Frankfurt am Main | April 2, 2019–Dive into a whole new world of on-board entertainment: SunExpress once again drives innovation and will be offering inflight entertainment via virtual reality headsets in several aircraft during summer season. The innovative concept was implemented together with the start-up Inflight VR and will be offered successively from the end of May onwards on flights departing from Antalya.

The virtual reality headsets will be available on board of the aircraft. For a fee of eight Euro they offer passengers a whole new 360-degree entertainment experience: From exciting blockbusters with private cinema feeling to entertaining destination clips and meditative relaxation videos. The complete entertainment contents are stored in the headsets so passengers just strap the glasses over their heads and lean back.

“With the introduction of VR entertainment, we write the next chapter in our innovation story” says Peter Glade, Chief Commercial Officer at SunExpress. “Our collaboration with Inflight VR gives us a flexible, cost effective and logistically sound solution. We are proud to be offering our passengers this possibility on selected flights departing from Antalya.”

SunExpress has a long-standing track record of driving innovation in the airline industry and working with start-ups. For instance, SunExpress is the world’s first airline to offer its customers the option of booking flights by voice command via Amazon Alexa. Besides that, the carrier just recently launched a cooperation with food delivery start-up Foodora to offer a unique choice of modern on-board menus on selected routes.

“We believe in the tremendous potential of VR to change the way passengers experience media, explore places and spaces, as well as in the added value and opportunities it creates for companies like SunExpress to interact with the customers in new ways and generate additional revenue streams”, says Raphael Baumann, Chief Commercial Officer of Inflight VR.

Bringing Virtual Reality on board of an aircraft requires a high level of technology integration application efforts: Providing flexible integration options while always taking into account cabin safety measures. Addressing concerns detrimental to the VR user experience. Protecting content. Generating revenue. These topics were tackled successfully by Inflight VR’s unique business and technology expertise.

It’s all about making Virtual Reality a business reality.

AIX – Hamburg, Germany | April 2, 2019– Philippine Airlines (PAL) is soaring towards a 5-Star flying experience, as the award-winning Filipino flag carrier equips its long-haul fleet with SITAONAIR’s high-speed inflight connectivity (IFC) services over GX Aviation.

PAL understands that enhanced passenger experience is the key to its product offering, now and into the future, hence the decision to let PAL passengers enjoy speedier and more user-friendly Wi-Fi service through myPAL Wi-Fi Hi-Speed available on US, Canada, and London flights. This new milestone, following a series of innovative product and service upgrades rolled out in recent months, demonstrates why PAL was voted the No. 1 Most Improved Airline in the World by airlineratings.com for 2019.

PAL now offers complimentary Wi-Fi to all passengers. This improved Wi-Fi product also allows passengers to stay connected longer with an affordable renewal plan.

This latest move by PAL comes at a time when demand for IFC continues to accelerate. Inmarsat’s 2018 Inflight Connectivity Survey – Global White Paper found an overwhelming 86% of Asia-Pacific fliers would use inflight Wi-Fi if available on their next flight, with 78% declaring themselves more likely to rebook with an airline if high-quality Wi-Fi was available.

SITAONAIR has now activated GX Aviation’s high-speed broadband network, and its best-in-class IFC portal Internet ONAIR, aboard PAL’s new-generation aircraft. SITAONAIR’s solution is empowering PAL to deliver the promises of the connected aircraft, with ‘at home’ connectivity services to satisfy passengers’ growing digital demands.

SITAONAIR’s associated rapid-fire installation of GX Aviation for Philippine Airlines also represents a fantastic feat, with new techniques reducing the associated aircraft ground time by up to 70%. Previously, installing inflight connectivity services typically took about 15 days per aircraft to complete, but SITAONAIR achieved this in just 4 days – a dramatic reduction.

Philippine Airlines President and Chief Operating Officer, Jaime Bautista, said: “We are delighted to have long-term partner SITAONAIR join us on our journey towards achieving the coveted 5-Star Skytrax rating. We are taking our inflight passenger experience to the next level with SITAONAIR’s nose-to-tail inflight connectivity services over the high-speed capabilities of GX Aviation. We have high hopes that our partnership will help us achieve our mission of enhancing the total passenger experience while achieving operational efficiency. Our message to our passengers: ‘Fly on PAL’s long-haul routes and enjoy inflight connectivity at its finest’.”

Katrina Korzenowski, SITAONAIR Vice President, Asia Pacific, added: “With our customizable Internet ONAIR portal, Philippine Airlines will be equipped to provide its most enhanced, brand-defining, personalized passenger experience yet, from the forefront of the connected aircraft age. PAL is a highly-valued customer, and we are of course incredibly proud to be supporting the Philippines’ flag carrier as it drives forward its ambition to achieve a 5-Star Skytrax rating.

“SITAONAIR’s work with PAL is just one example of its mission to deliver end-to-end, future-proof connected aircraft innovations that incorporate the latest, best connectivity technologies to our airline customers’ unique specifications. We are truly a one-stop-shop with the expertise to empower airlines to achieve their bespoke connectivity ambitions, whatever their fleet or avionics preferences.”

AIX – Hamburg, Germany | April 2019– Taiwanese start-up carrier, Starlux Airlines, is gearing up for its commercial launch by announcing its partnership with SITAONAIR to bring next-generation inflight connectivity (IFC) to its passengers.

SITAONAIR will deploy its award-winning Internet ONAIR Wi-Fi portal – powered by Link ONAIR over Inmarsat’s high-speed GX Aviation satellite network – aboard the airline’s A321neos and A350s. The deal means cutting edge IFC services will be available to Starlux’s first passengers when it launches in 2020.

Founded in May 2018, Starlux Airlines will serve both Asian and North American long-haul routes from its headquarters in Taipei. Serving business and leisure markets, the airline is focused on meeting passenger demand with tailored, premium IFC offers.

The selection of SITAONAIR’s end-to-end connectivity for the inaugural fleet is a testament to both SITAONAIR’s position as an expert and unique provider of bespoke passenger experience solutions, at the forefront of connected aircraft innovation and Starlux’s commitment to developing a top-flight passenger experience ready for commercial launch.

“As we prepare to welcome our first passengers aboard in 2020, we are thrilled to be partnering with SITAONAIR to bring a world-class connectivity experience to passengers,” says Starlux’s President, Glen Chai. “We are excited by what is taking shape and are certain that Internet ONAIR over GX Aviation will deliver the consistent and high-speed connection necessary for a top-flight travel experience.”

Internet ONAIR, SITAONAIR’s award-winning inflight connectivity portal, enables passengers to stay connected with their digital lives on the ground – even at 30,000+ feet. What’s more, the portal is expertly integrated within airlines’ existing passenger manifest. This allows seamless synchronization of the latest passenger information and requirements which are recorded in the airline’s customer relationship management (CRM) system. Connecting Internet ONAIR with this rich source of customer data enables Starlux to extend its personalized passenger offerings from ground to air, to promote custom price plans and tailored content depending on passenger budget, seat class, frequent flyer status, search histories, or shopping preferences.

Katrina Korzenowski, SITAONAIR Commercial Regional VP, Asia-Pacific, says: “Starlux is an exciting new entrant to the premium air travel market, and we are delighted to be partnering with the airline to bring premium inflight passenger connectivity onboard. With our years of dedicated expertise delivering tailored solutions, we are the right partner for Starlux to bring this young carrier to the fore of passenger connectivity.”

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

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

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


Astronics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kros-Wise Aviation Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

And these are just the tip of the iceberg.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Panasonic Avionics

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


Mythopoeia

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

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


Airbus

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

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

Paris, France | March 18, 2019– The French startup SKYdeals reinvents travel retail thanks to its solution of Inflight Shoppertainment. SKYdeals strengthens its ties with the group by partnering with Air France to launch a pilot of its technology on several lines of the medium and long-haul networks of the airline.

SKYdeals is now on AIR

Since January 2019, the e-commerce platform SKYdeals is available on long, medium and short-haul flights equipped with an Internet connection to travelers from all countries: North America, South America, Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Asia and Oceania.

Julien Sivan, CEO of SKYdeals, says: “We are pleased that Air France is giving SKYdeals the opportunity to deploy our new inflight shoppertainment services. From now on, we can experience a large number of preferred offers to passengers. It will be interesting to measure the evolution of buying behaviors on board, which is a world premiere. We would like to thank Air France for their trust and supportWith the arrival of Wi-Fi on the majority of the fleets worldwide, we hope to be able to reach an audience of more than 200 million passengers a year within five years.”

A major innovation for inflight entertainment 

Freely accessible from any device, SKYdeals is available to passengers from Air France Connect, the connectivity portal of Air France.

Considered as the future of travel retail, SKYdeals relies on two major innovations.

The first marketplace dedicated to travelers currently flying which allows brands to promote preferred offers to passengers available during the time of their flight.

The unique targeting capacity of SKYdeals allows to offer a unique shopping experience on board. SKYdeals has the ability to target offers based on the travelers’ profiles and destination. Premium brands or confidential brands, already present or not duty free, will have the opportunity to offer passengers a series of exclusive offers on the platform, up to 50% off. 

Inflight Shoppertainment features, consisting of a set of dynamic commercial offers, allow passengers to be entertain while enjoying advantageous offers:

  • Flyover offers: preferred offers triggered according to the area and the country overflown and are only available during the flyover time.
  • Group Buying offers: passengers on the same flight may grouped together to obtain more advantageous offers.
  • Flash sales:  these offers are valid for 15 minutes at specific times during the flight.
  • Flying Auctions: Real auctions lasting the time of the flight.

With these features available, each connection to SKYdeals promises to be both entertaining and advantageous.

The ambition of this first deployment is a live trial of all these new offers with travelers from all nationalities and on a large number of routes.

Before we get started, we wanted to give a “tip-o-the-hat” to Jovita Toh at Encore Inflight (Hong Kong) who has developed the engaging orange shirted team of IFE content providers. They were highlighted in her Encore Expose web newsletter (Check it out here Encore Exposé – Feb19), and we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce them to you. We also wanted to highlight to our readers how successful their efforts are using their ‘teamwork’ approach, and perhaps, give you an idea of the value of working together. While not every industry content organization can (or will) use the same techniques, we suspect that the ‘team thinking’ and group planning can be of value, and obviously is, in Encore’s case. By the way, just so you know, Jovita is the lady in today’s rectangle holding a yellow arcade prize! As she notes in the website visual; “Team Spirit conquers all.” Armed with the excitement of a ‘Change In The Air’ theme, the encore team set off on a corporate retreat to be re-acquainted with each other, explore and discuss the mission of the company, and to have a bit of fun. As she notes: “Three nights in Shenzhen with a group of people that have come to be my family, they certainly were Notti Magiche (magical nights).” And yes, I now have an orange T-shirt too!

Now, lets get on with this week’s news.


SITAONAIR

Air Senegal selected SITAONAIR to deploy its best-in-class high-speed inflight connectivity (IFC) on its new-generation A330neo fleet – making Air Senegal the first airline on the African continent to activate GX Aviation passenger connectivity onboard.

With a growing demand for connectivity from Africa’s young population and a change in the overarching aviation landscape, Air Senegal’s new inflight connectivity offering comes at a crucial moment for economic growth. SITA Air Transport IT Insights figures show that 90% of the world’s airlines plan to have major wireless inflight connectivity programs in place for enhanced passenger experience by 2021, indicating a prominent shift towards global connectivity as standard. With SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR solution over GX Aviation, Air Senegal passengers can access a personalized and seamless inflight connection, keeping them connected with their digital lives, business and loved ones as they fly. In another breakthrough deal for the African market, Mobile ONAIR will give passengers a seamless mobile connectivity experience, providing them with the opportunity to make calls and send texts from the air, just as they would on the ground.


GOGO

Gogo Business Aviation announced that its most robust and highest-performing system – Gogo AVANCE L5 – has been installed and is now flying on 500 business jets. It took just 16 months to achieve the milestone from the date of the first installation – one of the fastest adoption rates of any inflight connectivity system for business aviation. With more than 770 systems shipped to date, AVANCE L5 is Gogo’s most-popular inflight connectivity system, delivering a 4G experience to a wide variety of business aircraft. From the time AVANCE L5 launched in the fourth quarter of 2017, nearly 55,000 flights have taken off with the system onboard. Gogo and its OEM partners and dealers have received certification for AVANCE L5 from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) across 79 aircraft models. The system is actively being installed at all MROs and aftermarket OEM service centers. The Gogo AVANCE L5 system connects to the Gogo Biz 4G network delivering faster speeds and enhanced network capacity enabling activities such as live streaming video and audio, video conferencing, on-demand movies, faster web browsing, personal smartphone use, real-time data for cockpit apps, and remote diagnostics and support while in flight. Early in 2018 Gogo launched AVANCE L3, a system that delivers the benefits of the Gogo AVANCE platform to passengers and flight departments in a lightweight, smaller form factor compared to L5. AVANCE L3, which currently has nearly 170 systems installed, allows users to customize their inflight experience based on their unique needs and can be installed on business aircraft of all types and sizes, but is an ideal solution for smaller aircraft including turboprops and light jets.

In total, at the end of the third quarter 2018, Gogo Business Aviation reported 5,019 aircraft flying with its air-to-ground (ATG) systems onboard and another 5,137 utilizing satellite connectivity.


FlightPath3D

FlightPath3D announced that they have been selected by over 50 airlines in just five years and they are one of the fastest growing airline app companies. They deliver their award-winning 3D Moving Map on any IFE platform and to any passenger device, empowering the digital traveler to explore destinations and travel globally like a local.

FlightPath3D’s President, Duncan Jackson says, “We’re delighted to have many airline customers flying with our wireless IFE map including, Southwest, Air Europa, Air France, All Nippon Airways, Air Arabia, Arkia, Jet Airways and WestJet.”

Commenting on the milestone, Alexis Capdevila, Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Manager at Air Europa says, “We selected FlightPath3D as the map provider for our fleet as they have the most innovative feature-rich product, providing an immersive game-like 3D experience for our passengers enabling them to follow the flight path, explore things to do at their destination and for our younger travelers discover the animals of the world.”

Jackson continues, “Our use of personalization and new artificial intelligence will enable passengers to travel globally like a local. For example, we’ve analyzed hundreds of millions of traveler data points to recommend hyperlocal attractions in every town and back corner of the world and even sorted them by popularity – it looks amazing!”

“We also want to help airlines drive revenue, allowing passengers to explore flight times and destinations to promote airline ticket sales, and estimate journey times from aircraft to hotel to promote ground transportation partners. It’s a potent cocktail when you combine rich passenger experience features with revenue generating capabilities.”


AIRBUS

  • Airbus opened its 2019 activity with 39 aircraft deliveries for 27 customers during January, raising the overall total of jetliners provided by the manufacturer to 11,802. The month’s deliveries involved 33 aircraft from Airbus’ single-aisle A320 Family, along with five A350-900s and one A330 from its widebody product lines. Notable delivery milestones during January included the initial A321neo aircraft to U.S.-based American Airlines (which has 100 on order) and to Cebu Pacific (the largest low-cost carrier in the Philippines). Also in January, Acropolis Aviation of the UK received Airbus’ first ACJ320neo, with this corporate jet version to undergo its cabin outfitting in Switzerland. Airbus’ backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of 31 January stood at 7,525 aircraft.
  • Airbus and Dassault Systèmes have signed a five-year Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to cooperate on the implementation of collaborative 3D design, engineering, manufacturing, simulation and intelligence applications. This will enable Airbus to take a major step forward in its digital transformation and lay the foundation for a new European industrial ecosystem in aviation. Under the MOA, Airbus will deploy Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which delivers digital continuity, from design to operations, in a single data model for a unified user experience, making digital design, manufacturing and services (DDMS) a company-wide reality for all Airbus divisions and product lines. DDMS paves the way for breakthroughs in new product design, operational performance, support and maintenance, customer satisfaction and new business models, as it represents a move from sequential to parallel development processes. Instead of first focusing on product performance, Airbus will be able to co-design and develop the next generation of aircraft with the manufacturing facilities that will produce them, reducing costs and time to market. “We are not just talking about digitalisation or a 3D experience, we are rethinking the way aircraft are designed and operated, streamlining and speeding up our processes with customer satisfaction in mind.” said Guillaume Faury, President Airbus Commercial Aircraft. “DDMS is a catalyst for change and with it we are building a new model for the European aerospace industry with state of the art technology. Our target is a robust production setup that offers a reduction in product development lead time.”“Nothing exemplifies the intersection of technology, science and art more than aviation. When we reflect on how the industry has evolved to where it is today, it’s a blend of technical prowess, digital precision and inspiration,” said Bernard Charlès, Vice Chairman and CEO, Dassault Systèmes. “The Aerospace industry has a proven track record of fast transformation, faster than in most industries. It delivers high quality innovation and new services for operations in highly complex and regulated environments. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform will accelerate the digital transformation of Airbus. Airbus can capture insights and expertise from across its ecosystem to deliver new experiences that only the digital world makes possible.”
  • Air Race E – Airbus has announced a global partnership with Air Race E, the world’s first electric airplane race set to launch its inaugural series in 2020. Airbus is the Official Founding Partner of Air Race E. The competition aims to drive the development and adoption of cleaner, faster, and more technologically advanced electric engines that can be applied to urban air mobility vehicles and, eventually, commercial aircraft. Air Race E will follow a format similar to the popular Air Race 1 series of the sport known as formula one air racing. Eight electric-powered airplanes will race directly against each other on a tight 5-km circuit, just 10 meters above the ground, and at speeds faster than any land-based motorsport. Airbus will work alongside other Air Race E partners, including the University of Nottingham. The University is currently developing a prototype race airplane powered by an integrated electric motor, battery, and power electronics system. The plane will help shape the model and rules for the inaugural Air Race E race in 2020.
  • Aero India – From flying and static displays of its best-in-class products to showcasing its cutting-edge aerospace services, Airbus has planned one of its biggest-ever participation at Aero India to be held in Bengaluru from 20 to 24 February, 2019. The centrepiece of the flying displays will be the A330neo – the latest addition to the leading Airbus widebody family featuring advanced materials, new optimized wings, composite sharklets and highly efficient engines that together deliver 25% reduced fuel burn and CO2 emissions. Demonstration flights will be performed by the new generation tactical airlifter C295 which can perform multi-role operations under all weather conditions.

BOEING

Boeing projects the Middle East will require $745 billion in aviation services through 2037 to keep pace with growing passenger and freight traffic in the region, according to a new report released today at MRO Middle East in Dubai. The high value services market is largely driven by the demand for nearly 3,000 new commercial airplanes in the Middle East over the next twenty years, more than tripling the existing fleet. The growing fleet requires aviation services, including supply chain support (parts and parts logistics), maintenance and engineering services, and aircraft modification.
Boeing’s Services Market Outlook (SMO) 2018-2037 – Middle East Boeing: Services Market Outlook

Perspective forecasts growing need for services that increase fleet productivity and reduce operating costs. Among the report’s findings:

1. The Middle East will drive more than 8 percent of global demand for aviation services, representing $745 billion, and growing at a projected 4.6 percent annually.
2. Nearly 218,000 new personnel – 60,000 pilots, 63,000 technicians, and 95,000 cabin crew – will be needed in the Middle East over the next 20 years.

Other News From Boeing:

Uzbekistan Airways – Boeing reached an agreement with Uzbekistan Airways to provide services that will enable the airline to more efficiently and effectively maintain its 787-8 Dreamliner fleet through the Boeing Landing Gear Exchange program. The flag carrier of the Republic of Uzbekistan will rely on Boeing to support its fleet with quick and reliable landing gear exchanges when and where they need them. This program greatly reduces maintenance time, helps the airline quickly return airplanes to service, and enables the airline to focus its resources on core operations. Boeing’s 787 Landing Gear Exchange program provides a simple and economical solution for managing landing gear overhauls, while building on Boeing’s successful history of exchange programs. Through the offering, a carrier can exchange landing gears that need to be repaired or overhauled for another set of certified landing gear from a pool that Boeing maintains. This service eliminates the need for operators to contract, schedule and manage the overhaul process.


OTHER NEWS

This week there is a lot of news but we thought you might like to start off with something we might do more of in coming issues.

TechTips

Readers: Sometimes we like to use IFExpress to start many of our friends thinking about the IFEC business and this week we found something that many of you may use in the future for your business research and writing because it uses AI and speedy searches to look up subject matter — in places you might have never thought to search. What is it? Well it is called “Talk to Books” and while you may not find exactly what you are looking for online, this may be one solution and a good place to start. Lets begin by testing this Google AI-based data development. And, please try it out for yourself and see if it can help you. Here we go:

  • First, go to this Google invented website: Talk to Books.
  • Next, in the sentence box, type in your book-based search need. We tried “What is inflight entertainment?”
  • Next, click the “dashed ground sign” to filter your searches, and we used “Current Events”; and then hit “GO”.

We won’t list what we found but we strongly suggest you try it out. There seemed to be no end the IFEC the book references we found; and if you can’t use it for just about anything you are researching, well, at least you know about it. Further, your kids and friends in school just might be able to do better information search retrievals looking for their data! Cool!


Next, Bob Bogash sent this Boeing story/info  “Nobody picks up on this, but note that G-OSRA, shown in the article, was line number 1832 and hence the last 727 built. It seems to have many years ahead. See my webpage here and some nice pix here. If you notice at the end of the page, the aircraft was converted to a an oil dispersant sprayer – here is the story!


And now, on with the latest aviation news.

THALES
CENTECH and Thales launch AI@CENTECH to boost start-ups to success in Artificial Intelligence. To support the development of start-ups working in the field of Artificial Intelligence, Thales has teamed with CENTECH, Québec’s largest start-up incubator, created by the École de Technologie Supérieure in Montreal. This strategic partnership will provide start-ups with access to the Thales Group’s technological expertise, business insights and digital capabilities that will take their concepts and prototypes to the next level of maturity. Thales has invested close to 7 billion euros in digital technologies since 2014, including the planned acquisition of Gemalto.

The explosion of digital technologies is an essential ingredient to boost innovation, accelerating the creative process to develop new solutions for a world that is increasingly data-driven, connected, immersive and reliant on autonomous systems. Thales has an important role to play in accelerating the digital transformation of its partners around the world. Working with CENTECH, Thales will support projects created by start-ups in the field of Artificial Intelligence, which is one of Thales’ four key digital technologies, alongside connectivity, big data and cybersecurity. CENTECH has been recognised by the University Business Network (UBI) as one of the most effective accelerators in the world.

Also from Thales:

The Air Navigation Service Provider for Papua New Guinea, PNG Air Services Limited, has completed a transition to the TopSky-ATC system provided by Thales. This transition represents a jump from a 30 year old paper strip system to a state-of-the-art electronic system, helping to reduce air traffic controller workload and increase safety throughout the airspace. PNGASL are responsible for the safe movement of more than 50,000 flights per year through their airspace, which includes many high level overflights. The deployment by Thales includes a main operational system and combined backup & training system. The TopSky-ATC system provides the controllers with modernized flight data processing, multi sensor surveillance processing and advanced alerting functions. Seamless coordination between neighboring states allows safe transition of flights to and from Papua New Guinea.


AIRBUS
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has approved the A330-900 for ETOPS (Extended-range Twin engine aircraft Operations) “beyond 180 minutes” diversion time. This significant achievement means that operators of the A330neo, which is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, will benefit from the most efficient, reliable and direct long-range routings. The approval, which includes ETOPS 180 min. capability in the aircraft’s basic specification, now also includes the option for “ETOPS 285 min.” This extends the potential air diversion distance to around 2,000nm. The U.S. FAA’s respective ETOPS certification is expected soon.

A330neo operators which choose the ETOPS 285 min. option will be able to serve new direct ‘non-limiting’ routings. Meanwhile, operators flying on existing routes (currently flown with up to 180-minute diversion time) will be able to traverse a straighter, quicker and more fuel efficient path, and also have access to more – and possibly better equipped – en-route diversion airports if needed.

Airbus has launched a global competition in quantum computing, inviting experts to propose and develop solutions, for complex optimization and modelisation across the full aircraft life-cycle, using newly available computing capabilities. The Airbus Quantum Computing Challenge (AQCC) aims to take science out of the lab and into industry, by applying newly-available computing capabilities to real-life industrial cases. With traditional computers approaching their limits, the quantum computer promises to deliver a new level of computational power. As an active user of High Performance Computing (HPC), Airbus is already extending current capacity by integrating and leveraging quantum technologies in fields such as route optimisation and satellite imagery. Through the challenge Airbus is looking to further explore solutions that quantum technologies can bring through the sharing of in-house and external knowledge, data and expertise. Five distinct challenges have been identified in the flight physics domain that have an impact on all aspects of Airbus’ business, from design and operations, to airline revenue streams. With varying degrees of complexity, the statements range from the simple optimization of aircraft climb to the more complex optimization of wing-box design. Open to post-graduate students, PhDs, academics, researchers, start-ups and professionals in the field of quantum computing, individuals or teams will compete for hardware access and for the opportunity to mature their ideas for industrialisation, working collaboratively with Airbus industry experts. The AQCC will run throughout 2019.
The granting of this ETOPS capability is a testimony to the aircraft’s design and systems maturity, which has been demonstrated to be as good as its predecessor – the versatile and extremely reliable A330-200/A330-300 family, proven over many millions of flights. In 2009, the Airbus A330-200/-300 became the first airliner family to gain an ETOPS ‘Beyond 180min’ certification, which was granted by EASA. Airbus twin-engine airliners have accumulated over 20 million ETOPS flight hours, most of which have been accumulated by the A330 Family. (Editor’s Note: “ETOPS” is a set of rules initially introduced by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in the mid-1980s to allow commercial operations with twin-engine aircraft on routes beyond 60min flying time from the nearest airport and which were previously operated only by aircraft with more than two engines. These rules, which are now named “EDTO” (Extended Diversion Time Operations) by ICAO have been progressively revised to allow operations beyond 180min diversion time.)


BOEING
Boeing last week successfully completed the first test flight of its autonomous passenger air vehicle (PAV) prototype in Manassas, Virginia. Boeing NeXt, which leads the company’s urban air mobility efforts, utilized Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences to design and develop the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and will continue testing to advance the safety and reliability of on-demand autonomous air transportation. The PAV prototype completed a controlled takeoff, hover and landing during the flight, which tested the vehicle’s autonomous functions and ground control systems. Future flights will test forward, wing-borne flight, as well as the transition phase between vertical and forward-flight modes. This transition phase is typically the most significant engineering challenge for any high-speed VTOL aircraft.

Powered by an electric propulsion system, the PAV prototype is designed for fully autonomous flight from takeoff to landing, with a range of up to 50 miles (80.47 kilometers). Measuring 30 feet (9.14 meters) long and 28 feet (8.53 meters) wide, its advanced airframe integrates the propulsion and wing systems to achieve efficient hover and forward flight. The test flight represents the latest milestone for Boeing NeXt. The division works with regulatory agencies and industry partners to lead the responsible introduction of a new mobility ecosystem and ensure a future where autonomous and piloted air vehicles safely coexist. In addition to the PAV, the Boeing NeXt portfolio includes an unmanned fully electric cargo air vehicle (CAV) designed to transport up to 500 pounds (226.80 kilograms) and other urban, regional and global mobility platforms. The CAV completed its first indoor flight last year and will transition to outdoor flight testing in 2019.

And, here is the flight of the PAV in Manassas, Va.
Boeing: Boeing Autonomous Passenger Air Vehicle Completes First Flight


OTHER NEWS

Self-flying aircraft an overlooked opportunity in autonomous transport – Axios It’s coming?

INMARSAT

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

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

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

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

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


AERKOMM

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


SKYLIGHTS

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

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

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

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

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

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


ATMOSPHERE

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

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

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

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

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


INTERVAL RESEARCH

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

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

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


GOGO

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


OFCOM/INMARSAT

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS

New York | December 6, 2018– JetBlue, New York’s Hometown Airline™, today announces the appointment of Edward Baklor as the carrier’s new Vice President, Inflight Experience. He will join JetBlue effective January 2019 and lead the carrier’s 5,000 award-winning inflight crewmembers.

Baklor comes to JetBlue from LaGuardia Gateway Partners where he served as Chief Commercial Officer responsible for leading the team that is transforming the commercial and guest experiences at LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B.

He previously served as the Senior Vice President of Guest Experience at Calgary-based WestJet, where he led the carrier’s airport operations, inflight, and contact center teams. Additionally, Baklor spent 14 years in various leadership roles at The Walt Disney Company’s Theme Parks and Resorts division before joining the aviation industry.

“Ed has built his entire career around the idea of service excellence, making him a perfect fit to lead JetBlue’s Inflight team,” said Ian Deason, JetBlue’s Senior Vice President, Customer Experience. “I’m thrilled to welcome him and look forward to working together to make JetBlue an even better airline for our crewmembers and customers.”

“I’ve always admired JetBlue for creating a great culture that clearly helps drive a memorable experience for its customers,” Baklor added. “I’m very excited to work alongside JetBlue’s inflight crewmembers as the airline continues to grow and evolve.”

Baklor is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C.

Major milestone reached as industry’s only global high-quality inflight Wi-Fi solution achieves rapid installation rate on world-leading business jet models

United Kingdom | October 17, 2018–Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced today that its market-leading Jet ConneX (JX) business aviation inflight Wi-Fi solution has now been installed and activated on 400 business jets worldwide.

The speed of uptake for the high-speed inflight Wi-Fi service has been rapid, with 125 installations taking place in the past four months alone. Inmarsat’s suite of advanced connectivity services make today’s connected business aircraft a more productive and efficient way to fly, providing an onboard connectivity experience in the air that has previously only been available on the ground.

Kai Tang, Senior Vice President of Business and General Aviation at Inmarsat, said: “The fact that 400 aircraft have been installed with Jet ConneX in under two years of commercial service introduction demonstrates the exceptionally high quality JX delivers to the business aviation market. Inmarsat and our partners have worked hard to exceed expectations and that is reflected in this accelerating demand from both manufacturers and business jet owners, many from Fortune 500 companies.”

Jet ConneX is the preferred linefit option by all of the market-leading business jet manufacturers including Gulfstream, Bombardier, Dassault and Embraer. In addition, Inmarsat has experienced substantial adoption of the solution on a retrofit basis, with more than 40 type certificate and supplemental type certificate (STC) approvals already secured, including for all Boeing and Airbus VVIP type models.

Using Inmarsat’s advanced Ka-band satellite network, Jet ConneX offers data plans up to 15Mbps and delivers a reliable, consistent Wi-Fi experience that enables the business traveller to stream wherever and whenever.

Aircraft connect to the service using Jet Wave hardware, offered exclusively by Honeywell Aerospace. To date, more than 1,800 of these JetWave systems have already been delivered by Honeywell.

Inmarsat is transforming the global aviation industry by bringing complete connectivity to every aircraft and flight path in the world. It is the first and only provider with a complete High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) network spanning the world. Inmarsat is also the only aviation broadband provider capable of connecting the complete aircraft from cabin to cockpit.

Los Angeles, USA | September 25, 2018–Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. [NASDAQ: ENT] today announced that it is bringing global destination recommendations to passengers’ finger tips inflight with trusted content from the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor – without the need for internet access or a seatback screen.

The new service is called “Air Cities” and is available through Global Eagle’s award-winning Airtime inflight platform, which wirelessly streams content and other services directly to passengers in flight. Jet Airways of India is the first customer for wireless Air Cities.

“Every passenger wants the world at his or her fingertips, and Global Eagle is constantly seeking innovative products to satisfy the rising demand for unique content on board,” said Global Eagle CEO Josh Marks.

Global Eagle’s Air Cities service provides destination guides that are curated from content supplied by TripAdvisor. This includes points of interest within specific categories, such as Accommodation, restaurants, and experiences Passengers will see locations that are top-rated by global travelers, photos, and reviews. No internet connection will be needed to view the content.

“Air Cities is part of an expansive product offering for airlines to offer passengers,” said Marks. “Global Eagle offers the leading movie, TV, music and gaming content in the industry, as well as flight tracking, education and other options, with advertising and sponsorship opportunities that generate revenue.”

FTS announces landmark agreement with Donghai Airlines to provide Next Generation Inflight Broadband Service fleet-wide that will be first in China to integrate both cockpit and passenger cabin applications

Boston, USA | September 24, 2018– FTS announces at the APEX EXPO Boston 2018 that it has signed a landmark agreement to equip Donghai Airlines fleet with its XStream-SAT Next Generation Inflight Broadband system.  The agreement is significant as it will be first fully “Connected Aircraft” implementation in China to integrate both cockpit and passenger cabin applications over Inflight broadband connectivity service.

Donghai Airlines is a private airline headquartered in Shenzhen China that started commercial flights in 2006.  It flies to over 41 destinations and operates the youngest fleet in China, comprising 18 B737-800 averaging less than 2.5 years in age.  Mr. Yang Jianhong, CEO of Donghai Airlines said, “Our vision of “Connected Aircraft” is not merely just Wi-Fi streaming IFE.  With full integration of front and back cabin applications over inflight broadband, we aspire to offer unparalleled passenger experience, improve air travel safety, efficiency and quality.”

Rich Salter, Chief Technology Officer of FTS added, “The seamless integration of the aircraft data network with the airline’s IT infrastructure enables the aircraft to become more intelligent and data-centric.  Airlines can provide precise support to flights through analysis of real time data transmitted via the air-ground broadband network.  By remote monitoring of flight systems’ performance and leveraging AI deep learning, airlines can even preemptively predict defects, recommend preventive measures and thereby greatly improve flight reliability.”

Under the agreement, Donghai Airlines fleet will be installed with FTS XStream-SAT Inflight Broadband Connectivity system, featuring a Ka-band satcom sub-system and highspeed cabin wireless network.  Apart from front cabin applications, passengers can expect to browse the internet, interact on social networks, watch live TV and shop on e-commerce sites using their own mobile devices.

Over the past year, there have been numerous IFEC personnel changes that have the potential to impact and influence the direction our industry is charting. Thales and Gogo have many new entrants to the industry on their employment roster, as well as, new leaders at the helm; while the vast majority of Panasonic’s upper management has been rolled over in the past 18 months. As new folks enter the market we strongly expect both product and product direction changes in the inflight & avaition arena. With these new teams in place, we also anticipate new market opportunities to open up with the cross pollination from other technology industries where many of these new entrants stem from. Debt will also become a driver that will focus modifications of current business products and create new product directions. One area we see with a strong growth is data. Data from passengers, from the airlines, and data from (and to) hardware. Specifically, we see the potential of new data products/analytics about the aircraft and it’s hardware. With the growth of data, we expect malware increases as well – something is bound to happen. While we will watch and report what we see coming, keep your eye on the future of AI and it’s ability to help determine product condition and passenger needs!

Now, lets get down to this week’s news highlights:

THALES

Sichuan Airlines is celebrating the entry into service of their new A350 XWB. Thales is delighted to join their partner in celebrating this important milestone. This is the first Airbus A350 in China to be equipped with Thales AVANT IFE system. They have relied on Thales to help deliver their promise to exceed passenger expectations by equipping their new A350 XWB with AVANT. With its sleek and lightweight design, Thales’s high performing IFE solution provides the passengers of Sichuan Airlines an exceptional inflight experience and a vast selection of entertainment during their flight. The onboard entertainment services include a variety of television series, the most recent feature films, music, and games. This further strengthens the relationship between Sichuan Airlines and Thales who is already the airline’s preferred business partner in avionics – including Flight Management System for their A320/A330 fleet, customer support and innovative services. Thales is proud of this partnership and the extended collaboration with Sichuan Airlines to provide the best inflight experience. “Thales is honored to equip Sichuan Airlines new A350 XWB aircraft with our state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system, AVANT. We support Sichuan Airlines ambitions to drive the highest level of passenger satisfaction as we work together to shape new opportunities to provide a truly unique experience to all travelers.” – Philippe Carette, CEO, Thales InFlyt Experience


SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct, the business aviation connectivity, software and hardware provider, has confirmed its first Jet ConneX installation for Deer Jet subsidiary, Hongkong Jet. The ultra-high-speed Ka-band service, powered by Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite constellation, is being supplied to a privately-owned Gulfstream G650ER, managed and maintained by Hongkong Jet. Installed at Gulfstream’s Long Beach, CA. facility and activated by SD in early summer, the system delivers unrivaled cabin access to the highest data speeds available to business aircraft in the sky. “The principal runs a large, international Chinese conglomerate so the ability to use voice and text services, download and email documents, and surf the web, are fundamental to his business. His family often travels with him and they want to stream video, watch favorite TV series, and big sporting events. The need to deliver constant, reliable, secure connectivity is essential. With Jet ConneX installed the cabin is truly a home from home, as well as an office in the air,” says Mike Walsh, chief commercial officer, Hongkong Jet.

The Satcom Direct Router, SDR, seamlessly delivers the high-speed connectivity throughout the G650ER cabin to all passenger devices. In addition, data integrity is maintained by the SD suite of cyber security software solutions which while managed by the SDR, are supplemented by certified SD experts, to proactively mitigate potential threats and block intrusion attempts in real-time.“The data security offering, the standard of SD global customer service, and the ability to respond 24/7 to resolve potential issues, played a significant part in our decision to appoint them as the Ka-band provider. Our clients expect us to maintain the aircraft to the highest standards and we rely on SD to meet and exceed those expectations in terms of connectivity,” said Denzil White, chief executive officer, Hongkong Jet.


SITAONAIR

SITAONAIR’s EFB Weather Awareness Solution (eWAS) is the latest application certified by Inmarsat for use across its next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) communications platform for the flight deck, allowing airlines to now receive the latest weather view in real-time during flights. Following its certification under Inmarsat’s Aviation Certified Application Provider (CAP) program, eWAS users will now be able to seamlessly utilize SITAONAIR’s best-in-class technology for pilots using real-time SB-S datalink connectivity. The popular pilot weather solution offers up to-date views of severe weather, which can then enable a smoother, more efficient inflight experience for passengers and crew – and avoid related cost implications that were once deemed unavoidable. Severe turbulence, lightning, ice crystallization and other volatile weather phenomena can significantly impact an airline’s bottom line, with a single weather event sometimes costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, in addition to negatively impacting on-time performance targets. Such weather phenomena can rapidly appear, shift location, and grow in intensity, posing an increasing problem for airlines that traditional weather briefing packages cannot deal with.


BOEING/AvionX

Boeing named Brendan Curran president of Boeing AvionX, an organization formed last year to pursue the development and production of avionics and electronics systems. Curran, who has more than 20 years of aerospace industry leadership, joins Boeing from Crane Co., where he served as president of the Aerospace & Electronics Group. In this newly-created position, Curran will work across Boeing’s commercial, defense and services businesses to further mature the company’s aftermarket strategy. He will help advance overall capabilities of the Boeing AvionX organization to provide greater value to customers while driving long-term services growth. Curran will report to Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services. “The success of Boeing AvionX depends on aftermarket technologies and innovations that exceed our customers’ needs, as well as developing avionics products that add value to our commercial and government platforms,” said Deal. “Brendan’s extensive expertise, especially as it relates to aftermarket strategies, will enable us to harness incredible opportunities so we can provide our customers more value throughout the life-cycle of their investments.”Prior to Crane Co., Curran was vice president of Business Development, Strategy and Partnerships for commercial engines at Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Company. Before that, Curran was vice president and general manager of Repair and Supply Chain for Hamilton Sundstrand, a United Technologies Company.

Curran will be based in Plano, Texas, home to Boeing Global Services headquarters.


PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has appointed Catherine L. Razzano as Chief Compliance Officer. Catherine will be responsible for overseeing Panasonic’s compliance with laws, regulatory requirements, policies and procedures, and will report directly to the General Counsel of Panasonic Corporation of North America (PNA) with a dotted line reporting structure to Panasonic’s Chief Executive Officer, Hideo Nakano.

She joins Panasonic from General Dynamics Corporation where she held the position of Assistant General Counsel and Director from 2010. Her responsibilities included counsel on business and legal strategies, budget management for the legal department and serving as lead counsel to the company’s Government Relations Department. At General Dynamics, she also focused on the company’s compliance with anti-bribery laws, export controls, economic sanctions and other trade embargoes, anti-boycott regulations, anti-money laundering laws, and third-party intermediary agreements and due diligence requirements.


Gogo

Gogo, the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, today announced its financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2018.

“Our BA segment achieved its highest ever quarterly revenue and EBITDA and we believe this segment is well positioned for continued growth,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s President and CEO. “Our CA-NA segment showed solid service revenue growth over Q2 2017, excluding American Airlines. Our 2Ku operating metrics continue to improve and are helping to drive increased customer satisfaction.”

“Our second quarter results were elevated by the strong BA performance, a reduction and the timing of operating costs, and higher CA Net Service Revenue, among other items, and we maintain our 2018 Adjusted EBITDA guidance range of $35-$45 million,” said Barry Rowan, Gogo’s Executive Vice President and CFO. “We are beginning to realize the benefits of our ‘Gogo 2020’ plan and we believe these operational improvements will drive strong EBITDA growth going forward.”

Check out the financial report here.


OTHER NEWS

Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has appointed Gaston Sandoval, as Global Head of Marketing and Product Management. In this role, Gaston will lead Panasonic’s marketing and product strategy as the company evolves into a digital platform and services company and delivers the next generation of passenger experiences.

As Global Head of Marketing and Product Management, Gaston will oversee Panasonic’s branding, market insights, product marketing, performance marketing, content marketing, creative, communications, as well as product management.

Before Panasonic, Gaston enjoyed a lengthy, successful career at IBM. As Chief Operating Officer of IBM Digital, he led the deployment and market expansion of IBM’s Marketplace. Under his leadership, IBM Marketplace’s portfolio grew to include over 1,000 digital offerings, creating a new business unit with more than $1 billion USD in annual sales.

For two years, he served as CMO of the Watson and Software Group in Tokyo. In that role, he led IBM Watson’s launch in Japan in partnership with Softbank Group, and established the market for artificial intelligence and cognitive solutions in the region.

He also launched IBM IoT, PaaS and SaaS portfolios, helping make Japan IBM’s best performing region globally. As Head of Product Management for IBM datacenter provisioning and endpoint management products in Austin, Texas, he helped drive the foundational capabilities for IBM cloud.

Most recently, Gaston served as SVP, Global Marketing at Openlink Financial, a leading fintech enterprise software company, where he led its marketing transformation to a digital-first, outcome-based organization, repositioning the company that resulted in its accelerated successful acquisition by the ION Group.

Mark Jennings, Chief Operating Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Gaston brings with him a wealth of experience that makes him the ideal person to lead Panasonic Avionics’ repositioning into a digital platform and services company.”

Gaston added: “Panasonic Avionics is world renowned for the innovation it continually delivers in the passenger experience. As it evolves into a digital platform and services company, I look forward to the challenge of spearheading a marketing and product strategy which enable a next-generation passenger experience.

Gaston brings extensive global experience having lived and led teams in Japan, China, Latin America and North America. He also holds an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management and a B.S. in Computer Science and Computer Engineering from the National Polytechnic School in Ecuador.

He is passionate about sustainable development and runs an NGO in Ecuador focused on supporting families and children in need


Thales

Thales has appointed Philippe Carette as Chief Executive Officer to lead the InFlyt Experience business. The business is a leading provider of cutting-edge technologies that entertain, connect and inspire more than 1 million passengers airline across 70 airlines each day around the globe.

Mr. Carette will drive the company’s strategic corporate transformation initiatives within the business to spur greater competitiveness and long-term market leadership. He will also steer the digitalization of the connectivity and entertainment systems portfolio to deliver unique value to airline customers in a rapidly evolving cabin environment. This includes the recently introduced InFlyt360 digital platform, which allows airlines to continuously improve the passenger experience with features such as personalization, monetization, fresh and dynamic content and optimized engagement.

Mr. Carette replaces Dominique Giannoni who managed the successful growth of Thales InFlyt Experience during the past 5 years and now takes on a new leadership role within Thales.

Mr. Carette has spent more than 30 years in the aviation industry and previously held several leadership positions within Thales, to include the head of the Electrical Systems business and vice president and managing director of the Commercial Avionics unit. Prior to joining Thales, he was president of German aerospace connectivity systems provider, Deutsch Aerospace & Transportation – TE Connectivity; managing director at European engineering consultancy leader ALTEN; president and managing director at Sogeti High Tech, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cap Gemini; and managing director at Safran Group for Engineering Services and Electrical Systems. He holds a degree in engineering from the Institut polytechnique de Grenoble in France.

“Philippe is a leader in the aerospace industry and a proven leader in shaping strong businesses. His expertise in innovative advanced technologies will be instrumental to accompany our client’s big digital ambitions and our long-term growth strategy.”

Gil Michielin,Thales Avionics Executive Vice-President

“Philippe’s focus on customer success makes him an indispensable partner for airline customers. He brings a global perspective and unwavering commitment to excellence in execution and customer service.”

Alan Pellegrini Thales Chief Executive in the USA


Astronics

Astronics Corporation announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics PGA, was awarded a contract to provide its next-generation seat motion and lighting systems for Jamco’s new Venture seat program. Astronics PGA also entered into a long-term contract for potential future seat projects.


AIX

The event, which is co-located with APEX and IFSA, is the world’s largest fall event dedicated to the passengers experience, and it is the place to see all of the innovations that passengers can expect to see on their future flights under one roof. Each year the event attracts thousands of visitors and almost 300 buyers from the world’s leading airlines who attend to source the interiors for their new or existing aircraft – from first and business class seating, to Inflight Entertainment and airline food – the event is a one-stop shop. Exhibiting companies include Acro Aircraft Seating, Boeing, Diehl Aviation, E Leather, gategroup, Panasonic Avionics, STS Aviation Group, San Diego Aircraft interiors, and Tapis Corporation. See you there!


SITA

Scoot, Singapore Airlines’ low cost carrier, has renewed its long-term communication network services with SITA as the airline continues to expand to new locations worldwide. SITA AirportHub is simplifying the way Scoot connects its central IT systems to the airports in its rapidly-growing route network. The IT infrastructure is typically in place within three weeks, enabling Scoot to be flexible and agile as it adds new destinations throughout Asia, Europe, Africa and America. Jason Chin, Vice President, IT, Scoot, said: “Scoot currently has an extensive network of 66 destinations across 18 countries and territories, and plans for aggressive growth are in place. It is vital that our IT infrastructure is connected among our partners and efficient enough to support our expansion. SITA is a reliable partner in efficiently getting airports connected. With SITA’s global footprint, speed and flexibility, we can focus on expansion and adding new routes to our network.”

AirportHub is unique shared infrastructure that allows airlines to connect all their applications and IT systems at an airport quickly and easily. It removes the complexity of dealing with local telecom providers and adds flexibility and agility to route management. SITA’s system is currently operational at more than 440 airports and provides 7,000 customer connections around the world. SITA’s network services will connect Scoot destinations worldwide to its reservation system, Departure Control Services and disaster recovery site. Scoot is voted Best Low Cost Airline (Asia/Pacific) by AirlineRatings.com in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and ranked in the Top 10 of the World’s Best Low-Cost Airlines by Skytrax

Also from SITA

Brisbane Airport, the premier gateway to Queensland and the third busiest airport in Australia, has again selected SITA as its technology partner as the airport continues its growth and transformation plans. The new agreement will see SITA develop and extend the technology it provides for passenger, baggage and airport services to support Brisbane Airport’s commitment to service. The five-year agreement continues the airport’s close partnership with SITA which has successfully been in place for more than 20 years. Today, Brisbane Airport operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and SITA provides world-class technology with round-the-clock service support. This includes SITA AirportConnect® Open, its common-use platform and self-service bag drop and check-in, which ensure that Brisbane Airport runs smoothly for the 32 airlines that use the airport to fly to 81 domestic and international destinations.


Airbus

The first Ultra Long Range Airbus A350 XWB to be delivered to launch customer Singapore Airlines has rolled out of the paint shop in the carrier’s distinctive livery. Now at an advanced stage of production, the aircraft will undergo further testing before being delivered to the airline in the coming months.

Singapore Airlines has ordered seven A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft, and all of them are in various stages of assembly. The first aircraft to have flown has successfully completed its flight test program, which focused on the redesigned fuel system. It is now being fitted with its cabin.

The airline will operate the aircraft on non-stop services from Singapore to the US. This includes flights between Singapore and New York, which will be the world’s longest commercial service, as well as on routes to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The Ultra Long Range A350-900 is the latest variant of the best-selling A350 XWB Family, and will have an extended range of up to 9,700 nautical miles. This has been achieved by a modified fuel system, which increases the aircraft’s fuel carrying capacity by 24,000 liters without the need for additional fuel tanks.

With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 280 tonnes, the Ultra Long Range A350 is capable of flying over 20 hours non-stop, combining the highest levels of passenger and crew comfort with unbeatable economics for such distances.

The A350 XWB is an all new family of widebody long-haul airliners shaping the future of air travel. The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fiber fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivaled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 percent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs.


Valour

Almost four in ten commercial aircraft, globally, will be equipped to provide passengers with in-flight Wi-Fi by the end of 2018, that’s according to the market intelligence company’s latest analysis of the in-flight connectivity (IFC) market.

The number of airlines rolling out IFC has continued to rise, with Valour´s quarterly tracker indicating there are 90 carriers offering passenger Wi-Fi at the end of March 2018. There is little to suggest a slowdown is on the horizon, with service providers boasting sizeable backlogs and notable announcements expected from airlines in China and India going into 2019. Valour Consultancy anticipates the number of aircraft with IFC will reach almost 21,000 by the end of 2026, up from approximately 7,500 today.

Valour Consultancy is a provider of high-quality market intelligence. Its latest report “The Future of In-Flight Connectivity” is now in its third edition and is widely-regarded as the most comprehensive resource on this subject, underpinned by the depth of its firmly-established quarterly IFC tracker database. The report features 150 tables and charts accompanied by extensive commentary on the latest market issues, technology trends and the competitive environment. Check here for a full table of contents and report scope.


Other News

  • Expects 2018 revenue of $745 million to $815 million
  • Expects to record non-cash impairment charge of approximately $16 million in fourth quarter of 2017

East Aurora, NY | January 11, 2018– Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced today updated expectations for 2017 year-end results and revenue guidance for 2018.

Astronics announced that bookings for the 2017 fourth quarter were approximately $229 million. The Company’s Aerospace segment contributed $171 million in orders, which included $17 million in orders related to the December 1, 2017 acquisition of Telefonix PDT. The Test segment had $58 million in bookings, which included $56 million for semiconductor test equipment.

The Company updated its 2018 consolidated revenue guidance to $745 million to $815 million. The Aerospace segment is expected to have a revenue range of $630 million to $680 million including Telefonix PDT. The Test segment is expected to have revenue of $115 million to $135 million.

The Company also announced that it expects to record a non-cash goodwill impairment charge against the goodwill associated with Armstrong Aerospace of approximately $16 million in the 2017 fourth quarter.

Peter J. Gundermann, President and Chief Executive Officer of Astronics Corporation, commented, “We are disappointed with the goodwill situation at Armstrong, but we believe the combination of that business with Telefonix will perform well in the future. At the same time, we believe we have very strong momentum as we enter 2018. Our strong bookings in the second half of 2017 sets the stage for a very exciting year.”

The Company expects to release its fourth quarter and full year 2017 financial results in late February 2018.

Chicago | October 31, 2017–Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced it has conducted its first successful test flight and has begun the nationwide rollout of its new regional Air-to-Ground (ATG) inflight network.

The next generation ATG network combined with Gogo’s proprietary aero antenna, in-cabin network and software platform will bring up to 30 times more bandwidth to an aircraft than our original ATG solution.  Once the network upgrades are complete, Gogo will have a North American ATG solution that will deliver performance on the aircraft that is comparable to Gogo’s 2Ku global satellite solution.

Gogo’s next generation ATG network will have peak network capacity of more than 100 Gbps.  When combined with Gogo’s global satellite network, Gogo will have the highest capacity network ever built that’s dedicated to serving aviation.

“Our networks and inflight connectivity solutions are dedicated to serving aviation and today we are delivering more bandwidth to deliver a better passenger experience and support our aviation partners’ operations,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO.

Our next generation ATG network utilizes unlicensed spectrum in the 2.4GHz spectrum band as well as the licensed spectrum from Gogo’s original ATG network to provide greater bandwidth and reliability.  It also leverages Gogo’s existing ATG network backhaul and infrastructure of more than 250 cell towers.  On the aircraft, Gogo has developed a proprietary new antenna and modem that will produce peak speeds of more than 100 Mbps per aircraft.

The solution will be ideal for business aviation aircraft, commercial regional jets and select mainline aircraft operating in the U.S. For business aviation aircraft, this service will be available as an upgrade to aircraft already equipped with Gogo’s Avance L5 connectivity solution.  For commercial aviation, any aircraft outfitted with equipment designed to leverage Gogo’s first generation ATG network will simply need to be outfitted with a new modem and blade antenna to take advantage of the new service.  The network will be available in 2018.

Envee Inflight Entertainment has partnered with China Eastern Airlines to help them engage passengers and enrich their inflight experience.

Long Beach, California | September 26, 2017– Envee Inflight Entertainment is a leading international IFE provider founded in 2010. The company’s headquarter is based in California, USA with a second office in Chengdu, the ca- pital city of Sichuan, China. Envee focuses on making passenger’s flight experience more entertaining by offering inflight games, applications, media content and customized software solutions to airlines. Envee’s content is already available on Panasonic, Thales, Rockwell Collins and Zodiac IFE systems flying on more than 80% of China’s airlines. 2017 is a spe- cial one for Envee due to the successful partnership with China Eastern Airlines, which has helped Envee to become a leader in the IFE software market of China.

It is not easy to integrate with IFE, but Envee is convinced that it is making the best decision. Envee is confident that its deep knowledge of the Chinese people and culture will help it pro- vide the most suitable content for China Eastern Airline passengers.

Games such as “Mahjongg,” “Gumoku” (aka “Five in a Row”), “Huarong Path,” “Chinese Chess” and “Zuma” are favored by Chinese passengers but Envee hasn’t forgotten its Wes- tern passengers or those who want to break from traditional Chinese games. Envee’s IFE ga- ming portfolio has over 140 titles, including puzzles, sports, action-adventure games and ca- sino-style card games. Popular among passengers are Real 3D Extreme Racing and Magic Forest developed by Envee’s skilled team of technicians. Thanks to partnerships with the in- ternational licensors, passengers can play popular online games such as Scrat Adventures, Save the Puppies, Real Football 2016, and Super Party Sports: Football.

Locally in China, Envee has partnered with China Southern Airlines, Air China, Hainan Air- lines, Xiamen Airlines, Tibet Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, and Shenzhen Airlines, along with international airlines such as Eurowings.

Singapore, APEX EXPO | October 25, 2016–
PXCom officially launches its Digital Inflight Ad-Serving solution called AirSAS at APEX EXPO 2016, and unveils the first KPIs
AirSAS enables brands to roll out their digital campaign throughout the IFE, without any required connectivity or bandwidth consumption, disrupting in- flight legacy advertising.

Until now, brands who wanted to reach the traveller during their flight had only the choice between paper inflight mag, global pre-roll videos, stickers… Whilst traditional advertising budgets are continuously tightening, digital budgets remain on a fast growing trend.
PXCom and its media sales partner, IMM International, decided to bring to the air industry an effective tool enabling airlines to tap into this growing gold mine, creating AirSAS.

The ultimate inflight digital ad-serving solution
Designed for both seatback screens and w-IFE, AirSAS is formed of several software modules: a back-office cloud suite, a dedicated IFE ad-server, and a reporting module.

The back-office encompasses campaigns management for both brands (from creation to reports edition), and airlines (enabling advertisers selection as well as self-promotion). Once created, the digital campaigns are either sent to PXCom’s IFE ad-serving module or to other connected IFE ad-servers developed by the IFE manufacturers themselves. The upload operation is conducted when the aircraft are on the ground. During the flight the ad-server rolls out the campaigns according to their management rules, and the gathered data are offloaded once the aircraft are back on the ground. Then the reporting module aggregates all the gathered data in order to update the campaigns.

“AirSAS offers the state-of-the-art features that can be found on the most accurate web/mobile ad-servers, enabling full targeting and rules management capabilities”, says Cyril JEAN, PXCom’s CEO. “However, some IFE systems already offer some digital advertising opportunities, even if they are not comprehensive. Since we are platform agnostic, in such case, we recommend to proceed step by step, and connect our back office as a good starting point. Then, on a second step, we can schedule a full integration of AirSAS into the IFE. Our ultimate goal is to enable brands to target passengers and no longer airlines. This involves a great shift of mind from the industry!”

First results and live update
Prior to launch AirSAS officially, PXCom has conducted some tests within its interactive destination guides for IFEC, measuring all the relevant KPIs, among them:

  • An average of 23% of w-IFE users go to Destination Guides section
  • 89% spend more than 11 minutes on a destination guide
  • 16 minutes of average browsing time for a 2-hour flight / 28 minutes for a 4-hour flight.
  • Top 3 sections are: Do&See (37%), Bars & Nightlife (14%), Restaurants (13%)
    (Full results will be available online during the expo).

Full AirSAS solution is currently onboarding on its first airlines, with operational live report which updates the results between every 3 and 24 hours according to the considered airline and flight length. Stay tuned!

“The loop is now seamless and fully operational”, comments Cyril JEAN. “With a growing number of advertisers, the next step for AirSAS is the yield management feature, enabling automatic selection of the most profitable campaigns. With such a qualified audience, airline industry can easily avoid the digital pitfalls that has been digged by the real time biding (RTB) on the web & mobile.”

PXCom exhibits on #1120 at APEX Expo 2016.

Helsinki and Carlsbad, CA | September 1, 2016– Finnair has signed an agreement with ViaSat Inc., (NASDAQ: VSAT) a global broadband services and technology company, to install a high-speed wireless internet network on its entire Airbus A320 series short-haul fleet flying in Europe. The installation of the Wi-Fi equipment will begin in May 2017, and will be completed by June 2018.

With a connection speed of 12 Mbps or higher per passenger, the new system will offer the fastest in-flight internet connection currently available on the market, which will also enable the use of increasingly popular video streaming services. ViaSat will ensure end-to-end in-flight connectivity service across the Finnair fleet, and has partnered with Eutelsat to deliver the high-speed satellite-based internet service, which will cover the entire European continent.

“Our customers increasingly value the possibility of being connected during their flights and this change will also create great opportunities for Finnair to further develop its in-flight portal that will serve customers with news, entertainment and great shopping opportunities on their portable devices,” says Piia Karhu, SVP, Customer Experience Development at Finnair. “We are very pleased to partner with ViaSat on this project as we will be able to offer our customers the best possible Wi-Fi offering available on the market today, and that has the ability to scale, once the installations are completed.”

“Finnair is a forward-looking airline that is recognized worldwide for customer service,” says Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Mobility at ViaSat. “With the ViaSat in-flight Wi-Fi system, enabled across Europe by Eutelsat’s service, Finnair can deliver greater value to its customers by giving them the freedom to use their own device to engage with the internet in new ways – from enhanced online shopping to out-of-the-box online entertainment experiences.”

Last July, Finnair announced that its entire long-haul fleet of Airbus A330 aircraft would be retrofitted with Wi-Fi connectivity by May 2017. Finnair is currently operating six A350-XWB aircraft which already offer wireless connectivity for its passengers. The airline is expected to receive an additional five A350 aircraft by the end of next year. With both the long-haul and short-haul fleet set to offer internet connectivity by June 2018, over a thousand route pairs in Finnair’s network will offer Wi-Fi connectivity for transiting passengers. Additionally, Finnair’s Wi-Fi coverage over Chinese airspace has recently been opened, having been closed previously due to limitations by the authorities.

Finnair’s wireless internet access is free for Business class passengers, Finnair Plus Gold and Platinum customers, and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald level customers. Economy class passengers can purchase internet access at an hourly rate or for the duration of the flight.

Lake Forest, California | August 3, 2016– Panasonic Avionics Corporation is engaging with elite “white hat” hackers through leading bug bounty provider HackerOne to ensure the security of its inflight entertainment systems.

HackerOne has helped major companies such as General Motors, Uber, Twitter, Airbnb, DropBox and Adobe identify and fix security vulnerabilities as part of authorised bug bounty and vulnerability coordination programs.

Panasonic, the world’s largest provider of inflight entertainment and communications systems, is taking part in the program as it is acknowledged as best practice for effective security by identifying any weaknesses in internet-connected systems.

The bug bounty program will begin by inviting a select group of hackers to participate and will launch at the upcoming DefCon Conference which takes place August 4-7, 2016 in Las Vegas.

“Panasonic Avionics has always taken a proactive approach to security,” said Michael Dierickx, Director of Security Engineering and Information Security Officer at Panasonic Avionics Corporation. “We have extensive processes in place to identify potential and emerging vulnerabilities, and we also engage with security consultation firms who provide penetration testing and other services.

“Still, these teams bring a fresh perspective and innovative ways to search for potential issues. We want to harness this out-of-the-box thinking and create a win-win scenario that rewards both Panasonic and this community for our hard work and dedication.”

HackerOne partnered with the Department of Defence earlier this year for the U.S. Federal Government’s first ever bug bounty program “Hack The Pentagon,” which helped resolve 138 valid vulnerabilities identified by the ethical hackers.

“With the HackerOne platform Panasonic Avionics has access to the world’s most powerful external security team, the global hacker community, to continue enhancing the security of their internet-connected systems,” said HackerOne CEO Marten Mickos. “Inviting white hat or ethical hackers to hunt for bugs is a powerful method for making connected technology safer for everyone.”

Carlsbad, CA | July 25, 2016– The United States Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) awarded ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global broadband services and technology company, a non-competitive, firm-fixed-price contract to provide senior leaders and their support staff with global in-flight broadband and communications services. The award covers support for VC-25s, C-17s, C-32s, C-37s, C-40s and the complete range of VIP and special air mission aircraft.

The ViaSat in-flight internet service has been recognized industry-wide for delivering high-quality, reliable and fast in-flight internet service[1]. As noted by ViaSat, the service enables “a Situation Room in the Sky” experience – with the ability to use the in-flight broadband connection to stream full-motion high-definition video for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), en-route Command and Control (C2) and Search and Rescue (S&R) missions; maintain two-way communications through HD video conference calling or voice over internet protocol calls; access real-time intelligence and other location-based, live-sensor data for critical decision-making and more.

“ViaSat’s high-capacity global in-flight internet service ensures executive and government leaders and their teams can stay connected, informed and productive, maximizing the effectiveness of time in-flight with ‘Situation Room and Command Center’ connectivity in the sky,” said Ken Peterman, senior vice president and general manager, Government Systems Division, ViaSat. “This award is a significant accomplishment and we are proud to be delivering remarkably fast data speeds and an abundance of capacity to support the in-flight communications needs of our government’s senior leadership on Air Force One and other special air mission aircraft.”

ViaSat believes a key enabler to delivering this global in-flight broadband connectivity is that it offers a field-proven, certified, hybrid Ku-/Ka-band system, which will keep government aircraft connected to ViaSat’s best available satellite network. The hybrid terminal and radome enables automatic in-flight network switching across Ku- and Ka-band satellite networks for an advanced “global roaming capability.”

Award Details

According to DISA, the face value of this award is $33,052,330 funded by fiscal 2016 operations and maintenance funding. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $73,217,722. The synopsis/notice of intent was posted on the Federal Business Opportunities webpage. The period of performance is June 1, 2016, through May 31, 2017, with two six-month option periods. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, is the contracting activity.

Buxtehude, Germany | July 2016– Buxtehude, July 2016 – KID-Systeme GmbH announces the extension of its Management Board to a multi-member Board. Effective from 1th of May Peter Schetschine, previously Vice President Customer Affairs, has been appointed General Manager of KID-Systeme with the focus of Customer Relationship.

Next to Managing Director Patrick Schrot, Peter Schetschine will be responsible for the overall revenue generation including business development, product line management, sales, customer program management, marketing communications and events.

Peter Schetschine started his career in the aircraft industry more than 25 years ago after graduating in physical science und physiology. Since then he held a variety of senior management positions in engineering, business development and sales at KID-Systeme and Airbus. Peter Schetschine has been part of KID-Systeme GbmH since its formation in 1999 and challenged the growing international business of KID as Vice President of Customer Affairs. As leader of sales, marketing and communications he has a strong record managing many sales and marketing campaigns, international exhibitions and building global sales networks.

  • Europe moves a step closer to offering air travellers the most powerful broadband experience in the sky after first-of-its-kind connectivity network achieves key milestone

United Kingdom | July 21, 2016– Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced today that construction and associated sub-system tests of the satellite for its market-changing European Aviation Network (EAN) in-flight connectivity solution has been completed on schedule by Thales Alenia Space.

The key milestone was achieved on schedule following an extensive two-year build process in Toulouse and Cannes, France. The completed S-band payload module was shipped in early July to Thales Alenia Space’s testing center in Cannes, where satellite integration (‘mating’) was also successfully completed. The satellite is now undergoing rigorous system end-to-end testing before it is declared ready for flight in 2017.

EAN is the world’s first integrated satellite and air-to-ground network dedicated to providing a true in-flight broadband experience for Europe’s aviation industry and for millions of passengers who have been cut-off from fast, reliable and consistent broadband access during their flights.

The satellite has been custom-designed to provide mobile satellite services (MSS) to aircraft flying over the dense European routes, exploiting Inmarsat’s 30MHz (2 x 15MHz) S-band spectrum allocation in all 28 EU member states, plus Norway and Switzerland.

It will be integrated with a LTE-based ground network covering approximately 300 sites, operated by Inmarsat’s partner Deutsche Telekom. Aircraft will switch automatically between satellite and terrestrial connectivity using an on–board network communicator for optimal service delivery.

Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “The European Aviation Network has been specifically engineered to meet the connectivity needs of the aviation industry and is a cornerstone in our expanding worldwide mobile cellular network. It will offer unprecedented high-speed capacity at 75Mb/s with near zero latency while flying over Europe, so passengers can enjoy an easy-to-use true broadband experience for internet streaming, gaming and other online services direct to their personal smart devices. In addition, with no moving parts on the aircraft, the solution is not only lightweight, but also easy to install, very robust and low maintenance.

“The on-time construction of our multi-beam satellite, as well as Deutsche Telekom’s ground network of approximately 300 new LTE sites across Europe, highlights the rapid progress we are making with the European Aviation Network. The coming together of Inmarsat and market-leaders across Europe, including Thales, Deutsche Telekom, Nokia, Cobham SATCOM and OTE, on this ground-breaking development will strengthen Europe’s position as a global technology innovator and support the continued growth of its aviation industry.”

Over the coming months, Inmarsat’s new S-band satellite will be put in a thermal vacuum chamber with no pressure to simulate the space environment and cycled through extreme high and low temperatures to ensure it operates nominally. Mechanical and acoustic testing will then replicate the launch environment, followed by final phase testing to compare any shifts or variations in measurements against the initial base line. Once these tests are complete, the satellite will be prepared for launch by SpaceX at Cape Canaveral in Florida, scheduled to take place in 2017.

Michele Franci, Chief Technology Officer at Inmarsat said: “We are really proud to have achieved this major milestone on schedule and look forward to the extensive testing, which will ensure the satellite is free from defects and will be able to survive the harsh launch and space environments that it will face. This will include an end-to-end verification of all components to ensure that every component is operating within its defined parameters.”

Lake Forest, CA | July 12, 2016– Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) and its partner China Telecom Satellite (CTS), today announced a one-year extension of their Ku-band inflight connectivity trial. With this milestone, all approved Chinese and international airlines can now select Panasonic’s Global Communications Services and enjoy connectivity services worldwide.

Per terms of the license, over 20 foreign airlines with more than 1,000 aircraft are expected to begin operating connected flights over Chinese airspace, with more in process. In addition, Panasonic’s Chinese airline customers, including China Eastern Airlines, Xiamen Air, Hainan Airlines and China Southern Airlines have begun preparations to offer connectivity services across their global route structure.

David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communications Services, Panasonic Avionics, said: “We have worked closely with China Telecom Satellite for the past several years to support connected flights over China with our global broadband service.

“Today’s announcement is the next step in this special partnership, and we look forward to working with China Telecom Satellite over the months ahead to roll this service out across our approved international customer base.”

The announcement follows recent news that the leading Chinese carrier, China Eastern Airlines, in partnership with CTS, was the first to offer Wi-Fi on domestic flights. China Eastern Airlines installed Panasonic’s award-winning eXConnect inflight connectivity system on its newest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

The service was initially offered by 12 foreign airlines with just over 200 aircraft offering inflight connectivity over this key region. There were also three Chinese-registered airlines and 30 aircraft offering connected flights in and out of China.