It is April; therefore, it is that time of year where the international aviation world flocks to Hamburg, Germany in order to see and discuss the latest and greatest developments in inflight entertainment, connectivity, cabin interiors and a plethora of other aviation related innovations. Not to mention the prestigious Crystal Cabin Awards, which will be announced on Tuesday 2 April for the leading innovations and concepts of the past 12 months. This year is particularly noteworthy as AIX is celebrating its 20th birthday.

IFExpress looks forward to seeing and hearing about your company’s latest technology developments over the coming week and if you need to reach out to us during the Expo please send an email to plwiseman@gmail.com

But now, lets get down to some of the highlights from the past week’s news and a few companies you should be sure to visit during AIX.


Astronics

Astronics will demonstrate several new technologies at this week’s AIX in Hamburg, Germany, in Stand 3B30. The new technologies bring together a set of power, connectivity, interiors, and other solutions that will help airlines and airframe manufacturers improve the passenger flight experience while providing cost and operational efficiencies.

Smart Sensing on the Aircraft: The company will demonstrate its pioneering Smart Aircraft System technology, which includes the innovative Intelligent Bin Solution, as well as additional features to detect the presence of passengers and other aircraft sensor data. This patented system uses Internet of Things (IoT) wireless technologies to detect and report in real time the status of various sensor data, such as remaining space available in overhead bins, passenger seat occupancy, and early detection of Lithium ion battery outgassing. “Our new Smart Aircraft System integrates hundreds of advanced sensors with our webCS wireless communication server to collect and present meaningful data to crew members on their portable electronic devices,” explains Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology. “Crew members and gate agents can know exactly when to start checking bags and reduce boarding times. Additionally, they can understand when a seat is occupied and positioned for taxi takeoff and landing at a glance rather than a time-consuming walkthrough. There are a multitude of uses for this new system, which brings new data and insights into the hands of the crew in order to increase airline operational efficiency.” The Intelligent Bin Solution is shortlisted in the AIX Crystal Cabin Awards, and expected to start airline trials later this year. Learn more about Astronics Smart Aircraft Initiatives.

Astronics will also preview some initial concepts for next-generation passenger service units (PSUs) in the booth. Intended to generate feedback and discussion with conference attendees and customers, the exploratory demonstration units will include features including finish treatments, smart technology additions, customer interface, and other features. “The PSU is the unsung hero of the cabin environment, and we envision it can serve the passenger experience and the airline better than it does today,” said Dave Freund, President of Astronics PECO. “We are previewing these concepts for our customers so that as we go to develop next generation PSUs, we are working in partnership with them to meet their specific needs for safety, aesthetics, and technology. Astronics is also a pioneer in aircraft smart technology innovation, and we believe that some of the new features we can now offer will excite the industry.” See more about Astronics PSUs.

Finally, in the smart aircraft category, Astronics PGA will demonstrate its smart wireless handset, the GemOne, which is shortlisted for a Crystal Cabin Award. From this single device, premium jet passengers can operate IFE and cabin systems, order meals, make telephone calls, and more. See details on the Smart Wireless Handset.

Inflight Connectivity Innovations: Astronics will preview a variety of inflight connectivity innovations at the show including the new E-Series electronically steered array (ESA) antenna system, developed by Astronics AeroSat in partnership with Phasor. Available in three sizes, the E-Series will provide Ku-band connectivity and offer multi-beam capacity for GEO/HTS, MEO, and LEO satellite networks.  Ultra-low in profile, the E-Series supports the “make before break” requirement of non-geo networks. “We are creating some very exciting new technology with this product, and we think the new E-Series will provide seamless connectivity for both new and existing networks while providing a true, solid-state, active array antenna system. This provides a lot of advantages for airlines, network operators, and most importantly the customer and their inflight connectivity experience,” explained Matt Harrah, President of Astronics AeroSat.

For connectivity routing inside the cabin, Astronics CSC will bring its next-generation Summit Line products of inflight connectivity hardware. Attendees can expect to see new versions of the Encompass portable wireless IFE system as well as traditional servers, content loaders, personal control units, and wireless access points. “Our inflight connectivity system is the most widely adopted infrastructure in the industry today, and we continue to add innovative features, such as security enhancements like WPA3, 10Gb Ethernet, Bluetooth low-energy, and 802.11ax, all meant to increase speed and reliability in our already robust and successful product line,” said Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics CSC.

Previewing Li-Fi Applications for Aircraft: PDT, an Astronics Company, will demonstrate some new potential applications for the emerging technology of Li-Fi, in a collaboration with pureLiFi. Li-Fi leverages light to send information, in contrast to Wi-Fi, which uses radio waves. Proven capable of transferring data at an unprecedented several Gigabits per second in multiple channels, Li-Fi could eventually empower passengers to download an HD video in just a few seconds, or transfer data on and off the aircraft, for example.

“We’re building on the conversations we’ve had with customers over the past several months, and in addition to showing how Li-Fi can deliver passenger connectivity, we’ll be demonstrating the immense advantages available with an aircraft data link application,” said Mark Schwartz, Vice President of PDT, an Astronics Company. ”Come by the booth to see how aircraft data can be transferred, wirelessly, between terminals and aircraft in seconds.”

Powered Solutions: Keeping passengers’ electronic devices (PEDs) powered is even more important in today’s aircraft as more airlines depend on these devices to generate ancillary revenue through content delivery and Wi-Fi purchases. In support of this demand, Astronics will demonstrate a myriad of innovations including the recently introduced wireless charging module as well as their new High Efficiency EmPower USB Type-C PED charging system.

Astronics will also have its airframe power system, CorePower, on display in the booth. This system will feature a new 115VAC version of its recently introduced Electronic Circuit Breaker Unit,  which replaces conventional thermal mechanical circuit breakers and functions as both a breaker and a switch for controlling loads.

Innovation at the Core: Astronics brings a long history of innovation and the successful introduction of new technologies and products to market, including the EmPower passenger in-seat power technology that has had a profound impact on the passenger experience. The new technology explorations plus proven systems can provide a foundation for future aircraft manufacturers, airlines, IFE providers, and other industry participants to improve experiences for passengers while also improving cost and time efficiencies for aircraft operators.

“Astronics has broad expertise in many technologies that we are combining into integrated solutions,” said Mark Peabody, Executive Vice President of Astronics Corporation. “Our goal is to sit side-by-side with our customers in a collaborative way to find new ways to solve their challenges.”


Kros-Wise Aviation Group

Right now, many of us are getting ready to attend this week’s AIX Hamburg and one of the primary topics of the show will inevitably be connectivity, as it has been for the past 15+ years. However, if you are not an expert in telecommunications and satellite technology, you may well come away from your various interviews more perplexed by the various options and which offering would best suit your airline passengers needs and expectations.

At most airlines, the responsibility for IFC tends to be assigned to the team that is responsible for inflight entertainment equipment and content, supported by Engineering. But since the technologies for providing inflight connectivity are relatively new to the airline industry and are primarily based on telecommunications and satellite industry standards, it is not surprising that few airline organizations have the properly trained staff to do the time consuming and detailed analysis required to compare the available options. As a result, airlines can often become frustrated and/or confused when confronted with the myriad of sometimes conflicting data.

But it is of course very important that these analyses be accurate and complete, given the large capital and service costs associated with purchase, installation, certification, and operation of IFC systems. Capital, installation, and certification costs alone can sometimes approach $1 Million US dollars per aircraft.

As IFC systems improve over time and new applications become available, those systems are capable of serving an increasing variety of airline needs. In order for the airline to select an IFC solution which is best for them, the first step is to develop a detailed Requirements Document. This can be challenging since the capabilities of IFC systems are constantly changing, so it can sometimes be difficult for the airline to even know what to ask for, especially since every airline’s requirements are different.

Listed below are a few high-level examples of issues related to an airline’s specific requirements:

  • Satellite vs. ATG
  • Ku-band vs. Ka-band
  • GEO vs. LEO or MEO satellites
  • Satellite Earth Station (teleport) Locations
  • Geographical Coverage Requirements
  • Capacity and Throughput Metrics (CIR/MIR)
  • Data Speed and Variance, Latency, jitter, etc.
  • Supplier Product/Service Roadmap
  • System Flight Demonstrations
  • Cost of Aerodynamic Drag and Weight
  • ARINC Standard Compliance
  • ISP Service Provision
  • Social Media support
  • Live TV Capability
  • Data Security and Privacy
  • High Latitude Coverage Capability
  • Skew factor
  • Tail Blockage of Antenna
  • Atmospheric Attenuation
  • Software Update Process

And these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Realizing that airlines require assistance with the IFC selection process, Kros-Wise Aviation Group has assembled a team of highly experienced staff and developed a disciplined process which can cost effectively help the airline ensure that they make the best decisions. In September 2018 they launched a unique new service to help airlines make better and faster decisions on connectivity systems and service. This process is called Connectivity Assist. Utilization of this process can save airlines millions of dollars over the term of their IFC contracts.

Kros-Wise is a professional services and product development firm which was founded in 2004 and currently has approximately 150 full-time employees. The company headquarters is in San Diego, California. It is a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB).

“Our new Connectivity Assist process provides a simple, fast, and cost-effective way for airlines to augment their expertise on a short-term basis and ensure that they obtain the maximum benefit from their substantial IFC investment,” says Lily Aragon, CEO of Kros-Wise. “We brought together the top experts in the IFC industry and worked hard to develop a process that ensures that the airline avoids any nasty ‘surprises,’ while allowing them to minimize expenditures and increase passenger satisfaction.”

Kros-Wise has extensive experience providing support to IT Programs for US Navy and other US Government Organizations, and to aviation and satellite equipment and service providers. The Kros-Wise team is highly experienced in IFE and Connectivity systems, service, installation design and support, and the associated FAA/CAA certification. Kros-Wise employs senior level staff who have extensive experience working with companies across the aviation and IFE-C industries. These companies include: Gogo, Inmarsat, Iridium, Panasonic Avionics, ViaSat, Virgin America, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, US Navy, and United Airlines.

Kros-Wise also provides the following types of services related to inflight entertainment, connectivity, cabin management systems, galleys, and aircraft interiors:

  • Inflight Connectivity Requirements Definition and Comparative Analysis
  • Aircraft Surveys
  • Aircraft Installation Design
  • Aircraft Certification
  • Aircraft Installation Project Management
  • Program Management
  • Flight Test Planning, Implementation and Support
    • Kros-Wise has an ATP and FAR Part 135 rated pilot on staff, with type ratings in B-737 and A320-series aircraft
  • Flight Manual Supplements
  • Aerodynamic Analysis and BirdStrike Substantiation
  • Flight Vibration & Buffet Substantiation
  • Supplier/Vendor Management
  • Systems Engineering
  • Aircraft ‘C’ and ‘D’ Check Management and Support
  • LRU and Component Design
  • Power Load Analysis
  • Proficiency in CATIA, Cadkey, Autocad and SolidWorks
  • Structural Substantiation
  • Fatigue & Damage Tolerance

Kros-Wise will be attending AIX Hamburg. You may get in contact with them via the following information:

Bill Peltola, VP Business Development – bill.peltola@kroswise.com – +64-21-861-954

Ken Larson, CTO – ken.larson@kroswise.com   Mobile +1-619-674-0098


Panasonic Avionics

Mark Jennings, Chief Operating Officer at Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), commented on the acquisition of Newtec by ST Engineering’s subsidiary, Singapore Technologies Engineering (Europe) Ltd, stating, “This investment by ST Engineering is an important milestone for both Panasonic and its customers.” Jennings noted that, “We believe that the combined new business will speed time to market and accelerate the innovation cycles needed to best serve our inflight connectivity customers. In fact, Newtec’s bandwidth efficiency and Ultra High Throughput technologies with iDirect’s seamless global bandwidth and network management capabilities have the potential to be unrivalled in the market. Jennings continued, “Newtec’s modem has played a key role in our global Ku-band high throughput satellite service, and we have an aggressive plan to upgrade all remaining and future aircraft to this technology. We have shared our future development plan with the combined ST Engineering team, and they are ready to meet that schedule. Panasonic Avionics has over 3,600 aircraft committed to its global high throughput satellite service. Today, there are over 2,000 aircraft connected to its Ku-band network. More than 780 aircraft are currently using the Newtec modem, and the company expects to have all currently equipped aircraft upgraded to this technology by the end of 2019.


Mythopoeia

Mythopoeia is delighted to announce that after a successful implementation of Business Class that it has just completed an installation of Air Cloud for Air Greenland economy class cabin. Mythopoeia is again partnering with SR Technics in Zurich to complete the overall delivery of the system from Seat modification, STC package and Installation. Air Cloud is a low-cost wireless seat back IFE display system. The systems comprise the very latest wireless standards delivering content to the displays. Files are stored locally at the display making the system fully redundant and offering no interruptions to the passengers viewing experience. The Economy class cabin features 18” monitors mounted on bulkheads to display Moving map, company promotional info and safety videos. Air Greenland worked with Mythopoeia to develop a Graphic User Interface that reflects the unique identity and brand of the Airline. Katja Vahl, Sales and Marketing manager worked closely with the team to implement a unique theme including northern lights, Mother of the sea and the flying Angakkoq known as the shaman in the old days. These wonders, myths and characters played a vital part in the daily life of the ancient Greenlanders, who learnt moral code through oral traditions. Today, they are part of the social fabric that ties Greenlandic people together. – The integration has delivered a unique, customised and tailored experience for our customers, said Katja. 2.1 amps of USB power is provided at each display to allow Air Greenland’s customers to charge their PED devices and the system has a fully integrated PSS functionality for reading light and attendant call. Air Cloud displays feature the very latest quad core processing technology. Air Cloud offers a wide range of software features from revenue generating applications, apps as well as Hollywood Movie Content.

On another note, Mythopoeia wins tender with Rossiya Airlines to replace Passenger Service Systems (PSS) for 8 X B747 aircraft. Mythopoeia’s solution provides full integration with both ACESS and CSS platforms. A challenge facing operators when transitioning/upgrading wide body aircraft is the need to control the “reading light” and “attendant call” PSS functions delivered by the existing IFE system. The traditional solution requires installation of a dedicated PSS replacement that requires seat and CAM modification at significant cost and no quality of service enhancement. The PSS system provides a unique off seat solution making it convenient to install. Mythopoeia is again partnering with SR Technics to deliver a complete turnkey solution to include STC package & seat modification. 2.1 amps of USB power is provided at each display to allow customers to charge their PED devices. The overall combination of the right product and ease of integration makes it very interesting product and we are happy to cooperate with MHL for this project.


Airbus

  • AIX: Airbus showcases its latest cabin innovations at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany – the world’s largest event dedicated to the aircraft interiors industry, in-flight entertainment, connectivity and passenger services. At the Airbus stand this year (Hall B5, Stand 5A20), Airbus will display the latest full-scale Airspace cabin mock-ups for the A320 – including its new overhead Airspace XL Bins and full-flat seats for long range comfort; and an A220 cabin mock-up with both business and economy seats – demonstrating how this aircraft offers the leading cabin experience in any small single-aisle aircraft. Moreover, the booth will also feature the ‘Day & Night’ premium concept for the A350 XWB; and there will also be an A320 Upgrade Services mock-up. Virtual Reality Gears will allow visitors to experience all aircraft cabins. Airbus is also leading the field with new innovations in the cabin, notably with our IoT-enabling “Connected Experience”, creating a cabin ecosystem which seamlessly connects cabin elements to provide a personalized passenger experience. In addition, Airbus is providing a glimpse of the future flying experience with our new ‘Cabin Vision 2030’ – inspired by airlines, tech companies and start-ups. At the stand, visitors can also explore what’s new in terms of possible seat innovations for passengers’ comfort and airlines’ differentiation and efficiency. This year Airbus is proud to have been shortlisted twice in the prestigious Crystal Cabin Awards for the following achievements: The “Lower-Deck Passenger Experience Modules”, in cooperation with Safran; and also for the new “X-tend Seat” concept over-wing exit seat for single-aisle aircraft. The Crystal Cabin Awards ceremony is held on the evening of Tuesday 2nd where the winners will be revealed.
  • AIRBUS/EU Counter Measures: Airbus welcomes the report of the WTO Appellate Body, which confirms that the United States failed to withdraw the subsidies granted by federal, state and local authorities to Boeing, and to remove the harm those subsidies caused to Airbus.
    The Appellate Body has rejected every single United States argument whereas it has taken all EU legal points on board. In addition, the WTO highest court has also qualified a number of additional US federal and state programs as illegal subsidies, and even, as prohibited subsidies as in the case of the Foreign Sales Corporation scheme (FSC), a major win for the EU. The report requests that further compliance steps are necessary from the United States and Boeing. Failure to do so will provide the European Union the possibility to seek countermeasures on imports of US products. Airbus General Counsel John Harrison stated: “This is a clear victory for the EU and Airbus. It vindicates our position that Boeing, while pointing fingers at Airbus, has not taken any action to comply with its WTO obligations, contrary to Airbus and the EU. With this damaging report, continuing to deny they receive massive illegal subsidies from the United States government is no longer an option. Stated differently, absent settlement, the US will pay – in perpetuity – billions in annual sanctions driven by every single flying Boeing program, while the EU would face, in the worst case, only minor issues.
    He added: “We hope that these findings will prompt the United States and Boeing to move forward constructively in this long-standing dispute and join us in working towards a fair-trade environment. In the absence of a constructive approach, the EU now has a very strong legal case to move forward to countermeasures.” Airbus thanks the European Commission and the governments of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain for their continuous support throughout the long dispute process. Their longstanding efforts to restore a fair level playing field are now clearly showing results.
  • Evelop Airlines, the Spanish carrier of Barceló Group’s Ávoris travel division, has taken delivery of its first of two A350 XWBs, the world’s most modern and eco-efficient aircraft family. The second aircraft will be delivered in 2020. The A350-900, on lease from Air Lease Corporation, will be based at Madrid Barajas – Adolfo Suárez airport and deployed on long-haul routes to Caribbean destinations. It features a high comfort single class configuration with 432 seats. Passengers will enjoy more personal space, the quietest cabin of any twin-aisle aircraft and the latest generation cabin products, including individual onboard in-flight entertainment.
Bluebox Wow to be deployed on Air Transat’s mixed fleet, including A310s, A321ceos, A321neos, and Boeing B737s 
Dunfermline, UK | March 28, 2019– Passengers on board Air Transat flights will soon be able to access free in-flight entertainment delivered by Bluebox Wow thanks to an agreement reached between the airline and Bluebox Aviation Systems. The Bluebox Wow portable wireless streaming platform will be deployed on Air Transat’s fleet in an arrangement designed to meet both seasonal demands on the airline’s fleet and the additional temporary aircraft it brings in to meet that demand – ensuring both flexibility and consistency of IFE services. The deployment, which is awaiting final Transport Canada approvals, will see Bluebox Wow in service on a range of both narrow- and wide-body aircraft, including Airbus A310s, A321ceos, A321neos, and Boeing B737s. Initially, the deployment is expected to include 17 aircraft during the summer 2019 season but will expand to 38 aircraft for the winter season.

“Offering a seamless IFE experience across a fleet like ours, with different aircraft types and some only joining our fleet for seasonal deployment, is a challenge,” said Dave Bourdages, Vice President In-Flight Services and Customer Experience, Air Transat. “Introducing Bluebox Wow across all of these aircraft resolves that challenge and will deliver the same high-quality experience to all. Bluebox Wow offers a powerful range of capabilities and we are excited to deploy a system upon which we can further develop our in-cabin experience”
“One of the key benefits of Bluebox Wow is its flexibility – and we are proving that with this agreement with Air Transat,” said Kevin Clark, CEO, Bluebox. “Whether deploying on single- or twin-aisle aircraft, the powerful streaming and networking capabilities of Bluebox Wow ensure a consistent IFE experience across a variety of aircraft types. Along with the ability to move the boxes between different aircraft in a mixed fleet, Bluebox Wow offers an extremely flexible solution for operators such as Air Transat with a fleet profile that varies greatly as it responds to seasonal market demand.”
Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including up to 1.6 terabytes of film, TV, audio, games and other digital content. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, Bluebox Wow is a stand-alone, portable, lunchbox-sized unit stowed securely in overhead bins.

Pleinfeld, Germany | March 28, 2019–

Today’s passengers and flight crew require secure, real-time connections through texting, phone calls, social media, email, transferring information, and streaming videos. GORE® Microwave/RF Assemblies is helping SmartSky Networks launch the next-generation of inflight connectivity above the clouds. They selected Gore’s vapor-sealed 7 Series for their new inflight connectivity system that provides travelers with a true 4G LTE air-to-ground (ATG) connection in aircraft such as the Embraer ERJ-135 operated by JetSuiteX.

SmartSky’s inflight connectivity system using Gore’s 7 Series has just received STC (Supplemental Type Certificate) approval for the Embraer ERJ-145. The certificate is required by the U.S. FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) for any modifications to an aircraft’s original design. Gore worked closely with SmartSky’s STC partners to ensure the reliability of the system in a moisture-rich environment. With more than 1,200 in service, the ERJ-145 is the largest twin-engine regional jet in a family that also includes the ERJ-135 and ERJ-140.

“Gore’s well-earned reputation within the industry made choosing their routable cable assembly technology an easy decision,” said Darren Emery, Vice President for Product Support at SmartSky. “Gore’s 7 Series is high performance and exceptionally reliable, enabling a real fit-and-forget installation to exceed our customers’ expectations now and for many years to come.”

“SmartSky’s innovative system, combined with our vapor-sealed assemblies, will enable an extremely compelling user experience and set a new standard for the industry,” said Jeremy Moore, Global Product Specialist for Gore’s Civil Aerospace Team.

High-Quality Signal Transmission

GORE Microwave/RF Assemblies, 7 Series with robust connector options improve signal integrity and speed with low loss up to 40 GHz making them an ideal solution for SmartSky’s new high-speed ATG technology. They are designed precisely to prevent the ingress of water vapor, fuel, and other hazardous contaminants commonly found in airborne environments. With smaller diameters, more flexibility and tighter bend radius, these assemblies also meet the complex routing requirements of SmartSky’s tight platforms without breaking or failing.

Gore’s 7 Series was also instrumental in helping SmartSky continue to stay on schedule with deploying their King Air B200 airborne test platform developed to optimize their new ATG network and test future technologies and applications.

The vapor-sealed 7 Series complement Gore’s broad catalog of aerospace solutions — including coaxial and microwave/RF assemblies, high-speed data cables, aircraft sealants and more. Gore’s high- performance aerospace solutions will be on display at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany on 2-4 April in Booth 2E60. For more information, visit gore.com/aix2019 or contact a Gore applications specialist at electronics.usa@wlgore.com.

March 29, 2019– Flame Distribution is launching over 240 hours of new content this spring ahead of Seatrade Cruise Global in Miami and APEX Multi Media Market in Dublin. The varied slate acquired from around the world spans genre from factual, lifestyle & reality, kids to documentary.

Some of the highlights include Seven Ages of Elvis (Raydar Media & Fireball TV), Sky Arts’ highly acclaimed documentary looking, forty years on from his death, at the legacy of Elvis Presley through the lens of seven key stages of his life.

The Kimberley Cruise (Mint Pictures) takes slow TV enthusiasts across the 1001 nautical miles of rugged coastline between Broome and Darwin in Australia’s north-west, following the route of Muslim traders, Japanese pearlers, European explorers, pirates and refugees.

Appetite for Adventure! (The Posh One Studios) is a hybrid lifestyle series that blends cooking, adventure, fashion and travel!

From the kind of strange to the just plain bizarre, one-off documentary America’s Most Unusual Festivals(Moshman Productions) explores the craziest annual celebrations that the USA has to offer.

Science series The Curious Mind (Ruckus Media) explores the miracles of the human mind with the help of Baby X, one of the most advanced Artificial Intelligence models on the planet.

Documentary Iceland: In Search of the Eight Legged Horse (Bacchus Films) explores the link between Odin’s mythological eight legged horse and its Icelandic four legged ancestor.

Popular returning titles include long running travel series Getaways (Waddell Media) which take viewers around the world to experience the highlights of popular holiday destinations.

The second series of travel programme My Greek Odyssey (The Rusty Cage) skips from island to island, taking in the sites of Greece’s Northern Aegean and Western Cycladic.

In Billionaire Wonderland (Waddell Media), Sherlock star Yasmine Akram visits the very different playgrounds of the super-rich – New York & the Hamptons, the Cote d’Azur, Mallorca & Ibiza, Dubai and Los Angeles.

Thomas Gould, VP Content Sales, Worldwide Transport & Digital at Flame Distribution, who will be attending both Seatrade Cruise Global and APEX Multi Media Market, commented:  “Flame is excited to bring another diverse slate of content from around the world to Transport buyers worldwide.  We know that our clients will love the new content we have on offer as well as the returning series which perform so well with global audiences.”

Martillac, France | March 29, 2019–

Beyond plain Inflight Entertainment

In less than 6 years, PXCom’s flagship end-to-end solution, XPLore by PXCom, widely enables airlines and their partners to manage any kind of content material regardless of the hardware platform. Additionally, XPLore by PXCom delivers natively-integrated editorial content, sponsored content, engaging passengers throughout the entire journey (pre-, in- and post-flight) in a consistent way via various channels (mobile, web, and of course IFE/C).

Thanks to such cutting-edge technology, that can be integrated on the existing hardware, the airlines can now benefit from a comprehensive Inflight Services platform, serving both the passengers and the airline crew, up-in-the-air as well as on-the-ground. Such services are dedicated to reducing IFE/C-involved costs, generating direct and indirect ancillary revenues, whilst elevating the passengers experience.

PXCom is excited to launch its new 360° consulting offering to the IFE/C industry at Hamburg.

Relying on its success stories and the expertise developed through the large variety of managed projects, PXCom now offers airlines the only platform-agnostic one-stop- shop experience. From a 3-day audit focused on the project’s very early stages, to the daily IFE/C project management once rolled out, airlines are supplied with a holistic approach.

“At PXCom we don’t claim having the full range of expertise internally”, mentions Cyril JEAN, PXCom’ CEO and co-founder, “However, we federate more than 40 partners ranging from hardware testing to passengers marketing. Thanks to that, our customers benefit from independent consulting of the utmost value, from very specific topics, to a full project management support, enabling them to take the best decisions meeting their expectations, requirements and constraints.”

Meet PXCom at AIX Hamburg on #3C30B in the IFEC zone

Luxury charter company to deploy Bluebox Wow portable wireless IFE on its three B737-500s 

Dunfermline, UK | March 26, 2019– Luxury charter company Oryx Jet will deploy Bluebox’s portable wireless IFE platform – Bluebox Wow – across its three Boeing B737-500 aircraft in May. Bluebox Wow’s flexibility ensures that passengers will enjoy a range of movies, TV programmes, games and a moving map when flying across Europe and the Middle East, whether on board one of Oryx Jet’s 56-seat, 100-seat or 148-seat configurations.

“Whether flying private individuals or sports teams such as the Portuguese national football team, we want to deliver the best experience for our passengers, and with Bluebox Wow we’re able to enhance that experience with in-flight entertainment,” said Capt. Hamayoun Ashraf, Managing Director, Oryx Jet. “As a charter airline we wanted a flexible solution that would suit the type of flights we operate, and also needed a solution that wouldn’t require costly changes to our recently refurbished interiors.”

“We’re pleased one of the key attributes of Bluebox Wow – its flexibility – continues to win over customers like Oryx Jet,” said Kevin Clark, CEO, Bluebox. “Whether for charter flights, an expanding fleet or even a mixed fleet, the power, flexibility and portability of Bluebox Wow combine to offer operators a simple solution for delivering IFE where more traditional systems are too rigid and costly to install.”

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

Before we get started on IdeaNova’s new content security solution for aircraft entertainment data we should tell our readers that as inflight entertainment content is getting to be higher quality, as you might guess, movie providers are getting more concerned about hacking and content copying because they have a lot invested in it. Thus, the value of secured DRM is a bigger deal, and security solutions are what will provide travelers with newly released content. So, along came IdeaNova and their solutions.

The above IFExpress rectangle is the graphic that accompanies IdeaNova’s press release (IdeaNova Technologies, Inc) for their new hardware secured server platform. We thought our readers might be interested in seeing a bit more about the company as you will see and hear more about them in the coming months. We asked their industry advisor, Rich Salter (who many of you know), and he helped us with understanding the next generation of software-based entertainment security. First, we wanted a bit more information for our readers and the company told us: “With new requirements put in place by studios for onboard DRM license servers, IdeaNova, a leader in Inflight Entertainment (IFE) and secure streaming, announced it is the first to implement these procedures with the launch of its Hardware Secured Server Platform. The new Secure DRM Server, which expands the integrity for all high-quality streaming security needs, can generate DRM licenses for video on demand or live streaming content.”

When we set out to explain this new ‘system security feature’ we contacted IdeaNova and asked a few questions. Rich Salter told IFExpress: “Those of you who have been at recent APEX TECH conferences may recall that Juraj Siska (IdeaNova’s CEO) and Phil Watson (Panasonic) have been reporting on their efforts to update our APEX document 0415 to add security provisions for premium content (e.g., HD and early window). IdeaNova is one of the very few companies in our IFE space that really understands the inner-workings of cloud content preparation (encoding/encryption/packaging content in the cloud), DRM license servers and onboard servers to stream the encrypted content to passengers, and secure video players (to decrypt the content and display it at the seat). The few companies that really understand this are key to all of us continuing to get HD and early window content at the seat. I originally met Juraj (IdeaNova) a couple years ago at a TECH conference. Then, I was referred to him again when I called a major DRM provider to get a referral to a consultant to help my previous company out of a DRM player jam (he fixed our DRM SW problem in about a week!)” Rich went on: “IdeaNova is HQ’d in Naperville, Illinois (just west of the windy city of Chicago), and they have employees around the world doing SW development. CEO Juraj Siska, (a recent IFEC BUZZ speaker) and CTO Janne Pelkonen and their SW team are experts at processing content for IFE in the cloud and providing onboard servers and players to keep early window content secure (i.e., keeping the studios happy and airlines happy in streaming content to passengers’ devices).”

We asked a few more questions and the company responded:

1. Why was the security software developed?

IdeaNova: “The new server is more secure. It provides security that studios are asking for. This is especially the case for content that falls into the category of ‘early window content’ or ‘higher quality content’.”

2. How it was developed?

IdeaNova: “It was developed internally by our engineers by redesigning our Inplay License Servers from scratch. When we learned that these new requirements were requested by studios and likely to be approved by APEX, we started with the development. The process was not simple, as we were learning new technology and had to deploy our software on platforms we were not familiar with up to that point.”

3. How about a little history of the company and its founder for our readers?

IdeaNova: “The company has a decade of history of building secure streaming systems (IFE) for aviation. Both Juraj Siska and Janne Pelkonen have several decades of experience in IT consulting.“

4. Well then, can you tell our readers what the content industry is saying about the design?

IdeaNova: “We are reviewing this solution with the studios and IFE vendors. Some of the IFE vendors are excited about this implementation and complemented us on the speed of deployment (we are the first in the industry) and ability to migrate it easily from the prior versions of our software.”

Juraj added: “Hardware secured” server means that DRM cryptographic operations and certain security functions are executed in special hardware, which is separate from the main processing unit, making it harder to compromise and almost impossible to replicate for malicious purposes. This is unlike traditional software implementations where software is much easier to copy.”

We then asked Rich what pieces of hardware and software IdeaNova provided, and he told IFExpress: “One clarification: the hardware chip on the motherboard is not IdeaNova’s chip; rather, it is an industry standardized chip. IdeaNova is the first to implement the chip’s use in the IFE market, as the studios are specifying that it be used for their latest HD and even higher quality content.

You can find more info on this here.

Trusted Platform Module (TPM, also known as ISO/IEC 11889) is an international standard for a secure cryptoprocessor, a dedicated microcontroller designed to secure hardware through integrated cryptographic keys. Stay Tuned on this one!


MORE NEWS

IFPL will be demonstrating their latest audio products that utilize Bluetooth technology at AIX Hamburg. A leader in passenger audio jack technology, IFPL deliver high quality sound and exceptional unit reliability giving an enhanced customer experience. The addition of Bluetooth technology to their ever-growing suite of products is an exciting development for the UK-based company.

IFPL’s Dave Phillips comments, “The growth of the range of products is in response to the growing demand from global airlines that rely on IFPL for innovative, design-led products. The key focus has been to reduce Customer Induced Damage (CID), therefore keeping the total cost of ownership low over the lifetime of the product.”

Phillips adds, “AIX 2019 is a fantastic opportunity to see the broad range of products that are now flying on many aircraft around the world and we look forward to showcasing our new Bluetooth technology Long Life audio jack.”
The following products will be available to view:

  • Bluetooth technology is now available in the highly reliable Long Life audio jack. This allows passengers to connect to a wireless or wired headset through the Bluetooth integrated unit.
  • Long Life is IFPL’s original audio jack range. Available in single, double and triple variants, the highly reliable audio jacks are designed to minimize CID. These jacks are incredibly robust and have been rigorously tested to over 100,000 insertions.
  • Rapid Fit audio jacks enable fast maintenance turn-arounds, achieved in less than 30 seconds with a cost-effective replacement cassette. This low-cost cassette contains the jack, allowing the key electronics to be protected in the main housing.
  • Integrated Noise Cancelling Audio Module (INCAM) cancels noise in the jack rather than the headset. This keeps the headset cost low and passengers can still enjoy the benefit of noise cancelling technology.
  • MagSignal innovative technology virtually eliminates CID thanks to the magnetic plug. A headset can be pulled from any angle without damaging the jack or the headset, significantly prolonging the life of both components.
    MARCH 2019
  • Push Through Pins causing audio failure are a thing of the past. Broken pins are simply pushed through to a collector at the back of the unit.

Visit AIX 2019 to experience the latest integrated Bluetooth audio products and innovative solutions at Booth 4B20.


THALES
Thales to lead EU project on drone geofencing technologies to secure future U-space Paving the way for future drone traffic increase, SESAR Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) is supporting the European Commission U-space initiative by researching and developing new services for safe, efficient and secure access to airspace of a large number of drones. The Geosafe project is part of the founding services for the development of drones operation. Engaged in the creation of solutions that will make tomorrow’s mobility possible, Thales will manage the project, supported by the competences of Aeromapper, AirMap, Atechsys and SPH Engineering.


AIRBUS
Airbus and China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS) signed a General Terms Agreement (GTA) covering the purchase by Chinese airlines of a total of 300 Airbus aircraft. The GTA was signed in Paris, France by Guillaume Faury, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and future Airbus CEO, and Jia Baojun, Chairman of CAS, in the presence of visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron. The GTA comprises of 290 A320 Family aircraft and 10 A350 XWB Family aircraft, reflecting the strong demand in all market segments including domestic, low cost, regional and international long haul from Chinese carriers. According to Airbus’ latest China Market Forecast 2018 to 2037, China will need some 7,400 new passenger and freighters aircraft in the next 20 years. It represents more than 19 percent of the world total demand for over 37,400 new aircraft.
By the end of January 2019, the in-service Airbus fleet with Chinese operators totaled some 1,730 aircraft, of which 1,455 are A320 Family, and 17 are A350 XWB Family planes.
(Editor’s Note: This is interesting timing.)

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) has taken delivery of its first A380 at a special ceremony in Toulouse, becoming the 15th operator of the world’s largest passenger aircraft. The delivery ceremony was attended by ANA HOLDINGS President and CEO Shinya Katanozaka and hosted by Airbus CEO Tom Enders. ANA has ordered three A380s and will operate the aircraft on the popular route between Tokyo Narita and Honolulu from May 24. Each ANA A380 will feature a special livery depicting the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, also known as the Honu. The livery on the first aircraft is painted in blue, while the second will be green and the third orange.
ANA’s A380 is configured in a premium layout seating 520 passengers. The upper deck features eight suites in First Class, 56 Business Class seats that convert to fully flat beds and 73 Premium Economy seats. Economy Class is located on the main deck, where ANA offers a spacious layout seating 383 passengers, including 60 Couch Seats. The aircraft features ANA’s very latest in-flight entertainment systems, as well as full connectivity in all classes. Following today’s delivery to ANA, there are currently 232 A380s in service with 15 airlines worldwide, flying on 120 routes across the globe.


OTHER NEWS

Lake Forest, California | March 26, 2019–Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has today announced the appointments of senior executives to three key sales positions across its organization.

Panasonic Avionics today named Malcolm McKay Vice President of Sales. McKay will be responsible for accelerating and driving top-line annual growth for Panasonic Avionics and will develop and plan the company’s worldwide sales processes and methodologies.  He will oversee Sales Leaders over each product line including Digital Solutions, Software as a Service (SaaS), Panasonic Technical Services and Connectivity, Sales Operations & Enablement.

Mark Jennings, Chief Operating Officer at Panasonic Avionics said: “With his successful track record over many years at Panasonic Avionics, and given his wide knowledge of our customers and the overall air transport market, Malcolm is the ideal candidate to drive Customer Success across our broad portfolio of products and services. We are very excited to have him lead the cross-functional team responsible for identifying new opportunities for growth for our company.

McKay was previously Sales and Marketing Director, Europe for Panasonic, a position he had held since 2005.

In addition, Tom Eskola has been named Regional Vice President and General Manager for the Middle East, Central and Southern Asia and Africa (MECSAA) region, and Hernan Abbes has been named to the Regional Vice President and General Manager for the Americas and Oceania region.

Eskola and Abbes will play leading roles in accelerating and driving top-line annual growth, Customer Success and overall market share for the region in alignment with the overall business strategies. They will also be responsible for the regional P&L, managing all aspects of sales and marketing, customer service, field engineering, general management and corporate compliance in their regions.

Jennings added: “Throughout their careers here at Panasonic Avionics, Tom and Hernan have consistently provided thought leadership with an unwavering commitment to Customer Success and driving the company’s strategic initiatives. We believe that they will bring a track record of success to their positions, and that they will provide regional leadership to all employees and facilities in their organizations.”

Eskola was previously Head of Panasonic’s Customer Performance Center and joined the company in 2011.

Hernan was previously Senior Director for Americas & Oceania Regions and joined the company in 2011.

Jennings added: “We have long believed in recognizing and growing talent across our organization and are delighted to announce these promotions and the elevation of these skilled and proven executives to new leadership positions within Panasonic Avionics. Between them, we know that Tom, Hernan, and Malcolm will all play significant roles in the future growth and success of our Customers and our company.”

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


THALES

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

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


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


BOEING

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

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


OTHER NEWS

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


AIRBUS

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

BOEING

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

OTHER NEWS

 

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

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

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

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

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


IFPL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ASTRONICS

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


GOGO

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

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

THALES

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

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

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


IMMFLY (see image above)

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

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

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

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

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

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


AIRBUS

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

OTHER NEWS

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

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

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

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

A crew-friendly service

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

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

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

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

Flymingo Box : An Aircraft-Powered Device

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

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

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

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

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

Pictured above: The SmartSky & JetSuiteX team

SmartSky & JetSuiteX

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

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

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

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


APEX TECH Highlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


THALES

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


SITA

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


AIRBUS

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

BOEING

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS

 

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

2019 Predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NEWS

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


Others News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, lets get to work!


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


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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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


OTHER NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

Releases:

Other News:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Boeing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Gogo

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

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


Thales

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

Some key features on AVANT include:

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

Airbus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Other News

INMARSAT

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

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

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

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

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


AERKOMM

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


SKYLIGHTS

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

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

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

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

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

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


ATMOSPHERE

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

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

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

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

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


INTERVAL RESEARCH

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

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

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


GOGO

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


OFCOM/INMARSAT

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS

BOSE QuietControl 30

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

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

Headphones:

BOSE QC 3 – Wired Noise Cancelling

BOSE QC 35 – Wired/Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling

Earphones:

BOSE QuietComfort 20 – Acoustic Noise Cancelling (wired)

BOSE QuietControl 30 – Wireless Bluetooth Adjustable Noise Cancelling

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

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

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

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

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

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


INDUSTRY NEWS:

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

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

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

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


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


Spafax

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


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

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


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


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


OTHER NEWS:

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

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

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