PANASONIC AVIONICS

Panasonic Avionics is enhancing its in-flight Live Television sports offering with the addition of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

AFC’s competitions are being added to IMG’s Sport 24, the world’s first and only live in-flight sports platform, which is offered exclusively in-flight by Panasonic Avionics. These include all the major football championships in the Asia-Pacific region, including qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

It will join a wealth of other content on Sport 24 including NFL, NBA, NHL, tennis’ Grand Slams, golf’s Majors, Premier League, UEFA Champions League, AFC Champions League, European and Asian World Cup Qualifiers, and more.

Sport 24 broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, connecting airline passengers to more than 16 hours of premium live content from over 30 different global sports leagues each day. It creates a unique viewing experience for passengers – from the casual to the avid sports fan – which results in a dwell time almost three times higher than the most popular US sports channel.

Dominic Green, Senior Director, Digital Product Management of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “We are delighted to be enhancing the live sports we offer airlines across the globe with the addition of top-flight football from the Asia-Pacific region. Football is one of the most popular live sports we offer in-flight and we are confident that AFC tournaments will prove a hit with passengers from the outset.”

Richard Wise, Senior Vice President, Content and Channels, IMG’s media business, said, “We are delighted to bring Asia’s top national team and club competitions to our audiences and bolster our portfolio. Our long-standing relationship with Panasonic Avionics enables us to broadcast live sports coverage to passengers all over the world.”

The AFC is the governing body of Asian football and one of the six Confederations making up FIFA. Established in 1954 in Manila, the AFC is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and comprises 47 Member Associations.

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


SATCOM DIRECT

  • SD adding SKYTRAC Iridium Certus products to SD Xperience portfolio
  •  Deal enhances connectivity configuration options for SD customers globally
  • SKYTRAC addition expands current broadband offering to satisfy increased demand

Satcom Direct, has signed a deal with SKYTRAC, a Canada-based provider of intelligent connectivity solutions for aviation, to become an exclusive reseller for the business aviation sector. The newly ratified agreement positions SD as a global reseller of SKYTRAC Iridium Certus® hardware and data services directly to business aviation jet owners, operators, and business aircraft manufacturers.

Aligning with the SD strategy, which offers customizable, robust connectivity solutions for aircraft of all sizes, the agreement immediately adds an impressive range of Iridium Certus products to the SD Xperience portfolio. A full suite of robust connectivity options, powered by the Iridium LEO Certus constellation are available to satisfy the increased demand for connectivity from all sizes of business aviation aircraft. The SKYTRAC offering meets both cabin and flight-deck communication requirements for a range of business aviation platforms through its compelling broadband solutions.

“What sets us apart within the industry is our consultancy service that streamlines connectivity acquisition and ensures a seamless service that’s easier to manage. The addition of the SKYTRAC component enables a greater variety of options for owners and operators of business jets of all sizes, to receive consistent, secure, reliable connectivity, now. It also boosts our mixed fleet offering which, as we add more and more fleets worldwide to our roster, adds real value for the customer. We are proud to have partnered with one of the industry’s most respected Iridium Certus suppliers,” says Chris Moore, President, Satcom Direct Business Aviation.

The SKYTRAC products and services bring even more flexibility to the SD Xperience portfolio to support internet browsing, email, voice, and text services in the cabin, even on smaller aircraft. Flight-deck tools include improved situational awareness through flight tracking, weather alerts, and FANS capabilities. The additional products augment the SD commitment to provide cabin and flight-deck communications services, aircraft connectivity hardware, data management, and flight operations software, from a single resource. The SD Xperience portfolio delivers purpose-built technology to satisfy the unique, evolving requirements of business aviation, and gives SD the capabilities to create tailored, customer-driven solutions. In addition, all SD SKYTRAC customers will benefit from the award-winning SD 24/7/365 customer support.

“SD has gained impressive global market share of the business aviation sector and is dedicated to empowering owners by harnessing the full potential of data connectivity. This new relationship immediately broadens our potential customer base,” said Jan van der Heul, Vice President Sales of SKYTRAC. “The SD market penetration, combined with the expansion of the SD Xperience portfolio with the SKYTRAC products, adds up to a powerful connectivity offering for the international business aviation market. We’re excited to work with SD to bring our products to a much wider audience.”


THALES

Vantis and Thales Partner to Build Nation’s First Statewide BVLOS Network

Vantis, North Dakota’s Statewide Unmanned Aircraft Systems Network, has selected a long-term systems integrator to build out this groundbreaking UAS, or drone, infrastructure across the state. Thales, a global technology leader, was one of three aviation giants providing engineering and integration services being evaluated to enable BVLOS UAS flights on Vantis. A state selection committee made up of members from the North Dakota Department of Commerce and Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS), which administers Vantis, selected Thales as the long-term systems integrator for Vantis design, operations and maintenance.

“We’re excited for the next phase of our partnership with Thales,” said James Cieplak, program manager of Vantis. “They were chosen not only because of their outstanding technical performance and innovative approach to building this system, but because they provide the best long-term value to the state. Thales shares our vision for what a partnership of this magnitude could achieve, and for Vantis as the future of the UAS industry.”

One of the major barriers to commercial UAS flights – package deliveries, infrastructure inspections, search and rescue efforts – is that UAS currently must remain within visual line of sight of the pilot. Vantis is a State of North Dakota-funded technology infrastructure that uses radar, radios, and other communications equipment on towers distributed throughout the state to provide command, control, and situational awareness to UAS pilots flying aircraft within the network’s coverage area. With Vantis, UAS pilots can see and avoid obstacles and fly safely at a distance – which means commercial UAS flights that are economically feasible and scalable to the size of business.

“North Dakota continues to be the nation’s proving ground for the testing, training and commercialization of unmanned aircraft systems, and this partnership with Thales to build out the first-of-its-kind Vantis statewide network will help cement our state’s reputation as a UAS leader,” said North Dakota Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, who chairs the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority. “Our state’s nearly $50 million investment in this groundbreaking technology is attracting companies, jobs and entrepreneurs and diversifying our economy for the benefit of all North Dakotans.”

As the systems integration partner for Vantis, Thales will deploy new communications and surveillance infrastructure in phases across the state. This infrastructure will be supported by a Mission and Network Operations Center (MNOC) that uses the State of North Dakota’s fiber optic telecommunications network along with robust digital services deployed on cloud-based infrastructure to support operational resilience.

Vantis infrastructure has been installed at key sites in western North Dakota, where testing is currently underway. Testing standards were developed in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure they are rigorous, do not interfere with existing manned aviation operations, and to prove the safety and reliability of Vantis moving forward. Currently, approvals to fly BVLOS must be obtained directly from the FAA on an individual basis. Working with the FAA as the Vantis network is built out and proven will enable any operator who flies on the network to receive the appropriate approvals to facilitate true BVLOS flights – something that does not exist at this scale anywhere in the country.

“BVLOS operations are the greatest economic driver for sustained commercial UAS use-cases and, until now, there hasn’t been any common, or shared-use, infrastructure to support routine BVLOS operations,” said Todd Donovan, Vice President, Airspace Mobility Solutions, Americas, Thales. “Ultimately, the approach for unmanned systems with Vantis in North Dakota will likely shape how we approach UAS integration more broadly.”

As the system matures, Vantis will continue its expansion across the state. The expansion strategy targets areas with existing use cases where commercial interests and capable UAS operators intersect, such as the initial stage in North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields. The second stage of implementation will include the Red River Valley, priming Vantis to support businesses in two of the state’s largest metropolitan areas as well as one of the major agricultural regions in the state. Then, Vantis will begin connecting these major economic powerhouse areas across North Dakota.

“BVLOS flights are the future of UAS. They are how we achieve repeatable, scalable, economically viable commercial UAS services,” said Trevor Woods, interim executive director of NPUASTS. “Vantis, through our partnership with Thales USA, is making that future a reality. We’re building the blueprint for commercial BVLOS flights across the country.”


IATA

Mehmet T. Nane, CEO of Pegasus Airlines, has been appointed Chair of the IATA Board of Governors at The International Air Transport Association’s 77th Annual General Assembly, to commence his term in June 2022. Mehmet T. Nane, who will serve as the first Turkish Chair of the IATA Board of Governors, will commence his term at the 78th Annual General Assembly to be held in Shanghai on 19-21 June 2022, succeeding the current Chair of the Board of Governors Robin Hayes. Mehmet T. Nane will serve until the conclusion of the 79th Annual General Assembly in 2023. With this appointment, Mehmet T. Nane will also become a Member of the IATA’s Chair Committee and this Chair Committee Membership will last three terms as an elected, active and former Chair of the Board of Governors.


OTHER NEWS

Stay up on this airplane –  Widebody Challenger: The CRAIC CR929 Is Now Under Production – YouTube Russia and China are building it!

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has named Kent D. Craver to lead the company’s marketing activities, effective today.

As Senior Director, Kent will shape the company’s marketing efforts with responsibility for Panasonic Avionics’ global brand, and digital marketing transformation, with the goal of becoming the world’s leading brand for delivering an extraordinary passenger in-flight experience.

He will lead a global, multi-disciplinary team including the Brand, Marketing, Digital Marketing and Market Analysis groups. Kent will report to Andy Masson, Panasonic Avionics’ Vice President of Product and Portfolio Management.

Andy Masson, Vice President of Product Management, said, “Kent has a proven track record in delivering results in customer engagement, brand management and passenger experience. I am confident he will be a valuable addition to Panasonic Avionics and I am delighted to welcome him to our team.”

Kent has over 25 years of experience in the aviation industry. For 12 years, he was Regional Director – Cabin Experience and Revenue Analysis at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. His responsibilities included identifying passenger preferences and airline requirements, using that information to guide product development and helping carriers configure their aircraft to maximize profitability.

He joined Boeing in 2007 from Continental Airlines, where he managed Onboard Product Marketing and Research, with the responsibility for developing and maintaining the branding and customer experience aspects of the carrier’s onboard products.

Kent Craver said, “Panasonic Avionics Corporation is the world’s leading in-flight entertainment and connectivity provider. I’m excited to be leading the marketing team as we evolve the company’s brand to reflect the way it is transforming the passenger experience.”

An active participant and speaker in various industry forums, Kent also served two separate terms as president of the World Airline Entertainment Association (now APEX). He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.


NetForecast

NetForecast, a leading provider of Internet performance measurement services, has named Mary Rogozinksi Director of Aviation Business DevelopmentMary has been a leader in the inflight entertainment and communications industry for over 30 years. In her new role, Mary is responsible for strategy, marketing, sales, and account managementworking with airlines, inflight connectivity providers, business aviation partners, and other transportationrelated companies to improve the passenger WiFi experience. NetForecast recently unveiled its QMap® Inflight Internet Experience Monitoring service, which continuously measures the passenger WiFi experience from personal electronic devices, and reports on endtoend network experience quality in near realtime.

As current Chair of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Connectivity Working Group (CWG)Mary leads the effort to document metrics for measuring the inflight connectivity passenger experience. Through her work at United, SmartSky, and Gogo, she was instrumental in introducing inflight connectivity to airlines, and helped launch the service on American, Alaska, and AirTran Airways. Mary has been actively involved in the inflight entertainment and connectivity industry throughout her careerShe served as Director on the APEX Boardis a member of the Leadership Team for the APEX Technology Committee, and is a longstanding member and formeChair of the APEX Thought Leadership Committee. She has also served as President of APEX.

According to Rebecca Wetzel, NetForecastPresident: NetForecast is delighted to welcome Mary Rogozinski to our team. Her deep understanding of the aviation industry and her longstanding commitment to improving the passenger experience make her the perfect fit for our mission to improve the Internet experience for aircraft passengers.

NetForecast is a privately held company headquartered in Charlottesville VA. Its customers provide Internet service to over 62 percent of the nation’s broadband Internet subscribers.


SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct (SD) has confirmed successful functioning of the Plane Simple™ Antenna System during a series of transatlantic and European validation flights. In more than sixteen hours of testing amassed during a three-day mission, the tail-mounted, Ku-band Plane Simple Antenna System demonstrated its compatibility with the Intelsat FlexExec satellite network. Seamless data transmission was supported by the SD ecosystem of hardware, software, and terrestrial infrastructure, as it delivered consistent data streaming across multiple devices.

The SD Gulfstream G350 flight, confirmed the reliability of the new hardware, which has been developed specifically for business aviation. Constant data transmission verified the terminal’s functionality across the Intelsat FlexExec network, stressed the system, and proved its capabilities across a range of aerial dynamics. The flight transitioned between three satellites on the Intelsat network as the aircraft flew along the east coast of the USA, across the North Atlantic, and on to Ireland, before returning back to base in Melbourne, FL.

The beam transmission was flawless as more than 29 GB of data was transmitted during the flight trials across Intelsat’s multi-layered, redundant, high-throughput satellite network. The SDR® Gateway router supported Wi-Fi distribution to numerous personal electronic devices in the cabin, enabling multiple streaming applications, video conferencing calls, and Live-TV, to be simultaneously active.

“This heralds a new era for business aviation as it confirms SD has successfully developed a powerful hardware system that supports unparalleled connectivity services from a single source supplier. Contacting just one company for all connectivity needs streamlines the ownership experience, enhances customer support, and demystifies the complexity of aviation connectivity,” says President of Satcom Direct Business Aviation, Chris Moore. “The results prove that SD can support high-definition data streams for numerous on-board users concurrently and demonstrates that we remain committed to optimizing the possibilities delivered by the digitization of aviation.”

The Plane Simple Antenna System delivers a number of firsts to the business aviation sector. It consists of only two LRUs, an antenna and a modem, both of which are easy to access, enabling seamless upgrade paths and maintenance. The modem is positioned in the unpressurized part of the aircraft which also returns valuable stowage space to the passenger and crew.

SD is now working on generating commercial Supplemental Type Certificates to support Plane Simple installations. It is anticipated the first will be for Falcon 2000 owners, with others to follow by the end of the year to support business, military, and government aviation customers.

The tail-mounted Plane Simple Ku-band antenna is the first in a series being developed by SD in partnership with Germany-based QEST Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH, a worldwide market leader in innovative aeronautical antennas. Once activated it will support the Intelsat FlexExec Ku-band service, which has been designed as the only airtime service dedicated exclusively for business aviation.


BOEING

The Boeing Company announced the appointment of Kuljit Ghata-Aura as the new president of Boeing Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META), excluding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, effective Sept. 30.

Ghata-Aura, who is returning to the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region, will be based in Dubai. He will be responsible for leading all company-wide activities and developing and implementing strategies for a region that is home to some of Boeing’s largest commercial, defense and services customers.

Ghata-Aura, who previously served as the regional counsel for Boeing India, Middle East, Turkey and Africa for almost six years, will oversee the company’s new business and industrial partnership opportunities, safety and sustainability efforts, government affairs and corporate citizenship. He also will oversee Boeing’s efforts to expand its presence and strengthen its relationships with customers and other stakeholders in the region.

Ghata-Aura succeeds Bernie Dunn, who is leaving Boeing after more than nine years with the company in the region.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce the appointment of Kuljit Ghata-Aura as the new president of Boeing Middle East, Turkey and Africa. Kuljit brings a wealth of experience to the role from many of Boeing’s most important markets and businesses, including the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region, where he has spent considerable time. I look forward to working with Kuljit to drive further growth in the region,” said Sir Michael Arthur, president, Boeing International. “We thank Bernie for his great contribution to the growth of Boeing’s presence in the META region over the last seven years and wish him well for the future.”

Boeing’s presence in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa goes back several decades. Boeing has offices in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, South Africa, Egypt, Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The company also has several industrial and academic partnerships in the region. Today, the region is one of the world’s fastest-growing commercial airplane markets, and its defense needs are rapidly expanding.

“I am delighted to return to the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region in this significant leadership role and rejoin my colleagues as we continue to focus on partnering with all stakeholders in one of the fastest-growing and important markets for the company in META. Boeing has a strong presence in the region and there continues to be unique opportunities. We are, and continue to be, committed to working closely with the civil aviation and defense authorities and our customers to help achieve the region’s aerospace ambitions and objectives,” said Ghata-Aura.

Ghata-Aura joined Boeing in 2010 and has held several leadership roles for the company in Europe, Russia, Israel, India and the META region. In addition to being the regional counsel for Boeing India, Middle East, Turkey and Africa for almost six years, Ghata-Aura also held the role of director of market development for UAE from 2015-16. Prior to joining Boeing, Ghata-Aura was a partner at a large international firm practicing cross border mergers and acquisitions. He is a graduate of Oxford University.

Also From Boeing:

In observance of Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S., Boeing  announced a $1 million donation to organizations supporting Hispanic and Latinx communities. The investment package will fund 28 organizations working to strengthen appreciation for Hispanic and Latinx history and culture, increase STEM education curriculum in underserved schools, advance Latinx-focused leadership and workforce development programs and diversify the aerospace talent pipeline.

“We celebrate the contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans every year from Sept. 15-Oct. 15, but partnering in a practical way to support these communities every day can be life-changing,” said Susan Doniz, Boeing’s chief information officer, senior vice president of Information Technology & Data Analytics and executive sponsor of Boeing Familia, the company’s Hispanic and Latinx business resource group. “This grant will empower students, artists and families to tap into their creativity and turn possibility into reality, which not only has the power to transform communities, but also industries – and the world.”

The funding package includes support for the following organizations with a national focus:

  • $300K: Hispanic Heritage Foundation – funding to develop a new program called Engineering on the Fast Track to introduce aerospace engineering concepts to underrepresented students across the country, based on its popular Coding as a Second Language program; and sponsorship of a new STEM category for the Hispanic Heritage Awards to honor the Latina NASA scientists working on the Mars Rover Mission
  • $100K: Great Minds in STEM – funding will support the Viva Technology program which engages K-12 Latinx students, teachers and parents in STEM challenges
  • $50K: National Association of Latino Arts and Culture – funding will support artists, projects, and organizations working to address challenges in urban and rural Latinx communities across the U.S.
  • $25K: Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers – funding to support the Pre-College and Community College Conference to provide parents and community college student members with the knowledge, resources and network they need to successfully transfer to four year universities
  • Boeing’s contribution will also fund an additional 24 organizations providing support across 11 states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Washington.

A full list of partners receiving grants can be found here.

“The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is energized to partner with The Boeing Company, not only to recognize amazing Latina engineers like Christina Hernandez, Clara O’Farrell and Diana Trujillo, but also to inspire many more engineers through our new STEM initiative, Engineering on the Fast Track for Latino youth across the country,” said Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO, Hispanic Heritage Foundation.

“In addition, Boeing will be the exclusive sponsor of this year’s STEM Category at the Hispanic Heritage Awards where we will highlight three incredible and talented Latinas who are currently working on the MARS Rover Mission and demonstrating that anything is truly possible, whether here on earth or on another planet. Christina Hernandez, Clara O’Farrell and Diana Trujillo truly exemplify leadership in every way by proving that dreams can come true.”


OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


BOEING

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


OTHER NEWS

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

INMARSAT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


MORGAN STANLY RESEARCH

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

SECURITY & SAFETY

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


OTHER NEWS

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

PANASONIC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More News From Panasonic:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And More News:

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

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

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

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

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

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


ASTRONICS

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

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


THALES

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

BOEING

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

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

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

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SATCOM DIRECT

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

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

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

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


THALES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SMARTSKY

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


AIRBUS

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


BOEING

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS

Morgan Stanley Research: United Airlines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


MEGACONSTELLATIONS & SATELLITE FALLOUT

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


BOEING

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

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

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS

THALES

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

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

Pulse – Smart Power Management

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

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

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

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

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

MOMENT

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

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

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

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


GOGO

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


SMARTSKY

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


AIRBUS

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

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

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

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


BOEING

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

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

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

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

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


VISION-BOX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS

FLIGHTPATH3D

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

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


BOEING

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

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

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

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


MORGON STANLEY REPORT (MS)

Airlines: Corporate Travel Survey 2021: Slow Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS

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

Today’s Rectangle: IFPL’s Bluetooth Technology Embedded in a Seat Arm Cap.


Hi, it’s Tricia! The IFExpress team just wanted to reach out to the IFEC community and our readers during this crazy time that we all are going through. If there is any news or coverage we can give your company, products and/or services don’t hesitate to contact us – we are here to help get your message out. Direct all inquiries to my attention at plwiseman@gmail.com. Through team work our industry will weather this storm. Stay healthy and stay safe.


IFPL

Even in these challenging times, IFPL never fails to amaze us with their innovative approaches. This time, the peripherals experts have given us a ‘virtual product tour’ of what we would have seen at their booth this past week if AIX Hamburg 2020 had not been canceled. Let’s delve into their virtual tour:

Virtual AIX 2020 Day 1:

Ad Power – this product is an innovative way to provide passengers with in-seat USB power that can be monetized by the airlines.

When a PED (personal electronic device) is connected to the seat USB, the solution activates pop-up advertising if the passenger hasn’t purchased power prior to boarding. This is an opportunity for additional ancillary revenue for the airline. Battery anxiety is a recognized growing area of potential stress for travelers and onboard USB power offers passengers a solution to this issue.

Virtual AIX 2020 Day 2:

Day 2 of the virtual tour focused on integration innovations. IFPL is continually looking for new areas to implement passenger connectivity as airline seats continue to get smaller and lighter. The company has introduced its own Bluetooth technology into the top of the seat arm cap (super cool and it is today’s cover image)! Another innovation is placing two reversible USB-A connectors into the rear of the seat arm. One of the primary advantages of having USB ports in this location is that power can be provided without having to worry about the depth available within the seat back. And the USB ports can still be accessed even if the arm is lifted!

Virtual AIX 2020 Day 3:

IFPL understands that modifying a seat is not always an option. With this in mind they have developed under seat solutions which can be attached to the spar with no modifications required!

This is a simple and elegant solution for implementing power under the seat. In fact, the seat spar carrier can be adapted for different power outlets but still maintain a standardized design language. Here is an example of a low profile rapid fit unit that can easily be removed while leaving the carrier in place.

Thanks IFPL! We can’t wait to experience these innovations in person and look forward to seeing the Isle of Wight Team at the next IFEC Expo.

If you want to learn more about IFPL’s product innovations before the next conference contact them via email at innovate@ifpl.com


GOGO CHALLENGES SMARTSKY PATENT

The business division of Gogo has submitted a petitionto the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office requesting an inter partes review of U.S. Patent No. 9,312,947 (“the ‘947 patent”) granted to SmartSky Networks, LLC.

An inter partes review re-examines the caims in a patent to determine whether or not they are valid.

“We strongly believe that the ‘947 patent granted to SmartSky is not valid,” said Sergio Aguirre, president Gogo Business Aviation. “We have submitted evidence of published materials clearly showing that well before SmartSky asserts to have invented the concepts in the ‘947 patent, others had conceived of the claimed subject matter. Further, we believe there are many of SmartSky’s patents that are not valid. This is only one of many patents we could have challenged in a patent review.”


AIRBUS

Airbus continues to purchase and supply millions of face masks from China, the large majority of which will be donated to governments of the Airbus home countries, namely France, Germany, Spain and the UK. An Airbus flight test crew has just completed its latest mission with an A350-1000 test aircraft. This is the third of such missions between Europe and China. The aircraft returned to France with a cargo of 4 million face masks on Sunday 5 April. The A350-1000 left Toulouse, France, on Friday 3 April, reaching the Airbus site in Tianjin, China on 4 April and returning to Hamburg the same day. Since mid-March, the previous two missions were performed by and A330-800, and A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). Airbus also deployed an A400M and its Beluga fleet to transport shipments of masks between its European sites, in France, Germany, the UK and Spain. Airbus will continue to support the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic wherever possible. “I would like to pay tribute to all the Airbus teams, globally, supporting the fight against COVID-19. They’re living our values in assisting those who are saving lives every day”, said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO. ” Airbus is focused on the health and safety of its employees and supporting its customers and the industry eco-system with business continuity. At the same time Airbus is contributing to many vital public and private services and working with partners who rely on aircraft, helicopters, space and security solutions to carry out life-saving missions in support of the global pandemic. Airbus is deploying its employees, their expertise and know-how and leveraging technology in this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, for example in designing and manufacturing ventilators and 3D printed visors which are critical resources for hospitals. The Company is partnering with other organizations in unprecedented ways to achieve this goal as fast as possible

Airbus SE is closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation worldwide and is in constant dialogue with its customers, suppliers and institutional partners. Airbus is in the process of assessing the implications of the pandemic on its operations and the potential mitigation measures that could be implemented. The Company will not provide further comment at this stage.

Skytra:

Skytra, the new Airbus’ venture for airline risk management, and Exactpro Systems, a specialist independent software quality assurance firm, sign a Master Services Agreement.

  • The software testing collaboration between Skytra and Exactpro will provide the stakeholders with additional confidence in the quality of Skytra’s derivatives trading platform prior to go-live in a transparent, regulated and secure environment.
  • Skytra Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Airbus based in London. It was established in 2019 to produce new air travel indices and to launch and operate a regulated trading venue. Skytra works in close partnership with air travel and financial market experts to develop new risk management instruments for the benefit of the entire air travel industry.

BOEING

Boeing will temporarily suspend all 787 operations at Boeing South Carolina (BSC) until further notice, starting at the end of second shift on Wednesday, April 8. This impacts the Airport Campus, Emergent Operations, Interiors Responsibility Center South Carolina and Propulsion South Carolina. “It is our commitment to focus on the health and safety of our teammates while assessing the spread of the virus across the state, its impact on the reliability of our global supply chain and that ripple effect on the 787 program,” said Brad Zaback, vice president and general manager of the 787 Program and BSC site leader. “We are working in alignment with state and local government officials and public health officials to take actions that best protect our people.” BSC teammates who can work remotely will continue to do so. Those who cannot work remotely will receive paid leave for 10 working days of the suspension, which is double the company policy. After 10 days, teammates will have the option to use a combination of available paid time off benefits or file for emergency state unemployment benefits. All benefits will continue as normal during the suspension of operations, regardless of how teammates choose to record their time. Pay practice details have been made available to all teammates. During this time of suspension on the 787 program, Boeing will continue to conduct enhanced cleaning activities at the site and monitor the global supply chain as the situation evolves. When the suspension is lifted, the 787 program will take an orderly approach to restarting production with a focus on safety, quality, integrity and meeting customer commitments.

Boeing is extending the temporary suspension of production operations at all Puget Sound area and Moses Lake sites until further notice. These actions are being taken in light of the company’s continuing focus on the health and safety of employees, current assessment of the spread of COVID-19 in Washington state, the reliability of the supply chain and additional recommendations from government health authorities. During the suspension, the company will continue to implement additional health and safety measures at its facilities to protect employees. These measures include new visual cues to encourage physical distancing, more frequent and thorough cleaning of work and common areas and staggering shift times to reduce the flow of employees arriving and departing work, among many other improvements. “The health and safety of our employees, their families and our communities is our shared priority,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal. “We will take this time to continue to listen to our incredible team and assess applicable government direction, the spread of the coronavirus in the community and the reliability of our suppliers to ensure we are ready for a safe and orderly return to operations.” The volunteers who have been supporting essential site and services work should continue to report to their assigned shifts. Puget Sound area and Moses Lake employees who can work from home should continue to do so. As the suspension of operations continues, Boeing will monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and associated impact on all company operations. Boeing sites that remain open are being monitored and assessed on a daily basis.


OTHER NEWS

COVID-19

Astronics

Astronics announced that it has received the 2019 GOOD DESIGN Award in the transportation category for the design excellence of its portable inflight entertainment (IFE) product, Sierra.

The GOOD DESIGN Awards are presented by the Chicago Athanaeum Museum of Architecture and Design plus the Metropolitan Arts Press Ltd. Founded in Chicago in 1950, the program remains the oldest and world’s most recognized authority for design excellence worldwide. Astronics’ Sierra was selected for this award from a record number of submissions from the world’s leading manufacturers and design firms, representing the most important influential corporations in the design industry.

“We’re excited to announce that Sierra has been recognized by the Chicago Athenaeum for the 2019 GOOD DESIGN Award,” said Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC). “Receiving this award acknowledges Sierra as the leader in bringing smart design paired with technology innovation to portable IFE.”

Astronics’ Sierra is an affordable, scalable IFE solution that delivers IFE as a standalone unit from a single battery or, when installed and powered, can employ multiple units merged into a single network to cover a larger aircraft cabin. Sierra enables passengers to enjoy hundreds of hours of streaming audio, video, digital magazine content, and more. Sierra stands up to the rigors of flight in the overhead bin while delivering streaming content that matches the experience of installed IFE without the need for a supplemental type certificate (STC).


Inmarsat

Inmarsat announced that its award-winning GX Aviation solution has powered more than one million free inflight broadband sessions for Air New Zealand passengers. The impressive milestone was achieved approximately one year after Air New Zealand switched to a free-of-charge model for its inflight broadband service. GX Aviation is currently available on almost 25 aircraft within the Air New Zealand fleet, operating on Trans-Tasman, Pacific Island, US and London routes. This includes a combination of Boeing 777-200, 777-300 and 787-9 aircraft, in addition to Airbus A320 and A321 neos. In addition to reaching the one million milestone, last December was Air New Zealand’s biggest month ever for free inflight Wi-Fi sessions, with more than 122,000 customers connecting. This beats the airline’s previous record of 103,000 sessions in July 2019. This surge in uptake for free inflight Wi-Fi from Air New Zealand passengers chimes with recent findings from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), as part of the final installment of their “Sky High Economics” report with Inmarsat Aviation. The research found that there is an immediate $33 billion market share shift available for airlines developing the digital inflight experience. The report also revealed that Gen Z (born between 1997-2012) will become the largest group of airline flyers by the end of the next decade, bringing with them new expectations of technology and travel.


Immfly

The global in-flight digital services and entertainment (IFE) company headquartered in Barcelona, Spain announced it secured strategic investment from Boeing HorizonX in 2019. Immfly’s advanced digital solution enables airlines to efficiently and remotely manage onboard digital products and services on all aircraft types, including in-flight entertainment content, flight information, advertising and onboard sales. 

“This investment will help further establish Immfly as the industry’s leading partner for pioneering cabin digitalization and reinforce our ability to provide global services,” said Immfly Executive Chairman Jimmy Martinez von Korff. “Boeing and Immfly share a common vision to continue growing the digital capabilities provided to airlines to enhance their onboard experience and develop new revenue streams.”

“Boeing’s strategic investment in Immfly drives innovation across the entire passenger journey.” said Brian Schettler, senior managing director for Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “Immfly’s digital cabin solution is fundamentally changing how airlines around the world are engaging with their passengers during flight.” 

Immfly is one of just four companies outside the United States to join the Boeing HorizonX portfolio. The company will showcase its digital services in the HorizonX “What’s Next” booth at the Singapore Airshow this month with other members of the HorizonX portfolio.

Immfly is an award-winning provider of Connected Digital Services and Best in Class In-flight Entertainment. Immfly S.L. is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, with global offices serving full service, low cost and regional airlines worldwide. Immfly’s digital services reach millions of passengers across hundreds of destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia and North and South America.


OneWeb

OneWeb, a global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone everywhere, confirms its upcoming launch of 34 satellites has been scheduled for Thursday 6 February at 2142 (GMT) / Friday 7 February 0242 (local time) from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. This marks the start of a regular launch campaign during 2020 that will rapidly grow OneWeb’s first phase constellation of 648 satellites and represents one of the largest civilian satellite launch campaigns in history. Each satellite forms an integral part of the high-speed global satellite broadband network and together will activate OneWeb’s first customer demos by the end of 2020 to provide full commercial global services for sectors such as maritime, aviation, government and enterprise in 2021.


Airbus

Airbus has reached final agreements with the French Parquet National Financier (PNF), the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO), and the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) resolving the authorities’ investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption, as well as with the U.S. Department of State (DoS) and the DoJ to resolve their investigations into inaccurate and misleading filings made with the DoS pursuant to the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Airbus has agreed to pay penalties of 3,598 million Euro plus interest and costs to the French, U.K. and U.S. authorities. The settlements with each authority are as follows: PNF 2,083 million Euro, the SFO 984 million Euro, the DoJ 526 million Euro and the DoS 9 million Euro of which 4.50 million Euro may be used for approved remedial compliance measures. Airbus received credit from the authorities for having reported and for its consistently strong cooperation during the investigations.
Convention Judiciaire d’Intérêt Public with the PNF

Airbus has agreed to enter into a Convention Judiciaire d’Intérêt Public with the PNF. This agreement does not amount to an admission of liability. Under this agreement, the PNF has agreed to suspend prosecution of Airbus for a duration of three years. Prosecution will be discontinued if Airbus complies with the terms of the agreement throughout this period, which it is committed to doing. The agreement also contains an obligation for Airbus to submit its compliance program to targeted audits carried out by the Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA) over a period of three years.

Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the SFO

Airbus has agreed to enter into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the SFO. This agreement does not amount to an admission of liability. Under this agreement, the SFO has agreed to suspend prosecution of Airbus for a duration of three years. Prosecution will be discontinued if Airbus complies with the terms of the agreement throughout this period, which it is committed to doing. In light of the continuing monitorship to be conducted by the French Anti-Corruption body, the AFA, no independent compliance monitor will be imposed on Airbus under the agreement with the SFO.

Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the DoJ

Airbus has agreed to enter into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the DoJ. Under this agreement, the DoJ has agreed to suspend prosecution of Airbus for a duration of three years. Prosecution will be discontinued if Airbus complies with the terms of the agreement during this period, which it is committed to doing. No independent compliance monitor will be imposed on Airbus under the agreement with the DoJ.

Consent Agreement with the DoS

Finally, Airbus has agreed to enter into a Consent Agreement with the DoS. Under this agreement, the DoS has agreed to settle all civil violations of the ITAR outlined in Airbus’ voluntary disclosures identified in the Consent Agreement, and Airbus has agreed to retain an independent export control compliance officer, who will monitor the effectiveness of Airbus’ export control systems and their compliance with the ITAR.

For legal reasons, Airbus cannot make any comment on the agreed Statements of Facts published by the investigating authorities. Airbus has taken significant steps to reform itself and to ensure that this conduct will not reoccur. Airbus has significantly enhanced its compliance system under the supervision of an Independent Compliance Review Panel. The Company is committed to conducting business with integrity.Airbus will continue to cooperate with the authorities in the future, pursuant to the agreements, and to install a strong Ethics & Compliance culture within the Company


Boeing

Boeing  announced a donation of 250,000 medical-grade respiratory masks to address medical supply shortages in China. The masks will be provided to local health officials battling the spread of the coronavirus in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, and Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province. “Our thoughts continue to be with all those in China dealing with the health impacts related to the coronavirus,” said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. “Through our donation, it is our hope that we can help limit the spread of this virus and ease the burden on local aid workers and medical personnel.” The health and well-being of Boeing employees and their families remains a top priority for the company. Boeing continues to monitor the situation closely and has advised employees to heed all local public health warnings. To date, the company has provided 25,000 medical-grade respiratory masks for employees working in the region.

Check out the 4th Quarter here – Boeing Reports Fourth-Quarter Results – Jan 29, 2020


Other News

B777X First Flight

We are going to start this IFExpress by looking into the Boeing 777 Series and then delve into the B777X and it’s first flight. First a little history. The Widebody Boeing 777 family, commonly referred to as the ‘Triple Seven’ aircraft began life and launched in the Fall of 1990, rolled out in June of 1994, first flew on June 12, 1994, then went into commercial service approximately one year later in 1995. In 2004, a longer range version was rolled out. The Boeing 777 is reportedly the largest twin engine aircraft being manufactured today and the original jetliner had a capacity of 300 to 368 passengers. It should also be note that the 777 series competes with the Airbus A350 family that was launched in 2004, which carries some 300 to 350 passengers and now includes A350 XWB. Here is a comparison video that came out in June of 2018 – (109) Boeing 777x vs A350-1000 .! Which one is your favorite – YouTube

Now let’s get back to the Boeing 777X, the world’s largest twin-engine airplane. The B777 family currently includes B777-200ER and B777-300ER aircraft that are 209 and 242 feet long, respectively, with a 200/212 foot wingtip-to-wingtip difference, per plane model. The dash 200ER and 300ER are the original basis of the B777 models; however, in November of 2013, Boeing announced the B777X. The B777X has 2 variants: the dash 8 (384 pax and 8,690 nmi) and the dash 9 (426 pax and 7,525 nmi) and is a major update to the 777 family. The B777X is the testing and certification baseline for the aircraft with the first successful test flight on Saturday January 25, 2020. This plane is 251 feet long and has a range of some 7,525 nmi. It will typically seat approximately 414 passengers and cost a reported (although airlines will not pay this much) some $442 million with a wing span of 235 feet, decreasing to 212 ft. when the tips are folded. This means that the wings have a fold-up tip that is approximately 11.5 feet long – a big industry first for a jet of this magnitude. Watching the video of the first landing of the B777X really showed a difference in this iteration’s size compared to its predecessors. When looked at head-on the extreme wing span is evident, despite being folded upon touch down (we assume to avoid taxi collisions) and the vertical stabilizer is incredible – the top of reaches 64 feet 7 inches high off the ground!!

Boeing also migrated some of the technologies found in the 787 Dreamliner onto the B777X. The size and function of the passenger cabin’s windows and the appearance of the flight deck are just of a few of the adapted features.

We should also be mention the new GE90, dual rotor, axial flow, high bypass turbofan engine that is, in a word, amazing. It is derived from the General Electric GE90 with a larger fan, advanced materials like CMCs, higher bypass ratio (10 to 1) and compression ratios, it proposes improved fuel efficiency by 10% over its predecessor and is rated for 105,000 foot pounds of engine thrust and weighs almost 20,000 pounds!

Finally, here are some of the many B777X videos for your enjoyment!


Gogo

Gogo announced the upcoming launch of a new digital rights management (DRM) service that enables playback of video-on-demand content in the most popular browsers without additional plug-ins or app downloads. Developed in partnership with castLabs, the new solution allows each title to be packaged for browsers like Safari and Chrome on all operating systems with a single file using the latest file format – Common Media Application Format or CMAF – in the industry. The single encrypted file format allows for Gogo’s inflight entertainment (IFE) service, Gogo Vision, to maximize the airlines library size and store 50% more content than other solutions.  The roll-out of this new technology will be complete in the first half of 2020.

“Gogo is the first in the industry to launch a streaming solution that uses a single encrypted file format to play video across the most popular browsers,” said Blane Boynton, SVP of Product for Gogo. “castLabs is our technology enabler, and a well-known and trusted DRM vendor in the industry. By removing the need for an app or plug-in, Gogo provides a seamless experience to our airline partners and their passengers.”

“Gogo is leveraging our updated PRESTOplay and DRMtoday solutions that utilize the latest advances in streaming technology to deliver a single version of content to all modern browsers, agnostic to the various DRM systems they support,” said Michael Stattmann, Founder of castLabs. “Gogo is indeed the first to use the latest CMAF file format with ‘cbcs’ encryption to enable an app-free inflight entertainment experience on mobile devices. We look forward to a strong partnership with Gogo as we support more streamlined ways to offer content to their customers.”


Lufthansa Systems

Lufthansa Systems is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The airline IT specialist is looking back proudly at the many milestones in its history of shaping the digitalization (the act or process of converting from analog to digital) of the airline industry. In 1995, Lufthansa outsourced its IT department to its newly founded subsidiary, which has experienced a remarkable development in recent years. “We now employ around 2,400 people at our locations in 16 countries and, together with our start-up company zeroG, have established ourselves as one of the leading IT providers in the airline industry,” said Olivier Krueger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “Today, we offer our more than 350 customers worldwide a comprehensive range of IT solutions, many of which are market-leading.”

Although digitalization was still in its infancy and the internet was still uncharted territory in the year the company was founded, Lufthansa Systems lived by its slogan “We’re into IT” from the very beginning. Thanks to its many years of experience within the Lufthansa Group, the company was able to keep its finger on the pulse of Europe’s most successful airline and acquire extensive technical expertise. This gave rise to an impressive product portfolio that covers many of an airline’s processes on the flight deck, in the cabin and on the ground. Lufthansa’s pioneering role soon enabled Lufthansa Systems to establish modern and efficiency-enhancing IT solutions across the entire aviation industry. LOT Polish Airlines was the first customer that saw Lufthansa Systems  break into the external airline market. With many other airlines following suit, Lufthansa Systems’ innovative solutions gradually became established on the worldwide market. Before long, the IT specialist was able to support customers of all sizes and business with its solutions.

Offering groundbreaking innovations such as FlyNet, the first flying hotspot, which first got off the ground with Lufthansa in 2003, or accounting tools such as SIRAX, which significantly enhanced the efficiency of revenue accounting, Lufthansa Systems became an industry pioneer at an early stage. The development of the paperless flight deck was another game changer, as paper maps were gradually replaced by digital programs and modern apps that display weather, airspace and traffic information in real time. Meanwhile, a new era of inflight entertainment began with the first wireless solution, BoardConnect, which enabled passengers to access onboard entertainment on their own devices for the first time.

Lufthansa Systems is also one of the market’s leading providers in network planning, route optimization and flight navigation. The NetLine suite, for example, covers the entire process from network planning, flight planning and code shares to crew management until the day of operations and provides the ideal basis for decision-making by connecting data in a smart way. Lido Flight 4D is a  Lufthansa Systems  solution that helps customers to optimize their flight routes and thus reduce flight times and fuel consumption. This in turn makes an important contribution to airlines’ environmental efficiency, as less fuel consumption means fewer carbon emissions. Airlines can also reduce their environmental footprint by eliminating all paper-based maps and documentation for navigation.

“Based on these developments and the experience it has gained along the way, Lufthansa Systems today is an important and reliable partner when it comes to digitalization and aviation expertise. Leveraging our strong portfolio of innovative initiatives, we will continue our tradition of shaping the future of digital aviation,” said Dr. Thomas Wittmann, CEO of Lufthansa Systems.

In 2015, the former Lufthansa Systems AG was realigned and the infrastructure part of the business was sold to IBM. By focusing on the airline sector and implementing an agile set-up, the company is in a position to quickly and profitably apply its IT expertise for the benefit of its customers. With this in mind, Lufthansa Systems established the Aviation Campus and thus created an environment enabling digital innovation that promotes the exchange of ideas and the exploitation of synergies. Current projects and developments include migrating products to a cloud-based platform and supporting airlines in harmonizing their IT systems in operations. Applying the Total Mission Optimization (TMO) approach,  Lufthansa Systems is further optimizing its market-leading Lido solutions for dispatchers and flight deck crews. This achieves a strong integration of functionality and data, which enables the airline operation center and the flight crew to collaborate in an even more effective way.

The smart use of data is one of the key success factors in the future of aviation. Using artificial intelligence, Lufthansa Systems and the start-up company zeroG are jointly working on projects to avoid delays in ground processes and are investigating ways to make the work of ops controllers easier.

In recent years, Lufthansa Systems has evolved into an important integration partner and consultant both within and outside the Lufthansa Group. The aim of the company’s growing consulting unit is to optimize everyday flight operations processes and design them in a way that makes them more profitable.

On Another Note:
Lufthansa Systems announced that the national carrier of the Republic of Rwanda is now using the NetLine/Sched and ProfitLine/Price solutions. These products will optimize RwandAir’s complex flight scheduling and efficiently determine the best ticket prices based on the current market situation as well as supply and demand. RwandAir and its passengers will both benefit from these important control tools, which will simplify scheduling and support the airline’s expansion of its route network and available flights.
NetLine/Sched, the schedule management system from Lufthansa Systems, helps airlines to make quick and well-founded decisions when creating and optimizing their flight schedules while taking operational and economic aspects into account. Using NetLine/Sched, airlines can take measures quickly and effectively to optimize their schedules.
ProfitLine/Price is a comprehensive pricing system which considers the current competitive situation, price trends and underlying fare structures. It covers all core processes in both reactive and proactive pricing for published and market fares. In addition to enabling airlines to react swiftly to market changes, the system provides powerful analysis tools for developing effective pricing strategies. Its integrated pricing simulation model goes one step further by forecasting revenue changes based on fare modifications.


AIRBUS

In the context of the investigations by the French Parquet National Financier (PNF), the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the U.S. authorities, Airbus has reached agreement in principle with the authorities.The investigations by the above authorities relate to allegations of bribery and corruption and to inaccuracies in filings made with the U.S. authorities pursuant to the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The agreement with the SFO was the subject of a preliminary court ruling today and will require final judicial approval in a U.K. court. Furthermore, agreements with the PNF and the U.S. authorities also remain subject to approval by French court and U.S. court and regulator, respectively. The court hearings in France, the U.K. and the U.S. are expected to take place on 31 January 2020. If approved by the courts, the agreements will result in Airbus taking a provision of € 3.6 billion for the payment of potential penalties to the French, U.K., and U.S. authorities, which will be booked in Airbus’ 2019 accounts. Further details will be provided once the agreements have been finalized. (Editor’s Note: This article on the subject is worth a read!)


OTHER NEWS

  • From Bob Bogash, aviation historian, this past week:
    “ALL EYES ON A DIFFERENT BOEING JET: The first test flight of Boeing’s new jetliner, the 777X, is tentatively scheduled for later this week. Given the situation with the MAX, the new plane will likely be scrutinized by the public as it moves toward being delivered to airlines next year. One of the 777X’s key new features, folding wing tips, has been specifically called out by House Transportation Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). DeFazio has repeatedly cited the 777X wings as an example of the kind of change to a plane that he thinks needs more oversight. 50 years ago last week (Jan 22), the first revenue trip of a 747 left JFK for LHR – Pan Am. The scheduled departed time was on Jan 21, but the flight departed 7 hours late – thus, actually at 0150 hrs on Jan 22.) The airplane, with 336 passengers, had problems with a faulty door closing mechanism, the cargo loading, and ultimately, one of its engines – Number 4. The Clipper Young America, N747PA, was the aircraft that was supposed to have inaugurated the world’s first 747 service on Pan Am’s blue ribbon JFK – LHR route. It had a BTB (Block Turn Back) due to engine surge and overheat and returned to the gate. Due to the engine situation it suffered, the honor went to Clipper Victor, N736PA. Clipper Victor is also the aircraft that collided with the KLM 747 at Tenerife, Norte in 1977. Bob B.”
  • Having a problem with logging on at airports? There is a way to do so, but WARNING, there is no security like SSL. So, only use it when the other data links are busy or don’t work! NeverSSL – helping you get online. Further, Zapier has some public Wi-Fi suggestions.
  • WARNING: Do not go to Wuhan: China Travel Advisory and things are getting worse China’s Xi warns virus is ‘accelerating’, country facing ‘grave situation’ – CNA

Astronics Corporation announced a new cooperation with China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC). The collaboration between Astronics and CMC will create a channel for Astronics to provide Chinese airlines, OEMs and service providers with state-of-the-art inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) hardware and certification services for compliance in China and the United States. On November 6, Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC), and Ruan Guang, Chairman of CMC, signed the cooperation agreement at the Second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China. Top executives from Astronics and China Genertec, the shareholder of CMC, witnessed the signing ceremony.

“This agreement enables Astronics to serve Chinese aircraft enterprises with the world’s most advanced IFEC hardware technology and certification services, and strongly positions us in the fastest growing aerospace market in the world,” says Michael Kuehn.

(Editor’s Note: If you would like more information on the Astronics Inflight Entertainment System hardware: Inflight Entertainment System Hardware)


DUBAI

Last week the 2019 Dubai Airshow resulted in over $54 Billion in total sales (industry estimates) of all airplanes. Airbus and Boeing each snagged multi-billion dollar orders, and this week, we thought you might like to review some of the commercial sales listings and deals. Airlines are also reconsidering their fleets based on the economy, future aircraft development, and a myriad of ‘wait-and-see’ challenges facing manufacturers and airlines alike. There were some 60,692 trade show attendees. Here are some of the stories of sales and deals at the show.

Airbus:

Boeing:


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, announced that its GX Aviation inflight broadband solution can now be accessed by passengers traveling on Air France’s brand new Airbus A350 aircraft. Air France’s first Airbus A350, named ‘Toulouse’, was delivered with GX Aviation installed. The aircraft entered commercial service in October with an inaugural flight to Toronto, which it will serve daily throughout the winter season. The aircraft will eventually operate to six destinations on four continents from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. GX Aviation is a key part of Air France’s Airbus A350 onboard experience in all three cabins – economy, premium economy and business class. The airline offers three different Wi-Fi packages: a free ‘Message’ pass to send and receive messages throughout the flight; a ‘Surf’ pass costing to surf the internet, read and send emails; and a ‘Stream’ pass to enjoy high-speed internet, streaming and downloads, with the ‘Message’ and ‘Surf’ passes included.

Air France is the latest airline to launch commercial service with GX Aviation, powered by the world’s first and only globally available broadband network. It will also benefit from major upcoming enhancements to Inmarsat’s GX network, with additional capacity being introduced by eight new GX payloads scheduled to launch in the coming four years, starting with GX5, which launched on 22 November. This pioneering new generation of GX satellites represents a transformative step-change in inflight broadband capabilities. These include the ground-breaking GX7, 8 & 9 satellites, which feature thousands of dynamically-formed beams that direct capacity over high-demand areas, and the innovative new GX10A & 10B Arctic payloads, which will be the only broadband satellite service dedicated to this region.


AIR ASTANA

Air Astana has been awarded the best in Central Asia for “Food, Drink and On-Board Entertainment Systems” from APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) at a ceremony held in Singapore on 13th November 2019. The APEX rating is based on online reviews of passengers and verified by an independent external audit company. In total, more than a million flights by more than 600 airlines around the world were rated on a 5-point scale on: seat comfort, on-board service, food and drink, entertainment systems and wi-fi service. APEX is a European rating agency, which evaluates the levels of passenger service worldwide and is considered one of the most prestigious and reputable ratings organizations in the airline industry.

In September 2019, Air Astana received an APEX 5-star rating among major carriers for the second time.


BOEING

Boeing marked a key milestone as thousands of employees gathered for the debut of the first 737 MAX 10 at the company’s Renton, Washington factory. During a ceremony, Boeing leaders highlighted the team’s accomplishments and recognized their efforts in completing production of the newest member of the 737 MAX family. “Today is not just about a new airplane. It’s about the people who design, build and support it,” said Mark Jenks, vice president and general manager of the 737 program. “This team’s relentless focus on safety and quality shows the commitment we have to our airline customers and every person who flies on a Boeing airplane.” The 737 MAX 10, the largest variant of the MAX family, can seat up to 230 passengers and offers the lowest seat-mile cost of any single-aisle airplane ever produced. The airplane will now undergo system checks and engine runs prior to first flight next year. “I’m honored to take this airplane on its first flight and show the world what you’ve put your heart and soul into,” 737 Chief Pilot Jennifer Henderson told the employee crowd. The 737 MAX 10 currently has more than 550 orders and commitments from more than 20 customers around the globe.

(Editor’s Note: This airplane has over 500 Boeing orders!)


OTHER NEWS

GOGO

Gogo together with Eutelsat Communications announced a new satellite capacity agreement for high-speed inflight connectivity services. As part of the new multi-year agreement, Gogo has leased HTS bandwidth on EUTELSAT 10B satellite, to be leveraged over Europe and the Middle East. The new satellite is set to launch in 2022. “We are advancing capacity capabilities given the growing demand for high-speed inflight connectivity services,” said Oakleigh Thorne, president and CEO of Gogo. “Through our partnership with Eutelsat, Gogo 2Ku will continue to enable the best passenger experience for global airlines.” Noted Eutelsat, “We are thrilled about our ongoing relationship with Gogo, a long-standing partner and a leading provider for inflight connectivity,” said Philippe Oliva, Chief Commercial Officer. “This agreement highlights the relevance of our newly ordered EUTELSAT 10B for inflight connectivity and we look forward to supporting Gogo as they increase capacity in Europe and the Middle East to provide the best services to their airline partners.”

On another note, Gogo was recognized at the fourth annual CIO & CDO Summit in Shanghai, China, in late September for an award with the Best Digital Solution for excellence in digital and intelligent airline solutions. “This is a proud moment for Gogo and being recognized with this award further demonstrates how Gogo is delivering the best products and services to our global airline partners and their customers,” said Oakleigh Thorne, CEO of Gogo. “We are excited for the potential we have to bring Gogo 2Ku to the Chinese market, as well as other markets in the Asia Pacific region.”The award criteria included creating major innovation breakthroughs; overcoming substantial technology challenges and bottlenecks; offering an industrial-leading product with high availability, stability and sustainability; operational excellence; and being a well-known brand with a good reputation.


AIRBUS

India’s IndiGo placed a firm order for 300 A320neo Family aircraft. This marks one of Airbus’ largest aircraft orders ever with a single airline operator. This latest IndiGo order comprises a mix of A320neo, A321neo and A321XLR aircraft. This will take IndiGo’s total number of A320neo Family aircraft orders to 730. IndiGo is among the fastest growing carriers in the world. Since its first A320neo aircraft was delivered in March 2016, its fleet of A320neo Family aircraft has grown into the world’s largest with 97 A320neo aircraft, operating along side 128 A320ceos. The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step from the A321LR which responds to market needs for even more range and payload, creating more value for the airlines. The aircraft will deliver an unprecedented Xtra Long Range of up to 4,700nm – with 30 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation competitor jets. At the end of September 2019, the A320neo Family had received more than 6,650 firm orders from nearly 110 customers worldwide.

Also from Airbus, Vietnamese carrier Vietjet announced that it will add the A321XLR to its fleet, with a firm order for 15 aircraft and the conversion of five A321neo aircraft from its existing backlog. The announcement was made during a visit to Airbus headquarters in Toulouse by Vietjet President & CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, hosted by Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. During the visit, the airline also signed a new training agreement with Airbus Services. This will see Airbus position two new A320 Family full flight simulators at the carrier’s training center in Ho Chi Minh City. Airbus will also provide a range of training services to the airline and its instructors. Vietjet will be among the first airlines to receive the A321XLR. The addition of the aircraft to its fleet will allow Vietjet to expand further its network, flying longer routes across Asia, as well as to destinations as far afield as Australia and Russia.

And more Airbus news: Cebu Pacific (CEB), a carrier based in the Philippines, has signed a firm order with Airbus for 16 long-range A330neo aircraft. The order firms up the wide-body portion of a previously announced Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which also includes commitments for 10 A321XLR and five A320neo single-aisle aircraft. The A330neo ordered by Cebu Pacific is a higher-capacity version of the A330-900, with up to 460 seats in a single-class configuration. Cebu Pacific plans to operate the aircraft on trunk routes within the Philippines and the rest of Asia, as well as on longer range services to Australia and the Middle East.

Also, Wizz Air Holdings Plc, the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, announced that, as part of the Indigo Partners deal, it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus S.A.S. (“Airbus”) relating to exercising a part of its existing options for the purchase of 20 Airbus A321XLR aircraft. The present order will be delivered over the course of three years starting in 2023. The A321XLR variant will be operated with 239 seats, the same as the A321neo to ensure full fleet commonality with Wizz Air’s existing fleet. The XLR aircraft can also be utilized on Wizz Air’s existing network with the same efficiency. Completion of the order remains subject to approval by Wizz Air shareholders, as appropriate.

And lastly, Airbus selected twenty-two new start-ups to join its BizLab for the launch of the fifth accelerator program, providing a platform to develop previously untapped technologies and ways of working in the aerospace sector. During the six-month acceleration program, the start-ups will receive support from an international team of experts from various fields and have access to dedicated coaching staff, networking opportunities and co-working spaces. Hailing from nine countries around the world, the twenty-two new start-ups were selected out of 704 applications from 59 countries. One of the main criteria used in the selection process were the synergies between the start-up projects and Airbus’ sustainability, environment and innovation strategy in the fields of reduction of emissions and alternative propulsion technology, additive manufacturing, data analytics, robotics, smart protection and testing systems and artificial intelligence. The selected start-ups will join a unique consolidated global network and be based on one of Airbus’ four BizLab campuses; Toulouse (France), Hamburg (Germany), Bangalore (India) and Madrid (Spain). Airbus BizLab is a global aerospace business accelerator where start-ups and Airbus intrapreneurs speed-up the transformation of innovative ideas into valuable businesses. Since starting in 2015, Airbus BizLab has used this “hybrid” concept to accelerate 72 start-ups and 54 internal projects, which have raised a combined €23.5 million.


BOEING

Boeing and Air Premia announced the Korean startup airline plans to buy five 787-9 Dreamliner airplanes, following an agreement to lease three 787-9 jets from Air Lease Corporation earlier this year. Air Premia, which plans to launch operations in 2020 is poised to become South Korea’s second Dreamliner operator. The commitment, valued at $1.4 billion at list prices, will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website when it is finalized. The 787-9 is a super-efficient widebody airplane that can fly 296 passengers in a standard configuration with a published range of 7,530 nautical miles (13,950 km). The Dreamliner model, powered by a revolutionary design and advanced engines, enables airlines to reduce fuel use and emissions by 20 to 25 percent compared to previous airplanes. The combination of unrivaled fuel efficiency and long range capabilities of the 787-9 has helped airlines save more than 40 billion pounds of fuel and open more than 235 non-stop routes. With its base at Seoul Incheon International Airport, Air Premia announced its plan to launch operations in September 2020. The carrier will initially operate regionally in Asia before expanding its network to Los Angeles and San Jose by 2021.”


FORECAST

J.P. MORGAN is forecasting delivery of:
379 Boeing/881 Airbus/40 Embraer aircraft in 2019;
1,000 Boeing/930 Airbus/63 Embraer aircraft in 2020;
1,057 Boeing/967 Airbus/64 Embraer aircraft in 2021;
and 936 Boeing/1,035 Airbus/57 Embraer aircraft in 2022.


OTHER NEWS

 

Paris | October 24, 2019–Since October 2019, SKYdeals is available for all passengers onboard La Compagnie’s new Airbus A321neo equipped with high-speed Internet 4G+. SKYdeals invites passengers on a journey with brands and shoppertainment experience, providing exclusive and dynamic offers throughout the flight.

SKYdeals provides brand corners with private sales on products and services at destination, dedicated to this business class airline on its route Paris-New York.

La Compagnie, the first French airline to fly with the new Airbus A321neo, now offers onboard its two new aircrafts an unlimited connection to high-speed Internet (4G +).

Following this major development, La Compagnie decided to partner up with the French startup SKYdeals in order to provide a unique digital shopping experience to connected passengers. On the route Paris-Orly / New York Newark, all customers have now access to the e-commerce platform and benefit from exclusive deals available during their flight.

Since its launch in 2014, La Compagnie has been targeting customers who want to enjoy a Business Class service at the best price on the market. Offering Smart Deals and exclusive offers is also a fundamental pillar for SKYdeals in the development of its catalogue of brands and services.

Offering the SKYdeals solution to our customers onboard our Airbus 321NEO was obvious for us. The smart shopping is part of La Compagnie’s DNA since its launch, almost 5 years ago. This is also SKYdeals’ promise to provide our customers with exclusive and private sales on products and services at destination during their flight. We are, with SKYdeals, creating the next generation of “shopping in the air” through exceptional events, group purchases, flash sales and many other initiatives.” explains Jean Charles Périno, Sales and Marketing Director and co-founder of La Compagnie.

We are delighted to deploy the first e-commerce platform for travelers on the Paris-New York line with La Compagnie. Thanks to this partnership, we have a great opportunity to reach premium passengers, sensitive to exclusivity at the best price.
The entire SKYdeals team would like to thank La Compagnie for their trust and support. This new deployment is part of SKYdeals’ objective to reach, within 5 years, 4% of global air traffic, which counts for more than 200 million passengers per year
” says Julien Sivan, CEO and co-founder of SKYdeals.

During AIX we sat down with the Zii team and discussed RAVE and the next evolution of their full-up AVOD product dubbed ULTRA. Below is the fruit of that interview and several emails since then! While at their booth, we were shown (and amazed) at the size, and we mean thinness, of the screen. The point here is the display, its accompanying storage, control and communication hardware electronics will not create seatback installation issues! Here is a quick overview of some of the features, advantages, and benefits of RAVE UlLTRA.

RAVE ULTRA is Seat-Centric, not Server-Centric

RAVE ULTRA, continues the company’s commitment to Seat-Centric IFE and their commitment to everything RAVE has stood for from its inception. In fact, Seat-Centric is the key to their dedication to ‘stress free IFE’ for their airline customers. You may ask: Seat-Centric? How does that differ from a Server-Centric system? When SPI formerly IMS, first addressed the issue of providing IFE to airlines they approached the problem from a different perspective than most traditional IFE hardware solutions – they elected to design a seat-centric solution, as opposed to a server-centric solution. A traditional IFE system has a head-end (consisting of several file and media servers) and multiple distribution boxes between it and the passenger display unit. The larger (HD/UHD quality and increased quantity) content demands and logistics problems that the IFE industry is facing are amplified in the IFE Server Centric Systems, but not so with a Seat-Centric System. Seat-Centric IFE provides an elegant answer to onboard entertainment that is enhanced by its simplicity: A System Control Unit in the electronics bay connected via a Gigabit Ethernet backbone to each Smart Display at each seat – that’s it. The bi-directional loop system architecture provides network stability and redundancy, so if there is a network break on one side of the data connection, the data communication is automatically routed through the other.  Additionally, since the entertainment content is stored at the seat, even if there was a total network failure, the passenger would have full access to all the content stored locally on the display.

RAVE ULTRA Delivers More for Passengers Because of the Cloud

In addition to locally stored content at the seat, the SCU also stores additional entertainment content enhancing the overall capacity of titles offered to the passenger.  RAVE cloud is flying today and Safran is further enhancing cloud capabilities by utilizing content file sharing between the seats thus multiplying the content capacity available to each passenger.  Because of the Cloud-based data gain, 10 Terabytes of capacity is dynamically available for content making it, perhaps, the IFE system with more data for each passenger than any system today. More data means more content and that means more happy users – it’s that simple!  It’s important to note that the content file is “transferred” (not “streamed”) to the passenger so there are no inherent network latency issues as compared to server-centric systems when streaming simultaneously to 300 passengers.  With the combination of locally stored and cloud content – passengers can enjoy HD/UHD entertainment and the airlines can more easily manage content loading without the long ground time.

We asked Ben Asmar, VP IFE Products, about RAVE ULTRA and 4K Displays

Question 1 – We understand that RAVE ULTRA is now delivering 4K displays for aircraft entering service in 2020.  4K displays offer superior resolution, can you help our readers understanding the impact of offering this to their passengers?  Are there any considerations that should be understood for an existing system upgrade versus new installation?

Response: We know from our customers that IFE is a critical component to the overall inflight experience, having a significant impact on Customer Experience scores. As the market continues to grow more competitive, airlines are continuing to look for ways to differentiate from their competitors. We believe that having the latest in consumer technology such as 4K Ultra High Definition displays in every cabin class is a fantastic differentiator, and our customers agree.  Interest in our new range of RAVE ULTRA displays is unprecedented. When we designed RAVE ULTRA, we took a ground-up approach. We kept the features that make our customers love RAVE, such as our seat-centric architecture and dockable displays then married this with the latest in multimedia processors, cutting edge 4K LCD panels that are typically used in high end laptops, and we even introduced Bluetooth audio for every seat on the plane.

How is your system able to support 4K content for every passenger? 

Response: We get asked this question often, and the answer for us is easy.  Thanks to our seat-centric architecture, content is played locally at each seat display and not streamed over a network.  Even with every passenger watching 4K content, the RAVE system continues to operate seamlessly on a 1 gigabit Ethernet backbone, meaning we are very well positioned to support both the line fit and retrofit markets. There is no requirement for aircraft backbone upgrades for airlines to access the full benefits of RAVE ULTRA, unlike other IFE systems with many servers that stream content to the seats.

How can you store all that 4K content at every seat when it’s so much larger? 

Response: As I mentioned, when we designed RAVE ULTRA, we found the latest in Multimedia processors. This allowed us to take advantage of the advances in video compression technologies and video encoding standards such as H.265 to keep files smaller but not sacrifice video quality. As well, we have the RAVE Cloud that allows Airlines to store large multi-terabyte content sets in the on-board Cloud and makes content instantly available at the seat centric screens when that content is not stored locally.  It’s important to note, that we are still not streaming content with RAVE Cloud. When a passenger selects a Cloud title, the content is being copied as fast as possible across our network and stored locally. The video starts playing while the content continues to download in the background.

In reality, we know it will be quite some time before 4K content is commonplace for IFE, as our industry deals with the standards and security required to distribute 4K content. However, RAVE ULTRA is designed for today and the future. We have gone to great lengths to ensure the necessary security requirements are in place to support playback of Hollywood DRM protected 4K content. Even though the standards are not yet ratified, we are confident that the systems we have will meet the requirements. In the meantime, Airlines can benefit from RAVE ULTRA immediately, as our system will upscale content to the highest possible level based on the definition of the source file. What this means is all content looks better on a RAVE ULTRA display.

Question 2 – Can you tell our readers what airplane /airplane model will get the first 4K display, and are the airlines planning any special video for the application? 

Response: We are very excited to be bringing RAVE ULTRA to market in 2020 and have a number of airlines that have selected it for line fit and retrofit programs with both Airbus and Boeing. Our first installations are planned for both Boeing and Airbus single aisle aircraft followed by our first wide body installation on a Boeing B777X all delivering in 2020. Each of these customers will install RAVE ULTRA displays in every cabin class including Bluetooth audio for every seat on the plane.

RAVE ULTRA is a great fit for both narrow body and wide body aircraft, and we are certainly seeing strong demand across both aircraft types.  Our System with RAVE ULTRA is about 30% lighter than our previous generation systems.  This lower weight meets a critical requirement for airlines that are flying ultra-long haul sectors and is fully operational with only a handful of LRU’s (Line Replaceable Units) while still being able to scale to support the complex architectures of today’s modern wide body aircraft.

Question 3 – More consumers are using Bluetooth headsets/earbuds and want to utilize them in the aircraft for IFE.  Please describe how RAVE has implemented Bluetooth in the entire cabin supplied with audio and at the same time preventing interference to users with other Bluetooth applications?

Response: One of the key elements of RAVE ULTRA is to give all passengers access to the same technology they use on the ground, in the air and not just in the premium classes.  Research suggests that Bluetooth headsets now outsell wired headsets, so we think that people will just expect to be able to use these on a plane, and with RAVE ULTRA they can. Our engineers have spent a lot of time testing and refining our solution to ensure we can reliably offer Bluetooth audio to every passenger on a wide body aircraft. We are able to do this by adjusting the power output of the Bluetooth transmitter and minimizing the transmission radius of the signal, this allows us to re-use the Bluetooth signal many times over in the aircraft avoiding signal congestion and audio quality degradation.

Question 4 – Is VBR a technology that efficiently communicates with networks and displays and if so, can you give our readers what kinds of savings in data and communication technology are used and what kinds of communication savings perspective are involved (data rate savings, hardware choice and design, application improvement and equipment type and design)?

Response: VBR (variable bitrate) is a method used in media encoding that allows for the bitrate to vary with the goal to maintain quality on complex scenes and save space on simple ones. This is a method supported by our current and future generation of products. This technology allows our content to maintain a high level of quality without the need for high levels of storage.  With CBR (constant bitrate), the platform suffers in quality and has high storage requirements.  This results in higher cost storage and limits the number of titles a platform can support.  The reduction in size with VBR also helps the transport of media being loaded on the platform reducing the load times due to the smaller file sizes .  In the on-wing platform, network backbone bitrates are reduced which eliminates the need for RAVE to build out oversize network paths (i.e. aircraft backbone upgrades) reducing the overall hardware costs.

Question 5 – Please tell our readers how giant video quality changes and weight savings can be achieved at the same time reducing size and weight?

Response: Airlines are telling us that weight is critically important as ultra-long haul point-to-point flights are gaining popularity, and passengers’ expectations around technology are increasing significantly. We knew, when designing RAVE ULTRA, we had to achieve both goals that were seemingly at odds with each other. So how did we do it? We completely changed our design philosophy and repackaged our displays into a ‘tablet-like’ design that significantly reduced form factor and weight. RAVE ULTRA 4K panels are lighter and have smaller borders than their predecessors.  We partnered with LG Electronics on this project as they are a market leader in consumer electronics and brought their skill in packaging consumer electronics to RAVE.  We are taking advantage of the laptop market’s use of lightweight, low power and low profile display panels and incorporating them in our new RAVE ULTRA 4K displays.

Be sure to stop by the Safran booth #2142 during APEX to experience RAVE ULTRA.


CARLISLE IT

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) will exhibit its industry-leading installation solution for Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA) technology at this week’s APEX EXPO trade show in Los Angeles. CIT will showcase its integration of thermal management design in packages suitable for business and regional aircraft in the South Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center, Booth No. 1933.

CIT’s extended capabilities into the integration of an installation solution compatible with ESA technology addresses even the toughest of In-Flight Entertainment, Connectivity & Interiors (IFECI) challenges. The aerodynamic design allows for a simplified, standardized, and universal SATCOM installation, resulting in lower maintenance, reduced cost of ownership, and improved speed-to-market for customers.

CIT has long provided airlines and manufacturers with high-performance wire and cable, including optical fiber, for the most advanced interconnect solutions and market-leading products. At APEX, they will showcase expanded capabilities for IFECI equipment with its installation solution for ESA technology into the aerodynamic and structural package design of business and regional aircraft. Using the ARINC 781 footprint for SATCOM on business and regional aircraft, CIT takes advantage of existing OEM provisions to improve airlines’ speed-to-market. Aerodynamic design models establish a low drag shape that advances in-flight cooling and efficiently moves heat load from antenna chips to radiator zones. This efficient transportation of heat maintains uniform temperatures over large areas to optimize antenna operating conditions.

During APEX, CIT is offering a variety of opportunities to learn about the integration of installation solutions for ESA technology and interact with industry experts, users, and partners. The following may be explored at the CIT booth 1933:

  • Light weight backshells
  • Fiber optic harnesses
  • Octax 10GB connections – Solo, 38999, ARINC 600, and more
  • Aerospace wire, coaxial, and cable for high-speed data, custom constructions, and harsh environments
  • Antenna blind mate connection solutions
  • Seal3D fuselage feed-thru connectors
  • Lightweight avionics trays and hold downs
  • Single aisle bagbin video control center

CIT presentations and features at the conference include:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 10, and Wednesday, Sept. 11, beginning at 1 p.m.: Ice cream social with the Carlisle team to see the new installation solution features for ESA technology
  • Video illustrating the antenna selections and flow simulation for drag optimization
  • Additional image, graphic and video assets available for instructional use and informational needs

Please contact Kris Samuelson via email at Kris.samuelson@carlisleit.com or via phone at 253-318-0768 to schedule an appointment during APEX.


OTHER NEWS

 

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

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

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


Astronics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kros-Wise Aviation Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

And these are just the tip of the iceberg.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Panasonic Avionics

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


Mythopoeia

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

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


Airbus

  • AIX: Airbus showcases its latest cabin innovations at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany – the world’s largest event dedicated to the aircraft interiors industry, in-flight entertainment, connectivity and passenger services. At the Airbus stand this year (Hall B5, Stand 5A20), Airbus will display the latest full-scale Airspace cabin mock-ups for the A320 – including its new overhead Airspace XL Bins and full-flat seats for long range comfort; and an A220 cabin mock-up with both business and economy seats – demonstrating how this aircraft offers the leading cabin experience in any small single-aisle aircraft. Moreover, the booth will also feature the ‘Day & Night’ premium concept for the A350 XWB; and there will also be an A320 Upgrade Services mock-up. Virtual Reality Gears will allow visitors to experience all aircraft cabins. Airbus is also leading the field with new innovations in the cabin, notably with our IoT-enabling “Connected Experience”, creating a cabin ecosystem which seamlessly connects cabin elements to provide a personalized passenger experience. In addition, Airbus is providing a glimpse of the future flying experience with our new ‘Cabin Vision 2030’ – inspired by airlines, tech companies and start-ups. At the stand, visitors can also explore what’s new in terms of possible seat innovations for passengers’ comfort and airlines’ differentiation and efficiency. This year Airbus is proud to have been shortlisted twice in the prestigious Crystal Cabin Awards for the following achievements: The “Lower-Deck Passenger Experience Modules”, in cooperation with Safran; and also for the new “X-tend Seat” concept over-wing exit seat for single-aisle aircraft. The Crystal Cabin Awards ceremony is held on the evening of Tuesday 2nd where the winners will be revealed.
  • AIRBUS/EU Counter Measures: Airbus welcomes the report of the WTO Appellate Body, which confirms that the United States failed to withdraw the subsidies granted by federal, state and local authorities to Boeing, and to remove the harm those subsidies caused to Airbus.
    The Appellate Body has rejected every single United States argument whereas it has taken all EU legal points on board. In addition, the WTO highest court has also qualified a number of additional US federal and state programs as illegal subsidies, and even, as prohibited subsidies as in the case of the Foreign Sales Corporation scheme (FSC), a major win for the EU. The report requests that further compliance steps are necessary from the United States and Boeing. Failure to do so will provide the European Union the possibility to seek countermeasures on imports of US products. Airbus General Counsel John Harrison stated: “This is a clear victory for the EU and Airbus. It vindicates our position that Boeing, while pointing fingers at Airbus, has not taken any action to comply with its WTO obligations, contrary to Airbus and the EU. With this damaging report, continuing to deny they receive massive illegal subsidies from the United States government is no longer an option. Stated differently, absent settlement, the US will pay – in perpetuity – billions in annual sanctions driven by every single flying Boeing program, while the EU would face, in the worst case, only minor issues.
    He added: “We hope that these findings will prompt the United States and Boeing to move forward constructively in this long-standing dispute and join us in working towards a fair-trade environment. In the absence of a constructive approach, the EU now has a very strong legal case to move forward to countermeasures.” Airbus thanks the European Commission and the governments of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain for their continuous support throughout the long dispute process. Their longstanding efforts to restore a fair level playing field are now clearly showing results.
  • Evelop Airlines, the Spanish carrier of Barceló Group’s Ávoris travel division, has taken delivery of its first of two A350 XWBs, the world’s most modern and eco-efficient aircraft family. The second aircraft will be delivered in 2020. The A350-900, on lease from Air Lease Corporation, will be based at Madrid Barajas – Adolfo Suárez airport and deployed on long-haul routes to Caribbean destinations. It features a high comfort single class configuration with 432 seats. Passengers will enjoy more personal space, the quietest cabin of any twin-aisle aircraft and the latest generation cabin products, including individual onboard in-flight entertainment.
Bluebox Wow to be deployed on Air Transat’s mixed fleet, including A310s, A321ceos, A321neos, and Boeing B737s 
Dunfermline, UK | March 28, 2019– Passengers on board Air Transat flights will soon be able to access free in-flight entertainment delivered by Bluebox Wow thanks to an agreement reached between the airline and Bluebox Aviation Systems. The Bluebox Wow portable wireless streaming platform will be deployed on Air Transat’s fleet in an arrangement designed to meet both seasonal demands on the airline’s fleet and the additional temporary aircraft it brings in to meet that demand – ensuring both flexibility and consistency of IFE services. The deployment, which is awaiting final Transport Canada approvals, will see Bluebox Wow in service on a range of both narrow- and wide-body aircraft, including Airbus A310s, A321ceos, A321neos, and Boeing B737s. Initially, the deployment is expected to include 17 aircraft during the summer 2019 season but will expand to 38 aircraft for the winter season.

“Offering a seamless IFE experience across a fleet like ours, with different aircraft types and some only joining our fleet for seasonal deployment, is a challenge,” said Dave Bourdages, Vice President In-Flight Services and Customer Experience, Air Transat. “Introducing Bluebox Wow across all of these aircraft resolves that challenge and will deliver the same high-quality experience to all. Bluebox Wow offers a powerful range of capabilities and we are excited to deploy a system upon which we can further develop our in-cabin experience”
“One of the key benefits of Bluebox Wow is its flexibility – and we are proving that with this agreement with Air Transat,” said Kevin Clark, CEO, Bluebox. “Whether deploying on single- or twin-aisle aircraft, the powerful streaming and networking capabilities of Bluebox Wow ensure a consistent IFE experience across a variety of aircraft types. Along with the ability to move the boxes between different aircraft in a mixed fleet, Bluebox Wow offers an extremely flexible solution for operators such as Air Transat with a fleet profile that varies greatly as it responds to seasonal market demand.”
Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including up to 1.6 terabytes of film, TV, audio, games and other digital content. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, Bluebox Wow is a stand-alone, portable, lunchbox-sized unit stowed securely in overhead bins.

Before we get started, we wanted to give a “tip-o-the-hat” to Jovita Toh at Encore Inflight (Hong Kong) who has developed the engaging orange shirted team of IFE content providers. They were highlighted in her Encore Expose web newsletter (Check it out here Encore Exposé – Feb19), and we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce them to you. We also wanted to highlight to our readers how successful their efforts are using their ‘teamwork’ approach, and perhaps, give you an idea of the value of working together. While not every industry content organization can (or will) use the same techniques, we suspect that the ‘team thinking’ and group planning can be of value, and obviously is, in Encore’s case. By the way, just so you know, Jovita is the lady in today’s rectangle holding a yellow arcade prize! As she notes in the website visual; “Team Spirit conquers all.” Armed with the excitement of a ‘Change In The Air’ theme, the encore team set off on a corporate retreat to be re-acquainted with each other, explore and discuss the mission of the company, and to have a bit of fun. As she notes: “Three nights in Shenzhen with a group of people that have come to be my family, they certainly were Notti Magiche (magical nights).” And yes, I now have an orange T-shirt too!

Now, lets get on with this week’s news.


SITAONAIR

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

With a growing demand for connectivity from Africa’s young population and a change in the overarching aviation landscape, Air Senegal’s new inflight connectivity offering comes at a crucial moment for economic growth. SITA Air Transport IT Insights figures show that 90% of the world’s airlines plan to have major wireless inflight connectivity programs in place for enhanced passenger experience by 2021, indicating a prominent shift towards global connectivity as standard. With SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR solution over GX Aviation, Air Senegal passengers can access a personalized and seamless inflight connection, keeping them connected with their digital lives, business and loved ones as they fly. In another breakthrough deal for the African market, Mobile ONAIR will give passengers a seamless mobile connectivity experience, providing them with the opportunity to make calls and send texts from the air, just as they would on the ground.


GOGO

Gogo Business Aviation announced that its most robust and highest-performing system – Gogo AVANCE L5 – has been installed and is now flying on 500 business jets. It took just 16 months to achieve the milestone from the date of the first installation – one of the fastest adoption rates of any inflight connectivity system for business aviation. With more than 770 systems shipped to date, AVANCE L5 is Gogo’s most-popular inflight connectivity system, delivering a 4G experience to a wide variety of business aircraft. From the time AVANCE L5 launched in the fourth quarter of 2017, nearly 55,000 flights have taken off with the system onboard. Gogo and its OEM partners and dealers have received certification for AVANCE L5 from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) across 79 aircraft models. The system is actively being installed at all MROs and aftermarket OEM service centers. The Gogo AVANCE L5 system connects to the Gogo Biz 4G network delivering faster speeds and enhanced network capacity enabling activities such as live streaming video and audio, video conferencing, on-demand movies, faster web browsing, personal smartphone use, real-time data for cockpit apps, and remote diagnostics and support while in flight. Early in 2018 Gogo launched AVANCE L3, a system that delivers the benefits of the Gogo AVANCE platform to passengers and flight departments in a lightweight, smaller form factor compared to L5. AVANCE L3, which currently has nearly 170 systems installed, allows users to customize their inflight experience based on their unique needs and can be installed on business aircraft of all types and sizes, but is an ideal solution for smaller aircraft including turboprops and light jets.

In total, at the end of the third quarter 2018, Gogo Business Aviation reported 5,019 aircraft flying with its air-to-ground (ATG) systems onboard and another 5,137 utilizing satellite connectivity.


FlightPath3D

FlightPath3D announced that they have been selected by over 50 airlines in just five years and they are one of the fastest growing airline app companies. They deliver their award-winning 3D Moving Map on any IFE platform and to any passenger device, empowering the digital traveler to explore destinations and travel globally like a local.

FlightPath3D’s President, Duncan Jackson says, “We’re delighted to have many airline customers flying with our wireless IFE map including, Southwest, Air Europa, Air France, All Nippon Airways, Air Arabia, Arkia, Jet Airways and WestJet.”

Commenting on the milestone, Alexis Capdevila, Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Manager at Air Europa says, “We selected FlightPath3D as the map provider for our fleet as they have the most innovative feature-rich product, providing an immersive game-like 3D experience for our passengers enabling them to follow the flight path, explore things to do at their destination and for our younger travelers discover the animals of the world.”

Jackson continues, “Our use of personalization and new artificial intelligence will enable passengers to travel globally like a local. For example, we’ve analyzed hundreds of millions of traveler data points to recommend hyperlocal attractions in every town and back corner of the world and even sorted them by popularity – it looks amazing!”

“We also want to help airlines drive revenue, allowing passengers to explore flight times and destinations to promote airline ticket sales, and estimate journey times from aircraft to hotel to promote ground transportation partners. It’s a potent cocktail when you combine rich passenger experience features with revenue generating capabilities.”


AIRBUS

  • Airbus opened its 2019 activity with 39 aircraft deliveries for 27 customers during January, raising the overall total of jetliners provided by the manufacturer to 11,802. The month’s deliveries involved 33 aircraft from Airbus’ single-aisle A320 Family, along with five A350-900s and one A330 from its widebody product lines. Notable delivery milestones during January included the initial A321neo aircraft to U.S.-based American Airlines (which has 100 on order) and to Cebu Pacific (the largest low-cost carrier in the Philippines). Also in January, Acropolis Aviation of the UK received Airbus’ first ACJ320neo, with this corporate jet version to undergo its cabin outfitting in Switzerland. Airbus’ backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of 31 January stood at 7,525 aircraft.
  • Airbus and Dassault Systèmes have signed a five-year Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to cooperate on the implementation of collaborative 3D design, engineering, manufacturing, simulation and intelligence applications. This will enable Airbus to take a major step forward in its digital transformation and lay the foundation for a new European industrial ecosystem in aviation. Under the MOA, Airbus will deploy Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which delivers digital continuity, from design to operations, in a single data model for a unified user experience, making digital design, manufacturing and services (DDMS) a company-wide reality for all Airbus divisions and product lines. DDMS paves the way for breakthroughs in new product design, operational performance, support and maintenance, customer satisfaction and new business models, as it represents a move from sequential to parallel development processes. Instead of first focusing on product performance, Airbus will be able to co-design and develop the next generation of aircraft with the manufacturing facilities that will produce them, reducing costs and time to market. “We are not just talking about digitalisation or a 3D experience, we are rethinking the way aircraft are designed and operated, streamlining and speeding up our processes with customer satisfaction in mind.” said Guillaume Faury, President Airbus Commercial Aircraft. “DDMS is a catalyst for change and with it we are building a new model for the European aerospace industry with state of the art technology. Our target is a robust production setup that offers a reduction in product development lead time.”“Nothing exemplifies the intersection of technology, science and art more than aviation. When we reflect on how the industry has evolved to where it is today, it’s a blend of technical prowess, digital precision and inspiration,” said Bernard Charlès, Vice Chairman and CEO, Dassault Systèmes. “The Aerospace industry has a proven track record of fast transformation, faster than in most industries. It delivers high quality innovation and new services for operations in highly complex and regulated environments. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform will accelerate the digital transformation of Airbus. Airbus can capture insights and expertise from across its ecosystem to deliver new experiences that only the digital world makes possible.”
  • Air Race E – Airbus has announced a global partnership with Air Race E, the world’s first electric airplane race set to launch its inaugural series in 2020. Airbus is the Official Founding Partner of Air Race E. The competition aims to drive the development and adoption of cleaner, faster, and more technologically advanced electric engines that can be applied to urban air mobility vehicles and, eventually, commercial aircraft. Air Race E will follow a format similar to the popular Air Race 1 series of the sport known as formula one air racing. Eight electric-powered airplanes will race directly against each other on a tight 5-km circuit, just 10 meters above the ground, and at speeds faster than any land-based motorsport. Airbus will work alongside other Air Race E partners, including the University of Nottingham. The University is currently developing a prototype race airplane powered by an integrated electric motor, battery, and power electronics system. The plane will help shape the model and rules for the inaugural Air Race E race in 2020.
  • Aero India – From flying and static displays of its best-in-class products to showcasing its cutting-edge aerospace services, Airbus has planned one of its biggest-ever participation at Aero India to be held in Bengaluru from 20 to 24 February, 2019. The centrepiece of the flying displays will be the A330neo – the latest addition to the leading Airbus widebody family featuring advanced materials, new optimized wings, composite sharklets and highly efficient engines that together deliver 25% reduced fuel burn and CO2 emissions. Demonstration flights will be performed by the new generation tactical airlifter C295 which can perform multi-role operations under all weather conditions.

BOEING

Boeing projects the Middle East will require $745 billion in aviation services through 2037 to keep pace with growing passenger and freight traffic in the region, according to a new report released today at MRO Middle East in Dubai. The high value services market is largely driven by the demand for nearly 3,000 new commercial airplanes in the Middle East over the next twenty years, more than tripling the existing fleet. The growing fleet requires aviation services, including supply chain support (parts and parts logistics), maintenance and engineering services, and aircraft modification.
Boeing’s Services Market Outlook (SMO) 2018-2037 – Middle East Boeing: Services Market Outlook

Perspective forecasts growing need for services that increase fleet productivity and reduce operating costs. Among the report’s findings:

1. The Middle East will drive more than 8 percent of global demand for aviation services, representing $745 billion, and growing at a projected 4.6 percent annually.
2. Nearly 218,000 new personnel – 60,000 pilots, 63,000 technicians, and 95,000 cabin crew – will be needed in the Middle East over the next 20 years.

Other News From Boeing:

Uzbekistan Airways – Boeing reached an agreement with Uzbekistan Airways to provide services that will enable the airline to more efficiently and effectively maintain its 787-8 Dreamliner fleet through the Boeing Landing Gear Exchange program. The flag carrier of the Republic of Uzbekistan will rely on Boeing to support its fleet with quick and reliable landing gear exchanges when and where they need them. This program greatly reduces maintenance time, helps the airline quickly return airplanes to service, and enables the airline to focus its resources on core operations. Boeing’s 787 Landing Gear Exchange program provides a simple and economical solution for managing landing gear overhauls, while building on Boeing’s successful history of exchange programs. Through the offering, a carrier can exchange landing gears that need to be repaired or overhauled for another set of certified landing gear from a pool that Boeing maintains. This service eliminates the need for operators to contract, schedule and manage the overhaul process.


OTHER NEWS

This week there is a lot of news but we thought you might like to start off with something we might do more of in coming issues.

TechTips

Readers: Sometimes we like to use IFExpress to start many of our friends thinking about the IFEC business and this week we found something that many of you may use in the future for your business research and writing because it uses AI and speedy searches to look up subject matter — in places you might have never thought to search. What is it? Well it is called “Talk to Books” and while you may not find exactly what you are looking for online, this may be one solution and a good place to start. Lets begin by testing this Google AI-based data development. And, please try it out for yourself and see if it can help you. Here we go:

  • First, go to this Google invented website: Talk to Books.
  • Next, in the sentence box, type in your book-based search need. We tried “What is inflight entertainment?”
  • Next, click the “dashed ground sign” to filter your searches, and we used “Current Events”; and then hit “GO”.

We won’t list what we found but we strongly suggest you try it out. There seemed to be no end the IFEC the book references we found; and if you can’t use it for just about anything you are researching, well, at least you know about it. Further, your kids and friends in school just might be able to do better information search retrievals looking for their data! Cool!


Next, Bob Bogash sent this Boeing story/info  “Nobody picks up on this, but note that G-OSRA, shown in the article, was line number 1832 and hence the last 727 built. It seems to have many years ahead. See my webpage here and some nice pix here. If you notice at the end of the page, the aircraft was converted to a an oil dispersant sprayer – here is the story!


And now, on with the latest aviation news.

THALES
CENTECH and Thales launch AI@CENTECH to boost start-ups to success in Artificial Intelligence. To support the development of start-ups working in the field of Artificial Intelligence, Thales has teamed with CENTECH, Québec’s largest start-up incubator, created by the École de Technologie Supérieure in Montreal. This strategic partnership will provide start-ups with access to the Thales Group’s technological expertise, business insights and digital capabilities that will take their concepts and prototypes to the next level of maturity. Thales has invested close to 7 billion euros in digital technologies since 2014, including the planned acquisition of Gemalto.

The explosion of digital technologies is an essential ingredient to boost innovation, accelerating the creative process to develop new solutions for a world that is increasingly data-driven, connected, immersive and reliant on autonomous systems. Thales has an important role to play in accelerating the digital transformation of its partners around the world. Working with CENTECH, Thales will support projects created by start-ups in the field of Artificial Intelligence, which is one of Thales’ four key digital technologies, alongside connectivity, big data and cybersecurity. CENTECH has been recognised by the University Business Network (UBI) as one of the most effective accelerators in the world.

Also from Thales:

The Air Navigation Service Provider for Papua New Guinea, PNG Air Services Limited, has completed a transition to the TopSky-ATC system provided by Thales. This transition represents a jump from a 30 year old paper strip system to a state-of-the-art electronic system, helping to reduce air traffic controller workload and increase safety throughout the airspace. PNGASL are responsible for the safe movement of more than 50,000 flights per year through their airspace, which includes many high level overflights. The deployment by Thales includes a main operational system and combined backup & training system. The TopSky-ATC system provides the controllers with modernized flight data processing, multi sensor surveillance processing and advanced alerting functions. Seamless coordination between neighboring states allows safe transition of flights to and from Papua New Guinea.


AIRBUS
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has approved the A330-900 for ETOPS (Extended-range Twin engine aircraft Operations) “beyond 180 minutes” diversion time. This significant achievement means that operators of the A330neo, which is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, will benefit from the most efficient, reliable and direct long-range routings. The approval, which includes ETOPS 180 min. capability in the aircraft’s basic specification, now also includes the option for “ETOPS 285 min.” This extends the potential air diversion distance to around 2,000nm. The U.S. FAA’s respective ETOPS certification is expected soon.

A330neo operators which choose the ETOPS 285 min. option will be able to serve new direct ‘non-limiting’ routings. Meanwhile, operators flying on existing routes (currently flown with up to 180-minute diversion time) will be able to traverse a straighter, quicker and more fuel efficient path, and also have access to more – and possibly better equipped – en-route diversion airports if needed.

Airbus has launched a global competition in quantum computing, inviting experts to propose and develop solutions, for complex optimization and modelisation across the full aircraft life-cycle, using newly available computing capabilities. The Airbus Quantum Computing Challenge (AQCC) aims to take science out of the lab and into industry, by applying newly-available computing capabilities to real-life industrial cases. With traditional computers approaching their limits, the quantum computer promises to deliver a new level of computational power. As an active user of High Performance Computing (HPC), Airbus is already extending current capacity by integrating and leveraging quantum technologies in fields such as route optimisation and satellite imagery. Through the challenge Airbus is looking to further explore solutions that quantum technologies can bring through the sharing of in-house and external knowledge, data and expertise. Five distinct challenges have been identified in the flight physics domain that have an impact on all aspects of Airbus’ business, from design and operations, to airline revenue streams. With varying degrees of complexity, the statements range from the simple optimization of aircraft climb to the more complex optimization of wing-box design. Open to post-graduate students, PhDs, academics, researchers, start-ups and professionals in the field of quantum computing, individuals or teams will compete for hardware access and for the opportunity to mature their ideas for industrialisation, working collaboratively with Airbus industry experts. The AQCC will run throughout 2019.
The granting of this ETOPS capability is a testimony to the aircraft’s design and systems maturity, which has been demonstrated to be as good as its predecessor – the versatile and extremely reliable A330-200/A330-300 family, proven over many millions of flights. In 2009, the Airbus A330-200/-300 became the first airliner family to gain an ETOPS ‘Beyond 180min’ certification, which was granted by EASA. Airbus twin-engine airliners have accumulated over 20 million ETOPS flight hours, most of which have been accumulated by the A330 Family. (Editor’s Note: “ETOPS” is a set of rules initially introduced by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in the mid-1980s to allow commercial operations with twin-engine aircraft on routes beyond 60min flying time from the nearest airport and which were previously operated only by aircraft with more than two engines. These rules, which are now named “EDTO” (Extended Diversion Time Operations) by ICAO have been progressively revised to allow operations beyond 180min diversion time.)


BOEING
Boeing last week successfully completed the first test flight of its autonomous passenger air vehicle (PAV) prototype in Manassas, Virginia. Boeing NeXt, which leads the company’s urban air mobility efforts, utilized Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences to design and develop the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and will continue testing to advance the safety and reliability of on-demand autonomous air transportation. The PAV prototype completed a controlled takeoff, hover and landing during the flight, which tested the vehicle’s autonomous functions and ground control systems. Future flights will test forward, wing-borne flight, as well as the transition phase between vertical and forward-flight modes. This transition phase is typically the most significant engineering challenge for any high-speed VTOL aircraft.

Powered by an electric propulsion system, the PAV prototype is designed for fully autonomous flight from takeoff to landing, with a range of up to 50 miles (80.47 kilometers). Measuring 30 feet (9.14 meters) long and 28 feet (8.53 meters) wide, its advanced airframe integrates the propulsion and wing systems to achieve efficient hover and forward flight. The test flight represents the latest milestone for Boeing NeXt. The division works with regulatory agencies and industry partners to lead the responsible introduction of a new mobility ecosystem and ensure a future where autonomous and piloted air vehicles safely coexist. In addition to the PAV, the Boeing NeXt portfolio includes an unmanned fully electric cargo air vehicle (CAV) designed to transport up to 500 pounds (226.80 kilograms) and other urban, regional and global mobility platforms. The CAV completed its first indoor flight last year and will transition to outdoor flight testing in 2019.

And, here is the flight of the PAV in Manassas, Va.
Boeing: Boeing Autonomous Passenger Air Vehicle Completes First Flight


OTHER NEWS

Self-flying aircraft an overlooked opportunity in autonomous transport – Axios It’s coming?

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.”


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