Official agreement will provide Chinese airlines with a comprehensive package that integrates Classic Aero and next generation SB-S flight deck connectivity

Beijing, China | April 24, 2018– Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has signed a contract with China Transport Telecommunication Information Group Company Limited (CTTIC) to build a local SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) satellite communication operation platform in China. In addition, Inmarsat, CTTIC and Aviation Data Communication Corporation (ADCC) will jointly provide the advanced SB-S aviation safety service to the fast-growing Chinese aviation industry.

Under the partnership, Chinese airlines will now have access to a comprehensive package that integrates Inmarsat’s Classic Aero and next-generation IP-based SB-S services. This will enable them, for the first time, to process all their data in China and fulfil the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC)’s Airline Operations Centre (AOC) voice mandate and flight tracking requirements.

The collaboration will leverage the unique capabilities of CTTIC’s Beijing satellite access station, ADCC’s experience in providing flight datalink services in China and Inmarsat’s proven expertise in providing market-leading satellite communications services to the aviation industry.

Captain Mary McMillan, Vice President of Aviation Safety and Operational Services at Inmarsat, said: “We are proud to be part of this partnership, which represents a major step into the future for the aviation industry in China. Our Classic Aero and SB-S platforms will enable CTTIC and ADCC to provide the most advanced satellite communications services wherever Chinese aircraft are flying, whether over the ocean or land.”

Song Zhen, Vice President of CTTIC, said: “This is a milestone agreement, as CTTIC, ADCC and Inmarsat are strong leaders in their respective markets. This partnership combines our individual strengths to provide China’s aviation industry with market-leading connectivity services for optimised aircraft operations.”

Zhu Yanbo, Vice President of ADCC, said: “We are delighted to continue our relationship with Inmarsat, supporting the growth of safety and efficiency of China’s aviation industry. We are also excited about the future possibilities that these services deliver.”  

Inmarsat’s Classic Aero service is used by more than 90% of the world’s oceanic aircraft for communication, navigation and surveillance. The company’s next-generation SB-S platform, which was recently introduced into commercial service, is the first and only global, secure broadband platform for operations and safety communications. It offers airlines unprecedented visibility into their operations to improve operational efficiency and profitability.

The commercial service introduction follows a successful in-flight evaluation on Hawaiian Airlines’ Boeing 767-300 aircraft and installations on the airline’s entire Airbus A321neo fleet. SB-S is also in flight evaluations with Shenzhen Airlines and United Airlines, and has been selected by Airbus as a Light Cockpit Satcom (LCS) solution on its A320 and A330 families. It has undergone successful evaluation by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s Performance-Based Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC) as a platform to provide direct data link communication between pilots and air traffic control (ATC). It received the prestigious 2018 Jane’s ATC Award in the Technology category.

Inmarsat is transforming the global aviation industry by bringing connectivity to every aircraft and flight route in the world. Inmarsat is the first and only satellite communications provider, which using its own network, capable of bringing high-speed IP connectivity to the cabin and the cockpit.

The image above is BCIA and it is the largest airport in China, with passenger volume that exceeded 90 million in 2016. It is positioned as the international hub airport in the overall design of the Jing-Jin-Ji airports group. To date it serves more than 28 domestic airlines, and 74 foreign airlines, with 132 international routes, and 147 domestic routes. It is also the home base airport for China’s flag carrier Air China. In the SITA story section below we have more on the latest SITA self-service technology it employs.


AIRBUS

Vietnam’s FLC Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus for up to 24 A321neo aircraft for future operation by start-up carrier Bamboo Airways. The agreements were signed in Paris by Trinh Van Quyet, Chairman of FLC Group and Eric Schulz, Chief Commercial Officer, Airbus during the official visit to France of Nguyễn Phú Trọng, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam. Bamboo Airways is set to begin operations in 2019 with aircraft on lease from third party lessors before taking delivery of the aircraft covered by today’s MOU with Airbus. The carrier will focus on linking international markets to Vietnamese leisure destinations, as well as on selected domestic routes.


BOEING/All Nippon Airways

Boeing and All Nippon Airways announced the Japanese carrier has placed a new order for two 777 Freighters valued at $678 million according to list prices. While ANA is a major operator of the 777 passenger jet, it has grown its cargo operation with the medium-sized 767 Freighter. In adding the 777 Freighter – the world’s largest and longest range twin-engine cargo jet – ANA is expanding its cargo capabilities just as the air freight market keeps growing at historically high rates.

Last year, the global air cargo market grew 9 percent, more than double the long-term projected growth rate of about 4.2 percent. In January, the above-trend growth continued with an 8 percent increase in demand. Industry experts say the strong performance reflects global economic trade, fueled in large part by expanding e-commerce.

ANA says it plans to fly its new 777 Freighters on international routes, particularly to Asia, China, and North America. With this order, ANA will become the first airline in Japan to operate 777 Freighters.

The 777 Freighter is capable of flying 4,900 nautical miles (9,070 kilometers) with a payload of 112 tons (102 metric tonnes or 102,000 kg). The airplane’s long range translates into significant savings as fewer stops mean lower landing fees, less congestion, lower cargo handling costs and shorter delivery times.

Boeing is the air cargo market leader, providing over 90 percent of the dedicated freighter capacity around the world.

BOEING/Singapore Airlines

Boeing and Singapore Airlines celebrated the delivery of the first 787-10 airplane, the newest and largest member of the Dreamliner family and a jet that will set a new global standard for fuel efficiency. About 3,000 people marked the milestone at Boeing’s facility in North Charleston, South Carolina where the latest 787 model is manufactured.

Like the other 787 Dreamliners, the 787-10 is designed with strong, lightweight composites, the most advanced systems, and comfortable cabin features. The 787-10, though, features a longer fuselage which allows it to carry about 40 more passengers or a total of 330 seats in a standard two-class configuration.

With the additional capacity, the 787-10 provides airlines the lowest operating cost per seat of any widebody airplane in service today. Singapore Airlines plans to puts its 787-10s into scheduled service in May, with flights from Singapore to Osaka, Japan and Perth, Australia. Prior to the introduction of these services, the aircraft will be operated on selected flights to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur for crew training purposes


SITA

Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA), which handles more than 95 million passengers a year, has chosen air transport IT specialist, SITA, to provide technology to boost capacity. Asia’s busiest airport is using SITA’s self-service kiosks for passenger check-in services on all Air China domestic flights departing from Terminal 3. The new kiosks are designed to support the wide range of travel documents typically used by passengers on these flights. BCIA will use up to 70 SITA AirportConnect® Kiosks to help Air China process passengers faster, while freeing up airport and airline staff to focus on other aspects of the passenger experience. They feature boarding-pass and bag-tag printers; passport and Chinese ID card readers; and large user-friendly screens. Uniquely, they support a wide range of travel documents including those of Hong Kong/Macau and Taiwan residents traveling to mainland China, as well as ex-pats who reside in China permanently.

SITA/India

SITA continues to play a vital role in supporting the rapid growth of India’s air transport industry, providing key technology solutions to one of the country’s newest airports. The Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) has turned to SITA to provide passenger processing solutions for check-in and boarding, as well as baggage tracking. Air passenger numbers in India have consistently seen double-digit growth over the past few years, significantly outperforming the global average. The country is on target to become the third-biggest aviation market by 2025. SITA has long supported the industry in India and MIHAN joins a vast footprint of airports and airlines across India using SITA technology.

As part of the new agreement, MIHAN is deploying SITA’s common-use technology, enabling airlines and their handling agents to access their IT applications in real-time on shared common-use equipment. SITA’s Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE) and Common Use Self Service (CUSS) allows any airline to use any agent desk, gate position or self-service kiosk for passenger check-in and bag drop.

The airport will also deploy SITA’s baggage tracking solution. Worldwide, bags get mishandled every day which causes disruption for passengers and costs the industry billions of dollars but by providing real-time information on baggage status, SITA BagManager will allow MIHAN to accurately track passengers’ bags and significantly reduce the likelihood of them being mishandled.

MIHAN is the biggest economic development project currently underway in India. The project aims to exploit the central location of Nagpur and convert the present airport into a major cargo hub with integrated road and rail connectivity. The airport is expected to accommodate up to 14 million passengers once completed in 2035.

SITA Passenger Services System

Jeju Air, South Korea’s first low cost carrier, has extended its partnership with SITA for Horizon® Passenger Services System (PSS) to support its business growth. The new multi-year deal, with global IT provider, SITA, includes key components, such as pricing, ancillary revenues, passenger preferences, e-commerce channels and local language services. The airline is also adding SITA’s Horizon® Business Intelligence which offers comprehensive data analysis to identify, evaluate and act on trends, challenges and opportunities.

Jeju Air began its operations in 2005 and SITA’s PSS has been an integral part of the airline’s operations from the start. Since then, Jeju Air has grown and continues to grow exponentially, and is using extensive PSS functionalities to support their sales and distribution strategies. SITA’s PSS is well positioned to serve Jeju Air’s passenger management services and operations and is future-proofed to support the airline for the coming years.

SITA Smart Path

With its leading Smart PathTM biometric solution for ID management now rolled out globally, air transport IT provider SITA is well poised to deliver a seamless, paperless travel experience for passengers across India. SITA has already shown the benefits of using biometric technology to automate passenger identity checks at airports across the world – from the USA to Australia – and is well positioned to help unlock the full benefits of seamless, biometric travel across India.

SITA is already successfully helping airports and airlines incorporate biometrics into their existing infrastructure and government systems. According to Biometrics for Better Travel: An ID Management Revolution, a SITA report published this week, airlines and airports are increasingly investing in various forms of biometric technology. Over the next three years, 63% of airports and 43% of airlines plan to invest in biometric ID management solutions.

In the USA, SITA is using facial biometrics to help passengers flying with British Airways from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to London Gatwick to quickly board where all that is needed is a photo – no passport, no boarding card. The system integrates the US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) and airline’s IT systems to authorize boarding while completing necessary US exit checks in a single process. SITA is providing a similar solution to JetBlue at Boston’s Logan Airport.

At Australia’s Brisbane Airport, SITA has introduced its Smart Path™ technology which allows passengers to register their biometric details at a self-service kiosk at check-in and then, when ready to board, use an automated boarding gate to be verified using face recognition technology to access the aircraft. Aadhaar, India’s biometric identity system, has over one billion enrolled members. Indian passengers have shown greater willingness to use biometrics to speed up their journey through the airport. Research published in SITA’s 2017 Passenger IT Trends Survey showed that 70% of passengers in India said they would definitely use biometrics if given the option, removing the need to show a passport or boarding card at key points in the airport. This was well above the global average of 57%.

SITA BagManager

The Airports Authority of India (AAI), which manages 126 airports across India, has expanded SITA’s baggage management solution to 15 airports. SITA’s BagManager will provide the airports with real-time information on the status of passengers’ baggage, significantly reducing the chances of baggage mishandling. This follows the implementation of SITA’s BagManager at Kolkata and Chennai Airports in 2015 and is in line with the AAI’s vision of rolling out standard airport infrastructure across all their airports to drive greater efficiency across the airport network. The implementation of SITA’s baggage solution will also help AAI’s customer airlines progress towards complying with IATA Resolution 753 by tracking bags across key points in the journey.

The 15 airports are Trivandrum, Calicut, Mangalore, Tirupati, Chennai, Madurai, Kolkatta, Goa, Lucknow, Jaipur, Amritsar, Leh, Chandigarh, Trichy and Ahmedabad.

Service Provider of the Year

SITA has been named Service Provider of the Year in the prestigious annual Air Transport Awards held in Dubai. The winners are voted for by the readers of Air Transport News and a jury of international aviation experts, chaired by Henrik Hololei, Director-General for Mobility and Transport at the European Commission. The Service Provider of the Year award was given to SITA in recognition of its role in providing IT and communication solutions globally to the air transport industry. SITA’s unique role as the community provider – being owned by the industry – means it has an unprecedented understanding of the industry’s requirements, combined with dedicated teams around the world which deliver services needed to keep people flying. Barbara Dalibard, CEO, SITA said: “Being named as Service Provider of the Year at the 2018 Air Transport Awards is a significant achievement and a strong validation of our unwavering collaboration and contribution to the air transport community. To be selected by our industry peers for this award is testament that our continued focus on delivering real value to the community is both justified and valued by the industry. In recent months, SITA has taken the lead in the development of biometric solutions. This has included innovation solutions for airlines and airports as well as looking to the future uses of biometrics as the technology develops. A key innovation is SITA’s Smart PathTM solution which allows passengers to use their biometric identity every step of the way.

The Air Transport Industry Awards were presented at a ceremony at the Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai.


OTHER NEWS

  • Want to see how to move a B-52 jet bomber … on the ground (Part 1)?
  • Heard about DoNotPay? They call it “automatic flight and hotel protection.” Now, the service has been updated with the ability to help customers get on the cheapest flight to their destination. Once booked, the app will check prices across the Internet (we hear 17,000 times a day!) And yes, it is legal! They say: “Flight and hotel prices change all the time. DoNotPay finds travel confirmations from past bookings in your inbox. When the price drops, our robot lawyer will find a legal loophole to negotiate a cheaper price or rebook you.” Check it out: DoNotPay
  • Atlanta Airport Wi-Fi has been turned off (as of 3/26/18) because of the SamSam ransomware hack. Noted CSO: “As for human resources, applications for new employment had been suspended; the Department of Corrections was manually processing inmates; and public Wi-Fi via the Department of Aviation had been “disabled out of an abundance of caution.” In other words, even if people were not from Atlanta, they could have felt the sting of the attack, as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was noted as being the “world’s busiest airport.” Aviation related computer attacks, especially airports, are getting worse
  • Of course light can be used in connectivity, and it might not be a signal source of aircraft interference data – Technology – pureLiFi

Largest airport in China chooses SITA kiosks for Air China passengers

Beijing | March 27, 2018– Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA), which handles more than 95 million passengers a year, has chosen air transport IT specialist, SITA, to provide technology to boost capacity. Asia’s busiest airport is using SITA’s self-service kiosks for passenger check-in services on all Air China domestic flights departing from Terminal 3. The new kiosks are designed to support the wide range of travel documents typically used by passengers on these flights.

BCIA will use up to 70 SITA AirportConnect® Kiosks to help Air China process passengers faster, while freeing up airport and airline staff to focus on other aspects of the passenger experience. They feature boarding-pass and bag-tag printers; passport and Chinese ID card readers; and large user-friendly screens. Uniquely, they support a wide range of travel documents including those of Hong Kong/Macau and Taiwan residents travelling to mainland China, as well as ex-pats who reside in China permanently.

Ms. Li Lei, Terminal Management Department, Beijing Capital International Airports, said: “SITA’s technology plays an integral role in helping us realize our ambitions to implement a truly end-to-end self-service experience for our passengers. The new self-service kiosks with the Chinese card reader functionality is a big bonus for Air China’s passengers. Flexible technologies like this help us transform and improve the passenger experience across the airport.”

With rising passenger numbers, BCIA continuously looks to technology to maximize efficiencies. The development of end-to-end self-service has a particularly important role to play.

May Zhou, VP, and General Manager of SITA China, said: “We’ve had a strong relationship with both Beijing Capital International Airport and Air China for a long time now. It’s great to see SITA being recognized for its high quality daily operations and maintenance at the airport. These self-service kiosks will drive efficiencies at the airport and together they will process close to 20,000 passengers per day. Saving passengers’ time is a win-win for everyone.”

The self-service kiosks make use of the existing CUTE platform SITA has deployed at BCIA, making the implementation process labor- and time-efficient. Although primarily for use by Air China, the kiosks can also be used by other domestic airlines that use Air China ground handling solutions.

Cooperation with China International Book Trading Corporation (CIBTC) enables integration of major Chinese e-papers into Media Carrier’s digital media library

Munich | October 26, 2017–In cooperation with the Chinese publishing and distribution company China International Book Trading Corporation (CIBTC), Munich-based media company Media Carrier is considerably expanding the offering of its digital media library Media Box to include more than 60 Chinese newspapers and magazines, such as China Today or Fashion Beijing. This latest expansion is good news for tourism companies worldwide using the e-paper library who can now also provide their Chinese guests and customers with publications in their own language.

The Media Box is mainly used by airlines and hotels, and with more than 100 million Chinese travellers undertaking international trips each year, it is vital for these international tourism companies to integrate Chinese-language content in order to meet their customers’ needs. The Chinese market is an important and growing one for the travel industry and providing first-class and innovative services is key. Offering free-of-charge content to customers in their own language when they’re abroad can be a big plus, leaving lasting positive impressions in people’s minds. The Media Box is therefore an ideal tool for hotels and airlines.

The wide range of Chinese titles now included make the Media Box also a very interesting proposition for airlines and hotels in China and Southeast Asian countries where customers benefit from Media Carrier’s cooperation with CIBTC as well as other cooperations with, amongst others, Singapore Press Holding, Mongoose Asia, Hankook Ilbo or the Nation Multimedia Group.

“Media Carrier is step-by-step expanding its business operations in relevant markets. After establishing numerous successful media cooperations in the USA, we are focussing on China and Southeast Asia and are delighted that the portfolio of our digital media library now includes numerous quality publication from this region,” says Media Carrier’s Managing Director Philipp J. Jacke. “The Media Box is a very attractive service offering for all airlines and hotels that have a lot of Chinese-speaking guests because it can provide them with a competitive advantage. If you want to really convince your guests, simply offering them a basic service such as accommodation or a flight is not enough anymore. It’s all about the quality of the additional offers. They are the decisive factor when it comes to booking or re-booking a certain hotel or airline.”

CIBTC’s Business Director Mr. Li Zhiyong adds: “Media Carrier is a top distribution and cooperation partner for us with excellent digital media distribution know-how and expertise. We are very interested in making our publications available beyond geographical borders to an increasingly mobile readership and Media Carrier’s Media Box is the perfect tool to achieve this goal.”

  • First wide-body centre outside Europe, first European and Chinese made A330 delivered 

Tianjin, China and APEX Long Beach, USA | September 20, 2017– Airbus has inaugurated its A330 Completion and Delivery Centre (C&DC) in Tianjin, China, taking additional steps in the expansion of its global footprint and strategic partnership with China. At the same time, the first A330 to be delivered from the C&DC was handed over to Tianjin Airlines.

Located at the same site as the Airbus Tianjin A320 Family Final Assembly Line and the Airbus Tianjin Delivery Centre, the A330 C&DC covers the aircraft completion activities including cabin installation, aircraft painting and production flight test, as well as customer flight acceptance and aircraft delivery. Some 150 Chinese staff members of the C&DC were trained by Airbus experts in Toulouse.

The new plant is composed of paint shop, weighing hangar and one main hangar with three aircraft positions covering an area of 16,800m2.The A330 C&DC in Tianjin will employ more than 250 people and is ready to deliver two aircraft per month by early 2019.

“The inauguration of our A330 C&DC in Tianjin, together with the first of many deliveries, marks a new milestone for Airbus’ international footprint and underlines the strong spirit of cooperation with our Chinese partners,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus COO and President of Commercial Aircraft. “Wide-body aircraft completed in China is an Airbus and an industry first which demonstrates our mutual commitment to a strong and growing Chinese aviation sector.”

To celebrate C&DC inauguration, a first A330 aircraft was delivered to Tianjin Airlines. The aircraft which was assembled and equipped in Toulouse with Chinese and European staff is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines and is configured in two classes with 260 seats.

By the end of August 2017, the in-service Airbus fleet with Chinese carrier included 1,484 aircraft, 1,282 A320 Family and 202 A330 Family. The A330 is the most popular wide-body aircraft in China operated by nine airlines.

The A330 is one of the world’s most efficient and versatile widebody aircraft with best in class operating economics. To date the A330 Family has attracted nearly 1,700 orders and over 1,300 A330 Family aircraft are currently flying with more than 110 operators worldwide. With an operational reliability of 99.5 percent and various product enhancements the A330 Family is the most cost-efficient and capable widebody aircraft to date.

Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2016 it generated revenues of €67 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world’s leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.

CabinACe Cabin Wireless Access Point (CWAP) and CabinPinnacle Server were Granted VSTC Approval from the Civil Aviation of China (CAAC)
Waukegan, IL | June 13, 2017– In keeping with the company’s ongoing commitment to the Chinese aviation market, Telefonix PDT™ is proud to announce the successful completion of a Validation of Supplemental Type Certificate (VSTC) from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) for its CabinPinnacle™ Server and CabinACe™ CWAP. This VSTC for the Boeing 737-700/-800/-900/-900ER is a continuation of the certification efforts that Telefonix PDT announced at the end of 2016.

Since the early 1990s, the Telefonix PDT team has had numerous long-standing relationships within the Asia-Pacific region, and has built an extensive network of partners and suppliers. This VSTC is just one piece of the company’s current strategy to expand direct offerability of its Summit™ line of In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) hardware within China. As previously announced, the company is also poised to begin manufacturing and repair services managed via its soon-to-launch Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE), Huizhou Telefonix Technology Co., Ltd.

“Our commitment to the growing aviation market in Asia is unwavering,” said Alan Manns, Director of Aviation Business Development at Telefonix PDT. “Together, with our partners in the region, we are able to support all aspects of IFEC hardware delivery. This is an exciting step towards our first Summit line installation in China.”

During this year’s In-Flight Connectivity Technology (ICT) Conference, Michael Kuehn, Telefonix PDT President, spoke about the growth of the IFEC market in China and the importance of creating the Internet of Flight™ for the tech-savvy Chinese population. A remarkable 98% of Chinese passengers carry at least one device, and more than 58% use their device for in-flight entertainment, according to the 2016 SITA/Air Passenger Survey. “For those of us that are industry veterans, we have seen the escalating importance of creating an integrated experience for passengers,” said Kuehn. “At Telefonix PDT, we truly believe the time is now.”

This new VSTC is part of the overall Summit line certification portfolio that includes the STC for Boeing 737-700/800/900 aircraft and the Airbus A320. The Telefonix PDT certification efforts are still underway for additional aircraft types and the remaining Summit line products including the CabinEdge™ Content Loader.

Memorandum of Understanding signals new chapter in partnership
Berlin, Germany | June 1, 2017– Airbus and China have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on aviation and aerospace, further enhancing a spirit of cooperation. The MoU was signed in Berlin by Fabrice Brégier, Airbus COO and President of Commercial Aircraft, and He Lifeng, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China.

The MoU strengthens and deepens mutually beneficial collaboration between Airbus and Chinese aviation industry in various fields. Based on an already established solid foundation, Airbus and China will support the development of engineering skills and technology innovation in China and also promote the integration of Chinese suppliers into Airbus’ global supply chain.

“The success of the industrial cooperation between Airbus and China makes itself a model of high-tech and win-win partnership between China and Europe”, said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus COO and President of Commercial Aircraft. “Together with our Chinese partners, we are confident in meeting the new challenges and opportunities and look forward to an even deeper and broader partnership.”

Co-operation between Airbus and China is already extensive. The Tianjin A330 Family Aircraft Completion and Delivery Centre will deliver its first aircraft in September 2017 and the A320 Family Aircraft Final Assembly Line Asia will start assembly work of A320neo by the end of 2017.

Both sides will continue the development of air transportation activities and to address China’s rapid aviation growth, tackling global issues such as environment and ATM, and broadening the partnership to include sectors like helicopters.

Shanghai, China | April 11, 2017– Rockwell Collins has signed a reseller agreement with Beijing Marine Communication and Navigation Company, Limited (MCN) to provide broadband satellite connectivity services to its ARINCDirect customers in mainland China. ARINCDirect is a leading value added reseller of satellite connectivity services globally.

“This agreement with MCN provides a great foundation for giving business jet operators in China access to our full suite of satellite services,” said David Stanley, vice president, ARINCDirect Cabin Services for Rockwell Collins. “The Chinese business aviation industry is still in a relatively early stage of development. As the demand for connectivity increases, we will deliver an experience to passengers in-flight that’s as seamless as they have in their home and office environments.”

“We are committed to ensuring that China has access to the latest connectivity technology,” said Song Zhen, vice president of Sales & Marketing for MCN. “This relationship will enable our business aviation operators to have access to the fastest cabin communications available.”

ARINCDirect provides the most comprehensive flight support services for business aviation including global flight planning regional and international trip support, cabin connectivity and flight operations management.

  • Joint venture would exclusively provide inflight connectivity hardware and entertainment services on HNA airlines, comprising over 320 aircraft today with the potential to grow to over 500 planes
  • Shareco plans to invest up to $416 million in GEE stock at $11 per share through a combination of primary and secondary share purchases

Los Angeles, CA | November 8, 2016– GEE (“GEE”) (NASDAQ:ENT), today announced it has entered into a strategic alliance and an investment agreement with Beijing Shareco Technologies Co., Ltd. (“Shareco”, NEEQ: 837676), an affiliate of HNA Group, one of China’s largest conglomerates. GEE and Shareco plan to create a joint venture (“JV”) to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity (“IFEC”) in China and exclusively service aircraft operated by HNA airlines. Shareco will make an initial primary equity investment in GEE of approximately $103 million, as well as contemplated additional primary and secondary common equity purchases upon the formation of the JV that would bring the total expected investment to $416 million.

Under terms of the contemplated transactions, GEE and Shareco would form a JV to provide IFEC and passenger monetization services to HNA airlines. GEE would sell its equipment, including its Airconnect antennas, network services and engineering and product support directly to the JV. The JV would be the exclusive provider of IFEC to HNA aircraft. This fleet comprises over 320 aircraft today and is expected to grow to over 500 aircraft in the future.

GEE currently operates live connectivity and television services in the Chinese IFEC market, and since 2013, GEE’s Chinese growth program has included investment in a Beijing office, local engineers, partnerships with Chinese media and advertising firms, connectivity trials and teleport infrastructure. GEE works with all of the Tier-1 telecommunications providers in China and, upon implementation of the JV, expects to be well-positioned in the highly competitive China IFEC market, with the JV having exclusive access to aircraft currently comprising a significant portion of the Chinese commercial aviation market. Currently, GEE has trial contracts with Shareco to provide services to several airlines within the HNA Group.

Shareco is a Beijing-based company that has developed and implemented an established advertising and passenger monetization model as the exclusive provider of e-commerce, games, content and advertising solutions to numerous airlines within and out of HNA’s fleet, including Hainan Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines, Yangtze River Express, Tianjin Airlines and Okay Airways, among others. Shareco currently provides innovative tablet-based IFEC services to over 200 aircraft. Shareco is affiliated with HNA Group, a Fortune Global 500 corporation based in China with a proven track-record of acquisitions and investments in the aviation and travel industries.

“The transaction would bring together two industry leaders to accelerate IFEC adoption and improve the passenger experience in China. The completion of our JV with Shareco would accelerate our growth and solidify GEE as a major IFEC provider in the rapidly growing Chinese market,” said Dave Davis, CEO of GEE. “We are thrilled to partner with Shareco and HNA Group to drive new revenue opportunities and provide unparalleled connectivity and passenger entertainment products for HNA airlines and the Chinese market.”

“We are investing in GEE based on its leadership in the mobility space and unique position of offering an integrated suite of connectivity and content products,” said Jason Sun, Chairman of Shareco. “Our investment and strategic alliance will accelerate adoption of inflight connectivity, advertising and e-commerce in the Chinese market and bring a differentiated experience to passengers.”

Transaction Details

Shareco’s investment and creation of the JV is planned to occur in two stages. First, Shareco has agreed to acquire newly issued common shares of GEE for $11.00 per share, resulting in a 9.9% post-investment ownership stake. Based on GEE current shares outstanding, the initial investment is expected to total approximately $103 million for approximately 9.3 million newly issued shares of GEE. GEE will use the proceeds from this investment for general corporate purposes. The first stage of the transaction is subject to regulatory review and other customary closing conditions.

In connection with the second stage of the transactions, GEE and Shareco will negotiate binding documentation including an investment agreement providing for additional Shareco primary and secondary equity investments and a definitive JV agreement. Upon formation of the JV, Shareco would purchase up to $150 million of additional primary shares from GEE at $11.00 per share, with the proceeds used by GEE to invest in the JV as described below. In addition, in connection with the second stage of the transaction, Shareco would commence a tender offer to GEE’s stockholders to acquire shares at $11.00 per share in an amount which would result in Shareco holding an expected 34.9% ownership stake in GEE, through an expected aggregate investment of up to approximately $416 million, inclusive of both investment stages of the transaction. The second stage of the transaction is subject to the parties entering in a definitive investment and JV agreements, as well as regulatory review, GEE shareholder approval and other customary closing conditions.

GEE is expected to own up to 49% of the JV, and Shareco would own the remainder. In connection with the formation of the JV, GEE would invest up to $150 million into the JV, and Shareco is expected to contribute substantially all of its assets and liabilities, including exclusive contractual rights to provide IFEC services to HNA airlines. Upon completion of the second investment, Shareco would have the right to nominate GEE Board of Director seats proportionate to its ownership position in GEE. GEE expects to be actively engaged in the management of the JV, including having the rights to appoint key JV officers.

GEE expects that the completion of Shareco’s initial primary investment will occur during the first half of 2017, with the JV and second stage equity investments completed later in 2017.

BofA Merrill Lynch and Barclays are acting as financial advisors to GEE, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is acting as legal advisor to GEE. Moelis & Company is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Shareco. Sidley Austin LLP and Fangda Partners are acting as legal advisors to Shareco.

United Kingdom and China | September 14, 2016: Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, has signed an agreement with Beijing Marine Communication & Navigation Company (MCN) and Aviation Data Communication Corporation (ADCC) to provide aviation safety services to Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and Operators.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was unveiled at ATC Global 2016, which is taking place in Beijing this week, and outlines MCN/ADCC’s intention to offer cockpit communication services, including Inmarsat’s Classic Aero and next generation SwiftBroadband-Safety services, in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Classic Aero is a high-quality voice and data safety service currently used by most of the world’s airlines. It offers reliable and secure satellite surveillance and communications (FANS/ACARS) that meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) global flight tracking requirements.

SwiftBroadband-Safety utilises secure IP-based broadband capabilities that far exceed those of other connectivity alternatives. It offers global, high speed, connectivity for cockpit and aircraft operations, with airlines benefitting from greater efficiency, reliability and capacity at a lower cost. The solution is always on and always secure, delivering next-generation applications, including flight data streaming (‘Black Box in the Cloud’) and real-time Electronic Flight Bag applications such as graphical weather.

Inmarsat’s partnership with MCN and ADCC is expected to be finalised later this year and fits with the announcement made earlier this year of plans for a MCN and Inmarsat joint venture to provide comprehensive aircraft cabin and connectivity solutions across the PRC.

Otto Gergye, Inmarsat Aviation’s Vice President of Airline Market Development, said: “Inmarsat is a trusted provider of aviation safety and operational services. More than 95% of the world’s oceanic aircraft currently use our services for communication, navigation and surveillance and we are set to achieve an important paradigm shift in cockpit communications with our advanced and highly-secure new SwiftBroadband-Safety service.

“We look forward to serving China’s aviation industry alongside MCN and ADCC. The country represents one of the largest growth markets in the world for aviation, with annual growth rates of more than 5% per year. Both in-service aircraft and passenger levels are expected to more than double in the next 20 years. Our partnerships with MCN and ADCC also reinforce Inmarsat’s commitment to supporting China’s One Belt One Road strategic vision.”

Song Zhen, Vice President of MCN, said: “MCN, ADCC and Inmarsat are strong leaders in their respective markets. This agreement is an important step in establishing a partnership that combines our individual strengths to provide China’s aviation industry with market-leading connectivity services for optimised cockpit and aircraft operations.”

Zhu Yanbo, Vice President of ADCC, said: “We are delighted to announce this agreement with MCN and Inmarsat. Together, we can support the growth and efficiency of China’s aviation industry by providing airlines with access to the best safety communications solutions in the market today, with the well-established Classic Aero service, and with the advanced next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety service.”

  • Airlines invest to keep passengers connected on the ground and in the air

Beijing, China | July 27, 2016– Airline passengers in China are heavy users of technology both in their everyday lives and throughout their travel journeys. Nearly one quarter perceive themselves as ‘hyper-connected’ – they value efficiency and use self-service technology more frequently. Airlines are meeting their needs with 80% adopting connected aircraft and 100% investing in mobile-based services and the Internet of Things.

In the 2016 SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey, conducted across China and representing almost 60% of the country’s passenger traffic, IT provider SITA analyzed the behavior of four different types of passengers. The Careful Planner, Pampered, Hyper-Connected and Open-Minded Adventurer profiles each uses technology in different ways. China has the highest proportion of ‘hyper-connected’ passengers worldwide with 24% compared to the global average of 14%. These passengers tend to use technology, such as mobile devices to book, check-in and manage their trip, more frequently than the other profiles.

Airline passengers across the globe are so comfortable with technology today that they are choosing to use it rather than interacting with people. This is particularly evident in China where SITA reports 98% of passengers carry at least one mobile device and 49% carry a tablet. They also score very highly on an index of online and mobile service usage in their everyday lives at 7.1 out of 10 and increasingly are using mobile services for travel. Today nearly 17% of these passengers check-in using a mobile app and airlines are predicting a jump in adoption over the next three years.

Having the ability to make the passenger experience a fully-connected one with connectivity on the ground and in the air is vital. Today Chinese airlines are leading the adoption of connected aircraft because of their comparatively modern fleets. In fact, 80% of Chinese airlines already fly, or are just taking delivery of connected aircraft versus a 45% global average.

May Zhou, Vice President, SITA China said: “In today’s connected world of travel passengers prefer to use technology. SITA’s research shows that they expect to be connected and have services delivered to their mobile devices at every step of their journey, including during their flight. Today we see that airlines in China are responding to the needs of these ‘hyper-connected’ passengers by focusing their investments in connected aircraft, mobile-based services, and the Internet of Things. With this strategy they can meet passengers’ growing demands for information and services to their mobile devices.”

SITA’s survey shows that 40% of Chinese airlines believe that the key benefit of connected aircraft will be improving the passenger experience and 100% plan to invest in wireless in-flight services for passengers over the next three years. Already in China 58% of passengers use their mobile devices onboard for in-flight entertainment.

The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is also high on the agenda of airlines in China with 100% planning to invest in IoT over the next three years and 78% are planning major programs. Currently the only IoT initiative already implemented at Chinese airlines is fuel/engine monitoring and this by just 10% of airlines. The main areas of focus over the next three years are smart bag tags, asset tracking and monitoring the aircraft cabin environment.

  • Validation of Supplemental Type Certificate (VSTC) for Cobham AVIATOR 300 on AirbusA320 series is the first time a SwiftBroadband ACARS-capable modem has received CAAC certification

Lyngby, Denmark | July 21, 2016– The Cobham SATCOM AVIATOR 300 system has received a Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Validation of Supplemental Type Certificate (VSTC) for installation aboard the Airbus A320 series. It is the first time a SwiftBroadband ACARS (Aircraft Communication and Addressing Reporting System)-capable modem has received Chinese certification.

The significant Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) means that Chinese airlines and Chinese-registered aircraft can now order and install the Cobham solution on the Airbus aircraft A319, A320 and A321 to benefit from improved communications, connectivity, flight safety and operations on-board.

Enabling cockpit connectivity for ACARS over SwiftBroadband on the Airbus aircraft, AVIATOR 300 uses Inmarsat SwiftBroadband IP data and circuit-switched voice capabilities to provide services such as aircraft flight tracking information and Ethernet ports for connecting devices such as Aircraft Interface Devices (AIDs) and Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs) for the pilots to obtain real-time information including graphical weather updates. AVIATOR 300 also has the bandwidth to send the real-time data of the aircraft health monitoring systems, such as engine monitoring.

Jianmin Cui, Director for Cobham SATCOM China Operations, said: “This certification for our AVIATOR 300 system is very important for the industry in this region and is also a significant milestone for Cobham as we can now offer Chinese airlines a low cost, compact Inmarsat satcom solution. It is a first for the industry, for Inmarsat and also for Cobham. This system provides Chinese airlines an optimal option to comply with the CAAC 4 minute-mandate with more capable data applications.

“The installation of our system on the Airbus aircraft will introduce many benefits for airlines. For example, airlines’ flight operations departments will have the ability to access aircraft data in real time from the ground while the aircraft is in flight, which will significantly improve flight safety and operational efficiencies.”

The VSTC is developed and owned by Avionics Support Group Inc (ASG) for the SwiftBroadband Unit and Delta G for the antenna.

The AVIATOR 300 system, which features the compact and lightweight Intermediate Gain Antenna IGA-5001 to ensure a low profile on the fuselage, provides for fast and reliable connectivity on the Inmarsat SwiftBroadband I-4 satellite network. The system supports high quality, low-cost voice calling and the full complement of data services and provides near global coverage, on the ground or in the air.

Further advantages include recurrent maintenance savings due to the high reliability of the AVIATOR system and recurrent weight savings (approximately 50 to 150lbs) over traditional legacy SATCOM systems.

The full Cobham SATCOM AVIATOR range includes the revolutionary AVIATOR S series, AVIATOR 700 and 700D, AVIATOR 350 with High Gain Antenna (HGA), AVIATOR 300 with IGA as well as the exceptionally compact and lightweight AVIATOR 200 with Low Gain Antenna (LGA).

  • Inmarsat only international operator authorised to provide mobile satellite voice services in the country

United Kingdom | July 14, 2016– Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has received type approval from the Government of the People’s Republic of China for its IsatPhone 2 technology, making it the only international operator legally eligible to sell handheld satellite phones in the country.

Working alongside local channel partners MCN Beijing (MCN) and China Telecom Satellite (CTS), Inmarsat is uniquely positioned to service the Chinese market and looks forward to meeting the strong demand generated across multiple sectors in China.

A key criteria for the Government approval was to have local infrastructure in the country. MCN, in partnership with Inmarsat, successfully completed its Global Satellite Phone Service (GSPS) gateway station in China at the end of 2014, receiving its official licence earlier this year.

Tim Johnson, Vice President of Inmarsat’s Enterprise Unit said: “This is a very significant announcement for Inmarsat and something we have worked hard on with our partners and the Chinese Government.

“Given the size and scale of the country, there is huge demand for reliable mobile voice communications in China. Provision of this type of communication technology which can be deployed quickly – and at relatively low cost – can provide significant benefits in terms of broader economic and societal development. As the need for reliable and remote communications in China continues to grow, driven by strategic initiatives such as ‘One Belt, One Road’, Inmarsat will be well positioned to capture that growth.

“There are several sectors such as mining and oil & gas, which regularly operate in remote areas of China and where currently traditional connectivity cannot provide the required level of reliable service cost-effectively. This announcement paves the way to meeting that demand.”

Lake Forest, CA | July 12, 2016– Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) and its partner China Telecom Satellite (CTS), today announced a one-year extension of their Ku-band inflight connectivity trial. With this milestone, all approved Chinese and international airlines can now select Panasonic’s Global Communications Services and enjoy connectivity services worldwide.

Per terms of the license, over 20 foreign airlines with more than 1,000 aircraft are expected to begin operating connected flights over Chinese airspace, with more in process. In addition, Panasonic’s Chinese airline customers, including China Eastern Airlines, Xiamen Air, Hainan Airlines and China Southern Airlines have begun preparations to offer connectivity services across their global route structure.

David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communications Services, Panasonic Avionics, said: “We have worked closely with China Telecom Satellite for the past several years to support connected flights over China with our global broadband service.

“Today’s announcement is the next step in this special partnership, and we look forward to working with China Telecom Satellite over the months ahead to roll this service out across our approved international customer base.”

The announcement follows recent news that the leading Chinese carrier, China Eastern Airlines, in partnership with CTS, was the first to offer Wi-Fi on domestic flights. China Eastern Airlines installed Panasonic’s award-winning eXConnect inflight connectivity system on its newest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

The service was initially offered by 12 foreign airlines with just over 200 aircraft offering inflight connectivity over this key region. There were also three Chinese-registered airlines and 30 aircraft offering connected flights in and out of China.

Farnborough, UK | July 11, 2016– Boeing [NYSE:BA] and Xiamen Airlines announced today at the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow a Memorandum of Understanding for the purchase of up to 30 737 MAX 200 airplanes, valued at up to $3.39 billion at current list prices.

The airline, which is already a 737 MAX customer, sees the MAX 200 as a fit for its low cost subsidiaries, including Jiangxi Airlines and Hebei Airlines.

Both parties will work closely to finalize the agreement, which requires the approval of Xiamen Airlines board and the China Southern Airline Group board, as well as the Chinese Government.

“We are pleased with this new milestone in our relationship with Xiamen Airlines,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “The market-leading efficiency and reliability of the 737 MAX 200 will enable Xiamen and its subsidiaries to expand its growing network, while maintaining an optimal fleet. This MOU further demonstrates the strength of our enduring partnership and we look forward to finalizing the deal in the near future.”

Xiamen Airlines currently operates an all-Boeing fleet of more than 140 airplanes including six 787 Dreamliners, 130 Next-Generation 737s and four 757s. The carrier plans to grow its operational fleet to 200 airplanes by the end of the decade and looks to expand regionally with the new 737 MAX.

Xiamen-based Xiamen Airlines is a stated-owned subsidiary of China Southern Airlines.

Chengdu, China | June 16, 2016– Chengdu Tianfu Software Park, one of the largest tech parks in China, selected Envee Inflight Entertainment Co., Ltd, as an example of the extraordinary start-up companies to excel in China. Envee Inflight Entertainment is based in the Chengdu Tianfu Software Park and provided insight into how they were able to provide inspiration to other start-ups.

“Inflight WiFi is unexplored territory in China, which will see great opportunity as satellite connectivity technology and ground-air connectivity technology are realized, and the inflight WiFi are approved by Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to conduct pilot programs.” According to Wu Xin, General Manager of Envee Inflight Entertainment Co., Ltd., conventional internet is already saturated with leading companies in many industries – monopolies are even beginning to emerge. In contrast, inflight WiFi is still in its early stages of exponential growth and is likely to open up a new chapter in the industry.

While investigating and seeking numerous projects and opportunities between 2007 and 2010, together with one of his college classmates, Wu created a high-tech company focused on the research and development of mobile internet projects in Chengdu Tianfu Software Park: “I met Xi Wenda, who had been studying in the US. With our backgrounds in internet and aviation, we reached a consensus on the direction of inflight entertainment.”

As stated by Wu, such consensus came from some of their own experiences as airplane passengers. “As on-ground internet continues to be updated every day, even every hour, outdated and slow-to-be-updated content, such as games and music, continue to be used in our aircraft. Furthermore, internet access is not available on domestic flights in China.”

“Foreign companies have long had a monopoly on the development of inflight entertainment systems and their standards. However, we discovered inadequacies in their localization of R&D of aviation entertainment software. As a result, the passengers are forced to passively accept onboard entertainment and are unable to interact with it. They are simply unable to meet passengers’ needs.” Wu and his team believe that inflight WiFi will definitely become a trend: “Certain passenger groups may have special requirements, such as social interaction, information and entertainment in addition to WiFi access. We originally intended to meet the requirements of even more passengers by tapping into the inflight entertainment segment.”

Wu then established Envee Software (Chengdu) Co., Ltd. (predecessor of Envee Inflight Entertainment Co., Ltd.) with his partner at Chengdu Tianfu Software Park: “At the time, the global inflight entertainment system market was monopolized by two high-tech companies from Canada and India. We wished to break foreign monopoly, develop a nationwide aviation industry and provide passengers with superior aviation entertainment services through continued innovation.”

As they found their way into the arena of inflight WiFi, however, Wu and his team would eventually uncover many challenges: “Most of civil aircraft in China are purchased from Boeing, Airbus and other foreign manufacturers, so our software needed to obtain authorization from specific hardware device manufacturers before being installed on the aircraft.”

According to Wu, after over a year of communication, development and testing, Envee Inflight Entertainment finally fulfilled safety requirements from hardware device manufacturers of inflight entertainment systems – Panasonic and Thales, and acquired clearance to develop the relevant software. It became China’s first company in the industry to obtain such approval.

“Panasonic and Thales provide entertainment systems for Boeing and Airbus aircrafts, and account for 80 to 90% share of the global market,” said Wu Xian. With software authorization from Panasonic and Thales, Envee Inflight Entertainment seized the opportunity to begin development based on their entertainment systems: “With the proper credentials for this industry, we are now able to increase our coverage as Panasonic and Thales expand to different markets.”

“I firmly believe that the future of inflight WiFi lies in the software revolution,” said Wu. Currently, select hardware device manufacturers in the industry monopolize many resources, but with the best possible software, change is possible: “What we saw on the aircraft were options tailored for foreigners and they were usually very complicated. Some of them did not conform to the tastes of Chinese passengers. We hope to cater to Chinese audiences and focus on the user experience, with games like “Fight the Landlord,” mahjong, gobang, and reversi. We also made interactive 3D editions of the “Palace Museum,” “Temple of Heaven” and other attractions to enable passengers to access advance information on the attractions they will be visiting. All of these are ways in which we provide entertainment content.”

Wu believes that opportunities and challenges coexist in inflight WiFi. Those who embrace challenges and take advantage of opportunities will survive: “The challenge is that nobody has ever done this in China – we cannot simply introduce a foreign model into China. It’s important for us to stand on solid ground and move step-by-step. Only then can we truly change and even become leaders in the industry. Inflight WiFi is likely to become a revolution in the services provided by China’s civil aviation industry, and this is our opportunity. It’s an imaginative and fascinating market waiting to be exploited.”

There are now 360 million passengers transported by China’s civil aviation industry each year. 2.5 hours of flying per capita amounts to 900 million flying hours per year. Moreover, by Airbus’s estimation, China will become the world’s biggest aviation market over the next decade. Overall, China has become the world’s biggest internet market, surpassing the US. Its netizens and business opportunities are unmatched by any other country. The combination of these two factors makes the inflight WiFi business infinitely profitable.

  • China’s national flag carrier becomes the first customer in the nation to operate the airplane

Beijing, China | May 25, 2016– Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Air China officially unveiled the airline’s first 787-9 Dreamliner to the public at a grand ceremony in Beijing today. The national flag carrier is the first airline in the country to have a 787-9 enter into service.

“The 787-9 Dreamliner employs a multitude of cutting-edge technologies best represented by its electronic handling system and wide application of composite materials,” said Captain Wang Yingnian, chief pilot of Air China. “As such, it enjoys clear advantages such as low fuel consumption, low emission and lower noise, which are highly aligned with the green flying idea that Air China has long been an advocate of.”

This is the first of 15 Dreamliners set to join Air China’s fleet.

“We are very honored that the 787-9 has joined Air China’s national flag carrier fleet,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing Commercial Airplanes senior vice president of Northeast Asia Sales, “Carrying the long term partnership between Air China and Boeing, Air China’s 787-9 will provide comfort and convenience for passengers, exceptional fuel efficiency and environmental performance for the airline customers.”

The 787-9 complements and extends the 787 family. With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters) over the 787-8, the 787-9 will fly over 40 more passengers an additional 285 nautical miles (830 km) with the same exceptional environmental performance — 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than similarly sized airplanes.

The 787-9 leverages the visionary design of the 787-8, offering passengers features such as large windows, large stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, cleaner air and a smoother ride.

“We believe the 787-9 will become the backbone of Air China’s international long-haul routes and will play an important role in supporting Air China’s international development strategy,” added Captain Wang.

Air China, headquartered in Beijing, is a leading provider of passenger and cargo services in China with scheduled flight routes connecting 174 cities in 40 countries and regions. Air China will use its 787-9s to ride on the wave of fast growing international passenger traffic by expanding its international network through non-stop point-to-point services.

Amsterdam, Netherlands | May 31, 2016– Global civil aircraft industry is witnessing a geographic transition from relatively slowing matured markets like North America and Europe towards the Asia Pacific, dominated by China. Increasing traffic in the developing geographies is driving demand for commercial aircrafts. The number of airplanes in service is expected to more than double over 2014-2034, with single aisle aircrafts witnessing the maximum growth.

The growth in the commercial aircraft market will underpin the demand for components used in these airplanes. Major aircraft component systems like flight control systems (FCS), drive shafts, cockpit display system (CDS) and other airframe components are all expected to witness healthy growth over near to medium term.

According to a recent market research report published by Technavio, the global commercial aircraft FCS market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.7% during the period 2016-2020. The report titled “Global Commercial Aircraft Flight Control Systems Market 2016-2020”, identifies introduction of fly-by-wire systems, increased adaptation of advanced actuators and shift towards next-generation FCS to be the dominant trends in the commercial aircraft FCS market over the next five years.

The report states that the growth in the FCS market would primarily be driven by growing demand for aircraft, increased use of thrust management systems and rising developments in FCS technology. However, the analysts also caution that issues related to electromechanical actuators (EMAs), stringent regulatory norms and high technology cost to dampen the growth prospect to certain degree.

The report studies the global civil aircraft FCS market across three primary geographies: Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific. The report also provides a detailed analysis of the market by types of FCS used: hydro-mechanical, fly-by-wire and mechanical.

While analysing the competitive landscape of the market, the report provides detailed insights into key vendors operating in the space such as BAE Systems, Honeywell International, MOOG, Rockwell Collins, Sagem, UTC Aerospace Systems, Liebherr-Aerospace, Nabtesco, Parker Aerospace, and West Star Aviation. The insights on the vendors include information such as company and financial overview, business strategies and recent developments.


We continue this week with some interesting people and products we saw during AIX in Hamburg at Astronics and Rockwell Collins.


Astronics:

When you were at AIX you surely would have seen the latest ‘lightweight’ inseat power system from the folks at Astronics. What really caught our attention was the weight of the ‘Direct Current Power Supply’ itself – but we will save that data for the Astronics spokesperson, Ken Adwan, Senior Business Development Manager, who told IFExpress: “The DCPS is actually capable of supporting (30) USB outputs operating at 2.1 Amp simultaneously. The zone-based DCPS, which provides DC power to the seats weighs in at 3.8 lb. (nominal). The result is that a typical narrow body system, providing (175) total High Output USB Power ports to the passenger seats will have a shipset weight and price that are 30% to 40% lower than a traditional seat-based power supply architecture. That system would be comprised of a total of (8) zone-based DCPS units.” (Be sure to check out the high level system graphic for the USB UltraLite system and data sheet for the P/N 1375-2 DC Power Supply Unit (DCPS).) What really caught IFExpress’s attention was the statement on the data sheet: “Power conversion efficiency greater that 85%,”…and that has to be some kind of record for an airborne AC to DC converter. Typically they run about 80% or less!

Rockwell Collins:

“Hi there, I’m Jeff Sare” was our first introduction to the new Vice President, Sales & Marketing Air Transport Cabin Solutions Commercial Systems at the Rockwell Collins booth. IFExpress was told: “We were really impressed with Jeff when he was a consultant to Rockwell Collins and we brought him on board to help out the IFEC efforts. Jeff brings a wealth of industry knowledge about in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions, an area of growing interest for airlines to keep up with fast-changing passenger requirements,” said Scott Gunnufson, Vice President, Commercial Sales, Marketing and Support at Rockwell Collins. Further, from the Rockwell Collins news release about Jeff; “For more than two decades, Sare has served in a number of leadership roles in the air transport in-flight entertainment (IFE) and connectivity marketplace, from IFE manufacturers and connectivity providers to airline marketing. In his new role, Sare will lead a sales and marketing team focused on Rockwell Collins’ complete portfolio of PAVES IFE and connectivity solutions that meet the passenger engagement needs of any airline, including seat-centric IFE, broadcast and wireless IFE, high-speed broadband connectivity, moving map and passenger services systems,” stated the company. We note, Jeff is a very pleasant, easy to talk to person and we encourage folks in our industry to say hello.

During the interview, we asked where the IFE industry is heading and Jeff indicated the following: “IFE seems to have stabilized. We are seeing appropriate and significant growth in both wide and narrow body aircraft markets. At the same time, IFE Wi-Fi growth is also explosive. The demand for connectivity and some control over your environment is on fire. There is a demand for end-to-end connection to the passenger. Further, new technology opens up new opportunities. B-2-B is driving innovations that help airlines manage their business. Our customers are the airlines… full stop!

“Rockwell Collins’ inseat video has gone into service line fit at both OEMs. In-seat availability is running near 100%. In fact, Biman Bangladesh launched in late November 2015 and they are flying at 99.98% – the .02% was a pinched wire,” said Sare.

We also asked about IFE in the aviation ecosystem and Mr. Sare went on: “There are two business case studies worth mentioning: What Apple did was to build an entire ecosystem that explained their vision for the iPhone and what it could do – think apps here,” he noted. “Further, Tesla is doing the same in the automotive industry.” The company sees that solution, and Jeff implied that Rockwell Collins will take advantage of their IFE solution, and with their acquisition of ARINC, will leverage the aviation communication platform. He went on to say: “There are fourteen thousand commercial aircraft, some five thousand business jets, one thousand airports and some three hundred and sixty airlines in this environment… Rockwell Collins sits in the middle of this aviation ecosystem.” We get it!

We should also note that Rockwell Collins was awarded an Airbus supplier trophy for “Cabin BFE Supplier Support in 2015” at Aircraft Interiors and the team was rightfully proud of their efforts in winning. The awards followed Airbus’s supplier support rating process, which drew in-service feedback from more than 133 of Airbus customers worldwide.” The news release also said, ‘Rockwell Collins, which was also top ranked in the category last year by Airbus customers, was credited for its ability to continuously provide reliable equipment and complementary technical support, its effectiveness of operational support services and finally, customer feedback on cost of ownership.”

If you didn’t get the big picture, one of the big Rockwell Collins focuses is on data. They note: “By 2030, the number of active air transport and business aircraft is expected to grow to 85,000 (Editor’s Note: Given that today there are around 30,000) – with 80 percent of those equipped with new information-management systems. These developments are making a seamless secure and integrated aviation ecosphere a reality.” Aviation and information, two pre-separated words, now have a reality that Rockwell Collins see’s as a future reality. The flow of data along with the future is where Rockwell Collins is placing their bets. Here is a list of future information solutions they see:

1. Intuitive, information-enabled flight decks and aircraft that use data from on-board and external sources to provide new levels of analysis and awareness for pilots, airlines and manufacturers
2. Cabin solutions that change the paradigm from passenger entertainment to passenger engagement while helping airlines achieve their goals
3. Airport operations that streamline passenger processing, increase efficiencies and enhance revenue
4. A robust and flexible network that pairs bandwidth to manage information across the aviation ecosphere with the necessary security to keep our passengers and our airspace safe.
5. A future airspace that leverages the flow of shared information to address the congestion of today with a new model of aircraft and airspace management.

So, if information is the future of aviation data, then they expect massive amounts to infect our aviation space – Massive Amounts! This includes maintenance, scheduling, freight, airplane performance, and much more in networks on and off the aircraft. Rockwell Collins has four Principles when it comes to handling all this data:

Principle 1. Match the Right Data With the Channel.
Principle 2. Interoperability Matters.
Principle 3. Make the Best Use of Data.
Principle 4. Peace of Mind is Paramount.

We also wish to point out the paramount importance of security, and when this subject is addressed by Rockwell Collins, they say: “As systems become increasingly interconnected, interdependent cyber security has become a growing concern in civil aviation. Network security threats are diverse and persistent; a large part of the data that traverses private aviation networks is sensitive and relates to passengers’ reservations.”

They go on: “In this environment, security is essential Today, private aviation networks like those from Rockwell Collins are outfitted with multiple firewalls and security mechanisms to ensure that the security of critical communications is airtight, and that policies and protections align with IATA security rules and mandates. As we explore new channels of communication to meet the needs of the information age, we must ensure that they can support those same levels of security at every moment of transmission.” We couldn’t agree more.

Further they state: “But peace of mind goes beyond ensuring messages are protected at every point of transmission – it’s also about ensuring the information arrives at its intended destination in a timely manner. Even as our industry embraces new technology like ACARS over IP and standardized, web-based applications like XML Web Services, we believe the curation of message delivery is a critical component of information management – knowing exactly where a message is at any given moment, and if something goes wrong, where that error occurred and what backups are available to ensure the message arrives at its destination.”

In conclusion, Rockwell Collins notes: “In aviation’s information age, an ever-increasing volume of data streams across the sky and around the earth. Developing faster ways to transmit, store, process and access that information – leveraging the latest ground- and satellite-based communications technologies – will be necessary to ensure our industry can take full advantage of the opportunities ahead.” Stay Tuned In on this one as aviation data will be taking a big uptick of storage and connectivity in the future… for almost every reason!


Other News:

  • If you have not been following TMF Associates Blog, you might start here: TMF Associates blog » The exploding inflight connectivity market?
  • You might want to watch “The Age of Aerospace,” a multi-piece aviation documentary sponsored by Boeing… now on YouTube
  • If you are planning on attending EXPO Asia and APEX in Singapore at the end of October, be sure to check out the ‘View Location Map‘… and bring your credit card because the Ferrari dealership is a short walk away!
  • If you are in charge of airline food, you probably want to see what foods are trending in favor and declining. Here is a good source of info: Google Food Trends Report. And yes, it might be true in your kitchen as well!
  • We got an interesting email recently that went: Per the following link,  I have a few questions:
    1. I wonder if Airbus also invested in BOC’s aircraft leasing firm?
    2. Does an investment in BOC give Boeing an advantage when selling airplanes into China?  (Duh!)
    3. Is this the cost of doing business, i.e. selling airplanes, in China?
    In answer to the above we found the following:
    1. China will become the “single-most important market” for plane-leasing companies over the next five years, Domhnal Slattery, chief executive officer of Dublin-based lessor Avolon Holdings Ltd., said in an April Interview.
    2. Coy as ever, Cook’s somewhat cryptic remarks naturally led to an avalanche of speculation, particularly given rumors that Apple is  developing its own electric car. Other commentators took the position that Apple’s investment was simply an old-fashioned way to curry favor with the Chinese government. (Check out the full article here)

Shanghai, China | April 28, 2016– Boeing [NYSE: BA] and China Eastern Airlines today finalized an order for 15 787-9 Dreamliners. The order, valued at nearly $4 billion at current list prices, strengthens China Eastern’s expanding long-haul fleet.

“We are very happy to introduce the new 787 Dreamliners into our long-haul fleet,” said China Eastern Airlines Chairman Liu Shaoyong. “The addition of these next-generation, fuel-efficient airplanes will play a key role in supporting China Eastern’s strategy for international expansion, and enable us to realize profits in point-to-point routes across the Pacific Ocean, and between China and Europe.”

China Eastern plans to operate the new 787-9s on routes between China, North America and Europe, bolstering its competitiveness in the international long-haul market.

With growing air traffic demand, the carrier plans to increase frequencies on existing routes from Shanghai to Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Toronto, as well as their newly launched destination, Chicago. The routes are currently operated by the airline’s flagship 777-300ER airplane.

“China Eastern has been a long-standing Boeing customer and we are honored that the passenger-preferred 787 Dreamliner will join their world-class fleet,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president, Northeast Asia Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The combination of both the 777-300ER and 787-9 will provide the airline with market-leading economics as well as flexibility that will contribute significantly to their success operating long-haul flights to North America.”

The 787 family has proven to be an unmatched market opener, with more than 100 new nonstop routes already in service or announced, as well as an effective tool to increase frequency profitably, often in conjunction with the 777.

For China Eastern, operating both the 777 and 787 will allow the airline to continue growing its international presence with more capacity and cargo payload on key existing frequencies, while also providing the flexibility for further expansion in high-growth markets.

The 787-9 complements and extends the super-efficient 787 family. With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters) over the 787-8, the 787-9 can fly more passengers and more cargo farther yet with the same exceptional environmental performance — 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than the airplanes they replace.

Headquartered in Shanghai, China Eastern Airlines is one of the three major airlines in mainland China. Flying a fleet of over 560 long-haul and short-haul airplanes with an average age of less than seven years, China Eastern serves nearly 100 million travelers annually and ranks the 7th largest carriers in the world in terms of passenger transportation volume.

More than 60 customers from six continents of the world have placed orders for more than 1,100 787s, making the 787 the fastest selling twin-aisle airplane in Boeing history. With this order, the 787 Dreamliner will have nearly 100 orders and commitments from Chinese customers.

  • Endorsement pushes Airbus’ A350 XWB firm order book above 800

France | April 29, 2016– China Eastern Airlines has signed a purchase agreement with Airbus for 20 A350-900 aircraft, making the airline the latest customer for the aircraft.

“The introduction of the latest generation A350 XWB aircraft demonstrates that the partnership between China Eastern Airlines and Airbus has embarked on a new phase. The introduction of A350 XWB will play a very important role in promoting our operational capability, profitability and service brand on our international long haul routes and opening a new chapter in the international development of China Eastern Airlines,” said Liu Shaoyong, Chairman of China Eastern Airlines.

“We are proud to welcome China Eastern Airlines, a long time and loyal Airbus partner, to become the latest airline to select the A350 XWB,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer – Customers. “The outstanding A350’s long haul performance, fuel efficiency and passenger comfort with its extra wide cabin and wider-seats, will allow China Eastern Airlines to achieve its ambitions to develop and efficiently expand its international route network.”

China Eastern Airlines operates one of the largest Airbus fleet in the world with nearly 300 Airbus aircraft in service, comprising A320 Family and A330 Family.

The A350 XWB is the world’s latest generation airliner and the newest member of Airbus’ modern, comfortable & efficient wide-body product family. It features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fiber fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. For passengers the extra-wide cabin offers more personal space in all classes, including 18-inch wide seats as standard in economy class.

With this latest order, Airbus has recorded 803 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 43 customers worldwide, making it one of the most successful wide-body aircraft ever. So far 20 A350 XWBs have been delivered to five customers worldwide.

Hamburg, Germany | April 7, 2016– Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has signed a Heads of Terms (HoT) agreement with Beijing Marine Communication & Navigation Company Ltd. (MCN), which will lead to the creation of a joint venture (JV) to provide aircraft cabin and cockpit connectivity solutions in China’s fast-growing commercial aviation market.

The Inmarsat services that would be provided through the JV include Global Xpress (GX) Aviation and SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S). The final agreement is expected to be signed later this year.

GX Aviation will launch this year as the world’s first broadband in-flight connectivity solution with seamless, end-to-end global coverage. Passengers will be able to browse the internet, use social media, stream online videos, download files and more using their smartphones, tablets and other Wi-Fi enabled devices, with a similar quality of service in the air as they would receive on the ground.

SB-S is a next generation cyber secure flight deck communication platform, enabling airlines to meet the ICAO mandate for sub-15 minute tracking of all aircraft, Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC)’s four-minute mandate, Automatic Dependent Surveillance and electronic flight bag updates. Combining L-band satellite connectivity with advanced avionics, it delivers speeds 10 times faster than existing Classic Aero services to provide airlines with cockpit communications for the digital age.

Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “China is one of the world’s fastest-growing commercial aviation markets and when the proposed joint venture with MCN is finalised, the new company would provide the country with access to the most advanced cockpit and cabin connectivity solutions available today and in the future.

Inmarsat and MCN already have a successful track record of working together and we congratulate them on the recent milestone of securing their basic telecom licence, enabling legal provisioning of passenger connectivity in China. Extending our long-standing partnership allow us to build on the significant interest that we have received in the market to date, with Air China set to trial GX Aviation this year.”

Song Zhen, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for MCN, said: “Together, Inmarsat and MCN have been supporting important developments in the Chinese aviation industry for some time. Air China, for instance, operated the country’s first flight equipped with in-flight connectivity in 2013, using Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband to power the service on board its Airbus A330 between Beijing and Chengdu. With the introduction of next generation solutions, such as GX Aviation and SwiftBroadband-Safety, it is the perfect time to strengthen our partnership with a joint venture that is committed to ensuring China has access to the latest connectivity technology.”

MCN has been an Inmarsat partner since it was founded by China’s Ministry of Transportation in 1979. It unveiled an initial framework for the aviation joint venture with Inmarsat last year, while signing an agreement to bring the high-speed GX connectivity service to commercial and public sector organisations in China’s maritime, enterprise and government markets.

Inmarsat’s relationship with China dates back to its foundation in 1979 as an international, intergovernmental organisation, providing global safety and distress communications services for the maritime community. Today, China is one of the fastest growing markets for Inmarsat’s mobile satellite-based voice and broadband services, delivering double-digit growth in the last five years.

Catering to the unique requirements of the Chinese market, Inmarsat has an office and demonstration lab in Beijing, equipped with various terminals and solutions to support product demonstrations and end-user training. A satellite access station, owned and operated by MCN, is also located in the capital and exclusively handles all traffic from China over the Inmarsat network.

Last year, Inmarsat welcomed the President of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping, to its London headquarters as part of his historic State Visit to the UK, reflecting the close working relationship between Inmarsat and China. President Xi viewed Inmarsat’s Network Operations Centre to understand how the company is able to uniquely contribute to China’s One Belt One Road (‘OBOR’) strategic vision through the provision of critical global mobile broadband connectivity services, including the revolutionary new GX service.

  • Mobile and social media services for airline passengers at ‘Smart Airports’ in China

Beijing, China | March 10, 2016– Despite recent economic challenges, China’s population continues to travel and passengers are demanding more from airlines and airports. Analysis published today by SITA, the global provider of IT to the air transport industry, shows that China’s airports and airlines are responding with higher levels of investment in innovation than found globally. The “Smart Airport” is coming to China.

Nearly three quarters of airports in mainland China (72%) are investing in new technology compared to 58% globally. While airlines in China are spending 38% of their IT budget on innovation compared to a global average of 32%.

China has the world’s fastest-growing domestic flight market and international travel is also soaring. Passenger numbers are expected to rise to 1.3 billion in 2034 – a remarkable 856 million more than 2014[1] – putting pressure on the existing airport infrastructure. However 93% of passengers have smartphones and are keen to use them and other personal technology for their journey. This presents opportunities to airlines and airports to offer services in a different way.

SITA’s analysis shows that passengers’ desire to use their own technology will lead to a major shift to “off-airport” check-in. Passengers want less face-to-face contact at this stage of the journey. In fact, only 28% of passengers indicated a preference to use an airport counter for check-in. More than half of passengers (59%) said they would prefer to use their own technology to check-in for their next flight. In addition, 67% want to use their smartphones for identification purposes and access, including boarding the aircraft and entering airport lounges.

May Zhou, SITA Vice President and General Manager, China, said: “Our global IT surveys cover trends from the perspective of passengers, airlines and airports. We combine this with SITA’s on-the-ground industry experience to provide a unique 360 degree view of technology investment and usage within air travel. We work with airlines and airports across China to identify opportunities, work together and invest in innovative technology that can meet and exceed the expectations of travelers. This is particularly challenging and rewarding during these times of fast-rising passenger numbers.”

As the aspirations of Chinese consumers increase, so does their expectation for a better travel experience. The willingness of passengers to use self-service gives the industry the opportunity to rethink the airport layout and how it manages passengers.

Zhou added: “Change does not happen overnight, it is going to take time for the industry to deploy the infrastructure and services in a way that enables mass adoption by passengers. But change is coming, one area we see this happening is of the development of “Smart Airports” where new technology such as sensors, beacons and business intelligence are used to deliver efficiencies. Investments are now being made. Over the next couple of years, 85% of airports are planning projects in sensor technologies while 82% plan to have business intelligence initiatives for passenger flow in place.”

Airports are also using social media to improve customer service when there are delays and 62% already provide real-time information and notifications via social media.

The report highlights how passengers want to keep track of their baggage. They want to know where and how long before they can pick up their bag when they arrive – 72% want more details, such as carousel and wait time, for bag collection. The industry is responding: currently, only a few airlines and airports provide this information, but in the next few years 86% of airlines will provide baggage tracking notifications and 57% baggage collection information to passengers.

Further insights into how airlines and airports in China can manage the future rapid growth of passenger numbers with smarter customer service and smarter operations are outlined in SITA’s report, which is available in Chinese and English.

  • Offers customers a “Total Aircraft Modification Solution” for both FAA and EASA certification!

Shanghai, China | February 2016– Global Aerospace Design Corp. (Global) is pleased to announce a partnership with Shanghai HaoTong Aviation Engineering Co., Ltd. (SHAE). Global recently signed an agreement with SHAE to form the very first European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Design Organization in China. As part of this agreement Global will be providing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification services to SHAE in support of projects that do not fall under their EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA).

“We are very honored to become the first third party EASA Part21 DOA holder in China”, explained Mr. Liang (Bill) Bai, Vice President of Quality at SHAE. “This is a major step in the development of Shanghai HaoTong’s business scope to provide our global customers with unparalleled cost effective and high quality aftermarket services.”

This partnership will provide customers with a total aircraft modification solution for both FAA and EASA certification along with the modification capabilities available at multiple facilities throughout China.

“This latest accomplishment by Shanghai HaoTong and Global underscores our commitment to widening and deepening our capabilities in China, the world’s second-largest and fastest growing aviation market.” said Mr. Sheming (Bob) Zhu, President/CEO of SHAE. “It is indeed a very successful milestone which forms part of a long term partnership with Global.”

“Global is excited about where this partnership with SHAE will take our company,” said Roger Witkemper, Vice President of Operations at Global. “Both organizations employ complementary resources which will increase our reach throughout the industry.”

Combining the SHAE and Global organizations grows and enhances the services provided throughout the world. From aircraft leasing to complete cabin interior upgrades, both SHAE and Global can now offer customers a high quality solution to their operational needs.

  • Order bolsters Air China’s growing widebody fleet for international expansion

Seattle, WA | January 7, 2016– Boeing [NYSE:BA] and Air China today announced an order for six additional 777-300ER (Extended Range) jetliners. The order is valued at more than $2 billion at current list prices and bolsters Air China’s long-haul widebody fleet as it looks to expand its international network.

“The 777-300ER has consistently proved its value as a long-haul flagship for our customers around the world, making it the preferred choice for Air China’s international expansion,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president, Northeast Asia Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “This order reflects the strength of our decades-long relationship with Air China and we look forward to partnering with Air China on additional opportunities in the future.”

China’s flag carrier continues to modernize its long-haul fleet to replace aging aircraft and plans to expand its growing network internationally. Air China currently operates a fleet 174 Boeing airplanes, including nearly all current Boeing production models, including the Next-Generation 737, 747-8 Intercontinental as well as 777-300ERs.

With this new order, Air China will increase its unfilled airplane orders with Boeing to 90 units, which include orders for new 787-9 Dreamliners.

The 777-300ER is one of the most fuel and cost-efficient airplanes in its class as well as the most reliable twin-aisle aircraft in the world. It also has the highest cargo capability of any passenger airplane in service. The 777-300ER will receive further improvements in 2016 designed to reduce fuel use by another two percent.