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

Boston, USA | September 26, 2018–Mahata Aero Teknologi (MAT), an Indonesian wireless technology provider, today announced a partnership with GMF AeroAsia as part of a 10-year inflight connectivity contract with low-cost airline Citilink.

GMF AeroAsia, part of the Garuda Indonesia Group, will support the installation of Inmarsat’s award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband onboard 50 Citilink Airbus A320 aircraft, working alongside Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik.

Together, the partners will implement a world-class Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) connectivity offering for passengers across the Citilink fleet, supporting the airline’s continued work to provide an innovative onboard experience and enhance loyalty among its growing customer base.

Citilink, which is also part of the Garuda Indonesia Group, was named Asia’s Best LCC at the TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards 2018 and has a four-star rating by Skytrax. Its installations of GX Aviation are expected to commence later this year.

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 (HTS). It allows passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights.

Iwan Setiawan, Managing Director of PT Mahata Aero Teknologi (MAT), said: “We are working with leading companies in the inflight connectivity market to ensure the onboard wifi offered to Citilink passengers is gold-standard. In addition to Inmarsat, Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik, we are delighted to welcome GMF AeroAsia to this important project. Their rich knowledge, expertise and world-class facilities will ensure the installation process is efficient and smooth. I believe this collaboration will benefit each party involved in the long run.”

Ben Griffin, Inmarsat Aviation Regional Vice President, said: “This is a fast-moving project, with Citilink only signing its fleet-wide contract for GX Aviation two months ago. We now welcome GMF AeroAsia to the project and look forward to commencing installation work in the coming months. This shows the impressive agility and determination of Citilink to quickly meet passenger demand for next-generation inflight broadband, together with its various project partners.”

FTS & Global Onboard Partners sign agreement to provide industry-transforming ancillary revenue services to airlines.

Boston, USA | September 25, 2018– FTS and Global Onboard Partners are proud to announce at the APEX EXPO Boston 2018 their agreement to work together to promote, design, and offer a seamless inflight entertainment and ancillary revenue service for airlines around the globe. FTS, a global provider of wireless inflight entertainment and connectivity solutions, and Global Onboard Partners, a provider of unique inflight advertising products, will combine their patented onboard technology, hardware and products to offer airlines the most comprehensive, revenue generating IFE solution in the industry.

“Global Onboard Partners maintains a network of sales partners and advertising brands that can reach more than 350 Million passengers a year across the global network,” said Global Onboard Partners CEO Kirk Adams, “Integrating our extensive network and our unique products into the FTS XStream hardware and software makes perfect sense and is allowing us to eliminate the costly barrier to entry for an embedded IFE system. We can now offer a full-service, certified IFE system, including all hardware, software, and ancillary support, with no costs up front. We provide the full system for a low, flat monthly fee comparable to a portable system which gives both FTS and Global Onboard Partners the opportunity to expand our footprints in the industry and grow moving forward.”

FTS SVP Darrel Chua added, “We are very excited to work with Global Onboard Partners and their talented team. Our fully integrated XStream IFE solution will not only be a market leader for its hardware and software but will be capable of tapping into new and unique proven ancillary revenue opportunities for airlines.”

FTS announces landmark agreement with Donghai Airlines to provide Next Generation Inflight Broadband Service fleet-wide that will be first in China to integrate both cockpit and passenger cabin applications

Boston, USA | September 24, 2018– FTS announces at the APEX EXPO Boston 2018 that it has signed a landmark agreement to equip Donghai Airlines fleet with its XStream-SAT Next Generation Inflight Broadband system.  The agreement is significant as it will be first fully “Connected Aircraft” implementation in China to integrate both cockpit and passenger cabin applications over Inflight broadband connectivity service.

Donghai Airlines is a private airline headquartered in Shenzhen China that started commercial flights in 2006.  It flies to over 41 destinations and operates the youngest fleet in China, comprising 18 B737-800 averaging less than 2.5 years in age.  Mr. Yang Jianhong, CEO of Donghai Airlines said, “Our vision of “Connected Aircraft” is not merely just Wi-Fi streaming IFE.  With full integration of front and back cabin applications over inflight broadband, we aspire to offer unparalleled passenger experience, improve air travel safety, efficiency and quality.”

Rich Salter, Chief Technology Officer of FTS added, “The seamless integration of the aircraft data network with the airline’s IT infrastructure enables the aircraft to become more intelligent and data-centric.  Airlines can provide precise support to flights through analysis of real time data transmitted via the air-ground broadband network.  By remote monitoring of flight systems’ performance and leveraging AI deep learning, airlines can even preemptively predict defects, recommend preventive measures and thereby greatly improve flight reliability.”

Under the agreement, Donghai Airlines fleet will be installed with FTS XStream-SAT Inflight Broadband Connectivity system, featuring a Ka-band satcom sub-system and highspeed cabin wireless network.  Apart from front cabin applications, passengers can expect to browse the internet, interact on social networks, watch live TV and shop on e-commerce sites using their own mobile devices.

FTS High Speed Inflight Broadband Connectivity solution set to transform air travel in China

Boston, USA | September 24, 2018– With the CAAC (Civil Aviation Authority of China) relaxation of regulations early this year to allow passengers to use smartphones during flights, the China market has been buzzing with activities in a rush to provide Inflight Connectivity.  FTS announced at the APEX Expo 2018 in Boston, USA, that it is partnering with Qingdao Airlines in China to equip its entire fleet of A320 aircraft with the FTS XStream-SAT Broadband Connectivity system.

Qingdao Airlines is a fast expanding private airline in China, currently operating a fleet of 14 A320s and serving a route network of over 20 domestic destinations.  With its commitment to “Passenger First”, the airline has been outperforming the market and plans to expand to over 100 aircraft by 2025. “Even before the lifting of the ban on passengers using their smartphone, we had been actively looking for a solution that meets our needs. The timing is right now that the smartphone ban was lifted, ChinaSat launched its Ka-band satellites CS-16 and FTS is here with its XStream-SAT system to complete the puzzle“, said the spokesperson for Qingdao Airlines.

“We are extremely honored and delighted to be working with Qingdao Airlines on this groundbreaking agreement to equip their fleet with our XStream-SAT Broadband Connectivity solution.  In the end what won them over is that we are not just offering hardware, but a total solution including a business management platform that helps minimize cost, improve operational efficiency and maximize ancillary revenue.  FTS can offer local support, integration services and market know-how that differentiates us from other providers,” added Mr. Duan Shiping, President of the FTS group.

 

Another APEX has gone by and there were some interesting changes and new technologies at the Boston Experience. Specifically, here are a few of the event “big deals” we saw. And you should note, some of the technologies and business deals will be with us for years and impact the industry for some time. Here are just a few of the deals and trends to watch, and note, in the forthcoming weeks, we will do future stories on many more vendors and many more products beyond the quick look presented here:

  • Panasonic and Inmarsat announced a strategic partnership to expand their relationship of inflight connectivity at Ku and Ka bands. This collaboration has the potential to offer a better inflight connectivity solution worldwide because of the existing fixed satcom installations at some 22,300 feet. Watch this relationship as it unfolds.We understand that the deal will be finalized by the end of October.
  • Another “big deal” is the clever acquisition of Rockwell Collins Paves IFE hardware, software, manufacturing, and manpower solution by digEcor. While the official announcement will be made later, almost everyone we saw had the story. The acquisition is a brilliant growth path for digEcor. Interestingly, Paul Margis and Gene Connelly were in the picture and no doubt were fans of a wider product base offerings. With some 1400 (est.) planes installed with Paves, digEcor is off and running with a full range of IFE, not to mention some items of which are line fit offerable at both Boeing and Airbus!
  • Astronics displayed a wide range of products including their IFE solutions. Included was an overhead bin sensor that will advise if passengers (or crew) left an object behind. This product can detect the bin environment including temperature, humidity, chemicals, as well as carry-ons left behind. Another potential product that we really liked was a light connectivity (LiFi) cabin solution displayed by Mark Schwartz of PDT. Their test displayed a video (high res) with no wired connection. More on this in future articles.

You will be able to see a lot more of the show on our website in the form of images in the coming weeks, as well as, finer tuned and more detailed articles on the expo.

In general, the expo this year told us the following:

1. In general, the IFE industry is developing smaller, lighter weight modular systems. A perfect example of this is the Panasonic NEXT System which is planned for the B777X in 2020. They cleverly built a room wall with the hardware laid out with connection paths so that the system and its options were easily understood – great communication concept.

2. One of the big aviation travel features is connectivity and passengers continue to demand contact with the ground. Further, since so many of today’s PEDs have entertainment capability, inflight bandwidth demand is escalating!

3. Analytics of everything on the plane is increasing and data requirements are growing to help improve plane/ground connectivity.

4. Panasonic is breaking some new ground in the application of improved passenger flight experience and wellness. This will be a big deal in future travel, especially in upper classes. To give you an idea of one of the areas impacted, entertainment hearing improvement was demonstrated with the software on an iPad that adjusted frequency response based on a traveler’s entered age. It was amazing!

6.The connectivity industry is now in a waiting pattern to see if LEO satcom technology will come on line as purported. Obviously, bandwidth requirements are growing and since the satcom density is greater with LEO’s, the ability of more bandwidth is there. Watch this one!

7. People are returning to the IFE industry and a good example, is Mythopoeia. The company is making a new IFE solution and it’s leader is Terrence Bonar!

8. Artificial Intelligence has landed in inflight entertainment and many airlines now use companies like Black Swan Data to better connect passengers from flight-to-flight and use algorithms to load products and prices.

9. No doubt you have heard, but people changes seem to be a big part of the industry this year. Stay Tuned on this one.

10. KID Systems has the slickest seatback USB plug – It just slides/snaps in and has no external power wires! We will have pix for you soon.

And yes, there was much more to see, which we will cover in future editions of IFExpress!


APEX OPENING SESSION SUMMARY

As usual APEX started of the week-long event with a Welcome & Introduction seminar, what was unique about this year’s opening was there were 6 C Level airline executives present that addressed their airline’s focus for the next 12 months. Their topics ranged from how to utilize personalization, the implementation of bio-metrics, and improving connectivity.  Below are the highlights from each airline representatives’ presentation.

The first to speak was American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, who focused on the airline’s transformation since the acquisition of US Airways in 2013. Mr. Parker stated that they have invested over $26 billion in the process of which $19 billion has gone to the acquisition of 500 new jetliners. He stated there is a night to day difference in their onboard offering over the past 5 years. An example is they no longer have an inseat IFE offering onboard their 737 MAX. Instead, they feature 12 channels of live television, as well as, paid for Wi-Fi streaming to PEDs. He also stated that premium economy will soon be available on all of American Airlines international fleet and that it has been well received and is in high demand on those aircraft that it has been installed on.

Stephen Kavanagh, CEO & executive director of Aer Lingus was the next to address the APEX throng. He stated that starting in 2019 the airline was going to refresh their brand. This will encompass free 20 MB of free Wi-Fi for economy class service. A new livery and new flight crew uniforms are included in the package. The refresh will be included on 12 new A321neo long-range jets. The updated image will reflect Aer Lingus’ modern outlook, as well as, their desire to be the leading value carrier across the Atlantic. The airline is also focusing on making changes based on Net Promoter Score (NPS) and are targeting to be in the 40 – 50 point range across all business categories. Examples of areas that have greatly improved their NPS yield are improved quality in their audio headsets and investing in better IFE screens – improvements that transformed their onboard passenger experience, bumping their NPS up significantly.

Passenger service improvements were the focus of Aeromexico’s CEO Andres Conesa. Mr. Conesa stated that it was irrelevant if you offered great inflight service, IFEC, or wonderful seats unless your flight departed on time. He stated that the most important thing is consistency and the way that Aeromexico is aiming to achieve this is through branded fares that allow the passenger to tailor their ticket to exactly what they want, as well as, standardizing their fleet from 7 different aircraft models down to 3 has also facilitated their plan. Presently, whether it is an international short, medium or long-haul flight passengers will have access to connectivity, IFE, free food and drink.

LATAM Airlines Group also considered NPS. Their NPS indicated that passengers were most concerned about the cabin experience. Consequently, the airline plans to invest $400 million over the next 3 years to retrofit the cabins on 67% of their fleet. Claudia Sender, CEO of LATAM Brasil and VP of Customers for LATAM Airlines Group said that the program will commence in January of 2019. The airline will be revamping the passenger experience in an effort to provide a more relaxing space. Simultaneously, LATAM will be expanding its route network through their joint venture with the IAG Group and American Airlines.

Calin Rovinescu, president and CEO of Air Canada, addressed the rebrand that Air Canada is currently undergoing. Having recently launched Rouge, the airline’s leisure brand, they wanted to make certain that Air Canada was distinguished as their mainline brand maintained its role as a leading brand globally. The first step towards maintaining this clarification between product offerings was the launch of a new livery for Air Canada – a black tail with the return of the red maple leaf. New food and beverage offerings, new uniforms and the rebranding of their premium product are part of the program as well. All of this sounds fairly normal until Mr. Rovinescu started discussing the 5-star restaurant and BMW limousine service for their full-fare international business class passengers at Air Canada’s Toronto hub! Mr. Rovinescu was also the recipient of the APEX Life Time Achievement Award.

Spirit Airlines CEO, Robert Fornaro spoke during one of the educational tracks dubbed Invest in The Guest: Utilization of Technology to Enhance PaxEx. During the breakout session Mr. Fornaro looked back to the early days of the leisure carrier, stating that what they had to offer the traveler was low prices and that was about it. When Fornaro took the helm he airline wanted to “invest in the guest” but didn’t want to select any connectivity offering, he wanted a solution that would fit Spirit’s business model. This led Spirit to be the launch customer for Thales’ FlytLIVE high throughput Ka-band satellite service. The system not only provides streaming capabilities, but the platform allows access to a large amount of analytics which facilitate ancillary revenue generation, understand the passenger, develop their value proposition, and truly fine tune their passengers experience.

Milestone affirms Astronics’ position as the leading provider of wireless access points for commercial aircraft

East Aurora, NY | September 24, 2018–Astronics Corporation (Nasdaq: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries, announced today that its wholly owned subsidiary Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC) has shipped more than 10,000 cabin wireless access points (CWAPs) to enable inflight connectivity systems on aircraft. With this milestone, Astronics’ CWAPs serve as the most broadly accepted 802.11ac CWAPs in the market today.

“We started this product line in 2015 under the former company name of Telefonix, and in just 3 years have become the world leader in enabling entire fleets of aircraft to provide fast, reliable inflight connectivity access for improved passenger experiences,” said Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics CSC. “We work with the major inflight entertainment providers, and by listening closely, we’ve been able to deliver streamlined, high-performance CWAPs with the features they need to augment today’s advanced IFE systems.”

About the CabinACe-2 Cabin Wireless Access Point

Part of the Summit Line of inflight entertainment hardware systems from Astronics CSC, the CabinACe-2 is the most recent version of its CWAP with a design that leverages the market leading access point from Aruba Networks, Inc. The CabinACe-2 is currently in production and has undergone extensive testing in compliance with Boeing Line Fit (BLF), Airbus Interior Services (AIS), as well as DO-160G retrofit testing. Extremely efficient in design and easy to install, features include:

  • Linefit offerable for Boeing and Airbus aircraft
  • Aruba/HPE Wave 2 Support, providing enterprise class security and control features
  • Exclusive worldwide radio support firmware, enabling the regulatory domains to be changed dynamically based on geo/location data
  • 200,000+ hour MTBF
  • DO-160G certified with Astronics-provided Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) through its own FAA/EASA STCs
  • FCC, ISED, CE and Chinese MIIT regulatory approval.

Astronics CSC provides current system configuration testing and creates performance enhancements in its Wi-Fi System Integrations Lab. Customers can purchase the CabinACe-2 as a standalone component or as part of a complete Summit Line of inflight connectivity hardware from Astronics.

Astronics CSC serves as the experienced, global market leader for in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for aircraft. The Company specializes in connectivity hardware, integration engineering, and certification services. Together with other Astronics subsidiaries, Astronics CSC offers the most complete set of IFEC hardware solutions available from a single vendor.

Aeromexico Will Tap into the Most Powerful Communications Satellite in the World; Providing Optimized Internet Experiences that Will Keep Pace with Future Passenger and Crew Broadband Demands

APEX EXPO, Boston MA | September 24, 2018– Viasat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT), a global communications company, today announced Aeromexico will deploy the Viasat in-flight internet system across 18 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, with an option to extend up to 60 aircraft. First line-fit installations of Viasat’s equipment have already begun.

Aeromexico evaluated the Viasat in-flight internet service against competitor offerings and chose Viasat based on its proven, scalable network platform. Aeromexico’s ability to tap into the ViaSat-2 satellite as well as Viasat’s future satellites, gave the airline great confidence it would be able to offer the best service quality with:

  • Optimal in-flight Wi-Fi reliability for the best and most consistent online experience gate-to-gate.
  • Fast onboard internet speeds ensuring passengers and crew have advanced streaming, downloading and web browsing capabilities.
  • High value internet performance as Viasat’s satellite system offers significant capacity and competitivebandwidth to Aeromexico’s flight routes.
  • A futureproofed approach to in-flight Wi-Fi, that will give Aeromexico access to the top-of-the-market advanced satellite communications system and spacecraft innovations to meet the growing broadband demands of the fully connected aircraft.

Viasat’s in-flight internet system will ensure Aeromexico’s aircraft can stay connected – as the technology is forward and backward compatible across the full fleet of Viasat’s spacecraft. This will give Aeromexico passengers optimal internet streaming and web browsing capabilities when traveling; flight crews the opportunity to stay connected for enhanced passenger services; and operations teams on the ground the ability to perform maintenance tasks when the plane is flying at 35,000 feet.

“As Mexico’s global airline, we take great pride in ensuring our passengers have access to the latest innovations and airline comforts,” said Andres Castañeda, Chief Marketing Officer, Aeromexico. “By bringing Viasat in-flight internet on board, we will deliver a top class in-flight Wi-Fi experience for our passengers. We want all of our clients to enjoy a high-quality internet experience in the air, and partnering with Viasat will accomplish that.”

“Aeromexico’s decision to deploy Viasat’s industry-leading in-flight internet system is a testament to their forward-thinking technology approach and their commitment to passenger and crew excellence,” said Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Aviation, Viasat. “Our current service has been recognized by multiple third parties as the best in-flight internet service on the global market, offering high-performance and high-dependability. With ViaSat-2 and subsequently ViaSat-3, we will bring even greater speeds and reliability with built-in scale and flexibility to serve millions of passengers daily as they fly across multiple continents.”

Los Angeles | September 24, 2018– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. [NASDAQ: ENT] has announced Canadian North Airlines as the first customer for Global Eagle’s new product, Airconnect Go, a portable wireless in-flight entertainment solution.  Airconnect Go draws on Global Eagle’s award-winning Airtime entertainment platform and content leadership to allow quick deployment of a proven and superior passenger experience.

“Every passenger expects entertainment and Airconnect Go is a high-quality portable system that takes advantage of Global Eagle’s industry-leading passenger entertainment platform,” said Per Norén, Executive VP and Chief Commercial Officer of Global Eagle. “We thank Canadian North for being the launch customer and we expect a significant number of airlines to follow.”

“Throughout Canadian North’s history, we have continually grown and innovated for the benefit of our scheduled service and charter customers, always with warm hospitality and an unyielding commitment to safety,” said Steve Hankirk, President of Canadian North. “The launch of top-notch inflight entertainment options will further enhance our onboard experience. We’re thrilled to be working with Global Eagle to introduce this exciting new inflight amenity.”

The first deployments for Calgary, Canada-based Canadian North will be during December 2018 with four Boeing 737 aircraft. Canadian North operates daily scheduled flights to, from and across Canada’s vast Arctic region. It also operates charter flights in North America and beyond for energy companies, sports teams, tour operators, cruise lines, government agencies and other large groups.

Airconnect Go: The Best Combination

Airconnect Go, which was unveiled in April 2018 at the Aircraft Interiors show in Hamburg, combines a reliable hardware system with Global Eagle’s Airtime services, including a proven passenger experience and entertainment packages with industry-best movie, audio and video offerings. The product is so compact it can fit into the overhead bin of most commercial aircraft. A single Airconnect Go system, which is not much bigger than a loaf of bread, can stream concurrently to over 50 users. Passenger analytics can be tracked using Global Eagle’s Airview reporting system.

The system is a low-cost and fast option for airlines. There is no hardware to install and the system complies with avionics standards without the need for additional aircraft certification or Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs). Passengers can use their own devices to stream content. Airconnect Go integrates Airtime’s leading Digital Rights Management capabilities, enabling passengers to play back content via their web-browser without an additional application being required for Apple iOS or Google Android devices and laptops.

Global Eagle has experienced interest in Airconnect Go from a variety of airlines, including large and full-service carriers with service gaps, regional airlines, charter carriers, airlines with small or leased fleets and other companies where the combination of low-cost and high quality is the goal.

 

APEX Expo & Boston, MA | September 24, 2018–Aircalin is to offer its passengers unprecedented levels of inflight connectivity, after partnering with SITAONAIR to add the ground-breaking Internet ONAIR solution to its fleet.

The airline, based in the French territory of New Caledonia in the south-west Pacific, is engaged in a strategic development program – Aircalin 2021 – that will see its fleet renewed with A330-900s and A320neos within the next three years.

Initiated on behalf of the airline’s major shareholder, the New Caledonian government, the program will enable Aircalin to offer an increasing number of flights, including new destinations, as well as boosting tourism within the island group (Aircalin currently serves Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands).

As part of a strong commitment to provide passengers with the best-possible inflight experience, Aircalin approached aviation technology pioneer SITAONAIR to secure the use of its award-winning Internet ONAIR.

Powered by Inmarsat’s Ka-band satellite network GX Aviation, Internet ONAIR enables seamless, high-speed connectivity at all times, helping passengers to stay connected with loved ones on the ground, or keep up with the latest news.

“Our passengers are increasingly demanding ‘at home’ internet capability during flights, so that they can carry on with their digital lives without interruption,” commented Aircalin’s CEO, Didier Tappero. “And SITAONAIR’s GX Aviation-enabled Internet ONAIR will provide Aircalin passengers with remarkable connectivity.”

Internet ONAIR over GX Aviation supplies much more than just a fast and reliable connection. Aircalin can now bring its passengers an exceptional level of personalization and interactivity – delivering a truly innovative and forward-thinking inflight connectivity experience.

SITAONAIR CEO, David Lavorel, has no doubt that SITAONAIR’s technology will help Aircalin deliver its ambitions: “With the deployment of Internet ONAIR on its new aircraft, Aircalin is really setting out its stall as a new-generation flight provider,” he said.

“We know the importance of the connected aircraft, and are confident that, going forward, Aircalin’s passengers will draw immense satisfaction from their inflight experience.”

To discover SITAONAIR’s best-in-class IFC portal, Internet ONAIR, and explore its complete connected aircraft services portfolio, visit www.sitaonair.aero

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a link that outlines our offerings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


INMARSAT & PANASONIC

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

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

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

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

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

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

FliteStream SATCOM connectivity and AeroShield radome solutions certified on

East Aurora, NY | September 19, 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, recently received the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Validation of Supplemental Type Certification (VSTC) of its satellite communications (SATCOM) connectivity system. Specifically, the VSTC validates Astronics AeroSat’s FliteStream F-310 connectivity system and its new ARINC 791-style AeroShield radome and adapter plate system. Complete data for this inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFE&C) solution is available in CAAC VSTC0870.

According to Matthew Harrah, President of Astronics AeroSat, “We are excited to announce the completion of our CAAC VSTC covering our inflight internet connectivity systems on Boeing 737-800/900/900ER aircraft for China installations. This enables Astronics to offer our Chinese customer base a proven & reliable IFE&C solution for next-gen Ku-Band high-throughput satellite (HTS) networks, which includes installation and all structural, antenna, and radome system components. The customer can pair the FliteStream IFC with either the Astronics CSC’s SummitTM line of in-cabin IFE equipment for an integrated, scalable, high-performance solution or with their own IFE equipment supplier of choice.”

With industry-leading technical performance, Astronics AeroSat’s FliteStream fuselage-mounted antenna systems are ready to improve the Chinese airline passenger connectivity experience.

“This CAAC VSTC, along with the in-process European EASA STC, and the near term A320-family STC, will provide global opportunities for airline operators and passengers to experience the benefits of our FliteStream & AeroShield connectivity solutions,” Harrah continued.

About the FliteStream F-310 Satellite Connectivity System

Astronics AeroSat’s FliteStream solutions are the only products available with patented lens-horn technology, which creates the most efficient, reliable and highest-performing SATCOM antenna system available. The FliteStream F-310 integrates next-generation satellite modem technology and is the only system 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 system, critical for maintaining low angle satellite coverage while flying at higher latitudes, where most flights occur
  • A three-piece LRU system: antenna, antenna controller & modem, and high power transceiver
  • Compliance with RTCA DO-160 and RTCA DO-178

About the AeroShield ARINC 791-Style Radome & Adapter Plate System

Astronics AeroSat’s AeroShield radome and adapter plate solution is the only next-generation ARINC 791- style solution that provides optimal Ku-band performance combined with the lowest drag design, while meeting all FAA & EASA bird strike safety requirements.

Key features include:

  • Aerodynamic shape to reduce drag and increase fuel savings
  • FAA & EASA bird strike compliance for large radome installations, to reduce certification time and cost
  • Sealing robustness against fluid intrusion from water, ice, deicing fluids and other environmental conditions
  • Advanced aluminum adapter plate design to minimize total IFC system weight
  • Connectivity systems commonality & interchangeability across entire fleetsAstronics AeroSat keeps people connected no matter where they fly. For over a decade, 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.