FlightPath3D

FlightPath3D announced that it won the ‘Preferred App’ award and was joint winner of the ‘Best Innovation’ award at Airbus’s First Online Hackathon. In addition to Airbus, several airlines judged and selected the award winners.

FlightPath3D President Duncan Jackson said, “We integrated duty-free merchandising, advertising, and the ability to buy with a payment solution into our map. 3rd party apps used our destination content, street maps, and flight tracker to augment their already highly- functional apps.”

Jackson adds, “Now more than ever, our industry needs to realize the potential of digital transformation. There is synergy in our app community, and we observed our map being integrated into more services, and more services using our API features than any other app.”

“From July 7th to 9th, Airbus organized the first Online Hackathon, designed to develop On Board Digital Solutions on an Airbus Open Software Platform to support better operations in a post-COVID world – part of their #KeepTrustInAirTravel initiative. I’m immensely proud of our team who worked round the clock to show what we could do.”, says FlightPath3D CEO Boris Veksler.

Veksler continues, “We leveraged our HTML/WebGL streaming 3D map and via our Open API platform integrated 3rd party content into our map, and vice versa provided map features into 3rd party apps. The innovation we achieved is linked to the openness of the Airbus platform, and to the eco-system of App developers that are compatible with the platform.”

Click on the link to learn more about their Map API Features


Airbus

Airbus is expanding its sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) operations, now including aircraft deliveries from its site in Hamburg, Germany. Air Transat took delivery of two brand new A321LR on lease from AerCap. Both used a 10 per cent sustainable aviation fuel blend to fly the aircraft from Hamburg to Montreal, Canada, non-stop.

Airbus has already successfully established SAF flights out of Hamburg with its Beluga transport aircraft since December 2019. This commercial delivery is another milestone that underlines Airbus’ continuing commitment to minimizing air transportation’s environmental impact – which includes becoming the first aircraft manufacturer offering customers the option of receiving new jetliners with sustainable fuel in their tanks. Such delivery flights have been available since 2016, starting from the Airbus headquarters production facility in Toulouse, France, followed by Mobile, Alabama, USA. Airbus offers this option as part of its strategy to promote the more regular use of sustainable fuels within the aviation industry. The fuel for Air Transat’s A321LR aircraft delivered from Hamburg was supplied by Air bp and produced by Neste.

Airbus and Air Transat have a long history of cooperation on environmental affairs. Airbus supported the airline to launch its environmental program 13 years ago and both have worked together on environmental projects such as fuel efficiency. Air Transat has been operating Airbus single-aisle and widebody aircraft since 1999.

“Sustainability and efficiency are essential for our customers and for Airbus. Sustainable aviation fuel developments will play a key role in reducing the environmental footprint of the aviation industry. By using sustainable aviation fuels on delivery flights with partners like AerCap and Air Transat, who are flying the aircraft from Hamburg to their Canadian home-base nonstop, we take concrete action to contribute to a more sustainable aviation future,” said Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer Airbus. “We are very pleased to be a part of this historic milestone, working together with our partners at Airbus and with our long-time customer, Air Transat, to help them meet their sustainable growth ambitions,” said Philip Scruggs, President and Chief Commercial Officer of AerCap. “AerCap is committed to facilitating the move towards more sustainable air travel underpinned by its target to transition its fleet to approximately two-thirds new technology aircraft by 2021.”
“It is an honor for us and a sign of confidence from Airbus to be its first customer to take advantage of this new delivery option at its Hamburg plant,” said Jean-François Lemay, President and General Manager, Air Transat. “This initiative is part of our commitment to reducing our own carbon footprint while contributing to the achievement of the airline industry’s ambitious decarbonization targets.” Both of these delivery flights will be carbon-neutral because the kerosene fossil fuel portion will be offset by the purchase of carbon credits.

We are proud to be the first Canadian carrier to operate carbon-neutral flights, and we will continue to pursue our commitment to providing our passengers with a travel experience that takes account of our environmental footprint,” Mr. Lemay continued.


Boeing

Boeing announced a number of services orders and agreements to support international customers, streamline their operations and enhance their future growth. These supply chain solutions will simplify customers’ asset and maintenance management, inventory and operating costs, while improving parts availability. The agreements for Boeing’s digital solutions will provide cost savings fleet-wide, enhance airline crew situational awareness and increase operational efficiency.

“As airlines and operators continue to respond to the current challenges facing the global air travel industry, our partners are moving forward, integrating creative solutions to continue connecting people around the world,” said Ted Colbert, president and CEO, Boeing Global Services. “Boeing is working closely with our customers around the world, delivering the customized solutions they need to improve operational efficiency, support their fleets, and reduce their costs.”

Supply chain agreements include:

  • Alaska Airlines signed its largest consumable and expendable services agreement, with a multiyear agreement for solutions which include a Tailored Parts Package and Quick Engine Change kits. The agreement supports Alaska’s fleet of Boeing 737 airplanes and provides price and availability benefits that allow the airline to streamline its maintenance operations. The Tailored Parts Package consists of 2,900 part numbers. Throughout the term of this three-year agreement, Boeing anticipates the shipment of nearly 800,000 parts and four Quick Engine Change kits, which will be used to configure spare engines to allow for quick return of an airplane to service when an engine needs to be repaired or replaced.
  • All Nippon Airways, the largest airline in Japan, announced a partnership with Boeing Global Services to install a 787-9 galley facility in its new training center to enhance crew training opportunities. All Nippon Airways also signed an agreement for ten 767 Quick Engine Change kits.

Agreements for data-driven solutions include:

  • Xiamen Airlines, Japan Airlines, and All Nippon Airways have signed agreements to acquire the Optimized Maintenance Program that combines advanced data analytics with Boeing’s engineering expertise to help airlines achieve greater airplane availability and more efficient maintenance operations. To date, the Optimized Maintenance Program has been delivered to 24 airlines and approved by their local regulatory agencies to support a total of 2,519 Boeing airplanes across several models. Xiamen is the first airline in China to adopt the program.
  • A number of customers in China, including Suparna Airlines, Zheijiang Loong Airlines, West Air, Guangxi Air, Urumqi Air, and Air Changan signed agreements for Boeing digital solutions that enhance operational efficiency, further streamline paperless operations in the flight deck, and optimize flight planning capabilities. Boeing provides tailored charting for more than 74 percent of the commercial aviation market; supplies digital navigation data to more than 58 percent of global airlines; and delivers flight deck solutions to 67 percent of the world’s airlines. Overall, two-thirds of all global airline flights use Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB) navigation and charting applications on a daily basis.
  • Vistara, an Indian full-service carrier and a joint venture of Tata group and Singapore Airlines, has added to their suite of Boeing Global Services crew solutions with a multiyear agreement for Crew Pairing to improve operational and readiness efficiency and reduce airline costs. The solution will help optimize crew planning operations for approximately 1,100 crew members across Vistara’s 40 Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

Boeing and Etihad Airways will use a 787-10 Dreamliner to test ways to reduce emissions and noise as part of the aerospace company’s ecoDemonstrator program before the airline accepts delivery of the airplane this fall. The collaboration, which includes extensive sound measurement testing with industry partners, builds on a strategic sustainability alliance Boeing and Etihad formed in November 2019. “This is the latest program under Etihad’s industry-leading strategic partnership with Boeing, focusing on innovating real-world solutions to the key sustainability challenges facing the aviation industry,” Etihad Aviation Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Douglas said. “The ecoDemonstrator program is founded on innovation and sustainability — and these are core values for Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. Etihad and Boeing see a great opportunity to collaborate and share knowledge to minimize the impact of aviation on the environment.” The ecoDemonstrator program utilizes commercial aircraft to test technologies that can make aviation safer and more sustainable now and into the future. The 2020 program, which will begin testing in August, is the first to use a Boeing 787-10. Boeing and Etihad will work with industry-leading partners, including NASA and Safran Landing Systems, to conduct aircraft noise measurements from sensors on the airplane and the ground. The data will be used to validate aircraft noise prediction processes and the sound reduction potential of aircraft designs, including landing gear, that are modified for quieter operations.

In addition, a flight will be conducted during which pilots, air traffic controllers and an airline’s operations center will simultaneously share digital information to optimize routing efficiency and enhance safety by reducing workload and radio frequency congestion.

Test flights will be flown on a blend of sustainable fuel, which significantly lowers aviation’s environmental footprint. The testing program is expected to last about four weeks before Etihad enters its Boeing 787-10 into service.


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AND SOME SAD NEWS

We contacted a few people about the passing of Bill Baltra, long time IFE aficionado, and one noted: “He had contributed excellent services to MAS as VP for many years. I think he was a first employee of Matsushita Avionics Systems in USA and worked together with Yukio Sugimoto for a long time. He was funny, clever and gentle also always making people happy around him.” We think that note is the way we will always remember Bill!

FlightPath3D Update:

IFExpress recently had an opportunity to touch base via Zoom with Jon Norris, vice-president of Marketing, FlightPath3D and he gave us a glimpse of the latest developments we would have seen if AIX Germany had taken place. Building on their stellar moving map to enhance the inflight experience, as well as, increasing the potential for sponsorship revenue and analytics; the company has focused on three key areas of development: 4K, Flying Over Places, and a Data Dashboard.

Native 4K Moving Map:

When an existing airline customer was installing 4K inseat screens, FlightPath3D saw an opportunity to ‘jump ahead’ and began work on a higher resolution moving map. The result is their new native 4K version that provides a crisper and clearer product while offering the same views from the aircraft (satellite to street level, flight deck, & window) that their customers love – but with sharper detail.

Flying Over Places:

FlightPath3D also planned to introduce a new feature called, Flying Over Places. This new offering is available on both seatback and wireless IFE systems. It adds both educational and historical facts to the moving map. The information automatically plays as the flight progresses and via a window-in-window feature allows passengers to drill down and get more data on various POI en route through drop downs. It also tells the traveler what the aircraft’s distance is from the different destinations. Norris told IFExpress that the platform supports sponsorship/advertising. “There is potential for sponsored points of interest which could provide additional revenue to airlines while giving relevant promotions to passengers.”

Big Data Dashboard:

Why is Big Data so important? Big Data has tremendous potential to enhance the passenger experience and is one of the most important trends driving the evolution in today’s air travel. If leveraged properly it has the power to: 1) create a personalized inflight service by harnessing billions of social experiences 2) predict demand for specific flights by learning passenger desires 3) generate ticket sales and ancillary revenue.

The FlightPath3D software Data Dashboard has the capability to provide the airline with additional information about their passengers. While flying, the moving map software has the capacity to collect information on what the passenger is viewing and provide that data to the airline. Before this begins to sound too much like ‘Big Brother’, the data that FlightPath3D collects does not target a specific passenger but gives the airlines the trends of each flight. For example, on a flight between LAX and JFK the software reports to the airline that 20% of the passengers were looking at information on San Francisco, CA; 10% were looking at data on London, UK; and 1% were viewing information on Seville, Spain. The airline then has the potential to adjust their future scheduled flight routes accordingly, put a larger or smaller aircraft on a segment, etc. The Dashboard can also provide information on the number of viewings for sponsored content, may it be restaurants, specific sight-seeing tours, hotels, etc. All this helps build a picture for the airlines. Data captured from the passenger interactions from trip planning and route searches can provide: 1) insight to passenger desire and future travel intentions 2) rankings for specific route and destination categories 3) follow on e-commerce and booking opportunities.

Given these new product features and developments, it came as no surprise to us that the company had a very strong first quarter prior to the pandemic and IFExpress is looking forward to our next flight post-COVID-19 when we can experience first-hand some of these latest innovations from FlightPath3D!


SpaceX

After an aborted attempt on Wednesday May 27 due to inclement weather conditions, this past Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, the world watched history unfold as NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley were launched into space by NASA and SpaceX to journey to the International Space Station (ISS). Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon hurtled into space from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The successful launch returned the United States to human spaceflight for the first time in 9 years since NASA ended its Space Shuttle program. Over the past 9 years, the USA has used Russian rockets to send US astronauts up to the International Space Station (ISS).

This represents the culmination of the SpaceX Crew Dragon human spacecraft development program. It is also a milestone in a public-private partnership that has been developed over the past decade. The Commercial Crew Program was initiated by NASA in 2010 in an effort to smooth the path for the next generation of domestic spaceflight, as well as, retool their launch capabilities. NASA selected both SpaceX and Boeing as partners in these endeavors. And Elon Musk’s SpaceX Demo-2 launch this past Saturday was the first crewed launch attempt in the program – this is a big deal!

Of equal significance is that SpaceX has been transporting cargo to the International Space Station via uncrewed spacecraft since completing their successful uncrewed abort test in January. Whereas Boeing, the other NASA partner, experienced an ‘inflight anomaly’ during their Starliner test flight in December and a future launch date has yet to be established. Of course SpaceX has experienced development challenges as well, a Falcon rocket blew up while inflight, a Crew Dragon capsule was destroyed in a ground test explosion, etc. but they overcame these challenges beating Boeing to the punch. SpaceX and Musk have made progress and continued to proceed with their innovations by learning from their failures.

One of the unique features of SpaceX’s Falcon rocket booster is that it can be used repeatedly. Historically, when rocket boosters have returned to earth they crash land in to oceans and are a lost leader, so to speak. In contrast, Falcon rockets return to earth after first-separation and land on a recovery ship for future use. Saturday’s Falcon successfully landed on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

However, Musk’s innovation didn’t stop with the rocket and spacecraft. The astronauts’ space suits were partly designed by Musk and look nothing like the flight suits we have come to expect. These were far more futuristic and streamlined!

Saturday’s launch is the start of a test mission that will clear the way for regular Dragon flights later this year, with SpaceX engineers evaluating and analyzing every aspect of the spacecrafts performance. Behnken and Hurley will remain in orbit up to 120 days.

Until recently, Elon Musk has primarily been affiliated with PayPal and his development of Tesla. But he has certainly cemented his place in the minds of young and old alike with SpaceX and the Crew Dragon. He founded the California-based SpaceX, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies in 2002.

One thing is for certain, SpaceX is returning human spaceflight to the United States with their advanced system and in conjunction with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program it is a turning point for America’s future in space exploration, laying the groundwork for future missions to the ISS. And whether you take geopolitical or strategic reasons into consideration, it is good to have our own human launch capability.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to watch the launch live, check out this link

And perhaps one of the coolest and most amazing is the Falcon Rocket landing

(Editor’s Note: Space flight is not normally an area IFExpress would cover. However, the world is presently struggling with a global crisis that is battering peoples health and nations economies, so a successful new space endeavor is auspicious and uplifting. It represents a renewal of optimism and signals what we can achieve when we set our minds to it and work together. So from our perspective, SpaceX has given us a reason to be both amazed and inspired. We hope it makes you feel that way too.)


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