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

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:

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.

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].

If you have just decided to attend APEX/AIX Boston and are looking for hotels near the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) checkout the Seaport District. We note that three of the hotels located near the BCEC are full for the dates of the show but there are at least seven large ones nearby and many more a taxi ride away, so open the map on the following link for the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and nearby hotels: Seaport District Hotels

Here is a visitors guide that might help during your visit to Boston. The guide has 19 pages of restaurants alone and tons of hotels: 2018 OVG (148 pages your computer). This is all you need to locate just about anything you will need while visiting the city. And yes, it has a map and bus routes! Lastly, here is the latest floor plan for exhibitors to see who is where.

Also, do not forget the Aircraft Interiors Expo, Boston (AIX, Boston) will be there as well, as it is the fall’s only meeting place for the passenger experience industry, organized by Reed Exhibitions, it is the sister event to AIX Hamburg. The co-location with APEX EXPO and IFSA EXPO enables the entire supply chain and airlines to experience the full spectrum of aircraft interior products and passenger services in one city.

So now, lets get down to this week’s news:


LUFTHANSA SYSTEMS

More robust, more powerful: BoardConnect Portable enables high-quality streaming for up to 100 users from a single device. Lufthansa Systems will present this new generation of its award-winning solution at this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Expo (APEX) in Boston (September 25 to 27). The brand-new prototype will be displayed at booth no. 753. Lufthansa Technik will present its Lconnect hardware and service package at the same stand.

“With BoardConnect, we are currently one of the fastest-growing providers for wireless in- flight entertainment (IFE) in the aviation industry, and we are among the top five in the market with our multi-award-winning solution and wide product range,” said Jan-Peter Gänse, Head of Passenger Experience Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “The demand for IFE and IFEC solutions continues to grow. Our close cooperation with Lufthansa Technik and other partners gives us a decisive competitive advantage here.”

The new generation of BoardConnect Portable is even more flexible, powerful and robust, with an impressive modular concept. The new Mobile Streaming Unit (MSU) corresponds to a real server platform including all necessary access points. It can supply twice as many users with high-quality IFE streaming as the first generation. This means that in future one MSU will still be powerful enough to support one single-aisle aircraft, even if the airline expects higher usage rates. Thanks to its modularity, the new BoardConnect Portable can be individually tailored to the needs of the airline.

BoardConnect Portable can also be supplemented with Iridium NEXT technology upon request. This product, known as BoardConnect Portable/Link, has a low bandwidth and enables services such as messaging and online payment. The required antenna can be installed in a suitable position in the cabin without the need for an STC. The smart STC-free service is part of the Lconnect product family from Lufthansa Technik and only requires a minor modification. Lconnect comprises all relevant services to equip an aircraft with IFE and IFEC. In addition to the physical installation, this includes all required aeronautical and regulatory work, conversion planning and materials supply, the manufacture of diverse high- end components such as the WLAN access point, the supply of materials in regular flight operations, and the repair of defective components.

Another highlight from Lufthansa Systems will take place even before the trade fair opens this year. For the first time in the history of the APEX EXPO, the event will start above the clouds with an exclusive pre-conference on board an Airbus A350. The Lufthansa #FlyingLab APEX EXPO on September 22nd on Flight LH424 from Munich to Boston is being organized by Lufthansa in cooperation with Lufthansa Systems and APEX. Videos of the live presentations will be streamed via WLAN so passengers can follow them on their own smartphones, tablets or laptops. The WLAN on board is based on BoardConnect. This is one more example of the variety of potential uses of the digital platform. “We are delighted to present the Lufthansa #FlyingLab for the APEX EXPO this year together with Lufthansa and APEX. This exceptional event at an altitude of 10,000 meters will vividly show how innovative technologies and smart ideas can contribute to a new dimension of the passenger experience,” said Olivier Krüger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems.

BoardConnect enables passengers to use streaming technology during a flight to access an airline’s entertainment program on their own devices. The product suite includes four hardware versions: In addition to the permanently installed classic BoardConnect solution, there is the flexible BoardConnect Portable version as well as the BoardConnect Plus (broadband) and BoardConnect Portable/Link (messaging) connectivity solutions. The digital BoardConnect 5.0 platform runs on all versions. Thanks to its modern docker technology, the software enables additional digital services from partners to be integrated quickly and easily. Lufthansa Systems is also providing content such as movies, TV series, music and magazines with its BoardConnect Media Services. All products work in perfect harmony with each other and can be acquired separately or in combination. The different versions make it possible to scale the use of the products as needed.

Image: New BoradConnect Portable Case


LATECOERE

Latécoère, through its Interconnection Systems branch – No. 2 worldwide in onboard wiring and No. 1 worldwide in embedded video systems- has been selected for its “Direct View” cabin video system by Lufthansa Technik as part of its redesigned A320 cabin offering.This equipment was specially designed to allow the flight crew to maintain a watch for passenger safety issues during critical flight phases and responds perfectly to the priority issues for on-board security.

The Latécoère “Direct View” system is a high-tech solution providing a direct view of passenger seating and aisles throughout all flight phases. Developed in close co-operation with Lufthansa Technik and EASA representatives, over 130 shipsets of aircraft parts are already scheduled for delivery.

Latécoère remains confident in its ability to extend its offering to other customers with Lufthansa Technik, one of the leading providers of maintenance, repair, overhaul and modification services for civil aircraft.


GORE

W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. (Gore) will exhibit an extensive collection of GORE Aerospace Cables and Materials for in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) at the APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) Expo in Boston, MA, on September 24-27, Booth 801. For decades, Gore has provided the aerospace industry with new and trusted solutions that deliver failure-free performance in challenging conditions. Gore’s high-performance solutions in durable, compact, flexible and routable designs meet today’s and tomorrow’s requirements for reliable high-speed data transfer and high-bandwidth signals on digital networks. Passengers and flight crews can take off and stay connected on devices and critical systems while traveling, and installers will find them easier and faster to route in narrow aircraft configurations.

Solutions that will be on display at the expo include GORE Microwave/RF Assemblies that deliver precise radio frequency for Ka, Ku and L Band satellite applications, as well as GORE Leaky Feeder Antennas that deliver constant connectivity to a variety of wireless networks. Also featured will be GORE Aerospace High Speed Data Cables that support the latest open-source architectures and standardized protocols such as HDMI, USB, Ethernet, and more. Finally, Gore will be showing their revolutionary cable jacket systems that are proven to meet stricter industry requirements for more durability and protection in difficult aircraft environments.


FLAME DISTRIBUTION

Flame Distribution will be launching over 400 hours of new content this autumn and will be attending this year’s APEX Expo to offer its latest acquisitions to Inflight buyers worldwide.

Thomas Gould, VP Content Sales, Worldwide Transport & Digital at Flame Distribution, who is attending APEX Expo, commented: “Inflight sales are an important focus for Flame. I am really looking forward to meeting clients old and new and continuing to forge strong relationships with buyers at this year’s market.”


AIRFREE

Airfree, the marketplace of the sky that reinvents the inflight shopping experience onboard connected aircraft, will exhibit during the APEX show in Boston next week.They are announcing this week our selection in Starburst Accelerator program – the startups incubator specializing in aerospace – to accelerate our international development. You can discover more on their introduction video here


AIRBUS

  • AIRBUS appointed Christian Scherer as Chief Commercial Officer, replacing Eric Schulz, who resigned. The company is expected to name Scherer’s replacement as CEO in the coming days. Scherer will start his new assignment with immediate effect. He will report to Airbus Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tom Enders. Christian Scherer, CEO of ATR since October 2016, held many senior management positions within the Group. At Airbus, where he started his career in 1984, Christian was Head of Contracts, Leasing Markets and Deputy Head of Sales as well as Head of Strategy and Future Programmes. At Airbus Defence and Space, he headed Marketing & Sales. Born in Duisburg, Germany, and raised in Toulouse, France, Christian Scherer holds an MBA Degree from the University of Ottawa in international marketing and graduated from the Paris Business School (ESCP).
  • The first A380 for All Nippon Airways (ANA) took to the skies, completing a maiden flight from the Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse, France to the Airbus site in Hamburg, Germany. The aircraft is now being prepared for cabin installation and painting in the airline’s special A380 livery. ANA HOLDINGS INC. placed a firm order for three A380s in 2016, becoming the first customer for the superjumbo in Japan.  The first delivery is scheduled early 2019, and the A380 will initially be operated on the popular Tokyo-Honolulu route. To date, Airbus has delivered 229 A380s, with the aircraft now in services with 14 airlines worldwide.
  • AIRBUS booked 274 orders (219 net) in 2018, through August 31.

BOEING

  • Boeing awarded a $3 million grant to the George W. Bush Institute’s Global Leadership Impact Center. The grant, part of a previously announced $10 million donation to the Institute, will support women’s empowerment and global leadership programs aimed at promoting education, healthcare and economic opportunity for women around the world.
  • Boeing and Air Peace of Nigeria today announced a new order for ten 737 MAX 8 airplanes during a signing ceremony in Lagos. Air Peace already operates Boeing 737s between major cities in Central and West Africa. The airline, which recently added Boeing 777s to its fleet, is looking to soon launch its international flight operations.
  • The Boeing Company announced that Phil Musser, senior vice president of Communications, will depart the company in early November due to personal and family considerations. Anne Toulouse, current Boeing vice president of Global Brand Management, will replace Musser on an interim basis until a permanent successor is named.
  • A Boeing B787 completed a SFO – Zurich flight powered by a blend of biojet fuel (30%) derived from Carinata, an oilseed crop that can be grown like food crops. Agrisoma Biosciences (Canada) partnered with United and World Energy to complete the test.
  • BOEING booked 738 orders (581 net) in 2018.

Ted Neck’s Passing

Ted Neck, who was the long time representative for Panasonic and responsible for many of the trade show exhibits that graced the WAEA and APEX. Ted died unexpectedly on Thursday, 9/13 from a heart attack. Services are pending. They will be held in LA/Playa Vista area of California – where Ted and his wife, Rachel, reside – but time and place not fixed as of this writing. The family would be interested in Ted’s friends and co-workers sharing any stories they may have about working/partying with Ted. “If anyone wants to attend the services and speak, please let them contact me at  ken_lew@ieee.org I have taken the responsibility to filter the inputs and present them to the family to see if there is time and space at the service for many speakers from Ted’s working life.”


Other News

Over the past year, there have been numerous IFEC personnel changes that have the potential to impact and influence the direction our industry is charting. Thales and Gogo have many new entrants to the industry on their employment roster, as well as, new leaders at the helm; while the vast majority of Panasonic’s upper management has been rolled over in the past 18 months. As new folks enter the market we strongly expect both product and product direction changes in the inflight & avaition arena. With these new teams in place, we also anticipate new market opportunities to open up with the cross pollination from other technology industries where many of these new entrants stem from. Debt will also become a driver that will focus modifications of current business products and create new product directions. One area we see with a strong growth is data. Data from passengers, from the airlines, and data from (and to) hardware. Specifically, we see the potential of new data products/analytics about the aircraft and it’s hardware. With the growth of data, we expect malware increases as well – something is bound to happen. While we will watch and report what we see coming, keep your eye on the future of AI and it’s ability to help determine product condition and passenger needs!

Now, lets get down to this week’s news highlights:

THALES

Sichuan Airlines is celebrating the entry into service of their new A350 XWB. Thales is delighted to join their partner in celebrating this important milestone. This is the first Airbus A350 in China to be equipped with Thales AVANT IFE system. They have relied on Thales to help deliver their promise to exceed passenger expectations by equipping their new A350 XWB with AVANT. With its sleek and lightweight design, Thales’s high performing IFE solution provides the passengers of Sichuan Airlines an exceptional inflight experience and a vast selection of entertainment during their flight. The onboard entertainment services include a variety of television series, the most recent feature films, music, and games. This further strengthens the relationship between Sichuan Airlines and Thales who is already the airline’s preferred business partner in avionics – including Flight Management System for their A320/A330 fleet, customer support and innovative services. Thales is proud of this partnership and the extended collaboration with Sichuan Airlines to provide the best inflight experience. “Thales is honored to equip Sichuan Airlines new A350 XWB aircraft with our state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system, AVANT. We support Sichuan Airlines ambitions to drive the highest level of passenger satisfaction as we work together to shape new opportunities to provide a truly unique experience to all travelers.” – Philippe Carette, CEO, Thales InFlyt Experience


SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct, the business aviation connectivity, software and hardware provider, has confirmed its first Jet ConneX installation for Deer Jet subsidiary, Hongkong Jet. The ultra-high-speed Ka-band service, powered by Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite constellation, is being supplied to a privately-owned Gulfstream G650ER, managed and maintained by Hongkong Jet. Installed at Gulfstream’s Long Beach, CA. facility and activated by SD in early summer, the system delivers unrivaled cabin access to the highest data speeds available to business aircraft in the sky. “The principal runs a large, international Chinese conglomerate so the ability to use voice and text services, download and email documents, and surf the web, are fundamental to his business. His family often travels with him and they want to stream video, watch favorite TV series, and big sporting events. The need to deliver constant, reliable, secure connectivity is essential. With Jet ConneX installed the cabin is truly a home from home, as well as an office in the air,” says Mike Walsh, chief commercial officer, Hongkong Jet.

The Satcom Direct Router, SDR, seamlessly delivers the high-speed connectivity throughout the G650ER cabin to all passenger devices. In addition, data integrity is maintained by the SD suite of cyber security software solutions which while managed by the SDR, are supplemented by certified SD experts, to proactively mitigate potential threats and block intrusion attempts in real-time.“The data security offering, the standard of SD global customer service, and the ability to respond 24/7 to resolve potential issues, played a significant part in our decision to appoint them as the Ka-band provider. Our clients expect us to maintain the aircraft to the highest standards and we rely on SD to meet and exceed those expectations in terms of connectivity,” said Denzil White, chief executive officer, Hongkong Jet.


SITAONAIR

SITAONAIR’s EFB Weather Awareness Solution (eWAS) is the latest application certified by Inmarsat for use across its next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) communications platform for the flight deck, allowing airlines to now receive the latest weather view in real-time during flights. Following its certification under Inmarsat’s Aviation Certified Application Provider (CAP) program, eWAS users will now be able to seamlessly utilize SITAONAIR’s best-in-class technology for pilots using real-time SB-S datalink connectivity. The popular pilot weather solution offers up to-date views of severe weather, which can then enable a smoother, more efficient inflight experience for passengers and crew – and avoid related cost implications that were once deemed unavoidable. Severe turbulence, lightning, ice crystallization and other volatile weather phenomena can significantly impact an airline’s bottom line, with a single weather event sometimes costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, in addition to negatively impacting on-time performance targets. Such weather phenomena can rapidly appear, shift location, and grow in intensity, posing an increasing problem for airlines that traditional weather briefing packages cannot deal with.


BOEING/AvionX

Boeing named Brendan Curran president of Boeing AvionX, an organization formed last year to pursue the development and production of avionics and electronics systems. Curran, who has more than 20 years of aerospace industry leadership, joins Boeing from Crane Co., where he served as president of the Aerospace & Electronics Group. In this newly-created position, Curran will work across Boeing’s commercial, defense and services businesses to further mature the company’s aftermarket strategy. He will help advance overall capabilities of the Boeing AvionX organization to provide greater value to customers while driving long-term services growth. Curran will report to Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services. “The success of Boeing AvionX depends on aftermarket technologies and innovations that exceed our customers’ needs, as well as developing avionics products that add value to our commercial and government platforms,” said Deal. “Brendan’s extensive expertise, especially as it relates to aftermarket strategies, will enable us to harness incredible opportunities so we can provide our customers more value throughout the life-cycle of their investments.”Prior to Crane Co., Curran was vice president of Business Development, Strategy and Partnerships for commercial engines at Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Company. Before that, Curran was vice president and general manager of Repair and Supply Chain for Hamilton Sundstrand, a United Technologies Company.

Curran will be based in Plano, Texas, home to Boeing Global Services headquarters.


PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has appointed Catherine L. Razzano as Chief Compliance Officer. Catherine will be responsible for overseeing Panasonic’s compliance with laws, regulatory requirements, policies and procedures, and will report directly to the General Counsel of Panasonic Corporation of North America (PNA) with a dotted line reporting structure to Panasonic’s Chief Executive Officer, Hideo Nakano.

She joins Panasonic from General Dynamics Corporation where she held the position of Assistant General Counsel and Director from 2010. Her responsibilities included counsel on business and legal strategies, budget management for the legal department and serving as lead counsel to the company’s Government Relations Department. At General Dynamics, she also focused on the company’s compliance with anti-bribery laws, export controls, economic sanctions and other trade embargoes, anti-boycott regulations, anti-money laundering laws, and third-party intermediary agreements and due diligence requirements.


Gogo

Gogo, the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, today announced its financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2018.

“Our BA segment achieved its highest ever quarterly revenue and EBITDA and we believe this segment is well positioned for continued growth,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s President and CEO. “Our CA-NA segment showed solid service revenue growth over Q2 2017, excluding American Airlines. Our 2Ku operating metrics continue to improve and are helping to drive increased customer satisfaction.”

“Our second quarter results were elevated by the strong BA performance, a reduction and the timing of operating costs, and higher CA Net Service Revenue, among other items, and we maintain our 2018 Adjusted EBITDA guidance range of $35-$45 million,” said Barry Rowan, Gogo’s Executive Vice President and CFO. “We are beginning to realize the benefits of our ‘Gogo 2020’ plan and we believe these operational improvements will drive strong EBITDA growth going forward.”

Check out the financial report here.


OTHER NEWS

Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has appointed Gaston Sandoval, as Global Head of Marketing and Product Management. In this role, Gaston will lead Panasonic’s marketing and product strategy as the company evolves into a digital platform and services company and delivers the next generation of passenger experiences.

As Global Head of Marketing and Product Management, Gaston will oversee Panasonic’s branding, market insights, product marketing, performance marketing, content marketing, creative, communications, as well as product management.

Before Panasonic, Gaston enjoyed a lengthy, successful career at IBM. As Chief Operating Officer of IBM Digital, he led the deployment and market expansion of IBM’s Marketplace. Under his leadership, IBM Marketplace’s portfolio grew to include over 1,000 digital offerings, creating a new business unit with more than $1 billion USD in annual sales.

For two years, he served as CMO of the Watson and Software Group in Tokyo. In that role, he led IBM Watson’s launch in Japan in partnership with Softbank Group, and established the market for artificial intelligence and cognitive solutions in the region.

He also launched IBM IoT, PaaS and SaaS portfolios, helping make Japan IBM’s best performing region globally. As Head of Product Management for IBM datacenter provisioning and endpoint management products in Austin, Texas, he helped drive the foundational capabilities for IBM cloud.

Most recently, Gaston served as SVP, Global Marketing at Openlink Financial, a leading fintech enterprise software company, where he led its marketing transformation to a digital-first, outcome-based organization, repositioning the company that resulted in its accelerated successful acquisition by the ION Group.

Mark Jennings, Chief Operating Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Gaston brings with him a wealth of experience that makes him the ideal person to lead Panasonic Avionics’ repositioning into a digital platform and services company.”

Gaston added: “Panasonic Avionics is world renowned for the innovation it continually delivers in the passenger experience. As it evolves into a digital platform and services company, I look forward to the challenge of spearheading a marketing and product strategy which enable a next-generation passenger experience.

Gaston brings extensive global experience having lived and led teams in Japan, China, Latin America and North America. He also holds an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management and a B.S. in Computer Science and Computer Engineering from the National Polytechnic School in Ecuador.

He is passionate about sustainable development and runs an NGO in Ecuador focused on supporting families and children in need


Thales

Thales has appointed Philippe Carette as Chief Executive Officer to lead the InFlyt Experience business. The business is a leading provider of cutting-edge technologies that entertain, connect and inspire more than 1 million passengers airline across 70 airlines each day around the globe.

Mr. Carette will drive the company’s strategic corporate transformation initiatives within the business to spur greater competitiveness and long-term market leadership. He will also steer the digitalization of the connectivity and entertainment systems portfolio to deliver unique value to airline customers in a rapidly evolving cabin environment. This includes the recently introduced InFlyt360 digital platform, which allows airlines to continuously improve the passenger experience with features such as personalization, monetization, fresh and dynamic content and optimized engagement.

Mr. Carette replaces Dominique Giannoni who managed the successful growth of Thales InFlyt Experience during the past 5 years and now takes on a new leadership role within Thales.

Mr. Carette has spent more than 30 years in the aviation industry and previously held several leadership positions within Thales, to include the head of the Electrical Systems business and vice president and managing director of the Commercial Avionics unit. Prior to joining Thales, he was president of German aerospace connectivity systems provider, Deutsch Aerospace & Transportation – TE Connectivity; managing director at European engineering consultancy leader ALTEN; president and managing director at Sogeti High Tech, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cap Gemini; and managing director at Safran Group for Engineering Services and Electrical Systems. He holds a degree in engineering from the Institut polytechnique de Grenoble in France.

“Philippe is a leader in the aerospace industry and a proven leader in shaping strong businesses. His expertise in innovative advanced technologies will be instrumental to accompany our client’s big digital ambitions and our long-term growth strategy.”

Gil Michielin,Thales Avionics Executive Vice-President

“Philippe’s focus on customer success makes him an indispensable partner for airline customers. He brings a global perspective and unwavering commitment to excellence in execution and customer service.”

Alan Pellegrini Thales Chief Executive in the USA


Astronics

Astronics Corporation announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics PGA, was awarded a contract to provide its next-generation seat motion and lighting systems for Jamco’s new Venture seat program. Astronics PGA also entered into a long-term contract for potential future seat projects.


AIX

The event, which is co-located with APEX and IFSA, is the world’s largest fall event dedicated to the passengers experience, and it is the place to see all of the innovations that passengers can expect to see on their future flights under one roof. Each year the event attracts thousands of visitors and almost 300 buyers from the world’s leading airlines who attend to source the interiors for their new or existing aircraft – from first and business class seating, to Inflight Entertainment and airline food – the event is a one-stop shop. Exhibiting companies include Acro Aircraft Seating, Boeing, Diehl Aviation, E Leather, gategroup, Panasonic Avionics, STS Aviation Group, San Diego Aircraft interiors, and Tapis Corporation. See you there!


SITA

Scoot, Singapore Airlines’ low cost carrier, has renewed its long-term communication network services with SITA as the airline continues to expand to new locations worldwide. SITA AirportHub is simplifying the way Scoot connects its central IT systems to the airports in its rapidly-growing route network. The IT infrastructure is typically in place within three weeks, enabling Scoot to be flexible and agile as it adds new destinations throughout Asia, Europe, Africa and America. Jason Chin, Vice President, IT, Scoot, said: “Scoot currently has an extensive network of 66 destinations across 18 countries and territories, and plans for aggressive growth are in place. It is vital that our IT infrastructure is connected among our partners and efficient enough to support our expansion. SITA is a reliable partner in efficiently getting airports connected. With SITA’s global footprint, speed and flexibility, we can focus on expansion and adding new routes to our network.”

AirportHub is unique shared infrastructure that allows airlines to connect all their applications and IT systems at an airport quickly and easily. It removes the complexity of dealing with local telecom providers and adds flexibility and agility to route management. SITA’s system is currently operational at more than 440 airports and provides 7,000 customer connections around the world. SITA’s network services will connect Scoot destinations worldwide to its reservation system, Departure Control Services and disaster recovery site. Scoot is voted Best Low Cost Airline (Asia/Pacific) by AirlineRatings.com in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and ranked in the Top 10 of the World’s Best Low-Cost Airlines by Skytrax

Also from SITA

Brisbane Airport, the premier gateway to Queensland and the third busiest airport in Australia, has again selected SITA as its technology partner as the airport continues its growth and transformation plans. The new agreement will see SITA develop and extend the technology it provides for passenger, baggage and airport services to support Brisbane Airport’s commitment to service. The five-year agreement continues the airport’s close partnership with SITA which has successfully been in place for more than 20 years. Today, Brisbane Airport operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and SITA provides world-class technology with round-the-clock service support. This includes SITA AirportConnect® Open, its common-use platform and self-service bag drop and check-in, which ensure that Brisbane Airport runs smoothly for the 32 airlines that use the airport to fly to 81 domestic and international destinations.


Airbus

The first Ultra Long Range Airbus A350 XWB to be delivered to launch customer Singapore Airlines has rolled out of the paint shop in the carrier’s distinctive livery. Now at an advanced stage of production, the aircraft will undergo further testing before being delivered to the airline in the coming months.

Singapore Airlines has ordered seven A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft, and all of them are in various stages of assembly. The first aircraft to have flown has successfully completed its flight test program, which focused on the redesigned fuel system. It is now being fitted with its cabin.

The airline will operate the aircraft on non-stop services from Singapore to the US. This includes flights between Singapore and New York, which will be the world’s longest commercial service, as well as on routes to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The Ultra Long Range A350-900 is the latest variant of the best-selling A350 XWB Family, and will have an extended range of up to 9,700 nautical miles. This has been achieved by a modified fuel system, which increases the aircraft’s fuel carrying capacity by 24,000 liters without the need for additional fuel tanks.

With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 280 tonnes, the Ultra Long Range A350 is capable of flying over 20 hours non-stop, combining the highest levels of passenger and crew comfort with unbeatable economics for such distances.

The A350 XWB is an all new family of widebody long-haul airliners shaping the future of air travel. The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fiber fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivaled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 percent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs.


Valour

Almost four in ten commercial aircraft, globally, will be equipped to provide passengers with in-flight Wi-Fi by the end of 2018, that’s according to the market intelligence company’s latest analysis of the in-flight connectivity (IFC) market.

The number of airlines rolling out IFC has continued to rise, with Valour´s quarterly tracker indicating there are 90 carriers offering passenger Wi-Fi at the end of March 2018. There is little to suggest a slowdown is on the horizon, with service providers boasting sizeable backlogs and notable announcements expected from airlines in China and India going into 2019. Valour Consultancy anticipates the number of aircraft with IFC will reach almost 21,000 by the end of 2026, up from approximately 7,500 today.

Valour Consultancy is a provider of high-quality market intelligence. Its latest report “The Future of In-Flight Connectivity” is now in its third edition and is widely-regarded as the most comprehensive resource on this subject, underpinned by the depth of its firmly-established quarterly IFC tracker database. The report features 150 tables and charts accompanied by extensive commentary on the latest market issues, technology trends and the competitive environment. Check here for a full table of contents and report scope.


Other News

Dunfermline, UK | June 28, 2018– On 1 August 2018, Caribbean Airlines (CAL) will deploy Bluebox Aviation Systems’ portable wireless streaming platform, Bluebox Wow, on its Boeing B737-800 fleet for routes across the Caribbean and North and South America. Bluebox Wow will enhance Caribbean Airlines’ in-flight service by delivering ‘Caribbean View’ – a free in-flight entertainment service streamed to passengers’ own devices. Content will include blockbuster movies, television programmes, games, magazines and other Caribbean content.

“Caribbean Airlines is focused on enhancing the customer experience, and we are excited to introduce ‘Caribbean View’ as part of our in-flight entertainment package,” said Garvin Medera, Chief Executive Officer, Caribbean Airlines. “The wireless service will be free to all Caribbean Airlines passengers and the Bluebox Wow platform gives us the quality we want to deliver, in a flexible solution that fits our service upgrade plans.”

“We’re extremely pleased that Caribbean Airlines has selected Bluebox Wow for engaging its passengers,” said Kevin Clark, Chief Executive Officer, Bluebox. “Bluebox Wow offers a powerful and flexible proposition that will ensure Caribbean Airlines can deliver a fresh and vibrant service that is extremely easy for passengers to access, two things we know are important to an engaging IFE service.”

Bluebox Wow will be deployed across the Caribbean Airlines fleet of 12 Boeing B737-800 aircraft, on flights over 2 hours and above 10,000 feet.

Bluebox’s portable wireless streaming platform provides content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, providing the capability of storing up to 1.6 terabytes of film, TV, audio, games and other digital content. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, it is a discrete, portable, lunchbox-sized unit. Stowed securely in overhead bins, each box’s single, swappable rechargeable battery delivers up to 15 hours of simultaneously streamed video content.

The Spafax IQ Data Analytics Platform provides airlines with one view of their passenger engagement across all IFEC systems – an industry first.

London, UK | April 9, 2018– Global entertainment and media agency Spafax today announced the launch of Spafax IQ, a service designed to help airlines optimize their investment in entertainment across the passenger journey.

As aircraft connectivity rises and advertisers expect quality metrics for targeted campaigns, airlines are grappling with how to leverage the multitude of inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) data they have access to. Spafax is launching Spafax IQ to help solve this challenge for airlines.

The new data service provides insights in the following areas including but not limited to: IFEC content performance, passenger engagement with IFEC product, cost per engagement metrics and audience profiling.

Spafax Chief Executive Officer, Niall McBain said: “Spafax IQ is built to provide our airline clients with the insights they need to drive future IFEC product strategy and development. We use the latest research methodologies to build a detailed view of passenger behavior with entertainment while travelling and their expectations for richer, more valuable content experiences across every stage of the journey.”

Making its debut at Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg this month, the Spafax IQ Data Analytics Platform is the first product to give airlines one view of their passenger engagement across all IFEC systems. Additionally, the platform helps airlines enhance the passenger experience through predictive analysis and increase revenue from advertising and brand partnerships.

Spafax Vice President of Entertainment, Henry Gummer said: “We’re always looking for ways to help our clients get the most of their entertainment investment. Our Spafax IQ Data Analytics Platform is designed to improve ROI for entertainment and provides an easy-to-use-tool that allows our clients to run reports and generate insights for evidence-driven content strategies.”

Spafax IQ also provide insights on content performance against airline competitors. The service includes regular analysis and support from a Spafax team of data experts.

A new on-board entertainment platform becomes available to passengers flying with their mobile phones on the UK’s largest airline.

The platform developed by a Barcelona company offers users the opportunity to access content, offers and digital services in five languages for free via high speed streaming.

Barcelona | November 30, 2017–The innovative onboard entertainment and services platform “Air Time” takes off today on board the first five easyJet aircraft to be equipped with the service developed by Immfly, in line with the agreement announced in September between the two companies. In the initial phase, the platform will be available on select services covering over 90 destinations, including international capitals such as London, Manchester, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Lisbon, Rome and Madrid and many others, with Geneva and Basel as the main hubs.

The digital platform created by the Barcelona company, Immfly, one of the most pioneering in the industry, provides passengers of Europe’s leading airline with the opportunity to access a unique entertainment and services experience during their flight. Passengers will be able to enjoy personalised options on their own smart devices (smartphones, tablets and laptops), in a way which does away with the need for the older model of seat back screens.

The high-performance digital platform “Air Time”, available in five languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian and German), offers great flexibility thanks to its dynamic and wide-ranging digital functionalities and content designed to engage customers inflight.

Rakuten, a global leader in Internet services with more than one billion members worldwide and an ecosystem of more than 70 services, will be the official sponsor of the easyJet onboard entertainment platform integrated by Immfly.

Films, series, books, kids programmes, games, newspapers, magazines, practical information, language courses, destination guides and more

In its collaboration with easyJet, Immfly is helping deliver another step in the path to total connectivity as part of its pioneering strategy focused on enabling a 360º relationship with customers connected for interaction during their entire journey.

“Air Time” opens new and exciting opportunities in the European flight market. Customers can enjoy premium content provided by the official entertainment sponsor, Rakuten, who are also the global innovation and entertainment partner of FC Barcelona.

The high-quality content is curated from top-tier brands, including FOX Non Theatrical, Euronews and other media companies that are favourites among the British and European public.

Some of the titles available on “Air Time” in the Entertainment section include critically acclaimed television content, such as the series Legion and the comedy show Modern Family, as well as hit films like The Revenant, popular children’s programmes and a wide range of press publications including; Financial Times, Bloomberg, Le Figaro, Euronews, The Times, and other daily international newspapers, plus lifestyle publications such as; Elle, Rolling Stone, National Geographic Traveller and many more.

“Air Time” also offers a pioneering inflight service with on-board language lessons available on the platform and developed in partnership with uTalk. This makes it possible for customers to learn and practice more than 80 languages during their flight.

Passengers can also choose from a wide selection of best-selling e-books and audio books, destination guides, games and much more. The platform also includes a digital catalogue “Bistro & Boutique” that features meals, snacks and refreshments customers can enjoy during the flight while it also showcases the selection of on-board shopping products available inflight from fragrances and cosmetics to gadgets and toys.

“Air Time” also provides practical information about the flight and an interactive 3D map of the route in the “Flight Info” section, as well as information on local weather conditions and forecasts provided by the “The Weather Network”, and information about easyjet’s UNICEF campaign.

Personalised entertainment and services at 10,000 feet

The vast majority of passengers travel with at least a smartphone, a tablet or a laptop which is why Immfly’s paltform is relevant to anyone wishing to enjoy all this entertainment content from their personal, portable electronic devices inflight.

Access is possible through Wi-Fi points installed on the airplanes which allow all passengers to access the content at very high speed. No reliance on external connections enables a faster connection speed than what is currently available in most people’s homes.

Immfly, easyJet’s inflight entertainment and digital services launch partner

Immfly is leading the development of on-board digital platforms in Europe as a tool to boost the revenues of airlines by proposing to increase their “Net Promoter Score”, generating greater customer loyalty and creating additional sources of ancillary income with on board digital services, commerce and sponsorship. Immfly also provides services enabling passengers to purchase leisure products and services available at their destination before landing and to purchase entertainment packs whilst booking their flights online.

We specialize in maximizing revenue and engagement opportunities through wireless on-board connectivity, increasingly supported by success stories that are relevant to the airlines we collaborate with,” explained Jimmy Martínez von Korff, co-founder of the company. “Today we allow easyJet to provide a complete on-board digital services platform based on exciting content and online shopping possibilities, offering a fully integrated platform with leading brands and their services.”

Andrew Middleton, easyJet’s Ancillary Revenue Director commented: “‘Air Time’ will allow us for the first time to offer customers in-flight entertainment in a way that replicates how they consume their media at home. We are delighted to be collaborating with other innovative partners, such as Rakuten who will help us curate engaging content, and Immfly who are providing the unique easyJet portal with a dedicated customer support team, ensuring that easyJet crew are able to continue conducting an excellent standard of safety-focused service and on-board hospitality.”.

Arjen Van de Vall, President Rakuten Europe commented: “We are confident Rakuten can bring strong value and create a high quality showcase of its services through the on-board Immfly platform offering a best in class user experience” .

Immfly, a leading provider of online sales and communications services in Europe, expects to reach 100 million connected passengers in 2018 after its agreements with airlines including Iberia Express, Volotea, XL Airways and now easyJet.

Last issue we began the EXPO updates for our IFExpress content, and we continue with it this week. However, it may take longer to cover APEX as we plan to keep covering the latest news in our weekly coverage as well. So, lets get started with Lufthansa Systems and Telefonix:

1) Lufthansa Systems

Norbert Müller, previously Head of BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems, has taken on a new role as Head of the Americas region at Lufthansa Systems as of October 1, 2017. The LS folks said that he is pleased to hand over the baton to his successor Jan-Peter Gänse, who has so far been responsible for certifications and strategically important projects in the area of BoardConnect.

“I am pleased to be able to take on this task from a highly esteemed colleague and industry expert who has accompanied me over the past few years in my previous area of responsibility. My goal is to further expand the already established and successful path with our product line BoardConnect. With currently 12 customers, we are on the right track.” And while in Long Beach, we met the affable Jan-Peter and we really enjoyed visiting with him – and we are certain you will too!

From a hardware/services perspective, the company announced the following relationship during APEX. A completely new approach to content services provisioning characterizes the BoardConnect Media Services offered by Lufthansa Systems in collaboration with Touch Inflight Solutions Inc. (Touch). Since the two companies began cooperating closely just over a year ago, their product has been successfully installed on more than 100 aircraft of commercial airlines – including Eurowings, Austrian Airlines and Azul Linhas Aereas.

Although demand for an Internet connection is rising when it comes to onboard entertainment, current bandwidth is not yet sufficient to enable all passengers to stream content simultaneously. “While we expect connectivity to increase further and prices to drop in the next three to five years, bandwidth in the air will not be comparable to normal bandwidth on the ground even then,” said Michael Childers, Chief Consultant Content and Media Services at Lufthansa Systems. “That’s why providing airlines with a content offering stored on local servers on board the aircraft and streamed via a local WiFi network is a reliable and sustainable option that can also be combined with future Internet services. Our wireless BoardConnect in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution enables us to offer our customers exactly that.”

Integrated approach

Unlike some other IFE providers, Lufthansa Systems and Touch have adopted an integrated approach to in-flight entertainment. Rather than seeing the content and system-based components as separate entities, they directly consider the technological possibilities of the IFEC system when determining which content the product should include. The infrastructure, design and selection of content maximizes the system’s performance. What’s more, new content should be available even faster than ever. By using cloud technology and eDelivery, it makes it possible to place new content on the platform extremely fast, quickly taking Lufthansa Systems and Touch from the industry’s 90 days window to a mere fraction of this period.

“When we design the infrastructure components for the content, we have to be aware of the technical capabilities of the passengers’ current smartphones and tablets. Only then can we do everything we can to offer them a passenger experience that gets the best out of their devices,” said Joe Carreira, Managing Director of Touch Inflight Solutions. “We are working closely with Lufthansa Systems in this context. Our aim is to create solutions customized to fit the individual requirements of airlines and their passengers.”

The individual content on offer ranges from global and regional films and TV series, branded and web content, music, magazines as well as airport guides and destination content. When it comes to offering Hollywood movies, Lufthansa Systems and Touch Inflight Solutions have a direct, close and long-term working relationship with the film studios.

2) Telefonix

During APEX EXPO Telefonix PDT was selected by Gogo to develop the next generation Air-to-Ground Modem Controller Unit. Here is some additional information from Telefonix PDT on the product. The AMCU product is an evolution of the currently fielded Airborne Controller Processor Unit 2 (ACPU2), which allows seamless enablement of Gogo’s next generation ATG service while maintaining installed electronics footprint. Gogo’s next generation ATG network is slated for North American availability in 2018. The AMCU incorporates a proprietary modem that utilizes LTE technology in the unlicensed 2.4GHz band. This system is designed to provide peak speeds of more than 100Mbps. The AMCU is a continuation of the work the Telefonix PDT team has been doing during its long-standing development partnership with Gogo. The AMCU is the latest product to be developed by Telefonix PDT and has grown out of the insights and technological advancements from partnerships such as Gogo. The AMCU features a modular design for its key components, enhancing the serviceability of the LRU, while also providing a future pathway for upgrading those components.

To fully enable Gogo’s new network, the AMCU is designed to deliver advanced processing capabilities, with a modern quad core Intel Xeon processor. The AMCU supports both ARINC 429 and ARINC 717 data bus interfaces, a managed multi-port Gigabit Ethernet switch, avionic discretes, an 802.11g/a/n/ac Wi-Fi client, 4G/LTE Terrestrial modem, and an extended onboard multi-Terabyte SSD storage capability, all packaged in an ARINC 600, 6 MCU chassis. The cornerstone of the AMCU is Gogo’s innovative ATG modem; the AMCU chassis will manage and provide for the modem’s unique mechanical, electrical and thermal requirements.

Pat Walsh, Sr. Vice President of Engineering at Gogo noted, “The AMCU will be an integral component of Gogo’s evolving connectivity solution, and we couldn’t be happier to once again be working with the Telefonix PDT team to ensure an optimized product for our customers.”

Gogo’s awarding of the AMCU program underlines the faith Gogo has placed in the Telefonix PDT team to continue innovating the next generation of ATG services. “The Telefonix PDT team values its long-standing relationship with Gogo and is proud to have been selected for the AMCU program,” says Michael Kuehn, President of Telefonix, Inc. “Our team is committed to working side by side with the Gogo development team in delivering a best-in-class modem solution for Gogo’s ATG network and meeting the expectations of Gogo’s customers going forward.” The Telefonix PDT development team is on schedule to meet Gogo’s development and installation schedule, with planning underway for DO-160G qualification, with a final delivery expected in Q2 in 2018.


NEWS

  • PANASONIC AVIONICS-Mexico City-based Interjet has selected Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s (Panasonic) innovative inflight entertainment (IFE) system and Wi-Fi connectivity service for its fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. The initial aircraft will be delivered from Airbus in November 2017, and this A321 NEO aircraft will be the first Panasonic-equipped aircraft to be line fit with connectivity by the OEM. Headquartered in Mexico City, Interjet serves over 11 million passengers each year with routes in Mexico as well as the United States, Canada and Central and South America providing air service to 54 destinations in eight countries. It operates a fleet of 76 aircraft and has revenue of more than 1 billion dollars per year.  With Panasonic, Interjet will be able to offer a premium, connected entertainment experience across international markets and one of the most extensive domestic route structures available from Airlines in the region. Panasonic’s connectivity service will let passengers surf the web, send email, and use their favorite social media apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, and more over inflight broadband Wi-Fi. eXO is one of the industry’s most innovative overhead solutions. It features Panasonic’s new large-format 12-inch 1080p retractable overhead monitors, and gives Interjet a path to deliver wireless streaming to passenger devices in the future. It creates a theater like experience allowing passengers to view high definition video content on large-format overhead screens.
  • Gogo announced it completed 110 installations of its industry leading 2Ku inflight connectivity solution in the third quarter of 2017. The company had a total of 340 2Ku installed aircraft as of Sept. 30, 2017. “Our rapid deployment of 2Ku is transforming global aviation. Based on our pace of installs since Labor Day, we are well positioned to nearly double the number of 2Ku installations in the fourth quarter as compared to the third quarter,” said John Wade, Gogo’s executive vice president and COO.   “We are delivering the most bandwidth, the broadest global coverage and highest system availability for aviation.” Gogo will have approximately 600 total 2Ku aircraft online across 10 airlines by the end of this year.  The company has shortened installation times to less than two days, which is less than half the time that it typically takes to install a broadband satellite connectivity solution.
  • Astronics, a leading supplier of advanced technologies and products to the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Astronics Max-Viz, announced  that more than 2,500 of its Enhanced Vision Systems (EVS) have now been installed in rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft. 
  • Airbus logged 56 jetliner sales last month (single aisle & wide body) while delivering 55 aircraft for September (versus 62 in September 2016). Airbus’ overall net orders for the first nine months of 2017 totaled 271 jets (462 in 2017 versus 462 one year ago) . As one source notes: “Airbus’ overall backlog of jetliners as of 30 September stood at 6,691– the equivalent of approximately nine years of production at current rates.”
  • BOEING delivered 78 aircraft in September vs 72 in Sept 2016. It has delivered 554 aircraft over first three quarters of 2017 vs 563 a year ago.
  • And if you were wondering why the US came down so hard on Canadian Bombardier’s C Series aircraft dumping, you really must read the Danny Lam article in Aviation Week – China is the issue!

Lastly, if you didn’t have the opportunity to attend APEX in Long Beach or you were simply too busy to walk the expo floor be certain to check out our flickr link in the upper right hand column!

With vacations and pre-show quietness, our IFExpress search and discovery for news and industry input is lightweight this week; however there are some stories that we found so lets get started with a couple of news pieces from Rockwell Collins – and no, we have no more on a potential UTC buyout.

Rockwell Collins
The company will showcase business aviation solutions for the Latin American market, including flight deck, connectivity, cabin and service solutions at the 15th Annual Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Expo, from Aug. 15-17.

“This year we are showcasing even more of our business portfolio at LABACE to meet the needs of our customers in the region,” said Fernando DosSantos, director of sales and marketing, Americas for Rockwell Collins. “We are committed to increasing our footprint here in Brazil with broader avionics, cabin, service and connectivity offerings.”
At the company’s exhibit (booth #2016), experts from Rockwell Collins will be available to discuss the following key offerings:

  • Venue cabin management system: Our leading, most reliable and innovative cabin management system on the market, now equipped on more than 1,000 business aircraft cabins
  • Stage content service: Total content delivery solution that enables passengers to stream media, including digitally-protected movies and TV shows, to their personal devices from an easily refreshed, robust onboard server through wireless access points
  • CASP: Three levels of service, all delivering superior customer support, budget predictability and consistent aircraft availability for all the Rockwell Collins components on board your aircraft
  • ADS-B Out compliant solutions: Regulatory agencies across the globe are mandating implementation ADS-B Out, as well as other airspace mandates, as part of overall airspace modernization programs. ADS-B technology enables aircraft to continuously broadcast GPS derived aircraft position, heading and velocity information to ground stations connected to air traffic control

Next, TCS World Travel has installed Rockwell Collins’ CabinConnect wireless in-flight connectivity system on its custom-configured Boeing 757, operated by TAG Aviation. The fully operational system was launched on August 9, 2017 when 50 guests departed for a 23-day trip across Eurasia. “Our brand is about redefining luxury travel by providing highly personalized, enriching experiences for our guests from the comfort and convenience of our private jets,” said Shelley Cline, TCS World Travel president. “We chose Rockwell Collins for cabin connectivity because we needed a dependable solution that will keep our guests connected almost anywhere in the world.”

Through the new service, TCS World Travel guests can use an aircraft-provided iPad or their own devices to check email or browse the internet in flight, as well as access news, sports and weather information with a reliable connection that is similar to the quality and speed they experience when on the ground. The TCS World Travel system includes Rockwell Collins’ Airshow Mobile for Browsers, a 2D moving map system that keeps pace with guests wherever they fly. “Rockwell Collins was able to customize the system to interface with our onboard lecture system,” continued Cline. “This allows our guests to receive a live presentation from a travel expert about an upcoming destination that is broadcast to interested guests via the provided onboard iPads.”

“As a leading aircraft communications and service provider, we worked closely with TCS World Travel to understand their individual needs and requirements, and were able to outfit their aircraft with an operational system in just seven months,” said Alexis Hickox, head of Business Development, Cabin Solutions for Rockwell Collins. “Bringing together our aviation expertise with our knowledge of the Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) network has enabled us to provide TCS World Travel with a service that is very much in line with their mission of creating unforgettable travel experiences for their guests.”

Astronics
Astronics Corporation , a leading supplier of advanced technologies and products to the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Astronics PECO, was awarded a contract to provide its next-generation fuel tank access doors (FTAD) for the new family of long-range Boeing 777X aircraft. In addition, Astronics PECO received a follow-on award for its FTAD product for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The new 787 and 777X fuel tank access doors will utilize the latest in fuel tank door structural materials and designs for carbon fiber composite wing technologies. The doors will be manufactured by Astronics PECO in Clackamas, Oregon. These awards are in addition to a previous award in which Astronics PECO was selected to provide passenger service units (PSUs) for the 777X.

SITA
Lanseria International Airport is investing in SITA’s self-service technology that will add new convenience for passengers while providing improved common-use functionality for airlines. Using SITA’s self-service systems, passengers will now be able to quickly check-in and drop their bags before proceeding directly to the gate without having to visit a traditional check-in counter. In a first for a South African airport, passengers who have checked-in online or on their mobile device can now tag and drop their bags in less than a minute using SITA’s Scan&Fly self bag-drop units. Scan&Fly’s plug-and-play design allows the bag-drop solution to be easily installed onto existing airport check-in desks, maximizing terminal space while leveraging the speed of self-service. Using SITA’s Airport iValidate, Lanseria International Airport will be able to automatically verify all types of boarding passes, including home-printed A4 and mobile boarding passes, increasing security and speeding up the check-in process for passengers.

Behind the scenes, the airport will roll out new baggage reconciliation technology from SITA, providing passengers with greater confidence that their baggage will arrive with them at their destination. It will help airlines using the airport to comply with IATA’s Resolution 753, which requires that they track bags at key points during the journey. The airport is also upgrading its common-use kiosks and desk infrastructure to use SITA’s cloud-based solution, eliminating the need for local servers. This common-use infrastructure is critical in providing greater flexibility for airlines operating from the airport by allowing them to share common-use terminal equipment (CUTE) for check-in and boarding.

US MOBILE
A US wireless carriers going to launch unlimited access in aircraft from 120 countries and with some 20 airlines, so they say. We understand unlimited pricing of $10/ month for inflight Wi-Fi and with global coverage! The founder noted, ”Customers will also enjoy in-flight connectivity on all the major airlines at a more affordable price than what the airlines and other comparative services are offering. This Unlimited Wi-Fi plan is a game-changer when you travel abroad. Instead of paying for international roaming, which can be quite costly, you have a whole network of hotspots ready to be used anywhere in the world.” Stay Tuned!

Aircraft Interiors Expo – Long Beach CA.
In February, Reed Exhibitions and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) announced a long-term strategic co-location agreement for the fall expo event in co-ordination with the International Flight Services Association (IFSA). This year’s event will take place from 26-28th September 2017 at the Long Beach Convention Centre, California, and is the only fall event dedicated to the Passenger Experience Industry. The events will welcome more than 300 exhibitors from a wide range of renowned companies exhibiting at AIX Long Beach and APEX, including Acro Aircraft Seating, Avio Interiors, Diehl, Gogo, Inmarsat, Isovalta, Panasonic, Geven, Thales to name just a few. Over 30 unique airlines such as; Etihad Airways, American Airlines, Singapore Airlines, British Airways and many more from across the world are already confirmed to attend with many more expected to register in the run up to the show. Katie Murphy, Senior Exhibitor Director at Reed Exhibitions, said: “To have virtually all of the exhibition space already sold is testament to the growing popularity of the fall event dedicated to the passenger services industry. “AIX Long Beach brings together APEX, IFSA and AIX into a powerful partnership and to have generated so much interest already gives us great confidence that it is quickly becoming established as the must-attend event for the passenger experience industry in the fall.” The co-located passenger experience event is the largest in the fall, showcasing the latest innovation, technologies and products in the industry, such as galleys, lighting, cabin management systems, IFEC and passenger services.


MORE

  • Nesma Airlines is AirFi’s first Middle East airline customer and the 21st overall
  • The carrier will deploy AirFi’s Wireless IFE solution on its A320 and A321 aircraft
  • The solution will launch with Nesma in six weeks

Singapore | October 26, 2016– Market-leading Wireless IFE provider AirFi is proud to announce the signing of its first customer in the Middle East – and twenty-first customer globally – Nesma Airlines.

Nesma plans to deliver a streaming IFE solution to passengers flying on its Airbus A320 family aircraft in November this year, less than six weeks from contract signature. With over 20 airline customers flying with the AirFi solution every day, the AirFi team is experienced in enabling such speedy fleet-wide deployments of its system.

AirFi’s fully-featured portable Wireless IFE platform allows passengers to access DRM and non-DRM movies and TV shows, games, chat, duty free and post-flight shopping and daily updated news and social feeds. To provide such a wide range of content, the company currently works with over fifty content providers both big and small, including its official regional partner, Onboard International.

Furthermore, AirFi’s acquisition of a European technology firm earlier in 2016 means passengers can also play with a state-of-the-art 3D moving map. This new feature showcases numerous points of interest and offers the opportunity for geo-fenced advertising.

Passengers can access the content using their personal electronic devices to connect to a free onboard Wi-Fi network created by the AirFi boxes, which are positioned throughout the cabin in overhead bins. AirFi will initially offer Nesma’s passengers content in English, with the roll-out of Arabic-language content due soon after the solution goes live.

AirFi CEO, Job Heimerikx, comments, “We are delighted to welcome Nesma to the AirFi family and to open up another new region here in the Middle East with our partner Onboard International. We are dedicated to a continuous program of passenger experience enhancements and ensuring that the AirFi platform leads the market as the best-in-class hard and software solution for safety, performance, cost and speed of deployment.”

Martijn Moret, AirFi’s Chief Innovation Officer and Director of Operations in Asia, adds, “We’re very proud to announce our first Middle East airline customer, because it’s a new territory for us. It’s a tangible result of our expansion in focus from solely Europe out to the rest of the world.”
AirFi made the decision to expand its global reach earlier this year. So far, it has eighteen European customers, as well as one carrier based in the Philippines and one based in Mexico. Moret also hinted that further confirmed customer announcements could be expected before the end of the year.

Singapore | October 25, 2016– Rockwell Collins’ today announced that its industry-leading Airshow® Moving Map for airlines is available for web browsers on smartphones, tablets and laptop computers as part of PAVES™ Wireless in-flight entertainment system. All major operating systems with HTML5-based browsers will run the real-time flight data application, keeping airline passengers informed and entertained on their own devices.

With Airshow Mobile for Browsers, airlines will be able to customize the look of the Airshow application to match their company brand while delivering these key features:

  • Interactive, photo-realistic worldwide high-resolution map imagery
  • High-focus maps for cities and ultra-high-focus maps for airports
  • Intuitive and seamless user interface that incorporates gesture-based navigation
  • Support for six default languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, Arabic and simplified Chinese, with the ability to configure additional languages.

The addition of Airshow for browsers expands its footprint in the commercial aviation market as the moving map standard, continuing its proven performance of keeping airline and business aircraft passengers aware of their journeys for more than 30 years.

Peterborough | July 18, 2016– Flying Colours Corp., the North American MRO, completions, and refurbishment company has selected Rockwell Collins’ Venue™ cabin management and high-definition entertainment system for retrofit installation on all future CRJ ExecLiner conversions.

The first installation has already taken place at the Peterborough headquarters as a Bombardier CRJ200 conversion nears completion to a VIP ExecLiner format, a business jet configuration that Flying Colours has made its own. The aircraft will now be able to maximize the capability to display HD movies, enhance digital audio throughout the cabin, and broadcast other high-resolution content, including the Rockwell Collins Airshow® 3D moving map.

Going forward the installation of the Venue system will be standard on all CRJ200 conversions undertaken by the Flying Colours team. A further five ExecLiners are currently inbound to the Peterborough workshops, and each will have the newly selected system integrated during conversion. In addition Flying Colours will be setting-up a Venue demo unit of the of the Rockwell Collins CMS product in the Peterborough client design room. This will enable aircraft owners, of all model types, to evaluate the system for potential installation.

“Having over 25 CRJ conversions completed we wanted to upgrade our CMS offering to ensure that we offer customers modern intuitive technology, that also supports improved functionality. From a passenger’s perspective it provides a whole lot more in terms of flexibility, reliability and innovation. This is why we are now incorporating it as standard” said Eric Gillespie, Executive VP Flying Colours, about the upgrade. Rockwell Collins’ worldwide support is available to Flying Colours customers via their Global network.

This latest selection of the Rockwell Collins product further bolsters the established relationship between the two North American companies as Flying Colours is already a preferred installation agent and recognized dealer of all Rockwell Collins products.

  • Aircraft owners can make their cabin systems digital and set the building blocks for the future without breaking their budget

Cedar Rapids, Iowa | May 18, 2016– Rockwell Collins today introduced a series of high-definition (HD) cabin management and entertainment system upgrades for Gulfstream aircraft originally delivered with ACMS and Micronet systems. These upgrade options, available through Gulfstream Service Centers or Rockwell Collins-authorized dealers, provide operators with a range of solutions for converting their cabins to HD and addresses obsolescence of the original equipment.

Depending on which system is upgraded, Rockwell Collins offers packages that range from a simple refresh of the base systems for cabin control to a more robust package that includes its industry-leading Venue™ HD system.

Venue, which has been installed in more than 850 private and corporate aircraft cabins around the world, is custom built with the most advanced cabin technologies to emulate the latest in home entertainment and boardroom technology. Plus, Venue’s open-architecture design provides a path to easily implement future cabin technologies.

“Upgrading cabins to match the home entertainment or office experience that Venue delivers weighs heavy on the minds of legacy Gulfstream aircraft owners, but budgets can sometimes limit what they can do,” said Greg Irmen, vice president and general manager, Flight Controls and Information Systems for Rockwell Collins. “Now, with a series of upgrade options, even budget-conscious owners can modernize their cabins and set the building blocks for more upgrades in the future.”

Irmen added that major maintenance inspections provide the perfect opportunity to update cabins—saving time and money—and many legacy Gulfstream aircraft with ACMS and Micronet are due for inspection in the next few years. He went on to emphasize that ACMS and Micronet systems will both be obsolete in the near future.

Chicago | May 11, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, and SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation (“SKY Perfect JSAT”), Asia’s leading provider of satellite services, announced today that the two companies have entered into partnership for increased satellite connectivity over Japan.

Gogo will leverage the JCSAT–5A satellite high throughput beam to increase capacity, which ultimately means better performance for its service to Japan Airlines (JAL). To kick off the new agreement, Gogo will be offering passengers on all JAL domestic flights 15 minutes of free Wi-Fi on each flight.

“Gogo has built its networks to be open, which means we can leverage numerous satellites in the Ku-band around the world,” said Anand Chari, Gogo’s chief technology officer. “SKY Perfect JSAT is the largest satellite operator in Asia and by leveraging their high capacity JCSAT–5A satellite, we are able to deliver more bandwidth at lower costs to customers like JAL and their passengers.”

“We are sincerely honored to be a partner with Gogo,” stated Shinji Takada, President & Chief Executive Officer, SKY Perfect JSAT. “This year, we are launching several satellites including JCSAT-14 and JCSAT-15 which have very unique Ku-band coverage over Pacific region and Indian ocean region, Further, we have announced to launch Horizons 3e, a newly Ku-band HTS, in 2018. We will continue to satisfy growing demand in the mobility market with our satellites”

Gogo and SKY Perfect JSAT has also partnered to provide satellite communications services over the Pacific region with the new JCSAT-14 satellite which was successfully launched on 6th May.