PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has  announced an agreement with Russia’s largest airline, Aeroflot, to provide upgraded in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for its entire fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft.

The agreement will see Aeroflot’s fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft retrofitted with Panasonic Avionics’ eX3 IFE system and satellite-based IFC system, creating an enhanced cabin experience for Aeroflot’s passengers.

This upgrade will allow Aeroflot’s Boeing 777 aircraft to deliver the same IFEC experience that is available on its Panasonic Avionics-equipped Airbus A350-900 fleet, which has been in service since March 2020.

Panasonic Avionics’ eX3 system features the industry’s largest selection of integrated entertainment options including full 1080p HD monitors, in-seat power, and HD video handsets with capacitive touch. It can deliver more than 700 hours of on-demand entertainment, offering 1080p content with enhanced video color support.

Aeroflot’s customers flying on its Boeing 777-300ERs will also be able to enjoy upgraded connectivity from Panasonic Avionics’ global communications network of high-speed, high-bandwidth satellites. The system delivers faster internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, mobile services, and dedicated bandwidth for crew applications.

The first of Aeroflot’s Boeing 777-300ERs to be retrofitted with Panasonic Avionics’ upgraded IFE and IFC systems flew in the middle of August.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer at Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “We are delighted to deepen our longstanding relationship with Aeroflot. Our advanced eX3 in-flight entertainment system combined with our global, high-speed connectivity will enable Aeroflot to deliver an industry-leading passenger experience.”

This latest commitment from Aeroflot marks a further milestone in its longstanding partnership with Panasonic Avionics, which first commenced in 2008. Aeroflot’s fleet of Airbus A320neos and A321neos are also both fitted with Panasonic Avionics’ latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a world leader in global mobile satellite communications, announced the launch of its advanced new Velaris connectivity solution, which is uniquely positioned to serve as a catalyst for the safe and rapid growth of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) industry.

Powered by the Inmarsat ELERA global satellite network, Velaris will provide secure communications for commercial UAVs – commonly known as drones – to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and seamlessly integrate with aircraft in commercial airspace. Backed by military grade cybersecurity, it allows operators to send their UAVs on long distance flights and access various applications, such as real-time monitoring, to ensure safe integration with other air traffic. In addition, Velaris allows a single pilot to remotely operate multiple UAVs at scale, making operations more commercially viable.

Over the next seven years, the commercial UAV market is projected to increase from $2.32 billion in 2021 to $11.29 billion in 2028, marking a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.39% during this period1. This will have a far-reaching impact on various aspects of business and society, ranging from cargo delivery, urban transport and surveillance to emergency services and disaster relief, including the supply of critical items such as medicine, test kits and food for remote communities.

To support this fast-paced growth, Velaris will unlock unprecedented new digital automation capabilities within the UAV industry, leading to significant advances in safety, productivity, customer service, location access and accuracy, while also reducing the overall cost of operations. Importantly, it will also support the transport of people and goods in an environmentally friendly manner.

Anthony Spouncer, Inmarsat’s Senior Director of UAVs and Unmanned Traffic Management, said: “Commercial UAVs have the potential to revolutionize a vast array of different industries throughout the world. However, to truly unlock their potential on a commercial scale, it is imperative that autonomous vehicles and unmanned aviation are safely and securely integrated into managed commercial airspace. That’s exactly what Velaris, as Inmarsat’s first global UAV connectivity solution, will deliver.

“Inmarsat’s unparalleled experience in air traffic management and aviation safety, combined with our established track record in civil and military UAV communications, ensures that we can support global regulators, air navigation service providers and UAV operators with seamless airspace integration. In addition, thanks to our ambitious and fully-funded technology roadmap, including our brand new ORCHESTRA communications network of the future, Velaris will continue to develop and evolve alongside the UAV industry, remaining its gold standard connectivity solution for decades to come.”

Inmarsat was recently crowned winner at the prestigious Air Traffic Management (ATM) Magazine Awards for its Pop-Up Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Platform, developed with Altitude Angel. Furthermore, Inmarsat is well-integrated in the air traffic management industry as a consortium member of Cranfield University’s recently opened Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC). The company participates in several projects that aim to revolutionise the future of flight, including the UK Government funded Project HEART (Hydrogen Electric and Automated Regional Transportation) – which is developing the country’s first automated, zero carbon regional air transportation network – and Airspace of the Future (AoF) – which focuses on integrating UAV services with the wider UK transport ecosystem.

“We work with our global partner ecosystem to develop UAV terminals that deliver smaller, more cost effective multi datalink solutions,” added Spouncer. “These are optimized for a wide range of use cases so that our customers can always have the highest possible standard of connectivity. I’m pleased to launch Velaris today. Coming soon after the launch of Inmarsat ORCHESTRA and ELERA, this truly emphasizes Inmarsat’s long-term commitment to the commercial UAV market.”


COLLINS AEROSPACE

Collins Aerospace, a Raytheon Technologies business, unveiled Lilac-UV, an ultraviolet (UV) lighting solution to sanitize aircraft interiors nearly anywhere a light is installed inside an aircraft.

Lilac-UV emits a slight violet light that disinfects surfaces in seconds to minutes, depending on lamp configuration and specific pathogen. Lilac-UV can be applied in lavatories, galleys, flight decks, cargo bays and throughout the cabin, and can be set for scheduled cleanings or manual applications during or between flights. The sanitizing light, combined with other hygienic measures taken onboard aircraft, gives added peace of mind and protection to passengers while also reducing aircraft downtime for manual cleaning.

Lilac-UV uses technology developed by The Boeing Company  as part of a licensing agreement granting Collins the ability to build on Boeing’s UV technology for in-flight operation.

“At the heart of this project is the desire to continue to build the public’s trust and confidence in air travel as passengers return to the skies,” said Cynthia Muklevicz, vice president of business development for Collins Aerospace. “Collins and Boeing share the common goal to redefine air travel, a commitment to collaboration and the technical research and development expertise to bring this game-changing, hygienic technology to market for the benefit of air-travelers around the world.”

The new Collins-developed sanitizing lighting system operates with an intelligent dosage controller – for scheduled cleanings and manual treatments – and an occupancy detector for enclosed spaces, like an airplane lavatory.

“Our design allows for installation anywhere in the cabin with minimal or no hardware design changes, enabling users to switch to a higher power lamp or change the number of lamps based on application,” said Bridget Sheriff, vice president of engineering at Collins Aerospace. “The intelligent controller automatically adjusts to manage power consumption and offers scientifically proven disinfection of spaces during and between flights.”

A finalist for the 2021 Crystal Cabin Award in the “Clean & Safe Air Travel” category, the Lilac-UV sanitizing system will be available for new cabins or retrofittable to existing interior spaces.


THALES

Thales and AJW Group have signed an avionics maintenance services agreement including Repair By The Hour (RBTH) covering Airbus A320CEO, A320NEO and A330 fleets of major European airlines.

With Thales, AJW has a trusted Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) partner for repairs securing reliable worldwide support. The main repair shop serving AJW is located in Châtellerault, France.


BOEING

You might find the Boeing Market Outlook (2021-2040) interesting! Boeing: Aerospace Commercial, Defense, & Crew Market Outlook

Boeing forecasts $9 trillion aerospace market opportunities in commercial, defense and services over next decade.

  • Boeing Market Outlook forecasts continued path to long-term growth, with signs of industry recovery
  • Over 10 years, the 2021 BMO shows $9 trillion addressable market, up from $8.5 trillion in 2020
  • Increased demand for dedicated freighters, including new and converted models

Boeing released its annual forecast for the commercial, defense and space aerospace market, reflecting signs of the industry’s recovery following the impacts of COVID-19. The 2021 Boeing Market Outlook (BMO) – Boeing’s analysis of long-term market dynamics – states that commercial airplanes and services are showing signs of recovery, while the global defense, space and government services markets have remained stable.

The BMO projects a $9 trillion market over the next decade for aerospace products and services that Boeing addresses. The forecast is up from $8.5 trillion a year ago, and up from $8.7 trillion in the pre-pandemic 2019 forecast, reflecting the market’s continued recovery progress.

“As our industry recovers and continues to adapt to meet new global needs, we remain confident in long-term growth for aerospace,” said Boeing Chief Strategy Officer Marc Allen. “We are encouraged by the fact that scientists have delivered vaccines more rapidly than imaginable and that passengers are demonstrating strong confidence in airplane travel.”

Commercial Market Outlook

The new Commercial Market Outlook (CMO) reflects that the global market is recovering largely as Boeing projected in 2020. Demand for domestic air travel is leading the recovery, with intra-regional markets expected to follow as health and travel restrictions ease, followed by long-haul travel’s return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023 to 2024.

Within the Boeing Market Outlook, the CMO projects 10-year global demand for 19,000 commercial airplanes valued at $3.2 trillion. Boeing’s 20-year commercial forecast through 2040 projects demand for more than 43,500 new airplanes valued at $7.2 trillion, an increase of about 500 planes over last year’s forecast.

In a significant area of growth, projected demand has increased for dedicated freighters, including new and converted models. With sustained demand for air cargo tied to expanding e-commerce and air freight’s speed and reliability, the CMO projects the global freighter fleet in 2040 will be 70% larger than the pre-pandemic fleet.

“The aerospace industry has made important progress in the recovery, and Boeing’s 2021 forecast reflects our confidence in the resilience of the market,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “While we remain realistic about ongoing challenges, the past year has shown that passenger traffic rebounds swiftly when the flying public and governments have confidence in health and safety during air travel. Our industry continues to serve an essential role of bringing people together and transporting critical supplies.”
Highlights of the new 20-year CMO forecast include:

  • The availability and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be critical factors in the near-term recovery of passenger air travel. Countries with more widespread vaccination distribution have shown rapid air travel recovery, as governments ease domestic restrictions and open borders to international travel.
  • Passenger traffic growth is projected to increase by an average of 4% per year, unchanged from last year’s forecast.
  • The global commercial fleet will surpass 49,000 airplanes by 2040, with China, Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific countries each accounting for about 20% of new airplane deliveries, and the remaining 20% going to other emerging markets.
  • Demand for more than 32,500 new single-aisle planes is about equal to the pre-pandemic outlook. These models continue to command 75% of deliveries in the 20-year forecast.
  • Carriers will need more than 7,500 new widebody airplanes by 2040 to support fleet renewal and long-term passenger and air cargo demand growth in longer-haul markets. These projections are up slightly compared to 2020 but remain down 8% from 2019.

OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC & THINKOM

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics)announced the launch of a new, next-generation Ku-band antenna, which will be developed in partnership with ThinKom Solutions, Inc.

The newly designed ThinAir® builds upon ThinKom’s flight proven, VICTS (Variable Inclination Continuous Transverse Stub) technology. It will be offered by Panasonic Avionics to its airline customers for both line-fit and retrofit installations, with first deliveries occurring in 2023.

The antenna will connect aircraft with Panasonic Avionics’ global communications network of high-speed, high-bandwidth Ku-band satellites, which place capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.

The new highly efficient and low-profile antenna offers airlines a wide range of advantages. These include support for both LEO (low earth orbit) and GEO (geostationary orbit) satellite networks, higher speed throughput, greater aerodynamic efficiency, gate-to-gate operations, and reduced operating costs.

Jeff Sare, Vice President of In-Flight Connectivity Solutions at Panasonic Avionics, said, “Panasonic is committed to delivering seamless, scalable, and future-proofed in-flight connectivity to our airline customers and their passengers. Our new antenna offering with ThinKom is an integral part of our network and will allow airlines to access both current and future satellite constellations.”
Panasonic Avionics offers global high-speed connectivity service everywhere commercial aircraft fly and has over 210 regulatory approvals across the globe. Its network consists of high-throughput (HTS) and extreme throughput (XTSTM) satellite technologies that provide the best end-user experience possible.

“This agreement with Panasonic Avionics is an important validation of our VICTS phased array antennas, which are designed to seamlessly roam on both LEO and GEO networks, delivering unparalleled flexibility and resiliency to ensure the highest level of bandwidth services and availability to airline customers,” stated Mark Silk, President of ThinKom Solutions, Inc.

“The combination of our VICTS technology and Panasonic Avionics’ experience and commitment to in-flight entertainment and connectivity provides an extremely compelling value proposition to commercial airlines, both today and in the future.”

Over 2,300 aircraft are now connected to Panasonic Avionics’ global communications network, which supports improved airline and passenger experiences including faster internet, video streaming and greater bandwidth for crew applications. Over 3,750 aircraft from various airline customers are currently committed to Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight connectivity services.


BLUEBOX WOW & QANTAS

Bluebox Wow wireless IFE to be deployed on all jet aircraft in QantasLink fleet

Travelers flying the network of cities and regional destinations across Australia served by QantasLink, the regional airline for the Qantas Group, can soon enjoy free wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) on board.
Bluebox Aviation Systems has been selected by QantasLink to deploy its Bluebox Wow W-IFE system on QantasLink’s fleet, initially on Airbus A320 aircraft, then expanding to its Fokker F100, Boeing 717, and Alliance Airlines’ Embraer E190 aircraft. The Bluebox Wow system will enhance the regional airline’s service on board, providing entertainment content directly to passenger devices over a captive wireless network.
Bluebox Aviation Systems has been selected by QantasLink to deploy its Bluebox Wow W-IFE system on QantasLink’s fleet, initially on Airbus A320 aircraft, then expanding to its Fokker F100, Boeing 717, and Alliance Airlines’ Embraer E190 aircraft. The Bluebox Wow system will enhance the regional airline’s service on board, providing entertainment content directly to passenger devices over a captive wireless network.
The IFE content will include movies, TV, audio books and podcasts. Access to the Bluebox Wow system will be integrated with the Qantas Entertainment app to help facilitate a seamless flight-to-flight IFE experience, but will also be available app-free with simple browser access for anyone who does not have the Qantas Entertainment app loaded on their device.
The Bluebox Wow aircraft-powered option will be deployed, which will also have fully-automated PA Pause functionality. This is provided and fitted via an EASA STC, recently awarded for the A320 Family aircraft and which will be modified for use on the other aircraft in QantasLink’s fleet.
“Recently receiving our STC on the Airbus A320 Family for our aircraft-powered version of Bluebox Wow system, and now being able to announce Qantas’ selection of Bluebox Wow for its QantasLink network, are two exciting and very positive milestones for us to mark as our industry begins to emerge from the global pandemic,” said David Brown, Business Development Director, Bluebox. “It’s not insignificant either that we’re demonstrating that our W-IFE systems can replicate offerings of traditional aircraft avionics-based installed systems and proving the value of low-cost W-IFE systems across larger fleets. Just as Bluebox Wow expanded the market for IFE in its original battery-operated form, we’ll now see it capture more of the W-IFE market, given its lower cost of deployment and digital platform scope for everything from entertainment to touch-free retail and to even more as digital in-flight services develop.”
Bluebox Wow is a discrete, lunchbox-sized unit, typically stowed securely in overhead bins. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, it provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games, and other digital content. These services can be offered to passengers on a complimentary basis or paid for via payment card or voucher access with no cabin crew interaction required. Bluebox also offers onboard retail services, including the ability to order and pay for products and services via passenger devices with full inventory synchronization, in parallel to traditional sales from galley carts via cabin crew point-of-sale devices. In addition to onboard touch-free sales, Bluebox’s retail solutions also enable pre-paid (booking path) purchases.
With battery- and aircraft-powered versions of Bluebox Wow, the linefit option for Bluebox’s W-IFE platform available on Airbus OSP and retrofit on traditional avionics grade hardware, Bluebox’s range of hardware options for its digital in-flight platform ensures the greatest choice and flexibility are available to customers, especially those with different aircraft types and fleets of any size. This also means that Bluebox can deploy a consistent customer experience across a fleet – whether that be to provide more traditional entertainment content, offer food & beverage or retail sales on board or through the passenger journey, or deliver other innovative services designed to engage passengers and build customer loyalty as well as increase ancillary revenue.

BOEING

  • Aircraft Lessor Griffin Global Asset Management Orders Five Boeing 737-8 Jets
  • The Los Angeles- and Dublin-based aircraft leasing company places its first direct order with Boeing
  • With the Griffin order, customers have placed 529 gross orders for the 737 MAX family in 2021

Boeing and Griffin Global Asset Management announced the aircraft lessor is expanding its commercial aircraft portfolio with five new 737-8 jets. The purchase is Griffin’s first direct order with Boeing as it sees strategic opportunities to place the airplanes during the market recovery.

“As market conditions rebound, we are finding opportunities to serve our airline customers in innovative ways. An important component of this strategy is providing balanced capacity that meets returning passenger demand. The 737-8 is well-positioned to support this objective, and this order lays a strong foundation for more to come with Boeing and Griffin on future opportunities,” said Ryan McKenna, founder and CEO of Griffin.

Designed and built in Renton, Washington, the 737 MAX family delivers superior efficiency, flexibility and reliability while reducing fuel use and carbon emissions by at least 14% compared to the airplanes they replace. The 737-8 seats up to 189 passengers and can fly 3,550 nautical miles – about 600 miles farther than its predecessor – allowing airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. Every 737 MAX features the new Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead storage bins.

“Griffin Global Asset Management is building a first-class aircraft leasing business, and we are delighted that they have selected the 737-8 for their single-aisle portfolio. As Griffin places its first direct order with Boeing, we welcome them to the 737 family and look forward to working with the team in the future,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing.

As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future and living the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity. Learn more at www.boeing.com .
Backed by Bain Capital Credit, Griffin provides commercial aircraft leasing and alternative asset management with offices in Dublin and Los Angeles. The team is staffed by experienced aviation professionals who work closely with airlines, aircraft manufacturers and investors to provide custom fleet solutions and innovative financing products to airlines around the world.

More Boeing News:

Boeing named Matt Welch as vice president of Investor Relations. Welch will succeed Maurita Sutedja, who has accepted an opportunity outside of Boeing following more than a decade of leadership within several finance roles at Boeing. Welch’s appointment is effective immediately.

Welch will lead Boeing’s interactions with the investment community, providing shareholders and financial analysts timely, accurate and transparent information on the company’s market environment, business, performance and outlook.

Welch is a seasoned leader with more than 20 years of deep financial experience across Boeing’s operations. Currently serving as vice president of Revenue Management at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Welch has held several roles of increasing responsibility, including in Investor Relations; Financial Planning and Analysis; and program finance


OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics), China Eastern Airlines, APT Mobile SatCom Limited (“APSATCOM”), and China Telecom Satellite Communications (“CTSat”) achieved a new performance milestone for in-flight connectivity service over China, using Panasonic Avionics’ new Extreme Throughput Satellite (XTS) service on the APStar 6D communications satellite.

On a recent China Eastern Airlines’ flight MU5105, passengers saw average speeds up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) to the aircraft, with peak speeds reaching 200 Mbps. As a result, passengers were able to enjoy services like streaming video, video conferencing, downloading large files, and high-speed web browsing, on multiple devices, all at the same time.

These new performance benchmarks were made possible by the APStar 6D satellite technology jointly designed by Panasonic Avionics and APSATCOM. The aircraft used had previously been equipped with in-flight connectivity hardware from Panasonic Avionics and no changes or upgrades to the existing antenna, wireless access points, satellite modem, or other critical component were required.

Ron Ho, Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific of Panasonic Avionics, said, “This is indeed an exciting achievement for Panasonic Avionics. The data that we saw from flight MU5105 underscores our commitment to being the leader in connectivity to airlines in China, across the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, and around the world.”

“As the largest provider of satellite-based in-flight connectivity to airlines around the world, Panasonic knows that the demand for reliable, high-speed in-flight connectivity remains a top customer priority, especially in strategic markets across Asia Pacific like China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and others. With our significant investment in APStar 6D, Panasonic Avionics is uniquely positioned to exceed customer expectations for in-flight connectivity, not only today, but for the future. All aircraft equipped by Panasonic for connectivity will automatically utilize APStar 6D as they transit through the region.”

Jason Li, CEO of APSATCOM also commented, “APStar 6D is the world’s first extreme throughput communication satellite based for mobile service optimization. Beams of different sizes, capacity and bandwidth, dynamic adjustment capability and full view coverage are unique designs for the characteristics of satellite in-flight mobile service. We believe that APStar 6D is the most ideal solution for Panasonic Avionics to realize in-flight connectivity service in China and even the whole APAC region. In the future, APSTCOM will maintain close cooperation with Panasonic Avionics to optimize operating costs for airlines, and enable more passengers to enjoy high-quality, diversified network services.”

Panasonic Avionics’ global satellite network covers over 99% of all flight routes, and places capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers. It supports the provision of services such as high-speed internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, HD video, live television, phone services, and even dedicated bandwidth for crew applications.

Panasonic Avionics has delivered over 2,300 in-flight connectivity solutions worldwide. It continues to innovate and deliver market leading passenger experiences for today’s in-flight connectivity market while delivering a network to meet the ever-growing demands of the future.

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics), a world leader in in-flight entertainment and connectivity services, has announced a series of Connectivity Bundles designed to help airlines maximize their investment in in-flight connectivity.

The new Connectivity Bundles by Panasonic Avionics are available to airlines looking to onboard an in-flight connectivity service for a fixed monthly fee. The bundles provide cost certainty, remove data limitations, and help airlines increase revenue generation.

Hernan Abbes, Vice President, Global Sales at Panasonic Avionics, said, “These new bundles give airlines the flexibility to build an in-flight connectivity offering to drive impact on passenger experience, customer loyalty, and operations with Panasonic Avionics’ enterprise-wide solutions. It’s the latest way that we are leveraging our market experience and expertise to help airlines differentiate themselves from their competitors and help drive Net Promoter Score (NPS).”

Airlines looking to maximize revenue generation will benefit from a robust passenger payment platform that offers choice and simplifies payment options with Apple Pay and Alipay, mobile services and a team that can monitor and measure performance to further optimize the solution. For airlines focused on the passenger experience, the offering provides live sports and news content through Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra, BBC, CNN, CNBC and more incremental bandwidth packages for dynamic web browsing, high-speed streaming, and more. Finally, to improve airline operations, Panasonic Avionics’ passenger portal provides access to the internet, its ZeroTouchTM capabilities enable remote software and operational updates from the cloud, and a suite of solutions such as analytics to improve forecasting, monitor usage, and business intelligence to optimize the airline’s connectivity service even further.

Each bundle comes with promotional recommendations and templates to support the airline’s on-board and off-board marketing efforts.

Abbes added, “Each of the bundles is based on airline feedback and from our experience in delivering in-flight entertainment and connectivity services to more than 300 airlines. More importantly, they offer the flexibility to airline customers who want to further enhance their offering with additional solutions including Panasonic Avionics’ Advertising, Marketplace, Destination Services, our ArcTM 3D in-flight moving map, and our Panasonic Technical Services global support team.”

The new Connectivity Bundles are powered by Panasonic Avionics’ global network of high speed, high bandwidth satellites. Over 2,300 aircraft are now connected to the network, which supports improved airline and passenger experiences including faster internet, video streaming and greater bandwidth for crew applications. Over 3,750 total aircraft from various airline customers are currently committed to Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight connectivity services.


BOEING

The Boeing Company board of directors announced that David L. Joyce has been elected to the board, effective immediately. He will serve on the Aerospace Safety and Compensation committees. The Boeing board also announced that Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr. has informed the company that he will retire from the board at the end of 2021. An accomplished aerospace executive, Joyce, 64, retired from General Electric (GE) as vice chair in 2020, where he also served as president and CEO of GE Aviation from 2008 to 2020. During his 12-year leadership of GE’s largest division, Joyce also led customer and product support for more than 19,000 global engines and 500 airlines customers and oversaw the implementation of an industry-leading safety management system across GE Aviation.


OTHER NEWS

  • Curious about Chinese characters and how “predictive text” works? How China Conquered the Keyboard News And yes, you should watch this one!
  • Italy’s national airline is ceasing operations on October 15 this year. Battling bankruptcy since 2017, the virus complications and travel reductions made recovery difficult. Italy will launch a new airline and they will takeover some 52 of the newest planes and we understand that by 2025 they will have 105 aircraft in service. ‘Buona Fortuna’ Italia!

INMARSAT

Inmarsat has announced its participation in this year’s Boeing ecoDemonstrator program (today’s Hot Topic Image). The global initiative, which aims to enhance the sustainability and safety of air travel by testing the world’s most promising technologies, has commenced the first flight trials for important new components of Inmarsat’s Iris air traffic modernization solution.

Powered by the Inmarsat ELERA global satellite network, Iris enables real-time collaboration between pilots, air traffic controllers and an airline’s operation center using cost-effective, secure and highly resilient datalink communications. As a result, they can calculate the shortest available routes, determine flight trajectories and cruise at optimum altitudes, while also receiving the latest digital information, such as weather updates. This not only improves airspace usage to accommodate future growth, but also allows airlines to minimize delays, save fuel and reduce the environment impact of their operations.

Iris capabilities have been enhanced recently with the introduction of next-generation ATN/IPS (Aeronautical Telecommunication Network using Internet Protocol Suite) satellite communications, which are currently being finalized as the global standard for air traffic control communications to and from the aircraft. This technology is being trialed for the first time as part of the Boeing ecoDemonstrator flights, marking an important step forward in Iris’ global rollout and unlocking significant benefits in service scalability, bandwidth and throughput for Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and airspace users.

John Broughton, Inmarsat’s Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations and Safety Services, said: “Inmarsat’s Iris program is a great example of the vast benefits a digitized aviation industry will offer. By modernizing air traffic management, there is significant potential to drive environmental efficiencies and cut aviation’s carbon emissions. We’re proud to be involved in this future-facing research and look forward to working closely with other members of the Boeing ecoDemonstrator program to enable a more sustainable future of flying.”

Iris is currently being assessed for air traffic control and operational communications on flights across America operated on Boeing’s 2021 ecoDemonstrator 737-9 aircraft, in partnership with Alaska Airlines. The flights utilize equipment, terminals and routers from Iris partners including Honeywell and Cobham.

Rae Lutters, ecoDemonstrator Program Manager at Boeing, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Inmarsat in our ecoDemonstrator program this year. We selected the Iris solution for testing, as it is closely aligned to our own commitment to reduce the environmental impact of modern aircraft. We are looking forward to evaluating Iris in a live flying environment and exploring the real-life impact such innovative technology could have when implemented on a global scale.”

The Iris program, which has been developed by Inmarsat in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), is expected to rollout in Europe by 2023 and then on a global basis over the next decade.

Elodie Viau, ESA Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, said: “The Iris program is enabling aviation to become fully digital while reducing its carbon emissions. Passengers will be able to travel faster through less congested airports due to improved scheduling. We are excited to see Iris in action, proving that investment in space benefits the aviation industry and passengers.”


MORGAN STANLY RESEARCH

  • Southwest is stepping up recruiting efforts by offering an employee incentive program in order to boost applicants. The Southwest Airlines Gratitude (SWAG) Program consists of an internal rewards program which allows employees to collect points and redeem them for air miles, flight guest passes, concert tickets, and more. If the referral accepts the job and works for Southwest for at least 6 months, the referrer can receive 20,000 SWAG points – a value estimated to be ~$300. At the beginning of the pandemic, many airlines encouraged employees to take early retirements or partial paid time off in order to cut expenses. Today, airlines are looking to hire and/or retrain employees to keep up with the surge in travel demand that materialized faster than most expected. The labor shortage issue is affecting the entire airline industry, not just Southwest, and has caused industry wide disruptions such as delays/cancellations of flights, technical difficulties and more (see our thoughts here and here). That being said, management believes that a competitive advantage for LUV in the current labor environment is that they did not furlough employees during the pandemic, which should allow them to bring employees back more easily.
  • Southwest also reached a tentative agreement with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) to reward more than 5,000 customer service employees.
  • Low cost carrier Breeze Airways raised $200mn in new funding less than three months after launching its inaugural flight. Last week, Salt Lake City-based Breeze Airways announced it closed a $200mn Series B funding round, bringing its total funding to ~$300mn. Breeze Airways is a low cost carrier focused on nonstop routes between 16 underserved destinations in the U.S. (Hartford, CT, Louisville, KY, Tulsa, OK, Providence, RI, and more). The airline was founded by David Neeleman, who previously co-founded Morris Air, WestJet, JetBlue, and Azul Linhas Aereas, and has already had more than 100,000 passengers since launching operations in May 2021. Breeze Airways currently operates 13 Embraer regional jets and is expected to take delivery of 60 new Airbus A220s in October, which will be delivered at a rate of ~one per month over the next five years (see here). Breeze and Avelo are two of the new entrants in the regional ULCC space, which together with the aggressive growth plans of incumbent ULCCs should see ULCC share of the industry push higher (coming from both growth as well as share gains).
  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended its travel mask mandate through January 18 to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation. Last week, TSA announced it will be extending the face mask requirement for individuals across all transportation networks throughout the U.S., including airports, onboard commercial aircraft, and commuter bus and rail systems. TSA began requiring face masks early on in the pandemic, with the initial face mask requirement set to expire on May 11, but later being extended through September 13, 2021. Mask mandates have faced some resistance throughout the pandemic, leading to encounters between passengers who do not want to wear a mask and flight attendants that have to enforce the federal rule. Last week, the FAA reported 3,889 incidents involving unruly passengers this year, and 2,867 of them (or 74%) involved refusing to wear a mask. According to U.S. Travel Association Executive VP of Public Affairs and Policy, Tori Emerson Barnes, extending the federal mask mandate for travel makes sense in the current health environment and has the travel industry’s full support. While this is less than ideal news for the airline sector that was hoping for a removal of the mask mandate to get passengers more comfortable, improve service, and reduce incidents on board, it is no doubt an understandable step in the near-term to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

SECURITY & SAFETY

And yes, Flight Attendant security is becoming a big deal!
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt on Twitter: “Inside a flight attendant self-defense training as bad passenger behavior surges — @TomCostelloNBC reports. https://t.co/RlfYL8NCe7” / Twitter


OTHER NEWS

  • If you are a fan of author Daniel Silva, you just might find the Author’s Note section in his latest book, The Cellist, interesting – especially the last thoughts on national security!
  • If your travel experiences seem to require you to sleep in airports, here is a website that has a lot of information on many travel solutions – The Guide to Sleeping in Airports
  • ATTENTION CODERS! Here is an Open AI Codex Live Demo – (641) OpenAI Codex Live Demo – YouTube Noted one viewer: “This is amazing. Making coding more accessible is going to be a huge leap forward. I can’t wait to see this get more advanced.”
  • With Coronavirus taking over, you might need some music to calm your concerns, and we have found a solution – BOSE Home Speaker 500. Could clean audio kill a virus? No, but it really kills time well!
  • Here are some amazing pix from the EAA AirVenture in 2021 – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021 | Flickr … and we mean A LOT OF PIX!

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) announced Singapore Airlines (SIA) as the launch customer for its new Marketplace digital eCommerce platform.

This latest digital solution from Panasonic Avionics enables airlines to introduce a turn-key eCommerce experience onboard. It facilitates in-flight food and beverage ordering, expands storefront retail and duty-free offerings with the ability to present dynamic inventory, and initiates promotions throughout the customer journey, in both connected and non-connected environments.
Marketplace will enable Singapore Airlines’ passengers to experience an omni-channel shopping experience, offered in partnership with the carrier and its KrisShop retail platform, that will be branded eShopping. By using Marketplace, the airline can customize its current retail offering and add future stores to deliver real-time inventory updates to KrisShop.

Panasonic Avionics’ eCommerce platform will enhance the shopping experience for Singapore Airlines’ passengers by enabling them to shop in-flight and browse a hugely expanded choice of around 4,000 products. They will have the choice of delivery directly to their homes or on their next flight.

As an integrated solution, Marketplace enables retail catalogs to be pre-loaded on to the airline’s in-flight entertainment content server. This allows passengers to continually browse regardless of the connectivity status at the time.

Singapore Airlines will roll out the platform across its fleet installed with Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight entertainment solutions and is the latest chapter in their longstanding partnership which first commenced in 1995.

Andrew Mohr, Vice President, Digital Solutions at Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “We are thrilled to launch our new Marketplace platform with our longstanding partner Singapore Airlines, whose dedication to pioneering the passenger experience reflects our own.”

“Marketplace marks our latest commitment to revolutionizing and revitalizing the in-flight experience with our growing portfolio of digital solutions, and is an integral part of our efforts to welcome passengers back to the skies.”

Panasonic Avionics has designed Marketplace to enable airlines to customize the passenger experience by route, cabin and destination. For example, different retailer catalogs can be assigned to specific routes and cabins to align the experience to the passenger demographic.

Marketplace incorporates a range of eCommerce analytics tools that enable airlines to continually measure and refine its performance to ensure it meets their passengers’ needs.

Mr. Yeoh Phee Teik, Senior Vice President Customer Experience, Singapore Airlines, said: “E-commerce is the future of shopping, and integrating this feature into our in-flight entertainment system is yet another industry first for SIA. This allows KrisWorld to go beyond movies, television shows, music, and games, and offer customers more of what they want while flying with us. This is part of our unwavering commitment to continuously innovate and enhance our product and service offerings, and augment the travel experience for our customers.”

More News From Panasonic:

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has launched the world’s first full cabin 4K ultra-high-definition in-flight entertainment (IFE) with Cathay Pacific Airways (Cathay Pacific).

Its market-leading 4K screens are taking to the skies on the airline’s new fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft, incorporating on-demand services with one of the largest movie and TV libraries available on a regional single-aisle aircraft.

The rollout of Panasonic Avionics’ screens will also include Bluetooth audio streaming, enabling Cathay Pacific’s passengers to watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters in 4K using their own Bluetooth-enabled headphones.

Panasonic Avionics’ integrated technology delivers the highest quality pixel density of any IFE screen in the skies today, enabling Cathay Pacific’s passengers to enjoy the latest films and box sets in stunning resolution, color depth and contrast.

The new IFE experience will be featured in all cabins on Cathay Pacific’s A321neo fleet. The airline’s economy class seats will feature 11.6-inch personal screens, while business class will feature 15.6-inch personal screens.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics said, “Cathay Pacific has been a strategic and highly valued airline customer of Panasonic Avionics for many years. We are thrilled to help them take their passenger experience to the next level with the introduction of 4K content using our NEXT IFE system.”

“We continue to work tirelessly to develop the highest quality resolution for our seatback screens, and the launch of 4K is the latest milestone in our 40-year long commitment to delivering the world’s best in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions to airlines and their passengers.”

The introduction of 4K IFE marks the latest chapter in Cathay Pacific’s longstanding partnership with Panasonic Avionics, which first commenced in 2007. In addition to introducing its Live Television service in 2016, Panasonic Avionics is the principal provider of in-flight entertainment systems for Cathay Pacific’s fleet of over 130 aircraft.

“We are excited with the launch of the most advanced in-flight entertainment system with our long-term partner, Panasonic Avionics, on our A321neo aircraft,” said Vivian Lo, Cathay Pacific’s General Manager Customer Experience and Design. “We’ve always aimed to provide our passengers a comparable entertainment experience as what they would find at home. With the large screens and 4K ultra-high-definition viewing experience, passengers may enjoy our curated premium 4K content with their personal Bluetooth wireless headphones. We are determined to continuously elevate our passengers’ travel experience, and today, we are marking a milestone with our new A321neo fleet.”

The new 4K screens are an integral part of Panasonic Avionics’ NEXT IFE Series, the industry’s most powerful in-flight entertainment system. Incorporating the latest advancements in aircraft architecture, NEXT delivers an augmented cinematic experience and simplified seat integration for every cabin class.

And More News:

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) announced China Eastern Airlines (China Eastern) as the launch customer in China for its in-flight Live Television service.

The service will be rolled out across its entire widebody fleet of Airbus A330, A350 and Boeing B777 and B787 aircraft in the future, initially providing their passengers with unmissable live coverage from major local broadcasters, such as CCTV and CGTN.

Live Television is enabled by Panasonic Avionics’ third-generation (Gen-3) communications network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites. The network covers over 99% of all routes, and places capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.

The most recent addition to the Gen-3 network is APSTAR 6D, Panasonic Avionics’ first extreme high throughput satellite, which has significantly boosted satellite capacity over China through teleports which have just gone live in Beijing. This will enable China Eastern, and other airlines based in China and flying over it, to benefit from this enhanced capacity and a range of other in-flight connectivity services.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “China is a strategically important market for Panasonic Avionics, and we are delighted to welcome China Eastern as the first airline in this market to launch our Live Television service. Their passengers can now stay up to date with global news and sporting events in-flight, taking advantage of the additional satellite capacity we have just invested in over China.”

Panasonic Avionics’ Live Television service offers premium live sports and news events as they unfold, connecting passengers to unmissable on-the-ground entertainment from the comfort of their seats. The integrated service enables passengers to watch their favorite national news channels. It broadcasts 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, connecting passengers to over 16 hours of premium live content each day. Over 30 different global sports leagues, federations and unique events will be shown in 2021, including the Olympics Games Tokyo 2020 and UEFA Euro 2020 tournament.


ASTRONICS

  • Sales for the quarter were $111.2 million
  • Net loss was $8.1 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA* was $0.4 million
  • Bookings for the quarter continued sequential improvement to $126.3 million; Achieved book-to-bill ratio of 1.14
  • Aerospace segment book-to-bill of 1.32 for the quarter
  • Backlog increased 5% sequentially to $312.7 million

Peter J. Gundermann, the Company’s President and CEO, commented, “Our second quarter was one of slow but steady progress. Our core aerospace markets strengthened as vaccinations took hold and passenger traffic accelerated. We are encouraged by our bookings trend, especially in our Aerospace segment, where we achieved a book-to-bill ratio of 1.32 for the quarter. We expect these bookings will drive higher sales in the second half of 2021.”


THALES

  • Thales Partners with DAS in Fully Supporting Hong Kong International Airport’s Three-Runway System Expansion Project
  • Thales partners with DAS to provide an advanced Instrument Landing System (ILS) solution in fully supporting the Three-runway System (3RS) expansion project at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) helping to further improve the capacity and efficiency of aircraft landing while maintaining the highest standard of flight safety.
  • As one of the most trusted partners, Thales has been providing various critical air navigation service equipment to the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government for over 20 years.
  • Thales state-of-the-art ILS solution has already been implemented in various major international airports worldwide.

BOEING

Boeing announced a $500,000 (equivalent to IDR 7.2 billion) donation from the Boeing Charitable Trust to CARE in support of COVID-19 relief efforts in Indonesia. Funds will be used to increase capacity of local health centers, provide inflatable negative pressure tents and beds to accommodate COVID-19 patients, as well as personal protective equipment kits and food supplements for health care workers.

“Boeing stands by the people of Indonesia as the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant continues to spread across the country, leaving families and communities in desperate need of assistance,” said Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing International. “We are in this fight against COVID-19 together, and Boeing is committed to helping communities respond to this most recent surge in cases. This donation will help save lives and support those impacted the most.”

“As the COVID-19 crisis grows in densely populated areas in Indonesia, CARE’s support to treatment facilities and isolation centers is more critical than ever,” said Bonaria Siahaan, CEO Yayasan CARE Peduli (CARE Indonesia). “We are grateful to our partners at Boeing for joining this enormous effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 and protect the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable communities.”

Only slightly more than 11% of the Indonesian population has been fully vaccinated against the virus. CARE is currently mobilizing response efforts that include converting health centers into treatment facilities and isolation centers; supporting communities with water and sanitation facilities; and providing nutritional support for vulnerable children under the age of 5. CARE is also ensuring the fair and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region.

As part of the Boeing Gift Match program, the company will match dollar for dollar monetary donations made by Boeing employees to charitable organizations supporting COVID-19 relief in Indonesia. This will extend the reach of assistance being provided to the Indonesian people.

COVID-19 relief efforts in Indonesia align with Boeing’s ongoing commitment to the communities where Boeing employees live and work. Boeing’s presence in Indonesia spans more than 70 years. Over the past decade, Boeing has contributed more than $2.8 million in charitable giving in the country.


OTHER NEWS

FLIGHTPATH 3D

FlightPath3D announced  that they achieved over 500
installations in the first half of 2021 thanks to its availability on any device and any platform.

Duncan Jackson, FlightPath3D President, says, “Our suite of interactive travel applications, including our route map and smart travel guide, is driving the demand, especially with our best in class in-seat installations. We’re also seeing the move to a touchless cabin driving demand for our Wi-Fi streaming map that’s viewed on passengers’ own devices.”

Figure 1 – FlightPath3D Route Map Wi-Fi Streamed to Passenger’s Smart Phone

Jackson adds, “Thanks to our any device, any platform approach, our market-leading map, and travel applications, are available on any IFE architecture (seat-back, overhead, and Wi-Fi streaming) and on any OEM platform. We’re proud of the integration, certification, and joint sales efforts with all of our OEM partners, which include: Anuvu, Astronics, Burrana, Gogo, IDAIR, Immfly, Panasonic, Safran Passenger Solutions, and Thales.”

Figure 2 – FlightPath3D Moving Map Displayed on an In-Seat Monitor

Jackson continues, “Our airline partners greatly appreciate that we can integrate our map across their fleet of aircraft, regardless of the type of IFE system installed, ensuring fleet commonality and enhancing their passengers’ inflight experience.”

FlightPath3D CEO, Boris Veksler, says, “We’ve been busy creating new applications that help passengers find flights, routes, and destinations based on personal profiles and their experience desires. We’re well on track to surpassing our target of 4,000 aircraft installs by the end of
2021.”

Veksler adds, “We’re excited to see these products enter service in the next few months with several airlines and airports. More news about that to come shortly.”


BLUEBOX
Royal Jordanian, Jordan’s national flag carrier, has expanded their “SkyConnect” wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) service to its Embraer E175 and E195 aircraft. Originally launched in 2019 with a deployment of Bluebox Wow on its Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft, the expansion occurred in conjunction with several enhancements from Bluebox, through which Royal Jordanian has received upgraded Bluebox Wow boxes across the fleet, a refresh to the passenger interface, and conversion to app-free DRM content delivery, which removed a previous requirement for passengers to download an app prior to flights in order to access “SkyConnect” on board.

Given the flexible route pattern served by Royal Jordanian’s fleet, with some aircraft flying a mix of long- and short-haul routes, Bluebox has also introduced new functionality to the crew management tool, giving RJ cabin crew the ability to select different content sets, depending on the flight length. Restricting the content provided on short-haul flights to more appropriate short-form content (i.e. no long movies) will help the airline save content licencing costs.

Royal Jordanian Vice Chairman & CEO, Samer Majali said: “The addition of Bluebox’s wireless IFE solution to our Airbus fleet proved very quickly to be a valuable service enhancement enjoyed by our passengers, and so we wanted to expand this to our passengers flying on our Embraer aircraft as well – ensuring that wherever our passengers are flying they have access to our “SkyConnect” service. The flexibility of Bluebox Wow – and the excellent support we’ve had from Bluebox – has helped us ensure that as we emerge from the pandemic, our passengers will return to a rich in-flight experience and we’re making the most effective use of W-IFE on board.”

“When we first deployed Bluebox Wow on Royal Jordanian’s Airbus aircraft, we’d said it was a natural fit,” said Kevin Clark, CEO, Bluebox. “The fact that we’ve now extended the service to RJ’s Embraer fleet flying shorter routes demonstrates the flexibility of Bluebox Wow – and the ability of our team – to serve different requirements and to continually enhance the value of our solution for our customers.”

Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games, and other digital content. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, Bluebox Wow is a discrete, portable, lunchbox-sized unit stowed securely in overhead bins.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat unveiled plans for ORCHESTRA, the communications network of the future. In the largest ever transformation of its current world-class services, Inmarsat ORCHESTRA will bring together existing geosynchronous (GEO) satellites with low earth orbit satellites (LEO) and terrestrial 5G into an integrated, high-performance solution.

Whether for a ship in a crowded port, an aircraft preparing to land at LAX, or a defense force deployed in a remote location, ORCHESTRA is designed to meet evolving connectivity needs in the mobility market with a service unmatched by any competitor offering, planned or in existence.

“An orchestra brings different instruments together, each supporting the other and playing its role in the masterpiece. We’re building ORCHESTRA on the same concept,” said Rajeev Suri, CEO of Inmarsat. “By combining the distinct qualities of GEO, LEO and 5G into a single network, we will deliver a service that is far greater than the sum of its parts. Our customers will benefit from dramatically expanded high throughput services around the world. This is the future of connectivity and Inmarsat is perfectly positioned to bring it to the world with its proven technology expertise, right base of customers and partners, and financial strength.”

ORCHESTRA will open up a host of new and previously unattainable possibilities for industries across the world. New services include close-shore navigation for autonomous vessels, next-generation emergency safety services for maritime crews, secure and tactical private networks for governments and direct-to-cloud connections for airlines. New segments set to benefit from ORCHESTRA include energy rigs and drilling platforms, mid-market business aircraft, coastal vessels, smart passenger ships and urban air mobility.

ORCHESTRA is unique because it draws together the benefits of multiple technologies to create one cohesive solution. LEO, GEO and terrestrial networks have never been combined at scale before to create a unified connectivity service for mobility customers. The result is a ‘dynamic mesh network’ that will deliver high-performance connectivity everywhere. Bringing together the lowest average latency and fastest average speeds with unique resilience, ORCHESTRA will eliminate the industry-wide challenge of congested network ‘hot spots’.

Inmarsat’s existing GEO satellites – both GX and L-band – will continue to provide global coverage, high performance, security and resilience. Terrestrial 5G adds ultra-high capacity in busy ‘hot spots’, such as ports, airports, and sea canals. A small constellation of LEO satellites will layer additional high capacity over further high-demand areas such as oceanic flight corridors. As a result, the network will offer the highest capacity for mobility users worldwide, and at ‘hot spots’.

The network will benefit from ‘dynamic mesh’ technology, which allows individual customer terminals to direct traffic to and from other customer terminals. This means that a ship within reach of a 5G ground station can receive ample capacity for its own needs as well as route capacity onwards to other vessels beyond terrestrial reach. This effectively creates a mobile web of terminals that extend the network’s reach and improve its performance and resilience.

“ORCHESTRA ensures Inmarsat is well positioned to deliver long-term, profitable growth by delivering new services to existing customers, targeting near-adjacent market segments, and maintaining a strong competitive position,” said Suri. “We have a record of adopting the right technology at the right time. We plan to focus initially on delivering the ORCHESTRA terrestrial network, while preparing for a future LEO constellation in the range of 150-175 satellites. This is a highly cost-effective approach that leverages Inmarsat’s leading GEO satellite networks as part of ORCHESTRA’s unique multi-layer architecture.”

The new approach means that Inmarsat can easily boost capacity in high-density areas such as ports and airports, ensuring customer needs continue to be met well into the future with capacity scaled directly to match their requirements. The initial five-year (2021-2026) total investment for ORCHESTRA is expected to be in the order of $100m.


AIRFI.AERO

The latest in a series of strategic alliances supports AirFi’s expansion in Southeast Asia and underscores the company’s commitment to providing global expertise with local support to airline customers.

AirFi, the leading provider of portable wireless inflight entertainment and onboard ancillary revenue solutions to the airline sector, and Basecare Vietnam, a Hanoi-based consultancy specializing in cabin interiors and technologies, have today announced a new partnership that will accelerate the rollout of AirFi’s digital cabin solutions across more airlines in Vietnam.

Effective from July 2021, Basecare Vietnam will operate as AirFi Vietnam and becomes the exclusive sales representative of AirFi solutions to airlines in the country, which is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and home to a flurry of start-up activity in aviation. AirFi Vietnam is the fifth strategic regional representative for AirFi, following the successful introduction of AirFi Indonesia, AirFi America, AirFi Korea, and AirFi Romania. Each local representative brings valuable regional expertise, advice, and service not only to AirFi’s customers but also to other airlines in the region.

Under the new strategic alliance, Basecare Vietnam (AirFi Vietnam) will act as vendor for AirFi’s inflight entertainment and ancillary revenue solutions and will also draw on deep knowledge of local business practice, consumer habits, and many years of experience in airline start-ups to optimize UX, content and retail offerings, as well as supporting system monetization and enabling zero capex deployment for qualified airlines.

“I’m thrilled to announce the signing of this strategic alliance with AirFi for the benefit of all of Vietnam’s Airlines,” commented Clarence Phua, Director of Customer Service at Basecare Vietnam. “The Vietnamese sky is brimming with fleets of Boeing and Airbus aircraft, all of which are perfectly suited for AirFi’s wireless streaming solutions. We believe the AirFi portfolio is truly the market’s leading array of portable inflight entertainment, ancillary revenue and connected crew ePOS solutions.”

Commenting on the partnership, Vimal Kumar Rai, AirFi EVP Global Sales and Marketing said: “The magic of selling onboard is all about curating a mix of products and services that are timely and relevant to the passenger. The local representation and regional expertise of our in-country representatives helps AirFi develop culturally intuitive and engaging passenger experiences through customized onboard retail offerings while streamlining crew operations and otherwise maximising the profitability of the AirFi system. Basecare Vietnam is the ideal partner to help localize our offerings and optimize ancillary revenues for our partners in the region.


BOEING

The Boeing Company announced a €500,000 donation from the Boeing Charitable Trust to the American Red Cross to assist with flood relief efforts in Germany. Funds will be deployed by the German Red Cross to provide emergency power, distribute emergency relief supplies, improve communication infrastructure and mobilize medical care, first aid and rescue services to the hardest hit areas in the region.

“Our hearts go out to all of the people of Germany who have been impacted by these devastating floods,” said Marc Allen, Boeing’s chief strategy officer, senior vice president of Strategy and Corporate Development and interim leader of Government Operations. “Through our partnership with the American Red Cross and German Red Cross, we are working quickly to bring much-needed emergency funding to communities hit hardest by these recent events. Germany is an important partner to both the U.S. and to Boeing, and we hope that this emergency assistance package provides some level of relief during these difficult times.”

“Boeing has a strong relationship with Germany and we feel that it is our responsibility to stand at the side of the German people in these exceptional circumstances,” added Dr. Michael Haidinger, president of Boeing Germany.

In the aftermath of the severe flooding, hundreds of people have lost their lives and the property loss is estimated to be in the billions. More than 3,000 German Red Cross workers are providing assistance in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. The work is only just beginning, and the Red Cross will continue to provide assistance in the months to come.

“The American Red Cross is grateful for partners like Boeing for stepping up during these unprecedented times,” said Koby Langley, senior vice president of International Services for the American Red Cross. “Boeing’s contribution supports the Red Cross efforts to help communities affected by flooding in Germany. We are deeply grateful for their generous support during this challenging time.”

Boeing continues to monitor the situation and is in regular communication with its 1,000 employees in Germany. All Boeing facilities in Germany are currently operating normally.


OTHER NEWS

AVIATION RECOVERY IMPACTED BY LACK OF GLOBAL SYNCHRONISATION, INDUSTRY LEADERS STATE DURING RECORD-BREAKING VIRTUAL BROADCAST

FlightPlan: C-Suite Week, hosted by Inmarsat and APEX, aired a series of ‘no holds barred’ discussions with the CEOs of Qatar Airways, AirAsia, United Airlines, TAP Air Portugal and IATA

Exclusive interviews were viewed by 6,500 viewers from 80 countries around the world, with thousands more expected to watch the videos on demand

26 JULY 2021: The biggest names in global aviation came together at FlightPlan: C-Suite Week for a series of exclusive ‘no holds barred’ interviews with leading BBC World News reporter Aaron Heslehurst, touching on the most immediate and pressing issues facing air travel in 2021.

The latest edition in the popular FlightPlan online broadcast, developed by Inmarsat Aviation and APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association), attracted a record-breaking audience of 6,500 from 80 countries worldwide last week, with thousands more expected to watch the videos on demand.

FlightPlan: C-Suite Week aired interviews on five consecutive days with:

  • Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO, Qatar Airways.
  • Tony Fernandes, CEO and Founder, AirAsia Group.
  • Scott Kirby, CEO, United Airlines and APEX/IFSA Board of Governors Chair.
  • Christine Ourmières-Widener, CEO, TAP Air Portugal.
  • Willie Walsh, Director General, IATA (and former CEO of IAG).

Several pertinent topics were debated during the daily ‘power hour’ broadcasts, including leadership lessons from the industry’s biggest ever crisis, how airline recovery has been stilted by a lack of global synchronization, and the importance of addressing sustainability challenges. The interviews also explored the ability of digitalization to accelerate profitable growth for airlines and meet evolving passenger needs.

Summarizing the event, Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “FlightPlan was launched by Inmarsat and APEX during the very onset of the global pandemic, bringing the global aviation industry together for much needed debates, discussions and direction at a time of great uncertainty.

“The response has been phenomenal, with a combined audience of approximately 17,000 for the first three editions, reinforcing its position as the industry’s biggest virtual broadcast. FlightPlan: C-Suite Week delivered insight into the difficult decisions faced by leaders over the past 18 months. It also uncovered many impressive future-facing initiatives underway – from sustainability to passenger experience – that will not only secure a strong recovery for airlines, but also ensure a bright future for the industry at large.”

Never waste a crisis

FlightPlan’s C-Suite line-up shared valuable leadership lessons from steering their aviation businesses through the COVID-19 travel crisis over the past 18 months. Al Baker shared his biggest learning for leaders: “there should always be a plan B and even sometimes a plan C of how to conduct your business in dire circumstances like the pandemic.”

For Kirby, a major learning has been the critical importance of customer experience. “Many of us in aviation have a new focus and commitment to change the customer experience. To use what we went through – the worst crisis in history – as a transformative moment to really make it better for customers,” he said. Kirby’s ambition is to turn flying into something passengers truly enjoy as part of the journey, “so that their vacation starts the moment they leave the house, instead of once they land at the other side”.

Unilateralism has stilted recovery

Across the board, the interviewees agreed that industry recovery has been stilted by unilateralism and a lack of global synchronization. For Fernandes, co-ordination between different governments “has been a failure… because every country has their own vaccine rules and entry requirements”. Lamenting the lack of standardised policies, he called for closer co-ordination between airlines and airports, noting: “we’re symbiotic; we need each other”.

Walsh echoed the challenges of a siloed international approach: “You would have expected the EU to have corralled everybody together and say, look, ‘we’ve got to demonstrate to everybody now that we are in this together’. That’s probably been the most disappointing thing for me. If we’ve struggled to see a political and a coordinated political response from the EU, I think we’ve no hope of expecting to see a coordinated political response globally.”

Sustainability in aviation

With climate change rapidly rising up the consumer, corporate and policy agenda, sustainability was highlighted as an urgent priority for the airline industry to ensure its right to operate in the future. As OurmieÌres-Widener told viewers: “Our contribution to the future of the climate is key.”

Walsh backed further political focus on environmental performance, noting: “The equipment that we have on aircraft today is so advanced and yet we’re still operating the way we were back in the 1960s. It’s a scandal on environmental grounds and is making our operations so much more inefficient than they could be.” He speculated, “Why isn’t it being done? Because there’s a lack of political will to address the issue.”

Kirby agreed that policies are needed to drive forward ambitious targets, but that “we have to be real about the art of the doable,” noting that Net Zero by 2035 would come at the expense of reliable power supplies. He shared insight on United’s efforts to invest in Boom aircraft that run on sustainable fuel – part of the airline’s commitment to reach Net Zero without carbon offsetting.

Qatar Airways is also underway with its sustainability drive, according to Al Baker, who said: “We are prepared to look after our environment, and this is why we are continuously investing in aeroplanes that are more fuel-efficient.” 

Readiness for digital transformation

OurmieÌres-Widener mused that while the crisis brought many challenges to the industry, it has also confirmed several trends – one being the huge opportunity for airlines that embrace digitiation. She said that the “full digital experience” is no longer just a buzzword, but a reality that airlines need to offer.

Digitization is well underway for AirAsia, too, with data sitting at the heart of Fernandes’ vision to make the brand more than just an airline. “We have much better customer data than Uber,” from credit card to loyalty information, Fernandes explained. His ambition is to make AirAsia “a travel company like Expedia,” encompassing services from currency to grocery delivery. “We’re trying to turn the AirAsia customer on the plane into a customer on the ground, keeping them with us before and after their flight,” he said.

To watch all interviews on demand, visit: flightplan.wavecast.io.


FLIGHTAWARE

FlightAware, the largest global provider of flight information and actionable aviation intelligence, announced the launch of Aviator, the ultimate flight tracking suite for piston airplane pilots and operators.

FlightAware’s Aviator is an inexpensive subscription-based software, accessible via the web and iOS. Any subscriber can register multiple aircraft, including rentals, and unlock indispensable features like Ready To Taxi™, Premium Weather and Map Layers, Surface Visualizations, FBO Scheduling, and ETAs automatically updated via FlightAware’s powerful machine predictive technology, Foresight™.

“Aviator was created by FlightAware pilots to share advanced flight tracking features with other piston airplane pilots. Over the years we’ve gone from flight tracking to becoming the central data hub for both the business and commercial aviation industries. With Aviator, we’re bringing a product with robust tools and processes developed for the most sophisticated flight departments and commercial airlines, right to the GA pilot.” said Daniel Baker, FlightAware CEO.

With Aviator family, friends, and FBOs can receive alerts from preflight and taxi out, through landing and taxi in.

Communications are coordinated as stakeholders stay informed. From surface visualizations displaying taxiing planes and surface movements to comprehensive airborne flight tracks, Aviator also provides monthly history reports for pilots and operators to review critical flight details.


MORGAN STANLEY

Airlines: Corporate Travel Survey 2H2021: US is leading the recovery

High number of Covid cases and slow lifting of travel bans have postponed the recovery of corporate travel budgets to post 2022. The shift of travel volume to virtual has stabilized at 27% by 2022 and is expected to be 19% by 2023. US travel is benefiting from a quicker corporate recovery vs EU and Asia.

We conducted an online survey of ~140 corporate travel managers between June 30-July 12, who represent over US$8B of typical annual travel spend. Around 67% are headquartered in the US, 19% in Europe, and 14% in Asia/Other, and their travel budgets are allocated relatively similarly. This survey is the fourth wave since the Covid pandemic started a stabilization, which we find interesting to track changes in trends as we return to normal.

Travel budgets recovery has slowed down, with the US leading the recovery. Travel budgets are expected to be down an average of 39.2% vs 2019 in 2H21 compared to the 57.3% drop seen in the 1H21. The pace of recovery will increase in 2022 with budgets expected to be down only 17.5% on average, which is 2pp worse than our previous survey in March. The US will lead the recovery as 17% of US based respondents replied that their 2H21 travel budgets would be increasing vs 2019, compared to 10% of Europeans and 0% of Asian/Other responders. In addition, while 62% of European responders expected cuts of greater than 50%, only 45% of US counterparts expected the same.

Passenger volumes continue to deteriorate, though expectations are for higher fare increases. Similar to travel budgets, our latest data suggests 2022 volumes vs 2019 will be down 21.1%, a 2.7pp decrease vs March. Once again Europe will be the laggard with 57% expecting a decline of 30-50% compared to just 25% of US respondents expecting the same. Expectations of air fares have improved, with 2.8% increases in 2022 (up 80bps vs March).

The shift to virtual meetings trend seems to be stabilizing. Despite some deterioration in corporate travel expectations for 2021/2022, the shift to virtual meetings in 2022 remains at 27% level, with 2023 expected to be 19%, on average.

Time and cost cited as key issues for switch to virtual, with environmental concerns higher in Europe. More efficient use of employee time and cost reductions were cited by 74% and 72% of respondents, respectively, as at least a top 3 reason for replacing travel with virtual options. Perhaps unsurprisingly, European companies considered environmental concerns as the most important reason to replace corporate travel. 25% of Europe based travel managers cited this as their number 1 reason compared to just 5% of US counterparts.

Conclusions for Europe: We think US based respondents’ more positive outlook for travel could be an indication of a faster recovery once restrictions ease. Nonetheless, we still do not anticipate corporate air travel in Europe to recover before 2023/2024, and higher environmental concerns on travel support our thesis. All in all, weaker demand and 27% convergence of travel into virtual events should negatively affect legacy carriers (Lufthansa, IAG and Air France-KLM, in that order) more than low cost carriers (easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz). We continue to prefer Ryanair and easyjet (OW), over Lufthansa and AF-KLM.

Conclusions for US Airlines: From a US perspective, it is encouraging to see the results lead the rest of the world given the higher pace of vaccinations and the growing momentum toward return to the office, which will likely lead corporate travel. We note that most airlines have already seen a notable pickup in corporate travel from -80% vs. 2019 in April to -60% in May and expected to be -40-45% in September.

Furtherrmore, the Airlines expect the momentum to continue to pick up in 3Q/4Q and their internal surveys show that permanent substitution of corporate travel will be as little as 5% (in DAL’s survey down from 8% a quarter ago) to zero (for UAL), vs. our ~20-25%. Perhaps all this tells us is that there is still significant uncertainty out there on how much the corporate tide will rise as we re-open and whether that will stop 20%, 10% or 0% below 2019 levels or even exceed 2019 levels. What is clear to us is that the initial rising tide (returning to 70-80% of normal corporate) is nowhere close to being priced into the US Airline stocks today (esp. Legacies like DAL and UAL) and none of this debate really impacts the investment decision on the LCC/ULCC stocks (JBLU, ALK, ALGT, ULCC, LUV) that have limited exposure to corporate. As a result, we continue to remain bullish on the US Airline stocks. We will closely watch the progression of the COVID variant but if we do not see incremental lockdowns or steps backward by Labor Day (Sept 7), we expect corporate travel to recover quickly after that.

“The U.S. will not lift international travel restrictions at this time due to the Covid-19 Delta variant. The U.S. announced earlier this week that it will not lift any existing travel restrictions “at this point” due to concerns over the highly transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant and the rising number of U.S. coronavirus cases. According to a White House official, cases of Covid-19 are rising within the U.S., particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear “likely to continue to increase in the weeks ahead.” This comes a week after the Biden Administration said U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least August 21st, despite Canada announcing it will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated Americans beginning on August 9th. In early June, the Biden Administration formed expert working groups with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the U.K. to determine how to best reopen international borders safely; however, the White House official stated that any decision to lift restrictions “has to be a sustainable decision” going forward. Although international travel restrictions remain in place for now, many U.S. airlines stated that the Delta variant has not had much of an impact on domestic leisure bookings. During an earnings conference call, UAL’s management said the company hadn’t seen “any impact at all on bookings” due to the Covid-19 Delta variant, and ALK’s management noted that they have seen “no slowing signs of demand,” but that they are continuing to watch trends carefully.”


BOEING

Boeing released its first Sustainability Report. In the report, the company shares its vision for the future of sustainable aerospace, establishes broad sustainability goals and highlights environmental, social and governance (ESG) progress in alignment with global sustainability standards.

“In September 2020, amidst a global pandemic, Boeing formed a Sustainability organization dedicated to advancing our ESG efforts across the enterprise. As we continue on this journey, we are pleased to publish our first comprehensive report, focused on stakeholder responsiveness and data transparency,” said Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond. “We know there’s still work to do and are committed to communicating our progress and holding ourselves accountable to ensure the aerospace industry is safe and sustainable for generations to come.”

Boeing’s sustainability efforts are organized around four key pillars: people, products and services, operations and communities. In 2020, highlights across these four pillars included:

Establishing six broad new sustainability goals in alignment with our key sustainability priorities and stakeholder interests.

Defining the company’s vision for the future of sustainable aerospace through fleet renewal, network operational efficiency, renewable energy and advanced technology.

Committing to deliver commercial airplanes capable of flying on 100% sustainable fuels by 2030.

Partnering with Etihad Airways on the 2020 ecoDemonstrator program, which tested sustainable technologies on one of the airline’s new 787-10 Dreamliners.

Implementing digital engineering tools on the T-7A Red Hawk program, achieving a 75% increase in first-time engineering quality and an 80% reduction in assembly hours.

Advancing flight tests for Cora, an all-electric, self-flying air taxi developed by Boeing and Kitty Hawk joint venture Wisk.

Responding to COVID-19 by executing airlift missions to transport supplies, providing community vaccination sites and minimizing air travel health risks through the Confident Travel Initiative.

Establishing a 20-member Racial Equity Task Force to represent diverse viewpoints and amplify all voices at Boeing.

Setting 2030 environmental performance goals to reduce emissions, waste, water use and energy consumption.

Achieving net-zero carbon emissions at work sites, while reducing energy consumption by 12%, water use by 23%, solid waste by 44% and hazardous waste by 34%.

Attaining the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award for Sustained Excellence every year since 2010.

Contributing $234 million in community giving, working with 13,400 community partners and volunteering 250,000 hours.

United Aviate Academy has selected Boeing to provide a comprehensive suite of training tools, materials and digital solutions to develop and provide early career training to United Airlines’ next generation of pilots. The companies commemorated the five-year training agreement with a ceremonial signing event at EAA AirVenture.

The comprehensive training package of courseware and multimedia materials spans Boeing’s portfolio of service offerings, including its Jeppesen and ForeFlight solutions, and provides United Aviate Academy with the tools to help cadets master key concepts and information needed to confidently and safely pilot aircraft.

“We are pleased to extend our long-term partnership with Boeing to help train the next generation of United pilots,” said Bryan Quigley, United’s senior vice president of flight operations. “Boeing’s unique suite of tools and materials will help provide effective training for Aviate pilots who are working to meet future air travel demands and uphold United’s high standards of safety and excellence.”

The agreement includes:

  • Initial cadet assessment materials with accompanying online courses and e-books, supporting higher program completion rates through analytics of data-driven assessments
  • Jeppesen Academy courseware, textbooks and digital learning materials for private, instrument, commercial, multiengine and instructor training
  • The ForeFlight Mobile integrated flight app for pilots equipped with Jeppesen NavData®, electronic charts and Airway Manuals, a one-stop shop for flight tasks like routing flights, planning and filing flight plans, managing electronic charts and maps, and gathering destination and weather information
  • Pilot supplies including Bose headsets, computers, student flight bags, logbooks and more
  • GPS NavData for the United Aviate Academy fleet

“We are fully committed to providing United Aviate Academy—and all of our customers—with tailored, high-quality training solutions that enhance safety and meet the learning and development needs of pilots from all backgrounds,” said Chris Broom, vice president of Training Solutions, Boeing Global Services. “By leveraging our broad portfolio of solutions, we offer customers tremendous value in delivering efficient, effective training throughout the pilot training life cycle.”

Following the agreement signing, Boeing further demonstrated its support for the program and its commitment to diversity by presenting Delia Nina Nava with a scholarship to United Aviate Academy to join a future pilot training class. Nava is a Hispanic woman from Houston with a passion for aviation and aspirations of becoming an airline pilot. She is a graduate of Ross Shaw Sterling Aviation High School and a student at the University of Houston.

Boeing produced their first sustainability report this week and you can read it here: Boeing: 2021 Sustainability Report Interestingly, they want to deliver commercial planes flying on sustainable fuels by 2030. Here is another bit of data on the report: Boeing’s 1st Sustainability Report: Here’s What You Need To Know – Simple Flying


OTHER NEWS

  • A lot of folks have quotes but this one is really significant and important. Steve Jobs, a person we have forever respected, had a remark we think makes a lot of sense: “You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it is worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains!” (Editor’s Note: Also, we should probably mention that Robin Williams said something that means a lot to us as well: “Being a famous print journalist is like being the best-dressed woman on the radio.”)
  • If Boeing regressions have you wondering, you need to read this story because there are a number of downward changes that might be a clue to what is going on and what might happen! Boeing ($BA) News: Talent Loss to Amazon, SpaceX Hurts Turnaround Prospects – Bloomberg

NetForecast

In advance of a Department of Transportation proposal to mandate fee refunds when inflight Wi-Fi “doesn’t work,” NetForecast is launching a new service to independently and proactively monitor passenger Wi-Fi experience quality—enabling airlines to identify and correct Wi-Fi performance issues. The service, QMap® Inflight Internet Experience Monitoring, continuously measures the passenger Wi-Fi experience from personal electronic devices, and reports on end-to-end network experience quality in near real-time. The service notifies airlines when the passenger experience degrades below pre-determined thresholds, and locates problem areas along the network path within the aircraft Wi-Fi network, between the aircraft and the ground station, and beyond that to intermediate networks and network destinations.

End-to-end monitoring is important because the quality of a passenger’s Wi-Fi experience depends on the aggregated quality of service delivered by all elements along the network path. NetForecast’s QMap service is calibrated to reflect realistic performance expectations for each network technology (e.g., geosynchronous satellite, cellular, low earth orbit satellite, etc.).

According to Rebecca Wetzel, NetForecast President: “As members of the Airline Passenger Experience Association’s Connectivity Working Group, we collaborated with the industry to create a specification that provides guidance for measuring and assessing passenger inflight Wi-Fi experience quality. We are excited to put that industry guidance to work with our new QMap service to empower airlines to deliver the best possible experience to their Wi-Fi connected passengers.”

NetForecast is a privately held, woman-owned company headquartered in Charlottesville VA. It is an independent provider of internet performance measurement and data usage accuracy audit solutions. NetForecast customers provide Internet service to over 60 percent of US broadband Internet subscribers.


Bluebox

Bluebox Aviation Systems has been granted an Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the aircraft-powered version of its wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) system, Bluebox Wow. Issued by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to Design Organization Approval (DOA) holder Aerospace Engineering Solutions, the STC applies to all Airbus A320 Family aircraft. The STC was approved after testing was completed with a soon-to-be-announced customer in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The granting of this STC is an exciting and major milestone for us as we continue to sign up new airline customers eager to return to the business of delivering exceptional digital in-flight experiences to their passengers,” said James Macrae, CTO, Bluebox. “Our original version of Bluebox Wow, with its swappable battery system, has been a game-changer in the IFE market, introducing a cost-effective way to deploy IFE to airlines that might never have considered it before due to the high costs involved with installing fully embedded systems. But as the demand for W-IFE has grown – in conjunction with the development of our more powerful digital platforms that our customers can use for engaging their passengers and earning ancillary revenue – we’re attracting the interest of airlines with larger fleets. By utilizing aircraft power, Bluebox Wow devices can deliver the same digital IFE services without a battery present, eliminating the need for logistics management of batteries, and still offering a considerably lighter and lower-cost system than fully fitted W-IFE.”

Macrae continues: “The STC also includes automatic Pause on PA functionality that pauses playback in the event of announcements from the flight deck or cabin crew. Further, by removing the battery completely from this version of Bluebox Wow, we avoid the need for complicated battery/flight status logic and control and the possible risks involved with that – making it much easier to ensure our system is DO-178 compliant. It’s a simple and elegant approach.”

Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games, and other digital content. These services can be offered to passengers on a complimentary basis or paid for via payment card or voucher access with no cabin crew interaction required. Bluebox also offers onboard retail services, including the ability to order and pay for products and services via passenger devices with full inventory synchronization, in parallel to traditional sales from galley carts via cabin crew point-of-sale devices. In addition to onboard touch-free sales, Bluebox’s retail solutions also enable pre-paid (booking path) purchases. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, Bluebox Wow is a discrete, lunchbox-sized unit, typically stowed securely in overhead bins.

With battery- and aircraft-powered versions of Bluebox Wow, the linefit option for Bluebox’s W-IFE platform available on Airbus OSP and retrofit on traditional avionics grade hardware, Bluebox’s range of hardware options for its digital in-flight platform ensures the greatest choice and flexibility are available to customers, especially those with different aircraft types and fleets of any size. This also means that Bluebox can deploy a consistent customer experience across a fleet – whether that be to provide more traditional entertainment content, offer food & beverage or retail sales on board or through the passenger journey, or deliver other innovative services designed to engage passengers and build customer loyalty as well as increase ancillary revenue.


GOGO

Cirrus Aircraft has selected Gogo Business Aviation’s  AVANCE L3 system to be installed as a factory option on new production G2+ Vision JetTM aircraft.

The G2+ Vision Jet is the first “Personal Jet” aircraft to add Gogo’s inflight connectivity service. Cirrus joins Gogo’s distinguished list of aircraft manufacturers that offer Gogo equipment from the factory, which includes all nine of the largest manufacturers of business aviation aircraft in the world.

“The need and desire to be connected in flight is not bound by aircraft size or aircraft mission – everyone who flies in their own aircraft deserves to have fast, reliable connectivity,” said Mark Sander, vice president of OEM sales for Gogo. “The AVANCE L3 is clearly the best solution for personal jet owners and operators who want, fast, reliable inflight connectivity on the most reliable network for aviation.”

Cirrus’s selection of the AVANCE L3 highlights the increasing desire for connectivity on aircraft of all sizes and mission types. The L3 delivers the power of the AVANCE platform in the lightest and smallest form factor available, enabling passengers and crew to be connected to email, browse the web, or access AVANCE L3’s other value-added features such as moving maps, news feeds, and flight information.

“Last year Gogo lowered its minimum service level from 10,000 feet AGL (above ground level) to 3,000 feet AGL which provides additional connectivity time to each flight,” Sander continued. “Today we’re seeing a trend where connectivity has become increasingly important on smaller aircraft such as light jets and turboprops.”

Launched in 2016, the Vision Jet defined a new category in aviation – the Personal JetTM – with its spacious pilot and passenger-friendly cabin featuring panoramic windows, reclining seats, comfortable legroom for five adults and two children and the only turbine aircraft with a whole airframe parachute system as standard equipment. The G2+ Vision Jet is a versatile single-engine jet capable of adapting to the unique needs of business and personal travel missions.


Boeing

Boeing, SkyNRG and SkyNRG Americas announced a partnership focused on scaling the availability and use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) globally. Boeing will also invest in SkyNRG Americas’ SAF production project, for which Alaska Airlines is a previously announced partner.

“Sustainable aviation fuels are safe, proven and offer the greatest potential to reduce our industry’s carbon emissions in the near, medium and long term,” said Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond. “This partnership is an important milestone on our journey to decarbonize aerospace, while ensuring that its societal and economic benefits are available to people everywhere.”

Boeing, SkyNRG and SkyNRG Americas will work together to accelerate SAF development globally, focusing on scaling production capacity, building awareness and engaging stakeholders throughout the value chain, including airlines, governments and environmental organizations.

“We are extremely proud to take the longstanding Boeing-SkyNRG relationship to this new level. We have always been strong collaborators and through this teaming effort, we’re strengthening our relationship even further,” said Maarten van Dijk, Managing Director of SkyNRG.

As a leader in the SAF industry, SkyNRG sources and supplies SAF, develops production capacity, advises on policy decisions, manages corporate SAF programs and takes the high road on sustainability. SkyNRG Americas is a new company focused on growing SAF production in North America. Its first dedicated U.S. production facility for SAF will supply airports and airlines on the West Coast. Boeing’s investment in the project includes the advance purchase of SAF from this facility for use in company flight tests and other operations.

“We are thrilled to be in this partnership with Boeing and grateful for their leadership by providing an advance payment for SAF from our first facility. With this teaming agreement, SkyNRG Americas will be able to accelerate our efforts to expand the SAF industry throughout North America,” said John Plaza, CEO of SkyNRG Americas.

The partnership builds on Boeing’s long-term industry leadership and investment in SAF. The company began SAF test flights in 2008 and helped gain approval for commercial use in 2011. The Boeing ecoDemonstrator uses SAF for all flight test programs and completed the world’s first commercial airplane flight using 100% SAF in 2018. Earlier this year, Boeing committed that its commercial airplanes will be capable and certified to fly on 100% SAF by 2030.

“Our industry will need a strong, reliable supply of SAF to address climate change and drive adoption,” said Raymond. “We aspire to partner and help create that supply.”


Other News

  • If you are into AI or want to be, we strongly suggest subscribing to INSIDE AI. Here is last weekend, July 18 issue – Inside AI – July 18th, 2021

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has completed the latest phase in its continuing investment in in-flight connectivity with the activation of extreme high throughput (XTS) satellite coverage over China and the Asia Pacific region.

The beam over Asia Pacific from APSTAR 6D, Panasonic Avionics’ first XTS satellite, has gone live through teleports in Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Perth. This will enable airlines based in the region and others flying over it to benefit from its greatly enhanced satellite capacity.

APSTAR 6D went into its first stages of operation in early 2021 and is now providing airlines flying across Asia Pacific with multiple gigahertz of new Ku-band capacity over China, including high-density air traffic routes across East Asia using XTS spot beams. APSTAR delivers 90 beams across the whole region, and 50 Gbps in capacity.

The satellite is an integral part of Panasonic Avionics’ third-generation communications (Gen-3) network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites. The network, covering over 99% of all routes, places capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.

Panasonic Avionics’ Gen-3 network supports improved airline and passenger experiences including faster internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, improved picture quality and broader channel choice, 4G phone services, and greater bandwidth for crew applications.

Jeff Sare, Vice President of In-Flight Connectivity Services at Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “China and the Asia Pacific region is a strategically important market for Panasonic Avionics and a key priority in our roadmap for introducing increased satellite capacity. Chinese airlines can now enhance their in-flight experience and brand value by enabling their passengers to enjoy our industry-leading connectivity in the skies.”

Panasonic Avionics is planning a range of further investments in in-flight connectivity in the next two years. These include the increase in satellite coverage over Russia this month with SES NSS-12 satellite and further capacity over the Middle East this autumn with the addition of the SES12 HTS satellite capacity.

The next XTS satellite to join Panasonic Avionics’ Gen-3 network, Eutelsat 10B, is due to launch next year, entering into service in 2023. It will provide enhanced connectivity to airlines and their passengers flying over Europe and the Middle East.

These developments are all integral to Panasonic Avionics’ strategy of utilizing the right satellite from the right partner to meet the evolving market demand and provide superior connectivity services and coverage across the globe.

Over 2,500 aircraft are now connected to the Gen-3 network, with a total of over 3,750 aircraft from around 100 airlines committed to Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight connectivity service. These include over 800 aircraft from 21 Asian carriers, including China Eastern, Air China, China Southern, and Xiamen Airlines.


SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct (SD), the business aviation solutions provider, has signed a preferred supplier agreement with Luxaviation Group, one of the world’s largest business aircraft and helicopter operators. The new three-year arrangement begins with immediate effect and provides best-in-class technical connectivity solutions, superior value, and award-winning customer service to the global Luxaviation fleet.

All Luxaviation customers may now benefit from SD’s advanced technology, tailored service packages and global 24/7/365 customer support, to receive an unparalleled connectivity experience supporting streamlined functionality. The scalable offering meets the specific connectivity needs, missions, and budget requirements of each individual Luxaviation aircraft.

The agreement provides access to high-speed data to support a plethora of inflight requirements including voice, message, email, and internet services, video conferencing, multiple streaming, and high-data demand applications. In addition, SD FlightDeck Freedom® brings datalink functionality, improving situational awareness and flight deck communications for the crew. Supporting the arrangement Inmarsat’s Jet Connex and SwiftBroadband services enhance passenger productivity, or relaxation, through high-speed cabin WiFi capabilities, as well as bolstering crew operations.

SD is also working with Luxaviation to optimize the expanding suite of SD Cybersecurity solutions, accessed through SD Pro®, the digital flight operations dashboard. “Finalizing this agreement with Luxaviation highlights that our approach of creating tailored solutions, blended with genuinely expert customer service is extremely important to the end clients. We recognize value is not simply budget related, and the ability to package services to effectively support the differing requirements of an international mixed fleet, demonstrates the many advantages of the SD eco-system,” says Michael Skou Christensen, Senior Vice President, SD International. “SD puts customers first in terms of productivity, entertainment, and flight efficiency, and Luxaviation recognizes the significance of this to their successful operations. It is a tribute to our global team, their hard work, and dedication, that this deal has been ratified, and I’m extremely proud of them. I know that the team is as excited as I am to build upon this relationship and begin the next chapter with Luxaviation.”


THALES

Thales with its Partner, Airfree, Transform the Onboard e-Shopping Experience on Singapore Airlines A350 fleet.

  • Through the Thales and Airfree partnership, Singapore Airlines is the first airline to offer live e-shopping onboard via KrisShop.
  • Singapore Airlines customers now have access to the world’s largest seatback shopping experience at 30,000ft.
  • Passengers can shop from the comfort of their seat with multiple delivery options – to home or on their connecting or returning flight.

The eShopping platform is seamlessly integrated with KrisShop offerings into one marketplace available on Singapore Airlines connected seatback inflight entertainment provided by Thales. Passengers can browse and purchase items from a single place with real time payment, wide range of offerings and attractive promotions. Passengers can shop from the comfort of their seat with multiple delivery options – to home or on their connecting or returning flight.

The digital onboard shopping marketplace eliminates the logistics, weight, and resources required to support traditional onboard shopping, while tremendously increasing passenger choice. With proprietary bandwidth optimization technology, the Airfree onboard hosted eShopping platform drastically reduces satellite data consumption compared to traditional platforms.

This seatback shopping solution entered into service on June 28, 2021 and will be progressively rolled out on selected Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 aircraft.

“Thales is excited to continue the growth of its partnership with Singapore Airlines and KrisShop through innovations that extend the benefits of the open AVANT in-flight entertainment platform by connecting with a robust network of digital partners such as Airfree – unlocking significant value from their IFE investment. Our airline partners and their passengers expect more from their inflight entertainment system and Thales is working diligently to deliver on these expectations, and more.” Cedric Rhoads, Vice President, Product Policy, Thales InFlyt Experience

Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority has awarded Thales a contract to support the modernization of the Greek civil aviation Navigation Aids infrastructure. This turnkey contract includes the supply of 10 Doppler VHF Omnidirectional Range (DVOR), 13 Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) and 6 Instrument Landing systems (ILS). It also comprises of the installation of the instruments on 18 different sites across the country, from remote mountain peaks, to major hubs such as the Athens International Airport.


SMARTSKY

We understand that the FCC has given approval to the the SmartSky ground-based remote radiohead for their next-gen, low latency air-to-ground network. The system will launched later this year.


AIRBUS

AIRBUS delivered 297 aircraft (21 A220s; 237 A320 Family; seven A330s; 30 A350s; two A380s) in the first half of 2021 versus 196 in the first half of 2020, and 389 in the first half of 2019.


BOEING

BOEING delivered 156 aircraft (113 737s; two 747s; 13 767s; 14 777s; 14 787s) in the first half of 2021 versus 70 in first half of 2020, and 239 in the first half of 2019.

Boeing and BBAM Limited Partnership (BBAM) announced that the lessor is expanding its 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter fleet with 12 additional firm orders. The agreement brings BBAM’s 737-800BCF orders and commitments to 31 as e-commerce and express cargo markets continue to drive strong customer demand for freighters. BBAM will be the first customer to have a 737-800BCF converted at Cooperativa Autogestionaria de Servicios Aeroindustriales (COOPESA), a Costa Rica-based maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) provider. In May, Boeing announced it would open two conversion lines at COOPESA in 2022.

In a separate deal announced in January, BBAM placed six firm orders and six options for the 737-800BCF.


OTHER NEWS

Morgan Stanley Research: United Airlines

UAL’s analyst day outlined the company’s plan to catch up to peers on fleet age and gauge by placing the largest aircraft order in its history. 2026 financial targets look constructive but they may seem a long way off to airline investors right now and supply concerns may start brewing.

UAL is preparing for a post-pandemic airline industry by placing the largest aircraft order in its history. The order for 270 planes (200 Boeing 737 MAX 10 and 70 Airbus A321 neo) will join the fleet between 2023 and 2026. They will largely replace the company’s small, inefficient 50-seater regional aircraft that has been a drag on profitability at its US Domestic coastal and mid-continent hubs. The net result of the replacement will be a ~30% increase in gauge (or number of seats per aircraft) on those routes. Mgmt. also issued LT (2026) financial guidance including ASM growth of 4-6% CAGR, TRASM 1% below 2019, CASMxF 8% lower than 2019, EBITDA margin of ~16.0% in 2023 and ~20.0% in 2026 (vs. 15.7% in 2019), adjusted pre-tax margin ~9.0% in 2023 and ~14.0% in 2026 (vs. 9.4% in 2019) as well as 2026 net debt slightly below 2019 levels.

Morgan Stanley believes UAL is doing absolutely the right thing…but that does not mean that the path is not going to be tricky/painful. This is a bold move from UAL – a little over a year removed from sliding into the chair, CEO Scott Kirby made the second decisive offensive move of his tenure (the first being permanently eliminating change fees in Aug 2020). While there is likely never going to be a “good” time for an airline to spend ~$40 bn on capex to buy 270 planes (20% of total current fleet) over a 5 year period, MS believes now is probably the best time to do it. Near-term macro risk appears relatively low, there is a lot of pent up demand with a strong consumer, the balance sheet is still carrying excess (gross) liquidity, the fleet renewal will drive operating cost savings (esp. if fuel continues to rise), new planes are cheap (and so is money) and the new capacity could help drive share gains (or at least defend vs. peers). MS believes it may have been too late to start catching up to peers on the aging fleet if UAL waited until the balance sheet was normalized 3-4 years from now. The biggest question on investors’ minds is likely to be – this is a big capacity increase…what happens if it doesn’t go according to plan? In the event of a macro recession or new black swan event, mgmt. has a Plan B. “Only” 84 of the 270 plane order is committed by 2023, with the rest coming 2024-26. Mgmt. believes that it has plenty of flexibility with the 2024+ orders to avoid putting pressure on capacity/TRASM and has the option to accelerate retirements as well.

MS remains EW. Morgan Stanley (MS) continues to remain bullish on the pace of the traffic recovery in US Domestic and they believe Corporate and International will catch up and normalize by late 2021/early as well. This rising tide will lift all boats including the Legacies/UAL esp. as International and Corporate comes back. Add in structural cost savings, a manageable fuel price environment, potential for deleveraging and investor sentiment that still appears to be subdued/out-of-favor and we think the setup at UAL is quite favorable. There is no doubt that with this past week’s announcement the company is clearly all-in betting on a recovery – particularly in corporate – which MS agrees with and think is the right move but the market may remain skeptical for some time and continue to gravitate toward LCC/ULCC stories that do not have as much corporate/international and balance sheet risk for now.

What does this mean for the industry? The announcement likely has something for both the bulls and the bears. Bulls will like the bold decision that shows that the airlines are coming out of the shadow of the pandemic and see blue skies ahead. The decision also makes financial sense in that UAL could not have put off this decision for much longer and will likely see operating cost, efficiency and market share gains from this. Investors should also be glad that a Legacy is going up toward a premium product instead of initiating an industry race to the bottom on price. Bears, on the other hand, will point out the ~30% increase in capacity which together with all the other capacity increases we have seen from the LCCs/ULCCs so far is likely to drive a lot more capacity in the 2023-24 timeframe, which will bring inevitable pressure on pricing. For now, we believe the bull arguments are more tangible and measurable than the bear arguments, but will keep a close eye on developments.

Model and PT. UAL’s 2023 and 2026 guidance comes in mostly consistent with MSe on TRASM, CASMxF and margins but is approx. 10% higher than us on ASMs. This is a bit of a surprise given MS’s bullish views (and numbers) on a traffic rebound vs. the street. MS updated FY22/23 EPS goes to $5.57/$10.72 from $4.18/$9.82 prior largely driven by the higher ASMs. However, our PT remains unchanged at $70 as the higher capex is a drag on our DCF. Our PT is ~33% above the current stock price – this is good upside but about mid-pack within the Airlines coverage and we see risk-reward as balanced, which keeps us EW.

What does this mean for the industry? The announcement likely has something for both the bulls and the bears. Bulls will like the bold decision that shows that the airlines are coming out of the shadow of the pandemic and see blue skies ahead. The decision also makes financial sense in that UAL could not have put off this decision for much longer and will likely see operating cost, efficiency and market share gains from this. Investors should also be glad that a Legacy is going up toward a premium product instead of initiating an industry race to the bottom on price. Bears, on the other hand, will point out the ~30% increase in capacity which together with all the other capacity increases MS has seen from the LCCs/ULCCs so far is likely to drive a lot more capacity in the 2023-24 timeframe, which will bring inevitable pressure on pricing. For now, MS believes the bull arguments are more tangible and measurable than the bear arguments, but will keep a close eye on developments.


MEGACONSTELLATIONS & SATELLITE FALLOUT

One of our readers sent us some stories on what he called an “eye opener” batch on plans to launch an unimaginable number of satellites potentially causing a real headache for everybody…including flying aircraft. Here are a few comments from the first article we thought painted a picture of the issue: “The problem is that there are now plans to launch about 55,000 satellites,” Boley said. “Starlink second generation could consist of up to 30,000 satellites, then you have Starnet, which is China’s response to Starlink, Amazon’s Kuiper, OneWeb. That could lead to unprecedented changes to the Earth’s upper atmosphere.” Further, “Megaconstellation operators, inspired by the consumer technology model, expect fast development of new satellites and frequent replacement, thus the high amount of satellites expected to be burning in the atmosphere on a daily basis.” Not everybody, especially astronomers and folks in the space community were too happy: “However, earlier this year, the International Astronomical Union asked a specialized United Nations’ committee to protect the pristine night sky against light pollution from megaconstellations.” We included below some of the articles/links about issues, but note, the rapid and multiple satellite fallouts will no doubt affect the sky visibility…not to mention aircraft flights. See if you agree.


BOEING

The Boeing Company named Brian West as the company’s executive vice president and chief financial officer effective August 27, 2021. In this role, West will lead all aspects of Boeing’s financial strategy, performance, reporting and long-range business planning, as well as investor relations, treasury, controller, and audit operations. West will also oversee the company’s business transformation efforts and will have executive responsibility for the company’s global financing arm, Boeing Capital Corporation. He will report to Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun and will serve on the company’s Executive Council. “Brian is the ideal executive to serve as Boeing’s next CFO given his significant financial management and long-term strategic planning experience in complex global organizations across the aerospace, manufacturing and services industries,” said Calhoun. “I have had the pleasure of working with Brian previously, and he is an exceptional leader whose broad operational expertise and commitment to transparency with stakeholders will advance our efforts as we continue our focus on safety and quality, improving our performance and transforming our company for the future.”

West joins Boeing following a successful and diverse career in senior financial and operational roles spanning several industries, including aerospace, manufacturing, infrastructure, healthcare, global information services, financial and risk management. He has served as the chief financial officer of Refinitiv since 2018, and was previously CFO and executive vice president of Operations for Oscar Health Insurance and CFO and COO of Nielsen. Prior to Nielsen, West spent 16 years at General Electric, where he served as CFO of GE Aviation and CFO of GE Engine Services. His additional finance leadership positions in GE businesses encompassed plastics, transportation and energy.

West is a founding board member of a Connecticut-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to prepare the next generation of diverse female leaders with the skills, community and connections to thrive in the world. He previously was a board member of Future 5, an organization that helps under-resourced students in Stamford, CT reach their full potential. West holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Siena College and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Columbia Business School.

West succeeds Greg Smith, who previously announced his plans to retire, effective in early July. The company has named Dave Dohnalek, currently Boeing’s senior vice president and Treasurer, to the role of interim CFO until West joins the company in late August.

Also, Boeing names Stayce Harris, former U.S. Air Force inspector general and longtime United Airlines pilot, to its board.


OTHER NEWS

THALES

  • New line of Thales displays (4K high dynamic range HDR) enhanced with Samsung QLED technology to provide unrivaled picture quality plus a 50% increase in reliability and a 30% decrease in weight.
  • Smart power supply solutions designed with the passenger in mind, allocating power where they need it all while reducing weight and total cost of ownership.
  • New digital technologies to drive operational efficiency and to maximize passenger satisfaction, loyalty and revenue.
  • More than 30 leading airlines worldwide are equipped with the AVANT IFE system.
  • Optiq – 4K QLED HDR Displays

Developed in partnership with HARMAN, a Samsung Company, Optiq by Thales is the industry’s first line of intelligent 4K high dynamic range (HDR) displays enhanced with Samsung QLED proprietary technology. The new in-seat and cabin displays have a sleek passenger centric design focused on ergonomics and fits seamlessly into the modern cabin environment. Optiq provides passengers with the best experience in the air, with an unrivaled picture quality featuring more than one billion colors. Two Bluetooth connections and built-in Wi-Fi allows passengers to pair multiple devices simultaneously to the system. Airlines benefit from a significantly reduced total cost of ownership, thanks to a lower acquisition cost, 30% weight reduction, 50% increase in reliability, and improved durability and serviceability.

Pulse – Smart Power Management

Thales’ Pulse power solutions are designed to meet the specific power needs of passengers, now and in the future, as PED devices increasingly migrate to the USB Power Delivery standard. Pulse is a modular system built with smart power management that dynamically allocates power where the passengers need it. Pulse is highly efficient while being compact in size, providing a 30% weight reduction, lower heat dissipation and the ability to install Pulse between the seat beams. With more power, improved seat integration, and reduced acquisition and operational cost, Pulse provides substantial benefits to the passenger and the airline.

Digital Services – Unlocking the True Potential of IFE
AVANT’s open platform allows Thales to work with an extensive network of partners to develop and deploy new applications for airlines, offering passengers the latest features and a broad range of interactive entertainment options. Thales’s digital product portfolio features e-commerce capabilities with Airfree’s shopping platform, a multifaceted approach for delivering personalization, and an industry leading advertising platform.

Their Ready to Fly digital portfolio is designed to help airline customers restore passenger confidence in air travel in a post-pandemic world. Such as Thales’s “touchless” solutions, allowing passengers to safely control the inflight entertainment system with their mobile phones for a full IFE experience. Thales digital technologies provide airlines fresh opportunities to maximize passenger satisfaction, loyalty and revenue.

In another news story, Thales to acquire Moog navigation aids business.

  • Moog navigation aid offerings complement Thales’ family of navigation aids.
  • Upon acquisition closing, in addition to fixed navigation aids, Thales will gain “man-portable” technology, further supporting contingency air operations as well as evolving military mobility needs.
  • The post-acquisition integration will augment Thales U.S.-based engineering, industrial and technology capabilities.
  • Thales has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Moog ground-based navigation aids business located in Salt Lake City, Utah.

MOMENT

Moment announces a partnership with Air Cairo, amongst the largest hybrid and scheduled operation carriers in Egypt. The airline’s fleet will be equipped with the Flymingo box, Moment’s Wireless In-Flight Entertainment system, to elevate passenger experience and contribute to enhanced comfort in the cabin.

Established in 2003 and based in Cairo, the airline operates 7 aircrafts (Airbus A320-200 aircraft and Airbus A320-ceo & neo aircraft) and already contracted to add 3 more aircraft by the end of the year 2021 and are planning to reach 19 aircraft by the end of 2024, schedules flights to the Middle East and Europe, and serves 30 destinations. Affiliated with EGYPTAIR, the national carrier and second largest airline on the continent, Air Cairo is experiencing a new dynamic of expansion. The airline’s growth strategy includes the opening of new routes to West Africa, East Europe, Middle east, and Europe.

The airline has selected Moment to support its ambition with a cutting-edge digital entertainment service designed to enhance the customer experience while providing new opportunities to generate ancillary revenues in-flight. For Air Cairo, it was essential to offer a personalized digital traveler experience as an increasing number of passengers bring their smartphones or tablets aboard. The capacity to provide a global IFE service was a determining factor for Air Cairo. “We were on the lookout for a full-service IFE company that could support us in all aspects from provisioning the hardware, to creating an engaging IFE portal and sourcing a variety of content.” said Mr. Hussein Sherif, Chairman & CEO at Air Cairo.

As the most powerful W-IFE server on the market, with a capacity of 100 simultaneous streaming sessions, Moment’s Flymingo Box met Air Cairo expectations as the company was searching for both a powerful and compact W-IFE device. The seamless, multi-DRM and browser-based platform gives passengers the opportunity to choose entertainment programs from an international and Arabic catalogue of films, documentaries or podcasts.


GOGO

Gogo has installed the first two 5G antennas on a tower. With the antennas now installed, the company will conduct prototype testing of system performance. Gogo completed development of its 5G air card prototypes and recently completed coast-to-coast flight testing of its 5G belly-mounted antennas to validate their performance. Additionally, Gogo conducted a flight test and successfully established a connection between the 5G antennas on the aircraft and the 5G antennas on the ground tower. Gogo has also successfully performed an end-to-end call using a 5G SIM card, from the onboard equipment to the cell site, through the data center to the internet, and back. The Gogo 5G network is being designed for aircraft operating within the contiguous United States. Gogo, which has 349 patents in its portfolio, expects the nationwide 5G network to be available in the second half of 2022.


SMARTSKY

The folks at SmartSky Networks have selected Honeywell as an authorized reseller of its air-to-ground connectivity services for North American business aviation operators. Since 2019, Honeywell has had the commercial aviation market there as well.


AIRBUS

United Airlines placed an order for 70 Airbus A321neo aircraft, positioning the airline to grow its presence in the single-aisle market in alignment with its “United Next” initiative. The new order complements existing orders from United for 50 A321XLR aircraft, bringing the total commitment from the airline to 120 A321 aircraft.
“Such a significant order from a great airline like United underscores that the A321neo offers unmatched capabilities, operating economics, and passenger friendliness,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International. “No other aircraft can do what the A321neo can do, and the Airbus team is most gratified by United’s strong affirmation of its premium status. The A321neo will complement United’s future A321XLR aircraft, together creating a privileged segment on its own.”

Another reason the A321neo is in such high demand globally is that the aircraft provides superior environmental performance with the lowest CO₂ emissions per seat in its class. The A321neo’s lower carbon footprint will support United along its journey to reduce the airline’s CO₂ emissions 100% by 2050.

United’s A321neo aircraft will feature Airbus’ Airspace cabin design, which brings the following passenger-pleasing enhancements: unique welcome and customizable hero lighting (which helps reduce jet lag); new slimmer sidewall panels for extra personal space at shoulder level; better views through the windows with their redesigned bezels and completely integrated window shades; the latest full LED lighting technologies; the largest overhead bin in class; and new lavatories with hygienic touchless features and antimicrobial surfaces.

A significant number of the newly-ordered aircraft will be produced at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama. Globally, as of the end of May 2021, the A320neo Family had achieved 7,400 firm orders from 121 customers.


BOEING

Boeing and United Airlines announced the carrier will expand its 737 order book by purchasing an additional 200 737 MAX jets, including 150 for the largest member of the family, the 737-10, and 50 for the airplane that serves the heart of the single-aisle market, the 737-8. The new purchase positions United’s fleet for growth and accelerating demand for air travel.

The purchase increases United’s order book for the fuel-efficient, single-aisle family to 380 airplanes, including 30 that have been delivered. As the launch customer for the 737-10, United placed its first order in 2017 by converting 100 737-9 orders to the larger 737-10 variant. Today’s agreement also includes the purchase of Boeing 737 MAX training simulator data packages to support United’s pilot training programs.

Designed and built in Renton, Washington, the 737 MAX family delivers superior efficiency, flexibility and reliability while reducing fuel use and carbon emissions by at least 14% compared to the airplanes it replaces. The 737-8 seats up to 189 passengers and can fly 3,550 nautical miles – about 600 miles farther than its predecessor – allowing airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers.

The largest model in the family, the 737-10 seats up to 230 passengers in a single-class configuration and can fly up to 3,300 miles. The fuel-efficient jet can cover 99% of single-aisle routes, including routes served by 757s.

“We are truly humbled by United Airlines’ confidence in the people of Boeing and the airplanes we design and build every day. Our strong partnership, dating back to United’s founding, has helped us grow and weather challenges through the decades. As we look forward to the recovery ahead, we are honored that United has once again chosen the 737 family’s performance, efficiency and flexibility to power their growing network. The Boeing team is excited to be building hundreds of these new jets for United and delivering on a landmark agreement that solidifies our future together for the next decades,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.


VISION-BOX

Vision-Box, a world leader in biometrics seamless travel, automated border control and digital identity solutions has announced the launch of a Frontex awarded trial to implement an innovative pilot project at two land borders in Bulgaria, in the context of the EU Entry/Exit System (EES). The EES is a landmark framework set to replace traditional border controls of Third-Country Nationals with interoperable digital data processing and automated biometric data collection in 2022. The Frontex pilot, which went live in June 2021 in Bulgaria in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior and the Border Police will be for coaches, cars and pedestrians at entry of Kapitan Andreevo BCP from Turkey for phase 1, and exit at Kalotina BCP to Serbia for phase 2.

The implementation of the EES will influence the flow of travelers and the technology deployed at the border to collect the required data, in order to cope with the variety of sites and related complexities. This effect will possibly be more important at the EU land border crossings, which are more constrained environments as compared with airports and ports, as many travelers arrive in their vehicles. Therefore, the introduction of EES will have a significant impact on travelers’ flow at those border crossing points (BCP).

The purpose of the pilot project is to deliver a Self-Service Enrolment System to enable travelers to perform a self-service collection of travel document data, biometric data and other information (e.g., questionnaire on entry conditions). It also executes real-time intensive queries into the Bulgarian national border control systems, in combination with an EU EES backend simulator. After the Enrolment, travelers are invited to go to an open corridor and be identified On-the-Move to directly cross the Border, or to be redirected to the manual control booth to be verified by a border guard with last generation Coppernic handheld technology. The secured linkage and encrypted communications with the national and EU border control systems, performing border checks on all travellers and EES registration/verification on third country nationals, is jointly performed by Vision-Box and the respective border agencies.

The EES Frontex pilot applies to short stay visa and visa-exempt third country nationals as well as EU citizens entering or leaving the European Union.

The pilot ecosystem (enrolment kiosks, biometric corridor, handheld tablets) is powered by Vision-Box’s award-winning Orchestra™ Identity & Border Management Platform. Orchestra™ removes the time-consuming task of manual data collection and verification, meaning that travelers do not need to physically interact with touchpoints or manually exchange travel documents and biometrics at counters. The whole process leverages identity and biometrics’ tokenization to digitize the operation in a touchless manner. This also reduces long queuing at checkpoints and curtails crowding at clearance hotspots, allowing travellers to navigate the border a lot quicker and safely with biometric recognition technology. Facial recognition biometrics offers the highest level of convenience for traveller identity proofing, in compliance with the EU regulations, combined with touchless fingerprint sensors for combined verification against the EU EES biometric backend systems. The solution drives significant improvements over traditional manual and touch-based identification procedures in terms of hygiene, accuracy, and privacy protections.

The powerful Orchestra™ Service Platform is compliant with EU GDPR regulations through its unique Privacy-by-Design certification. It operates under user-centric business rules and is the kernel of the advanced management of Identity proofing and Flow Monitoring of traveler processes at the border. The platform’s powerful capability allows it to process the full extent of national border passenger volume, thanks to its future-proof scalable design and resilient architecture.

For this pilot delivery, Vision-Box has hired the services of PwC Luxembourg, in order to help sustain the definition of the use cases, their testing, and overall pilot reporting. In addition, Bulgarian system integrator – Global Sat, is supporting Vision-Box in the deployment of the solution on the ground and its maintenance during the overall 6 months’ operation of the two pilot phases at the two different land borders.

With the industry expected to resume travel as restrictions begin to ease, Vision-Box’s technology is proving crucial in guaranteeing a safe and efficient travel processes. Over the past months, Vision-Box has also inaugurated Automated Border Control eGates at Malta International Airport in collaboration with the Malta Police Force, implemented an integrated Biometric experience for Emirates Airline at Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport, and secured a regional strategic partnership with AirAsia Group, to implement industry leading, identity management technology across its network of 152 airports.


OTHER NEWS

COLLINS

Collins Aerospace, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp., has been selected by Airbus to supply upgraded passenger service units (PSU) for the delivery of the new A320 Family Airspace cabin. The advanced architecture and sleek new design fits seamlessly within the new Airspace cabin, supporting a consistent passenger experience across the family of aircraft. The advanced composite materials of the Collins PSU provide the strength and durability needed to handle each passenger touchpoint, including reading lights, air outlet valves and call attendant lights. The modular design is easily adjustable for a variety of seat pitches, enabling simple installation and removal.

Collins has supplied PSUs for the A320 family of aircraft for more than two decades and is actively working with Airbus to explore future developments and to improve the already outstanding performance of the new passenger service units.


BOEING

Boeing and Alaska Airlines announced they are partnering on the latest Boeing ecoDemonstrator program and will flight test about 20 technologies on a new 737-9 to enhance the safety and sustainability of air travel. In flights beginning this summer, Boeing and Alaska will test a new halon-free fire-extinguishing agent that significantly reduces effects on the ozone layer, evaluate an engine nacelle designed to reduce noise and assess cabin sidewalls made from recycled material, among other projects.

“We have a long history of working with Boeing to advance aviation technology, safety and fuel efficiency,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines’ vice president, public affairs and sustainability. “Alaska Airlines flies to some of the most beautiful and geographically diverse regions in the world and we are committed to finding ways to reduce climate impacts across our network. This work with Boeing to accelerate innovation on the ecoDemonstrator program enables us to contribute to a more sustainable future for our global community.”

Since 2012, the ecoDemonstrator program has accelerated innovation by taking nearly 200 promising technologies out of the lab and testing them in the air to address challenges for the aviation industry and improve the passenger experience.

“Boeing is committed to continually improve air safety and the environmental performance of our products,” said Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO. “We’re proud to collaborate with our hometown customer and other partners around the world this year to make flying more sustainable.”

In five months of ecoDemonstrator flight tests, Boeing and Alaska will work with nine other partners to test new technologies. After tests are complete, the airplane will be configured for passenger service and delivered to Alaska. The program’s technologies include:
Testing a new fire extinguishing agent for aircraft that significantly reduces effects on the ozone layer. This material is intended to replace Halon 1301, which is no longer being produced.

Collaborating with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to measure greenhouse-gas levels in the atmosphere to support the agency’s climate modeling and long-term forecasting.
Evaluating acoustic lining concepts within the engine nacelle that may reduce noise on current engines and will inform designs for next-generation models.

Recycling carbon composite material from Boeing 777X wing production into a cabin sidewall panel. This durable, light material would reduce fuel use and carbon emissions, and supports Boeing’s goals for sustainable manufacturing.

Boeing’s current and future airplanes leverage a number of technologies evaluated in previous ecoDemonstrator testing, including:

  • Advanced Technology winglets on the 737 MAX family that reduce fuel use and emissions.
  • iPad apps that provide real-time weather and other data to pilots, improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. These apps complement digital analytics services Boeing offers to help airlines optimize fleet utilization.
  • A camera system on the new 777X that will enhance safety by helping pilots avoid obstacles on the ground.

“Boeing put additional emphasis on sustainability in 2020 to align with our stakeholder and business priorities as well as our values,” Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond said. “Through our collaboration with industry partners, the ecoDemonstrator program is a great example of our commitment to work together to make flying safer and more sustainable for current and future generations.”

ecoDemonstrator test flights are flown on a blend of petroleum-based and sustainable aviation fuel. SAF is in regular use today, reduces life-cycle CO2 emissions by up to 80%, and offers the most immediate and greatest potential to reduce emissions over the next 20 to 30 years in all commercial aviation markets.

In January this year, Boeing committed to make sure its commercial airplanes are capable and certified to fly on 100% SAF by 2030. The company also plans to work with regulatory authorities and across the industry to raise the current 50% blending limit for expanded use of SAF. Boeing’s 2018 ecoDemonstrator 777 Freighter made history as the world’s first commercial airliner to fly on 100% sustainable fuel.


VISION-BOX

For those of you unfamiliar with Vision-Box, the company offers a combination of solutions that enable airports, airlines, and governments to provide that seamless user experience for connected citizens and travelers by using Digital ID management, aviation and border control solutions.

Most recently, Vision-Box participated int the FTE APEX 2021 event. Here is an interesting link from the show: Vision-Box insights on Seamless & Safe Travel and how can Biometrics, Automation & Digital ID be the recipe for economic recovery.

Furthermore, they recently launched a Resources Hub.


MORGAN STANLEY RESEARCH/AIRLINES

Airlines: The Frequent Flyer: UAL and Boom Go Supersonic, Eve + Halo on eVTOLs, DAL Updates 2Q21 Guidance, and UK Updates Green List
Last week, Eve and Halo formed a partnership to develop UAM products and services in the US and UK, while UAL ordered aircraft from Boom Supersonic. DAL updated 2Q21 guidance and the UK removed a destination from its quarantine-free travel list.

In Section 2 of this report, you will find our recently launched unique interactive visualization tool to help you track the weekly evolution of the US Domestic air traffic rebound. This interactive tool allows readers to easily get a comprehensive snapshot of key air traffic datapoints for the past week – at an industry and airline level – and see how that has trended over the past two years. Screens include ASMs by carrier, ASM/Traffic by state, Route Markets flown by Airline, Route Additions by Carrier, Seat Additions/Mix and Equipment flown by Carrier. MS  (Morgan Stanley) believes this tool will be uniquely powerful in tracking the air traffic rebound in the US and more.

Eve Urban Air Mobility Solutions, Inc. (Eve) announced Halo as a launch partner in the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market with a non-binding order for 200 eVTOL aircraft. Eve, an independent company formed by Embraer S.A., and Halo, a helicopter travel provider in the US and UK, announced a partnership focused on developing UAM products and services in the United States and United Kingdom (see  more here). In addition to this initial aircraft order, Eve and Halo will partner on the continued development of Eve’s Urban Air Traffic Management system as well as its fleet operations and services product offerings. During Morgan Stanley’s inaugural eVTOL/UAM conference (see key takeaways here), Eve’s management was vocal about pursuing partnerships in order to develop products and services in the UAM space. As noted by the MS Latin American Transportation team, Eve has already invested in the UK market as the leader of a consortium that is solving the regulatory and operational issues to bring eVTOL operations to London. This collaboration is the first international eVTOL partnership of its kind, and is an important step for the eVTOL/UAM market. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2026. In addition to this partnership, Eve announced a partnership earlier this week with one of the largest helicopter operators in LatAm, Helisul, for the development of Urban Air Mobility products and services in Brazil (see more here). The partnership includes an initial order of up to 50 of Eve’s eVTOL aircraft, and deliveries are expected to start in 2026. According to Eve, the initial step of the partnership will be developing a proof of concept operation, utilizing helicopters in order to validate parameters that will apply to the future eVTOL operations. While there is plenty of wood to chop to get eVTOLs in the air in the next few years, we remain bullish about the multi-trillion dollar TAM that is potentially within reach – see MS’s recent eVTOL/UAM market update report here.

United Airlines will return supersonic travel to the skies with its agreement to buy aircraft from Boom Supersonic. Last week, United Airlines became the first US airline to sign a commercial agreement with Boom Supersonic, an aircraft OEM focused on supersonic commercial flight. Under the agreement, United will purchase 15 of Boom’s Overture airlines, with an option for an additional 35 aircraft. Each Overture aircraft can carry between 65 and 88 passengers, travel at the speed of Mach 1.7, and produce zero carbon emissions. To put this into context, Boom’s aircraft can travel twice the speed of today’s fastest airliners and fly passengers from San Francisco to Tokyo in 6 hours (compared to 10:30 hours). The aircraft is expected to be produced in 2025 and begin to carry passengers by 2029. Together with UAL’s partnership with Archer on eVTOLs, this shows UAL’s commitment to not just remain at the forefront of innovation when it comes to next generation aviation technology but also seek multiple routes to reduce its carbon footprint in the next decade. While many of these technologies/companies are many years away from commercialization and may not even come to fruition, we believe these early investments can give UAL an invaluable seat at the table to get an early glimpse into coming disruption (which is a question of when, not if, in our view), potentially influence the industry at an early stage and particularly lock in early-mover advantage with very little financial risk (though maybe small reputational risk). See the initial MS A&D team’s thoughts on this deal here.

DAL updated their 2Q21 guidance. In an 8-K released last week, DAL’s management provided an update on its 2Q total revenue guide, now expecting revenue between $6-6.2bn (vs. MSe at $6.12bn and cons. at $6.21bn). DAL now sees 2Q pre-tax loss of ($1bn)-($1.2bn) vs. MSe at ~($1.096bn) and cons. at ~($1.08bn). Management is forecasting CASM ex-fuel to be up ~9% vs. 2Q19 compared to its prior guidance of up ~6-9% and expects fuel prices to be $2.10-2.15/gallon. In addition, management is guiding adj. net debt to be <$19bn. We are MTM-ing our model accordingly. Our FY21/22/23 EPS moves to ($4.20)/$4.08/$7.84 vs. ($4.54)/$3.75/$7.54 prior and ($3.81)/$3.92/$6.35 cons. Our PT increases to $73 from $70 as a result.

The UK updated its “Green List” amid increasing worries of coronavirus variants. Last week, MS saw a small step back in the UK green list. Instead of adding a country (potentially the US), the UK removed Portugal from its “quarantine-free” list and downgraded the country to amber status. Travelers returning from amber list locations – which currently includes hotspots such as Spain, Croatia, and Greece – must quarantine at home for 10 days and take two post-arrival covid tests, while there is a complete travel ban to red list countries. While the return to international travel may be a bumpy road and decisions like this could sap traveler confidence in the short term, we continue to believe international travel will improve significantly by the end of the year given the current pace of vaccinations, unless a new coronavirus variant and/or strain increases travel restrictions.

In Section 3 of this report, you will find the latest insight from our AlphaWise Consumer Pulse Travel Survey.


CARLISLE IT

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CarlisleIT) announced that it is now offering high-performing, low-cost cable assemblies, connectors and interconnect systems for 5G and Gen-Z systems used in Internet of Things (IoT), network infrastructure, automotive and autonomous driving, medical services, military and defense, and aerospace applications. CarlisleIT’s highly-engineered standard and custom interconnect solutions uniquely position the company to address the complex connectivity issues often associated with 5G applications.

“Technology is evolving at rapid pace, and new advancements in connectivity, machine learning, and the IoT are shaping industries across the globe,” said Marc Temple, Business Director for CarlisleIT. “With more than 80 years of experience in pioneering interconnect solutions, CarlisleIT the perfect partner to find innovative solutions for a customer’s long-term success in these industries.”

5G networks require high bandwidths, faster data speeds, and ultra-low latency to successfully deliver next-generation performance. CarlisleIT’s 5G processing capabilities offer scalability, interoperability, reliability, and flexibility as customers navigate new and emerging technology to meet their business goals. Leveraging its worldwide manufacturing footprint, CarlisleIT is also able to work with customers to design, build, test, and certify solutions in-house.

From existing RF connectors, cable assemblies, and adapters to highly-customizable interconnect solutions, CarlisleIT’s team of experts can help customers achieve enterprise success through 5G network and systems.


OTHER NEWS

ONEWEB

OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, confirmed the next successful launch of 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. This launch brings OneWeb a step closer to completing its ‘Five to 50’ ambition and the start of commercial service by the end of the year.

Liftoff occurred on 28 May at 18:38 BST. OneWeb’s satellites separated from the rocket and were dispensed in nine batches over a period of 3 hours 52 minutes with signal acquisition on all 36 satellites confirmed.

This latest successful launch brings OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation to 218 satellites. These will form part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity. There is now only one launch to go until the company has the satellites required to enable its connectivity solution to reach all regions north of 50 degrees latitude by June 2021.

OneWeb’s satellites are built by OneWeb Satellites, a OneWeb and Airbus joint venture facility on Merritt Island, Florida that can produce two satellites a day with an innovative production-line process. Thanks to this advanced manufacturing capability, OneWeb is able to rapidly and reliably build its first-generation fleet for completion of delivery into orbit by mid-2022. With this launch, our Florida team can be proud of the 220 satellites it has built and orbited to date.

This launch represents the fourth in a five-launch program to fulfill the ‘Five to 50’ service, enabling OneWeb to offer connectivity across the United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic Seas and Canada. This service is expected to be switched on before the end of the year and OneWeb intends to make global service available in 2022.


THALES

Thales and Venture Capital funded start-up Airspace Link are partnering to integrate ground risk data from state and local governments, such as the location of schools, power lines and firework displays, with air risk data from air traffic control systems, enabling communities to manage the safe use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into their airspace, while respecting privacy and quality of life.

Airspace Link complements Thales’ expertise in airspace management and systems integration with the geospatial intelligence to support operations where a UAS is out of an operator’s visual range.

Thales has also become a minority investor with Airspace Link to continue to innovate in the evolving area of UAS traffic management.
Thales and geospatial information management company Airspace Link will provide safe integration of UAS, commonly known as drones, into low altitude airspace where the systems are Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) of operators. With aviation, community and topographical data for the most accurate situational awareness, UAS operators can quickly and easily file for and receive flight plan authorization.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) forecasts that by 2024, commercial UAS operations will grow 60% – from approximately 500,000 to more than 800,000. Globally, analysts project UAS market to reach 2.91 million systems by 2023. To support the air traffic management challenge of commercial UAS operations, a strong combination of expertise is required. Thales has deep aviation systems integration experience and market knowledge, with 400 airspace management deployments around the world. Airspace Link, led by veterans of geospatial technologies with over 60 years’ of experience, has extensive geospatial information management expertise.

Formalizing this partnership will broaden Thales’ robust air traffic management system portfolio and further expand its global market footprint. As an FAA approved UAS service supplier of the Low Altitude Authorization & Notification Capability (LAANC), Thales is supporting UAS traffic management across the U.S. in areas such as New York state. Further, internationally, Thales is providing UAS traffic management for organizations such as the French air traffic management organization, Direction des Services de la Navigation Aérienne.


BOEING

Next month, Greenwood Rising, the world-class history center built to remember the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, will open for a special ten day preview event for family members, descendants and residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The space is dedicated to educating visitors about historic Greenwood before, during and after one of the worst race massacres in American history. In addition to engaging exhibits, Greenwood Rising will host and coordinate many events to educate the public about its history and engage people in a conversation about reconciliation and racial justice. Greenwood Rising will open to the general public in early July.

As one of the first corporate partners for Greenwood Rising, The Boeing Company is investing $500,000 to support two of the center’s key programs through 2026: The Youth Race & Leadership Forum and the Greenwood Rising XR Learning platform.

The second program funded by Boeing is the annual Youth Race & Leadership Forum, a partnership with the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice (OCCJ) during which students learn about race and how they can advocate for positive change for themselves and their communities.

Boeing funding will also enable this program to expand internationally, enabling students to travel to Tulsa for this annual event.


OTHER NEWS

FTE APEX Virtual Expo

Today was the first day of FTE APEX Virtual Expo. This is a major digital event for the air transport industry. With COVID-19,  Virtual Expo is a key building block in our ongoing efforts to support the industry, help drive much-needed transformation, and facilitate the new collaborations that we know all stakeholders need to achieve in order to bounce back stronger in the post-pandemic world.

Here are a few key statistics that are of interest: There are more than 140 confirmed speakers, 40 exhibitors and 1,250+ registered organizations– including 151 airlines and 138 airports – from every corner of the world.

Highlights include:

Airline and airport CEO keynotes – including leaders from the likes of Turkish Airlines, Etihad Aviation Group, Gatwick Airport, DFW Airport, Scoot, WestJet, Western Sydney Airport, LAWA, Oneworld and United Airlines addressing the theme “Relaunching Global Air Transport”.
140+ speakers – across the Auditorium Conference, OnDemand Speaker Zone, and Expo Conference & Engagement Zone.
A virtual exhibition hall – featuring 40 industry vendors, who will be showcasing their very latest products and services designed to help airports and airlines thrive in the post-pandemic world, ranging from the latest IFEC solutions to brand-new products for the airport environment.
Plus – the FTE APEX Women in Aviation Leadership Summit, Digital Health Passport Symposium, New Airlines C-Suite Summit (featuring the CEOs of Ava Airways, PLAY, Pop and EGO Airways), Phase 2 of the FTE APEX Business Model Transformation Think Tank, and the FTE APEX Biometrics Summit.

If you didn’t attend yesterday there is still one more day to take advantage of this virtual expo. It should be noted that the primary operating hours for the live show days are 07:00-19:00 BST. During this time, the Auditorium Conference sessions will take place and the exhibition stands will be manned to enable live engagement.

Lastly, the event platform will remain online for an additional 30 days after the live show days, offering unrestricted access to all recorded Auditorium Conference sessions, OnDemand Speaker Zone content and the exhibition hall.

Be sure to check out future editions of IFExpress that will cover some of the interesting and innovative  developments showcased during the EXPO.


BOEING

Boeing and SMBC Aviation Capital  announced the lessor is positioning its portfolio for air traffic recovery by ordering 14 additional 737-8 jets, growing its 737 MAX portfolio. The new order comes as airlines prepare for a robust return to air travel and modernize their narrowbody fleets to reduce fuel use and carbon emissions.

“We are pleased to have concluded an agreement with Boeing for the purchase of 14 low-cost carrier configured 737 MAX aircraft which is an aircraft we are seeing increased customer demand for following its successful return to service,” said Peter Barrett, CEO of SMBC Aviation Capital.

The new purchase builds SMBC Aviation Capital’s 737 MAX portfolio to 121 jets, expanding their investment in Boeing’s single-aisle family. SMBC Aviation Capital also continues to incorporate new 737 MAX airplanes into the global fleet. In the first quarter of 2021, the lessor delivered 13 737-8s to customers, including 11 planes to Southwest Airlines in the U.S. and two planes to TUI in Europe.

“SMBC has been actively managing its portfolio in a very dynamic market. With this new order for the fuel-efficient 737-8, the lessor is well positioned to help its customers capture domestic travel demand in several countries and regions,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing. “We are honored by SMBC’s trust in the 737 family, and we look forward to partnering with them to support airlines for the market recovery ahead.”
The SMBC Aviation Capital purchase follows recent orders and commitments from Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. The total number of gross orders and commitments for the 737 MAX this year now exceeds 250 airplanes.

A member of the 737 MAX family, the 737-8 is designed to offer more fuel efficiency, reliability and flexibility in the single-aisle market. The 737-8 can fly 3,550 nautical miles – about 600 miles farther than its predecessor – allowing airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. Compared to the airplanes it replaces, the 737-8 also delivers superior efficiency, reducing fuel use and CO2 emissions by 16% and also reducing operating costs.

As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future and living the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity.

SMBC Aviation Capital is one of the world’s leading aircraft lessors, with 85 airline customers in 36 countries. At 31 March 2021, the company owns and manages 496 aircraft. Established in 2001, the company was acquired in 2012 by a consortium comprising of two of Japan’s biggest companies SMFG and Sumitomo Corporation.


OTHER NEWS

Postponed: AIX 2021 Live Events – Virtual Event Scheduled

AIX was scheduled to take place in Hamburg, Germany  on August 31 through September 2, 2021. But now, Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) and Passenger Experience Conference (PEC)  all have been postponed due to travel uncertainties surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. The physical events have been rescheduled for June 14-16, 2022 at the Hamburg Messe.

The good news is the 2021 event has become a virtual event and will take place on 14-16 September.

The organizers say they know how much people want to get back to meeting in person but the global situation remains too unpredictable due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the continued challenges and global restrictions on international travel faced by the global aviation sector.

The organizers believe that the virtual format for AIX 2021 will offer a platform where industry professionals can connect and share ideas to support the recovery and growth of the cabin interiors and onboard services community. We anticipate details to be released in the near term about the virtual event.


IFPL Awarded a Third Queen’s Award for Enterprise

IFPL is a winner of the 2021 Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation. This is the third time the specialist aerospace design and manufacturing company will be presented with one of the most prestigious business awards in the country.

IFPL has been recognized for its excellence in the field of innovation. The team are also twice winners in the category of ‘International Trade’, having received the award in 2008 and 2014.

The Queens Awards for Enterprise celebrate the success of exciting and innovative businesses which are leading the way with pioneering products and services. This year, 205 business were recognized nationally for their contributions to ‘International Trade’, ‘Innovation’, ‘Sustainable Development’, and ‘Promoting Opportunity (through Social Mobility)’.

IFPL has been honored in the ‘Innovation’ category for their design of a contactless payment and personalization device for use in commercial passenger aircraft. The device can be installed as an addition to seatback inflight entertainment systems, and solves the problems of its predecessors’ poor reliability, expensive production costs, and vulnerability to fraud.

IFPL was established in 1996 and is headquartered on the Isle of Wight. The team specializes in the design and manufacture of passenger interface solutions, supplying products to the global in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) industry.

IFPL founder and CEO Geoff Underwood commented:

“The aviation sector has been through a tough period recently, so being recognized as a company that is consistently working hard to create innovative products that will help operators to recover post-pandemic is a real boost. I’m so proud of the whole IFPL family for this fantastic achievement.”

Now in its 55th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses personally approved by Her Majesty the Queen. First established in 1965, over 7000 companies have since received an award, with many successfully using the momentum from their achievement to secure new business and venture into new markets.


Boeing

Boeing and the Lufthansa Group announced the airline group will continue its fleet modernization with a new order for five 787-9 Dreamliners. The incremental order further supports the group’s efforts to reduce complexity in its long-haul fleet and improve overall environmental performance by introducing more fuel-efficient widebody jets.

“We are very pleased that five more Boeing 787-9s will accelerate the modernization of our long-haul fleet. With these ultra-modern, fuel-efficient aircraft, we send a strong signal for environmental responsibility within the Lufthansa Group. Furthermore we will reduce our operating costs and provide our guests a state-of-the-art travel experience,” said Dr. Detlef Kayser, Member of the Executive Board Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Chief Operations Officer.

The Lufthansa Group placed its initial order for 20 787-9s in 2019. The new purchase agreement takes the group’s order book to 25 787-9s.

The second member of the Dreamliner widebody family, the 787-9 can fly up to 20% more passengers and around 25% more cargo while reducing fuel use and emissions by up to 25% compared to the airplanes it replaces. Since entering service in 2011, the 787 family’s fuel efficiency, flexibility and range have enabled airlines to open more than 300 new nonstop routes and reduce carbon emissions by 80 billion pounds.

Built with lightweight composite materials and powered by advanced engines and a suite of environment-friendly technologies, the 787 family has an airport-noise footprint that is 60% smaller than the previous generation of 767 airplanes, making it ideal for Lufthansa Group airport communities.

“The Lufthansa Group has been navigating an extremely challenging market and positioning itself for the recovery ahead and the eventual return to growth. We are honored that they have once again selected Boeing’s widebody airplane family to power their future fleet,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales & Marketing. “The 787’s superior fuel efficiency and range provide the Lufthansa Group the flexibility to profitably operate the airplane across its route network.”

Also From Boeing:

Boeing announced a $10 million emergency assistance package for India to support the country’s response to the current surge in COVID-19 cases. The assistance from Boeing will be directed to organizations providing relief, including medical supplies and emergency healthcare for communities and families battling COVID-19. The Boeing team in India totals 3,000 employees, in addition to valued local customers, suppliers, and business partners. Boeing will partner with local and international relief organizations to deploy the $10 million to the areas of greatest need in consultation with medical, government and public health experts.

Boeing employees also have an opportunity to donate personally to charitable organizations supporting COVID-19 relief in India. As part of the Boeing Gift Match program, the company will match monetary donations dollar for dollar, extending the reach of assistance being provided to the Indian people.

And More News…

Boeing and Silk Way West Airlines announced the private cargo operator will expand its international network with an order for five 777 Freighters. The deal marks the first purchase of the long-range, high capacity twin-engine freighter in the Caspian region and Central Asia. The airplanes will enable the airline to increase its capacity to meet growing cargo demand around the globe. Silk Way West Airlines and Boeing leaders announced the agreement during a signing ceremony in Baku that included Akhundov; Rashad Nabiyev, Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of Azerbaijan; and Earle D. Litzenberger, U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, as well as Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The 777 Freighter is the world’s largest, longest range and most capable twin-engine freighter. The airplane’s better fuel efficiency and ability to reduce CO2 emissions by 17% compared to legacy airplanes will contribute to the carrier’s sustainability goals. With a range of 9,200 kilometers, the 777 Freighter can carry a maximum payload of 102,000 kilograms, allowing Silk Way West Airlines to make fewer stops and reduce landing fees on long-haul routes.

Designed to integrate smoothly with existing cargo operations, the 777 Freighter will provide Silk Way West Airlines operational flexibility with five 747-8 Freighters and seven 747-400 Freighters the carrier currently operates. The 747 and 777 freighters are capable of carrying tall and outsized cargo loads on 3-meter-tall pallets. This common main-deck pallet height capability enables interchangeable pallets. Additionally, the 777 Freighter main deck side cargo door is 3.72 meters wide, giving the freighter outsized carriage capability beyond tall payloads.

The 777 Freighter is Boeing’s top-selling freighter of all time. Customers from around the world have ordered 247 777 Freighters since the program began in 2005. The market leader in air cargo aircraft, Boeing provides more than 90% of the worldwide dedicated freighter capacity, including new production and converted aircraft.

Founded in 2012 in Baku, Silk Way West Airlines is the largest cargo airline in the Caspian Sea region with an annual cargo turnover of 350,000 tons. Based at Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku, the airline operates approximately 350 monthly scheduled flights to 40 destinations around the world.


Other News

 

 

AirFi Nears Rollout Completion on Eastern Airlines’ 767 Fleet

Eastern Airlines is just one tail away from having outfitted all ten of its B767 aircraft with AirFi’s FASE (Fully Autonomous Semi-Embedded) wireless IFE solution. The airline sees this deployment as an important key to unlocking improved passenger experience, operational efficiency and revenue generation potential.

This successful installation effort, completed in Miami by AirFi America (MEKCO Group), marks the second North American deployment for AirFi.

“Eastern was looking for an onboard solution to both improve passenger experience and generate new cross-platform opportunities,” said Steve Harfst, CEO Eastern Airlines. “AirFi allows us the achieve both while also giving our customers a touch-less entertainment experience onboard. We strive to do everything possible to make traveling a safe and enjoyable experience.”

Eastern Airlines (which has an average flight length of 5-6 hours) is now offering a broad selection of inflight entertainment through AirFi and boutique CSP partner, West Entertainment. On their own personal devices, passengers can watch the latest Hollywood releases, award-winning classics and must-watch TV programs (comedy, drama, kids, documentaries, lifestyle). 90% of the content is also available in Spanish.

How does it work?

To create the onboard streaming solution, four compact and ruggedized AirFi Venus boxes (less than 2 kg/4.5 lbs each) are simply placed in overhead storage bin of each twin-aisle aircraft. They create a closed Wi-Fi network (sometimes called “Near-Fi” in industry circles), which passengers connect to, using any Wi-Fi enabled personal device such as a mobile phone, tablet or laptop. Once connected, they can begin streaming entertainment directly through the browser, without the need to download an app.

The FASE option for installation adds a layer of security because the boxes are physically “attached” to the plane, though still classed as carry-on equipment – meaning no STC is required. FASE also connects the boxes to aircraft power supply (so battery life isn’t an issue) and automates the power on/off function.

“We’ve installed all our planes in as little as one day, while upgrading other aspects of the cabin,” said Harfst. “Quick deployment and the quality streaming entertainment were probably the main reasons we wanted to work with AirFi, but we’ve also become very excited about the other ways we can use the AirFi platform to improve our customer experience.”

What’s next?

Eastern plans to install the AirFi solution its first two B777 aircraft and will soon use it to launch a new buy-on-board catalogue that passengers can use to browse, order and pay for food, beverage and comfort items right from their seats.

“Ancillary revenue is an important part of our strategy and allowing our team members to collect these fees and charges more effectively using AirFi will continue to be vital to our growth. Digitizing online sales significantly streamlines ancillary revenue,” commented Harfst.

To ensure that passengers can enjoy all the features of the AirFi system and still have full a full battery charge when they arrive at their destination, Eastern is also working with MEKCO Group to retrofit its aircraft with in-seat USB power solutions for charging electronic devices.

Check out their infographic


Wizz Air Launches Chatbot Amelia

Wizz Air, Europe’s fastest growing airline announces the introduction of its chatbot, Amelia. WIZZ’s new virtual assistant will further raise the company’s customer experience standards and will enable customers to easily acquire information related to their flights while also providing a number of useful general information to the traveling public.

Wizz Air’s new chatbot was inspired by Amelia Earhart, the American aviation pioneer who was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Wizz Air is a company of inclusivity, diversity and of infinite career opportunities and is a fierce supporter of gender equality. Naming its chatbot after such a fantastic woman, the airline wishes to pay tribute to all women in aviation and underpin its commitment to a more gender-equal industry.

At WIZZ we believe in a future where everyone has the opportunity to live up to their full potential. We work hard to develop our services to enhance our customer experience and to empower our people and support the communities we serve.

Amelia the chatbot is happy to answer general questions related to COVID-19, special assistance, baggage, payment methods, check-in, voluntary cancellation, traveling with infants, WIZZ services (e.g. WIZZ Discount Club, WIZZ Flex, WIZZ Priority, Seat Selection) and questions related to several other topics. This new virtual assistant is free for all, and enables customers to find information fast and easy without having to interact with anybody, without communicating with agents via e-mails or over the phone and without scrolling through the airline’s site. Live chat with agents is also available and free, should customers have questions which exceed Amelia’s knowledge.

We at Wizz Air are committed to developing a better chat experience, and to achieve that we need customers to use the chatbot and help it learn and improve based on customers’ demand and feedback. The chatbot function is currently available in English for a limited number of issues, however it is gradually rolled out to cover a continuously growing number of topics to more and more customers visiting wizzair.com. Besides the newly introduced chatbot, live chat agents will be supporting the customers in all questions related to WIZZ flights and services as long as no changes to the bookings are needed to be made which would require payments. For requests requiring payments, Wizz Air already provides a number of self-service options directly from the WIZZ account as well as call center support.

Zsuzsa Poos, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer at Wizz Air, commented: “I am delighted to introduce Amelia, our virtual assistant who is a real gamechanger in Wizz Air’s customer experience solutions. Automating and digitalizing our processes is key in delivering ever higher customer satisfaction. Wizz Air is dedicated to broadening Amelia’s expertise and to supporting our passengers with an always expanding array of self-service options to manage their travel details. Let’s welcome Amelia on board.”


OneWeb

OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, has confirmed the successful launch of all 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. This launch brings OneWeb a step closer to its ‘Five to 50’ ambition, which enables the start of commercial service by the end of the year.

Lift-off occurred on 26 April at 23:14 BST. OneWeb’s satellites separated from the rocket and were dispensed in nine batches over a period of 3 hours 52 minutes with signal acquisition on all 36 satellites confirmed.

This successful launch brings its total in-orbit constellation to 182 satellites. These will form part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity, including commercial inflight applications and represents 60 percent of the constellation required to enable its connectivity solution to reach all regions north of 50 degrees latitude by June 2021.

This is the third in a five-launch ‘Five to 50’ program, enabling OneWeb to offer services across the United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Artic Seas and Canada, and will be switched on before the end of the year. OneWeb then intends to make global service available in 2022.


Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) and 8tree announced a partnership to make available the revolutionary and OEM-approved dentCHECK® dent-mapping/reporting service at select Panasonic Technical Services (PTS) regional line stations: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), London Heathrow (LHR) and Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD).

This new service offering will allow Panasonic Avionics’ customers yet another convenient, accurate and efficient way to protect their commercial aircraft investment, avoiding unnecessary cost and time delays. Further, the service will complement PTS’s existing line of best-in-class products and services, continuing its history of being a premier service solution provider.

Panasonic Avionics supplies and services In-Flight Entertainment and Communication (IFEC) systems. The company’s customer base includes more than 300 airlines located across the globe.

As a key business unit within Panasonic Avionics, PTS provides Spares, Repairs, Line Maintenance and Technical Services, which includes Training, Technical Publications and Support Services, at more than 50 locations globally. PTS’s customized solutions are designed to ensure equipment serviceability at the lowest possible through-life cost.

Also from PAC:

Panasonic Avionics announced the appointment of Andrew (Andy) Masson as Vice President of Product & Portfolio Management.

Andy joins Panasonic from Adient Aerospace, Boeing’s aircraft seat joint venture with Adient, where he served as CEO.
At Panasonic, Andy will lead its global Product & Portfolio Management team and guide the company’s product and services strategy to deliver innovations and value to customers. He will improve and expand customer-focused product management processes and manage development and execution across the product lifecycle for Panasonic’s market-leading IFEC products, digital solutions and aftermarket services.

Andy will report to Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics. Sain says: “I am confident that Andy’s broad and relevant experience, track record and enthusiasm will greatly enhance Panasonic’s product portfolio to benefit customers worldwide. He will build upon a legacy of innovation as we continually strive to make flying an experience everyone looks forward to.”

Prior to his tenure with Adient Aerospace, Andy held several leadership positions at Boeing, including Director of Engineering and Chief Engineer for Modifications and Freighter Conversions, and Director of Interior Modifications and Inflight Entertainment (IFE). Andy also served as Executive Vice President, Engineering and Operations for Continental Data Graphics (CDG) and UK Managing Director. He began his career at CDG as Operations Director, 787 Operations Manager and Service Bulletin Retrofit Engineer. Andy holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK and will be based in Irvine, California.


Gogo

Jet Edge, a leader in full-service private aviation, is proud to announce a new partnership with Gogo Business Aviation, the industry’s top inflight internet provider. The long-term partnership will upgrade Jet Edge’s AdvantEdge and Managed super-mid and large cabin fleet to AVANCE L5, Gogo’s most popular connectivity system that delivers a robust inflight 4G Wi-Fi experience.


Other News

  • We understand the airline industry is looking at losses of $47.7B in 2021. Not to mention, we hear last year’s losses were $126.4B!

European Aviation Network

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued a milestone decision answering a set of questions referred to the ECJ in proceedings initiated by Eutelsat (and supported by Viasat) regarding Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN). The decision rejects the arguments of Inmarsat’s competitors, which have been trying for years to deprive European consumers of the pro-competitive, innovative and efficient EAN service offering.

Inmarsat operates EAN with Deutsche Telekom and has always known that its EAN platform complies with applicable EU rules.

Brad Swann, Inmarsat General Counsel, said: “Inmarsat welcomes the ruling of the European Court of Justice rejecting our competitors’ arguments aimed at limiting the operation of the European Aviation Network. EAN is an asset for Europe as a whole and it is proving very popular with passengers and airlines. Inmarsat looks forward to continuing to provide the rapidly growing number of EAN users with a world-leading in-flight connectivity experience.”

This decision by the ECJ is final and binding.

Inmarsat has always known that the allegations made by its competitors were entirely without merit and fundamentally misconceived. The legal actions by Inmarsat’s competitors were filed with the sole intention of artificially creating legal and regulatory uncertainty around EAN. The claims of Inmarsat’s competitors have been rejected by all national administrations in the 27 EU Member States and in the UK. Legal actions have also been rejected by courts in the countries where litigation was initiated by either Viasat or Eutelsat, including the UK (including on appeal, now final and binding), Germany and Belgium, as well as in not less than four other earlier decisions of the Court of Justice of the EU (three by the General Court and another one of the Court of Justice).

EAN is an award-winning inflight broadband solution based on outstanding technological innovation developed by European businesses, which has taken years of hard work and commitment by Inmarsat, Deutsche Telekom and a range of European technology partners to deliver. It is providing high quality connectivity services to thousands of passengers on hundreds of flights across Europe. The successful operation and roll-out continues and over the coming months thousands more European airline passengers will be able to experience a world-class cabin Wi-Fi service.


Gogo

Jet Edge, a leader in full-service private aviation, is proud to announce a new partnership with Gogo Business Aviation, the industry’s top inflight internet provider. The long-term partnership will upgrade Jet Edge’s AdvantEdge and Managed super-mid and large cabin fleet to AVANCE L5, Gogo’s most popular connectivity system that delivers a robust inflight 4G Wi-Fi experience.
Jet Edge offers the most extensive and elevated selection of point-to-point super-mid Bombardier Challenger and large cabin Gulfstream aircraft in the United States, and will have the first-ever fleet to be entirely equipped with Gogo AVANCE L5. The conversion is slated for final completion by end of Q3-2021. The commitment to an all-AVANCE L5 Charter fleet has already begun, with over 20 aircraft now equipped with Gogo’s 4G Wi-Fi connectivity. Gogo’s advanced system enables the use of popular streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu, video conferencing, and on-demand movie viewing. Passengers are able to access high-speed internet for web browsing on their personal smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Real-time data for cockpit apps, and remote diagnostics and support are also available.


Boeing

Boeing and Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) announced the aircraft lessor is growing its 737 MAX portfolio with an order for 15 737-8 jets. DAE had been investing in the 737 MAX by buying jets from existing customers and leasing them back to the carriers. The new order is DAE’s first direct 737 MAX purchase from Boeing as it modernizes its portfolio for better economic and environmental performance.

The order will appear on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website once finalized.

Firoz Tarapore, Chief Executive Officer of DAE, said: “We are delighted to deepen our already strong relationship with Boeing. Including this order, we own and manage 162 Boeing aircraft. An increasing number of global aviation regulators are returning the MAX to the skies. We are confident in the success of these aircraft as domestic and regional air travel are seeing strong signs of recovery.”

The new purchase is DAE’s second investment in the 737 MAX in the past year. In the third quarter of 2020, the lessor signed an agreement with American Airlines to purchase and lease back 18 new 737-8 airplanes. Since the agreement, the lessor has delivered 17 of the jets to the U.S. carrier. DAE previously completed a similar purchase-leaseback deal with Brazilian carrier GOL for five 737-8s.

“DAE has been instrumental in helping its customers realize the operating economics and environmental performance of the 737-8. We are delighted that they have come back to add more 737 aircraft to its growth plan as it positions itself for the recovery in commercial passenger traffic,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing. “We are honored by DAE’s trust in the 737 family and we look forward to partnering with them to serve the fleet requirements of airlines around the world.”

The 737-8 is a member of the 737 MAX family which is designed to offer more fuel efficiency, reliability and flexibility in the single-aisle market. The airplane can fly 3,550 nautical miles – about 600 miles farther than its predecessor – allowing airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. Compared to the airplanes it replaces, the 737-8 also delivers superior efficiency, using 16% less fuel and significantly reducing CO2 emissions and operating costs.

Also From Boeing:

Boeing projects global and diversified funding will continue to flow into the aircraft financing sector as the aviation sector navigates the global pandemic and vaccine deployment continues to accelerate.

“Financiers and investors understand the industry’s resilience and the long-term fundamentals that make aircraft a valuable asset class,” said Tim Myers, president of Boeing Capital Corporation. “Despite the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 on the global aerospace industry, there generally continues to be liquidity in the market for our customers, and we expect it to further improve as travel begins to rebound.”

The 2021 Current Aircraft Finance Market Outlook (CAFMO), the first published since 2019, reflects Boeing’s near-term view of market dynamics and assesses financing sources for new commercial airplane deliveries. Due to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, the 2021 CAFMO excludes its customary one- and five-year industry financing projections.

“Industry fundamentals continue to show varying degrees of strength in different markets depending on the regional trends of the global pandemic,” Myers said. “We expect that capital will continue to be routed into the sector by established players and as new entrants seek opportunities during the industry’s recovery.”

The 2021 CAFMO reports the aircraft financing environment ended 2020 with enough liquidity to finance deliveries, but with stresses particularly in the bank debt and tax equity markets. The 2021 CAFMO, an introductory video and regional financing data is available at here. Select highlights include the following:

  • At the industry level, commercial aircraft delivery funding volume totaled $59 billion, a 40% decrease from 2019 levels.
  • The top sources of Boeing delivery financing were cash, bank debt and capital markets, and 100% of Boeing deliveries were financed by third parties.
  • Aircraft lessors executed a significant volume of sale-leaseback transactions, and the industry-wide leased fleet climbed to 46%.
  • Capital markets for aviation volumes were 70% higher than 2019.
  • Commercial banks shored up the aviation industry’s need for liquidity early in the pandemic, but long-term bank debt became one of the less utilized forms of financing.
  • Institutional investors and funds continued to seek aviation exposure, stepping up as some financiers paused and sector credit spreads widened.
  • Export credit agencies remain a small but important funding source during the pandemic.
  • Credit-enhanced financing saw further progress as a complementary funding source, totaling to 4% of the financing mix for Boeing deliveries.

The Boeing 2020 Commercial Market Outlook, a separate annual 20-year forecast addressing the market for commercial airplanes and services, projects passenger traffic growth at an average rate of 4% per year. The global commercial fleet is expected to reach 48,400 by 2039, up from 25,900 airplanes today.


Galgus

All Nippon Airways (ANA) Adopts Adaptive’s ACES, Mobile IFE Solution, Fleetwide to Digitalize its Inflight Magazine, Newspapers & Magazines

As of April 1, 2021, Adaptive is proud to announce that their sophisticated mobile digital press solution, ACES, became available fleetwide on All Nippon Airways (ANA) flights. The airline – Japan’s largest and 5-star airline for eight consecutive years – made the decision to switch to digital press to reduce ANA’s carbon footprint by eliminating more than 1500 tons of paper emissions per year, and create a more hygienic inflight experience, while significantly increasing the selection of media for passengers.

Not only in the lounge and inflight, ANA passengers will be able to access ACES’ digital press content from anywhere, through the airline’s booking and reservations app, on their own device, including the ANA Group’s inflight magazines, “TSUBASA -GLOBAL WINGS-,” and other popular newspapers and magazines, available in multiple languages.

ACES’ software development kit (SDK) approach has already demonstrated its efficiency with leading carriers such as Singapore AirlinesQatar AirwaysSASTAP Portugal, and ANA asked Adaptive to take the platform to the next level, to match their vision and innovative approach to IFE offerings that fit what passengers will expect, especially post-COVID.

“As many passengers are still fearful of touching anything, the decision for ANA to replace hard-copy materials with digital press is very forward-thinking and truly demonstrates the airline’s commitment to passenger safety and offering the best possible inflight experience, while at the same time reducing costs,” said David Fairand, COO of Adaptive. “At Adaptive, we are thrilled to provide ANA’s passengers with access to the top digital press content from the safety and comfort of their own device, via ACES’ seamless integration into ANA’s mobile app. Through the app, passengers can download content up to 24 hours before the flight using an internet connection, and it will remain available on their device for 24 hours after the flight lands, no matter where the passenger is physically located.”

“As part of our response to COVID-19 outbreak, ANA has suspended providing printed publications onboard. Our new service will give our customers access to a significantly larger selection of media – even more options than we used to provide before the spread of COVID-19,” said Tom Mano, Vice President of Products & Services Planning at ANA. “Our new service will also allow customers to select and enjoy newspapers and magazines – not only during the flight, but also during the time on the ground – to enhance our seamless digital customer experience in the safest way possible, which we will continue to upgrade as part of our mid-term strategy. This new service will, at the same time, make our operations more sustainable, as we’ve made a long-term commitment to adhering to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”


IFPL Announces Acquisition of Cobalt Aerospace

IFPL is excited to announce that they have acquired specialist aerospace design and manufacturing company Cobalt Aerospace Group Limited.

Cobalt Aerospace develop innovations that provide comfort, safety, convenience, and ambience to enrich air travel for both passengers and operators. Their product portfolio includes class-leading LED mood lighting, the world’s first-to-fly wireless chargers and new emergency floor path marking system, GLS-7.

IFPL has known the Cobalt Aerospace team since the company’s formation in 2013 and have watched with interest as they successfully bought several innovative solutions to market. IFPL is  confident that by combining the considerable skills and expertise within both businesses, they will be able to significantly broaden and strengthen their offering to their customers.

Here is just a snapshot of the products that this merger will make available to IFPL’s customer base:

  • Cobalt Spectrum
    The original drop-in LED mood lighting. Offering a virtually unlimited number of colors and lighting effects alongside superior reliability, Cobalt Spectrum is capable of enhancing any aircraft cabin with the brightest and best LED lighting.
  • Cobalt Unplugged
    Able to seamlessly integrate into arm rests, bar tops, and more, Cobalt Unplugged wireless chargers keep mobile phones, tablets, and laptops fully charged; ensuring passengers and crew stay happy.
  • GLS-7 Emergency Floor Path Marking
    GLS-7 photoluminescent floor path marking is proudly the most economical system on the market: customers can save up to 70% on competitor products, with no compromise on quality. Durable, and waterproof, GLS-7 is completely reliable as it operates without the use of electricity.

Excitingly, Cobalt Aerospace will also bring their specialist certification knowledge and status as a UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Part 21J Design Organization to the IFPL Group. This means we will be able to support customers with classifying and approving aircraft changes across a variety of areas including avionics, cabin interiors, and electrical systems.

The companies want to take the time to reassure you of several things that will not change:

  • IFPL will continue to operate as IFPL, and Cobalt Aerospace will continue to operate under their brand name. Both businesses will operate under the umbrella company IFPL Group Limited.
  • You will continue to work with the same people you are currently in contact with – the companies are retaining all of our staff in their current positions. This acquisition simply means they will have more expertise available!
  • Any services and products the companies are currently providing you with will continue without hindrance.
  • The way you contact either IFPL or Cobalt Aerospace will not change – they still have the same phone number, the same website, and the same email addresses.

Lufthansa Systems & Emirates Airline Extend Their Long-Standing Partnership

Lufthansa Systems and Emirates Airline have extended their long-standing partnership by signing a seven-year contract for the iPadOS-based charting solution for pilots Lido mPilot – including the Airport Moving Map Lido AMM – and the renewal for the Airport Mapping Database Lido AMDB. The airline and its pilots will continue to benefit from increased situational awareness, safety, efficiency, and a reduction in workload.

“We are happy to continuously support our airline customers with our cutting-edge products and services – especially as flights are slowly starting to pick up again around the world,” said Dr. Bernd Jurisch, Head of Flight & Navigation Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “This contract extension highlights the ongoing trust our customers place in us as a leading provider of aviation IT solutions, and we look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with Emirates.”

Emirates is one of the world’s leading airlines, and it first started using the Lido Flight Planning Solutions in 1996. The airline became an early adopter of the Windows-based charting application Lido eRoute Manual in 2008, and it has now opted to include the iPadOS-based charting application Lido mPilot as part of its flight operations solutions suite. This application optimizes workflows for pilots and improves their situational awareness, and most recently, it introduced a built-in dark mode button, a terrain layer on the enroute map, and the depiction of five weather phenomena.

Lido mPilot provides pilots with all necessary navigation charts, documents and messages on their iPads. The application boasts an intuitive user interface, data visualized using the acclaimed Lido Route Manual charting standard, enroute weather and terrain, and more than thirty user configurations. The Lido AMDB is a highly accurate and reliable airport mapping database developed by Lufthansa Systems. The certified database displays the spatial layouts of airports in a geo-referenced manner to enable the onboard EFB airport moving map application and advanced ground avionics functions. It includes the geometry of runways, taxiways and buildings, as well as functional information.

The Lido Flight Operations Solutions product family from Lufthansa Systems offers the aviation industry products and services in three key areas: Lido Data Solutions, Lido Flight Planning Solutions, and Lido Pilot Solutions. With its Lido products, Lufthansa Systems helps its customers increase safety, lower costs, and reduce workloads across the entire mission – both on the ground and in the air.


Thales New CEO of InFlyt Experience

Thales announces the appointment of TK Kallenbach as Chief Executive Officer of the InFlyt Experience business effective April 5, 2021. In his role, Kallenbach will drive the digitalisation of Thales’s portfolio and connected IFE platform to deliver innovative, market-driven solutions that bring value to our global airline customers. He will report directly to Yannick Assouad, Executive Vice-President Avionics at Thales, leading strategic corporate initiatives to position the company for sustained growth and market leadership.


SkyAware

FlightAware, the largest global provider of flight information and proprietor of the world’s largest Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) network, announced SkyAware Anywhere, a free software that provides a fused view of an individual’s various ADS-B receivers. This easy-to-use solution provides users with a secure, raw view of everything their ADS-B receivers are seeing in real-time on one map, from anywhere they have an internet connection.

Interested in Joining the ADS-B Community?

FlightAware operates a worldwide network of ADS-B and Mode S receivers that track ADS-B or Mode S equipped aircraft flying around the globe. You can view our coverage map here. FlightAware offers PiAware, ​the do-it-yourself ADS-B receiver that can be built with a Raspberry Pi for under $99, and the FlightFeeder, a free, prebuilt ADS-B receiver for hosts located in areas needing additional coverage.​

SkyAware Anywhere is free for all FlightAware ADS-B hosts, and compatible with all FlightAware devices including PiAware and FlightFeeders. There is no additional hardware, software, or update required for those with existing FlightAware ADS-B receivers.


Other News

  • It sure looks like Boeing plans to dramatically reduce their presence in  of Washington State as a 215 acre site that was the Commercial headquarters in Renton, Washington has gone on the market. Beyond that they are trying to sell some 2.5 Million square feet of office space there as well. We also understand 5 other properties will be sold around the greater Seattle area, as well as, some 300+ acres of unused property. A Boeing Press Person noted: “There is a headquarters but you have to think of it differently than a traditional headquarters building, The flag is planted temporarily, as Stan (Deal – President) and members of his leadership team move from location to location.” While Boeing laid off almost 15,000 jobs last year, the company is looking to reduce their Washington real estate by some 30%. Further, in-house speakers say they will not be leaving, but it sure looks like the company’s future lies in Chicago and South Carolina (and many other smaller installations around the US). The Northwest may just be a site of manufacturing, and as the PR folks noted, that the 737 MAX will be in Renton until 2031. It is our expectation that the Northwest will be a standard manufacturing location for one or two models and the management will be looking to go to the lowest cost manufacturing areas, mostly based on labor costs. Time will tell.
  • We have been fans of Anthony Bourdain for some time and one quote he had about travel really worked for us: ““It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn.” Rest in peace, Anthony!

Correction: In last week’s edition of IFExpress, we covered Panasonic Avionics’ trial in late 2020 providing passengers unlimited Wi-Fi. One sentence read: “Prior to the trial the average passenger consumed 1.6 GB of data which jumped to 3 GB during it.” It should have been: “Prior to the trial the average passenger data consumption per aircraft was 1.6 Gb of data which jumped to 3 GB during it.”

Panasonic Avionics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also From Panasonic Avionics & JetBlue:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Hiring Trends Survey: Covid-19 Impact Results

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

In summary:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Other News

 

 

FLIGHTPATH3D

FlightPath3D announced that during Q1/2021, their install base has surpassed 3,000 aircraft and that they’re looking forward to continued and accelerated growth throughout 2021. Duncan Jackson, FlightPath3D President, says, “We’re seeing absolute signs of recovery in flights and see good growth going forward through 2021. We’re optimistic about the market and expect to surpass 4,000 aircraft within a year.” There is a sustained increase in air travel and aircraft returning to service. Geographic markets, domestic and international services, commercial and business sectors are all recovering, albeit at a different pace. Jackson adds, We are seeing some of our customers in Asia and Oceania flying close to their 2019 passenger numbers for domestic flights. In addition, our North American airline customers seem to be on the verge of a rapid increase in travel demand. Boris Veksler, FlightPath3D CEO “We’re pleased to see 737 MAX deployments once again as they make their way back into revenue service. Our optimism is further amplified by the news around forward bookings from our airline customers and the growth we’re experiencing in the business aviation sector.” In light of the pending rebound in travel demand, with people beginning to plan trips in numbers not seen for more than a year, FlightPath3D has been busy creating new applications that help passengers find flights, routes, and destinations based on personal profiles and experience desires. Veksler says, “We’re excited to help airlines with their recovery with new apps to facilitate passenger interests to be matched to destinations, and flights or activities matched with traveler motivations. Our engineers are levering data science and large data sets to solve this.”

For additional information, please visit the FlightPath3D website or email them at crew@flightpath3d.com


BOEING

Boeing and Southwest Airlines announced the carrier will continue to build its business around the 737 MAX family with a new order for 100 airplanes and 155 options across two models. The deal comes after a multi-year fleet evaluation by Southwest and means that Boeing and its suppliers could build more than 600 new 737 MAX jets for the airline through 2031. Southwest had been exploring options to modernize the largest component of its fleet: the 737-700 that serves the airline’s needs for a 140-150 seat airplane. With the new agreement, the airline reaffirmed the 737-7 as its preferred replacement and growth airplane. The jet will complement the 737-8, which serves Southwest’s needs for a 175-seat model. Both 737 MAX family members will reduce fuel use and carbon emissions by at least 14% compared to the airplanes they replace, helping to improve operating costs and environmental performance. Southwest said the solution allows it to maintain the operational efficiencies of an all-Boeing 737 fleet to support its low-cost, point-to-point route network. “Southwest Airlines has been operating the Boeing 737 series for nearly 50 years, and the aircraft has made significant contributions to our unparalleled success. Today’s commitment to the 737 MAX solidifies our continued appreciation for the aircraft and confirms our plans to offer the Boeing 737 series of aircraft to our Employees and Customers for years to come,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest’s chairman and CEO. “We are proud to continue our tradition of being the world’s largest operator of an all-Boeing fleet.” “In addition to supporting our efforts to operate sustainably and efficiently, the 737 MAX offers Employees and Customers travel comforts such as a quieter cabin, larger overhead bin spaces, seating with adjustable headrests, and more galley space for onboard service,” said Mike Van de Ven, Southwest’s chief operating officer.

The new purchase agreement takes Southwest’s order book to 200 737-7s and 180 737-8s, more than 30 of which have already been delivered. Southwest will also have 270 options for either of the two models, taking the carrier’s direct-buy commitment to more than 600 airplanes. The airline also plans additional 737 MAX jets through third-party lessors. “Southwest Airlines has long been a leader and bellwether for the airline industry and this order is a big vote of confidence for commercial air travel. As vaccine distribution continues to pick-up, people are returning to the skies and fueling hopes for a full recovery and renewed growth across our industry,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We are deeply honored by Southwest’s continuing trust in Boeing and the 737. Their fleet decision today brings more stability for our biggest commercial program and will ensure that our entire 737 family will be building new airplanes for Southwest for years to come.”

As part of the agreement, Southwest will also expand its use of Boeing’s digital solutions to support its 737 MAX fleet, including Airplane Health Management, Maintenance Performance Toolbox and digital navigation charting tools. Boeing will also provide system software upgrades and new wireless communications-enabling equipment to support Southwest’s operations.

About the 737 MAX Family
Designed and built in Renton, Washington, the 737 MAX family delivers efficiency, flexibility and reliability for the single-aisle airplane market. The 737-7 can fly 3,850 nautical miles, the longest range in the MAX family and 1,000 nautical miles farther than its predecessor. This derivative seats a maximum of 172 passengers, compared to the 737-8’s 210 maximum seats. The 737-8 can fly 3,550 nautical miles. This additional capability allows airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. Every 737 MAX features the new Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead storage bins. Other technical specifications can be found here.


MORGON STANLEY REPORT (MS)

Airlines: Corporate Travel Survey 2021: Slow Recovery

Travel managers see a slower recovery for travel versus prior surveys, with a return to pre-Covid levels after 2023. Travel budgets are expected, on average, to be 15% below 2019 by 2022. The shift to virtual continues to increase, with one quarter of 2022 travel volumes expected to shift to virtual. MS conducted an online survey of ~200 corporate travel managers between March 3-15, who represent cUS$7B of typical annual travel spend. This survey is the third wave since the Covid pandemic started, which the company finds interesting to track changes in trends as we return to normal. Overall, recovery expectations have been deteriorating, likely due to extended travel restrictions, with a return to pre-Covid levels of business travel just likely post 2023.

Travel budgets still expected to be below 2019 levels by 2022.

MS thinks the increase in travel restrictions globally has had a negative effect on the return of business travel. In their prior survey (October 2020), respondents expected travel budgets in 2021 to fall on average 54% vs 2019; for 2H21, the expectation is for budgets to be down 44.7% vs 2H19, showing a slight improvement against 1H21. For 2022, respondents now expect a reduction of 15.5% on travel budgets vs 2019. While this implies a strong recovery expected in 2022 vs 2019, at this point respondents are not yet expecting a return to normal levels by next year: 67% of respondents expect 2022 travel budgets to still be below 2019 levels. Yields are expected to go down in 2021 (-2.6% vs 2019), likely due to subdued demand, with some recovery expected in 2022 (yields up 2% vs 2019).

Shift to virtual should reduce travel volumes by over ¼ by 2022.

The trend of some shift of travel volumes into virtual keeps increasing: on average, respondents expect that 27% of meetings will shift into virtual by 2022, an increase from 22% in October 2020 and 19% in July 2020. Only 7% of respondents expect minimal impact (<10%) on travel volume by virtual meetings in 2021, and 15% in 2022.

Mass vaccination continues to be the key catalyst for the return to travel. Widespread availability and administration of vaccination is the biggest catalyst to increase business travel in H2 2021, at 79%, followed by business requirement at 58%. This is largely unchanged versus the past surveys and could be a trigger for a faster recovery, if global programs are successful.

Conclusions for Europe: The results of the survey confirm the slow recovery in business travel. MS thinks the expected reduction in passenger volume of c40% for 2021 is in line with the market view for 2021 capacity, though MS sees some downside risk to this figure, given the continued delay in corporate travel and the replacement of travel by virtual meetings, unless mass vaccination programs progress faster than anticipated. All in all, weaker demand and 27% convergence of travel into virtual events should negatively affect legacy carriers (Lufthansa, IAG and Air France-KLM, in that order) more than low cost carriers (easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz). MS continues to prefer Ryanair and Wizz (OW), over Lufthansa and AF-KLM.

Conclusions for US Airlines: From a US perspective, the survey results are a reminder that despite the widespread optimism (that MS shares) on the pace and trajectory of re-opening related pent up demand, there remains uncertainty and choppiness around the recovery. It is also a reminder that much remains up in the air, especially with respect to corporate/international travel and timing of vaccination. MS notes that the airlines recently shared some of their own surveys/views around a corporate travel recovery, which echoed some of these findings – perhaps with a more bullish tone even. MS continues to remain bullish on the pace of recovery and expects a return to 2019 levels of traffic by late 2021/early 2022, though MS expects US Domestic Leisure/VFR travel to return first and International and Corporate to return “last” by early 2022. This drives our preference for LCC and ULCC carriers over Legacy carriers, which are more exposed to International /Corporate travel and on average have had more cap structure damage during the pandemic. LUV, JBLU, ALGT and DAL are our top picks in the space.


OTHER NEWS

  • BuzzFeed has this great trick: 3. “On an airplane, if my seat-mate is hogging the armrest or being too chatty, I grab the barf bag. Works every time.” People Are Sharing Effective Psychological Tricks They Use In Everyday Life, And I’m Blown Away By Some!
  • And speaking of the virus (we assume), if you have AstraZeneca questions, read this: How good is the AstraZeneca vaccine – and is it really safe? 5 questions answered
  • Electric & Hybrid Aerospace Technology virtual conference looks very good so check it out – Conference Programme | Electric & Hybrid Aerospace Technology Virtual ‘Live’
  • If you travel a lot (after the pandemic) and you wear glasses, you will no doubt notice that your glasses are smudged all the time. Here is a great solution for easy, NO CLOTH wiping! It’s a little plastic cleaner that fits in your pocket and works better than anything else we have ever used – PEEPS! Yep, that is the name of the product … and no … they didn’t pay us, it is just a great product and we thought we would share it with you


QUIVER TREE MEDIA

QuiverTree Media has teamed up with ikonoTV, the
world’s first art streaming platform, providing access to content from worldwide collections, archives, galleries and museums inflight. The collaboration provides innovative new access to the art world, broadening access to works with new reach. Passengers are given the opportunity to quietly contemplate great works in a silent streaming format onboard from personal devices and also seat-back screens. The rich variety of works includes masterpieces such as The Garden of
Earthly Delights by Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch, the Naked Maja from the Prado’s Goya Collection through to ancient gems such as the exquisite Nefertiti Bust dating back to c. 1345 B.C.

The concept of streaming Art in Silence enables flight passengers to immerse themselves in the works without the distraction of sound, commentary or any element which could interfere in the sentiment evoked by the visual experience. “Continuing to inspire guests onboard with fresh, remarkable experiences made possible with digital expertise is part of QuiverTree Media’s DNA. We are privileged to lead the transformation of the inflight content offering as a disruptive CSP and unlock exceptional new opportunities for airlines with technical innovation” says Guillem Gassó, VP Commercial at QuiverTree Media.

QuiverTree Media and ikonoTV began recently commenced roll out of the innovative content introducing it onboard several launch airlines including Iberia Express, Volotea, Air Nostrum, Pegasus and Sun Express. The offering coincides with the current closure of many museums and other cultural venues as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The decision to enable greater access to art during a time of increased restrictions was a conscious effort given the demonstrated abilities the medium has on personal well being. Organisztions which promote the benefits of art as a contributor to both physical and mental well being include the WHO (source: Euronews 21.11.2019). Contact
press@quivertree-media.com or markevitch@ikonotv.art


OneWeb and SatixFy sign agreement for In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) compact terminal.

OneWeb, the global communications network powered from Space and SatixFy UK, a leading multi-beam antenna and terminal design specialist, have signed an agreement to develop a new In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) terminal that will work over the OneWeb network as well as on Geostationary (GEO) satellite networks. SatixFy UK has formed a Joint Venture with Singapore Technology Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering), called JetTalk, to exclusively commercialize the IFC terminal for Commercial Aviation markets. The agreement reaffirms OneWeb’s ambitions in the global aerospace arena as it sets out its roadmap to support commercial, regional, business and government aviation users.

The IFC terminal will unleash the power of OneWeb’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation and deliver a ‘home-equivalent’ inflight broadband experience, while also allowing operators to complement their legacy GEO service. The product is based on SatixFy’s Electronically Steered Multibeam Antenna (ESMA) technology, developed together with JetTalk and provides multibeam capability and operates simultaneously on multiple LEO and GEO satellites.

Well positioned to bring ESMA technology to the market earlier than originally anticipated, SatixFy, has recently completed the development of Tx tile of 576 elements and Rx tile of 1024 elements, that can be used as building blocks for the planned terminal. The tiles, which have been co-developed together with JetTalk, have completed initial testing and are currently being implemented inside a terminal product. The OneWeb IFC terminal will integrate the OneWeb modem as well as a GEO network one, inside the terminal.

“Suitability for all aviation applications” – Ben Griffin, OneWeb VP Mobility. OneWeb is confident of its suitability for all aviation applications – commercial, regional, business and government aviation use-cases. Ben Griffin, VP Mobility at OneWeb, said: “OneWeb is creating IFC solutions which offer a significant increase in the whole passenger traveling experience. This agreement with SatixFy represents a major milestone for OneWeb Aviation, as we plot our path to facilitating onboard connectivity, globally, on commercial airliners and corporate jets, large and small.”

“The ability to deploy multi-beam, multi-satellite, multi-orbit IFC terminals is key in SatixFy’s offering developed in partnership with ST Engineering through our Joint Venture – JetTalk.” says Yoel Gat, SatixFy’s CEO. “Aggregating capacity from multiple satellites will give customers the grade of service they expect on flights. This great leap forward is made possible thanks to the continuous support by ESA and UK Space Agency.”

Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth at the UK Space Agency, said: “The last year has shown connectivity has never been more important to our daily lives, and it is exciting to see SatixFy and OneWeb working together to provide aircraft with broadband internet for the first time. The new aviation terminal will make use of the Prime, Beat and Sx3099 ASIC chips developed with UK Space Agency backing, showing how supporting our most innovative companies leads to results that make a real difference for people all over the world.”
Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, said: “Space and satellites are becoming increasingly important to the digital economy and there is a need to get data all the time and everywhere – even at 35,000ft. ESA is proud to have supported SatixFy in the design of the chips used for this terminal – enabling the digital transformation of society using telecommunications satellites.”

In case you aren’t familiar with OneWeb or SatixFy here is a little data on each of them:

OneWeb will enable connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities. It is implementing a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites with a network of global gateway stations and a range of user terminals to provide an affordable, fast, high-bandwidth and low-latency communications service, connected to the IoT future and a pathway to 5G for everyone, everywhere. OneWeb is enhancing the experience of air travel and its network will deliver the speed, consistency and reliability that passengers expect to have in the sky for work or leisure. Find out more at

SatixFy is a vertically integrated company that provides chips and products across the entire satellites communications (satcom) value chain. Its products enable critical remote connectivity applications globally and incorporate the latest technological advances. SatixFy designs its own silicon proprietary chips, codes its software, builds its products and designs end-to-end systems for use in various applications and services, such as in-flight connectivity, IoT, communication payloads, consumer broadband, and more. The company leverages its research and development (R&D) and technical capabilities to design standard based communication products and systems with the most desirable qualities, such as: higher capacity, lower power consumption, lower weight, and lower cost.


BOEING

Deep space exploration took an important step forward on March 21, 2021. The cryogenic core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket completed hot fire testing at NASA’s Stennis Space Center as part of the SLS rocket’s Green Run test campaign on the B-2 test stand. The test, which included a full-duration, eight-minute engine burn, demonstrated successful core stage operation and will be used to help certify the stage for flight. “I want to thank the extraordinary individuals who make up the NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Boeing teams who designed, developed, produced and tested the all-new SLS core stage to enable sustainable human exploration of deep space,” said John Shannon, Boeing SLS vice president and program manager.

(Editor’s Note: We understand Boeing has put up for sale some 310 acres in the south Puget Sound region (specifically in Pierce County). They plan to reduce the Puget Sound land operation region by 30% and we wonder if the Northwest Boeing reduction is a part of the cost reduction of the new team? We will also see if more production is moved East in the future, as well!)


IATA has postponed the 77th annual meeting from June 27-29 in Boston, MA.


OTHER NEWS

  • Here is a story which explains why Southwest Airline ramp agents are very important! Southwest Airlines Ramp Agent Reunites Toddler With Buzz Lightyear | TravelPulse (Hey, if my Buzz Lightyear was lost I would be devastated!).
  • Apparently, things are looking up? Reports indicate that 2 weeks ago US air travel was down 55% from the same time period in 2019. But as of today, we understand that it is only down around 48%. WooHoo!
  • Here is an email quote we got from a reader and we offer you the chance to copy it: “This email is a natural product made from recycled electrons. The slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and in no way are to be considered flaws or defects.” Thanks, Ken!
  • Looking for a video explaining AI at the introductory level? Try this: AI in Science Fiction vs. AI in Reality | IE

SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct (SD), a business aviation solutions provider, is bolstering access to its Crewmember Network and Connectivity Training certificate program, aeroCNCT, through a new agreement with DaVinci Inflight Training Institute, a Florida-based flight crew training company. The SD aeroCNCT certified course is now being taught by an SD training professional at the DaVinci Institute on a quarterly basis. Theoretical and practical teaching leads to a professional credential upon successful completion of the course and examination.

The addition of aeroCNCT to the DaVinci curriculum aims to support the needs of an increasing amount of flight crew requiring comprehensive understanding of in-flight connectivity solution management. Designed to familiarize students with multifaceted connectivity concepts, the course includes modules on cabin network management, network applications and tools, and flight operation preparation. The resulting accreditation gives the flight professional the confidence to troubleshoot connectivity issues and serves to raise industry standards.

“We understand that connectivity is an essential element of the flight experience and that for flight crew it is a growing area of responsibility. DaVinci recognizes that providing reliable training enhances the opportunity for greater professional development, so it makes sense to team up to offer our dedicated course through the institute. The aeroCNCT course complements existing DaVinci modules, and we hope that by providing a wide selection of courses at a single location, attendees can optimize the full training potential available at the institute,” explains John Kummer, SD senior vice president strategy.

DaVinci offers a wide range of courses for flight attendants and crew, including culinary, cabin safety, and service training among others. “We believe that by adding tangible value to professional development with certified courses we are improving career prospects for our students and enhancing the business aviation sector. We are frequently asked for educational support relating to connectivity, so we are excited to add the SD connectivity module to our curriculum. We know it will appeal to many of our existing customers and be of great interest to new ones too,” says John Detloff, chief operating officer at DaVinci.

Since its launch three years ago, more than 200 crewmembers have successfully completed the aeroCNCT course and SD is now welcoming returning students for certification renewal.


BOEING

Boeing and private investment firm 777 Partners announced  an agreement to add 24 B737-8s to the firm’s diverse aviation portfolio, with purchase rights for an additional 60 airplanes. The Miami-based company will place the single-aisle airplanes with its growing portfolio of low-cost carrier investments around the world.

In addition to aircraft leasing, 777 Partners strategically invests in a host of aviation businesses, from operating carriers to technology-driven solutions. The firm’s travel sector strategy is largely focused on innovative solutions for interlining, passenger connectivity, and creating new commerce channels for its airline investments and customers.

“We could not be more excited to partner with Boeing on this transformative order for our growing aviation business. The 737-8 aircraft are a fantastic addition to our aviation portfolio and will enable our partners to leverage the jets’ superior economic performance to deliver low fares for their passengers while reducing their carbon footprint,” said Joshua Wander, founder and managing partner of 777 Partners. “The retrenchment of traditional carriers globally has created an unprecedented market opportunity for more agile and cost-efficient operators. These aircraft will enable our operators to accelerate the recovery in the destinations they serve. We are humbled to call one of America’s greatest manufacturers our partner in this endeavor.”

The B737-8 can fly 3,550 nautical miles, about 600 miles farther than its predecessor. This additional capability allows airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. The 737-8 reduces fuel use and CO2 emissions by 16% compared to the airplanes it replaces, and that superior fuel efficiency means lower operating costs and a smaller environmental footprint. Every airplane features the new Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead storage bins.

“777 Partners has gained a reputation for investing in high-growth markets and we are delighted to welcome them to the Boeing 737 family. This is a significant order that speaks to 777 Partners’ belief in the 737-8 and the market recovery ahead. We look forward to delivering these jets and supporting a safe and successful entry into service with 777 Partners’ affiliates,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing. 777 Partners is a Miami-based private alternative investment firm that invests across a number of high growth attractive verticals. Founded in 2015, 777 Partners initially applied its expertise in underwriting and financing of esoteric assets to diversify across a broad spectrum of financial services businesses, asset originators and financial technology/service providers. In recent years, the firm has broadened its mandate and now invests across six different industries: insurance, consumer and commercial finance, litigation finance, direct lending, media and entertainment, and aviation.


FLIGHTAWARE

FlightAware, a global provider of real-time and historical flight tracking information and insights, announced that it has been awarded a General Services Administration (GSA) contract from the United States Government. As a GSA schedule contract awardee, FlightAware becomes a trusted vendor of aviation data and applications for all approved GSA buyers. FlightAware is an American-owned and operated small business that can quickly and reliably deliver the world’s most complete aviation data and insights to the GSA purchaser. The GSA approval extends FlightAware’s aviation intelligence platform seamlessly to the government sector with data provided both in out-of-the-box and fully customizable formats. FlightAware’s APIs, like Firehose and AeroAPI, allow users to integrate flight data into customer products, while FlightAware’s applications such as FlightAware Global allow sophisticated tail and fleet monitoring. GSA buyers looking to learn more about FlightAware’s data offerings can visit: industry.flightaware.com/usgovernment

Synoptic Data PBC, the leading weather data aggregation and distribution platform, and FlightAware, the largest global provider of flight information and insights, today announced a partnership to deliver real-time Mode-S derived aircraft weather data via Synoptic’s API services to weather-sensitive users in the public and private sector.

Synoptic is expanding its aircraft-based observations offering by leveraging FlightAware’s capability to deliver global derived temperature and wind data throughout the vertical extent of the atmosphere using FlightAware’s complete historical and predictive aviation information platform, Firehose. Utilizing Mode-S weather data from tens of thousands of flights daily across the globe, Synoptic will provide its customers with a rich source of vertical weather profile information to enhance and improve weather forecast accuracy, increasing the amount of available aircraft weather data by as much as 400% in some situations. In addition to direct use in aviation operations, weather data collected from aircraft is one of the most important inputs to both global and regional Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models. Being able to incorporate additional data like FlightAware’s Mode-S data, especially in data sparse regions, will increase weather model accuracy and allow customers the ability to deliver better forecasts, contributing to public safety, operational efficiencies, and effective planning.

“The drop in air travel due to COVID has dramatically reduced the volume of critical airborne observations worldwide, impacting NWP weather forecast accuracy by as much as 30 percent. This partnership provides an important additional source of vertical wind and temperature data that will have a direct impact on NWP performance, improving weather forecasts and by extension, improving operational efficiency for all weather-impacted businesses,” said Steve Woll, President of Synoptic Data PBC.


OTHER NEWS

  • Let’s face it, the future of trade shows is questionable because of the virus risks and we have been waiting for some solutions that might work to help present new products. Well, the folks at Asian Sky Group have come up with one option and if you think this might be a partial solution, check out this demo video of GatoR introduced by Jeffery Lowe – Jeffrey Lowe introduces GathR: the next-gen virtual communication / networking platform. Jeffrey Lowe introduces GathR: the next-gen virtual communication / networking platform – YouTube
  • If you are a mechanical engineer you will love this video – The Antikythera Cosmos. The story is amazing and so is the video! The mechanical display of the universe developed and built around gears and brass display parts is a wonderful story on Gizmodo – New Model of Ancient Astronomical Device Reveals a ‘Creation of Genius’ and is the result of a rusted discovery off the coast of Crete in 1901. The 2000 year old device is an amazing development in its time. The video on Vimeo is a very good development description of the device that has taken over 100 years to resolve – especially since only one third of the device was discovered under water. Vimeo said – “The UCL Antikythera Research Team struggle to solve the front of the Antikythera Mechanism—a fragmentary ancient Greek astronomical calculator—revealing a dazzling display of the ancient Greek Cosmos.” They are correct! The Antikythera Cosmos on Vimeo And if you are wondering why this old mechanical technology story is in IFExpress, it is because we think our readers might find the history of knowledge and technology older than we are taught. And, along the same lines, the question of earlier flight history just may be somewhere developed, tested and hidden so well that we have not heard about it yet!

Abu Dhabi Airports Launches Rapid Covid-19 Testing

  •  In-airport laboratory facilities provide Covid-19 PCR test results in approximately 90 minutes
  • All arrivals from all destinations (except transit passengers) to benefit from free rapid testing
  • Rapid testing service launched in partnership with Pure Heath, the region’s largest laboratory operator, and UAE-based Tamouh Healthcare
  • Introduction of new testing process for arriving passengers is a reflection of Abu Dhabi Airports’ commitment to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of passengers, staff and visitors while facilitating air travel procedures

Abu Dhabi Airports, in partnership with Pure Health and Tamouh Healthcare, has launched rapid free Covid-19 PCR testing for all arrivals, except those in transit, with results provided in around 90 minutes. The new state of the art RT-PCR lab offers testing within Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to facilitate air travel procedures and support quarantine tracking procedures.

Designed to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of travelers and staff at Abu Dhabi International Airport, the new Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing process is free for arriving passengers and offers results in approximately 90 minutes. The laboratory has the capacity to test more than 20,000 travelers and staff per day.

The establishment of the PCR testing laboratory falls in line with the directives and vision of His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports, to contain the spread of Covid-19 while continuing to deliver a smooth and seamless travel experience at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Shareef Hashim Al Hashmi, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “Through partnering with Pure Health and Tamouh Healthcare, Abu Dhabi International Airport is now able to offer travelers state-of-the-art rapid testing services delivered by a dedicated laboratory facility. The introduction of the RT-PCR Covid-19 testing is a milestone achievement in our ongoing efforts to facilitate the safe resumption of international air travel and support the recovery of the aviation industry.”

“That we now offer a dedicated PCR testing laboratory within the airport is testament to our commitment at Abu Dhabi Airports to continuously innovate and look for new ways to deliver a safe, smooth and seamless travel experience for all our passengers. The new rapid testing facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport, developed in partnership with many of our stakeholders, will not only enable passengers to confidently travel to Abu Dhabi, but significantly enhance the efficiency of our operations while supporting global efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19,” added Al Hashmi.

All passengers arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport through both terminals 1 and 3 will be tested at the AUH PCR testing facility. Results of the Covid-19 tests will be shared by SMS and WhatsApp, as well as being available on the Alhosn mobile application. Passengers can leave the airport once they have finalized the PCR test processes.

Passengers who receive a negative PCR test and are arriving from the list of ‘green’ countries outlined by the government of Abu Dhabi, will not have to self-isolate. Those arriving from countries not on the ‘green’ list will have to self-isolate for a period of ten days, and will require a quarantine wristband fitted at the PCR testing tent attached to the airport.

Passengers transiting through the airport will not be tested prior to departing for their final destinations.

The lab, being developed and operated by Pure Health – the region’s largest laboratory operator – and the healthcare and passenger facility, being developed by UAE-based Tamouh Healthcare, will have the capacity to test more than 20,000 travellers per day. The 4,000 square metre facility will operate around the clock with up to 190 staff.

The launch of rapid Covid-19 testing services follows Abu Dhabi Airports’ introduction of a comprehensive range of health and safety measures at Abu Dhabi International Airport, including a specially trained team of Wellness Ambassadors equipped to support passengers by answering common questions relating to keeping healthy during travel, encouraging social distancing, and providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

In addition, the airport has deployed touch-less elevator technology, SterixEco Gates sterilization tunnels, thermal scanning cameras, as well cameras with facial recognition capabilities that alert staff if passengers or visitors to the airport are displaying symptoms of Covid-19 or not wearing facemasks.

Check out the link for the latest Covid-19 information at Abu Dhabi International Airport.


Satcom Direct Begins Airborne Validation of Plane Simple™ Ku-band Tail Mount Antenna System

One year after announcing the launch of the Plane Simple™ Satcom Antenna Systems, Satcom Direct has begun rigorous airborne testing of its advanced technology, purpose-built Ku-band tail mounted antenna system.

The transition from development to ground assessment to the aerial testing phase aims to validate the full performance capabilities of the Ku-band terminal. Inflight trials will also confirm the system’s integration with the SD ecosystem of hardware, software and supporting ground infrastructure. The antenna, which is now equipped on SD’s Gulfstream aircraft, will be stretched to the limits of its capabilities while providing empirical feedback about its functionality in an aerial environment.

“It is our company philosophy to always bring products to market that we have validated internally, and we are in a unique position to have the ability to undertake system testing on our own aircraft which gives us direct performance feedback,” says Satcom Direct Founder and CEO, Jim Jensen.  “The aerial validation is the next step in becoming a single source provider of end-to-end connectivity solutions for business and government operators worldwide, which will streamline the connectivity ownership experience and customer support services.”

The aerial testing follows successful completion of intense drive testing completed in Melbourne, Florida using a customized mobile platform. SD’s investment in the hardware series is satisfying the broadening segment of the business aviation sector’s appetite for flexible, reliable, cost effective connectivity solutions. The Plane Simple tail-mounted antenna system will support super-mid to large-size jets and is being developed in partnership with Germany-based QEST, Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH, a worldwide market leader in innovative aeronautical antennas.

“Aviation is moving toward a digital industry, and data is the foundation for informed decision making by operations, finance and maintenance departments. It is essential that we can offer powerful connectivity solutions to a much broader business aviation audience which also support enhanced data management and analytics. The start of our inflight testing within a year of announcing the hardware expansion highlights just how committed we are to meeting these market needs,” concludes Jensen.
The Plane Simple Ku-band antenna is the first in a series of antenna systems being developed by SD.  As a Value-Added Manufacturer (VAM) and service provider (SP) for Iridium Certus, SD is also designing and manufacturing a Plane Simple antenna system for compatibility with the new network offering from Iridium, while also providing the service direct to the business aviation community. The company is aiming to launch a Ka-band variant tail mount antenna in 2022, followed by an electronically steered, fuselage mounted phased-array antenna which will deliver high-speed connectivity via upcoming LEO constellations.


Suspension of  Retaliatory Tariffs

US agreed to temporarily suspend all retaliatory tariffs on direct exports from UK resulting from the Airbus dispute in a new joint approach to longstanding trade conflict over aerospace tariffs; this follows UK’s decision to suspend Boeing tariffs against the US from January. – Source: Speednews


Other News

  • “All us engineers or retired engineers always look at math as a baseline of our education. Why? Because all our education was based on, or explained with, math. Obviously, if your education experience occurred a while ago, it is interesting to review it … I guess? Anyway, here are 17 equations that probably had a part in your education  … and yes, it may be a bit challenging. Keep up, that is the message here!” – TJW
  • This is a big deal. Why? Aviation competition … but find out what CRAIC is first:  CRAIC Plans 3 Versions Of Its New Widebody: The ‘CR929’ – Simple Flying

IdeaNova Technologies

The team at IdeaNova Technologies is working hard on new features and functionality that will enhance the travel experience while improving passenger and crew safety.

Last year, airlines saw changes to the travel industry ranging from new technology that ensures a clean cabin to an overhaul of boarding protocols. Travel might look a little different these days, but the importance of providing comfort in the cabin is just the same.

Passengers can now watch their inflight entertainment with their friends and family on a flight, while respecting safety guidelines in limiting passenger movement around the cabin. This functionality also highlights the continued importance of the relationship between passengers and crew. Inplay Video Chat is a natural extension of the text chat feature introduced earlier.

Just like the text chat, Inplay Video Chat is quick and easy to use.   With a click of a button, anyone can initiate video communication with their friends or crew, creating a friendly atmosphere interacting safely and digitally onboard – ensuring passengers can fly with confidence.

Inplay Video Party brings revolutionary functionality for the next generation of flying affecting how passengers not only interact with their entertainment options, but also each other.

The Inplay IFE Portal offers airline passengers the ability to find their favorite movie and TV shows, and set up their watchlist before getting onto the aircraft. The player includes feature rich entertainment options such as ad-based video on demand, live TV, and games. It of course also keeps passengers informed with such things as safety information and automatic pause for important PA announcements. Now, the playback is augmented with yet another convenient feature of being able transmit audio and video in real time with fellow passengers.

Together passengers can enjoy their favorite movies and TV shows, allowing for better engagement between friends and family while taking advantage of all IFE content onboard. Inplay Video Chat allows passengers to watch and discover IFE content together – highlighting the important social aspect of flying.

While Inplay Video Chat is offered as stand-alone SDK for airlines to integrate into their own portals, Inplay Portal integration is well engineered. Passengers can conveniently configure and invoke this feature with a click of a button from any main portal area, while playing DRM or non-DRM content using Inplay Players. All Inplay components (including Microsoft PlayReady DRM) run on Linux, allowing an easier integration for airlines and IFE operators. IdeaNova DRM infrastructure has gone through many changes driven by self-driven need for new features and better performance as well as by external changes imposed by vendors such as Google, Microsoft and Apple.  Inplay Portal has recently been enhanced with Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) compliant advertising features giving airlines another revenue stream option.

“Our mission has always been to create beautiful products that enrich the passenger journey and that is no exception with Inplay Video Chat. This time, we are making it both enjoyable and safe” says Juraj Siska, IdeaNova CEO…, “Introducing this new functionality is exactly within airlines highest priorities – moving us forward towards safe travel again. The continued innovation in our airline industry will help us to exceed previous passenger experience and bring new innovation to the cabin. Together with the newly released ad serving functionality we provide a combination of safe and income generation features.”

IdeaNova will be providing in-person demos of this new technology at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany rescheduled last year due to the pandemic for August 31-September 2, 2021. Customers can request on demand demos and evaluation of Inplay Video chat anytime.


Astronics Corporation

Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for global aerospace, defense and other mission critical industries, announced it was awarded an order of approximately $11 million from Collins Aerospace (“Collins”) for business jet connectivity equipment. The order is a follow on to previous orders for inflight connectivity (IFC) hardware that Astronics has been providing to Collins.

Astronics’ equipment supports the growing interest in the business jet connectivity services offered by Collins Aerospace. Having received many strong customer reviews, Collins’ system provides unparalleled high-speed world-wide connectivity that enables a broad variety of remote conferencing services as well as streaming entertainment.

“We are excited to extend and expand the relationship with Collins Aerospace to provide best-in-class connectivity equipment for their customers,” stated Michael Kuehn, Astronics CSC President. “We believe this order validates the success of Collins Aerospace connectivity services and the performance of Astronics connectivity hardware. Improved connectivity for the business jet market has become an imperative and we are committed to providing the best connectivity capability available for aircraft with our technologies.”

For more details on the T-311 hardware, visit Astronics.com.


UNITED AIRLINES & ARCHER AVIATION

Many of you may not know who Archer Aviation is, so here it is in a nutshell: Archer is based in Palo Alto, California and was started in May 2020 and the company plans to manufacture planes, not so unusual, but the twist is their planes are targeted for the electric air-taxi market. Their website indicates their aircraft travel at speeds of 150 mph with a 60 mile range.  Also, the company is backed by Marc Lore, who is head of Walmart’s e-commerce division.

Morgan Stanley projects the electric air-mobility market will be worth $1.5T by 2040.  Also, United Airlines has agreed to purchase $1B worth of Archer’s aircraft with an additional $500M option. In December, United announced it would invest millions to be 100% “green” by 2050.

Recently it was announced that Archer Aviation will merge with Crest Investment Corporation SPAC with plans to go public at $3.8B. The merger will generate $1.1B for Archer, with $600M coming from a private investment made by United Airlines and Mubadala, Abu Dhabi’s investment arm. The remaining $500M will come from funds raised during Atlas Crest’s October IPO.


OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC AVIONICS

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has today announced a major evolution in its in-flight connectivity offering as its first extreme high throughput satellite (XTS) enters service over the Asia-Pacific region.

The APSTAR-6D satellite is Panasonic Avionics’ latest investment in in-flight connectivity for passengers on commercial aircraft. It is an integral part of its third-generation communications (Gen-3) network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites, placing capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.

Panasonic Avionics is set to complete the upgrade of the 2,544 aircraft installed with its connectivity service to its Gen-3 network within the next month. Over 1,000 commercial aircraft are committed to being installed with its connectivity services and linked to the Gen-3 network from the outset.

Connectivity is integral to the success of Panasonic Avionics and enables a wide range of services to airlines and their passengers. In addition to in-flight WI-FI, these include Live Television with the world’s only global live sports channels delivered in partnership with IMG, an integrated solution with OneMedia to deliver real-time ads, real-time transactions that open up a huge range of in-flight retail possibilities, and the ability to personalize the passenger experience through solutions such as Panasonic Avionics’ Companion App and much more.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “Today is a milestone moment for Panasonic Avionics as we go live with the newest generation of in-flight connectivity. Our third-generation communications network delivers the targeted, flexible use of extreme high throughput capacity, ensuring we can meet the needs of our airline customers with cost-effective and reliable high bandwidth services well into the future.”

APSTAR-6D was jointly designed by APSATCOM and Panasonic Avionics. It will provide airlines with multiple gigahertz of new Ku-band capacity over China and high-density routes around East Asia, including Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia using narrow XTS spot beams.

In addition, APSTAR-6D provides high throughput satellite (HTS) coverage over its full field of view including the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Australia and the Southern Oceans down to Antarctica, which includes areas not served by any other HTS satellite. Tailoring the capacity to areas of demand will provide Panasonic Avionics’ airline customers with better service, unprecedented coverage and the ability to dramatically increase throughput. This opens the doors for airlines to further customize their connectivity offerings to meet the evolving expectations of their passengers.

Panasonic Avionics is currently engaged in active and ongoing trials with airlines to demonstrate the high data rate capabilities of its Gen-3 network. The company expects that airline passengers flying in the region served by APSTAR-6D will also take advantage of the enhanced connectivity that XTS delivers to use high-bandwidth apps in flight.

21 Asian carriers, representing over 800 aircraft, have already selected Panasonic Avionics for in-flight connectivity, including many of the region’s leading airlines, such as Air China, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Xiamen Airlines.

Jeff Sare, Vice President, In-Flight Connectivity Solutions at Panasonic Avionics, says: “Panasonic Avionics is committed to long term investment in its high bandwidth, global Ku-band network, and the service entry of APSTAR-6D is the latest step in that journey.”

Sare continued: “We are planning further investment in our global network of Ku-band satellites for use by commercial airlines in the years ahead. For example, our second XTS, Eutelsat 10B, is due to launch next year and will provide enhanced connectivity over Europe and the Middle East. Additional capacity commitments are also planned.”

Panasonic’s third-generation communications network supports improved airline and passenger experiences including faster internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, improved live TV picture quality and broader channel choice, 4G phone services, and greater bandwidth for crew applications.

The network is backed by Panasonic’s Customer Performance Center, which drives improved network performance, greater reliability, and faster response and resolution times, along with business intelligence tools and reports that provide customers with the data and analytics to deliver and monitor targeted pricing and advertising campaigns.


VALOUR CONSULTANCY IFC REPORT

A new report from Valour Consultancy, an award-winning provider of market intelligence services, foresees the number of aircraft installed with in-flight connectivity (IFC) doubling from 9,026 at the end of 2020 to approximately 18,500 in 2029. These figures factor in the full impact of COVID-19, including the cancellation of retrofit projects and delayed deliveries of new aircraft.

The report, “The Future of In-Flight Connectivity – 2020 Edition,” predicts that over the next two years, the installed base will grow slowly, by around 800 aircraft, marking a 70% decrease in net new installs across the period compared to pre-COVID-19 estimates. The majority of these IFC systems will be linefit. “The pandemic has caused airlines to defer new wide-body deliveries, postpone IFC retrofit programs and to retire older aircraft in favour of smaller, more agile and fuel-efficient planes. Despite this, low level activity is still expected, with 70% of net new IFC installations between now and 2022 to take place on narrow-body jets,” explains its author, Daniel Welch.

The study looks beyond COVID-19 and provides detailed commentary on factors that will help to create a more sustainable IFC business model as the industry begins to recover. “IFC service providers are going to find new wins hard to come by over the next couple of years as airlines rein in their spending. But there is plenty to do in terms of delivering a better quality of service to existing customers,” says Welch. “The pandemic is driving change in the passenger experience and many airlines are using this period to revisit their digital strategies. It’s clear we’re going to see a greater emphasis placed on contactless interactions, customer reassurance and the seamlessly digital journey. IFC can, at the very least, enhance many applications linked to these areas and, as a result, will become more integral to airlines than before the pandemic hit.”

The “captive portal” is another subject explored in the report. It cites how the likes of American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and others are taking ownership of IFC services by introducing portals that harmonize what the passenger sees and embrace a holistic approach to loyalty and onboard retail services. Welch continues, “In the past, passengers flying with an airline that has multiple IFC services in use across its fleet have typically been exposed to the nuances of these deals, paying different rates based on the hardware/service onboard, be it from Gogo, Inmarsat, Panasonic or Viasat. Having a harmonized experience reduces friction during the login process, but also drives ancillary opportunities. Deploying an engaging portal is an achievable short-term win for carriers that already have IFC or wireless IFE that will continue to drive long-term growth.”

Valour Consultancy is a provider of high-quality market intelligence. Its latest report, “The Future of In-Flight Connectivity – 2020 Edition,” is the newest addition to the firm’s highly regarded aviation research portfolio. Developed with input from more than 30 companies across the value chain, the study includes more than 200 tables and charts along with extensive commentary on key market issues, technology trends and the competitive environment. For more information send an email to info@valourconsultancy.com


QUIVER TREE & AUDIBLE

Reaching New Heights: QuiverTree Media collaborates with Audible, an Amazon company

QuiverTree Media collaborates with Audible, an Amazon company, to bring the best in digital spoken-word entertainment onboard. One of the world’s largest sellers and producers of audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment, will further boost visibility of its subscription channel across Europe accessing inflight audiences with QuiverTree Media. Passengers are able to enjoy captivating storytelling onboard their flight and choose from binge-worthy audiobooks, exclusive podcasts, bite-sized audio content, and genre-bending Audible Originals.

Stories that speak volumes

The QuiverTree Media and Audible collaboration has already started making the content available on the fleets of Iberia Express and Air Nostrum, following the successful launch of Audible’s service for Spanish listeners in October. The collaboration reinforces Audible’s offer for this territory, giving passengers a unique opportunity to discover exclusive audiobooks and podcasts in a captive inflight environment. Through this collaboration, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum count with content designed to appeal.

Through this collaboration, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum count with content designed to appeal to young and old audiences alike, bringing together acclaimed Audible Originals such as V is a Vis: la cara B , Pequeñas Revoluciones para Crecer and E l Móvil de Mendes to titles produced in collaboration with Guía Repsol and the ISDI Business School. The selection is complemented with a series of exclusive Audible children’s titles such as Peter Pan , The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.

In addition to offering Audible interactive digital branded assets on inflight entertainment platforms, QuiverTree is enabling the company to provide passengers that enjoy the service inflight tailored incentives, which include special promotional benefits if they subscribe to the service. “Our collaboration with Audible is a great example of the unique capabilities QuiverTree Media delivers as a CSP, pairing inflight experience enhancement for airlines with advertising and subscription benefits for OTTs.” says Julia Maruny, Media & Partnerships at QuiverTree Media. “The fact QuiverTree Media shares many customer-centric and technological innovation values with Audible, reinforces this collaboration with great potential to reach and inspire more customers together.”


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