(Image: Dinosaur Planet from the ARC 3D Map Suite of Young Explorers from Panasonic Avionics)

During AIX Hamburg Panasonic Avionics Corporation (PAC) focused on their position as a strategic partner shaping the future travel experience in conjunction with their airline customers and ecosystem partners. PAC said, “We are looking at ways to address the new era in travel that responds directly to changes in passengers’ expectations.”

You may well remember that during APEX Boston, the company launched their Wellness solutions – a collection of comfort and care technologies that promote well-being – and in Hamburg, they announced that Etihad is the official launch customer for the offering. “One of the biggest challenges air passengers face when travelling across multiple time zones is jet lag. To help passengers combat this, Panasonic, in collaboration with Detalytics, has developed a new innovation called Jet Lag Adviser, and this is being integrated into Etihad’s passenger app.  The Jet Lag Adviser takes a range of passenger inputs including chronotype, circadian rhythms, height, weight, the nature of travel, and travel information such as flight times, routes and zones and uses its artificial intelligence engine to produce personalized jet lag plans for passengers with tailored advisories to help them reduce jet lag.”

They are also increasing their range of Wellness solutions with the launch of Calm and myNoise. Calm is one of the premiere apps for sleep, meditation and relaxation and will introduce a series of visual and audio enhancements for passengers that will be integrated into Panasonic’s Wellness solutions. Categories include Breathing & Meditation, and Nature Scenes to reduce stress and aid relaxation, Sounds & Music for relaxation and sleep, and audio Sleep Stories to help passengers rest. myNoise is a collection of soundscapes that travelers can listen to that facilitate relaxation, sleep, focus and enjoyment. Based on the elapsed time in flight and an individual jet lag schedule, Panasonic will recommend different soundscapes to help passengers relax, focus and enjoy their flight by reducing inflight anxiety and aiding sleep, neutralizing the ambient noise for a more focused mindset, and helping them express their creativity for the best possible experience.

One of their major announcements in Germany was the launch of the ARC Inflight Map Platform, which is a “revolutionary” 3D inflight map application and service for Panasonic’s NEXT and X Series IFEC systems. In a nutshell, ARC brings a wide range of innovative new features to the traditional inflight map application, while expanding that concept into a fully integrated experience within the IFEC system. In other words, the map has evolved into a service technology with extensive configuration options, improved passenger experience, premium point of interest content and analytics to optimize passenger interaction. “This is the first truly personalized map application,” said Andrew Mohr, Head of Innovation for PAC. Designed and built by Sweden-based Tactel, the development work is largely over and the product will enter into service in the first quarter of 2020. The short-term focus is on developing detailed content of regions so descriptions are available when an aircraft flies over them. Andrew is particularly pleased about ARC’s Suite of Young Explorers for children, which boasts features like: Dinosaur Planet (see the article image above), Pick a Planet, Design Your World, and new games, which will be announced shortly. “I’ve been advocating for a children’s moving map interface with dinosaurs for years!” said Mohr.

ARC goes hand-in-hand with another newly announced cloud-based service called Insights, which is a comprehensive data analytics offering that provides an in-depth view of onboard experiences to empower smarter business decisions. Insights capabilities include: diagnostics and descriptive analytics, predictive and prescriptive analytics, behavioral and sentiment analytics – all enable a personalized experience for the passenger and facilitate improved operational efficiency for the airline by harvesting onboard and third-party data from various passenger touch points including IFE, connectivity, location and weather monitors, as well as, social media. Oh, and of course, all this is done in real-time. Data analytics specialist Black Swan is working with Panasonic on the Insights project. When ARC and Insights are combined, a powerful tool is at the airline’s fingertips, or should we say wingtips!

All of these developments facilitate the concept of travel as the fourth place, which Panasonic focused on during their presentation in the Digital Trends Stream of the Passenger Experience Conference (covered in previous issue of IFExpress); as well as, during their press briefing at AIX. “We are the airlines’ strategic partner for shaping the future travel experience,” said David Bartlett CTO of PAC. “Imagine what flying could be like when a personally curated experience promotes, rest, wellness, and maybe even a sense of play.”


GOGO

Gogo Announces First Quarter 2019 Financial Results

Key Highlights for Q1 2019:

  • Consolidated revenue of $200 million–at the high end of our preliminary estimated range of $197 million to $200 million provided on April 15, 2019
  • Net loss of $16.8 million–39% year-over-year improvement
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $38 million–as compared with $11.9 million in Q1 2018
  • Net Cash Used in Operating Activities of $(6.2) million; Unlevered Free Cash Flow of $11.1 million (1)
  • Subsequent to the end of the first quarter, Gogo completed its previously announced offerings of $925 million aggregate principal amount of 9.875% senior secured notes due 2024 and commenced a tender offer for the outstanding 3.75% senior convertible notes due 2020

AIRBUS

  • The first A330neo of the Americas has been delivered to Azul Linhas Aéreas on lease from Avolon, becoming the first airline from the Americas to fly the A330-900. The aircraft is the first of 15 A330neo ordered by Avolon. The A330neo, Airbus’ new generation A330 aircraft, will be used by the airline to expand its international route network between Brazil and Europe and the United States. Fitted with a three-class cabin accommodating 34 business class, 96 economy Xtra and 168 economy class seats, the A330neo offers passengers greater comfort along with the newest and the most advanced in-flight experience while the airline will benefit from the aircraft’s unrivalled operating economics. The A330neo is the true new-generation aircraft building on the most popular wide body A330’s features and leveraging on A350 XWB technology. Powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, the A330neo provides an unprecedented level of efficiency – with 25% lower fuel burn per seat than previous generation competitors. Equipped with the Airbus Airspace cabin, the A330neo offers a unique passenger experience with more personal space and the latest generation in-flight entertainment system and connectivity.
  • The first A330-900 widebody destined for Delta Air Lines made its inaugural test flight Tuesday from Toulouse airport. The highly fuel-efficient twin-engine jet, one of 35 Delta has on order, is due to be delivered to the Atlanta, Georgia-based airline in the coming weeks. The A330-900 is the larger of the two A330neo variants that Airbus launched in 2014. The A330neo brings significant efficiency improvements while also introducing the award-winning Airspace by Airbus cabin, which offers the newest and most advanced in-flight experience with extra personal space, larger overhead luggage bins, latest generation in-flight entertainment system and state-of-the-art ambient lighting. Incorporating the latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, along with aerodynamic enhancements – including new extended composite wingtips which provide 3.7 metres of increased overall wing-span, as well as increased lift and reduced drag – the A330neo is a more efficient aircraft, delivering 25% lower fuel burn than previous generation aircraft and the lowest seat-mile cost in its category. The A330-900 range is 6,550 nautical miles in a typical three-class configuration.
  • Deliveries April 2019: Airbus logged orders for a total of five A350 XWB and A330neo widebody jetliners in April and delivered 70 aircraft during the month from across its A220, A320, A330neo and A350 XWB single-aisle and widebody product lines. Deliveries in April were made to 35 customers. In the single-aisle sector, Airbus provided three A220s, and 57 A320 Family aircraft (47 in the NEO configuration, along with 10 CEO versions). For widebody jetliners, two A330neo jetliners were provided during the month, along with eight A350 XWBs (in both the A350-900 and A350-1000 configurations). Taking the latest orders, deliveries and cancellations into account, Airbus’ backlog of jetliners remaining to be delivered as of 30 April stood at 7,287 aircraft.

OTHER NEWS

 

 

 

Lake Forest, CA | May 7, 2019–Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) and TAP Air Portugal have announced an agreement to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for the carrier’s new fleet of 14 A321neo LR aircraft.

Panasonic’s X Series inflight entertainment system, along with a suite of connectivity services, are being line-fit installed on the new aircraft.

TAP Air Portugal passengers will be able to enjoy a personalized and immersive home theatre entertainment experience with HD screens and surround sound audio and video entertainment available on demand. The system also comes equipped with in-seat power USB charging facilities at every seat.

All the new aircraft are being fitted with Panasonic’s inflight Wi-Fi service, with a host of next generation connectivity benefits including fast internet, all powered by its new satellite modem which offers bandwidth up to twenty times greater than previously available.

The news follows the recent agreement between TAP Air Portugal and Panasonic to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for the carrier’s new fleet of A330-900neo aircraft. The carrier is the first airline in the world to operate Airbus’ next generation A330-900neo, and will operate 21 of the aircraft.

Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Panasonic Avionics is honored to partner with TAP Air Portugal as they launch their next generation A321neo LR fleet, and we are delighted to help them deliver an enhanced passenger experience with our entertainment and connectivity solutions.”

As always, there is so much ground to cover during Aircraft Interiors Hamburg that the IFExpress team feels we barely scratch the surface on all the IFEC related exhibitors at the expo. Besides the major players in the industry there are many smaller hardware and service providers that truly have some innovative solutions and this week we are covering one such company.

WIFI TECHNOLOGIES is a Belgium based company that offers a full wireless cabin IFEC solution dubbed AIR STREAMER. Yves Hendrickx, CEO of WIFI TECHNOLOGIES, told IFExpress that AIR STREAMER is a rent-a-system product, requiring no upfront investment by the airline. This unto itself is not a new model to the inflight entertainment realm; however, the system’s purported performance is what had us interested. Apparently, it is a wireless certified ‘aeroserver’ able to simultaneously stream out from a video cloud of its 5 – 50 TB memory to up to 500 screens at full HD mode per unit and runs on its own protocol, working within its own W-Fi network! There is also a smaller unit available that serves up to 250 screens/PEDs. This simple device is roughly the size of a shoe box (260 x 280 x 60 mm) and complies with EASA and FAA regulations and DO-160 standards and its Wi-Fi has a range of 100+ meters and uses MU-MIMO technology with tri band channel 2.4 Ghz and 2×5 GHz. (Here is a definition of MU-MIMO in case you are unfamiliar with the term: MUMIMO Benefits. Multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output technology—better known as MUMIMO (a.k.a. Next-Gen AC or AC Wave 2)—allows a Wi-Fi router to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously. This decreases the time each device has to wait for a signal and dramatically speeds up your network.) It also boasts built-in Wi-Fi and 4G/5G antennas. The only technical requirement for operation is an electrical connection to the aircraft. Aeroserver can either stream to inseat screens or personal electronic devices.

WIFI TECHNOLOGIES said their product not only has a huge amount of content capacity but is also ideal for e-commerce opportunities should the airline be interested. “Aircraft can become flying virtual E-Commerce hypermarkets, generating revenue on sales commissions and advertising, converting the system into a profit center: passengers can order goods inflight from large video catalogues and receive their products post-flight, for instance during luggage delivery. AIR STREAMER avoids any flight or ground crew operation intervention.”

We were also told that their business model supports an easy upgrade path when new and improved technology becomes available, ‘making obsolescence a thing of the past’.
AIR STREAMER was introduced in the business jet market in early 2019 and AIX 2019 was its debut for the commercial aviation space. During the show they ran Wi-Fi analyzers that measured all Wi-Fi signals aired by every Wi-Fi transmitter present in their hall of the IFEC Zone. Here is a graph of the results, as well as, are their published, official results:

  • The AIR STREAMER unit from WIFI TECHNOLOGIES, at -41 dB signal strength, confronted all other Wi-Fi transmitters at the show between -73dB and -85dB. Keep in mind that 1 dB signal difference DOUBLES the range and capacity available. It explains why the WIFI TECHNOLOGIES product is a go for 200 and up simultaneous passengers plugged in.
  • This was demonstrated through an Alethea WIFI simulator. The ultimate test consisted in a simultaneous streaming by 88 terminals within the same microsecond. It showed a system saturation under 3.5%, to the surprise of the Alethea operator.
  • Conclusion: 500 simultaneous users, streaming at 4K HD mode, is a level only reachable by the WIFI TECHNOLOGIES AIR STREAMER.

Needless to say, we spoke with several technical people from our industry after AIX about this product and here are some of the questions they had:

  • If one box is used to support up to 500 passengers is there enough bandwidth to support the plane’s users? And if so, what are they doing differently from streaming servers in the industry?
  • How many antennas are provided in both the small and larger AIRSTREAMER?
  • To assure reception for every passenger, where is the box placed on the aircraft?
  • Can each passenger watch individually selected content? Simultaneously? In other words, can every passenger access any content they wish at any point in time?
  • Is audio programming available?

Needless to say, we are interested in watching how this company develops over the next 5 – 6 months. We expect them to generate traction with many of LCC and Charter operators in Europe. In our opinion, this system is tailored to their business model and would also be a potential solution to many of the smaller single-aisle aircraft operators. This could well be one to watch!


GOGO

Gogo announced the pricing of the previously announced private offering of $20 million aggregate principal amount of additional 9.875% senior secured notes due 2024 (the “Additional Notes”) to be issued by its direct wholly owned subsidiary, Gogo Intermediate Holdings LLC (“Holdings LLC”), and its indirect wholly owned subsidiary, Gogo Finance Co. Inc. (the “Co-Issuer” and, together with Holdings LLC, the “Issuers”). The Additional Notes will be issued a price equal to 100.5% of their face value plus accrued interest from April 25, 2019 to the closing date. The initial 9.875% Senior Secured Notes due 2024 were issued in an aggregate principal amount of $905 million on April 25, 2019 (the “Initial Notes” and together with the Additional Notes, the “Notes”)


SITAONAIR

Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS), the official body responsible for air navigation services in Saudi Arabia, has formally selected SITAONAIR to elevate the Kingdom’s air traffic management capabilities, through to 2025. SITAONAIR will deliver its country-wide, unrivaled, state-of-the-art VHF and Digital Automatic Terminal Information Service (D-ATIS) solutions for Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS), benefiting all airlines flying in Saudi Arabia.

Under the agreement, SITAONAIR – the industry’s aircraft communications expert – will establish additional VHF stations providing coverage in new locations, including the Empty Quarter desert. It will also further optimize datalink coverage and services by upgrading both existing stations and SITAONAIR’s AIRCOMcats D-ATIS gateway server to better serve airports and airspace users.

The project will specifically aim to ensure coverage in the southeast and northwest of Saudi Arabia for en route traffic, increasing the availability of VHF/VDL networks at all main airports in the Kingdom and beyond.


FLYARYSTAN

FlyArystan, the world’s newest low fare, high quality airline from award-winning Kazakh flag carrier Air Astana, takes to the skies for its first revenue flights from Almaty International Airport. The airline starts with six domestic routes, with journey times from one to three hours to Taraz; Shymkent; Pavlodar; Uralsk; Nur-Sultan (Astana) and Karaganda. From announcement to revenue realization within six months, a 160-strong workforce supporting the business has been established in Almaty, Air Astana’s HQ. This includes 25 pilots and 45 flight attendants, with many seconded from Air Astana. The rest are new recruits who, in addition to undertaking call center reservations work, are being trained to assist in ambassador roles at check in as part of the FlyArystan ground services team across the seven initial cities served.

Air Astana has supplied an initial two Airbus A320 aircraft from its fleet under its Air Operator’s Certificate, painted up in the striking FlyArystan red and white livery. A further two A320s will follow in the last quarter of the year, by which time FlyArystan should be operating at least 12 routes and will be looking at obtaining an AOC in its own right. The aircraft have been newly retrofitted with 180 brand new blue leather Recaro slim-line seats, featuring red head-rests, the same colours as the cabin crew uniforms, designed by a local fashion house, working closely with Air Astana’s inflight team. Seat pitch is 29 inches, but with the feel of 31 inches, owing to the curve of the seat and high positioning of the seatback pockets.


AIRBUS

Fiji Airways has adopted the A350 XWB as part of its expansion plans to broaden its international network. Two A350-900s will be leased from Dubai based DAE Capital, making Fiji Airways the newest operator and DAE Capital the latest customer. With its common type rating with the A330 Family, the A350 XWB was the natural aircraft choice to seamlessly join the airline’s existing fleet of four A330s. The common rating between the A350 and A330 means that pilots who are qualified and current on the A330 can already commence preparations to take the A350 XWB’s controls by undergoing “differences training” only, meaning a significant cost savings & operational flexibility.The aircraft will be configured with 33 full lie-flat Business Class and 301 Economy Class seats. The aircraft will be deployed to enhance existing long haul services between Fiji, Australia and US, and to provide the opportunity to open additional routes.


BOEING

Boeing Statement on AOA Disagree Alert

On every airplane delivered to our customers, including the MAX, all flight data and information needed to safely operate the aircraft is provided in the flight deck on the primary flight deck displays. This information is provided full-time in the pilots’ primary field of view, and it always has been.

Air speed, attitude, altitude, vertical speed, heading and engine power settings are the primary parameters the flight crews use to safely operate the airplane in normal flight. Stick shaker and the pitch limit indicator are the primary features used for the operation of the airplane at elevated angles of attack. All recommended pilot actions, checklists, and training are based upon these primary indicators. Neither the angle of attack indicator nor the AOA Disagree alert are necessary for the safe operation of the airplane. They provide supplemental information only, and have never been considered safety features on commercial jet transport airplanes.

The Boeing design requirements for the 737 MAX included the AOA Disagree alert as a standard, standalone feature, in keeping with Boeing’s fundamental design philosophy of retaining commonality with the 737NG. In 2017, within several months after beginning 737 MAX deliveries, engineers at Boeing identified that the 737 MAX display system software did not correctly meet the AOA Disagree alert requirements. The software delivered to Boeing linked the AOA Disagree alert to the AOA indicator, which is an optional feature on the MAX and the NG. Accordingly, the software activated the AOA Disagree alert only if an airline opted for the AOA indicator.

When the discrepancy between the requirements and the software was identified, Boeing followed its standard process for determining the appropriate resolution of such issues. That review, which involved multiple company subject matter experts, determined that the absence of the AOA Disagree alert did not adversely impact airplane safety or operation. Accordingly, the review concluded, the existing functionality was acceptable until the alert and the indicator could be delinked in the next planned display system software update. Senior company leadership was not involved in the review and first became aware of this issue in the aftermath of the Lion Air accident.

Approximately a week after the Lion Air accident, on November 6, 2018, Boeing issued an Operations Manual Bulletin (OMB), which was followed a day later by the FAA’s issuance of an Airworthiness Directive (AD). In identifying the AOA Disagree alert as one among a number of indications that could result from erroneous AOA, both the OMB and the AD described the AOA Disagree alert feature as available only if the AOA indicator option is installed.

Boeing discussed the status of the AOA Disagree alert with the FAA in the wake of the Lion Air accident. At that time, Boeing informed the FAA that Boeing engineers had identified the software issue in 2017 and had determined per Boeing’s standard process that the issue did not adversely impact airplane safety or operation. In December 2018, Boeing convened a Safety Review Board (SRB) to consider again whether the absence of the AOA Disagree alert from certain 737 MAX flight displays presented a safety issue. That SRB confirmed Boeing’s prior conclusion that it did not. Boeing shared this conclusion and the supporting SRB analysis with the FAA.

Boeing is issuing a display system software update, to implement the AOA Disagree alert as a standard, standalone feature before the MAX returns to service. When the MAX returns to service, all MAX production aircraft will have an activated and operable AOA Disagree alert and an optional angle of attack indicator. All customers with previously delivered MAX airplanes will have the ability to activate the AOA Disagree alert.

More from Boeing:

Boeing named J. Michael Luttig to the newly-created position of counselor and senior advisor to Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg and the Boeing board of directors. Brett Gerry succeeds Luttig as general counsel. Both changes are effective immediately. Luttig, 64, who has served as general counsel since joining the company in 2006, will manage all legal matters associated with the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents. He also will serve as counselor and senior advisor to Muilenburg and the Boeing board of directors on these and other special matters. Luttig continues to hold the title of executive vice president and remains on the company’s Executive Council.


OTHER NEWS


Two Digital Trends Breakout Sessions – 2019 Passenger Experience Conference

In last week’s issue of IFExpress we reviewed the opening session from the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) held in Hamburg, Germany earlier this month. This week, we will focus on the conference’s Digital: The New Reality Breakout Sessions. We found these panel discussions to be informative and pertinent to the current trends in our industry.

From an important perspective, The Digital: The New Reality stream looked at how digital tools are surpassing the current mobile apps and will eventually be integrated across the entire journey, creating a seamless digital user space.

The keynote address for this stream was Practical applications of digital in the passenger experience. The cabin is a 3-dimensional object but the 4th dimension is time, and was presented by Anaïs Marzo da Costa, Head of Aircraft Interiors Marketing, Airbus. Anaïs discussed the current digital trends that Airbus has been looking at.  She said that Airbus has been working at connecting the airplane and they are now focusing on trying to connect the cabin. She stated that studies indicated there were 3 billion smartphone users in 2018 and that number is estimated to double to 6.1 billion by 2020.  Anaïs continued by stating that Airbus anticipates 23,100 aircraft to be equipped with connectivity by the year 2025. Looking back, there were zero airlines connected in 2007, and ten years later, in 2017 there were 106 aircraft connected. Needless to say, the forecasted rate of implementation over the next nine to ten years is impressive and enhances the fact that the integration of digitalization is growing rapidly.

How is connectivity coming onboard? Smartphones are used by travelers for booking and check-in – smartphones are the #1 travel companion. What does this information translate to onboard the aircraft? Passengers want choice! Airbus stated that the 2017 SITA IT Trends Survey & the Gogo Global Traveler 2018 Survey foresee more multi-screen environments in the future – both BYOD & inseat screens. This degree of digitalization provides an opportunity for a more tailored/targeted service and airlines are in the process of developing personalized offers that are enabled by: mobile connectivity, data analytics, and the passenger’s willingness to share personal data (right now that is roughly 27% of consumers).

Airbus has been actively pursuing the future of the connected cabin (the wireless network that links everything in cabin: galleys, overhead bag bins, flight attendants, passengers, cargo bays, lavatories, etc.), creating a cabin ecosystem for seamless connectivity of the various cabin elements, enabling additional value for both the airlines and the passengers. “The idea is to have every commodity in the cabin talking to each other, creating value for the airline and the passenger.”

Anaïs said, “There are three (3) pillars of the connected experience: 1) Operational Efficiency, 2) Ancillary Revenue, & 3) Passenger Experience.” Examples are:  Operational Efficiency – predictive maintenance, cabin crew operations and turnaround times; Ancillary Revenues – personalized inflight retail, tailored advertising, and news services; and the Passenger Experience – personalized catering, individual comfort settings, personalized services and the amount of bag bin space available. All the aforementioned will be achieved by using an IoT platform.

“At the moment we (Airbus) are doing predictive maintenance with the aircraft data but we want to be able to map that over to the cabin as well. Airbus is working with other aircraft manufacturers and suppliers in order to facilitate this in the near future. We, as an industry, are working on a common and secure language because this will benefit both the airline and the passenger”. In closing, Anaïs said, “I’ve recently asked Fritz Urban (Airbus’ cochair of the ARINC CSS committee) if CSS is going to write a standard for this network. As of today, there has been no response.”

The First Panel Discussion on Digital Trends pertained to Creating the Complete Digital and Physical Journey. This stream focused on how biometric technologies are providing an opportunity to reach the passenger on their journey through the airport and onto the aircraft.

Russell Holmes, Strategy Director & Partner of ico Design, was the first to address attendees. Mr. Holmes has been working with the London Luton Airport team over the past 5 years and has been instrumental in developing their brand.  His message evolved around the concept of looking at best practices. He said, “Everything should be underpinned by something that is not working as individual silos.” He went on to say, “The airport identity needs to work not only in a physical space but also in a digital space.” The airport identity should be completely flexible. One cannot look at the airport as static space. The question then is: How do you create something as a brand that can live in both the physical and digital space?

The next panelist was David Bartlett, CTO of Panasonic Avionics. David spoke to the assembly about the concept of competitive differentiation and the concept of the 4th Dimension/Place. He explained that for people the First Place is Home, the Second Place is Work and the Third Place (as defined by Ray Oldenburg in 1989 who stated it was critical to modern society, democracy) is a place that you go that you opt in (think coffee shop or a café). A prime example of a company that has really leveraged the concept of the Third Place is Starbucks. Mr. Bartlett sated, “We at Panasonic Avionics are proposing that Travel is the Fourth Place. Why is travel the logical fourth place?  We believe the travel experience is the co-mingling of the first 3 places. When you travel you socialize, work, sleep, eat.”

The concept of the 4th place is it must be a place that people look forward to being in. This is achieved by removing a lot of the friction points. How do we do this? How do we make the journey more of a place that people want to be in? How do we do this an industry? People want an experience that is seamless and gives them an immersive experience. How do we, as an industry, provide them with one connected experience starting from the home, throughout the journey, then back to the home? In other words, how do we provide a more personally curated experience? Panasonic cannot do this alone. It is an action call to the industry to leverage the entire ecosystem to work together in a new and more open way to achieve this.

The third panelist was Simon Krasowski, SVP Digital Transformation, Diehl Aviation; who discussed Digital Aviation Transformation. Simon said, “The world is shifting and becoming more complex. We are moving from complicated to more complex systems. How do we solve the problems and tackle them? It is more about testing different options. So, we need to change the way we work, take risks and allow failures.” He went on to say that we must make certain that we, as an industry, have seamless processes through the value chain. Right now, competitive priced products may be an answer, but in the future, it will be more about customer concentricity and speed of innovation – in other words, design thinking. “We must work closer within our work ecosystem and work with partners in order to achieve better and faster results. In other words, the key for success is collaboration within ecosystem. This calls for a balance between traditional working methods and agile working methods.”

The fourth panelist was Anne de Hauw of IN Air Travel Experience. Ms. De Hauw started her presentation stating that traditionally, airlines focused on safety and the passenger focused on the experience. Today, the question is should the focus be on the customer or technology? “At IN Air, we believe that time is your customer’s most valuable resource.  Airlines are going from creating technologies to services. They will do this by using technology as an enabler (AI, block chain). Technology (AI) will be crucial in customer service and convenience will be the new loyalty.”

Anne went on to discuss the 5 Key Pillars that will be needed, and they are: 1) Data-Driven: data gathering, machine learning and rapid analysis. This will lead to predicting behavior > intelligent offers > higher revenues. 2) Connectivity: onboard connectivity is transforming the travel experience to an open & connected world. Passengers behave like usual digital consumers. 3) Customer-Centricity: Reinvented offerings to evolve into hyper-personalized, immersive and emotional experiences. 4) Personalization: Faster and more efficient personalized services. 5) Collaborative Eco-System: Stakeholder interaction, passenger engagement and data sharing to create a positive and competitive experience.

She went on to discuss the New Brand Hierarchy, where, companies like Apple, Google and Amazon hold the top tier. Airlines are located on the second tier. She asked the question of how to play on that level? IN Air believes the answer is in providing ultimate convenience to the passenger. It has to be fast, easy and fun (FEF). This is achieved by being a combination of both digital and human interface. The best of the digital conveniences would be comprised of: seamless and single token, AI and Service Bot, Data analytics, connectivity. The best of human interface would be comprised of: hospitality, culture, emotional experiences, service. The best of both: Personalization/CURATION, Loyalty/COMMUNITY, engagement/CREATION and convenience/CONNECTIVITY. Anne wrapped up her presentation with the following, “The human interface will become the new premium service. The human interface is comprised of empathy, passion and creativity, with emotion at the core.” “The airline must care,” said Anne. She used an example of economy food service. What the food looks like, how it is presented, etc. and stated that this is an example of how the human interface currently needs to be improved in today’s market. She asked, “Why can’t the food look appealing and be presented in a more appetizing fashion? This is not helping the cause. There are technologies that are disrupting airline catering. New initiatives are on the cusp for utilizing the digital advancements to get this going. This is what we as an industry need to strive for!

The last speaker from this session of the Digital Trends stream was Elizabeth “Bess” Chapman, Operating Principal of JetBlue Technologies (JBT). She works with portfolio companies to create compelling value propositions for JetBlue, source new technology and identify emerging trends. She stated that innovation is a big part of JetBlue’s airline identify but she has found it has become more challenging to become more innovative. “We want to find the next Uber in aviation,” said Bess.

How does JetBlue Technologies work? They scan the global ecosystem for start-ups. Once they find one that is appealing JBT partners with them. They help them get going then bring them back into JetBlue. “We work with startups both via investment but with time as well,” said Bess. Over time, they have invested in 22 companies.

“Brand is an identity former. Look at Apple. They have incredibly strong brand identity. If they were to launch an airline, who wouldn’t fly it?! Virgin has a very strong brand identity, but many others do not,” she said. “People and their interaction and empathy are very significant. Again, look at an Apple store vs. an airline counter at an airport.”

One challenge now is to test and take risks and see what really works, but also, the industrialization to make certain you have the best product for your customer.

Disruptions in a business like an airline is very different from an electronics giant like Apple. Whether it is a delay, etc. How do you get that irate passenger to come around and change their position from being annoyed to appreciative? Is it offering them free Wi-Fi, a glass of champagne? You really have to know the individual’s wants/needs. This is another advantage in digital technology – it is not only cutting cost but being able to deliver. And reliability is very important.

Value Perspective: What is the next big value disruption? With regards to AI, a lot has been done with biometrics via facial technology for within the airport that allows passengers to board using biometrics, so there is no need for a boarding pass, because facial recognition is so secure. With this digital information, there is then the opportunity to target those people with sales/shopping en route to the gate. JBT also believes that the insights from the data will be absolutely game changing for our industry.

Another area that JBT finds significant is the airlines that want to boost their customer service and personal interaction are the airlines who are looking at the concept of virtual assistants, so it really is a better balance, it isn’t actually trying to depersonalize the experience. How people interact with a virtual assistant may be key. You tend to talk with them in a neutral way vs. the way you may interact with a person or your partner. This may be a way that the technology understands who I am, how quickly I need to get through the airport, etc. All reducing the stress of the journey.

Next week the IFExpress team will wrap-up the Digital Trends Stream with “Taking the Pain Out of the Digital Journey” and the final session “Enhancing Your Reality”.


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation announced that it will supply inflight entertainment system hardware for a next-generation inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) system being developed by one of the largest airlines in the United States. Under the agreement, Astronics’ products will equip nearly 50 of the airlines’ new widebody aircraft. Provided by Astronics CSC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Astronics Corporation, Astronics is now delivering production units that are a combination of new and existing products, both standard off-the-shelf and custom designs.


GOGO

Gogo Inc. announced the pricing of the previously announced private offering of $905 million aggregate principal amount of 9.875% senior secured notes due 2024 (the “Notes”) to be issued by its direct wholly owned subsidiary, Gogo Intermediate Holdings LLC (“Holdings LLC”), and its indirect wholly owned subsidiary, Gogo Finance Co. Inc. (the “Co-Issuer” and, together with Holdings LLC, the “Issuers”).  The offering is expected to close on April 25, 2019, subject to certain closing conditions.


EDITOR’S NOTE

While IFExpress’ primary focus is IFEC, we have been flooded with news about the 737 MAX. We recommend this April 18, 2019 article from the IEEE Spectrum. It is both descriptive and technical and represents the observations and operating conditions of the aircraft by an author who is both a pilot and software developer.  How the Boeing 737 Max Disaster Looks to a Software Developer – IEEE Spectrum


OTHER NEWS

  • L-Band is being tested in Germany for the future of aviation communication and one of the reason is data rate – 2.6 Megabits/sec versus a few kilobits. Notes Avionics International: “First, it is an alternative link that pilots and controllers can use to digitally exchange much of the same information they communicate today verbally. Secondly, it can serve as an alternative positioning, navigation and timing signal for correcting aircraft navigation accuracy when global navigation satellite system links such as Galileo or EGNOS in Europe are interrupted or unavailable.” Flight Tests of LDACS Prototype Under Way in Germany – Avionics International
  • If you are into antennas, or you want to learn more about antennas, check out this site. The Antenna Theory Website As they (and Einstein) say: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

 

 

 

UAS, Honeywell, and Hongkong Jet to sign partnership deal at ABACE 2019   

Shanghai | April 16, 2019– UAS International Trip Support and Honeywell are joining forces to provide global connectivity to the business jet fleet of leading Asia Pacific business aviation charter and management group Hongkong Jet with the implementation of UAS LinkEvolution™ for flight services and communication combined with Honeywell GoDirect cabin services for passenger connectivity.

The agreement will be formalised at a signing ceremony on the opening day of ABACE 2019 on Tuesday April 16that 2 pm – on UAS booth A123. 

UAS LinkEvolution provides seamless global connectivity to the cockpit using powerful datalink satellite communications networks.  The forward-looking datalink solution delivers worldwide ACARS (datalink) service, as well as unlimited access to all worldwide VHF networks, including ARINC and SITA, as well as Inmarsat and Iridium satellite networks. It will also enable Hongkong Jet’s  fleet of several Gulfstream G650/G550, Falcon 8X, BBJ’s, and ACJ319 aircraft to keep abreast of datalink regulations and remain compliant, regardless of where the aircraft are flying.

UAS’ technology partner Honeywell is a global leader in the datalink-satellite communications arena, ensuring UAS’ offering is world-class.

The strategic alliance between the two companies originated in May 2017, when UAS International Trip Support and Honeywell ratified a partnership to expand Honeywell’s flight deck and cabin connectivity services through UAS LinkEvolution.

The benefits of using this communications technology include a single-vendor solution for the entire fleet;unlimited datalink communications over all VHF and satellite networks with no per kilobit charges or satellite premiums and reliable, 24/7 technical support, powered by Honeywell.

Omar Hosari, UAS Co-Owner/Founder and CEO said: “UAS is incredibly proud of the success we’ve had in promoting UAS LinkEvolution globally. We have been delivering cost-efficiency and reliability to operators since we began this partnership with Honeywell. we’re delighted to introduce Hongkong Jet to this technology and are confident their experience will be overwhelmingly positive.”

“Honeywell GoDirect will provide cabin connectivity service for Hongkong Jet’s fleet, including Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX Ka Band service that runs on Honeywell’s JetWave terminal.” said John Peterson, Vice President, Service and Connectivity, Honeywell Aerospace. “GoDirect offers a full suite of cabin connectivity services, along with cabin routers and tools to allow customization of the user experience in the cabin to provide passengers with the connectivity they desire within a set budget. Local technical support in Hong Kong plus the GoDirect global technical support team assures customer connectivity issues are addressed quickly and correctly.”

Hongkong Jet stated:  UAS LinkEvolution offers a customized and responsive solution to our unique flight deck communication requirements.   It was a natural choice to make the switch, both in terms of performance and cost-efficiency. At Hongkong Jet we pride ourselves on being a well-informed, passionate team of experts who focus our undivided attention on providing business jet owners with a safe, professional, personal and proactive service that allows each aircraft owner to realize the full potential of business jet ownership. Now with the introduction of LinkEvolution services for the flight deck and Honeywell GoDirect cabin connectivity services we can continue to service our clients according to our company ethos.”

AIX – Hamburg, Germany | April 2, 2019– Philippine Airlines (PAL) is soaring towards a 5-Star flying experience, as the award-winning Filipino flag carrier equips its long-haul fleet with SITAONAIR’s high-speed inflight connectivity (IFC) services over GX Aviation.

PAL understands that enhanced passenger experience is the key to its product offering, now and into the future, hence the decision to let PAL passengers enjoy speedier and more user-friendly Wi-Fi service through myPAL Wi-Fi Hi-Speed available on US, Canada, and London flights. This new milestone, following a series of innovative product and service upgrades rolled out in recent months, demonstrates why PAL was voted the No. 1 Most Improved Airline in the World by airlineratings.com for 2019.

PAL now offers complimentary Wi-Fi to all passengers. This improved Wi-Fi product also allows passengers to stay connected longer with an affordable renewal plan.

This latest move by PAL comes at a time when demand for IFC continues to accelerate. Inmarsat’s 2018 Inflight Connectivity Survey – Global White Paper found an overwhelming 86% of Asia-Pacific fliers would use inflight Wi-Fi if available on their next flight, with 78% declaring themselves more likely to rebook with an airline if high-quality Wi-Fi was available.

SITAONAIR has now activated GX Aviation’s high-speed broadband network, and its best-in-class IFC portal Internet ONAIR, aboard PAL’s new-generation aircraft. SITAONAIR’s solution is empowering PAL to deliver the promises of the connected aircraft, with ‘at home’ connectivity services to satisfy passengers’ growing digital demands.

SITAONAIR’s associated rapid-fire installation of GX Aviation for Philippine Airlines also represents a fantastic feat, with new techniques reducing the associated aircraft ground time by up to 70%. Previously, installing inflight connectivity services typically took about 15 days per aircraft to complete, but SITAONAIR achieved this in just 4 days – a dramatic reduction.

Philippine Airlines President and Chief Operating Officer, Jaime Bautista, said: “We are delighted to have long-term partner SITAONAIR join us on our journey towards achieving the coveted 5-Star Skytrax rating. We are taking our inflight passenger experience to the next level with SITAONAIR’s nose-to-tail inflight connectivity services over the high-speed capabilities of GX Aviation. We have high hopes that our partnership will help us achieve our mission of enhancing the total passenger experience while achieving operational efficiency. Our message to our passengers: ‘Fly on PAL’s long-haul routes and enjoy inflight connectivity at its finest’.”

Katrina Korzenowski, SITAONAIR Vice President, Asia Pacific, added: “With our customizable Internet ONAIR portal, Philippine Airlines will be equipped to provide its most enhanced, brand-defining, personalized passenger experience yet, from the forefront of the connected aircraft age. PAL is a highly-valued customer, and we are of course incredibly proud to be supporting the Philippines’ flag carrier as it drives forward its ambition to achieve a 5-Star Skytrax rating.

“SITAONAIR’s work with PAL is just one example of its mission to deliver end-to-end, future-proof connected aircraft innovations that incorporate the latest, best connectivity technologies to our airline customers’ unique specifications. We are truly a one-stop-shop with the expertise to empower airlines to achieve their bespoke connectivity ambitions, whatever their fleet or avionics preferences.”

AIX – Hamburg, Germany | April 2019– Taiwanese start-up carrier, Starlux Airlines, is gearing up for its commercial launch by announcing its partnership with SITAONAIR to bring next-generation inflight connectivity (IFC) to its passengers.

SITAONAIR will deploy its award-winning Internet ONAIR Wi-Fi portal – powered by Link ONAIR over Inmarsat’s high-speed GX Aviation satellite network – aboard the airline’s A321neos and A350s. The deal means cutting edge IFC services will be available to Starlux’s first passengers when it launches in 2020.

Founded in May 2018, Starlux Airlines will serve both Asian and North American long-haul routes from its headquarters in Taipei. Serving business and leisure markets, the airline is focused on meeting passenger demand with tailored, premium IFC offers.

The selection of SITAONAIR’s end-to-end connectivity for the inaugural fleet is a testament to both SITAONAIR’s position as an expert and unique provider of bespoke passenger experience solutions, at the forefront of connected aircraft innovation and Starlux’s commitment to developing a top-flight passenger experience ready for commercial launch.

“As we prepare to welcome our first passengers aboard in 2020, we are thrilled to be partnering with SITAONAIR to bring a world-class connectivity experience to passengers,” says Starlux’s President, Glen Chai. “We are excited by what is taking shape and are certain that Internet ONAIR over GX Aviation will deliver the consistent and high-speed connection necessary for a top-flight travel experience.”

Internet ONAIR, SITAONAIR’s award-winning inflight connectivity portal, enables passengers to stay connected with their digital lives on the ground – even at 30,000+ feet. What’s more, the portal is expertly integrated within airlines’ existing passenger manifest. This allows seamless synchronization of the latest passenger information and requirements which are recorded in the airline’s customer relationship management (CRM) system. Connecting Internet ONAIR with this rich source of customer data enables Starlux to extend its personalized passenger offerings from ground to air, to promote custom price plans and tailored content depending on passenger budget, seat class, frequent flyer status, search histories, or shopping preferences.

Katrina Korzenowski, SITAONAIR Commercial Regional VP, Asia-Pacific, says: “Starlux is an exciting new entrant to the premium air travel market, and we are delighted to be partnering with the airline to bring premium inflight passenger connectivity onboard. With our years of dedicated expertise delivering tailored solutions, we are the right partner for Starlux to bring this young carrier to the fore of passenger connectivity.”

It is April; therefore, it is that time of year where the international aviation world flocks to Hamburg, Germany in order to see and discuss the latest and greatest developments in inflight entertainment, connectivity, cabin interiors and a plethora of other aviation related innovations. Not to mention the prestigious Crystal Cabin Awards, which will be announced on Tuesday 2 April for the leading innovations and concepts of the past 12 months. This year is particularly noteworthy as AIX is celebrating its 20th birthday.

IFExpress looks forward to seeing and hearing about your company’s latest technology developments over the coming week and if you need to reach out to us during the Expo please send an email to plwiseman@gmail.com

But now, lets get down to some of the highlights from the past week’s news and a few companies you should be sure to visit during AIX.


Astronics

Astronics will demonstrate several new technologies at this week’s AIX in Hamburg, Germany, in Stand 3B30. The new technologies bring together a set of power, connectivity, interiors, and other solutions that will help airlines and airframe manufacturers improve the passenger flight experience while providing cost and operational efficiencies.

Smart Sensing on the Aircraft: The company will demonstrate its pioneering Smart Aircraft System technology, which includes the innovative Intelligent Bin Solution, as well as additional features to detect the presence of passengers and other aircraft sensor data. This patented system uses Internet of Things (IoT) wireless technologies to detect and report in real time the status of various sensor data, such as remaining space available in overhead bins, passenger seat occupancy, and early detection of Lithium ion battery outgassing. “Our new Smart Aircraft System integrates hundreds of advanced sensors with our webCS wireless communication server to collect and present meaningful data to crew members on their portable electronic devices,” explains Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology. “Crew members and gate agents can know exactly when to start checking bags and reduce boarding times. Additionally, they can understand when a seat is occupied and positioned for taxi takeoff and landing at a glance rather than a time-consuming walkthrough. There are a multitude of uses for this new system, which brings new data and insights into the hands of the crew in order to increase airline operational efficiency.” The Intelligent Bin Solution is shortlisted in the AIX Crystal Cabin Awards, and expected to start airline trials later this year. Learn more about Astronics Smart Aircraft Initiatives.

Astronics will also preview some initial concepts for next-generation passenger service units (PSUs) in the booth. Intended to generate feedback and discussion with conference attendees and customers, the exploratory demonstration units will include features including finish treatments, smart technology additions, customer interface, and other features. “The PSU is the unsung hero of the cabin environment, and we envision it can serve the passenger experience and the airline better than it does today,” said Dave Freund, President of Astronics PECO. “We are previewing these concepts for our customers so that as we go to develop next generation PSUs, we are working in partnership with them to meet their specific needs for safety, aesthetics, and technology. Astronics is also a pioneer in aircraft smart technology innovation, and we believe that some of the new features we can now offer will excite the industry.” See more about Astronics PSUs.

Finally, in the smart aircraft category, Astronics PGA will demonstrate its smart wireless handset, the GemOne, which is shortlisted for a Crystal Cabin Award. From this single device, premium jet passengers can operate IFE and cabin systems, order meals, make telephone calls, and more. See details on the Smart Wireless Handset.

Inflight Connectivity Innovations: Astronics will preview a variety of inflight connectivity innovations at the show including the new E-Series electronically steered array (ESA) antenna system, developed by Astronics AeroSat in partnership with Phasor. Available in three sizes, the E-Series will provide Ku-band connectivity and offer multi-beam capacity for GEO/HTS, MEO, and LEO satellite networks.  Ultra-low in profile, the E-Series supports the “make before break” requirement of non-geo networks. “We are creating some very exciting new technology with this product, and we think the new E-Series will provide seamless connectivity for both new and existing networks while providing a true, solid-state, active array antenna system. This provides a lot of advantages for airlines, network operators, and most importantly the customer and their inflight connectivity experience,” explained Matt Harrah, President of Astronics AeroSat.

For connectivity routing inside the cabin, Astronics CSC will bring its next-generation Summit Line products of inflight connectivity hardware. Attendees can expect to see new versions of the Encompass portable wireless IFE system as well as traditional servers, content loaders, personal control units, and wireless access points. “Our inflight connectivity system is the most widely adopted infrastructure in the industry today, and we continue to add innovative features, such as security enhancements like WPA3, 10Gb Ethernet, Bluetooth low-energy, and 802.11ax, all meant to increase speed and reliability in our already robust and successful product line,” said Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics CSC.

Previewing Li-Fi Applications for Aircraft: PDT, an Astronics Company, will demonstrate some new potential applications for the emerging technology of Li-Fi, in a collaboration with pureLiFi. Li-Fi leverages light to send information, in contrast to Wi-Fi, which uses radio waves. Proven capable of transferring data at an unprecedented several Gigabits per second in multiple channels, Li-Fi could eventually empower passengers to download an HD video in just a few seconds, or transfer data on and off the aircraft, for example.

“We’re building on the conversations we’ve had with customers over the past several months, and in addition to showing how Li-Fi can deliver passenger connectivity, we’ll be demonstrating the immense advantages available with an aircraft data link application,” said Mark Schwartz, Vice President of PDT, an Astronics Company. ”Come by the booth to see how aircraft data can be transferred, wirelessly, between terminals and aircraft in seconds.”

Powered Solutions: Keeping passengers’ electronic devices (PEDs) powered is even more important in today’s aircraft as more airlines depend on these devices to generate ancillary revenue through content delivery and Wi-Fi purchases. In support of this demand, Astronics will demonstrate a myriad of innovations including the recently introduced wireless charging module as well as their new High Efficiency EmPower USB Type-C PED charging system.

Astronics will also have its airframe power system, CorePower, on display in the booth. This system will feature a new 115VAC version of its recently introduced Electronic Circuit Breaker Unit,  which replaces conventional thermal mechanical circuit breakers and functions as both a breaker and a switch for controlling loads.

Innovation at the Core: Astronics brings a long history of innovation and the successful introduction of new technologies and products to market, including the EmPower passenger in-seat power technology that has had a profound impact on the passenger experience. The new technology explorations plus proven systems can provide a foundation for future aircraft manufacturers, airlines, IFE providers, and other industry participants to improve experiences for passengers while also improving cost and time efficiencies for aircraft operators.

“Astronics has broad expertise in many technologies that we are combining into integrated solutions,” said Mark Peabody, Executive Vice President of Astronics Corporation. “Our goal is to sit side-by-side with our customers in a collaborative way to find new ways to solve their challenges.”


Kros-Wise Aviation Group

Right now, many of us are getting ready to attend this week’s AIX Hamburg and one of the primary topics of the show will inevitably be connectivity, as it has been for the past 15+ years. However, if you are not an expert in telecommunications and satellite technology, you may well come away from your various interviews more perplexed by the various options and which offering would best suit your airline passengers needs and expectations.

At most airlines, the responsibility for IFC tends to be assigned to the team that is responsible for inflight entertainment equipment and content, supported by Engineering. But since the technologies for providing inflight connectivity are relatively new to the airline industry and are primarily based on telecommunications and satellite industry standards, it is not surprising that few airline organizations have the properly trained staff to do the time consuming and detailed analysis required to compare the available options. As a result, airlines can often become frustrated and/or confused when confronted with the myriad of sometimes conflicting data.

But it is of course very important that these analyses be accurate and complete, given the large capital and service costs associated with purchase, installation, certification, and operation of IFC systems. Capital, installation, and certification costs alone can sometimes approach $1 Million US dollars per aircraft.

As IFC systems improve over time and new applications become available, those systems are capable of serving an increasing variety of airline needs. In order for the airline to select an IFC solution which is best for them, the first step is to develop a detailed Requirements Document. This can be challenging since the capabilities of IFC systems are constantly changing, so it can sometimes be difficult for the airline to even know what to ask for, especially since every airline’s requirements are different.

Listed below are a few high-level examples of issues related to an airline’s specific requirements:

  • Satellite vs. ATG
  • Ku-band vs. Ka-band
  • GEO vs. LEO or MEO satellites
  • Satellite Earth Station (teleport) Locations
  • Geographical Coverage Requirements
  • Capacity and Throughput Metrics (CIR/MIR)
  • Data Speed and Variance, Latency, jitter, etc.
  • Supplier Product/Service Roadmap
  • System Flight Demonstrations
  • Cost of Aerodynamic Drag and Weight
  • ARINC Standard Compliance
  • ISP Service Provision
  • Social Media support
  • Live TV Capability
  • Data Security and Privacy
  • High Latitude Coverage Capability
  • Skew factor
  • Tail Blockage of Antenna
  • Atmospheric Attenuation
  • Software Update Process

And these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Realizing that airlines require assistance with the IFC selection process, Kros-Wise Aviation Group has assembled a team of highly experienced staff and developed a disciplined process which can cost effectively help the airline ensure that they make the best decisions. In September 2018 they launched a unique new service to help airlines make better and faster decisions on connectivity systems and service. This process is called Connectivity Assist. Utilization of this process can save airlines millions of dollars over the term of their IFC contracts.

Kros-Wise is a professional services and product development firm which was founded in 2004 and currently has approximately 150 full-time employees. The company headquarters is in San Diego, California. It is a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB).

“Our new Connectivity Assist process provides a simple, fast, and cost-effective way for airlines to augment their expertise on a short-term basis and ensure that they obtain the maximum benefit from their substantial IFC investment,” says Lily Aragon, CEO of Kros-Wise. “We brought together the top experts in the IFC industry and worked hard to develop a process that ensures that the airline avoids any nasty ‘surprises,’ while allowing them to minimize expenditures and increase passenger satisfaction.”

Kros-Wise has extensive experience providing support to IT Programs for US Navy and other US Government Organizations, and to aviation and satellite equipment and service providers. The Kros-Wise team is highly experienced in IFE and Connectivity systems, service, installation design and support, and the associated FAA/CAA certification. Kros-Wise employs senior level staff who have extensive experience working with companies across the aviation and IFE-C industries. These companies include: Gogo, Inmarsat, Iridium, Panasonic Avionics, ViaSat, Virgin America, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, US Navy, and United Airlines.

Kros-Wise also provides the following types of services related to inflight entertainment, connectivity, cabin management systems, galleys, and aircraft interiors:

  • Inflight Connectivity Requirements Definition and Comparative Analysis
  • Aircraft Surveys
  • Aircraft Installation Design
  • Aircraft Certification
  • Aircraft Installation Project Management
  • Program Management
  • Flight Test Planning, Implementation and Support
    • Kros-Wise has an ATP and FAR Part 135 rated pilot on staff, with type ratings in B-737 and A320-series aircraft
  • Flight Manual Supplements
  • Aerodynamic Analysis and BirdStrike Substantiation
  • Flight Vibration & Buffet Substantiation
  • Supplier/Vendor Management
  • Systems Engineering
  • Aircraft ‘C’ and ‘D’ Check Management and Support
  • LRU and Component Design
  • Power Load Analysis
  • Proficiency in CATIA, Cadkey, Autocad and SolidWorks
  • Structural Substantiation
  • Fatigue & Damage Tolerance

Kros-Wise will be attending AIX Hamburg. You may get in contact with them via the following information:

Bill Peltola, VP Business Development – bill.peltola@kroswise.com – +64-21-861-954

Ken Larson, CTO – ken.larson@kroswise.com   Mobile +1-619-674-0098


Panasonic Avionics

Mark Jennings, Chief Operating Officer at Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), commented on the acquisition of Newtec by ST Engineering’s subsidiary, Singapore Technologies Engineering (Europe) Ltd, stating, “This investment by ST Engineering is an important milestone for both Panasonic and its customers.” Jennings noted that, “We believe that the combined new business will speed time to market and accelerate the innovation cycles needed to best serve our inflight connectivity customers. In fact, Newtec’s bandwidth efficiency and Ultra High Throughput technologies with iDirect’s seamless global bandwidth and network management capabilities have the potential to be unrivalled in the market. Jennings continued, “Newtec’s modem has played a key role in our global Ku-band high throughput satellite service, and we have an aggressive plan to upgrade all remaining and future aircraft to this technology. We have shared our future development plan with the combined ST Engineering team, and they are ready to meet that schedule. Panasonic Avionics has over 3,600 aircraft committed to its global high throughput satellite service. Today, there are over 2,000 aircraft connected to its Ku-band network. More than 780 aircraft are currently using the Newtec modem, and the company expects to have all currently equipped aircraft upgraded to this technology by the end of 2019.


Mythopoeia

Mythopoeia is delighted to announce that after a successful implementation of Business Class that it has just completed an installation of Air Cloud for Air Greenland economy class cabin. Mythopoeia is again partnering with SR Technics in Zurich to complete the overall delivery of the system from Seat modification, STC package and Installation. Air Cloud is a low-cost wireless seat back IFE display system. The systems comprise the very latest wireless standards delivering content to the displays. Files are stored locally at the display making the system fully redundant and offering no interruptions to the passengers viewing experience. The Economy class cabin features 18” monitors mounted on bulkheads to display Moving map, company promotional info and safety videos. Air Greenland worked with Mythopoeia to develop a Graphic User Interface that reflects the unique identity and brand of the Airline. Katja Vahl, Sales and Marketing manager worked closely with the team to implement a unique theme including northern lights, Mother of the sea and the flying Angakkoq known as the shaman in the old days. These wonders, myths and characters played a vital part in the daily life of the ancient Greenlanders, who learnt moral code through oral traditions. Today, they are part of the social fabric that ties Greenlandic people together. – The integration has delivered a unique, customised and tailored experience for our customers, said Katja. 2.1 amps of USB power is provided at each display to allow Air Greenland’s customers to charge their PED devices and the system has a fully integrated PSS functionality for reading light and attendant call. Air Cloud displays feature the very latest quad core processing technology. Air Cloud offers a wide range of software features from revenue generating applications, apps as well as Hollywood Movie Content.

On another note, Mythopoeia wins tender with Rossiya Airlines to replace Passenger Service Systems (PSS) for 8 X B747 aircraft. Mythopoeia’s solution provides full integration with both ACESS and CSS platforms. A challenge facing operators when transitioning/upgrading wide body aircraft is the need to control the “reading light” and “attendant call” PSS functions delivered by the existing IFE system. The traditional solution requires installation of a dedicated PSS replacement that requires seat and CAM modification at significant cost and no quality of service enhancement. The PSS system provides a unique off seat solution making it convenient to install. Mythopoeia is again partnering with SR Technics to deliver a complete turnkey solution to include STC package & seat modification. 2.1 amps of USB power is provided at each display to allow customers to charge their PED devices. The overall combination of the right product and ease of integration makes it very interesting product and we are happy to cooperate with MHL for this project.


Airbus

  • AIX: Airbus showcases its latest cabin innovations at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany – the world’s largest event dedicated to the aircraft interiors industry, in-flight entertainment, connectivity and passenger services. At the Airbus stand this year (Hall B5, Stand 5A20), Airbus will display the latest full-scale Airspace cabin mock-ups for the A320 – including its new overhead Airspace XL Bins and full-flat seats for long range comfort; and an A220 cabin mock-up with both business and economy seats – demonstrating how this aircraft offers the leading cabin experience in any small single-aisle aircraft. Moreover, the booth will also feature the ‘Day & Night’ premium concept for the A350 XWB; and there will also be an A320 Upgrade Services mock-up. Virtual Reality Gears will allow visitors to experience all aircraft cabins. Airbus is also leading the field with new innovations in the cabin, notably with our IoT-enabling “Connected Experience”, creating a cabin ecosystem which seamlessly connects cabin elements to provide a personalized passenger experience. In addition, Airbus is providing a glimpse of the future flying experience with our new ‘Cabin Vision 2030’ – inspired by airlines, tech companies and start-ups. At the stand, visitors can also explore what’s new in terms of possible seat innovations for passengers’ comfort and airlines’ differentiation and efficiency. This year Airbus is proud to have been shortlisted twice in the prestigious Crystal Cabin Awards for the following achievements: The “Lower-Deck Passenger Experience Modules”, in cooperation with Safran; and also for the new “X-tend Seat” concept over-wing exit seat for single-aisle aircraft. The Crystal Cabin Awards ceremony is held on the evening of Tuesday 2nd where the winners will be revealed.
  • AIRBUS/EU Counter Measures: Airbus welcomes the report of the WTO Appellate Body, which confirms that the United States failed to withdraw the subsidies granted by federal, state and local authorities to Boeing, and to remove the harm those subsidies caused to Airbus.
    The Appellate Body has rejected every single United States argument whereas it has taken all EU legal points on board. In addition, the WTO highest court has also qualified a number of additional US federal and state programs as illegal subsidies, and even, as prohibited subsidies as in the case of the Foreign Sales Corporation scheme (FSC), a major win for the EU. The report requests that further compliance steps are necessary from the United States and Boeing. Failure to do so will provide the European Union the possibility to seek countermeasures on imports of US products. Airbus General Counsel John Harrison stated: “This is a clear victory for the EU and Airbus. It vindicates our position that Boeing, while pointing fingers at Airbus, has not taken any action to comply with its WTO obligations, contrary to Airbus and the EU. With this damaging report, continuing to deny they receive massive illegal subsidies from the United States government is no longer an option. Stated differently, absent settlement, the US will pay – in perpetuity – billions in annual sanctions driven by every single flying Boeing program, while the EU would face, in the worst case, only minor issues.
    He added: “We hope that these findings will prompt the United States and Boeing to move forward constructively in this long-standing dispute and join us in working towards a fair-trade environment. In the absence of a constructive approach, the EU now has a very strong legal case to move forward to countermeasures.” Airbus thanks the European Commission and the governments of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain for their continuous support throughout the long dispute process. Their longstanding efforts to restore a fair level playing field are now clearly showing results.
  • Evelop Airlines, the Spanish carrier of Barceló Group’s Ávoris travel division, has taken delivery of its first of two A350 XWBs, the world’s most modern and eco-efficient aircraft family. The second aircraft will be delivered in 2020. The A350-900, on lease from Air Lease Corporation, will be based at Madrid Barajas – Adolfo Suárez airport and deployed on long-haul routes to Caribbean destinations. It features a high comfort single class configuration with 432 seats. Passengers will enjoy more personal space, the quietest cabin of any twin-aisle aircraft and the latest generation cabin products, including individual onboard in-flight entertainment.

ASTRONICS
Astronics Corporation announced that it will preview its next-generation SATCOM connectivity solutions at the Aircraft Interiors Show (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany, from April 2-4, 2019. Developed by Astronics AeroSat, in conjunction with partner Phasor, the new SATCOM inflight connectivity antennas feature electronically steered array (ESA) technology that will deliver unprecedented connection reliability for aircraft. Available in three configurations and with an ultra-low profile, the E-Series will provide Ku- and Ku-HTS connectivity for today’s geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) networks, as well as tomorrow’s medium Earth orbit (MEO) and low Earth orbit (LEO) networks. The system also will offer dual-beam capability, enabling it to support the future “make before break” requirement of non-GEO networks from a single array, or the ability to communicate with two independent GEOs or a LEO & GEO network simultaneously.


GOGO
Gogo and long-time partner, Alaska Airlines, launched Gogo 2Ku high-speed connectivity and Gogo Vision wireless IFE on an A321neo featuring the airline’s redesigned cabin interior. Gogo notes that 2Ku is the industry’s leading high-speed satellite inflight connectivity solution and delivers an internet experience comparable to what guests have on the ground, including the ability to stream video from the most popular streaming video services. 2Ku also has global coverage, which means guests onboard Alaska aircraft will have service from gate-to-gate nearly everywhere they fly, including to popular destinations like Mexico and Costa Rica, and over the ocean to Hawaii, where connectivity was not previously available.

Alaska’s cabin experience is designed around the modern traveler, and two other Gogo products feature prominently within the airline’s experience – Gogo Messaging Pass and Gogo Vision. Alaska and Gogo innovated together to bring Messaging Pass free to the airline’s guests in 2017 – a first in the inflight connectivity space. Messaging Pass allows Alaska’s guests to send greetings from 35,000 feet using iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The airline offers over 500 free movie titles to its guests on nearly every aircraft outfitted with Gogo Vision, Gogo’s industry-leading wireless entertainment system. Alaska will have satellite Wi-Fi powered by 2Ku available to guests on most of its Boeing and Airbus mainline fleet by the end of 2020.


THALES
The company stated that they have exceeded all 2018 objectives:

  • Order intake: €16.0 billion, up 7% (+9% on an organic basis)
  • Sales: €15.86 billion, up 4.1% (+5.3% on an organic basis)
  • EBIT : €1,685 million, up 23% (+25% on an organic basis)
    Adjusted net income, Group share3: €1,178 million, up 40%
    Consolidated net income, Group share: €982 million, up 44%
    Free operating cash flow3: €811 million, 69% of adjusted net income. Dividend up 19% to €2.08.
  • Finalization of the acquisition of Gemalto expected in March 2019
    2019 objectives: organic sales growth between 3% and 4%
    EBIT between €1,780 million and €1,800 million

As announced by the United States Department of Justice (“DoJ”), Thales and Gemalto confirm that they have reached an agreement with the Antitrust Division of the DoJ that will allow the companies to proceed with the Offer. Consistent with commitments already made to the European Commission and other regulatory authorities, the agreement requires the divestiture of Thales’s general purpose hardware security modules (GP HSM) business. The agreement with the DoJ remains subject to court approval. Thales and Gemalto expect to close the Offer in March 2019.

Hiring:  Since 2016, Thales has hired 5,000 to 6,000 people a year. And in 2019, the company’s recruitment drive continues apace, with 5,500 new jobs created worldwide, including 2,500 in France.

Telstra:  Thales and Telstra combine their expertise with a view to building a robust, safe and secure ecosystem that will enable the management of low altitude airspace for manned and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Thales and Telstra have jointly prototyped a data and communication solution to prepare the way for the integration of manned and unmanned traffic in Australian skies.

The massive increase in commercial UAVs, commonly known as drones, will require a totally new way to manage airspace. Digital technology brings opportunities to manage the complexity of integrating drones in our airspace to enable safe access for their users. Thales, the global leader in air traffic management and Telstra, Australia’s best mobile network provider, have combined their expertise with a view to building a robust, safe and secure ecosystem to manage low altitude airspace for manned and unmanned vehicles, such as helicopters, drones and autonomous flying taxis


IMMFLY
After collaborations with leading airlines including easyJet, IAG’s Iberia Express, Pegasus, Sun Express and many others, Immfly is expanding its operations into Asia. Immfly’s digital services platform enables airlines to maximize revenues and efficiencies while also enabling their customers to enjoy a best in class IFE system.

Immfly’s connected digital services focus on facilitating operational processes to reduce airline costs with digital services that simplify and accelerate tasks. At the same time, the company has successfully delivered platforms with tool kits which optimize ancillary revenue opportunities. Immfly’s IFE enables passengers to use their own smart personal devices instead of heavy, costly seat back systems, to enjoy premium curated content and services. Immfly’s technology is available for all aircraft, irrespective of the airline’s investment in on board internet connectivity. As the service does not rely on an external internet connection, airline customers can enjoy the fastest onboard streaming speeds at consistently excellent quality. Dynamic content management is paired with unique tools to benefit airlines with enhanced passenger experience, smarter operations, and potent new revenue streams.


AIRBUS

  • In order to meet the high market demand for cadet pilot training in Europe – 94,000 new pilots over the next 20 years* – Airbus has decided to open its own flight academy and extend its training services offering by adding ‘ab-initio’ to its portfolio. Leveraging cross-divisional synergies, the Airbus Flight Academy Europe, based in Angoulême, France, will use Airbus standardized instructors to deliver the ab-initio Pilot Cadet Training program approved by EASA at the end of 2018, complementing the intermediate and advanced training phases that are already available and provided in the existing training network on 17 sites worldwide. The Airbus Flight Academy Europe aims to train up-to 200 pilot cadets annually. Using a modern fleet of both single and multi-engine aircraft equipped with full digital cockpit technology as well as the latest flight simulators, the training program will equip students with the skills and mind-set required to become “operationally-ready pilots” focusing on the all-important development of key pilot technical and behavioral competencies.
    The Airbus Pilot Cadet Training Program is open to high school graduates over 18 years old worldwide. Candidates will undergo online and on-site screening tests before being eligible for training which will include 750 hours of ground school, plus 200 hours of flight training.
  • AIRBUS was selected by SriLankan and GoAir to provide Skywise Core open data management/analysis platform for 30 A320s/A330s and 50 A320s respectively.

BOEING

  • Boeing and International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of British Airways, announced the airline has committed to purchasing up to 42 777X airplanes, including 18 orders and 24 options. The airline joins a group of leading carriers that have selected the new 777-9, which will debut next month as the largest and most efficient twin-engine passenger jet in the world.
    The commitment, valued at up to $18.6 billion at list prices, will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website once it is finalized. British Airways has been modernizing its fleet – one of the largest in the airline industry – to more efficiently serve its extensive global route network. In recent years, the airline has introduced the super-efficient 787 Dreamliner family to replace its medium-sized widebody jets. The new 777-9 will replace British Airways’ larger widebody airplanes, mainly the four-engine 747 jumbo jet.
    In ordering the 777-9, British Airways extends a long-running relationship with the popular 777 family. The airline is one of the largest 777 operators with a fleet of nearly 60 of the long-range jet. The airline last year committed to four more 777-300ER (Extended Range) jets via operating lease. The 777-9 is larger and has a slightly wider cabin than current 777s, which provides the ability to comfortably sit 400-425 passengers in a standard two-class cabin. Powered by 787 Dreamliner technologies, an all-new composite wing, and other enhancements, the 777-9 offers airlines 12 percent lower fuel consumption than competing airplanes. The 777-9 can also fly farther than its predecessors with a standard range of 7,600 nautical miles (14,075 kilometers). The 777X will also debut a redesigned cabin that incorporates popular 787 features and new technologies. Recently unveiled online, the 777X interior offers larger windows, a wider cabin, new lighting, while providing passengers with a smoother ride, better cabin altitude, humidity, and sound quality. The selection by IAG and British Airways puts the 777X at 358 orders and commitments from eight customers. Production of the 777X began in 2017, with first flight planned for this year and first delivery expected in 2020.
  • Boeing and Vietjet confirmed that Vietnamese carrier has purchased 100 additional 737 MAX airplanes, taking their MAX order book to 200 jets. During a signing ceremony in Hanoi, United States President Donald Trump and Vietnamese Communist Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong joined leaders of both companies to unveil the $12.7 billion order, according to list prices. The deal includes 20 MAX 8s and 80 of the new, larger MAX 10 variant, which will have the lowest seat-mile costs for a single-aisle airplane and be the most profitable jet in its market segment. The order was previously unidentified on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website. In ordering 80 MAX 10s, Vietjet becomes the largest Asian customer of the airplane type. The carrier plans to use the added capacity to meet growing demand across Vietnam, as well as to serve popular destinations throughout Asia. Vietjet placed its first order for 100 737 MAX airplanes in 2016, which set the mark for the largest commercial jet purchase in Vietnam’s aviation sector at the time. In addition to airplane purchases, Boeing will partner with Vietjet to enhance technical and engineering expertise, train pilots and technicians, and improve management capabilities at the airline and in Vietnam. The carrier also uses Boeing’s digital solutions to optimize its operations, including flight planning & Tech Log Book.
  • Boeing and Bamboo Airways confirmed an order for 10 787-9 Dreamliners valued at $3 billion according to list prices. The order for the super-efficient and longest-range member of the Dreamliner family was unveiled during a signing ceremony in Hanoi, witnessed by U.S. President Donald Trump and General Secretary and President of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong. This order was previously unidentified on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website. Bamboo Airways, a startup airline founded in 2017, began commercial operations in January, offering flights linking the capital of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with cities in Vietnam. The airline plans on offering up to 40 domestic routes in 2019. Additionally, Bamboo is preparing to launch international service to Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and Australia, before broadening service to other destinations in Asia, Europe, and North America. The 787 Dreamliner family allows airlines to fly long ranges while reducing fuel costs by more than 20 percent compared to previous widebody jets. The Dreamliner’s superior efficiency and range have allowed airlines to open more than 210 new non-stops routes around the world since it entered service. At 63 meters (206 feet), the 787-9 can fly 290 passengers, in a typical two-class configuration, up to 7,635 nautical miles (14,140 kilometers). The airplane is 6 meters longer than the original Dreamliner and is capable of carrying more passengers and flying farther. The 787 Dreamliner is the fastest-selling widebody airplane in history with more than 1,400 orders from 75 customers since its launch. Nearly 800 Dreamliners have entered service around the world, helping airlines save 33 billion pounds of fuel. Bamboo Airways is wholly-owned by the FLC Group, a Vietnamese multi-industry company, focusing on aviation, real estate, resorts, farming, and golf.
  • The proposed strategic partnership between Boeing and Embraer was approved by Embraer’s shareholders during an Extraordinary General Shareholders’ Meeting held at the company’s headquarters in Brazil. At the special meeting, 96.8 percent of all valid votes cast were in favor of the transaction, with participation of approximately 67 percent of all outstanding shares. Shareholders approved the proposal that will establish a joint venture made up of the commercial aircraft and services operations of Embraer. Boeing will hold an 80 percent ownership stake in the new company, and Embraer will hold the remaining 20 percent. The transaction values 100 percent of Embraer’s commercial aircraft operations at $5.26 billion, and contemplates a value of $4.2 billion for Boeing’s 80 percent ownership stake in the joint venture. Embraer shareholders also agreed to a joint venture to promote and develop new markets for the multi-mission medium airlift KC-390. Under the terms of this proposed partnership, Embraer will own a 51 percent stake in the joint venture, with Boeing owning the remaining 49 percent. Boeing and Embraer announced in December 2018 that they had approved the terms for the joint ventures and the Brazilian government gave its approval in January 2019. Shortly thereafter, Embraer’s board of directors ratified its support for the deal and definitive transaction documents were signed. The closing of the transaction is now subject to obtaining regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions, which Boeing and Embraer hope to achieve by the end of 2019. Embraer will continue to operate the commercial aviation business and the KC-390 program independently until the closing of the transaction.
  • The Boeing Company board of directors has nominated Nikki Randhawa Haley to be elected as a director at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders on April 29. Haley is the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the first female governor of South Carolina, and a three-term legislator in the South Carolina House of Representatives.

OTHER NEWS

 

This week in IFExpress we are covering a broad spectrum of IFEC and airframer topics. You can certainly tell that we, as an industry, are spooling up for AIX. Let’s get started on the road to Hamburg!


IFPL

IFPL, the innovative inflight peripheral specialist, will be demonstrating award-winning integrated peripherals solutions and power products at AIX Hamburg in April 2019, ranging from innovative USB Power Delivery solutions to integrated audio and USB technology. They have delivered over 2.5m products to date.

In case you didn’t know, IFPL is an award winning company specializing in the design and manufacture of passenger interface solutions to the global In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity industry (IFEC). Founded 20 years ago by CEO Geoff Underwood, IFPL today enjoys the largest portfolio of proven IFEC products and services in its sector. As a proud and dedicated supplier of the world’s leading in-flight entertainment manufacturers and airlines, IFPL continues to inspire and enhance aircraft passenger experience by delivering innovative product design with proven reliability. IFPL is based on the Isle of Wight, just off the South Coast of England, in modern offices which house an award winning manufacturing facility that boasts extensive product design, R&D and manufacturing capabilities.

During AIX Hamburg they will be showcasing ‘Charge to Charge’, the smart way to monetize USB power. Powering passengers’ Personnel Electronic Devices (PEDs) is now an important requirement in support of the passenger experience.

With consumer devices increasingly adopting USB-C as standard, visitors can experience IFPL’s USB-C and USB-A units that provide high speed data and power for passengers’ portable devices. These units seamlessly integrate within the seat.

When you stop by their booth you will also be able to see the IFPL innovative integrated seat concept that supports the design language, aesthetics and ergonomics required for true IFE and seat integration.

Further, IFPL is leading the industry with its fresh approach to peripheral integration, with design and technology innovation and they have supplied over 2.5m innovative products to date. Be sure to see:

  • Innovative inductive charging solution – delivers wireless charging at the seat
  • MagSignal audio jack – solves the problem of broken headphone sockets for passengers and airlines
  • Charge To Charge: Is one of the latest IFPL solutions and is the smart way to monetize USB power
  • High Power and data USB-A outlet: In-service
  • 2020 USB-A outlet: This ‘line fit’ unit provides seamless integration within the seat while delivering an economic, ergonomic and aesthetic advantage over traditional outlets enhancing the passenger’s experience
  • Inductive charging unit: these units have been designed to enable seamless integration and deliver wireless charging at the seat. IFPL will show design concepts for seatback PED holders and trays that provide USB and/or inductive charging. Through working with leading seat vendors, IFPL will be demonstrating successful integration of inductive charge units within the seat
  • Latest audio jack technology: IFPL is the world-leader in audio jack technology, enhancing the customer experience while providing a total cost of ownership advantage to the airline. The audio jack is a critical component of any IFE system. Quality sound with high unit reliability and minimizing Customer Induced Damage (CID) is vital in maintaining passenger satisfaction.

IFPL has also developed proprietary technology and products that differentiate their audio solutions within the market. These include:

  • Long Life Range: Delivers a highly robust and reliable audio jack that minimize the effects of CID
  • Rapid Fit Range: Technology delivers a solution to allow rapid on wing maintenance
  • INCAM Range: The Integrated Noise Cancelling Audio Module cancels noise in the jack rather than the headset, reducing initial and replacement headset costs
  • Breakaway MagSignal Range: Patented MagSignal technology virtually eliminates CID

The IFPL booth is on stand 4B20 at Hamburg Messe, Germany, from Tue 02/04/2019 to Thur 04/04/2019.


ASTRONICS

Here are some highlights from their press release:
• Fourth quarter sales up 18.4% to $203 million; full year sales up 28.6% to $803 million
• Achieved record Aerospace segment sales in fourth quarter and full year 2018
• Record Aerospace backlog of $326 million at year-end
• Earnings per diluted share for 2018 of $1.41 compared with $0.58 in the prior year
• Strong cash flow from operations of $39.5 million for the quarter and $54.9 million in 2018


GOGO

Gogo, a global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced its financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2018.

  • Q4 2018 consolidated revenue of $217.2 million, up 16% year over year, with a net loss of $59.7 million
  • Q4 2018 Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $19.4 million, leading to full-year 2018 Adjusted EBITDA of $71.2 million, exceeding the recently updated financial guidance
  • BA Segment Profit reached $35.6 million in Q4 2018, up 33% year over year
  • More than 1,000 2Ku aircraft at 14 global airlines as of December 31, 2018, with 109 2Ku aircraft placed online in Q4. 2Ku backlog of approximately 1,000 aircraft as of December 31, 2018(2)
  • Delivered excellent 2Ku performance with 98% availability in the month of December
  • Q4 2018 Cash Flow from Operating Activities of $9.6 million and Free Cash Flow of $2.3 million(1)
  • Projecting $100 million improvement in Free Cash Flow in 2019 versus 2018

THALES

A first-of-its-kind Engineering Competence Centre in India to focus on civil and defense activities, serving Thales’ global needs.

The Centre to significantly contribute to job creation and skill development in India; Thales seeks to hire 3000 people in next 3-5 years for this Centre.

Localization of R&D activities in India will enable a closer day to day work with our Indian Supply Chain Partners, which will favor the competitiveness of manufacturing in India.
Thales continues its development in India by today announcing the launch of its Global Engineering Competence Centre (ECC) in Bengaluru. The centre aims to accelerate innovation and digital transformation to serve the needs of both the Indian market, and the Group’s global objectives.


IMMFLY (see image above)

On February 20, 2019, Iberia Express surprised passengers on its Madrid-Copenhagen-Madrid flight with a showing of the Oscar-nominated film Bohemian Rhapsody via its free inflight entertainment Platform – Club Express Onboard – provided by Immfly.

In addition to being given headphones and support stands for their viewing devices, passengers were also provided with popcorn, making it a truly cinematic experience.

Bohemian Rhapsody, one of the favorites for the Oscars 2019 with 5 nominations, was the chosen film for this “blockbuster” flight in which passengers were gifted with headphones, disposable stands to support their viewing devices while they watched the film and tubs of popcorn.

This debut welcomed the blockbuster as one of the latest films available completely free of charge on ​Club Express Onboard, the inflight entertainment platform provided by Immfly. ​The platform’s Movie Channel offers a wide variety of premieres in multiple languages ​​including Spanish, English, and French.
The continual updating of the content on ​Club Express Onboard reflects the committed effort on the part of both companies to offer a service with a difference, a service which is ​highly valued by customers as ​reflected in the airline’s latest satisfaction surveys.​ ​A significant share of respondents (31.6%) gave the platform a top score (scoring the service an 8, 9 or 10 out of 10), and are considered “Platform Lovers.”
Paloma Cabañas, Head of Customer Experience and Inflight Services at Iberia Express said: ​”We strive to offer an exclusive travel experience to our passengers throughout the entire customer journey, and it is a proven fact that the Inflight entertainment platform provided by Immfly, is a key contributortooursuccess”.​

Cabañashighlighted,”Moreover,ourattractiveentertainmentofferis paired with very selective catering, both in tourist and business class”.

Julia Maruny, Head of Content at Immfly added: “​With this event, we wanted to offer passengers a truly unique and immersive experience so they could sit back, relax and enjoy the best cinema on board while flying to their destination.”


AIRBUS

  • Airbus inaugurates its Innovation Centre in China at an office opening ceremony in Shenzhen, China, one of the world’s leading innovation hotspots. Airbus China Innovation Centre has been operating since early 2018 and currently focuses on designing, testing, and certifying new technologies relating to five areas: Hardware Lab, Cabin Experience, Connectivity, Manufacturing Innovation and Urban Air Mobility. With its full operation, ACIC commits to identify the next big change to transform the aerospace sector while tapping into the local talent, technology and partner pool and will further enhance Airbus’ innovation capabilities to shape the future of flight. At the ceremony, Airbus also signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Shenzhen Municipal Commerce Bureau to exlplore Urban Air Mobility (UAM) solutions in Shenzhen. The two parties will cooperate closely on accelerating the R&D, application and industrialization of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in Shenzhen. With extended regional partners, Airbus aims to further develop the local mobility ecosystem and promote the UAM solutions fitting the local transportation needs. As Airbus’ first innovation centre in Asia and second worldwide after A3 in Silicon Valley, Airbus China Innovation Centre’s mission is to fully leverage local advantages including talents, enterprises and ecosystem, combining it with Airbus expertise in aerospace, to identify, explore and accelerate breakthroughs in technologies, business models and new growth opportunities.
  • Air Vanuatu, the national flag carrier of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, signed a firm order with Airbus for four A220s (two A220-100s and two A220-300s). Air Vanuatu’s first ever order with Airbus makes it the launch customer of the A220 in the Pacific region. Based at Bauerfield International Airport in the capital Port Vila, Air Vanuatu operates to 26 domestic airports and internationally to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and New Caledonia. It began services in 1987, and has played a vital role in establishing Vanuatu as a tourist and investment destination. Currently the airline operates a Boeing 737 and ATR 72 fleet. With an order book of over 530 aircraft to date, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market, estimated to represent at least 7,000 aircraft over the next 20 years.

OTHER NEWS

This Hot Topic is about a new inflight network technology that the Galgus (galgus) folks are developing. The product is called Wireless Intrusion Detection System and it is a software that “watches” the Wi-Fi network in an airplane by checking for Rogue access points that a bad actor might bring aboard an airplane and transmit to unsuspecting passengers via their wireless reception on their computer. The definition of a rogue access points is as follows: Any Wi-Fi access point that is used on a network that is not authorized to do so – It is definitely under that airline network administrator – It routes user traffic thru its Access Point. Basically, the bad actor makes you think you are connected to the Wi-Fi system on an airplane. They do so by using their own equipment and software to basically trick you into thinking it is the airline “talking” to you – but you aren’t!
Security is the issue here in this week’s issue of IFExpress and we asked the folks at Galgus about their recent developments, specifically on the Wireless Intrusion Detection and they told us: “Security is seen as one of the most important problems today. In fact, wireless communication has inherent vulnerabilities as the signals share the electromagnetic spectrum.” They went on: “This year we will introduce the WIDS (Wireless Intrusion Detection System) and WIPS (Wireless Intrusion Protection System) features. As you can imagine, (the industry is) quite focused on aspects related to security around WiFi environments, an increasingly growing concern and to which we intend to add value with these new features.”
Next, let’s look into the problem a little bit and as you can see in the above illustration (today’s rectangle) a simple description of the problem. Galgus writes: “Security is seen as one of the most important problems. In fact, wireless communication has inherent vulnerabilities as the signals share the electromagnetic spectrum. For network owners and system integrators, ensuring the secrecy and privacy of communications is a major concern when operating a Wi-Fi network. Public networks with high user density, such as those present in convention centers, trains or airports, are the most vulnerable, as they are quite attractive for those who want to make malicious use of Wi-Fi. The most common attacks, such as RougeAP or man-in-the-middle, are very easy to carry out with free tools, and are the easiest to deceive unwary users.”
“A RougeAP is a wireless access point able to fake one of the legitimate AP’s on your network. It does so by either cloning the SSID announced by your teams, the MAC address of one of them (BNSSID), or even the beacon frames and the web applications used (especially critical with captive portals). These rogue AP’s are deployed instantly by people who want to use your users’ devices to connect to them, thus allowing access to sensitive data (from user login passwords, to credit cars).”
“In this context, Galgus has developed and patented Cognitive Hotspot(trademarked) Technology (CHT), an embedded software that is installed within AP’s of a wide range of manufacturers. CHT has modules to optimize the network, to reduce the energy consumption or to locate devices, but also has modules to mitigate the outbreak of security problems such as rogue AP’s.”
Galgus went on: “Security is seen as one of the most important problems today. In fact, wireless communication has inherent vulnerabilities as the signals share the electromagnetic spectrum. Further, security is on everyone’s minds. A concern which led Galgus to incorporate two new features in its technology: WIDS (Wireless Intrusion Detection System) and WIPS (Wireless Intrusion Protection System).
Next we asked about the system and any testing:
Q. Have you tested it on an airplane?
A: “We have run a pilot with a major Rail Operator in the US and another one in UK. Now this feature is available on the nMAP2 access point from VT Miltope to be tested and used in the Aviation industry. The aforementioned financing from the European Commission will be a turning point in the history of our company. It will help us to improve our products and it will allow us to carry out pilots in many complex environments. It will also allow us to get more directly involved in your own  projects.”
Q. Can you tell us and our readers why this is important?
A: “The European Commission recognizes Galgus as one of the most disruptive startups in the EU and supports our growth with EU funding. This is important because over 93% of the startups supported by the EU has been successful and therefore, this endorses Galgus technology with the EU seal of quality.”
Q. Will you have a demo of this in Hamburg?
A:”We will demo this in Hamburg this April.”
IFExpress also asked the folks at VT Miltope who carry Galgus products and they told us: ”VT Miltope is discussing this Galgus offering and how it might be incorporated into VT Miltope products along with RazorSecure solutions.”
So there you have it, Stay Tuned for this technology in Hamburg.

Mike Hettich Named CEO of Satellite Startup LeoStella

Smart satellite manufacturer LeoStella of Tukwila, Washington named the affable Mike Hettich as its new CEO. LeoStella is a joint venture company owned by Spaceflight Industries and Thales Alenia Space. Congratulations, Mike!


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a leader in global mobile satellite communications, has been named winner of Inflight Middle East’s Connectivity Enablement Award for the second consecutive year. The prestigious accolade was announced in Dubai yesterday, after an independent panel of industry experts voted for Inmarsat’s GX Aviation as the inflight broadband solution of choice for airline passengers in the Middle East and beyond. GX Aviation is the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight connectivity service delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of high-throughput satellites. It enables airline passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with a wi-fi experience comparable to mobile broadband on the ground. The ground-breaking service is currently being offered to passengers by a growing list of airlines across the world, including Qatar Airways, Singapore Airways, Norwegian, Air New Zealand, Avianca and Lufthansa Group. Global take-up shows no signs of slowing over the course of this year, with a healthy pipeline of aircraft due to be installed with the service. In addition to retaining Inflight Middle East’s ‘Connectivity Enablement’ Award, Inmarsat has been named ‘World’s Leading Inflight Internet Service Provider’ at the World Travel Awards for two consecutive years. These recent accolades are the latest in a series of industry recognitions for Inmarsat’s world-leading inflight Wi-Fi services in the last year.


SITAONAIR

Air Senegal selected SITAONAIR to deploy its best-in-class high-speed inflight connectivity (IFC) on its new-generation A330neo fleet – making Air Senegal the first airline on the African continent to activate GX Aviation passenger connectivity onboard.

With a growing demand for connectivity from Africa’s young population and a change in the overarching aviation landscape, Air Senegal’s new inflight connectivity offering comes at a crucial moment for economic growth. SITA Air Transport IT Insights figures show that 90% of the world’s airlines plan to have major wireless inflight connectivity programs in place for enhanced passenger experience by 2021, indicating a prominent shift towards global connectivity as standard. Senegal’s new flag carrier is ambitious to expand its footprint by connecting 2 million passengers on routes between Dakar and Paris, and drive innovation in the West African market. Air Senegal appointed SITAONAIR as the inflight connectivity service provider best-placed to support its goal by pioneering its connected passenger experience.

Under the deal, SITAONAIR is activating its market-leading Mobile ONAIR and Internet ONAIR inflight connectivity solutions – via Link ONAIR over Inmarsat’s GX Aviation network – across Air Senegal’s new A330neo. Following the launch of its first commercial flight in February 2019, passengers can now enjoy cutting-edge cabin connectivity across Air Senegal’s Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy offerings, on routes connecting West Africa with Europe. Further, with SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR solution over GX Aviation, Air Senegal passengers can access a personalized and seamless inflight connection, keeping them connected with their digital lives, business and loved ones as they fly. In another breakthrough deal for the African market, Mobile ONAIR will give passengers a seamless mobile connectivity experience, providing them with the opportunity to make calls and send texts from the air, just as they would on the ground.


AIRBUS

Emirates, following a review of its operations, and in light of developments in aircraft and engine technologies, Emirates is reducing its A380 orderbook from 162 to 123 aircraft (39 ). Emirates will take delivery of 14 further A380s over the next two years. As a consequence and given the lack of order backlog with other airlines, Airbus will cease deliveries of the A380 in 2021.

Emirates has also decided to continue growing with Airbus’ newest generation, flexible widebody aircraft, ordering 40 A330-900 and 30 A350-900 aircraft. Airbus will start discussions with its social partners in the next few weeks regarding the 3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years. However, the ongoing A320 ramp-up and the new widebody order from Emirates Airline will offer a significant number of internal mobility opportunities.


OTHER NEWS

Pictured above: The SmartSky & JetSuiteX team

SmartSky & JetSuiteX

JetSuiteX, the acclaimed air carrier that offers regular flights from private terminals at the cost of a commercial ticket, announced that it will become the first carrier to offer SmartSky Networks’ innovative inflight internet solution, which gives customers the ability to stream, email, transmit large data files, and text with speeds comparable to their experience on the ground. Alex Wilcox, Co-founder and CEO of JetSuiteX, announced the partnership at the APEX TECH event in Los Angeles, Calif. during his keynote address.
“After a rigorous selection process including my personal inflight evaluation, we chose SmartSky’s state-of-the-art, high-speed technology because it delivers the most compelling user experience,” said Wilcox.

“JetSuiteX believes in empowering its customers with extreme efficiency, already cutting significant time from the typical airport experience and earning it the highest Net Promoter Score of any air carrier in the world,” said Haynes Griffin, Chairman and CEO of SmartSky Networks. “Our role is to support JetSuiteX’s continued dominance as the industry’s leader of passenger satisfaction.”

The ground-based components of the SmartSky system are being deployed throughout the contiguous United States using a mix of 4G LTE and emerging 5G technologies, similar to some of the recent improvements in terrestrial cellular networks.

JetSuiteX plans to launch the service in late summer 2019 with a phased roll-out across their rapidly growing fleet.


APEX TECH Highlights

Day 1:
APEX Ad Delivery Working Group: The need for a standardized language regarding ad delivery and a glossary of terms was addressed during this meeting. Advertisers expect consistent analytics across platforms. Ad-ID, DSR Corporation, Google, Global Eagle IAB Tech Lab, Inadvia, Kantar Media, PXCom, and Touch Inflight were representatives on this panel.

Which Is the Right Codec to Use When? Video codec compresses digital video in order to fit a specific space-limited storage, think DVD as an example, then the file is decompressed for playback. It also facilitates efficient delivery of said file, either via broadcasting, the Internet, or an IFE system. Data is lost during the compression process, so new codecs continue to be introduced in an effort to reduce the loss of data. The Versatile Video Codec (VVC), which is a new advanced codec is under development. This group took an in depth look at the technical advantages and disadvantages of new distribution codecs, specifically with regard to how they pertain to the IFE industry.

0415 Part 2 Working Group Shares Updates on 4K Security Requirements: Established in June of 2018, the group has compiled a list of security requirements for handling 4K content. Definitions for content value and the related security standards for each were shared during this meeting. A new category for playing 4K content on PEDs was also introduced. Forensic watermarking (a digital signature that identifies the rightful owner while not being detected by the human eye) may be called for in the future.

IFE Content Delivery’s Journey to the Cloud: This panel focused on the various aspects of the IFE content workflow that could be processed via the cloud. One potential area that could benefit from cloud delivery is classic movies, which primarily have a fixed configuration, being called into rotation as needed.

Day 2:
Star Alliance Creating a Digital Travel Ecosystem: Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh opened the second day by introducing the audience to the digital services platform that is under development by their 28 airline members in an effort to make air travel among their alliance more seamless for the passenger. Mr. Goh stated that their organization has shifted their focus to digital technology and the customer experience. A digital services platform enables their partnership to share a vast amount of information with each other and their customers.

JetBlue & Biometric Boarding: JetBlue has boarded 8,000 passengers using biometric boarding since November 2018. The key to the high adoption rate is the passengers understanding of how the airline handles their data. Passengers must feel that their information is secure and that it isn’t stored. Ramki Ramaswamy, vice-president of IT, Technology and Integrations for JetBlue, indicated the airline hopes to test a biometric bag drop service before the year’s end.

Thinking of Air Travel as the “Fourth Place” in Our Lives: David Bartlett of Panasonic Avionics discussed the “fourth place” concept with Joe Leader. Traditionally, home, office and community have been viewed as the three pillars that define our lives, now Panasonic has introduced the concept of a fourth ecosystem – air travel, where the three begin to converge. Bartlett stated that the Panasonic open-platform facilitates collaboration with other technology providers, creating the fourth-place – think about the Wellness suite Panasonic debuted at APEX in Boston.

APEX Connectivity Working Group Invites Input to Help Define In-Flight Wi-Fi Quality: 12 months ago, this working group thought to standardize in-flight connectivity, now the Connectivity Working Group is focused on “defining how to best measure the passenger experience”. The group is also considering the definition of IFC service availability and is planning on introducing metrics to quantify the experience. There was a follow-up discussion on how other industries, like the mobile sector, measure connectivity performance. Bernd Knobe, managing director, P3 Aero Systems, discussed one option would be an application that could run on PEDs (either the flight crew or pax) that would gather onboard connectivity performance data, then upload it to the cloud for additional analysis.

Blockchain: Bet or Bust? This was a discussion between Joe Leader, APEX CEO and Jeffrey Goh, CEO, Star Alliance. Blockchain is an off-shoot of the financial industry and it stores a series/sequence of records in blocks that are secure and verifiable, over a network of computers. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency are the original application of the technology but there are opportunities for its application to the airline industry as well: frequent flyer programs, passenger management, and crew identity were a few mentioned. Goh stated that blockchain may be a way to deliver a better passenger experience. One application was that “blockchain could enable to creation of a redemption ecosystem within frequent flyer programs, with the possibility of purchasing products and services not only on airlines, but with third-party providers.”


THALES

Again in 2018, Thales was included in the Top 100 Global Innovators list published on 23 January by Clarivate Analytics. In the last eight years, Thales has appeared six times in this prestigious ranking, which recognizes the volume, success and influence of our patents. This achievement underlines the company’s commitment to innovating, protecting our ideas and bringing our inventions to market. The Thales portfolio, which includes more than 15,000 patents, is regularly adapted to operational requirements. In 2018, we filed almost 350 new patent applications.


SITA

Passengers departing from Miami International Airport to Munich on Lufthansa flight 461 can now board with the quick click of a camera instead of a boarding pass and passport, thanks to the airport’s launch of biometric exit technology last week. Through a partnership between MIA, Lufthansa, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and global air transport IT provider SITA, a simple photograph taken at Lufthansa’s boarding gate is used to confirm passengers’ identities and their authorization to travel. The facial recognition verification process takes less than two seconds with a 99-percent matching rate, according to CBP. MIA expects to launch biometric boarding with additional airlines this year. The launch of biometric exit at MIA follows the airport’s February 2018 opening of America’s first all-biometric entry facility at Concourse E, which screens all international arrivals via facial recognition. The facility, which has decreased processing times by as much as 80 percent for participating airlines, was chosen from among 80 nominations worldwide as the 2018 International Airport Review Award winner in the Passenger Experience and Seamless Travel category. SITA and MIA have already partnered on a number of innovative travel experience solutions, including Mobile Passport Control and MIA Airport Official, the airport’s mobile app.


AIRBUS

  • American Airlines took delivery of the first of 100 A321neos on order from Airbus, powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines. The aircraft, MSN8647, departed Hamburg early Friday for the trans-Atlantic ferry flight to Pittsburgh where American’s technicians will get the A321neo ready for customer flights.
  • Emirates – Airbus SE confirms it is in discussions with Emirates Airline in relation to its A380 contract. The details of Airbus’ commercial discussions with customers remain confidential.
  • Cybersecurity: Airbus SE detected a cyber incident on Airbus “Commercial Aircraft business” information systems, which resulted in unauthorized access to data. There is no impact on Airbus’ commercial operations. This incident is being thoroughly investigated by Airbus’ experts who have taken immediate and appropriate actions to reinforce existing security measures and to mitigate its potential impact, as well as determining its origins. Investigations are ongoing to understand if any specific data was targeted, however we do know some personal data was accessed. This is mostly professional contact and IT identification details of some Airbus employees in Europe. The company is in contact with the relevant regulatory authorities and the data protection authorities pursuant to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Airbus employees are being advised to take all necessary precautions going forward.

BOEING

Japan’sANA Holdings Inc said last week it would order at least 38 planes worth $4.33 billion from Boeing Co and Airbus, and buy a stake in Philippines Airlines’ parent PAL Holdings Inc to support its Asia growth strategy. The order, confirming earlier Reuters reports, is the first in Japan for the newest version of Boeing’s best-selling 737 family and comes at a time when the country is facing pressure from Washington to cut its trade surplus with the United States. It also raises the stakes in a battle for orders of the industry’s largest category of airliner, allowing Boeing to weaken a bridgehead held by its European rival Airbus in the narrowbody fleet of one of its most strategic customers. ANA had been the first airline from Japan to pick Airbus’ latest narrowbody aircraft five years ago. The airline, which saw its international revenue spike 11 percent in the December quarter compared with a 0.5 percent rise at home, also announced an investment of $95 million for a 9.5 percent stake in PAL in line with its Asia push, saying it was confident in the Philippines’ growth prospects. ANA’s purchase of 20 737 MAX jets is worth $2.3 billion, while its order for 18 A320neos is worth $2 billion at list prices. Airlines typically get large discounts. ANA said it had options for another 10 737 MAX, bringing the potential U.S. part of the deal to 30 aircraft. Boeing shares rose 0.5 percent with Airbus up 0.7 percent.

The world’s top planemakers have amassed thousands of orders for their narrowbody jets, with Boeing chipping away at its European rival’s recent lead. Earlier this month it poached Saudi budget carrier airline Flyadeal from Airbus, while Airbus won the last round of a prolonged battle over Vietnam’s VietJet. ANA’s mixed narrowbody fleet had previously been expected to shift to all-Airbus as older 737s were retired. Budget offshoot Peach, which will take the A320neos, has an all-Airbus fleet. Boeing dominates the count among ANA aircraft with more than 100 seats at 81 percent as of March 2018.

ANA’s rival Japan Airlines Co Ltd also operates a mostly Boeing fleet, giving the U.S. planemaker its most dominant position in any major aviation market.


OTHER NEWS

 

Lufthansa Systems enables new financing model for IFEC solutions / Successful project for Citilink impresses parent company Garuda Indonesia

Raunheim | January 31, 2019– Demand is growing in the aviation industry for partially or fully financed IFEC solutions. Lufthansa Systems is cooperating with technology partners to offer a flexible new refinancing approach for making on-board entertainment and Internet attractive to airlines of all sizes with different business models.

“Many providers offer financing models, but they often lack an understanding of the aviation industry. We are closing this gap with our expertise in IFEC solutions and with BoardConnect, an open IT platform that allows hosted applications to be integrated into the IFEC system,” said Jan-Peter Gänse, Head of Passenger Experience Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems.

Lufthansa Systems’ first partner for partially and fully financed IFEC solutions is Mahata Aero Teknologi. Their e-commerce solution is based on commercial offers and advertising partners, which generate revenues in order to refinance the Internet services. This makes it possible to allocate costs in the long-term if necessary, so that airlines can offer their passengers free Internet access.

This new approach has already proven itself in practice. In mid-January, the Indonesian airline Citilink celebrated the official launch flight of the first aircraft with the new, free connectivity service – just six months after the contract was signed in the summer of 2018. Mahata Aero Teknologi is working alongside Lufthansa Systems in addition to Inmarsat and Lufthansa Technik. While Inmarsat, the leading satellite provider, is supplying the broadband Internet connection with its global GX Aviation network, Lufthansa Technik is providing the hardware and performing the installation design and certification.

“Lufthansa Systems brought us together with its partners Inmarsat and Lufthansa Technik so that we can cooperate with the world’s leading connectivity experts,” said Iwan Setiawan, Managing Director of Mahata Aero Teknologi. “The first two customers using our solution have shown that we can provide models to suit low-cost carriers as well as airlines with large fleets.”

This successful cooperation and smooth implementation impressed Citilink’s parent company, Garuda Indonesia enough to order the same setup for its fleet. The contract for this was signed in December 2018.

“We are very proud of these two projects and the successful cooperation with our partners. The demand for on-board Internet is very high particularly in the Asian market. The new financing models, which are tailored to the individual needs of each airline, also give rise to new opportunities and partnerships in the market,” said Olivier Krüger, Chief Executive Officer at Lufthansa Systems.

Citilink is a low-cost carrier and subsidiary of Garuda Indonesia, Indonesia’s National airline. With a fleet of 51 aircraft, Citilink flies to national destinations as well as Dili in East Timor year round. Garuda Indonesia is Indonesia’s national airline. It serves domestic and international destinations in the Middle and Far East, Australia and Europe with a fleet of 142 aircraft. Both airlines are based in Jakarta and are currently expanding their fleets.

Research Triangle, North Carolina | February 5, 2019– The aviation industry’s transformative inflight internet provider, SmartSky Networks, announces the closing of a total of $104M in funding, including $75 million in debt commitments from funds managed by the Global Credit team at BlackRock and equity investments by private equity firms Tiger Infrastructure, WP Global, Platform Partners, and Meritage Investors. The funds will be used in the on-going rollout of SmartSky’s nationwide air-to-ground network. With this new round of financing, SmartSky has raised almost $350M in funding to date. The company is advised by Allen & Company LLC.

“This investment represents an expression of confidence in SmartSky by these sophisticated investors, including some of the most highly regarded institutions in the world,” said SmartSky CEO Haynes Griffin, “and comes only a few days after the announcement of our first commercial aviation customer. Both of these milestones were preceded by firsthand flight trials which demonstrated conclusively to these partners the ability of SmartSky’s blazing-fast, affordable two-way internet connectivity to fundamentally transform aviation.”

Last week, CEO Alex Wilcox of JetSuiteX, a rapidly growing regional air carrier, stated, “After a rigorous selection process including my personal inflight evaluation, we chose SmartSky’s state-of-the-art, high-speed technology because it delivers the most compelling user experience.”  

SmartSky’s first-of-its-kind, real-time system provides over ten times the speed of legacy airborne connections and is the most secure and affordable inflight internet solution available. The ground-based components of the system are being deployed throughout the contiguous United States using a mix of 4G LTE and emerging 5G technologies, similar to some of the recent improvements in terrestrial cellular networks. The inflight connectivity network will be commercially available later this year.

As promised, this week we have some predictions about this crazy industry, as well as, news and reported airplane deliveries for 2018. Included in the predictions section are a few that were submitted by several of our readers and we want to thank them for their contribution. Patricia Wiseman | Editor, Publisher & Co-Founder

2019 Predictions

1. If the US government shutdown continues for a marked length of time, the 2019 airplane travel growth in the USA could be poorer than anticipated with reduced profits. Obviously. travel will be more difficult, as well, while governmental security folks struggle to stay at work and somehow make a living. Here is a related quote from SKIFT on the anticipated passenger revenue prior to the shutdown: “We expect U.S. passenger revenue to reach $171.4 billion in 2019, up 2.6 percent from 2018.”

2. Climate changes driven by humans will no doubt increase the costs of flying due to worsening weather in various locations, greater weather change (both hot and cold), and reduced weather prediction accuracy/capability. Extreme weather just may finally effect flying and possibly travel costs will rise. In either case, extreme weather events are on the way! And yes, we probably can’t blame anyone but ourselves.

3. “The commercial aviation market will continue to see an increase in adoption of PED power for both line-fit and retrofit aircraft.  Airlines will personalize their offering between 110 Volt AC, USB Type A, USB Type C, and wireless charging.  Many airlines will install combinations of multiple charging options for the convenience of their customers.  With recent technological advancements, the PED Power systems are weighing less, taking less space, and lowering the total cost of ownership.” – Mike Hettich, VP, Cabin Electronics, Astronics AES

4. A massive incident of data fraud or theft will potentially cause an aviation incident, which will drive big changes in aviation security. And yes, Artificial Intelligence just might play a role in the solution. (What!? You don’t know what AI is? – What is AI? Everything you need to know about Artificial Intelligence | ZDNet)

5. With worldwide spying getting out of hand, the sale of “second use, plain” phones (aka “burner phones”) will take off for travelers. It may eventually apply to laptops as well.

6. “Enabled by the basic utilities of wireless data transmissions and easy power solutions, the aircraft cabin is becoming a huge playground for solutions we are not even thinking about yet.” – Unattributed

7. Watch for airlines to reduce meat offerings in food service as vegan and non-meat lifestyles affect offerings. And, it will save the airlines money too.

8.  “What this industry needs is a standard way for airlines to measure their passengers’ experience with the connectivity onboard – and this year our APEX Connectivity Working Group (CWG) will come through with that standard method.” – Rich Salter, IFEC Consultant, The Salter Group

9. Unfortunately rogue drones will continue to present a greater risk to aviation in troublesome flight areas. Watch for some new rules if/when these incidents continue to occur.

10. Quantum computing will be a big deal in aircraft design this year and in the future because of its ability to present and analyze more data on airflow issues.

11. “PED’s are making passengers more insular. Unless the airline is on there early and with several different touch points, any flight will be just a minor event on the huge network of the passenger’s connected lives.” – Unattributed

12. Fuel costs look to be more stable this year, hopefully helping airlines to retain profits. Of course, this assumes the the world remains sane about fuel and peace solutions.

13. Large scale cyber attacks to passengers are a huge potential. Watch out, a big change is coming and it may well be driven by an airline security breach of major proportions.

14. A big political change and disruption will cause troubles in the US that may affect many areas including aviation.

15. Lastly, the AVIATION SAFETY NETWORK reports there were 15 fatal airliner accidents (556 fatalities), or one fatal accident per 2,540,000 flights, in 2018 vs 10 (44 fatalities) in 2017, which was safest year ever.


NEWS

digEcor
On 18 January 2019, digEcor officially acquired the commercial In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) business from Collins Aerospace. The deal originated with Rockwell Collins, which was acquired by United Technologies in 2018.

The closing of this transaction, and digEcor’s integration with this significant business, marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for digEcor— now rebranded as Burrana.
“Burrana is an indigenous Australian word, meaning “to fly”, which aligns to our purpose of helping airlines create extraordinary passenger experiences,” said David Withers, Burrana CEO. “It is the history of innovation that is the common thread that binds these two organizations together as Burrana, and the main driver for the acquisition.” Withers continued. “This thread stretches back over 50 years to the Hughes Avicom and Sony Transcom days, when IFE was in its infancy, and the passenger experience came into focus for airlines. Then came the days of Microair Avionics radios and digEcor’s portable players, through today when the market demands innovative cabin technologies for their passengers – and this is where Burrana will deliver.”

The acquisition brings together the former Rockwell Collins’ PAVES family of seat back and overhead solutions, as well as PAVES On-demand, Total Entertainment System (TES), Enhanced Total Entertainment System (ETES) and content services, with digEcor’s GLIDE, Engage, Power, PSS and Lighting products. The combination will enable Burrana to now offer best-of-breed solutions for airlines seeking to deliver an extraordinary passenger experience.

Withers went on to say, “Burrana’s global employee base will deliver innovative cabin technologies reliably and affordably to the market, serving an installed base of more than 1,400 planes and 300 customers, positioning us as the #3 player in the IFE market – and we are not stopping there. We will achieve our vision of taking the passenger experience to the next level by collectively bringing the right new technology to market and leveraging our engineering expertise and proven ability to rapidly develop and certify new products. We pride ourselves on listening to our customers, understanding their vision and requirements and developing new solutions to deliver on these needs.”

JW Hill Capital, a Newport Beach, California-based private equity firm, supported digEcor in this transaction.


Thales
Thales invests 20% of its annual revenues in R&D. After the first Thales Media Days dedicated to cybersecurity, which is an essential component of the digital transformation, Thales is now demonstrating specific examples of the impact of Artificial Intelligence in decisive moments. The event isn’t being held in Montreal, Canada and simultaneously in France, the UK, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and the Middle East.

Since 2014, Thales has invested nearly 7 billion euros in digital technologies, particularly in the areas of connectivity, Big Data, cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Artificial Intelligence and its opportunities in the aerospace, space, ground transportation, defense and security sectors will be the theme of the second Thales Media Day event in Montreal.

Professor Yoshua Bengio, Founder and Scientific Director of MILA (Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms), and Patrice Caine, Chairman & CEO of Thales, will speak at this global event, which will be broadcasted live on the Group’s YouTube channel.


Inmarsat
Inmarsat, a leader in global mobile satellite communications, announced that its award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband solution is now available to passengers onboard Indonesian low-cost airline Citilink’s first aircraft. The milestone was achieved only six months after Inmarsat signed a contract with Mahata Aero Teknologi (MAT), an Indonesia wireless technology provider, to deploy GX Aviation across Citilink’s fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft, in partnership with Lufthansa Systems, Lufthansa Technik and GMF AeroAsia. GX Aviation is the world’s only global, high-speed inflight internet service, allowing Citilink passengers to browse the internet, stream content, check social media and more during flights free-of-charge using personal devices. Citilink will continue to rollout the service on their aircraft during 2019.

The fast-paced introduction of onboard connectivity is part of the airline’s efforts to offer passengers a modern, world-class onboard experience. Citilink, a subsidiary of Indonesian national airline Garuda, was named Asia’s Best LCC at the TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards 2018 and has a four-star rating by Skytrax.


Airbus
Acropolis Aviation of the UK has taken delivery of the first ACJ320neo, which features new-generation engines and Sharklets to deliver a leap forward in range and economy.
The aircraft will now undergo cabin-outfitting by AMAC in Basle, Switzerland, receiving a VVIP cabin designed by Alberto Pinto. Its current ACJ livery will also be replaced by Acropolis Aviation colors.

SMBC – Leading aircraft lessor SMBC Aviation Capital has boosted its total order book for the A320neo Family to 181 aircraft after signing a firm order for an additional 65 A320neo Family aircraft (15 A321neo and 50 A320neo). The order was finalized in 2018 and included in the year-end order figures. In addition the agreement includes an upsizing of 15 A320neo from a pre-existing order to 15 of the largest member of the single aisle, the A321neos, taking SMBC Aviation Capital’s total for the type to 30. With its unbeatable seat mile cost, longer range and wider cabin, the A321neo offers airlines the flexibility to expand their networks using wide-body cabin products on new longer haul routes which were not previously possible with a single aisle.

Here’s an Airbus/Facebook story you might want to read:
Facebook and Airbus hold secretive drone tests in the Australian bush – netzpolitik.org


Boeing
Boeing delivered the first of ten 787 Dreamliners to WestJet, marking the start of the airline’s global expansion. Having long operated a fleet of Boeing single-aisle jets, WestJet will use the super-efficient, long-range 787-9 Dreamliner to profitably serve new international routes. This spring, WestJet will use the 787-9 – the longest-range Dreamliner that can fly 7,635 nautical miles (14,140km) – to offer the first-ever flight connecting Calgary and Dublin. The airline will also offer non-stop Dreamliner service between Calgary and London Gatwick and Calgary and Paris. WestJet’s 787-9 will accommodate 320 passengers in a three-class configuration. The Dreamliner’s passenger-pleasing interior, which includes large windows, lower-cabin altitude and smooth-ride technology, complements WestJet’s all-new business cabin featuring the carrier’s first lie-flat seats.

In preparation for its new Dreamliners, WestJet recently added digital solutions powered by Boeing AnalytX, to optimize its operations. These include Airplane Health Management, which provides predictive analytics to optimize WestJet’s 787 fleet operations, as well as Toolbox, which delivers real-time information for technicians to quickly resolve maintenance issues and keep airlines on schedule.


Others News

  • Airline security breach big deal! Over 140 International Airlines Affected by Major Security Breach
  • Interested in the economy of airline seat sales? The Economics of Airline Class – YouTube And, here is the low cost airline story, How Budget Airlines Work – YouTube
  • Hey! Drones might now inspect your aircraft! Can Drones Be Good?
  • Sadly, Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch terminated its rocket engines and launcher programs. One story reader (marklincoln1@aol.com) in Aviation Week noted: “Paul Allen had a dream and money. He was willing to risk exploring that dream — The acquisition was a matter of profit and loss. Which viewpoint is correct? Perhaps neither. Or perhaps both.” That just about says it all.

INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a leader in global mobile satellite communications, has been named ‘World’s Leading Inflight Internet Service Provider’ for the second year in a row at the World Travel Awards. The prestigious accolade was announced at a gala ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal last weekend, following a vote by travel and tourism executives across the world, who were impressed by Inmarsat’s continued success in transforming the airline passenger experience with game-changing inflight broadband solutions.

Inmarsat has pioneered a major step-change in inflight connectivity with its next-generation offerings, including its GX Aviation solution with seamless, high-speed global coverage, and the European Aviation Network (EAN), which offers unprecedented performance over Europe’s congested skies by combining satellite coverage with a complementary ground network. Both solutions enable passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more, with onboard connectivity comparable to what they receive on the ground.

More than 1,400 aircraft are currently expected under signed contracts for GX Aviation and EAN, with a new business pipeline of approximately 3,000 aircraft worldwide. Airline customers include Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, British Airways, AirAsia, Singapore Airlines, Norwegian, Avianca, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the World Travel Awards are considered the global hallmark of industry excellence, rewarding and celebrating excellence across all key sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors.

As well retaining the World Travel Award for ‘World’s Leading Inflight Internet Service Provider’, Inmarsat has received a number of other significant accolades for its inflight Wi-Fi services this year. These include the Inflight Middle East ‘Connectivity Enablement’ Award for GX Aviation and the prestigious German Innovation Award for EAN. In addition, EAN was a finalist in the Crystal Cabin Awards at Aircraft Interiors Exhibition (AIX) earlier this year.


AERKOMM

Aerkomm Inc. announced that through its wholly owned subsidiary, Aircom Pacific, Inc. (Aircom Pacific), it has begun developing a new and innovative Ka-band solution for the provision of broadband voice and high-speed internet access for passengers in Airbus ACJ319s, ACJ320s and ACJ321s – as well as Airbus’ airline commercial aircraft equivalents. Called Aerkomm K++, the solution will offer a broadband rate of 20 Megabits/sec experience per passenger. It combines Aircom Pacific equipment – based on a low-profile antenna – with a retrofit installation designed and implemented by Airbus to EASA and FAA certification standards, which will also be validated by China CAAC. Aerkomm K++ will provide worldwide coverage including, specifically, within China for Chinese registered aircraft. (You might want to read this link as well: AirCom Pacific Gains Momentum in IFEC Regional Business – Via Satellite -)


SKYLIGHTS

SkyLights announced it has partnered with new air wellness company Mataki Group to bring fear-of-flying relaxation videos to its Allosky VR Inflight Entertainment (IFE) catalog. Guided by airline pilot and flight-phobia expert Mathieu Leroy, the videos walk passengers through a program specifically designed to counter flying anxieties felt by around 43% of passengers.

SkyLights, the market leader in immersive IFE, announced it is adding fear-of-flying relaxation videos from new air wellness company Mataki Group to its Allosky VR IFE catalog. The videos are aimed to address the 43% of people that feel either ‘quite’ or ‘very’ worried about flying, as recorded by a UK survey. In the videos, Mathieu Leroy, an aircraft pilot and flight-phobia expert, draws on human factor and neuroscience techniques to put passengers at ease during their flight and educate them about flying, turbulence and flight safety.

Over the past 13 years, Leroy, Mataki Group founder, has been flying Airbus A320s and Boeing 777s for Air France, while also contributing to its Stress-Less-Flying center as a human factor’s expert. Through specialized seminars, he has leveraged his expertise to help hundreds of passengers tackle their fear of flying. In founding Mataki Group, he aims to enhance passenger wellness and help airlines attract the estimated 500 million people that refuse to fly as a result of their phobia.

“The conscious brain processes around 7 pieces of information every second, the majority of which comes from visual stimuli with audio coming in a close second. Thanks to the immersive environment created by SkyLights’ Allosky headset coupled with noise-cancelling headphones we have the fantastic opportunity to leverage all of this sensory input to diffuse flight anxieties in a highly effective way.”, said Mathieu Leroy, Mataki Group’s CEO

“Leveraging the immersive capacity of the Allosky headset to help passengers escape the cabin and relieve their flight phobia makes all the sense in the world. Mataki Group’s content will improve the flying experience for so many people and we are delighted to make it part of our new air wellness category.”, said David Dicko, SkyLights’ CEO.

The addition of Mataki Group’s content comes as part of SkyLights’ strategy to further diversify its catalog to offer greater choice and customization to its airline customers. Today, SkyLights’ catalog consists of over 200 hours of content, covering 2D and 3D Hollywood blockbusters as well as short travel, wellness and forward-facing 360° content.


ATMOSPHERE

ATMOSPHERE has announced that it is part of a team awarded a prestigious Group Achievement Award by NASA for ground-breaking research into interval management.

ATMOSPHERE’s crucial contribution was the software used to create traffic and situation awareness, called PLANET. It used inflight connectivity to transmit ADS-B data from the three test aircraft and all surrounding aircraft, creating a real-time display of aircraft position, all relevant information about that aircraft, location of airspace and route structures, as well as weather and wind conditions.

The most critical use of PLANET was by the Flight Test Director, who was aboard one of the aircraft and had the responsibility of coordinating the correct sequence of test runs between the three aircraft and the air traffic control facilities.

Brian Baxley, the NASA Principal Investigator of the experiment, said, “Without the real-time and constant traffic and situation awareness that PLANET provided, the Flight Test Director could not have conducted the flight test in the safe and efficient manner that it was.”

The PLANET display was also used aboard all three aircraft by flight crew and researchers, and in the flight test coordination room set up at a Boeing Commercial Aircraft facility. Additionally, it was used by observers at NASA Langley and Ames Research Centers, as well as the NASA and FAA Headquarters during the two-month flight test campaign.


INTERVAL RESEARCH

The premise for the interval management research was to study new methods to enable the expected doubling of aircraft passengers within the next twenty years. The current air traffic management process is very manually intensive and relies on less accurate radar data, a technology that originated in the 1940s.

Interval management uses more precise ADS-B data from nearby aircraft to allow avionics in the cockpit to automatically calculate the speed needed to achieve and then maintain a set spacing interval behind the previous aircraft. This spacing interval is assigned by the controller, and varies based on traffic density, type of aircraft, and the speed of the aircraft.

The result is that controllers can space aircraft more precisely at a safe and efficient interval, thereby increasing the number of landing slots available at the runway, and reducing the need for additional fuel consumption. Ultimately, it improves the passenger experience by reducing delays, particularly when traffic is very heavy, or during bad weather.


GOGO

Gogo Inc. announced the closing of its approximately $238 million offering of 6.00% convertible senior notes due in May 2022. Under the terms of the transaction, Gogo effectively extended the maturity of approximately $200 million of its outstanding convertible senior notes from March 2020 until May 2022. Approximately $162 million in convertible senior notes due 2020 remain outstanding.


OFCOM/INMARSAT

The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in London handed down its judgment dealing with ViaSat’s challenge to Ofcom’s January 2018 authorization of Inmarsat’s UK complementary ground component (CGC) forming part of Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN). The Tribunal comprehensively found in favour of Ofcom and Inmarsat and determined that all of ViaSat’s arguments failed. On that basis, the Tribunal dismissed ViaSat’s case. The CGC authorization granted by Ofcom to Inmarsat for the EAN system remains in full force and effect.

Inmarsat was awarded the S-Band frequencies enabling the roll-out of the EAN system through the first (and so far the only) pan-European spectrum award procedure. That procedure was managed by the European Commission through an open and transparent selection mechanism. Inmarsat competed with other bidders and was ultimately selected as one of the two winners.

Inmarsat has spent hundreds of millions of pounds as well as significant human capital and years of hard work to deploy the EAN state-of-the art integrated platform. The EAN system is made of two components, namely a satellite (which was launched in July 2017) and a network of about 300 ground towers deployed across the European continent. In order to operate the EAN, Inmarsat needs certain national authorizations, including in particular CGC authorizations. Ofcom granted the UK CGC authorization to Inmarsat in 2018 and ViaSat challenged that authorization before the CAT.


OTHER NEWS

There is a lot of airplane news but let’s start off with news highlights from Inmarsat this week:

INMARSAT

Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, announced that its GX Aviation inflight broadband service is now being offered by leading Latin American airline Avianca as part of a free trial period on selected aircraft.

The trial period will last two months, providing passengers with the freedom to browse the internet, check social media and catch-up on emails, all from the comfort of their aircraft seat, with onboard connectivity comparable to mobile broadband services available on the ground. The initiative marks the Latin America debut of GX Aviation, the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight broadband service, delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of Global Xpress high-throughput satellites. The award-winning inflight broadband service, which will be rolled out gradually on selected Airbus A320s, Airbus A330s and Boeing 787s within the airline’s fleet, is currently available on its first two aircraft. Installations on additional aircraft are continuing to progress in Avianca’s MRO facilities in Colombia.


AIRBUS

TAP
TAP Air Portugal has taken delivery of the world’s first new-generation widebody A330neo and, as the launch airline, will be the first to benefit from the aircraft’s unbeatable operating economics, increased range, and Airbus’ new Airspace cabin offering passengers the best in class comfort. The Portuguese carrier will take delivery of a further 20 A330-900s in the coming years.

TAP Air Portugal’s first A330-900 is leased from Avolon. It features 298 seats in a comfortable three-class lay-out with 34 full-flat business class, 96 economy plus and 168 economy class seats. The Airspace by Airbus cabin offers more personal space, larger overhead storage bins, advanced cabin lighting and the latest-generation in-flight entertainment system and connectivity. The aircraft will be deployed on routes from Portugal to the Americas and Africa.

China Eastern
The airline has taken delivery of its first A350-900 in Toulouse, becoming the latest operator of this efficient twin-engine widebody aircraft. The Shanghai-based carrier now operates an Airbus fleet of 356 aircraft, including 306 A320 Family aircraft and 50 A330 Family aircraft (figures at the end of October 2018). China Eastern is the largest Airbus operator in Asia and second largest in the world. China Eastern’s A350-900 aircraft features a modern and comfortable four-class cabin layout of 288 seats: four first, 36 business, 32 premium economy and 216 economy. The airline will initially operate the new aircraft on its domestic routes, followed by flights to international destinations. Bringing new levels of efficiency and comfort to the long-range market, the A350 XWB Family is particularly well suited to the needs of Asia-Pacific airlines. To date, A350 XWB firm orders from carriers in the region represent over a third of total sales for the type.


BOEING
Boeing delivered its 2,000th airplane to a Chinese operator, a 737 MAX for Xiamen Airlines. The milestone and the pace at which it was reached reflect the accelerating growth in the world’s largest commercial aviation market.

Boeing delivered its first 1,000 airplanes to Chinese airlines over four decades. The next 1,000 Boeing jets have now been delivered over the past five years. The rapid pace continues as one in four Boeing-made commercial jet goes to a Chinese operator, either through direct purchase or lease.The new 737 MAX delivered today sports a special logo commemorating the milestone. It is the eighth MAX airplane to join fast-growing Xiamen Airlines, which operates the largest all-Boeing fleet in China with more than 200 jets. The carrier also uses Boeing Global Services to improve the efficiency of its network and operations. Xiamen is the first Chinese airline to use Optimized Maintenance Program, which leverages Boeing AnalytX to recommend customized airplane maintenance plans.

Xiamen Airlines is one of Boeing’s more than 30 commercial customers in China. In all, Boeing-made jets comprise more than half of the greater than 3,000 jetliners flying in the country.

China’s commercial fleet is expected to more than double over the next 20 years. Boeing forecasts that China will need 7,690 new airplanes, valued at $1.2 trillion, by 2038. Boeing also forecasts China will experience strong growth in the commercial services market with demand growing $1.5 trillion over the next 20 years, accounting for 17 percent of world demand.

China also plays a major role in building the world’s jetliners. The Chinese aerospace manufacturing industry supplies parts for every Boeing jet, including the 737 MAX, 777, and 787 Dreamliner. In December, Boeing and the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) are set to deliver the first 737 MAX airplane from a completion and delivery center in Zhoushan, China. The facility will handle interior work and exterior painting of 737 MAXs for the Chinese market. Final assembly work will continue to be done at Boeing’s factory in Renton, Washington.

Boeing activity in China is valued at more than $1 billion in economy activity in China. This includes procurement from Boeing’s extensive supply base, joint venture revenues, operations, training, and research and development investment.

Fiji Airways
Boeing delivered the first 737 MAX for Fiji Airways, which plans to use the fuel-efficient, longer-range version of the popular 737 jet to expand and modernize its single-aisle fleet. Fiji Airways plans to take delivery of five MAX 8 airplanes, which will build on the success of its fleet of Next-Generations 737s.

The MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets, and other airframe enhancements to improve performance and reduce operating costs. Compared to the previous 737 model, the MAX 8 can fly 600 nautical miles farther, while providing 14 percent better fuel efficiency. The MAX 8 can seat up to 178 passengers in a standard two-class configuration and fly 3,550 nautical miles (6,570 kilometers).

Based at Nadi International Airport, Fiji Airways serves 13 countries and 31 destinations/cities including Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands (Oceania), the United States, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. It also has an extended network of 108 international destinations through its codeshare partners. In addition to modernizing its fleet, Fiji Airways will use Boeing Global Services to enhance its operations. These services include Airplane Health Management, which generates real-time, predictive service alerts, and Software Distribution Tools, which empowers airlines to securely manage digital ground-based data and efficiently manage software parts.

Air New Zealand
The airline completed an Auckland/Chicago flight with their B787-9 – It is 15 hours one way (North) and 16 the other!


MORGAN STANLEY
“Last week, the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), in consultation with US authorities, issued its preliminary findings relating to the fatal Lion Air 737 MAX crash on October 29. The report was factual in nature and highlighted a number of factors contributing to the accident, including the equipment and maintenance practices. We view the outcome as supportive for Boeing shares since it did not lead to immediate disruptive actions for production and the in-service fleet. Going forward, we will continue to monitor any such potential, though our expectation is that more routine software adjustments may be pursued.”


OTHER NEWS

BOSE QuietControl 30

This week we thought our readers needed a rest from show news so we start off IFExpress with a review about a clever and great new set of earphones from BOSE that use Bluetooth to interact with your personal electronic device and provide the ability to manipulate the level of noise cancellation, depending on the need and circumstances. Lets get started with the latest earphones from the BOSE folks:

They are called “quiet control” for a reason, but we will get to that later. What you probably want to hear right off is: How was the sound? To get that out of the way, the sound was incredible, and by sound, we mean audio quality, we mean wide dynamic range, treble clarity, and bass smoothness and “punch”. Again, as BOSE always does, their QuietControl 30’s are wonderful sound devices and one of “the” most important things to take on an airplane if you want to listen to your own music, carry a lightweight device, while using the smallest sound product. To clear up the differences between the carry-on BOSE products we have reported on, see the following list:

Headphones:

BOSE QC 3 – Wired Noise Cancelling

BOSE QC 35 – Wired/Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling

Earphones:

BOSE QuietComfort 20 – Acoustic Noise Cancelling (wired)

BOSE QuietControl 30 – Wireless Bluetooth Adjustable Noise Cancelling

The one airplane mode that you should be aware of is the ability of your headphones/earphones to physically plug into the aircraft audio system jack. This permits you to not only listen to your devices, it allows the listening of the aircraft audio system as well. However, if you want to listen to both, you can bring along you BOSE QC 35 Headphones or the BOSE QC 20 Earphone. And if you just want to listen to your device’s music on Bluetooth, you can use either the BOSE QC 35 or the BOSE QuietComfort 20 earphones or the BOSE QuietControl 30 earphones (neckband) wireless device, and that is the unit we want to discuss today.

First, if you are not into wires and cabling to your devices, then a Bluetooth solution is for you. We have tested this device on a plane, inside the house while working, and outside while car cleaning and the QC 30 is a dream. As we said, two features stand out: no wires and an adjustable outside noise control. This feature is really of value if you need to hear external noise or even voices. The value of not removing you earphones is obvious – when you are in public adjustable external audio control is a real advantage. And no, we did not use them while driving!

All the BOSE audio earphones and headphones have excellent audio capability and we wanted to note one other thing. With the terrific audio reproduction, it is easy to focus on the sound reproduction and the “new” high and low sounds in your existing music. So much so that while recently waxing our car, the job was not seemingly as long or that repetitive. We guess that while improved listening is very pleasant, it keeps your mind off work and interruption. You can also control how much of the external environment you want to hear and with no wires below the neckband, you don’t tangle your hands or tools in them. Never again will a car be waxed here without the BOSE QC 30 earphones!

The unit does feature a 10 hour battery and noise reduction and great audio were working fine after the 6 hours we tested them. We think if you like to walk, the adjustable noise cancellation is of great value. While where we live auto traffic is limited, in general, cars are a safety problem and adjustable external volume/noise cancellation can be of great value while walking down a road. Actually, it is a safety issue too. The QC 30’s have a precise arrangement of microphones inside and outside the earbuds to continuously measure external noise. The system produces an equal and opposite noise signal to cancel it. Also, the new seal tips are very comfortable and really limit outside noise – the noise cancellation is adjusted by the user and external hearing adjustment if really obvious.

We should also note that the software app easily loaded on our phone and it worked perfectly with the earphones. And the “voice” of the assistant really helps the installation and use process.

The Bose QC 30 is a great product if you don’t want wires and desire to listen to something transmitted around you (like a flight crew announcement), yet listen to your music while reducing the amount of outside noise, this is the way to go. Further, if you move or exercise while using them you can still hear others in the gym. But more importantly, our walking has increased and we can hear cars and external noise. We look forward to using them on our upcoming trips!


INDUSTRY NEWS:

Panasonic
TRT World has teamed up with Panasonic Avionics, the worldwide leader in inflight entertainment and connectivity, to launch in-flight broadcasting. The service is being broadcast via satellite to specially-equipped aircraft. TRT World, the international news platform launched in 2015 and headquartered in Istanbul, offers an alternative viewpoint on global and domestic events, challenging perceived narratives and providing a new perspective on news. With this agreement with Panasonic, TRT World will extend its reach to passengers on airlines around the world.

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), the world leader in inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) provides in-flight connectivity and infotainment content for over 80 connectivity customers around the world. This partnership enables Panasonic to extend TRT World’s live broadcast to many of the world’s leading international carriers, including Turkish Airlines.

“It is important to stay informed and up-to-date on world events. Passengers tune in to different outlets for news and it’s vital to have variety in your sources to have a more well-rounded view of current events. Thanks to Panasonic for making this challenge a lot easier during flight” said Fatih Er, Director of News and Programmes, TRT World “Partnering with Panasonic to deliver our content in-flight is a major achievement to fulfill our promise to offer our service everywhere, whatever platform our audience prefer to receive it.”

Julie Lichty, Head of Digital Solutions and Services at Panasonic Avionics said, “Panasonic is proud to offer the world’s only truly global inflight live television services. Whether it’s the best in current affairs, sports and entertainment from a selection of the world’s premier media brands, our mission is to keep passengers informed and entertained with quality programming. We believe that TRT World is a significant enhancement to our portfolio, and will be a tremendous enhancement to our airline customers’ passenger experience”.


Inmarsat
Inmarsat has expanded its global network of Value Added Resellers (VARs) for its GX Aviation inflight broadband solution with the addition of Honeywell Aerospace. The agreement builds on Inmarsat’s long-standing partnership with Honeywell, who already manufactures the JetWave hardware for GX Aviation and sells Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX inflight wi-fi service for the business aviation market, through its GoDirect retail services business. In addition, it is further endorsement of Inmarsat’s commitment to operate the reference inflight connectivity network for airlines around the world. GX Aviation is the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight broadband service, delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of Global Xpress (GX) High-Throughput Satellites (HTS). This award-winning solution allows passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with onboard connectivity comparable to the mobile broadband services they receive on the ground. As part of the agreement, Honeywell will now market GX Aviation to airlines worldwide through its rapidly growing GoDirect retail services business. This increases the company’s focus on end users, allowing it to tailor smart connectivity solutions directly to individual customers – whether in the airline or business aviation space. It addition, Honeywell will continue to manufacture and sell the JetWave hardware to airline and business aviation customers.


Spafax

Spafax’s innovative Business Traveller TV has been awarded for “Best Native/Sponsored Content” at the prestigious Drum B2B Brave Awards 2018 in New York recently. Congrats Spafax!


digEcor
Aerospace and electronics industry executive, Ariel Abam, has been appointed Vice President, Procurement, Manufacturing and Quality at digEcor. Ariel brings more than 25 years’ progressive experience managing medium to large manufacturing enterprises.

Also, digEcor is teaming with Jade in Singapore for aircraft retrofit of their cabin technology products for Asia.


Safran
Safran and Boeing got regulatory approvals a joint venture to build APU’s for aircraft, presently in San Diego CA.


Morgon Stanley put out a minor review of the Lion Air incident and in it, they said: “Ultimately, in our opinion, discovering the root cause will matter most for the stock and preliminary findings are expected to be released in late November, according to media reports. We believe that in a worst case scenario, Boeing could be forced to ground all 737 MAXs in order to rectify the issue, thus could impact deliveries in the near term. However, we believe this should not pose a material threat to EPS / FCF in the long-term.” Stay Tuned on this one!


OTHER NEWS:

Latest expansion of strategic partnership is further endorsement of GX Aviation as the reference inflight connectivity solution for airlines across the world

United Kingdom | November 14, 2018–Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, has expanded its global network of Value Added Resellers (VARs) for its GX Aviation inflight broadband solution with the addition of Honeywell Aerospace.

The agreement builds on Inmarsat’s long-standing partnership with Honeywell, who already manufactures the JetWave hardware for GX Aviation and sells Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX inflight wi-fi service for the business aviation market, through its GoDirect retail services business. In addition, it is further endorsement of Inmarsat’s commitment to operate the reference inflight connectivity network for airlines around the world.

GX Aviation is the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight broadband service, delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of Global Xpress (GX) High-Throughput Satellites (HTS). This award-winning solution allows passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with onboard connectivity comparable to the mobile broadband services they receive on the ground.

As part of the agreement, Honeywell will now market GX Aviation to airlines worldwide through its rapidly growing GoDirect retail services business. This increases the company’s focus on end users, allowing it to tailor smart connectivity solutions directly to individual customers – whether in the airline or business aviation space. It addition, Honeywell will continue to manufacture and sell the JetWave hardware to airline and business aviation customers.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Inmarsat and Honeywell have an extremely successful track record of working together in the fast-growing inflight connectivity market. We are delighted to now extend this partnership. Honeywell’s unique depth of experience in this field and their close relationships with airlines make them a perfect fit as a value-added reseller of GX Aviation.

“This agreement also builds on our exceptional go-to-market strategy. It comes soon after a new strategic collaboration with Panasonic Avionics and our continued success with existing value-added resellers, which have done an outstanding job in selling GX Aviation to leading airlines across the world. Our distribution network is now truly the best of the best.”

Ben Driggs, President of Services and Connectivity, Honeywell Aerospace, said: “A shift is underway in the aviation industry, focused on higher margin opportunities in software, services and predictive data analytics. Today’s announcement gives us the ability to market our multitude of GoDirect Connected Aircraft services in addition to hardware directly to future airline customers.”

Food For Thought:

We don’t think anyone in our industry will dispute the fact that connectivity is here to stay. Passenger expectations are driving that demand, and airline operations are too. However, have any of you IFEC aficionados noticed that the rate of connectivity installations is slowing down? This may seem a bit surprising given all the hype over connectivity, point in fact, over the past five- or six-years connectivity has been the primary focus of every trade show this publication has attended: AIX, APEX, FTE, etc. Think about the buzz phrases: gate-to-gate, end-to-end passenger experience, the connected aircraft – they all focus on the use of connectivity to improve the airlines’ ability to touch the traveler throughout their journey and tailor their experience to meet expectations. So why the slow down? One factor we believe is that operators are grappling with decisions regarding Ka- vs. Ku-band. A connectivity decision is a costly venture and is typically a hardware commitment for their fleet for the next 7 – 10 years. The airlines are faced with sifting through all the pros and cons of each solution to determine which is the most viable and reliable option to fit their model. Now throw in the possibility of the LEOs and things became a lot more complicated. Also, antenna installations are not a penny a dozen – they are expensive and complex. Add to that the recent statements released by the FAA regarding antenna/radome installations and the Airworthiness Directive issued by EASA and airlines are likely to pause over making a quick decision. Given these issues, we also expect it to be more challenging for some connectivity suppliers to generate near-term investment capital.

Needless to say, connectivity suppliers and hardware vendors have made a large commitment and there are many players in the field – maybe too many. As we mentioned in an earlier issue of IFExpress, we expect continued consolidation within our industry. Along those lines, we have heard that one of the majors in the IFE arena is making a play for the commercial division of a major connectivity company, as well as, the connectivity portion of second significant industry vendor – despite one or both of the potential acquisition companies having issues with significant debt. We are hearing DIP (debtor-in-possession) financing is being discussed. The company making the acquisition overtures evidently sees the potential is greater than the risk involved. And interestingly, they will also become a Ku-band operator, as well as, a GX Aviation (Ka-band) reseller.  If the stars align, these acquisitions will launch them into the first-tier position in the Big Three – at least as far as connectivity is concerned. We live in interesting times.


SmartSky:

During APEX we had the opportunity to sit down with Nancy Walker, the new CCO, and Ryan Stone, president of SmartSky Networks, to discuss the status of their 4G LTE air-to-ground (ATG) connectivity service roll-out. Nancy joins SmartSky with 30+ years of experience in the aviation industry having worked for NASA, Harris, LiveTV and Thales.

We were told that SmartSky is in the process of standing their ground towers, and at the time of the interview 77% of them were in the final stages of installation/completion. Currently, the company is focusing their ground-based installation activity on very specific channels: New York to Chicago and Chicago to Florida. The team said they are well on the way to launching their first business aviation customer and that they are in an active demonstration phase. Nancy told us that they have 1,000 of ours of flight test time logged on three different aircraft models and that they had just received their 96th patent!

What SmartSky offers using their 2.4 GHz unlicensed spectrum and patented 4G LTE beamforming technology is a path to get data off the aircraft very quickly. In fact, they claim their high bandwidth capability off the aircraft is unique to their service offering. The SmartSky ‘pipe’ is designed to provide 4 GB/hour to the aircraft and 3 GB/hour off the aircraft. What this translates to is a low latency network that allows users to receive large attachments in their email, and easily stream video on their Wi-Fi enabled PEDs. Ryan Stone went on to say that SmartSky is using a highly patented technology that helps make the system more secure. Not only do they use encryption technology, but the system utilizes a very narrow and specific beam, requiring a low power level to transmit to the ground; therefore, security is innately enhanced.

Since our interview in Boston, Penstastar Aviation developed an Approved Model List (AML) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) that permits SmartSky installations on the Gulfstream GIV-X models and GV-SP as well, and the first customer installation has occurred in the business aviation market.  The company is looking to enter the commercial realm but firmly believes that more general aviation operators will be utilizing the system before airlines enter the mix.  It wouldn’t surprise us if a North American carrier were to add the SmartSky Network onto their aircraft in conjunction with an already installed connectivity system. After all, that is a current airline trend: multiple suppliers for connectivity. This is one to watch!


AIRBUS

A330 – 800
The first A330-800 development aircraft to fly, MSN1888, landed at Toulouse-Blagnac, France at 2:35pm local time after successfully completing its first flight which lasted four hours and four minutes. The aircraft, the second member of the A330neo Family, is powered by the latest technology Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 turbofans. “Today’s first flight of the A330-800 is the latest addition to our efficient Widebody family,” said Guillaume Faury, President Airbus Commercial Aircraft. “The A330-800 is an exceptionally versatile ‘route-opener’, offering unbeatable economics for airlines – encompassing everything from short to very-long haul widebody missions.” He added: “We look forward to the successful flight-test campaign, leading to certification next year.”

The A330-800’s development program will include around 300 flight-test hours, paving the way for certification in 2019. Its sibling, the larger A330-900 family member, recently completed its development testing and certification program which validated the A330neo Family’s common engines, systems, cabin and flight & ground operations.

The A330neo comprises two versions: the A330-800 and A330-900. Both of these widebody aircraft incorporate new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, nacelle, titanium pylon, new wings and offer an exclusive ‘Airspace by Airbus’ passenger experience. The larger A330-900 will accommodate up to 287 seats in a typical three-class layout, while the A330-800 typically will seat 257 passengers in three classes. At the end of September 2018, Airbus’ order book includes 13 customers who have placed orders for a total of 224 A330neos, with more to be added soon.

Airbus will fly an airBaltic A220-300 new generation single aisle aircraft, to five cities in four countries as part of a world demonstration tour.  The A220 demonstration tour is a great opportunity for Airbus to showcase its newest family member in front of airlines and media and to offer a close up view of the aircraft`s outstanding characteristics, comfort, and performance, that benefit both operators and passengers alike. airBaltic’s A220-300 features a comfortable cabin arrangement able to accommodate 145 passengers in true widebody comfort. The Latvian airline already operates 13 A220-300s out of a total of 50 ordered. The A220 is the only aircraft purpose built for the 100-150 seat market, it delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and true widebody comfort in a single aisle aircraft. The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least 20 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. With a range of up to 3,200 nm (5020 km), the A220 offers the performance of larger single aisle aircraft.With an order book of over 400 aircraft to date, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market.

A220 – 300 TOUR

The A220-300 will first attend the Zhuhai airshow (China) from November 5th until November 8th before flying to Chengdu on November 9th. The aircraft will continue on its journey with a stopover in Koh Samui (Thailand) on November 10th  before flying to Kathmandu (Nepal) on November 11th. After that the airBaltic A220 will go to Istanbul (Turkey) on November 12thbefore returning to its home base in Riga (Latvia) on November 14th.


IATA

The  group forecasts an annual increase in global traffic growth over the next 20 year-end to double emplacements (8.2 Billion) by 2037. Interestingly (and expectantly), China will become the world’s greatest aviation market (to, from, within) the country supposedly by mid – 2020’s. Look for India to become third!


ICELANDAIR & WOW AIR

It looks like Iceland Air just bought out Wow Air and they will still operate separately out of the Icelandic aviation market. With less than 4% of the transatlantic market, both airlines have “challenging” profit issues and this may be a start to reduce that stress. While Wow had been working on a public offering before this announcement, the airlines appear to have seen value in the joining before that event occurrence. The naming of the final organization might be interesting.


GOGO

Gogo Announces Third Quarter 2018 Financial Results as follows:

  • Consolidated revenue of $217.3 million, up 26% from Q3 2017
  • Net loss of $37.7 million, an improvement of 17% from Q3 2017
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) increased to $21.1 million, up 63% from $13 million in Q3 2017
  • BA segment profit increased to $35.2 million, an increase of 65% from Q3 2017
  • 898 2Ku aircraft online on 14 global airlines, with 113 aircraft coming online in Q3 2018

OTHER NEWS

  • Perhaps it’s time for women to be more involved with the aviation industry because it sure seems so in some other areas? Here’s a quote from an interesting article in Business Insider: “In what may well have been a first in any country’s history, Iceland’s government actually studied whether macho posturing led to its economic meltdown. Its conclusion can be summed up in one word: yes.” Iceland ranks high for gender equality – Business Insider
  • Looking for work? Read this!! Here’s What Hiring Managers Actually Care About

A few more reports from APEX Boston

digEcor:

During APEX, digEcor had several significant announcements. One was the new EASA and FAA STCs for the digEcor power solutions on the B737 and A320. The company stated that by using their flexible AML STC they can offer rapid implementation of the light weight and easy to install USB or 110V power solutions offered by digEcor for both models of aircraft. Apparently digEcor has released their power seat kit for the BE Pinnacle and Recaro 3520 seats, which cover thousands of aircraft currently in service. The kit is comprised of a two=piece assembly that outlet mounting and cable shrouding – taking just minutes per seat to install. digEcor stated they have 200+ aircraft orders for their power solutions.

The new slim line NV monitor was also on debut in Boston. This is the latest and newest iteration of the GLIDE NV screen and is the slimmest to date at 3/8th of an inch (10mm). The new thin technology screen is easily embedded in any seat back or bulkhead while delivering all the capabilities and functionalities of GLIDE. The NV monitor boasts the latest IMX8 processor with increased memory, allowing future application options and also supports the latest HD content – all while being significantly lighter in weight than its predecessor. The NV can be mounted in a seat back, arm, or monument. It can also be used as a secondary cabin management solution or a cabin lighting controller.

digEcor also announced that they will be releasing their first Android offering in Q1 2019 for all of their existing and new GLIDE customers. Some of the benefits Android brings is more flexibility to the user interface by allowing airlines to rapidly innovate and achieve a common look and feel across their various fleets operating different hardware from multiple vendors. It will also provide a modern new look and feel that is comfortable for the passengers to interface with.

A new cabin management crew interface was also on display during APEX.  Improved performance and user interface for cabin systems controls are areas of significant improvement. The new interface has Embedded IFE, lighting and PSS, and can be controlled from anywhere in the cabin via remote control from the crew device. It also can provide convenient food and beverage ordering for the passengers. The key here is that the new interface not only improves usability at the terminal but also allows the crew to take control and interface with them throughout the cabin.

New additions to the digEcor executive team were announced during APEX. Gene Connelly has joined the company as President – Americas. Gene was previously Senior Vice President of Global Sales & Customer Support for Panasonic Avionics. He brings 28 years of experience in the IFEC industry with him. Tina Kazmer also joined digEcor as Vice President Marketing & Sales Support. Tina will oversee the strategic direction of Marketing and Communications which will include marketing, communications, events, proposal management, sales training & market research. She was previously with Advisian, the consulting arm of Worley Parsons Group.

Global Eagle:

When we had the opportunity to tour the Global Eagle booth in Boston last month, one of their primary areas of focus was Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellations and their great potential to significantly boost capacity while decreasing communication latency. However, LEOs are 3 – 5 years away from being a viable option. The network currently only has one LEO satellite in orbit, but Global Eagle is using the flying Albatross as a test bed for their Ka-band solution with Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite.  They are testing the hand-off between the LEO Telesat Phase 1 and the GEO (geostationary) Anik F3 in orbit. This hand-off is a critical component in the transition between LEO satellites. That isn’t to say they are planning on throwing in the towel on the GEOs but they do see the benefit of sending the right data over the right pipe in the future. Why all the hype over LEOs? When the LEO constellation is up and running it will provide 10 TB of capacity over the poles, have 30 milliseconds of latency vs. 700+ in the GEOs, and there will be at least 7 LEO satellites in orbit over the USA alone that will facilitate gate-to-gate. In a nut shell, the LEOs will provide global coverage with low latency and high capacity. As Mike Moeller, vice president of Aviation Sales said to us during our interview, “The LEOs will be like bring fiber connectivity to the aircraft without the fiber!”


MORE NEWS

Gogo:

Gogo announced that Brazil’s GOL Linhas Aereas, will become the launch partner for Gogo’s Aircraft Data Service, Wireless Quick Access Recorder and Automated Turbulence Reporting – tapping into aircraft data to drive operational efficiency. Gogo’s partnership with GOL launches a new business line for Gogo, and enables GOL to access real-time information, streamline processes, and generate new service opportunities by securely bonding aircraft data through Gogo’s 2Ku high-speed global satellite connectivity system.

“Gogo is rapidly moving beyond passenger connectivity to connect pilots, flight attendants and the aircraft itself so airlines can access real-time information. By leveraging inflight connectivity, airlines will be able to provide better service in flight, improve safety and operate more efficiently,” said John Wade, president of commercial aviation at Gogo.  “GOL has been at the forefront of technology adoption in the aviation industry; now they will be leading the way in leveraging aircraft data to drive efficiency. We are excited to work with them to bring Gogo’s Connected Aircraft Services to their aircraft.”

GOL will become the launch partner for Gogo’s Aircraft Data Service and Wireless Quick Access recorder. Aircraft Data Services allows for the integration of real-time operational data with GOL’s Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications to improve pilot situational awareness and application intelligence. Gogo’s Wireless Quick Access recorder more quickly provides aircraft data for use in airline operational and quality assurance programs.

In addition to leveraging Gogo’s data management products, GOL will be able to leverage Gogo’s Automated Turbulence Reporting, which utilizes real-time aircraft sensor data inputs. These reports are then sent to the ground using Gogo’s 2Ku, enabling faster and more accurate dissemination of real-time turbulence information.

Gogo has been connecting pilots and flight attendants in flight since 2014 and has developed several other capabilities in the following areas:

  • eEnablement – empowers airline crews with connectivity to their devices such as Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs), flight attendant connected devices and associated applications
  • Data management  gives airlines access to aircraft data anywhere in real-time
  • Operational solutions  optimizes airline operations with end-to-end solutions for safer, more efficient flights and improved passenger experience

To learn more about Gogo’s Connected Aircraft Services product portfolio, visit here.


Lufthansa Technic & LG Electronics:

LG Electronics (LG) and Lufthansa Technik AG will jointly develop, produce and market LG’s innovative OLED displays for commercial airplane cabins. The new venture will be based in Hamburg, Germany and will commence operation in the first half of 2019. The new joint venture will combine LG’s advanced, lightweight and flexible OLED display technology with Lufthansa Technik’s aviation business capabilities to create new markets for on-board aircraft applications such as welcome board screens and interior linings.

“We are very excited to be joining hands with Lufthansa Technik to expand the reach of LG’s innovative consumer electronic technologies to commercial aircrafts,” said Kwon Soon-hwang, president of LG’s Business-to-Business Company.

“Both partners contribute a globally recognized reputation in their respective business areas to create a new flying experience for the passengers,” added Dr. Johannes Bussmann, chairman of Lufthansa Technik’s executive board.Closing of the agreement, which was inked last week in Hamburg, is subject to regulatory approval and planned startup will deliver items such as interior lighting in first quarter next year.


Airbus:
Airbus welcomed Delta Air Lines as the first U.S. carrier to take delivery of the Airbus A220 aircraft.  On hand for the delivery ceremony at the aircraft’s assembly line in Mirabel were members of the A220 team as well as government officials and executives from Delta, Airbus, Bombardier and Investissement Quebec. Delta’s A220 will enter service in early 2019, making Delta the fourth global airline to operate the aircraft previously known as the Bombardier C Series. The C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP) welcomed Airbus as lead partner earlier this year, prompting the change of name to the Airbus A220.  Delta is the largest A220-100 customer, with a firm order for 75 aircraft.

With an order book of over 400 aircraft to date, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market, estimated to represent at least 7,000 aircraft over the next 20 years. As of the end of September, Delta was operating a fleet of 235 Airbus aircraft, including 182 A320 Family members, as well as 42 A330s and 11 A350 XWB, or eXtra Wide Body aircraft. The airline has more than 275 additional Airbus aircraft on order. Next year, Delta will become the first U.S. airline to operate the new Airbus A330neo.

Also from Airbus:

Airbus released The Great Enabler: Aerospace in Africa – a White Paper on the role of aerospace technologies and their impact on socio-economic development in Africa.The extensive report looks at how different segments of the industry can address a core set of challenges on the continent by: increasing access to healthcare; enhancing food security by making African agriculture more competitive and sustainable; promoting education, training and innovation; empowering businesses with innovative products and solutions; and breaking down barriers to the movement of people and goods across Africa.

The white paper analyses the role of aerospace technologies in sectors with the greatest possible impact on social and economic development including manufacturing and industrialization, civil aviation, agriculture, healthcare and humanitarian assistance:

  • On manufacturing and industrialization, many African countries are final consumers in the global aerospace value chain. Joining the ranks of producers in this value chain is challenging for many but not impossible. The examples of Africa’s current leaders in aerospace – South Africa, Tunisia and Morocco – demonstrate the complexities but also the opportunities for African countries to develop aerospace manufacturing and industrialization capacity. Key among these opportunities is Africa’s potential demographic dividend, which will be achieved by investing in its youthful and increasingly techno-savvy population.
  • In the aviation sector, the key question remains how to connect people to markets and goods in a faster, cheaper and more efficient way in order to maximize the sector’s role as an economic engine and a vehicle for greater integration in Africa.
  • Agriculture is perhaps the most consequential pillar of the continent’s sustainable development. However, despite employing more than 60 percent of Africa’s population, the sector contributes only about 15 percent of the continent’s GDP as underlying challenges persist. Aerospace technology such as precision farming could potentially reverse this situation by enabling farmers to produce more with less.
  • Access to healthcare is still a challenge for many rural populations. While building on the existing technologies in the sector – such as air ambulances – new technology will further change the dynamics of access to medical care and emergency response in terms of quantity, distance and data collection.

The report also stresses the need for clear government policies to harness the power of aerospace technology, concluding with key recommendations on human capital development, partnerships and financing.


OTHER NEWS

  • So, if a couple robots can build a chair, when will they be involved in aircraft construction? Robot builds an Ikea chair. Everyone goes nuts. | ZDNet
  • Don’t think the Tesla cars technology are driving the auto market changes? Read this – then think about airplanes! We don’t know if Tesla products are, or are not, top tech; however, you might find this description a bit different than others.
  • Okay, okay, the Bloomberg China-chip story caught a lot of electrical tekkies off guard and we have read a little technical jargon supporting (mostly denying) the possibility of the chip intrusion security technique. It is not easy stuff; however, if you are into the code/chip security issues, you might try reading some of the best electrically technical, intercept possibility articles we have seen on the subject here: Investigating Implausible Bloomberg Supermicro Stories And yes, its not aviation, but as electronics overtakes aviation solutions for things like operation and connectivity, perhaps it might be worth reading. And by the way, you have to read the Comments, they are by some folks that really know their stuff. Good Luck!

IFPL:

Charge-to-Charge is a patent pending solution that IFPL unveiled during APEX. As the name suggests, the new product enables an airline to monetize the USB power. There are two scenarios for a passenger to pay for USB inseat power inflight. 1) During the purchase of an airline ticket, a payment option to include for power during the flight may be selected. 2) Or via a preloaded mobile app, most likely the airline app, a passenger in route could elect to purchase inseat USB power. The USB outlet would communicate with the traveler’s PED via the app, allowing that device to be charged.

IFPL also showcased a reversible power outlet that supports both USB-A to USB-C as many consumer electronics are making the transition from one standard to the other. The company is always innovative, and they also demonstrated a concept seatback 15-watt Qi wireless inductive charging feature. They anticipate certification for the product by year-end.

Lufthansa Systems:

BoardConnect Portable was the focal point for Lufthansa Systems during APEX. The next generation system is capable of streaming inflight entertainment content to 100 passengers, which is more than double its previous capacity. It can be combined with a product from Lufthansa Technik called BoardConnect Portable/Link that facilitates low bandwidth SMS messaging and real-time online payments during flight. Furthermore, the product needs an antenna but requires no STC! Operational health and usage statistics are also features that the new BoardConnect boasts.

PDT an Astronics Company:

One of the forward-thinking technologies we experienced at APEX came from PDT/Astronics. They demoed a concept technology called LiFi. This wasn’t the first time we have heard about LiFi, far from it. However, it was the first time we experienced such a successful demonstration of the technology and we can see future applications for this technology inflight 5 or 10 years down the road. What is LiFi? LiFi is a high speed, bidirectional, and fully networked wireless communication of data using light. When an electrical current is applied to an LED light bulb, a stream of light (photons) is emitted from the bulb. LED bulbs are semiconductor devices, which means that the brightness of the light flowing through them can be changed at extremely high speeds, allowing a signal to be sent by modulating the light at different rates. The signal can be received by a detector which interprets the changes in light intensity as data. This cannot be seen by the human eye. This technique allows data to be transmitted to-from an LED light bulb at very high speeds. In fact, LiFi can get up to 11 Gbps, whereas, standard 802.11ad is in the 7Gbps range. LiFi only works for line of sight transmission but there is no interference with critical instrumentation. LiFi is significantly more secure than other wireless technologies because light can be contained in a physical space – physical barriers and adjustments can be implemented to contain and protect the light. It also works with 10%-90% light illumination. In other words, Li-Fi is rapidly modulated LED that has the capability to securely link a passenger’s PED well beyond traditional Wi-Fi. We realize it was a demo, but we watched a movie streamed via LiFi. There was virtually no latency and you could block the light, stopping the movie, and move your hand and the movie played right where we left off without any noticeable delay. We were impressed and cannot wait for this technology to be available in the home and in the air in the future!

RebelRoam:

One of the reasons we so enjoy attending expos like APEX is having the opportunity to meet new entrants to the IFEC space. RebelRoam is one such company. The Estonian-based company has developed a smartphone app, dubbed RebelRocket, that addresses three issues: speed, cost, and security – all frequent issues affiliated with public Wi-Fi networks whether they be on the ground or airborne. Here is a broad view of how it works. First, the app automatically encrypts all the content secure to any public Wi-Fi network. Secondly malware and ads can be blocked which reduces webpage load time. Third, it also optimizes video streaming. In other words, the app enhances any connection made through any Wi-Fi network. This sounded like a pretty cool product to us and we expect to hear more from RebelRoam over the coming months!

Kontron:

Kontron unveiled their portable Cab-n-Connect P100 wireless streaming platform for the commercial avionics market. The new platform is stated to be both flexible and robust while being in a small form factor (9.8 inches x 3.5 inches x 12.6 inches). It utilizes 802.11ac/abgn radios and features dual hot-swappable batteries to enable 12+ hours of streaming video. The P100 platform has up to 8 TB of onboard storage, as well as, RSSD for quick content updates.

Immfly announced that they selected Kontron for the Pegasus Airlines wireless IFE program. The Turkish-based low-cost carrier selected Kontron to supply their A320 and B737 fleet (81 aircraft) with the ACE Flight 4600 airborne servers, RSSDs, CWAPS and installation kits.

The company also inked a deal with Air Esurfing, a fully owned subsidiary of Air Media online Group, to jointly explore the China aviation Wi-Fi market. The Air Esurfing system solution plans to integrate Kontron’s ACE Flight Server and Cab-n-Connect WAPs for inflight connectivity application for China’s Ku-band and Ku/Ka-band HTS capacity.


MORE INDUSTRY NEWS

Astronics:

Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics AeroSat, had its FliteStream connectivity solutions tested, qualified, and approved to operate across Intelsat’s FlexExec business aviation service. Astronics Aerosat’s FliteStream connectivity solutions are the first inflight terminals to obtain approval to operate over Intelsat’s FlexExec service. FliteStream is a widely deployed satellite broadband data solution of fuselage- and tail-mount SATCOM products designed for government, commercial, business and VVIP aviation operators and passengers.

Spafax:

Global content agency Spafax was nominated this week for two B2B Brave Awards, an initiative hosted by global media platform and Europe’s largest marketing website: The Drum. The B2B Brave Awards celebrate excellence in B2B campaigns produced for digital and Out-of-Home as well as strategic initiatives in data, artificial intelligence, PR, social media and more. The awards are judged by a panel who have extensive experience in the B2B industry, including representatives from Stein IAS, LinkedIn, IBM, Momentum Worldwide, Adobe, MRM McCann, Ogilvy and more.

Spafax is a finalist in the following two categories:

  • Best Use of Artificial Intelligence: Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa for American Airlines
  •  Best Native/Sponsored Content Program: Business Traveller TV

About Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa

Powered by AI, the Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa Skill that allows airline passengers to “ask Alexa” about what movies, television shows, and music will be available on board their upcoming flight. The first of its kind, the Skill was launched with American Airlines, who wanted to introduce a way for their customers to use their Alexa-enabled devices to plan their journey and get excited about the entertainment on their upcoming flight.

Skywise:

Airbus has presented its new reliability analysis software at MRO Europe 2018. Called “Skywise Reliability”, this new solution has been developed by Airbus and is offered with Skywise Core. The application integrates all relevant fleet-wide data – such as part replacements, flight plans and delays and historical maintenance actions – and fully automates reliability reporting, saving airlines hours per week. Furthermore, it allows users to ‘drill down’ into trends to truly diagnose root causes so they can allocate resources to mitigate recurring operational interruptions (OIs).

Skywise Reliability also complements internal data with worldwide anonymised fleet data so that airlines can proactively assess reliability performance against industry benchmarks and understand whether a recurring issue is unique or a more systematic issue. Thanks to Skywise Reliability, airlines have already reported that they can typically reduce the reliability process time from one week to one day – saving significant time in collecting / sorting / processing the data and producing reports. Since its launch in June 2018, 28 airlines have been connected to Skywise Reliability, including easyJet, Allegiant, WOW Air, Bangkok Airways, and Etihad. The service provides interactive and ready-to-use dashboards to simplify the reliability process and increase its efficiency. It allows users to measure in-service fleet performance, explore operational data and benchmark fleet data (eg. fleet utilisation, operational interruptions and in-service issues, LRU removals, logbook data etc.) with other operators and the worldwide Airbus fleet. Thanks to Skywise Reliability, airline engineers and technicians can easily set up alerts (for example on mean time between unscheduled removal (MTBUR) of a line-replaceable unit (LRU) versus guaranteed MTBUR), and analyse trends, build reliability reports and collaborate.

Inmarsat:

Inmarsat, a provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced the appointment of Kai Tang as Senior Vice President of Business and General Aviation (BGA). Kai joins the Inmarsat Aviation business from Inmarsat Government, where he held the role of Chief Commercial Officer. Kai is an experienced satellite communications professional with industry expertise ranging across government, maritime and aviation. During his seven years at Inmarsat, he has held the role of Vice President of Commercial Strategy and Operations for Inmarsat’s U.S. Government Business Unit, and also played a key role within the company’s Global Xpress development programme.

He will be responsible for Inmarsat’s ground-breaking portfolio of connectivity services for the business aviation industry, including its global, high-speed Jet ConneX inflight Wi-Fi solution, which delivers an in-the-air broadband experience comparable to on-the-ground connections. In addition, he will oversee next year’s business aviation launch of the European Aviation Network (EAN), the world’s first inflight broadband that combines dedicated satellite coverage with a complementary LTE-based ground network.

SITA:

SITA announced that it will deploy a further 15 Scan&Fly units at Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (klia2), following the successful implementation of 15 units earlier this year. Baggage processing time has been cut in half for AirAsia passengers using SITA’s Scan&Fly bag drop technology at klia2 terminal, taking between 30-40 seconds on average compared to 75 seconds previously and reducing the wait time for check-in by 40%. The addition of SITA Scan&Fly into the check-in process has resulted in dramatic improvements in the overall check-in times. Prior to implementation the average wait time for passengers at klia2 terminal was around seven minutes but with SITA’s efficient baggage processing technology supporting the airline agents this has fallen 40% to just four minutes and increased the capacity of this area of the airport.


OTHER NEWS

FliteStream F-310 and T-310 SATCOM Products First to Become Qualified for Intelsat Business Aviation Service

East Aurora, USA | October 16, 2018–Astronics Corporation (Nasdaq: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics AeroSat, had its FliteStream connectivity solutions tested, qualified, and approved to operate across Intelsat’s FlexExec business aviation service.

Astronics Aerosat’s FliteStream connectivity solutions are the first inflight terminals to obtain approval to operate over Intelsat’s FlexExec service. FliteStream is a widely deployed satellite broadband data solution of fuselage- and tail-mount SATCOM products designed for government, commercial, business and VVIP aviation operators and passengers.

FlexExec is a managed end-to-end service that is accessible via Intelsat’s
global, high-performing, multi-layered Ku-band satellite fleet.
Specifically designed to cover high-traffic business jet routes, FlexExec integrates layers of high-throughput satellite (HTS) coverage from the company’s proven Intelsat EpicNG fleet with the company’s wide-beam Ku-band satellites to deliver added resiliency and redundancy.

FlexExec also aggregates Intelsat’s space segment and the IntelsatOne ground infrastructure into a simplified, streamlined ecosystem. By having one cohesive network, service providers will immediately gain operational efficiencies and be in a stronger position to simplify the in-flight experience for flight departments. In addition, the flexibility of the FlexExec platform enables Intelsat’s service providers to define their offerings for customers on an individual basis rather than on a one-size-fits-all model.

About FliteStream Satellite Connectivity Systems

Astronics AeroSat’s FliteStream solutions include its patented lens-horn technology, which creates the most efficient, reliable and highest-performing SATCOM antenna systems available.

The FliteStream solutions integrate next-generation satellite modem technology and are the only systems in production today that is compatible with next generation Ku-band high throughput satellites and iDirect Velocity networks, which provides maximum internet and data speeds in a single antenna.

Key features include:

  • Seamless connectivity for passengers to browse the internet, send and receive emails, make calls using Voice-Over-IP (VoIP), access virtual private network (VPN) services, conduct video conferences, and enjoy favorite work or entertainment applications
  • Most efficient Ku-band SATCOM antenna systems, critical for maintaining low angle satellite coverage while flying at higher latitudes, where most flights occur
  • Compliance with RTCA DO-160 and RTCA DO-178

Astronics AeroSat keeps people connected no matter where they fly. For over twenty years, Astronics AeroSat has provided fuselage- and tail-mounted SATCOM solutions for general aviation, business aviation,
commercial transport, VVIP, and military aircraft around the world. Learn more at Astronics.com.

Astronics will collaborate in the mission to enable seamless in-cabin connectivity experiences

East Aurora, USA | October 11, 2018– Astronics Corporation (Nasdaq: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced that it has joined the Seamless Air Alliance as an “Adopter Member.”

The Seamless Air Alliance is a consortium of companies dedicated to
the development and promotion of aircraft connectivity standards to
facilitate a simple, delightful experience for passengers. The goal of
the organization is to create standards that ensure continuous
connectivity from gate-to-gate anywhere in the world with the
additional potential benefit of reducing the hurdles associated with the acquisition, installation and operation of inflight connectivity systems.

“By joining the Seamless Air Alliance, Astronics continues to take a leading role in aircraft In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFE&C) system development and certification by shaping next generation IFE&C hardware technology explorations and advancements,” explained Matt Harrah, President of Astronics AeroSat. “With next- generation satellite technologies coming on board, it is important to look across network technologies to optimize the on-board connectivity architecture for providing the most appropriate system configurations for airlines’ business models. Astronics looks forward to collaborating with the other Seamless Air Alliance members to develop new connectivity standards that will improve the passenger experience.”

“We are very pleased to have Astronics join the Seamless Air Alliance and contribute their expertise alongside other market leaders defining the next generation of inflight connectivity,” said Jack Mandala, Seamless Air Alliance Chief Executive Officer.

Astronics AeroSat provides aircraft IFC antenna and radome systems and Astronics CSC provides aircraft inflight entertainment hardware systems, as well as certification services.

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

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

Some Highlights from APEX EXPO:

PANASONIC

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOGO

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

THALES

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

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

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

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

HOT TEAM = ENCORE

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


Other News:

AIRBUS

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

NOTES OF INTEREST