Airbus

  • S7 Airlines, one of Russia’s leading carriers, member of Oneworld global airline alliance, has taken delivery of its’ first A320neo which is on lease from BOC Aviation. The aircraft is the first Airbus to feature the airline’s new livery and is also the first NEO to be operated in Russia. Powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, S7’s aircraft features a comfortable two-class cabin layout, (eight business and 156 economy class seats). The airline will operate the aircraft on domestic and international routes. Since the first aircraft entered service in 2004, S7’s Airbus fleet has grown to 44 A320 Family aircraft. And check out their nifty infographic!
  • Following the recent and hugely successful launch in Barcelona of International Airlines Group’s (IAG) low cost long-haul airline brand, LEVEL, the Group has selected the A330-200 as its aircraft of choice to further expand operations. LEVEL began operating in June 2017 with flights from Barcelona to Los Angeles, San Francisco (Oakland), Buenos Aires and Punta Cana, with two new Airbus A330-200s branded in its own livery and fitted with 293 economy and 21 premium economy seats. The A330 is one of the World’s most efficient and versatile widebody aircraft with best in class operating economics making it the benchmark product for the growing low cost long-haul model worldwide. The A330 is the world’s best-selling wide-body in its category. To date the A330 Family has attracted nearly 1,700 orders with over 1,300 A330 Family aircraft currently flying with more than 110 operators worldwide. With an operational reliability of 99.4 percent and various product enhancements, the A330 Family is the most cost-efficient and capable widebody aircraft to date.

Boeing
Boeing released its 2017 Pilot and Technician Outlook today at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and projects a demand for more than 1.2 million pilots and technicians over the next 20 years. Now in its eighth year, the outlook is a respected industry study that forecasts the 20 year demand for crews to support the world’s growing commercial airplane fleet.
Boeing forecasts that between 2017 and 2036, the world’s commercial aviation industry will require approximately:

  • 637,000 new commercial airline pilots
  • 648,000 new commercial airline maintenance technicians
  • 839,000 new cabin crew members

The 2017 outlook shows a slight increase of 3.2 percent for pilots over the 2016 outlook, and a slight decrease in the need for airline maintenance technicians (4.6 percent), primarily driven by the reduction in maintenance hours required on the 737 MAX.
Projected demand for new pilots, technicians and cabin crew by global region for the next 20 years is approximately:

For information about the Outlook, including how the data is compiled.
Boeing Global Services, headquartered in the Dallas area, was formed by integrating the services capabilities of the government, space and commercial sectors into a single, customer-focused business. Operating as a third business unit of Boeing, Global Services provides agile, cost-competitive services to commercial and government customers worldwide.

Rockwell Collins
Working well after midnight on this day in 1977, a Rockwell Collins engineer named David Van Dusseldorp sat on the rooftop of a company building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, adjusting an antenna every five minutes to receive a signal from the world’s first Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite known as NTS-2. Within a small window of time, the satellite was turned on and the message was successfully received and decoded by the team working the GPS receiver below.
Since then the technology has grown to be the standard of navigation around the world and Top Tech News: News & Product Reviews for Tech Leaders touches nearly every part of our daily lives. To commemorate the 40 year anniversary, Rockwell Collins invited retirees involved in the project to share their firsthand stories at an event held in Cedar Rapids today.
“We had leaders and team members working together and I knew we could meet the challenge put before us,” said Van Dusseldorp. “The future of GPS was uncertain at the time, but I really felt like we had just accomplished something important.”
Soon after successfully receiving the signal, the U.S. Air Force awarded Rockwell Collins the Navstar GPS user equipment contract. This was the first of many wins that would position the company as a market leader in GPS products for aerospace and defense. Since that time, Rockwell Collins has continued to pioneer advancements in GPS such as being the first to complete a transatlantic flight using GPS navigation in 1983. In 1994, a secure, military-grade Precision Lightweight GPS Receiver (PLGR) was first fielded that provided warfighters a tactical navigational advantage on the battlefield. And in 2014, Rockwell Collins achieved another milestone in navigation technology by successfully developing a prototype to track a satellite in the Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) being created by the European Union to provide global coverage for its nations.
A modern version of the GPS receiver used in 1977 is the Rockwell Collins GPS-4000S, which has the ability to process the transmissions of up to 10 GPS satellites and two Space Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) geostationary satellites simultaneously. Compared to the first GPS receiver station that was six feet tall, the GPS-4000S receiver is only 7.87 inches tall. Size and power of receivers have evolved for different applications, like the Micro GPS Receiver Application Module (MicroGRAM). The receiver is only one inch tall, can use data from up to 12 GPS satellites and consumes the least power of any receiver in its class. Other advancements in receivers include industry-leading anti-jamming and anti-spoofing technologies that are crucial to security and efficiency when used within critical military and aircraft operations.
Since that historic day 40 years ago, Rockwell Collins has introduced more than 50 GPS products including GPS anti-jam and precision landing systems, and has delivered more than one million GPS receivers for commercial avionics and government applications, helping shape how the world navigates both on the ground and in the air.

Panasonic
Asiana Airlines, one of Asia’s largest carriers, has begun revenue service with its first A350 aircraft using Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s (Panasonic) industry-leading inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solution. This first aircraft, which was line fit with Panasonic solutions by Airbus, entered passenger service on May 15th having been delivered to the carrier on April 26th. Panasonic’s eX3 system delivers a premium passenger experience through features including audio and video on demand, and a massive content library that can offer over 50 movies, 60 TV shows, games, music and more.
The aircraft will also offer Panasonic’s global connectivity service – the only broadband inflight connectivity service operating in every country in the world today – enabling passengers to access the internet via broadband inflight Wi-Fi, and to send and receive calls and text messages. Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics said: “We are delighted to announce this partnership with Asiana Airlines. Our world-class systems provide their passengers with a globally available and premium inflight entertainment and connectivity experience.”


MORE

Here is a great story on how to promote your airport (airline?) at the airport with an Augmented Reality (AR) device game. As the article notes: “Augmented reality can do a number of different things, from turning selfies into animals to creating virtual scavenger hunts, but now one more feature can be chalked up to the emerging tech — entertaining kids on an airport layover.” Perhaps, this says it all: “On July 14, London’s Heathrow Airport announced the new kids’ travel app, Around the World with Mr. Adventure, a kid-friendly game that hides digital badges throughout the terminals.” We want one! Check this out.

Sully

And lastly, go see “Sully,” the movie! Why? Because it sums up what some of the best folks in the world are doing to make your travel experience successful. Remember, on January 15, 2009, a US Airways had to land in New York’s Hudson River? Yes, we know it is about a emergency forced landing of an Airbus A320-214 in New York. And yes, if you are into movies, per se, you might give “Sully” a lower grade; however, if you are into aviation, this is a 5 star treat. While Clint Eastwood (at 86) directed this movie, he made it from good available event data, and obviously one for aviation lovers. As one review notes, ”..this story pits a true hero against the scowling National Transportation Safety Board bureaucrats with their flight simulators, computer analysis and insurance worries who dare to question Sullenberger’s ability to make lightning-quick decisions in the air. They would have rather he made it to a nearby airport after a flock of Canadian geese smashed into the plane and shut down the engines—a possibility he instantly assessed was not feasible given his 40 years of experience.” As to the airplane, we think it deserves more credit for staying afloat for some 29 minutes, allowing all 155 to be rescued on the floating fuselage. Notes Wikipedia: “Author and pilot William Langewiesche asserted that insufficient credit was given to the A320’s fly-by-wire design, by which the pilot uses a side-stick to make control inputs to the flight control computers. The computers then impose adjustments and limits of their own to keep the plane stable, which the pilot cannot override even in an emergency. This design allowed the pilots of Flight 1549 to concentrate on engine restart and deciding the course, without the burden of manually adjusting the glidepath to reduce the plane’s rate of descent.[50] However, Sullenberger said that these computer-imposed limits also prevented him from achieving the optimum landing flare for the ditching, which would have softened the impact.[91]”. And no, we doubt if you will see it on your next flight, but you never know.

(Editor’s Note: We understand for drama, the movie script did question Chester “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) decisions; however, we understand that the NTSB didn’t actually question Sully’s decision or actions, it was just drama for the silver screen.)

Los Angeles, CA | July 20, 2017– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ:ENT) has won a new five-year contract with Norwegian Air Shuttle that aims to significantly improve the airline’s passenger experience through enhanced WiFi connectivity, live television, portal based content, services and support. The new agreement covers Norwegian Air Shuttle’s entire Boeing 737 New Generation fleet, more than 120 aircraft, until 2023.

“Our cooperation with Norwegian improves how its passengers experience the airline’s inflight entertainment service on board,” said Per Norén, Global Eagle Senior VP Aviation. “Norwegian is a world-class award-winning airline that is innovating in the aviation industry globally and how it approaches the passenger total travel experience. We are pleased to be part of their long-term plan.”

Norwegian Air Shuttle was the first airline to offer high-speed internet and live television on flights within Europe, and was the first airline in Europe to offer Video-on-Demand directly to a passenger’s own device.

Global Eagle initially signed an agreement with Norwegian in 2011 for 40 aircraft, and the two companies have worked closely since then on the passenger experience through the partnership. In 2015, Global Eagle launched live TV on

Norwegian’s Boeing 737NG aircraft. The new agreement includes the option for the airline to cover additional new-generation 737 aircraft for use on trans-Atlantic routes.

“We currently have Global Eagle passenger features on more than 100 Norwegian aircraft, and this agreement widens the scope of both the fleet size and products that the airline can offer on board,” Norén said.

Global Eagle also will be providing additional satellite bandwidth and network performance optimization under the new agreement, which better supports the passenger experience for free WiFi.

DELTA
IFExpress received a note from Airbus about Delta’s new aircraft delivery and here is what they said: “Delta Air Lines has taken delivery of its first A350-900, and will be the first U.S. airline to operate the newest member of Airbus’ leading widebody family. The A350 XWB will bring unrivaled eco-efficiency and a superior passenger experience to primarily transpacific routes starting in October. This delivery is the first of five A350-900s scheduled for delivery to Delta in 2017. The aircraft features 32 seats in the Delta One cabin, 48 seats in Delta Premium Select and 226 seats in the Main Cabin. The A350 XWB was the first aircraft to incorporate the innovative passenger experience elements collectively known as Airspace by Airbus. Delta’s customers will enjoy the quietest twin-aisle cabin, with more personal space and the largest overhead bins in the business. More fresh air, LED ambient lighting, and optimization of cabin pressure, temperature and humidity all combine for absolute passenger wellbeing. The A350 XWB also boasts the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fiber fuselage and wings, and the fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. This combination of technologies translates into unequaled operational efficiency, with a 25 percent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. DELTA AIR LINES had $1.22b net income in 2Q17 (vs $1.55b in 2Q16) on 3% higher revenues, its first revenue growth in 2.5 years despite $115m headwind from April’s operational disruption.”

(Editor’s Note: We were told the plane features the Panasonic eX3 IFE  and Gogo connectivity.)

PANASONIC
EL AL Israel Airlines today announced that it has selected Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s (Panasonic) industry-leading eX3 inflight entertainment (IFE) system for its new fleet of 16 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Under terms of its agreement with Panasonic, EL AL will install eX3 across nine Boeing 787-9s and seven B787-8s, with the first aircraft being delivered in August 2017. The agreement also includes a 15-year contract for the provision of system maintenance by Panasonic Technical Services, including spares, repairs and logistics, at an optimized maintenance cost. EL AL’s eX3 system features an elegant industrial design across all cabin classes. Passengers will be able to view 12, 13 and 16-inch high definition monitors that deliver superior viewing angles and capacitive touch. They also feature proprietary Panasonic technology that functions like the human eye, making dark scenes more visible by improving brightness in dark areas while simultaneously eliminating white saturation. The result is superior picture performance across all media formats including movies, TV shows, games, maps and more. Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Our partnership with EL AL continues to go from one successful program to the next and now stretches over a quarter of a century. Our eX3 system will provide EL AL with an industry-leading entertainment experience, delivering a premium service to their passengers traveling across the world. Our renewed agreement is testament to the loyalty and opportunity that our continued relationship delivers and we look forward to this new and exciting chapter.” EL AL Vice President Service Amir Rogovsky adds: “We are focused on delivering a premium inflight experience for our customers. Our long-term partnership with Panasonic continues to be extremely successful and we look forward to strengthening our relationship with Panasonic Avionics as one of the leaders in the IFE industry.”

GOGO
IFExpress recently noted a portion of a Gogo study that was released on the subject of connectivity demands.  This past week we received a note from Meredith Payette of Gogo
and she told IFExpress: “I saw your recent newsletter and did want to share that we released our Global Traveler Study, a global research study that examines travelers’ inflight habits, behaviors, and preferences. This study explores the rapidly evolving technology landscape among travelers, key global trends, and the changing passenger dynamics that face today’s airlines. It covers 15 countries across six regions around the world and includes data collected from more than 4,500 respondents who flew within the past year. Attached is the full report. This is the main study that was used to create the Travelers of Tomorrow summary issued back in May. This full report is called Understanding the Global Traveler and it is the second part of the Global Traveler Research Series.” Gogo Study Finds Inflight Wi-Fi Most Popular Amenity | Androidheadlines.com

QATAR AIRWAYS
Oops!
Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker posted on YouTube a scathing cut on US flight Attendants noting his cabin crew average age as 26. Naturally, The Association of Flight Attendants had a response – “Straight from Akbar Al Baker lips, he confirms what AFA has said all along: Qatar Airways thrives on misogyny and discrimination. Qatar is not only seeking to choke out U.S. Aviation, but also the 300,000 good jobs built through opportunity created on the principle of equality. There is no room for a separation of humanity in air travel or in an emergency. Flight Attendants are onboard to save lives and every life counts. If you prop up Qatar Airways you are supporting sexism, racism, and ageism. Period. “

HONEYWELL
Inmarsat satellite high-speed data is being rolled out in China by Honeywell and they are talking to many airlines as we write. Then service will be Ka band. A Honeywell spokesperson said: “Passengers will be able to watch YouTube videos during a flight, and have access to real-time TV, TV on demand, high-speed broadband internet, video conferencing, emails and other applications.”  Honeywell has other connected services onboard, including a weather information service and fuel-efficient software.

SECURITY
According to the Associated Publishers, which first announced the plan on Wednesday, facial-scanning pilot plans are now advancing at six American airports—Boston, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, New York City, and Washington DC. More airports are set to increase next year. Stay Tuned on this one.

OTHER STUFF

  • Need inflight IFE? There is Sunstream for that, and yes, there is an app for it. In fact, here is what marketeers say: “Sunstream is the complete inflight entertainment service that puts you in control. Download the App to wirelessly connect and enhance your inflight experience with Thomas Cook Airlines and Condor from your own device.”
  • Soon we are going to cover Asian InFlight Connectivity. As a precursor, here is a good story about the efforts under way in Australia – Virgin hints at international inflight Wi-Fi – Travel Weekly
  • We don’t know diddly about “NVMe”, but this article states the following: “One potential niche application is inflight entertainment systems offering movies, games and Wi-Fi access. There’s a lot more going on now,” Phillips said (Scott Phillips – Virtium). “They’re hitting those little servers in the planes a lot quicker and with a lot more different requests, so they’re now concerned about lowering latency for response times.”Does NVMe Have a Place in Industrial Embedded and IoT? | EE Times
  • The US is ending bans on laptops for Middle East Airlines – U.S. ending laptop ban on Middle Eastern airlines and, yes, carry-on devices will be allowed for countries upgrading new exit security requirements.
  • Recent airport takeoff limitations due to heat have been a problem in the US, especially in Phoenix, but the issue may become a big deal everywhere in the years to come. Notes Science Daily: “Average global temperatures have gone up nearly 1 degree Centigrade (1.8 Fahrenheit) since about 1980, and this may already be having an effect. In late June, American Airlines canceled more than 40 flights out of Phoenix, Ariz., when daytime highs of nearly 120 degrees made it too hot for smaller regional jets to take off. Worldwide, average temperatures are expected to go up as much as another 3 degrees C (5.4 degrees F) by 2100. But that is only part of the story; heat waves will probably become more prevalent, with annual maximum daily temperatures at airports worldwide projected to go up 4 to 8 degrees C (7.2 to 14.4 F) by 2080, according to the study.” Hey, no flight, no IFEC!
  • Want to read a good article on connectivity payment modeling? Check it out: GCA Link June 2017 – Business Models Evolve with New IFEC Technology | Avionics Digital Edition

FTS

Perhaps you don’t remember FTS but they are an up-and-coming IFE supplier and we heard from its Chief Technical Officer, Rich Salter, about a new inflight Wi-Fi certification that they recently obtained, so we asked him what’s up? He told IFExpress: “This is the first of many certifications FTS has in the pipeline, and it’s always good to get the first one in the books – now we have a solid base of documentation and safety testing to build future certs on.” He went on: “Down the road you’ll see lots more technology rolling out, ranging from the Flight Butler flight attendant smart watch to satellite interfaces for Ku and Ka systems.  And the software apps are really starting to roll too, including on-board shopping for revenue generation.” So, we guess we should now show you the press release –

FTS announces EASA STC award for its Xstream Inflight WiFi streaming system on Airbus A320 Family of Aircraft

FTS, a fast rising provider of Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions, announces that its Xstream inflight WiFi streaming system has received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for Airbus A320 family of aircraft.  This marks a major milestone in the product rollout and growth. FTS Xstream hardware qualification on Myanmar Airways International aircraft was achieved following multiple rigorous trials aboard an Airbus A319 test aircraft.  The certification validates the reliability and safety compliance of FTS onboard hardware in meeting stringent EASA standards and paves the way for the rollout of Xstream systems for global airlines.

The Xstream next generation inflight wireless entertainment and connectivity system is completely designed and manufactured in-house within FTS.  The system features a high performance 2-MCU embedded file server, 2 wireless access points that support the latest 802.11AC WiFi standard and a revolutionary 3G/4G cellular modem that takes up to 4 sim cards.  Passengers can connect to the onboard wireless network through their own mobile devices and enjoy streaming HD-quality video and audio entertainment, play single/multiplayer games, read latest news, view 2D/3D flight progress maps and indulge in shopping. “I am proud of the team’s achievement in attaining the EASA STC,” said Rich Salter, CTO of FTS based in the California, USA office. “Our software teams have also been hard at work to get the software platform ready for the commercial launch onboard, integrating ancillary revenue generating services and a payment processing gateway.  By next year, the Xstream product family will be further boosted with the addition of Ku and Ka HTS satellite connectivity and In-seat Wireless Smart Display solutions as our customers demand a viable product upgrade path with smooth transitions”.  FTS had previously announced launch airline customers in Asia and North America within the first year of the company’s operation.  In parallel with the EASA STC, FTS is also pursuing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) STC on Boeing aircraft models which is expected to be awarded in September 2017.  In April 2017, FTS added another feather in the cap by receiving a “ONE TO WATCH” award from Onboard Hospitality magazine for its FLIGHT BUTLER flight attendant smart watch application.

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) subsidiary AeroMobile today announced that it has added 100th aircraft to its 3.5G mobile network. With 60 percent of airlines now offering 3.5G inflight connectivity, users of the AeroMobile service grew by 57 percent between 4Q16 and 1Q17. The AeroMobile service allows passengers to use their own mobile devices to text, make calls, listen to voicemail and browse the internet while inflight. The service is easy to use with no onboard payment or registration; passengers simply turn on their mobile device to connect to the network and are billed directly by their mobile operator. Noted Kevin Rogers, AeroMobile CEO: “The milestone of 100 3.5G connected aircraft is testament to the continued airline adoption of the service and strong passenger demand. We have seen rapid growth in the 3.5G service and already 60 percent of our airline partners are rolling it out. In 2017 alone, 3.5G connected aircraft have already flown to 127 destinations in 65 countries.” The inflight 3.5G network is complementary to Panasonic’s global inflight connectivity service. It offers passengers a simple and elegant way to stay in touch with friends, family, co-workers and current events while in the air. It gives passengers the same connectivity options as they have on the ground, and when combined with inflight Wi-Fi, enables data speeds that are comparable to a terrestrial service.

(Editor’s Note: AeroMobile’s phone service is already in use on over 500 aircraft across 21 airlines worldwide including Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, Air France, Alitalia, Emirates, Etihad, EuroWings, EVA Air, Cathay Pacific, KLM, Kuwait Airways, Lufthansa, Malindo Air, Qatar Airways, SAS, Singapore Airlines, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, SWISS, Turkish Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. We note: AeroMobile was the first to introduce mobile phone services in 2008 and now has over 350 roaming agreements in more than 150 countries. AeroMobile Communications Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, is a UK-based mobile service provider for the aviation industry. Their services enable airline passengers to use their own mobile phones for voice, texting and mobile data whilst inflight. As part of the Panasonic Group’s Global Communication Suite, AeroMobile’s services are available for installation either at the point of aircraft manufacture (line fit) or on aircraft in service (retrofit) across both Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Since 2008, over 40 million passengers have successfully connected to the AeroMobile network inflight.)

GOGO

IFExpress recently came across another Gogo research efforts and we think our readers will find great value in it because it represents a “real world” view of todays travel and some of the important changes. Simply put, it answers the following questions very well:

  • Who are the travelers of tomorrow
  • Why their inflight preferences matter
  • Why being mobile is so important to future travelers
  • What expectations exist around inflight connectivity
  • What role personal devices play in flight

So, we contacted Gogo’s, SteveNolan, and he told IFExpress;

“To foster a deeper understanding of today’s flyers, the Gogo global insights team commissioned a comprehensive research study of travelers’ inflight habits and behaviors entitled Understanding the Global Traveler. Based on information gathered across six regions of the world, the study delivers an overview of current airline passenger preferences with a special focus on connectivity. Further, understanding the Global Traveler is part of the 2017 Gogo Global Traveler Research Series, a collection of reports on air passenger trends and preferences. The Series covers 15 countries and five continents, and includes data collected from more than 4,500 travelers who flew within the last year.” To learn more, visit gogoair.com/globaltraveler

SITA

Passenger satisfaction is higher during the airline journey when self-service technologies are used, particularly at bag tag and collection, and passport checkpoints. This is according to the 2017 SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey, a global survey released today by IT provider SITA and co-sponsored by Air Transport World. The survey shows that passengers rate their journey very highly with an overall satisfaction rate of 8.2 of out 10 but this is boosted even further when technologies such as mobile services and biometrics are used. Ilya Gutlin, President, Air Travel Solutions, SITA, said: “Passengers are increasingly comfortable with the use of technology in their everyday lives, and they are demanding more services as they appreciate the benefits technology can bring to their journey. Airports and airlines can take note that technology solutions can boost passenger satisfaction every step of the way.” In the global air transport industry, identity checks are a vital element of the passenger journey. SITA’s survey shows that technology, such as biometrics, can support security while offering a better passenger experience. Automated identity checks at passport control and boarding increases passenger satisfaction.

A total of 37% of travelers surveyed by SITA used automated ID control on their last flight. Of these, 55% said they had used biometrics at departure security, 33% for boarding and 12% for international arrivals. Looking forward, 57% of passengers said they would use biometrics for their next trip. Passengers who use biometrics are highly satisfied. In fact, they rated the experience 8.4, well above the ratings for face-to-face transactions at passport check (8) and boarding (8.2), demonstrating passenger acceptance of this secure technology to deliver a seamless journey.

Baggage collection is another area where technology is improving the passenger experience. Airlines and airports are helping to relieve the anxiety of waiting for bags to arrive by providing real-time information to passengers. On their last flight, more than half (58%) of passengers who checked in bags received real-time bag-collection information upon arrival. These passengers were happier than those who did not receive any information, rating their experience 8.4 out 10. Passengers are even more satisfied when they receive the information to their mobile devices. SITA’s survey shows that this bumped up satisfaction levels by an extra 10%.

Technology is also driving passenger satisfaction for baggage management earlier in the journey as more airlines and airports offer self-bag tagging. The use of this technology increased satisfaction to a rating of 8.4 out of 10. Nearly half (47%) of all passengers took advantage of a self-service tagging option on their most recent trip, which is a healthy increase from 31% in 2016. As more self-bag tag options are made available we can expect passenger satisfaction at this point of the journey to increase.

This year’s survey also highlights that as passengers become more familiar using technology during travel, the more likely they are to switch to newer, more efficient platforms. They are increasingly using smarter, mobile-enabled websites to book and check-in. Airline and airport apps, meanwhile, meet passengers’ desire for new services to help them better manage their journey. They want personalized information about their flight, their baggage and how to find their gate directly on their mobile device. The appetite for new services using technology is high: three quarters (74%) of passengers say they would definitely use flight and gate alerts pushed to their mobile devices; 57% would use airport wayfinding; and 57% would use biometrics to smooth identification each step of the way. Gutlin said: “Passengers aren’t deciding anymore whether they should use technology but which technology to use. They want to make each step of the journey as easy as possible. Tech adoption will be driven by both context and usability. For this reason, a clear focus on the end-users’ demands should shape the services airlines and airports offer.” This is the 12th edition of the SITA/ATW Passenger IT Trends Survey. It was conducted with more than 7,000 passengers from 17 countries across the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa representing almost three-quarters of global passenger traffic.


MORE STUFF

BizJets

Don’t forget, The Business Aircraft show is on now and more than 90 aircraft on static display in Las Vegas. They also have a nearly sold-out indoor static display on the exhibit floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). In addition to the incredible static displays, they will also have over 1,100 other exhibitors showcasing every product and service Biz Aircraft could possibly need. July 10-11-12.

Blockchain

Don’t know what it is? Here is a fast definition from SpeedNews: Suffice to say that it is a huge, global distributed ledger or database running on many devices and open to anyone within the blockchain. In the Blockchain, information, or anything of value can be stored. Its purpose is to ensure a 100 percent secure, verifiable and traceable database protocol. And here is the story with an aviation focus.

ReOrgs

Airbus has completed it’s Commercial Aircraft reorganization and now has the four divisions as a single company – Commercial Aircraft, Helicopters, Space, and Defense. Further, Airbus now has one single corporate headquarters in Toulouse, home to the Company’s single largest industrial site, Commercial Aircraft. We should probably also note that Boeing has now reorganized along a similar line too – Commercial, Defense, Space, and Services.

Airplane Data Growth

And lastly, if you suspected that the data available from new planes has increased – give yourself a pat on the back! Check it out!

60 percent of Panasonic’s airline customers now offer 3.5G connectivity

Lake Forest, CA | July 6, 2017– Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) subsidiary AeroMobile today announced that it has added 100th aircraft to its 3.5G mobile network. With 60 percent of airlines now offering 3.5G inflight connectivity, users of the AeroMobile service grew by 57 percent between 4Q16 and 1Q17.

The AeroMobile service allows passengers to use their own mobile devices to text, make calls, listen to voicemail and browse the internet while inflight. The service is easy to use with no onboard payment or registration; passengers simply turn on their mobile device to connect to the network and are billed directly by their mobile operator.

Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile comments: “The milestone of 100 3.5G connected aircraft is testament to the continued airline adoption of the service and strong passenger demand.

“We have seen rapid growth in the 3.5G service and already 60 percent of our airline partners are rolling it out. In 2017 alone, 3.5G connected aircraft have already flown to 127 destinations in 65 countries.”

The inflight 3.5G network is complementary to Panasonic’s global inflight connectivity service. It offers passengers a simple and elegant way to stay in touch with friends, family, co-workers and current events while in the air. It gives passengers the same connectivity options as they have on the ground, and when combined with inflight Wi-Fi, enables data speeds that are comparable to a terrestrial service.

AeroMobile’s phone service is already in use on over 500 aircraft across 21 airlines worldwide including Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, Air France, Alitalia, Emirates, Etihad, EuroWings, EVA Air, Cathay Pacific, KLM, Kuwait Airways, Lufthansa, Malindo Air, Qatar Airways, SAS, Singapore Airlines, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, SWISS, Turkish Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

AeroMobile was the first to introduce mobile phone services in 2008 and now has over 350 roaming agreements in more than 150 countries.

United Airlines’ Boeing 767 aircraft to be equipped with Cobham’s AVIATOR 300D and Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband-Safety

United Kingdom | June 14, 2017– Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, and Cobham SATCOM, the leading manufacturer of satellite communications solutions, today announced that United Airlines will participate in a technology evaluation of SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S), Inmarsat’s next generation flight deck communications platform.

SB-S will be evaluated on four United Airlines’ Boeing 767 aircraft, which will be installed with Cobham’s AVIATOR 300D satcom system. It offers global, high-speed, secure connectivity for the flight deck. Enabling powerful and flexible communications with real-time inflight information, the service enhances airline safety, asset utilisation, security, and operations.

United Airlines’ evaluation of the IP-based broadband service is part of the aviation giant’s ongoing commitment to best-in-class operations, safety and service. During this evaluation, United Airlines will deploy its equipped planes in the highly congested North Atlantic airspace. It will use the new platform for communications and surveillance with Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance Contract (ADS-C) messaging.

SB-S also provides a range of ‘always on, always secure’ applications, which United Airlines will be able to use. These include continual positional awareness for flight tracking, flight data streaming (known as “Black Box in the Cloud”) and real-time electronic flight bag applications, such as networked graphical weather. Operational benefits include more fuel-efficient routes and the ability to transmit vital aircraft performance and positioning data in real time.

Installations of the AVIATOR 300D systems on United Airlines’ planes are scheduled to commence later this year. The systems include Cobham’s IGA-5001 Intermediate Gain Antenna and will use the AVIATOR 300D Supplemental Type Certificate developed by L2 Aviation.

Chuck Stewart, United Airlines Chief Technical Pilot for Communications, said: “United is excited about installing and using this powerful new communications capability as we expect to see it enhancing our operational efficiency, especially in places like the North Atlantic.”

Andy Beers, Director, Global Aero Sales, Cobham SATCOM, said: “We are excited about this latest opportunity to contribute to the ongoing evaluation of SwiftBroadband-Safety as it supports our development of communication technologies Cobham SATCOM is rolling out to meet the future needs of the aviation community, particularly our AVIATOR S Series next generation product line, designed specifically to leverage Inmarsat’s new SB-S services.”

Captain Mary McMillan, Inmarsat Aviation Vice President of Safety and Operational Services, said: “As a progressive and innovative airline, United is making an important move anticipating the future of aviation. With SB-Safety’s secure broadband platform, it will be able to benefit from the fully connected flight deck that delivers improved safety and security, better efficiency and optimised fleet performance.”

When IFExpress heard about the recent promotion of David Bruner as the Vice President, Global Sales & Marketing for Panasonic Avionics Corporation, we could not think of a better person to fill the roll. David is now responsible for sales, marketing and customer relations for all Panasonic Avionics products and services. His previous position within PAC was the Vice President of Global Communication Services. The Panasonic website goes on to say; “David has been with Panasonic for 13 years. Previously he served as Vice President of Global Communications Services where he led the company’s efforts to establish a global, high-speed satellite network. Under David’s direction, Panasonic became the first company to offer global connectivity, live television and mobile phone services across multiple mobility markets including air transport; oil, energy and mining; maritime; cruise lines; and mega yachts. David has also held executive positions for General Dynamics Airborne Electronic Systems, InflightOnline – a web Media Company focused on the inflight market and AT&T Aviation. In total, he has over 35 years in the software, communications and aerospace industries including 5 years at American Airline’s SABRE group.”

While the aforementioned is an apt summary of his years in the IFEC and airline industry, IFExpress reached out to other industry aficionados who have known David for a long time about the recent Panasonic promotion. John Courtright, Director of Sales and Marketing at SIE, and he told IFExpress: “I’ve known David for 20+ years and he is the consummate professional. Our careers have had similar tracks: we both were Senior Systems Analysts at major U.S. carriers, I was at United and David at American. I think that experience gave David the strong business and analytical skills he carried forward later in his career. David has always known the importance of Connectivity. As Senior VP at AT&T Wireless, Aviation Division, he drove the expansion of passenger connectivity and the emergence of making data available to the cabin and crew alike. In his new role as head of IFE and GCS Sales, I expect David to continue Panasonic’s strong presence in the IFEC industry.”

Mary Rogozinski, VP Airlines, SmartSky Networks  said: “I always like to tell the story about meeting David back when he was with Sabre and I was with UA (in the 90’s).  We were both at a 777 working together meeting at Boeing.  It was one of my very first industry meetings.  I had to leave early and planned to take a Boeing customer bus back to the airport.  I get on the van to find it filled with AA folks including David.  At first I felt very awkward (back in those days, airlines didn’t socialize much), but David and team made me feel right at home.  I then went on to work with David at just about every company he worked at subsequently.  I regrettably threw out all of those business cards, there must have been about 15.  A high or lowlight had to have been when we worked together on the 777 launch.  David was at Claircom and they had done a good job pitching their phone service for the UA widebody fleet.  We worked late one night on the deal and both ended the day thinking Claircom would be UA’s next phone service provider.  But we woke up to the information that UA’s management team had given the incumbent service one last chance to bid, winning the program.  David took it in stride, in his unique cheerful way (maybe with a few cocktails.)”

“Over the years, I truly look forward to seeing David and that kind of impish smile of his, and catching up on all the goings on with work, family and the industry.  He has always been a good and fair person to work with and I have always had the sense that he will take care of his customers.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I was ever one of them.  Sorry Dave.”

We at IFExpress have had the pleasure of working with David for over 30 years. Internally, we debated and discussed his recent promotion as a writing point and we unanimously noted that if we wanted to discuss just about any aspect of our industry, David Bruner was one of the first people we would ask. Why? Because, he  understands the question, usually knows the answer, and is gracious when he delivers his reply – even if our question was less than correct, or our information was incomplete.

Needless to say, IFExpress recently took the opportunity to talk with David about the IFEC industry:

1. Tell our readers about the IFE(C) market for new aircraft for the next 3 years or so, given that aircraft sales are falling?

A: Even though aircraft sales aren’t at the same all-time high levels as previous years, there are plenty of opportunities for companies like Panasonic that can deliver tailored solutions closely aligned to each airline’s business needs and the expectations of its passengers.

2.Do you see the IFEC market changing over the next 5 years based on what passengers are carrying? What does IFEC have to offer over carry-ons – today and in the future?

A: The IFEC market is perpetually changing. From embedded systems to PEDs to the ever increasing use of wearable technology, IFEC providers need to be able to provide platforms that allow airlines, passengers and crew to interact and stay connected easily and effectively.

That is one of the reasons why we have introduced our new NEXT IFEC platform. We have in essence re-written our rule book for how we engage with airlines – moving from a product-based sales approach to one where we build tailored solutions based on their business needs, using the flexibility of our platform coupled with the versatility of our integrated ecosystem of value-added services, tools, applications, and partnerships.

3. What, in your opinion, will be the hardest bridge to cross in the next few years in IFEC?

A: The industry needs to focus on how to fully enable a truly dynamic, digitally connected business platform in flight. When you have a flexible platform backed by a global connectivity network and comprehensive ecosystem, you can radically change the industry.

For example when you combine our NEXT platform with services like ZeroTouch, you begin to liberate airlines from the accepted 30-day refresh media cycle. We’re opening up content on demand services, concierge services, real-time CRM, and much more.

This kind of dynamic content update gives airlines the ability to efficiently and cost-effectively personalize services for their passengers. This will fundamentally address some of the complaints about air travel from both airlines and passengers.

4. IFEC and new connectivity capability should usher in more cabin/system connections to the ground but Panasonic is an IFEC company. How will you folks get into the side of “data” that others have been focused on for years and can you give our readers a bit of why you will succeed?

A: Panasonic Avionics is already highly engaged in this area in a number of ways. Probably the biggest is ZeroTouch which we launched last October and has already received high levels of interest from airlines. ZeroTouch is a unique and innovative service that simultaneously gives airlines real-time visibility into performance, improves the efficiency of their maintenance operations and also enables data transfer of passenger-facing content to an aircraft to improve the passenger experience. The service will reduce an airline’s need to physically touch its aircraft because all interactions are managed through a virtual dashboard. By providing access to real-time passenger data, software, media and content updates can be data-driven, helping to deliver a relevant and personalized passenger experience.

With over 70 airline customers we are having success helping airlines to see that the “C” in IFEC is more than passenger WIFI. As a global network operator, we are helping airlines use broadband connectivity to deliver new solutions — solutions that make passengers happier through better crew service, accessibility to the airlines app for constant real-time communications, health monitoring of all systems inflight, passenger and cargo security and more. This application of connectivity, with the onboard computing platform, will have the same powerful impact on the market as the introduction of the CRS’s of the 1960’s and 70’s.

5. David, you have been around this game for around 30 years now, can you tell our readers about the changes you have seen in working with airlines and what advice would you give them with the new technology in IFEC?

A: IFEC has changed dramatically since I entered the industry however the objectives are still the same: an excellent audio and video experience, an ever-increasing choice of content, and more control over how and when content is viewed. Over the last 10 years, however, the rate of change in our industry has greatly accelerated with the advent of inflight connectivity.

The advice I would give to an airline is to treat IFEC like all key interaction points of the passenger experience. From our experience, it has tremendous potential to enhance an airline’s brand — and therefore value — significantly. As such, it is worth the investment but only if the IFEC offering is aligned with an airline’s commercial objectives and the needs of its passengers. So involve an IFEC provider at the start of the decision making process, help them understand your needs, treat them like a partner, not a supplier – and the results will undoubtedly be better.

6. How important is the capability to engage the passenger from the point of ticket purchase, then throughout the remainder of their journey? What unique capabilities does Panasonic bring to this process?

A: Enabling airlines to engage with their passengers throughout a longer process adds value to the passenger experience, and so has the potential to enhance the airline’s brand. We recognized this several years ago and developed the APIs that led to commercial deployment of Companion Apps – which are designed to span the passenger travel thread, enabling airlines to curate and integrate all aspects of the passenger experience. Singapore Airline was the first to take advantage of our program, and today its passengers can immerse themselves in their experience pre-flight, during flight and post-flight, bringing the benefits of the wide range of content and information to passengers for a much longer period of time.

7. Over the next 10 years, much of the hardware within the aircraft cabin will be able to report wirelessly – think galleys, lavs, lights, seats, etc. Besides providing the pipe and the satcom equipment, how does Panasonic foresee participating in this real-time operations arena?

A: Panasonic already participates in this arena in a wide range of areas, using connectivity to enable airlines to better manage their aircraft and communicate with both their passengers and crews. Just one example of this is the real-time fleet monitoring tool that is an integral part of ZeroTouch, a key element of Panasonic’s integrated ecosystem – which enables airlines to be more operationally robust and efficient, ultimately enhancing the passenger experience whilst helping to keep operating costs contained.

8. Does Panasonic see the technology driving the consumer market and the evolutions of IFEC hardware flattening out over the next 10 – 15 years? If so, will Panasonic be focusing more on new software iterations that improve performance and capabilities utilizing existing hardware technologies?

A: I don’t necessarily see a slow down in the advent of new consumer technologies and, as an IFEC solutions provider, we must continue to anticipate them, evolving to remain at the leading edge of making the step from the ground to the inflight experience a seamless one. We have a team that is solely dedicated to looking at new, emerging technologies and their potential impact to air travel. In fact, many of these technologies have been on display in our “Cool Room” at industry events. Some examples of recent demonstrations include 8K displays, smart surfaces, VR and AR. While not everything is applicable, we continue to bring innovation to the cabin. A great example of this is our NFC solution, which was the industry’s first.

This kind of flexibility is intrinsic with our new NEXT platform. We believe that this will help us adapt and evolve our offering more effectively than ever before.

9. Hacking has been getting bigger and we have seen Panasonic’s response to some issues. Can you give us an update to the focus from your company?

A: Panasonic continues to take a proactive approach to hacking. We not only continually test the robustness of our systems, but also regularly engage with security professionals who wish to test our systems legitimately through our Bug Bounty program. We recently concluded our second annual Inflight Security Conference. This customer event is a great example of our commitment to ensuring the security of all systems we design and deliver. We had 65 attendees from around the world who were treated to two days of in depth discussions with our security teams, trusted partners, and even Robert Herjavec, guest star of ABC’s TV shows “Shark Tank” and “Dancing with the Stars” and founder of the Herjavec Group, which is a global leader and service provider of security solutions for enterprise level organizations.

Editor’s Note: At the next trade show, if you have the opportunity to meet David we strongly encourage you to do so, or if you just want to say congratulations you can reach him at david.bruner@panasonic.aero

 


Other News:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

EBACE, Geneva, Switzerland | May 23, 2017–

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

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

Recent upgrades to GoDirect Cabin Connectivity applications include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In this week’s edition of IFExpress we have Gogo, APEX, Boeing and a few other bits of information – so let’s get started!

Gogo
Gogo is announcing K5-Aviation as its first 2Ku business aviation customer in Europe, marking a significant milestone for the company. The first airframe in business aviation that will fly with Gogo’s 2Ku technology is an Airbus ACJ319 operated by K5-Aviation, a leading operator of ACJ aircraft, based in Germany. Fokker Services B.V. managed the 2Ku installation design and system integration including the EASA STC. Installation was performed at its facilities in Hoogerheide, The Netherlands.
“This is a great day for K5-Aviation because it brings Gogo’s newest technology to our cabin which means our passengers can stay connected almost anywhere we fly around the globe,” said Luca Madone of K5-Aviation. “Productivity during flight will increase with 2Ku, which will allow our passengers to drive their business forward even when traveling. They will also have the ability to live stream news, entertainment and sporting events.”

Gogo’s 2Ku technology delivers industry-leading performance globally, which means passengers can do the same things they do on the ground. For business aviation, that means live video conferencing, fast Internet browsing and streaming video. 2Ku is designed to take advantage of innovations happening in space and is compatible with newer high-throughput and low-earth orbit satellites when they become available. This means the technology will get better in time without having to touch an aircraft. This flexibility means Gogo’s customers can be confident the system is future ready and ahead of the curve from a technology perspective.

2Ku is a unique dual antenna system developed by Gogo to bring global streaming-capable Internet to large aircraft. The technology benefits from global coverage and the redundancy of more than 180 satellites in the Ku-band. With more than 170 systems installed today across eight airlines on five continents, and more than 1600 total aircraft awarded to 2Ku across 14 of the largest airlines around the globe, 2Ku is one of the most successful in-flight connectivity products ever developed.

We further note that Gogo discovered that nearly 50 percent of millennial travelers expect their connected experience in the air to be the same as on the ground. This key finding from Gogo’s Global Traveler study The Travelers of Tomorrow shows that connectivity anywhere and everywhere is no longer a hope, it’s an expectation. This study uncovers in-flight connectivity trends from “future travelers” between the ages of 18 and 35, because their preferences will ultimately shape the future of travel. “Passengers simply expect more from inflight connectivity today — no longer is there a distinction between enjoying movies at home, sending emails from a café or binge watching at 35,000 feet,” said Alyssa Hayes, Director of Insights at Gogo. “As our research suggests, younger travelers are most comfortable with headphones on, laptop open and smartphone in hand. As the leader in inflight connectivity, we can help airlines keep pace with passenger expectations now and in the future with Gogo 2Ku high speed connectivity.”

Not only are these passengers expressing hopes for the future, but they also are making travel decisions today based on connectivity:
While 90 percent of future travelers have a preferred airline, 48 percent said they would choose another airline if Wi-Fi was not available on their preferred flight.

Future travelers are more likely to multi-task on their devices during flights with 46 percent of the 18 to 35 age bracket using Wi-Fi and watching a movie or show on their device compared to just 33 percent of travelers older than 35 doing so.

Ninety-two percent of future travelers are interested in using their own device in flight, and 48 percent said they prefer to stream their own content to their own device.

Sixty-three percent of future travelers think more flights should offer Wi-Fi, and 56 percent of them use their smartphone on the plane compared to just 27 percent of older travelers.

Gogo’s 2Ku technology allows passengers to have the same experience in the air as on their couch at home. The new technology enables streaming video, fast browsing and multi-device viewing. 2Ku can be found today on more than 170 aircraft across several global airlines. More than 1,600 total aircraft are slated to receive the technology representing 13 global airlines.

The Travelers of Tomorrow study is the first of the 2017 Gogo Global Traveler Research Series, Gogo’s global study that examines travelers’ inflight habits, behaviors and preferences. It covers 15 countries across six regions around the world and includes data collected from more than 4,500 travelers who flew within the last year. To learn more, visit gogoair.com/globaltraveler

We should also note the following: Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. announced that its in-flight connectivity (IFC) solution demonstrated unprecedented end-user throughput of over 100Mbps in Gogo’s live airborne media and investor event. Gilat’s airborne modem powers Gogo’s 2Ku service and will be installed in over 1600 aircraft across more than 13 airlines, commencing this year. On May 9th 2017, Gogo hosted a major, high visibility industry event on their Boeing 737 test plane, the “Jimmy Ray.” Analysts and media applauded Gogo’s 2Ku system and Gilat’s modem, which demonstrated over 100Mbps performance. This is acknowledged to be the highest performance ever achieved onboard a commercial aircraft, as well as demonstrating continuous service with excellent user experience. The test flight not only confirmed its noteworthy throughput and user experience, but also successfully demonstrated interoperability capabilities of Gilat’s aero modem with the aircraft’s Communication (IFEC) avionic system. As previously announced, Gogo selected Gilat to provide the onboard VSAT modem and satellite baseband infrastructure for its next generation IFC solution. The recent flights were done upon completion of Supplement Type Certifications (STC) for this system for Boeing and Airbus aircrafts.


A Possible InFlight Electronics Ban
While the US Government has neither confirmed or denied the possibility of an “All Europe” inflight laptop ban into the US, it is expected this month, although some experts question whether it will be as extensive as all inclusive as the one from 10 Middle East airports today. Also unknown if the rumored laptop exclusions will be surrendered at the gate or relinquished to the baggage hold during check-in at the ticket counters – not to mention flights that progress through European airports. We want to point out that banned  PED (iPads, tablets, laptops) types are an unknown at the time of this writing. But if you think about it, getting your data on a phone and learning to love IFE again, might be a good idea. We do know that London’s Heathrow has begun the process of early screening, but like everybody else – they are waiting for the US to demand the change.


APEX And The Electronics Ban
APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association), a four-decade old international airline trade association, called for a hold on the electronics band expansion to Europe as (they) hosted a biometrics workshop with major airlines and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (U.S. DHS) Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP).

Speaking at the Aviation Festival Americas with more than 60 airlines, APEX CEO, Joe Leader, pushed suggested “green listing” passengers as cleared to carry electronics on restricted routes through the biometric facial recognition initiative being put forward by the U.S. DHS CBP in place of the electronics ban.

“Having the electronics ban spread to the European Union for flights to the United States would damage the personal freedoms integral to international air travel. We must stand together with government solutions for personal electronics that enable both security and accessibility for our airline passengers worldwide,” said Leader. “Biometric identification of passengers that are pre-cleared to travel with electronics would enable a viable potential solution with the U.S. DHS CBP ready to provide immediate technological facilitation.”

APEX sounded the alarm in March when the airline electronics ban started as we warned that it could easily spread as reported today. In the United States alone, carriers in less than 30 days have removed more than one million annual passenger long-haul seats  from the airports affected by the United States electronics ban alone.

“As the leading international airline association focused on passenger experience, APEX has actively and repeatedly expressed that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.K Department of Transport should institute government approved solutions for electronics rather than the existing airline electronics ban.” Leader stated. “Fighting potential threats means finding government solutions that do not take the laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, and large phones out of the hands of the millions of law-abiding passengers that use them every day. We owe our air travelers worldwide the best options to make their flights enjoyable and productive.”

Results from APEX’s Global Passenger Survey released last year, show airline passengers frequently bring their personal electronics devices on-board aircraft for use in-flight:

  • 43% of worldwide airline passengers bring a tablet device on-board with 70% of these passengers using their tablet device in-flight;
  • 38% of worldwide airline passengers bring a laptop computer on-board with 42% of these passengers using their laptop in-flight; and
  • 22% of worldwide airline passengers bring e-Readers on-board with 77% of these passengers using their e-Reader in-flight.””

You might also want to read this ExtremeTech piece on the subject as they point out that a cabin full of laptops placed in cargo containers just might put another problem in a place (in the baggage hold) where fire control may have limited capability to affect a potential disaster. US Considering Banning All Laptops on Flights From Europe – ExtremeTech


Boeing
The fourth Boeing [NYSE: BA] Inmarsat-5 satellite, which was launched yesterday, will noticeably expand the high-speed broadband service available through Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network after the satellite becomes fully operational later this year.

The Inmarsat-5 satellites are uniquely able to provide seamless communications coverage through fixed and steerable beams that can be adjusted in real time to accommodate demand surges. “Inmarsat-5 F4 joins our existing Global Xpress constellation, which is already being adopted as the new standard in global mobile broadband connectivity by companies, governments and communities around the world,” said Michele Franci, CTO, Inmarsat. “Boeing has been an outstanding partner in our journey to make Global Xpress a reality.”

This is the fourth Inmarsat-5 satellite Boeing has built for Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network. After reaching its final orbit, the satellite will undergo testing and checkout before being declared operational. “Our partnership with Inmarsat has enabled the creation of the world’s only commercial global, mobile Ka-band network,” said Mark Spiwak, president, Boeing Satellite Systems International. “This unique achievement is an example of Boeing’s continuing commitment to deliver reliable, affordable and innovative solutions for our customers.”

Boeing has a strategic marketing partnership with Inmarsat and currently provides both military Ka-band and commercial Global Xpress services to U.S. government customers.

For more information on Defense, Space & Security, visit www.boeing.com.

Boeing and Primera Air today announced an order for eight 737 MAX 9 airplanes, valued at more than $950 million at list prices. The agreement also includes purchase rights for four additional 737 MAX 9s and a lease agreement for eight more airplanes from Air Lease Corporation.

The 737 MAX 9 will form the backbone of the low-cost airline’s future as it seeks to commence flights between Europe and North America. Primera Air plans to use the MAX 9’s auxiliary fuel tanks to lower trip costs and maximize the range to accommodate flights connecting Europe to the east coast of the U.S.

“The 737 MAX 9 will allow Primera Air to open up nonstop, long-haul routes from Europe to the U.S. with unmatched economics,” said Andri M. Ingolfsson, President, Primera Air. “This aircraft has a lower per-seat cost than the current wide body aircraft servicing the transatlantic and the capabilities of this aircraft type will change the economics of the industry. This will open up fantastic possibilities for growth for Primera Air in the future.”

Scandinavia’s Primera Air is an all-Boeing carrier currently operating a fleet of nine Next-Generation 737-700s and 737-800s with flights to more than 70 airports in Europe. Primera Air is part of the Primera Travel Group that operates travel agencies and tour operating companies in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Estonia.

The MAX 8 and 9 will be followed in 2019 by the smaller MAX 7 and higher capacity MAX 200, while studies and customer discussions continue on further growing the family. The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market. The 737 MAX has accumulated more than 3,700 orders from 87 customers worldwide.


Delta orders 30 additional A321s
Delta Air Lines has placed an incremental order for 30 firm A321ceo aircraft. This order follows three previous Delta orders for the Current Engine Option version of the largest Airbus A320 Family member. The airline took delivery of its first A321 in March of last year. Delta now has ordered a total of 112 A321s, each powered by CFM56 engines from CFM International.

All of Delta’s A321s will feature fuel-saving Sharklets – lightweight composite wingtip devices that offer up to 4 percent fuel-burn savings. This environmental benefit gives airlines the option of extending their range up to 100 nautical miles/185 kilometres or increasing payload capacity by some 1000 pounds/450 kilograms.

Many of Delta’s A321s are being delivered from the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama. The airline received its first U.S.-manufactured A321 last year. By the end of 2017, the Airbus facility in Mobile is expected to produce four aircraft per month, most going to Airbus’ U.S. customers.

As of the end of April, Delta was flying a fleet of 187 Airbus aircraft, including 145 A320 Family members and 42 A330 widebodies.


Rumors
A rumor monger told us that this past Thursday was a bad day for a large IFEC outfit and that 45+ folks on the West Coast were let go, as well as, at least 25 on the East Coast. We won’t mention names as our request for more information was ignored.

This week IFExpress features a few more AIX booths we visited, as well as, a bit more news. Keep your eyes on TelefonixPDT for greater market penetration and on digEcor for the same – there is a lot happening and we will have more in the coming weeks.

1. TelefonixPDT

TelefonixPDT is like a Swiss army knife – they have a solution for virtually every IFE hardware challenge! IFExpress had the opportunity to catch up with them during AIX earlier this month. As always, the company exhibited some great hardware components including some new iterations, specifically from their Summit Product Line. Now, Let’s look at some of the individual products that we saw in their booth.

CabinACe-2 WAP:
From an airplane perspective, TelefonixPDT has finalized an STC on the 737. In fact, CabinACe-2 Wireless Access Point (WAP) is the first commercially available ARINC 628 compliant 802.11ac, Wave 2 product for commercial aircraft wireless environments. The CabinACe-2 WAP enables the highest capacity performance and efficiency in extremely high-density environments for enhanced connectivity and passenger experience. The new WAP features a small footprint and low power consumption making it suitable for both linefit and retrofit installations. With a concurrent data rate of 1.73 Gbps in 5 GHz and 800 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz range (aggregated date rate of 2.5 Gbps), the CabinACe-2 product delivers next generation performance for passengers. Oh and by the way, TelefonixPDT told us that customers can use the STC for free!

CabinPinnacle:
CabinPinnacle general-purpose airborne server/router is a complete, highly integrated, application-ready platform for Ethernet-based network installations. The server integrates a quad core 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB of DDR3 memory and supports connectivity and bandwidth demands utilizing features such as an L2/L3 managed Gigabit Ethernet Switch with eleven externally available Gigabit Ethernet ports. Designed specifically for aircraft environments, this ARINC 600 4MCU form factor includes six ARINC 429 channels, 20 aircraft discrete I/Os, and integrated self-healing health monitoring. The server also supports both Linux and Windows operating systems as well as the availability of integrated software APIs for maximum flexibility. The company told us that they are in the process of finishing linefit offerability at Boeing and in the near term the product will be offerable both linefit and retrofit for both Airbus and Boeing aircraft. The system architect, Eric Tartar said, “The CabinPinnacle is the Swiss Army Knife of routers! And as customers need it, we will add features.”

CabinEdge:
Another product that we found interesting was the CabinEdge stand-alone content loader that supports network delivery of In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) content and is meant to be permanently installed on cabin monuments. The content loader utilizes small form factor, low-cost, commercially available USB “thumb drives” as the content transfer medium. The unit loads digitally stored, encrypted content in the background in an unattended fashion. A keyed tumbler lock provides security and ensures that loaded content remains secure until the next update. Simply installing the small form factor USB drives and closing the interface door automatically sends the signal to the onboard software to “mount” the drives and begin the process of loading content to the front end server. The onboard software automatically cross-checks with the locally stored content and updates files as required at better than USB 2.0 speeds.

Encompass:
One of the more surprising products that we saw from TelefonixPDT was Encompass – a portable, low-cost, full-featured, wireless IFE product. The TelefonixPDT Encompass server is a small form factor, wireless IFE system designed to meet the requirements of short term aircraft trials and long term IFE solution needs. The unit’s small size and weight make it perfect for deployment in overhead storage bins; and with 12 hours of continuous battery operation, this open source solution is not only easy to operate, but is also easy to customize to meet airline needs. Software SDK is available to quick-start DRM and content management application and high capacity SSD storage ensures that there is ample content for streaming to passenger devices. Without the certification requirements of traditional embedded solutions, the Encompass all-in-one server is a solution that minimizes cost while still delivering the quality experience.

Editor’s Note: The Encompass is basically a portable server/WAP that the folks at TelefonixPDT note was redesigned after a number of application trials. They told IFExpress that they integrated the charging bay(s) into the unit. With the application of external power, the unit can charge its internal batteries while on the airplane. We note that there will probably be more one-box systems flying on more and more single-aisle aircraft in the near future and we see this as an evolving technology trend. Historically, this trend started back with the portable single-box IFE solutions (think AirFi). IFExpress believes this product is an excellent solution for the business jet wIFE market.

CabinVista:
The last component of the Summit Line that we saw was the CabinVista Cabin Control Panel. The panel interfaces directly with the IFEC. This multipurpose product can be used as the primary control mechanism to the passenger IFEC system and to initiate PA announcements and cabin chimes. The CabinVista unit also provides 2 external interfaces to allow for uploading and downloading content to onboard servers via USB thumb drives.

Lastly, we should note that TelefonixPDT is continuing their expansion into Europe and Asia. They have arrangements in place for a manufacturing facility in China that should come online before APEX of this year. The company will still maintain their manufacturing facility in the USA to sell to other markets, while the China manufacturing facility will focus primarily on the growing Chinese aviation market.

2. digEcor
IFExpress had the opportunity to touch base with David Withers CEO of digEcor during the AIX extravaganza. David told us that it has been four years since he purchased the company and that their focus since then has been on developing modular and flexible product offerings to the aviation industry. They have achieved this by leveraging on the digEcor product, introducing LED lighting and power; as well as, enhancing the GLIDE product offering and the Wi-Fi feature to their roster. “We want to offer modular and flexible solutions that any airline can use,” said Mr. Withers. “Wi-Fi has a place in our industry, especially alongside power.” Power at the seat is the highest demand and the company has been focusing on how to integrate power easily into their offering.

digEcor had a key new customer announcement during the week – Air Tahiti Nui for the rollout of their ENGAGE cabin crew mobile solution. David Withers, digEcor Chief Executive Officer said, “ENGAGE has many benefits including access to passenger information and preferences, efficient service recovery, electronic forms and messaging.”

The company also had a few announcements regarding their GLIDE offering, including a milestone of delivery of the Integrated Flight Experience into the market, launching four new product lines including: Passenger Service Solutions (crew call, reading light and optional audio controls), LED Cabin Lighting, Cabin Management as well as digEcor’s own Moving Map product. Additionally, Corendon, a leisure based airline in Turkey, selected the GLIDE embedded system solution for their Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The new system will replace their legacy tape-based IFE offering. Mr. Withers told IFExpress, “The GLIDE embedded system is a leading component of digEcor’s Integrated Flight Experience comprising IFE, in-seat power, LED cabin lighting, passenger services, crew applications, cabin management, tape replacement, Wi-Fi streaming and content services.”


Other News:

Gogo
Gogo announced that veteran financial leader Barry Rowan was to join the company as an Executive Vice President and will assume the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) on May 4, 2017 following the Company’s first quarter earnings report. Rowan will lead Gogo’s financial operations, which includes financial planning and analysis, accounting, treasury, tax and investor relations. He will report to Michael Small, president and CEO.

Rowan has more than 30 years of financial management experience including a track record of success leading public companies.

Also, Gogo and global satellite operator SES announced a new capacity deal to enhance in-flight connectivity services for key air travel routes over North America and the Pacific Ocean. As part of the new agreement, Gogo has leased all available capacity on SES’s AMC-4 satellite, which SES will move to a new orbital location to serve flights to, from and within the states of Alaska and Hawaii, flights along the west coast of the U.S. and over the Pacific Ocean.”SES has a global fleet of over 50 GEO satellites in orbit, and will be launching five more satellites this year, three of which have massive throughput payloads. SES is one of the global operators who can quickly and effectively move existing assets and scale up across regions and routes where connectivity demand is on the rise. This robust global network of scalable, flexible satellite capacity enables SES to stay ahead of the ever-growing demands and requirements of the aero industry,” said Elias Zaccack, Senior Vice President of the Americas region and Mobility Solutions at SES. “With the recent launch of the SES-10 satellite, SES will place AMC-4 in an orbital slot to meet the growing demand for Gogo’s inflight connectivity services and allow us to further expand our alliance.”

SITA
Bologna is the first Italian airport to install SITA’s Scan&Fly units. The new bag drop units will initially be used by low-cost carrier Ryanair before being extended to other airlines. Bologna Airport is a fast-growing hub for Ryanair with more than 20 destinations and 170 flights a week. SITA is a global provider of award-winning bag drop solutions. Airlines and airports globally have welcomed the high-quality interface of Scan&Fly, the ease of its retro-fit and the ability to fully integrate with the SITA AirportConnect common-use platform.

Hamburg, DE | April 5, 2017– SITAONAIR is to pioneer inflight mobile services using high-speed broadband connectivity in an aviation industry first, the company has announced.

The world-leading inflight mobile service provider will deploy cutting-edge inflight 3.5G mobile network services over the high-speed broadband satellite connectivity of GX Aviation. Enhanced 3.5G capabilities will be available to all airlines through SITAONAIR’s popular Mobile ONAIR application by the end of 2017.

There is an insatiable hunger for inflight cellular connectivity, with 19 million passengers opting to connect to SITAONAIR’s inflight mobile services last year. This new technology will provide passengers and crew with high-speed, seamless connectivity, similar to the home experience.

In addition, SITAONAIR has established a wide-ranging deal with worldwide mobile operators to give passengers stress-free data bundles, simplifying billing through unlimited data usage and capped costs. It will also provide a potential opportunity for airlines to boost ancillary revenues through providing access to different revenue streams by monetizing the cellular service.

Francois-Xavier Mateo, SITAONAIR’s Head of Cabin, said: “SITAONAIR is the very first in the industry to be introducing future-proof inflight cellular technologies over GX Aviation. This announcement is a significant and exciting development for inflight mobile services.

“In 2016, an impressive 19 million airline passengers chose to connect to SITAONAIR’s inflight cellular network. By December this year, Mobile ONAIR will be delivering its enhanced broadband-based mobile experience for airline passengers.”

The future of mobile communications will continue to evolve with the rise of the Internet of Things market. By 2020 it is thought between 50-100 billion devices, including cellular based devices, will be connected to the internet. SITAONAIR, with its technology partners, is anticipating the coming revolution of the Internet of Things with its live 4G and 5G-ready mobile core network.

SITAONAIR would like to thank its chosen partners for their role in developing its solution:

  • MonacoTelecom for providing a 2G, 3.5G, 4G and 5G-ready mobile core network
  • Zodiac In-Flight Innovations, who will provide the next-generation airborne system
  • Aricent and ip.Access, suppliers of the radio access network elements
  • Axiros, who will provide, manage and troubleshoot inflight connectivity base stations using its AXESS.ACS platform.

Martin Peronnet, Monaco Telecom’s CEO, said: “Monaco Telecom is proud to contribute to SITAONAIR’s strategy helping it to build on its position as the undisputed world-leading inflight mobile service provider. Over the years we have made tremendous progress together to deliver world-class quality inflight telecommunications. The launch of SITAONAIR 3.5G mobile service using our future-proof core network infrastructure is a new major milestone in our partnership.“

Matt Smith, CEO of Zodiac In-Flight Innovations, added: “We are pleased to be partnering with SITAONAIR and providing them our proven hardware and software products including wireless streaming, GSM and now broadband (KA) as well as 3.5G connectivity systems. We look forward to a continued relationship and the first Ka-band and 3.5G installations later this year.”

For more information about Mobile ONAIR, and to discover the full SITAONAIR product and service range, visit www.sitaonair.aero

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Major Milestone Enables 2Ku to be Factory Installed on Airbus Aircraft

Chicago, IL | April 4, 2017– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, has been selected by Airbus as a lead supplier for its High Bandwidth Connectivity (HBC) program. The designation officially enables factory line-fit installation of Gogo’s 2Ku global satellite solution on Airbus A320 Family, A330, and A380 aircraft after successful offerability process and further system certification.

Being part of Airbus’ HBC program means airlines can place future aircraft orders with Airbus and have Gogo’s 2Ku technology installed at the factory on all major fleet types. Those aircraft are then delivered with the technology already installed and ready for service on day one.

“We are proud to be selected by Airbus as a supplier for Airbus’ high bandwidth connectivity program and look forward to working with them to provide our industry leading 2Ku solution to their customers,” says Anand Chari, executive vice president and CTO at Gogo. “The selection is acknowledgement of the traction we’ve made with 2Ku in the marketplace. It’s also validation of the long-term viability of this technology and its ability to serve commercial aviation for the foreseeable future.”

Gogo’s 2Ku technology is the most future-proof global technology for inflight connectivity and delivers streaming-video speeds to passengers. 2Ku enables a wide range of customizable experiences for Gogo’s airline partners. For passengers, it means in-flight Wi-Fi and wireless entertainment; for airlines, it means connecting flight attendants, pilots, crew, and the aircraft itself. Currently, Gogo has more than 1500 aircraft commitments to 2Ku representing 12 commercial airlines. Most of 1500+ aircraft are set to be flying with the technology by the end of 2018.

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

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

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

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

AeroSat’s FliteStream solutions are the only products available with patented “Rexolite® Lens” technology, which enables AeroSat to create the most efficient, reliable, and highest-performing connectivity systems available. Key features of the new FliteStream F-310 solution include:

  • Seamless connectivity for passengers to browse the internet, send and receive emails, make calls using Voice-Over-IP (VoIP), access virtual private network (VPN) services, conduct video conferences, and enjoy favorite work or entertainment applications
  • Highest performing Ku-band SATCOM antenna system, critical for maintaining low angle satellite coverage while flying at higher latitudes
  • A three-piece LRU system: antenna, antenna controller, and high power transceiver
  • Compliance with RTCA/DO-160 & RTCA/DO-178
  • Small size and light weight

In the next few years, airplane passengers will be seeing a lot of changes to the process of flying from point A to point B. On the surface, they won’t notice a lot of difference in the mechanics of flight transportation, but it is what is going on behind the scenes, especially in the IFEC world that will have changed significantly.

Passengers will still use their personal devices on the ground to obtain a ticket, they will be using their devices to check-in and board planes, and they will still be using all sorts of portable devices while inflight. While recent rules of onboard laptop usage might be restricted for security reasons (APEX News Release), globally there is too strong a need to manage and organize one’s life with the aid of a portable phone or connected personal device, including laptops. Why? With the technological advancements of the modern portable device, be it smartphone or wearable, people everywhere are demanding more data in order to stay connected and informed. Face it, installed inflight telephony; think Claircom, Inflight Phone and GTE Airfone, in the 1990’s delivered scratchy voice connectivity when compared to flying with a smartphone today. Passengers utilizing the connectivity options available to them now; whether it be voice, data, or streaming entertainment to their PED, experience a quality of service that far exceeds those provided by their connectivity predecessors. However, there is room for improvement given the ever-increasing demand for a larger pipe and more information to flow both too and from the aircraft.

Panasonic’s NEXT ‘Platform’

The next step is what this article is about. The Panasonic development of the next generation system is the focus in this week’s IFExpress. While Panasonic entertainment and communication products have evolved with the data need, the solutions moved from analog to digital because the answer for more ‘everything’ is an electronic one that includes both hardware and software. Thus, the next generation IFEC system from Panasonic is coming to the front of technology and, naturally, it is called the Panasonic NEXT Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity System.

According to Panasonic, The NEXT IFEC platform was developed specifically in response to current generation’s trends and challenges. The system powerfully combines hardware, software, and functionality to provide a tailored solution to airlines. More importantly, it’s enabled by the Panasonic ecosystem of value-added services, tools, applications, and partnerships. More on this later.

Panasonic’s vision with the NEXT platform was to help airlines overcome key challenges by transforming typically rigid entertainment systems into a flexible IFEC platform. With NEXT, Panasonic is introducing a scalable IFEC solution that blends the latest in inflight entertainment technology, connectivity services, and consumer technologies to help airlines reach their business objectives. This approach helps airlines maximize their investment by dramatically extending the lifespan of the IFEC platform.

A key differentiator with NEXT is its ability to help airlines maximize their investment by keeping IFEC perpetually and contextually relevant. It blends the latest advances in consumer technology, including 4K screens, Light ID, Bluetooth, and much more, backed by an intuitive interface that is simple for all passengers to use.

The value of the NEXT platform is increased exponentially by Panasonic’s integrated ecosystem of value-added services, tools, applications, and partnerships. This industry-leading ecosystem includes the company’s second-generation global connectivity network. More on this in a bit

To quote Panasonic; “By taking advantage of connectivity technology, today’s leading airlines are delivering experiences onboard unimaginable just ten years ago.” But note, improved connectivity to the plane is the first step in the process and Panasonic has been working this part of the solution for a number of years now. With the launch of numerous satellites with space/data allocated for Panasonic’s aviation use, the company claims worldwide connectivity coverage. Furthermore, they currently have over 1,600 aircraft with an installed base of satcom. It is also significant to note that the future of this connectivity service is not solely for passengers, especially in Panasonic’s eyes. Notes Panasonic: “Our connectivity service is configurable based on the airlines business objectives – the experience they want to offer their passengers and their operational data requirements … we will get back to the second part of this statement later. However, it is clear that both coming solutions will change the world of passenger and operational data.

The operational side of the equation includes: safety, operational performance, and real-time updates of hardware on much of the airplane that ordinarily would only be checked on the ground or during ground testing. This is a game changer for the airlines as well and Panasonic has planned services that will reshape the management of maintenance. Both airline and passengers will benefit from this real-time analysis. Hardware data analysis and tracking/reporting of onboard system monitoring and security analysis will improve airline operations and possibly ground operations, service times, turnaround and potentially inflight operations as well. Passengers get more data, ground and airborne interaction with the airline… not to mention more movies, more and better data services, which all add up to happier passengers and more profit potential for the airline. If this is not a big to deal to airlines now, it soon will be!

 

What is Changing?

We have mentioned what the passengers and crew get from a new technology and data driven system, so now let’s specifically look at the NEXT System or ‘platform  being developed by Panasonic. First, because the system is in development for the Boeing B777X (-X8 & -X9) and because this competitive solution is probably a tight competition, we cannot talk too much about the system capabilities. You can find out more about the Boeing 777 transport aircraft here. However, this might be a good time to note the Boeing future aircraft development possibilities. The Boeing B777-X8 is touted to be an approximately 350-passenger plane, while the B777-X9 is more like a 400+ passenger plane – and we understand that both are in the 2020+ development window. Obviously if the Panasonic NEXT ‘platform’ were to be for both aircraft models, a modular and scalable approach would be perfect for hardware, software, design, manufacturing, installation and even certification.

A good example of the integration of Panasonic technologies into the NEXT System is the ZeroTouch service, which was debuted at AIX Hamburg in 2016, and will definitely be integrated into the NEXT Service offering. Here is what Panasonic says about it: “The ZeroTouch Service Vision: Panasonic’s ZeroTouch service will reduce an airline’s need to physically touch the aircraft because all interactions are managed through a virtual dashboard. By providing access to real-time passenger data, software, media and content updates can be data-driven, helping to deliver a relevant and personalized passenger experience. Updates will be sent to an aircraft via three high-speed pipes – Wi-Fi at the gate, aircraft cell modem, or even in flight using Panasonic’s global broadband eXConnect service.” They went on to say: “When combined with dynamic content updates, the ZeroTouch service will offer an improvement from an airline’s traditional 30-day media update cycle by enabling live updates to data and files stored on a Panasonic inflight entertainment and communications system. Applications such as movies, games, advertising, live news, and more will be automatically loaded at any time, over any available communications pipe to an entire fleet. Strategic planning also will be made easier through the actionable insight solution provides. Airlines are presented with both a detailed picture of their aircraft and a broader overview of their fleet. This allows more informed decisions to be made in media consumption, system health monitoring, aircraft maintenance, and much more. The service automatically downloads critical operational data during flight meaning maintenance teams are notified of upcoming tasks and are able to prepare solutions prior to landing. Today Panasonic is in Phase One of its ZeroTouch service initiative, and is already delivering payloads of up to 700 Megabytes to aircraft over cell modem and its eXConnect service multiple times per day.”

 

What Is NEXT?

It is scalable, it is modular and NEXT is for widebody, narrow body, everybody!

Again, we should emphasize that the Panasonic NEXT System is considered to be a ‘platform’ by the company,  and this point was continually stressed throughout our discussions with them. There are several  reasons for this platform approach that make sense from a product and certification point of view: 

1. Because the new plane system will comprise multiple capabilities and offerings, different airlines will require different solutions; therefore, it has to be modular, and thus the ‘platform’ solution fits the general description of the Panasonic offering. By considering NEXT a ‘platform’ Panasonic can offer solutions with modular upgrades and/or product dash numbers that might include different software and/or hardware features. Here are a few that they specifically mentioned: aircraft and system monitoring, BITE, Maintenance centers and data communication, actionable analytics, passenger data integration software and solutions, and on and on. This ‘platform’ solution will keep potential certification issues at a minimum as they will not have Model/Box Numbers, but rather the ‘platform’ will only need the added box/software/card certs. This is only IFExpress’ speculation but if certification issues can be reduced, costs will be too.

2. The future of these airline/airplane required and selected capabilities, data storage, and management functions may make a ‘platformed’ system available as a design concept for other aircraft! A perfect example will probably be the Boeing 797 (the next, bigger-than-the-B737 plane) the potential Boeing midsize aircraft that is the required airplane series to address the ‘Middle Market’ – 4500 nm to 5500 nm sweet spot and carry somewhere between 180 to 280 passengers. The significant issue is that the NEXT platform will be scalable to address all different aircraft model types – single aisle, twin aisle, and the elusive middle market aircraft of the future. This will allow airlines to scale their systems depending on route, aircraft size, and demographics, while maintaining a ‘commonality’ across their fleet and it is NEXT’s modularity that allows this to happen.

Make no mistake, the NEXT platform will incorporate an improved modem for their new view of passenger and airline connectivity needs. Here is what Panasonic says: “The combination of our new modem results in the biggest improvement in connectivity Panasonic has made since the start of our service. It provides up to 250Mbps for passenger data, a 20x improvement in speed compared to our first-generation modem. Our connectivity service is configurable based on the airline’s business objectives – the experience they want to offer their passengers and their operational data  requirements!” Once again, it is the modular and scalable nature of NEXT that facilitates this choice by the airline.

To get a better idea of their improvement planning, here is their view of their IFEC product performance development:

Generation 1 (2009 – 2015)

Experience – email, social media, web browsing, 9 channels global TV, 2G mobile service, average 250Kbps speed/Up to 1 Mbps burst speed

Enablers – Global wide beam network, BC-01 (Up to 12 Mbps)

Generation 2 (2016 – 2018)

Experience – Rich web applications + light video streaming (i.e. YouTube) + 20 regional channels of regional live television + 3G mobile service + average 5 Mbps speed + up to 15Mbps burst speed (Editor’s Note: Be sure to make note of the plus signs!)

Enablers – Wide beam network + HTS, BC-03 (Up to 250 Mbps, 800GB SSD, 200 eXW SD Media Streams), cWAP (802.11ac), Dual panel or Single Panel Antenna

Generation 3 (NEXT)

Experience – Up to 250 SD media streams (i.e. Netflix, Hulu) ++

15 channels of HD live television ++ 4G Mobile service ++ Average 10 Mbps speed ++ Up to 250 Mbps burst speed (Editor – We assume the ++ means “plus and in excess of…”)

Enablers – Wide Beam Networks + HTS = XTS, BC-03 (Up to 250 Mbps, 800GB SSD, 200 eXW SD media streams), cWAP (802.112ac), Dual Panel or Flat Panel Antenna

Perhaps this is a good time to mention the industry activity surrounding the timing of the NEXT rollout in the future B777X program and a good place to start is ARINC and the ARINC CSS (Cabin Systems Subcommittee) workings. From their website and discussions with members, we see that ARINC has a lot of IFEC members hooking up with this subcommittee and their definition states clearly why: 

Goal: Passenger entertainment equipment is subject to frequent upgrades on the airplane. The goal of this AEEC activity is to develop cost effective equipment and valuable network infrastructure for the airlines to cope with the rapid and evolving electronics/entertainment industry that will exceed passenger expectations. This includes interface standards to allow airlines to implement preferred systems for their passengers. Cabin communications, connectivity, wireless distribution, cabin interface protocols, and connector standardization are all intricate components of this activity.

Scope: The scope of this project is to develop next generation standard cabin interfaces that will provide airlines with freedom of choice in the installation and expansion of cabin equipment. IFE, communications, interface protocols, seat integration issues, and connectors and cables standardization are also a part of this activity.

Benefit: Cabin systems provide entertainment and service improvements to the passenger. To keep up with passenger’s desire for better accommodations, systems are becoming more sophisticated and complex. Home entertainment and office type computing systems and peripherals are finding applications in the cabin to facilitate data handling and data link to the ground. The growing complexities and scope of cabin equipment has resulted in the expansion of ARINC 628. New series of specifications are added as new concepts and next generation systems and networks are developed. The benefits of the cabin standards are numerous. They provide the airlines freedom of choice, unit price reduction through increased volume, interchangeable spares, more upgradeable options, and creation of more sub- markets for integrators and software/hardware suppliers. These benefits are being realized on the new aircraft programs, possibly regional and business jets, and retrofit aircraft programs. The final message here is to keep your eye on this organization and its findings and reports as the next generation of IFEC is going to be outlined by this group!

Additionally, and because of the newer tremendous connectivity capability coming down the pike, IFExpress should mention cybersecurity and while Panasonic did not specifically mention the subject to any extent during our conversation, we know their engineers are very aware of the issues involved with improving passenger and plane connectivity.  We expect a big focus on keeping airplane data safe – both now and in the future. Some recent internet stories featured airplane hacking but Panasonic security people denied the reported ‘hacks’ and said: “The responsibility for security does not solely rest with an (in-flight entertainment) manufacturer, an aircraft manufacturer, or the fleet operator,” noted a company representative. “Each plays an important role in assuring a secure environment.” Further they called the news reports ‘misleading’ and ‘inflammatory’ and noted; “That one could use the exploit to steal credit card information is simply not true.” Further, Panasonic says it continually tests the robustness of its systems, and that it complies with or exceeds all regulatory requirements, which include regular third-party tests. After visiting their manufacturing and test labs, we believe they work to keep their systems hack free and we expect the new systems to move to the next level up the security chain.

While a few Boeing airplanes were mentioned, Airbus is the other solution that will no doubt seize the opportunity to take advantage of better passenger connectivity and improved inflight plane data but at this time we feel they are interpreting their market properly with the planes they have. Wait one year or two and this will probably change. For example, the Airbus A350 is a logical future prospect for ‘backbone improved’ data channeling and airline profit improvement based upon more and better connectivity and improved plane information updates.

And lastly, we should mention that other vendors are not asleep to this technology revolution and we feel based on interviews that they too see the value in building modular systems. Needless to say, we expect to see some of their developments at this week’s AIX. Readers might want to pay attention as the race for better, faster IFEC is going to eclipse everything currently in this industry in the next few years and note that the competition has moved into a new phase where both airlines and passengers will be the winner. Much of this will be achieved by the OEMs and IFEC companies working together to focus on the ever-developing ground-based technologies that have so far surpassed what traditional IFEC has been able to offer to airlines and passengers due to the lengthy certification process. With an ever-increasing installation base of satcom equipped aircraft and passengers bringing onboard data rich and powerful PEDs, such as the smartphone, a new window of opportunity has opened to our industry with the ability to be able to interact with those devices. We may finally see the ever-elusive connected travel experience become a reality. Stay Tuned!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have a lot to review this week so, for the sake of organization, let’s cover it all alphabetically. Here we go!

1 – Astronics
Below are a couple of product offerings that Astronics AES will be exhibiting at AIX Hamburg at Stand 3B30.

  • UltraLite System
    The Astronics EmPower® USB “UltraLite” System is an innovative passenger In-Seat Power System (ISPS) architecture that provides High Power USB (HPUSB) using zonal power converters. This architecture is a departure from the traditional seat-mounted power supply. The result is a system providing lower cost, lower weight, and less impact on passenger foot and baggage space when compared to traditional seat based architectures.
  • Wireless Charging Module
    The new wireless charging module from Astronics will also be on display at Aircraft Interiors Expo. This innovative product is able to charge passenger Wireless enabled SmartPhones and supports a large charging area. The module is intended to be installed in multiple seat locations and provides up to 15W power per module. This new product meets both Qi and PMA wireless charging standards. The small form factor allows for a wide array of installation locations and is easy to install. (Editors Note – We want to see this one and we promise a future story on it!)

2 – IFPL

IFPL are excited to be demonstrating their high value contactless payment PIN on screen system at AIX 2017 on stand 2C10. Using the IFPL NFC payment system, passengers can quickly and securely buy not only low-value items such as beverages and food, but higher-value items including perfume, luxury gifts and high-end audio technology. The higher-value purchases are enabled by using an additional card holder verification method to allow high value transactions; the contactless limit is usually around $30 (depending on the card issuer). By utilizing PIN on-screen technology, IFPL is able to offer this step change benefit to airlines and enable them to increase their ancillary revenue. IFPL use a secure kernel embedded into the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) that is located in the processor of the seatback monitor. This offers the same level of security as the traditional Point of Sale (POS) terminal, that enables both online and offline transactions. Using the IFPL Near Field Communication (NFC) contactless payment module, the TEE payment solution allows airlines to process compliant EMV (EuroPay, MasterCard, Visa) transactions without compromising confidential cardholder data or PIN. The PIN on screen payment system is one of our latest innovative products that IFPL will be demonstrating at AIX 2017.

3 – Lufthansa Systems
At this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, Lufthansa Systems is presenting the new generation of its multi-award-winning BoardConnect wireless in-flight entertainment (IFE) platform, with new features and a new user interface. Visitors can also find out about the mCabin product family, which offers new functions and additional apps to drive the digitalization of crew processes. Visit Lufthansa Systems from April 4–6 at AIX at stand #2E24.

New release:BoardConnect 5.0
BoardConnect enables passengers to stream content from an airline’s entertainment offering to their own tablets or smartphones during a flight. The BoardConnect product suite is available in three hardware versions. In addition to the permanently installed classic BoardConnect IFE solution, there is also the flexible BoardConnect Portable version. It combines all of the technical components in a single device which can be installed quickly and easily on any aircraft. BoardConnect Portable received the Crystal Cabin Award at AIX 2016. The third option available is the BoardConnect Plus connectivity solution. Lufthansa Systems is responding to the growing demand for new on-board digital services by further developing its software – with the new BoardConnect 5.0, which runs on all three versions of the system. BoardConnect 5.0 features a fresh design with a new user interface and an open platform architecture.

New products from the mCabin suite
Lufthansa Systems is also presenting new products from its mCabin suite at AIX. Passengers and crew members now expect digitalized services on board like those they use on the ground – but many airlines haven’t reached this stage yet. Mobile solutions for the cabin crew optimally support airlines of all sizes and business models in the digitalization of their on-board processes.

mCabin/Library+ brings together all crew documents in a digital form. This includes crew manuals and airline-specific information. An easy-to-use document management system also keeps the documents up to date and facilitates the search for specific information. The mCabin/Messenger service connects an airline’s cabin crew and ground staff based on their respective functions. This enables colleagues to communicate even if they don´t know each other by name. mCabin/CityGuide is an exclusive travel guide platform for crews with local information on all of an airline’s destinations, including organizational details about layovers such as contact details, crew hotels and pick-up times, as well as personal tips from the crew relating to excursions and restaurants, for example.

4 – P3
P3 aero systems has developed an outstanding set of services and methodology which, for the first time ever, will allow the complete analysis, simulation, testing and optimization of wireless networks within commercial aircraft cabins already during the early phase of cabin definition. P3 aero systems combines P3’s 20 years of global expertise in both fields of aerospace and telecommunication industries. Once being given an early configuration and layout, P3 aero systems can reliably model the wireless cabin and the potential risk of interference much prior to the aircraft delivery. For that matter wireless networks such as IEEE/Wi-Fi (2.4/5/60GHz), BT (2.4GHz) and 3G/LTE/5G were evaluated in relation to performance requirements, user functionalities and passenger experience. P3 has become a global player in both fields of defining, testing and improving mobile communication networks in the aviation industry coupled with global STC capability through part 21J design organization approvals held, enabling also advisory and technical solutions for a range of aero products. P3 will located be at stand 2C50 and in the IFEC zone.

5 – PXCom
At Hamburg AIX 2017, Vision Systems will unveil a new release of its IFE solution called Visi-Stream, that ensures a high passenger satisfaction and ancillary revenues. It comprises Wi-Fi AVOD with a rich and varied content including movies, music, games, daily press, extensive tourist information and ticketing. Advertising can be global and local, and priority data flows for safety videos put the tablets on hold. Options include broadcast or connectivity as well as remote diagnosis, software and content updates via a ground platform. The IFE manufacturer has decided to integrate XPlore by PXCom, the end-to-end solution that enables digital content management on the ground, and automatic roll- out on the onboard servers.

6 – Rockwell Collins
Aircraft Interiors Expo attendees are encouraged to visit the company exhibit at #4C40 in Hall B4 or schedule a meeting by contacting Rockwell Collins (CabinSystemsEvents@rockwellcollins.com) to learn more about our Cabin Solutions portfolio, including:

Broadband connectivity services, featuring Inmarsat’s Global Xpress for the most extensive and consistent global coverage of airline routes and the fastest broadband in the skies, as well as applications for crew connectivity, real-time credit card authorization and wireless in-flight entertainment (IFE)
Wireless IFE, bringing Wi-Fi accessible audio video on demand content in flight Venue™ high-definition cabin management and entertainment system that delivers a wide range of features and technology to satisfy the most discerning passengers Airshow® 3D, the industry’s most widely used and award-winning moving map to keep passengers informed throughout their flights Passenger Services System (PSS), a lightweight, low-cost reading light and cabin crew call system with optional USB charging port AirVueTM interactive, a touchscreen kiosk designed to provide passengers with wayfinding, news, weather and other information as they move through the airport and beyond A new electronically scanned array (ESA) antenna design supporting extreme high throughput (EHT) and global coverage in a smaller, lighter and lower profile package.

7 – Telefonix PDT
Located in Hall B2, Booth # 2D70 Telefonix PDT will be highlighting a number of product feature enhancements at this year’s show, including product and certification updates to the company’s Summit line of IFEC hardware. 

8 – True Blue Power
TC280AC-to-DC Converter
True Blue Power’s TC280 AC-to-DC Converter is quickly gaining popularity on European airlines. The TC280 is currently installed on Airbus A320, Boeing 767 and Boeing 757 aircraft. The highly efficient converter is designed to deliver enough energy to power electronic equipment throughout the aircraft, including in-seat, cabin and cockpit power applications. The TC280 produces 280 watts of power from an aircraft’s 115 VAC input. The converter is engineered to run cooler and features a fanless design delivering energy and weight savings. Installation is convenient, as the TC280 can be mounted in the floor or cabin wall.

TA202 Hi Power USB Port/TA102 Dual USB Port
There is a great deal of focus on passengers’ ability to keep their Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) fully charged during flight. True Blue Power’s line of high power and dual USB charging ports allow passengers to stay fully charged and connected during their flight.

The TA202 Series High Power USB Charging Port offers single and dual port, USB Type-C and Type-A configurations. Delivering 3.0 amps per port, the TSO-certified TA202 powers current and next-generation electronic devices. Units are available in lighted and non-lighted versions and do not require bulky, external power converters for 10 – 32 VDC installations. The TSO-certified TA102 Dual USB Charging Port simultaneously provides 2.1 amps per charging port to any consumer product requiring a USB interface. The TA102 protects itself and the charging device from short-circuit, power surges and over-current potential. It is a modern addition to any interior cabin, available in lighted and non-lighted versions. For more information visit the True Blue Power stand 1E53 during Aircraft Interiors Expo April 4 – 6 at the Hamburg Messe und Congress in Hamburg, Germany

9 – VT Miltope
Débuting at Aircraft Interiors will be VT Miltope’s 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless access point. Wave 2 uses the available 5 GHz bandwidth more efficiently, providing passengers and airlines with significant improvements in overall data rates (up to 3.6 Gbps using 4×4 MIMO) and the ability to transmit simultaneously to multiple users. With wireless data rates climbing well into the Gigabit range, the opportunity to support airline wireless IFEC ambitions will certainly be improved. Combining Wave 2 with the capabilities of CHT (Cognitive Hotspot Technology) used in VT Miltope’s current nMAP2 access point will keep VT Miltope at the leading edge of wireless products ideally suited for cabin environments.
In addition, VT Miltope will be displaying its ground connectivity product, cTWLU, featuring 4G LTE, 3G cellular as well as 802.11a/b/g/n and ac. The 2 cellular LTE radios provide global coverage. cTWLU brings cost effective aircraft to ground communications to the aircraft with the goal of eliminating “sneaker net” and paper based approaches and enabling the internet of Things (IoT) to aircraft. cTWLU has already received certification approval in 2016 and is currently supporting airline operational data. Typical applications include: EFB connectivity, FOQA data, eTechlog, eCabin logbook, weight and balance download, aircraft health monitoring, and may be used for IFE multimedia refresh.

Visit VT Miltope in Hall B2, booth 2D40 – Contact: Markus Gilges Email: mgilges@miltope.com Mobile: +44 7793 758 755


Other:

APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association), a four-decade old international airline trade association, called for immediate government-approved security solutions for the airline electronics ban announced this week by the United States and United Kingdom. IATA calculations indicate 393 flights per week impacted by the electronics ban. By APEX load-factor calculations, this translates into more than three million affected airline passengers per year. With airline and government coordination, APEX believes that solutions may be rapidly implemented by airlines to further increase security and allow personal electronics on-board.
“The U.S. and U.K. this week pointed to a problem in airline security by banning electronics on certain flights. When we take away personal electronic devices from passengers, we are bowing to a potential threat rather than providing an acceptable security solution.” APEX CEO Joe Leader stated. “Chemical detection machines utilized worldwide can detect illicit items in electronics. Turning on electronics checks functionality and non-functioning electronics could be banned from flights. The expense of hand-searching every carry-on for the personal electronics ban could instead be directed to a long-term solution that serves airline passengers and safety.”

APEX believes that without viable solutions provided to airlines, the electronics ban may spread well beyond the intended scope. Since the existing security scope includes individuals with travel privileges to the U.S. and U.K., these same individuals could connect via other airports where on-board personal electronics are not banned.

“Every threat placed against global air carriers has been met with viable solutions,” said Leader. “We now globally screen every checked bag, carefully scan all carry-ons, restrict liquids, conduct body-scans, and regularly conduct chemical analysis checks on items. When passengers connect internationally, they are frequently scanned again. Placing items into the cargo hold does not fully address the issue with a passenger-centric solution.”

Thales
AirAsia has contracted Thales to provide long-term repair-by-the-hour support for the avionics systems Thales and its ACSS joint venture with L3 Aviation Products will provide for the 304 Airbus A320neos the Asian low-cost carrier group has ordered.

Thales will equip AirAsia’s 304 A320neos–deliveries of which began last October–with its TopFlight flight management system (FMS), along with the Thales/ACSS T3CAS Surveillance platform. ACSS (Aviation Communication & Surveillance Systems) is 70 percent-owned by L3 Aviation Products and 30 percent-owned by Thales.

IFEC’ers, it is almost here – AIX 2017 that is – and we cannot wait. Over the next few issues, IFExpress will be providing a ‘sneak peek’ from a few AIX vendors. Additionally, we have a ‘Special Story’ for the AIX Show Edition – stay tuned and read on!

Aircraft Cabin Systems

ACS is very busy these days with the design on their second-generation 12.1” retractable monitor. Even though their first-generation model was highly accepted in the marketplace, “We are constantly striving to give our customers what they want” says Richie Sugimoto (shown above) including a very robust design offering high value. Customers have appreciated the overall simplicity of the unit, including the lighter weight and less moving parts providing a quieter unit in operational mode. Most importantly, customers love the ease of installation when upgrading their aircraft from older monitors. These units are offered for both the Airbus and Boeing series of aircraft. They are designed for AC power and with HDSDI video input, provide a clear, crisp quality picture. The first-generation retractable monitors utilize a patented, mechanical design developed by Mr. Yukio Sugimoto and was developed to be a mechanical plug-and-play attachment to either the existing B737 PSU’s or for the Airbus planes.

ACS has also been working on a new design of 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) Modular Monitors. This new design concept allows the support of customizable input/output modules, allowing for the unit functionality with a wide variety of IFE systems. This unique design concept can meet the industry multiple demands with adding additional or different modules. This design is in the testing phase and expect production to release product to the marketplace in Q2. Available screen sizes range from 27” up to 75”.

All products are designed and manufactured in their Redmond, WA facility that is an AS9100 Certified facility. ACS will be at the upcoming AIX show in Hamburg, if in the area, stop by and see all of the new technology they are working on at stand 2C30 to discuss your needs.


digEcor

This year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg will be unprecedented for Chief Executive David Withers and team as far as depth and breadth of solutions and in an increased presence both in size of booth and team in the IFEC zone, Hall B4 at stand 4E20. digEcor having recently expanded their sales team to include additional resource in the Middle East and Africa Region with the appointment of Eduardo Protasio, (from EuroAtlantic Airways) a new appointment for Asia Pacific in Stu McGraw commencing 27 March (previously QinetiQ and Virgin Australia) as well as Jorge Mompo’s appointment (previously Lumexis) as Sales Director of the America’s since AIX 2016. Headed by VP Global Sales, Paul Thorpe, digEcor are looking forward to what this will mean for the developing growth of the company and are looking forward to introducing this new team to visitors this year.

digEcor has been busy these past 12 months and has a handful of announcements to make at AIX 2017 they are keeping close to their chest. The GLIDE embedded system is making headway in the market as well as the continued success of digEcor’s passenger power for 2.1A USB and 110V power solutions, including pre integrated solutions with innovative seat vendors. Since AIX Hamburg 2016 digEcor has launched four new product lines including Passenger Service Solutions, LED Cabin Lighting, Cabin Management and digEcor’s own Moving Map.

digEcor’s mission to enable all airlines to create an extraordinary travel experience is still personified through their modular, flexible and tailored approach to meet the needs of airlines and vendors alike. The Integrated Flight Experience portfolio is still the only fully integrated system from one single vendor available today comprising GLIDE Embedded and Portable IFE, In-Seat Power, LED Cabin Lighting, Passenger Service Solutions, Cabin Management, Wi-Fi to stream content, ENGAGE application for crew, Tape Replacement and Content Services.

digEcor is showcasing this experience at AIX this year by cabin for Economy, Premium, Business and First class. In partnership with Avio Interiors, Geven Spa, Skypaxx, Thompson Seating and Pitch Aircraft Seating Systems, digEcor is primed to educate visitors by cabin or product, depending on the interest.


FTS New Brand Logo Identity

This past week, FTS proudly launched their new company logo. Here is what they had to say:

Over the past two years, FTS business has grown and evolved. In line with our expansion globally, across U.S. and Europe, as well as the addition of new exciting product range, it’s time for a change!

With a sharp and crisp font and brighter blue used, it is a modernized look which reflects our core values – constantly innovating, cutting-edge technology and revolutionize the business.

Being a newcomer, FTS strives to revolutionize the IFEC industry with new business ideas, innovative product offerings and high quality hardware.

We do not follow the norm. We set ourselves apart. This is what we strive for and we are excited to share that with you.

Our new logo will have its first appearance in AIX 2017.

Check us out and see you at booth 2E34!


AIX

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


Boeing

Boeing and CDB Aviation Lease Finance (CDB Aviation) announced an order for 30 737 MAX 8 airplanes. The order, valued at $3.3 billion at current list prices, was previously unidentified on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website. Based in Dublin, Ireland, CDB Aviation operates as a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co LTD (CDB Leasing) (HKEX stock code:1606). With registered capital of $US50 million and a fleet of over 200 aircraft, CDB Aviation has over 10 years’ experience in the business and is one of the largest and most influential Chinese-owned aviation leasing companies.
And while we are on Boeing, keep your eye on the new midsize airplane demand for the companies next new plane. Boeing expects to launch a new larger B737 beyond the B737 MAX by the end of 2017. Also expect it to fall below the B787 passenger payload. The so-called B797 will probably seat from 200 to almost 300 passengers over a range of some 4300 to 5300 nautical miles – in the older B767-200 payload-range footprint. Single vs twin aisle is a big deciding factor as well as competition with their existing B737 fleet and it’s growth. Here is more reading for your airplane interest

Customers Press Boeing To Launch New Midsize Widebody Aircraft Soon | Commercial Aviation content from Aviation Week

Boeing’s Plan For Bigger 737 MAX Meets with Industry Doubts 

Boeing’s talking with airlines about a ‘797,’ and they like what they hear | The Seattle Times

The Boeing 737 MAX Is the Most Underrated Plane of All Time — The Motley Fool


SITA

SITA, recently announced the formation of the Secure Journeys Working Group to address today’s airport security threats in the USA and to work towards creating a secure and efficient passenger experience throughout the airport. The launch of the Secure Journeys initiative is in response to the current security climate and recent attacks on non-secure areas of the airport, including the Brussels airport bombing and Fort Lauderdale airport shooting. Members of the working group cite these incidents as examples that demonstrate the need to rethink the approach to getting passengers through the airport quickly and safely. The newly extended group will address growing challenges, including:

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

Bad Aviation Joke: A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, ‘I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.’ OK, the worst science joke then: Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, ‘I’ve lost my electron.’ The other says ‘Are you sure?’ The first replies, ‘Yes, I’m positive.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Combination of increased flexibility, security and simplified network management is the winner

Mexico | March 3, 2017– Aeromexico, Mexico’s global airline, has selected SITA to provide network connectivity across more than 50 international locations. SITA’s world-class communications services will ensure Aeromexico will have full access to all its IT applications for back and front-office activities, including check-in and departure control, as the airline expands its routes across the world.

The three-year agreement includes the provision of SITA CorporateConnect services at 50 locations to transport mission-critical business internet traffic for Aeromexico’s daily operations. This service connects Aeromexico’s hubs and main sites to virtual private networks providing bandwidth at the highest availability (up to 99.95%).

In addition, 25 locations will have SITA CorporateConnect@Airports which will allow all of Aeromexico’s offices and devices at these airports to securely and cost effectively connect to its VPN via the airport LAN and AirportHub™, SITA’s shared infrastructure.

Benjamín Hernández, CIO, Aeromexico, said: “It is vital that Aeromexico has a world-class communications infrastructure that provides high availability service and access to our IT systems anywhere we operate. This ensures we can deliver a better travel experience to our passengers and minimizes any disruptions in our connected world.

“We were looking for the combination of a strong partner with an international footprint at airports, technical expertise and service quality. SITA delivers on all these counts and will now work together with us as we grow Aeromexico internationally.”

Elbson Quadros, SITA Vice President, Latin America, said: “Aeromexico has a tradition of providing high quality service to its passengers and needs a robust, cost-effective communications infrastructure to support it. SITA Connect will enable the airline to add new international destinations in a matter of weeks not months due to our continued investment in the AirportHub infrastructure, which is now at more than 300 airports across the world with more on the way. We are looking forward to providing Aeromexico with flexible, secure and simplified global network management as it grows internationally.”

SITA provides the largest worldwide communication network coverage to airlines and over the coming years Aeromexico expects to add more locations to the 50 already agreed. SITA enables reliable connectivity and with a footprint in over 220 countries and territories, and shared infrastructure at over 300 AirportHub equipped airports, it offers true global connectivity from a single supplier.

Aeromexico carried more than 19 million passengers in 2016 and is Mexico’s flag carrier with 86 destinations in more than 20 countries.