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.)


Other News

Around the globe many governments have started the slow and cautious steps toward opening their economies. In the aviation sector, we have seen a slight up tick in the number of individuals traveling and have heard and/or seen the various reports of some flights experiencing 90% capacity, causing angst in many of the travelers (and probably the flight crew as well). There are several links in today’s Noted Elsewhere section of IFExpress addressing this very issue. We also are seeing the airlines, their employees, and airports grapple with how to safely resume operations. This includes spooling up for more self-check-in kiosks, temperature tests by TSA, increased sanitizing and disinfecting efforts both in the airport and on the plane, social distancing at the gate and while boarding, as well as, the requirement for passengers to wear masks during boarding and on the flight. Add to the scenario the discussion of requiring immunity passes and at airport testing for COVID-19 and all of the sudden we are easily facing a 4 hour process from check-in to boarding the airplane – even for a short domestic flight. What is crystal clear is that for the foreseeable future the journey is going to be laden with pitfalls, filled with stress and be as far from our dream of the seamless travel experience as you can get.

The challenge we face is how to address these issues. The quicker we can build traveler confidence in the airport/travel process the faster our industry will rebound – that’s a no brainer. This will take not only familiarity with the new procedures and faith that they work, but from a personal perspective, they need to be somewhat standardized. Over the past nineteen years, nothing has irritated me more, and made traveling more stressful, than the different TSA requirements from country to country – and this is coming from a person who has traveled a lot! In other words, there needs to be collaboration and agreement on the various processes and requirements on a global scale in order to build back confidence.

The other items that will drive recovery in our industry are agility and innovation. The companies, whether they are airlines, IFEC suppliers, OEMS or airports; that are forward thinking and grasp this opportunity to not only embrace new technologies but implement them will be those that not only survive but maybe thrive. AI, block chain and big data have long been technology buzz words and topics at numerous industry conferences but now is the time to leverage those technologies in order to operate more efficiently and make every decision and dollar count.


Reader Opinion

Recently, several aviation aficionados had a back-and-forth dialog about the state of the industry, particularly the challenges Boeing is, and has been, facing. IFExpress was given permission to publish their opinions as long as the correspondents remained anonymous. The following is a portion of that communication.

Initial Comments:

“I worked at Boeing for over 20+ years, mostly during the 70’s and 80’s. At that time, the company was run by engineers and pro-technology folks. There was a dynamic shift in corporate philosophy when Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas.

Matt Stoller recently wrote: “Similarly, Boeing once made great planes, now it has great connections and big bailouts, an engineering powerhouse turned into a financial engineering powerhouse.” Further, in 2019 he wrote this article that really comes to point today.

Today, Boeing is run in Chicago & New York by ‘money managers’, the tech equity has vanished – and unless the tekkies take over, it just might be something else in the future!”

Response:

“I agree with your sentiment as well as Matt Stoller’s detailed coverage.

I think there is another perspective which typically is not found in aviation trade publications or general business journals like the WSJ.  And the subject and focus of that perspective is “character” and by that I mean good character, truth, integrity, and honesty driven from the top down to the shop floor.  Once the accountants and the money managers took power, the technical concerns were secondary.  Technical issues were dismissed and, if not dismissed entirely, there was a cost number put on the issue and they called it a “risk factor”.

Remember the Pinto?  After a couple of Pintos crashed in fiery and deadly accidents, the plaintiff’s lawyers, through discovery of Ford’s internal memos, found that the Pinto fuel tanks were subject to explosions upon impact.  Ford knew this.  The Ford design and test engineers raised their concerns internally.  The accountants, the lawyers, and the actuaries ran the calculations comparing the cost of fuel tank design fixes versus a payout in a lawsuit.  The design fix lost because it was calculated to be cheaper to pay the judgement or settlement.  I saw a photo of a young man who survived his Pinto rear-ender and his face looked like a mud slide of flesh.  Yes, he won a few million dollars from Ford but his face still looked like a mud slide of flesh.  I’ll never forget his photo.

The decisions that Boeing made on the MAX-8 design showed total dedication to the cost-benefit calculation rather than doing the design safely and properly and not one concern for 346 dead airline passengers.  Shame!

This attitude bleeds over to other design projects as well.  I know for a fact that the 787 was managed in the same way.  Thank God there have been no crashes (that I know of) but I know design economies were forced on engineers for the forward landing gear as well as (some) cabin systems.  How do I know?  Because I was in the meetings.

This is where the obsession with quarterly earnings growth leads to trouble and Boeing plays the game to meet or beat the earnings target each time and not care so much for the quality or safety of the product.  With respect to the Max-8 debacle, I hate to say it, but I see very little indication that Boeing has learned a lesson from this sorry episode.

Boeing needs a visionary leader who drives the principle of “Always Do the Right Thing” and not cut corners and mislead the customer (and traveling public).  Do this and the stock market will respond favorably.”


Boeing

On May 14, 2020 Boeing appointed Mike Delaney to lead the company’s Confident Travel Initiative, effective immediately. Working across the industry, Delaney’s team will work to develop new solutions to help minimize air travel health risks amid the COVID-19 pandemic and drive awareness of health safeguards already in place. Delaney brings 31 years of Boeing experience to the role, including previous executive leadership positions in airplane development and engineering, and currently serves as vice president of Digital Transformation at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “As air travel slowly begins to resume and restrictions ease around the globe, health and safety remain our top priorities for our teams who design, build and service the airplanes and all those who fly on them,” said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun. “Mike’s deep technical expertise, leadership skills, industry knowledge and great passion for our customers make him uniquely qualified to lead this effort.”

The Confident Travel Initiative team will work with airlines, global regulators, industry stakeholders, flying passengers, infectious disease experts and behavioral specialists to establish industry-recognized safety recommendations. The team is also advising operators on existing, approved disinfectants that are compatible with the airplane flight decks and cabins and testing other sanitizers. “Our commitment to ensuring the health of airline passengers and crews is unwavering,” said Delaney. “We’re working with partners to enhance aircraft cleanliness procedures and identify other areas to further reduce the risk of airborne illness transmission.”

Boeing’s effort will build on the industry’s enhanced safety approaches – including enhanced cleaning, temperature checks and the use of face coverings – and promote the proven systems already in place to help maintain cabin cleanliness. One such system is the air filtration system present on all Boeing airplanes. The air filtration system incorporates High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters similar to those used in hospitals and industrial clean rooms. HEPA filters are 99.9+% effective at removing particulates such as viruses, bacteria and fungi before air is recirculated back to the cabin. Boeing continues to research and evaluate new technologies to enhance safety, including ultraviolet light disinfecting systems and antimicrobial coatings for high-touch surfaces. The company is working with academics, health experts and learning institutions worldwide to field studies and facilitate research on reducing the potential of disease transmission on airplanes. “Air travel is coming back,” said Delaney. “As that happens, we want passengers and crews to board Boeing airplanes without hesitation.”


Museum of Flight Pathfinder Award

Congratulations Bob Bogash! He has just won the latest Seattle Museum of Flight Pathfinder Award, and while many readers have not met or even heard of Bob, we wanted to tell you a little about him as he has worked with us, he also contributed information, pictures and aviation news for all our readers in IFExpress – and yes, he lives and breathes flying!

First the award: “The Museum of Flight’s Annual Pathfinder Awards honors individuals with ties to the Pacific Northwest who have made significant contributions to the development of the aerospace industry. Pathfinder Award recipients are selected by The Museum of Flight, the Pacific Northwest Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and representatives of other aviation and aerospace organizations and companies throughout the Northwest.”

Here is Bob’s website and if you like aviation history, this is for you.Bob’s efforts in bringing older planes and aviation history to the museum may be hard to beat because aviation is his life, even while retired.

Why Bob Won: “Bob and others set a goal to bring the B-52 from Paine Field to The Museum of flight. In the process the B-52 was disassembled and trucked to the museum. The wings, rudder, elevator, vertical and horizontal stabilizers were removed. The whole plane was cleaned and repainted. It was quite a sight being trucked into its present site. Bob had a major role in seeing this happen. Bob’s actions to bring the B-52 to be the centerpiece for the Welcome Home Vietnam Veteran’s Park was 50 years late, but it brings a lump to my throat when I go by it and realize we were finally thanked for our service. For Mr. Bogash’s action in helping to bring the B-52 as a centerpiece for the Welcome Home Vietnam Veteran’s Park and giving us a special place to honor men like Marvin Shields, he will always hold a special place in my heart. I strongly recommend Mr. Bob Bogash for a Pathfinder Award. (This was a recommendation by a museum docent.)

Noted Bob; “As I’ve mentioned before, recognition by one’s peers is far more important to me than a plaque on the wall. And for that, I thank you sincerely. You are the folks I admire, and so your support is all the more humbling. It’s now 55 years since I first became involved with the hatchling Museum Of Flight and became increasingly devoted to expanding its collection with some great and deserving historic aircraft. I take great pride in walking around the campus and seeing so many of the fabulous airplanes I worked so hard to acquire over so many years — and recalling all the travails involved in bringing them to their present state of glory – and to have flown three on their final flights!” Bob went on: “Maybe, these airplanes will be my contribution to that wondrous world of aviation that I love so much and which has wonderfully loved me back.”
Congratulations Bob!


Other News

Today’s image is of three Boeing Dreamlifters that were carrying eye goggles and face shields from China to the United States.

Since the last issue of IFExpress our industry is continuing to try to find a tenuous path forward. Many airlines are converting passenger cabins into cargo friendly environments (see the story below from Carlisle IT) in an effort to get their assets back flying. We are also seeing how the airlines are moving forward in regards to passenger transport: the requirement for wearing face masks onboard, loading from the tail-forward, etc. As the weeks unfold, we will begin to see what the new ‘normal’ may start to look like. IFExpress is leading off with an feature from Laurent Safar, CEO of Adaptive Channel (an IFE and digital press CSP) regarding what a post-COVID-19 world may mean for inflight magazines.


The Future of Inflight Magazines in a Post-Coronavirus World

By Laurent Safar, CEO of Adaptive Channel

2020 has not been – and will, most likely, not be – the year that any of us expected. Of course, I’m referring to the COVID-19 pandemic that has effectively shut down all aspects of the travel industry, with the aviation industry being particularly hard hit.

Although the CARES Act in the US (and other international governmental aid packages) offers airlines a lifeline in these financially-challenging times, no airline will come out of this unaffected – but some will be facing a much better financial outlook, post-Coronavirus, than others.

What are the factors that will decide which airlines are most successful, post-virus?

This can be answered in one word: innovation.

Now is the time for airlines to establish their post-Coronavirus operational strategy so they will be ready when the demand returns. Airlines must dig deep and truly think outside-of-the-box when it comes to how they will fulfill passengers’ needs, while cutting costs and boosting revenue.

New Priorities

The current crisis will accelerate all digital transformations that are already underway. Like the travel industry, COVID-19 has caused significant changes to the retail industry; specifically, the need for online shopping as a replacement to brick-and-mortar stores, both because of consumers’ increased vigilance about potential contagions and government shut-down of non-essential businesses.

Although it’s impossible for us to travel digitally (until Captain Kirk makes that possible!), the aviation industry can learn quite a bit from the way the switch to digital happened, almost overnight, in the retail industry.

As in the retail industry, post-Coronavirus travelers will expect a very different travel/inflight experience. Health and safety will be front-of-mind for passengers and, they will be looking to airlines to implement strategies to protect them from potential contagions that they may encounter while traveling; as such, inflight amenities and services will need to be considered and updated to address passengers’ health-related concerns, post-Coronavirus.

It’s common knowledge that an airline cabin can contain many different contagions. While most passengers assume the bathroom and seats would have the most germs, the truth shows that many surprising places – like the seat pocket, seatbelt, tray table and fan nozzle – actually have a great deal more bacteria, perhaps because the obviously dirtier places are cleaned/sanitized regularly by crew.

A Canadian study showed that “Seat pockets are extremely dirty, with a high aerobic count, mold, coliforms, and E.coli found on various samples.”

If that’s not enough, a study by Auburn University, showed that “MRSA germs could survive for up to 7 days on seat pocket cloth.” As well, “cold and influenza viruses can survive for hours on fabric and tissues, and even longer (up to 48 hours) on nonporous surfaces like plastic and metal,” making the seat pocket – and the glossy inflight magazine that comes out of it, a potential health liability.

So how can airlines provide for their germ-conscious passengers in a post-Coronavirus world?

First, it’s important to put yourself in your germ-conscious passengers’ shoes; you’ll quickly see that the airplane and seats could be perceived, by passengers, as a possible cesspool of germs – and your airline must act today to ensure that you’re ready to greet these passengers – with their new needs and wants – when the industry picks up again.

Today’s passengers will want some pretty big changes: of course, more regular disinfection must be a priority post-virus – including the seat, seatbelt, tray table and seatback pocket – even during short turnarounds. Another very important way to significantly decrease passengers’ exposure to contagions, is to eliminate hard copy inflight magazines and, instead, share the same content via a digital magazine. The switch from hard-copy newspapers to digital newspapers, readable on the same device as digital magazines, is another way to offer passengers the press content that they want, both inflight and in the lounge, from the safety of their own device (via the airline’s mobile app or a web portal in lounges).

A recent Future Travel Experience article agreed: “ – passengers may be more wary of touching inflight entertainment (IFE) screens and may turn to their own devices en masse. There could be an opportunity here for airlines, or more specifically airline apps. Airlines may have more success in convincing passengers to use their apps if it adds value at every touchpoint – from checking in and navigating through the terminal, to controlling IFE and even interacting with cabin crew – creating a real opportunity for them to promote relevant ancillary services through their mobile apps to an almost captive audience.”

If you’re still not convinced about the value of digital press content in a post-Coronavirus world, here are some other key benefits to this innovative strategy:

BOOST ANCILLARY REVENUE

Digital press content gives airlines incredible insight into passengers’ interests, needs and wants. The content-rich nature of newspapers and magazines gives airlines the opportunity to mine data that will improve their ability to deliver targeted, compelling ads more effectively to the right passenger, at the right time – drastically improving an airline’s travel retail conversion rates, by leveraging up-selling and cross-selling opportunities.

CUT COSTS

Eliminating hard copy press is also a great way to cut airlines’ operational costs; by eliminating the extra weight that hard copy newspapers and magazines add to each flight, airlines will experience a significant cost reduction on fuel. “According to research from Boeing, removing the weight of print newspapers and magazines equates to an annual savings of over $4.5 million for a fleet of wide-body aircraft operating 1,000 flights per day.”

As well, offering digital press eliminates the logistical costs associated with providing hard copy newspapers and magazines, giving airlines another way to decrease their operating costs, during this very difficult time.

SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT, ONE FLIGHT AT A TIME

Today’s passengers are also very environmentally conscious, giving airlines who prioritize improving their overall environmental impact a significant financial advantage when appealing to travelers. By eliminating paper waste from hard copy newspapers and magazines (and the weight associated with them) onboard, airlines use less fuel on each flight, decreasing the airline’s overall carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and improving their carbon footprint – and, as a result, making their airline much more attractive to potential guests.

It’s A Brand New (Digital) World

As you can see, the change from hard copy inflight magazines and newspapers to digital press will improve your PaxEx and NPS, create new ancillary revenue opportunities, offer valuable ways to cut logistical and operational costs, give your airline a financial advantage over other airlines who aren’t prioritizing improving their environmental impact and, most importantly, it will reassure health conscious travelers of their safety during their flight.

Airlines worldwide have already started implementing the switch to digital press inflight because they recognize their passengers’ general discomfort with touching anything they don’t know is completely clean and sanitized; we expect to see many more forward-thinking airlines adopting digital press, through their IFE solution, in the coming weeks and months – after all, it will be an operational imperative for all airlines worldwide during the very – slow- Coronavirus-impacted travel market – and beyond!

About Adaptive

Adaptive is an experienced inflight entertainment (IFE) and digital press content service provider (CSP) for the global aviation industry. Adaptive’s industry-leading IFE solution, ACES, delivers curated IFE content in multiple languages, encompassing diverse, globally relevant media at touchpoints throughout the entire customer journey: before, during and after the flight.

More information can be found at adaptive-channel.com or by email at contact@adaptive-channel.com.


Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) Is Making The Passenger Cabin Cargo Friendly

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT), a division of Carlisle Companies Incorporated (CSL), is pleased to announce special missions and temporary passenger cabin reconfigurations for airlines seeking to move more cargo on their passenger aircraft. Tenencia, a CIT company and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Design Organization Approvals (DOA), and Production Organizations Approvals (POA) holder, offers turnkey kit design, procurement, installation support as well as regulatory approval services to give airlines greater flexibility in optimizing their aircraft.

“We are committed to helping our customers and the aerospace industry navigate these uncertain times,” said Jeff Behlendorf, director of product management, integrated products at CIT. “Our expertise in cabin reconfiguration and aircraft certification enable airlines to quickly pivot and adapt to evolving market conditions, which call for additional methods of transporting critical goods while the industry experiences a low demand for passenger travel.”

CIT offers a full-range of capabilities for minimal or more complex configurations, including:

  • Rapid development and EASA DOA approval of complete cabin reconfiguration and new cargo Layout of Passenger Accommodations (LOPA)
  • Special missions support, including patient transport
  • Cargo restraint and net installation
  • Floor cargo loading evaluation
  • Cabin seat removal to reduce wear and tear on the passenger interior
  • Cockpit equipment and avionics modifications

These capabilities are part of CIT’s nearly 80-year history of providing the highest quality aircraft modification packages using Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for airlines, avionics manufacturers, and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) partners. The company is also a member of the Independent Aircraft Modifiers Alliance (IAMA), an alliance of leading companies in the avionics industry that are committed to common standards for documentation and quality of STCs. This new offering helps airlines meet evolving fleet needs in today’s challenging environment.

For more information, please contact Tenencia via email.


Airbus

Airbus logged net orders in April for nine commercial aircraft from its A320 product line from Avolon. By April 30th, Airbus’ gross orders in 2020 totaled 365 aircraft. After cancellations the net orders stand at 299 aircraft. During the month, 14 deliveries were made from the A320, A330 and A350 XWB aircraft families. Business in April brings the overall total orders logged by Airbus since its creation to 20,407 commercial aircraft, which includes 15,572 A320 Family aircraft, 1,819 A330s, 930 A350 XWBs, 642 A220s and 251 A380s. In April, 12 A320neo Family aircraft were delivered. For Airbus widebody aircraft, one A350 XWBs was provided in the A350-900 configuration; along with one A330ceo. Among the month’s notable deliveries was the first 100% e-deliveries to Pegasus Airlines. Airbus’ backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of 30th April stood at 7,645, comprised  6,217 A320 Family aircraft, 529 A220s, 322 A330s, 568 A350 XWBs and nine A380s.


Boeing

Three Boeing Dreamlifters Transport PPE to South Carolina for COVID-19 Recovery Efforts Across the State:

  • Boeing transported more than 150,000 protective eye goggles and face shields as part of the company’s ongoing COVID-19 airlift efforts
  • Partnered with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to deliver the goggles and face shields to frontline health care professionals in the MUSC Health system
  • PPE to be used by MUSC Health care team members to assist with statewide COVID-19 community testing and outreach efforts, which are critical to recovery and a staged economic revitalization

Three Boeing Dreamlifters Transport PPE to South Carolina for COVID-19 Recovery Efforts Across the State – May 11, 2020


Other News

 

 

 

This past week the industry gathered together via a live online broadcast event hosted by Apex and Inmarsat Aviation to address the challenges the aviation sector is facing as a result of the global pandemic and economic crisis. More than 3,000 individuals logged on to watch and participate in the 7+ hour event. The synopsis is outlined below and there is a link provided if you didn’t manage to attend the live session. Overall, there was a thread of cautious optimism throughout the various presentations/discussions but there was no sugar coating the fact that we are all in for a long, hard road on the way to recovery. Over the coming weeks, we will see more and more of  these live broadcast events as the industry seeks a path forward. Welcome to the new normal! So let’s delve into this week’s news.


FlightPlan

The global aviation industry came together on April 29, 2020 for a unique all-day broadcast event to encourage collaboration during the most challenging and unpredictable time in its history. FlightPlan: Charting a Course into the Future, hosted by Inmarsat Aviation and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), saw more than 50 leading voices exchange views on the present and future of aviation. Over 3,000 viewers tuned in from almost 100 countries worldwide for a series of live debates, interviews and news analysis. Experts voice confidence in eventual bounce-back for aviation industry Nick Careen, Senior Vice President of Airport Passenger Cargo and Security at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), observed that although the COVID-19 pandemic has “no parallel to draw upon in recent memory –  the airline industry has illustrated time and time again that if there’s any industry in the world that knows how to deal with a crisis, it’s this one”. Careen predicted that changes to airline passenger journeys as a result of COVID-19 may include staggered boarding processes, alongside faster adoption of biometrics and self-service technologies in the airport. Christoph Mueller, who has previously served as CEO of Malaysia Airlines and Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Emirates Group, gave some reassuring words of encouragement to airlines: “I have a lot of confidence that at least a lot of airlines will come out of this crisis with a new and regained strength.”

In an interactive poll[1], FlightPlan viewers were invited to share their own predictions on the COVID-19 recovery phase throughout the day. Highlights from the results included:

  • Four in ten (43%) predicted that recovery will take from 18 months to three years
  • Four in ten (44%) said the industry was poorly prepared for COVID-19
  • Nearly two fifths (36%) stated that governments have helped the industry to navigate the pandemic, but could have done more
  • 9 in 10 (87%) expect to see more deep cleaning and slower turnarounds
  • 86% believe that personal protective equipment (PPE) will become standard for cabin crews in the coming months
  • 8 in 10 (80%) expect thermal scanners to become part of the passenger journey
  • Only 9% see blood tests for airline passengers becoming the norm

Unified effort essential to tackling aviation’s environmental impact

Discussing some of the ambitious sustainability targets the industry has previously set itself, such as net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the experts agreed that collaboration was fundamental. Anko Van Der Werff, CEO of Avianca, argued that “the whole ecosystem needs to work together on this.” Paul Stein, Chief Technical Officer at Rolls Royce, added that the impact of single-nation initiatives has been limited and a “coalition of the willing” with industry bodies, airlines, manufacturers and fuel providers is needed.
Encouragingly, industry leaders expressed confidence that COVID-19 will not interrupt progress on sustainable aviation and may even push the topic higher on the agenda. Stein reflected that “the post-COVID-19 world is going to be one that will recognize the fragility of the planet – sustainability isn’t just going to come back to the point it was before COVID – it’s going to be an even stronger issue.” The FlightPlan poll results reflected this view, with 40% of respondents agreeing that COVID-19 will accelerate the drive to reduce emissions. Digitization will catalyze industry recovery and future growth Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, spoke about the power of connectivity to drive global development and industry recovery. Although “2019 already feels as though it belongs to a different era”, Pearce remarked that the pandemic has not slowed the fourth industrial revolution. “I believe that digitalization lies at the heart of our ability to first survive this crisis, and then to drive our ability to rebound from it and start to thrive in whatever new reality lies in front of us.”

The next generation of passengers were at the center of a discussion around the need for airlines to continue preparing for the future. Behavioral scientist Rory Sutherland spoke of Generation Z’s “incredible need to travel”, observing that his own children “don’t see it as a privilege – they kind of see it as a right”. Aviation analyst Alex Macheras delved deeper into their digital expectations, adding that “if airlines are going to better satisfy Gen Z, inflight connectivity will continue to be a driving force.” Other experts agreed that these attributes, paired with growing spending power, will put young passengers in the driving seat when it comes to digital transformation in the cabin. Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “As we look towards recovery and ensuring long-term resilience, there will be no one-size-fits all approach. However, it will remain important that airlines can differentiate for customers. It’s clear that the safety of consumers will continue to be at the forefront in this new world, and that digitization and innovation will be crucial to driving much-needed efficiencies, reducing environmental impact and improving passenger experience.”

Reflecting on the event, Dominic Walters, Vice President at Inmarsat Aviation, commented: “In times of crisis, it’s imperative that industries collaborate to find the best way forward. With so many of this year’s leading aviation events cancelled, we wanted to connect the industry in a unique and helpful way, and the response has been phenomenal. Together, more than 50 leading voices shared a clear shared message – that while the aviation industry contends with a period of extreme uncertainty, these clouds will eventually clear. Now is the time to focus on accelerating our recovery and rebuilding an industry that is stronger, more agile and fit for the future.” And, you can watch the whole event here.


Thales

Thales has deployed the world’s first GSMA-certified eSIM activation solution on Google Cloud. This solution will offer telecom operators secure and highly scalable support to manage increases in mobile subscriptions for eSIM-capable devices. It also lets them benefit from the reliability of Google Cloud’s carbon neutral technology. eSIM adoption is being fueled by a new generation of smartphones, tablets, wearables and new IoT use-cases. Thales’ subscription management expertise not only ensures seamless remote activation of a vast number of devices, but also provides data analytics and protection of the subscriber’s data.

  • Thales to use Google Cloud technology to deliver highly secure and scalable activation of eSIM (embedded SIM) capable devices.
  • The solution enables telecom operators to support a massive global increase in the volume of embedded mobile subscriptions (ABI Research expects around 1 Billion eSIM-capable devices to be shipped annually by 2024).
  • The Thales-operated solution provides secure eSIM management services and provides compliance with data protection and privacy requirements.

Airbus

Airbus posted 481m Euro net loss for 1Q20 (vs 40m Euro net profit in 1Q19) on 15% lower revenues, citing COVID-19. It has withdrawn all delivery guidance after already reducing monthly production rates to 40 A320s, two A330s, six A350s and four A220s. It has net cash position of 3.6b Euro. Furthermore, the airframer is furloughing some 3,200 workers in Broughton in the UK.

Airbus is developing a modification for A330 and A350 family aircraft which will enable airlines to install freight pallets directly onto the cabin floor seat tracks, after removal of the economy-class seats. This solution will help with the airlines’ own business continuity, and also alleviate the global shortage of ‘belly-freight’ air cargo capacity due to the widespread grounding of long-haul aircraft in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, it helps the industry to address the high demand for humanitarian flights to transport large quantities of medical equipment and other supplies rapidly over large distances to where they are needed.

Compared with loading cargo onto seats, this Airbus solution facilitates easier and quicker loading and unloading operations, as well as reduced ‘wear & tear’ to the seats themselves. Other important benefits include the added security of robust fire protection, and the 9g load restraint capability to prevent anything from shifting in flight. The modification is packaged for operators as an Airbus Service Bulletin (SB). Under this arrangement Airbus defines the engineering work-scope and also manages the process for obtaining the one-time certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Its scope includes the removal of the seats & IFE (Inflight entertainment), installation of cargo pallets and associated safety equipment – and also the re-installation of the original passenger cabin elements for reverting back to passenger operations. The SB approach will also be valid beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.


Boeing

On April 30, 2020  Boeing  released the following Statement on the Bond Offering: “We’re pleased with the response to our bond offering today, which is one of several steps we’re taking to keep liquidity flowing through our business and the 17,000 companies in our industry’s supply chain. The robust demand for the offering reflects strong support for the long-term strength of Boeing and the aviation industry. It is also in part a result of the confidence in the market created by the CARES Act and federal support programs that have been put in place – a testament to the Administration, Congress and the Federal Reserve. As a result of the response, and pending the closure of this transaction expected Monday, May 4, we do not plan to seek additional funding through the capital markets or the U.S. government options at this time. The bond offering includes debt instruments with an aggregate principal amount of $25 billion across seven tranches with maturities ranging from three to 40 years. We will continue to assess our liquidity position as the health crisis and our dynamic business environment evolve.”

On April 30, 2020 Boeing conducted a productive and successful first flight of the second 777X airplane. Captain Ted Grady, 777X project pilot, and Captain Van Chaney, 777/777X chief pilot, flew for 2 hours and 58 minutes over Washington state before landing at Seattle’s Boeing Field at 2:02 p.m. Pacific. Designated WH002, this airplane is the second of four in a dedicated flight test fleet and will test handling characteristics and other aspects of airplane performance. An array of equipment, sensors and monitoring devices throughout the cabin allows the onboard team to document and evaluate the airplane’s response to test conditions in real time. The 777X test plan lays out a comprehensive series of tests and conditions on the ground and in the air to demonstrate the safety and reliability of the design. To date, crews have flown the first airplane nearly 100 hours at a variety of flap settings, speeds, altitudes and system settings as part of the initial evaluation of the flight envelope. With initial airworthiness now demonstrated, the team can safely add personnel to monitor testing onboard instead of relying solely on a ground-based telemetry station, unlocking testing at greater distances. The 777X includes the 777-8 and the 777-9, the newest members of Boeing’s market-leading widebody family. Below is a comparison between the dash 8 and dash 9:

  • Seat Count (Typical 2-class)
    777-8: 384 passengers
    777-9: 426 passengers
  • Engine
    GE9X, supplied by GE Aviation
  • Range
    777-8: 8,730 nautical miles (16,170 km)
    777-9: 7,285 nautical miles (13,500 km)
  • Wingspan
    Extended: 235 ft, 5 in (71.8 m)
    On ground: 212 ft, 8 in (64.8 m)
  • Length
    777-8: 229 ft (69.8 m)
    777-9: 251 ft, 9 in (76.7 m)
  • Program Launch: 2013
  • Production Start: 2017
  • Ground Testing: 2019
  • First Flight: January 25, 2020
  • First Delivery: 2021

Additionally, “BOEING announced plan to lower its number of employees by roughly 10% company wide, including 15% cut across its commercial airplanes and services businesses, as well as corporate functions.”

Lastly, the First Quarter Financial Results are listed below:

  • Financial results significantly impacted by COVID-19 and the 737 MAX grounding
  • Revenue of $16.9 billion, GAAP loss per share of ($1.11) and core (non-GAAP)* loss per share of ($1.70)
  • Operating cash flow of ($4.3) billion; cash and marketable securities of $15.5 billion
  • Total backlog of $439 billion, including over 5,000 commercial airplanes

Other News

As expected, our industry is continuing to contract as a result of the ongoing pressures from COVID-19. Today’s issue of IFExpress features announcements from industry vendors and OEMs about current and forecasted reductions in their work force. Airlines are starting to address what flying may look like with social distancing still in effect but after the Stay Home, Stay Safe orders are loosened. This is certain to be a continuing discussion in the weeks ahead. The IFExpress team will keep you appraised as this story continues to evolve.

Now let’s take a look at some of the announcements from the past seven days.


GOGO

Gogo announced that effective May 4, it will furlough approximately 60% of its workforce and reduce compensation for most other employees as part of a broad-based cost reduction plan due to the impact of COVID-19. The furloughs will impact more than 600 employees across all three of Gogo’s business segments. The time and duration of those furloughs will vary based on workload in individual departments. Salary reductions will begin at 30% for the CEO, then 20% for the executive leadership team, and feather down from there. In addition, Gogo’s Board of Directors has agreed to reduce their compensation by 30%. Certain types of employees, such as hourly workers, will not have their compensation reduced. Approximately 60% of Gogo’s revenue comes from its two commercial airline segments. Passenger traffic on commercial airlines using Gogo’s service has declined 95% this month compared to the prior year, resulting in a projected 60-70% reduction in sales for the month of April. The remaining 40% of Gogo’s revenue comes from its business aviation segment which has seen a sharp decrease in flight activity. Additionally, since many business aircraft are flying less frequently, there has been an increase in requests for one-month account suspensions and a dramatic decrease in new plan activations for the month of April. “The health and safety of our employees and customers is our first and most important priority, but the long-term health of our business is also a critical focus area,” said Oakleigh Thorne, president and CEO of Gogo. “In March, we announced 16 levers that we can employ to dramatically lower our costs in order to ensure our long-term viability, and we believe we are implementing the appropriate measures to accomplish that goal.”

In addition to personnel actions, the Gogo 16-lever plan includes, among other actions, renegotiating terms with suppliers, delaying aircraft equipment installations, deferring purchases of capital equipment, reducing marketing and travel expenses and eliminating non-essential spend. “We established best- and worst-case scenarios and action plans against the 16 levers based on market conditions against those scenarios,” Thorne said. “Based on where the market is today, we believe these personnel actions are necessary, and if conditions worsen, we have additional levers to pull if needed.”

Gogo also announced that it has applied for an $81 million grant and a $150 million loan under the recently enacted CARES Act. If Gogo receives government assistance, it will modify the personnel actions announced to comply with the terms of that assistance. Prior to this announcement, Gogo has already implemented several cost-cutting measures related to personnel, including a hiring freeze, suspension of 2020 merit salary increases, and deferral of the CEO’s 2019 bonus. Gogo had $216 million cash on hand as of the close of business on April 20, 2020, including $22 million drawn under its revolving credit facility.

Gogo intends to provide an update on its response to the pandemic and share further details on the steps it is taking to strengthen its financial position when it hosts its first quarter 2020 earnings conference call. “The impact of COVID-19 on air travel, and a challenging economy in general, mean we have to make tough decisions, including implementing these essential cost reductions,” said Thorne. “I am proud of our Gogo employees, who have risen to the challenge to ensure that our business continues to operate smoothly and effectively during this difficult time.”


BOEING

On April 21, 2020 Boeing announced key organization and leadership changes aimed at driving greater cross-company integration and continuous improvement; aligning enterprise services to current business conditions while increasing value; streamlining senior leadership roles and responsibilities; and preparing now for the post-pandemic industry footprint. The changes are effective May 1.

A newly formed group — Enterprise Operations, Finance & Strategy — will consolidate several important areas, bringing together teams responsible for manufacturing, supply chain and operations, finance, enterprise performance, strategy, enterprise services and administration. Led by Greg Smith, executive vice president, Enterprise Operations, and chief financial officer, this new global organization will embed operational excellence and consistent lean principles across Boeing and its supply chain, and restore production and supply chain health as Boeing and the broader aerospace industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Corporate Audit will join Smith’s new group and continue to report directly to the Boeing Board of Directors Audit Committee as it does today, providing independent, objective assurance and advisory services to improve company operations.

Jenette Ramos, senior vice president of Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Operations, will bring 34 years of Boeing experience, leadership and operational skills to a special assignment in support of Smith and Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun.

The company also is combining its legal and core compliance programs, including global trade controls, ethics and business conduct, into a single organization led by Brett Gerry, chief legal officer and executive vice president of Global Compliance. This approach will enhance Boeing’s already strong compliance and internal governance program through focused accountability for, and a more integrated approach to, Boeing compliance responsibilities. It also will help the company proactively address new legal and compliance obligations arising from an increasingly complex global regulatory environment.

To accelerate this important work and to build on the existing strength of its compliance and ethics program, Boeing soon will name a chief compliance officer who will be responsible for leading the company’s compliance, ethics and trade control activities. This person will report to Gerry, with a direct reporting line to Calhoun and the board’s Audit Committee on compliance and ethics issues.

Finally, Boeing Government Operations, led by Executive Vice President Tim Keating, will assume responsibility for the company’s Global Spectrum Management activities, which ensure the safe, efficient and compliant use of radio frequency spectrum in Boeing products and operations.

“I am confident these changes will drive greater alignment among our functions; better equip our commercial, defense and space, and services businesses to deliver on customer commitments in a changing marketplace; and support our continuous efforts to develop talent through challenging leadership assignments,” said Calhoun. “Special thanks to Greg, Brett, Tim and Jenette for taking on new leadership responsibilities.”

Coinciding with these organization changes, Diana Sands, senior vice president of the Office of Internal Governance and Administration, has decided to retire from Boeing later this year after nearly 20 years with the company and following a thorough transition of responsibilities. “Over the past two decades, Diana has played a key role in developing an industry-leading ethics and compliance program, served in several critical finance roles and been a strong advocate for advancing diversity and inclusion across the company,” said Calhoun. “The Boeing Board of Directors and I are deeply grateful for Diana’s leadership, integrity and dedicated service.”

Also from Boeing: 

On April 25th the company announced that it has terminated its Master Transaction Agreement (MTA) with Embraer, under which the two companies sought to establish a new level of strategic partnership. The parties had planned to create a joint venture comprising Embraer’s commercial aviation business and a second joint venture to develop new markets for the C-390 Millennium medium airlift and air mobility aircraft. Under the MTA, April 24, 2020, was the initial termination date, subject to extension by either party if certain conditions were met. Boeing exercised its rights to terminate after Embraer did not satisfy the necessary conditions. “Boeing has worked diligently over more than two years to finalize its transaction with Embraer. Over the past several months, we had productive but ultimately unsuccessful negotiations about unsatisfied MTA conditions. We all aimed to resolve those by the initial termination date, but it didn’t happen,” said Marc Allen, president of Embraer Partnership & Group Operations. “It is deeply disappointing. But we have reached a point where continued negotiation within the framework of the MTA is not going to resolve the outstanding issues.”

The planned partnership between Boeing and Embraer had received unconditional approval from all necessary regulatory authorities, with the exception of the European Commission.

Boeing and Embraer will maintain their existing Master Teaming Agreement, originally signed in 2012 and expanded in 2016, to jointly market and support the C-390 Millennium military aircraft.

Lastly, Boeing Dreamlifter Transports 1.5M Face Masks for COVID-19 Response

  • Partnered with Prisma Health, Atlas Air and Discommon Founder Neil Ferrier to bring 1.5 million medical face masks to healthcare professionals in South Carolina
  • Boeing Dreamlifter becomes the largest aircraft ever to land at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport
  • Additional airlift transport missions with the Boeing Dreamlifter and ecoDemonstrator are planned in the future

OTHER NEWS

Passengers enjoy Hollywood-quality audio and visual stories about the land below.

Wichita | April 17, 2020-Global Aviation Technologies is offering a brave new world of IFE to its aviation customers: the disruptive new inflight entertainment system called GojiBox®, from Emmy-winning media producers Gotham Studios.

The 1.3-pound unit that drives the experience bursts with entertainment. When airplane owners install the GojiBox®, passengers enjoy an immersive experience streamed directly to their personal devices. In addition to movies and music, each flight presents a unique “show” comprised of high-quality short stories about all the places you pass, as you fly over them. These thousands of audio and visual stories are produced and continuously refreshed by Gotham’s Emmy-winning team. It’s a guided tour of the world, centered around an enhanced moving map.
“We are thrilled to offer this amazing little box to our customers, and the ease of installation makes it a perfect upgrade on maintenance events,” said Woody Cottner, VP of Business Development at Wichita-based Global Aviation Technologies. “The moment I saw it, I knew it was a great solution to upgrade aging IFE systems—and for small-aircraft customers with no entertainment system. GojiBox is tiny, light, and can be installed on almost any airframe. The quality of the “Geotainment” and moving map puts it above anything out there.”
GojiBox® does not require any in-flight connectivity, since all content resides on the box. However, content automatically updates when the craft is on the ground.
“We couldn’t ask for a better installation partner than Global Aviation Technologies,” said Russ Johnson, General Manager of the Virginia-based entertainment company Gotham Studios. “They’re an award-winning maintenance facility, with a dedicated sales team who understands Goji’s unique value. They also share our culture of exceeding customer expectations.”
The two companies are kicking off the partnership by offering a limited time special discount on a complete GojiBox install and certification package .
“This is the future of IFE,” said Cottner. “And we’re happy to be offering it to our customers.”

Letter from the Editor

The stay-at-home orders have affected millions of people, resulting in unprecedented unemployment rates in the U.S. and Europe, which are rising higher and faster than they ever have before. Compared to a year ago, the global aircraft capacity in available seat-miles is currently down by approximately 59%. Add to this that IATA is forecasting airline losses to exceed $252 billion, which could easily be revised upward in the next few weeks. The understatement of the week is that COVID-19 is having a devastating effect on our industry.

Damage has been done, much like what we experienced after September 11, 2001, and the financial crisis of 2008 – but on an even greater, global scale and we may well have past the point of a V-shaped recovery. As those events changed how governments, businesses, and the public functioned; so will this forever change us as well.

What might we expect these changes to look like? It is not unreasonable to expect new procedures to be put into place to manage the risk of reinfection: body temperature scanners at airports, immunization passports for travelers on every flight – much like today’s security screening but focused on the traveler’s health. After 9/11 it took the flying public almost a decade to adjust to the changes in travel and accept the ‘new normal’. So it is not unrealistic to expect that it will take a while for passengers to embrace the travel process post COVID-19.

Also, virtual meetings are becoming part of everyone’s lives – even those who are the most technologically challenged seem to be using applications like Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, etc. to fill the need to socialize. I am willing to bet that each of you has used one or more of these in the past week to stay connected with friends, family, and colleagues. For work, the virtual meeting has become business as usual right now and we are all discovering, out of necessity, how easy and useful these video conferences can be. This will undoubtedly contribute to a slower uptake in passenger traffic growth once things begin to return to ‘normal’, or should I say, the new normal.

The pandemic has also had an impact on the number of aircraft anticipated to be in service in 2021. The forecast is there will be 1,200 fewer jetliners flying than last year (2019). This is also going to impact the number of pilots, maintenance technicians, flight crew, attendants, etc. needed.

This is all a vivid reminder that aviation has, and always will be, a cyclical business. Historically, with each upturn in the cycle, our industry grows, renews and often performs better than it did before. This is what we need to keep focused on right now. The only big question we currently face is how long will this down turn last?

Stay Home, Stay Healthy – Tricia

Patricia Wiseman – Editor, Publisher & Co-Founder


SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct (SD), the business aviation solutions provider, is launching a new webinar series to ensure customers remain continually informed and updated about SD products, services and partner relationships. Grouped by product category, the inaugural webinars will explain the latest SD updates and product enhancements by delivering content created in direct response to customer queries and information requests. The agendas incorporate themes that are relevant and essential for effective management of flight operations and aim to improve customer understanding of the extensive SD Xperience portfolio. Each webinar will also detail how to maximize new and existing products in dynamic, unpredictable operating environments to effectively manage evolving situations. The first four workshops are scheduled as follows:

  • 21 April, 13:00 UTC – SD Connectivity: detailing network and service updates along with SD partner information.
  • 05 May, 13:00 UTC – SD Hardware: updates on router, modem and antenna products and how best to select and optimize them.
  • 19 May, 13:00 UTC – FlightDeck Freedom®: latest on datalink services supporting mandatory requirements for the flight deck.
  • 02 June, 13:00 UTC – SD PostFlight and SD Pro®: updates on platform functionality and optional third party integration.

The one-hour webinars will be delivered online to registered SD clients by an SD subject matter expert. Materials will be conveyed through presentations, graphics and interactive tools and are designed to stimulate participation and discussion, whilst allowing customers to address individual needs and queries. For customers unable to participate, the webinars will be available for review through the SD Learning Management System (LMS) portal after each workshop.


GALGUS

IFExpress received an email from Jose Gonzalez, CEO & Co-Founder of Galgus. Galgus is part of the Wi-Fi community and works in the IFEC industry with VT Miltope on their CHT (Cognitive Hotspot Technology). Galgus has put together a YouTube video show casing how important Wi-Fi is and how the technology is facilitating working, studying, entertaining and engaging remotely during this pandemic. We thought we would share their tribute and recognition with you, our readers. Can you imagine this quarantine without #WiFi? – YouTube


COLLINS AEROSPACE

Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp., recently announced Troy Brunk has been named president, Interiors, reporting to Collins Aerospace president Stephen Timm. He succeeds Dave Nieuwsma, who was recently named president, Avionics, for Collins Aerospace. In his new role, Brunk leads a broad portfolio of aircraft interior systems for seating, lighting, galley, oxygen, passenger service, evacuation, de-icing, lavatory, waste and potable water for commercial and military customers around the globe. Brunk’s 27-years with Collins Aerospace has included leadership roles of increasing responsibility. Most recently he served as vice president and general manager for the Communication, Navigation & Guidance Solutions portfolio for the company’s Mission Systems business. In this role, Brunk oversaw a broad portfolio of military applications and solutions, ranging from communication and navigation, to actuation and guidance, and health and fuel sensing systems. Brunk also served as vice president and general manager for Airborne Solutions, where he oversaw the avionics and flight deck solutions for military fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.


VALOUR

Valour Consultancy, an independent provider of market intelligence services to firms in the global aerospace and maritime markets, is delighted to reveal that it has been honored with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. The company is one of a select group of organizations nationally to be recognized with the accolade, which is the highest official UK award available to British businesses. Valour’s award is given for outstanding achievement in the category of International Trade after increasing its overseas sales by an incredible 157 per cent over the last three years.

“It goes without saying that we are immensely proud of this achievement, which is the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice in establishing Valour as a reputable source of business intelligence” said co-founders, Joshua Flood, Craig Foster and Daniel Welch. The trio also expressed their gratitude to those that have supported the company’s phenomenal growth in recent years. “This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff who have consistently delivered outstanding results and often make themselves available at all hours to answer client enquiries. We’d also like to give a special mention to those companies located around the world that continue to have faith in us to provide them with the means to make more informed business decisions, even in these uncertain times”. Valour Consultancy is headquartered just outside of Grantham in the United Kingdom and maintains additional offices in London, as well as in Melbourne, which is home to its subsidiary, Valour Consultancy Australia. Since its founding in 2012, the firm has become a trusted provider of insight and analysis to many of the world’s largest companies. This includes aircraft manufacturers, large global satellite operators, multinational service providers and a range of the world’s best-known airlines.

Valour Consultancy will celebrate the award during a royal reception for Queen’s Awards winners and intends to host its own celebration later in the year.


LUFTHANSA

#WeAreInThisTogether is Lufthansa’s motto in these unusual times and the carrier is setting a sign to express its bond with the airline’s passengers: Frequent flyers who considerably contribute to the airline’s success get access to all the digital publications that they usually are only provided with when flying. Media Carrier as a leading provider of digital content supports this initiative, providing its technical platform and content for this initiative. Frequent flyers get an access to 781 newspapers and magazines from around the world and enjoy digital reading. The portfolio meets every taste, containing business papers, lifestyle publications, regional newspapers and international magazines, and offers daily inspiration and entertainment. All publications can easily be downloaded in pdf format to any digital device and are then available to read for an unlimited period of time. Apart from free offers, users can also buy publications.


AIRBUS

Airbus SE shareholders approved all resolutions on the agenda for its 2020 Annual General Meeting, including the election of two new directors, while René Obermann formally succeeded Denis Ranque as Chairman at a Board meeting immediately afterwards. Owing to the global coronavirus outbreak, shareholders were encouraged to vote by proxy instead of attending the AGM physically in Amsterdam, in line with public health and safety measures. Shareholders showed a very high level of voting and strong engagement despite the COVID-19 situation, with 575 million votes expressed, up 5% compared to the 2019 AGM and representing around 74% of the outstanding share capital. On 23 March, Airbus announced that it was withdrawing a voting item from the original AGM agenda related to the proposed payment of the 2019 dividend. The withdrawal of the dividend proposal was one of a number of measures announced by the Company to bolster liquidity and its balance sheet in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Following shareholder approval, Mark Dunkerley and Stephan Gemkow each joined the Board as non-executive directors for a period of three years. Dunkerley has extensive experience of the commercial airline and aviation industry and is currently a Member of the Board of Spirit Airlines, Inc., while Gemkow is a Member of the Board of Amadeus IT Group and a former airline executive with 22 years at Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

The mandates of non-executive directors Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. and Lord Drayson (Paul) were each renewed for three years. Denis Ranque and Hermann-Josef Lamberti both stepped down as planned from the Board and its committees at the close of the AGM. At the meeting immediately following the AGM, the Board approved the planned appointment of René Obermann as Chairman of the Board of Directors. In April 2019, Airbus announced that Obermann had been selected by the Board to succeed Denis Ranque as Chairman. As previously stated, Denis Ranque asked to leave the Board to pursue other interests when his mandate expired at the close of the 2020 AGM, following seven years as Chairman. “It has been a great honour to serve Airbus as Chairman these past years and I extend my best wishes to René, the Board and the Company as a whole,” said outgoing Airbus Chairman Denis Ranque. “I’d also like to thank shareholders for their support along these years and today for having voted through these important AGM resolutions at a very high level despite the COVID-19 outbreak. With a renewed management team, under Guillaume’s strong leadership, and an experienced Board, your Company is in good hands as it heads into its sixth decade.”


BOEING

Boeing will resume all Commercial Airplanes production in a phased approach at its Puget Sound-region facilities this week, after suspending operations last month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At all of its sites, the company has taken extra precautions and instituted comprehensive procedures to keep people safe and fight the spread of COVID-19.

“The health and safety of our employees, their families and communities is our shared priority,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and senior executive in the Pacific Northwest. “This phased approach ensures we have a reliable supply base, our personal protective equipment is readily available and we have all of the necessary safety measures in place to resume essential work for our customers.”

Approximately 27,000 people in the Puget Sound area will return to production of the 747, 767, 777 and 787 programs, supporting critical global transportation infrastructure, cargo services and national defense and security missions. The 737 program will resume working toward restarting production of the 737 MAX. Boeing South Carolina remains in a suspension of operations at this time. Earlier this week Boeing restarted mostly defense production operations in the region with approximately 2,500 people. Employees in the Puget Sound for the 737, 747, 767 and 777 will return as early as third shift on April 20 with most returning to work by April 21. Employees for the 787 program will return as early as third shift April 23, with most returning to work by April 24.
The company’s practices reinforce enhanced cleaning, employee health and physical distancing in partnership with employees. Aligned with federal and state guidance, these practices include:

  • Staggered shift start times to reduce the flow of employees arriving and departing work
  • Visual controls such as floor markings and signage to create physical distance
  • Face coverings will be a requirement for employees at Boeing sites in Washington. Employees are strongly encouraged to bring in their own procedural mask or face covering; those who do not have a mask available will be provided with one.
  • Providing required personal protective equipment to employees working in areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained for an extended period
  • Asking employees to perform self-health checks before coming to work and to stay home if they are ill
  • Employee wellness checks at the beginning of every shift and voluntary temperature screening at many manufacturing locations
  • Contact tracing when an employee tests positive for COVID-19 to reduce risk to teammates
  • Continued virtual meetings and employees who can work from home will continue to do
  • Transportation and common areas adjusted for physical distancing
  • Hand-washing stations in high-traffic areas and additional cleaning supplies available

Enhanced measures will continue until conditions allow for a return to regular work and cleaning processes. Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance on COVID-19, assess impact on company operations and adjust plans as the situation evolves.

Boeing completed its first COVID-19 transport mission, using a 737-700 aircraft from its corporate fleet to bring personal protective equipment (PPE) from China to the United States. Working in partnership with FIRST Robotics Founder Dean Kamen, the company transported 540,000 medical-grade face masks that will be delivered to healthcare professionals battling COVID-19 in New Hampshire. Kamen, who has a longstanding relationship with Boeing through FIRST Robotics, is also a founder of DEKA Research and Development Corporation. “Another life-saving delivery of PPE has arrived in New Hampshire,” said Governor Chris Sununu.

Boeing continues to support local communities and the heroic healthcare professionals working tirelessly to stop the spread of COVID-19. Additional airlift transport missions with the Boeing Dreamlifter and ecoDemonstrator are planned in the future. Boeing is coordinating closely with U.S. government officials on how to best assist areas with the greatest need. “I want to personally thank Governor Sununu, the entire New Hampshire congressional delegation and Dean Kamen for their leadership in helping secure and distribute this much-needed personal protective equipment for our frontline healthcare workers and first responders here in New Hampshire,” said Dave Calhoun, Boeing president and CEO. “We are honored to have conducted today’s airlift mission and we look forward to providing continued support in the fight against this pandemic.”

Also from Boeing: Brazil’s GOL reached agreement with Boeing on financial compensation related to 737 MAX grounding and then they cancelled 34 of their remaining 129 MAXs on order.


OTHER NEWS

“Overall, it could be a very bad year for the economy,” Ben Bernanke said. “The U.S. economy could shrink 30% or more this quarter as stay-at-home orders aimed at slowing the coronavirus outbreak choke off business.” Unfortunately, this scenario is not limited to the U.S.  – for the most part it is a global issue facing a broad spectrum of businesses, including aviation. We continue to see a reduction in activity in the aviation sector, primarily due to the decrease in demand for air travel due to COVID-19 and it looks like this may well be the trend for a good part of 2020. Many airlines have parked/stored the majority of their fleet, some routes are flown with a handful of passengers – if the carrier is lucky, and airframers are looking at order cancellations and reduced aircraft deliveries for 1Q20. It goes without saying that our industry is undergoing a radical change and all sectors within it are bracing for the trickle-down effect on their businesses. In fact, one of the major IFEC vendors has reduced their staff by 200+ people in the last week – most likely the first of many companies to do so. The IFExress team will endeavor to keep you appraised of the latest developments, so stay tuned.


AIRBUS
After a solid commercial and industrial performance at the beginning of the year, Airbus is now revising its production rates downwards to adapt to the new Coronavirus market environment.

In Q1 2020, Airbus booked 290 net commercial aircraft orders and delivered 122 aircraft. A further 60 aircraft were produced during the quarter, highlighting the solid industrial performance, however they remain undelivered due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

36 aircraft were delivered in March across the different aircraft families, down from 55 in February 2020. This reflects customer requests to defer deliveries, as well as other factors related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The new average production rates going forward have been set as follows:
● A320 to rate 40 per month
● A330 to rate 2 per month
● A350 to rate 6 per month

This represents a reduction of the pre-coronavirus average rates of roughly one third. With these new rates, Airbus preserves its ability to meet customer demand while protecting its ability to further adapt as the global market evolves.

Airbus is working in coordination with its social partners to define the most appropriate social measures to adapt to this new and evolving situation. Airbus is also addressing a short-term cash containment plan as well as its longer-term cost structure.

“The impact of this pandemic is unprecedented. At Airbus, protecting our people and supporting the fight against the virus are our chief priorities at this time. We are in constant dialogue with our customers and supply chain partners as we are all going through these difficult times together”, said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury. “Our airline customers are heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. We are actively adapting our production to their new situation and working on operational and financial mitigation measures to face reality.”

In its effort to support the fight against the COVID-19, Airbus has carried out extensive work in coordination with social partners to ensure the health and safety of its employees. This has been achieved by implementing new stringent work standards and processes. Airbus is contributing to the development, sourcing and ferrying of medical equipment, including facemasks and ventilators, in support of medical health services.


BOEING

Today (April 14, 2020), Boeing announced their 1Q 2020 deliveries for commercial aircraft, which totaled 50 jetliners – compared to 149 in 1Q 2019. The 50 aircraft were comprised of the following: five 737s, zero 747s, ten 767s, six 777s, and twenty-nine 787s.

The company has also been hit by an additional 75 737 MAX cancellations from Irish leasing company Avolon, bringing the total number of jetliners removed from the company’s order book in March to 300+ aircraft as airlines adjust their fleets in response to COVID-19.

Also, Boeing will deliver the first set of reusable 3D-printed face shields to support healthcare professionals working to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) accepted the initial shipment of 2,300 face shields this morning. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will deliver the shields to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, which has been established as an alternate care site to treat patients with COVID-19. Boeing is set to produce thousands more face shields per week, gradually increasing production output to meet the growing need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the United States. Distribution of additional face shields will be coordinated with HHS and FEMA based on immediate needs. Boeing is producing face shields with additive manufacturing machines at company sites in:

  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • China Lake, El Segundo, and Huntington Beach, California
  • Puget Sound region of Washington State
  • Mesa, Arizona
  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Portland, Oregon

Boeing subsidiaries Argon ST in Smithfield, Pennsylvania, and Aurora Flight Sciences in Bridgeport, West Virginia, are also participating in this project. Solvay, a long-time Boeing supplier, provided the clear film for the face shields. Another supplier, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, donated the elastic used for the adjustable headband. Face shield production and donations are part of a larger Boeing effort to leverage company and employee resources to aid with COVID-19 recovery and relief efforts. To date, the company has donated tens of thousands of units of PPE – including face masks, goggles, gloves, safety glasses and protective bodysuits – to support healthcare professionals battling COVID-19 in some of the hardest-hit locations in the United States. Boeing has also offered use of its unique airlift capabilities, including the Boeing Dreamlifter, to help transport critical and urgently needed supplies to healthcare professionals. The company is coordinating closely with government officials on how best to provide airlift support. “Boeing is proud to stand alongside many other great American companies in the fight against COVID-19, and we are dedicated to supporting our local communities, especially our frontline healthcare professionals, during this unprecedented time,” said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun. “History has proven that Boeing is a company that rises to the toughest challenges with people who are second to none. Today, we continue that tradition, and we stand ready to assist the federal government’s response to this global pandemic.”


OTHER NEWS

Today’s Rectangle: IFPL’s Bluetooth Technology Embedded in a Seat Arm Cap.


Hi, it’s Tricia! The IFExpress team just wanted to reach out to the IFEC community and our readers during this crazy time that we all are going through. If there is any news or coverage we can give your company, products and/or services don’t hesitate to contact us – we are here to help get your message out. Direct all inquiries to my attention at plwiseman@gmail.com. Through team work our industry will weather this storm. Stay healthy and stay safe.


IFPL

Even in these challenging times, IFPL never fails to amaze us with their innovative approaches. This time, the peripherals experts have given us a ‘virtual product tour’ of what we would have seen at their booth this past week if AIX Hamburg 2020 had not been canceled. Let’s delve into their virtual tour:

Virtual AIX 2020 Day 1:

Ad Power – this product is an innovative way to provide passengers with in-seat USB power that can be monetized by the airlines.

When a PED (personal electronic device) is connected to the seat USB, the solution activates pop-up advertising if the passenger hasn’t purchased power prior to boarding. This is an opportunity for additional ancillary revenue for the airline. Battery anxiety is a recognized growing area of potential stress for travelers and onboard USB power offers passengers a solution to this issue.

Virtual AIX 2020 Day 2:

Day 2 of the virtual tour focused on integration innovations. IFPL is continually looking for new areas to implement passenger connectivity as airline seats continue to get smaller and lighter. The company has introduced its own Bluetooth technology into the top of the seat arm cap (super cool and it is today’s cover image)! Another innovation is placing two reversible USB-A connectors into the rear of the seat arm. One of the primary advantages of having USB ports in this location is that power can be provided without having to worry about the depth available within the seat back. And the USB ports can still be accessed even if the arm is lifted!

Virtual AIX 2020 Day 3:

IFPL understands that modifying a seat is not always an option. With this in mind they have developed under seat solutions which can be attached to the spar with no modifications required!

This is a simple and elegant solution for implementing power under the seat. In fact, the seat spar carrier can be adapted for different power outlets but still maintain a standardized design language. Here is an example of a low profile rapid fit unit that can easily be removed while leaving the carrier in place.

Thanks IFPL! We can’t wait to experience these innovations in person and look forward to seeing the Isle of Wight Team at the next IFEC Expo.

If you want to learn more about IFPL’s product innovations before the next conference contact them via email at innovate@ifpl.com


GOGO CHALLENGES SMARTSKY PATENT

The business division of Gogo has submitted a petitionto the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office requesting an inter partes review of U.S. Patent No. 9,312,947 (“the ‘947 patent”) granted to SmartSky Networks, LLC.

An inter partes review re-examines the caims in a patent to determine whether or not they are valid.

“We strongly believe that the ‘947 patent granted to SmartSky is not valid,” said Sergio Aguirre, president Gogo Business Aviation. “We have submitted evidence of published materials clearly showing that well before SmartSky asserts to have invented the concepts in the ‘947 patent, others had conceived of the claimed subject matter. Further, we believe there are many of SmartSky’s patents that are not valid. This is only one of many patents we could have challenged in a patent review.”


AIRBUS

Airbus continues to purchase and supply millions of face masks from China, the large majority of which will be donated to governments of the Airbus home countries, namely France, Germany, Spain and the UK. An Airbus flight test crew has just completed its latest mission with an A350-1000 test aircraft. This is the third of such missions between Europe and China. The aircraft returned to France with a cargo of 4 million face masks on Sunday 5 April. The A350-1000 left Toulouse, France, on Friday 3 April, reaching the Airbus site in Tianjin, China on 4 April and returning to Hamburg the same day. Since mid-March, the previous two missions were performed by and A330-800, and A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). Airbus also deployed an A400M and its Beluga fleet to transport shipments of masks between its European sites, in France, Germany, the UK and Spain. Airbus will continue to support the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic wherever possible. “I would like to pay tribute to all the Airbus teams, globally, supporting the fight against COVID-19. They’re living our values in assisting those who are saving lives every day”, said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO. ” Airbus is focused on the health and safety of its employees and supporting its customers and the industry eco-system with business continuity. At the same time Airbus is contributing to many vital public and private services and working with partners who rely on aircraft, helicopters, space and security solutions to carry out life-saving missions in support of the global pandemic. Airbus is deploying its employees, their expertise and know-how and leveraging technology in this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, for example in designing and manufacturing ventilators and 3D printed visors which are critical resources for hospitals. The Company is partnering with other organizations in unprecedented ways to achieve this goal as fast as possible

Airbus SE is closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation worldwide and is in constant dialogue with its customers, suppliers and institutional partners. Airbus is in the process of assessing the implications of the pandemic on its operations and the potential mitigation measures that could be implemented. The Company will not provide further comment at this stage.

Skytra:

Skytra, the new Airbus’ venture for airline risk management, and Exactpro Systems, a specialist independent software quality assurance firm, sign a Master Services Agreement.

  • The software testing collaboration between Skytra and Exactpro will provide the stakeholders with additional confidence in the quality of Skytra’s derivatives trading platform prior to go-live in a transparent, regulated and secure environment.
  • Skytra Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Airbus based in London. It was established in 2019 to produce new air travel indices and to launch and operate a regulated trading venue. Skytra works in close partnership with air travel and financial market experts to develop new risk management instruments for the benefit of the entire air travel industry.

BOEING

Boeing will temporarily suspend all 787 operations at Boeing South Carolina (BSC) until further notice, starting at the end of second shift on Wednesday, April 8. This impacts the Airport Campus, Emergent Operations, Interiors Responsibility Center South Carolina and Propulsion South Carolina. “It is our commitment to focus on the health and safety of our teammates while assessing the spread of the virus across the state, its impact on the reliability of our global supply chain and that ripple effect on the 787 program,” said Brad Zaback, vice president and general manager of the 787 Program and BSC site leader. “We are working in alignment with state and local government officials and public health officials to take actions that best protect our people.” BSC teammates who can work remotely will continue to do so. Those who cannot work remotely will receive paid leave for 10 working days of the suspension, which is double the company policy. After 10 days, teammates will have the option to use a combination of available paid time off benefits or file for emergency state unemployment benefits. All benefits will continue as normal during the suspension of operations, regardless of how teammates choose to record their time. Pay practice details have been made available to all teammates. During this time of suspension on the 787 program, Boeing will continue to conduct enhanced cleaning activities at the site and monitor the global supply chain as the situation evolves. When the suspension is lifted, the 787 program will take an orderly approach to restarting production with a focus on safety, quality, integrity and meeting customer commitments.

Boeing is extending the temporary suspension of production operations at all Puget Sound area and Moses Lake sites until further notice. These actions are being taken in light of the company’s continuing focus on the health and safety of employees, current assessment of the spread of COVID-19 in Washington state, the reliability of the supply chain and additional recommendations from government health authorities. During the suspension, the company will continue to implement additional health and safety measures at its facilities to protect employees. These measures include new visual cues to encourage physical distancing, more frequent and thorough cleaning of work and common areas and staggering shift times to reduce the flow of employees arriving and departing work, among many other improvements. “The health and safety of our employees, their families and our communities is our shared priority,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal. “We will take this time to continue to listen to our incredible team and assess applicable government direction, the spread of the coronavirus in the community and the reliability of our suppliers to ensure we are ready for a safe and orderly return to operations.” The volunteers who have been supporting essential site and services work should continue to report to their assigned shifts. Puget Sound area and Moses Lake employees who can work from home should continue to do so. As the suspension of operations continues, Boeing will monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and associated impact on all company operations. Boeing sites that remain open are being monitored and assessed on a daily basis.


OTHER NEWS

COVID-19

Today’s Image: the new Airbus A330-200 MRTT air-bridge flight between Europe and China delivering additional face mask supplies to support the COVID-19 crisis.


ECLIPSE GLOBAL CONNECTIVITY & DISPLAY INTERACTIVE

Eclipse Global Connectivity and Display Interactive have signed a strategic agreement to provide end-to-end Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions to airlines and business aviation operators worldwide. The agreement, which came into effect on March 15, 2020, sees Eclipse Global Connectivity taking an equity position in Display Interactive (DI) and becoming their first industry-based shareholder.

“This agreement brings our relationship to a new level,” said Marc Pinault, CEO Eclipse Global Connectivity. “We have a long-standing relationship with Display Interactive and we are con – dent that our respective partners and customers will see an immediate benefit from this partnership. We are combining the quality and flexibility of DI’s proven wireless solution for air- lines with the technical, design and security expertise of our own connectivity systems, plus our long-time engineering and certification know-how. As a result, we can o er a comprehensive IFE solution to our customers.”

Highlighting the value that the partnership will bring to airline operators, Display Interactive’s CEO, Tarek El Mitwalli says, “Over the past 18 months, Display Interactive has invested heavily in the transformation of its wireless entertainment solution into an engagement and ancillary plat- form—focused on revenue generation. Adding connectivity will multiply revenue opportunities and open new business models for airlines.”

Eclipse Global Connectivity and Display Interactive are creating a one-stop shop for airlines, to streamline the implementation process, roll-out and service operation. Airlines, including Qatar Airways, Corsair International, and the former Joon / Air France, rely on DI’s solutions. British Airways, Philippine Airlines, and Ethiopian airlines, among others, y with Eclipse Technics, the aircraft modification arm of Eclipse Global Connectivity, solutions on board. Leveraging this expertise in technical design, kit manufacturing, STCs and engineering studies, both companies will o er an end-to-end inflight entertainment and connectivity solution under a single point of contact and a unique SLA (Service Level Agreement), reducing costs and delays.

Intending to demonstrate immediate benefits, Eclipse Global Connectivity and DI are launching a new entity based in Shanghai, China, which will be jointly operated under a new name. The company will commence operations in mid-2020, the schedule slightly impacted by the CO- VID-19 pandemic.

The new company will provide a customized, localized version of the complete Eclipse Global Connectivity and Display Interactive IFEC solution, fully integrated into the Chinese aero and digital ecosystems.

“Our main goal is to serve Chinese airlines directly in-country,” observed Thierry Carmes, COO at DI. “This means customizing our solution to fully meet airline- and business-partner-specific requirements, as well as supporting their programs and operations locally on a day-to-day basis. We are keen to demonstrate that our IFEC model will work in China—with the same benefits and performance as elsewhere. This is an invigorating challenge, and a deep motivation for our local teams, particularly since many connectivity programs have not yet delivered expected results.”

“Airline demand for airborne connectivity in China is growing, but not satisfied yet,” explained Marc Pinault. “Our strategy is to bring solutions that are already in common use in Europe or the Middle East, and deliver them with the Chinese operator and passenger specifically in mind. Our shared intention is to adapt and to become an integral part of the Chinese IFEC ecosystem.”

Display Interactive and Eclipse Global Connectivity are looking forward to providing cost-effective, innovative IFEC solutions that generate ancillary revenues, and being ready for when the aviation industry ramps-up service again in a few months. Their overriding aim is to offer a complete off-the-shelf solution from nose-to-tail, that ts all kinds of aircraft and delivers a visionary passenger experience and benefits for operators.


Editorial Courtesy of VT Miltope: Software Defined Cabin Wireless Networks

For two decades, cabin wireless functionality has been driven by aviation standards such as ARINC 763 and ARINC 628 Part 1. The industry has evolved through IEEE 802.11a to 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6). Each time the “standards upgrade” resulted in a higher functionality, often simply related to higher data throughput rates.

Unfortunately, these evolving standards resulted each time in changing radio equipment; subsequently, driving new access point hardware designs. At that time the technological race between the various vendors was determined by who was able to adapt the previous “box” to the new standard faster.

Meanwhile the factors that drive the evolution of the value and services generated by, and with, the cabin Wi-Fi networks for passengers and airlines are no longer just determined by the latest transmission standard. They are driven by various other functionalities of the Wi-Fi network that can be implemented through software solutions and do not necessarily need a change in hardware. The system complexity shifts from designing new hardware towards establishing a hardware infrastructure that can handle continuous functionality or performance improvements via software changes.  Software becomes the leading design entity creating value and flexibility, with hardware providing the processing platform.

Two examples for such software based added-value solutions are Hotspot 2.0 -allowing for seamless Wi-Fi roaming between different providers, systems and modes of transportation – and the embedding of Cyber Security applications to incorporate continuous network monitoring and anomaly detection as essential functionalities of the systems operation.

Miltope Corporation’s next generation cabin wireless solution, the xMAP, is driven by this evolved design philosophy. It enables the xMAP to be an adaptable foundational component to any wireless network in the aircraft.


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation announced actions the Company has taken to address the impact the coronavirus, or COVID-19, is having on the aerospace industry and its business. Peter Gundermann, Astronics Chairman and CEO, noted, “This is an unprecedented situation in our industry and we have to take measurable actions. First and foremost is the safety of our team members. We have implemented enhanced cleaning protocols, increased spacing of workstations, work-from-home wherever possible, minimization of visitors, meetings and travel as well as emphasizing the importance of personal hygiene and responsibility.”


AIRBUS

Airbus has deployed a new air-bridge flight between Europe and China to deliver additional face mask supplies to France, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom health systems in support of the COVID-19 crisis efforts (today’s rectangle). The aircraft, an Airbus A330-200 undergoing conversion as Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), took off on 26 March at 19.15 local time (CET) from Airbus’ Getafe site near Madrid. (Spain) reaching the Airbus site in Tianjin (China) on 27 March. The aircraft, operated by an Airbus crew, returned to Spain on 28 March at 04.05 local time (CET) with a cargo of more than 4 million face masks. In recent days, Airbus had already organized flights from Europe and China with A330-800 and A400M aircraft to donate thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services around Europe.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury provides an update on the Company’s action to support the fight against Covid-19.
 Airbus CEO statement on Covid-19 – YouTube

The Spanish Government announced new measures on 29 March in the fight against COVID-19. These measures are taking effect between Monday 30 March and Thursday 9 April inclusive and restrict all non-essential activities across the country. Some key activities in Commercial Aircraft, Helicopters and Defence and Space remain essential. Minimum activity in these areas for necessary support functions such as Security, IT, Engineering, will remain under the stringent health and safety measures implemented by Airbus to protect its employees against the COVID-19 pandemic. All other activities in Commercial Aircraft, Defense and Space as well as Helicopters in Spain will be paused until 9 April, the date when it is foreseen that restrictions will be lifted. Airbus will closely work with its social partners to apply the social measures applicable under the latest restrictions. Airbus employees in Spain whose jobs are not linked to production and assembly activities and can work from home will continue to support Airbus business continuity in these difficult times. As a leading company, Airbus needs to retain its ability to support the global crisis efforts, support customers, suppliers and continue to bring its essential contribution to society.


BOEING

Boeing announced a temporary suspension of production operations at its Puget Sound area facilities in light of the state of emergency in Washington state and the company’s continuous assessment of the accelerating spread of the coronavirus in the region. These actions are being taken to ensure the well-being of employees, their families and the local community, and will include an orderly shutdown consistent with the requirements of its customers. Boeing plans to begin reducing production activity and projects the suspension of such operations to begin on Wednesday, March 25, at sites across the Puget Sound area. The suspension of production operations will last 14 days, during which Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and its associated impacts on all company operations. During this time, we will be conducting additional deep cleaning activities at impacted sites and establishing rigorous criteria for return to work.

Editor’s Note: Boeing said they will be using 3D printing to develop and build face shields for medical personnel. They intend to transport the mask cargo on a Dreamliner – all this with their advanced technology and engineering personnel.


COVID-19


OTHER NEWS