AIR ASTANA

Air Astana has received a prestigious Five Star Major Airline award from the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX). This is the third time that Air Astana has received a Five Star award from APEX. The awards were presented at the end of a highly successful virtual FTE (Future Travel Experience) APEX event during December 8 and 9th attended by 200 airlines and 200 airports all over the world. (Editor’s Note: Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan, operates domestic and international flights from hubs in Nur-Sultan and Almaty. The company was incorporated in late 2001 and commenced operations on 15th May 2002. The Air Astana fleet consists of Boeing 767/757, Airbus A320 Family aircraft including A320neo, A321neo and A321LR and Embraer E190 / E190-E2.)

Air Astana became the first carrier from Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Eastern Europe to be awarded the prestigious 4-Star rating by Skytrax at the World Airline Awards in 2012 and was also named ‘The Best Airline in Central Asia and India’ that year. Both achievements were repeated every year through until 2019. Air Astana has also received TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards in the “Regional Carrier in Asia” and “Passenger Comfort” categories for the past three years and a 5-Star in the “Major Regional Airlines” category from APEX in 2019.


CERTAPET

Recently, the US Department of Transportation released their final ruling regarding service animals on airplanes. A service animal is defined as a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. DOT determined that carriers are not required to recognize emotional support animals (ESA’s) as service animals and may treat them as pets. While the rules may vary carrier to carrier, this means that the protections afforded those with ESA’s will no longer be valid. Instead, they will most likely have to pay a fee to bring their re-classified pet aboard an aircraft.

HOWEVER – the DOT actually made it easier than ever for people to fly with their animals. See the attached infographic for all of the reasons why.


CARLISLE INTERCONNECT TECHNOLOGIES (CIT)

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) announced that it has received a patent for its third generation of ARINC 791/792 Adjustable Fittings for existing and emerging aerospace applications. The new patented fittings allow for simple, error-proof, and efficient installation performed using only basic hand tools. The ARINC 791/792 Adjustable Fittings significantly reduce installation compared to traditional methods as they do not require special fixtures or tools, shims, or match drilling.

This new solution is ARINC 791/792-compliant as well as RTCA/DO-160 and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) qualified. Adaptable to existing ARINC 791, these fittings also incorporate ARINC 791/792 slip requirements with z-axis (height) adjustability to support conversion from ARINC 791 to 792 equipment installation. These fittings ensure the lowest possible installation height for electronically steered antenna (ESA) applications, provide z-axis adjustability to account for structure variations, and minimize labor on the line or at the MRO.

“Our team has remained dedicated to providing next-generation solutions that meet current needs and stand up to future challenges, while also improving performance and reducing cost,” said Chris Rawley, Product Line Manager, Aircraft Connectivity Solutions at CarlisleIT. “These new adjustable fittings for ARINC 791/792 systems serve as a certified and proven solution to meet the evolving needs of aircraft developers, withstand harsh and demanding environments, and support innovation across the aerospace industry.”

With more than 80 years’ experience, CarlisleIT has a proven history of meeting customer demands. This new solution represents the company’s innovative approach to satisfying OEM requirements alongside the installation needs of next-generation equipment. To learn more about CarlisleIT’s complete line of System Installation Kit products, visit www.carlisleit.com.


BOEING

Boeing announced a new 10-year agreement with North American carrier Frontier Airlines to implement a range of crew, flight-planning and operations tools to enhance efficiency for the airline. These digital solutions from Boeing’s Jeppesen product range provide fleet-wide cost savings across regional and international routes, enhance airline crew-planning processes and increase operational reliability.

In addition to its digital navigation and charting services from Boeing, Frontier Airlines will use a new Jeppesen digital solutions suite that provides day-of-operations decision-support tools, including:

  • Flight-planning and scheduling services to enhance flight operations and enable on-time departures and efficient routing
  • Crew management, tail assignment and operations-control tools that optimize schedules and aircraft utilization in the short- and long-term planning horizon, including day-of-operation issue detection and schedule recovery to minimize issues due to unexpected events.

“As commercial aviation emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Frontier Airlines is poised to continue its exceptional growth, utilizing Boeing’s analytics-powered tools to maximize performance and reduce costs during this critical moment for our industry,” said Ted Colbert, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services. “This is a great example of our partnership with customers like Frontier to turn Boeing’s unparalleled digital expertise into operational bottom-line advantages.”

Frontier Airlines is committed to “Low Fares Done Right.” Headquartered in Denver, the company operates more than 100 aircraft with a route network spanning the U.S., the Caribbean and Mexico. With 160 new planes on order, Frontier will continue to grow to deliver on the mission of providing affordable travel across America.

Also from Boeing:

China Airlines unveiled the first of six Boeing 777 Freighters, officially becoming the 20th operator of the world’s largest and longest range twin-aisle freighter. The 777 Freighter joins the airline amid growing demand for dedicated freighters as operators grapple with the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. China Airlines aims to increase its cargo capacity by 15% in 2021 and is planning to launch the 777 Freighter on routes connecting Taipei with North America — a key market with strong demand and escalating yields. An operator of all-Boeing freighter fleet, China Airlines debuted its new 777 Freighter during a ceremony in Taipei to mark the carrier’s 61st anniversary. The airline is set to take five more 777 Freighters as part of an order announced at the 2019 Paris Air Show.

The 777 Freighter is the world’s largest, longest range and most capable twin-engine freighter. The airplane has a range of 9,200 km (4,970 nautical miles) and can carry a maximum payload of 102,010 kg (224,900 lbs). The airplane will allow China Airlines to make fewer stops and reduce associated landing fees on long-haul routes, resulting in the lowest trip cost of any large freighter.

The 747 and 777 freighters, both of which make up China Airlines’ world-class freighter fleet, are capable of carrying tall and outsized cargo loads on 3-meter (10-foot) tall pallets. This common main-deck pallet height capability enables interchangeable pallets, adding to the versatility of both models.

In addition to commercial airplanes, Boeing provides China Airlines with total life cycle support services to streamline parts provisioning and flight and maintenance operations. The entire China Airlines fleet uses Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro, which provides access to digital navigation charts and interactive maps to optimize performance and enhance situational awareness.

China Airlines also recently signed an agreement for Airplane Health Management (AHM), which tracks real-time airplane information, providing data and decision support tools that allow technicians to quickly and correctly resolve maintenance issues. This allows airlines to take proactive actions based on AHM-generated alerts, reducing disruptions to operations and the costs associated with unscheduled maintenance. With the agreement, China Airlines joins more than 100 global customers using the AHM solution.


OTHER NEWS

  • Better get ready for youthful scientists solving problems that we don’t seem to see or understand – TIME’s 2020 Kid of the Year: Meet Gitanjali Rao | Time
  • “On December 4, 2020, Boeing retired two of its long serving chase planes…” This incredible flight history is by a friend and writer, and pilot … and just about everything else – Bob Bogash. Yes, it is very interesting stuff for aviation lovers. Buried within is a story about about an amazing aviation expert, Lockheed designer Kelly Johnson who designed the first chase plane model… – Boeing Chase Airplanes
  • IATA once again has published some good advice “Best Practices for COVID-19 Market Stimulation” and you can read it here: IATA – Best Practices for COVID-19 Market Stimulation


From IFExpress’ perspective, this year’s Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) in Germany was worth the battle with Monday morning jetlag! As we all know, not all conference content is created equal, and many times, the opening remarks/panels are a bit mundane; however, the 2019 PEC provided us with some salient questions and concepts that kept our attention.

Insights from Industry Leaders  was the title of  the opening session and the panel was comprised of Jóhanna Bergi, CEO of Atlantic Airways; Dr. Christian Langer, Chief Digital Officer of the Lufthansa Group & Managing Director Lufthansa Innovation Hub; Jeremy Drury, Director Digital & E-Services Star Alliance; Juha Jarvinen, Executive Vice President of Commercial, Virgin Atlantic; and moderated by Dr. Joe Leader, CEO of APEX & IFSA.

Joe Leader started the session by saying that he is seeing a stronger focus on the inflight experience and personalization to the passenger experience with more ancillary revenue attached to the end-to-end service. His example: Etihad is offering some business class touches in their economy service. And he went on to say that, “No matter the size of your airline or the scope of your mission, it is the attention to details that matter.”

The first panel member to address the crowd was Ms. Johanna A. Bergi – CEO Atlantic Airways; who stated that Atlantic Airways was established 31 years ago and is the carrier of the Faroe Islands. Ms. Bergi discussed the uniqueness of the Faroe Islands, how they have been connected politically to Denmark since the 14th century but are geographically located near the coast of Scotland, and how travel and tourism is important to their community. “We want to promote our country in a modern way.” Sustainability is key to their airline and the Faroe Island community as a whole. “We are going full speed into sustainability, we have purchased new aircraft for their fuel saving and we are also using sustainable packing with a pre-order system for catering in an effort to minimize waste.” They offer the AirFi IFE system to their passengers. Content is upload when the aircraft is on the ground, but gives the passengers a feel of being connected, even though they are not connected real-time.

Next to address the conference was Dr. Christian Langer – Chief Digital Officer & Managing Director Lufthansa Innovation Hub who told us that the Lufthansa Group has changed how they look at digital information. He asked the question, “How do we drive innovation?” He said that within their organization they rely on the people within it to provide the innovative concepts, not a single group or the board itself. Dr. Langer stated that they also give monetary awards for concepts that are successful. He asked which other industries may be converging with ours? And said that we are often influenced by the auto industry and he could see a time when cabin interiors might be manufactured by the auto industry, as they have the same problems to solve. However, the innovation cycle of the auto industry is far quicker– every 15 – 24 months, compared to that of the aviation industry . He said, “Our industry takes years and years. I think we, as an industry, need to speed up this cycle given passenger expectations.” He went on to say, “What is the impact that digital industries will have on the passengers? How can we understand what they are doing and how can we influence it? How can we speed up internal processes to be on par with these start-ups?  How can we adopt the new technologies/services, your IT needs to be able to adopt? If you don’t have the API ready, how can you adopt? Speed is of the essence and we as an industry need to speed up the process.” In closing, Dr. Langer said, “Keep your basics straight. Improve your basics and it will have a big influence. Airlines, ask yourself: How on time? How clean are the cabins? What is your ecological footprint? What is the technological footprint? We think these things are very important.  Fix your basics, have them be brilliant and you will be successful.”

The next speaker was Mr. Jeremy Drury – Director Digital & E-Services Star Alliance. Mr. Drury said that his focus is to make the customer journey better. One of the primary ways to achieve this is make certain that the airline has access to quality data on each customer and that the hand-off of that information from carrier-to-carrier within the alliance is better in order to facilitate the passenger journey“The customer is king,” said Drury, “Which ever channel the customer elects, it is important that the customer can stay within that channel throughout their journey to get everything they need. So, you don’t need to download a billion apps.” Seat selection on a multi-segment, multi-carrier trip was used as an example: You have downloaded the United app onto your phone as they are your carrier of choice. You are traveling on them for the first leg of your journey, then connecting onto a Singapore Airlines operated flight. You should be able to select/change your seat, etc. on the Singapore operated flight using the United Airlines app.

Drury went on to say, Biometrics are a big deal. What principals as an alliance do you maintain between services and privacy? It is difficult, biometrics services need to be tracked and transferred throughout the journey. We are working out ways to solve the problems in order to deliver but with explicit consent, because the customer owns themselves.” He went on to say that airlines have to ask themselves the following: what services will be available through the various airlines’ applications? Baggage tracking, directions through the airport (guidance options within the airport), easier informational items (lounge is an example). And how can airline/alliance speed up rate of approval? In terms of loyalty propositions: What is the future of loyalty? How would/could blockchain be used? How close are we to having that as part of the world? The need for redemption opportunities. In order to do this, we need to build up a series of people and products that can be leveraged in that eco system. Block chain is the perfect airline alliance product. It is an ideal technology. “We have a way to go before it reaches fruition, but the Star Alliance is starting to look at this, “said Drury.

The last to present was Juha Jarvinen – Executive VP of Commercial, Virgin Atlantic. Juha said that Virgin has always been an iconic airline that historically has been a bit bolder, a bit braver and has embraced a certain look and feel. A key part of their identity is to “be yourself” and diversity is very important to their airline culture. He went onto say the airline has a 3-year strategy program: 1) We need technology but must focus on the people because it is the people that make a difference 2) Need to start growing. It is important to expand and be in a growth mode 3) How do we expand our global network with our partnerships? Established a relationship with AirFrance/KLM (31%) and Delta Air Lines (49%) and have acquired Flybe (will focus on short haul segments) – these relationships will dramatically change and strengthen Virgin Atlantic.

What is Virgin Atlantic’s vision: DNA is to be different, bolder but they are now adding more airlines to the joint Atlantic family, which gives them a global network in an entirely different way. Mr. Jarvinen stated that they now have a substantial business not just a leisure airline. Juha went on to say they are creating a new loyalty program for the UK market – It is all about the customer data: how do we customize and personalize the offering? They have been asking themselves: “What slows down adoption for an airline? When looking at airline alliances, the members adapt and change at different rates. So, we work with a few airlines that are more agile and then roll out the product/service/strategy after it has been tested and trialed with the other airlines.

Another area that Mr. Jarvinen talk about was passenger data. “Do airlines have the capacity to protect the passenger’s data? Do people trust airlines to protect their data? This is a crucially important area. We have had examples of data breaches with airlines around the world. All passenger data and loyalty data must be protected. This is on the top of the agenda. This is a topic where airlines must work together.”

Juha rounded up his discussion by stating: Whoever is closest to the customer wins the customer. Google announced the gamification of gaming (basically puts it in the cloud) a few weeks ago, this provides an opportunity for the airlines when it comes to gaming and/or IFE.

Loyalty programs could truly benefit from gamification. Also, what is the next stage of the journey?  Example: asking Siri where your gate is, is the plane on time, etc. So, whoever gets there first wins.”

Next week IFExpress will focus on the Digital Trends Break Out Sessions, so stay tuned!


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a leader in global mobile satellite communications,  announced that its award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband solution will be available to passengers onboard Virgin Atlantic’s brand new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. Virgin Atlantic is scheduled to receive 12 Airbus A350-1000s over the next three years, with GX Aviation pre-installed upon delivery. The service will be available once the first of these aircraft takes to the skies from late summer 2019, allowing passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, check social media, instant message and more, with speeds on par with mobile broadband on the ground. GX Aviation is the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight connectivity service delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of high-throughput satellites. It was revealed as part of Virgin Atlantic’s new onboard offering on the A350-1000 earlier this week, with other key features of the aircraft including an entirely new Upper Class cabin with brand new suite and social space. More than 1,600 aircraft are currently expected under signed contracts for Inmarsat’s next-generation inflight broadband solutions for airlines, with a new business pipeline of approximately 3,000 aircraft worldwide. To meet growing demand, Inmarsat has a fully-funded development roadmap, including three further Ka-band payloads. A fifth GX satellite will be launched later this year and two sixth-generation satellites are scheduled to launch in 2020 and 2021. In addition, planning is underway for the next generation of GX satellites.


VISION BOX

New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport Terminal One Group and Vision-Box have signed a cooperation agreement to modernize passenger processing and roll out one of the largest biometric boarding airport platforms in the USA. A seamless biometric-based passenger management platform will be implemented, allowing for passengers to board without needing to show their passports or boarding passes. Lufthansa will be the first carrier to offer the technology at JFK Terminal One, their largest USA operation, with Air France, Japan Airlines, and many others expected to follow suit, as the terminal is home to a total of 26 international carriers.


INFLIGHT VR

In an effort to appeal to their young and increasingly technology hungry customer demographic, innovative Korean low- cost carrier Jin Air has partnered with Inflight VR to offer Virtual Reality (VR) inflight entertainment to its passengers. Jin Air will trial 10 devices on daily flights between Seoul, South Korea and Da Nang, Vietnam to get additional passenger insight on usage preferences and the adequate rental price before deploying it to their whole fleet.


AIRBUS

  • Airbus has launched first operations of a new Skywise service – Skywise Health Monitoring (SHM) – with Allegiant Air on its A320s. Dynamically coupled with Skywise Reliability Services (SRS) and Skywise Predictive Maintenance (SPM), SHM is hosted on Skywise, gathering live diagnostic feeds from the aircraft through its *ACARS link to the airline’s information system. Using the power of the Skywise aviation data platform, SHM collates and centralises the alerts, flight-deck effects, maintenance messages etc., prioritizes them, correlates any faults with the relevant troubleshooting procedures, highlights operational impacts, provides the maintenance history of the system (from the logbook and **MIS information collected through Skywise Core and stored in the data lake), allowing effective tracking of the alerts. When fully deployed, and following the in-service feedback from Allegiant Air and other ‘early adopters’, SHM will support airlines’ Maintenance Control Centers, Line Maintenance and Engineering departments in identifying, prioritizing, analyzing and handling in-service events, enabling quicker decision-making and preparation of the optimal solution to ensure aircraft on-time dispatch and minimizing AOG risks. Overall, SHM saves airlines time and decreases the cost of unscheduled maintenance. Natively interfaced with SPM and SRS to provide an integrated user-experience, and also ready to harness the new on-board Flight Operations and Maintenance Exchanger (“FOMAX”) data router which can capture over 20,000 real-time aircraft parameters, SHM enables end-to-end unscheduled event management/fixes for example by anticipating tools and parts’ availability closest to the aircraft. More early adopters will join in the months to come to pilot SHM for other Airbus aircraft, including A330, A350 and A380. *ACARS = Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System **MIS = Maintenance Information System
  • Airbus appointed Julie Kitcher as Executive Vice-President Communications and Corporate Affairs, effective immediately. In this role, she joins the Airbus Executive Committee leading all external and internal communication activities, reporting to Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
  • Airbus SE appointed a new Executive Committee led by Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury, following approval from the Board of Directors. The changes are effective immediately. The Executive Committee supports the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in his duty of managing the day-to-day operations of Airbus’ business and is the Company’s top executive body. It comprises the Heads of Divisions and major Functions.
    Dominik Asam, Chief Financial Officer; Thierry Baril, Chief Human Resources Officer; Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice-President Engineering, Bruno Even, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Helicopters; John Harrison, General Counsel; Dirk Hoke, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Defence and Space; Julie Kitcher, Executive Vice-President Communications & Corporate Affairs; Philippe Mhun, Executive Vice-President Programmes & Services; Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer; Michael Schöllhorn, Chief Operations Officer; Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer

OTHER NEWS

New York | December 6, 2018– JetBlue, New York’s Hometown Airline™, today announces the appointment of Edward Baklor as the carrier’s new Vice President, Inflight Experience. He will join JetBlue effective January 2019 and lead the carrier’s 5,000 award-winning inflight crewmembers.

Baklor comes to JetBlue from LaGuardia Gateway Partners where he served as Chief Commercial Officer responsible for leading the team that is transforming the commercial and guest experiences at LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B.

He previously served as the Senior Vice President of Guest Experience at Calgary-based WestJet, where he led the carrier’s airport operations, inflight, and contact center teams. Additionally, Baklor spent 14 years in various leadership roles at The Walt Disney Company’s Theme Parks and Resorts division before joining the aviation industry.

“Ed has built his entire career around the idea of service excellence, making him a perfect fit to lead JetBlue’s Inflight team,” said Ian Deason, JetBlue’s Senior Vice President, Customer Experience. “I’m thrilled to welcome him and look forward to working together to make JetBlue an even better airline for our crewmembers and customers.”

“I’ve always admired JetBlue for creating a great culture that clearly helps drive a memorable experience for its customers,” Baklor added. “I’m very excited to work alongside JetBlue’s inflight crewmembers as the airline continues to grow and evolve.”

Baklor is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C.

Paris, France | April 4, 2018–The start-up SKYdeals will attend the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg from 10th – 12th April 2018 on booth #3C30.

SKYdeals will showcase the first solution of inflight “Shoppertainment” in the world.

On this occasion, the two founders, also members of the APEX* association, will have the opportunity to showcase to main airlines representatives, their concept and its advantages as a new source of additional revenues and as an innovative passenger experience.

Every day, 8 million people around the world travel by plane and thanks to Inflight broadband, it’s now possible to reach these passengers in real time, and to interact with them.

SKYdeals is the first platform dedicated to this population, a marketplace where brands and service providers can offer, directly to passengers, highly targeted event-driven sales and private sales.

This e-commerce platform gives a double benefit for airlines:

  • Quickly access to an innovative, entertaining and connected digital service for passengers: Thanks to its “Plug & Play” catalogs, SKYdeals can be implemented in only two weeks and without any major investment from airlines.
  • A new source of revenues from inflight connectivity based on a revenue sharing model. SKYdeals will present during the event some revenues simulations, which clearly show all the potential of inflight e-commerce.

With the development of onboard Wi-Fi, SKYdeals relies on a fast-growing market. Indeed, the market of inflight broadband will reach $130 billion, resulting in $30 billion of additional revenue for airlines by 2035, compared to $1 billion in 2018**. Half of these revenues will be dedicated to e-commerce, advertising and premium content.