At AIX, we spent some time with Inmarsat and found out a lot more about their high-speed data solutions, more about connectivity in Europe and a lot about the high-speed data future that you have heard about. Here is the story.

Inmarsat:
IFExpress had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Frederik van Essen about the status of GX Aviation and the European Aviation Network (EAN) since APEX last fall in Singapore. A launch customer, International Airlines Group (IAG), for the EAN, which is a high-speed in-flight broadband service that Inmarsat will jointly operate with its partner Deutsche Telekom was one of the bright spots Frederik discussed. EAN allows European passengers to use their personal devices for internet browsing, video streaming, gaming and other online services, with unmatched high capacity, low-latency performance. EAN’s robust and ultra-compact technology makes it uniquely qualified for the European airspace, where aircraft size, flight density and frequent aircraft maneuvering are challenging to broadband satellite-only systems. Inmarsat went on to say that EAN is the first solution in the world to integrate connectivity from a satellite, operated by Inmarsat, and a complementary LTE-based ground network, operated by Deutsche Telekom. IAG plans to equip in excess of 300 aircraft with EAN and aims to have 90% of its short haul fleet complete by early 2019. We note that Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Passenger demand for in-flight broadband has never been stronger and Inmarsat’s cutting-edge technology will remain the market’s gold standard for a long time to come. We look forward to rolling out this ground-breaking service with Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, four of the most iconic brands in commercial aviation.”

The company also announced a milestone of 1,000 aircraft in backlog for next-generation broadband during AIX – more than 1,000 expected aircraft under signed contracts, both installed and as a backlog, for its next-generation GX Aviation and European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight broadband services. The fast-growing backlog, which includes aircraft that have either been installed or are awaiting installation, is a major endorsement of Inmarsat’s strategy to make the connected aircraft a reality. It follows a succession of leading airline customers that have selected to equip their fleet with Inmarsat’s GX Aviation and EAN services, including Lufthansa Group, International Airlines Group (IAG), Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Norwegian Air and Air Asia. Lufthansa Group was the first customer to commence installation of GX Aviation on their aircraft last year. They have already fitted out more than 50 aircraft, a number that is expected to increase to 200 aircraft by the end of this year. GX Aviation provides inflight broadband for Lufthansa’s FlyNet Wi-Fi offering, which launched under a test phase in February this year. Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “The fact we have crossed more than 1,000 aircraft in backlog at this point is an incredible milestone, given that GX Aviation only went live a few months ago. It is further proof that the inflight broadband revolution has truly begun; passengers are demanding quality connectivity and airlines are endorsing Inmarsat’s superior offering. We are deeply engaged with additional airlines worldwide, so this really is just the tip of the iceberg. The message is clear: we are coming to a plane near you!”

Another highlight that Inmarsat unveiled that AirAsia signed a MoU for its next-generation GX Aviation inflight connectivity solution. The deal will cover AisAsia Group’s A320 and A330 fleets, with installation to commence this year and service to go live in 2018. AirAsia is presently one of the key airline customers for SwiftBroadband and will be upgrading to GX Aviation. AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said, “Travelers today expect fast, reliable broadband wherever they are, whether it’s on the ground or 30,000 feet in the air. GX Aviation’s market-leading capabilities represent a step-change in inflight connectivity that allows us to close the gap between the on-ground and on-board experience.”

While it has been an increasing discussion point over the past few years, operations data and flight deck data truly benefit from broadband satcom. A recent study from Helios and Inmarsat outlined those advantages in terms of dollar savings – US$3 billion from improved air traffic control and operations efficiencies! The study found that one single Air Traffic Control (ATC) benefit mechanism – reducing separation minima, which allows aircraft to fly closer together safely – was responsible for savings of US$890 million alone. Thanks to satcom, planes can now fly within 30 nautical miles of each other because of safe, reliable communication and tracking; previously aircraft were required to maintain a separation of 100 nautical miles. This allows aircraft to fly closer together and means more planes can fly in a given airspace, which is particularly beneficial over the busy skies of the North Atlantic. If an aircraft is not equipped with satellite communication capability, it must maintain the 100 nautical mile separation, and is not permitted to fly in certain areas. Increasing airspace capacity also leads to more aircraft being able to choose optimum flight levels, saving time and fuel. A further US$1.9 billion is saved thanks to the ability of aircraft to communicate with their Airline Operations Center (AOC). AOC applications use real-time information to help airlines improve flight safety or provide a more efficient service at a lower cost. Delay management and scheduling is improved, fleets and flight crew can be better managed, maintenance can be taken care of and turnaround time on the ground is reduced.

Lastly, today (5/2/17) Inmarsat announced that GX Aviation entered into commercial service with the Lufthansa Group, allowing passengers can to purchase connectivity service on selected Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines aircraft. Check out the full press release here.

Editor’s Note: It is important to note, this connectivity business is becoming a big deal – the aviation future is integrated with wireless data. As airlines seek to improve their efficiencies, everything to be monitored on the aircraft will require a real time wireless link to the ground. For all intent, better efficiency and more complete and exhaustive aviation services will lower costs and improve the bottom line for airlines – all over various types of datalinks – broadband satcom or even cellular connections. Some examples are flight performance data, real time failure monitoring and fault detection, and aircraft operational performance – just to name a few. Interestingly enough, this future was predicted in the late nineteen eighties (We have a presentation on the subject by companies like Douglas Aircraft) and it is finally happening with the beginning of high speed, truly worldwide, aviation connectivity! Stay Tuned.


Rockwell
Rockwell Collins has delivered its first Iridium ICS-300 SATCOM units to Boeing for its 737 MAX aircraft. Available as a production line option and the only approved Iridium SATCOM solution on Boeing platforms, the product provides long-range voice capabilities as well as data link communications that improve operational efficiency.“Together with Boeing, Rockwell Collins will be providing airlines with the latest satellite communications capabilities for the 737 MAX flight deck,” said Steve Timm, vice president and general manager of Air Transport Systems for Rockwell Collins. “By enabling worldwide voice and data communications for the cockpit with the ICS-300, airlines will realize a variety of benefits.” The ICS-300 is an advanced voice and data link communications system that operates over the Iridium satellite network. With complete global coverage, reliable communications between the ground and aircraft enable improved routing and enhanced coordination between the flight crew and operations. “This solution offers Boeing 737 MAX customers a highly reliable and cost effective platform for all their aircraft operational communications needs wherever they may fly,” said Brian Pemberton, vice president and general manager of Aviation for Iridium. The Iridium constellation consists of 66 low-Earth orbit satellites, enabling real-time communications anywhere on the planet and extends coverage to include polar and all remote airspaces. It already has five customers of the largest North American mobile operators, four of the top five global Internet backbone and seven of the top eight North American cable operators.


Thales
IFE and connectivity designer and manufacturer, Thales, is purchasing Guavas, a US based data analytics vendor and will function as a standalone unit of the company. As “big data” analysis becomes part of the inflight connectivity service backbone, and aviation manufacturing in general. Thales sees the future and has chosen a large data analysis provider. As one reviewer noted: “Expanding into Thales’ core areas of business will be a natural extension for the company as it has tailored its platform for the Internet of Things in areas like transportation in recent years. It analyzes around 5,000 terabytes of data a day, a skill that would come in handy for cybersecurity firms and aircraft makers.” They went on: “Thales cited predictive maintenance, cybersecurity, monitoring of critical infrastructures and network and telecom systems optimization as areas where Guavus’ Machine Intelligent operational analytics platform would come into play in helping drive its customers’ embrace of IoT applications.” Lets face it, large-scale data analysis will be one service provided to airlines once the connectivity data rates increase.


Other Show Information Bites:

  • Axel Jahn is now consulting in the strategy and investment side of the aviation business and can be reached at: axel.jahn@jahn-germering.de
  • Jared Shoemaker is now the Services Manager at Bluemetal. He can be reached at jared.shoemaker@bluemetal.com
  • Jose Gonzales has rebranded his company to galgus (greyhound). You might remember Jose’s business is responsible for some of the new technology on the VT Miltope’s nMAP-2. You can reach Jose at jose.gonzalez@galgus.net

STUFF Worth Knowing:
This is an interesting ViaSat review – Some 555 aircraft have it installed!

Hamburg, DE | April 5, 2017– SITAONAIR is to pioneer inflight mobile services using high-speed broadband connectivity in an aviation industry first, the company has announced.

The world-leading inflight mobile service provider will deploy cutting-edge inflight 3.5G mobile network services over the high-speed broadband satellite connectivity of GX Aviation. Enhanced 3.5G capabilities will be available to all airlines through SITAONAIR’s popular Mobile ONAIR application by the end of 2017.

There is an insatiable hunger for inflight cellular connectivity, with 19 million passengers opting to connect to SITAONAIR’s inflight mobile services last year. This new technology will provide passengers and crew with high-speed, seamless connectivity, similar to the home experience.

In addition, SITAONAIR has established a wide-ranging deal with worldwide mobile operators to give passengers stress-free data bundles, simplifying billing through unlimited data usage and capped costs. It will also provide a potential opportunity for airlines to boost ancillary revenues through providing access to different revenue streams by monetizing the cellular service.

Francois-Xavier Mateo, SITAONAIR’s Head of Cabin, said: “SITAONAIR is the very first in the industry to be introducing future-proof inflight cellular technologies over GX Aviation. This announcement is a significant and exciting development for inflight mobile services.

“In 2016, an impressive 19 million airline passengers chose to connect to SITAONAIR’s inflight cellular network. By December this year, Mobile ONAIR will be delivering its enhanced broadband-based mobile experience for airline passengers.”

The future of mobile communications will continue to evolve with the rise of the Internet of Things market. By 2020 it is thought between 50-100 billion devices, including cellular based devices, will be connected to the internet. SITAONAIR, with its technology partners, is anticipating the coming revolution of the Internet of Things with its live 4G and 5G-ready mobile core network.

SITAONAIR would like to thank its chosen partners for their role in developing its solution:

  • MonacoTelecom for providing a 2G, 3.5G, 4G and 5G-ready mobile core network
  • Zodiac In-Flight Innovations, who will provide the next-generation airborne system
  • Aricent and ip.Access, suppliers of the radio access network elements
  • Axiros, who will provide, manage and troubleshoot inflight connectivity base stations using its AXESS.ACS platform.

Martin Peronnet, Monaco Telecom’s CEO, said: “Monaco Telecom is proud to contribute to SITAONAIR’s strategy helping it to build on its position as the undisputed world-leading inflight mobile service provider. Over the years we have made tremendous progress together to deliver world-class quality inflight telecommunications. The launch of SITAONAIR 3.5G mobile service using our future-proof core network infrastructure is a new major milestone in our partnership.“

Matt Smith, CEO of Zodiac In-Flight Innovations, added: “We are pleased to be partnering with SITAONAIR and providing them our proven hardware and software products including wireless streaming, GSM and now broadband (KA) as well as 3.5G connectivity systems. We look forward to a continued relationship and the first Ka-band and 3.5G installations later this year.”

For more information about Mobile ONAIR, and to discover the full SITAONAIR product and service range, visit www.sitaonair.aero

Hamburg, DE | April 4, 2017– AirAsia, through its subsidiary ROKKI Sdn Bhd, has signed a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) with Inmarsat for its next-generation GX Aviation inflight connectivity solution.

The agreement covers AirAsia Group’s Airbus A320 and A330 fleets, subject to final contracts. Installation is expected to commence this year, with the service to go live in 2018.

AirAsia is currently one of the leading airline customers for Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband service and will upgrade to GX Aviation, the world’s first inflight broadband solution with reliable, seamless high-speed global coverage provided through a single operator.

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said, “Travelers today expect fast, reliable broadband wherever they are, whether it’s on the ground or 30,000 feet in the air. GX Aviation’s market-leading capabilities represent a step-change in inflight connectivity that allows us to close the gap between the on-ground and on-board experience.

“Our guests will be able to enjoy extra fast internet connectivity as well as free movies, music, articles and games on our ROKKI IFEC platform. Not only that, they can shop for meals, merchandise and duty-free from the comfort of their own seats, which also allow us to better understand what our guests want so we can continue to improve on our inflight offering.”

Inmarsat Aviation President Leo Mondale said, “GX Aviation is now live and operational, introducing an unprecedented new era of inflight broadband for passengers. We are delighted that a hugely respected and successful low-cost carrier such as AirAsia has selected it.

“GX Aviation’s global and consistent performance provides AirAsia Group with the commercial flexibility needed to quickly deploy the service on routes across Asia, the Middle East and Australia. Inmarsat and AirAsia share many of the same traits and this preliminary agreement is not only great news for our partnership, but importantly, it’s a truly exciting development for their passengers too.”

  • Initial installations already completed for latest airline customer from Lufthansa Group

United Kingdom | December 22, 2016– Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced today that Eurowings is the latest airline from the Lufthansa Group to select its advanced new GX for Aviation in-flight broadband solution.

GX for Aviation will initially be equipped on 69 Airbus A320 family aircraft from the Eurowings fleet, with the option to add additional aircraft. The first installations have already been completed by Lufthansa Technik and testing is scheduled to commence in the New Year. All aircraft covered in this agreement are expected to be fitted out by the middle of 2017.

Eurowings will be the first low-cost carrier to offer GX for Aviation, the world’s only in-flight connectivity solution with reliable, seamless high-speed global coverage provided through a single operator. The service allows passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more, with connectivity on par with broadband on the ground.

In addition, Inmarsat’s GX for Aviation service will be integrated with the existing in-flight entertainment system based on Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect platform.

The contract is part of a 10-year strategic agreement between Inmarsat and the Lufthansa Group, which included the selection of GX for Aviation for Lufthansa’s European continental fleet of over 180 aircraft. The ground-breaking service will also be deployed on more than 30 Austrian Airlines’ aircraft from the Airbus A320 family, with installation and testing currently underway. Inmarsat partner Deutsche Telekom will be the Internet Service Provider for Eurowings passengers.

Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “This contract is the perfect way to close an incredible year for Inmarsat Aviation, with GX for Aviation going live and being selected by some of the world’s leading airlines. We look forward to working with Eurowings as our latest airline customer from the Lufthansa Group and the first low-cost carrier that will offer GX for Aviation.

“Airline passengers want to be connected and Eurowings recognises the commercial benefits of committing to GX for Aviation. It is the only high-speed in-flight broadband solution with uninterrupted global coverage powered by a single operator. Our global satellite infrastructure offers a seamless service, allowing us to provide high quality connectivity whenever and wherever it’s needed, even over Europe, the world’s busiest air traffic space.”

Oliver Wagner, CEO of Eurowings, said: “Eurowings has always been one of the industry’s technology leaders: We are the first low-cost airline to offer our passengers a leading in-flight entertainment system paired with broadband Internet. So the cooperation with Inmarsat Aviation regarding Internet access is a logical conclusion: technically speaking, the company currently provides the most innovative and most powerful solution available. Our customers can soon look forward to high-speed Internet on-board our aircraft.”

Eurowings will connect to the GX network using exclusive new JetWave terminals produced by Honeywell Aerospace. The terminals are designed for ease of installation and maintenance to assure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market, allowing installation with minimal labour and using standard tools available in maintenance hangars.

  • Inmarsat Aviation’s high speed broadband a “world-class” solution for one the world’s leading carriers

New Zealand and the United Kingdom | December 7, 2016– Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, today announced that it has signed a contract with Air New Zealand to provide Global Xpress (GX) connectivity across the airline’s long-haul and short-haul fleets. GX for Aviation, the world’s first globally available high-speed broadband network designed for mobility, will be deployed by Air New Zealand to deliver a reliable, seamless broadband in-flight Wi-Fi experience across the world.

“We’re very excited about working with Air New Zealand. They’re an innovative organisation and have taken a fresh approach to finding the right connectivity partner,” says Inmarsat Aviation president Leo Mondale.
“GX for Aviation is the only in-flight broadband solution that is fast, reliable and truly consistent, with seamless coverage across the world provided by a single operator. Our focus is on ensuring customers enjoy a frictionless inflight broadband experience,” continued Leo Mondale.

Air New Zealand’s Chief Digital Officer, Avi Golan, said “We wanted a world-class solution that would meet the high expectations of our customers, offering both a consistent and reliable service. We then spent time testing the GX live experience on Honeywell’s B757 test aircraft, as part of Inmarsat Aviation’s global test tour. We‘ve been monitoring the developments in inflight connectivity for some time and with GX, we believe we will be able to offer broadband on-board in innovative ways that will further set Air New Zealand apart as one of the world’s leading airlines.”

For the first time, GX for Aviation connectivity will be integrated with Air New Zealand’s Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system provided by Panasonic. This was specifically requested by Air New Zealand and all parties have embraced the opportunity to come together to meet their needs.

GX for Aviation is the ideal solution for Air New Zealand. The global nature of the GX network means that Air New Zealand’s ultra-long-haul routes, across the Pacific and on to the United Kingdom are covered, whilst the ability to layer-in capacity over Air New Zealand’s key regional destination hubs, such as the East Coast of Australia, will ensure that the customer experience will be of consistently high quality.

The first GX-equipped aircraft are expected to begin proving flights in the second half of 2017, with services progressively available on Tasman, Pacific and long-haul fleets from the end of next year. It is anticipated that domestic routes will be added to the connected fleet from 2018.

Air New Zealand is joining a growing fleet of airline customers who have chosen GX, including Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Singapore Airlines.

Before we get into more Singapore IFEC stuff we wanted to mention that next year’s APEX EXPO 2017 will be held on September 25 – 28 in Long Beach, CA USA. Check out the APEX website for more info. Now, on to APEX in Singapore:

Panasonic
While this year’s Panasonic booth was a blend of the “Cool Room” and the regular product displays, they were showing new products and solutions for the IFEC crowd. And finally, we got a communication focus on the application of advertising with the launch of Captify Inflight Marketing and advertising services. Captify, which is an advanced inflight marketing platform delivers all the key features needed by airlines, their external partners and paying advertisers. Since the platform comprises the software tools and support teams that power the largest inflight marketing solution in the world – reaching 1.3 billion travelers a year! Here is the big deal – Captify enables airlines to target by seat class, route, device, language, and passenger data. With no changes to on-board media, it can increase or decrease ad loads, cap the frequency of marketing campaigns, and deliver detailed usage data in real-time. This allows airlines to optimize promotions for a wide range of optional services, partnerships, loyalty programs, and paid advertising all within a compelling passenger experience.
The platform delivers video, native display, and sponsorship options for high-impact, fraud-free marketing with best-in-class targeting and results. Using this information, Captify helps airlines and their marketing and sales partners learn more about their customers by bringing together all the passenger and behavioral data, so airlines can gain intelligence and inform business or service strategies. Captify is built to fit any airline’s business model, with access for internal marketers, external sales teams, and ongoing trafficking and testing support from Panasonic. The full-service platform includes ground-side tools for scheduling and analytics of marketing campaigns; air-side servers and APIs to integrate with any aircraft’s inflight entertainment or connectivity systems; plus Panasonic’s dedicated service teams working hand-in-hand with airlines partners, media agencies, and content providers.
Next, Panasonic Global Communications (Panasonic), A Division of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, and Newtec – a specialist in designing, developing and manufacturing equipment and technologies for satellite communications – unveiled a new, high bandwidth satellite modem, which offers Panasonic customers twenty times the bandwidth of Panasonic’s current solution. Versions of this new modem will be available across Panasonic’s mobility markets including air transport, business aviation, maritime, cruise ships, mega yachts, and river cruises. Developed in partnership, the new modem is capable of exceeding 400 Mbps, and it can scale to meet the evolving needs of airlines and their passengers by facilitating the increasing bandwidth coming on stream over the next two years as High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) and Extreme-Throughput Satellite (XTSTM) services continue to be layered over Panasonic’s existing global network. This will expand network capacity from 2,300 MHz today to 15,000+ MHz by 2017.
The next-generation modem includes three demodulators for seamless beam switching and simultaneous data and video reception and is also part of the Newtec Dialog® multiservice platform, which supports a wide range of verticals, including aviation and maritime. Featuring the award-winning dynamic bandwidth allocation Mx-DMA®, it combines the efficiency of SCPC with the dynamic bandwidth allocation capabilities of TDMA to deliver up to 300 percent more data than legacy Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) systems. Here’s the deal: By making a satcom beam narrower, Newtec delivers more power, and thus, use the full 150 MHz carrier. You remember Shannons theorem, right? This way they use a full 150MHz carrier – three times wider than Panasonic’s existing Ku-band systems. Very cool and speedy solution.
Lastly, we found Panasonic’s ZeroTouch service – it’s a unique and innovative service that simultaneously gives airlines real-time visibility into performance, improves the efficiency of its maintenance operations and also enables data transfer of passenger-facing content to an aircraft to improve the passenger experience. Panasonic’s ZeroTouch service will reduce an airline’s need to physically touch the aircraft because all interactions are managed through a virtual dashboard. By providing access to real-time passenger data, software, media and content updates can be data-driven, helping to deliver a relevant and personalized passenger experience. Updates will be sent to an aircraft via three high-speed pipes – Wi-Fi at the gate, aircraft cell modem, or even in flight using Panasonic’s global broadband eXConnect service. Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics, said: “As an industry leader and trusted partner for over 35 years, Panasonic understands the infrastructure and support airlines require. Our data-driven, real-time ZeroTouch service combines all areas of our in-house expertise to help airlines maximize the efficiencies of their business and reduce their operational expenses.”

Rockwell Collins
An announcement at the show caught us a little off guard – “Rockwell Collins to acquire B/E Aerospace for $8.3 billion in total consideration”, so we asked the RC Team about the deal but because it was so new it was a bit too early to get reliable report answers for our readers. The release went on to say, “Expected to generate run-rate pre-tax cost synergies of approximately $160 million. Transformative transaction accelerates growth and strengthens Rockwell Collins’ position as a leading supplier of cockpit and cabin solutions. “Double-digit accretive to earnings per share in first full fiscal year with expected combined five-year free cash flow generation in excess of $6 billion”, and “Diversifies and balances portfolio across OEM, airline and aftermarket.” Further it went on: “The transaction combines Rockwell Collins’ capabilities in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications, simulation and training, and information management systems with B/E Aerospace’s range of cabin interior products, which include seating, food and beverage preparation and storage equipment, lighting and oxygen systems, and modular galley and lavatory systems for commercial airliners and business jets. The acquisition significantly increases Rockwell Collins’ scale and diversifies its product portfolio, customer mix and geographic presence. On a pro forma basis, Rockwell Collins would have nearly 30,000 employees, $8.1 billion in revenues and $1.9 billion in EBITDA for the twelve months ending September 30, 2016.”
The story is probably like this: A lot of Rockwell Collins aviation earnings, including IFEC, vary greatly through the year and in many cases, IFEC may be down, while seating may be a hot item. This solution gives Rockwell a very well respected company to deliver another set of aviation products that they did not have. It also makes them a ‘nose-to-tail’ provider within that giant metal tube. And who knows, the integration of BEA into RC, may just further provide individual and combined sales products and events!

INMARSAT
One of the “big deals” in Singapore was Inmarsat, as they launched their GX Aviation inflight connectivity solution while there. GX operates at Ka-band, and unlike other solutions available today GX for Aviation is uniquely engineered to meet the needs of airlines and their passengers. Generally speaking, the higher the frequency the more bandwidth you can get out of the system, and the more bandwidth, the more users and the larger the data rates – bigger is definitely better in connectivity! The highly efficient Ka-band spot beams provide a foundation layer of global coverage designed specifically to serve high-speed users. But global coverage is only part of the story. GX offers the flexibility to add and redirect bandwidth where airlines need it most, across hub and traffic hotspots. And as demand inevitably grows, so will GX capacity, future-proofing airlines choice today. Imagine a cell network and since each satellite has 80 cells, the flexible cell approach allows the satcom receivers to hand over signals from one to another if one cell is overloaded (done today with L-band too). This is a big deal.
As we noted earlier, the GX Ka-band service is now live and Inmarsat will provide its advanced new GX for Aviation in-flight broadband solution to Austrian Airlines’ continental aircraft fleet under a new, recently announced contract. The Ka-band spot beams are extremely efficient and provide a foundation layer of global coverage specifically designed to serve a high-speed mobile audience. More than 30 Airbus A320 family aircraft from Austrian Airlines’ fleet will be equipped with GX for Aviation. We understand that the new service will allow the airline’s passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more, with service levels on par with broadband connectivity available on the ground. We should note that the first installation and testing onboard Austrian Airlines aircraft is currently underway.
Also in the GX world, Honeywell and Boeing have recently signed a technical services agreement to develop technologies for the next generation of high-speed, in-flight wireless connectivity. The two companies will jointly research, test and develop the avionics hardware, software and potential aviation services that will utilize Inmarsat’s GX Ka-band satellites. The move addresses passengers’ increasing demands for faster, more reliable in-flight connectivity on smartphones, tablets and laptops.
(Editor’s Note: We can’t leave the Inmarsat story without reporting on their incredible booth in Singapore. It basically used virtual reality to tell visitors about 10 – 15 potential applications for the GX service from Inmarsat via VR headsets. First you are fitted with the headset and told that once in the viewing room, users could focus their headsets on the logo of one of the 10 – 15 potential areas of interest: ground connectivity, inflight operation, destination information and so on. Once a connection was established with the VR headset; the viewer was presented with a short audio/video scenario. Very clever and hopefully it will be at a future show!)

RUMORS/PREDICTIONS

  • We expect to see more consolidation from mid-level vendors before AIX and it is happening NOW!

INTERESTING NEWS
Here’s a new one, or at least one we have not seen: Latitude Aero is having a Warehouse Liquidation Sale on A319 seating…  “All reasonable offers accepted” – Check it out!

Singapore | October 26, 2016– Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, today announced that its Value Added Reseller, Rockwell Collins (NYSE: COL), has been awarded a significant contract by a leading short and long-haul European airline for Inmarsat’s new ‘GX for Aviation’ service.

The agreement, which builds on and extends Inmarsat’s 20-plus-year partnership with Rockwell Collins, is currently expected to be for in excess of 125 aircraft. It will see the aerospace solutions provider’s PAVES™ wireless in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solution being installed onboard the airline’s new fleet.

Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “GX for Aviation is the only in-flight broadband solution that is fast, reliable and truly consistent, with seamless coverage across the world provided by a single operator. We are delighted that our partner Rockwell Collins has secured this significant commitment by a major European airline and look forward to working together on the service rollout.”

Ken Schreder, Vice President, Strategic Programs at Rockwell Collins, said: “We are redefining the connected aviation ecosystem by enabling world-class passenger connectivity and enhanced airline operations in partnership with Inmarsat Aviation. Our vision is of connectivity-enabled aircraft operating as secure nodes on an airline’s enterprise IT infrastructure.”

GX for Aviation is the world’s first in-flight connectivity solution with reliable, seamless high-speed global coverage provided through a single operator. It allows airline passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an onboard connectivity experience on par with broadband services available on the ground.

Other airline customers of the game-changing solution include Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.

  • Advanced global in-flight connectivity solution goes live onboard selected flights, allowing passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more

Singapore | October 25, 2016– Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, today announced that its next generation in-flight broadband service, GX for Aviation, has gone live under a ‘soft launch’ phase with Lufthansa.

The landmark achievement was unveiled during an evening reception organised by Inmarsat for airlines, partners and the media at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, where the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) is currently hosting its prestigious annual exhibition.

GX for Aviation is the world’s first in-flight connectivity solution with reliable, seamless high-speed global coverage provided through a single operator. It allows airline passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an onboard connectivity experience on par with broadband services available on the ground.

Lufthansa will commence commercial passenger services with GX for Aviation next month. Other customers of the game-changing solution include Singapore Airlines and Air Astana.

Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “After several years of detailed planning and development, this is the moment that Inmarsat, and indeed the global aviation industry, has been waiting for. GX for Aviation is now live and offering unparalleled in-flight broadband to passengers. We have moved from systems integration and testing to rolling out the most robust and comprehensive global connectivity solution for airlines across the world.

“GX for Aviation is not a patchwork solution. Our customers are not subject to the intermittent services and handover issues experienced by other providers. Billions of dollars and years of engineering have been invested to ensure that GX for Aviation delivers a solution that is not just robust, but transformative. Passengers using GX for Aviation will have on-the-ground levels of connectivity and uninterrupted access to the applications they use day-to-day, including email, web browsing, social media, video and music streaming, and online shopping, among others.”

Inmarsat was awarded a contract in October 2015 to provide in-flight connectivity services for passengers onboard Lufthansa’s European continental fleet of more than 150 aircraft. The contract formalised the start of a 10-year strategic partnership between Lufthansa Group and Inmarsat, and provided a framework to extend the service to other airline brands in the Group.

The go-live of GX for Aviation follows a successful cooperation with Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Systems, which together with Inmarsat have started the process of installing the broadband solution’s hardware and software on selected aircraft in the Lufthansa fleet.

Airlines will connect to the GX network using advanced new JetWave terminals produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell Aerospace, with over 300 aircraft already committed to the system and more to come. The exclusive terminals are designed for ease of installation and maintenance to assure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market, allowing installation with minimal labour and using standard tools available in maintenance hangars.

Phoenix, AZ | August 22, 2016– Honeywell (NYSE: HON) achieved final certification from Inmarsat for JetWave™, the company’s package of exclusive hardware that will allow pilots, passengers, operators and maintenance personnel to connect to GX Aviation, the revolutionary new in-flight broadband service from Inmarsat. Users can consistently and more quickly surf the internet, check emails, stream music and videos, and shop online without drop-off throughout their flight, even when flying over oceans.

The final type approval certificate confirms that the system functions as designed and completes the process to bring GX Aviation to the aerospace market. The certification centers on operation in all environmental conditions with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which comprises three satellites already launched and functioning. This ensures that passengers, pilots and other airline personnel have access to high-speed, consistent and reliable broadband service by GX Aviation on flights worldwide, with speeds similar to those experienced at home or in the office.

JetWave has also been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency for safety, environmental and installation standards.

“Inmarsat’s certification of our JetWave hardware means that customers don’t have to wait for a high-speed, global connectivity service. It’s available and ready for installation now,” said Carl Esposito, vice president of Marketing and Product Management, Honeywell Aerospace. “A recent Honeywell survey found that 84 percent of travelers say that it is important to have an in-flight Wi-Fi experience identical to what they have at home or in the office, and airlines around the world will now be able to meet their customers’ demands with GX Aviation.”

“GX Aviation is the ultimate broadband solution for the skies. It is a truly global service that has been engineered with aircraft mobility in mind, ensuring that airlines, business aviation operators and leading aircraft companies can offer high-quality connectivity even at 40,000 feet, using a single network from a single provider,” said Leo Mondale, Inmarsat Aviation president. “We are delighted with the performance of Honeywell’s JetWave terminals, which have been designed for ease of installation and maintenance to ensure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market. This final certification is an essential part in opening the doors to this exciting new era of in-flight broadband, available to our customers anytime and anywhere, with absolutely no limits in terms of deployment to their fleets.”

  • Ground-breaking solution, engineered to meet the needs of complex and evolving airline route systems, passes rigorous testing of European Union’s aviation safety agency
  • Latest STC supports expected go-live of GX Aviation on first Lufthansa aircraft in October 2016
  • GX Aviation on track for linefit and retrofit certification on every major Airbus and Boeing airframe

United Kingdom | June 27, 2016– Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has announced that its advanced Global Xpress (GX) Aviation in-flight connectivity service has been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the Airbus A320 aircraft family, bringing it a step closer to being available as linefit or retrofit on every major Airbus and Boeing airframe.

The Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) authorises GX Aviation’s Ka-band antenna to be installed on Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft, which form the backbone for around half of the world’s aircraft fleets. In total, more than 6,500 Airbus A320 family aircraft are currently in operation, representing over three quarters of the overall Airbus aircraft currently being flown worldwide.

Inmarsat’s partner Lufthansa Technik obtained the STC after its design team developed a highly efficient installation process that includes all required electrical modifications inside and outside the aircraft fuselage. Installation can be completed within only four days or during regular maintenance schedules, with components integrated into the cabin infrastructure in such a way that they are virtually invisible to passengers and easy to operate by cabin crew.

Inmarsat secured a contract in October 2015 to provide GX Aviation on Lufthansa’s European continental fleet of over 150 aircraft, with additional Lufthansa Group aircraft being added in due course. After obtaining the STC, the first of these aircraft is expected to offer the service in October this year and Lufthansa’s entire A320 fleet is scheduled to have the technology installed by mid-2018.

GX Aviation is the world’s first in-flight broadband solution with seamless global coverage, delivered through a single operator. It will allow Lufthansa’s European passengers to browse the internet, watch videos, connect to their company’s Virtual Private Network (VPN), download files and more, with a similar quality of fast and reliable connectivity as they receive on the ground.

Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “GX Aviation is a game-changer that trumps all other connectivity solutions in the market today, allowing airlines to significantly enhance their passenger experience and gain a valuable competitive advantage. EASA’s certification is an important milestone towards the service launch this year, as the A320 family is a popular workhorse for many airlines, business aviation operators and aircraft lessors. In addition, single-aisle aircraft as a whole are expected to account for 70% of new deliveries over the next 20 years. This highlights the vast market opportunities opened by this STC, especially as Inmarsat is positioned as the only provider that can serve A320 aircraft on a global basis throughout their lifecycle.

“It is also concrete evidence of the service’s growing maturity. We have developed GX Aviation over the past five years as the only end-to-end solution in which every component, from the satellites, ground network and terminals to the cabin networks, internet features and support, has been engineered with mobility in mind to provide a high quality experience for airline passengers. With all key components now in place, we are in the final stages of testing and as a single network operator, we can commit to a uniform high quality of service wherever the aircraft may go.”

TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION LEADS TO STEP-CHANGE IN AIRLINE CONNECTIVITY

The GX mobile satellite network entered commercial service in December 2015, providing seamless global coverage. Inmarsat has reinforced its commitment to building additional network capacity, with plans already announced to increase its dedicated Ka-band payloads to seven.

Airlines will connect to the GX network using next-generation JetWave terminals produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell Aerospace, with over 300 aircraft already committed to the system and more to come. The exclusive new terminals are designed for ease of installation and maintenance to assure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market, allowing installation with minimal labour and using standard tools available in maintenance hangars.

JetWave has been fully optimised to deliver full performance across Inmarsat’s coverage of almost every airline route in the world, including at northern and southern latitudes above 40⁰, where competing terminals see substantial performance deterioration, and even service outages. In addition, it is the only aircraft terminal to include dual receivers, enabling critical ‘make before break’ handoffs between satellite beams. Other solutions have built-in outages every time a terminal needs to be handed off, adding significant service interruption and downtime for users.

The latest STC, which follows certification for GX Aviation on the Boeing 757 and Bombardier Global 5000 and 6000 aircraft, has also highlighted the success of a long-term partnership established between Inmarsat, Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Systems. The companies have combined their market-leading capabilities to provide Lufthansa with a multifunctional, end-to-end connectivity solution that will enhance the airline’s passenger experience and brand value.

With many years of experience in aircraft modification, Lufthansa Technik is responsible for installing the systems and components required for GX Aviation on Lufthansa aircraft, as well as the required work for aeronautical and statutory regulations. In addition, Lufthansa Systems, as the aviation IT specialist, makes the required infrastructure available onboard the aircraft and provides the innovative FlyNet portal for passengers based on its BoardConnect product line.

“Other airlines can also benefit from this partnership solution,” added Mondale. “It offers today’s passengers what they want – connectivity, content and services on their own wi-fi devices – and complements the aviation industry’s current in-flight entertainment model, which is often impacted by obsolete technology that delivers dated content with high installation and operational costs.”

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies:

AIX is a great place to check on the status of new product projects, many taking over a year to design, develop, and certify for flying. When we first discovered the satcom adapter plate and Radome from CarlisleiT/Saint Gobain a few months back we note: “CarliseIT, in partnership with Saint Gobain Performance Plastics, now offers multiple ARINC 791 solutions for Ka-band, Ku-band and Tri-band SATCOM installations. The complete package contains the CarlisleIT ARINC 791 compliant adapter plate, provisions for Outside Airframe Equipment (OAE), and intercostal kits required for both retrofit and line fit installations on transport jet aircraft. Installation fittings on the adapter plate are adjustable to cover the complete range of aircraft frame spacing, while providing discrete interface loads to the fuselage. The aerodynamic skirt follows the fuselage curvature without requiring a large installation doubler, sealants, or additional fasteners through the aircraft skin.” The key here is ARINC 791, as it: “ …fulfills the requirement for a standardized installation, easier maintenance inspections, and overall lower cost of ownership. Conformance to the ARINC 791 standard also helps future-proofs the SATCOM installation, and makes upgrades to next generation antennas and SATCOM system equipment easier and faster with commonality across entire fleets.” At AIX 2016, we talked with Kris Samuelson, Director Sales IFE & SatCom and he told IFExpress: “Since APEX in Portland, we have been finalizing developments for line-fit products like the FlightGear, ARINC 791 Ka/Ku Universal Installation and we are looking at some 300 product sales and future installations. Further, the adapter plate and radome you saw at APEX have passed birdstrike and lightening certification tests. We plan to oversee installation mid-April and witness flight test in July. Their A320 STC will follow in August of this year. This product offers lower cost of ownership, 40% – 50% longer flight time between inspections and it is a simplified upgrade, it saves time and money. We expect the Ku installations in September of this year.” Additionally, Kris also mentioned: “The total system weight (antenna/radome) is 271 pounds,” he said, “and you will hear a lot more about this product as we will be producing an A791 adapter plate for Ku band low format antenna. The essential shape will remain similar however, we have to adjust some dimensions to accommodate that design. All in all,” he said, “There is a lot more than meets the eye with this product and we have our electrical and mechanical designers to thank for it’s flexible adaptability.”

STG Aerospace:

One of the more interesting meetings at an IFE show is always one with the folks at STG Aerospace and especially with Nigel Duncan CEO. Why, you ask? Because Nigel is probably the best salesperson we have ever seen… at the least, he knows his products as well as anyone in his company. But more importantly, he as excited about them and when we visited, we heard and discussed their new passenger oriented liteMoodLED Cabin Lighting product, the latest in photoluminescent floor path marking saf-Tglo blu, and STG liteMood, their new LED strip lighting that replaces fluorescents in planes.

Lets start off with one of the most amazing passenger lights we have ever seen – STG liteMood passenger cabin reading light. As we all know, the light over a passenger seat that can be turned off and on by passengers normally describes conical light beam that illuminates a seat and can be adjusted to adjust the light on your tray table or the book you are reading. The problem is one of filament illumination. First the shape (bulb) is circular and diffuse light travels beyond your use and usually illuminates more than the table. Further, it does that because to get enough light for your use, the conical beam is bigger than needed. This means that your light, and all the others, use more power and illuminate more than one passenger, just to solve the illumination problem. Nigel’s team decided that they could do a better job and did just that – STG made an LED light that delivers a rectangular light beam illuminating only one table top. More importantly, they are using LEDs, which can get near to the color of solar light – better on the eyes and limit brightness. The light itself fits in existing fixtures, uses one LED in a special lamp-sized replacement and works like any other bulb but does a better job, at less power. Don’t believe us, check out the demo box picture (the light itself just replaces ones in the plane) and see for yourself: STG Aerospace gives passengers a defined private space with its new passenger centric LED reading light. Designed initially for the B737NG, we expect to see a lot more planes with this product.

Next, we saw the saf-Tglo product, a blue photoluminescent floor path living strip that delivers a blue shift, different from green strips that abound today. While aesthetic are on value in this product, their brochure notes that, “In addition to optimizing the glow colour, saf-Tglo blu provides a wider, brighter colour palette in ambient due to it’s whiter base colour.” Be sure to see it for yourself!

Finally, Neil Thomas told IFExpress: “Quite frankly, any light in the cabin is one we are looking to improve,”  and thus he gave a perfect introduction to the last new product we saw, the new LED mood lighting system using LED strip lights that replace fluorescent lights and deliver an improved onboard experience. Said Nigel; “STG is trying to do things with lighting that collectively make a big difference.” Importantly, the lighting on an aircraft can affect the mood of passengers and STG realized the need for a ‘more aesthetically pleasing’ light solution and eliminate the sub-visual flickering that fluorescent lights give off. Mr. Duncan noted a Manchester University study that shows it is not the variety of colors that impacts passengers, it is the depth of color and saturation levels – features designed into their lighting solution. The liteMood LED cabin lights are presently installed on B757 and B737NG aircraft and have been flying for 16 months now. Since some 96 percent of flying aircraft today utilize fluorescent lighting the market looks quite healthy but because the STG provides a strip kit, the airlines can do the modification themselves.

Inmarsat:

The company has outlined its long-term aviation broadband roadmap to ensure that rising demand for fast, reliable and global passenger in-flight connectivity is met for the next five years and beyond. The launch of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) Aviation solution this year (Dec. 2016) creates the world’s first high-speed passenger in-flight connectivity solution with seamless, end-to-end global coverage, delivered through a single operator. Initial airline customers include Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Jazeera Airways. In all, they are running some 26 STC programs in parallel!

Inmarsat noted: “The GX network, which entered commercial service in December 2015 and currently includes three powerful Ka-band satellites, will provide the international bandwidth capacity needed to meet existing and near-term demand from airlines. As part of the aviation broadband roadmap, it also provides a global coverage underlay that will be built upon to meet future demand.” We note that GX is Ka Band and it employs spot beams. From their Newsroom: “The companies will manufacture 0.6 to 2.4 metre aperture terminals to deliver up to 50Mbps downlink speeds.” We also note that this should replicate data rates like ground based mobile applications. Also, keep your eye on future GX applications that support the new, flat Kymeta antenna!

Inmarsat has already committed to a fourth GX satellite, which is completing construction and testing by Boeing and will provide additional network capacity. It has also awarded Airbus Defence and Space a contract to build the first two satellites for its sixth-generation fleet, the first of which is scheduled for delivery by 2020. Uniquely for Inmarsat, the new fleet will feature a dual-payload, with each satellite supporting both Ka-band and L-band services. Based on current services and demand, the Ka-band co-payload will augment the capacity of the GX network over busy air routes and regions, while the L-band capacity supports a new generation of aviation safety services. Launch customer, Lufthansa, will install and go into service 3Q 2016 on an A320.

Another vital component in the roadmap is Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN), which will be the first aviation passenger connectivity solution across European airspace to integrate an advanced satellite network and LTE-based ground network; the latter will be operated by Deutsche Telekom. Aircraft will switch automatically between satellite and terrestrial connectivity using an onboard network communicator for optimal service delivery.

Also, Inmarsat, has signed a Heads of Terms (HoT) agreement with Beijing Marine Communication & Navigation Company Ltd. (MCN), which will lead to the creation of a joint venture (JV) to provide aircraft cabin and cockpit connectivity solutions in China’s fast-growing commercial aviation market. The Inmarsat services that would be provided through the JV include Global Xpress (GX) Aviation and SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S).  The final agreement is expected to be signed later this year.

Inmarsat noted also: “GX Aviation will launch this year as the world’s first broadband in-flight connectivity solution with seamless, end-to-end global coverage. Passengers will be able to browse the internet, use social media, stream online videos, download files and more using their smartphones, tablets and other Wi-Fi enabled devices, with a similar quality of service in the air as they would receive on the ground.”

Note: SB-S is a next generation cyber secure flight deck communication platform, enabling airlines to meet the ICAO mandate for sub-15 minute tracking of all aircraft, Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC)’s four-minute mandate, Automatic Dependent Surveillance and electronic flight bag updates. Combining L-band satellite connectivity with advanced avionics, it delivers speeds 10 times faster than existing Classic Aero services to provide airlines with cockpit communications for the digital age.


OTHER NEWS

IFP/GEE:

Editor’s Note: There has been a lawsuit underway between content service provider, IFP (parent company Global Eagle) and Universal regarding licensing since 2013. The issue will go to damages trial on May 10, 2016. Below are a series of exerts from various publications that outline the history suit:

“The defendant in the lawsuit is IFP and parent company Global Eagle, a worldwide provider of in-flight entertainment from movies to songs. IFP scored a lucrative contract loading American Airlines (and later US Airways) with music playlists obtained via physical CDs and digital downloads, and in 2008 upon concern that it had licensing issues, approached the major labels for a deal.” Hollywood Reporter 4/22/16

At issue is the discrepancy between what artists get paid for a ‘license’ of their song versus a ‘sale’ of their song. Under contracts that were written before iTunes and other song download services, artists were paid 15% per sale but 50% per license. However, many ‘legacy’ artists argued that digital downloads were licenses, not sales, and they should be paid the higher royalty rate.” Plagiarism Today March 20, 2015

“Inflight operates the entertainment consoles for various airlines, including American Airlines, which was added to the lawsuit previously. Universal alleges that Inflight did not have proper licenses to play Universal Music, especially on international flights where there may not be a single licensing body to authorize the use of music.
However, Inflight has responded saying that they had an agreement with Universal that began in 2009. Though the agreement was never finalized, Universal repeatedly assured Inflight that they were not infringing until, in 2013, Universal hit them with a surprise cease and desist letter.” Plagiarism Today March 20, 2015

“Then in November 2013 the label suddenly sent them a cease-and-desist letter, which they claim has interfered with their contractual relationships with airlines.
They speculate Universal changed its tune in response to changes in the music industry. They claim the label followed the example of Sony’s suit in 2013 against Inflight and United Airlines specifically over Irish licenses (the case eventually settled). Then they claim Universal wants money in settlements “in the wake of a substantial decline in the music business” and want to establish its own business to provide music to airlines.”Hollywood Reporter 3/19/15

“In a tentative summary judgment ruling that was adopted on Wednesday, however, U.S. District Judge George Wu writes, “At best, there is evidence that the parties discussed various terms, but never reached any final agreements,” and further, “There is ample evidence that IFP knew it had no licenses from Plaintiffs and that it could be sued for copyright infringement, and no evidence that Plaintiffs ever indicated to IFP that any such licenses were forthcoming or misrepresented any existing fact.” Hollywood Reporter 4/22/16

“Here’s the adopted tentative as well as the Wednesday ruling that also rejects a statute of limitations defense. The case is now set for a damages trial on May 10 with more than 4,500 copyrights involved. The plaintiffs are led by Jeffrey D. Goldman at Jeffer Mangels while the defendants are being handled by Marty Katz at Shappard Mullin.” Hollywood Reporter 4/22/16

“Universal Music and its co-plaintiffs are seeking maximum statutory damages of $150,000 for each work that Inflight infringed, or an award of profits and compensatory damages. They also seek restitution of Inflight’s profits, punitive and exemplary damages, and an injunction.” Courthouse News – 6/23/15

You do the math!


EVEN MORE NEWS

  • Last week’s BUZZ picture was incorrect… please note we pictured Ms. Agnieszka Jacquemot with Sara Pepic’s quote? Thank you, Alexander Preston, as you win the IFExpress prize – your name in print!
  • Also, Web Barth can be reached as follows: webbarth@vts.global  – Sorry Web, didn’t know there was a ‘.global’ on the web.
  • And lastly, On July 15, 2016, Boeing will celebrate its’ 100th birthday.
  • Global Xpress will serve as the foundation of an integrated global network that can be shaped to fit any airline route system and built upon to meet future demand

Hamburg, Germany | April 5, 2016– Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has outlined its long-term aviation broadband roadmap to ensure that rising demand for fast, reliable and global passenger in-flight connectivity is met for the next five years and beyond.

The launch of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) Aviation solution this year creates the world’s first high-speed passenger in-flight connectivity solution with seamless, end-to-end global coverage, delivered through a single operator. Engineered to meet the needs of complex and evolving airline route systems, initial airline customers including Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Jazeera Airways.

The GX network, which entered commercial service in December 2015 and currently includes three powerful Ka-band satellites, will provide the international bandwidth capacity needed to meet existing and near-term demand from airlines. As part of the aviation broadband roadmap, it also provides a global coverage underlay that will be built upon to meet future demand.

Inmarsat has already committed to a fourth GX satellite, which is completing construction and testing by Boeing and will provide additional network capacity. It has also awarded Airbus Defence and Space a contract to build the first two satellites for its sixth-generation fleet, the first of which is scheduled for delivery by 2020. Uniquely for Inmarsat, the new fleet will feature a dual-payload, with each satellite supporting both Ka-band and L-band services. Based on current services and demand, the Ka-band co-payload will augment the capacity of the GX network over busy air routes and regions, while the L-band capacity supports a new generation of aviation safety services.

Another vital component in the roadmap is Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN), which will be the first aviation passenger connectivity solution across European airspace to integrate an advanced satellite network and LTE-based ground network; the latter will be operated by Deutsche Telekom. Aircraft will switch automatically between satellite and terrestrial connectivity using an onboard network communicator for optimal service delivery. The first commercial EAN trials are expected in mid-2017.

Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Inmarsat’s focus on global mobility is unique in the industry and our aviation broadband roadmap will ensure we continue to grow ahead of demand, with the ability to efficiently move capacity where it’s needed, when it’s needed. As a result, our airline customers will benefit from partnering with a highly-focused connectivity provider that is continuously investing to meet the aviation industry’s long-term needs for superior performance and economics.

“This is extremely important, as airlines operate complex and constantly evolving route networks, each with their own unique requirements, and they need to look beyond a short-term answer to in-flight broadband. Inmarsat’s commitment to building on its GX payloads, in addition to the European Aviation Network, underlines the fact that we have the infrastructure, focus and investment power to deliver the ultimate aviation connectivity – now and in the future.”

Airlines will connect to GX Aviation using exclusive new JetWave terminals being produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell Aerospace. Over 300 passenger aircraft have already committed to installing the system, with more to come. Certification for JetWave is currently underway for 26 different aircraft models across commercial, business aviation and government end markets, with approvals received for the Boeing 757 and Bombardier 5000 and 6000 aircraft in recent months.

Final ground and flight testing is now underway and initial results have successfully validated GX Aviation’s ability to deliver high-speed broadband connectivity to support video streaming and live radio, online conference video calls, multiple file downloads and more over land and water.

Inmarsat is also collaborating with Honeywell Aerospace and Kymeta, a company that develops innovative flat-panel antennas for satellite communications, to produce a new, higher-speed Ka-band wireless antenna. The aviation antenna, which is exclusive to Inmarsat, will have unique capabilities that will bring another step change in faster connectivity and higher quality broadband service to aircraft. In addition, its smaller and lighter flat-panel design will reduce weight and drag on the aircraft, in turn reducing fuel and maintenance costs.

“Our end-to-end solution, including the satellite and ground network, hardware and infrastructure, have been specifically engineered with mobility in mind. And as a single network operator, we can commit to a reliable global service with a uniform high quality of service,” added Mondale.

  • Connectivity upgrade for improved passenger experience

Preview APEX Asia Conference/FTE Asia EXPO | November 9, 2015– Singapore Airlines will deploy SITAONAIR‘s next-generation passenger high-speed broadband connectivity services (Wi-Fi and mobile phone text and data services) on its long range fleet, using Inmarsat’s GX Aviation satellite network.

Singapore Airlines and SITAONAIR have been at the forefront of inflight connectivity innovation. The airline was an early adopter of connectivity, on its A340s, as well as one of the first to provide connectivity on the A380. Recently, it has been providing free Wi-Fi sessions to the passengers in First and Business Class cabins through promotional sponsorship.

The airline’s priority has always been to provide the very best inflight experience and knows passenger connectivity solutions have a central role in that.

The third GX Aviation satellite was successfully launched at the end of August, completing the constellation that provides consistent global coverage. GX Aviation provides data speeds of up to 50MBps to the aircraft: for the very first time, there really will be no difference between being in the air and being on the ground. The onboard Wi-Fi will reflect what most people are used to at home. It will also provide Singapore Airlines with greater capabilities to personalize its services.

“Singapore Airlines is one of the most respected carriers in the world. By choosing SITAONAIR services, it clearly demonstrates the superiority of GX Aviation in terms of passenger experience, reliable and global coverage,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of SITAONAIR. “What is particularly exciting is that this is only the beginning of what we can do with connectivity. We already provide connectivity solutions for airline operations, from flight tracking to crew tablets, and from electronic flights bags to air traffic control AIRCOM services. The introduction of GX Aviation opens up a whole new world of opportunities for the connected aircraft.”

The installation of the first GX Aviation system powered by Honeywell’s JetWave satellite communications hardware is scheduled for the second half of 2016.
The first aircraft type to be equipped will be Singapore Airlines’ B777-300ER aircraft, followed by A380-800s and A350-900s.

As well as being the Wi-Fi Internet and mobile phone service provider, SITAONAIR will also manage the certification process of the GX Aviation system for the B777-300ER fleet, and provide the airborne GX Aviation systems for both the Boeing and the A380-800 fleets. Thales will provide the airborne connectivity system for the A350-900s with SITAONAIR providing the Wi-Fi Internet and Mobile phone service. Zodiac Inflight Innovations will provide the JetWave GX Aviation Satcom for the A380-800 and B777-300ER retrofit programs.

Preview APEX Regional Conference/FTE Asia | November 9, 2015– Singapore Airlines will deploy high-speed connectivity on its long range fleet, with Zodiac Inflight Innovations providing the GX Aviation equipment including RADOME and ARINC 791 installation provisions for their A380 and B777 aircraft. Zodiac Inflight Innovations will supply the equipment for the retrofit program through SITAONAIR and will also be providing the equipment directly for the A380s. This will be the first Inmarsat GX Aviation system to be installed and is scheduled for the second half of 2016.
“We are thrilled to be part of this ground breaking program”, says Larry Girard Executive Vice President of Zodiac Inflight Innovations. Zodiac Inflight Innovations is using its system integration expertise, to bring together all of the system components; including the Honeywell Jetwave GX terminal, continue Girard. Singapore Airlines has been at the forefront of inflight connectivity innovation. The airline was an early adopter of connectivity, on its A340s, as well as one of the first to provide connectivity on the A380. Recently, it has been providing free Wi-Fi sessions to the passengers in First and Business Class cabins through promotional sponsorship. The airline’s priority has always been to provide the very best inflight experience and knows passenger connectivity solutions have a central role in that.
“Singapore Airlines is one of the most respected carriers in the world. By choosing Zodiac Inflight Innovations as the equipment provider and SITAONAIR services, Singapore Airlines is clearly demonstrating their belief in the superiority of GX Aviation in terms of passenger experience, reliable global coverage and support, says Matt Smith Zodiac Inflight Innovations CEO”. “Singapore is our first customer, but we are also excited about what is yet to come, continues Smith.
The first aircraft type to be equipped will be Singapore Airlines’ B777-300ER aircraft, followed by A380-800s.

First up this week we have a Portland Preview of what to see at APEX EXPO in Oregon September 28 – October 1, from the folks at IFPL:

The 2015 EXPO will see IFEC industry innovator IFPL bring its new Dual-pin MagSignal magnetic Audio Jack, a new USB 3.0 and USB C plug and its highly reliable Reversible USB A data and power port, strengthening the industry proven audio jack and data port range. In addition, IFPL will demonstrate the latest NFC technology for payment and personalization; together with the launch of its combined Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR) concept specifically design for the aircraft cabin. All aimed at intensifying relationships, passenger personalization and truly enhancing the experience on-board current and next generation aircraft.

IFPL takes a new turn with the introduction of its range of Long Life jacks, the innovative Dual-pin and triple pin magnetic Breakaway Audio jack; a new cost neutral solution, virtually eliminating customer induced damage providing cost effective lifetime use. IFPL extends its USB range to include its reversible USB-A and new USB 3.0 and USB-C combining power and data module to meet current and future USB standards to support at-seat Portable Electronic Device (PED) charging and data transfer without requiring modification or re-certification of existing seats.

IFPL lead the way when it comes to NFC payment technology on-board aircraft and already works with global OEM’s on using this technology to deliver in-flight retail sales and customer personalization that enables airlines to enhance on-board revenue and customize the passenger experience.

IFPL demonstrates the latest version of the its semi embedded IFE concept enabling airlines to provide tablet based solution while delivering an experience that is comfortable and integrated to meet the passenger requirements.

The IFPL team will be delighted to welcome you to stand 1408 at APEX 2015 and demonstrate our exciting range of products and new innovations. If you would like further information, please contact us at innovate@ifpl.com.

IFExpress will have more on the best places in Portland is forthcoming issues, but remember, the town is dedicated to good food, good coffee, good beer, and good times!


And speaking of conferences, Aircraft Interiors EXPO Americas runs in Seattle November, 4 – 5 and you can find out a bit more and signup here – it is free! Airbus’ Francis Bouchard will be sharing his knowledge with us on passenger comfort and the genesis of a new IFE generation in his A350 XW comfortably yours Case Study. He will also be discussing how we can improve integration of inflight entertainment and connectivity systems with seating.

EXPO will also have Günter Boomgaarden from Zodiac Aerospace who will join to discuss and share knowledge on how you create lighting solutions that enhance all the major brand elements of the cabin and what the benefits are of thinking about lighting solutions earlier in the design process. Check out the full list of speakers and seminars


Kymeta Corporation and SHARP Corporation announced a development agreement to design products that will pave the way for cost-effective mobile satellite communications. Under the agreement, SHARP will use its liquid crystal display production technology to manufacture Kymeta’s new flat-panel satellite antenna, allowing both companies to create new opportunities for the satellite communications industry.

Kymeta antennas use liquid crystal-based metamaterials to solve one of the satellite industry’s longest-standing technical challenges: the need for lightweight, slim and efficient antennas that use software to electronically point and steer towards a satellite, eliminating the need for costly and cumbersome mechanical steering equipment and allowing for rapid setup and installation.

Enabled by Kymeta’s mTenna technology, this suite of antennas uses a first-of-its-kind, glass-on-glass design concept that leverages the same components and manufacturing processes as SHARP’s existing flat-panel display production lines. This means that SHARP can manufacture the Kymeta antennas using its existing production capabilities and, with little or no modification, produce electronically scanned antennas for mobile satellite communications.“Three years of intensive collaboration with SHARP have led us to a product design that can be manufactured utilizing SHARP’s existing production capabilities. This is an important moment for Kymeta. By using a production technology that is already widely deployed in consumer devices, with over $250 billion of industry-wide investment in infrastructure and R&D, we will be able to mass-produce antennas on a scale previously unattainable,” said Dr. Nathan Kundtz, CEO of Kymeta. “Sharp is an excellent partner for Kymeta because of its history and culture of innovation and releasing excellent products.”

“We have over 40 years of experience bringing high-quality liquid crystal displays to consumers,” said Atsushi Ban, division general manager of the Display Device Development Division of Sharp Corporation. “Working with Kymeta, we’re able to create antennas thin and light enough to bring entertainment and connectivity to wherever our customers are.”


Gogo reported record quarterly revenue of $121.2 million, up 22% year-over-year. Service revenue increased 28% to $101.4 million, exceeding $100 million in a single quarter for the first time. “Q2 was another outstanding quarter for Gogo. We delivered record financial results; received the first of two certifications needed to fly 2Ku on our own aircraft; and signed a definitive agreement with GOL, a leading Brazilian airline, to equip its entire fleet of 140 aircraft with 2Ku, our next generation satellite technology,” said Gogo’s President and CEO, Michael Small. “We expect this year that 2Ku will begin to bring an industry leading combination of capacity, cost, reliability and global coverage to planes both in North America and internationally. I am very pleased with our progress to date in getting 2Ku to commercial deployment and with our continued success in winning airlines as we expand internationally.”


SITA OnAir announces first EASA STC for GX Aviation – Introduction of GX Aviation moves a step closer. SITA OnAir is developing the first EASA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for Inmarsat’s high speed Ka-band broadband service, GX Aviation. SITA OnAir is working with EAD Aerospace, an Eclipse company, on the STC to retro fit Boeing 777 series aircraft, on behalf of an undisclosed Airline. The development of this first GX Aviation STC brings the commercial availability of GX Aviation closer. Combined with the expected launch of the third and final GX Aviation satellite at the end of August, momentum is building rapidly.

“This STC will allow the installation and activation of connectivity covering SITA OnAir’s nose-to-tail e-Aircraft portfolio. This includes solutions and products for passengers, cabin crew, cockpit crew, aircraft data and maintenance, flight operations and air traffic control,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of SITA OnAir. “What’s new is that inflight connectivity using high throughput satellite networks extends the possibilities for passengers as well as airlines’ professional use. Airlines will be able to exchange data for operational purposes, and passengers will have the same Internet speed they are used to at home.”

GX Aviation will provide 50MB/s to the aircraft, in particular, giving passengers high-speed Wi-Fi. This is the new reality of inflight connectivity. For the very first time, there really is no difference between being in the air and being on the ground. SITA OnAir already has over 40 STCs, covering the retro fit of inflight connectivity systems on Airbus aircraft, including the A320 family types, A330s and A340s, as well as Boeing aircraft including B737s, B767s and B777s. In addition, SITA OnAir systems are available as line fit on the entire Airbus fleet as well as on Boeing B777s and B787s. It is also a line fit option on selected VIP aircraft, including the Dassault Falcon 7X and Airbus Corporate Jets. OnAir’s STCs have been awarded by the major certification authorities across the world, including the FAA in the US, EASA in Europe, the Singapore CAA, and Japan’s CAB. Importantly, existing STCs can be reused for new airline orders. SITA OnAir can also adapt the STC to meet airlines’ specific technical, cosmetic and/or maintenance requirements. “We have worked closely with EAD Aerospace on many STCs and I fully anticipate this will be a smooth process,” continued Dawkins. “In tandem, we are also working together to kick-start similar GX Aviation STCs on other aircraft types, including the A320 family.”

Marc Pinault, General Manager of Eclipse, said “Our cooperation with OnAir is a good example of how the Eclipse acquisition of EAD Aerospace earlier this year allows our partners to benefit from Eclipse’s extensive background in satcom issues and EAD Aerospace’s Part 21 skills to ensure all variables relating to a satcom installation are taken into account when delivering an STC.” The STC is expected to be completed in the first half of 2016. SITA OnAir is a key Distribution Partner for GX Aviation. With 400 airline customers operating over 14,000 aircraft, SITA OnAir is ideally placed to be the Tier One provider of connectivity solutions across the globe.

(Editor’s Note: You can view SITA e-Aircraft Nose-To-Tail Solutions here  Very nice web work, scroll and see!)


Rockwell Collins announced it has acquired Newport News, Virginia-based International Communications Group, Inc. (ICG), a leading provider of satellite-based global voice and data communication products and services for the aviation industry. The initial purchase price was $50 million and additional post-closing consideration of up to $14 million may be paid.n “This acquisition broadens our portfolio of information-enabled avionics by adding ICG’s latest generation of Iridium satcom terminals and smart routers to our existing flight deck and cabin connectivity offerings, said Kent Statler, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Commercial Systems for Rockwell Collins. “When coupled with our broad array of network solutions, including our ARINC aviation networks and other satellite communication services, it accelerates our vision of being a leader in end-to-end information management solutions for airlines and business jet operators.” ICG’s products and services will be integrated into Rockwell Collins’ Commercial Systems portfolio.


Global aeronautical communications provider Satcom Direct Communications, Inc., a U.S. company, has entered into a purchase agreement to acquire Airbus DS SatCom Government, Inc. (ASGI), expanding its market presence and offerings to the U.S. government sector. ASGI is a government satellite communications business unit of Airbus Defense and Space for the U.S. market and will operate as a subsidiary of Satcom Direct Communications (SDC), of Satellite Beach, FL. The purchase agreement includes acquisition of ASGI’s business operations as well as two satellite earth stations located on the East and West Coasts of the United States. “Combining the two organizations provides distinct synergies, allowing for a greater support infrastructure as well as enhanced capabilities, technology and expertise to our respective U.S. government customers,” said David Greenhill, President of Satcom Direct Communications. “The acquisition will also provide an increased ability to competitively offer fixed and mobile satellite services in Ku, Ka, L, C, and X bands in multiple markets, especially aviation.” The deal has been submitted to the U.S. authority and is expected to close within the next few months.


Lastly, if you wanted to know a bit more about the famous Pan Am China Clipper, we have terrific video, recommended by Boeing retiree, Bob Bogash… Good Stuff, and we bet you don’t know half of what went on in Pacific flying in the 30’s!

Let’s face it, Airshow’s are a great place for aircraft sales and where there are aircraft, there are IFE systems! We thought our readers might want a Tuesday summary of the preceding at Paris, so here goes:

So far, Boeing secured B737 MAX orders/order commitments from AerCap for 100 B737MAX aircraft, China’s Ruili Airlines (via Avic International Leasing) for 30 B737MAX planes, and SMBC Aviation Capital for 10 more B737MAX 8s. It also announced plan to roll out the B737MAX by end of 2015 in preparation for first flight in early 2016. Additionally, Korean Air announced the purchase of 30 B737Max aircraft. China’s Minsheng Aviation (Leasing) announced a commitment for 30 B737’s (Mix of NG B737’s and B737MAX aircraft). Sriwijaya Air (Jakarta Indonesia) announced an order for two Next-Gen B737-900ER’s. At the show, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner also provided a progress report on the three programs still in development — the 737 MAX, 777X and 787-10. “We’ve increased airplane production by more than 60 percent over the past five years by building our products on a lean and responsive production system,” said Conner. “Our focus is on executing our production rates and getting airplanes into the hands of our customers. We remain on track to deliver between 750 and 755 airplanes, a new industry record.”

Conner also outlined progress on the company’s Airplane Development programs. For the first time, Boeing announced that the 737 MAX will roll out of the factory by the end of this year and fly for the first time early next year. “Performance of the 737 MAX is meeting all of our expectations, with the airplane being 20 percent more fuel efficient than the first Next-Generation 737,” said Conner. The 777X is on schedule to reach firm configuration this year, begin final assembly in 2018 and be delivered in 2020. The 787 will transition to a production rate of 12 airplanes per month in 2016 and 14 per month by the end of the decade. First delivery of the 787-10 is scheduled for 2018. Further, at the show Boeing announced some R&D and Tech Innovations that should interest our readers – here are a couple: Secure, connected airplane that enables analytics-driven operations; Integrated sound and light inside the cabin that allow airlines to reinforce their branding and uniquely present valuable information to passengers; Entirely paperless flight deck.

Airbus announced orders from Peach Aviation (Japan – Low Cost) for three A320s and EVA Air for four A330-300s. Also, Korean Air ordered 30 A321neo’s with 20 options.

Honeywell Aerospace (NYSE:HON) and Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L) have successfully completed the first phase of hardware and satellite network flight tests for GX Aviation broadband services. Honeywell’s JetWave-branded hardware enables airplanes to connect to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite constellation for GX Aviation global Ka-band in-flight Wi-Fi services. The tests, which included streaming YouTube videos and live radio, online conference calls, downloading files and more, were conducted in the U.K. in June 2015 – validating GX Aviation’s ability to deliver high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity while over land and water.

Another IFE news story comes from Zodiac Inflight Innovations: Airbus has selected Zodiac Aerospace’s Zodiac Inflight Innovations as a Buyer Furnished Equipment supplier for the Airbus High Bandwidth Connectivity (HBC) solution. Zodiac Inflight Innovations is supplying aircraft equipment, and other terminal hardware. As Lead supplier, Zodiac Inflight Innovations will manage the integration of the system and facilitate the Inmarsat Global Xpress service directly.
“High Bandwidth Connectivity (HBC) represents the new generation of connectivity services for both passengers and airlines”, said Matt Smith, CEO at Zodiac Inflight Innovations. “The system provides high speed Internet to passengers, and many other opportunities for airline ancillary revenue for example, and airlines will be able to improve operation via real time aircraft monitoring.” The current scope of this HBC program covers the Ka-band system for A320 single aisle family, the A330 long range family and the A380 aircraft. Larry Girard, Executive Vice President at Zodiac Inflight Innovations states, “The end result will be that airlines will be able to have different HBC options on multiple aircraft types, while providing a consistent service to both passengers and the airlines’ day-to-day operations. As the Lead supplier, Zodiac Inflight Innovations’ role is bringing together all the components for the High Bandwidth Connectivity program, including our own, and matching them to the Airbus process”, continued Girard. Zodiac Inflight Innovations is providing an ARINC-791 compliant radome, adapter plate, skirt seal, antenna, as well as other terminal hardware. The radome and adapter plate have been designed to be sufficiently flexible to accommodate other Ka-band antennas, minimizing the work required for future HBC systems. “We are building very a strong relationship with Airbus,” concluded Girard. “Not only is Zodiac Inflight Innovations a supplier selected to provide HBC equipment, but also our inflight entertainment solutions are approved as line-fit on A330 Long Range, and under study on other aircraft types.” Twenty five airlines around the world with over 200 aircraft in service are already using Zodiac Inflight Innovations Inflight Entertainment which includes our award winning RAVE Centric AVOD system and our latest RAVE Wireless streaming entertainment system

Rockwell Collins’ PAVES Broadcast in-flight entertainment (IFE) and Airshow 3D Moving Map systems will be featured on 15 new Next-Generation Boeing 737 aircraft on lease by China Eastern Airlines. Deliveries are expected to begin in late 2015. Rockwell Collins’ PAVES Broadcast overhead IFE significantly reduces size, weight, and power consumption compared to previous overhead system offerings. The system’s High Definition Media Server (HDMS) offers 160 gigabytes of solid-state digital audio and video storage capability, integrated pre-recorded announcements, and music (PRAM) functionality with embedded Airshow 3D Moving Map. Additionally, with PAVES Broadcast, airlines have the option to handle updates of non-encrypted content themselves or through the Rockwell Collins Content Services Group. This choice gives airlines flexibility in responding to commercial opportunities as they arise, since time-sensitive content can be replaced at a moment’s notice, anywhere in the world.

Thales reports from the show with a new IFE contract with Kuwait Airlines.

A good source of images and news, Aviation Week Paris Airshow 2015 Highlights is here and check daily!


Global communications service provider, Gogo, announced that it will bring its in-flight connectivity services to GOL, the largest low-cost and best-fare airline in Latin America. GOL will be the first Brazilian airline to offer broadband Internet access to its passengers. As part of the agreement, Gogo will outfit GOL’s entire fleet of aircraft with Gogo’s satellite service – 2Ku. In addition to providing In-flight Internet, all of GOL’s aircraft will also be outfitted with Gogo’s wireless in-flight entertainment system, Gogo Vision, and Gogo’s new IPTV solution, Gogo TV – on all of the aircraft. Gogo TV enables airlines to deliver live television content to a passenger’s own Wi-Fi enabled device. The service will initially be available only to airlines that select Gogo’s 2Ku technology and will be delivered through the Wi-Fi system onboard the aircraft using Internet protocol. Gogo believes that 2Ku will be the best solution on the market for IPTV. “This is a major win for Gogo and represents a number of firsts for Gogo. GOL is Gogo’s first airline partner in South America and the first airline to commit to Gogo’s television product. It also represents the largest aircraft commitment to our 2Ku technology outside of North America,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “We believe that 2Ku will be the best performing technology in the global aero market. This performance is expected to be even better near the equator, where a large percentage of GOL’s aircraft operate.” Gogo expects to begin offering connectivity services on GOL towards the middle of 2016. 2Ku, Gogo’s next generation satellite technology, is expected to deliver peak speeds of more than 70 Mbps to the aircraft, which is more than 20 times the bandwidth when compared to Gogo’s first generation Air to Ground solution in the U.S.


Hong Kong International Airport is leading the way in Asia Pacific with trials of beacons to provide key information directly to passengers’ mobile devices, to further improve their journey through the airport. SITA Lab, the technology research team for global IT provider SITA, has installed more than fifty beacons in Terminal 1 at Hong Kong International Airport for one of these innovative trials. Beacon technology triggers the display of location-relevant information on devices at the right time and in the right situation. With beacons, airports and airlines can provide passengers with indoor directions, walk times to gates, lounge access and alerts about boarding. Knowing where a passenger is before sending information enables more effective communication. Beacons can help reduce congestion and bottlenecks, improving the passenger flow in airports by giving passengers accurate and timely information. In turn, that leads to smoother boarding and more on-time departures. Providing way-finding information also means that passengers know how long it will take to get to the gate, increasing the time they spend in the retail area, which is good news for the airport’s tenants. As part of its role of providing value to the air transport community, SITA has established the Common-Use Beacon Registry. Using this directory, airlines, retailers and other service-providers across the world can provide beacon-based services over shared infrastructure. As well as reducing the cost of installing beacons, the IT is simpler and eliminates the need for everyone to manage their own beacons.


Inmarsat, a leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, announced that Hawaiian Airlines is now the first commercial airline to fly with its SwiftBroadband Safety service on its Boeing 767-300 fleet. The first flight took place on June 3 after the Supplemental Type Certificate for the service was awarded.


Wanna see an incredible B787-9 take-off in Moses Lake, WA? Looks like ninety degrees vertical to us – don’t miss this! –


FORECAST INTERNATIONAL projects 26,676 large commercial airliners worth $4,230b will be manufactured by Boeing, Airbus, UAC, Bombardier and COMAC over next 15 years.


Lastly, Trying to learn ABOUT code? This is a great piece of work – Paul Ford: What is Code? | Bloomberg

  • New agreement to bring Inmarsat’s superfast global, mobile broadband service to Chinese users

London | April 1, 2015– Beijing Marine Communication Navigation Company (MCN), a company owned by China Transport Telecommunication & Information Center (CTTIC), has signed four new Value Added Reseller (VAR) agreements with Inmarsat, the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, to bring Global Xpress, the world’s first globally available, superfast mobile broadband service, to commercial and public sector organisations across China.

Through the agreements, signed by Inmarsat CEO, Rupert Pearce, and MCN Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Mr. Song Zhen, MCN becomes a Global Xpress Value Added Reseller (GX VAR) in China, covering maritime, aviation, enterprise and Chinese government markets. The two companies will work closely together to launch commercial services for Global Xpress in China at the earliest opportunity.

“From emergency first responders to those delivering remote education (e-learning) services, Global Xpress will bring the benefits of seamless, superfast connectivity to every region in China, while ensuring that Chinese companies – from airlines to shipping fleets – can enjoy the same high capacity service wherever they are in the world,” said Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat.

“MCN has been a partner for Inmarsat in China for many decades and we are delighted that this relationship is extending to our latest and most powerful satellite communication service; Global Xpress. China is one of the biggest markets for Inmarsat’s mobile satellite-based voice and broadband services, delivering double digit growth in the last five years and we are confident that there will be significant demand for Global Xpress.”

Mr. Song Zhen, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, MCN, said: “MCN and Inmarsat have enjoyed a partnership over many, many years. It is a relationship that is founded on mutual respect and a shared understanding of the beneficial role satellite communications plays in our increasingly connected world. We are delighted to partner Inmarsat in bringing Global Xpress services to the market and believe that, with its many humanitarian, economic and social benefits, Inmarsat’s superfast broadband service will prove highly popular in China.”

Inmarsat and MCN’s relationship dates back to 1979. Inmarsat works exclusively through retail partners in China, including MCN, to provide mission critical communications services to some of China’s biggest multinational enterprises including Air China, China COSCO, China Shipping Container Lines, China National Petroleum Corporation, China Central Television, and Xinhua News Agency.

Global Xpress

Inmarsat is investing US$1.6 billion to build the Global Xpress network, which will initially compromise of three Inmarsat-5 satellites in geostationary orbit above the equator. Global Xpress operates with a combination of fixed narrow spot beams that enable Inmarsat to deliver higher speeds through more compact terminals, plus steerable beams so additional capacity can be directed in real-time to where it’s needed.

Global Xpress is the world’s first superfast, globally available satellite communications network to operate in the Ka-band spectrum. Global Xpress services are designed to integrate seamlessly with Inmarsat’s proven L-band network, and will enable users across the aviation, maritime, enterprise and government sectors to have reliable and assured access to high-throughput communications.

The second Global Xpress satellite was successfully launched on 1 February 2015. The third satellite is scheduled for launch in Q2 2015 and global commercial services are on course to be introduced earlier in the second half of this year.

  • Inmarsat’s GX Aviation programme one step closer to launching global high-speed connectivity

Des Plaines, IL. & London, England | March 19, 2015– Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, and Honeywell (NYSE: HON) have successfully tested over-the-air performance for Honeywell’s JetWave MCS 8200 onboard aircraft hardware on Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network on 4 March 2015. This successful test signifies that the next generation of truly global high-speed in-flight connectivity for passengers, airlines and operators is becoming a reality.

During the testing, the team was able to demonstrate how Inmarsat’s high-speed; GX Aviation network can support multiple file transfers and video streaming– confirming that passengers will have the same Wi-Fi experience while travelling at 40,000 feet as they would on the ground. Success in this round of testing, conducted from Honeywell’s Tewkesbury, United Kingdom facility means Inmarsat can now start the higher data rate testing.

“This is not only a milestone for the whole GX Aviation programme, but it’s also a great demonstration of what GX Aviation brings to the table,” said Leo Mondale, President, Inmarsat Aviation. “We are delighted with the performance shown by this round of testing. Both the GX network and Honeywell’s terminal have met and exceeded our high expectations. We’re another step closer to bringing a true broadband experience to both commercial airlines and business aviation.”

“The successful testing of Honeywell’s JetWave terminal proves that we are truly making global high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi a reality,” says Carl Esposito, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management, Honeywell Aerospace. “The combination of Honeywell’s airborne hardware and Inmarsat’s GX Ka-band global network will allow for a seamless experience of connectivity and capability from the time you walk on the airplane until you get off on the other side of the world.”

Honeywell’s JetWave MCS 8200 terminal, which enables aircraft to connect to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite network, is in full certification testing, proceeding through DO-160 environmental and electromagnetic interference certifications, in preparation for the start of flight testing in the second quarter of 2015. In addition, work is being done to ensure that the equipment is available for installation on new Boeing aircraft, Airbus A350s and Bombardier’s Global family of business jets.

GX is already operational in the Indian Ocean Region for government, maritime, and enterprise customers over the first Global Xpress satellite, which was launched last year. The successful launch of the second satellite in February 2015 means Inmarsat’s Ka-band network now covers the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean Region. The third satellite is scheduled for launch in the second quarter; it will cover the Pacific Ocean Region, completing the Global Xpress network and providing worldwide coverage.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa and London, UK | September 9, 2014– Inmarsat, (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services and Rockwell Collins, (NYSE: COL), a pioneer in communications, aviation electronics and information management, have signed the final agreement to make Rockwell Collins a Value Added Reseller (VAR) of GX Aviation to the commercial air transport market.

Under the terms of the agreement, Rockwell Collins will bring Inmarsat’s latest generation of services to airline customers. GX Aviation is currently scheduled to be globally available for the commercial air transport market by the end of the first half of 2015. It will provide connectivity speeds of up to 50Mbps virtually everywhere in the world and is set to change the shape of in-flight connectivity. GX Aviation provides opportunities to bring value added services to the cabin, such as enabling in-flight entertainment to add real-time TV, video-on-demand, and allowing standard email and web browsing at much faster speeds.

“This service brings new possibilities for our ARINC Cabin Connect offering that go far beyond what’s available today, including expandable bandwidth that will give passengers the same connectivity experience they have in their home and office, and the capability to accommodate future devices and applications,” said Jeff Standerski, senior vice president, Information Management Services (IMS) for Rockwell Collins. “By combining GX with our current L-Band services, we’ll also be able to provide our airline customers with a complete portfolio of connectivity options for a full range of applications from the cockpit to the cabin.”

By expanding its offerings for airlines with this high-speed service, Rockwell Collins can bring new capabilities to its existing cabin products, such as PAVESTM On Demand in-flight entertainment and Airshow moving map systems.

GX Aviation will be the only global commercial Ka-band network, providing a consistent service across the world. It is a key building block in Inmarsat’s mission to provide high-speed communications for passengers and to open up new possibilities for operational communications.

“This agreement builds on and extends our working relationship with Rockwell Collins – in both avionics and services – that started more than 20 years ago,” said Leo Mondale, President, Aviation at Inmarsat. “Our Ka-band solution enables us to meet the rapidly growing demand for passenger connectivity. Rockwell Collins is a key partner for the full portfolio of existing Inmarsat Aviation services, and will be one of the first to bring the new, exciting GX Aviation service to its large airline customer base. We have built the very best team of aviation companies to ensure airlines have excellent access to GX Aviation.”

The first of the three initial GX Aviation satellites is already in orbit and began delivering commercial services on 1st July 2014. Inmarsat currently expects to complete the next two launches in a timeframe to permit the introduction of GX services on a global basis by the end of the first half of 2015. The airborne hardware, developed by Honeywell Aerospace, is now in the certification phase and is on track to support the launch of GX Aviation in 2015.

  • Complete IFEC solutions now available from an Industry Leader

Aircraft Interiors, Hamburg | April 9, 2014– Inmarsat, (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, has announced an agreement for Thales, a leader in inflight entertainment & connectivity (IFEC), to join the list of GX Aviation Value Added Resellers. This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement signed in September 2013, which made SwiftBroadband and GX Aviation the primary and preferred satellite connectivity services for Thales’ TopSeries IFEC system.

This extended partnership follows Thales’ recent signing of the binding agreement with JetBlue for the acquisition of their fully owned subsidiary LiveTV, which further extends Thales’ overall passenger connectivity capability. GX Aviation, Inmarsat’s Ka-band service, will enable Thales to offer airlines a full IFEC offering from hardware to connectivity services, consistently on all flights across the world.

“People are used to having broadband wherever they are; at home, in the office and on the move,” said Dominique Giannoni, CEO of the InFlight Entertainment and Connectivity of Thales. “We are making sure Thales can provide airlines with the very best connectivity solutions, so passengers can remain connected to their professional and social networks, as well as have access to the broadband services they increasingly expect. GX Aviation is a very important part of the jigsaw, providing worldwide high speed connectivity.”

GX Aviation will provide Internet speeds of up to 50Mbps virtually everywhere in the world when it becomes available for the commercial aviation market, scheduled for the first half of 2015. It is the only Ka-band solution built to deliver a global network for mobile assets, such as aircraft.

“Thales is a major player in the inflight entertainment and connectivity market. Under this agreement, more opportunities open up for airlines to access GX Aviation in packaged IFEC solutions,” said Miranda Mills, President, Inmarsat Aviation. “The most important thing is that it is great news for airline passengers all over the world, who will soon have high-speed Internet connections, live TV broadcasts and a huge range of new connectivity applications.”

The first of the three Inmarsat-5 satellites to provide GX Aviation’s consistent global coverage is already in orbit and undergoing final testing, with the second and third scheduled to be launched by the end of the year. The GX Aviation airborne hardware has begun initial production and is on schedule to complete certification and testing in early 2015.

  • 5th Generation satellite network completes cockpit to cabin service offering

Aircraft Interiors, Hamburg | April 8, 2014–Inmarsat, (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services and Rockwell Collins, (NYSE: COL), a pioneer in communications, aviation electronics and information management, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to make Rockwell Collins a Value Added Reseller (VAR) of GX Aviation Ka-broadband service.

Under the terms of the agreement, Rockwell Collins, through its recent acquisition of ARINC, will bring the newest generation of Ka-band service to airline customers worldwide. GX Aviation is scheduled to be available for the commercial aviation market segment in the first half of 2015. It will provide Internet speeds of 50Mbps virtually everywhere in the world and is set to change the shape of inflight connectivity.

Inmarsat has had a long-term strategic relationship with Rockwell Collins and ARINC, which is now part of Rockwell Collins’ Information Management Services (IMS) business. Since the launch of Inmarsat’s aviation services over 20 years ago, ARINC has been a leading provider of cockpit voice and data services for airlines over Inmarsat’s networks, while Rockwell Collins has been providing Inmarsat-enabled avionics. Rockwell Collins is already a reseller of GX Aviation airtime in the business aviation market segment, and upon agreement will be able to provide a full solution offering to airlines to support all of their satcom connectivity needs from the cockpit to the cabin.

“Rockwell Collins is committed to providing the best in class connectivity solutions for our customers,” said Jeff Standerski, senior vice president, Information Management Services (IMS) for Rockwell Collins. “Airlines need to know they can provide the same service on every flight, all over the world, and that is what Inmarsat provides. The imminent launch of GX Aviation is very exciting and we are looking forward to working with airlines to bring a broad range of new applications to airlines and passengers.”

Standerski added “Combining GX Aviation with our strong portfolio of existing Rockwell Collins products for the cabin, such as our PAVES inflight entertainment and Airshow moving map system product lines will add tremendous value for our customers and their passengers.”

“We are building an exceptional network of resellers for GX Aviation, and we’re looking forward to continuing our tremendous 20-year history of working with Rockwell Collins and ARINC,” said Miranda Mills, President, Inmarsat Aviation. “The very best companies in the industry are working to ensure GX Aviation is widely available for airlines and therefore their passengers. For the first time, passengers will have access to the same level of high speed broadband throughout entire flights.”

The first of three GX Aviation satellites is already in orbit and undergoing final testing, with the second and third scheduled to be in place before the end of the year. The airborne hardware is in the production phase; testing and certification will happen in early 2015, at which point GX Aviation will be available for airlines.

Singapore | February 19, 2014–

Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, welcomes another important milestone in the GX Aviation timeline as Air China and Honeywell Aerospace sign a Memorandum of Understanding to install and test GX Aviation on Air China’s A330 aircraft, expected in the second quarter of 2015.

Inmarsat GX Aviation enables the next generation of high-speed global broadband in-flight connectivity services. It will deliver consistent, reliable, high-speed and high-capacity communications for both passenger connectivity and aircraft operations, and will enable airlines to deploy new types of connectivity applications that were previously not possible.

Inmarsat will provide GX Aviation through its fleet of three wholly-owned and operated Ka-band satellites and its dedicated, fully redundant ground network. The first of three Inmarsat-5 satellites was successfully launched in December 2013 and the remaining two are set to be in place by the end of 2014.

“We are pleased that Air China has chosen to install the GX Aviation system on their aircraft. Air China has led the movement into passenger connectivity in China with their earlier installation of Inmarsat SwiftBroadband and now GX Aviation allows them to continue that leadership and take the passenger experience to a new level,” said Bill Peltola, Inmarsat Vice President, Aviation. “This agreement gives Air China the opportunity to stay at the forefront of a highly competitive market in Asia.”

Inmarsat’s fleet of three high-throughput satellites will offer a unique combination of seamless global Ka-band coverage from a single operator, consistent performance of up to 50Mbps, and the network reliability for which Inmarsat is renowned. In addition to passenger communications, GX Aviation services will be able to support real-time TV and live feeds from the internet.  It will offer airlines the next generation of connectivity with ample capacity for future growth.

The testing programme agreed between Honeywell and Air China is the latest in a series of significant steps, which confirms that GX Aviation is on track to deliver global availability for commercial airlines in the first half of 2015.

  • GX Aviation reaches key milestone to offer passengers the freedom to stay connected to high-speed, in-flight Wi-Fi virtually anywhere around the globe

Phoenix and London | February 7, 2014–

The goal of delivering ‘home equivalent’ high-speed, consistent wireless internet connectivity for passengers and pilots on aircraft came a step closer today.  In a joint announcement,  Honeywell (NYSE: HON) and Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT.L) confirmed that they have finalised the critical design review (CDR) of the GX Aviation aircraft avionics on schedule.  It is anticipated that product certifications will be achieved later this year, followed by product introduction which is expected during the first half of 2015.

Targeting both passenger aircraft and business jets, GX Aviation is the first, truly global, high-speed, in-flight connectivity service that will provide data rates to the aircraft of up to 50Mbps. Using GX Aviation, passengers will be able to do everything from real-time social media updates and emails to live-streaming TV, all while in flight, and from virtually anywhere in the world, over both land and sea.

Completing the CDR marks the final development review for the GX Aviation aircraft avionics programme. Inmarsat and Honeywell engineers completed the evaluation on schedule and executed a comprehensive audit of the system design, engineering model hardware and programme.

Completion of this major milestone follows the successful launch of Inmarsat-5 F1 – the first of three Ka-band satellites – from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Russia on  8th December  2013. The second and third satellites are scheduled to launch later this year, providing full global coverage by the end of 2014.

“Successful completion of our final design review is one more milestone along our path to product introduction in the first half of 2015,” said Jack Jacobs, vice president of Marketing, Honeywell Safety and Information Systems. “We are on track to bring a new level of high-speed, in-fight connectivity to consumers and airlines around the world, regardless of whether it is a domestic or international flight. In addition, we are actively working with several air transport and business aviation manufacturers to provide GX Aviation and to enable a truly connected aircraft from gate to gate and from ground to over 12,000 meters.”

“A comprehensive team from both Inmarsat and Honeywell has completed its analysis of every aspect of Honeywell’s satcom system to ensure it meets all our design criteria. We are confident that the Honeywell avionics, like the rest of the GX Aviation programme, will be ready for service launch in 2015. GX Aviation will bring a new dawn in aircraft connectivity, providing high-speed broadband connectivity for all user requirements throughout the flight,” said Miranda Mills, president, Inmarsat Aviation.

During the process, Inmarsat’s team reviewed the final functional specifications of hardware designs, and the results of engineering units tests. These reviews will enable the continued progress of the GX Aviation programme through product certification in 2014, product launch and global entry into service for commercial, business aviation and government customers in the first half of 2015.

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December 9, 2013– Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, announces the successful launch of first Inmarsat-5 Global Xpress®satellite. It was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 8 December on a Proton Breeze M rocket. The launch is a major milestone in the development of GX Aviation, which will provide the world’s airlines and aircraft operators with the first global high speed mobile broadband service.

Inmarsat is the owner and commercial operator of the Global Xpress constellation. By the close of 2014, the fleet will comprise three high throughput satellites and GX Aviation will offer a unique combination of seamless global Ka-band coverage from a single operator, consistent performance of up to 50Mbps, and the network reliability for which Inmarsat is renowned. In addition to passenger communications, it will support real-time TV and live feeds from the internet, for example, and will offer airlines future-proofed connectivity with ample broadband capacity for growth.

Miranda Mills, Inmarsat President, Aviation said: “We are getting closer and closer to the introduction of GX Aviation. It will revolutionize inflight connectivity for both passengers and crew. The successful launch of this satellite means that we are well on track to providing the world’s first globally available, high speed mobile broadband service in 2015.”

The I-5 satellites are built by Boeing Satellite Systems International Inc., based on the proven 702HP design. Inmarsat-5 F1 is part of a US$1.6 billion investment by Inmarsat into the next generation of global mobile broadband communications.

The satellite was correctly acquired by the Inmarsat Paumalu station at 17:48 GMT on December 8. Over the coming two weeks, the Inmarsat controllers will command the satellite to perform seven chemical burns to raise it to its geo-synchronous elliptical orbit. By the end of December, the satellite will have completed deployment of its solar arrays and reflectors. This will be followed by the electrical orbit-raising phase, taking the spacecraft to its final geostationary orbit. This is scheduled to be completed by the end of January, ready for the start of payload testing at the beginning of February.

The satellite weighed over six metric tons at lift-off and has 89 Ka-band beams. It is designed to generate approximately 15 kilowatts of power at the start of service and, to generate such high power, the spacecraft’s two solar wings – with a similar span to a Boeing 737 – each employ five panels of ultra-triple-junction solar cells.

 

London, UK | November 11, 2013–

Inmarsat, (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, today announced that the first of its game-changing Global Xpress satellites – designated Inmarsat-5 F1 – has travelled from California to the launch site in Kazakhstan. The Global Xpress network will power GX Aviation, the world’s first global Ka-band high-speed satellite network specifically designed for mobile assets, with aircraft a target market.

GX Aviation will offer a unique combination of global coverage from a single operator, consistent performance for aviation use of up to 49Mbps, and the network reliability for which Inmarsat is renowned.

“The imminent launch of the first satellite brings the introduction of GX Aviation much closer,” said Miranda Mills, Inmarsat President, Aviation. “We have our network of Distribution Partners in place and we know from our conversations with airlines and VIP operators that there is strong demand for high bandwidth inflight connectivity. The good news is they don’t have long to wait: the GX programme is on track for introduction in 2015.”

The 6,100Kg spacecraft departed from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Saturday 9th November aboard an Antonov AN-124 heavy transporter and is scheduled to arrive at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, approximately 2,100 km (1,300 miles) southeast of Moscow, on Monday 11th November.

The spacecraft was constructed at Boeing’s El Segundo facility in California and is the first of three Global Xpress satellites scheduled to be launched on behalf of Inmarsat by International Launch Services (ILS). Inmarsat-5 F1 is scheduled for launch in December by a Proton Breeze M launch vehicle.

The second satellite is in the final stages of construction and testing. It is scheduled for launch in the first half of next year, with the third being launched towards the end of 2014. GX Aviation is on schedule to be available for both commercial and VIP aircraft in 2015. In addition, Inmarsat has recently ordered a fourth I-5 satellite from Boeing.