Immfly

Airplane travel can often be a hectic experience. It is quite common for people who travel to feel stress, anxiety or to just worry about what comes next. In short, travel days are loaded with obligations. These obligations result in obstacles to thinking and living in the present.

For this reason, Immfly has partnered with Journey Meditation, the company on a mission to help all people lead happier, healthier lives. By integrating the meditation practice into the aircraft environment, the two companies aim to elevate the travel experience and improve flight journeys for a more peaceful passenger experience.

Journey Meditation was founded in 2015 when the company’s founder, Stephen Sokoler, identified the need to make meditation more approachable and accessible. The goal was simple but powerful: to help people live happier lives with greater clarity and peace of mind.

Journey is dedicated to giving people the opportunity to experience and embrace meditation principles in their daily routine. Through Journey LIVE, the company’s live group meditation app, users are able to participate in expertly led tutorials among a diverse and supportive community.

“We are thrilled to bring Journey LIVE into Immfly’s best-in-class flight experiences,” said Stephen Sokoler, Founder of Journey Meditation. “Travel can be particularly stressful and for some, quite nerve wracking. By bringing meditation aboard aircraft, we hope to improve the overall experience no matter where you are in your personal practice”.

Onboard Meditation Classes

Thanks to Immfly’s IFE & Digital Services, flying passengers can now enjoy 15-minute classes taught by Journey Meditation certified teachers worldwide. Travelers are guided by professionals who help bring mindfulness into everyday life.

Sessions on relieving stress and anxiety, improving performance, sleep and relationships and generally promoting happiness are provided in addition to guidance on the basic principles of learning how to meditate.

The partnership with Journey Meditation enables Immfly to deliver airline customers an even richer range of content with regularly updated videos which give passengers the privilege to watch content onboard which would normally be unavailable to the public at large. Following on their onboard experience, customers can choose to become subscribers to Journey Meditation’s app and continue benefiting from guidance in their daily lives.

Julia Maruny, Head of Content at Immfly adds “ The ability to pair our technology which enables dynamic delivery of fresh content onboard, with rich and relevant content that inspires well being, is something we are very proud of at Immfly. We are excited to be Journey Meditation’s first airline partner. Their mission to promote happiness and well being sits squarely with Immfly’s content strategy to enhance the onboard experience. ”

Unique Modules & SaaS Services
Recent: A digital well-being program for today’s society.

Wowing customers with premium content and unique modules is an essential pillar of Immfly’s proposition. Through constant innovation, the connected digital services company is constantly identifying new opportunities to create products and services that enable airlines deliver sustained differentiation and enhance passenger experience. With movies and TV shows, specialist content channels and incentives, activities in destination, audiobooks & e-books, 3D moving maps, interactive games, and now Journey Meditation’s well-being channel, Immfly’s content team is on a relentless mission to deliver fresh and enjoyable engagement onboard.

(Editor’s Note: I have not personally experienced the Journey Meditation app; however, I have used other meditation/relaxation apps and have found them to be very useful inflight in order to gain a few needed hours of sleep. They are also great when jet lag wakes you up at 2:00 a.m.!)


SITAONAIR
Vietnam Airlines (VN) is cementing its status as the country’s premier national carrier by becoming the first Vietnamese airline to offer inflight connectivity (IFC) – through a partnership with SITAONAIR and Inmarsat satellite telecommunications operator VISHIPEL. The collaboration will see the delivery of pioneering inflight internet services across its fleet, offering digitally-demanding passengers the onboard connectivity they want, and enabling them to stay connected with work and family. Partnering with long-standing Vietnamese satellite provider, VISHIPEL, has been integral to delivering this first-of-its-kind solution for the region. VISHIPEL has played an important role in Vietnam’s national development strategy for information and communication, and this regional expertise, together with SITAONAIR’s industry experience, has ensured that services are tailored for the Vietnamese market. Inflight Wi-Fi is now available aboard four of Vietnam Airlines’ A350 aircraft, making VN the first airline in the country to offer onboard Wi-Fi to meet high regional demand, enhancing the passenger experience and moving closer towards international 5-star quality standards, while digitally transforming its services. SITAONAIR’s best-in-class Internet ONAIR IFC portal will provide seamless Wi-Fi access to VN’s passengers, and enable exceptional levels of personalization and interactivity through customization, to reflect the airline’s own branding requirements.


Airbus
Airbus delivered the 1,000th A320neo Family aircraft. The aircraft, an A321neo produced in Hamburg, Germany, was delivered to Indian airline IndiGo. IndiGo is the world’s biggest customer for the A320neo Family with orders totaling 430 aircraft. Since its first NEO was delivered in March 2016, its fleet of A320neo Family has grown into the world’s largest with 96 aircraft operating alongside 129 A320s. In an extremely competitive aviation market, the fuel efficient A320 Family has been instrumental in IndiGo’s rise to become India’s largest airline by fleet size and passenger numbers. The A320neo Family is assembled at Airbus’ four global sites: Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; Tianjin, China; and Mobile, USA. The world’s first A320neo was delivered in January 2016 and the program has achieved milestones every year since: the first A321neo in 2017; the first A321LR in 2018 and the launch of the A321XLR in 2019. The A320neo program was designed with fuel efficiency in mind. Building on the A320ceo’s popularity, the aircraft delivers 20% reduced fuel burn as well as 50% less noise compared to previous generation aircraft. Seating up to 240 passengers, depending on cabin configuration, the A320neo Family features the widest single aisle cabin in the sky and incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets. At the end of September 2019, the A320neo Family had received more than 6,660 firm orders from close to 110 customers worldwide. Airbus delivered 71 aircraft (seven A220s; eight A320ceos; 40 A320neos; four A330s; 12 A350s and an A380) in September vs 69 in September 2018, and has so far delivered 571 of the 880-890 planned for 2019.

Thales and Airbus CyberSecurity, two European leaders in critical information systems and cybersecurity, join forces to support operators of vital importance against cyber attacks. Combining their sovereign products, Thales’s cyber attack detection system Cybels Sensor and the Airbus CyberSecurity’s Orion Malware solution will provide businesses and organizations with a qualified solution delivering unrivaled results. Solution offers unparalleled detection capacities and enables in-depth investigation, combining detection with incident response

Air Austral, France’s Réunion Island-based airline, signed a firm order for three A220 aircraft, Airbus’ newest family member. With this order Air Austral becomes the first A220 customer based in the Indian Ocean region. Benefiting from a 20% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, the A220s will enable Air Austral to reduce its costs and carbon footprint on international routes in the region. The design of the new clean sheet single-aisle aircraft allows for more seats, offering extra revenue potential to airlines, especially to those located in remote areas, and extra usable cargo volume capacity. The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market; it delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and widebody passenger 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 a 20 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft, along with significantly lower emissions and a reduced noise footprint. The A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft. The A220 had an order book of over 500 aircraft at the end of September 2019.


BOEING
Boeing announced that its Board of Directors  separated the roles of chairman and chief executive officer. Dennis  Muilenburg continues as CEO, president and a director. The board elected David L. Calhoun, current independent lead director, to serve as non-executive chairman. The board said splitting the chairman and CEO roles will enable Muilenburg to focus full time on running the company as it works to return the 737 MAX safely to service, ensure full support to Boeing’s customers around the world, and implement changes to sharpen Boeing’s focus on product and services safety. This decision is the latest of several actions by the board of directors and Boeing senior leadership to strengthen the company’s governance and safety management processes. Calhoun said, “The board has full confidence in Dennis as CEO and believes this division of labor will enable maximum focus on running the business with the board playing an active oversight role. The board also plans in the near term to name a new director with deep safety experience and expertise to serve on the board and its newly established Aerospace Safety Committee.” “I am fully supportive of the board’s action. Our entire team is laser-focused on returning the 737 MAX safely to service and delivering on the full breadth of our company’s commitments,” said Muilenburg.

The company delivered 26 aircraft (two 737NGs; 747-8F; four 767s; seven 777s; 12 787s) in September vs 87 in September 2018, and has to date delivered 302 aircraft in 2019 vs 568 a year ago.


Other News

Airbus at APEX Los Angeles

During APEX Expo in Los Angeles, Airbus discussed their in-flight trials of IoT connected cabin technologies on board an A350-900 Flight Lab aircraft. In doing so, Airbus becomes the first aircraft manufacturer to undertake such flight-testing of actual connected cabin innovations. The platform, known as the Airspace Connected Experience, was unveiled at the APEX Expo Boston in 2018. The airframer said this technology will usher in a new personalized experience for passengers and provide opportunities for improving airlines’ ancillary revenues and operational efficiencies.

The Flight Lab aircraft is one of the original A350-900 certification flight-test aircraft and is fitted with an Airspace cabin which now serves as the ideal platform to evaluate the new connected cabin technologies in flight. In conjunction with their best-in-class cabin partners, an initial set of working elements have been installed. These include prototypes of the Connected iSeat (Recaro), the Connected Galley (gategroup), a remote wireless cabin management control system, a large OLED display and importantly, the first step of Airbus’ new “IoT backbone” which includes an open software platform. These innovations are all now being tested in flight.

Airbus said that the connected cabin ecosystem will enable significant value-adding services for passengers, airlines and crews. Possible examples include:

  • Passengers will receive a more personalized travel experience specifically targeted to the individual needs and preferences, based on the available data. In particular this covers remote and pre-ordering of preferred meals, booking of private bin space, setting of individual seat positions as well as a tailor-made inflight IFE offer.
  • Airlines will be able to generate additional ancillary revenues through personalized retail and advertisement as well as new services, all enabled by the IoT approach. Furthermore, airlines will be able to improve their operational efficiency applying predictive maintenance, avoiding waste and making crew services more efficient. Other opportunities can easily be created and applied via apps.
  • Crews will find a better working environment and more efficient tools, digitally enabled by real-time data from the IoT platform throughout the cabin. A mobile smart device will allow crews to monitor and operate all components.

Customer-centric approach

The in-flight tests are part of their customer-centric approach, which began with workshops to create and prioritize innovative concepts, followed by an extensive phase of on-ground testing and customer evaluation of the connected elements. The subsequent testing of these innovations in an Airbus Flight Lab environment is key to bringing an integrated Connected Experience to fruition – being able to validate and refine them in a real airborne cabin. In particular, the tests allow the various elements to be operated and monitored during a normal flight cycle, especially with regard to the end-to-end data flow robustness within the systems and between them. The next steps will continue testing of the current setup, then close the feedback loop with airlines using Airbus’ Customer Experience Teams (CET) forum, by around year-end.

More Airbus News

  • Airbus SE notes the decision of the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding the level of countermeasures it authorizes the United States to impose on products from the European Union (EU). If the United States Trade Representative (USTR) chooses to impose tariffs on the importation of aircraft and/or aircraft components, this will create insecurity and disruption not only to the aerospace industry, but also to the broader global economy. Yet it is still avoidable. In the coming months, the WTO will determine the amount of tariff countermeasures the EU can impose on US products – including imported Boeing aircraft – in the parallel counter case regarding illegal subsidies to Boeing. The WTO has already found that the US failed to address illegal subsidies causing harm to Airbus. This will provide the EU with grounds to claim countermeasures on US products at a level that could exceed US sanctions. If applied, these tariffs on both sides will severely impact US and EU industries, putting high costs on the acquisition of new aircraft for both US and EU airlines. Aviation is a global industry. Evidence of that is the fact that close to 40 percent of Airbus’ aircraft-related procurement comes from US aerospace suppliers. This US supply chain supports 275,000 American jobs in 40 states through spending that has totaled $50 billion in the last three years alone. If tariffs are applied, the entire global industry will be harmed. The only way to prevent the negative effects of these tariff would be for the US and EU to find a resolution to this long-running dispute through a negotiated settlement.
  • Airbus inaugurated its highly automated fuselage structure assembly line for A320 Family aircraft in Hamburg, showcasing an evolution in Airbus’ industrial production system. With a special focus on manufacturing longer sections for the A321LR, the new facility features 20 robots, a new logistics concept, automated positioning by laser measurement as well as a digital data acquisition system. These will further support Airbus’ drive to improve both quality and efficiency while bringing an enhanced level of digitization to its industrial production system. For the initial section assembly, Airbus is using a modular, lightweight automated system, called “Flextrack”, with eight robots drilling and counter-sinking 1,100 to 2,400 holes per longitudinal joint. In the next production step, 12 robots, each operating on seven axes, combine the center and aft fuselage sections with the tail to form one major component, drilling, counter-sinking, sealing and inserting 3,000 rivets per orbital joint. Besides the use of robots, Airbus is also implementing new methods and technologies in material and parts logistics to optimize production, improve ergonomics and shorten lead times. This includes the separation of logistics and production levels, demand-oriented material replenishment as well as the use of autonomous guided vehicles. The Hamburg structure assembly facility is responsible for joining single fuselage shells into sections, as well as final assembly of single sections to aircraft fuselages. Aircraft parts are equipped with electrical and mechanical systems before eventually being delivered to the final assembly lines in France, Germany, China and the US.

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) announced the award of a new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) supplemental type certificate (STC) for installation of satellite communications (SATCOM) provisions on Boeing B777-300 and B777-300ER series aircraft. This award helps ensure consumers have the high-quality, in-flight connectivity that they have come to expect each time they fly. 

The specified FAA STC allows for the installation of structural provisions and the outside aircraft equipment package for a cabin upgrade incorporating a dual-band (Ka/Ku) terminal. The dual-band terminal allows for in-flight network switching across Ku- and Ka-band satellite networks, providing more reliable in-flight entertainment and communication access to travelers. 

The certified installation design follows a previously issued FAA STC for Airbus A320 series aircraft. CIT provided all design, qualification, approvals, and certification resources associated with the installation. The aircraft equipment packages were manufactured and conformed at the company’s facility in Franklin, Wis.

CIT leads the market in aerospace SATCOM applications, with over 2,500 installations delivered worldwide. From component manufacturing to fully-integrated engineered solutions, CIT has the capability and flexibility to support various consumer needs. Contact CIT via email for additional information.


Inmarsat
Inmarsat signed a contract with the European Space Agency for phase two of the ground-breaking Iris air traffic modernization program, which will include important flight trials across Europe to assess the service in a real operational environment. Iris is being developed to deliver powerful benefits to European aviation by enabling high bandwidth, cost-effective satellite-based datalink communications over Europe. The program contributes to the delivery of the ‘Single European Sky’, which focuses on modernizing air traffic management and air navigation efficiency. Satellite communications reduces the pressure on ground-based frequencies, which third party reports have indicated will be under significant capacity stress in the next 5-10 years.
As part of the program’s second phase, flight trials will be conducted on approximately 20 aircraft flying commercially over a six-month period starting in 2020, allowing Iris to be assessed in a real operational environment. Selected airlines will take part in the demonstration, with the support of leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), to evaluate the Iris program for air traffic control (ATC) and airline operational communications (AOC) across continental Europe. Also in this phase, Inmarsat will work with ESA to prepare for pan-European certification of the Iris service provider and define a distribution agreement. In addition, Inmarsat and its partners, such as Thales Alenia Space, will prepare for future air traffic control requirements through research & development and prototyping. This will include transitioning to the Aeronautical Telecommunications Network/Internet Protocol Suite (ATN/IPS) standard, which will make the service truly global. Iris was initiated in 2014, when ESA selected Inmarsat to lead a consortium of European technology companies to develop the program, including Airbus, Boeing, Honeywell and Thales, in addition to leading ANSPs across the continent, such as DFS (Germany), DSNA (France), ENAIRE (Spain), ENAV (Italy), EUROCONTROL MUAC (North-West Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) and NATS (UK). Iris is powered by Inmarsat’s award-winning SB-S digital aircraft operations platform operating on its L-band network that has underpinned global safety services for 40 years. Inmarsat is scheduled to launch two new, advanced L-band payloads to join its existing fleet in 2020 and 2021, further cementing the company’s long-term commitment to the highly reliable safety communications services it offers to the aviation community over this spectrum.


Boeing
Boeing is funding the creation of a state-of-the-art laboratory facility dedicated to the research and testing of autonomous aerial vehicles within Stanford University’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The Boeing Flight & Autonomy Laboratory features a control room and maker area, the newest motion-capture cameras and sensor networks, and a public observation area. The lab is the latest support by Boeing in Stanford’s Aero/Astro department. In addition to the $2.5 million contribution to fund the Boeing Flight & Autonomy Laboratory, located in the Durand Building, Boeing is a founding member of the Stanford Aero/Astro Launch Fund for a new undergraduate program in aeronautics and astronautics. The inaugural class in that program will graduate in 2020.


Other News

IFExpress is back from a week in sunny Los Angeles, California where many new developments in the IFEC arena were on exhibit at APEX EXPO 2019. As we mentioned to many of you during the show, 2019 has predominately been a ‘step change’ year; however, there were a few exceptions, which we will cover in upcoming issues of IFExpress. But here are a few trends and highlights from last week’s exhibition.

One of the primary discussions during APEX was the need to assure the quality of service the passenger experiences while inflight. Much of this discussion focused around IFEC, especially, the quality of Wi-Fi and streaming content as well as data. The size of the pipe to/from the aircraft does not necessarily determine what the quality of the experience will be for the passenger. Think about your recent experience at a hotel. Many times the routers are bogged down with too many residents connecting to their nearest node, resulting in slow internet speeds. In fact, many times it is difficult to do simple email, not to mention streaming video and this is on the ground! This is where intelligent allocation comes in to play with the Wireless Access Points – an area that several IFEC hardware providers have tackled head on.

Having said that, another area of concern that has, and will continue to be, voiced was the issue of privacy and security around the individual traveler’s personal data. This translates to the need for an increasingly cybersecure system. Last week, we did see an increase in the number of companies addressing the issue of cybersecurity within the aviation sphere. At APEX there were several software security specialists working in conjunction with hardware manufacturers to layer security software within Wireless Access Points (WAPs). As an industry, both the airlines and the IFEC vendors are continuing to focus on the issues of hacking and maintaining the passengers’ faith and trust that their personal information is secure. This is an issue that is here to stay.

On another note, further developments were on display that included LiFi (a mobile wireless technology that uses light instead of radio frequencies to transmit data), which we had seen for the first time at APEX 2018 in Boston. Some companies are looking at using this innovative technology for streaming content to passenger devices, while others are exploring what opportunities this technology provides for uploading/downloading data to/from the aircraft on the ground. One thing is for certain, LiFi is here to stay and this is a technology that we will see implemented in our industry in the near term.

Some major advancements have been made in the area of satcom antennas since AIX 2019. We were very impressed with the new antenna development project from Safran Passenger Innovations (formerly Zii). IFExpress first caught a glimpse of the antenna in April at AIX 2019. Destined for delivery in 2021, this antenna will be approximately 35 kg – roughly 2/3 lighter than today’s antennas and will have a smaller foot print and lower profile! We will be covering more from the SPI booth in a later issue. But we foresee smaller, lighter, and more dynamic antennas as a much-needed industry trend.

in abundance at the show, were 4K displays but the real issue is 4K content – its availability and whether or not the movie houses will approve the onboard IFE systems to run them! More on this to come as well. Also, regarding content, Touch and Castlabs announced a joint-venture (ABOVE) to move the passenger entertainment supply chain to the cloud. This is an open, standards-based platform for the encoding, storage and distribution of encoded video and related metadata through cloud-based services. This JV has the potential to revolutionize content processing, approval and delivery workflows, while increasing efficiencies and functionality.

Another area that continues to gain traction within the industry is the concept of health and wellness. This is a definite growth area with airlines and vendors embracing it. The continued desire of the airlines to engage their passengers with technology and services that meet their expectations and ease the stress of the travel experience is here to stay. One IFEC supplier said, “Imagine getting off a long-haul flight and feeling better than you did when you boarded!” Lofty expectations and it remains to be seen whether or not this objective will be achievable. However, these applications will certainly help, not hinder, the travel experience.

None of the aforementioned would be possible without the new, massive solid-state drives that are embedded in today’s IFEC in conjunction with the proliferation of installed connectivity services, artificial intelligence and biometrics. As these four technologies evolve in the IFEC industry the amount of data that can be garnered about each individual traveler and their expectations will result in a tailored travel experience from the moment the ticket is booked, throughout the journey itself, until the passenger reaches his/her destination. The industry has long talked about touching the end-to-end passenger experience and how it will facilitate the airlines ability to meet, and possibly exceed, expectations of those utilizing their services whether it be for leisure or business travel. It is the belief of IFExpress that we are finally on the cusp of being able to deliver on that promise.

Over the next few weeks, our publication will review what we had the opportunity to see and experience during APEX EXPO. We will start with some highlights from the Thoughts and Leadership Conference on Monday September 9, as well as, some of the afternoon’s information tracks. During the following weeks we will do a deeper dive into the interviewed companies and their technologies. As always, thanks for subscribing and reading IFExpress!


APEX/IFSA AWARD WINNERS

Members of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and the International Flight Services Association (IFSA) honored their peers as they celebrated the top innovators from airlines and vendor partners around the globe during the inaugural APEX/IFSA Award Ceremony. Winners were announced Monday evening (9/9/19) during the ceremony at APEX EXPO. “APEX is proud to highlight the most innovative approaches to business in passenger experience from our member airlines and vendors. We honor these organizations who have shown exemplary dedication and innovation to advancing the passenger experience,” says Maura Chacko, co-chair of the APEX Awards Committee.

Winners were determined by industry and media judging panels.

APEX Award Winners are:

  • Fiji Airways  Best Lounge Innovation: Fully Qualified Nannies at Fiji Airways Premier Lounge
  • SriLankan Airlines – Best Marketing Innovation: Spirit of SriLankan Airlines & The Magic of Vesak
  • VT Miltope  Best Inflight Connectivity Innovation: Securing Wireless Cabin Networks for the Future
  • American Airlines  Best Inflight Entertainment Innovation: Calm on American Airlines

Newcomer of the Year Award Winner is:

  • Flight Center Instituto de Aviación – Flight Attendant VR Training Program

IFSA Award Winners are:

  • American Airlines – Best Inflight Food or Beverage: Zoës Kitchen Partnership
  • Clip Limited – Best Onboard Amenity: JetBlue Mint Kits

New this year is the APEX/IFSA Awards for Best Cabin Innovation and Best Product or Service. These awards recognize outstanding achievements in creating a thoughtful new cabin environment and innovations in passenger comfort, including seats, design, lighting, temperature control, air quality and more. 

APEX/IFSA Award Winners are:

  • Astronics – Best Cabin Innovation: Intelligent Bin Solution/Smart Aircraft System
  • Air New Zealand – Best Product or Service: Skycouch Improvements

2020 APEX + Crystal Cabin Award Winner is:

AIRBUS – Best Customer Journey Experience: Connected Experience

Life Time Achievement Award Winner is:

Brinder Bhatia (see photo in right hand column)


AIRBUS

Comlux placed a new order for an ACJ320neo, re-affirming its role as the largest single customer for the aircraft and taking its total orders for the type to four. The deal means that Comlux has now ordered a total of 20 Airbus corporate jets. Cabin outfitting will be done by Comlux Completion in Indianapolis. Corporate jet orders and commitments for A320neo Family-derived aircraft now total 15.


OTHER NEWS

After successful proof-of-concept achieved in 2019, initial roll-out phase scheduled for spring 2020 on 100+ Boeing aircraft

APEX Expo and Los Angeles | September 9, 2019– Kontron, a leading global provider of IoT/Embedded Computing Technology (ECT), today announced that it has signed a contract to supply integrated In-flight Entertainment & Connectivity (IFE&C) equipment to a major Europe airline specializing in leisure and charter travel. The initial phase of this fleet-wide deployment calls for systems to be installed on the airlines’ 100+ Boeing aircraft in time for the company’s busy 2020 spring and summer schedule.

Specifically, Kontron is providing flight hardware for open-architecture IFE and IFE&C systems, including the company’s ACE Flight™ 4608 high-performance avionics server, Cab-n-Connect™ A100 Cabin Wireless Access Point (CWAP) and ACE Flight™ Removable Storage Drives (RSSDs) following a successful proof-of-concept that took place in 2019. Kontron systems give the airline the platforms necessary to deliver wireless IFE and streaming video-on-demand, TV, games and additional entertainment choices with the ability to add additional services and applications to enhance the customer experience.

“Based on our history of successful deployments, Kontron has earned its position as the number one supplier of open-architecture systems and LRUs for the global IFE&C market,” said Andy Mason, General Manager of Global Avionics at Kontron America. “We anticipate fast growth for this leisure market segment across EMEA, which includes large aircraft fleets that are not yet WiFi or connectivity-enabled.”

“This new program could not have been accomplished without the close working relationship we’ve established with the airline. I commend the project teams’ success in ensuring the proof-of-concept installation, deployment and operation was trouble-free,” said Jon Moseley, Head of Avionics Business Development for EMEA at Kontron Europe. “As airline customers increasingly demand additional services such as wireless IFE and inflight connectivity, we are seeing more commercial carriers accelerate their roll-out plans.”

Kontron has built a strong reputation for providing groundbreaking IFE&C platforms that help accelerate development for quick time-to-market at the lowest cost of deployment. There are currently more than 4,500 commercial aircraft and business jets operating worldwide with Kontron equipment on board. Kontron and parent company, S&T, are both global companies. This corporate reach allows the Kontron Avionics team, mainly based in San Diego, California, to support airline and aviation customers throughout the world.

Kontron will showcase its entire line of rugged, open-architecture hardware platforms, software and services for IFE and IFE&C systems at the APEX Expo, September 9-12, 2019 in Los Angeles, booth #1647.

During AIX we sat down with the Zii team and discussed RAVE and the next evolution of their full-up AVOD product dubbed ULTRA. Below is the fruit of that interview and several emails since then! While at their booth, we were shown (and amazed) at the size, and we mean thinness, of the screen. The point here is the display, its accompanying storage, control and communication hardware electronics will not create seatback installation issues! Here is a quick overview of some of the features, advantages, and benefits of RAVE UlLTRA.

RAVE ULTRA is Seat-Centric, not Server-Centric

RAVE ULTRA, continues the company’s commitment to Seat-Centric IFE and their commitment to everything RAVE has stood for from its inception. In fact, Seat-Centric is the key to their dedication to ‘stress free IFE’ for their airline customers. You may ask: Seat-Centric? How does that differ from a Server-Centric system? When SPI formerly IMS, first addressed the issue of providing IFE to airlines they approached the problem from a different perspective than most traditional IFE hardware solutions – they elected to design a seat-centric solution, as opposed to a server-centric solution. A traditional IFE system has a head-end (consisting of several file and media servers) and multiple distribution boxes between it and the passenger display unit. The larger (HD/UHD quality and increased quantity) content demands and logistics problems that the IFE industry is facing are amplified in the IFE Server Centric Systems, but not so with a Seat-Centric System. Seat-Centric IFE provides an elegant answer to onboard entertainment that is enhanced by its simplicity: A System Control Unit in the electronics bay connected via a Gigabit Ethernet backbone to each Smart Display at each seat – that’s it. The bi-directional loop system architecture provides network stability and redundancy, so if there is a network break on one side of the data connection, the data communication is automatically routed through the other.  Additionally, since the entertainment content is stored at the seat, even if there was a total network failure, the passenger would have full access to all the content stored locally on the display.

RAVE ULTRA Delivers More for Passengers Because of the Cloud

In addition to locally stored content at the seat, the SCU also stores additional entertainment content enhancing the overall capacity of titles offered to the passenger.  RAVE cloud is flying today and Safran is further enhancing cloud capabilities by utilizing content file sharing between the seats thus multiplying the content capacity available to each passenger.  Because of the Cloud-based data gain, 10 Terabytes of capacity is dynamically available for content making it, perhaps, the IFE system with more data for each passenger than any system today. More data means more content and that means more happy users – it’s that simple!  It’s important to note that the content file is “transferred” (not “streamed”) to the passenger so there are no inherent network latency issues as compared to server-centric systems when streaming simultaneously to 300 passengers.  With the combination of locally stored and cloud content – passengers can enjoy HD/UHD entertainment and the airlines can more easily manage content loading without the long ground time.

We asked Ben Asmar, VP IFE Products, about RAVE ULTRA and 4K Displays

Question 1 – We understand that RAVE ULTRA is now delivering 4K displays for aircraft entering service in 2020.  4K displays offer superior resolution, can you help our readers understanding the impact of offering this to their passengers?  Are there any considerations that should be understood for an existing system upgrade versus new installation?

Response: We know from our customers that IFE is a critical component to the overall inflight experience, having a significant impact on Customer Experience scores. As the market continues to grow more competitive, airlines are continuing to look for ways to differentiate from their competitors. We believe that having the latest in consumer technology such as 4K Ultra High Definition displays in every cabin class is a fantastic differentiator, and our customers agree.  Interest in our new range of RAVE ULTRA displays is unprecedented. When we designed RAVE ULTRA, we took a ground-up approach. We kept the features that make our customers love RAVE, such as our seat-centric architecture and dockable displays then married this with the latest in multimedia processors, cutting edge 4K LCD panels that are typically used in high end laptops, and we even introduced Bluetooth audio for every seat on the plane.

How is your system able to support 4K content for every passenger? 

Response: We get asked this question often, and the answer for us is easy.  Thanks to our seat-centric architecture, content is played locally at each seat display and not streamed over a network.  Even with every passenger watching 4K content, the RAVE system continues to operate seamlessly on a 1 gigabit Ethernet backbone, meaning we are very well positioned to support both the line fit and retrofit markets. There is no requirement for aircraft backbone upgrades for airlines to access the full benefits of RAVE ULTRA, unlike other IFE systems with many servers that stream content to the seats.

How can you store all that 4K content at every seat when it’s so much larger? 

Response: As I mentioned, when we designed RAVE ULTRA, we found the latest in Multimedia processors. This allowed us to take advantage of the advances in video compression technologies and video encoding standards such as H.265 to keep files smaller but not sacrifice video quality. As well, we have the RAVE Cloud that allows Airlines to store large multi-terabyte content sets in the on-board Cloud and makes content instantly available at the seat centric screens when that content is not stored locally.  It’s important to note, that we are still not streaming content with RAVE Cloud. When a passenger selects a Cloud title, the content is being copied as fast as possible across our network and stored locally. The video starts playing while the content continues to download in the background.

In reality, we know it will be quite some time before 4K content is commonplace for IFE, as our industry deals with the standards and security required to distribute 4K content. However, RAVE ULTRA is designed for today and the future. We have gone to great lengths to ensure the necessary security requirements are in place to support playback of Hollywood DRM protected 4K content. Even though the standards are not yet ratified, we are confident that the systems we have will meet the requirements. In the meantime, Airlines can benefit from RAVE ULTRA immediately, as our system will upscale content to the highest possible level based on the definition of the source file. What this means is all content looks better on a RAVE ULTRA display.

Question 2 – Can you tell our readers what airplane /airplane model will get the first 4K display, and are the airlines planning any special video for the application? 

Response: We are very excited to be bringing RAVE ULTRA to market in 2020 and have a number of airlines that have selected it for line fit and retrofit programs with both Airbus and Boeing. Our first installations are planned for both Boeing and Airbus single aisle aircraft followed by our first wide body installation on a Boeing B777X all delivering in 2020. Each of these customers will install RAVE ULTRA displays in every cabin class including Bluetooth audio for every seat on the plane.

RAVE ULTRA is a great fit for both narrow body and wide body aircraft, and we are certainly seeing strong demand across both aircraft types.  Our System with RAVE ULTRA is about 30% lighter than our previous generation systems.  This lower weight meets a critical requirement for airlines that are flying ultra-long haul sectors and is fully operational with only a handful of LRU’s (Line Replaceable Units) while still being able to scale to support the complex architectures of today’s modern wide body aircraft.

Question 3 – More consumers are using Bluetooth headsets/earbuds and want to utilize them in the aircraft for IFE.  Please describe how RAVE has implemented Bluetooth in the entire cabin supplied with audio and at the same time preventing interference to users with other Bluetooth applications?

Response: One of the key elements of RAVE ULTRA is to give all passengers access to the same technology they use on the ground, in the air and not just in the premium classes.  Research suggests that Bluetooth headsets now outsell wired headsets, so we think that people will just expect to be able to use these on a plane, and with RAVE ULTRA they can. Our engineers have spent a lot of time testing and refining our solution to ensure we can reliably offer Bluetooth audio to every passenger on a wide body aircraft. We are able to do this by adjusting the power output of the Bluetooth transmitter and minimizing the transmission radius of the signal, this allows us to re-use the Bluetooth signal many times over in the aircraft avoiding signal congestion and audio quality degradation.

Question 4 – Is VBR a technology that efficiently communicates with networks and displays and if so, can you give our readers what kinds of savings in data and communication technology are used and what kinds of communication savings perspective are involved (data rate savings, hardware choice and design, application improvement and equipment type and design)?

Response: VBR (variable bitrate) is a method used in media encoding that allows for the bitrate to vary with the goal to maintain quality on complex scenes and save space on simple ones. This is a method supported by our current and future generation of products. This technology allows our content to maintain a high level of quality without the need for high levels of storage.  With CBR (constant bitrate), the platform suffers in quality and has high storage requirements.  This results in higher cost storage and limits the number of titles a platform can support.  The reduction in size with VBR also helps the transport of media being loaded on the platform reducing the load times due to the smaller file sizes .  In the on-wing platform, network backbone bitrates are reduced which eliminates the need for RAVE to build out oversize network paths (i.e. aircraft backbone upgrades) reducing the overall hardware costs.

Question 5 – Please tell our readers how giant video quality changes and weight savings can be achieved at the same time reducing size and weight?

Response: Airlines are telling us that weight is critically important as ultra-long haul point-to-point flights are gaining popularity, and passengers’ expectations around technology are increasing significantly. We knew, when designing RAVE ULTRA, we had to achieve both goals that were seemingly at odds with each other. So how did we do it? We completely changed our design philosophy and repackaged our displays into a ‘tablet-like’ design that significantly reduced form factor and weight. RAVE ULTRA 4K panels are lighter and have smaller borders than their predecessors.  We partnered with LG Electronics on this project as they are a market leader in consumer electronics and brought their skill in packaging consumer electronics to RAVE.  We are taking advantage of the laptop market’s use of lightweight, low power and low profile display panels and incorporating them in our new RAVE ULTRA 4K displays.

Be sure to stop by the Safran booth #2142 during APEX to experience RAVE ULTRA.


CARLISLE IT

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) will exhibit its industry-leading installation solution for Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA) technology at this week’s APEX EXPO trade show in Los Angeles. CIT will showcase its integration of thermal management design in packages suitable for business and regional aircraft in the South Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center, Booth No. 1933.

CIT’s extended capabilities into the integration of an installation solution compatible with ESA technology addresses even the toughest of In-Flight Entertainment, Connectivity & Interiors (IFECI) challenges. The aerodynamic design allows for a simplified, standardized, and universal SATCOM installation, resulting in lower maintenance, reduced cost of ownership, and improved speed-to-market for customers.

CIT has long provided airlines and manufacturers with high-performance wire and cable, including optical fiber, for the most advanced interconnect solutions and market-leading products. At APEX, they will showcase expanded capabilities for IFECI equipment with its installation solution for ESA technology into the aerodynamic and structural package design of business and regional aircraft. Using the ARINC 781 footprint for SATCOM on business and regional aircraft, CIT takes advantage of existing OEM provisions to improve airlines’ speed-to-market. Aerodynamic design models establish a low drag shape that advances in-flight cooling and efficiently moves heat load from antenna chips to radiator zones. This efficient transportation of heat maintains uniform temperatures over large areas to optimize antenna operating conditions.

During APEX, CIT is offering a variety of opportunities to learn about the integration of installation solutions for ESA technology and interact with industry experts, users, and partners. The following may be explored at the CIT booth 1933:

  • Light weight backshells
  • Fiber optic harnesses
  • Octax 10GB connections – Solo, 38999, ARINC 600, and more
  • Aerospace wire, coaxial, and cable for high-speed data, custom constructions, and harsh environments
  • Antenna blind mate connection solutions
  • Seal3D fuselage feed-thru connectors
  • Lightweight avionics trays and hold downs
  • Single aisle bagbin video control center

CIT presentations and features at the conference include:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 10, and Wednesday, Sept. 11, beginning at 1 p.m.: Ice cream social with the Carlisle team to see the new installation solution features for ESA technology
  • Video illustrating the antenna selections and flow simulation for drag optimization
  • Additional image, graphic and video assets available for instructional use and informational needs

Please contact Kris Samuelson via email at Kris.samuelson@carlisleit.com or via phone at 253-318-0768 to schedule an appointment during APEX.


OTHER NEWS

 

The global Wireless In-Flight Entertainment & Digital Services vendor incorporates UGOsmart to its technology suite. This new addition aims at empowering airlines teams with real-time data to monitor IFEC systems and adjust service offering

Paris, France | September 3, 2019– Display Interactive announces the launch of UGOsmart, its latest solution designed for airlines to better collect, centralise and analyze in-flight generated data. Designed for IFEC and ancillary airlines teams and updated in real time, UGOsmart feeds a smooth decision-making process. Combined with the flexibility and scalability of UGO IFEC solution, it ensures maximal IFEC operational efficiency.

With the launch of UGOsmart, the French company wants to provide airlines with a solution to address the main data analytics and visualization issues that the industry faces on a regular basis: overwhelming of information, inflexible analytics, and blurry visibility on IFEC ROI.
‘UGOsmart is not just a data analytics tool, but a seamless data visualization solution that presents animated data and tells business stories. We believe that this is the best way to transform data into insights, and most importantly, into tactical and strategic decisions. The power of UGOsmart resides also in its transversality, as it gathers diverse data for all airline’s members involved into a IFEC program.’ explains Tarek El Mitwalli, Display Interactive CEO.
With this seamless technology powered by Display Interactive, airlines can now:
  • Better control onboard ancillary revenues and connectivity usage in real time, and compare it to previous periods and trends,
  • Get instant insights of passengers’ behaviours and IFE preferences,
  • Improve operational efficiency by closely monitoring the performance of their systems and implementing fast changes.
Delivering a 360° value with powerful technologies and ongoing services
Display Interactive launches UGOsmart after years of deployment of its wireless IFE system, named UGO, in well-known airlines. The new DataViz solution is the final piece for the IFEC provider to cover the full cycle of an IFEC program: from design and implementation of UGO entertainment & digital services platform, to its day-to day operations, and now the analysis and evaluation of results thanks to UGOsmart.
In addition to its technology suite, the French organisation accompanies all its airline customers with UGOlife, an all-inclusive ongoing full service support that guarantees operational efficiency as well as optimal durability and success. “Designing UGO and complementing it with UGOlife and UGOsmart was crucial for us, because airlines operate IFEC on a daily basis, and most legacy systems don’t provide any support to focus on the road ahead. Our philosophy has always been to empower airline’s teams and to keep the hassle of operational issues out of their minds. While UGOsmart allows our customers to make the right decisions, we can guarantee with UGOlife that these will result in immediate changes on the in-flight servers and therefore, in the passenger experience”. adds El Mitwalli.

Astronics plans to introduce new power and connectivity technologies at next month’s APEX in California. The company told IFExpress that the new technologies bring together a set of power, connectivity, and data solutions that help airlines and airframe manufacturers improve the passenger flight experience while providing cost and operational efficiencies.

New Product Offerings:

One innovation to be featured is the Edge Cabin Network Platform (think cabin Wi-Fi) to support IFE customers with a smarter, scalable hardware solution. The Edge is intended for wide bodies, narrow bodies and regional jets. “We’re taking inflight connectivity hardware to ‘the edge’ of innovation with this new IFE platform introduction,” said Michael C. Kuehn, President of Astronics CSC. “Our new Edge Cabin Network Platform employs the power of a distributed computing system architecture to eliminate weighty servers while improving the passenger Wi-Fi experience. With this new strategy of a distributed architecture, IFE providers can provide a scalable, secure system, offering airlines the option to deploy only as many as they may need to create the optimal, cost- and performance-effective configuration.”

To make future retrofits even easier, Astronics is introducing its EmPower Xpress product, an on-seat USB outlet housing solution for its EmPower in-seat power product line. EmPower Xpress easily adjusts to the seat rail, either forward or rear-mounted, for maximum flexibility. Attaching to the seat without affecting the seat structure means the installation can occur quickly and without the need for seat service bulletins. “With this new retrofit solution for in-seat power, the airlines now have a faster, easier, more configurable retrofit method than ever before,” explained Aaron Clarke, Vice President of Cabin Electronics for Astronics AES. “For very little extra effort, airlines can now offer the inflight charging services that today’s passengers expect on every flight.”

The latest version of its webFB Aircraft Interface Device (AID), which includes an extended Wi-Fi range to wirelessly connect to cabin IFEC systems, enabling real-time data collection and transfer to the ground will also be on display in their booth. Ultra compact and easy to install, this smart AID acts as a server and a router to provide a cost-effective AID solution without the need for aircraft mods.

Update: Future Technology Explorations

You can always count on Astronics to bring some innovative technology up for discussion any time you stop by their booth. This year, the explorations will continue in the Li-Fi arena plus feature alternate gesture control technology applications for use on aircraft. “We’re planning to show gig speed Li-Fi capabilities for potential cabin Li-Fi applications,” explained Mark Schwartz, Vice President of PDT, an Astronics company. “We’ll also feature alternate gesture control, which uses electric currents from your brain to move objects. And finally, we’ll show some Li-Fi gate data link applications, and how it can populate the CWAP with content according to your seat number.”

They will also be featuring their innovative, patented Smart Aircraft System is Internet of Things (IoT) network technology that autonomously collects and aggregates data from a wide range of sensors installed in the aircraft cabin. The system, demonstrated by Astronics throughout APEX, collects nearly any type of sensor data and wirelessly transmits this data to locations and applications where the crew can improve airline operational efficiency. For example, the system can sense seat occupancy and position, depletion of consumables like paper towels, and the status of safety equipment such as flashlights and lifejackets.

A primary application of this technology, the Intelligent Bin Solution, will be on display. This leading edge, patent-pending system is able to detect and report—in real-time—information about the status of overhead bins such as the percentage of fullness, which speeds aircraft boarding processes and reduces passenger stress. In addition, the system reports the temperature, humidity, pressure, and air quality within the bin, which helps detect outgassing events such as those that precede a lithium-ion battery fire. This early warning can increase safety and avoid costly aircraft diversions.

“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. “There are a multitude of uses for this new system, which brings new data and insights into the hands of the crew to increase efficiency, improve safety, and lower operating costs.”

The Intelligent Bin Solution is an APEX/IFSA Award Finalist, and they are expected to start airline trials later this year.

Tech Talks:

Throughout APEX, Astronics will feature Tech Talks in the booth. Topics include:

  • A Look Ahead at What’s Next for the Internet of Flight
  • Scalable Concepts for Integrating Portable IFE
  • Considerations When Selecting a Wireless Charging Solution for Commercial Aviation Applications
  • Securing, Deploying, and Managing the Next Generation Aircraft Interface Devices
  • Improving Cabin Efficiencies using Smart Aircraft Sensor Data

Visit Astronics at APEX Booth #1429.


CRYSTAL CABIN AWARDS

The finalists have been named for the Crystal Cabin Award special category, “Best Customer Journey Experience”. Nominees for the trophy, to be presented during the APEX Expo in Los Angeles, honoring the best integrated solution for passengers, are: the “Connected Experience” application from Airbus, a voice-controlled lavatory from Diehl, and light-based data transfer for Air France with “LiFi Power” from Latécoère.

A life without apps is barely conceivable, from controlling the lighting in our living rooms to cashless payment for pizza delivery. The “Connected Experience” from Airbus brings this comfort to the aircraft cabin. “Pasta or chicken” – passengers can order either, direct from their smartphones. And the app can also confirm whether or not the cabin baggage will fit in the overhead locker, avoiding unnecessary suitcase stress. Thanks to the networked cabin, the crew can regulate temperature and lighting as well as communicate with passengers.

“Please turn on the water faucet”: The “Voice-controlled Lavatory” from Diehl makes it possible to use the aircraft toilet without touching it, an attractive option both for passengers with restricted mobility and for the hygiene-conscious. From flushing the WC to operating the trash can, all essential aspects of the lavatory can be controlled by voice commands in several languages. And thanks to the modular system, this innovation from Hamburg, Germany can easily be retrofitted.

As light as light: Latécoère already presented “LiFi Power”, transmitting data using light, at this year’s Paris Air Show. Crew communication could soon be wireless, and data transmission speeds up to one hundred times conventional wiring will bring a whole new dimension to passenger entertainment and connectivity. Air France has already integrated this innovation in one of its cabins.

This category in the Hamburg Crystal Cabin Awards operates outside the regular entry phase, and will be presented on 9 September as part of the APEX Awards at the APEX EXPO and Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas trade fairs in Los Angeles. The award ceremony in LA also ushers in the new submission phase for the eight main categories of the Crystal Cabin Awards, to be presented in Hamburg on 31 March 2020. Amongst the winners in 2019 were such renowned industry representatives as Airbus, Collins Aerospace, Recaro and United Airlines.

A complete overview of the finalists with contact details and images is available for download here.


AIRBUS

The first A220-300 for EgyptAir successfully completed its inaugural test flight from the Mirabel assembly line. The first of 12 aircraft EgyptAir has on order is due to be delivered to the Cairo-based airline in the coming weeks. The A220 for EgyptAir will provide passengers with superior comfort, its innovative cabin design featuring the widest economy seats of any single-aisle aircraft and panoramic windows for more natural light. The aircraft which is outfitted with a brand new cabin layout of 134 seats, will now enter its final phase of completion before delivery. The A220 delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and true wide-body 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% lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. With a range of up to 3,400 nm (6,300 km), the A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft. nMore than 80 A220 aircraft are flying with 5 operators on regional and transcontinental routes in Asia, America, Europe and Africa, proving the great versatility of Airbus’ latest addition.


BOEING

  • BOEING is increasing 767 production from 2.5 to three per month.
  • BOEING is planning to hire a few hundred temporary employees at Moses Lake, Washington to help prepare new 737 MAXs for delivery by installing new MCAS software and performing required maintenance and other updaters.

OTHER NEWS

British Airways Trials AlloSky VR Headsets from SkyLights

British Airways customers will be transported to their own 3D cinema in the skies as the airline exclusively trials a new virtual reality headset in a UK first.

From now until the end of 2019, customers traveling on select flights in First from London Heathrow to New York JFK will be able to enjoy a selection of award-winning films, documentaries and travel programs in 2D, 3D or 360° formats.

The headsets from VR eyewear specialists, SkyLights, allow customers to fully immerse themselves in 3D view regardless of the position they are sat in. The experience even works when they are lying fully flat.

British Airways is the first UK airline to trial the technology and has worked with experts to select a range of therapeutic programs, including guided meditation and sound therapy, specifically designed for customers who have a fear of flying.

Sajida Ismail, Head of Inflight Product at British Airways, said: “We are always looking at the latest technology to enhance our customers’ experience on the ground and in the air. Virtual reality has the power to revolutionize in-flight entertainment and we’re really excited to trial these new glasses as they should create a unique and memorable journey for our First customers”.

The AlloSky virtual reality headsets are designed by SkyLights, a former alumni of British Airways’ parent company IAG’s Hangar 51 start-up accelerator program.

Earlier this year, British Airways trialed the technology at Heathrow Terminal 5, giving customers a glimpse of the Club World cabin through virtual reality.

2019 is British Airways’ centenary year. The airline has launched BA 2119: Flight of the Future, a first-of-its-kind exhibition at Saatchi Gallery throughout August, British Airways’ birthday month. The exhibition, in collaboration with the Royal College of Art, is based on global research commissioned by British Airways to identify what aviation could look like in the future. It is also showcasing Fly, a virtual reality experience tracing humankind’s relationship to flying from the earliest imaginings of Leonardo da Vinci and his ornithopter, to the Wright Brothers’ success on Kitty Hawk and the first passenger flight to Paris. Users can also experience Concorde, the brand new A350 and the imagined flight of future.

British Airways is investing £6.5 billion for its customers over five years, including the installation of the best quality Wi-Fi and power in every aircraft seat, fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft. The airline has introduced its Club Suite, a new business class seat with direct aisle access. British Airways is also hosting a range of activities and events throughout the year to explore the future of sustainable aviation fuels and the aviation careers of the future.


Inmarsat

Inmarsat, a global mobile satellite communications, announced that DSNA, France’s Air Navigation Services Provider (ANSP), has signed an agreement to join a consortium of European ANSPs supporting the modernization of air traffic management (ATM) over Europe through the Iris program. DSNA is the latest partner to join the ground-breaking Iris program to improve air traffic management across Europe’s congested airspace.

In partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), Inmarsat is leading the Iris program to deliver significant benefits to airlines and ANSPs across Europe by enabling secure, high-bandwidth, satellite-based datalink communications.

The program reinforces Inmarsat’s position as a major driving force behind technological innovation in mobile satellite communications and aviation connectivity; leadership that is sustained through substantial on-going investment and a powerful network of technology and manufacturing partners.

The aim of Iris is to deploy digital controller-pilot communications to modernize air traffic management across Europe’s congested airspace and to relieve existing congested radio frequencies. ANSPs will be able to rely on Iris’ certified, efficient and reliable datalink to increase ATM efficiency, relieve air traffic controller workload and enhance flight safety.

Iris is also designed to enable ‘4D’ trajectories, pinpointing an aircraft in four dimensions: latitude, longitude, altitude and time, which is one of the major concepts defined in the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) modernization program. This will enable precise tracking of flights and more efficient management of traffic by allowing pilots and controllers to collaborate on flight trajectories and calculate the shortest available routes, cruise at optimum altitudes, and use continuous climb and descent pathways to reduce delays, save fuel and address environmental factors.

DSNA joins five major European ANSPs already involved with implementing Iris. This includes  DFS (Germany), ENAIRE (Spain), ENAV (Italy), EUROCONTROL MUAC (North-West Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) and NATS (UK). These ANSPs handle the majority of European air traffic and are participating in an Initial Operational Capability (IOC) pilot with Inmarsat and ESA.

As part of their involvement in the Iris program, DSNA will capture performance data from pilot flight demonstrations, which is critical as they operate in one of Europe’s the largest and busiest sections of airspace. In addition, their participation better prepares DSNA for the program’s continued rollout and commercial service introduction.

The latest agreement is a significant further milestone for the Iris program.  It follows the announcement in March that Iris had entered its commercial implementation phase after the successful conclusion of an extensive five-year research program. Full commercial service is scheduled to begin in the 2021-2022 time-frame.

Iris is powered by Inmarsat’s award-winning SB-S digital aircraft operations platform, using its world’s leading L-band satellite constellation, which has underpinned global safety services for 40 years. Inmarsat is scheduled to launch two new, advanced L-band payloads to join its award-winning fleet in 2020 and 2021, further cementing the company’s long-term commitment to the highly reliable services it offers over this spectrum.


Boeing

Boeing delivered the first of eight 787-10 Dreamliner airplanes to Vietnam Airlines via lease from Air Lease Corporation. The Vietnamese flag carrier plans to put the 787-10 – the most fuel-efficient twin-aisle airplane in the industry – on the busiest routes in its expanding network.

The new 787-10 will complement Vietnam Airlines’ existing fleet of 787-9 jets. Both feature the Dreamliner’s ultra-efficient technology and passenger-pleasing comforts. The 787-10 is longer than the 787-9, providing the space to carry 40 more passengers and more cargo and helping it offer the lowest operating costs per seat of any twin-aisle jet in service today. Vietnam Airlines is outfitting its 787-10 models with 367 seats (24 in business class and 343 in economy class). In addition to its size and fuel efficiency, the 787-10 can cover long distances. With a published range of 6,430 nautical miles (11,910 km), the 787-10 can fly more than 95 percent of the world’s twin-aisle routes.

With the delivery to Vietnam Airlines, the 787-10 continues to expand its global presence. More than 30 of this Dreamliner model have been delivered to six operators since the airplane entered commercial service last year. Airlines are deploying the 787-10 around the world, especially in Asia as it is home to more than half of all 787-10 destinations.

To optimize the performance of its 787 fleet, Vietnam Airlines uses Boeing Global Services solutions such as Airplane Health Management (AHM) to capture real-time flight data and enable predictive maintenance. AHM is powered by Boeing AnalytX, a collection of software and consulting services that transform raw data into greater efficiency during every phase of flight.

On another note, the FAA is adopting an airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Boeing Company Model 737-8 and 737-9 airplanes. This AD requires a maintenance records check to determine if any main slat track assembly has been removed, an inspection of the main slat track assemblies for a suspect lot number or a lot number that cannot be determined, and applicable on-condition actions. This AD was prompted by a report that certain main slat track assemblies were manufactured incorrectly and are affected by hydrogen embrittlement. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.


Other News:

SITA
More than 100 of the world’s airlines and airports gathered in Belgium this week as SITA, the air transport IT provider, celebrated its 70th anniversary. The organization, which has been at the heart of the airline industry since 1949, marked the occasion by announcing record revenues of US$1.7 billion in 2018. As SITA recorded a significant turning point in its business, it also showcased its commitment to continuous and collaborative innovation.


Upcoming Show
Aircraft Seating – On the 20 – 22nd of August, Airbus and Boeing will be joining the world’s leading Aircraft Seating Manufacturers and Airlines, at the only North American conference to focus specifically on designing and building the Aircraft Seat of the future. Join the the 4th International Innovative Aircraft Seating Conference is Seattle this August. Partner Content – Get Ready to Connect.


PARIS AIRSHOW AIRPLANE SALES SUMMARIES

AIRBUS – 383 new aircraft + 349 up-sized orders total worth $44.5 Billion (market prices). For a total of 5 different aircraft types, there were 26 customers, 82 firm orders, 236 MOU’s, 65 Options, 349 airplane model swaps.

BOEING – 292 new aircraft worth $33.9 Billion (market prices). For a total of 7 different aircraft types, there were 10 customers, 10 firm orders, 247 MOU’s/LOI’s, 25 options, and no swaps.

Editor’s Note: Remember, announced sales has 3 types: firm orders/ memorandum of understanding/ letters of intent. Please note that they are in order of expectability. If you want more data, check out ANALYSIS: Paris air show 2019 order tracker – update


AIRBUS

JETBLUE AIRWAYS
JetBlue Airways will add the A321XLR to its already large fleet of Airbus aircraft and increase its existing order for Airbus A220s. JetBlue has contracted to convert 13 existing A321neo orders into firm orders for the new A321XLR, which Airbus revealed this week at the Paris Air Show. Also, JetBlue has firmed up an order for an additional 10 A220-300 aircraft from existing options. JetBlue, a New York-based low-cost airline that differentiates itself with a high-quality passenger experience, will integrate the A321XLR and the A220-300 into its growing network of routes to a variety of key destinations. JetBlue now operates 193 A320 and A321 aircraft, has orders for 85 A321neos, and previously ordered 60 A220-300s. In April, JetBlue converted 13 A321neo aircraft in its existing order to the LR (long range) version.

FLYNAS
Flynas, Saudi Arabia’s first low-cost airline, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for 10 A321XLR aircraft, the longest range variant of the A320. As part of the commitment, the airline will also upsize 10 of the A320neo it currently has on order to the A321neo. Flynas operates a fleet of 30 A320ceos and 2 A320neos. Since its inception in 2007, Flynas has set ambitious growth plans to continuously develop its fleet in order to carry more passengers. In 2018 the airline carried around 6.6 million passengers on 60,000 domestic and international flights.

The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step from the A321LR which responds to market needs for even more range and payload, creating more value for the airlines. From 2023, it will deliver an unprecedented Xtra Long Range of up to 4,700nm – 15% more than the A321LR and with 30% lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation competitor aircraft. This will enable operators to open new world-wide routes such as India to Europe or China to Australia, as well as further extending the Family’s non-stop reach on direct transatlantic flights between continental Europe and the Americas.

NORDIC AVIAION CAPITAL
Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 20 A220 Family aircraft. The deal was signed at the Paris Air Show between Martin Møller, NAC Chairman and Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer. NAC serves over 76 well established airline customers in 51 countries. The agreement represents the first major order for the A220 from a leading regional lessor confirming the versatility of the aircraft to support mainline and regional airline network expansion. The A220 is the only aircraft purpose built for the 100-150 seat market; it delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and widebody passenger 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. The A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft.

AMERICAN AIRLINES
American Airlines, the world’s largest airline, will acquire 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft, the new longer-range version of Airbus’ hugely successful A321neo. The purchase agreement includes the conversion of 30 of American’s existing A321neo slots to A321XLRs and incremental orders for an additional 20 A321XLRs. The A321XLR will have the longest range of any single-aisle commercial jetliner. The added range of up to 4,700 nm will allow airlines to operate the aircraft from U.S. East Coast airports to medium-size European cities. As a further enhancement of the A321neo and A321LR, the A321XLR will have a maximum takeoff weight of 101 metric tonnes without sacrificing performance. The A321XLR is powered by the same engines, and has more than 90 percent commonality with the A321neo. American, based in Fort Worth, Texas, is the largest Airbus operator in the world with 422 Airbus aircraft. Including today’s announcement, American has outstanding orders for 115 A321neos and A321XLRs from Airbus.

SKYWISE
Accenture, Capgemini, FPT Software, IBM, and Sopra Steria have signed agreements with Airbus to become early adopters of the Skywise Partner Programme. As part of the programme, these world-leading companies will benefit from dedicated training and certification so they develop more robust, richer applications within Skywise on behalf of an airline. Certified partners will have access to their own working space on Skywise and to additional platform features. The Partner Programme builds on the exponential growth of the Skywise platform and aims to further accelerate innovation by connecting Skywise users with a global network of leading developers. As such, the programme paves the way for an open Aerospace ‘app-store’ to speed up the industry’s digital transformation.

ACCIPTER
Dublin-based leasing company Accipiter Holdings signed a Purchase Agreement to acquire 20 A320neo aircraft. The order, which was disclosed during the Paris Air Show by Paul Sheridan, Accipiter CEO and Isabelle Floret, Head of Leasing Markets, had been completed in March 2019, and was listed in the order books as undisclosed. The new single-aisle aircraft will further expand the portfolio of Accipiter Holdings, which aims to be a leading player in the global leasing market and is wholly owned by Hong Kong’s CK Asset Holdings Ltd. Together with Vermillion, its joint venture with Mitsubishi Corporation subsidiary MC Aviation Partners (MCAP), Accipiter manages a total portfolio of just under 150 owned and committed aircraft.

CHINA AIRLINES
Taiwan’s China Airlines (CAL) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) for 11 A321neo aircraft and will acquire another 14 aircraft of the type on lease. CAL has selected the A321neo to meet future requirements in the single aisle category. These 25 aircraft will join the Airbus fleet at the airline currently comprising 23 A330s and 14 A350 XWBs. With the A321neo, China Airlines will be able to operate their single aisle flights with unmatched levels of efficiency and comfort, benefitting from the highest commonality of the Airbus product range. The A321neo is a member of the best-selling A320 Family incorporating the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver at least 20 percent fuel savings by 2020. At the end of May 2019, the A320neo Family had received more than 6,500 firm orders from over 100 customers worldwide.

INDIGO PARTNERS
Indigo Partners and three of its airlines will acquire 50 of the new Airbus A321XLR long-range, single-aisle jetliners. The Memorandum of Understanding includes new orders for 32 A321XLRs and the conversion of 18 existing A320neo family orders. Indigo Partners LLC, based in Phoenix, Arizona, is a private equity fund focused on worldwide investments in air transportation. Indigo has major ownership stakes in four low-cost airlines, including Frontier Airlines (U.S.), JetSMART (Chile), Volaris (Mexico) and Wizz Air (Hungary). The four carriers now operate a combined 295 Airbus planes and, with the new commitments, have 636 on order. Twenty of the A321XLRs will be allocated to Wizz Air, 18 to Frontier, and 12 to JetSMART.


BOEING
Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg reports that the board of directors  declared a regular quarterly dividend of two dollars and five and one-half cents ($2.055) per share.

Boeing and Turkmenistan Airlines announced the airline’s plan to extend its long-haul operations by adding a fourth 777-200LR (Long Range) airplane to its fleet. The commitment, valued at $346.9 million at list price, will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website once it is finalized. The Boeing 777-200LR is the longest range commercial airplane in the world, capable of connecting virtually any two cities in the world nonstop. It has a maximum range of 15,843 kilometers (8,555 nmi) and carries more passengers and revenue cargo farther than any other jetliner. The 777-200LR is equipped with the powerful GE90-110B1L commercial jet engine, and can seat up to 317 passengers in two-class configuration.

ASL
ASL Aviation Holdings DAC (ASL) and Boeing signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 20 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF), bringing the world’s first Next-Generation 737-800 freighter conversion to 120 orders and commitments, from eight customers. The agreement includes 10 firm orders and 10 purchase rights. Operating on six continents, ASL provides network solutions to express freight integrators, transporting more than 357,000 metric tonnes of cargo in 2018. Boeing predicts that 2,650 freighters will be delivered between 2018-2037, with more than 60 percent of these deliveries comprised of passenger-to-freighter conversions. The 737-800BCF carries more payload – up to 23.9 tonnes (52,800 lbs.) – and flies farther – 2,000 nautical miles (3,750 km) compared to 737 Classic freighters. It also offers operators improved fuel efficiency, lower operating cost, and higher reliability than previous standard-body freighters.

QATAR AIRWAYS
Qatar Airways, one of the world’s leading air cargo carriers, announced a commitment to purchase five additional 777 Freighters from Boeing. The deal, valued at $1.8 billion at list prices, was unveiled at the Paris Air Show and signed in the presence of His Excellency Jassim Saif Ahmed Al-Sulaiti, Qatari Minister of Transport and Communications. Qatar Airways has rapidly grown its air cargo operations to serve more than 60 global destinations, becoming one of the top international air freight operators in the world. The latest freighter deal builds on the airline’s 777 Freighter order book as the airplane has become the backbone of Qatar Airways freighter fleet. It currently operates 23 freighters, including 16 Boeing 777 Freighters. The 777 Freighter is the world’s largest and most capable twin-engine freighter. It can fly 4,970 nautical miles (9,200 kilometers) with a payload of 224,900 lbs (102,010 kg). The airplane’s long range translates into significant savings as fewer stops mean lower landing fees, less congestion, lower cargo handling costs and shorter delivery times.

CHINA AIRLINES
Boeing and China Airlines announced the airline’s intent to order up to six 777 Freighters to modernize its cargo fleet. China Airlines plans to transition to the world’s largest and longest range twin-engine freighter as it launches operations from Taipei to North America and Europe – two key markets that provide higher yields for the carrier. The order will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website once it is finalized. The 777 Freighter is capable of flying 4,970 nautical miles (9,200 km) with a maximum payload of 102,010 kg (224,900 lbs). The airplane will allow China Airlines to make fewer stops and reduce associated landing fees on these long-haul routes, resulting in the lowest trip cost of any large freighter and superior ton-mile economics. In addition, the 777 Freighter features market-leading capacity for a twin-engine freighter, accommodating 27 standard pallets, measuring 96 inches by 125 inches (2.5 m x 3 m) on the main deck. This allows for lower cargo handling costs and shorter cargo delivery times. China Airlines operates 51 Boeing airplanes. The addition of 777 Freighters will enable the carrier to streamline maintenance and parts for its 777 fleet. The carrier uses a number of Boeing Global Services solutions to support their operations, including Boeing’s Airplane Health Maintenance and Maintenance Performance Toolbox on all of their 777, 747-400 and Next-Generation 737 aircraft. These data-driven platforms track real-time airplane information, providing maintenance data and decision support tools that allow technicians to quickly and correctly resolve issues. On the ground and in the air, China Airlines’ entire fleet uses Jeppesen’s FliteDeck Pro and access to digital navigation charts to optimize performance and enhance situational awareness.


OTHER NEWS

You may not have had the opportunity to swing by the Cadami and aeroLiFi booth during AIX in April, but never fear, your intrepid IFExpress reporters have you covered!

Cadami

Cadami is an expert and a market leader in coded caching and media transmission technology. Their technology allows you to provide a huge library of high-quality multi-media content to more users without updating your hardware. Cadami technology has its roots in academic research into the theoretical potential of coded caching and transmission. It is our understanding from talking with Cadami during AIX that currently, they are the only company making these techniques available commercially.

During AIX 2019, Cadami announced the launch of their Wi-Fi cabin technology. As we know, there are significant benefits to using a wireless network (think less cabling, weight, installation costs, etc.). However, much of the current Wi-Fi technology has limited utility because the aircraft cabin is a crowded environment, often making it very hard to provide the right bandwidth to transmit high quality content. Thomas Kuehn, managing director of Cadami, said, “Wireless transmission of high-quality IFE content has always been just out of reach. Our network technology solutions make it viable. Our technology is already flying on nearly 200 aircraft, operating over cabled networks and giving passengers around the world access to thousands of films. The next stage is to start WiFi. Using Efficient Coded Caching, we can both overcome the current WiFi limitations while providing the same libraries people are used to with Netflix and Amazon Prime.”

How does the Cadami technology differ? They use a technology called Efficient Coded Caching, which is a unique, patented combination of the latest coded caching with advanced transmission techniques to make highly efficient use of the network infrastructure and seat-back screens. The result is to effectively increase bandwidth by a factor of between two and five. Translated, it means an airline can viably use a Wi-Fi network to make a large library of HD and 4K video content available to every passenger on the biggest aircraft, without jeopardizing quality.

Thomas Kuehn concluded, “We are constantly pushing the boundaries of what technology can do, to provide airlines with more efficient solutions and their passengers with an even better experience.”

aeroLiFi

At APEX Boston, IFExpress saw a demonstration of LiFi technology and during AIX 2019 we saw a threefold increase in the number of LiFi applications from various vendors. One such exhibitor was aeroLiFi. “We enlighten the future of your communications, using light to transmit data. We use LiFi, which in turn uses existing LED lights to send and receive data, including Internet access and IFE content,” Birger Timm, Managing Director of aeroLiFi, said, “LiFi provides a stable communications link that doesn’t degrade and that has enough capacity for each passenger to stream HD and 4K content. We do that by reducing the number of people using each cell, giving airlines the ability to provide a consistent data stream to a lot of people in a small area.”

What is the big deal about LiFi? LiFi uses both the visible and invisible light emitted by LEDs to transmit IFE data and an Internet connection. It doesn’t require a complex infrastructure: it just needs the server and backbone, with LED lights to transmit and receive data. Every LED bulb is a potential access point. And, LiFi offers more bandwidth, higher data transfer rates and increased data security. In fact, aeroLiFi states that LiFi is both safe and secure because it uses light waves and not microwaves, drastically reducing ‘electrosmog’. It is also very hard to hack because it depends on a line of sight connection.

Timm continued, “It’s not impossible to hack into a LiFi network, just very hard. You have to get between the light source and the receiver. In an aircraft, that effectively means you need to be sitting on someone’s knee and that’s very noticeable. In fact, LiFi is so secure that it is already being looked at for use in the cockpit for flight critical applications.

We asked about using LiFi during the nighttime and were told that the technology can use both visible light and infrared; therefore, access points can continue working during the plane’s ‘night’.

Furthermore, aeroLiFi team has wide experience in the IFEC industry, in lighting and across the aviation sector, and we were told that Prof Harald Haas, the father of LiFi, is the company’s scientific advisor. aeroLiFi has integrated Cadami’s coded caching technology into its solution, helping to increase the stability of the solution, as well as the size of the video content library available. The caching element also means the content will not be interrupted if the light source is blocked for some reason, for example someone walking along the aisle putting their hand over the receiver.

Lastly, Timm concluded, LiFi is perfect for the aircraft cabin because it requires minimal physical infrastructure, it provides stable and consistent data transmission, and it’s safe.


Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has opened its first Innovation Studio in Pleasanton, California. Breaking ground as the first of five planned locations worldwide, Panasonic’s new Innovation Studio in Pleasanton will serve as a hub for innovation, ideation and solution-building. It is designed as a space where airlines and partners will gather and co-create the future of travel experience.

David Bartlett, Chief Technology Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Innovation is at the center of everything Panasonic Avionics does. Our new facility in Pleasanton will play a major role in fostering our collaboration ethos, and is the first of five such hubs that will enhance and enrich the future inflight travel experience for passengers around the globe, helping travel to become the fourth place.” The Innovation Studio is located close to Silicon Valley which is recognized as a global center for tech innovation. The facility will act as a hub from which Panasonic will work with airlines to investigate, illuminate and implement new ways of transforming the passenger experience in a socially collaborative environment. Panasonic’s Innovation Studios across the globe will all be located in close proximity to major destinations, leading universities and centers with an established innovation and start-up culture. Each studio will be a place for companies to leverage Panasonic’s skilled workforce to prototype, showcase and evaluate product concepts, digital solutions and user experience paradigms.

About the Fourth Place
The fourth place has become Panasonic’s rallying cry to the aviation industry to improve the experience of travel. The fourth place ties into the concept introduced in 1989 by the sociologist Ray Oldenburg who coined the term “the third place” – the first place being home, the second work and the third a neutral zone where people can interact and collaborate with their communities. Panasonic believes that the act of traveling is the fourth place.

Image: Panasonic’s Innovation Studio Opening


Airbus

Delta Air Lines took delivery of its first A330-900, one of 35 A330neos the Atlanta, Georgia-based airline has on order. With new fuel-efficient engines, aerodynamic improvements, and the advanced Airspace by Airbus cabin the A330-900 will give Delta a premier long-haul, widebody aircraft with exceptionally low operating costs. Delta was the launch customer for the A330-900, ordering 25 in November 2014 and an additional 10 last year. With the addition of the A330-900, Delta is now operating both of Airbus’ newest widebody models. It has 13 A350-900s in its fleet with another 12 on order. Delta operates more than 265 Airbus aircraft including A321s and A220s, and the airline’s order backlog with Airbus exceeds 270 including 100 A321neos. Delta is one of the world’s leading airlines, an industry pacesetter. As the A330-900 is placed into service on Delta’s global network, it will complement the airline’s growing widebody fleet of A330s and A350s, setting new standards for efficiency, profitability, and provide passengers with extraordinary travel experiences. An environmental milestone was set as a Delta crew ferried the new A330-900 back to the company’s Atlanta base using a jet fuel blended from conventional sources and non-petroleum synthetic fuel. Delta will initially base its A330-900s at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where it will operate the aircraft on flights to Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo Narita. Delta will configure its A330-900s for 281 passengers, including 29 in business-class suites, 28 in premium economy, 56 in extra-legroom economy seats, and 168 in standard economy. The aircraft will feature Delta’s new internally developed in-flight entertainment system. The A330neo is a true new-generation aircraft, building on the features of the popular A330 features and leveraging technology developed for the A350 XWB technology. Powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, and featuring a new wing with increased span and A350 XWB-inspired Sharklets, the A330neo provides an unprecedented level of efficiency – with 25 percent lower fuel burn per seat than previous generation competitors. Equipped with the Airbus Airspace cabin, the A330neo offers a unique passenger experience with more personal space and the latest generation in-flight entertainment system and connectivity. The A330-900 can accommodate 287 seats in a typical three-class layout or up to 440 for high-density configurations with a range of up to 7,200 nautical miles.


Boeing

Boeing and Air New Zealand announced the airline plans to add the largest 787 Dreamliner model to its world-class fleet with a commitment to buy eight 787-10 airplanes valued at $2.7 billion at list prices. The carrier, known for its global network and long-range operations, says the 787-10 complements its current 787-9 and 777 fleet by offering more seats and greater efficiency to grow its business. The 787-10 is the largest member of the super-efficient and passenger-pleasing Dreamliner family. At 224 feet long (68 meters), the 787-10 can serve up to 330 passengers in a standard two-class configuration, about 40 more than the 787-9 airplane. Powered by a suite of new technologies and a revolutionary design, the 787-10 set a new benchmark for fuel efficiency and operating economics when it entered commercial service last year. The airplane allows operators to achieve 25 percent better fuel efficiency per seat compared to the previous airplanes. Air New Zealand was a global launch customer for the 787-9 and today operates 13 of the Dreamliner variant. With another 787-9 on the way and the 787-10 airplanes in the future, the airline’s Dreamliner fleet will grow to 22. Air New Zealand’s widebody fleet also includes seven 777-300ERs and eight 777-200ERs, which it is progressively replacing with this announced aircraft order.


Other News


Mea Culpa! Apologies to our IFExpress readers and Thales for last week’s publishing snafu. If you didn’t get the opportunity to read the revised publication, here is the link.


The acquisition of Gemalto was the prime focus of Thales during AIX. “This is a special day for Thales,” said Philippe Carette, Thales InFlyt Chief Executive. The 4.8 Billion euro acquisition of the digital security provider provides the company with a strong role in digital security that will cover the entire credit card chain in the digital world – everything from data generation, to the real-time decision report will come under their blanket. With regards to the IFEC space, it specifically brings additional capacity to the passenger experience and personalization.  Facial recognition/identification is a prime example. “Our customers are looking more and more at digital platforms and digital transformations,” said Carette. “Since 2014 Thales has heavily invested in digital transformation, this includes cyber security. In fact, we have roughly invested 7B Euro. Airlines are more and more seeking solutions beyond IFE and this includes security.” Carette went on to say that this acquisition represents a series of highly complementary technologies and competencies across Thales’ five vertical markets: aerospace; space, ground transportation; digital identity & security; and defense & security.

At AIX, the Thales booth showcased the company’s vision of the digital passenger journey, focusing on the value-add for the passenger. One of these focal points was identification. Thales looked at the IFE and the seat with the focus that each passenger is unique. They are working on linking the crew application with the IFE system in order provide the cabin crew with some very specific information about the passenger in order to ease the workload of the crew and enhance the passenger journey in the process. All of this is being facilitated by the capabilities that Gemalto brings to the table. Thales products like Digital Wallet and AirFree are examples that enrich the passenger experience and journey.

Some developments to keep an eye on from Thales over the next 6 – 9 months include InFlyt-360 Select passenger interface’s entry into the marketplace. Select includes a targeted advertising service, as well as, a new IPTV live television offering and a voice-over-Wi-Fi telephone service (of course this feature isn’t available in North America!). During the press conference, Thales InFlyt Experience VP of Marketing Richard Perrot said,  “This will provide a near Netflix-like experience.”  And Perrot claims the integrated targeted advertising aspect will purportedly “multiply the revenue generation potential by a factor of six.” IPTV uses GX Aviation connectivity from Inmarsat and will feature 8, 10, or 12 channels of live TV on the aircraft.  The company also announced that the launch customer for the product is Spirit Airlines.

IFExpress believes that the rest of 2019 will be significant to watch from a development standpoint. Bringing Gemalto into the mix and the roll out of the InFlyt-360 Select product are critical and it is crucial that Thales hits these milestones over the coming months.  The next 6-7 months are going to be exciting indeed!


IFPL

IFExpress received the following note from Geoff Underwood of IFPL. “I wanted to inform your readers of a change in our senior management team. On 31 May 2019, Tim Young will retire from the position of Chief Operating Officer. Tim has worked with IFPL since 2010 and undertaken the role of COO since January 2013. I wish Tim well for the future. Replacing Tim as COO is Neil McGregor who joined IFPL on 24 April. A comprehensive process of handover is currently underway to ensure that Neil is fully up to speed by the end of May. Neil has a first class honours degree in mechanical engineering and very extensive Lean / CI experience most notably with Caterpillar. Please join me in welcoming Neil to IFPL.”


GOGO

Gogo a global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced it will install a third 2Ku system on an Airbus A319 business jet operated by K5-Aviation, an operator of ACJ aircraft. The installation will be the first to be done on an Airbus ACJ319neo, and it is scheduled to be completed this summer. The installation design and system integration will be managed by Fokker Techniek B.V. under its ACJ319 EASA STC, and will be completed at its facilities in Woensdrecht, The Netherlands as part of the green ACJ319neo aircraft VIP completion. Gogo’s 2Ku technology is the leading in-flight connectivity technology available to business aviation customers flying larger private aircraft and on commercial airlines operating globally. Gogo’s 2Ku technology delivers industry-leading performance globally with peak antenna speeds of 70 Mbps – enabling passengers to do the same online activities while airborne that they do on the ground. For business aviation, that means live video conferencing, fast Internet browsing and streaming video. 2Ku is designed to take advantage of innovations happening in space and is compatible with newer high-throughput and other anticipated satellites, which means that the technology and user experience can continue to improve without the need for invasive changes to the aircraft. This flexibility means Gogo’s customers can be confident the system is future ready and ahead of the curve from a technology perspective. Gogo has more than 1,100 2Ku aircraft online and has a backlog of approximately 900 2Ku aircraft across 18 of the largest airlines around the globe. 2Ku remains one of the most successful in-flight connectivity products ever developed.


AIRBUS

  • Airbus celebrated the delivery of its 12,000th aircraft ever in its 50-year history. The aircraft was an A220-100, assembled in Mirabel, Canada and handed over to U.S.-based Delta Air Lines. The aircraft is the 12th A220 delivered to date to Delta Air Lines since the carrier received its first A220 in October 2018. The A220 started scheduled service with Delta in February 2019. Delta is the first U.S. airline to operate the A220 and is the largest A220 customer, with a firm order for 90 aircraft. This milestone delivery of a Canadian-made Airbus aircraft to a U.S.-based airline highlights the growing presence of Airbus in North America. Since Airbus’ leadership of the A220 program became effective on July 1st 2018, ground was broken in January this year in Mobile, Alabama for the construction of a second A220 final assembly line, set to start deliveries to U.S. customers in 2020.
  • Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has chosen the A321LR as its private jet for luxury worldwide travel, launching a new role for the Airbus corporate jet family. The aircraft will enter service in 2021. Airbus’ A321LR is one of the newest aircraft in its NEO[1] family, and features new engines and wingtip-mounted Sharklets – as well as extra fuel tanks in the cargo-hold. These features give the A321LR the efficiency and range to fly nonstop to landmark sights around the world, while maintaining the ability to land at nearby airports. The Four Seasons Private Jet experience defines modern luxury aviation, encouraging meaningful connections between people and places while delivering a seamless and highly personalized journey,” says Christian Clerc, President, Worldwide Hotel Operations, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Building on the tremendous success of our Private Jet program to date, with consistent sell outs, wait-lists, and near perfect guest satisfaction rates, our drive to continuously innovate and push the conventional limits of travel has led to this new opportunity to experience Four Seasons like never before.”
  • The German government has placed a firm order for three ACJ350-900 XWBs, becoming the first government customer for the type, which has already been ordered by private customers. The aircraft are destined for a mix of government, troop transport and medical evacuation roles. Delivery of the first aircraft is planned for 2020, and the other two in 2022. Cabin outfitting will be facilitated by ACJ’s Easyfit cabin-outfitting concept, which features pre-installed attachments and standardized interfaces that greatly simplify installing walls and furniture in a carbonfibre fuselage. The A350 XWB is the first Airbus aircraft to feature a carbonfibre fuselage and wings, which are immune to fatigue and corrosion, as well as saving weight. Its technological features also include the greater comfort of a lower cabin-altitude, simpler and faster transition-training for pilots through the newest version of Airbus’s common cockpit, and aerodynamically efficient wings that adapt their shape in flight. Total A350 XWB orders stand at around 900, more than 250 of which are already in airline service.

Editor’s Note: As the technical, FAA, and PR challenges face Boeing on the recent impacts of the two B737 MAX accidents, we see a few issues facing Boeing and the FAA in the future:
1. Boeing might have to place a new president in the Airplane Company that has been dotted lined to Muilenburg (President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Boeing Company) who has experience and is very technical!
2. The FAA and Boeing will see management and structure changes as a result, especially with product design review.
3. This situation is going to have management, legal and financial ramifications that exceed earlier expectations.


OTHER NEWS

(Image: Dinosaur Planet from the ARC 3D Map Suite of Young Explorers from Panasonic Avionics)

During AIX Hamburg Panasonic Avionics Corporation (PAC) focused on their position as a strategic partner shaping the future travel experience in conjunction with their airline customers and ecosystem partners. PAC said, “We are looking at ways to address the new era in travel that responds directly to changes in passengers’ expectations.”

You may well remember that during APEX Boston, the company launched their Wellness solutions – a collection of comfort and care technologies that promote well-being – and in Hamburg, they announced that Etihad is the official launch customer for the offering. “One of the biggest challenges air passengers face when travelling across multiple time zones is jet lag. To help passengers combat this, Panasonic, in collaboration with Detalytics, has developed a new innovation called Jet Lag Adviser, and this is being integrated into Etihad’s passenger app.  The Jet Lag Adviser takes a range of passenger inputs including chronotype, circadian rhythms, height, weight, the nature of travel, and travel information such as flight times, routes and zones and uses its artificial intelligence engine to produce personalized jet lag plans for passengers with tailored advisories to help them reduce jet lag.”

They are also increasing their range of Wellness solutions with the launch of Calm and myNoise. Calm is one of the premiere apps for sleep, meditation and relaxation and will introduce a series of visual and audio enhancements for passengers that will be integrated into Panasonic’s Wellness solutions. Categories include Breathing & Meditation, and Nature Scenes to reduce stress and aid relaxation, Sounds & Music for relaxation and sleep, and audio Sleep Stories to help passengers rest. myNoise is a collection of soundscapes that travelers can listen to that facilitate relaxation, sleep, focus and enjoyment. Based on the elapsed time in flight and an individual jet lag schedule, Panasonic will recommend different soundscapes to help passengers relax, focus and enjoy their flight by reducing inflight anxiety and aiding sleep, neutralizing the ambient noise for a more focused mindset, and helping them express their creativity for the best possible experience.

One of their major announcements in Germany was the launch of the ARC Inflight Map Platform, which is a “revolutionary” 3D inflight map application and service for Panasonic’s NEXT and X Series IFEC systems. In a nutshell, ARC brings a wide range of innovative new features to the traditional inflight map application, while expanding that concept into a fully integrated experience within the IFEC system. In other words, the map has evolved into a service technology with extensive configuration options, improved passenger experience, premium point of interest content and analytics to optimize passenger interaction. “This is the first truly personalized map application,” said Andrew Mohr, Head of Innovation for PAC. Designed and built by Sweden-based Tactel, the development work is largely over and the product will enter into service in the first quarter of 2020. The short-term focus is on developing detailed content of regions so descriptions are available when an aircraft flies over them. Andrew is particularly pleased about ARC’s Suite of Young Explorers for children, which boasts features like: Dinosaur Planet (see the article image above), Pick a Planet, Design Your World, and new games, which will be announced shortly. “I’ve been advocating for a children’s moving map interface with dinosaurs for years!” said Mohr.

ARC goes hand-in-hand with another newly announced cloud-based service called Insights, which is a comprehensive data analytics offering that provides an in-depth view of onboard experiences to empower smarter business decisions. Insights capabilities include: diagnostics and descriptive analytics, predictive and prescriptive analytics, behavioral and sentiment analytics – all enable a personalized experience for the passenger and facilitate improved operational efficiency for the airline by harvesting onboard and third-party data from various passenger touch points including IFE, connectivity, location and weather monitors, as well as, social media. Oh, and of course, all this is done in real-time. Data analytics specialist Black Swan is working with Panasonic on the Insights project. When ARC and Insights are combined, a powerful tool is at the airline’s fingertips, or should we say wingtips!

All of these developments facilitate the concept of travel as the fourth place, which Panasonic focused on during their presentation in the Digital Trends Stream of the Passenger Experience Conference (covered in previous issue of IFExpress); as well as, during their press briefing at AIX. “We are the airlines’ strategic partner for shaping the future travel experience,” said David Bartlett CTO of PAC. “Imagine what flying could be like when a personally curated experience promotes, rest, wellness, and maybe even a sense of play.”


GOGO

Gogo Announces First Quarter 2019 Financial Results

Key Highlights for Q1 2019:

  • Consolidated revenue of $200 million–at the high end of our preliminary estimated range of $197 million to $200 million provided on April 15, 2019
  • Net loss of $16.8 million–39% year-over-year improvement
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $38 million–as compared with $11.9 million in Q1 2018
  • Net Cash Used in Operating Activities of $(6.2) million; Unlevered Free Cash Flow of $11.1 million (1)
  • Subsequent to the end of the first quarter, Gogo completed its previously announced offerings of $925 million aggregate principal amount of 9.875% senior secured notes due 2024 and commenced a tender offer for the outstanding 3.75% senior convertible notes due 2020

AIRBUS

  • The first A330neo of the Americas has been delivered to Azul Linhas Aéreas on lease from Avolon, becoming the first airline from the Americas to fly the A330-900. The aircraft is the first of 15 A330neo ordered by Avolon. The A330neo, Airbus’ new generation A330 aircraft, will be used by the airline to expand its international route network between Brazil and Europe and the United States. Fitted with a three-class cabin accommodating 34 business class, 96 economy Xtra and 168 economy class seats, the A330neo offers passengers greater comfort along with the newest and the most advanced in-flight experience while the airline will benefit from the aircraft’s unrivalled operating economics. The A330neo is the true new-generation aircraft building on the most popular wide body A330’s features and leveraging on A350 XWB technology. Powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, the A330neo provides an unprecedented level of efficiency – with 25% lower fuel burn per seat than previous generation competitors. Equipped with the Airbus Airspace cabin, the A330neo offers a unique passenger experience with more personal space and the latest generation in-flight entertainment system and connectivity.
  • The first A330-900 widebody destined for Delta Air Lines made its inaugural test flight Tuesday from Toulouse airport. The highly fuel-efficient twin-engine jet, one of 35 Delta has on order, is due to be delivered to the Atlanta, Georgia-based airline in the coming weeks. The A330-900 is the larger of the two A330neo variants that Airbus launched in 2014. The A330neo brings significant efficiency improvements while also introducing the award-winning Airspace by Airbus cabin, which offers the newest and most advanced in-flight experience with extra personal space, larger overhead luggage bins, latest generation in-flight entertainment system and state-of-the-art ambient lighting. Incorporating the latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, along with aerodynamic enhancements – including new extended composite wingtips which provide 3.7 metres of increased overall wing-span, as well as increased lift and reduced drag – the A330neo is a more efficient aircraft, delivering 25% lower fuel burn than previous generation aircraft and the lowest seat-mile cost in its category. The A330-900 range is 6,550 nautical miles in a typical three-class configuration.
  • Deliveries April 2019: Airbus logged orders for a total of five A350 XWB and A330neo widebody jetliners in April and delivered 70 aircraft during the month from across its A220, A320, A330neo and A350 XWB single-aisle and widebody product lines. Deliveries in April were made to 35 customers. In the single-aisle sector, Airbus provided three A220s, and 57 A320 Family aircraft (47 in the NEO configuration, along with 10 CEO versions). For widebody jetliners, two A330neo jetliners were provided during the month, along with eight A350 XWBs (in both the A350-900 and A350-1000 configurations). Taking the latest orders, deliveries and cancellations into account, Airbus’ backlog of jetliners remaining to be delivered as of 30 April stood at 7,287 aircraft.

OTHER NEWS

 

 

 

Lake Forest, CA | May 7, 2019–Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) and TAP Air Portugal have announced an agreement to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for the carrier’s new fleet of 14 A321neo LR aircraft.

Panasonic’s X Series inflight entertainment system, along with a suite of connectivity services, are being line-fit installed on the new aircraft.

TAP Air Portugal passengers will be able to enjoy a personalized and immersive home theatre entertainment experience with HD screens and surround sound audio and video entertainment available on demand. The system also comes equipped with in-seat power USB charging facilities at every seat.

All the new aircraft are being fitted with Panasonic’s inflight Wi-Fi service, with a host of next generation connectivity benefits including fast internet, all powered by its new satellite modem which offers bandwidth up to twenty times greater than previously available.

The news follows the recent agreement between TAP Air Portugal and Panasonic to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for the carrier’s new fleet of A330-900neo aircraft. The carrier is the first airline in the world to operate Airbus’ next generation A330-900neo, and will operate 21 of the aircraft.

Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Panasonic Avionics is honored to partner with TAP Air Portugal as they launch their next generation A321neo LR fleet, and we are delighted to help them deliver an enhanced passenger experience with our entertainment and connectivity solutions.”

As always, there is so much ground to cover during Aircraft Interiors Hamburg that the IFExpress team feels we barely scratch the surface on all the IFEC related exhibitors at the expo. Besides the major players in the industry there are many smaller hardware and service providers that truly have some innovative solutions and this week we are covering one such company.

WIFI TECHNOLOGIES is a Belgium based company that offers a full wireless cabin IFEC solution dubbed AIR STREAMER. Yves Hendrickx, CEO of WIFI TECHNOLOGIES, told IFExpress that AIR STREAMER is a rent-a-system product, requiring no upfront investment by the airline. This unto itself is not a new model to the inflight entertainment realm; however, the system’s purported performance is what had us interested. Apparently, it is a wireless certified ‘aeroserver’ able to simultaneously stream out from a video cloud of its 5 – 50 TB memory to up to 500 screens at full HD mode per unit and runs on its own protocol, working within its own W-Fi network! There is also a smaller unit available that serves up to 250 screens/PEDs. This simple device is roughly the size of a shoe box (260 x 280 x 60 mm) and complies with EASA and FAA regulations and DO-160 standards and its Wi-Fi has a range of 100+ meters and uses MU-MIMO technology with tri band channel 2.4 Ghz and 2×5 GHz. (Here is a definition of MU-MIMO in case you are unfamiliar with the term: MUMIMO Benefits. Multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output technology—better known as MUMIMO (a.k.a. Next-Gen AC or AC Wave 2)—allows a Wi-Fi router to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously. This decreases the time each device has to wait for a signal and dramatically speeds up your network.) It also boasts built-in Wi-Fi and 4G/5G antennas. The only technical requirement for operation is an electrical connection to the aircraft. Aeroserver can either stream to inseat screens or personal electronic devices.

WIFI TECHNOLOGIES said their product not only has a huge amount of content capacity but is also ideal for e-commerce opportunities should the airline be interested. “Aircraft can become flying virtual E-Commerce hypermarkets, generating revenue on sales commissions and advertising, converting the system into a profit center: passengers can order goods inflight from large video catalogues and receive their products post-flight, for instance during luggage delivery. AIR STREAMER avoids any flight or ground crew operation intervention.”

We were also told that their business model supports an easy upgrade path when new and improved technology becomes available, ‘making obsolescence a thing of the past’.
AIR STREAMER was introduced in the business jet market in early 2019 and AIX 2019 was its debut for the commercial aviation space. During the show they ran Wi-Fi analyzers that measured all Wi-Fi signals aired by every Wi-Fi transmitter present in their hall of the IFEC Zone. Here is a graph of the results, as well as, are their published, official results:

  • The AIR STREAMER unit from WIFI TECHNOLOGIES, at -41 dB signal strength, confronted all other Wi-Fi transmitters at the show between -73dB and -85dB. Keep in mind that 1 dB signal difference DOUBLES the range and capacity available. It explains why the WIFI TECHNOLOGIES product is a go for 200 and up simultaneous passengers plugged in.
  • This was demonstrated through an Alethea WIFI simulator. The ultimate test consisted in a simultaneous streaming by 88 terminals within the same microsecond. It showed a system saturation under 3.5%, to the surprise of the Alethea operator.
  • Conclusion: 500 simultaneous users, streaming at 4K HD mode, is a level only reachable by the WIFI TECHNOLOGIES AIR STREAMER.

Needless to say, we spoke with several technical people from our industry after AIX about this product and here are some of the questions they had:

  • If one box is used to support up to 500 passengers is there enough bandwidth to support the plane’s users? And if so, what are they doing differently from streaming servers in the industry?
  • How many antennas are provided in both the small and larger AIRSTREAMER?
  • To assure reception for every passenger, where is the box placed on the aircraft?
  • Can each passenger watch individually selected content? Simultaneously? In other words, can every passenger access any content they wish at any point in time?
  • Is audio programming available?

Needless to say, we are interested in watching how this company develops over the next 5 – 6 months. We expect them to generate traction with many of LCC and Charter operators in Europe. In our opinion, this system is tailored to their business model and would also be a potential solution to many of the smaller single-aisle aircraft operators. This could well be one to watch!


GOGO

Gogo announced the pricing of the previously announced private offering of $20 million aggregate principal amount of additional 9.875% senior secured notes due 2024 (the “Additional Notes”) to be issued by its direct wholly owned subsidiary, Gogo Intermediate Holdings LLC (“Holdings LLC”), and its indirect wholly owned subsidiary, Gogo Finance Co. Inc. (the “Co-Issuer” and, together with Holdings LLC, the “Issuers”). The Additional Notes will be issued a price equal to 100.5% of their face value plus accrued interest from April 25, 2019 to the closing date. The initial 9.875% Senior Secured Notes due 2024 were issued in an aggregate principal amount of $905 million on April 25, 2019 (the “Initial Notes” and together with the Additional Notes, the “Notes”)


SITAONAIR

Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS), the official body responsible for air navigation services in Saudi Arabia, has formally selected SITAONAIR to elevate the Kingdom’s air traffic management capabilities, through to 2025. SITAONAIR will deliver its country-wide, unrivaled, state-of-the-art VHF and Digital Automatic Terminal Information Service (D-ATIS) solutions for Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS), benefiting all airlines flying in Saudi Arabia.

Under the agreement, SITAONAIR – the industry’s aircraft communications expert – will establish additional VHF stations providing coverage in new locations, including the Empty Quarter desert. It will also further optimize datalink coverage and services by upgrading both existing stations and SITAONAIR’s AIRCOMcats D-ATIS gateway server to better serve airports and airspace users.

The project will specifically aim to ensure coverage in the southeast and northwest of Saudi Arabia for en route traffic, increasing the availability of VHF/VDL networks at all main airports in the Kingdom and beyond.


FLYARYSTAN

FlyArystan, the world’s newest low fare, high quality airline from award-winning Kazakh flag carrier Air Astana, takes to the skies for its first revenue flights from Almaty International Airport. The airline starts with six domestic routes, with journey times from one to three hours to Taraz; Shymkent; Pavlodar; Uralsk; Nur-Sultan (Astana) and Karaganda. From announcement to revenue realization within six months, a 160-strong workforce supporting the business has been established in Almaty, Air Astana’s HQ. This includes 25 pilots and 45 flight attendants, with many seconded from Air Astana. The rest are new recruits who, in addition to undertaking call center reservations work, are being trained to assist in ambassador roles at check in as part of the FlyArystan ground services team across the seven initial cities served.

Air Astana has supplied an initial two Airbus A320 aircraft from its fleet under its Air Operator’s Certificate, painted up in the striking FlyArystan red and white livery. A further two A320s will follow in the last quarter of the year, by which time FlyArystan should be operating at least 12 routes and will be looking at obtaining an AOC in its own right. The aircraft have been newly retrofitted with 180 brand new blue leather Recaro slim-line seats, featuring red head-rests, the same colours as the cabin crew uniforms, designed by a local fashion house, working closely with Air Astana’s inflight team. Seat pitch is 29 inches, but with the feel of 31 inches, owing to the curve of the seat and high positioning of the seatback pockets.


AIRBUS

Fiji Airways has adopted the A350 XWB as part of its expansion plans to broaden its international network. Two A350-900s will be leased from Dubai based DAE Capital, making Fiji Airways the newest operator and DAE Capital the latest customer. With its common type rating with the A330 Family, the A350 XWB was the natural aircraft choice to seamlessly join the airline’s existing fleet of four A330s. The common rating between the A350 and A330 means that pilots who are qualified and current on the A330 can already commence preparations to take the A350 XWB’s controls by undergoing “differences training” only, meaning a significant cost savings & operational flexibility.The aircraft will be configured with 33 full lie-flat Business Class and 301 Economy Class seats. The aircraft will be deployed to enhance existing long haul services between Fiji, Australia and US, and to provide the opportunity to open additional routes.


BOEING

Boeing Statement on AOA Disagree Alert

On every airplane delivered to our customers, including the MAX, all flight data and information needed to safely operate the aircraft is provided in the flight deck on the primary flight deck displays. This information is provided full-time in the pilots’ primary field of view, and it always has been.

Air speed, attitude, altitude, vertical speed, heading and engine power settings are the primary parameters the flight crews use to safely operate the airplane in normal flight. Stick shaker and the pitch limit indicator are the primary features used for the operation of the airplane at elevated angles of attack. All recommended pilot actions, checklists, and training are based upon these primary indicators. Neither the angle of attack indicator nor the AOA Disagree alert are necessary for the safe operation of the airplane. They provide supplemental information only, and have never been considered safety features on commercial jet transport airplanes.

The Boeing design requirements for the 737 MAX included the AOA Disagree alert as a standard, standalone feature, in keeping with Boeing’s fundamental design philosophy of retaining commonality with the 737NG. In 2017, within several months after beginning 737 MAX deliveries, engineers at Boeing identified that the 737 MAX display system software did not correctly meet the AOA Disagree alert requirements. The software delivered to Boeing linked the AOA Disagree alert to the AOA indicator, which is an optional feature on the MAX and the NG. Accordingly, the software activated the AOA Disagree alert only if an airline opted for the AOA indicator.

When the discrepancy between the requirements and the software was identified, Boeing followed its standard process for determining the appropriate resolution of such issues. That review, which involved multiple company subject matter experts, determined that the absence of the AOA Disagree alert did not adversely impact airplane safety or operation. Accordingly, the review concluded, the existing functionality was acceptable until the alert and the indicator could be delinked in the next planned display system software update. Senior company leadership was not involved in the review and first became aware of this issue in the aftermath of the Lion Air accident.

Approximately a week after the Lion Air accident, on November 6, 2018, Boeing issued an Operations Manual Bulletin (OMB), which was followed a day later by the FAA’s issuance of an Airworthiness Directive (AD). In identifying the AOA Disagree alert as one among a number of indications that could result from erroneous AOA, both the OMB and the AD described the AOA Disagree alert feature as available only if the AOA indicator option is installed.

Boeing discussed the status of the AOA Disagree alert with the FAA in the wake of the Lion Air accident. At that time, Boeing informed the FAA that Boeing engineers had identified the software issue in 2017 and had determined per Boeing’s standard process that the issue did not adversely impact airplane safety or operation. In December 2018, Boeing convened a Safety Review Board (SRB) to consider again whether the absence of the AOA Disagree alert from certain 737 MAX flight displays presented a safety issue. That SRB confirmed Boeing’s prior conclusion that it did not. Boeing shared this conclusion and the supporting SRB analysis with the FAA.

Boeing is issuing a display system software update, to implement the AOA Disagree alert as a standard, standalone feature before the MAX returns to service. When the MAX returns to service, all MAX production aircraft will have an activated and operable AOA Disagree alert and an optional angle of attack indicator. All customers with previously delivered MAX airplanes will have the ability to activate the AOA Disagree alert.

More from Boeing:

Boeing named J. Michael Luttig to the newly-created position of counselor and senior advisor to Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg and the Boeing board of directors. Brett Gerry succeeds Luttig as general counsel. Both changes are effective immediately. Luttig, 64, who has served as general counsel since joining the company in 2006, will manage all legal matters associated with the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents. He also will serve as counselor and senior advisor to Muilenburg and the Boeing board of directors on these and other special matters. Luttig continues to hold the title of executive vice president and remains on the company’s Executive Council.


OTHER NEWS

This issue of IFExpress continues on the Digital Trends journey from the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) in Hamburg, Germany. We will wrap up the coverage up by navigating our readers through the final two sessions.

TAKING THE PAIN OUT OF THE DIGITAL JOURNEY

This was the first new stream in the afternoon and it focused on how the latest technology can both help and support new innovations that engage the passenger. And how there are multiple digital/mobile tools from different companies that are on offer to the passenger that can help, but also make the experience complex and disconnected. It also addressed the challenges our industry faces in sharing customer data and what issues specifically need to be tackled on an industry level.

This session was run a little differently from the previous streams. Questions were posed by the moderator, then each panelist addressed the question.

The panelists were: Dennis Baur – Head of Conichiwa; Steven Bailey – Chief Sales Officer of AOE; and Konsta Hansson – Managing Director of Reaktor Aero.

  • Where do we start taking out the pain?

Dennis Baur of Conichiwa: Conichiwa works with many different companies in our industry from airlines, to airports, and hotels. “There are currently so many independent apps available to the traveler of today.  Many, if not most, of these apps are not connected (to each other) and the data points aren’t being shared. The result is clearly a disjointed passenger journey.” The industry needs to leverage the data and work towards a more connected experience for the traveler by sharing the information. Dennis used the term ‘super apps’ to achieve this concept.

Steven Bailey of AOE, is a long-time expert in the digitalization of international companies, as well as, their business and IT vision. We focus on helping clients with their digital transformation and multi-channel e-commerce strategies. “When we undertake a journey, 80% of it is planed ahead, but 20% is an impulse driven purchase. However, there are cultural drivers that differ with both travelers and airlines. For example, Asians want to pre-plan the journey, have planned purchases, etc. Sharing customer data is a really crucial point. Our industry needs to look at becoming customer centricpeople plan in advance and are using their devices to leverage their journey.”

Konsta Hansson of Reaktor. In case you are not familiar with Reaktor, they are a digital design consulting firm that works across multiple industries. “We as an industry, need to focus on what the passenger wants and needs to get done throughout their journey.” Konsta went on to discuss the concept of the importance of customer centric product development. “Because we work across multiple industries, we can see what different clients/users do across those different settings. The key is to understand what the people are trying to get then providing them with something that addresses those needs that truly works to get things done.”

  • How do we help the industry overcome that fear?

Konsta: “By maybe trying the smaller things first. As an industry, we have fear about what will happen when the passenger is provided with the right type of information that they need. For example, that their bag didn’t make the flight. “

Dennis: Suggested using sensing technologies and beacons, which provide data that the airline can leverage. “Start with implementing digital technology along the customer journey – beacons are an example. Everyone wants this, but no one is speaking to each other and no one is actually addressing the need. Design it in a user centric way.”

Steven:Retail and services in airports are like a different part of the airport and don’t really share data with the other portions of an airport, like parking, and services (disabled, etc). Treating it like a fraternity not a trinity. Sharing data is paramount for success. Finding a solution is paramount. Look at customer journey and make it customer centric. Sharing the data, no matter what the source. Data falls into 2 buckets: GDPR (VERY Personal stuff) and Common Data. Is there a possibility that GDPR could overcome this by having the traveler signing up for some basic information being shared about you?”

Konsta:Data can be very generic but still be very useful. When you are using general data there are no issues about privacy. It is quite common to merge different data sources in other industries, which is quite beneficial.”

Steven: “Minor steps are significant. For example: a passenger hasn’t boarded plane, so unload their luggage and let the passenger know that there is a hotel right around the corner and that they can buy pajamas, or whatever they need for the unexpected stay.”

Dennis: “The current infrastructure is very fragmented. How quickly can your company deploy and move? In this industry, we tend to be so behind. – it is the nature of the aviation industry; whereas, the passenger journey itself is quite agile.”

Konsta:It is about being nimble and fast. Not about products really. It is about what addresses the customers’ problem. This must be in the forefront of the airline’s/airport/s mind. A lot of this stuff isn’t about IoT, it is empowering the people to do something. Sometimes the problem is much simpler than building or opening another application. Block chain will be the next thing coming up, especially with the loyalty programs and payment. At the moment this is API based. It is going to take some time, so now we need to take time and make small steps first. Always look at the customer. We are in the time where people have to have the guts to go into OPEX (a type of software for automation that provides tremendous speed to IT). There are algorithms that have been developed in other industries, could they be used after the fact to prove that the system/product could be used? This may be a way to get the industry to embrace something, by proving after the fact, that the process/analysis works. Must leave it up to the customer about when and where they want to engage.” He went on to say that when it comes time to test/trial, “You have to use actual passengers and users, in order for you to know whether it will be used.“ He also had advice on how to start this process, “How do we begin? Start with something small first. Select one small project somewhere and start doing something in a new way. This is how you start to change a mindset. Often, digitization is put on the sidelines and is laughed at. We need to ask where we want to be in 5 -10 years and how much funding are we going to put at it and it needs to be additional revenue, not filtered off another area. Have a strategy to go forward over the next 12 months and when do you plan to go live with it. This is a type of barrier that we see all the time. The C levels want it but it the mid-level managers are pushing back. Based on fear that their jobs will be lost. Konsta finished with this: “Do something that will break your own business model and try to identify what other companies will try to do in your sector. Look at additional revenues and your customers. Take the pain out build something that works. Quality is important if you want to take the pain out. Start small.”

ENHANCING YOUR REALITY

Panelists for this session: David Dicko – CEO Skylights; Fachrul Iman Alghozali – Product Development Analyst for GMF AeroAsia; Claire Nurcombe – Head of Marketing, Stelia Aerospace; Fabian Birgfeld – Founder & Managing Direction of W12, A TCS Interactive digital Design Studio; and Greg Caterer – CEO of Neutral Digital

The first to address the attendees was David Dicko from SkyLights. For those of you who aren’t familiar with SkyLights, they are a company that is deploying cinematic VR inflight. David said, “VR inflight is a technology that is able to overcome the special constraints of the cabin and ‘transport’ the passenger away from the cabin environment. SkyLights offers full HD, 3D AND 2D experiences.” He went on to say that over the past three (3) years they have done 7,000+ flights and have been commercially deployed on Garuda Indonesia, Alaska Airlines, and Air France. “The average usage time is 3 hours with a 94% passenger satisfaction rate,” said David. “Airlines that have offered the product have shown an improved NPS, a differentiated experience, and increased their brand awareness.” He went on, “Some of the obstacles have been headset comfort, nausea, and the passenger announcements (PA). One of the biggest issues is passenger comfort over the long haul. And comfort is key. Nausea can be solved by not doing VR when we don’t need to, and when we do show 360-degree content we must be careful how that content is made and reproduced. Passengers need to follow 10k feet rules, passenger announcements. Either address via Wi-Fi or through the audio.” David went on to say that airlines who have selected and/or trialed the SkyLights product have done extensive internal analysis on their passenger experience; need a differentiator for the passenger experience and feel that the cabin experience is a key precondition to stay competitive.”

Fachrul Iman Alghozali was the next presenter and gave an update on their VR trial with SkyLights which commenced after APEX in Boston 2018. He said the trail looked at comfort, entertainment and anxiety. Some of the challenges to flying with VR that they experienced were: Safety & Authorities’ Regulation; Operational Habit Change; Passenger Feedback; MRO & Ground Support Perspective; Supply Chain; System Integration; and Maintain Reliability. Fachrul said as far as the PA integration, they came up with a single cable integration and the PA was connected to the Wi-Fi server.

Here are two charts from the presentation: Evaluation on the Garuda Deployment and What We Know.

Claire Nurcombe of Neutral Digital (ND) was the next panelist. “ND has been working with SkyLights for a little over year to look at the integration opportunities. We have been looking at the following issues: How do we integrate it into seat and what are the certification issues? What do we need to overcome to achieve that? What is the real value of integrating VR headsets into the seat? We can do 4D cinema where the seat vibrates/moves to mimic what is going on in the screen (explosions, etc.) There is an Opal seat on SkyLights booth at the Expo. We worked together to create a massage/wellness environment and it can create a much more convincing environment for the passenger”.

Claire went on to say, “On the subject of VR, we are just starting out as a seat manufacturer. Reducing our cycles and can quickly check assumptions and validations. Can be done prior to building the mock-up. From a pragmatic point of view, it is how we are using it. VR is just starting its journey. It has left the gadget/gimmick stage. “

She closed with, “If we as a seat manufacturer can get rid of the inseat screen we can radically change how the seat fits into the aircraft and what it can be like. “ 

The Core Applications of VR in the Aviation Sector was the title of Greg Caterer of Neutral Digital’s presentation. Greg told the audience, “ND came up with the idea of a storyfied version of an in-cabin experience for Air Canada. We discovered that there are both cost and memorability benefits to putting the passenger experience at the center and trying to improve it via VR.  Cabin crew and ground operations training modules (interactive VR training) we critical. There was also seat visualization collaboration between Pearsonlloyd (the seat designer) and Neutral Digital. We established three (3) pillars for success: marketing, training and design. All of the 3 pillars have the passenger experience improving at their core.”

Take a look at this chart from Greg’s presentation that discusses the Key Benefits of Using VR.

The final speaker of the afternoon was Fabian Birgfeld, founder & Managing Direction W12.

Fabian started his presentation by discussion the following lessons learned, focusing on the audience: 1) obviously the importance of customer journey 2) with delocalization of the customer. Ask yourself, how do you craft freedom and fold it into the experience?

He went on to make the following statements/questions:

  • People don’t want to be locked in.
  • How do you use technology to enhance the customer experience?
  • Why is customer experience so incredibly important?
  • Compare the living room experience with everything else is out there.
  • Look at customer service & experience.
  • How do you leverage technology to influence tomorrow?
  • Everything is connected. Customers expect a seamless experience(s).
  • It is all about the data.
  • The customers expect tailored experiences. The data exists and we should use the information to tailor the experience.
  • Voice changes everything. Customers expect conversational experiences. Remote is a huge constraint compared to voice and gestures.
  • The artificial turns natural. Our reality is changing fast. That is a broad spectrum of reality and the customer is going to choose what is their choice.

“The customer journey starts the moment you conceive the journey through your return home. It is important that it is seamless and that is key. It is a reality that Netflix, Amazon Prime are what the consumer is used to, and it is what they expect moving forward.” Said Greg, “Never look at these things as a singular experience but together: brand, offer, tech – this is what comprises the experience framework.”

Greg continued, “Brand is so important. If you solve the brand issue you have solved 90% of the problem that is out there. You can future proof your offering. Digital changes extremely fast once you get hooked into the cloud.”

“Technology: We must create platform agnostic experiences. Work across all platforms to provide a consistent experience. Right now, the lowest hanging fruit is in the AR (augmented reality) space because you can cover the entire journey. Think of the opportunities/concepts: Airportal – the destination at the gate and bring the destination forward; Peek and book – see before you buy; and Travel tag – leaving your mark.”

Editor’s Note: This wraps up the Passenger Experience Conference Digital Trends Stream. Next week we will move on to some of the hardware and concepts we saw during the Aircraft Interiors Expo itself. So stay tuned!


GOGO

Gogo Inc. announced that it has determined that the consummation of the offering and sale of $905 million aggregate principal amount of 9.875% senior secured notes due 2024 by Gogo Intermediate Holdings LLC (“Holdings LLC”), the Company’s direct wholly owned subsidiary, and Gogo Finance Co. Inc., a direct wholly owned subsidiary of Holdings LLC and the Company’s indirect wholly owned subsidiary, satisfies the financing condition to its previously announced cash tender offer for any and all of its outstanding 3.75% Convertible Senior Notes due 2020.


THALES

Thales announces that Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, chose Thales’ Ka-band connectivity solution for their B787-9 and A321Neo-E (LR) aircraft. The airline is renowned for its traditional hospitality and its commitment to being an industry leader by developing products and services that reflect the evolving needs and aspirations of their passengers for a modern travel experience.

  • Gulf Air selects Thales’ Ka-band connectivity solution for its B787-9 and A321Neo-E (LR) fleet.
  • Thales will provide a robust, modular and full-featured connectivity platform for a best in class experience onboard leveraging Global Xpress Ka-band satellite network.
  • In 2016, Gulf Air selected Thales’ AVANT IFE system for their complete fleet renewal program.

OTHER NEWS

Deep knowledge of the media and entertainment industries
Extensive products, marketing and commercial operations experience

Los Angeles, CA | April 29, 2019– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (ENT) (“Global Eagle,” the “Company” or “we”), a leading provider of media, content, connectivity and data analytics to markets across air, sea and land, today announced that Leslie Ferraro has been nominated for election to its Board of Directors at its 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders on June 24, 2019 (the “Annual Meeting”). The Company also announced that, after six years of distinguished service, Board members Jeff Sagansky and Edward L. Shapiro will retire from its Board at the expiration of their current term at the Annual Meeting.

Ms. Ferraro brings extensive products, marketing and media and entertainment experience from her 18 years with Disney, including as President of Disney Consumer Products, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, Sales and Travel Operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Co-Chair of Consumer Products and Interactive Media for the Walt Disney Company.  She previously served on the board of directors for Hong Kong Disneyland Resort from 2010 to 2015 and currently serves on the board of directors for Edelman Financial Engines, LLC and Save-A–Lot, Inc. Prior to Disney, Leslie held various positions at McCann-Erickson, Johnson & Johnson and SmithKline Beecham.

“We are thrilled to nominate a leader of Leslie’s caliber for election to our Board,” said Jeff Leddy, Executive Chairman of Global Eagle and Chairman of the Board.  “As a travel and media executive with global experience, Leslie brings deep marketing and operational focus, having led Disney’s Consumer Products business and Co-Chaired their Consumer Products and Interactive Media business. Leslie will bring significant leadership perspective and capabilities as we execute our profitable growth agenda. We want to thank Mr. Sagansky and Mr. Shapiro for their significant contributions and invaluable insights to our strategy, culture and transformation during their six-year tenures on Global Eagle’s Board.”


Two Digital Trends Breakout Sessions – 2019 Passenger Experience Conference

In last week’s issue of IFExpress we reviewed the opening session from the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) held in Hamburg, Germany earlier this month. This week, we will focus on the conference’s Digital: The New Reality Breakout Sessions. We found these panel discussions to be informative and pertinent to the current trends in our industry.

From an important perspective, The Digital: The New Reality stream looked at how digital tools are surpassing the current mobile apps and will eventually be integrated across the entire journey, creating a seamless digital user space.

The keynote address for this stream was Practical applications of digital in the passenger experience. The cabin is a 3-dimensional object but the 4th dimension is time, and was presented by Anaïs Marzo da Costa, Head of Aircraft Interiors Marketing, Airbus. Anaïs discussed the current digital trends that Airbus has been looking at.  She said that Airbus has been working at connecting the airplane and they are now focusing on trying to connect the cabin. She stated that studies indicated there were 3 billion smartphone users in 2018 and that number is estimated to double to 6.1 billion by 2020.  Anaïs continued by stating that Airbus anticipates 23,100 aircraft to be equipped with connectivity by the year 2025. Looking back, there were zero airlines connected in 2007, and ten years later, in 2017 there were 106 aircraft connected. Needless to say, the forecasted rate of implementation over the next nine to ten years is impressive and enhances the fact that the integration of digitalization is growing rapidly.

How is connectivity coming onboard? Smartphones are used by travelers for booking and check-in – smartphones are the #1 travel companion. What does this information translate to onboard the aircraft? Passengers want choice! Airbus stated that the 2017 SITA IT Trends Survey & the Gogo Global Traveler 2018 Survey foresee more multi-screen environments in the future – both BYOD & inseat screens. This degree of digitalization provides an opportunity for a more tailored/targeted service and airlines are in the process of developing personalized offers that are enabled by: mobile connectivity, data analytics, and the passenger’s willingness to share personal data (right now that is roughly 27% of consumers).

Airbus has been actively pursuing the future of the connected cabin (the wireless network that links everything in cabin: galleys, overhead bag bins, flight attendants, passengers, cargo bays, lavatories, etc.), creating a cabin ecosystem for seamless connectivity of the various cabin elements, enabling additional value for both the airlines and the passengers. “The idea is to have every commodity in the cabin talking to each other, creating value for the airline and the passenger.”

Anaïs said, “There are three (3) pillars of the connected experience: 1) Operational Efficiency, 2) Ancillary Revenue, & 3) Passenger Experience.” Examples are:  Operational Efficiency – predictive maintenance, cabin crew operations and turnaround times; Ancillary Revenues – personalized inflight retail, tailored advertising, and news services; and the Passenger Experience – personalized catering, individual comfort settings, personalized services and the amount of bag bin space available. All the aforementioned will be achieved by using an IoT platform.

“At the moment we (Airbus) are doing predictive maintenance with the aircraft data but we want to be able to map that over to the cabin as well. Airbus is working with other aircraft manufacturers and suppliers in order to facilitate this in the near future. We, as an industry, are working on a common and secure language because this will benefit both the airline and the passenger”. In closing, Anaïs said, “I’ve recently asked Fritz Urban (Airbus’ cochair of the ARINC CSS committee) if CSS is going to write a standard for this network. As of today, there has been no response.”

The First Panel Discussion on Digital Trends pertained to Creating the Complete Digital and Physical Journey. This stream focused on how biometric technologies are providing an opportunity to reach the passenger on their journey through the airport and onto the aircraft.

Russell Holmes, Strategy Director & Partner of ico Design, was the first to address attendees. Mr. Holmes has been working with the London Luton Airport team over the past 5 years and has been instrumental in developing their brand.  His message evolved around the concept of looking at best practices. He said, “Everything should be underpinned by something that is not working as individual silos.” He went on to say, “The airport identity needs to work not only in a physical space but also in a digital space.” The airport identity should be completely flexible. One cannot look at the airport as static space. The question then is: How do you create something as a brand that can live in both the physical and digital space?

The next panelist was David Bartlett, CTO of Panasonic Avionics. David spoke to the assembly about the concept of competitive differentiation and the concept of the 4th Dimension/Place. He explained that for people the First Place is Home, the Second Place is Work and the Third Place (as defined by Ray Oldenburg in 1989 who stated it was critical to modern society, democracy) is a place that you go that you opt in (think coffee shop or a café). A prime example of a company that has really leveraged the concept of the Third Place is Starbucks. Mr. Bartlett sated, “We at Panasonic Avionics are proposing that Travel is the Fourth Place. Why is travel the logical fourth place?  We believe the travel experience is the co-mingling of the first 3 places. When you travel you socialize, work, sleep, eat.”

The concept of the 4th place is it must be a place that people look forward to being in. This is achieved by removing a lot of the friction points. How do we do this? How do we make the journey more of a place that people want to be in? How do we do this an industry? People want an experience that is seamless and gives them an immersive experience. How do we, as an industry, provide them with one connected experience starting from the home, throughout the journey, then back to the home? In other words, how do we provide a more personally curated experience? Panasonic cannot do this alone. It is an action call to the industry to leverage the entire ecosystem to work together in a new and more open way to achieve this.

The third panelist was Simon Krasowski, SVP Digital Transformation, Diehl Aviation; who discussed Digital Aviation Transformation. Simon said, “The world is shifting and becoming more complex. We are moving from complicated to more complex systems. How do we solve the problems and tackle them? It is more about testing different options. So, we need to change the way we work, take risks and allow failures.” He went on to say that we must make certain that we, as an industry, have seamless processes through the value chain. Right now, competitive priced products may be an answer, but in the future, it will be more about customer concentricity and speed of innovation – in other words, design thinking. “We must work closer within our work ecosystem and work with partners in order to achieve better and faster results. In other words, the key for success is collaboration within ecosystem. This calls for a balance between traditional working methods and agile working methods.”

The fourth panelist was Anne de Hauw of IN Air Travel Experience. Ms. De Hauw started her presentation stating that traditionally, airlines focused on safety and the passenger focused on the experience. Today, the question is should the focus be on the customer or technology? “At IN Air, we believe that time is your customer’s most valuable resource.  Airlines are going from creating technologies to services. They will do this by using technology as an enabler (AI, block chain). Technology (AI) will be crucial in customer service and convenience will be the new loyalty.”

Anne went on to discuss the 5 Key Pillars that will be needed, and they are: 1) Data-Driven: data gathering, machine learning and rapid analysis. This will lead to predicting behavior > intelligent offers > higher revenues. 2) Connectivity: onboard connectivity is transforming the travel experience to an open & connected world. Passengers behave like usual digital consumers. 3) Customer-Centricity: Reinvented offerings to evolve into hyper-personalized, immersive and emotional experiences. 4) Personalization: Faster and more efficient personalized services. 5) Collaborative Eco-System: Stakeholder interaction, passenger engagement and data sharing to create a positive and competitive experience.

She went on to discuss the New Brand Hierarchy, where, companies like Apple, Google and Amazon hold the top tier. Airlines are located on the second tier. She asked the question of how to play on that level? IN Air believes the answer is in providing ultimate convenience to the passenger. It has to be fast, easy and fun (FEF). This is achieved by being a combination of both digital and human interface. The best of the digital conveniences would be comprised of: seamless and single token, AI and Service Bot, Data analytics, connectivity. The best of human interface would be comprised of: hospitality, culture, emotional experiences, service. The best of both: Personalization/CURATION, Loyalty/COMMUNITY, engagement/CREATION and convenience/CONNECTIVITY. Anne wrapped up her presentation with the following, “The human interface will become the new premium service. The human interface is comprised of empathy, passion and creativity, with emotion at the core.” “The airline must care,” said Anne. She used an example of economy food service. What the food looks like, how it is presented, etc. and stated that this is an example of how the human interface currently needs to be improved in today’s market. She asked, “Why can’t the food look appealing and be presented in a more appetizing fashion? This is not helping the cause. There are technologies that are disrupting airline catering. New initiatives are on the cusp for utilizing the digital advancements to get this going. This is what we as an industry need to strive for!

The last speaker from this session of the Digital Trends stream was Elizabeth “Bess” Chapman, Operating Principal of JetBlue Technologies (JBT). She works with portfolio companies to create compelling value propositions for JetBlue, source new technology and identify emerging trends. She stated that innovation is a big part of JetBlue’s airline identify but she has found it has become more challenging to become more innovative. “We want to find the next Uber in aviation,” said Bess.

How does JetBlue Technologies work? They scan the global ecosystem for start-ups. Once they find one that is appealing JBT partners with them. They help them get going then bring them back into JetBlue. “We work with startups both via investment but with time as well,” said Bess. Over time, they have invested in 22 companies.

“Brand is an identity former. Look at Apple. They have incredibly strong brand identity. If they were to launch an airline, who wouldn’t fly it?! Virgin has a very strong brand identity, but many others do not,” she said. “People and their interaction and empathy are very significant. Again, look at an Apple store vs. an airline counter at an airport.”

One challenge now is to test and take risks and see what really works, but also, the industrialization to make certain you have the best product for your customer.

Disruptions in a business like an airline is very different from an electronics giant like Apple. Whether it is a delay, etc. How do you get that irate passenger to come around and change their position from being annoyed to appreciative? Is it offering them free Wi-Fi, a glass of champagne? You really have to know the individual’s wants/needs. This is another advantage in digital technology – it is not only cutting cost but being able to deliver. And reliability is very important.

Value Perspective: What is the next big value disruption? With regards to AI, a lot has been done with biometrics via facial technology for within the airport that allows passengers to board using biometrics, so there is no need for a boarding pass, because facial recognition is so secure. With this digital information, there is then the opportunity to target those people with sales/shopping en route to the gate. JBT also believes that the insights from the data will be absolutely game changing for our industry.

Another area that JBT finds significant is the airlines that want to boost their customer service and personal interaction are the airlines who are looking at the concept of virtual assistants, so it really is a better balance, it isn’t actually trying to depersonalize the experience. How people interact with a virtual assistant may be key. You tend to talk with them in a neutral way vs. the way you may interact with a person or your partner. This may be a way that the technology understands who I am, how quickly I need to get through the airport, etc. All reducing the stress of the journey.

Next week the IFExpress team will wrap-up the Digital Trends Stream with “Taking the Pain Out of the Digital Journey” and the final session “Enhancing Your Reality”.


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation announced that it will supply inflight entertainment system hardware for a next-generation inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) system being developed by one of the largest airlines in the United States. Under the agreement, Astronics’ products will equip nearly 50 of the airlines’ new widebody aircraft. Provided by Astronics CSC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Astronics Corporation, Astronics is now delivering production units that are a combination of new and existing products, both standard off-the-shelf and custom designs.


GOGO

Gogo Inc. announced the pricing of the previously announced private offering of $905 million aggregate principal amount of 9.875% senior secured notes due 2024 (the “Notes”) to be issued by its direct wholly owned subsidiary, Gogo Intermediate Holdings LLC (“Holdings LLC”), and its indirect wholly owned subsidiary, Gogo Finance Co. Inc. (the “Co-Issuer” and, together with Holdings LLC, the “Issuers”).  The offering is expected to close on April 25, 2019, subject to certain closing conditions.


EDITOR’S NOTE

While IFExpress’ primary focus is IFEC, we have been flooded with news about the 737 MAX. We recommend this April 18, 2019 article from the IEEE Spectrum. It is both descriptive and technical and represents the observations and operating conditions of the aircraft by an author who is both a pilot and software developer.  How the Boeing 737 Max Disaster Looks to a Software Developer – IEEE Spectrum


OTHER NEWS

  • L-Band is being tested in Germany for the future of aviation communication and one of the reason is data rate – 2.6 Megabits/sec versus a few kilobits. Notes Avionics International: “First, it is an alternative link that pilots and controllers can use to digitally exchange much of the same information they communicate today verbally. Secondly, it can serve as an alternative positioning, navigation and timing signal for correcting aircraft navigation accuracy when global navigation satellite system links such as Galileo or EGNOS in Europe are interrupted or unavailable.” Flight Tests of LDACS Prototype Under Way in Germany – Avionics International
  • If you are into antennas, or you want to learn more about antennas, check out this site. The Antenna Theory Website As they (and Einstein) say: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

 

 

 


From IFExpress’ perspective, this year’s Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) in Germany was worth the battle with Monday morning jetlag! As we all know, not all conference content is created equal, and many times, the opening remarks/panels are a bit mundane; however, the 2019 PEC provided us with some salient questions and concepts that kept our attention.

Insights from Industry Leaders  was the title of  the opening session and the panel was comprised of Jóhanna Bergi, CEO of Atlantic Airways; Dr. Christian Langer, Chief Digital Officer of the Lufthansa Group & Managing Director Lufthansa Innovation Hub; Jeremy Drury, Director Digital & E-Services Star Alliance; Juha Jarvinen, Executive Vice President of Commercial, Virgin Atlantic; and moderated by Dr. Joe Leader, CEO of APEX & IFSA.

Joe Leader started the session by saying that he is seeing a stronger focus on the inflight experience and personalization to the passenger experience with more ancillary revenue attached to the end-to-end service. His example: Etihad is offering some business class touches in their economy service. And he went on to say that, “No matter the size of your airline or the scope of your mission, it is the attention to details that matter.”

The first panel member to address the crowd was Ms. Johanna A. Bergi – CEO Atlantic Airways; who stated that Atlantic Airways was established 31 years ago and is the carrier of the Faroe Islands. Ms. Bergi discussed the uniqueness of the Faroe Islands, how they have been connected politically to Denmark since the 14th century but are geographically located near the coast of Scotland, and how travel and tourism is important to their community. “We want to promote our country in a modern way.” Sustainability is key to their airline and the Faroe Island community as a whole. “We are going full speed into sustainability, we have purchased new aircraft for their fuel saving and we are also using sustainable packing with a pre-order system for catering in an effort to minimize waste.” They offer the AirFi IFE system to their passengers. Content is upload when the aircraft is on the ground, but gives the passengers a feel of being connected, even though they are not connected real-time.

Next to address the conference was Dr. Christian Langer – Chief Digital Officer & Managing Director Lufthansa Innovation Hub who told us that the Lufthansa Group has changed how they look at digital information. He asked the question, “How do we drive innovation?” He said that within their organization they rely on the people within it to provide the innovative concepts, not a single group or the board itself. Dr. Langer stated that they also give monetary awards for concepts that are successful. He asked which other industries may be converging with ours? And said that we are often influenced by the auto industry and he could see a time when cabin interiors might be manufactured by the auto industry, as they have the same problems to solve. However, the innovation cycle of the auto industry is far quicker– every 15 – 24 months, compared to that of the aviation industry . He said, “Our industry takes years and years. I think we, as an industry, need to speed up this cycle given passenger expectations.” He went on to say, “What is the impact that digital industries will have on the passengers? How can we understand what they are doing and how can we influence it? How can we speed up internal processes to be on par with these start-ups?  How can we adopt the new technologies/services, your IT needs to be able to adopt? If you don’t have the API ready, how can you adopt? Speed is of the essence and we as an industry need to speed up the process.” In closing, Dr. Langer said, “Keep your basics straight. Improve your basics and it will have a big influence. Airlines, ask yourself: How on time? How clean are the cabins? What is your ecological footprint? What is the technological footprint? We think these things are very important.  Fix your basics, have them be brilliant and you will be successful.”

The next speaker was Mr. Jeremy Drury – Director Digital & E-Services Star Alliance. Mr. Drury said that his focus is to make the customer journey better. One of the primary ways to achieve this is make certain that the airline has access to quality data on each customer and that the hand-off of that information from carrier-to-carrier within the alliance is better in order to facilitate the passenger journey“The customer is king,” said Drury, “Which ever channel the customer elects, it is important that the customer can stay within that channel throughout their journey to get everything they need. So, you don’t need to download a billion apps.” Seat selection on a multi-segment, multi-carrier trip was used as an example: You have downloaded the United app onto your phone as they are your carrier of choice. You are traveling on them for the first leg of your journey, then connecting onto a Singapore Airlines operated flight. You should be able to select/change your seat, etc. on the Singapore operated flight using the United Airlines app.

Drury went on to say, Biometrics are a big deal. What principals as an alliance do you maintain between services and privacy? It is difficult, biometrics services need to be tracked and transferred throughout the journey. We are working out ways to solve the problems in order to deliver but with explicit consent, because the customer owns themselves.” He went on to say that airlines have to ask themselves the following: what services will be available through the various airlines’ applications? Baggage tracking, directions through the airport (guidance options within the airport), easier informational items (lounge is an example). And how can airline/alliance speed up rate of approval? In terms of loyalty propositions: What is the future of loyalty? How would/could blockchain be used? How close are we to having that as part of the world? The need for redemption opportunities. In order to do this, we need to build up a series of people and products that can be leveraged in that eco system. Block chain is the perfect airline alliance product. It is an ideal technology. “We have a way to go before it reaches fruition, but the Star Alliance is starting to look at this, “said Drury.

The last to present was Juha Jarvinen – Executive VP of Commercial, Virgin Atlantic. Juha said that Virgin has always been an iconic airline that historically has been a bit bolder, a bit braver and has embraced a certain look and feel. A key part of their identity is to “be yourself” and diversity is very important to their airline culture. He went onto say the airline has a 3-year strategy program: 1) We need technology but must focus on the people because it is the people that make a difference 2) Need to start growing. It is important to expand and be in a growth mode 3) How do we expand our global network with our partnerships? Established a relationship with AirFrance/KLM (31%) and Delta Air Lines (49%) and have acquired Flybe (will focus on short haul segments) – these relationships will dramatically change and strengthen Virgin Atlantic.

What is Virgin Atlantic’s vision: DNA is to be different, bolder but they are now adding more airlines to the joint Atlantic family, which gives them a global network in an entirely different way. Mr. Jarvinen stated that they now have a substantial business not just a leisure airline. Juha went on to say they are creating a new loyalty program for the UK market – It is all about the customer data: how do we customize and personalize the offering? They have been asking themselves: “What slows down adoption for an airline? When looking at airline alliances, the members adapt and change at different rates. So, we work with a few airlines that are more agile and then roll out the product/service/strategy after it has been tested and trialed with the other airlines.

Another area that Mr. Jarvinen talk about was passenger data. “Do airlines have the capacity to protect the passenger’s data? Do people trust airlines to protect their data? This is a crucially important area. We have had examples of data breaches with airlines around the world. All passenger data and loyalty data must be protected. This is on the top of the agenda. This is a topic where airlines must work together.”

Juha rounded up his discussion by stating: Whoever is closest to the customer wins the customer. Google announced the gamification of gaming (basically puts it in the cloud) a few weeks ago, this provides an opportunity for the airlines when it comes to gaming and/or IFE.

Loyalty programs could truly benefit from gamification. Also, what is the next stage of the journey?  Example: asking Siri where your gate is, is the plane on time, etc. So, whoever gets there first wins.”

Next week IFExpress will focus on the Digital Trends Break Out Sessions, so stay tuned!


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a leader in global mobile satellite communications,  announced that its award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband solution will be available to passengers onboard Virgin Atlantic’s brand new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. Virgin Atlantic is scheduled to receive 12 Airbus A350-1000s over the next three years, with GX Aviation pre-installed upon delivery. The service will be available once the first of these aircraft takes to the skies from late summer 2019, allowing passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, check social media, instant message and more, with speeds on par with mobile broadband on the ground. GX Aviation is the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight connectivity service delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of high-throughput satellites. It was revealed as part of Virgin Atlantic’s new onboard offering on the A350-1000 earlier this week, with other key features of the aircraft including an entirely new Upper Class cabin with brand new suite and social space. More than 1,600 aircraft are currently expected under signed contracts for Inmarsat’s next-generation inflight broadband solutions for airlines, with a new business pipeline of approximately 3,000 aircraft worldwide. To meet growing demand, Inmarsat has a fully-funded development roadmap, including three further Ka-band payloads. A fifth GX satellite will be launched later this year and two sixth-generation satellites are scheduled to launch in 2020 and 2021. In addition, planning is underway for the next generation of GX satellites.


VISION BOX

New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport Terminal One Group and Vision-Box have signed a cooperation agreement to modernize passenger processing and roll out one of the largest biometric boarding airport platforms in the USA. A seamless biometric-based passenger management platform will be implemented, allowing for passengers to board without needing to show their passports or boarding passes. Lufthansa will be the first carrier to offer the technology at JFK Terminal One, their largest USA operation, with Air France, Japan Airlines, and many others expected to follow suit, as the terminal is home to a total of 26 international carriers.


INFLIGHT VR

In an effort to appeal to their young and increasingly technology hungry customer demographic, innovative Korean low- cost carrier Jin Air has partnered with Inflight VR to offer Virtual Reality (VR) inflight entertainment to its passengers. Jin Air will trial 10 devices on daily flights between Seoul, South Korea and Da Nang, Vietnam to get additional passenger insight on usage preferences and the adequate rental price before deploying it to their whole fleet.


AIRBUS

  • Airbus has launched first operations of a new Skywise service – Skywise Health Monitoring (SHM) – with Allegiant Air on its A320s. Dynamically coupled with Skywise Reliability Services (SRS) and Skywise Predictive Maintenance (SPM), SHM is hosted on Skywise, gathering live diagnostic feeds from the aircraft through its *ACARS link to the airline’s information system. Using the power of the Skywise aviation data platform, SHM collates and centralises the alerts, flight-deck effects, maintenance messages etc., prioritizes them, correlates any faults with the relevant troubleshooting procedures, highlights operational impacts, provides the maintenance history of the system (from the logbook and **MIS information collected through Skywise Core and stored in the data lake), allowing effective tracking of the alerts. When fully deployed, and following the in-service feedback from Allegiant Air and other ‘early adopters’, SHM will support airlines’ Maintenance Control Centers, Line Maintenance and Engineering departments in identifying, prioritizing, analyzing and handling in-service events, enabling quicker decision-making and preparation of the optimal solution to ensure aircraft on-time dispatch and minimizing AOG risks. Overall, SHM saves airlines time and decreases the cost of unscheduled maintenance. Natively interfaced with SPM and SRS to provide an integrated user-experience, and also ready to harness the new on-board Flight Operations and Maintenance Exchanger (“FOMAX”) data router which can capture over 20,000 real-time aircraft parameters, SHM enables end-to-end unscheduled event management/fixes for example by anticipating tools and parts’ availability closest to the aircraft. More early adopters will join in the months to come to pilot SHM for other Airbus aircraft, including A330, A350 and A380. *ACARS = Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System **MIS = Maintenance Information System
  • Airbus appointed Julie Kitcher as Executive Vice-President Communications and Corporate Affairs, effective immediately. In this role, she joins the Airbus Executive Committee leading all external and internal communication activities, reporting to Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
  • Airbus SE appointed a new Executive Committee led by Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury, following approval from the Board of Directors. The changes are effective immediately. The Executive Committee supports the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in his duty of managing the day-to-day operations of Airbus’ business and is the Company’s top executive body. It comprises the Heads of Divisions and major Functions.
    Dominik Asam, Chief Financial Officer; Thierry Baril, Chief Human Resources Officer; Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice-President Engineering, Bruno Even, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Helicopters; John Harrison, General Counsel; Dirk Hoke, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Defence and Space; Julie Kitcher, Executive Vice-President Communications & Corporate Affairs; Philippe Mhun, Executive Vice-President Programmes & Services; Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer; Michael Schöllhorn, Chief Operations Officer; Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer

OTHER NEWS

IFExpress is home from a week in Germany where many new developments in the IFEC arena were on display at the Aircraft Interiors Expo Hamburg 2019. As we mentioned to many of you during the show, predominately 2019 was a ‘step change’ year verses a new product/hardware unveiling – however, there were one or two major exceptions, which we will address in upcoming issues of IFExpress.

As many of you know, this is a huge show and we never managed to get outside of the IFEC Zone but we did see some noteworthy concepts. For example, this spring there were three different companies exhibiting LiFi technology (a mobile wireless technology that uses light instead of radio frequencies to transmit data) for IFEC applications; whether it was streaming movies to an inseat screen or using LiFi to upload content to the aircraft when it was parked at the gate. All pretty amazing, and we were impressed with the rate of proliferation of the technology from APEX 2018 to now. Needless to say, we think LiFi is here to stay and anticipate the Tech Committee to establish a working group on the technology in the near term if they haven’t done so already.

An area that did have some major advancements that we were wowed by was satcom antennas. We saw an amazing new development antenna project that we are still in awe of and cannot wait to see how it will impact the industry once it is certified and flying. Having said that, there were several other companies that were also exhibiting new antennas that were much more aerodynamic and provided more performance. More on these developments in a later issue.

Another area that was addressed in many booths was the concept of Health/Wellness applications. This is a definite growth area for our industry and the IFEC venders appear to be embracing the concept. Health/Wellness is a circumstance where the aircraft is mimicking the trends on the ground and, as we know, airlines are always looking to engage their passengers with technology and services that meet their expectations and ease the stress of the travel experience. Expect to be hearing more and more on this area over the coming months.

None of the aforementioned would be possible without the new, massive solid-state drives that are embedded in today’s IFEC in conjunction with the proliferation of installed connectivity services, artificial intelligence and biometrics. As these four technologies evolve in the IFEC industry the amount of data that can be garnered about each individual traveler and their expectations will result in a tailored travel experience from the moment the ticket is booked, throughout the journey itself, until the passenger reaches his/her destination. The industry has long talked about touching the end-to-end passenger experience and how it will facilitate the airlines ability to meet, and possibly exceed, expectations of those utilizing their services whether it be for leisure or business travel. It is the belief of IFExpress that we are finally on the cusp of being able to deliver on that promise. Having said that, one of the primary areas of concern that has, and will continue to be, voiced was the issue of privacy and security around the individual traveler’s personal data. This translates to the need for an increasingly cybersecure system. As an industry, both the airlines and the IFEC vendors will be continuing to focus on the issues of hacking and maintaining the passengers’ faith and trust that their personal information is secure. This is an issue that is here to stay.

Another major announcement that was discussed last week was the news that Future Travel Experience (FTE) and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) reached an agreement to fully integrate the FTE into APEX. This decision to integrate FTE into the APEX family will create an end-to-end passenger experience and innovation powerhouse that will benefit the entire air transport industry, including airports, airlines, vendors and all other stakeholders who play an important role in enhancing the customer experience and optimizing operational efficiency on the ground and in-flight. Said Daniel Coleman, Founder of FTE. FTE will continue to operate with autonomy but both organizations believe that by teaming they can strengthen and amplify their respective propositions, which provide an opportunity to consolidate yet build large-scale interactive events together. Time will tell.

Over the next few weeks, our publication will review what we had the opportunity to see and experience during AIX. We will start with the Passenger Experience Conference and the Digital Trends breakout session from April 1st. During the following weeks we will do a deeper dive into the interviewed companies and their technologies. As always, thanks for subscribing and reading IFExpress!

Editor’s Note: “With all the press and industry concern over the recent B737 MAX incidents, we have created a section lower down in IFExpress on Boeing because this subject is very important, and it is news with a great impact – safety will always be a BIG DEAL.” – Patricia Wiseman


AIRBUS
American Airlines is starting scheduled flights with the first of its 100 new Airbus A321neo aircraft on order. These aircraft come equipped with an all-new cabin interior designed for enhanced passenger comfort and convenience, including larger Airspace XL overhead luggage bins that increase carry-on bag capacity. American is the launch customer for the Airspace XL bins, which provide approximately 40 percent more overhead storage space for passengers on board the 196-seat aircraft. In addition to equipping its new A321neos with the XL bins, American also plans to retrofit its entire in-service fleet of earlier A321 models – more than 200 aircraft – with the cabin features included on the new A321neos.

Airbus has extended its Airspace Customer Definition Centre (CDC) at its Airbus site in Hamburg, Germany for cross-program cabin customization by now including the A320 and A330 programs – to complement the existing A350 XWB customization areas. From now on operators of all these programs can experience the well-established approach for a fast, easy and state-of-the-art cabin definition which Airbus has been offering for A350 XWB customers since the original CDC first opened in 2014. Furthermore, the CDC now fully adopts the ‘Airspace’ Cabin Brand, which was first launched with the A330neo, and sets new cabin standards of comfort, ambience, service and design for airlines and their passengers. Consequently, the CDC was renamed to Airspace Customer Definition Centre.

Following the launch of this extension in April 2017, construction began to enlarge the existing CDC premises by redeveloping and equipping a large adjacent aircraft hangar into a state-of-the-art and cooperative working environment. Recently completed, the new facility adds approximately 4,500 m² of new space over two floors dedicated for A320 and A330 customers, and will foster the realization of their integrated cabin solutions. The CDC extension features new customer-specific mock-up areas as well as highly flexible presentation and conference rooms on two levels with the ambience of an industrial loft.In the CDC customers follow a unique definition process through a purposely designed array of highly dedicated zones. In line with Airbus’ track record of cabin innovation, the extension brings several new technologies and services which are now available across the different aircraft types. A key highlight is a new Airbus invented floor projection system which displays the full-scale real cabin layout on the floor. Combined with original cabin elements, customers can perform ‘live’ tests of alternative layouts and scenarios. In addition to this innovation, some configuration mock-ups have been expanded to include a cargo area to discuss solutions for the use of the space in the lower-deck. Furthermore, meeting rooms are updated with the latest VR-technologies.The combination of functional play rooms for cabin equipment testing, exhibition areas for typical airline product staging, design studios for material and mood light definitions, virtual and augmented reality technology complemented by customer-specific mock-up areas, make the Airspace CDC a unique and attractive one-stop-shop for customers.

Air Portugal – Lisbon based TAP Air Portugal received its first of twelve A321LR’s on order, becoming the first airline to operate a combined A330neo and A321LR fleet. The A321LR is the world’s most flexible and capable large single aisle aircraft. Powered by CFM engines, TAP’s A321LR is configured with 171 seats (16 full flat Business, 48 Eco Premium and 107 Ecomomy seats). The combination of the A321LR and the A330neo within a single fleet provides operators a powerful lever to cover the needs of the medium to long haul market. With both newest generation single aisle (20% fuel burn reduction) and widebody aircraft (25% fuel burn reduction) airlines benefit from an unrivaled commonality for operations whilst passengers experience a higher and harmonized comfort standards.


ASTRONICS
Astronics Corporation, a provider of advanced technologies for global aerospace, defense, and other mission-critical industries, announced that Astronics and HAECO Cabin Solutions have collaborated to jointly integrate SmartTray passenger electronic device (PED) holder technology for inclusion on HAECO’s Vector economy seats’ in-arm tray tables.

Astronics also announced an expanded line of CorePower power conversion products for use on commercial aircraft, business jets, and rotorcraft applications. These new power converters are available off-the-shelf and certified to provide an easy path for modernizing aircraft power systems.


BOEING
FAA was urged by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer to remove Boeing from Aviation Rule-making Advisory Committee (ARAC) until the formal investigation into MAX crashes has ended. He also demanded that FAA make public who else sits on the committee.


OTHER NEWS

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

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!


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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.


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