FLIGHTPATH3D

FlightPath3D announced that during Q1/2021, their install base has surpassed 3,000 aircraft and that they’re looking forward to continued and accelerated growth throughout 2021. Duncan Jackson, FlightPath3D President, says, “We’re seeing absolute signs of recovery in flights and see good growth going forward through 2021. We’re optimistic about the market and expect to surpass 4,000 aircraft within a year.” There is a sustained increase in air travel and aircraft returning to service. Geographic markets, domestic and international services, commercial and business sectors are all recovering, albeit at a different pace. Jackson adds, We are seeing some of our customers in Asia and Oceania flying close to their 2019 passenger numbers for domestic flights. In addition, our North American airline customers seem to be on the verge of a rapid increase in travel demand. Boris Veksler, FlightPath3D CEO “We’re pleased to see 737 MAX deployments once again as they make their way back into revenue service. Our optimism is further amplified by the news around forward bookings from our airline customers and the growth we’re experiencing in the business aviation sector.” In light of the pending rebound in travel demand, with people beginning to plan trips in numbers not seen for more than a year, FlightPath3D has been busy creating new applications that help passengers find flights, routes, and destinations based on personal profiles and experience desires. Veksler says, “We’re excited to help airlines with their recovery with new apps to facilitate passenger interests to be matched to destinations, and flights or activities matched with traveler motivations. Our engineers are levering data science and large data sets to solve this.”

For additional information, please visit the FlightPath3D website or email them at crew@flightpath3d.com


BOEING

Boeing and Southwest Airlines announced the carrier will continue to build its business around the 737 MAX family with a new order for 100 airplanes and 155 options across two models. The deal comes after a multi-year fleet evaluation by Southwest and means that Boeing and its suppliers could build more than 600 new 737 MAX jets for the airline through 2031. Southwest had been exploring options to modernize the largest component of its fleet: the 737-700 that serves the airline’s needs for a 140-150 seat airplane. With the new agreement, the airline reaffirmed the 737-7 as its preferred replacement and growth airplane. The jet will complement the 737-8, which serves Southwest’s needs for a 175-seat model. Both 737 MAX family members will reduce fuel use and carbon emissions by at least 14% compared to the airplanes they replace, helping to improve operating costs and environmental performance. Southwest said the solution allows it to maintain the operational efficiencies of an all-Boeing 737 fleet to support its low-cost, point-to-point route network. “Southwest Airlines has been operating the Boeing 737 series for nearly 50 years, and the aircraft has made significant contributions to our unparalleled success. Today’s commitment to the 737 MAX solidifies our continued appreciation for the aircraft and confirms our plans to offer the Boeing 737 series of aircraft to our Employees and Customers for years to come,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest’s chairman and CEO. “We are proud to continue our tradition of being the world’s largest operator of an all-Boeing fleet.” “In addition to supporting our efforts to operate sustainably and efficiently, the 737 MAX offers Employees and Customers travel comforts such as a quieter cabin, larger overhead bin spaces, seating with adjustable headrests, and more galley space for onboard service,” said Mike Van de Ven, Southwest’s chief operating officer.

The new purchase agreement takes Southwest’s order book to 200 737-7s and 180 737-8s, more than 30 of which have already been delivered. Southwest will also have 270 options for either of the two models, taking the carrier’s direct-buy commitment to more than 600 airplanes. The airline also plans additional 737 MAX jets through third-party lessors. “Southwest Airlines has long been a leader and bellwether for the airline industry and this order is a big vote of confidence for commercial air travel. As vaccine distribution continues to pick-up, people are returning to the skies and fueling hopes for a full recovery and renewed growth across our industry,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We are deeply honored by Southwest’s continuing trust in Boeing and the 737. Their fleet decision today brings more stability for our biggest commercial program and will ensure that our entire 737 family will be building new airplanes for Southwest for years to come.”

As part of the agreement, Southwest will also expand its use of Boeing’s digital solutions to support its 737 MAX fleet, including Airplane Health Management, Maintenance Performance Toolbox and digital navigation charting tools. Boeing will also provide system software upgrades and new wireless communications-enabling equipment to support Southwest’s operations.

About the 737 MAX Family
Designed and built in Renton, Washington, the 737 MAX family delivers efficiency, flexibility and reliability for the single-aisle airplane market. The 737-7 can fly 3,850 nautical miles, the longest range in the MAX family and 1,000 nautical miles farther than its predecessor. This derivative seats a maximum of 172 passengers, compared to the 737-8’s 210 maximum seats. The 737-8 can fly 3,550 nautical miles. This additional capability allows airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. Every 737 MAX features the new Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead storage bins. Other technical specifications can be found here.


MORGON STANLEY REPORT (MS)

Airlines: Corporate Travel Survey 2021: Slow Recovery

Travel managers see a slower recovery for travel versus prior surveys, with a return to pre-Covid levels after 2023. Travel budgets are expected, on average, to be 15% below 2019 by 2022. The shift to virtual continues to increase, with one quarter of 2022 travel volumes expected to shift to virtual. MS conducted an online survey of ~200 corporate travel managers between March 3-15, who represent cUS$7B of typical annual travel spend. This survey is the third wave since the Covid pandemic started, which the company finds interesting to track changes in trends as we return to normal. Overall, recovery expectations have been deteriorating, likely due to extended travel restrictions, with a return to pre-Covid levels of business travel just likely post 2023.

Travel budgets still expected to be below 2019 levels by 2022.

MS thinks the increase in travel restrictions globally has had a negative effect on the return of business travel. In their prior survey (October 2020), respondents expected travel budgets in 2021 to fall on average 54% vs 2019; for 2H21, the expectation is for budgets to be down 44.7% vs 2H19, showing a slight improvement against 1H21. For 2022, respondents now expect a reduction of 15.5% on travel budgets vs 2019. While this implies a strong recovery expected in 2022 vs 2019, at this point respondents are not yet expecting a return to normal levels by next year: 67% of respondents expect 2022 travel budgets to still be below 2019 levels. Yields are expected to go down in 2021 (-2.6% vs 2019), likely due to subdued demand, with some recovery expected in 2022 (yields up 2% vs 2019).

Shift to virtual should reduce travel volumes by over ¼ by 2022.

The trend of some shift of travel volumes into virtual keeps increasing: on average, respondents expect that 27% of meetings will shift into virtual by 2022, an increase from 22% in October 2020 and 19% in July 2020. Only 7% of respondents expect minimal impact (<10%) on travel volume by virtual meetings in 2021, and 15% in 2022.

Mass vaccination continues to be the key catalyst for the return to travel. Widespread availability and administration of vaccination is the biggest catalyst to increase business travel in H2 2021, at 79%, followed by business requirement at 58%. This is largely unchanged versus the past surveys and could be a trigger for a faster recovery, if global programs are successful.

Conclusions for Europe: The results of the survey confirm the slow recovery in business travel. MS thinks the expected reduction in passenger volume of c40% for 2021 is in line with the market view for 2021 capacity, though MS sees some downside risk to this figure, given the continued delay in corporate travel and the replacement of travel by virtual meetings, unless mass vaccination programs progress faster than anticipated. All in all, weaker demand and 27% convergence of travel into virtual events should negatively affect legacy carriers (Lufthansa, IAG and Air France-KLM, in that order) more than low cost carriers (easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz). MS continues to prefer Ryanair and Wizz (OW), over Lufthansa and AF-KLM.

Conclusions for US Airlines: From a US perspective, the survey results are a reminder that despite the widespread optimism (that MS shares) on the pace and trajectory of re-opening related pent up demand, there remains uncertainty and choppiness around the recovery. It is also a reminder that much remains up in the air, especially with respect to corporate/international travel and timing of vaccination. MS notes that the airlines recently shared some of their own surveys/views around a corporate travel recovery, which echoed some of these findings – perhaps with a more bullish tone even. MS continues to remain bullish on the pace of recovery and expects a return to 2019 levels of traffic by late 2021/early 2022, though MS expects US Domestic Leisure/VFR travel to return first and International and Corporate to return “last” by early 2022. This drives our preference for LCC and ULCC carriers over Legacy carriers, which are more exposed to International /Corporate travel and on average have had more cap structure damage during the pandemic. LUV, JBLU, ALGT and DAL are our top picks in the space.


OTHER NEWS

  • BuzzFeed has this great trick: 3. “On an airplane, if my seat-mate is hogging the armrest or being too chatty, I grab the barf bag. Works every time.” People Are Sharing Effective Psychological Tricks They Use In Everyday Life, And I’m Blown Away By Some!
  • And speaking of the virus (we assume), if you have AstraZeneca questions, read this: How good is the AstraZeneca vaccine – and is it really safe? 5 questions answered
  • Electric & Hybrid Aerospace Technology virtual conference looks very good so check it out – Conference Programme | Electric & Hybrid Aerospace Technology Virtual ‘Live’
  • If you travel a lot (after the pandemic) and you wear glasses, you will no doubt notice that your glasses are smudged all the time. Here is a great solution for easy, NO CLOTH wiping! It’s a little plastic cleaner that fits in your pocket and works better than anything else we have ever used – PEEPS! Yep, that is the name of the product … and no … they didn’t pay us, it is just a great product and we thought we would share it with you


QUIVER TREE MEDIA

QuiverTree Media has teamed up with ikonoTV, the
world’s first art streaming platform, providing access to content from worldwide collections, archives, galleries and museums inflight. The collaboration provides innovative new access to the art world, broadening access to works with new reach. Passengers are given the opportunity to quietly contemplate great works in a silent streaming format onboard from personal devices and also seat-back screens. The rich variety of works includes masterpieces such as The Garden of
Earthly Delights by Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch, the Naked Maja from the Prado’s Goya Collection through to ancient gems such as the exquisite Nefertiti Bust dating back to c. 1345 B.C.

The concept of streaming Art in Silence enables flight passengers to immerse themselves in the works without the distraction of sound, commentary or any element which could interfere in the sentiment evoked by the visual experience. “Continuing to inspire guests onboard with fresh, remarkable experiences made possible with digital expertise is part of QuiverTree Media’s DNA. We are privileged to lead the transformation of the inflight content offering as a disruptive CSP and unlock exceptional new opportunities for airlines with technical innovation” says Guillem Gassó, VP Commercial at QuiverTree Media.

QuiverTree Media and ikonoTV began recently commenced roll out of the innovative content introducing it onboard several launch airlines including Iberia Express, Volotea, Air Nostrum, Pegasus and Sun Express. The offering coincides with the current closure of many museums and other cultural venues as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The decision to enable greater access to art during a time of increased restrictions was a conscious effort given the demonstrated abilities the medium has on personal well being. Organisztions which promote the benefits of art as a contributor to both physical and mental well being include the WHO (source: Euronews 21.11.2019). Contact
press@quivertree-media.com or markevitch@ikonotv.art


OneWeb and SatixFy sign agreement for In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) compact terminal.

OneWeb, the global communications network powered from Space and SatixFy UK, a leading multi-beam antenna and terminal design specialist, have signed an agreement to develop a new In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) terminal that will work over the OneWeb network as well as on Geostationary (GEO) satellite networks. SatixFy UK has formed a Joint Venture with Singapore Technology Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering), called JetTalk, to exclusively commercialize the IFC terminal for Commercial Aviation markets. The agreement reaffirms OneWeb’s ambitions in the global aerospace arena as it sets out its roadmap to support commercial, regional, business and government aviation users.

The IFC terminal will unleash the power of OneWeb’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation and deliver a ‘home-equivalent’ inflight broadband experience, while also allowing operators to complement their legacy GEO service. The product is based on SatixFy’s Electronically Steered Multibeam Antenna (ESMA) technology, developed together with JetTalk and provides multibeam capability and operates simultaneously on multiple LEO and GEO satellites.

Well positioned to bring ESMA technology to the market earlier than originally anticipated, SatixFy, has recently completed the development of Tx tile of 576 elements and Rx tile of 1024 elements, that can be used as building blocks for the planned terminal. The tiles, which have been co-developed together with JetTalk, have completed initial testing and are currently being implemented inside a terminal product. The OneWeb IFC terminal will integrate the OneWeb modem as well as a GEO network one, inside the terminal.

“Suitability for all aviation applications” – Ben Griffin, OneWeb VP Mobility. OneWeb is confident of its suitability for all aviation applications – commercial, regional, business and government aviation use-cases. Ben Griffin, VP Mobility at OneWeb, said: “OneWeb is creating IFC solutions which offer a significant increase in the whole passenger traveling experience. This agreement with SatixFy represents a major milestone for OneWeb Aviation, as we plot our path to facilitating onboard connectivity, globally, on commercial airliners and corporate jets, large and small.”

“The ability to deploy multi-beam, multi-satellite, multi-orbit IFC terminals is key in SatixFy’s offering developed in partnership with ST Engineering through our Joint Venture – JetTalk.” says Yoel Gat, SatixFy’s CEO. “Aggregating capacity from multiple satellites will give customers the grade of service they expect on flights. This great leap forward is made possible thanks to the continuous support by ESA and UK Space Agency.”

Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth at the UK Space Agency, said: “The last year has shown connectivity has never been more important to our daily lives, and it is exciting to see SatixFy and OneWeb working together to provide aircraft with broadband internet for the first time. The new aviation terminal will make use of the Prime, Beat and Sx3099 ASIC chips developed with UK Space Agency backing, showing how supporting our most innovative companies leads to results that make a real difference for people all over the world.”
Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, said: “Space and satellites are becoming increasingly important to the digital economy and there is a need to get data all the time and everywhere – even at 35,000ft. ESA is proud to have supported SatixFy in the design of the chips used for this terminal – enabling the digital transformation of society using telecommunications satellites.”

In case you aren’t familiar with OneWeb or SatixFy here is a little data on each of them:

OneWeb will enable connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities. It is implementing a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites with a network of global gateway stations and a range of user terminals to provide an affordable, fast, high-bandwidth and low-latency communications service, connected to the IoT future and a pathway to 5G for everyone, everywhere. OneWeb is enhancing the experience of air travel and its network will deliver the speed, consistency and reliability that passengers expect to have in the sky for work or leisure. Find out more at

SatixFy is a vertically integrated company that provides chips and products across the entire satellites communications (satcom) value chain. Its products enable critical remote connectivity applications globally and incorporate the latest technological advances. SatixFy designs its own silicon proprietary chips, codes its software, builds its products and designs end-to-end systems for use in various applications and services, such as in-flight connectivity, IoT, communication payloads, consumer broadband, and more. The company leverages its research and development (R&D) and technical capabilities to design standard based communication products and systems with the most desirable qualities, such as: higher capacity, lower power consumption, lower weight, and lower cost.


BOEING

Deep space exploration took an important step forward on March 21, 2021. The cryogenic core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket completed hot fire testing at NASA’s Stennis Space Center as part of the SLS rocket’s Green Run test campaign on the B-2 test stand. The test, which included a full-duration, eight-minute engine burn, demonstrated successful core stage operation and will be used to help certify the stage for flight. “I want to thank the extraordinary individuals who make up the NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Boeing teams who designed, developed, produced and tested the all-new SLS core stage to enable sustainable human exploration of deep space,” said John Shannon, Boeing SLS vice president and program manager.

(Editor’s Note: We understand Boeing has put up for sale some 310 acres in the south Puget Sound region (specifically in Pierce County). They plan to reduce the Puget Sound land operation region by 30% and we wonder if the Northwest Boeing reduction is a part of the cost reduction of the new team? We will also see if more production is moved East in the future, as well!)


IATA has postponed the 77th annual meeting from June 27-29 in Boston, MA.


OTHER NEWS

  • Here is a story which explains why Southwest Airline ramp agents are very important! Southwest Airlines Ramp Agent Reunites Toddler With Buzz Lightyear | TravelPulse (Hey, if my Buzz Lightyear was lost I would be devastated!).
  • Apparently, things are looking up? Reports indicate that 2 weeks ago US air travel was down 55% from the same time period in 2019. But as of today, we understand that it is only down around 48%. WooHoo!
  • Here is an email quote we got from a reader and we offer you the chance to copy it: “This email is a natural product made from recycled electrons. The slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and in no way are to be considered flaws or defects.” Thanks, Ken!
  • Looking for a video explaining AI at the introductory level? Try this: AI in Science Fiction vs. AI in Reality | IE

SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct (SD), a business aviation solutions provider, is bolstering access to its Crewmember Network and Connectivity Training certificate program, aeroCNCT, through a new agreement with DaVinci Inflight Training Institute, a Florida-based flight crew training company. The SD aeroCNCT certified course is now being taught by an SD training professional at the DaVinci Institute on a quarterly basis. Theoretical and practical teaching leads to a professional credential upon successful completion of the course and examination.

The addition of aeroCNCT to the DaVinci curriculum aims to support the needs of an increasing amount of flight crew requiring comprehensive understanding of in-flight connectivity solution management. Designed to familiarize students with multifaceted connectivity concepts, the course includes modules on cabin network management, network applications and tools, and flight operation preparation. The resulting accreditation gives the flight professional the confidence to troubleshoot connectivity issues and serves to raise industry standards.

“We understand that connectivity is an essential element of the flight experience and that for flight crew it is a growing area of responsibility. DaVinci recognizes that providing reliable training enhances the opportunity for greater professional development, so it makes sense to team up to offer our dedicated course through the institute. The aeroCNCT course complements existing DaVinci modules, and we hope that by providing a wide selection of courses at a single location, attendees can optimize the full training potential available at the institute,” explains John Kummer, SD senior vice president strategy.

DaVinci offers a wide range of courses for flight attendants and crew, including culinary, cabin safety, and service training among others. “We believe that by adding tangible value to professional development with certified courses we are improving career prospects for our students and enhancing the business aviation sector. We are frequently asked for educational support relating to connectivity, so we are excited to add the SD connectivity module to our curriculum. We know it will appeal to many of our existing customers and be of great interest to new ones too,” says John Detloff, chief operating officer at DaVinci.

Since its launch three years ago, more than 200 crewmembers have successfully completed the aeroCNCT course and SD is now welcoming returning students for certification renewal.


BOEING

Boeing and private investment firm 777 Partners announced  an agreement to add 24 B737-8s to the firm’s diverse aviation portfolio, with purchase rights for an additional 60 airplanes. The Miami-based company will place the single-aisle airplanes with its growing portfolio of low-cost carrier investments around the world.

In addition to aircraft leasing, 777 Partners strategically invests in a host of aviation businesses, from operating carriers to technology-driven solutions. The firm’s travel sector strategy is largely focused on innovative solutions for interlining, passenger connectivity, and creating new commerce channels for its airline investments and customers.

“We could not be more excited to partner with Boeing on this transformative order for our growing aviation business. The 737-8 aircraft are a fantastic addition to our aviation portfolio and will enable our partners to leverage the jets’ superior economic performance to deliver low fares for their passengers while reducing their carbon footprint,” said Joshua Wander, founder and managing partner of 777 Partners. “The retrenchment of traditional carriers globally has created an unprecedented market opportunity for more agile and cost-efficient operators. These aircraft will enable our operators to accelerate the recovery in the destinations they serve. We are humbled to call one of America’s greatest manufacturers our partner in this endeavor.”

The B737-8 can fly 3,550 nautical miles, about 600 miles farther than its predecessor. This additional capability allows airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. The 737-8 reduces fuel use and CO2 emissions by 16% compared to the airplanes it replaces, and that superior fuel efficiency means lower operating costs and a smaller environmental footprint. Every airplane features the new Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead storage bins.

“777 Partners has gained a reputation for investing in high-growth markets and we are delighted to welcome them to the Boeing 737 family. This is a significant order that speaks to 777 Partners’ belief in the 737-8 and the market recovery ahead. We look forward to delivering these jets and supporting a safe and successful entry into service with 777 Partners’ affiliates,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing. 777 Partners is a Miami-based private alternative investment firm that invests across a number of high growth attractive verticals. Founded in 2015, 777 Partners initially applied its expertise in underwriting and financing of esoteric assets to diversify across a broad spectrum of financial services businesses, asset originators and financial technology/service providers. In recent years, the firm has broadened its mandate and now invests across six different industries: insurance, consumer and commercial finance, litigation finance, direct lending, media and entertainment, and aviation.


FLIGHTAWARE

FlightAware, a global provider of real-time and historical flight tracking information and insights, announced that it has been awarded a General Services Administration (GSA) contract from the United States Government. As a GSA schedule contract awardee, FlightAware becomes a trusted vendor of aviation data and applications for all approved GSA buyers. FlightAware is an American-owned and operated small business that can quickly and reliably deliver the world’s most complete aviation data and insights to the GSA purchaser. The GSA approval extends FlightAware’s aviation intelligence platform seamlessly to the government sector with data provided both in out-of-the-box and fully customizable formats. FlightAware’s APIs, like Firehose and AeroAPI, allow users to integrate flight data into customer products, while FlightAware’s applications such as FlightAware Global allow sophisticated tail and fleet monitoring. GSA buyers looking to learn more about FlightAware’s data offerings can visit: industry.flightaware.com/usgovernment

Synoptic Data PBC, the leading weather data aggregation and distribution platform, and FlightAware, the largest global provider of flight information and insights, today announced a partnership to deliver real-time Mode-S derived aircraft weather data via Synoptic’s API services to weather-sensitive users in the public and private sector.

Synoptic is expanding its aircraft-based observations offering by leveraging FlightAware’s capability to deliver global derived temperature and wind data throughout the vertical extent of the atmosphere using FlightAware’s complete historical and predictive aviation information platform, Firehose. Utilizing Mode-S weather data from tens of thousands of flights daily across the globe, Synoptic will provide its customers with a rich source of vertical weather profile information to enhance and improve weather forecast accuracy, increasing the amount of available aircraft weather data by as much as 400% in some situations. In addition to direct use in aviation operations, weather data collected from aircraft is one of the most important inputs to both global and regional Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models. Being able to incorporate additional data like FlightAware’s Mode-S data, especially in data sparse regions, will increase weather model accuracy and allow customers the ability to deliver better forecasts, contributing to public safety, operational efficiencies, and effective planning.

“The drop in air travel due to COVID has dramatically reduced the volume of critical airborne observations worldwide, impacting NWP weather forecast accuracy by as much as 30 percent. This partnership provides an important additional source of vertical wind and temperature data that will have a direct impact on NWP performance, improving weather forecasts and by extension, improving operational efficiency for all weather-impacted businesses,” said Steve Woll, President of Synoptic Data PBC.


OTHER NEWS

  • Let’s face it, the future of trade shows is questionable because of the virus risks and we have been waiting for some solutions that might work to help present new products. Well, the folks at Asian Sky Group have come up with one option and if you think this might be a partial solution, check out this demo video of GatoR introduced by Jeffery Lowe – Jeffrey Lowe introduces GathR: the next-gen virtual communication / networking platform. Jeffrey Lowe introduces GathR: the next-gen virtual communication / networking platform – YouTube
  • If you are a mechanical engineer you will love this video – The Antikythera Cosmos. The story is amazing and so is the video! The mechanical display of the universe developed and built around gears and brass display parts is a wonderful story on Gizmodo – New Model of Ancient Astronomical Device Reveals a ‘Creation of Genius’ and is the result of a rusted discovery off the coast of Crete in 1901. The 2000 year old device is an amazing development in its time. The video on Vimeo is a very good development description of the device that has taken over 100 years to resolve – especially since only one third of the device was discovered under water. Vimeo said – “The UCL Antikythera Research Team struggle to solve the front of the Antikythera Mechanism—a fragmentary ancient Greek astronomical calculator—revealing a dazzling display of the ancient Greek Cosmos.” They are correct! The Antikythera Cosmos on Vimeo And if you are wondering why this old mechanical technology story is in IFExpress, it is because we think our readers might find the history of knowledge and technology older than we are taught. And, along the same lines, the question of earlier flight history just may be somewhere developed, tested and hidden so well that we have not heard about it yet!

Abu Dhabi Airports Launches Rapid Covid-19 Testing

  •  In-airport laboratory facilities provide Covid-19 PCR test results in approximately 90 minutes
  • All arrivals from all destinations (except transit passengers) to benefit from free rapid testing
  • Rapid testing service launched in partnership with Pure Heath, the region’s largest laboratory operator, and UAE-based Tamouh Healthcare
  • Introduction of new testing process for arriving passengers is a reflection of Abu Dhabi Airports’ commitment to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of passengers, staff and visitors while facilitating air travel procedures

Abu Dhabi Airports, in partnership with Pure Health and Tamouh Healthcare, has launched rapid free Covid-19 PCR testing for all arrivals, except those in transit, with results provided in around 90 minutes. The new state of the art RT-PCR lab offers testing within Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to facilitate air travel procedures and support quarantine tracking procedures.

Designed to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of travelers and staff at Abu Dhabi International Airport, the new Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing process is free for arriving passengers and offers results in approximately 90 minutes. The laboratory has the capacity to test more than 20,000 travelers and staff per day.

The establishment of the PCR testing laboratory falls in line with the directives and vision of His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports, to contain the spread of Covid-19 while continuing to deliver a smooth and seamless travel experience at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Shareef Hashim Al Hashmi, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “Through partnering with Pure Health and Tamouh Healthcare, Abu Dhabi International Airport is now able to offer travelers state-of-the-art rapid testing services delivered by a dedicated laboratory facility. The introduction of the RT-PCR Covid-19 testing is a milestone achievement in our ongoing efforts to facilitate the safe resumption of international air travel and support the recovery of the aviation industry.”

“That we now offer a dedicated PCR testing laboratory within the airport is testament to our commitment at Abu Dhabi Airports to continuously innovate and look for new ways to deliver a safe, smooth and seamless travel experience for all our passengers. The new rapid testing facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport, developed in partnership with many of our stakeholders, will not only enable passengers to confidently travel to Abu Dhabi, but significantly enhance the efficiency of our operations while supporting global efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19,” added Al Hashmi.

All passengers arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport through both terminals 1 and 3 will be tested at the AUH PCR testing facility. Results of the Covid-19 tests will be shared by SMS and WhatsApp, as well as being available on the Alhosn mobile application. Passengers can leave the airport once they have finalized the PCR test processes.

Passengers who receive a negative PCR test and are arriving from the list of ‘green’ countries outlined by the government of Abu Dhabi, will not have to self-isolate. Those arriving from countries not on the ‘green’ list will have to self-isolate for a period of ten days, and will require a quarantine wristband fitted at the PCR testing tent attached to the airport.

Passengers transiting through the airport will not be tested prior to departing for their final destinations.

The lab, being developed and operated by Pure Health – the region’s largest laboratory operator – and the healthcare and passenger facility, being developed by UAE-based Tamouh Healthcare, will have the capacity to test more than 20,000 travellers per day. The 4,000 square metre facility will operate around the clock with up to 190 staff.

The launch of rapid Covid-19 testing services follows Abu Dhabi Airports’ introduction of a comprehensive range of health and safety measures at Abu Dhabi International Airport, including a specially trained team of Wellness Ambassadors equipped to support passengers by answering common questions relating to keeping healthy during travel, encouraging social distancing, and providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

In addition, the airport has deployed touch-less elevator technology, SterixEco Gates sterilization tunnels, thermal scanning cameras, as well cameras with facial recognition capabilities that alert staff if passengers or visitors to the airport are displaying symptoms of Covid-19 or not wearing facemasks.

Check out the link for the latest Covid-19 information at Abu Dhabi International Airport.


Satcom Direct Begins Airborne Validation of Plane Simple™ Ku-band Tail Mount Antenna System

One year after announcing the launch of the Plane Simple™ Satcom Antenna Systems, Satcom Direct has begun rigorous airborne testing of its advanced technology, purpose-built Ku-band tail mounted antenna system.

The transition from development to ground assessment to the aerial testing phase aims to validate the full performance capabilities of the Ku-band terminal. Inflight trials will also confirm the system’s integration with the SD ecosystem of hardware, software and supporting ground infrastructure. The antenna, which is now equipped on SD’s Gulfstream aircraft, will be stretched to the limits of its capabilities while providing empirical feedback about its functionality in an aerial environment.

“It is our company philosophy to always bring products to market that we have validated internally, and we are in a unique position to have the ability to undertake system testing on our own aircraft which gives us direct performance feedback,” says Satcom Direct Founder and CEO, Jim Jensen.  “The aerial validation is the next step in becoming a single source provider of end-to-end connectivity solutions for business and government operators worldwide, which will streamline the connectivity ownership experience and customer support services.”

The aerial testing follows successful completion of intense drive testing completed in Melbourne, Florida using a customized mobile platform. SD’s investment in the hardware series is satisfying the broadening segment of the business aviation sector’s appetite for flexible, reliable, cost effective connectivity solutions. The Plane Simple tail-mounted antenna system will support super-mid to large-size jets and is being developed in partnership with Germany-based QEST, Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH, a worldwide market leader in innovative aeronautical antennas.

“Aviation is moving toward a digital industry, and data is the foundation for informed decision making by operations, finance and maintenance departments. It is essential that we can offer powerful connectivity solutions to a much broader business aviation audience which also support enhanced data management and analytics. The start of our inflight testing within a year of announcing the hardware expansion highlights just how committed we are to meeting these market needs,” concludes Jensen.
The Plane Simple Ku-band antenna is the first in a series of antenna systems being developed by SD.  As a Value-Added Manufacturer (VAM) and service provider (SP) for Iridium Certus, SD is also designing and manufacturing a Plane Simple antenna system for compatibility with the new network offering from Iridium, while also providing the service direct to the business aviation community. The company is aiming to launch a Ka-band variant tail mount antenna in 2022, followed by an electronically steered, fuselage mounted phased-array antenna which will deliver high-speed connectivity via upcoming LEO constellations.


Suspension of  Retaliatory Tariffs

US agreed to temporarily suspend all retaliatory tariffs on direct exports from UK resulting from the Airbus dispute in a new joint approach to longstanding trade conflict over aerospace tariffs; this follows UK’s decision to suspend Boeing tariffs against the US from January. – Source: Speednews


Other News

  • “All us engineers or retired engineers always look at math as a baseline of our education. Why? Because all our education was based on, or explained with, math. Obviously, if your education experience occurred a while ago, it is interesting to review it … I guess? Anyway, here are 17 equations that probably had a part in your education  … and yes, it may be a bit challenging. Keep up, that is the message here!” – TJW
  • This is a big deal. Why? Aviation competition … but find out what CRAIC is first:  CRAIC Plans 3 Versions Of Its New Widebody: The ‘CR929’ – Simple Flying

PANASONIC AVIONICS

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has selected BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, a leading Japanese multinational videogame publisher and developer, to strengthen its in-flight entertainment gaming portfolio.

Panasonic Avionics has incorporated BANDAI NAMCO’s ever-popular, flagship games and will begin rolling them out to airlines and their passengers across the globe on its immersive in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution.

Retro games are seeing a resurgence and BANDAI NAMCO has developed some of the most recognized games in pop culture history such as DIG DUG, PAC-MAN, and GALAGA. PAC-MAN is to date, one of the most iconic brands in gaming, and passengers will soon be able to enjoy it and other globally-recognized games on aircraft equipped with Panasonic’s IFE.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “The gaming industry is one of the few that have seen significant growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This demonstrates the value global consumers place on games and their unique ability to take players on digital adventures and provide connections to different communities.”

Naoki Katashima, Managing Director of BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic that struck the world has greatly affected and changed our way of life. As the world comes together in overcoming the pandemic, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment has partnered with Panasonic Avionics to provide our universally acclaimed game content to be enjoyed in-flight, with hope of the day to come when travelers are free to enjoy the skies again.”


ENCORE INFLIGHT

Encore Inflight, a leading inflight content distributor which set up an office in Singpaore late last year, secured its first major client Cinewav, to provide specialty content that can be enjoyed across multiple venues without compromise to sound quality.

With more than a decade’s experience in providing content to more than 130 airlines, Encore will continue to leverage its network of global distributors to program, curate and rights manage all content for use via Cinewav.

Cinewav is a unique platform and mobile app that allows users to watch movies on big public spaces whilst using the complementary mobile app which allows users to listen to the audio seamlessly on their own phones. Replacing the need for huge speakers, this mobile app guarantees high quality immersive personal experience, eliminates noise pollution, scaling to as many users as possible, and encourages the use of novel event spaces.

Christian Lee, Co-founder of Cinewa said, “My Co-founder Jason Chan and I are really excited to appoint Encore as curators for the Cinewav platform. Jovita and her team have built the prestigious Encore brand by finding, acquiring and distributing the top International independent film gems that deserve to be watched by global audiences. The Cinewav solution came to us as filmmakers when we found that event screenings of our films always lacked great audio, despite attracting record crowds. Even in cinemas the audio would often need tweaking to match what we had meticulously mixed for audiences. That’s when we thought ‘what if we could deliver the perfect audio mix to every member of the audience regardless of location and size?’ We then embarked on a 2-year journey to achieve the synchronization of high quality audio on smartphone with visuals on a big screen. The effort paid off as we now have a world first, patent pending technology, that some are saying is more immersive than the traditional cinema experience.”

Jovita Toh, CEO of Encore Media said, “I have bee a fan of Cinewav founders Christian and Jason since I distributed their festival award winning movie Jimami Tofu more than 5 years ago. This dynamic duo’s passion for film continues to inspire me. Together, Cinewav and Encore hopes to bring back the magic and allure of outdoor movie screenings.”


 A BIT OF AVIATION HISTORY: The Last Flight of the Boeing 727 Prototype Airplane

5 years ago today on March 2, 2016 after 25 years of restoration the Boeing 727 protype airplane flew its last flight. It was restored at the Museum of Flight Restoration Center at Paine Field, Everett, Washington by a great group of volunteers, donors like United Airlines, FedEx and help from the Museum of Flight, Guy Amico, SOAR, FAA, and many others.

The United Airlines 727 flew a short flight to the Museum of Flight on Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington. Be sure to check out the video on YouTube


OTHER NEWS

SMARTSKY

SmartSky Networks announced that it has closed on more than $32 million in additional equity and debt funding as it prepares for the launch of its next-generation aviation Wi-Fi connectivity service later this year.

“In a display of confidence in the future of SmartSky’s groundbreaking technology and services, we received new funds from our institutional investors,” said SmartSky CEO David Helfgott.

SmartSky’s office-grade inflight Wi-Fi service for business and commercial aviation uses the pioneering company’s uniquely scalable, single-beam-per-aircraft approach, which is backed by a substantial patent portfolio and years of flight testing.  Building on this transformative capability, the company is enabling advanced new applications through Skytelligence®, its digital innovation platform, to improve safety and efficiency while providing the industry with new ancillary revenue sources.

 


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation Reports 2020 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Results
* Fourth quarter sales of $114.8 million; full year sales of
$502.6 million
* Fourth quarter pre-tax loss of $7.5 million and net loss of $20.0 million due to the non-cash reserve of $14.1 million against deferred tax assets
* Fourth quarter Adjusted EBITDA* was $2.9 million
* Fourth quarter bookings were $116.0 million, demonstrating sequential improvement
Backlog at end of the year was $283.4 million


BOEING

Boeing Statement on United Airlines Flight 328:

“Boeing is actively monitoring recent events related to United Airlines Flight 328. While the NTSB investigation is ongoing, we recommended suspending operations of the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines until the FAA identifies the appropriate inspection protocol. “Boeing supports the decision yesterday by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, and the FAA’s action today to suspend operations of 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines. We are working with these regulators as they take actions while these planes are on the ground and further inspections are conducted by Pratt & Whitney. “Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.”

Also from Boeing:

The Boeing Company board of directors announced that directors Arthur D. Collins Jr. and Susan C. Schwab will retire from the board when their terms expire and will not stand for reelection at the company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders. The board also named chairs to its six board committees, to take effect following the yearly voting for the election of directors at Boeing’s annual shareholder meeting, which is scheduled to occur on April 20. “We are grateful for Art and Susan’s distinguished service on our board,” said Boeing Chairman Larry Kellner. “Boeing has benefited enormously from their committed and dedicated service.” Collins joined the board in 2007 and most recently chaired the Compensation Committee and served as a member of the Governance, Organization and Nominating Committee. Schwab joined the board in 2010 and most recently served as a member of the Compensation Committee, and the Governance, Organization and Nominating Committee. “It has been a privilege to serve alongside Art and Susan,” said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun. “They made meaningful and lasting contributions to our company, and to the aerospace industry, which is foundational to the global economy.”
“In line with our thorough succession planning process, the board will continue to take steps to identify a pipeline of diverse candidates with appropriate expertise who bring qualified perspectives,” Kellner added.

In addition, the following directors were named committee chairs, effective upon their reelection to the board at the company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders:

  • Admiral Edmund Giambastiani Jr. will continue to chair the Aerospace Safety Committee
  • Akhil Johri was named chair of the Audit Committee
  • Lynn Good was named chair of the Compensation Committee
  • Robert Bradway was named chair of the Finance Committee
  • Ronald Williams was named chair of the Governance, Organization and Nominating Committee
  • Adm. John Richardson will continue to chair the Special Programs Committee.

 


OTHER NEWS

  • There are issues in aircraft manufacturing and you might want to read: Opinion: Will Boeing Become The Next McDonnell Douglas? | Aviation Week Network Be sure to read the reader comments …
  • AVIATION CYBERSECURITY – FAA Should Fully Implement Key Practices to Strengthen Its Oversight of Avionics Risks. Check it out here.
  • Do you read daily AXIOS Navigate? You might like it. Axios Navigate
  • If you don’t think aircraft noise is a concern, you might want to read this: How Noise Pollution Hurts the Heart – The Atlantic
  • George Denis Patrick Carlin (You know, George Carlin, the comedian) once said something very technical that is quite true: “Electricity is really just organized lightning.” (Editor’s Note: We are still trying to understand why we thought you needed to read this?)

IdeaNova Technologies

The team at IdeaNova Technologies is working hard on new features and functionality that will enhance the travel experience while improving passenger and crew safety.

Last year, airlines saw changes to the travel industry ranging from new technology that ensures a clean cabin to an overhaul of boarding protocols. Travel might look a little different these days, but the importance of providing comfort in the cabin is just the same.

Passengers can now watch their inflight entertainment with their friends and family on a flight, while respecting safety guidelines in limiting passenger movement around the cabin. This functionality also highlights the continued importance of the relationship between passengers and crew. Inplay Video Chat is a natural extension of the text chat feature introduced earlier.

Just like the text chat, Inplay Video Chat is quick and easy to use.   With a click of a button, anyone can initiate video communication with their friends or crew, creating a friendly atmosphere interacting safely and digitally onboard – ensuring passengers can fly with confidence.

Inplay Video Party brings revolutionary functionality for the next generation of flying affecting how passengers not only interact with their entertainment options, but also each other.

The Inplay IFE Portal offers airline passengers the ability to find their favorite movie and TV shows, and set up their watchlist before getting onto the aircraft. The player includes feature rich entertainment options such as ad-based video on demand, live TV, and games. It of course also keeps passengers informed with such things as safety information and automatic pause for important PA announcements. Now, the playback is augmented with yet another convenient feature of being able transmit audio and video in real time with fellow passengers.

Together passengers can enjoy their favorite movies and TV shows, allowing for better engagement between friends and family while taking advantage of all IFE content onboard. Inplay Video Chat allows passengers to watch and discover IFE content together – highlighting the important social aspect of flying.

While Inplay Video Chat is offered as stand-alone SDK for airlines to integrate into their own portals, Inplay Portal integration is well engineered. Passengers can conveniently configure and invoke this feature with a click of a button from any main portal area, while playing DRM or non-DRM content using Inplay Players. All Inplay components (including Microsoft PlayReady DRM) run on Linux, allowing an easier integration for airlines and IFE operators. IdeaNova DRM infrastructure has gone through many changes driven by self-driven need for new features and better performance as well as by external changes imposed by vendors such as Google, Microsoft and Apple.  Inplay Portal has recently been enhanced with Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) compliant advertising features giving airlines another revenue stream option.

“Our mission has always been to create beautiful products that enrich the passenger journey and that is no exception with Inplay Video Chat. This time, we are making it both enjoyable and safe” says Juraj Siska, IdeaNova CEO…, “Introducing this new functionality is exactly within airlines highest priorities – moving us forward towards safe travel again. The continued innovation in our airline industry will help us to exceed previous passenger experience and bring new innovation to the cabin. Together with the newly released ad serving functionality we provide a combination of safe and income generation features.”

IdeaNova will be providing in-person demos of this new technology at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany rescheduled last year due to the pandemic for August 31-September 2, 2021. Customers can request on demand demos and evaluation of Inplay Video chat anytime.


Astronics Corporation

Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for global aerospace, defense and other mission critical industries, announced it was awarded an order of approximately $11 million from Collins Aerospace (“Collins”) for business jet connectivity equipment. The order is a follow on to previous orders for inflight connectivity (IFC) hardware that Astronics has been providing to Collins.

Astronics’ equipment supports the growing interest in the business jet connectivity services offered by Collins Aerospace. Having received many strong customer reviews, Collins’ system provides unparalleled high-speed world-wide connectivity that enables a broad variety of remote conferencing services as well as streaming entertainment.

“We are excited to extend and expand the relationship with Collins Aerospace to provide best-in-class connectivity equipment for their customers,” stated Michael Kuehn, Astronics CSC President. “We believe this order validates the success of Collins Aerospace connectivity services and the performance of Astronics connectivity hardware. Improved connectivity for the business jet market has become an imperative and we are committed to providing the best connectivity capability available for aircraft with our technologies.”

For more details on the T-311 hardware, visit Astronics.com.


UNITED AIRLINES & ARCHER AVIATION

Many of you may not know who Archer Aviation is, so here it is in a nutshell: Archer is based in Palo Alto, California and was started in May 2020 and the company plans to manufacture planes, not so unusual, but the twist is their planes are targeted for the electric air-taxi market. Their website indicates their aircraft travel at speeds of 150 mph with a 60 mile range.  Also, the company is backed by Marc Lore, who is head of Walmart’s e-commerce division.

Morgan Stanley projects the electric air-mobility market will be worth $1.5T by 2040.  Also, United Airlines has agreed to purchase $1B worth of Archer’s aircraft with an additional $500M option. In December, United announced it would invest millions to be 100% “green” by 2050.

Recently it was announced that Archer Aviation will merge with Crest Investment Corporation SPAC with plans to go public at $3.8B. The merger will generate $1.1B for Archer, with $600M coming from a private investment made by United Airlines and Mubadala, Abu Dhabi’s investment arm. The remaining $500M will come from funds raised during Atlas Crest’s October IPO.


OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC AVIONICS

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has today announced a major evolution in its in-flight connectivity offering as its first extreme high throughput satellite (XTS) enters service over the Asia-Pacific region.

The APSTAR-6D satellite is Panasonic Avionics’ latest investment in in-flight connectivity for passengers on commercial aircraft. It is an integral part of its third-generation communications (Gen-3) network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites, placing capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.

Panasonic Avionics is set to complete the upgrade of the 2,544 aircraft installed with its connectivity service to its Gen-3 network within the next month. Over 1,000 commercial aircraft are committed to being installed with its connectivity services and linked to the Gen-3 network from the outset.

Connectivity is integral to the success of Panasonic Avionics and enables a wide range of services to airlines and their passengers. In addition to in-flight WI-FI, these include Live Television with the world’s only global live sports channels delivered in partnership with IMG, an integrated solution with OneMedia to deliver real-time ads, real-time transactions that open up a huge range of in-flight retail possibilities, and the ability to personalize the passenger experience through solutions such as Panasonic Avionics’ Companion App and much more.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “Today is a milestone moment for Panasonic Avionics as we go live with the newest generation of in-flight connectivity. Our third-generation communications network delivers the targeted, flexible use of extreme high throughput capacity, ensuring we can meet the needs of our airline customers with cost-effective and reliable high bandwidth services well into the future.”

APSTAR-6D was jointly designed by APSATCOM and Panasonic Avionics. It will provide airlines with multiple gigahertz of new Ku-band capacity over China and high-density routes around East Asia, including Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia using narrow XTS spot beams.

In addition, APSTAR-6D provides high throughput satellite (HTS) coverage over its full field of view including the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Australia and the Southern Oceans down to Antarctica, which includes areas not served by any other HTS satellite. Tailoring the capacity to areas of demand will provide Panasonic Avionics’ airline customers with better service, unprecedented coverage and the ability to dramatically increase throughput. This opens the doors for airlines to further customize their connectivity offerings to meet the evolving expectations of their passengers.

Panasonic Avionics is currently engaged in active and ongoing trials with airlines to demonstrate the high data rate capabilities of its Gen-3 network. The company expects that airline passengers flying in the region served by APSTAR-6D will also take advantage of the enhanced connectivity that XTS delivers to use high-bandwidth apps in flight.

21 Asian carriers, representing over 800 aircraft, have already selected Panasonic Avionics for in-flight connectivity, including many of the region’s leading airlines, such as Air China, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Xiamen Airlines.

Jeff Sare, Vice President, In-Flight Connectivity Solutions at Panasonic Avionics, says: “Panasonic Avionics is committed to long term investment in its high bandwidth, global Ku-band network, and the service entry of APSTAR-6D is the latest step in that journey.”

Sare continued: “We are planning further investment in our global network of Ku-band satellites for use by commercial airlines in the years ahead. For example, our second XTS, Eutelsat 10B, is due to launch next year and will provide enhanced connectivity over Europe and the Middle East. Additional capacity commitments are also planned.”

Panasonic’s third-generation communications network supports improved airline and passenger experiences including faster internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, improved live TV picture quality and broader channel choice, 4G phone services, and greater bandwidth for crew applications.

The network is backed by Panasonic’s Customer Performance Center, which drives improved network performance, greater reliability, and faster response and resolution times, along with business intelligence tools and reports that provide customers with the data and analytics to deliver and monitor targeted pricing and advertising campaigns.


VALOUR CONSULTANCY IFC REPORT

A new report from Valour Consultancy, an award-winning provider of market intelligence services, foresees the number of aircraft installed with in-flight connectivity (IFC) doubling from 9,026 at the end of 2020 to approximately 18,500 in 2029. These figures factor in the full impact of COVID-19, including the cancellation of retrofit projects and delayed deliveries of new aircraft.

The report, “The Future of In-Flight Connectivity – 2020 Edition,” predicts that over the next two years, the installed base will grow slowly, by around 800 aircraft, marking a 70% decrease in net new installs across the period compared to pre-COVID-19 estimates. The majority of these IFC systems will be linefit. “The pandemic has caused airlines to defer new wide-body deliveries, postpone IFC retrofit programs and to retire older aircraft in favour of smaller, more agile and fuel-efficient planes. Despite this, low level activity is still expected, with 70% of net new IFC installations between now and 2022 to take place on narrow-body jets,” explains its author, Daniel Welch.

The study looks beyond COVID-19 and provides detailed commentary on factors that will help to create a more sustainable IFC business model as the industry begins to recover. “IFC service providers are going to find new wins hard to come by over the next couple of years as airlines rein in their spending. But there is plenty to do in terms of delivering a better quality of service to existing customers,” says Welch. “The pandemic is driving change in the passenger experience and many airlines are using this period to revisit their digital strategies. It’s clear we’re going to see a greater emphasis placed on contactless interactions, customer reassurance and the seamlessly digital journey. IFC can, at the very least, enhance many applications linked to these areas and, as a result, will become more integral to airlines than before the pandemic hit.”

The “captive portal” is another subject explored in the report. It cites how the likes of American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and others are taking ownership of IFC services by introducing portals that harmonize what the passenger sees and embrace a holistic approach to loyalty and onboard retail services. Welch continues, “In the past, passengers flying with an airline that has multiple IFC services in use across its fleet have typically been exposed to the nuances of these deals, paying different rates based on the hardware/service onboard, be it from Gogo, Inmarsat, Panasonic or Viasat. Having a harmonized experience reduces friction during the login process, but also drives ancillary opportunities. Deploying an engaging portal is an achievable short-term win for carriers that already have IFC or wireless IFE that will continue to drive long-term growth.”

Valour Consultancy is a provider of high-quality market intelligence. Its latest report, “The Future of In-Flight Connectivity – 2020 Edition,” is the newest addition to the firm’s highly regarded aviation research portfolio. Developed with input from more than 30 companies across the value chain, the study includes more than 200 tables and charts along with extensive commentary on key market issues, technology trends and the competitive environment. For more information send an email to info@valourconsultancy.com


QUIVER TREE & AUDIBLE

Reaching New Heights: QuiverTree Media collaborates with Audible, an Amazon company

QuiverTree Media collaborates with Audible, an Amazon company, to bring the best in digital spoken-word entertainment onboard. One of the world’s largest sellers and producers of audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment, will further boost visibility of its subscription channel across Europe accessing inflight audiences with QuiverTree Media. Passengers are able to enjoy captivating storytelling onboard their flight and choose from binge-worthy audiobooks, exclusive podcasts, bite-sized audio content, and genre-bending Audible Originals.

Stories that speak volumes

The QuiverTree Media and Audible collaboration has already started making the content available on the fleets of Iberia Express and Air Nostrum, following the successful launch of Audible’s service for Spanish listeners in October. The collaboration reinforces Audible’s offer for this territory, giving passengers a unique opportunity to discover exclusive audiobooks and podcasts in a captive inflight environment. Through this collaboration, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum count with content designed to appeal.

Through this collaboration, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum count with content designed to appeal to young and old audiences alike, bringing together acclaimed Audible Originals such as V is a Vis: la cara B , Pequeñas Revoluciones para Crecer and E l Móvil de Mendes to titles produced in collaboration with Guía Repsol and the ISDI Business School. The selection is complemented with a series of exclusive Audible children’s titles such as Peter Pan , The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.

In addition to offering Audible interactive digital branded assets on inflight entertainment platforms, QuiverTree is enabling the company to provide passengers that enjoy the service inflight tailored incentives, which include special promotional benefits if they subscribe to the service. “Our collaboration with Audible is a great example of the unique capabilities QuiverTree Media delivers as a CSP, pairing inflight experience enhancement for airlines with advertising and subscription benefits for OTTs.” says Julia Maruny, Media & Partnerships at QuiverTree Media. “The fact QuiverTree Media shares many customer-centric and technological innovation values with Audible, reinforces this collaboration with great potential to reach and inspire more customers together.”


OTHER NEWS


Thales

Qatar Airways is upgrading its Boeing B787-8 fleet with Thales’s AVANT IFE. The IFE system features an innovative, New Generation user experience unique to Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways is one of the fastest growing and highly acclaimed airlines in the world, consistently earning a 5-Star rating by Skytrax. With a fleet of the latest-generation aircraft and an unrivaled level of service, Qatar Airways has a steadfast vision to provide the best in-flight experience to its passengers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline remained unwavering in its commitment to upgrade the current fleet of Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner with Thales AVANT inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Qatar Airways has been eager to replicate the innovative AVANT experience on their Boeing B787-8 aircraft without disrupting the utilization of the fleet and minimizing down time during the retrofit installation. To achieve this ambition, Thales has developed an upgrade program to adapt the existing legacy system to incorporate new AVANT screens and servers into the existing seats and aircraft infrastructure. This turnkey approach includes delivery of full seat modification, hardware and all required certifications, as well as the ability to leverage media integration commonality across the Qatar Airways’ fleet equipped with AVANT.

Qatar Airways Senior Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Ms. Salam Al Shawa, said: “As a leader of innovation within the global aviation industry, we are always looking for ways to further enrich our already exceptional 5-Star on board experience for passengers. With the latest in-flight technology, including lightweight screens, greater content storage and full HD touch screens, we are delighted to work with Thales in bringing the most advanced AVANT IFE system on board our Boeing 787-8 fleet.”

Upgrading to AVANT IFE on the Boeing B787-8 fleet introduces the latest High Definition (HD), capacitive touch screen technology enabling passengers to seamlessly navigate the graphical user interface (GUI) using familiar gestures from their smartphone or tablet. The lightweight screens are two to three times brighter than the former technology, featuring more than 16 million colors for a brilliant viewing experience.

The AVANT system offers a large selection of features and applications with high capacity servers to store over a terabyte of industry leading media content including the latest HD movies, TV show episodes and music collections. Business class passengers will enjoy 17” Full HD touch screens; the main cabin will feature the same high quality experience with 12” smart displays.

“Qatar Airways continues to be a leader in the recovery of the aviation industry, maintaining a paramount commitment to service and to the enrichment of the passenger journey. Together we have developed a turnkey upgrade program with a seamless customer experience and continued installation despite the crisis. With the AVANT IFE system, passengers on Qatar Airways Boeing B787-8 aircraft will enjoy a 5-star experience.” Philippe Carette, Chief Executive Officer, Thales Inflyt Experience.


KID Systeme

KID-Systeme GmbH, a subsidiary of the Airbus Group, announces a change in its multi-member Board with the appointment of Stefan Stolzki as Managing Director.

Currently Head of Customer Services for Cabin Electronics at Airbus Operations and KID-Systeme, Stolzki takes over the position from Peter Schetschine with immediate effect.

KID is managed in a dual leadership set-up. Next to Fokke Mentjes, Stefan Stolzki will be responsible for the overall revenue generation including business development, product line management, sales, customer program management, marketing communications and events.

Stolzki is a graduate of the University of Applied Sciences in Lübeck, Germany. After graduating in Industrial Engineering, he held various senior management positions in Logistics and Customer Service at Satair and Airbus Operations.

“I am very excited to be named Managing Director. KID-Systeme was created by the insight and innovative thinking of aerospace visionaries, and has been built into a customer centric team of cabin experts. I look forward to shaping the future with the team and our network, including the Board of Directors, customers, our industry partners, and especially the people working here who dedicate themselves to the success of KID every day.”, Stolzki said.

KID-Systeme belongs to the Cabin and Cargo family within the Airbus Group, its product portfolio encompasses seat power, cabin and cargo safety features as well as on-board connectivity products and services.


AERQ

AERQ announced that the joint venture between LG Electronics and Lufthansa Technik has joined the Hamburg Aviation Network. AERQ is headquartered in Hamburg and has the goal to improve and evolve the digitalization of the cabin experience with an innovative digital ecosystem. Lufthansa Technik, one of AERQ’s parent companies, is a founding member of Hamburg Aviation. Hence, it was a logical conclusion to become a member of the cluster.

The location Hamburg has developed a leading global position in the field of cabin systems. The presence of cabin expertise at the site is carried to the world not least through the AIX trade fair and the Crystal Cabin Award. It is not only a matter of maintaining the level, but also of exploiting further potential in order not to relinquish global leadership.

“AERQ contributes to Hamburg Aviation’s value chain by providing airlines with cabin solutions that allow them to tap into new business models, drive ancillary revenues and generate operational efficiencies,” said Arnd Kikker, Managing Director at AERQ. “Our hardware, software and data solutions drive the aircraft cabin’s digitalisation, which is another competence field of Hamburg Aviation.”

“The alliance of the city, companies, science and associations creates added value for all players through trusting and efficient cooperation for an innovative aviation location and for the mobility and jobs of tomorrow. We are happy that AERQ with its innovation power has decided to be part of the Hamburg Aviation cluster. Both sides will profit from the collaboration,” said Ulf Weber, Managing Director at Hamburg Aviation.

“Although it is a challenging time for our industry, we believe that it can be an opportunity, too. We feel that especially now given the current circumstances digital and passenger centric products will flourish. In the meantime, our OLED-based Transparent Class Divider concept was shortlisted for the Crystal Cabin Award 2020 and we are planning on participating at the next AIX, too,” said Sang Soo Lee, Managing Director at AERQ.


Sustainable Aero Lab

The aviation industry has historically been the most innovative when facing crises. While global air travel is still severely challenged by the COVID19 pandemic, another game-changing crisis can already be outlined today: In the next decades, the effects of climate change will dramatically influence aviation and its business models. At the same time, this development poses a great opportunity for the aviation industry to regain a revolutionary state of mind, unlocking new fields of technology, business and cooperation.

To support and accelerate this transition of aviation on a global scale, numerous partners and initiatives from Hamburg have joined ranks to form the Sustainable Aero Lab. The new lab will be a global fast track program for startups and projects that can prove their tangible impact on reducing the climate footprint of aviation.

Sustainable Aero Lab to Drive Industry Discussion and Serve as Acceleration Network for Startups

To achieve this, the Sustainable Aero Lab will globally bring together startups, experienced mentors, investors and industry players into one room where founders receive highly focused feedback in a transparent live session four times a year. The first session will be held virtually in February 2021.

The Sustainable Aero Lab also strives to be an international agenda-setter for discussing the relevant issues and questions around the sustainable transformation of aviation, with all stakeholders involved.

Mentors at Sustainable Aero Lab: Leading Individuals from Aviation, Green Tech and Finance

Mentors at Sustainable Aero Lab comprise of world-leading experts from aviation, green tech, and finance. The Sustainable Aero Lab invites individuals with relevant background and experience to help the startups, and will ask for limited time commitment only. Exchange between the mentors is a key benefit even for partners from big corporations.

While the selection process is still ongoing, the Sustainable Aero Lab team is honored to, among others, have already secured the commitment of industry executive Nico Buchholz (former Lufthansa EVP Fleet Management & SVP at Bombardier), renowned aviation analyst at Leeham Company Bjorn Fehrm, long-time Bombardier innovation director Fassi Kafyeke, Ampaire SVP of Global Operations Susan Ying (also formerly Boeing, COMAC), and ex-Facebook director and venture capitalist Christian Hernandez Gallardo as mentors.

Hamburg-Based Initative with Global Scope

The Sustainable Aero Lab is a project driven by Hamburg-based Density Ventures and its CEO Stephan Uhrenbacher, a renowned serial entrepreneur and investor (most prominently: founder of Qype, Avocadostore, 9flats), who also serves as CEO of the Lab. As associated partners, the Hamburg Aviation cluster network, and ZAL Center of Applied Aero Research will also contribute significantly to the new initiative. The Sustainable Aero Lab is supported by the Hamburg Ministry of Economics and Innovation (BWI), and funded through the Hamburg Investment and Development Bank (IFB).

Michael Westhagemann, Hamburg’s Senator for Economics and Innovation:

“The sustainable change that the aviation industry is facing will come with many new opportunities. To unlock these, we need open discussions and higher speed. The Sustainable Aero Lab will put its focus on exactly these points. As one of the world’s leading aviation sites, Hamburg strives to be a leading place for the development of sustainable aviation technologies as well.”

Open for Startup Submissions and Further Lab Partners

The Sustainable Aero Lab is actively scouting for founders and innovators who desire to be part in the first cohort of the Lab. Selected startups will receive A level mentoring on their most pressing objectives. The Lab will not ask for any shares, repositioning or generic pitches. Detailed information on the selection criteria and the application process can be found on www.sustainable.aero.

All individuals, institutions and companies who would like to contribute to the Sustainable Aero Lab in other forms are encouraged to get in touch as well. As a platform for open innovation, the Sustainable Aero Lab is looking to welcome anyone who can add value towards reducing the climate footprint of aviation.


Carlisle IT

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CarlisleIT), a division of Carlisle Companies (CSL), is pleased to announce the award of a new Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the European Aviation Safety Association (EASA) for installation of Satellite and Communication (SATCOM) provisions on Airbus A320 series aircraft.

EASA STC 10075259 installs all aircraft structural provisions, outside aircraft equipment and electrical integration packages for the Honeywell JetWave Ka system. The installation package is certified for application on A319, A320, and A321 aircraft, using CarlisleIT’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) approved solution. CarlisleIT provided all design, qualification, approvals and certification resources associated with the STC. The kits are manufactured at CarlisleIT’s Franklin, Wisconsin factory.

“CarlisleIT’s extensive certification experience, including 202 STCs and 100 VSTCs, ensures that any equipment installation is completed safely and in compliance with airworthiness regulations, regardless of location,” said Chris Rawley, product line manager, aircraft connectivity solutions at CarlisleIT. “This STC opens the door for our European customers to take advantage of an existing, qualified SATCOM installation solution for the Airbus A320 family of aircraft.”

CarlisleIT leads the market in aerospace SATCOM applications, with over 2500 installations delivered worldwide. From component manufacturing to fully integrated engineered solutions, CarlisleIT has the capability and flexibility to support its customer needs.

Happy New Year and Goodbye 2020!!

Phew, 2020 is over and what a year it was, but unfortunately, not in a good way for the majority of humanity.

As 2021 becomes commences, the aviation transportation industry is experiencing a myriad of changes. Terms like ‘recovery’ or ‘reset’ will be popular; however, the phrase ‘industry redesign’ could easily be the biggest deal. The world of public transportation may have to add the words like ‘caution’, ‘immunity’ and ‘contact-less’ to their title as COVID- 19 and its mutations affect everything we do while we travel. Unlike issues with older aircraft interiors, poor inflight food, slow inflight data rates, or malfunctioning IFE; passenger health & welfare will inevitably dominate our profession for sometime, despite the development of COVID-19 vaccinations. This is especially true as the virus continues to evolve and mutate, which is clearly the case.

Additionally, some airlines, like jetBlue have re-scaled their transportation solutions by redefining their aircraft size.  As of this month (January 2021), jetBlue has 267 airplanes in service, with remaining orders for 142 jetliners. Despite having 11,000 workers that have taken a voluntary leave, the airline obviously feels that the passenger capacity of their aircraft fleet needs to be reduced as well. Consequently, they have ordered some 70 A220-300’s which will each seat 130 passengers, the first of which is now flying. And IFExpress is certain other carriers may well follow suit in the very near term.

Clearly, the future of aviation transportation is changing. While electric vehicles are somewhere on the horizon, better passenger isolation with improved inflight environments just may be the new ‘big deal’ if the flight transportation market is to return to its previous scale and job market size. Furthermore, in the USA, we expect our passports to be more health communication oriented and it is possible that a traveler’s COVID-19 health status could be added to them, especially if it provides immunization information, in fact, this is exactly what Israel is developing in their new ‘green passport’.

Inflight entertainment & communication is important; however, for 2021 immunization is the key and the correlating availability of  traveler health data will be what enables the air travel industry to rebound. Stay Tuned! (Editor’s Note: By the way, when/if you do get a COVID-19 immunization shot(s), you might want to keep a copy of that info in your passport – we certainly will!)


Viasat & Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines has selected Viasat’s industry-leading, next-generation Ka-band satellite in-flight connectivity (IFC) solution for more than 300 mainline narrow-body aircraft, including both new delivery and retrofits on A321ceo, 737-900ER and select 757-200 aircraft. Delta expects to bring the Viasat technology onboard these aircraft starting summer 2021, with Delta having the option to add additional fleets.

Delta will be upgrading its current IFC system to Viasat’s more advanced Ka-band satellite-powered technology to provide all customers with enhanced and reliable in-flight internet capabilities—including faster, more consistent connections and an ability to stream all types of entertainment and popular over-the-top content—to any internet-ready device, gate-to-gate. The Viasat/Delta relationship will lay the groundwork toward a true full, fast and free in-flight internet experience as well as future enhancements and personalization on customer seatback screens.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to delight our customers and offer an unparalleled onboard experience,” said Bill Lentsch, chief customer experience officer, Delta. “In working with Viasat, we gain the tools needed to deepen customer interactions and bring us closer to delivering more personalized in-flight content as well as an ability to consistently provide free, fast, streaming Wi-Fi in the future.”

“Delta is committed to optimize the customer journey, and we’re committed to helping them build a foundation toward a better in-flight internet and entertainment experience,” said Rick Baldridge, president and CEO, Viasat. “We have a proven in-flight connectivity solution that is high-quality, streaming-capable and can scale to meet Delta’s growing customer demand. We’re proud to be part of their connected ecosystem.”

Delta’s aircraft will be outfitted with Viasat’s latest Ka-band IFC system, and will be compatible with Viasat’s complete fleet of satellites, including Viasat’s first-generation spacecraft and partner satellites; its second-generation spacecraft ViaSat-2, and the forthcoming ViaSat-3 class of satellites, which are expected to offer global coverage with nearly eight times more capacity than Viasat’s current fleet—which means even more enhanced connectivity and streaming services to keep up with expected increases in demand.

For more information on how Delta plans to accelerate the future of in-flight connectivity, check out the Q&A with Delta’s Director of Brand Experience In-Flight Entertainment & Wi-Fi, Ekrem Dimbiloglu – found in Delta’s News Hub.


Boeing News

Qatar Airways Cargo took delivery of three Boeing 777 Freighters as the airline continues to build its cargo division with the world’s largest and most capable twin-engine freighter. The milestone also marks the 200th 777 Freighter to be delivered.

The triple delivery comes as air freight is playing a pivotal role amid the COVID-19 pandemic – including transporting newly approved vaccines – and is projected to increase more than 4% over the next two decades.

With the arrival of the trio of 777 Freighters, Qatar Airways Cargo now operates 24 of this airplane model along with two 747-8 Freighters. As one of the leading air cargo carriers in the world, Qatar’s dedicated freighter fleet serves more than 60 freighter destinations worldwide via its world-class Doha hub and also delivers freight on the belly-hold deck of passenger aircraft to an extensive network.

“With the arrival of these new freighters, we are injecting more capacity in the market which is very much required during the pandemic. The added capacity will also enable us to support the logistics around the COVID-19 vaccination, which is projected to be one of the greatest logistical challenges for the industry,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker. “With our investments in innovation and fleet, we are able to fulfill our customers’ logistical requirements and facilitate the continuity of global trade.”

The 777 Freighter can fly 4,970 nautical miles (9,200 kms) and carry a payload of 224,900 pounds (102,010 kg). The airplane’s long range translates into significant savings for operators like Qatar Airways Cargo as fewer stops reduce landing fees, congestion, cargo handling costs and delivery times.

“During these challenging times, Qatar Airways Cargo has been transporting humanitarian relief and medical goods to those in need, and we are proud that their growing fleet of 777 Freighters is supporting such a commendable effort,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president, Commercial Sales and Marketing, The Boeing Company. “We deeply appreciate our long-standing partnership with Qatar Airways and their confidence in the 777 Freighters as the backbone of their expansive global air cargo operations.”

The 777 Freighter is now Boeing’s top selling freighter. Customers from around the world have ordered 242 777 Freighters since the program began in 2005, including a record 45 units in 2018. Boeing, the market leader in air cargo aircraft, provides more than 90% of the dedicated freighter capacity around the world, including new production and converted freighters.


Other News

If you have never head of Claude Shannon, do be surprised, especially if you are an electrical engineer. Claude Shannon in 1948 determined a mathematical communication theory and; “he laid the foundation for the entire communication infrastructure underlying the modern information age.” In the wonderful article by Davis Tse in Quanta Magazine lays out the story: “Today’s information age is only possible thanks to the groundbreaking work of a lone genius”. Below is the link to the article which contain the summary of his technology and link to his thesis/paper on the subject of his communication theory. Noted Tse: “Before Shannon, the problem of communication was primarily viewed as a deterministic signal-reconstruction problem: how to transform a received signal, distorted by the physical medium, to reconstruct the original as accurately as possible. Shannon’s genius lay in his observation that the key to communication is uncertainty. After all, if you knew ahead of time what I would say to you in this column, what would be the point of writing it?” If you want to see some data on a genius who never won a Nobel Prize check out the article: How Claude Shannon’s Information Theory Invented the Future | Quanta Magazine Further, Tse goes on: “This single observation shifted the communication problem from the physical to the abstract, allowing Shannon to model the uncertainty using probability. This came as a total shock to the communication engineers of the day.”

And finally, here is another source about the man and his brilliant solutions.

(Editor’s Note: If you don,t like mathematics, you might not want to check out Shannon’s communication theory report and graduate thesis … just read the article by Tse. And, if you don’t think this subject has anything to do with IFEC, remember, data communication is involved with connectivity in a big way.)

Season’s Greetings

For most of us 2020 has been a tumultuous and turbulent year both professionally and personally. In an effort to contain and control the spread of COVID-19 we’ve all had to adapt the way we perform and deliver our services and live our day-to-day lives. The result has been physical distancing but in a way this common, shared experience has brought us all closer.

The IFExpress team thanks our readers for your continued support and we look forward to a time when our industry can once again gather together to discuss new concepts and product developments in person. In the meantime, we wish you and your loved ones all the best this holiday season.

May 2021 bring you health and prosperity,

Patricia Wiseman, Editor & Founder of IFExpress


TURKISH TECHNIC

Turkish Technic has completed the design, production and certification process of its new server and wireless access point (WAP) products, the backbone of in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems. This also marks a new milestone of in-house production in aviation sector for Turkish Technic following the production of its aviation seats and galley. Turkish Technic’s new server and WAP surpass the competition with the features such as easy integration with various software applications and providing flexibility in determining equipment configuration according to current system requirements.

Providing the option of storing media (movies, videos, newspapers, magazines etc.), internet access and sharing the content with the passengers abroad the aircraft, servers act as a media source to transform air travel into a fun experience. Developed and produced by Turkish Technic, the products are customized according to the market needs and equipped with new features. Both the server and WAP are a step up from the IFE & Connectivity market competition. The new server provides 6 TB of data storage, which is 3 times bigger than its counterparts. The WAP has 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz dual band radio.

On the launch of new connectivity products, General Manager of Turkish Technic Ahmet Karaman stated that: “During these challenging times that affect aviation and the whole world, our commitment to improve our software and hardware capabilities continues.

Being a leading MRO company in the world, we work to improve our service quality as well as the product range. With an aim to provide best connectivity products in the market, our team continues to bring their best efforts forward to achieve that goal. After developing and producing our aircraft galley and seats, we now add our servers and WAP products to the list. We would not be able to do all this without the passion and commitment of our people. I thank them for their tireless efforts and cooperation.”

Developed by the highly skilled and dedicated experts and engineers at Turkish Technic, the server and WAP are designed to meet all advanced communication needs of its customers. With their full function tests and trials in extreme conditions complete, the server and WAP are approved by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

 


MOMENT

Moment, French on-board digital solutions provider, is currently working on a trial with French aviation group Amelia (by Regourd Aviation) to implement Moment’s Flymingo box aboard its planes. 

Created in 1976, the Group is based in Paris and has strong French, European and African footprints. The Group is specialized in business, corporate and regional travels on 19 to 72-seat aircraft, operating 19 aircraft in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, offering charter, scheduled flights and ACMI services.

In 2019, Regourd Aviation created the brand Amelia, uniting its activities under one banner. The Group’s airline, Amelia International, conducts short-haul domestic flights between Paris and two cities in France: Rodez and Clermont Ferrand. In line with this recent accomplishment, Amelia decided to partner with Moment to provide its customers with an unparalleled digital journey aboard its fleet.

Therefore, Moment deployed its Flymingo box, a portable Wireless IFE solution, along with its digital platform allowing for a seamless digital passenger experience. This solution offers Amelia’s customers the chance to access a wide range of content, including entertainment, but also, to read the news and receive information related to their flight; a tailor-made experience for Amelia’s clientele which consists mainly of business passengers, and vacationers on the weekends.

Amelia originally being a private aviation company, the goal was to reach a premium target and to elevate the experience on board, by providing a digital platform that is user friendly and that the company could personalize according to its passengers’ different preferences.

The health crisis the world is facing today emphasizes the importance of the contactless in-flight experience, which is why Moment’s offer is optimal. The digital interface is accessible via passengers’ own devices, and grants them access to all the information they previously would have in paper aboard the plane.

“We are beyond excited to work on this trial with a leader in W-IFE solutions such as Moment. We wanted to partner with a company that could guarantee we would attain our vision for a one-of-a-kind digital experience for our customers; that is exactly what we found with Moment’s Flymingo box.” announced Alain Regourd, President of Amelia.

Tanguy Morel, CEO of Moment said: “We are thrilled to begin this trial with Amelia, and we hope it will be the beginning of a great working relationship as partners.” He adds: “We were involved in providing the company with a personalized experience to satisfy the needs of its passengers. With Flymingo box, Amelia will offer a reliable solution, ensuring access to entertainment like never before.”


Alaska Airlines Boosts 737 MAX Orders and Options to 120 Jets

Boeing nd Alaska Airlines announced that the carrier is buying 23 more 737-9 airplanes, building on its original order and an agreement last month to acquire new 737-9s through lease. The new deal brings Alaska Airlines’ total 737 MAX orders and options to 120 airplanes, which will give the fifth largest U.S. carrier the scale, efficiency and flexibility to expand as air travel recovers. Alaska Airlines, a longtime Boeing 737 operator, placed an order for 32 737-9 jets in 2012 as part of its fleet modernization program. The 737-9 is a member of the 737 MAX family that is designed to offer more fuel efficiency, reliability and flexibility in the single-aisle airplane market. Last month, Alaska Airlines announced it is expanding its commitment to the 737 MAX program by leasing 13 new 737-9s while selling some A320 jets it had taken on through its acquisition of Virgin America.

The new agreement announced on 12/21/2020 will add 23 firm orders for the 737-9 and more options for future purchases. In all, Alaska will have 52 options which, if fully exercised, would take the carrier to as many as 120 737 MAX airplanes. The airline said the deal moves it toward a more efficient, all-Boeing mainline fleet that will “enhance the guest experience, improve operational performance and support the company’s growth.”

Alaska Airlines and Boeing leaders announced the agreement during a signing ceremony at Boeing’s delivery facility in Seattle, flanked by a new 737-9 that will be among the first such jets to be operated by Alaska Airlines. In observance of COVID-19 restrictions, both companies limited attendance at the event and addressed the pandemic that has severely affected air travel, expressing confidence in the fundamental strength of the industry and long-term passenger demand.

“Alaska Airlines has done a tremendous job of weathering the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, and is well positioned to return to its growth trajectory and strengthen its standing as one of the top U.S. airlines. With Alaska’s industry-leading reputation for safety, sustainability and customer service, we are honored they have chosen to invest in their future with a significant purchase of additional Boeing 737 airplanes,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We are grateful for Alaska’s trust and partnership. Our team is focused on delivering their first 737 MAX jets and helping ensure a safe and seamless entry into service.”

Alaska Airlines says the 737 – equipped with new, more fuel-efficient engines and improved aerodynamics – will use 20% less fuel and reduce emissions by 20% per seat compared to airplanes it replaces. The airline will configure the jet with 178 seats in a three-class configuration. The plane can fly 3,550 nautical miles, about 600 miles more than its predecessor. This additional capability will allow airlines to offer new and more direct routes to passengers. Every airplane will feature the new Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead storage bins.

Learn more about Alaska’s confidence in the safety and certification of the MAX at alaskaair.com/737MAX.

(Note: AEROMEXICO, who has 6 737 MAX aircraft on its books, is expected to reinstate 737 MAX operations out of Mexico City this week.)

Also from Boeing:

Boeing and the University of Arizona put an age-old technique, thermal disinfection, to use in the fight against COVID-19. Researchers validated that applying heat to surfaces, especially on hard-to-clean flight deck equipment, effectively eliminates SARS-CoV-2.

Results indicate that the virus can be destroyed by more than 99.99% after three hours exposure to temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit) and will still effectively kill more than 99.9% of the virus at 40-degree Celsius temperatures (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

“Passenger and crew safety are our top priorities — that extends from the cabin to the flight deck,” said Michael Delaney, who leads Boeing’s Confident Travel Initiative (CTI) efforts. “Thermal disinfection could deliver another valuable tool to destroy COVID-19 on sensitive and difficult-to-reach components that protect pilots.”

Boeing completed the testing as part of its CTI effort to support customers and enhance the safety and well-being of passengers and crews during the COVID-19 pandemic. This testing was conducted in a protected laboratory environment at the university using flight deck parts and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, this fall.

“We’re basically cooking the virus,” said Dr. Charles Gerba, University of Arizona microbiologist and infectious disease expert. “Thermal disinfection is one of the oldest ways to kill disease-causing micro-organisms. It’s used by microbiologists in our laboratory every day.”

The flight deck is one of the most challenging areas to sanitize using traditional chemical disinfectants. In areas with sensitive electronic equipment, heat has the ability to disinfect without adverse effects from cleaners. The flight deck is designed to withstand temperatures up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (about 70 degrees Celsius), which makes thermal disinfection a safe, practical and effective sanitization method.

As air travel is fundamentally disrupted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, Boeing and the University of Arizona continue to test recommended cleaning methods in a lab against SARS-CoV-2 and other similar viruses to further validate their efficacy.

And Lastly:

Boeing has entered into a 25-year lease agreement with the Jacksonville Aviation Authority to grow its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations at its Cecil Field site, located at Cecil Airport. Under the agreement, the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) will construct and lease to Boeing new facilities on approximately 30 acres located on the northeast side of Cecil Airport, near Boeing’s existing MRO site. The new construction will eventually house Boeing’s on-site operations and include nearly 270,000 square feet of hangar space and more than 100,000 square feet of office and support shop space. Construction work by JAA will begin in fall 2021 with a planned commencement of operations date in January 2024.

(Editor’s Note: If you are wondering about flying on a plane in the COVID time-frame, here is one article that touts masks – Risk of COVID-19 exposure on planes ‘virtually nonexistent’ when masked, study shows – ABC News and here is the TRANSCOM Study that supports mask testing on aircraft – you probably should read it.)


HIGHLIGHTS FROM INMARSAT’S CONFIDENCE TRACKER

American flying habits are set to drastically change for the long haul, with nine in ten Americans not expecting to return to their previous travel routines once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. The survey reveals a number of fascinating insights, including:

  • 43 per cent of American passengers planning to travel less often by any means and a third (36%) expecting to fly less.
  • US passengers are the second most likely globally to have already flown during the COVID-19 pandemic, with half (50%) of those surveyed in the US having taken at least one flight.
  • 71% US passengers are satisfied with the aviation industry’s response to the crisis.”

OTHER NEWS

  • We at IFExpress want to thank the world of health professionals who risked their lives (and will continue to do so) to help with a solution to the COVID anti-virus problem … and especially to those who paid their lives for our health! And while we are on the subject, you might want to see what Bill Gates has done – The Gates Foundation, COVID-19, and the race for a vaccine
  • Stay tuned to the ultra secure, quantum internet-based communications China is developing from their 2016 satellite they launched. You see, the communication is non breach-able and this will be the future of secure communications … a quantum internet. China Reaches New Milestone in Space-Based Quantum Communications – Scientific American
  • Got Wi-Fi? Well, you can be hacked, say the folks at Ben-Gurion University! Here is the paper on it. “In this paper, we show that attackers can exfiltrate data from air-gapped computers via Wi-Fi signals. Malware in a compromised air-gapped computer can generate signals in the Wi-Fi frequency bands. The signals are generated through the memory buses – no special hardware is required”
  • Ugh-oh! Seattle Times report: “Democrats and Republicans in U.S. House and Senate committees reached agreement in down-to-the wire negotiations a week ago on a bill tailored to address the FAA’s oversight failures in its original certification of the MAX.” Stay Tuned.


AIR ASTANA

Air Astana has received a prestigious Five Star Major Airline award from the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX). This is the third time that Air Astana has received a Five Star award from APEX. The awards were presented at the end of a highly successful virtual FTE (Future Travel Experience) APEX event during December 8 and 9th attended by 200 airlines and 200 airports all over the world. (Editor’s Note: Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan, operates domestic and international flights from hubs in Nur-Sultan and Almaty. The company was incorporated in late 2001 and commenced operations on 15th May 2002. The Air Astana fleet consists of Boeing 767/757, Airbus A320 Family aircraft including A320neo, A321neo and A321LR and Embraer E190 / E190-E2.)

Air Astana became the first carrier from Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Eastern Europe to be awarded the prestigious 4-Star rating by Skytrax at the World Airline Awards in 2012 and was also named ‘The Best Airline in Central Asia and India’ that year. Both achievements were repeated every year through until 2019. Air Astana has also received TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards in the “Regional Carrier in Asia” and “Passenger Comfort” categories for the past three years and a 5-Star in the “Major Regional Airlines” category from APEX in 2019.


CERTAPET

Recently, the US Department of Transportation released their final ruling regarding service animals on airplanes. A service animal is defined as a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. DOT determined that carriers are not required to recognize emotional support animals (ESA’s) as service animals and may treat them as pets. While the rules may vary carrier to carrier, this means that the protections afforded those with ESA’s will no longer be valid. Instead, they will most likely have to pay a fee to bring their re-classified pet aboard an aircraft.

HOWEVER – the DOT actually made it easier than ever for people to fly with their animals. See the attached infographic for all of the reasons why.


CARLISLE INTERCONNECT TECHNOLOGIES (CIT)

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) announced that it has received a patent for its third generation of ARINC 791/792 Adjustable Fittings for existing and emerging aerospace applications. The new patented fittings allow for simple, error-proof, and efficient installation performed using only basic hand tools. The ARINC 791/792 Adjustable Fittings significantly reduce installation compared to traditional methods as they do not require special fixtures or tools, shims, or match drilling.

This new solution is ARINC 791/792-compliant as well as RTCA/DO-160 and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) qualified. Adaptable to existing ARINC 791, these fittings also incorporate ARINC 791/792 slip requirements with z-axis (height) adjustability to support conversion from ARINC 791 to 792 equipment installation. These fittings ensure the lowest possible installation height for electronically steered antenna (ESA) applications, provide z-axis adjustability to account for structure variations, and minimize labor on the line or at the MRO.

“Our team has remained dedicated to providing next-generation solutions that meet current needs and stand up to future challenges, while also improving performance and reducing cost,” said Chris Rawley, Product Line Manager, Aircraft Connectivity Solutions at CarlisleIT. “These new adjustable fittings for ARINC 791/792 systems serve as a certified and proven solution to meet the evolving needs of aircraft developers, withstand harsh and demanding environments, and support innovation across the aerospace industry.”

With more than 80 years’ experience, CarlisleIT has a proven history of meeting customer demands. This new solution represents the company’s innovative approach to satisfying OEM requirements alongside the installation needs of next-generation equipment. To learn more about CarlisleIT’s complete line of System Installation Kit products, visit www.carlisleit.com.


BOEING

Boeing announced a new 10-year agreement with North American carrier Frontier Airlines to implement a range of crew, flight-planning and operations tools to enhance efficiency for the airline. These digital solutions from Boeing’s Jeppesen product range provide fleet-wide cost savings across regional and international routes, enhance airline crew-planning processes and increase operational reliability.

In addition to its digital navigation and charting services from Boeing, Frontier Airlines will use a new Jeppesen digital solutions suite that provides day-of-operations decision-support tools, including:

  • Flight-planning and scheduling services to enhance flight operations and enable on-time departures and efficient routing
  • Crew management, tail assignment and operations-control tools that optimize schedules and aircraft utilization in the short- and long-term planning horizon, including day-of-operation issue detection and schedule recovery to minimize issues due to unexpected events.

“As commercial aviation emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Frontier Airlines is poised to continue its exceptional growth, utilizing Boeing’s analytics-powered tools to maximize performance and reduce costs during this critical moment for our industry,” said Ted Colbert, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services. “This is a great example of our partnership with customers like Frontier to turn Boeing’s unparalleled digital expertise into operational bottom-line advantages.”

Frontier Airlines is committed to “Low Fares Done Right.” Headquartered in Denver, the company operates more than 100 aircraft with a route network spanning the U.S., the Caribbean and Mexico. With 160 new planes on order, Frontier will continue to grow to deliver on the mission of providing affordable travel across America.

Also from Boeing:

China Airlines unveiled the first of six Boeing 777 Freighters, officially becoming the 20th operator of the world’s largest and longest range twin-aisle freighter. The 777 Freighter joins the airline amid growing demand for dedicated freighters as operators grapple with the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. China Airlines aims to increase its cargo capacity by 15% in 2021 and is planning to launch the 777 Freighter on routes connecting Taipei with North America — a key market with strong demand and escalating yields. An operator of all-Boeing freighter fleet, China Airlines debuted its new 777 Freighter during a ceremony in Taipei to mark the carrier’s 61st anniversary. The airline is set to take five more 777 Freighters as part of an order announced at the 2019 Paris Air Show.

The 777 Freighter is the world’s largest, longest range and most capable twin-engine freighter. The airplane has a range of 9,200 km (4,970 nautical miles) and can carry a maximum payload of 102,010 kg (224,900 lbs). The airplane will allow China Airlines to make fewer stops and reduce associated landing fees on long-haul routes, resulting in the lowest trip cost of any large freighter.

The 747 and 777 freighters, both of which make up China Airlines’ world-class freighter fleet, are capable of carrying tall and outsized cargo loads on 3-meter (10-foot) tall pallets. This common main-deck pallet height capability enables interchangeable pallets, adding to the versatility of both models.

In addition to commercial airplanes, Boeing provides China Airlines with total life cycle support services to streamline parts provisioning and flight and maintenance operations. The entire China Airlines fleet uses Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro, which provides access to digital navigation charts and interactive maps to optimize performance and enhance situational awareness.

China Airlines also recently signed an agreement for Airplane Health Management (AHM), which tracks real-time airplane information, providing data and decision support tools that allow technicians to quickly and correctly resolve maintenance issues. This allows airlines to take proactive actions based on AHM-generated alerts, reducing disruptions to operations and the costs associated with unscheduled maintenance. With the agreement, China Airlines joins more than 100 global customers using the AHM solution.


OTHER NEWS

  • Better get ready for youthful scientists solving problems that we don’t seem to see or understand – TIME’s 2020 Kid of the Year: Meet Gitanjali Rao | Time
  • “On December 4, 2020, Boeing retired two of its long serving chase planes…” This incredible flight history is by a friend and writer, and pilot … and just about everything else – Bob Bogash. Yes, it is very interesting stuff for aviation lovers. Buried within is a story about about an amazing aviation expert, Lockheed designer Kelly Johnson who designed the first chase plane model… – Boeing Chase Airplanes
  • IATA once again has published some good advice “Best Practices for COVID-19 Market Stimulation” and you can read it here: IATA – Best Practices for COVID-19 Market Stimulation

FTE & APEX Virtual Expo

The FTE & APEX Virtual Expo is under way and it is the first time the industry has been able to gather together to see the latest technological innovations and discuss how COVID-19 is being tackled. So far Biometrics and touchless solutions are hot topics. In the coming issues of IFExpress we will be delving into the virtual booth demonstrations and product reviews, as well as, highlight some of the APEX Tech Committee sessions and presentations from the 2 day conference.

In today’s issue, we will focus on the Opening Keynote interview of Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO, Qatar Airways who discusses how Qatar Airways has fought their way through the pandemic maze over the past 9 months. He is interviewed by Aaron Heslehurst who is a News Anchor & Presenter for the BBC World News.

Akbar Al Baker: First and foremost we are a resilient airline. We will always find a way to do business and serve our passengers. At the start of COVID-19 there were 100s of thousands of passengers that were stranded by airlines when they shut down and stopped flying. The airlines didn’t realize that there were people who were desperate to get home. We at Qatar Airways wanted to step in and at the time of these challenges and be an airline that would serve them and take them to their loved ones. In this we were very successful. We never reduced our destinations to less than 30 and continued to operate about 150 flights per week. Also did a lot of repatriation flights.

Aaron: You also didn’t reduce your inflight service during this time, while some airlines reduced their inflight meals, etc. Qatar Airways still offered their ‘Dine on Demand’ service. Again, how did you make that decision and how did you make it COVID safe?

Answer: There is always many ways to skin the cat. We started to pre-pack items, put everything on the tray to decrease the interaction between the crew and the passengers and in addition to this we also wanted to make sure that every thing was only served one time, making certain that the crews exposure was limited while not decreasing the level of service and maintaining the quality of the product for the passenger. An example is single use menu cards in business class and no menu card in economy class. This was made certain the passenger didn’t get contaminated by the pandemic in anyway.

Aaron: How have the many decisions Qatar has made during this pandemic to benefit their passengers come off?

Answer: Very well. Our decisions have shown passengers that Qatar Airways is not about extracting revenue during difficult times and taking advantage of people. Qatar allowed booking changes with no fee, change the continent, take cash for refunds – all at no fee. 600,000 refunds were given and we have extended tickets up to 2 years and/or provided vouchers. We have done everything to mitigate any anxiety that the customer might have when suddenly an airport was closed or the airline grounded their airplane. This is the time when you really reflect the standards and value of traveling on Qatar Airways. It put a lot of financial strain on an airline but at the end of the day it is the duty of the airline not to take advantage under these circumstances.

Aaron: Your employees have been working besides thousands upon thousands of travelers. How have you safeguarded and protected your employees with a very low infection rate?

Answer: At the very beginning we had a spike. And we as a small country had to take strict precautions: stop travel into the country, adopt a strict testing regime. Many places in the world have experienced a 2nd and/or 3rd wave, but in Qatar things are normal. By normal I mean the new normal: you have to wear a mask, you have to social distance, there are restricts on how many people can be in a restaurant, , there are restricts on how many people can be in a site of worship, there are restricts on how many people can be in a car. And through these measures we have kept a very tight lid on the pandemic. We have less than 150-200 cases per day. Qatar has been extremely transparent in reporting their cases and as of today Qatar has just 2,500 infected people. Getting the world’s highest quality of medical treatment regardless of nationality, your country of origin, whether you are a resident or not. And we have one of the lowest death rates.

Aaron: When do you think people will be able to have a proper visit or layover?

Answer: It depends on how quickly we can vaccinate our entire population. Qatar has been at the forefront of investing in companies that are developing vaccines. And we anticipate having the vaccine in stock by 1Q2021. Once there is enough vaccine to inoculate all of the residents of Qatar, restrictions will eventually be loosened and move towards the new normal.

Aaron: Your premium lounges and lounges during this time have been open and you managed to maintain the level of service. In fact, you kept the buffets open – even though they were touchless. Again, during a pandemic where this virus can spread like wildfire, why did you do it and how did you manage it?

Answer: It is very easy. First and foremost, everything in the buffet was served to you – anything you wanted was delivered to you by a chef. All the starters were pre-packed and all the bread was pre-packed. Again, when there is a will to do something whether it is providing a quality product on the ground or inflight, we found ways that where anything was touched it was handled by one of our professionals and if a passenger touched something that it was taken away with them. By adhering to these simple rules we made certain that there was nearly 0% risk coming back to our passengers.

Back to the lounges, we closed one of the large lounges because of the reduction in travelers. We are currently expanding the airport and opening new airport lounges that are designed with minimal contact between passengers both in the lounges and duty free area. We have taken advantage of the slow down in passengers to enhance our facilities.

Aaron: The role of innovation, what role will that play in your airline and the entire industry?

Answer: Innovation has never stopped at Qatar Airways and it is something that is always driving our industry as a whole. We have contactless check-in, boarding gates, entry/exit points. After Amsterdam, we were the next airport to deploy UV robots going through the entire airport to disinfect. We are one of the first airlines to deploy the Honeywell aircraft disinfecting systems. We are making certain that our staff is properly clad in masks, gloves and goggles. We have made certain the staff inside the airport is provided with PPE masks and following strict hygiene rules. All these new technologies, systems and processes have made certain that 99.998% of the travelers with Qatar Airways have not been exposed to the virus.

Aaron: Talking about Onboard, what about Premium Economy? Is this something you’ve hinted at? What is in store for 2021?

Answer: I have always mentioned we will never introduce a premium economy at Qatar Airways. Because the economy seat of Qatar Airways and the economy service is far ahead of premium economy. Actually, if you have used premium economy seats in airplanes, 99 out 100 of those products is very uncomfortable. In fact, in my opinion the airlines are pulling the wool over your eyes. They are giving the same level of services with just a little more food and beverage in a fancy glass or a larger tray. It is the same kind of amenities of someone paying half your fare. So why should we try to repackage something and call it premium economy.

Aaron: But didn’t you de-bundle some of your business class services? No lounge access, cannot pre-book a seat – so what was your thinking?

Answer: That is correct. Actually, we have bundled not only business class but economy class because there are a lot of things you don’t actually need. For example, in business class why do you need to select your seat? Or why do you need lounge access when you are only going to be in the airport 15 or 20 minutes prior to departure and are just going to be heading straight to the gate? So we offer our passengers the opportunity to save a little money if these features are not important to them.

Aaron: How has this been working for you? Has it been popular?

Answer: It has been very popular. People like flexibility. They like the concept of not having to pay for a service they are not going to use. The same with economy, we are giving the passenger the option of choosing the services and/or products they will use or want en route.

Aaron: Let me ask you this, across the industry the suppliers along with the airlines are deeply suffering. What words do you have for our supplier friends out there?

Answer: Good times will come back. The only thing is we will have to take the pain and it will be survival of the fittest. Even in civilization it has always been survival of the fittest of the civilized people. We will need to be very agile in these difficult times. And for the supply chain of the airlines and the aviation industry, I would request the governments that they stand with these supply chains because these are very highly advanced, technologically developed companies who need to be sustained because you will need them down the line when the industry starts to ramp up.

There will be more failures as we continue to move through this pandemic. People will become more relaxed and until everyone is vaccinated this will not be over. There are nearly 8 billion people around the world and this is not going to happen tomorrow. So people need to be prepared to be cautious – to help their people, their governments, and their country so we don’t face a severe third wave of the pandemic.

Aaron: In the past, you have had some tough love for the One World Alliance. Earlier this year Alaska Airlines announced its intent to join the alliance and there were talks about a Seattle to Doha flight. What does the addition of Alaska Airlines mean for One World and what additional steps will strengthen the alliance in the future?

Answer: Alaska is a very large airline in the western United States. One World, though it has a strong partner in American Airlines in the USA, we were not very strong in the western affluent part of the country. With the induction of Alaska Airlines we are filling the void we had in the western USA. Once we become an operator into Seattle and the alliance membership of Alaskan Airways into One World provides us with a very good platform into the West Coast. It will be our third in the West Coast.

Aaron: Were you involved in the courtship?

Answer: No, to be honest I was not. We need One World to keep growing and we want to be the largest alliance between the three. We were very displeased with One World with American challenging our government ownership, our growth in Europe – which had nothing to do with getting into the United States through the back door. This is now in the past and we have a very good relationship with American. We still have not the type of relationship I would like with Qantas and we have a very good relationship with everyone else. And I hope, a developing relationship with Delta Air Lines who has a relationship with one of the airlines we are an investor in, and that is LATAM in South America. So I now see the light at the end of the tunnel with our membership in the One World Alliance.

Aaron: Now about the code share partnership with Air Canada. Briefly, how did you forge a new partnership during the pandemic?

Answer: At the beginning of this I said to you that we will always find new ways to be innovative and develop our airline. I am a big believer in mutual benefit – a business relationship should never just be one way. Our business relationship with Air Canada, we found an opportunity in this difficult period to strike a deal that will benefit both our airlines. During these times, we need to take every dollar that is on the table. We need to forget about our ego and realize we are not invincible. This pandemic showed everybody that even the strongest are not invincible. Even the largest airlines went to their government with the begging bowl in hand and before this is over it will happen again.

Aaron: What is it IATA needs to do?

Answer: They need to restart our industry. They need to put regulations in place that is not mismatched by each government. IATA needs to let the governments know that they need to stand with IATA and the ICAO – they need to help kick start the industry on which millions of jobs depend, which contribute trillions of dollars to the GDP. IATA needs a strong leader to facilitate this in the coming months.

Aaron: How much worse is it going to get before it gets better? What are you expecting for 2021?

Answer: I hope we are not going to have to cut more people than we already have. It is the most difficult thing for me to tell people that have helped build this airline that they have to go. I have promised these people when we start ramping up again, we will approach them first. I am confident with the vaccine that the airline will gradually start ramping up. Even during the pandemic we have added 4 new destinations to our routes.

Aaron: And to end on a positive note, how is Qatar preparing for 2022 FIFA?

Answer: The planning is being done by the Supreme Committee and everything should be in place by the end of 2021. All will be ready for the fans and spectators to have the best time during their visit to our country.


PXCom

PXCom launches PX2GO.

Passengers can now benefit from a single entry-point to access a unique platform that encompasses communication, services and entertainment throughout their entire journey, from the moment they book their ticket until reaching final destination.

Thanks to a holistic approach, the passenger can access all the relevant information related to health and safety rules before, during, and upon arrival of the flight, useful information and services dedicated to their flight as to their destination, Duty-Free services, airport, transport, and catering offers. They can also enjoy a seamless and uninterrupted entertainment experience, from the lounges & boarding gates, and resume during the flight, as well as the luggage belt.

The portfolio of services and contents is automatically adapted to the stage of the journey, to provide the most relevant experience in the right context.

PX2GO can be white labeled and integrated both into the airline existing app and wireless IFE. Discussions are on the go with seatback screen manufacturers to extend the feature to long haul flights.

PX2GO cares about passengers’ concerns and expectations in regard to their data privacy usage. Hence, the platform provides transparency and full control of personal data, keeping highest digital confidence throughout their entire journey.

Open Platform

PX2GO has been designed to accept third-party apps & services, to ensure a one- stop-shop experience for the passenger.

Solutions such as Digital Health Passport, geo navigation in the airport, private transfer offerings…can easily be integrated within PX2GO.

The platform is also prepared to manage IoT-based experience such as beacons in the airports and NFC transactions.

PX2GO can be used as a whole, as well as unitary components, to avoid multiple apps download.

ROI-driven

Beyond the NPS improvement, PX2GO comes with all the monetization capabilities, from programmatic advertising to brand content to shopping experience.

Definitely, an important differentiating marker in an ever-tougher period.


GOGO

Gogo has once again set a new standard for inflight entertainment (IFE) in business aviation with the announcement of Gogo Vision 360 – a premium IFE service that features a compelling and comprehensive suite of services, including an upgraded 3D moving map.

Available with the newly released AVANCE 4.2 software update, Gogo Vision 360 is available for activation via a call to Gogo customer care as a new service or as a free upgrade for existing Gogo Vision customers with a Gogo AVANCE L5, L3 or SCS system installed on their aircraft. Activation will occur automatically over the air with no downtime required.

Gogo Vision 360 offers unlimited streaming of on-demand movies, TV programming and news, along with digital magazines and a state-of-the-art 3D moving map, all at a fixed monthly price eliminating the unpredictability and often high costs associated with inflight streaming video and audio.

All Gogo Vision content is updated automatically each month through a seamless delivery via Gogo Cloudport, either in a customer’s own hangar or at Gogo Cloud locations throughout the U.S. and in Europe. Gogo Vision is the only IFE service that delivers content updates over-the-air. Currently, there are nearly 900 active Gogo Vision users online.

“Gogo Vision has become an essential part of the inflight experience for many of our passengers and operators,” said Sergio Aguirre, Gogo’s president. “Passengers want to be productive during their flights, but they also need downtime. The addition of a new 3D moving map will provide a new interactive experience for passengers that we’re excited to offer. Vision 360 is an important next step in our commitment to deliver the best inflight connectivity and entertainment experience to business aviation.”

Gogo’s 3D moving map, delivered through a partnership with FlightPath3D, features engaging flight and travel information that is interactive and can be displayed in a variety of views. Additional highlights include:

  • Game-like 3D interactive experience with high resolution satellite imagery
  • Immersive virtual reality window seat views, cockpit head-up-display and aircraft 360
  • Fascinating historical information about landmarks, attractions, and places as they’re flown over
  • Entertaining points of interest (POIs) that auto-play en route with distance and direction indicator
  • Real-time flight data such as ground speed, altitude and heading.

In addition to the Gogo 3D interactive moving map, Gogo Vision 360 users will have access to a host of additional content including an entertainment lineup that includes unlimited viewing of more than 150 of the latest Hollywood movie releases and popular TV shows, including popular Disney movies and TV programming; eMagazines and news clips; and, coming soon, destination weather.

There are 30 digital magazine titles available on Gogo Vision 360 from well-known titles including Golf Digest, Forbes, Wine Spectator, Newsweek, Wired, People, and Town & Country. Customers onboard will get the most current issue as well as the previous issue for each publication.

“In the ongoing COVID-19 environment in which we’re living, digital publications have proven to be very popular with passengers because they no longer have to worry about who else might have been holding a magazine like they do when it is printed on paper,” Aguirre continued. “eMagazines are not only convenient and up to date, but they offer a safer option that helps ensure passenger health.”

For those interested in global news, a wide array of current news topics from Bloomberg News have been added including global business, investing, technology, automotive, energy and top business and finance stories from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the United States.

Gogo Vision 360 is configurable for Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish. Audio tracks for movies and TV episodes are offered in English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Also new, Gogo is offering three Gogo Vision packages.

Gogo Vision Standard
Gogo Vision+
Gogo Vision 360
Base 3D Moving Map
Premium Gogo 3D Moving Map
Premium Gogo 3D Moving Map
News Clips
News Clips
Unlimited TV and Movies
Destination Weather (coming soon)
eMagazines
News Clips

Cloudport
eMagazines

Destination Weather (coming soon)
Cloudport

International Languages

Destination Weather (coming soon)
Gogo Vision Standard will be offered at no cost to any customer with an AVANCE system onboard. Gogo Vision+ will be offered at $500 per month, while Gogo Vision 360 will cost $849 per month.


BOEING

Boeing and Ryanair announced that Europe’s largest airline is placing a firm order for 75 additional 737 MAX airplanes, increasing its order book to 210 jets. Ryanair again selected the 737 8-200, a higher-capacity version of the 737-8, citing the airplane’s additional seats and improved fuel efficiency and environmental performance. “Ryanair’s board and people are confident that our customers will love these new aircraft. Passengers will enjoy the new interiors, more generous leg room, lower fuel consumption and quieter noise performance. And, most of all, our customers will love the lower fares, which these aircraft will enable Ryanair to offer starting in 2021 and for the next decade, as Ryanair leads the recovery of Europe’s aviation and tourism industries,” said Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary.

O’Leary and Ryanair leaders joined the Boeing team for a signing ceremony in Washington, D.C. Both companies acknowledged COVID-19’s impacts on air traffic in the near-term, but expressed confidence in the resilience and strength of the passenger demand over the long term. “As soon as the COVID-19 virus recedes – and it likely will in 2021 with the rollout of multiple effective vaccines – Ryanair and our partner airports across Europe will – with these environmentally efficient aircraft – rapidly restore flights and schedules, recover lost traffic and help the nations of Europe recover their tourism industries, and get young people back to work across the cities, beaches and ski resorts of the European Union,” O’Leary said.

Ryanair is the launch customer for the high-capacity 737-8 variant, having placed its first order for 100 airplanes and 100 options in late 2014, followed by firm orders of 10 airplanes in 2017 and 25 in 2018. The 737 8-200 will enable Ryanair to configure its aircraft with 197 seats, increasing revenue potential, and reduce fuel consumption by 16 percent compared to the airline’s previous airplanes.

“Ryanair will continue to play a leading role in our industry when Europe recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and air traffic returns to growth across the continent. We are gratified that Ryanair is once again placing its confidence in the Boeing 737 family and building their future fleet with this enlarged firm order,” said Dave Calhoun, president and CEO of The Boeing Company.

“Boeing remains focused on safely returning the full 737 fleet to service and on delivering the backlog of airplanes to Ryanair and our other customers. We firmly believe in this airplane, and we will continue the work to re-earn the trust of all of our customers,” Calhoun said.

Boeing Executive Vice President of Enterprise Operations and Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith will speak at the Credit Suisse Virtual Industrials Conference on December 4 at 8:50 a.m. ET. Visit https://kvgo.com/credit-suisse/boeing-2020 to access a link to the live broadcast of the conference. Individuals should check the website prior to the session to ensure access to the audio stream.


OTHER NEWS

Panasonic Avionics

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) announced the appointment of Hernan Abbes as Vice President, Global Sales.

In his new role, Hernan will play a pivotal leadership role in driving business growth and nurturing strong relationships with new and existing airline customers. He will report directly to CEO, Ken Sain, and have worldwide responsibility for developing and implementing strategic sales initiatives across Panasonic Avionics’ range of products, services and solutions.

Hernan will oversee efforts to strengthen customer relationships, listen to and understand customer needs, propose innovative solutions and share the voice of the customer feedback within Panasonic. As a member of Panasonic’s senior leadership team, he will also participate in strategy formulation and key decisions across the business.

Hernan assumes his role with a deep knowledge of Panasonic, its people and its customers, having joined the business in 2011 as an Account Manager for the Americas region. He progressed quickly upwards through a series of sales roles, and was appointed Regional Vice President for the Americas and Oceania in 2019.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Hernan is a valuable addition to Panasonic’s senior leadership team, and a skilled and proven executive who is passionate about customers, meeting their needs and exceeding expectations. Under his leadership, I have no doubt that our company will elevate our responsiveness and customers will benefit from his expertise and dedication.” Hernan Abbes, Vice President, Global Sales of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “I am truly excited about my new role, and look forward to leading Panasonic’s team of incredibly talented sales executives. Our industry is facing challenging times but with the skill of our people and the strength and innovation of our services and solutions, I am confident that Panasonic will continue to grow as the provider of choice for airlines across the globe.”

Hernan Abbes’ started his career at Boeing, and then at Raytheon, as an electrical engineer developing wiring diagrams and cable assemblies, before he took a role at Thales Avionics as an installation engineer. He later transitioned into a Senior Account Manager role for Thales’ Latin America region selling In-Flight Entertainment and avionics. He has also held roles as a consultant to Gogo and a strategic account manager at Carlisle Interconnect Technologies.

Also from Panasonic:

Panasonic announced Qatar Airways as the launch customer for its new EcoFW 10” inflight entertainment (IFE) upgrade program. The seatback IFE monitors on the airline’s fleet of 37 Boeing 777 aircraft will be updated with Panasonic’s new EcoFW 10” monitor upgrade – creating a next-generation HD passenger experience while extending the life of the fleet’s IFE system, and reducing operational costs.

Panasonic’s IFE upgrade program, which can be achieved on an aircraft during routine overnight maintenance, includes the installation of a new passenger entertainment server. This provides passengers with a wider range of content and helps to modernize the airline’s offering and keep up-to-date with the demands of changing consumer preferences. This also enables the airline to achieve faster media loading times – all without any increase in weight, and with dramatically improved reliability levels.

The first aircraft from Qatar Airways’ 777 fleet has completed its IFE upgrade this week. This commitment from Qatar Airways marks the latest milestone in a longstanding partnership with Panasonic, which first started in 2000. A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by Skytrax. Headquartered in Doha, the airline was launched in 1997 and is the national carrier of the State of Qatar. Qatar Airways Oryx One in-flight entertainment system offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options, from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games. and much more.

Additionally, PAC also announced the appointment of Abby Bried as Vice President and General Counsel. Abby will advise on laws, regulations, public policy, ethics and risk that impact the company. She will oversee and lead Panasonic Avionics’ legal team in its delivery of legal services and other resources throughout the company to accomplish its corporate goals, strategies and priorities. She will also serve as a member of Panasonic Avionics’ senior leadership team, developing and leading its corporate legal strategy.

Abby will report directly to Jessica Hodkinson, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Panasonic Corporation of North America, with a dotted line reporting structure to Panasonic Avionics’ President and Chief Executive Officer, Ken Sain.

Ken Sain said, “We are delighted to welcome Abby to Panasonic Avionics. With her longstanding experience and proven track record as a legal counsel, and deep rooted knowledge of aviation, we know she will be a great asset to our business.”

Abby has over twenty-five years of experience in the aviation industry as a trusted legal advisor and business partner at three major US carriers – Northwest Airlines, Continental Airlines and United Airlines, where she was Associate General Counsel from 2012 to 2017.

She joins Panasonic Avionics from the international law firm, Jenner & Block LLP, where she was a Washington DC-based partner, building a new aviation and aerospace practice group that focused on commercial aviation as well as emerging technologies in operational and manufacturing areas.

Abby said, “As aviation recovers from its biggest economic challenge, Panasonic Avionics will play a crucial role in transforming the customer experience and enhancing airline operations, and I am thrilled to be joining this innovative industry leader at this critical time.”

Abby is recognized as a global legal, compliance and diversity leader in the aviation industry, with key roles in trade associations including IATA (International Air Transport Association) and A4A (Airlines for America). She is also the past President of the International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA).

She attended Southern Methodist University where she studied Political Science and Asian Studies, followed by a juris doctorate from Mitchell Hamline School of Law.


Burrana to attend FTE/APEX Virtual Expo

Burrana, a market leader in the inflight entertainment (IFE) and cabin technology industry has, like all companies in aviation been shocked by the devastation COVID-19 has had on airlines worldwide. We are optimistic that the FTE/APEX Virtual Expo will rejuvenate our industry and assure everyone that together we will rise.

We are delighted to participate as a platinum sponsor in this pioneering digital event where our team can reconnect with our customers and industry colleagues to share the benefits of new products and services designed to solve challenges that stand in the way of sustainable airline success.

The recently launched RISE platform delivers just this, with speed to market advantages for our customers as well as the flexibility to pivot if market pressures demand.

RISE is a flexible, scalable, and configurable IFE platform that consists of hardware, software, apps and services delivering seatback, wireless and overhead entertainment, as well as in-seat power, for narrow and wide body aircraft covering linefit and retrofit installations. The platform has been thoughtfully designed to grow with you as your business grows, ensuring longevity and relevance for your onboard product. Powered by a single software stack, shared hardware, and common power backbone, RISE can easily be scaled up or down depending on business need.

During the FTE/APEX Virtual Expo, just like an in-person event, we will present all our products and services within the context of booked one-on-one meetings.

We have something special to share with our current PAVES customers and airlines looking at replacing legacy overhead and PRAM solutions.

We will take airlines through the detail of the RISE platform itself – the “products” – Seatback, Wireless and Overhead Entertainment as well as In-Seat Power. We will also showcase our innovative solution to give airlines the unprecedented ability to change the User Experience themselves, without costly

ATPs or FSATs.

Airlines and industry colleagues can meet with and chat to our leaders across sales and marketing during the entirety of the expo according to time zones, covering Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

We very much look forward to seeing you there! Drop into our booth to view videos, book a meeting, have a chat, or visit the OnDemand Conference Session to learn How Burrana is Solving old IFE challenges in new ways. Join our LIVE session, hosted by Dave Pook at the Burrana booth, An Introduction to our RISE Platform.

Learn more at Burrana.aero


BBC to join FTE APEX Virtual EXPO

BBC World News and BBC Studios today announced their presence at the Virtual EXPO on 8-9 December, where they will be showcasing their world class programming, exhibiting on a virtual stand and taking part in a number of thought leadership sessions with some of the most high profile names in the industry.

BBC World News presenter Zeinab Badawi will moderate the opening keynote session on day two of the Virtual EXPO, “CEO Perspectives on the Global Industry Recovery”. This deep-dive with a panel of global industry figures will look at the methods by which air-transport can achieve the fastest possible recovery whilst innovating, and collaborating. Panellists will include Jeffrey Goh, CEO, Star Alliance, Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO, IATA, as well as other well-known industry names. Aaron Heslehurst, presenter of “Talking Business” will hold in-depth interviews with CEOs from a number of global airlines to share their experiences and learnings from the last months.

Jon Farrar, Global VOD Director, BBC Studios, will take part in the Inflight Track panel discussion investigating how the industry can drive confidence in navigating on-board content disruption. With content creation and audience behaviour changes in content consumption being one of the most important changes brought on by the global pandemic, Jon and his fellow panellists will share their thoughts on what opportunities and threats these changes pose for airlines and suppliers and discuss which areas should they be investing in now when money is scarce.

As part of the EXPO, the BBC will have a virtual stand manned 24 hours a day where they will meet with customers, and where visitors will have the chance to learn about the upcoming slate of new titles the BBC has to offer.

The BBC Studios collection represents the best of bold, British storytelling from its in-house production arm, and high-quality UK independents. It includes uniquely ambitious dramas, such as Emily Mortimer’s The Pursuit of Love, with a stellar cast including Lily James, Andrew Scott and Dominic West; Small Axe, the first television project from award-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen, which has achieved a world first with two films from the series selected for the Cannes Film Festival; The North Water starring Hollywood actors Colin Farrell and Jack O’Connell; and The Watch, inspired by characters created by Sir Terry Pratchett.

New titles being showcased at the Virtual EXPO will include This is Going to Hurt based on Adam Kay’s international best-seller, and starring Ben Whishaw, as well as A Perfect Planet, the latest landmark natural history series in the global hit Planet franchise.

Zina Neophytou, Vice President, Out Of Home, BBC Studios, says: “No one is under any illusion that the airline industry has had an easy year. As a long-standing partner, BBC Studios and BBC World News are helping to support the road to recovery at this event with access to some of the most high profile names in the industry, who can offer practical learnings the audience can apply to their own businesses. Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that every passenger has the best possible inflight experience and we can also help navigate this by providing the most creative and high quality programming on the planet.”


IATA

Here is an article from the folks at IATA with an evolution of the distribution impacts: “The potential size of the delivery is enormous. Just providing a single dose to 7.8 billion people would fill 8,000 747 cargo aircraft. Land transport will help, especially in developed economies with local manufacturing capacity. But vaccines cannot be delivered globally without the significant use air cargo.”

IATA – The Time to Prepare for COVID-19 Vaccine Transport is Now


SOUTHWEST AIRLINES
Here is a letter from Gary Kelly, Chairman of the Board and CEO
of Southwest Airlines about the return to service of the Boeing 737 MAX – 737 MAX News and Updates | Southwest Airlines


SOME INTERESTING AVIATION EVENTS
We understand that UNITED, AMERICAN and BRITISH AIRWAYS is offering free COVID-19 testing to travelers on transatlantic flights.

IFExpress has learned that DELTA AIR LINES will continue to block middle seats through end of March 2021.


OTHER NEWS


Editor’s Note: Last week the software gremlins wrecked havoc on our publishing process. Our apologies for the truncated Hot Topic. Needless to say, this week we have made certain last week’s omitted  content is included. Mea culpa!

INMARSAT

The ‘Passenger Confidence Tracker’ is the world’s largest survey of airline passengers since the pandemic began. It reflects the views and attitudes of 9,500 respondents from 12 countries across the globe about the future of flying.

While the majority of passengers (60%) feel satisfied with the aviation industry’s response to the challenges of COVID-19, the survey reveals areas of opportunity for airlines to encourage passengers back to the skies.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “With safety and reputation becoming even more important to today’s flyers, there is a clear need for airlines to differentiate themselves in order to encourage passengers back onto their flights. Digitalization lies at the heart of both; minimizing critical touchpoints in the passenger journey to improve confidence, all the while keeping passengers connected and entertained.”

Only a third (34%) of passengers surveyed have taken a commercial flight since the pandemic began, and this appears to have sparked a shift in attitudes to flying. Four in ten passengers (41%) expect to travel less by any means and a third (31%) plan to fly less. This sentiment is even higher among Asian passengers, with 58 per cent in India and 55 per cent in South Korea planning to travel less in the future.

Despite this change, there are early signs that travelers are beginning to feel confident about flying again; almost half (47%) of passengers surveyed expect to feel ready to fly within the next six months.

The study reveals significant variance across the world when it comes to passenger confidence about flying in light of the pandemic1. Hungarian and British fliers are most confident, with 26 per cent and 16 per cent respectively saying they would get on a flight today. Asian passengers are less so; over a third (35%) of South Koreans expect not to fly again until COVID-19 disappears.

Passengers are currently more fearful of catching the virus abroad than on the plane3. In fact, many think they are at a greater health risk in other environments, such as the gym and public transport4. Recent IATA research supports this, suggesting people are more likely to be struck by lightning than catch COVID-19 on a plane.5

While passengers largely feel confident at passport control, security and communicating with cabin crew, they are less comfortable visiting the toilet inflight, and being in close proximity with others. The study indicates that solutions that minimize touchpoints and reduce interactions would go furthest in addressing pain points – such as contact-less payments inflight (83%) and staggered security queues (84%).

When it comes to ensuring personal safety, passengers have disregarded the automatic 14-day quarantine6. Instead, the results show a desire for a consistent set of measures to make the journey safer – such as mandatory face coverings, or a 48-hour test before travel.7

Almost half of passengers (44%) say that reputation is now a more significant factor when choosing an airline than it was pre-pandemic. It has therefore never been more vital for airlines to differentiate and gain a competitive edge.

The research highlights that improving inflight experience is one way to achieve this. From extra legroom (43%) to free baggage (39%), value added services are becoming increasingly important to passengers returning to the skies.

Digital solutions are fast-becoming essential to an enjoyable inflight experience, with almost four in ten (39%) agreeing that onboard Wi-Fi matters more today than ever before. This is most significant for Indian and Brazilian passengers.8 Destination status alerts, real time luggage tracking and pre-clearing immigration on the plane – all enabled by cabin connectivity – are among the top new aspects of the journey passengers want to keep post-pandemic.9

Inmarsat is transforming the global aviation industry by bringing complete connectivity to every aircraft and flight path in the world. Passengers can browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an onboard connectivity experience on par with broadband services available on the ground. In addition, Inmarsat’s flight deck solutions combine cutting-edge satellite technology with secure IP broadband connectivity for enhanced operational efficiency and safety.


CARLISLE IT

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) announced that customers in the United Kingdom and Europe can now purchase RF microwave cable assemblies online directly from its Blackburn UK facility. The website’s Cable Configurator feature allows customers to shop for and create their own RF assembly custom built for their specific application needs.

Customers now have instant access to pricing information and can buy products online with direct shipping to their location. This new eCommerce offering simplifies the purchasing process and helps speed-up turnaround times.

Since 1999, CIT’s Blackburn facility has delivered quality and cutting-edge technology in the field of standard and custom RF cable assemblies, RF test and measurement devices, RF coaxial connectors, harnesses, and custom copper assemblies. These products are designed to meet the unique challenges of customers in the Military & Defense, Aerospace, Test & Measurement, Medical, and Industrial markets.

“Our Blackburn location has built a strong reputation for both high-performance solutions and the support we provide our customers,” said Peter Lewis, Director of Operations and Finance–Blackburn. “We are continuing to evolve our new web store to better serve our customers and provide easier access to the supplies they need to create the next breakthrough that drives their business forward.”

Visit CIT’s European webstore to shop for and purchase RF cables from CIT’s Blackburn facility.


BOEING

The Boeing Company named Jinnah Hosein (today’s IFExpress image) as the company’s vice president of Software Engineering, effective immediately. In this newly created role, Hosein will report to Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief engineer and senior vice president of Engineering, Test & Technology, and will focus on further strengthening Boeing’s focus on software engineering across the enterprise. “The continued advances in software makes excellence in software engineering an imperative for our business,” said Hyslop. “Jinnah will be charged with defining and leading Boeing’s strategy for software engineering, which includes providing capabilities, technologies, processes and secure and accurate systems to meet the needs of all our customers across the entire product life cycle.” Hosein will lead a new, centralized organization of engineers who currently support the development and delivery of software embedded in Boeing’s products and services. The team will also integrate other functional teams to ensure engineering excellence throughout the product life cycle. “Safety, quality and integrity underpin the mission of our software engineering team, and building on this solid foundation, Jinnah will be a transformational leader for Boeing,” said Dave Calhoun, Boeing president and CEO. “Jinnah’s broad experience and fresh perspective will elevate our performance and accelerate the important work we’ve already begun in this area.”

Hosein brings extensive experience as a software engineering leader across several innovative, high-tech companies. He joins Boeing after serving as vice president of Software Engineering for Aurora, a self-driving vehicle company, in Palo Alto, California. He led the company’s software organization for the development of those vehicles and developed Aurora’s high-integrity software life cycle to deploy autonomous architecture to on-road vehicles.

Previously, Hosein held leadership roles at SpaceX, where he led software development for Falcon, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Crew Dragon and other flight vehicles, and at Tesla, where he helped develop autopilot software. In addition, he served as Google’s director of software engineering for cloud networking and was one of the original members of Google’s Site Reliability Engineering team.


GOGO

Gogo, a global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced its financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

  • BA results improved sequentially, reflecting continuing industry recovery from impact of COVID-19.
  • Total revenue of $66.5 million; Net loss of $8.9 million; Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $30.2 million.
  • ATG aircraft online reached 5,577 with average monthly service revenue of $2,996, down 2% and 6%, respectively, from their pre-COVID-19 quarterly peaks.
  • Cash and cash equivalents were $117.5 million as of September 30, 2020 compared to total cash of $156.3 million as of June 30, 2020.
  • On November 6, 2020, Gogo entered into an agreement to issue $50 million of its 9.875% Senior Secured Notes due 2024 to provide buffer liquidity.
  • The sale of Commercial Aviation to Intelsat (the “Transaction”) remains on track to close before the end of the first quarter 2021. Gogo has cleared the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust process and received all foreign antitrust approvals, with FCC and CFIUS clearance and one foreign telecommunications approval still required.
  • Gogo has more than $800 million in federal tax NOLs and interest expense carryforwards which will reduce income tax expense in the future.

GALGUS

Galgus raises 2.5 million euros to finance its growth and boost its international expansion. The startup Galgus has developed a technological solution that optimizes the operation of Wi-Fi networks by providing intelligence to their access points, increasing performance by 400%, and improving user experience. Galgus’ patented solution is used daily by more than one million people worldwide when they connect their smart devices to the Internet while traveling by road, air, rail, or sea transportation, or while staying in a hotel or attending a congress, among others.


OTHER NEWS

Thales, Nokia and SkyFive

Following successful rollout across Europe, Thales in the UK, Nokia and SkyFive are launching a new 4G LTE Air to Ground (A2G) solution to a global market. Delivering a fibre like connectivity experience, A2G significantly improves the inflight access to web, streaming and on-line games to passengers. In addition to improved passenger experiences, aircraft operators will benefit from significantly shortened installation times, minimizing the time aircraft are out of operation.

Improved connectivity, enhanced experience

Offering seamless connectivity with speeds up to 100Mbps and latency of less than 50ms, this 4G LTE solution connects aircraft to high-speed Wi-Fi from the ground up. Utilizing existing 4G technology, A2G connects aircrafts with the nearest purpose-built on-ground towers, seamlessly handing over between masts mid-flight to create consistently fast 4G connectivity throughout journeys. The high speeds and reduced latency are achieved through the impressive 4G LTE performance, combined with the short distances between the aircraft and towers, which are densely grouped to prevent aircrafts sharing bandwidth. The network’s design also means A2G has greater capacity per km2 than current satellites.

Aboard A2G enabled aircraft, the experience for passengers will be comparable to using a 4G mobile phone service on the ground. The easy-to-access connection will make it possible for passengers to make uninterrupted video-conferencing calls, watch live TV or stream the latest series in HD from their own handset.

Easy installation, savings for airlines

As the aviation sector emerges from its biggest challenge yet, A2G presents an opportunity for carriers to make significant savings, improve customer experiences and increase ancillary revenues. Compared with SATCOM systems, the compact nature of the 4G antenna reduces CO2 emissions and cuts installation times down to just 12 hours, meaning aircraft spend less time out of operation while technology is installed.

Once installed, new 4G enabled in-flight capabilities will create an aircraft environment for an Internet of Things in which operational efficiencies such as engine offload data can be viewed in real time, customer experience can be measured and targeted advertising can be introduced. Better connectivity can also support the facilitation of new COVID-19 safety protocols as they are implemented.

Collaborating to create a safe, global network

The technology is being rolled out in regions around the world where domestic and international carriers will be able to use the 4G masts on land. It has been developed through a collaborative partnership with Thales providing the onboard terminal (modem+RF) and antenna; Nokia responsible for on-ground infrastructure and SkyFive’s patented software algorithms ensuring that aircraft can reliably connect at high speeds, high altitudes and across long ranges. With 30 years of experience in connecting airlines and proven European Aviation Network success, Thales has leveraged its expertise to ensure the benefits of the faster speeds do not come at the expense of a secure platform.

Andy Humphries, Managing Director, Flight Avionics at Thales in the UK, commented: “For airlines, passenger connectivity and operational efficiency have been strategic imperatives in the past and are even more pronounced in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. At Thales, we have used our expertise to deliver proven fast and reliable aircraft hardware and software solutions underpinned by a robust worldwide support network. Combined with SkyFive’s specialism in A2G services and Nokia’s mobile network infrastructure, the project will bring industry disrupting performance for passengers and airlines alike, with reliable Wi-Fi and low transmission latency delivered with low upfront investment and operational costs. We believe A2G will help to expedite the recovery of the sector by transforming the air travel experience while reducing costs as people start flying again.”


Air Travel Consumer Report: July 2020 Numbers

The U.S. Department of Transportation on October 23, 2020 released its September 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on reporting marketing and operating air carrier data compiled for the month of July 2020.  The full consumer report and other aviation consumer matters of interest to the public can be found at http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer.

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency has resulted in significant changes to airline schedules and operations, contributing to airlines’ on-time performance and cancellation statistics in July 2020.

The 10 marketing network carriers reported 370,859 scheduled domestic flights in July 2020 compared to 237,264 flights in June 2020 and 717,684 flights in July 2019. Of those 370,859 scheduled flights, 0.8%, 2,926 flights, were canceled. As a result of schedule reductions and cancellations, the carriers reported operating 367,933 flights in July 2020, compared to 236,234 flights in June 2020, the all-time monthly low of 180,151 flights in May 2020 and 194,390 flights in April 2020.

A flight is listed as canceled if it was listed in a carrier’s computer reservation system during the seven calendar days prior to scheduled departure but was not operated.  Canceled flights are included in calculations of on-time arrival performance.

July On-Time Performance

In July 2020, reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 90.5%, down from the 92.7% on-time rate in June 2020 but up from the 76.9% rate in July 2019.  See July Data Spotlight for scheduled, canceled, and operated flights by marketing network by month.
Highest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates July 2020 (ATCR Table 1)

1.    Southwest Airlines – 94.5%
2.    Alaska Airlines Network – 92.5%
3.    Hawaiian Airlines Network – 91.7%

Lowest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates July 2020 (ATCR Table 1)

1.    JetBlue Airways – 85.4%
2.    Allegiant Air – 85.5%
3.    Frontier Airlines – 87.0%

July Cancellations

In July 2020, reporting marketing carriers canceled 0.8% of their scheduled domestic flights, a higher rate than 0.4% in June 2020 but a lower rate than 2.1% in July 2019.

Lowest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights July 2020 (ATCR Table 6)

1.    Spirit Airlines – 0.1%
2.    American Airlines Network – 0.6%
3.    Southwest Airlines – 0.7%

Highest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights July 2020 (ATCR Table 6)

1.    Hawaiian Airlines Network – 4.1%
2.    Frontier Airlines – 3.2%
3.    JetBlue Airways – 2.8%

Tarmac Delays

In July 2020, airlines reported 39 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, compared to no tarmac delays reported in June 2020 and 58 tarmac delays reported in July 2019.  In July 2020, airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to no tarmac delays reported in June 2020 and three tarmac delays in July 2019.  Extended tarmac delays are investigated by the Department.

July Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours (ATCR Table 8)

  1. American Airlines flight 4912 (operated by Piedmont Airlines) from Mobile, Ala. (MOB) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 7/21/20 – delayed 4 hours and 51 minutes on the tarmac at Charlotte
  2. American Airlines flight 3862 (operated by Envoy Air) from Charlottesville, Va. (CHO) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 7/21/20 – delayed 4 hours and 40 minutes on the tarmac at Charlotte
  3. American Airlines flight 5075 (operated by PSA Airlines) from Syracuse, N.Y. (SYR) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 7/21/20 – delayed 4 hours and 36 minutes on the tarmac at Charlotte

July International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours (ATCR Table 8A)

There were no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights in July.


This Is A Big Deal and a Great Article!

“Specifically, FAA has not assessed its oversight program to determine the priority of avionics cybersecurity risks, developed an avionics cybersecurity training program, issued guidance for independent cybersecurity testing, or included periodic testing as part of its monitoring process,” GAO said in the report.

Another key finding in the report is more guidance on independent testing to be integrated into the way the agency certifies new airplanes. GAO’s six recommendations include the following:
Here are the recommendations:

  • Identify the “relative priority of avionics cybersecurity risks compared to other safety concerns and develop a plan to address those risks.”
  • Implement new training for agency inspectors “specific to avionics cybersecurity.”
  • Include independent testing in new guidance for avionics cybersecurity testing of new airplane designs
  • Develop procedures for “safely conducting independent testing” of avionics cybersecurity controls in the deployed fleet
  • Coordinate a tracking mechanism for ensuring avionics cybersecurity issues are resolved among “internal stakeholders.”
  • Review oversight resources the agency has currently committed to avionics cybersecurity.

This is a good article: GAO Report Says Airlines Need New Cybersecurity Testing Policy for Avionics Systems – Aviation Today


Boeing

Check out this link for a very good ‘big picture’ of Boeing, especially the top executive and it also includes the recent additions.


Other News

INMARSAT AND HUGHES BRING UNRIVALED INFLIGHT CONNECTIVITY TO NORTH AMERICAN AIRLINES AND PASSENGERS

GX+ North America will seamlessly combine the Hughes JUPITER satellite fleet, which has the largest Ka-band satellite capacity over the US, with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress, the widest, most resilient global network, to offer faster, more reliable inflight Wi-Fi.

Inmarsat, a world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, and Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), the global leader in broadband satellite networks and services, unveiled a major strategic collaboration that marks an important new step change for North American commercial airlines and their passengers.

The companies have joined forces to launch a transformational aviation connectivity solution, which has been specifically designed for North American commercial airlines and is available today. GX+ North America seamlessly integrates the unrivaled capacity of the Hughes JUPITER™ High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) constellation across North America with the extensive worldwide coverage and resilience of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) HTS satellite network, bringing a unique combination of unprecedented capacity, speed and reliability to the region, unavailable from any other satellite provider.

The ground-breaking new solution underscores the strategic vision of Inmarsat and Hughes as they look past the pandemic and into the future needs of commercial airline fleets in North America, whose passengers will require ubiquitous connectivity as they return to the skies.

The ultra-high capacity of GX+ North America will, for the first time, make it possible for North American airlines to meet increasing passenger demand, including the surge in traffic expected from free-of-charge inflight Wi-Fi. Today, satellite networks are trying to serve thousands of commercial aircraft in the world’s busiest airspace, and as they reach capacity, airlines will struggle to meet the demands of data-hungry passengers who want reliable, affordable, high-speed Wi-Fi while on board.

For too long, North American airline passengers have had to settle for constrained bandwidth activities such as email and limited messaging while on board flights. GX+ North America will give passengers the freedom to stream videos and audio, shop online, check and update social media, and catch up on work, all while in the air.

The superior capabilities of GX+ North America mean that North American airlines no longer need to compromise on speed, reliability, availability or coverage for inflight broadband, even when flying at full capacity over the busiest airport hubs. This also offers full flexibility for route planning, even on short notice, as the solution can cover any route worldwide through the GX global network — whether to Hawaii, Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean, across the Gulf of Mexico, to Central and South America, across the Atlantic or even to the most extreme northern latitudes.

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “GX has firmly established itself as the reference inflight connectivity solution for today’s demanding passengers and is used by airlines worldwide. We are very confident that this game-changing collaboration with Hughes, combining their market-leading depth of capacity with Inmarsat’s award-winning passenger connectivity solution, delivers for the first time, inflight broadband that is consistently superior regardless of the number of passengers using the service or where they are traveling. It is truly a ‘no compromise’ solution for airlines that no other service provider can offer. We’ve also ensured the transition path for airlines upgrading from other connectivity providers is simple, quick and cost efficient.”

“This strategic collaboration is further evidence of Inmarsat’s strength, resilience and innovation despite these unprecedented times in our industry. As a number of connectivity providers in North America face financial challenges and airlines are forced to reconsider their choice of supplier, Inmarsat’s offer continues to go from strength to strength.”

Paul Gaske, Executive Vice President and General Manager, North America division at Hughes, said: “We are proud to partner with Inmarsat to launch GX+ North America. This unique strategic collaboration leverages the full power of the JUPITER System, including the depth of capacity of our Ka-band High-Throughput Satellite fleet, as well as our JUPITER gateways and modems. Combining the Hughes JUPITER System and Inmarsat’s leading inflight connectivity solution, GX+ North America marks a new era for inflight connectivity.”

The new solution will be provided and managed end-to-end by Inmarsat. Prototype flights are expected to start later this year with commercial availability scheduled for 2021.

GX+ North America utilizes a robust Ka-band flat panel antenna from Thinkom, with millions of flight hours behind it, together with smart dual aero modem technology powered by Inmarsat’s aviation solutions that intelligently chooses the optimal satellite path with no service interruption or delay for passengers.

Looking forward, as commercial aviation returns to growth and aircraft return to the skies, Inmarsat and Hughes will continue to anticipate and respond to the North American market’s evolving needs. Expanding the service over the next four years alone, the Hughes and Inmarsat combined constellation of seven GX and JUPITER satellites will more than double to a total of 15 spacecraft. These additional satellites include the Hughes ultra-high capacity JUPITER 3 satellite and Inmarsat’s seven advanced, fully-funded next generation GX satellite payloads (6A, 6B, 7, 8, 9, 10A & 10B), which will enhance capacity and coverage throughout the world, including the Arctic.

Be sure to check out this infographic.



FLIGHTPATH3D

FlightPath3D Now Comes With More Places Than You Can Imagine

FlightPath3D announces that Flying Over Places is now included as a new view in all 3D map products. A retrofit is available for all existing 3D map installs.

FlightPath3D President Duncan Jackson said, “Flying Over Places significantly expands our map feature set with the integration of over 50,000 points of interest (POIs) that auto-play as the flight progresses, providing historical information about landmarks, attractions, and places as they’re flown over en route.”

Jackson adds, “We want every airline to be able to inform their customer what they can see out the window, with each point displaying its distance and direction.”

“This, and our many other map features, help provide an innovative and consistent passenger experience across multiple aircraft types and IFE systems. So you can continue to elevate your brand and differentiate your inflight service”, says FlightPath3D CEO Boris Veksler.

Veksler continues, “We design and deploy apps that are available as an Android, iOS or Linux app, can be streamed as a web service or API, and as widgets that can be embedded in other applications.”

To conclude, Veksler says, “We have the largest team of map specialists and geospatial engineers in the industry, building software selected by all the leading IFE vendors, and we’ll continue to lead, innovate and elevate the passenger experience.”

NOTE: Video of Flying Over Places for embed/viewing here.


SMARTSKY

SmartSky Networks announced that mobile broadband communications technology executive David Helfgott has been named CEO, reflecting the company’s upcoming transition from the development and deployment stage to an operational aviation broadband communications services and products company.

“On behalf of both the SmartSky board and management, I am delighted to welcome David to our team, reflecting our longstanding company plan. His extensive technology and mobile communications experience will help us ensure that all of our operations reflect the high level of quality set by our transformational connectivity technology,” said Haynes Griffin, outgoing CEO who will remain as Executive Chairman.

“I am honored to be selected to lead SmartSky at this exciting inflection point,” said SmartSky CEO Helfgott. “When you look at SmartSky’s unique positioning and expansive patent portfolio, it highlights the company’s incredible potential and culture of sustained innovation. Since COVID-19 first began to impact the inflight communications industry, SmartSky has proven its resilience in many ways, having added more than 40 patents since January 2020, successfully defended its IP from a challenge brought by an industry incumbent, closed on funding of more than $50 million in additional equity and debt, and overhauled its radio technology supply chain on the way to completing the deployment and launch of its network next year.”

Helfgott most recently was President & CEO of phased-array antenna developer Phasor, which was recently acquired by Hanwha Systems. Prior to this, he held several senior executive roles including President & CEO of Inmarsat Government; President of Tactical Wireless Communications for Cobham; President & CEO of Datapath and President & CEO of SES Government.

Haynes Griffin, who has been SmartSky’s Chairman and CEO since 2013, also was the founding CEO of Vanguard Cellular and a past Chairman of CTIA, a major wireless industry trade association.

SmartSky is reinventing connectivity, building a next-generation inflight WiFi network from the ground up. The company also is developing pioneering aviation data products to improve safety and efficiency while providing the industry with novel ancillary revenue sources. SmartSky’s unique single-beam-per-aircraft inflight WiFi approach is backed by 190 patents and over 1,000 hours of flight testing.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat announced that it will provide engineering support, communications services and equipment to Cranfield University’s Digital Aviation Research and Technology Center (DARTeC) consortium, supported by Honeywell Aerospace.

Set to open at Cranfield University during the first quarter of 2021, DARTeC will spearhead UK research into digital aviation technology. The center will address the most pressing research challenges facing the aviation industry, including the integration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles into civilian airspace, increasing the efficiency and reliability of airports and aircraft through technology, and creating a safe and secure shared airspace.

Inmarsat and Honeywell Aerospace will support the Center’s research by providing Aspire 400 satellite communications terminals, airtime and engineering expertise in the Saab 340B flying test-bed and test lab for evaluation and development of future applications and solutions. The Saab 340B will effectively serve as a ‘flying laboratory’ to evaluate multiple advanced radar systems and airborne digital communications.

John Broughton, Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations and Safety, Inmarsat Aviation said: “Advances in digital aviation are driving innovation opportunities in all aspects of the airline industry. Today’s commitment with Honeywell Aerospace to support DARTeC highlights the importance of creating a collaborative research environment in the aviation industry. We are looking forward to working closely with other members of the DARTeC community to reap the rewards of a digital aviation industry for many years to come.”

Mark Goodman, Director of Product Management, Honeywell Aerospace said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Inmarsat to support the DARTeC consortium and bring the benefits of the digital revolution to the aviation industry. There is no time to waste in responding to the opportunities of digital transformation and ensuring that the industry is ready to serve the needs of our airlines today and tomorrow.”

Through the DARTeC consortium, members are able to create, develop and test next generation air traffic control (ATC) applications for manned and unmanned aviation that will utilize digital voice and data. Members will also have access to Inmarsat’s Iris program fully serviced aircraft for testing, evaluation and demonstrations as well as conducting live Iris test flights with specific air navigation service providers (ANSPs).


BOEING

The European Union has been authorized by the WTO to impose $3.99b in annual tariffs on US imported goods. This includes Boeing aircraft and has done so as a result of illegal subsidies to the company.


STELLAR

Stellar boarding music boosts Virgin Australia Brand. Passengers traveling on Virgin Australia and VARA (Virgin Australia Regional Airlines) will now hear customized boarding music as of September 2020, a first for the airline group. The original piece was written in-house at Stellar Entertainment and replaces the commercially available music playlists previously played onboard the airline for years.

Stellar Entertainment’s Creative Director, Brad Power, describes the composition:

“Our latest piece draws on deep house and Balearic beats to create a fresh, vibrant and modern sound that is upbeat without being too exuberant. Perfect for a contemporary airline looking to do something a little different.”

Bespoke boarding music offers airlines an opportunity to create their own unique brand identity and sound, one that passengers can always relate to their experience onboard that airline. This area of expertise is just one of many offerings from Stellar’s fully equipped, multi-studio facilities specializing in various audio solutions and services, such as original music composition and sound design.

Director of Licensing at Stellar, Sam Allen remarks, “A bespoke piece doesn’t stop at boarding music. It can be implemented across the airline via other platforms and applications such as advertising campaigns and promotional buzz reels, to optimize usage as part of an over-arching sonic strategy.”

Besides rolling out this new signature music across the fleet for boarding and disembarking, Virgin Australia and VARA have also implemented it as on-hold music for their phone lines. Working directly with Stellar Entertainment has given the airline group the ability to license the music as needed, allowing for greater flexibility in how and where they use the new sound. This also includes a financial benefit, with a direct license with Stellar saving the airline group royalty fees paid to local collection agencies.

This is the second composition from Stellar Entertainment to be used by an airline, following the bespoke piece used by Malaysia Airlines earlier this year.

To hear the new boarding music for Virgin Australia and VARA, click here.

To listen to a broader range of audio samples from our in-house composition team, click here.


OTHER NEWS

SmartSky Beats Gogo’s Patent Challenge

SmartSky Networks announces that it has summarily defeated industry incumbent Gogo’s challenge brought before the US Patent & Trademark Office (‘USPTO’) nearly six months ago, proving SmartSky’s longstanding position that its ‘947 patent, which covers some of the most essential features of a 5G air-to-ground (‘ATG’) network, like beamforming and seamless cell tower handoffs, was and shall remain valid.

“Gogo has been proven unequivocally wrong in its challenge. We continue to believe they will have great difficulty commercializing their future 5G network without infringing on SmartSky’s expansive intellectual property portfolio,” said SmartSky Chairman and CEO Haynes Griffin. “Gogo has said many times in the past that our IP didn’t matter and wasn’t valid.  The fact that Gogo bothered to challenge this patent clearly indicates that our IP does in fact matter.  Moreover, the fact that the USPTO ruled in SmartSky’s favor based only on a subset of SmartSky’s opening arguments reinforces the strength of this patent since it was likely targeted due to a combination of its relevance and Gogo’s perception of their own likelihood of success. Furthermore, this ruling reaffirms the strength of SmartSky’s entire portfolio.  Now everyone can know that Gogo’s assertions have been thoroughly debunked.”

In dismissing Gogo’s challenge, the USPTO ruled that Gogo “has not demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of prevailing in demonstrating that at least one challenged claim” among the 20 claims of the patent, is unpatentable.

“This win comes in a forum that statistically favored Gogo, and was made in connection with an asset Gogo likely handpicked for attack with the best shot that they could take.  The failure of their effort this early in the process is both a repudiation of the baseless claims Gogo has made regarding our patent portfolio in the past, and an important validation of our claims to the contrary.  That said, we understand that the importance of our portfolio may dictate further challenges, and we remain poised to defend both the portfolio and the intellectual property it protects,” said SmartSky President Ryan Stone.

In April 2020, Gogo challenged one (No. 9,312,947) of SmartSky’s now more than 180 patents supporting its in-deployment, next generation ATG network with 5G technologies.  SmartSky had three months to respond, which it did, and the USPTO then had three months to determine whether Gogo’s challenge was worth further review. It was not.

With this decisive win behind it, SmartSky is focused on finishing its network deployment and launching commercially in 2021.  “The market leader tried to undercut SmartSky, but justice has been served and the little guy has won this battle,” Stone said. “We are an innovation driven company and have developed key enabling technologies to transform connectivity in aviation.  The USPTO ruling rightfully affirms the intellectual property protection SmartSky has earned on just one of the many patents we’ve developed critical to advancing inflight connectivity.”


Gogo

Gogo Business Aviation commented on the decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) not to review U.S. Patent No. 9,312,947 (“the ‘947 patent”) granted to SmartSky Networks, LLC. As previously, disclosed Gogo requested that the PTO examine the validity of the 947 patent. “We disagree with the PTO’s decision not to review the 947 patent,” said Sergio Aguirre, president of Gogo Business Aviation. “To be clear, Gogo reiterates our strong belief that we are not infringing any valid patent held by SmartSky. Furthermore, neither the PTO’s decision nor SmartSky’s patent portfolio in any way impairs our ability to continue to successfully expand, to launch Gogo 5G or to enhance our position in the business aviation market. Today, our systems are flying on more than 5,550 business jets, including more than 1,000 AVANCE L5 systems and nearly 450 L3 systems providing connectivity to business aircraft of all types and sizes.” Aguirre continued, “We are committed to continuing to set the standard for inflight connectivity in business aviation as we progress toward the launch of Gogo 5G and further enhance the scale and profitability of our Business Aviation segment.”


Astronics

Astronics Corporation announced the rollout of the new AP-MARS, or AutoPoint Multi-Axis Robotic System, an automated circuit card troubleshooting and test development system. The system adds flying probe technology to the existing PinPoint series of circuit card troubleshooting and test systems, delivering test, maintenance and schematic generation all in one system.
AP-MARS enables users to maintain and repair electronic assemblies without the availability of technical data. The system also works well with obsolete or aging systems with little to no original equipment manufacturer (OEM) support. By automating the capabilities of the PinPoint system, AP-MARS eliminates human error associated with mis-probing and significantly reduces the probing process time and number of touches per pin. Using Circuit Interrogation Analysis (CIA), the system employs a set of algorithms to identify nodal groups and verify the signal path for each net, reducing the number of probing iterations by over 80%.
“For many years, PinPoint has established a proven capability to generate schematics for circuit cards and has become an invaluable tool for the defense industry,” says Jim Mulato, President of Astronics Test Systems. “AP-MARS leverages our commitment to support legacy equipment while integrating forward-looking technology, enabling our customers to become more efficient.”

PinPoint was originally developed by Diagnosys which was acquired by Astronics Corporation in November 2019 and is now incorporated into the Astronics Test Systems (ATS) business.

For complete AP-MARS product details, to view the datasheet, or to request a quote, please visit Astronics.com.


Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has unveiled the “Welcome Aboard Collection”a selection of inflight products and solutions designed to help airlines address passenger concerns during COVID-19. The Collection can be customized to an airline’s existing fleet. It consists of both inflight entertainment (IFE) elements and other solutions designed to help augment airlines’ efforts to create a safer and healthier travel experience, while reducing costs and reinforcing their commitment to the passenger and their crew. Other solutions in the Collection help airlines to reduce touchpoints through smarter “less touch” technology such as Onboard Reader to digitize print publications and Companion App to integrate the passengers’ trusted personal device into the IFE experience. This can help ensure that seat back IFE consoles are complementary to the traveler’s personal devices, thus limiting passengers’ touch while still enabling the full IFE experience.

The Collection also includes solutions to enhance the cabin experience and deliver care through wellness solutions such as the nanoe™ Air Cleanser, which improves air quality by generating nano-sized electrostatic atomized water particles that can suppress odors and inhibit certain viruses, bacteria, and allergens.
Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “These are challenging times for the airline industry, and we have leveraged our proven track record in digital innovation in the aircraft cabin to deliver solutions that can help make travel a safer experience for passengers and cabin crew.”

The Collection includes other innovative solutions such as Active Surfaces that allow for easy wipe-down from flight-to-flight and ZeroTouchTM services, which enable airlines to administer content updates remotely, greatly reducing the manual labor and physical presence typically associated with these efforts.


Boeing News

The Boeing Company named B. Marc Allen as chief strategy officer and senior vice president, Strategy and Corporate Development, reporting to President and CEO David Calhoun. The company also announced Christopher Raymond as the company’s chief sustainability officer, a newly created position reporting to Executive Vice President, Enterprise Operations and Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith. The appointments are effective Oct. 1. Allen, first appointed to the company’s Executive Council in 2014 as president of Boeing International, will now take on responsibility for the enterprise’s overarching strategy, including long-term planning; global business and corporate development; and strategic investments, acquisitions and divestitures. He most recently served as president of Embraer Partnership and Group Operations, leading the associated business and integration teams, before terminating the partnership in April 2020. Before joining the Executive Council, Allen served in leadership positions across the enterprise as president of Boeing Capital Corporation, president of Boeing China, vice president for Global Law Affairs and general counsel to Boeing International.

As Boeing’s first chief sustainability officer, Raymond will be responsible for further advancing Boeing’s approach to sustainability that is focused on environmental, social and governance priorities, stakeholder-oriented reporting and company performance. Operating within the Enterprise Operations, Finance and Sustainability organization, Raymond will lead a team that collaborates across Boeing’s commercial, defense and services businesses and its enterprise functions in support of the company’s commitment to responsible and inclusive business practices and positive global impact.

“Despite our current headwinds, we remain focused on innovating and operating to help make the world a better place for future generations,” Smith said. “Chris will partner with Dave, myself and the entire Executive Council to bring together our efforts toward environmental stewardship, social progress and values-driven governance from across the enterprise and deliver a truly integrated focus on sustainability. Appointing a chief sustainability officer is an important next step as we continue to elevate and sharpen our focus on sustainability in partnership with our customers as well as across Boeing’s operations, throughout our supply chain and in our communities. Chris is the right person for the job.”

Boeing also announced $700,000 in grants from the Boeing Charitable Trust to help local communities with the ongoing humanitarian and environmental crisis caused by wildfires burning along the West Coast of the United States. Boeing is providing $500,000 to the American Red Cross to support its fire relief efforts in Washington, Oregon and California. Additionally, Boeing is donating $200,000 to provide food assistance in these states where significant numbers of the company’s employees live and work. $100,000 is being given to Northwest Harvest in Washington, and $50,000 apiece to the Oregon Food Bank and Redwood Empire Food Bank in California. “Thousands of our families, friends and neighbors have been displaced around the west,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and the company’s senior executive in the region. “We are committed to helping them through this exceptionally challenging time.” Boeing’s grant to the Red Cross will provide shelter, food and essentials for those who have been displaced from their homes due to the wildfires. These funds will also assist in the ongoing evacuation and aid delivery response in impacted communities. Consistent with Boeing employee gift match programs, the company will also match qualifying employee contributions made to eligible nonprofits for wildfire relief efforts.

On another note, Boeing announced a firm order from an unidentified customer for two 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF), as well as agreements to open additional conversion lines in Guangzhou, China, and Singapore to meet strong market demand. Based on the popular Next-Generation 737, the 737-800BCF offers operators newer technology, lower fuel consumption and higher reliability than other standard-body freighters. Primarily used to carry express cargo on domestic or short-haul routes, the airplane is capable of carrying up to 23.9 tonnes (52,800 pounds) and flying up to 2,000 nautical miles (3,750 kilometers). The 737-800BCF now has 134 orders and commitments. To date, Boeing has delivered 36 737-800BCF to more than 10 operators across four continents. The Boeing freighter family, which includes production and converted freighters, provides more than 90 percent of the world’s freighter capacity, offering an unmatched selection of capacity and capability with superior economics in every freighter size.


Other News

FlightPath3D

FlightPath3D announced that it won the ‘Preferred App’ award and was joint winner of the ‘Best Innovation’ award at Airbus’s First Online Hackathon. In addition to Airbus, several airlines judged and selected the award winners.

FlightPath3D President Duncan Jackson said, “We integrated duty-free merchandising, advertising, and the ability to buy with a payment solution into our map. 3rd party apps used our destination content, street maps, and flight tracker to augment their already highly- functional apps.”

Jackson adds, “Now more than ever, our industry needs to realize the potential of digital transformation. There is synergy in our app community, and we observed our map being integrated into more services, and more services using our API features than any other app.”

“From July 7th to 9th, Airbus organized the first Online Hackathon, designed to develop On Board Digital Solutions on an Airbus Open Software Platform to support better operations in a post-COVID world – part of their #KeepTrustInAirTravel initiative. I’m immensely proud of our team who worked round the clock to show what we could do.”, says FlightPath3D CEO Boris Veksler.

Veksler continues, “We leveraged our HTML/WebGL streaming 3D map and via our Open API platform integrated 3rd party content into our map, and vice versa provided map features into 3rd party apps. The innovation we achieved is linked to the openness of the Airbus platform, and to the eco-system of App developers that are compatible with the platform.”

Click on the link to learn more about their Map API Features


Airbus

Airbus is expanding its sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) operations, now including aircraft deliveries from its site in Hamburg, Germany. Air Transat took delivery of two brand new A321LR on lease from AerCap. Both used a 10 per cent sustainable aviation fuel blend to fly the aircraft from Hamburg to Montreal, Canada, non-stop.

Airbus has already successfully established SAF flights out of Hamburg with its Beluga transport aircraft since December 2019. This commercial delivery is another milestone that underlines Airbus’ continuing commitment to minimizing air transportation’s environmental impact – which includes becoming the first aircraft manufacturer offering customers the option of receiving new jetliners with sustainable fuel in their tanks. Such delivery flights have been available since 2016, starting from the Airbus headquarters production facility in Toulouse, France, followed by Mobile, Alabama, USA. Airbus offers this option as part of its strategy to promote the more regular use of sustainable fuels within the aviation industry. The fuel for Air Transat’s A321LR aircraft delivered from Hamburg was supplied by Air bp and produced by Neste.

Airbus and Air Transat have a long history of cooperation on environmental affairs. Airbus supported the airline to launch its environmental program 13 years ago and both have worked together on environmental projects such as fuel efficiency. Air Transat has been operating Airbus single-aisle and widebody aircraft since 1999.

“Sustainability and efficiency are essential for our customers and for Airbus. Sustainable aviation fuel developments will play a key role in reducing the environmental footprint of the aviation industry. By using sustainable aviation fuels on delivery flights with partners like AerCap and Air Transat, who are flying the aircraft from Hamburg to their Canadian home-base nonstop, we take concrete action to contribute to a more sustainable aviation future,” said Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer Airbus. “We are very pleased to be a part of this historic milestone, working together with our partners at Airbus and with our long-time customer, Air Transat, to help them meet their sustainable growth ambitions,” said Philip Scruggs, President and Chief Commercial Officer of AerCap. “AerCap is committed to facilitating the move towards more sustainable air travel underpinned by its target to transition its fleet to approximately two-thirds new technology aircraft by 2021.”
“It is an honor for us and a sign of confidence from Airbus to be its first customer to take advantage of this new delivery option at its Hamburg plant,” said Jean-François Lemay, President and General Manager, Air Transat. “This initiative is part of our commitment to reducing our own carbon footprint while contributing to the achievement of the airline industry’s ambitious decarbonization targets.” Both of these delivery flights will be carbon-neutral because the kerosene fossil fuel portion will be offset by the purchase of carbon credits.

We are proud to be the first Canadian carrier to operate carbon-neutral flights, and we will continue to pursue our commitment to providing our passengers with a travel experience that takes account of our environmental footprint,” Mr. Lemay continued.


Boeing

Boeing announced a number of services orders and agreements to support international customers, streamline their operations and enhance their future growth. These supply chain solutions will simplify customers’ asset and maintenance management, inventory and operating costs, while improving parts availability. The agreements for Boeing’s digital solutions will provide cost savings fleet-wide, enhance airline crew situational awareness and increase operational efficiency.

“As airlines and operators continue to respond to the current challenges facing the global air travel industry, our partners are moving forward, integrating creative solutions to continue connecting people around the world,” said Ted Colbert, president and CEO, Boeing Global Services. “Boeing is working closely with our customers around the world, delivering the customized solutions they need to improve operational efficiency, support their fleets, and reduce their costs.”

Supply chain agreements include:

  • Alaska Airlines signed its largest consumable and expendable services agreement, with a multiyear agreement for solutions which include a Tailored Parts Package and Quick Engine Change kits. The agreement supports Alaska’s fleet of Boeing 737 airplanes and provides price and availability benefits that allow the airline to streamline its maintenance operations. The Tailored Parts Package consists of 2,900 part numbers. Throughout the term of this three-year agreement, Boeing anticipates the shipment of nearly 800,000 parts and four Quick Engine Change kits, which will be used to configure spare engines to allow for quick return of an airplane to service when an engine needs to be repaired or replaced.
  • All Nippon Airways, the largest airline in Japan, announced a partnership with Boeing Global Services to install a 787-9 galley facility in its new training center to enhance crew training opportunities. All Nippon Airways also signed an agreement for ten 767 Quick Engine Change kits.

Agreements for data-driven solutions include:

  • Xiamen Airlines, Japan Airlines, and All Nippon Airways have signed agreements to acquire the Optimized Maintenance Program that combines advanced data analytics with Boeing’s engineering expertise to help airlines achieve greater airplane availability and more efficient maintenance operations. To date, the Optimized Maintenance Program has been delivered to 24 airlines and approved by their local regulatory agencies to support a total of 2,519 Boeing airplanes across several models. Xiamen is the first airline in China to adopt the program.
  • A number of customers in China, including Suparna Airlines, Zheijiang Loong Airlines, West Air, Guangxi Air, Urumqi Air, and Air Changan signed agreements for Boeing digital solutions that enhance operational efficiency, further streamline paperless operations in the flight deck, and optimize flight planning capabilities. Boeing provides tailored charting for more than 74 percent of the commercial aviation market; supplies digital navigation data to more than 58 percent of global airlines; and delivers flight deck solutions to 67 percent of the world’s airlines. Overall, two-thirds of all global airline flights use Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB) navigation and charting applications on a daily basis.
  • Vistara, an Indian full-service carrier and a joint venture of Tata group and Singapore Airlines, has added to their suite of Boeing Global Services crew solutions with a multiyear agreement for Crew Pairing to improve operational and readiness efficiency and reduce airline costs. The solution will help optimize crew planning operations for approximately 1,100 crew members across Vistara’s 40 Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

Boeing and Etihad Airways will use a 787-10 Dreamliner to test ways to reduce emissions and noise as part of the aerospace company’s ecoDemonstrator program before the airline accepts delivery of the airplane this fall. The collaboration, which includes extensive sound measurement testing with industry partners, builds on a strategic sustainability alliance Boeing and Etihad formed in November 2019. “This is the latest program under Etihad’s industry-leading strategic partnership with Boeing, focusing on innovating real-world solutions to the key sustainability challenges facing the aviation industry,” Etihad Aviation Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Douglas said. “The ecoDemonstrator program is founded on innovation and sustainability — and these are core values for Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. Etihad and Boeing see a great opportunity to collaborate and share knowledge to minimize the impact of aviation on the environment.” The ecoDemonstrator program utilizes commercial aircraft to test technologies that can make aviation safer and more sustainable now and into the future. The 2020 program, which will begin testing in August, is the first to use a Boeing 787-10. Boeing and Etihad will work with industry-leading partners, including NASA and Safran Landing Systems, to conduct aircraft noise measurements from sensors on the airplane and the ground. The data will be used to validate aircraft noise prediction processes and the sound reduction potential of aircraft designs, including landing gear, that are modified for quieter operations.

In addition, a flight will be conducted during which pilots, air traffic controllers and an airline’s operations center will simultaneously share digital information to optimize routing efficiency and enhance safety by reducing workload and radio frequency congestion.

Test flights will be flown on a blend of sustainable fuel, which significantly lowers aviation’s environmental footprint. The testing program is expected to last about four weeks before Etihad enters its Boeing 787-10 into service.


Other News

AND SOME SAD NEWS

We contacted a few people about the passing of Bill Baltra, long time IFE aficionado, and one noted: “He had contributed excellent services to MAS as VP for many years. I think he was a first employee of Matsushita Avionics Systems in USA and worked together with Yukio Sugimoto for a long time. He was funny, clever and gentle also always making people happy around him.” We think that note is the way we will always remember Bill!

Miltope: Reliable In The Extreme

IFExpress recently had the opportunity to connect with the Miltope team and we discovered that the company is celebrating 45 years in the aviation sector, specifically 20+ in the commercial aviation space. In conjunction with this milestone, they have rebranded and you will notice their new logo in today’s publication.

Miltope has a long-standing history of setting the standard for commercial aviation applications that can withstand the harshest conditions. “Reliable in the extreme, is how we approach everything we do,” said Jack Haley, President and CEO of Miltope. “Whether with our customer relationships or our hardware design and development, Miltope’s capabilities are defined by this mantra. This philosophy relies on a common, open architecture approach of satisfying performance requirements to minimize integration challenges, enhance capability, and ultimately provide the best value solution. And our new logo, the Rhino, embodies this dedication to ruggedized, reliable hardware.”

In an area where technology capabilities evolve rapidly, designing systems that can remain relevant and innovative over the long lifecycles required for the aviation sector is always a challenge. Miltope understands these challenges as well as the complex, technical operating environment and what is required of their rugged devices. This understanding is a critical element in their product design and ensures that Miltope’s rugged systems accommodate technologies well into the future.

With over 20,000 products installed, Miltope is an industry leader in wireless networking solutions for the commercial aviation industry. This includes their very capable servers and access points. One of the unique aspects the company brings to the table is wireless network optimization. The nMAP2 802.11ac Multifunction Access Point uses Cognitive HotspotTM Technology (CHT) and soon CHT Plus to optimize and cyber secure the cabin network and maximize its capacity and distribution for the benefit of the passenger and the airline. nMAP2’s sense their environment and adapt the wireless network performance components accordingly. They cooperate with neighboring nMAP2’s, allowing them to manage all available resources, prevent interference and balance the network usage. This provides clear and fast wireless capacity throughout the cabin, ensuring secure communications and minimizing interference. The CHT Plus upgrade adheres to the WPA3 standard, includes an WIPS (Wireless Intrusion Prevention System) and offers Hotspot 2.0 capabilities. Each nMAP2 has two radios, providing both IEEE 802.11a/n/ac operation and 802.11a/g/n for legacy client devices. We are told that wireless data rates up to 1.7 Gbps may be achieved with 802.11ac.

Miltope also offers an ARINC 763 compliant Cellular Terminal Wireless LAN Unit (cTWLU) that is based on the nMAP2 hardware. This is a wireless gateway from an aircraft LAN to a ground based LAN that automates data delivery without the delays and costs associated with human intervention. The cTWLU provides IEEE 802.11b/g/n or 802.11ac wireless operation plus 3G/4G cellular operation modes. This is a compact and secure interactive web based interface to a software management tool with proven reliability, requiring no maintenance. It is software upgradeable to support evolving security, connectivity and authentication protocols.

The xMAP is the next generation airborne wireless access point product family member from Miltope and is foundational to a software platform for wireless data in the cabin. Whether streaming cashed content, e-mails through the Internet, cabin IoT data or crew communications, the adaptive wireless network manages, optimizes and cyber-secures data flow for each aircraft and across the fleet. This hardware and software solution significantly expands network capabilities and throughput, while incorporating exceptional software features and functions, including the additional features CHT Plus offers for the nMAP2 upgrade. The xMAP will feature 802.11ax, CHT, embedded SSD providing distributed content caching, cyber security, intelligent client connection and roaming, and WPA3.

IFExpress expects to see the latest updates to the nMAP2 and the cTWLU at the next trade show, and Miltope has told us they will be rolling-out the xMAP in 2021, and other new products and services over the next several years.

Lastly, we want to congratulate Miltope on celebrating 45 years in aviation and be sure to check out their video!


Panasonic: Middle East Airlines Selects Panasonic Avionics For A321 Family IFE and Connectivity

Panasonic Avionics  has been selected by Middle East Airlines-Air Liban (MEA) to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for 15 of its Airbus A321 family aircraft.

Upon delivery from July 2020 onwards, 9 A321neos will become the first connected aircraft to join MEA’s fleet. They will be linefitted with Panasonic’s eX1 seatback IFE solution, designed specifically for narrowbody aircraft.

eX1 offers elegant full HD seatback monitors, complete with touch displays and handsets, and an intuitive, personalized interface. Passengers will have access to USB and laptop charging power points at every seat as well.

MEA’s A321neos will also be fitted with Panasonic’s inflight Wi-Fi service, with a host of next generation connectivity benefits from fast internet to video streaming, all powered by its new satellite modem which offers bandwidth up to twenty times greater than previously available.

Panasonic’s high-performance connectivity is a powerful way for airlines to build brand loyalty by delivering new and personalized content to passengers inflight.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Middle East Airlines to enhance the passenger experience on their A321 family aircraft with our world-class inflight entertainment and connectivity. The Middle East is a dynamic and strategically important region for Panasonic Avionics.”

Mohamad El Hout, Chairman – Director General of MEA, said; “We are happy to partner again with Panasonic Avionics. MEA’s new aircraft is equipped with its state-of-the-art inflight entertainment systems including WiFi connectivity for the first time, reflecting the company’s ambition to provide customers with the best products the industry has to offer.”


FTS Innovative Connectivity: Ka-band Inflight Connectivity System Goes Live on Qingdao Airlines

FTS, a provider of wireless Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions, announced that its XStreamSAT Ka-band Inflight Connectivity System has officially gone live on Qingdao Airlines. A grand ceremony was held on 7 Jul 2020 in Qingdao, China to commemorate this momentous occasion, followed by a live inflight broadcast media event on the debut flight QW9771 from Qingdao to Chengdu.

FTS XStreamSAT is the first Ka-band inflight connectivity system to launch in China, following the award of both FAA STC and CAAC VSTC airworthiness certification, after installation on one Qingdao Airlines A320 aircraft. The official launch marks the culmination of relentless team effort by FTS, China Satcom, TDT Link and other valued partners.

XStreamSAT is FTS’ state-of-the-art flagship product that equips the aircraft with highspeed satellite broadband connectivity. The full onboard system comprises of Cabin Wireless Network, MODMAN (Modem and Manager), satellite antenna subsystem, radome, adapter plate and other structural parts. For the China market, it has been optimized to connect with China Satcom’s Chinasat-16 Ka-Band High-Throughput Satellite (HTS), offering unprecedented bandwidth in excess of 150Mbps for each aircraft.

On the debut flight, passengers connected to the onboard wireless network using their own mobile devices and were treated to a galore of over 2000 entertainment selections, curated inflight shopping catalogue with over 500 items (supporting online payment), flight map and of course, the highspeed internet access. A live inflight broadcast was hosted on the ever-popular Douyin (Chinese version of Tik Tok) platform, showcasing smooth 2-way live video communication between the flight and ground audiences.

With the completion of extensive testing and commercial launch, FTS is working to accelerate the fleet-wide installation on all of Qingdao Airline’s fleet of 25 Airbus A320/321 aircraft. To realize its vision of fully connected Digital Aircraft, FTS will be progressively introducing other applications in areas such as flight operations, flight safety, aircraft maintenance, cabin crew services etc. Following the successful launch on Qingdao Airlines, FTS has announced to the world that it is now a serious contender in the Inflight Connectivity solution provider space and looks forward to engaging global airlines and markets on a wider scale. For more information contact marketing@fts.aero


SITA

German leisure airline Condor is making significant enhancements to fuel optimization through the deployment of eWAS to more than 700 pilots and dispatchers. The signing with SITA’s aircraft domain of expertisewhich includes the provision of eWAS Pilot and eWAS Dispatch applications – brings several major benefits for the popular holiday airline. As severe weather events become more frequent and intense, eWAS Pilot delivers both forecasts and satellite-based observation data, enabling Condor’s crews to avoid the avoidable and create more economic, intelligent, and flexible flight plans.

Through enhanced route optimization, Condor is further ensuring the safety and wellbeing of its passengers, pilots, and crews, as well as addressing demands to lessen environmental impact, by reducing unnecessary fuel consumption and limiting turnaround times, achieving significant fuel- and cost-savings.

eWAS Dispatch, which has been developed in collaboration with dispatchers themselves, will improve workflow by providing the same, real-time, graphically optimized view and information as pilots, enhancing processes and collaboration across dispatch and cockpit teams.

Christian Schmitt, Managing Director Operations of Condor, says: “At Condor, our focus has always been delivering on the promise of quality to our passengers and ensuring the highest safety standards for customers, crews and pilots. As an existing SITA customer, its aircraft communications technology has enabled us to collaborate more efficiently. Taking this next step in our partnership enables us to further enhance our operations and increase fuel economy, reflecting our strong emphasis on ecological responsibility.”

Stephan Egli, Commercial VP Europe, Middle East & Africa, SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, comments: “The expectation for real-time data flow is growing rapidly, with a host of changing mandates and regulations to ensure that flying is safer and more sustainable than ever. Alongside this, we want to enable our airline customers to provide real passenger satisfaction and optimize costs wherever possible. We’re pleased to continue our work with Condor to transform its optimization plans into reality and help them achieve this.”

The announcement comes just months after SITA’s acquisition of GTD Air Services – its collaborative partner in the development of the eWAS portfolio – which seeks to help airlines embrace a digital shift, making flying safer, more efficient, enjoyable and sustainable. The move is set to accelerate SITA’s existing Digital Day of Operations application portfolio, reinventing the operation of aircraft, flights, and the passenger experience.

Florent Birling, Head of eWAS Portfolio, SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, adds: “We’re excited to enable Condor to stay ahead in the post-COVID-19 environment by deploying new solutions for their pilots and dispatchers. We are further developing our flight efficiency and green operation solutions to allow airlines to reduce their cost and CO2 footprint.”


Flight Aware

FlightAware will provide Metron Aviation with access to the world’s largest flight tracking network and data fusion platform, including data from FlightAware’s terrestrial Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receivers in more than 195 countries delivering extensive flight data and surveillance position updates that will provide a valuable resource for Metron Aviation’s portfolio of Air Traffic Management (ATM) services and tools. The broad coverage of the world’s air traffic that FlightAware offers provides real value to Metron Aviation’s abilities to provide highly accurate demand predictions, for a more comprehensive operational picture, hours ahead of time.

As the first initiative of this relationship, Metron Aviation in partnership with CANSO will supply global ANSPs with their Horizon product with integrated FlightAware surveillance data as a complementary Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. Horizon will provide real-time demand prediction capabilities for airports and airspace to help mitigate the uncertainty regarding the restart of air traffic operations as the industry begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
FlightAware is a digital aviation company and operates the world’s largest flight tracking and data platform. With global connectivity to every segment of aviation, FlightAware provides over 10,000 aircraft operators and service providers as well as over 13,000,000 passengers with global flight tracking solutions, predictive technology, analytics, and decision-making tools.


Airbus

Airbus delivered 36 commercial aircraft in June 2020, representing a slight increase compared to 24 in May and 14 in April and bringing the total for the first half of the year to 196 deliveries.

In H1 2020, Airbus booked a total of 298 net commercial aircraft orders. This compares to 389 aircraft in H1 2019. The decrease reflects the COVID-19 crisis. By aircraft type, a total of 11 A220s, 157 A320 Family, 5 A330s and 23 A350s were delivered in the first half of 2020.


Other News

IdeaNova Technologies Updated Ad Player Feature

IdeaNova Technologies has updated their Inplay Player 6 product with advertising capabilities. The newest ad playback feature allows monetization of video content through dynamic pre-roll and midroll ad insertion.

This new feature offers seamless navigation with markers indicating where the ad will be placed within the player, as well as the option to skip ads after the mandatory viewing time has expired. The ad skip functionality (See today’s IFExpress Image) is configurable per ad, giving inflight entertainment providers the ability to control this functionality based on their business requirements.

IdeaNova CTO Janne Pelkonen said, “We believe that customers at every level can benefit from this new technology,” Pelkonen continued with “All supported Inplay platforms can benefit from this new, standard – VAST compliant option to monetize on any video streaming solution. Our enhanced Ad platform is very flexible allowing a wide variety of ad content presentation, content management and reporting.”

The largest benefit of this offering is that it allows the entire platform, and therefore airline carrier, to generate additional revenue from streaming Hollywood and other video content across passenger owned devices. The use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) within aircrafts relieves airlines of the additional work of keeping seatback displays properly functioning. Also, with new safety guidelines and the hope to limit shared surfaces, use of PEDs keeps the cabin safer, adding to a more enjoyable passenger experience. This new ad serving technology is also available on seatback displays, giving airlines uniform platform for managing and displaying advertising content.

IdeaNova and IMD teams have been working in cooperation to integrate AirSAS advertising server. AirSAS.aero is a secured SaaS adserving solution that enables every stage of a digital advertising campaign without consuming any bandwidth during the flight.

The campaign management rules are set on AirSAS platform before to be sent inside the aircraft, they include audience targeting and specific routes choice. No campaign is being broadcasted without the approval of the airline carrier. The follow-up of the ad campaign with detailed reporting is available as soon as the flight is over when the aircraft is landing.

IMD CEO Jean-Marc Chevassus believes, “The sourcing of advertisers is being optimized through the connection between AirSAS AdServer and the first inflight advertising private marketplace: AirPMP”. AirPMP.aero is already aggregating the audience of 32 airlines offering an incredible volume exceeding 100 million inflight displays and video ad inventory/month and accessible by any media buyer at any time.

Every renown AdServer can connect to AirPMP, provided it meets minimum requirements especially regarding IVT (InValid Traffic). The marketplace enables an advertiser access to the audience details of any fleet across the world and immediately submits the media plan to both airline carriers and advertisers for seamless inflight digital advertising campaigns. Check out IdeaNova’s website for more information.


IFPL

IFPL have developed an advanced USB outlet that enables airlines to raise ancillary revenues and increase NPS (Net Promotional Score).

A standard USB sized Type A outlet gives you the ability to charge passengers for use of aircraft power. This is all managed using the existing online app. Alternatively, revenue can be generated through the selling of advertising space. The advert is triggered onto the passengers PED (Personal Electronic Device) when the cable is inserted into the unit.

With a drop in operations and revenue as a result of the Coronavirus, this maybe an ideal opportunity for airlines to review the installation of USB in seat power, combined with creating a brand new revenue stream. Contact IFPL for more information at innovate@ifpl.com


Gogo Now Providing Inflight Connectivity Beginning At 3,000 Feet

Gogo will lower the altitude at which passengers can begin using its connectivity services from 10,000 feet above ground level (AGL) to 3,000 feet AGL for a significant portion of its air-to-ground (ATG) fleet beginning July 20, 2020.

By enabling connectivity to begin at 3,000 feet, passengers will receive up to an additional 15-20 minutes of connectivity on many flights. The service will be available on business aviation aircraft equipped with AVANCE L5 or L3 systems, and on commercial aviation regional jets equipped with Gogo ATG-4 and ACPU2 technology.

The lower service altitude will enable aircraft that fly shorter flights and spend little to no time above 10,000 feet the opportunity to take advantage of in-flight connectivity for the majority of their flights. Approximately 25% of flights by Gogo equipped regional jets have durations under 60 minutes.

“The additional connectivity time is a significant enhancement and will deliver even more value to customers,” said Sergio Aguirre, president of Gogo Business Aviation. “It makes connectivity available to those who believed inflight Wi-Fi wasn’t an option because they fly shorter routes.”

Gogo will begin a phased process to enable service at 3,000 feet through ground-system configuration and remote software updates – all without requiring any onboard manual intervention. And Gogo will offer the additional service time with no additional fees.

Approximately 1,300 AVANCE systems flying in business aviation will benefit from this change, as will roughly 650, or 40%, of the commercial airline regional jets equipped with Gogo connectivity.

“By lowering the altitude where passengers can be connected, we’re improving the service to our airline customers and their passengers,” said John Wade, president of Gogo Commercial Aviation. “Passengers who fly shorter routes will now be able to be connected, allowing them to make the most of their time during those flights.”

Gogo has conducted hundreds of test flights of this product enhancement on approximately 50 aircraft during the past four months and has found that service at 3,000 feet will be available at most locations throughout the contiguous United States.

“In our flight testing, we found that the AVANCE L5 consistently performed well at altitudes below 10,000 feet and provided a quality connectivity experience for our passengers,” said Tim Eames, chief pilot for Odin 123, LLC, that participated in several test flights for Gogo. “The additional time to conduct business or make arrangements was valuable and appreciated by our passengers.”

The customer experience will be similar across both the AVANCE L5 and L3 systems and on the qualifying ATG-4/ACPU2-equipped commercial fleet. Testing shows service may not be available everywhere and system performance may vary from airport to airport, Gogo’s service guarantees apply once an aircraft reaches 10,000 feet above ground level (AGL).

Until now, Gogo enabled access to its connectivity services beginning at 10,000 feet AGL. Through software and configuration changes, as well as some modifications to the network, Gogo determined it was possible to provide service at a lower altitude using its licensed spectrum in the 850 MHz range.


Thales

Yannick Assouad joins Thales. She will serve as Executive Vice President, Avionics, starting October 1, 2020.

She will take over from Gil Michielin, who will be retiring
Yannick Assouad will be a member of the Executive Committee of Thales, reporting to Patrice Caine, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer. She joined Thomson-CSF’s Radars & Countermeasures business as an engineer in 1986, and later served as head of the thermal analysis department, then head of its thermal and mechanical engineering department.
From 1998, she was Technical Director and then Chief Executive Officer of SECAN (Société d’Études et de Constructions Aéronavales), the French subsidiary of Honeywell specializing in air conditioning systems for aircraft. She was appointed Chairman of SECAN in 2000 and oversaw the aerospace company’s recovery after the 2001 crisis. In 2003, she joined Zodiac, initially as head of the services business of its Intertechnique subsidiary. Appointed to Zodiac Aerospace’s Executive Committee in 2007, she created the group-wide Services business segment. In 2010, Yannick Assouad became responsible of Aircraft Systems segment, which was facing difficulties, and turned around the business through a policy of offensive innovation, centralized purchasing and lean manufacturing. During this time, she also oversaw several acquisitions, including the in-flight entertainment business IMS in California. In 2015, she became Head of Zodiac Cabin and was appointed to the Executive Board of Zodiac.


Emirates

The airline has removed economy class seats on 10 777-300ERs to carry up to 17 tonnes or 132 cu meters of additional cargo per flight. This includes the 50 tonne cargo capacity in belly. We understand this modification required 640 man-hours of work on each aircraft modified.


Boeing

  • Norwegian Air canceled orders for 97 Boeing jets, the largest cancellation since the MAX issues began. We note the airline is also suing Boeing for previous payments made for the 92 737 Max aircraft and five 787 Dreamliners. Norwegian has canceled the orders because of financial troubles.
  • Boeing employed over 160,000 people at the end of 2019, though COVID-19 prompted the company to announce a 10% workforce reduction. It had cut 12,000 jobs as of the end of May. Airbus announced workforce reductions of up to 15,000 (out of a total of ~134,000), also in response to reduced travel demand.
  • Due to its high share price and the small number of companies included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, changes in Boeing stock have an outsized impact.
  • Boeing’s Everett Washington factory is the largest building in the world by volume, and it claims to be the largest private employer in Washington State.
  • Boeing and the FAA have completed a 3 day test of certification requirements for the Boeing 737 MAX in a starting effort to return the plane to service after 15 months of grounding. After the data is reviewed, a certification is expected as well as approve a pilot training program and other details before the jet can go back to work! Noted the FAA, “The agency is following a deliberate process and will take the time it needs to thoroughly review Boeing’s work, and we will lift the grounding order only after FAA safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards.”
  • Boeing completed its 12th COVID-19 transport mission, using a Boeing Dreamlifter to bring personal protective equipment (PPE) to the United States. Working in partnership with the state of Utah, Atlas Air Worldwide, H.M. Cole, Cotopaxi, Flexport and UPS, the company transported 500,000 protective face masks bound for students and teachers across Utah returning to classrooms this fall. The state of Utah will distribute the face masks free of charge to school districts across the state with the greatest need. H.M. Cole, a custom clothing store, donated 250,000 masks – with 100,000 of those masks sized for children. Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear brand based in Salt Lake City, donated an additional 250,000 masks and converted one of its jacket manufacturers for temporary face mask production. Boeing donated the cost of the mission transport into Utah, with Atlas Air operating the flight on behalf of Boeing. Flexport and UPS helped coordinate customs assistance for the PPE shipment. “As students return to school this fall, it will be important that they have masks available,” said Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “We thank Boeing and these partners for everything they’ve done to support our ‘A Mask for Every Utahn’ initiative and make it possible for our students to have these masks and help keep Utahns safe.” “As a Benefit Corporation, we’re believers that businesses have a duty to utilize their influence and resources to positively impact the world,” said Davis Smith, Cotopaxi Founder & CEO. “We are proud to partner with the state of Utah and Boeing to help our hometown community as we fight this pandemic. Face masks are one of the key tools the public has to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and we’re thrilled that our efforts can help teachers and students safely get back in the classroom. “Similar to previous airlift missions facilitated by Boeing, the Dreamlifter – a converted Boeing 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter – flew the mission with the face masks stored in the lower lobe of the airplane. Following the delivery in Salt Lake City, the Dreamlifter will return to its home base in North Charleston, South Carolina, for a 787 components delivery in support of the global aerospace supply chain. “Boeing is proud to continue to use our resources to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said David Calhoun, Boeing President and CEO. “Today’s delivery, our 12th COVID-19 response airlift mission, expands our support of essential workers to include teachers and their students across the state of Utah so they have the protective tools they need to safely and confidently return to their classrooms.” To date, Boeing has helped transport more than four million units of PPE – including the in-house production of more than 39,000 3D-printed face shields – to frontline health care professionals and communities in need.

Other News

Today’s image is ANA’s A380 with the Orange Honu Livery. It made us smile and thought our readers would enjoy seeing it as well.

PXCOM

PXCom luanches Sanitized Travel-dedicated apps for IFEC platforms. It is a proven fact that keeping the middle seat empty is nonsense both economically speaking and from an overall hygiene standpoint. It has been widely debated over the past few weeks.

However, inflight social distancing can be organized. Once again, PXCom brings to the market evidence that inflight servers can be used far beyond plain entertainment, by launching the In-Cabin Mobility Management (IC2M by PXCom) software suite dedicated to dramatically improve the inflight social distancing.

Such suite is formed of 4 modules that the airline can choose either separately or in a bundle:

  • Toilets Queuing Management to avoid passengers gathered around the restrooms,
  • Overhead bin access regulation to ensure minimum distance as a passenger wants to access to its personal belongings
  • Disembarkation Process, to organize a guaranteed social distance as the passenger leave the aircraft.
  • Muti-chat: Passenger chat to avoid passengers from different rows physically connecting to discuss and also, passenger to cabin crew chat to minimize surface contact.

“Our customers are really excited about these capabilities, as we anticipate a 60% drop down of unmanaged in-cabin movement” states Cyril JEAN, PXCom CEO, “Of course all these digital services are fully customizable in order to integrate each of our customer’s management rules in consistency to its product experience.”

Empty the seat back pocket

Earlier in 2018, Marketplace analyzed over 100 samples on 18 flights, finding mold, staph and potentially harmful pathogens. It is not about proven or non-proven contagion threat; it is all about the trust factor and passenger’s concern for their health and safety.

To respond to this passenger expectation, PXCom has also launched the digitized safety & hygiene card.

Upon his first connection, the passenger is displayed a swipeable safety and hygiene card, in his desired language, which content is directly bound to the aircraft he is seating in. Thanks to PXCom technology, the content of this interactive card is managed from the cloud-based back office and can be updated as often as the hygiene measures evolve, through the media content update process.

At the end of the swipe, the passenger can either acknowledge and be redirected to the homepage of the IFE GUI or jump into the destination airport’s specific hygiene measures.

This innovative offering complements solutions from PXCom that are already flying for inflight mag digitization, interactive meals menu cards and onboard shopping catalog, that are also ancillary revenues generators.

Of course, air regulations still require the safety card to be physically present onboard the aircraft, but thanks to PXCom solution, cabin crew can be informed in real time about which passenger has not been through the card, offering such passenger to be provided with printed copies.

Trust is the new currency

Among the airline community, everybody has been largely informed that flying is still highly secure when it comes to contamination risks whenever passengers and cabin crew wear masks. But beyond the airline professionals, casual passengers are widely frightened by the idea of being contaminated during their flight.

As a result, PXCom Post-Covid solutions not only bring new capabilities for inflight hygiene, but they are also highly valuable assets that help airlines in regaining passenger confidence.

Easy to roll out on the w-IFE/IFC platforms, as any PXCom solutions, these new digital services are compliant with any seatback screens platform.

Definitely, an important differentiating marker in an ever-tougher period.


GOGO

Gogo Business Aviation hit 3,000 daily flights late last week, showing strong signs of recovery from the COVID-19 related single-day low-point of 378 daily flights in mid-April.

“I’m encouraged because we’re seeing several positive trends taking shape in the market,” said Sergio Aguirre, president of Gogo Business Aviation. “We’ve strived to be a good partner with our customers to get through a very difficult time together, and we’re now in the midst of a measurable recovery as flight activity increases.”

Business aviation hit a low point in mid-April when many aircraft owners chose to park their aircraft and 30 percent of Gogo Business Aviation’s accounts chose to reduce their spending through either account suspensions or service-plan downgrades.

Since that time, however, nearly 60 percent of Gogo’s suspended customers have reactivated their service, with approximately 80 percent reverting to their original service plan.

The number of flights flown with active Gogo service onboard has continued to increase, reaching 3,039 flights last Thursday, close to Gogo’s pre-COVID average of 3,500 flights per day. Gogo is actively working with customers to reactivate service quickly as flying activity increases, and installations of new AVANCE L5 and L3 are on the rise.

“I’ve been amazed with the level of productivity and engagement our employees have delivered to help our customers, and the company, get through this unique and challenging time,” Aguirre added. “And from an innovation standpoint, we have several positive developments that will be released in the coming weeks that will make your Gogo inflight experience even better.”


SITA

The global air transport industry is grappling with one of the single biggest challenges it has ever faced: how to recover from a historic decline in air travel, caused by COVID-19. While travel restrictions are starting to ease, and the ATI is beginning to remobilize, no-one knows exactly what the next few months will bring. What is clear, however, is that the industry will need to be able to adapt to a new – and changeable – operating environment; one that requires operators to keep passengers feeling safe and reassured, keep flights to time, and meet sustainability targets – all on a tightened budget.

Digitalization is vital here. Airlines and other businesses are going to need the flexibility, adaptability and automation offered by digital transformation to ride out the pandemic’s fall-out, adjust their business models and succeed into the future. To help them do it, they’ll need the right mix of solutions and expertise on their side – digitalizing to adapt to the needs of the future.

Many airlines are facing restart with a scaled back and more scattered workforce. They are also weighing up a lot of big unknowns: which routes should be reopened and when, depending on country restrictions? How many passengers will return, and how quickly? Which aircraft should fly or be grounded? And what size flight and cabin crew will they need to serve them?

Airlines are facing all these questions, while knowing the rules could change from one day to the next. Digitalizing technologies and innovations enable enhanced air/ground connectivity, communications and operational efficacy, and pool the latest real-time information, to support informed and timely decision-making. These prime resources help airlines flex and adapt to changing needs. While ideally being fast and simple to deploy, and intuitive to use, digital tools can also streamline routine tasks through automation to minimize workload.

Such solutions are very much the remit of SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, SITA’s connected aircraft domain of expertise.
Digitalizing to work smarter and leaner is the key. SITA has developed a suite of connected applications and services, and technological capabilities that help airlines work in this more flexible, adaptive, automated and collaborative way. They help bring enhanced operational- and cost-effectiveness, while giving greater visibility over the ‘live’ nose-to-tail operation – whether that’s around situational weather events or restrictions, identifying the least cost-routing channels available for ACARS messaging, the status of passenger, cargo and aircraft health, or fueling requirements.

With the SITA crew applications, airlines can ensure passenger safety and satisfaction onboard, while alleviating paper-based processes to make flights more sustainable.
Their cabin connectivity solutions, meanwhile, give passengers the low-touch autonomy they desire, enabling them to use their own devices to surf, stream, and pay and verify, contact-free.

And, for all of SITA’s solutions and services, they strive to work closely with customers to develop flexible business models that can readily adapt to reflect needs as they change.
“We’re here to help you through.”

SITA FOR AIRCRAFT is proud to play a part in advancing the flexible, agile solutions that can support their customers through this challenging time. They are 100% dedicated to the industry and its success and are here to help it navigate the right path to recovery.

Find out more by exploring their website.


AIRBUS

Following an extensive two-year flight test program, Airbus  successfully concluded its Autonomous Taxi, Take-Off and Landing (ATTOL) project.In completing this project, Airbus has achieved autonomous taxiing, take-off and landing of a commercial aircraft through fully automatic vision-based flight tests using on-board image recognition technology – a world-first in aviation. In total, over 500 test flights were conducted. Approximately 450 of those flights were dedicated to gathering raw video data, to support and fine tune algorithms, while a series of six test flights, each one including five take-offs and landings per run, were used to test autonomous flight capabilities.

The ATTOL project was initiated by Airbus to explore how autonomous technologies, including the use of machine learning algorithms and automated tools for data labeling, processing and model generation, could help pilots focus less on aircraft operations and more on strategic decision-making and mission management. Airbus is now able to analyze the potential of these technologies for enhancing future aircraft operations, all the while improving aircraft safety, ensuring today’s unprecedented levels are maintained.

Airbus will continue research into the application of autonomous technologies alongside other innovations in areas such as materials, alternative propulsion systems and connectivity. By leveraging these opportunities, Airbus is opening up possibilities for creating new business models that will transform how aircraft are developed, manufactured, flown, powered and serviced.

The rapid development and demonstration of ATTOL’s capabilities was made possible due to a cross-divisional, cross-functional, global team comprising of Airbus engineering and technology teams, Airbus Defence and Space, Acubed (Project Wayfinder), Airbus China and ONERA under the leadership of Airbus UpNext.

Also From Airbus:

Airbus plans to further adapt to COVID-19 environment. Airbus announced plans to adapt its global workforce and resize its commercial aircraft activity in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This adaptation is expected to result in a reduction of around 15,000 positions no later than summer 2021. The information and consultation process with social partners has begun with a view to reaching agreements for implementation starting in autumn 2020.

The commercial aircraft business activity has dropped by close to 40% in recent months as the industry faces an unprecedented crisis. Commercial aircraft production rates have been adapted accordingly. Airbus is grateful for the government support that has enabled the Company to limit these necessary adaptation measures. However with air traffic not expected to recover to pre-COVID levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional measures to reflect the post COVID-19 industry outlook.

Following the in-depth analysis of customer demand that has taken place over recent months, Airbus anticipates the need to adapt its global workforce due to COVID-19 by approximately:

● 5,000 positions in France
● 5,100 positions in Germany
● 900 positions in Spain
● 1,700 positions in the UK
● 1,300 positions at Airbus’ other worldwide sites

These figures include the Airbus subsidiaries Stelia in France and Premium AEROTEC in Germany. However, they do not include approximately 900 positions stemming from a pre-COVID-19 identified need to restructure Premium AEROTEC in Germany, which will now be implemented within the frame of this global adaptation plan. The details of this COVID-19 adaptation plan need to be finalized with social partners.
While compulsory actions cannot be ruled out at this stage, Airbus will work with its social partners to limit the impact of this plan by relying on all available social measures, including voluntary departures, early retirement, and long term partial unemployment schemes where appropriate.

“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. “The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic. Now, we must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers. To confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures. Our management team and our Board of Directors are fully committed to limiting the social impact of this adaptation. We thank our governmental partners as they help us preserve our expertise and know-how as much as possible and have played an important role in limiting the social impact of this crisis in our industry. The Airbus teams and their skills and competences will enable us to pursue our ambition to pioneer a sustainable future for aerospace.”


OTHER NEWS

On Monday June 22, 2020 via a webinar (the foreseeable trend of the future), Burrana unveiled RISE, its latest, flexible and modular IFE platform, which they had planned to debut during AIX Germany this past April.

The presentation was primarily run by David Pook – Vice President of Marketing and Sales Support, who joined Burrana in September 2019 after spending the past 15 years at the Thales InFlyt Experience. “RISE was created to solve airlines’ most challenging issues regarding in-flight entertainment, while providing passengers with an experience unlike any other”, said Pook.

The RISE platform consists of hardware, software, apps, and services which can be scaled up or down depending on aircraft type and business need.

Enabled by shared hardware and a common 48VDC power backbone, the RISE platform can be configured to include seatback, wireless, or overhead entertainment, as well as in-seat power – or any desired combination of these. Modularity, flexibility and scalability are the key to this offering and all of these services can be ‘mixed & matched’ to each airline’s preference depending on route and aircraft type within their fleet.

Approximately 18 months ago, Burrana completed their acquisition of Rockwell Collins IFE division, which had a large installation base of PAVES. With RISE, existing PAVES Broadcast customers can upgrade their systems to provide passengers with a RISE entertainment experience for roughly 50% less than a new system. And given that there are roughly 1,300 older PAVES systems currently flying today this is clearly a good target market for RISE.

All the displays within the RISE platform are 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) resolution and feature High Dynamic Range (HDR), large amounts of local storage, and robust processing power, packaged in a very thin and modern design. Each seatback display also supports integrated single-pin audio, Bluetooth, Near Field Communication (NFC), and the airline’s choice between USB-C or the industry’s highest power USB-A offering.

RISE leverages crowd-sourced data and intelligent algorithms to deliver a dynamic entertainment experience that adapts to the passenger as they use it. RISE offers Targeted advertisements that allow the airline to maximize ad revenue using an intelligent, media-independent advertising ecosystem. The ad tool allows for easy campaign creation where the airlines can create and manage their campaigns based on budget, impressions or expiration date using a simple web-based portal. Ads can be loaded, stored and served independently to entertainment media, breaking the 45-90-day media cycle. RISE also has a powerful and dynamic recommendation engine, and comprehensive accessibility settings will provide passengers an intuitive IFE experience that is uniquely theirs.

Airlines’ IFE management teams will also benefit. “We’ve been really clever about how we’ve architected our software, apps and services”, says Pook. “RISE has completely eliminated the need for time-consuming and expensive change requests, ATPs, and FSATs. Airlines will be able to add or remove apps from aircraft via a simple, web-based tool and make changes to their GUI by themselves, without the need for formal acceptance testing”, says Pook.

RISE also features numerous ultra-high-speed content loading options, including USB 3.0, removable SSD, Gigabit Ethernet, cell modem, and wireless. New content is added via an intelligent ‘delta’ load, so titles are immediately available. Also, content is loaded in the background and can be done on the ground or inflight, assisting aircraft to depart on time.

Additionally, RISE also offers easier maintenance and is roughly 30% lighter than competitive solutions. Burrana states their seatback IFE solution offers $16-45K in fuel savings per aircraft per year. They support this statement by offering: 1) Intelligent power sharing that uses a proprietary load shed management that enables them to deliver power to the entire aircraft with fewer, lighter LRUs, 2) Ultra-thin, lightweight seatback displays that are 10mm thin, 3) 4K overhead displays that are lighter, with higher resolution that translates to the need for fewer installed displays within the cabin, resulting in weight reduction and 4) A single capable server that supports seatback, wireless and overhead, all from a single 4MCU box.

Due to the pandemic, Burrana has adjusted their time-to-market and taken a scaled approach to the launch of the various RISE offerings. RISE Power will be available for retrofit on single and twin aisle aircraft starting in Q1 2021 and available for linefit installations in 2022. The RISE 4K Overhead product will be available for retrofit in 2021 and linefit on Airbus in 2022. RISE Wireless retrofit installations will commence in 2021 with linefit in 2022. And the RISE Seatback product will be available for retrofit installations in 2022 with 2023 the target for linefit.


Bluebox & Retail inMotion

Yesterday, Retail inMotion, a provider of retail, logistics, and crew management solutions, announced its latest partnership in support of In-flight Entertainment Systems (IFE) integration. Retail inMotion is partnering with Bluebox Aviation Systems to offer an enhanced touch-free retail proposition for airlines worldwide.

Through this partnership, airlines will benefit from a deeply integrated, end-to-end solution in establishing new and innovative sales channels in the post-COVID-19 world.

“Airlines today face an increasingly challenging and evolving environment in meeting the levels of service passengers have come to expect over the last number of years,” said John Vaughan, Head of Product Management at Retail inMotion. “By combining the expertise of Retail inMotion and Bluebox, we can help airlines address these challenges both now and in the future while increasing ancillary revenues.”

“Airlines wish to get back to delivering in-flight experiences that delight passengers without compromising the safety protocols that are being implemented to protect both passengers and cabin crew,” states David Brown, Director of Business Development at Bluebox. “In partnership with Retail inMotion we’re offering a touch-less shopping experience for food, beverages and other goods on our battery or aircraft-powered wireless IFE platform, Bluebox Wow. Virtualizing the trolley and facilitating touch-less payments, we’re enabling passengers and crew to maintain as much social distance as possible, while keeping open an important revenue stream for the airline.”

Bluebox Wow already supports the hygienic provision of seatback information such as in-flight magazines and safety cards. However, the current environment expedited the need to deliver a touch-less payment option that integrated smoothly with the inventory management systems on board,” added Brown. “Working with Retail inMotion, we’re now able to bring that virtual trolley experience to market.”


COLLINS

Collins Aerospace Systems has developed and implemented a multi-tiered solution that converts passenger aircraft into a cargo configuration, allowing airlines fleet flexibility to transport critical medical materials, goods and other freight in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The quick-turn conversion, available for any passenger aircraft model, can be completed in as few as seven days and involves removing seats to allow a substantially higher volume of cargo carriage on the main deck floor. The aircraft can easily be converted back to a passenger configuration when the airline desires.

Through its Integration Engineering facility in Everett, Washington, Collins Aerospace has an extensive history in aircraft modifications and is able to offer Engineering Order (EO) solutions for rapid conversion as well as Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for cabin modifications to carry greater weight and various cargo types for longer-term flexibility. Cabin reconfiguration solutions may be implemented with the FAA or EASA approvals.

“The current situation has increased the need for airlines to deliver critical medical goods to locations around the globe,” said Trevor Skelly, general manager, Integration Engineering for Collins Aerospace. “Collins Aerospace is committed to using our cabin conversion expertise to assist our customers and ensure the important work of aiding the world in the fight against this pandemic continues.”


OTHER NEWS

There may be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as there are signs that the aviation industry has seen the bottom of the crisis and started the slow recovery. Readers will see a report from IATA reflecting this uptick. We also note in Other News an article from the New York Times that talks about when epidemiologists will be willing to undertake 18 everyday activities, including flying. – definitely worth the read!


IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that demand for air services is beginning to recover after hitting bottom in April. Passenger demand in April (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs), plunged 94.3% compared to April 2019, as the COVID-19-related travel restrictions virtually shut down domestic and international air travel. This is a rate of decline never seen in the history of IATA’s traffic series, which dates back to 1990. More recently, figures show that daily flight totals rose 30% between the low point on 21 April and 27 May. This is primarily in domestic operations and off of a very low base (5.7% of 2019 demand). While this uptick is not significant to the global dimension of the air transport industry, it does suggest that the industry has seen the bottom of the crisis, provided there is no recurrence. In addition, it is the very first signal of aviation beginning the likely long process of re-establishing connectivity.

“April was a disaster for aviation as air travel almost entirely stopped. But April may also represent the nadir of the crisis. Flight numbers are increasing. Countries are beginning to lift mobility restrictions. And business confidence is showing improvement in key markets such as China, Germany, and the US. These are positive signs as we start to rebuild the industry from a stand-still. The initial green shoots will take time—possibly years—to mature,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

IATA calculated that by the first week of April, governments in 75% of the markets tracked by IATA completely banned entry, while an additional 19% had limited travel restrictions or compulsory quarantine requirements for international arrivals. The initial flight increases have been concentrated in domestic markets. Data from late May show that flight levels in Republic of Korea, China and Vietnam have risen to a point now just 22-28% lower than a year earlier . Searches for air travel on Google also were up 25% by the end of May compared to the April low, although that’s a rise from a very low base and still 60% lower than at the start of the year.
“For aviation, April was our cruelest month. Governments had to take drastic action to slow the pandemic. But that has come with the economic cost of a traumatic global recession. Airlines will be key to the economic recovery. It is vital that the aviation industry is ready with bio-safety measures that passengers and air transport workers have confidence in. That’s why the speedy implementation of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) global guidelines for safely re-starting aviation is the top priority,” said de Juniac.


SITA

SITA has made several changes to its executive management team responsible for SITA’s product portfolios. These appointments come at crucial juncture as the air transport industry begins the difficult task of restarting operations after a lengthy shutdown due to the COVID-19 crisis.

David Lavorel, previously CEO of SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, has been appointed to head SITA AT AIRPORTS AND BORDERS, SITA’s airport and border solution portfolio. A key focus in 2020 will be to support SITA’s airline and airport customers to implement smart solutions to accommodate new passenger processes required to ensure the health and safety of travelers and employees. SITA is well placed to support the re-engineering of the passenger journey and to manage rapidly changing requirements at the border with the delivery of new solutions such as SITA’s cloud-based, open API platform, SITA Flex.

David will replace Matthys Serfontein, who will be retiring from SITA after 13 years. Sébastien Fabre, previously VP Airline & Airports Portfolio, will replace David to head SITA FOR AIRCRAFT. As airlines globally begin to resume flights, they will increasingly turn to SITA FOR AIRCRAFT to deliver new operational efficiencies such as faster turnarounds while extracting the full benefit of modern connected aircraft.

Barbara Dalibard, CEO, SITA, said: “Ensuring strong leadership of our key business areas is especially important as we look to support the industry as it begins to return to the skies. After more than a decade proving themselves highly capable of driving innovation while ensuring continued customer satisfaction, Sébastien and David are perfectly placed to steer the business through the new challenges and deliver solutions that help support the industry’s recovery.”
The new appointments came into effect from June 1, 2020.


Airbus

Airbus’ 2020 gross orders by May 31st totaled 365 aircraft and net orders stood at 299 aircraft. The Company registered zero cancellations in May and no new orders. During the month, 24 deliveries were achieved from the A220, A320 and A350 XWB aircraft families. Business in May brings the overall total orders logged by Airbus since its creation to 20,407 commercial aircraft, which includes 642 A220s, 15,572 A320 Family aircraft, 1,819 A330s, 930 A350 XWBs, and 251 A380s. In May, Airbus delivered two A220-300 to Air Canada and 18 A320 Family aircraft including the first A320neo to Wizz Air. For Airbus widebody aircraft, four A350 XWBs were provided in both A350-900 and A350-1000 configurations. Airbus’ backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of 31st May stood at 7,621, comprising 527 A220s, 6,199 A320 Family aircraft (including 6,139 A320neo Family), 322 A330s (including 287 A330neo family), 564 A350 XWBs and nine A380s.

More News from the company: Airbus named Anand Stanley as President Airbus Asia-Pacific, effective 1 July 2020. Based in Singapore, Anand Stanley will lead the strategy and future positioning of Airbus and its divisions across the region. In this role he will have responsibility for commercial aircraft sales and customer affairs, group-wide government affairs, industrial and joint venture partnerships, as well as the local operations at Airbus sites across the region. Anand Stanley reports to Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International, and will work closely with the Heads of Region for the Airbus Helicopters and Defence and Space divisions who are co-located at the company’s Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore.

Anand Stanley joined Airbus in 2018 as President & Managing Director of Airbus India, where he has overseen the Airbus business development and advanced the company’s position with key stakeholders, including customers, government agencies and industry partners. Prior to joining Airbus, Anand Stanley held senior positions in the civil aerospace, defence and helicopter markets, as well as in strategic management and M&A planning, having worked with the Linde Group, UTC, Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky. Over his career he has worked extensively internationally, with more than two decades of involvement in Asia and the Pacific region.

“Anand has brought a wealth of experience to Airbus and managed the company’s operations in India with very positive results,” said Christian Scherer. “His proven track record makes him the right choice to lead Airbus in the key Asia-Pacific market. We know that we can count on Anand to focus on supporting our customers in these most challenging times, while developing further our position as the leading partner for the aerospace sector in the region.”

Anand Stanley has an MBA from the University of Virginia-Darden in the US, a Bachelors of Engineering from Andhra University, as well as a postgraduate degree from IMI-Delhi.Anand Stanley succeeds Patrick de Castelbajac, who is leaving Airbus.

“On behalf of all of us at Airbus, I would like to thank my friend Patrick for his contribution and strong engagement during his years with Airbus and wish him all the very best in his personal and professional future,” added Christian Scherer.


Boeing

The Boeing Order Book at the end of April placed some 4,633 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on order, with some 387 delivered to date.


Other News

FlightPath3D Update:

IFExpress recently had an opportunity to touch base via Zoom with Jon Norris, vice-president of Marketing, FlightPath3D and he gave us a glimpse of the latest developments we would have seen if AIX Germany had taken place. Building on their stellar moving map to enhance the inflight experience, as well as, increasing the potential for sponsorship revenue and analytics; the company has focused on three key areas of development: 4K, Flying Over Places, and a Data Dashboard.

Native 4K Moving Map:

When an existing airline customer was installing 4K inseat screens, FlightPath3D saw an opportunity to ‘jump ahead’ and began work on a higher resolution moving map. The result is their new native 4K version that provides a crisper and clearer product while offering the same views from the aircraft (satellite to street level, flight deck, & window) that their customers love – but with sharper detail.

Flying Over Places:

FlightPath3D also planned to introduce a new feature called, Flying Over Places. This new offering is available on both seatback and wireless IFE systems. It adds both educational and historical facts to the moving map. The information automatically plays as the flight progresses and via a window-in-window feature allows passengers to drill down and get more data on various POI en route through drop downs. It also tells the traveler what the aircraft’s distance is from the different destinations. Norris told IFExpress that the platform supports sponsorship/advertising. “There is potential for sponsored points of interest which could provide additional revenue to airlines while giving relevant promotions to passengers.”

Big Data Dashboard:

Why is Big Data so important? Big Data has tremendous potential to enhance the passenger experience and is one of the most important trends driving the evolution in today’s air travel. If leveraged properly it has the power to: 1) create a personalized inflight service by harnessing billions of social experiences 2) predict demand for specific flights by learning passenger desires 3) generate ticket sales and ancillary revenue.

The FlightPath3D software Data Dashboard has the capability to provide the airline with additional information about their passengers. While flying, the moving map software has the capacity to collect information on what the passenger is viewing and provide that data to the airline. Before this begins to sound too much like ‘Big Brother’, the data that FlightPath3D collects does not target a specific passenger but gives the airlines the trends of each flight. For example, on a flight between LAX and JFK the software reports to the airline that 20% of the passengers were looking at information on San Francisco, CA; 10% were looking at data on London, UK; and 1% were viewing information on Seville, Spain. The airline then has the potential to adjust their future scheduled flight routes accordingly, put a larger or smaller aircraft on a segment, etc. The Dashboard can also provide information on the number of viewings for sponsored content, may it be restaurants, specific sight-seeing tours, hotels, etc. All this helps build a picture for the airlines. Data captured from the passenger interactions from trip planning and route searches can provide: 1) insight to passenger desire and future travel intentions 2) rankings for specific route and destination categories 3) follow on e-commerce and booking opportunities.

Given these new product features and developments, it came as no surprise to us that the company had a very strong first quarter prior to the pandemic and IFExpress is looking forward to our next flight post-COVID-19 when we can experience first-hand some of these latest innovations from FlightPath3D!


SpaceX

After an aborted attempt on Wednesday May 27 due to inclement weather conditions, this past Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, the world watched history unfold as NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley were launched into space by NASA and SpaceX to journey to the International Space Station (ISS). Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon hurtled into space from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The successful launch returned the United States to human spaceflight for the first time in 9 years since NASA ended its Space Shuttle program. Over the past 9 years, the USA has used Russian rockets to send US astronauts up to the International Space Station (ISS).

This represents the culmination of the SpaceX Crew Dragon human spacecraft development program. It is also a milestone in a public-private partnership that has been developed over the past decade. The Commercial Crew Program was initiated by NASA in 2010 in an effort to smooth the path for the next generation of domestic spaceflight, as well as, retool their launch capabilities. NASA selected both SpaceX and Boeing as partners in these endeavors. And Elon Musk’s SpaceX Demo-2 launch this past Saturday was the first crewed launch attempt in the program – this is a big deal!

Of equal significance is that SpaceX has been transporting cargo to the International Space Station via uncrewed spacecraft since completing their successful uncrewed abort test in January. Whereas Boeing, the other NASA partner, experienced an ‘inflight anomaly’ during their Starliner test flight in December and a future launch date has yet to be established. Of course SpaceX has experienced development challenges as well, a Falcon rocket blew up while inflight, a Crew Dragon capsule was destroyed in a ground test explosion, etc. but they overcame these challenges beating Boeing to the punch. SpaceX and Musk have made progress and continued to proceed with their innovations by learning from their failures.

One of the unique features of SpaceX’s Falcon rocket booster is that it can be used repeatedly. Historically, when rocket boosters have returned to earth they crash land in to oceans and are a lost leader, so to speak. In contrast, Falcon rockets return to earth after first-separation and land on a recovery ship for future use. Saturday’s Falcon successfully landed on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

However, Musk’s innovation didn’t stop with the rocket and spacecraft. The astronauts’ space suits were partly designed by Musk and look nothing like the flight suits we have come to expect. These were far more futuristic and streamlined!

Saturday’s launch is the start of a test mission that will clear the way for regular Dragon flights later this year, with SpaceX engineers evaluating and analyzing every aspect of the spacecrafts performance. Behnken and Hurley will remain in orbit up to 120 days.

Until recently, Elon Musk has primarily been affiliated with PayPal and his development of Tesla. But he has certainly cemented his place in the minds of young and old alike with SpaceX and the Crew Dragon. He founded the California-based SpaceX, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies in 2002.

One thing is for certain, SpaceX is returning human spaceflight to the United States with their advanced system and in conjunction with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program it is a turning point for America’s future in space exploration, laying the groundwork for future missions to the ISS. And whether you take geopolitical or strategic reasons into consideration, it is good to have our own human launch capability.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to watch the launch live, check out this link

And perhaps one of the coolest and most amazing is the Falcon Rocket landing

(Editor’s Note: Space flight is not normally an area IFExpress would cover. However, the world is presently struggling with a global crisis that is battering peoples health and nations economies, so a successful new space endeavor is auspicious and uplifting. It represents a renewal of optimism and signals what we can achieve when we set our minds to it and work together. So from our perspective, SpaceX has given us a reason to be both amazed and inspired. We hope it makes you feel that way too.)


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