Envee Inflight Entertainment has partnered with China Eastern Airlines to help them engage passengers and enrich their inflight experience.

Long Beach, California | September 26, 2017– Envee Inflight Entertainment is a leading international IFE provider founded in 2010. The company’s headquarter is based in California, USA with a second office in Chengdu, the ca- pital city of Sichuan, China. Envee focuses on making passenger’s flight experience more entertaining by offering inflight games, applications, media content and customized software solutions to airlines. Envee’s content is already available on Panasonic, Thales, Rockwell Collins and Zodiac IFE systems flying on more than 80% of China’s airlines. 2017 is a spe- cial one for Envee due to the successful partnership with China Eastern Airlines, which has helped Envee to become a leader in the IFE software market of China.

It is not easy to integrate with IFE, but Envee is convinced that it is making the best decision. Envee is confident that its deep knowledge of the Chinese people and culture will help it pro- vide the most suitable content for China Eastern Airline passengers.

Games such as “Mahjongg,” “Gumoku” (aka “Five in a Row”), “Huarong Path,” “Chinese Chess” and “Zuma” are favored by Chinese passengers but Envee hasn’t forgotten its Wes- tern passengers or those who want to break from traditional Chinese games. Envee’s IFE ga- ming portfolio has over 140 titles, including puzzles, sports, action-adventure games and ca- sino-style card games. Popular among passengers are Real 3D Extreme Racing and Magic Forest developed by Envee’s skilled team of technicians. Thanks to partnerships with the in- ternational licensors, passengers can play popular online games such as Scrat Adventures, Save the Puppies, Real Football 2016, and Super Party Sports: Football.

Locally in China, Envee has partnered with China Southern Airlines, Air China, Hainan Air- lines, Xiamen Airlines, Tibet Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, and Shenzhen Airlines, along with international airlines such as Eurowings.

Black Swan and partner IAG took home award for Best Inflight Entertainment Innovation

London, UK | September 26, 2017– Black Swan Dataone of Europe’s leading data science technology companies, last night won the Best Inflight Entertainment Innovation award at The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) annual awards in Long Beach, California. The accolade was received for Black Swan and IAG’s ground-breaking and innovative in-flight portal for the 2017 launch of LEVEL, IAG’s new long-haul, low cost airline brand.

 

Passengers can customise and manage their in-flight experience by connecting to LEVEL’s entertainment platform through a combination of a fully integrated seatback portal and an app on their personal device.  The technology allows customers to seamlessly browse and purchase items whilst on-board, including the latest film, TV and music releases, as well as buying food & drink, duty-free goods and Wi-Fi packages. Through the use of advanced cryptology, secure payments can even be made whilst the aircraft is offline, enabling normal operation to continue if internet connectivity is not available. This innovative Pair and Pay functionality is unique to LEVEL, and the first in the airline industry.

 

In addition to offering passengers greater flexibility in how they spend their time in the air, it provides the carrier with an end-to-end view of passenger usage and behaviour through automated reports providing insights and metrics not possible before now. Over time this will be integrated with other data sources to further enhance the customers’ travel experience.

 

“We are absolutely delighted to have won this award with IAG,” said Steve King, CEO, Black Swan Data. “Data-driven technologies are impacting almost every single industry and avionics is now on the cusp of transforming its interaction with passengers through connectivity. By offering a truly integrated experience from door to door, airlines can expand not only their relationships with customers, but also with commercial partners.”

 

APEX is the only non-profit membership trade association dedicated to improving the entire airline passenger experience. This year’s APEX Awards, held on 25th September, recognised airlines and vendor partners in passenger experience who have successfully implemented new programmes and services in the last 12 months.

BoardConnect Media Services already in use on more than 100 commercial aircraft

Raunheim Germany and Long Beach, California | September 26, 2017 – A completely new approach to content services provisioning characterizes the BoardConnect Media Services offered by Lufthansa Systems in collaboration with Touch Inflight Solutions Inc. (Touch). Since the two companies began cooperating closely just over a year ago, their product has been successfully installed on more than 100 aircraft of commercial airlines – including Eurowings, Austrian Airlines and Azul Linhas Aereas.

Although demand for an Internet connection is rising when it comes to onboard entertainment, current bandwidth is not yet sufficient to enable all passengers to stream content simultaneously. “While we expect connectivity to increase further and prices to drop in the next three to five years, bandwidth in the air will not be comparable to normal bandwidth on the ground even then,” said Michael Childers, Chief Consultant Content and Media Services at Lufthansa Systems. “That’s why providing airlines with a content offering stored on local servers on board the aircraft and streamed via a local WiFi network is a reliable and sustainable option that can also be combined with future Internet services. Our wireless BoardConnect in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution enables us to offer our customers exactly that.”

Integrated approach
Unlike some other IFE providers, Lufthansa Systems and Touch have adopted an integrated approach to in-flight entertainment. Rather than seeing the content and system-based components as separate entities, they directly consider the technological possibilities of the IFEC system when determining which content the product should include. The infrastructure, design and selection of content maximizes the system’s performance. What’s more, new content should be available even faster than ever. By using cloud technology and eDelivery, it makes it possible to place new content on the platform extremely fast, quickly taking Lufthansa Systems and Touch from the industry’s 90 days window to a mere fraction of this period.

“When we design the infrastructure components for the content, we have to be aware of the technical capabilities of the passengers’ current smartphones and tablets. Only then can we do everything we can to offer them a passenger experience that gets the best out of their devices,” said Joe Carreira, Managing Director of Touch Inflight Solutions. “We are working closely with Lufthansa Systems in this context. Our aim is to create solutions customized to fit the individual requirements of airlines and their passengers.”

The individual content on offer ranges from global and regional films and TV series, branded and web content, music, magazines as well as airport guides and destination content. When it comes to offering Hollywood movies, Lufthansa Systems and Touch Inflight Solutions have a direct, close and long-term working relationship with the film studios.

Content services for business jets and VIP fleets
In addition to its core target group of commercial airlines, Lufthansa Systems and Touch are also aiming their product at business jets and VIP fleets, and are working closely with Group subsidiary Lufthansa Technik and their joint venture IDAIR in this area, with first successful deliveries already having been made.

BoardConnect enables passengers to use streaming technology during a flight to access an airline’s entertainment program on their own devices. The product suite includes three hardware versions: the permanently installed classic BoardConnect solution, the flexible BoardConnect Portable version and the BoardConnect Plus connectivity solution. All products work in perfect harmony with each other and can be acquired separately or in combination. BoardConnect is already running on a total of nearly 400 aircraft, and another 300 will follow in the next twelve months.

San Francisco, CA | September 25, 2017– On 26th September SkyLights will reveal its 2nd generation immersive-IFE solution at the Airline Passenger Experience (APEX) Expo in Long Beach. It combines the new, premium AlloSky headset, and freshly signed content partnerships with Warner Brothers, National Geographic, Lionsgate and BBC. Air France’s new airline Joon and the product and service provider gategroup are among the launch partners for the new solution, which is tailored towards upgrading and differentiating the business class experience.

The AlloSky headset is the latest addition to SkyLights’ portfolio, and was co-created through the company’s new partnership with immersive headset producer Allomind. AlloSky brings a host of new features, including full HD resolution (1080p each eye), a 60% weight reduction to its predecessor (the Bravo Theater), and dioptric correction to cater to the eyesight of all passengers. Furthermore, it can be connected in-seat; meaning reduced cost and logistical complexity for airlines.

In terms of content, the new partnerships compliment SkyLights’ longstanding supporters, 20th Century Fox and Dreamworks, to offer a strengthened selection of films, series and documentaries in 2D, 3D and carefully curated 180°.

“Our new solution is guided by our learning from thousands of flights commercially deployed with our first generation. We have identified what matters most and have kept this knowledge at the core of the 2nd generation solution. It’s more premium, more comfortable and has streamlined logistics. We believe this is a breakthrough, making the future of in-flight entertainment a reality today.” said David Dicko, SkyLights’ CEO.

SkyLights is running an early-access launch program as part of the solution’s inauguration. Among the participants are Air France and gategroup, with Air France set to deploy the solution early next year through its new, millennial-focused airline Joon. Other members of the program are to be announced in the near future.

To learn more at the APEX Expo, visit SkyLights on booth #566.

APEX 0415: Onboard Advertising

First up, at APEX 2017 in Long Beach, California.  On Monday, there is an educational session that you should attend in the afternoon for sure. It is an inflight advertising initiative and Michael Childers, the Inflight Ad Guru, will talk about the constraining technical and organizational issues surrounding the challenge of inflight advertising. Why are there issues on this subject? We asked Michael Childers about it and he told IFExpress about the need for this seminar. “This is a heads-up regarding an important initiative that we’re launching in the Technology Committee  that will establish the necessary specifications and guidelines that will enable IFE to become part of a global, cross-platform digital advertising ecosystem that opens IFE to ad buys from the major Madison Avenue buyers and agencies.” We pressed Michael for more information on what his presentation will be about and he said: “For ages, airlines have dreamed of advertising revenues paying for all of the costs of IFE, but that was never realistic. However, there is definitely an opportunity today for airlines to greatly improve the revenue potential of advertising on their IFE systems. How? By making IFE a part of the emerging global, cross-platform advertising ecosystem that integrates traditional broadcast advertising and cable and satellite advertising with Internet advertising, OTT (Amazon, Hulu, Netflix), and particularly the growing ‘out-of-home’ and ‘digital place-based’ advertising sectors.” 

If you are like many of our readers (or us for that matter), you probably thought that either the IFE advertising world was pretty well sorted out, or that like standard print media, you chose your space and you paid for the content – no big deal. But that would be wrong, noted Childers: “Traditional IFE content delivery doesn’t support dynamic ad placement, nor does it leverage the highly desirable demographics of airline passengers and their specific location and environment to personalize ads. But with APEX 0415 laying the groundwork, IFE now has a big opportunity to re-invent IFE ad delivery and significantly impact IFE ad revenues over the next few years. We will discuss this during the Content Track B3, “Content Delivery Ecosystem” on 25 September at EXPO, and again at APEX TECH on 23-24 January 2018 at the Sheraton. So, if you plan advertising, or you want to see the inflight advertising world you might not have pictured, this should be on your Monday agenda.” Michael has a few program plans and discussion answers that you should probably see and comment/contribute to. See you on Monday!


Some Booth Highlights

Thales
Booth: 213

Contact: Adam.KOSTECKI@us.thalesgroup.com

This year at APEX Expo, Thales is focused on the essential passenger engagement technologies – integrated connectivity and IFE.

Thales’ InFlyt 360 vision of passenger engagement takes the concepts of paired connectivity and IFE to a new level by combining those enablers with leading digital expertise. Together, these technologies create passenger profiles and tailored content for a more personalized passenger experience.

With its state-of-the-art AVANT IFE system this experience comes to life. Enabled by an open architecture platform for its evolving operating system, software environment, state of the art security and the capability to enable data-driven decisions, Thales’ best-in-class HD and 4K resolution displays bring a new brilliance to the passenger experience.

Bookended by connectivity, Thales’ offerings for seamless global and regional coverage provide the most for passengers with Global Xpress and FlytLIVETM – the most advanced and efficient aeronautical connectivity solution in the Americas region.

Lufthansa Systems
Booth: 453
Contactansgar.luebbehusen@lhsystems.com

Lufthansa Systems and group subsidiary Lufthansa Technik are sharing a stand for the first time. The two Lufthansa Group companies, who collaborate closely in providing on-board Internet and entertainment, are both presenting their own connectivity solutions. Lufthansa Systems will demonstrate the multi-award-winning BoardConnect wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) platform and its different hardware versions, while Lufthansa Technik will showcase its LConnect hardware and service package. The airline IT provider is also presenting its new mCabin/Messenger app, one of the apps of the mCabin Product Line.

Panasonic
Booth: 955

This year part of our focus will be on the “Internet of Me”

Similar to the “Internet of Things” concept, the “Internet of Me” takes all of the things that people care about and brings them together to deliver hyper-personalized and contextual experiences. We are the sum of all our things and the relationships in between.

Targeted advertisements based on browsing history, the “login with Facebook” capability on all of our favorite websites, and location-based services are just a few examples of digital experiences on the ground that are uniquely yours because of the “Internet of Me”.

We’ll also be looking at ways to automate Operations with services like ZeroTouch and our automated analytics services.

AXINON
Booth: 135

You’re invited to visit Axinom at APEX in Long Beach at booth #135 to discover company’s latest technology advancements, enjoy product showcases and get their experts’ advice on any topic of your interest.

If you’re interested to learn more about how Axinom CDS enables a new digital flight experience and how you can benefit,  read this short article
and this  letter from AXINON re their product offering

Rockwell Collins
Booth: 711

Rockwell Collins will be showcasing its suite of aircraft cabin and connectivity solutions at this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Expo in Long Beach, Calif., Sept. 25-28. The company will have two separate exhibits, booth 419 and booth 711, that will feature demonstrations of its wireless connectivity and interior cabin products that are helping reimagine the air travel experience for both passengers and crew.

This marks the first APEX that Rockwell Collins will feature both cabin connectivity and interior systems products since the company acquired B/E Aerospace in April 2017.

“Our goal at APEX is to help airlines see the innovative options available to them that deliver a better passenger experience while improving cabin crew productivity,” said Alexis Hickox, head of business development, Commercial Aircraft Cabin Solutions for Rockwell Collins.  LINK TO FULL RELEASE

SkyLights
Booth: 566

On 26th September SkyLights will reveal its 2nd generation immersive-IFE solution at the Airline Passenger Experience (APEX) Expo in Long Beach. Be sure to stop by our booth and visit us!

SPAFAX
Booth: 619

  • Education Day:
    • Catch our own Andrea Whyte, Director of Commercial Content Strategy on the Content Track panel from 15:05-15:55 as she weighs in on how to make the most of your IFE investment.
    • Mary Rae Esposito, our Media Sales Director based in New York, leads a discussion on how to effectively monetize the passenger journey.
  • Where to find us:
    • Booth 619 – come say hello!
    • Join us for Happy Hour at our booth on Tuesday from 4 PM and Wednesday from 5 PM.
  • Education Day:
    • Catch our own Andrea Whyte, Director of Commercial Content Strategy on the Content Track panel from 15:05-15:55 as she weighs in on how to make the most of your IFE investment.
    • Mary Rae Esposito, our Media Sales Director based in New York, leads a discussion on how to effectively monetize the passenger journey.
  • Where to find us:
    • Booth 619 – come say hello!
    • Join us for Happy Hour at our booth on Tuesday from 4 PM and Wednesday from 5 PM. 

Note from the IFExpress Team: We expect this week’s APEX EXPO to be an innovative one with many new technological advances and product iterations. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in the coming days. Be certain to send us your press releases so we can cover your show highlights and we wish you all a successful and fun filled time in Long Beach.

  • First aircraft delivered to Southwest Airlines with Global Eagle Entertainment’s KU Band connectivity installed at Boeing factory

Long Beach, CA | September 25, 2017– Kontron, a leading global provider of embedded computing inflight entertainment and connectivity equipment, today announced the launch of Boeing 737 MAX line-fit deliveries in association with a one of its key customers, Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: ENT).  Securing line-fit offerability from Boeing and Airbus is a strategic priority for Kontron, given the resulting efficiencies that can be offered to airlines in terms of cost savings and eliminating the need to take an aircraft out of service. Global Eagle recently announced that its Airconnect 3.0 inflight equipment is the first catalog-offerable line-fit connectivity system available for installation during assembly of the new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Kontron began working with Global Eagle in 2015 to obtain Boeing line-fit approval for Kontron’s Server Management Unit, Modem Data Unit and Cab-N-Connect™ wireless access point. These Kontron designed and manufactured Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) are enabling components of the Global Eagle Airconnect 3.0 inflight Wi-Fi system. Airconnect 3.0 provides KU Band connectivity, IPTV and wireless IFE services to passengers and crew, and is already proven on 865 aircraft around the world.

To obtain Boeing line-fit approval for the three LRUs, Kontron worked with Global Eagle to develop an extensive qualification test program to the Boeing specifications for 737 MAX cabin equipment. The test procedures were successfully executed on the three LRUs by the combined Global Eagle and Kontron teams, with Boeing representatives witnessing. The final qualification test report was generated by Kontron and approved by Global Eagle and Boeing.

“Kontron’s aviation product development strategy includes the concept of line-fit readiness,” said Andy Mason, vice president technology at Kontron America. “This means Boeing and Airbus OEM requirements are considered during the product design and preliminary qualification phase. Our due diligence in creating a qualification test program matched to strict aircraft cabin specifications is proving useful for the future. Kontron is actively pursuing Boeing and Airbus line-fit qualification for our new ACE Flight™ 4608 Server and other avionics products.”

 

“Our collaboration with Kontron adds best-in-class inflight connectivity and helps to remove the worry of aircraft downtime and revenue loss for retrofit installations,” said Per Norén, Global Eagle Senior Vice President, Aviation.

 

Kontron will showcase its extensive line of certified IFE&C open platform solutions at the 2017 APEX Expo in Long Beach, California, September 25-28in Kontron Booth #533. For more information on its avionics product portfolio, please visit: https://www.kontron.com/industries/avionics

IFExpress found a few data points on industry folks who will be at APEX. Check them out!

FTS Technologies Inc.
Booth: 665
Contact: Ben Fuller, Director of Sales for Americas.  Darrel Chua, General Manager of FTS (and Sales for Asia) – darrel@fts-aero.com

APEX Highlights: We will be demonstrating our latest Xstream Lite wireless streaming system, with new revenue-generating opportunities.  Will also be showing our FlightButler(tm) app for flight attendant’s smartwatch, and our Modman for Satellite Connectivity.

Come and have some fun with the FTS Superhero team at booth 665 !  (and get your own Superhero giveaway).

Latitude Aero
Booth: 411
Contact: Kelvin Boyette:, +1 336-676-3183.

Latitude Aero will be exhibiting in AIX Booth 2351, but will have seats on display on the APEX side in DDC’s (Pascall) booth, 411.

APEX Highlights: Latitude Aero is a FAA Part 145 Repair Station, specializing in aircraft seating refurbishment, upgrades, modifications, and repairs.  We look forward to meeting customer at both events.  Please stop by our booth at AIX, and definitely stop by Pascall’s booth to see our newest project, a prototype USB power system that will debut in our refurbished seats on their stand.  Latitude will have staff on both stands for the duration of the show.

Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems
Booth: 441
Contact: Dennis Markert (dennis.markert@astronics.com)

APEX Highlights: Astronics AES is looking forward to meeting with you at APEX Expo 2017.  We have several new, innovative products that we are excited to unveil.  Here is a preview of products and solutions that will be on display.

SIE
Booth: 902
Contact: John Courtright: +1-206-618-3128

APEX Highlights: SIE is a U.S. and European based engineering firm with AS9100C and ISO 9001 accreditation for Design, Engineering, Certification, Program Management, and Procurement of Aircraft Systems and Structures. Our specialty is the design, engineering, systems integration, certification (STC), and parts kitting for major IFEC installation programs for commercial, military, and VIP aircraft. Projects include  installation and certification for Ka/Ku-Band Satcom Systems and Cabin IFE and Interior Re-configurations on 737NG, 757, 777, MD-10, and A320 aircraft.  Customers include:  Southwest Airlines, Norwegian, IcelandAir, United Airlines, Honeywell, Global Eagle, Panasonic, and others.

VTMiltope
Booth:1211
Contact: Jeff.Drader@Miltope.com

APEX Highlights: VT Miltope is proud to be an APEX member exhibiting in Long Beach this year.  We are highlighting our upcoming Multi-Function Access Point 3 (MAP3) featuring:  faster WAVE 2, Enhanced CHT, an Embedded Server, and Cyber Security.  Please stop by VT Miltope booth 1211 to say hello and learn more about the remarkable MAP3.

Flightpath Labs
Booth: 949
Contact – Jackie Frimer <jackie@flightpath3d.com>

APEX Highlights: The Latest from our Flightpath Labs, FlightPath360 where passengers can take a virtual flight over a destination with panorama technology making you feel as if you are in the sky over major cities and destination. Jjoin us at our booth to see this full 360-degree immersive view of cities and destinations from the sky. It allows airlines to give passengers control of the viewing direction with stunning panoramic views to zoom, rotate or hover over wonders of the world. Book your appointment now for Booth #949 to see for yourself how we have transformed a simple inflight map into a powerful tool for passengers and airlines

And lastly, here is some show info that might help, APEX, IFSA, and AIX – Schedule | APEX EXPO

Gogo
Booth: 502
Contact: Meredith Payette <mpayette@gogoair.com>

Gogo is the Inflight Internet Company. We are the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation. We design and source innovative network solutions that connect aircraft to the Internet, and develop software and platforms that enable customizable solutions for and by our aviation partners. Once connected, we provide industry leading reliability around the world. Our mission is to help aviation go farther by making planes fly smarter, so our aviation partners perform better and their passengers travel happier. You can find Gogo’s products and services including Gogo 2Ku, our global satellite connectivity solution at Booth 502.

 


More News:

Lufthansa Systems
Passengers now expect the same level of connectivity in the air that they enjoy on the ground. This is why Lufthansa Systems is focusing on connectivity at this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Expo (APEX) in Long Beach, California. Group subsidiary Lufthansa Technik is sharing a stand for the first time. The two Lufthansa Group companies, who collaborate closely in providing on-board Internet and entertainment, are both presenting their own connectivity solutions. Lufthansa Systems will demonstrate the multi-award-winning BoardConnect wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) platform and its different hardware versions, while Lufthansa Technik will showcase its LConnect hardware and service package. The airline IT provider is also presenting its new mCabin/Messenger app, one of the apps of the mCabin Product Line. Visit Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik from September 26 to 28 at APEX at stand #453.

Thales
Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) announces today the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire the US company Guavus, a pioneer in real-time Big Data analytics.The acquisition of Guavus follows several acquisitions in the fields of connectivity, mobility and cyber security, and strengthens Thales’s positioning in one of the key technologies at the heart of digital transformation, the processing and predictive analysis of “big data”, an increasingly critical factor in real-time decision-making.Airlines, satellite, air traffic control, metro or train operators, armed forces or security officials of large urban or energy infrastructures rely on Thales’s high technology solutions to take the best decisions in real time. In a world facing exponential growth in the volume of data coming from increasingly connected sensors, Guavus’s acquisition opens broad opportunities for Thales in areas including predictive maintenance, cyber security, monitoring of critical infrastructures, network and telecommunication systems optimization. Guavus, a leader in real-time big data processing and analytics, is perfectly suited to the growing needs of an increasingly connected global ecosystem. The company has built a recognized industrial “big data” platform particularly suited to real-time analytics, designed to be easily implemented across any number of new markets. In addition, by bringing the expertise of its 160 strong R&D engineering workforce, Guavus will significantly enrich Thales’s expertise in this field.

Gogo
Gogo Business Aviation (NASDAQ: GOGO), long recognized as the leading provider of broadband connectivity products and services for business aviation in North America, is expanding its reach to become a global provider with the announcement of a high throughput satellite service for business aviation. The new service will utilize Gogo’s existing Ku-band satellite network, the same trusted high capacity satellite network that is currently providing bandwidth for more than 550 commercial aviation aircraft across 10 airlines globally. Gogo is currently bringing additional HTS (high throughput satellite) capacity online as part of its global satellite network, which will boost the performance of both its new business aviation Ku solution and its commercial aviation network solutions. Service is expected to be available in the second half of 2018.

INMARSAT/Rockwell Collins
Inmarsat has signed a strategic agreement with Rockwell Collins, a leading provider of aviation and high-integrity solutions, for the global distribution of its next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) flightdeck connectivity solution. The agreement builds on a successful long-term strategic relationship between the two companies and will bring new levels of safety and operational efficiency to the aviation industry.

SITA
Airlines and airports are estimated to spend nearly US$33 billion on IT this year, according to the SITA 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights released today. And they are focusing their technology investments on similar priorities. Top of the agenda for CIOs at both airlines and airports, are investments in cyber security and cloud services. In addition, they are prioritizing investments in passenger self-service. SITA’s research of the world’s airlines and airports shows that IT spend remains strong. Airlines’ spend as a percentage of revenue will rise to an estimated 3.30% or US$24.3 billion[1] in 2017. For airports, the rise is to an expected 5.05% for this year or US$8.43 billion. Looking ahead to 2018 over 70% of airlines and 88% of airports are expecting IT spend to increase or remain at the same levels as today. As IT spend increases, both airlines and airports agree that the number one priority for their investments is cyber security. Nearly all of them – 95% of airlines and 96% of airports – plan to invest in major programs or R&D on cyber security initiatives over the next three years. This shows alignment across the industry on the importance of investing in this area.

Cloud services are another top investment priority with 95% of airlines and 85% of airports planning to invest over the next three years, continuing an upward trend that SITA has recorded since 2015. The third key area of investment that was highlighted by both airlines and airports is to provide extra self-service options to passengers.

Airlines are focusing on providing mobile services. Today the vast majority of airlines provide check-in (73%), boarding (70%) and flight status notifications (68%) via mobile and by 2020 more than 97% plan to do so. A key area of growth will be providing real-time flight updates over social media which will jump from 31% of airlines doing so to 92% in the next three years.

Providing a seamless experience is key to the airlines. In total, 94% rate streamlining services into a single app as a priority, with 58% rating this as a high priority. Mobile app capabilities and usability are developing quickly and an increasing number of airlines plan to use mobile as a customer service tool, including at times of disruption.

At airports, self-service processes at check-in, bag drop and boarding are increasingly popular with passengers and 89% of airports are investing in these processes. Airports operators have a keen focus on improving the journey through the terminal and are looking to new technologies such as the Internet of Things, beacons and sensors, to support their goals. SITA’s insights show that 80% are investing, or planning to invest, in these technologies over the next three years. Nearly three quarters, 74%, are investing in way-finding solutions and 68% in solutions to improve personalization for the passenger. SITA’s IT Trends are well established as the global benchmark research for the air transport industry. Senior IT executives at the top airlines and airports took part in the research earlier this year. The 2017 results once again provide a clear insight on the air transport industry’s IT strategic thinking and developments.

Black Swan
Today, Black Swan Data, one of Europe’s leading data science technology companies, has announced the appointment of Patrick Prefontaine as Chief Commercial Officer at Black Swan Avionics (BSA).

Patrick’s appointment is part of the ongoing growth of BSA and its innovative work, including delivering inflight solutions for the 2017 launch of LEVEL, the International Airlines Group’s (IAG) new long-haul, low cost airline brand. Working in partnership with IAG, Panasonic, VISA, Cybersource and First Data, on the launch of LEVEL, and in collaboration with visual design agency MASSIVE, BSA has delivered in-seat interactive technology, portal and app development, crew applications, data resource management in a fully holistic solution. The innovative Pair & Pay functionality is unique to LEVEL and the first in the airline industry. Patrick will be at APEX EXPO 2017 in Long Beach, CA, from 24th-28th September and is available for interviews and meetings.


OTHER

Just in case you aren’t familiar with APEX EXPO, here is what they say: “The APEX EXPO is the industry’s largest PaxEx event exclusive to experts and decision-makers committed to elevating the level of the worldwide airline passenger experience. The four-day premier event features top-notch seminars led by industry experts, the latest and most comprehensive display of airline related technologies, products and services, and valuable networking opportunities. The EXPO will attract more than 3,000 industry professionals, including representatives from nearly 100 airlines and some 300 content providers, OEMs, systems manufacturers and other industry suppliers from around the globe. The EXPO will also be co-located with International Flight Services Association Conference & Expo and Aircraft Interiors Expo.

If you need a schedule, check it out here – Schedule | APEX EXPO. We should also mention that we talked to APEX CEO, Joe Leader, and he told us: ”EXPO in Long Beach this year should reach a record total of 4,000 leading airline industry attendees across APEX, IFSA, and AIX. We are thrilled to honor Emirates Sir Tim Clark with the APEX CEO Lifetime Achievement Award, feature JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes as our opening speaker, and have the best leaders in our industry in attendance. In addition, we will unveil the APEX Official Airline Ratings Five Star and Four Star airlines alongside Passenger Choice Awards in a ceremony hosted by airline industry icon “The Points Guy” Brian Kelly.  The best will be the amazing days thereafter in Long Beach with the largest EXPO of its kind in the world covering every facet of airline passenger experience.” That about says it all except that IFExpress will see you there and you can reach our team during the show via email or by phone. Patricia 206 229-7899 | plwiseman@gmail.com or Terry 206 229-7890 | terry.wiseman@gmail.com. See You There!


INMARSAT

1) Inmarsat today announced that Philip Balaam, the company’s Chief Strategy Officer, has been appointed to lead the Aviation Business Unit (ABU), following the decision by Leo Mondale to retire after 13 years at Inmarsat. Leo will retire in early 2018 and Inmarsat has taken the decision to appoint Philip Balaam as President of ABU now in order to facilitate a smooth transition in this high growth business the company. Before joining Inmarsat, Phil was responsible for international sales, strategy and business development at AsiaSat in Hong Kong. Prior to this, he was with Arianespace for 13 years, including the role of sales director based out of Paris and subsequently as sales and marketing director for Asia Pacific based in Singapore.

2) Inmarsat today confirmed that the European Aviation satellite has successfully completed its in-orbit tests and now stands ready to support inflight internet services when the European Aviation Network (EAN) goes ‘live’ later this year. The satellite, built by France’s Thales Alenia Space, was launched by Arianespace in June this year.

EAN is the world’s first dedicated aviation connectivity solution to integrate space-based and ground-based networks to deliver a seamless WiFi experience for airline passengers throughout Europe.  Inmarsat’s strategic partner, Deutsche Telekom, is well advanced in the construction of the complementary ground network, which will be fully integrated with the S-band satellite to deliver a truly seamless service for Europe’s airlines and their passengers.

International Airlines Group (IAG), which includes world renowned airline brands such as British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, is the launch customer for the new service.

The successful completion of spacecraft and payload testing of the S-band satellite further underlines the momentum that Inmarsat is building in the high-speed broadband inflight connectivity (IFC) market, which the company entered in October 2016 with the commercial introduction of GX Aviation, a worldwide service powered by its Ka-band, Global Xpress (Ka-band) satellite constellation.


Aircraft Cabin Systems

Aircraft Cabin Systems (ACS) announced they have received a major order for their 4K UHD Modular Monitor. The modular design concept is unique. The design allows customers to integrate to their existing HD IFE system for a UHD viewing experience through their monitor which offers customized, modular video inputs and control ports. The design also supports upscaling, from the 1080P Full HD to 4K Ultra HD. There are 9 sizes to select from, 27” up to 75”. Input selections include: HDMI, SDI (6G) or Composite/Component and the possibility of custom inputs. Depending on the monitor size, each monitor can support 2 or 3 internal modules. Both the HDMI and SDI (6G) modules include two inputs and one output each. The Composite/Component module includes one Composite input and one Component input only. As customer requirements often mandate multiple and unique inputs, this modular approach will allow ACS to assemble a qualified monitor meeting the customer requirements. All monitors will be provided with qualification test documentation meeting the testing standards of DO-160G & DO-313. Richie Sugimoto, President of ACS, stated “This modular design has become the solution that many companies have been looking for, as it offers them the customization they need”. ACS specializes in the design and manufacture of high-quality flat panel displays to meet the market demand for larger, custom displays, utilized in today’s cabin environment. Customers need more than just a display and ACS provides that. ACS exceeds industry expectations with “quieter” lower emission power supplies, safer front surfaces, 16 G survivable mounting attachments, special sweep circuits and non-glare filmed coating (CrystalTint ®), making their LCD monitors the ideal addition to your IFE system.


 IFPL

APEX 2017 will see IFPL demonstrate it’s NFC ‘Pin-On-Screen’ solution that enables high-value off line transactions by removing the current low-value payment barrier. This step change will allow airlines to expand and sell high-value items, therefore increasing ancillary revenues. This has the ability to completely change the dynamic of the IFE systems value proposition, as passengers now have a combined entertainment and retail platform allowing them to browse, order and pay at their own convenience. Combine this with connectivity, big data, passenger personalization and broader distribution channels to deliver to the gate or at home, the airlines now have the opportunity to develop significant new revenue streams. Visitors to stand #134 will also see IFPL’s ‘Charge 2’ concept. IFPL designed the ‘Charge 2’ to leverage its NFC Payment Terminal to control the switching on of passenger services at the seat. The ‘Charge 2 Charge’ demonstration allows the passenger to pay to turn the power on to the USB port, enabling them to charge a personnel device or other USB device. In addition, due to its ability to transmit and read data, it can negotiate with data from an App on a PED or via an NFC loyalty card, enabling enhanced passenger personalization and allowing targeted promotions or alerting cabin attendants to the customer presence or specific requirements.


Air Astana

Passengers flying on Air Astana are now able to experience high-speed broadband in-flight connectivity, with the airline’s first Boeing 767 featuring the service. The award-winning Kazakh air carrier has installed the Rockwell Collins cabin system, which utilizes Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) Aviation capabilities to provide in-flight connectivity. The new service enables Air Astana passengers to surf the Internet, use various instant messenger applications, social networks, listen to audio and check emails via personal computers, tablets and smartphones. Broadband speed connectivity will be available to Business and Economy class passengers on all three of Air Astana’s Boeing 767s. Depending on their individual needs, Air Astana passengers will be able to choose from three connectivity packages: The Light option will cover 15 Mb, the Business option will cover 50 Mb, and the Super option will cover 100 Mb. All services are estimated to operate at an average speed of 2 to 5 Mbps.

Andrey Gulev, manager Commercial Engineering commented, “One of our core missions at Air Astana is to be on the cutting-edge of technology and constantly enhance our passengers’ experience whether it’s on board or on the ground. We proved this in 2016, when we became one of the first airlines to commit to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress high-speed in-flight connectivity system with Rockwell Collins. We’re delighted the service is now ready to launch and we are looking forward to hearing what our passengers think of being able to continue sending work emails throughout their flight or chatting to their friends on social media.”

“Air Astana is leading the way by adding broadband connectivity to its fleet, creating new attractive services for its passengers,” said David Nieuwsma, senior vice president, Information Management Services at Rockwell Collins. “Passengers on Air Astana’s retrofitted fleet of Boeing 767s will have access to the latest technology in global in-flight connectivity that is highly reliable and offers great performance.”

Frederik van Essen, Inmarsat Aviation senior vice president of Strategy and Business Development, said: “GX Aviation is the only solution in the market today that has been specifically designed for in-flight broadband, offering unprecedented speed, reliability and consistency. Air Astana is the first airline in the world to offer GX Aviation on wide-body aircraft, reinforcing their focus on technology innovation and passenger service excellence. We are delighted to celebrate this milestone with Air Astana and our partner Rockwell Collins.”

The new service will be available to passengers on the first of Air Astana’s Boeing 767s, with system installation on its second aircraft planned to be completed in October 2017.


United Airlines

United Airlines has increased the number of A350 XWB aircraft it will bring into its fleet, updating and expanding its previously existing order for 35 A350-1000 to 45 A350-900 widebody aircraft to replace older, less efficient aircraft, supporting future growth at the airline.

 The A350-900 is the cornerstone member of the A350XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) family, which is shaping the future of air travel. The aircraft typically seats 325 passengers in a standard three-class configuration and features state-of-the-art comfort and amenities, offering an exclusive flight experience to passengers on board with the new Airspace by Airbus cabin. The A350-900’s unique combination of payload and true long-range range capabilities makes it an ideal aircraft for United Airlines’ international route system. These aircraft will be the first Airbus widebodies to join United’s global fleet.

“For the past year, United has done a complete review to ensure that we have the right long-term fleet strategy, and it was clear that the A350 aligns with our replacement needs and our network,” said Andrew Levy, Chief Financial Officer of United Airlines. “The combination of the range performance and efficiencies make the A350 an attractive aircraft for United.”

“This updated and expanded order is a strong reaffirmation of the A350 XWB Family,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer – Customers. “United and Airbus have had a long and strong partnership for many years, and we’ve worked together to ensure their requirements for the future are met, if not exceeded. The airline’s decision to grow its widebody fleet with, for the first time, a widebody model from Airbus, shows they know that the A350 will meet their financial and performance demands, while pleasing their customers who will enjoy the quietest and most comfortable cabin in its class.


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Meet with Kontron to learn how it’s certified IFE&C open platform solutions are key  enabling components in new KU Band connectivity applications

Long Beach, California | September 11, 2017– Kontron, a leading global provider of Embedded Computing Technology (ECT), is set to announce a new range of customer engagements and additions to its advanced hardware, software and services at the upcoming APEX Expo 2017. Kontron’s certified IFE&C open platform solutions are proven to help reduce the complexity and costs associated with developing next-generation “connected aircraft” applications.

We invite you to meet with Kontron to discover how its platforms and services streamline design, qualification and installation of new and line fit connectivity applications. Developers that work with Kontron, in turn, help airlines enhance the passenger experience with the latest technologies while reducing costs by saving time and operational expenses.

Booth highlights include:
• Kontron’s leading ACE Flight™ airborne server product line that includes the ACE Flight™ 4608, ACE Flight™ 4600, ACE Flight™ 4780 MODMAN, ACE Flight™ 904, ACE Flight™ 2600 and ACE Flight™ 1600 gateway router.
• Supporting next-generation HD video streaming, Kontron’s Cab-n-Connect A100 wireless access point (CWAP) features 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, WiNG 5™, and advanced AirDefense™ capabilities for best-in-class wireless security and asset tracking.
• Kontron Cabin Wi-Fi STC for ACE Flight™ and Cab-n-Connect A100 that includes a complete installation kit. Plus, avionics design services and support programs that help accelerate aircraft installations and certifications.

Where: APEX Expo, Long Beach, CA
When: September 25-28, 2017
Location: Kontron Booth #533

To schedule a pre-show briefing or an onsite meeting, please contact Annette Keller, 707-947-7232 or annettekeller@sbcglobal.net.

Isle of Wight | September 11, 2017– Visitors to APEX Long Beach 2017 will experience the latest in passenger interface, connectivity, personalisation and payment solutions thanks to In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) specialists IFPL.

IFPL lead the way when it comes to deploying contactless Near Field Communication (NFC) payment systems on-board aircraft, with global OEMs and airlines now using IFPL’s technology for seat back in-flight retail and customer personalisation.
APEX 2017 will see IFPL demonstrate it’s NFC ‘Pin-On-Screen’ solution that enables high-value off line transactions by removing the current low-value payment barrier. This step change will allow airlines to expand and sell high-value items, therefore increasing ancillary revenues. This has the ability to completely change the dynamic of the IFE systems value proposition, as passengers now have a combined entertainment and retail platform allowing them to browse, order and pay at their own convenience. Combine this with connectivity, big data, passenger personalisation and broader distribution channels to deliver to the gate or at home, the airlines now have the opportunity to develop significant new revenue streams.

Visitors to stand #134 will also see IFPL’s ‘Charge 2’ concept. IFPL designed the ‘Charge 2’ to leverage its NFC Payment Terminal to control the switching on of passenger services at the seat. The ‘Charge 2 Charge’ demonstration allows the passenger to pay to turn the power on to the USB port, enabling them to charge a personnel device or other USB device.

In addition, due to its ability to transmit and read data, it can negotiate with data from an App on a PED or via an NFC loyalty card, enabling enhanced passenger personalisation and allowing targeted promotions or alerting cabin attendants to the customer presence or specific requirements.

IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display and the expert team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirement that visitors to APEX 2017 may have.

Visit IFPL at Booth #134

AirFi is delighted to welcome its 40th customer as the team gears up for the upcoming aviation conference season. AirFi is showcasing the next-generation market-leading portable Wireless IFE system and its latest product & service innovations at the industry’s main events, kicking off today at Aviation Festival Expo in London, Sep 6-8th.

• AirFi is now flying on more than 350 aircraft worldwide servicing 40 clients
• Over 6m passengers served and AirFi Box nearing 6m cumulative flying hours milestone
• Further expanding services within its existing airline customers
• More deployments with major European, North and South American bus and train operators

London, UK | September 6, 2017– AirFi, the market-leading provider of portable onboard Wi-Fi platforms, today announced a further sizeable expansion of its airline client portfolio to 40. Having announced six new customers in the run up to Aircraft Interiors in April, AirFi today announced another 10 client signings since the Hamburg show.

“We are seeing the breadth of successful deployments across all aircraft types and more new use cases for AirFi drive this remarkable interest and the sharp increase in client acquisition over recent months. Coupled with this, we’ve been busy dramatically expanding our offer, primarily through our new premium content management service. We are gaining new content clients each month as we expand our premium non-DRM options across multiple languages, cultures and demographics. We’ve introduced brand-new-to-IFE Mashable You Tube/viral content, same-day catch up ITV soaps & dramas and the latest Hollywood, International and Arabic movie content and boxsets – and all without the need for Apps. “ Job Heimerikx, CEO AirFi comments.

Over the upcoming aviation market conference season, kicking off here at the Aviation Festival in London, AirFi will be exhibiting at the leading events showcasing the latest generation AirFi Box. With up to 24 hours of operational battery life, 1TB data storage and up-rated hardware & software, the new AirFi Box makes a step change forward from its predecessors, yet weighs in under 2kg and retains AirFi’s hallmark flexibility, reliability and speed of deployment. This next-generation edition enables even more features, use cases and revenue streams to be generated by the market’s most widely deployed portable IFE system.

Come and meet AirFi at Stand 28B the Aviation Festival Expo this week and see how you can enrich your digital onboard passenger experience with AirFi.

Paris, France | August 29, 2017– Thales and Japan Airlines welcome the entry into service of the Boeing 787-9 newly configured aircraft equipped with AVANT In- Flight Entertainment system. The new JAL Sky Suite 787-9 cabin on the airline’s Tokyo Narita to Kuala Lumpur route debuted this summer.

Japan Airlines is a long-term, valued Thales customer who is the first Asian airline to choose AVANT on the Boeing 787 series. AVANT offers a state-of-the-art Android-based IFE solution with customizable passenger experience and an extensive selection of features and applications.

The Boeing 787-9 aircraft, equipped with AVANT, utilizes the latest Magic VI system which includes Audio and Video On Demand (AVOD), games and applications customized to JAL – On-Boarding Shopping, Meal Order and Sky Manga, eBook application. Magic VI offers in total 300 movies, videos and music programs for passengers to enjoy right at their fingertips. The newly configured aircraft has 52 business class, 35 premium economy class and 116 economy class seats.

Japan Airlines’ decision to use AVANT on Boeing 787-9 linefit fleet testifies the utmost satisfaction the system brings to their passengers. The airline also operates Thales IFE systems on their Boeing 767, Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 aircraft, flying across domestic and international routes.

With vacations and pre-show quietness, our IFExpress search and discovery for news and industry input is lightweight this week; however there are some stories that we found so lets get started with a couple of news pieces from Rockwell Collins – and no, we have no more on a potential UTC buyout.

Rockwell Collins
The company will showcase business aviation solutions for the Latin American market, including flight deck, connectivity, cabin and service solutions at the 15th Annual Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Expo, from Aug. 15-17.

“This year we are showcasing even more of our business portfolio at LABACE to meet the needs of our customers in the region,” said Fernando DosSantos, director of sales and marketing, Americas for Rockwell Collins. “We are committed to increasing our footprint here in Brazil with broader avionics, cabin, service and connectivity offerings.”
At the company’s exhibit (booth #2016), experts from Rockwell Collins will be available to discuss the following key offerings:

  • Venue cabin management system: Our leading, most reliable and innovative cabin management system on the market, now equipped on more than 1,000 business aircraft cabins
  • Stage content service: Total content delivery solution that enables passengers to stream media, including digitally-protected movies and TV shows, to their personal devices from an easily refreshed, robust onboard server through wireless access points
  • CASP: Three levels of service, all delivering superior customer support, budget predictability and consistent aircraft availability for all the Rockwell Collins components on board your aircraft
  • ADS-B Out compliant solutions: Regulatory agencies across the globe are mandating implementation ADS-B Out, as well as other airspace mandates, as part of overall airspace modernization programs. ADS-B technology enables aircraft to continuously broadcast GPS derived aircraft position, heading and velocity information to ground stations connected to air traffic control

Next, TCS World Travel has installed Rockwell Collins’ CabinConnect wireless in-flight connectivity system on its custom-configured Boeing 757, operated by TAG Aviation. The fully operational system was launched on August 9, 2017 when 50 guests departed for a 23-day trip across Eurasia. “Our brand is about redefining luxury travel by providing highly personalized, enriching experiences for our guests from the comfort and convenience of our private jets,” said Shelley Cline, TCS World Travel president. “We chose Rockwell Collins for cabin connectivity because we needed a dependable solution that will keep our guests connected almost anywhere in the world.”

Through the new service, TCS World Travel guests can use an aircraft-provided iPad or their own devices to check email or browse the internet in flight, as well as access news, sports and weather information with a reliable connection that is similar to the quality and speed they experience when on the ground. The TCS World Travel system includes Rockwell Collins’ Airshow Mobile for Browsers, a 2D moving map system that keeps pace with guests wherever they fly. “Rockwell Collins was able to customize the system to interface with our onboard lecture system,” continued Cline. “This allows our guests to receive a live presentation from a travel expert about an upcoming destination that is broadcast to interested guests via the provided onboard iPads.”

“As a leading aircraft communications and service provider, we worked closely with TCS World Travel to understand their individual needs and requirements, and were able to outfit their aircraft with an operational system in just seven months,” said Alexis Hickox, head of Business Development, Cabin Solutions for Rockwell Collins. “Bringing together our aviation expertise with our knowledge of the Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) network has enabled us to provide TCS World Travel with a service that is very much in line with their mission of creating unforgettable travel experiences for their guests.”

Astronics
Astronics Corporation , a leading supplier of advanced technologies and products to the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Astronics PECO, was awarded a contract to provide its next-generation fuel tank access doors (FTAD) for the new family of long-range Boeing 777X aircraft. In addition, Astronics PECO received a follow-on award for its FTAD product for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The new 787 and 777X fuel tank access doors will utilize the latest in fuel tank door structural materials and designs for carbon fiber composite wing technologies. The doors will be manufactured by Astronics PECO in Clackamas, Oregon. These awards are in addition to a previous award in which Astronics PECO was selected to provide passenger service units (PSUs) for the 777X.

SITA
Lanseria International Airport is investing in SITA’s self-service technology that will add new convenience for passengers while providing improved common-use functionality for airlines. Using SITA’s self-service systems, passengers will now be able to quickly check-in and drop their bags before proceeding directly to the gate without having to visit a traditional check-in counter. In a first for a South African airport, passengers who have checked-in online or on their mobile device can now tag and drop their bags in less than a minute using SITA’s Scan&Fly self bag-drop units. Scan&Fly’s plug-and-play design allows the bag-drop solution to be easily installed onto existing airport check-in desks, maximizing terminal space while leveraging the speed of self-service. Using SITA’s Airport iValidate, Lanseria International Airport will be able to automatically verify all types of boarding passes, including home-printed A4 and mobile boarding passes, increasing security and speeding up the check-in process for passengers.

Behind the scenes, the airport will roll out new baggage reconciliation technology from SITA, providing passengers with greater confidence that their baggage will arrive with them at their destination. It will help airlines using the airport to comply with IATA’s Resolution 753, which requires that they track bags at key points during the journey. The airport is also upgrading its common-use kiosks and desk infrastructure to use SITA’s cloud-based solution, eliminating the need for local servers. This common-use infrastructure is critical in providing greater flexibility for airlines operating from the airport by allowing them to share common-use terminal equipment (CUTE) for check-in and boarding.

US MOBILE
A US wireless carriers going to launch unlimited access in aircraft from 120 countries and with some 20 airlines, so they say. We understand unlimited pricing of $10/ month for inflight Wi-Fi and with global coverage! The founder noted, ”Customers will also enjoy in-flight connectivity on all the major airlines at a more affordable price than what the airlines and other comparative services are offering. This Unlimited Wi-Fi plan is a game-changer when you travel abroad. Instead of paying for international roaming, which can be quite costly, you have a whole network of hotspots ready to be used anywhere in the world.” Stay Tuned!

Aircraft Interiors Expo – Long Beach CA.
In February, Reed Exhibitions and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) announced a long-term strategic co-location agreement for the fall expo event in co-ordination with the International Flight Services Association (IFSA). This year’s event will take place from 26-28th September 2017 at the Long Beach Convention Centre, California, and is the only fall event dedicated to the Passenger Experience Industry. The events will welcome more than 300 exhibitors from a wide range of renowned companies exhibiting at AIX Long Beach and APEX, including Acro Aircraft Seating, Avio Interiors, Diehl, Gogo, Inmarsat, Isovalta, Panasonic, Geven, Thales to name just a few. Over 30 unique airlines such as; Etihad Airways, American Airlines, Singapore Airlines, British Airways and many more from across the world are already confirmed to attend with many more expected to register in the run up to the show. Katie Murphy, Senior Exhibitor Director at Reed Exhibitions, said: “To have virtually all of the exhibition space already sold is testament to the growing popularity of the fall event dedicated to the passenger services industry. “AIX Long Beach brings together APEX, IFSA and AIX into a powerful partnership and to have generated so much interest already gives us great confidence that it is quickly becoming established as the must-attend event for the passenger experience industry in the fall.” The co-located passenger experience event is the largest in the fall, showcasing the latest innovation, technologies and products in the industry, such as galleys, lighting, cabin management systems, IFEC and passenger services.


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IFExpress has a lot of news to cover this week, so let’s get underway!

Thales

On July 7, 2017, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted Thales a blanket license authorization for operation of its airborne terminals communicating with geostationary satellites; EchoStar XVII, EchoStar XIX, AMC-15 and AMC-16.

In only three months – from initial application to approval – the FCC granted Thales this license to use its terminals on all U.S. and non-U.S. registered aircraft anywhere in the network’s coverage footprint for all four satellites in operation. This 15-year license is a significant milestone for the launch of Thales’ FlytLIVE™ network.

And, it allows Thales to begin extensive network testing this year as initially projected, leading to commercial service availability in late 2017. In addition to other notable achievements, Thales is paving the way to conclude registrations with other regulatory administrations throughout the Americas region.

“This is a necessary step to launch service this year on our new FlytLIVE Ka-band network for the Americas,” according to Dominique Giannoni, the CEO of Thales InFlyt Experience. “This terminal will operate with all four satellites we have deployed in our network. The satellites, terminal, and network technologies are all converging to meet our program objectives.”

This is the latest development to the announcements made by Thales and SES earlier this year for a set of strategic agreements with Hughes to enhance the delivery of FlytLIVE which will provide increased capacity, coverage and redundancy over the Americas. In 2016, Thales announced its initial two agreements with SES. With these agreements, Thales will offer airlines the most efficient inflight connectivity experience and will add to its network the new SES-17 satellite – uniquely designed for Aeronautical Connectivity – to be launched in 2020.

Gogo

The connectivity provider  announced recently that its next generation modem has been introduced into commercial airline service. The proprietary features of the new modem will significantly increase throughput from the satellite to end users on the aircraft. The modem is capable of delivering more than 16x the throughput of Gogo’s existing modem, which offers plenty of room to support the increased capacity of next generation high-throughput satellites as they come online. The new modem includes dual channels to simultaneously support internet traffic and broadcast IPTV. It also features faster and more sophisticated processing that enables much shorter hand-offs from one satellite to the next“We are always looking at new innovations in each component of our connectivity solutions,” said Anand Chari, chief technology officer“This new modem greatly improves the performance of our industry leading 2Ku solution, as well as our Ku solution, and is forward compatible with new HTS satellite constellations. This modem helps us future proof our in-flight connectivity solutions.” The new modem will be retrofitted on more than 450 aircraft on which Gogo’s 2Ku or Ku systems are installed through an easy plug and play installation process. In addition, the 2Ku system installed on Gogo’s backlog of more than 1400 aircraft will include the new modem.

Panasonic

The company was selected by Air China to supply eX3 IFEC system for 10 A350s. Air China, the flag carrierand one of the major airlines of the People’s Republic of China, has selected inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions from Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) for its fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft. Under the terms of the agreement, Panasonic will provide its industry-leading eX3 inflight entertainment for 10 Air China A350 aircraft. The first of these aircraft will be delivered in December 2017. By selecting eX3, Air China will offer a unique passenger experience that includes audio and video on demand, a content library that can offer up to 300 movies, 200 TV shows, games, music, a moving map, and much more.

These A350 aircraft will also offer global connectivity services, which will allow Air China passengers to keep in touch with friends, families, co-workers and current events everywhere these aircraft fly. Panasonic operates connectivity service in 210 countries, including China.

Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “We are honored to partner with Air China on its A350 program. Because the airline’s route structure includes very long flights to all seven continents, it needed an IFEC solution that would help keep passengers entertained and offer new opportunities for it to generate revenue.

“With eX3, Air China will offer its passengers a memorable experience that lets them watch movies and television, listen to music or connect to their favorite social media applications like WeChat. The reliability, performance and flexibility of eX3 and our connectivity service makes it an ideal choice for these aircraft.”

Inmarsat

Inmarsat, provider of global mobile satellite communications, unveils the results of its third annual global Inflight Connectivity Survey. The survey, which reflects the views of 9,000 airline passengers from 18 countries across the globe, reveals:

·  60% of passengers believe inflight connectivity is a necessity not a luxury

·  61% of passengers who have experienced good inflight Wi-Fi consider it more important than inflight entertainment when choosing an airline

·  44% of passengers would stop using their preferred airline in the next year if it offered poor quality inflight connectivity

·  61% agree that inflight Wi-Fi takes anxiety out of flying because they can stay in contact with people on the ground

· 66% of parents traveling with children said IFC is a “life saver”

Inflight broadband is changing the airline industry and revolutionizing passengers’ expectations of the onboard experience. That is the conclusion from the third annual global Inflight Connectivity Survey, published today by Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, in association with market research company GfK.

Overwhelmingly, passengers now expect the same levels of connectivity and access to online services whilst they are at 30,000 feet as they receive on the ground. As such, 60% of all passengers say that inflight Wi-Fi is now a necessity rather than a luxury. The majority (61%) of global passengers who have experienced high-quality inflight Wi-Fi rate it higher on their list of priorities than inflight entertainment when choosing an airline. With airlines in every market racing to install or upgrade their Wi-Fi offering, passengers will have a choice to opt for an airline that offers high-quality broadband, and will soon turn their back on airlines not offering this. Nearly half of respondents (44%) said they would stop using their preferred airline within the next year if it did not offer connectivity enabling them to stream or browse online without interruption. The ability to connect to personal devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets now sits within the top three considerations when choosing an airline, behind ticket price (53%) and flight slots (44%) for 40% of passengers who have experienced high-quality Wi-Fi. What’s more, the ability to remain online and work during a flight is greatly improving passenger experience, according to more than half (56%) of business travellers who have previously used inflight Wi-Fi.

The survey reflects the responses of 9,000 airline passengers from 18 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and North and Latin America, and is the largest global passenger survey of its kind.

Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “High-quality inflight Wi-Fi is changing the way people think about flying and how they spend their time in the air. Whether using the time to work, to connect with friends and family, or to pass time shopping or viewing entertainment, the availability of inflight broadband has become a major factor when choosing an airline.”

He continued: “The annual Inflight Connectivity Survey has become a barometer for passenger sentiment. This year’s survey reveals that 60% of passengers believe that inflight Wi-Fi is a necessity and no longer a luxury. This will only increase as more people experience inflight connectivity. It is clear the opportunity that connectivity presents to airlines cannot be underestimated.”

Global survey highlights

·    Two thirds (66%) of parents travelling with children said inflight Wi-Fi is a “life saver” when helping to keep children occupied during flights

·   Of passengers who have experienced high-quality inflight Wi-Fi: 61% say it is more important to them than onboard entertainment 45% would rather pay for Wi-Fi than use free onboard entertainment

·    56% of passengers say a lack of reliable inflight Wi-Fi is a major cause of frustration with plane journeys

·    61% agree that inflight Wi-Fi takes the anxiety out of flying because they can stay in contact with people on the ground

·    77% of passengers would pay for inflight connectivity on short haul leisure flights, an increase from 64% in 2016. Those happiest to pay are passengers aged 25-34, parents traveling with children and passengers traveling in Asia Pacific and the United States

·    89% of passengers are willing to pay for inflight connectivity on long haul leisure flights

·    Passengers have the highest expectations of connectivity in the Asia Pacific region, where 91% of passengers are willing to pay for Wi-Fi on a long haul flight

·    52% of passengers would take advantage of the ability to purchase items during a flight and collect them upon arrival at the airport, providing huge opportunities for inflight e-commerce

AIRBUS

Airbus has delivered its 100th A350 XWB, just some 30 months after the first delivery of the world’s most modern widebody aircraft in December 2014. The 100th aircraft delivered is an A350-900 for China Airlines.

“The 100th A350 XWB milestone comes as we reach our fastest widebody production ramp-up, on track to meet the target of 10 A350 deliveries per month by the end of 2018,” said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus COO and President Commercial Aircraft. “We are especially proud to deliver today’s aircraft to our long-standing customer China Airlines. The A350 is setting new standards for long haul air travel in terms of efficiency and comfort, thus being the perfect aircraft for China Airlines to expand its long-haul network.” To date the A350 has been delivered to 14 airlines worldwide and is flying with an outstanding operational reliability rate of 99%*. “This is a remarkable statistic at this early stage of the programme,” Fabrice Bregier adds.

The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fiber fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivaled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. As the founding member of “Airspace by Airbus” cabin brand, the A350 XWB cabin provides passengers and crews the best in comfort, well-being and technology.

The A350-1000 is the new member of the A350 XWB family and benefits from its high level of commonality with the A350-900. Scheduled for Type Certification and first Customer delivery in the fourth quarter of 2017, the A350-1000 is currently performing an intensive and successful flight test campaign.

To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 847 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.


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  • Latitude Aero is pleased to announce Neil Robinson as the new Director of Global Sales. “With over 20 years of aviation experience, Robinson possesses impressive leadership skills and a deep understanding of customer centric sales,” said Kelvin Boyette, Latitude Aero’s CEO. “He is highly experienced at business development, innovation, marketing, and consultative based selling across multiple verticals with a specific focus on commercial aviation,” Boyette added. “The bottom line is I am excited about him joining.  He brings a vast amount of experience in international sales, and will lead our global sales efforts and will be tasked with the development of our network of globally based sales professionals,” concluded Boyette.
  • Luo Gang has been appointed CEO of Airbus’ new innovation centre to be set up in China. A location will be announced at a later date. With a degree in electrical engineering from Tianjin University and an MBA from the London Business School, Gang spent nearly three years establishing Uber China’s business before it was acquired by Didi Chuxing in 2016. His experience in London with UK start-up Rangespan taught him how quickly technology can transform traditional businesses.
  • One reader wrote us: Maybe an article about SMPTE might be of interest to your readers among whom I conclude are Content Providers or IFE Video providers, etc. Does this subject have an interest for you? If so, you may want to register for the 2017 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition in Hollywood, CA October 23-26, 2017. Register here!
  • John Courtright noted possible future seating issues:  The key here will be to watch the industry responses, from airlines, seat supplier, and flyer’s rights’ groups, during the “Comment Period.  Comment Periods are supposed to open for view and I suspect that comments should start within 30 days of the deadline the judge set! This will be interesting” .  Judge Orders Review Of Airline Seat Sizes, Legroom « WCCO | CBS Minnesota  also Passenger rights group wins court victory in fight to keep airline seats from shrinking – LA Times
  • It looks like Boeing has a new organization that will produce avionics and other electronics. As we understand, the company is planning in the next decade to compete with the likes of Rockwell Collins and others. The goal is drive down costs and provide avionics in the vertical manufacturing process. Stay Tuned!

Lake Forest, CA | July 26, 2017–  Air China, the flag carrier and one of the major airlines of the People’s Republic of China, has selected inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions from Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) for its fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft.

Under the terms of the agreement, Panasonic will provide its industry-leading eX3 inflight entertainment for 10 Air China A350 aircraft. The first of these aircraft will be delivered in December 2017.

By selecting eX3, Air China will offer a unique passenger experience that includes audio and video on demand, a content library that can offer up to 300 movies, 200 TV shows, games, music, a moving map, and much more.

These A350 aircraft will also offer global connectivity services, which will allow Air China passengers to keep in touch with friends, families, co-workers and current events everywhere these aircraft fly. Panasonic operates connectivity service in 210 countries, including China.

Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “We are honored to partner with Air China on its A350 program. Because the airline’s route structure includes very long flights to all seven continents, it needed an IFEC solution that would help keep passengers entertained and offer new opportunities for it to generate revenue.”

“With eX3, Air China will offer its passengers a memorable experience that lets them watch movies and television, listen to music or connect to their favorite social media applications like WeChat. The reliability, performance and flexibility of eX3 and our connectivity service makes it an ideal choice for these aircraft.”

Los Angeles, CA | July 20, 2017– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ:ENT) has won a new five-year contract with Norwegian Air Shuttle that aims to significantly improve the airline’s passenger experience through enhanced WiFi connectivity, live television, portal based content, services and support. The new agreement covers Norwegian Air Shuttle’s entire Boeing 737 New Generation fleet, more than 120 aircraft, until 2023.

“Our cooperation with Norwegian improves how its passengers experience the airline’s inflight entertainment service on board,” said Per Norén, Global Eagle Senior VP Aviation. “Norwegian is a world-class award-winning airline that is innovating in the aviation industry globally and how it approaches the passenger total travel experience. We are pleased to be part of their long-term plan.”

Norwegian Air Shuttle was the first airline to offer high-speed internet and live television on flights within Europe, and was the first airline in Europe to offer Video-on-Demand directly to a passenger’s own device.

Global Eagle initially signed an agreement with Norwegian in 2011 for 40 aircraft, and the two companies have worked closely since then on the passenger experience through the partnership. In 2015, Global Eagle launched live TV on

Norwegian’s Boeing 737NG aircraft. The new agreement includes the option for the airline to cover additional new-generation 737 aircraft for use on trans-Atlantic routes.

“We currently have Global Eagle passenger features on more than 100 Norwegian aircraft, and this agreement widens the scope of both the fleet size and products that the airline can offer on board,” Norén said.

Global Eagle also will be providing additional satellite bandwidth and network performance optimization under the new agreement, which better supports the passenger experience for free WiFi.

DELTA
IFExpress received a note from Airbus about Delta’s new aircraft delivery and here is what they said: “Delta Air Lines has taken delivery of its first A350-900, and will be the first U.S. airline to operate the newest member of Airbus’ leading widebody family. The A350 XWB will bring unrivaled eco-efficiency and a superior passenger experience to primarily transpacific routes starting in October. This delivery is the first of five A350-900s scheduled for delivery to Delta in 2017. The aircraft features 32 seats in the Delta One cabin, 48 seats in Delta Premium Select and 226 seats in the Main Cabin. The A350 XWB was the first aircraft to incorporate the innovative passenger experience elements collectively known as Airspace by Airbus. Delta’s customers will enjoy the quietest twin-aisle cabin, with more personal space and the largest overhead bins in the business. More fresh air, LED ambient lighting, and optimization of cabin pressure, temperature and humidity all combine for absolute passenger wellbeing. The A350 XWB also boasts the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fiber fuselage and wings, and the fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. This combination of technologies translates into unequaled operational efficiency, with a 25 percent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. DELTA AIR LINES had $1.22b net income in 2Q17 (vs $1.55b in 2Q16) on 3% higher revenues, its first revenue growth in 2.5 years despite $115m headwind from April’s operational disruption.”

(Editor’s Note: We were told the plane features the Panasonic eX3 IFE  and Gogo connectivity.)

PANASONIC
EL AL Israel Airlines today announced that it has selected Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s (Panasonic) industry-leading eX3 inflight entertainment (IFE) system for its new fleet of 16 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Under terms of its agreement with Panasonic, EL AL will install eX3 across nine Boeing 787-9s and seven B787-8s, with the first aircraft being delivered in August 2017. The agreement also includes a 15-year contract for the provision of system maintenance by Panasonic Technical Services, including spares, repairs and logistics, at an optimized maintenance cost. EL AL’s eX3 system features an elegant industrial design across all cabin classes. Passengers will be able to view 12, 13 and 16-inch high definition monitors that deliver superior viewing angles and capacitive touch. They also feature proprietary Panasonic technology that functions like the human eye, making dark scenes more visible by improving brightness in dark areas while simultaneously eliminating white saturation. The result is superior picture performance across all media formats including movies, TV shows, games, maps and more. Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Our partnership with EL AL continues to go from one successful program to the next and now stretches over a quarter of a century. Our eX3 system will provide EL AL with an industry-leading entertainment experience, delivering a premium service to their passengers traveling across the world. Our renewed agreement is testament to the loyalty and opportunity that our continued relationship delivers and we look forward to this new and exciting chapter.” EL AL Vice President Service Amir Rogovsky adds: “We are focused on delivering a premium inflight experience for our customers. Our long-term partnership with Panasonic continues to be extremely successful and we look forward to strengthening our relationship with Panasonic Avionics as one of the leaders in the IFE industry.”

GOGO
IFExpress recently noted a portion of a Gogo study that was released on the subject of connectivity demands.  This past week we received a note from Meredith Payette of Gogo
and she told IFExpress: “I saw your recent newsletter and did want to share that we released our Global Traveler Study, a global research study that examines travelers’ inflight habits, behaviors, and preferences. This study explores the rapidly evolving technology landscape among travelers, key global trends, and the changing passenger dynamics that face today’s airlines. It covers 15 countries across six regions around the world and includes data collected from more than 4,500 respondents who flew within the past year. Attached is the full report. This is the main study that was used to create the Travelers of Tomorrow summary issued back in May. This full report is called Understanding the Global Traveler and it is the second part of the Global Traveler Research Series.” Gogo Study Finds Inflight Wi-Fi Most Popular Amenity | Androidheadlines.com

QATAR AIRWAYS
Oops!
Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker posted on YouTube a scathing cut on US flight Attendants noting his cabin crew average age as 26. Naturally, The Association of Flight Attendants had a response – “Straight from Akbar Al Baker lips, he confirms what AFA has said all along: Qatar Airways thrives on misogyny and discrimination. Qatar is not only seeking to choke out U.S. Aviation, but also the 300,000 good jobs built through opportunity created on the principle of equality. There is no room for a separation of humanity in air travel or in an emergency. Flight Attendants are onboard to save lives and every life counts. If you prop up Qatar Airways you are supporting sexism, racism, and ageism. Period. “

HONEYWELL
Inmarsat satellite high-speed data is being rolled out in China by Honeywell and they are talking to many airlines as we write. Then service will be Ka band. A Honeywell spokesperson said: “Passengers will be able to watch YouTube videos during a flight, and have access to real-time TV, TV on demand, high-speed broadband internet, video conferencing, emails and other applications.”  Honeywell has other connected services onboard, including a weather information service and fuel-efficient software.

SECURITY
According to the Associated Publishers, which first announced the plan on Wednesday, facial-scanning pilot plans are now advancing at six American airports—Boston, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, New York City, and Washington DC. More airports are set to increase next year. Stay Tuned on this one.

OTHER STUFF

  • Need inflight IFE? There is Sunstream for that, and yes, there is an app for it. In fact, here is what marketeers say: “Sunstream is the complete inflight entertainment service that puts you in control. Download the App to wirelessly connect and enhance your inflight experience with Thomas Cook Airlines and Condor from your own device.”
  • Soon we are going to cover Asian InFlight Connectivity. As a precursor, here is a good story about the efforts under way in Australia – Virgin hints at international inflight Wi-Fi – Travel Weekly
  • We don’t know diddly about “NVMe”, but this article states the following: “One potential niche application is inflight entertainment systems offering movies, games and Wi-Fi access. There’s a lot more going on now,” Phillips said (Scott Phillips – Virtium). “They’re hitting those little servers in the planes a lot quicker and with a lot more different requests, so they’re now concerned about lowering latency for response times.”Does NVMe Have a Place in Industrial Embedded and IoT? | EE Times
  • The US is ending bans on laptops for Middle East Airlines – U.S. ending laptop ban on Middle Eastern airlines and, yes, carry-on devices will be allowed for countries upgrading new exit security requirements.
  • Recent airport takeoff limitations due to heat have been a problem in the US, especially in Phoenix, but the issue may become a big deal everywhere in the years to come. Notes Science Daily: “Average global temperatures have gone up nearly 1 degree Centigrade (1.8 Fahrenheit) since about 1980, and this may already be having an effect. In late June, American Airlines canceled more than 40 flights out of Phoenix, Ariz., when daytime highs of nearly 120 degrees made it too hot for smaller regional jets to take off. Worldwide, average temperatures are expected to go up as much as another 3 degrees C (5.4 degrees F) by 2100. But that is only part of the story; heat waves will probably become more prevalent, with annual maximum daily temperatures at airports worldwide projected to go up 4 to 8 degrees C (7.2 to 14.4 F) by 2080, according to the study.” Hey, no flight, no IFEC!
  • Want to read a good article on connectivity payment modeling? Check it out: GCA Link June 2017 – Business Models Evolve with New IFEC Technology | Avionics Digital Edition

Advanced inflight entertainment system to be installed across its fleet of new Dreamliners

Lake Forest, CA | July 18, 2017– EL AL Israel Airlines today announced that it has selected Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s (Panasonic) industry-leading eX3 inflight entertainment (IFE) system for its new fleet of 16 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Under terms of its agreement with Panasonic, EL AL will install eX3 across nine Boeing 787-9s and seven B787-8s, with the first aircraft being delivered in August 2017. The agreement also includes a 15-year contract for the provision of system maintenance by Panasonic Technical Services, including spares, repairs and logistics, at an optimized maintenance cost.

EL AL’s eX3 system features an elegant industrial design across all cabin classes. Passengers will be able to view 12, 13 and 16-inch high definition monitors that deliver superior viewing angles and capacitive touch. They also feature proprietary Panasonic technology that functions like the human eye, making dark scenes more visible by improving brightness in dark areas while simultaneously eliminating white saturation. The result is superior picture performance across all media formats including movies, TV shows, games, maps and more.

Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Our partnership with EL AL continues to go from one successful program to the next and now stretches over a quarter of a century. Our eX3 system will provide EL AL with an industry-leading entertainment experience, delivering a premium service to their passengers traveling across the world.

“Our renewed agreement is testament to the loyalty and opportunity that our continued relationship delivers and we look forward to this new and exciting chapter.”

EL AL Vice President Service Amir Rogovsky adds: “We are focused on delivering a premium inflight experience for our customers. Our long-term partnership with Panasonic continues to be extremely successful and we look forward to strengthening our relationship with Panasonic Avionics as one of the leaders in the IFE industry.

FTS

Perhaps you don’t remember FTS but they are an up-and-coming IFE supplier and we heard from its Chief Technical Officer, Rich Salter, about a new inflight Wi-Fi certification that they recently obtained, so we asked him what’s up? He told IFExpress: “This is the first of many certifications FTS has in the pipeline, and it’s always good to get the first one in the books – now we have a solid base of documentation and safety testing to build future certs on.” He went on: “Down the road you’ll see lots more technology rolling out, ranging from the Flight Butler flight attendant smart watch to satellite interfaces for Ku and Ka systems.  And the software apps are really starting to roll too, including on-board shopping for revenue generation.” So, we guess we should now show you the press release –

FTS announces EASA STC award for its Xstream Inflight WiFi streaming system on Airbus A320 Family of Aircraft

FTS, a fast rising provider of Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions, announces that its Xstream inflight WiFi streaming system has received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for Airbus A320 family of aircraft.  This marks a major milestone in the product rollout and growth. FTS Xstream hardware qualification on Myanmar Airways International aircraft was achieved following multiple rigorous trials aboard an Airbus A319 test aircraft.  The certification validates the reliability and safety compliance of FTS onboard hardware in meeting stringent EASA standards and paves the way for the rollout of Xstream systems for global airlines.

The Xstream next generation inflight wireless entertainment and connectivity system is completely designed and manufactured in-house within FTS.  The system features a high performance 2-MCU embedded file server, 2 wireless access points that support the latest 802.11AC WiFi standard and a revolutionary 3G/4G cellular modem that takes up to 4 sim cards.  Passengers can connect to the onboard wireless network through their own mobile devices and enjoy streaming HD-quality video and audio entertainment, play single/multiplayer games, read latest news, view 2D/3D flight progress maps and indulge in shopping. “I am proud of the team’s achievement in attaining the EASA STC,” said Rich Salter, CTO of FTS based in the California, USA office. “Our software teams have also been hard at work to get the software platform ready for the commercial launch onboard, integrating ancillary revenue generating services and a payment processing gateway.  By next year, the Xstream product family will be further boosted with the addition of Ku and Ka HTS satellite connectivity and In-seat Wireless Smart Display solutions as our customers demand a viable product upgrade path with smooth transitions”.  FTS had previously announced launch airline customers in Asia and North America within the first year of the company’s operation.  In parallel with the EASA STC, FTS is also pursuing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) STC on Boeing aircraft models which is expected to be awarded in September 2017.  In April 2017, FTS added another feather in the cap by receiving a “ONE TO WATCH” award from Onboard Hospitality magazine for its FLIGHT BUTLER flight attendant smart watch application.

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) subsidiary AeroMobile today announced that it has added 100th aircraft to its 3.5G mobile network. With 60 percent of airlines now offering 3.5G inflight connectivity, users of the AeroMobile service grew by 57 percent between 4Q16 and 1Q17. The AeroMobile service allows passengers to use their own mobile devices to text, make calls, listen to voicemail and browse the internet while inflight. The service is easy to use with no onboard payment or registration; passengers simply turn on their mobile device to connect to the network and are billed directly by their mobile operator. Noted Kevin Rogers, AeroMobile CEO: “The milestone of 100 3.5G connected aircraft is testament to the continued airline adoption of the service and strong passenger demand. We have seen rapid growth in the 3.5G service and already 60 percent of our airline partners are rolling it out. In 2017 alone, 3.5G connected aircraft have already flown to 127 destinations in 65 countries.” The inflight 3.5G network is complementary to Panasonic’s global inflight connectivity service. It offers passengers a simple and elegant way to stay in touch with friends, family, co-workers and current events while in the air. It gives passengers the same connectivity options as they have on the ground, and when combined with inflight Wi-Fi, enables data speeds that are comparable to a terrestrial service.

(Editor’s Note: AeroMobile’s phone service is already in use on over 500 aircraft across 21 airlines worldwide including Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, Air France, Alitalia, Emirates, Etihad, EuroWings, EVA Air, Cathay Pacific, KLM, Kuwait Airways, Lufthansa, Malindo Air, Qatar Airways, SAS, Singapore Airlines, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, SWISS, Turkish Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. We note: AeroMobile was the first to introduce mobile phone services in 2008 and now has over 350 roaming agreements in more than 150 countries. AeroMobile Communications Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, is a UK-based mobile service provider for the aviation industry. Their services enable airline passengers to use their own mobile phones for voice, texting and mobile data whilst inflight. As part of the Panasonic Group’s Global Communication Suite, AeroMobile’s services are available for installation either at the point of aircraft manufacture (line fit) or on aircraft in service (retrofit) across both Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Since 2008, over 40 million passengers have successfully connected to the AeroMobile network inflight.)

GOGO

IFExpress recently came across another Gogo research efforts and we think our readers will find great value in it because it represents a “real world” view of todays travel and some of the important changes. Simply put, it answers the following questions very well:

  • Who are the travelers of tomorrow
  • Why their inflight preferences matter
  • Why being mobile is so important to future travelers
  • What expectations exist around inflight connectivity
  • What role personal devices play in flight

So, we contacted Gogo’s, SteveNolan, and he told IFExpress;

“To foster a deeper understanding of today’s flyers, the Gogo global insights team commissioned a comprehensive research study of travelers’ inflight habits and behaviors entitled Understanding the Global Traveler. Based on information gathered across six regions of the world, the study delivers an overview of current airline passenger preferences with a special focus on connectivity. Further, understanding the Global Traveler is part of the 2017 Gogo Global Traveler Research Series, a collection of reports on air passenger trends and preferences. The Series covers 15 countries and five continents, and includes data collected from more than 4,500 travelers who flew within the last year.” To learn more, visit gogoair.com/globaltraveler

SITA

Passenger satisfaction is higher during the airline journey when self-service technologies are used, particularly at bag tag and collection, and passport checkpoints. This is according to the 2017 SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey, a global survey released today by IT provider SITA and co-sponsored by Air Transport World. The survey shows that passengers rate their journey very highly with an overall satisfaction rate of 8.2 of out 10 but this is boosted even further when technologies such as mobile services and biometrics are used. Ilya Gutlin, President, Air Travel Solutions, SITA, said: “Passengers are increasingly comfortable with the use of technology in their everyday lives, and they are demanding more services as they appreciate the benefits technology can bring to their journey. Airports and airlines can take note that technology solutions can boost passenger satisfaction every step of the way.” In the global air transport industry, identity checks are a vital element of the passenger journey. SITA’s survey shows that technology, such as biometrics, can support security while offering a better passenger experience. Automated identity checks at passport control and boarding increases passenger satisfaction.

A total of 37% of travelers surveyed by SITA used automated ID control on their last flight. Of these, 55% said they had used biometrics at departure security, 33% for boarding and 12% for international arrivals. Looking forward, 57% of passengers said they would use biometrics for their next trip. Passengers who use biometrics are highly satisfied. In fact, they rated the experience 8.4, well above the ratings for face-to-face transactions at passport check (8) and boarding (8.2), demonstrating passenger acceptance of this secure technology to deliver a seamless journey.

Baggage collection is another area where technology is improving the passenger experience. Airlines and airports are helping to relieve the anxiety of waiting for bags to arrive by providing real-time information to passengers. On their last flight, more than half (58%) of passengers who checked in bags received real-time bag-collection information upon arrival. These passengers were happier than those who did not receive any information, rating their experience 8.4 out 10. Passengers are even more satisfied when they receive the information to their mobile devices. SITA’s survey shows that this bumped up satisfaction levels by an extra 10%.

Technology is also driving passenger satisfaction for baggage management earlier in the journey as more airlines and airports offer self-bag tagging. The use of this technology increased satisfaction to a rating of 8.4 out of 10. Nearly half (47%) of all passengers took advantage of a self-service tagging option on their most recent trip, which is a healthy increase from 31% in 2016. As more self-bag tag options are made available we can expect passenger satisfaction at this point of the journey to increase.

This year’s survey also highlights that as passengers become more familiar using technology during travel, the more likely they are to switch to newer, more efficient platforms. They are increasingly using smarter, mobile-enabled websites to book and check-in. Airline and airport apps, meanwhile, meet passengers’ desire for new services to help them better manage their journey. They want personalized information about their flight, their baggage and how to find their gate directly on their mobile device. The appetite for new services using technology is high: three quarters (74%) of passengers say they would definitely use flight and gate alerts pushed to their mobile devices; 57% would use airport wayfinding; and 57% would use biometrics to smooth identification each step of the way. Gutlin said: “Passengers aren’t deciding anymore whether they should use technology but which technology to use. They want to make each step of the journey as easy as possible. Tech adoption will be driven by both context and usability. For this reason, a clear focus on the end-users’ demands should shape the services airlines and airports offer.” This is the 12th edition of the SITA/ATW Passenger IT Trends Survey. It was conducted with more than 7,000 passengers from 17 countries across the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa representing almost three-quarters of global passenger traffic.


MORE STUFF

BizJets

Don’t forget, The Business Aircraft show is on now and more than 90 aircraft on static display in Las Vegas. They also have a nearly sold-out indoor static display on the exhibit floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). In addition to the incredible static displays, they will also have over 1,100 other exhibitors showcasing every product and service Biz Aircraft could possibly need. July 10-11-12.

Blockchain

Don’t know what it is? Here is a fast definition from SpeedNews: Suffice to say that it is a huge, global distributed ledger or database running on many devices and open to anyone within the blockchain. In the Blockchain, information, or anything of value can be stored. Its purpose is to ensure a 100 percent secure, verifiable and traceable database protocol. And here is the story with an aviation focus.

ReOrgs

Airbus has completed it’s Commercial Aircraft reorganization and now has the four divisions as a single company – Commercial Aircraft, Helicopters, Space, and Defense. Further, Airbus now has one single corporate headquarters in Toulouse, home to the Company’s single largest industrial site, Commercial Aircraft. We should probably also note that Boeing has now reorganized along a similar line too – Commercial, Defense, Space, and Services.

Airplane Data Growth

And lastly, if you suspected that the data available from new planes has increased – give yourself a pat on the back! Check it out!

Newport Beach, California | July 6, 2017– FTS, a fast rising provider of Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions, announces that its Xstream™ inflight WiFi streaming system has received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for Airbus A320 family of aircraft. This marks a major milestone in the product rollout and growth.

FTS Xstream™ hardware qualification on Myanmar Airways International aircraft was achieved following multiple rigorous trials aboard an Airbus A319 test aircraft. The certification validates the reliability and safety compliance of FTS onboard hardware in meeting stringent EASA standards and paves the way for the rollout of Xstream™ systems for global airlines.

The Xstream™ next generation inflight wireless entertainment and connectivity system is completely designed and manufactured in-house within FTS. The system features a high performance 2-MCU embedded file server, 2 wireless access points that support the latest 802.11AC WiFi standard and a revolutionary 3G/4G cellular modem that takes up to 4 sim cards. Passengers can connect to the onboard wireless network through their own mobile devices and enjoy streaming HD-quality video and audio entertainment, play single/multiplayer games, read latest news, view 2D/3D flight progress maps and indulge in shopping.

“I am proud of the team’s achievement in attaining the EASA STC,” said Rich Salter, CTO of FTS based in the California, USA office. “Our software teams have also been hard at work to get the software platform ready for the commercial launch onboard, integrating ancillary revenue generating services and a payment processing gateway. By next year, the Xstream™ product family will be further boosted with the addition of Ku and Ka HTS satellite connectivity and In-seat Wireless Smart Display solutions as our customers demand a viable product upgrade path with smooth transitions”.

FTS had previously announced launch airline customers in Asia and North America within the first year of the company’s operation. In parallel with the EASA STC, FTS is also pursuing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) STC on Boeing aircraft models which is expected to be awarded in September 2017. In April 2017, FTS added another feather in the cap by receiving a “ONE TO WATCH” award from Onboard Hospitality magazine for its FLIGHT BUTLER™ flight attendant smart watch application.

Every so often we get a call from our friend Craig Foster at Valour Consultancy and while we talked IFE, he noted that Valour Consultancy had published a piece he had written on Bizjet IFE. We were interested because in the past, the Bizjet folks usually embraced technology before the IFE world did. We thought you might like to see if that is still true and the folks at Valour (and Craig) kindly provided a copy for our readers to view. If you wish to contact Craig, you can reach him at craig.foster@valourconsultancy.com – and thanks!

The Market for In-Flight Connectivity on VIP and Business Aircraft – Valour Consultancy
Last month, Valour Consultancy released its latest analysis of the market for in-flight connectivity on VIP and business aircraft. The study draws upon our considerable expertise in analysing the adoption of in-flight connectivity (IFC) in commercial aviation and is the result of a rigorous primary research phase consisting of numerous interviews with key players from across the industry.

The report finds that, globally, there were 19,131 IFC systems on VIP and business aircraft at the end of 2016. L-band was by far and away the most dominant connectivity technology with cumulative connections representing 75% of the total. A large proportion of this is accounted for by Iridium, whose systems support in-flight satellite phone operations on almost 10,000 aircraft. The remainder of L-band connections are accounted for by Inmarsat, which has seen adoption of SwiftBroadband (SBB) pick up rapidly in recent years.

Uptake of Gogo’s Air-to-Ground (ATG) options has been similarly brisk in recent years. By the end 2013, there were 2,047 terminals connected to the Gogo Biz network. This had increased to 4,172 three years later.

ATG and L-band both have room for further growth in coming years, too.

With respect to ATG, there will likely be continued interest in Gogo’s solutions over the course of the forecast period (2016 to 2026), especially now that the company is close to commercial launch of Gogo Biz 4G and plans to have its next-generation ATG network, which will offer peak network speeds of more than 100 Mbps, up and running by 2018.

When you add SmartSky Networks and its 4G network into the mix, as well as the Inmarsat European Aviation Network (EAN), it is apparent that there remains plenty of potential for ATG technology. Though it is yet to be officially confirmed whether the EAN will be used by the business aviation industry, there appears to be consensus that it would work very well on board private aircraft.

While Inmarsat is reportedly seeing a lot of interest from operators looking to upgrade from lower-bandwidth IFC systems to Jet ConneX, the company is also working on increasing the performance of the L-band technology used for SBB. Iridium, meanwhile, recently celebrated the successful launch of the second batch of Iridium NEXT satellites. Upon completion of the constellation in 2018 and the start of commercial service one year later, the so-called Iridium Certus solution will likely find favour among operators of those small- and medium-sized business jets less suited to the fitment of bulky radomes.

Adoption of Ku-band technology on VIP and business aircraft appears to have an equally rosy future – a view presumably shared by new market entrants, Panasonic Avionics and Global Eagle, as well as Gogo, which recently announced its first business aviation customer for 2Ku. Right now, there are some 500 Ku-band systems in operation on VIP and business aircraft and the vast majority of these are accounted for by ViaSat and its Yonder system (although it’s no longer referred to as Yonder, to shift the focus towards the ViaSat brand). Panasonic and Global Eagle representatives have not been shy in admitting that they are gunning for ViaSat in this market.

However, ViaSat appears content to focus on ensuring existing clients migrate to its Ka-band technology – a sensible strategy given the ongoing success of its Exede in the Air product in commercial aviation. Now that ViaSat-2 has finally launched after several setbacks, there will soon be a considerable amount of additional Ka-band capacity for business jets flying between North America and Europe. Additionally, the company says that it will have its three planned ViaSat-3 satellites operational around 2020 making ViaSat the only rival provider of global Ka-band capacity to Inmarsat.

By 2020, ViaSat could have some catching up to do if the take up of Jet ConneX is anything to go by. Having debuted in November 2016, there were an estimated 30 aircraft fitted with the solution by the turn of the year. Inmarsat has previously stated that it expects to see 150 Jet ConneX-equipped aircraft by the end of 2017 and has a goal of connecting 3,000 jets by 2020 (although it is apparently now upgrading its forecasts).

Overall, we are forecasting that by the end of 2026, there will be 37,710 IFC systems installed on VIP and business aircraft – almost double the current total. The reader should, of course, note that these numbers do not refer to the number of aircraft with IFC. In fact, it is estimated that today, around 1,000 to 2,000 aircraft with Iridium satellite phones also make use of Inmarsat’s SBB network. Likewise, Gogo has publicly reported 4,172 connections to its Gogo Biz service and acts as the service provider for 5,286 installed Iridium terminals as well as 214 installed SBB terminals (a total of 9,972 connections – all accurate and up to date at the end of 2016). However, the firm delivers services to 7,400 aircraft implying many are flying with more than one system installed.

The following factors have driven interest in IFC on VIP and business aircraft and will continue to do so in future:

  • Owners of business aircraft fitted with connectivity equipment some time ago will be keener to take advantage of more recent advances in satellite and hardware technology.
  • The ‘Uber-isation’ of the private aviation industry is increasingly being talked about and with e-commerce replacing traditional methods of sourcing and booking a business jet, easy comparisons between different operators and aircraft means that customers can see where one aircraft has IFC and another doesn’t. This transparency will further encourage operators to improve their offerings.
  • As well as the increased comparison between business jets and their features because of new e-commerce initiatives, business aviation is having to compete with the rapid adoption of IFC in commercial air transport perhaps making a first class connected seat more attractive than a private jet with no in-flight Wi-Fi.
  • Competition is hotting up with the likes of Global Eagle, Panasonic Avionics, BizJetMobile and SmartSky Networks all new to the market or preparing to enter.
  • The launch of several new high throughput satellites (HTS) and the prospect of cheaper capacity and faster services is having an extremely positive effect on the market with service providers having inked several new deals in recent years.
  • The connected aircraft and e-Enablement is beginning to resonate more and more as a way to drive operational efficiencies and help underpin the IFC business case.

Some of the remaining challenges to more widespread adoption of IFC on VIP and business aircraft are as follows.

  • Production of new business jets has stagnated and consequently reduced the possibility of line-fit offerability deals for many IFC providers and limited their opportunities for growth.
  • Fitting an aircraft with a sizeable antenna to enable IFC impacts aerodynamics and increases fuel burn, thereby driving up operating costs. Additionally, many smaller business jets are currently unable to accommodate larger Ku- and Ka-band antennas on their fuselages.
  • Current generation Ku-/Ka-band systems lock operators into the service provider (so the hardware is not provider agnostic) and should there be a desire to switch, a very expensive refit ensues.
  • While commercial airlines tend to fly set routes at specific times of day, business jets are more sporadic. One day they may be flying domestically in the US, the next they may be making their way to China or Russia. This uncertainty means high-bandwidth IFC solutions that offer global coverage – which are currently few in number – are perhaps more compelling.
  • Many in the industry are concerned that as we move towards realising the vision of the fully-connected aircraft, the opportunity for cyberattacks will increase. The main worry seems to be that such systems will allow wrongdoers to control aircraft and manipulate commands issued to the aircraft. It should be noted that flight control systems are purposefully isolated from all other communications networks on-board the aircraft.
  • Selling an IFC service based on deployment events that have not happened is a significant challenge and operators understandably give much more credit to satellite assets in space than on paper. Further, a delay to the launch of any service has the potential to scare prospective customers away or send them into the arms of rivals. Unfortunately, such delays are all too commonplace for many much-anticipated IFC solutions.

Published in May 2017, “The Market for In-Flight Connectivity on VIP and Business Aircraft” provides an unrivalled insight and analysis into the current and future deployment of IFC on these aircraft. The number of IFC systems installed in 2016 is quantified with forecasts out to 2026 and data is segmented by fitment type, aircraft size, frequency band and geographic region with a full qualitative discussion of the key trends at play in support of this. The report also sizes the market for both service revenues and key enabling hardware, in addition to market share estimates for service providers and capacity providers. A chapter profiling key players is presented, too.”

At a recent IFEC show IFExpress was standing in front of an incredible 65” inch  display, watching camera footage of a verdant forest scene. While standing there we commented to a person next to us on how incredibly real in color and depth the video was – we even noted that one could see the live insects. Without missing a beat, the fellow watching too said, “Yes, but I will tell you, I would rather watch the bugs, than be there with them!”

The 4k video display we were watching was a new product from Aircraft Cabin Systems who appear to be on the cutting edge of display density. When we asked Richie Sugimoto, President, he noted: “The design concept is a first in the IFE industry and offers customized, input / output modules allowing for functionality with a variety of IFE systems.  ACS can provide the customer the monitor size they want, complete with the video inputs needed without building a special unit.” Two things we did not realize – ACS offers 9 sizes of Ultra High Definition (UHD) 4K displays (27”, 32”, 40”, 43”, 50”, 55”, 58”, 65”, 75”) and they have “customizable input/output modules allowing for functionality with a wide variety of IFE systems.” Here is why the displays are so flexible and applicable to aircraft: “It Integrates with your existing HD IFE system for a UHD viewing experience, Supports up-scaling: From standard 1080p HD to 4K UHD,  Various sizes from 27” – 75” monitors, Standard modular input-modules include: HDMI / SDI (6G) / Component – Composite, Customizable video / control ports also available, Supports Variable Wide Frequency power input, Monitor orientation: Mount from top or bottom, Designed for bulkhead or credenza mounting, Quiet, convection cooled system.”

Next, we asked the ACS Team about the new product and they told IFExpress: “ACS is currently developing the market’s first 4K UHD Modular Monitor which will offer customized, modular video inputs & control ports. The modular design concept is unique. The design allows customers to integrate to their existing HD IFE system for a UHD viewing experience. The design also supports upscaling, from the 1080P Full HD to 4K Ultra HD. The process is easy. The customer selects the 4K monitor size they require. There are 9 sizes to select from. While the 40” or larger sizes will ostensibly be the most popular, the sizes range from 27” up to a grand 75”. The customer will then select the input(s) required.  Input selections include: HDMI, SDI (6G) or Composite/Component. Depending on the monitor size, each monitor can support 2 or 3 internal modules. Both the HDMI & SDI (6G) modules include two inputs and one output each. The Composite/Component module includes one Composite input and one Component input only. As customer requirements often mandate multiple and unique inputs, this modular approach will allow ACS to assemble a qualified monitor meeting the customer-required requirements in short order.  All monitors will be provided with qualification test documentation meeting the testing standards of DO-160G & DO-313.”

ACS also noted:Most interest has been from the VVIP market place as they are looking for the latest, most advanced picture quality they can have in their aircraft. The product is still in the test phase while ACS finishes the qualification testing.” They went on to say: “The design concept is a first in the IFE industry and offers customized, input / output modules allowing for functionality with a variety of IFE systems. ACS can provide the customer the monitor size they want, complete with the video inputs needed without building a special unit.”

Further, we asked about the modular inputs and ACS noted: “While the inputs are fixed, the modular design allows the customer to select their inputs of choice allowing ACS to then assemble a monitor meeting their unique requirements. Note: The modular design is available in a variety of sizes. The standard modular input-modules include: HDMI / SDI (6G) / Component -Composite.” They went on: “The 75” 4k UHD monitor is the world’s largest inflight monitor. Even given this large size, there is great interest in the marketplace. All monitors will be provided with a C of C, complete with DO-160 testing documentation. When possible, ACS will work with customers and their STC program to help secure PMA certification as needed.”

Lastly, they told IFExpress: Be sure to see ACS and their new Modular Monitor at the upcoming NBAA show, booth # N1517. The show will be in Las Vegas this year, from October 10th – 12th.”

Checkout their 4K Brochure

(Editor’s Note: In case you wondered, UHD 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) has twice the vertical and horizontal resolution of full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). Given the number of pixels in 4K, it is hard to describe the depth and clarity of the ACS displays. Be sure at the next show you attend that you check out anything 4k!)


Other News

  • It looks like Boeing came away from the 2017 Paris Air Show the winner over Airbus with 147 (net) orders and commitments for 571 aircraft ($74 Billion) thanks to the B737MAX (147 new orders for the B737MAX 10 and the B787 Dreamliner (214 conversions to the MAX 10 from other models). Airbus snagged 326 orders worth some $40 Billion. Further in the wide-body world, they snagged orders worth $3.6 Billion (with MOU’s for an additional $2.3 Billion). Noted John Leahy, COO: “Our commercial success this week at Paris extends our already diversified order backlog to a new industry record of over 6,800 aircraft, with 326 orders worth $40 billion.”
  • Also, if you think the future is full of giant 4 engine jets, you might think again. Boeing, for example has dropped the 4 engine aircraft from it’s annual forecast. Obviously the efficient twin engine jets like B787 and the future B777X are the twins of future flights. And when the next B797 (or whatever it is called) comes along in the 2020-2025 time frame, Boeing and Airbus just may be heading out of the commercial 4 engine planes. Interestingly, Airbus hasn’t scored any new orders for an A380 in more than a year. Further, Boeing has warned that the B747-8 may be on the way out. Both Boeing and Airbus have been watching the demand drop for the big ones as smaller planes gain range and increased capacity. Bigger may not be better!
  • Want to read a good article on connectivity payment modeling: GCA Link June 2017 – Business Models Evolve with New IFEC Technology | Avionics Digital Edition
  • If you think airplane air is bad for you, there may be one low oxygen condition that helps you adjust to a time zone change. We know, we all believed that just the opposite was the case, but we all may be wrong! Here is the test information results from a study as reported in Science Magazine (website): “Abramovich et al observed daily cycles in the concentration of oxygen in blood and tissues of mice kept on a normal light-dark cycle. These variations were sufficient to alter the abundance of the transcription factor HIF1α (hypoxia-inducible factor 1α). In cultured cells, changes in oxygen concentration could entrain the circadian clock only if HIF1α was present. When animals were subjected to a 6-hour change in the light cycle (like traveling eastward on a jet), animals kept in a low concentration of oxygen adapted more quickly.” We thought that airplanes had a reduced oxygen content inflight, so why don’t we feel better? Perhaps we need less oxygen – sure!

Paris Air Show | June 20, 2017–The International Paris Air Show is organized by the SIAE, a subsidiary of GIFAS, the French Aerospace Industries Association. This 52nd exhibition takes place at the Le Bourget Parc des Expositions from 19 to 25 June 2017, and once again will bring together all the players in this global industry around the latest technological innovations.

A world-first: 360° live external stream

In partnership with IrisAero, a French provider of 360° 4K cameras for the airline industry, PXCom has developed PXVision, a 360° player dedicated to the InFlight Entertainment ecosystem, that also includes Interactive Augmented Reality experience.

“Our technical team has clearly achieved a great challenge”, says Cyril JEAN, PXCom’s CEO. “PXVision is aimed at providing passengers with a live 360° external video stream, and discover in real time the points of interests that the aircraft is flying over. Should the camera be mounted on the top of the aircraft, passengers will be offered to discover sky constellations for example. Based on this new inflight entertainment offering, we can now roll out so many business cases that will both elevate the Passengers’ Experience and drive ancillaries to the airlines”

Integrated in a tablet-based IFE demo

This new feature has been integrated in a tablet-based IFE demo specifically produced by PXCom for the French-Italian airframer, ATR, to support their aircraft showcase at Paris Air Show, with a customer friendly Graphic User Interface (GUI).
Thanks to XPlore by PXCom, the entire GUI and its related contents can be dynamically managed by the airlines. This demonstrator also includes all the contents that can be found on a legacy IFE platform: movies, games, music, PXCom’s destination guides, digital press…

When IFExpress heard about the recent promotion of David Bruner as the Vice President, Global Sales & Marketing for Panasonic Avionics Corporation, we could not think of a better person to fill the roll. David is now responsible for sales, marketing and customer relations for all Panasonic Avionics products and services. His previous position within PAC was the Vice President of Global Communication Services. The Panasonic website goes on to say; “David has been with Panasonic for 13 years. Previously he served as Vice President of Global Communications Services where he led the company’s efforts to establish a global, high-speed satellite network. Under David’s direction, Panasonic became the first company to offer global connectivity, live television and mobile phone services across multiple mobility markets including air transport; oil, energy and mining; maritime; cruise lines; and mega yachts. David has also held executive positions for General Dynamics Airborne Electronic Systems, InflightOnline – a web Media Company focused on the inflight market and AT&T Aviation. In total, he has over 35 years in the software, communications and aerospace industries including 5 years at American Airline’s SABRE group.”

While the aforementioned is an apt summary of his years in the IFEC and airline industry, IFExpress reached out to other industry aficionados who have known David for a long time about the recent Panasonic promotion. John Courtright, Director of Sales and Marketing at SIE, and he told IFExpress: “I’ve known David for 20+ years and he is the consummate professional. Our careers have had similar tracks: we both were Senior Systems Analysts at major U.S. carriers, I was at United and David at American. I think that experience gave David the strong business and analytical skills he carried forward later in his career. David has always known the importance of Connectivity. As Senior VP at AT&T Wireless, Aviation Division, he drove the expansion of passenger connectivity and the emergence of making data available to the cabin and crew alike. In his new role as head of IFE and GCS Sales, I expect David to continue Panasonic’s strong presence in the IFEC industry.”

Mary Rogozinski, VP Airlines, SmartSky Networks  said: “I always like to tell the story about meeting David back when he was with Sabre and I was with UA (in the 90’s).  We were both at a 777 working together meeting at Boeing.  It was one of my very first industry meetings.  I had to leave early and planned to take a Boeing customer bus back to the airport.  I get on the van to find it filled with AA folks including David.  At first I felt very awkward (back in those days, airlines didn’t socialize much), but David and team made me feel right at home.  I then went on to work with David at just about every company he worked at subsequently.  I regrettably threw out all of those business cards, there must have been about 15.  A high or lowlight had to have been when we worked together on the 777 launch.  David was at Claircom and they had done a good job pitching their phone service for the UA widebody fleet.  We worked late one night on the deal and both ended the day thinking Claircom would be UA’s next phone service provider.  But we woke up to the information that UA’s management team had given the incumbent service one last chance to bid, winning the program.  David took it in stride, in his unique cheerful way (maybe with a few cocktails.)”

“Over the years, I truly look forward to seeing David and that kind of impish smile of his, and catching up on all the goings on with work, family and the industry.  He has always been a good and fair person to work with and I have always had the sense that he will take care of his customers.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I was ever one of them.  Sorry Dave.”

We at IFExpress have had the pleasure of working with David for over 30 years. Internally, we debated and discussed his recent promotion as a writing point and we unanimously noted that if we wanted to discuss just about any aspect of our industry, David Bruner was one of the first people we would ask. Why? Because, he  understands the question, usually knows the answer, and is gracious when he delivers his reply – even if our question was less than correct, or our information was incomplete.

Needless to say, IFExpress recently took the opportunity to talk with David about the IFEC industry:

1. Tell our readers about the IFE(C) market for new aircraft for the next 3 years or so, given that aircraft sales are falling?

A: Even though aircraft sales aren’t at the same all-time high levels as previous years, there are plenty of opportunities for companies like Panasonic that can deliver tailored solutions closely aligned to each airline’s business needs and the expectations of its passengers.

2.Do you see the IFEC market changing over the next 5 years based on what passengers are carrying? What does IFEC have to offer over carry-ons – today and in the future?

A: The IFEC market is perpetually changing. From embedded systems to PEDs to the ever increasing use of wearable technology, IFEC providers need to be able to provide platforms that allow airlines, passengers and crew to interact and stay connected easily and effectively.

That is one of the reasons why we have introduced our new NEXT IFEC platform. We have in essence re-written our rule book for how we engage with airlines – moving from a product-based sales approach to one where we build tailored solutions based on their business needs, using the flexibility of our platform coupled with the versatility of our integrated ecosystem of value-added services, tools, applications, and partnerships.

3. What, in your opinion, will be the hardest bridge to cross in the next few years in IFEC?

A: The industry needs to focus on how to fully enable a truly dynamic, digitally connected business platform in flight. When you have a flexible platform backed by a global connectivity network and comprehensive ecosystem, you can radically change the industry.

For example when you combine our NEXT platform with services like ZeroTouch, you begin to liberate airlines from the accepted 30-day refresh media cycle. We’re opening up content on demand services, concierge services, real-time CRM, and much more.

This kind of dynamic content update gives airlines the ability to efficiently and cost-effectively personalize services for their passengers. This will fundamentally address some of the complaints about air travel from both airlines and passengers.

4. IFEC and new connectivity capability should usher in more cabin/system connections to the ground but Panasonic is an IFEC company. How will you folks get into the side of “data” that others have been focused on for years and can you give our readers a bit of why you will succeed?

A: Panasonic Avionics is already highly engaged in this area in a number of ways. Probably the biggest is ZeroTouch which we launched last October and has already received high levels of interest from airlines. ZeroTouch is a unique and innovative service that simultaneously gives airlines real-time visibility into performance, improves the efficiency of their maintenance operations and also enables data transfer of passenger-facing content to an aircraft to improve the passenger experience. The service will reduce an airline’s need to physically touch its 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.

With over 70 airline customers we are having success helping airlines to see that the “C” in IFEC is more than passenger WIFI. As a global network operator, we are helping airlines use broadband connectivity to deliver new solutions — solutions that make passengers happier through better crew service, accessibility to the airlines app for constant real-time communications, health monitoring of all systems inflight, passenger and cargo security and more. This application of connectivity, with the onboard computing platform, will have the same powerful impact on the market as the introduction of the CRS’s of the 1960’s and 70’s.

5. David, you have been around this game for around 30 years now, can you tell our readers about the changes you have seen in working with airlines and what advice would you give them with the new technology in IFEC?

A: IFEC has changed dramatically since I entered the industry however the objectives are still the same: an excellent audio and video experience, an ever-increasing choice of content, and more control over how and when content is viewed. Over the last 10 years, however, the rate of change in our industry has greatly accelerated with the advent of inflight connectivity.

The advice I would give to an airline is to treat IFEC like all key interaction points of the passenger experience. From our experience, it has tremendous potential to enhance an airline’s brand — and therefore value — significantly. As such, it is worth the investment but only if the IFEC offering is aligned with an airline’s commercial objectives and the needs of its passengers. So involve an IFEC provider at the start of the decision making process, help them understand your needs, treat them like a partner, not a supplier – and the results will undoubtedly be better.

6. How important is the capability to engage the passenger from the point of ticket purchase, then throughout the remainder of their journey? What unique capabilities does Panasonic bring to this process?

A: Enabling airlines to engage with their passengers throughout a longer process adds value to the passenger experience, and so has the potential to enhance the airline’s brand. We recognized this several years ago and developed the APIs that led to commercial deployment of Companion Apps – which are designed to span the passenger travel thread, enabling airlines to curate and integrate all aspects of the passenger experience. Singapore Airline was the first to take advantage of our program, and today its passengers can immerse themselves in their experience pre-flight, during flight and post-flight, bringing the benefits of the wide range of content and information to passengers for a much longer period of time.

7. Over the next 10 years, much of the hardware within the aircraft cabin will be able to report wirelessly – think galleys, lavs, lights, seats, etc. Besides providing the pipe and the satcom equipment, how does Panasonic foresee participating in this real-time operations arena?

A: Panasonic already participates in this arena in a wide range of areas, using connectivity to enable airlines to better manage their aircraft and communicate with both their passengers and crews. Just one example of this is the real-time fleet monitoring tool that is an integral part of ZeroTouch, a key element of Panasonic’s integrated ecosystem – which enables airlines to be more operationally robust and efficient, ultimately enhancing the passenger experience whilst helping to keep operating costs contained.

8. Does Panasonic see the technology driving the consumer market and the evolutions of IFEC hardware flattening out over the next 10 – 15 years? If so, will Panasonic be focusing more on new software iterations that improve performance and capabilities utilizing existing hardware technologies?

A: I don’t necessarily see a slow down in the advent of new consumer technologies and, as an IFEC solutions provider, we must continue to anticipate them, evolving to remain at the leading edge of making the step from the ground to the inflight experience a seamless one. We have a team that is solely dedicated to looking at new, emerging technologies and their potential impact to air travel. In fact, many of these technologies have been on display in our “Cool Room” at industry events. Some examples of recent demonstrations include 8K displays, smart surfaces, VR and AR. While not everything is applicable, we continue to bring innovation to the cabin. A great example of this is our NFC solution, which was the industry’s first.

This kind of flexibility is intrinsic with our new NEXT platform. We believe that this will help us adapt and evolve our offering more effectively than ever before.

9. Hacking has been getting bigger and we have seen Panasonic’s response to some issues. Can you give us an update to the focus from your company?

A: Panasonic continues to take a proactive approach to hacking. We not only continually test the robustness of our systems, but also regularly engage with security professionals who wish to test our systems legitimately through our Bug Bounty program. We recently concluded our second annual Inflight Security Conference. This customer event is a great example of our commitment to ensuring the security of all systems we design and deliver. We had 65 attendees from around the world who were treated to two days of in depth discussions with our security teams, trusted partners, and even Robert Herjavec, guest star of ABC’s TV shows “Shark Tank” and “Dancing with the Stars” and founder of the Herjavec Group, which is a global leader and service provider of security solutions for enterprise level organizations.

Editor’s Note: At the next trade show, if you have the opportunity to meet David we strongly encourage you to do so, or if you just want to say congratulations you can reach him at david.bruner@panasonic.aero

 


Other News:

Honeywell’s cabin management and in-flight entertainment system will provide passengers with a more productive and comfortable flying experience
Las Vegas | May 11, 2017– The Las Vegas Sands Corp. has selected the Honeywell (NYSE: HON) Ovation Select cabin management and in-flight entertainment system for its Boeing 767 jet airliner. Ovation Select provides passengers with enhanced in-flight productivity and entertainment.

Ovation Select is an all-digital, total cabin management system that gives passengers control of both in-flight entertainment and environmental conditions — including lighting, seats and temperature — with a simple touch-screen interface or from the convenience of their own mobile electronic device. The system design, diagnostic tools and global support network keep the cabin system available throughout flight and ensure passengers are able to make the most of their travel time and enjoy their overall in-flight experience.

This airliner joins a fleet of more than 100 aircraft flying globally with Ovation Select, which is available for most aircraft types and platforms. With the ability to easily accommodate new electronics, this system is designed to keep pace with evolving technologies.