Gogo Conducts First Successful Test Flight on its Next Generation ATG Network

Gogo, the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced it has conducted its first successful test flight and has begun the nationwide rollout of its new regional Air-to-Ground (ATG) inflight network.

The next generation ATG network combined with Gogo’s proprietary aero antenna, in-cabin network and software platform will bring up to 30 times more bandwidth to an aircraft than our original ATG solution.  Once the network upgrades are complete, Gogo will have a North American ATG solution that will deliver performance on the aircraft that is comparable to Gogo’s 2Ku global satellite solution.

Gogo’s next generation ATG network will have peak network capacity of more than 100 Gbps.  When combined with Gogo’s global satellite network, Gogo will have the highest capacity network ever built that’s dedicated to serving aviation.

“Our networks and inflight connectivity solutions are dedicated to serving aviation and today we are delivering more bandwidth to deliver a better passenger experience and support our aviation partners’ operations,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO.

Our next generation ATG network utilizes unlicensed spectrum in the 2.4GHz spectrum band as well as the licensed spectrum from Gogo’s original ATG network to provide greater bandwidth and reliability.  It also leverages Gogo’s existing ATG network backhaul and infrastructure of more than 250 cell towers.  On the aircraft, Gogo has developed a proprietary new antenna and modem that will produce peak speeds of more than 100 Mbps per aircraft.

The solution will be ideal for business aviation aircraft, commercial regional jets and select mainline aircraft operating in the U.S. For business aviation aircraft, this service will be available as an upgrade to aircraft already equipped with Gogo’s Avance L5 connectivity solution.  For commercial aviation, any aircraft outfitted with equipment designed to leverage Gogo’s first generation ATG network will simply need to be outfitted with a new modem and blade antenna to take advantage of the new service.  The network will be available in 2018.


Panasonic News from APEX:

During APEX in September Panasonic (PAC) announced a multi aircraft deal with Interjet for IFEC; a partnership with Tascent to co-develop biometric solutions in airports and on planes; a 15-channel TV lineup for US routes; and a new Vice President of Operations: Adri Ruiter. On top of these announcements the company for the first time ever, announced a review/forecast of their financial performance for 2017: $2.5 billion. They stated that they have over three years of backlog and that their business is healthy and tracking in line with the IFEC industry in general. David Bruner during the press briefing stated that since the April 2017 AIX press review they have  achieved the following:  IFE – 626 (397 linefit); IFC – 185 (85 linefit); PTS – 50+ active customers with 65% on a total care package. David Bruner continued by saying that eX3 and eX1 represent 60% of their total IFE sales, and that roughly 70+% of connected aircraft are forecast to include television. “The number of linefit aircraft is important,” said David Bruner. “Panasonic is on every single aircraft program, on every OEM.” Panasonic’s objective is to build a long term sustainable business, and linefit is of paramount importance to this goal.  They have a focus on the IFC market space and firmly believe that, at the time of the presentation, they are the only IFEC company with global regulatory approval. In conjunction with their global business scale, a commitment to growing their order book, and a focus on symbiotic relationships that are beneficial to both the airline and PAC, Panasonic states that they are in a position to, not only sustain, but grow their business.  They also presented their industry fleet forecast through 2025 and they are predicting: 11,218 narrow body aircraft from Boeing and Airbus; 2,959 wide bodies from Boeing and Airbus, and 2,154  from Bombardier and Embraer. Interestingly, PAC is forecasting that by 2023 90% of all wide bodies will be equipped withh IFC; as will 65% of narrow bodies. They also stated that PAC anticipates 10,000 aircraft to be committed to Panasonic by 2025! Why so confident? Perhaps a good portion of their confidence comes from their plans and dedication to network upgrades, as well as, the flexible/scale-able approach of the nEXT IFEC system. “There will always be a frequency shortage and we will be adaptive,” said Bruner. The company is growing their capacity to 8Ghz in 2018, with availability on 99.8% of airline routes. They are deploying XTS to meet airline needs and growth; as well as, rolling out new modem technology to dramatically improve performance. The new modem will be rolled out in North America in 2017, featuring 3 teleports, 4 satellites, and 12 transponders. Globally, the target roll out date is January 1, 2018 with 12 teleports and 16 satellites. PAC will be adding a large amount of High Throughput Satellites in March/April of 2018 – both over the Pacific and North America.  These factors, in conjunction with their dedication to improve their network and support infrastructure may well keep Panasonic in the cat-bird seat moving forward.


Astronics Acquires Telefonix Inc.

Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace and defense industries, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Telefonix Inc. and a related company, Product Development Technologies, LLC, (together as “Telefonix PDT”) for approximately $104 million in cash, funded with Astronics’ senior revolving credit facility. The acquisition is expected to close by year end, and is subject to typical closing conditions, including a review under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

Telefonix PDT, located in Waukegan and Lake Zurich, Illinois, designs and manufactures advanced in-flight entertainment and connectivity equipment, as well as providing industry leading design consultancy services for the global aerospace industry. The company’s products include wireless access points, file servers, content loaders, passenger control units and cord reels, as well as engineering services for its customers.


Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom demonstrate European Aviation Network satellite and ground integration in flight 

 Inmarsat, the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, and Deutsche Telekom, the leading integrated telecommunications company, have successfully completed the first flight trials to test both the satellite and complementary ground network for their European Aviation Network (EAN) service.

EAN is the world’s first dedicated aviation solution to combine space and ground based components to deliver robust, ultra-lightweight, high-speed inflight broadband to airlines. The recent flights demonstrated that EAN meets its design performance in practice; a significant milestone for the project consortium, as well as European airlines and their passengers.

Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom conducted the evaluation with partners Cobham, Thales and Nokia using a CESSNA 550 Citation II provided by Dutch company NLR. The aircraft was flown across Germany, Belgium, France and Spain, covering approximately 5,000 km of European airspace, to test integration of the Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) and Complementary Ground Component (CGC) terminals. Further flight trials are scheduled over the coming weeks.

Inmarsat’s EAN satellite, which completed its in-orbit tests last month after being launched by Arianespace, works seamlessly with a complementary network of around 300 LTE-based ground stations, operated by Deutsche Telekom, using an Advanced Integrated Services Manager (AISM) platform. International Airlines Group (IAG), which includes world-renowned airline brands such as British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, is the launch customer for the new service.


First A320neo assembled in Tianjin delivered to Air Asia

AirAsia has taken delivery of the first A320neo assembled at the Airbus Final Assembly Line Asia (FALA) at a dedicated ceremony in Tianjin, China. The aircraft, powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines, seats comfortably 186 passengers and is equipped with the innovative Space-Flex cabin.

AirAsia is the largest airline customer of the A320 Family with orders for 578 aircraft. These include 404 A320neo Family aircraft.

Aireen Omar, AirAsia Berhad Chief Executive Officer said: “We are very proud to receive the first Airbus A320neo fully assembled in Tianjin, China and we would like to congratulate Airbus for achieving yet another milestone. This is also a milestone for us at AirAsia; we connect 19 cities with 59 routes into Greater China and have flown over 40 million passengers in and out of China since April 2005, making us China’s largest foreign airline by capacity. We are certainly proud to have this historic aircraft as part of our fleet. “

The FALA in Tianjin, inaugurated in 2008 became the third single-aisle aircraft final assembly line location of Airbus worldwide, following Toulouse and Hamburg. It was also the first Airbus Final Assembly Line outside Europe. Today, some 340 aircraft have been assembled and delivered from Tianjin, China.

The A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver at least 15 percent fuel savings at delivery and 20 percent by 2020. With more than 5,200 orders received from 95 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent share of the market.


Boeing Reports Third-Quarter Results; Raises Cash Flow and EPS Guidance

  • Revenue of $24.3 billion, including a record 202 commercial aircraft deliveries
  • GAAP EPS of $3.06 and core EPS (non-GAAP)* of $2.72 on solid execution
  • Strong operating cash flow of $3.4 billion; repurchased 11 million shares for $2.5 billion
  • Backlog remains robust at $474 billion, including nearly 5,700 aircraft in commercial airplane orders
  • Cash flow and EPS guidance raised; segment guidance updated

Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines celebrated the delivery of the carrier’s first Boeing 787-9. Ethiopian is leasing the Dreamliner through an agreement with AerCap.

Ethiopian’s newest 787 touched down in Addis Ababa following a non-stop 8,354 mile (13,444 km) delivery flight from Boeing’s Everett, Wash., facility. Ethiopian becomes the first carrier in Africa to operate the 787-9 and extends a tradition of setting aviation milestones. Ethiopian became Africa’s first carrier to fly the 787-8 in 2012, and similarly introduced the 777-200LR (Longer Ran


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Advanced global, high-speed inflight broadband service for business jets is now offered by Bombardier, Dassault, Embraer and Gulfstream to customers worldwide

United Kingdom | May 22, 2017– Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, today announced a significant milestone for its Jet ConneX inflight broadband service, with four of the business aviation industry’s major private jet manufacturers now offering the next-generation solution to customers as a linefit option.

Inmarsat achieved the power of four with the confirmation that Jet ConneX is now available as linefit on Dassault Falcon business jets and will also be linefit on Embraer Lineage 1000E executive jets from early 2018. Jet ConneX is already the preferred linefit option on Gulfstream and Bombardier aircraft. All four companies are connecting their aircraft to the Jet ConneX service using exclusive JetWave hardware produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell.

Jet ConneX is the only global, high-speed Wi-Fi option available for business jets today. It offers the same fast and reliable connectivity in the air that has previously only been available on the ground. Using Inmarsat’s advanced Ka-band satellite network, Jet ConneX offers data plans up to 15Mbps and consistent global coverage across 100 percent of major airline routes, providing a differentiator to do business wherever and whenever.

Inmarsat designs, owns and operates its own satellite capacity, ensuring that high quality capacity is added ahead of demand; most recently through the launch of its fourth Ka-band satellite with SpaceX last week.

Kurt Weidemeyer, Inmarsat’s Vice President of Business and General Aviation, said: “Inmarsat continues to see overwhelming demand for Jet ConneX, reinforcing our status as the number one connectivity provider to business aviation customers worldwide. We couldn’t be prouder to confirm Dassault and Embraer alongside Gulfstream and Bombardier as the latest of the big four private jet manufacturers to start linefit of Jet ConneX.”

He continued: “Inmarsat has long led the way in connectivity for business jets. SwiftBroadband was the best in class when it was launched and Jet ConneX is a stellar upgrade. Reaching this milestone is testament to our strategy of listening and responding to what business aviation customers want. It’s also a great endorsement in our service from manufacturers. We look forward to continuing to build on this strategy and success in the coming months and years.”

Warren Nechtman, Vice President of Connectivity Equipment, Honeywell Aerospace, said: “Business jet operators expect to have the same experience with in-flight Wi-Fi as they do at home or in the office and that is why four business jet manufacturers have selected JetWave and Jet ConneX for their customers. Together, Honeywell and Inmarsat are improving productivity, entertainment and comfort for business aviation with truly global, high-speed connectivity.”

APEX EXPO, Portland, Oregon | September 29, 2015– Zodiac Inflight Innovations’ RAVE™ Centric IFE, linefit option was delivered for the first time on an Airbus A330 aircraft in September 2015. Several airlines have already specified the system. In addition, it is currently being assessed as a linefit option on the A320 family.

RAVE™ Centric IFE is flying on over 200 aircraft on airlines in every major region around the world. “Clearly its great news that Airbus is supporting our innovative approach to IFE by making RAVE linefit offerable,” said Larry Girard, Executive Vice President at Zodiac Inflight Innovations. “But what’s more important is that airlines now have a lighter and less costly alternative to traditional IFE. We have taken a fresh approach to the design of embedded IFE that takes advantage of the latest mobile and display technologies; and besides passengers – love it.

“The fact that so many airlines have already ordered RAVE™ Centric IFE for their brand new aircraft shows just how much they like the product, and our approach.” RAVE™ Centric IFE is an embedded modular inflight entertainment system. It provides airlines with a wide range of choices for different cabins including wireless 2nd screen, display size, customizable peripherals, integrated USB charging and all of the latest features including harmonization with airline mobile applications. What makes RAVE unique is the seat centric architecture where each seat is independent, so a failure in one seat will not impact another. More importantly, the patented dockable seat display means the crew can quickly replace a failed seat display during the flight.

“RAVE provides a premium IFE experience without the premium price,” continued Girard. “RAVE™ Centric IFE provides passengers with app-based browsing for on-demand movies, TV shows, music, radio, moving map and many more features too numerous to list. Our stated goal is in our name, RAVE: Reliable, Affordable and Very Easy. At Zodiac Inflight Innovations we strive to produce products that make our customers and their passengers smile, and now that RAVE™ is a catalogue option on Airbus aircraft, we fully anticipate more and more airlines will be joining our RAVE family.” concluded Girard.

RAVE™ Centric IFE’s lightweight design and low power requirements greatly reduce airlines’ fuel costs, allowing Zodiac Inflight Innovations to maintain a price tag that all airlines can celebrate.

First, you might want to read the announcement from Lumexis about their successful line-fit approval for Boeing single-aisle aircraft here.

Next, this is a big deal in the inflight entertainment business and it has been at least 15 years since we noted anything this important in IFEC! While Lumexis has completed some 70+ Boeing on-site retrofits for 5 airlines, this announcement will make the installation a bit faster and, we note, Boeing offerability speaks for itself. Most important though, airlines can order planes to be delivered with their choice of IFE. To get a better feeling for the internal impact of this announcement we asked a few employees at Lumexis about the deal. First, here is what Jon Norris (Lumexis Vice President Sales) told IFExpress:

IFExpress: Can you tell us a little about the process of becoming Boeing Approved for your Lumexis System, things like Boeing Requirements, installation requirements, where the installations will occur, what condition you folks will receive the planes in, and how long the process will take (roughly)?

Norris: Lumexis has been working closely with Boeing to keep them updated on the FTTS IFE system and our successful post-delivery modification programs on B737s since installations started back in 2010. Following the signing of a Technical Service Agreement Lumexis has worked with Boeing’s Cabin Systems Technology Center to agree and define system and installation requirements as well as evaluate the FTTS technology for compliance with FAA and Boeing regulations. The FTTS installation will be completed as part of the regular linefit flowline production process at the 737 production line in Renton, WA.

IFExpress: We have visited a couple of B737 installations in Everett, WA, and we assume the installation process will differ from that of a retrofit installation – can you describe in some detail the difference?

Norris: Boeing installations will be very similar to the retrofit installation, e.g., an additional shelf will be installed on the E8 rack in the electronics bay for the FTTS servers, 28 VDC power supply units will be installed in the sidewalls (each power supply drives 15 seat displays), fiber cables are run from the servers up to and behind the ceiling panels and then overhead along the cabin and dropped down to sidewall disconnects. As per the retrofit installation FTTS VDUs are installed by the seat manufacturer and are supplied to Renton pre-installed in the seats.

IFExpress: Please tell our readers what airlines have said about the Boeing approval and why do you think it will be a game changer?

Norris: We have had a very positive response from airlines since Boeing linefit offerability was announced which has led to a considerable number of invitations to bid on current and future 737 Next-Generation and MAX IFE RFPs. Achieving linefit on both the 737 NG and MAX is a significant step forward for Lumexis as it gives us access to a market of more than 500 new Boeing 737 aircraft a year at current production rates (with those build rates increasing year-on-year). In addition it reinforces our position as one of the major IFE system suppliers and increases our standing and credibility within the retrofit market as well as with other airframers.

IFExpress: Could we get a few team quotes from your people/management?

“Boeing qualification and approval of the IFE boxes (LRUs) differs from FAA STC retrofit approval, since Boeing is concerned about proper functional operation as well as all safety aspects of the boxes on their aircraft, so the demonstration of functionality and safety qualification for line-fit is extensive,” said Rich Salter Lumexis Chief Technical Officer.

“The Lumexis team is delighted with the significant achievement of having gained Boeing’s confidence in our company’s leading edge FTTS system and team,” said Doug Cline, Lumexis Chief Executive Officer.

Lumexis President and Chief Operating Officer Lou Sharkey adds, “This will make Lumexis the first new IFE company to be approved by Boeing in many years. We are immeasurably pleased and appreciative of this recognition.”

“The FTTS system is a revolutionary high-bandwidth AVOD passenger entertainment, communication and retail platform having the lowest cost of ownership over the life of the system. FTTS is easily upgraded in capacity and functionality at unprecedentedly low cost to maintain ongoing ‘leading edge’ performance and is applicable to every aircraft type in an airline’s fleet.”

IFExpress: Could you tell our readers about the time and effort that went into this effort?

Norris: Considerable airline interest is required before Boeing will consider entering a Technical Service Agreement (TSA) with a new IFE supplier. We are fortunate to have secured a couple of customers (flydubai and Lion Air) who between them have more than 350 737s on order.

IFExpress: Lastly, what will the benefit be to airlines and customers?

Norris: FTTS is the perfect system to both entertain airline passengers (featuring dynamic language and Closed Caption selections from dozens of available languages) and to maximize ancillary revenue for services and products. Only FTTS is proven in-service to support full cabin streaming of HD video content to 500+ passengers simultaneously.

“Boeing has worked closely with Lumexis through the offerability process to evaluate the FTTS technology on Boeing 737 platforms,” said Mike Murphy, chief project engineer for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

For more information, please contact Jon Norris, VP Sales; (+1) 949 486 7011; jnorris@lumexis.com

There you have it, a new Boeing offerable IFE vendor, and, you can bet this will change the marketplace. IFExpress will be there to keep our readers up to date on this industry happening. Stay Tuned!


For those who eschew inflight telephony and use it outside the US, be advised that a relatively new, technology-based Utah company, Cypher may be on the trail of a software-based, background noise canceling technology for your phone. Basically, the technology isolates the speaker’s voice and eliminates the background totally. Cypher has partnered with CEVA,  for cellular platform IP and DSP licenses, that will help offer its technology to smartphones, tablets and the like. The combined solution adds Cypher’s voice-isolation software with the CEVA-TeakLite-4DSP for inclusion in devices. The Cypher product is not in any commercial devices today but is talking to chip-makers and OEM’s. What is amazing and potentially applicable to onboard aircraft use is the fact that Cypher’s patented voice isolation technology eliminates more than 99 percent of background noise and also improves user speech recognition and, as one report notes, “… it cuts the word error rate by 40 percent in noisy environments. Cypher showed as much as 17 times more background noise reduction than today’s most popular cell phones, according to the company. Overall, the results show a virtually complete elimination of background noise with accompanying improvement in audio quality.” Stay Tuned on this one…


Looking for a predictive app that lets you in on potential aircraft seat fares and will alert you to deals, and acts as a way to get you a seat deal? Look no further. Hopper is sort of an app-based travel agent. You can find it in Android and iOS here. We liked that the app looks at various carriers and helps you to make the booking.


PORTLAND PREVIEW

This update is booze related, so if you find yourself in Portland with the need for a gin & tonic, here is your chance to “do the West Coast Thing.” Look for Portland produced Aviation Gin for your G&T, and yes, we note it because it is named “Aviation.” The small batch product is reportedly made with interesting additives like sarsaparilla and lavender. Happy flying.

Irvine, California | May 12, 2015– Lumexis Corporation today announce that their Lumexis Fiber-To-The-Screen® (FTTS®) In-Flight Entertainment system has been made offerable for linefit on both the 737 NG and 737 MAX families of aircraft.

“The Lumexis team is delighted with the significant achievement of having gained Boeing’s confidence in our company’s leading edge FTTS system and team,” said Doug Cline, Lumexis Corporation Chief Executive Officer. “We are most appreciative of their supportive and collaborative offerability team, and we look forward to seeing the first FTTS system installed on the 737 production line in the very near future.”

“Lumexis has worked closely with Boeing through their Technical Services Agreement (TSA) process to develop and apply the FTTS technology on Boeing 737 platforms,” said Jon Norris, Lumexis Vice President Sales. “This is an offering which can be selected immediately by Boeing’s worldwide airline customers.”

Lumexis President and Chief Operating Officer Lou Sharkey adds, “After 5 years of numerous retrofit installations on both wide-body and narrow-body airframes, the Lumexis team is so proud to have achieved linefit offerable status on Boeing’s highest production 737 models.”