With much going on this week we would like to get started with our IFExpress BUZZ message and give you a little background on why it is in this week’s issue.

Firstly, we were contacted about the new secure content streaming technology implemented by IdeaNova, and we are certain you will hear a lot about them and their new technology in the future. We will delve in this further in a future issue this soon in IFExpress, but we wanted you to meet their CEO, Juraj Siska. In discussing the IdeaNova technology, Juraj told us that it used a new and special “Hardware Secured” server noted Juraj:” ‘Hardware secured’ server means that DRM cryptographic operations and certain security functions are executed in special hardware, which is separate from the main processing unit, making it harder to compromise and almost impossible to replicate for malicious purposes. This is unlike traditional software implementations where software is much easier to copy.”

We will have more on this content security technology in an upcoming issue; however, we should mention that Rich Salter is now an independent consultant and is advising IdeaNova. It is also worth noting that the APEX Technology Committee has a Working Group co-chaired by Phil Watson (Panasonic) and Juraj Siska (IdeaNova) that has created a draft of APEX 0415 version 2 that adds security provisions for premium content.

However, as we previously stated, we will cover more on this new content security in a forthcoming issue.

Now, let’s get on with the news from the past 7 days:


AEROMOBILE
Inflight mobile connectivity provider AeroMobile announced the addition of TAP Air Portugal to its connected fleet. TAP Air Portugal’s first connected Airbus A330-900neo entered into service in December 2018. This launch marks an exciting time for TAP Air Portugal, which is the first airline in the world to operate the next generation A330-900neo aircraft. The onboard AeroMobile service allows TAP Air Portugal passengers in all cabin classes to use their mobile devices to send and receive SMS, catch up with emails and browse the internet from 20,000 feet. Following the successful launch of its first aircraft with inflight mobile connectivity, TAP Air Portugal will add an additional 37 aircraft over the next year, reaching a total of 71 aircraft by 2025. The A330-900neo fleet with inflight mobile connectivity will be deployed on services to Sao Paulo, with four other Brazil destinations launching across 2019. And just in case you didn’t remember, AeroMobile is a subsidiary of Panasonic Avionics!


ASTRONICS
Astronics Corporation announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics PECO, was awarded a multi-year contract extension to provide custom manufactured interior and structural components to Boeing for multiple aircraft platforms.

Under the contract extension, Astronics PECO will continue to provide its innovative passenger service units (PSUs), fuel tank access doors and environmental control system components, among other parts. The products will serve on a variety of Boeing aircraft, including Boeing 737, 747, 767, 777 and KC-46 models.


THALES

  • Aireon and Thales, through this agreement, look at ways to improve aviation efficiency by globally leveraging the space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) service. Aireon and Thales will collaborate and utilize live space-based aircraft positioning data via the Thales TopSky-ATC system as well as the Thales aviation data platform, ECOSystem. Aieron will go live in weeks, providing global air traffic surveillance coverage via satellites. It is supported by the leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) around the world
  • Thales and Gemalto announced that they have received Regulatory Clearance for US antitrust approval, as the Stipulation and Order related to their agreement with the United States Department of Justice, which was announced on 1 March 2019, has been entered by the court.

SITAONAIR
SITAONAIR successfully expanded the operational capacity of air traffic service (ATS) datalink across Brazil’s airports, in a crucial step towards modernizing air traffic control operations in the country as air traffic continues to rise. The development of the service follows SITAONAIR’s instrumental work with Brazil’s Department of Airspace Control (DECEA), as part of the wider Brazilian Air Navigation Modernization SIRIUS program to advance ATS Datalink services. The deployment of services for The Commission for the Implementation of the Airspace Control System (CISCEA) to 24 control towers across Brazil began in June 2016, ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Since then, the initiative, in partnership with SITAONAIR’s specialist air traffic control partners Saipher and ATC Systems has continued to evolve, increasing safety, sustainability and operational efficiency. As a result, DECEA has seen an increase in aircraft opting to access voice and datalink ATIS (D-ATIS) as well as DCL (Datalink Departure Clearance Service) information in a more digital, convenient and secure manner, with approximately 250 departure clearances issued a day and 20,000 D-ATIS requests a month from the country’s major airports. SITAONAIR’s most recent infrastructure development in 2018 includes establishing services at two additional airports, Rio de Janeiro’s Santos Dumont and São Paulo’s Campinas, bringing the total number of fully-equipped control towers to 26.


AIRBUS
Wizz Air, the largest Central and Eastern European low cost carrier, took delivery of its first of 184 A321neo aircraft on order at an event in Hamburg, with József Váradi, CEO Wizz Air and Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer. The new generation aircraft is powered by two Pratt & Whitney GTF engines and features the widest single aisle cabin with 239 seats in a single class configuration and offers operators maximum flexibility, fuel efficiency and low operating costs. Wizz Air is an all Airbus operator, with more than 100 A320 Family aircraft operating all around Europe with 261 more to be delivered. With 184 of the larger A321neo aircraft on order, Wizz Air is the largest Airbus customer worldwide of the type.


BOEING

Boeing completed the acquisition of ForeFlight, a provider of innovative mobile and web-based aviation applications. ForeFlight partnered with Boeing over the past two years to bring aviators Jeppesen’s aeronautical data and charts through ForeFlight’s popular mobile platforms. Now, the teams will integrate talent and offerings to bring innovative, expanded digital solutions to all segments of the aviation industry. The acquisition of ForeFlight aligns with Boeing’s growth strategy of complementing organic investments with targeted, strategic investments that position the company for long-term growth. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, ForeFlight has approximately 180 employees.

EDITOR’S NOTE: With the second recent B737 MAX-8, belonging to Ethiopian airlines, crash many passengers are getting nervous. While no connection to the issues with the first crash (Lion Air) have been proven, potential MAX 8 flyers are concerned. Since the US FAA notes that there are 387 B737 MAX jets flying (operated by 59 airlines) this could have a significant impact. The wonderful folks at the Seattle Times News Service have provided a number of good articles on the plane and you can read and link to them all here: Worried travelers seek answers about the 737 MAX 8. Here is what passengers should know. | The Seattle Times IFExpress notes that Boeing has developed a flight control enhancement: “For the past several months and in the aftermath of Lion Air Flight 610, Boeing has been developing a flight control software enhancement for the 737 MAX, designed to make an already safe aircraft even safer. This includes updates to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight control law, pilot displays, operation manuals and crew training. The enhanced flight control law incorporates angle of attack (AOA) inputs, limits stabilizer trim commands in response to an erroneous angle of attack reading, and provides a limit to the stabilizer command in order to retain elevator authority.” Further they state: “Boeing has been working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on development, planning and certification of the software enhancement, and it will be deployed across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks. The update also incorporates feedback received from our customers.”


OTHER NEWS

ASTRONICS
Astronics Corporation announced that it will preview its next-generation SATCOM connectivity solutions at the Aircraft Interiors Show (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany, from April 2-4, 2019. Developed by Astronics AeroSat, in conjunction with partner Phasor, the new SATCOM inflight connectivity antennas feature electronically steered array (ESA) technology that will deliver unprecedented connection reliability for aircraft. Available in three configurations and with an ultra-low profile, the E-Series will provide Ku- and Ku-HTS connectivity for today’s geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) networks, as well as tomorrow’s medium Earth orbit (MEO) and low Earth orbit (LEO) networks. The system also will offer dual-beam capability, enabling it to support the future “make before break” requirement of non-GEO networks from a single array, or the ability to communicate with two independent GEOs or a LEO & GEO network simultaneously.


GOGO
Gogo and long-time partner, Alaska Airlines, launched Gogo 2Ku high-speed connectivity and Gogo Vision wireless IFE on an A321neo featuring the airline’s redesigned cabin interior. Gogo notes that 2Ku is the industry’s leading high-speed satellite inflight connectivity solution and delivers an internet experience comparable to what guests have on the ground, including the ability to stream video from the most popular streaming video services. 2Ku also has global coverage, which means guests onboard Alaska aircraft will have service from gate-to-gate nearly everywhere they fly, including to popular destinations like Mexico and Costa Rica, and over the ocean to Hawaii, where connectivity was not previously available.

Alaska’s cabin experience is designed around the modern traveler, and two other Gogo products feature prominently within the airline’s experience – Gogo Messaging Pass and Gogo Vision. Alaska and Gogo innovated together to bring Messaging Pass free to the airline’s guests in 2017 – a first in the inflight connectivity space. Messaging Pass allows Alaska’s guests to send greetings from 35,000 feet using iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The airline offers over 500 free movie titles to its guests on nearly every aircraft outfitted with Gogo Vision, Gogo’s industry-leading wireless entertainment system. Alaska will have satellite Wi-Fi powered by 2Ku available to guests on most of its Boeing and Airbus mainline fleet by the end of 2020.


THALES
The company stated that they have exceeded all 2018 objectives:

  • Order intake: €16.0 billion, up 7% (+9% on an organic basis)
  • Sales: €15.86 billion, up 4.1% (+5.3% on an organic basis)
  • EBIT : €1,685 million, up 23% (+25% on an organic basis)
    Adjusted net income, Group share3: €1,178 million, up 40%
    Consolidated net income, Group share: €982 million, up 44%
    Free operating cash flow3: €811 million, 69% of adjusted net income. Dividend up 19% to €2.08.
  • Finalization of the acquisition of Gemalto expected in March 2019
    2019 objectives: organic sales growth between 3% and 4%
    EBIT between €1,780 million and €1,800 million

As announced by the United States Department of Justice (“DoJ”), Thales and Gemalto confirm that they have reached an agreement with the Antitrust Division of the DoJ that will allow the companies to proceed with the Offer. Consistent with commitments already made to the European Commission and other regulatory authorities, the agreement requires the divestiture of Thales’s general purpose hardware security modules (GP HSM) business. The agreement with the DoJ remains subject to court approval. Thales and Gemalto expect to close the Offer in March 2019.

Hiring:  Since 2016, Thales has hired 5,000 to 6,000 people a year. And in 2019, the company’s recruitment drive continues apace, with 5,500 new jobs created worldwide, including 2,500 in France.

Telstra:  Thales and Telstra combine their expertise with a view to building a robust, safe and secure ecosystem that will enable the management of low altitude airspace for manned and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Thales and Telstra have jointly prototyped a data and communication solution to prepare the way for the integration of manned and unmanned traffic in Australian skies.

The massive increase in commercial UAVs, commonly known as drones, will require a totally new way to manage airspace. Digital technology brings opportunities to manage the complexity of integrating drones in our airspace to enable safe access for their users. Thales, the global leader in air traffic management and Telstra, Australia’s best mobile network provider, have combined their expertise with a view to building a robust, safe and secure ecosystem to manage low altitude airspace for manned and unmanned vehicles, such as helicopters, drones and autonomous flying taxis


IMMFLY
After collaborations with leading airlines including easyJet, IAG’s Iberia Express, Pegasus, Sun Express and many others, Immfly is expanding its operations into Asia. Immfly’s digital services platform enables airlines to maximize revenues and efficiencies while also enabling their customers to enjoy a best in class IFE system.

Immfly’s connected digital services focus on facilitating operational processes to reduce airline costs with digital services that simplify and accelerate tasks. At the same time, the company has successfully delivered platforms with tool kits which optimize ancillary revenue opportunities. Immfly’s IFE enables passengers to use their own smart personal devices instead of heavy, costly seat back systems, to enjoy premium curated content and services. Immfly’s technology is available for all aircraft, irrespective of the airline’s investment in on board internet connectivity. As the service does not rely on an external internet connection, airline customers can enjoy the fastest onboard streaming speeds at consistently excellent quality. Dynamic content management is paired with unique tools to benefit airlines with enhanced passenger experience, smarter operations, and potent new revenue streams.


AIRBUS

  • In order to meet the high market demand for cadet pilot training in Europe – 94,000 new pilots over the next 20 years* – Airbus has decided to open its own flight academy and extend its training services offering by adding ‘ab-initio’ to its portfolio. Leveraging cross-divisional synergies, the Airbus Flight Academy Europe, based in Angoulême, France, will use Airbus standardized instructors to deliver the ab-initio Pilot Cadet Training program approved by EASA at the end of 2018, complementing the intermediate and advanced training phases that are already available and provided in the existing training network on 17 sites worldwide. The Airbus Flight Academy Europe aims to train up-to 200 pilot cadets annually. Using a modern fleet of both single and multi-engine aircraft equipped with full digital cockpit technology as well as the latest flight simulators, the training program will equip students with the skills and mind-set required to become “operationally-ready pilots” focusing on the all-important development of key pilot technical and behavioral competencies.
    The Airbus Pilot Cadet Training Program is open to high school graduates over 18 years old worldwide. Candidates will undergo online and on-site screening tests before being eligible for training which will include 750 hours of ground school, plus 200 hours of flight training.
  • AIRBUS was selected by SriLankan and GoAir to provide Skywise Core open data management/analysis platform for 30 A320s/A330s and 50 A320s respectively.

BOEING

  • Boeing and International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of British Airways, announced the airline has committed to purchasing up to 42 777X airplanes, including 18 orders and 24 options. The airline joins a group of leading carriers that have selected the new 777-9, which will debut next month as the largest and most efficient twin-engine passenger jet in the world.
    The commitment, valued at up to $18.6 billion at list prices, will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website once it is finalized. British Airways has been modernizing its fleet – one of the largest in the airline industry – to more efficiently serve its extensive global route network. In recent years, the airline has introduced the super-efficient 787 Dreamliner family to replace its medium-sized widebody jets. The new 777-9 will replace British Airways’ larger widebody airplanes, mainly the four-engine 747 jumbo jet.
    In ordering the 777-9, British Airways extends a long-running relationship with the popular 777 family. The airline is one of the largest 777 operators with a fleet of nearly 60 of the long-range jet. The airline last year committed to four more 777-300ER (Extended Range) jets via operating lease. The 777-9 is larger and has a slightly wider cabin than current 777s, which provides the ability to comfortably sit 400-425 passengers in a standard two-class cabin. Powered by 787 Dreamliner technologies, an all-new composite wing, and other enhancements, the 777-9 offers airlines 12 percent lower fuel consumption than competing airplanes. The 777-9 can also fly farther than its predecessors with a standard range of 7,600 nautical miles (14,075 kilometers). The 777X will also debut a redesigned cabin that incorporates popular 787 features and new technologies. Recently unveiled online, the 777X interior offers larger windows, a wider cabin, new lighting, while providing passengers with a smoother ride, better cabin altitude, humidity, and sound quality. The selection by IAG and British Airways puts the 777X at 358 orders and commitments from eight customers. Production of the 777X began in 2017, with first flight planned for this year and first delivery expected in 2020.
  • Boeing and Vietjet confirmed that Vietnamese carrier has purchased 100 additional 737 MAX airplanes, taking their MAX order book to 200 jets. During a signing ceremony in Hanoi, United States President Donald Trump and Vietnamese Communist Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong joined leaders of both companies to unveil the $12.7 billion order, according to list prices. The deal includes 20 MAX 8s and 80 of the new, larger MAX 10 variant, which will have the lowest seat-mile costs for a single-aisle airplane and be the most profitable jet in its market segment. The order was previously unidentified on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website. In ordering 80 MAX 10s, Vietjet becomes the largest Asian customer of the airplane type. The carrier plans to use the added capacity to meet growing demand across Vietnam, as well as to serve popular destinations throughout Asia. Vietjet placed its first order for 100 737 MAX airplanes in 2016, which set the mark for the largest commercial jet purchase in Vietnam’s aviation sector at the time. In addition to airplane purchases, Boeing will partner with Vietjet to enhance technical and engineering expertise, train pilots and technicians, and improve management capabilities at the airline and in Vietnam. The carrier also uses Boeing’s digital solutions to optimize its operations, including flight planning & Tech Log Book.
  • Boeing and Bamboo Airways confirmed an order for 10 787-9 Dreamliners valued at $3 billion according to list prices. The order for the super-efficient and longest-range member of the Dreamliner family was unveiled during a signing ceremony in Hanoi, witnessed by U.S. President Donald Trump and General Secretary and President of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong. This order was previously unidentified on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website. Bamboo Airways, a startup airline founded in 2017, began commercial operations in January, offering flights linking the capital of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with cities in Vietnam. The airline plans on offering up to 40 domestic routes in 2019. Additionally, Bamboo is preparing to launch international service to Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and Australia, before broadening service to other destinations in Asia, Europe, and North America. The 787 Dreamliner family allows airlines to fly long ranges while reducing fuel costs by more than 20 percent compared to previous widebody jets. The Dreamliner’s superior efficiency and range have allowed airlines to open more than 210 new non-stops routes around the world since it entered service. At 63 meters (206 feet), the 787-9 can fly 290 passengers, in a typical two-class configuration, up to 7,635 nautical miles (14,140 kilometers). The airplane is 6 meters longer than the original Dreamliner and is capable of carrying more passengers and flying farther. The 787 Dreamliner is the fastest-selling widebody airplane in history with more than 1,400 orders from 75 customers since its launch. Nearly 800 Dreamliners have entered service around the world, helping airlines save 33 billion pounds of fuel. Bamboo Airways is wholly-owned by the FLC Group, a Vietnamese multi-industry company, focusing on aviation, real estate, resorts, farming, and golf.
  • The proposed strategic partnership between Boeing and Embraer was approved by Embraer’s shareholders during an Extraordinary General Shareholders’ Meeting held at the company’s headquarters in Brazil. At the special meeting, 96.8 percent of all valid votes cast were in favor of the transaction, with participation of approximately 67 percent of all outstanding shares. Shareholders approved the proposal that will establish a joint venture made up of the commercial aircraft and services operations of Embraer. Boeing will hold an 80 percent ownership stake in the new company, and Embraer will hold the remaining 20 percent. The transaction values 100 percent of Embraer’s commercial aircraft operations at $5.26 billion, and contemplates a value of $4.2 billion for Boeing’s 80 percent ownership stake in the joint venture. Embraer shareholders also agreed to a joint venture to promote and develop new markets for the multi-mission medium airlift KC-390. Under the terms of this proposed partnership, Embraer will own a 51 percent stake in the joint venture, with Boeing owning the remaining 49 percent. Boeing and Embraer announced in December 2018 that they had approved the terms for the joint ventures and the Brazilian government gave its approval in January 2019. Shortly thereafter, Embraer’s board of directors ratified its support for the deal and definitive transaction documents were signed. The closing of the transaction is now subject to obtaining regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions, which Boeing and Embraer hope to achieve by the end of 2019. Embraer will continue to operate the commercial aviation business and the KC-390 program independently until the closing of the transaction.
  • The Boeing Company board of directors has nominated Nikki Randhawa Haley to be elected as a director at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders on April 29. Haley is the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the first female governor of South Carolina, and a three-term legislator in the South Carolina House of Representatives.

OTHER NEWS

 

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) to deploy wireless IFE on additional Q400 aircraft serving domestic and regional routes with Bluebox Wow

Dunfermline, UK | February 28, 2019– From 1st March, All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest and 5-Star airline for six consecutive years, will deploy Bluebox’s portable wireless IFE platform – Bluebox Wow – across 13 of the airline’s Bombardier Dash 8 (Q400) aircraft. These are operated from regional hubs such as Itami, Fukuoka, Chūbu Centrair International, and Chitose airports.

“We are delighted that ANA has put its trust in Bluebox to provide additional wireless IFE service in its Q400 fleet with Bluebox Wow, and contribute to its high-quality passenger experience,” said Kevin Clark, CEO, Bluebox. “It is an honour to be selected by this award-winning airline, and we are looking forward to delivering engaging IFE content to ANA’s passengers’ devices through Bluebox Wow.”

Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including up to 1.6 terabytes of film, TV, audio, games and other digital content, accessed through any web browser. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, Bluebox Wow is a stand-alone, portable, lunchbox-sized unit stowed securely in overhead bins.

This week in IFExpress we are covering a broad spectrum of IFEC and airframer topics. You can certainly tell that we, as an industry, are spooling up for AIX. Let’s get started on the road to Hamburg!


IFPL

IFPL, the innovative inflight peripheral specialist, will be demonstrating award-winning integrated peripherals solutions and power products at AIX Hamburg in April 2019, ranging from innovative USB Power Delivery solutions to integrated audio and USB technology. They have delivered over 2.5m products to date.

In case you didn’t know, IFPL is an award winning company specializing in the design and manufacture of passenger interface solutions to the global In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity industry (IFEC). Founded 20 years ago by CEO Geoff Underwood, IFPL today enjoys the largest portfolio of proven IFEC products and services in its sector. As a proud and dedicated supplier of the world’s leading in-flight entertainment manufacturers and airlines, IFPL continues to inspire and enhance aircraft passenger experience by delivering innovative product design with proven reliability. IFPL is based on the Isle of Wight, just off the South Coast of England, in modern offices which house an award winning manufacturing facility that boasts extensive product design, R&D and manufacturing capabilities.

During AIX Hamburg they will be showcasing ‘Charge to Charge’, the smart way to monetize USB power. Powering passengers’ Personnel Electronic Devices (PEDs) is now an important requirement in support of the passenger experience.

With consumer devices increasingly adopting USB-C as standard, visitors can experience IFPL’s USB-C and USB-A units that provide high speed data and power for passengers’ portable devices. These units seamlessly integrate within the seat.

When you stop by their booth you will also be able to see the IFPL innovative integrated seat concept that supports the design language, aesthetics and ergonomics required for true IFE and seat integration.

Further, IFPL is leading the industry with its fresh approach to peripheral integration, with design and technology innovation and they have supplied over 2.5m innovative products to date. Be sure to see:

  • Innovative inductive charging solution – delivers wireless charging at the seat
  • MagSignal audio jack – solves the problem of broken headphone sockets for passengers and airlines
  • Charge To Charge: Is one of the latest IFPL solutions and is the smart way to monetize USB power
  • High Power and data USB-A outlet: In-service
  • 2020 USB-A outlet: This ‘line fit’ unit provides seamless integration within the seat while delivering an economic, ergonomic and aesthetic advantage over traditional outlets enhancing the passenger’s experience
  • Inductive charging unit: these units have been designed to enable seamless integration and deliver wireless charging at the seat. IFPL will show design concepts for seatback PED holders and trays that provide USB and/or inductive charging. Through working with leading seat vendors, IFPL will be demonstrating successful integration of inductive charge units within the seat
  • Latest audio jack technology: IFPL is the world-leader in audio jack technology, enhancing the customer experience while providing a total cost of ownership advantage to the airline. The audio jack is a critical component of any IFE system. Quality sound with high unit reliability and minimizing Customer Induced Damage (CID) is vital in maintaining passenger satisfaction.

IFPL has also developed proprietary technology and products that differentiate their audio solutions within the market. These include:

  • Long Life Range: Delivers a highly robust and reliable audio jack that minimize the effects of CID
  • Rapid Fit Range: Technology delivers a solution to allow rapid on wing maintenance
  • INCAM Range: The Integrated Noise Cancelling Audio Module cancels noise in the jack rather than the headset, reducing initial and replacement headset costs
  • Breakaway MagSignal Range: Patented MagSignal technology virtually eliminates CID

The IFPL booth is on stand 4B20 at Hamburg Messe, Germany, from Tue 02/04/2019 to Thur 04/04/2019.


ASTRONICS

Here are some highlights from their press release:
• Fourth quarter sales up 18.4% to $203 million; full year sales up 28.6% to $803 million
• Achieved record Aerospace segment sales in fourth quarter and full year 2018
• Record Aerospace backlog of $326 million at year-end
• Earnings per diluted share for 2018 of $1.41 compared with $0.58 in the prior year
• Strong cash flow from operations of $39.5 million for the quarter and $54.9 million in 2018


GOGO

Gogo, a global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced its financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2018.

  • Q4 2018 consolidated revenue of $217.2 million, up 16% year over year, with a net loss of $59.7 million
  • Q4 2018 Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $19.4 million, leading to full-year 2018 Adjusted EBITDA of $71.2 million, exceeding the recently updated financial guidance
  • BA Segment Profit reached $35.6 million in Q4 2018, up 33% year over year
  • More than 1,000 2Ku aircraft at 14 global airlines as of December 31, 2018, with 109 2Ku aircraft placed online in Q4. 2Ku backlog of approximately 1,000 aircraft as of December 31, 2018(2)
  • Delivered excellent 2Ku performance with 98% availability in the month of December
  • Q4 2018 Cash Flow from Operating Activities of $9.6 million and Free Cash Flow of $2.3 million(1)
  • Projecting $100 million improvement in Free Cash Flow in 2019 versus 2018

THALES

A first-of-its-kind Engineering Competence Centre in India to focus on civil and defense activities, serving Thales’ global needs.

The Centre to significantly contribute to job creation and skill development in India; Thales seeks to hire 3000 people in next 3-5 years for this Centre.

Localization of R&D activities in India will enable a closer day to day work with our Indian Supply Chain Partners, which will favor the competitiveness of manufacturing in India.
Thales continues its development in India by today announcing the launch of its Global Engineering Competence Centre (ECC) in Bengaluru. The centre aims to accelerate innovation and digital transformation to serve the needs of both the Indian market, and the Group’s global objectives.


IMMFLY (see image above)

On February 20, 2019, Iberia Express surprised passengers on its Madrid-Copenhagen-Madrid flight with a showing of the Oscar-nominated film Bohemian Rhapsody via its free inflight entertainment Platform – Club Express Onboard – provided by Immfly.

In addition to being given headphones and support stands for their viewing devices, passengers were also provided with popcorn, making it a truly cinematic experience.

Bohemian Rhapsody, one of the favorites for the Oscars 2019 with 5 nominations, was the chosen film for this “blockbuster” flight in which passengers were gifted with headphones, disposable stands to support their viewing devices while they watched the film and tubs of popcorn.

This debut welcomed the blockbuster as one of the latest films available completely free of charge on ​Club Express Onboard, the inflight entertainment platform provided by Immfly. ​The platform’s Movie Channel offers a wide variety of premieres in multiple languages ​​including Spanish, English, and French.
The continual updating of the content on ​Club Express Onboard reflects the committed effort on the part of both companies to offer a service with a difference, a service which is ​highly valued by customers as ​reflected in the airline’s latest satisfaction surveys.​ ​A significant share of respondents (31.6%) gave the platform a top score (scoring the service an 8, 9 or 10 out of 10), and are considered “Platform Lovers.”
Paloma Cabañas, Head of Customer Experience and Inflight Services at Iberia Express said: ​”We strive to offer an exclusive travel experience to our passengers throughout the entire customer journey, and it is a proven fact that the Inflight entertainment platform provided by Immfly, is a key contributortooursuccess”.​

Cabañashighlighted,”Moreover,ourattractiveentertainmentofferis paired with very selective catering, both in tourist and business class”.

Julia Maruny, Head of Content at Immfly added: “​With this event, we wanted to offer passengers a truly unique and immersive experience so they could sit back, relax and enjoy the best cinema on board while flying to their destination.”


AIRBUS

  • Airbus inaugurates its Innovation Centre in China at an office opening ceremony in Shenzhen, China, one of the world’s leading innovation hotspots. Airbus China Innovation Centre has been operating since early 2018 and currently focuses on designing, testing, and certifying new technologies relating to five areas: Hardware Lab, Cabin Experience, Connectivity, Manufacturing Innovation and Urban Air Mobility. With its full operation, ACIC commits to identify the next big change to transform the aerospace sector while tapping into the local talent, technology and partner pool and will further enhance Airbus’ innovation capabilities to shape the future of flight. At the ceremony, Airbus also signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Shenzhen Municipal Commerce Bureau to exlplore Urban Air Mobility (UAM) solutions in Shenzhen. The two parties will cooperate closely on accelerating the R&D, application and industrialization of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in Shenzhen. With extended regional partners, Airbus aims to further develop the local mobility ecosystem and promote the UAM solutions fitting the local transportation needs. As Airbus’ first innovation centre in Asia and second worldwide after A3 in Silicon Valley, Airbus China Innovation Centre’s mission is to fully leverage local advantages including talents, enterprises and ecosystem, combining it with Airbus expertise in aerospace, to identify, explore and accelerate breakthroughs in technologies, business models and new growth opportunities.
  • Air Vanuatu, the national flag carrier of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, signed a firm order with Airbus for four A220s (two A220-100s and two A220-300s). Air Vanuatu’s first ever order with Airbus makes it the launch customer of the A220 in the Pacific region. Based at Bauerfield International Airport in the capital Port Vila, Air Vanuatu operates to 26 domestic airports and internationally to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and New Caledonia. It began services in 1987, and has played a vital role in establishing Vanuatu as a tourist and investment destination. Currently the airline operates a Boeing 737 and ATR 72 fleet. With an order book of over 530 aircraft to date, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market, estimated to represent at least 7,000 aircraft over the next 20 years.

OTHER NEWS

Paris, France | February 25, 2019– Interactive Mobility released at the Aviation Festival Asia a pioneering technology that makes using its portable W-IFE solution easier and safer for airlines.

Flymingo Box now includes automatic passenger announcement pause. This feature allows to pause the IFE streaming system for PA announcements without crew or pilot intervention.

This evolution, which uses a proprietary technology is available on any Flymingo box connected to the aircraft electrical network. This industry-first solution works by picking up signals from the passenger announcement system.

“This is a long awaited product feature. Airlines came to us because they wanted a fully automatized way to comply with passenger announcement regulations. Flymingo Box now enables our customers to address safety standards while offering streaming for up to 100 passengers” said Tanguy Morel, CEO at Interactive Mobility.

A crew-friendly service

This development highlights Flymingo’s expanded capability and the value of options for airlines striving to allow smooth usage for crew members whilst deploying a flexible IFE service.

“Flymingo is a hassle-free IFE solution which improves both passenger and crew experience on board” said Tanguy Morel.

Flymingo Box can be entirely monitored via a dedicated mobile application. Crew members can access a dashboard on their electronic device to oversee and control the service. The application allows for example flight attendants to view the Wi-Fi status, check the number of connected devices, and even receive orders.

Flymingo Crew Application is available on any electronic device, and has an Apple Watch version.

Flymingo Box : An Aircraft-Powered Device

Earlier in 2018, Interactive Mobility set up a partnership with a DOA partner to develop a new version of Flymingo Box as an aircraft-powered portable wireless solution, offering an option to connect to the aircraft power system.

This connected option for Flymingo Box, involves the bracing of the streaming unit in a certified cradle. Developed with Interactive Mobility’s engineering partner, which will be responsible for any required minor-mod certification and fitting of the combined cradle and power supply to Flymingo Box, the solution ensures the wireless device offers a solution that is cost-effective and flexible but that can also accommodate an airline’s appetite to ease operations significantly.

Interactive Mobility was selected to provide this new featured IFE equipment to four European airlines. Flymingo Box will be installed on thirty A320 and A321 aircrafts by mid 2019.

Interactive Mobility is attending the Aviation Festival in Singapore (27-28th Feb 2019) and will discuss these product developments at booth #B08.

VIDEO – How SkyLights is leveraging VR to transform the way you travel (brought to you in collaboration with Qualcomm and Alaska Airlines) 
“It’s a fantastic product. It’s the lightest, most stylish VR headset that I’ve ever seen on the market.”, David Scotland, Manager of inflight entertainment & connectivity, Alaska Airlines

Pictured above: The SmartSky & JetSuiteX team

SmartSky & JetSuiteX

JetSuiteX, the acclaimed air carrier that offers regular flights from private terminals at the cost of a commercial ticket, announced that it will become the first carrier to offer SmartSky Networks’ innovative inflight internet solution, which gives customers the ability to stream, email, transmit large data files, and text with speeds comparable to their experience on the ground. Alex Wilcox, Co-founder and CEO of JetSuiteX, announced the partnership at the APEX TECH event in Los Angeles, Calif. during his keynote address.
“After a rigorous selection process including my personal inflight evaluation, we chose SmartSky’s state-of-the-art, high-speed technology because it delivers the most compelling user experience,” said Wilcox.

“JetSuiteX believes in empowering its customers with extreme efficiency, already cutting significant time from the typical airport experience and earning it the highest Net Promoter Score of any air carrier in the world,” said Haynes Griffin, Chairman and CEO of SmartSky Networks. “Our role is to support JetSuiteX’s continued dominance as the industry’s leader of passenger satisfaction.”

The ground-based components of the SmartSky system are being deployed throughout the contiguous United States using a mix of 4G LTE and emerging 5G technologies, similar to some of the recent improvements in terrestrial cellular networks.

JetSuiteX plans to launch the service in late summer 2019 with a phased roll-out across their rapidly growing fleet.


APEX TECH Highlights

Day 1:
APEX Ad Delivery Working Group: The need for a standardized language regarding ad delivery and a glossary of terms was addressed during this meeting. Advertisers expect consistent analytics across platforms. Ad-ID, DSR Corporation, Google, Global Eagle IAB Tech Lab, Inadvia, Kantar Media, PXCom, and Touch Inflight were representatives on this panel.

Which Is the Right Codec to Use When? Video codec compresses digital video in order to fit a specific space-limited storage, think DVD as an example, then the file is decompressed for playback. It also facilitates efficient delivery of said file, either via broadcasting, the Internet, or an IFE system. Data is lost during the compression process, so new codecs continue to be introduced in an effort to reduce the loss of data. The Versatile Video Codec (VVC), which is a new advanced codec is under development. This group took an in depth look at the technical advantages and disadvantages of new distribution codecs, specifically with regard to how they pertain to the IFE industry.

0415 Part 2 Working Group Shares Updates on 4K Security Requirements: Established in June of 2018, the group has compiled a list of security requirements for handling 4K content. Definitions for content value and the related security standards for each were shared during this meeting. A new category for playing 4K content on PEDs was also introduced. Forensic watermarking (a digital signature that identifies the rightful owner while not being detected by the human eye) may be called for in the future.

IFE Content Delivery’s Journey to the Cloud: This panel focused on the various aspects of the IFE content workflow that could be processed via the cloud. One potential area that could benefit from cloud delivery is classic movies, which primarily have a fixed configuration, being called into rotation as needed.

Day 2:
Star Alliance Creating a Digital Travel Ecosystem: Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh opened the second day by introducing the audience to the digital services platform that is under development by their 28 airline members in an effort to make air travel among their alliance more seamless for the passenger. Mr. Goh stated that their organization has shifted their focus to digital technology and the customer experience. A digital services platform enables their partnership to share a vast amount of information with each other and their customers.

JetBlue & Biometric Boarding: JetBlue has boarded 8,000 passengers using biometric boarding since November 2018. The key to the high adoption rate is the passengers understanding of how the airline handles their data. Passengers must feel that their information is secure and that it isn’t stored. Ramki Ramaswamy, vice-president of IT, Technology and Integrations for JetBlue, indicated the airline hopes to test a biometric bag drop service before the year’s end.

Thinking of Air Travel as the “Fourth Place” in Our Lives: David Bartlett of Panasonic Avionics discussed the “fourth place” concept with Joe Leader. Traditionally, home, office and community have been viewed as the three pillars that define our lives, now Panasonic has introduced the concept of a fourth ecosystem – air travel, where the three begin to converge. Bartlett stated that the Panasonic open-platform facilitates collaboration with other technology providers, creating the fourth-place – think about the Wellness suite Panasonic debuted at APEX in Boston.

APEX Connectivity Working Group Invites Input to Help Define In-Flight Wi-Fi Quality: 12 months ago, this working group thought to standardize in-flight connectivity, now the Connectivity Working Group is focused on “defining how to best measure the passenger experience”. The group is also considering the definition of IFC service availability and is planning on introducing metrics to quantify the experience. There was a follow-up discussion on how other industries, like the mobile sector, measure connectivity performance. Bernd Knobe, managing director, P3 Aero Systems, discussed one option would be an application that could run on PEDs (either the flight crew or pax) that would gather onboard connectivity performance data, then upload it to the cloud for additional analysis.

Blockchain: Bet or Bust? This was a discussion between Joe Leader, APEX CEO and Jeffrey Goh, CEO, Star Alliance. Blockchain is an off-shoot of the financial industry and it stores a series/sequence of records in blocks that are secure and verifiable, over a network of computers. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency are the original application of the technology but there are opportunities for its application to the airline industry as well: frequent flyer programs, passenger management, and crew identity were a few mentioned. Goh stated that blockchain may be a way to deliver a better passenger experience. One application was that “blockchain could enable to creation of a redemption ecosystem within frequent flyer programs, with the possibility of purchasing products and services not only on airlines, but with third-party providers.”


THALES

Again in 2018, Thales was included in the Top 100 Global Innovators list published on 23 January by Clarivate Analytics. In the last eight years, Thales has appeared six times in this prestigious ranking, which recognizes the volume, success and influence of our patents. This achievement underlines the company’s commitment to innovating, protecting our ideas and bringing our inventions to market. The Thales portfolio, which includes more than 15,000 patents, is regularly adapted to operational requirements. In 2018, we filed almost 350 new patent applications.


SITA

Passengers departing from Miami International Airport to Munich on Lufthansa flight 461 can now board with the quick click of a camera instead of a boarding pass and passport, thanks to the airport’s launch of biometric exit technology last week. Through a partnership between MIA, Lufthansa, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and global air transport IT provider SITA, a simple photograph taken at Lufthansa’s boarding gate is used to confirm passengers’ identities and their authorization to travel. The facial recognition verification process takes less than two seconds with a 99-percent matching rate, according to CBP. MIA expects to launch biometric boarding with additional airlines this year. The launch of biometric exit at MIA follows the airport’s February 2018 opening of America’s first all-biometric entry facility at Concourse E, which screens all international arrivals via facial recognition. The facility, which has decreased processing times by as much as 80 percent for participating airlines, was chosen from among 80 nominations worldwide as the 2018 International Airport Review Award winner in the Passenger Experience and Seamless Travel category. SITA and MIA have already partnered on a number of innovative travel experience solutions, including Mobile Passport Control and MIA Airport Official, the airport’s mobile app.


AIRBUS

  • American Airlines took delivery of the first of 100 A321neos on order from Airbus, powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines. The aircraft, MSN8647, departed Hamburg early Friday for the trans-Atlantic ferry flight to Pittsburgh where American’s technicians will get the A321neo ready for customer flights.
  • Emirates – Airbus SE confirms it is in discussions with Emirates Airline in relation to its A380 contract. The details of Airbus’ commercial discussions with customers remain confidential.
  • Cybersecurity: Airbus SE detected a cyber incident on Airbus “Commercial Aircraft business” information systems, which resulted in unauthorized access to data. There is no impact on Airbus’ commercial operations. This incident is being thoroughly investigated by Airbus’ experts who have taken immediate and appropriate actions to reinforce existing security measures and to mitigate its potential impact, as well as determining its origins. Investigations are ongoing to understand if any specific data was targeted, however we do know some personal data was accessed. This is mostly professional contact and IT identification details of some Airbus employees in Europe. The company is in contact with the relevant regulatory authorities and the data protection authorities pursuant to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Airbus employees are being advised to take all necessary precautions going forward.

BOEING

Japan’sANA Holdings Inc said last week it would order at least 38 planes worth $4.33 billion from Boeing Co and Airbus, and buy a stake in Philippines Airlines’ parent PAL Holdings Inc to support its Asia growth strategy. The order, confirming earlier Reuters reports, is the first in Japan for the newest version of Boeing’s best-selling 737 family and comes at a time when the country is facing pressure from Washington to cut its trade surplus with the United States. It also raises the stakes in a battle for orders of the industry’s largest category of airliner, allowing Boeing to weaken a bridgehead held by its European rival Airbus in the narrowbody fleet of one of its most strategic customers. ANA had been the first airline from Japan to pick Airbus’ latest narrowbody aircraft five years ago. The airline, which saw its international revenue spike 11 percent in the December quarter compared with a 0.5 percent rise at home, also announced an investment of $95 million for a 9.5 percent stake in PAL in line with its Asia push, saying it was confident in the Philippines’ growth prospects. ANA’s purchase of 20 737 MAX jets is worth $2.3 billion, while its order for 18 A320neos is worth $2 billion at list prices. Airlines typically get large discounts. ANA said it had options for another 10 737 MAX, bringing the potential U.S. part of the deal to 30 aircraft. Boeing shares rose 0.5 percent with Airbus up 0.7 percent.

The world’s top planemakers have amassed thousands of orders for their narrowbody jets, with Boeing chipping away at its European rival’s recent lead. Earlier this month it poached Saudi budget carrier airline Flyadeal from Airbus, while Airbus won the last round of a prolonged battle over Vietnam’s VietJet. ANA’s mixed narrowbody fleet had previously been expected to shift to all-Airbus as older 737s were retired. Budget offshoot Peach, which will take the A320neos, has an all-Airbus fleet. Boeing dominates the count among ANA aircraft with more than 100 seats at 81 percent as of March 2018.

ANA’s rival Japan Airlines Co Ltd also operates a mostly Boeing fleet, giving the U.S. planemaker its most dominant position in any major aviation market.


OTHER NEWS

 

As promised, this week we have some predictions about this crazy industry, as well as, news and reported airplane deliveries for 2018. Included in the predictions section are a few that were submitted by several of our readers and we want to thank them for their contribution. Patricia Wiseman | Editor, Publisher & Co-Founder

2019 Predictions

1. If the US government shutdown continues for a marked length of time, the 2019 airplane travel growth in the USA could be poorer than anticipated with reduced profits. Obviously. travel will be more difficult, as well, while governmental security folks struggle to stay at work and somehow make a living. Here is a related quote from SKIFT on the anticipated passenger revenue prior to the shutdown: “We expect U.S. passenger revenue to reach $171.4 billion in 2019, up 2.6 percent from 2018.”

2. Climate changes driven by humans will no doubt increase the costs of flying due to worsening weather in various locations, greater weather change (both hot and cold), and reduced weather prediction accuracy/capability. Extreme weather just may finally effect flying and possibly travel costs will rise. In either case, extreme weather events are on the way! And yes, we probably can’t blame anyone but ourselves.

3. “The commercial aviation market will continue to see an increase in adoption of PED power for both line-fit and retrofit aircraft.  Airlines will personalize their offering between 110 Volt AC, USB Type A, USB Type C, and wireless charging.  Many airlines will install combinations of multiple charging options for the convenience of their customers.  With recent technological advancements, the PED Power systems are weighing less, taking less space, and lowering the total cost of ownership.” – Mike Hettich, VP, Cabin Electronics, Astronics AES

4. A massive incident of data fraud or theft will potentially cause an aviation incident, which will drive big changes in aviation security. And yes, Artificial Intelligence just might play a role in the solution. (What!? You don’t know what AI is? – What is AI? Everything you need to know about Artificial Intelligence | ZDNet)

5. With worldwide spying getting out of hand, the sale of “second use, plain” phones (aka “burner phones”) will take off for travelers. It may eventually apply to laptops as well.

6. “Enabled by the basic utilities of wireless data transmissions and easy power solutions, the aircraft cabin is becoming a huge playground for solutions we are not even thinking about yet.” – Unattributed

7. Watch for airlines to reduce meat offerings in food service as vegan and non-meat lifestyles affect offerings. And, it will save the airlines money too.

8.  “What this industry needs is a standard way for airlines to measure their passengers’ experience with the connectivity onboard – and this year our APEX Connectivity Working Group (CWG) will come through with that standard method.” – Rich Salter, IFEC Consultant, The Salter Group

9. Unfortunately rogue drones will continue to present a greater risk to aviation in troublesome flight areas. Watch for some new rules if/when these incidents continue to occur.

10. Quantum computing will be a big deal in aircraft design this year and in the future because of its ability to present and analyze more data on airflow issues.

11. “PED’s are making passengers more insular. Unless the airline is on there early and with several different touch points, any flight will be just a minor event on the huge network of the passenger’s connected lives.” – Unattributed

12. Fuel costs look to be more stable this year, hopefully helping airlines to retain profits. Of course, this assumes the the world remains sane about fuel and peace solutions.

13. Large scale cyber attacks to passengers are a huge potential. Watch out, a big change is coming and it may well be driven by an airline security breach of major proportions.

14. A big political change and disruption will cause troubles in the US that may affect many areas including aviation.

15. Lastly, the AVIATION SAFETY NETWORK reports there were 15 fatal airliner accidents (556 fatalities), or one fatal accident per 2,540,000 flights, in 2018 vs 10 (44 fatalities) in 2017, which was safest year ever.


NEWS

digEcor
On 18 January 2019, digEcor officially acquired the commercial In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) business from Collins Aerospace. The deal originated with Rockwell Collins, which was acquired by United Technologies in 2018.

The closing of this transaction, and digEcor’s integration with this significant business, marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for digEcor— now rebranded as Burrana.
“Burrana is an indigenous Australian word, meaning “to fly”, which aligns to our purpose of helping airlines create extraordinary passenger experiences,” said David Withers, Burrana CEO. “It is the history of innovation that is the common thread that binds these two organizations together as Burrana, and the main driver for the acquisition.” Withers continued. “This thread stretches back over 50 years to the Hughes Avicom and Sony Transcom days, when IFE was in its infancy, and the passenger experience came into focus for airlines. Then came the days of Microair Avionics radios and digEcor’s portable players, through today when the market demands innovative cabin technologies for their passengers – and this is where Burrana will deliver.”

The acquisition brings together the former Rockwell Collins’ PAVES family of seat back and overhead solutions, as well as PAVES On-demand, Total Entertainment System (TES), Enhanced Total Entertainment System (ETES) and content services, with digEcor’s GLIDE, Engage, Power, PSS and Lighting products. The combination will enable Burrana to now offer best-of-breed solutions for airlines seeking to deliver an extraordinary passenger experience.

Withers went on to say, “Burrana’s global employee base will deliver innovative cabin technologies reliably and affordably to the market, serving an installed base of more than 1,400 planes and 300 customers, positioning us as the #3 player in the IFE market – and we are not stopping there. We will achieve our vision of taking the passenger experience to the next level by collectively bringing the right new technology to market and leveraging our engineering expertise and proven ability to rapidly develop and certify new products. We pride ourselves on listening to our customers, understanding their vision and requirements and developing new solutions to deliver on these needs.”

JW Hill Capital, a Newport Beach, California-based private equity firm, supported digEcor in this transaction.


Thales
Thales invests 20% of its annual revenues in R&D. After the first Thales Media Days dedicated to cybersecurity, which is an essential component of the digital transformation, Thales is now demonstrating specific examples of the impact of Artificial Intelligence in decisive moments. The event isn’t being held in Montreal, Canada and simultaneously in France, the UK, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and the Middle East.

Since 2014, Thales has invested nearly 7 billion euros in digital technologies, particularly in the areas of connectivity, Big Data, cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Artificial Intelligence and its opportunities in the aerospace, space, ground transportation, defense and security sectors will be the theme of the second Thales Media Day event in Montreal.

Professor Yoshua Bengio, Founder and Scientific Director of MILA (Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms), and Patrice Caine, Chairman & CEO of Thales, will speak at this global event, which will be broadcasted live on the Group’s YouTube channel.


Inmarsat
Inmarsat, a leader in global mobile satellite communications, announced that its award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband solution is now available to passengers onboard Indonesian low-cost airline Citilink’s first aircraft. The milestone was achieved only six months after Inmarsat signed a contract with Mahata Aero Teknologi (MAT), an Indonesia wireless technology provider, to deploy GX Aviation across Citilink’s fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft, in partnership with Lufthansa Systems, Lufthansa Technik and GMF AeroAsia. GX Aviation is the world’s only global, high-speed inflight internet service, allowing Citilink passengers to browse the internet, stream content, check social media and more during flights free-of-charge using personal devices. Citilink will continue to rollout the service on their aircraft during 2019.

The fast-paced introduction of onboard connectivity is part of the airline’s efforts to offer passengers a modern, world-class onboard experience. Citilink, a subsidiary of Indonesian national airline Garuda, was named Asia’s Best LCC at the TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards 2018 and has a four-star rating by Skytrax.


Airbus
Acropolis Aviation of the UK has taken delivery of the first ACJ320neo, which features new-generation engines and Sharklets to deliver a leap forward in range and economy.
The aircraft will now undergo cabin-outfitting by AMAC in Basle, Switzerland, receiving a VVIP cabin designed by Alberto Pinto. Its current ACJ livery will also be replaced by Acropolis Aviation colors.

SMBC – Leading aircraft lessor SMBC Aviation Capital has boosted its total order book for the A320neo Family to 181 aircraft after signing a firm order for an additional 65 A320neo Family aircraft (15 A321neo and 50 A320neo). The order was finalized in 2018 and included in the year-end order figures. In addition the agreement includes an upsizing of 15 A320neo from a pre-existing order to 15 of the largest member of the single aisle, the A321neos, taking SMBC Aviation Capital’s total for the type to 30. With its unbeatable seat mile cost, longer range and wider cabin, the A321neo offers airlines the flexibility to expand their networks using wide-body cabin products on new longer haul routes which were not previously possible with a single aisle.

Here’s an Airbus/Facebook story you might want to read:
Facebook and Airbus hold secretive drone tests in the Australian bush – netzpolitik.org


Boeing
Boeing delivered the first of ten 787 Dreamliners to WestJet, marking the start of the airline’s global expansion. Having long operated a fleet of Boeing single-aisle jets, WestJet will use the super-efficient, long-range 787-9 Dreamliner to profitably serve new international routes. This spring, WestJet will use the 787-9 – the longest-range Dreamliner that can fly 7,635 nautical miles (14,140km) – to offer the first-ever flight connecting Calgary and Dublin. The airline will also offer non-stop Dreamliner service between Calgary and London Gatwick and Calgary and Paris. WestJet’s 787-9 will accommodate 320 passengers in a three-class configuration. The Dreamliner’s passenger-pleasing interior, which includes large windows, lower-cabin altitude and smooth-ride technology, complements WestJet’s all-new business cabin featuring the carrier’s first lie-flat seats.

In preparation for its new Dreamliners, WestJet recently added digital solutions powered by Boeing AnalytX, to optimize its operations. These include Airplane Health Management, which provides predictive analytics to optimize WestJet’s 787 fleet operations, as well as Toolbox, which delivers real-time information for technicians to quickly resolve maintenance issues and keep airlines on schedule.


Others News

  • Airline security breach big deal! Over 140 International Airlines Affected by Major Security Breach
  • Interested in the economy of airline seat sales? The Economics of Airline Class – YouTube And, here is the low cost airline story, How Budget Airlines Work – YouTube
  • Hey! Drones might now inspect your aircraft! Can Drones Be Good?
  • Sadly, Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch terminated its rocket engines and launcher programs. One story reader (marklincoln1@aol.com) in Aviation Week noted: “Paul Allen had a dream and money. He was willing to risk exploring that dream — The acquisition was a matter of profit and loss. Which viewpoint is correct? Perhaps neither. Or perhaps both.” That just about says it all.

Barcelona, Spain | January 22, 2019– Iberia Express, the first partner to launch Immfly’s Inflight Entertainment (IFE) & Digital Services platform, has released statistics showing how the partnership has positively impacted its Net Promoter Score (NPS).

In 2014, Immfly’s IFE and Digital Services platform was installed on the first Iberia Express aircraft, and launched with the name Club Express Onboard (CXO). The system has since installed in the full Iberia Express fleet.

Users of the system complete an online survey after the flight. Results from the past three years have been analyzed to provide insights into how Immfly’s platform has influenced the evolution of passenger satisfaction.

In 2016, Iberia Express asked passengers a general question to verify platform use and overall satisfaction with Immfly’s IFE and Digital Services platform. From the beginning, a significant share of respondents, 31.6%, gave the platform a top three score (scoring the service an 8, 9, or 10 out of 10), with a Perceived Level of Quality (PLQ) of 5.4 out of 10.

In marketing-speak, passengers giving the CXO system a Top 3 score are described as platform “fans”. Within 12 months, 2017 survey results showed platform fans were on the increase, up to 35.5%, and PLQ scoring rose to 5.8. The survey was also expanded to include questions on usability and content.

By 2018, the survey grew to include responses from over 10,000 passengers, and the positive trend in the share of highly satisfied platform fans continued, with 44.5% now giving Immfly’s platform top marks and PLQ reaching 6.1. In addition, both usability and content metrics saw significant percentage-point increases with differences of up to +15ppts in a single year, following continuous improvement efforts in partnership with Iberia Express. Perhaps most interestingly, the overall NPS of platform users is higher than those who don’t log into the platform, which is reflected in their positive qualitative feedback that flights seem shorter when they can enjoy a movie or keep up-to-date with daily news.

“Passengers are very happy with the increased content available on the platform, and their customer scores reflect that improvement. As a consequence, they are spending an average of 50 minutes per flight on the platform, an increase from the previous 30 minutes. In particular, our customers love the selection of films and TV shows”, added Paloma Cabañas, Head of Customer Experience and Inflight Services in Iberia Express.

“Our vision has always been to enhance our reputation as a world-class entertainment and services partner which is recognised for its innovation, dynamism and ability to customise the IFE experience” explained Julia Maruny, Head of Content at Immfly. ” We are constantly seeking new ways to break ground and introduce new entertainment formats to improve passenger satisfaction. Just recently we have added the new Sports channel in Iberia Express which has been well-received by the platform’s users” .

Our cover this week is a great shot of the new Boeing 777X which has a wingspan of 235 feet! However, the wing tips fold up on the 777X when landed to allow better access to existing airport ramps. And yes, some 2,000 orders and greater cabin width seating of the B777 series explains why many IFEC manufacturers are interested in the interior entertainment. Here is more on the plane: Sales flurry takes Boeing 777 past 2,000 orders

Next, we wondered about the presentation that Michael Childers made at CES last week, so we asked him and he told us a bit more about it. One of the key themes of this year’s CES in Las Vegas (January 8-11, 2019) was “Shaping the Future with Deep Data.” As you probably know, APEX Board Member and Technology Chair, Michael Childers, was a member of a panel on Wednesday, January 9, that dealt with the subject of data-driven technology and he told us: “As more and more elements of the travel experience are becoming automated, and biometrics even reduce personal engagement during boarding, airlines are faced with how to personalize the passenger experience with less personal engagement. The future of IFEC is in data-driven passenger engagement,” Childers told the assemblage. “Inflight entertainment selections are being increasingly driven by data analytics,” he said, “and the future of targeted advertising and e-commerce rely on the same databases. The difficulty is that that the needed data is captured incrementally over seven, eight or nine touch-points and are retained in silos that are not interconnected. So the challenge is to break down the silos and use the data to drive the experiences while respecting the GDPR rules that govern the use of personal data,” he said. Childers, who is Chief Consultant, Content & Media Strategy at Lufthansa Systems will be a keynote speaker on the same topic at the EyeforTravel Conference in San Francisco on March 14.

Editor’s Note: If you don’t know about “silos” you are in the same boat as us – so we asked him, and here is what Michael told IFExpress: “Silos” are simply data repositories. Data collected during ticketing, for example, is retained in a “Ticketing” database, but isn’t available for use elsewhere on the journey. I strongly believe that IFEC no longer stands alone but represents the passenger-facing component of a broader program of digital passenger engagement. We are moving toward an “engagement economy” supported by “engagement currencies.” As fewer airline employees are passenger-facing, the engagement with pax becomes digital, and the portal for that digital engagement is the IFEC system. Therefore, the challenge becomes one of increasing that engagement with personalization as one of the means. That personalization comes from data that we get from passengers through permissions management. Don’t be surprised if an airline comes up with its own Alexa or Siri, but one that communicates in text.”

On another note; if you noticed the IFEC BUZZ this week, Rich Salter is now a consultant (with a ton of industry experience, we might add) and if you need his help, send him a note at rsalter23@gmail.com.

Now, lets get to work!


PANASONIC
Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has appointed Kimberly Chainey as its General Counsel.
Ms. Chainey is a legal leader and corporate generalist with over 15 years experience advising senior executives of Fortune 500 companies, venture businesses and government entities. As chief legal officer and a member of the executive team, Chainey will advise Panasonic Avionics’ leadership on the company’s strategic direction.


GOGO
Gogo Inc., a global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced that as of December 31st, 2018, modifications to protect against de-icing fluid contamination on its 2Ku North American aircraft have achieved positive results. As a result of the success of the de-icing modifications, Gogo did not incur certain forecasted costs associated with further de-icing efforts in Q4 2018, and is raising its Adjusted EBITDA guidance to the high end of its previously announced range of $45 million to $60 million for the year 2018. As of December 31, 2018, Gogo had experienced no incidents of 2Ku system degradation on aircraft with Gogo’s recent de-icing modifications. Based on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data listing airports that have experienced de-icing activity, Gogo estimates that in 2018, aircraft with Gogo de-icing modifications flew more than 5,000 flights that had been de-iced. As of December 31, 2018, Gogo’s de-icing modifications had been installed on more than 675 aircraft, representing almost 97% of the installed North American fleet. While the vast majority of global de-icing activities occur in North America, Gogo will modify existing 2Ku installations on international aircraft as part of each airline’s maintenance program. All newly equipped 2Ku aircraft globally will include the de-icing modifications at the time of installation if requested by the airline. Availability across the entire Gogo 2Ku fleet was approximately 98% for the month of December, which compares to approximately 90% for the same period last winter. “On December 11, 2018, we announced zero incidents of 2Ku degradation on aircraft installed with Gogo’s recent de-icing modifications and we are pleased to announce that this success extended through the end of 2018,” said John Wade, president of Gogo’s Commercial Aviation division.


SITAONAIR
Rolls-Royce is the launch customer for SITAONAIR’s game-changing e-Aircraft DataHub – a new, state-of-the-art neutral aircraft data management service designed to bring significant, distinct benefits to airlines and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Today, harnessing aviation data represents the key to unlocking the untapped potential of modern aircraft. It is crucial to everything from minimizing airline maintenance costs and maximizing aircraft availability, to empowering manufacturers and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) teams to be at their most effective. However, several hurdles have hampered progress – including airlines’ reluctance to permit OEMs access to sensitive data, and the complexity of achieving timely and tailored secure data transfer and distribution to relevant parties.

SITAONAIR’s e-Aircraft DataHub overcomes these hurdles. As a secure, cloud-based aircraft data-brokering service, it enables airlines to share selected aircraft data from diverse fleets, aircraft models and formats with their chosen OEM, at no cost to the airline.


THALES
Marking the successful final launch to deploy the Iridium NEXT constellation, which occurred Friday, January 11, 2019, Thales announces it has signed Marlink and Speedcast to expand its official network of resellers for ThalesLINK satellite communications (satcom) solutions. These solutions enable connectivity for people anytime, anywhere with Iridium CertusSM. This visible commitment to Iridium Certus was also recently recognized by Iridium who dedicated satellite SV-125 to Thales for its role as a value added manufacturer in aviation, land and maritime markets.

  • Thales adds resellers to connect people at any moment, anywhere with Iridium CertusSM.
  • Marlink and Speedcast sign as certified resellers of ThalesLINK offering land and maritime mobile connectivity capabilities.
  • Iridium dedicates a satellite to Thales for its role as a value added manufacturer.

COLLINS AEROSPACE was selected by Norwegian to supply CabinConnect inflight connectivity solution for 787-9s and 737MAXs used for long-haul services; >50% of fleet is expected to be equipped by 2020 and Wi-Fi on MAX will begin in mid-January.


AIRBUS
Delta Air Lines has ordered 15 additional A220 aircraft, bringing to 90 the total of the new generation, highly fuel-efficient jetliners the world’s second-largest airline has on order. The additional orders are the airline’s first for the -300 model. Delta also converted earlier A220 orders to the larger -300, bringing to 50 the number of A220-300s on order.
Delta placed its initial order for 75 aircraft in 2016. Airbus will produce the A220-300s at a new U.S. assembly facility in Mobile, Alabama. Construction of the plant, to be located adjacent to the existing Airbus A320 assembly facility, will begin later in January. The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market; it delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and true widebody comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least 20 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. With a range of up to 3,200 nm (5920 km), the A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft. With an order book of more than 500 aircraft to date, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market estimated to represent at least 7,000 aircraft over the next 20 years.

A220 – The newest addition to the Airbus family of commercial aircraft, the A220, has received 180-minute extended operations (ETOPS*) approval from the Canadian civil aviation authority, Transport Canada. This achievement paves the way for A220 customers to start new direct non-limiting routings over water, remote or underserved regions.
The A220 is the first commercial airliner to obtain domestic ETOPS certification from Transport Canada. This capability is available as an option for A220-100 and A220-300 operators, enabling them to fly for up to 180-minutes from the nearest diversion airport.


BOEING
Embraer and Boeing have welcomed approval by the Government of Brazil of the strategic partnership that will position both companies to accelerate growth in global aerospace markets. The government’s approval comes after the two companies last month approved terms for the joint venture that will be made up of the commercial aircraft and services operations of Embraer. Boeing will hold an 80 percent ownership stake in the new company and Embraer will hold the remaining 20 percent. The companies have also agreed to the terms of another joint venture to promote and develop new markets for the multi-mission medium airlift KC-390. Under the terms of this proposed partnership, Embraer will own a 51 percent stake in the joint venture, with Boeing owning the remaining 49 percent. Once Embraer’s Board of Directors ratifies its prior approval, the two companies will then execute definitive transaction documents. The closing of the transaction will be subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. Assuming the approvals are received in a timely manner, the transaction is intended to close by the end of 2019.


OTHER NEWS

Currently serving passengers on 10 aircraft, and expanding to 39 in April  

Dunfermline, UK | January 14, 2019–Following a trial in late 2018, Jeju Air is now set to deploy Bluebox Wow portable wireless IFE across its fleet of Boeing B737-800s. The new IFE service is currently offered free to passengers on board 10 aircraft, with the total deployment increasing to 39 aircraft in April 2019. Bluebox Wow is currently entertaining passengers flying between Incheon airport and destinations such as: Bangkok, Guam, Saipan, Vientiane, Hong Kong, Macau, Kota Kinabalu and Da Nang.

“We are excited to welcome Jeju Air to the growing list of airlines flying with Bluebox Wow,” said Kevin Clark, CEO, Bluebox. “We’ve watched as Jeju Air has expanded its reach across Asia and how they innovate in so many areas, so it is an honour to be part of their growth story, and more importantly, that they’ve put their trust in Bluebox to enhance their passenger experience on board.”
Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games and other digital content, accessed through any web browser. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, Bluebox Wow is a discrete, portable, lunchbox-sized unit stowed securely in overhead bins.
Bluebox Wow also now boasts the coveted “KC Mark” as all electrical and electronic products entering South Korea are subject to KC Certification, a mandatory scheme which verifies safety as well as Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and Radio Frequency (RF) requirements.

We recently rang in the New Year and are now embarking on adventures in technology in the IFEC realm. 2019 promises to be an interesting one, technologically speaking, for our industry with more aircraft installations of high quality Wi-Fi, satcom and broadband further enabling the passengers and the airlines expectations of the connected journey. With each installation airlines are changing the way their passengers perceive the flying experience and how they use their time en route. We live in exciting times and it will be interesting to see what 2019 has in store for us!

Next week, we will be focusing on some predictions related to our industry and the technologies influencing it, as well as, what we may expect from it in the coming 12 months. As always, we want to thank you, our loyal readers, for continuing to endorse IFExpress – we couldn’t do it without you!

Lastly, the news doesn’t stop during the Holiday Season, so we have included some hyperlinks to some highlights that happened over the past few weeks for  your perusal!

Releases:

Other News:

Bluebox Wow to be deployed on new Embraer E190-E2 aircraft and Airbus A320s serving domestic and regional routes

Dunfermline, UK | December 20, 2018–The impressive snow leopard livery on Air Astana’s new Embraer E190-E2 wasn’t providing the only wow-factor at the special celebratory launch event at Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport last Friday. The aircraft was also equipped with Bluebox Wow portable wireless IFE boxes which have been selected by the airline to deliver in-flight entertainment to Air Astana passengers on the new aircraft – a first for the new E190-E2.

“All of us at Air Astana are pleased to receive our first E190-E2, and we look forward to a smooth entry into service and a simple transition for our pilots. We know Embraer’s E-Jets well, and have high expectations for their new generation aircraft in terms of economics, environmental impact, and levels of comfort and convenience for our customers,” said Peter Foster, President and CEO of Air Astana.

“I was delighted to be in Astana taking part in the launch of Air Astana’s new E190-E2 aircraft – and have been keen to share the news of another Bluebox IFE innovation Air Astana is delivering for its passengers,” said David Brown, Business Development Director, Bluebox. “As a provider of IFE solutions to Air Astana for nearly a decade, we are proud of our role in the evolution of their award-winning passenger experience story, and the launch of another first for the industry – portable wireless IFE on the new E190-E2 aircraft.”

Bluebox Wow will not only be deployed on Air Astana’s five new E190-E2s as they come into service, but also in business class on five Airbus A320s in February 2019. Though this is the first wireless IFE deployment for Bluebox with the airline, Air Astana have been a Bluebox customer since 2009, currently using Bluebox Ai iPads in business class on their Airbus A320, A321, Boeing B757 and Embraer E190 aircraft. With the addition of Bluebox Wow on Air Astana’s A320s, the 850 Bluebox Ai iPads will be upgraded to Bluebox Hybrid, to enable access to both pre-loaded early window content and additional streamed content. The Bluebox Hybrid devices will also be able to connect to existing fixed wireless systems deployed in the Air Astana fleet, offering additional content to business class passengers on those aircraft as well.

Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games and other digital content, accessed through any web browser. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, Bluebox Wow is a discrete, portable, lunchbox-sized unit stowed securely in overhead bins.

Air Astana took delivery of its first of five E190-E2 aircraft on 3 December. The aircraft arrived from Brazil featuring special Air Astana “Snow Leopard” livery, intended to draw attention to the threat of extinction faced by this large wild cat, which is a native of the mountain ranges in southern Kazakhstan. Air Astana has also donated US$10,000 / Tenge 3,800,000 to Kazakhstan’s Wildlife Without Borders Fund, which is taking urgent action to protect the diminishing numbers of Snow Leopards in the country.

Air Astana currently operates a fleet of nine E190s on domestic and regional services within Kazakhstan and Central Asian countries, with the first aircraft having entered service in 2011. The E190-E2s will replace older Embraer E190s in Air Astana’s fleet, which also includes Airbus A320 family aircraft and Boeing 767-300ERs and 757-200s. While the E190-E2 is the same size as its predecessor – fitted out in a 2-2 configuration accommodating up to 114 passengers – the new jet offers significant reductions in various fuel and MRO-related costs in addition to improved environmental credentials.


This is the last edition of IFExpress for 2018 and it is a big one! There was a lot happening over the past 7 days, so let’s dig in.

Boeing

Boeing, COMAC, 737MAX:
Boeing and joint venture partner Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd (COMAC) celebrated the delivery of the first airplane from the new 737 Completion and Delivery Center in Zhoushan, China. (See rectangle) Air China received the first plane, marking a new era in Boeing’s partnership with the Chinese aviation industry. Delivery of the first MAX 8, assembled in Renton, Washington and completed in China, comes 20 months after construction began at the 100-acre site.

Boeing 737 MAXs for Chinese airlines will be flown from Seattle to Zhoushan, where the joint Boeing-COMAC Completion Center will complete interior work on the airplanes. The statement of work will gradually expand to include painting with the addition of three paint hangers.  Once completed, airplanes will move to the adjacent Boeing-operated delivery center for customer acceptance activities and delivery formalities.

The facility, which covers 666,000 sq ft in total, is designed to support the entire 737 MAX family of airplanes, from the long-range MAX 7 to the high-capacity MAX 10.  With about one third of all 737 deliveries going to Chinese customers, the Zhoushan facility will enable Chinese airline customers to update and expand their fleets with the most technologically-advanced Boeing single-aisle airplanes available. In addition, the business and the partnerships Boeing is developing in China are integral to adding capacity and aerospace jobs in the U.S China is on course to become the largest commercial aviation market in the world.  Boeing’s latest Commercial Market Outlook forecasts that China will need 7,680 new airplanes worth $1.2 trillion USD over the next 20 year and another $1.5 trillion USD in commercial services to support the country’s growing fleet of airplanes.

787th Dreamliner:
Boeing  delivered the 787th 787 Dreamliner to come off the production line, marking a special milestone for the super-efficient airplane family and the fastest-selling twin-aisle jet in history. Since its first delivery in September, 2011, the 787 family has flown nearly 300 million passengers on more than 1.5 million flights around the world, including more than 210 new nonstop routes made possible by the airplane’s superior fuel efficiency and range. The airplane was delivered to AerCap, the world’s largest lessor and 787 customer. Sporting a special logo commemorating the production milestone, the airplane will be leased and operated by China Southern, which continues to expand its long-haul fleet of 787 Dreamliners, including 10 787-8s and eight 787-9s. China Southern Airlines first ordered 10 787-8 Dreamliners in 2005 and further increased its capability on long-haul routes when they placed an order for 787-9s in 2016. The 787s have enabled the airline to launch a number of non-stop global routes, connecting Guangzhou to London and Rome in Europe; Vancouver, British Columbia, in North America; and Perth, Auckland, and Christchurch in the Oceania region.

ELG:
Boeing and ELG Carbon Fibre announced a partnership to recycle excess aerospace-grade composite material, which will be used by other companies to make products such as electronic accessories and automotive equipment. The agreement – the first of its kind for the aerospace industry – covers excess carbon fiber from 11 Boeing airplane manufacturing sites and will reduce solid waste by more than one million pounds a year. Carbon-fiber reinforced material is extremely strong and lightweight, making it attractive for a variety of uses, including in building the super-efficient 787 Dreamliner and the all-new 777X airplane. As the largest user of aerospace-grade composites from its commercial and defense programs, Boeing has been working for several years to create an economically viable carbon fiber reuse industry. The company improved its production methods to minimize excess and developed a model for collecting scrap material. But technical barriers stood in the way of repurposing material that had already been “cured” or prepped for use in the airplane manufacturing process. UK-based ELG developed a proprietary method to recycle “cured” composites so they do not have to be thrown out.

To prove that the recycling method can be applied on a grand scale, Boeing and ELG conducted a pilot project where they recycled excess material from Boeing’s Composite Wing Center in Everett, Wash., where the massive wings for the 777X airplane are made. ELG put the excess materials through treatment in a furnace, which vaporizes the resin that holds the carbon fiber layers together and leaves behind clean material. Over the course of 18 months, the companies saved 1.5 million pounds of carbon fiber, which was cleaned and sold to companies in the electronics and ground transportation industries. Based on the success of the pilot project, Boeing says the new agreement should save a majority of the excess composite material from its 11 sites, which will support the company’s goal to reduce solid waste going to landfills 20 percent by 2025.

Boeing and ELG are considering expanding the agreement to include excess material from three additional Boeing sites in Canada, China and Malaysia. As a result of the partnership, ELG estimates the number of its employees will nearly triple from 39 in 2016 to an expected 112 by the end of 2019 as the recycling market continues to expand.

Embraer:
Boeing and Embraer have approved to the terms of a strategic partnership that would position both companies to accelerate growth in global aerospace markets. The approved terms define the joint venture comprising the commercial aircraft and services operations of Embraer, in which Boeing will hold an 80 percent ownership stake and Embraer will hold the remaining 20 percent. The transaction remains subject to approval by the Government of Brazil, after which Embraer and Boeing intend to execute definitive transaction documents. The closing of the transaction will then be subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. Under the terms of the proposed partnership, Boeing will acquire an 80 percent ownership stake in the joint venture for $4.2 billion. The partnership is expected to be neutral to Boeing’s earnings per share in 2020 and accretive thereafter. Estimated annual pre-tax cost synergies of approximately $150 million are anticipated by the third year of operations.


Gogo

Gogo, a global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced that modifications to its 2Ku installations on North American aircraft to protect against de-icing fluid contamination have achieved positive results. Gogo is providing an update on the performance of its 2Ku system in order to respond to investor inquiries stemming from recent significant winter storm activity, including Diego, which occurred just this past weekend.

As of December 10, Gogo had experienced no incidents of 2Ku system degradation on aircraft installed with Gogo’s recent de-icing modifications. Based on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data listing airports that have experienced deicing activity, Gogo estimates that aircraft with Gogo deicing modifications have been de-iced prior to 2,601 flights so far this winter. And as of December 10, Gogo’s de-icing modifications had been installed on more than 600 aircraft, representing almost 95% of the Company’s North American fleet. While the vast majority of global de-icing activities occur in North America, Gogo will modify existing 2Ku installations on international aircraft as part of each airline’s maintenance program. All newly equipped 2Ku aircraft globally will include the de-icing modifications at the time of installation.As of December 10, 2018, 2Ku availability across the entire Gogo 2Ku fleet was approximately 98% month to date, as compared to 92% for the same period last winter.


Thales

Singapore Airlines is known globally for its high standards of service and cabin experience. The airline has been awarded the internationally acclaimed five-star rating from Skytrax and was recognized by the organization in 2018 as the ‘World’s Best Airline” for the fourth time, operating a modern passenger fleet of more than 100 aircraft. For the upcoming fleet of A350-900 medium haul aircraft, Singapore Airlines has entrusted Thales to sustain their brand promise of improving service excellence, retaining competitive advantage and continuing to meet and exceed customer expectations. This new fleet of aircraft will be equipped with Thales’s AVANT IFE system, featuring an innovative and personalized user experience uniquely designed for Singapore Airlines. The 40 Business Class passengers will enjoy 17” High Definition touch screen monitors with a complementing handset that operates similarly to a consumer smart phone, enabling passengers to use it as a secondary device to control the seatback monitor. The 263 Economy Class seats will feature the latest 11.6” touchscreen monitors. The sleek and lightweight design of AVANT provides travelers an exceptional inflight experience with Singapore Airlines’ vast choice of entertainment. The IFE solution is designed with a new Signature user interface that is unique to Singapore Airlines, and offers a more intuitive user experience with new additional navigational options.

Some key features on AVANT include:

  • Media Filter: This enables passengers to efficiently locate desired media by filtering content through the various categories, genres, languages and available flight duration;
  • Flight Info Map: When enjoying movies or TV shows, passengers are able to concurrently bring up flight info without exiting the media player; and,
  • Air Mouse (available in Business Class): The touch screen handset functions as a remote control by directing the onscreen cursor on the seatback monitor.

Airbus

FLY YOUR IDEAS:
Airbus selected 51 international student teams to go into round two of its sixth Fly Your Ideas global challenge. Students were invited to innovate in six key areas covering Electrification, Data Services, Cyber Security, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality.

PEOPLE:
Airbus SE appointed Philippe Mhun, 56, as Chief Programmes and Services Officer for Airbus Commercial Aircraft, effective 01 January 2019. Mhun, currently Head of Customer Services at Airbus, will succeed EVP Head of Programmes Didier Evrard, 65, who retires around the turn of the year after 41 years associated with Airbus, 20 of those in top management positions.

ACIC:
Airbus China Innovation Centre (ACIC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Royole Technology – a global pioneer in flexible displays, flexible sensors and foldable smartphones. The two parties will collaborate to develop applications that implement flexible electronic technologies in cabin environments and investigate the possibilities for commercial cooperation. Airbus has been dedicated to design and manufacture aircraft that provide a better cabin experience for passengers. By investigating the use of flexible displays and flexible sensors in the cabin, Airbus plans to cooperate with Royole Technology by building a futurized, digitalized and personalized cabin to further improve the cabin environment, cabin safety and energy saving. Based in Shenzhen, Airbus China Innovation Centre is the first Innovation Centre set up by Airbus in Asia. Its mission is to fully leverage local advantages including innovative talents, partners and the eco-system, and combine this with Airbus’ expertise in aerospace to explore breakthroughs in technologies, business models and new growth opportunities. ACIC is now fully operational with the official office opening ceremony due to take place in early 2019.

AVOLON:
Dublin, Ireland-headquartered aircraft lessor Avolon firmed up an order for 75 A320neos and 25 A321neos. The agreement is the single largest order for Airbus aircraft ever placed by Avolon. The agreement takes Avolon’s cumulative orders with Airbus to 284 aircraft (240 single-aisles and 44 widebody aircraft) including the A321neo, the A330neo and the A350 XWB. The new order for 100 aircraft, together with the 22 single-aisles and four wide-bodies already delivered, increases Avolon’s Airbus backlog to 258, the largest of any lessor. Featuring the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky, the efficient A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver more than 15 percent fuel and CO2 savings from day one and 20 percent by 2020 as well as 50 percent noise reduction. With more than 6,200 orders received from over 100 customers, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent of the market.

ANA:
The first A380 for All Nippon Airways (ANA) rolled out of the Airbus paint shop in Hamburg, Germany, bearing the airline’s distinctive and unique Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle livery. ANA has firm orders for three A380s, becoming the first customer for the superjumbo in Japan. The airline will take delivery of the first A380 at the end of Q1 2019 and will operate the aircraft on the popular leisure Narita-Honolulu route. The three ANA A380s will be painted in a special livery depicting sea turtles which are native to Hawaii. The first aircraft is blue, the second will be green and the third orange. The ANA A380 livery is one of the most elaborate ever painted by Airbus. It took 21 days for the Airbus team to paint a surface of 3,600m2 using 16 different shades of color.The aircraft will now have completion of its cabin and enter a final phase of ground and flight tests in Hamburg, during which all cabin systems will be thoroughly tested, including air flow and air conditioning, lighting, galleys, lavatories, seats and in-flight entertainment. In parallel, Airbus will also undertake advanced aircraft performance tests before it flies back to Toulouse for preparation of its delivery and ferry flight. As one of the world’s most prestigious airlines, ANA will be able to benefit from the A380’s proven operating economics and unrivaled passenger appeal. Offering more personal space than any other aircraft, the A380 is the most efficient solution to meeting growth on the world’s most heavily traveled routes, carrying more passengers with fewer flights at lower cost and emissions. At the end of November, Airbus has delivered 232 A380s, with the aircraft now in service with 14 airlines worldwide.

MJET:
MJet GmbH of Austria became the first ACJ319 operator to sign up for Skywise, enabling it to integrate its own operational, maintenance, and aircraft data into the Skywise platform. MJet will store, access, manage, and analyze selected Airbus data together with its own data and global benchmarks without the need for additional infrastructure investments. This service will provide MJet new insights at aircraft, company and global level while allowing it to enhance its operations by improving operational reliability, reducing operational interruptions and identifying efficiencies, cost savings and enhanced revenue opportunities. MJet will share its Airbus operating-data and in return access the platform to benefit from other A319 operators’ aggregate aircraft reliability fleet data. MJet will also work with Airbus to further develop product and support services specifically for ACJ operators.

Skywise provides all users with a single access-point for their enriched data by bringing together aviation data from multiple sources, across the industry, into one secure platform. The more data that airlines share into the Skywise platform, the more accurate the predictions and models for all connected. All data is anonymized to ensure data confidentiality. More than 190 Airbus corporate jets are in service around the world, flying on every continent, including Antarctica.


FlightPath3D
Interactive 3D moving map company, FlightPath3D has secured its landmark 50th airline customer in five years, in the form of All Nippon Airways (ANA), which will make the system available across its fleet. (Editor’s Note: Boris Bubresko noted: “Our next FlightPath3D map implementation will be on our Wi-Fi solution and to our customer’s personal device.”)


Other News

INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a leader in global mobile satellite communications, has been named ‘World’s Leading Inflight Internet Service Provider’ for the second year in a row at the World Travel Awards. The prestigious accolade was announced at a gala ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal last weekend, following a vote by travel and tourism executives across the world, who were impressed by Inmarsat’s continued success in transforming the airline passenger experience with game-changing inflight broadband solutions.

Inmarsat has pioneered a major step-change in inflight connectivity with its next-generation offerings, including its GX Aviation solution with seamless, high-speed global coverage, and the European Aviation Network (EAN), which offers unprecedented performance over Europe’s congested skies by combining satellite coverage with a complementary ground network. Both solutions enable passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more, with onboard connectivity comparable to what they receive on the ground.

More than 1,400 aircraft are currently expected under signed contracts for GX Aviation and EAN, with a new business pipeline of approximately 3,000 aircraft worldwide. Airline customers include Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, British Airways, AirAsia, Singapore Airlines, Norwegian, Avianca, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the World Travel Awards are considered the global hallmark of industry excellence, rewarding and celebrating excellence across all key sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors.

As well retaining the World Travel Award for ‘World’s Leading Inflight Internet Service Provider’, Inmarsat has received a number of other significant accolades for its inflight Wi-Fi services this year. These include the Inflight Middle East ‘Connectivity Enablement’ Award for GX Aviation and the prestigious German Innovation Award for EAN. In addition, EAN was a finalist in the Crystal Cabin Awards at Aircraft Interiors Exhibition (AIX) earlier this year.


AERKOMM

Aerkomm Inc. announced that through its wholly owned subsidiary, Aircom Pacific, Inc. (Aircom Pacific), it has begun developing a new and innovative Ka-band solution for the provision of broadband voice and high-speed internet access for passengers in Airbus ACJ319s, ACJ320s and ACJ321s – as well as Airbus’ airline commercial aircraft equivalents. Called Aerkomm K++, the solution will offer a broadband rate of 20 Megabits/sec experience per passenger. It combines Aircom Pacific equipment – based on a low-profile antenna – with a retrofit installation designed and implemented by Airbus to EASA and FAA certification standards, which will also be validated by China CAAC. Aerkomm K++ will provide worldwide coverage including, specifically, within China for Chinese registered aircraft. (You might want to read this link as well: AirCom Pacific Gains Momentum in IFEC Regional Business – Via Satellite -)


SKYLIGHTS

SkyLights announced it has partnered with new air wellness company Mataki Group to bring fear-of-flying relaxation videos to its Allosky VR Inflight Entertainment (IFE) catalog. Guided by airline pilot and flight-phobia expert Mathieu Leroy, the videos walk passengers through a program specifically designed to counter flying anxieties felt by around 43% of passengers.

SkyLights, the market leader in immersive IFE, announced it is adding fear-of-flying relaxation videos from new air wellness company Mataki Group to its Allosky VR IFE catalog. The videos are aimed to address the 43% of people that feel either ‘quite’ or ‘very’ worried about flying, as recorded by a UK survey. In the videos, Mathieu Leroy, an aircraft pilot and flight-phobia expert, draws on human factor and neuroscience techniques to put passengers at ease during their flight and educate them about flying, turbulence and flight safety.

Over the past 13 years, Leroy, Mataki Group founder, has been flying Airbus A320s and Boeing 777s for Air France, while also contributing to its Stress-Less-Flying center as a human factor’s expert. Through specialized seminars, he has leveraged his expertise to help hundreds of passengers tackle their fear of flying. In founding Mataki Group, he aims to enhance passenger wellness and help airlines attract the estimated 500 million people that refuse to fly as a result of their phobia.

“The conscious brain processes around 7 pieces of information every second, the majority of which comes from visual stimuli with audio coming in a close second. Thanks to the immersive environment created by SkyLights’ Allosky headset coupled with noise-cancelling headphones we have the fantastic opportunity to leverage all of this sensory input to diffuse flight anxieties in a highly effective way.”, said Mathieu Leroy, Mataki Group’s CEO

“Leveraging the immersive capacity of the Allosky headset to help passengers escape the cabin and relieve their flight phobia makes all the sense in the world. Mataki Group’s content will improve the flying experience for so many people and we are delighted to make it part of our new air wellness category.”, said David Dicko, SkyLights’ CEO.

The addition of Mataki Group’s content comes as part of SkyLights’ strategy to further diversify its catalog to offer greater choice and customization to its airline customers. Today, SkyLights’ catalog consists of over 200 hours of content, covering 2D and 3D Hollywood blockbusters as well as short travel, wellness and forward-facing 360° content.


ATMOSPHERE

ATMOSPHERE has announced that it is part of a team awarded a prestigious Group Achievement Award by NASA for ground-breaking research into interval management.

ATMOSPHERE’s crucial contribution was the software used to create traffic and situation awareness, called PLANET. It used inflight connectivity to transmit ADS-B data from the three test aircraft and all surrounding aircraft, creating a real-time display of aircraft position, all relevant information about that aircraft, location of airspace and route structures, as well as weather and wind conditions.

The most critical use of PLANET was by the Flight Test Director, who was aboard one of the aircraft and had the responsibility of coordinating the correct sequence of test runs between the three aircraft and the air traffic control facilities.

Brian Baxley, the NASA Principal Investigator of the experiment, said, “Without the real-time and constant traffic and situation awareness that PLANET provided, the Flight Test Director could not have conducted the flight test in the safe and efficient manner that it was.”

The PLANET display was also used aboard all three aircraft by flight crew and researchers, and in the flight test coordination room set up at a Boeing Commercial Aircraft facility. Additionally, it was used by observers at NASA Langley and Ames Research Centers, as well as the NASA and FAA Headquarters during the two-month flight test campaign.


INTERVAL RESEARCH

The premise for the interval management research was to study new methods to enable the expected doubling of aircraft passengers within the next twenty years. The current air traffic management process is very manually intensive and relies on less accurate radar data, a technology that originated in the 1940s.

Interval management uses more precise ADS-B data from nearby aircraft to allow avionics in the cockpit to automatically calculate the speed needed to achieve and then maintain a set spacing interval behind the previous aircraft. This spacing interval is assigned by the controller, and varies based on traffic density, type of aircraft, and the speed of the aircraft.

The result is that controllers can space aircraft more precisely at a safe and efficient interval, thereby increasing the number of landing slots available at the runway, and reducing the need for additional fuel consumption. Ultimately, it improves the passenger experience by reducing delays, particularly when traffic is very heavy, or during bad weather.


GOGO

Gogo Inc. announced the closing of its approximately $238 million offering of 6.00% convertible senior notes due in May 2022. Under the terms of the transaction, Gogo effectively extended the maturity of approximately $200 million of its outstanding convertible senior notes from March 2020 until May 2022. Approximately $162 million in convertible senior notes due 2020 remain outstanding.


OFCOM/INMARSAT

The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in London handed down its judgment dealing with ViaSat’s challenge to Ofcom’s January 2018 authorization of Inmarsat’s UK complementary ground component (CGC) forming part of Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN). The Tribunal comprehensively found in favour of Ofcom and Inmarsat and determined that all of ViaSat’s arguments failed. On that basis, the Tribunal dismissed ViaSat’s case. The CGC authorization granted by Ofcom to Inmarsat for the EAN system remains in full force and effect.

Inmarsat was awarded the S-Band frequencies enabling the roll-out of the EAN system through the first (and so far the only) pan-European spectrum award procedure. That procedure was managed by the European Commission through an open and transparent selection mechanism. Inmarsat competed with other bidders and was ultimately selected as one of the two winners.

Inmarsat has spent hundreds of millions of pounds as well as significant human capital and years of hard work to deploy the EAN state-of-the art integrated platform. The EAN system is made of two components, namely a satellite (which was launched in July 2017) and a network of about 300 ground towers deployed across the European continent. In order to operate the EAN, Inmarsat needs certain national authorizations, including in particular CGC authorizations. Ofcom granted the UK CGC authorization to Inmarsat in 2018 and ViaSat challenged that authorization before the CAT.


OTHER NEWS

BOSE QuietControl 30

This week we thought our readers needed a rest from show news so we start off IFExpress with a review about a clever and great new set of earphones from BOSE that use Bluetooth to interact with your personal electronic device and provide the ability to manipulate the level of noise cancellation, depending on the need and circumstances. Lets get started with the latest earphones from the BOSE folks:

They are called “quiet control” for a reason, but we will get to that later. What you probably want to hear right off is: How was the sound? To get that out of the way, the sound was incredible, and by sound, we mean audio quality, we mean wide dynamic range, treble clarity, and bass smoothness and “punch”. Again, as BOSE always does, their QuietControl 30’s are wonderful sound devices and one of “the” most important things to take on an airplane if you want to listen to your own music, carry a lightweight device, while using the smallest sound product. To clear up the differences between the carry-on BOSE products we have reported on, see the following list:

Headphones:

BOSE QC 3 – Wired Noise Cancelling

BOSE QC 35 – Wired/Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling

Earphones:

BOSE QuietComfort 20 – Acoustic Noise Cancelling (wired)

BOSE QuietControl 30 – Wireless Bluetooth Adjustable Noise Cancelling

The one airplane mode that you should be aware of is the ability of your headphones/earphones to physically plug into the aircraft audio system jack. This permits you to not only listen to your devices, it allows the listening of the aircraft audio system as well. However, if you want to listen to both, you can bring along you BOSE QC 35 Headphones or the BOSE QC 20 Earphone. And if you just want to listen to your device’s music on Bluetooth, you can use either the BOSE QC 35 or the BOSE QuietComfort 20 earphones or the BOSE QuietControl 30 earphones (neckband) wireless device, and that is the unit we want to discuss today.

First, if you are not into wires and cabling to your devices, then a Bluetooth solution is for you. We have tested this device on a plane, inside the house while working, and outside while car cleaning and the QC 30 is a dream. As we said, two features stand out: no wires and an adjustable outside noise control. This feature is really of value if you need to hear external noise or even voices. The value of not removing you earphones is obvious – when you are in public adjustable external audio control is a real advantage. And no, we did not use them while driving!

All the BOSE audio earphones and headphones have excellent audio capability and we wanted to note one other thing. With the terrific audio reproduction, it is easy to focus on the sound reproduction and the “new” high and low sounds in your existing music. So much so that while recently waxing our car, the job was not seemingly as long or that repetitive. We guess that while improved listening is very pleasant, it keeps your mind off work and interruption. You can also control how much of the external environment you want to hear and with no wires below the neckband, you don’t tangle your hands or tools in them. Never again will a car be waxed here without the BOSE QC 30 earphones!

The unit does feature a 10 hour battery and noise reduction and great audio were working fine after the 6 hours we tested them. We think if you like to walk, the adjustable noise cancellation is of great value. While where we live auto traffic is limited, in general, cars are a safety problem and adjustable external volume/noise cancellation can be of great value while walking down a road. Actually, it is a safety issue too. The QC 30’s have a precise arrangement of microphones inside and outside the earbuds to continuously measure external noise. The system produces an equal and opposite noise signal to cancel it. Also, the new seal tips are very comfortable and really limit outside noise – the noise cancellation is adjusted by the user and external hearing adjustment if really obvious.

We should also note that the software app easily loaded on our phone and it worked perfectly with the earphones. And the “voice” of the assistant really helps the installation and use process.

The Bose QC 30 is a great product if you don’t want wires and desire to listen to something transmitted around you (like a flight crew announcement), yet listen to your music while reducing the amount of outside noise, this is the way to go. Further, if you move or exercise while using them you can still hear others in the gym. But more importantly, our walking has increased and we can hear cars and external noise. We look forward to using them on our upcoming trips!


INDUSTRY NEWS:

Panasonic
TRT World has teamed up with Panasonic Avionics, the worldwide leader in inflight entertainment and connectivity, to launch in-flight broadcasting. The service is being broadcast via satellite to specially-equipped aircraft. TRT World, the international news platform launched in 2015 and headquartered in Istanbul, offers an alternative viewpoint on global and domestic events, challenging perceived narratives and providing a new perspective on news. With this agreement with Panasonic, TRT World will extend its reach to passengers on airlines around the world.

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), the world leader in inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) provides in-flight connectivity and infotainment content for over 80 connectivity customers around the world. This partnership enables Panasonic to extend TRT World’s live broadcast to many of the world’s leading international carriers, including Turkish Airlines.

“It is important to stay informed and up-to-date on world events. Passengers tune in to different outlets for news and it’s vital to have variety in your sources to have a more well-rounded view of current events. Thanks to Panasonic for making this challenge a lot easier during flight” said Fatih Er, Director of News and Programmes, TRT World “Partnering with Panasonic to deliver our content in-flight is a major achievement to fulfill our promise to offer our service everywhere, whatever platform our audience prefer to receive it.”

Julie Lichty, Head of Digital Solutions and Services at Panasonic Avionics said, “Panasonic is proud to offer the world’s only truly global inflight live television services. Whether it’s the best in current affairs, sports and entertainment from a selection of the world’s premier media brands, our mission is to keep passengers informed and entertained with quality programming. We believe that TRT World is a significant enhancement to our portfolio, and will be a tremendous enhancement to our airline customers’ passenger experience”.


Inmarsat
Inmarsat has expanded its global network of Value Added Resellers (VARs) for its GX Aviation inflight broadband solution with the addition of Honeywell Aerospace. The agreement builds on Inmarsat’s long-standing partnership with Honeywell, who already manufactures the JetWave hardware for GX Aviation and sells Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX inflight wi-fi service for the business aviation market, through its GoDirect retail services business. In addition, it is further endorsement of Inmarsat’s commitment to operate the reference inflight connectivity network for airlines around the world. GX Aviation is the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight broadband service, delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of Global Xpress (GX) High-Throughput Satellites (HTS). This award-winning solution allows passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with onboard connectivity comparable to the mobile broadband services they receive on the ground. As part of the agreement, Honeywell will now market GX Aviation to airlines worldwide through its rapidly growing GoDirect retail services business. This increases the company’s focus on end users, allowing it to tailor smart connectivity solutions directly to individual customers – whether in the airline or business aviation space. It addition, Honeywell will continue to manufacture and sell the JetWave hardware to airline and business aviation customers.


Spafax

Spafax’s innovative Business Traveller TV has been awarded for “Best Native/Sponsored Content” at the prestigious Drum B2B Brave Awards 2018 in New York recently. Congrats Spafax!


digEcor
Aerospace and electronics industry executive, Ariel Abam, has been appointed Vice President, Procurement, Manufacturing and Quality at digEcor. Ariel brings more than 25 years’ progressive experience managing medium to large manufacturing enterprises.

Also, digEcor is teaming with Jade in Singapore for aircraft retrofit of their cabin technology products for Asia.


Safran
Safran and Boeing got regulatory approvals a joint venture to build APU’s for aircraft, presently in San Diego CA.


Morgon Stanley put out a minor review of the Lion Air incident and in it, they said: “Ultimately, in our opinion, discovering the root cause will matter most for the stock and preliminary findings are expected to be released in late November, according to media reports. We believe that in a worst case scenario, Boeing could be forced to ground all 737 MAXs in order to rectify the issue, thus could impact deliveries in the near term. However, we believe this should not pose a material threat to EPS / FCF in the long-term.” Stay Tuned on this one!


OTHER NEWS:

  • First Bluebox Wow wireless entertainment service to be deployed by a commercial airline in Middle East
  • Passengers can stream movies and other entertainment content to their personal device

Kuwait | November 14, 2018– Jazeera Airways, Kuwait’s leading low-cost airline, operating regionally and internationally, today launched Jazeera Screens, its wireless inflight entertainment service on all flights, enabling passengers to enjoy watching movies and TV shows as well as play games, read about local destinations and track their route, all for free.

Jazeera Screens is an innovative service available on iOS and Android devices. Passengers can simply connect to the on-board wireless network to start enjoying the content during their flight using their smartphone or tablet. Passengers are also invited to download the Jazeera Screens app before boarding to stream at their convenience during their flight.
Jazeera Airways CEO, Rohit Ramachandran, said: “Jazeera Airways continues to roll out new services to enhance our customers’ experience every time they fly with us. The new system has been deployed with leading service providers in the field to cater to our wide customer base and provide them with a rich content in English, Arabic and Indian languages.”
On November 21 during its flight J9 253 to Amman, passengers will enjoy an exclusive movie night with free popcorn for all passengers.
Developed in partnership with Bluebox Aviation Systems, Aeroplay Entertainment and Global Onboard Partners, Jazeera Screens will evolve to include on-board shopping in the coming year.
Kevin Clark, Bluebox CEO, said: “We are delighted to have Jazeera Airways as our first commercial airline customer for Bluebox Wow in the Middle East region. The selection of Bluebox is recognition of the flexibility and ongoing development of Bluebox Wow and the credibility of our technical team in supporting customer growth.”
On his part, Prakash Johari, Aeroplay Entertainment MD & CEO, said: “We are excited to be on-board Jazeera Airways to support and enhance the passenger experience with the latest inflight entertainment content, including movies, TV shows, Audio, destination videos and guides. We would like to thank Jazeera Airways for this opportunity and recognising our shared vision, commitment and joint growth in the aviation industry.”
Kirk Adams, CEO of Global Onboard Partners, commented: “We are pleased to be partnering with Jazeera Airways to implement this new and innovative inflight entertainment system as their advertising sales partner. The system allows for a variety of excellent ad and sponsor placements.”
Jazeera Airways flies to 26 popular destinations across the Middle East, India and Europe comprising high-demand business, leisure, family and weekend destinations such as Dubai, Bahrain, Beirut, Alexandria, Amman, Istanbul, Sharm El Sheikh, Assiut, Luxor, Mashhad, Sohag, Jeddah, Riyadh, Madinah, Cairo, Al Najaf, Taif, Doha, Kochi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Lahore, Baku and Tbilisi.
The airline operates a fleet of Airbus A320s and an Airbus A320neo, the first to be owned and operated in the Middle East.

There was a lot of interesting news this week, but lets start out with our rectangle story on SITAONAIR and their FlightTracker.

SITAONAIR

ICAO recommendations calling for airlines to report flight positions every 15 minutes became official on Thursday 8 November 2018  – and SITAONAIR is helping multiple airlines around the world meet them, thanks to its cutting-edge AIRCOM FlightTracker.

Major airlines including Avianca BrasilAzulNorwegian Air ShuttleSingapore Airlines and Vistara, already use AIRCOM FlightTracker, across more than 250,000 flights a month. In delivering flight precision, enhanced awareness and reinforced safety, FlightTracker enables airlines to unlock greater operational effectiveness in an increasingly congested airspace, to minimize costs and support passenger satisfaction. The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System (GADSS) recommendations compel airlines to commit to minimum standards of aircraft tracking, with the aim of improving safety, detection of aircraft in distress, and efficient and effective search and rescue. The ICAO urges operators to report aircraft positions at least once every 15 minutes as of Thursday 8 November 2018, and additional aircraft distress processes will be added from 2021.

SITAONAIR has led the way in preparing airlines for this major milestone in aviation safety. Its ground-based, easy-to-implement AIRCOM FlightTracker software system guarantees regular flight position updates, without requiring any new avionics or modifications to aircraft.

Gathering data from multiple global sources – including FlightAware’s Firehose data feed – it bridges gaps between air navigation services provider tracking, to offer 100% global flight tracking with position updates at least once-per-minute. The FlightAware feed delivers live aircraft position data from its terrestrial network of ADS-B receivers, as well as from Aireon’s space-based ADS-B network, which, hosted on the Iridium NEXT constellation, is now providing live flight tracking.

In incorporating this space-based ADS-B data, SITAONAIR’s enhanced FlightTracker gives airlines the tools to receive the precise position, speed and altitude of their airborne fleet anywhere in the world – even over oceans and polar regions. They are also able to exceed the ICAO 15-minute recommendation, in readiness for 2021’s anticipated one-minute recommendation.

Discover SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM FlightTracker by exploring our whitepaper, webinar and videos online.


ZODIAC

Zodiac Inflight Innovations (Zii) appointed Benjamin Asmar as VP IFE Products and Strategy.  In this role, Asmar will lead Zii’s product group to further develop and deploy innovative products and services for its RAVE inflight entertainment system. Ben joins Zii from Virgin Australia Airlines where he held positions leading the product development and customer experience for the airline. Most recently he led a team of 20 product and project  professionals whose job it was to imagine and implement the ‘next big thing’ to blow customers’ minds, challenge the status quo and push the limits to develop truly unique Virgin experiences through the best products in the industry.We are looking forward to Ben bringing his airline perspective to our team, helping Zii to continue the RAVE tradition of bringing unprecedented product innovations to our market, says Larry Girard, Executive VP & Chief Commercial Officer. Ben exclaimed I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the Zii team.  RAVE is a fantastic product and the team at Zii have really thought about what makes airline operations difficult and frustrates passengers when it comes to Infight entertainment and have gone about removing these pain points to give passengers a world class IFE experience whilst reducing operational overheads. I’m looking forward to working with the team to continue to drive innovation in Passenger Experience.


SITA

SITA, a specialist in air transport communications and IT solutions, announced the acquisition of private company MEXIA Interactive (“MEXIA”), a global provider of curb-to-gate passenger analytics for the air transport industry. The company, founded in 2011, is based in Winnipeg, Canada. The acquisition will enhance SITA’s existing airport operations and passenger flow management solutions. Customers will benefit from a comprehensive and predictive view of passenger flow information that will result in greater operational efficiencies and improved services. MEXIA’s technology identifies and predicts bottlenecks in various queues such as check-in, security and taxi lines while monitoring the amount of time passengers spend in airports. The company also helps airports find non-aeronautical revenue potential by providing shopper numbers, conversion rates, and trends through insights on passengers dwelling in the airport. MEXIA currently works with some of the largest and most influential airports around the world.


digEcor

The digEcor and Jamco Aero Design and Engineering (JADE) partnership was announced at the FTE Asia Expo in Singapore. JADE’s structural, electrical and systems engineering design expertise will play a major role in retrofitting aircraft with digEcor’s Cabin Technology products in the Asia Pacific region. digEcor Chief Executive, David Withers, said that he was pleased to have modification expert JADE on board as a key partner. “JADE is a strong player in the Asia Pacific region and has years of Airbus and Boeing aircraft cabin modification and engineering services experience.”


SPAFAX

Spafax, a leading provider of media, entertainment and content marketing services to the airline industry, announced that it has been selected by Air China to exclusively license and curate its Hollywood movie selection, as well as working together on all other video content. The parties formalized this partnership by signing the letter of intent at the inaugural China International Import Expo held in Shanghai. Spafax also announced the opening of a new office and team in Beijing that will serve in support of Air China. The WPP Group through its Tenthavenue and Kinetic subsidiaries have built up a strong multi-year working relationship with Air China, and have been invaluable in assisting Spafax to quickly establish a local presence.


SATCOM DIRECT

Following on from the SD Xperience launch at NBAA, Satcom Direct is taking its Gulfstream GIV on a circumnavigation of the globe to showcase the power of the new connectivity offering to the international business aviation community. A team of SD executives, including Chief Operating Officer Chris Moore, will spend just under ten days flying the aircraft into leading business aviation destinations to demonstrate the full SD Xperience in-situ, in-cabin.Long term SD customers will be invited to witness the power of SD Xperience first hand. The fully-synchronized, end-to-end connectivity solution combines the full suite of SD cabin and cockpit communications services, aircraft connectivity hardware, and flight operations software to deliver consistent connectivity around the world. Adding extra power to the portfolio is the newly introduced FlexExec broadband service, for which SD is the Master Distributor, delivered in partnership with Intelsat (NYSE: I) and Astronics AeroSat. Business aviation’s first dedicated connectivity service will join existing service providers in the SD portfolio to ensure SD customers benefit from customized, seamless, synchronized,  consistent on-demand global connectivity. SD Xperience customers also benefit from SD ground infrastructure as the SD Data Center enables the application of existing compliance and security protocols for aircraft networks to mitigate cyber-attack and maintain data integrity.


GOGO

Gogo Business Aviation’s latest connectivity solution for light jets – Gogo AVANCE L3 – has been selected by Airshare for installation across its entire fleet of Embraer Phenom 100 aircraft. Airshare operates 11 Phenom 100 aircraft in its fleet, and is recognized as one of the most cost-effective fractional aircraft providers in private aviation for business and leisure travelers. The company also features Embraer Phenom 300s within its fleet, many of which are equipped with Gogo’s connectivity systems onboard. Airshare has also committed to installing AVANCE L5 on all new Phenom 300 aircraft it adds to the fleet in the future.


OTHER NEWS

Dubai | November 13, 2018– Immfly is growing internationally, and the facts speak for themselves. The most recent partnerships signed with the long-haul airline Wamos Air, and with Pegasus, the first airline in Turkey launching Immfly digital services (in more than 100 aircrafts), and even with SunExpress, a subsidiary of the two industry-leading airlines, Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, are not going unnoticed.

Get closer to partners

The clients’ portfolio is increasing and so is the Immfly team. Immfly’s value proposition is about treating clients as partners, partners who are actively involved throughout the entire process of the digitization of travelling. None of this would be possible if Immfly had not set up an office close to them. Installing an office in Turkey guarantees a smooth and efficient coverage of the Turkish and Middle Eastern markets.

Yasemin Gurcan, part of the IT Team at the Immfly Turkey office, comments “Inaugurating a new office here in Turkey is a clear step-forward for Immfly. Everything that we were doing in Western Europe we can now do here. It gives us a sense of enthusiasm and gratitude. Knowing that we are now closer and will be able to see to the needs of our neighbors’ customers gives us security and ensures efficiency in delivering the results we promised.”

Aviation Measa, Dubai

In line with the latest deals, for the first time Immfly will attend the Aviation Festival MEASA and will be located in booth 37 at the trade-show. The conference for airlines, airports, and their partners focuses on teaching how to grow a business by converging technology, customer experience and new revenue streams.

Immfly is going as silver sponsor and, on the 13th at 12 pm, will participate in a panel discussion about “Achieving success with ancillaries”, together with Dan Kerrison, Vice President of Inflight Product of Flydubai.

Food For Thought:

We don’t think anyone in our industry will dispute the fact that connectivity is here to stay. Passenger expectations are driving that demand, and airline operations are too. However, have any of you IFEC aficionados noticed that the rate of connectivity installations is slowing down? This may seem a bit surprising given all the hype over connectivity, point in fact, over the past five- or six-years connectivity has been the primary focus of every trade show this publication has attended: AIX, APEX, FTE, etc. Think about the buzz phrases: gate-to-gate, end-to-end passenger experience, the connected aircraft – they all focus on the use of connectivity to improve the airlines’ ability to touch the traveler throughout their journey and tailor their experience to meet expectations. So why the slow down? One factor we believe is that operators are grappling with decisions regarding Ka- vs. Ku-band. A connectivity decision is a costly venture and is typically a hardware commitment for their fleet for the next 7 – 10 years. The airlines are faced with sifting through all the pros and cons of each solution to determine which is the most viable and reliable option to fit their model. Now throw in the possibility of the LEOs and things became a lot more complicated. Also, antenna installations are not a penny a dozen – they are expensive and complex. Add to that the recent statements released by the FAA regarding antenna/radome installations and the Airworthiness Directive issued by EASA and airlines are likely to pause over making a quick decision. Given these issues, we also expect it to be more challenging for some connectivity suppliers to generate near-term investment capital.

Needless to say, connectivity suppliers and hardware vendors have made a large commitment and there are many players in the field – maybe too many. As we mentioned in an earlier issue of IFExpress, we expect continued consolidation within our industry. Along those lines, we have heard that one of the majors in the IFE arena is making a play for the commercial division of a major connectivity company, as well as, the connectivity portion of second significant industry vendor – despite one or both of the potential acquisition companies having issues with significant debt. We are hearing DIP (debtor-in-possession) financing is being discussed. The company making the acquisition overtures evidently sees the potential is greater than the risk involved. And interestingly, they will also become a Ku-band operator, as well as, a GX Aviation (Ka-band) reseller.  If the stars align, these acquisitions will launch them into the first-tier position in the Big Three – at least as far as connectivity is concerned. We live in interesting times.


SmartSky:

During APEX we had the opportunity to sit down with Nancy Walker, the new CCO, and Ryan Stone, president of SmartSky Networks, to discuss the status of their 4G LTE air-to-ground (ATG) connectivity service roll-out. Nancy joins SmartSky with 30+ years of experience in the aviation industry having worked for NASA, Harris, LiveTV and Thales.

We were told that SmartSky is in the process of standing their ground towers, and at the time of the interview 77% of them were in the final stages of installation/completion. Currently, the company is focusing their ground-based installation activity on very specific channels: New York to Chicago and Chicago to Florida. The team said they are well on the way to launching their first business aviation customer and that they are in an active demonstration phase. Nancy told us that they have 1,000 of ours of flight test time logged on three different aircraft models and that they had just received their 96th patent!

What SmartSky offers using their 2.4 GHz unlicensed spectrum and patented 4G LTE beamforming technology is a path to get data off the aircraft very quickly. In fact, they claim their high bandwidth capability off the aircraft is unique to their service offering. The SmartSky ‘pipe’ is designed to provide 4 GB/hour to the aircraft and 3 GB/hour off the aircraft. What this translates to is a low latency network that allows users to receive large attachments in their email, and easily stream video on their Wi-Fi enabled PEDs. Ryan Stone went on to say that SmartSky is using a highly patented technology that helps make the system more secure. Not only do they use encryption technology, but the system utilizes a very narrow and specific beam, requiring a low power level to transmit to the ground; therefore, security is innately enhanced.

Since our interview in Boston, Penstastar Aviation developed an Approved Model List (AML) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) that permits SmartSky installations on the Gulfstream GIV-X models and GV-SP as well, and the first customer installation has occurred in the business aviation market.  The company is looking to enter the commercial realm but firmly believes that more general aviation operators will be utilizing the system before airlines enter the mix.  It wouldn’t surprise us if a North American carrier were to add the SmartSky Network onto their aircraft in conjunction with an already installed connectivity system. After all, that is a current airline trend: multiple suppliers for connectivity. This is one to watch!


AIRBUS

A330 – 800
The first A330-800 development aircraft to fly, MSN1888, landed at Toulouse-Blagnac, France at 2:35pm local time after successfully completing its first flight which lasted four hours and four minutes. The aircraft, the second member of the A330neo Family, is powered by the latest technology Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 turbofans. “Today’s first flight of the A330-800 is the latest addition to our efficient Widebody family,” said Guillaume Faury, President Airbus Commercial Aircraft. “The A330-800 is an exceptionally versatile ‘route-opener’, offering unbeatable economics for airlines – encompassing everything from short to very-long haul widebody missions.” He added: “We look forward to the successful flight-test campaign, leading to certification next year.”

The A330-800’s development program will include around 300 flight-test hours, paving the way for certification in 2019. Its sibling, the larger A330-900 family member, recently completed its development testing and certification program which validated the A330neo Family’s common engines, systems, cabin and flight & ground operations.

The A330neo comprises two versions: the A330-800 and A330-900. Both of these widebody aircraft incorporate new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, nacelle, titanium pylon, new wings and offer an exclusive ‘Airspace by Airbus’ passenger experience. The larger A330-900 will accommodate up to 287 seats in a typical three-class layout, while the A330-800 typically will seat 257 passengers in three classes. At the end of September 2018, Airbus’ order book includes 13 customers who have placed orders for a total of 224 A330neos, with more to be added soon.

Airbus will fly an airBaltic A220-300 new generation single aisle aircraft, to five cities in four countries as part of a world demonstration tour.  The A220 demonstration tour is a great opportunity for Airbus to showcase its newest family member in front of airlines and media and to offer a close up view of the aircraft`s outstanding characteristics, comfort, and performance, that benefit both operators and passengers alike. airBaltic’s A220-300 features a comfortable cabin arrangement able to accommodate 145 passengers in true widebody comfort. The Latvian airline already operates 13 A220-300s out of a total of 50 ordered. The A220 is the only aircraft purpose built for the 100-150 seat market, it delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and true widebody comfort in a single aisle aircraft. The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least 20 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. With a range of up to 3,200 nm (5020 km), the A220 offers the performance of larger single aisle aircraft.With an order book of over 400 aircraft to date, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market.

A220 – 300 TOUR

The A220-300 will first attend the Zhuhai airshow (China) from November 5th until November 8th before flying to Chengdu on November 9th. The aircraft will continue on its journey with a stopover in Koh Samui (Thailand) on November 10th  before flying to Kathmandu (Nepal) on November 11th. After that the airBaltic A220 will go to Istanbul (Turkey) on November 12thbefore returning to its home base in Riga (Latvia) on November 14th.


IATA

The  group forecasts an annual increase in global traffic growth over the next 20 year-end to double emplacements (8.2 Billion) by 2037. Interestingly (and expectantly), China will become the world’s greatest aviation market (to, from, within) the country supposedly by mid – 2020’s. Look for India to become third!


ICELANDAIR & WOW AIR

It looks like Iceland Air just bought out Wow Air and they will still operate separately out of the Icelandic aviation market. With less than 4% of the transatlantic market, both airlines have “challenging” profit issues and this may be a start to reduce that stress. While Wow had been working on a public offering before this announcement, the airlines appear to have seen value in the joining before that event occurrence. The naming of the final organization might be interesting.


GOGO

Gogo Announces Third Quarter 2018 Financial Results as follows:

  • Consolidated revenue of $217.3 million, up 26% from Q3 2017
  • Net loss of $37.7 million, an improvement of 17% from Q3 2017
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) increased to $21.1 million, up 63% from $13 million in Q3 2017
  • BA segment profit increased to $35.2 million, an increase of 65% from Q3 2017
  • 898 2Ku aircraft online on 14 global airlines, with 113 aircraft coming online in Q3 2018

OTHER NEWS

  • Perhaps it’s time for women to be more involved with the aviation industry because it sure seems so in some other areas? Here’s a quote from an interesting article in Business Insider: “In what may well have been a first in any country’s history, Iceland’s government actually studied whether macho posturing led to its economic meltdown. Its conclusion can be summed up in one word: yes.” Iceland ranks high for gender equality – Business Insider
  • Looking for work? Read this!! Here’s What Hiring Managers Actually Care About

A few more reports from APEX Boston

digEcor:

During APEX, digEcor had several significant announcements. One was the new EASA and FAA STCs for the digEcor power solutions on the B737 and A320. The company stated that by using their flexible AML STC they can offer rapid implementation of the light weight and easy to install USB or 110V power solutions offered by digEcor for both models of aircraft. Apparently digEcor has released their power seat kit for the BE Pinnacle and Recaro 3520 seats, which cover thousands of aircraft currently in service. The kit is comprised of a two=piece assembly that outlet mounting and cable shrouding – taking just minutes per seat to install. digEcor stated they have 200+ aircraft orders for their power solutions.

The new slim line NV monitor was also on debut in Boston. This is the latest and newest iteration of the GLIDE NV screen and is the slimmest to date at 3/8th of an inch (10mm). The new thin technology screen is easily embedded in any seat back or bulkhead while delivering all the capabilities and functionalities of GLIDE. The NV monitor boasts the latest IMX8 processor with increased memory, allowing future application options and also supports the latest HD content – all while being significantly lighter in weight than its predecessor. The NV can be mounted in a seat back, arm, or monument. It can also be used as a secondary cabin management solution or a cabin lighting controller.

digEcor also announced that they will be releasing their first Android offering in Q1 2019 for all of their existing and new GLIDE customers. Some of the benefits Android brings is more flexibility to the user interface by allowing airlines to rapidly innovate and achieve a common look and feel across their various fleets operating different hardware from multiple vendors. It will also provide a modern new look and feel that is comfortable for the passengers to interface with.

A new cabin management crew interface was also on display during APEX.  Improved performance and user interface for cabin systems controls are areas of significant improvement. The new interface has Embedded IFE, lighting and PSS, and can be controlled from anywhere in the cabin via remote control from the crew device. It also can provide convenient food and beverage ordering for the passengers. The key here is that the new interface not only improves usability at the terminal but also allows the crew to take control and interface with them throughout the cabin.

New additions to the digEcor executive team were announced during APEX. Gene Connelly has joined the company as President – Americas. Gene was previously Senior Vice President of Global Sales & Customer Support for Panasonic Avionics. He brings 28 years of experience in the IFEC industry with him. Tina Kazmer also joined digEcor as Vice President Marketing & Sales Support. Tina will oversee the strategic direction of Marketing and Communications which will include marketing, communications, events, proposal management, sales training & market research. She was previously with Advisian, the consulting arm of Worley Parsons Group.

Global Eagle:

When we had the opportunity to tour the Global Eagle booth in Boston last month, one of their primary areas of focus was Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellations and their great potential to significantly boost capacity while decreasing communication latency. However, LEOs are 3 – 5 years away from being a viable option. The network currently only has one LEO satellite in orbit, but Global Eagle is using the flying Albatross as a test bed for their Ka-band solution with Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite.  They are testing the hand-off between the LEO Telesat Phase 1 and the GEO (geostationary) Anik F3 in orbit. This hand-off is a critical component in the transition between LEO satellites. That isn’t to say they are planning on throwing in the towel on the GEOs but they do see the benefit of sending the right data over the right pipe in the future. Why all the hype over LEOs? When the LEO constellation is up and running it will provide 10 TB of capacity over the poles, have 30 milliseconds of latency vs. 700+ in the GEOs, and there will be at least 7 LEO satellites in orbit over the USA alone that will facilitate gate-to-gate. In a nut shell, the LEOs will provide global coverage with low latency and high capacity. As Mike Moeller, vice president of Aviation Sales said to us during our interview, “The LEOs will be like bring fiber connectivity to the aircraft without the fiber!”


MORE NEWS

Gogo:

Gogo announced that Brazil’s GOL Linhas Aereas, will become the launch partner for Gogo’s Aircraft Data Service, Wireless Quick Access Recorder and Automated Turbulence Reporting – tapping into aircraft data to drive operational efficiency. Gogo’s partnership with GOL launches a new business line for Gogo, and enables GOL to access real-time information, streamline processes, and generate new service opportunities by securely bonding aircraft data through Gogo’s 2Ku high-speed global satellite connectivity system.

“Gogo is rapidly moving beyond passenger connectivity to connect pilots, flight attendants and the aircraft itself so airlines can access real-time information. By leveraging inflight connectivity, airlines will be able to provide better service in flight, improve safety and operate more efficiently,” said John Wade, president of commercial aviation at Gogo.  “GOL has been at the forefront of technology adoption in the aviation industry; now they will be leading the way in leveraging aircraft data to drive efficiency. We are excited to work with them to bring Gogo’s Connected Aircraft Services to their aircraft.”

GOL will become the launch partner for Gogo’s Aircraft Data Service and Wireless Quick Access recorder. Aircraft Data Services allows for the integration of real-time operational data with GOL’s Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications to improve pilot situational awareness and application intelligence. Gogo’s Wireless Quick Access recorder more quickly provides aircraft data for use in airline operational and quality assurance programs.

In addition to leveraging Gogo’s data management products, GOL will be able to leverage Gogo’s Automated Turbulence Reporting, which utilizes real-time aircraft sensor data inputs. These reports are then sent to the ground using Gogo’s 2Ku, enabling faster and more accurate dissemination of real-time turbulence information.

Gogo has been connecting pilots and flight attendants in flight since 2014 and has developed several other capabilities in the following areas:

  • eEnablement – empowers airline crews with connectivity to their devices such as Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs), flight attendant connected devices and associated applications
  • Data management  gives airlines access to aircraft data anywhere in real-time
  • Operational solutions  optimizes airline operations with end-to-end solutions for safer, more efficient flights and improved passenger experience

To learn more about Gogo’s Connected Aircraft Services product portfolio, visit here.


Lufthansa Technic & LG Electronics:

LG Electronics (LG) and Lufthansa Technik AG will jointly develop, produce and market LG’s innovative OLED displays for commercial airplane cabins. The new venture will be based in Hamburg, Germany and will commence operation in the first half of 2019. The new joint venture will combine LG’s advanced, lightweight and flexible OLED display technology with Lufthansa Technik’s aviation business capabilities to create new markets for on-board aircraft applications such as welcome board screens and interior linings.

“We are very excited to be joining hands with Lufthansa Technik to expand the reach of LG’s innovative consumer electronic technologies to commercial aircrafts,” said Kwon Soon-hwang, president of LG’s Business-to-Business Company.

“Both partners contribute a globally recognized reputation in their respective business areas to create a new flying experience for the passengers,” added Dr. Johannes Bussmann, chairman of Lufthansa Technik’s executive board.Closing of the agreement, which was inked last week in Hamburg, is subject to regulatory approval and planned startup will deliver items such as interior lighting in first quarter next year.


Airbus:
Airbus welcomed Delta Air Lines as the first U.S. carrier to take delivery of the Airbus A220 aircraft.  On hand for the delivery ceremony at the aircraft’s assembly line in Mirabel were members of the A220 team as well as government officials and executives from Delta, Airbus, Bombardier and Investissement Quebec. Delta’s A220 will enter service in early 2019, making Delta the fourth global airline to operate the aircraft previously known as the Bombardier C Series. The C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP) welcomed Airbus as lead partner earlier this year, prompting the change of name to the Airbus A220.  Delta is the largest A220-100 customer, with a firm order for 75 aircraft.

With an order book of over 400 aircraft to date, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market, estimated to represent at least 7,000 aircraft over the next 20 years. As of the end of September, Delta was operating a fleet of 235 Airbus aircraft, including 182 A320 Family members, as well as 42 A330s and 11 A350 XWB, or eXtra Wide Body aircraft. The airline has more than 275 additional Airbus aircraft on order. Next year, Delta will become the first U.S. airline to operate the new Airbus A330neo.

Also from Airbus:

Airbus released The Great Enabler: Aerospace in Africa – a White Paper on the role of aerospace technologies and their impact on socio-economic development in Africa.The extensive report looks at how different segments of the industry can address a core set of challenges on the continent by: increasing access to healthcare; enhancing food security by making African agriculture more competitive and sustainable; promoting education, training and innovation; empowering businesses with innovative products and solutions; and breaking down barriers to the movement of people and goods across Africa.

The white paper analyses the role of aerospace technologies in sectors with the greatest possible impact on social and economic development including manufacturing and industrialization, civil aviation, agriculture, healthcare and humanitarian assistance:

  • On manufacturing and industrialization, many African countries are final consumers in the global aerospace value chain. Joining the ranks of producers in this value chain is challenging for many but not impossible. The examples of Africa’s current leaders in aerospace – South Africa, Tunisia and Morocco – demonstrate the complexities but also the opportunities for African countries to develop aerospace manufacturing and industrialization capacity. Key among these opportunities is Africa’s potential demographic dividend, which will be achieved by investing in its youthful and increasingly techno-savvy population.
  • In the aviation sector, the key question remains how to connect people to markets and goods in a faster, cheaper and more efficient way in order to maximize the sector’s role as an economic engine and a vehicle for greater integration in Africa.
  • Agriculture is perhaps the most consequential pillar of the continent’s sustainable development. However, despite employing more than 60 percent of Africa’s population, the sector contributes only about 15 percent of the continent’s GDP as underlying challenges persist. Aerospace technology such as precision farming could potentially reverse this situation by enabling farmers to produce more with less.
  • Access to healthcare is still a challenge for many rural populations. While building on the existing technologies in the sector – such as air ambulances – new technology will further change the dynamics of access to medical care and emergency response in terms of quantity, distance and data collection.

The report also stresses the need for clear government policies to harness the power of aerospace technology, concluding with key recommendations on human capital development, partnerships and financing.


OTHER NEWS

  • So, if a couple robots can build a chair, when will they be involved in aircraft construction? Robot builds an Ikea chair. Everyone goes nuts. | ZDNet
  • Don’t think the Tesla cars technology are driving the auto market changes? Read this – then think about airplanes! We don’t know if Tesla products are, or are not, top tech; however, you might find this description a bit different than others.
  • Okay, okay, the Bloomberg China-chip story caught a lot of electrical tekkies off guard and we have read a little technical jargon supporting (mostly denying) the possibility of the chip intrusion security technique. It is not easy stuff; however, if you are into the code/chip security issues, you might try reading some of the best electrically technical, intercept possibility articles we have seen on the subject here: Investigating Implausible Bloomberg Supermicro Stories And yes, its not aviation, but as electronics overtakes aviation solutions for things like operation and connectivity, perhaps it might be worth reading. And by the way, you have to read the Comments, they are by some folks that really know their stuff. Good Luck!

IFPL:

Charge-to-Charge is a patent pending solution that IFPL unveiled during APEX. As the name suggests, the new product enables an airline to monetize the USB power. There are two scenarios for a passenger to pay for USB inseat power inflight. 1) During the purchase of an airline ticket, a payment option to include for power during the flight may be selected. 2) Or via a preloaded mobile app, most likely the airline app, a passenger in route could elect to purchase inseat USB power. The USB outlet would communicate with the traveler’s PED via the app, allowing that device to be charged.

IFPL also showcased a reversible power outlet that supports both USB-A to USB-C as many consumer electronics are making the transition from one standard to the other. The company is always innovative, and they also demonstrated a concept seatback 15-watt Qi wireless inductive charging feature. They anticipate certification for the product by year-end.

Lufthansa Systems:

BoardConnect Portable was the focal point for Lufthansa Systems during APEX. The next generation system is capable of streaming inflight entertainment content to 100 passengers, which is more than double its previous capacity. It can be combined with a product from Lufthansa Technik called BoardConnect Portable/Link that facilitates low bandwidth SMS messaging and real-time online payments during flight. Furthermore, the product needs an antenna but requires no STC! Operational health and usage statistics are also features that the new BoardConnect boasts.

PDT an Astronics Company:

One of the forward-thinking technologies we experienced at APEX came from PDT/Astronics. They demoed a concept technology called LiFi. This wasn’t the first time we have heard about LiFi, far from it. However, it was the first time we experienced such a successful demonstration of the technology and we can see future applications for this technology inflight 5 or 10 years down the road. What is LiFi? LiFi is a high speed, bidirectional, and fully networked wireless communication of data using light. When an electrical current is applied to an LED light bulb, a stream of light (photons) is emitted from the bulb. LED bulbs are semiconductor devices, which means that the brightness of the light flowing through them can be changed at extremely high speeds, allowing a signal to be sent by modulating the light at different rates. The signal can be received by a detector which interprets the changes in light intensity as data. This cannot be seen by the human eye. This technique allows data to be transmitted to-from an LED light bulb at very high speeds. In fact, LiFi can get up to 11 Gbps, whereas, standard 802.11ad is in the 7Gbps range. LiFi only works for line of sight transmission but there is no interference with critical instrumentation. LiFi is significantly more secure than other wireless technologies because light can be contained in a physical space – physical barriers and adjustments can be implemented to contain and protect the light. It also works with 10%-90% light illumination. In other words, Li-Fi is rapidly modulated LED that has the capability to securely link a passenger’s PED well beyond traditional Wi-Fi. We realize it was a demo, but we watched a movie streamed via LiFi. There was virtually no latency and you could block the light, stopping the movie, and move your hand and the movie played right where we left off without any noticeable delay. We were impressed and cannot wait for this technology to be available in the home and in the air in the future!

RebelRoam:

One of the reasons we so enjoy attending expos like APEX is having the opportunity to meet new entrants to the IFEC space. RebelRoam is one such company. The Estonian-based company has developed a smartphone app, dubbed RebelRocket, that addresses three issues: speed, cost, and security – all frequent issues affiliated with public Wi-Fi networks whether they be on the ground or airborne. Here is a broad view of how it works. First, the app automatically encrypts all the content secure to any public Wi-Fi network. Secondly malware and ads can be blocked which reduces webpage load time. Third, it also optimizes video streaming. In other words, the app enhances any connection made through any Wi-Fi network. This sounded like a pretty cool product to us and we expect to hear more from RebelRoam over the coming months!

Kontron:

Kontron unveiled their portable Cab-n-Connect P100 wireless streaming platform for the commercial avionics market. The new platform is stated to be both flexible and robust while being in a small form factor (9.8 inches x 3.5 inches x 12.6 inches). It utilizes 802.11ac/abgn radios and features dual hot-swappable batteries to enable 12+ hours of streaming video. The P100 platform has up to 8 TB of onboard storage, as well as, RSSD for quick content updates.

Immfly announced that they selected Kontron for the Pegasus Airlines wireless IFE program. The Turkish-based low-cost carrier selected Kontron to supply their A320 and B737 fleet (81 aircraft) with the ACE Flight 4600 airborne servers, RSSDs, CWAPS and installation kits.

The company also inked a deal with Air Esurfing, a fully owned subsidiary of Air Media online Group, to jointly explore the China aviation Wi-Fi market. The Air Esurfing system solution plans to integrate Kontron’s ACE Flight Server and Cab-n-Connect WAPs for inflight connectivity application for China’s Ku-band and Ku/Ka-band HTS capacity.


MORE INDUSTRY NEWS

Astronics:

Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics AeroSat, had its FliteStream connectivity solutions tested, qualified, and approved to operate across Intelsat’s FlexExec business aviation service. Astronics Aerosat’s FliteStream connectivity solutions are the first inflight terminals to obtain approval to operate over Intelsat’s FlexExec service. FliteStream is a widely deployed satellite broadband data solution of fuselage- and tail-mount SATCOM products designed for government, commercial, business and VVIP aviation operators and passengers.

Spafax:

Global content agency Spafax was nominated this week for two B2B Brave Awards, an initiative hosted by global media platform and Europe’s largest marketing website: The Drum. The B2B Brave Awards celebrate excellence in B2B campaigns produced for digital and Out-of-Home as well as strategic initiatives in data, artificial intelligence, PR, social media and more. The awards are judged by a panel who have extensive experience in the B2B industry, including representatives from Stein IAS, LinkedIn, IBM, Momentum Worldwide, Adobe, MRM McCann, Ogilvy and more.

Spafax is a finalist in the following two categories:

  • Best Use of Artificial Intelligence: Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa for American Airlines
  •  Best Native/Sponsored Content Program: Business Traveller TV

About Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa

Powered by AI, the Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa Skill that allows airline passengers to “ask Alexa” about what movies, television shows, and music will be available on board their upcoming flight. The first of its kind, the Skill was launched with American Airlines, who wanted to introduce a way for their customers to use their Alexa-enabled devices to plan their journey and get excited about the entertainment on their upcoming flight.

Skywise:

Airbus has presented its new reliability analysis software at MRO Europe 2018. Called “Skywise Reliability”, this new solution has been developed by Airbus and is offered with Skywise Core. The application integrates all relevant fleet-wide data – such as part replacements, flight plans and delays and historical maintenance actions – and fully automates reliability reporting, saving airlines hours per week. Furthermore, it allows users to ‘drill down’ into trends to truly diagnose root causes so they can allocate resources to mitigate recurring operational interruptions (OIs).

Skywise Reliability also complements internal data with worldwide anonymised fleet data so that airlines can proactively assess reliability performance against industry benchmarks and understand whether a recurring issue is unique or a more systematic issue. Thanks to Skywise Reliability, airlines have already reported that they can typically reduce the reliability process time from one week to one day – saving significant time in collecting / sorting / processing the data and producing reports. Since its launch in June 2018, 28 airlines have been connected to Skywise Reliability, including easyJet, Allegiant, WOW Air, Bangkok Airways, and Etihad. The service provides interactive and ready-to-use dashboards to simplify the reliability process and increase its efficiency. It allows users to measure in-service fleet performance, explore operational data and benchmark fleet data (eg. fleet utilisation, operational interruptions and in-service issues, LRU removals, logbook data etc.) with other operators and the worldwide Airbus fleet. Thanks to Skywise Reliability, airline engineers and technicians can easily set up alerts (for example on mean time between unscheduled removal (MTBUR) of a line-replaceable unit (LRU) versus guaranteed MTBUR), and analyse trends, build reliability reports and collaborate.

Inmarsat:

Inmarsat, a provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced the appointment of Kai Tang as Senior Vice President of Business and General Aviation (BGA). Kai joins the Inmarsat Aviation business from Inmarsat Government, where he held the role of Chief Commercial Officer. Kai is an experienced satellite communications professional with industry expertise ranging across government, maritime and aviation. During his seven years at Inmarsat, he has held the role of Vice President of Commercial Strategy and Operations for Inmarsat’s U.S. Government Business Unit, and also played a key role within the company’s Global Xpress development programme.

He will be responsible for Inmarsat’s ground-breaking portfolio of connectivity services for the business aviation industry, including its global, high-speed Jet ConneX inflight Wi-Fi solution, which delivers an in-the-air broadband experience comparable to on-the-ground connections. In addition, he will oversee next year’s business aviation launch of the European Aviation Network (EAN), the world’s first inflight broadband that combines dedicated satellite coverage with a complementary LTE-based ground network.

SITA:

SITA announced that it will deploy a further 15 Scan&Fly units at Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (klia2), following the successful implementation of 15 units earlier this year. Baggage processing time has been cut in half for AirAsia passengers using SITA’s Scan&Fly bag drop technology at klia2 terminal, taking between 30-40 seconds on average compared to 75 seconds previously and reducing the wait time for check-in by 40%. The addition of SITA Scan&Fly into the check-in process has resulted in dramatic improvements in the overall check-in times. Prior to implementation the average wait time for passengers at klia2 terminal was around seven minutes but with SITA’s efficient baggage processing technology supporting the airline agents this has fallen 40% to just four minutes and increased the capacity of this area of the airport.


OTHER NEWS

SkyLights

At APEX in Boston, SkyLights announced their partnership with STELIA Aerospace for their premium inseat cinematic VR IFE solution. STELIA is one of the leaders in the field of Business and First class passenger seats The new product combines SkyLights’ Allosky headset, STELIA’s new Opal business class seat and InSeat Solutions’ interactive massage system. The combination of these products provides an unparalleled 4D experience and simplifies the logistics of SkyLights’ entertainment. We tried the Allosky headset and were blown away by the Full HD virtual experience. The audio system is linked into the seat so the massage system, which is equipped with an audio vibration mode, delivers content-synchronized vibrations for a truly immersive interactive experience. As well as upgrading the passenger experience, the inseat solution reduces the logistical complexity and cost of VR IFE for airlines. The devices do not need to be loaded/off-loaded when an aircraft is at its base and can be cleaned onboard by the same crew that cleans the aircraft. SkyLights stated that the new in-seat solution is planned as a line-fit product for airlines that are seeking to upgrade and differentiate their upper-class passenger experience. Airlines looking to implement the benefits in a shorter term, the SkyLights entertainment can be integrated into existing seats certified on a fleet-by-fleet basis.

Alaska Airlines will be the first airline in North America to implement the Allosky VR headset. The inflight experience has 2-D and 3-D screens and forward-facing 360-degree films will be available in the airlines’ first-class service on the Seattle-Boston and Boston-San Diego routes.

FTS

FTS had several significant announcements that were unveiled in Boston. First, FTS and Global Onboard Partners announced their agreement to collaborate to promote, design, and offer a seamless inflight entertainment and ancillary revenue service for airlines around the globe. FTS is a provider of wireless IFEC solutions and Global Onboard Partners is a provider of inflight advertising products. The two will combine their patented onboard technologies, hardware and products in an effort to provide airlines with a comprehensive revenue generating IFE solution.

Additionally, FTS announced their partnership with Qingdao Airlines of China, a private company, to equip its fleet of 14 A320 aircraft with XStream-SAT Broadband Connectivity system. This arrangement is achievable with the Civil Aviation Authority of China’s relaxation of regulations in early 2018, allowing passengers to use smartphones during flight.

Another landmark agreement announced during APEX was Donghai Airlines plan to equip its fleet with XStream-Sat Next Generation Inflight Broadband system from FTS. The significance of this deal is that it will be for the first fully ‘Connected Aircraft’ implementation in China to integrate both flight deck and passenger cabin application over inflight broadband connectivity service. Rich Salter, Chief Technology Officer of FTS added, “The seamless integration of the aircraft data network with the airline’s IT infrastructure enables the aircraft to become more intelligent and data-centric. Airlines can provide precise support to flights through analysis of real time data transmitted via the air-ground broadband network.  By remote monitoring of flight systems’ performance and leveraging AI deep learning, airlines can even preemptively predict defects, recommend preventive measures and thereby greatly improve flight reliability.”

Viasat

One of the primary topics of discussion from Viasat during APEX was the selection of Aeromexico of the ViaSat Ka-band satcom solution for 18 of their B787 MAX, 16 B737 MAX aircraft are new. The first line-fit installations have already begun and there are options to extend the agreement to 60 other jetliners in the Aeromexico fleet. According to ViaSat the airline evaluated the Viasat inflight internet service and selected them based on its proven, scalable network platform. Furthermore, the ability for them to tap into the ViaSat-2 satellite and future satellites, like Viasat-3, provides the airline with greater inflight Wi-Fi reliability, faster onboard internet speeds, better internet performance, and a futureproofed approach to inflight Wi-Fi. As the Viasat technology is both forward and backward compatible across all of Viasat’s spacecraft, ensuring that the Aeromexico’s jetliners can stay connected.

La Compagnie Business-Class Airline partnered with Viasat to offer inflight connectivity to the boutique airline’s twice daily flights between New York and Paris. The airline’s A321neo aircraft will be installed with high-speed Wi-Fi Capabilities and will enter into revenue service in April 2019. The satellite design and its ability to meet the connectivity demands in high-density areas like major airport hubs and congested air corridors appealed to the boutique carrier.

SITAONAIR

SITAONAIR forged an agreement with Etisalat, a mobile network operator, to transform how inflight cellular services are offered to airline passengers. Etisalat is based in the United Arab Emirates and allows subscribers of their business roaming packs to use their data and minutes inflight as part of their bundle with no additional fee. This new roaming agreement provides their travelers with a seamless mobile connectivity experience whether they be on the ground or in the air.

New Caledonia-based airline, Aircalin, also chose SITAONAIR for their in-flight connectivity solution. The airline will install their A330-900s and A320neos over the next 3 years.


IFEC NEWS:

Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has appointed Donny Cheah, as Regional Vice President, China. This strategic hire will bolster Panasonic’s presence in China which is the fastest-growing region in the world for air travel. To date, Panasonic has sold more than 2,000 inflight entertainment and connectivity solutions to airlines based in this region. Donny will also serve as the president of Panasonic Avionics (China) Co., Ltd. (PACN) which will be newly established in Shanghai, China this year. In his business management role, Donny will oversee account management, customer support, repairs & maintenance, media & creative services, along with the service functions of quality, human resources, IT, and customs compliance in the China region.

Astronics

Astronics announced that it has joined the Seamless Air Alliance as an “Adopter Member. ” The Seamless Air Alliance is a consortium of companies dedicated to the development and promotion of aircraft connectivity standards to facilitate a simple, delightful experience for passengers. The goal of the organization is to create standards that ensure continuous connectivity from gate-to-gate anywhere in the world with the additional potential benefit of reducing the hurdles associated with the acquisition, installation and operation of inflight connectivity systems.

Astronics FliteStream: The company also announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics AeroSat, is introducing its next generation FliteStream T-310 SATCOM connectivity solution for business aircraft. Astronics is offering the FliteStream T-310 solution to the business aircraft market in partnership with Satcom Direct (SD), the launch customer, as part of its SD Xperience end-to-end solution. The T-310 is fully qualified and approved to operate on the Intelsat FlexExec business aviation network. The FliteStream T-310 SATCOM connectivity solution includes the next generation iDirect CX780 modem, providing compatibility with both Ku-band wide beam and high throughput spot beam satellite (HTS) networks.

Gogo

Gogo Business Aviation has surpassed 5,000 systems activated across the AVANCE platform and its other ATG (air-to-ground) systems. Presently, Gogo has nearly 450 Gogo AVANCE systems flying on business aircraft, including AVANCE L5 and L3, which is the fastest adoption of connectivity systems across the broadest range of business aircraft models in the history of business aviation. AVANCE L5, Gogo’s solution that can provide bandwidth-intensive activity such as streaming video, has been in the market for a little more than a year. To date, Gogo has more than 350 L5 systems installed and activated, with an additional 300 that have been shipped. AVANCE L3, which began shipping earlier this year, continues to gain momentum and is expected to reach 100 installations by mid-November, less than one year after launch. Since the start of the year, the AVANCE L5 system has been in use on more than 28,000 flights, delivering a 4G experience that allows heavy-bandwidth activities such as streaming video, video conferencing, email with large attachments, and fast web browsing.

Gogo DASH

Connectivity is often the biggest influencer on passenger satisfaction today. Passengers on business aircraft expect reliable, seamless connectivity, but they also want visibility into the performance of the connectivity systems on board their aircraft. To help provide greater insight and better diagnostic tools, Gogo Business Aviation is introducing Gogo DASH, a powerful new toolkit that gives operators and pilots visibility into the Gogo network and the connectivity systems they have installed on their aircraft.  Gogo DASH is comprised of the DASH mobile app and DASH portal and provides information for a single aircraft or an entire fleet.

SITA

Moscow Domodedovo Airport and S7 Airlines have implemented SITA’s Scan&Fly self-bag drop technology, providing passengers with a faster, more efficient process to check-in their own bags. The process takes less than a minute. The technology was developed by SITA, the world leader in IT and telecommunications solutions for the air transport industry. The self-bag drop solution was tested on S7 check-in counters since early September and positive feedback was received from more than 1,000 passengers that used the service. By the end of the year, 24 check-in counters at Domodedovo will be equipped with the self-bag drop technology, allowing other airlines to use the service. Scan&Fly will accelerate and simplify the check-in process for passengers. Equipped with a document scanner and a hand-held infrared barcode reader, it takes only three simple steps for passengers to check-in a bag. First, the boarding pass barcode (printed or digital) is scanned, a bag tag is printed and then the passenger attaches the tag to their bag before depositing it for processing.

ATPCO and SITA announced that British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, the airlines of the LATAM Group, and Finnair will participate in NDC Exchange, a platform that enables content interoperability across the airline distribution ecosystem and is a trusted bridge between IATA’s NDC (New Distribution Capability) and traditional distribution methods. “By connecting to NDC Exchange we have access to these first movers, as well as other airlines as they join. By building a single connection to NDC Exchange, we are being more efficient with our development resources, letting us focus on customer experience rather than content acquisition. We’re excited about the momentum this is getting and can’t wait for the next airline,” said Rich Miller of Serko, an industry-leading corporate booking tool. NDC Exchange is a community platform that enables API connectivity between airlines and sellers (GDSs, travel agents, aggregators, OTAs, and TMCs) so that they can exchange messages easily and cost effectively. NDC Exchange supports shopping, booking, and servicing workflows and enables the cross-selling of ancillary services between airlines, and among airlines and sellers. Using a common data model, it normalizes messages regardless of version or format, creating interoperability across the distribution ecosystem. Travel sellers can access multiple airlines via NDC Exchange, hence lowering the cost of their implementation.

As world leaders gather in Bali for the IMF-World Bank Group meetings, PT Angkasa Pura I Persero (AP1), which operates 13 airports across Central and Eastern Indonesia, announced that it will be leveraging world-class technology, from air transport IT provider SITA, to manage the country’s rising passenger numbers. The commitment to leverage world-class technology was reiterated through a partnership signing event, between SITA and PT Angkasa Pura Supports (APS), AP1’s subsidiary company, held at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport today. Indonesia is the biggest aviation market in South East Asia with more than 110 million passengers in 2017 and it is growing rapidly. By 2036, Indonesia is expected to be one of the top four markets globally with a forecasted 355 million passengers. The economic and social benefits of aviation are well recognized and SITA’s proven airport technology will support AP1’s vision to run world-class operations providing a great passenger experience during this period of rapid growth. Since 2014, SITA has provided AirportConnect Open to AP1. This common-use platform enables carriers to operate smoothly at AP1’s 13 airports, including at two of Indonesia’s busiest and award-winning airports Denpasar (Bali) and Surabaya. This platform also enables the future introduction of SITA’s self-service check-in kiosks, bag-drop and boarding gates; and SITA ControlBridge, which seamlessly integrates the command and control capability of an airport to deliver efficient operations.


OTHER NEWS

Astronics will collaborate in the mission to enable seamless in-cabin connectivity experiences

East Aurora, USA | October 11, 2018– Astronics Corporation (Nasdaq: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced that it has joined the Seamless Air Alliance as an “Adopter Member.”

The Seamless Air Alliance is a consortium of companies dedicated to
the development and promotion of aircraft connectivity standards to
facilitate a simple, delightful experience for passengers. The goal of
the organization is to create standards that ensure continuous
connectivity from gate-to-gate anywhere in the world with the
additional potential benefit of reducing the hurdles associated with the acquisition, installation and operation of inflight connectivity systems.

“By joining the Seamless Air Alliance, Astronics continues to take a leading role in aircraft In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFE&C) system development and certification by shaping next generation IFE&C hardware technology explorations and advancements,” explained Matt Harrah, President of Astronics AeroSat. “With next- generation satellite technologies coming on board, it is important to look across network technologies to optimize the on-board connectivity architecture for providing the most appropriate system configurations for airlines’ business models. Astronics looks forward to collaborating with the other Seamless Air Alliance members to develop new connectivity standards that will improve the passenger experience.”

“We are very pleased to have Astronics join the Seamless Air Alliance and contribute their expertise alongside other market leaders defining the next generation of inflight connectivity,” said Jack Mandala, Seamless Air Alliance Chief Executive Officer.

Astronics AeroSat provides aircraft IFC antenna and radome systems and Astronics CSC provides aircraft inflight entertainment hardware systems, as well as certification services.

OK, let’s kick off this IFExpress with some “trends” we saw at the show in Boston. These aren’t predictions but just observations and we will of course talk about them in the weeks to come.

  • Big IFE seems very interested in satcom. This sort of makes sense, especially if there is a future payback.
  • Show booths are seemingly getting a little smaller?!
  • Connectivity is becoming more of industry focal point.
  • People’s personal devices are affecting the industry in at least 2 ways: They may impact the future IFE embedded installations and the inseat power folks are all smiles.
  • There is a next generation system and it looks amazing, especially since it can help you enjoy the flight experience better.
  • Software Analytics in a big supplier’s booth blew us away because they have a working user system hardware/software application. If you have their hardware, they can provide an incredible total aircraft system monitor that knows if and where failures are. Further, the application allows the airline to monitor content usage, per tail, per seat, per route! (More on this later).
  • As satcom frequency bands go up, aircraft satcom dishes are getting a little smaller and lower in height.
  • Speaking of satcoms, LEO systems are garnering more interest every day.
  • There is a new player knocking on the door of the Big 3 IFEC camp.
  • One vendor has found a way for you to pay for your PED power usage – on the plane!

Some Highlights from APEX EXPO:

PANASONIC

During Panasonic’s media briefing, Panasonic’s Chief Technology Officer, David Bartlett discussed the three overall areas of focus for the company: 1) Improving customer satisfaction by providing the passenger a seamless experience, 2) Improving operational efficiency, and 3) How to use digital transformation to drive revenue and new business opportunities. As a result, Panasonic has been focusing heavily on artificial intelligence and machine learning and their new NEXT cloud-based platform allows them to leverage these new technologies. Panasonic has also strengthened their existing relationship with Black Swan for Artificial Intelligence.

Andrew Mohr, Head of Innovation at Panasonic Avionics, unveiled their new Wellness Suite of products, which is one of the four pillars of the NEXT product line. The Wellness suite features five products: premium lighting, active noise control, nanoe air quality, the Detalytics Health app, and Mimi personalized audio. The premium LED lighting product is targeted to hit the market in 2020 and will have various scenarios that the traveler can select from, including circadian rhythm, sleep, mealtime, and/or entertainment. The noise control product that was discussed, and demoed in the booth, was in a premium seat whereby the external noise was reduced by 15 decibels without the use of headphones. The technology is adaptable to each seat configuration and will calibrate inflight to each passenger’s seat. It has a frequency range of 80-400Hz and in-seat controls, integrating with the passenger IFE. It too will be launched in the 2019/2020 time frame.

Nanoe was another wellness feature. This is an air cleansing technology, that is currently used on the ground in Japan and in automobiles including Range Rover and Jaguar, that creates nano droplets of water to remove airborne odors and pathogens. But get this, the ionized water droplets are 15,000 times smaller than a human hair follicle!! The nano-sized electrostatic atomized particles are distributed at 480 billion nm particles per second, resulting in the removal of viruses, bacteria, fungi and odors from the cabin.

Artificial intelligence comes into play with the Detalytics health app. AI is used to assess various aspects of a passengers’ health/wellness and deliver accurate recommendations to them via the app. Perhaps the most amazing offering in the Wellness product suite came from Mimi audio technology. Mimi is an app that uses a specialized algorithm that tests and tunes the audio headphones to the passengers’ specific hearing requirements.  The passenger can either answer a series of specific hearing related questions or simply select their gender and age – the results are truly phenomenal! The health and wellness market has been a huge success on the ground with all the wearable technologies available today, whether it be a FitBit, Apple Watch4, Garmin, etc. It was only a matter of time before this booming industry reached into the airline market.  As expected, Panasonic indicated they have an undisclosed launch customer. All this is attainable because of the NEXT open platform.

Panasonic also announced an IFEC deal with Uzbekistan Airways for 3 B787-8 and 2 A320neo aircraft. The X-Series IFEC system, in conjunction with a suite of connectivity services, will be line-fit installed on the new jets. A personalized, home theater experience, with HD screens and high-power USB charging at every seat, AVOD, and capacitive multi-touch screens. The aircraft will also be outfitted with inflight Wi-Fi service. The B787-8 will also have live television and the ability for passengers to use their mobile phone in flight. All the aircraft in this contract are slated to enter into service in January 2019.

Egyptair also selected Panasonic for 15 A320neo aircraft. The X-Series IFEC platform will be line-fit installed on the new narrow-body aircraft, starting in 2020. Business Class will boast 13-inch HD personal screens, a video handset and high-power charging facilities at every seat. Economy Class will have 10-inch HD screens incorporating a USB power point, with charging facilities at each seat group. Inflight Wi-Fi service will also be available; as well as, inflight shopping options and a 3D flight path moving map. Egyptair has also opted to use OneMedia, Panasonic’s advertising platform, to target onboard advertising campaigns by categories including seat class, flight destination, origin city, content categories, and languages.

GOGO

On the opening day of the exhibition floor, Gogo announced that their IPTV product, dubbed Gogo TV, is up and flying on three global airlines, delivering live television to 550+ aircraft. Sports, news, and other content is either delivered to the passengers’ Wi-Fi enabled PEDs or enabled into the seatback IFE system. The airline can customize channel options, allowing their passengers to view popular networks in their country and/or region. Gogo TV is available via the Gogo 2Ku high-speed satcom service. Gogo TV uses High Efficiency Video Coding compression that facilitates bandwidth usage up to 40%. The system also combines multiple channels into a single multicast stream (statistical multiplexing), resulting in a highly efficient solution that offers the best possible perceived video quality while using the least total bandwidth.  Gogo also announced that Air France launched Gogo’s 2Ku high-speed connectivity system on an A330 and B777 with installations being underway on the balance of Air France’s long-haul fleet of 83 jetliners.

THALES

American Airlines and Thales announced during the EXPO that the airline has selected AVANT IFE System for their 22 new B787-8 Dreamliners that are scheduled to enter into service in 2020. Business Class travelers will have 17-inch HD Flex screens and the Thales handheld controller, Avii, that also has the capability to be used as a second screen. Premium Economy will have 12-inch Fit HD screens, while economy will have the 10-inch version.

In the Thales booth, the highlights were on their three-tiered IFEC offering: 1) CORE – their streamlined entertainment product that has a low time to market and uses the Thales developed standard GUI. This product is line-fit offerable at both Boeing and Airbus today, 2) AVANT– uses the current platform that Thales has developed but facilitates more design choices and a degree of customization for the airlines, and 3) PRESTIGE – which is a high-end product that is co-designed and co-innovated by the airline and Thales working closely together to tailor the passenger experience. Presently, both the CORE and AVANT products are available.

Thales also addressed their commitment to Big Data, which they said not only facilitates personalization for the passenger but also has implications for airline operations and its associated costs. Closely related is Artificial Intelligence (AI), with they see playing a significant role in preventative maintenance by utilizing just-in-time parts shipping. Thales stated they are fully dedicated to connectivity and their Ka-band technology investment. They added that they are presently looking into 5G as well. And lastly, but certainly not least, they indicated that Thales has a commitment to Cyber Security.  The indicated that the Thales IFEC group was fortunate to have the Thales Group investing in the aforementioned categories.

Thales also announced that Vietnam Airlines strengthened their partnership with the airline’s selection of AVANT IFE for their new B787-10 fleet of aircraft. This agreement expands their existing relationship for the airline’s A350 and B787-9 fleets with AVANT IFE and turn-key maintenance services.

HOT TEAM = ENCORE

For the past few years, we have been impressed by the inflight entertainment content folks out of Hong Kong and we wanted to introduce you to Jovita Toh’s Encore team …“is made of a group of in-flight veterans who have individually evolved within the inflight and content industries, enhanced their expertise with polished skills, exchanged personal time and effort for added knowledge, enabled the organizations they work for with necessary insights and are now joining forces to extend their collective experience to the exciting world of inflight entertainment”… we couldn’t have said it better! You can find out more here. Watch these folks because they will be content suppliers of the future! PS, they turn out a great monthly newsletter – contact Tommy Ko.


Other News:

AIRBUS

The Board of Directors of Airbus SE (stock exchange symbol: AIR) has selected Guillaume Faury as future Airbus Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Faury, 50, who currently serves as President Airbus Commercial Aircraft, will succeed Tom Enders, 59, who remains CEO until the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 10 April 2019, when the appointment of Faury as executive member of the Board will be submitted to shareholders. Guillaume Faury served in various senior management roles at Eurocopter from 1998 to 2008. Starting in Engineering, then Flight Test, he later became Executive Vice President for Commercial Programmes, then Executive Vice President for Research and Development. In 2009, Faury joined Peugeot S.A., where he served as Executive Vice President for Research and Development as a Member of the Managing Board. In May 2013, Faury returned to Airbus as CEO of Airbus Helicopters and in early 2018 he took the helm of Airbus Commercial Aircraft. Denis Ranque will continue as Chairman of the Board of Directors until the end of his mandate in April 2020, as foreseen in the staggered board succession process, introduced at AGM 2016. At that time and after seven years as Chairman, Denis Ranque has requested to leave the Board to pursue other interests. The Board will commence the process of selecting a new Chairman in due course having regard to, as expressed in its internal rules, the importance of maintaining international diversity at Board and Management level.

NOTES OF INTEREST