BOEING
This week IFExpress discovered more non-IFEC related stories, and less topics covering our newsletter focus – less than usual, so for this issue we will pinpoint in on: aviation, planes, data, and whatever else our team thought you might catch your interest. With Aircraft Interiors Hamburg on the horizon you will soon get more IFEC news than you can use.

Let’s start off with Boeing’s newest jet roll-out: the B787-10 Dreamliner which is our rectangle image. Notes Boeing in their press release: The Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, the third member of the 787 Dreamliner family, made its debut today at Boeing South Carolina. Thousands of employees at the North Charleston, S.C. site celebrated the event, along with U.S. President Donald Trump and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. “What’s happening here at Boeing South Carolina is a true American success story,” said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and CEO. “In just a few short years, our team has transformed a greenfield site into a modern aerospace production facility that is delivering 787s to airlines all over the world and supporting thousands of U.S. jobs in the process.”

The 787-10, built exclusively at Boeing South Carolina, will now be prepared for its first flight in the coming weeks. “This airplane, the most efficient in its class, is the result of years of hard work and dedication from our Boeing teammates, suppliers and community partners in South Carolina and across the globe,” said Kevin McAllister, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO. “We know our customers, including launch customer Singapore Airlines, are going to love what the 787-10 will do for their fleets, and we can’t wait to see them fly it.” Boeing will deliver the 787-10 to airlines in 2018. The airplane has won 149 orders from nine customers across the globe. The 787-10, the longest model of the Dreamliner family, will grow the nonstop routes opened by the 787-8 and 787-9 with unprecedented efficiency. As an 18-foot (5.5-m) stretch of the 787-9, the 787-10 will deliver the 787 family’s preferred passenger experience and long range with up to 10 percent better fuel use and emissions than the competition.

Around the same time, Boeing won their employee battle with unions, as notes the Seattle Times: “After a bitter campaign, workers at Boeing’s South Carolina facility voted against joining the Machinists union, with 74 percent against. We also note that aviation analysts say the great boom in the aerospace industry is over, and predict that Boeing will have to cut jet production more.”


LUFTHANSA SYSTEMS
What part of aviation going digital don’t you understand? Well, the folks at Lufthansa Systems have a vary good answer and you might read it to see what the they view the future to hold: Everyone is talking about digitalization. Many companies are wondering how to future-proof themselves in the digital world. Lufthansa Systems turned this vision into reality a long time ago. For years, the aviation IT specialist has been advising and supporting airlines in their digital transformation, demonstrating what sustainable airline processes can look like and helping customers implement concrete projects.

“The core of our company strategy is to put airlines in a perfect position for the digital future. For example, we have spent over 15 years helping airlines work toward a paperless flight deck,” said Olivier Krüger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “We are offering new solutions and expanding our consulting unit in response to growing demand in the market. In keeping with this, we are continually enhancing our digital expertise so we can develop innovative solutions for the entire cosmos of an airline and its passengers – with data analytics, personalization, mobility and new developments such as eye tracking and dynamic navigation maps.”

The spectrum includes solutions and consulting services for improving the efficiency and differentiation of all aspects of an airline as well as for optimizing the entire travel chain for passengers.

Personalized Air Travel Services: Personalized solutions aim to enhance the passenger travel experience. New digital and individual services and apps, which can be used before, during and after a flight, ensure that passengers are addressed directly and personally. BoardConnect is one example. This digital platform enables passengers to access wireless inflight entertainment on their own smartphones and tablets, while offering additional functionalities for flight deck and cabin crews – with or without an Internet connection. The new inTime app is another example. It calculates how much time passengers will need to reach their gate punctually from their current location. Both the traffic situation outside the airport and the waiting times at check-in and security are taken into account here. The timings are based on (anonymized) data from real passengers, so the app gets more intelligent over time.

Dynamic Distribution Management: Dynamic distribution management makes it possible for airlines to increase their revenues by offering ticket and service packages directly to travelers. The New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is promoting this development and significantly affecting the distribution structures of airlines. Together with partners, Lufthansa Systems provides solutions for the entire NDC process, including offer and order management, dynamic pricing, and billing with the Sirax/RA revenue accounting solution. Airlines benefit from improved customer loyalty through more individualized offers, with lower distribution costs and higher revenues.

Safe & Efficient Flight Operations: Optimization and efficiency in all aspects of flight operations are the crucial aspects here. Simplified processes, improved routes, reduced fuel consumption and shorter handling times (including for crews and maintenance work) not only generate considerable savings potential, they also increase flight safety. For example, the digital navigation maps of the Lido/Navigation product line are becoming more and more dynamic. In the near future, they will be able to seamlessly display all flight processes from gate to gate. With an on-board Internet connection, additional smart functions in the maps can show information that is relevant to specific situations during a flight. This increases the pilots’ situational awareness.

Reliable Air Travel Experience: New developments in the field of flight operations revolve around passengers and their positive travel experience. If disruptions or delays do occur, these solutions aim to minimize the negative effects on passengers and communicate changes in a transparent way. This is essential to an airline’s success. The successful NetLine/Ops ++ operations control solution helps here with its innovative eye-tracking feature. Employees in an operations control center sometimes have to monitor six screens showing current flights and information about potential disturbances. Analyzing the eye movements of operations controllers with the help of eye-tracking technology ensures that no important warnings or disruption notifications are overlooked.

“In light of the growing importance of digital solutions in the aviation industry – including in the areas of data sharing, analytics and prediction – we founded a company last year called zeroG,” said Lufthansa Systems CEO Stefan Auerbach. “zeroG is a consulting firm with the character of a start-up which can respond quickly and flexibly to changes in the market. With their expertise in IT and aviation, our zeroG consultants support digitalization projects inside and outside of the Lufthansa Group.” The attached infographic provides an overview of current digitalization projects and innovative solutions at LHS.


SATCOM
Moving on to satcom, Tim Farrar of TMF Associates put out an interesting IFE comment in his latest Blog: “But the biggest news appears to be a pull back on SES’s part from the long rumored global Ka-band GEO system that I noted last summer. SES announced only a single satellite (SES-17) for the Americas in partnership with Thales last September, but had plans for two additional satellites, and it seemed increasingly likely that a partnership with EchoStar would be announced soon to fund this development. Now it seems that effort is on hold, leaving EchoStar without an obvious way forward to achieving global coverage (as it seems EchoStar considered but rejected the idea of buying Inmarsat last fall).” There is more here


COSMIC RAY
And speaking of satcom, we wondered about the ongoing effect of cosmic rays on inside electronics – especially at 20,000 feet where the ray density is higher than on the earth, and planes fly, and you use your phones and other electronics – Computerworld notes: “Cosmic rays — or rather the electrically charged particles they generate — may be your real foe.” Researchers have discovered that a specific type of cosmic ray call a single-event upset (SEU) can jolt and alter individual bits of data on computer chips. (Quick note: SEUs are harmless to organic life.) “An SEU was also blamed for an electronic voting error in Schaerbeekm, Belgium, back in 2003,” Computerworld says. “A bit flip in the electronic voting machine added 4,096 extra votes to one candidate. The issue was noticed only because the machine gave the candidate more votes than were possible.” Bharat Bhuva, a member of Vanderbilt University’s Radiation Effects Research Group, says it’s “a really big problem, but- mostly invisible to the public.” The Radiation Effects Research Group was founded in 1987 to study what effect radiation could have on electronic devices. While the body of researchers “initially focused on military and space applications,” it has expanded its research into consumer devices in the past decade. “Despite some serious examples, SEUs are still fairly rare events. But as the number of transistors being used in new electronic systems increases, so does the probability of an SEU failure on the device level.”


GEE
Glance Prongay & Murray LLP announces an investigation on behalf of Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (“Global Eagle” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: ENT) investors concerning the Company and its officers’ possible violations of federal securities laws. The Company further disclosed that it would be unable to timely file its 2016 annual report, and that it would need to withdraw its guidance for 2016 financial performance. Global Eagle (stock) has fallen over 29% per share during intraday trading on February 21, 2017.

Additionally, GEE announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Jeff Leddy as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Leddy has served on the Company’s Board of Directors since January 2013 and will continue as a Director. GEE further stated that Dave Davis, the Company’s CEO, and Tom Severson, the Company’s CFO, had both resigned effective immediately.

Dallas, Texas | December 13, 2016– Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) is committed to enhancing the inflight Customer experience and improving connectivity on Southwest® flights across the U.S. and near international destinations. This commitment is demonstrated with the carrier’s announcement today that it has entered into connectivity agreements with Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) and Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE). The agreement with Panasonic provides for their Global Communications Services, which include WiFi and live television, to be offered on a portion of the carrier’s fleet, with the first Panasonic equipped aircraft scheduled to enter service in late 2017. The agreement with GEE extends the carrier’s use of the company’s Airconnect connectivity system and services. Both of the agreements support Southwest’s focus on yielding greater WiFi bandwidth available to Customers on WiFi-equipped aircraft.

Southwest’s agreements with Panasonic and GEE align with next year’s planned retirement of the carrier’s non-WiFi-equipped 737-300 Classic aircraft and the introduction of the new Boeing 737-8 (MAX). By the end of 2017, Southwest Airlines is targeting to operate a 100 percent WiFi-equipped fleet of more than 700 aircraft.

“As the largest domestic airline in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, carrying more than 100 million Customers a year, we are committed to providing an enhanced inflight experience for our Customers,” said Ryan Green, Vice President Marketing for Southwest Airlines. “We’ve led the way in Customer experience, being the first U.S. carrier to offer gate-to-gate connectivity to our Customers while having the foresight that Customers prefer to use their own devices to stay connected. Going forward, our Customers will have the capability to stay connected on Southwest Airlines flights with even more bandwidth at their disposal.”

The Customer experience with connectivity remains a top priority for Southwest. Southwest’s agreements with GEE and Panasonic demonstrate the Company’s focus to keep Customers connected to what matters most in their lives, especially onboard their Southwest flights. In mid-2017, Customers will be able to browse the Internet at increased speeds as a result of an expected bandwidth increase of at least three times more than what they currently experience, with an additional expected bandwidth increase in mid-2018. Connectivity speeds are expected to increase, and Southwest plans to develop relationships with content providers to bring even more exclusive content to its Customers while on flights.

“We are pleased to extend and grow our relationship, including continuing to install GEE’s Airconnect system, WiFi and television services on Southwest Airlines aircraft,” commented Dave Davis, CEO of Global Eagle. “We’re committed to continuously improving the inflight connectivity experience for Southwest’s passengers with our next-generation high performance network, our live television portfolio, and our new passenger experience platform. Global Eagle’s new agreement and contract extension with Southwest Airlines highlights our long-term commitment to enhancing inflight entertainment and connectivity.”

Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics said, “We are both honored and excited to partner with Southwest on a program of this size and magnitude. Over the past year, we’ve been rolling out industry-leading high throughput satellite services, and we’re already evaluating new technologies such as XTSTM (Extreme Throughput Satellite) services, new modem designs and cutting-edge antenna technology that will ensure the best possible WiFi and entertainment experience for our customers and their passengers. We look forward to being a valued partner for both WiFi and entertainment services with Southwest for many years to come.”

“Panasonic has a longstanding reputation within the inflight entertainment and connectivity space and we are excited for them to join our inflight experience. Global Eagle Entertainment has been the inflight connectivity provider for Southwest over the past six years and has continued to grow with our business, extending connectivity to millions of our Customers annually,” Green said. “We are pleased to have both partners helping to provide an improved inflight experience over the next 18 months as we continue to see an increase in demand for inflight WiFi connectivity.”

Customers will continue to enjoy the current onboard entertainment offerings they experience with Southwest today, such as free live TV and $8 per device per day for WiFi connectivity across all WiFi-equipped planes.

Zii: 

This week’s Zodiac Inflight Innovations (Zii) rectangle should give you an idea of the relative growth of RAVE AVOD customers over the past year or so. RAVE’s sales and marketing Guru, Harry Gray told IFExpress at APEX: “It has been a good year. In the last ninety days, we have acquired six new RAVE customers.” It should be noted, that RAVE has over 250 aircraft flying with inseat systems and almost 300 with RAVE wireless systems. Some of the new customers are prominent and market leading airlines. A recent press release from Singapore noted: “ – four new A350 customers, 150 committed B737Max aircraft, their first A380 customer as well as over 200 Global Express Connectivity equipped aircraft committed with the first installation scheduled early in 2017. Zodiac Inflight Innovations is quietly becoming a force in the world of IFEC. Zii first hit the IFE scene with their revolutionary new Seat Centric IFE system in 2011 and just five years later they are growing with over 45 airline customers, over 550 aircraft in service, and over 650 aircraft in committed backlog.” Noted Harry, “RAVE is: Reliable, Affordable, and Very Easy (to install, operate and maintain) – that is why it has been a success.” He also noted that the retrofit market has been very stable, and as of late, line fit is definitely growing. “Our RAVE systems are much easier to maintain than traditional IFE systems which allows airlines to maintain their own aircraft without the added expense of paying a traditional IFE provider for support” says Matt Smith, CEO for Zodiac Inflight Innovations. “Zii is a company that is different by design; our focus is always on putting our customers first. We want to be a company that Airlines want to work with; customer focused and innovation driven, we relentlessly pursue our core value of RAVE – Reliable, Affordable and Very Easy. It’s more than a name, it’s who we are.”

This year Zii has added an aftermarket support package to round out their portfolio of products. With RAVE Care, an airline can tailor a support package to its specific needs for a fixed price per month per aircraft. RAVE Care can include everything that an airline needs to maintain and operate their IFE systems, including spares, repairs, customer abuse and even content integration. Included in RAVE Care is a software guarantee that means airlines never have to worry about the cost of updating their Passenger User Interface and features over the lifetime of the system.

Kontron:

Kontron’s latest equipment developments include their ACE Flight 4608 8 core onboard server, which has the capability to do a lot more than inflight entertainment. For example, Kontron’s early systems featured solid state drives which were in the 100 GB but today their servers will feature 7 TB drives that are all solid state. The important point to note is that communication/connectivity enhancements are a real future capability. The Kontron team told us that Kontron specializes in cabin systems as well as security and safety certifications. Furthermore, the 4608 server excels at data processing onboard, the benefit to the airline is that they don’t have to wait to get the information off the aircraft when it is on the ground – once again proving that the big data technology is becoming an expectation and a reality. They also received FAA PMA for their Cab-n-Connect A100 wireless access point (PIX).  It should be noted that it delivers next-generation HD video and is certified on Boeing, Airbus, and Embrear aircraft. (Editor’s Note: Since 2005 Kontron has added new IFE and connectivity equipment every year. This year seven new products and iterations were unveiled: the ACE Flight 4780 MODMAN, ACE Flight Server 4608, the ACE Flight Server 4600, the ACE Flight Server 2600, and the ACE Flight Server 1600, the ACE Flight Server 904 and the Cab-n-Connect A100.)

PXCom:

This year APEX introduced a ‘Cool Award’ that was selected by industry peers. PXCom was the recipient of this award, probably because of the recognition of many of the companies’ innovations such as seat back wireless IFE compatible destination guides and destination information. IFExpress has had the pleasure of knowing Cyril Jean of PXCom for several years now and we have reported on their many innovative IFE communication developments and we were thrilled that their IFE peers acknowledged their creativity. Congratulations PXCom!

GEE:
We had the opportunity to meet GEE’s new Director of Marketing, Nancy Harvey during APEX. She was happy to discuss their recent content agreement with Qatar Airways, which was announced during the expo. The deal is a new one for GEE that expands on their longstanding relationship with the airline and covers several years where they will provide movies, music, audio, and TV for on 164 aircraft, as well as, 8 charter jets and 12 business jets. (Editor’s Note: In our November 15th issue of IFExpress we discussed GEE’s recent JV with Shareco of HNA Group. Joint venture would exclusively provide inflight connectivity hardware and entertainment services on HNA airlines, comprising over 320 aircraft today with the potential to grow to over 500 planes. Shareco plans to invest up to $416 million in GEE stock at $11 per share through a combination of primary and secondary share purchases. Under terms of the contemplated transactions, GEE and Shareco would form a JV to provide IFEC and passenger monetization services to HNA airlines.)


AIRBUS

The first of three A350-1000 development aircraft to fly – MSN059 – landed at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport France at 15.00hrs local time after successfully completing its first flight which lasted four hours and 18 minutes. Powered by Rolls-Royce’s new Trent XWB-97 engines, the aircraft traversed south-western France, during which the crew explored the aircraft’s handling and flight envelope. (See the full press release in “News Releases” below.)

On another front, Airbus plans to increase delivery rate of their A350 next to some 80 aircraft next year.


BOEING

New Hire
Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg on Monday named Kevin G. McAllister president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, succeeding company Vice Chairman Ray Conner in that role. Muilenburg also appointed Stanley A. Deal president and CEO of Boeing Global Services, a new business unit to be formed from the customer services groups within the company’s existing commercial airplanes and defense, space and security business units. McAllister joins Boeing from GE Aviation. Deal is a veteran Boeing executive. Conner, 61, will continue to serve as Boeing vice chairman through 2017. He will work closely with McAllister in the months ahead on a purposeful hand-off of customer, supplier, and community and government relationships, and to ensure continuity of operations and customer support. Conner also will provide strategic oversight and guidance for the company’s transition to a single integrated services business and remain involved in ongoing product development strategy at Commercial Airplanes. Deal will begin immediately finalizing and executing detailed and deliberate plans to structure and organize the new business while ensuring all near-term customer commitments are met and value is maximized over the long term. Deal and McAllister join Caret as business unit leaders reporting directly to Muilenburg. They also become members of the company’s Executive Council. The appointments are effective Nov. 21, 2016.

World Trade Organization Ruling
The World Trade Organization (WTO) today rejected virtually all of the European Union’s challenges to the Washington state tax incentives. The EU challenged seven different state tax incentives.  The WTO rejected entirely the EU’s challenge to six of the seven incentives and rejected most of the challenge to the seventh.  The WTO held only and narrowly that a reduction in Washington state’s Business and Occupancy (B&O) tax rate for future 777X revenues is inconsistent with the WTO agreements.  The WTO threw out all of the EU’s other challenges to various incentive programs and left untouched even the B&O tax rate as it applies to revenue from the other Boeing models produced in Washington state–the 737, 747, 767, 777 (current model) and 787. In total, the EU claimed that Boeing had received $8.7 billion in subsidies.  This claim was rejected by the WTO, which found future incentives totaling no more than $50 million a year to be impermissible.  The WTO found that to date Boeing has received no benefit from the 777X rate incentive, and will not until 2020, because the first airplane will not be delivered until then. In light of today’s decision and the massive liability that the WTO has found against the EU and Airbus, we expect the EU and Airbus to appeal the decision.

  • Joint venture would exclusively provide inflight connectivity hardware and entertainment services on HNA airlines, comprising over 320 aircraft today with the potential to grow to over 500 planes
  • Shareco plans to invest up to $416 million in GEE stock at $11 per share through a combination of primary and secondary share purchases

Los Angeles, CA | November 8, 2016– GEE (“GEE”) (NASDAQ:ENT), today announced it has entered into a strategic alliance and an investment agreement with Beijing Shareco Technologies Co., Ltd. (“Shareco”, NEEQ: 837676), an affiliate of HNA Group, one of China’s largest conglomerates. GEE and Shareco plan to create a joint venture (“JV”) to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity (“IFEC”) in China and exclusively service aircraft operated by HNA airlines. Shareco will make an initial primary equity investment in GEE of approximately $103 million, as well as contemplated additional primary and secondary common equity purchases upon the formation of the JV that would bring the total expected investment to $416 million.

Under terms of the contemplated transactions, GEE and Shareco would form a JV to provide IFEC and passenger monetization services to HNA airlines. GEE would sell its equipment, including its Airconnect antennas, network services and engineering and product support directly to the JV. The JV would be the exclusive provider of IFEC to HNA aircraft. This fleet comprises over 320 aircraft today and is expected to grow to over 500 aircraft in the future.

GEE currently operates live connectivity and television services in the Chinese IFEC market, and since 2013, GEE’s Chinese growth program has included investment in a Beijing office, local engineers, partnerships with Chinese media and advertising firms, connectivity trials and teleport infrastructure. GEE works with all of the Tier-1 telecommunications providers in China and, upon implementation of the JV, expects to be well-positioned in the highly competitive China IFEC market, with the JV having exclusive access to aircraft currently comprising a significant portion of the Chinese commercial aviation market. Currently, GEE has trial contracts with Shareco to provide services to several airlines within the HNA Group.

Shareco is a Beijing-based company that has developed and implemented an established advertising and passenger monetization model as the exclusive provider of e-commerce, games, content and advertising solutions to numerous airlines within and out of HNA’s fleet, including Hainan Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines, Yangtze River Express, Tianjin Airlines and Okay Airways, among others. Shareco currently provides innovative tablet-based IFEC services to over 200 aircraft. Shareco is affiliated with HNA Group, a Fortune Global 500 corporation based in China with a proven track-record of acquisitions and investments in the aviation and travel industries.

“The transaction would bring together two industry leaders to accelerate IFEC adoption and improve the passenger experience in China. The completion of our JV with Shareco would accelerate our growth and solidify GEE as a major IFEC provider in the rapidly growing Chinese market,” said Dave Davis, CEO of GEE. “We are thrilled to partner with Shareco and HNA Group to drive new revenue opportunities and provide unparalleled connectivity and passenger entertainment products for HNA airlines and the Chinese market.”

“We are investing in GEE based on its leadership in the mobility space and unique position of offering an integrated suite of connectivity and content products,” said Jason Sun, Chairman of Shareco. “Our investment and strategic alliance will accelerate adoption of inflight connectivity, advertising and e-commerce in the Chinese market and bring a differentiated experience to passengers.”

Transaction Details

Shareco’s investment and creation of the JV is planned to occur in two stages. First, Shareco has agreed to acquire newly issued common shares of GEE for $11.00 per share, resulting in a 9.9% post-investment ownership stake. Based on GEE current shares outstanding, the initial investment is expected to total approximately $103 million for approximately 9.3 million newly issued shares of GEE. GEE will use the proceeds from this investment for general corporate purposes. The first stage of the transaction is subject to regulatory review and other customary closing conditions.

In connection with the second stage of the transactions, GEE and Shareco will negotiate binding documentation including an investment agreement providing for additional Shareco primary and secondary equity investments and a definitive JV agreement. Upon formation of the JV, Shareco would purchase up to $150 million of additional primary shares from GEE at $11.00 per share, with the proceeds used by GEE to invest in the JV as described below. In addition, in connection with the second stage of the transaction, Shareco would commence a tender offer to GEE’s stockholders to acquire shares at $11.00 per share in an amount which would result in Shareco holding an expected 34.9% ownership stake in GEE, through an expected aggregate investment of up to approximately $416 million, inclusive of both investment stages of the transaction. The second stage of the transaction is subject to the parties entering in a definitive investment and JV agreements, as well as regulatory review, GEE shareholder approval and other customary closing conditions.

GEE is expected to own up to 49% of the JV, and Shareco would own the remainder. In connection with the formation of the JV, GEE would invest up to $150 million into the JV, and Shareco is expected to contribute substantially all of its assets and liabilities, including exclusive contractual rights to provide IFEC services to HNA airlines. Upon completion of the second investment, Shareco would have the right to nominate GEE Board of Director seats proportionate to its ownership position in GEE. GEE expects to be actively engaged in the management of the JV, including having the rights to appoint key JV officers.

GEE expects that the completion of Shareco’s initial primary investment will occur during the first half of 2017, with the JV and second stage equity investments completed later in 2017.

BofA Merrill Lynch and Barclays are acting as financial advisors to GEE, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is acting as legal advisor to GEE. Moelis & Company is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Shareco. Sidley Austin LLP and Fangda Partners are acting as legal advisors to Shareco.

California | November 1, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: ENT) today announced the start of a commercial trial of inflight connectivity and entertainment services on an Air China Boeing 777 aircraft. The commercial trial follows a successful technical trial and will be conducted in partnership with Air China, China Unicom and China Satcom under license from the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

GEE’s Airconnect Global™ system transforms the flying experience by adding high-value, high-interest connectivity services to internet access. GEE’s solution will provide Air China passengers with fast and reliable broadband internet service. The ground-breaking trial also will include an Air China-branded entertainment portal with live streaming of three Chinese-language television stations, video on demand with Hollywood and Chinese content, games and destination guides. This trial is the first in China to offer full-cabin television streaming and is an important milestone in GEE’s Chinese growth program, which includes investments in local personnel, engineering and software development resources, innovative new revenue generating services, relationships with Chinese media and advertising firms, and teleports.

“A fully connected experience is increasingly becoming a top priority among travelers in China who want to stay informed and entertained throughout their flights,” stated Zhang Yun, GM of Products and Services for Air China. “Air China believes that innovative connectivity services will be important generators of value for our passengers and our airline. The rich media content supports our long-term plan for broader connectivity deployment.”

“Air China’s choice of GEE as its partner in these important trials demonstrates our unique technical and commercial strengths in the Chinese market,” said Dave Davis, Chief Executive Officer for GEE. “Success in the B777 trial will lay the groundwork for future cooperation between Air China and GEE, and will place GEE undeniably at the forefront of deep, broad inflight internet and entertainment capabilities for the Chinese market.”

GEE’s Enterprise Data Warehouse Trusted by Airlines Globally for Business Intelligence and Analytics

• Cloud-based platform for commercial aviation analytics and intelligent airline operations
• Analytics subscription services trusted by airlines globally to improve operational reliability and to monitor key operational performance metrics
• Most comprehensive historic and real-time operations data available for over 400 airlines globally
• Fuses real-time aircraft-generated data with flight status, ground surveillance and weather
• Improves efficiencies, reduces costs, improves passenger experience and enables airlines’ digital transformation
Los Angeles, CA | September 6, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENT) (“GEE”), a worldwide provider of end-to-end connectivity and media to the airline, maritime and remote mobility markets, today announced Alaska Airlines, which has been ranked the No. 1 U.S. airline by The Wall Street Journal on key operational and customer metrics for two years in a row, awarded a contract to GEE for its Masflight Enterprise Data Warehouse. GEE’s secure and high-performance data warehouse provides the most comprehensive and trusted aviation operations data available for mission-critical airline analytics and performance monitoring.

Alaska Air Group operates Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, which together with its partner regional airlines, serve more than 100 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica. Alaska Airlines, an industry leader in flight completion rates and on-time performance, has been ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction among traditional carriers in North America by J.D. Power for eight years in a row.

“A key element to Alaska Airlines’ success is investing in cloud-based analytics and intelligent applications that support our operation in real-time,” said Dan Audette, Director of Operations Analytics & Strategy at Alaska Airlines. “GEE’s knowledge of airline operations, coupled with their high-performance enterprise data warehouse technology makes them a good partner for the company.”

“We are honored to provide Alaska Airlines with our cloud-based analytics platform that simplifies analytics, real-time competitive benchmarking, and fleet-wide performance monitoring and alerting,” said Edmund Otubuah, Managing Director of Products, GEE. “The Masflight platform will provide key decision-makers with real-time situational awareness and serve as a decision-support tool to support historical analytics and improve operational workflows.”

GEE/Universal Suit
Perhaps the on big news release today was found on Digital Music News. They note that after a couple years of litigation, UMG settled for a $15 million dollar payment with an additional 1,360,544 shares of GEE stock. Some 4,500 songs were allegedly infringed as well as videos. Earlier, we estimated that worst case, the deal could hit GEE with a deal worth hundreds of millions, however, we now have a settlement with the lawsuit dismissal and no admission of guilt or liability. Actually, GEE will survive this story and we think they will continue to do well. We also note that GEE’s PR folks did not respond to our request for information (no surprise). Here is the whole story. And here is another link with a different spin.


Panasonic:

Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) and Yahsat today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore new ways to offer a broadband connectivity solution serving several mobility markets in the Middle East within the next three to five years. In addition, while final terms are still being negotiated, the MOU allows both parties to further investigate the launch of a Yahsat satellite constellation that would serve Panasonic’s general mobility needs in aviation, maritime and terrestrial transportation, and also give Yahsat the ability to use Panasonic communication related technologies and services where practical. Moving forward, Yahsat and Panasonic will assess the various technical requirements for such an offering. The companies will explore a wide range of factors including the type of frequency to be used, the coverage and capacity needed to serve flight routes in this region, the type of antenna and radome to be used, and the certification requirements of such a solution.

In addition to the previous news story, Virgin Atlantic builds on in-flight entertainment innovation by adding live TV to 787s. Customers travelling with Virgin Atlantic this summer will now be able to tune in to live television onboard its 787’s, thanks to a partnership with Panasonic Avionics and IMG. This new service will be available to customers travelling on the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner and initially three channels will be available – Sport 24 for all the live sporting action from around the world, and BBC World News and CNN International for breaking news around the clock. Sport 24 will be showing action from the Rio 2016 Olympics Games, Premier League, NFL, UEFA Champions League, NBA, Tennis Grand Slams, Bundesliga, Formula 1, Golf Majors, MotoGP, and the Ryder Cup.


Honeywell
Recently, the folks at Honeywell conducted an interesting IFE Survey that begins: “In Honeywell’s third connectivity survey passengers shared increased frustration with current in-flight Wi-Fi offerings. It’s clear that consistent, faster in-flight Wi-Fi is a must.”

Here is a quick review of the situation: “Nearly 3 of 4 passengers are ready to switch airlines today to have access to a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connection. In addition, out of more than 1,000 American travelers polled, annoyance is growing, with just 22 percent reporting their in-flight Wi-Fi to be extremely reliable over the past 12 months, a dip from 27 percent in 2014.” The survey revealed three key reasons airlines need to act quickly or risk losing business:

1. Wi-Fi is the Premium Service Travelers Demand.

  • Lack of in-flight Wi-Fi has become intolerable as passengers shared they’d be disappointed or frustrated without access to this service.

2. Wi-Fi Should Be Like Breathing. Simple, Reliable and Not Something Travelers’ Worry About.

  • Reliable connections on flights anywhere in the world and fast speed to stream audio or video to sites like YouTube or Netflix are essential to passengers’ Wi-Fi experience.

3. Millennials Mean Business When it Comes to Wi-Fi.

  • More millennials than older generations have switched from their preferred airline to an airline that has better in-flight Wi-Fi options.

Here is how the study unfolded: A survey of airline passengers by Honeywell (NYSE: HON) reveals more than increased frustration with current in-flight Wi-Fi offerings compared with the company’s 2014 study. Nearly 3 of 4 passengers are ready to switch airlines today to have access to a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connection. In addition, out of more than 1,000 American travelers polled, annoyance is growing, with just 22 percent reporting their in-flight Wi-Fi to be extremely reliable over the past 12 months, a dip from 27 percent in 2014.

If you don’t want to sort out their findings, the following is a summary: 1. Traveler Loyalty Lies With Wi-Fi, 2. Consistent Connections Are Critical Everywhere, 3. Millennials Value Wi-Fi More Than Most.

IFExpress really found some results interesting enough to ask a few more questions of Honeywell’s Gwennie Chung.

1. We would like to know more about the questionnaire?

ANS: The Honeywell Aerospace Connectivity 2016 Survey was conducted between April 11th and April 20th, 2016 among 1,008 Americans ages 18 and over who have used in-flight Wi-Fi in the last 12 months.

2. Where were they interviewed – on-line, mail?

ANS: Using an e-mail invitation and an online survey.

2. Are you talking about working Millennials or any other factors?

ANS: In this survey, Millennials are (travelers) born between 1982 and 1998.

3. Was travel price/cost involved. If not, why not?

ANS: Yes, we did have a question on pricing but the way it was framed, we find that it may not be relevant/accurate relative to the current landscape and decided not to use this data.

4. Domestic vs International connectivity preferences?

ANS: We did not distinguish domestic vs international for every question but… For a majority of travelers, it’s essential to experience a reliable connection throughout their entire flight anywhere in the world (90%), and fast speed to stream audio or video from sites like YouTube or Netflix (83%). (I myself, also don’t care where I’m traveling too, I would like to have the same service anywhere I’m going to.)

6. Preferences (when I did this stuff) were: 1.Airline, 2. Price, Time….IFE and Connectivity was 5th or 6th…and
I realize that was when planes had props, however, I would be interested in today’s preference order.

ANS: We did not have this ranking.

7. Did you get any results for old timers (like me)?

ANS: We did compare Millennials to older generations.
More millennials than older generations (73 percent versus 63 percent) say Wi-Fi availability impacts the flights they book. Because they value a connected experience more than older generations, more millennials find it important to have fast speed to stream content (89 percent versus 77 percent), and more than 1 in 4 have switched from their preferred airline to an airline with better in-flight Wi-Fi options (27 percent versus 15 percent).

8. Can you get any validation of the required bandwidth for a full plane of connectivity mavens… I am trying to figure out how much is “enough”!

ANS: Most travelers find it essential to experience a reliable connection throughout their entire flight anywhere in the world (90 percent), and one that is fast enough to stream audio or video from sites such as YouTube and Netflix (83 percent).

We don’t have any information to share on this as there are too many variables.

9 Did you separate demand/price for staggered connectivity – 1. Texting, 2. Email, 3. Surfing, 4.Streaming. Does Honeywell see
a variable pricing as a solution – “The more you pay, the more you get”?

ANS: No, we did not.

10. So here is the bottom line: Will people change airlines, regardless of flight or connectivity cost, just to have Internet?

ANS: As the survey data shows, more than 1 in 5 (21 percent) have already abandoned their preferred airline for an option with better in-flight Wi-Fi (up from 17 percent in 2014).”

(Editor’s Note: A “Thank You” to Gwennie and the the entire Honeywell team and we would like to add one thing – while the study focused on Wi-Fi because that is the connectivity of today on aircraft, we are aware that cheaper, non-WiFi solutions are in the works and we suspect technology like Bluetooth, which is on the horizon just might cause the term “connectivity” to be used instead of just Wi-Fi!)


Gogo
Gogo is announcing that they have received regulatory approval from various Chinese regulatory bodies through their local partner China Telecom Satellite, and will work with China Telecom Satellite to offer in-flight connectivity service on international flights operating in and out of China starting in October. “This is really a ground-breaking moment as we expand our global reach as an organization into China and other parts of the world. For passengers on Gogo equipped flights currently flying into China, this means they will be able to enjoy seamless service once they reach Chinese air space,” said Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small. “We believe China Telecom Satellite will be a very strong and effective partner for China’s in-flight communication market and both parties will extend the cooperation to Chinese airlines in the future.” We also note, Gogo currently has one International airline partner operating with service to China, and recently announced it has signed a term sheet with Beijing based Shareco Technologies to install its 2Ku in-flight connectivity technology on 50 commercial aircraft for Shareco’s airline partners, including Hainan Airlines and Beijing Capital Airlines. In addition to in-flight connectivity, Gogo will also provide its wireless in-flight entertainment solution – Gogo Vision – for Shareco to install on these aircraft. Noted Michael Small: “For passengers, this means on Gogo equipped flights currently flying into China, they will be able to enjoy seamless service once they reach Chinese air space.” You can read more about this partnership on here on Concourse.


Sadly, we report: “I Just wanted to pass the news to you that I am leaving Thales for family reasons. I am moving back to TN and will be leaving the Aviation industry. Its been a great run but it is time to focus on my family after the last 10 years of much travel. Mike Moeller, Vice President, Business Development.”

(Editor’s Note: Mike, we will miss your animated presentations for sure, but mostly, we will miss your wonderfully fun and valuable show booth designs!)

Los Angeles, CA | August 8, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment (ENT) (“GEE”), a leading provider of satellite-based connectivity and media to rapidly expanding mobility markets, today announced that it has signed a contract with Avianca Brasil to provide inflight connectivity to the carrier’s full fleet of over 40 aircraft. Avianca Brasil operates in 24 airports with over 200 daily flights in South America.

GEE has been the provider of inflight entertainment content services to Avianca Brasil and its partner airline, Avianca, since June 2015. This agreement, which will expand the relationship with the Brazilian airline, demonstrates the ability of GEE’s technology and content solutions to deliver an unparalleled connectivity and entertainment experience to airline passengers. The service will utilize and incorporate certain assets from EMC, the company recently acquired by GEE, including already procured satellite bandwidth in the region and the Speednet technology to improve browsing speeds. More details on the service will be provided as Avianca Brasil nears the official launch of inflight connectivity for its passengers.

The world of in-flight connectivity and entertainment is undergoing a bit of a growth phase as service providers and IFEC vendors improve and consolidate their focus on more entertainment and more planes, and in some cases, more markets. Last year the acquisition of ITC Global (maritime, mining, and energy markets) by Panasonic was the lead-in to today’s recent announcement of a purchase. Now, GEE, an airline content and satcom hardware service provider (over 200 airline customers), announced the acquisition of a $550-million, broad-based content and service provider, Emerging Markets Communication (EMC). EMC is primarily a maritime service provider that has high penetration in that market as well as Cruise ships (158,000 cabins), yachts (7,500 boats), commercial shipping/O&G (130,000 ships), UN & NGO, as well as, telco solutions. We note here that the consolidation of these mobility markets, and the desire to operate across wider and more diverse service segments, shows a collaboration trend in the satcom connectivity market and it underlies the increase in demand for connectivity and entertainment services by people, places and businesses everywhere. As they note, the deal “leverages complimentary products, technologies, and service offerings across air, sea, and land verticals to drive growth!”

Of course, we are really talking about three items here – Content, Connectivity and Mission Critical Service solutions. From a growth point of view, by 2021 the market will be worth some $5.4 B and one source noted to us that “…the key players in the market follow the strategy of acquisition and mergers and are focused towards entering into strategic partnerships with regional players in order to strengthen their position in the market.” It makes sense.

Specifically, in our story GEE is in the middle of this growth segment and is expanding their market now with a maritime focus in the acquisition of EMC, who has a strong market position there. From a global point of view, the acquisition of EMC provides GEE with complete worldwide connectivity that is supported by GEE’s existing Ku coverage as well as that of EMC. In addition, there is some C-Band coverage by EMC in the deal, resulting in an impressive chart.

The folks at GEE have acquired nine companies since its formation some three years ago. This acquisition is by far their biggest to date and will allow GEE to gain a foothold in the maritime market where growth will no doubt be exhibited.

IFExpress asked a few questions of Kevin Trosian, SVP Development & IR, and he told IFExpress:

1. Since you have purchased a “connected” company, does GEE see selling their content to the 8 EMC existing markets (Yachts, Energy, Cruise & Ferries, commercial shipping, mobile networks, government, UN, NGO’s and Global Enterprise)?

Yes, we believe there is a large opportunity for live and streaming content in the maritime and mobility verticals, and GEE’s digital media team has already worked with EMC for many years to jointly provide content to the maritime market. We see this a great opportunity for us to use our strong relationships with studios around the world to expand distribution into these markets.

GEE had previously provided TV and VOD products to EMC, including a number of live television channels, so this is not a new market for us. We have already obtained maritime rights from certain studios and/or distributors and are in the process of acquiring more. Ultimately we believe our combined knowledge of the market and relationships will enable us to leverage our strength in content for the maritime market for further growth of our media platform.

2. Can you tell us how big the existing market is?

The maritime and land-based connectivity and media markets in which we now compete are a multi-billion dollar opportunity. There is an available market of approximately 158,000 cruise cabins, 7,500 yachts and 130,000 ships.

3. Today, what countries have the 20 or so ground stations mentioned by EMC? Does EMC own them?
For this question, please see our Worldwide Infrastructure chart. In addition, through the acquisition we now have operations at 3 teleport facilities, including New Jersey, Hawaii and Germany.

4. This purchase looks like a prefect fit for GEE to grow and provide entertainment to the existing EMC service sections, can someone at GEE comment on that issue?

Please see 1 above.

5. Obviously the market is one reason GEE bought them; however, is there more to the story than that?

Yes, we believe there is a significant number of synergies that can be realized with the integration of the two companies. Through the integration, the company expects to realize synergies of $15 million in 2017, growing to $40 million in 2018 and thereafter. Synergies will primarily result from network efficiencies, including the ability to optimize bandwidth costs through a consolidation of existing network assets, including space segment and ground infrastructure, as well as, better capacity utilization.

6. From a company integration point of view, will EMC function pretty much as they do today? Will their information portfolio be enlarged by GEE’s entertainment content?

Yes, EMC will function in a fairly similar manner, but we will be integrating the companies into a single platform. The EMC team built a great foundation in an adjacent market to GEE’s traditional aviation market. We’re looking to leverage what they have accomplished and continue to build on that, such as by providing more media to the maritime market.

7. We gather that GEE has been looking for more markets for their content, why did they not just provide the content to companies like EMC and not go the distance to purchase one? What is the driving reason here?

There were multiple reasons for the acquisition, and the ability to sell content was only one of them.  We see significant opportunities within the connectivity businesses of both companies, including the ability to improve satellite capacity utilization. Further, by expanding into new markets, we believe our scale will improve efficiencies and the overall customer experience.

8. Will the EMC management and operations function pretty much as they do today or will there be management changes and new ways of doing business?

We’ve announced the new verticals (see below from the Press Release) and the Business Unit leaders.

  • Dave Davis will continue to lead GEE as CEO.
  • Abel Avellan, founder and CEO of EMC, will serve as President and Chief Strategy Officer of GEE.
  • As part of the transaction, ABRY Partners, EMC’s largest shareholder, has a right to nominate a director to GEE’s board.

In conjunction with the transaction close, GEE has established three operational business units.

  • The Media Business Unit delivers films and television shows, live TV, music, games and other content to aviation and maritime customers, including approximately 6,500 aircraft and many cruise ships currently served by GEE. Other products include digital and streaming media offerings such as the Airtime Content-to-Go application and the Entice streaming media system. Wale Adepoju will lead the Media Business Unit as Executive Vice President of Media. Previously, Wale served as Chief Commercial Officer of GEE.
  • The Aviation Business Unit serves commercial airlines and private aviation using GEE’s proprietary Airconnect GlobalTM connectivity platform, which is currently installed on nearly 750 aircraft worldwide. The Business Unit also provides Navaero electronic flight bag (EFB) data interfaces and powered mounting systems, which are in place on nearly 4,000 aircraft today, as well as masFlight operational data analytics services. Joshua Marks, who previously led GEE’s Operations Solutions team, will lead the Aviation Business Unit as Executive Vice President of Aviation.
  • The Maritime and Land Business Unit delivers connectivity and mission critical services to cruise and ferry lines, yachts, commercial shippers and land-based users such as non-governmental organizations and mobile network operators. Through this transaction, GEE has acquired a strong maritime customer base, serving over 1,500 vessels and 100,000 cruise ship cabins. In addition to overseeing certain corporate functions at GEE, Abel Avellan will lead the Maritime and Land Business Unit.

9. What does GEE bring to the party besides entertainment content? Will their airline solutions effect EMC’s products/solutions differently or much the same? If differently, how so?

GEE delivers worldwide connectivity to the aviation market and is the largest content and media provider for the broader mobility market. GEE brings an unparalleled portfolio of products and services tailored to mobility markets, including global connectivity, media content in 47 languages, live television, travel and entertainment apps, user interface platforms and data capture and operations analytics tools. We will also be bringing some of EMC’s proprietary and patented technologies, such as Speednet, to the aviation market.

  • Combined, we bring:
    A global sales force and support organization that reaches all major mobility verticals including aviation, maritime energy and remote locations;
  • A satellite and ground-based network infrastructure that can provide customers connectivity and media across multiple frequency bands anywhere in the world;
  • Proprietary, patented technologies that enhance the connected traveler’s user experience and reduce costs across market verticals;
  • A diversified revenue base with over 400 customers, balanced between media and connectivity with over half of all revenue coming from international markets; and
  • Engineering, technical and managerial resources to effectively drive new product development, program management, product maintenance and field support.

10. How big is EMC and is there a new structure to come?

We haven’t discussed management structure beyond the senior leaders, which can be found in the press release (attached). EMC had approximately 450 employees located worldwide.

Note: Finally, IFExpress talked with many people about the acquisition and there was a great difference of opinion on on the subject and other issues as well. All we can say is keep your eye on a few factors that may (or may not) affect the future of GEE: Southwest Airlines, Ku/Ka Band airline preferences, Universal lawsuit results, marine market entertainment take-up, traveler personal device and entertainment demand. Stay Tuned.

GEE EMC Transaction Presentation

Lastly, we would like to thank Jenelle Benoit of GEE for all the assistance bringing this story to press!


OTHER NEWS:

Rockwell Collins today announced that China Eastern Airlines selected its Iridium® SATCOM aftermarket solution for its fleet of more than 100 Boeing 737 aircraft. Installations are currently in progress. The voice and data communications solution, installed via a Boeing service bulletin for Next-Generation Boeing 737s, will enable reliable long-range global voice communications, flight tracking and Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS). The solution is also capable of enabling Future Airspace Navigation System (FANS) for airlines that need it for their operations.

Connected Aircraft data visualization, monitoring and alerting for decision support and aircraft tracking

  • Integrates real-time Connected Aircraft information via high-speed satellite streaming
  • Merges aircraft-generated position data with flight status, ground surveillance and weather
  • Configurable alerting to enhance situational awareness and track fleet-wide disruptions
  • Meets ICAO GADSS requirements through global multi-source flight tracking capabilities
    Improves efficiencies, reduces costs, and enables airlines’ digital transformation

Los Angeles, CA | July 29, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENT) (“GEE”), a worldwide provider of end-to-end connectivity and media to the airline, maritime and remote mobility markets, today announced the launch of Airview Opsconnect™, a cloud-based application that tracks and visualizes operations, identifies and alerts operational disruptions, and improves on-time performance through integrated web-based tools.

Built on GEE’s masFlight analytics and business intelligence platform, Airview Opsconnect fuses Connected Aircraft data streamed over satellite with ground-based surveillance, flight status and weather information to identify and manage high-value operational problems. The application displays aircraft position and tracks, identifies taxi-out delays (even at airports without terrestrial surface-surveillance) and alerts users to operational exceptions, disruptions and cancellations. Airline managers will be equipped with a do-it-yourself application that simplifies analytics, information querying, including competitive benchmarking, and automates performance reporting by airport, fleet and network worldwide. Together with masFlight, Airview Opsconnect enables ICAO GADSS compliance for aircraft tracking and reduces airline exposure to regulatory penalties while improving the safety of operations.

“Airview Opsconnect provides airline executives and front-line crewmembers industry-leading insights into real-time operational performance, showcasing GEE’s integrated Connected Aircraft capabilities and leadership,” said Bernard Asare, VP Connected Aircraft Systems. “The app unifies real-time, in-flight data with weather, flight information, and ground-based surveillance with a user-friendly interface to support mission-critical airline decisions and addresses regulatory flight tracking requirements.”

Airview Opsconnect is offered with GEE’s Airconnect Global in-flight connectivity system and can ingest data from both third-party and internal airline data platforms. For more information or to schedule a demonstration of the platform, contact opsconnect@geemedia.com.

Real-time Connected Aircraft data streams now available for business intelligence and analysis

  • Accesses the most accurate, timely and granular flight data through satellite links
  • Merges aircraft-generated position data with flight status, ground surveillance and weather
  • Platform analyzes fused data for schedule planning & operations management
  • Fully integrated with GEE’s Airview suite of applications

Los Angeles, CA | July 28, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq: ENT) (“GEE”), a worldwide provider of end-to-end connectivity and media to the airline, maritime and remote mobility markets, today announced the real-time integration of Connected Aircraft data streams with GEE’s masFlight airline operations data platform, which now features real-time flight tracking and satellite-transmitted surveillance data for accurate, complete and informative operational analytics.

Since its 2011 introduction, GEE’s masFlight has utilized ground-based radar and ADS-B surveillance systems to track and analyze airline performance, employing data from hundreds of commercial, government, and primary data sources. Information including flight schedules, flight status, radar and ADS-B surveillance, surface and atmospheric weather conditions, and airport surface operations is analyzed. Global airlines employ GEE to monitor operations, improve flight scheduling, benchmark against competition and power enterprise-wide business intelligence platforms.

With the integration of real-time data from the Connected Aircraft, GEE now provides airline executives and operations managers with the most current and complete views of flight performance. GEE can access information from it’s navAero aircraft interface devices, proprietary Airconnect Global in-flight connectivity systems, or third-party communications links. Flight profiles, including three-dimensional flight tracks, can be updated every second with full data encryption and segregation for security. Based on airline requirements, GEE can now also utilize real-time maintenance, in-flight entertainment and environmental data to supply business intelligence and improve operations workflow.

The cloud-based platform is accessible on a subscription basis with an available library of dashboards and visualization tools highlighting key performance metrics. masFlight integrates with third-party business intelligence systems including Tableau, SiSense and Oracle, and has a robust programming API for local system integration.

“More than 300 airlines worldwide operate fleets with over 20 aircraft and each faces the same challenges in collecting, fusing and analyzing the information they collect from their aircraft,” said Bernard Asare, Vice President of Connected Aircraft Systems. “masFlight leverages petabyte-scale cloud data processing and analytics capabilities to fuse real-time Connected Aircraft data with ground-based surveillance and flight status systems for the most accurate, timely and actionable operational visibility.”

  • Forms Leading Provider of Satellite-Based Connectivity and Media to Global Mobility Markets
  • Leverages Complementary Products, Technologies and Service Offerings Across Air, Sea and Land Verticals to Drive Growth
  • Annual Synergies Expected to Exceed $40 Million

Los Angeles, CA | July 27, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: ENT) (“GEE”) today announced that it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Emerging Markets Communications (“EMC”), a leading communications services provider to maritime and hard-to- reach land markets.

Combination Overview
The combination of GEE and EMC creates one of the world’s largest providers of satellite-based connectivity and media to the rapidly growing global mobility market. GEE has established a strong track record of successfully delivering media content and connectivity to airlines, while EMC has become a top provider of connectivity to maritime and hard-to-reach land markets. When combined with EMC, GEE benefits from significant economies of scale and an enhanced global infrastructure that enables it to deliver a comprehensive portfolio of products to customers.

With the combination, GEE possesses unique attributes that will provide additional opportunities to drive revenue growth and operational efficiencies, including:

  • An unparalleled portfolio of products and services tailored to mobility markets, including global connectivity, media content in 47 languages, live television, travel and entertainment apps, user interface platforms and data capture and operations analytics tools;
  • A global sales force and support organization that reaches all major mobility verticals including aviation, maritime, energy and remote locations;
  • A satellite and ground-based network infrastructure that can provide customers connectivity and media across multiple frequency bands anywhere in the world;
  • Proprietary, patented technologies that enhance the connected traveler’s user experience and reduce costs across market verticals;
  • A diversified revenue base with over 400 customers, balanced between media and connectivity, and over half of all revenue coming from international markets; and
  • Engineering, technical and managerial resources to effectively drive new product development, program management, product maintenance, and field support.

“This is a transformational acquisition for our company and in our industry,” said GEE Chief Executive Officer Dave Davis. “The combination of GEE and EMC enables us to provide our customers with a breadth of products and services unmatched in the markets we serve, whether in the air, at sea, or on land. GEE will continue to strive to be customer focused, product driven, and operationally excellent.”

Synergy Opportunities
GEE has a successful track record of integrating acquisitions and achieving synergies. With EMC, the Company expects to realize synergies of $15 million in 2017, growing to $40 million in 2018 and thereafter. A major source of savings is expected to come from network efficiencies, including the ability to optimize bandwidth costs through a consolidation of existing network assets, including space segment and ground infrastructure, as well as better capacity utilization. Savings are also expected through reductions in SG&A spending and the consolidation of facilities.

In addition to cost savings, GEE expects the combination to generate significant revenue synergies. Driving sales of GEE’s media, software, advertising and operations solutions products in the underserved maritime market are a key objective of the Company. GEE’s digital media team has had a long-term relationship with EMC and expects to launch new products to major cruise lines before year-end. EMC’s proprietary technologies are in use today to improve the connectivity experience and optimize bandwidth usage in the maritime market. GEE will soon introduce these technologies into the aviation market.

Corporate Structure
Dave Davis will continue to lead GEE as CEO. Abel Avellan, founder and CEO of EMC, will serve as President and Chief Strategy Officer of GEE. As part of the transaction, ABRY Partners, EMC’s largest shareholder, has a right to nominate a director to GEE’s board.

In conjunction with the transaction close, GEE has established three operational business units.

  • The Media Business Unit delivers films and television shows, live TV, music, games and other content to aviation and maritime customers, including approximately 6,500 aircraft and many cruise ships currently served by GEE. Other products include digital and streaming media offerings such as the Airtime Content-to-Go application and the Entice streaming media system. Wale Adepoju will lead the Media Business Unit as Executive Vice President of Media. Previously, Wale served as Chief Commercial Officer of GEE.
  • The Aviation Business Unit serves commercial airlines and private aviation using GEE’s proprietary Airconnect GlobalTM connectivity platform, which is currently installed on nearly 750 aircraft worldwide. The Business Unit also provides Navaero electronic flight bag (EFB) data interfaces and powered mounting systems, which are in place on nearly 4,000 aircraft today, as well as Masflight operational data analytics services. Joshua Marks, who previously led GEE’s Operations Solutions team, will lead the Aviation Business Unit as Executive Vice President of Aviation.
  • The Maritime and Land Business Unit delivers connectivity and mission critical services to cruise and ferry lines, yachts, commercial shippers and land-based users such as non- governmental organizations and mobile network operators. Through this transaction, GEE has acquired a strong maritime customer base, serving over 1,500 vessels and 100,000 cruise ship cabins. In addition to overseeing certain corporate functions at GEE, Abel Avellan will lead the Maritime and Land Business Unit.

 

  • Transaction valued at $550 Million
  • Creates a leading provider of satellite-based communications and media content to rapidly growing mobility markets
  • Combined company expected to generate pro forma revenue of $660-690 million in 2016
  • Annual synergies expected to reach $40 million

Los Angeles, CA | May 9, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: ENT) (“GEE”) today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Emerging Markets Communications (“EMC”), a leading communications services provider to maritime and other mobility markets. The combined company will become a leading provider of global satellite- based communications and media content serving the rapidly growing aviation and maritime markets and select land-based markets. For additional details, please visit GEE’s transaction microsite at GEE-EMC.mobi.

Under the agreement, GEE will pay $550 million for EMC. EMC shareholders will receive $30 million in cash and 6.6 million shares of GEE stock at closing and another $25 million in 2017, which may be paid in cash or stock at GEE’s election. As a result of this transaction, ABRY Partners (“ABRY”), an experienced communications-focused private equity investment firm and the majority owner of EMC, will acquire an equity position in GEE as well as the right to nominate a member to GEE’s Board of Directors. Dave Davis, Chief Executive Officer of GEE, will be CEO of the combined company and Abel Avellan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of EMC, is expected to serve as GEE’s President and Chief Strategy Officer.
The combined company is expected to benefit from:

  • An expanded addressable market and growth opportunities;
  • Unparalleled global infrastructure to support customer needs;
  • A diversified and balanced revenue mix; and
  • Significant network and operational efficiencies.

“This is a transformative acquisition for GEE that significantly expands our addressable market and accelerates our growth opportunities,” said Davis. “EMC’s verticals collectively represent a multi-billion dollar market opportunity with most growing at an annual rate of approximately 15%. Moving into a highly complementary, adjacent market like maritime leverages our existing infrastructure and suppliers to achieve improved efficiencies and cost savings, and provides valuable cross-selling opportunities for our content, digital media and operations solutions

products. We believe the synergies available through this combination position us well to grow market share, expand our margins, and improve our returns in the years ahead.”

“We are excited to join forces with GEE to create a fast-growing and innovative provider of global mobility connectivity and content services,” said Avellan. “When the transaction closes, GEE will have a broad, diversified revenue base consisting of more than 400 customers around the world. Our combined scale, product breadth, and superior technology will enable us to deliver solutions that are unparalleled in the market today. Whether by sea, air or land, the expectation for access to a superior Internet connection and engaging on-board content is constantly increasing and will continue to drive strong demand for our expanded portfolio of products and services.”

EMC is projected to reach $190-200 million in 2016 revenue and $55-65 million in Adjusted EBITDA in 2016. GEE projects annual synergies of at least $40 million resulting from removing overlap in existing network infrastructure, reduced bandwidth costs, lower development expenses and integrating internal operations. GEE expects to achieve annual synergies of approximately $15 million in 2017 and reach $40 million run-rate by 2019. Costs to achieve the synergies are expected to range from $4 to $5 million over the next 18-24 months.

Serving All Major Mobility Verticals

Founded in 2000, EMC is a leading provider of connectivity solutions globally on both land and sea, with 75% of its revenue derived from maritime-based activities. EMC serves more than 200 customers in over 140 countries and delivers connectivity and content services to all key maritime markets, including cruise lines and ferries, yachts, commercial shipping and energy. Its land-based markets primarily consist of providing mission critical connectivity services for remote offices and sites of non-government organizations (“NGOs”) and fully manage services for wireless operators and carriers in underserved regions around the world.

Following the acquisition of EMC, GEE’s global satellite-based connectivity platform will service more than 700 planes, 1,600 vessels, 100,000 cruise ship cabins, and several thousand land-based sites, creating a leading provider of connectivity and media content to better serve customers in rapidly growing mobility markets. Both companies have a well-established track record of driving growth through new customer acquisitions and very high contract renewal rates. In addition, GEE and EMC have jointly provided media content to the maritime market for a number of years.

Additional Details

The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016.

GEE was advised by Citi and the law firm of Winston & Strawn LLP. EMC and ABRY were advised by Macquarie Capital and the law firms of DLA Piper and Kirkland & Ellis.

 

Los Angeles, CA | April 26, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., (Nasdaq:ENT) (“GEE”) a worldwide provider of media content, connectivity systems and operations solutions to the travel industry, and Dubai-based flydubai today announced the launch of inflight connectivity and entertainment on flydubai Boeing 737 aircraft, utilizing GEE’s Airconnect Ku IFE&C system.

Deployment of the Airconnect system on flydubai’s fleet is underway, providing high-speed connectivity and live television to passenger’s personal devices inflight. In addition to connectivity and broadcast television, GEE provides flydubai with media content for viewing on the airline’s seatback inflight entertainment system, as well as electronic flight bag (EFB) solutions to support airline operations.

“This launch marks a major milestone in delivering high-speed satellite connectivity aboard our flights and brings technical capabilities that will continue to differentiate the airline from its peers,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer, flydubai. “GEE’s total end-to-end solution allows us to enhance our award-winning IFE&C strategy and bring a new level of service to our passengers.”

“GEE has enabled flydubai to take control of the total inflight passenger experience like never before, starting with integrated inflight entertainment, connectivity, digital media solutions and rounding it out with real-time data operations solutions,” said Dave Davis, Chief Executive Officer, GEE. “We’re looking forward to tailoring additional solutions that will continue to enhance the flydubai passenger experience in the months and years ahead.”

Los Angeles & Luxembourg | April 19 2016– SES S.A. (NYSE Paris:SESG) (LuxX:SESG) and Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) (Nasdaq: ENT) today announced further significant Ku-band capacity agreements to help usher in the next generation connected airline passenger experience across established and developing markets around the world.

These latest agreements between GEE and SES secure multiple transponders of wide beam Ku-band coverage aboard SES’s NSS-12 and AMC-1 satellites to meet the fast-growing passenger and airline demand for more connectivity across India, Central Asia, the Middle East and North America. GEE is now tapping 12 SES satellites to put together a complementary mix of Ku-band wide beam and upcoming Ku-band high throughput satellite (HTS) spot beam coverage to meet various levels of inflight connectivity demand along travel routes around the globe.

“GEE is in the midst of a strategic expansion of our global inflight connectivity network to meet the growing and evolving demands of airlines and their passengers for a new wave of high-speed Wi-Fi-based services,” said Dave Davis, CEO at GEE. “Together with SES, GEE continues to proactively add significant levels of bandwidth over established inflight connectivity markets, as well as developing regions such as Asia and the Middle East where passenger demand is accelerating the deployment of connected aircraft over new routes.”

“SES has built a robust and scalable global infrastructure to meet the growing demand for inflight entertainment and connectivity,” said Elias Zaccack, Senior Vice President, Commercial, Americas, and head of Global Mobility solutions at SES. “SES is committed to delivering a great mobile experience to airline passengers, and these latest capacity agreements with GEE will bring a new level of inflight connectivity to both expanding and emerging markets.”

Los Angeles, CA | April 6, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., (Nasdaq:ENT) (“GEE”) a worldwide provider of aircraft connectivity systems, operations solutions and media content to the travel industry, today announced the launch of Entice, GEE’s next generation platform for wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) on passenger devices. The ground-breaking new product bundles proven hardware, software, content and services, transforming the inflight passenger experience.

Entice (Entertainment, Information, Communication and E-Commerce) is reshaping the IFE market for airlines that have not traditionally offered inflight content options. It further provides carriers with a new and more personalized option to extend their existing IFE footprint.

Entice brings a new wave of entertainment and interactive solutions, including:

– Supersized content: Offering up to 10,000 hours of content, Entice has an unprecedented library of popular titles, including movies and television shows from around the world.
– Personalized entertainment: Entice’s intelligent user profiling capability provides relevant content recommendations and a more seamless experience from flight to flight.
– Passenger engagement: Airlines can gain valuable insight through comprehensive usage reporting and analytics, enabling more targeted advertisements and offers.

Entice is powered by GEE’s award-winning Airtime platform, which delivers unrivaled service on over 700 aircraft today. As an integrated streaming solution, Entice is bundled and sold with a single, all-inclusive monthly recurring charge for hardware, software, content and services, thus removing management complexities for airlines. Detailed analytics optimize the delivery of targeted advertisements and the solution can be coupled with generating sales and integration with onboard operations.

Entice has market leading storage capacity of up to 10,000 hours of content. Standard content features a broad mix of movies, TV, games and music. Premium upgrade options include new release titles, digital publications, near-live news and sports, and destination information. Entice is also ready for upgrade to Ku- or Ka-band satellite connectivity with high speed Internet and live content.

“Entice is a cutting-edge inflight solution developed to help global airlines offer personalized passenger entertainment,” explained Alexis Steinman, SVP of Digital Media Solutions for GEE. “The volume of content and intuitive browsing deliver an experience comparable to popular home streaming services. It is the perfect solution for airlines seeking a new generation of IFE.”

Los Angeles and Germantown, MD | March 21, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., (Nasdaq:ENT) (GEE), a worldwide provider of aircraft connectivity systems, operations solutions and media content to the travel industry, and Hughes Network Systems, LLC (Hughes), the global leader in broadband satellite solutions and services, today announced an agreement under which Hughes will deliver satellite connectivity for GEE’s next-generation, multi-band airborne services utilizing the high-throughput Ka-band EchoStar XIX satellite, planned for launch in late 2016, to meet the ever-growing demand for higher performance in-flight connectivity over North America.

In conjunction with the deployment of Hughes’ JUPITER™ System aeronautical modem, capable of over 200 Mbps of throughput per aircraft, GEE’s newest addition to its aeronautical broadband connectivity services will enable passengers to realize the full spectrum of application support and performance they enjoy on the ground.

Today’s announcement expands a successful 10-year relationship between GEE and Hughes that has a proven record of innovation and commercialization in aeronautical broadband networking technology and services. The expanded partnership further enhances GEE’s position as a leader in the in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFE&C) market, with best-of-breed offerings in the Ku, Ku-HTS, and Ka bands.

“With the rapid growth in demand for aeronautical broadband capacity and the commensurate expectations for increasing performance, we are extremely pleased to add the capacity and capability of Hughes’ EchoStar XIX satellite to our array of resources,” said Dave Davis, chief executive officer of GEE. “In combination with Hughes’ JUPITER System technology, which enables extremely high throughput to aircraft and supports operation in both Ku- and Ka-Band satellite frequencies, this agreement enables GEE to deliver the highest capacity and most reliable performance that our clients need and expect well into the future.”

“Hughes is pleased to expand our long-standing relationship with GEE with high-performance Ka-band capacity on our EchoStar XIX satellite,” said Paul Gaske, executive vice president and general manager, North America Division at Hughes. “When launched, EchoStar XIX will be the highest-capacity satellite serving North America and, in conjunction with our JUPITER System technology, will enable GEE to readily accommodate the tremendous growth in aeronautical broadband traffic that is taking place in the industry.”

The Hughes JUPITER System is the cornerstone technology of the market-leading HughesNet® Gen 4 satellite Internet service—with over 1 million active users—which was recently ranked first among all major Internet service providers in the U.S. (both terrestrial and satellite) for consistently delivering promised download and upload speeds, according to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) fifth annual report on consumer broadband services, “Measuring Broadband America – 2015.”


Thales:
This year at the Singapore Air Show, the Asian growth that everyone talks about, raised it’s head and the folks at SpeedNews duly noted it and said: “A total of 50 deals were made at Singapore Airshow 2016, representing an increase of 14% over 2014. These included 10 deals with a total value of US$12.3 billion, as well as 40 deals with undisclosed values announced by 20 companies. Singapore Airshow 2016 saw close to 10% increase in trade visitors, as well as a nearly 5% increase in the number of VIP delegations. There was also an increase in the number of local companies exhibiting in the Singapore Pavilion, with 36 companies taking part this year, compared to 29 companies in 2014.”

As you know, this Hot Topic is partially about recent Thales activities in Singapore since they announced that they won a deal with Singapore Airlines and the Thales CEO told IFExpress: “This is a major win for us and a significant step forward in becoming number one in the IFE market. It’s a contract that is more than a year in the making. Dominique Giannoni, CEO, Thales InFlyt Experience. He went on: “This presence was crucial in winning Singapore Airlines, the campaign to win over Singapore Airlines lasted more than a year, with major factors being Thales’s willingness to understand how the airline wants to integrate with passengers and customizing the system accordingly.” Here are some facts & figures from Thales’s  Giaime Porcu, about the recent activity there to give our readers a frame of reference:

  • Thales has been present in Singapore since 1973 and today boasts one of the largest local operations of any European Aerospace groups
  • Production of Flight Controls and electrical systems for A320 A350 and B787.
  • Avionics Equipment produced in Singapore is equipped across China Southern Airlines fleets and Philippine Airlines and Silk Air as well.
  • 80% of market share in IFEC in China + a number of clients across the Asia Pax
  • Singapore hosts 1 of 3 global repair hubs which handles MRO operations for one third of Thales’s global MRO operations.
  • Thales is also responsible for the entire securitization of Singapore’s air traffic, with the LORADS III ATM system (the most advanced system in the world), all tower operations at Changi Airport and the operations and security systems at Changi airport.”

Further, he notes an interesting, Thales supported, design/innovation concept called the Innovation Hub. Here is what he had to say about it:

  • Singapore Innovation Hub, a multidisciplinary establishment inspired by Asian concepts, Asian innovation and Asian thinking.
  • The Hub will engage customers and utilize new concepts and practices such as Design Thinking to identify needs and jointly develop solutions.
  • The innovation team benefits from government support and partnerships with Singapore’s institutions as well as a global network of Thales innovation teams. Strong focus on research and technology with launch of regional innovation centre to meet local requirements through Design thinking.
  • The Hub engages customers and partners in user-centred innovation, enabling cross-functional collaborations in co-designing, prototyping and testing new concepts across areas ranging from aerospace, air traffic management, smart cities to defense and maritime security.
  • The concept behind this Hub is to seek inspiration from Asian concepts, Asian innovation and Asian thinking, to arrive at a deeper understanding of the operational needs of clients in the region, and design new products and services that address these specific requirements.
  • The innovation team has been trained by the Design Thinking and Innovation Academy from the DesignSingapore Council in order to apply the concept of Design Thinking innovation a new, goal-oriented, problem solving approach developed to look at all potential alternatives of a particular design problem.”

Jean-Noel Stock country director for Singapore rounded the whole issue off by highlighting how important some of the aspect of their presence in Singapore was to the signing of Singapore Airlines when he explained that the Thales Singapore Innovation Hub, the first such centre in the Eastern Hemisphere, centered around the concept of design thinking, was inaugurated in 2014 and one year later Singapore told Thales they had been chosen. After looking into some of the product features we asked a few questions about the deal:

1. IFExpress: How many and what type of aircraft are involved in the Singapore deal?

Answer:A350XWB configured for medium haul operations. At this time we cannot disclose the number but delivery is set to begin in 2018.” (Editor’s Note: Singapore has 67 A350XWB on order.)

2. IFExpress: What all is included in the “line operation services” noted in the report and will these be at Singapore destination airports?

Answer: We will have service locations in Singapore and other airports around the globe for line services including maintenance, logistics, replacements and spares. A number of service locations around the globe allow us to be responsive to customer needs anywhere.

3. IFExpress: Can you expand on the “wide selection of connected services”?

Answer: “Though we cannot directly comment at this time on what is being offered to this customer we can say that our connectivity applications can run the gamut to include shopping, gaming, meals and beverage service, air to ground connectivity for operations, crew connectivity and more.”

4. IFExpress: One product feature caught our eye – please tell our readers about the “application portal”?

Answer: “The application portal is a service we developed in order to allow any android application developer to interface directly with us and the airline. This allows developers to tailor their apps to the airline’s needs. It’s a great way to ensure that passengers can access the latest and best applications available on the Android market and just another example of how we are innovating to ensure that the passenger experience is as close in the air as on the ground.”

5. IFExpress: Can you supply more information on the “Avii”?

Answer: “Avii is a second-screen application platform that enables premium-class passengers to select, control and enhance their multi-media experience. Avii provides contextual remote control capabilities for the monitor and can be used as an independent handheld screen for many applications, enabling multi-tasking. The Avii platform consists of a 5” LCD with 1080p resolution, multi-touch capacitive touch screen, and an Android operating system. With a balanced & ergonomic design and context based applications, Avii provides an intuitive user interaction.

Congratulations!


Astronics:

We thought you might like to check out Astronics Corporation 2015 Fourth Quarter results and Full Year Financial Results is a short, concise form – so here it is:
• Aerospace sales up 6% in quarter driven by Electrical Power & Motion products
• The company realized record annual sales of $692 million and record net income of $67 million in 2015
• Achieved record annual Aerospace sales of $550 million, up 11.1% over 2014
• 2016 sales guidance revised to $665 million to $725 million
That pretty much says it all – nice going everybody!


News:
1. And speaking of Asian pacific airplane sales, Boeing is projecting demand in Asia Pacific for 14,550 aircraft worth $550b over next 20 years which means one heck-ova-lot of IFE

2. The folks at Gogo announced today that American Airlines has dismissed the declaratory judgment action it filed against Gogo on February 12, 2016. The flap was brought about by American who announced that they wanted to use ViaSat. (Editor’s note: We are thinking 2Ku might be in AA’s future.)

3. Icelandair and Global Eagle Entertainment, (Nasdaq:ENT) (“GEE”) announced the introduction of gate-to-gate Wi-Fi connectivity on the airline’s full fleet of aircraft. Passengers flying on Icelandair operated flights between North America and Europe can now connect to the internet from jetway to jetway. This airline milestone in Wi-Fi connectivity designates Icelandair as the first airline in both the European and North Atlantic markets to provide gate-to-gate connectivity.

  • Airtime Content-to-Go Fulfills a Need Aboard Aircraft Currently Flying Without IFE

Los Angeles, CA | February 18, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., (Nasdaq:ENT) (“GEE”) a worldwide provider of aircraft connectivity systems, operations solutions and media content to the travel industry, today announced passengers aboard Air Transat’s Boeing 737 fleet are the first to enjoy its revolutionary app-based Airtime Content-to-Go inflight entertainment (IFE) service.

Named ‘Best North American Leisure Airline’ at the 2015 Skytrax annual World Airline Awards, Air Transat has chosen the breakthrough solution to quickly and efficiently deploy IFE across its growing fleet of narrow-body aircraft, which was serving both seasonal and year-round routes without an IFE platform. Air Transat now provides its passengers with a customized version of Airtime Content-to-Go, branded to the airline’s popular ‘CinePlus B’ entertainment offering.

Airtime Content-to-Go provides a fast-to-market inflight entertainment service that requires no installed hardware onboard the plane. Passengers download a mobile app and content pre-flight on their smartphones and tablets to enjoy a wide range of movies, TV shows and other entertainment choices during their flight. The solution features Hollywood-approved Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology and integrates with an airline’s reservation system to securely manage content viewing windows. GEE’s extensive ground infrastructure enables passengers to browse and download content to their personal devices anywhere in the world.

Airtime Content-to-Go is part of GEE’s Airtime platform – a cutting-edge suite of IFE and connectivity solutions – which won this year’s Inflight Award for ‘Best Handheld or Wireless IFE system’. On the ground and in the air, Airtime enables airlines to connect with their passengers in a personalized way across numerous digital touch-points. The Airtime inflight portal is deployed on approximately 700 aircraft today and provides rich IFE and connectivity services. The Airtime app and lounge portals deepen customer engagement and extend the passenger experience beyond the cabin. Airtime Content-to-Go is a value-added service that works as a stand-alone app and can also quickly integrate into GEE’s comprehensive Airtime IFEC solution and/or an airline’s existing mobile presence.

“GEE’s Airtime Content-to-Go is a true breakthrough technology that enables us to effectively offer a great customizable passenger entertainment experience across a portion of our global fleet that until now had no IFE platform,” said Jean-Francois Lemay, General Manager, Air Transat. “GEE’s IFE service fulfills a real need in our global IFE strategy. This clever IFE app has enabled us to take our overall passenger experience to a whole new level virtually overnight.”

“Our new Airtime Content-to-Go solution was developed in collaboration with airlines across the globe that want to deliver a great passenger experience or better IFE consistency across their fleets,” explained Alexis Steinman, SVP of Digital Media Solutions for GEE. “A large portion of the world’s 21,000 passenger jets do not have seat-back IFE. Airtime Content-to-Go helps fill this void by delivering rich digital media – from movies and TV to e-publications and music – with the unprecedented flexibility that allows airlines such as Air Transat to elevate their passenger IFE experience like never before,” Steinman noted. “Airtime Content-to-Go is also the perfect stepping stone and complementary solution for airlines in pursuit of a comprehensive wireless IFE or connectivity strategy.”

California | January 14, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., (Nasdaq: ENT) announced a multi-year renewal of its strategic content services agreement with JAL Brand Communications, LTD (JBC), a JAL subsidiary managing Japan Airlines (JAL) IFE operations.

As part of the agreement, GEE will provide a full range of content services, including movies and TV, on international and domestic JAL flights. As one of Japan’s largest airlines, JAL has relied on GEE for much of its inflight entertainment (IFE) content for over a decade.

“GEE is a leading content service provider to the global airline industry, and a proven source of content packaging, delivery and expertise at the foundation of our inflight entertainment program,” said Yasuhiro Fujita, president, JAL Brand Communications Co. Ltd., the IFE operations subsidiary for JAL. “This agreement between JBC and GEE represents a long-term partnership that is fully capable of enabling us to meet the evolving inflight entertainment demands of JAL passengers for years to come.”

“GEE is honored to have earned JBC’s longstanding trust and business in support of the content delivery at the core of JAL’s inflight entertainment offering,” noted Amir Samnani, senior vice president of content services for GEE. “We look forward to providing the tailored content solutions that JAL passengers increasingly expect as they travel throughout Asia and around the world.”

  • To Provide Full Complement of Connectivity Systems, Content Services, Operations Solutions and Digital Media Solutions

Los Angeles, CA | November 17, 2015– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., (Nasdaq:ENT) (“GEE”) a worldwide provider of aircraft connectivity systems, operations solutions and media content to the travel industry, today announced it has entered the business aviation market with plans to offer a full suite of services beginning mid-year 2016.

Leveraging its breadth of inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) offerings and expertise across the commercial airline industry and utilizing key partners in the business aviation industry, GEE will tailor a full range of solutions to provide an enhanced travel experience for business jet passengers and pilots around the world.

Business jet operators will be able to offer streaming-capable high-speed Internet access and data services, including VoIP and IPTV, using GEE’s next generation connectivity platform powered by partner SES’ global Ku and Ku-HTS satellites.

As a global leader in inflight entertainment content delivery, GEE will deliver a total journey experience; including Content provision of movies, TV shows, live television, and games; as well as Digital Media Solutions ranging from content and travel enhancement offerings at FBOs to onboard flight tracking and destination services.

With GEE’s recent acquisition of Masflight and Navaero, GEE’s business aviation solutions will include connected operational data services as well as EFB integration to streamline day-to-day flight and maintenance operations, further enhancing operational efficiencies.

“Global Eagle Entertainment has heard loud and clear the needs and demands of the business aviation market. We know the market is hungry for an enhanced level of global inflight entertainment and connectivity solutions that deliver on the requirements of business jet passengers today and into the future,” said Dave Davis, GEE CEO.

“We are entering the business jet market with plans to provide a full complement of our proven IFEC solutions,” Davis noted. “We are leveraging our expertise in delivering our IFE portfolio to over 200 airlines, and our connectivity solution to nearly 700 aircraft, worldwide. Utilizing this rich global commercial airline experience, GEE will help the business aviation industry elevate all aspects of the passenger experience and operational efficiencies aboard a business jet.”

Los Angeles, CA | September 8, 2015– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq:ENT), a worldwide provider of aircraft connectivity systems, operations solutions and media content to the travel industry, is delighted to announce that it has appointed Mike Douglass as Senior Vice-President of Global Sales.

A twenty-five year aviation industry veteran, Douglass began his career at American Airlines holding positions in revenue management, finance and corporate development. He then transitioned to Sabre Airline Solutions, a leading provider of SaaS solutions to the aviation industry, where he held several senior level positions in finance, marketing, solutions management and sales/account management. During his tenure as the General Manager of the Americas, he led several record-breaking sales years that contributed to the dramatic growth in the region.

As the new SVP of Global Sales, Douglass will manage the worldwide sales organization for GEE. With his multiple decades of experience in the industry, Douglass has global relationships with nearly all of the 270+ airlines worldwide, providing a strong foundation to leverage GEE’s integrated product offerings that include Connectivity Systems, Content Services, Digital Media Solutions and Operations Solutions. He will lead the consolidated sales and marketing efforts at GEE to offer a complete portfolio of products and services to GEE’s mobility customers in aviation, maritime, and other away-from-home markets.

“Mike joins us at an exciting time when GEE is defining the future of Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions for the commercial airline market,” commented Walé Adepoju, Chief Commercial Officer at GEE. “Mike’s remarkable background in the aviation industry and his sales leadership will help us pave the way to partner with more airlines for IFE&C in the global travel industry.”
Mike earned a BSBA and an MBA in Finance from the University of Missouri at Columbia, where he has also served as a guest professor and currently enjoys mentoring current students.

  • Launching Comprehensive Connected Aircraft Solution to the Market
  • Acquisitions Bring Cockpit Data Integration and Powerful Business Intelligence That Complement GEE’s Next-Generation Connectivity
  • masFlight Offers Business Intelligence and Cloud-Based Data Solutions to Global Aviation
  • navAero Provides Cockpit Integration and Electronic Flight Bag Solutions to Airlines
  • Unmatched Capability to Collect, Transmit, Process and Analyze Real-Time Data to Reduce Fuel Burn, Decrease Delays, Improve Customer Experience and Operational Efficiency
  • Marquee Client List for Both Companies, Including Leading Airlines, OEMs and Airports
  • Acquisitions Create Leadership in Fast Growing Business Intelligence, Data Analytics and Real-Time Operational Management Sectors

Los Angeles, CA | August 6, 2015– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., (Nasdaq:ENT) (“Global Eagle”, “GEE” or the “Company”) a worldwide provider of aircraft connectivity systems, operations solutions and media content to the travel industry, today announced the acquisition of masFlight, the industry’s leading operational data analytics platform, and navAero, the industry’s leading developer of cutting-edge EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) and cockpit data solutions. The acquisitions will form the foundation of GEE’s new Operations Solutions business line, leveraging next-generation aircraft connectivity to create a revolutionary new platform that helps airlines improve operations, realize cost efficiencies, and enhance the overall passenger experience.

GEE Operations Solutions will offer industry-leading connected aircraft solutions, collecting real-time aircraft data, transmitting information between aircraft and ground, processing and analyzing information through cloud-based systems, and delivering business intelligence solutions to airlines worldwide. The Operations Solutions business line launches with a high-profile base of global aviation customers served by masFlight and navAero, including major airlines, airports, manufacturers, and the aviation supply chain. The business also benefits from GEE’s connectivity and media relationships with more than 200 global airlines. With these acquisitions, GEE is positioned to transform the $1.5 billion global aviation operations and planning market.

“The combination of masFlight, navAero and our satellite-based connectivity systems provide the foundation for our connected aircraft vision, helping airlines, airports and pilots make better decisions based on real-time information and analytics,” explained Dave Davis, CEO of GEE. “Our Operations Solutions platform will start with a strong portfolio of cockpit data collection and cloud-based business intelligence solutions that already serve mission critical roles at global airlines. masFlight and navAero not only offer cutting-edge technologies, but they also bring a stellar customer list and strong reputation in the aviation industry.”

masFlight Founder and CEO, Josh Marks, will lead the new GEE Operations Solutions business line, leveraging GEE’s airline customer relationships and Ku-band satellite connected aircraft. “Next generation aircraft connectivity is the critical component that enables airlines to monitor, manage, and improve flight operations in real-time,” Marks said. “navAero enhances our ability to collect aircraft data, and masFlight provides big-data solutions that translate data into actionable information. GEE is the clear leader and innovator in the early stages of the evolving aviation analytics market, and these acquisitions create a powerful end-to-end capability. GEE has the vision, relationships and resources to develop integrated solutions that will help global aviation save billions of dollars each year and improve the overall passenger experience.”

“Airline customers seek EFB solutions that connect seamlessly with in-flight connectivity systems, to deliver more timely information to pilots and to stream aircraft data to ground,” said navAero President Simone Giordano, who will be an integral part of the GEE Operations Solutions team. “Our integration with GEE and masFlight will accelerate adoption of connected EFB solutions and offer new capabilities for customers, such as real-time weather, flight re-route analysis and situational awareness for both pilots and operational managers,” Giordano explained.

A reader sent us this:

Old News – “Boeing CEO Jim McNerney apologized Friday in a company-wide message for telling analysts this week that he won’t retire after turning 65 next month because “the heart will still be beating, the employees will still be cowering.” Despite having reached the company’s customary retirement age, analysts say, McNerney has privately expressed his wish to remain at the helm until Boeing’s 100th anniversary in 2016.”

New News – “Boeing Co. said Chief Executive Jim McNerney will step aside next week after a tumultuous decade at the aerospace giant and hand over the top job to one of his lieutenants. Mr. Muilenburg’s appointment also returns an engineer to the company’s top management position. Mr. Muilenburg holds a bachelors degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the University of Washington. The outgoing Mr. McNerney was often criticized for not having a classical technical background when running the aerospace giant. Mr. McNerney holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale and a master’s of business administration form Harvard University. Tuesday’s appointment, however, came sooner than many analysts had expected. Boeing fell 1 percent to $143.01 at 4:59 p.m. in New York in extended trading.”

Newest News –  “Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group said that Boeing’s “toxic labor relations” are worse now than any he’s seen in 26 years in the industry. And he’s concerned about “an erosion of Boeing’s core capabilities” if Puget Sound-area engineers leave the company when it transfers work to new design centers around the country. “This is an engineering company. That’s been forgotten,” said Aboulafia. “A ruthless focus on cost is not a very good long-term vision for an engineering company.”


The SITA Airline IT Trends Survey is available now. The connected passenger is a reality. But are airlines focused on the best areas to meet their demands? This year’s Airline IT Trends Survey focuses on the key needs of the connected passenger and outlines how airline IT deployments fit with the latest passenger trends.
The survey provides key insights into how airlines are making life easier by:

• Enabling a wider range of passenger choice through personalization
• Easing passenger anxiety at journey pinch points
• Keeping passengers up to date with the latest information
• Empowering staff with mobile devices

For the first time the survey asks airlines about their intentions for the Internet of Things (IoT). It’s still early days, but the IoT is fast becoming a reality and airlines are already planning for the dawn of this game-changing technology across the Air Transport Industry.

You can get it here


Looking for the good article on the Paris Air Show about Airbus/Boeing? Look no further


Today, Global Eagle sent out the following press release… but we had a few questions: Global Eagle Entertainment and flydubai Sign Groundbreaking Agreement to Deploy Fully-Integrated Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFE&C) System

Los Angeles, CA | June 23, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (“GEE”) (Nasdaq:ENT), a market-leading media and connectivity provider to the travel industry, today announced that it will equip Dubai-based airline flydubai’s current and future fleet of Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft with GEE’s broadband AIRCONNECT satellite connectivity system. The comprehensive agreement provides flydubai with a unique offering and technical capabilities that will continue to differentiate the airline from its peers. The deployment on flydubai will be the industry’s first to provide a bundled solution of inflight connectivity, in-seat IFE content and a provision for operations data, all from a single provider.  GEE will also introduce a new capability, which updates the media content on the in-seat IFE system already in place on flydubai aircraft via the AIRCONNECT connectivity system. This is expected to be the industry’s first use of broadband connectivity to routinely update the media content on embedded IFE systems. flydubai is already a GEE customer for inflight media content, and this new agreement greatly expands the relationship between the two companies.  GEE’s integrated IFE&C solution will offer wifi-enabled internet connectivity, an extensive library of stored content, such as local and international movies and TV shows, and other media delivered to passenger’s handheld devices. GEE will support the generation of ancillary revenue through the sale of advertising and sponsorships, and will manage billing and payment processing. “This is a ground-breaking opportunity for both companies and will provide flydubai with the industry’s broadest and most integrated inflight entertainment and connectivity solution.  GEE is excited to partner with one of the world’s most innovative airlines,” commented Dave Davis, CEO of GEE. “We’re eager to help flydubai further enhance its award-winning IFE&C strategy.” “GEE’s solution, which we are deploying across our fleet, will bring a new level of connectivity to our passengers,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer, flydubai. “With an integrated inflight entertainment, connectivity and digital media system, we are able to provide the highest standards and latest innovations of inflight services to our passengers and enhance their onboard experience.” So here are our our IFExpress questions:

  • Does every flydubai 737 (existing and future) get equipped with GEE’s AIRCONNECT (Row 44’s satellite connectivity)?
  • They are calling it “a bundled solution of inflight connectivity, in-seat IFE content and a provision for operations data, all from a single provider.” (what about Lumexis?)
  • Will flydubai use AIRCONNECT to routinely update the media content on the embedded IFE system? (Remember the size of media loads, isn’t that going to be expensive?)
  • GEE’s integrated IFE&C solution includes Wi-Fi-enabled internet connectivity and an extensive library of stored content, such as local and international movies and TV shows, and other media delivered to passenger’s handheld devices… isn’t that going to be expensive as well?
  • GEE is going to help flydubai generate revenue via sales of ads, sponsorships — who also will manage billing and payment?

If we get some answers, we will keep you posted.


SITA OnAir’s Tracker just announced 3 new carriers – Singapore, Royal Brunei, and Norwegian Air Shuttle  – Read about it here


Now Available: TripCase Apple Watch Travel App.  With the TripCase Apple Watch travel app, you’ll be able to see your upcoming trip items on your wrist.  You can use handoff to easily open the TripCase app on your iPhone, use their convenient “Remember This Place” feature, or even immediately access the new TripTime widget, right on your watch. You can also view a map of your destination, and they’ve hidden a few other great features in the experience for you to discover, as well. The TripCase Apple Watch travel app now includes Glance support! To access, simply swipe to the Glances section on your watch and you’ll be able to see information about your next upcoming trip item. Tap the watch to load the full TripCase Apple Watch app to view more details about your trip.

And don’t worry – you’ll also continue to receive the real-time travel notifications that you already expect on your iPhone, delivered straight to your Apple Watch.

… Of course, you do have an Apple Watch right?!

Los Angeles | May 20, 2015– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (“GEE”) (Nasdaq:ENT), a market-leading media and connectivity provider to the travel industry, today announced that it has been selected by Avianca Holdings to provide the in-flight entertainment service onboard its subsidiary airlines.

The agreement, underscores GEE’s strong foothold in the Latin American market. Currently, GEE provides IFE content and software solutions to over a dozen airlines in the region.Through this long-term agreement, GEE will provide a variety of international and regional inflight entertainment (IFE), including movies, TV programming and audio, to Avianca’s fleet of 168+ aircraft. The agreement will also be extended to provide content services on the 33+ A320neo aircraft that the airlines recently committed on order from Airbus. In addition, GEE will also provide content technical services to the airlines.

“We’re delighted to be selected as the content service provider across Avianca’s entire fleet,” explained Amir Samnani, Senior Vice President of Content at GEE. “Latin America is an important market for GEE, as it is one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Our agreement with Avianca highlights our commitment to meeting the needs of our global customers through our regional presence and expertise.”

Avianca’s CEO, Fabio Villegas, said: “The alliance with GEE will allow Avianca travelers to enjoy a new onboard experience, with a wide offer of high quality content that will make our flights much more enjoyable. Its experience and knowledge in IFE systems for commercial airlines make GEE, without a doubt, the ideal partner for Avianca.