• SES contracts Hughes for service on EchoStar XVII and EchoStar XIX HTS satellites, and combines them with its AMC-15 and AMC-16 network, to provide a four-satellite constellation for the launch of Thales FlytLIVE network
• The four-satellite network strengthens Thales’ FlytLIVE network as it enters initial operations in 2017 and in advance of the milestone launch of SES-17 Ka-band HTS satellite, planned for 2020
• SES to purchase multiple JUPITER System gateways from Hughes and contract ground segment operations to Hughes to bring seamless connectivity to Thales FlytLIVE network
• Thales selects Hughes JUPITER System Aeronautical platform for its next-generation IFC solution
Arlington, VA, Luxembourg and Germantown, MD | March 8, 2017– Today, Thales, SES S.A. and Hughes Network Systems (HUGHES) announced a set of strategic agreements to enhance the delivery of FlytLIVETM – Thales’ connected inflight experience solution, offering the most advanced and efficient aeronautical connectivity solution available in the Americas. Under the agreements, SES contracts capacity on Hughes EchoStar XVII and EchoStar XIX high throughput (HTS) Ka-band satellites to complement its AMC-15 and AMC-16 network giving FlytLIVE the only redundant coverage network in North America. SES will also purchase multiple JUPITERTM System gateways from Hughes to qualify Thales to deploy its FlytLIVE service on Hughes JUPITER Aeronautical platform. This will allow Thales to initiate its next- generation connected inflight experience offering in North America this year.
Furthermore, the system being deployed is forward compatible with SES-17, SES’ powerful Ka- band HTS satellite optimized for aviation connectivity and expected to launch in 2020, thus ensuring Thales’ airline clients have a clear and effective path for accommodating the ever- growing traffic demands of their passengers.
FlytLIVE by Thales provides an advanced, seamless inflight connectivity solution with unmatched performance and redundancy, giving passengers the full broadband Internet connectivity, including the ability to stream Internet services for video, games, social media and live television, creating an immersive and engaging experience in the air. In addition, this new service enables airlines to upload content, download operational data, and provide live television channels to their entire fleet through managed end-to-end solutions and network services.
In 2016, SES and Thales announced an agreement to procure and commercialize SES-17 and to leverage SES’ existing AMC-15 and AMC-16 satellites for FlytLIVE. This new set of strategic agreements between SES, Thales and Hughes provide Thales with an expanded scope of HTS Ka-band satellite capacity and the latest and most advanced aeronautical platform available today. The combination of Hughes EchoStar XVII and XIX Ka-band satellites with SES’ AMC-15 and AMC-16 network provide for expanded satellite capacity, coverage, and redundancy over North America. With these four satellites and the Hughes JUPITER System aeronautical platform, Thales will be positioned to offer the most comprehensive connectivity and content services for the full gamut of North American flight routes, including routes between the North East U.S. and Canada and the Caribbean, which to-date have been underserved as these flight routes are predominantly over open ocean. This combination of coverage, performance, redundancy, and network robustness will be unique to FlytLIVE.
At the center of the new service is Hughes high-performance JUPITER system that is already in operation for broadband enterprise and consumer services in other major markets globally and will be introduced for aeronautical use on the Thales FlytLIVE network. Unique features of the network include rapid beam-to-beam and satellite-to-satellite switching and DVB-S2x transmission. Thales has already begun service testing using its new Thales Ka-band aero antenna and the Hughes JUPITER technology.
SES will also purchase multiple Hughes JUPITER System gateways to support traffic carried over AMC-15 and AMC-16, as well as SES-17, when it enters service. FlyLIVE’s network will deliver industry leading speed and capacity for support of growing passenger service demands and will comfortably accommodate forecasted traffic increases through the launch of SES-17, which is manufactured by Thales Alenia Space and configured with close to 200 spot beams and coverage tailored to aviation and mobility markets.
“Our experience and position as a global leader in satellites, avionics, cybersecurity and connected inflight entertainment means we are able to deliver the most capable solutions our customers expect. With these strategic agreements with SES and Hughes, Thales FlytLIVE service will be uniquely able to deliver airlines and their passengers with an unsurpassed, connected inflight entertainment experience.” • Dominique Giannoni, CEO, Thales InFlyt Experience
“This agreement confirms once again SES’s ability to provide scalable solutions tailored to match our customers’ specific requirements. Not only are we developing SES-17, a next- generation satellite that Thales will use to meet the future inflight connectivity demands of the next decade, but we are also providing a superior, tailor-made, multi-satellite and multi-beam solution today, in 2017, utilizing assets already in orbit. This is only possible thanks to the combination of our existing robust and flexible network with our long-standing relationship with Hughes and Thales.” • Elias Zaccack, Senior Vice President of SES’s Global
Mobility Team and the Americas region, SES S.A.
“Hughes is proud to join with Thales and SES to bring our advanced JUPITER System aeronautical platform, along with the enhanced satellite coverage and capacity of our EchoStar XVII and XIX satellites, to facilitate the launch and operation of FlytLIVE’ s North American service. Our JUPITER platform will enable SES and Thales to deliver an unmatched level of inflight connectivity customer experience, and the capacity brought through our satellites will ensure that Thales’ airline clients will be able to readily accommodate the ever-growing demands and performance expectations of their passengers.” • Paul Gaske, Executive Vice President, North America, Hughes
This week IFExpress discovered more non-IFEC related stories, and less topics covering our newsletter focus – less than usual, so for this issue we will pinpoint in on: aviation, planes, data, and whatever else our team thought you might catch your interest. With Aircraft Interiors Hamburg on the horizon you will soon get more IFEC news than you can use.
Let’s start off with Boeing’s newest jet roll-out: the B787-10 Dreamliner which is our rectangle image. Notes Boeing in their press release: The Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, the third member of the 787 Dreamliner family, made its debut today at Boeing South Carolina. Thousands of employees at the North Charleston, S.C. site celebrated the event, along with U.S. President Donald Trump and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. “What’s happening here at Boeing South Carolina is a true American success story,” said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and CEO. “In just a few short years, our team has transformed a greenfield site into a modern aerospace production facility that is delivering 787s to airlines all over the world and supporting thousands of U.S. jobs in the process.”
The 787-10, built exclusively at Boeing South Carolina, will now be prepared for its first flight in the coming weeks. “This airplane, the most efficient in its class, is the result of years of hard work and dedication from our Boeing teammates, suppliers and community partners in South Carolina and across the globe,” said Kevin McAllister, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO. “We know our customers, including launch customer Singapore Airlines, are going to love what the 787-10 will do for their fleets, and we can’t wait to see them fly it.” Boeing will deliver the 787-10 to airlines in 2018. The airplane has won 149 orders from nine customers across the globe. The 787-10, the longest model of the Dreamliner family, will grow the nonstop routes opened by the 787-8 and 787-9 with unprecedented efficiency. As an 18-foot (5.5-m) stretch of the 787-9, the 787-10 will deliver the 787 family’s preferred passenger experience and long range with up to 10 percent better fuel use and emissions than the competition.
Around the same time, Boeing won their employee battle with unions, as notes the Seattle Times: “After a bitter campaign, workers at Boeing’s South Carolina facility voted against joining the Machinists union, with 74 percent against. We also note that aviation analysts say the great boom in the aerospace industry is over, and predict that Boeing will have to cut jet production more.”
What part of aviation going digital don’t you understand? Well, the folks at Lufthansa Systems have a vary good answer and you might read it to see what the they view the future to hold: Everyone is talking about digitalization. Many companies are wondering how to future-proof themselves in the digital world. Lufthansa Systems turned this vision into reality a long time ago. For years, the aviation IT specialist has been advising and supporting airlines in their digital transformation, demonstrating what sustainable airline processes can look like and helping customers implement concrete projects.
“The core of our company strategy is to put airlines in a perfect position for the digital future. For example, we have spent over 15 years helping airlines work toward a paperless flight deck,” said Olivier Krüger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “We are offering new solutions and expanding our consulting unit in response to growing demand in the market. In keeping with this, we are continually enhancing our digital expertise so we can develop innovative solutions for the entire cosmos of an airline and its passengers – with data analytics, personalization, mobility and new developments such as eye tracking and dynamic navigation maps.”
The spectrum includes solutions and consulting services for improving the efficiency and differentiation of all aspects of an airline as well as for optimizing the entire travel chain for passengers.
Personalized Air Travel Services: Personalized solutions aim to enhance the passenger travel experience. New digital and individual services and apps, which can be used before, during and after a flight, ensure that passengers are addressed directly and personally. BoardConnect is one example. This digital platform enables passengers to access wireless inflight entertainment on their own smartphones and tablets, while offering additional functionalities for flight deck and cabin crews – with or without an Internet connection. The new inTime app is another example. It calculates how much time passengers will need to reach their gate punctually from their current location. Both the traffic situation outside the airport and the waiting times at check-in and security are taken into account here. The timings are based on (anonymized) data from real passengers, so the app gets more intelligent over time.
Dynamic Distribution Management: Dynamic distribution management makes it possible for airlines to increase their revenues by offering ticket and service packages directly to travelers. The New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is promoting this development and significantly affecting the distribution structures of airlines. Together with partners, Lufthansa Systems provides solutions for the entire NDC process, including offer and order management, dynamic pricing, and billing with the Sirax/RA revenue accounting solution. Airlines benefit from improved customer loyalty through more individualized offers, with lower distribution costs and higher revenues.
Safe & Efficient Flight Operations: Optimization and efficiency in all aspects of flight operations are the crucial aspects here. Simplified processes, improved routes, reduced fuel consumption and shorter handling times (including for crews and maintenance work) not only generate considerable savings potential, they also increase flight safety. For example, the digital navigation maps of the Lido/Navigation product line are becoming more and more dynamic. In the near future, they will be able to seamlessly display all flight processes from gate to gate. With an on-board Internet connection, additional smart functions in the maps can show information that is relevant to specific situations during a flight. This increases the pilots’ situational awareness.
Reliable Air Travel Experience: New developments in the field of flight operations revolve around passengers and their positive travel experience. If disruptions or delays do occur, these solutions aim to minimize the negative effects on passengers and communicate changes in a transparent way. This is essential to an airline’s success. The successful NetLine/Ops ++ operations control solution helps here with its innovative eye-tracking feature. Employees in an operations control center sometimes have to monitor six screens showing current flights and information about potential disturbances. Analyzing the eye movements of operations controllers with the help of eye-tracking technology ensures that no important warnings or disruption notifications are overlooked.
“In light of the growing importance of digital solutions in the aviation industry – including in the areas of data sharing, analytics and prediction – we founded a company last year called zeroG,” said Lufthansa Systems CEO Stefan Auerbach. “zeroG is a consulting firm with the character of a start-up which can respond quickly and flexibly to changes in the market. With their expertise in IT and aviation, our zeroG consultants support digitalization projects inside and outside of the Lufthansa Group.” The attached infographic provides an overview of current digitalization projects and innovative solutions at LHS.
Moving on to satcom, Tim Farrar of TMF Associates put out an interesting IFE comment in his latest Blog: “But the biggest news appears to be a pull back on SES’s part from the long rumored global Ka-band GEO system that I noted last summer. SES announced only a single satellite (SES-17) for the Americas in partnership with Thales last September, but had plans for two additional satellites, and it seemed increasingly likely that a partnership with EchoStar would be announced soon to fund this development. Now it seems that effort is on hold, leaving EchoStar without an obvious way forward to achieving global coverage (as it seems EchoStar considered but rejected the idea of buying Inmarsat last fall).” There is more here
And speaking of satcom, we wondered about the ongoing effect of cosmic rays on inside electronics – especially at 20,000 feet where the ray density is higher than on the earth, and planes fly, and you use your phones and other electronics – Computerworld notes: “Cosmic rays — or rather the electrically charged particles they generate — may be your real foe.” Researchers have discovered that a specific type of cosmic ray call a single-event upset (SEU) can jolt and alter individual bits of data on computer chips. (Quick note: SEUs are harmless to organic life.) “An SEU was also blamed for an electronic voting error in Schaerbeekm, Belgium, back in 2003,” Computerworld says. “A bit flip in the electronic voting machine added 4,096 extra votes to one candidate. The issue was noticed only because the machine gave the candidate more votes than were possible.” Bharat Bhuva, a member of Vanderbilt University’s Radiation Effects Research Group, says it’s “a really big problem, but- mostly invisible to the public.” The Radiation Effects Research Group was founded in 1987 to study what effect radiation could have on electronic devices. While the body of researchers “initially focused on military and space applications,” it has expanded its research into consumer devices in the past decade. “Despite some serious examples, SEUs are still fairly rare events. But as the number of transistors being used in new electronic systems increases, so does the probability of an SEU failure on the device level.”
Glance Prongay & Murray LLP announces an investigation on behalf of Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (“Global Eagle” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: ENT) investors concerning the Company and its officers’ possible violations of federal securities laws. The Company further disclosed that it would be unable to timely file its 2016 annual report, and that it would need to withdraw its guidance for 2016 financial performance. Global Eagle (stock) has fallen over 29% per share during intraday trading on February 21, 2017.
Additionally, GEE announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Jeff Leddy as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Leddy has served on the Company’s Board of Directors since January 2013 and will continue as a Director. GEE further stated that Dave Davis, the Company’s CEO, and Tom Severson, the Company’s CFO, had both resigned effective immediately.
Telefonix PDT(TM) announced that they now have an STC for Boeing 737NG – 700, 800 & 900 aircraft types for both the CabinPinnacle(TM) server and CabinACe(TM)wireless access point. The STC was just awarded prior to APEX in Singapore, and we understand that Kaiser Charter was the first installation completed in October. This STC represents the first phase of certifications and it is our understanding that phase 2 will include the CabinEdge(TM) content loader. The content loader works while the aircraft is in service and data is trickled, loading into shadow memory, and eventually ending up in the operational memory as the update is installed. Telefonix PDT is also working on garnering a similar STC for the A320 aircraft family. The STC/PMA was strategically planned to grow the company’s customer base for the 737 in the Asia region. The airlines have the data rights to use the system, with the hardware being sold, not leased. Lest you forget, Telefonix(TM) has had a long standing relationship with production in China; and, in 2017, the company has plans to establish a repair station in China, in addition to their current repair station in Waukegan, Illinois. One point that was stressed in our interview at APEX was that Telefonix PDT is not just an equipment provider, but a design and engineering services provider as well. (Editor’s Note: IFExpress has watched Telefonix PDT grow over the past 20+ years and we feel that they have developed excellent, low-cost IFE system components and the China relationships, as well as their involvement with many hardware manufactures within the industry, is proof of this. You should watch this company in the coming year – we think they are going to grow!)
Have you heard about the Panasonic Blog? We asked Panasonic how it came about and here is what a spokesperson said: “Matthias Walter and Estel Carbo worked very hard on this and have a plan that we thinks helps give more insights into the IFEC landscape.” Matthias Walther, Senior Manager of Integrated Marketing at Panasonic Avionics said, “Marketing these days has many facets. Hard sales has its place in marketing too but in an industry as relationship-driven as ours it’s essential to engage in a dialog that is more about education than promotion, more about solutions than product and more about value than price. Of course we will occasionally talk about us and what we bring to the table but only if we and what we write adds value to the daily lives of our customers will our blog be successful.” Noted Panasonic: “One of the business principles of Panasonic’s founder Knosuke Matsushita describes customer focus always trumping sales concerns. In that spirit our blog intends to drive knowledge, our relationship with our customers and the quality of decision making in one direction, UP.” Check it out here.
Panasonic Weather Solution
Panasonic Avionics Corporation and Safety Line unveiled a strategic partnership that will enable airlines to benefit from significant fuel savings. Panasonic Weather Solutions (PWS) provides Safety Line with enhanced global weather forecast through real-time weather data collection from its TAMDAR sensors and FlightLink Iridium system. TAMDAR data provides observations of wind, temperature, and moisture every five seconds as TAMDAR-equipped aircraft descend and ascend at nearly 300 airports across North America. It also collects about 3,500 profiles each day from several hundred additional airports located in East Asia, the Pacific, and Europe. This data is used by Panasonic’s Forecasting Center of Excellence (FCoE), which develops detailed station-based weather forecasting, as well as enhanced weather forecasting. The process is fully automated from the weather live feed to flight plan analysis and climb schedule issuance to the pilot. Airlines can reduce fuel consumption by up to 10 percent during ascent thanks to OptiClimb’s unique patented solution, which uses a combination of machine learning performance models for each individual aircraft, and the computing of optimized climb profiles issued ahead of each flight.
Also check this link The Connected Aircraft (Part I) – Curating the Internet of Me – UP – Panasonic Avionics Blog if you want to know a bit more about the connected aircraft.
We should note that Hawaiian Airlines has experienced the benefits of SwiftBroadband-Safety delivered through Cobham advanced AVIATOR avionics and has now chosen to expand its commitment to high speed broadband in the flight deck with its A321neo. But to see the features that are provided, you must check out this Inmarsat Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System feature download – this is the future of aviation safety and you need to check it out!
The FAA issued a new rule that forces Boeing 787 operators to periodically shut down and restart airplane power that reboots onboard computers to overcome a glitch that shuts down flight control computers during flight! Finding and fixing this “inconsistency” will be very, very interesting. Stay Tuned!
- Satellite 2017
Be a part of the world’s largest gathering of the international satellite community. Taking place in Washington, D.C. March 6-9, 2017 the SATELLITE 2017 Conference and Exhibition don’t miss this opportunity to hear from executive speakers from commercial airlines, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Air Force!
- THE ‘Donald’
Donald Trump says the new Air Force One contract should be cancelled! Perhaps Airbus will make a better offer? Then Boeing put this news release out – Boeing Statement on Air Force One – Dec 6, 2016 Or, you might want to read the following story from Gizmodo – beware there are x-rated words, so watch out!
If you have been wondering where IoT and cloud computing are going, one answer is ‘physically portable data’. This is going to be one of the markets of the next generation cloud because of security and access as large (and now medium) data portability and cloud interaction become involved. We suspect that the airlines will see value in this if hacking gets any worse Amazon Cloud Gets A Bit More Hybrid This just may be one futures of the medium and big data cloud storage and security.
In-Flight hook-ups now supported with AirDates “This is achieved using Multipeer WiFi between smartphones, eliminating the need to rely upon the Plane’s WiFi network or other connection.” Check it out here – but you might need the Trusted Contacts app as well.
Quick Study: Millennials
While in Singapore, we heard one word over and over – millennial- so we thought after the show we would do the research on who they are and why they are so important to some industries. While this quick bit of data is just a speed read, we think the answers are telling and important to IFEC, especially C (Communications).
First what is a millennial? It is a person ‘reaching young adulthood around the year 2000’ the dictionary said. Noted Goldman Sachs: “The Millennial generation is the largest in US history and as they reach their prime working and spending years, their impact on the economy is going to be huge. Millennials have come of age during a time of technological change, globalization and economic disruption. That’s given them a different set of behaviors and experiences than their parents.They have been slower to marry and move out on their own, and have shown different attitudes to ownership that have helped spawn what’s being called a ‘sharing economy.’ They’re also the first generation of digital natives, and their affinity for technology helps shape how they shop. They are used to instant access to price comparisons, product information and peer reviews.” Further, a company called iGR interviewed and surveyed millennials to get their views on communication and technology and here is what they said: “As the largest and highly communication-tech-savy generation; they are at the epicenter of our curiosity to drive decision-making for the next wave of innovation in infrastructure. Take note! The most successful service providers over the next 5-10 years will be those who best understand the emerging generations communication behavior, accurately anticipate core service wants and needs, proactively adapt and adjust business strategies, and finally, provide the most relevant solutions and services.” That about says it all and explains why the word ‘millennial’ was so popular in Singapore, especially with those who dealt with communications, connectivity, and cost!
- Customer contract follows AERO-SATCOM’s appointment as GX Government Aero VAR
United Kingdom | December 6, 2016– AERO-SATCOM, the joint venture (JV) between Eclipse and NSSLGlobal, today signed an agreement with Inmarsat’s Global Government business unit which sees the JV appointed as Global Xpress (GX) Value Added Reseller (VAR) for the Government Aero market*. With Swift Broadband and Swift 64 distribution agreements previously signed, this latest development allows AERO-SATCOM to work alongside local partners to offer Inmarsat’s high performance Ka-band services. AERO-SATCOM’s first provisioning of aeronautical GX services will be through a local government-focused Inmarsat Service Provider for a fleet of Europe-based head of state aircraft.
The head of state aircraft retrofit begins in December with the service expected to be fully operational from February 2017. AERO-SATCOM will add value to the core GX service by supporting the delivery of onboard solutions developed by Eclipse that provide on-board bandwidth management, bandwidth optimisation and credit card payments for passenger internet access.
Shaun Flanagan, Sales Director, AERO-SATCOM said: “By using its globally available high throughput end-to-end satellite network, Inmarsat’s aeronautical GX Ka-band service brings higher levels of connectivity to aircraft, enabling video conferencing, seamless web browsing, live video streaming and file downloads. However, the aero global government market rarely wants a ‘standard’ package and values the expertise of AERO-SATCOM to add value through custom technologies that help them get the most from their data. Our ability to access a satcom laboratory installation of the aeronautical satcom system that supports Global Xpress gives AERO-SATCOM a big advantage in terms of better supporting customer demonstrations and developing these kind of custom-specific applications.”
Andy Start, President, Inmarsat Global Government, said: “For head of state aviation customers, the aeronautical GX service transforms the in-flight experience by offering a global on-board connectivity service that is secure, reliable and high-speed. AERO-SATCOM, with its perfect blend of experience, expertise and resources, is a key Value Added Retailer for the Inmarsat Global Government team and plays an important role in helping us roll out GX to this highly-specialised market.”
AERO-SATCOM meets the market need for an all-round aeronautical satellite communications company that bridges the gap between two complex industries; the Governmental Aircraft industry and government sector Mobile Satellite Services (MSS). The AERO-SATCOM team has the specialist skills required to meet all the technical, regulatory and commercial aspects of projects when customer requirements develop where these two industries overlap. AERO-SATCOM’s business model is based on creating strong partnerships with companies that can leverage its technical and regulatory skills with exposure to their local government markets.
Dubai, UAE | December 5, 2016– Ahead of MEBAA 2016 Satcom Direct has announced that it is now authorized by Inmarsat’s Global Government Business Unit to provision and resell Inmarsat’s Ka-band Global Xpress (GX) service to global government customers for use in military, head-of-state and other government operations.
Satcom Direct (SD) has been appointed a Value Added Reseller (VAR) for Inmarsat’s GX mobile global broadband satellite network. GX delivers secure, end-to-end wideband connectivity that enables seamless airborne, naval and land operations. During MEBAA 2016 SD will be explaining to delegates why this is an ideal tool for those needing maximum connectivity in conjunction with maximum mobility. GX is a perfect fit for military and head-of-state communications needs.
“SD is honored to represent Inmarsat and to showcase GX and its benefits to the government market,” said David Greenhill, Satcom Direct president. “The high performance of the GX network allows us to deliver tailored solutions which meet complex government, military and VVIP requirements for secure and reliable connectivity.”
Inmarsat Global Government President, Andy Start, said: “We are very excited to add Satcom Direct to our stable of industry-leading companies that provide expertise and service to our government customers with Global Xpress capabilities. Satcom Direct has a long and successful history in the aviation sector and we are keen to work with them in the non-U.S. government sector.”
GX is the world’s first globally available Ka-band mobile broadband satellite network, providing very high bandwidth services to end-users on land, at sea and in the air, delivered through a resilient, secure waveform that is optimised for mobility. It integrates seamlessly with Inmarsat’s current L-band network
SD already is a VAR for the U.S. Government business unit, as well as Jet ConneX, the business aviation version of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress service. SD was the first business aviation communication provider to provision and validate its services over the network.
France | November 26, 2016– Airbus is evaluating a new standard high-bandwidth architecture that will provide faster and more wide-reaching connectivity services on-board its modern, market-leading jetliners.
Using the in-house A330 testbed aircraft this autumn, Airbus became the first in the industry to flight demonstrate such a high-bandwidth connectivity platform – which will enable faster internet, mobile telephone services and support applications for passengers and airlines via high-throughput satellites.
Applying high-bandwidth connectivity is an important part of the company’s focus on providing a superior on-board experience – and soon will allow airline customers to choose from the range of new high-throughput satellite technologies such as Ka-band and Ku-band for continuous worldwide connectivity.
Constant innovation to improve the passenger experience
“Our goal is to extend our connectivity portfolio in new production aircraft and as retrofit,” explained Bruno Galzin, Head of Airbus’ Connectivity Programme and Upgrade Services. “Our initial testing in high-bandwidth connectivity is a new step to improve the passenger and crew experience. We already are working on new solutions in line with the latest, fast-evolving technologies so anyone can be connected on-board just like at home.”
In-flight connectivity is becoming increasingly important for passengers, who now expect to always be connected – using their own electronic devices to access the internet, exchange with those on the ground and enjoy social media.
Airlines also are demanding the need for connectivity solutions to enhance their operational communications, such as with digital cabin logbooks, telemedicine or for credit card authentication, as well as to generate ancillary cabin revenues.
Cabin connectivity for the future
With the start of testing successfully underway this autumn, Airbus is expected to be the first aircraft manufacturer to offer this standard architecture on its commercial airliners – with service entry for this solution planned for the third quarter of 2017.
Airbus’ high-bandwidth connectivity architecture will be available from multiple suppliers for applications on its A320, A330 and A380 jetliners, which supplements the A350 XWB – a “digital native” that entered service with high-bandwidth connectivity capability.
“The number of connected commercial aircraft is expected to grow from 5,000 to a volume of 16,600 over the 2015-2025 period, accounting for 62 percent of the global commercial fleet,” explained Galzin. “The innovative solutions we are currently developing will help passengers and airlines benefit from a new generation of high-throughput satellite technologies in the Ka-band and Ku-band frequencies.”
Before we get into more Singapore IFEC stuff we wanted to mention that next year’s APEX EXPO 2017 will be held on September 25 – 28 in Long Beach, CA USA. Check out the APEX website for more info. Now, on to APEX in Singapore:
While this year’s Panasonic booth was a blend of the “Cool Room” and the regular product displays, they were showing new products and solutions for the IFEC crowd. And finally, we got a communication focus on the application of advertising with the launch of Captify Inflight Marketing and advertising services. Captify, which is an advanced inflight marketing platform delivers all the key features needed by airlines, their external partners and paying advertisers. Since the platform comprises the software tools and support teams that power the largest inflight marketing solution in the world – reaching 1.3 billion travelers a year! Here is the big deal – Captify enables airlines to target by seat class, route, device, language, and passenger data. With no changes to on-board media, it can increase or decrease ad loads, cap the frequency of marketing campaigns, and deliver detailed usage data in real-time. This allows airlines to optimize promotions for a wide range of optional services, partnerships, loyalty programs, and paid advertising all within a compelling passenger experience.
The platform delivers video, native display, and sponsorship options for high-impact, fraud-free marketing with best-in-class targeting and results. Using this information, Captify helps airlines and their marketing and sales partners learn more about their customers by bringing together all the passenger and behavioral data, so airlines can gain intelligence and inform business or service strategies. Captify is built to fit any airline’s business model, with access for internal marketers, external sales teams, and ongoing trafficking and testing support from Panasonic. The full-service platform includes ground-side tools for scheduling and analytics of marketing campaigns; air-side servers and APIs to integrate with any aircraft’s inflight entertainment or connectivity systems; plus Panasonic’s dedicated service teams working hand-in-hand with airlines partners, media agencies, and content providers.
Next, Panasonic Global Communications (Panasonic), A Division of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, and Newtec – a specialist in designing, developing and manufacturing equipment and technologies for satellite communications – unveiled a new, high bandwidth satellite modem, which offers Panasonic customers twenty times the bandwidth of Panasonic’s current solution. Versions of this new modem will be available across Panasonic’s mobility markets including air transport, business aviation, maritime, cruise ships, mega yachts, and river cruises. Developed in partnership, the new modem is capable of exceeding 400 Mbps, and it can scale to meet the evolving needs of airlines and their passengers by facilitating the increasing bandwidth coming on stream over the next two years as High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) and Extreme-Throughput Satellite (XTSTM) services continue to be layered over Panasonic’s existing global network. This will expand network capacity from 2,300 MHz today to 15,000+ MHz by 2017.
The next-generation modem includes three demodulators for seamless beam switching and simultaneous data and video reception and is also part of the Newtec Dialog® multiservice platform, which supports a wide range of verticals, including aviation and maritime. Featuring the award-winning dynamic bandwidth allocation Mx-DMA®, it combines the efficiency of SCPC with the dynamic bandwidth allocation capabilities of TDMA to deliver up to 300 percent more data than legacy Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) systems. Here’s the deal: By making a satcom beam narrower, Newtec delivers more power, and thus, use the full 150 MHz carrier. You remember Shannons theorem, right? This way they use a full 150MHz carrier – three times wider than Panasonic’s existing Ku-band systems. Very cool and speedy solution.
Lastly, we found Panasonic’s ZeroTouch service – it’s a unique and innovative service that simultaneously gives airlines real-time visibility into performance, improves the efficiency of its maintenance operations and also enables data transfer of passenger-facing content to an aircraft to improve the passenger experience. Panasonic’s ZeroTouch service will reduce an airline’s need to physically touch the aircraft because all interactions are managed through a virtual dashboard. By providing access to real-time passenger data, software, media and content updates can be data-driven, helping to deliver a relevant and personalized passenger experience. Updates will be sent to an aircraft via three high-speed pipes – Wi-Fi at the gate, aircraft cell modem, or even in flight using Panasonic’s global broadband eXConnect service. Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics, said: “As an industry leader and trusted partner for over 35 years, Panasonic understands the infrastructure and support airlines require. Our data-driven, real-time ZeroTouch service combines all areas of our in-house expertise to help airlines maximize the efficiencies of their business and reduce their operational expenses.”
An announcement at the show caught us a little off guard – “Rockwell Collins to acquire B/E Aerospace for $8.3 billion in total consideration”, so we asked the RC Team about the deal but because it was so new it was a bit too early to get reliable report answers for our readers. The release went on to say, “Expected to generate run-rate pre-tax cost synergies of approximately $160 million. Transformative transaction accelerates growth and strengthens Rockwell Collins’ position as a leading supplier of cockpit and cabin solutions. “Double-digit accretive to earnings per share in first full fiscal year with expected combined five-year free cash flow generation in excess of $6 billion”, and “Diversifies and balances portfolio across OEM, airline and aftermarket.” Further it went on: “The transaction combines Rockwell Collins’ capabilities in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications, simulation and training, and information management systems with B/E Aerospace’s range of cabin interior products, which include seating, food and beverage preparation and storage equipment, lighting and oxygen systems, and modular galley and lavatory systems for commercial airliners and business jets. The acquisition significantly increases Rockwell Collins’ scale and diversifies its product portfolio, customer mix and geographic presence. On a pro forma basis, Rockwell Collins would have nearly 30,000 employees, $8.1 billion in revenues and $1.9 billion in EBITDA for the twelve months ending September 30, 2016.”
The story is probably like this: A lot of Rockwell Collins aviation earnings, including IFEC, vary greatly through the year and in many cases, IFEC may be down, while seating may be a hot item. This solution gives Rockwell a very well respected company to deliver another set of aviation products that they did not have. It also makes them a ‘nose-to-tail’ provider within that giant metal tube. And who knows, the integration of BEA into RC, may just further provide individual and combined sales products and events!
One of the “big deals” in Singapore was Inmarsat, as they launched their GX Aviation inflight connectivity solution while there. GX operates at Ka-band, and unlike other solutions available today GX for Aviation is uniquely engineered to meet the needs of airlines and their passengers. Generally speaking, the higher the frequency the more bandwidth you can get out of the system, and the more bandwidth, the more users and the larger the data rates – bigger is definitely better in connectivity! The highly efficient Ka-band spot beams provide a foundation layer of global coverage designed specifically to serve high-speed users. But global coverage is only part of the story. GX offers the flexibility to add and redirect bandwidth where airlines need it most, across hub and traffic hotspots. And as demand inevitably grows, so will GX capacity, future-proofing airlines choice today. Imagine a cell network and since each satellite has 80 cells, the flexible cell approach allows the satcom receivers to hand over signals from one to another if one cell is overloaded (done today with L-band too). This is a big deal.
As we noted earlier, the GX Ka-band service is now live and Inmarsat will provide its advanced new GX for Aviation in-flight broadband solution to Austrian Airlines’ continental aircraft fleet under a new, recently announced contract. The Ka-band spot beams are extremely efficient and provide a foundation layer of global coverage specifically designed to serve a high-speed mobile audience. More than 30 Airbus A320 family aircraft from Austrian Airlines’ fleet will be equipped with GX for Aviation. We understand that the new service will allow the airline’s passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more, with service levels on par with broadband connectivity available on the ground. We should note that the first installation and testing onboard Austrian Airlines aircraft is currently underway.
Also in the GX world, Honeywell and Boeing have recently signed a technical services agreement to develop technologies for the next generation of high-speed, in-flight wireless connectivity. The two companies will jointly research, test and develop the avionics hardware, software and potential aviation services that will utilize Inmarsat’s GX Ka-band satellites. The move addresses passengers’ increasing demands for faster, more reliable in-flight connectivity on smartphones, tablets and laptops.
(Editor’s Note: We can’t leave the Inmarsat story without reporting on their incredible booth in Singapore. It basically used virtual reality to tell visitors about 10 – 15 potential applications for the GX service from Inmarsat via VR headsets. First you are fitted with the headset and told that once in the viewing room, users could focus their headsets on the logo of one of the 10 – 15 potential areas of interest: ground connectivity, inflight operation, destination information and so on. Once a connection was established with the VR headset; the viewer was presented with a short audio/video scenario. Very clever and hopefully it will be at a future show!)
- We expect to see more consolidation from mid-level vendors before AIX and it is happening NOW!
Here’s a new one, or at least one we have not seen: Latitude Aero is having a Warehouse Liquidation Sale on A319 seating… “All reasonable offers accepted” – Check it out!
Cedar Rapids, Iowa | October 18, 2016– As airlines and airports come together in Singapore for the Airline Passenger Experience (APEX) Expo and Future Travel Experience (FTE) Asia Expo, Rockwell Collins will be there showcasing its powerful portfolio of solutions that deliver a complete end-to-end experience for passengers.
At APEX, the focus will be on the company’s PAVES in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems, Inmarsat GX Ka-band connectivity and applications and value-added services — all aimed at engaging, connecting and entertaining airline passengers.
“Airlines are interested in how they can provide their passengers with the best experience in the airport, onto the aircraft and through to the final destination,” said Jeff Sare, vice president, Sales and Marketing, Air Transport Cabin Solutions for Rockwell Collins.
He continued, “We offer extensive experience in a connected aviation ecosystem. Airlines are already taking advantage of our latest solutions with unprecedented reliability and we look forward to meeting with airlines at APEX to find solutions that meet their specific needs, especially in the area of of Ka-band connectivity.”
At FTE, Rockwell Collins will promote and demonstrate its next-generation airport solutions that are improving efficiencies in passenger processing, security and passenger experience.
“APEX and FTE attendees will have the opportunity to experience the breadth of Rockwell Collins expertise across the entire curb-to-curb experience, including integrated passenger processing, biometric identity management, self-service baggage handling, and interactive flight information and wayfinding,” said Chris Forrest, vice president, Airport Solutions for Rockwell Collins. “Rockwell Collins is in a unique position. We’re excited to showcase how we can support the entire aviation ecosystem.”
IFExpress: John, we assume you will be moving to the Chicago area… any expectations? Any trepidations?
J.W.: “Yes, I have relocated to the Chicago area and am thrilled to be joining my colleagues here to start launching the 2Ku era. As for trepidations, having spent the last eight winters in Colorado, I’m not quite sure what Chicago winters will bring, less skiing I’m sure.”
IFExpress: Regarding your new areas of responsibility (operations, quality control, commercial airline account management and commercial sales) which do you think will give you the most challenges and which the most enjoyment?
J.W.: “The role in itself will present many challenges as well as enjoyment across all departments as we begin the journey of rolling out 2Ku to our airline partners. Making sure that deployment goes as smoothly as possible is a large part of my new role as COO.
Over the years, I have discovered I have a natural love for optimizing operations within organizations and am really looking forward to leading those functions within Gogo’s commercial aviation business.
For one of my challenges, I’d say learning to manage the folks in sales, as I used to be one myself.
Putting in place the foundation of 2Ku for our airline partners that have clearly recognized 2Ku’s operational excellence is certainly the most exciting challenge. More than 1,200 aircraft across 12 airlines have made commitments to this technology that will change the face of air travel on a global scale. To be leading that innovation is not only a huge milestone at Gogo, but in aviation as well.”
IFEXpress: From a bigger perspective, can you: A. give our readers the today view of Gogo, B. tomorrow’s view under your new leadership, and C. the product view of the next 5 years at Gogo.
J.W.: “Right now is really a very exciting time for Gogo. As the summer travel season comes to an end for the airlines, we are truly stepping into full 2Ku production mode. By the end of the year, we have committed to having 75+ 2Ku aircraft installed and into 2017 and 2018, we’ll be ramping up production quite a bit to get through our backlog of 1,200 aircraft. Given how quickly the airline industry has taken to 2Ku and recognized its technological advantages, I expect in the next five years that we will announce many global partnerships for 2Ku. Additionally, we will continue to expand our product offerings, focus on bringing the connected aircraft to life and develop our next generation regional ATG network that will be a big benefit to both CA (commercial aviation) and BA (business aviation).”
IFExpress: We understand that is some markets (biz jet?), Gogo offers a text/data service (low speed), why is that not offered for a low cost solution for the many users who want minimum service on a commercial service airplane?
J.W.: “We actually do have a messaging pass for commercial aviation (CA) passengers. For CA, this messaging application enables passengers to stay in touch with the ground with popular messaging applications including iMessage, WhatsApp, Viber, etc. If passengers are T-Mobile customers, they can also take advantage of free in-flight texting on all Gogo equipped flights.
For BA and CA both, the service actually works on high speed networks. In general, we think that low speed networks will become increasingly more focused on the cockpit v. passenger services.”
IFExpress: Can you tell our readers a little about how the business aviation market differs from the commercial airline market and do you envision entering other markets like military, etc.?
J. W.: “If there is one major differentiator between BA and CA it’s in the size of the fuselage hence the antenna technologies which are applicable. With Gogo’s range of products for both BA and CA, Gogo is extremely well positioned to service both markets.
In terms of BA vs CA, from an operations perspective, there are striking similarities with the big difference being access to aircraft. Commercial airlines are not keen on taking planes down to change technologies, which creates challenges when you are delivering new technologies. But there are definitely more similarities than differences.”
In closing, John told IFExpress; “While I’ve had a lot of fun over the last eight years managing the BA group, I’m realizing my real passion is in the big airplane world. It’s truly great to be back in the airline world once again and I’m looking forward to seeing all my old friends in Singapore.”
With over 30 years in the aviation industry, Jorge Mompo has joined the digEcor team as the new Director North, Latin America and Caribbean Sales. Mompo will be based in the America’s office in Springville, Utah and will be handling all Sales and Marketing activities in the Americas’ region. Jorge began his aviation career in the areas of Business Aviation Technical and Support, subsequently moving into IFE where he held diverse Engineering and Sales & Marketing positions in companies including Sony Trans Com, Panasonic and Lumexis, serving mainly the Americas. Mompo commented, “There are numerous growth opportunities in the Region where digEcor’s comprehensive integrated flight experience suite of products for IFE and cabin will be a perfect fit for current and future needs. I’m looking forward to continuing my close working relationships with all the customers in the Americas Region encompassing Airlines, OEMs and MROs.” Jorge will be at Singapore at the digEcor booth and you can contact him here: +1 (305) 781-9798 Mobile – +1 (801) 691-7257 Office
Thales, a global leader in space, avionics, and connected inflight entertainment, announces two milestone agreements with SES, the world’s leading satellite operator. With these agreements, Thales will offer airlines and their passengers FlytLIVE, the most efficient inflight connectivity experience over the Americas. FlytLIVE by Thales will start operating mid 2017 using in-orbit satellites. Thales signed an agreement with SES for tailor made connectivity services over the Americas optimized for commercial aviation.
With FlytLIVE, inflight connectivity solution, airlines will receive the best connection speeds for passengers and passenger entertainment using Ka-band HTS, they claim.
Two currently in-orbit satellites comprise the initial network for the Americas; a third satellite provided by Thales Alenia Space – will be launched in 2020 to meet anticipated market growth over the Americas.
(Editor’s Note: IFExpress will have more on this deal soon.)
- ARINC, AEEC, Rockwell Collins are putting on their big show in Toulouse France this year (Oct. 13 – 14) and a couple meetings caught our eye – specifically 7E Next Generation Cabin Data Bus and New ARINC Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System. Here is more info – ARINC Industry Activities | AEEC | Upcoming Mid-Term | Meeting Material | Drafts for Adoption Consideration
- The FAA says don’t turn on or charge your Samsung’s new Note 7 on an airplane! FAA Warns Airline Passengers Not To Use Samsung Smartphone The Wireless Week reported: “There have been dozens of aircraft fires caused by lithium batteries, so many that the batteries are no longer welcome as cargo on passenger flights. In one of the most recent incidents, a Fiji Airways Boeing 737 was preparing for takeoff from Melbourne, Australia, when smoke was discovered coming from the cargo bay. The plane was evacuated and the cargo unloaded. The source of the fire turned out to be lithium-ion batteries in a passenger’s checked bags. Hoverboards and e-cigarettes are banned from flights for the same reason.” Here is another article on the subject.
- If you get a new iPhone (7) but you have earphones with a jack… no worries on board. Just get a Lightening Dock… or, here are four other solutions 5 Ways To Use Headphones With iPhone 7 And iPhone 7 Plus | Redmond Pie and use those jacked earphones!
France | September 12, 2016– Thales, a global leader in space, avionics, and connected inflight entertainment, announces two milestone agreements with SES, the world’s leading satellite operator. With these agreements, Thales will offer airlines and their passengers FlytLIVE, the most efficient inflight connectivity experience over the Americas. FlytLIVE by Thales will start operating mid 2017 using in-orbit satellites.
To meet the needs of a growing market, SES will procure a new satellite specifically designed for the needs of FlytLIVE and manufactured by Thales Alenia Space to be launched in 2020. The satellite’s architecture is based on Thales Alenia Space’s all-electric version of the Spacebus NEO platform, the highest performing satellite in the global connectivity market.
FlytLIVE by Thales, a simple and seamless connectivity solution for airlines, with unmatched performance for their passengers:
With FlytLIVE, passengers will enjoy full Internet services including video streaming, games, social media and live television, creating an immersive and engaging experience in the air.
Airlines will take advantage of Thales’s full end-to-end solutions including products such as the modular antenna and multi-frequency radome, in-cabin Wi-Fi and portal platform. The offering also provides bandwidth and session management, content delivery, operational support tools, line maintenance and turnkey service and support with high Service Level Agreements.
How it will be delivered:
FlytLIVE services will use the SES unsurpassed connectivity network of Ka-band High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) services optimized for airlines who want the best connection speeds for their customers.
Thales InFlyt Experience, Thales Alenia Space and SES specifically developed the network and satellite architecture for the unique connectivity requirements of commercial aviation customers resulting in better services, more efficient operations and cost savings. SES will operate the satellites and the ground network. The services will be ready for airline and passenger use by summer of 2017 and will be provided by two satellites that are currently in-orbit.
The third satellite in the network to be launched, SES-17, will be optimized for the fast-moving aviation and mobility market over the Americas. It will provide new Ka-HTS bandwidth over this region to meet current and future speed, coverage and quality expectations of crowded skies and increasing passenger service demands as regional airline 1 passenger traffic is forecasted to nearly double by 2030.
The satellite will be equipped with close to 200 spot beams of mixed size for more flexible allocation of capacity over high-traffic airline routes and field-of-view beams to enable the most efficient delivery of Internet, live broadcast television and real-time content delivery.
SES-17 will cover North America, South America, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic ocean. The network will provide substantial gains over today’s broadband connections, ensuring ultra-high speeds, capacity, coverage and quality.
- New Agreement Enables American to Increase Passenger Engagement and Optimize Customers’ Onboard Wi-Fi Experiences with a Proven, Scalable Internet Platform
- ViaSat Already Recognized as the Fastest, Best Performing In-flight Internet System, Delivering Highest Quality Streaming Video and Media Experiences to Every Connected Passenger Device on the Plane
Carlsbad, CA |June 3, 2016– American Airlines (NASDAQ: AAL) has selected ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global broadband services and technology company, to outfit its new Boeing 737 MAX fleet with ViaSat’s in-flight internet service. The ViaSat in-flight internet service has been recognized with multiple industry awards for delivering the best performing, highest-quality and fastest in-flight internet experience. The service encourages higher passenger engagement per plane by offering an ‘at home’ internet experience when in-flight – with the ability to stream movies, videos, television and music, as well as surf the web, upload pictures to social media, email large files and more.
The new American planes will tap into the power of ViaSat’s advanced high capacity Ka-band satellite system, which will include ViaSat-1, ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 satellite platforms, and has more capacity in orbit than any other in-flight Wi-Fi provider. American will leverage ViaSat’s first two generation satellite platforms, which together provide more capacity than all of the commercial satellites over North America combined. When the first ViaSat-3 class satellite platform launches in 2019, it will more than double the capacity again. With its capacity-rich satellite platforms, ViaSat is able to deliver the fastest, highest quality in-flight internet service to each connected device on a plane.
“Our satellite bandwidth enables an ’at home’ internet experience that can serve everyone on the plane – and empowers innovative business models for airlines and their passengers,” said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat chairman and CEO. “We are delighted and honored to have the opportunity to work with American Airlines and help fulfill their goal of delivering the best in-flight Wi-Fi experience throughout their fleet. We believe we are now approaching the end of an era where passengers have paid very high prices for very slow connections. Our agreement highlights a significant initial step for American to deliver an onboard Wi-Fi experience every passenger will want to use.”
As an internet service provider, ViaSat already serves nearly 700,000 residential and business users with high-speed, high-quality satellite internet. The ViaSat network is also the key to supporting thousands of simultaneously connected aircraft, each with dozens to hundreds of connected devices.
Carlisle Interconnect Technologies:
AIX is a great place to check on the status of new product projects, many taking over a year to design, develop, and certify for flying. When we first discovered the satcom adapter plate and Radome from CarlisleiT/Saint Gobain a few months back we note: “CarliseIT, in partnership with Saint Gobain Performance Plastics, now offers multiple ARINC 791 solutions for Ka-band, Ku-band and Tri-band SATCOM installations. The complete package contains the CarlisleIT ARINC 791 compliant adapter plate, provisions for Outside Airframe Equipment (OAE), and intercostal kits required for both retrofit and line fit installations on transport jet aircraft. Installation fittings on the adapter plate are adjustable to cover the complete range of aircraft frame spacing, while providing discrete interface loads to the fuselage. The aerodynamic skirt follows the fuselage curvature without requiring a large installation doubler, sealants, or additional fasteners through the aircraft skin.” The key here is ARINC 791, as it: “ …fulfills the requirement for a standardized installation, easier maintenance inspections, and overall lower cost of ownership. Conformance to the ARINC 791 standard also helps future-proofs the SATCOM installation, and makes upgrades to next generation antennas and SATCOM system equipment easier and faster with commonality across entire fleets.” At AIX 2016, we talked with Kris Samuelson, Director Sales IFE & SatCom and he told IFExpress: “Since APEX in Portland, we have been finalizing developments for line-fit products like the FlightGear, ARINC 791 Ka/Ku Universal Installation and we are looking at some 300 product sales and future installations. Further, the adapter plate and radome you saw at APEX have passed birdstrike and lightening certification tests. We plan to oversee installation mid-April and witness flight test in July. Their A320 STC will follow in August of this year. This product offers lower cost of ownership, 40% – 50% longer flight time between inspections and it is a simplified upgrade, it saves time and money. We expect the Ku installations in September of this year.” Additionally, Kris also mentioned: “The total system weight (antenna/radome) is 271 pounds,” he said, “and you will hear a lot more about this product as we will be producing an A791 adapter plate for Ku band low format antenna. The essential shape will remain similar however, we have to adjust some dimensions to accommodate that design. All in all,” he said, “There is a lot more than meets the eye with this product and we have our electrical and mechanical designers to thank for it’s flexible adaptability.”
One of the more interesting meetings at an IFE show is always one with the folks at STG Aerospace and especially with Nigel Duncan CEO. Why, you ask? Because Nigel is probably the best salesperson we have ever seen… at the least, he knows his products as well as anyone in his company. But more importantly, he as excited about them and when we visited, we heard and discussed their new passenger oriented liteMoodLED Cabin Lighting product, the latest in photoluminescent floor path marking saf-Tglo blu, and STG liteMood, their new LED strip lighting that replaces fluorescents in planes.
Lets start off with one of the most amazing passenger lights we have ever seen – STG liteMood passenger cabin reading light. As we all know, the light over a passenger seat that can be turned off and on by passengers normally describes conical light beam that illuminates a seat and can be adjusted to adjust the light on your tray table or the book you are reading. The problem is one of filament illumination. First the shape (bulb) is circular and diffuse light travels beyond your use and usually illuminates more than the table. Further, it does that because to get enough light for your use, the conical beam is bigger than needed. This means that your light, and all the others, use more power and illuminate more than one passenger, just to solve the illumination problem. Nigel’s team decided that they could do a better job and did just that – STG made an LED light that delivers a rectangular light beam illuminating only one table top. More importantly, they are using LEDs, which can get near to the color of solar light – better on the eyes and limit brightness. The light itself fits in existing fixtures, uses one LED in a special lamp-sized replacement and works like any other bulb but does a better job, at less power. Don’t believe us, check out the demo box picture (the light itself just replaces ones in the plane) and see for yourself: STG Aerospace gives passengers a defined private space with its new passenger centric LED reading light. Designed initially for the B737NG, we expect to see a lot more planes with this product.
Next, we saw the saf-Tglo product, a blue photoluminescent floor path living strip that delivers a blue shift, different from green strips that abound today. While aesthetic are on value in this product, their brochure notes that, “In addition to optimizing the glow colour, saf-Tglo blu provides a wider, brighter colour palette in ambient due to it’s whiter base colour.” Be sure to see it for yourself!
Finally, Neil Thomas told IFExpress: “Quite frankly, any light in the cabin is one we are looking to improve,” and thus he gave a perfect introduction to the last new product we saw, the new LED mood lighting system using LED strip lights that replace fluorescent lights and deliver an improved onboard experience. Said Nigel; “STG is trying to do things with lighting that collectively make a big difference.” Importantly, the lighting on an aircraft can affect the mood of passengers and STG realized the need for a ‘more aesthetically pleasing’ light solution and eliminate the sub-visual flickering that fluorescent lights give off. Mr. Duncan noted a Manchester University study that shows it is not the variety of colors that impacts passengers, it is the depth of color and saturation levels – features designed into their lighting solution. The liteMood LED cabin lights are presently installed on B757 and B737NG aircraft and have been flying for 16 months now. Since some 96 percent of flying aircraft today utilize fluorescent lighting the market looks quite healthy but because the STG provides a strip kit, the airlines can do the modification themselves.
The company has outlined its long-term aviation broadband roadmap to ensure that rising demand for fast, reliable and global passenger in-flight connectivity is met for the next five years and beyond. The launch of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) Aviation solution this year (Dec. 2016) creates the world’s first high-speed passenger in-flight connectivity solution with seamless, end-to-end global coverage, delivered through a single operator. Initial airline customers include Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Jazeera Airways. In all, they are running some 26 STC programs in parallel!
Inmarsat noted: “The GX network, which entered commercial service in December 2015 and currently includes three powerful Ka-band satellites, will provide the international bandwidth capacity needed to meet existing and near-term demand from airlines. As part of the aviation broadband roadmap, it also provides a global coverage underlay that will be built upon to meet future demand.” We note that GX is Ka Band and it employs spot beams. From their Newsroom: “The companies will manufacture 0.6 to 2.4 metre aperture terminals to deliver up to 50Mbps downlink speeds.” We also note that this should replicate data rates like ground based mobile applications. Also, keep your eye on future GX applications that support the new, flat Kymeta antenna!
Inmarsat has already committed to a fourth GX satellite, which is completing construction and testing by Boeing and will provide additional network capacity. It has also awarded Airbus Defence and Space a contract to build the first two satellites for its sixth-generation fleet, the first of which is scheduled for delivery by 2020. Uniquely for Inmarsat, the new fleet will feature a dual-payload, with each satellite supporting both Ka-band and L-band services. Based on current services and demand, the Ka-band co-payload will augment the capacity of the GX network over busy air routes and regions, while the L-band capacity supports a new generation of aviation safety services. Launch customer, Lufthansa, will install and go into service 3Q 2016 on an A320.
Another vital component in the roadmap is Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN), which will be the first aviation passenger connectivity solution across European airspace to integrate an advanced satellite network and LTE-based ground network; the latter will be operated by Deutsche Telekom. Aircraft will switch automatically between satellite and terrestrial connectivity using an onboard network communicator for optimal service delivery.
Also, Inmarsat, has signed a Heads of Terms (HoT) agreement with Beijing Marine Communication & Navigation Company Ltd. (MCN), which will lead to the creation of a joint venture (JV) to provide aircraft cabin and cockpit connectivity solutions in China’s fast-growing commercial aviation market. The Inmarsat services that would be provided through the JV include Global Xpress (GX) Aviation and SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S). The final agreement is expected to be signed later this year.
Inmarsat noted also: “GX Aviation will launch this year as the world’s first broadband in-flight connectivity solution with seamless, end-to-end global coverage. Passengers will be able to browse the internet, use social media, stream online videos, download files and more using their smartphones, tablets and other Wi-Fi enabled devices, with a similar quality of service in the air as they would receive on the ground.”
Note: SB-S is a next generation cyber secure flight deck communication platform, enabling airlines to meet the ICAO mandate for sub-15 minute tracking of all aircraft, Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC)’s four-minute mandate, Automatic Dependent Surveillance and electronic flight bag updates. Combining L-band satellite connectivity with advanced avionics, it delivers speeds 10 times faster than existing Classic Aero services to provide airlines with cockpit communications for the digital age.
Editor’s Note: There has been a lawsuit underway between content service provider, IFP (parent company Global Eagle) and Universal regarding licensing since 2013. The issue will go to damages trial on May 10, 2016. Below are a series of exerts from various publications that outline the history suit:
“The defendant in the lawsuit is IFP and parent company Global Eagle, a worldwide provider of in-flight entertainment from movies to songs. IFP scored a lucrative contract loading American Airlines (and later US Airways) with music playlists obtained via physical CDs and digital downloads, and in 2008 upon concern that it had licensing issues, approached the major labels for a deal.” Hollywood Reporter 4/22/16
“At issue is the discrepancy between what artists get paid for a ‘license’ of their song versus a ‘sale’ of their song. Under contracts that were written before iTunes and other song download services, artists were paid 15% per sale but 50% per license. However, many ‘legacy’ artists argued that digital downloads were licenses, not sales, and they should be paid the higher royalty rate.” Plagiarism Today March 20, 2015
“Inflight operates the entertainment consoles for various airlines, including American Airlines, which was added to the lawsuit previously. Universal alleges that Inflight did not have proper licenses to play Universal Music, especially on international flights where there may not be a single licensing body to authorize the use of music.
However, Inflight has responded saying that they had an agreement with Universal that began in 2009. Though the agreement was never finalized, Universal repeatedly assured Inflight that they were not infringing until, in 2013, Universal hit them with a surprise cease and desist letter.” Plagiarism Today March 20, 2015
“Then in November 2013 the label suddenly sent them a cease-and-desist letter, which they claim has interfered with their contractual relationships with airlines.
They speculate Universal changed its tune in response to changes in the music industry. They claim the label followed the example of Sony’s suit in 2013 against Inflight and United Airlines specifically over Irish licenses (the case eventually settled). Then they claim Universal wants money in settlements “in the wake of a substantial decline in the music business” and want to establish its own business to provide music to airlines.”Hollywood Reporter 3/19/15
“In a tentative summary judgment ruling that was adopted on Wednesday, however, U.S. District Judge George Wu writes, “At best, there is evidence that the parties discussed various terms, but never reached any final agreements,” and further, “There is ample evidence that IFP knew it had no licenses from Plaintiffs and that it could be sued for copyright infringement, and no evidence that Plaintiffs ever indicated to IFP that any such licenses were forthcoming or misrepresented any existing fact.” Hollywood Reporter 4/22/16
“Here’s the adopted tentative as well as the Wednesday ruling that also rejects a statute of limitations defense. The case is now set for a damages trial on May 10 with more than 4,500 copyrights involved. The plaintiffs are led by Jeffrey D. Goldman at Jeffer Mangels while the defendants are being handled by Marty Katz at Shappard Mullin.” Hollywood Reporter 4/22/16
“Universal Music and its co-plaintiffs are seeking maximum statutory damages of $150,000 for each work that Inflight infringed, or an award of profits and compensatory damages. They also seek restitution of Inflight’s profits, punitive and exemplary damages, and an injunction.” Courthouse News – 6/23/15
You do the math!
EVEN MORE NEWS
- Last week’s BUZZ picture was incorrect… please note we pictured Ms. Agnieszka Jacquemot with Sara Pepic’s quote? Thank you, Alexander Preston, as you win the IFExpress prize – your name in print!
- Also, Web Barth can be reached as follows: firstname.lastname@example.org – Sorry Web, didn’t know there was a ‘.global’ on the web.
- And lastly, On July 15, 2016, Boeing will celebrate its’ 100th birthday.
- Global Xpress will serve as the foundation of an integrated global network that can be shaped to fit any airline route system and built upon to meet future demand
Hamburg, Germany | April 5, 2016– Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has outlined its long-term aviation broadband roadmap to ensure that rising demand for fast, reliable and global passenger in-flight connectivity is met for the next five years and beyond.
The launch of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) Aviation solution this year creates the world’s first high-speed passenger in-flight connectivity solution with seamless, end-to-end global coverage, delivered through a single operator. Engineered to meet the needs of complex and evolving airline route systems, initial airline customers including Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Jazeera Airways.
The GX network, which entered commercial service in December 2015 and currently includes three powerful Ka-band satellites, will provide the international bandwidth capacity needed to meet existing and near-term demand from airlines. As part of the aviation broadband roadmap, it also provides a global coverage underlay that will be built upon to meet future demand.
Inmarsat has already committed to a fourth GX satellite, which is completing construction and testing by Boeing and will provide additional network capacity. It has also awarded Airbus Defence and Space a contract to build the first two satellites for its sixth-generation fleet, the first of which is scheduled for delivery by 2020. Uniquely for Inmarsat, the new fleet will feature a dual-payload, with each satellite supporting both Ka-band and L-band services. Based on current services and demand, the Ka-band co-payload will augment the capacity of the GX network over busy air routes and regions, while the L-band capacity supports a new generation of aviation safety services.
Another vital component in the roadmap is Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN), which will be the first aviation passenger connectivity solution across European airspace to integrate an advanced satellite network and LTE-based ground network; the latter will be operated by Deutsche Telekom. Aircraft will switch automatically between satellite and terrestrial connectivity using an onboard network communicator for optimal service delivery. The first commercial EAN trials are expected in mid-2017.
Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Inmarsat’s focus on global mobility is unique in the industry and our aviation broadband roadmap will ensure we continue to grow ahead of demand, with the ability to efficiently move capacity where it’s needed, when it’s needed. As a result, our airline customers will benefit from partnering with a highly-focused connectivity provider that is continuously investing to meet the aviation industry’s long-term needs for superior performance and economics.
“This is extremely important, as airlines operate complex and constantly evolving route networks, each with their own unique requirements, and they need to look beyond a short-term answer to in-flight broadband. Inmarsat’s commitment to building on its GX payloads, in addition to the European Aviation Network, underlines the fact that we have the infrastructure, focus and investment power to deliver the ultimate aviation connectivity – now and in the future.”
Airlines will connect to GX Aviation using exclusive new JetWave terminals being produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell Aerospace. Over 300 passenger aircraft have already committed to installing the system, with more to come. Certification for JetWave is currently underway for 26 different aircraft models across commercial, business aviation and government end markets, with approvals received for the Boeing 757 and Bombardier 5000 and 6000 aircraft in recent months.
Final ground and flight testing is now underway and initial results have successfully validated GX Aviation’s ability to deliver high-speed broadband connectivity to support video streaming and live radio, online conference video calls, multiple file downloads and more over land and water.
Inmarsat is also collaborating with Honeywell Aerospace and Kymeta, a company that develops innovative flat-panel antennas for satellite communications, to produce a new, higher-speed Ka-band wireless antenna. The aviation antenna, which is exclusive to Inmarsat, will have unique capabilities that will bring another step change in faster connectivity and higher quality broadband service to aircraft. In addition, its smaller and lighter flat-panel design will reduce weight and drag on the aircraft, in turn reducing fuel and maintenance costs.
“Our end-to-end solution, including the satellite and ground network, hardware and infrastructure, have been specifically engineered with mobility in mind. And as a single network operator, we can commit to a reliable global service with a uniform high quality of service,” added Mondale.
Los Angeles and Germantown, MD | March 21, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., (Nasdaq:ENT) (GEE), a worldwide provider of aircraft connectivity systems, operations solutions and media content to the travel industry, and Hughes Network Systems, LLC (Hughes), the global leader in broadband satellite solutions and services, today announced an agreement under which Hughes will deliver satellite connectivity for GEE’s next-generation, multi-band airborne services utilizing the high-throughput Ka-band EchoStar XIX satellite, planned for launch in late 2016, to meet the ever-growing demand for higher performance in-flight connectivity over North America.
In conjunction with the deployment of Hughes’ JUPITER™ System aeronautical modem, capable of over 200 Mbps of throughput per aircraft, GEE’s newest addition to its aeronautical broadband connectivity services will enable passengers to realize the full spectrum of application support and performance they enjoy on the ground.
Today’s announcement expands a successful 10-year relationship between GEE and Hughes that has a proven record of innovation and commercialization in aeronautical broadband networking technology and services. The expanded partnership further enhances GEE’s position as a leader in the in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFE&C) market, with best-of-breed offerings in the Ku, Ku-HTS, and Ka bands.
“With the rapid growth in demand for aeronautical broadband capacity and the commensurate expectations for increasing performance, we are extremely pleased to add the capacity and capability of Hughes’ EchoStar XIX satellite to our array of resources,” said Dave Davis, chief executive officer of GEE. “In combination with Hughes’ JUPITER System technology, which enables extremely high throughput to aircraft and supports operation in both Ku- and Ka-Band satellite frequencies, this agreement enables GEE to deliver the highest capacity and most reliable performance that our clients need and expect well into the future.”
“Hughes is pleased to expand our long-standing relationship with GEE with high-performance Ka-band capacity on our EchoStar XIX satellite,” said Paul Gaske, executive vice president and general manager, North America Division at Hughes. “When launched, EchoStar XIX will be the highest-capacity satellite serving North America and, in conjunction with our JUPITER System technology, will enable GEE to readily accommodate the tremendous growth in aeronautical broadband traffic that is taking place in the industry.”
The Hughes JUPITER System is the cornerstone technology of the market-leading HughesNet® Gen 4 satellite Internet service—with over 1 million active users—which was recently ranked first among all major Internet service providers in the U.S. (both terrestrial and satellite) for consistently delivering promised download and upload speeds, according to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) fifth annual report on consumer broadband services, “Measuring Broadband America – 2015.”
- EXPLORER 3075 series delivers unmatched performance for media users on Ka-band links
BVE 2016, ExCel London | February 22, 2016– Cobham SATCOM is showing its new series of Portable Manual Deploy Fly-Away VSAT antennas on service provider partner Europsat’s stand (D:31) at the BVE 2016 exhibition in London this week. The EXPLORER 3075 series comes in two variants; a KA-SAT version for EutelSat NewsSpotter and the latest model configured specifically for operation on the new Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) Ka-band network.
EXPLORER 3075 antennas are built from a firm carbon fibre composite, which ensures high performance, while being extremely portable. All antennas in the series use the same 0.75m 4-piece reflector and materials, delivering a precise blend of lightweight design with strength and durability, ideally suited to the mobile nature of outside newsgathering and broadcasting.
While providing unmatched radio performance and service reliability on Inmarsat’s global and mobile GX satellite service, the new EXPLORER 3075GX variant also offers the flexibility to switch to the established KA-SAT based NewsSpotter service when using an optional ‘field conversion kit’. The possibility for easy switching from Inmarsat GX to NewsSpotter provides flexibility for newsgathering teams to ensure they can access the best available service.
Switching using the conversion kit is straightforward; the user simply changes the antenna feed chain using a ‘bicycle style’ quick release mechanism, meaning no tools or expertise are required. Within minutes, EXPLORER 3075GX can be transmitting on the alternative satellite, ensuring availability of a high bandwidth link to the studio and the Internet.
EXPLORER 3075GX delivers reliable, high quality live streaming/broadcasting in addition to remote videoconferencing and Internet cloud services including voice, radio, data and fax. The terminal has an embedded WLAN Access Point and four LAN interfaces, allowing for multiple wireless and wired connections.
“Like Eutelsat NewsSpotter, the Global Xpress satellite network will become a key resource for outside broadcasting and with EXPLORER 3075GX we have developed a sophisticated antenna system that ensures users can make the most of the high bandwidth Inmarsat’s new service offers,” explains Henrik Noerrelykke, Vice President, Land Mobile Business Development, Cobham SATCOM.
“Because EXPLORER 3075GX shares the same platform as the EXPLORER 3075 with a ViaSat eTRIA configured for the KA-SAT NewsSpotter service, we can offer users a new kind of flexibility that allows them to choose the best available service whilst on location, ensuring their ability to broadcast regardless of environment or service status,” adds Noerrelykke.
The EXPLORER 3075GX weighs approx. 22 kg and is transported in two rugged hard cases. Each case is airline checkable and is easy to carry. The EXPLORER 3075 for KA-SAT weighs approx. 11kg and comes in a single airline checkable rugged hard case.
France | February 16, 2016– Thales In-Flyt Experience will equip Singapore Airlines with its AVANT In-Flight Entertainment system and Ka-band connectivity solution on its future fleet of A350 XWB aircraft configured for medium-haul operations.
Singapore Airlines is recognised for its high standards of service and cabin experience. As a visionary of connected IFE solutions, Singapore Airlines constantly seeks to renew and maintain its image for quality and passenger comfort by providing an in-flight experience that exceeds passenger expectations.
Thales, with its AVANT Android based system offers a flexible architecture that responds to these needs. Through its innovative User Application portal, Thales will assist Singapore Airlines to constantly introduce the newest and most sought after apps present in the consumer market, to their passengers.
The integration of Ka-band connectivity to the in-flight system, using the fastest airborne internet speeds will open up the world to the passenger. Delivery of the system will begin in 2018.
The fleet will be equipped with Thales latest AVANT monitors, the most lightweight ever deployed, featuring full high-definition video and integrating Avii, the newest evolution of the award winning Thales Touch Passenger Media Unit, in the premium cabins. Avii provides intuitive navigation, full android smartphone look & feel and acts as a second screen which greatly enhances the cabin experience for premium passengers.
Passengers will have access to a wide selection of connected applications, seamless personal device integration allowing a home experience in the air, High Power USB charging and NFC technology.
With strong roots in the Singapore market and over four decades in the region, Thales has developed an impressive local presence with more than 1000 people, innovation capability and business partnerships across the region.
Thales will provide Singapore Airlines with line operation services to ensure the highest level of performance of the IFE system. The local repair hub near Changi airport offers the capability to fully support Singapore Airlines by maintaining aircraft equipment while maximizing efficiency.
One company that seems to be a bit quieter about their connectivity solutions is Honeywell but that’s about to change. Last week, they sent out a release about their recent certification from the FAA for their inflight product, JetWave and their STC on a Boeing B757. Significant is their exclusive connectivity hardware for Inmarsat Global Express, high speed, Ka-Band inflight connectivity service.
At higher frequencies like Ka Band (26.5 – 40 GHz), operators can generally obtain more user bandwidth but a lot depends on antenna size & efficiency, users in the space, horizon height, weather, and more. But we digress.
Part of the attraction of JetWave is bandwidth as we just mentioned, but global coverage is another feature and we asked about that feature as well. Finally, we do believe, that the price per downloaded bit will be cheaper than those of lower transmit/receive frequencies… but that remains to be announced by Honeywell or airlines. Stay tuned on this one. If JetBlue’s solution with Thales & ViaSat is any indication, it ought to get interesting and potentially cheaper per bit.
Next, we had a few more questions and Honeywell provided answers for some as follows:
1. IFExpress: How long has this product been in development (antenna) and what new antenna technologies are included?
ANS: “Honeywell and Inmarsat signed a partnership in 2012 for Honeywell to be the exclusive hardware provider for Global Xpress Ka-band network. Honeywell also signed a master services distribution agreement for business aviation with Inmarsat. Since 2012, Honeywell has successfully developed the fuselage antenna for air transport aircraft and tail-mount antenna for business aviation aircraft to connect to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Ka-band services.”
2. IFExpress: We know you make the antenna, but our readers would be interested in understanding if the Ka Band Amplifier/transmitter/receiver is part of the product line too and is it new?
ANS: “Honeywell is the exclusive hardware provider for Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network. The JetWave system includes the fuselage antenna for commercial airlines, tail-mount antenna for business aviation aircraft, the Modman (modem and terminal), KRFU (frequency converter and amplifier) and KANDU (antenna control and networking unit) hardware.”
3. IFExpress: What is the expected average user data rate (X Mbps)?
ANS: “JetWave and Global Xpress services can provide up to 33Mbps to business aviation aircraft and up to 50Mbps to air transport aircraft.”
4. IFExpress: Besides the test plane, is the unit installed on any other aircraft?
ANS: “There are over 15 different aircraft models/types working on installing JetWave to access the Global Xpress network across commercial, business aviation and government end markets including:
· Honeywell’s Dassault Falcon 900 test aircraft has installed JetWave for flight testing.
· JetWave hardware has been delivered to support the first A350 GX Aviation installation
· Bombardier is currently working on certifying JetWave on their Global Express aircraft”
5. IFExpress: Is Honeywell willing to talk price?
ANS: “Service packages will be defined and managed by Inmarsat and our Value-Added-Resellers (VARs), who bring years of experience in developing and introducing tailored and cost effective connectivity solutions to airlines and their passengers.”
6. IFExpress: As you might know, Gogo had a very successful Press demo of their Ku Band system, are you folks going to do the same?
ANS: “Yes definitely, we plan to demonstrate the system to customers and media in 2016.”
7. Can you talk a bit about the potentially lower data rate costs to consumers?
ANS: “Service packages will be defined and managed by Inmarsat our Value-Added-Resellers (VARs), who bring years of experience in developing and introducing tailored and cost effective connectivity solutions to airlines and their passengers.”
8. IFExpress: We assume the coverage is worldwide?
ANS: “Inmarsat Global Xpress is the first high-speed broadband network to span the world.”
9. IFExpress: Have you tested the Ka system in weather and what did you find?
ANS: “The certification of Honeywell’s JetWave hardware was achieved following more than 180 flight hours and multiple rigorous tests aboard Honeywell’s Boeing 757 test aircraft, which showed that the system would stay connected to Inmarsat’s GX network at various altitudes, angles and speeds, through several different types of weather, and over land and water.”
10. Is the Ka service available over the US today?
ANS: “Inmarsat’s I-5 F2 satellite was launched on 1 February 2015 to deliver regional GX services for the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean Region.”
11. IFExpress: Any customers bought/interested/US and/or overseas?
ANS: “See below:
- Singapore Airlines has selected JetWave and GX Aviation system for their B777-300ER aircraft, followed by its A380-800s.
- Lufthansa announced that GX Aviation has been selected for its short and medium-haul flights – the first Lufthansa aircraft will be fitted with the new technology in early summer 2016
- Qatar Airways has committed to equipping their fleet with GX Aviation through the Thales A350 in-flight entertainment/connectivity program
- Vietnam Airlines selected GX Aviation for its A350 fleet through Inmarsat and Honeywell partners, Thales and Gogo
- Air China will test GX Aviation on its A330 aircraft
- Airbus is far along in the engineering and certification work to make GX and JetWave hardware option for new aircraft in production across its entire catalog, and numerous certification processes are engaged to ensure GX and JetWave hardware availability for retrofit applications
- Honeywell continues to work with Boeing on its technical services agreement to confirm offerability for Boeing platforms including the 787, 777, and 737NG
- For the business aviation segment, Bombardier has selected GX Ka-band business aviation service for the Global 5000, Global 6000, Global 7000 and Global 8000 platforms
- Haitec Aircraft Maintenance signed an agreement to jointly develop an A319 STC for the corporate jet market
Honeywell is continuing to work with airlines around the globe and aircraft manufacturers to bring JetWave and Global Xpress services to passengers and operators.”
12. IFExpress: What is the biggest market you see for the products?
ANS: “In the coming years the de facto standard for in-flight comfort will be giving passengers the freedom to keep connected even while flying at 35,000 feet and we see this demand around the globe. JetWave and Global Xpress will provide truly global and consistent high-speed connectivity that will be demanded around the world – we see strong opportunities around the globe.”
13. IFExpress: What are some good weblinks for our readers to get more on your products?
ANS: “To learn more about Honeywell’s JetWave hardware, please visit
To learn more about Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network, please visit:
Finally, Honeywell noted: The important thing to remember about JetWave and Global Xpress is that:
1. Global Xpress is the only global Ka-band network designed around the requirements of mobile assets, including aircraft. It has the ability to keep aircraft connected over land and water and throughout all phases of flight.
2. Inmarsat Global Xpress is the first high-speed broadband network to span the world.
3. It delivers seamless, globally available, high-speed broadband connectivity on land, at sea, and in the air – provided by a single operator.”
A) The folks at RouteHappy developed a great infographic on inflight Wi-Fi: Global State of In-Flight Wi-Fi | Routehappy
B) iPass Inc., a leading provider of global mobile connectivity, announced an agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) to bring inflight Internet access to iPass customers on 23 international airlines. Under terms of the agreement, iPass, which provides convenient, secure, always-on Wi-Fi connectivity on any mobile device, will be available on more than 747 Panasonic-equipped aircraft that fly more than 32,000 routes monthly.
iPass, which has agreements with several inflight connectivity providers, now offers service onboard more than 2,700 aircraft. With this partnership, the company extends its service to passengers on airlines around the world, including Air Berlin, All Nippon Airways, and WestJet.
“Inflight Wi-Fi is critical for our business customers, and our partnership with Panasonic extends iPass’ inflight footprint to many of the world’s leading international carriers,” said Patricia Hume, the chief commercial officer of iPass. “Moreover, the partnership supports our strategy to offer iPass everywhere, so that iPass customers can move from airport to airplane to airport and beyond, with one, seamless, Wi-Fi first, Internet experience.”
“We are dedicated to giving our customers a frictionless Internet experience,” said David Bruner, Vice President of Global Communications Services at Panasonic Avionics. “Our partnership with iPass brings convenient access to Wi-Fi connectivity to our customers through a single service, helping them stay connected.
C) Check out the FedEx blog about ORBIS, the sight saving flying hospital service. Remember that ORBIS is APEX’s official charity. We also mention, SIE, was the engineering firm and system integrator for the entire program. The ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital should be going on its first medical/humanitarian mission in the next 8 weeks or so
D) Also, a good friend, Bob Bogash, has a wonderful website featuring the rebuilding of a an old Boeing B727 with great images – 727 Prototype
E) Lastly, congratulations to Thomas Lee of Zodiac Aerospace who is now Vice President – Product Marketing – Zodiac Cabin.
Zodiac Inflight Innovations
Perhaps the biggest Zodiac (Zii) news we discussed was the announcement in June of the Zodiac selection by Airbus for high bandwidth connectivity and they note that Zii was chosen as a Buyer Furnished Equipment (BFE) for the Airbus High Bandwidth Connectivity (HBC) solution. Zodiac Inflight Innovations is supplying aircraft equipment, and other terminal hardware. As Lead supplier, Zodiac Inflight Innovations will manage the integration of the system and facilitate the Inmarsat Global Xpress service directly. The current scope of the HBC program covers the Ka-band system for A320 single aisle family, the A330 long range family and the A380 aircraft. Larry Girard, Executive Vice President at Zodiac Inflight Innovations states: “The end result will be that airlines will be able to have different HBC options on multiple aircraft types, while providing a consistent service to both passengers and the airlines day-to-day operations. As the Lead supplier, Zodiac Inflight Innovations’ role is bringing together all the components for the High Bandwidth Connectivity program, including our own, and matching them to the Airbus process.” Zodiac Inflight Innovations is providing an ARINC-791 compliant radome, adapter plate, skirt seal, antenna, as well as other terminal hardware. The radome and adapter plate have been designed to be sufficiently flexible to accommodate other Ka-band antennas, minimizing the work required for future HBC systems. This makes Zii the only IFE connectivity vendor across the current Airbus aircraft platforms – that’s a big deal! Twenty five airlines around the world with over 200 aircraft in service are already using Zii Inflight Entertainment which includes their RAVE Centric AVOD system and their latest RAVE Wireless streaming entertainment system (system diagram). Today, some 250 people work in Brea, CA (Zii’s home) and we expect to see more sale troops in the near future. Success at Airbus include line-fit on A350, A330, & A320 families. Further, we expect some events with Boeing soon. On the retrofit side, Zii told us that they have a ‘variety of suppliers’ to provide turn-key installations from hardware to certification, including long term support.
From a hardware perspective, Zii has a new supply of screens available that include 10.1”, 11.6”, 13.3”, and a stunning 18.5” screen. We note that the last three are 1080p devices! And yes, all are dockable units. We also note that they are not streaming to each seat – there is a 1.5 TB storage in the seatback electronics so content is downloaded prior to display and we note the quality is beautiful. As Harry Gray, VP Sales & Marketing, noted: “Storage in the STU cloud and at the seat delivers stunning and reliable inseat display images.” We agree.
SITA OnAir demonstrated how the passenger experience is being transformed by their e-Aircraft concept. They discussed the key developments based on the advent of the global high through-put satellite link, GX Aviation. In fact, they showed how the increased connectivity affected 6 key ‘audiences’ (aircraft included) for the improved data rates: 1) Passengers benefit from a richer, more interactive infotainment experience. At the Expo they launched their latest inflight portal for passengers, 2) Cabin Crew can now personalize passenger interaction with real-time information available at their fingertips. Also, they demonstrated their latest CrewTablet developments, 3) Cockpit Crew can also deliver a safer, more comfortable journey to passengers thanks to live weather updates sent directly to EFBs, 4) Flight Operations can enhance passenger safety by tracking aircraft wherever they are in the world using AIRCOM FlightTracker – and a number of airlines have already signed up, 5) Aircraft transmits maintenance requirement data, ensuring teams are waiting at the gate to keep turnaround time to a minimum, 6) And finally, Air Traffic Control enhances both safety and efficiency by streamlining communications between pilots and air traffic managers. SITA likes to call these ‘nose-to-tail’ solutions and they told IFExpress that there is an airline evaluating all these functions in real time today. One of the SITA OnAir prophets is Francois Rodriguez, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer and he told IFExpress: “It is all real and being deployed and we are working with airlines to enable them all with nose-to-tail solutions.” If you are curious about the joining of the two companies and their resultant efforts, their website sheds a bit more information on their combined strategy: “On January 1 2015 , SITA and OnAir formed SITA OnAir as part of the SITA Group, to help airlines realize the full potential of the connected aircraft. The core of the new business organization is SITA’s proven knowledge of airline communications and IT, and OnAir’s expertise in supplying in-flight connectivity. By bringing together SITA’s and OnAir’s industry leadership and expertise; in ground and inflight connectivity, cockpit data services and air traffic management solutions, aircraft communications and infrastructure solutions, as well as application development for both passengers and crew, SITA OnAir sets the benchmark for true nose-to-tail solutions. SITA OnAir provides the complete range of products and services an airline needs to realize the full potential of the connected aircraft regardless of fleet size, route structure or aircraft type.” And lastly, SITA OnAir demonstrated a passenger App that interacts with passengers during their entire flight, As an example, they use beacon technology to connect with the passenger on the ground and continues via a hand-off with them in the air. You can find out more about SITA OnAir here and check out their e-aircraft portfolio. Stay Tuned.
One of the more interesting small companies that we discovered last year at AIX, was Jetpack from England. They were at APEX this year and while we noted their independent programming collections, they abound in a lot of technology and gadgets that they have developed for airlines. While we don’t know how successful they have been, their Director of Technology, Ed Pleydell-Bouverie was one of the most interesting fellows at the show. He told IFExpress: “We have developed iBeacons, a Portable App Distributer that uses Raspberry Pi computer, augmented reality glasses, and a lot of ‘specialty devices’ for airlines.“ Perhaps his best comment that summed up their charter was, “We do oddball stuff.” Yes you do, Ed, yes you do!
The anti-hacking surprise award at APEX goes to BAE Systems and if you have never talked to Dave Kingston about the subject – do so! We met Dave last year when we talked about their power supplies for inseat applications. As head of Business Development, he had our complete attention and for the first time, we heard a lot about anti hacking on commercial aircraft via the connectivity systems. We got the crypto discussions when they mentioned their content encrypted entertainment programming. The IntelliCabin devices can download encryption Apps that allow their DRM players to send out first encrypted entertainment without worry of copying or data intervention. It seems that they had to prove to the studios that the player Apps do not corrupt, omit, or scramble transmitted movie frames; as a result, some of the major Hollywood movie houses have approved their solution. This is a big deal. Dave told us that they have been working the issue for 18 months, and focusing on a solution for the last six. The reason BAE Systems can do what they do is buried in their $26 B military business that dwells in cybersecurity, military contracts and technology in general. They consulted on the security problem with movie content, accessed their practices and evaluated their network security. In fact, the tech folks there simulated attacks and looked across the whole air and ground IFE and content systems. Dave told us that currently IntelliCabin is not on a connected aircraft, but from a total security point of view, they will have to simulate more attack scenarios that include passenger attempts to load malware on devices that talk to the streaming source of content in the air and ground via their PEDs. This is big stuff and BAE Systems is a leader now in this technology. Obviously, this will make their products more marketable, especially in the near future when these critical and non-critical domains are attacked. Dave summed it up perfectly: “Our Wi-Fi is now the equal of an embedded system.” Their App software knows what device it is running on, it adjusts to that device, the user interface adapts to the device (This is a very nice function), and the system constantly adapts to the streaming content, including the adjustment of the device controls. As far as we know, no one else does this ‘cloud adaptation’ of content streaming. BAE Systems has come a long way and their focus on security will pay off, especially when the studios get a look at their solutions.
Involved with security in your company? You might want to read this.
If you are an engineer, or you like science and engineering, you must go see ‘The Martian’, you wont Be disappointed. Sir Ridley Scott is a genius.
Lastly, Ron Chapman noted recently that future inflight connectivity users might have a frequent ‘FFLYA’ in their future. Oh, look it up!
- Agreement Is the First Step to Make the Fastest In-Flight Connectivity Service Available to New Commercial Aircraft
Carlsbad, California | September 15, 2015– ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global broadband services and technology company, today announced it entered into a new technical agreement with The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA). The agreement initiates the evaluation process for airlines to specify installation of the ViaSat in-flight Wi-Fi® connectivity system on Boeing Commercial airplanes.
ViaSat offers the fastest in-flight internet speeds – typically 8 to 10 times faster – than any other in-flight Wi-Fi system available today. Under the terms of this new agreement, ViaSat’s Ka-band airborne satellite terminal will be evaluated as a factory option for Boeing aircraft prior to delivery, enabling airplanes to come off the line with ViaSat connectivity ready for immediate service. This would allow airlines to avoid costly down-time involved with taking planes out of service for post-production retrofits and ensures that from day one, each passenger and flight crew member gets a best-in-class in-flight internet experience with the industry’s only service level agreement, regardless of how many devices are connected on the plane or how many planes are on the network.
“Our agreement with Boeing is an important milestone giving our airline customers the ability to get the best onboard Wi-Fi system delivered with their new aircraft,” said Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Mobility at ViaSat. “By selecting ViaSat in-flight communications for Boeing’s fleet, airlines now can differentiate their in-flight internet service with a flexible, sustainable business model that will continue to create value as more passengers use the service.”
John Craig, chief engineer of Cabin and Network Systems for Boeing Commercial Airplanes continued, “In initiating the evaluation process with long-time partner ViaSat, we now look to add ViaSat airborne terminals to our line-fit factory options. This will give Boeing’s commercial airline customers a new cost- and time-effective high-bandwidth connectivity choice for their airplanes.”
ViaSat’s in-flight internet service has won more industry awards in the past 12-months than any other system, including the Crystal Cabin Award, Excellence in Avionics Award, the Via Satellite Excellence Award and the APEX Avion Award. The service operates on nearly 500 aircraft with unmatched in-flight Wi-Fi quality, performance and scale, allowing airlines to provide a highly-differentiated in-flight experience that gives passengers and crew members access to high-speed web browsing, streaming media and productivity applications.
Expanded Partnership, Expanded Global Coverage
As announced in March 2015, ViaSat and Boeing also are working together to offer the ViaSat Flexible Broadband System. This system couples ViaSat’s high-capacity ViaSat-2 satellite payload design with Boeing’s 702SP (Small Platform) satellite bus to lower barriers of entry for regional satellite service providers to offer affordable, flexible satellite broadband anywhere in the world.
With the ViaSat Flexible Broadband System, service providers can focus capacity to match bandwidth demand and scale their infrastructure as expansion is needed. The vision of this smart global network would allow any ViaSat-enabled Boeing aircraft to stay connected across a much more diverse, global Ka-band satellite network.
- Cobham SATCOM Teams Up with Network Innovations, Inmarsat and TV2 to Demonstrate New Satcom Tech and Services at IBC 2015
Lyngby, Denmark | September 7, 2015– Cobham SATCOM, manufacturer of the highly-regarded EXPLORER brand of satellite terminals is teaming up with service provider Network Innovations, Satellite Network Operator Inmarsat and Danish broadcaster TV2 at IBC 2015. Reflecting the importance of partnerships, the quartet of satcom innovators will demonstrate a diverse new wave of hardware, Ka- and Ku-band VSAT services and innovative new L-band solutions, all with the potential to revolutionise outside broadcasting.
Mounted on a Mercedes GLK, the brand new EXPLORER 8100 VSAT terminal will form the centrepiece of Cobham SATCOM’s IBC presence, outside on stand #0.G04. As the world’s first and only Stabilised Auto-Acquire Drive-Away antenna, the new EXPLORER 8100 VSAT overcomes the challenges of vehicle movement for land ‘Comms-On-The-Pause’ users. It is especially relevant for the growing population of small and rapidly deployable outside broadcast production teams. Transmitting live from the RAI in Amsterdam, Cobham SATCOM will demonstrate how the unique stabilisation technology of EXPLORER 8100 VSAT can maintain consistent link conditions on Eutelsat’s Ka-band NewsSpotter service provided by Network Innovations (2.A46), even with people getting in and out of the car.
“When a traditional terminal on a stationary vehicle connected to a Ka-band satellite moves due to the car rocking, it’s likely that the link will be lost or degraded. We welcome visitors to challenge the stabilisation performance of the EXPLORER 8100 VSAT at IBC,” explains Henrik Nørrelykke, VP Land Business, Cobham SATCOM. “Our extensive experience in designing sophisticated stabilisation systems for use in Cobham SATCOM’s world renowned maritime antennas came in handy when we decided to address this very real everyday challenge facing mobile news gathering teams.”
In parallel to demonstrations on EXPLORER 8100 VSAT, Cobham SATCOM will conduct live demonstrations on the Inmarsat Global Xpress service, using the new EXPLORER 5075GX Auto-Deploy Fly-Away VSAT antenna solution. Featuring a highly robust design, developed 100% in-house, EXPLORER 5075GX was the first antenna to transmit live on the Global Xpress service and has already been used in the field by a major broadcaster covering the earthquake in Nepal this April. Cobham SATCOM will be transmitting live from its booth outside to the Inmarsat booth inside (2.B19) using its sophisticated antenna. EXPLORER 5075GX utilises a new 75cm 4-segment reflector and along with the EXPLORER 3075GX is the only Global Xpress terminal available that includes integrated Wi-Fi.
Cobham SATCOM will also demonstrate live Inmarsat BGAN HDR bonding, using a satellite link from its booth to the Inmarsat booth. HDR bonding is a relatively new development, where two BGAN terminals can be combined to double the live streaming and data transfer throughput on the BGAN service. In-use, the system can deliver a guaranteed Quality of Service over 1 mbps; enough capacity to stream high quality footage, from a hardware package compact enough to fit in a backpack.
Cobham is also highlighting the extraordinary potential of IP connectivity. Working together with Danish broadcaster, TV2, a Mercedes GLK will be transformed into a fully functional studio with equipment such as cameras and lights controlled remotely over IP. This concept has already been tried and tested in a Tesla electric car during the Danish general elections in June this year, where TV2 handed the vehicle to Danish politicians driving between campaign sites while debating current issues on the way. The broadcaster generated high quality election news footage from the car, with no production staff present during filming.
“TV2’s approach to remote control of studio technology reflects the fact that the potential of IP communication to transform the efficiency and quality of outside broadcasting is only limited by the imagination. Of course, this is only if you can be confident of a stable terrestrial or satellite communications link to enable reliable control, which is why Cobham SATCOM is very keen to help develop such concepts with TV2 and our service provider partners,” adds Nørrelykke.
- Third Inmarsat-5 satellite with new technology will allow global coverage
El Segundo, CA | August 29, 2015– When the third Boeing-built [NYSE: BA] Inmarsat-5 satellite, which is now in orbit, becomes fully operational later this year it will provide the technology and coverage necessary for worldwide high-speed broadband access.
Inmarsat-5 F3 sent signals from space following its launch yesterday on an International Launch Services Proton Breeze M launch vehicle. After reaching final orbit, the spacecraft will undergo testing and checkout before becoming operational.
“The Inmarsat Global Xpress network will be the first high-speed Ka-band broadband network to span the world,” said Rupert Pearce, CEO, Inmarsat. “New technology and engineering design will allow us to steer capacity where it’s needed most and adjust to shifting subscriber usage patterns and evolving demographics over the minimum 15-year life span of the network. We can now look forward to the introduction of global GX commercial services by the end of this year.”
Each of the three Inmarsat-5 satellites use fixed narrow spot beams to deliver higher speeds through more compact terminals. Steerable beams direct additional capacity in real-time to where it’s needed to provide seamless, global broadband communications coverage to Inmarsat users worldwide on land, at sea, and in the air. The first two Inmarsat-5 Global Xpress satellites were launched December 2013 and February 2015, respectively. A fourth Boeing-built Inmarsat-5 (F4) is scheduled for delivery in mid-2016.
“The 702HP (high power) satellite is ideally suited for delivering the advanced capabilities Inmarsat required for this mission,” said Mark Spiwak, president, Boeing Satellite Systems International. “More than 20 of these 702HP spacecraft are in orbit now for customers, including Inmarsat, providing reliable, affordable and innovative service.”
Boeing has a strategic marketing partnership with Inmarsat and currently provides both military Ka-band and commercial Global Xpress services to U.S. government customers. Boeing recently concluded an extensive demonstration program for ten U.S. government customer communities using the Inmarsat-5 F2 spacecraft.
Of course, the big news with ViaSat is that Excede in the Air, inflight Wi-Fi system, won the 2015 Crystal Cabin Award. Excede in the Air is a Ka-broadband service offering primarily focused in the USA today with customers JetBlue and United. ViaSat1 offers 140 GB per second total satellite capacity. ViaSat builds the antenna, server and modem for the system, while the WAPS are typically outsourced. Also, it should be pointed out that ViaSat offers ground, air and maritime services. The other big story to come out of AIX was the announcement of ViaSat Flexible Broadband System. This system brings a new level of flexibility, high capacity and affordability to service providers and is specifically tailored to the small operator. ViaSat and Boeing are also adapting a ViaSat2 based payload to the Boeing 702SP (small platform) satellite bus to provide affordable and flexible satellite broadband anywhere in the world. Don Buchman stated, “The current technology is not smart spot-to-spot. The next generation satellite can move the spot to where the demand is, which is why we call it flexible.” The advantage of a network system is that it can quickly shift, or ad capacity, to markets where demand grows and/or changes. Excede is designed to outperform other satellite systems by economically delivering more and cheaper bits. Typically it has 100 times the capacity of Ku-band system offerings and over 10 times the throughput of any previous Ka-band satellite. The results – service that is 8x faster than traditional satellite Internet service. This translates to an estimated burst demand of up to 12 mbps per passenger. The management is done at the NOC and the modem.
As you probably know, W.L. GORE & Associates is a technology driven enterprise that focuses on discovery and product innovation, specifically the cable and fiber optic arenas. IFE vendors and airlines have benefited from greater bandwidth and lighter weight. The company’s portfolio includes everything from high performance fabrics (think GORETEX) to aerospace electronics. At AIX GORE discussed a new fiber optic cable that they have developed. In general terms, the cable offers increased flexibility, higher bandwidth, and easier connector interfacing. Without getting too technical there are at least two issues facing fiber: 1) If the fiber is bound too tightly (coat and bond) there is a potential for stress on the fiber creating breaks. 2) If the fiber is bound loose (filled with air so the fiber can move), decoupling the glass from the outside wall, there is a potential problem for micro-bends in the tube, causing collapse. GORE’s solution was to wrap the fiber with a tape, creating a “marshmallow over the fiber”. This acts as a dry lubricant. Additionally, they use another material over this creating a casing that acts like a “crash helmet”. The resultant benefit is a flexible semi-loose tube. Furthermore on another development front, GORE is looking at Plastic Optical Fiber (POF). POF is very rugged and can bend without snapping. It can be plugged and fixed without heat, and with POF you can cut and glue a termination and plug it in. The downside is 2DB/100 meters but from a sheer bandwidth perspective it is 10x worse than glass. POF is new to the industry but it is a very big deal. Stay tuned on this one.
We thought you might like a review of the new Lumexis IPAX system that we experienced at AIX – complete with prices. In the words of Lumexis: IPAX provides unprecedented revenue potential for the single aisle marketplace (both retrofit and linefit). It is ultra, ultra low cost; ultra, ultra light weight; optimized for LCCs seeking ancillary revenue; and focused on short to medium haul operations. The base system is $1495 per seat, weighing in at 8.9 oz per screen. Lumexis states that IPAX weighs 8.9 oz less an iPad mini. The system uses a responsive OLED touch screen and will feature TV, video, shorts, music, and moving map. There will also be the capability for food and drink sales in the GUI. The system is a hybrid, offering stored content at the seat with 64GB of local storage, but also features a Wi-Fi feature for connectivity. Lumexis states that the only wire running to the screen is for power. IPAX options include a 2.1 amp USB port with reversible jack ($295/screen); as well as, an optional screen reader at the seat ($295). Both added features bundled are offered for $395. Lumexis really sees these options as driving the ancillary revenue opportunity of IPAX. The company states they are well along the development path with first delivery slated for 4Q15. Installations will take a 2 consecutive night layover: The first night will be 3 WAPS (a 4th might be needed) and the second night will be for seats/screens. Edward Shapiro (pictured with Lou Sharkey) – VP PAR Capital stated: “Other companies won’t cannibalize their system to develop a low cost product. Apple does but their price doesn’t go down like ours did!”
Last week we ran some great pictures of KID Systems seat-back concepts: and yes they were only concepts! On a separate note, we stated that they were working Lufthansa Technik and Qantas – not so reports KID. Mea Culpa!
Looking for an Executive Engineer?
If you are looking for Executive Engineering Level – Director or VP, perhaps a candidate we know might be of help to your organization. He wrote: “I can bring a new outlook to an existing organization, leadership through change, all while providing consistent results in technical product development. In summary, I have 25 years experience in IFE and Connectivity, during this time, I have developed innovated solutions and lead teams of highly motivated technical experts delivering solutions to meet the customer needs, all within budget. My expertise ranges from Systems, Software, Hardware, and Aircraft Installations areas. I was instrumental in the transformation and growth of several key technical organizations, as seen with my leadership of both Systems and Software Engineering. My objective is to attain quick results, being a key change agent and efficiently leading teams by using the latest techniques, such as Agile methodology and SAFe development process.” IFExpress knows the caliber of this applicant and strongly recommend him. If you express interest to email@example.com, we will be happy to supply a resume.
It seems that each trip we take on an airliner, we have an increased need for connectivity. Whether it is a greater occurrence of email updates, more Wi-Fi streaming video, or just general web surfing. One supposes this is just human nature, or is it something else? On ground wireless usage habits tend toward greater frequency over time and one could guess this is also true in the air if for no other reason than from inflight boredom and/or stress. Regardless of the reason, people want a similar experience in the air as on the ground, because they are not on the ground. Want proof? When was the last time you heard: “I wish the Wi-Fi here was as good as on my last flight?” Frankly, what used to be called fear of flying to the millennials is now called fear of changing Wi-Fi providers to one that is not as good as the one(s) in their ground-life. For frequent travelers it used to be a continuous search for the fastest trip, but today, as one flier told IFExpress, “It is who has the fastest Internet Wi-Fi.”
This demand trend is obviously what the Inmarsat folks had in mind when they developed the spot beamed Inmarsat GX solution that, we note, is roughly two thirds implemented today (for the GX system one satellite is up and operational, a second is up and testing, and the third is being ready for launch next quarter). (See news release) According to Inmarsat, GX Aviation will deliver up to 50 Mbps to an aircraft, and in their words, “It expands the possibilities for in-flight entertainment to real-time TV and TV on demand, as well as, email and web browsing at a much faster speed.” And here is the kicker – GX connectivity will be available almost anywhere in the world, and almost anywhere an aircraft can take you. In case you have forgotten, here are the service bands available for satellite connectivity and the common operating frequencies that define them.
Obviously Ka-band made sense from a signal bandwidth and equipment size point of view, especially when an airborne aircraft is involved… as the frequency goes up, so does bandwidth, and size goes down, but we note, rain attenuation goes up. Above 20,000 feet in altitude, rain attenuation is not a big issue, or at least is, a minimal one. The primary atmospheric region affecting Ka-band communications is the troposphere, which extends from the earth’s surface to an elevation of approximately 50,000 ft. Virtually all precipitation occurs within the troposphere, as it contains about 99% of the water vapor in the atmosphere and the most of that is below 25,000 feet in altitude.
Here is a little Wikipedia help if the Ka-band is new to you: “The Ka-band (“kay-ay band”) covers the frequencies of 26.5–40 GHz, i.e. wavelengths from slightly over one centimeter down to 7.5 milimeters. The Ka-band is part of the K band of the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum. This symbol refers to “K-above”: in other words, the band directly above the K-band. The 30/20 GHz band is used in communications satellites, uplink in either the 27.5 GHz and 31 GHz bands, and high-resolution, close-range targeting radars aboard military airplanes.” From a bandwidth data perspective, and based on frequency, Ka-band has 5 times the bandwidth of C band, and roughly 2.5 time that of X Band. But note, The Ka-band is more susceptible to rain attenuation than is the Ku-band, which in turn is more susceptible than the C band, and experts agree, rain fade become more an issue above 11 Ghz, but if you are flying at 35,000 feet talking to a satellite in geostationary orbit.
The first GX Aviation Inmarsat satellite was launched back in December of 2014 and today covers the Indian Ocean region. A recent announcement of the second launch and orbit insertion/testing was made a couple days ago. On March 4, 2015 Inmarsat and Honeywell successfully tested over-the-air performance for Honeywell’s JetWave MCS 8200 onboard aircraft hardware on Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network. This successful test signifies that the next generation of truly global high-speed in-flight connectivity for passengers, airlines and operators is becoming a reality – with one more satellite launch to go for global coverage. GX is already operational in the Indian Ocean Region for government, maritime, and enterprise customers over the first Global Xpress satellite, which was launched last year. The successful launch of the second satellite in February 2015 means Inmarsat’s Ka-band network now covers the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean Region. Scheduled for launch in the second quarter of 2015, the third satellite will cover the Pacific Ocean region; completing the Global Xpress network and providing worldwide spot beam coverage.
As to what testing occurred, here is the news release note: “During the testing, the team was able to demonstrate how Inmarsat’s high-speed; GX Aviation network can support multiple file transfers and video streaming– confirming that passengers will have the same Wi-Fi experience while travelling at 40,000 feet as they would on the ground. Success in this round of testing, conducted from Honeywell’s Tewkesbury, United Kingdom facility means Inmarsat can now start the higher data rate testing. This is not only a milestone for the whole GX Aviation programme, but it’s also a great demonstration of what GX Aviation brings to the table,” said Leo Mondale, President, Inmarsat Aviation. “We are delighted with the performance shown by this round of testing. Both the GX network and Honeywell’s terminal have met and exceeded our high expectations. We’re another step closer.”
With regard to aircraft hardware, the supplier told us: “Honeywell’s JetWave MCS 8200 terminal, which enables aircraft to connect to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite network, is in full certification testing, proceeding through DO-160 environmental and electromagnetic interference certifications, in preparation for the start of flight testing in the second quarter of 2015. In addition, work is being done to ensure that the equipment is available for installation on new Boeing aircraft, Airbus A350s and Bombardier’s Global family of business jets.” As a result, we decided to ask the folks at Honeywell a few questions about their product and the program in general:
Q. Please describe the Inmarsat GX solution from your viewpoint.
In 2012 Honeywell signed an exclusive agreement with Inmarsat to provide the SATCOM hardware for its Global Xpress Ka-band service and the program has been in development since then.
The Global Xpress constellation is comprised of three satellites, two of which are already in orbit and the third is slated to launch later in 2015, and will use Ka frequencies to deliver broadband speeds of up to 50 Mbps downlink around the world.
The Inmarsat-5 satellites operate with a combination of fixed narrow spot beams that enable Inmarsat to deliver higher speeds through more compact terminals, plus steerable beams so additional capacity can be directed in real-time to where it’s needed.
Q. Could you describe the tests in a bit more detail?
Initial tests are complete, and considered successful. We are still analyzing the full results.
Q. Were any tests made of the roll angles to determine angular signal sensitivity… was it as expected?
We have performed testing on a motion table to validate that the antenna is oriented correctly during expected aircraft movement. Full aircraft-level testing will be done during test flights in a few months.
Q. How can IFExpress readers get more information on the product – newsletter, email updates, etc.?
Your readers can read more about Honeywell here.
Q. Do you have a schedule of the whole program (3 satellites I believe) and when might the first system be installed and available?
Inmarsat launched the first of three satellites for the Global Xpress constellation in late 2014, the second satellite was launched in February 2015 and the third will launch in Q2 of 2015.
Q. Does Honeywell have any GX product customers to date?
- We have received great interest from the market.
The GX system is now offered as a connectivity option along with the Thales In-Flight Entertainment system on the A350 and has been chosen by Qatar Airways for their upcoming deliveries with service being provided by OnAir.
- Vietnam Airlines has selected GX Aviation Connectivity along with Thales IFE on their upcoming A350 and 787 Deliveries with service being supplied by Gogo.
- Air China and Honeywell signed an MoU to test GX Aviation on their A330 Aircraft
- Bombardier Business Aircraft will be the launch business aircraft manufacturer for Honeywell Aerospace’s JetWave Ka-Band satellite connectivity system.
Q. We assume that Honeywell’s management is pretty excited about this product?
“The successful testing of Honeywell’s JetWave terminal proves that we are truly making global high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi a reality,” says Carl Esposito, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management, Honeywell Aerospace. “The combination of Honeywell’s airborne hardware and Inmarsat’s GX Ka-band global network will allow for a seamless experience of connectivity and capability from the time you walk on the airplane until you get off on the other side of the world.”
Q. Can you tell our readers a bit more about Honeywell?
Honeywell Aerospace innovates and integrates thousands of products and services to advance and easily deliver safe, efficient, productive and comfortable experiences worldwide. Honeywell has been in the aviation industry for more than 100 years providing technology, mechanical components and services for the commercial aviation, business aviation, defense and space industries.
Honeywell has created the state-of-the-art integrated Aircraft Environment Surveillance System for the Airbus A380, and our advanced flight management, power distribution, pneumatic, and landing systems will help A380 operators reach new heights of performance and efficiency.
We are a leading supplier of products and systems for Boeing commercial airplanes, and our integrated avionics system for the Boeing 777 sets a new technology and reliability standard. Today, we are part of the team working to define technology concepts for the next Boeing airplane, the super-efficient 777.
- First one millionth personal electronic device (PED) worldwide to connect via Ka-band satellite broadband in the air
- JetBlue’s Fly-Fi usage significantly higher than on any other U.S. airline
New York | September 23, 2014– JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ: JBLU) today celebrated its one millionth customer connect to its high-speed Fly-Fi system, also making JetBlue the first airline worldwide to connect one million personal electronic devices (PEDs) to true broadband Ka-based Wi-Fi service. To celebrate, the 140 customers onboard “CONNECTED TO 01000010 01001100 01010101 01000101”, JetBlue’s Fly-Fi livery aircraft, were rewarded with a total one million TrueBlue points on its first flight today from New York’s JFK International Airport to San Diego International Airport.
“JetBlue’s Fly-Fi is far superior to other U.S. airlines’ in-air Wi-Fi offerings. The number of customers using Fly-Fi also greatly exceeds the rate of other airlines’ customers, who are forced to pay exorbitant prices for a slower connection, whereas Fly-Fi is available for free. On JetBlue we see 40% of customers logged on, while other airlines get single-digits only,” said Marty St George, Senior Vice President, Commercial.
JetBlue launched Fly-Fi, the fastest Wi-Fi among all U.S. airlines, last December. Fly-Fi offers broadband speed via Ka-band satellite using satellite-to-aircraft connectivity rather than the ground-to-aircraft connectivity, or Ku-band, the many other U.S. carriers offer. Fly-Fi is currently available on 70 aircraft, with an additional 10-12 aircraft being Fly-Fi enabled each month. The entire JetBlue fleet will be Fly-Fi installed by the end of 2015. JetBlue is now the only airline in the world to offer free live television at every seat and free high-speed Wi-Fi. JetBlue was also the first U.S. airline to offer gate-to-gate use of personal electronic devices (PEDs), as of November 2013.
During fourth quarter 2015, JetBlue will launch a new Fly-Fi Portal, which will serve as a content hub where customers can access a wide range of movies, television shows and additional content from their own personal devices.
Thales LiveTV provides JetBlue’s industry leading Fly-Fi connectivity system including the customizable portal and support services to deliver the At Home in the Air™ experience. “Thales LiveTV is proud to provide JetBlue’s Fly-Fi connectivity experience for all customers simultaneously. We have seen more than 148 connected passengers on a flight which proves excellent capability and demand for JetBlue’s latest, most advanced onboard service,” said Glenn Latta, President of Thales LiveTV.
JetBlue and Thales partner with satellite provider ViaSat, the broadband provider for Fly-Fi. “JetBlue is unlocking the true value of our Exede in the Air with a market approach that enables all passengers to access true broadband Wi-Fi in the sky,” said Don Buchman, VP Exede Mobility. “This milestone of hitting one million users so quickly is a testament to what is possible when you can deliver a high-capacity throughput service that passengers really want to use.”
• Fly-Fi is currently available on 70 JetBlue aircraft
• 10-12 aircraft a month are being equipped with Fly-Fi
• Fly-Fi will be available on JetBlue’s entire fleet, which will total 210 aircraft by end of 2015
• One millionth Fly-Fi logon 10 months after launch
• Speeds of 12 Mbps – 20 Mbps per customer
• Average user spends 40% of their Fly-Fi session streaming music or video
• 66 terabytes of data have been downloaded
- General Dynamics to supply a new Boeing Tri-band communications radome
- Provides lower cost, greater flexibility and more passenger data service options
Seattle, WA | July 9, 2014– Boeing [NYSE: BA] continues to advance its suite of connectivity offerings for customers, signing a contract with General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems to produce a new radome, the Boeing Tri-band. The radome will support Ku and K/Ka wideband commercial and military satellite communications.
The Boeing Tri-band radome is the latest of several Boeing initiatives to provide safe and reliable passenger services, such as in-flight use for cell phones, internet access via Wi-Fi connectivity and live satellite television broadcasts. It will be available for both retrofit and production airplane installation in the fourth quarter of 2015.
A radome, a combination of “radar” and “dome,” is a weatherproof structure that protects an airplane’s antenna to enable reliable satellite communications. The Boeing Tri-band is approximately the size of a car-top luggage carrier and has a maximum weight of 80 pounds. It is designed for use with antennas from multiple manufacturers and with data services from all current providers, offering more passenger connectivity choices for Boeing airplane operators.
Based on Boeing’s proven Ku-band radome design, the new design meets or exceeds current Ku-band radome performance and also provides industry-leading performance for Ka-band operators.
“The Boeing Tri-band exemplifies the kind of competitive advantage we aim to give our customers,” said Rick Anderson, vice president, Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Airlines are telling us that the Boeing Tri-band’s affordability, flexibility, wide range of capability and compatibility with all current data services make it ideal for their Boeing fleets, which have to quickly and economically adopt new technology to better serve passengers.”
General Dynamics will supply the radomes. “General Dynamics and Boeing have enjoyed a long partnership in radome development,” commented Jim Losse, vice president and general manager, of Advanced Materials for General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems. “This Ku/K/Ka tri-band system will offer the flying public better in-flight entertainment and connectivity over current single band Ku systems.”
The Tri-band radome can be mounted on new or existing airplane mounting plates, which makes it simple and economical to retrofit. The Tri-band supports satellite communications at all frequencies currently used and planned for use, in the Ku-band and extended K- and Ka-bands. Like all Boeing radomes, it will meet all FAA environmental and safety requirements, including the recently revised FAA regulations for bird strike survivability.
The new radome is planned for use as a line-fit option on Boeing 737s, 747s, 777s and 787 Dreamliners. It will also be available for retrofit.