Lake Forest, CA | November 12, 2015– China Eastern Airlines has today become the first Chinese carrier to launch inflight connectivity on international flights, partnering with Panasonic Avionics.

The leading Chinese carrier, which, in partnership with China Telecom Satellite, was also the first to offer Wi-Fi on domestic flights, has installed Panasonic’s award-winning eXConnect inflight connectivity system on its newest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Panasonic Avionics’ eXConnect uses the company’s global Ku-band satellite network to deliver broadband connectivity to aircraft flying all over the world – even over oceans.

This Wi-Fi connectivity service enables passengers to access a wide range of services including the internet, email, and their favorite social media sites.

Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics, said, “We have worked closely with China Eastern Airlines over several years to create the first international services from a Chinese carrier with globally-available inflight broadband.

“Today’s launch is the culmination of this special partnership, and we’ll look forward to working with China Eastern over the months ahead to roll this service out across their international network.”

The service will initially be offered on the airline’s services from Shanghai to New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, and rolled out on other routes including San Francisco and Vancouver in December.

It will also be offered on the airline’s domestic services including Shanghai to Beijing, Guangzhou, Kunming, Chengdu and Chongqing. By the end of 2015, inflight connectivity will be available on 20 of China Eastern’s aircraft.

Zhang Chi, Deputy Director of China Eastern Airlines’ Transformation Office said, “The goal of the China Eastern Airlines Transformation Office is to transform our inflight experience from a traditional air transport experience into a modern, integrated and connected service. For China Eastern Airlines, inflight connectivity and Wi-Fi go beyond allowing passengers to be connected to Internet; it also dramatically improves our service model. With a connected aircraft, all of our the service support systems will be linked and available to the passengers in real-time, which will allow us to curate an even better experience for our guests.”

Almost 1,000 aircraft are now installed with Panasonic’s eXConnect system, with over 2,500 commitments in total. Panasonic is the only in-flight connectivity service provider with linefit offerability at both Boeing and Airbus.

  • Program will deliver one of the most advanced and comprehensive in-flight connectivity and entertainment experiences in the private aviation industry

Broomfield, CO | April 15, 2015– Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), a leading provider of in-flight connectivity and entertainment solutions to the global aero market, announces that its subsidiary, Gogo Business Aviation LLC, has been selected by NetJets, a Berkshire Hathaway company and the worldwide leader in private aviation, for a new program that will bring a minimum of 650 Gogo in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) systems to the NetJets fleet.

The program will provide NetJets customers with a full suite of IFEC capabilities including voice and texting (via passengers’ own smartphones and mobile numbers), Internet, e-mail, on-demand movies, TV episodes, news, moving maps, flight progress information, destination weather and more.

No other fractional provider is believed to offer such an advanced and complete in-flight connectivity and entertainment experience to its customers. Adam Johnson, NetJets’ SVP of Global Sales, Marketing and Owner Services said, “We continue to incorporate the latest in market trends to our fleet offerings through partnerships like we have developed with Gogo. Collectively, these help to create the customer experience that is so unique to NetJets.”

John Wade, Gogo Business Aviation’s executive vice president and general manager, said, “We’re pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with NetJets while helping deliver a new level of in- flight experience to its owners. Connectivity and entertainment services are significant competitive differentiators in today’s fractional market. Behind safety, we continue to hear those services cited as most critical by passengers.”

Today’s announcement marks a number of historic aviation milestones:

  • Business aviation’s largest fleet selection of In-Flight Entertainment (IFE)
  • Business aviation’s first fleet selection of Gogo Vision
  • First deployment of automatic IFE content updates in fractional market
  • First selection of Gogo Text & Talk in the fractional market
  • Business aviation’s largest fleet selection of Gogo Text & Talk to date
  • First selection of UCS 5000 smart router/media server in fractional market

The program will deploy a host of individual products, services and on-board hardware from Gogo Business Aviation, including:

  • Gogo Biz – in-flight Internet and voice service
  • Gogo Text & Talk – service that enables calling and texting in flight with passengers’ own smartphones and mobile numbers.
  • Gogo Vision – in-flight entertainment and information service
    • Includes on-demand movies, TV episodes, news, moving maps, flight progress information and destination weather.
    • Operationally, Gogo Vision will be updated automatically via Gogo Cloud, the company’s exclusive, nationwide content delivery network. Gogo Cloud is now available at select Signature Flight Support locations in the U.S.
  • UCS 5000 – in-cabin smart router and media server

Installations aboard the first aircraft in the program have already been completed at Duncan Aviation facilities in Lincoln, NE, and Battle Creek, MI.

  • Once again, the Aircraft Interiors Expo, being held at Hamburg’s Trade Fair from 14 to 16 April, will reveal global trends for aircraft cabins and on-board products.

Hamburg, Germany | April 8, 2015– Overhead lockers that take 50 percent more suitcase than conventional lockers do. Lightning-fast WLAN at every seat. Cabin windows that store sunlight and convert it directly into energy for the passengers’ smartphone batteries. Onboard films with Dolby Surround Sound and 3D. First-class seats that are as comfortable as a winged chair at home and yet can withstand 16G force. One thing you are sure to discover if you stroll through the Airport Interiors Expo: passionate fascination with the future of aviation! And that future is not far away. Many of the innovations presented at the world’s largest trade fair for aircraft cabins will soon be everyday features of air travel.

For the global airline industry, it is one of the most important events of the year. This year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo, taking place at Hamburg’s Trade Fair from 14 to 16 April, will see almost 600 exhibitors from 40 countries presenting the latest trends, products, and innovations for the aircraft cabin. Some 31,000 square metres are dedicated to the expo this year. The world’s largest cabin expo, organised by Reed Exhibitions in the UK, is breaking the records it set just one year ago. Almost 10,000 international industry specialists, including 800 airline representatives, are expected to attend the three-day event.

Three halls are dedicated exclusively to in-flight entertainment this year. This is the fastest growing segment, including both technical and content aspects. The World Travel & Catering Expo, the world’s largest aircraft catering trade fair, will once again be held at the same site in parallel to AIX. On Monday, 12 April, the Passenger Experience Conference, a top-ranking international gathering, will once again be held at Congress Center Hamburg (CCH).

In the highly competitive airline market, the cabin is well established as one of the most important battlefields. Sometimes it is the extras in luxury and comfort that win the day, and sometimes it is the optimal usage of space and weight. The tempo is high, with an average of five complete cabin refurbishments in the life cycle of a modern airliner.

Hamburg the world’s leading cabin center

At the heart of this dynamic development is Hamburg. A significant portion of the 40,000 jobs in the region’s aviation industry are associated with the cabin sector. This makes the metropolitan region in northern Germany the most important location in the world for this growing market. Many of the more than 300 aviation companies and institutions in Hamburg have their own presence at the Aircraft Interiors Expo. “The cabin expertise which Hamburg possesses is unmatched anywhere in the world, as we demonstrate year-in-year-out at the Aircraft Interiors Expo,” says Prof. Dr Joachim Szodruch, Chairman of the Hamburg Aviation cluster. “At the same time, the expo, being held here in Hamburg for the 14th time, is growing significantly once again. For the first time, it has expanded to use all the halls available. This is a great sign for Hamburg as a place of business, and a great motivation for all participants in the cluster.”

Hamburg’s biggest three employers in the industry focus on cabins

The three largest industrial employers in Hamburg’s aviation sector – Airbus, Lufthansa Technik and Diehl – concentrate their cabin focus in the region. As a consequence, they have a prominent presence at the Aircraft Interiors Expo. Airbus has its global cabin development center at Finkenwerder in Hamburg. The company’s presence at the expo is dedicated to new, efficient possibilities for space usage on short and long-haul aircraft. Lufthansa Technik is a leading player in the international market, not least because of its focus on VIP fittings in Hamburg. The company is exhibiting a comprehensive palette of products at its stand this year, ranging from the “Chair” luxury seat to patient transport facilities. Diehl Aerospace is presenting a fully functional cabin model at the trade fair.

Apart from the big names, more than a quarter of the aviation jobs in Hamburg are with small and medium-sized businesses. They are represented by the supplier association, HanseAerospace. With 74 exhibitors, the organisation’s spacious “Hanse Pavilion” stand in Hall B6 is once again the largest individual stand at the Aircraft Interiors Expo. Two of the Hamburg-based enterprises in the spotlight this year are the young company Treo, which tests instruments for customers from all over the world, and P3 Voith, involved in the construction of the new Airbus Beluga XL.

The “Hanse Pavilion” is also home to the Hamburg Aviation stand (6B90 12.4), a 20-squaremeter presentation of Hamburg as a center of aviation. “SME suppliers and service providers are an important driving force for innovation for our aviation industry, regionally and also nationally. Hanse-Aerospace is therefore delighted to be able to bring together such a broad spectrum of these companies, along with Hamburg Aviation and the engineering service providers of the HECAS association, under a single roof – the Hanse Pavilion roof,” says Uwe Groening, President of Hanse-Aerospace.

Crystal Cabin Award: this year’s top innovations

An overview of the most outstanding trends and innovations in the cabin market can be found in the Crystal Cabin Award Gallery in Hall B6, Stand 6C10. There, the finalists and winners of the Crystal Cabin Award are on display. The prize, launched by Hamburg Aviation in 2007, has grown to become the world’s most highly regarded award in the industry. The winners of this year’s “Cabin Oscars” will be crowned at a formal ceremony in the Hotel Atlantic on the evening of 14 April. All winners and finalists will be in attendance in the Crystal Cabin Award Gallery at 11am on 15 April to present their products in person one more time.

This is Hot Topic is like life; you get the test first and the lesson later! We have structured a couple questions to help our readers stumble thru the mire of the latest technology and newest products, with an attempt to guess where all this stuff might lead. At the end, we will give you our spin on where it’s all heading.

Question 1. Arrange the following terms in chronologically development/general application order: Desktop, Mainframe, Laptop, Smartphone, Netbook, and Minicomputer. C’mon, this is easy.

Good, now it gets harder. Throw in these terms to make it interesting, and make no mistake, they may also be show-stoppers and game changers: Cloud Computing, Convergence, Wi-Fi & Wi Max, Bluetooth, Pico Cells & Micro Cells & Nano Cells, Apps, and 30 nanometer technology.

Next, lets look at the old ICE concept: Entertainment, Information, and Communication. Here are only a few of the broader implications of the above technology advancements on ICE. You have probably heard all this or have gone thru this process before but hang on and note:

  1. Entertainment has gotten more portable and wirelessly available by going from analog-to-digital…thank technology for cheap mass storage.
  2. Information (data) has gone from analog-to-digital…thank Intel, IBM, Samsung and many others for greater computing-on-a-chip technology in the form of smaller micro-circuits and new software algorithms.
  3. Communication has gone from analog-to-digital, both wired and wirelessly. Frequency, and consequently Bandwidth, is increasing to accommodate both 1 and 3 above.

Finally we have to factor in the following: A. The future of personal entertainment is getting smaller, more powerful, cheaper, and uses less power…but you already knew that too. B. Frequency bands are getting congested as more high bandwidth data is sent to portable devices; however, higher density, physically smaller, more powerful storage and software compression is aiding the portability of content. C. Data (Information) is (becoming) Entertainment…at least so far as our lives are concerned, i.e., the Internet. D. What “portable devices” are road warriors and power users carrying today? E. What paradigms are shifting on airplanes? Ancillary revenue, space, comfort, connectivity, entertainment/headsets, food, baggage, check-in, etc. Question 2. What are the implications for all the above for IFEC?

After we went thru this exercise, we came up with a number of summary observations – see what you think.

  1. This past year and into 2010, we may see a downturn of IFE revenues, more related to aircraft orders and airline profits – on the flip side, things are looking up somewhat for the latter part of 2010 with companies like Boeing ramping up production rates.
  2. Connectivity is on the uptick and at some levels, is basic on many aircraft in the US and worldwide. Be in this business or in some way connected to it.
  3. Voice and data connectivity are battling it out on the aircraft but currently data is winning. However remember, in the digital world, voice is data! European, Asian and Middle Eastern carriers might actually see more digital voice at least for now.
  4. If trends to portable data are to be believed, passengers will bring aboard more content-related stuff. Case in point, check out this new phone from T-Mobile with content onboard and a built-in Go-Go App. Interestingly, this trend may help the portable IFE folks! How, airlines may hold off IFE selection and cover their assets with portables, older aircraft can compete with SOTA new planes by adding portable IFE. Portable IFE seems to have broken the “free” IFE barrier – travelers seem to understand that new, small, cooler devices are perceived to be worth more than a fixture (see Editor’s Note below). And hey, don’t rule out airline or kiosk delivered portable content! Also, watch out for more flying functionality from iPhone type apps like check-in, flight location and arrival/departure info and the like.
  5. If one can’t talk to the ground on a 3-hour flight or more, connectivity anxiety is becoming a common disorder for some. The remedy is data, and if space and carry-on limitations keep declining, pricing will increase for both. So watch out for an increasing amount of Smartphone usage.
  6. As first-run movie “windows” shrink, the demand-pull of installed IFE or that type of content will lessen. And speaking of content, when is someone going to really push books on tape, inflight learning, pay-for-downloads, onboard movie rental/purchase on a card, humane pet transportation, food-to-go-outside-the-airport, instant booze (just add water), etc…there we vented that one.
  7. Seats are getting thinner while some companies like Panasonic are designing thinner IFE for these applications. Perhaps a seat standard containing all the conceivable seat functions and human interfaces is in the future…all powered by some hybrid network.
  8. Bandwidth increases will no doubt demand more fiber optics – wireless has limits…the question is where in the plane will it make the most sense? Without a doubt, in the future, the FAA and FCC are going to rethink the noise floors on plastic planes with all this wireless stuff radiating away. We know the issues because we have talked to the HIRF people. This will hit the wall sometime in the future. Further, connectivity is probably heading for Ku Band too to take advantage of that higher bandwidth. Ka interest is increasing too.
  9. We continue to say that inseat power is becoming a “must add” amenity for passenger devices…and wouldn’t it be interesting if someone invented an integrated, in-seat credit card payment system that reduced crew workload and allowed an avenue for passengers to pay for all this stuff airlines used to give out free. In the future, airlines could be like printer companies – give away the seat at rock bottom prices and make it up on the ancillary revenue like printer companies do with printer cartridges!
  10. While the inflight connectivity folks seem to always be pushing out the hardware and network break-even points, something has to happen to drive some of the network providers into profitability. Here are a couple of ways they might: Replace or replicate ACARS, security profits from onboard cameras, special purchased data offerings (Hey, our Internet provider charges more for more speed), airline data and onboard trend monitoring deals, and with the right payment system…pay for play might succeed. And finally, where is that gambling windfall?

We have not even mentioned handheld gaming, GPS, portable cameras (and cameras features of phones), noise canceling earphones, PMP devices, social networks, apps for everything, iPads, YouTube, 3D, solar power, wireless power, etc. We will let you work those out for yourselves.

Have a nice day!

(Editor’s Note: We ran our thoughts by other sources of IFE knowledge and one response, in particular, is worth a review by our readers: “During 2009, all of the distributors of portable media players in IFE hit a wall, built partially by a down economy, and partially by a focus on connectivity and how it might impact the demand for entertainment apart from communications. Coming out of 2009, we see a strong impetus toward investment in Premium Economy to capture lost revenues attributable to the fact that premium cabin ticket sales are not rebounding in the same way as economy cabin ticket sales. The impact of this on portables, I believe, is the bifurcation of the portables market into a highly commoditized lower end, and a more innovative higher end where the product is more than simply an add-on but is an integrated product. This might be semi-embedded, or it could cross the DO-160 line and into embedded territory. I believe this favors suppliers with a more holistic view. – LightStream Communications, IFEC Consultancy”)