Airline Consulting with focus on crew management, network planning and operations control

Raunheim | November 6, 2018– The airline consulting team from Lufthansa Systems started working with Bulgaria Air to optimize even better their operational processes and to review the capacity planning. Since the end of August, the consultants from Lufthansa Systems Airline Consulting have worked with the Bulgarian airline to analyze and optimize its crew management, network planning and operations control (OCC).

“We want to enhance network decisions and continually improve the operational processes so that Bulgaria Air can continue offering the customers the highest quality”, said Dimitar Bojanski, chairman of Techno Capital, the company that provides technology to the Bulgarian carrier with which the consulting team is closely collaborating. “We are already working with the NetLine/Crew crew management solution, the NetLine/Ops operations control solution and the NetLine/Sched schedule management solution and we are pleased that the independent consultants from Lufthansa Systems are now supporting us with their knowledge and expertise.”

In the first project phase, the airline consultants from Lufthansa Systems visited Bulgaria Air to analyze the status quo of the airline’s operations controlling. Phase two of the consulting project aimed at evaluating the airline’s strategy for crew management, network planning and operations control and then provide concrete recommendations for network decisions and processes optimization. This has been based on numerous workshops and assessments held with managers and employees of the respective departments.

The consulting experts at Lufthansa Systems have spent more than 20 years working for international airlines of all sizes with various business models. Amid increasing competitive pressure felt by airlines in the international market, more and more carriers are looking for professional consulting services. This is why Lufthansa Systems has continuously expanded its consulting division in recent years. What distinguishes Lufthansa Systems’ consultants is their independence. Lufthansa Systems Airline Consulting guides management decisions to optimize airline core processes, increase efficiency and reduce costs.

“While many consultancies specialize in a single area, we cover the entire spectrum of consulting for airlines, thus ensuring that problems are always examined from all angles,” said Tino Herrmann, Senior Vice President Airline Consulting at Lufthansa Systems. “In our consulting work, we strive for a long-term, equal partnership.”

Bulgaria Air is the national airline of Bulgaria, with headquarters in Sofia. It was founded in 2002 and privatized from 2005. After privatization, the company began to restructure and modernize and has now become Bulgaria’s biggest airline. Bulgaria Air flies from Sofia to the domestic destinations of Varna and Burgas as well as more than 28 cities and vacation destinations in Europe.

New York, USA | October 24, 2018– JetBlue, New York’s Hometown Airline, announces the appointment of William Cade as the carrier’s new vice president, technical operations. Cade joins JetBlue early next month to oversee the airline’s maintenance, materials, quality, engineering and technical purchasing functions. He will be based in Long Island City, N.Y., and report to Warren Christie, JetBlue’s senior vice president, safety, security & fleet operations.

A 30-year industry veteran, Cade most recently served as vice president, base technical operations for American Airlines, responsible for multiple heavy maintenance bases along with global heavy maintenance vendor and support shop operations. Cade has held several leadership roles at American serving as technical operations managing director for various regions for over 15 years.

Prior to American Airlines, Cade worked at Trans World Airlines holding numerous positions, including director maintenance in Los Angeles. Cade began his aviation maintenance career with Pan American World Airways as a sheet metal mechanic and is a licensed Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) technician.

“Bill’s vast experience will be a great asset to JetBlue as we set up our technical operations team for continued success and achieve our structural cost commitments,” said Christie. “Bill has a track record of inspiring large teams while instilling world-class industry technical standards and maintaining the highest levels of safety and compliance.”

Cade added: “It’s an honor to be working with some of the most committed and skilled technical operations professionals in the industry. I am excited to help continue growing the special culture for crewmembers and delivering the great JetBlue experience to customers.”

  • London School of Economics predicts move towards connected aircraft will transform
    aviation airline operations and safety into a strategic asset
  • Connected aircraft could lead to 2.5% reduction in fuel burn per flight, equating to 21.3 million tonnes of CO2 annually
  • Connectivity has the power to save airlines $11 billion each year by reducing the impact and likelihood of delays, cancellations and diversions

London | June 19, 2018– The connected aircraft, enabled by satellite communications, has the potential to save airlines $15 billion annually in operational efficiencies and 21.3 million tonnes of COemissions by 2035, according to first-of-its-kind research from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in association with Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global, mobile satellite communications.

Analysing current IATA data and primary research including industry interviews with airlines, regulatory agencies, developers and suppliers of aircraft equipment and software solutions, Sky High Economics: Evaluating the Economic Benefits of Connected Airline Operations examines a wide range of efficiencies enabled by the connected aircraft, and their associated benefits.

These efficiencies include fuel savings, a reduction in delays, innovations in maintenance processes, air traffic management enhancements, safety improvements and others. Based on current connected aircraft numbers, the research finds that together these efficiencies can generate up to a 1% reduction in the $764 billion spent by airlines each year in operating costs worldwide[1]. This equates to 20% of the forecast global aviation industry net profit in 2018 ($38.4 billion).[2] As the adoption of connected aircraft is set to rise exponentially, this cost saving is expected to double, saving airlines up to $15 billion globally by 2035.

Fuel savings and reducing environmental impact

Today, the airline industry is experiencing a period of exceptional growth, but the forecast doubling of air traffic by 2035[3] will require a more efficient use of assets to reduce fuel and CO2 emissions, and increase airspace capacity while assuring safety. Optimising flight routes in real time, through IP-enabled communications that provide better weather information to the cockpit, yields an estimated 1% fuel reduction per flight. This equates to 3.39 billion litres of fuel, 8.3 million tonnes of COand $1.3 billion in fuel costs annually[4]. Adding savings accruing in other areas, enabled by enhanced communication to and from the cockpit, fuel efficiencies of 2.5% could be achieved: an annual reduction of 8.5 billion litres and 21.3 million less tonnes of CO2. To put this into context, the current IATA global target for reducing COemissions is an improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year.

Predictive maintenance reduces turnaround times

Reducing turnaround times and preventing aircraft on ground (AOG) through predictive maintenance is a key priority for airlines; unplanned maintenance is responsible for approximately half of flight delays. Globally, airlines spent $62.1 billion in maintenance, repair and operations costs in 2016, a figure set to reach $90 billion by 2024[5]. The connected aircraft utilises real time data to create a live electronic tech log, in which flight performance data is digitally integrated with maintenance suppliers, allowing airlines and advanced algorithms to identify any maintenance required before the aircraft arrives at its destination. This research forecasts that if such technology halved maintenance costs, it could deliver annual cost savings of $5.6 billion.

Cutting flight delays

Global flight delays are estimated to cost the industry $123 billion each year[6], with weather responsible for nearly 70% of all delays[7]. Through improved navigation capabilities, the connected aircraft’s ability to avoid adverse weather and hazardous conditions could deliver annual cost savings of US$1.3 billion[8]. In addition, crew scheduling is currently responsible for 3% of delays[9]; a 66% reduction in such delays through enhanced connectivity could generate an additional $2.4 billion in annual savings. Where connectivity is fully utilised in disruption management to reduce the impact of delays, cancellations and diversions and enhance predictive maintenance, annual savings have potential to reach $11 billion.

Revolutionising air traffic management

As a result of enhanced satellite connectivity, significant change is underway in air traffic control (ATC) services. IP-enabled, secure real-time data exchange between aircraft and ATC is improving surveillance capabilities and reducing separation minima, allowing airspace to accommodate increasing passenger numbers and an increasing variety of aircraft. The benefits of migrating current radar-based systems to satellite-based navigation, automating aircraft position reporting and providing digital datalink communication between pilots and air traffic controllers could revolutionise air traffic management and save an estimated $3 billion annually.[10]

Dr Alexander Grous (B. Ec, MBA, M.Com, MA, PhD.), Department of Media and Communications, LSE and author of Sky High Economics said: “The forecast doubling of aircraft in the skies by 2035 will create both challenges and opportunities for the global aviation industry. IP-enabled aircraft are an essential step in facilitating growing demand for air travel, while meeting vital safety requirements. The study’s findings highlight not only the powerful commercial efficiencies for airline operations, but crucially, the resulting advantages for safety and environmental impact.”

Frederik van Essen, Senior Vice President, Market and Business Development, Inmarsat Aviation, commented: “This report demonstrates that the connected aircraft is a shrewd commercial decision; unrivalled access to real-time data is reducing airlines’ bottom-line operating costs while reducing emissions and improving safety. Not only that, enhanced connectivity is becoming an operational necessity as our skies become busier. With finite airspace available to accommodate increasing passenger numbers, airlines need to act now and consider the technology and infrastructure they need to future-proof their operations.”

Inmarsat is playing a key part in the digitisation of the aviation industry. Earlier this year, Inmarsat’s SB-S entered commercial service as the first and only global aviation broadband solution for operations and safety communications. SB-S allows airlines to utilise rich, real-time data to drive decision-making, improve operational efficiency and assure the highest levels of safety in the skies. SB-S delivers revolutionary new capabilities to the flight deck through the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB), from real-time weather reports to inflight aircraft health and performance monitoring.

Onur Air has signed component repair and access (pool) contract with Turkish Technics for its Airbus A330 aircraft. The contract will be effective until 2023

Istanbul | January 19, 2018–The contract comprises component repair and access on ATA (The Air Transportation Association) Chapter basis. Access to components will be available from Turkish Technic Istanbul main base and worldwide pooling stations. Repair work of the components will be carried out at the Turkish Technic Sabiha Gokcen facilities, the biggest MRO facility in the region.  The contract has enhanced the existing strong business partnership between the parties, and will be contributing to the development of the Turkish global aviation industry.

Turkish Technic CEO Ahmet Karaman declared: “Offering its services to the most important A330 operating airline, Turkish Airlines; Turkish Technic is an important trademark providing MRO services to more than 700 aircraft through 3 continents. We have been delivering high-end services for Onur Air’s A320 fleet since 2012, and we thank our counterparts for their renewed confidence in choosing Turkish Technic component repair and access services for their A330 fleet.   

Onur Air CEO Teoman Tosun said: “We are pleased to entrust the leading trademark, Turkish Technic, with the maintenance of our aircraft. We put our confidence in the globally recognized services provided by Turkish Technic. He also added that the services to be provided by Turkish Technic were selected for being the ideal solutions for Onur Air Airbus A330 operations.”

Russian airline chooses several products from Lufthansa Systems to optimize its flight operations and navigation

Raunheim | November 29, 2017– Lufthansa Systems today announced that Russian airline Ural Airlines will optimize its flight operations and navigation processes using several IT solutions from Lufthansa Systems. The two companies recently signed a long-term contract to this effect. Ural Airlines has opted for NetLine products for schedule management (NetLine/Sched), crew management (NetLine/Crew) and flight operations control (NetLine/Ops ++). Additionally, the carrier will plan its flight operations with the Lido/Flight 4D flight planning solution.

“Although this is our first cooperation with Lufthansa Systems, we already have a long and good relationship with Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Consulting. We therefore have great confidence in the Lufthansa Group and we look forward to our new IT project,” said Sergei Skuratov, General Director at Ural Airlines. “We believe that we can further optimize our flight operations with these NetLine and Lido products.”

NetLine/Sched covers all processes for medium- to short-term flight scheduling.NetLine/Ops ++ monitors Ural Airlines’ flight operations. With this solution, the airline can avoid and manage disruptions and significantly reduce delay costs. NetLine/Crew supports Ural Airlines in the full crew management process from planning to crew assignment and tracking. The NetLine products are fully integrated, which allows close synchronization between scheduling and crew planning, as well as flight operations and crew tracking. Using the NetLine products will enable Ural Airlines to schedule flights more precisely, deploy crews more efficiently, respond more quickly to irregularities and thus improve on-time performance and lower costs.

Lido/Flight 4D calculates the most suitable route for each flight based on all flight-related data, weather conditions and the current airspace situation including any restrictions. It enables Ural Airlines to optimize its route planning in terms of flying time, costs and fuel consumption.

“We are very happy to welcome Ural Airlines as our new customer. After implementing the new IT solutions, Ural Airlines will benefit from greater efficiency and lower costs,” said Genaro Zarazua, VP Sales EMEA. “With the different solutions in use, they will also benefit from the integration between Lido/Flight 4D and the NetLine suite so that everyone involved in flight operations has the same information at hand.”

Ural Airlines is one of the largest dynamically developing airlines and takes the 4th place in the rating of Russian air carriers. The geography of flights contains more than 250 destinations. Today the carrier operates 43 aircraft of Airbus families (23 A320, 13 A321 and 7 A319).

France | November 1, 2017–An evolving multi-link ACARS landscape, embracing cutting-edge cockpit connectivity and solid VHF foundations, will remain the backbone of the aviation industry for the foreseeable future. So saysSITAONAIR, global leader in aviation operational and ATC communications, in its latest white paper, ACARS: Timeless tech for the connected aircraft age.

With a staggering 7.2 billion passengers expected to take to the skies in 2035, according to IATA projections, SITAONAIR’s latest report argues that driving the evolution and diversification of its ACARS technologies is key to empowering the industry to negotiate an increasingly crowded airspace.

SITAONAIR recently announced major partnerships with Inmarsat and Teledyne Controls that illustrate the adaptability of ACARS capabilities for emerging technologies, reflecting and supporting the diverse global aviation community in the connected aircraft age.

SITAONAIR has added Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) to its portfolio; an ACARS-reliant next-generation flight deck communications platform giving airlines a dedicated IP connectivity service supporting enhanced safety and operational efficiency.

Working with Teledyne Controls, SITAONAIR is delivering the aviation industry’s first-ever airline-integrated ACARS datalink terrestrial cellular 3G/4G service. Employing Teledyne Controls’ GroundLink® Comm+ system, SITAONAIR is able to integrate terrestrial cellular services into its core datalink network, giving airlines the flexibility and benefit of another transmission channel for aircraft communications.

Meanwhile, VHF, VDL and legacy networks continue to be adopted, advanced, and work alongside these alternate technologies, around the world. Among these significant programs, detailed in the white paper, SITAONAIR has upgraded Europe’s primary ATC-airline communications network, delivering Europe’s first Multi-Frequency (MF) Very High Frequency Digital Link mode 2 (VDLm2) infrastructure. In March 2017 the Czech Republic’s Air Navigation Service Provider, ANS CR, appointed SITAONAIR to deliver a “communication gateway” to Prague Airport and others – through its ACARS network.

The company’s VHF/VDL network has also established an important new aircraft communications infrastructure in developing parts of the world, with more than 50 sites established in Brazil prior to the Rio Olympic Games.

Evolving ACARS landscape

Paul Gibson, Portfolio Director, AIRCOM at SITAONAIR, explains: “SITAONAIR’s ACARS network continues to evolve from its VHF origins, embracing satellite services, VHF and higher-speed VHF Digital Link (VDL), to deal with the steady rise in air traffic.

“Our recent announcement with Inmarsat on our adoption of SwiftBroadband-Safety to our wide-ranging connected aircraft portfolio will prove critical. We’re excited about the potential SB-S will bring to enable us to further innovate new, and enhance our existing, services and solutions, around a dedicated, secure IP connection to the cockpit.

“SITAONAIR is taking strides to ensure the ACARS network is evolving in tandem with the digital age, to enable message transmission using alternate technologies. Traditional ACARS and ACARS over IP will have a mutually important role to play in the ground-to-air connectivity landscape. Whether supporting the transmission of millions of ACARS messages exchanged every day, advancing Brazil’s complete VHF and VDL datalink network ahead of the Rio Olympics, or launching a next-generation flight deck IP communications platform, SITAONAIR is and will remain central to our industry’s ACARS story.”

ACARS remains heavily integrated into the ground systems of most airlines. Huge volumes of vital aircraft data come to and from aircraft via ACARS messaging, with 220 airlines now relying on SITAONAIR’s multi-link ACARS technology. The white paper highlights why ACARS, in its diversity, remains the most reliable, efficient and cost-effective ground-to-air messaging system, with SITAONAIR as its core service provider.

To find out more, download the full white paper, ACARS: Timeless tech for the connected aircraft age.

To explore the SITAONAIR connected aircraft portfolio, visit www.sitaonair.aero, speak to your local SITAONAIR contact orsubmit an enquiry form online.

Former Zodiac Aerospace executive to take leadership role in reliable and on-time execution of customer and OEM programs

Lake Forest, California | September 26, 2017– Panasonic Avionics today announces the appointment of Adri Ruiter as its new Vice President of Global Operations.

With almost 30 years of experience in the aviation industry, Adri will be responsible for key global operations activity, including operational strategy, program management, supplier management and global manufacturing to ensure the highest level of consistent customer delivery.

Ruiter previously held a number of positions at Zodiac Aerospace, including President and CEO of Zodiac Seats US, where he was instrumental to Project Fusion, a joint seat integration program between Zodiac (then Weber Aircraft LLC) and Panasonic. The design of the integrated seat ultimately led to the introduction of Panasonic Avionics’ industry-leading Eco Monitor family designed for the X Series IFE system.

Ruiter’s most recent role at Zodiac was as Director of Restore Margins, where he led group operational excellence workshops at Zodiac Aerospace sites across North America.

Mark Jennings, Chief Operating Officer, Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: We are delighted to welcome Adri to Panasonic Avionics. As the world leader in inflight entertainment and connectivity, we have over 300 airline customers around the world, each with their own sets of requirements for hardware, software, and system performance. Adri’s unique experience within the cabin industry will bring a greater focus to Panasonic, ensuring that we will always deliver the best product, on time, with the highest quality and backed by a support process that ensures the best long-term return on their investment.”

Adri Ruiter, Vice President of Operations, Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “It is with great pleasure that I take up this important role at Panasonic and I’m excited to be part of an organization world-renowned for its inflight entertainment and connectivity technology. I look forward to working with the team to drive operational excellence within the business.”

  • German Aerospace Center uses NetLine/Plan and NetLine/Sched

Raunheim, September 21, 2017 – Lufthansa Systems is supporting the work of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The IT provider is making its NetLine/Plan and NetLine/Sched flight planning solutions available to the researchers at the DLR. The scientists are using the software from Lufthansa Systems to develop new air transport concepts and explore ways of improving the efficiency of network and flight planning. Airlines will thus benefit from lower costs, and passengers will enjoy greater punctuality.

“We are very interested in practical research and are pleased to be able to use NetLine/Plan and NetLine/Sched, since the two solutions are already employed by more than 70 airlines,” said Klaus Luetjens, head of Air Transport Operations and Infrastructures in the department Air Transportation Systems at the DLR. Airlines use NetLine/Plan to create optimized flight plans as part of their network planning strategy. The software simulates new connections, generates forecasts for passenger streams based on market data, and calculates the effects on costs and revenues. NetLine/Sched helps airlines with flight schedule management. It supports the evaluation of what-if scenarios prior to flight operations and automatically calculates their cost-effectiveness.

At the beginning of the project, the experts from Lufthansa Systems prepared the data basis, installed the software on DLR computers this summer and then trained the scientists. Following the successful completion of the project, the DLR researchers can now use the two NetLine products to quickly simulate various air transport concepts. For example, they can analyze how the development of a faster aircraft would affect flight plans and the airline market in general. The project will run until 2020, and the results will be published and made available to the industry.

Lufthansa Systems and the DLR have cooperated since 2016. “We benefit from their scientific findings, as data science is becoming increasingly important in aviation. Thanks to our cooperation with the DLR, we can further develop our products in a targeted way and continue to be an innovation leader,” said Pascal Mougnon, Head of Network Planning Solutions at Lufthansa Systems.

The research portfolio of the DLR ranges from basic research to the development of products for tomorrow. Since 2016, Lufthansa Systems and the DLR have been collaborating on a project for developing more robust flight plans. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is supporting the project as part of its federal aviation research program. The scientific and technical knowledge they have acquired together will strengthen German industry and technology in general and the aviation sector in particular.

  • 29-year veteran tapped to replace Pat Shanahan, who was nominated for senior U.S. Defense Dept. post
  • Former Fabrication leader brings wide range of executive leadership in supplier management, operations, and environment, health and safety

Chicago, IL | June 9, 2017–Boeing [NYSE: BA] today appointed Jenette Ramos, a 29-year Boeing veteran with executive leadership roles in fabrication, supplier management, and environment, health and safety, as senior vice president, Supply Chain & Operations, effective immediately. Ramos, 51, replaces Pat Shanahan, who has been nominated to serve as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense.

Ramos, most recently vice president and general manager of Fabrication at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, now will oversee the company’s Manufacturing Operations and Supplier Management functions, including implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies and global supply chain strategies. She also leads Boeing’s Environment, Health & Safety organization. She joins the Boeing Executive Council and reports to Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

“Jenette brings to this role a tremendous set of leadership skills and aerospace experience that spans nearly three decades, including deep knowledge of the entire Boeing production system and great passion for our people, products and customers,” Muilenburg said. “Jenette’s most recent work to transform our commercial airplanes fabrication operations will serve her well in this new assignment, which is critical to our long-term success and growth and productivity goals.”

As leader of Fabrication at BCA since 2014, Ramos led a global operation of more than 17,000 employees that serves as the largest manufacturing partner to all Commercial Airplanes programs. In that role, she integrated businesses at 11 sites world-wide that design and manufacture composite, metal, electrical and interior aerospace parts, tools and assemblies. She also served on the Executive Steering Team of the Boeing employee workplace safety initiative.

Prior to leading Fabrication, Ramos was vice president, Operations Supply Chain Rate Capability at Commercial Airplanes, where she led efforts to develop suppliers and to manage the value stream system for production readiness through a number of production rate increases across the commercial airplane product line. From 2005 to 2009, she served as general manager of the Boeing Portland site.

Previous assignments include director of Safety, Health and Environmental Affairs, where she was responsible for governance and processes at multiple Boeing facilities in the United States and Canada. Ramos began her career in 1988 at the Boeing Renton plant as an environmental engineer in the Facilities organization.

She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program, and she earned a master’s degree in business from Seattle Pacific University and a bachelor’s of science degree from Washington State University.

Shanahan, a 30-year veteran of the company, held executive leadership programs across the enterprise. Prior to his most recent position, he served as vice president/general manager of Airplane Programs at Commercial Airplanes, where he oversaw management of the 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 production programs. He also previously led the missile defense and rotorcraft organizations within Boeing Defense, Space & Security.

“Pat’s influence has touched just about everything we do at Boeing – across all of our commercial, defense and space programs, as well as how we design, engineer and produce them,” Muilenburg said. “We will miss his leadership, creativity and problem-solving, but we are thrilled by the opportunity he has in front of him, and we appreciate his stepping up in service of our country.”

A total of 450 airline experts are attending one of the world’s largest airline IT user conferences to find out about the latest innovations in the digital world of aviation.

Raunheim, Germany | May 8, 2017– “Spice IT up! – Digitalization and beyond” is the motto of the Lufthansa Systems Airline Forum, which starts today. A total of 450 participants from around 80 airlines worldwide will learn about the latest developments in the portfolio of the airline IT specialist. The focus is on Commercial Planning and Operations solutions from the NetLine and ProfitLine product lines. “This industry meeting, which is traditionally held in the Lufthansa Training & Conference Center in Seeheim, is one of the most important events in the airline IT sector,” said Ulrike Behrens, Head of Marketing at Lufthansa Systems, who organizes the Airline Forum. Lufthansa Systems advises and supports airlines in their digital transformation. The aviation IT experts show what sustainable airline processes can look like and provide hands-on support to customers in implementing their projects.

“Digitalization has a significant influence on working processes, business models and our daily life. This applies to the aviation industry as well. The core of our company strategy is to put airlines in a perfect position for the digital future,” said Olivier Krueger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “We are delighted to welcome so many of our customers’ representatives to the Airline Forum again this year.”

The keynote speech will be held by Lufthansa CIO Dr. Roland Schuetz. Other customers will also have the opportunity to speak and report on successful projects, including United Airlines and the Israeli airline EL AL. The next two and a half days will be devoted to some 80 lectures and workshops as well as personal conversations with product experts and other airlines. Attendees can put together their own individual program from a comprehensive range of topics. The focus will be on new product developments and innovations in the NetLine and ProfitLine product lines, which will be introduced by experts from Lufthansa Systems and its industry partners.

Automation and integration are key aspects in this context. Modern technologies make it easier to collect and evaluate data in order to identify anomalies and automatically learn from them or carry out certain actions. But it is also increasingly important for IT solutions – especially in the field of operations – to be able to share this data and interact with one another in order to make the best decisions and optimize processes. Communication also plays an essential role in the digital world. It should be fast, simple and possible from anywhere. Mobile solutions and a user-friendly layout help meet these demands.

“At the Airline Forum, we present new industry trends and product portfolio developments to our customers. We also want to talk with them about market challenges, new technologies and smart solutions for their specific requirements,” said Stefan Auerbach, CEO of Lufthansa Systems.

The Market Place provides plenty of room for this dialog. This is where Airline Forum participants can try out the product innovations for themselves right after the sessions. Their feedback is critical to the further optimization of Lufthansa Systems’ products.

In the next few years, airplane passengers will be seeing a lot of changes to the process of flying from point A to point B. On the surface, they won’t notice a lot of difference in the mechanics of flight transportation, but it is what is going on behind the scenes, especially in the IFEC world that will have changed significantly.

Passengers will still use their personal devices on the ground to obtain a ticket, they will be using their devices to check-in and board planes, and they will still be using all sorts of portable devices while inflight. While recent rules of onboard laptop usage might be restricted for security reasons (APEX News Release), globally there is too strong a need to manage and organize one’s life with the aid of a portable phone or connected personal device, including laptops. Why? With the technological advancements of the modern portable device, be it smartphone or wearable, people everywhere are demanding more data in order to stay connected and informed. Face it, installed inflight telephony; think Claircom, Inflight Phone and GTE Airfone, in the 1990’s delivered scratchy voice connectivity when compared to flying with a smartphone today. Passengers utilizing the connectivity options available to them now; whether it be voice, data, or streaming entertainment to their PED, experience a quality of service that far exceeds those provided by their connectivity predecessors. However, there is room for improvement given the ever-increasing demand for a larger pipe and more information to flow both too and from the aircraft.

Panasonic’s NEXT ‘Platform’

The next step is what this article is about. The Panasonic development of the next generation system is the focus in this week’s IFExpress. While Panasonic entertainment and communication products have evolved with the data need, the solutions moved from analog to digital because the answer for more ‘everything’ is an electronic one that includes both hardware and software. Thus, the next generation IFEC system from Panasonic is coming to the front of technology and, naturally, it is called the Panasonic NEXT Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity System.

According to Panasonic, The NEXT IFEC platform was developed specifically in response to current generation’s trends and challenges. The system powerfully combines hardware, software, and functionality to provide a tailored solution to airlines. More importantly, it’s enabled by the Panasonic ecosystem of value-added services, tools, applications, and partnerships. More on this later.

Panasonic’s vision with the NEXT platform was to help airlines overcome key challenges by transforming typically rigid entertainment systems into a flexible IFEC platform. With NEXT, Panasonic is introducing a scalable IFEC solution that blends the latest in inflight entertainment technology, connectivity services, and consumer technologies to help airlines reach their business objectives. This approach helps airlines maximize their investment by dramatically extending the lifespan of the IFEC platform.

A key differentiator with NEXT is its ability to help airlines maximize their investment by keeping IFEC perpetually and contextually relevant. It blends the latest advances in consumer technology, including 4K screens, Light ID, Bluetooth, and much more, backed by an intuitive interface that is simple for all passengers to use.

The value of the NEXT platform is increased exponentially by Panasonic’s integrated ecosystem of value-added services, tools, applications, and partnerships. This industry-leading ecosystem includes the company’s second-generation global connectivity network. More on this in a bit

To quote Panasonic; “By taking advantage of connectivity technology, today’s leading airlines are delivering experiences onboard unimaginable just ten years ago.” But note, improved connectivity to the plane is the first step in the process and Panasonic has been working this part of the solution for a number of years now. With the launch of numerous satellites with space/data allocated for Panasonic’s aviation use, the company claims worldwide connectivity coverage. Furthermore, they currently have over 1,600 aircraft with an installed base of satcom. It is also significant to note that the future of this connectivity service is not solely for passengers, especially in Panasonic’s eyes. Notes Panasonic: “Our connectivity service is configurable based on the airlines business objectives – the experience they want to offer their passengers and their operational data requirements … we will get back to the second part of this statement later. However, it is clear that both coming solutions will change the world of passenger and operational data.

The operational side of the equation includes: safety, operational performance, and real-time updates of hardware on much of the airplane that ordinarily would only be checked on the ground or during ground testing. This is a game changer for the airlines as well and Panasonic has planned services that will reshape the management of maintenance. Both airline and passengers will benefit from this real-time analysis. Hardware data analysis and tracking/reporting of onboard system monitoring and security analysis will improve airline operations and possibly ground operations, service times, turnaround and potentially inflight operations as well. Passengers get more data, ground and airborne interaction with the airline… not to mention more movies, more and better data services, which all add up to happier passengers and more profit potential for the airline. If this is not a big to deal to airlines now, it soon will be!

 

What is Changing?

We have mentioned what the passengers and crew get from a new technology and data driven system, so now let’s specifically look at the NEXT System or ‘platform  being developed by Panasonic. First, because the system is in development for the Boeing B777X (-X8 & -X9) and because this competitive solution is probably a tight competition, we cannot talk too much about the system capabilities. You can find out more about the Boeing 777 transport aircraft here. However, this might be a good time to note the Boeing future aircraft development possibilities. The Boeing B777-X8 is touted to be an approximately 350-passenger plane, while the B777-X9 is more like a 400+ passenger plane – and we understand that both are in the 2020+ development window. Obviously if the Panasonic NEXT ‘platform’ were to be for both aircraft models, a modular and scalable approach would be perfect for hardware, software, design, manufacturing, installation and even certification.

A good example of the integration of Panasonic technologies into the NEXT System is the ZeroTouch service, which was debuted at AIX Hamburg in 2016, and will definitely be integrated into the NEXT Service offering. Here is what Panasonic says about it: “The ZeroTouch Service Vision: Panasonic’s ZeroTouch service will reduce an airline’s need to physically touch the aircraft because all interactions are managed through a virtual dashboard. By providing access to real-time passenger data, software, media and content updates can be data-driven, helping to deliver a relevant and personalized passenger experience. Updates will be sent to an aircraft via three high-speed pipes – Wi-Fi at the gate, aircraft cell modem, or even in flight using Panasonic’s global broadband eXConnect service.” They went on to say: “When combined with dynamic content updates, the ZeroTouch service will offer an improvement from an airline’s traditional 30-day media update cycle by enabling live updates to data and files stored on a Panasonic inflight entertainment and communications system. Applications such as movies, games, advertising, live news, and more will be automatically loaded at any time, over any available communications pipe to an entire fleet. Strategic planning also will be made easier through the actionable insight solution provides. Airlines are presented with both a detailed picture of their aircraft and a broader overview of their fleet. This allows more informed decisions to be made in media consumption, system health monitoring, aircraft maintenance, and much more. The service automatically downloads critical operational data during flight meaning maintenance teams are notified of upcoming tasks and are able to prepare solutions prior to landing. Today Panasonic is in Phase One of its ZeroTouch service initiative, and is already delivering payloads of up to 700 Megabytes to aircraft over cell modem and its eXConnect service multiple times per day.”

 

What Is NEXT?

It is scalable, it is modular and NEXT is for widebody, narrow body, everybody!

Again, we should emphasize that the Panasonic NEXT System is considered to be a ‘platform’ by the company,  and this point was continually stressed throughout our discussions with them. There are several  reasons for this platform approach that make sense from a product and certification point of view: 

1. Because the new plane system will comprise multiple capabilities and offerings, different airlines will require different solutions; therefore, it has to be modular, and thus the ‘platform’ solution fits the general description of the Panasonic offering. By considering NEXT a ‘platform’ Panasonic can offer solutions with modular upgrades and/or product dash numbers that might include different software and/or hardware features. Here are a few that they specifically mentioned: aircraft and system monitoring, BITE, Maintenance centers and data communication, actionable analytics, passenger data integration software and solutions, and on and on. This ‘platform’ solution will keep potential certification issues at a minimum as they will not have Model/Box Numbers, but rather the ‘platform’ will only need the added box/software/card certs. This is only IFExpress’ speculation but if certification issues can be reduced, costs will be too.

2. The future of these airline/airplane required and selected capabilities, data storage, and management functions may make a ‘platformed’ system available as a design concept for other aircraft! A perfect example will probably be the Boeing 797 (the next, bigger-than-the-B737 plane) the potential Boeing midsize aircraft that is the required airplane series to address the ‘Middle Market’ – 4500 nm to 5500 nm sweet spot and carry somewhere between 180 to 280 passengers. The significant issue is that the NEXT platform will be scalable to address all different aircraft model types – single aisle, twin aisle, and the elusive middle market aircraft of the future. This will allow airlines to scale their systems depending on route, aircraft size, and demographics, while maintaining a ‘commonality’ across their fleet and it is NEXT’s modularity that allows this to happen.

Make no mistake, the NEXT platform will incorporate an improved modem for their new view of passenger and airline connectivity needs. Here is what Panasonic says: “The combination of our new modem results in the biggest improvement in connectivity Panasonic has made since the start of our service. It provides up to 250Mbps for passenger data, a 20x improvement in speed compared to our first-generation modem. Our connectivity service is configurable based on the airline’s business objectives – the experience they want to offer their passengers and their operational data  requirements!” Once again, it is the modular and scalable nature of NEXT that facilitates this choice by the airline.

To get a better idea of their improvement planning, here is their view of their IFEC product performance development:

Generation 1 (2009 – 2015)

Experience – email, social media, web browsing, 9 channels global TV, 2G mobile service, average 250Kbps speed/Up to 1 Mbps burst speed

Enablers – Global wide beam network, BC-01 (Up to 12 Mbps)

Generation 2 (2016 – 2018)

Experience – Rich web applications + light video streaming (i.e. YouTube) + 20 regional channels of regional live television + 3G mobile service + average 5 Mbps speed + up to 15Mbps burst speed (Editor’s Note: Be sure to make note of the plus signs!)

Enablers – Wide beam network + HTS, BC-03 (Up to 250 Mbps, 800GB SSD, 200 eXW SD Media Streams), cWAP (802.11ac), Dual panel or Single Panel Antenna

Generation 3 (NEXT)

Experience – Up to 250 SD media streams (i.e. Netflix, Hulu) ++

15 channels of HD live television ++ 4G Mobile service ++ Average 10 Mbps speed ++ Up to 250 Mbps burst speed (Editor – We assume the ++ means “plus and in excess of…”)

Enablers – Wide Beam Networks + HTS = XTS, BC-03 (Up to 250 Mbps, 800GB SSD, 200 eXW SD media streams), cWAP (802.112ac), Dual Panel or Flat Panel Antenna

Perhaps this is a good time to mention the industry activity surrounding the timing of the NEXT rollout in the future B777X program and a good place to start is ARINC and the ARINC CSS (Cabin Systems Subcommittee) workings. From their website and discussions with members, we see that ARINC has a lot of IFEC members hooking up with this subcommittee and their definition states clearly why: 

Goal: Passenger entertainment equipment is subject to frequent upgrades on the airplane. The goal of this AEEC activity is to develop cost effective equipment and valuable network infrastructure for the airlines to cope with the rapid and evolving electronics/entertainment industry that will exceed passenger expectations. This includes interface standards to allow airlines to implement preferred systems for their passengers. Cabin communications, connectivity, wireless distribution, cabin interface protocols, and connector standardization are all intricate components of this activity.

Scope: The scope of this project is to develop next generation standard cabin interfaces that will provide airlines with freedom of choice in the installation and expansion of cabin equipment. IFE, communications, interface protocols, seat integration issues, and connectors and cables standardization are also a part of this activity.

Benefit: Cabin systems provide entertainment and service improvements to the passenger. To keep up with passenger’s desire for better accommodations, systems are becoming more sophisticated and complex. Home entertainment and office type computing systems and peripherals are finding applications in the cabin to facilitate data handling and data link to the ground. The growing complexities and scope of cabin equipment has resulted in the expansion of ARINC 628. New series of specifications are added as new concepts and next generation systems and networks are developed. The benefits of the cabin standards are numerous. They provide the airlines freedom of choice, unit price reduction through increased volume, interchangeable spares, more upgradeable options, and creation of more sub- markets for integrators and software/hardware suppliers. These benefits are being realized on the new aircraft programs, possibly regional and business jets, and retrofit aircraft programs. The final message here is to keep your eye on this organization and its findings and reports as the next generation of IFEC is going to be outlined by this group!

Additionally, and because of the newer tremendous connectivity capability coming down the pike, IFExpress should mention cybersecurity and while Panasonic did not specifically mention the subject to any extent during our conversation, we know their engineers are very aware of the issues involved with improving passenger and plane connectivity.  We expect a big focus on keeping airplane data safe – both now and in the future. Some recent internet stories featured airplane hacking but Panasonic security people denied the reported ‘hacks’ and said: “The responsibility for security does not solely rest with an (in-flight entertainment) manufacturer, an aircraft manufacturer, or the fleet operator,” noted a company representative. “Each plays an important role in assuring a secure environment.” Further they called the news reports ‘misleading’ and ‘inflammatory’ and noted; “That one could use the exploit to steal credit card information is simply not true.” Further, Panasonic says it continually tests the robustness of its systems, and that it complies with or exceeds all regulatory requirements, which include regular third-party tests. After visiting their manufacturing and test labs, we believe they work to keep their systems hack free and we expect the new systems to move to the next level up the security chain.

While a few Boeing airplanes were mentioned, Airbus is the other solution that will no doubt seize the opportunity to take advantage of better passenger connectivity and improved inflight plane data but at this time we feel they are interpreting their market properly with the planes they have. Wait one year or two and this will probably change. For example, the Airbus A350 is a logical future prospect for ‘backbone improved’ data channeling and airline profit improvement based upon more and better connectivity and improved plane information updates.

And lastly, we should mention that other vendors are not asleep to this technology revolution and we feel based on interviews that they too see the value in building modular systems. Needless to say, we expect to see some of their developments at this week’s AIX. Readers might want to pay attention as the race for better, faster IFEC is going to eclipse everything currently in this industry in the next few years and note that the competition has moved into a new phase where both airlines and passengers will be the winner. Much of this will be achieved by the OEMs and IFEC companies working together to focus on the ever-developing ground-based technologies that have so far surpassed what traditional IFEC has been able to offer to airlines and passengers due to the lengthy certification process. With an ever-increasing installation base of satcom equipped aircraft and passengers bringing onboard data rich and powerful PEDs, such as the smartphone, a new window of opportunity has opened to our industry with the ability to be able to interact with those devices. We may finally see the ever-elusive connected travel experience become a reality. Stay Tuned!

 

Next generation Cobham solution introduces significant reduction in total cost of ownership combined with industry leading high throughput, tracking accuracy and RF performance

Washington DC | March 6, 2017– Cobham has introduced a new disruptive technology platform for its expanded line of Sea Tel land-based tracking antennas. Designed as an enabler for the new breed of emerging high throughput LEO/MEO constellations that leverage cutting-edge CubeSat and SmallSat spacecraft, Cobham’s new tracking antennas lower the total cost of ownership by significantly reducing power consumption, in addition to delivering tangible savings on deployment and maintenance. Uniquely, Cobham’s next generation solution is delivered as a complete, integrated system including radome, antenna controller, feeds and customer specific RF (BUC and LNB) in addition to a built-in auto-tracking feature, improving link performance and contributing to higher throughput and availability of service for the end-user.

Currently available for L, S, C, X, Ku, Ka and E-band with antenna reflector sizes between 60 cm to 6 m, Cobham’s new Tracker range has re-written the land-based tracking antennas rulebook. Developed from the bottom up to merge over 20 years of Sea Tel land tracking antenna experience with Cobham’s cutting-edge maritime antenna stabilisation technology, the life-time cost savings facilitated by the new Tracker series supports established network operators and venture-funded start-ups to deliver even more competitive high-throughput satcom services for diverse users. Cobham has also addressed the traditional long lead time to delivery in the land-based tracking antenna segment, committing significant capacity to supporting mobility and growth in the LEO/MEO markets.

Headlining the unique new Sea Tel Tracker product line feature-set is Cobham’s new 3-Axis Zero Gravity technology for land antennas, which balances the entire system to deliver a step-change in power consumption for Cobham customers. The solution co-locates the antenna’s centre of gravity with its centre of rotation, resulting in an effortless track that requires almost no power. Regardless of size, all new Sea Tel Tracker antennas consume just 200 Watts, with further saving possible through the use of a 500-Watt back-up generator, compared to the >5KW back-up generator needed for competing antennas. A 90% reduction in capital outlay to provide power infrastructure can be achieved, while an 87%1 power consumption saving is typical.

The Cobham development team has considered all aspects of the total cost of ownership for the new Sea Tel Tracker range resulting in even more savings, including on the cost of site preparation and antenna deployment. Traditional land tracking antennas of over five meters in size require substantial foundations (up to 15ft) in order to ensure the antenna can operate and survive in high winds as well as negate shift in the base over time as the foundation settles. Due to the perfect balance of the system, Cobham’s new tracking antennas can operate in winds up to 155 mph, installed on just a 12 inch thick concrete grade pad with minimal rebar. They can even be installed temporarily on a bed of gravel while still maintaining a strong link to the network. This is achieved by automatic calibration routines which compensate for the movement of the base over time.

“The significant time and personnel commitment required to assemble antenna systems greatly contributes to the cost of system installation,” said Kirby Nell, Business Manager Large VSAT, Cobham SATCOM.“Traditional land tracking systems can take several months to build the foundation, pull power cables, install automatic power supplies and finally install the precision aligned and levelled antennas. It’s a complex, costly task, but Cobham has developed a better and simpler approach. Sea Tel Tracker antennas can be built by two skilled technicians in a matter of days. We have a heritage of being able to assemble systems quickly and easily for the maritime market, which informs our approach to deployment of the Tracker range.”

Further life-time cost savings for LEO/MEO network operators have been achieved by simplifying and reducing the requirements for on-site maintenance. Uniquely designed as a single unit, housing all components in the radome itself, the Sea Tel Tracker product line provides industry-leading Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF), so fewer engineer visits are required during the antenna’s lifecycle. Cobham’s sophisticated system design and intelligent component selection has simplified the overall system architecture, so many standard maintenance tasks take less than an hour, while many service issues can be handled remotely.

“By renewing our land tracking antenna technology platform, we can provide satellite network operators the ability to achieve a massive reduction in their operational overheads,” adds Pete Blaney, Chief Engineer, Cobham SATCOM. “Lowering the total cost of ownership across the network development and operational stages to such a level, our new Sea Tel Tracker range is set to become a catalyst for the industry to develop and implement more disruptive services that are not only possible at a new price-point for the network owner but will also help to bring costs down for end-users, while increasing performance and availability of service.”

Annapolis, MD | November 21, 2016– Aegean Airlines is now experiencing the operational benefits of air-to-ground data link communications using Rockwell Collins’ ARINC GLOBALink℠.

The new GLOBALink implementation is enabling the airline to become more efficient by using data link messages to improve departure control and turnaround, send and receive real-time aircraft and engine data to improve maintenance operations and upload gate connection information to aircraft inflight entertainment displays to enhance the passenger experience.

“Adding data link capability to our fleet will further enhance the effectiveness of our operation and help to improve service to our customers,” said Nikos Panagiotopoulos, Operations Manager, at Aegean. “Our crews and passengers will highly benefit from the options that data link offers. Rockwell Collins is a valuable partner that was able to provide complete end-to-end support including avionics configuration, air-ground routing and integration with our back office systems in a very short implementation time.”

“Aegean Airlines has been highly successful even in the face of very challenging global economic conditions,” said Alexis Hickox, head of global sales, Commercial Aviation for Rockwell Collins. “It’s clear that their investment in services like ARINC GLOBALink is enhancing operations today and for the future.”

  • Technology enables airlines to connect with their fleet, increasing efficiency of maintenance and content management

Singapore | October 25, 2016– Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) has today announced the launch of ZeroTouchTM service- its unique and innovative service that simultaneously gives airlines real-time visibility into performance, improves the efficiency of its maintenance operations and also enables data transfer of passenger-facing content to an aircraft to improve the passenger experience.

Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics, said: “As an industry leader and trusted partner for over 35 years, Panasonic understands the infrastructure and support airlines require. Our data-driven, real-time ZeroTouchTM service combines all areas of our in-house expertise to help airlines maximize the efficiencies of their business and reduce their operational expenses.”

“Using the ZeroTouch service, our customers gain a seamless and efficient method to operate and manage their aircraft — from any location, at any time. They’ll have real-time visibility into fleet performance. They’ll use a robust infrastructure that lets them continuously and seamlessly improve their operations and the passenger experience. In essence, they’ll be able to solve real business challenges.”

The ZeroTouch Service Vision: Panasonic’s ZeroTouch service will reduce an airline’s need to physically touch the aircraft because all interactions are managed through a virtual dashboard. By providing access to real-time passenger data, software, media and content updates can be data-driven, helping to deliver a relevant and personalized passenger experience. Updates will be sent to an aircraft via three high-speed pipes – Wi-Fi at the gate, aircraft cell modem, or even in flight using Panasonic’s global broadband eXConnect service.

When combined with dynamic content updates, the ZeroTouch service will offer an improvement from an airline’s traditional 30-day media update cycle by enabling live updates to data and files stored on a Panasonic inflight entertainment and communications system. Applications such as movies, games, advertising, live news, and more will be automatically loaded at any time, over any available communications pipe to an entire fleet.

Strategic planning also will be made easier through the actionable insight solution provides. Airlines are presented with both a detailed picture of their aircraft and a broader overview of their fleet. This allows more informed decisions to be made in media consumption, system health monitoring, aircraft maintenance, and much more. The service automatically downloads critical operational data during flight meaning maintenance teams are notified of upcoming tasks and are able to prepare solutions prior to landing.

ZeroTouch Service Deployment Timeline: Today Panasonic is in Phase One of its ZeroTouch service initiative, and is already delivering payloads of up to 700 Megabytes to aircraft over cell modem and its eXConnect service multiple times per day.

By the third quarter of 2017, Panasonic will enter a Phase Two trial, which will leverage a new, more robust and more efficient core infrastructure and an enhanced management console. During this time frame, the company will also introduce the Enhanced Cell Modem with advanced Wi-Fi capabilities that will open up a third communications pipe to the aircraft.

Full commercial availability including content, media and software loading as well as operational data offloading is expected to immediately follow the Q3 2017 trial.

GEE’s Enterprise Data Warehouse Trusted by Airlines Globally for Business Intelligence and Analytics

• Cloud-based platform for commercial aviation analytics and intelligent airline operations
• Analytics subscription services trusted by airlines globally to improve operational reliability and to monitor key operational performance metrics
• Most comprehensive historic and real-time operations data available for over 400 airlines globally
• Fuses real-time aircraft-generated data with flight status, ground surveillance and weather
• Improves efficiencies, reduces costs, improves passenger experience and enables airlines’ digital transformation
Los Angeles, CA | September 6, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENT) (“GEE”), a worldwide provider of end-to-end connectivity and media to the airline, maritime and remote mobility markets, today announced Alaska Airlines, which has been ranked the No. 1 U.S. airline by The Wall Street Journal on key operational and customer metrics for two years in a row, awarded a contract to GEE for its Masflight Enterprise Data Warehouse. GEE’s secure and high-performance data warehouse provides the most comprehensive and trusted aviation operations data available for mission-critical airline analytics and performance monitoring.

Alaska Air Group operates Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, which together with its partner regional airlines, serve more than 100 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica. Alaska Airlines, an industry leader in flight completion rates and on-time performance, has been ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction among traditional carriers in North America by J.D. Power for eight years in a row.

“A key element to Alaska Airlines’ success is investing in cloud-based analytics and intelligent applications that support our operation in real-time,” said Dan Audette, Director of Operations Analytics & Strategy at Alaska Airlines. “GEE’s knowledge of airline operations, coupled with their high-performance enterprise data warehouse technology makes them a good partner for the company.”

“We are honored to provide Alaska Airlines with our cloud-based analytics platform that simplifies analytics, real-time competitive benchmarking, and fleet-wide performance monitoring and alerting,” said Edmund Otubuah, Managing Director of Products, GEE. “The Masflight platform will provide key decision-makers with real-time situational awareness and serve as a decision-support tool to support historical analytics and improve operational workflows.”

Connected Aircraft data visualization, monitoring and alerting for decision support and aircraft tracking

  • Integrates real-time Connected Aircraft information via high-speed satellite streaming
  • Merges aircraft-generated position data with flight status, ground surveillance and weather
  • Configurable alerting to enhance situational awareness and track fleet-wide disruptions
  • Meets ICAO GADSS requirements through global multi-source flight tracking capabilities
    Improves efficiencies, reduces costs, and enables airlines’ digital transformation

Los Angeles, CA | July 29, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENT) (“GEE”), a worldwide provider of end-to-end connectivity and media to the airline, maritime and remote mobility markets, today announced the launch of Airview Opsconnect™, a cloud-based application that tracks and visualizes operations, identifies and alerts operational disruptions, and improves on-time performance through integrated web-based tools.

Built on GEE’s masFlight analytics and business intelligence platform, Airview Opsconnect fuses Connected Aircraft data streamed over satellite with ground-based surveillance, flight status and weather information to identify and manage high-value operational problems. The application displays aircraft position and tracks, identifies taxi-out delays (even at airports without terrestrial surface-surveillance) and alerts users to operational exceptions, disruptions and cancellations. Airline managers will be equipped with a do-it-yourself application that simplifies analytics, information querying, including competitive benchmarking, and automates performance reporting by airport, fleet and network worldwide. Together with masFlight, Airview Opsconnect enables ICAO GADSS compliance for aircraft tracking and reduces airline exposure to regulatory penalties while improving the safety of operations.

“Airview Opsconnect provides airline executives and front-line crewmembers industry-leading insights into real-time operational performance, showcasing GEE’s integrated Connected Aircraft capabilities and leadership,” said Bernard Asare, VP Connected Aircraft Systems. “The app unifies real-time, in-flight data with weather, flight information, and ground-based surveillance with a user-friendly interface to support mission-critical airline decisions and addresses regulatory flight tracking requirements.”

Airview Opsconnect is offered with GEE’s Airconnect Global in-flight connectivity system and can ingest data from both third-party and internal airline data platforms. For more information or to schedule a demonstration of the platform, contact opsconnect@geemedia.com.

Press Release:

“On June 22, 2016, due to liquidity constraints, Lumexis Corporation (“Lumexis”) suspended many aspects of its business operations and was forced to terminate the majority of its personnel. Over the past few weeks, the Lumexis Board, Company President (Lou Sharkey) and CFO (Marty Breen) have been actively engaged in a process to find an acquirer for the Company/Assets. Lumexis is currently in discussions with multiple groups regarding a potential transaction. The Company expects to conclude this process in the coming weeks.”

“During this period the Company has been in constant communication with its customers and suppliers. Lumexis management is grateful for all the support received from their customers, supply chain and industry partners during this transition. As more updates and clarification on the future of Lumexis become available, further updates will be openly communicated.”

“Questions to Lumexis may be addressed to ‘lsharkey@lumexis.com’. Please note that due to the volume of inquiries from various interested parties, Lumexis may not be in a position to respond to calls or messages in as timely a manner as we would like.”

Some Relevant History:

If you are new to the IFEC industry you may not know about the elegant fiber optic IFE solution that the Lumexis folks in Irvine developed starting in 2003. We thought you might find some of the highlights from the last decade. Here is a bit of background:

  •  March 2009: US Airways trial of the next generation in inflight entertainment system FTTS (Fiber Optic to the Seat) by Lumexis. Link
  • November 2009: Lumexis Corporation secures $15 million investment led by Perseus, LLC and wins large airline order. Read the full story.
  • June 2010: Their first customer, flydubai… 44 B737-800’s will be post delivery modified in the US and that each seat will have a Lumexis display that acts as an entertainment portal with credit card swipe capability. Read the full story.
  • April 2011: TRANSAERO Airlines of Russia, today joined Lumexis CEO Doug Cline in announcing the airline’s selection of Lumexis’s cutting-edge FTTS (Fiber-To-The-Screen[R]) technology, to begin immediately with full-cabin retrofit of four 373-seat Boeing 777-300s this year and three 522-seat B747-400s starting first quarter of 2012. The full story.
  • February 2012: Pacific Royale Airways, today joined Lumexis® CEO Doug Cline in announcing the airline’s selection of Lumexis’ cutting‐edge FTTS® (Fiber‐To‐The‐Screen®) technology, to begin building out its fleet of A320 aircraft with five installations in 2012. Read More.
  • April 2013: Leading international air carrier Turkish Airlines, winner of the coveted Best European Airline Award from Skytrax for two consecutive years, announced that it has selected Lumexis Corporation’s Fiber-To-The-Screen® (FTTS) fiber optic IFEC system for installation into two of its existing A330 fleet aircraft. The full story.
  • April 2013: Lumexis’s Second Screen concept, we contacted Rich Salter and asked about the product, but first, a few words about what it is. The concept is so simple, you are probably using a similar concept at home while watching TV or reading this email. Sitting in front of almost any work or household screen (TV, computer, whatever) you probably have another connectivity device for checking mail, tweets, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. In other words you are multitasking, because you can. The beauty of the Lumexis Second Screen feature is easy to see. The full Hot Topic.
  • April 2014: Lumexis has taken a revolutionary step forward in terms of IFE touch screen aesthetics and functionality with the launch of its new Fast Adaptable Swipe and Touch (FAST) graphical user interface (GUI). The full story.
  • April 2015: “Lumexis has taken another industry-leading step forward with the launch of its unprecedented new iPAX in-flight entertainment (IFE) product – a wireless-streaming in-seat system at the ultra-low price of $1,495 and weight of only 8.9 ounces per seat.” And lets face it, delivering a wireless connectivity cloud solution to seatback IFE is a lot cheaper than running cable bundles of wires to each seat via routers and division multiplexers. But, the really interesting story here is that Lumexis announced the price up front. We do not remember an IFE hardware provider ad that gave prices in our 22 years of publishing – so this is a first. Let’s read on “Some three-fourths of single-aisle aircraft fly on short-to-medium haul routes that could never before benefit from embedded IFEC,” said Lumexis CEO Doug Cline. “That paradigm is turned upside down with iPAX, truly the first cost-effective HD video tool for earning significant new ancillary revenue from offering a diversity of products and services.” Read the full story.
  • May 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. Read the full story.
  • September 2015: Lumexis Corporation today announced that their Fiber-To-The-Screen® (FTTS®) In-Flight Entertainment system has been selected by Caribbean Airlines for installation on their fleet of B737 aircraft. Read the full story.

Additionally, we should note that the Lumexis Corporation has some of the best employees we have ever worked with. We would like to close this news piece by asking our readers who might have a requirement for some very good technical and business people to consider these folks as potential assets to your companies. If you need more information on how to contact Lumexis see the above press release; however, we will be happy to forward any contact information you require.

Lastly, one of the best parts of working in technology is the association of smart and innovative people who can think how a technology could eventually become a product. In the case of Lumexis, one meeting in the 2004 time-frame clearly remains in our memory. This was a meeting with Doug Cline, Rich Salter and IFExpress. They carried a dissected future IFE computer that interfaced with the fiber optic data network, it had all the participants giddy with a visualized future of inflight entertainment. At the time, this was the newest thing ‘with virtually unlimited’ IFE bandwidth and the discussion and vision of the future could almost be seen as the meeting drifted into the evening. Make no mistake, It is meetings like these in aviation and information technology that are a creative joy to participate in, and events like this that make this industry worthwhile. Stay Tuned!

“On June 22, 2016, due to liquidity constraints, Lumexis Corporation (“Lumexis”) suspended many aspects of its business operations and was forced to terminate the majority of its personnel. Over the past few weeks, the Lumexis Board, Company President (Lou Sharkey) and CFO (Marty Breen) have been actively engaged in a process to find an acquirer for the Company/Assets. Lumexis is currently in discussions with multiple groups regarding a potential transaction. The Company expects to conclude this process in the coming weeks.”

“During this period the Company has been in constant communication with its customers and suppliers. Lumexis management is grateful for all the support received from their customers, supply chain and industry partners during this transition. As more updates and clarification on the future of Lumexis become available, further updates will be openly communicated.”

“Questions to Lumexis may be addressed to ‘lsharkey@lumexis.com’. Please note that due to the volume of inquiries from various interested parties, Lumexis may not be in a position to respond to calls or messages in as timely a manner as we would like.”

Seattle, WA | July 18, 2016– Boeing [NYSE:BA] and Microsoft [NASDQ: MSFT] today announced an agreement to build a cloud-based platform for Boeing’s industry-leading portfolio of commercial aviation analytics tools.

The two companies intend to work together to transition many of Boeing’s commercial aviation applications into the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Boeing – and its subsidiaries AerData and Jeppesen – offer a wide portfolio of advanced analytics tools currently used by more than 300 airlines to optimize operating efficiency.

“Boeing’s expertise and extensive aviation data resources coupled with Microsoft’s cloud technology will accelerate innovation in areas such as predictive maintenance and flight optimization, allowing airlines to drive down costs and improve operational efficiency,” said Kevin Crowley, Boeing vice president of Digital Aviation. “Together, two companies that changed their industries are teaming up to accelerate the digital transformation of aviation through the use of analytics-based applications, cloud technologies and large-scale integration.”

Boeing’s applications provide airlines, airplane leasing companies and maintenance suppliers with real-time information to enhance every phase of their operations – including purchasing and leasing airplanes and engines, training and scheduling crews, route planning, managing inventory and maintaining fleets.

“At Microsoft, we are focused on empowering organizations across industries to advance their digital transformation,” said Judson Althoff, executive vice president, Worldwide Commercial Business, Microsoft. “Working with Boeing, we can help businesses across aviation to become more adaptive, innovative and intelligence-driven, including airlines, operators, suppliers, support, and service providers.”

Every day, customers use Boeing applications to reduce crew scheduling costs as much as 7 percent, and save hundreds of pounds of fuel on every flight. Boeing applications deliver digital navigational information to nearly 13,000 aircraft daily. Advanced airplane health solutions – currently used on more than 3,800 airplanes operating around the globe – allow customers to use real-time data to optimize operational performance, fuel use, maintenance, and supply chain performance.

  • SITA’s Horizon® portfolio to help ease passenger flow, speed up aircraft turnaround

Shajrah | June 1, 2016– With a rapidly growing global network served from regional hubs across the Middle East and North Africa, Air Arabia is to introduce SITA’s next-generation passenger management system to extract even greater efficiency across its operations.

Air Arabia carried close to 8-million passengers in 2015, serving 101 destinations spread across the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Europe from five hubs in the UAE, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan. SITA’s latest passenger service system will help the airline better manage the boarding of passengers across all destinations while streamlining the turnaround of the airline’s aircraft.

Through the Horizon® Passenger Management and Distribution portfolio, SITA will provide the airline with its latest departure control and weight and balance systems.

Horizon® Weight & Balance will increase fuel savings for the airline by providing full load planning capabilities, including a graphical user interface framework, for all the functionalities required to load and dispatch an aircraft. This includes all legally required documentation for both airlines and ground handlers. SITA’s Horizon® Departure Control Services (DCS) is a fully integrated multi-host system for automated check-in, boarding and load planning and has been used to check in more than 167 million passengers worldwide.

Air Arabia has also renewed SITA’s Type B Messaging Service, underpinning every operational aspect of the airline business by facilitating the sharing of crucial operational updates across the globe.

Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa said: “For any airline getting all passengers onboard on time while managing every aspect of an aircraft turnaround is an extremely complex operation. Our Horizon® portfolio brings all those elements together, providing Air Arabia with the tools it needs to maintain the smooth running of it growing operation without compromising on the passenger experience it offers.”

  • Lido/Flight 4D principles Automation First and Management by Exception are highlighted at the 2016 Lido/Flight User Group Conference.

Raunheim, Germany | May 31, 2016– Lufthansa Systems today announced that it will present its new Lido/Flight 4D product generation at the 2016 Lido/Flight User Group (LUG) Conference. This annual conference focuses on technical innovations relating to the flight planning system as well as dialog with representatives of Lufthansa Systems’ customer base. The meeting between LUG members and Lufthansa Systems’ product experts is taking place this Wednesday and Thursday in Lisbon, the headquarters of this year’s partner airline TAP Portugal.

The core features of the flight planning solution are the integrated and continually updated aeronautical database and the so-called optimizer. Based on all flight-related data, weather conditions and the current airspace situation including any restrictions, Lido/Flight 4D calculates the most suitable route for each flight. By migrating to the new product generation, customers will benefit from a modern architecture offering improved integration, a modern graphical user interface and display, 4D optimization and extensively automated flight planning and control processes.

“Our airline customers want a reliable, flexible and innovative solution, because in an increasingly complex and dynamic environment, users have to be able to focus on critical flights,” said Rene Vierke, Director Lido Product Management & Consulting at Lufthansa Systems. “Lido/Flight 4D follows the principles of Automation First and Management by Exception, meaning that our solution simplifies routine tasks and makes it possible to quickly make the right decisions in critical situations.”

The first two releases of Lido/Flight 4D this year cover certain basic components for migrating to current technologies as well as the first functional innovations and improvements for takeoff and landing weight optimization, crew briefing and route optimization.

The new features of Lido/Flight 4D will be presented to existing customers in small groups during the LUG Conference so that individual questions and suggestions can be addressed more directly. The conference will also include presentations on the current status of the overall project, the outlook for planned future developments and opportunities to meet with the representatives of other airlines and the experts from Lufthansa Systems.

Under the name Lido/Flight the product has performed successfully in the market for more than 15 years. Around 120 airlines with a total of more than 6,000 aircraft are currently using the flight planning solution from Lufthansa Systems. In various comparative analyses based on thousands of flight plans, Lido/Flight was able to reduce fuel costs by an average of 2 percent, cut flying times by 1.9 percent and save 1.6 percent of air traffic control fees compared to its competitors.

EBACE Geneva, Switzerland | May 24, 2016– SD Pro brings together patented Satcom Direct (SD) products and services with best-in-class integration partners to deliver real-time data about the aircraft via a single interface. SD Pro lets you view and manage flight logs, performance data, scheduling, trip planning, maintenance information, operating history, and more. Demos of the new technology are available at Satcom Direct’s EBACE exhibit S115.

SD Pro aggregates information from multiple sources the flight department is already using, into a web-based display, so that every member of the team can access it from their desktop, tablet or mobile device. Designed to be a single point of access, the SD Pro interface displays the information via modules on its customizable dashboard that can be tailored to meet the varying needs of flight departments and individual team members. Operators can choose which modules to add to the SD Pro dashboard based on their operational requirements.

“We conceived the idea for SD Pro when we saw how members of aircraft management companies and flight departments had to access numerous information sources, multiple screens, and disparate access points to do their jobs. SD Pro changes that by bringing together many of these functions into a modular dashboard. We’ve already partnered with a number of providers to integrate the systems flight departments use most – and more partnerships are in the works,” said David Greenhill, President of SD.

SD Pro not only brings together information from multiple third-party providers, it offers powerful data capture capabilities from its value added services, FlightDeck Freedom® (FDF) premium datalink service, and the Satcom Direct Router (SDRTM). This allows the extraction of operational data from the aircraft such as telemetry and position data, fuel indications, operational parameters and more. Revolutionary SD Pro technology processes the data and securely stores it in the state-of-the-art SD Data Center. SD Pro is designed to grow, with additional modules in development to deliver the functionality flight departments require.

“SD Pro synchronizes the flight department with the aircraft, in real-time. The SD Pro platform is even more powerful when combined with the SDR and FDF. Their advanced data capture capabilities create a reliable historical record for the life of the aircraft, and save money by accurately capturing cycles and times down to the second,” said Jim Jensen, Founder and CEO of SD. “The future of flight operations management is here.”

  • Airline IT specialist sponsors industry event and unveils new additions to its portfolio

Raunheim, Germany | May 23, 2016– Lufthansa Systems today announced that it will be presenting selected solutions from its Operations Solutions division at the EFB Users Forum in Munich this week. One highlight is the new Tracks module for the Lido/eRouteManual electronic navigation charts. Lufthansa Systems is not only an exhibitor this time, it is also the main sponsor of this important industry event, which will be attended by around 300 sector representatives from May 24 to 26.

Lido/eRouteManual provides electronic navigation charts for all phases of a flight. The new Tracks module visualizes historical trajectories for the next planned route in Lido/eRouteManual. This means that along with the currently planned route, the solution displays which routes were actually flown in the past for the chosen leg. Lufthansa Systems has worked with Honeywell Aviaso to integrate data exchange between the Lido/eRouteManual and Honeywell Aviaso Fuel Efficiency software products. The Honeywell Aviaso Fuel Efficiency software collects the historical trajectory data, analyzes it and compiles a data packet for the routes to be flown which can then be displayed as a separate layer in Lido/eRouteManual. This gives pilots advance notice if there were directs – i.e. shortcuts – for the planned route in the past so they can actively request these from air traffic control (ATC) if desired. This can shorten the flight route, which saves time, fuel and, ultimately, money.

“The trend is towards dynamic data, and pilots expect their EFB systems to provide a lot of information in real time. By integrating trajectory data in Lido/eRouteManual, we can help pilots make tactical decisions which will save money for airlines,” said Igor Dimnik, Director Products at Lufthansa Systems. “Another important trend is flight deck connectivity, or connections between the EFB and avionics systems or the EFB and ground systems. This will also be a popular subject of discussion at the EFB Users Forum.”

Each year, around 570 million passengers fly on planes using navigation charts from Lufthansa Systems. Airlines around the world use Lido/Navigation solutions. In addition to the Lido/eRouteManual, Lido/mPilot and Lido/AMM navigation solutions, Lufthansa Systems will present its NetLine/Crew crew management solution, the NetLine/Load weight and balance tool, the leading Lido/Flight flight planning solution and the mCabin crew app in Munich. Lufthansa Systems is thus presenting itself as the only independent airline IT provider with a portfolio covering the entire spectrum of operations solutions for fleets of all types and sizes. “We have numerous partnerships with leading providers of avionics systems, so we can always meet our customers’ individual needs independently and optimally,” Dimnik said.

The EFB Users Forum takes place twice a year and is one of the most important events in the EFB industry. At the Forum, providers and aircraft manufacturers demonstrate their latest developments and discuss the technical and operational trends surrounding the Electronic Flight Bag with airline representatives.

  • Innovative NetLine/Ops ++ operations control platform and NetLine/Sched schedule management solution successfully implemented for all subsidiary airlines

Raunheim, Germany | May 17, 2016– Lufthansa Systems today announced that the four members of the Thomas Cook Group Airlines are managing their flight operations from Belgium, Germany, Denmark and the UK with the NetLine/Ops ++ operations control platform. They are also using the NetLine/Sched schedule management solution to optimize their schedules. Following the successful cutover at Thomas Cook UK last year, the remaining subsidiaries – Condor, Thomas Cook Belgium and Thomas Cook Scandinavia – migrated to the innovative operations solutions over the past months.

“The Thomas Cook Group Airlines consist of four airlines with different cultures and experiences as well as different processes which have been evolved historically. The successful implementation of the new platforms is a key milestone in terms of harmonizing our processes and acting like one Airline,” said Peter Hauptvogel, Director IT at Thomas Cook Group Airlines.

NetLine/Ops is now being used by almost 70 airlines around the world, 31 of which have already deployed NetLine/Ops ++. This new-generation solution offers Operations Control Center (OCC) staff full transparency around current flights and potential operational disruptions because airlines need to be able to manage schedule changes – both planned and unplanned – in a way that minimizes their effect on passengers.

The Thomas Cook Group is the first multinational airline group to manage four international OCCs using a single operations control platform. The operations control solution offers functions which facilitate information management and enable a higher degree of automation. As a result, the airline will be warned early in case of potential disruptions that might occur due to weather or longer maintenance periods. This allows operations controllers to take preventative action in order to avoid delays or even cancellations, thus improving the punctuality of flight operations. Delays cost airlines more than USD 26 billion worldwide. According to the latest OAG (Official Airline Guide) report, airlines that use NetLine/Ops or NetLine/Ops ++ are among the most punctual in the world.

The NetLine/Sched schedule management solution supports airline scheduling. Airlines must regularly adjust their schedules in response to competitors or updated sales and marketing plans. This places high demands on their scheduling system. It must be capable of fully supporting the development, management and implementation of alternative network strategies. NetLine/Sched gives airline employees access to high-quality optimization tools which enable them to take both operational and economic aspects into account in order to improve schedule quality. NetLine/Sched also helps evaluate “what-if” scenarios and automatically calculates their commercial efficiency. The schedule management solution is currently being used by nearly 60 airlines worldwide.

“The Thomas Cook Group Airlines are already using several products from Lufthansa Systems. We are therefore especially pleased to provide them with NetLine/Ops ++ and NetLine/Sched, the ideal solutions for managing their flight operations and schedules,” said Marco Cesa, Senior Vice President Regional Management EMEA at Lufthansa Systems. “Thanks to constructive teamwork, we were able to complete the cutover at Condor, Thomas Cook Belgium and Thomas Cook Scandinavia within just seven weeks.”

Picture description (copyright: Lufthansa Systems): NetLine/Sched supports airline scheduling