Airbus and Boeing are going head-to-head for the lead into the MoM market and the airlines are looking for a midsize plane that costs less and will seat somewhere between 225 and 270 passengers, and fly nearly 5000 miles, in roughly 9 hours. Imagine a chart where the vertical axis represents the number of passengers/payload while the horizontal axis represents nautical miles/range.

Before getting into the plane action, lets review the Middle of the Market we keep referring to (MoM) – and here is the view from the folks at Boeing. Picture the middle market as a big oval that covers passenger capacity/load of 175 to 375 passengers and a range of approximately 3,000 to 6,000 nautical miles. However, this market is so large that it also includes jetliners at both the smaller end and larger end of the scale. The oval pictured in the link above represents the “new midsize airplane sweet spot”, which is more like 200 to 275 travelers in a two class configuration, with a reduced range of 3,500 to 5,500 nautical miles. Interestingly, the only current plane that is in this newly identified midsize market circle is the twin-aisle B767-200, which hits the oval target just about dead center!

Boeing is developing a business case and solution for the MoM  demand and their answer is a new development that some call the B797X. The real issue is twin aisle versus single.

Now, lets look at where the single aisle B737 MAX series planes are with respect to the midsize sweet spot – where, no doubt, the action will be for the next few years. Remember, we are focusing only on Boeing in this issue, but we will talk a bit about Airbus in a later Hot Topic.  Here is where the Boeing “bottom” of the MoM plane products are today:

Boeing B737 MAX 7
1 Class Seating Config. – 150 Pax.
2 Class Seating Config. – 138 Pax.
Max. Seating Config. – 172 Pax.
Range – 3,800 NM
Wingspan – 35.9 M / 117 ft. 10in.
Length – 35.6 M / 116 ft. 8 in.
Height – 12.3 M / 40 ft. 4in.
Weight – 177,000 lbs.
Price – $92.2 Million

Boeing B737 MAX 8
1 Class Seating Config. – 174 Pax.
2 Class Seating Config. – 162 Pax.
Max. Seating Config. – 200 Pax.
Range – 3,620
Wingspan – 39.5 M / 117 ft. 10 in.
Length – 39.5 M / 129.8 ft.
Height – 12.3 M / 40 ft. 4in.
Weight – 181,200 lbs.
Price – $112.4 Million

Boeing B737 MAX 9
1 Class Seating Config. – 204 Pax.
2 Class Seating Config. – 178 Pax.
Max. Seating Config. – 220 Pax.
Range – 3,595 NM
Wingspan – 39.5 M / 117 ft. 10 in.
Length – 42.2 M / 138.4 ft.
Height – 12.3 M / 40 ft. 4in.
Weight – 194,700 lbs
Price – $119.2 Million

As we noted earlier, the “new midsize market” is a smaller circle on the pax/range chart and the existing single aisle aircraft are right on the edge. Some experts are noting that the “new” midsize market concept could be difficult for Boeing because of existing B737 landing gear length limit problems coupled with the desired take-off rotation increase due to a longer single-aisle body – not to mention the new wing length needed for more load lift and potential composite additions to reduce load weight.

While looking at an estimated 2025 entry, Boeing has some time to make the decision, but they will have to consider other aspects such as aircraft model growth, fuel burn, and competition. Furthermore, we understand that over 60% of the operators want a twin-aisle wide body versus a single-aisle narrow body, with seating expectations covering 150 to 249 pax – but the jury is still out on models and respective seat numbers.

If you remember the B757 (single-aisle) and the B767 (twin-aisle) were designed to cover a larger flight range and passenger payload solutions at each end of the payload vs. range spectrum. We now have the requirement that Boeing focus on the center and build one plane (with derivatives) to solve the “market gap” problem and that will probably include more passenger comfort and expanded IFEC capability. IFExpress is betting on a twin! Further, the Boeing 797X will likely cover the 220-260 seat capacity with a designed range of some 4,500-5,000 nautical miles. But the big deal for Boeing would be the possible $150B in potential revenue!


Rockwell
Rockwell Collins will now bring high speed, secure worldwide KA-band connectivity to government aviation customers by expanding its Value Added Reseller (VAR) arrangement for Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) service. Rockwell Collins has already been providing GX and JX services to commercial and business aviation customers through previous VAR agreements.


SITA
Meet Kate! SITA Lab, which explores the future of technology in air travel, has unveiled KATE, an intelligent check-in kiosk that will autonomously move to busy or congested areas in the airport as needed, promising to relegate check-in queues to the past.

Using various data sources – including flight and passenger flow information – KATE can identify where additional check-in kiosks are required to reduce passenger queue times at check-in. KATE uses existing SITA data systems such as Day of Operations Business Intelligence and FlightInfo API.
Multiple robotic kiosks can be automatically or manually deployed simultaneously and in formation to assist passengers, providing airports and airlines greater flexibility in managing peaks in passenger flow. The kiosks can also communicate through a Cloud service to ensure that the right number of kiosks are at the right position when needed, making them highly responsive to changes in the airport. A design patent application for the kiosks is currently underway.

Renaud Irminger, Director of SITA Lab, said: “The peak and troughs in the flow of passengers presents a challenge to many airlines and airports and we have been approached by many customers requesting a solution. They want kiosks which can be easily deployed when and where they are needed. Building on SITA’s successful AirportConnect Open platform, and our previous work with robotics, KATE leverages new technologies to provide operators much more flexibility and efficiency in the way they will use their kiosks in future.”

SITA’s cutting-edge robotic kiosk makes use of geo-location technology to find its way through the airport. KATE will use Wi-Fi to connect to vital airline and airport systems, dispensing with the need for cabling or other fixed attachments. This allows the kiosk to move around freely across the airport terminal, using obstacle avoidance technology to avoid bumping into people or things.

KATE and her fellow robotic kiosks will automatically return to their docking stations when they are low on power or need to be resupplied with boarding passes or bag tags.

One of the key benefits of SITA’s autonomous kiosk is that it can be deployed anywhere inside the airport as well as other offsite locations such as train stations. This is particularly relevant during periods of disruption – such as weather delays or flight cancellations – where additional kiosks can be moved from landside to airside to check-in large numbers of rebooked passengers. KATE provides passengers access to her easy-to-use interface to check-in and print bag tags.

KATE follows in the footsteps of LEO, SITA’s fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot launched at the 2016 Air Transport IT Summit in Barcelona, Spain last year. For a better view, check out this video – https://youtu.be/oQ69r-2VX-I


AIRBORNE WIRELESS NETWORK, CA was granted experimental operating from FCC to launch ground/flight testing (using two Boeing aircraft) of its demonstration system as part of development of Infinitus Super Highway air-to-air communication system. Further they have been granted a certificate by the FCC that will allow it to conduct ground and flight tests of their demonstration system of the Infinitus Super Highway, a high-speed broadband network that will link commercial aircraft in flight.


BOEING
Boeing All-Electric Satellite for SES Will Help Improve In-Flight Connectivity and Enable Other Traffic-Intensive Data Applications. Built for SES of Luxembourg, the 702 satellite is Boeing’s fifth with all-electric propulsion; design includes metallic 3-D printed parts.

The satellite will bolster connectivity for Wi-Fi and entertainment services on flights over North America, Mexico and Central America. It will also serve the government, enterprise and maritime sectors. This 702-model satellite also demonstrates that using 3-D printed parts can improve affordability and production. More than 50 such metallic parts are on the vehicle in the primary structure.

This is the fifth Boeing satellite to be deployed with a highly efficient all-electric propulsion system.

SES-15 has a hybrid payload, including additional Ku-band wide beams and Ku-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) capability, with connectivity to gateways in Ka-band.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) safety efforts will also benefit from the satellite as SES-15 carries a Wide-Area Augmentation System (WAAS) hosted payload for the FAA.

SES has ordered 12 Boeing satellites since 1990, including SES-15. SES-15 is the operator’s first 702 all-electric satellite in its fleet.


Gogo
Global broadband connectivity provider Gogo Business Aviation is announcing that German aircraft manager and charter operator K5-Aviation is its first 2Ku business aviation customer in Europe.

2Ku is a unique, dual-antenna system developed by Gogo to bring global streaming-capable internet connectivity to large aircraft. The technology benefits from global coverage and the redundancy of more than 180 satellites in the Ku-band.

Also today, Gogo is unveiling a new suite of smart cabin systems – SCS Elite and SCS Media. Both are highly integrated cabin in-flight entertainment and voice solutions that can be personalized to fit the specific needs of passengers on a given flight.

SCS systems, according to Gogo, “can be installed on virtually any plane, big or small, flying anywhere around the globe, and we created it to be a simple, powerful way to integrate all the necessary technology on board for an enjoyable passenger experience.”

Also, If you are interested in who the travelers of tomorrow are, why their inflight preferences matter, why being mobile is so important to future travelers, expectations around future connectivity, and what role personal devices play in flight – check this download out from Gogo: Global Traveler | Gogo . We should also note that Gogo has been chosen by Airbus as a lead supplier for its High Bandwidth Connectivity (HBC) program. Being part of Airbus’ HBC program means airlines can place future aircraft orders with Airbus and have Gogo’s 2Ku technology installed at the factory on all major fleet types. Those aircraft are then delivered with the technology already installed and ready for service on day one. We wonder what Boeing is gonna do?

In this week’s edition of IFExpress we have Gogo, APEX, Boeing and a few other bits of information – so let’s get started!

Gogo
Gogo is announcing K5-Aviation as its first 2Ku business aviation customer in Europe, marking a significant milestone for the company. The first airframe in business aviation that will fly with Gogo’s 2Ku technology is an Airbus ACJ319 operated by K5-Aviation, a leading operator of ACJ aircraft, based in Germany. Fokker Services B.V. managed the 2Ku installation design and system integration including the EASA STC. Installation was performed at its facilities in Hoogerheide, The Netherlands.
“This is a great day for K5-Aviation because it brings Gogo’s newest technology to our cabin which means our passengers can stay connected almost anywhere we fly around the globe,” said Luca Madone of K5-Aviation. “Productivity during flight will increase with 2Ku, which will allow our passengers to drive their business forward even when traveling. They will also have the ability to live stream news, entertainment and sporting events.”

Gogo’s 2Ku technology delivers industry-leading performance globally, which means passengers can do the same things they do on the ground. For business aviation, that means live video conferencing, fast Internet browsing and streaming video. 2Ku is designed to take advantage of innovations happening in space and is compatible with newer high-throughput and low-earth orbit satellites when they become available. This means the technology will get better in time without having to touch an aircraft. This flexibility means Gogo’s customers can be confident the system is future ready and ahead of the curve from a technology perspective.

2Ku is a unique dual antenna system developed by Gogo to bring global streaming-capable Internet to large aircraft. The technology benefits from global coverage and the redundancy of more than 180 satellites in the Ku-band. With more than 170 systems installed today across eight airlines on five continents, and more than 1600 total aircraft awarded to 2Ku across 14 of the largest airlines around the globe, 2Ku is one of the most successful in-flight connectivity products ever developed.

We further note that Gogo discovered that nearly 50 percent of millennial travelers expect their connected experience in the air to be the same as on the ground. This key finding from Gogo’s Global Traveler study The Travelers of Tomorrow shows that connectivity anywhere and everywhere is no longer a hope, it’s an expectation. This study uncovers in-flight connectivity trends from “future travelers” between the ages of 18 and 35, because their preferences will ultimately shape the future of travel. “Passengers simply expect more from inflight connectivity today — no longer is there a distinction between enjoying movies at home, sending emails from a café or binge watching at 35,000 feet,” said Alyssa Hayes, Director of Insights at Gogo. “As our research suggests, younger travelers are most comfortable with headphones on, laptop open and smartphone in hand. As the leader in inflight connectivity, we can help airlines keep pace with passenger expectations now and in the future with Gogo 2Ku high speed connectivity.”

Not only are these passengers expressing hopes for the future, but they also are making travel decisions today based on connectivity:
While 90 percent of future travelers have a preferred airline, 48 percent said they would choose another airline if Wi-Fi was not available on their preferred flight.

Future travelers are more likely to multi-task on their devices during flights with 46 percent of the 18 to 35 age bracket using Wi-Fi and watching a movie or show on their device compared to just 33 percent of travelers older than 35 doing so.

Ninety-two percent of future travelers are interested in using their own device in flight, and 48 percent said they prefer to stream their own content to their own device.

Sixty-three percent of future travelers think more flights should offer Wi-Fi, and 56 percent of them use their smartphone on the plane compared to just 27 percent of older travelers.

Gogo’s 2Ku technology allows passengers to have the same experience in the air as on their couch at home. The new technology enables streaming video, fast browsing and multi-device viewing. 2Ku can be found today on more than 170 aircraft across several global airlines. More than 1,600 total aircraft are slated to receive the technology representing 13 global airlines.

The Travelers of Tomorrow study is the first of the 2017 Gogo Global Traveler Research Series, Gogo’s global study that examines travelers’ inflight habits, behaviors and preferences. It covers 15 countries across six regions around the world and includes data collected from more than 4,500 travelers who flew within the last year. To learn more, visit gogoair.com/globaltraveler

We should also note the following: Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. announced that its in-flight connectivity (IFC) solution demonstrated unprecedented end-user throughput of over 100Mbps in Gogo’s live airborne media and investor event. Gilat’s airborne modem powers Gogo’s 2Ku service and will be installed in over 1600 aircraft across more than 13 airlines, commencing this year. On May 9th 2017, Gogo hosted a major, high visibility industry event on their Boeing 737 test plane, the “Jimmy Ray.” Analysts and media applauded Gogo’s 2Ku system and Gilat’s modem, which demonstrated over 100Mbps performance. This is acknowledged to be the highest performance ever achieved onboard a commercial aircraft, as well as demonstrating continuous service with excellent user experience. The test flight not only confirmed its noteworthy throughput and user experience, but also successfully demonstrated interoperability capabilities of Gilat’s aero modem with the aircraft’s Communication (IFEC) avionic system. As previously announced, Gogo selected Gilat to provide the onboard VSAT modem and satellite baseband infrastructure for its next generation IFC solution. The recent flights were done upon completion of Supplement Type Certifications (STC) for this system for Boeing and Airbus aircrafts.


A Possible InFlight Electronics Ban
While the US Government has neither confirmed or denied the possibility of an “All Europe” inflight laptop ban into the US, it is expected this month, although some experts question whether it will be as extensive as all inclusive as the one from 10 Middle East airports today. Also unknown if the rumored laptop exclusions will be surrendered at the gate or relinquished to the baggage hold during check-in at the ticket counters – not to mention flights that progress through European airports. We want to point out that banned  PED (iPads, tablets, laptops) types are an unknown at the time of this writing. But if you think about it, getting your data on a phone and learning to love IFE again, might be a good idea. We do know that London’s Heathrow has begun the process of early screening, but like everybody else – they are waiting for the US to demand the change.


APEX And The Electronics Ban
APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association), a four-decade old international airline trade association, called for a hold on the electronics band expansion to Europe as (they) hosted a biometrics workshop with major airlines and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (U.S. DHS) Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP).

Speaking at the Aviation Festival Americas with more than 60 airlines, APEX CEO, Joe Leader, pushed suggested “green listing” passengers as cleared to carry electronics on restricted routes through the biometric facial recognition initiative being put forward by the U.S. DHS CBP in place of the electronics ban.

“Having the electronics ban spread to the European Union for flights to the United States would damage the personal freedoms integral to international air travel. We must stand together with government solutions for personal electronics that enable both security and accessibility for our airline passengers worldwide,” said Leader. “Biometric identification of passengers that are pre-cleared to travel with electronics would enable a viable potential solution with the U.S. DHS CBP ready to provide immediate technological facilitation.”

APEX sounded the alarm in March when the airline electronics ban started as we warned that it could easily spread as reported today. In the United States alone, carriers in less than 30 days have removed more than one million annual passenger long-haul seats  from the airports affected by the United States electronics ban alone.

“As the leading international airline association focused on passenger experience, APEX has actively and repeatedly expressed that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.K Department of Transport should institute government approved solutions for electronics rather than the existing airline electronics ban.” Leader stated. “Fighting potential threats means finding government solutions that do not take the laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, and large phones out of the hands of the millions of law-abiding passengers that use them every day. We owe our air travelers worldwide the best options to make their flights enjoyable and productive.”

Results from APEX’s Global Passenger Survey released last year, show airline passengers frequently bring their personal electronics devices on-board aircraft for use in-flight:

  • 43% of worldwide airline passengers bring a tablet device on-board with 70% of these passengers using their tablet device in-flight;
  • 38% of worldwide airline passengers bring a laptop computer on-board with 42% of these passengers using their laptop in-flight; and
  • 22% of worldwide airline passengers bring e-Readers on-board with 77% of these passengers using their e-Reader in-flight.””

You might also want to read this ExtremeTech piece on the subject as they point out that a cabin full of laptops placed in cargo containers just might put another problem in a place (in the baggage hold) where fire control may have limited capability to affect a potential disaster. US Considering Banning All Laptops on Flights From Europe – ExtremeTech


Boeing
The fourth Boeing [NYSE: BA] Inmarsat-5 satellite, which was launched yesterday, will noticeably expand the high-speed broadband service available through Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network after the satellite becomes fully operational later this year.

The Inmarsat-5 satellites are uniquely able to provide seamless communications coverage through fixed and steerable beams that can be adjusted in real time to accommodate demand surges. “Inmarsat-5 F4 joins our existing Global Xpress constellation, which is already being adopted as the new standard in global mobile broadband connectivity by companies, governments and communities around the world,” said Michele Franci, CTO, Inmarsat. “Boeing has been an outstanding partner in our journey to make Global Xpress a reality.”

This is the fourth Inmarsat-5 satellite Boeing has built for Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network. After reaching its final orbit, the satellite will undergo testing and checkout before being declared operational. “Our partnership with Inmarsat has enabled the creation of the world’s only commercial global, mobile Ka-band network,” said Mark Spiwak, president, Boeing Satellite Systems International. “This unique achievement is an example of Boeing’s continuing commitment to deliver reliable, affordable and innovative solutions for our customers.”

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.

For more information on Defense, Space & Security, visit www.boeing.com.

Boeing and Primera Air today announced an order for eight 737 MAX 9 airplanes, valued at more than $950 million at list prices. The agreement also includes purchase rights for four additional 737 MAX 9s and a lease agreement for eight more airplanes from Air Lease Corporation.

The 737 MAX 9 will form the backbone of the low-cost airline’s future as it seeks to commence flights between Europe and North America. Primera Air plans to use the MAX 9’s auxiliary fuel tanks to lower trip costs and maximize the range to accommodate flights connecting Europe to the east coast of the U.S.

“The 737 MAX 9 will allow Primera Air to open up nonstop, long-haul routes from Europe to the U.S. with unmatched economics,” said Andri M. Ingolfsson, President, Primera Air. “This aircraft has a lower per-seat cost than the current wide body aircraft servicing the transatlantic and the capabilities of this aircraft type will change the economics of the industry. This will open up fantastic possibilities for growth for Primera Air in the future.”

Scandinavia’s Primera Air is an all-Boeing carrier currently operating a fleet of nine Next-Generation 737-700s and 737-800s with flights to more than 70 airports in Europe. Primera Air is part of the Primera Travel Group that operates travel agencies and tour operating companies in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Estonia.

The MAX 8 and 9 will be followed in 2019 by the smaller MAX 7 and higher capacity MAX 200, while studies and customer discussions continue on further growing the family. The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market. The 737 MAX has accumulated more than 3,700 orders from 87 customers worldwide.


Delta orders 30 additional A321s
Delta Air Lines has placed an incremental order for 30 firm A321ceo aircraft. This order follows three previous Delta orders for the Current Engine Option version of the largest Airbus A320 Family member. The airline took delivery of its first A321 in March of last year. Delta now has ordered a total of 112 A321s, each powered by CFM56 engines from CFM International.

All of Delta’s A321s will feature fuel-saving Sharklets – lightweight composite wingtip devices that offer up to 4 percent fuel-burn savings. This environmental benefit gives airlines the option of extending their range up to 100 nautical miles/185 kilometres or increasing payload capacity by some 1000 pounds/450 kilograms.

Many of Delta’s A321s are being delivered from the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama. The airline received its first U.S.-manufactured A321 last year. By the end of 2017, the Airbus facility in Mobile is expected to produce four aircraft per month, most going to Airbus’ U.S. customers.

As of the end of April, Delta was flying a fleet of 187 Airbus aircraft, including 145 A320 Family members and 42 A330 widebodies.


Rumors
A rumor monger told us that this past Thursday was a bad day for a large IFEC outfit and that 45+ folks on the West Coast were let go, as well as, at least 25 on the East Coast. We won’t mention names as our request for more information was ignored.

Gogo secures capacity on 12 transponders across two SES satellites, enabling airlines to meet growing passenger demand for inflight connectivity over the U.S. and Canada

Luxembourg | April 4, 2017– SES S.A. (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) today announced new satellite capacity deals with Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO) to meet the growing demand for high-speed inflight connectivity services on travel routes over the U.S. and Canada. The new contracts with Gogo include capacity on 12 additional Ku-band transponders, as well as supporting ground infrastructure.

With these latest agreements, Gogo has now signed important capacity deals across 11 SES satellites around the world, including significant long-term agreements for Ku-band high throughput (HTS) capacity onboard two SES satellites (SES-14 and SES-15) scheduled for launch this year.

SES continues to build a global network of multi-layered, multi-band capacity to meet the specific needs and requirements of the evolving aeronautical market.

“We’ve always said that our 2Ku solution is the most future-proof solution on the market because it allows us to improve the experience without touching an aircraft. This latest capacity deal with SES allows us to add bandwidth over some of the busiest air travel routes over the U.S. and Canada, where our airline customers continue to see passenger demand for high-speed connectivity on the rise,” said Anand Chari, Gogo’s Chief Technology Officer. “SES, with its global satellite fleet, intelligent ground infrastructure, and nimble approach to meeting our evolving needs, is playing a pivotal role in how we are leveraging satellites to meet the needs of global aviation.”

“SES has a robust, global network of multi-layered, multi-orbit and multi-band satellite capacity that is enabling leading inflight connectivity providers, such as Gogo, to create exciting new services. This allows airlines to offer their passengers a great connected experience anywhere they go,” noted Elias Zaccack, Senior Vice President of Global Mobility for SES. “This latest capacity agreement with Gogo signals the continued demand for high-speed connectivity and high quality entertainment over one of the busiest aero markets in the world and further demonstrates the strength of SES’s global Mobility solutions.”

FliteStream F-310 Ideal for Aircraft to Deliver the Benefits of Next-Gen Satellite Networks

East Aurora, NY | April 3, 2017–
Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), through its wholly-owned subsidiary Astronics AeroSat, announced its latest aircraft antenna system, the FliteStream® F-310. Designed to provide the high performance needed for new spot beam satellite technology, the FliteStream F-310 delivers the highest bandwidth and fastest in-flight internet connectivity speeds in its class.

“The continued evolution of our fuselage mount
antennas for commercial and VVIP aircraft illustrates Astronics’ continued focus on providing industry- leading airborne connectivity solutions,” said Matthew Harrah, President of Astronics AeroSat. “The new F-310 provides the high performance needed for next generation Ku-band High-Throughput Satellites (HTS), which utilize faster spot beam technology in place of traditional wide beams. We look forward to working with aircraft OEMs and service partners to install and offer the fastest user experience for in- flight internet connectivity.“

The new FliteStream F-310 provides Ku-band HTS connectivity with new technology that minimizes service interruptions when switching from spot beam to spot beam in flight. Designed to replace the current FliteStream F-210 product, the F-310 uses existing mounting provisions to eliminate any impact to aircraft installation designs and provides an easy path for OEMs to upgrade to the latest Ku-Band HTS networks.

AeroSat’s FliteStream solutions are the only products available with patented “Rexolite® Lens” technology, which enables AeroSat to create the most efficient, reliable, and highest-performing connectivity systems available. Key features of the new FliteStream F-310 solution include:

  • Seamless connectivity for passengers to browse the internet, send and receive emails, make calls using Voice-Over-IP (VoIP), access virtual private network (VPN) services, conduct video conferences, and enjoy favorite work or entertainment applications
  • Highest performing Ku-band SATCOM antenna system, critical for maintaining low angle satellite coverage while flying at higher latitudes
  • A three-piece LRU system: antenna, antenna controller, and high power transceiver
  • Compliance with RTCA/DO-160 & RTCA/DO-178
  • Small size and light weight

FliteStream Tail Mount Connectivity System First to Provide Both Live Television and High-speed Internet on Business Jets from a Single Antenna

New Orleans, LA | March 13, 2017–
Satcom Direct (SD) today announced its agreement with Astronics AeroSat to sell the FliteStream T-Series tail mount connectivity system through SD’s global dealer network. The first of its kind in the business aviation market, the FlightStream T-Series solution employs the Panasonic Avionics global communications network to enable business jet passengers to watch live television and use the internet simultaneously through a single antenna.

“At SD, we have a holistic approach to the connected aircraft through innovation and targeted investment,” said Jim Jensen, Satcom Direct chairman. “Our industry-leading products and services address the increasingly complex needs of flight departments, aircraft owners and operators to keep the aircraft and passengers synched with ground operations and business commitments over secure networks. This agreement with Astronics AeroSat will help us advance our vision of delivering the most innovative and effective solutions to the business aviation marketplace.”

“Astronics AeroSat’s best-in-class hardware, partnered with our SD dealer network, allows for a rapid market deployment on a global scale,” says Chris Moore, chief commercial officer at SD. “By incorporating the Astronics AeroSat solution with our existing robust suite of products and services, we are creating a one-stop shop for hardware and value-added services. SD is in the unique position of offering genuinely complete solutions for the whole business jet ecosystem.”

“Early recognition of the pent-up demand for comprehensive inflight connectivity was the impetus behind our FliteStream T-Series tail mount solution,” notes Matt Harrah, Astronics AeroSat President. “Our collaboration with Satcom Direct expands our channel for providing FliteStream solutions to the global business aviation market. We’re pleased to enter into agreement with SD, a global leader in delivering smart connectivity solutions for business jets.”

Telefonix PDT:

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!)


Industry News:

  • Panasonic

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.

  • Inmarsat

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!

  • Boeing

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!

  • Other

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!

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:

Panasonic
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.”

Rockwell Collins
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!

INMARSAT
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!)

RUMORS/PREDICTIONS

  • We expect to see more consolidation from mid-level vendors before AIX and it is happening NOW!

INTERESTING NEWS
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!

  • Expands MultiChoice’s Leading Direct-to-Home Services in Sub-Saharan Africa

Luxembourg | August 24, 2016– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, today announced the successful launch of the Intelsat 36 satellite. Intelsat 36 was launched from French Guiana aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle. Liftoff occurred at 6:16 p.m. EDT. The satellite separated from the rocket’s lower stage at 6:57 p.m. EDT, and the Intelsat launch team has confirmed signal acquisition.

Built for Intelsat by Space Systems/Loral (SSL), Intelsat 36 is designed to enhance Intelsat’s media neighborhoods serving Africa and the Indian Ocean regions. The Ku-band payload was built to support MultiChoice, the leading direct-to-home platform in South Africa. The C-band payload provides in-orbit resilience for Intelsat’s leading video content distribution neighborhood at 68.5° E. Intelsat 36 will be collocated with Intelsat 20.

“Intelsat 36 is a testament to our dedication to working closely with our customers in Africa to support critical growing infrastructure needs in the region,” said Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer, Intelsat.

“Having consistent and affordable access to informative and entertaining content is vital to a community and its citizens. Intelsat 36 will enable MultiChoice to extend high definition channels throughout the region via one of Africa’s premier video neighborhoods. We are proud to once again partner with MultiChoice as they continue to deliver high quality and compelling educational and entertainment services to their customers throughout sub-Saharan Africa.”

Intelsat 36 is the 58th Intelsat satellite launched by Arianespace.

  • Intelsat EpicNG’s fast and efficient broadband connectivity now available across 5 continents, serving enterprise, wireless telecommunications, mobility, government and Internet of Things applications
  • Expands Intelsat EpicNG coverage for aeronautical and maritime mobility, from the Caribbean and North Atlantic across Europe, Asia and Africa

Luxembourg | August 24, 2016– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, today announced that Intelsat 33e, the second of seven planned Intelsat EpicNG high throughput satellites, was launched successfully from French Guiana aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle. Liftoff occurred at 6:16 p.m. EDT. The Intelsat 33e satellite separated from the rocket’s upper stage at 6:44 p.m. EDT, and signal acquisition has been confirmed.

Intelsat 33e, manufactured by Boeing, will bring high throughput capacity in both C- and Ku-band to the Africa, Europe, Middle East and Asia regions from 60°E. The satellite will join Intelsat 29e, the first Intelsat EpicNG satellite, which was launched in January 2016 over the Americas and North Atlantic Ocean region, to form a high throughput overlay to Intelsat’s fleet of enterprise-grade, wide beam satellites.

Intelsat 33e is equipped with the sector’s most advanced digital payload on a commercial spacecraft and combines wide beams and spot beams with frequency reuse technology. The digital payload provides customers with unprecedented security and flexibility, enabling seamless access and the ability to shift capacity to match their usage needs in a particular region or timeframe. Intelsat EpicNG is optimized to provide satellite connectivity for applications including the Internet of Things, enterprise, wireless infrastructure, aeronautical and maritime mobility and government, which are expected to provide a combined $3.3 billion incremental industry-wide revenue opportunity between 2015-2021.

“Intelsat 33e marks another significant milestone as we continue our ‘epic’ journey toward meeting our customers’ needs for higher performance, improved economics and simplified access to satellite solutions,” stated Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer, Intelsat. “Our first high throughput satellite, Intelsat 29e, is already in service and exceeding our customers’ expectations in the Americas. With Intelsat 33e, customers operating in EMEA and the Asia Pacific regions will now be able to leverage Intelsat EpicNG’s differentiated capabilities and greater efficiencies to grow their businesses and deliver enhanced value to their customers.”

Mr. Spengler continued, “Intelsat 33e and the Intelsat EpicNG architecture are fully backwards compatible and interoperable with Intelsat’s existing satellite fleet and terrestrial infrastructure. This allows customers to cost efficiently use currently deployed network hardware so that they can have immediate access to high performance connectivity. Intelsat 33e also brings us one step closer to providing the first global, fully interoperable wide beam and high throughput Ku-band broadband service. We remain on schedule to launch the remaining five Intelsat EpicNG satellites. The 2018 launch of our Horizons 3e satellite will complete our global coverage, adding the Pacific Ocean region.”

The Intelsat 33e payload will deliver carrier-grade services to fixed and mobile network operators, and broadband for applications such as enterprise, aeronautical and maritime mobility, and government. Companies such as EMC, Gogo, Harris CapRock, KVH, Marlink, Panasonic Avionics, Romantis, Supernet, and Television and Radio Broadcasting Network of Armenia (TRBNA), will be among the first to deploy services on the platform.

Intelsat 33e is the 57th Intelsat satellite launched by Arianespace. It will replace Intelsat 904, which will be redeployed.

The world of in-flight connectivity and entertainment is undergoing a bit of a growth phase as service providers and IFEC vendors improve and consolidate their focus on more entertainment and more planes, and in some cases, more markets. Last year the acquisition of ITC Global (maritime, mining, and energy markets) by Panasonic was the lead-in to today’s recent announcement of a purchase. Now, GEE, an airline content and satcom hardware service provider (over 200 airline customers), announced the acquisition of a $550-million, broad-based content and service provider, Emerging Markets Communication (EMC). EMC is primarily a maritime service provider that has high penetration in that market as well as Cruise ships (158,000 cabins), yachts (7,500 boats), commercial shipping/O&G (130,000 ships), UN & NGO, as well as, telco solutions. We note here that the consolidation of these mobility markets, and the desire to operate across wider and more diverse service segments, shows a collaboration trend in the satcom connectivity market and it underlies the increase in demand for connectivity and entertainment services by people, places and businesses everywhere. As they note, the deal “leverages complimentary products, technologies, and service offerings across air, sea, and land verticals to drive growth!”

Of course, we are really talking about three items here – Content, Connectivity and Mission Critical Service solutions. From a growth point of view, by 2021 the market will be worth some $5.4 B and one source noted to us that “…the key players in the market follow the strategy of acquisition and mergers and are focused towards entering into strategic partnerships with regional players in order to strengthen their position in the market.” It makes sense.

Specifically, in our story GEE is in the middle of this growth segment and is expanding their market now with a maritime focus in the acquisition of EMC, who has a strong market position there. From a global point of view, the acquisition of EMC provides GEE with complete worldwide connectivity that is supported by GEE’s existing Ku coverage as well as that of EMC. In addition, there is some C-Band coverage by EMC in the deal, resulting in an impressive chart.

The folks at GEE have acquired nine companies since its formation some three years ago. This acquisition is by far their biggest to date and will allow GEE to gain a foothold in the maritime market where growth will no doubt be exhibited.

IFExpress asked a few questions of Kevin Trosian, SVP Development & IR, and he told IFExpress:

1. Since you have purchased a “connected” company, does GEE see selling their content to the 8 EMC existing markets (Yachts, Energy, Cruise & Ferries, commercial shipping, mobile networks, government, UN, NGO’s and Global Enterprise)?

Yes, we believe there is a large opportunity for live and streaming content in the maritime and mobility verticals, and GEE’s digital media team has already worked with EMC for many years to jointly provide content to the maritime market. We see this a great opportunity for us to use our strong relationships with studios around the world to expand distribution into these markets.

GEE had previously provided TV and VOD products to EMC, including a number of live television channels, so this is not a new market for us. We have already obtained maritime rights from certain studios and/or distributors and are in the process of acquiring more. Ultimately we believe our combined knowledge of the market and relationships will enable us to leverage our strength in content for the maritime market for further growth of our media platform.

2. Can you tell us how big the existing market is?

The maritime and land-based connectivity and media markets in which we now compete are a multi-billion dollar opportunity. There is an available market of approximately 158,000 cruise cabins, 7,500 yachts and 130,000 ships.

3. Today, what countries have the 20 or so ground stations mentioned by EMC? Does EMC own them?
For this question, please see our Worldwide Infrastructure chart. In addition, through the acquisition we now have operations at 3 teleport facilities, including New Jersey, Hawaii and Germany.

4. This purchase looks like a prefect fit for GEE to grow and provide entertainment to the existing EMC service sections, can someone at GEE comment on that issue?

Please see 1 above.

5. Obviously the market is one reason GEE bought them; however, is there more to the story than that?

Yes, we believe there is a significant number of synergies that can be realized with the integration of the two companies. Through the integration, the company expects to realize synergies of $15 million in 2017, growing to $40 million in 2018 and thereafter. Synergies will primarily result from network efficiencies, including the ability to optimize bandwidth costs through a consolidation of existing network assets, including space segment and ground infrastructure, as well as, better capacity utilization.

6. From a company integration point of view, will EMC function pretty much as they do today? Will their information portfolio be enlarged by GEE’s entertainment content?

Yes, EMC will function in a fairly similar manner, but we will be integrating the companies into a single platform. The EMC team built a great foundation in an adjacent market to GEE’s traditional aviation market. We’re looking to leverage what they have accomplished and continue to build on that, such as by providing more media to the maritime market.

7. We gather that GEE has been looking for more markets for their content, why did they not just provide the content to companies like EMC and not go the distance to purchase one? What is the driving reason here?

There were multiple reasons for the acquisition, and the ability to sell content was only one of them.  We see significant opportunities within the connectivity businesses of both companies, including the ability to improve satellite capacity utilization. Further, by expanding into new markets, we believe our scale will improve efficiencies and the overall customer experience.

8. Will the EMC management and operations function pretty much as they do today or will there be management changes and new ways of doing business?

We’ve announced the new verticals (see below from the Press Release) and the Business Unit leaders.

  • Dave Davis will continue to lead GEE as CEO.
  • Abel Avellan, founder and CEO of EMC, will serve as President and Chief Strategy Officer of GEE.
  • As part of the transaction, ABRY Partners, EMC’s largest shareholder, has a right to nominate a director to GEE’s board.

In conjunction with the transaction close, GEE has established three operational business units.

  • The Media Business Unit delivers films and television shows, live TV, music, games and other content to aviation and maritime customers, including approximately 6,500 aircraft and many cruise ships currently served by GEE. Other products include digital and streaming media offerings such as the Airtime Content-to-Go application and the Entice streaming media system. Wale Adepoju will lead the Media Business Unit as Executive Vice President of Media. Previously, Wale served as Chief Commercial Officer of GEE.
  • The Aviation Business Unit serves commercial airlines and private aviation using GEE’s proprietary Airconnect GlobalTM connectivity platform, which is currently installed on nearly 750 aircraft worldwide. The Business Unit also provides Navaero electronic flight bag (EFB) data interfaces and powered mounting systems, which are in place on nearly 4,000 aircraft today, as well as masFlight operational data analytics services. Joshua Marks, who previously led GEE’s Operations Solutions team, will lead the Aviation Business Unit as Executive Vice President of Aviation.
  • The Maritime and Land Business Unit delivers connectivity and mission critical services to cruise and ferry lines, yachts, commercial shippers and land-based users such as non-governmental organizations and mobile network operators. Through this transaction, GEE has acquired a strong maritime customer base, serving over 1,500 vessels and 100,000 cruise ship cabins. In addition to overseeing certain corporate functions at GEE, Abel Avellan will lead the Maritime and Land Business Unit.

9. What does GEE bring to the party besides entertainment content? Will their airline solutions effect EMC’s products/solutions differently or much the same? If differently, how so?

GEE delivers worldwide connectivity to the aviation market and is the largest content and media provider for the broader mobility market. GEE brings an unparalleled portfolio of products and services tailored to mobility markets, including global connectivity, media content in 47 languages, live television, travel and entertainment apps, user interface platforms and data capture and operations analytics tools. We will also be bringing some of EMC’s proprietary and patented technologies, such as Speednet, to the aviation market.

  • Combined, we bring:
    A global sales force and support organization that reaches all major mobility verticals including aviation, maritime energy and remote locations;
  • A satellite and ground-based network infrastructure that can provide customers connectivity and media across multiple frequency bands anywhere in the world;
  • Proprietary, patented technologies that enhance the connected traveler’s user experience and reduce costs across market verticals;
  • A diversified revenue base with over 400 customers, balanced between media and connectivity with over half of all revenue coming from international markets; and
  • Engineering, technical and managerial resources to effectively drive new product development, program management, product maintenance and field support.

10. How big is EMC and is there a new structure to come?

We haven’t discussed management structure beyond the senior leaders, which can be found in the press release (attached). EMC had approximately 450 employees located worldwide.

Note: Finally, IFExpress talked with many people about the acquisition and there was a great difference of opinion on on the subject and other issues as well. All we can say is keep your eye on a few factors that may (or may not) affect the future of GEE: Southwest Airlines, Ku/Ka Band airline preferences, Universal lawsuit results, marine market entertainment take-up, traveler personal device and entertainment demand. Stay Tuned.

GEE EMC Transaction Presentation

Lastly, we would like to thank Jenelle Benoit of GEE for all the assistance bringing this story to press!


OTHER NEWS:

Rockwell Collins today announced that China Eastern Airlines selected its Iridium® SATCOM aftermarket solution for its fleet of more than 100 Boeing 737 aircraft. Installations are currently in progress. The voice and data communications solution, installed via a Boeing service bulletin for Next-Generation Boeing 737s, will enable reliable long-range global voice communications, flight tracking and Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS). The solution is also capable of enabling Future Airspace Navigation System (FANS) for airlines that need it for their operations.

  • First Multi Spot Beam, Ku-Band High Throughput Satellite to Serve Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific

Luxembourg and Paris | July 22, 2016– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, announced today that Intelsat 33e, the second of the Intelsat EpicNG series of high throughput satellites (“HTS”), arrived at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, where it will undergo final preparations before its scheduled launch on an Ariane 5 rocket on the 24th of August, 2016.

Manufactured by Boeing and equipped with the most advanced digital payload on a commercial spacecraft, Intelsat 33e will extend Intelsat’s high throughput capacity in both C- and Ku-band from the Americas to include Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean regions.

Intelsat EpicNG features an exceptionally flexible HTS payload design that is backward compatible with already deployed user networks globally. The higher performance, better economics and simplified access of the Intelsat EpicNG design are built to address an expected $3.2 billion incremental revenue opportunity related to new demand for satellite-based infrastructure in the enterprise, wireless infrastructure, aeronautical and maritime mobility, government and Internet of Things sectors by the year 2021.

The amount of global data traffic is expected to surge at a compound annual growth rate of 53 percent from 2015 through year-end 2020. With increasing broadband requirements and a growing number of smartphone users, the flexible and open architecture of Intelsat 29e, Intelsat 33e and future Intelsat EpicNG satellites will enable fixed and mobile network operators to cost-effectively extend their networks and meet the surges in broadband demand across the continents.

Select customers have already committed to take advantage of Intelsat 33e, some of which include Pakistani Internet service provider SuperNet Limited, African telecommunications providers such as Telkom South Africa, Orange, IP Planet, Vodacom, Dijoubti Telecom, Safarifone and Africell RDC SPRL.; Russian network service providers Romantis and RuSat LLC; and media customers including TV & Radio Broadcasting (formerly Television and Radio Broadcasting of Armenia), and MultiChoice of South Africa.

Intelsat 33e will also deliver enterprise-grade, broadband services to aeronautical and maritime mobility service providers and users. The satellite combines wide and high performing spot beams facilitating combined live television and broadband applications within the same network. As previously announced, prestigious maritime mobility customers such as EMC, Harris CapRock and Marlink, and aero mobility customers such as Gogo and Panasonic Avionics have committed to the Intelsat EpicNG fleet for mobility and fixed and mobile enterprise applications.

Intelsat 33e is currently scheduled for launch on 24 August 2016 during a window that is currently scheduled to open at 5:55 pm EDT and closes at 6:40 pm EDT. Following a successful launch, Intelsat 33e will be placed at the 60°E orbital location, where it will undergo in-orbit testing prior to its expected in-service date at the end of 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lake Forest, CA and Finland | July 11, 2016– Last year Finnair announced it would launch a wireless network connection for the majority of its wide and narrow-body aircraft.

The first wireless services were taken into use on Finnair aircraft at the end of last year onboard the new Airbus A350 XWB aircraft. Finnair will begin the installation of Wi-Fi on its long-haul Airbus A330 aircraft in October this year, and the installation is estimated to be ready in May 2017.

“In May 2017, our customers will be able to enjoy wireless network connection onboard all of our long-haul fleet. In addition to Internet access, we will have a broad offering of inflight entertainment, shopping opportunities, real-time news content and other additional services in Finnair’s free of charge Nordic Sky portal,” says Piia Karhu, SVP, Customer Experience Development.

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), which already supplies the connection for the A350 fleet, has been chosen as the supplier of the wireless connection on Airbus A330 aircraft. The connection will be achieved by Ku band satellite technology, which guarantees a working global network connection during a flight.

Wireless Internet access is free to Business class passengers, Finnair Plus Gold and Platinum customers, and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald level customers. Economy class passengers can purchase Internet access at an hourly rate (5 euro/hour) or for the duration of the flight (15 euro).

The concept of real-time aircraft tracking has become a global issue over that past few years. Needless to say, aircraft position data has become a focus for ICAO and the airlines. Many hardware manufacturers are stepping up and generating solutions that utilize, in many cases, existing connectivity. Panasonic has one such a product and we thought our readers would find it interesting because it utilizes existing installed hardware.

IFExpress had the opportunity to have a Q&A with Jeff Rex, Director, Panasonic Avionics Corporation about the new non-transponder-based aircraft position tracking service on offer.

1.Please name and describe the ground and airborne products involved in the Panasonic’s tracking solution.

Our global tracking system is based on Panasonic’s Global Communications Services (GCS) and FlightLink™ satcom solutions. By adding the AirMap application to either of these satcom solutions airlines can meet the normal and abnormal tracking requirements proposed for the GADSS.

Both flight tracking solutions provide a non-transponder-based aircraft position report available even in extreme remote and oceanic areas of the globe, either over Ku or a dedicated Iridium satellite data link. Each aircraft is monitored in real-time through a web-based tracking tool, called AirMap.

2. There are 3 issues we see – location data acquisition, transmission of the data (satcom, we presume), and ground handling of the data. Can you outline each solution?

Aircraft position and identification data from either our FlightLink or GCS solution is sent to our ground based servers. AirMap is the graphical interface that provides a visual representation of the aircraft’s flight path, altitude, and location. It allows airlines to view and interact with this tracking data. It also generates alerts to support the GADSS requirements as well as satisfying other operational needs. The tracking interval is completely customizable to an airline’s requirements and is manually adjustable. When combined with the core satcom system, the application also offers support for voice and text messaging in the event that an airline’s ground operations want to communicate with the aircraft.

For existing FlightLink and GCS satcom users no additional on-board equipment is required to activate Panasonic’s flight tracking solution. The only incremental costs are those associated with introduction of the AirMap application into the airline operations center.

3. Which is the lowest cost solution?

We are letting customers know that if they have eXConnect or FlightLink, then they can have flight tracking for only an incremental fee.

4. The US FAA is working on this problem and has some recommendations. Does the Panasonic solution agree with their needs?

eXConnect and FlightLink both meet the ICAO’s GADSS concept of operations. The standards and recommended practices specifications for both normal and abnormal tracking are still in development, and Panasonic will adjust our products as needed once released.

5. What are other valuable uses for Panasonic’s solution(s)?

FlightLink is a complete end-to-end solution that includes multi-function atmospheric and GPS sensors, dedicated two-way satellite communication system and ground-based data management and quality assurance. It is compatible with all aircraft types and the communication architecture provides a two-way information exchange at any altitude, and even over the poles. In addition to flight tracking, FlightLink enables incredibly accurate and high-resolution weather forecasts, real-time icing reports, turbulence reports, and improved operational support for airlines through AOC communications to and from an aircraft.

eXConnect is our global Ku-band broadband connectivity service. It covers 99.6% of all air travel hours and is installed on 1250 aircraft that fly routes all across the globe. Like FlightLink, it offers a two-way information exchange at any altitude. However, like all non-Iridium satellite solutions, it is not available over the poles. eXConnect is used for both passenger Wi-Fi and television services as well as for operational efficiency applications unlocked by the power of the connected aircraft. For instance, it enables real-time engine monitoring, telemedicine, live updates to EFBs and much more.

6. Is the solution, or portions of the solution, flying today?

Our existing FlightLink and GCS satcom users will require no additional on-board hardware to use Panasonic’s flight tracking solution. The only incremental costs are those associated with introduction of the AirMap application.

The current generation of AirMap tracking solution was launched in June 2016 and is currently being trialed by three airlines.

Read the press release on this product.


More IFEC & Aviation News:

A) Each year, turbulence incidents cost airlines approximately $100 million due to crew and passenger injuries, unscheduled maintenance, operational inefficiencies, and revenue lost while planes are out of service. In fact, studies have shown that aircraft encounters with turbulence are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in the commercial airline industry. The Weather Company, an IBM Business (NYSE: IBM) has announced a groundbreaking deal with Gogo Business Aviation (NASDAQ: GOGO) that will enable the delivery of real-time turbulence reports and alerts directly to pilots, dispatch and other operations personnel. Mark Gildersleeve, president of business solutions at The Weather Company, announced today at The Weather Company Aviation Conference that Gogo will be implementing Weather’s patented Turbulence Auto PIREP System (TAPS), a turbulence detection algorithm, on their aircraft-based communications server. The TAPS software will reside on Gogo’s server, which provides access to the necessary data generated by the aircraft to create reports of turbulence intensity. Gogo’s US-based air-to-ground and global satellite communication network is used to send the reports for immediate action in flight operations and weather forecasting. This is the first time a non-traditional system on the aircraft will be used to help enhance flight safety. Traditionally, flight operations personnel, pilots and aviation meteorologists received coded verbal reports with limited information on flight conditions, also known as PIREPS. Due to multiple reasons, including a lack of cockpit data connectivity, pilots were not able to get real-time updates. Using the Gogo network, pilots in the cockpit will now be able to access real-time turbulence reports and forecaster created alerts through Weather’s flight planning and operations applications and aircraft communication displays.

“Leveraging Gogo’s expanded fleet of aircrafts, The Weather Company can quickly share real-time turbulence data directly with pilots and dispatchers, thereby improving crew and passenger safety,” said Gildersleeve. “It is a great example of the Internet of Things in action, where we are collecting massive amounts of data very quickly and then using that insight to provide guidance to all flights that will be traveling through impacted air space.”

“In this increasingly connected world, it’s no longer just about passenger connectivity, we have to consider all the other ways we can leverage the available technology to enhance the overall flight experience and improve safety – such as a connected aircraft,” said Andrew Kemmetmueller, vice president of connected aircraft services, Gogo. “Our ability to provide access to real-time data through our network will help pilots and operations teams improve flight planning, and ultimately, help airlines deliver the best in-flight customer experience throughout a flight.” In addition to real-time alerting, Weather will be able to leverage the TAPS reports to continually improve turbulence forecasts, the skill of Weather’s overall forecast model, and the WSI Total Turbulence solution. Some customers of WSI Total Turbulence have seen a reduction in turbulence injuries and unnecessary turbulence-induced maintenance inspection by about 50% each. The reports will also empower Weather’s team of 40 aviation meteorologists to alert clients of weather-related safety risks globally. The Weather Company, an IBM Business, is the world’s largest private weather enterprise, helping people make informed decisions – and take action – in the face of weather. The company offers the most accurate, personalized and actionable weather data and insights to millions of consumers and thousands of businesses via Weather’s API, its business solutions division, and its own digital products from The Weather Channel (weather.com) and Weather Underground (wunderground.com). The company delivers up to 26 billion forecasts daily for 2.2 billion locations.

B) GOGO was selected by Delta Private Jets to equip its fleet of >70 business jets with Gogo Biz 4G inflight connectivity for 2Q17. Check out the full press release here.

C) We note that the Iran/Boeing airplane deal at $25B will include new versions of the B737, B777-300ER’s, and B777-900’s. A deal with Airbus includes some 73 wide bodies and 45 single ails worth an estimated $27B!

D) This study may explain aircraft Wi-Fi usage… be sure to check it out!

E) Take the time to watch this movie on Boeing’s patent for their solar airplane, it is great and unusual!

F) Thompson Aerospace is in the news!

  • Provides enhanced media capacity for Latin America

Luxembourg | June 9, 2016– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, announced the successful launch of the Intelsat 31 satellite, which is hosting the DLA-2 payload for DIRECTV Latin America. Intelsat 31 was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan aboard an ILS Proton launch vehicle. Liftoff occurred at 7:10 GMT. The Intelsat 31 satellite separated from the rocket’s upper stage at 22:41 GMT, and signal acquisition has been confirmed.

Built for Intelsat by Space Systems/Loral (SSL), Intelsat 31 is a 20-kilowatt class Ku- and C-band satellite. The Ku-band payload, known as DLA-2, is designed to provide redundancy and reliability for DIRECTV Latin America’s distribution services in South America and the Caribbean, reflecting the company’s commitment to providing their subscribers with the highest reliability in the region.

The C-band portion enhances Intelsat’s existing C-band service infrastructure serving Latin America. The satellite will be co-located with the previously launched Intelsat 30, which hosts the DLA-1 payload, at 95° West and is expected to have a service life of more than 15 years.

“Intelsat 31 will deliver additional resilience to the DIRECTV service platform, further enhancing their leadership in the region. DIRECTV Latin America is committed to providing its customers with the highest quality programming at all times,” said Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler. “Intelsat 31 will also provide valuable C-band services for our customers and further fortifies our video neighborhoods serving Latin America.”

London, UK | May 12, 2016– IMG is to launch a second live sports channel for the inflight market to complement its Sport 24 channel – the only 24/7 live sports channel produced exclusively for airlines.

Sport 24 Extra will launch on June 1st 2016, and take advantage of the premium live sport available in order to provide passengers with a choice of live events during busy periods in the sporting calendar.

The new channel is an extension of the exclusive relationship between Panasonic and IMG for the provision of Sport 24 and demonstrates both companies commitment to delivering an unrivalled inflight sports experience. Sport 24 is the world’s only live 24/7 sports channel for the airline industry and already broadcasts Barclays Premier League, Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League, Formula 1™, NBA, NFL, Ryder Cup, golf majors and tennis grand slams.

Roll out of Sport 24 Extra will begin on Emirates and Turkish Airlines, with other carriers to follow. Sport 24 is currently available across 11 airlines.

Richard Wise, SVP at IMG Media, said: “IMG’s ongoing collaboration with our partners at Panasonic enabled us to develop Sport 24 Extra which meets the growing desire of passengers wanting to see more premium live sport on airlines. We have such an outstanding portfolio of premium sport and the new channel will enable passengers to select from top events taking place at the same time.”

David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communications Services at Panasonic Avionics, said: “Sport never stops and neither do Panasonic and IMG. We’re bringing a constantly improving and evolving inflight experience. The launch of the Sport 24 Extra channel reinforces the importance we place on enhancing the in-flight experience for passengers all over the world through continued innovation.”

Panasonic’s eXTV television network uses the company’s eXConnect in-flight Ku-band communications service, including the same Ku antenna and onboard components, to deliver high-quality, television programming to passengers during their flight. It provides live, uninterrupted content to aircraft flying all over the world, even over oceans.

  • Gogo’s 2Ku Technology to Connect British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia Long-haul Aircraft

Chicago, IL | May 5, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it will partner with International Airlines Group (IAG) to bring Gogo’s 2Ku technology to 118 British Airways, four Aer Lingus Boeing 757 and up to 15 Iberia long-haul aircraft.

IAG is one of the largest airline groups in the world and is the first European airline group to commit to Gogo’s 2Ku technology. The fleet of Gogo-installed aircraft will include numerous long-haul aircraft types, including the Boeing 787 and Airbus A380.

“We are delighted to bring Gogo’s industry leading 2Ku technology to three of the most iconic brands in commercial aviation,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “2Ku is delivering a ground-like performance to aircraft flying around the world today. But one of the many benefits of 2Ku is that it’s built on an open architecture and can leverage numerous Ku satellites around the world today and new advancements in the Ku-band coming online in the future. This means the technology will get even better over time and will provide passengers with a superior connectivity experience now and in the future.”

The first British Airways aircraft is expected to be in service early next year. The bulk of the installations are expected to be completed by 2019.

Los Angeles & Luxembourg | April 19 2016– SES S.A. (NYSE Paris:SESG) (LuxX:SESG) and Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) (Nasdaq: ENT) today announced further significant Ku-band capacity agreements to help usher in the next generation connected airline passenger experience across established and developing markets around the world.

These latest agreements between GEE and SES secure multiple transponders of wide beam Ku-band coverage aboard SES’s NSS-12 and AMC-1 satellites to meet the fast-growing passenger and airline demand for more connectivity across India, Central Asia, the Middle East and North America. GEE is now tapping 12 SES satellites to put together a complementary mix of Ku-band wide beam and upcoming Ku-band high throughput satellite (HTS) spot beam coverage to meet various levels of inflight connectivity demand along travel routes around the globe.

“GEE is in the midst of a strategic expansion of our global inflight connectivity network to meet the growing and evolving demands of airlines and their passengers for a new wave of high-speed Wi-Fi-based services,” said Dave Davis, CEO at GEE. “Together with SES, GEE continues to proactively add significant levels of bandwidth over established inflight connectivity markets, as well as developing regions such as Asia and the Middle East where passenger demand is accelerating the deployment of connected aircraft over new routes.”

“SES has built a robust and scalable global infrastructure to meet the growing demand for inflight entertainment and connectivity,” said Elias Zaccack, Senior Vice President, Commercial, Americas, and head of Global Mobility solutions at SES. “SES is committed to delivering a great mobile experience to airline passengers, and these latest capacity agreements with GEE will bring a new level of inflight connectivity to both expanding and emerging markets.”

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

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

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

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

Chicago, IL | March 23, 2016– Last week Gogo flew out to Austin for South by Southwest to show off our newest satellite technology, 2Ku, on our very own 737 test plane, “The Jimmy Ray.” Check it out.

Experience the interactive Multimedia News Release here

Chicago, IL | March 21, 2016– Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless in-flight entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it has expanded its connectivity partnership with Air Canada to include its international fleet, including the Boeing 787.

Air Canada is the only Canadian carrier offering customers in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity across its entire fleet of narrow-body aircraft in North America. Under the new agreement, Gogo’s 2Ku connectivity technology will be installed on Air Canada’s wide-body international aircraft, starting with the Boeing 777 this fall.

“We are excited about extending our relationship with Air Canada to bring our 2Ku technology to its international fleet,” said Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small. “The performance of Gogo’s 2Ku technology is unmatched in global aviation today and is built on the concept of an open system with the ability to leverage dozens of Ku-band satellites in orbit. We’ve also built it to leverage any of the new Ku-band LEO satellite constellations coming on line in the future. This system design will enable Air Canada to continue to deliver industry leading connectivity to its passengers for the foreseeable future.

“Air Canada is pleased to announce it will offer customers the ability to stay connected whenever and wherever they fly by extending in-flight, North American connectivity to its wide-body aircraft flying overseas using satellite technology,” said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada. “While business travelers will welcome satellite Wi-Fi service as a productivity tool, it will have widespread appeal for all travelers by allowing them to stay in touch, access the internet and enjoy additional entertainment options throughout their entire journey.”

  • As part of its launch, the airline is offering today Wi-Fi, free of charge, to passenger’s flying to Havana, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo.

Madrid, Spain | March 7, 2016– Air Europa, the airline division of Globalia, continues to press ahead with its plan to modernize and expand and, as from today, offers Wi-Fi service to passengers on-board three Airbus 330, hand in hand with Panasonic Avionics Corporation, world leader in in-flight entertainment and in-flight communication.

As part of its launching activities, during today, all Air Europa passengers flying to Havana, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo will enjoy Free Wi-Fi during the flight.

Progressively, the airline belonging to Globalia Group, will install Wi-Fi via satellite on all its Airbus aircraft that operate long distance routes, the new Boeing 787 arriving this month will also have this service. Additionally the B787 aircraft will come with the system eX3 IFE to offer the passenger a unique in-flight entertainment experience.

The aircraft that offer Wi-Fi on-board, thanks to the innovative system eXConnect of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, are two Airbus 330-200 and one A330-300, it is estimated that from the month of July the entire long haul fleet with have Wi-Fi service on board.

The Wi-Fi service will be activated, above 10.000 meters, when the seat belt light is switched off, therefore it is not available during take-off and landing. From then on, passengers wishing to connect must keep the airplane mode activated on the mobile device in order to connect to the Wi-Fi “Ontheair” and after opening a browser select that rate most suits their needs.

Air Europa has selected three rates to choose from 7 euros for 15 Mb; a popular rate of 13 euros for 30 Mb that permits a longer navigating time or a premium rate of 20 euros which permits 50 Mb to navigate.

The installation of Wi-Fi service on-board Air Europa aircraft, that aims to improve in-flight entertainment, ensuring a great comfort and amenities; is a new step in the modernization that the airline is immersed in and that aims to establish itself as one of the best and most modern airlines in the world. Also, from next April changes will be introduced to catering service introducing new menus, together with Newrest and the chef Antonio Fernandez, will be offered on-board medium and long haul flights.

  • Leveraging the higher performance and better economics of Intelsat EpicNG, SkyNet de Colombia and Intelsat will connect close to 600 remote sites
  • Partnership will bring more schools and communities across Colombia online

Luxembourg | March 8, 2016– Nearly 4 billion people remain unconnected in the world. Bridging the digital divide is critical to bolstering a country’s GDP growth and ensuring inclusion from a social, political and economic perspective for any community.

Intelsat (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, announced an agreement with SkyNet de Colombia a subsidiary of Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogota ETB to support the Colombian Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications’s Kiosco VIVE DIGITAL Phase III (KDVIII) project, whose sole aim is to bring broadband and internet connectivity to remote communities and schools in rural areas across Colombia.

Under the multi-year agreement, Skynet de Colombia will leverage the high speed performance of Intelsat 29e, the first of Intelsat’s next generation, high throughput Intelsat EpicNG satellites, located at 310° East. Together, Skynet de Colombia and Intelsat will provide broadband and internet connectivity to approximately 600 remote sites, across 250 municipalities. The services delivered to the communities will include internet access as well as programs that promote the use of technologies in the community.

“Intelsat’s high throughput Intelsat EpicNG satellites are bringing unprecedented power, cost savings and accessibility to broadband connectivity to people living in regions where there is a lack of terrestrial infrastructure,” said Rene Otero, CTO, SkyNet de Colombia. ”With greater access to reliable, high quality broadband services, remote communities can receive the same type of advantages and services that are afforded to those that live in the more developed areas of Colombia. We are happy to partner with Intelsat to support the KDVIII initiative and play an integral role in bringing more people and communities on-line throughout Colombia. ”

Intelsat EpicNG’s efficiency delivers more throughput to the user, the backwards compatibility allows customers to use their existing hardware, and the open architecture enables customers to choose the network hardware that best suits their applications. This delivers unprecedented choice, control and consistent levels of service across the platform at a much lower cost of total ownership, enabling fixed and mobile network operators to cost-effectively enhance their networks to meet growing demands from existing customers while also extending the reach of their networks to capture new growth in remote areas.

“The KDVIII project in Colombia is a great example of the role that public and private partnerships can play in ensuring that digital inclusion is available for all citizens, whether they reside in remote communities or urban areas,” said Carmen Gonzalez-Sanfeliu, Intelsat’s Regional Vice President, Latin America and Caribbean. ”The flexibility of Intelsat’s Globalized Network will allow Skynet de Colombia to take full advantage of the power that our next generation Intelsat EpicNG fleet delivers and ensure that SkyNet’s customers receive a seamless broadband experience that continues to be known for its superior quality and reliability.”

  • Powers high quality, reliable broadband services to thousands of ATM networks throughout Saudi Arabia
  • Delivers VSAT services to small and medium corporate enterprises and ships operating in and outside of this fast-growing region

Luxembourg | March 7, 2016– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, announced that Detecon Al Saudia Co. Ltd. (DETASAD) has renewed and expanded its contract for Ku-band satellite services to deliver broadband and internet connectivity to corporate networks operating in and outside of Saudi Arabia.

Under the multi-year contract, DETASAD will leverage Ku-band services via Intelsat 15 at 85º East and Intelsat 20 at 68.5º East to guarantee access to the highest levels of broadband connectivity for its enterprise customers. DETASAD incorporates Intelsat’s satellite services into the largest financial transaction networks in the region, supporting a very large number of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) located throughout Saudi Arabia, among other applications where high reliability and security are critical to success.

“We partnered with Intelsat to complement our existing telecom infrastructure as Intelsat’s satellite solutions have a strong track record of seamlessly and securely connecting broadband networks across a vast area,” said Adel Al Gidawi, CFO, Detecon Al Saudia Co. Ltd. (DETASAD). “Intelsat and DETASAD have been in the VSAT business together since 2003. Throughout our relationship, Intelsat has proven to be a strategic and trusted partner that has helped us meet the high standards of our customers across multiple sectors. As the demands placed on us by broadband users in Saudi Arabia continue to grow, extending our relationship with Intelsat will provide us with the bandwidth necessary to extend our network, grow our business and, most importantly, support the needs of communities and businesses located throughout the region.”

Along with powering Saudi Arabia’s ATM networks, DETASAD serves a wide range of corporate networks that are used by small and medium enterprises, maritime operators, oil and gas companies, government agencies, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to help power the country’s economy and deliver services to urban and remote areas.

“We understand that DETASAD’s customers are diverse in nature and as such, have unique requirements,” said Jean-Philippe Gillet, Intelsat’s Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa. “The breadth and depth of Intelsat’s globalized network enable us to tailor our services to meet the broadband requirements for companies and communities across sectors. With the demand for broadband connectivity only increasing in the Middle East, we look forward to working with DETASAD to deliver high quality, reliable and secure internet and broadband connectivity to corporate enterprises and customers across the banking, oil and gas and government sectors.