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

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

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

AIX – Crystal Cabin

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

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


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

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

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

SECURITY- RazorSecure

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

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

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

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

More broadly, WPA3 introduces 4 new security measures:

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

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

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


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

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


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

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