Panasonic:

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) and Emirates have today unveiled a range of industry firsts that will be introduced on the airline’s newest Boeing 777-300ER on display at the Dubai Airshow this month. The developments are the culmination of a more than 20-year partnership between Emirates and Panasonic to deliver an unmatched inflight entertainment experience. Throughout the partnership Panasonic and Emirates have remained at the forefront of passenger experience innovation, introducing a wide range of solutions including line-fit Wi-Fi connectivity along with a cutting-edge inflight entertainment system that is 12 percent lighter overall than previous versions. Emirates’ passengers will first experience the benefits of these solutions across all classes on the airline’s newest Boeing 777-300ER fleet. These cabins will feature a refreshed look complemented with the very latest in IFEC technology.

Advancements in IFEC technology, such as faster processing power, enables Emirates passengers to experience unrivaled seat back display with stunning clarity and picture quality.  Passenger engagement levels are increased due to a more responsive IFEC system allowing passengers to immerse themselves further into the ice platform, Emirates’ award-winning inflight entertainment system.  In addition, passenger convenience is enhanced by the capability of fast charging of passenger electronics devices at the seat and the innovative First Class Room Service feature which allows passengers to experience the award winning Emirates cabin experience via the Mode Controller.

The true success of these advances is measured in Panasonic and Emirates commitment to the ecofriendly skies vision.  Reduced IFEC system weight, which cuts fuel burn and emissions, and the desire to continue to push the IFEC experience forward with continuous innovation and industry firsts will challenge airlines to join Emirates as the world’s leading smart airline.

In First Class, there will be a range of new Panasonic technologies that complement Emirates’ own cabin innovations. These include:

· A next generation mode controller – developed in the form of a slim tablet, acts as a second screen for seat and cabin environment control and to navigate ice. It features a larger, slim form13-inch capacitive touch screen offering Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a high definition camera, microphone and a speaker.

· Wireless Handset Control – inspired by a pebble with smooth curves, this elegant, new wireless handset fits naturally in the palm of a passenger’s hand. It provides untethered control of the ice entertainment system with a comfortable feeling of “Home TV Experience.” The handset offers a full set of buttons like interactive navigation, channel, volume, flight attendant call, light, TV on/off, menu and sleep. The sleep button is unique and makes it convenient for passengers to press a single button to go to sleep mode and a second press to restore full functionality to the suite.

· Room Service Video Call – this new feature enables passengers to communicate in real time with the cabin crew using video chat functionality from the next-generation mode controller. Passengers will be able to place requests at their convenience via voice and video, and will also enjoy complete privacy with the device’s Do Not Disturb mode settings.

In Business Class, a number of enhancements are being introduced including:

· New 23” Smart Monitor – a new Full HD Smart Monitor with high-performance and crisp image quality offers the business class passengers a rich and entertaining experience. This is the largest monitor size in business class across Emirates fleet. It includes HDMI ports and capacitive touch screen capabilities.

In both First Class and Business Class, following enhancements are also included:

–  New High Power single USB Type-C Charging Jack – another first is the introduction of the High Power USB Type-C jack, the new standard for phone charging designed to provide passengers with access to high power charging as well as data. This is in addition to the existing high charge USB Type-A charging.

· New HD-Premium Seat Box – this performance upgrade from the existing seat technology also supports two high power charging remote jack units and noise cancelling audio jacks. These premium HD seat boxes have an almost 20 percent higher graphic performance compared to other IFE system types.

· New Slim Seat Power Module – this unique solution provides high power DC voltage for USB charging with reduced weight and a thinner profile.

In Economy Class, a series of new innovations offer Emirates a 35 percent reduction in weight while offering passengers the following technologies:

· New ‘Super Eco’ Economy Monitors – the elegantly designed super Eco Monitor, complete with high-end, integrated physical control buttons, provides a luxury feel in the Economy class seat. With ultra-wide viewing angles, a capacitive touch screen, LED backlight and Full HD display, it delivers a superior, clear, crisp image quality. These new smart monitors will include high-power USB Type A and Type C, Bluetooth technology, a high-resolution camera, 3D multiplayer gaming and integrated audio connector. All of this new technology has been integrated into a slimmer, smaller monitor that features a 35 percent lighter design.

· New Dual High Power Charging Ports – the Dual USB High Power jacks are designed to cater for the present and the new standard for phone charging designed to provide passengers with access to quick data and high power charging via USB Type-C (with both Type-A and Type-C) charging ports.

· New Slim Seat Electronic Boxes – these slim, lightweight devices  are designed to provide maximum performance and passenger device power yet have zero impact on passenger living space, and reduce weight by 22 percent.

· New Slim Seat Power Module – this power source is intended to provide power for up to four seats of in-seat IFEC equipment and peripherals, with a lightweight and thinner profile unit that reduces weight. A new, proprietary power distribution solution provides, for the first time, a high charge USB charge port at every seat for passenger devices eliminating the need to share power with their neighbors.


Galgus:

IFExpress got an interesting note in from Jose Gonzalez, CEO of Galgus in Seville Spain. In case you don’t know what they do, here is their answer: “At Galgus, we have developed CHT, a SW that improves WiFi performance by up to 5x by adding intelligence to WiFi APs. The extra performances allows you to reduce the number of APs needed, saving costs (not just HW costs, but installation, cabling, maintenance, etc). What if you could reduce the number of onboard APs by 2x while still guaranteeing double throughput for all your passengers?” Jose also noted in our conversation: “This technology is available on Miltope’s latest nMAP2 product”. Now, what is that technology he is talking about?

Watch the following video to see how CHT can help you and your business.

www.galgus.net or +34 618 381 889

(Editor’s Note: You really should watch the video to see what technology is doing for in-cabin WiFi, you will learn something!)


Thales:

Yesterday, Thales announced that Oman Air will equip all their B737 MAX fleet beginning in January, 2018 with AVANT IFE. Boeing announced in the near past that it booked 20 firm orders for its 737 MAX single-aisle aircraft from Oman Air,  an order that nearly doubles the airline’s 737 fleet. Oman Air’s order includes conversions of 6 B737 NG plane orders to 737 MAX jets, for a net gain of 14 in Boeing’s order book. Oman Air currently operates 21 B737 aircraft


SITAONAIR:

SITAONAIR and Emirates have extended their partnership to deliver passenger connectivity solutions across its fleet of A380 and B777 aircraft for a further four years. The news follows the recent rollout of personalized inflight connectivity for members of the airline’s loyalty program, Emirates Skywards, through SITAONAIR’s onboard Wi-Fi hub, Internet ONAIR. The project was recently awarded the Best Personalization Innovation award at the 2017 APEX EXPO in September. The extended deal, covering 279 aircraft, underlines Emirates’ continued focus on passenger connectivity excellence by providing harmonized and seamless inflight Internet access to passengers around the globe. The new contract covers Mobile ONAIR and Internet ONAIR on all A380 aircraft, and Internet ONAIR on the B777 fleet.

SITA Lab, the research team of the air transport industry’s IT provider SITA, today revealed the learnings from research it carried out with British Airways, Heathrow, Geneva Airport and Miami International Airport into ‘smart contracts’ residing on a blockchain.

Blockchain has been heralded as a transformational technology for many industries. While several use cases have been identified for the air transport industry, the opportunity of using ‘smart contracts’ for shared control of data by airlines and airports is one which promises real benefits. SITA Lab today issued FlightChain, a paper outlining the findings of its research conducted with its airline and airport partners.

The air transport industry is highly-connected and there is a need for ‘single source of truth’ for various data used by different stakeholders. Control of shared data is a key concern for all. Blockchain offers potential to share data in a controlled way. SITA recognizes, however, that there is a need for research so the industry can take the right approach, to ensure governance, standards, compliance, security and more.

While there are many cases of airlines and airports collaborating to share flight data, this data still resides in separate silos. When there are flight delays, this results in differences between passenger apps, airport FIDS, airline agents. FlightChain ensures all stakeholders have the same information. We note that the blockchain solution is better described in the link below.

FlightChain: ‘smart contracts’ for shared control of data? | SITA


ViaSat:

ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global broadband services and technology company, today announced it expanded its relationship with JetBlue, and will serve as the direct in-flight internet service provider to the airline. JetBlue aircraft will be upgraded to the latest ViaSat hardware, and will have access to the additional coverage and capacity offered by ViaSat’s next-generation ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 satellite platforms. JetBlue’s commitment enables the airline to access ViaSat’s advanced high-capacity Ka-band satellite system, which includes the ViaSat-1, ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 satellite platforms. These capacity-rich satellite platforms, enable ViaSat to deliver the fastest, highest quality in-flight internet service to each connected device on a plane.

To tap into the satellites, ViaSat’s latest in-flight internet system will be installed onto JetBlue aircraft beginning in fall of 2018. The equipment offers forward and backward satellite platform compatibility, allowing JetBlue to meet the growing broadband demands of the fully connected aircraft. This future-proofing feature ensures JetBlue can cost-effectively deploy the ViaSat equipment today, and take full advantage of the more than 3.5 terabits per second (Tbps) of total expected future global capacity ViaSat will be bringing to market through its next generation of satellite platforms.


Rockwell:

Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) has selected Rockwell Collins to provide its global, high-speed broadband in-flight connectivity, overhead in-flight entertainment (IFE) and a full suite of advanced avionics—including Rockwell Collins’ MultiScan ThreatTrack weather radar—for 10 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Deliveries are expected to begin by the end of this year.

Cabin connectivity services will be provided by Rockwell Collins’ CabinConnect wireless in-flight connectivity and entertainment solution using Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network. The system will be linefit on the aircraft.

“The new connectivity service will enable AZAL passengers to surf the internet, use various instant messenger applications, social networks, listen to audio and check emails via personal computers, tablets and smartphones,” said Mike DiGeorge, vice president, Commercial Aviation and Network Services for Rockwell Collins. “And for the flight deck, the high-speed connectivity will open up possibilities for pilots to access information such as synoptic weather through a secure server router to supplement their flight operations.”


The Dubai Airshow, which runs through November 16, has had a lot of new airplane sale announcements – so far mostly for Boeing, but we will cover that topic in next week’s issue of IFExpress. Stay tuned – it should be interesting!

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


More:

This is HOTand unannounced!

We hear that United Technologies Corp has submitted an offer to acquire aircraft component maker Rockwell Collins Inc.. It is IFExpress’ understanding that Rockwell Collins is in the process of reviewing the offer, but we don’t know the outcome of said review. Bloomberg News reported earlier that United Technologies was “weighing” a potential acquisition of Rockwell Collins but said it was unclear whether the two companies were currently in talks. Clearly, this potential acquisition could have a major impact within the industry, but we wondered what is driving this impending marriage? If the deal does go through, the combination would meld together the largest aircraft parts manufacturer with the fourth-largest aircraft parts manufacturer; as well as, being among the largest deals in the industry as RC has a market cap of $19+ billion, while United Technologies has a market cap of $97 billion.  Neither company has commented on the potential of a deal being reached. We do know, in the past, UTC was looking at Honeywell, probably for similar product broadening reasons. Further, an issue could emerge from the likes of leading aircraft OEMs Airbus and Boeing, major customers of both companies. Likely, the attraction is related to their product lines which do not overlap. Industry folks are watching this possible hook-up because if it happens, others will follow. If you have Rockwell stock, you might want to look for increases. Stay Tuned!

Gogo

Gogo, provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced its financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2017and here they are:

Second Quarter 2017 Consolidated Financial Results

  • Revenue increased to $172.8 million, up 17% from Q2 2016. Service revenue increased to $154.1 million, up 21% from Q2 2016, on a 9% increase in commercial aircraft online to 3,109, a 17% increase in ATG business aircraft online to 4,453, and increased customer usage across all segments.
  • Net loss increased to $44.2 million, a 10% increase from Q2 2016, and Adjusted EBITDA(1) decreased to $9.9 million, down 31% from Q2 2016. Both net loss and Adjusted EBITDA in Q2 2017 included $14.0 million in increased costs related to the launch of 2Ku service for new and existing airline partners, OEM 2Ku programs, and costs associated with the development of Gogo’s next generation ATG solution.
  • Capital expenditures increased to $74.1 million from $47.6 million in Q2 2016. Cash CapEx(1)increased to $65.6 million from $39.8 million in Q2 2016 due to an increase in success-based airborne equipment purchases in advance of heavy 2Ku installations in the second half of 2017.

“We launched 2Ku service on five new airlines in the quarter and are on plan to meet our targeted increase in installations during the second half of the year,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s President and CEO. “While these installs require up-front investment, they will all produce positive returns in the future.” Further, “Our planned increase in investments in the second quarter lay the foundation for future growth in revenue and profitability,” said Barry Rowan, Gogo’s Executive Vice President and CFO. “We expect Adjusted EBITDA to increase substantially in the second half of 2017 and into 2018, and we are on track to generate positive free cash flow in 2019.”

Airbus

Airbus logged orders for four jetliners from its A330 and A350 XWB widebody families in July, while delivering 47 aircraft from across its current-production single-aisle and widebody product lines during the month. The new business in July involved three A330-200s for International Airlines Group, along with one A350-1000 for an undisclosed customer. Taking these transactions into account, along with conversions and cancellations, Airbus’ overall net orders for the first seven months of 2017 totalled 205 jetliners. July’s deliveries involved 36 A320 Family aircraft (including nine A320neo versions), four A330-300s, six A350-900s and one A380. As part of this activity, Airbus reached the 100th A350 XWB delivery milestone with its handover of an A350-900 version for China Airlines, while the first A350 XWB for Delta Air Lines (also an A350-900) was provided to this U.S.-based carrier.  During July, Russia’s S7 Airlines received its initial A320neo (on lease from BOC Aviation), while Air Côte d’Ivoire received its first A320

With the latest orders and deliveries activity, Airbus’ overall backlog of jetliners to be delivered stood at 6,726 as of July 31, representing approximately nine years of production at current rates.

Boeing

  • Boeing and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will flight-test Long-range Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology next year. This remote-sensing technology could help commercial airplane pilots better detect and avoid weather disturbances to improve flight safety. They have been collaborating on the integration of LIDAR technology into a commercial airplane platform since 2010. The JAXA LIDAR technology offers the potential to accurately measure winds as much as 17.5 kilometers in front of airplanes and provide pilots with sufficient time to take appropriate action to avoid wind shear and clear air turbulence, which does not have any visual cues such as clouds. Since 2012, the ecoDemonstrator program has used a series of flying test-beds to develop and test aviation technologies that enhance safety and environmental performance. The Boeing ecoDemonstrator program plays a key role in the company’s environmental strategy by using flight testing to accelerate new technologies that can reduce emissions and noise, improve airlines’ gate-to-gate efficiency and help meet other environmental goals.
  • Next, Boeing and and BOC Aviation Limited have finalized a deal for 10 737 MAX 10 airplanes. The announcement, first made at the 2017 Paris Air Show, is valued at approximately $1.25 billion at list prices. BOC Aviation joined 15 other companies for the launch of newest version of the 737 MAX family during the Paris Air Show. The Singapore-based lessor has committed to more than 300 Boeing aircraft since its establishment.
  • Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Air Lease Corporation (NYSE: AL) have finalized an order for 12 737 MAXs first announced at the 2017 Paris Air Show. The agreement also includes two new orders for the 787-9 Dreamliner. The deal includes five 737 MAX 7s and seven 737 MAX 8s, bringing ALC’s total MAX orders to 130. The leasing company has now ordered a total of 49 Dreamliners. The 787-9 will provide ALC’s airline customers with long-range performance capabilities and excellent operating economics.

Eclipse

On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will darken the skies across the entire United States for about three minutes. The last time this occurred was in 1918! Now the folks at Southwest are offering inflight viewing, we guess? In a press statement, the airline company identified the flights that will have the best track for viewing the solar eclipse. Buy a ticket for a flight and receive special viewing glasses and themed Cosmic Cocktails. While we are not sure about the pricing –  Here are the flights:

  • Southwest 1375 from Seattle-Tacoma to St. Louis
  • Southwest 1368 from Portland to St. Louis
  • Southwest 1577 from Denver to St. Louis
  • Southwest 301 from Denver to Nashville
  • Southwest 1969 from Denver to Atlanta

We understand the Southwest team is making a “event” out of it and plan the best viewing, but if you are curious about seating and visibility, so are we?

Lufthansa Systems

Smooth flight operations are a top priority for airlines. Long delays or cancellations can result in high costs and damage to an airline’s image. Since pilots can not take off without navigation maps, backup solutions are essential to flight operations in case of a system failure. With its new cloud-based Lido/RouteManual Backup solution, Lufthansa Systems is offering a reliable and flexible online service as a digital backup for its electronic navigation maps. Despite the popular trend towards a paperless flight deck, many airlines are still using paper maps as backup copies. But this negates some of the advantages of digital solutions because the paper maps still have to be printed out, picked up and carried onto the aircraft.  Despite the popular trend towards a paperless flight deck, many airlines are still using paper maps as backup copies. But this negates some of the advantages of digital solutions because the paper maps still have to be printed out, picked up and carried onto the aircraft. The online platform includes the same worldwide data as the map solution, and customer-specific information can be integrated as well. The backup system runs on Microsoft’s Azure cloud and is therefore independent of the infrastructure that Lufthansa Systems provides for its navigation apps. If there is a fault in the digital map solution or a server, the necessary data can still be accessed in a browser. “With Lido/RouteManual Backup, this administrative effort is a thing of the past. The new web-based solution enables fast, secure access to customized information – from anywhere, on any device,” said Igor Dimnik, Director Strategy and Market Development Lido/Navigation at Lufthansa Systems. “Pilots just need a functioning Internet connection to access the backup copy before a flight. They can view the maps in a browser or download them as PDF files. This forward-looking digital backup solution is Lufthansa Systems’ response to strong demand in the market.”

MORE

  • If you are interested in this: “The long-prophesied threat of airlines bypassing the travel technology giants like Travelport was shot through with a bolt of electricity this summer thanks to American debuting a way for agents to connect directly with it.” Then, you will be interested in reading this.
  • The folks at AIN alerts noted: “SmartSky Networks, which is developing a new air-to-ground airborne connectivity network in the U.S., has delayed launch of its 4G LTE service until mid-2018, according to the company. Its earlier projections were to start service in 2016, but that was subsequently moved to late 2017.” (We also should mention that the Airborne Wireless Network folks have released a summary report on it’s proof of concept on two B767’s tested on May 31, 2017 confirming the mesh network technology. We have heard that they have also filed a patent on a “method of synchronizing laser-links between aircraft.”)
  • If you think Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are not for aviation, think again and from Boeing. Notes Boeing, “Our C360 investment is a powerful example of how HorizonX can access rapid advances in innovation outside aerospace and bring them to our Boeing customers,” said Steve Nordlund, Boeing HorizonX vice president. “Putting additional capital to work and linking C360’s innovators with our Boeing teams allows us to accelerate new solutions, while providing new market access for C360. It’s a win-win — especially for our customers.”
  • Potential aerospace applications of C360’s innovative video technology include more capable autonomous systems and other advanced platforms. Boeing joins a group of investors led by BlueTree Capital making up C360’s $3.5 million oversubscribed series, a fundraising effort that also includes contributions from MI-12 and Pasadena Angels.”
  • You gotta see this!!!
  • Could this be politics???

STILL MORE

Xiamen, China and Lake Forest, CA | May 24, 2017– Panasonic Avionics Corporation (“Panasonic”) today introduced HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) Limited (“HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen)”) as an authorised repair centre for its in-flight entertainment and communications (“IFEC”) technology in Mainland China. HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) is a member of the HAECO Group, specialising in providing aircraft component and IFEC repair services to airlines and aircraft operators in the Asia-Pacific region. Repairs performed by HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) on behalf of Panasonic will carry the same Panasonic warranties, as repairs performed by all authorised service providers within the Panasonic repair network.

The HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) facility is equipped with Original Equipment Manufacturer (“OEM”) dedicated test equipment and features comprehensive spares support from Panasonic. It is also staffed by Panasonic-trained technical personnel. The component repair specialist has been a trusted partner of Panasonic in supporting the OEM’s global customers with IFEC repairs, offering competitive turnaround times, cost-saving advantages and technical support. Backed by the HAECO Group’s comprehensive aircraft engineering and maintenance operations in the region, HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) also offers technical and logistics support, as well as OEM warranty administration to airlines and aircraft operators in Mainland China.

Sean Gavin, Vice President, Technical Services of Panasonic Avionics, said: “We are delighted to welcome HAECO to the Panasonic repair network. Our partnership ensures that Panasonic’s airline customers benefit from in-country support that meets our global standards.”

Clement Au, General Manager, Component Repair & Overhaul, HAECO Group, said: “HAECO has a proven track record serving the component repair needs of airlines in the Asia Pacific region. HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) is honoured and excited to be appointed as Panasonic’s authorised IFEC repair centre. Combining the respective strengths of both an OEM and a component repair specialist, this collaboration is mutually beneficial. It further extends the HAECO Group’s portfolio of services to include a wide range of Panasonic IFEC products, chosen by many airline operators in Mainland China.”

Located in Xiamen, the newly introduced, Panasonic authorised IFEC repair centre is a facility approved by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Isle of Wight | February 20, 2017– IFPL are leading the way with peripheral integration in to the seat thanks to working with seat vendors and IFE OEMs. Visitors to their stand at AIX Hamburg will have the opportunity to experience their ground-breaking developments and see the products demonstrated.

IFPL has developed a fresh approach to the development of peripheral integration that can be applied to new seats or as an update to existing seat peripherals.

IFPL’s aim has been to provide seamless seat integration, whilst maintaining a consistent design language and aesthetic. There has also been a focus on ensuring the ergonomics deliver a truly enhanced passenger experience. This process has enabled IFPL to reduce the complexity, weight and cost therefore delivering a competitive advantage to an airline.

Visit IFPL at Booth 2C10 to see how their work with Mirus Aircraft seating has led to the joint development of a smart seat and the introduction of new technology into their economy seat, whilst still maintaining the design aesthetic and delivering passenger ergonomics. IFPL has worked to integrate an embedded screen with NFC payment and their latest magnetic audio jack.

IFPL has also developed the smart tray, a unique in-tray table which includes a Passenger Control Unit (PCU) that provides the passenger service functions (call bell and reading light) into the tray. The unit has been designed to ensure the functions are ergonomically placed at the customers’ fingertips, to save passengers having to search for the functionality in awkward locations.

IFPL have recently extended their PCU range using an aesthetically stylish, gloss plastic capacitive touch units. The benefits of this technology ensures the unit is not accidently activated by inadvertent pressure (that traditional switches are subject to). The smart tray also includes a range of charging/power solutions including USB A and C outlets and an inductive charging in the tray.

In addition, IFPL has developed The Nexus Integrated Seat Arm – a ground-breaking concept that addresses the issues faced by the IFE industry regarding seat integration, whilst delivering an enhanced passenger experience.

The passenger expectation of integrated charging and connectivity in-seat for Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) is met as the product seamlessly blends passenger connectivity, the Power Supply Unit (PSU) and audio functions into the arm of the seat. The demands on airlines to deliver an ergonomic and aesthetically-pleasing product for passengers are delivered, whilst counter-balancing the requirements for smaller and more compact seats.

The Integrated Seat Arm is a stylish, new at-seat power, audio and data connectivity concept.

IFPL’s established range of products and solutions will be on display and the team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirement that visitors to AIX 2017 may have.

Visit IFPL at Booth 2C10.

This issue of IFExpress always always raises a few feathers so let’s get started with some IFExpress predictions, then we will present the inputs from folks who were willing to provide their names, and finally, those who wish to remain anonymous will contribute as well. We should probably note that not all predictions landed in the IFEC category and thus it looks to be an interesting year – and things just might change anywhere!

IFExpress 2017 Predictions

  1. Narrower aircraft seats are coming in 2017, especially in newer low class offerings where only certain sized carry-on baggage will be permitted – smaller and surely less comfortable as well. We already know United Airlines has a new low cost Basic Economy package that will be copied by others. The rub will be what limitations will be placed on passengers who do not have the airline reward travel card! Hey, many folks can travel short flights and put up with almost anything. It is all a function of what they have to take with them. And yes, it will be in the back of the plane.
  2. More colored cabin environments will be here in 2017, but also as a result of new LED lighting in the plane – probably more blue! [We note: A recent Boeing study concluded that passengers will perceive that the airplane is cleaner, more comfortable, newer, and with better air and more room, all with the correct lighting. Even one German university test proved while flying with light that contains increased red, (not blue) light components, is more calming and cause less passenger stress.]
  3. We cannot say this enough but Data will be the big deal in 2017, whether it is an airline examining their routes with a goal for less fuel, to using social media to communicate directly with passengers or even potential travelers, to connection with the aircraft for more inflight system information for operation or security. OK, this is not much of a surprise!
  4. Some folks predict that light will be used to deliver connectivity. However, with all the issues involved with outside solar, safety lighting, and other sources of interference (Hasn’t this been tried earlier?), we think otherwise. Anyway, Bluetooth as a connectivity radio frequency has slipped under the radar and since most connectivity devices have the capability and the corporate jet world has adopted it, we expect an inflight commercial airline installation this year. With Bluetooth 5.0 alive there may be even more interest in a Bt connectivity solution. Hey, 4X range, 2X speed, and 8X capacity, and no power increase, what’s not to like?”
  5. Watch for an airline to test ground-based, high bandwidth 2.4 GHz, directed connectivity service like those proposed for SmartSky and Gogo. This is more of a 2017 sure thing than a prediction.
  6. We fear aviation manufacturing layoffs, let’s see what happens there but don’t look for that job just yet. The layoff scenario has already started at Boeing, who is downsizing to the tune of some 8,000 employees, and could reach 10% there. Airbus is next after production continues for a bit.
  7. Maintenance of aircraft will see more outsourcing, new technology products like AI and voice technology used in maintenance products, and more consolidation in the MRO world (Maintenance Repair Overhaul).
  8. While we hope it does not happen, but be very concerned that a hacker doesn’t get aboard a plane this year, transmit a fake Wi-Fi service and install a lot of ransomware (like doxware) on folks trying to get Wi-Fi service. In 2017 it is a possibility and be sure you know how to get online when onboard!
  9. What’s next for future SATCOM? How about Q/V bands: 33 – 75 GHz?  If the FCC auctions get it together, perhaps even 14 GHz has a chance?
  10. We shy away from talking about aircraft control hacking, but have you thought about hackers using a DDoS attach or ransomware on an airline reservation system – might happen?
  11. The Boeing 787 will finally get the proper acclaim that it is the only commercial jet airplane where cabin/crew air is taken directly from the atmosphere with electrically powered compressors and not from engine ‘bleed air’! The health guru’s will help.
  12. Cybercrime damages will continue to grow (costing the world $6 trillion annually by 2021), up from $3 trillion last year; ransomware will be the fastest growing threat in terms of new attacks and costs. Global spending on cybersecurity products and services will exceed $1 trillion cumulatively over the next 5 years from 2017 to 2021. Easy procurement of cheap IoT devices or Wi-Fi enabled products introduces a serious level of risk — of which many people are unaware. As one expert noted: “Transportation systems may be immobilized.” Or, as another one said: “My second prediction for 2017 is that cyber personnel will become a rare commodity like we have never seen before. Organizations have received the message, and are staffing and investing, but that demand generates a supply that is not available.” Don’t you think there will be plenty of openings in aviation security in 2017? We do!
  13. Lastly, as strange as it seems, “a self-driving” aircraft concept for passenger planes will be talked about this year – perhaps just for parcel delivery but projects like ALIAS are just the beginning.

Named 2017 Reader Predictions

Here are our reader IFEC predictions and we start of with those from APEX CEO, Joe Leader:

  1. Connectivity announcements and deployment will hit a new high for the industry.
  2. In-flight entertainment continues its expansion with more global IFE system installations and upgrades.
  3. Airline passenger experience will become less siloed inside of airlines as carriers look for greater market differentiation.
  4. On flights without built-in IFE or connectivity, “Near-FI” solutions offering, entertainment will become much more common. This will escalate in particular on low-cost carriers looking to differentiate their products.
  5. In-flight advertising will see the beginning of a new age of renaissance.
  6. The Internet of Things (IoT) will broaden from case-studies on aircraft to first tangible implementations.
  7. With the Bluetooth 5.0 specification released, we will see first announcements about Bluetooth connectivity to IFE in future products.
  8. Long-haul business class will enter a new era just as British Airways introduced the first lie-flat for business class in 1999.  We could call it the suite era or the privacy era.  This period will begin this year marked by increasing level of suite-like privacy on long-haul business class products.  It will be initiated by visionary airlines in different manners and progress to a new bar for long-haul business class passenger experience over the next two decades.

Next, from Henry Chen Weinstein at Cockpit Innovations we have:

“I think 2017 in Tech will be about the upcoming implications of new technology on our current way of work. The [changing] place of startups in our space as more players understand the value of innovation on a global scale. Establishing new ways to take our aviation business forward.”

Here is the prediction note from John Courtright at SIE:

“I predict that the Modular Cabin Concept will generate a lot more attention from airline operators.  The ability to transform a commercial aircraft from a “domestic” (2-Class) configuration to an “international” configuration (3-Class) on an overnight or less using palletized modules to swap out interiors will generate great interest from operators.  Aside from the aircraft utilization flexibility, the Modular Cabin Concept will generate increased operational revenue (ROI) from a given aircraft asset by allowing the operator to customize their service level to different markets at a relatively low cost.”

Rich Salter, now with FTS chimed in with:

“All the talk about the death (or not) of seatback IFE is not the relevant question: the real interesting question is where will displays be located next – on the wrist, on entire seatbacks, baggage bins, sidewall of fuselage, VR or immersive glasses, etc., not to mention non-cabin locations like cockpit, baggage, lounges, etc.  They could be thin as paper, and could be foldable/rollable (as are OLEDs).  They will consume extremely low power and be fed data via wireless (WiFi). Smartwatches are only the beginning. In summary, advances in wireless streaming and display tech will lead to some fascinating implementations of IFE displays in unconventional places!”

Todd Hamblin at Global (GADC) told IFExpress in 2017:

  1. The Wireless IFE market will continue to grow, with Portable Wireless IFE being a subset for those ultra-low cost carriers.
  2. Companies based in China will become a larger part of the IFE and Connectivity landscape.
  3. An airline will attempt to install a Portable Wireless IFE system on their aircraft without permission from the FAA or EASA even though the server contains Lithium Ion batteries and might interfere with existing aircraft systems.
  4. The FAA will be impacted and safety compromised by the changing political climate.
Next, we asked Ron Chapman, President/Founder ASI, and he told IFExpress:

“I predict that the first elastic virtual servers will creep into the cabin on airliners and it just might be Bluetooth that drives it. Elastic devices are the latest generation of server that expands and contracts based on demand. It’s a floating platform that can replicate itself in virtual space.”

Kelvin Boyette CEO of Latitude Aero observes:

  1.  Mergers will dominate 2017, allowing the larger multi-national companies to offer a menu of turnkey services to both airlines and aircraft OEMs.
  2. 2017 will be the year that seat refurbishment emerges from its “niche” status. New products, such as IFE and ISPS, are emerging faster than new seat OEMs can get them into the seat, so the refurbishment centers are where the airlines will turn to offer the most up to date, modern, passenger experience to their clientele.
  3. Both BYOD and embedded IFE will flourish. I do not believe only one will succeed. Both will explode this year.

Michael Reilly, VP Entertainment Services, Arconics – A ViaSat Company notes:

  1. My key prediction for the year is that those airlines who don’t take the step into connectivity in 2017 will certainly take steps on the ‘path to connectivity’ – and there’s a couple of different ways to define that… I think a lot of airlines apart from the obvious cost barrier to entry to connectivity are waiting for other developments – competitive and even marketplace ie: changes to the vendor side of the industry – be that product, pricing etc.
  2. Naturally as we get more airlines closer to connectivity, security is becoming a hot topic, as is bigger and better use of data.
  3. Another prediction is that effective use of data will help break down the traditional siloing that has always gone on in the airline business and that’s exciting.
  4. I’d sum up my prediction by saying that 2017 is ‘finally’ the year where. Connectivity, Wireless and Mobile finally made the strides forward that moved the needle on the bottom line for airlines.

Craig Foster of Valour Consultancy said:

  1. We will see one of the in-flight connectivity service providers acquired by a much larger company. Additionally, we’ll also see at least one wireless in-flight entertainment vendor snapped up by someone with much more clout.
  2. The number of aircraft with in-flight connectivity systems installed and activated will surpass 7,000 by the end of the year. Regions aside from North America will continue to witness strong growth and we will likely see another carrier based in Latin America announce connectivity plans before long (in addition to Avianca Brasil and GOL).
  3. More and more airlines will announce plans to deploy IFE systems that allow passengers to pay their personal electronic devices to the main screen in an effort to match expectations around second screening and to better personalise the experience.

Unnamed 2017 Reader Predictions

We start off with predictions from a “Cabin Solution Provider”:

  1. The exponential growth of cabin Wi-Fi usage within the confines of the same aircraft will lead to more congestion in the cabin. One prediction says that passenger data to and from aircraft will more than quadruple in 2017. We knew that something like this was coming. However, what’s new is the speed at which this is happening.
  2. In 2017 the speed of the PED-pull in terms of passenger experience, apps etc. will increase even further. It certainly will be very much faster than the gentle ambling in which many of the aircraft hardware-push industry players are used to operate.

Another few from another Unnamed Predictor:

  1. Low cost carrier mergers and acquisitions will accelerate globally.
  2. With airline capacity surpassing global market demand, this will be a year including news of airline deferments and reductions.  The exception to this rule will be in next-generation aircraft connecting previously unconnected city pairs.  For the industry, this will be a relatively landing.
  3. Airlines in a more challenging global environment that raise their passenger experience will outperform carriers that focus on reducing passenger experience to reduce costs.

And lastly, still another Unnamed Predictor told IFExpress:

  1. Hacking the Baggage Systems at major hubs will occur to misdirect luggage?
  2. Hacking will occur to shut down refueling facilities at major airports.
  3. Hackers will find a way to infect the IFE system to download passenger data and airline sales information direct from the aircraft, putting at liability Airlines and IFE suppliers.  Class Action suit to follow.  Revenue streams will be jeopardized for both airlines, IFE suppliers and product/service providers accordingly.
  4. All economy seats on American / Domestic airlines will follow the pay as you go scheme:  everything short of the toilets will be ‘pay to play’:  boarding sequence; stowable baggage; check-in bags; food; drink; entertainment; EVERYTHING.
  5. Donald Trump’s administration will make significant progress to privatize government agencies and systems – a la Russian Model – Air Traffic Control will be privatized and sold off; FAA will be privatized; and the Space Programs under NASA will also be spun off.  If not in this coming year, the effort may take at least part of his first term. (Editor’s Note: IFExpress apologizes to this predictor as we just did not have the space (nerve?) to post all the input – Sorry!).

Thank you to everybody who contributed and we close with the words of Arthur C. Clarke: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”