PANASONIC & THINKOM

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics)announced the launch of a new, next-generation Ku-band antenna, which will be developed in partnership with ThinKom Solutions, Inc.

The newly designed ThinAir® builds upon ThinKom’s flight proven, VICTS (Variable Inclination Continuous Transverse Stub) technology. It will be offered by Panasonic Avionics to its airline customers for both line-fit and retrofit installations, with first deliveries occurring in 2023.

The antenna will connect aircraft with Panasonic Avionics’ global communications network of high-speed, high-bandwidth Ku-band satellites, which place capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.

The new highly efficient and low-profile antenna offers airlines a wide range of advantages. These include support for both LEO (low earth orbit) and GEO (geostationary orbit) satellite networks, higher speed throughput, greater aerodynamic efficiency, gate-to-gate operations, and reduced operating costs.

Jeff Sare, Vice President of In-Flight Connectivity Solutions at Panasonic Avionics, said, “Panasonic is committed to delivering seamless, scalable, and future-proofed in-flight connectivity to our airline customers and their passengers. Our new antenna offering with ThinKom is an integral part of our network and will allow airlines to access both current and future satellite constellations.”
Panasonic Avionics offers global high-speed connectivity service everywhere commercial aircraft fly and has over 210 regulatory approvals across the globe. Its network consists of high-throughput (HTS) and extreme throughput (XTSTM) satellite technologies that provide the best end-user experience possible.

“This agreement with Panasonic Avionics is an important validation of our VICTS phased array antennas, which are designed to seamlessly roam on both LEO and GEO networks, delivering unparalleled flexibility and resiliency to ensure the highest level of bandwidth services and availability to airline customers,” stated Mark Silk, President of ThinKom Solutions, Inc.

“The combination of our VICTS technology and Panasonic Avionics’ experience and commitment to in-flight entertainment and connectivity provides an extremely compelling value proposition to commercial airlines, both today and in the future.”

Over 2,300 aircraft are now connected to Panasonic Avionics’ global communications network, which supports improved airline and passenger experiences including faster internet, video streaming and greater bandwidth for crew applications. Over 3,750 aircraft from various airline customers are currently committed to Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight connectivity services.


BLUEBOX WOW & QANTAS

Bluebox Wow wireless IFE to be deployed on all jet aircraft in QantasLink fleet

Travelers flying the network of cities and regional destinations across Australia served by QantasLink, the regional airline for the Qantas Group, can soon enjoy free wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) on board.
Bluebox Aviation Systems has been selected by QantasLink to deploy its Bluebox Wow W-IFE system on QantasLink’s fleet, initially on Airbus A320 aircraft, then expanding to its Fokker F100, Boeing 717, and Alliance Airlines’ Embraer E190 aircraft. The Bluebox Wow system will enhance the regional airline’s service on board, providing entertainment content directly to passenger devices over a captive wireless network.
Bluebox Aviation Systems has been selected by QantasLink to deploy its Bluebox Wow W-IFE system on QantasLink’s fleet, initially on Airbus A320 aircraft, then expanding to its Fokker F100, Boeing 717, and Alliance Airlines’ Embraer E190 aircraft. The Bluebox Wow system will enhance the regional airline’s service on board, providing entertainment content directly to passenger devices over a captive wireless network.
The IFE content will include movies, TV, audio books and podcasts. Access to the Bluebox Wow system will be integrated with the Qantas Entertainment app to help facilitate a seamless flight-to-flight IFE experience, but will also be available app-free with simple browser access for anyone who does not have the Qantas Entertainment app loaded on their device.
The Bluebox Wow aircraft-powered option will be deployed, which will also have fully-automated PA Pause functionality. This is provided and fitted via an EASA STC, recently awarded for the A320 Family aircraft and which will be modified for use on the other aircraft in QantasLink’s fleet.
“Recently receiving our STC on the Airbus A320 Family for our aircraft-powered version of Bluebox Wow system, and now being able to announce Qantas’ selection of Bluebox Wow for its QantasLink network, are two exciting and very positive milestones for us to mark as our industry begins to emerge from the global pandemic,” said David Brown, Business Development Director, Bluebox. “It’s not insignificant either that we’re demonstrating that our W-IFE systems can replicate offerings of traditional aircraft avionics-based installed systems and proving the value of low-cost W-IFE systems across larger fleets. Just as Bluebox Wow expanded the market for IFE in its original battery-operated form, we’ll now see it capture more of the W-IFE market, given its lower cost of deployment and digital platform scope for everything from entertainment to touch-free retail and to even more as digital in-flight services develop.”
Bluebox Wow is a discrete, lunchbox-sized unit, typically stowed securely in overhead bins. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, it provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games, and other digital content. These services can be offered to passengers on a complimentary basis or paid for via payment card or voucher access with no cabin crew interaction required. Bluebox also offers onboard retail services, including the ability to order and pay for products and services via passenger devices with full inventory synchronization, in parallel to traditional sales from galley carts via cabin crew point-of-sale devices. In addition to onboard touch-free sales, Bluebox’s retail solutions also enable pre-paid (booking path) purchases.
With battery- and aircraft-powered versions of Bluebox Wow, the linefit option for Bluebox’s W-IFE platform available on Airbus OSP and retrofit on traditional avionics grade hardware, Bluebox’s range of hardware options for its digital in-flight platform ensures the greatest choice and flexibility are available to customers, especially those with different aircraft types and fleets of any size. This also means that Bluebox can deploy a consistent customer experience across a fleet – whether that be to provide more traditional entertainment content, offer food & beverage or retail sales on board or through the passenger journey, or deliver other innovative services designed to engage passengers and build customer loyalty as well as increase ancillary revenue.

BOEING

  • Aircraft Lessor Griffin Global Asset Management Orders Five Boeing 737-8 Jets
  • The Los Angeles- and Dublin-based aircraft leasing company places its first direct order with Boeing
  • With the Griffin order, customers have placed 529 gross orders for the 737 MAX family in 2021

Boeing and Griffin Global Asset Management announced the aircraft lessor is expanding its commercial aircraft portfolio with five new 737-8 jets. The purchase is Griffin’s first direct order with Boeing as it sees strategic opportunities to place the airplanes during the market recovery.

“As market conditions rebound, we are finding opportunities to serve our airline customers in innovative ways. An important component of this strategy is providing balanced capacity that meets returning passenger demand. The 737-8 is well-positioned to support this objective, and this order lays a strong foundation for more to come with Boeing and Griffin on future opportunities,” said Ryan McKenna, founder and CEO of Griffin.

Designed and built in Renton, Washington, the 737 MAX family delivers superior efficiency, flexibility and reliability while reducing fuel use and carbon emissions by at least 14% compared to the airplanes they replace. The 737-8 seats up to 189 passengers and can fly 3,550 nautical miles – about 600 miles farther than its predecessor – allowing airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. Every 737 MAX features the new Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead storage bins.

“Griffin Global Asset Management is building a first-class aircraft leasing business, and we are delighted that they have selected the 737-8 for their single-aisle portfolio. As Griffin places its first direct order with Boeing, we welcome them to the 737 family and look forward to working with the team in the future,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing.

As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future and living the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity. Learn more at www.boeing.com .
Backed by Bain Capital Credit, Griffin provides commercial aircraft leasing and alternative asset management with offices in Dublin and Los Angeles. The team is staffed by experienced aviation professionals who work closely with airlines, aircraft manufacturers and investors to provide custom fleet solutions and innovative financing products to airlines around the world.

More Boeing News:

Boeing named Matt Welch as vice president of Investor Relations. Welch will succeed Maurita Sutedja, who has accepted an opportunity outside of Boeing following more than a decade of leadership within several finance roles at Boeing. Welch’s appointment is effective immediately.

Welch will lead Boeing’s interactions with the investment community, providing shareholders and financial analysts timely, accurate and transparent information on the company’s market environment, business, performance and outlook.

Welch is a seasoned leader with more than 20 years of deep financial experience across Boeing’s operations. Currently serving as vice president of Revenue Management at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Welch has held several roles of increasing responsibility, including in Investor Relations; Financial Planning and Analysis; and program finance


OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) is enhancing its in-flight mobile connectivity offering through a strategic partnership with GigSky, a global mobility provider based in Silicon Valley, California.

The partnership between Panasonic Avionics, its subsidiary AeroMobile and GigSky enables any eSIM-equipped mobile phone user to enjoy their in-flight mobile connectivity service—regardless of network operator—on selected airlines and flights. By downloading the award-winning GigSky app prior to departure, passengers can effortlessly pay for and access a daily connectivity pass.

Kevin Rogers, Senior Director, Mobile Services at Panasonic Avionics, said, “Digital innovation is at the forefront of everything we do at Panasonic Avionics. Our collaboration with GigSky marks our first eSIM partnership and enables us to enhance and bring more choice to the passenger experience. With GigSky’s support of our mobile services platform, passengers can connect their mobile phones across the globe regardless of which network provider they are with, replicating on-the-ground integrated connectivity in the skies.

Ravi Rishy-Maharaj, Founder and CEO at GigSky, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Panasonic Avionics to bring a first of its kind service to airlines and passengers. Through the GigSky app, we now offer data services in the air, land and sea with our partners. With the addition of an inflight plan, customers can stay connected at their destination – and in between destinations – truly enabling an always-online, always-connected experience, anywhere they go.”


INMARSAT

  • Inmarsat ELERA will be a catalyst for the next wave of world-changing technologies and is ideally suited for the Internet of Things and the billions of devices that are being connected every year
  • Inmarsat ELERA builds on the company’s global leadership in L-band satellite services with breakthrough technologies that will deliver unparalleled L-band speeds and the smallest, low-cost user terminals, underpinned by Inmarsat’s record for reliability, resilience and availability
  • Inmarsat ELERA will help ensure the world works better for decades to come, by delivering vital services already trusted by businesses and governments worldwide to drive operational efficiency and effectiveness, while protecting people, assets, data and our environment
  • ELERA will be a key component of Inmarsat ORCHESTRA, a world first network that will combine GEO, LEO and 5G into one harmonious solution

In its second major announcement in two weeks, Inmarsat is unveiling Inmarsat ELERA; a global narrowband network that is ideally suited to the rapidly evolving world of the Internet of Things (IoT) and for global mobility customers, including aviation, maritime, governments and select enterprises.

“ELERA is perfectly suited to the needs of the connected IoT world,” said Rajeev Suri, CEO, Inmarsat. “Global reach, extraordinary resilience, faster speeds, smaller and lower cost terminals are all part of ensuring that we remain ahead of others in meeting the needs of our customers.”
“ELERA is a further sign of a company with true momentum and one that is delivering new innovations and strong performance,” continued Suri. “I expect that Inmarsat will grow strongly in 2021 compared to the previous year, and that growth will span most of our business units. Our progress was evident in the first half, where we saw strong growth in revenue and EBITDA and robust cash flow. We have sharpened our strategy to focus on driving growth, accelerate decision making, launch new innovations, and are creating a more commercially focused, customer-centric culture.”

ELERA builds on Inmarsat’s #1 position in Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) and will be a springboard for innovation, unlocking, accelerating and scaling pioneering use cases on land, at sea and in the air. Its foundation is Inmarsat’s world class L-band network and incorporates new innovations ranging from higher speeds to smaller, low cost terminals and [the previously announced] Inmarsat-6 satellites, the first of which (I-6 F1) is scheduled to launch before the end of the year.
Coming just 14 days after Inmarsat announced ORCHESTRA, the world’s first network to combine GEO, LEO and 5G into one harmonious global communications solution, ELERA underlines Inmarsat’s strategic focus on the global mobility segment of satellite communications. It is also a signal of a company with momentum, delivering major technological innovations and growth.

The unique capabilities of ELERA, combined with Inmarsat’s superior spectrum and the ideally suited orbital position of its satellite networks, will make it the essential catalyst for new IoT use cases, across everything from autonomous transport and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to industrial and agricultural IoT applications.

ELERA is built on Inmarsat’s market leading L-band network, which already delivers the world’s most reliable and flexible global connectivity service with unique resilience in all conditions and full global redundancy. It supports everything from worldwide maritime and aviation safety services and humanitarian missions to IoT applications across agritech, transportation and utilities, among many others.

The new innovations that the company is investing in to bring to market in the near future include spectrum management technology to deliver L-band speeds up to 1.7Mbps, the smallest footprint, low cost L-band terminal and two new L-band satellites, which are the largest and most sophisticated commercial communication satellites ever created.
The new spectrum management capabilities (known as Carrier Aggregation) being incorporated into the ELERA network will deliver the fastest speeds globally available to L-band customers, far outstripping the capabilities of any other worldwide L-band network.
Live customer trials in commercial aviation are scheduled to start during the course of 2022 and this technology will be rolled out across a range of sector specific applications for Inmarsat’s mobility, government and IoT customers over the coming few years.

ELERA will also see the creation of the smallest footprint, low cost terminal for L-band users, delivering the ideal framework for satcom IoT at scale, with supporting cloud-based management, for vertical sectors such as infrastructure, rail, logistics, mining, agriculture, government, maritime and aviation.

Inmarsat is launching two new satellites to enhance the ELERA network. The I-6 satellites, the first of which is scheduled to launch at the end of 2021, are the largest and most sophisticated commercial communications satellites ever built.

The L-band capacity on each I-6 satellite will be substantially greater than Inmarsat’s 4th generation spacecraft and, among other enhancements, they will deliver 50% more capacity per beam; meaning that much more data can be carried over the same geographical area, in addition to unlimited beam routing flexibility.

ELERA will also deliver a major extension to Inmarsat’s portfolio of voice-enabled devices, bringing new capabilities and innovations to hundreds of thousands of customers. This initiative represents our commitment to voice service innovation and underlines the company’s long-term commitment to the handheld voice services over satellite market.

“ELERA is the exciting vision of how Inmarsat is planning to transform the capabilities offered to IoT and mobility customers for years to come and confirms our long-term commitment to L-band services. We will be sharing further detail on these innovations with our partner community in the coming months and continue our programme of announcements as we achieve major milestones.” said Rajeev Suri, CEO, Inmarsat.
The investments in ELERA are already included in Inmarsat’s current CAPEX plans and guidance.


HAMBURG AVIATION

With climate change progressing, the measures that are currently planned by the aviation industry will be not enough. A new study by Hamburg-based Sustainable Aero Lab maps 40 promising startups in the new field of sustainable aviation.

The overview by Sustainable Aero Lab maps 40 promising startups, clustering sustainable aviation in four technological fields: Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), Electric Propulsion, Hydrogen, and the Digital Backbone. It also looks at global venture capital investment into zero emission tech, a field that has gained significant traction over the last six years, but so far has been shy to connect with the aviation sector, especially when it comes to complex segments such as hydrogen. Yet with a growing attention in all industries to act on climate change and reduce global CO2 emissions, the potential for new players in aviation technology has never been greater.

Sustainable Aero Lab is focused on accelerating startups and has been mentoring startups in each segment outlined in this study since its launch in February 2021. Some of the most prominent experts from all segments of aviation have already joined as mentors.

You can find the entire study by Sustainable Aero Lab, including the startup map and an analysis of venture capital investments into zero-emission tech, on the Lab’s website www.sustainable.aero.


OTHER NEWS

Editor’s Note: It is with much sadness that IFExpress reports the passing of long time IFE professional, Harry Gray. Harry worked in the inflight entertainment realm for 30 years and was the consummate professional, as well as, an extraordinary salesman. But most importantly, he was a great friend. Our hearts go out to the Gray family at this time. Rest in peace Harry, you will be sorely missed.

AVIATION RECOVERY IMPACTED BY LACK OF GLOBAL SYNCHRONISATION, INDUSTRY LEADERS STATE DURING RECORD-BREAKING VIRTUAL BROADCAST

FlightPlan: C-Suite Week, hosted by Inmarsat and APEX, aired a series of ‘no holds barred’ discussions with the CEOs of Qatar Airways, AirAsia, United Airlines, TAP Air Portugal and IATA

Exclusive interviews were viewed by 6,500 viewers from 80 countries around the world, with thousands more expected to watch the videos on demand

26 JULY 2021: The biggest names in global aviation came together at FlightPlan: C-Suite Week for a series of exclusive ‘no holds barred’ interviews with leading BBC World News reporter Aaron Heslehurst, touching on the most immediate and pressing issues facing air travel in 2021.

The latest edition in the popular FlightPlan online broadcast, developed by Inmarsat Aviation and APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association), attracted a record-breaking audience of 6,500 from 80 countries worldwide last week, with thousands more expected to watch the videos on demand.

FlightPlan: C-Suite Week aired interviews on five consecutive days with:

  • Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO, Qatar Airways.
  • Tony Fernandes, CEO and Founder, AirAsia Group.
  • Scott Kirby, CEO, United Airlines and APEX/IFSA Board of Governors Chair.
  • Christine Ourmières-Widener, CEO, TAP Air Portugal.
  • Willie Walsh, Director General, IATA (and former CEO of IAG).

Several pertinent topics were debated during the daily ‘power hour’ broadcasts, including leadership lessons from the industry’s biggest ever crisis, how airline recovery has been stilted by a lack of global synchronization, and the importance of addressing sustainability challenges. The interviews also explored the ability of digitalization to accelerate profitable growth for airlines and meet evolving passenger needs.

Summarizing the event, Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “FlightPlan was launched by Inmarsat and APEX during the very onset of the global pandemic, bringing the global aviation industry together for much needed debates, discussions and direction at a time of great uncertainty.

“The response has been phenomenal, with a combined audience of approximately 17,000 for the first three editions, reinforcing its position as the industry’s biggest virtual broadcast. FlightPlan: C-Suite Week delivered insight into the difficult decisions faced by leaders over the past 18 months. It also uncovered many impressive future-facing initiatives underway – from sustainability to passenger experience – that will not only secure a strong recovery for airlines, but also ensure a bright future for the industry at large.”

Never waste a crisis

FlightPlan’s C-Suite line-up shared valuable leadership lessons from steering their aviation businesses through the COVID-19 travel crisis over the past 18 months. Al Baker shared his biggest learning for leaders: “there should always be a plan B and even sometimes a plan C of how to conduct your business in dire circumstances like the pandemic.”

For Kirby, a major learning has been the critical importance of customer experience. “Many of us in aviation have a new focus and commitment to change the customer experience. To use what we went through – the worst crisis in history – as a transformative moment to really make it better for customers,” he said. Kirby’s ambition is to turn flying into something passengers truly enjoy as part of the journey, “so that their vacation starts the moment they leave the house, instead of once they land at the other side”.

Unilateralism has stilted recovery

Across the board, the interviewees agreed that industry recovery has been stilted by unilateralism and a lack of global synchronization. For Fernandes, co-ordination between different governments “has been a failure… because every country has their own vaccine rules and entry requirements”. Lamenting the lack of standardised policies, he called for closer co-ordination between airlines and airports, noting: “we’re symbiotic; we need each other”.

Walsh echoed the challenges of a siloed international approach: “You would have expected the EU to have corralled everybody together and say, look, ‘we’ve got to demonstrate to everybody now that we are in this together’. That’s probably been the most disappointing thing for me. If we’ve struggled to see a political and a coordinated political response from the EU, I think we’ve no hope of expecting to see a coordinated political response globally.”

Sustainability in aviation

With climate change rapidly rising up the consumer, corporate and policy agenda, sustainability was highlighted as an urgent priority for the airline industry to ensure its right to operate in the future. As OurmieÌres-Widener told viewers: “Our contribution to the future of the climate is key.”

Walsh backed further political focus on environmental performance, noting: “The equipment that we have on aircraft today is so advanced and yet we’re still operating the way we were back in the 1960s. It’s a scandal on environmental grounds and is making our operations so much more inefficient than they could be.” He speculated, “Why isn’t it being done? Because there’s a lack of political will to address the issue.”

Kirby agreed that policies are needed to drive forward ambitious targets, but that “we have to be real about the art of the doable,” noting that Net Zero by 2035 would come at the expense of reliable power supplies. He shared insight on United’s efforts to invest in Boom aircraft that run on sustainable fuel – part of the airline’s commitment to reach Net Zero without carbon offsetting.

Qatar Airways is also underway with its sustainability drive, according to Al Baker, who said: “We are prepared to look after our environment, and this is why we are continuously investing in aeroplanes that are more fuel-efficient.” 

Readiness for digital transformation

OurmieÌres-Widener mused that while the crisis brought many challenges to the industry, it has also confirmed several trends – one being the huge opportunity for airlines that embrace digitiation. She said that the “full digital experience” is no longer just a buzzword, but a reality that airlines need to offer.

Digitization is well underway for AirAsia, too, with data sitting at the heart of Fernandes’ vision to make the brand more than just an airline. “We have much better customer data than Uber,” from credit card to loyalty information, Fernandes explained. His ambition is to make AirAsia “a travel company like Expedia,” encompassing services from currency to grocery delivery. “We’re trying to turn the AirAsia customer on the plane into a customer on the ground, keeping them with us before and after their flight,” he said.

To watch all interviews on demand, visit: flightplan.wavecast.io.


FLIGHTAWARE

FlightAware, the largest global provider of flight information and actionable aviation intelligence, announced the launch of Aviator, the ultimate flight tracking suite for piston airplane pilots and operators.

FlightAware’s Aviator is an inexpensive subscription-based software, accessible via the web and iOS. Any subscriber can register multiple aircraft, including rentals, and unlock indispensable features like Ready To Taxi™, Premium Weather and Map Layers, Surface Visualizations, FBO Scheduling, and ETAs automatically updated via FlightAware’s powerful machine predictive technology, Foresight™.

“Aviator was created by FlightAware pilots to share advanced flight tracking features with other piston airplane pilots. Over the years we’ve gone from flight tracking to becoming the central data hub for both the business and commercial aviation industries. With Aviator, we’re bringing a product with robust tools and processes developed for the most sophisticated flight departments and commercial airlines, right to the GA pilot.” said Daniel Baker, FlightAware CEO.

With Aviator family, friends, and FBOs can receive alerts from preflight and taxi out, through landing and taxi in.

Communications are coordinated as stakeholders stay informed. From surface visualizations displaying taxiing planes and surface movements to comprehensive airborne flight tracks, Aviator also provides monthly history reports for pilots and operators to review critical flight details.


MORGAN STANLEY

Airlines: Corporate Travel Survey 2H2021: US is leading the recovery

High number of Covid cases and slow lifting of travel bans have postponed the recovery of corporate travel budgets to post 2022. The shift of travel volume to virtual has stabilized at 27% by 2022 and is expected to be 19% by 2023. US travel is benefiting from a quicker corporate recovery vs EU and Asia.

We conducted an online survey of ~140 corporate travel managers between June 30-July 12, who represent over US$8B of typical annual travel spend. Around 67% are headquartered in the US, 19% in Europe, and 14% in Asia/Other, and their travel budgets are allocated relatively similarly. This survey is the fourth wave since the Covid pandemic started a stabilization, which we find interesting to track changes in trends as we return to normal.

Travel budgets recovery has slowed down, with the US leading the recovery. Travel budgets are expected to be down an average of 39.2% vs 2019 in 2H21 compared to the 57.3% drop seen in the 1H21. The pace of recovery will increase in 2022 with budgets expected to be down only 17.5% on average, which is 2pp worse than our previous survey in March. The US will lead the recovery as 17% of US based respondents replied that their 2H21 travel budgets would be increasing vs 2019, compared to 10% of Europeans and 0% of Asian/Other responders. In addition, while 62% of European responders expected cuts of greater than 50%, only 45% of US counterparts expected the same.

Passenger volumes continue to deteriorate, though expectations are for higher fare increases. Similar to travel budgets, our latest data suggests 2022 volumes vs 2019 will be down 21.1%, a 2.7pp decrease vs March. Once again Europe will be the laggard with 57% expecting a decline of 30-50% compared to just 25% of US respondents expecting the same. Expectations of air fares have improved, with 2.8% increases in 2022 (up 80bps vs March).

The shift to virtual meetings trend seems to be stabilizing. Despite some deterioration in corporate travel expectations for 2021/2022, the shift to virtual meetings in 2022 remains at 27% level, with 2023 expected to be 19%, on average.

Time and cost cited as key issues for switch to virtual, with environmental concerns higher in Europe. More efficient use of employee time and cost reductions were cited by 74% and 72% of respondents, respectively, as at least a top 3 reason for replacing travel with virtual options. Perhaps unsurprisingly, European companies considered environmental concerns as the most important reason to replace corporate travel. 25% of Europe based travel managers cited this as their number 1 reason compared to just 5% of US counterparts.

Conclusions for Europe: We think US based respondents’ more positive outlook for travel could be an indication of a faster recovery once restrictions ease. Nonetheless, we still do not anticipate corporate air travel in Europe to recover before 2023/2024, and higher environmental concerns on travel support our thesis. All in all, weaker demand and 27% convergence of travel into virtual events should negatively affect legacy carriers (Lufthansa, IAG and Air France-KLM, in that order) more than low cost carriers (easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz). We continue to prefer Ryanair and easyjet (OW), over Lufthansa and AF-KLM.

Conclusions for US Airlines: From a US perspective, it is encouraging to see the results lead the rest of the world given the higher pace of vaccinations and the growing momentum toward return to the office, which will likely lead corporate travel. We note that most airlines have already seen a notable pickup in corporate travel from -80% vs. 2019 in April to -60% in May and expected to be -40-45% in September.

Furtherrmore, the Airlines expect the momentum to continue to pick up in 3Q/4Q and their internal surveys show that permanent substitution of corporate travel will be as little as 5% (in DAL’s survey down from 8% a quarter ago) to zero (for UAL), vs. our ~20-25%. Perhaps all this tells us is that there is still significant uncertainty out there on how much the corporate tide will rise as we re-open and whether that will stop 20%, 10% or 0% below 2019 levels or even exceed 2019 levels. What is clear to us is that the initial rising tide (returning to 70-80% of normal corporate) is nowhere close to being priced into the US Airline stocks today (esp. Legacies like DAL and UAL) and none of this debate really impacts the investment decision on the LCC/ULCC stocks (JBLU, ALK, ALGT, ULCC, LUV) that have limited exposure to corporate. As a result, we continue to remain bullish on the US Airline stocks. We will closely watch the progression of the COVID variant but if we do not see incremental lockdowns or steps backward by Labor Day (Sept 7), we expect corporate travel to recover quickly after that.

“The U.S. will not lift international travel restrictions at this time due to the Covid-19 Delta variant. The U.S. announced earlier this week that it will not lift any existing travel restrictions “at this point” due to concerns over the highly transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant and the rising number of U.S. coronavirus cases. According to a White House official, cases of Covid-19 are rising within the U.S., particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear “likely to continue to increase in the weeks ahead.” This comes a week after the Biden Administration said U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least August 21st, despite Canada announcing it will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated Americans beginning on August 9th. In early June, the Biden Administration formed expert working groups with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the U.K. to determine how to best reopen international borders safely; however, the White House official stated that any decision to lift restrictions “has to be a sustainable decision” going forward. Although international travel restrictions remain in place for now, many U.S. airlines stated that the Delta variant has not had much of an impact on domestic leisure bookings. During an earnings conference call, UAL’s management said the company hadn’t seen “any impact at all on bookings” due to the Covid-19 Delta variant, and ALK’s management noted that they have seen “no slowing signs of demand,” but that they are continuing to watch trends carefully.”


BOEING

Boeing released its first Sustainability Report. In the report, the company shares its vision for the future of sustainable aerospace, establishes broad sustainability goals and highlights environmental, social and governance (ESG) progress in alignment with global sustainability standards.

“In September 2020, amidst a global pandemic, Boeing formed a Sustainability organization dedicated to advancing our ESG efforts across the enterprise. As we continue on this journey, we are pleased to publish our first comprehensive report, focused on stakeholder responsiveness and data transparency,” said Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond. “We know there’s still work to do and are committed to communicating our progress and holding ourselves accountable to ensure the aerospace industry is safe and sustainable for generations to come.”

Boeing’s sustainability efforts are organized around four key pillars: people, products and services, operations and communities. In 2020, highlights across these four pillars included:

Establishing six broad new sustainability goals in alignment with our key sustainability priorities and stakeholder interests.

Defining the company’s vision for the future of sustainable aerospace through fleet renewal, network operational efficiency, renewable energy and advanced technology.

Committing to deliver commercial airplanes capable of flying on 100% sustainable fuels by 2030.

Partnering with Etihad Airways on the 2020 ecoDemonstrator program, which tested sustainable technologies on one of the airline’s new 787-10 Dreamliners.

Implementing digital engineering tools on the T-7A Red Hawk program, achieving a 75% increase in first-time engineering quality and an 80% reduction in assembly hours.

Advancing flight tests for Cora, an all-electric, self-flying air taxi developed by Boeing and Kitty Hawk joint venture Wisk.

Responding to COVID-19 by executing airlift missions to transport supplies, providing community vaccination sites and minimizing air travel health risks through the Confident Travel Initiative.

Establishing a 20-member Racial Equity Task Force to represent diverse viewpoints and amplify all voices at Boeing.

Setting 2030 environmental performance goals to reduce emissions, waste, water use and energy consumption.

Achieving net-zero carbon emissions at work sites, while reducing energy consumption by 12%, water use by 23%, solid waste by 44% and hazardous waste by 34%.

Attaining the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award for Sustained Excellence every year since 2010.

Contributing $234 million in community giving, working with 13,400 community partners and volunteering 250,000 hours.

United Aviate Academy has selected Boeing to provide a comprehensive suite of training tools, materials and digital solutions to develop and provide early career training to United Airlines’ next generation of pilots. The companies commemorated the five-year training agreement with a ceremonial signing event at EAA AirVenture.

The comprehensive training package of courseware and multimedia materials spans Boeing’s portfolio of service offerings, including its Jeppesen and ForeFlight solutions, and provides United Aviate Academy with the tools to help cadets master key concepts and information needed to confidently and safely pilot aircraft.

“We are pleased to extend our long-term partnership with Boeing to help train the next generation of United pilots,” said Bryan Quigley, United’s senior vice president of flight operations. “Boeing’s unique suite of tools and materials will help provide effective training for Aviate pilots who are working to meet future air travel demands and uphold United’s high standards of safety and excellence.”

The agreement includes:

  • Initial cadet assessment materials with accompanying online courses and e-books, supporting higher program completion rates through analytics of data-driven assessments
  • Jeppesen Academy courseware, textbooks and digital learning materials for private, instrument, commercial, multiengine and instructor training
  • The ForeFlight Mobile integrated flight app for pilots equipped with Jeppesen NavData®, electronic charts and Airway Manuals, a one-stop shop for flight tasks like routing flights, planning and filing flight plans, managing electronic charts and maps, and gathering destination and weather information
  • Pilot supplies including Bose headsets, computers, student flight bags, logbooks and more
  • GPS NavData for the United Aviate Academy fleet

“We are fully committed to providing United Aviate Academy—and all of our customers—with tailored, high-quality training solutions that enhance safety and meet the learning and development needs of pilots from all backgrounds,” said Chris Broom, vice president of Training Solutions, Boeing Global Services. “By leveraging our broad portfolio of solutions, we offer customers tremendous value in delivering efficient, effective training throughout the pilot training life cycle.”

Following the agreement signing, Boeing further demonstrated its support for the program and its commitment to diversity by presenting Delia Nina Nava with a scholarship to United Aviate Academy to join a future pilot training class. Nava is a Hispanic woman from Houston with a passion for aviation and aspirations of becoming an airline pilot. She is a graduate of Ross Shaw Sterling Aviation High School and a student at the University of Houston.

Boeing produced their first sustainability report this week and you can read it here: Boeing: 2021 Sustainability Report Interestingly, they want to deliver commercial planes flying on sustainable fuels by 2030. Here is another bit of data on the report: Boeing’s 1st Sustainability Report: Here’s What You Need To Know – Simple Flying


OTHER NEWS

  • A lot of folks have quotes but this one is really significant and important. Steve Jobs, a person we have forever respected, had a remark we think makes a lot of sense: “You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it is worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains!” (Editor’s Note: Also, we should probably mention that Robin Williams said something that means a lot to us as well: “Being a famous print journalist is like being the best-dressed woman on the radio.”)
  • If Boeing regressions have you wondering, you need to read this story because there are a number of downward changes that might be a clue to what is going on and what might happen! Boeing ($BA) News: Talent Loss to Amazon, SpaceX Hurts Turnaround Prospects – Bloomberg

Morgan Stanley Research: United Airlines

UAL’s analyst day outlined the company’s plan to catch up to peers on fleet age and gauge by placing the largest aircraft order in its history. 2026 financial targets look constructive but they may seem a long way off to airline investors right now and supply concerns may start brewing.

UAL is preparing for a post-pandemic airline industry by placing the largest aircraft order in its history. The order for 270 planes (200 Boeing 737 MAX 10 and 70 Airbus A321 neo) will join the fleet between 2023 and 2026. They will largely replace the company’s small, inefficient 50-seater regional aircraft that has been a drag on profitability at its US Domestic coastal and mid-continent hubs. The net result of the replacement will be a ~30% increase in gauge (or number of seats per aircraft) on those routes. Mgmt. also issued LT (2026) financial guidance including ASM growth of 4-6% CAGR, TRASM 1% below 2019, CASMxF 8% lower than 2019, EBITDA margin of ~16.0% in 2023 and ~20.0% in 2026 (vs. 15.7% in 2019), adjusted pre-tax margin ~9.0% in 2023 and ~14.0% in 2026 (vs. 9.4% in 2019) as well as 2026 net debt slightly below 2019 levels.

Morgan Stanley believes UAL is doing absolutely the right thing…but that does not mean that the path is not going to be tricky/painful. This is a bold move from UAL – a little over a year removed from sliding into the chair, CEO Scott Kirby made the second decisive offensive move of his tenure (the first being permanently eliminating change fees in Aug 2020). While there is likely never going to be a “good” time for an airline to spend ~$40 bn on capex to buy 270 planes (20% of total current fleet) over a 5 year period, MS believes now is probably the best time to do it. Near-term macro risk appears relatively low, there is a lot of pent up demand with a strong consumer, the balance sheet is still carrying excess (gross) liquidity, the fleet renewal will drive operating cost savings (esp. if fuel continues to rise), new planes are cheap (and so is money) and the new capacity could help drive share gains (or at least defend vs. peers). MS believes it may have been too late to start catching up to peers on the aging fleet if UAL waited until the balance sheet was normalized 3-4 years from now. The biggest question on investors’ minds is likely to be – this is a big capacity increase…what happens if it doesn’t go according to plan? In the event of a macro recession or new black swan event, mgmt. has a Plan B. “Only” 84 of the 270 plane order is committed by 2023, with the rest coming 2024-26. Mgmt. believes that it has plenty of flexibility with the 2024+ orders to avoid putting pressure on capacity/TRASM and has the option to accelerate retirements as well.

MS remains EW. Morgan Stanley (MS) continues to remain bullish on the pace of the traffic recovery in US Domestic and they believe Corporate and International will catch up and normalize by late 2021/early as well. This rising tide will lift all boats including the Legacies/UAL esp. as International and Corporate comes back. Add in structural cost savings, a manageable fuel price environment, potential for deleveraging and investor sentiment that still appears to be subdued/out-of-favor and we think the setup at UAL is quite favorable. There is no doubt that with this past week’s announcement the company is clearly all-in betting on a recovery – particularly in corporate – which MS agrees with and think is the right move but the market may remain skeptical for some time and continue to gravitate toward LCC/ULCC stories that do not have as much corporate/international and balance sheet risk for now.

What does this mean for the industry? The announcement likely has something for both the bulls and the bears. Bulls will like the bold decision that shows that the airlines are coming out of the shadow of the pandemic and see blue skies ahead. The decision also makes financial sense in that UAL could not have put off this decision for much longer and will likely see operating cost, efficiency and market share gains from this. Investors should also be glad that a Legacy is going up toward a premium product instead of initiating an industry race to the bottom on price. Bears, on the other hand, will point out the ~30% increase in capacity which together with all the other capacity increases we have seen from the LCCs/ULCCs so far is likely to drive a lot more capacity in the 2023-24 timeframe, which will bring inevitable pressure on pricing. For now, we believe the bull arguments are more tangible and measurable than the bear arguments, but will keep a close eye on developments.

Model and PT. UAL’s 2023 and 2026 guidance comes in mostly consistent with MSe on TRASM, CASMxF and margins but is approx. 10% higher than us on ASMs. This is a bit of a surprise given MS’s bullish views (and numbers) on a traffic rebound vs. the street. MS updated FY22/23 EPS goes to $5.57/$10.72 from $4.18/$9.82 prior largely driven by the higher ASMs. However, our PT remains unchanged at $70 as the higher capex is a drag on our DCF. Our PT is ~33% above the current stock price – this is good upside but about mid-pack within the Airlines coverage and we see risk-reward as balanced, which keeps us EW.

What does this mean for the industry? The announcement likely has something for both the bulls and the bears. Bulls will like the bold decision that shows that the airlines are coming out of the shadow of the pandemic and see blue skies ahead. The decision also makes financial sense in that UAL could not have put off this decision for much longer and will likely see operating cost, efficiency and market share gains from this. Investors should also be glad that a Legacy is going up toward a premium product instead of initiating an industry race to the bottom on price. Bears, on the other hand, will point out the ~30% increase in capacity which together with all the other capacity increases MS has seen from the LCCs/ULCCs so far is likely to drive a lot more capacity in the 2023-24 timeframe, which will bring inevitable pressure on pricing. For now, MS believes the bull arguments are more tangible and measurable than the bear arguments, but will keep a close eye on developments.


MEGACONSTELLATIONS & SATELLITE FALLOUT

One of our readers sent us some stories on what he called an “eye opener” batch on plans to launch an unimaginable number of satellites potentially causing a real headache for everybody…including flying aircraft. Here are a few comments from the first article we thought painted a picture of the issue: “The problem is that there are now plans to launch about 55,000 satellites,” Boley said. “Starlink second generation could consist of up to 30,000 satellites, then you have Starnet, which is China’s response to Starlink, Amazon’s Kuiper, OneWeb. That could lead to unprecedented changes to the Earth’s upper atmosphere.” Further, “Megaconstellation operators, inspired by the consumer technology model, expect fast development of new satellites and frequent replacement, thus the high amount of satellites expected to be burning in the atmosphere on a daily basis.” Not everybody, especially astronomers and folks in the space community were too happy: “However, earlier this year, the International Astronomical Union asked a specialized United Nations’ committee to protect the pristine night sky against light pollution from megaconstellations.” We included below some of the articles/links about issues, but note, the rapid and multiple satellite fallouts will no doubt affect the sky visibility…not to mention aircraft flights. See if you agree.


BOEING

The Boeing Company named Brian West as the company’s executive vice president and chief financial officer effective August 27, 2021. In this role, West will lead all aspects of Boeing’s financial strategy, performance, reporting and long-range business planning, as well as investor relations, treasury, controller, and audit operations. West will also oversee the company’s business transformation efforts and will have executive responsibility for the company’s global financing arm, Boeing Capital Corporation. He will report to Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun and will serve on the company’s Executive Council. “Brian is the ideal executive to serve as Boeing’s next CFO given his significant financial management and long-term strategic planning experience in complex global organizations across the aerospace, manufacturing and services industries,” said Calhoun. “I have had the pleasure of working with Brian previously, and he is an exceptional leader whose broad operational expertise and commitment to transparency with stakeholders will advance our efforts as we continue our focus on safety and quality, improving our performance and transforming our company for the future.”

West joins Boeing following a successful and diverse career in senior financial and operational roles spanning several industries, including aerospace, manufacturing, infrastructure, healthcare, global information services, financial and risk management. He has served as the chief financial officer of Refinitiv since 2018, and was previously CFO and executive vice president of Operations for Oscar Health Insurance and CFO and COO of Nielsen. Prior to Nielsen, West spent 16 years at General Electric, where he served as CFO of GE Aviation and CFO of GE Engine Services. His additional finance leadership positions in GE businesses encompassed plastics, transportation and energy.

West is a founding board member of a Connecticut-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to prepare the next generation of diverse female leaders with the skills, community and connections to thrive in the world. He previously was a board member of Future 5, an organization that helps under-resourced students in Stamford, CT reach their full potential. West holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Siena College and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Columbia Business School.

West succeeds Greg Smith, who previously announced his plans to retire, effective in early July. The company has named Dave Dohnalek, currently Boeing’s senior vice president and Treasurer, to the role of interim CFO until West joins the company in late August.

Also, Boeing names Stayce Harris, former U.S. Air Force inspector general and longtime United Airlines pilot, to its board.


OTHER NEWS

IADA

The International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2021. The organization that began as the National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA) to fight against untrustworthy aircraft dealers has undergone transformational changes and is still fighting for transparency and integrity in airplane deals.

In addition to OGARAJETS, other first year member companies who are now IADA Accredited Dealers are known today as Gantt Aviation, Duncan Aviation, JBA Aviation, Leading Edge, General Aviation Services, QS Partners, and Eagle Aviation. Additional early members were Jack Prewitt & Associates, Aerosmith Penny, Austin Jet, Jet Transactions, Jim Markel & Associates, Express One, and Sacramento Aviation.

Starting NARA was tough. It took a huge amount of time away from the group’s businesses to get organized, and it cost a lot of money. It was a challenging time. Fast forward to 2021. Different chairmen have served as leaders of the organization every year since that 1991 founding. They’ve had great ideas as the organization has matured. And the impact on the industry has been profound.

Today IADA has a thoroughly global outlook that reflects its worldwide influence on the private aircraft transaction industry. IADA has created the first accreditation program for aircraft dealers, administered by an impartial third party to rigorous professional standards of expertise and ethics.

As it celebrates its 30th anniversary, IADA is a powerhouse global cooperative network consisting of the world’s only accredited dealers and IADA-certified brokers, major OEMs and industry leading verified products and services members. While IADA’s entry bar is high, there are now nearly 50 IADA-accredited dealers, over a hundred IADA-certified brokers, more than 60 IADA-verified products and services members, and nearly all the major OEM business aircraft manufacturers.

Comprising only seven percent of the world’s business jet dealers, IADA dealers buy and sell more aircraft by dollar volume than the rest of the world’s dealers combined, averaging over 700 transactions and $6 billion in annual volume. Recently, IADA members actually registered over 1,200 global transactions, worth more than $10 billion, in the 12-month period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. Importantly, this occurred during uncertain economic times in the midst of the pandemic.

In the past year, the IADA Foundation received tax-exempt status, and it continues to support philanthropic programs that enhance the industry, including providing scholarships for college students studying for careers in business aviation.

Working for business aircraft owners globally, IADA provides a facility for professional standards, ethics and exchange of information among its members and to the public for the purpose of creating a more efficient market, facilitating transactions and providing transparency in transactions, thereby increasing business aircraft ownership and usage worldwide. For more info about IADA go to www.IADA.aero.


AVALON

AVOLON AND VERTICAL AEROSPACE ANNOUNCE WORLD’S LARGEST eVTOL AIRCRAFT ORDER

  • Order for up to 500 electric aircraft valued at US$2 billion
  • Avolon-e becomes a launch customer for Vertical’s VA-X4 eVTOL
  • The VA-X4 eVTOL will revolutionize air travel with zero emissions
  • Order underscores Avolon’s commitment to combat climate change and the electrification of air transport

Avolon, the international aircraft leasing company, and Vertical Aerospace (‘Vertical’), the most advanced electric vertical take-off and landing (‘eVTOL’) company in the world, announce a ground-breaking US$2 billion order for up to 500 electric eVTOL aircraft. This agreement, which is subject to certain closing conditions, will introduce the ultra-short-haul aircraft category to commercial aviation, a game changing development that will revolutionize air travel with zero emissions aircraft.

The agreement will combine Avolon’s scale and deep industry relationships with Vertical’s leading technological position in the eVTOL space and will see both companies collaborate throughout the development, road map to certification and subsequent commercial roll-out of the VA-X4. Avolon will join Microsoft, Rolls-Royce, Honeywell, and American Airlines as equity investors in Vertical, working also with Virgin Atlantic who will be a VA-X4 launch airline customer in Europe.

The order highlights Avolon’s commitment to sustainability and responsible investment and its position as an industry leader and innovator. The commitment to the VA-X4 places Avolon at the forefront of technological change in the industry and underlines Avolon’s belief in the electrification of air transport. Avolon’s existing young and fuel-efficient fleet will be complemented by an investment in a new category of ultra-short-haul aircraft that will produce zero emissions.

Avolon, through its newly incorporated affiliate Avolon-e will become the customer for the VA-X4 and subject to appropriate operating, delivery and business requirements being met, will order aircraft valued at US$1.25 billion with delivery commencing in late 2024, with an option to acquire additional aircraft up to a value of US$750 million. Avolon-e has been established by Avolon to focus on investment in the zero-emissions eVTOL sector.


CARLISLE INTERCONNECT TECHNOLOGIES

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CarlisleIT) will be introducing new products at the 64th Annual AEA International Convention Trade Show in Dallas from June 22-25, 2021. The announcements will take place on Tuesday, June 22, at 8:30 a.m. in the Trinity Ballroom.

CarlisleIT will be debuting its HDMI 2.0 Locking Cable Assemblies – the latest in high-performance HDMI cable assemblies for aircraft cabin management. Fully qualified to support 4K ultra-high-definition displays at 60 Hz, these cable assemblies are made to order in customer-specified lengths. The cables can also be configured with or without locking accessories to secure against vibration and ensure reliable performance in an aircraft cabin environment.

In addition, CarlisleIT will be showing a new High-Performance Ethernet Cable: the NF24Q100-01(HP). The latest in CarlisleIT’s robust family of data cable products, it’s tested at 1 GHz up to 100 feet to provide reliable performance at extreme data rates in a light-weight, compact, RoHS-compliant, 100-ohm quad construction.

“We’re very excited for these announcements, as both products are part of our efforts to engineer high-reliability and high-performance cables that can withstand even the most data-heavy aviation applications,” said Jeff Behlendorf, director of product management for CarlisleIT Integrated Products. “This show – our first trade show since before the pandemic – will be a great opportunity to reconnect with others in the industry and show them what we’ve been working on.”

CarlisleIT will also be present throughout the show at booth number 1117.


OTHER NEWS


QUIVER TREE MEDIA

QuiverTree Media has teamed up with ikonoTV, the
world’s first art streaming platform, providing access to content from worldwide collections, archives, galleries and museums inflight. The collaboration provides innovative new access to the art world, broadening access to works with new reach. Passengers are given the opportunity to quietly contemplate great works in a silent streaming format onboard from personal devices and also seat-back screens. The rich variety of works includes masterpieces such as The Garden of
Earthly Delights by Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch, the Naked Maja from the Prado’s Goya Collection through to ancient gems such as the exquisite Nefertiti Bust dating back to c. 1345 B.C.

The concept of streaming Art in Silence enables flight passengers to immerse themselves in the works without the distraction of sound, commentary or any element which could interfere in the sentiment evoked by the visual experience. “Continuing to inspire guests onboard with fresh, remarkable experiences made possible with digital expertise is part of QuiverTree Media’s DNA. We are privileged to lead the transformation of the inflight content offering as a disruptive CSP and unlock exceptional new opportunities for airlines with technical innovation” says Guillem Gassó, VP Commercial at QuiverTree Media.

QuiverTree Media and ikonoTV began recently commenced roll out of the innovative content introducing it onboard several launch airlines including Iberia Express, Volotea, Air Nostrum, Pegasus and Sun Express. The offering coincides with the current closure of many museums and other cultural venues as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The decision to enable greater access to art during a time of increased restrictions was a conscious effort given the demonstrated abilities the medium has on personal well being. Organisztions which promote the benefits of art as a contributor to both physical and mental well being include the WHO (source: Euronews 21.11.2019). Contact
press@quivertree-media.com or markevitch@ikonotv.art


OneWeb and SatixFy sign agreement for In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) compact terminal.

OneWeb, the global communications network powered from Space and SatixFy UK, a leading multi-beam antenna and terminal design specialist, have signed an agreement to develop a new In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) terminal that will work over the OneWeb network as well as on Geostationary (GEO) satellite networks. SatixFy UK has formed a Joint Venture with Singapore Technology Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering), called JetTalk, to exclusively commercialize the IFC terminal for Commercial Aviation markets. The agreement reaffirms OneWeb’s ambitions in the global aerospace arena as it sets out its roadmap to support commercial, regional, business and government aviation users.

The IFC terminal will unleash the power of OneWeb’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation and deliver a ‘home-equivalent’ inflight broadband experience, while also allowing operators to complement their legacy GEO service. The product is based on SatixFy’s Electronically Steered Multibeam Antenna (ESMA) technology, developed together with JetTalk and provides multibeam capability and operates simultaneously on multiple LEO and GEO satellites.

Well positioned to bring ESMA technology to the market earlier than originally anticipated, SatixFy, has recently completed the development of Tx tile of 576 elements and Rx tile of 1024 elements, that can be used as building blocks for the planned terminal. The tiles, which have been co-developed together with JetTalk, have completed initial testing and are currently being implemented inside a terminal product. The OneWeb IFC terminal will integrate the OneWeb modem as well as a GEO network one, inside the terminal.

“Suitability for all aviation applications” – Ben Griffin, OneWeb VP Mobility. OneWeb is confident of its suitability for all aviation applications – commercial, regional, business and government aviation use-cases. Ben Griffin, VP Mobility at OneWeb, said: “OneWeb is creating IFC solutions which offer a significant increase in the whole passenger traveling experience. This agreement with SatixFy represents a major milestone for OneWeb Aviation, as we plot our path to facilitating onboard connectivity, globally, on commercial airliners and corporate jets, large and small.”

“The ability to deploy multi-beam, multi-satellite, multi-orbit IFC terminals is key in SatixFy’s offering developed in partnership with ST Engineering through our Joint Venture – JetTalk.” says Yoel Gat, SatixFy’s CEO. “Aggregating capacity from multiple satellites will give customers the grade of service they expect on flights. This great leap forward is made possible thanks to the continuous support by ESA and UK Space Agency.”

Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth at the UK Space Agency, said: “The last year has shown connectivity has never been more important to our daily lives, and it is exciting to see SatixFy and OneWeb working together to provide aircraft with broadband internet for the first time. The new aviation terminal will make use of the Prime, Beat and Sx3099 ASIC chips developed with UK Space Agency backing, showing how supporting our most innovative companies leads to results that make a real difference for people all over the world.”
Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, said: “Space and satellites are becoming increasingly important to the digital economy and there is a need to get data all the time and everywhere – even at 35,000ft. ESA is proud to have supported SatixFy in the design of the chips used for this terminal – enabling the digital transformation of society using telecommunications satellites.”

In case you aren’t familiar with OneWeb or SatixFy here is a little data on each of them:

OneWeb will enable connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities. It is implementing a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites with a network of global gateway stations and a range of user terminals to provide an affordable, fast, high-bandwidth and low-latency communications service, connected to the IoT future and a pathway to 5G for everyone, everywhere. OneWeb is enhancing the experience of air travel and its network will deliver the speed, consistency and reliability that passengers expect to have in the sky for work or leisure. Find out more at

SatixFy is a vertically integrated company that provides chips and products across the entire satellites communications (satcom) value chain. Its products enable critical remote connectivity applications globally and incorporate the latest technological advances. SatixFy designs its own silicon proprietary chips, codes its software, builds its products and designs end-to-end systems for use in various applications and services, such as in-flight connectivity, IoT, communication payloads, consumer broadband, and more. The company leverages its research and development (R&D) and technical capabilities to design standard based communication products and systems with the most desirable qualities, such as: higher capacity, lower power consumption, lower weight, and lower cost.


BOEING

Deep space exploration took an important step forward on March 21, 2021. The cryogenic core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket completed hot fire testing at NASA’s Stennis Space Center as part of the SLS rocket’s Green Run test campaign on the B-2 test stand. The test, which included a full-duration, eight-minute engine burn, demonstrated successful core stage operation and will be used to help certify the stage for flight. “I want to thank the extraordinary individuals who make up the NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Boeing teams who designed, developed, produced and tested the all-new SLS core stage to enable sustainable human exploration of deep space,” said John Shannon, Boeing SLS vice president and program manager.

(Editor’s Note: We understand Boeing has put up for sale some 310 acres in the south Puget Sound region (specifically in Pierce County). They plan to reduce the Puget Sound land operation region by 30% and we wonder if the Northwest Boeing reduction is a part of the cost reduction of the new team? We will also see if more production is moved East in the future, as well!)


IATA has postponed the 77th annual meeting from June 27-29 in Boston, MA.


OTHER NEWS

  • Here is a story which explains why Southwest Airline ramp agents are very important! Southwest Airlines Ramp Agent Reunites Toddler With Buzz Lightyear | TravelPulse (Hey, if my Buzz Lightyear was lost I would be devastated!).
  • Apparently, things are looking up? Reports indicate that 2 weeks ago US air travel was down 55% from the same time period in 2019. But as of today, we understand that it is only down around 48%. WooHoo!
  • Here is an email quote we got from a reader and we offer you the chance to copy it: “This email is a natural product made from recycled electrons. The slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and in no way are to be considered flaws or defects.” Thanks, Ken!
  • Looking for a video explaining AI at the introductory level? Try this: AI in Science Fiction vs. AI in Reality | IE

Thales, Nokia and SkyFive

Following successful rollout across Europe, Thales in the UK, Nokia and SkyFive are launching a new 4G LTE Air to Ground (A2G) solution to a global market. Delivering a fibre like connectivity experience, A2G significantly improves the inflight access to web, streaming and on-line games to passengers. In addition to improved passenger experiences, aircraft operators will benefit from significantly shortened installation times, minimizing the time aircraft are out of operation.

Improved connectivity, enhanced experience

Offering seamless connectivity with speeds up to 100Mbps and latency of less than 50ms, this 4G LTE solution connects aircraft to high-speed Wi-Fi from the ground up. Utilizing existing 4G technology, A2G connects aircrafts with the nearest purpose-built on-ground towers, seamlessly handing over between masts mid-flight to create consistently fast 4G connectivity throughout journeys. The high speeds and reduced latency are achieved through the impressive 4G LTE performance, combined with the short distances between the aircraft and towers, which are densely grouped to prevent aircrafts sharing bandwidth. The network’s design also means A2G has greater capacity per km2 than current satellites.

Aboard A2G enabled aircraft, the experience for passengers will be comparable to using a 4G mobile phone service on the ground. The easy-to-access connection will make it possible for passengers to make uninterrupted video-conferencing calls, watch live TV or stream the latest series in HD from their own handset.

Easy installation, savings for airlines

As the aviation sector emerges from its biggest challenge yet, A2G presents an opportunity for carriers to make significant savings, improve customer experiences and increase ancillary revenues. Compared with SATCOM systems, the compact nature of the 4G antenna reduces CO2 emissions and cuts installation times down to just 12 hours, meaning aircraft spend less time out of operation while technology is installed.

Once installed, new 4G enabled in-flight capabilities will create an aircraft environment for an Internet of Things in which operational efficiencies such as engine offload data can be viewed in real time, customer experience can be measured and targeted advertising can be introduced. Better connectivity can also support the facilitation of new COVID-19 safety protocols as they are implemented.

Collaborating to create a safe, global network

The technology is being rolled out in regions around the world where domestic and international carriers will be able to use the 4G masts on land. It has been developed through a collaborative partnership with Thales providing the onboard terminal (modem+RF) and antenna; Nokia responsible for on-ground infrastructure and SkyFive’s patented software algorithms ensuring that aircraft can reliably connect at high speeds, high altitudes and across long ranges. With 30 years of experience in connecting airlines and proven European Aviation Network success, Thales has leveraged its expertise to ensure the benefits of the faster speeds do not come at the expense of a secure platform.

Andy Humphries, Managing Director, Flight Avionics at Thales in the UK, commented: “For airlines, passenger connectivity and operational efficiency have been strategic imperatives in the past and are even more pronounced in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. At Thales, we have used our expertise to deliver proven fast and reliable aircraft hardware and software solutions underpinned by a robust worldwide support network. Combined with SkyFive’s specialism in A2G services and Nokia’s mobile network infrastructure, the project will bring industry disrupting performance for passengers and airlines alike, with reliable Wi-Fi and low transmission latency delivered with low upfront investment and operational costs. We believe A2G will help to expedite the recovery of the sector by transforming the air travel experience while reducing costs as people start flying again.”


Air Travel Consumer Report: July 2020 Numbers

The U.S. Department of Transportation on October 23, 2020 released its September 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on reporting marketing and operating air carrier data compiled for the month of July 2020.  The full consumer report and other aviation consumer matters of interest to the public can be found at http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer.

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency has resulted in significant changes to airline schedules and operations, contributing to airlines’ on-time performance and cancellation statistics in July 2020.

The 10 marketing network carriers reported 370,859 scheduled domestic flights in July 2020 compared to 237,264 flights in June 2020 and 717,684 flights in July 2019. Of those 370,859 scheduled flights, 0.8%, 2,926 flights, were canceled. As a result of schedule reductions and cancellations, the carriers reported operating 367,933 flights in July 2020, compared to 236,234 flights in June 2020, the all-time monthly low of 180,151 flights in May 2020 and 194,390 flights in April 2020.

A flight is listed as canceled if it was listed in a carrier’s computer reservation system during the seven calendar days prior to scheduled departure but was not operated.  Canceled flights are included in calculations of on-time arrival performance.

July On-Time Performance

In July 2020, reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 90.5%, down from the 92.7% on-time rate in June 2020 but up from the 76.9% rate in July 2019.  See July Data Spotlight for scheduled, canceled, and operated flights by marketing network by month.
Highest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates July 2020 (ATCR Table 1)

1.    Southwest Airlines – 94.5%
2.    Alaska Airlines Network – 92.5%
3.    Hawaiian Airlines Network – 91.7%

Lowest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates July 2020 (ATCR Table 1)

1.    JetBlue Airways – 85.4%
2.    Allegiant Air – 85.5%
3.    Frontier Airlines – 87.0%

July Cancellations

In July 2020, reporting marketing carriers canceled 0.8% of their scheduled domestic flights, a higher rate than 0.4% in June 2020 but a lower rate than 2.1% in July 2019.

Lowest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights July 2020 (ATCR Table 6)

1.    Spirit Airlines – 0.1%
2.    American Airlines Network – 0.6%
3.    Southwest Airlines – 0.7%

Highest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights July 2020 (ATCR Table 6)

1.    Hawaiian Airlines Network – 4.1%
2.    Frontier Airlines – 3.2%
3.    JetBlue Airways – 2.8%

Tarmac Delays

In July 2020, airlines reported 39 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, compared to no tarmac delays reported in June 2020 and 58 tarmac delays reported in July 2019.  In July 2020, airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to no tarmac delays reported in June 2020 and three tarmac delays in July 2019.  Extended tarmac delays are investigated by the Department.

July Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours (ATCR Table 8)

  1. American Airlines flight 4912 (operated by Piedmont Airlines) from Mobile, Ala. (MOB) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 7/21/20 – delayed 4 hours and 51 minutes on the tarmac at Charlotte
  2. American Airlines flight 3862 (operated by Envoy Air) from Charlottesville, Va. (CHO) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 7/21/20 – delayed 4 hours and 40 minutes on the tarmac at Charlotte
  3. American Airlines flight 5075 (operated by PSA Airlines) from Syracuse, N.Y. (SYR) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 7/21/20 – delayed 4 hours and 36 minutes on the tarmac at Charlotte

July International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours (ATCR Table 8A)

There were no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights in July.


This Is A Big Deal and a Great Article!

“Specifically, FAA has not assessed its oversight program to determine the priority of avionics cybersecurity risks, developed an avionics cybersecurity training program, issued guidance for independent cybersecurity testing, or included periodic testing as part of its monitoring process,” GAO said in the report.

Another key finding in the report is more guidance on independent testing to be integrated into the way the agency certifies new airplanes. GAO’s six recommendations include the following:
Here are the recommendations:

  • Identify the “relative priority of avionics cybersecurity risks compared to other safety concerns and develop a plan to address those risks.”
  • Implement new training for agency inspectors “specific to avionics cybersecurity.”
  • Include independent testing in new guidance for avionics cybersecurity testing of new airplane designs
  • Develop procedures for “safely conducting independent testing” of avionics cybersecurity controls in the deployed fleet
  • Coordinate a tracking mechanism for ensuring avionics cybersecurity issues are resolved among “internal stakeholders.”
  • Review oversight resources the agency has currently committed to avionics cybersecurity.

This is a good article: GAO Report Says Airlines Need New Cybersecurity Testing Policy for Avionics Systems – Aviation Today


Boeing

Check out this link for a very good ‘big picture’ of Boeing, especially the top executive and it also includes the recent additions.


Other News

Airline Forum 2020:Virtual exchange accelerates the transformation to the “New Normal” of aviation

One of the largest airline IT conferences gathers representatives of 70 airlines | Despite the challenges faced by the airline industry, Lufthansa Systems presents cutting-edge innovations and welcomes new customers.

Around 500 users will come together today at the 13th edition of the Airline Forum, the airline IT user conference organized by Lufthansa Systems. The Airline Forum unites around 70 airlines from all over the world who successfully use the ground operations solutions and commercial solutions from Lufthansa Systems. This year’s installment of the Airline Forum entitled “Transforming into the ‘New Normal’” will see the user community meet in a fully virtual format for the first time in the event’s long-standing history. Coming together on a digital platform, the participants will learn about the latest developments in the portfolio offered by the airline IT specialist that will help airlines to navigate through the crisis and return to the skies.

The use of modern technologies and a solid data basis will be key for the industry to get back on track after the global standstill of air passenger traffic. Data analyses, machine learning algorithms, other artificial intelligence (AI) methods and cloud solutions will enable airlines to make better and faster decisions in a constantly changing market environment. At the Airline Forum, Lufthansa Systems presents its latest innovations that enable airlines to transform their business to this “New Normal”. Faced with the need to optimize capacity utilization and recover from the economic downturn, industry players will benefit from the latest developments such as the optimizers for hub restructuring in network planning and scheduling, the enhanced functionalities for easier interaction between crew members in NetLine/Crew and the New Demand Indicators (NDI) Dashboard.

Due to the challenges arising in the wake of the global pandemic, airlines now more than ever appreciate the benefit of such innovative solutions. “Despite the difficulties faced by the industry, we were able to attract several new external customers recently and are particularly proud to welcome Air Transat, the Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), NEOS and Pegasus Airlines at the Airline Forum,” said Olivier Krueger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “The first-hand feedback provided by our airline customers at the conference will contribute directly to the continual improvement of our solutions, which is why the close exchange with our user community is vital for a sustainable recovery and the successful future of our industry.”

This years’ edition of the Airline Forum features a high-profile keynote speech and a broad range of expert-led sessions covering all topics that move airlines most in the current situation. Olivier Krueger and Dr. Thomas Wittmann, both CEOs of Lufthansa Systems, will kick-off the event with their opening remarks, and they are pleased to welcome Dr. Roland Schütz, EVP and CIO Lufthansa Group Airlines and Digital Initiatives, as keynote speaker. In his presentation, he will provide insights into the role played by IT in times of COVID-19. Attendees can choose their own individual program from eight product tracks and 48 product sessions. Dedicated breakout sessions will help create an informal environment, where all participants have the opportunity to connect with product experts and users from other airlines.

On the path to recovery: digital event formats drive customer dialogue in the “New Normal”

The pandemic is accelerating the adoption of digital ways of engaging that reduce the number of in-person events and facilitate remote exchange with customers. Responding to the need for social distancing while enabling close customer interaction, Lufthansa Systems launched an online conference series back in April. Called “Let’s talk about IT”, this conference series features Lufthansa Systems experts openly sharing their expertise to support airlines in adapting to the new circumstances faster and more efficiently. After eight editions, the virtual events season continued with the Lido User Group Conference 2020, an industry-leading flight operations solutions user conference, which took place virtually with more than 380 attendees from 110 airlines.

“We are delighted to see so many of our customers participate in our virtual events. Even though the format is different, these events continue to deliver tangible benefits for our customers,” said Dr. Thomas Wittmann, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “Meeting industry colleagues and exchanging ideas has always been an important foundation of our business – whether in-person or on a digital platform. In these turbulent times, we are doing our best to facilitate remote interaction, maintaining a close dialogue with our customers and preparing them for the full restart of the airline business.”


FlightAware

FlightAware announced that United Airlines has integrated its predictive data tool into the airline’s operational toolset to help decrease the instance of preventable delays; reduce missed passenger connections; and help prevent flight cancellations. FlightAware operates the world’s largest flight tracking and data platform, fusing thousands of data sources around the world to provide the most accurate and comprehensive flight tracking intelligence. Over half of all estimated arrival time (ETA) predictions for U.S.-based airlines are now powered by FlightAware data.

“It is more important than ever that United operates at the highest levels of efficiency to ensure our customers have a seamless travel experience,” said David Kensick, Managing Director of Network Operations Control, United Airlines. “By leveraging data from FlightAware, we are further able to accurately time our operations to provide reliable service and minimize any disruptions to our schedule.” United will utilize FlightAware’s data throughout its operations, including the United.com website, the United mobile app, gate displays and in all internal operational systems. Predictive data will also be used in United’s Connection Saver tool, which automatically scans flights for customers who are making tight connections to determine if the connecting flight can be held without inconveniencing other customers. With the new fully integrated solution, United will further increase its ETA accuracy and consistency. FlightAware receives data from air traffic control systems, ground stations and satellite networks across the globe. This data is combined with FlightAware’s proprietary AI models and algorithms to provide the most comprehensive flight tracking solutions to airlines. “We’re proud to offer a level of accuracy in our predictions that will enhance operational capabilities at United, and help improve the travel experience,” said Daniel Baker, FlightAware CEO.(FlightAware.com)


GOGO

Gogo Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has adopted a Section 382 Rights Plan (the “Plan”) to preserve and protect Gogo’s ability to utilize its large net operating loss carryforwards (“NOLs”) and other tax assets.

As of December 31, 2019, Gogo had approximately $580 million of federal tax NOLs, $430 million of state tax NOLs and $196 million in federal interest expense carryforwards which could be used in certain circumstances to reduce its future tax liability. The purpose of the Plan is to protect Gogo’s ability to use these tax assets, which would be substantially limited if Gogo experienced an “ownership change” as defined under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code. In general, an ownership change would occur if one or more of Gogo’s shareholders who are deemed to be owners of 5 percent or more of its shares under Section 382 collectively increase their aggregate ownership of Gogo’s shares by 50 percentage points or more (measured over a rolling three-year period). Under the Plan, Gogo is issuing one Right for each share of its common stock outstanding at the close of business on October 2, 2020. Shareholders are not required to take any action to receive the Rights. Gogo intends to submit the Plan to a vote of its stockholders at its 2021 annual meeting. The Plan will expire on the day following the certification of the voting results for Gogo’s 2021 annual meeting, unless Gogo stockholders ratify the Plan at or prior to such meeting, in which case the Plan will continue in effect until September 23, 2023, unless terminated earlier in accordance with its terms.


IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for the development and deployment of rapid, accurate, affordable, easy-to-operate, scalable and systematic COVID-19 testing for all passengers before departure as an alternative to quarantine measures in order to re-establish global air connectivity. IATA will work through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and with health authorities to implement this solution quickly.

International travel is 92% down on 2019 levels. Over half a year has passed since global connectivity was destroyed as countries closed their borders to fight COVID-19. Some governments have cautiously re-opened borders since then, but there has been limited uptake because either quarantine measures make travel impractical or the frequent changes in COVID-19 measures make planning impossible. The economic cost of the breakdown in global connectivity makes investing in a border-opening testing solution a priority for governments. The human suffering and global economic pain of the crisis will be prolonged if the aviation industry—on which at least 65.5 million jobs depend—collapses before the pandemic ends. And the amount of government support needed to avert such a collapse is rising. Already lost revenues are expected to exceed $400 billion and the industry was set to post a record net loss of over $80 billion in 2020 under a more optimistic rebound scenario than has actually unfolded.

IATA’s public opinion research revealed strong support for COVID-19 testing in the travel process. Some 65% of travelers surveyed agreed that quarantine should not be required if a person tests negative for COVID-19.

Passengers’ support for testing is evident in the following survey results:

  • 84% agreed that testing should be required of all travelers
  • 88% agreed that they are willing to undergo testing as part of the travel process

In addition to opening borders, public opinion research also indicated that testing will help to rebuild passenger confidence in aviation. Survey respondents identified the implementation of COVID-19 screening measures for all passengers as effective in making them feel safe, second only to mask-wearing. And, the availability of rapid COVID-19 testing is among the top three signals that travelers will look to for reassurance that travel is safe (along with the availability of a vaccine or a treatment for COVID-19).

IATA’s call is to develop a test that meets the criteria of speed, accuracy, affordability and ease of use and that could be administered systematically under the authority of governments following agreed international standards. IATA is pursuing this position through ICAO, which is leading efforts to develop and implement global standards for the safe operation of international air services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The evolution of COVID-19 testing is progressing rapidly on all parameters—speed, accuracy, affordability, ease of use and scalability. Deployable solutions are expected in the coming weeks. “By calling for the establishment of a global approach to COVID-19 testing for all passengers before departure we are sending a clear signal of aviation’s needs. In the meantime, we are gaining practical knowledge from the testing programs that already exist as part of the various travel bubble or travel corridor initiatives around the world. We must continue with these valuable programs which move us in the right direction by building testing experience, facilitating essential travel and demonstrating testing effectiveness,” said de Juniac. COVID-19 testing before departure is the preferred option as it will create a “clean” environment throughout the travel process. Testing on arrival dents passenger confidence with the potential for quarantine at destination in the event of a positive result.
There will be many practical challenges to integrating testing into the travel process establishing the protocols to safely manage large-scale testing across all industry stakeholders. “The ICAO process is critical to aligning governments to a single global standard that can be efficiently implemented and globally recognized. Airlines, airports, equipment manufacturers and governments will then need to work in total alignment so that we can get this done quickly. Each day that the industry is grounded risks more job losses and economic hardship,” said de Juniac.

IATA does not see COVID-19 testing becoming a permanent fixture in the air travel experience, but it will likely be needed into the medium-term for air travel to re-establish itself. “Many see the development of a vaccine as the panacea for the pandemic. It will certainly be an important step, but even after an effective vaccine is globally recognized, ramping up production and distribution is likely to take many months. Testing will be a much-needed interim solution,” said de Juniac.


Other News

FlightPath3D

FlightPath3D announced that it won the ‘Preferred App’ award and was joint winner of the ‘Best Innovation’ award at Airbus’s First Online Hackathon. In addition to Airbus, several airlines judged and selected the award winners.

FlightPath3D President Duncan Jackson said, “We integrated duty-free merchandising, advertising, and the ability to buy with a payment solution into our map. 3rd party apps used our destination content, street maps, and flight tracker to augment their already highly- functional apps.”

Jackson adds, “Now more than ever, our industry needs to realize the potential of digital transformation. There is synergy in our app community, and we observed our map being integrated into more services, and more services using our API features than any other app.”

“From July 7th to 9th, Airbus organized the first Online Hackathon, designed to develop On Board Digital Solutions on an Airbus Open Software Platform to support better operations in a post-COVID world – part of their #KeepTrustInAirTravel initiative. I’m immensely proud of our team who worked round the clock to show what we could do.”, says FlightPath3D CEO Boris Veksler.

Veksler continues, “We leveraged our HTML/WebGL streaming 3D map and via our Open API platform integrated 3rd party content into our map, and vice versa provided map features into 3rd party apps. The innovation we achieved is linked to the openness of the Airbus platform, and to the eco-system of App developers that are compatible with the platform.”

Click on the link to learn more about their Map API Features


Airbus

Airbus is expanding its sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) operations, now including aircraft deliveries from its site in Hamburg, Germany. Air Transat took delivery of two brand new A321LR on lease from AerCap. Both used a 10 per cent sustainable aviation fuel blend to fly the aircraft from Hamburg to Montreal, Canada, non-stop.

Airbus has already successfully established SAF flights out of Hamburg with its Beluga transport aircraft since December 2019. This commercial delivery is another milestone that underlines Airbus’ continuing commitment to minimizing air transportation’s environmental impact – which includes becoming the first aircraft manufacturer offering customers the option of receiving new jetliners with sustainable fuel in their tanks. Such delivery flights have been available since 2016, starting from the Airbus headquarters production facility in Toulouse, France, followed by Mobile, Alabama, USA. Airbus offers this option as part of its strategy to promote the more regular use of sustainable fuels within the aviation industry. The fuel for Air Transat’s A321LR aircraft delivered from Hamburg was supplied by Air bp and produced by Neste.

Airbus and Air Transat have a long history of cooperation on environmental affairs. Airbus supported the airline to launch its environmental program 13 years ago and both have worked together on environmental projects such as fuel efficiency. Air Transat has been operating Airbus single-aisle and widebody aircraft since 1999.

“Sustainability and efficiency are essential for our customers and for Airbus. Sustainable aviation fuel developments will play a key role in reducing the environmental footprint of the aviation industry. By using sustainable aviation fuels on delivery flights with partners like AerCap and Air Transat, who are flying the aircraft from Hamburg to their Canadian home-base nonstop, we take concrete action to contribute to a more sustainable aviation future,” said Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer Airbus. “We are very pleased to be a part of this historic milestone, working together with our partners at Airbus and with our long-time customer, Air Transat, to help them meet their sustainable growth ambitions,” said Philip Scruggs, President and Chief Commercial Officer of AerCap. “AerCap is committed to facilitating the move towards more sustainable air travel underpinned by its target to transition its fleet to approximately two-thirds new technology aircraft by 2021.”
“It is an honor for us and a sign of confidence from Airbus to be its first customer to take advantage of this new delivery option at its Hamburg plant,” said Jean-François Lemay, President and General Manager, Air Transat. “This initiative is part of our commitment to reducing our own carbon footprint while contributing to the achievement of the airline industry’s ambitious decarbonization targets.” Both of these delivery flights will be carbon-neutral because the kerosene fossil fuel portion will be offset by the purchase of carbon credits.

We are proud to be the first Canadian carrier to operate carbon-neutral flights, and we will continue to pursue our commitment to providing our passengers with a travel experience that takes account of our environmental footprint,” Mr. Lemay continued.


Boeing

Boeing announced a number of services orders and agreements to support international customers, streamline their operations and enhance their future growth. These supply chain solutions will simplify customers’ asset and maintenance management, inventory and operating costs, while improving parts availability. The agreements for Boeing’s digital solutions will provide cost savings fleet-wide, enhance airline crew situational awareness and increase operational efficiency.

“As airlines and operators continue to respond to the current challenges facing the global air travel industry, our partners are moving forward, integrating creative solutions to continue connecting people around the world,” said Ted Colbert, president and CEO, Boeing Global Services. “Boeing is working closely with our customers around the world, delivering the customized solutions they need to improve operational efficiency, support their fleets, and reduce their costs.”

Supply chain agreements include:

  • Alaska Airlines signed its largest consumable and expendable services agreement, with a multiyear agreement for solutions which include a Tailored Parts Package and Quick Engine Change kits. The agreement supports Alaska’s fleet of Boeing 737 airplanes and provides price and availability benefits that allow the airline to streamline its maintenance operations. The Tailored Parts Package consists of 2,900 part numbers. Throughout the term of this three-year agreement, Boeing anticipates the shipment of nearly 800,000 parts and four Quick Engine Change kits, which will be used to configure spare engines to allow for quick return of an airplane to service when an engine needs to be repaired or replaced.
  • All Nippon Airways, the largest airline in Japan, announced a partnership with Boeing Global Services to install a 787-9 galley facility in its new training center to enhance crew training opportunities. All Nippon Airways also signed an agreement for ten 767 Quick Engine Change kits.

Agreements for data-driven solutions include:

  • Xiamen Airlines, Japan Airlines, and All Nippon Airways have signed agreements to acquire the Optimized Maintenance Program that combines advanced data analytics with Boeing’s engineering expertise to help airlines achieve greater airplane availability and more efficient maintenance operations. To date, the Optimized Maintenance Program has been delivered to 24 airlines and approved by their local regulatory agencies to support a total of 2,519 Boeing airplanes across several models. Xiamen is the first airline in China to adopt the program.
  • A number of customers in China, including Suparna Airlines, Zheijiang Loong Airlines, West Air, Guangxi Air, Urumqi Air, and Air Changan signed agreements for Boeing digital solutions that enhance operational efficiency, further streamline paperless operations in the flight deck, and optimize flight planning capabilities. Boeing provides tailored charting for more than 74 percent of the commercial aviation market; supplies digital navigation data to more than 58 percent of global airlines; and delivers flight deck solutions to 67 percent of the world’s airlines. Overall, two-thirds of all global airline flights use Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB) navigation and charting applications on a daily basis.
  • Vistara, an Indian full-service carrier and a joint venture of Tata group and Singapore Airlines, has added to their suite of Boeing Global Services crew solutions with a multiyear agreement for Crew Pairing to improve operational and readiness efficiency and reduce airline costs. The solution will help optimize crew planning operations for approximately 1,100 crew members across Vistara’s 40 Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

Boeing and Etihad Airways will use a 787-10 Dreamliner to test ways to reduce emissions and noise as part of the aerospace company’s ecoDemonstrator program before the airline accepts delivery of the airplane this fall. The collaboration, which includes extensive sound measurement testing with industry partners, builds on a strategic sustainability alliance Boeing and Etihad formed in November 2019. “This is the latest program under Etihad’s industry-leading strategic partnership with Boeing, focusing on innovating real-world solutions to the key sustainability challenges facing the aviation industry,” Etihad Aviation Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Douglas said. “The ecoDemonstrator program is founded on innovation and sustainability — and these are core values for Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. Etihad and Boeing see a great opportunity to collaborate and share knowledge to minimize the impact of aviation on the environment.” The ecoDemonstrator program utilizes commercial aircraft to test technologies that can make aviation safer and more sustainable now and into the future. The 2020 program, which will begin testing in August, is the first to use a Boeing 787-10. Boeing and Etihad will work with industry-leading partners, including NASA and Safran Landing Systems, to conduct aircraft noise measurements from sensors on the airplane and the ground. The data will be used to validate aircraft noise prediction processes and the sound reduction potential of aircraft designs, including landing gear, that are modified for quieter operations.

In addition, a flight will be conducted during which pilots, air traffic controllers and an airline’s operations center will simultaneously share digital information to optimize routing efficiency and enhance safety by reducing workload and radio frequency congestion.

Test flights will be flown on a blend of sustainable fuel, which significantly lowers aviation’s environmental footprint. The testing program is expected to last about four weeks before Etihad enters its Boeing 787-10 into service.


Other News

AND SOME SAD NEWS

We contacted a few people about the passing of Bill Baltra, long time IFE aficionado, and one noted: “He had contributed excellent services to MAS as VP for many years. I think he was a first employee of Matsushita Avionics Systems in USA and worked together with Yukio Sugimoto for a long time. He was funny, clever and gentle also always making people happy around him.” We think that note is the way we will always remember Bill!

Miltope: Reliable In The Extreme

IFExpress recently had the opportunity to connect with the Miltope team and we discovered that the company is celebrating 45 years in the aviation sector, specifically 20+ in the commercial aviation space. In conjunction with this milestone, they have rebranded and you will notice their new logo in today’s publication.

Miltope has a long-standing history of setting the standard for commercial aviation applications that can withstand the harshest conditions. “Reliable in the extreme, is how we approach everything we do,” said Jack Haley, President and CEO of Miltope. “Whether with our customer relationships or our hardware design and development, Miltope’s capabilities are defined by this mantra. This philosophy relies on a common, open architecture approach of satisfying performance requirements to minimize integration challenges, enhance capability, and ultimately provide the best value solution. And our new logo, the Rhino, embodies this dedication to ruggedized, reliable hardware.”

In an area where technology capabilities evolve rapidly, designing systems that can remain relevant and innovative over the long lifecycles required for the aviation sector is always a challenge. Miltope understands these challenges as well as the complex, technical operating environment and what is required of their rugged devices. This understanding is a critical element in their product design and ensures that Miltope’s rugged systems accommodate technologies well into the future.

With over 20,000 products installed, Miltope is an industry leader in wireless networking solutions for the commercial aviation industry. This includes their very capable servers and access points. One of the unique aspects the company brings to the table is wireless network optimization. The nMAP2 802.11ac Multifunction Access Point uses Cognitive HotspotTM Technology (CHT) and soon CHT Plus to optimize and cyber secure the cabin network and maximize its capacity and distribution for the benefit of the passenger and the airline. nMAP2’s sense their environment and adapt the wireless network performance components accordingly. They cooperate with neighboring nMAP2’s, allowing them to manage all available resources, prevent interference and balance the network usage. This provides clear and fast wireless capacity throughout the cabin, ensuring secure communications and minimizing interference. The CHT Plus upgrade adheres to the WPA3 standard, includes an WIPS (Wireless Intrusion Prevention System) and offers Hotspot 2.0 capabilities. Each nMAP2 has two radios, providing both IEEE 802.11a/n/ac operation and 802.11a/g/n for legacy client devices. We are told that wireless data rates up to 1.7 Gbps may be achieved with 802.11ac.

Miltope also offers an ARINC 763 compliant Cellular Terminal Wireless LAN Unit (cTWLU) that is based on the nMAP2 hardware. This is a wireless gateway from an aircraft LAN to a ground based LAN that automates data delivery without the delays and costs associated with human intervention. The cTWLU provides IEEE 802.11b/g/n or 802.11ac wireless operation plus 3G/4G cellular operation modes. This is a compact and secure interactive web based interface to a software management tool with proven reliability, requiring no maintenance. It is software upgradeable to support evolving security, connectivity and authentication protocols.

The xMAP is the next generation airborne wireless access point product family member from Miltope and is foundational to a software platform for wireless data in the cabin. Whether streaming cashed content, e-mails through the Internet, cabin IoT data or crew communications, the adaptive wireless network manages, optimizes and cyber-secures data flow for each aircraft and across the fleet. This hardware and software solution significantly expands network capabilities and throughput, while incorporating exceptional software features and functions, including the additional features CHT Plus offers for the nMAP2 upgrade. The xMAP will feature 802.11ax, CHT, embedded SSD providing distributed content caching, cyber security, intelligent client connection and roaming, and WPA3.

IFExpress expects to see the latest updates to the nMAP2 and the cTWLU at the next trade show, and Miltope has told us they will be rolling-out the xMAP in 2021, and other new products and services over the next several years.

Lastly, we want to congratulate Miltope on celebrating 45 years in aviation and be sure to check out their video!


Panasonic: Middle East Airlines Selects Panasonic Avionics For A321 Family IFE and Connectivity

Panasonic Avionics  has been selected by Middle East Airlines-Air Liban (MEA) to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for 15 of its Airbus A321 family aircraft.

Upon delivery from July 2020 onwards, 9 A321neos will become the first connected aircraft to join MEA’s fleet. They will be linefitted with Panasonic’s eX1 seatback IFE solution, designed specifically for narrowbody aircraft.

eX1 offers elegant full HD seatback monitors, complete with touch displays and handsets, and an intuitive, personalized interface. Passengers will have access to USB and laptop charging power points at every seat as well.

MEA’s A321neos will also be fitted with Panasonic’s inflight Wi-Fi service, with a host of next generation connectivity benefits from fast internet to video streaming, all powered by its new satellite modem which offers bandwidth up to twenty times greater than previously available.

Panasonic’s high-performance connectivity is a powerful way for airlines to build brand loyalty by delivering new and personalized content to passengers inflight.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Middle East Airlines to enhance the passenger experience on their A321 family aircraft with our world-class inflight entertainment and connectivity. The Middle East is a dynamic and strategically important region for Panasonic Avionics.”

Mohamad El Hout, Chairman – Director General of MEA, said; “We are happy to partner again with Panasonic Avionics. MEA’s new aircraft is equipped with its state-of-the-art inflight entertainment systems including WiFi connectivity for the first time, reflecting the company’s ambition to provide customers with the best products the industry has to offer.”


FTS Innovative Connectivity: Ka-band Inflight Connectivity System Goes Live on Qingdao Airlines

FTS, a provider of wireless Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions, announced that its XStreamSAT Ka-band Inflight Connectivity System has officially gone live on Qingdao Airlines. A grand ceremony was held on 7 Jul 2020 in Qingdao, China to commemorate this momentous occasion, followed by a live inflight broadcast media event on the debut flight QW9771 from Qingdao to Chengdu.

FTS XStreamSAT is the first Ka-band inflight connectivity system to launch in China, following the award of both FAA STC and CAAC VSTC airworthiness certification, after installation on one Qingdao Airlines A320 aircraft. The official launch marks the culmination of relentless team effort by FTS, China Satcom, TDT Link and other valued partners.

XStreamSAT is FTS’ state-of-the-art flagship product that equips the aircraft with highspeed satellite broadband connectivity. The full onboard system comprises of Cabin Wireless Network, MODMAN (Modem and Manager), satellite antenna subsystem, radome, adapter plate and other structural parts. For the China market, it has been optimized to connect with China Satcom’s Chinasat-16 Ka-Band High-Throughput Satellite (HTS), offering unprecedented bandwidth in excess of 150Mbps for each aircraft.

On the debut flight, passengers connected to the onboard wireless network using their own mobile devices and were treated to a galore of over 2000 entertainment selections, curated inflight shopping catalogue with over 500 items (supporting online payment), flight map and of course, the highspeed internet access. A live inflight broadcast was hosted on the ever-popular Douyin (Chinese version of Tik Tok) platform, showcasing smooth 2-way live video communication between the flight and ground audiences.

With the completion of extensive testing and commercial launch, FTS is working to accelerate the fleet-wide installation on all of Qingdao Airline’s fleet of 25 Airbus A320/321 aircraft. To realize its vision of fully connected Digital Aircraft, FTS will be progressively introducing other applications in areas such as flight operations, flight safety, aircraft maintenance, cabin crew services etc. Following the successful launch on Qingdao Airlines, FTS has announced to the world that it is now a serious contender in the Inflight Connectivity solution provider space and looks forward to engaging global airlines and markets on a wider scale. For more information contact marketing@fts.aero


SITA

German leisure airline Condor is making significant enhancements to fuel optimization through the deployment of eWAS to more than 700 pilots and dispatchers. The signing with SITA’s aircraft domain of expertisewhich includes the provision of eWAS Pilot and eWAS Dispatch applications – brings several major benefits for the popular holiday airline. As severe weather events become more frequent and intense, eWAS Pilot delivers both forecasts and satellite-based observation data, enabling Condor’s crews to avoid the avoidable and create more economic, intelligent, and flexible flight plans.

Through enhanced route optimization, Condor is further ensuring the safety and wellbeing of its passengers, pilots, and crews, as well as addressing demands to lessen environmental impact, by reducing unnecessary fuel consumption and limiting turnaround times, achieving significant fuel- and cost-savings.

eWAS Dispatch, which has been developed in collaboration with dispatchers themselves, will improve workflow by providing the same, real-time, graphically optimized view and information as pilots, enhancing processes and collaboration across dispatch and cockpit teams.

Christian Schmitt, Managing Director Operations of Condor, says: “At Condor, our focus has always been delivering on the promise of quality to our passengers and ensuring the highest safety standards for customers, crews and pilots. As an existing SITA customer, its aircraft communications technology has enabled us to collaborate more efficiently. Taking this next step in our partnership enables us to further enhance our operations and increase fuel economy, reflecting our strong emphasis on ecological responsibility.”

Stephan Egli, Commercial VP Europe, Middle East & Africa, SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, comments: “The expectation for real-time data flow is growing rapidly, with a host of changing mandates and regulations to ensure that flying is safer and more sustainable than ever. Alongside this, we want to enable our airline customers to provide real passenger satisfaction and optimize costs wherever possible. We’re pleased to continue our work with Condor to transform its optimization plans into reality and help them achieve this.”

The announcement comes just months after SITA’s acquisition of GTD Air Services – its collaborative partner in the development of the eWAS portfolio – which seeks to help airlines embrace a digital shift, making flying safer, more efficient, enjoyable and sustainable. The move is set to accelerate SITA’s existing Digital Day of Operations application portfolio, reinventing the operation of aircraft, flights, and the passenger experience.

Florent Birling, Head of eWAS Portfolio, SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, adds: “We’re excited to enable Condor to stay ahead in the post-COVID-19 environment by deploying new solutions for their pilots and dispatchers. We are further developing our flight efficiency and green operation solutions to allow airlines to reduce their cost and CO2 footprint.”


Flight Aware

FlightAware will provide Metron Aviation with access to the world’s largest flight tracking network and data fusion platform, including data from FlightAware’s terrestrial Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receivers in more than 195 countries delivering extensive flight data and surveillance position updates that will provide a valuable resource for Metron Aviation’s portfolio of Air Traffic Management (ATM) services and tools. The broad coverage of the world’s air traffic that FlightAware offers provides real value to Metron Aviation’s abilities to provide highly accurate demand predictions, for a more comprehensive operational picture, hours ahead of time.

As the first initiative of this relationship, Metron Aviation in partnership with CANSO will supply global ANSPs with their Horizon product with integrated FlightAware surveillance data as a complementary Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. Horizon will provide real-time demand prediction capabilities for airports and airspace to help mitigate the uncertainty regarding the restart of air traffic operations as the industry begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
FlightAware is a digital aviation company and operates the world’s largest flight tracking and data platform. With global connectivity to every segment of aviation, FlightAware provides over 10,000 aircraft operators and service providers as well as over 13,000,000 passengers with global flight tracking solutions, predictive technology, analytics, and decision-making tools.


Airbus

Airbus delivered 36 commercial aircraft in June 2020, representing a slight increase compared to 24 in May and 14 in April and bringing the total for the first half of the year to 196 deliveries.

In H1 2020, Airbus booked a total of 298 net commercial aircraft orders. This compares to 389 aircraft in H1 2019. The decrease reflects the COVID-19 crisis. By aircraft type, a total of 11 A220s, 157 A320 Family, 5 A330s and 23 A350s were delivered in the first half of 2020.


Other News

Airbus

  • S7 Airlines, one of Russia’s leading carriers, member of Oneworld global airline alliance, has taken delivery of its’ first A320neo which is on lease from BOC Aviation. The aircraft is the first Airbus to feature the airline’s new livery and is also the first NEO to be operated in Russia. Powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, S7’s aircraft features a comfortable two-class cabin layout, (eight business and 156 economy class seats). The airline will operate the aircraft on domestic and international routes. Since the first aircraft entered service in 2004, S7’s Airbus fleet has grown to 44 A320 Family aircraft. And check out their nifty infographic!
  • Following the recent and hugely successful launch in Barcelona of International Airlines Group’s (IAG) low cost long-haul airline brand, LEVEL, the Group has selected the A330-200 as its aircraft of choice to further expand operations. LEVEL began operating in June 2017 with flights from Barcelona to Los Angeles, San Francisco (Oakland), Buenos Aires and Punta Cana, with two new Airbus A330-200s branded in its own livery and fitted with 293 economy and 21 premium economy seats. The A330 is one of the World’s most efficient and versatile widebody aircraft with best in class operating economics making it the benchmark product for the growing low cost long-haul model worldwide. The A330 is the world’s best-selling wide-body in its category. To date the A330 Family has attracted nearly 1,700 orders with over 1,300 A330 Family aircraft currently flying with more than 110 operators worldwide. With an operational reliability of 99.4 percent and various product enhancements, the A330 Family is the most cost-efficient and capable widebody aircraft to date.

Boeing
Boeing released its 2017 Pilot and Technician Outlook today at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and projects a demand for more than 1.2 million pilots and technicians over the next 20 years. Now in its eighth year, the outlook is a respected industry study that forecasts the 20 year demand for crews to support the world’s growing commercial airplane fleet.
Boeing forecasts that between 2017 and 2036, the world’s commercial aviation industry will require approximately:

  • 637,000 new commercial airline pilots
  • 648,000 new commercial airline maintenance technicians
  • 839,000 new cabin crew members

The 2017 outlook shows a slight increase of 3.2 percent for pilots over the 2016 outlook, and a slight decrease in the need for airline maintenance technicians (4.6 percent), primarily driven by the reduction in maintenance hours required on the 737 MAX.
Projected demand for new pilots, technicians and cabin crew by global region for the next 20 years is approximately:

For information about the Outlook, including how the data is compiled.
Boeing Global Services, headquartered in the Dallas area, was formed by integrating the services capabilities of the government, space and commercial sectors into a single, customer-focused business. Operating as a third business unit of Boeing, Global Services provides agile, cost-competitive services to commercial and government customers worldwide.

Rockwell Collins
Working well after midnight on this day in 1977, a Rockwell Collins engineer named David Van Dusseldorp sat on the rooftop of a company building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, adjusting an antenna every five minutes to receive a signal from the world’s first Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite known as NTS-2. Within a small window of time, the satellite was turned on and the message was successfully received and decoded by the team working the GPS receiver below.
Since then the technology has grown to be the standard of navigation around the world and Top Tech News: News & Product Reviews for Tech Leaders touches nearly every part of our daily lives. To commemorate the 40 year anniversary, Rockwell Collins invited retirees involved in the project to share their firsthand stories at an event held in Cedar Rapids today.
“We had leaders and team members working together and I knew we could meet the challenge put before us,” said Van Dusseldorp. “The future of GPS was uncertain at the time, but I really felt like we had just accomplished something important.”
Soon after successfully receiving the signal, the U.S. Air Force awarded Rockwell Collins the Navstar GPS user equipment contract. This was the first of many wins that would position the company as a market leader in GPS products for aerospace and defense. Since that time, Rockwell Collins has continued to pioneer advancements in GPS such as being the first to complete a transatlantic flight using GPS navigation in 1983. In 1994, a secure, military-grade Precision Lightweight GPS Receiver (PLGR) was first fielded that provided warfighters a tactical navigational advantage on the battlefield. And in 2014, Rockwell Collins achieved another milestone in navigation technology by successfully developing a prototype to track a satellite in the Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) being created by the European Union to provide global coverage for its nations.
A modern version of the GPS receiver used in 1977 is the Rockwell Collins GPS-4000S, which has the ability to process the transmissions of up to 10 GPS satellites and two Space Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) geostationary satellites simultaneously. Compared to the first GPS receiver station that was six feet tall, the GPS-4000S receiver is only 7.87 inches tall. Size and power of receivers have evolved for different applications, like the Micro GPS Receiver Application Module (MicroGRAM). The receiver is only one inch tall, can use data from up to 12 GPS satellites and consumes the least power of any receiver in its class. Other advancements in receivers include industry-leading anti-jamming and anti-spoofing technologies that are crucial to security and efficiency when used within critical military and aircraft operations.
Since that historic day 40 years ago, Rockwell Collins has introduced more than 50 GPS products including GPS anti-jam and precision landing systems, and has delivered more than one million GPS receivers for commercial avionics and government applications, helping shape how the world navigates both on the ground and in the air.

Panasonic
Asiana Airlines, one of Asia’s largest carriers, has begun revenue service with its first A350 aircraft using Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s (Panasonic) industry-leading inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solution. This first aircraft, which was line fit with Panasonic solutions by Airbus, entered passenger service on May 15th having been delivered to the carrier on April 26th. Panasonic’s eX3 system delivers a premium passenger experience through features including audio and video on demand, and a massive content library that can offer over 50 movies, 60 TV shows, games, music and more.
The aircraft will also offer Panasonic’s global connectivity service – the only broadband inflight connectivity service operating in every country in the world today – enabling passengers to access the internet via broadband inflight Wi-Fi, and to send and receive calls and text messages. Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics said: “We are delighted to announce this partnership with Asiana Airlines. Our world-class systems provide their passengers with a globally available and premium inflight entertainment and connectivity experience.”


MORE

Here is a great story on how to promote your airport (airline?) at the airport with an Augmented Reality (AR) device game. As the article notes: “Augmented reality can do a number of different things, from turning selfies into animals to creating virtual scavenger hunts, but now one more feature can be chalked up to the emerging tech — entertaining kids on an airport layover.” Perhaps, this says it all: “On July 14, London’s Heathrow Airport announced the new kids’ travel app, Around the World with Mr. Adventure, a kid-friendly game that hides digital badges throughout the terminals.” We want one! Check this out.

Sully

And lastly, go see “Sully,” the movie! Why? Because it sums up what some of the best folks in the world are doing to make your travel experience successful. Remember, on January 15, 2009, a US Airways had to land in New York’s Hudson River? Yes, we know it is about a emergency forced landing of an Airbus A320-214 in New York. And yes, if you are into movies, per se, you might give “Sully” a lower grade; however, if you are into aviation, this is a 5 star treat. While Clint Eastwood (at 86) directed this movie, he made it from good available event data, and obviously one for aviation lovers. As one review notes, ”..this story pits a true hero against the scowling National Transportation Safety Board bureaucrats with their flight simulators, computer analysis and insurance worries who dare to question Sullenberger’s ability to make lightning-quick decisions in the air. They would have rather he made it to a nearby airport after a flock of Canadian geese smashed into the plane and shut down the engines—a possibility he instantly assessed was not feasible given his 40 years of experience.” As to the airplane, we think it deserves more credit for staying afloat for some 29 minutes, allowing all 155 to be rescued on the floating fuselage. Notes Wikipedia: “Author and pilot William Langewiesche asserted that insufficient credit was given to the A320’s fly-by-wire design, by which the pilot uses a side-stick to make control inputs to the flight control computers. The computers then impose adjustments and limits of their own to keep the plane stable, which the pilot cannot override even in an emergency. This design allowed the pilots of Flight 1549 to concentrate on engine restart and deciding the course, without the burden of manually adjusting the glidepath to reduce the plane’s rate of descent.[50] However, Sullenberger said that these computer-imposed limits also prevented him from achieving the optimum landing flare for the ditching, which would have softened the impact.[91]”. And no, we doubt if you will see it on your next flight, but you never know.

(Editor’s Note: We understand for drama, the movie script did question Chester “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) decisions; however, we understand that the NTSB didn’t actually question Sully’s decision or actions, it was just drama for the silver screen.)

Xiamen, China and Lake Forest, CA | May 24, 2017– Panasonic Avionics Corporation (“Panasonic”) today introduced HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) Limited (“HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen)”) as an authorised repair centre for its in-flight entertainment and communications (“IFEC”) technology in Mainland China. HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) is a member of the HAECO Group, specialising in providing aircraft component and IFEC repair services to airlines and aircraft operators in the Asia-Pacific region. Repairs performed by HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) on behalf of Panasonic will carry the same Panasonic warranties, as repairs performed by all authorised service providers within the Panasonic repair network.

The HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) facility is equipped with Original Equipment Manufacturer (“OEM”) dedicated test equipment and features comprehensive spares support from Panasonic. It is also staffed by Panasonic-trained technical personnel. The component repair specialist has been a trusted partner of Panasonic in supporting the OEM’s global customers with IFEC repairs, offering competitive turnaround times, cost-saving advantages and technical support. Backed by the HAECO Group’s comprehensive aircraft engineering and maintenance operations in the region, HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) also offers technical and logistics support, as well as OEM warranty administration to airlines and aircraft operators in Mainland China.

Sean Gavin, Vice President, Technical Services of Panasonic Avionics, said: “We are delighted to welcome HAECO to the Panasonic repair network. Our partnership ensures that Panasonic’s airline customers benefit from in-country support that meets our global standards.”

Clement Au, General Manager, Component Repair & Overhaul, HAECO Group, said: “HAECO has a proven track record serving the component repair needs of airlines in the Asia Pacific region. HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) is honoured and excited to be appointed as Panasonic’s authorised IFEC repair centre. Combining the respective strengths of both an OEM and a component repair specialist, this collaboration is mutually beneficial. It further extends the HAECO Group’s portfolio of services to include a wide range of Panasonic IFEC products, chosen by many airline operators in Mainland China.”

Located in Xiamen, the newly introduced, Panasonic authorised IFEC repair centre is a facility approved by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

IFEC’ers, it is almost here – AIX 2017 that is – and we cannot wait. Over the next few issues, IFExpress will be providing a ‘sneak peek’ from a few AIX vendors. Additionally, we have a ‘Special Story’ for the AIX Show Edition – stay tuned and read on!

Aircraft Cabin Systems

ACS is very busy these days with the design on their second-generation 12.1” retractable monitor. Even though their first-generation model was highly accepted in the marketplace, “We are constantly striving to give our customers what they want” says Richie Sugimoto (shown above) including a very robust design offering high value. Customers have appreciated the overall simplicity of the unit, including the lighter weight and less moving parts providing a quieter unit in operational mode. Most importantly, customers love the ease of installation when upgrading their aircraft from older monitors. These units are offered for both the Airbus and Boeing series of aircraft. They are designed for AC power and with HDSDI video input, provide a clear, crisp quality picture. The first-generation retractable monitors utilize a patented, mechanical design developed by Mr. Yukio Sugimoto and was developed to be a mechanical plug-and-play attachment to either the existing B737 PSU’s or for the Airbus planes.

ACS has also been working on a new design of 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) Modular Monitors. This new design concept allows the support of customizable input/output modules, allowing for the unit functionality with a wide variety of IFE systems. This unique design concept can meet the industry multiple demands with adding additional or different modules. This design is in the testing phase and expect production to release product to the marketplace in Q2. Available screen sizes range from 27” up to 75”.

All products are designed and manufactured in their Redmond, WA facility that is an AS9100 Certified facility. ACS will be at the upcoming AIX show in Hamburg, if in the area, stop by and see all of the new technology they are working on at stand 2C30 to discuss your needs.


digEcor

This year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg will be unprecedented for Chief Executive David Withers and team as far as depth and breadth of solutions and in an increased presence both in size of booth and team in the IFEC zone, Hall B4 at stand 4E20. digEcor having recently expanded their sales team to include additional resource in the Middle East and Africa Region with the appointment of Eduardo Protasio, (from EuroAtlantic Airways) a new appointment for Asia Pacific in Stu McGraw commencing 27 March (previously QinetiQ and Virgin Australia) as well as Jorge Mompo’s appointment (previously Lumexis) as Sales Director of the America’s since AIX 2016. Headed by VP Global Sales, Paul Thorpe, digEcor are looking forward to what this will mean for the developing growth of the company and are looking forward to introducing this new team to visitors this year.

digEcor has been busy these past 12 months and has a handful of announcements to make at AIX 2017 they are keeping close to their chest. The GLIDE embedded system is making headway in the market as well as the continued success of digEcor’s passenger power for 2.1A USB and 110V power solutions, including pre integrated solutions with innovative seat vendors. Since AIX Hamburg 2016 digEcor has launched four new product lines including Passenger Service Solutions, LED Cabin Lighting, Cabin Management and digEcor’s own Moving Map.

digEcor’s mission to enable all airlines to create an extraordinary travel experience is still personified through their modular, flexible and tailored approach to meet the needs of airlines and vendors alike. The Integrated Flight Experience portfolio is still the only fully integrated system from one single vendor available today comprising GLIDE Embedded and Portable IFE, In-Seat Power, LED Cabin Lighting, Passenger Service Solutions, Cabin Management, Wi-Fi to stream content, ENGAGE application for crew, Tape Replacement and Content Services.

digEcor is showcasing this experience at AIX this year by cabin for Economy, Premium, Business and First class. In partnership with Avio Interiors, Geven Spa, Skypaxx, Thompson Seating and Pitch Aircraft Seating Systems, digEcor is primed to educate visitors by cabin or product, depending on the interest.


FTS New Brand Logo Identity

This past week, FTS proudly launched their new company logo. Here is what they had to say:

Over the past two years, FTS business has grown and evolved. In line with our expansion globally, across U.S. and Europe, as well as the addition of new exciting product range, it’s time for a change!

With a sharp and crisp font and brighter blue used, it is a modernized look which reflects our core values – constantly innovating, cutting-edge technology and revolutionize the business.

Being a newcomer, FTS strives to revolutionize the IFEC industry with new business ideas, innovative product offerings and high quality hardware.

We do not follow the norm. We set ourselves apart. This is what we strive for and we are excited to share that with you.

Our new logo will have its first appearance in AIX 2017.

Check us out and see you at booth 2E34!


AIX

Twenty One products and ideas are in the finals of the 2017 Crystal Cabin Awards, the world’s most renowned prize for innovation in aircraft interiors. From a parking guidance system for cabin baggage to a lavatory mirror that displays on-board video and information as if by magic, the finalists’ submissions include innovative ideas for pretty much every aspect of the cabin – revealing today how we will be flying in the world of tomorrow. In the field of “Cabin Concepts” in particular, the giants are lining up for a showdown: Bombardier, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are all hoping for a trophy in the same category. With 85 shortlist entrants from 21 nations, the 2017 Crystal Cabin Awards have been more popular and more international than ever before in their 11 years of history. The seven winners of the coveted Crystal Cabin Award trophies will be announced on the first evening of the Aircraft Interiors Expo (4 – 6 April, 2017) in Hamburg, Germany.


Boeing

Boeing and CDB Aviation Lease Finance (CDB Aviation) announced an order for 30 737 MAX 8 airplanes. The order, valued at $3.3 billion at current list prices, was previously unidentified on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website. Based in Dublin, Ireland, CDB Aviation operates as a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co LTD (CDB Leasing) (HKEX stock code:1606). With registered capital of $US50 million and a fleet of over 200 aircraft, CDB Aviation has over 10 years’ experience in the business and is one of the largest and most influential Chinese-owned aviation leasing companies.
And while we are on Boeing, keep your eye on the new midsize airplane demand for the companies next new plane. Boeing expects to launch a new larger B737 beyond the B737 MAX by the end of 2017. Also expect it to fall below the B787 passenger payload. The so-called B797 will probably seat from 200 to almost 300 passengers over a range of some 4300 to 5300 nautical miles – in the older B767-200 payload-range footprint. Single vs twin aisle is a big deciding factor as well as competition with their existing B737 fleet and it’s growth. Here is more reading for your airplane interest

Customers Press Boeing To Launch New Midsize Widebody Aircraft Soon | Commercial Aviation content from Aviation Week

Boeing’s Plan For Bigger 737 MAX Meets with Industry Doubts 

Boeing’s talking with airlines about a ‘797,’ and they like what they hear | The Seattle Times

The Boeing 737 MAX Is the Most Underrated Plane of All Time — The Motley Fool


SITA

SITA, recently announced the formation of the Secure Journeys Working Group to address today’s airport security threats in the USA and to work towards creating a secure and efficient passenger experience throughout the airport. The launch of the Secure Journeys initiative is in response to the current security climate and recent attacks on non-secure areas of the airport, including the Brussels airport bombing and Fort Lauderdale airport shooting. Members of the working group cite these incidents as examples that demonstrate the need to rethink the approach to getting passengers through the airport quickly and safely. The newly extended group will address growing challenges, including:

  • Moving passengers and baggage more rapidly through non-secure areas of the airport, such as check-in and baggage claim areas;
  • Reducing and effectively managing security wait times to reduce lines of people in non-secure areas;
  • Incorporating biometrics for passenger screening authentication;
  • Addressing ways in which identity management solutions can be used along with data analytics to reduce the growing concerns around the insider threat.

Bad Aviation Joke: A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, ‘I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.’ OK, the worst science joke then: Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, ‘I’ve lost my electron.’ The other says ‘Are you sure?’ The first replies, ‘Yes, I’m positive.’

  • Immfly, the first profitable in-flight digital platform in Europe performing in Iberia Express full fleet, and currently installing in Volotea’s A-319, enters the long-haul market on board XL’s A330 fleet

Barcelona, Spain | June 15, 2016– From October on, XL Airways, the French airline operating flights mainly to long-haul destinations, will install Immfly’s on board solution in their Airbus A330 fleet, serving the carriers daily flights to North America, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean. Being fully operational by December 2016, this is the first time that the digital platform will be accessible in long – haul aircraft, branded as XL Cloud.

“We are impatient to propose this new service to our passengers”, says Laurent Magnin, CEO of XL Airways. “Entertainment is an essential part of the inflight experience. XL Cloud is a response to this expectation and is completely in line with our concept of travel personalization”. Jimmy M. von Korff, co-founder of Immfly, also welcomed the news “we are delighted to be partnering with XL Airways, which represents our first long-haul project and the opportunity to perform in a new environment, where passengers have an average of 8 hours to enjoy entertainment content and discover more insights about their destination.

Passengers that meet Immfly can use their personal mobile devices to access an onboard Wi-Fi network. Once connected, they are able to enjoy a wide variety of content from newsfeeds and magazines to documentaries, kids channels, music and sports videos. The frequently renewed catalog (on each flight for the press) will include free content and a premium offering, available for a fee. In-between programs, passengers will be able to follow the progress of the flight and learn more, not only about their destination but also the areas they fly over. French and English destination guides will be available for download.

“The XL Airways’ A-330 need to include up to 6 wireless access points in order to cover the higher density of connected users and to allow all travellers to connect simultaneously”, says Alfredo Ibáñez, CTO at Immfly. “Making our product ready for long- distance aircraft is a new challenge that will encourage a significant growth opportunity for our product.”

Moreover, this new step brings the Barcelona based company, Immfly, closer to their objective of becoming the travel industry’s favorite on-board monetization partner, reaching 100 million connected passengers by 2018.

Immfly is leading the development of on-board digital platforms within Europe, helping airlines to strengthen their customer loyalty by increasing their “Net Promoter Scores” amongst passengers and encouraging the creation of new ancillary revenues through the sponsorship and e-commerce available on the platform.

Perhaps you have heard enough about IFEC for commercial jets? If so, we have a solution for you! Have you heard about SkyFlix? To answer our own question and provide some introduction we have been communicating with Tyler Erdman, CEO of SkyFlix, about an ostensibly small, clever, inflight movie viewer that runs via stored iPads. We met Tyler in Hamburg in 2013 and told him to contact us when he had his product. We also thought our readers might like to see the ongoing challenge that small companies face in developing entertainment hardware for the world of aviation – thus, SkyFlix 2. We ask a few questions that we thought our readers might want to know about, like… well, here is his commentary intro:

Back in 2013 I had met with one of your reporters at AIX Hamburg, and talked to them about my startup Tablet IFE. At the time we had just started developing the concept for our portable IFE system. The mention you gave us was our first bit of press. Since that meeting we’ve been hard at work refining our system, and integrating customer feedback. I was wondering if IFExpress would be interested in covering what we came up with? Our latest system SkyFlix 2 provides a media server, wireless router, and iPad charger in one sleek and portable unit. Just plug it into an outlet on nearly any aircraft and it can be ready within a minute. Passengers can take one of the eight iPad Pro devices from the charging dock, and start watching their favorite content in moments.  We’ve delivered over a dozen SkyFlix 2 systems to aircraft operators around the world. Attached is the SkyFlix 2 press release and photos. We believe our dramatically different interpretation of what IFE should be is bound to be of great interest to aircraft owners of all sizes.”

That got us thinking. While his product has been designed to play movies on iPads and provide storage, a server, Wi-Fi router and charging, is it the ultimate simplicity for biz jet IFE? So, we asked a few specific questions and here is what Tyler had to say:

“You had asked about how we came to develop SkyFlix 2.  We had a customer who had purchased a Gulfstream and installed satellite internet, prior to chartering it.  The first bill they received was well into the five figure range after passengers downloaded a couple movies during a flight.  Needless to say they weren’t very happy. The owner wanted an IFE system so that passengers could keep themselves entertained without using the internet connection.  We looked at what was on the general aviation market, and found that most systems were extremely expensive and lacking features we thought they should have.”

“Most IFE systems are only designed to provide media streaming, requiring a separate wireless router and often requiring passengers to use their own devices. Having so many different systems that need to work well together made it hard for the flight crews to guarantee a good passenger experience, and all the different parts made it difficult to troubleshoot when problems arose.”

Further, Tyler noted: We wanted to design SkyFlix 2 to be as simple as possible by designing every aspect of the passenger experience, and found that by making it totally portable we had the freedom to do so.  We could design our own media server, wireless router, and use our own devices to be sure that everything worked as we intended while ensuring reliability.  Our goal was to design a system that would fade into the background; all the crew and passengers would have to worry about was picking up an iPad and enjoying themselves.”

“Our first system was met with great reviews from flight crews and passengers alike, and shortly thereafter the operator ordered a second unit for another of their aircraft.  They continued to receive accolades, and we decided to further develop and refine our idea.  After several years of feedback from our customers the result is SkyFlix 2.

Next, we wanted a bit more about the product:

1. What does the full system weigh?

Answer: The system weighs 12 pounds without iPads and requires 110 or 220v at a max of 150W. Each iPad adds an additional pound.”

2. What Tablet is included or can be used (currently Apple iPad only?) and we assume there is a world of apps available?

Answer: “Our charging system is designed to support the latest iPad Pro 9.7″ as well as the iPad Air 2.  We designed SkyFlix 2 to be easily upgradable to support future iPads as they become available. Our iPad application can also be loaded and used on personal devices. Also, given that we use iPad, we can load games, magazines and apps available from the App Store. We generally configure the iPads for customers before shipping so that our customers only need to load content and put SkyFlix 2 on their aircraft.  Our customers can load additional apps at any time internet is available. I should also note that in our device, we support 802.11AC which is the fastest Wi-Fi the iPads support. It can deliver up to 3 times faster performance then 802.11N routers, as well as having longer range.”

3. Is there a way to lock the Apple devices in the power/case?

Answer: “We don’t currently have a way to lock them into the unit. We provide a Pelican Hard Case with every unit that can be used to secure the unit if there is a concern.”

4. Can the supplier or operator load apps…We assume the user cannot?

Answer: “We generally configure the iPads for customers before shipping so that our customers only need to load content and put SkyFlix 2 on their aircraft.  Our customers can load additional apps at any time the internet is available.”

5. Who loads the movies, where are they located, and how many minutes of total movies on hard disk of server?

Answer: The end user loads the content they would like.  Once they prepare the content and load it onto SkyFlix 2, our server will automatically recognize the content and download metadata, graphics and other information. Our system comes with 2TB of solid state storage, which can hold over 400 1080P High Def movies.”

6. Is there a way to notify the crew of tablet numbers without opening a storage location so the crew can remain knowledgeable about device security?

Answer: “To help make it easy to keep track of the iPads, we offer laser engraving so customers can have their logo right on the iPads so they are easily identifiable, as well as running Find my iPad so if any devices leave the aircraft they can be located.  In our experience thus far that has been sufficient in preventing any issues about device security. We also do plan on adding a way to check on the status of the unit and iPads from other devices in the future.”

7. What about certification?

Answer: Skyflix 2 is considered carry on equipment, which makes it easy to move units around to suit the customers’ needs. Multiple units can easily be used together on an aircraft. Since SkyFlix 2 is treated as a portable electronic device, and therefore, it is classified as “loose equipment”. We are able to do so since it only connects to an AC power outlet and is not permanently installed in the aircraft.”

8. How do you handle planes with more passengers than iPads?

Answer: “One of our customers has several units, when they anticipate needing a second unit on a flight they can easily move it around as needed.  In another instance a customer with a 40 seat BBJ purchased 5 units to ensure they have an iPad available for every passenger.”

9. Who are your customers, then?

Answer: “Presently, we are only going after business aviation customers. Most of our customers are either company owned flight departments or charter operations. We wanted to solve pain points for business aircraft and we don’t think that would translate as well to commercial airlines, at least not yet.  Most commercial airlines would likely want installed systems, and want to avoid providing devices. In the future we might revisit that but given the amount of competition in that market we have no immediate plans to do so. And by the way, the unit price is easily under $20,000.”

10. Since the “system” is plugged in, does the iPad device last playing movies the usual length of the iPad power per charge?

Answer: “The iPads will last long enough to watch movies for the duration of just about any flight.  While using our application the battery life would be similar, if not identical to, using any other.”

11. What is the future for SkyFlix 2 and your company?

Answer: We decided early on that commercial airlines wouldn’t be likely customers. From what we found they would be much more conservative and likely to want a certified and installed system rather then a portable one. At some point we might go that route but we think our business aviation customers much prefer the flexibility and upgradability of our portable systems.

All along we talked to other companies that wanted to get into the commercial airline IFE market and they found the sales process to take an extremely long time. As they got close to a sale, a competitor would add a new feature forcing them to add something similar and restart the process.

Our company wanted to avoid that cycle by sticking with business aviation where it was much easier to get the principles to sign off. We can just send out a demonstration unit to a potential customer and get approval at the end of the flight rather then spending months trying to work our way into a large airline… at least for now.”

12. How about providing our readers with some company contact information?

Answer: “Your readers can contact me at Tyler@SkyFlix.com or call me directly at 212-759-3549 (SKY-FLIX).”

(Editor’s Note: Tyler is a good guy, think about SkyFlix 2 if you need a small, carry on IFE solution. Hey, how often does the CEO take information calls?)


News & Other:

  • AS-IP TECH, INC.’S WORLD’S FIRST BLUETOOTH SMART INFLIGHT CONNECTIVITY SOLUTION TO BE LAUNCHED BY JETFLY Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2016 – AS-IP Tech, Inc. (OTCMKTS:IPTK) announced today that its distributor BizjetMobile Europe has secured Jetfly as the launch customer for CHiiMP Smart, the world’s first Bluetooth Smart inflight connectivity solution.
    CHiiMP Smart was unveiled at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) as the smallest, lightest and most inexpensive inflight connectivity system in the industry that utilizes Bluetooth Smart technology to provide voice, text and email functions. At EBACE, Jetfly CEO Cedric Lescop said, “We’re excited to be installing the CHiiMP Smart system on our fleet of Pilatus PC-12’s. Our aircraft owners, crew and clients will now be able to stay in contact wherever and whenever they fly. We chose CHiiMP Smart because of its simplicity, easy installation and low operating costs. It will further enhance our commitment to be ‘simply closer’”.
    AS-IP Tech, Inc. CEO Ron Chapman said, “AS-IP Tech, Inc. is pioneering an alternate course of connectivity in the global aerospace industry. We expect CHiiMP Smart to show the world that our range of Bluetooth Smart connectivity solutions are an exciting alternative to the traditionally expensive Wi-Fi platform. Our ambition is to be the first in the world to deliver inflight communications to passengers for the same price in the air as on the ground. We believe AS-IP Tech, Inc.’s unique Bluetooth Smart platform will be the catalyst that upheaves traditional communication models on airlines and beyond.” Readers: Keep your eye on this technology cause it has the potential to make commercial inflight texting and email very cheap… or free!
  • Think flying is just too expensive, perhaps a cost analysis is in order? We have always wanted to figure why airline tickets cost what they do – Try this video… and (hint), your ticket is a good deal: Why flying is so expensive – Travelers United
  • Don’t forget, June 6 – 9 “The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) is proud to invite you to attend APEX TECH (8-9 June), a gathering of the most forward-thinking and insightful minds in the passenger experience industry, immediately following the 2016 Global Connected Aircraft Summit (6-8 June)!”

April 19, 2016– In ight Dublin (IFD), the world’s largest independent content service provider, is proud to announce a partnership with Royal Air Maroc (RAM), which will see it provide a wide range of video and audio content, as well as bespoke solutions for the airline’s web and print platforms.

Under the partnership, IFD will help RAM to double the amount of content that it o ers to its passengers. It will also create a bespoke IFE Microsite that will be available in three languages, which will showcase the large variety of content and other services that will be available.

This new agreement comes during a period of growth and expansion for RAM. Having opened a route to Sao Paolo in November 2014, RAM has expanded its South American itinerary to include another Brazilian hotspot. From May 6, passengers will be able to travel to Rio de Janeiro from RAM’s Mohammed V International Airport hub in Casablanca.

Finally, IFD has designed a sleek and exclusive new magazine for RAM’s Business Class passengers. SkyMedia will feature details of all IFE on board, complete with editorial content and reviews.

“Royal Air Maroc is an award-winning airline currently experiencing substantial growth, and we look forward to working closely with the airline to deliver innovative IFE to their passengers”, says John White, IFD’s CEO. “This appointment also aligns with In ight Dublin’s strategy of partnering with airlines that have strong growth potential”, adds John.

“We’re delighted to have selected Inflight Dublin to supply a variety of inflight content to our aircraft. Our partnership with Inflight Dublin will support our strategy to enhance passenger experience through creative and relevant content,” AMINA FERTAT, Head of Product management department at Royal Air Maroc.

  • Gogo Vision also now Live on Select Aeromexico Boeing and Embraer aircraft

Chicago, IL | April 21, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that its industry leading global connectivity technology – 2Ku – is now live on Aeromexico. The first aircraft to fly with 2Ku is an Aeromexico Boeing 737-800 aircraft with Sky Interior serving several destinations in the Americas. Today, the airline has five aircraft installed with the new 2Ku system.

“This is a groundbreaking milestone for Gogo as it signifies that the 2Ku era has officially taken flight,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “Aeromexico was the first to commit to the service and we couldn’t be more excited to have their passengers be the first to experience this game changing technology.”

The 2Ku service will be free on Aeromexico for a limited time. In addition to 2Ku, Gogo’s wireless in-flight entertainment solution, Gogo Vision, is now flying on 11 Boeing 737-700 and Embraer aircraft flying across Aeromexico’s regional network.

“As Mexico’s global airline, we continue to push the envelope in terms of improving the passenger experience,” said Andres Conesa, Aeromexico’s CEO. “This partnership will bring the best connectivity technology to our passengers so they can stay connected within Mexico and abroad.”

Gogo’s 2Ku technology is designed to be open so it’s compatible with multiple satellite networks, which means the technology will be upgradeable over time without having to touch the aircraft. This flexibility will help ensure Aeromexico is future ready and ahead of the curve from a technology perspective.

“The great news for Aeromexico is they get a leading technology today that will only get better in the near future as newer high-throughput satellites come online,” added Small.

Hamburg, Germany | April 5, 2016– Airbus has selected Rockwell Collins as a lead supplier of High-Bandwidth Connectivity (HBC) for the Airbus A320 single-aisle family of aircraft, and long-range A330 and A380 aircraft.

Under the terms of the agreement, airlines purchasing Airbus aircraft can select HBC from Rockwell Collins to meet the growing demand for high-speed connectivity.

“In our day-to-day conversations with our airline customers, the need for high-speed connectivity is top of mind. The solution we’re providing meets the significant pressure airlines are getting from their passengers to provide a superior connectivity service while flying,” said Greg Irmen, vice president and general manager, Flight Controls and Information Systems, Rockwell Collins. “We’re excited to be part of the movement to bring people together around the world, no matter where they may be.”

As a lead supplier, Rockwell Collins will collaborate with Airbus to develop and deploy both a linefit and retrofit HBC system to ensure an end-to-end managed SATCOM solution. Specific details about the technology solution will be released as they are finalized.

Airbus’s HBC selection builds upon Rockwell Collins’ extensive amount of next-generation systems it supplies the aircraft maker. Numerous Rockwell Collins systems are standard on the Airbus A350 XWB and options for the A320 and A330 aircraft families. Most recently, Rockwell Collins was selected by Airbus to supply its Electronic Flight Bag interface and communications unit, which is part of its Secure Server Router portfolio, as options on A320s and A330s.

Hamburg, Germany | April 5, 2016– Thales has been selected by Airbus as Lead Supplier for HBC solutions to be deployed on A320, A330 and A380 aircrafts in linefit and retrofit mode.

Thales’ High Bandwidth Connectivity solutions will provide passengers the bandwidth they need to enrich their travel experience and airlines with the connectivity solution that satisfies their operational requirements.

This selection is an important milestone in the long-standing relationship between Airbus and Thales. In addition to the already selectable GX Connectivity solution for A350s, this agreement enables Thales to become linefit offerable for connectivity products and related VAR services on all legacy Airbus platforms, today and in the future.

HBC solutions are designed to operate standalone or connected to an IFE system.

Thales’ inflight entertainment and connectivity portfolio combines innovative technologies, a global support network, with a complete ecosystem that provides airlines valuable services to improve operational efficiencies and increase passenger engagement.

In this safety-critical and technology-rich environment Thales has a pedigree and global presence no other provider can match, across aviation, avionics, satellite networks, connected skies, cyber security and passenger entertainment.

Hamburg, Germany | April 5, 2016– Thales will equip Hainan Airlines with its AVANT In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system on its future fleet of wide-body A330 aircraft. The first aircraft is expected to enter service in late 2017.

AVANT is Thales InFlyt Experience’s state-of-the-art Android- based IFE solution. It includes a highly customisable passenger experience with a robust selection of features and applications. The fleet will be equipped with the latest AVANT full high definition monitors, the most lightweight ever deployed, featuring high power USB charging for personal electronic devices.

Hainan Airlines is a valued long-term Thales customer and a fast growing airline in the Asia-Pacific region. The airline already operates Thales IFE systems on both Boeing and Airbus aircraft. Thales is committed to providing a cherished experience for its passengers on their newest fleet additions. As part of this commitment, Thales is investing resources in China to further enhance software and media capabilities that will serve to enrich passenger experience and satisfy local market demands.

Today, AVANT has been selected by 19 airlines and globally more than 230 aircraft are flying with the AVANT system. The system is available to all new generation Boeing and Airbus platforms.

This issue starts the review of show vendors we talked to during AIX 16 but, as you know, there were over 500 IFE booths so we will do the best in the next few issues to cover those we had the opportunity to interview. Noted also, we have uploaded all our show still shots and you can find them here. Over the next few weeks we will try to outline all we talked to so hopefully you will get a better understanding of the some of the show participants and their products, whether you went to Hamburg or not. Further, we try to dig a little deeper into company products and services – no matter what size the company we talk to, because quite often new ideas spring from new talent – let’s get started.


Gogo

Hamburg really scored the visitors at their 17th annual AIX show and with well over 16,000 visitors and 180 airlines, it’s no wonder that Gogo brought their B737-500 test airplane to the Hamburg airport for demo rides on the 2Ku system. No we weren’t on it, but we got in contact with Gogo’s Steve Nolan and he had a few interesting comments that we wanted to share with our readers. Firstly, we note that the Gogo/Airbus installation partnering on Airbus Bizjets is a solution that encompasses the retrofit installation of 2Ku on new A350 aircraft. And while we are on this subject, Gogo announced that they have partnered with Airbus to install, on a retrofit basis, 2Ku on new Airbus A350 aircraft. Delta will be the first U.S. airline to launch domestic 2Ku service as its first narrow-body aircraft takes flight later this month. Currently, they have more than 850 aircraft commitments to 2Ku across 10 airlines. And why, Steve told IFExpress that connectivity is booming: “We recently conducted a global study on in-flight connectivity and entertainment and found that the demand for in-flight connectivity services continues to soar and drive passenger behavior. When it comes to Wi-Fi, wireless entertainment, Live TV, App messaging and mobile voice, all categories lead the international demand over the US/CanadaOur global study showed that when choosing a flight, more than half of global travelers factor Wi-Fi into their choice of airline. The U.S. market has become virtually saturated with in-flight Wi-Fi and wireless in-flight entertainment. But, the interest in these services is even greater for travelers in the rest of the world, where the proliferation of in-flight connectivity is still in its early stages. Outside the U.S. and Canada, 86 percent of travelers say they are interested in using in-flight connectivity vs. 75 percent within the U.S. and Canada. When it comes to wireless in-flight entertainment, 76 percent of global travelers show interest vs. 67 percent of U.S. and Canadian travelers. The percentage of passengers boarding a flight with at least one Wi-Fi enabled device also continues to climb. Today, 90 percent of global passengers brought at least one Wi-Fi enabled device on-board their last flight. When it comes to smartphones and tablets, Android is the operating system of choice among global travelers. There are more than twice as many Android powered smartphones as iPhones being carried onboard the world’s commercial aircraft but we serve iOs as well.”

We also asked Steve about their status of AeroMexico and he noted that If you don’t remember, Gogo has signed a definitive agreement with Aeromexico, Mexico’s global airline, to provide in-flight Internet and wireless in-flight entertainment service on Embraer and Boeing 737 aircraft operated by Aeromexico. They are flying with their first aircraft (more installed) and they have been touting their service.  Aeromexico was the first airline to commit to 2Ku and Gogo expects to deliver peak speeds of more than 70 Mbps to the aircraft and more than 100 Mbps to the aircraft when next generation satellites become available. They note that their 2Ku antenna is two times more spectrally efficient than other antennas in the commercial aviation market, which makes it capable of providing more bandwidth at less cost. We think “Muy Pronto” says it all!

Lastly, we want to commend Gogo for their production and free distribution of their 100+ page book: “From the Ground Up: How the Internet of Things will Give Rise to Connected Aviation.” The book gathers insight from more than 30 of the foremost leaders in aviation and technology and is free here. Get one… It is a very good introductory aviation read on IoT.


Axinom

Next we move on to Axinom, the European Software folks who absolutely understand data needed to supply inflight entertainment (content management system), DRM, and content delivery. Before we get lost in their buzz word methodology, we will let Marketing Manager Sara Pepic tell their story. But before we do, you might want to download the overview of their ‘products’ in aviation. Noted Sara: “The products/services we provide to the In-flight entertainment (IFE) service providers are: Axinom Content Management System (CMS), Axinom Digital Rights Management (DRM), Axinom Content Delivery System (CDS). We concentrate 100% on software, no hardware. We do not resell hardware, we provide software running on proven-standards based commercial off the shelf hardware certified for the aviation industry.” She went on to describe their software service: “There are three areas where you can understand the need for the above mentioned products:

a. The digital rights management and players (Google Widevine, Apple Fairplay, Microsoft PlayReady) to be able to play Hollywood content (this is “premium content”) on personal devices and any digital platform basically.

b. The content management system that allows you to manage all kinds of content (movies, newspaper, magazines, crew and passenger information, flight information, shopping items, payments, health data, etc.).

c. The content delivery system you need for two purposes: to bring all kinds of digital content over different pipes (4G 3G, Satellite, USB, SD, WiFi,…) to and from the vessel, and you need it to manage this in a protected and secure way.”

“Therefore,” she continued, we recommend you watch the following video explanation. In this video, CEO Axinom Aerospace Ralph Wagner and Stefanie Schuster (Business Developer for Axinom Products) explain the entire workflow of Axinom Content Delivery System. How the content (e.g.news, magazines, live content, passenger data, aircraft and flight data, music, shop items, reporting data etc.) can be securely and robustly synchronized between on-ground and on-board storage. Some very important features of these products may be found on the following page under ‘Key Highlights’.

Assuming you have downloaded the three (3) product charts, but in case you haven’t there are two reasons why you should – 1. Because it is clearly the way to understand what software and services they sell, and what their software does…and where it does it. 2. Never have we seen the full universe of related software, hardware, and task management needed for content handling in one understandable chart (3 actually). Get them and see what we mean, if for no other reason, Axinom understands the content universe and you need a copy of it to understand how and where the content lives in an IFE system – Brilliant!

After the show, we were curious enough about Axinom to ask their CEO to answer a few questions and you can find his answers here.

Finally, here are a few links to videos that explain the whole story – study them and you will probably know more about content management software than your boss!

Please find the summary of their corporate profile here
More information and important details about Axinom products:

Axinom in the aerospace industry: 

Axinom | Kurgartenstr. 37 | 90762 Fuerth, Germany
phone: +49 911 80109-17
pepic@axinom.com | www.axinom.com

(Editor’s Note: We were really impressed with this company for at least 2 reasons. First, they were the first group that developed a cartoon layout of the IFE content world that we never understood, and secondly, they are very nice people and helped us with the story considerably – give them a call if your content is in need of help!)


VTS

VTS is an off-shoot of Inflight Services Inc. the company which pioneered and very first to install a movie entertainment system on board a commercial aircraft about 45 years ago. Inflight was for many years the main supplier entertainment systems to the airline industry. When Inflight ceased operations at the end of 1986, the core of its senior technical staff joined in forming Video Technology Services Inc., VTS to continue supplying the customer airlines with advanced video products and the highest levels of service. The company was bought out recently, we chatted with Web Barth, one of the new management and he said: “An airline with 180 VTS DVP units on 17 aircraft has ‘documented’ a $1 Million annual savings on videotape maintenance and that does not include the savings from the videotape logistics and replacement expense.” He went on: “When you have some airline repeat for 15+ years, you get to know a lot about maintaining older systems and airlines needs with regards to maintaining entertainment quality with affordable practical solutions.” VTS’ products, we learned,  include a full range of audio, video and communication equipment for system installation on any type of aircraft configuration including individual, overhead, and Audio/Video On Demand via seat integrated entertainment systems. The company stressed their ‘lowest industry price’ more than once and it seems that it is a feature they are quite proud of… noted Barth: “VTS understands how a broken seatback system provides a huge passenger service problem, especially on older long haul aircraft, but $4 – $6,000 per seat for a new seatback system ($2-$5 Million replacement) that investment in older aircraft can be daunting. The solution is the new VTS Seatback Retrofit and Upgrade System, which simply removes the old seatback monitor and very heavy video cables and junction boxes and then installing a new VTS Streaming Server and WAPs and VTS high definition seatback, touch screens, powered by the older system’s seat power, each with its own WiFi antenna and receiver. The benefits are: Immediate IFE System Improvement, cost, weight and fuel savings; Video resolution increases 400% and with new and larger screen 7″ vs 5.6″, with modern movie format 16 x 9”. The biggest benefits are savings; 1/3 of cost of conventional system replacement and very significant fuel saving by reducing 80% of the weight (500 pounds vs 2,500+pounds), which could pay for the new and better entertainment system in 2-4 years in fuel savings alone. We asked about installation and he told IFExpress: “Now, airlines can have an affordable, super light weight In-flight entertainment system that can be installed in hours and on any sized aircraft from commuters, regional jets to Wide-bodies of any age providing the first entertainment system or IFE replacement/supplement system. Further, they can have fleet wide IFE even in their smallest aircraft or cost effectively replace/supplement an obsolete system. The VTS Streaming system server and WAPs weigh about 20 pounds and install in a few hours. For some airlines out VTS Turnkey Entertainment Content Programs can be very attractive as VTS can also provision and frequently refresh entertainment content in various languages for airlines worldwide.”  It looks like airlines that want a low cost, lightweight system have another solution, VTS – check out their website or give Web a call.
VTS Video Technology Services, Inc., 8 Aerial Drive, Syosset, New York 90000
Telephone: +1 (516) 937-9700
Contact: WebBarth@VTS.Global.com


MORE NEWS:

  • Ben Fuller is now with fts-aero and is Director of Marketing, Americas.
  • Need a new, small earphone for travel? You might wait for the SONY Xperia. It could be the future of high tech earbuds!
  • Heard about WebRTC? You might find someone on your next flight using it…legally or illegally, we guess? WebRTC – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Want a bigger seat back screen on your plane? Please Let These Meganormous Screens Be the Future of Flying | WIRED

Trip Note: Lufthansa provided a great flight to Hamburg and here’s a great DLH B747 seat tip… try to get in row 29… same leg spacing as Economy Plus but at the regular economy price!

  • Near-Field Communication (NFC) reader now available for in-seat production

Hamburg, Germany | April 5, 2016– Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), the world leader in inflight entertainment and communications, today announced that its NFC reader is now available for in-seat production at multiple OEMs – a first in the aviation industry.

Panasonic’s NFC reader is already EMV* compliant with MasterCard. The company is in ongoing discussions with major credit card providers including Visa and China Union Pay, and is opening discussions with Discover, and American Express. It expects to obtain compliance in the coming months.

Panasonic expects its NFC technology also will be used by airlines for a wide range of non-payment applications including:

· More secure synchronization of personal data

· Recognition of a passenger’s Frequent Flyer status, giving access to benefits or promotions, such as free Wi-Fi for Gold members

· Crew check in and check out

· Pairing of NFC-enabled devices with the embedded IFEC system, allowing airlines to push information to passengers during their flight

Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics said, “This significant milestone clearly demonstrates our continued leadership in developing technologies that create a seamless passenger travel experience. For airlines, EMV payments on IFE platforms should help eliminate potential transaction liabilities that they face today. In addition, passengers will be able to synchronize their own trusted token to the IFE system and create unique “just-for-me” experiences without compromising any of the personal data stored on their own device.”

The announcement follows continued growth in NFC-enabled devices. A recent study from Juniper Research** found that the annual transaction value of online, mobile and contactless payments will reach $3.6 trillion this year, a 20% increase on 2015.

Hamburg, Germany | April 5, 2016– Singapore Airlines and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) have joined forces to deliver a broadband-connected, personalized, immersive entertainment experience across the airline’s entire 787-10 fleet and A350 Ultra-long-haul fleet. This announcement comes on the heels of the delivery of Singapore Airlines’ first A350 aircraft equipped with Panasonic’s flagship inflight entertainment and global connectivity systems.

Panasonic will deliver connectivity and inflight entertainment solutions that are custom-tailored to Singapore Airlines’ vision for an enhanced KrisWorld experience on board their B787-10 aircraft and A350-900 Ultra-long-haul aircraft. Singapore Airlines will be the launch customer for both fleets.

The eX3 system used by Singapore Airlines is Panasonic’s most advanced IFEC system. When used in conjunction with Panasonic’s Global Communication Services, it offers the latest in onboard technology communication solutions and over a terabyte of immersive entertainment options including the world’s most popular movies and television shows. Customers will also enjoy higher levels of personalization via the Panasonic companion app, which when integrated with KrisWorld delivers unrivaled opportunities around passenger engagement and value delivery. The experience will also include the capability to provide broadband Internet services to passenger devices and the seatback, as well as mobile phone services.

Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics said, “We are thrilled to extend our partnership with Singapore Airlines to their new medium haul and ultra-long-haul aircraft. Together, we have continually pushed the envelope to discover new ways to engage passengers and to leverage the benefits of the connected aircraft. We look forward to working with Singapore Airlines for many years to come.”

Dublin, Ireland | April 4, 2016– Inflight Dublin is pleased to announce a global licensing deal with Sony Music Entertainment. The agreement gives Inflight Dublin access to hit songs from leading record labels, including Columbia, RCA, Epic, Masterworks and Sony Music Nashville. This deal allows Inflight Dublin to offer its clients various interactive inflight offerings using albums and singles from Sony Music’s impressive roster of established and emerging artists.

Inflight Dublin has long prided itself on its ability to carefully choose the content it provides for its clients, tailoring its selections to the interests of airline passengers around the world. Access to the Sony Music catalogue allows Inflight Dublin to bring its long-established curatorial know-how to bear on the very best in classic and contemporary audio content.

“We are pleased to be partnering with Inflight Dublin to make our music available through their network of air carriers around the world,” said Mark Piibe, Executive Vice President, Global Business Development and Digital Strategy, Sony Music Entertainment. “Passengers on flights serviced by Inflight Dublin will now be able to enjoy current hits and legendary songs from our iconic catalogue as part of their travel experience.”

“This deal reinforces our position as a leading supplier of audio to the airline market,” says Inflight Dublin CEO John White. “We’re delighted to be working with Sony Music, and to have the opportunity to draw from its world-class music library to provide creative audio solutions for our clients.”

Hamburg, Germany | April 4, 2016– Rockwell Collins today unveiled its new virtual training simulator for its PAVES™ seat-centric and overhead in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems. The interactive, easy-to-use computer-based training simulates a wide variety of scenarios to help cabin and maintenance crews become proficient at operating PAVES IFE systems.

“Our PAVES IFE training solution goes beyond a simple ‘how-to’ tutorial and provides airlines with a more effective training environment for ensuring crews are prepared for any situation,” said Greg Irmen, vice president and general manager, Flight Controls and Information Systems for Rockwell Collins.

The PAVES IFE virtual training simulator enables cabin and maintenance personnel to practice operating a PAVES system without having to purchase extra equipment or schedule time on an aircraft. As trainees use the simulator, it instantly shows resulting changes to the entertainment control panel, in-seat monitors and broadcast monitors. The simulator also indicates changes to audio coming from control panel headphones, in-seat headphones and cabin speakers.

An airline that takes delivery of a PAVES IFE system receives a customized virtual training simulator with the same configuration and branding as the actual onboard IFE system.

The new virtual training simulator is part of Rockwell Collins’ complete portfolio of PAVES™ IFEC (IFE and Connectivity) solutions, which meet the passenger engagement needs of any airline and include seat-centric IFE, broadcast and wireless IFE, high-speed broadband connectivity, moving map, and passenger services systems.