed and activated onboard its upcoming fleet of 35 Airbus A321neo and Airbus A321XLR aircraft.

In addition, the terminal is also available as part of Inmarsat’s transformational new GX+ North America connectivity solution, which seamlessly integrates the extensive worldwide coverage and resilience of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) network with the unrivalled capacity of Hughes’ JUPITER™ HTS constellation across North America. This brings unprecedented capacity, speed and reliability to North American airlines and their passengers, who will enjoy unconstrained bandwidth activities on flights, even when flying at full capacity over the busiest airport hubs.

And More News:

Inmarsat mobile satellite communications, and SAUDIA, the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, reinforced their new inflight connectivity partnership at the APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) EXPO 2021 in Long Beach, California. A celebration and gift exchange was hosted at Inmarsat Aviation’s stand, where its President Philippe Carette welcomed a senior delegation from SAUDIA, including the airline’s CEO Captain Ibrahim S. Koshy.

It follows the recent selection of Inmarsat’s award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband solution and OneFi passenger experience platform for SAUDIA’s upcoming fleet of 35 Airbus A321neo and A321XLR aircraft, marking the Middle East’s first major airline connectivity agreement since the Covid-19 pandemic began. The combination of GX Aviation and OneFi will enable SAUDIA to provide a world-class digital experience for passengers onboard the aircraft, with the first installation expected in late 2022.

More Inmarsat News:

Inmarsat is working on a UK Space Agency-funded test project with the European Space Agency, alongside British partners Goonhilly Earth Station Limited and GMVNSL Limited, to deliver the first UK-generated satellite navigation (satnav) signal. The project provides a potential platform for the UK to enhance its capabilities in the Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) domain post-Brexit.

Repurposing a transponder from the Inmarsat-3 F5 (I-3 F5) satellite, the test project – UK Space Based Augmentation System or UKSBAS – will provide an overlay signal to augment the United States Global Positioning System (US GPS) satellite navigation system. This can refine the precision of the signal from a few meters to a few centimeters in accuracy.

UKSBAS will provide a basis to assess its future development into an operational capability to support safety-critical applications such as aircraft approaching and landing at airports or navigating ships through narrow channels, especially at night and in poor weather conditions. Goonhilly will provide the uplink for the system from Cornwall and software from GMVNSL, based in Nottingham, will generate the ground-based navigation signal. This is a similar system to that already in use in Australia and New Zealand, supported by Inmarsat. UKSBAS will be the first UK-generated national satnav signal.

This project could be crucial for UK users who need accurate, high-integrity navigation capabilities to enable their operations, initially covering aviation and maritime operations but with potential extension into rail and other land vehicle applications. For example, UKSBAS will be International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards-compliant.

SAUDIA will be GX Aviation’s launch customer in Saudi Arabia, with the service allowing passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media, shop online and more during flights using their own personal devices. In addition, the OneFi platform will serve as a catalyst for SAUDIA to monetize its inflight connectivity by bringing a host of real-time onboard services together within a single portal interface, such as ordering food, beverages and duty free items, enjoying e-books, newspapers and magazines, receiving flight updates, and signing into SAUDIA’s AlFursan frequent flyer program.

The UK no longer has access to the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) Safety of Life services since leaving the European Union (EU) and is not involved in the EU’s Galileo program for similar reasons. Therefore, this new national capability supported by current and future Inmarsat satellites could offer a new option for high-integrity, precision navigation across the country, in its airspace and within surrounding waters.

I-3F5 is in geosynchronous orbit at 54° west, ensuring that its signal covers the UK as part of its Atlantic Ocean region service overlay. This makes it an ideal candidate to participate in this test. The satellite was manufactured by Inmarsat’s Athena partner Lockheed Martin and launched in 1998.


THALES

Thales has acquired the Moog ground-based navigation aids business located in Salt Lake City, Utah, enabling it to provide a more comprehensive navigation aid offering to its customers worldwide.

The acquisition was completed after Thales received the required regulatory approvals in October 2021.


BOEING

777 Partners Orders 30 Additional 737 MAX Airplanes

  • Investment firm has ordered a total of 68 737 MAXs in 2021, including 737-8 and 737-8-200 models
  • 777 Partners leveraging the 737 to expand cost-effective, fuel-efficient operations for its affiliated low-cost carriers

Boeing and 777 Partners announced the Miami-based investment firm will nearly double its 737 MAX order book with the purchase of 30 additional jets. The new order expands 777 Partners’ commercial aircraft portfolio to a total of 68 737 MAXs, in its fourth order this year for the fuel-efficient, single-aisle jets. Valued at $3.7 billion at list prices, the order will enable 777 Partners to expand 737 MAX operations across the fleet of its affiliated global low-cost carriers.

The 737 MAX family reduces fuel use and carbon emissions by at least 14% compared to the airplanes it replaces, reducing operating costs as well as the environmental footprint for 777 Partners’ affiliated airlines. Every 737 MAX features a passenger-pleasing Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead storage bins.


CRYSTAL CABIN AWARDS

For the 15th time, the Crystal Cabin Award Association is preparing to recognize and honor the best ideas for the aircraft cabin in the coming year. There are once again eight categories for the upcoming edition of the award, although some of the categories have been refined. Gathering at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg (14 – 16 June 2022), the expert jury will, for example, be choosing a winner for the best innovation in the “Sustainable Cabin” category for the first time. The award, launched in Hamburg, provides an indicator of what we can expect to see on board when we fly in the near future. Winners in 2020 included Safran, winning in multiple categories, as well as Airbus and Eviation. Submissions for the Crystal Cabin Award 2022 can be lodged at www.crystal-cabin-award.com until 6 February 2022.

(Editor’s Note: Here are the 8 categories:Cabin Concepts, Cabin Systems, Health & Safety, IFEC & Digital Services, Material & Components, Passenger Comfort, Sustainable Cabin, and University!)


OTHER NEWS

INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a leader in global mobile satellite communications,  announced that its award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband solution is now available to passengers traveling with new Spanish airline World2Fly, in partnership with SITA as the service provider.

The long-haul carrier, founded by Spanish hotel group Iberostar, provides advanced, high-speed GX Aviation connectivity onboard its first Airbus A350-900 aircraft. Passengers can access the service thanks to SITA’s Internet ONAIR solution, allowing them to browse the internet, stream video and audio, shop online, or keep in touch with friends and loved ones. The seamless experience offers passengers the same broadband reliability and consistency in the air as they are used to on the ground.

World2fly’s A350-900s feature a modern and comfortable single-class cabin layout with 432 seats. The Mallorca-based airline will expand its fleet and operate flights from Madrid to leisure destinations such as Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) and Cancún (Mexico).

Demand for inflight connectivity has soared as passengers start returning to the skies after the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Inmarsat’s recently released 2021 Passenger Confidence Tracker, the largest and most comprehensive global survey of its kind since the pandemic began, 41% of respondents believe that having Wi-Fi on their flights is even more important now than pre-COVID. Wi-Fi allows them to stay connected with friends and family and supports a touch-free environment.

Inmarsat owns and operates the a diverse global portfolio of mobile telecommunications satellite networks that power the best postpaid sim only plans, and holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band, Ka-band and S-band, enabling unparalleled breadth and diversity in the solutions it provides. Inmarsat’s long-established global distribution network includes not only the world’s leading channel partners but also its own strong direct retail capabilities, enabling end to end customer service assurance.

SITA is the air transport industry’s IT provider, delivering solutions for airlines, airports, aircraft and governments. Our technology powers more seamless, safe and sustainable air travel.


FTS & SHANDONG AIRLINES

On November 18th 2021, Shandong Airlines and FTS signed a cooperation agreement to formally launch the first domestic Digital Aircraft pilot project for this Boeing only airline fleet. This is the pilot deployment of FTS with full hardware and software solutions to digitalization of Shandong Airlines Boeing 737 fleet, including multiple stages of aircraft modification, airworthiness certification, applications verification and final flight testing.  The first aircraft is expected to be modified and enter into service in the middle of 2022.

As part of this collaboration, the two parties will jointly build a “Digital Aircraft Innovation Lab”, with goals of incubating digital aircraft innovations, training of talent, and continue to explore new scenarios and operational models. The project is leveraging on China’s own High Throughput satellites for air-to-ground high-speed data transmission.  The Lab is planned to function as a resource integrator for various ecosystem players – local tech startups, system integrators and even global partners to co-create solutions for digital aviation, from idea generation to testing to commercialization.

More and more airlines are now embracing the concept of Digital Aircraft. This refers to enabling high speed air to ground broadband connectivity in both the flight deck and passenger cabin, providing seamless data transmission services and collaboration between the Digital Aircraft and ground operations networks.  Airlines can harness real-time data to produce insights that can enhance flight safety and efficiency, reduce operational disruptions, improve passenger experiences, and make real-time decisions regarding fleet health.

As one of the world’s major civil aviation hubs, China sees digital transformation as the necessary way to lay down the infrastructure foundation for sustaining growth in aviation.  The Chinese authorities and regulators have convened and proposed a national framework of Digital Aircraft solutions to guide and oversee the accelerated deployment of digital transformation of its domestic airlines to improve operational safety, optimize costs and improved passenger experiences.


AIRBUS, THALES, and DIEHL

Airbus, Diehl and Thales open a new chapter in safe and sustainable air mobility:

  • Airbus has selected Thales and Diehl to supply the electrical flight controls for its future CityAirbus NextGen air taxi, providing a safe and secure response to tomorrow’s air mobility needs.
  • The new-generation flight control computer meets the size and weight requirements of an eVTOL (electrically powered vertical take-off and landing) aircraft and is particularly well suited to the emerging urban and regional air mobility markets.
  • Thales has more than 40 years of experience in electrical flight controls, having supplied the systems for the first ever fly-by-wire commercial airliner, the Airbus A310.

By 2030, 60% of the world’s population will live in cities. This sustained growth in urban populations is expected to drive demand for innovative mobility solutions as ground transportation systems become increasingly congested. One way forward could be to offer a safe, sustainable and efficient alternative that makes optimum use of urban airspace.

Flight control systems are critical to flight safety, calculating and adjusting the position of the aircraft’s control surfaces and managing engine thrust. Electrical flight control systems are progressively replacing conventional mechanical systems and offer significant advantages in terms of safety, performance and reliability, as well as reducing aircraft weight and improving passenger comfort.

The system selected by Airbus will combine Thales primary flight computers with secondary flight computers from Diehl. The choice of different flight computers will help improve flight safety and guarantee system integrity to comply with the new EASA regulation for eVTOL.

The streamlined architecture of the flight control computers will make certification simpler while retaining the capacity to accommodate further developments and host multiple functions such as navigation, guidance and pilot assistance.

Drawing on its long-standing experience of electrical flight controls, which dates back to the 1980s with the pioneering fly-by-wire systems for the Airbus A310, and with a total of 12,000 aircraft equipped to date, Thales is joining Airbus and Diehl to write the next chapter in the future of air mobility.The fully electric CityAirbus NextGen is designed to carry up to four passengers in a zero emissions flight in multiple applications. CityAirbus is being developed to fly with a 80 km range and to reach a cruise speed of 120 km/h, making it perfectly suited for operations in major cities for a variety of missions. It is optimized for hover and cruise efficiency, while not requiring moving surfaces or tilting parts during transition. Designed with simplicity in mind, CityAirbus NextGen will offer best-in-class economic performance in operations and support. Its first flight of a prototype is planned for 2023.


OTHER NEWS

Today’s Image: The 777-9 flight test airplane makes its international debut, flying non-stop from Seattle to the United Arab Emirates. It will be on display at the Dubai Airshow starting November 14. The 777-9 has seating for 426 passengers and a range of over 7,285 nmi (13,500 km). The 777X program was proposed in the early 2010’s.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a leader in global, mobile satellite communications, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) announce that the launch of Inmarsat’s first satellite in the Inmarsat-6 fleet (I-6 F1) by MHI’s H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 45 (HIIA F45), will be as follows:

  • Launch Date: December 21st, 2021
  • Window: 14:33:52 p.m. through 16:33:26 p.m., Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) 23:33:52 p.m. through 01:33:26 a.m. (the next day), Japan Standard Time (JST)
  • Location: Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan

Inmarsat’s sixth-generation (I-6) fleet will be its first to feature dual-payload satellites. The I-6s will support L-band (ELERA) and Ka-band (Global Xpress) services as part of the company’s unique, global, multi-dimensional, dynamic mesh network ORCHESTRA.

MHI Launch Services enjoys an extremely high success rate of 98.1% and has provided 47 successful consecutive launches, delivered on-time and to the customer’s satisfaction. MHI provides a dedicated launch service for the I-6 F1 launch with the H-IIA Launch Vehicle, configured as H2A204/4S, with 4 Solid Rocket boosters (SRB-As) and 4m diameter payload fairing. The core stages of the H2A launch vehicle are undergoing final checks at MHI’s factory in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, ahead of their shipment to the launch site on Tanegashima island, Kagoshima Prefecture, which is located in the southwest of Japan.

“Our first Inmarsat 6 satellite, I-6F1, is the largest and most advanced commercial communications satellite ever launched and we look forward to the event in Japan with our trusted partner, MHI,” said Rajeev Suri, Inmarsat CEO. “The I-6s are Inmarsat’s first ever hybrid L- and Ka-band satellites, incorporating increased capacity and new technological advances for ELERA’s transformational L-band services alongside additional Global Xpress high-speed broadband capacity. They demonstrate Inmarsat’s ongoing investment and commitment as a global leader for the benefit of mobility customers worldwide, delivering an enhanced platform for world-changing technologies that ELERA enables, including the Industrial Internet of Things, by providing dramatically increased network capacity and resilience. I-6 F1 also plays an integral role in the reliable geostationary earth orbit infrastructure that underpins Inmarsat ORCHESTRA – the world’s first network that will combine geostationary, low earth orbit and terrestrial 5G into one harmonious solution.”

”We are honored to have been selected by Inmarsat, a leader in the global mobile satellite communication industry, to provide launch services for their first satellite in the Inmarsat-6 series,” said Tomoe Nishigaya, Vice President & Senior General Manager for Space Systems in MHI. “We strongly believe and expect that Inmarsat’s L-band services, ELERA, and Global Xpress high-speed broadband capacity delivered by their I-6 fleet of satellites will trigger further growth of demands in the global mobile satellite communication market. Again, we are excited and sincerely appreciate the opportunity to be part of such an innovative mission as a launch services provider. We are committed to providing highly reliable launch services for this 45th mission of H-IIA, following the success of previous missions. We intend to support Inmarsat and its partners with best efforts and great teamwork through the final preparation for the successful launch.”


ASTRONICS

  • Sales for the quarter were $111.8 million, up 5% over
    prior-year period
  • Net loss of $7.2 million continues sequential improvement through 2021
  • Adjusted EBITDA* was $2.8 million; measurably improved over prior-year period loss and trailing second quarter
  • Bookings up 88% over prior-year period and up 22% over trailing second quarter to $153.5 million; Achieved book-to-bill ratio of 1.37
  • Aerospace segment book-to-bill was 1.49 for the quarter
  • Backlog increased 13% sequentially to $354.4 million

BOEING

ATSG Selects Boeing for Next Converted Freighter Order

  • Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (ATSG) placed its first order with Boeing to convert four of their 767-300 aircraft into freighters
  • 767-300BCF now has more than 100 orders and commitments

Air Transport Services Group, Inc., the world’s largest lessor of 767-300 converted freighters, has contracted with Boeing for the conversion of four aircraft to 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF).

“Our continued confidence in the 767-300 platform, now coupled with the services and support of the OEM, reinforces our commitment to deliver best-in-class reliable services to our customers,” said Mike Berger, chief commercial officer of ATSG. “We’re proud to partner with Boeing as we expand our fleet to meet growing demand and look forward to future growth together.”

The 767-300BCF now has more than 100 orders and commitments from customers around the globe, providing widebody converted freighter capability to meet growing market demand, and building on a record year for customer orders of Boeing’s family of freighters.

“We are honored that ATSG has decided to make the 767-300BCF an integral part of their fleet expansion strategy, supporting customers looking to capitalize on strong e-commerce demand,” said Jens Steinhagen, director of Boeing Converted Freighters. “As the OEM, Boeing has the original design data, robust supply chains, and dependable delivery schedules that benefit BCF customers such as ATSG. With that OEM advantage, we stand ready to meet ATSG’s needs by bringing forward market-leading 767-300BCFs into its fleet.”

ATSG is a global leader in cargo leasing, operating a fleet of 106 Boeing aircraft, including more than ninety 767 converted freighters.

And More News:

Boeing to Debut 777X, Spotlight Defense and Global Services and Highlight Sustainability, Technology and Partnerships at 2021 Dubai Airshow.

  • Boeing ecoDemonstrator 737-9, Etihad Airways 787-10 Dreamliner and flydubai 737 MAX 9 on display at global aerospace event.
  • Boeing defense platforms include KC-46A Pegasus, P-8 Poseidon and MV-22 Osprey.

Boeing will showcase its market-leading portfolio of commercial, defense and services products at the 2021 Dubai Airshow this month, including the international debut of its newest fuel-efficient widebody jet, the 777X, along with the company’s growing autonomous capabilities such as the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.

“Boeing is excited to participate fully in the Dubai Airshow, the first global airshow in almost two years, and to be able to engage directly with customers, partners, suppliers and other stakeholders from the region and beyond,” said Kuljit Ghata-Aura, president of Boeing Middle East, Turkey and Africa. “The show is a perfect opportunity to come together and remind the world of the importance of our industry and discuss technology and innovations that are critical to advance a more sustainable aerospace industry over the long term.”

During the event, a Boeing 777-9 flight-test airplane will soar in the airshow’s flying program and appear in the static display. Building on the best of the industry-leading 777 and 787 families, the 777-9 will be the world’s largest and most efficient twin-engine jet, delivering 10% better fuel use, emissions and operating costs than the competition.

The company’s static display will also feature the 2021 Boeing ecoDemonstrator, an Alaska Airlines 737-9 that is flight testing about 20 technologies to reduce fuel use, emissions and noise and further improve safety.

In addition, Etihad Airways will display a 787-10 Dreamliner that showcases the airline’s collaboration with Boeing to advance sustainable aviation. Etihad’s program researches and tests innovative technologies, products and practices on its fleet of 787s and within its operations to further reduce carbon emissions. Also on display, flydubai – the region’s largest 737 operator – will feature a 737 MAX 9 that reduces fuel use and CO2 by 14% compared to its predecessors.

Boeing’s exhibit in Dubai will highlight defense products including the F-15EX Eagle II fighter jet and T-7A Advanced Pilot Training System, as well as its Autonomous Systems portfolio, including the Boeing Airpower Teaming System and the Insitu Integrator ER and ScanEagle unmanned systems.

Global defense customers are expected to display several operational Boeing aircraft, including the MV-22 Osprey, KC-46A Pegasus, P-8A Poseidon, C-17 Globemaster III, AH-64 Apache and CH-47F Chinook.

Boeing also will discuss its parts, modifications, digital, sustainment and training solutions, including an expansive global supply chain, maintenance and logistics network. Government services will feature in-country partnerships with on-the-ground support for its installed base of defense platforms. Commercial services highlights will include Boeing Converted Freighters, expanded support to regional customers and near-term sales opportunities.

More News From Boeing:

Boeing Projects Asia Pacific Commercial Aviation Market Valued at $6.8 Trillion by 2040

  • Forecast anticipates need for more than 17,600 new commercial airplanes with a focus on efficiency and sustainability
  • By 2040, Asia Pacific markets will account for nearly half of global air traffic; cargo fleet to more than triple

Boeing estimates that air travel within Asia Pacific markets will account for nearly half of global air traffic by 2040, driving 20-year demand for 17,645 new airplanes valued at $3.1 trillion. To support its commercial aviation industry, Asia-Pacific countries also will require aftermarket services valued at $3.7 trillion. Boeing provided the data in its 2021 Commercial Market Outlook (CMO), the company’s long-term forecast of demand for commercial airplanes and services.

The Asia Pacific region has diverse air travel markets, including mature economies in Northeast Asia and Oceania as well as rapidly growing aviation markets in China, South Asia and Southeast Asia. With the travel recovery enabled by rising COVID-19 vaccination, Asia Pacific carriers are well-positioned to capitalize on recovering business and leisure travel as well as air cargo transportation, according to Boeing.

“We have seen strong resilience in Asia Pacific traffic when restrictions are lifted and passengers feel confident about travel,” said Darren Hulst, Boeing vice president of Commercial Marketing. “Carriers with efficient and versatile fleets will be positioned to meet passenger needs and air freight demand with airplanes that reduce fuel use, emissions and operating costs.”

Boeing’s CMO analysis addresses 20-year demand for the five regions within Asia Pacific:

  • Southeast Asian countries seeing rapid economic growth will also see fleet growth and passenger traffic well above global averages. Low-cost carriers are forecast to expand intra-regional networks with single-aisle jets, while open skies and trade agreements will enable carriers to invest in fuel-efficient widebodies to serve long-haul routes. Southeast Asia is forecast to need 4,465 new airplanes valued at $765 billion and commercial aviation services valued at $790 billion by 2040.
  • In Northeast Asia, mature economies will continue to support a balanced air travel market across domestic, regional and long-haul travel segments. Fleet replacement will account for nearly 75% of new deliveries as airlines look to improve sustainability and fleet versatility. The region is expected to need 1,385 new airplanes valued at $310 billion as well as services valued at $555 billion in the next 20 years.
  • In Oceania, commercial aviation serves as critical transportation infrastructure across long distances and island nations. Domestic and regional travel accounting for 80% of passenger traffic will drive single-aisle demand, while versatile widebody jets such as the 787 Dreamliner will support long-haul and international network development. Oceania is projected to need 785 new jets valued at $135 billion and services valued at $165 billion by the end of the forecast period.
  • Boeing previously released its China CMO forecast. The South Asia forecast will be highlighted in coming months.

The 2021 CMO includes these projections for Asia Pacific through 2040:

  • Single-aisle jets will account for nearly 13,500 deliveries, about three-quarters of demand in terms of units. Widebody jets including passenger and cargo models will total nearly 3,800 airplanes.
  • The cargo fleet will more than triple to 1,160 airplanes, including new and converted models, to support diversifying global supply chains and meet e-commerce demand. The Asia Pacific cargo fleet is expected to roughly equal North America’s cargo fleet by 2040.
  • Tied to economic and fleet growth, demand for maintenance, repair, overhaul and modifications account for a majority of projected commercial aviation services demand. Digital solutions, analytics and training services also will support the Asia Pacific fleet.
  • Boeing’s 2021 Pilot and Technician Outlook (PTO) forecasts that the region will require nearly 820,000 new aviation personnel, including more than 230,000 pilots and nearly 250,000 technicians and 340,000 cabin crew members. The global PTO is available here.

OTHER NEWS


PANASONIC AVIONICS

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) announced a new venture with Air Belgium to provide in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for the carrier’s new Airbus A330neo aircraft.

The agreement will see Air Belgium’s A330neo aircraft equipped with Panasonic Avionics’ renowned connectivity and mobile services, enhancing the onboard passenger experience.

The airline’s two new A330neos, the first of which entered into service this weekend, will be fitted with Panasonic Avionics’ full HD seatback monitors, complete with handsets, touch displays, and personalized interfaces.

Air Belgium’s passengers will also experience in-flight connectivity, powered by Panasonic Avionics’ global network of high-speed, high-bandwidth satellites, delivering a host of next-generation connectivity benefits such as fast internet and in-flight mobile phone services. The system will also feature ArcTM, Panasonic Avionics 3D in-flight moving map platform.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics, said, “We are delighted to be working with Air Belgium to enhance the passenger experience on their new fleet. By tailoring the way we offer our award-winning solutions to meet the individual needs of carriers, we are able to create a product portfolio that can fit every airline’s business model.”

“Our in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions will help Air Belgium strengthen their long-haul operations and drive customer satisfaction as they look to grow in the years ahead.”

By adopting Panasonic Avionics’ industry-leading IFEC solutions, airlines can offer a powerful onboard experience to increase brand loyalty, while delivering fresh, personalized content to passengers across the world.

Niky Terzakis, Chief Executive Officer at Air Belgium, said, “We are thrilled to be joining forces with Panasonic Avionics to continue to enrich and elevate our onboard experience. Their flexibility and innovative approach in delivering IFE and connectivity perfectly complements our internal resources and strategy.”

More Panasonic News:

Middle East Airlines-Air Liban (MEA) has started a two-month trial of Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight Live Television service.

The service was rolled out on MEA’s fleet of nine Airbus A321neoLR aircraft on the 1st of October 2021, helping passengers to Never Miss A Moment™ with a wide range of premium news and live sporting events.

Panasonic Avionics’ Live Television service connects passengers to unmissable on-the-ground entertainment from the comfort of their seats. The integrated service enables passengers to watch news channels including the BBC World and CNN International, along with live sporting action in partnership with Sport 24.

Sport 24 is provided exclusively by Panasonic Avionics and is the world’s first and only live in-flight sports platform. It broadcasts 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, connecting airline passengers to over 16 hours of premium live content from over 30 different global sports leagues each day.

MEA’s customers will be able to enjoy all the live action from the world’s top sporting events, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, all four Tennis Grand Slams, all four Golf Majors, the NRL, the UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, Bundesliga, and more.

The Live Television service onboard MEA’s aircraft will be powered by Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight connectivity services, and broadcast through its eX1 in-flight entertainment platform, both of which were launched on the airline’s A321neoLR fleet in 2020.

eX1 is designed specifically for narrowbody aircraft and offers elegant full HD seatback monitors, complete with touch displays and handsets, and an intuitive, personalized interface.

Andrew Mohr, Vice President of Digital Solutions for Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “We are delighted to extend our partnership with Middle East Airlines and to enhance the in-flight experience they provide by bringing live news and the world’s best sporting action to their passengers.”

Houssam Moghrabi, Head of In-flight Services at MEA, said, “Panasonic Avionics is a proven partner for MEA. The trial of their Live Television service is a natural next step following the installation of their state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems last year, which has been well received by our passengers.”


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, celebrated the 1,000th installation and activation of its market-leading Jet ConneX inflight connectivity solution, cementing the company’s leadership in the business aviation market.

The milestone was celebrated with Inmarsat’s partners at the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Las Vegas, USA and also coincides with the fifth anniversary of Jet ConneX. Since entering commercial service in November 2016, Jet ConneX has quickly developed into the business aviation industry’s gold standard inflight connectivity service, offering the same level of reliable, consistent and high-speed broadband in the air that was previously only available on the ground.

Powered by Inmarsat’s global Ka-band satellite network Global Xpress, Jet ConneX is the preferred linefit option of all major business jet manufacturers, including Gulfstream, Bombardier and Dassault, and uses JetWave hardware by Honeywell Aerospace. Inmarsat has received type certificate and supplemental type certificate (STC) approvals for the service from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) across all popular platforms, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and aftermarket maintenance repair and overhaul service providers (MROs).

The 1,000th activation comes at an important time for the business aviation industry. Following a period of turbulence over the past 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent survey commissioned by Inmarsat and Corporate Jet Investor (CJI) found that almost 80% of respondents around the world believe more frequent business aviation flights will be taken in the next year. A staggering 90% also feel online activities will dominate principals’ time in the air, almost evenly split between business and leisure.

Kai Tang, Inmarsat’s Head of Business Aviation, said: “The business world has evolved considerably since the onset of COVID-19 and during times of unprecedented turbulence and instability, business leaders cannot afford to be disconnected. As a result, we have experienced a rapid surge in demand for the fast, reliable and consistent inflight Wi-Fi that only Jet ConneX can deliver, wherever and whenever they fly. We believe this is a long-term trend that won’t level off as we come out of this COVID era.

“Therefore, the outlook is bright and we look forward to working with our partners to build on the momentum of the past five years, with 1,000 activations now achieved and many more to come. As part of these efforts, we are investing more than ever in several upcoming next-generation satellites, plus significant enhancements to our ground stations, hardware and software, all backed by world-class cybersecurity. This will amplify Jet ConneX capabilities even further and also result in unprecedented new L-band offerings to cement our long-term leadership in business aviation connectivity.”

Inmarsat recently unveiled plans for ORCHESTRA, the communications network of the future, which will bring existing geosynchronous (GEO) satellites together with low earth orbit satellites (LEO) and terrestrial 5G to form an integrated, high-performance solution, unmatched by any existing or planned competitor offering. ORCHESTRA boosts capacity in high-density areas such as at airports, eliminating congested network ‘hot spots’ and ensuring the connectivity needs of business aviation customers continue to be met well into the future, with capacity scaled directly to match their requirements.


BURRANA

Burrana, a leader in the inflight entertainment (IFE) and cabin technology industry, announced the appointment of Graham Macdonald as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Graham brings 30 years of aerospace experience with 15 years in the IFE industry — including Rockwell Collins from which the commercial IFE business was acquired in early 2019 to form Burrana. Mr. Macdonald’s extensive experience managing multi-site, multi-national operations and background integrating acquisitions provide a strong foundation for leading Burrana through the industry recovery and eventual return to normalcy.

For the past 18 months, Neal Nordstrom, Operating Partner for JW Hill Capital, led the business through the challenges created by the global pandemic. He will now transition back to his board role where he will continue to support Mr. Macdonald. Mr. Macdonald came on board as acting Chief of Staff two months ago to begin his onboarding process. A seamless transition of responsibilities will take place over the next few weeks.

Mr. Macdonald said, “I am excited to have been chosen by the board for this role and look forward to embracing the challenges ahead. I am inheriting from Neal a strong team and competitive product range. Our immediate focus is of course continuing to navigate COVID-19’s impact on the industry and coming out of these challenging times strong and ready to compete.”


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for global aerospace, defense and other mission critical industries, announced that it has closed on the sale of its facility in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for total consideration of $9.1 million. Net proceeds were approximately $8.7 million in cash. The Company expects to record a gain in the fourth quarter of 2021 of approximately $5.0 million. The sale was a result of the consolidation of the DME lighting and safety operations into its East Aurora, NY operations.

The Company also confirmed that it entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation under the Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Program, or AMJP, for a grant of up to $14.7 million. Astronics received the first installment of $7.3 million under the grant in September. The Company expects to receive a second installment in the range of $5 million to $6 million during the fourth quarter of 2021 and a final installment in the second or third quarter of 2022 upon final confirmation of meeting its grant commitments.

Astronics was required to make several commitments to qualify for the program, including a commitment not to furlough or lay off a defined group of employees during the period of performance. The grant benefit will be recognized ratably over a six-month performance period as an offset to cost of goods sold. The contribution to gross profit by quarter is expected to be $1.1 million in the third quarter of 2021, $7.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 and $6.2 million in the first quarter of 2022.


BOEING

Ted Colbert, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services, has been named Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) for 2022 by U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine. The award, the highest honor in the long-running program, recognizes a public or private sector leader who has navigated business challenges and expanded opportunities for African-Americans in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Colbert leads Boeing’s aerospace services development and delivery model for commercial, government and aviation industry customers worldwide, focused on global supply chain and parts distribution, aircraft modifications and maintenance, digital solutions, aftermarket engineering, analytics and training.


OTHER NEWS

Panasonic Avionics

In late 2020, Panasonic Avionics, in conjunction with a major airline, conducted a trial providing passengers unlimited inflight Wi-Fi. The trial ran over several months with the goal of finding out how the airline could enhance the relationship with their passengers by providing high-quality onboard Wi-Fi. Specifically, it allowed them to better understand if Wi-Fi boosted passenger loyalty; to see if Wi-Fi facilitated a better understanding of passenger behavior; and if better Wi-Fi correlates to an increase in potential revenue.

The Wi-Fi experiment was quietly rolled out on 109 aircraft with very limited promotion but once available, the service was quickly discovered by passengers – and they began streaming. On average, the engagement time per user increased by 23%, streaming content was viewed 41 minutes more with YouTube and Netflix being the top choices watched by passengers and music aficionados tuned into their Spotify and Apple Music Apps to stream their favorite tunes. Prior to the trial the average passenger data consumption per aircraft was 1.6 GB of data which jumped to 3 GB during it.

The trial ran during the holiday travel times, which had the highest travel numbers since the start of the pandemic. Even with the increased load factors, complaints about slow inflight internet rates fell by up to 46% in December and 61% in January! Amazing.

The most significant takeaways from the trial: 1) Fast, reliable, highspeed internet is a cornerstone of the passenger experience. 2) Increased usage of streaming apps, either via PEDS or seatback screens, provide a big opportunity for increased revenue-generating ads and content for the airlines.

Panasonic states that the trial was possible because of their Gen-3 network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites that direct capacity to where it is needed most. Panasonic reports that In February, their first of high-throughput satellite (XTS) joined their network and entered service over Asia-Pacific. Also, the new Newtec modems played an integral part in the success of the trial. Additionally, the migration from Panasonics’ previous generation IFEC technology means faster browsing and higher reliability in video streaming. The Gen-3 network also enables 4G and VoIP services and powers Live TV channels like Sport 24.

The trial proved that passenger demand for highspeed, high quality internet is growing. This is supported by: 1) an increase in long-haul flights 2) passengers are carrying more connected devices 3) high customer expectations for technology and airlines. Further, the increase in BYOD (bring your own device) will continue the drive the demand for high quality, connectivity. Perhaps more significantly, this increasing expectation and new demands for inflight services are encouraging airlines to brand their onboard entertainment experiences, not only for the seatback IFE, but also the BYOD and to coordinate these efforts with the IFEC manufactures.

Embracing highspeed, reliable connectivity will put airlines in a better position to meet their passenger needs, both now and in the future, whether the service is free or paid. As the industry begins to recover from the pandemic, maximizing connectivity will be a major differentiator.

Also From Panasonic Avionics & JetBlue:

JetBlue announced  that it has selected Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) for its live sports in-flight offering on the airline’s Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft.

This offering will expand JetBlue’s transatlantic inflight entertainment options to include one  channel of live sports, Sport 24, with satellite-based streaming facilitated by the airline’s connectivity provider. JetBlue’s new fleet of Airbus A321LR aircraft due to be delivered from 2021 onwards, will be outfitted with the service.

Panasonic is the exclusive provider of Sport 24, the world’s first and only live in-flight sports platform. It broadcasts 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, connecting airline passengers to over 16 hours of premium live content from over 30 different global sports leagues each day.

From 2021, JetBlue’s customers will be able to enjoy all the live action from the world’s top sporting events, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, all four Tennis Grand Slams, all four Golf Majors, the NRL, the UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, Bundesliga, and more.

Sport 24 creates a unique viewing experience for passengers – from the casual to the avid sports fan – which results in a dwell time almost three times higher than the most popular US sports channel.

Almost 1,000 aircraft across the globe are installed with Panasonic’s Live Television service, of which Sport 24 are an integral part.


Hiring Trends Survey: Covid-19 Impact Results

JSfirm.com, an aviation job website, released their Hiring Trends Survey for 2021. Of the hiring professionals, executives, and business owners surveyed, over 50% are projecting growth in 2021. Additionally, 66% of those surveyed did not cut any jobs in 2020, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

In summary:

  • 200 aviation companies across various sectors were surveyed
  • 84% are projecting moderate growth in 2021
  • 93% expect to hire in the 2nd Quarter (Apr – Jun) of 2021
  • Pilots, maintenance & avionics technicians remain in highest demand

Sam Scanlon, Managing Partner of JSfirm.com, said, “The results of our recent survey are encouraging for the industry. It’s interesting to see how many companies were not affected too much by the pandemic: airlines make the headlines, but the fact is, the small to medium size companies that make up the majority of our infrastructure made it through the past year and are now gearing up for growth.” He continued, “Overall traffic on our website continues to increase from both job seekers and companies – we are anxious to see how the remainder of 2021 plays out.”


Morgan Stanley
Airlines: More than Just a Re-Opening Trade; Fundamentals Still Supportive of Upside: Upgrade UAL, ALK; Initiate on AAL

Morgan Stanley (MS) reiterates their Attractive view on the US Airlines despite the stocks up 85% in the last 5 months. With a clear path to re-opening now in focus, they look out to 2022+ and find consensus numbers are too low given their view of strong volume and cost tailwinds. MS are ~30%+ above consensus in 2023.

They initiate coverage on American Airlines (AAL) at Underweight. MS upgrades Alaska Air Group (ALK) from Equal-weight to Overweight and United Airlines (UAL) from Underweight to Equal-weight. Remain Overweight on Southwest Airlines (LUV), JetBlue Airways (JBLU), Allegiant Travel (ALGT) and Delta Airlines (DAL).

MS sees ~30% upside to our price targets and 45% upside to consensus 2023 estimates, on average, driven by quick rebound of air traffic, structural cost savings and a supportive jet fuel environment. They also believe a Roaring ’20s/Swinging ’60s-like macro environment can drive traffic significantly higher than a 2019 baseline level, in a bull case. MS sees the most upside at names with the most idiosyncratic tailwinds especially LUV, JBLU, ALK and ALGT though international and corporate could also surprise to the upside relative to expectations keeping the Legacies in play (especially DAL).

Morgan Stanley also believes the market is missing a few powerful tailwinds driving upside to our estimates vs. consensus:

1. 2022+ estimates still do not reflect a rapid reopening. The circumstantial evidence points to the bull case on a traffic recovery. Yet, consensus is modeling in 2022 revenues ~20% below and 2022 ASMs (Available Seat Miles or volume) ~10% below 2019 levels, which we believe is too conservative. MS continues to expect a return to 2019 ASM levels on average by end 2021/early 2022, which implies 2022 ASMs at least equal to 2019 levels.

2. 2019 is the wrong baseline to use for 2023 and beyond. They used 2019 as the baseline for the reopening but consensus (and the market) appear to be maxing out at that level. MS believes the ceiling for air traffic can be significantly higher in a Roaring ’20s/Swinging ’60s like macro environment, which is possible given the strength of consumer balance sheets. In the 1920s, passenger car miles driven nearly doubled in 5 years above the WW1/Spanish flu baseline of 1918 and again after WW2 in the 1950s, while the emergence of commercial air travel saw passenger volumes up 6x in 5 years. While travel today is certainly more mature, we would not be surprised to see the return of the “golden age” of travel in the 2020s, which would represent upside to our numbers.

3. Structural cost savings suggest margin upside on rising volumes. Several airlines have provided either LT structural cost savings targets (UAL, JBLU, AAL) or benchmarks for achieving 2019 CASMxF (Cost per Average Seat Mile ex-fuel) levels (DAL, LUV). These targets imply margins should be comfortably higher than 2019 levels, if 2022/23 revenues are at a similar level, as expected.

4. Jet fuel pricing is in a sweet spot. Despite jet fuel prices rising 40% off the 2Q20 bottom, we note that: a) fuel prices are still comfortably below 2019 levels, b) current levels could be supportive of industry pricing, and c) our Energy team believes that in the long-term oil prices will stabilize at $50-55/bbl level (vs. ~$60 today), providing further support for structurally higher margins than 2019.

Riding the biggest waves in the rising tide + Idiosyncratic catalysts characterize our top picks.  Morgan Stanley likes airlines with catalysts that will help them outgrow the rising tide. This means Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) and Ultra Low Cost Carriers (ULCCs) with a US Domestic Leisure footprint that will rebound first though we expect International and Corporate travel at Legacy carriers to catch up in 2022. Also, we prefer stocks with idiosyncratic catalysts, including LUV (MAX transition, new corporate/GDS integration), JBLU (fleet renewal, international operations, AAL alliance), ALK (MAX transition, AAL alliance) and ALGT (20% larger fleet). They also prefer Airlines that are likely to start returning cash to shareholders first, given limited to no balance sheet impairment. Legacy airlines are likely to experience the rear of the rising tide and the balance sheet needs to be fixed before cash return or growth investments can occur. DAL is their top Legacy pick.

MS initiates on AAL at UW and a $20 PT (20% downside to the current price) – we believe AAL will rise with the industry tide of returning air traffic and they like its young aircraft fleet which could limit capex pressure in the critical years ahead. However, with the stock up over 50% YTD, positioning is no longer skewed as negative as it used to be, which raises the bar. Our FY23 EPS is roughly 40% below 2019 levels. They are also upgrading ALK from EW to OW (PT from $49 to $90 or 30% upside) and UAL from UW to EW (PT from $38 to $65 or 12% upside) as they see more favorable relative risk-rewards than previously.

Risks to their bullish view include another black swan macro event, labor shortages/disruptions, runaway inflation that pressures the consumer’s balance sheet, safety issues (like COVID resurgence or MAX in 2019) and sharp jet fuel inflation could put our 2022/23 estimates at risk.


Other News

 

 

Inmarsat, a global mobile satellite communications provider, has been crowned the ‘World’s Leading Inflight Internet Service Provider’ for the fourth year in a row at the World Travel Awards 2020.

The prestigious accolade was announced following a year-long search for the world’s top travel, tourism and hospitality brands, with the latest edition of the World Travel Awards attracting a record number of votes from across the world by industry professionals and members of the public.

Inmarsat once again retained its title in recognition of its market-leading GX Aviation and European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight broadband solutions, which enable airline passengers to browse the internet, shop online, stream videos, enjoy social media and more seamlessly during their flights. Inmarsat airline customers include Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Iberia, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia and Virgin Atlantic.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Last year was particularly challenging for the aviation industry, which faced its biggest crisis to date as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In response, we have been working closer than ever with our airline customers, both old and new, to support their evolving needs as they navigate through the storm and head towards a future recovery. It is uplifting, therefore, to receive an award where the industry itself helped to determine the winner. This accolade reinforces our position as the global market leader and is dedicated to our talented employees and partners for their continued hard work and dedication over the past year, even in the toughest of circumstances.”

Inmarsat crossed a number of important milestones last year as part of its extensive, fully-funded technology roadmap. This included the commercial service introduction of GX5, Inmarsat’s most powerful satellite to date, last month. Conceived, designed and procured principally to meet the needs of aviation customers, GX5 delivers approximately twice the capacity of the entire existing GX satellite fleet (GX1-GX4) combined. It is essential to support rapidly growing demand for airline and business aviation connectivity in Europe and the Middle East. 

Inmarsat’s technology roadmap will see seven further satellite launches by 2024: five in geostationary orbit – adding speed, capacity and resilience – and two in highly elliptical orbit, which will enable the world’s only commercial mobile broadband service in the commercially and strategically critical Arctic region.

Other highlights of 2020 included the development of an advanced new lightweight, low drag terminal for GX Aviation in partnership with GDC Technics and the launch of GX+ North America in collaboration with Hughes, bringing unrivalled inflight Wi-Fi to North American airlines and passengers.


NEW SST IN DEVELOPMENT

It is not surprising that IFEC news and information is pretty quiet during the pandemic. The equation is simple: less people; less flights; less travel; and aircraft delivery delays or cancellations all result in less demand for IFEC in the short term.

Having said that, it appears there is one aviation area that is experiencing a resurgence in development and/or exploration – supersonic flight. Companies like Boon Overture and Aerion are not sleeping, and you might ask, what has this to do with IFEC? Well, probably not much in the immediate future; however, as folks improve the speed of flying we would expect a future of more advanced, smaller, lighter, better performing IFEC.

We say “expect” because we have little or no information on this future subject, but we were wondering what we might see … and the word “might” is used here since weight and size on these eventual airplanes will be a big issue. To give you a better idea, lets first see what Wikipedia says about the SST subject:

Wikipedia – “A supersonic transport (SST) is a civilian supersonic aircraft designed to transport passengers at speeds greater than the speed of sound. To date, the only SSTs to see regular service have been Concorde and the Tupolev Tu-144. The last passenger flight of the Tu-144 was in June 1978 and it was last flown in 1999 by NASA. Concorde’s last commercial flight was in October 2003, with a November 26, 2003 ferry flight being its last airborne operation. Following the permanent cessation of flying by Concorde, there are no remaining SSTs in commercial service. Several companies have each proposed a supersonic business jet, which may bring supersonic transport back again.”

Further, Wikipedia notes: ”For all vehicles traveling through air, the force of drag is proportional to the coefficient of drag (Cd), to the square of the airspeed and to the air density. Since drag rises rapidly with speed, a key priority of supersonic aircraft design is to minimize this force by lowering the coefficient of drag. This gives rise to the highly streamlined shapes of SSTs. To some extent, supersonic aircraft also manage drag by flying at higher altitudes than subsonic aircraft, where the air density is lower.”

Next, we tried to find out more about the Concorde IFE hardware and the British Science Museum noted: “Brochure, ‘For your entertainment in flight : Supersonic Stereo : Five stereo programs specially produced for Concorde’. Part of collection of in-flight material gathered by Alastair Greenlees who flew on Concorde in January 1978 and with BOAC from Manchester Airport.” Admittedly, a multichannel IFE audio service was quite good since  flight time was reduced by roughly 50%. Concorde In-flight Entertainment Brochure | Science Museum Group Collection

Also we found a wonderful website that features the history and present news on the heritage Concorde here: Heritage Concorde
which features a great video about the plane that you can watch here: (3) UK Concorde first nose move – Heritage Concorde – Project Salute – YouTube. And yes, if yes, if you want more Concorde “stuff’, check out this Etsy site: Concorde Supersonice Transport Gray Travel Folder Inflight | Etsy

We should mention that the IFE we found on the Concorde was some 6 channels of audio entertainment, and having noted that, we expect the “future” products from the likes of Boom and Aerion will reflect the growing demand for real-time connectivity. And we firmly believe that satcom and Wi-Fi connectivity/streaming to PEDs will be a must. We’ve been asking ourselves what engineering and certification requirements there will be for a satcom radome aboard an SST – stay tuned on this one! There is one certainty, whichever IFEC offering is selected, it will be the ‘brightest and shiniest’ available! After all, why put old technology on such a technologically advanced aircraft?!

Articles have also noted that the earlier supersonic designs had to minimize weight and space because of increased drag and limited aircraft engine performance, newer technology will surely provide more and better personal space than its SST predecessor.

The passenger capacity of the new SST appears to be less than half of the Concorde’s. However, with the current trend toward smaller load factors this may end up being an advantage for future operators.

Here are some interesting links on the aviation future:


AIRBUS

The airframer delivered 566 commercial aircraft in 2020 vs 863 in 2019:

A220 Family: 38 vs 48 (2019)
A320ceo Family: 15 vs 91 (2019)
A320neo Family: 431 vs 551 (2019)
A330ceo: 6 vs 12 (2019)
A330neo: 13 vs 41 (2019)
A350: 59 vs 112 (2019)
A380: 4 vs 8 (2019)
A220: 64
A320 Family: 296
A330: 2
A350:

Airbus recorded 383 new orders (268 net):
A220: 64
A320 Family: 296
A330: 2
A350: 21

Aircraft Cancellations – 115 (2020), backlog stood at 7,184 aircraft on December 31.


BOEING

The company recorded 184 new orders in 2020 (-471 net of cancellations/conversions).

737 MAX: 112
737NG: 18
767: 11
777: 13
787: 29
747: 1

And they delivered 157 commercial aircraft in 2020 compared to 380 in 2019:

737 MAX: 27 vs 57
737NG: 16 vs 70
767: 30 vs 43
777: 26 vs 45
787: 53 vs 158
747: 5 vs 5


OTHER NEWS

This topic may be up your alley – What is Quantum Computing. If it’s not, but you are interested, below is a free 27 page report. As a quote from the article: “Soon, quantum computers could change the world. Quantum computing is the processing of information that’s represented by special quantum states. By tapping into quantum phenomena like “superposition” and “entanglement,” these machines handle information in a fundamentally different way to “classical” computers like smartphones, laptops, or even today’s most powerful supercomputers.” CBINSIGHTS has a real understanding of the subject … we think! What Is Quantum Computing?

INMARSAT AND HUGHES BRING UNRIVALED INFLIGHT CONNECTIVITY TO NORTH AMERICAN AIRLINES AND PASSENGERS

GX+ North America will seamlessly combine the Hughes JUPITER satellite fleet, which has the largest Ka-band satellite capacity over the US, with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress, the widest, most resilient global network, to offer faster, more reliable inflight Wi-Fi.

Inmarsat, a world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, and Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), the global leader in broadband satellite networks and services, unveiled a major strategic collaboration that marks an important new step change for North American commercial airlines and their passengers.

The companies have joined forces to launch a transformational aviation connectivity solution, which has been specifically designed for North American commercial airlines and is available today. GX+ North America seamlessly integrates the unrivaled capacity of the Hughes JUPITER™ High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) constellation across North America with the extensive worldwide coverage and resilience of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) HTS satellite network, bringing a unique combination of unprecedented capacity, speed and reliability to the region, unavailable from any other satellite provider.

The ground-breaking new solution underscores the strategic vision of Inmarsat and Hughes as they look past the pandemic and into the future needs of commercial airline fleets in North America, whose passengers will require ubiquitous connectivity as they return to the skies.

The ultra-high capacity of GX+ North America will, for the first time, make it possible for North American airlines to meet increasing passenger demand, including the surge in traffic expected from free-of-charge inflight Wi-Fi. Today, satellite networks are trying to serve thousands of commercial aircraft in the world’s busiest airspace, and as they reach capacity, airlines will struggle to meet the demands of data-hungry passengers who want reliable, affordable, high-speed Wi-Fi while on board.

For too long, North American airline passengers have had to settle for constrained bandwidth activities such as email and limited messaging while on board flights. GX+ North America will give passengers the freedom to stream videos and audio, shop online, check and update social media, and catch up on work, all while in the air.

The superior capabilities of GX+ North America mean that North American airlines no longer need to compromise on speed, reliability, availability or coverage for inflight broadband, even when flying at full capacity over the busiest airport hubs. This also offers full flexibility for route planning, even on short notice, as the solution can cover any route worldwide through the GX global network — whether to Hawaii, Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean, across the Gulf of Mexico, to Central and South America, across the Atlantic or even to the most extreme northern latitudes.

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “GX has firmly established itself as the reference inflight connectivity solution for today’s demanding passengers and is used by airlines worldwide. We are very confident that this game-changing collaboration with Hughes, combining their market-leading depth of capacity with Inmarsat’s award-winning passenger connectivity solution, delivers for the first time, inflight broadband that is consistently superior regardless of the number of passengers using the service or where they are traveling. It is truly a ‘no compromise’ solution for airlines that no other service provider can offer. We’ve also ensured the transition path for airlines upgrading from other connectivity providers is simple, quick and cost efficient.”

“This strategic collaboration is further evidence of Inmarsat’s strength, resilience and innovation despite these unprecedented times in our industry. As a number of connectivity providers in North America face financial challenges and airlines are forced to reconsider their choice of supplier, Inmarsat’s offer continues to go from strength to strength.”

Paul Gaske, Executive Vice President and General Manager, North America division at Hughes, said: “We are proud to partner with Inmarsat to launch GX+ North America. This unique strategic collaboration leverages the full power of the JUPITER System, including the depth of capacity of our Ka-band High-Throughput Satellite fleet, as well as our JUPITER gateways and modems. Combining the Hughes JUPITER System and Inmarsat’s leading inflight connectivity solution, GX+ North America marks a new era for inflight connectivity.”

The new solution will be provided and managed end-to-end by Inmarsat. Prototype flights are expected to start later this year with commercial availability scheduled for 2021.

GX+ North America utilizes a robust Ka-band flat panel antenna from Thinkom, with millions of flight hours behind it, together with smart dual aero modem technology powered by Inmarsat’s aviation solutions that intelligently chooses the optimal satellite path with no service interruption or delay for passengers.

Looking forward, as commercial aviation returns to growth and aircraft return to the skies, Inmarsat and Hughes will continue to anticipate and respond to the North American market’s evolving needs. Expanding the service over the next four years alone, the Hughes and Inmarsat combined constellation of seven GX and JUPITER satellites will more than double to a total of 15 spacecraft. These additional satellites include the Hughes ultra-high capacity JUPITER 3 satellite and Inmarsat’s seven advanced, fully-funded next generation GX satellite payloads (6A, 6B, 7, 8, 9, 10A & 10B), which will enhance capacity and coverage throughout the world, including the Arctic.

Be sure to check out this infographic.



FLIGHTPATH3D

FlightPath3D Now Comes With More Places Than You Can Imagine

FlightPath3D announces that Flying Over Places is now included as a new view in all 3D map products. A retrofit is available for all existing 3D map installs.

FlightPath3D President Duncan Jackson said, “Flying Over Places significantly expands our map feature set with the integration of over 50,000 points of interest (POIs) that auto-play as the flight progresses, providing historical information about landmarks, attractions, and places as they’re flown over en route.”

Jackson adds, “We want every airline to be able to inform their customer what they can see out the window, with each point displaying its distance and direction.”

“This, and our many other map features, help provide an innovative and consistent passenger experience across multiple aircraft types and IFE systems. So you can continue to elevate your brand and differentiate your inflight service”, says FlightPath3D CEO Boris Veksler.

Veksler continues, “We design and deploy apps that are available as an Android, iOS or Linux app, can be streamed as a web service or API, and as widgets that can be embedded in other applications.”

To conclude, Veksler says, “We have the largest team of map specialists and geospatial engineers in the industry, building software selected by all the leading IFE vendors, and we’ll continue to lead, innovate and elevate the passenger experience.”

NOTE: Video of Flying Over Places for embed/viewing here.


SMARTSKY

SmartSky Networks announced that mobile broadband communications technology executive David Helfgott has been named CEO, reflecting the company’s upcoming transition from the development and deployment stage to an operational aviation broadband communications services and products company.

“On behalf of both the SmartSky board and management, I am delighted to welcome David to our team, reflecting our longstanding company plan. His extensive technology and mobile communications experience will help us ensure that all of our operations reflect the high level of quality set by our transformational connectivity technology,” said Haynes Griffin, outgoing CEO who will remain as Executive Chairman.

“I am honored to be selected to lead SmartSky at this exciting inflection point,” said SmartSky CEO Helfgott. “When you look at SmartSky’s unique positioning and expansive patent portfolio, it highlights the company’s incredible potential and culture of sustained innovation. Since COVID-19 first began to impact the inflight communications industry, SmartSky has proven its resilience in many ways, having added more than 40 patents since January 2020, successfully defended its IP from a challenge brought by an industry incumbent, closed on funding of more than $50 million in additional equity and debt, and overhauled its radio technology supply chain on the way to completing the deployment and launch of its network next year.”

Helfgott most recently was President & CEO of phased-array antenna developer Phasor, which was recently acquired by Hanwha Systems. Prior to this, he held several senior executive roles including President & CEO of Inmarsat Government; President of Tactical Wireless Communications for Cobham; President & CEO of Datapath and President & CEO of SES Government.

Haynes Griffin, who has been SmartSky’s Chairman and CEO since 2013, also was the founding CEO of Vanguard Cellular and a past Chairman of CTIA, a major wireless industry trade association.

SmartSky is reinventing connectivity, building a next-generation inflight WiFi network from the ground up. The company also is developing pioneering aviation data products to improve safety and efficiency while providing the industry with novel ancillary revenue sources. SmartSky’s unique single-beam-per-aircraft inflight WiFi approach is backed by 190 patents and over 1,000 hours of flight testing.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat announced that it will provide engineering support, communications services and equipment to Cranfield University’s Digital Aviation Research and Technology Center (DARTeC) consortium, supported by Honeywell Aerospace.

Set to open at Cranfield University during the first quarter of 2021, DARTeC will spearhead UK research into digital aviation technology. The center will address the most pressing research challenges facing the aviation industry, including the integration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles into civilian airspace, increasing the efficiency and reliability of airports and aircraft through technology, and creating a safe and secure shared airspace.

Inmarsat and Honeywell Aerospace will support the Center’s research by providing Aspire 400 satellite communications terminals, airtime and engineering expertise in the Saab 340B flying test-bed and test lab for evaluation and development of future applications and solutions. The Saab 340B will effectively serve as a ‘flying laboratory’ to evaluate multiple advanced radar systems and airborne digital communications.

John Broughton, Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations and Safety, Inmarsat Aviation said: “Advances in digital aviation are driving innovation opportunities in all aspects of the airline industry. Today’s commitment with Honeywell Aerospace to support DARTeC highlights the importance of creating a collaborative research environment in the aviation industry. We are looking forward to working closely with other members of the DARTeC community to reap the rewards of a digital aviation industry for many years to come.”

Mark Goodman, Director of Product Management, Honeywell Aerospace said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Inmarsat to support the DARTeC consortium and bring the benefits of the digital revolution to the aviation industry. There is no time to waste in responding to the opportunities of digital transformation and ensuring that the industry is ready to serve the needs of our airlines today and tomorrow.”

Through the DARTeC consortium, members are able to create, develop and test next generation air traffic control (ATC) applications for manned and unmanned aviation that will utilize digital voice and data. Members will also have access to Inmarsat’s Iris program fully serviced aircraft for testing, evaluation and demonstrations as well as conducting live Iris test flights with specific air navigation service providers (ANSPs).


BOEING

The European Union has been authorized by the WTO to impose $3.99b in annual tariffs on US imported goods. This includes Boeing aircraft and has done so as a result of illegal subsidies to the company.


STELLAR

Stellar boarding music boosts Virgin Australia Brand. Passengers traveling on Virgin Australia and VARA (Virgin Australia Regional Airlines) will now hear customized boarding music as of September 2020, a first for the airline group. The original piece was written in-house at Stellar Entertainment and replaces the commercially available music playlists previously played onboard the airline for years.

Stellar Entertainment’s Creative Director, Brad Power, describes the composition:

“Our latest piece draws on deep house and Balearic beats to create a fresh, vibrant and modern sound that is upbeat without being too exuberant. Perfect for a contemporary airline looking to do something a little different.”

Bespoke boarding music offers airlines an opportunity to create their own unique brand identity and sound, one that passengers can always relate to their experience onboard that airline. This area of expertise is just one of many offerings from Stellar’s fully equipped, multi-studio facilities specializing in various audio solutions and services, such as original music composition and sound design.

Director of Licensing at Stellar, Sam Allen remarks, “A bespoke piece doesn’t stop at boarding music. It can be implemented across the airline via other platforms and applications such as advertising campaigns and promotional buzz reels, to optimize usage as part of an over-arching sonic strategy.”

Besides rolling out this new signature music across the fleet for boarding and disembarking, Virgin Australia and VARA have also implemented it as on-hold music for their phone lines. Working directly with Stellar Entertainment has given the airline group the ability to license the music as needed, allowing for greater flexibility in how and where they use the new sound. This also includes a financial benefit, with a direct license with Stellar saving the airline group royalty fees paid to local collection agencies.

This is the second composition from Stellar Entertainment to be used by an airline, following the bespoke piece used by Malaysia Airlines earlier this year.

To hear the new boarding music for Virgin Australia and VARA, click here.

To listen to a broader range of audio samples from our in-house composition team, click here.


OTHER NEWS

Miltope: Reliable In The Extreme

IFExpress recently had the opportunity to connect with the Miltope team and we discovered that the company is celebrating 45 years in the aviation sector, specifically 20+ in the commercial aviation space. In conjunction with this milestone, they have rebranded and you will notice their new logo in today’s publication.

Miltope has a long-standing history of setting the standard for commercial aviation applications that can withstand the harshest conditions. “Reliable in the extreme, is how we approach everything we do,” said Jack Haley, President and CEO of Miltope. “Whether with our customer relationships or our hardware design and development, Miltope’s capabilities are defined by this mantra. This philosophy relies on a common, open architecture approach of satisfying performance requirements to minimize integration challenges, enhance capability, and ultimately provide the best value solution. And our new logo, the Rhino, embodies this dedication to ruggedized, reliable hardware.”

In an area where technology capabilities evolve rapidly, designing systems that can remain relevant and innovative over the long lifecycles required for the aviation sector is always a challenge. Miltope understands these challenges as well as the complex, technical operating environment and what is required of their rugged devices. This understanding is a critical element in their product design and ensures that Miltope’s rugged systems accommodate technologies well into the future.

With over 20,000 products installed, Miltope is an industry leader in wireless networking solutions for the commercial aviation industry. This includes their very capable servers and access points. One of the unique aspects the company brings to the table is wireless network optimization. The nMAP2 802.11ac Multifunction Access Point uses Cognitive HotspotTM Technology (CHT) and soon CHT Plus to optimize and cyber secure the cabin network and maximize its capacity and distribution for the benefit of the passenger and the airline. nMAP2’s sense their environment and adapt the wireless network performance components accordingly. They cooperate with neighboring nMAP2’s, allowing them to manage all available resources, prevent interference and balance the network usage. This provides clear and fast wireless capacity throughout the cabin, ensuring secure communications and minimizing interference. The CHT Plus upgrade adheres to the WPA3 standard, includes an WIPS (Wireless Intrusion Prevention System) and offers Hotspot 2.0 capabilities. Each nMAP2 has two radios, providing both IEEE 802.11a/n/ac operation and 802.11a/g/n for legacy client devices. We are told that wireless data rates up to 1.7 Gbps may be achieved with 802.11ac.

Miltope also offers an ARINC 763 compliant Cellular Terminal Wireless LAN Unit (cTWLU) that is based on the nMAP2 hardware. This is a wireless gateway from an aircraft LAN to a ground based LAN that automates data delivery without the delays and costs associated with human intervention. The cTWLU provides IEEE 802.11b/g/n or 802.11ac wireless operation plus 3G/4G cellular operation modes. This is a compact and secure interactive web based interface to a software management tool with proven reliability, requiring no maintenance. It is software upgradeable to support evolving security, connectivity and authentication protocols.

The xMAP is the next generation airborne wireless access point product family member from Miltope and is foundational to a software platform for wireless data in the cabin. Whether streaming cashed content, e-mails through the Internet, cabin IoT data or crew communications, the adaptive wireless network manages, optimizes and cyber-secures data flow for each aircraft and across the fleet. This hardware and software solution significantly expands network capabilities and throughput, while incorporating exceptional software features and functions, including the additional features CHT Plus offers for the nMAP2 upgrade. The xMAP will feature 802.11ax, CHT, embedded SSD providing distributed content caching, cyber security, intelligent client connection and roaming, and WPA3.

IFExpress expects to see the latest updates to the nMAP2 and the cTWLU at the next trade show, and Miltope has told us they will be rolling-out the xMAP in 2021, and other new products and services over the next several years.

Lastly, we want to congratulate Miltope on celebrating 45 years in aviation and be sure to check out their video!


Panasonic: Middle East Airlines Selects Panasonic Avionics For A321 Family IFE and Connectivity

Panasonic Avionics  has been selected by Middle East Airlines-Air Liban (MEA) to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for 15 of its Airbus A321 family aircraft.

Upon delivery from July 2020 onwards, 9 A321neos will become the first connected aircraft to join MEA’s fleet. They will be linefitted with Panasonic’s eX1 seatback IFE solution, designed specifically for narrowbody aircraft.

eX1 offers elegant full HD seatback monitors, complete with touch displays and handsets, and an intuitive, personalized interface. Passengers will have access to USB and laptop charging power points at every seat as well.

MEA’s A321neos will also be fitted with Panasonic’s inflight Wi-Fi service, with a host of next generation connectivity benefits from fast internet to video streaming, all powered by its new satellite modem which offers bandwidth up to twenty times greater than previously available.

Panasonic’s high-performance connectivity is a powerful way for airlines to build brand loyalty by delivering new and personalized content to passengers inflight.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Middle East Airlines to enhance the passenger experience on their A321 family aircraft with our world-class inflight entertainment and connectivity. The Middle East is a dynamic and strategically important region for Panasonic Avionics.”

Mohamad El Hout, Chairman – Director General of MEA, said; “We are happy to partner again with Panasonic Avionics. MEA’s new aircraft is equipped with its state-of-the-art inflight entertainment systems including WiFi connectivity for the first time, reflecting the company’s ambition to provide customers with the best products the industry has to offer.”


FTS Innovative Connectivity: Ka-band Inflight Connectivity System Goes Live on Qingdao Airlines

FTS, a provider of wireless Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions, announced that its XStreamSAT Ka-band Inflight Connectivity System has officially gone live on Qingdao Airlines. A grand ceremony was held on 7 Jul 2020 in Qingdao, China to commemorate this momentous occasion, followed by a live inflight broadcast media event on the debut flight QW9771 from Qingdao to Chengdu.

FTS XStreamSAT is the first Ka-band inflight connectivity system to launch in China, following the award of both FAA STC and CAAC VSTC airworthiness certification, after installation on one Qingdao Airlines A320 aircraft. The official launch marks the culmination of relentless team effort by FTS, China Satcom, TDT Link and other valued partners.

XStreamSAT is FTS’ state-of-the-art flagship product that equips the aircraft with highspeed satellite broadband connectivity. The full onboard system comprises of Cabin Wireless Network, MODMAN (Modem and Manager), satellite antenna subsystem, radome, adapter plate and other structural parts. For the China market, it has been optimized to connect with China Satcom’s Chinasat-16 Ka-Band High-Throughput Satellite (HTS), offering unprecedented bandwidth in excess of 150Mbps for each aircraft.

On the debut flight, passengers connected to the onboard wireless network using their own mobile devices and were treated to a galore of over 2000 entertainment selections, curated inflight shopping catalogue with over 500 items (supporting online payment), flight map and of course, the highspeed internet access. A live inflight broadcast was hosted on the ever-popular Douyin (Chinese version of Tik Tok) platform, showcasing smooth 2-way live video communication between the flight and ground audiences.

With the completion of extensive testing and commercial launch, FTS is working to accelerate the fleet-wide installation on all of Qingdao Airline’s fleet of 25 Airbus A320/321 aircraft. To realize its vision of fully connected Digital Aircraft, FTS will be progressively introducing other applications in areas such as flight operations, flight safety, aircraft maintenance, cabin crew services etc. Following the successful launch on Qingdao Airlines, FTS has announced to the world that it is now a serious contender in the Inflight Connectivity solution provider space and looks forward to engaging global airlines and markets on a wider scale. For more information contact marketing@fts.aero


SITA

German leisure airline Condor is making significant enhancements to fuel optimization through the deployment of eWAS to more than 700 pilots and dispatchers. The signing with SITA’s aircraft domain of expertisewhich includes the provision of eWAS Pilot and eWAS Dispatch applications – brings several major benefits for the popular holiday airline. As severe weather events become more frequent and intense, eWAS Pilot delivers both forecasts and satellite-based observation data, enabling Condor’s crews to avoid the avoidable and create more economic, intelligent, and flexible flight plans.

Through enhanced route optimization, Condor is further ensuring the safety and wellbeing of its passengers, pilots, and crews, as well as addressing demands to lessen environmental impact, by reducing unnecessary fuel consumption and limiting turnaround times, achieving significant fuel- and cost-savings.

eWAS Dispatch, which has been developed in collaboration with dispatchers themselves, will improve workflow by providing the same, real-time, graphically optimized view and information as pilots, enhancing processes and collaboration across dispatch and cockpit teams.

Christian Schmitt, Managing Director Operations of Condor, says: “At Condor, our focus has always been delivering on the promise of quality to our passengers and ensuring the highest safety standards for customers, crews and pilots. As an existing SITA customer, its aircraft communications technology has enabled us to collaborate more efficiently. Taking this next step in our partnership enables us to further enhance our operations and increase fuel economy, reflecting our strong emphasis on ecological responsibility.”

Stephan Egli, Commercial VP Europe, Middle East & Africa, SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, comments: “The expectation for real-time data flow is growing rapidly, with a host of changing mandates and regulations to ensure that flying is safer and more sustainable than ever. Alongside this, we want to enable our airline customers to provide real passenger satisfaction and optimize costs wherever possible. We’re pleased to continue our work with Condor to transform its optimization plans into reality and help them achieve this.”

The announcement comes just months after SITA’s acquisition of GTD Air Services – its collaborative partner in the development of the eWAS portfolio – which seeks to help airlines embrace a digital shift, making flying safer, more efficient, enjoyable and sustainable. The move is set to accelerate SITA’s existing Digital Day of Operations application portfolio, reinventing the operation of aircraft, flights, and the passenger experience.

Florent Birling, Head of eWAS Portfolio, SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, adds: “We’re excited to enable Condor to stay ahead in the post-COVID-19 environment by deploying new solutions for their pilots and dispatchers. We are further developing our flight efficiency and green operation solutions to allow airlines to reduce their cost and CO2 footprint.”


Flight Aware

FlightAware will provide Metron Aviation with access to the world’s largest flight tracking network and data fusion platform, including data from FlightAware’s terrestrial Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receivers in more than 195 countries delivering extensive flight data and surveillance position updates that will provide a valuable resource for Metron Aviation’s portfolio of Air Traffic Management (ATM) services and tools. The broad coverage of the world’s air traffic that FlightAware offers provides real value to Metron Aviation’s abilities to provide highly accurate demand predictions, for a more comprehensive operational picture, hours ahead of time.

As the first initiative of this relationship, Metron Aviation in partnership with CANSO will supply global ANSPs with their Horizon product with integrated FlightAware surveillance data as a complementary Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. Horizon will provide real-time demand prediction capabilities for airports and airspace to help mitigate the uncertainty regarding the restart of air traffic operations as the industry begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
FlightAware is a digital aviation company and operates the world’s largest flight tracking and data platform. With global connectivity to every segment of aviation, FlightAware provides over 10,000 aircraft operators and service providers as well as over 13,000,000 passengers with global flight tracking solutions, predictive technology, analytics, and decision-making tools.


Airbus

Airbus delivered 36 commercial aircraft in June 2020, representing a slight increase compared to 24 in May and 14 in April and bringing the total for the first half of the year to 196 deliveries.

In H1 2020, Airbus booked a total of 298 net commercial aircraft orders. This compares to 389 aircraft in H1 2019. The decrease reflects the COVID-19 crisis. By aircraft type, a total of 11 A220s, 157 A320 Family, 5 A330s and 23 A350s were delivered in the first half of 2020.


Other News

London, UK | January 30, 2020–OneWeb, the global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone everywhere, today confirms its upcoming launch of 34 satellites has been scheduled for Thursday 6 February at 2142 (GMT) / Friday 7 February 0242 (local time) from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

This marks the start of a regular launch campaign during 2020 that will rapidly grow OneWeb’s first phase constellation of 648 satellites and represents one of the largest civilian satellite launch campaigns in history. Each satellite forms an integral part of the high-speed global satellite broadband network and together will activate OneWeb’s first customer demos by the end of 2020 to provide full commercial global services for sectors such as maritime, aviation, government and enterprise in 2021.

In this first OneWeb launch of 2020, thirty-four satellites will be aboard a Soyuz launch vehicle. Arianespace will perform the launch, which will place the satellites into a near polar orbit at an initial altitude of 450 kilometers from where they will rise to their final orbit of 1,200 kilometers and form part of OneWeb’s global communications network. All the satellites are manufactured by OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space.

OneWeb has chosen the theme Space for Everyone for the first launch of its 2020 Launch Program, showing how Space is becoming more relevant to everyday life as an important source of connectivity. In collaboration with governments, investors and distribution partners, OneWeb will bring its customers a new experience of connectivity together with social, educational and sustainability benefits. OneWeb’s vision is to see every school connected and it continues to be committed to tackling the digital divide that exists between the connected and unconnected. Follow #OneWebLaunch on OneWeb social media channels: YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.

(Today’s image refers to a story in the Airbus section of IFExpress.)

United Airlines Orders 50 A321XLRs

United Airlines placed a firm order for 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft as it begins to phase out older models and launches an expansion of transatlantic routes from its key U.S. hubs in Newark/New York and Washington D.C. United plans to take delivery of the first A321XLR in 2024 and expects to begin international service with the aircraft in 2025.

“The new Airbus A321XLR aircraft is an ideal one-for-one replacement for the older, less-efficient aircraft currently operating between some of the most vital cities in our intercontinental network,” said Andrew Nocella, United’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “In addition to strengthening our ability to fly more efficiently, the A321XLR opens potential new destinations to further develop our route network and provide customers with more options to travel the globe.”

“We are delighted to be re-United with our friends in Chicago and thank them for their trust. The selection of the A321XLR by the leadership of United Airlines is a ringing endorsement of the range, payload, and fuel efficiency that Airbus incorporated into this state-of-the-art aircraft,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer. “The exceptional versatility and performance of the A321XLR enable new operational efficiencies that flow to the airline’s bottom line.”

The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step in the A320neo/A321neo family of aircraft, meeting market requirements for increased range and payload in a single-aisle aircraft, and creating more value for the airlines by enabling economically viable service on longer routes than any comparable aircraft model. It will allow service from the U.S. East Coast to a much larger selection of European destinations.

The A321XLR will deliver an unprecedented narrow-body airliner range of up to 4,700nm, with 30% lower fuel consumption per seat compared with previous-generation competitor jets. It will have a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 101 metric tonnes, while takeoff, climb, and flight performance will change little from the A321neo.

The A321XLR will be operated by the same crew, powered by the same engines and have the same cabin as the A321neo, with more than 90 percent commonality. Combining the A321neo’s two rear center fuel tanks into one adds fuel capacity and reduces structural weight. Other significant changes include structural reinforcements and modified landing gears for the increased MTOW, increased braking capability, higher tire speed, and additional flap and slat configurations.

With the Airbus Cabin Flex fuselage, the A321XLR will accommodate a variety of seating classes and configurations suitable for longer flights.


SITA

Airlines and airports in China are moving to another level of passenger service. They are embracing artificial intelligence and automation to provide the hyper-personalized self-service experience their passengers are demanding. According to the SITA 2019 China IT Insights, China’s airlines and airports are using these technologies to expand mobile services and automating the journey with self-service every step of the way.

A key technology that is attracting investment is artificial intelligence (AI). SITA’s China IT Insights reveals that 88% of both airlines and airports are planning major programs, or R&D, with AI by 2022 and they are focusing on virtual agents and chatbots. This investment matches the demands from passengers; SITA’s research of passengers in China shows that 64% of them want a digital travel concierge. Already nearly half (43%) of airlines in China have AI-driven chatbot customer services and the planned investment should see the availability of them rising quickly over the coming years. For passengers of China’s airlines and airports, self-service has reached a strong level of maturity, but a step-change is coming as biometrics is being adopted. Today, 27% of airports have self-boarding gates using biometrics with travel documents but in just three years this will jump to 66%. And more than half of the airports have plans for secure single biometric tokens for all touch points by 2022. Airlines too are committing to self-boarding gates using biometrics with ID, 60% are planning to use them driving a secure and seamless passenger experience right through the airport with the next three years. Mobile services are vital to meet China passengers’ demands and by 2022, all airlines and 93% of airports are planning investments in them. Services including flight discovery, airline offers, check-in and flight status notifications via mobile are already provided by all airlines. One fifth are also using mobiles to sell newspapers, magazines and movies/TV to passengers. Airports too are investing in mobile services to offer a more personalized experience for passengers. Services including, notifications about flight and airport status, and customer relationship management are well established and are offered by up to 81% of airports. Keeping the passenger informed and connected is not only what China’s airports are providing via mobile, they are also facilitating mobile payments. Close to three quarters enable passengers to buy airport services and allow cashless payments via mobile. This hyper-personalized service via mobile confirms it as a vital tool for China passengers. The report highlights that blockchain technology is another key area of investment for airlines, today only 24% have major programs, or R&D, planned but this is set to jump to 80% by 2022. This is in line with the recent trends and commitments to blockchain technology in the country.


CARLISLE IT

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) announced membership in the Independent Aircraft Modifiers Alliance (IAMA). CIT has a nearly 80-year history of providing the highest quality aircraft components and for over 30 years has been developing modification packages and Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for airlines, avionics manufacturers, and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) partners.

IAMA is an alliance of leading companies in the aircraft retrofit and modification industry that are committed to common standards for documentation and quality of STCs. IAMA’s founding members include EAD Aerospace, Envoy Aerospace, Etihad Airways Engineering, and Lufthansa Technik. By joining IAMA, CIT will contribute its decades of experience and expertise along with industry peers to improve the STC experience for its customers.

“We look forward to joining our industry colleagues in establishing standards for STC data packages and support,” said Jeff Behlendorf, director of product management, integrated products at CIT. “Our membership in IAMA builds on CIT’s longstanding tradition of providing the highest quality aircraft modifications, and our IAMA involvement will allow us to share experience and best practices with the entire industry.”

CIT holds more than 200 STCs for upgrade of Part 25 aircraft avionics, systems, and special mission equipment from regulators globally. CIT is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 21 Design Approval Holder, has European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Part 21 Design Organization Approval (DOA), and maintains multiple Part 21 manufacturing locations and Part 145 repair facilities. This allows CIT customers the flexibility to certify in the US, Europe, or anywhere else in the world, leverage global manufacturing while coordinating with design and qualification activities, and enjoy robust support for the aircraft modifications on site.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat confirmed the successful launch of GX5, the fifth satellite in its Global Xpress (GX) network that delivers the award-winning GX Aviation and Jet ConneX (JX) inflight broadband services. The satellite was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana. It will bring additional, focused capacity over Europe and the Middle East to meet growing demand for high-speed passenger Wi-Fi in the airline and business aviation markets.

GX Aviation customers include leading airlines such as Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, Lufthansa, AirAsia and Singapore Airlines, while JX has been activated on more than 600 business jets. GX5 was built by Thales Alenia Space and launched by Arianespace at 21:24 UK time on Tuesday 26 November 2019. Following satellite separation from the rocket at 21:58 UK time on 26 November, telemetry was successfully acquired shortly after separation and the mission is proceeding to plan. In less than four years, GX has established itself as the benchmark for reliable communications across the fastest growing sectors for mobile connectivity.

Additionally, Inmarsat has been named the ‘World’s Leading Inflight Service Provider’ for the third year in a row at the prestigious World Travel Awards, in recognition of the company’s pioneering GX Aviation and European Aviation Network (EAN) connectivity solutions for the airline industry. The prestigious accolade was announced at a gala ceremony in Muscat, Oman last night, following a vote by travel and tourism executives from across the world. Inmarsat was hailed for delivering a major step-change in inflight broadband capabilities with GX Aviation, powered by the world’s first and only globally available broadband network, and EAN, which offers unprecedented performance over Europe’s well-traveled skies. Both solutions enable airline passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more, with connectivity onboard at comparable speeds to land-based broadband. Almost 1,800 aircraft are currently under signed contracts for GX Aviation and EAN, with a new business pipeline of approximately 3,000 aircraft worldwide. Inmarsat is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and has outlined an ambitious development roadmap for its Global Xpress (GX) network, which commenced this week with the launch of its fifth satellite, GX5, providing focused capacity for airlines and business aviation over Europe and the Middle East. Seven additional satellites are scheduled to launch in the coming four years, making GX the most agile and flexible constellation ever built.


AIRBUS

Scandinavian carrier SAS has taken delivery of its first A350-900, becoming the newest operator of this latest generation, highly efficient widebody aircraft (see image above). The airline has a total of eight A350-900 aircraft on order and operates an Airbus fleet of 68 aircraft (51 A320 Family, 17 A330 and A340 Family aircraft). In the coming years, as part of an extensive fleet modernization, SAS will take delivery of 54 additional A320neo Family aircraft and the remaining seven A350-900s through direct purchase and lease contracts. SAS’s A350-900 features a modern and highly comfortable three-class cabin layout with 300 seats: 40 “SAS Business” class, 32 “SAS Plus” class and 228 “SAS Go” class seats. On 28 January 2020, the airline will start to operate the new aircraft on its Copenhagen-Chicago long-haul route, followed by other international destinations including North America and Asia.

The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, a carbon fiber fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivaled levels of operational efficiency with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions. The A350 XWB’s Airspace by Airbus cabin is the quietest of any twin-aisle and offers passengers and crews the most modern in-flight products for the most comfortable flying experience. Moreover, SAS will benefit from Airbus’ unique aircraft commonality. The incoming A350s will seamlessly integrate into SAS’s current Airbus fleet today in service at the airline. At the end of October 2019, the A350 XWB Family had received 913 firm orders from 50 customers worldwide, making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.

On another note, Air Corsica has taken delivery of its first of two Airbus A320neo aircraft on lease from ICBC Leasing. With this delivery, the airline becomes the first French A320neo operator. The highly fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft will help reduce Air Corsica’s operating costs. The airline’s A320neo is powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines and is configured in a single-class cabin layout, seating 186 passengers.Each passenger will benefit from a modern cabin that includes USB ports to charge electronic devices during flight. In addition, the aircraft’s lavatories are designed to facilitate access for passengers with reduced mobility. The two Air Corsica A320neo aircraft will replace the older aircraft in its fleet and will operate on the airline’s main domestic and European networks. Air Corsica is currently operating a fleet of six A320 aircraft. Featuring the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky, the A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver 20 percent reduced fuel burn as well as 50 percent less noise compared to previous generation aircraft.

Airbus has also celebrated the 100th A220 aircraft produced for a customer during a ceremony at the aircraft program’s headquarters in Mirabel, Canada. The aircraft, an A220-300, destined for Riga, Latvia-based airBaltic, features a brand new and comfortable cabin layout with 149 seats plus a modernized livery.

The A220 Family is assembled at Airbus’ main Final Assembly Line in Mirabel and more recently, also at the program’s second assembly line in Mobile, Alabama. The world’s first A220 (formerly called the C Series) was delivered in June 2016 to A220-100 launch operator SWISS. airBaltic became the A220-300 launch operator when the Latvian airline received delivery of the first ever A220-300 three years ago, on 28 November, 2016. airBaltic has since then re-ordered A220-300 aircraft twice – bringing its firm order to 50 aircraft to become the current biggest European A220 customer. The airline now operates a fleet of 20 A220-300 aircraft to various European and Russian destinations as well as to the Middle East.

And lastly, A WTO panel assessing the measures the EU and Airbus have taken to comply with the WTO recommendations has issued its findings. As a result of the panel’s findings, the US should immediately reduce the USD 7.5 billion in tariffs that the WTO authorized to the US in October by around USD 2 billion. This is the direct result of the panel finding that the loans for the development of the A380 no longer have an impact on Boeing sales and that therefore the value of the lost sales no longer exists.

The panel also asserts that the amendments already made to the A350 loan agreements are not sufficient to fully align the loans with market conditions. Based on these findings, Airbus would support to appeal this report, as per WTO rules. In May 2018, the WTO Appellate Body clarified that the EU and Airbus have achieved compliance with respect to the vast majority of measures at issue, but considered that some adjustments were needed to the A380 and A350 loans, or to remedy their market effects. Measures have therefore been taken on both programs relating to the respective loans of Members States or on the market effects those loans had on Boeing.

Airbus remains committed to working with the EU and its member states to comply with the WTO recommendations. With the wide range of additional steps to comply with WTO findings since 2018, the EU and Airbus have demonstrated their willingness to ensure a fair trade environment respecting international trade agreements.


OTHER NEWS

  • No doubt, you just don’t see how AI will change your life. Hey, AI is just math – as it is applied to a lot of real, daily, and not so daily problems. This video on PBS Frontline is one of the best. Why? Because they take real problems and show the AI solutions. This is really a great beginning application story to AI so don’t miss it! In the Age of AI | Watch S2019 E5 | FRONTLINE | PBS | Official Site
    However, the two hour video may just scare the heck out of you! As an example, they note US (and worldwide, for that matter) productivity is increasing under robotics, while medium household income has not grown with the increase in productivity. And thus, while productivity has grown, job growth has not – at least not at the same rate. No doubt, your challenge will be to envision how AI will affect aviation! And if you can figure it out, you may well secure your job of the future!
    We will go one step further and tell you that the second hour of the show scared us.  It wasn’t just what AI technology can do but the real kicker is how it is applied and information extrapolated. As Kai Fu Lee says; “AI technology can be used for good or evil.” However, be sure to watch the video and come to your own conclusions.
    And speaking of AI issues: How AI Will Go Out Of Control According To 52 Experts – CB Insights Research
  • We found an interesting (and free) newsletter from Avionics International and it is very good and up to date. Called the Skyport, again, it’s free and you sign up here: The Skyport: Your Guide to the World of Urban Air Mobility – Avionics It comes out every 2 weeks.

Bengaluru | March 13, 2019– Saankhya Labs, India’s leading wireless communication system and transformative technology solutions provider, has successfully demonstrated their new solutions for next generation communication technologies of 5G Broadcast and Direct to Mobile TV(DTM).

Saankhya Labs showed a technology demonstration of their patented 5G Broadcast solution at the recently concluded Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 in Barcelona, Spain from 25th to 28th February. This is the first time in the world that a 5G Broadcast solution using the convergence of Broadband and Broadcast technology has been demonstrated anywhere in the world.

5G Broadcast is the next generation communication technology that is based on the convergence of Broadcast & Broadband networks. This solution enables telecom service providers to offload video traffic from their mobile network onto the ‘cellularized’ broadcast network. This will help decongest mobile spectrum use by offloading the video traffic that accounts for maximum data use. This will improve usage of mobile spectrum and increase the user experience by freeing bandwidth which will help reduce call drops, increase data speeds etc.

Video traffic is the fastest growing traffic on mobile networks. World over, about 60% of mobile data usage is of video content, and this is expected to increase to over 75% by 2022. The Indian mobile market is expected to grow to more than 850 million users. 5G broadcast will help unchoke the mobile networks from this huge video traffic.

This solution not only helps the Mobile Operators to free up bandwidth and provide a superior user experience, but also will help broadcasters to monetize their broadcast spectrum by reaching millions of additional mobile subscribers.

5G Broadcast has a wide variety of applications such as, Multimedia and Entertainment including HD TV to Mobile devices, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR and AR) Services. It can be a very effective solution for Emergency Broadcast ServicesInternet of Things, Various Automotive applications such as Firmware Upgrade Over the Air (FOTA), broadcast of mapping and GIS data for Driverless Vehicles, Automotive Infotainment etc.

Saankhya Labs is providing a complete solution for 5G broadcast which include:

(1) ‘Cellularized’ Low-power Broadcast transmitter,

(2) Mobile receiver (USB device) based on its own chipset and

(3) the analytics and decision engine software on mobile network core which enables the switching between Broadband and Broadcast networks.

At MWC 2019, Saankhya’s 5G broadcast technology demonstrations generated a lot of interest among various telecom operators and broadcasters.

Apart from 5G Broadcast, Saankhya’s another solution called Direct to Mobile TV (DTM), will allow mobile devices to receive terrestrial Digital TV. As more and more people are watching entertainment content on portable devices, DTM gives the option to watch Free to Air Linear TV such as Live sports, news etc on their mobile devices without buffering and without a data network.

Both the technology solutions i.e. 5G Broadcast and Direct to Mobile TV are powered by Saankhya’s indigenous Pruthvi-3 Chipsets based on award winning and patented SDR architecture. Pruthvi-3 is a fully programmable multi-standard chipset that supports next generation communication standards. Pruthvi-3 chipset was launched last year in December by Hon’ble Minister of State for Communications, Shri. Manoj Sinha.

Parag Naik, Co-Founder and CEO, Saankhya Labs, said, “The majority of the content on mobile devices is in the form of videos. This exponential rise in video consumption poses a great challenge to network operators who are looking at efficient video delivery solutions. The offload of videos from broadband to broadcast under the 5G broadcast aims to resolve this issue. We at Saankhya Labs are working on several such next generation technology developmentsincluding our futuristic Cognitive RAN solution that can help build a more open and better mobile device eco system beyond 5G.

Flexible and Scalable Network Architecture Empowers Service Providers to Offer Unique State-of-the-Art Service and Maximize Profitability

FlexExec from Intelsat Delivers the High Performance, Ubiquity, Resiliency and Reliability that Service Providers and Business Jet Owners Deserve

Intelsat’s Seamless, Multi-Layered, Network for Business Aviation Ensures a Best-in Class Experience for Every Business Jet Passenger

Luxembourg | October 15, 2018– Intelsat S.A., the world’s leading provider of satellite services and integrated communications, announced today it is launching FlexExec, a managed end-to-end service enabling service providers to easily and cost-effectively deliver high-performance, in-flight broadband connectivity to business jets globally.

FlexExec’s broadband services are now accessible via Intelsat’s global, high performing, multi-layered Ku-band satellite fleet. Designed specifically to cover high-traffic business jet routes, FlexExec rides on the Intelsat global network, which integrates layers of high-throughput satellite platform (HTS) coverage from the company’s proven Intelsat EpicNG fleet with the company’s wide-beam satellites to deliver added resiliency and redundancy.

“With FlexExec, Intelsat is reinventing the communications experience for business jet operators and passengers,” said Mark Rasmussen, Intelsat’s vice president and general manager, mobility. “Business travel is demanding and with the global, committed, multi-layered coverage of FlexExec, our service providers can ensure that every business passenger has access to the same high speed, reliable broadband connectivity in the sky as they would at home or in the office.  Importantly, the flexibility, throughput and improved economies of scale of FlexExec enables our service providers to differentiate their service offerings and meet the evolving streaming and broadband demands of their passengers over the long-term.”

Positioned for Success with Flexible, Customizable Service Plans

FlexExec aggregates Intelsat’s space segment, the IntelsatOne ground infrastructure into a simplified, streamlined ecosystem.  By having one, cohesive network, service providers will immediately gain operational efficiencies and be in a stronger position to simplify the inflight experience for flight departments.

In addition, the flexibility of the FlexExec platform enables Intelsat’s service providers to define their offerings for customers on an individual basis rather than on a one-size-fits-all model. It allows them to use bandwidth as they see fit and tailor services based on regional needs. With multi-layered, seamless, consistent coverage paired with the capability to customize and differentiate their offering, service providers have the flexibility to optimize their service, differentiate their brand and deliver real value to their customers. The single, global, high-performance network also eliminates uneven service and gaps in coverage, the prime concern of an end-user base whose flight schedules and routes are not as consistent and predictable as commercial airlines.

Fuel Customer Loyalty Indefinitely

FlexExec is anchored on industry-leading technology and redundancy, ensuring that business jet passengers will have seamless, consistent on-demand connectivity. The Intelsat EpicNG platform utilizes Ku- band, wide beams, spot beams, and frequency reuse technology to provide a host of customer benefits. High quality connectivity without loss in performance, and up to 15x more throughput per satellite is a staple of what Intelsat EpicNG can deliver. Multiple Intelsat EpicNG spot beams enable a high concentration of power on smaller areas supplying the much larger volumes of data that passengers are seeking, especially on the highest traffic aero routes. As a result, service providers and passengers can enjoy reliable, uninterrupted inflight connectivity globally.

Deliver a Best-in-Class Passenger Experience on Every Flight

FlexExec helps business jet broadband providers exceed the expectations of a deserving client base that wishes to stay connected at all times. The service is uniquely designed to support business aviation, meaning capacity is not shared with commercial aviation or consumer broadband customers, ensuring that business jet passengers will have seamless, on-demand connectivity. This results in a best-in-class experience for each passenger on every flight, whether they wish to exchange emails, access cloud-based applications, stream movies or indulge in any other data-heavy experience.

OK, let’s kick off this IFExpress with some “trends” we saw at the show in Boston. These aren’t predictions but just observations and we will of course talk about them in the weeks to come.

  • Big IFE seems very interested in satcom. This sort of makes sense, especially if there is a future payback.
  • Show booths are seemingly getting a little smaller?!
  • Connectivity is becoming more of industry focal point.
  • People’s personal devices are affecting the industry in at least 2 ways: They may impact the future IFE embedded installations and the inseat power folks are all smiles.
  • There is a next generation system and it looks amazing, especially since it can help you enjoy the flight experience better.
  • Software Analytics in a big supplier’s booth blew us away because they have a working user system hardware/software application. If you have their hardware, they can provide an incredible total aircraft system monitor that knows if and where failures are. Further, the application allows the airline to monitor content usage, per tail, per seat, per route! (More on this later).
  • As satcom frequency bands go up, aircraft satcom dishes are getting a little smaller and lower in height.
  • Speaking of satcoms, LEO systems are garnering more interest every day.
  • There is a new player knocking on the door of the Big 3 IFEC camp.
  • One vendor has found a way for you to pay for your PED power usage – on the plane!

Some Highlights from APEX EXPO:

PANASONIC

During Panasonic’s media briefing, Panasonic’s Chief Technology Officer, David Bartlett discussed the three overall areas of focus for the company: 1) Improving customer satisfaction by providing the passenger a seamless experience, 2) Improving operational efficiency, and 3) How to use digital transformation to drive revenue and new business opportunities. As a result, Panasonic has been focusing heavily on artificial intelligence and machine learning and their new NEXT cloud-based platform allows them to leverage these new technologies. Panasonic has also strengthened their existing relationship with Black Swan for Artificial Intelligence.

Andrew Mohr, Head of Innovation at Panasonic Avionics, unveiled their new Wellness Suite of products, which is one of the four pillars of the NEXT product line. The Wellness suite features five products: premium lighting, active noise control, nanoe air quality, the Detalytics Health app, and Mimi personalized audio. The premium LED lighting product is targeted to hit the market in 2020 and will have various scenarios that the traveler can select from, including circadian rhythm, sleep, mealtime, and/or entertainment. The noise control product that was discussed, and demoed in the booth, was in a premium seat whereby the external noise was reduced by 15 decibels without the use of headphones. The technology is adaptable to each seat configuration and will calibrate inflight to each passenger’s seat. It has a frequency range of 80-400Hz and in-seat controls, integrating with the passenger IFE. It too will be launched in the 2019/2020 time frame.

Nanoe was another wellness feature. This is an air cleansing technology, that is currently used on the ground in Japan and in automobiles including Range Rover and Jaguar, that creates nano droplets of water to remove airborne odors and pathogens. But get this, the ionized water droplets are 15,000 times smaller than a human hair follicle!! The nano-sized electrostatic atomized particles are distributed at 480 billion nm particles per second, resulting in the removal of viruses, bacteria, fungi and odors from the cabin.

Artificial intelligence comes into play with the Detalytics health app. AI is used to assess various aspects of a passengers’ health/wellness and deliver accurate recommendations to them via the app. Perhaps the most amazing offering in the Wellness product suite came from Mimi audio technology. Mimi is an app that uses a specialized algorithm that tests and tunes the audio headphones to the passengers’ specific hearing requirements.  The passenger can either answer a series of specific hearing related questions or simply select their gender and age – the results are truly phenomenal! The health and wellness market has been a huge success on the ground with all the wearable technologies available today, whether it be a FitBit, Apple Watch4, Garmin, etc. It was only a matter of time before this booming industry reached into the airline market.  As expected, Panasonic indicated they have an undisclosed launch customer. All this is attainable because of the NEXT open platform.

Panasonic also announced an IFEC deal with Uzbekistan Airways for 3 B787-8 and 2 A320neo aircraft. The X-Series IFEC system, in conjunction with a suite of connectivity services, will be line-fit installed on the new jets. A personalized, home theater experience, with HD screens and high-power USB charging at every seat, AVOD, and capacitive multi-touch screens. The aircraft will also be outfitted with inflight Wi-Fi service. The B787-8 will also have live television and the ability for passengers to use their mobile phone in flight. All the aircraft in this contract are slated to enter into service in January 2019.

Egyptair also selected Panasonic for 15 A320neo aircraft. The X-Series IFEC platform will be line-fit installed on the new narrow-body aircraft, starting in 2020. Business Class will boast 13-inch HD personal screens, a video handset and high-power charging facilities at every seat. Economy Class will have 10-inch HD screens incorporating a USB power point, with charging facilities at each seat group. Inflight Wi-Fi service will also be available; as well as, inflight shopping options and a 3D flight path moving map. Egyptair has also opted to use OneMedia, Panasonic’s advertising platform, to target onboard advertising campaigns by categories including seat class, flight destination, origin city, content categories, and languages.

GOGO

On the opening day of the exhibition floor, Gogo announced that their IPTV product, dubbed Gogo TV, is up and flying on three global airlines, delivering live television to 550+ aircraft. Sports, news, and other content is either delivered to the passengers’ Wi-Fi enabled PEDs or enabled into the seatback IFE system. The airline can customize channel options, allowing their passengers to view popular networks in their country and/or region. Gogo TV is available via the Gogo 2Ku high-speed satcom service. Gogo TV uses High Efficiency Video Coding compression that facilitates bandwidth usage up to 40%. The system also combines multiple channels into a single multicast stream (statistical multiplexing), resulting in a highly efficient solution that offers the best possible perceived video quality while using the least total bandwidth.  Gogo also announced that Air France launched Gogo’s 2Ku high-speed connectivity system on an A330 and B777 with installations being underway on the balance of Air France’s long-haul fleet of 83 jetliners.

THALES

American Airlines and Thales announced during the EXPO that the airline has selected AVANT IFE System for their 22 new B787-8 Dreamliners that are scheduled to enter into service in 2020. Business Class travelers will have 17-inch HD Flex screens and the Thales handheld controller, Avii, that also has the capability to be used as a second screen. Premium Economy will have 12-inch Fit HD screens, while economy will have the 10-inch version.

In the Thales booth, the highlights were on their three-tiered IFEC offering: 1) CORE – their streamlined entertainment product that has a low time to market and uses the Thales developed standard GUI. This product is line-fit offerable at both Boeing and Airbus today, 2) AVANT– uses the current platform that Thales has developed but facilitates more design choices and a degree of customization for the airlines, and 3) PRESTIGE – which is a high-end product that is co-designed and co-innovated by the airline and Thales working closely together to tailor the passenger experience. Presently, both the CORE and AVANT products are available.

Thales also addressed their commitment to Big Data, which they said not only facilitates personalization for the passenger but also has implications for airline operations and its associated costs. Closely related is Artificial Intelligence (AI), with they see playing a significant role in preventative maintenance by utilizing just-in-time parts shipping. Thales stated they are fully dedicated to connectivity and their Ka-band technology investment. They added that they are presently looking into 5G as well. And lastly, but certainly not least, they indicated that Thales has a commitment to Cyber Security.  The indicated that the Thales IFEC group was fortunate to have the Thales Group investing in the aforementioned categories.

Thales also announced that Vietnam Airlines strengthened their partnership with the airline’s selection of AVANT IFE for their new B787-10 fleet of aircraft. This agreement expands their existing relationship for the airline’s A350 and B787-9 fleets with AVANT IFE and turn-key maintenance services.

HOT TEAM = ENCORE

For the past few years, we have been impressed by the inflight entertainment content folks out of Hong Kong and we wanted to introduce you to Jovita Toh’s Encore team …“is made of a group of in-flight veterans who have individually evolved within the inflight and content industries, enhanced their expertise with polished skills, exchanged personal time and effort for added knowledge, enabled the organizations they work for with necessary insights and are now joining forces to extend their collective experience to the exciting world of inflight entertainment”… we couldn’t have said it better! You can find out more here. Watch these folks because they will be content suppliers of the future! PS, they turn out a great monthly newsletter – contact Tommy Ko.


Other News:

AIRBUS

The Board of Directors of Airbus SE (stock exchange symbol: AIR) has selected Guillaume Faury as future Airbus Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Faury, 50, who currently serves as President Airbus Commercial Aircraft, will succeed Tom Enders, 59, who remains CEO until the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 10 April 2019, when the appointment of Faury as executive member of the Board will be submitted to shareholders. Guillaume Faury served in various senior management roles at Eurocopter from 1998 to 2008. Starting in Engineering, then Flight Test, he later became Executive Vice President for Commercial Programmes, then Executive Vice President for Research and Development. In 2009, Faury joined Peugeot S.A., where he served as Executive Vice President for Research and Development as a Member of the Managing Board. In May 2013, Faury returned to Airbus as CEO of Airbus Helicopters and in early 2018 he took the helm of Airbus Commercial Aircraft. Denis Ranque will continue as Chairman of the Board of Directors until the end of his mandate in April 2020, as foreseen in the staggered board succession process, introduced at AGM 2016. At that time and after seven years as Chairman, Denis Ranque has requested to leave the Board to pursue other interests. The Board will commence the process of selecting a new Chairman in due course having regard to, as expressed in its internal rules, the importance of maintaining international diversity at Board and Management level.

NOTES OF INTEREST

Boston, USA | September 26, 2018–Mahata Aero Teknologi (MAT), an Indonesian wireless technology provider, today announced a partnership with GMF AeroAsia as part of a 10-year inflight connectivity contract with low-cost airline Citilink.

GMF AeroAsia, part of the Garuda Indonesia Group, will support the installation of Inmarsat’s award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband onboard 50 Citilink Airbus A320 aircraft, working alongside Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik.

Together, the partners will implement a world-class Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) connectivity offering for passengers across the Citilink fleet, supporting the airline’s continued work to provide an innovative onboard experience and enhance loyalty among its growing customer base.

Citilink, which is also part of the Garuda Indonesia Group, was named Asia’s Best LCC at the TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards 2018 and has a four-star rating by Skytrax. Its installations of GX Aviation are expected to commence later this year.

GX Aviation is the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight connectivity service delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of High-Throughput Satellites (HTS). It allows passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights.

Iwan Setiawan, Managing Director of PT Mahata Aero Teknologi (MAT), said: “We are working with leading companies in the inflight connectivity market to ensure the onboard wifi offered to Citilink passengers is gold-standard. In addition to Inmarsat, Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik, we are delighted to welcome GMF AeroAsia to this important project. Their rich knowledge, expertise and world-class facilities will ensure the installation process is efficient and smooth. I believe this collaboration will benefit each party involved in the long run.”

Ben Griffin, Inmarsat Aviation Regional Vice President, said: “This is a fast-moving project, with Citilink only signing its fleet-wide contract for GX Aviation two months ago. We now welcome GMF AeroAsia to the project and look forward to commencing installation work in the coming months. This shows the impressive agility and determination of Citilink to quickly meet passenger demand for next-generation inflight broadband, together with its various project partners.”

FTS announces landmark agreement with Donghai Airlines to provide Next Generation Inflight Broadband Service fleet-wide that will be first in China to integrate both cockpit and passenger cabin applications

Boston, USA | September 24, 2018– FTS announces at the APEX EXPO Boston 2018 that it has signed a landmark agreement to equip Donghai Airlines fleet with its XStream-SAT Next Generation Inflight Broadband system.  The agreement is significant as it will be first fully “Connected Aircraft” implementation in China to integrate both cockpit and passenger cabin applications over Inflight broadband connectivity service.

Donghai Airlines is a private airline headquartered in Shenzhen China that started commercial flights in 2006.  It flies to over 41 destinations and operates the youngest fleet in China, comprising 18 B737-800 averaging less than 2.5 years in age.  Mr. Yang Jianhong, CEO of Donghai Airlines said, “Our vision of “Connected Aircraft” is not merely just Wi-Fi streaming IFE.  With full integration of front and back cabin applications over inflight broadband, we aspire to offer unparalleled passenger experience, improve air travel safety, efficiency and quality.”

Rich Salter, Chief Technology Officer of FTS added, “The seamless integration of the aircraft data network with the airline’s IT infrastructure enables the aircraft to become more intelligent and data-centric.  Airlines can provide precise support to flights through analysis of real time data transmitted via the air-ground broadband network.  By remote monitoring of flight systems’ performance and leveraging AI deep learning, airlines can even preemptively predict defects, recommend preventive measures and thereby greatly improve flight reliability.”

Under the agreement, Donghai Airlines fleet will be installed with FTS XStream-SAT Inflight Broadband Connectivity system, featuring a Ka-band satcom sub-system and highspeed cabin wireless network.  Apart from front cabin applications, passengers can expect to browse the internet, interact on social networks, watch live TV and shop on e-commerce sites using their own mobile devices.

FTS High Speed Inflight Broadband Connectivity solution set to transform air travel in China

Boston, USA | September 24, 2018– With the CAAC (Civil Aviation Authority of China) relaxation of regulations early this year to allow passengers to use smartphones during flights, the China market has been buzzing with activities in a rush to provide Inflight Connectivity.  FTS announced at the APEX Expo 2018 in Boston, USA, that it is partnering with Qingdao Airlines in China to equip its entire fleet of A320 aircraft with the FTS XStream-SAT Broadband Connectivity system.

Qingdao Airlines is a fast expanding private airline in China, currently operating a fleet of 14 A320s and serving a route network of over 20 domestic destinations.  With its commitment to “Passenger First”, the airline has been outperforming the market and plans to expand to over 100 aircraft by 2025. “Even before the lifting of the ban on passengers using their smartphone, we had been actively looking for a solution that meets our needs. The timing is right now that the smartphone ban was lifted, ChinaSat launched its Ka-band satellites CS-16 and FTS is here with its XStream-SAT system to complete the puzzle“, said the spokesperson for Qingdao Airlines.

“We are extremely honored and delighted to be working with Qingdao Airlines on this groundbreaking agreement to equip their fleet with our XStream-SAT Broadband Connectivity solution.  In the end what won them over is that we are not just offering hardware, but a total solution including a business management platform that helps minimize cost, improve operational efficiency and maximize ancillary revenue.  FTS can offer local support, integration services and market know-how that differentiates us from other providers,” added Mr. Duan Shiping, President of the FTS group.

 

Rockwell Collins’ industry-leading MiQ seating platform has been chosen by Turkish Airlines for the business class cabin of its new fleet of medium-haul, single-aisle aircraft. Initial deliveries of 92 shipsets for Airbus A321neo aircraft and deliveries of 77 shipsets for Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are now underway.

The MiQ platform was selected for the superior passenger experience it delivers to business class travelers with a comfortable, ergonomic reclining position, including a four-way adjustable headrest and leg rest. The seat also provides a large console for passenger storage. Aisle seats feature level access in which the aisle-side armrest retracts downwards to allow passengers extra width in the seat, as well as enabling them to swing their knees into the aisle so window-seat passengers may move in and out of the row.

“We are very excited to introduce our latest business class seats in our new generation 167 narrow body aircraft. As we continue to take firm steps to increase our passengers’ comfort to an even higher level, we now place those state-of-the-art seats, having special features such as seat back inflight entertainment screens, retractable privacy panels, accessible personal stowage and power outlets, in our new medium-haul fleet. With keeping a close eye into customer expectations, we will continue to present the highest standards with our cabin and seat designs in the future,” said Ahmet Olmuştur, Turkish Airlines Chief Marketing Officer.

“The modular design elements of the MiQ seating platform allowed us to work closely with Turkish Airlines to provide a customized configuration that includes a new privacy feature to ensure that business class passengers enjoy an optimal flight experience,” said Mark Vaughan, vice president and general manager for Interior Systems at Rockwell Collins. “In addition, we designed custom leather dress covers to fully reflect the airline’s brand.”

MiQ’s award-winning design is available for business class and premium economy seating for both narrow- and wide-body aircraft.


ASTRONICS

Astronics is celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary! Happy Anniversary from IFExpress! and, oh yes, Astronics PGA Solutions was selected by AMAC Aerospace for a VIP jet completion program – A Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental VIP jet will incorporate Astronics PGA inflight entertainment and cabin management systems.


SITA

GOL, Brazil’s largest airline, is introducing new self-service bag-drop technology to speed up the airport experience. Passengers of the carrier, can now use SITA’s Scan&Fly to check in their bags when flying domestically from Rio de Janeiro International Airport and will soon be able to do so at São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport as well. This self-service option halves the time it takes to check in a bag and gives passengers more control over their journey. Each year, GOL flies around 32 million passengers. Providing significant reductions in the time it takes to check in is a major bonus for passengers, as well as helping GOL reach the targets set as part of the IATA Fast Travel program.

Sergio Quito, Vice President of GOL Operations, said: “GOL has always pioneered the use of innovative processes. Self-service is important for us because it improves the customer experience and helps streamline our operations. SITA’s self bag-drop technology provides what we look for – it is fast, reliable and easy to use.”SITA is retro-fitting Scan&Fly units at each airport. Using them, passengers will be able to check in their baggage in just 40 seconds. As well as the units themselves, SITA also provided consultancy to develop the optimized processes in both airports, integrating the solution into the airlines’ and airports’ infrastructures. Elbson Quadros, SITA Vice President, Latin America, said: “Our goal is to use technology to improve the passenger experience and to make airline and airport operations more efficient. Our self bag-drop solution does exactly that. We are proud to have GOL as the first airline to adopt this technology in Latin America.”

SITA is providing 24/7 support both on the ground and through the SITA Command Centers, which proactively detect issues to avoid any passenger disruption. That monitoring ranges from tracking surges in internet usage which might have an impact on the airport, to alerting the team on the ground that bag tag paper supplies are running low.


AIRBORNE WIRELESS NETWORK

Airborne Wireless Network announced that they are implementing a 30,000-to-1 reverse stock split. every 30,000 shares of the Company’s common stock outstanding will be automatically combined into one new share of common stock without any action on the part of Airborne Wireless Network stockholders.  As a result of the reverse stock split, there will be approximately 296,000 shares of common stock outstanding (subject to adjustment due to the effect of rounding fractional shares into whole shares).


AIRBUS

Airbus Perlan Mission II, the world’s first initiative to pilot an engineless aircraft to the edge of space, made history again yesterday in El Calafate, Argentina, by soaring in the stratosphere to a pressure altitude of over 62,000 feet (60,669 feet GPS altitude). This set a new gliding altitude world record, pending official validation.

The pressurized Perlan 2 glider, which is designed to soar up to 90,000 feet, passed the Armstrong Line, the point in the atmosphere above which an unprotected human’s blood will boil if an aircraft loses pressurization. This marks a second glider altitude world record for Jim Payne and Morgan Sandercock, the same two Perlan Project pilots who soared the Perlan 2 to 52,221 feet GPS altitude on Sept. 3, 2017, in the same remote region of Argentine Patagonia. The 2017 record broke a previous record that was set in 2006, in the unpressurized Perlan 1, by Perlan Project founder Einar Enevoldson and Steve Fossett.

“This is a tremendous moment for all the volunteers and sponsors of Airbus Perlan Mission II who have been so dedicated to making our nonprofit aerospace initiative a reality,” said Ed Warnock, CEO of The Perlan Project. “Our victory today, and whatever other milestones we achieve this year, are a testament to a pioneering spirit of exploration that runs through everyone on the project and through the organizations that support us.”

“Innovation is a buzzword in aerospace today, but Perlan truly embodies the kind of bold thinking and creativity that are core Airbus values,” said Tom Enders, Airbus CEO. “Perlan Project is achieving the seemingly impossible, and our support for this endeavor sends a message to our employees, suppliers and competitors that we will not settle for being anything less than extraordinary.”

Another first-of-its kind achievement this year for the Perlan Project was the use of a special high-altitude tow plane rather than a conventional glider tow plane. During yesterday’s flight, Perlan 2 was towed to the base of the stratosphere by a Grob Egrett G520 turboprop, a high-altitude reconnaissance plane that was modified for the task earlier this summer. Operated by AV Experts, LLC, and flown by chief pilot Arne Vasenden, the Egrett released Perlan 2 at around 42,000 feet, the approximate service ceiling of an Airbus A380.


BOEING

Boeing reports that the Asia Pacific region will have the greatest global demand for new civil aviation personnel over the next 20 years. The region is projected to account for 33 percent of the global need for pilots, 34 percent for technicians and 36 percent for cabin crew.

The 2018 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook is an industry forecast of new aviation personnel demand. It is closely tied to projections for new airplane deliveries around the globe. As with personnel demand, the Asia Pacific region leads demand for new commercial airplane deliveries over the next 20 years. Forty percent of all new passenger airplane deliveries in the next 20 years will be delivered to airlines in the Asia Pacific region.

According to the outlook:

  • The 20-year demand for new commercial sector pilots in the region remains strong at 240,000. While demand decreased five percent, this was driven by regional trends that indicate a peak in pilot retirements in the first decade of the forecast and a softening of replacement demand in the later years, due to a younger generation entering the pilot ranks long before reaching mandatory retirement age.
  • New commercial technician demand decreased five percent to 242,000. This is due to advancements in product development on the 737 MAX, which have resulted in increased maintenance efficiencies. Overall, maintenance hours required over the life of the airplane will be reduced.
  • New commercial cabin crew demand increased three percent to 317,000 due to anticipated fleet mix, cabin configuration and regulatory requirements.

For the first time, the outlook included the helicopter and business aviation markets. The inclusion of these sectors increases the region’s demand to 261,000 pilots, 257,000 technicians and 321,000 cabin crew.

Leading the region in projected demand for new pilots, technicians and cabin crew:

  • China: 128,500 pilots; 126,750 technicians; 147,250 cabin crew
  • Southeast Asia: 48,500 pilots; 54,000 technicians; 76,250 cabin crew
  • South Asia: 42,750 pilots; 35,000 technicians; 43,250 cabin crew

“Strong demand for pilots in the region continues, and we expect that this will continue for the next several years,” said Keith Cooper, vice president of Training & Professional Services for Boeing Global Services. “Through our pilot training solutions, including the Pilot Development Program, we are helping to ensure a pipeline of pilots is ready to meet the industry’s demand.”

Boeing’s Pilot Development program is an accelerated training program intended to guide pilots from early stage ab-initio training through type rating as a first officer.


OTHER NEWS

Over the past year, there have been numerous IFEC personnel changes that have the potential to impact and influence the direction our industry is charting. Thales and Gogo have many new entrants to the industry on their employment roster, as well as, new leaders at the helm; while the vast majority of Panasonic’s upper management has been rolled over in the past 18 months. As new folks enter the market we strongly expect both product and product direction changes in the inflight & avaition arena. With these new teams in place, we also anticipate new market opportunities to open up with the cross pollination from other technology industries where many of these new entrants stem from. Debt will also become a driver that will focus modifications of current business products and create new product directions. One area we see with a strong growth is data. Data from passengers, from the airlines, and data from (and to) hardware. Specifically, we see the potential of new data products/analytics about the aircraft and it’s hardware. With the growth of data, we expect malware increases as well – something is bound to happen. While we will watch and report what we see coming, keep your eye on the future of AI and it’s ability to help determine product condition and passenger needs!

Now, lets get down to this week’s news highlights:

THALES

Sichuan Airlines is celebrating the entry into service of their new A350 XWB. Thales is delighted to join their partner in celebrating this important milestone. This is the first Airbus A350 in China to be equipped with Thales AVANT IFE system. They have relied on Thales to help deliver their promise to exceed passenger expectations by equipping their new A350 XWB with AVANT. With its sleek and lightweight design, Thales’s high performing IFE solution provides the passengers of Sichuan Airlines an exceptional inflight experience and a vast selection of entertainment during their flight. The onboard entertainment services include a variety of television series, the most recent feature films, music, and games. This further strengthens the relationship between Sichuan Airlines and Thales who is already the airline’s preferred business partner in avionics – including Flight Management System for their A320/A330 fleet, customer support and innovative services. Thales is proud of this partnership and the extended collaboration with Sichuan Airlines to provide the best inflight experience. “Thales is honored to equip Sichuan Airlines new A350 XWB aircraft with our state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system, AVANT. We support Sichuan Airlines ambitions to drive the highest level of passenger satisfaction as we work together to shape new opportunities to provide a truly unique experience to all travelers.” – Philippe Carette, CEO, Thales InFlyt Experience


SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct, the business aviation connectivity, software and hardware provider, has confirmed its first Jet ConneX installation for Deer Jet subsidiary, Hongkong Jet. The ultra-high-speed Ka-band service, powered by Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite constellation, is being supplied to a privately-owned Gulfstream G650ER, managed and maintained by Hongkong Jet. Installed at Gulfstream’s Long Beach, CA. facility and activated by SD in early summer, the system delivers unrivaled cabin access to the highest data speeds available to business aircraft in the sky. “The principal runs a large, international Chinese conglomerate so the ability to use voice and text services, download and email documents, and surf the web, are fundamental to his business. His family often travels with him and they want to stream video, watch favorite TV series, and big sporting events. The need to deliver constant, reliable, secure connectivity is essential. With Jet ConneX installed the cabin is truly a home from home, as well as an office in the air,” says Mike Walsh, chief commercial officer, Hongkong Jet.

The Satcom Direct Router, SDR, seamlessly delivers the high-speed connectivity throughout the G650ER cabin to all passenger devices. In addition, data integrity is maintained by the SD suite of cyber security software solutions which while managed by the SDR, are supplemented by certified SD experts, to proactively mitigate potential threats and block intrusion attempts in real-time.“The data security offering, the standard of SD global customer service, and the ability to respond 24/7 to resolve potential issues, played a significant part in our decision to appoint them as the Ka-band provider. Our clients expect us to maintain the aircraft to the highest standards and we rely on SD to meet and exceed those expectations in terms of connectivity,” said Denzil White, chief executive officer, Hongkong Jet.


SITAONAIR

SITAONAIR’s EFB Weather Awareness Solution (eWAS) is the latest application certified by Inmarsat for use across its next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) communications platform for the flight deck, allowing airlines to now receive the latest weather view in real-time during flights. Following its certification under Inmarsat’s Aviation Certified Application Provider (CAP) program, eWAS users will now be able to seamlessly utilize SITAONAIR’s best-in-class technology for pilots using real-time SB-S datalink connectivity. The popular pilot weather solution offers up to-date views of severe weather, which can then enable a smoother, more efficient inflight experience for passengers and crew – and avoid related cost implications that were once deemed unavoidable. Severe turbulence, lightning, ice crystallization and other volatile weather phenomena can significantly impact an airline’s bottom line, with a single weather event sometimes costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, in addition to negatively impacting on-time performance targets. Such weather phenomena can rapidly appear, shift location, and grow in intensity, posing an increasing problem for airlines that traditional weather briefing packages cannot deal with.


BOEING/AvionX

Boeing named Brendan Curran president of Boeing AvionX, an organization formed last year to pursue the development and production of avionics and electronics systems. Curran, who has more than 20 years of aerospace industry leadership, joins Boeing from Crane Co., where he served as president of the Aerospace & Electronics Group. In this newly-created position, Curran will work across Boeing’s commercial, defense and services businesses to further mature the company’s aftermarket strategy. He will help advance overall capabilities of the Boeing AvionX organization to provide greater value to customers while driving long-term services growth. Curran will report to Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services. “The success of Boeing AvionX depends on aftermarket technologies and innovations that exceed our customers’ needs, as well as developing avionics products that add value to our commercial and government platforms,” said Deal. “Brendan’s extensive expertise, especially as it relates to aftermarket strategies, will enable us to harness incredible opportunities so we can provide our customers more value throughout the life-cycle of their investments.”Prior to Crane Co., Curran was vice president of Business Development, Strategy and Partnerships for commercial engines at Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Company. Before that, Curran was vice president and general manager of Repair and Supply Chain for Hamilton Sundstrand, a United Technologies Company.

Curran will be based in Plano, Texas, home to Boeing Global Services headquarters.


PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has appointed Catherine L. Razzano as Chief Compliance Officer. Catherine will be responsible for overseeing Panasonic’s compliance with laws, regulatory requirements, policies and procedures, and will report directly to the General Counsel of Panasonic Corporation of North America (PNA) with a dotted line reporting structure to Panasonic’s Chief Executive Officer, Hideo Nakano.

She joins Panasonic from General Dynamics Corporation where she held the position of Assistant General Counsel and Director from 2010. Her responsibilities included counsel on business and legal strategies, budget management for the legal department and serving as lead counsel to the company’s Government Relations Department. At General Dynamics, she also focused on the company’s compliance with anti-bribery laws, export controls, economic sanctions and other trade embargoes, anti-boycott regulations, anti-money laundering laws, and third-party intermediary agreements and due diligence requirements.


Gogo

Gogo, the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, today announced its financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2018.

“Our BA segment achieved its highest ever quarterly revenue and EBITDA and we believe this segment is well positioned for continued growth,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s President and CEO. “Our CA-NA segment showed solid service revenue growth over Q2 2017, excluding American Airlines. Our 2Ku operating metrics continue to improve and are helping to drive increased customer satisfaction.”

“Our second quarter results were elevated by the strong BA performance, a reduction and the timing of operating costs, and higher CA Net Service Revenue, among other items, and we maintain our 2018 Adjusted EBITDA guidance range of $35-$45 million,” said Barry Rowan, Gogo’s Executive Vice President and CFO. “We are beginning to realize the benefits of our ‘Gogo 2020’ plan and we believe these operational improvements will drive strong EBITDA growth going forward.”

Check out the financial report here.


OTHER NEWS


This week we have plenty of news from some regular contributors and others as well. So let’s get started!

IMMFLY

The new onboard entertainment and digital services platform “Wamos On Air”, designed and developed by Immfly, is now available and passengers will be pleased with a broad range of entertainment possibilities easily accessible via their own personal devices (phones, tablets, and laptops). The major goal of both companies is to exceed travelers aspirations and improve their customer journey while providing a digital transformation through entertainment and content marketing. The airline that has 1.000.000 annual passengers, counts now with an in-flight digital platform “ Wamos On Air ”, that is available in Boeing 747-400, also called as “Jumbo” aircraft. Passengers can easily access the onboard service by activating the airplane mode on the mobile, tablet or laptop; selecting the Wi-Fi network and typing www.wamos-onair.com at the browser.

Several movies, but also TV-shows, Press, Magazines, Kids section are now at passenger’s fingertips disposal. Recent examples such as “The Shape of Water”, “The Revenant”, “The Greatest Showman”, “X-Men”, “Birdman” and many others, make the Wamos’s aircraft space a cinema on air, with an atmosphere that breathes digital experiences. As the airline’s audience is considerably diverse, Wamos Air and Immfly focused on providing different content modules for every type of passenger (distinct ages and languages). There is Kids section dedicated to the youngest, Music in documentary format, multiple games, all of that available both in English and Spanish languages.

Headquartered in Barcelona, Immfly was founded in 2013 by Pablo Linz and Jimmy Martínez von Korff, with the support of more than 50 influential multinational partners. The company is leading the development of internet connectivity, ready on-board digital platforms worldwide with focus in Europe,


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation, a leading supplier of advanced technologies and products to the global aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries, reported financial results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2018. Results for the quarter and the first six months of 2018 include the results of Telefonix PDT, which was acquired on December 1, 2017 and Custom Control Concepts (“CCC”), which was acquired on April 3, 2017.

Click here to view the entire release, including financial statements.


BLUEBOX

This August, pending final regulatory approvals, Bluebox will bring wireless IFE to the skies of India across Vistara’s current fleet of 21 Airbus A320 aircraft, with more A320 aircraft on the way. As part of a new fare families announcement yesterday, Vistara announced the introduction of ‘Vistara World’, its free in-flight entertainment system with more than 70 hours of video and audio content streamed wirelessly onto personal handheld devices and laptops. Today, Bluebox is thrilled to confirm that Bluebox Wowhas been selected as the technology solution to deliver ‘Vistara World’ to passengers on board Vistara flights.

‘Vistara World’ is expected to be rolled out fleet-wide in August 2018, subject to regulatory approvals. It will offer a content-rich multimedia library that includes music in genres like Pop, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Electronica, English Retro and Indian, Bollywood and Hollywood movies of various categories such as Drama, Romance, Comedy, Thriller, Action, Adventure, etc., Indian and International short programs as well as a variety of reading material including Vistara’s in-flight magazine.

Mr. Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara, elaborated, “With the introduction of wireless streaming of in-flight entertainment content, we will deliver on a product that our customers said they desired, enhancing overall customer satisfaction and experience with an efficient and cost-effective IFE solution.”

“We’re eagerly awaiting the final approvals required so that we can deliver wireless IFE to the Indian skies aboard Vistara,” said David Brown, Business Development Director, Bluebox. “Bluebox Wow is a powerful and convenient solution that suits Vistara’s current needs, and flexible enough to support the airline’s future growth as well, ensuring ‘Vistara World’ keeps passengers engaged on Vistara’s expanding route network.”

Bluebox’s portable wireless streaming platform provides content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, providing the capability of storing up to 1.6 Terabytes of film, TV, audio, games and other digital content. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, it is a discrete, portable, lunchbox-sized unit. Stowed securely in overhead bins, each box’s single, swappable rechargeable battery delivers up to 15 hours of simultaneously streamed video content.


INMARSAT

Inflight Wi-Fi is a key driver in forming customer loyalty and satisfaction among today’s airline passengers, according to the industry’s largest poll of passenger attitudes. The fourth annual global Inflight Connectivity Survey is published today by Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, in association with market research company Populus[1]. Wi-Fi is already an essential part of everyday life on the ground with more than three quarters of those surveyed (78%) believing that it is “fundamental” to daily life. With more than half of passengers (55%) describing inflight Wi-Fi as crucial, meeting the demand for Wi-Fi in the skies is key to improving passenger experience and driving loyalty. Wi-Fi is now so critical to passengers that two thirds (67%) would be more likely to rebook with an airline if high-quality Wi-Fi was on offer. Globally, passengers ranked inflight Wi-Fi as the fourth most important factor that they consider when choosing an airline, behind airline reputation, free checked baggage and extra leg room.

The impact of inflight Wi-Fi on loyalty and satisfaction is particularly significant for passenger groups most keen to remain connected in the air. High-value customers, parents and young passengers are among those most likely to use inflight Wi-Fi services: nine in ten business travellers (90%), parents travelling with children (90%) and 18-30 year olds (91%) plan to use the service if it’s offered when they next fly.

Onboard Wi-Fi could also lead to more productive business trips, as almost nine in ten business travelers (87%) would use inflight Wi-Fi to continue working on the plane. Access to Wi-Fi is also an important driver of choice for nervous flyers, as more than half (51%) said that they would use the technology to remain in contact with family and friends on the ground.

The majority of today’s airline passengers are so keen to get online that they will sacrifice other inflight amenities for internet access. Inmarsat’s 2016 Inflight Connectivity Survey revealed that more than half of passengers (54%) would choose Wi-Fi over an inflight meal. Today, passengers are adding alcohol to the list of inflight amenities they would sacrifice to get online, with more than half (53%) suggesting they are even prepared to give up their inflight alcoholic drink in exchange for access to Wi-Fi.

As demand for inflight Wi-Fi soars, uptake is similarly high as two thirds (65%) of passengers that had access to the service in the past year chose to use it. However, the demand for quality onboard Wi-Fi is significantly outstripping supply on the fleets of airlines across the globe, as less than half of passengers globally (45%) traveled on flights where it was offered.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Wi-Fi is essential to daily life on the ground, and airline passengers see no reason why their time on a flight should be restricted or spent any differently. Whether it’s used for sending that important work email, entertaining the children or even connecting with fellow passengers, staying online is becoming a crucial part of the inflight experience for today’s airline passengers.” He continued: “As the only provider to offer a complete global satellite network, Inmarsat is making high-speed inflight Wi-Fi a reality for passengers on leading airlines across the globe. As demand for quality services continues to soar, we are delighted to be able to bring these services to life for passengers and allow them to stay connected to their daily lives on the ground.”

Global survey highlights

  • 81% of passengers would use inflight Wi-Fi if it was available on their next flight, rising to 91% of 18-30 year olds, 90% of business travelers and 90% of passengers traveling with children
  • 65% of passengers that have had access to inflight Wi-Fi in the last year used it
  • 70% of passengers would be likely to recommend inflight Wi-Fi having tried it previously
  • 74% of business travelers feel that inflight Wi-Fi is crucial, with almost nine in ten (87%) stating that if inflight Wi-Fi was available they would be likely to work and be productive on a plane
  • Quality is key: for more than half of passengers (54%), no Wi-Fi at all is better than a poor quality service
  • Over two thirds of passengers (67%) would be more likely to re-book with an airline if high-quality inflight Wi-Fi were available
    • This likelihood to re-book rises to 81% of passengers traveling with children, and 83% of business travelers
  • More than half (53%) would be willing to give up their inflight alcoholic drink to get online. (Boy, this one is hard to believe-Editor)

Other News

Inmarsat partners with Mahata Aero Teknologi, Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik to rollout award-winning connectivity service on 50 Airbus A320s

Indonesia | July 31, 2018– Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has signed a contract with Mahata Aero Teknologi (MAT), an Indonesian wireless technology provider, to deploy Inmarsat’s GX Aviation inflight broadband solution on a fleet of 50 Airbus A320 aircraft for Indonesian low-cost airline Citilink.

Inmarsat will also partner with Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik to implement a world-class Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) connectivity offering for passengers across the Citilink fleet, supporting the airline’s continued work to provide an innovative onboard experience and enhance loyalty among its growing customer base. Installations onboard the first Citilink aircraft are expected to commence later this year.

GX Aviation is the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight internet service delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of High-Throughput Satellites (HTS). It allows passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights.

The contract was finalised only a few months after Inmarsat, Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik signed a Memorandum of Understanding with MAT, the first Indonesian tech company to provide inflight wifi services, to meet the requirements of Citilink. The carrier, a subsidiary of Indonesian national airline Garuda, was named Asia’s Best LCC at the TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards 2018 and has a four-star rating by Skytrax.

Juliandra Nurtjahjo, President and CEO of Citilink, said: “As a modern, digitally-focused airline, it’s imperative that we offer our passengers a world-class inflight wifi service. We are confident that the combined strengths of Inmarsat, MAT, Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik will ensure we deliver gold-standard broadband onboard all of our flights.”

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Together with our partners MAT, Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik, we look forward to delivering an outstanding connectivity service to Citilink and its passengers. Citilink’s adoption of GX Aviation, and signing of this contract mere months after the MoU, are testament to both the importance of inflight connectivity to passengers today and Citilink’s confidence in our solution. This partnership also represents a significant milestone for Inmarsat in one of our priority regional markets.”

Iwan Setiawan, Managing Director of PT Mahata Aero Teknologi (MAT), said: “The end-to-end inflight wifi solution we will provide with Inmarsat, Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik is truly cutting-edge and the perfect fit for an innovative low-cost airline such as Citilink. Together with our strategic partners, MAT has become the first Indonesian tech company that is transforming idle passengers onboard flights into fully entertained, engaged and satisfied travellers for our airline customers.”

Jan-Peter Gaense, Head of Passenger Experience Products and Solutions at Lufthansa Systems, said: “Our partnership with MAT, Inmarsat and Lufthansa Technik will directly support Citilink’s long-term inflight wifi ambitions. In particular, our digital BoardConnect platform’s open architecture and use of modern docker technology will enable a range of e-commerce services, serving as a perfect base to monetise the airline’s inflight wifi.”

Nina Schulz, Head of Product Sales Aircraft Modification at Lufthansa Technik, said: “We feel very privileged signing the first agreement with an Indonesian provider. With 15 years of experience in state-of-the-art connectivity, we are able to tailor the equipment of even the largest fleets to our customer’s individual requirements in the shortest possible time. This contract is further proof of our successful cooperation with our partners Lufthansa Systems, Inmarsat and now MAT. Citilink Indonesia will truly benefit from our multiple expertise.”

The new Airbus BelugaXL’s first flight was a few days ago and the airplane’s “face” was just too good not to make it the rectangle for this week’s IFExpress. Following the first flight, the BelugaXL will undergo some 600 hours of flight test over 10 months to achieve Type Certification and entry into service later in 2019. The BelugaXL program was launched in November 2014 to address Airbus’ transport capacity requirements in view of the A350 XWB ramp-up and Single-Aisle production rate increases. Five aircraft will be built between 2019 and 2023 to gradually replace the five BelugaST. The aircraft will operate from 11 destinations as Airbus’ method of transporting large aircraft components they say. Based on an A330-200 Freighter, the BelugaXL is powered by Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines and can haul an incredible 50 tons of load with a total take-off weight of 230 tons! It will haul some 30% more than it’s predecessor. It is longer by 20 feet as well. The lowered cockpit, the cargo bay structure and the rear-end and tail were newly developed jointly with suppliers, giving the aircraft its distinctive look. Congratulations Airbus, the BelugaXL is a “whale” of a good looking airplane!

And speaking of airplanes, last week’s Farnborough Airshow generated over $192 Billion is plane sales/commitments with Boeing claiming over 100 airplane orders, while Airbus claimed some 60% of the single aisle business. We should note that while Airbus snagged some 70 orders from China, Boeing got none. (Hmm, wonder why?) Anyway, here are some summaries:

(Editor’s Note: The amount of airplane sales and total value of them varied at almost every report we researched. We did our best to give our readers summary numbers.)

Interestingly, the names of some 400 airplane purchases were withheld probably because of competitive reasons. Further, keep in mind, planemakers use shows to “announce” deals that were in work for months – obviously looking better at the show, and as Reuters noted: “The two companies have so far signed deals worth more than $100 billion at current list prices. However, this is a gross number. Several of the deals firm up provisional ones, disclose previously unidentified buyers, or change existing orders, making it hard to gauge the level of new business.”

We also noticed that Boeing and Airbus were selling their smaller and newest single aisle planes: Airbus A220 – 60 sales, and Embraer – 300 plane sales, as this small aircraft market also took off.

So, in summary, this year’s sales saw some 1,432 deals in aircraft, engines, and related equipment. As one writer noted: “The biannual air industry gathering recorded more than 1,400 commercial aircraft orders, valued at US$154 billion, alongside at least 1,432 deals for engines worth US$21.96 billion.”


AIRBUS

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Airbus have renewed their framework agreement on research and technology (R&T) cooperation. This new five-year agreement builds on a long-standing relationship between the two organizations to cooperate on R&T development which spans more than 30 years. The NRC-Airbus agreement will cover a wide range of technical subjects and technologies. Recently, Airbus identified Canada as its “fifth country” for research and technology developments in the areas of drones and urban mobility.


BOEING

Boeing released its 2018 Pilot & Technician Outlook, projecting demand for 790,000 pilots over the next 20 years. This represents double the current workforce and the most significant demand in the outlook’s nine-year history.

The demand is being driven by an anticipated doubling of the global commercial airplane fleet — as reported in Boeing’s Commercial Market Outlook — as well as record-high air travel demand and a tightening labor supply. This year’s outlook also includes data from the business aviation and civil helicopter sectors for the first time.

“Despite strong global air traffic growth, the aviation industry continues to face a pilot labor supply challenge, raising concern about the existence of a global pilot shortage in the near-term,” said Keith Cooper, vice president of Training & Professional Services, Boeing Global Services. “An emphasis on developing the next generation of pilots is key to help mitigate this. With a network of training campuses and relationships with flight schools around the globe, Boeing partners with customers, governments and educational institutions to help ensure the market is ready to meet this significant pilot demand.”

Boeing offers the Pilot Development Program – an accelerated training program that guides future pilots from early stage ab-initio training through type rating as a first officer – to help operators meet their growing pilot needs. Boeing also helps operators improve crew efficiency with tools that optimize resources and minimize disruption.

Despite the commercial pilot demand forecast holding nearly steady, maintenance technician demand decreased slightly from 648,000 to 622,000, primarily due to longer maintenance intervals for new aircraft. Collectively, the business aviation and civil helicopter sectors will demand an additional 155,000 pilots and 132,000 technicians.

Demand for commercial cabin crew increased slightly from 839,000 to 858,000, due to changes in fleet mix, regulatory requirements, denser seat configurations and multi-cabin configurations that offer more personalized service. In addition, 32,000 new cabin crew will be required to support business aviation.


ROCKWELL COLLINS

Iridium Communications Inc. and Rockwell Collins signed an agreement to make Rockwell Collins the newest service provider for Iridium Certus satellite solutions over the Iridium NEXT network. Rockwell Collins will be adding the service to its comprehensive suite of aircraft connectivity applications for commercial, government and ARINCDirectSM business customers.

In addition to being a service provider, Rockwell Collins is also a value added manufacturer (VAM) for the design and production of Iridium Certus service terminals. As a VAM and a service provider, Rockwell Collins will play a critical role in delivering the next-generation L-band broadband solution to commercial, business and government aviation customers around the world.

“Adding Rockwell Collins as an Iridium Certus service provider is a major milestone for the program,” said Michael Hooper, director and general manager of Iridium’s Aviation Line of Business. “Given the FAA’s recent movement toward adopting SATCOM as a primary means of onboard communications, we believe Iridium Certus will be that much more of a shake up to the status quo within the aviation industry, bringing new capabilities, smaller hardware, faster speeds and competitive price packages. Like the services Rockwell Collins offers, Iridium Certus supports all areas of aircraft connectivity, from the flight deck to the cabin, regardless of location.”

Initial flight trials will take place later this year, with Iridium Certus commercial service introduction for aviation users expected in mid-2019. Commercial service introduction for other verticals, such as maritime and land-mobile, is planned for 2018. Iridium Certus is powered by Iridium NEXT, the Company’s next-generation satellite constellation, currently being deployed. To date, there have been six successful Iridium NEXT launches, deploying 55 new satellites to orbit. Two more launches are planned for 2018, each carrying 10 Iridium NEXT satellites, for a total of 75 launched, with 66 in the operational constellation and nine serving as on-orbit spares. The seventh launch is currently targeted for July 25, 2018 out of SpaceX’s west coast launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

“Iridium Certus will be an important new service addition to meet the connectivity needs of commercial, business and government aircraft,” said Michael DiGeorge, vice president of Commercial Aviation Services for Rockwell Collins. “For our ARINCDirect business aviation operators, Iridium Certus offers small form factor antennas and terminals which are ideal for operators of smaller aircraft requiring internet connectivity. For our airline and government customers, the Iridium Certus service enables a variety of capabilities for cockpit safety, enhanced aircraft reporting, graphical weather, EFBs and other operational aircraft services.

The new agreement builds on the long-standing relationship between Rockwell Collins and Iridium, which spans more than a decade and began with the advent of Iridium aviation service offerings.


GOGO

North America-based Flying Colours Corp. is installing Gogo AVANCE L3 air-to-ground connectivity systems in two Bombardier Challenger aircraft, a CL604 and CL605. The installation of the small form, fully integrated AVANCE L3 inflight connectivity and entertainment solution represents a first for Flying Colours which has already installed several of the AVANCE L5 systems. Once installed the Gogo AVANCE L3 system will provide passengers with access to the Gogo Biz Broadband network and will support, dependent on package, access to voice, email, web browsing, moving maps, and a selection of movies and TV programs.


OTHER STUFF

Circuit miniaturization has a new size reducing potential with kinetic inductance (reduced inductor size) – this is a big deal! The Last Barrier To Ultra-Miniaturized Electronics Is Broken, Thanks To A New Type Of Inductor

Luxembourg | July 17, 2018–Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network and leader in integrated satellite solutions, announced that it has joined the Seamless Air Alliance, a consortium dedicated to the development and promotion of standards to facilitate a better, more seamless, inflight connectivity experience for passengers.

The standards would eliminate the immense costs and hurdles commonly associated with acquisition, installation, and operation of data access infrastructure by streamlining system integration and certification, providing open specifications for interoperability. More importantly, it would empower mobile operators to extend their services into airline cabins and airline passengers to board any flight on any airline anywhere in the world and use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet, with no complicated login process and no paywall to scramble over.

“When boarding a plane for business or leisure, passengers want fast and easy access to high-quality, reliable broadband connectivity,” said Mark Rasmussen, Vice President and General Manager, Mobility. “That is why Intelsat continues to build a strong ecosystem of partners that will leverage 3GPP standards to create a seamless, global broadband infrastructure that offers airlines and passengers a consistent, uninterrupted experience. By joining the Seamless Air Alliance, Intelsat continues to take a leading role in shaping a global network that leverages different technologies and constellations. As the exclusive channel partner for OneWeb’s mobility applications, Intelsat looks forward to collaborating with OneWeb, existing partners such as Gogo and other network operators, to develop the standards needed to provide a seamless operational and passenger experience in the skies.”

With satellite serving as the primary means to connecting aircraft, Intelsat will contribute in the integration of geostationary and low-Earth orbit satellite solutions into the hybrid network and help define standards, test equipment and develop service packages focused on the aeronautical market.

“We are very pleased to have Intelsat join and contribute its breadth of experience to creating a better passenger experience for airline customers everywhere,” said Jack Mandala, Chief Executive Officer of the Seamless Air Alliance. “Over the next 90 days our Working Groups will develop and draft deliverables that will shape the future of in-flight connectivity, and having Intelsat participate in that process is incredibly valuable.”

There is a lot of news this week and you might want to check out below what Mike Moeller told us at AIX:

GLOBAL EAGLE

During AIX in Germany, IFExpress had the opportunity to stop by the Global Eagle (GEE) stand to find out their latest news and developments. Mike Moeller gave us a run down on some of their product/service offering highlights. First, we got an over view of MASFLIGHT, their operation solutions platform that enables aviation big data solutions. MASFLIGHT’s platform offers a single source for operations data in real-time for decision making, as well as, historic data for predictive analytics. Gee uses cloud technology to collect, compile, validate and host information sets. They have also partnered with companies like the FAA, Google, Amazon and others in an effort to offer a ‘one stop’ solution for aviation information management and analysis.

Mike also addressed their product, NAVAERO, their EFB solution. NAVAERO is a tablet-based and aircraft-dedicated tool for airlines to increase their operational efficiency. “Airlines have the ability to improve their operating economics through real-time analysis that connectivity technology and the EFB allow.,” said Mike Moeller. “This system is a generic PMA’d technical installation solution that allows for aircraft deployment of virtually any commercially available COTS tablet device.” Adaptability, flexibility, and upgradeability of the system architecture and the design components while maintaining airworthiness compliance is one of the strengths of NAVAERO. Apparently upgrading the system is easy, since GEE has designed modularity into the tBagC2(2) – think memory, processor and storage here. This allows the internal CPU components to be upgraded without modifications to the unit’s structural form factor at a very affordable price point.

GEE’s Airtime product line was also touched upon. In case you don’t know Airtime is the central platform for passengers on an aircraft that is installed with GEE’s satellite-based service. Think of it as an entertainment gateway where airline brand loyalty can be built. Airtime can connect through any mobile device (iOS and/or Android). The customizable portal is adaptable, programmable and facilitates differentiation and personalization of the airline brand. Via the inflight Wi-Fi. Airtime allows the airline to address customized marketing programs for new product launches and brand awareness.  A bi-product of Airtime is AIRTIME Content-to-Go, which is designed to engage passengers throughout their journey. The low-cost IFE solution app, Airtime Content-to-Go, allows the passenger to create their own IFE experience. The aviation traveler can tailor their onboard entertainment by securely downloading digital content to their PED prior to take-off. “This is not your father’s GEE!” said Mike Moeller – and we have to agree with him.


GOGO

In a world where constant connectivity is the norm, and stress among travelers is high, staying connected in flight is having a calming effect on passengers. According to Gogo’s most recent Global Traveler Study, more than 75 percent of travelers say having inflight internet makes them feel less anxious because they can stay in contact with friends and family on the ground. Sixty-five percent say it makes them feel less anxious because they can stay connected to work. Not only do passengers want to be connected, their expectation is to be connected in the same way in flight as they are on the ground, which means multiple screens doing multiple activities.

“Today, we see a shift as inflight internet moves from being a luxury to an expectation for travelers around the world,” said Alyssa Hayes, Director of Insights at Gogo. “The importance of internet in the booking process has been increasing as now one-third of passengers are looking for inflight internet when they book their flights. The desire for people to stay connected and in contact with the ground is prevalent; passengers look to not just browse the internet but also engage with social media, read the news and check their email.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Mobile is king – in terms of devices brought on the plane, 90 percent of passengers bring a mobile device, 59 percent bring a laptop and 48 percent bring a tablet. However, laptops tend to stay in the bag as 62 percent of passengers use their mobile device in flight, 35 percent use a tablet and 34 percent use their laptop.
  • Online browsing dominates – a majority of passengers still say they want internet access for general browsing (75%) followed by social media (63%), checking email (60%) and reading news (60%). When it comes to streaming, 44 percent of passengers want to stream movies and TV shows in flight. YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify are the top desired sources for streaming content.
  •  Seatback Screens aren’t dead – Passengers still like seatback screens. Half (47%) of air travelers prefer seatback screens in flight versus 33 percent who prefer their own personal devices. Travelers preferring seatback screens like the ease of use (more than half like that they don’t have to worry about charging their device). Among those preferring their personal devices, 65 percent cite privacy as the primary reason.
  • Multitasking is the norm – Multitasking in flight is the expectation, just as it is at home or at work. People are comfortable watching a movie on the seatback while texting colleagues on their smartphone.

The Gogo Global Traveler Research Study explores the changing behaviors of airline passengers across the world as it pertains to inflight connectivity and entertainment. The study has been significantly expanded for 2018 and now includes data gathered from more than 9,000 air travelers in 18 countries. To learn more or to download the complete report, visit gogoair.com/globaltraveler.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, announced that its market-leading Jet ConneX business aviation inflight Wi-Fi service has been installed and activated on 275 business jets worldwide. The impressive milestone was reached less than 18 months since Jet ConneX entered commercial service, highlighting its rapid uptake across the world. As the only global, high-speed inflight Wi-Fi option for business jets today, it offers the same fast and reliable connectivity in the air that has previously only been available on the ground. Market-leading business jet manufacturers Gulfstream, Bombardier, Dassault and Embraer have all selected Jet ConneX as a preferred line-fit option. In addition, Inmarsat has experienced substantial adoption of the solution on a retrofit basis, with more than 40 type certificate and supplemental type certificate (STC) approvals already secured, including for all Boeing and Airbus VVIP type models. Using Inmarsat’s advanced Ka-band satellite network, Jet ConneX offers data plans up to 15Mbps and consistent global coverage across all airline routes enabling the business traveler to do business wherever and whenever. Aircraft connect to the service using Jet Wave hardware, which is manufactured exclusively by Honeywell Aerospace. To date, more than 1,000 of these JetWave systems have already been delivered by Honeywell to business aviation and commercial airline customers. Using Inmarsat’s advanced Ka-band satellite network, Jet ConneX offers data plans up to 15Mbps and consistent global coverage across all airline routes enabling the business traveler to do business wherever and whenever. Aircraft connect to the service using Jet Wave hardware, which is manufactured exclusively by Honeywell Aerospace. To date, more than 1,000 of these JetWave systems have already been delivered by Honeywell to business aviation and commercial airline customers.

Inmarsat, also announced that its European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight Wi-Fi solution will be available for the business aviation market by January 2019. EAN is the world’s first inflight Wi-Fi solution that integrates connectivity from a satellite, operated by Inmarsat, and an LTE-based ground network, operated by Deutsche Telekom, covering all 28 member states of the European Union, as well as Switzerland and Norway. The unique combination of a satellite and 4G LTE-based ground network offers lightning fast, low-latency performance over land and water. It can therefore meet highly demanding internet use, such as working with remote business desktops, streaming high-definition videos, enjoying online gaming and sharing images, with service levels that compare to mobile broadband on the ground. Aircraft connect with the network using award-winning small, ultra-lightweight, low drag hardware that is cost-effective to install and operate, making EAN ideal for small to mid-sized business jets, in addition to larger sized jets. EAN’s integrated satellite and ground network is fully operational, with a number of flight trials successfully completed across Europe, demonstrating that the next-generation service meets its design performance in practice. The evaluations were conducted with partners Cobham, Thales and Nokia using a CESSNA 550 Citation II provided by Dutch company NLR. Designed to meet the needs of European’s congested skies, EAN recently won the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Award for ‘Best Inflight Connectivity Innovation.


SITA

Incheon International Airport has deployed SITA’s award-winning self-service bag drop technology at its new Terminal 2, effectively serving the influx of visitors to the recent Winter Olympics and in preparation for the 100 million passengers projected by 2030. Drop&Fly simplifies the bag drop process, cutting time for passengers and improving their experience. This technology also makes more efficient use of terminal capacity and ensures more accurate baggage handling.

Incheon International Airport has been named the World’s Best Airport for 12 consecutive years by the Airport Council International (ACI) and Drop&Fly has been in operation at the airport’s Terminal 1 since 2016. Today, 48 Drop&Fly units (14 at T1 and 34 at T2) are available to passengers with 30 more on the way.

Sang-il Kim, Executive Director of Smart Airport Group at Incheon International Airport said: “We want to give our passengers a fantastic experience when they travel through our airport and that means using the very best technology. Deploying SITA Drop&Fly is part of our extensive modernization program that will help ensure Incheon International remains on top of the list of the world’s best airports.”

Drop&Fly provides a safe and secure self-bag drop area. A sliding door and advanced sensors prevent tampering and the intrusion of unauthorized objects. It is fully customizable to the individual needs of the airport and is equipped with technology such as payment devices, baggage facing cameras and more. It can also provide live status and notifications on all bag drop units for ground agents, and real-time statistics to analyze trends and generate reports.

Drop&Fly won the prestigious 2017 iF Design Award: Public Product, in recognition of its state-of-the-art design and intuitive user interface.

Sumesh Patel, SITA President, Asia Pacific, said: “We know passengers want self-service options because they like having control over their journey and it saves time. Self-bag drop is a win for the airport because it makes very efficient use of the available space and makes the baggage process more accurate and efficient.”

Patel added: “With IATA projecting that routes to, from and within Asia-Pacific will see an extra 2.1 billion annual passengers by 2036, there is no doubt Incheon International Airport has exactly the right approach. As Incheon Airport consolidates its position as one of the best airports in the world, we hope to continue being a part of the airport’s success.”

Incheon International Airport had a record year in 2017, with over 60 million passengers using the airport. The introduction of Terminal 2 has increased capacity by a further 18 million passengers per year and the airport has ambitions to reach 100 million passengers by 2030.


OTHER NEWS

  • This is what you might need for your next flight noise cancellation
  • IFExpress has worried about this for some time; however, you see if any of this airplane hacking make sense to you: Aircraft Avionics Hacking: Is It Possible? | Connected Aerospace content from Aviation Week
  • Like wine? Heard of artificial Intelligence, AI? Well, they might be connected, especially since there are so many available. Wine preferences are the solution of selection and subjects of collateral filtering, content based recommendations, and a lot of computer analysis are parts of the sensory selection solution on a scientific platform. There is a tasting app, Wine Ring, and possibly, you can better decide your choice on a plane. In fact, the links below proves the connection between choice and selection using AI. https://recode.cmail20.com/t/d-l-bsdjld-atlydhdjy-p/  and Wine Ring.

Well after seeing a great IFEC show in Hamburg we still wonder how the next journey will be improved, enhanced, and possibly changed for better. While, in the last couple years the IFExpress team has found two big game changers and they involve money and hearing. While its no travel breakthrough, upper classes make the experience much more acceptable because of crowd reduction, less noise (further forward), better seating, better food, and generally more comfort and reduced anxiety. The second item is sound. Yep, sound … when you cannot hear the noise and can enjoy a movie or music, the audible experience goes up 100% – and why not? Because you can sleep, you don’t have to talk to others, your music choice is better, and the movies audio is improved greatly. What else is left? One is in Other News this week. Check it out below. Now, here are some of the news highlights for the past week:


Gogo

Gogo’s 2Ku inflight connectivity solution has been chosen by Air Canada for its Bombardier CS300 aircraft.  The technology will be installed as a line-fit option at Bombardier. “Air Canada was the first in Canada to deploy the service on their entire mainline fleet of aircraft. They have been at the forefront of technology adoption and we are excited to deploy 2Ku on additional aircraft,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s president and CEO.  “We also are excited to work with Bombardier to have this technology installed at the factory.” Air Canada has 45 CS300 aircraft on order with an option for an additional 30 aircraft.  Air Canada now has over 170 narrow and widebody aircraft committed to the technology. More than 2,000 aircraft are slated to be installed with Gogo’s 2Ku technology representing 16 of the world’s leading airlines.

Today, more than 650 aircraft are flying with the 2Ku technology. But the AIX story about Gogo is bigger than that – previously, Gogo has been discussing 2Ku and the technology in line for airline customer connectivity and entertainment. At the show, the company was talking about an interesting development they call their FLEX system. The Gogo FLEX Inflight System comprises all of the onboard hardware and software required to deliver and manage inflight connectivity for the aircraft.  This includes a component they call FLEX Developer, which will allow airlines to use Gogo APIs and SDKs to bring development in-house, or turn to third-party providers for total flexibility in designing the passenger experience.

But, the FLEX System is also enabling a series of products and services specifically for airline operations so the airline can extract value from the aircraft presently installed with Gogo’s hardware and software. Obviously, crew applications for connectivity and communication are already in play.  The FLEX system is also a way to deliver data to and from the aircraft, for the aircraft, and about the aircraft … and Mr. TJ Horsager, Director Connected Aircraft Services told IFExpress.: “FLEX Developer is an open architecture solution that gives airlines more access to the technology.” We should note that the Gogo 2Ku solution is a global service solution (unlike the US ATG service) which started out as a passenger touch point, but now can use more bits to-and-from the aircraft, for aircraft data, allowing the airlines to use data to optimize their operations. . With some 20 airlines, 600+ aircraft flying, and some 2000 airplanes in backlog, it just made sense!

The Gogo FLEX System is a “new” way to think about Gogo. We might add that there is also “…a lot of interest from airline software teams”, so noted Gogo, and we expect there to be plenty of airline support from them using the above mentioned API’s and other tools and now with a large enough install base for connected aircraft services to be a business that operates on solutions developed by operational data-like performance, measurement, and even inflight “repair”.

Steve Nolan told IFExpress: “Today, we support some 65,000 pilots and flight attendants with their PEDs for things like Electronic Flight Bags and Point of Sale devices. Gogo’s is now also providing data management solutions to support countless operational activities – from flight optimization to turbulence avoidance. Gogo has been supporting the communication ecosystem by providing an aircraft (or airline) operations private network. FLEX Inflight System powers passenger services and now allows airlines to connect their operations and the aircraft itself.”


PANASONIC

With a renewed focus on broader consultative engagements with its customers, Panasonic’s new Innovation Studios will serve as hubs for innovation, ideation, and solution-building. They will provide a socially collaborative environment where the company and its customers can leverage its skilled workforce and regionally relevant partners to ideate, prototype, showcase and evaluate product concepts, digital solutions and user experience paradigms.

Panasonic plans to set up five Innovation Studios across the globe, each in close proximity to major destinations, leading universities and centers with an established innovation and start-up culture.

The first Panasonic innovation studio will open in the Silicon Valley by the end of 2018. The Studios will also serve as primary locations for airline workshops conducted by Panasonic’s digital design consultancy, Tactel.  Acquired by Panasonic in 2015, Tactel has played an instrumental role in helping Panasonic customers get the maximum value from their inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) investments.

David Bartlett, Chief Technology Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Innovation has always been at the heart of Panasonic Avionics and our customers have rightly come to expect it as standard. Our new Innovation Studios will leverage our cloud-based infrastructure to foster an ethos of collaboration, strengthening our partner eco-system and with it, the range of value-added services we can offer our airline customers. The Studios will ensure we can deliver greater customer-facing innovation by rapidly developing new concepts that will enhance the business and pleasure of flying.”

Each Panasonic Innovation Studio will have a Collaboration Area for ideation, design and strategy workshops, training sessions, customer and partner meetings, and other interactive innovation-related sessions, and a Demonstration Area for displaying emerging products and technologies, functional prototypes as well as work in progress concepts.


ROCKWELL COLLINS
The company’s new Aspire widebody economy seat has entered service on a United Airlines’ Boeing 777-200 aircraft, the first in a 55 shipset retrofit program that begins delivery this spring. “We are excited to offer customers traveling on our 777-200 fleet a new Economy seat featuring updated design, with more living space and under-seat stowage,” said Mark Krolick, vice president of Marketing for United Airlines. Aspire offers an improved, patented comfort system with an advanced kinematic mechanism that cradles the passenger during recline while preserving maximum living space for each passenger.

Aspire also incorporates increased under-seat stowage and greater passenger living space due to the proprietary seat frame and leg structure. Passenger amenities combine the latest generation Panasonic high-definition monitor for in-flight entertainment, a mid-level literature pocket combined with a full-width single piece food tray, aft-facing PC power on all seat assemblies and adjustable ergonomic headrests. This version of the seat brings to life United’s latest brand themes and styling developed by PriestmanGoode.

Following the launch on the 777, the new Aspire seat will continue its success on the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner with United and then onto the Airbus A350 XWB and other 787 aircraft with other undisclosed customers that more than doubles the initial 777 program deliveries.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat announced that its new GX Aviation inflight broadband service is currently being rolled out on Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 aircraft. Qatar Airways is the first airline in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to offer GX Aviation, the world’s first inflight broadband solution with reliable, seamless high-speed global coverage provided through a single operator. In total, the service will be equipped on more than 130 of the airline’s Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 aircraft.

The roll-out follows a highly successful inflight test campaign across Qatar Airways’ global flight routes. As part of the service offering, passengers will now be offered one-hour of free access to GX Aviation, after which full-flight access can be affordably purchased.

Mr. Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Qatar Airways is renowned as one of the greatest innovators in global aviation with passengers being at the centre of everything they do. We are delighted that they are now pioneering our game-changing GX Aviation inflight broadband across the globe. This unprecedented service adds to the airline’s award-winning, five star onboard experience by allowing passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights.”

Airlines connect to the GX network using exclusive new JetWave terminals produced by Honeywell Aerospace. The terminals are designed for ease of installation and maintenance to assure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market, allowing installation with minimal labour and using standard tools available in maintenance hangars. The rollout of GX Aviation follows a separate announcement that Qatar Airways has activated an advanced new space-based system, supplied by Inmarsat, to track all of its flights across the world. Inmarsat worked exclusively with Qatar Airways to develop this cutting-edge solution, which utilizes Inmarsat’s market-leading satellite technology to provide the exact real-time location of the airline’s aircraft in latitude and longitude.


SITA

Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA), the national airline of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has selected SITA to support its strategic expansion plans by introducing modern, world-class IT infrastructure across 200 of the airline’s offices located in 100 cities and airports in 60 countries. The solution will support the airline’s global IT infrastructure which connects all SAUDIA outstations with its headquarters and various data centers worldwide.

SITA, the IT provider to the air transport industry, will introduce its unique ATI Cloud solution, which will allow SAUDIA to manage and distribute its business applications, information and business services on-demand, anywhere in the world. The agreement also includes infrastructure, IT support and round-the-clock service through a dedicated service center. SAUDIA’s incremental growth and global expansion has seen the airline open new offices in key cities and in turn, has developed new IT requirements to support the demand for the carrier’s continued growth in passenger numbers in the Kingdom and beyond.

Airlines are increasingly looking for specialized content and service providers to meet their requirements. SITA, with its global presence and expertise, was identified as a trusted partner to implement a solution that would drive greater efficiency and productivity.

Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines, His Excellency Eng. Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser commented: “As the national carrier moves forward with expansion plans across the entire organization and operations, it is crucial that we continue investing in leading-edge, modern technology. SAUDIA has a critical role to play in the nation’s Vision 2030, and continues to grow both in the Kingdom and beyond.

Hani El-Assaad, SITA President Middle East, India and Africa, said: “With the rapid progress of hosted applications and cloud-based environments, it is the right time for SAUDIA to adopt cloud solutions across its network. From a commercial perspective, quick responses to IT services requests are essential for running a successful operation and ensuring happy passengers. We are delighted to continue working with the airline as it embarks on its new phase of growth.”


OTHER NEWS

  • You might remember a few months back when we gave a link to the regularly updated Boeing B-52 disassembly, well now, updates 4 and 5 are online now and if you have never seen a big airplane disassembled, this is your chance. Wings are next.
  • Face it, sometimes flying is just not as fun as it should, or used to, be. Why? Full planes, increasingly bad weather, longer flights, and worse seating, just to name a few. Now, here is what Apple’s Yim Cook said about AR/VR – “AR has the ability to amplify human performance instead of isolating humans,” he said on the same call. “So I am a huge, huge believer in AR. We put a lot of energy on AR. We’re moving very fast.” Further, the TechRadar folks said: “But despite it’s heavy focus thus far on AR, it seems Apple is keen to give users a choice in what they experience; either AR for an enhanced experience that keeps them present in the real world, or VR for those times users want to be transported somewhere else entirely.” Just one more thing…What if there were cameras on a plane that choosers could hook up to their Apple VR/AR glasses? Check out this link for more on the subject.