Well, this year we will skip the predictions (a subject we have addressed in the past) because there is so much changing, it is hard to keep up. If you need some future predictions, here is a YouTube video that is extensive for future changes around us  and while aviation is not mentioned much (manufacturing only), the security issues confounding your daily work and home life will undoubtedly affect aviation – more on that subject later in this issue. Either way, it will be wise to “keep on your toes”… and yes, that is what triggered the above graphic.

Next, since IFExpress is very involved with the interior of your favorite airplane, we were somewhat amazed by a British Airways announcement that would install non-reclining seats on their A320’s and A321’s.  When we dug into the application, we wondered just how long a flight could be made with this “challenging” seat design on these so called “short haul” aircraft. Here are our findings: the A320neo can travel up to 3,500 nautical miles and the A321neo 3,697 nautical miles. In the US, traveling from JFK to LAX would be about 2,700 flight miles, fully within the capability of these planes. This translates to roughly 5 hours 21 minutes of flight time, given head/tail winds. That’s a long time in the air without a reclining seat. However, there is a trend with experienced, frequent flyers where they opt not to recline their seats out of consideration for their fellow passengers over their own personal comfort on “short haul” flights; thus, negating the concern for fixed seatback units for some passengers. If passengers accept fixed seatbacks, this trend could easily carry over to other airlines. Stay tuned on this one.

Enough of this chatter, lets get on with the news:

AIX – Crystal Cabin

It is one of the most coveted awards in the international aviation industry. Year after year, suppliers, major aircraft manufacturers, universities, news publishers, and airlines alike join the fray in the hope of holding aloft one of the snow-white Crystal Cabin Award trophies. In 2018, the most prestigious prize for aircraft cabins and passenger comfort will be presented for the 12th time, with a record number of entries for the fifth year in a row. 91 innovative concepts from 18 countries have made it onto the shortlist this time round. The spectrum ranges from individual lightweight components to a long-haul VIP aircraft with on-board cinema, from a practical economy-class module to a first-class suite. In the industry, a victory in the Crystal Cabin Award is the equivalent of a knighthood, and the global media resonance is significant too. The decisions of the 28 expert jury members on this year’s pioneering aviation concepts will be finalized on 10 April, 2018, during the industry’s leading trade show, the Aircraft Interiors Expo (10 — 12 April, 2018).

The Crystal Cabin Award, initiated by the cluster Hamburg Aviation, is awarded in eight categories: “Cabin Concepts”, “Cabin Systems”, “IFEC”, “Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment”, “Material & Components”, “Passenger Comfort Hardware”, “University”, and “Visionary Concepts”.


AAR (Wood Dale, Illinois), a leading integrator of aviation supply chain solutions, announced it will provide in-flight connectivity logistics, repair and aftermarket management services to Viasat, a global communications company. Through this partnership, AAR’s OEM Aftermarket Solutions group will manage the aftermarket inventory pool of Viasat components including modems, antennas, radomes, wireless access points (WAPs) and power supply units (PSUs). These components will be deployed on a forward-exchange basis to support Viasat’s current and future airline customers.

“AAR’s scalable solution allows Viasat to leverage our aviation aftermarket expertise through our comprehensive logistics and repair processes,” said Carl Glover, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Parts Supply, Americas, AAR. “This global program supports Viasat’s current and future airline customers to ensure maximum system component availability.”

AAR began in 1951 as a vision and a venture, a small entrepreneurial enterprise providing equipment for the newly emerging commercial aviation industry. Today, AAR is a global provider of aviation services to commercial and government customers worldwide. The company was incorporated in 1955 as Allen Aircraft Radio in 1955 and changed its name in 1969 to AAR Corp. The Midwest US company was voted the Top Airframe MRO Provider Worldwide by the industry in 2016.

SECURITY- RazorSecure

As you might know, the main vulnerabilities of WPA2 are set to be nullified by an incoming Wi-Fi standard called, understandably, WPA3. See link.

Further, and discovered last year, an exploit known as KRACK permits attackers to view users data traffic, passwords, email and so on. With higher encryption (192 – bit security) data safeguards will be increased.

Last week IFExpress noted a security question to a number of industry security tekkies on this subject and this week, we feature a response from Lewis Oaten, Chief Technology Officer at RazorSecure of Great Britian who is in the IFEC security business. If you remember, we asked about the new WPA3 Wi-Fi security standard and it’s application to IFE and he wrote IFExpress: “In contrast to the KRACK announcement, this is of far more interest. I remember Samual Miller, Thales’ Product Security Officer, pointing out: “passengers are not vulnerable [to KRACK] when connecting to onboard Wi-Fi because those networks typically do not use WPA2” (see link). But, we have to remember that KRACK is a way of defeating the encryption on a wireless network and if the network is open, then there is no encryption to defeat in the first place. Any connected user can steal passengers’ data if those passengers are not using HTTPS or a personal VPN.

This is where WPA3 will have the most positive impact as it introduces a method for encrypting network traffic on open networks, such as those used for passengers in aviation. This is becoming especially important with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May this year. An operator of IFE where users to send Personally Identifiable Information across an open, unencrypted and insecure WiFi network, may not be putting in place appropriate controls to protect such information. Of course, any mitigation must be considered in light of the cost and state of the art, but once WPA3 is released it will become an essential control measure to mitigate this elephant-in-the-room type security risk.

More broadly, WPA3 introduces 4 new security measures:

  1. Improving the security against dictionary attacks – which is    especially problematic when users choose simple passwords.
  2. Authenticating devices which do not have a graphical interface.
  3. 192-bit security suite, designed to better secure industrial, government and defense networks.
  4. Introduction of individualized data encryption which means that connections are encrypted, even if the user does not need to type in a password, such as those on open networks.

On the subject of compatibility, this will become clearer once more technical details are forthcoming during 2018. There may be additional load on hardware, but assuming the manufacturer has left some headroom and can firmware update the device then it may well be possible to upgrade older hardware. Kind regards, Lewis.”

Editor’s Note: Boeing, interestingly, has patented some cyberattack simulation technology for pilot training.Two British experts back in 2012 discovered “backdoors” in B787 computer chips and now with Spectre and Meltdown intrusion into Intel, AMD, and other chips, this might be a big deal for aviation. Here is more on the Spectre and Meltdown: The impromptu Slack war room where ‘Net companies unite to fight Spectre-Meltdown | Ars Technica We should point out that there has been little information about aviation hacking, but it is coming …


Lufthansa InTouch, responsible for managing customer service across the Lufthansa Group, has again selected SITA to manage its service center communication network and key infrastructure elements, ensuring that more than 11-million customers are connected to service agents every year.

The service provided by SITA has transformed how customer calls to Lufthansa Group airlines are handled. A close integration between SITA’s global voice network and Lufthansa InTouch’s Genesys contact center platform, ensures a caller – regardless of their location – is automatically and directly routed to a consultant best equipped to meet their specific requirements. These calls are allocated according to the routing policies defined by Lufthansa InTouch on their Genesys platform. SITA’s Unified Communications portfolio has allowed Lufthansa InTouch to consolidate voice, data and audio into one platform while effectively connecting the airline to its far-flung destinations.


BOEING delivered 763 aircraft (455 737NGs; 74 737 MAXs; 14 747s; 10 767s; 74 777s; 136 787s) in 2017 vs 748 (490 737NGs; 9 747s; 13 767s; 99 777s; 137 787s) in 2016. It booked 1,053 (912 net) orders vs 848 (668). The company has backlog of 5,864 aircraft.  Boeing Co. landed 912 jetliner orders last year worth some $134.8 billion, as surging sales of its highly profitable B737’s and B787’s that changed sales reporting direction … which ultimately resulted in a share price of $336.13 (today)! Also we should note that the B787-10 (third B787 variant with 171 currently on order) has secured FAA certification. Watch for delivery to Singapore Airlines in the near future – it is an 18 ft stretch from the B787-9.

AIRBUS delivered 718 aircraft (377 A320ceos; 181 A320neos; 67 A330s; 78 A350s; 15 A380s) in 2017 vs 688 (477 A320ceos; 68 A320neos; 66 A330s; 49 A350s; 28 A380s) in 2016. It booked 1,229 (1,109 net) orders vs 949 (731) with a current backlog of 7,265 aircraft. They noted that total deliveries reached 718 – four percent higher than the previous record and there were 1,109 total net orders from 44 customers; book-to-bill ratio of 1.5. Interestingly, the company said  it is on track to deliver 60 A320s per month by mid-2019 and 10 A350s per month by end of 2018. Lastly, Emirates signed an agreement for up to 36 additional A380’s with a commitment to grow its flagship A380 fleet.

  • Kontron’s five new passively-cooled boards and modules with powerful, energy-efficient Intel® technology will be available 4th quarter 2016

Augsburg, Germany | October 26, 2016– Kontron, one of the world’s leading providers of Embedded Computer Technology (ECT), will introduce five new embedded platforms including motherboards and Computer-on-modules (COMs) based on the next-generation Intel® AtomTM processor E3900 series, Intel® Celeron® processor N3350, and Intel® Pentium® processor N4200 platform. Kontron’s new passively cooled embedded platforms will help developers achieve powerful and more energy-efficient solutions especially for low-noise systems that can benefit from CPUs that do not need any active cooling. POI/POS and other applications demanding high graphics quality are also well-supported with the latest Kontron boards and modules that offer the ability to support up to three independent displays at Ultra 4K resolution, and can handle up to 15 simultaneous 1080p decode streams.

Targeted at cost-sensitive all-in-one computer architectures, Intel’s new system-on-a-chip (SoC) Atom™ processors E3900 series feature multicore performance based on a new microarchitecture, and are manufactured on Intel’s latest and industry-leading 14nm tri-gate manufacturing process. These processors offer intense image processing/graphics and powerful real-time computing capabilities in a power-efficient and compact form factor. Intel has also added improved security and reliability capabilities. The new security engine offers the enhanced ability to protect data and operations in the most challenging environments. Intel’s time coordinated computing allows processors to be synchronized in an IoT network to within a millisecond, making processes more reliable and new, more demanding applications possible.

The new Kontron product family enables systems to be developed with extended levels of compute performance and greatly optimized energy efficiency. Passively cooled systems are easily supported by Atom™ processors’ low-power CPU dissipation. This feature ensures that the overall system is particularly quiet and much more reliable. In addition, Kontron’s new boards and modules deliver greatly enhanced 3D graphics performance, improved memory throughput with optional ECC support, and eMMC flash storage. Kontron also offers customers extended temperature platform options that are ideal for applications that must operate in demanding environmental conditions.

An added advantage for developers is that the new embedded platforms will be equipped with Kontron’s standard hardware-based embedded Security Solution Approtect. Kontron is the first embedded computing supplier to offer full security protection embedded in its COMs and motherboard offerings.

The APEX conference and exhibition in Long Beach this year really looked like the industry turnaround it was projected to be. More new technology, more new IFEC ideas, more players and yet if IFExpress was to use one word to describe it, it would be “Crossroads”. Why? The opposite pull of installed aircraft entertainment systems versus that of passenger carry-on devices like smartphones, iPads, tablets and electronic readers of all description – B.Y.O.D. (Bring You Own Device). The airlines are at a real decision point. Do we install seatback/overhead IFE or do we cater to the “always connected” generation? To point out the obvious trend, one study claims some 31% of US commercial aircraft are already Wi-Fi equipped while our own analysis put the worldwide market at approximately 10% of the commercial fleet outfitted. Whatever the actual trend is, there is no denying that more passengers are carrying devices that inform, entertain, update, and instruct than ever before. Thus the conundrum – do we serve full screen, first-run video to passengers, or do we change the business models and deliver content to their personal devices, or do we do both?

While you ponder the above question here are just a few of the first day session topics that might be of interest. IFExpress will report on show highlights in the next few issues but because the topics and speakers were spot on, we wanted to give an ‘atta-boy’ to APEX. While we did not attend all the sessions, what we heard was reason enough to join – and by the way, members can find all the presentations on the APEX website. To quote APEX from the show guide: “Join APEX on a learning journey where experts from Intel, Phillips, CISCO, Ericsson and Google will discuss Ecosystems and what they mean to your network.”

Intel – “On the Road Strategy” – Ulmont Smith, VP. Heading for 14 nm integrated circuit technology (22 nm today), Mr. Smith noted that over 100 million 22nm transistors can fit on the head of a pin and that today’s 22nm CPU’s can run 4000 times faster, consume 5000 times less energy and the cost has dropped 50,000 times. What this means is value to the technologies they support, one of which is connected automobiles. He noted their global GENIVI Alliance goal to establish a global LINUX-based OS platform for automotive vehicle infotainment. He also opened the door for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) as a driving force in our industry. Further, the Intel Insider architecture is coming online for end-to-end hardware protection for movie and TV content.

Phillips – “Overall Ecosystem Consumer Perception” – Michael Held, design Manager. Ecosystems like Apple and Nike provide a natural connection between “varieties of content to a variety of receivers” – in their words “One Platform to seamlessly manage, aggregate, create & edit, subscribe and publish.” Michael went on to define why Ecosystems work and how they can add value in businesses. Using a product example, he showed the success of Apple Ecosystem impacts on sales. More importantly, his lessons learned could benefit almost any endeavor – focus on the passenger, in a networked world distributed decision making rarely works, platform evolution and continuous improvements are expected today (change), collaboration has never been more important, there are no standalone products anymore – only experiences, people don’t buy systems!

CISCO – “B.Y.O.D. – Potential in Aviation” – Ted Nugent & Leszek Izdebski – Cisco Systems. Focusing on the open Cabin Network and closed Cabin Staff Network CISCO focused on the passenger access requirements including authentication, auditing, disclaimers, and monitoring. Importantly the speakers noted the requirement for no reconfiguration, plug & play, easy administration… and free (or cost effective). The architecture was identified along with security (keeping good guys in and the bad guys out). From a data perspective, the shift to streaming video is driven by consumer behavior with the new tablets and phones being part of the incentive. A very interesting connection to loyalty programs was introduced and this is perhaps the first time we see that frequent flier miles used as payment for entertainment. Another new word heard is UltraViolet usage model. Described as a new way to collect and enjoy movies and TV show in the cloud. It is the next-gen of a standardized media product… an Ecosystem to watch. Further, to meet passenger future expectations, there will be a change in the technical solution for delivery of IFE, and a concurrent change in the business model.

Ericsson – Geoff Hollingworth – Business Innovation. One of the best quotes found at the show was discovered on Mr. Hollingworth’s slides; “When one person is connected their life changes. When everything is connected our world changes.” He describes the new telecom cycle (their Ecosystem of the connected world) and described the interplay between a 10X increase in devices and the resultant 10X growth in supporting industries. The key concept is managing the change. He noted Maersk Shipping uses connected technology to save millions of dollars in fuel. If you are a competitor to Maersk, your company has to find a way to save that kind of money and thus your company will change as well. The message – change begets change. The message? One airline that uses connectivity to change for the better will assuredly drive change for another(s).

Editor’s Note: Peter Lemme’s (AirCloud CTO) presentation on “Wireless Streaming Video Technology to Your Own Device” is a tour de force for the subject and we strongly recommend reading it. We also note that there might be a technology or two we saw at the show that will add to his list of ‘usual suspects’.

We have a new feature for you – we call it IFEC Buzz. During APEX, we took pictures of a few industry notables and will give them a chance in future issues for their 5 minutes (or less) of fame. Our editor requested one succinct sentence about the industry from many show goers and will publish it under their photo and Trish – Editor of IFExpress – launches the feature this week. Stay Tuned on this one!

Additionally, you can view our show photo coverage on Flickr.

And last but not least, don’t forget AIX North America in Seattle this week! It runs through Thursday 9/27 at the Seattle Convention Center!!