As we kick off the next decade we thought our readers might want to read what others see about our society and the impacts on the forthcoming future events. Here are a few of the articles that excited, confused, enriched, and generally caught us off guard. Good Luck!

Here is a grand view of the distribution of the worlds wealth to start off: All the World’s Wealth in One Visual

The future of weather prediction is going to just be much better and we can thank Google for it. Google AI Blog: Using Machine Learning to “Nowcast” Precipitation in High Resolution

This next generation paper by the World Economic Forum is not an easy read – rather, it is very detailed. Without considering any military issues in the next 10 years, Ms’s Gawel and Herweijer put a detailed paper together about the future that is – well, the next decade of Innovation vs Goals. It is worth a read, but and is very good because they cover prominent fourth Industrial Revolution stuff! ‎

It also looks like “leaders for life is becoming a new craze in the next 10 years. Vladimir Putin seeks to join the world’s leaders for life – Axios

Finally, artificial life can be designed as programable computers – Artificial lifeforms designed by supercomputers are fully programmable

While looking through some predicted generational changes from 2020 to 2030 we found this link from an Oxford professor – different stuff! The five tech breakthroughs set to define the 2020s | Sifted

And lastly, here is a great article on what’s happening in the space industry – How startups aim to monetize the space industry – Travel & Mobility Tech and Space startup investments continued to rise in 2018 – SpaceNews.com

Stay Tuned in the next 10 years, and as a treat, here is the History Guy showing you about the first commercial airplane flight around the world! – The IFExpress Team!


SITAONAIR

SITAONAIR announces the acquisition of GTD Air Services – the aviation branch of Spanish software provider GTD System & Software Engineering – in an exciting expansion of its application ambition and vision. Having successfully partnered with GTD Air Services to develop the eWAS portfolio – the market-leading electronic weather situational awareness mobile applications currently in use by 50,000 pilots worldwide – GTD Air Services will join SITAONAIR under the next phase of its application portfolio strategy. The acquisition will enrich SITAONAIR’s existing Digital Day of Operations application portfolio, and reflect its belief that embracing a digital shift will help reinvent the operation of aircraft, flights and the passenger experience, making flying safer, more efficient, enjoyable and sustainable. SITAONAIR is pleased to welcome the versatile and innovative team from GTD Air Services, who have a proven record for successfully developing state-of-the-art weather and mobile applications for airline professionals, as well as a strong start-up culture of agility and co-innovation. The GTD Air Services team will continue to be based in Barcelona, Spain, and operate under a separate entity, in order to preserve its creativity and product development dynamic. It will also enhance, through its growth, the Digital Day of Operations application development capacity for SITAONAIR and be integrated within the wider SITA group ecosystem. The deal comes at a time when the number of flights is increasing, and the global fleet is set to double in size within the next 15 years. Increased congestion in the skies brings a host of challenges for airlines, and growing demand for enhanced operations. Among the challenges is a rise in severe weather conditions, which risk the safety of pilots, crews, and passengers, along with potential delays and aircraft damages. Airlines also face pressure to lessen their environmental impact, by reducing unnecessary fuel consumption and limiting turn-around times.


GOGO

Gogo and Spanish satellite operator, Hispasat, announced a capacity agreement on Amazonas Nexus satellite to meet the growing global demand for high-speed inflight connectivity services. Gogo has leased multi-gigahertz of Ku-band capacity onboard Hispasat’s new satellite, set to launch in the second half of 2022, to provide service to its customers in the Americas and the Atlantic region. Hispasat and Gogo worked closely to optimize the satellite design to provide superior performance and capacity for inflight connectivity.

Amazonas Nexus is a High Throughput Satellite (HTS) with an innovative architecture that will replace the Amazonas 2 in the 61º West position. The new satellite will have a payload specifically dedicated to aero connectivity and will offer additional capacities oriented to vertical segments like mobile connectivity, corporate communications and cellular network deployment. It will feature an advanced Digital Transparent Processor (DTP), a technological breakthrough that will substantially increase satellite flexibility when dealing with changes in demand.


BOEING

Boeing released the following statement today (1/21/20): As we have emphasized, the FAA and other global regulators will determine when the 737 MAX returns to service. However, in order to help our customers and suppliers plan their operations, we periodically provide them with our best estimate of when regulators will begin to authorize the un-grounding of the 737 MAX.

We are informing our customers and suppliers that we are currently estimating that the un-grounding of the 737 MAX will begin during mid-2020. This updated estimate is informed by our experience to date with the certification process. It is subject to our ongoing attempts to address known schedule risks and further developments that may arise in connection with the certification process. It also accounts for the rigorous scrutiny that regulatory authorities are rightly applying at every step of their review of the 737 MAX’s flight control system and the Joint Operations Evaluation Board process which determines pilot training requirements.
Returning the MAX safely to service is our number one priority, and we are confident that will happen. We acknowledge and regret the continued difficulties that the grounding of the 737 MAX has presented to our customers, our regulators, our suppliers, and the flying public. We will provide additional information about our efforts to safely return the 737 MAX to service in connection with our quarterly financial disclosures next week.

AIRBUS

  • Airbus successfully performed the first fully automatic vision-based take-off using an Airbus Family test aircraft at Toulouse-Blagnac airport. The test crew comprising of two pilots, two flight test engineers and a test flight engineer took off initially at around 10h15 on 18 December and conducted a total of 8 take-offs over a period of four and a half hours. “The aircraft performed as expected during these milestone tests. While completing alignment on the runway, waiting for clearance from air traffic control, we engaged the auto-pilot,” said Airbus Test Pilot Captain Yann Beaufils. “We moved the throttle levers to the take-off setting and we monitored the aircraft. It started to move and accelerate automatically maintaining the runway centre line, at the exact rotation speed as entered in the system. The nose of the aircraft began to lift up automatically to take the expected take-off pitch value and a few seconds later we were airborne.” Rather than relying on an Instrument Landing System (ILS), the existing ground equipment technology currently used by in-service passenger aircraft in airports around the world where the technology is present, this automatic take-off was enabled by image recognition technology installed directly on the aircraft. Automatic take-off is an important milestone in Airbus’ Autonomous Taxi, Take-Off & Landing (ATTOL) project. Launched in June 2018, ATTOL is one of the technological flight demonstrators being tested by Airbus in order to understand the impact of autonomy on aircraft. The next steps in the project will see automatic vision-based taxi and landing sequences taking place by mid-2020. Airbus’ mission is not to move ahead with autonomy as a target in itself, but instead to explore autonomous technologies alongside other innovations in areas such as materials, electrification and connectivity. By doing so, Airbus is able to analyze the potential of these technologies in addressing the key industrial challenges of tomorrow, including improving air traffic management, addressing pilot shortages and enhancing future operations. At the same time Airbus is leveraging these opportunities to further improve aircraft safety while ensuring today’s unprecedented levels are maintained. For autonomous technologies to improve flight operations and overall aircraft performance, pilots will remain at the heart of operations. Autonomous technologies are paramount to supporting pilots, enabling them to focus less on aircraft operation and more on strategic decision-making and mission management.
  • Following its strategy to keep its overall production system at the leading edge of technology and to increase industrial capacity and flexibility, Airbus has decided to create new A321 production capabilities at its site in Toulouse. By mid-2022 the current A380 Lagardère facility in Toulouse will accommodate a digitally-enabled A321 line as a step to modernize the A320 production system in Toulouse. The new facilities will provide more flexibility for A321 production, while keeping the overall single aisle industrial capacity in Toulouse flat. Currently, the only European Final Assembly Line to assemble A321s is at Airbus’ Hamburg site. In addition, the A321 is also being assembled and delivered from Mobile, Alabama, USA. Toulouse was selected for several reasons such as: overall competitiveness, time to market, investment cost, available floor space and resources. The decision has been communicated to Airbus’ social partners. The A320neo Family is the world’s best-selling single aisle with over 7 100 aircraft sold to over 110 customers. Within this Family, the A321XLR is the latest evolutionary step 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 and a 30% lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation competitor aircraft. For passengers, the A321XLR’s new Airspace cabin will provide the best travel experience, while offering seats in all classes with the same high-comfort as on a long-haul wide-body, with the low costs of a single-aisle aircraft.

AIRCRAFT DELIVERIES/ORDERS

2019 Aircraft Totals: Airbus – Deliveries 863, Orders 1131; Boeing – Deliveries 380, Orders 246 (Note: The orders here are not counting cancellations) Boeing posts negative commercial airplane orders for first time in decades


OTHER NEWS

BOEING

Roughly 10 months after the 737 MAX was grounded, David Calhoun has started as Boeing’s new CEO. In an email to employees Calhoun said “Many of our stakeholders are rightly disappointed in us, and it’s our job to repair these vital relationships. We’ll do so through a re-commitment to transparency and by meeting and exceeding their expectations.” But despite a ‘fresh start’ Congress will have Boeing under a microscope. Apparently, an SEC filing “an additional long-term incentive award valued at approximately $7 million which will be earned only upon continued employment and the achievement of several key business milestones, including full safe return to service of the 737 MAX.” and three Democratic senators (Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)) have apparently sent a letter to the Boeing board asking them to remove this incentive payment for Calhoun saying the award “represents an inappropriate incentive for Mr. Calhoun to pressure regulators and attempt to rush the 737 MAX back into the sky before its safety is guaranteed.”


MOMENT (FLYMINGO) & SURINAM AIRWAYS

Moment, the French technology company specialized in entertainment and passenger solutions for the aviation industry, has been selected by Surinam Airways (SLM) to integrate the Flymingo Box solution aboard the airline’s fleet to give passengers access to an in-flight entertainment platform.

Based in Suriname, in the city of Paramaribo, Surinam Airways operates as the country’s national carrier, and has flights to international destinations such as the Netherlands, the Caribbean, Netherlands Antilles, United States, Guyana and Brazil. Surinam Airways was looking to offer its passengers a unique service in terms of entertainment and to optimize the traveling experience, and chose the French company Moment, after evaluating several solutions, to equip its fleet.

Flymingo Box is a Wireless In-Flight Entertainment solution based on a patented portable server with the capacity to broadcast a catalog of 10,000 hours of content and which can offer IFE streaming to 100 passengers simultaneously. Characterized by its power and ultra-compact size, it enables passengers to access a smooth streaming service from any type of device, without the need for an application. Thanks to Moment app-free technology, passengers will be able to enjoy Surinam Airways’ DRM-protected content directly from their personal device browser.

Moment will also be responsible for the acquisition of content for Surinam Airways’ wireless IFE and Panasonic seat-back screens.  As a result, passengers will access on board a varied catalog of premium content including recent movies and series, documentaries, cartoons, games and music playlists.

“We are very pleased to be part of Surinam Airways journey, who has chosen our Flymingo Box solution to enhance and personalize the onboard traveler experience. This partnership highlights the quality of our solutions and their ability to enrich the flying experience,” says Michael Serres, COO and co-founder of Moment. “Thanks to its innovative, simple and flexible solution, Moment will make a significant contribution to improving passenger service.”

Radjesh Radjkoemar CEO at Surinam Airways states: “As an international airline, it was essential for us to differentiate our service by offering passengers an enjoyable entertainment solution that responds to their needs. Moment was the right partner since their solution Flymingo Box met all of our criteria in terms of reliability, installation, choice of content and price. ”

Rachel Kolf-Deira, Surinam Airways CFO adds “Moment technology is unique in its ability to reduce costs for our airline, deliver higher operational efficiency and increase customer satisfaction. We are delighted to start this partnership and bring a truly innovative and cost-effective solution onboard.”


SITAONAIR

Wizz Air has become the first carrier on the continent to deploy SITAONAIR’s pioneering, airline-integrated ACARS over IP service, using terrestrial cellular networks. This development comes as the airline extends its longstanding relationship with SITAONAIR for its AIRCOM Cockpit Services.

The ACARS over IP service, using terrestrial cellular, is delivered in partnership with Teledyne Controls and will be deployed across Wizz Air’s entire existing and future fleet. The enablement of automatic ACARS-based reporting brings huge benefits for the airline, resulting in improved aircraft movement control and more efficient turnaround at any airport.

This deployment will complement SITAONAIR’s existing Very High Frequency (VHF) ACARS radio network coverage and extend coverage to Wizz Air’s entire operation. The service also brings enhanced resilience through the interoperable use of cellular and ACARS networks.

Additional benefits of ACARS over IP include increased network capacity, as well as faster and more cost-effective transmission of data.

Konstantin Milarov, M.Sc., Technical Services Manager, Wizz Air, comments: “The ability to extend our datalink coverage and implement automatic ACARS-based reporting and processes is a huge benefit for Wizz Air. We are pleased to be continuing our relationship with SITAONAIR and are delighted to pioneer this with ACARS over IP services together. We will be able to move forward with better and more efficient aircraft timing reporting and conduct data transmissions across our entire network.”

SITAONAIR is able to deliver the solution by integrating terrestrial cellular services into its core AIRCOM datalink network, using Teledyne Controls’ GroundLink Comm+ system.

Murry Skelton, Senior Director of Aircraft Solution Strategy, Teledyne Controls, says: “Our partnership with SITAONAIR offers airline customers like Wizz Air a quick, easy upgrade option to enable secure ACARS transfer while the aircraft is on the ground. We believe this can bring huge benefit to airlines, as is being demonstrated by Wizz Air as a true innovator in the area of aircraft communications.”

As part of the renewal, Wizz Air will further manage its air-to-ground communications with AIRCOM FlightMessenger. The SITAONAIR solution integrates and translates data into a format that can seamlessly feed in to any IT infrastructure, helping to improve efficiency and effectiveness. With AIRCOM FlightMessenger, Wizz Air will be able to easily extract key data from ACARS messages, and add data from other sources, into an easy-to-understand format for distribution by email or SMS.

SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM Product Manager, Euan Mitchell, adds: “We at SITAONAIR are thrilled to be developing our longstanding relationship with Wizz Air and enabling the airline to become the first in Europe to adopt our pioneering ACARS over IP service, using terrestrial cellular. We look forward to the continued close partnership with Wizz Air and helping support them in their operational efficiency and long term growth.”

To find out more about SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM services, visit www.sitaonair.aero, speak to your local SITAONAIR contact, or submit an enquiry form.


AEEC

Here is a note from the AEEC folks: “On behalf of the AEEC Executive Committee and American Airlines, I’m pleased to extend this invitation to attend the upcoming AEEC General Session to be held May 11-14, 2020 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona. Subject matter experts from industry will speak in four technical Symposiums:

  • Big Data
  • Topics Trending in Aviation
  • Value of Standards for Airline Operating Efficiency
  • Aircraft Connectivity

Like previous years, the Avionics Maintenance Conference (AMC) will meet in parallel. The event is billed “AEEC/AMC 2020” and we are expecting about 700 people.”


AIRBUS

BOC Aviation Limited (“BOC Aviation” or the “Company”) has ordered 20 new Airbus A320neo aircraft. A minimum of ten and up to 12 of these A320neo aircraft have been committed for lease to Avianca S.A. (“Avianca”) based in Bogota, Colombia.

Avianca is the commercial brand for the collection of passenger airlines and cargo airlines under the umbrella company Avianca Holdings S.A. Avianca has been flying uninterrupted for 100 years. With a fleet of 175 aircraft, Avianca serves 76 destinations in 27 countries within the Americas and Europe. With more than 21,000 employees, Avianca earned US$4.8 billion in 2018 and transported 30.5 million passengers.

BOC Aviation is a leading global aircraft operating leasing company with a fleet of 509 aircraft owned, managed and on order. Its owned and managed fleet was leased to 92 airlines worldwide in 40 countries and regions as at 30 September 2019. BOC Aviation is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx code: 2588) and has its headquarters in Singapore with offices in Dublin, London, New York and Tianjin. For more information, visit www.bocaviation.com.

Also from Airbus: Airbus delivers strong 2019 commercial aircraft performance 863 aircraft deliveries, 8 percent higher than in 2018 1,131 new aircraft orders, 768 net orders, backlog stands at 7,482 aircraft.

In 2019, deliveries comprised:

  • A220 Family: 48 v 20 in 2018 (since the A220 became part of the Airbus Family: 1 July 2018)
  • A320 Family: 642 v 626 in 2018. Of these, 551 were NEO Family v 386 in 2018
  • A330 Family: 53 v 49 in 2018. Of these, 41 were NEO Family v 3 in 2018
  • A350 Family: 112 v 93 in 2018. Of these, 25 were A350-1000 v 14 in 2018
  • A380: 8 v 12 in 2018

The BelugaXL has entered into service, providing Airbus with 30% extra transport capacity in order to support the on-going production ramp-up of commercial aircraft programs. The aircraft, which is an integral part of Airbus’ industrial system, made its first operational flight on the 9 January. This is the first of six BelugaXL to begin work alongside the BelugaST predecessors, with the additional aircraft being introduced between 2020 and 2023. Launched just over 5 years ago, in November 2014, the entry into service milestone marks yet another successful achievement for the internal aircraft program which was awarded Type Certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in November 2019, following an intensive flight test campaign that saw the BelugaXL complete more than 200 flight tests, clocking over 700 flight hours.

At 63 meters long and 8 meters wide, the BelugaXL has the largest cargo bay cross-section of all existing cargo aircraft worldwide. The BelugaXL can carry two A350 XWB wings compared to the BelugaST, which can only carry one. With a maximum payload of 51 tonnes, the BelugaXL has a range of 4,000km (2200nm).

The BelugaXL is based on an A330-200 Freighter, enabling the re-use of existing components and equipment and is powered by Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines. The lowered cockpit, the cargo bay structure and the rear-end and tail were newly developed jointly with partners, giving the aircraft its distinctive look. The BelugaXL is the latest addition to Airbus’ transportation portfolio. While air transport remains the primary method for transporting large aircraft components, Airbus also uses road, rail and sea transport to move parts between its production sites. Like the BelugaST, the aircraft will operate from 11 destinations in Europe, continuing to strengthen industrial capabilities and enabling Airbus to deliver on its commitments.


MORE BOEING NEWS

  • American Airlines and Aeromexico agreed on financial compensation from Boeing on the Boeing 737 MAX grounding requirements.
  • Congratulations, Boeing! Boeing announced an AU$1 million donation from the Boeing Charitable Trust for recovery and relief efforts associated with the ongoing Australian bushfires. “Boeing’s global team, including our 3,800 employees across Australia, are deeply saddened by the tragic impact of the Australian bushfires,” said Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer (Interim) Greg Smith. “Through our partnership with the Australian Red Cross, we are working quickly to bring recovery and relief efforts to those residents most impacted by these devastating fires.” The contributions will be directed through the Australian Red Cross and designated for Australian bush fires. Disaster relief efforts in the region align with Boeing’s ongoing commitment to the communities where the company has a presence. Australia is the company’s largest footprint outside the US. Boeing is active and engaged in Australian communities, contributing more than AU$800,000 in charitable contributions in 2019. Consistent with existing Boeing employee gift match programs, the company will also match qualifying employee contributions made to eligible nonprofits for Australian bush fire relief efforts.

OTHER NEWS

Well, Happy New Year everybody! It’s the beginning of 2020 and IFExpress is back with a lot of aviation news for you. Thanks for joining us and Stay Tuned!

2020 PREDICTIONS

  • “Fiber and free-space optical networks are coming to the cabin in 2020 – for higher bandwidth, weight reduction, and future-proofing.” – Rich Salter: Industry Consultant
  • “One more Management Change in Boeing because the 737 Max will not be settle this year.” – Anonymous
  • “Due to war in the Middle East, oil will go up 50% in spite of US oil production increases (as will gasoline prices.) Trump/Current Administration will further pull back Environmental Regulations in order to support the war and increase ‘contributor’s’ profits on the false presumption it is necessary to support war efforts.” – Anonymous
  • “China will surpass the USA in both technology and military development, esp. in area of hypersonic missile development.” – Anonymous
  • “Major hack of Defense Companies that will be covered up by the DoD.” – Anonymous
  • Bold and Outrageous Predictions for the Travel Industry in 2020 – Skift

SMARTSKY

SmartSky Networks has received an additional $25 million from funds managed by the Global Credit Opportunities team at BlackRock, after surpassing an important network deployment milestone on its way towards beginning commercial operations during the second quarter of 2020.

Funds managed by the Global Credit Opportunities platform at BlackRock previously committed to a $75 million credit facility, with $50 million drawn initially. The final $25 million was contingent upon the company making substantial progress on the nationwide network rollout, which it achieved in November. “SmartSky has consistently been able to attract capital from top companies because there is strong support for our technology in aviation connectivity,” said Haynes Griffin, SmartSky Chairman and CEO. “We appreciate the continued confidence from a respected and sophisticated firm such as BlackRock.” SmartSky is reinventing connectivity, building a new-generation network from the ground up with a novel single-beam-per-aircraft approach using both proven 4G LTE and emerging 5G technologies. After eight years of development backed by more than 140 patents and over 1,000 hours of flight testing, including by aircraft owners, airlines, fleet managers and journalists, SmartSky’s network is frequently called the best performing WiFi network in aviation as it progresses towards launch in 2020.

“Customers have a huge pent-up demand for a fully capable airborne network that provides a phenomenal 10x better experience in the sky while also opening significant possibilities for advancing aviation in maintenance, environmental, operational, financial, and other areas,” said Ryan Stone, SmartSky President.
SmartSky is maximizing the benefits of high-performance connectivity through its digital solutions platform, Skytelligence, which enables advanced applications and services. For example, SmartSky recently announced that Skytelligence services support its collaboration with the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) crowdsourced effort to mitigate and avoid turbulence in real time across the skies. The results are expected to lower turbulence related injuries, provide smoother flights, and save costly aircraft repairs for both business and commercial aviation.

SmartSky Networks is based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle and was formed in 2011 by senior telecommunications and aviation executives seeking to transform aviation through disruptive communications technologies and related tools. SmartSky is rolling out its innovative air-to-ground network in 2020. The network takes advantage of patented spectrum reuse, advanced beamforming technologies and 60 MHz of spectrum for significantly enhanced connectivity. SmartSky’s network uniquely enables a productive experience in the air similar to on the ground, including unmatched capacity for data transmissions both to and from the aircraft. This real-time, low latency, bidirectional data link makes SmartSky the best in-flight user experience, and a key enabler for the new and enhanced apps, services, and hardware.


AIRBUS

Airbus delivered 863 aircraft in 2019, according to unconfirmed reports; it had been projecting around 860.

U.S.-based Spirit Airlines has finalized a purchase agreement with Airbus for 100 A320neo Family aircraft. In October, the two parties had signed and announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the purchase of up to 100 of the aircraft – a mix of A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo – to meet the airline’s future fleet requirements. Spirit is based in South Florida and is the fastest-growing airline in the United States, with flights throughout the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. The airline will announce an engine selection at a later date. Featuring the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky, the best-selling A320neo Family, comprising the A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo, will deliver a fuel-burn reduction of approximately 20% as well as 50% less noise compared to previous-generation aircraft, thanks to incorporating the very latest technologies including new-generation engines and Sharklets. Firm orders worldwide for the A320neo Family now have surpassed 7,300 from more than 110 global customers.


BOEING

Boeing announced that J. Michael Luttig, 65, valued Counselor and Senior Advisor to the Boeing Board of Directors, has informed the Board of his long-considered retirement at year end. Luttig, who served as Boeing’s General Counsel from 2006 until assuming his current responsibilities in May 2019, has been managing legal matters associated with the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents, and advising the Board on strategic matters.

On December 23, 2019 Boeing announced that its Board of Directors named current Chairman, David L. Calhoun, as Chief Executive Officer and President, effective January 13, 2020. Mr. Calhoun will remain a member of the Board. In addition, Board member Lawrence W. Kellner will become non-executive Chairman of the Board effective immediately. The Company also announced that Dennis A. Muilenburg has resigned from his positions as Chief Executive Officer and Board director effective immediately. Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith will serve as interim CEO during the brief transition period, while Mr. Calhoun exits his non-Boeing commitments. The Board of Directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the Company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders. Under the Company’s new leadership, Boeing will operate with a renewed commitment to full transparency, including effective and proactive communication with the FAA, other global regulators and its customers. “On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I am pleased that Dave has agreed to lead Boeing at this critical juncture,” Mr. Kellner said. He added, “Dave has deep industry experience and a proven track record of strong leadership, and he recognizes the challenges we must confront. The Board and I look forward to working with him and the rest of the Boeing team to ensure that today marks a new way forward for our company.”
Mr. Calhoun said, “I strongly believe in the future of Boeing and the 737 MAX. I am honored to lead this great company and the 150,000 dedicated employees who are working hard to create the future of aviation.”


OTHER NEWS

We realize these following links are not aviation/IFEC related. However, the wild fires in Australia are a global concern. We have contacted our friends down-under and they are okay; however, they all need help down there – please get involved! Here are some noteworthy links on the subject:

Lastly, here is your free song (and video) to help ring in the New Year – hope you like Dwight Yoakam and his Long White Cadillac! Dwight Yoakam – Long White Cadillac official video – YouTube

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation has signed a multi-year agreement for Ku-band capacity on two multi-beam payloads on the EUTELSAT 10B satellite, due to be launched in 2022. This contract with Eutelsat Communications will enable Panasonic to provide multiple gigahertz of new extreme throughput (XTS Ku-band connectivity) to airlines and their passengers flying over a wide area across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Panasonic will continue to optimize its worldwide network and add more state-of-the-art satellite capacity in high-density regions to ensure it can deliver very high performance everywhere its customers fly. This satellite also provides high performance over lower density area such as Africa. EUTELSAT 10B will be the second XTS satellite to join Panasonic’s connectivity network which has been developed to meet the growing connectivity demands of airlines and their passengers and is designed to place capacity where it’s most needed across the globe to meet demand. Panasonic’s connectivity network supports the provision of services such as high-speed internet, live television, video streaming, VoIP applications, 4G mobile services scalable to 5G, and greater bandwidth for crew applications. The network is backed by Panasonic’s Customer Performance Center, which proactively monitors network performance and upcoming maintenance needs 24/7/365 to support airline operational efficiencies. Currently, approximately 2,200 aircraft flying routes all around the world use Panasonic’s global high-speed inflight connectivity service.


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation introduced the ATS-3100 Vector Signal Transceiver-based Radio Solution (VRS), a turnkey, consolidated radio test platform for field testing of military tactical, land mobile and avionics radios.

The ATS-3100 VRS is the fifth-generation of radio
test solutions from Astronics, now capable of
testing emerging software-defined radio (SDR)
waveforms, modern multi-band radios and
legacy radios (e.g. SINCGARS) from any original
equipment manufacturer (OEM). Leveraging the PXI Vector Signal Transceiver (VST) from National Instruments (NI), the platform delivers the fastest test times and widest bandwidth (up to 1GHz) in a radio test solution, enabling high throughput, reduced mean time to repair (MTTR) and maximum uptime of critical radios in the field.

“As radio technology continues to evolve, we are dedicated to providing our customers with support for their most critical assets in the field, from legacy radios to future waveforms,” commented Jim Mulato, President of Astronics Test Systems. “We’re excited to partner with NI on this next-gen solution to deliver superior performance, wider instantaneous bandwidth, and user- programmable capability to our customers that include the military, police, firefighters and other first responders, as well as commercial pilots.”

“By combining Astronics’ deep industry knowledge and test program set (TPS) development expertise with NI’s instrumentation platform and technology, our partnership is accelerating the deployment of advanced tactical radio technologies to deliver the future of radio test now,” said Christer Ljungdahl, Principal Strategist, Aerospace and Defense at NI.

Built on the ATS-3100 PXI Integration Platform, the ATS-3100 VRS joins Astronics’ radio test family that includes the ATS-3100 RTS and the portable CTS-6010. These share a common software framework and test executive, delivering synergy from depot to field in a holistic solution. The modular architecture of the platform facilitates an upgrade path for future technology insertions, extending the life of the platform and allowing flexibility as maintenance needs change.

Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine recently recognized the ATS-3100 VRS with an Innovators Award. Receiving gold level honors this year, this is Astronics’ third Innovators Award from the publication, where the ATS-6100 Wire Fault Tester (WFT) and the CTS-6010 Tactical Radio Test Set both received platinum honors in 2018 and 2017, respectively.

For complete product details, to view the solution sheet, or to request a quote, please visit Astronics.com.


AIRBUS

The Month In Review: November 2019

Airbus marked another month of high-volume bookings with new orders logged for 222 commercial aircraft in November, covering the A320neo Family, A330neo and A350 XWB members of its product line – bringing the overall number of orders booked by the company to more than 20,000. During November, a total of 77 single-aisle and widebody aircraft were delivered to customers.
The new business was paced by announcements during the 2019 Dubai Airshow, including Air Arabia’s firm order for 120 single-aisle A320 Family aircraft, comprising 73 A320neo, 27 A321neo and 20 A321XLR extra-long-range versions. Also in the spotlight at Dubai was Emirates Airline’s purchase agreement for 50 widebody A350-900s; along with a firm order from flynas, Saudi Arabia’s first low-cost airline, for 10 A321XLRs.
Other widebody order bookings during November involved 16 A330-900 versions of the A330neo for Cebu Pacific, 10 A330-900s for CIT Leasing, and four A330neo aircraft in the A330-800 configuration for an unidentified customer. Completing the month’s new business was easyJet’s order for 12 additional A320neo aircraft. Commercial activity in November raised the total number of aircraft orders won by Airbus since its creation to 20,058.
Deliveries in November were composed of 56 A320 Family (55 NEO versions and one CEO aircraft), 11 A350 XWBs in both the A350-900 and A350-1000 configurations, five A330s (four NEOs and one CEO), four A220s and one A380.
Among the month’s notable deliveries were the first A350-900s received by Fiji Airways (through DAE Capital) and Scandinavian carrier SAS; along with the first A320neo to Air Corsica (leased from ICBC Leasing) and an A321neo to Air Asia.
Taking the latest orders, deliveries and cancellations into account, Airbus’ backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of 30 November stood at 7,570. This total was comprised of 6,193 A320 Family aircraft, 628 A350 XWBs, 432 A220s, 306 A330s, and 11 A380s.

SKY, a Chilean-based ultra-low-cost carrier, has signed a Purchase Agreement with Airbus for 10 A321XLRs. The airline will expand its international route network with the new aircraft. The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step in the A320neo/A321neo Family, meeting market requirements for increased range and payload in a single-aisle aircraft. The A321XLR will deliver an unprecedented narrow-body airliner range of up to 4,700nm, with 30 percent lower fuel consumption per seat compared with previous-generation competitor jets, allowing airlines to expand networks by making new longer routes economically viable. According to the latest Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF), Latin America will need 2,700 new aircraft in the next 20 years, more than double today’s fleet. Passenger traffic in Latin America has doubled since 2002 and is expected to continue growing over the next two decades. Specifically in Chile, traffic is expected to increase from 0.89 trips per capita to 2.26 trips in 2038. SKY has been an Airbus customer since 2010 and became an all-Airbus operator in 2013. The airline’s fleet of 23 A320 Family aircraft serves national and international routes connecting Chile to Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay.


BOEING

Boeing to Give $48 Million in Grants to More Than 400 Global Charitable Organizations

  • Total corporate giving is on track to surpass $230 million in 2019
  • Funding includes an $8 million investment to build the aviation t
  • Employees will donate nearly $40 million to charitable causes in 2019

OTHER NEWS

  • The folks at NextDraft have compiled 7 collections of the most incredible pictures of 2019 and we are convinced that you will be as blown away as we were – Oh Caption, My Caption And, you can get a free subscription to NextDraft – just check out the bottom of the link page.
  • Don’t think transportation is changing? Check this out – The New Transportation Leaderboard – Travel & Mobility Tech And click on the New Transportation Leaderboard to full-screen it.
  • You had better learn about Quantum Computing -”It’s gonna crush Moore’s Law,” so say the folks at CB Insights. “Moore’s Law is significant because it means that computers and computing power both get smaller and faster over time. However, Moore’s law is slowing down (some say to a halt), and consequently, classical computers are not improving at the same rate they used to.” Check out the story but if you need a bit more info; “Quantum computers differ from classical computers in that improvement for the latter mainly relies on advancement in the materials that make up transistors and microchips. Quantum computers do not use transistors (or classical bits). Instead, they use qubits. Qubits are the basic units for processing information in a quantum computer.” What Is Quantum Computing?
  • Well, Popular Science has a great online article with some of the best images we have ever seen in a promo piece. It is called The 100 Greatest Innovations of 2019. Now, why did we mention it? Well if you check the Entertainment Section: “Noise-canceling tech typically does an A-plus job muffling babbling co-workers or rumbling commuter trains, but it can cause collateral damage: The army of mics and processors murders call quality. Bose’s newest headphones balance your voice and the din of the room. Two outward-facing microphones on the earcups listen to the outside world, while another pair focuses on capturing your voice. Four more inside the cans monitor sound near your ears to keep everything in balance. The array creates the strongest noise-canceling headphones available and the clearest calls around.” We asked Hatch Astrarjian about the new product and he said: ”Although I have not used the NC-700 headphones, I’m told the focus was not only on providing excellent noise reduction, but also on providing superior performance in communications, even when the user is in a noisy environment. Our customers have acknowledged the effectiveness, and benefit, of our technology.” 100 greatest innovations of 2019: Best of What’s New | Popular Science We will test them when we get our hands on them for a flight! Stay Tuned!
  • You have to check out Talk to Transformer the folks at Recomendo say. Here is the intro; “See how a modern neural network completes your text.” So, we thought IFE might be a good test and we typed: “Inflight entertainment will be changing.” And here is what we got back from the AI tekkie talker system – “Just when you thought there weren’t enough airlines to fly around, the number of seats will soon get higher, in part because the travel industry’s biggest carriers will start taking over some commercial flights in the next few years. Aer Lingus and Air France-KLM currently own about 70% of all commercial flights in Europe, while it’s not yet clear if British Airways or Emirates will be able to take over any commercial airline flights in the coming years. Air France-KLM Chairman Anthony D’Arrigo”. So here’s the value: If you cant think of anything to fill out a newsletter (like this one), just type in your thoughts and see what happens! Talk to Transformer

Astronics Corporation announced a new cooperation with China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC). The collaboration between Astronics and CMC will create a channel for Astronics to provide Chinese airlines, OEMs and service providers with state-of-the-art inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) hardware and certification services for compliance in China and the United States. On November 6, Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC), and Ruan Guang, Chairman of CMC, signed the cooperation agreement at the Second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China. Top executives from Astronics and China Genertec, the shareholder of CMC, witnessed the signing ceremony.

“This agreement enables Astronics to serve Chinese aircraft enterprises with the world’s most advanced IFEC hardware technology and certification services, and strongly positions us in the fastest growing aerospace market in the world,” says Michael Kuehn.

(Editor’s Note: If you would like more information on the Astronics Inflight Entertainment System hardware: Inflight Entertainment System Hardware)


DUBAI

Last week the 2019 Dubai Airshow resulted in over $54 Billion in total sales (industry estimates) of all airplanes. Airbus and Boeing each snagged multi-billion dollar orders, and this week, we thought you might like to review some of the commercial sales listings and deals. Airlines are also reconsidering their fleets based on the economy, future aircraft development, and a myriad of ‘wait-and-see’ challenges facing manufacturers and airlines alike. There were some 60,692 trade show attendees. Here are some of the stories of sales and deals at the show.

Airbus:

Boeing:


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, announced that its GX Aviation inflight broadband solution can now be accessed by passengers traveling on Air France’s brand new Airbus A350 aircraft. Air France’s first Airbus A350, named ‘Toulouse’, was delivered with GX Aviation installed. The aircraft entered commercial service in October with an inaugural flight to Toronto, which it will serve daily throughout the winter season. The aircraft will eventually operate to six destinations on four continents from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. GX Aviation is a key part of Air France’s Airbus A350 onboard experience in all three cabins – economy, premium economy and business class. The airline offers three different Wi-Fi packages: a free ‘Message’ pass to send and receive messages throughout the flight; a ‘Surf’ pass costing to surf the internet, read and send emails; and a ‘Stream’ pass to enjoy high-speed internet, streaming and downloads, with the ‘Message’ and ‘Surf’ passes included.

Air France is the latest airline to launch commercial service with GX Aviation, powered by the world’s first and only globally available broadband network. It will also benefit from major upcoming enhancements to Inmarsat’s GX network, with additional capacity being introduced by eight new GX payloads scheduled to launch in the coming four years, starting with GX5, which launched on 22 November. This pioneering new generation of GX satellites represents a transformative step-change in inflight broadband capabilities. These include the ground-breaking GX7, 8 & 9 satellites, which feature thousands of dynamically-formed beams that direct capacity over high-demand areas, and the innovative new GX10A & 10B Arctic payloads, which will be the only broadband satellite service dedicated to this region.


AIR ASTANA

Air Astana has been awarded the best in Central Asia for “Food, Drink and On-Board Entertainment Systems” from APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) at a ceremony held in Singapore on 13th November 2019. The APEX rating is based on online reviews of passengers and verified by an independent external audit company. In total, more than a million flights by more than 600 airlines around the world were rated on a 5-point scale on: seat comfort, on-board service, food and drink, entertainment systems and wi-fi service. APEX is a European rating agency, which evaluates the levels of passenger service worldwide and is considered one of the most prestigious and reputable ratings organizations in the airline industry.

In September 2019, Air Astana received an APEX 5-star rating among major carriers for the second time.


BOEING

Boeing marked a key milestone as thousands of employees gathered for the debut of the first 737 MAX 10 at the company’s Renton, Washington factory. During a ceremony, Boeing leaders highlighted the team’s accomplishments and recognized their efforts in completing production of the newest member of the 737 MAX family. “Today is not just about a new airplane. It’s about the people who design, build and support it,” said Mark Jenks, vice president and general manager of the 737 program. “This team’s relentless focus on safety and quality shows the commitment we have to our airline customers and every person who flies on a Boeing airplane.” The 737 MAX 10, the largest variant of the MAX family, can seat up to 230 passengers and offers the lowest seat-mile cost of any single-aisle airplane ever produced. The airplane will now undergo system checks and engine runs prior to first flight next year. “I’m honored to take this airplane on its first flight and show the world what you’ve put your heart and soul into,” 737 Chief Pilot Jennifer Henderson told the employee crowd. The 737 MAX 10 currently has more than 550 orders and commitments from more than 20 customers around the globe.

(Editor’s Note: This airplane has over 500 Boeing orders!)


OTHER NEWS

IdeaNova

IdeaNova is a software company with a decade of experience in IT security and secure video streaming.  Inplay secure streaming pioneered distribution and integration of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies for modern Inflight Entertainment systems (IFE) and the Media and Entertainment industry. Their services and products are designed to reduce the complexities of delivering security solutions via attractive, reliable, state of the art technology to their clients. Inplay secure streaming delivers ready to use comments and end-to-end IFE software on passengers’ own devices or inseat displays. IFExpress had the opportunity ask Juraj Siska, CEO of IdeaNova, about some of their developments since our last interview last March.

  1.  Tell us about your Inplay Live TV player – what is unique about it?
    IdeaNove: Inplay Live is not only a player but a complete infrastructure to support streaming of live content to aircraft.  It is a solution that we have been working on for several years and while it leverages our existing Inplay components (e.g. the player as you mentioned), it provides us and our customers with a completely new set of features.  These are the features that take advantage of network available on connected aircraft to deliver live TV in a much more flexible, scalable and affordable way than what we see today.
  2. How does your new 3D player work? And any launch customers for it yet?
    IdeaNova: Our Inplay VR (virtually reality) has 360 view capabilities and to our knowledge is the only player that can play DRM content in VR.  This player has the same set of features and capabilities as our traditional players, but is capable of displaying secure, encrypted content on any VR device.  We are talking to several customers about this product.
  3. What is unique about the new IFE Portal that was a finalist for the 2019 APEX award?
    IdeaNova: Our IFE portal has been shortlisted to be among the three best IFE products this year. With this product, airlines can take advantage of rapid deployment of entertainment features on any IFE hardware.  Our portal provides massive customization features and is designed with the passenger in mind.  We wanted to reduce the obstacles that passengers have to go through when accessing IFE content.  With this main design principle, we built an IFE portal that is available in connected or disconnected mode, it takes passenger only one click to watch a movie and we also reduced the effort it takes to discover content.  With these convenience features we have not lost track of accessibility and security.  The portal and the player make it easier to enjoy movies for people with disabilities and is available in multiple languages.  On the back end, we have increased security of our DRM servers to be in compliance with new Apex specs without sacrificing user convenience when discovering and playing movies and TV shows.
  4. Any other new products or features coming out (esp. any submissions for the Crystal Cabin awards?)
    IdeaNova: We must constantly innovate so our company can remain relevant in this market.  With respect to the Crystal Cabin submission, we are especially proud of our partnership with North Central College, which is a university within a stones throw from our office.  This partnership allowed us to submit under the college category – a feature that we believe enhances our IFE portal in a more socially interactive way and makes passengers become part of a community of travelers.
  5. Anything happening on the DRM front – i.e., any new security provisions coming out for HDR or 4K Ultra content?
    IdeaNova: There are a lot of new changes, especially as a result of APEX spec 0415 v2.  As the studios are releasing higher and higher quality content to airlines, their requirements for content security are increasing.  These requirements can range from software adjustment, introduction of tamper proof components, which by the way could be very expensive, to changes in the way we build IFE hardware.
    Overall, these changes are necessary as they improve the security posture of IFE systems.  Here at IdeaNova we have recently made a major breakthrough with how we handle encryption using available IFE hardware.  This breakthrough allowed us to keep the cost of  the IFE software down while meeting studio requirements for higher quality content.

KID Systeme

The intelligent and smart cabin is a key element on Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator 777 flying test bed and it is taking new technologies out of the lab and into the air – and to Frankfurt airport (Germany) on static display on November 19th and 20th. “Intelligent & Smart Cabin” (i+sCabin) is a research project for the definition of standards for connected cabin features that has been launched in 2018, comprising the industrial partners KID-Systeme, Bühler Motor, Diehl Aviation, Jeppesen, and Zodiac Aerospace (a Safran company).

The i+sCabin is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, which has identified the research project as an important component of their aviation research program, endorsing the prioritization of the project with a 3.9 million Euro grant.

With the Boeing Company and Etihad Engineering (part of the Etihad Aviation Group) this program has found premium sponsors which secures an international footprint for the achievements of this project. Prestigious university partners (the Baden- Württemberg Cooperative State University and the Hamburg University of Technology) are equally associated partners of the project as well.

Boeing’s 2019 ecoDemonstrator program includes connected cabin technologies in which the i+sCabin is a key part of 777 test bed. Flying test installations on board Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator 777 will allow the i+sCabin team to test the principles of cabin communications standards, wireless communications sensor networks and smart functions of galleys very early in the envisioned environment. Also, the team will be able to collect data for predictive health monitoring, making the real-flight environment a valuable addition to the project’s test schedule.

i+sCabin is progressing well on schedule since its launch in 2018, with the main milestone of implementation and testing of the first version of the cabin communication standard expected towards the end of 2019 and in the course of 2020, and project finalization set for 2021.

As part of the ecoDemonstrator’s flight test program, Boeing is bringing the aircraft to Germany’s biggest airport in Frankfurt for a two-day program on November 19th and 20th. In addition, on November 20th the Etihad Aviation Group will invite to bilateral meetings between UAE and German representatives in order to discuss new future projects. The technology mission of Boeing’s 2019 ecoDemonstrator program will be presented on both days to government officials, industry representatives and STEM students to help inspire the next generation in aerospace leadership.”


Panasonic Avionics

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) named Ken Sain as chief executive officer. He succeeds Hideo Nakano, who has served as Panasonic Avionics CEO since 2017 and as deputy CEO prior to that.  Nakano will now serve as Special Advisor for Panasonic Avionics.

Sain, who most recently served as vice president of Digital Solutions and Analytics for Boeing Global Services and as CEO of Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen, will join Panasonic Avionics on December 2, 2019.

“We are excited to welcome Ken to the Panasonic team,” said Michael Moskowitz, chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the parent company of Panasonic Avionics. “His entrepreneurial spirit and proven track record in aviation will undoubtedly accelerate Panasonic’s customer-centric innovation and the digital transformation journeys of its airline customers.”

Hideo Nakano, chief executive officer of Panasonic Avionics, said, “Throughout his career, Ken has demonstrated tremendous leadership in change management and business growth. This proven legacy of success, combined with his expertise in developing and launching inflight digital solutions, will no doubt help accelerate our mission to make flying an experience everyone looks forward to.”

“Panasonic Avionics created the aviation industry’s first inflight entertainment solution 40 years ago and became the market leader through continuous innovation,” said Ken Sain. “I’m both honored and excited to join the talented Panasonic team to build upon this success and redefine the passenger experience of the future with our airline customers.”

Throughout his 25-year career, Sain has developed a broad mix of cross-functional leadership experience.  He is recognized as a passionate, customer-focused, aviation technology business leader with deep expertise in airline operations and maintenance.

Sain spent the last 14 years of his career with Boeing in various roles including strategy, technical engineering services and digital solutions.  In his most recent role leading Digital Solutions and Analytics, he oversaw significant growth in Boeing’s customer-facing digital solutions portfolio, using agile software development to launch new products and cloud-based solutions for airline and business aviation customers around the world.

Prior to Boeing, Sain was a principal with global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney.  For over ten years, he specialized in business strategy, operations and top-line growth for major airlines, airline alliances and travel technology providers.

Sain holds a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Northwestern University.  After graduating from Northwestern, Sain was part of a small team to found Midway Airlines and subsequently served the airline in operations, market planning and as Director of Marketing.


Inmarsat

Generation Z (Gen Z – The LSE defines Generation Z as born between 1997 – 2012) are last-minute spenders when planning trips, presenting an opportunity for airlines to revolutionize inflight e-commerce and take revenue from elsewhere in the customer journey. New research from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), commissioned by Inmarsat Aviation, suggests that by 2028, Gen Z passengers will spend an average of $26 on travel purchases while on their flight. Generation Z is forecast to become the largest group of airline flyers globally within the next decade, with 1.2 billion flying each year by 2028 (Sky High Economics – Chapter Three: Capitalizing on Changing Passenger Behavior in a Connected World). The LSE estimates that this consumer group currently spends a collective $3.6 billion in items and services in the weeks leading up to a trip and upon arrival at their destination. These findings underscore a significant opportunity for airlines to shift spending onboard and to take a proportion of the revenue with an e-commerce model that supports the ‘last-minute’ approach of today’s ‘digital-first’ passengers. The research analyzed purchasing decisions made during three key phases of the customer journey before a holiday: more than a week before; in the days before; and upon arrival. It finds that Gen Z is the most likely of all generations to delay buying products and services for their trip until the days before they fly. While currently only one in ten passengers make an inflight duty-free purchase when they fly, there is a significant opportunity for airlines to monetize the growing trend for last-minute spending. According to the LSE, 70% of Millennials and Gen Z passengers indicate that they would delay arrangements for their trip until their flight if they knew that a reliable Wi-Fi connection would be available, and the necessary delivery infrastructure was in place (LSE Interviews 2017-2019).


OTHER NEWS

Editor’s Note: Next week we will have highlight coverage of the news from Dubai, including information relating to Airbus and Boeing – so stay tuned!

GALGUS

You may not have heard about the Galgus US patent that we see as an important improvement in decentralized wireless control. And in case you don’t remember, CHT (Cognitive Hotspot Technology) enables Wi-Fi devices to become intelligent fulfilling their potential capabilities and automatically makes real-time decisions, optimizing the wireless performance for every connected user. Cognitive Hotspot Technology is flying on aircraft today.

On August 27, 2019, a patent (US 10,397,932 B2) was granted to Galgus by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) of the United States Department of Commerce for the “System and Method for Decentralized Control of Wireless Networks”.

The invention patented relates to a decentralized control technology for wireless network installation, which distributes the control logic between all of the access points that make up the network, eliminating the centralized controller from the network architecture by means of communication between the access points themselves, thus substantially improving the efficiency of the management of the wireless network itself. The advantages that this architecture provides are the following:

  • Because it is decentralized, it is not dependent on any particular element, as all of the access points behave like small controllers that are able to interoperate with each other.
  • Each node behaves like a controller and provides support to the adjacent nodes.
  • The network tasks are thus distributed, without overloading any one element, thus preventing bottlenecks.
  • It reduces the high hardware costs of the centralized controller.
  • It is 100% scalable, making it possible to add more access points without having to increase the capabilities of the centralized controller.
  • It enables management from any point with network access.
  • Redundancy to failures, as the logic of the controller and, as such, the operations of the network is not compromised by the failure of any one access point.
  • Automatic configuration of the transmit power of the access points belonging to the network in order to reduce unnecessary interference.
  • Automatic configuration of the channel used by each access point belonging to the network in order to reduce interference between access points and increase the number of simultaneous transmissions in a limited physical environment.
  • Automatic selection of the access point that provides service to a new station or user (STA, “Station”), in order to reduce interference between access points and stations operating on the same channel or on different channels.
  • Balance the network load with the aim of reducing interference within the network and the number of hidden nodes, as well as taking advantage of the total transmission capacity of the network to prevent bottlenecks from arising in some access points while others remain idle.
  • Exclusion of users based on location, denying service to users who are located outside the range of operation of the network when these users receive the signal of the network.

“Its been a long way to achieve this. It was back in October 2013 when we applied for this! More than five years to finally succeed!” said Galgus’ CEO, Jose Gonzalez, who added: “Undoubtedly, it’s not just important because it can help us to safeguard our software, the good thing is that it’s a proof of Galgus’ technological innovation capability in the wireless field”.


PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation subsidiary, AeroMobile, is pleased to announce the launch of mobile connectivity onboard EGYPTAIR Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. This launch marks a significant time for EGYPTAIR as it responds to the ever growing demand for connectivity from travelers. With this launch, EGYPTAIR has achieved a major milestone by initiating the deployment of mobile and internet connectivity across its entire fleet of Dreamliner aircraft. In addition to the onboard Wi-Fi and live TV service, passengers will be able to access the AeroMobile network to connect their roaming-enabled GSM mobile phones to use mobile data services, send and receive SMS messages and emails, and make and receive calls.

Following the successful introduction of its first two aircraft with inflight mobile connectivity in Spring 2019, EGYPTAIR are set to complete their roll out through Autumn 2019. The B787-9 fleet with inflight mobile connectivity will serve destinations including Europe, America and Asia during 2019.

EGYPTAIR is always keen on providing passengers with competitive solutions, especially in the field of technology. As connectivity becomes an increasingly important part of the inflight experience, the airline is pleased to now be able to offer passengers a similar connectivity experience in the air, to that which they enjoy on the ground. Through these connectivity services, the airline is providing industry-leading services to its passengers, with even more choice, convenience and added value.


VUELING

The European Aviation Network (EAN) is now available to passengers flying with the European airline Vueling, marking the much-awaited debut of Europe’s fastest inflight broadband service in the low-cost carrier market. Vueling has commenced a soft launch of its new inflight broadband service, powered by EAN, on five initial short-haul aircraft. The rollout will progressively continue over the coming months, with installations expected to be completed on its fleet of more than 110 Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft by early next year, serving passengers on hundreds of different routes.

Passengers purchasing Wi-Fi on Vueling flights will have access to a full range of packages, including ‘Fly and Chat’ for messaging, ‘Fly and Surf’ for browsing and ‘Fly and More’ for streaming. EAN’s integrated system delivers consistent Wi-Fi that enables passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media, enjoy real-time interactive applications such as gaming and more. Vueling is the third airline to make the award-winning connectivity solution available to passengers. In total, EAN can now be accessed on more than 250 routes covering key destinations across Europe, including London, Madrid, Barcelona, Geneva and Rome. To date, almost five million passengers have traveled on more than 35,000 flights with access to EAN. The introduction of EAN inflight broadband on Vueling flights supports the airline’s ‘NEXT’ transformation program, which includes significant investments in customer experience, operations resilience and digital innovation. Developed by Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom (DT) in partnership with leading European companies such as Thales, Nokia, Airbus, Cobham and EAD Aerospace, EAN marks a paradigm shift in the airline passenger experience, with incomparable speeds, uninterrupted coverage and significantly lower latency than any other inflight broadband network in the continent.

It has been designed from scratch specifically for the needs of European aviation, delivering consistent inflight broadband across Europe, one of the world’s most congested airspaces, with more than one billion passengers and 11 million flights per year. EAN also offers the fastest ever installation time for a connectivity solution, requiring under nine hours per aircraft, meaning significantly less downtime for airlines. Combined with the system’s low weight, low drag and low maintenance, this results in lower operation costs.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat announced that its Jet ConneX (JX) business aviation inflight Wi-Fi solution has now been installed and activated on over 600 business jets worldwide.

The milestone was celebrated at NBAA 2019 in Las Vegas,  highlighting the rapid uptake of Jet ConneX services in just under three years of commercial availability. Powered by Inmarsat’s global Ka-band satellite network, Jet ConneX offers a reliable, consistent and high-speed Wi-Fi experience, bringing business travelers a level of connectivity in the air that has previously only been available on the ground. Installations have been growing rapidly, with a 50% increase in the past year alone.

The latest installation milestone follows a series of announcements this year detailing Inmarsat’s fully-funded development roadmap for its global Ka-band network, Global Xpress (GX) which currently consists of four high-throughput satellites. The next evolution of the network will deliver eight additional payloads, marking a transformative step-change in inflight broadband capabilities. As part of this program, Inmarsat will also become the only provider of inflight connectivity in the Arctic region.

The GX network will offer enhanced, focused, ultra-high-power capacity that can be immediately relocated in line with high demand flight patterns and seasonal demand surges across the globe, cementing Jet ConneX’s position as the world’s flagship connectivity for business jets. This future-proofs the ability for business aviation customers to invest in a consistently high quality of service into the future.


BOEING

Boeing issued the following statement regarding the release of the final investigation report of Lion Air Flight 610 by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT): “On behalf of everyone at Boeing, I want to convey our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in these accidents. We mourn with Lion Air, and we would like to express our deepest sympathies to the Lion Air family,” said Boeing President & CEO Dennis Muilenburg. “These tragic events have deeply affected us all and we will always remember what happened.”

“We commend Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee for its extensive efforts to determine the facts of this accident, the contributing factors to its cause and recommendations aimed toward our common goal that this never happens again.”

“We are addressing the KNKT’s safety recommendations, and taking actions to enhance the safety of the 737 MAX to prevent the flight control conditions that occurred in this accident from ever happening again. Safety is an enduring value for everyone at Boeing and the safety of the flying public, our customers, and the crews aboard our airplanes is always our top priority. We value our long-standing partnership with Lion Air and we look forward to continuing to work together in the future.”

Boeing experts, working as technical advisors to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, have supported the KNKT over the course of the investigation. The company’s engineers have been working with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other global regulators to make software updates and other changes, taking into account the information from the KNKT’s investigation. Since this accident, the 737 MAX and its software are undergoing an unprecedented level of global regulatory oversight, testing and analysis. This includes hundreds of simulator sessions and test flights, regulatory analysis of thousands of documents, reviews by regulators and independent experts and extensive certification requirements. Over the past several months Boeing has been making changes to the 737 MAX. Most significantly, Boeing has redesigned the way Angle of Attack (AoA) sensors work with a feature of the flight control software known as Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Going forward, MCAS will compare information from both AoA sensors before activating, adding a new layer of protection.In addition, MCAS will now only turn on if both AoA sensors agree, will only activate once in response to erroneous AoA, and will always be subject to a maximum limit that can be overridden with the control column. These software changes will prevent the flight control conditions that occurred in this accident from ever happening again.

In addition, Boeing is updating crew manuals and pilot training, designed to ensure every pilot has all of the information they need to fly the 737 MAX safely. Boeing continues to work with the FAA and other regulatory agencies worldwide on the certification of the software update and training program to safely return the 737 MAX to service.

The Boeing Company Board of Directors announced that it has elected retired Adm. John M. Richardson as its newest member. Richardson, 59, served as the 31st chief of Naval Operations from September 2015 until August 2019, when he retired from the U.S. Navy after 37 years of service. Richardson will join the Aerospace Safety Committee, which was formed in August following a rigorous five-month review of the company’s policies and processes for airplane design and development by the board’s temporary Committee on Airplane Policies and Processes. He also will serve on the board’s Special Programs Committee.

Boeing CEO and Boeing Chief Engineer to testify.


OTHER NEWS

ASTRONICS

Astronics Advanced Electronics Systems (AES) introduces an onboard, innovative, aircraft cabin inductive Wireless Charging Module (WCM) that provides airlines and passengers with a convenient way to charge their wireless-enabled devices such as smartphones, MP3 players, cameras, and tablets. Astronics’ WCM provides wireless charging capability for passenger smart phones and other devices, and is ideal for both forward fit and aftermarket retrofit. Presently, we understand this product is slated for installation on business aircraft but we thought our readers would be interested in a technology application that could eventually migrate to the commercial marketplace. Wireless Charging Module | Astronics


PANASONIC

  • Cathay Pacific is bringing the latest live sporting events to inflight entertainment, starting with the 2019 Rugby World Cup, following an announced agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic). Cathay Pacific, which already offers three channels of live news inflight through Panasonic’s live television service, is enhancing this offering with the immediate addition of Sport 24 – a 24/7 live sports channel for airlines operated and owned by IMG – a global leader in sports, events and media – offered exclusively by Panasonic. With Panasonic’s live television platform and IMG’s exclusive sports programming, Cathay Pacific’s passengers will be able to watch live action from the 2019 Rugby World Cup, along with a host of the world’s most popular sporting events over the coming months including the English Premier League, Bundesliga, The Masters, Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, The Open Championship, Ryder Cup, Roland Garros, The Australian Open and Wimbledon.
    This exciting new addition to Cathay Pacific’s inflight entertainment offering is already live on the newest aircraft to enter its fleet – the technologically advanced Airbus A350, which offers unrivaled passenger comfort on the many routes it operates from Hong Kong including Auckland, Barcelona, Brussels, Cape Town, Christchurch, London Gatwick, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Melbourne, Singapore, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Vancouver. In addition to its live television service, Panasonic is the principal provider of inflight entertainment systems for Cathay Pacific’s fleet of over 130 aircraft.
  • LCS and Academy are finalizing a memorandum of understanding with Panasonic Avionics that will remove the pain of boarding a flight just as your team is gearing up to hit the LCS stage, or hours in the air without any action from the Rift to keep you company. Panasonic is set to become the exclusive in-flight partner of the LCS and Academy. This will enable aircraft equipped with Panasonic’s IFE systems to have access to LCS and Academy games as part of their expanding premium content offering, so fans never need miss out on League esports action again. The plan is for LCS and Academy games to be available from launch in a near live format.
  • Panasonic Avionics Corporation subsidiary, AeroMobile, and leading telecommunications operator TrueMove Thailand, a subsidiary of True Corporation Plc, partnered to launch an inflight data roaming bundle for their customers. The inflight bundle, which commercially launched in September 2019, will place inflight mobility at the heart of TrueMove Thailand’s roaming packages. As the first operator in the country to launch an inflight roaming bundle, this agreement further cements TrueMove Thailand‘s position as a market innovator and respected service provider, with a highly competitive offering that brings more value and a greater experience for their 28 Million+ customer-base.  Customers who subscribe to the inflight service will be able to use their mobile phones to browse the internet, send and receive emails, texts and calls and stay in touch with friends on social networks, whilst traveling on AeroMobile equipped aircraft. The service is currently available to post-paid customers that purchase the inflight bundle and will enable TrueMove Thailand’s customers to enjoy more value and convenience when traveling. AeroMobile provides technology and global coverage that allows the safe use of passengers’ own mobile phones onboard aircraft.

LUFTHANSA TECHNIK

Lufthansa Technik welcomed Chinese service provider Air Esurfing Information Technology Co., Ltd., which it will help in providing aircraft with the first ever inflight connectivity solution for the Chinese market. Further contract partners include Honeywell (antenna hardware provider) and China Satcom (satellite provider).

According to a new 5-year agreement, Lufthansa Technik will design and certify Ka-band-based connectivity retrofit packages for both the Airbus A320ceo and A320neo aircraft families as well as the Boeing 737NG and 737MAX. The company will also work with Air Esurfing Information Technology Co., Ltd. to provide the respective CAAC validated EASA Supplemental Type Certificate (VSTC) to support Chinese airlines. Moreover, Lufthansa Technik will take care of material supply and material handling services for the installation of the packages, that can be tailored to each of Air Esurfing’s airline customers and their specific requirements.
ARE, in full name Beijing Air Esurfing Information Technology Co., Ltd. , was founded in 2013, and is wholly owned by Yuehangyangguang Network Technology Co., Ltd.. Besides its headquarters in Beijing, ARE has also set up a technology research, development and testing center for its products in Shenyang. Conclusively, ARE has grown to be a one of a kind high-tech enterprise in China. Relying on its parent group’s advantages in traditional media & advertising operation in aviation, after years of hard working, ARE’s business evolved in many aspects of the aviation internet business chain. Thus, the company’s portfolio now comprises integrated IFEC solutions, the sale of aviation materials as a distributor, the integration of airborne Wi-Fi systems, the development and customization of onboard entertainment software, the offering of airworthiness modification solutions, and the distribution of advertising, film & television media rights in aviation. Moreover, ARE is engaged in various airborne internet business co-operations. Its three series products, the Star Joy, Star Wing and Star River service platforms developed by ARE, provide mature and customized aviation internet technology solutions and business operation solutions to airlines. Through its open, compatible and flexible business cooperation model, ARE has reached cooperation with many domestic airlines on the mutual construction and operation of an airborne aviation internet system.


SITA

Ghana Airports Company Limited extended its agreement with SITA to manage and support all airport passenger processing, baggage management, and airport operations systems across Kotoka International Airport’s newly commissioned Terminal 3 for the next five years. SITA’s technology will be vital in positioning the airport as the pre-eminent hub in West Africa, leading the way in passenger automation and operational efficiency. This follows SITA’s successful deployment of these systems to support the opening of the new terminal in October last year. These systems include common use check-in desks and self-service check-in kiosks, allowing the airport to maximize its capacity by enabling airlines to cost-effectively share the same infrastructure. The airport will also make use of SITA’s state of the art baggage management technology that will assist airlines in reconciling and tracking bags across the journey. On the operational side, SITA’s Airport Management Solution will simplify planning and real-time operational control by facilitating collaborative decision-making among stakeholders while optimizing the use of airport resources. It will also support revenue management with its billing and reporting functionality. Over the next five years, SITA will be responsible for the maintenance and operations of these key systems and integration with other airport systems


INFLIGHT VR

After weeks of thorough planning and development with the teams at SunExpress, LEGO, Pico Interactive and Lasker Cross-Media, Inflight VR’s branded, immersive #virtualreality passenger experience is now live on many XQ flights from #antalya – oh, and they are celebrating it with a uniquely painted Airbus A320. The company said they couldn’t be more excited and thankful on the day of their company’s five year anniversary.


AIRBUS

  • Airbus and Delta Air Lines are forming a digital alliance to develop new predictive maintenance and health-monitoring solutions for airline customers worldwide from 2020. To be accessed via a unified portal through the Skywise platform, the cross-fleet solutions will harness each member’s expertise in airframes, systems and engines. Delta Air Lines will be the first user of the enriched predictive maintenance solution. This partnership builds on an already successful platform of technical collaboration between Airbus and Delta: In October 2018, Delta entered into a multi-year contract with Airbus to apply Skywise Predictive Maintenance to its A320 and A330 fleets – covering around 400 aircraft. Moreover, in June this year, Airbus and Delta joined forces to offer A220 component repair and material services for Airbus’ A220 Flight Hour Services (FHS) program.
  • Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) launched the iflyACJ.com website, allowing VIP travelers to easily plan their World above the world travel with ACJ charter operators. The new website will appeal to VIP travelers because it groups together in a single place information about the Airbus corporate jet offerings of 12 operators – such as details of their spacious cabins, characteristics and tailored on-board services.

BOEING

Boeing announced the launch of ForeFlight Dispatch, a team flight planning component of its web application that delivers a next-generation, multi-user, schedule-to-mobile flight planning capability for flight operations of any size. With Dispatch, flight plans are created by pilots, dispatchers, or automatically via integrated scheduling systems to generate “cleared-as-filed” routes, briefings, and operational flight plans, which are then synchronized with the ForeFlight Mobile application on crew devices. Flight watchers or dispatchers can then monitor flights or make changes to flight plans, and all changes are automatically synced back to crew devices, resulting in a more productive flight operation. Customers across North America and Europe have already tested the new capabilities with live flight operations in an extensive beta program. The inaugural customer of ForeFlight Dispatch, Flexjet, is a preeminent operator committed to deploying the latest technology throughout the organization.

Boeing has inspected some 810 Boeing 737NG’s for cracking of the “pickle forks” in the wing fuselage mounts on The Boeing Company Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes. It could adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane. We understand they found issues on some 38 aircraft.

Boeing has made significant progress over the past several months in support of safely returning the 737 MAX to service as the company continues to work with the FAA and other global regulators on the process laid out for certifying the 737 MAX software and related training updates. The company has also made significant governance and operational changes to further sharpen its focus. MediaRoom – News Releases/Statements

Editor’s Note – This might be a big deal for Boeing – “A person briefed on the matter said Boeing failed to turn over the documents to the FAA for four months and that the Justice Department is also in possession of the messages” noted an article from Reuters.” Apparently Boeing knew of MCAS aggression in 2016 and misled FAA . However, it looks like some test pilots in Boeing knew about “issues” with MCAS and was only reported their words on Oct. 17 to the FAA. It may not be the best news for Mr. Muilenburg.


OTHER NEWS

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.”