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.

Chicago, IL | February 29, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it will upgrade its satellite modem for use with its next generation 2Ku and Ku satellite technologies. The new modem will begin flight testing on Gogo’s Boeing 737 test lab – the Jimmy Ray – in the coming months, with commercial delivery expected to begin in 2017.

The proprietary features of the new modem will significantly increase throughput from the satellite to end users on the aircraft. The modem will be capable of delivering 400 Mbps to an aircraft, which will be more than enough to support the anticipated capacity of next generation high-throughput satellites. The modem will also have the capability to simultaneously supporting IP streaming and IPTV.

“Just like your home or office Wi-Fi set-up, you can make improvements to the amount of bandwidth delivered, but if the modem can’t support that bandwidth, you can create a choke point in the network,” said Anand Chari, Gogo’s chief technology officer. “Gogo’s next generation modem is being built with a lot of room to spare so it will be ready to handle data delivered from next generation high throughput satellites and beyond.”

Gogo has partnered with Gilat Satellite Networks for the development of the new modem. Gogo and Gilat together are developing advanced mobility management features that will be incorporated into the new modem. Gogo has been lab testing the new modem, which has already delivered 200 Mbps using Gogo’s 2Ku antenna.

“This incredibly fast modem is an example of how we are building our network on an open architecture so that our customer can seamlessly migrate to the fastest and cheapest new satellite technologies as they come online,” said Chari. “Our 2KU antenna is twice as spectrally efficient as any other antenna, and this modem will allow us to deliver that speed advantage to our customers. It also will allow our customers to seamlessly upgrade to the new Ku High Throughput Satellites (HTS) that have just started to be launched, and the massive-scale low earth orbit (LEO) constellations planned over the next decade.”

Gogo has already begun the licensing approval process for the new modem through the FCC and the FAA.

Last month we saw an interesting news release from SITA about biometric passports and the European Unions’ use of this technology for fast-tracking through airport security.

Here is a bit of the news release: NAPLES – 19 January 2016 – Naples International Airport is offering passengers from the European Union who hold a biometric passport, a fast track through the airport with the introduction of self-service immigration control technology from air transport IT specialist, SITA.  Using world-leading facial recognition technology to confirm that the passenger is the passport holder, SITA’s iBorders BorderAutomation ABCGates provide a smooth “walk-through” experience. The Automated Border Control Gates (ABCGates) confirm that the passenger has an authentic, valid passport and is authorized to enter the country while fingerprint verification is also provided to further enhance security when required. With an average processing time of only 20 seconds, this process enables eligible passengers to use self-service facilities to reduce wait times and optimize passenger flow through the airport. The ABCGates (departures and arrivals) allows more than 2,000 passengers a day to clear immigration at the airport using this latest technology.

Alessandro Fidato, Director of Infrastructure & Operations at Naples International Airport said: “The new technology has helped improve the passenger experience at Naples Airport by speeding them through immigration while ensuring that we meet the highest security standards at Italy’s borders. The ABCGates are really a win-win technology for airports.”

Dave Bakker, SITA President, Europe, noted: “We continue to work with airlines, airports and government agencies around the globe to provide the best-in-class self-service border technology. Through the use of biometrics, we are able to enhance the passenger experience by providing a swift passage through immigration while adhering to the highest possible security standards.”

So we asked a few more questions of Mr. Bakker and he told IFExpress the following:

1. IFExpress: How long have the ABCGates in Naples been in operation?

Answer: “The first four  iBorders® BorderAutomation ABCGates went into operation at Naples International Airport’s departures in September last year while four additional ABCGates were introduced into arrivals in January this year. “

2. If an optical condition occurs (like an eye operation) to a pax who has signed up for optical recognition and fails the test, what happens?

Answer: “Whenever a passenger is not successfully processed by the gate, an agent at a monitoring station is called for intervention.

3. IFExpress: How many eyes are scanned for each person?

Answer: “The ABCGates use facial recognition technology and fingerprint matching.

4. IFExpress: Is there a cost for the application and setup for the passenger?

Answer: “Any traveller from the EU holding a valid e-Passport can use the ABCGates. There is no cost for the traveller to use the ABCGates.”

5. IFExpress: Actually, what equipment is involved?

Answer: “The most important and visible element are the e-gates themselves. They include gates with passport readers, face recognition cameras and fingerprint readers, as well as the necessary software to allow integration of the data into the authorities’ databases.”

6. IFExpress: Any test results on percent error you can mention?

Answer: “For security reasons, the exact percentage is confidential. However, the ABCGates are configured to be compliant with the Frontex guidelines for processing travellers in the EU in a self-service environment.”

7. IFExpress: How long have the ABCGates been in the dev/test phase?

Answer: “SITA’s ABCGates were first launched two years ago, after 18 months of development.”

8. IFExpress: Is this more accurate or reliable than fingerprints?

Answer: “The type of biometrics used depends on the government requirements. Our ABCGates can accommodate all ICAO-approved biometrics. In the case of Naples, both facial recognition and fingerprint matching are included.”

9. IFExpress: Can you give our readers a bit more on how this database works?

Answer: A: “Each travelers details including their biometrics are captured and vetted at the time they apply for their e-Passport.  When the traveler uses the ABC Gate their live biometrics are checked against the biometric data stored securely on the e-Passport chip.  At the same time the passport details are checked against central government databases to ensure that the passenger is eligible to cross the border.”

Finally, Dave Bakker told IFExpress: We continue to work with airlines, airports and government agencies around the globe to provide the best-in-class self-service border technology. Through the use of biometrics, we are able to enhance the passenger experience by providing a swift passage through immigration while adhering to the highest possible security standards.”


On another front, Panasonic signed a multi-year contract for high throughput capacity on Telesat’s new Telstar 12 VANTAGE satellite. In this latest agreement, Panasonic has contracted for nearly all the high throughput satellite (HTS) Ku-band capacity covering the Mediterranean, Europe and Middle East on Telesat’s new Telstar 12 VANTAGE. Telstar 12 Vantage became fully operational at 15 degrees West in December 2015 and will provide Panasonic with HTS capacity over key aero routes from Western Europe to the Middle East enabling them to bring the very latest in in-flight Wi-Fi to carriers across the region. Panasonic will also be using the HTS capacity of Telstar 12 VANTAGE to expand their mobile broadband offerings to growing maritime markets in the Mediterranean and European waterways as well as to oil and gas operators in the North Sea.

“Telesat is highly respected for their ability to design innovative satellites,” said David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communications Services at Panasonic Avionics. “Their cooperation in adjusting the position of the HTS spot beams on Telstar 12 VANTAGE to meet Panasonic’s requirements was outstanding. This further optimizes the service for Panasonic and gives us an edge in winning mobile broadband business in the air and at sea. Panasonic now has Ku-band capacity on four Telesat satellites and, with this latest contract for nearly all the HTS Ku-band covering the Mediterranean, Europe and Middle East on Telstar 12 VANTAGE, we are well positioned to expand in maritime and energy markets across Europe. Panasonic values our close ties to the Telesat team and we are truly excited to be making use of Telstar 12 VANTAGE – the first satellite with significant HTS Ku-band over the Mediterranean and North Sea.”  Also note Bruner; “The story here from Panasonic’s perspective is that by April we will have high throughout capacity online continuously and overlapping from the west coast of the US to the Middle East. By October all the way to Asia. Next year we complete the initial HTS coverage with a new satellite over the Pacific, Eutelsat 172B.” This might be a good time to view the map coverage of Telstar 12 VANTAGE.


Lastly, Thales just closed a big sale deal  for AVANT IFE and connectivity with Singapore Airlines for their A350 aircraft and IFExpress will have more on the deal soon! Stay Tuned!


Notes:

  • Over the next twenty years, the folks at Boeing see an Asia-Pacific demand of some 14,550 aircraft valued at over $550 B!
  • Last week we found an amazing, crazy video. You are never going to believe what the band OK Go does to an aircraft interior, never. The tune “Upside Down & Inside Out” should give you a hint. The band traveled to Russia to work with S7 Airlines and film the video, described on the OK Go Facebook page as “the craziest thing they’ve ever done.” It is… OK Go breaks gravity habit in spacey ‘Upside Down & Inside Out’ video
  • Correction: Last week we noted some trade show information that occurred at the Aircraft Interiors Middle East event this year. Mr. Botts, who reported on the show and award event for us noted flydubai as the overall winner and mentioned an IFE vendor whose equipment he thought was on their planes – he was wrong. The correct IFE vendor is Lumexis. In fact, flydubai was the launch customer for Lumexis’ FTTS IFE system. Here are links to flydubai’s past awards: 2014, 2015, and 2016. Mea Culpa!

Interesting Industry News:


And Finally, a B727 Story…

For some time now we have been following the reconstruction and re-certification of a 53 year old Boeing 727 by an ex-Boeing good-guy, Robert Bogash. The plane is destined for Boeing’s Museum of Flight but is located some 50 Kilometers away in Everett, WA. Bob is driven and never gives up, I know because many years ago, I worked with him. The rebuilding process is documented on his website and we have a link for you below and has well over one million “hits” so far. Mostly, we wanted to show our readers the challenge in re-certifing an older plane destined to fly this spring. Mr. Bogash and the team have documented virtually every step in the process (text and images) and if you ever worked in aircraft maintenance or certification, this is for you. If not, you are going to learn a lot about the B727! We asked Bob, what it took to get the job done so far and he said: “Patience.  Persistence. Hard Work. Long Journey. I’ve probably got about 600-700 hours into it — in the last 5 or 6 weeks, that is… We are shooting to fly March 1 – weather is the big unknown and determinant. That’s me in the Left Seat in the video, and yes, I will fly the trip down to Boeing Field, but not as Pilot in Command. Thanks for the kudos. Daily E1 Status Reports are being provided in near Real Time on my Status Page.”  Also, he noted; “It’s also important that they look into buying a souvenir that will fly on the flight or contribute directly, since none of this comes free, and I’ve blown my budget.”

  • Panasonic’s latest commitment to Telesat driven by innovative coverage of Telstar 12 VANTAGE – first operational satellite with significant HTS Ku-band capacity serving aero and maritime routes over Europe, the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Sea

Ottawa, Canada and Lake Forest, California | February 15, 2016– Telesat, a leading global satellite operator, and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) announced today that Panasonic has signed another multi-year contract for Telesat satellite capacity.

In this latest agreement, Panasonic has contracted for nearly all the high throughput satellite (HTS) Ku-band capacity covering the Mediterranean, Europe and Middle East on Telesat’s new Telstar 12 VANTAGE. Telstar 12 VANTAGE became fully operational at 15 degrees West in December 2015 and will provide Panasonic with HTS capacity over key aero routes from Western Europe to the Middle East enabling them to bring the very latest in in-flight Wi-Fi to carriers across the region. Panasonic will also be using the HTS capacity of Telstar 12 VANTAGE to expand their mobile broadband offerings to growing maritime markets in the Mediterranean and European waterways as well as to oil and gas operators in the North Sea.

“It is always gratifying when a knowledgeable industry leader like Panasonic compares a number of satellite alternatives and decides once again that Telesat is their best choice,” said Tom Eaton, Vice President, International Sales for Telesat. “Telstar 12 VANTAGE is a powerful high throughput satellite designed to provide customers like Panasonic important operational and commercial advantages. Panasonic’s multi-year commitment validates the advanced capabilities of Telesat’s newest satellite and we look forward to continuing to deliver to Panasonic the superior technical performance and outstanding support they have come to expect from Telesat.”

“Telesat is highly respected for their ability to design innovative satellites,” said David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communications Services at Panasonic Avionics. “Their cooperation in adjusting the position of the HTS spot beams on Telstar 12 VANTAGE to meet Panasonic’s requirements was outstanding. This further optimizes the service for Panasonic and gives us an edge in winning mobile broadband business in the air and at sea. Panasonic now has Ku-band capacity on four Telesat satellites and, with this latest contract for nearly all the HTS Ku-band covering the Mediterranean, Europe and Middle East on Telstar 12 VANTAGE, we are well positioned to expand in maritime and energy markets across Europe. Panasonic values our close ties to the Telesat team and we are truly excited to be making use of Telstar 12 VANTAGE – the first satellite with significant HTS Ku-band over the Mediterranean and North Sea.”

Lake Forest, CA | February 1, 2016– Panasonic Avionics today confirmed that over 1,000 commercial aircraft are operating on its Global Communications Services network. Panasonic’s worldwide Ku-band satellite network today delivers broadband communications services and global live television over 99.6 percent of all commercial aviation routes.

The 1,000th aircraft was a B777-300 that was line fit at the OEM and delivered in mid-December to China Eastern Airlines. Since then, Panasonic has equipped an additional 25 aircraft, bringing the total number to 1025.

Over 50 percent of all airlines with connected aircraft have chosen Panasonic Avionics. The company has approximately 70 airlines and 3,000 aircraft committed to its global broadband connectivity service. It expects to add an additional 12,000 to its network by 2025.

Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics said, “Our connectivity solutions combine operation benefits with an elevated passenger experience. Reaching the benchmark of 1,000 connected aircraft shows that our customers realize Panasonic’s compelling business proposition. Over the next 12 months our focus will be on helping customers better utilize our network to improve efficiency and the way they can engage with their passengers.”

In 2016, the company projects to add another 600 aircraft to its network, and 34 percent of these installations will take place at the OEM during production. Today, Panasonic is the only inflight connectivity provider that is line fit offerable at the major aircraft manufacturers.

David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communications Services for Panasonic Avionics said, “This year, we will introduce several new enhancements to our network, the passenger experience, and the ability of our customers to monitor their aircraft in real time.”

Bruner continued, “In April, we will introduce high throughput satellite (HTS) service over North America and the Atlantic. Europe and the Middle East will follow later that year, and by mid-2017, we will complete our HTS network, offering over 200 megabits per second in regions that cover 80 percent of all traffic routes.”

“Leveraging our unique HTS design, we’ll be able to tailor the inflight experience to match passenger expectations for bandwidth and give them even more access to the services that they use every day on the ground. We will also be able to expand the number of channels available in our global live television service, which continues to become increasingly important to our customers and their guests,” added Bruner.

In conclusion, Bruner also stated that 2016 will be an exciting year for airlines that wish to leverage connectivity for operational efficiencies. “We are actively working with our customers on several key operational initiatives. Whether it’s highly accurate, real-time weather and EFB applications that help pilots make better informed inflight decisions, global flight tracking, real time remote monitoring and data analysis or even telemedicine, we are committed to helping our customers realize the real value of the connected aircraft.”

  • With over 8,000 miles of successful road testing, Kymeta and Intelsat take significant step towards making global, high-speed connectivity for the connected car a reality
  • Completion of the first maritime product prototype provides path to scalable, high quality, low cost mobility solutions and compatibility with fleet of Intelsat satellites.

Redmond, WA and Luxembourg | December 15, 2015– Kymeta Corporation and Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), the world’s leading provider of satellite services, have successfully completed initial testing of the mobility performance of Kymeta’s flat-panel antennas on Intelsat’s global satellite network for both maritime and automotive applications. Kymeta and Intelsat are the first companies to meet this significant milestone with a flat panel, software-based antenna.

In the automotive portion of the test, the team embedded Kymeta’s flat-panel antenna into the roof of an automobile and over the course of 8,000 miles, proved that the company’s mTenna™ technology was able to automatically acquire and track satellite signals while on the move. The Ku-band antenna was able to both transmit and receive signals with Intelsat satellites. It is designed for Intelsat’s current satellites and its next generation high throughput satellites, Intelsat EpicNG, the first of which is expected to launch on January 27, 2016.

Kymeta has also completed building and testing its first glass-on-glass, thin-film-transistor-based antennas, with receive and transmit on the same aperture. This maritime prototype is the workhorse of Kymeta’s 70cm Ku-band product and are currently being produced on existing liquid-crystal display TV display lines, marking the first step towards mass-volume and low-cost attainability for Kymeta antennas.

“We’re excited about these significant milestones and what they mean for our customers,” said, Dr. Nathan Kundtz, Chief Executive Officer of Kymeta. “In partnership with Intelsat, we’re ushering in a new generation of mobile communications that is lower cost and higher bandwidth.”

Kymeta’s flat panel, software-based antennas simplify the access to Intelsat’s satellite fleet by removing the need for mechanical components and by using software to electronically point, steer and acquire the satellite signal. This allows for both the rapid setup and installation of the hardware, in addition to the improved ability to acquire and track satellite signal. Working together, Kymeta and Intelsat will ensure that mobility customers are able to receive fast, reliable and cost-effective connectivity regardless of location.

“At Intelsat, we are pursuing innovation in both satellite technology and ground systems to enable simpler access to our services,” stated Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer of Intelsat. “Our partnership with Kymeta will help ensure that our customers have much easier and more cost effective access to our fleet to leverage the power and higher performance of our satellites to solve their complex connectivity issues. Together, I look forward to using our collective expertise to expand the addressable markets for satellite technology and provide ubiquitous and fast broadband services to the billions of people and devices that need connectivity.”

  • First Multi Spot Beam, Ku-Band High Throughput Satellite to Serve Latin America

Luxembourg & Paris | December 11, 2015– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), the world’s leading provider of satellite services, announced today that the first of the Intelsat EpicNG series of High Throughput Satellites, Intelsat 29e, 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 27th of January 2016.

Manufactured by Boeing and equipped with the most advanced digital payload on a commercial spacecraft, Intelsat 29e will bring High Throughput capacity in both C- and Ku-band to North and Latin America and the North Atlantic region, and is designed to be fully interoperable with the already deployed Intelsat satellite fleet and terrestrial infrastructure.

Intelsat EpicNG features an exceptionally flexible high throughput payload design that is backward compatible with already deployed user networks globally. It has an open architecture built to address an expected $3 billion incremental increase in revenue opportunities related to an increase in demand by the year 2020 for satellite-based infrastructure in the enterprise, wireless infrastructure, aeronautical and maritime mobility, government and Internet of Things sectors.

The amount of data traffic in Latin America is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 66 percent from 2014 through year-end of 2018. With surging broadband requirements and an increasing number of smartphone users, the Intelsat 29e flexible and scalable architecture will enable fixed and mobile network operators to cost-effectively extend their networks and meet the surges in broadband demand across the continent.

Select customers in the region have already committed to take advantage of Intelsat EpicNG, include Compania Anonima Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela, BT Latam Venezuela, Anditel, S.A.S, Axesat, Amazonia Cabo Ltda., Cadena Ecuatoriana de Television C.A., Canal 10 CETV, Corporacion Nacional de Telecommunicaciones CNTE.P., Fox Latin America Channels do Brasil, Igrege Mundial do Poder de Deus, Radio e Televisao Banderantes and Telefonica del Peru.

Intelsat 29e will also deliver enterprise-grade, broadband services to aero and maritime mobility service providers and users. The satellite combines wide and high performing spot beam designs facilitating combined broadcast and broadband applications within the same network. As previously announced, prestigious customers such as EMC, Panasonic and Harris CapRock have committed to the Intelsat EpicNG fleet for mobility and fixed and mobile enterprise applications.

Intelsat 29e is currently scheduled for launch on 27 January 2016 during a window that is currently scheduled to open at 5:29 pm EST and closes at approximately 7:36pm EST. Following a successful launch, Intelsat 29e will be placed at the 310°E orbital location, where it will undergo in-orbit testing prior to its expected in-service date of mid-2016.

Intelsat 29e is currently scheduled for launch on 27 January 2016 during a window that is currently scheduled to open at 5:29 pm EST and closes at approximately 7:36pm EST. Following a successful launch, Intelsat 29e will be placed at the 310°E orbital location, where it will undergo in-orbit testing prior to its expected in-service date of mid-2016.

Recently, IFExpress visited Gogo offices and flight tested the new 2Ku Services – we offer our trip report to our readers!

Gogo Offices – Downtown Chicago

On 11/12/15 we proceeded to Chicago as a result of an invitation from Gogo to flight test their new 2Ku airborne connectivity system. Installed on a B737, the system is only one of the three predominant connectivity platforms developed and operated by Gogo. Two are the existing air-to-ground, lower speed data systems available today – Gogo ATG and ATG4. The new 2Ku system operates on data transmitted from the ground to satellites and then (in a test mode) down to a B737 platform which operates out of Gary, Indiana International airport.

After a tour of their new facilities in the downtown Chicago Loop (next to Boeing), where some of the hardware was displayed, we listened to a presentation by their customer care manager. He told us that 79% of their usage questions were for chat messaging, 10% was for calls (business jets), and 11% was for email issues. We don’t know how this was measured – based on digital data bits, time, or measurements of the indicated usage, but “Clearly,” they noted, “the growth trend is toward digital chatting!” And we agree – SMS and text messaging are the future.

Further, Gogo noted that their Chat Help was a very useful solution to customers who need help on the plane, and it is done via their (the pax) devices without logging on to the service on the plane. Here is a breakdown of their chat help subject issues – 53% logging on, 8% billing and subscriptions, 13% video issues, 13% dropped calls, and 3% general. They noted that they use customers contact data daily to analyze the Gogo product/service. This capability to chat with the Gogo help personnel (located in Boulder, Colorado) will be utilized on all products – ATG, ATG 4, and 2Ku. They even have a feature wherein a customer and a helper can co-browse (with the customers permission) and walk them thru a customer screen. Further, they can even take over their device for assistance in the most challenging cases.

In Engineering, we saw an elegant noise free area for simulation installation inside a theoretical aircraft. They will use this facility for mostly 2Ku installations now. The primary software room was for in system testing and integration… there were some 10 rows of floor to ceiling cabinets with all types of hardware that were under test, all with various loads of software – quite impressive. Interestingly, there is very little encryption on all ground to aircraft communication but we believe that is under evaluation at this time. Gogo told us that they have a proprietary data communication but not at the level one would see in the DOD.

We were surprised that Gogo builds virtually no equipment – they spec it out. What they do is software, and a lot of it. We don’t have time here to cover that subject but the network solution, along with the hardware, is software… and Gogo is quite proud of it.

The Network Operation Center (NOC) was very impressive. Basically Gogo monitors every airplane and keeps track of any issue that could impact their operations. Further, they can communicate with each flying system to ascertain how their product is performing. Some 20 large screens and people work 24/7 to monitor their products – very impressive. The center monitors worldwide aircraft – commercial or business installations. This solution is really done right and nothing is left out…. even tracking outages. We really wonder why they weren’t presently offering an aircraft data download solution . When asked, they replied that that is the next market they will be pursuing and IFExpress will begin watching that potential product with them next. We should also mention that they monitor all their ground sites there as well.

However, we did note that they have introduced some real time product purchasing in their service with the likes of Amazon and others. It remains to be seen how successful this effort will be but the service is available on some airlines today. We were surprised that Monday and Thursday were the “active” day for higher sale traffic. However, this may have to do with the business community’s travel schedule.

Gogo told us that today they have some 246 ground installations (for ATG and ATG4 – 800 to 900 MHz range). Gogo started operations with 96 of these ground based antenna sites and are continually adding more to their network. They do not foresee dropping sites either, and if internal aircraft network or system status data ever takes off, they will have a lot of applicability as the data will probably be more resident in the slower speed service. Further as aircraft get more high speed communication links, it might be a good home for data reception, aggregation and forwarding. And as you might guess, data to the aircraft probably exceeds data from it, so that may be another case in point for obtaining aircraft performance data like engine parameters and history, fuel levels, battery and power data and so on for the future. Face it, any data communication service, to and from the aircraft, has a future and the Gogo’s existing system is an obvious home. Expect to hear more about this feature in the future.

Aircraft Communication Testing

Next we went to the airport and walked out to the Boeing 737 at the small Gary Indiana International Airport. The dual circular panel ThinKom Ku antenna is flat and consists of two flat plane antennas, electronically steered… all under a radome (behind of the wings) on the top of the plane. On the test aircraft, the antenna can be seen.

Inside the aircraft, it is configured as one would expect a demonstrator might be. Five rows of Business class seats 2 x 2 for front visitors and approximately 30 coach seats for other visitors in the back, Gogo employees, and vendors. Our flight had mainly press attendees occupying approximately some 20 visitor seats. Four Gogo folks were in attendance to help Wi-Fi users and demo Gogo broadcast streaming TV. The tests were provided to some 40 reporters and camera persons… on 2 flight trials – one in the morning for 20 and one in the afternoon for the rest.

Once in flight (and it was a very turbulent flight), we began the trial of the service. The system did not feature any setups or complicated directions – just load the “gogoinflight” password in your Wi-Fi permissions and the system was ready for browsers, Facebook, chat or whatever app, and “game on”!

Realistically, we expected setup issues but there were none. Important to note, each member of the press had a minimum of 2 devices running all the time, while some had three. In fact, one individual had 8 YouTube videos running simultaneously.

During testing we ran Speedtest to see system loading and saw extremes form 1 to 20 Gigabits per second Internet speeds. Perhaps the average was around 5 to 6 GB/sec. connectivity speeds. If we assume 50 to 60 devices were running simultaneously, total available speeds were excellent.

To sum up the experience – “Time went so fast flying with Wi-Fi, bad weather was not an issue and we were disappointed to land so soon!”


Rockwell Collins debuted PAVES seat-centric in-flight entertainment (IFE) system has entered into service on a new Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 delivered to Biman Bangladesh Airlines. The company’s advanced large-screen, high-definition (HD) IFE system is featured in both business and economy classes. With PAVES, airlines are able to develop their own look and experience for passengers as well as efficiently manage non-DRM content via Rockwell Collins’ graphical user interface (GUI) developer kit through a web portal management tool. Further, the system features an open-software architecture to support customized and third-party applications with minimal effort. (IFExpress notes that this was an in-sequence installation at the Boeing Renton, WA. facility.)


Next year, there may be a way for folks in the know to address IFExpress readers. Technical, IFE industry views and visions are all a possibility and we just might feature your thoughts and words – Stay Tuned!

Last week we noted a few IFEC related products/services at this year’s NBAA in Las Vegas, thus, this week we will continue the dialog, specifically, those folks we normally visit at APEX and AIX… and a few that you might not see. Lets start with one you will see.

Aircraft Cabin Systems

One of the video display companies at the show was Aircraft Cabin Systems and this year we saw a few surprises in their booth. First, the retractable displays were shown available in the standard and new HD (1080P) models and because they retract, they present a new solution to more headroom in already cramped biz jet cabins . We asked ACS Sales Manager, Ken Muse, about the hardware – Attached are spec sheets for the 9.7″ and 12.1″ Retract.

Both of these units are designed as a drop-in replacement for Airbus. ACS is currently working on a Boeing drop-in replacement as well. As you can imagine, the design priority comes from our customers priorities.

The screen images of the new mounted HD video display units we also saw were stunning. Ken also noted: “The larger bulkhead mounted displays were all HD LCD Monitors displaying 1080p content with 32”, 42” and 65” models on exhibit. The 24” bulkhead mounted display was our Network HD LCD Monitor which is capable of displaying preloaded content and/or being controlled from an iPad or Android hand-held device.” Stay Tuned!

Panasonic and AeroSat (Astronics)

We visited Panasonic and their team at NBAA and were surprised at their involvement with Business jets as this a new market for them. David Bruner noted that the new partnership was formed to deliver high speed connectivity and global live television programming to the business jet community. Astronics will deliver the incredibly small Ku Band antenna (AeroSat) intended for tail mounted installation and Panasonic will deliver the “network”. By that we mean, the code and control of the system that handles the connectivity – all the while, the antenna and receivers are designed and built for others. Panasonic has a wealth of experience in the delivery of Ku Band satcom solution from satellites around the world. Basically, Panasonic has global coverage and massive download capacity, the biz jet market was a natural. David told IFExpress, “teaming with AeroSat allows us to enter the market immediately as the service provider. Looking at it another way,” noted Bruner, “when you get phone service from a company like AT&T, you don’t have to buy the phone from them – that’s how we look at this solution.” He mentioned that Panasonic has been looking for the right opportunity to get into this market. We should also note that a typical tail mounted antenna, because of size at Ku Band, doesn’t deliver the best gain characteristics, but when Panasonic saw the testing and performance data of the AeroSat model, they signed on. “From a performance point of view, Panasonic will be offering 3 levels of service,” noted Bruner, “So we are offering three different bandwidth levels that guarantees minimums – 1.5 Mbps, 2 Mbps or 4 Mbps that is guaranteed, most of the time we deliver more.”

SmartSky

Perhaps, SmartSky’s news release said it all: “SmartSky Networks, a next-generation aviation communications provider, is pleased to announce the launch of the nation’s first airborne 4G LTE-based network, SmartSky 4G. SmartSky’s technology will provide more than 10 times the typical speed and capacity of networks currently in the market by using 60 MHz of spectrum for its Air-To-Ground (ATG) data communications. SmartSky 4G will serve both business aviation and the airlines beginning with an exclusive beta-customer trial launch in the continental United States in late 2015. The rollout of nationwide commercial service will follow in 2016. Because the system hardware design can work at multiple frequencies, SmartSky is positioned to expand internationally in the future and provide coverage in locations where different frequency bands might be required. SmartSky is partnering with a leading group of airframe manufacturers, maintenance companies, and equipment and service providers to distribute SmartSky 4G to the business aviation community and will revealed these launch partners at NBAA2014. Similarly, the company is approaching the airline market through established distribution channels, including incumbent connectivity providers.” SmartSky President, Ryan Stone, said: “Last year the company filmed a live flight demonstration with multiple users on-board engaged in video conferences, streaming movies, sending and receiving large files, and other bandwidth-intensive activities all at the same time. SmartSky 4G provides an experience that exceeds the current gold standard of network performance – it enables live, two-way, high-definition video conferencing. SmartSky 4G’s robust performance means that we can also support communications needs beyond cabin Wi-Fi, including many emerging operational applications,” said SmartSky President Ryan Stone. We note the company would not talk about frequencies or beam patterns but as we learn more we will clue you in. From their limited tech hints, it looks like they plan their ground-based US solution to include towers that project an upward antenna pattern is a rough conical shape. Oh yes, and by the way, Mary Rogozinski (847 903-45540 has joined the Smarty Sky team Avionics Magazine :: SmartSky Receptive to Partnering ATG with Satellite

Astronics

As we noted earlier, Astronics and Panasonic are teaming for biz jet delivery of inflight internet connectivity and global live TV, and AeroSat designs and builds the tail mounted antenna. Their booth features also their other antenna and antenna installation products (including the adapter plate from the Astronics Armstrong division) and, of course, their WebFB product that delivers wireless connectivity to aviation handheld devices. WebFB (or web flight bag) is a clever device that connects to almost any device and is secure.

Astronautics

Presently, we are waiting for a presentation abut their NEXIS and PaTIO Security devices that look interesting if there is concern over inflight security – Stay Tuned!

F+S+B Aviation

The folks at FSB caught our eye when they showed us a free iPhone app (Android too) that you can download (Look up FSB Aviation in the iTunes store) and it gives a bit of info on virtually every commercial, regional, business and (US) military aircraft. You get dimensions (FBS is in the hangar space business) and, perhaps, next year, they will include a pix of each plane model and a bit of data on the average seating?

PlaneGard

Of course you have been paying attention to the Lithium battery issues but while at NBAA, we saw something that you might see on a future flight as the folks at PlaneGard promote a personal device fire containment unit. “Hydrogen does not appear to be a problem when there is a thermal runaway in a single device in the cabin or cockpit, based on Tech Center testing. Those are more of a nuisance type of fire,” says Hill. “The probability of it getting out of control in the cabin is next to nil, but you have to know what to do.” Standard procedures call for dousing the device in water or other liquids to cool the cells. Other uses in the cabin could be of concern, particularly for airlines that may want to use tablets or iPads in lieu of inflight entertainment systems. “If you put 50 of them in a closet and start charging, that could create a fire that could bring down an aircraft,” says Aviation Week’s John Croft. Perhaps, the PlaneGard product we saw might be in order for Pad-based flights?


More News

Airbus provides dedicated iPad mount capability for A320 Family pilots: “Certified in May 2015, the iPad ‘mount’ is now available for our A320 Family customers. The mount, which consists of a mechanical support installed on each window frame and a power supply connection (USB), can be used with an iPad (models 2, 3 or 4) and iPad Air (models 1 and 2). This solution enables the use of the iPad as an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) during all flight phases. The first Service Bulletin (SB) is expected shortly with an entry-into service in 2016. The solution which can be embodied during a night shift has been developed following a strong customer demand for an Airbus solution.” Check out the Airbus release and image.

Additionally, according to a report from 9to5Mac, Apple is considering dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack from future iPhones in favor of its proprietary Lightning connector or Bluetooth-enabled earpieces. The report states that the next iPhone would come bundled with a pair of the new Lightning connector headphones that plug into the phone’s charging port. Looks like the potential for a lot of Bluetooth radiation could be in your inflight future, but don’t worry, there is a lot of testing at your back:
Aircraft_Safety_Report_for_Bluetooth-6.pdf.

Of course you have heard about the LED modulation (Li-Fi) as being a future potential for data transmission, but the jury is still out for in-aircraft usage. Much like a parallel, multi-visible light communications solution emanating from LED’s. Here is a good way of looking at it – “Using a digital modulation technique called Orthogonal Frequency Divisional Multiplexing (OFDM), researchers enabled micro-LED light bulbs to handle millions of changes in light intensity per second, effectively behaving like an extremely fast on/off switch.” Speeds of up to 1 – 1.5 Gb/sec have been achieved, however, it is unknown if, or how, this transmission effect would affect passengers, airplane equipment or personal devices that have light sensitive/controlled equipment. Further, it is known that lighting and microwaves can cause issues with Wi-Fi. Perhaps the folks at Lumexis might prefer a fiber optic cable output at each seat so your devices could “talk” to the network?

This may be a new “data and money-saverfeature for web-based satcom connectivity.


Lastly, we wanted to let you know what we have been planning something for a few months now and you might find it interesting. As you know, we talk to a lot of engineers and technical folks and our goal has been to develop a better understanding of some of the technology that is inherent in this business. As time advances, we are seeing even more need for this kind of subject matter, whether it be a hacking security issue or the use of previously overlooked technologies like Bluetooth, the times are getting more technical and IFExpress is developing a weekly feature to frame it. Stay Tuned!

  • First Intelsat EpicNG high-performance satellite will be placed in orbit by Ariane 5

Luxembourg | November 10, 2015– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), the world’s leading provider of satellite services, announced today that Intelsat 29e, the first of the Intelsat EpicNG high throughput satellites, is scheduled to launch on January 27, 2016, aboard an Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.

Manufactured by Boeing, Intelsat’s EpicNG satellites operate in both C-and Ku-band, and are fully interoperable with the entire Intelsat satellite fleet. The Intelsat EpicNG satellites will operate the most advanced digital payload commercially available, providing commercial and government customers access to high throughput capabilities, which will result in a flexible broadband infrastructure that will scale to meet their needs.

Located at 310° East, Intelsat 29e will replace Intelsat 1R and Intelsat 805. The payload will enable the delivery of enterprise-grade, broadband services to fixed and mobile network operators, aero and maritime mobility service providers, and to government customers operating throughout the Americas. The satellite will also provide spot beams for mobility customers serving the heavily trafficked North Atlantic region. To date, companies such as Harris CapRock, Panasonic, EMC (formerly MTN), Axesat and leading national telecom operators in Latin America will be among the first to deploy services on the platform.

“This is an exciting time for our company, with Intelsat leading the way with new satellite-based solutions that address the needs of our always-connected world,” stated Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer, Intelsat. “With broadband demands only increasing, Intelsat 29e will enable our customers to extend the reach of their networks and provide high quality, fast, reliable connectivity, whether they are serving end users in flight, at sea or increasing the amount of throughput on existing broadband infrastructure. With 2016 fast approaching, Intelsat 29e is completed and awaiting shipment to the launch site. Intelsat continues to work closely with Boeing and Arianespace to ensure that Intelsat 29e is ready for its planned January launch date and to mark the next evolution in Intelsat’s longstanding history of innovation.”

Intelsat 29e marks the first of Intelsat’s next generation EpicNG satellite fleet that combines wide beams and spot beams with frequency reuse technology to meet customers’ growing demand for broadband connectivity worldwide. Intelsat29e will be the 56th Intelsat satellite orbited by Arianespace and the first dedicated launch aboard an Ariane 5 rocket for Intelsat. Intelsat expects to launch the second Intelsat EpicNG satellite, Intelsat 33e, which will serve Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, in the third quarter of 2016, also aboard an Arianespace launcher.


We are still covering the press meetings with APEX Show vendors and will do so for the next few weeks to let our readers get a better feel for our discussions there – our goal is the help everybody understand their products and promotions…

Lumexis:
The Lumexis press release said it all best about their announced deal in Portland: Lumexis Corporation today announce that their Fiber-To-The-Screen (FTTS) In-Flight Entertainment system has been selected by Caribbean Airlines for installation on their fleet of B737 aircraft. “We are extremely pleased to welcome Caribbean Airlines as our latest airline customer,” said Jon Norris, Lumexis Vice President Sales. “In addition to continuing the in-service success of the FTTS system, Caribbean Airlines are the launch customer for FTTS Second ScreenTM which enables passengers to use their own tablets and smartphones simultaneously at their seat without interrupting the entertainment running in the FTTS HD monitors.” IFExpress understands that eight of their B737 will be initially involved. In case you don’t know the airline, Caribbean Airlines operates more than 600 weekly flights to 19 destinations in the Caribbean, North and South America and the United Kingdom. The airline’s fleet of 21 is comprised of Boeing 737-800, Boeing 767-300ER and ATR72-600 aircraft. Headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago, and with an operational base in Jamaica, Caribbean Airlines employs more than 1600 people. The airline is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Lou Sharkey, President and Chief Operating officer notes, “We are delighted to partner with Caribbean Airlines to bring to their passengers our award winning Inflight Entertainment system”. “Partner” is a good word here and we note, the key concept is to increase customer entertainment choice over their many worldwide routes. We understand the first install will occur in June of 2016.

The folks at Lumexis also stated that they have now developed their 4th generation FTTS system which, we note, features the Android Lollipop Operating System… the first IFE we know that does. This means, as one writer noted, “With Android Lollipop Google is making connectivity a big focus.” Improved connectivity is a big deal with the engineering folks and we see the second screen concept they are so proud of as a real passenger pleaser. However, as they also point out, the majority of airlines want seat back entertainment, but portable IFE is very well accepted as short haul solutions. And speaking of screens, the Lumexis team has developed full HD screens in their IFE offering with multi-touch pinch and zoom. Jon Norris notes that “… we’re talking to over 50 airlines at the moment who are interested in our FTTS line-it offering and considering the product… airlines are solidly considering Lumexis as the fourth IFE option on the B737.”


APEX has just announced that vendor attendees at the APEX TEC conferences will now be charged a fee to participate. As this changes a long-established tradition of TECs being a benefit of membership, IFExpress asked APEX Technology Committee chair and APEX Board Member Michael Childers to explain the reasons.

IFExpress: After years of offering technology committee meetings as a member benefit, why are you now charging?

Childers: There are several reasons. One is that these meetings have, over time, evolved from simply working meetings of various TC Working Groups, to educational conferences attended by people who are not members of the Working Groups, and who are attending for information and educational benefits.

As attendance has regularly increased due to this kind of attendee, the costs of these activities have also risen. It is difficult to distinguish between today’s TECs and the Educational Meetings that we have around the world, and it seemed reasonable to begin to try to achieve parity between the TECs and the Educational Conferences by charging vendor attendees who come for information which is of value.

IFExpress: Are you saying that membership dues no longer cover the costs of these events?

Childers: They do not. Nor does the combination of membership fees and the sponsorships for the TECs cover all of the expenses. Plus, as a direct expense of providing technology leadership, APEX now employs a part-time Technical Director, Bryan Rusenko, who spends a lot of his time helping to plan and execute TECs.

In addition, APEX has now hired a full-time CEO, Joe Leader, and more of Joe’s time than you might imagine actually goes into industry technology and how that is communicated via the TECs. Financial management is a big part of Joe’s leadership responsibility, and he does not believe in association activities that do not pay for themselves. The Board has agreed to look at everything we do as an association and consider how such activities can pay for themselves.

But Joe also believes in delivering value and he has committed to us that he will leverage his extensive contacts to give us access to even better speakers and panelists at future TECsFor example, Joe is directly responsible for landing a major technology company for our TEC program next month. (Come see!)

IFExpress: Haven’t a lot of the TC’s activities in the past depended on volunteerism rather than paid staff?

Childers: They have, but technology has become such a large part of our industry that the increase in volunteers doesn’t cover it. In addition, we are facing the fact that IFEC technologies do not exist in a vacuum—we benefit from and are dependent upon open standard technologies that originate elsewhere.

Content management technologies originating in the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) such as the Interoperable Master Format (IMF); Movielabs, such as IMSC1-2 for closed captions; and the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) and its Common Format, are all examples.

But we now have to look beyond just Content Management and consider such questions as how would open data exchange standards impact the passenger experience. APEX cannot create those standards, but we must be sure that we align our own specifications with them and have a seat at the table when they are developed.

IFEpress: What are the registration fees that APEX is seeking for the TECs?

Childers: $350 for vendor members, and $450 for approved non-members. Airlines  and invited press get in free. Speakers, sponsors, and some active Working Group members are free or discounted.


More News:

  • A recent interesting announcement from Panasonic and Teledyne controls is one of the new data related options being put together for airlines but go beyond IFE. “The companies will combine Teledyne’s Wireless GroundLinkComm+ product suite with Panasonic’s Global Communications Service to provide cost effective connectivity during flight or at the gate. This enhanced offering will leverage both Ku-band service and GSM cellular, enabling aircraft operators to break free from the bandwidth limitations and high transmission costs associated with traditional data communications systems. When combined with Panasonic’s Weather Solutions application and Teledyne’s GroundLink AID+ solution, real time weather can be delivered to the flight deck, resulting in enhanced safety and increased flight efficiency. Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics, said, “With this agreement, Panasonic and Teledyne will create a unique service that uses real-time data transmission to create operational efficiencies and reduced costs for our customers.”
  • Think 40GBASE-T puts an end of the “copper twisted-pair party”? Nope, think lower. Here is a quote from the Tektronix folks: “But in November 2014, IEEE 802.3 put out a call for interest on 25GBASE-T, driven by the likes of Cisco, Microsoft and Intel who recognized 25 Gb/s as a more efficient, cost-effective option for switch-to-server speeds in cloud-based data centers. Hence the 25GBASE-T IEEE study group was formed.” You can read more here.
  • Don’t forget Aircraft Interior North America Exhibition in Seattle, WA. November 4 & 5. We are going there to see the Schott In-Seat Illumination products that use LED’s and fiber optics… not to mention the Star Ceiling interior paneling. See you there. You can register here
  • Be careful on a plane using your iPhone/Android phone and headphones because hackers have been able to use radio waves to control your smartphone via the “antenna” the earphone leads provide… and they can do it up to 16 feet away! Check it out
  • If you are into streaming media, this 2 day event in Huntington Beach is for you: The Streaming Media West expo offers attendees a firsthand look at the leading software, hardware, and network solutions and services in the streaming media industry. Streaming Media West 2015 Registration | Online Video Conference and Expo

Ron Chapman sent IFExpress a message and it said there will be a “GRRRILLA Gala” at NBAA! Stay Tuned, we will be there!

Portland, OR | September 29, 2015– IMG, a global leader in sports, fashion and media, and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), the world leader in Inflight Entertainment and Communication (IFEC), have signed a five year extension to their existing agreement, which will see Panasonic continue to provide the technology for Sport 24 – the world’s only live 24/7 sports channel for the airline industry.

Sport 24 is exclusively available on Panasonic’s market-leading live television system, eXTV, which is broadcast via satellite to over 250 specially-equipped planes on ten airlines, showing live coverage of major sporting events including the NBA, Formula 1™, the NFL, Barclays Premier League, Bundesliga, Grand Slam tennis and golf’s Majors.

Panasonic’s eXTV television network uses the company’s eXConnect inflight 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.

Richard Wise, Senior Vice President, IMG, said: “Sport 24 has revolutionised the way passengers watch sport on aircraft, watching live action from thousands of feet in the air as they travel for business or pleasure. IMG’s strong and long-standing relationships with federations have allowed us to negotiate these unique sporting rights and, together with our production expertise and facilities, provide a unique live offering to travellers.”

He added: “The relationship with Panasonic Avionics as the world leader in this field is fundamental to the success of Sport 24 and we are delighted to continue our partnership for another five years.”

David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communication Services with Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “We are very excited to continue our relationship with IMG. Over the past three years, Sport 24 has emerged as the most exciting and in-demand programming available through our global live television service. After all, nothing beats watching your favorite sport live, and with IMG we are now delivering the world’s most popular sporting events everywhere our customers fly.”

IMG owns Sport 24, which was launched in February 2012, and produces the channel from its London-based production facility at Stockley Park, near London’s Heathrow Airport. The channel is currently showing live action from the Rugby World Cup and has also broadcast live coverage of the last summer and winter Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup.

  • Intelsat and OneWeb partnership to result in the first and only fully global, pole-to-pole high throughput satellite broadband network
  • Investment features a commercial alliance to exclusively distribute to certain vertical markets

Luxembourg and London, UK | June 25, 2015– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), the world’s leading provider of satellite services, today announced that it has entered into a commercial agreement with OneWeb, the venture planning to build, deploy and operate a low earth orbit (“LEO”) Ku-band satellite constellation. Under the agreement, Intelsat will partner with OneWeb to use OneWeb’s LEO platform, once established, to complement Intelsat’s geostationary orbit (“GEO”) satellite services, resulting in the first and only fully global, pole-to-pole high throughput satellite system.

Complementing their commercial agreement, Intelsat announced that it will make a minority share investment of $25 million in OneWeb. The companies will also collaborate to develop hybrid LEO/GEO end-user access terminals, furthering Intelsat’s vision to lower the cost and accessibility of satellite-based broadband and unlock new markets for satellite broadband.

“As the world’s first and largest provider of commercial satellite services, Intelsat believes that the opportunity for space-based communications is at a new inflection point, especially as broadband connectivity has become an essential input to economic growth for individuals, businesses and communities,” said Intelsat CEO, Stephen Spengler. “In this context, we are accessing new technologies and leveraging sector innovations to the benefit of our customers and our network.

“Through this partnership with OneWeb, we will further differentiate our own GEO infrastructure, including our next generation Intelsat EpicNG® high performance satellites that will begin to launch in the first quarter of 2016,” Spengler continued. “By complementing our GEO services with LEO services, we will be able to provide connectivity over the Earth’s poles and in urban canyons, coverage that is important for certain mobility applications, including automotive services. In collaborating on Ku-band access hardware, we will develop technologies with additional scale that will simplify access, reduce costs and open new addressable markets.”

“Intelsat’s endorsement of our technology and solution is key to driving our venture to the next phase of development. Our mission is to enable affordable Internet access for everyone,” said Greg Wyler, CEO and Founder of OneWeb. “While the primary goal is to bridge the digital divide for rural areas, we recognize the potential for a seamless Ku-band infrastructure to support other applications as well. The OneWeb and Intelsat alliance allows each company to leverage the strength of the other. We believe that access to Intelsat’s global service and technology footprint, and collaboration on solutions which combine the benefits of LEO and GEO, will advance our mission.”

Pursuant to the commercial agreement with Intelsat, OneWeb will develop its platform to provide seamless network interoperability with Intelsat’s global EpicNG GEO infrastructure and service offerings. This will enable OneWeb to coordinate the provision of services over the equatorial regions, where GEO services have spectral priority, overcoming a major operational hurdle to LEO platforms.

The agreement will also include a firm service commitment from Intelsat for OneWeb services upon commencement of operations, which is currently estimated for 2019. Intelsat’s service commitment is in exchange for exclusivity granted to Intelsat for distributing OneWeb’s services within the aeronautical and maritime sector verticals, and for certain U.S. government and oil and gas customer applications. The agreement also includes granting to Intelsat certain exclusive distribution rights for connected car and rail customer applications.

Industry consultant NSR forecasts over $7 billion of incremental revenue industry-wide through 2024 from demand for satellite-based broadband connectivity services for aircraft, ships, connected devices, cars and remote villages. These applications are currently, or planned to be, served by Intelsat’s global fleet of approximately 50 C-band and Ku-band GEO satellites.

By combining GEO and LEO capabilities, Intelsat will be able to address specific requirements within the above applications. For example, the combination will allow Intelsat to extend its broadband mobility offerings to the polar cap regions, important to some aeronautical and maritime routes. In addition, Intelsat will be able to complement highly efficient GEO broadcast capabilities with the high elevation angle solutions of LEO services for situations where GEO signals might be blocked, such as in mobility applications in cityscapes. This would result in unmatched ubiquity for enabling software downloads to vehicles for the automotive industry. Development of mass market end-user hardware will further Intelsat’s strategy to deliver high performance, cost effective and simple access for customers, growing satellite’s share in the global telecommunications infrastructure.

When fully deployed, OneWeb’s initial constellation of more than 600 LEO satellites will be the largest satellite constellation in orbit, providing approximately 10 terabits per second of low-latency, high-speed broadband to consumers around the globe.

Thales

In Hamburg, on Aircraft Interiors International’s opening day, Thales announced a host of new technologies specifically designed to align the company strategies to enhance the passenger experience with increasing airlines’ return on investment. Having integrated LiveTV activities, Thales will now be able to offer a unique IPTV service for a near-real-time feed of live television programs. By using real-time satellite feeds, popular television events, such as sports matches, will be streamed to all airplanes equipped with IPTV services from a dedicated Thales lab tasked with controlling, transcoding, and disseminating the TV signal via the Thales connectivity system. This offer is made viable through Thales’s strong ability to develop global rights management and its effective use of content, which differentiates it from any other type of service, in that, Thales will broadcast only the valuable events from various content providers to the aircraft and record the programs for on-demand playback. This solution eliminates irrelevant programming and makes the most efficient use of the aircraft bandwidth. Traditional TV streaming services simply pipe content directly from TV networks, prohibiting any control over what is broadcast. The Thales solution is a significant step forward as it allows airlines to stream relevant content that effectively targets their customers, giving passengers more choice and control over their television experience.

Thales also introduced their near field communications (NFC) for payment transactions using its systems. Through the remote module developed for the AVANT system, airlines will now be able to configure their IFE to accept this growing “Tap and Go” technology to allow passengers to make instant payments for all on-board transactions. Regardless of the airline’s business model, ancillary revenue generation streams are becoming ever more important and NFC technology will facilitate payment transactions, improving the passenger experience and increasing airlines’ revenue streams. Another another new technology is an enhanced digital magazine experience, the result of a partnership with Zinio, the world’s largest digital newsstand, boasting over 6,000 titles in 33 languages. With the use of Zinio’s Android inflight application for digital magazines, available through the Thales App portal, passengers will be able to access an unrivalled choice of content ranging from the world’s biggest brands to niche specialist titles. Interests and topics covered include news, politics, technology, art, style, travel and more. Thales also offers a solution which provides an enhanced passenger experience while simultaneously opens up avenues of exciting new revenue generation to airlines, due to attractive licensing and sponsorship models, as well as potential new business relationships with publishing houses and advertisers.

The company continues to evolve its AVANT platform to ensure its continued technological superiority amongst all other in-flight entertainment systems. On the opening day of the Aircraft Interiors International show in Hamburg, Thales announced several new technology evolutions that will be made available on AVANT. These underpin the success of the modular design of the system and highlight the proven track record of the most advanced in-flight entertainment system on the market. First and foremost, the cornerstone of the passenger interface, the AVANT screen, will now be larger, with 10-22” HD in-seat displays for the economy cabin and up to a 24” and 32” Ultra HD for premium cabins. These new screens will bring passengers a vivid and cinematic picture quality, no different than what they can expect from the best home-entertainment systems. Airlines will incur a significant benefit from a 35% reduction in weight and 20% reduction in power per screen. Equipped with the latest generation quad-core processors, USB 3.0 for PED charging, the displays will be faster and will able to have a greater local storage capacity than 512GB units.

Additionally, Thales announced the long awaited next-generation Touch Passenger Media Unit (PMU) controller. With a 70% larger 5” multi-touchscreen, this evolution of the award-winning Android-based TPMU is equipped with haptic feedback, letting the user register their commands. It represents a game-changing user interface that lets the passenger interact with the seatback display in a unique manner. A revolutionary point-in-air motion sensor lets the user navigate the content simply by pointing the TPMU at screen. This allows the passenger to both navigate the content through the TPMU while keeping the trademark second screen experience. (Editor’s Note: We couldn’t do this Thales report with out the help of Mike Moeller and Giaime Porcu – Mike for his time in explaining the new InFlyt concept and Giaime for his excellent daily Thales write-ups – perhaps other vendors will consider this solution for reporters!)

Noted Giaime Porcu, Thales Communication: “From a market perspective the IFEC world faces three key challenges as we all know, 1) A growing global fleet and the growing demand for IFEC systems on single aisle and shorter routes, 2) A more tech minded passenger requiring higher levels of technology interaction at all times, and 3) Intense competitive pressure for airlines to differentiate their brand and foster brand loyalty.” He went on: “Thales estimates that by 2025 70% of the global fleet will be equipped with in-cabin connectivity. Already, all RFPs in the market for the past 2 years have included a form of connectivity. We also know that the market is reaching a level of maturity that is driving down costs which is opening up new segmenting opportunities in areas like low cost, single aisle and shorter routes. All this lead to our strategic decision to change the paradigm of our offer. As Dominique GIannoni mentioned in his press conference: 1) Our strategic vision is to become the Number 1 provider of IFEC solutions in the world, 2) Passengers want an immersive, personalised, and connected experience, and 3) Airlines no longer accept IFE to be a static cost centre, they want a positive branding and marketing tool to drive customer retention and direct monetization . The result is simple, with the integration of Thales IFEC and LiveTV we were able to bridge the gap on all these market needs and are the only ones in a real position to do so.”

(Editor’s Note: Here is an important piece about the “new” Thales reshaping (and rebranding) of the inflight experience – it is called InFlyt. Check it out.)


KYMETA

The microwave antenna world is in for a radical change and the folks from Kymeta are using metamaterials to make it happen! First, a Wikipedia definition: Metamaterials are materials engineered to have properties that have not yet been found in nature. They are made from assemblies of multiple elements fashioned from conventional materials such as metals or plastics. The materials are usually arranged in repeating patterns, often at microscopic or smaller scales that are smaller than the wavelengths of the phenomena they influence. Metamaterials derive their properties not from the properties of the base materials, but from their designed structure. Their precise shape, geometry, size, orientation and arrangement gives them their properties.

Appropriately designed metamaterials can affect waves of electromagnetic radiation or sound in a manner not observed in bulk materials.[3][4][5] Those that exhibit a negative index of refraction for particular wavelengths have attracted significant research.[6][7][8] These materials are known as negative index metamaterials.”

And, thus we have an update of a IFExpress Exclusive story we ran in the summer of 2013. Kymeta, if you remember at the time, was the solid-state antenna company who didn’t want to say much about the technology as it was in the Ku Band, pre-development stage but from the looks of the unit shown at AIX, they are really up a couple of generations with a virtually flat device, a couple of inches thick.

If metamaterials are not your thing, here is a definition of the application from the Kymeta website: “Broadly defined, electromagnetic metamaterials result from arranging naturally occurring materials in such a way that they produce an electromagnetic response not found in nature. On the mTenna suite of products, tunable elements are arranged in a precisely calculated pattern. Radiofrequency (RF) energy is scattered when the elements are activated, holographically generating a beam. The direction of the beam is defined by the specific elements that are electronically activated—a design that allows for both continual and instantaneous changes in direction.” Look at the antenna like this – between two layers of special glass, metamaterials are deposited much like a printed circuit. The materials, “circuit” design, material used, and the activation elements develop a clean antenna waveform that, in many cases, can “see” beyond 180 degrees, with no moving parts – a star performer on the equator. We also understand that by 2016 they will have a conformal aviation antenna ready to go. Check out the picture we took at AIX with one of their engineers, Kenny Kirchoff (no kidding), and be sure to visit their website! (Editor’s Note: We should mention that clever Honeywell is the first partner we know for the Kymeta aviation product, but Boeing and Airbus will be in the loop because you just can’t pass up an external antenna a few inches thick.)


Rockwell Collins

A couple weeks prior to the show, Rockwell Collins announced the choice of Craig Elliot as VicePresident, Airline Cabin Sales and Marketing, for the company as follows: “Rockwell Collins today announced that Craig Elliott has been named vice president, Airline Cabin Sales and Marketing. Craig brings strong industry knowledge and customer focus to his new role along with extensive business relationships that he has built through his 20 years working in a variety of positions at Rockwell Collins,” said Scott Gunnufson, vice president and general manager, Commercial Sales, Marketing and Support at Rockwell Collins. “Most recently, Elliott served as senior director of Airline Sales at Rockwell Collins, working with airlines throughout the world to equip their fleets with the latest avionics and IFE systems. In his new role, Elliott will lead a sales and marketing team focused on the Rockwell Collins’ full suite of cabin solutions for air transport aircraft. This includes a number of systems and applications, including PAVES™ On-demand, PAVES™ Broadcast, PAVES™ Wireless, ARINC Cabin Connect, Airshow® 3D Moving Map and air-to-ground high-speed connectivity. Elliott holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa.” So much for the news release… now, we have an opinion too – Craig is one of the smartest and nicest folks we have ever worked with in aviation! Our past experience is proof. He will be great with customers and the company engineers alike and we wish him the best. He told IFExpress; Rockwell Collins won the #1 Supplier Supplier Award from Airbus as a Cabin Solution Provider. It revolved around the airlines giving their inputs regarding supplier products (Rockwell and their competitors) and out team won, even when we were up against other cabin suppliers, seats providers, galley hardware manufacturers and the like…we were number one, and we couldn’t be more pleased.”  This points out why Craig Elliot will succeed… he is upbeat, positive, and a good role model for sales and marketing teams – her gets everyone involved. And, lest we forget, Rockwell (and ARINC) have some very interesting products on the cusp of announcement, but alas, that is all we can say for now!


IFExpress had a reason to contact Richie Sugimoto over at ACS and he told IFExpress: “We just delivered 42” HD LCD monitors that comply with DO-160G, Section 16, Current Harmonics (Variable Frequency Power) which directly applies to the A380, A350 and B787. Our brand new 65” HD LCD monitor will also meet these standards by the end of this year.”


The Airline Retail Conference (ARC) is coming up on 2nd & 3rd June at London Olympia it is the leading networking platform for airline buyers and suppliers in the fields of airline retail and ancillary revenue. The event also explores the impact and implications of the ‘Always-Connected-Passenger’ To give you a little more information, please see the link here which contains all the information for the up and coming event.


We are still trying to get our hands around this past month’s  Gogo announcement – “Interest in In-Flight Connectivity Higher for Passengers Outside the U.S., According to Recent Gogo Global Study on In-Flight Connectivity.” You can find the report here. Here is what Gogo said: “(Gogo) recently conducted a global study on traveler interest in in-flight connectivity and connectivity related products and services.  The study revealed that interest in these products and services is significantly higher outside the U.S. despite the fact that fewer connected aircraft are operating internationally as compared to within the U.S.” And, we thought, US travelers had more connected, carry-on devices? What gives? We would like to hear from you on why.

  • ViaSat Yonder High-Speed Internet Service Enables the Fastest, Global, Satellite-Based Business Jet Cabin Connectivity Available Today

Geneva | May 19, 2015– ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), an innovator in broadband and communication technologies and services, today announced it has been selected by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation as the sole source Ku-band equipment supplier to outfit Gulfstream’s large cabin business jets with ViaSat Yonder® high-speed internet service. The ViaSat equipment is available on Gulfstream’s existing large cabin aircraft (G450, G550, G650) and new aircraft (G500, G600) either as a factory option, or as an aftermarket install.

The new agreement builds on a previous third-party relationship, where ViaSat has provided global Ku-band in-flight connectivity hardware to Gulfstream and hundreds of its customers for nearly 10 years. With today’s announcement, ViaSat will now directly provide the ViaSat Mobile Terminal 1500, which includes a Ku-band antenna, modem and antenna control unit, to enable the Yonder service on an extended line of Gulfstream large cabin aircraft. Service remains available through ViaSat’s service providers.

“Gulfstream is recognized as providing an exceptional in-flight passenger experience, which includes ensuring best-in-class internet service provided by ViaSat,” said Ken Peterman, senior vice president and general manager, ViaSat. “We have the ability today to offer the fastest business jet in-cabin internet service with Yonder, and the foresight to meet tomorrow’s bandwidth demand with our Exede In The Air service to ensure Gulfstream business jet passengers can stay connected no matter where they fly.”

ViaSat Yonder business aviation service delivers an unmatched internet experience through its global Ku-band network, plus a path toward an enhanced online in-flight experience with its Exede® In The Air service. Already available to commercial passengers, the Exede In The Air service leverages ViaSat’s leadership in high-capacity Ka-band satellite technology and will ensure business aviation passengers receive a ‘best available network’ service when roaming across ViaSat’s Ka- and Ku-band satellite network. For more information on ViaSat’s high-speed internet service for business aviation, visit: www.ViaSat.com/general-aviation.

  • Phasor’s ultra thin, phased array antennas optimized for the Intelsat Epic NG® platform will enable high performing, cost efficient Ku-band broadband connectivity; offering service providers and aircraft operators catering to civil and government small-jet markets greater access, flexibility and choice for their broadband connectivity needs in the sky
    Washington DC | March 16, 2015– Building upon the company’s recent investments in innovative antenna technology and platforms, Intelsat S.A. (NYSE:I), the world’s leading provider of satellite services, announced today that it signed an agreement to co-design and produce an ultra-thin, active phased array, Ku-band satellite antenna solution with Phasor Inc., a leading developer of high throughput, modular, electronically steerable antennas (ESAs).

The innovative Ku-band antennas will be developed exclusively for Intelsat and optimized for the Intelsat EpicNG high throughput satellite (HTS) platform, the first satellite of which is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2016. This also marks the first cost-effective fuselage-mount Ku-band antenna suitable for installation on civil and government small-jets, which represent an underserved segment of the fast-growing aviation broadband market.

According to recent research reports, the civil and government small-jet markets are expected to experience significant growth, particularly in the developing markets around the world. EuroConsult reports: “The number of business jets is expected to grow from 18,400 in 2013 to 26,200 in 2023.” Seventy-five percent of civil small-jet passengers are high-level corporate executives who consider these aircraft “offices in the sky” with a need for broadband service that is as important in the air as it is in the workplace on the ground. When used in conjunction with Intelsat EpicNG Ku-band satellites, the Phasor antenna technology is expected to enable broadband speeds to small-jets of over 15Mbit/s to the aircraft and 5 Mbit/s from the aircraft.

Stephen Spengler, Intelsat’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, said, “The high power of the Intelsat EpicNG platform combined with Phasor’s innovative antenna technology will unlock new market opportunities for both companies in the aviation sector. Today’s business and leisure travelers are demanding broadband connectivity in-flight in order to maximize their time and productivity so that they can keep up in today’s fast moving environment. Together, Intelsat and Phasor will provide service providers and aircraft manufacturers with more flexibility and choice as we help deliver high-speed broadband connectivity to passengers and aircraft operations that is efficient and highly reliable.”

Phasor’s ultra-thin, fuselage-mount active array antenna is expected to deliver significantly higher broadband speeds to civil and government small-jets via Intelsat EpicNG Ku-band satellites. The antenna’s small size and low profile allows for easy integration onto small-jet aircraft’s structure. Being fully electronic, the antenna will be able to seamlessly and reliably steer to beams on Intelsat’s global Ku-band satellite fleet. The unique size and scalability of the Phasor antenna will allow service providers and aircraft operators to create a very high gain antenna array and RF performance resulting in dramatically higher speed broadband connectivity and greater geographical coverage at a much lower installation and operating cost.

David Helfgott, CEO of Phasor, commented, “We are very pleased to partner with Intelsat and bring to the Small-Jet Aviation Marketplace a unique solution designed to meet the ever-growing demands for mobile broadband service. Combined with Intelsat’s innovative EpicNG satellite constellation, these markets for the first time will experience high bandwidth services enabled by a truly revolutionary antenna solution.”

  • Phasor’s ultra thin, phased array antennas optimized for the Intelsat EpicNG® platform will enable high performing, cost efficient Ku-band broadband connectivity; offering service providers and aircraft operators catering to civil and government small-jet markets greater access, flexibility and choice for their broadband connectivity needs in the sky


Luxembourg and Washington DC | March 16, 2015–
Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), the world’s leading provider of satellite services, today announced the completion of a series of tests demonstrating the compatibility of the Intelsat EpicNG digital payload with existing ground equipment platforms. The digital payload is one of many unique design features on the company’s Intelsat EpicNG satellites, the first of which, Intelsat 29e, is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2016.

Building upon the company’s recent investments in innovative antenna technology and platforms, Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), the world’s leading provider of satellite services, announced today that it signed an agreement to co-design and produce an ultra-thin, active phased array, Ku-band satellite antenna solution with Phasor Inc., a leading developer of high throughput, modular, electronically steerable antennas (ESAs).

The innovative Ku-band antennas will be developed exclusively for Intelsat and optimized for the Intelsat EpicNG high throughput satellite (HTS) platform, the first satellite of which is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2016. This also marks the first cost-effective fuselage-mount Ku-band antenna suitable for installation on civil and government small-jets, which represent an underserved segment of the fast-growing aviation broadband market.

According to recent research reports, the civil and government small-jet markets are expected to experience significant growth, particularly in the developing markets around the world. EuroConsult reports: “The number of business jets is expected to grow from 18,400 in 2013 to 26,200 in 2023.” Seventy-five percent of civil small-jet passengers are high-level corporate executives who consider these aircraft “offices in the sky” with a need for broadband service that is as important in the air as it is in the workplace on the ground. When used in conjunction with Intelsat EpicNG Ku-band satellites, the Phasor antenna technology is expected to enable broadband speeds to small-jets of over 15Mbit/s to the aircraft and 5 Mbit/s from the aircraft.

Stephen Spengler, Intelsat’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, said, “The high power of the Intelsat EpicNG platform combined with Phasor’s innovative antenna technology will unlock new market opportunities for both companies in the aviation sector. Today’s business and leisure travelers are demanding broadband connectivity in-flight in order to maximize their time and productivity so that they can keep up in today’s fast moving environment. Together, Intelsat and Phasor will provide service providers and aircraft manufacturers with more flexibility and choice as we help deliver high-speed broadband connectivity to passengers and aircraft operations that is efficient and highly reliable.”

Phasor’s ultra-thin, fuselage-mount active array antenna is expected to deliver significantly higher broadband speeds to civil and government small-jets via Intelsat EpicNG Ku-band satellites. The antenna’s small size and low profile allows for easy integration onto small-jet aircraft’s structure. Being fully electronic, the antenna will be able to seamlessly and reliably steer to beams on Intelsat’s global Ku-band satellite fleet. The unique size and scalability of the Phasor antenna will allow service providers and aircraft operators to create a very high gain antenna array and RF performance resulting in dramatically higher speed broadband connectivity and greater geographical coverage at a much lower installation and operating cost.

  • GEE’s Ku-band Connectivity System Successfully Broadcast Live Television Inflight for the Xinhua News Agency Onboard Air China’s 777 Aircraft

Los Angeles, CA | March 10, 2015– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq:ENT) (“GEE”), a worldwide leading provider of content, connectivity and digital media solutions to airlines, today announced that it successfully partnered with Air China using GEE’s Ku-band connectivity system for Xinhua News Agency’s ground-breaking inflight newscast.

The Xinhua News Agency broadcast live television between the National People Congress / Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conferences (NPC/CPPCC) and Air China’s inflight connectivity-equipped Boeing 777 aircraft. The satellite connection successfully managed the transmission on the ground and in the air, including a live television crew that was filming onboard the aircraft.

In addition to watching the live broadcast of the NPC/CPPCC Conferences, passengers were able to use the inflight connectivity solution to browse the internet, chat, shop and stream movies and television shows while inflight. Through this and other successful installations, GEE’s connectivity system is transforming the way passengers use in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFE&C) across the globe.

“This is an historic event for both Air China and inflight connectivity in the region,” commented Walé Adepoju, Chief Commercial Officer of GEE. “We’re thrilled to have supported China’s national carrier and China’s national news agency with our broadband connectivity system to enable the live broadcast of the NPC/CPPCC Conferences. This flight highlights the power and breadth of GEE’s connectivity system and we’re excited to continue working closely with Air China on its IFE&C solution.”

  • AS9100 Certification is an Important Step for Manufacturer Line-fit Programs

Itasca, IL | February 12, 2015– Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), a leading global aero communications service provider, announced today that its commercial aviation operation has earned AS9100 aerospace quality certification. AS9100 is the internationally recognized Quality Management System standard for the aviation, space and defense industries.

The certification satisfies a major requirement that must be satisfied in order for Gogo’s technologies to become a line fit option with aircraft manufacturers. Gogo has held this certification for its business aviation operation for several years.

“Obtaining the AS9100 certification reflects Gogo’s continued commitment to meeting the increasingly stringent industry quality requirements, and affirms our dedication to total quality and regulatory compliance,” said Arbela Takhsh, Gogo’s senior vice president of quality. “The addition of AS9100 certification for our commercial aviation business complements our existing quality management system and industry accreditations, and reflects our commitment to continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.”

Gogo is targeting to have line-fit evaluations for Boeing aircraft completed for its In-cabin network, Gogo Vision and Ku-band satellite solution in 2015 and for its Ka-band satellite solution in 2016. In addition, Gogo currently has an agreement in place with Boeing for line-fit provisions for its ATG-4 technologies on 737NG aircraft. The provisioning will allow airlines to make some modifications needed on new aircraft to improve the installation process for the ATG-4 service after an airline takes delivery. The provisioning is an important step toward achieving full line-fit capabilities.

Gogo also currently has line-fit capabilities on Bombardier for commercial aviation and is a factory option at every major business aircraft manufacturer, including Bombardier, Dassault Falcon Jet, Embraer, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., and Textron Aviation.

Los Angeles, CA & Holzgerlingen, Germany | February 5, 2015– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (GEE), (Nasdaq: ENT), a worldwide leading provider of content, connectivity and digital media solutions to airlines, today announced that it is jointly designing a new inflight connectivity antenna with QEST Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH, a leading developer of high performance antenna systems. The new global antenna will provide airlines with a high speed inflight connectivity solution that operates reliably at all latitudes, including equatorial regions, where Ku and/or Ku High Throughput Satellite (Ku HTS) coverage is available.

The global GEE-QEST antenna, with availability scheduled for mid-2016, will be optimized for use with upcoming Ku-band HTS systems, offering airlines a breakthrough mix of reliability, high connection speeds and global coverage. The antenna will also be fully compatible with existing Ku-band satellite systems. The global Ku-band antenna will utilize a revolutionary steerable pointing system to optimize coverage anywhere a commercial aircraft flies. The antenna will be compatible with GEE’s current installation architecture and Supplemental Type Certificates (STC), and is also intended to meet the requirements for future line fit installations.

The new antenna represents an expansion of GEE’s antenna portfolio. The current commercially available Ku-band antenna from GEE is the inflight connectivity market’s most popular system today. It incorporates key radio frequency components from QEST and will continue to be supported in the future.

“We’re excited to announce this development program with QEST for our next generation global Ku antenna,” explained Aditya Chatterjee, Senior Vice President of Connectivity Systems and Chief Technology Officer at GEE. “The new antenna extends our technology leadership in inflight connectivity to meet and exceed the growing demands of our worldwide airline customers. Through our joint development with QEST, we will provide airlines with the most advanced, high-speed connectivity technology and service in all latitudes where Ku and Ku HTS are available.”“We’re delighted to work closely with GEE to develop and deploy their new global inflight connectivity antenna,” added Dr. Jörg Oppenländer, CTO at QEST. “With our design expertise in high performance antenna systems, we will provide GEE and its customers with a technology solution that provides global coverage, takes full advantage of the high speed performance capabilities of upcoming Ku HTS satellite systems and is fully compatible with the current generation of satellites.”

More details on the new Global Ku Antenna system will be provided at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany on April 14 – 16th, 2015.