At this year’s APEX we thought it would be interesting to watch out for the following as examples of potential show announcements: consolidations; large companies seeking smaller companies and ancillary products; and even passenger apps that help expand business, save money and allow for personalized customer experiences. And without saying, there will be more industry changes to write about in the coming weeks. True to form, this week’s Hot Topic primarily pertains Astronics, a big player that is getting even bigger. With recent acquisitions, Astronics is expanding and diversifying within the aviation realm. We were fortunate enough to have some questions answered by Executive Vice President, Mark Peabody and several other company Division Presidents.

1. Mark, could you please provide us with a broad statement on company updates: number of subsidiaries, number of employees, locations, and a broad product focus to set the stage?

Astronics serves the world’s aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries with innovative power, lighting, connectivity, interiors, structures, and service solutions. Comprised of 11 subsidiaries, the Company employs nearly 3,000 team members in locations around the globe.

2. How many of the Astronics’ subsidiaries deal with data and connectivity for the aviation industry and who are they?

Five of Astronics subsidiaries provide connectivity and data solutions for the aviation industry, as outlined below:

  • Astronics Ballard Technology – Aircraft data systems
  • Astronics AeroSat – Connectivity solutions including IFC antennas and radome systems
  • Astronics Connectivity Systems & Certification (formerly Telefonix and Astronics Armstrong Aerospace) – Inflight entertainment hardware systems, including installation design, kitting, and certification
  •  Astronics Custom Control Concepts – VIP IFE and CMS systems
  • Astronics PGA – VIP IFE and CMS systems

Astronics CCC and PGA often cooperate on providing solutions together for the VIP/BizAv markets. For the purposes of this article, we will include information from Astronics Ballard Technology, Astronics AeroSat, and Astronics CSC, where their product lines serve the needs of commercial transport.

3. What specific products/systems (antennas, WAPs, servers, data storage, etc.) does Astronics currently manufacture via their subsidiaries?

For commercial aircraft, Astronics offers a broad system of hardware and software components to help customers create complete system solutions. These include:

Aircraft Data Systems – New smart sensing systems, aircraft interface devices, avionics I/O computers, avionics test & simulation interfaces, and other data and connectivity related products.

Inflight Entertainment Hardware Systems – Cabin wireless access points, IFE content loaders and servers, modem managers, custom IFEC LRUs, corded and cordless control units, and systems certification services.

IFC Antennas and Radome Systems – Complete connectivity system solutions including Aircraft SATCOM Ku-band antenna systems, aircraft radomes, adapter plates, and other necessary system components.

Here is a link that outlines our offerings.

Power to Support IFE. In addition, we support inflight entertainment and connectivity for the airlines with integrated IFE seatback power systems. We also support the passengers in a BYOD environment by providing in-seat power systems to keep their devices charged while consuming content.

4.What features and benefits do the data and connectivity products from Astronics have over the competition?

  • Collaborative partner with product development, engineering, integration, and certification services for program success
  • Proven experience in the ecosystem – serve all major IFE ad IFEC providers with the most pertinent technology to provide a solution
  • Customer-centric solutions ranging from a simple LRU to an entire system
  • Breadth of product line, single supplier advantage
  • System agnostic hardware components, supports most IFE suppliers
  • Open architecture systems, putting the customer in control of their data
  • Vertically integrated engineering for fast solution deployment
  • Systems installation design, kitting, and certification, in house

5. Broadly speaking, how many aircraft have this type of your equipment installed today?

We have some systems with large installed bases, and some that are new to the market. Some of our product lines are on a few hundred aircraft, and in other connectivity product lines, we estimate that we supply about 85% of long haul aircraft. The numbers of installations, and the numbers of systems per aircraft, are not always reported back to us. In general, we estimate that Astronics connectivity and data solutions are in service on thousands of commercial aircraft worldwide.

6. We asked Mark what types of data and connectivity are provided. Specifically, is Astronics providing any other types of data connectivity besides passenger related – if any? Flight data, computational analysis, AI? And how is it used: on the aircraft, on the ground, both?

Here are the inputs from three of our various Division Presidents.

From Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology: Astronics Ballard Technology provides connectivity from aircraft data systems to pilot and crew devices. Through our aircraft interface device products including the webFB and webCS, we host applications that can process that aircraft data and provide useful information in real-time to pilots and crew as well as off the aircraft (with a connectivity system). We work with third party software developers that create helpful applications such as en-route optimizations, fuel savings, weather avoidance, electronic logbooks, data processing/analytics on the aircraft, storage of operational manuals/procedures, and many more. We also provide a Quick Access Recorder application that allows for collection of aircraft data to be downloaded off the aircraft later for analysis.”

From Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC): “Astronics CSC’s Summit Line of connectivity products serve up passenger connectivity on board the aircraft. Our offerings include servers, content loaders, cabin wireless access points, and other related equipment for the industry’s inflight entertainment providers. We estimate that over time, we have enabled the internet of flight with 16,000 LRUs plus 20 million IFEC cradle and cord reel assemblies in both linefit and retrofit installations.”

And from Matt Harrah, President of Astronics AeroSat: “Equipment from Astronics AeroSat bridges the connectivity on and off the plane to deliver passenger connectivity via Ku-band satellite networks (both traditional wide-beam and next generation HTS spot-beam satellites). Passengers use our bandwidth for internet streaming (emails, text, videos, movies, etc). Our FliteStream Series antennas come in both tail-mount and fuselage-mount versions and serve as today’s highest performing antenna technology, with a bandwidth/spectrum RF efficiency that provides the least impact to satellite network operators while providing cost benefits for aircraft operators. Astronics’ IFC system incorporates an open architecture, with the ability to work across satellite networks and minimize connectivity costs. Finally, our new AeroShield Radom System delivers the lowest drag to reduce fuel burn costs for aircraft operators with connectivity.”

7. Let us now continue with Mark: As a result of these company acquisitions that can deliver complete IFE systems, has this caused Astronics to rethink what and how you sell? In other words, some of the newer subsidiary acquisitions never sold directly to the airline, instead they were suppliers to other IFEC vendors. Is there a new strategy now? Along the same lines, historically when we have visited the Astronics booth at a trade show we would see various ‘boxes’ that help comprise an IFE system. Can we now expect to see an “Astronics IFE System(s)” in the near future?

Astronics intends to remain system agnostic and primarily support our partners in creating complete IFE systems. Our solutions enable global airlines, inflight connectivity providers, systems integrators, and airframe manufacturers to create seamless connectivity experiences.

8. Was there a future company strategy involved in the acquisition of companies involved in data, data analysis, data transmission/acquisition or did acquisitions happen more based on dollars and/or complimentary diversification to the existing business model?

Astronics looks opportunistically at companies that are available to acquire and certainly considers long-term strategy as part of our decision to move forward.

9. In the past, Astronics has been a data communicator. Do you see a future whereby Astronics is going to be a data analyzer? In other words, historically Astronics data efforts have been directed more toward passenger data. Do you see Astronics adding more data sources and considering data analysis? Furthermore, since around 1990, aviation has seen an increasing value of, and usage of data, to-and-from the aircraft. As technologies like Artificial Intelligence and massive data analysis have provided better analytical information of things like engines and onboard computers, the use of data both to-and-from the airplane is helping things like maintenance, failure prediction and longer operational usage. Thus, data is becoming a very new and important part of aircraft operations, fault isolation and monitoring. Add this to an increase of passenger usage of data to-and-from the plane will be another part of data growth. The only question is will the airplane use one or multiple data systems and connectivity to deliver the data to the ground? While passenger data has been primarily (we guess) Astronics connectivity reason, we were wondering if this new data avenue is part of your future data goals?

Astronics understands the importance of data and analytics. Our goal is to enable our airline and airframe customers to access their data, and use this data to run their operations more efficiently. We provide the hardware, firmware, and software to make this happen. Let’s hear from Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology on this subject as well: “The choices of what networks to use on the aircraft along with the number and types of off-aircraft connectivity systems to implement are challenging issues that our customers face. Given our breadth of experience in aircraft data systems and the integration of various hardware systems to all work together, we believe that we are a great partner to our customers when navigating these choices.”

10. One or more of your recent subsidiary acquisitions have established manufacturing business relationships with China and Astronics has successfully marketed the EmPower product line to Chinese airlines over the years. As an industry leader with this much experience in the PRC, how do you see the recent trade disagreements between the USA and Chine affecting the IFEC industry as a whole?

Business climates can suddenly change. Trade disagreements can affect our industry, and we focus on ensuring our business offers a balanced global reach so that we can absorb the ebb and flow of these issues.

11. What will Astronics be showing at APEX in Boston?

At this year’s APEX Expo, Astronics will display a variety of power and connectivity solutions that improve passenger experiences and aircraft operational efficiencies. For seamless passenger and crew connectivity, Astronics will demonstrate a newly certified FliteStream inflight connectivity system hardware plus their Summit Line inflight entertainment system hardware. In power solutions, Astronics will present a breadth of new EmPower in-cabin products for use by passengers and crew, including a new wireless charging module and a new USB Type-C passenger power system. The Astronics SmartTray passenger PED holder will round out the offerings.

During the show, booth visitors who tweet a photo from the Astronics booth with the tag @AstronicsCorp and the hashtag #APEXexpo will be entered to win an iPad with an Apple store gift card to enjoy IFE content on the way home. View all of these solutions and enter to win in the Astronics booth, #343.

For additional information on Astronics power and connectivity solutions, visit Astronics.com.

Astronics also plans to demonstrate some brand new technologies, including an intelligent bin sensing solution, which provides bin capacity and other bin data to crews for increased safety, faster passenger boarding times, and improved operational efficiencies. The other new technology Astronics will feature is an exploration of Li-Fi, and ideas for harnessing it for use on aircraft. Li-Fi leverages light to send information, in contrast to Wi-Fi, which uses radio waves. Proven capable of transferring unprecedented data at several Gigabits per second, Li-Fi could eventually empower passengers to download an HD video in just a few seconds, for example.


INMARSAT & PANASONIC

Inmarsat and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) have agreed a strategic collaboration, for an initial ten-year period, that enables them to combine their highly complementary market leading services to offer broadband in-flight connectivity (“IFC”) paired with high-value solutions and services to customers in the commercial aviation industry worldwide.

This collaboration will enable airlines, aircraft manufacturers and passengers to benefit from the combined expertise of two companies that have been at the forefront of technology and innovation for nearly four decades.

Under the terms of the agreement, Inmarsat will become Panasonic’s exclusive provider of Ka-band IFC for commercial aviation. Panasonic will now be able to offer Inmarsat’s high-speed, broadband connectivity service, GX Aviation, powered by Global Xpress, the world’s first global Ka-band satellite network, owned and managed by a single operator. Panasonic will continue to invest in its own network and, with GX Aviation as a primary offering for new business, will be perfectly positioned to serve both its current and future customers.

In addition, Inmarsat will now be able to offer Panasonic’s market-leading portfolio of services and NEXT solutions to Inmarsat’s commercial aviation customers. This includes customer support services available from Panasonic’s Customer Performance Center and Technical Services teams.

The collaboration, which is already being deployed with a mutual customer, presents a unique opportunity to leverage Inmarsat’s proven track record of high-quality and innovative global mobile connectivity, and Panasonic’s market-leading in-flight entertainment, digital services and connectivity solutions.

Looking forward, Inmarsat and Panasonic will also collaborate on the development of a next generation GX Aviation terminal, as well as new connectivity-enabled services, data analytics and technology to improve overall end-to-end performance.
By delivering this step-change in aviation services capability, airlines will have access to new and better solutions that address widely recognized industry challenges of capacity, coverage and compatibility. This will give greater quality, consistency of experience and more choice to airlines and their passengers in the IFC market, which by some estimates could exceed $100 billion by 2035[1].

Below is an update on the latest news since last week’s edition of IFExpress.

ROCKWELL COLLINS
Rockwell Collins has unveiled a new aviation resource management system to help airlines manage aircraft, fuel and cabin crew expenses and enable non-stop global operations.

The aviation resource management system is a turnkey, cloud-based platform comprised of modules that cover every aspect of an airline’s operations as well as a unified database. It enables operational data to flow seamlessly, accurately and in real time between airline functions, allowing the most cost-optimized use of resources as possible.

“Our aviation resource management system eliminates the need for airlines to connect disparate applications that were never designed to work together in the first place and replaces them with an integrated solution,” said Heament Kurian, head of Value Added Applications & Solutions and Strategic Partnership, Information Management Services for Rockwell Collins. “This means that if something like a flight delay occurs, data is automatically distributed to the impacted systems, improving airline personnel’s near-term scheduling and long-term planning abilities.”

The Rockwell Collins solution features a full suite of software-based applications that use prescriptive analytics to automatically recommend the best aircraft and cabin crew usage and greatly simplify the handling of disruptions.

The aviation resource management system complements the company’s ARINC Paxlink, a passenger service system that creates more efficient operations and enhances passenger satisfaction. “These solutions can be used independently or combined to simplify and cost-effectively connect operations from the back office all the way through to passenger-related activities, helping airlines of any size better manage their resources and expenses,” said Kurian.

The Rockwell Collins aviation resource management system is a collaboration with Laminaar Aviation Infotech, which designs and produces innovative solutions for the global aviation and airline markets.


THALES

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. recently acknowledged Thales’ performance in engineering, quality, reliability and product support as one of the company’s top performing suppliers. Thales was presented with this award at a ceremony held on June 3, in Savannah, Georgia. Fewer than one percent of Gulfstream suppliers were commended with a Supplier of the Year Award.

Thales began its relationship with Gulfstream in 2007 when it was selected to supply Fly-by-Wire Flight Control Electronics (FCE) for Gulfstream’s flagship aircraft, the Gulfstream G650. Thales’ advanced FCE solutions are also on the Gulfstream G500 and G600. The FCE ensures a smooth ride, superior performance and uncompromising attention to safety whilst reducing weight and optimizing volume. It consists of field-tested quad-dual digital flight control computers and one back-up flight control unit.


INMARSAT

Deutsche Telekom, one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies, and Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, have been awarded the prestigious German Innovation Award for their highly successful joint venture, the European Aviation Network (EAN). It is the world’s first inflight broadband solution that combines dedicated satellite coverage with a complementary LTE-based ground network, was announced as the winner in the Aviation and Maritime Technologies category, during a ceremony in Berlin.The German Innovation Award was founded by the esteemed German Design Council and launched by German Parliament. Entries undergo a comprehensive evaluation that considers factors such as user benefits, economic feasibility, sustainability, technical quality and durability. Winners are therefore considered to be ‘best-of-the-best’ in their categories.Judged by a panel of high profile experts from various German industries, EAN was commended for its exceptional performance and the potential of the network to positively influence the future of air travel. The win follows EAN also recently being named ‘Best Inflight Connectivity Innovation’ by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX).

EAN is available to both commercial airlines and business aviation aircraft across all 28 EU States, in addition to Norway and Switzerland. With the solution, passengers will experience high quality broadband in the skies and the increasingly congested European aviation industry can meet the accelerating demand of new data hungry generations. David Fox, Deutsche Telekom’s Vice President Inflight Services and Connectivity, said: “It is truly an honour for our network to be designated an ‘innovation made in Germany’, and being so named by the German Design Council is proof of the extraordinary value of EAN.”


SITA

SITA announced that it has been chosen by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) as the technology partner for biometric exit at Orlando International Airport. Orlando International is the first U.S. airport to fully deploy the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) Biometric Entry and Exit Program. Over the coming months, SITA will integrate Smart Path, its sophisticated biometric technology, at the airport’s 30 international boarding gates.

Earlier this year, SITA worked with GOAA, British Airways and CBP to incorporate the U.S. biometric departure check for British Airways’ customers. The trial’s success has prompted airport-wide implementation of the technology. The system makes passenger boarding quicker and easier, while it also incorporates the new secure biometric exit checks. British Airways is boarding flights of almost 240 customers in around 15 minutes. With Smart Path, passengers just need to look at the camera, without having to present boarding passes or passports.

John Newsome, Chief Information Officer, GOAA, said: “Our decision to implement biometric exit checks across the whole airport follows a hugely successful live trial. The innovative boarding process we tested is really popular with passengers. They simply look at the camera and within seconds the gate opens and they can board the flight. It is easy, fast and most importantly, secure. The solution works on common-use boarding gates and can be easily used by the many international airlines that we serve at MCO.”

Diana Einterz, SITA President, Americas, said: “GOAA’s implementation of SITA Smart Path for the U.S. CBP biometric exit checks will deliver a simpler travel process for the airport’s six million annual international passengers. SITA is a world-leader in biometrics and we are committed to delivering secure seamless journeys for airline passengers globally. It is great to be GOAA’s technology partner as it becomes the first airport to fully implement biometrics for international flights from the U.S.”

Passengers can expect to enjoy 100% biometric boarding for international flights at Orlando International Airport by October. Over the next four months, SITA will integrate Smart Path at 64 boarding lanes, at 30 boarding gates across the airport. As part of the agreement, SITA will provide the technology solution, professional services, hardware and maintenance. This will be backed by SITA’s global service management, which supports the operational needs of the world’s top airports and airlines through 24/7 worldwide availability and proactive monitoring.


AIRBUS

AIRBUS finalized deal to acquire majority stake in C SERIES AIRCRAFT LIMITED PARTNERSHIP on July 1 (ahead of schedule) from Bombardier and Investissement Québec; head office, primary assembly line and related functions will remain in Québec and a second line is to open Mobile, AL

  • Airbus to acquire majority stake in the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership, effective July 1, 2018
  • All regulatory approvals required for the closing of the transaction have been obtained
  • Partnership head office, leadership team and primary final assembly line located in Mirabel, Québec (representing some 2,200 employees and subcontractors), with the support of the C Series global supply chain
  • Partnership brings together two complementary product lines, with 100-150 seat market segment projected to represent 6,000 new aircraft over the next 20 years
  • Addition of Airbus’ global reach to create significant value for C Series’ customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders and communities
  • Significant C Series production efficiencies anticipated by leveraging Airbus’ production ramp-up expertise
  • Growing market for C Series to support second Final Assembly Line in Alabama, serving U.S. customers

Having received all required regulatory approvals, Airbus SE (EPA: AIR), Bombardier Inc. (TSX: BBD.B) and Investissement Québec (IQ) have agreed to close the C Series transaction effective on July 1, 2018. The transaction by which Airbus will acquire a majority stake in the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP) was initially announced in October 2017. The Mirabel-based partnership, which was originally established between Bombardier and IQ, will benefit from Airbus’ global reach, scale, procurement organization and expertise in selling, marketing and producing the C Series – a state-of-the-art jet aircraft family in the 100-150 seat market. Airbus will work with its partners Bombardier and IQ to fully unlock the C Series’ potential and create significant new value for customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders and the communities in which the partnership operates. The partnership’s head office, primary assembly line and related functions will be based in Mirabel, Québec.

As previously announced, Bombardier will continue with its current funding plan of CSALP. Due to the early closing of the partnership, the terms of this plan are updated according to the following schedule: Bombardier will fund the cash shortfalls of CSALP, if required, during the second half of 2018, up to a maximum of US$225 million; during 2019, up to a maximum of US$350 million; and up to a maximum aggregate amount of US$350 million over the following two years, in consideration for non-voting participating shares of CSALP with cumulative annual dividends of 2%. Any excess shortfall during such periods will be shared proportionately amongst CSALP’s Class A shareholders. Airbus will consolidate CSALP effective from July 1, 2018 onwards. Further financial information on the transaction will be provided later this year.

The C Series program continues to ramp up. Having delivered 17 aircraft in 2017, it is gearing up to double its deliveries in 2018. With the C Series’ demonstrated in-service performance and the finalization of this partnership, the parties expect increased demand to support a second C Series Final Assembly Line in Mobile, Alabama, dedicated to supplying U.S.-based customers. The C Series is positioned to capture a large percentage of the estimated 6,000 aircraft needed in this market segment over the next 20 years.

Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders said: “This partnership extends our commitment to Québec and to all of Canadian aerospace, and we are very glad to welcome so many C Series teammates into the extended Team Airbus. The strength of the entire Airbus organization will be behind the C Series. Not only will that enable this outstanding aircraft to fulfill its market potential, but we are convinced the addition of the C Series to our overall aircraft product offering brings significant value to Airbus, our customers and shareholders.”


OTHER NEWS

  • One of the best information articles – Ever – 19 Incredibly Useful Websites You’ll Wish You Knew Earlier
  • “We know a lot of you love your BOSE headphones because we have seen you use them on flights. But did you know you can use a plug in device on them to turn them into Bluetooth wireless listening devices? Just type in “AirMod” into Amazon and get the converter…and thank BOSE for using a plug-in wire for the source connection…”
  • We had never seen a good summary of the new action roles of management consultants till we read this article – Information, Expertise, Insight, and Execution: Killing Strategy: The Disruption Of Management Consulting
  • Skift’s Sean O’Neil just published what we consider as one of the best future looks at traveling with some 20 startups to watch in 20i8. Dont miss this article for the future hotshots of travel. As they note “No scooter startups or flying taxis. No blockchain-based dreams. And nothing from Silicon Valley — which hogs the spotlight enough as it is.” Skift’s Top Travel Startups to Watch 2018 – Skift
  • Here are 32 reasons (out of 10,000) why we love Japan: 32 Times the Japanese Were Light Years Ahead of the Game
  • Watch your phone videos privately on the plane with $20 googles! Check it out here

Airline offering ‘super wifi’ on Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 fleet, marking an industry first for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region

United Kingdom | April 30, 2018– Inmarsat (LON: ISAT), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced today that its new GX Aviation inflight broadband service is currently being rolled out on Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 aircraft.

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

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

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

His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, said: “In another first for the MENA region, Qatar Airways passengers can now enjoy high-speed broadband connectivity, providing rich content without restriction, whether using the internet for work or relaxation during their journey. Business travellers in particular will be able to maximise their ‘office in the sky’ with seamless continuity.”

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

The rollout of GX Aviation follows a separate announcement that Qatar Airways has activated an advanced new space-based system, supplied by Inmarsat, to track all of its flights across the world. Inmarsat worked exclusively with Qatar Airways to develop this cutting-edge solution, which utilises Inmarsat’s market-leading satellite technology to provide the exact real-time location of the airline’s aircraft in latitude and longitude.

SITA recognized for providing IT and communication solutions to the air transport industry at 2018 Air Transport Industry Awards

Dubai | March 26, 2018–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.”

Nearly every passenger flight in the world relies on SITA technology. SITA works with the industry to provide technology solutions that make a difference. It innovates collaboratively, while developing and managing solutions over the world’s most extensive network, one that forms the communication backbone of the global air transport 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.

Before we start your IFExpress Hot Topic, we wanted to remind readers (especially advertisers) that AIX is coming soon and If you have show info you want to pass along, we are at your service! Now, lets get IFExpress started with some satcom deeds from Panasonic (see the above image):

Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) and APT Mobile Satcom Limited (APSATCOM) announced a major evolution in connectivity for mobility markets – Extreme Throughput Satellite (XTS) service. APSATCOM is an affiliate of APT Satellite Company Limited (APT), the operator of the APSTAR satellite constellation.  With this new satellite, the companies are building on a long-standing and successful capacity relationship.

The new satellite, APSTAR-6D, gives Panasonic the capacity to meet the needs of its customers and to position itself for sustained growth in the region. In addition, Panasonic will continue to optimize its global network and add more state-of-the-art satellite capacity in high-density regions to ensure industry-leading performance everywhere its customers fly.

APSTAR-6D was jointly designed by APSATCOM and Panasonic to best serve Panasonic’s connectivity customers. It is tailored to put capacity where it is most needed, rather than spread evenly over the Earth. APT has provided technical support in design and project management, and will provide satellite operation after launch. This XTS satellite will provide Panasonic customers with multiple gigahertz of new Ku-band capacity over China and high-density routes around East Asia including Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia using narrow XTS spot beams.

In addition, APSTAR-6D provides HTS coverage over the full field of view of the satellite including the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Australia and the Southern Oceans down to Antarctica.  This includes areas not served by any other HTS satellite.  Tailoring the capacity to areas of demand will provide Panasonic customers with better service, unprecedented coverage and the ability to dramatically increase throughput. One of the markets to benefit the most from XTS service is air transport.  Today, 21 Asian carriers, representing over 800 aircraft, have already selected Panasonic for connectivity service, including many of the region’s leading airlines, such as Air China, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines,China Eastern, China Southern, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Xiamen Airlines.  In addition, other leading airlines around the world that are Panasonic connectivity customers will use this advanced satellite capacity as their aircraft fly routes to and over Asia.

Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, noted: “Today is a milestone moment as Panasonic leads the industry with plans for the next evolution in inflight connectivity. Targeted, flexible use of extreme high throughput capacity ensures that Panasonic can meet the needs of our airline customers for cost-effective and reliable high bandwidth services well into the future.”

This XTS satellite will be integrated into Panasonic’s recently launched third generation communications network, which is built to meet the growing connectivity demands of airlines and their passengers.  This flexible network is designed to place capacity where it’s most needed across the globe to meet demand.   Panasonic’s third generation communications network supports the provision of services such as fast internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, improved TV picture quality and broader channel choice, 4G phone services, and greater bandwidth for crew applications.  The network is backed by Panasonic’s new Customer Performance Center, which drives improved network performance, greater reliability, and faster response and resolution times, along with business intelligence tools and reports that provide customers with the data and analytics to deliver and monitor targeted pricing and advertising campaigns.

Today, approximately 2,000 aircraft flying routes all around the world use Panasonic’s global high-speed inflight connectivity service. The company expects more than 10,000 aircraft to be connected to its world-class global high-speed communications network by 2025.


AIX – Passenger Technology Solutions

Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS), the brand new event focused on how technology can help create a seamless passenger journey, has today revealed the major companies and cutting-edge start-ups that will speak at the inaugural show.

The event, which takes place in Hamburg from 10 – 12 April, will explore how technology can be ‘in the DNA’ of the passenger journey, featuring speakers including Jorge De Luis Sierra, Cabin Interior Design Manager, Airbus, as well as representatives from Norwegian and US rail operator Amtrak.

PTS will also feature some of the most exciting disruptors and pioneers in the industry, with contributions from social listening experts Black Swan Data, design consultancy Reaktor and brand experience management agency branding.aero.

In addition to exploring travel’s most topical technologies, PTS will also showcase best practice: for example, the newly reopened Changi Airport, where the entire passenger journey is designed to be seamless and automated.

The event is co-located with existing events Passenger Experience Conference, Aircraft Interiors Expo and World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo, and is designed to offer a holistic view of the passenger experience, with speakers tackling trends such as big data, biometrics and artificial intelligence. Archana Sharma, Exhibition Director, Passenger Technology Solutions, said:

“Our program brings together established companies and brand new players to explore the most exciting and significant trends shaping travel today.It is designed to take attendees on a journey into the future, inspiring and educating them on how technology can create a truly seamless passenger experience. “We look forward to welcoming our speakers to Hamburg and to working with them in the meantime to ensure that the first show is a huge success.”

Gillian Jenner, Editorial Director, Passenger Technology Solutions, said: “My experience putting together speaker programs in this space goes back many years, but curating the line-up for PTS has been especially interesting. It has been an opportunity to ‘zoom out’ from specific technologies and trends to consider what these innovations can achieve when combined. “It is this focus on the bigger picture that I believe makes PTS a must-attend for anyone involved with passenger experience – whether in aviation, rail or one of the many other services that shape the journey.” For more information about the educational program at Passenger Technology Solutions, visit: www.passengertechnologysolutions.com/programme.

 


SITAONAIR

SITAONAIR is delivering a next-generation connected aircraft ‘smart core’ that will significantly enhance airline data communications and operations. The company has partnered with Astronics Ballard Technology to provide an integrated product solution using their new webCS® Wireless Aircraft Communications Server along with SITAONAIR’s e-enabled application software. This closely-integrated software and hardware solution greatly reduces deployment complexity and will bring even greater value to SITAONAIR’s airline customers – delivering enhanced capabilities and operational efficiencies – empowering airlines to realize the promises of the connected aircraft. The ‘smart core’ brings together the vast connected aircraft data collected by SITAONAIR’s e-Aircraft® DataCapture solutions for cockpit, cabin, and aircraft operations. It then distributes this SITAONAIR-processed data onboard using Astronics Ballard Technology’s flexible webCS, a smart AID/server/router that securely bridges avionics data with wired and wireless networks in a single compact box. Today’s offering of an integrated product will further enhance airline customers’ data management approach. The combination of SITAONAIR’s established portfolio of passenger, crew and flight operations solutions with Astronics Ballard Technology’s innovative hardware and strong technical expertise in the area of aircraft avionics interfacing, will form a central pillar of airlines’ connectivity and e-enablement strategies, delivered to airlines as a managed service.

Next, An industry-leading weather-alerting feature, empowering flight dispatchers to avoid or anticipate weather disruption throughout flights, has been launched as a new feature of SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM® FlightTracker, in partnership with DTN.

Airline dispatchers using AIRCOM® FlightTracker will now be equipped to help aircraft avoid inclement weather – including aircraft-specific turbulence, icing, and thunderstorm forecasts – supporting the smoothest and safest possible flight experience for those onboard, and maximizing fuel efficiency. Already adopted by airlines operating more than 250,000 flights every month, SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM® FlightTracker is a ground-based software system delivering vital global real-time aircraft position alerting to airline operations teams. The application aggregates the best available inflight position data from a wealth of sources – including cutting-edge spaced-based ADS-B provided by FlightAware and Aireon using the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation – on a single aircraft position display. What’s more, no modifications to the aircraft are required to activate it. Interest in FlightTracker, and its enhanced, 100% global minute-by-minute update capabilities, is accelerating as the industry counts down to the ICAO GADSS 15-minute flight-tracking recommendation, coming into force in November 2018. The incorporation of DTN’s Flight Route Alerting data represents an important addition to the solution, making it indispensable to flight operators in their flight planning and flight following.


SITA

ITAPassengers flying with British Airways from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to London Gatwick are enjoying a secure and seamless departure with new biometric boarding at the gate. A quick photo is all that is needed to board the international flight – no passport, no boarding card – thanks to innovative technology. SITA, the global air transport IT provider, integrated automated boarding gates with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and airline’s IT systems to allow the necessary checks and authorize boarding.

This is a joint initiative by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA), British Airways and CBP to incorporate the US biometric departure (exit) check for passengers as smoothly as possible. SITA, using its extensive airline and airport expertise, has ensured fast and easy implementation for the airport and airline. By merging the usual boarding procedures with the CBP biometric exit check, SITA is delivering a smooth experience for passengers.  A quick photograph taken at the gate is used to confirm passengers’ identities and authorization to travel.


Rockwell Collins

Norwegian Air will feature Arthur Collins, the founder of Rockwell Collins, as a “tailfin hero” on the airline’s Boeing 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner aircraft throughout 2018. Collins joins over 80 other tailfin heroes depicted on Norwegian aircraft since the airline began operations in 2002.

“Norwegian is a technology-progressive airline that’s pushed aviation forward by challenging industry norms,” said David Nieuwsma, senior vice president, Information Management Services for Rockwell Collins. “It has embodied a spirit of adventure and accomplishment, which is quite fitting with Arthur Collins’ legacy.”

“Our tailfin hero program was created to honor individuals who have pushed boundaries, made a difference and inspired others,” said Thomas Ramdahl, chief commercial officer at Norwegian. “Through our partnership with Rockwell Collins, we learned of Arthur Collins’ story, whose innovative spirit reflects those characteristics, making him a perfect tailfin hero and part of the Norwegian family.”

Collins, born September 9, 1909, was an electronics enthusiast from a young age. At the age of 15, he was an avid ham radio operator making contact with other ham operators around the world. He founded Collins Radio Company in the basement of his home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which was formally incorporated in 1933. The company, renamed Rockwell Collins in 1973, initially designed and produced shortwave radio equipment, but has grown to become a leader in cockpit, cabin, communication and connectivity solutions provided by nearly 30,000 employees worldwide. His full story can be found here. 


Thales

GSA and Thales launch the EDG²E project to further optimize aviation navigation with Galileo. The European Union’s Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA) has officially launched the EDG²E project (Equipment for Dual frequency Galileo GPS and EGNOS) with a consortium led by Thales. This four-year project intends to develop a dual-frequency multi-constellation receiver, enabling enhanced navigation capabilities, support standardization and certification preparation.  The consortium includes Thales, Thales Alenia Space and ATR, as well as contributions from Dassault Aviation and the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC).


Other News

  • Inmarsat snagged European Space Agency (ESA) contract to develop satellite communications services that will deliver 4D trajectory air traffic management from 2020.
  • We will have to see this on an airplane sometime in the future – One of the main areas in which a lot of 5G development is progressing is on mmWave techniques. However another area that needs to be considered is light communications. A company named pureLiFi has developed a very effective in home or in-office link using light communications. With bandwidth of many systems being a limiting factor, this could prove to be a airplane winner. Technology – pureLiFi
  • Today, Boeing employees gathered around the 10,000 B737 MAX 8 for Southwest Airlines, which has broken the Guinness World Record title for the most produced commercial jet aircraft model.
  • And lastly, remember, success is what you do internally, not externally! The Reason You’re Not Successful Is Because You Don’t Want To Admit This 1 Thing | Inc.com

 

France | March 12, 2018–SITAONAIR is delivering a next-generation connected aircraft ‘smart core’ that will significantly enhance airline data communications and operations. The company has partnered withAstronics Ballard Technology to provide an integrated product solution using their new webCS® Wireless Aircraft Communications Server along with SITAONAIR’s e-enabled application software.

This closely-integrated software and hardware solution greatly reduces deployment complexity and will bring even greater value to SITAONAIR’s airline customers – delivering enhanced capabilities and operational efficiencies – empowering airlines to realize the promises of the connected aircraft.

The ‘smart core’ brings together the vast connected aircraft data collected by SITAONAIR’s e-Aircraft® DataCapture solutions for cockpit, cabin, and aircraft operations. It then distributes this SITAONAIR-processed data onboard using Astronics Ballard Technology’s flexible webCS, a smart AID/server/router that securely bridges avionics data with wired and wireless networks in a single compact box.

SITAONAIR already plays a central airline e-enablement and data management role, in an age where the volume of data generated by aircraft has sky-rocketed from five parameters in 1958, to more than 200,000 today. As testament to its expertize, SITAONAIR last year launched its pioneering e-Aircraft® DataCapture solution – a result of the company’s collaboration with Air France to deliver ‘virtual black box’ flight recording solutions for automatic data collection.

Today’s offering of an integrated product will further enhance airline customers’ data management approach. The combination of SITAONAIR’s established portfolio of passenger, crew and flight operations solutions with Astronics Ballard Technology’s innovative hardware and strong technical expertise in the area of aircraft avionics interfacing, will form a central pillar of airlines’ connectivity and e-enablement strategies, delivered to airlines as a managed service.

Dominique El Bez, SITAONAIR Vice President, Product and Strategy, says: “Our new partnership marks an evolution in SITAONAIR’s e-enablement strategy and is a true hallmark of the connected aircraft age. The arrival of our smart core for an intuitive, integrated connected aircraft reinforces SITAONAIR’s pioneering open platforms vision, by encompassing complete, flexible and scalable aircraft data management solutions both onboard and on the ground.”

Jon Neal of Astronics Ballard Technology says: “We are extremely pleased to be selected by SITAONAIR to provide the secure platform on which to build this total e-enablement solution. We share their desire to allow airline customers to access their data to enable and empower better decision-making that will streamline and transform their operations.”

To explore the SITAONAIR connected aircraft portfolio, including its e-Aircraft DataCapture®, AppsConnect® and ACARS over IP services, visit www.sitaonair.aero, speak to your local SITAONAIR contact or submit an enquiry form.

France | March 8, 2018–The European Union’s Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA) has officially launched the EDG2E project (Equipment for Dual frequency Galileo GPS and EGNOS) with a consortium led by Thales. This four-year project intends to develop a dual-frequency multi- constellation receiver, enabling enhanced navigation capabilities, support standardisation and certification preparation. The consortium includes Thales, Thales Alenia Space and ATR, as well as contributions from Dassault Aviation and the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC).

The GNSS receiver is the cornerstone of aircraft navigation systems. The system processes signals from satellite constellations and the Space Based Augmentation System (SBAS) to accurately determine aircraft position, altitude and velocity. The prototype receiver developed under the auspices of the EDG2E project will use signals from US GPS and European Galileo positioning systems, as well as from SBAS multi-constellation EGNOS. The project aims to achieve a prototype demonstration by 2021. The prototype receiver performance will be evaluated during a flight test campaign performed by ATR using one of the company’s test aircraft.

Initiated by the European Commission’s Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA), the EDG2E project will support the launch of the Galileo satellite constellation.

Philippe Benquet VP R&T for Flight Avionics, Thales declared: “Leading the EDG2E project puts Thales at the forefront of the next generation receivers which will equip future aircraft by 2025, making navigation more precise and thus safer, unleashing the potential for increased air traffic”.

EGNOS has been certified for use in aviation since February 2011, and is a very effective system to complement the US GPS, in order to provide better levels of performance, consequently enhancing aircraft approach capabilities. The next generation of EGNOS, called EGNOS V3, will further enhance performance by complementing both the EU Galileo and the US GPS satellite navigation constellations.

“EGNOS v3 will provide aviation users with an increased quality of services, better accuracy and extended coverage area among other key performance indicators” said Jean-Marc Pieplu (GSA Head of EGNOS Services Programme). Fundamental Element Programme is a medium that supports development of terminals and antennae fostering use of E-GNSS in all domains. In this perspective, EDG2E is an important step for GSA as it will contribute to availability of high technology products on the aviation market, taking benefit of Dual Frequency Multi Constellation feature offered by EGNOS v3”.

At the end of the EDG2E project, a new standard for GPS Galileo and SBAS aviation receivers will be completed, and the first SBAS dual-frequency GPS Galileo receivers for aviation will be ready for final development and provide safer operations not only for the aviation sector but also for other safety-critical applications.

 

SITA infrastructure supports more than 11-million customer interactions every year

Frankfurt, Germany | January 15, 2018– Lufthansa InTouch, responsible for managing customer service across the Lufthansa Group, has again selected SITA to manage its service center communication network and key infrastructure elements, ensuring that more than 11-million customers are connected to service agents every year.

SITA, a long-standing partner to Lufthansa InTouch, will continue to manage and maintain its service center communication network and key infrastructure to meet the airline group’s constantly evolving needs. SITA supports more than 500 local numbers in more than 90 markets, efficiently delivering traffic via a global IP network across seven service centers managed by a team of 2,230 staff speaking more than 30 languages.

The service provided by SITA has transformed how customer calls to Lufthansa Group airlines are handled. A close integration between SITA’s global voice network and Lufthansa InTouch’s Genesys contact center platform, ensures a caller – regardless of their location – is automatically and directly routed to a consultant best equipped to meet their specific requirements. These calls are allocated according to the routing policies defined by Lufthansa InTouch on their Genesys platform.

Through this optimization, Lufthansa InTouch has benefited from savings in transmission costs of up to 20% as well as significantly improved call quality, notably by eliminating forwarding of calls between sites.

SITA’s Unified Communications portfolio has allowed Lufthansa InTouch to consolidate voice, data and audio into one platform while effectively connecting the airline to its far-flung destinations.

Erik Mosch, CEO of Lufthansa InTouch, said: “Our customer service consultants at Lufthansa InTouch are the main point of contact for all our passengers across Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian airlines. They represent the airline and are there to assist passengers 24 hours a day – whether by phone, email, chat or social media. Supporting this fast-moving organization requires a partner we can rely on. SITA is such a partner, ensuring that our customers are quickly connected to an agent that can assist them in their own language in every market we fly to.”

Sergio Colella, SITA President for Europe, said: “We have leveraged our global experience and footprint to provide a service that is able to meet the evolving needs of Lufthansa InTouch. We understand that technologies change, new destinations are added and passengers shift the way they communicate. Our strength is to meet those changes with the most efficient communication infrastructure that supports an effective interaction with each of their customers.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 5, 2017–Further enhancing aviation safety and efficiency in Brazil’s airspace, air navigation service provider, the Department of Airspace Control (DECEA), is working with SITAONAIR to expand ATS datalink services for main airports in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

Following previous successful datalink installations, DECEA is expanding ATS datalink services for departure clearance (DCL) and digital ATIS (d-ATIS) for control towers at both Santos Dumont and Campinas airports.

The announcement marks an important step in the country’s role as the regional datalink pioneer, and will play a central role in the wider transformation and modernization program currently taking place across Brazilian airspace and airport infrastructure.

The latest upgrade program follows SITAONAIR’s successful introduction of datalink technology across 23 Brazilian airports in preparation for the World Cup and the Rio Olympics. Since then, Brazilian airlines such as TAM, GOL and Azul are leading the way, representing nearly 91% of total generated traffic. In total, more than 3.5 million d-ATIS and DCL messages are transmitted every year.

Brig. Luis Ricardo Nascimento, Head of Operations at DECEA says: “Following the major success of our existing airport datalink services, we are pleased to be working with SITAONAIR again to further expand services to important regional and international aviation hubs at Santos Dumont and Campinas airports.

“Our relationship with SITA, and now SITAONAIR, stretches back to the deployment of an ACARS VHF system in 1985, and we are very happy to continue making use of SITAONAIR’s vast aviation experience today.

“The latest expansion of ATS datalink services with SITAONAIR underlines both the strength of our relationship and our commitment to make flying in Brazil even safer, more reliable and more efficient.”

François Bardin, Director Air Traffic Solutions at SITAONAIR, added: “SITAONAIR is delighted to work with DECEA as it continues its transformation program, and we hope that this will encourage other ANSPs in the region to adopt a similar strategy.

“As well as the benefits to DECEA itself, the latest announcement marks another important step in the region’s connected aircraft revolution, allowing airlines and passengers in Brazil an even greater level of safety and efficiency.

“By improving the accuracy of their communications and allowing information to be transmitted at any stage of the flight, workloads for both air traffic controllers and pilots will be reduced – ultimately delivering an improved service for the ever-increasing volume of passengers in the region.”

To find out about SITAONAIR’s connected aircraft portfolio, visit www.sitaonair.aero, speak to your local SITAONAIR contact or submit an enquiry form online.

France | November 1, 2017–An evolving multi-link ACARS landscape, embracing cutting-edge cockpit connectivity and solid VHF foundations, will remain the backbone of the aviation industry for the foreseeable future. So saysSITAONAIR, global leader in aviation operational and ATC communications, in its latest white paper, ACARS: Timeless tech for the connected aircraft age.

With a staggering 7.2 billion passengers expected to take to the skies in 2035, according to IATA projections, SITAONAIR’s latest report argues that driving the evolution and diversification of its ACARS technologies is key to empowering the industry to negotiate an increasingly crowded airspace.

SITAONAIR recently announced major partnerships with Inmarsat and Teledyne Controls that illustrate the adaptability of ACARS capabilities for emerging technologies, reflecting and supporting the diverse global aviation community in the connected aircraft age.

SITAONAIR has added Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) to its portfolio; an ACARS-reliant next-generation flight deck communications platform giving airlines a dedicated IP connectivity service supporting enhanced safety and operational efficiency.

Working with Teledyne Controls, SITAONAIR is delivering the aviation industry’s first-ever airline-integrated ACARS datalink terrestrial cellular 3G/4G service. Employing Teledyne Controls’ GroundLink® Comm+ system, SITAONAIR is able to integrate terrestrial cellular services into its core datalink network, giving airlines the flexibility and benefit of another transmission channel for aircraft communications.

Meanwhile, VHF, VDL and legacy networks continue to be adopted, advanced, and work alongside these alternate technologies, around the world. Among these significant programs, detailed in the white paper, SITAONAIR has upgraded Europe’s primary ATC-airline communications network, delivering Europe’s first Multi-Frequency (MF) Very High Frequency Digital Link mode 2 (VDLm2) infrastructure. In March 2017 the Czech Republic’s Air Navigation Service Provider, ANS CR, appointed SITAONAIR to deliver a “communication gateway” to Prague Airport and others – through its ACARS network.

The company’s VHF/VDL network has also established an important new aircraft communications infrastructure in developing parts of the world, with more than 50 sites established in Brazil prior to the Rio Olympic Games.

Evolving ACARS landscape

Paul Gibson, Portfolio Director, AIRCOM at SITAONAIR, explains: “SITAONAIR’s ACARS network continues to evolve from its VHF origins, embracing satellite services, VHF and higher-speed VHF Digital Link (VDL), to deal with the steady rise in air traffic.

“Our recent announcement with Inmarsat on our adoption of SwiftBroadband-Safety to our wide-ranging connected aircraft portfolio will prove critical. We’re excited about the potential SB-S will bring to enable us to further innovate new, and enhance our existing, services and solutions, around a dedicated, secure IP connection to the cockpit.

“SITAONAIR is taking strides to ensure the ACARS network is evolving in tandem with the digital age, to enable message transmission using alternate technologies. Traditional ACARS and ACARS over IP will have a mutually important role to play in the ground-to-air connectivity landscape. Whether supporting the transmission of millions of ACARS messages exchanged every day, advancing Brazil’s complete VHF and VDL datalink network ahead of the Rio Olympics, or launching a next-generation flight deck IP communications platform, SITAONAIR is and will remain central to our industry’s ACARS story.”

ACARS remains heavily integrated into the ground systems of most airlines. Huge volumes of vital aircraft data come to and from aircraft via ACARS messaging, with 220 airlines now relying on SITAONAIR’s multi-link ACARS technology. The white paper highlights why ACARS, in its diversity, remains the most reliable, efficient and cost-effective ground-to-air messaging system, with SITAONAIR as its core service provider.

To find out more, download the full white paper, ACARS: Timeless tech for the connected aircraft age.

To explore the SITAONAIR connected aircraft portfolio, visit www.sitaonair.aero, speak to your local SITAONAIR contact orsubmit an enquiry form online.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for installation of Honeywell JetWave™ system will provide access to next generation Wi-Fi service on popular business jet

October 12, 2017–Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced today that its Jet ConneX business aviation inflight Wi-Fi service has received a Supplement Type Certificate (STC) for the popular Gulfstream G550 aircraft.

The certificate, awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), approves Gulfstream G550 business jets to be equipped with the exclusive JetWave™ antenna and terminal, produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell. The system enables seamless access to Jet ConneX high-speed Wi-Fi across major flight routes and islands off the beaten path, allowing passengers to browse the web, stream live television, video conference and more.

Following more than a year of investment in development and testing, initial installations on G550 aircraft are now underway. Gulfstream, in cooperation with Inmarsat and Honeywell, is currently conducting in-service evaluation and final terminal Type Approval activities. 

Kurt Weidemeyer, Vice President of Business Aviation at Inmarsat, said: “The Gulfstream G550 community has been eagerly awaiting this Jet ConneX installation approvaland has told us about their desire to have a powerful global high-speed Wi-Fi solution for their principals. Many are heavy users of Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband solution and are happy with the service reliability but are now looking to upgrade to a next-generation network that is fast enough to handle the demands of today’s applications.”

Honeywell is the exclusive provider of JetWave™ hardware and played an integral role in supporting the Gulfstream G550 STC.

Warren Nechtman, Vice President of Connected Aircraft Systems at Honeywell, commented: “Honeywell worked closely with Gulfstream to successfully integrate the JetWave™ hardware into the existing G550 architecture. However the real credit goes to the Gulfstream team who worked expeditiously to bring Jet ConneX to their customers. They did it in record time.”

Jet ConneX is the only global, high-speed Wi-Fi option available for business jets today. It offers the same fast and reliable on-board connectivity experience comparable to the mobile broadband services they may receive on the ground. Using Inmarsat’s advanced Ka-band satellite network, Jet ConneX offers data plans up to 15Mbps and consistent global coverage, providing a differentiator to do business whenever and wherever.

SITA’s local presence, combined with reliable global service, provides the airline with flexibility

Montreal, Canada | October 4, 2017–Air Transat, Canada’s number one holiday travel airline, has turned to SITA to support its route development in airports across the Caribbean, South and Central America. A fast time to market is key to the airline’s success and SITA delivers communications network services at new destinations quickly.

Air Transat faces challenges to uniformly connect and equip its staff across all destinations. Regardless of where it flies, it must have reliable network connectivity to access its applications. Over the next three years, SITA will provide Air Transat with network connectivity in Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico and Panama.

Many smaller and low-cost airports do not have common-use equipment and hardware has to be provided by the airline. However, it is not easy to transport computers in and out of countries quickly or have support staff available immediately to service the equipment; it’s also costly to store equipment in the off-season when not needed. SITA will provide end-user computing services to manage this challenge, allowing Air Transat to add new seasonal destinations quickly and smoothly.

Martin Lachance, Director, IT Solutions, Air Transat, said: “SITA has delivered a solution tailored exactly to our business needs. This is a combination of SITA’s network connectivity with global presence and local support, simplified billing, and fast streamlined implementation across our ever-changing seasonal network. SITA’s uniform global service—driven by a comprehensive service level agreement with standardized equipment and processes—controls costs and simplifies billing, giving us the flexibility we demand in our business.”

SITA has solved both problems of equipping staff and providing connectivity wherever Air Transat flies. Its global presence at airports and relationships with local governments enabled SITA to provide a turnkey solution. This included everything from customs clearance of laptops; deployment of the equipment once on-site; remotely supporting the equipment; maintenance and repair; spares provision; decommissioning; storage in the off-season if needed; and Internet/network connectivity. SITA’s global team of engineers have specific air transport industry and end-user computing experience and knowledge that allows them to efficiently support the Air Transat team in every location.

Randy Pizzi, SITA President, Americas, said: “SITA is excited to partner with Air Transat to deliver services that support the flexibility this dynamic business requires. The combination of our end-user computing services and reliable network availability allows Air Transat to save time and control costs while ensuring high levels of service and site management.”

Air Transat is a Canadian leisure airline based in Montreal, Quebec, operating scheduled and charter flights that serve about 60 destinations in 26 countries. In 2016, Air Transat was named Best North American Leisure Airline for the fifth consecutive year by Skytrax. In 2017, the airline is celebrating its 30th anniversary in business and its 30th year as a SITA member.

Inmarsat’s GX Aviation selected to arrive in Latin America in association with Avianca, strengthening the airline’s leadership in digitalization of in-flight services

Bogota and London | June 22, 2017– Avianca and Inmarsat today announced the signing of an agreement that will allow travelers to enjoy the most advanced broadband technology onboard its aircraft.

With this project, Avianca becomes the first airline in Latin America to make its aircraft available for the provision of GX Aviation, the new and advanced solution developed by Inmarsat to offer Wi-Fi to passengers and cabin crew during flights.

GX Aviation is the first in-flight broadband solution from one operator with reliable and high-speed global coverage from a single operator, allowing Avianca’s passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights. A new in-flight connectivity experience that’s in a class of its own.

GX Aviation will initially be available to all Avianca passengers on approximately 125 Airbus A320, A330 and Boeing 787 aircraft, with the potential for additional aircraft to be provisioned at a later date. Avianca’s GX-equipped aircraft are currently expected to be rolled out starting at the end of the year.

Hernan Rincon, Chief Executive Officer of Avianca, said: “Today, technology is one of Avianca’s fundamental pillars. Therefore, and to allow our travelers to be always connected, we have signed an agreement that will enable us to continue advancing in our digital transformation with the support of Inmarsat.”

Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “GX Aviation is now live as the most advanced in-flight connectivity solution in the world. It has been specifically designed from the ground up as a seamless and robust service for airlines and their passengers, overcoming the shortcomings of traditional in-flight internet providers. The rapid uptake from airlines is evidence of the market’s confidence, with launch customers signed in key regions such as Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Australasia and now, Latin America.”

He added: “Avianca understands that its passengers and cabin crew today expect a consistent, reliable and fast in-flight broadband service wherever they fly. GX Aviation is also scalable with the high growth expected in Latin America over the next decade.”

Industry’s Leading Inflight Connectivity Technology Now Installed on Numerous Aircraft Types Flying All Over the World

Chicago, IL | June 6, 2017–
Gogo (NASDAQ:GOGO), the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, has reached a milestone of 200 installations of 2Ku, the industry’s leading inflight connectivity technology.

The company now has installed the technology on many major fleet types including Airbus’ A319, A321, A330 and A340 aircraft; and Boeing’s 737-800 and 747-400 aircraft. For the first time, passengers flying in all regions of the world are now experiencing high-speed inflight internet.

“We are still on pace to hit our goal of between 550 and 650 2Ku equipped aircraft by the end of this year,” says John Wade, EVP and Chief Operating Officer. “I’m also extremely excited to say that we have managed to get our install times down to less than 2 days, by far the best in the industry. Less downtime for the aircraft is hugely important for our airline partners.”

Gogo’s 2Ku technology is a proprietary dual antenna system developed to bring global streaming-class internet to aircraft. 2Ku is now flying and outperforming all other global connectivity solutions and delivers speeds of 15 Mbps to each passenger device, covering 98 percent of all flight hours around the world with 98 percent system availability.

With an open architecture that leverages current and future Ku satellites, 2Ku offers unrivaled adaptability to keep airlines connected now and in the future. Performance of the technology will be boosted by a new modem currently being installed on aircraft. The proprietary features of the new modem significantly increase throughput and reliability to and from the aircraft, allowing significantly more than the current 15 Mbps to each passenger device.

Gogo currently has 14 airlines representing more than 1600 aircraft awards for the 2Ku technology.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”

We first heard about meshed aviation networks a few years ago but not much has happened in the build and test phase until now. In the past, and as far back as 2008, mesh networks have found use on the ground and in the air with the military. However, in the last couple of years, mesh networks have found a proposed place, specifically in aviation papers like this one. Interestingly, Wikipedia notes; “The 66-satellite Iridium constellation operates as a mesh network, with wireless links between adjacent satellites. Calls between two satellite phones are routed through the mesh, from one satellite to another across the constellation, without having to go through an earth station. This makes for a smaller travel distance for the signal, reducing latency, and also allows for the constellation to operate with far fewer earth stations than would be required for 66 traditional communications satellites.”
Now, the Airborne Wireless Network folks are targeting the communication to and from the ground, through moving aircraft paths… that is, the planes have antennas that talk to each other, as well as, to ground stations – look at it as a flexible, moving wireless network that does not use satellites, but rather, uses the airplane(s) as the communication nodes to ground stations. As the reported requirements for off-plane data increases, as well as the development failure prediction capability based on more data, communicating black box testing, and passengers and crew data usage goes up – another method to send it might be useful! The concept in our first story is the result of a lot of new technology brought about by new data handling capabilities, advanced antenna processing, flexible spectrum management and frequency-agile transmissions and importantly, software defined networking. While Airborne Wireless Network has kept a low profile about their operation, you are going to hear a lot about the technology, and a lot about their product in the future. Stay Tuned!

Airborne Wireless Network:
Airborne Wireless Network (the company) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum Of Understanding with Kansas City-based Jet Midwest Group (Jet Midwest). It states that both parties have agreed to enter into a definitive agreement by September 30, 2016. The memorandum further states that Jet Midwest Group would be providing up to three Boeing 757-223 Jetliners to Airborne Wireless Network for its ‘proof of network concept’ and FAA certification testing. Two of these Boeing 757-223’s have tentatively been designated for the company’s use.
Once the aircraft have been fitted with Airborne Wireless’ equipment and ground-testing has been completed, the company plans to fly these commercial jets from Roswell, New Mexico to Kansas City, Missouri. According to the FAA, this will be a historic “first ever” flight of a meshed commercial airliner-based network. Their plan is for global service of real-time data performance developing a virtual airborne “worldwide web”. One of the advantages of an airplane-based is, of course, no space junk which is a big deal. The only hang-up is you have to get a lot of folks in the game with all their aircraft before enough coverage is available as a reliable connection service. If there are enough players, the advantages, however, result in multiple signal paths, a true “meshed network”, and no single point of failure. We are sure you can see the issues, especially since we are in the heyday of potential signal hacking but being some 30,000 feet above ‘bad guy’ signal sources may have value, not to mention the removal of ground-to-air and air-to-ground weather-related signal and distance losses. This is worth watching.


GOODBYE JOE:
Last week, Boeing’s Father of the B747, Joe Sutter, passed away at 95. Mr. Sutter was involved with many planes that Boeing built like the B377, the “Dash 80”, B707, B720, B727, B737, and famously as the Father of the B747. He was a nice man and always had the time to say hello… goodbye Joe.


AIN PRODUCT SURVEY CONGRATS!
AIN reports in aircraft cabin electronics this year that, Aircraft Cabin Systems came in second in their Product Report Survey. Gogo Business/Satcom Direct tied for first place. Additionally, Satcom Direct won for overall product reliability. Check the survey results out here.


AIRBUS:
AIRBUS announced orders from VIETJET for 10 A321ceos and 10 A321neos and JETSTAR PACIFIC for 10 A320ceos; and MOU from VIETNAM AIRLINES for 10 more A350s. We also note that AIRBUS delivered 61 airliners (47 A320 Family, seven A330s, six A350s, and two A380) in August versus 44 (32 A320s, 10 A330s, two A380s) in August 2015. It has now delivered 400 some aircraft in 2016.


THE DELTA MESS:
Delta has reported a $100 million loss from those 2300 lost flights last month, which was blamed on a bad router and data backup capability. Wow, that’s an expensive router! Check out the full story.


AIX ASIA:
From the folks at Aircraft Interiors Expo Asia we get this bit of info about the show – “AIX Asia will welcome more than 50 exhibitors across seating, onboard retail, passenger comfort and more, including Geven, ZIM and Mirus Aircraft Seating. We are co-located with the Future Travel Experience Asia EXPO and the APEX EXPO, bringing together over 150 exhibitors to Singapore this year and creating the airline industry’s biggest fall event for the passenger experience industry.” IFExpress will be there October 24 – 27, 2016 and we hope you will too. We should also note that while the Zika virus has now infected 151 individuals in Singapore, the first locally-transmitted Zika infection was reported this past Saturday but most cases reported are from foreigners. “We have been tracking Zika for a while now, and knew it was only a matter of time before it reached Singapore,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong posted on his Facebook page. “Our best defense is to eradicate mosquitoes and destroy breeding habitats, all over Singapore.” Singapore is the only Asian country with active transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. We are bringing our Sawyer Picardin (Consumer Reports highest rated insect repellent – look it up.


VARIOUS LINKS WORTH YOUR TIME:
1. How to Keep Your Mac or iPhone Secure When Traveling Overseas | The Mac Security Blog
2. FAA Tightens Safeguards on Lithium Batteries on Airplanes – WSJ
3. Why You Should Drink Milk Before A Road Trip
4. Long TSA Delays Force Airports To Hire Private Security Contractors – Slashdot
5. ViaSat (VSAT), Eutelsat Receive New Contract in Europe
6. The Ultimate Guide to Travel Plugs
7. Travel hacks to avoid fees for Wi-Fi, extra legroom


auf Wiedersehen AXEL!
“As of today I will go on a sabbatical leave! Still unbelievable for me, but after a very long time at TriaGnoSys and Zii, I will give up work responsibility, and enjoy various other activities, family and friends, which I gave too low focus in the past.  So I am leaving with a smile in one eye and a tear in the other.  Looking forward to seeing you soon again, take care, Axel”

The world of in-flight connectivity and entertainment is undergoing a bit of a growth phase as service providers and IFEC vendors improve and consolidate their focus on more entertainment and more planes, and in some cases, more markets. Last year the acquisition of ITC Global (maritime, mining, and energy markets) by Panasonic was the lead-in to today’s recent announcement of a purchase. Now, GEE, an airline content and satcom hardware service provider (over 200 airline customers), announced the acquisition of a $550-million, broad-based content and service provider, Emerging Markets Communication (EMC). EMC is primarily a maritime service provider that has high penetration in that market as well as Cruise ships (158,000 cabins), yachts (7,500 boats), commercial shipping/O&G (130,000 ships), UN & NGO, as well as, telco solutions. We note here that the consolidation of these mobility markets, and the desire to operate across wider and more diverse service segments, shows a collaboration trend in the satcom connectivity market and it underlies the increase in demand for connectivity and entertainment services by people, places and businesses everywhere. As they note, the deal “leverages complimentary products, technologies, and service offerings across air, sea, and land verticals to drive growth!”

Of course, we are really talking about three items here – Content, Connectivity and Mission Critical Service solutions. From a growth point of view, by 2021 the market will be worth some $5.4 B and one source noted to us that “…the key players in the market follow the strategy of acquisition and mergers and are focused towards entering into strategic partnerships with regional players in order to strengthen their position in the market.” It makes sense.

Specifically, in our story GEE is in the middle of this growth segment and is expanding their market now with a maritime focus in the acquisition of EMC, who has a strong market position there. From a global point of view, the acquisition of EMC provides GEE with complete worldwide connectivity that is supported by GEE’s existing Ku coverage as well as that of EMC. In addition, there is some C-Band coverage by EMC in the deal, resulting in an impressive chart.

The folks at GEE have acquired nine companies since its formation some three years ago. This acquisition is by far their biggest to date and will allow GEE to gain a foothold in the maritime market where growth will no doubt be exhibited.

IFExpress asked a few questions of Kevin Trosian, SVP Development & IR, and he told IFExpress:

1. Since you have purchased a “connected” company, does GEE see selling their content to the 8 EMC existing markets (Yachts, Energy, Cruise & Ferries, commercial shipping, mobile networks, government, UN, NGO’s and Global Enterprise)?

Yes, we believe there is a large opportunity for live and streaming content in the maritime and mobility verticals, and GEE’s digital media team has already worked with EMC for many years to jointly provide content to the maritime market. We see this a great opportunity for us to use our strong relationships with studios around the world to expand distribution into these markets.

GEE had previously provided TV and VOD products to EMC, including a number of live television channels, so this is not a new market for us. We have already obtained maritime rights from certain studios and/or distributors and are in the process of acquiring more. Ultimately we believe our combined knowledge of the market and relationships will enable us to leverage our strength in content for the maritime market for further growth of our media platform.

2. Can you tell us how big the existing market is?

The maritime and land-based connectivity and media markets in which we now compete are a multi-billion dollar opportunity. There is an available market of approximately 158,000 cruise cabins, 7,500 yachts and 130,000 ships.

3. Today, what countries have the 20 or so ground stations mentioned by EMC? Does EMC own them?
For this question, please see our Worldwide Infrastructure chart. In addition, through the acquisition we now have operations at 3 teleport facilities, including New Jersey, Hawaii and Germany.

4. This purchase looks like a prefect fit for GEE to grow and provide entertainment to the existing EMC service sections, can someone at GEE comment on that issue?

Please see 1 above.

5. Obviously the market is one reason GEE bought them; however, is there more to the story than that?

Yes, we believe there is a significant number of synergies that can be realized with the integration of the two companies. Through the integration, the company expects to realize synergies of $15 million in 2017, growing to $40 million in 2018 and thereafter. Synergies will primarily result from network efficiencies, including the ability to optimize bandwidth costs through a consolidation of existing network assets, including space segment and ground infrastructure, as well as, better capacity utilization.

6. From a company integration point of view, will EMC function pretty much as they do today? Will their information portfolio be enlarged by GEE’s entertainment content?

Yes, EMC will function in a fairly similar manner, but we will be integrating the companies into a single platform. The EMC team built a great foundation in an adjacent market to GEE’s traditional aviation market. We’re looking to leverage what they have accomplished and continue to build on that, such as by providing more media to the maritime market.

7. We gather that GEE has been looking for more markets for their content, why did they not just provide the content to companies like EMC and not go the distance to purchase one? What is the driving reason here?

There were multiple reasons for the acquisition, and the ability to sell content was only one of them.  We see significant opportunities within the connectivity businesses of both companies, including the ability to improve satellite capacity utilization. Further, by expanding into new markets, we believe our scale will improve efficiencies and the overall customer experience.

8. Will the EMC management and operations function pretty much as they do today or will there be management changes and new ways of doing business?

We’ve announced the new verticals (see below from the Press Release) and the Business Unit leaders.

  • Dave Davis will continue to lead GEE as CEO.
  • Abel Avellan, founder and CEO of EMC, will serve as President and Chief Strategy Officer of GEE.
  • As part of the transaction, ABRY Partners, EMC’s largest shareholder, has a right to nominate a director to GEE’s board.

In conjunction with the transaction close, GEE has established three operational business units.

  • The Media Business Unit delivers films and television shows, live TV, music, games and other content to aviation and maritime customers, including approximately 6,500 aircraft and many cruise ships currently served by GEE. Other products include digital and streaming media offerings such as the Airtime Content-to-Go application and the Entice streaming media system. Wale Adepoju will lead the Media Business Unit as Executive Vice President of Media. Previously, Wale served as Chief Commercial Officer of GEE.
  • The Aviation Business Unit serves commercial airlines and private aviation using GEE’s proprietary Airconnect GlobalTM connectivity platform, which is currently installed on nearly 750 aircraft worldwide. The Business Unit also provides Navaero electronic flight bag (EFB) data interfaces and powered mounting systems, which are in place on nearly 4,000 aircraft today, as well as masFlight operational data analytics services. Joshua Marks, who previously led GEE’s Operations Solutions team, will lead the Aviation Business Unit as Executive Vice President of Aviation.
  • The Maritime and Land Business Unit delivers connectivity and mission critical services to cruise and ferry lines, yachts, commercial shippers and land-based users such as non-governmental organizations and mobile network operators. Through this transaction, GEE has acquired a strong maritime customer base, serving over 1,500 vessels and 100,000 cruise ship cabins. In addition to overseeing certain corporate functions at GEE, Abel Avellan will lead the Maritime and Land Business Unit.

9. What does GEE bring to the party besides entertainment content? Will their airline solutions effect EMC’s products/solutions differently or much the same? If differently, how so?

GEE delivers worldwide connectivity to the aviation market and is the largest content and media provider for the broader mobility market. GEE brings an unparalleled portfolio of products and services tailored to mobility markets, including global connectivity, media content in 47 languages, live television, travel and entertainment apps, user interface platforms and data capture and operations analytics tools. We will also be bringing some of EMC’s proprietary and patented technologies, such as Speednet, to the aviation market.

  • Combined, we bring:
    A global sales force and support organization that reaches all major mobility verticals including aviation, maritime energy and remote locations;
  • A satellite and ground-based network infrastructure that can provide customers connectivity and media across multiple frequency bands anywhere in the world;
  • Proprietary, patented technologies that enhance the connected traveler’s user experience and reduce costs across market verticals;
  • A diversified revenue base with over 400 customers, balanced between media and connectivity with over half of all revenue coming from international markets; and
  • Engineering, technical and managerial resources to effectively drive new product development, program management, product maintenance and field support.

10. How big is EMC and is there a new structure to come?

We haven’t discussed management structure beyond the senior leaders, which can be found in the press release (attached). EMC had approximately 450 employees located worldwide.

Note: Finally, IFExpress talked with many people about the acquisition and there was a great difference of opinion on on the subject and other issues as well. All we can say is keep your eye on a few factors that may (or may not) affect the future of GEE: Southwest Airlines, Ku/Ka Band airline preferences, Universal lawsuit results, marine market entertainment take-up, traveler personal device and entertainment demand. Stay Tuned.

GEE EMC Transaction Presentation

Lastly, we would like to thank Jenelle Benoit of GEE for all the assistance bringing this story to press!


OTHER NEWS:

Rockwell Collins today announced that China Eastern Airlines selected its Iridium® SATCOM aftermarket solution for its fleet of more than 100 Boeing 737 aircraft. Installations are currently in progress. The voice and data communications solution, installed via a Boeing service bulletin for Next-Generation Boeing 737s, will enable reliable long-range global voice communications, flight tracking and Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS). The solution is also capable of enabling Future Airspace Navigation System (FANS) for airlines that need it for their operations.

  • Agreement includes production aircraft and extensive retrofit program

Lake Forest, CA | July 14, 2016– China Eastern Airlines has increased its commitment to Panasonic Avionics’ (Panasonic) for global broadband connectivity services to 84 total aircraft.

The leading Chinese carrier, which, in partnership with China Telecom Satellite, was the first to offer broadband Wi-Fi connectivity on flights over Chinese airspace, and this agreement strengthens its long-term relationship with Panasonic.

The extended agreement – following the announcement of 20 Boeing 777-300ERs last November – includes 35 line-fit aircraft with and an extensive retrofit program covering an additional 49 aircraft.

Aircraft types included in the agreement are:

  • One B737-800 (retrofit)
  • Four B767-300 (retrofit)
  • Two B767-300ER (retrofit)
  • 20 B777-300 (line-fit)
  • 31 A330-200 (retrofit)
  • 11 A330-300 (retrofit)
  • 15 A330-300 (line-fit)

Panasonic’s Global Communications Services are available across China and on over 99.6 per cent of all air traffic routes. It is the only global, broadband inflight connectivity service operating in every country in the world today and will enable China Eastern passengers to access the Internet, use email and log onto their favourite social media sites while on board.

Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “We have been helping China Eastern Airlines offer connected flights since November 2015 and remain the only provider operating over China today. Passengers increasingly expect the availability of reliable broadband Wi-Fi around the world and the roll out of this service across the China Eastern fleet will enable it to provide a connected service for its passengers”.

Zhang Chi, Deputy Director of China Eastern Airlines’ Transformation Office says: “China Eastern Airlines is committed to transforming the inflight experience for our passengers. We are constantly working with partners to discover new ways to engage passengers and to maximise the benefits of the connected aircraft. We look forward to the continued development of this extremely exciting service with the team at Panasonic Avionics.”

Panasonic Avionics’ eXConnect uses the company’s global Ku-band satellite network to deliver broadband connectivity to aircraft flying all over the world – even over oceans.


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)

Chicago, IL | May 4, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that Delta Air Lines has increased its commitment to Gogo’s industry leading in-flight connectivity technology – 2Ku. This increases Delta’s total number of 2Ku committed aircraft to more than 600.

“Delta customers have expressed an interest in their time in the air being as productive as their time on the ground, and 2Ku satellite offers a vastly upgraded in-flight Wi-Fi experience,” said Tim Mapes, Delta’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “By committing to more aircraft with 2Ku technology, we’re providing Delta customers with faster and more reliable in-flight connectivity as a part of Delta’s commitment to always delivering the industry’s best on-board services.”

“With 2Ku, Delta will be able to deliver a better inflight experience to its passengers wherever they fly around the world,” said Jon Cobin, Gogo’s Executive Vice President, Global Airline Business Group. “We know how important it is to Delta to bring this technology to passengers and we plan on getting it deployed on these aircraft as soon as possible.”

Gogo’s 2Ku technology is designed to be open so it’s compatible with multiple satellite networks, which means the technology will be upgradeable over time without having to touch the aircraft. This flexibility will help ensure Delta is future ready and ahead of the curve from a technology perspective.

2Ku installations have already started on the 737-800 and A319 fleets, and additional Delta fleets will be retrofitted with the new system. Delta will operate more than 35 aircraft with 2Ku by the end of 2016.

  • Simple ‘click of a mouse’ will deliver instant access to Intelsat’s Globalized Network
  • Seamless integration with terrestrial networks provides ultra-high availability, redundancy and security
  • IntelsatOne Flex for Enterprise delivers economies of scale and operational efficiencies and eliminates unnecessary overhead costs

Luxembourg | March 7, 2016– With nearly 4 billion people, 20 billion devices and 50 billion machines requiring broadband connectivity, corporate enterprises are looking for fast, easy and cost-efficient means to expand their MPLS or Ethernet networks in order to stay ahead of their customers’ emerging demands.

Today, Intelsat (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, introduced IntelsatOne Flex for Enterprise, a managed service that allows regional and global enterprise network service providers to efficiently access and incorporate high throughput satellite technology into new and existing private networks. The result is a high performance, secure and flexible data network platform that supports regional and global application growth, all using a web-based network operations interface.

IntelsatOne Flex for Enterprise will deliver:

  • Instant Access to Intelsat EpicNG’s high speed broadband connectivity where the virtualized network will enable customers to flexibly allocate and move bandwidth to meet surges in demand or new geographic requirements.
  • Seamless Integration with terrestrial MPLS or Ethernet Networks as IntelsatOne Flex for Enterprise allows customers to maintain Class of Service tags across both satellite and terrestrial components.
  • Control and Visibility to the End Terminal through a robust Network Management System (NMS) that allows service providers to: customize, prioritize and contend Mbps; offer differentiated levels of service to their end users; and maintain full control of the offering and brand. The customer portal will also provide real-time monitoring, tracking and reporting.
  • Streamlined Ground Operations through IntelsatOne Flex’s uniform performance, which enables customers to mass-order terminals in advance and take advantage of volume pricing, further simplifying and accelerating the procurement, deployment and installation of new revenue-driving remotes.
  • Significant Cost Savings through the use of smaller terminals, which are much more cost effective to purchase and maintain, even in the most remote locations.
  • Ultra-High Availability, Multi-Layer Redundancy and Security through Intelsat’s Globalized Network.

“IntelsatOne Flex for Enterprise will provide our customers with the unprecedented scalability and flexibility needed to manage the complex challenges driven by the explosive demands for broadband connectivity,” said Karen Schmidt, Vice President, Marketing, Intelsat. “Unlike with other platforms, the backward compatibility of Intelsat’s Globalized Network does not require customers to replace their existing technology or switch out their ground infrastructure. As a result, customers can redeploy the cost savings and instead, focus on expanding their businesses and driving new revenue streams. Most importantly, IntelsatOne Flex for Enterprise can be easily integrated into an existing architecture and serve as a single point of entry to a virtual Globalized Network that can deliver on its promise of providing high-speed broadband and internet connectivity, whenever or wherever you need it, today.”

  • First Multi Spot Beam, Ku-Band High Throughput Satellite to Serve Latin America

Luxembourg & Paris | December 11, 2015– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), the world’s leading provider of satellite services, announced today that the first of the Intelsat EpicNG series of High Throughput Satellites, Intelsat 29e, arrived at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, where it will undergo final preparations before its scheduled launch on an Ariane 5 rocket on the 27th of January 2016.

Manufactured by Boeing and equipped with the most advanced digital payload on a commercial spacecraft, Intelsat 29e will bring High Throughput capacity in both C- and Ku-band to North and Latin America and the North Atlantic region, and is designed to be fully interoperable with the already deployed Intelsat satellite fleet and terrestrial infrastructure.

Intelsat EpicNG features an exceptionally flexible high throughput payload design that is backward compatible with already deployed user networks globally. It has an open architecture built to address an expected $3 billion incremental increase in revenue opportunities related to an increase in demand by the year 2020 for satellite-based infrastructure in the enterprise, wireless infrastructure, aeronautical and maritime mobility, government and Internet of Things sectors.

The amount of data traffic in Latin America is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 66 percent from 2014 through year-end of 2018. With surging broadband requirements and an increasing number of smartphone users, the Intelsat 29e flexible and scalable architecture will enable fixed and mobile network operators to cost-effectively extend their networks and meet the surges in broadband demand across the continent.

Select customers in the region have already committed to take advantage of Intelsat EpicNG, include Compania Anonima Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela, BT Latam Venezuela, Anditel, S.A.S, Axesat, Amazonia Cabo Ltda., Cadena Ecuatoriana de Television C.A., Canal 10 CETV, Corporacion Nacional de Telecommunicaciones CNTE.P., Fox Latin America Channels do Brasil, Igrege Mundial do Poder de Deus, Radio e Televisao Banderantes and Telefonica del Peru.

Intelsat 29e will also deliver enterprise-grade, broadband services to aero and maritime mobility service providers and users. The satellite combines wide and high performing spot beam designs facilitating combined broadcast and broadband applications within the same network. As previously announced, prestigious customers such as EMC, Panasonic and Harris CapRock have committed to the Intelsat EpicNG fleet for mobility and fixed and mobile enterprise applications.

Intelsat 29e is currently scheduled for launch on 27 January 2016 during a window that is currently scheduled to open at 5:29 pm EST and closes at approximately 7:36pm EST. Following a successful launch, Intelsat 29e will be placed at the 310°E orbital location, where it will undergo in-orbit testing prior to its expected in-service date of mid-2016.

Intelsat 29e is currently scheduled for launch on 27 January 2016 during a window that is currently scheduled to open at 5:29 pm EST and closes at approximately 7:36pm EST. Following a successful launch, Intelsat 29e will be placed at the 310°E orbital location, where it will undergo in-orbit testing prior to its expected in-service date of mid-2016.

Melbourne, FL | December 8, 2015– Satcom Direct was the first business aviation communications distribution partner to provision its services and transmit data over Inmarsat’s new Ka-band Global Xpress network via the Inmarsat-5 F-1 satellite, in August. It is again the first to validate its services over the Inmarsat-5 F-2 (I-5 F-2) satellite, achieving this milestone in December.

Jet ConneX is the business aviation high-speed broadband service operating over Inmarsat’s new Global Xpress (GX) constellation. When globally deployed, it will deliver a new standard in satellite broadband services that support high data rate applications in flight, including streaming YouTube videos and Skype video calls, in real time. The I-5 F-2 satellite serves the Atlantic Ocean Region.

Satcom Direct (SD) proprietary solutions enhance the Ka-band technology and optimize the Jet ConneX service to deliver unmatched performance in the air. SD exclusive services allow operators to manage and maximize bandwidth, improve voice call quality, prioritize passenger data and more – bringing them a better Jet ConneX experience. Tiered pricing plans allow operators to choose from various data speeds, so they get the connectivity that’s right for them. And, Jet ConneX offers guaranteed minimum data rates for each pricing tier.

“Aircraft operators want and need the fastest possible data speeds in the air. SD is out in front in proving that our services are ready for the next generation networks as soon as they are available to customers,” said Jim Jensen, SD founder and CEO.

“Inmarsat congratulates our partner Satcom Direct on achieving this important milestone. Jet ConneX is a game changer for the business aviation industry, allowing passengers to access high-speed in-flight connectivity with worldwide coverage that is consistent, reliable and unmatched,” said Kurt Weidemeyer, Inmarsat Vice President of Business Aviation.

SD is also an authorized GX value added reseller for U.S. government aviation and enterprise markets.