Letter from the Editor

The stay-at-home orders have affected millions of people, resulting in unprecedented unemployment rates in the U.S. and Europe, which are rising higher and faster than they ever have before. Compared to a year ago, the global aircraft capacity in available seat-miles is currently down by approximately 59%. Add to this that IATA is forecasting airline losses to exceed $252 billion, which could easily be revised upward in the next few weeks. The understatement of the week is that COVID-19 is having a devastating effect on our industry.

Damage has been done, much like what we experienced after September 11, 2001, and the financial crisis of 2008 – but on an even greater, global scale and we may well have past the point of a V-shaped recovery. As those events changed how governments, businesses, and the public functioned; so will this forever change us as well.

What might we expect these changes to look like? It is not unreasonable to expect new procedures to be put into place to manage the risk of reinfection: body temperature scanners at airports, immunization passports for travelers on every flight – much like today’s security screening but focused on the traveler’s health. After 9/11 it took the flying public almost a decade to adjust to the changes in travel and accept the ‘new normal’. So it is not unrealistic to expect that it will take a while for passengers to embrace the travel process post COVID-19.

Also, virtual meetings are becoming part of everyone’s lives – even those who are the most technologically challenged seem to be using applications like Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, etc. to fill the need to socialize. I am willing to bet that each of you has used one or more of these in the past week to stay connected with friends, family, and colleagues. For work, the virtual meeting has become business as usual right now and we are all discovering, out of necessity, how easy and useful these video conferences can be. This will undoubtedly contribute to a slower uptake in passenger traffic growth once things begin to return to ‘normal’, or should I say, the new normal.

The pandemic has also had an impact on the number of aircraft anticipated to be in service in 2021. The forecast is there will be 1,200 fewer jetliners flying than last year (2019). This is also going to impact the number of pilots, maintenance technicians, flight crew, attendants, etc. needed.

This is all a vivid reminder that aviation has, and always will be, a cyclical business. Historically, with each upturn in the cycle, our industry grows, renews and often performs better than it did before. This is what we need to keep focused on right now. The only big question we currently face is how long will this down turn last?

Stay Home, Stay Healthy – Tricia

Patricia Wiseman – Editor, Publisher & Co-Founder


SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct (SD), the business aviation solutions provider, is launching a new webinar series to ensure customers remain continually informed and updated about SD products, services and partner relationships. Grouped by product category, the inaugural webinars will explain the latest SD updates and product enhancements by delivering content created in direct response to customer queries and information requests. The agendas incorporate themes that are relevant and essential for effective management of flight operations and aim to improve customer understanding of the extensive SD Xperience portfolio. Each webinar will also detail how to maximize new and existing products in dynamic, unpredictable operating environments to effectively manage evolving situations. The first four workshops are scheduled as follows:

  • 21 April, 13:00 UTC – SD Connectivity: detailing network and service updates along with SD partner information.
  • 05 May, 13:00 UTC – SD Hardware: updates on router, modem and antenna products and how best to select and optimize them.
  • 19 May, 13:00 UTC – FlightDeck Freedom®: latest on datalink services supporting mandatory requirements for the flight deck.
  • 02 June, 13:00 UTC – SD PostFlight and SD Pro®: updates on platform functionality and optional third party integration.

The one-hour webinars will be delivered online to registered SD clients by an SD subject matter expert. Materials will be conveyed through presentations, graphics and interactive tools and are designed to stimulate participation and discussion, whilst allowing customers to address individual needs and queries. For customers unable to participate, the webinars will be available for review through the SD Learning Management System (LMS) portal after each workshop.


GALGUS

IFExpress received an email from Jose Gonzalez, CEO & Co-Founder of Galgus. Galgus is part of the Wi-Fi community and works in the IFEC industry with VT Miltope on their CHT (Cognitive Hotspot Technology). Galgus has put together a YouTube video show casing how important Wi-Fi is and how the technology is facilitating working, studying, entertaining and engaging remotely during this pandemic. We thought we would share their tribute and recognition with you, our readers. Can you imagine this quarantine without #WiFi? – YouTube


COLLINS AEROSPACE

Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp., recently announced Troy Brunk has been named president, Interiors, reporting to Collins Aerospace president Stephen Timm. He succeeds Dave Nieuwsma, who was recently named president, Avionics, for Collins Aerospace. In his new role, Brunk leads a broad portfolio of aircraft interior systems for seating, lighting, galley, oxygen, passenger service, evacuation, de-icing, lavatory, waste and potable water for commercial and military customers around the globe. Brunk’s 27-years with Collins Aerospace has included leadership roles of increasing responsibility. Most recently he served as vice president and general manager for the Communication, Navigation & Guidance Solutions portfolio for the company’s Mission Systems business. In this role, Brunk oversaw a broad portfolio of military applications and solutions, ranging from communication and navigation, to actuation and guidance, and health and fuel sensing systems. Brunk also served as vice president and general manager for Airborne Solutions, where he oversaw the avionics and flight deck solutions for military fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.


VALOUR

Valour Consultancy, an independent provider of market intelligence services to firms in the global aerospace and maritime markets, is delighted to reveal that it has been honored with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. The company is one of a select group of organizations nationally to be recognized with the accolade, which is the highest official UK award available to British businesses. Valour’s award is given for outstanding achievement in the category of International Trade after increasing its overseas sales by an incredible 157 per cent over the last three years.

“It goes without saying that we are immensely proud of this achievement, which is the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice in establishing Valour as a reputable source of business intelligence” said co-founders, Joshua Flood, Craig Foster and Daniel Welch. The trio also expressed their gratitude to those that have supported the company’s phenomenal growth in recent years. “This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff who have consistently delivered outstanding results and often make themselves available at all hours to answer client enquiries. We’d also like to give a special mention to those companies located around the world that continue to have faith in us to provide them with the means to make more informed business decisions, even in these uncertain times”. Valour Consultancy is headquartered just outside of Grantham in the United Kingdom and maintains additional offices in London, as well as in Melbourne, which is home to its subsidiary, Valour Consultancy Australia. Since its founding in 2012, the firm has become a trusted provider of insight and analysis to many of the world’s largest companies. This includes aircraft manufacturers, large global satellite operators, multinational service providers and a range of the world’s best-known airlines.

Valour Consultancy will celebrate the award during a royal reception for Queen’s Awards winners and intends to host its own celebration later in the year.


LUFTHANSA

#WeAreInThisTogether is Lufthansa’s motto in these unusual times and the carrier is setting a sign to express its bond with the airline’s passengers: Frequent flyers who considerably contribute to the airline’s success get access to all the digital publications that they usually are only provided with when flying. Media Carrier as a leading provider of digital content supports this initiative, providing its technical platform and content for this initiative. Frequent flyers get an access to 781 newspapers and magazines from around the world and enjoy digital reading. The portfolio meets every taste, containing business papers, lifestyle publications, regional newspapers and international magazines, and offers daily inspiration and entertainment. All publications can easily be downloaded in pdf format to any digital device and are then available to read for an unlimited period of time. Apart from free offers, users can also buy publications.


AIRBUS

Airbus SE shareholders approved all resolutions on the agenda for its 2020 Annual General Meeting, including the election of two new directors, while René Obermann formally succeeded Denis Ranque as Chairman at a Board meeting immediately afterwards. Owing to the global coronavirus outbreak, shareholders were encouraged to vote by proxy instead of attending the AGM physically in Amsterdam, in line with public health and safety measures. Shareholders showed a very high level of voting and strong engagement despite the COVID-19 situation, with 575 million votes expressed, up 5% compared to the 2019 AGM and representing around 74% of the outstanding share capital. On 23 March, Airbus announced that it was withdrawing a voting item from the original AGM agenda related to the proposed payment of the 2019 dividend. The withdrawal of the dividend proposal was one of a number of measures announced by the Company to bolster liquidity and its balance sheet in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Following shareholder approval, Mark Dunkerley and Stephan Gemkow each joined the Board as non-executive directors for a period of three years. Dunkerley has extensive experience of the commercial airline and aviation industry and is currently a Member of the Board of Spirit Airlines, Inc., while Gemkow is a Member of the Board of Amadeus IT Group and a former airline executive with 22 years at Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

The mandates of non-executive directors Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. and Lord Drayson (Paul) were each renewed for three years. Denis Ranque and Hermann-Josef Lamberti both stepped down as planned from the Board and its committees at the close of the AGM. At the meeting immediately following the AGM, the Board approved the planned appointment of René Obermann as Chairman of the Board of Directors. In April 2019, Airbus announced that Obermann had been selected by the Board to succeed Denis Ranque as Chairman. As previously stated, Denis Ranque asked to leave the Board to pursue other interests when his mandate expired at the close of the 2020 AGM, following seven years as Chairman. “It has been a great honour to serve Airbus as Chairman these past years and I extend my best wishes to René, the Board and the Company as a whole,” said outgoing Airbus Chairman Denis Ranque. “I’d also like to thank shareholders for their support along these years and today for having voted through these important AGM resolutions at a very high level despite the COVID-19 outbreak. With a renewed management team, under Guillaume’s strong leadership, and an experienced Board, your Company is in good hands as it heads into its sixth decade.”


BOEING

Boeing will resume all Commercial Airplanes production in a phased approach at its Puget Sound-region facilities this week, after suspending operations last month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At all of its sites, the company has taken extra precautions and instituted comprehensive procedures to keep people safe and fight the spread of COVID-19.

“The health and safety of our employees, their families and communities is our shared priority,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and senior executive in the Pacific Northwest. “This phased approach ensures we have a reliable supply base, our personal protective equipment is readily available and we have all of the necessary safety measures in place to resume essential work for our customers.”

Approximately 27,000 people in the Puget Sound area will return to production of the 747, 767, 777 and 787 programs, supporting critical global transportation infrastructure, cargo services and national defense and security missions. The 737 program will resume working toward restarting production of the 737 MAX. Boeing South Carolina remains in a suspension of operations at this time. Earlier this week Boeing restarted mostly defense production operations in the region with approximately 2,500 people. Employees in the Puget Sound for the 737, 747, 767 and 777 will return as early as third shift on April 20 with most returning to work by April 21. Employees for the 787 program will return as early as third shift April 23, with most returning to work by April 24.
The company’s practices reinforce enhanced cleaning, employee health and physical distancing in partnership with employees. Aligned with federal and state guidance, these practices include:

  • Staggered shift start times to reduce the flow of employees arriving and departing work
  • Visual controls such as floor markings and signage to create physical distance
  • Face coverings will be a requirement for employees at Boeing sites in Washington. Employees are strongly encouraged to bring in their own procedural mask or face covering; those who do not have a mask available will be provided with one.
  • Providing required personal protective equipment to employees working in areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained for an extended period
  • Asking employees to perform self-health checks before coming to work and to stay home if they are ill
  • Employee wellness checks at the beginning of every shift and voluntary temperature screening at many manufacturing locations
  • Contact tracing when an employee tests positive for COVID-19 to reduce risk to teammates
  • Continued virtual meetings and employees who can work from home will continue to do
  • Transportation and common areas adjusted for physical distancing
  • Hand-washing stations in high-traffic areas and additional cleaning supplies available

Enhanced measures will continue until conditions allow for a return to regular work and cleaning processes. Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance on COVID-19, assess impact on company operations and adjust plans as the situation evolves.

Boeing completed its first COVID-19 transport mission, using a 737-700 aircraft from its corporate fleet to bring personal protective equipment (PPE) from China to the United States. Working in partnership with FIRST Robotics Founder Dean Kamen, the company transported 540,000 medical-grade face masks that will be delivered to healthcare professionals battling COVID-19 in New Hampshire. Kamen, who has a longstanding relationship with Boeing through FIRST Robotics, is also a founder of DEKA Research and Development Corporation. “Another life-saving delivery of PPE has arrived in New Hampshire,” said Governor Chris Sununu.

Boeing continues to support local communities and the heroic healthcare professionals working tirelessly to stop the spread of COVID-19. Additional airlift transport missions with the Boeing Dreamlifter and ecoDemonstrator are planned in the future. Boeing is coordinating closely with U.S. government officials on how to best assist areas with the greatest need. “I want to personally thank Governor Sununu, the entire New Hampshire congressional delegation and Dean Kamen for their leadership in helping secure and distribute this much-needed personal protective equipment for our frontline healthcare workers and first responders here in New Hampshire,” said Dave Calhoun, Boeing president and CEO. “We are honored to have conducted today’s airlift mission and we look forward to providing continued support in the fight against this pandemic.”

Also from Boeing: Brazil’s GOL reached agreement with Boeing on financial compensation related to 737 MAX grounding and then they cancelled 34 of their remaining 129 MAXs on order.


OTHER NEWS

GALGUS

You may not have heard about the Galgus US patent that we see as an important improvement in decentralized wireless control. And in case you don’t remember, CHT (Cognitive Hotspot Technology) enables Wi-Fi devices to become intelligent fulfilling their potential capabilities and automatically makes real-time decisions, optimizing the wireless performance for every connected user. Cognitive Hotspot Technology is flying on aircraft today.

On August 27, 2019, a patent (US 10,397,932 B2) was granted to Galgus by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) of the United States Department of Commerce for the “System and Method for Decentralized Control of Wireless Networks”.

The invention patented relates to a decentralized control technology for wireless network installation, which distributes the control logic between all of the access points that make up the network, eliminating the centralized controller from the network architecture by means of communication between the access points themselves, thus substantially improving the efficiency of the management of the wireless network itself. The advantages that this architecture provides are the following:

  • Because it is decentralized, it is not dependent on any particular element, as all of the access points behave like small controllers that are able to interoperate with each other.
  • Each node behaves like a controller and provides support to the adjacent nodes.
  • The network tasks are thus distributed, without overloading any one element, thus preventing bottlenecks.
  • It reduces the high hardware costs of the centralized controller.
  • It is 100% scalable, making it possible to add more access points without having to increase the capabilities of the centralized controller.
  • It enables management from any point with network access.
  • Redundancy to failures, as the logic of the controller and, as such, the operations of the network is not compromised by the failure of any one access point.
  • Automatic configuration of the transmit power of the access points belonging to the network in order to reduce unnecessary interference.
  • Automatic configuration of the channel used by each access point belonging to the network in order to reduce interference between access points and increase the number of simultaneous transmissions in a limited physical environment.
  • Automatic selection of the access point that provides service to a new station or user (STA, “Station”), in order to reduce interference between access points and stations operating on the same channel or on different channels.
  • Balance the network load with the aim of reducing interference within the network and the number of hidden nodes, as well as taking advantage of the total transmission capacity of the network to prevent bottlenecks from arising in some access points while others remain idle.
  • Exclusion of users based on location, denying service to users who are located outside the range of operation of the network when these users receive the signal of the network.

“Its been a long way to achieve this. It was back in October 2013 when we applied for this! More than five years to finally succeed!” said Galgus’ CEO, Jose Gonzalez, who added: “Undoubtedly, it’s not just important because it can help us to safeguard our software, the good thing is that it’s a proof of Galgus’ technological innovation capability in the wireless field”.


PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation subsidiary, AeroMobile, is pleased to announce the launch of mobile connectivity onboard EGYPTAIR Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. This launch marks a significant time for EGYPTAIR as it responds to the ever growing demand for connectivity from travelers. With this launch, EGYPTAIR has achieved a major milestone by initiating the deployment of mobile and internet connectivity across its entire fleet of Dreamliner aircraft. In addition to the onboard Wi-Fi and live TV service, passengers will be able to access the AeroMobile network to connect their roaming-enabled GSM mobile phones to use mobile data services, send and receive SMS messages and emails, and make and receive calls.

Following the successful introduction of its first two aircraft with inflight mobile connectivity in Spring 2019, EGYPTAIR are set to complete their roll out through Autumn 2019. The B787-9 fleet with inflight mobile connectivity will serve destinations including Europe, America and Asia during 2019.

EGYPTAIR is always keen on providing passengers with competitive solutions, especially in the field of technology. As connectivity becomes an increasingly important part of the inflight experience, the airline is pleased to now be able to offer passengers a similar connectivity experience in the air, to that which they enjoy on the ground. Through these connectivity services, the airline is providing industry-leading services to its passengers, with even more choice, convenience and added value.


VUELING

The European Aviation Network (EAN) is now available to passengers flying with the European airline Vueling, marking the much-awaited debut of Europe’s fastest inflight broadband service in the low-cost carrier market. Vueling has commenced a soft launch of its new inflight broadband service, powered by EAN, on five initial short-haul aircraft. The rollout will progressively continue over the coming months, with installations expected to be completed on its fleet of more than 110 Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft by early next year, serving passengers on hundreds of different routes.

Passengers purchasing Wi-Fi on Vueling flights will have access to a full range of packages, including ‘Fly and Chat’ for messaging, ‘Fly and Surf’ for browsing and ‘Fly and More’ for streaming. EAN’s integrated system delivers consistent Wi-Fi that enables passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media, enjoy real-time interactive applications such as gaming and more. Vueling is the third airline to make the award-winning connectivity solution available to passengers. In total, EAN can now be accessed on more than 250 routes covering key destinations across Europe, including London, Madrid, Barcelona, Geneva and Rome. To date, almost five million passengers have traveled on more than 35,000 flights with access to EAN. The introduction of EAN inflight broadband on Vueling flights supports the airline’s ‘NEXT’ transformation program, which includes significant investments in customer experience, operations resilience and digital innovation. Developed by Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom (DT) in partnership with leading European companies such as Thales, Nokia, Airbus, Cobham and EAD Aerospace, EAN marks a paradigm shift in the airline passenger experience, with incomparable speeds, uninterrupted coverage and significantly lower latency than any other inflight broadband network in the continent.

It has been designed from scratch specifically for the needs of European aviation, delivering consistent inflight broadband across Europe, one of the world’s most congested airspaces, with more than one billion passengers and 11 million flights per year. EAN also offers the fastest ever installation time for a connectivity solution, requiring under nine hours per aircraft, meaning significantly less downtime for airlines. Combined with the system’s low weight, low drag and low maintenance, this results in lower operation costs.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat announced that its Jet ConneX (JX) business aviation inflight Wi-Fi solution has now been installed and activated on over 600 business jets worldwide.

The milestone was celebrated at NBAA 2019 in Las Vegas,  highlighting the rapid uptake of Jet ConneX services in just under three years of commercial availability. Powered by Inmarsat’s global Ka-band satellite network, Jet ConneX offers a reliable, consistent and high-speed Wi-Fi experience, bringing business travelers a level of connectivity in the air that has previously only been available on the ground. Installations have been growing rapidly, with a 50% increase in the past year alone.

The latest installation milestone follows a series of announcements this year detailing Inmarsat’s fully-funded development roadmap for its global Ka-band network, Global Xpress (GX) which currently consists of four high-throughput satellites. The next evolution of the network will deliver eight additional payloads, marking a transformative step-change in inflight broadband capabilities. As part of this program, Inmarsat will also become the only provider of inflight connectivity in the Arctic region.

The GX network will offer enhanced, focused, ultra-high-power capacity that can be immediately relocated in line with high demand flight patterns and seasonal demand surges across the globe, cementing Jet ConneX’s position as the world’s flagship connectivity for business jets. This future-proofs the ability for business aviation customers to invest in a consistently high quality of service into the future.


BOEING

Boeing issued the following statement regarding the release of the final investigation report of Lion Air Flight 610 by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT): “On behalf of everyone at Boeing, I want to convey our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in these accidents. We mourn with Lion Air, and we would like to express our deepest sympathies to the Lion Air family,” said Boeing President & CEO Dennis Muilenburg. “These tragic events have deeply affected us all and we will always remember what happened.”

“We commend Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee for its extensive efforts to determine the facts of this accident, the contributing factors to its cause and recommendations aimed toward our common goal that this never happens again.”

“We are addressing the KNKT’s safety recommendations, and taking actions to enhance the safety of the 737 MAX to prevent the flight control conditions that occurred in this accident from ever happening again. Safety is an enduring value for everyone at Boeing and the safety of the flying public, our customers, and the crews aboard our airplanes is always our top priority. We value our long-standing partnership with Lion Air and we look forward to continuing to work together in the future.”

Boeing experts, working as technical advisors to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, have supported the KNKT over the course of the investigation. The company’s engineers have been working with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other global regulators to make software updates and other changes, taking into account the information from the KNKT’s investigation. Since this accident, the 737 MAX and its software are undergoing an unprecedented level of global regulatory oversight, testing and analysis. This includes hundreds of simulator sessions and test flights, regulatory analysis of thousands of documents, reviews by regulators and independent experts and extensive certification requirements. Over the past several months Boeing has been making changes to the 737 MAX. Most significantly, Boeing has redesigned the way Angle of Attack (AoA) sensors work with a feature of the flight control software known as Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Going forward, MCAS will compare information from both AoA sensors before activating, adding a new layer of protection.In addition, MCAS will now only turn on if both AoA sensors agree, will only activate once in response to erroneous AoA, and will always be subject to a maximum limit that can be overridden with the control column. These software changes will prevent the flight control conditions that occurred in this accident from ever happening again.

In addition, Boeing is updating crew manuals and pilot training, designed to ensure every pilot has all of the information they need to fly the 737 MAX safely. Boeing continues to work with the FAA and other regulatory agencies worldwide on the certification of the software update and training program to safely return the 737 MAX to service.

The Boeing Company Board of Directors announced that it has elected retired Adm. John M. Richardson as its newest member. Richardson, 59, served as the 31st chief of Naval Operations from September 2015 until August 2019, when he retired from the U.S. Navy after 37 years of service. Richardson will join the Aerospace Safety Committee, which was formed in August following a rigorous five-month review of the company’s policies and processes for airplane design and development by the board’s temporary Committee on Airplane Policies and Processes. He also will serve on the board’s Special Programs Committee.

Boeing CEO and Boeing Chief Engineer to testify.


OTHER NEWS