Singapore | April 30, 2014– Portuguese operator Hi Fly has selected Flight Focus to provide a wireless in-flight entertainment system for its fleet of Airbus A330-200/300 aircraft. The airline and wet lease provider is taking a lead position among European charter operators and will offer wireless in-flight entertainment across their entire fleet. The solution will enhance the passenger experience by providing entertainment, information and shopping through the passengers’ own personal electronic device whilst opening up new ancillary revenue opportunities for Hi Fly’s airline customers.

“Hi Fly has extensively analyzed several wireless IFE options available on the market today and has chosen Flight Focus’ leading technology. We strongly believe that onboard wireless technology is the future and we are delighted to work with Flight Focus on this project.” said Paulo Mirpuri, Hi Fly President and CEO.

“Hi Fly is always committed to deliver the best IFE System to its customers.

Wireless Streaming In-flight Entertainment from Flight Focus will enable us to enhance our passengers’ experience with the use of their personal electronic devices in our A330s.” said António Penim, IFE Manager at Hi Fly.

The Flight Focus solution that Hi Fly will deploy is comprised of Flight Focus’s own FFP Server, NGA Wireless Access Points, and Cabin Control Panel. Together the Wireless Access Points and FFP Server have been proven capable of streaming video to every passenger simultaneously on both narrow and wide-body aircraft. The Cabin Control Panel can load content from physical media at speeds up to 400 Megabytes per second.

“We are excited to be working with Hi Fly. They are an innovative operator that is focused on providing the best possible service to their customers today and in the future. As passengers increasingly expect to use their own devices for IFE, onboard shopping, and communications, the Flight Focus system will have plenty of capacity to meet Hi Fly’s needs.” said David Borkowski, VP of Business Development at Flight Focus.

This week’s rectangle image is the Flight Focus aircraft connectivity plan… and the reason our readers like IFExpress – We do data! Our feature article is about the Singaporean super-integrator who is way ahead of the Wi-Fi game for commercial airlines. We thought you would like an update with some “meat on the bones’. For our readers, who like the high level picture, check out the graphic they sent along. If you read the captions, it says it all – Flight Focus – a small company has figured out how to make a dent in a large and complex market; they understand that market and it’s needs. They discovered their competency and focus, and now team with partners to apply their solutions to support their motto; ‘Connecting Everyone Onboard’, cabin and cockpit.

If you just want the facts, here is what they wrote on LinkedIn: “As a system integrator with complete vertical integration services, Flight Focus does not only design and manufacture the hardware and middleware (Platform Configurations + Aircraft Monitoring (a.k.a Flight Following), Messaging, Synchronization, Integrated Ground Server). Flight Focus integrates 3rd party software applications and acts as a single-point of contact for all 3rd party companies to deliver a turnkey solution. With our in-house certification team, Flight Focus is able to perform any required testing (EMI tests, functional live tests, flight tests…) to provide STCs and local DGCA approvals. Integration, Verification and Validation are key to deliver a customized and turnkey solution. Flight Focus doesn’t actually install, but we support your MROs and provide services and training for MRO engineers/technicians.  We can also provide operational and technical support 24/7, and system upgrades under a ‘Power by the Hour’ agreement.”

We contacted the company, headed by Ralf Cabos, and they recommended a YouTube video presentation want to of Mr. Cabos’ speech at IAPARC 2013.  We should also note below that we had a lot of questions but because of space, only a few are provided here. Here are some of the Q&A’s we posed:

Q: Are you FAA approved for installation on US planes?
A: Not for the moment as we don’t have current airlines flying in US but we can easily extend the EASA certification for FAA certification for any client.

Q: Please identify your partners?
A: Our open platform can host and integrate any type of 3rd party applications from any IFE content service providers…

Q: What and how many aircraft are you installed on?
A: Presently, there are 100+aircrafts are already flying with our platform solutions from Air Asia / Air Asia X to Air China. (Press Release).

Q: Can you provide IFExpress more information on aircraft installation and ship set costs?
A: It’s confidential. But as we are dealing with low cost airlines, and using the simplest architecture based on 1 server, it makes our Flight Focus Platform solution a cost effective solution both for the Cockpit and the Cabin.

Q: How long does it take to turn abound a plane? 
A: The installation can be performed within 24 hours. The advantage of our product is that it can be installed in record time, and provides flexibility to the airline.

Q: How many passengers can you serve at one time with data, email, video entertainment streams?
A: With our Flight Focus Platform for Cabin, we have been able to connect up to 243 passengers streaming HD videos concurrently  with all types of phones, tablets and laptops. This means the system fulfils 100% take-up rate in an Air China’s wide-body A330-300 (with only 5 WAPs). To demonstrate this performance, we did a live test in Beijing at Air China with 243 passengers streaming HD videos at the same time. Here is the video (you can view it as well on our website homepage). For inflight connectivity, it will depend obviously of the connectivity options selected by the airline.

Q: What does the aircraft hardware weigh?
A: Less than 20-25kg  (Platform Server + 5 WAPs) to cater EFB/IFE without connectivity. It depends which connectivity options is installed afterwards (Iridium, Inmarsat…) on our open platform.

Q: Who performs the aircraft installation? Where?
A: We don’t actually install, but we provide services and training for MRO engineers/technicians. We support the MROs that airlines are comfortable with and select. We have very good working relationships with many MROs in South East Asia such as GMF Aeroasia who has been our partner in Indonesia; but also Lufthansa Technics in the Philippines, AMECO in Beijing for Air China…

Flight Focus has to be the smallest completely wireless IFE company that you may have never heard of but we bet you will in the future. If you need more information about Flight Focus, contact Alexandre Benoit: +60 16 3677 470 or  alexandre.benoit@flightfocus.net and tell them IFExpress sent you.