Today’s Rectangle: IFPL’s Bluetooth Technology Embedded in a Seat Arm Cap.


Hi, it’s Tricia! The IFExpress team just wanted to reach out to the IFEC community and our readers during this crazy time that we all are going through. If there is any news or coverage we can give your company, products and/or services don’t hesitate to contact us – we are here to help get your message out. Direct all inquiries to my attention at plwiseman@gmail.com. Through team work our industry will weather this storm. Stay healthy and stay safe.


IFPL

Even in these challenging times, IFPL never fails to amaze us with their innovative approaches. This time, the peripherals experts have given us a ‘virtual product tour’ of what we would have seen at their booth this past week if AIX Hamburg 2020 had not been canceled. Let’s delve into their virtual tour:

Virtual AIX 2020 Day 1:

Ad Power – this product is an innovative way to provide passengers with in-seat USB power that can be monetized by the airlines.

When a PED (personal electronic device) is connected to the seat USB, the solution activates pop-up advertising if the passenger hasn’t purchased power prior to boarding. This is an opportunity for additional ancillary revenue for the airline. Battery anxiety is a recognized growing area of potential stress for travelers and onboard USB power offers passengers a solution to this issue.

Virtual AIX 2020 Day 2:

Day 2 of the virtual tour focused on integration innovations. IFPL is continually looking for new areas to implement passenger connectivity as airline seats continue to get smaller and lighter. The company has introduced its own Bluetooth technology into the top of the seat arm cap (super cool and it is today’s cover image)! Another innovation is placing two reversible USB-A connectors into the rear of the seat arm. One of the primary advantages of having USB ports in this location is that power can be provided without having to worry about the depth available within the seat back. And the USB ports can still be accessed even if the arm is lifted!

Virtual AIX 2020 Day 3:

IFPL understands that modifying a seat is not always an option. With this in mind they have developed under seat solutions which can be attached to the spar with no modifications required!

This is a simple and elegant solution for implementing power under the seat. In fact, the seat spar carrier can be adapted for different power outlets but still maintain a standardized design language. Here is an example of a low profile rapid fit unit that can easily be removed while leaving the carrier in place.

Thanks IFPL! We can’t wait to experience these innovations in person and look forward to seeing the Isle of Wight Team at the next IFEC Expo.

If you want to learn more about IFPL’s product innovations before the next conference contact them via email at innovate@ifpl.com


GOGO CHALLENGES SMARTSKY PATENT

The business division of Gogo has submitted a petitionto the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office requesting an inter partes review of U.S. Patent No. 9,312,947 (“the ‘947 patent”) granted to SmartSky Networks, LLC.

An inter partes review re-examines the caims in a patent to determine whether or not they are valid.

“We strongly believe that the ‘947 patent granted to SmartSky is not valid,” said Sergio Aguirre, president Gogo Business Aviation. “We have submitted evidence of published materials clearly showing that well before SmartSky asserts to have invented the concepts in the ‘947 patent, others had conceived of the claimed subject matter. Further, we believe there are many of SmartSky’s patents that are not valid. This is only one of many patents we could have challenged in a patent review.”


AIRBUS

Airbus continues to purchase and supply millions of face masks from China, the large majority of which will be donated to governments of the Airbus home countries, namely France, Germany, Spain and the UK. An Airbus flight test crew has just completed its latest mission with an A350-1000 test aircraft. This is the third of such missions between Europe and China. The aircraft returned to France with a cargo of 4 million face masks on Sunday 5 April. The A350-1000 left Toulouse, France, on Friday 3 April, reaching the Airbus site in Tianjin, China on 4 April and returning to Hamburg the same day. Since mid-March, the previous two missions were performed by and A330-800, and A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). Airbus also deployed an A400M and its Beluga fleet to transport shipments of masks between its European sites, in France, Germany, the UK and Spain. Airbus will continue to support the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic wherever possible. “I would like to pay tribute to all the Airbus teams, globally, supporting the fight against COVID-19. They’re living our values in assisting those who are saving lives every day”, said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO. ” Airbus is focused on the health and safety of its employees and supporting its customers and the industry eco-system with business continuity. At the same time Airbus is contributing to many vital public and private services and working with partners who rely on aircraft, helicopters, space and security solutions to carry out life-saving missions in support of the global pandemic. Airbus is deploying its employees, their expertise and know-how and leveraging technology in this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, for example in designing and manufacturing ventilators and 3D printed visors which are critical resources for hospitals. The Company is partnering with other organizations in unprecedented ways to achieve this goal as fast as possible

Airbus SE is closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation worldwide and is in constant dialogue with its customers, suppliers and institutional partners. Airbus is in the process of assessing the implications of the pandemic on its operations and the potential mitigation measures that could be implemented. The Company will not provide further comment at this stage.

Skytra:

Skytra, the new Airbus’ venture for airline risk management, and Exactpro Systems, a specialist independent software quality assurance firm, sign a Master Services Agreement.

  • The software testing collaboration between Skytra and Exactpro will provide the stakeholders with additional confidence in the quality of Skytra’s derivatives trading platform prior to go-live in a transparent, regulated and secure environment.
  • Skytra Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Airbus based in London. It was established in 2019 to produce new air travel indices and to launch and operate a regulated trading venue. Skytra works in close partnership with air travel and financial market experts to develop new risk management instruments for the benefit of the entire air travel industry.

BOEING

Boeing will temporarily suspend all 787 operations at Boeing South Carolina (BSC) until further notice, starting at the end of second shift on Wednesday, April 8. This impacts the Airport Campus, Emergent Operations, Interiors Responsibility Center South Carolina and Propulsion South Carolina. “It is our commitment to focus on the health and safety of our teammates while assessing the spread of the virus across the state, its impact on the reliability of our global supply chain and that ripple effect on the 787 program,” said Brad Zaback, vice president and general manager of the 787 Program and BSC site leader. “We are working in alignment with state and local government officials and public health officials to take actions that best protect our people.” BSC teammates who can work remotely will continue to do so. Those who cannot work remotely will receive paid leave for 10 working days of the suspension, which is double the company policy. After 10 days, teammates will have the option to use a combination of available paid time off benefits or file for emergency state unemployment benefits. All benefits will continue as normal during the suspension of operations, regardless of how teammates choose to record their time. Pay practice details have been made available to all teammates. During this time of suspension on the 787 program, Boeing will continue to conduct enhanced cleaning activities at the site and monitor the global supply chain as the situation evolves. When the suspension is lifted, the 787 program will take an orderly approach to restarting production with a focus on safety, quality, integrity and meeting customer commitments.

Boeing is extending the temporary suspension of production operations at all Puget Sound area and Moses Lake sites until further notice. These actions are being taken in light of the company’s continuing focus on the health and safety of employees, current assessment of the spread of COVID-19 in Washington state, the reliability of the supply chain and additional recommendations from government health authorities. During the suspension, the company will continue to implement additional health and safety measures at its facilities to protect employees. These measures include new visual cues to encourage physical distancing, more frequent and thorough cleaning of work and common areas and staggering shift times to reduce the flow of employees arriving and departing work, among many other improvements. “The health and safety of our employees, their families and our communities is our shared priority,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal. “We will take this time to continue to listen to our incredible team and assess applicable government direction, the spread of the coronavirus in the community and the reliability of our suppliers to ensure we are ready for a safe and orderly return to operations.” The volunteers who have been supporting essential site and services work should continue to report to their assigned shifts. Puget Sound area and Moses Lake employees who can work from home should continue to do so. As the suspension of operations continues, Boeing will monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and associated impact on all company operations. Boeing sites that remain open are being monitored and assessed on a daily basis.


OTHER NEWS

COVID-19

Geneva | April 2, 2020–The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic data for February 2020 showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) fell 14.1% compared to February 2019. This was the steepest decline in traffic since 9.11 and reflected collapsing domestic travel in China and sharply falling international demand to/from and within the Asia-Pacific region, owing to the spreading COVID-19 virus and government-imposed travel restrictions. February capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) fell 8.7% as airlines scrambled to trim capacity in line with plunging traffic, and load factor fell 4.8 percentage points to 75.9%.

“Airlines were hit by a sledgehammer called COVID-19 in February. Borders were closed in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. And the impact on aviation has left airlines with little to do except cut costs and take emergency measures in an attempt to survive in these extraordinary circumstances. The 14.1% global fall in demand is severe, but for carriers in Asia-Pacific the drop was 41%. And it has only grown worse. Without a doubt this is the biggest crisis that the industry has ever faced,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

International Passenger Markets

February international passenger demand fell 10.1% compared to February 2019, the worst outcome since the 2003 SARS outbreak and a reversal from the 2.6% traffic increase recorded in January. Europe and Middle East were the only regions to see a year-over-year traffic rise. Capacity fell 5.0%, and load factor plunged 4.2 percentage points to 75.3%.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ February traffic plummeted 30.4% compared to the year-ago period, steeply reversing a 3.0% gain recorded in January. Capacity fell 16.9% and load factor collapsed to 67.9%, a 13.2-percentage point drop compared to February 2019.

European carriers’ February demand was virtually flat compared to a year ago (+0.2%), the region’s weakest performance in a decade. The slowdown was driven by routes to/from Asia, where the growth rate slowed by 25 percentage points in February, versus January. Demand  in markets within Europe performed solidly despite some initial flight suspensions on the routes to/from Italy. However, March data will reflect the impact of the spread of the virus across Europe and the related disruptions to travel. February capacity rose 0.7%, and load factor slipped 0.4 percentage point to 82.0%, which was the highest among regions.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 1.6% traffic increase in February, a slowdown from the 5.3% year-over-year growth reported in January largely owing to a slowdown on Middle East-Asia-Pacific routes. Capacity increased by 1.3%, and load factor edged up 0.2 percentage point to 72.6%. 

North American carriers had a 2.8% traffic decline in February, reversing a 2.9% gain in January, as international entry restrictions hit home and volumes on Asia-North America routes plunged 30%. Capacity fell 1.5%, and load factor dropped 1.0 percentage point to 77.7%.

Latin American airlines experienced a 0.4% demand drop in February compared to the same month last year. This actually was an improvement over the 3.5% decline recorded in January. However, the spread of the virus and resulting travel restrictions will be reflected in March results. Capacity also fell 0.4% and load factor was flat compared to February 2019 at 81.3%.

African airlines’ traffic slipped 1.1% in February, versus a 5.6% traffic increase recorded in January and the weakest outcome since 2015. The decline was driven by around a 35% year-on-year traffic fall in the Africa-Asia market. Capacity rose 4.8%, however, and load factor sagged 3.9 percentage points to 65.7%, lowest among regions.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Demand for domestic travel dropped 20.9% in February compared to February 2019, as Chinese domestic market collapsed in the face of the government lockdown. Domestic capacity fell 15.1% and load factor dropped 5.6 percentage points to 77.0%.

Chinese airlines’ domestic traffic fell 83.6% in February, the worst outcome since IATA began tracking the market in 2000. With the easing of some restrictions on internal travel in March, domestic demand is showing some tentative signs of improvement.

US airlines enjoyed one of their strongest months in February, as domestic traffic jumped 10.1%. Demand fell  toward the end of the month, however, with the full impact of COVID-19 expected to show in March results.

The Bottom Line

“This is aviation’s darkest hour and it is difficult to see a sunrise ahead unless governments do more to support the industry through this unprecedented global crisis. We are grateful to those that have stepped up with relief measures, but many more need to do so. Our most recent analysis shows that airlines may burn through $61 billion of their cash reserves during the second quarter ending 30 June 2020. This includes $35 billion in sold-but-unused tickets as a result of massive flight cancellations owing to government-imposed travel restrictions. We welcome the actions of those regulators who have relaxed rules so as to permit airlines to issue travel vouchers in lieu of refunds for unused tickets; and we urge others to do the same. Air transport will play a much-needed role in supporting the inevitable recovery. But without additional government action today, the industry will not be in a position to help when skies are brighter tomorrow,” said de Juniac.

Read the full report for February 2020 (pdf)

Today’s Rectangle: AirFly Pro


PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Times are tough! Depression just may be around the corner. Read this: Deutsche Bank Economists forecast “severe recession” due to Covid-19 – Newsroom And as of Saturday, 3/21/20, the US numbers jumped up. Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Are Growing Faster In The United States Than Any Other Country In The World  I guess the message here is: As this virus grows, airline and travel news will dwindle, so IFEC news just might be a bit reduced!

The Farnborough Airshow – this year’s largest aerospace expo and a showcase for tens of billions of dollars of business deals – has become the latest major event to be canceled because of the coronavirus crisis, organizers said last week.

Editor’s Note: To give you an idea of how exposed the airline industry is to the impact of Coronavirus, the folks at Moodys Investor Service categorized it a 100% – the biggest exposure to financial risk!


AIRFLY

Despite the current state of air travel, we thought it might be  time to present an article about wireless earphone solutions for travel. The product for review is from the folks at AirFly – a Bluetooth wireless transmitter/receiver for your wireless entertainment earphones, in the case of the Pro version, a device that will receive Bt audio entertainment from an iPod/iPhone/or most Bt enabled devices and send it to a receiver/amplifier in your car, train, plane, or whatever mode of transport you choose.

This is an incredible product that amazed us with quality, small size (57 mm x 25.5 mm x 11 mm & weighs 15.5 grams – about the size of a pack of chewing gum), long life battery and a lot of functionality. Our product review should not only give you an idea about the value of the AirFly Pro, but IFExress feels this is the missing link between wireless headphones and wired headphone jacks because it it creates the wireless Bluetooth link between the audio source and your wireless earbuds or headphones on airplanes. We note, that there are Bt audio jacks being supplied in the industry (IFPL’s is a great product), but not all aircraft have it installed, especially the older jetliners that have not been recently refurbished.

AirFly offers four product variations:  AirFly Classic (one headphone), AirFly Duo (2 headphones & USB-C), AirFly USB-C (2 headphones & charges via USB-C with pass through power), and AirFly Pro (connects 2 headphones & has a receive mode that provides audio input to a device like a car radio). We tested the Pro and it delivered audio to two Bluetooth headsets – like it would do in an airplane; you and your seat mate could hear the same audio. Check out their website if you have questions or want to see more data on this clever product – AirFly Pro | Bluetooth transmitter connects wireless headphones to wired audio jacks – Twelve South Here’s how works:

  1. Be sure to charge the AirFly Pro module before you leave on a trip via a USB charge jack in the back. The company says you will be able to get some 16 hours of use out of it so virtually all of your flights will be supported.
  2. Setting up the device with your earphones or headphones is easy. We plugged in the AirFly jack to our signal source (iPod) and when we figured out how to put our Bose earphones in the “connect” mode the earphones and the AirFly paired immediately with a fixed light on each when connected. You will be surprised at the quality – it sounds as good as your earphones can deliver.
  3. So, when the movie begins on your next long flight, plug AirFly Pro into your seat’s headphone jack to listen to the movie with whichever premium noise cancelling wireless headphones you employ.

The company lists some of the usable headphones on their website (and there are a lot) but it worked with every Bt stereo headphone we tested. We need to also say the audio was really unbelievable and now we can take that hike with the iPod, without the wires – smooth! We also tried sending a Bt signal from our iPod with music on it through the device when it was plugged into the car radio input port – and it was great. Also, the unit can operate while charging if plugged into the USB power connection.

Lastly, we contacted AirFly and we asked their Marketing Director, Marlee Luttrell if the device was universal, and she said: “Absolutely! AirFly can pair any device with a 3.5m audio jack to almost any Bluetooth-enabled headphones (even hearing aids!). There are so many uses for AirFly beyond in-flight entertainment. A few of my favorites:- plugging into an amp or record player audio jack to listen to your guitar or records wirelessly- pairing Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids with your TV- Listen to your Nintendo Switch with your wireless headphones”

Beyond the auto or airline application this great little invention can be used in the gym, used in gaming, or on your boat. We even tried a wireless remote speaker and the sound was great!

Editor’s Note: Here is what might be happening to Bluetooth Audio – Bluetooth’s LE Audio allows better audio quality, hearing aid support – CNET


AIRBUS

Airbus SE announced that it expects production and assembly work to partially resume in France and Spain on Monday, 23 March following health and safety checks after the implementation of stringent measures. In addition, the Company is supporting efforts globally to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

Airbus has carried out extensive work in coordination with its social partners to ensure the health and safety of its employees, while securing business continuity. The implementation of these measures required a temporary pause in production and assembly activities at the French and Spanish sites for a period of four days. Work stations will only re-open if they comply with the new health and safety measures in terms of hygiene, cleaning and self-distancing while improving the efficiency of operations under new working conditions.

The same measures are being deployed across all other sites without full interruption.

For other non-production activities globally, Airbus continues to support home-working where possible. Some employees will be asked to return to support business continuity following the implementation of these new measures. In February, the Airbus Final Assembly Line in Tianjin, China, reopened following a temporary production stoppage related to the coronavirus outbreak and is now operating efficiently.
Airbus is supporting those in the health, emergency and public services that rely on its aircraft, helicopters, satellites and services to accomplish their critical missions. In addition, in the past days, the Company has donated thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services around Europe and has started to use its test aircraft to obtain larger quantities from suppliers in China. A first flight with a test A330-800 aircraft has this weekend transported approximately 2 million masks from Tianjin back to Europe, of which the large majority will be donated to the Spanish and French authorities. Additional flights are planned to take place in the coming days.

  • “Health and safety is our number one priority at Airbus so the work stations at our sites in France and Spain will only re-open if they meet the required standards. I’d like to salute the strong commitment from our employees to ensure business continuity in close cooperation with our social partners and other stakeholders. At the same time we are doing all we can to support those on the frontline to fight the coronavirus and limit its spread. We try to live up to our values, humbled by the complexity of the situation, and contribute as much as we can to society in these very difficult times,” said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury.

Airbus is committed to ensuring the health and safety of its people while maintaining delivery capability for its products and services to its customers

Also, Airbus SE announced measures to bolster its liquidity and balance sheet in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it continues to assess the ongoing situation and the impact on its business, customers, suppliers and the industry as a whole.

Reflecting the Company’s prudent balance sheet policy and to ensure financial flexibility, Airbus’ management has received approval from the Board of Directors to: secure a new credit facility amounting to 15 billion Euro in addition to the existing 3 billion euro revolving credit facility; withdraw the 2019 dividend proposal of  1.80 euro per share with an overall cash value of approximately 1.4 billion euro; and suspend the voluntary top up in pension funding. Given the limited visibility due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, the 2020 guidance is withdrawn. Operational scenarios, including measures to minimize cash requirements, have been identified and will be activated depending on the further development of the pandemic.

With these decisions, the Company has significant liquidity available to cope with additional cash requirements related to the coronavirus. Liquidity resources previously standing at approximately 20 billion euro, comprising around 12 billion euro in financial assets at hand and around 8 billion euro in undrawn credit lines, were further bolstered by converting an existing 5 billion euro credit line into a new facility amounting to 15 billion euro. Available liquidity now amounts to approximately 30 billion euro.

By maintaining production, managing its resilient backlog, supporting its customers and securing financial flexibility for its operations, Airbus intends to secure business continuity for itself even in a protracted crisis. Safe and efficient air travel is a key backbone of global economic development and cultural exchange. Airbus therefore highly welcomes governmental efforts around the globe to stabilize this industry by supporting the financial health of its airline customers and its suppliers. Airbus continues to monitor the overall health of the industry.

Airbus has convened its 2020 Annual General Meeting in Amsterdam on 16 April. Due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, Airbus discourages physical attendance and strongly encourages shareholders to vote by proxy in line with public health and safety measures.


BOEING

Boeing announced several decisions to support the company as it navigates through the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring the company is positioned for the industry’s recovery. Decisions include:

  • CEO Dave Calhoun and Board Chairman Larry Kellner will forgo all pay until the end of the year.
  • The company will suspend its dividend until further notice.
  • Boeing will extend its pause of any share repurchasing until further notice. The company previously suspended its stock buyback program in April of 2019.
  • Boeing is drawing on all of its resources to sustain operations, support its workforce and customers, and maintain supply chain continuity through the COVID-19 crisis and for the long term.

Boeing announced a temporary suspension of production operations at its Puget Sound area facilities in light of the state of emergency in Washington state and the company’s continuous assessment of the accelerating spread of the coronavirus in the region. These actions are being taken to ensure the well-being of employees, their families and the local community, and will include an orderly shutdown consistent with the requirements of its customers. Boeing plans to begin reducing production activity today and projects the suspension of such operations to begin on Wednesday, March 25, at sites across the Puget Sound area. The suspension of production operations will last 14 days, during which Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and its associated impacts on all company operations. During this time, we will be conducting additional deep cleaning activities at impacted sites and establishing rigorous criteria for return to work.
“This necessary step protects our employees and the communities where they work and live,” said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. “We continue to work closely with public health officials, and we’re in contact with our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders who are affected by this temporary suspension. We regret the difficulty this will cause them, as well as our employees, but it’s vital to maintain health and safety for all those who support our products and services, and to assist in the national effort to combat the spread of COVID-19,” Calhoun added.

Production employees should continue to report for their assigned shifts today and will receive guidance on their role in the suspension shutdown process. Puget Sound area-based employees who can work from home will continue to do so. Those who cannot work remotely will receive paid leave for the initial 10 working days of the suspension – double the company policy – which will provide coverage for the 14 calendar day suspension period.

“We will keep our employees, customers and supply chain top of mind as we continue to assess the evolving situation,” Calhoun said. “This is an unprecedented time for organizations and communities across the globe.”
When the suspension is lifted, Boeing will take an orderly approach to restarting production with a focus on safety, quality and meeting customer commitments. This will be a key step to enabling the aerospace sector to bridge to recovery. Boeing is working to minimize this suspension’s impact on the company’s ability to deliver and support its defense and space programs, and ensure the readiness of our defense customers to perform their vital missions. Boeing will work closely with those customers in the coming days to develop plans that ensure customers are supported throughout this period. Critical distribution operations in support of airline, government, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) customers will continue.


OTHER NEWS

IMMFLY

Immfly announced it has secured a long term partnership with International Airlines Group.

Immfly’s specialist onboard software services will support the development and maintenance of IAG’s universal platform (.air). The platform has already deployed the most advanced connectivity service across a large part of the Group’s fleet to deliver a consistent digital customer experience, with built in flexibility to tailor the offering to each airline’s brand and customer proposition.

IMMFLY provides onboard connected digital services specialized in enhancing customer experience, optimizing operations and maximizing revenues. The announcement follows a long standing pioneering wireless IFE collaboration of more than 5 years between Immfly and the Group’s airline Iberia Express. IAG now intends to enhance the .air platform with new features, products, services and retail opportunities designed to progressively unlock new revenue streams and increase customer satisfaction.

“The partnership with IAG and Immfly brings together a world leading airline group composed of top tier aviation brands in Ireland, UK and Spain, with the industry’s foremost partner for pioneering cabin digitization” said Immfly’s Executive Chairman Jimmy Martinez von Korff. “Together, IAG and Immfly will provide digital engagement tools and resources that will enhance the journey of millions of customers.”

“The partnership with Immfly will enable IAG to deliver new personalised services and expand the product range offered to our customers across entertainment, retail and loyalty” said Andrea Burchett, Group Head, IAG Connect at International Airlines Group. “We are excited to work together to develop services that innovate and disrupt the market by leveraging our combined knowledge and expertise for the benefit of our customers and airlines”.


CARLISLE IT & GILAT SATELLITE NETWORKS

Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. announced the collaboration with Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT).

Gilat’s Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA) was the first-ever to demonstrate in-flight operation over Ka on a commercial aircraft. A series of successful test flights took place over the last few months over GEO and LEO satellites. The ESA terminal is a fully electronic beam steering, no moving parts terminal, featuring wide instantaneous bandwidth, wideband frequency support, instantaneous beam switching and gate-to-gate operation. The elegant compact design by CIT exhibits an ultra-low profile, small footprint and an all-inclusive offering of outdoor antenna equipment in a single line replacement unit for: antenna, baseplate, skirt and transparent radome.

“Gilat is most pleased to join forces with its partner, Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, and to present Gilat’s ESA terminal in CIT’s booth at Satellite,” said Roni Stoleru, Vice President Antenna Products & Strategy at Gilat. “Carlisle Interconnect Technologies’ team is the expert in innovative Thermal Management Solutions (TMS) and we couldn’t be more pleased with the elegant and compact design of Gilat’s proven technology for which we are already seeing significant market interest.”

“We are delighted to collaborate with Gilat and to display the ESA terminal in our booth in Satellite 2020,” said Kris Samuelson, Director of Sales, IFCE/Interiors at CIT. “Gilat’s proven and scalable technology easily integrates our Thermal Management Solution for both the small form factor business and general aviation market, as well as the commercial aviation market.”


GOGO

Fouth Quarter and Full-Year 2019 Highlights:

  • Consolidated revenue of $221.3 million in Q4 2019, up 2% from Q4 2018; Net loss of $22.4 million in Q4 2019
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $34.4 million in Q4 2019, resulting in record full-year 2019 Adjusted EBITDA of $145.6 million
  • Record BA Reportable Segment Profit of $41.7 million in Q4 2019, up 17% from Q4 2018
  • 2019 Cash Flow from Operating Activities of $64.1 million; Free Cash Flow(1) improvement of $162.6 million in 2019 versus 2018, significantly exceeding guidance of improving Free Cash Flow by at least $100 million for the year
  • Reached 1,407 2Ku and 1,657 total CA satellite aircraft online as of December 31, 2019, with a backlog of nearly 950 2Ku aircraft(2), which included 150 new commitments from existing customers in the quarter. In Q4 2019, 2Ku aircraft online increased by 118.
  • As of January 28, 2020, total flights on Gogo’s AVANCE L5 and L3 systems reached 244,000, totaling 154 million miles flown. These milestones were reached approximately two years after the L5 launch in late 2017
  • Qatar Airways selected Gogo’s 2Ku solution for high-speed inflight connectivity and live TV on 70 Boeing and Airbus aircraft, with service expected to begin in 2020

SITA

SITA and trade association ULD Care hope to bring new efficiency to the air cargo industry by exploring the use of blockchain to digitally track and record change of custody of airline cargo containers or Unit Load Devices (ULDs) across their journey. By eliminating inefficiency, embedding always-on tracking of ULDs and abandoning redundant paper systems, the use of blockchain is expected to save the industry $400m a year in improved efficiency, fewer losses and prevention of damage. The proposed platform also offers a wide range of authentication and trust-based benefits, reducing the risk of tampering, cybercrime, trade-based money laundering, fraud, and illicit trade. Today more than 800 million ULDs are in use by airlines yet the system used to track these ULDs has only been partial digitalized and relies on incomplete data sharing and record keeping. The proposed blockchain system improves efficiency by making use of all data points across the air cargo journey and provides a platform that aggregates and processes the ULD data in a trusted and secure way. The PoC will extend and upgrade the current ULD interlining platform to include non-airline third parties such as ground handlers via open APIs and a new modern interface. The results will transform the industry by lifting the veil on a myriad of previously unknown factors like damage reports. Knowing the location of all ULD’s (and therefore cargo) at all times means companies can accurately track where loss or damage occurs and recover the costs without dispute. For any given shipment there can be up to 12 custodian companies monitoring and tracking the cargo, with many relying on paper documents making the process cumbersome and undermined by trust and transparency issues. Blockchain presents a near-perfect solution to address these industry pain points with huge time and cost-saving potential. This project forms part of SITA’s Global Blockchain Alliance which is leading exploration into blockchain’s potential for the air transport industry. SITA’s role, as the air transport community’s IT provider, is to provide governance for the global alliance, support the working groups, deliver all required blockchain technology components and ensure proper alignment and validation with regulators and international standardization bodies.


GLOBAL CONNECTED AIRCRAFT SUMMIT WARNING

“To our Global Connected Aircraft community: Let us sneak in a few words among the torrent of emails you’re getting about the Coronavirus. As we near the end of a terrible week during which the spread of COVID-19 officially became a global pandemic and its economic fallout dramatically worsened, we are hoping for the best possible health outcome for you, your loved ones and your colleagues. We are watching the situation closely. With regard to our upcoming Global Connected Aircraft Summit event, scheduled for June 2-3 in Denver, the health and well-being of attendees, speakers and exhibitors is our greatest priority. We have not yet taken the step of postponing or canceling the conference, since this is such a fast-moving story and the show’s early summer timing gives us a little more opportunity to assess. As of this writing, information is still hard to come by on when infections are likely to peak in the United States or how far into the future the current suspensions on conferences, sporting events and other large gatherings in March and April should remain in effect. Whatever happens, we will keep you posted.”


COURTESY of  SEEKING ALPHA

“Without a lifeline from governments we will have a sectoral financial crisis,” according to the International Air Transport Association, which called for extending lines of credit to airlines, reducing infrastructure costs and cutting taxes. IATA last week estimated that the crisis could wipe out some $113B of industry revenue, in a forecast that did not include the U.S. clampdown on European travel. “There is a heightened concern there will be increased airline bankruptcies in 2020 given the fallout from the coronavirus,” added Cowen analyst Helane Becker. “We expect some governments to step in to help some airlines, but ultimately we expect more airlines to fail this year than last year.”


BOEING

Boeing is freezing new hiring and overtime except in certain critical areas to preserve cash as the coronavirus compounds the fallout from a year-old grounding of its 737 MAX. News that Boeing was planning to draw down the rest of a $13.8B loan it took last month sent shares tumbling 18% on Wednesday, their biggest one-day percentage drop since 1974. Other issues: Boeing booked 46 cancellations last month, resulting in a net loss of 28 orders, as carriers switch from the grounded MAX to other planes.


US CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines for “community mitigation strategies” to limit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, which include recommendations for “social distancing”—a term that epidemiologists are using to refer to a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people and hopefully stymie community transmission of the virus.

Note: We got an email in from Kelvin Boyette, CEO Latitude Aero
“Here is a quick LinkedIn post I composed discussing how airline’s current cabin decontamination methods, using fogging and non-approved chemicals, causes damage to the aircraft seating.”

Editor’s Note: The US Federal Reserve, advised “The coronavirus outbreak has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States,” and they will cut interest rates to near-zero on 3/15/20 and launch a massive $700 billion quantitative easing program to isolate the economy from the effects of the virus. It will take the form of $500 billion of Treasury’s and $200 billion of agency-backed mortgage securities. The Fed said the purchases will start on Monday with a $40 billion installment. Interestingly, in 2014, Bill Gates saw the problem in his TED Talk Bill Gates suggests, to put all our good ideas into practice, from scenario planning to vaccine research to health worker training. he notes: “There’s no need to panic – but we need to get going.”

Bill Gates: The next outbreak? We’re not ready | TED Talk


COVID-19

As you can well imagine, with COVID-19 running rampant throughout the world, air travel is being destroyed and the airlines are feeling the hurt – big time! The world is getting hit, while in Seattle companies like Alaska Airlines stock has dropped some 44%, the value of Boeing stock has plunged 48% at the time of this writing! Today (3/17/20) the world has some 196,639 cases and it will continue to climb.

Presently, scientists don’t know exactly when the disease will peak but we suspect 2 months is optimistic and this timeframe will be telling in the US and globally as well. Below the equator, the virus is just beginning to hit and we expect third world countries will be hit the hardest. There is no virus innoculation in sight and that means the airlines/travel/hotel industries will continue to be in big trouble. In actual fact, the travel industry is in disarray, and will get worse in the short term.

If you want to stay up on travel, check out: Coronavirus & Travel Industry: Breaking News & Impacts – Coronavirus & Travel Industry: Breaking News & Impacts – Skift , and here is the Airline Industry Coronavirus Impact: Coronavirus & Airlines: Coronavirus & Airlines: Breaking News & Updates – Skift

Noted AXIOS: “Last year, 46 million passengers flew on roughly 200,000 flights between the U.S. and the 26 affected European countries, says IATA. In March 2019, international visitors arriving from Europe (excluding the U.K.) accounted for about 29% of total overseas arrivals to the U.S., according to the U.S. Travel Association. Those visitors spent approximately $3.4 billion in the U.S., the group said.”

Lastly, we suggest you WASH YOUR HANDS frequently and keep your distance from just about everybody. Good Luck and Stay Healthy!


OTHER NEWS

Challenges and Opportunities In Today’s IFE Market

By: Juraj Siska of IdeaNova

Building an IFE system into an airline platform is more attainable than ever before. With advancements in technology and a growing proportion of younger passengers expecting entertainment during their flight, integration is both affordable and necessary. Although there are some challenges, there are also many opportunities to include an IFE system in your airline.

Challenges to Including IFE on Your Aircraft

IFE providers need to pay attention to studio requirements, which have increased significantly for display as well as headend servers located on the aircraft.  These requirements range from various operational procedures which are there to ensure data integrity, to authenticity and the ability to handle a wide range of common malicious activities such as physical theft.  Another group of requirements is specific to the hardware the IFE providers choose to either play or stream media content.  For example, to stream higher quality video (content that is higher than Standard Definition) displays and headend servers must be equipped with hardware components that ensure hardware based protection for managing and using content keys.  This is a shift that has recently been documented by studios and industry representatives in the Apex 0415 v2 specification.

Opportunities to Include IFE on Your Aircraft

However, even with studio challenges, content is also more accessible – directly in-browser, eliminating the need for the download of applications or browser plugins (a nuisance that was finally put to bed when the majority of browser vendors stopped supporting plugins).  Content is also more standardized, allowing interoperability between products from Apple, Microsoft and Google.  This results not only in a better user experience but also operational efficiencies gained by deploying only one set of content that can be played equally well on Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android phone or tablet.

There is also an increasing amount of content being made available, ranging from standard Hollywood studio content to independent movies or video created by famous Internet celebrities – widely sought by especially younger audience.

An important opportunity has emerged in IFE, and that is affordability.  The cost of an IFE system is rapidly decreasing.  This is enabled by the cost of hardware (Moore’s law) and the ability to stream content directly to personal devices.  Retrofitting cabins with new displays and wires can be costly and time consuming, but the implementation of a portable IFE system that streams wirelessly to passengers’ personal devices is much simpler and faster to rollout.  Improvements in wireless technology also aid in this trend, by making wiring between IFE servers and displays no longer necessary.  Additionally, new wireless specs (e.g. WiFi 6 and LiFi) are eagerly anticipated by the industry to bridge IFE technology to all aspects of aviation.  A common misconception is that IFE needs to be accompanied with IFC.  While connectivity is important and adds to overall passenger satisfaction, it is not mandatory for a functional IFE.  This drives the cost further down.

IFE Can Be Part of Your Airline Operations

It is always advantageous to be apprised of the capabilities that a new technology can bring to the table in the form of improved passenger experience or optimized workflow.  We are at a junction in IFE where what used to be an expensive value proposition, affordable for only the largest airlines, is now realistic and accessible to all aircraft operators.  Airlines and operators should embrace this opportunity to improve the passenger experience and retain customers.


AIRBUS

Benefiting from a maximum take-off weight increase to 251 tonnes, the A330neo offers a significant 650-nautical mile boost in range – or six tonnes more payload – when compared to the A330neo’s current 242-tonne version. This increase in range responds to evolving market needs, enabling airlines to benefit from the unique economics of the A330neo on even longer routes. Taking to the skies for the first time this past week from Toulouse, France, was the 251-tonne A330-900 – which provides the perfect fit for longer trans-Pacific or Asia-Europe routes. The A330-900 is the longer-fuselage A330neo version, seating 260-300 passengers in a typical three-class cabin configuration. The shorter-fuselage A330-800 – which accommodates 220-260 passengers in a three-class configuration, will open up very-long-range Pacific routes for the 251-tonne version, while delivering the lowest seat-mile cost in its category.

Since the beginning of the year Airbus logged net orders for 274 commercial aircraft from its A220, A320 and A350 XWB product lines in activity. During the month of February, Airbus recorded no new orders. In February Airbus delivered 55 aircraft to 35 customers. Single-aisle deliveries in February involved 40 A320 Family aircraft (composed of 37 NEO versions and three in the CEO configuration); plus four A220s. For Airbus widebody aircraft, seven A350 XWBs were provided in the A350-900 configuration and two A350 XWBs in the A350-1000 configuration; along with two A330 Family aircraft (composed of one NEO version and one CEO). Airbus registered three new airlines in its A320neo operator base this month and among the month’s notable deliveries was the first A350-900 delivered to AEROFLOT out of 22 aircraft of the type on order. Airbus’ backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of 29th of February stood at 7,670. This total was comprised of 6,209 A320 Family aircraft and 547 A220s, as well as 328 A330s, 577 A350 XWBs and nine A380s.

The overall total orders logged by Airbus since its creation to 20,382 commercial aircraft, which includes 15,522 A320 Family aircraft, 1,823 A330s, 935 A350 XWBs, 658 A220s and 251 A380s.


SITA

How Will 5G Transform Air Travel?

SITA, the leading IT provider for the air transport industry, has made six predictions about how ultra-fast 5G networks will bring major change for airports, airlines, and passengers. With download speeds of up to 400MB per second, 5G will be a game-changer.

The potential for innovation is huge and airports, airlines, and passengers will feel the force of 5G in very different ways. SITA’s predictions are based on unique IT insights and emerging air transport industry technology trends. They follow hot on the heels of 5G trials like the recent ones carried out by both London Gatwick Airport and Beijing’s new Daxing International Airport services which signpost our entry into a new era of ultra-connected air travel. Gilles Bloch-Morhange, VP SITA Platform, said: “5G is already enhancing our existing applications at airports, for aircraft communications, airport operations, baggage management, and of course passenger processing. And it’s impossible to talk about 5G without discussing Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and the other applications it enables. We’re already using 4G for IoT applications for several applications around our biometric passenger processing solution, such as Smart Path and baggage management and the uptake of 5G will provide many more opportunities.” 5G is coming fast. According to CSS Insight data*, there will be 340 million 5G connections globally by 2021 and a staggering 2.7 billion by 2025, mostly in developed markets. In money terms, in the aviation industry 5G amounted to just USD 0.2 billion in 2019 but is projected to reach USD 4.2 billion by 2026.

Fast forward: how will we use 5G in 2025?

5G will be the lifeblood of IoT

5G will soon be commonplace at airports and the idea of everything intelligently connected to everything will be viable.

The Internet of Things (IoT) brings the inherent need to manage increasing amounts of objects and therefore data. Today’s 4G technology can manage around 10,000 devices in each square kilometer; a 5G network can manage a million. Multiple objects at airports will interact with people and objects will interact among themselves. With 5G, connectivity will be much more fluid and flexible. The new networks will enable massive data flows, providing secure, real-time, predictive and historic views of airport operations. This will make collaboration between airports, airlines, ground handlers, air traffic managers and concession holders easier and effective. The result will be the intelligent monitoring of queues throughout the airport and tracking and controlling autonomous vehicles that assist passenger journeys. Vehicles on the ramp will be served by connected smart tugs and baggage carts. Wheelchairs, mobile kiosks, and robotic assistants will be controlled remotely. It is not all about bandwidth. 5G’s low latency will make autonomous vehicles much safer. With signals going up to 100 times faster than 4G, the speed of digital instructions will make the difference between a vehicle traveling tens of meters or just a few centimeters before taking corrective action.

5G will power air transport-specific AI applications

5G connected Artificial Intelligence (AI) will solve major pain points at airports and borders. For example, biometrically matching passengers to their bags will be simple. AI will be able to recognize unique scuff marks, creases, and material characteristics to distinguish between seemingly identical bags and match them to the correct passenger. AI-assisted computer vision will continually scan boarding gate areas and intelligently predict capacity issues for hand luggage on flights and enable staff to act accordingly before boarding.

5G will drive operational efficiency, increase ancillary revenues and cut costs.

Putting IoT and 5G together will offer great opportunities for airlines and airports to unlock the value of all their data to deliver tangible business benefits. All airport assets will be connected, making monitoring efficiency and optimizing usage much simpler. It will, for example, provide the tools to make vehicle usage around the airport more efficient, delivering considerable savings in fuel costs and overall resources, including labor.

5G will mean exploitation of the potential of ‘flying data centers’

5G will enable the next-generation aircraft to exchange vast amounts of data around the airport and at the gate. The fast transmission of aircraft data, and analysis of that data, will enable pro-active maintenance, quicker aircraft turn-around, more on-time departures and, most importantly, an improved customer experience. Convergence of 5G and satellite communications will serve the end-to-end approach of the aircraft as an IoT-flying device, connecting it with all the relevant systems. Airports will control Wi-Fi quality and have improved disruption management capabilities We see opportunities in licensed and unlicensed 5G spectrums thanks to new 5G standards. Airports will have more control of quality of service in their private and public spaces, converging 5G with Wi-Fi networks to create a seamless mobile experience, with continuous connectivity.

5G is likely to replace the commonly used digital radio communications service TETRA, which is only voice-enabled, for operational and mission-critical services, providing a secure network for running airport operations. Airport staff will have access to real-time rich video updates and live feeds based on evolving scenarios and locations, as well as CCTV feeds for computer vision analysis for many functions and enabled remote biometrics.

5G will deliver the digital traveler promise

For passengers, real-time augmented reality and personalized mobile services will be provided, combining all data exchanged from the various applications and interactions with the building and objects. The airport will provide passengers with relevant, contextualized information and services to assist and entertain them. HD films will download in seconds, entire series will be available to watch offline almost instantly and passengers will be able to live stream sports events in crystal clear quality, no matter how busy the airport.


OTHER NEWS

  • IATA is now projecting global passenger revenue losses of $63b-$113b in 2020 due to the Coronavirus outbreak; no estimates are yet available for the impact on cargo operations.
  • Curious about the size of the Airbus A380 vertical stabilizer? Check out number 7 in this image (#7 BrightSide photo – 20+ Things That Are So Awfully Big, It’s Inappropriate There are 22 people standing at the base! (Editor’s Note: The other images are amazing as well!)
  • Trying to figure where to move and get a tech job? San Francisco and a few other cities saw most growth in new tech jobs – Vox
  • If jet engine operation is a mystery to you – here is a good introduction to how they operate – How A Jet Engine Starts – YouTube
  • We Were Wondering: As the ‘virus’ blasts the airline industry, companies like Airbus and Boeing are going to feel their losses later this year. And speaking of Boeing, as upper management from New York, Chicago, or wherever, works to redevelop and rebuild the Boeing 737 MAX, we wonder if they have considered an upper level observation team of top retired expert design/management/manufacturing heroes (such as Alan Mullally, for example) who could provide teamed guidance/assistance/recommendations on the corrections to the ’737?

By no means could anyone refer to me as an alarmist; however, the potential impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the global economic marketplace could be significant and it has the potential to dramatically impact how we live our day-to-day lives, as well as, the aviation industry in general.

One can argue that COVID-19 is not anymore dangerous than the common flu – but this is irrelevant if people perceive it to be more contagious and deadly. It all boils down to fear, especially fear of the unknown, and the potential for overreacting, and travelers are especially susceptible. A state of panic can quickly be reached, and if that happens, we can say goodbye to rational thought.

The airline industry is perhaps more vulnerable than many other businesses as the majority of people don’t need to fly but they still need groceries, household items, etc. In other words, travel tends to be discretionary. As many of us may remember, we have seen this before with 9/11 and then, to some degree, with SARS a year or two later. Many people opted not to fly because they were scared of circumstances that were beyond their control. And it took a while for the airline industry to rebound.

Our industry is facing a huge problem, as COVID-19 is moving towards a global pandemic. Some sources have compared it to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 that infected an estimated 500 million people and killed roughly 20-50 million. In fact, Bill Gates refers to COVID-19 as a “once-in-a-century” pandemic . If COVID-19 was restricted to a single region (let’s say Asia) most airlines have the capacity to cope with a region that is underperforming; however, with COVID-19 taking hold in Europe, many of that regions carriers are restricting flights and the ‘alarm bells’ are beginning to ring in regards to the decrease in demand and its affiliated affect on the bottom line. And now it has a foothold in North America as well. If we look at the current problems the Asian carriers are facing, we can see how bad this could get. In fact IATA is forecasting that the Asia-Pacific airlines could lose roughly $28 billion in revenue during 2020 as a result of the virus.

How might the airline industry react? To address the traveler concerns, airlines may begin to clean the domestic/short-haul aircraft more thoroughly, implementing similar procedures like they do now for long-haul flights – disinfecting after each flight. Alterations to the inflight service by reducing the amount of interaction between the flight attendants and passengers could also been seen on some carriers. Also, the airlines may dramatically discount fares in an effort to increase demand and fill seats. And to further align supply/demand, we could easily see airlines park some of their jets, especially older and less fuel-efficient models.

On another front there is a broiling dispute between airlines and the CDC. In the USA there is increasing pressure from the CDC on airlines to assist with the efforts on controlling the spread of COVID-19 by providing more complete passenger data about international travelers. Airlines have responded that collecting this information is the responsibility of the federal government. It is reported that airline executives are to meet with Vice President Pence tomorrow on the subject of the coronavirus. It will be interesting to watch how this unfolds and to see the long-term impact this sort of information gathering will have. Like so many things, once these types of procedures are in place, they rarely are removed.

However, the results of the COVID-19 might help Boeing. With a decrease in the number of people traveling and a reduction in the number of routes being flown, one could argue that the airlines that have been hindered by the grounding of the MAX may be happy its return to service is delayed.

As with any crisis, there is a trickle down effect to other industries and IFEC will most probably be impacted by delayed deliveries and/or order cancelations. Much depends on how long the rate of infection continues to climb. It is too early to truly understand what the basic reproduction number (R0 = the number of individuals statistically to catch the disease from 1 individual) of the coronavirus but as of mid-February it appears to be similar to flu.

The questions we face are: How to move forward? How do we adjust to weather the storm that is COVID-19? What changes do we make in order to not only survive, but possibly, thrive?

One IFE company in Ireland has already filed for bankruptcy sighting COVID-19 as the culprit and they may well not be the last.

Below are some hyperlinks that are both interesting and informative. If you only have time to read one, I highly recommend, “Coronavirus On The Latin Bridge”.

 

Using Big Data to Fight the COVID-19 Epidemic in China

Just How Contagious is COVID-19? This Chart Puts It In Perspective

Global Cases of COVID-19: John Hopkins CSSE

Recession Fears Are Rising Globally


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation Reported their 2019 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Results. Below are the highlights:

Fourth quarter sales of $198.4 million; full year sales of $772.7 million
• Consolidated orders for the quarter were $156 million
• Fourth quarter net loss of $34.1 million includes restructuring and impairment charges and legal reserves totaling $51.7 million
Backlog at the end of the year was $360 million


AXINOM

Continuing with its initiative of standardization in digital aerospace, Axinom has become the first digital solutions provider in the industry to provide a production common media application format (CMAF) with cipher block chaining encryption (CBCS). The technology eliminates the need for a native app and multiple file-formats to deliver the video content to mobile devices that can utilize browsers and DRM protection for playback.

The first successful adoption by a notable industry-leading integrator came in the form of a streaming solution that utilizes Axinom VIP (Video Ingest and Processing) to encode and package video assets in the CMAF file format. “The CMAF format paired with the common encryption scheme makes the assets interoperable across device platforms while maintaining industry-grade security,” says Ralph Wagner, CEO, Axinom. “This is a crucial step in our initiative to bring standardization in the digital vertical of the aerospace industry.”

Advancement in on-board entertainment delivery:

Smart and portable devices have become a crucial part of consumer experience and adopting this trend to aerospace not only enhances the value but also makes digital operations more efficient. A multi-screen IFEC offering with modern technological solutions allows passengers to use whatever devices (bring your device scenario) on-board to consume entertainment or connectivity.

Today, Axinom’s product-stack is enabling companies across aerospace industries to leverage the multi-screen trend. Advancement brings forth the following capabilities:

  • Axinom VIP encapsulates the video assets into a single format that is compatible with both HLS and MPEG-DASH streaming
  • Axinom VIP with CBCS mode common key encrypts video assets, described in either an m3u8 (HLS) or MPD (MPEG-DASH) playlist
  • Axinom DRM (Digital Rights Management) delivers licenses to on-board devices for content protection and playback

Providers are also realizing cost benefits as the new solution eliminates the need for an app, multiple file-formats, and vast amounts of space for the storage and playback of videos. Moreover, the comprehensive solution extends to a large number of commonly used devices and platforms, making it extremely practical.


AIRBUS

Aeroflot, the Russian flag carrier and member of the SkyTeam alliance, has taken delivery of its first A350-900, becoming the launch operator of the latest generation widebody aircraft in Eastern Europe and CIS. Aeroflot’s A350-900 features a distinctive new livery embracing its almost 100 year heritage. Aeroflot has a total of 22 A350-900 aircraft on order and operates an Airbus fleet of 126 aircraft (107 A320 Family and 19 A330 Family aircraft). Aeroflot’s A350-900 features a brand new elegant cabin design, offering a spacious three-class cabin layout with 316 seats: 28 private Business Class suites with full-flat seats, 24 Comfort Class with extra legroom and 264 Economy Class. In addition the latest generation Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment system, HD screens and Wi-Fi connectivity will ensure enhanced experience for all passengers on long-haul flights. Aeroflot will operate its A350-900 from Moscow to a number of destinations including London, Dubai, New York, Miami, Osaka and Beijing.


BOEING

Boeing  named Susan Doniz as the company’s chief information officer and senior vice president of Information Technology & Data Analytics, effective in May. She will succeed Vishwa Uddanwadiker, who has served in an interim capacity since October 2019. In this role, Doniz, 50, will oversee all aspects of information technology, information security, data and analytics for the world’s largest aerospace company. She also will support the growth of Boeing’s business through IT- and analytics-related revenue generating programs. She will report to Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun, serve on the company’s Executive Council and be based in Chicago. Doniz joins Boeing from Qantas Group, where she has served as Group chief information officer since January 2017. In that role, she oversaw technology innovation, development and integration, digital capabilities and cybersecurity across the Group’s companies, including Qantas Airlines, QantasLink, Qantas Loyalty and Jetstar. Doniz has more than 25 years of global technology leadership experience, including strategic roles at SAP, Aimia and Procter & Gamble. She holds a bachelor’s degree in applied science and engineering from the University of Toronto, and serves as vice chair of the Digital Transformation Advisory Council of the International Air Transport Association.


OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) announced an agreement with Nelco Limited (Nelco) to provide satellite connectivity services to customers flying into India and over Indian airspace. With this agreement, Panasonic becomes the first satellite communications provider to begin inflight connectivity (IFC) operations under Nelco’s Department of Telecommunications license for In-Flight and Maritime Connectivity (IFMC), in accordance with the Flight and Maritime Rules. As a result of this agreement, Panasonic, and its subsidiary ITC Global, now offer connectivity to both aircraft and maritime vessels operating within India. With the implementation of the agreement and subject to regulatory approvals from relevant authorities, Indian full-service carrier Vistara may become the first airline in the country to offer satellite connectivity on international flights. With equipment already installed on more than 2,500 aircraft, vessels, and other platforms, Panasonic and ITC Global are already delivering connectivity services to customers in the aviation and maritime markets, providing them with access to satellite-based high-quality broadband internet services over India.

Panasonic’s inflight connectivity service is currently offered by more than 65 airlines globally. The GSAT 14 satellite will ensure that passengers onboard Panasonic-connected flights will enjoy a full suite of connected services while flying over Indian airspace or into India. At this time, over 700 aircraft from over 30 airlines installed with Panasonic’s connectivity solutions have begun using the GSAT 14 satellite. Panasonic’s inflight connectivity solutions will enable passengers to stay connected while they fly. Along with its subsidiary, AeroMobile, Panasonic is working with Nelco, the Department of Telecommunications – India, and local telecoms organizations to deliver seamless connectivity for data, text and voice services, accessible via a passenger’s mobile device in flight.

The service will be available on aircraft equipped with this service traveling across Indian airspace, and is expected to launch on Vistara in early 2020 – the first Indian-based airline to offer a service of this kind to passengers. Panasonic and Nelco have been working together to bring in-flight and maritime connectivity over India since March 2019. The agreement was signed by Panasonic, Nelco and Tatanet services on September 13, 2019. Since September, Panasonic and Nelco have been integrating networks to enable connectivity services using bandwidth from Indian satellites landing in Nelco’s teleport in Mumbai, India.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat announced that it will bring its world-leading maritime, aviation and enterprise connectivity solutions to customers based in Saudi Arabia through new partner agreements.

The company additionally announced that it has secured new spectrum licenses to deliver both its narrow-band (L-band) and high-capacity broadband (Ka-band), Global Xpress (GX), services in Saudi Arabia, enabling Saudi-based businesses to deploy these services for the first time. Fixed and mobile satellite telecommunications distributor Sada Al Ammah and Global Beam Telecom have been appointed as Inmarsat’s first distribution partners in Saudi Arabia and the region and they will work closely with Inmarsat’s Maritime, Aviation and Enterprise businesses to roll-out services in the region. Global Beam Telecom & Sada Al Ammah will work with Inmarsat’s Enterprise business to bring the benefits of its award-winning connectivity services to land-based users in the Middle East. Inmarsat’s Aviation business will work with Sada Al Ammah to deliver cockpit safety services and passenger cabin broadband Wi-Fi connectivity (GX Aviation for commercial airlines and Jet ConneX for business jets) to companies based in Saudi-Arabia, enabling airline and business aviation passengers to browse the internet, stream video and music, check and update social media and more during their flights. Inmarsat’s L-band network provides best-in-class connectivity services for users on land, at sea and in the air. The network enables a wide range of use cases such as fleet management, remote analytics, data transfer and other IoT/M2M applications in areas with non-existent or unreliable connectivity. Focus areas for these use cases will include oil and gas, transport and aid and non-governmental organizations (NGO). Further capacity is set to benefit customers in Saudi Arabia and beyond soon, as the recently-launched GX-5 satellite comes into commercial service in 2020, to meet the surging demand for high-capacity broadband across the skies and seas of Europe and the Middle East.


SITAONAIR

Ivory Coast carrier Air Côte d’Ivoire is extending its relationship with inflight connectivity partner SITAONAIR across its new fleet of A320neo aircraft, enabling enhanced levels of passenger satisfaction.

The deployment, due in September 2020, will see Air Côte d’Ivoire’s new fleet enter into service with both SITAONAIR’s Mobile ONAIR and Internet ONAIR Wi-Fi over Inmarsat’s cutting-edge GX Aviation network.

The airline’s selection is set to meet increasing passenger demand for the ultimate level of speed and seamless connection. SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR portal also provides Air Côte d’Ivoire with a host of additional services with the potential for new ancillary revenue, as well as personalized content for its passengers.The addition of SITAONAIR’s Mobile ONAIR services on top of enhanced Wi-Fi connections offers the airline and its passengers the best of both worlds. Passengers can enjoy a seamless mobile connection in the air, as on the ground, while increased connectivity bandwidth provides enhanced reliability.

Mr. René Decurey, Chief Executive Officer, Air Côte d’Ivoire, comments: “It’s true that passenger expectations are growing. There is also increasing pressure to provide tailored services that cover the breadth of our passengers’ needs and data consumption. As Air Côte d’Ivoire continues to concentrate on enhanced, new generation inflight connectivity services for true passenger satisfaction, SITAONAIR is the obvious, trusted partner to support our ambitions.”

Stephan Egli, Commercial VP Middle-East, Africa & Europe, SITAONAIR, adds: “Having previously deployed SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR solution over SwiftBroadband, the move to GX reflects Air Côte d’Ivoire’s dedication to delivering true passenger satisfaction that’s future-proofed. By offering mobile and Wi-Fi services onboard, SITAONAIR is able to provide an inflight connectivity service to passengers that delivers a unified, seamless and fast experience that costs less. SITAONAIR is proud to be Air Côte d’Ivoire’s long-term partner in this venture.”

Also from SITAONAIR:

SITAONAIR has been instrumental in the expansion of Very High Frequency (VHF) coverage throughout Turkey, during the development of the country’s largest new airport hub in Istanbul, which opened in April 2019. SITAONAIR’s expansion of the current VHF infrastructure enhances operations for airlines serving the regional domestic market and the country’s main airports. In addition to the 29 existing VHF antennae which currently serve Turkey’s main cities, including Istanbul, Ankara, and Antalya, SITAONAIR is planning to install a further 14 at six additional sites across the country. This will include six new antennae at Istanbul Airport which opened its doors on 6 April 2019. Istanbul Airport covers around 76.5 square kilometers and plans to accommodate up to 200 million passengers per year upon the completion of all phases. The developments come at a time when Istanbul’s air transport management services face increasingly busy traffic through the flight corridor between Europe and Asia, which spans the region, following the recent closure of Istanbul Atatürk Airport.


SD

SD, the business, military, and government aviation solutions provider, is expanding its hardware portfolio with the launch of a new tail-mounted antenna series. The announcement, which heralds the launch of the SD Plane Simple antenna portfolio, positions SD as a single source provider of end-to-end connectivity solutions for business jet and government operators worldwide.

The new tail-mounted antenna system offers two variants for operation in Ku- or Ka-band frequencies. The Ku-band variant is expected to be available for STC in early 2021, followed by the Ka-band version later in the year. With only two line-replaceable units (LRUs) and a network agnostic design, the common form factor and wiring simplify the installation, which allows owners and operators to equip aircraft with a connectivity system compatible with future technological developments. Partnerships with Inmarsat for Jet ConneX service delivery and Intelsat for FlexExec connectivity have already been established.


IMMFLY

Immfly introduces Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. films on Club Express Onboard, the digital inflight entertainment and services platform it operates on Iberia Express. The airline surprises passengers on the Madrid-Copenhagen route by screening the Joker, the film which received the most Oscar nominations of any film in 2020. The crew provides earphones and mobile device holders to all passengers with which they can comfortably enjoy screening the film wirelessly using their smartphones while enjoying complimentary popcorn. Passengers who found themselves on the special celebratory flight, were surprised with free popcorn, earphones and mobile device holders to enhance their IFE experience. Immfly has progressively enhanced the Iberia Express IFE service since it first launched the pioneering service in 2014, helping the airline further boost its Net Promoter Score. Practically 50% of the passengers which access Club Express Onboard, the digital services and entertainment platform Immfly provides on Iberia Express, do so to consume entertainment content. Over a third of the users, 37%, enjoy movies, 18% opt for TV shows and 13% for digital press and magazines.


BOEING

Boeing and ANA HOLDINGS INC. (ANA HD) announced the Japanese airline group decided to acquire up to 20 more 787 Dreamliner airplanes (see today’s IFExpress rectangle). The agreement with Boeing includes 11 787-10s, one 787-9 and options for five 787-9s valued at more than $5 billion at list prices. The airline also plans to acquire three new 787-9 airplanes from Atlantis Aviation Corporation.

Once the agreements are finalized, it will be ANA’s sixth order for the ultra-efficient and passenger-pleasing Dreamliner and bring their overall 787 order book to more than 100 airplanes.

“Boeing’s 787s have served ANA with distinction, and we are proud to expand our fleet by adding more of these technologically-advanced aircraft,” said Yutaka Ito, Executive Vice President of ANA and ANA HD. “These planes represent a significant step forward for ANA as we work to make our entire fleet even more eco-friendly and further reduce noise output.”

With this order, the airline will add 11 of the largest and most fuel-efficient Dreamliner models, the 787-10 to its world-class fleet. Powered by a suite of new technologies and a revolutionary design, the 787-10 set a new benchmark for fuel efficiency and operating economics when it entered service in 2018. The airplane allows operators to achieve 25 percent better fuel efficiency per seat compared to older airplanes in its class.

ANA sees the 787-10 as the perfect airplane to replace previous domestic 777 models that are slated for retirement.

“Introducing the 787-10 on our domestic routes will help ANA Group maintain its leadership role and improve our ability to operate as a responsible corporate citizen,” Yutaka Ito said.

ANA became the global launch customer of the 787 Dreamliner when it placed its initial order in 2004. Since then, like half of all Dreamliner operators, the Japanese carrier has placed follow-on orders. However, ANA is in a class by itself as the world’s biggest 787 operator with 71 airplanes in its fleet and 12 more to be delivered prior to the latest agreement. The new deal will bring the 11 additional 787-10 airplanes, one 787-9 and options for five more 787-9 jets.

ANA is also in the launch customer group for Boeing’s new 777X.

“ANA has grown into one of the leading airline groups in Asia by continually raising the bar for customer satisfaction and investing in the most technologically-advanced and capable fleet. We are truly honored that ANA HD is coming back to order more 787 planes with plans to boost their Dreamliner fleet to more than 100 jets,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing, The Boeing Company. “We are confident that the unique capabilities of the 787-10 will continue to safely serve its passengers with best-in-class comfort and reliability.”

The 787 Dreamliner is playing an important role in reducing carbon emissions around the world. Since the first 787 entered commercial service in 2011, the Dreamliner family has saved more than 48 billion pounds of fuel. In addition, the 787 fleet’s noise footprint is 60 percent smaller than those of the airplanes it replaces.

ANA HD’s new 787 jets will be powered by GE’s GEnx-1B engines. The new engines will contribute to the 25 percent improved fuel efficiency per seat of the 787-10.

Also from Boeing:

Boeing announced it has dedicated the remaining $50 million of a previously announced $100 million fund to support humanitarian needs in communities affected by the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents. The Boeing Community Investment Fund will work directly with victims’ families to enable them to donate to eligible charities of their choosing. The company will partner once again with Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros on the fund’s creation, allocation and distribution. Feinberg and Biros will immediately begin working with families, governments and other interested parties to identify eligible charitable organizations. All monies distributed by Feinberg and Biros will be independent of any resolution provided through the legal process. ollowing months of extensive discussions with victims’ families, government officials, community leaders and others, we determined the best path forward – both for those who lost loved ones and the communities affected by these accidents – is to empower the families to decide how to allocate these funds,” said Tim Keating, Boeing’s executive vice president of Government Operations, who oversees the company’s charitable activities. “Through this donation, it is our hope the families will be able to honor their loved ones in a manner that is both personal and meaningful to them while also creating a lasting legacy in their communities around the world.”

Work also continues on the previously announced $50 million Boeing Financial Assistance Fund, which is providing near-term financial assistance to families of the victims.
“When we made our initial $100 million pledge, our first priority was to ensure that we provided families with immediate financial assistance,” said Keating. “Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros have made tremendous progress on that effort. Given their success and the trust they have built with the families, we have now asked Ken and Camille to oversee the important work of connecting families with the charitable organizations they deem most meaningful.”


OTHER NEWS

 

SITA provides self-service gates for bar-coded boarding passes at Fortaleza and Porto Alegre

Rio de Janeiro | February 13, 2020–Fraport Brasil has installed SITA’s passenger processing technology at the two airports it manages in Brazil, Fortaleza Airport (FOR) and Porto Alegre Airport (POA). New self-service gates provide passengers with automated entry to the security checking area with a simple scan of their boarding pass. This will reduce queues and make the process four times as efficient.

Andreea Pal, CEO of Fraport Brasil, said: “A significant part of our remit is to invest in infrastructure to transform the passenger experience and make operations highly efficient at these two airports. To do that, we need to provide automation at as many touchpoints as possible, which is why we have installed these gates that read bar-coded boarding passes.”

Fraport Brasil has implemented a total of 26 SITA self-service gates: 14 at Fortaleza Airport (FOR) and 12 at Porto Alegre Airport (POA).

Andreea continued: “We selected SITA because we know that using their technology allows us to process four times as many passengers to access the security checkpoint. This will significantly improve the passenger experience.”

SITA’s solution enables secure checks against the airport systems and manages the integration of third-party hardware and SITA’s software with the existing airport IT infrastructure.

Elbson Quadros, SITA Vice President, Latin America, said: “There is absolutely no question that passengers want automation because it makes their journey through the airport much smoother. And because it takes away the need for manual checks at every stage of the journey, it is both more accurate and makes more efficient use of the airport’s resources, from staff to real estate.”

SITA is the leading provider of airport technology in Latin America, covering all areas, including passenger processing, airport operations, baggage, border management, and aircraft communications. The combination of all these technologies drives efficiencies for airports, airlines, government agencies, ground handlers, and, most importantly, passengers.

A leading global airport manager, Fraport AG is active at some 30 airports around the world, including its home-base Frankfurt Airport (FRA). Serving more than 70 million passengers in 2019, FRA is Germany’s largest airport and one of the most important hubs in the international air transportation system. At the beginning of 2018, Fraport Brasil commenced its concessions to manage and develop Fortaleza and Porto Alegre airports for 30 years and 25 years, respectively.

Astronics

Astronics announced that it has received the 2019 GOOD DESIGN Award in the transportation category for the design excellence of its portable inflight entertainment (IFE) product, Sierra.

The GOOD DESIGN Awards are presented by the Chicago Athanaeum Museum of Architecture and Design plus the Metropolitan Arts Press Ltd. Founded in Chicago in 1950, the program remains the oldest and world’s most recognized authority for design excellence worldwide. Astronics’ Sierra was selected for this award from a record number of submissions from the world’s leading manufacturers and design firms, representing the most important influential corporations in the design industry.

“We’re excited to announce that Sierra has been recognized by the Chicago Athenaeum for the 2019 GOOD DESIGN Award,” said Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC). “Receiving this award acknowledges Sierra as the leader in bringing smart design paired with technology innovation to portable IFE.”

Astronics’ Sierra is an affordable, scalable IFE solution that delivers IFE as a standalone unit from a single battery or, when installed and powered, can employ multiple units merged into a single network to cover a larger aircraft cabin. Sierra enables passengers to enjoy hundreds of hours of streaming audio, video, digital magazine content, and more. Sierra stands up to the rigors of flight in the overhead bin while delivering streaming content that matches the experience of installed IFE without the need for a supplemental type certificate (STC).


Inmarsat

Inmarsat announced that its award-winning GX Aviation solution has powered more than one million free inflight broadband sessions for Air New Zealand passengers. The impressive milestone was achieved approximately one year after Air New Zealand switched to a free-of-charge model for its inflight broadband service. GX Aviation is currently available on almost 25 aircraft within the Air New Zealand fleet, operating on Trans-Tasman, Pacific Island, US and London routes. This includes a combination of Boeing 777-200, 777-300 and 787-9 aircraft, in addition to Airbus A320 and A321 neos. In addition to reaching the one million milestone, last December was Air New Zealand’s biggest month ever for free inflight Wi-Fi sessions, with more than 122,000 customers connecting. This beats the airline’s previous record of 103,000 sessions in July 2019. This surge in uptake for free inflight Wi-Fi from Air New Zealand passengers chimes with recent findings from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), as part of the final installment of their “Sky High Economics” report with Inmarsat Aviation. The research found that there is an immediate $33 billion market share shift available for airlines developing the digital inflight experience. The report also revealed that Gen Z (born between 1997-2012) will become the largest group of airline flyers by the end of the next decade, bringing with them new expectations of technology and travel.


Immfly

The global in-flight digital services and entertainment (IFE) company headquartered in Barcelona, Spain announced it secured strategic investment from Boeing HorizonX in 2019. Immfly’s advanced digital solution enables airlines to efficiently and remotely manage onboard digital products and services on all aircraft types, including in-flight entertainment content, flight information, advertising and onboard sales. 

“This investment will help further establish Immfly as the industry’s leading partner for pioneering cabin digitalization and reinforce our ability to provide global services,” said Immfly Executive Chairman Jimmy Martinez von Korff. “Boeing and Immfly share a common vision to continue growing the digital capabilities provided to airlines to enhance their onboard experience and develop new revenue streams.”

“Boeing’s strategic investment in Immfly drives innovation across the entire passenger journey.” said Brian Schettler, senior managing director for Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “Immfly’s digital cabin solution is fundamentally changing how airlines around the world are engaging with their passengers during flight.” 

Immfly is one of just four companies outside the United States to join the Boeing HorizonX portfolio. The company will showcase its digital services in the HorizonX “What’s Next” booth at the Singapore Airshow this month with other members of the HorizonX portfolio.

Immfly is an award-winning provider of Connected Digital Services and Best in Class In-flight Entertainment. Immfly S.L. is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, with global offices serving full service, low cost and regional airlines worldwide. Immfly’s digital services reach millions of passengers across hundreds of destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia and North and South America.


OneWeb

OneWeb, a global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone everywhere, confirms its upcoming launch of 34 satellites has been scheduled for Thursday 6 February at 2142 (GMT) / Friday 7 February 0242 (local time) from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. This marks the start of a regular launch campaign during 2020 that will rapidly grow OneWeb’s first phase constellation of 648 satellites and represents one of the largest civilian satellite launch campaigns in history. Each satellite forms an integral part of the high-speed global satellite broadband network and together will activate OneWeb’s first customer demos by the end of 2020 to provide full commercial global services for sectors such as maritime, aviation, government and enterprise in 2021.


Airbus

Airbus has reached final agreements with the French Parquet National Financier (PNF), the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO), and the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) resolving the authorities’ investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption, as well as with the U.S. Department of State (DoS) and the DoJ to resolve their investigations into inaccurate and misleading filings made with the DoS pursuant to the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Airbus has agreed to pay penalties of 3,598 million Euro plus interest and costs to the French, U.K. and U.S. authorities. The settlements with each authority are as follows: PNF 2,083 million Euro, the SFO 984 million Euro, the DoJ 526 million Euro and the DoS 9 million Euro of which 4.50 million Euro may be used for approved remedial compliance measures. Airbus received credit from the authorities for having reported and for its consistently strong cooperation during the investigations.
Convention Judiciaire d’Intérêt Public with the PNF

Airbus has agreed to enter into a Convention Judiciaire d’Intérêt Public with the PNF. This agreement does not amount to an admission of liability. Under this agreement, the PNF has agreed to suspend prosecution of Airbus for a duration of three years. Prosecution will be discontinued if Airbus complies with the terms of the agreement throughout this period, which it is committed to doing. The agreement also contains an obligation for Airbus to submit its compliance program to targeted audits carried out by the Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA) over a period of three years.

Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the SFO

Airbus has agreed to enter into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the SFO. This agreement does not amount to an admission of liability. Under this agreement, the SFO has agreed to suspend prosecution of Airbus for a duration of three years. Prosecution will be discontinued if Airbus complies with the terms of the agreement throughout this period, which it is committed to doing. In light of the continuing monitorship to be conducted by the French Anti-Corruption body, the AFA, no independent compliance monitor will be imposed on Airbus under the agreement with the SFO.

Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the DoJ

Airbus has agreed to enter into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the DoJ. Under this agreement, the DoJ has agreed to suspend prosecution of Airbus for a duration of three years. Prosecution will be discontinued if Airbus complies with the terms of the agreement during this period, which it is committed to doing. No independent compliance monitor will be imposed on Airbus under the agreement with the DoJ.

Consent Agreement with the DoS

Finally, Airbus has agreed to enter into a Consent Agreement with the DoS. Under this agreement, the DoS has agreed to settle all civil violations of the ITAR outlined in Airbus’ voluntary disclosures identified in the Consent Agreement, and Airbus has agreed to retain an independent export control compliance officer, who will monitor the effectiveness of Airbus’ export control systems and their compliance with the ITAR.

For legal reasons, Airbus cannot make any comment on the agreed Statements of Facts published by the investigating authorities. Airbus has taken significant steps to reform itself and to ensure that this conduct will not reoccur. Airbus has significantly enhanced its compliance system under the supervision of an Independent Compliance Review Panel. The Company is committed to conducting business with integrity.Airbus will continue to cooperate with the authorities in the future, pursuant to the agreements, and to install a strong Ethics & Compliance culture within the Company


Boeing

Boeing  announced a donation of 250,000 medical-grade respiratory masks to address medical supply shortages in China. The masks will be provided to local health officials battling the spread of the coronavirus in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, and Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province. “Our thoughts continue to be with all those in China dealing with the health impacts related to the coronavirus,” said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. “Through our donation, it is our hope that we can help limit the spread of this virus and ease the burden on local aid workers and medical personnel.” The health and well-being of Boeing employees and their families remains a top priority for the company. Boeing continues to monitor the situation closely and has advised employees to heed all local public health warnings. To date, the company has provided 25,000 medical-grade respiratory masks for employees working in the region.

Check out the 4th Quarter here – Boeing Reports Fourth-Quarter Results – Jan 29, 2020


Other News

B777X First Flight

We are going to start this IFExpress by looking into the Boeing 777 Series and then delve into the B777X and it’s first flight. First a little history. The Widebody Boeing 777 family, commonly referred to as the ‘Triple Seven’ aircraft began life and launched in the Fall of 1990, rolled out in June of 1994, first flew on June 12, 1994, then went into commercial service approximately one year later in 1995. In 2004, a longer range version was rolled out. The Boeing 777 is reportedly the largest twin engine aircraft being manufactured today and the original jetliner had a capacity of 300 to 368 passengers. It should also be note that the 777 series competes with the Airbus A350 family that was launched in 2004, which carries some 300 to 350 passengers and now includes A350 XWB. Here is a comparison video that came out in June of 2018 – (109) Boeing 777x vs A350-1000 .! Which one is your favorite – YouTube

Now let’s get back to the Boeing 777X, the world’s largest twin-engine airplane. The B777 family currently includes B777-200ER and B777-300ER aircraft that are 209 and 242 feet long, respectively, with a 200/212 foot wingtip-to-wingtip difference, per plane model. The dash 200ER and 300ER are the original basis of the B777 models; however, in November of 2013, Boeing announced the B777X. The B777X has 2 variants: the dash 8 (384 pax and 8,690 nmi) and the dash 9 (426 pax and 7,525 nmi) and is a major update to the 777 family. The B777X is the testing and certification baseline for the aircraft with the first successful test flight on Saturday January 25, 2020. This plane is 251 feet long and has a range of some 7,525 nmi. It will typically seat approximately 414 passengers and cost a reported (although airlines will not pay this much) some $442 million with a wing span of 235 feet, decreasing to 212 ft. when the tips are folded. This means that the wings have a fold-up tip that is approximately 11.5 feet long – a big industry first for a jet of this magnitude. Watching the video of the first landing of the B777X really showed a difference in this iteration’s size compared to its predecessors. When looked at head-on the extreme wing span is evident, despite being folded upon touch down (we assume to avoid taxi collisions) and the vertical stabilizer is incredible – the top of reaches 64 feet 7 inches high off the ground!!

Boeing also migrated some of the technologies found in the 787 Dreamliner onto the B777X. The size and function of the passenger cabin’s windows and the appearance of the flight deck are just of a few of the adapted features.

We should also be mention the new GE90, dual rotor, axial flow, high bypass turbofan engine that is, in a word, amazing. It is derived from the General Electric GE90 with a larger fan, advanced materials like CMCs, higher bypass ratio (10 to 1) and compression ratios, it proposes improved fuel efficiency by 10% over its predecessor and is rated for 105,000 foot pounds of engine thrust and weighs almost 20,000 pounds!

Finally, here are some of the many B777X videos for your enjoyment!


Gogo

Gogo announced the upcoming launch of a new digital rights management (DRM) service that enables playback of video-on-demand content in the most popular browsers without additional plug-ins or app downloads. Developed in partnership with castLabs, the new solution allows each title to be packaged for browsers like Safari and Chrome on all operating systems with a single file using the latest file format – Common Media Application Format or CMAF – in the industry. The single encrypted file format allows for Gogo’s inflight entertainment (IFE) service, Gogo Vision, to maximize the airlines library size and store 50% more content than other solutions.  The roll-out of this new technology will be complete in the first half of 2020.

“Gogo is the first in the industry to launch a streaming solution that uses a single encrypted file format to play video across the most popular browsers,” said Blane Boynton, SVP of Product for Gogo. “castLabs is our technology enabler, and a well-known and trusted DRM vendor in the industry. By removing the need for an app or plug-in, Gogo provides a seamless experience to our airline partners and their passengers.”

“Gogo is leveraging our updated PRESTOplay and DRMtoday solutions that utilize the latest advances in streaming technology to deliver a single version of content to all modern browsers, agnostic to the various DRM systems they support,” said Michael Stattmann, Founder of castLabs. “Gogo is indeed the first to use the latest CMAF file format with ‘cbcs’ encryption to enable an app-free inflight entertainment experience on mobile devices. We look forward to a strong partnership with Gogo as we support more streamlined ways to offer content to their customers.”


Lufthansa Systems

Lufthansa Systems is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The airline IT specialist is looking back proudly at the many milestones in its history of shaping the digitalization (the act or process of converting from analog to digital) of the airline industry. In 1995, Lufthansa outsourced its IT department to its newly founded subsidiary, which has experienced a remarkable development in recent years. “We now employ around 2,400 people at our locations in 16 countries and, together with our start-up company zeroG, have established ourselves as one of the leading IT providers in the airline industry,” said Olivier Krueger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “Today, we offer our more than 350 customers worldwide a comprehensive range of IT solutions, many of which are market-leading.”

Although digitalization was still in its infancy and the internet was still uncharted territory in the year the company was founded, Lufthansa Systems lived by its slogan “We’re into IT” from the very beginning. Thanks to its many years of experience within the Lufthansa Group, the company was able to keep its finger on the pulse of Europe’s most successful airline and acquire extensive technical expertise. This gave rise to an impressive product portfolio that covers many of an airline’s processes on the flight deck, in the cabin and on the ground. Lufthansa’s pioneering role soon enabled Lufthansa Systems to establish modern and efficiency-enhancing IT solutions across the entire aviation industry. LOT Polish Airlines was the first customer that saw Lufthansa Systems  break into the external airline market. With many other airlines following suit, Lufthansa Systems’ innovative solutions gradually became established on the worldwide market. Before long, the IT specialist was able to support customers of all sizes and business with its solutions.

Offering groundbreaking innovations such as FlyNet, the first flying hotspot, which first got off the ground with Lufthansa in 2003, or accounting tools such as SIRAX, which significantly enhanced the efficiency of revenue accounting, Lufthansa Systems became an industry pioneer at an early stage. The development of the paperless flight deck was another game changer, as paper maps were gradually replaced by digital programs and modern apps that display weather, airspace and traffic information in real time. Meanwhile, a new era of inflight entertainment began with the first wireless solution, BoardConnect, which enabled passengers to access onboard entertainment on their own devices for the first time.

Lufthansa Systems is also one of the market’s leading providers in network planning, route optimization and flight navigation. The NetLine suite, for example, covers the entire process from network planning, flight planning and code shares to crew management until the day of operations and provides the ideal basis for decision-making by connecting data in a smart way. Lido Flight 4D is a  Lufthansa Systems  solution that helps customers to optimize their flight routes and thus reduce flight times and fuel consumption. This in turn makes an important contribution to airlines’ environmental efficiency, as less fuel consumption means fewer carbon emissions. Airlines can also reduce their environmental footprint by eliminating all paper-based maps and documentation for navigation.

“Based on these developments and the experience it has gained along the way, Lufthansa Systems today is an important and reliable partner when it comes to digitalization and aviation expertise. Leveraging our strong portfolio of innovative initiatives, we will continue our tradition of shaping the future of digital aviation,” said Dr. Thomas Wittmann, CEO of Lufthansa Systems.

In 2015, the former Lufthansa Systems AG was realigned and the infrastructure part of the business was sold to IBM. By focusing on the airline sector and implementing an agile set-up, the company is in a position to quickly and profitably apply its IT expertise for the benefit of its customers. With this in mind, Lufthansa Systems established the Aviation Campus and thus created an environment enabling digital innovation that promotes the exchange of ideas and the exploitation of synergies. Current projects and developments include migrating products to a cloud-based platform and supporting airlines in harmonizing their IT systems in operations. Applying the Total Mission Optimization (TMO) approach,  Lufthansa Systems is further optimizing its market-leading Lido solutions for dispatchers and flight deck crews. This achieves a strong integration of functionality and data, which enables the airline operation center and the flight crew to collaborate in an even more effective way.

The smart use of data is one of the key success factors in the future of aviation. Using artificial intelligence, Lufthansa Systems and the start-up company zeroG are jointly working on projects to avoid delays in ground processes and are investigating ways to make the work of ops controllers easier.

In recent years, Lufthansa Systems has evolved into an important integration partner and consultant both within and outside the Lufthansa Group. The aim of the company’s growing consulting unit is to optimize everyday flight operations processes and design them in a way that makes them more profitable.

On Another Note:
Lufthansa Systems announced that the national carrier of the Republic of Rwanda is now using the NetLine/Sched and ProfitLine/Price solutions. These products will optimize RwandAir’s complex flight scheduling and efficiently determine the best ticket prices based on the current market situation as well as supply and demand. RwandAir and its passengers will both benefit from these important control tools, which will simplify scheduling and support the airline’s expansion of its route network and available flights.
NetLine/Sched, the schedule management system from Lufthansa Systems, helps airlines to make quick and well-founded decisions when creating and optimizing their flight schedules while taking operational and economic aspects into account. Using NetLine/Sched, airlines can take measures quickly and effectively to optimize their schedules.
ProfitLine/Price is a comprehensive pricing system which considers the current competitive situation, price trends and underlying fare structures. It covers all core processes in both reactive and proactive pricing for published and market fares. In addition to enabling airlines to react swiftly to market changes, the system provides powerful analysis tools for developing effective pricing strategies. Its integrated pricing simulation model goes one step further by forecasting revenue changes based on fare modifications.


AIRBUS

In the context of the investigations by the French Parquet National Financier (PNF), the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the U.S. authorities, Airbus has reached agreement in principle with the authorities.The investigations by the above authorities relate to allegations of bribery and corruption and to inaccuracies in filings made with the U.S. authorities pursuant to the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The agreement with the SFO was the subject of a preliminary court ruling today and will require final judicial approval in a U.K. court. Furthermore, agreements with the PNF and the U.S. authorities also remain subject to approval by French court and U.S. court and regulator, respectively. The court hearings in France, the U.K. and the U.S. are expected to take place on 31 January 2020. If approved by the courts, the agreements will result in Airbus taking a provision of € 3.6 billion for the payment of potential penalties to the French, U.K., and U.S. authorities, which will be booked in Airbus’ 2019 accounts. Further details will be provided once the agreements have been finalized. (Editor’s Note: This article on the subject is worth a read!)


OTHER NEWS

  • From Bob Bogash, aviation historian, this past week:
    “ALL EYES ON A DIFFERENT BOEING JET: The first test flight of Boeing’s new jetliner, the 777X, is tentatively scheduled for later this week. Given the situation with the MAX, the new plane will likely be scrutinized by the public as it moves toward being delivered to airlines next year. One of the 777X’s key new features, folding wing tips, has been specifically called out by House Transportation Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). DeFazio has repeatedly cited the 777X wings as an example of the kind of change to a plane that he thinks needs more oversight. 50 years ago last week (Jan 22), the first revenue trip of a 747 left JFK for LHR – Pan Am. The scheduled departed time was on Jan 21, but the flight departed 7 hours late – thus, actually at 0150 hrs on Jan 22.) The airplane, with 336 passengers, had problems with a faulty door closing mechanism, the cargo loading, and ultimately, one of its engines – Number 4. The Clipper Young America, N747PA, was the aircraft that was supposed to have inaugurated the world’s first 747 service on Pan Am’s blue ribbon JFK – LHR route. It had a BTB (Block Turn Back) due to engine surge and overheat and returned to the gate. Due to the engine situation it suffered, the honor went to Clipper Victor, N736PA. Clipper Victor is also the aircraft that collided with the KLM 747 at Tenerife, Norte in 1977. Bob B.”
  • Having a problem with logging on at airports? There is a way to do so, but WARNING, there is no security like SSL. So, only use it when the other data links are busy or don’t work! NeverSSL – helping you get online. Further, Zapier has some public Wi-Fi suggestions.
  • WARNING: Do not go to Wuhan: China Travel Advisory and things are getting worse China’s Xi warns virus is ‘accelerating’, country facing ‘grave situation’ – CNA

Well, Happy New Year everybody! It’s the beginning of 2020 and IFExpress is back with a lot of aviation news for you. Thanks for joining us and Stay Tuned!

2020 PREDICTIONS

  • “Fiber and free-space optical networks are coming to the cabin in 2020 – for higher bandwidth, weight reduction, and future-proofing.” – Rich Salter: Industry Consultant
  • “One more Management Change in Boeing because the 737 Max will not be settle this year.” – Anonymous
  • “Due to war in the Middle East, oil will go up 50% in spite of US oil production increases (as will gasoline prices.) Trump/Current Administration will further pull back Environmental Regulations in order to support the war and increase ‘contributor’s’ profits on the false presumption it is necessary to support war efforts.” – Anonymous
  • “China will surpass the USA in both technology and military development, esp. in area of hypersonic missile development.” – Anonymous
  • “Major hack of Defense Companies that will be covered up by the DoD.” – Anonymous
  • Bold and Outrageous Predictions for the Travel Industry in 2020 – Skift

SMARTSKY

SmartSky Networks has received an additional $25 million from funds managed by the Global Credit Opportunities team at BlackRock, after surpassing an important network deployment milestone on its way towards beginning commercial operations during the second quarter of 2020.

Funds managed by the Global Credit Opportunities platform at BlackRock previously committed to a $75 million credit facility, with $50 million drawn initially. The final $25 million was contingent upon the company making substantial progress on the nationwide network rollout, which it achieved in November. “SmartSky has consistently been able to attract capital from top companies because there is strong support for our technology in aviation connectivity,” said Haynes Griffin, SmartSky Chairman and CEO. “We appreciate the continued confidence from a respected and sophisticated firm such as BlackRock.” SmartSky is reinventing connectivity, building a new-generation network from the ground up with a novel single-beam-per-aircraft approach using both proven 4G LTE and emerging 5G technologies. After eight years of development backed by more than 140 patents and over 1,000 hours of flight testing, including by aircraft owners, airlines, fleet managers and journalists, SmartSky’s network is frequently called the best performing WiFi network in aviation as it progresses towards launch in 2020.

“Customers have a huge pent-up demand for a fully capable airborne network that provides a phenomenal 10x better experience in the sky while also opening significant possibilities for advancing aviation in maintenance, environmental, operational, financial, and other areas,” said Ryan Stone, SmartSky President.
SmartSky is maximizing the benefits of high-performance connectivity through its digital solutions platform, Skytelligence, which enables advanced applications and services. For example, SmartSky recently announced that Skytelligence services support its collaboration with the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) crowdsourced effort to mitigate and avoid turbulence in real time across the skies. The results are expected to lower turbulence related injuries, provide smoother flights, and save costly aircraft repairs for both business and commercial aviation.

SmartSky Networks is based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle and was formed in 2011 by senior telecommunications and aviation executives seeking to transform aviation through disruptive communications technologies and related tools. SmartSky is rolling out its innovative air-to-ground network in 2020. The network takes advantage of patented spectrum reuse, advanced beamforming technologies and 60 MHz of spectrum for significantly enhanced connectivity. SmartSky’s network uniquely enables a productive experience in the air similar to on the ground, including unmatched capacity for data transmissions both to and from the aircraft. This real-time, low latency, bidirectional data link makes SmartSky the best in-flight user experience, and a key enabler for the new and enhanced apps, services, and hardware.


AIRBUS

Airbus delivered 863 aircraft in 2019, according to unconfirmed reports; it had been projecting around 860.

U.S.-based Spirit Airlines has finalized a purchase agreement with Airbus for 100 A320neo Family aircraft. In October, the two parties had signed and announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the purchase of up to 100 of the aircraft – a mix of A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo – to meet the airline’s future fleet requirements. Spirit is based in South Florida and is the fastest-growing airline in the United States, with flights throughout the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. The airline will announce an engine selection at a later date. Featuring the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky, the best-selling A320neo Family, comprising the A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo, will deliver a fuel-burn reduction of approximately 20% as well as 50% less noise compared to previous-generation aircraft, thanks to incorporating the very latest technologies including new-generation engines and Sharklets. Firm orders worldwide for the A320neo Family now have surpassed 7,300 from more than 110 global customers.


BOEING

Boeing announced that J. Michael Luttig, 65, valued Counselor and Senior Advisor to the Boeing Board of Directors, has informed the Board of his long-considered retirement at year end. Luttig, who served as Boeing’s General Counsel from 2006 until assuming his current responsibilities in May 2019, has been managing legal matters associated with the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents, and advising the Board on strategic matters.

On December 23, 2019 Boeing announced that its Board of Directors named current Chairman, David L. Calhoun, as Chief Executive Officer and President, effective January 13, 2020. Mr. Calhoun will remain a member of the Board. In addition, Board member Lawrence W. Kellner will become non-executive Chairman of the Board effective immediately. The Company also announced that Dennis A. Muilenburg has resigned from his positions as Chief Executive Officer and Board director effective immediately. Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith will serve as interim CEO during the brief transition period, while Mr. Calhoun exits his non-Boeing commitments. The Board of Directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the Company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders. Under the Company’s new leadership, Boeing will operate with a renewed commitment to full transparency, including effective and proactive communication with the FAA, other global regulators and its customers. “On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I am pleased that Dave has agreed to lead Boeing at this critical juncture,” Mr. Kellner said. He added, “Dave has deep industry experience and a proven track record of strong leadership, and he recognizes the challenges we must confront. The Board and I look forward to working with him and the rest of the Boeing team to ensure that today marks a new way forward for our company.”
Mr. Calhoun said, “I strongly believe in the future of Boeing and the 737 MAX. I am honored to lead this great company and the 150,000 dedicated employees who are working hard to create the future of aviation.”


OTHER NEWS

We realize these following links are not aviation/IFEC related. However, the wild fires in Australia are a global concern. We have contacted our friends down-under and they are okay; however, they all need help down there – please get involved! Here are some noteworthy links on the subject:

Lastly, here is your free song (and video) to help ring in the New Year – hope you like Dwight Yoakam and his Long White Cadillac! Dwight Yoakam – Long White Cadillac official video – YouTube

Astronics Corporation announced a new cooperation with China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC). The collaboration between Astronics and CMC will create a channel for Astronics to provide Chinese airlines, OEMs and service providers with state-of-the-art inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) hardware and certification services for compliance in China and the United States. On November 6, Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC), and Ruan Guang, Chairman of CMC, signed the cooperation agreement at the Second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China. Top executives from Astronics and China Genertec, the shareholder of CMC, witnessed the signing ceremony.

“This agreement enables Astronics to serve Chinese aircraft enterprises with the world’s most advanced IFEC hardware technology and certification services, and strongly positions us in the fastest growing aerospace market in the world,” says Michael Kuehn.

(Editor’s Note: If you would like more information on the Astronics Inflight Entertainment System hardware: Inflight Entertainment System Hardware)


DUBAI

Last week the 2019 Dubai Airshow resulted in over $54 Billion in total sales (industry estimates) of all airplanes. Airbus and Boeing each snagged multi-billion dollar orders, and this week, we thought you might like to review some of the commercial sales listings and deals. Airlines are also reconsidering their fleets based on the economy, future aircraft development, and a myriad of ‘wait-and-see’ challenges facing manufacturers and airlines alike. There were some 60,692 trade show attendees. Here are some of the stories of sales and deals at the show.

Airbus:

Boeing:


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, announced that its GX Aviation inflight broadband solution can now be accessed by passengers traveling on Air France’s brand new Airbus A350 aircraft. Air France’s first Airbus A350, named ‘Toulouse’, was delivered with GX Aviation installed. The aircraft entered commercial service in October with an inaugural flight to Toronto, which it will serve daily throughout the winter season. The aircraft will eventually operate to six destinations on four continents from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. GX Aviation is a key part of Air France’s Airbus A350 onboard experience in all three cabins – economy, premium economy and business class. The airline offers three different Wi-Fi packages: a free ‘Message’ pass to send and receive messages throughout the flight; a ‘Surf’ pass costing to surf the internet, read and send emails; and a ‘Stream’ pass to enjoy high-speed internet, streaming and downloads, with the ‘Message’ and ‘Surf’ passes included.

Air France is the latest airline to launch commercial service with GX Aviation, powered by the world’s first and only globally available broadband network. It will also benefit from major upcoming enhancements to Inmarsat’s GX network, with additional capacity being introduced by eight new GX payloads scheduled to launch in the coming four years, starting with GX5, which launched on 22 November. This pioneering new generation of GX satellites represents a transformative step-change in inflight broadband capabilities. These include the ground-breaking GX7, 8 & 9 satellites, which feature thousands of dynamically-formed beams that direct capacity over high-demand areas, and the innovative new GX10A & 10B Arctic payloads, which will be the only broadband satellite service dedicated to this region.


AIR ASTANA

Air Astana has been awarded the best in Central Asia for “Food, Drink and On-Board Entertainment Systems” from APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) at a ceremony held in Singapore on 13th November 2019. The APEX rating is based on online reviews of passengers and verified by an independent external audit company. In total, more than a million flights by more than 600 airlines around the world were rated on a 5-point scale on: seat comfort, on-board service, food and drink, entertainment systems and wi-fi service. APEX is a European rating agency, which evaluates the levels of passenger service worldwide and is considered one of the most prestigious and reputable ratings organizations in the airline industry.

In September 2019, Air Astana received an APEX 5-star rating among major carriers for the second time.


BOEING

Boeing marked a key milestone as thousands of employees gathered for the debut of the first 737 MAX 10 at the company’s Renton, Washington factory. During a ceremony, Boeing leaders highlighted the team’s accomplishments and recognized their efforts in completing production of the newest member of the 737 MAX family. “Today is not just about a new airplane. It’s about the people who design, build and support it,” said Mark Jenks, vice president and general manager of the 737 program. “This team’s relentless focus on safety and quality shows the commitment we have to our airline customers and every person who flies on a Boeing airplane.” The 737 MAX 10, the largest variant of the MAX family, can seat up to 230 passengers and offers the lowest seat-mile cost of any single-aisle airplane ever produced. The airplane will now undergo system checks and engine runs prior to first flight next year. “I’m honored to take this airplane on its first flight and show the world what you’ve put your heart and soul into,” 737 Chief Pilot Jennifer Henderson told the employee crowd. The 737 MAX 10 currently has more than 550 orders and commitments from more than 20 customers around the globe.

(Editor’s Note: This airplane has over 500 Boeing orders!)


OTHER NEWS

Technology delivering enhanced passenger experience at airport

Australian Airports Association’s (AAA) National conference | November 18, 2019–Gold Coast Airport has extended its partnership with global IT provider SITA for passenger and baggage technology until 2024. The new agreement continues the airport’s close relationship with SITA, which has been in place for more than 10 years.

Gold Coast Airport uses SITA AirportConnect® Open, the common-use platform, together with self-service bag drop and check-in kiosks. All this technology combines to deliver an efficient and cost-effective solution to the airlines, while ensuring an enhanced passenger experience at the airport.

This announcement follows the release of SITA’s 2019 Air Transport IT Insights, which revealed that investment in automating the passenger journey is providing a faster, more pleasant airport experience. According to the report, airport CIOs are seeing strong returns on their technology investments with 68% recording a year-on-year improvement of up to 20% in passenger satisfaction levels, while 44% saw an increase in average passenger processing times.

Mark Allen, General Manager Technology, Queensland Airports Limited, said: “Gold Coast Airport had been one of Australia’s fastest-growing airports in the past decade. Throughout this time, SITA has been a trusted partner, ensuring we achieved our goals. SITA’s ability to deliver a smooth transition to a common-use passenger processing system (CUPPS), with complete flexibility to embrace individual carrier requirements, has been particularly valuable.”

Jay Youlten, SITA Regional Director, North Asia, and Pacific, said: “Gold Coast Airport is a prime example of how investment in technology can increase operational efficiency and satisfaction among passengers. SITA has played a key role in supporting Gold Coast Airport’s growth for many years, with not only the best-in-class technology, but also a team that truly understands and supports the airport’s ambitions. We are confident we’ll match the future demands of this airport, which is 100% dedicated to delivering an outstanding passenger experience.”

Gold Coast Airport welcomed almost 6.5 million passengers in FY2019, making it the fifth busiest international airport in Australia and sixth busiest overall. The airport’s passenger numbers have steadily risen in recent years and are expected to more than double by 2037. The extended partnership with SITA comes as $500 million is invested in redeveloping the airport precinct and represents a commitment to supporting future growth, while continually improving passenger experiences.

GOGO

Gogo together with Eutelsat Communications announced a new satellite capacity agreement for high-speed inflight connectivity services. As part of the new multi-year agreement, Gogo has leased HTS bandwidth on EUTELSAT 10B satellite, to be leveraged over Europe and the Middle East. The new satellite is set to launch in 2022. “We are advancing capacity capabilities given the growing demand for high-speed inflight connectivity services,” said Oakleigh Thorne, president and CEO of Gogo. “Through our partnership with Eutelsat, Gogo 2Ku will continue to enable the best passenger experience for global airlines.” Noted Eutelsat, “We are thrilled about our ongoing relationship with Gogo, a long-standing partner and a leading provider for inflight connectivity,” said Philippe Oliva, Chief Commercial Officer. “This agreement highlights the relevance of our newly ordered EUTELSAT 10B for inflight connectivity and we look forward to supporting Gogo as they increase capacity in Europe and the Middle East to provide the best services to their airline partners.”

On another note, Gogo was recognized at the fourth annual CIO & CDO Summit in Shanghai, China, in late September for an award with the Best Digital Solution for excellence in digital and intelligent airline solutions. “This is a proud moment for Gogo and being recognized with this award further demonstrates how Gogo is delivering the best products and services to our global airline partners and their customers,” said Oakleigh Thorne, CEO of Gogo. “We are excited for the potential we have to bring Gogo 2Ku to the Chinese market, as well as other markets in the Asia Pacific region.”The award criteria included creating major innovation breakthroughs; overcoming substantial technology challenges and bottlenecks; offering an industrial-leading product with high availability, stability and sustainability; operational excellence; and being a well-known brand with a good reputation.


AIRBUS

India’s IndiGo placed a firm order for 300 A320neo Family aircraft. This marks one of Airbus’ largest aircraft orders ever with a single airline operator. This latest IndiGo order comprises a mix of A320neo, A321neo and A321XLR aircraft. This will take IndiGo’s total number of A320neo Family aircraft orders to 730. IndiGo is among the fastest growing carriers in the world. Since its first A320neo aircraft was delivered in March 2016, its fleet of A320neo Family aircraft has grown into the world’s largest with 97 A320neo aircraft, operating along side 128 A320ceos. The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step from the A321LR which responds to market needs for even more range and payload, creating more value for the airlines. The aircraft will deliver an unprecedented Xtra Long Range of up to 4,700nm – with 30 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation competitor jets. At the end of September 2019, the A320neo Family had received more than 6,650 firm orders from nearly 110 customers worldwide.

Also from Airbus, Vietnamese carrier Vietjet announced that it will add the A321XLR to its fleet, with a firm order for 15 aircraft and the conversion of five A321neo aircraft from its existing backlog. The announcement was made during a visit to Airbus headquarters in Toulouse by Vietjet President & CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, hosted by Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. During the visit, the airline also signed a new training agreement with Airbus Services. This will see Airbus position two new A320 Family full flight simulators at the carrier’s training center in Ho Chi Minh City. Airbus will also provide a range of training services to the airline and its instructors. Vietjet will be among the first airlines to receive the A321XLR. The addition of the aircraft to its fleet will allow Vietjet to expand further its network, flying longer routes across Asia, as well as to destinations as far afield as Australia and Russia.

And more Airbus news: Cebu Pacific (CEB), a carrier based in the Philippines, has signed a firm order with Airbus for 16 long-range A330neo aircraft. The order firms up the wide-body portion of a previously announced Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which also includes commitments for 10 A321XLR and five A320neo single-aisle aircraft. The A330neo ordered by Cebu Pacific is a higher-capacity version of the A330-900, with up to 460 seats in a single-class configuration. Cebu Pacific plans to operate the aircraft on trunk routes within the Philippines and the rest of Asia, as well as on longer range services to Australia and the Middle East.

Also, Wizz Air Holdings Plc, the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, announced that, as part of the Indigo Partners deal, it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus S.A.S. (“Airbus”) relating to exercising a part of its existing options for the purchase of 20 Airbus A321XLR aircraft. The present order will be delivered over the course of three years starting in 2023. The A321XLR variant will be operated with 239 seats, the same as the A321neo to ensure full fleet commonality with Wizz Air’s existing fleet. The XLR aircraft can also be utilized on Wizz Air’s existing network with the same efficiency. Completion of the order remains subject to approval by Wizz Air shareholders, as appropriate.

And lastly, Airbus selected twenty-two new start-ups to join its BizLab for the launch of the fifth accelerator program, providing a platform to develop previously untapped technologies and ways of working in the aerospace sector. During the six-month acceleration program, the start-ups will receive support from an international team of experts from various fields and have access to dedicated coaching staff, networking opportunities and co-working spaces. Hailing from nine countries around the world, the twenty-two new start-ups were selected out of 704 applications from 59 countries. One of the main criteria used in the selection process were the synergies between the start-up projects and Airbus’ sustainability, environment and innovation strategy in the fields of reduction of emissions and alternative propulsion technology, additive manufacturing, data analytics, robotics, smart protection and testing systems and artificial intelligence. The selected start-ups will join a unique consolidated global network and be based on one of Airbus’ four BizLab campuses; Toulouse (France), Hamburg (Germany), Bangalore (India) and Madrid (Spain). Airbus BizLab is a global aerospace business accelerator where start-ups and Airbus intrapreneurs speed-up the transformation of innovative ideas into valuable businesses. Since starting in 2015, Airbus BizLab has used this “hybrid” concept to accelerate 72 start-ups and 54 internal projects, which have raised a combined €23.5 million.


BOEING

Boeing and Air Premia announced the Korean startup airline plans to buy five 787-9 Dreamliner airplanes, following an agreement to lease three 787-9 jets from Air Lease Corporation earlier this year. Air Premia, which plans to launch operations in 2020 is poised to become South Korea’s second Dreamliner operator. The commitment, valued at $1.4 billion at list prices, will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website when it is finalized. The 787-9 is a super-efficient widebody airplane that can fly 296 passengers in a standard configuration with a published range of 7,530 nautical miles (13,950 km). The Dreamliner model, powered by a revolutionary design and advanced engines, enables airlines to reduce fuel use and emissions by 20 to 25 percent compared to previous airplanes. The combination of unrivaled fuel efficiency and long range capabilities of the 787-9 has helped airlines save more than 40 billion pounds of fuel and open more than 235 non-stop routes. With its base at Seoul Incheon International Airport, Air Premia announced its plan to launch operations in September 2020. The carrier will initially operate regionally in Asia before expanding its network to Los Angeles and San Jose by 2021.”


FORECAST

J.P. MORGAN is forecasting delivery of:
379 Boeing/881 Airbus/40 Embraer aircraft in 2019;
1,000 Boeing/930 Airbus/63 Embraer aircraft in 2020;
1,057 Boeing/967 Airbus/64 Embraer aircraft in 2021;
and 936 Boeing/1,035 Airbus/57 Embraer aircraft in 2022.


OTHER NEWS

 

Immfly

Airplane travel can often be a hectic experience. It is quite common for people who travel to feel stress, anxiety or to just worry about what comes next. In short, travel days are loaded with obligations. These obligations result in obstacles to thinking and living in the present.

For this reason, Immfly has partnered with Journey Meditation, the company on a mission to help all people lead happier, healthier lives. By integrating the meditation practice into the aircraft environment, the two companies aim to elevate the travel experience and improve flight journeys for a more peaceful passenger experience.

Journey Meditation was founded in 2015 when the company’s founder, Stephen Sokoler, identified the need to make meditation more approachable and accessible. The goal was simple but powerful: to help people live happier lives with greater clarity and peace of mind.

Journey is dedicated to giving people the opportunity to experience and embrace meditation principles in their daily routine. Through Journey LIVE, the company’s live group meditation app, users are able to participate in expertly led tutorials among a diverse and supportive community.

“We are thrilled to bring Journey LIVE into Immfly’s best-in-class flight experiences,” said Stephen Sokoler, Founder of Journey Meditation. “Travel can be particularly stressful and for some, quite nerve wracking. By bringing meditation aboard aircraft, we hope to improve the overall experience no matter where you are in your personal practice”.

Onboard Meditation Classes

Thanks to Immfly’s IFE & Digital Services, flying passengers can now enjoy 15-minute classes taught by Journey Meditation certified teachers worldwide. Travelers are guided by professionals who help bring mindfulness into everyday life.

Sessions on relieving stress and anxiety, improving performance, sleep and relationships and generally promoting happiness are provided in addition to guidance on the basic principles of learning how to meditate.

The partnership with Journey Meditation enables Immfly to deliver airline customers an even richer range of content with regularly updated videos which give passengers the privilege to watch content onboard which would normally be unavailable to the public at large. Following on their onboard experience, customers can choose to become subscribers to Journey Meditation’s app and continue benefiting from guidance in their daily lives.

Julia Maruny, Head of Content at Immfly adds “ The ability to pair our technology which enables dynamic delivery of fresh content onboard, with rich and relevant content that inspires well being, is something we are very proud of at Immfly. We are excited to be Journey Meditation’s first airline partner. Their mission to promote happiness and well being sits squarely with Immfly’s content strategy to enhance the onboard experience. ”

Unique Modules & SaaS Services
Recent: A digital well-being program for today’s society.

Wowing customers with premium content and unique modules is an essential pillar of Immfly’s proposition. Through constant innovation, the connected digital services company is constantly identifying new opportunities to create products and services that enable airlines deliver sustained differentiation and enhance passenger experience. With movies and TV shows, specialist content channels and incentives, activities in destination, audiobooks & e-books, 3D moving maps, interactive games, and now Journey Meditation’s well-being channel, Immfly’s content team is on a relentless mission to deliver fresh and enjoyable engagement onboard.

(Editor’s Note: I have not personally experienced the Journey Meditation app; however, I have used other meditation/relaxation apps and have found them to be very useful inflight in order to gain a few needed hours of sleep. They are also great when jet lag wakes you up at 2:00 a.m.!)


SITAONAIR
Vietnam Airlines (VN) is cementing its status as the country’s premier national carrier by becoming the first Vietnamese airline to offer inflight connectivity (IFC) – through a partnership with SITAONAIR and Inmarsat satellite telecommunications operator VISHIPEL. The collaboration will see the delivery of pioneering inflight internet services across its fleet, offering digitally-demanding passengers the onboard connectivity they want, and enabling them to stay connected with work and family. Partnering with long-standing Vietnamese satellite provider, VISHIPEL, has been integral to delivering this first-of-its-kind solution for the region. VISHIPEL has played an important role in Vietnam’s national development strategy for information and communication, and this regional expertise, together with SITAONAIR’s industry experience, has ensured that services are tailored for the Vietnamese market. Inflight Wi-Fi is now available aboard four of Vietnam Airlines’ A350 aircraft, making VN the first airline in the country to offer onboard Wi-Fi to meet high regional demand, enhancing the passenger experience and moving closer towards international 5-star quality standards, while digitally transforming its services. SITAONAIR’s best-in-class Internet ONAIR IFC portal will provide seamless Wi-Fi access to VN’s passengers, and enable exceptional levels of personalization and interactivity through customization, to reflect the airline’s own branding requirements.


Airbus
Airbus delivered the 1,000th A320neo Family aircraft. The aircraft, an A321neo produced in Hamburg, Germany, was delivered to Indian airline IndiGo. IndiGo is the world’s biggest customer for the A320neo Family with orders totaling 430 aircraft. Since its first NEO was delivered in March 2016, its fleet of A320neo Family has grown into the world’s largest with 96 aircraft operating alongside 129 A320s. In an extremely competitive aviation market, the fuel efficient A320 Family has been instrumental in IndiGo’s rise to become India’s largest airline by fleet size and passenger numbers. The A320neo Family is assembled at Airbus’ four global sites: Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; Tianjin, China; and Mobile, USA. The world’s first A320neo was delivered in January 2016 and the program has achieved milestones every year since: the first A321neo in 2017; the first A321LR in 2018 and the launch of the A321XLR in 2019. The A320neo program was designed with fuel efficiency in mind. Building on the A320ceo’s popularity, the aircraft delivers 20% reduced fuel burn as well as 50% less noise compared to previous generation aircraft. Seating up to 240 passengers, depending on cabin configuration, the A320neo Family features the widest single aisle cabin in the sky and incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets. At the end of September 2019, the A320neo Family had received more than 6,660 firm orders from close to 110 customers worldwide. Airbus delivered 71 aircraft (seven A220s; eight A320ceos; 40 A320neos; four A330s; 12 A350s and an A380) in September vs 69 in September 2018, and has so far delivered 571 of the 880-890 planned for 2019.

Thales and Airbus CyberSecurity, two European leaders in critical information systems and cybersecurity, join forces to support operators of vital importance against cyber attacks. Combining their sovereign products, Thales’s cyber attack detection system Cybels Sensor and the Airbus CyberSecurity’s Orion Malware solution will provide businesses and organizations with a qualified solution delivering unrivaled results. Solution offers unparalleled detection capacities and enables in-depth investigation, combining detection with incident response

Air Austral, France’s Réunion Island-based airline, signed a firm order for three A220 aircraft, Airbus’ newest family member. With this order Air Austral becomes the first A220 customer based in the Indian Ocean region. Benefiting from a 20% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, the A220s will enable Air Austral to reduce its costs and carbon footprint on international routes in the region. The design of the new clean sheet single-aisle aircraft allows for more seats, offering extra revenue potential to airlines, especially to those located in remote areas, and extra usable cargo volume capacity. The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market; it delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and widebody passenger comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least a 20 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft, along with significantly lower emissions and a reduced noise footprint. The A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft. The A220 had an order book of over 500 aircraft at the end of September 2019.


BOEING
Boeing announced that its Board of Directors  separated the roles of chairman and chief executive officer. Dennis  Muilenburg continues as CEO, president and a director. The board elected David L. Calhoun, current independent lead director, to serve as non-executive chairman. The board said splitting the chairman and CEO roles will enable Muilenburg to focus full time on running the company as it works to return the 737 MAX safely to service, ensure full support to Boeing’s customers around the world, and implement changes to sharpen Boeing’s focus on product and services safety. This decision is the latest of several actions by the board of directors and Boeing senior leadership to strengthen the company’s governance and safety management processes. Calhoun said, “The board has full confidence in Dennis as CEO and believes this division of labor will enable maximum focus on running the business with the board playing an active oversight role. The board also plans in the near term to name a new director with deep safety experience and expertise to serve on the board and its newly established Aerospace Safety Committee.” “I am fully supportive of the board’s action. Our entire team is laser-focused on returning the 737 MAX safely to service and delivering on the full breadth of our company’s commitments,” said Muilenburg.

The company delivered 26 aircraft (two 737NGs; 747-8F; four 767s; seven 777s; 12 787s) in September vs 87 in September 2018, and has to date delivered 302 aircraft in 2019 vs 568 a year ago.


Other News

Airbus at APEX Los Angeles

During APEX Expo in Los Angeles, Airbus discussed their in-flight trials of IoT connected cabin technologies on board an A350-900 Flight Lab aircraft. In doing so, Airbus becomes the first aircraft manufacturer to undertake such flight-testing of actual connected cabin innovations. The platform, known as the Airspace Connected Experience, was unveiled at the APEX Expo Boston in 2018. The airframer said this technology will usher in a new personalized experience for passengers and provide opportunities for improving airlines’ ancillary revenues and operational efficiencies.

The Flight Lab aircraft is one of the original A350-900 certification flight-test aircraft and is fitted with an Airspace cabin which now serves as the ideal platform to evaluate the new connected cabin technologies in flight. In conjunction with their best-in-class cabin partners, an initial set of working elements have been installed. These include prototypes of the Connected iSeat (Recaro), the Connected Galley (gategroup), a remote wireless cabin management control system, a large OLED display and importantly, the first step of Airbus’ new “IoT backbone” which includes an open software platform. These innovations are all now being tested in flight.

Airbus said that the connected cabin ecosystem will enable significant value-adding services for passengers, airlines and crews. Possible examples include:

  • Passengers will receive a more personalized travel experience specifically targeted to the individual needs and preferences, based on the available data. In particular this covers remote and pre-ordering of preferred meals, booking of private bin space, setting of individual seat positions as well as a tailor-made inflight IFE offer.
  • Airlines will be able to generate additional ancillary revenues through personalized retail and advertisement as well as new services, all enabled by the IoT approach. Furthermore, airlines will be able to improve their operational efficiency applying predictive maintenance, avoiding waste and making crew services more efficient. Other opportunities can easily be created and applied via apps.
  • Crews will find a better working environment and more efficient tools, digitally enabled by real-time data from the IoT platform throughout the cabin. A mobile smart device will allow crews to monitor and operate all components.

Customer-centric approach

The in-flight tests are part of their customer-centric approach, which began with workshops to create and prioritize innovative concepts, followed by an extensive phase of on-ground testing and customer evaluation of the connected elements. The subsequent testing of these innovations in an Airbus Flight Lab environment is key to bringing an integrated Connected Experience to fruition – being able to validate and refine them in a real airborne cabin. In particular, the tests allow the various elements to be operated and monitored during a normal flight cycle, especially with regard to the end-to-end data flow robustness within the systems and between them. The next steps will continue testing of the current setup, then close the feedback loop with airlines using Airbus’ Customer Experience Teams (CET) forum, by around year-end.

More Airbus News

  • Airbus SE notes the decision of the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding the level of countermeasures it authorizes the United States to impose on products from the European Union (EU). If the United States Trade Representative (USTR) chooses to impose tariffs on the importation of aircraft and/or aircraft components, this will create insecurity and disruption not only to the aerospace industry, but also to the broader global economy. Yet it is still avoidable. In the coming months, the WTO will determine the amount of tariff countermeasures the EU can impose on US products – including imported Boeing aircraft – in the parallel counter case regarding illegal subsidies to Boeing. The WTO has already found that the US failed to address illegal subsidies causing harm to Airbus. This will provide the EU with grounds to claim countermeasures on US products at a level that could exceed US sanctions. If applied, these tariffs on both sides will severely impact US and EU industries, putting high costs on the acquisition of new aircraft for both US and EU airlines. Aviation is a global industry. Evidence of that is the fact that close to 40 percent of Airbus’ aircraft-related procurement comes from US aerospace suppliers. This US supply chain supports 275,000 American jobs in 40 states through spending that has totaled $50 billion in the last three years alone. If tariffs are applied, the entire global industry will be harmed. The only way to prevent the negative effects of these tariff would be for the US and EU to find a resolution to this long-running dispute through a negotiated settlement.
  • Airbus inaugurated its highly automated fuselage structure assembly line for A320 Family aircraft in Hamburg, showcasing an evolution in Airbus’ industrial production system. With a special focus on manufacturing longer sections for the A321LR, the new facility features 20 robots, a new logistics concept, automated positioning by laser measurement as well as a digital data acquisition system. These will further support Airbus’ drive to improve both quality and efficiency while bringing an enhanced level of digitization to its industrial production system. For the initial section assembly, Airbus is using a modular, lightweight automated system, called “Flextrack”, with eight robots drilling and counter-sinking 1,100 to 2,400 holes per longitudinal joint. In the next production step, 12 robots, each operating on seven axes, combine the center and aft fuselage sections with the tail to form one major component, drilling, counter-sinking, sealing and inserting 3,000 rivets per orbital joint. Besides the use of robots, Airbus is also implementing new methods and technologies in material and parts logistics to optimize production, improve ergonomics and shorten lead times. This includes the separation of logistics and production levels, demand-oriented material replenishment as well as the use of autonomous guided vehicles. The Hamburg structure assembly facility is responsible for joining single fuselage shells into sections, as well as final assembly of single sections to aircraft fuselages. Aircraft parts are equipped with electrical and mechanical systems before eventually being delivered to the final assembly lines in France, Germany, China and the US.

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) announced the award of a new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) supplemental type certificate (STC) for installation of satellite communications (SATCOM) provisions on Boeing B777-300 and B777-300ER series aircraft. This award helps ensure consumers have the high-quality, in-flight connectivity that they have come to expect each time they fly. 

The specified FAA STC allows for the installation of structural provisions and the outside aircraft equipment package for a cabin upgrade incorporating a dual-band (Ka/Ku) terminal. The dual-band terminal allows for in-flight network switching across Ku- and Ka-band satellite networks, providing more reliable in-flight entertainment and communication access to travelers. 

The certified installation design follows a previously issued FAA STC for Airbus A320 series aircraft. CIT provided all design, qualification, approvals, and certification resources associated with the installation. The aircraft equipment packages were manufactured and conformed at the company’s facility in Franklin, Wis.

CIT leads the market in aerospace SATCOM applications, with over 2,500 installations delivered worldwide. From component manufacturing to fully-integrated engineered solutions, CIT has the capability and flexibility to support various consumer needs. Contact CIT via email for additional information.


Inmarsat
Inmarsat signed a contract with the European Space Agency for phase two of the ground-breaking Iris air traffic modernization program, which will include important flight trials across Europe to assess the service in a real operational environment. Iris is being developed to deliver powerful benefits to European aviation by enabling high bandwidth, cost-effective satellite-based datalink communications over Europe. The program contributes to the delivery of the ‘Single European Sky’, which focuses on modernizing air traffic management and air navigation efficiency. Satellite communications reduces the pressure on ground-based frequencies, which third party reports have indicated will be under significant capacity stress in the next 5-10 years.
As part of the program’s second phase, flight trials will be conducted on approximately 20 aircraft flying commercially over a six-month period starting in 2020, allowing Iris to be assessed in a real operational environment. Selected airlines will take part in the demonstration, with the support of leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), to evaluate the Iris program for air traffic control (ATC) and airline operational communications (AOC) across continental Europe. Also in this phase, Inmarsat will work with ESA to prepare for pan-European certification of the Iris service provider and define a distribution agreement. In addition, Inmarsat and its partners, such as Thales Alenia Space, will prepare for future air traffic control requirements through research & development and prototyping. This will include transitioning to the Aeronautical Telecommunications Network/Internet Protocol Suite (ATN/IPS) standard, which will make the service truly global. Iris was initiated in 2014, when ESA selected Inmarsat to lead a consortium of European technology companies to develop the program, including Airbus, Boeing, Honeywell and Thales, in addition to leading ANSPs across the continent, such as DFS (Germany), DSNA (France), ENAIRE (Spain), ENAV (Italy), EUROCONTROL MUAC (North-West Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) and NATS (UK). Iris is powered by Inmarsat’s award-winning SB-S digital aircraft operations platform operating on its L-band network that has underpinned global safety services for 40 years. Inmarsat is scheduled to launch two new, advanced L-band payloads to join its existing fleet in 2020 and 2021, further cementing the company’s long-term commitment to the highly reliable safety communications services it offers to the aviation community over this spectrum.


Boeing
Boeing is funding the creation of a state-of-the-art laboratory facility dedicated to the research and testing of autonomous aerial vehicles within Stanford University’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The Boeing Flight & Autonomy Laboratory features a control room and maker area, the newest motion-capture cameras and sensor networks, and a public observation area. The lab is the latest support by Boeing in Stanford’s Aero/Astro department. In addition to the $2.5 million contribution to fund the Boeing Flight & Autonomy Laboratory, located in the Durand Building, Boeing is a founding member of the Stanford Aero/Astro Launch Fund for a new undergraduate program in aeronautics and astronautics. The inaugural class in that program will graduate in 2020.


Other News


Biometrics are Key in Today’s Airline Strategies

The Opening Sessions of APEX had several ‘C’ level airline representatives discuss their perspectives on what has made their airlines successful. Delta Air Lines CEO, Ed Bastian, stated that Delta, “-could never compete on price alone, so we needed to find a way to distinguish ourselves from the competition.” The airline has looked to improve their passenger experience through the use of biometrics. Delta passengers can enroll in CLEAR, allowing them to use biometric iris and fingerprint recognition instead of ID documents. He also said that 50% of the airline’s revenue comes from the Main Cabin, so the economy class customer is “just as important” as those who travel in the Delta One Suites! In keeping with that philosophy, as of November 1, 2019 all international economy travelers flights longer than 6 hours will receive a welcome cocktail, hot towel service during the flight and mix-and-match meal options.

Biometrics are also playing a significant part in JetBlue’s strategy. COO Joanna Geraghty’s presentation focused on how the airline is seeking to make travel less stressful by smoothing out the airport experience for their travelers. “If you could walk right through check-in to security and on to the gate – that could revolutionize the airport experience for the traveler!” Geraghty acknowledges there are challenges to face when it comes to passengers privacy, but so far the number of travelers who have participated in the biometric check-in options has been overwhelming. JetBlue’s focus has been to offer the biometric solution to the traveling public without a fee to participate in the program.

Virgin Atlantic’s CEO Shai Weiss said the company has long-term ambitions to double their size, becoming the second flag carrier of the UK. Virgin is currently in the first hear of their three-year strategy dubbed Velocity, and the carrier is currently focusing on transforming the traveling experience by focusing on that ‘warm and fuzzy feeling’. For Virgin it is all about customer satisfaction scores and Weiss said, “It’s all about heart and that is the thing that really differentiates Virgin – it’s our special touch.”

Alex Wilcox, Co-Founder and CEO of JSX was the next to address the audience. He said that JSX is the fastest growing airline in North America. In 2018 JSX flew 1,000 flights a month, in 2019 they are averaging 2,400 flights per month and they are forecasting 4,000 flights per month in 2020. The regional jet service that allows 30 passengers to enjoy a ‘private aircraft style’ experience was launched in 2016 as JetSuiteX and has a fleet of Embraer 135s. JSX is also the launch airline for SmartSky Networks’ high speed air-to-ground connectivity product.

The biometrics theme continued on through Jeffrey Goh CEO, Star Alliance’s presentation as well. Goh said that their mantra is quite simple: “We want to make sure the passenger connects, and in fact, connects quite well.” To facilitate this, the alliance is looking at the potential for passenger biometric data interchange between their airline members. As a result, the Star Alliance has partnered with NEC Corporation in an effort to develop a platform and a frequent flyer app to facilitate a seamless travel experience. Goh said that they recognize the critical importance that the biometric data remains with the passenger and that they will seek consent from passengers at specific biometric touchpoints (check-in and boarding) for use of their personal information.

In the next issues of IFExpress we will be covering data that we discovered at the APEX EXPO in Los Angeles and will try to keep our readers abreast of new trends and technology. Here are a few of the technologies we will be tracking: new IFEC developments like portable systems, new EFBs, and battery/aircraft powered IFE with Bluetooth and RF connectivity. We will also be addressing plastic free aviation cabin solutions, new power delivery, new digital platforms and inflight TV, lighting innovations and entertainment content developments. Of note are new studies on passenger entertainment requirements and changes, as well as, IEEE 802.11ac wireless features with cognitive hot spot technologies. We were also excited about future smaller aircraft IFE and and inflight experiences with 4K video. So there is a lot to look forward to over the next few weeks!


INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Apple AirPod fans will like the new development from AirFly (AirFly | Bluetooth transmitter for Apple AirPods, Wireless Headphones – Twelve South). Yep, it is a wireless earphone adapter that connects to the audio output on the airplane IFE. It is not the only device to adapt but the writers say it is the best. How to Use AirPods to Listen to In-Flight Movies and, here’s a video on the application.
Amazon.com: Twelve South Airfly Wireless Transmitter | Connect Airpods & Wireless Headphones to Headphone Jacks at Gyms, On Airplane Entertainment Systems, and with Nintendo Switch: Cell Phones & Accessories We were curious if other headphones we like would work, so, we asked Hratch Astarjian at BOSE and he said: “This seems to simply be a Bluetooth dongle. Based on the specs I saw on Amazon, our Bluetooth headphones will work just fine. Of course, the headphones will simply reproduce the audio quality that’s coming through the IFE system which, as we both know, can sometimes be mediocre. And there’s still the challenge of having a seat jack that’s not working properly – but that’s another problem altogether.”


SITAONAIR

Singapore Airlines is able to keep its customers connected through SITAONAIR’s high-speed, reliable and advanced inflight connectivity portal, Internet ONAIR, powered by Link ONAIR over Inmarsat’s GX Aviation satellite network. The live broadcast truly demonstrated how SITAONAIR supports the airline in providing ‘always-on’, reliable connectivity for passengers who need to keep in contact with work and loved ones.

As a long-standing SITAONAIR customer, Singapore Airlines is committed to providing best-in-class inflight connectivity. The airline adopted SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR and Mobile ONAIR services in 2017, which are designed to provide super-fast and uninterrupted connection over land or sea.


INMARSAT
Inmarsat announced that its GX Aviation inflight broadband solution has entered commercial service with leading low-cost airline AirAsia. The airline is currently offering GX Aviation to passengers onboard a number of initial aircraft through its RedBeat Ventures subsidiary, ROKKI, marking a significant upgrade to their inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) experience. To celebrate the occasion, passengers are being offered a free trial on GX Aviation-equipped aircraft from today until 30 September 2019. The service integrates with the airline’s entertainment and e-commerce platform, allowing passengers to access a variety of free entertainment, music, games, news and shopping using their personal mobile devices. It will be rolled out across AirAsia’s Airbus A320 and A330 fleet over the next year. AirAsia is the latest airline to launch commercial service with GX Aviation, powered by the world’s first and only globally available broadband network. It will also benefit from major upcoming enhancements to Inmarsat’s GX network, with additional capacity being introduced by three new GX payloads, which are scheduled to launch in 2019, 2020 and 2021. In addition, Inmarsat recently signed landmark agreements to develop a pioneering new generation of GX satellites, which represent a transformative step-change in inflight broadband capabilities. These include the ground-breaking GX7, 8 & 9 satellites, which feature thousands of dynamically-formed beams that direct capacity over high-demand areas, and the innovative new GX10A & 10B Arctic payloads, which will be the only broadband satellite service dedicated to this region.


AIRBUS
The world’s passenger and freighter aircraft fleet is set to more than double from today’s nearly 23,000 to almost 48,000 by 2038 with traffic growing at 4.3% annually, also resulting in a need for 550,000 new pilots and 640,000 new technicians. By 2038, of the forecast 47,680 fleet, 39,210 are new and 8,470 remain from today. By updating fleets with latest generation fuel efficient aircraft such as the A220, A320neo Family, the A330neo and the A350, Airbus believes it will largely contribute to the progressive decarbonisation of the air transport industry and the objective of carbon neutral growth from 2020 while connecting more people globally.
Reflecting today’s evolving aircraft technology, Airbus has simplified its segmentation to consider capacity, range and mission type. For example, a short haul A321 is Small while the long-haul A321LR or XLR can be categorized as Medium. While the core market for the A330 is classified as Medium, it is likely a number will continue to be operated by airlines in a way that sits within the Large market segmentation along with the A350 XWB. The new segmentation gives rise to a need for 39,210 new passenger and freighter aircraft -29,720 Small, 5,370 Medium and 4,120 Large – according to Airbus’ latest Global Market Forecast 2019-2038. Of these, 25,000 aircraft are for growth and 14,210 are to replace older models with newer ones offering superior efficiency. Resilient to economic shocks, air traffic has more than doubled since 2000. It is increasingly playing a key role in connecting large population centers, particularly in emerging markets where the propensity to travel is among the world’s highest as cost or geography make alternatives impossible. Today, about a quarter of the world’s urban population is responsible for more than a quarter of global GDP, and given both are key growth drivers, Aviation Mega Cities (AMCs) will continue to power the global aviation network. Developments in superior fuel efficiency are further driving demand to replace existing less fuel efficient aircraft. The Small segment includes the A220 Family and all variants of the A320 Family. The core Airbus products in the Medium  segment are the A330 and A330neo Family, and can also include the smaller A321LR and XLR versions used on long-haul missions. The largest segmentation Large, is represented by the A330neo Family together with the larger A350 XWB Family which also includes the Ultra Long Range version. This segmentation will continue to be served by the A380 at the upper end.


BOEING
Boeing and Safran announced a joint investment in Electric Power Systems (EPS), a company offering a suite of safe, certifiable and lightweight energy storage products that provide high-quality power for aerospace and other markets. The joint investment will help EPS develop a highly automated industrial base capable of producing aviation-grade energy storage systems at an unprecedented scale. The investment will also support the advancement of technologies to further reduce the costs of battery systems for electric airplanes. Boeing HorizonX Ventures and Safran Corporate Ventures jointly invested in EPS during this Series A funding round. EPS is the second advanced battery solutions company to join the Boeing HorizonX Ventures investment portfolio, following an investment in Cuberg, an advanced lithium metal battery technology company, in 2018. Safran Ventures also recently invested in OXIS Energy, a UK-based leader in lithium-sulfur cell technology for high energy density battery systems. Safran is an international high-technology group, operating in the aircraft propulsion and equipment, space and defense markets. Safran has a global presence, with more than 92,000 employees and sales of 21 billion euros in 2018. Working alone or in partnership, Safran holds world or European leadership positions in its core markets. Safran undertakes Research & Development programs to meet fast-changing market requirements, with total R&D expenditures of around 1.5 billion euros in 2018. Safran is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange, and is part of the CAC 40 and Euro Stoxx 50 indices.


OTHER NEWS

IFExpress is back from a week in sunny Los Angeles, California where many new developments in the IFEC arena were on exhibit at APEX EXPO 2019. As we mentioned to many of you during the show, 2019 has predominately been a ‘step change’ year; however, there were a few exceptions, which we will cover in upcoming issues of IFExpress. But here are a few trends and highlights from last week’s exhibition.

One of the primary discussions during APEX was the need to assure the quality of service the passenger experiences while inflight. Much of this discussion focused around IFEC, especially, the quality of Wi-Fi and streaming content as well as data. The size of the pipe to/from the aircraft does not necessarily determine what the quality of the experience will be for the passenger. Think about your recent experience at a hotel. Many times the routers are bogged down with too many residents connecting to their nearest node, resulting in slow internet speeds. In fact, many times it is difficult to do simple email, not to mention streaming video and this is on the ground! This is where intelligent allocation comes in to play with the Wireless Access Points – an area that several IFEC hardware providers have tackled head on.

Having said that, another area of concern that has, and will continue to be, voiced was the issue of privacy and security around the individual traveler’s personal data. This translates to the need for an increasingly cybersecure system. Last week, we did see an increase in the number of companies addressing the issue of cybersecurity within the aviation sphere. At APEX there were several software security specialists working in conjunction with hardware manufacturers to layer security software within Wireless Access Points (WAPs). As an industry, both the airlines and the IFEC vendors are continuing to focus on the issues of hacking and maintaining the passengers’ faith and trust that their personal information is secure. This is an issue that is here to stay.

On another note, further developments were on display that included LiFi (a mobile wireless technology that uses light instead of radio frequencies to transmit data), which we had seen for the first time at APEX 2018 in Boston. Some companies are looking at using this innovative technology for streaming content to passenger devices, while others are exploring what opportunities this technology provides for uploading/downloading data to/from the aircraft on the ground. One thing is for certain, LiFi is here to stay and this is a technology that we will see implemented in our industry in the near term.

Some major advancements have been made in the area of satcom antennas since AIX 2019. We were very impressed with the new antenna development project from Safran Passenger Innovations (formerly Zii). IFExpress first caught a glimpse of the antenna in April at AIX 2019. Destined for delivery in 2021, this antenna will be approximately 35 kg – roughly 2/3 lighter than today’s antennas and will have a smaller foot print and lower profile! We will be covering more from the SPI booth in a later issue. But we foresee smaller, lighter, and more dynamic antennas as a much-needed industry trend.

in abundance at the show, were 4K displays but the real issue is 4K content – its availability and whether or not the movie houses will approve the onboard IFE systems to run them! More on this to come as well. Also, regarding content, Touch and Castlabs announced a joint-venture (ABOVE) to move the passenger entertainment supply chain to the cloud. This is an open, standards-based platform for the encoding, storage and distribution of encoded video and related metadata through cloud-based services. This JV has the potential to revolutionize content processing, approval and delivery workflows, while increasing efficiencies and functionality.

Another area that continues to gain traction within the industry is the concept of health and wellness. This is a definite growth area with airlines and vendors embracing it. The continued desire of the airlines to engage their passengers with technology and services that meet their expectations and ease the stress of the travel experience is here to stay. One IFEC supplier said, “Imagine getting off a long-haul flight and feeling better than you did when you boarded!” Lofty expectations and it remains to be seen whether or not this objective will be achievable. However, these applications will certainly help, not hinder, the travel experience.

None of the aforementioned would be possible without the new, massive solid-state drives that are embedded in today’s IFEC in conjunction with the proliferation of installed connectivity services, artificial intelligence and biometrics. As these four technologies evolve in the IFEC industry the amount of data that can be garnered about each individual traveler and their expectations will result in a tailored travel experience from the moment the ticket is booked, throughout the journey itself, until the passenger reaches his/her destination. The industry has long talked about touching the end-to-end passenger experience and how it will facilitate the airlines ability to meet, and possibly exceed, expectations of those utilizing their services whether it be for leisure or business travel. It is the belief of IFExpress that we are finally on the cusp of being able to deliver on that promise.

Over the next few weeks, our publication will review what we had the opportunity to see and experience during APEX EXPO. We will start with some highlights from the Thoughts and Leadership Conference on Monday September 9, as well as, some of the afternoon’s information tracks. During the following weeks we will do a deeper dive into the interviewed companies and their technologies. As always, thanks for subscribing and reading IFExpress!


APEX/IFSA AWARD WINNERS

Members of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and the International Flight Services Association (IFSA) honored their peers as they celebrated the top innovators from airlines and vendor partners around the globe during the inaugural APEX/IFSA Award Ceremony. Winners were announced Monday evening (9/9/19) during the ceremony at APEX EXPO. “APEX is proud to highlight the most innovative approaches to business in passenger experience from our member airlines and vendors. We honor these organizations who have shown exemplary dedication and innovation to advancing the passenger experience,” says Maura Chacko, co-chair of the APEX Awards Committee.

Winners were determined by industry and media judging panels.

APEX Award Winners are:

  • Fiji Airways  Best Lounge Innovation: Fully Qualified Nannies at Fiji Airways Premier Lounge
  • SriLankan Airlines – Best Marketing Innovation: Spirit of SriLankan Airlines & The Magic of Vesak
  • VT Miltope  Best Inflight Connectivity Innovation: Securing Wireless Cabin Networks for the Future
  • American Airlines  Best Inflight Entertainment Innovation: Calm on American Airlines

Newcomer of the Year Award Winner is:

  • Flight Center Instituto de Aviación – Flight Attendant VR Training Program

IFSA Award Winners are:

  • American Airlines – Best Inflight Food or Beverage: Zoës Kitchen Partnership
  • Clip Limited – Best Onboard Amenity: JetBlue Mint Kits

New this year is the APEX/IFSA Awards for Best Cabin Innovation and Best Product or Service. These awards recognize outstanding achievements in creating a thoughtful new cabin environment and innovations in passenger comfort, including seats, design, lighting, temperature control, air quality and more. 

APEX/IFSA Award Winners are:

  • Astronics – Best Cabin Innovation: Intelligent Bin Solution/Smart Aircraft System
  • Air New Zealand – Best Product or Service: Skycouch Improvements

2020 APEX + Crystal Cabin Award Winner is:

AIRBUS – Best Customer Journey Experience: Connected Experience

Life Time Achievement Award Winner is:

Brinder Bhatia (see photo in right hand column)


AIRBUS

Comlux placed a new order for an ACJ320neo, re-affirming its role as the largest single customer for the aircraft and taking its total orders for the type to four. The deal means that Comlux has now ordered a total of 20 Airbus corporate jets. Cabin outfitting will be done by Comlux Completion in Indianapolis. Corporate jet orders and commitments for A320neo Family-derived aircraft now total 15.


OTHER NEWS

During AIX we sat down with the Zii team and discussed RAVE and the next evolution of their full-up AVOD product dubbed ULTRA. Below is the fruit of that interview and several emails since then! While at their booth, we were shown (and amazed) at the size, and we mean thinness, of the screen. The point here is the display, its accompanying storage, control and communication hardware electronics will not create seatback installation issues! Here is a quick overview of some of the features, advantages, and benefits of RAVE UlLTRA.

RAVE ULTRA is Seat-Centric, not Server-Centric

RAVE ULTRA, continues the company’s commitment to Seat-Centric IFE and their commitment to everything RAVE has stood for from its inception. In fact, Seat-Centric is the key to their dedication to ‘stress free IFE’ for their airline customers. You may ask: Seat-Centric? How does that differ from a Server-Centric system? When SPI formerly IMS, first addressed the issue of providing IFE to airlines they approached the problem from a different perspective than most traditional IFE hardware solutions – they elected to design a seat-centric solution, as opposed to a server-centric solution. A traditional IFE system has a head-end (consisting of several file and media servers) and multiple distribution boxes between it and the passenger display unit. The larger (HD/UHD quality and increased quantity) content demands and logistics problems that the IFE industry is facing are amplified in the IFE Server Centric Systems, but not so with a Seat-Centric System. Seat-Centric IFE provides an elegant answer to onboard entertainment that is enhanced by its simplicity: A System Control Unit in the electronics bay connected via a Gigabit Ethernet backbone to each Smart Display at each seat – that’s it. The bi-directional loop system architecture provides network stability and redundancy, so if there is a network break on one side of the data connection, the data communication is automatically routed through the other.  Additionally, since the entertainment content is stored at the seat, even if there was a total network failure, the passenger would have full access to all the content stored locally on the display.

RAVE ULTRA Delivers More for Passengers Because of the Cloud

In addition to locally stored content at the seat, the SCU also stores additional entertainment content enhancing the overall capacity of titles offered to the passenger.  RAVE cloud is flying today and Safran is further enhancing cloud capabilities by utilizing content file sharing between the seats thus multiplying the content capacity available to each passenger.  Because of the Cloud-based data gain, 10 Terabytes of capacity is dynamically available for content making it, perhaps, the IFE system with more data for each passenger than any system today. More data means more content and that means more happy users – it’s that simple!  It’s important to note that the content file is “transferred” (not “streamed”) to the passenger so there are no inherent network latency issues as compared to server-centric systems when streaming simultaneously to 300 passengers.  With the combination of locally stored and cloud content – passengers can enjoy HD/UHD entertainment and the airlines can more easily manage content loading without the long ground time.

We asked Ben Asmar, VP IFE Products, about RAVE ULTRA and 4K Displays

Question 1 – We understand that RAVE ULTRA is now delivering 4K displays for aircraft entering service in 2020.  4K displays offer superior resolution, can you help our readers understanding the impact of offering this to their passengers?  Are there any considerations that should be understood for an existing system upgrade versus new installation?

Response: We know from our customers that IFE is a critical component to the overall inflight experience, having a significant impact on Customer Experience scores. As the market continues to grow more competitive, airlines are continuing to look for ways to differentiate from their competitors. We believe that having the latest in consumer technology such as 4K Ultra High Definition displays in every cabin class is a fantastic differentiator, and our customers agree.  Interest in our new range of RAVE ULTRA displays is unprecedented. When we designed RAVE ULTRA, we took a ground-up approach. We kept the features that make our customers love RAVE, such as our seat-centric architecture and dockable displays then married this with the latest in multimedia processors, cutting edge 4K LCD panels that are typically used in high end laptops, and we even introduced Bluetooth audio for every seat on the plane.

How is your system able to support 4K content for every passenger? 

Response: We get asked this question often, and the answer for us is easy.  Thanks to our seat-centric architecture, content is played locally at each seat display and not streamed over a network.  Even with every passenger watching 4K content, the RAVE system continues to operate seamlessly on a 1 gigabit Ethernet backbone, meaning we are very well positioned to support both the line fit and retrofit markets. There is no requirement for aircraft backbone upgrades for airlines to access the full benefits of RAVE ULTRA, unlike other IFE systems with many servers that stream content to the seats.

How can you store all that 4K content at every seat when it’s so much larger? 

Response: As I mentioned, when we designed RAVE ULTRA, we found the latest in Multimedia processors. This allowed us to take advantage of the advances in video compression technologies and video encoding standards such as H.265 to keep files smaller but not sacrifice video quality. As well, we have the RAVE Cloud that allows Airlines to store large multi-terabyte content sets in the on-board Cloud and makes content instantly available at the seat centric screens when that content is not stored locally.  It’s important to note, that we are still not streaming content with RAVE Cloud. When a passenger selects a Cloud title, the content is being copied as fast as possible across our network and stored locally. The video starts playing while the content continues to download in the background.

In reality, we know it will be quite some time before 4K content is commonplace for IFE, as our industry deals with the standards and security required to distribute 4K content. However, RAVE ULTRA is designed for today and the future. We have gone to great lengths to ensure the necessary security requirements are in place to support playback of Hollywood DRM protected 4K content. Even though the standards are not yet ratified, we are confident that the systems we have will meet the requirements. In the meantime, Airlines can benefit from RAVE ULTRA immediately, as our system will upscale content to the highest possible level based on the definition of the source file. What this means is all content looks better on a RAVE ULTRA display.

Question 2 – Can you tell our readers what airplane /airplane model will get the first 4K display, and are the airlines planning any special video for the application? 

Response: We are very excited to be bringing RAVE ULTRA to market in 2020 and have a number of airlines that have selected it for line fit and retrofit programs with both Airbus and Boeing. Our first installations are planned for both Boeing and Airbus single aisle aircraft followed by our first wide body installation on a Boeing B777X all delivering in 2020. Each of these customers will install RAVE ULTRA displays in every cabin class including Bluetooth audio for every seat on the plane.

RAVE ULTRA is a great fit for both narrow body and wide body aircraft, and we are certainly seeing strong demand across both aircraft types.  Our System with RAVE ULTRA is about 30% lighter than our previous generation systems.  This lower weight meets a critical requirement for airlines that are flying ultra-long haul sectors and is fully operational with only a handful of LRU’s (Line Replaceable Units) while still being able to scale to support the complex architectures of today’s modern wide body aircraft.

Question 3 – More consumers are using Bluetooth headsets/earbuds and want to utilize them in the aircraft for IFE.  Please describe how RAVE has implemented Bluetooth in the entire cabin supplied with audio and at the same time preventing interference to users with other Bluetooth applications?

Response: One of the key elements of RAVE ULTRA is to give all passengers access to the same technology they use on the ground, in the air and not just in the premium classes.  Research suggests that Bluetooth headsets now outsell wired headsets, so we think that people will just expect to be able to use these on a plane, and with RAVE ULTRA they can. Our engineers have spent a lot of time testing and refining our solution to ensure we can reliably offer Bluetooth audio to every passenger on a wide body aircraft. We are able to do this by adjusting the power output of the Bluetooth transmitter and minimizing the transmission radius of the signal, this allows us to re-use the Bluetooth signal many times over in the aircraft avoiding signal congestion and audio quality degradation.

Question 4 – Is VBR a technology that efficiently communicates with networks and displays and if so, can you give our readers what kinds of savings in data and communication technology are used and what kinds of communication savings perspective are involved (data rate savings, hardware choice and design, application improvement and equipment type and design)?

Response: VBR (variable bitrate) is a method used in media encoding that allows for the bitrate to vary with the goal to maintain quality on complex scenes and save space on simple ones. This is a method supported by our current and future generation of products. This technology allows our content to maintain a high level of quality without the need for high levels of storage.  With CBR (constant bitrate), the platform suffers in quality and has high storage requirements.  This results in higher cost storage and limits the number of titles a platform can support.  The reduction in size with VBR also helps the transport of media being loaded on the platform reducing the load times due to the smaller file sizes .  In the on-wing platform, network backbone bitrates are reduced which eliminates the need for RAVE to build out oversize network paths (i.e. aircraft backbone upgrades) reducing the overall hardware costs.

Question 5 – Please tell our readers how giant video quality changes and weight savings can be achieved at the same time reducing size and weight?

Response: Airlines are telling us that weight is critically important as ultra-long haul point-to-point flights are gaining popularity, and passengers’ expectations around technology are increasing significantly. We knew, when designing RAVE ULTRA, we had to achieve both goals that were seemingly at odds with each other. So how did we do it? We completely changed our design philosophy and repackaged our displays into a ‘tablet-like’ design that significantly reduced form factor and weight. RAVE ULTRA 4K panels are lighter and have smaller borders than their predecessors.  We partnered with LG Electronics on this project as they are a market leader in consumer electronics and brought their skill in packaging consumer electronics to RAVE.  We are taking advantage of the laptop market’s use of lightweight, low power and low profile display panels and incorporating them in our new RAVE ULTRA 4K displays.

Be sure to stop by the Safran booth #2142 during APEX to experience RAVE ULTRA.


CARLISLE IT

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) will exhibit its industry-leading installation solution for Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA) technology at this week’s APEX EXPO trade show in Los Angeles. CIT will showcase its integration of thermal management design in packages suitable for business and regional aircraft in the South Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center, Booth No. 1933.

CIT’s extended capabilities into the integration of an installation solution compatible with ESA technology addresses even the toughest of In-Flight Entertainment, Connectivity & Interiors (IFECI) challenges. The aerodynamic design allows for a simplified, standardized, and universal SATCOM installation, resulting in lower maintenance, reduced cost of ownership, and improved speed-to-market for customers.

CIT has long provided airlines and manufacturers with high-performance wire and cable, including optical fiber, for the most advanced interconnect solutions and market-leading products. At APEX, they will showcase expanded capabilities for IFECI equipment with its installation solution for ESA technology into the aerodynamic and structural package design of business and regional aircraft. Using the ARINC 781 footprint for SATCOM on business and regional aircraft, CIT takes advantage of existing OEM provisions to improve airlines’ speed-to-market. Aerodynamic design models establish a low drag shape that advances in-flight cooling and efficiently moves heat load from antenna chips to radiator zones. This efficient transportation of heat maintains uniform temperatures over large areas to optimize antenna operating conditions.

During APEX, CIT is offering a variety of opportunities to learn about the integration of installation solutions for ESA technology and interact with industry experts, users, and partners. The following may be explored at the CIT booth 1933:

  • Light weight backshells
  • Fiber optic harnesses
  • Octax 10GB connections – Solo, 38999, ARINC 600, and more
  • Aerospace wire, coaxial, and cable for high-speed data, custom constructions, and harsh environments
  • Antenna blind mate connection solutions
  • Seal3D fuselage feed-thru connectors
  • Lightweight avionics trays and hold downs
  • Single aisle bagbin video control center

CIT presentations and features at the conference include:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 10, and Wednesday, Sept. 11, beginning at 1 p.m.: Ice cream social with the Carlisle team to see the new installation solution features for ESA technology
  • Video illustrating the antenna selections and flow simulation for drag optimization
  • Additional image, graphic and video assets available for instructional use and informational needs

Please contact Kris Samuelson via email at Kris.samuelson@carlisleit.com or via phone at 253-318-0768 to schedule an appointment during APEX.


OTHER NEWS

 

APEX Expo, Los Angeles | September 9, 2019–At this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Association event in Los Angeles, visitors will be able to see the APEX award shortlisted IFPL Bluetooth audio and AdPower solutions.

The addition of Bluetooth technology to the ever-growing suite of products is an exciting development. As a world leader in passenger connectivity, IFPL deliver high quality sound and exceptional unit reliability giving an enhanced customer experience.

AdPower is an innovative way to provide passengers with in-seat USB power (Patent pending) that can be monetised by airlines.

The solution activates pop-up advertising when a Personal Electronic Device (PED) is connected. This provides an additional ancillary revenue opportunity for the airline. Powering passengers’ PEDs is now an important requirement in support of the passenger experience.

As a complement to AdPower, IFPL Head of Business Development, Dave Phillips says, “The IFPL USB-A and USB-C Rapid Fit combination outlet will allow airlines to support passenger’s future power requirements as they evolve.”

An increasing number of the world’s aircraft are currently equipped with USB-A power sources that deliver relatively low-wattage power. Phillips continues, “USB-A power sources can generate approximately 10 watts, while USB-C Rapid Fit can increase the power output and longevity of the unit”.

Visit APEX 2019 to experience the innovative AdPower and the latest integrated Bluetooth audio products and solutions at Booth #1229.

At the upcoming APEX Expo in Los Angeles, California IFPL will demonstrate their latest innovative in-seat power and integrated peripheral solutions at booth #1229. The Isle of Wight company has an impressive range of passenger interface solutions. In addition to the existing peripherals, the new USB-Power Delivery and integrated AdPower technology will be on display. Here are some of the product offerings not to miss during next week’s Expo:

USB Power Delivery

USB Power Delivery is a new standard for charging consumer electronics. This enables airline passengers to power larger portable devices such as laptops and more demanding tablets. As these devices become more common, IFPL’s products provide a low-cost solution for all airlines.

USB-A or USB-C

The line fit USB-A unit delivers in-seat integration and is a cost-effective solution. However, consumer devices are adopting USB-C as standard. Airlines are increasingly asking themselves, what is the best solution for their passengers?

During APEX IFPL will demonstrate how airlines can easily transition from USB-A to USB-C. The Reversible USB-A and USB-C Rapid Fit combination outlet will allow airlines to support all of their passengers. These solutions incorporate IFPL Intellectual Property and will seamlessly integrate within the seat, delivering high reliability.

AdPower

Incorporating design and technology innovation, AdPower is the latest solution to monetize USB power. Dave Phillips, Head of Business Development says, “a short passenger advert enables the airline to gain access to ancillary revenue in partnership with their media agency.” This is an innovative way to provide passengers with in-seat USB power that can be monetized by airlines. Be sure to see the AdPower product in action at their booth.

Inductive Charging

By working with leading seat vendors, IFPL will demonstrate the successful integration of inductive charging solutions within the seat. This enclosed unit has high reliability designed-in, resulting in significantly lower Customer Induced Damage (CID).

Bluetooth Audio Jack

To address the growing trend of Bluetooth headsets, IFPL has designed the latest 3.5 mm Long Life audio jack to include Bluetooth connectivity allowing passengers to pair wirelessly or use a wired headset. This enables the airline and the passenger to select their choice of headset. Airlines can choose to sell Bluetooth headsets on-board and gain additional ancillary revenue. It is also an easy upgrade for existing IFE systems.

A prime benefit of Bluetooth Audio is that it reduces CID while providing a more modern audio experience. There are two pairing options: 1) a capacitive touch button with LED indicator confirms pairing, or 2) a software upgrade to the seat-back monitor will confirm a successful pairing.

As there are no moving parts, the life of the audio jack is extended so the risk of CID is reduced. This solves accidental damage of the audio jack when the customer stands up with the headphones on. This unit is in service through leading Business Jet Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)’s. IFPL has optimized the Bluetooth signal strength for superior performance.

Within this Bluetooth product, the patented Long Life audio jack has been added so that passengers can use their wired headsets should they choose.

The Bluetooth Audio Jack is a 2019 APEX/IFSA Award Finalist. Be sure to stop by booth #1229 for a demonstration of this latest innovation.


AIX Los Angeles

In just one week, Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) will land in Los Angeles for the fall’s global meeting place for the passenger experience industry. Celebrating the best of aircraft cabin innovation and design, the event is set to welcome leading seating manufacturers, suppliers of flooring, galley equipment, fasteners, air conditioning systems and lighting/LED equipment – each showcasing their latest products and services to industry professionals.

Here are the top reasons why you shouldn’t miss this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) Los Angeles.

Expert speaker seminar program
The return of the popular CabinSpace Live seminar program will offer attendees valuable insight into the latest trends, challenges and opportunities facing the industry. More than 20 expert speakers will take to the stage to create an interactive forum for discussions on the future of aircraft interiors, with topics including cabin accessibility, innovation for comfort, premium accommodation and air quality.

State-of-the-art products on show
AIX LA comes with the promise of the best cabin technology awaiting the eager eyes of industry experts, suppliers and buyers.

Held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, more than 50 of the industry’s leading companies will be present with Diab, Improvage Precision and Jamco Corporation, showcasing the latest, most innovative materials for cockpit doors, while those looking for new lavatory and waste equipment will be able to engage with Certified Thermoplastics Co Inc, SIMONA Boltaron and REGENT AEROSPACE.

Setting the standard for high-density aircraft seating for both wide and narrow-body cabins, Aviointeriors S.p.A will unveil its new concept business class seat that mirrors ‘Ying Yang’ configuration – the ADAGIO range. Currently, narrow-body fuselage aircraft are being trialed as the new way to travel long-haul, but with a better economic and environmental footprint. For example, Airbus recently unveiled the A321XLR – responding to industry needs for improved range. The new model offers value for airlines by bringing 30% lower fuel burn per seat, with an unprecedented range of up to 4,700m – 15% more than the A321LR.

Unrivaled networking opportunities
New to AIX Los Angeles, leading OEMs, airlines and tier 1 suppliers will be taking part in the event’s newly launched meetings program, AIX Connect. Designed to help representatives from key airlines connect with exhibitors during the show, it will enable the interiors community to build business connections and discuss new projects.

Against the backdrop of the city of Angels
Whether meeting some of the most recognizable industry professionals in aviation or reflecting on the latest ground-breaking cabin ideas, Los Angeles is set to provide a suitable backdrop for new and exciting business opportunities for all attendees this fall. And, amid plenty of exciting new developments to see inside the convention centre and networking events to keep attendees busy, visitors can also take advantage of one of the world’s most popular destinations in the world– Los Angeles.

Three events in one location
Aircraft Interiors Expo will be co-located with APEX EXPO and IFSA EXPO, enabling attendees to experience the full spectrum of aircraft interiors products and passenger services in one location, bringing together more than 3,500 qualified industry professionals.

For more information and to register to attend AIX LA this September, please visit this site.


BLUEBOX and VISTARA

Bluebox Aviation Systems and Vistara are marking the 1st anniversary of the launch of “Vistara World” by going app-free. Vistara World is the airline’s free wireless streaming in-flight entertainment (IFE) service which streams content from the Bluebox Wow portable wireless IFE platform to passenger devices.

Since launching last year, Vistara World has been progressively rolled out to Vistara’s entire fleet of 31 aircraft, including Airbus A320 and the recently inducted Boeing 737-800NG aircraft.

As well as enabling passengers to stream IFE via the Vistara World app, Bluebox and Vistara will now provide passengers with an app-free solution. From September 1, 2019 passengers are able to watch Vistara’s DRM-protected content from their personal device browser*, without downloading the app. Previously only DRM-less content could be viewed without the app.

Vistara’s evolving content library includes a flight moving map, movies, TV shows and music in varying genres. In addition, one of the most popular elements of Vistara World is the membership enrollment page for “Club Vistara”, the airline’s loyalty program.

“At Vistara we continue to invest in enhancing our service offerings to stay ahead of the curve. In the last year we have flown over 5 million customers who have consumed a variety of engaging content on ‘Vistara World’ and enjoyed the Vistara experience even more. The Bluebox platform’s convenience, robust capabilities and flexibility will now take this experience a notch higher,” said Mr. Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Commercial Officer, Vistara.

“As well as providing secure, revenue-generating, feature-rich, and cost-effective wireless IFE platforms, we aim to make these as friction-less as possible for both our airline customers and their passengers,” said David Brown, Business Development Director, Bluebox. “With device software now available to enable us to provide app-free DRM content, we are able to make it easier for passengers to access the platform. That, in turn, means more of the benefits to Vistara of deploying the system can be realized – both in terms of positive passenger experience and the ancillary revenue generated by the system.”

* Technical requirements app-free DRM content viewing: 

  • Smartphones: iOS 11.2+ with Safari and Android v5+ with Chrome v75+
  • Laptops: Chrome V69+ and Safari V11

AIRBUS News

AirAsia X finalized a firm order with Airbus for an additional 12 A330-900 and 30 A321XLR aircraft. AirAsia X currently operates a fleet of 36 A330-300s on services to points within the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East. In addition, in August the first A330neo joined the fleet of AirAsia’s Bangkok-based long haul affiliate, AirAsia X Thailand. The aircraft is the first of two leased A330neos joining the airline’s Thai affiliate by the end of the year.

The new contract increases the number of A330neo aircraft ordered by AirAsia X to 78, reaffirming the carrier’s status as the largest airline customer for the type. Meanwhile, the A321XLR order sees the wider AirAsia Group strengthen its position as the world’s largest airline customer for the A320 Family, having now ordered a total of 622 aircraft.


BOEING News

During the Moscow Air Show, Boeing and Aeroflot announced a contract to modify passenger cabins on 18 of the Russian flagship carrier’s 777-300ERs. Boeing will perform engineering work and supply component kits for the planned cabin interior reconfiguration. Aeroflot is a member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance and serves 159 destinations in 54 countries. Aeroflot’s 249-strong fleet is the youngest of any airline worldwide that operates more than 100 aircraft.

Also, Boeing and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced that the carrier has ordered two more 777-300ERs. The order, valued at $751 million at current list prices, was previously attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website.

The 777-300ER can seat up to 396 passengers in a two-class configuration and has a maximum range of 7,370 nautical miles (13,650 km). The airplane is the world’s most reliable twin aisle with a schedule reliability of 99.5 percent. Operating out of its home base in Amsterdam, the KLM Group serves a global network of 92 European cities and 70 intercontinental destinations with a fleet of 209 aircraft. The carrier operates 29 777s, including 14 777-300ERs. It also flies 747s and the 787 Dreamliner family.


OTHER NEWS

  • First presentation of new gaming add-on to BoardConnect at APEX EXPO in Los Angeles | Exclusive pre-conference in the Lufthansa #FlyingLab above the Atlantic

Raunheim/Los Angeles | August 29, 2019– Lufthansa Systems today announced that it will be showcasing the new inflight gaming component on its BoardConnect open IT platform at this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Expo (APEX EXPO) in Los Angeles from September 9-12. The company has digitally adapted the fantasy card game Galaxy Duel and integrated it into the platform in partnership with gaming provider Gladi8torGalaxy Duel offers features such as an eSports league, leaderboards and live streaming. The brand-new prototype of the inflight game will be on show at stand 1901, where it can be tested with an exclusive invitation.

Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect technology enables airlines to use the onboard IT platform for their specific applications, with possibilities extending far beyond mere entertainment. By integrating onboard gaming into BoardConnect, airline IT specialist provider Lufthansa Systems is responding to the ever-expanding gaming market, where it sees an opportunity for airlines to adapt their inflight entertainment to their passengers’ different needs and stand out from their competitors by offering an enhanced passenger experience.

“With 17 airlines having already opted for BoardConnect, our platform is being used on almost 900 aircraft,” said Jan-Peter Gänse, Head of Passenger Experience Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “By developing the open BoardConnect Dock platform, we have enabled our customers to expand the inflight entertainment solution to include a wide range of applications and thus offer their passengers a personalized service. The possibilities are endless. Inflight gaming is just one of many conceivable enhancements.”

Exclusive kick-off event: Lufthansa #FlyingLab en route to APEX EXPO

Before the official launch of APEX EXPO 2019, Lufthansa Systems is organizing a pre-conference on flight LH 452 from Munich to Los Angeles on September 7 in partnership with Lufthansa and APEX. The largest passenger aircraft in the Lufthansa fleet A380 will serve as a flying innovation platform as it crosses the Atlantic, setting the stage for “powering the next generation of passenger experience” and giving industry leaders an opportunity to showcase the latest trends and developments in the passenger experience space. The co-initiator and host of this FlyingLab flight is Lufthansa Systems CEO Olivier Krüger, who will kick off the event by welcoming interesting people taking part in the discussions.

All of the passengers on board can follow the expert presentations live, try out innovative new products and enjoy music performed live in the cabin. The speakers and their presentations can be streamed live to any WiFi-enabled device on board. The event will be broadcast onboard via the BoardConnect solution, illustrating one of the many different possible applications for Lufthansa Systems’ digital platform.

For the first time, a FlyingLab flight will include a design sprint session in which selected passengers can participate and develop new ideas for an enhanced passenger experience with the help of industry experts. The results of this workshop will be presented to the other passengers on board and the most promising suggestion will then be implemented.

BoardConnect Dock

With its new BoardConnect Dock solution, Lufthansa Systems is providing technology, content and financing partners with a BoardConnect framework for creating their own onboard program. Depending on the partner, this might include a connectivity portal, classic IFE content or a platform with booking options and targeted advertising to generate additional revenue.

BoardConnect

BoardConnect is Lufthansa Systems’ complete solution for the digital passenger experience that continues to address airlines of all sizes with different business models. In addition to traditional IFE features such as moving maps, movies, music, games and destination information, customers can choose the content they want from a wide range of services available through Lufthansa Systems’ strong partner network. This content can also be provided simply and easily from the cloud if desired.

Astronics plans to introduce new power and connectivity technologies at next month’s APEX in California. The company told IFExpress that the new technologies bring together a set of power, connectivity, and data solutions that help airlines and airframe manufacturers improve the passenger flight experience while providing cost and operational efficiencies.

New Product Offerings:

One innovation to be featured is the Edge Cabin Network Platform (think cabin Wi-Fi) to support IFE customers with a smarter, scalable hardware solution. The Edge is intended for wide bodies, narrow bodies and regional jets. “We’re taking inflight connectivity hardware to ‘the edge’ of innovation with this new IFE platform introduction,” said Michael C. Kuehn, President of Astronics CSC. “Our new Edge Cabin Network Platform employs the power of a distributed computing system architecture to eliminate weighty servers while improving the passenger Wi-Fi experience. With this new strategy of a distributed architecture, IFE providers can provide a scalable, secure system, offering airlines the option to deploy only as many as they may need to create the optimal, cost- and performance-effective configuration.”

To make future retrofits even easier, Astronics is introducing its EmPower Xpress product, an on-seat USB outlet housing solution for its EmPower in-seat power product line. EmPower Xpress easily adjusts to the seat rail, either forward or rear-mounted, for maximum flexibility. Attaching to the seat without affecting the seat structure means the installation can occur quickly and without the need for seat service bulletins. “With this new retrofit solution for in-seat power, the airlines now have a faster, easier, more configurable retrofit method than ever before,” explained Aaron Clarke, Vice President of Cabin Electronics for Astronics AES. “For very little extra effort, airlines can now offer the inflight charging services that today’s passengers expect on every flight.”

The latest version of its webFB Aircraft Interface Device (AID), which includes an extended Wi-Fi range to wirelessly connect to cabin IFEC systems, enabling real-time data collection and transfer to the ground will also be on display in their booth. Ultra compact and easy to install, this smart AID acts as a server and a router to provide a cost-effective AID solution without the need for aircraft mods.

Update: Future Technology Explorations

You can always count on Astronics to bring some innovative technology up for discussion any time you stop by their booth. This year, the explorations will continue in the Li-Fi arena plus feature alternate gesture control technology applications for use on aircraft. “We’re planning to show gig speed Li-Fi capabilities for potential cabin Li-Fi applications,” explained Mark Schwartz, Vice President of PDT, an Astronics company. “We’ll also feature alternate gesture control, which uses electric currents from your brain to move objects. And finally, we’ll show some Li-Fi gate data link applications, and how it can populate the CWAP with content according to your seat number.”

They will also be featuring their innovative, patented Smart Aircraft System is Internet of Things (IoT) network technology that autonomously collects and aggregates data from a wide range of sensors installed in the aircraft cabin. The system, demonstrated by Astronics throughout APEX, collects nearly any type of sensor data and wirelessly transmits this data to locations and applications where the crew can improve airline operational efficiency. For example, the system can sense seat occupancy and position, depletion of consumables like paper towels, and the status of safety equipment such as flashlights and lifejackets.

A primary application of this technology, the Intelligent Bin Solution, will be on display. This leading edge, patent-pending system is able to detect and report—in real-time—information about the status of overhead bins such as the percentage of fullness, which speeds aircraft boarding processes and reduces passenger stress. In addition, the system reports the temperature, humidity, pressure, and air quality within the bin, which helps detect outgassing events such as those that precede a lithium-ion battery fire. This early warning can increase safety and avoid costly aircraft diversions.

“Our new Smart Aircraft System integrates hundreds of advanced sensors with our webCS wireless communication server to collect and present meaningful data to crew members on their portable electronic devices,” explains Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology. “There are a multitude of uses for this new system, which brings new data and insights into the hands of the crew to increase efficiency, improve safety, and lower operating costs.”

The Intelligent Bin Solution is an APEX/IFSA Award Finalist, and they are expected to start airline trials later this year.

Tech Talks:

Throughout APEX, Astronics will feature Tech Talks in the booth. Topics include:

  • A Look Ahead at What’s Next for the Internet of Flight
  • Scalable Concepts for Integrating Portable IFE
  • Considerations When Selecting a Wireless Charging Solution for Commercial Aviation Applications
  • Securing, Deploying, and Managing the Next Generation Aircraft Interface Devices
  • Improving Cabin Efficiencies using Smart Aircraft Sensor Data

Visit Astronics at APEX Booth #1429.


CRYSTAL CABIN AWARDS

The finalists have been named for the Crystal Cabin Award special category, “Best Customer Journey Experience”. Nominees for the trophy, to be presented during the APEX Expo in Los Angeles, honoring the best integrated solution for passengers, are: the “Connected Experience” application from Airbus, a voice-controlled lavatory from Diehl, and light-based data transfer for Air France with “LiFi Power” from Latécoère.

A life without apps is barely conceivable, from controlling the lighting in our living rooms to cashless payment for pizza delivery. The “Connected Experience” from Airbus brings this comfort to the aircraft cabin. “Pasta or chicken” – passengers can order either, direct from their smartphones. And the app can also confirm whether or not the cabin baggage will fit in the overhead locker, avoiding unnecessary suitcase stress. Thanks to the networked cabin, the crew can regulate temperature and lighting as well as communicate with passengers.

“Please turn on the water faucet”: The “Voice-controlled Lavatory” from Diehl makes it possible to use the aircraft toilet without touching it, an attractive option both for passengers with restricted mobility and for the hygiene-conscious. From flushing the WC to operating the trash can, all essential aspects of the lavatory can be controlled by voice commands in several languages. And thanks to the modular system, this innovation from Hamburg, Germany can easily be retrofitted.

As light as light: Latécoère already presented “LiFi Power”, transmitting data using light, at this year’s Paris Air Show. Crew communication could soon be wireless, and data transmission speeds up to one hundred times conventional wiring will bring a whole new dimension to passenger entertainment and connectivity. Air France has already integrated this innovation in one of its cabins.

This category in the Hamburg Crystal Cabin Awards operates outside the regular entry phase, and will be presented on 9 September as part of the APEX Awards at the APEX EXPO and Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas trade fairs in Los Angeles. The award ceremony in LA also ushers in the new submission phase for the eight main categories of the Crystal Cabin Awards, to be presented in Hamburg on 31 March 2020. Amongst the winners in 2019 were such renowned industry representatives as Airbus, Collins Aerospace, Recaro and United Airlines.

A complete overview of the finalists with contact details and images is available for download here.


AIRBUS

The first A220-300 for EgyptAir successfully completed its inaugural test flight from the Mirabel assembly line. The first of 12 aircraft EgyptAir has on order is due to be delivered to the Cairo-based airline in the coming weeks. The A220 for EgyptAir will provide passengers with superior comfort, its innovative cabin design featuring the widest economy seats of any single-aisle aircraft and panoramic windows for more natural light. The aircraft which is outfitted with a brand new cabin layout of 134 seats, will now enter its final phase of completion before delivery. The A220 delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and true wide-body comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least 20% lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. With a range of up to 3,400 nm (6,300 km), the A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft. nMore than 80 A220 aircraft are flying with 5 operators on regional and transcontinental routes in Asia, America, Europe and Africa, proving the great versatility of Airbus’ latest addition.


BOEING

  • BOEING is increasing 767 production from 2.5 to three per month.
  • BOEING is planning to hire a few hundred temporary employees at Moses Lake, Washington to help prepare new 737 MAXs for delivery by installing new MCAS software and performing required maintenance and other updaters.

OTHER NEWS

  • Starting this month, LATAM will implement a new Premium Business service, offering more comfort and privacy to its passengers.
  • With an investment of more than US$500 million, LATAM is renovating the cabins of approximately 200 aircraft and implementing wide-ranging initiatives to improve the travel experience for its passengers.

São Paulo, Brazil | August 27, 2019– LATAM Airlines Group today unveiled its new Premium Business service onboard the first Boeing 777 in its fleet to feature the group’s new cabin standard. The service is part of a $500 million investment to improve the passenger experience and includes US$400 million in cabin renovations.

The launch event took place in LATAM’s largest maintenance facility, the Manutenção em Linha Center (CML), at São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport.

LATAM executives presented the new Premium Business class service, which includes a new culinary concept and cabin crew protocols to provide more comfort and privacy so that customers can reach their destination feeling renewed and refreshed. Starting this month, the new service will be available on all LATAM international flights.

“From listening to our customers, we understand they want more options, flexibility and personalization to be able to travel according to their needs. We are investing over half a billion dollars in cabin renovations, digital tools and improving our service to offer each of our customers a tailored travel experience,” said Paulo Miranda, Vice President of Customers, LATAM Airlines Group.

The new Premium Business service

“Our new Premium Business service offers more comfort and privacy so that our passengers can rest and arrive refreshed at their destination. We have transformed our service, starting with a new culinary concept as well as new cabin crew protocols and service elements,” added Miranda

Premium Business includes a new gastronomic proposition designed by renowned Chilean and Brazilian chefs Pamela Fidalgo and Aninha that allows passengers to rest well and wake-up revived on long haul flights. True to LATAM tradition, the menu will showcase South American ingredients and will also be accompanied South America’s best wines, hand-selected by Héctor Vergara, the continent’s only master sommelier.

In addition, LATAM has implemented new service protocols for cabin crew with fewer interruptions. It has also introduced new premium pillows, bed clothes and mattresses with temperature-regulating and pressure-point technology for every flat-bed seat to maximize comfort.

“With the new Premium Business experience, we aim to continue being the first choice for corporate customers, offering not only industry leading cabins and service, but also an unrivalled network of destinations as well as the best itineraries and punctuality on the continent,” concluded Miranda.

A new cabin standard

LATAM Airlines Brazil’s first renovated Boeing 777 represents the new standard for the group’s long-haul aircraft and is one of approximately 200 planes – representing over half of the global LATAM fleet – that will be upgraded over the next two years. The aircraft features new Premium Business seats with direct aisle access, a renovated Economy cabin and LATAM+ Seats, which offer greater space, a dedicated overhead bin and premium services such as priority boarding.

In the new Premium Business cabin, each custom-designed Thompson seat offers more privacy and direct aisle access, as well as configurations for both individuals and couples. The seats recline 180o into a fully-flat bed, feature the latest generation in-flight entertainment with an 18” Panasonic personal screen and have ample space for personal items.

LATAM’s Boeing 777 also features a revamped Economy cabin, offering passengers a new look, improved comfort and a state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system with an unrivalled selection of content.

Watch the virtual tour of LATAM’s new Premium Business cabin and revamped interiors.

Flights within Latin America

For passengers travelling on domestic flights and routes within Latin America, LATAM is transforming the cabins of over 150 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. The cabins will feature ergonomically designed Recaro seats, offering greater comfort and fast-charging USB power ports, as well as LATAM Play, the leading wireless in-flight entertainment system in the region. Likewise, passengers will have the opportunity to upgrade to LATAM+ Seats.

For more information about LATAM’s in-flight experience visit latam.com

 

AIRBUS
Airbus logged orders for 33 commercial jetliners in July – paced by the wide-body A350 XWB and A330neo, while making 69 deliveries during the month from across its product line of A220, A320 Family, A330, A350 XWB and A380 single-aisle and wide-body aircraft – which included numerous “firsts.”

The wide-body new business was led by Air China’s acquisition of 20 A350 XWBs in the A350-900 version. This Chinese carrier already is a major Airbus customer, currently operating A350-900s, along with A330s, A319s, A320s and A321s.

Also logged in July was Virgin Atlantic’s booking for eight A330-900s to support the UK carrier’s fleet renewal and expansion; this agreement originally was announced at the 2019 Paris Air Show. Completing the month’s wide-body bookings was Dubai Aerospace Enterprise’s acquisition of two A350-900s.

Single-aisle orders in July involved two A320neo jetliners for Spain’s Iberia and one ACJ319 Airbus Corporate Jetliner for a private customer.

The month’s deliveries were made to 41 customers overall, with the activity led by 52 jetliners provided from the single-aisle A320 Family. Notable deliveries included the first A321neo for South Korea’s Asiana Airlines, and the initial A321LR long-range version delivered to Aer Lingus of Ireland. Two A220 jetliners – the newest addition to Airbus’ single-aisle aircraft line-up – were delivered during July as well.

Wide-body aircraft provided to customers involved seven A330s in both the NEO and CEO versions, seven A350 XWBs in the A350-900 and A350-1000 configurations, along with one A380. Delivery “firsts” in July included the no. 1 A350-1000 for British Airways and the first A330-900s delivered to Air Calin of New Caledonia and Indonesia’s Lion Air.

Taking the latest orders, deliveries and cancellations into account, Airbus’ backlog of jetliners remaining to be delivered as of 31 July stood at 7,198 aircraft. The single-aisle total was composed of 5,822 A320 Family jetliners and 431 A220s; while the wide-body tally involved 618 A350 XWBs, 276 A330s and 51 A380s.

AirAsia has taken delivery of its first A330neo aircraft, to be operated by its long-haul affiliate AirAsia X Thailand. The aircraft was delivered via lessor Avolon and is the first of two A330neos set to join the airline’s fleet by the end of the year. With its enhanced economics the A330neo will bring a step-change in fuel efficiency for AirAsia’s long haul operations. The new generation A330neo will be based at Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport in Thailand, supporting the airline’s growth and network expansion plans to key markets such as Australia, Japan and South Korea. The AirAsia X Thailand A330-900 features 377 seats in a two-class configuration, comprising 12 Premium Flatbeds and 365 economy class seats.


SmartSky Networks

SmartSky has partnered with Mosaic ATM to further enhance SmartSky’s Skytelligence open marketplace and framework infrastructure to connect aviation applications and services developers. The expanded Skytelligence allows for the development of new data and services products to improve the efficiency of aviation operations.

SmartSky’s open interface and integration environment now includes more ways to optimize and improve the flight experience for every aviation-related company, from airlines and aircraft owners to data managers and developers.

“SmartSky’s patented system for five-dimensional trajectory optimization with continuous re-planning is an industry breakthrough, and accessing this capability via a software as a service model is a game-changer. This feature allows developers to take advantage of the combination of several data sources and services, including weather and traffic constraints, to quickly and cost-effectively build enhanced services,” said Chris Brinton, Mosaic ATM CEO.

Mosaic has provided SmartSky with expertise to expand upon and refine the Skytelligence concept, including unique insights for data processing, transformation and fusion techniques to increase Skytelligence’s data offering. SmartSky and Mosaic will continue to collaborate to develop applications and services related to airport data, convective weather data, navigation aids and more.

Using Skytelligence reduces development investment and accelerates outcomes. Application developers and service providers now can realize new revenue while enhancing passenger and flight deck experiences and optimizing operations.


BOEING
A Boeing-built 702 digital satellite called Amos-17 will provide affordable internet access and other communications services to undeserved parts of Africa as well as Europe and the Middle East. The satellite launched today from Cape Canaveral, Florida at about 7:00 p.m. It will enter service in a few months after on-orbit tests and moving to its final position over Africa.

Built on Boeing’s 702 satellite platform, AMOS-17 will deliver television, internet and data services to a potential market comprising hundreds of millions of people in its coverage regions. With both fixed and steerable beams, the multi-band AMOS-17 satellite can provide continual service to long-term customers while moving bandwidth to accommodate short-term demand for high capacity throughput, for example, during special events or natural disasters. “AMOS-17 is packed with innovations so that it can support many challenging missions,” said Chris Johnson, president, Boeing Satellite Systems International, Inc. “We are proud to support Spacecom in their use of satellite technology to bring services, promote economic development and foster a greater sense of connection to people around the world.”


OTHER NEWS

  • Perhaps one of the best applications of self-driving autos is on the airport, or at least, an application analysis of auto usage for airplane/airport applications? Under the hood of Waymo’s self-driving fleet project
  • While reading about the satcom applications of inflight communication, we came across a PR release that the folks at Gogo will introduce 5G systems for usage on aircraft in 2021. What got us interested was the 5G phone usage on aircraft in the future. In case you missed it, here is the release – Gogo to launch 5G network in 2021 – May 29, 2019
  • Optics are not our expertise, however, most aviation folks use binoculars to watch take-offs and landings. This lead-in gives us an amazing solution to a standard problem we found that most of us are aware of: “It’s a problem that plagues even the priciest of lenses, manufactured to the most exacting specifications: the center of the frame might be razor-sharp, but the corners and edges always look a little soft.” Here is the solution by a Mexican physicist that you just have to read. And, oh yes, check out the solution formula! A Mexican Physicist Solved a 2,000-Year Old Problem That Will Lead to Cheaper, Sharper Lenses.
  • If you plan to storm US Area 51 on September 20 this year, we don’t recommend it, in fact, we warn the planned raiders, it might be a life threatening event. Legal expert Devin Stone really put the story and resultant warnings together expertly. While fines and jail time are minimal results, your life might be the “big one”. What Would Happen To You If You Were Caught ‘Invading’ Area 51? – Digg
  • Ever heard of “Intellectual Debt”, a subject by Harvard Professor Jonathon Zittrain? Here is a good article on the new subject discussion. We found the technical version specifically interesting in the article he wrote: “Two crashes of Boeing’s new 737 MAX 8 jets resulted in the worldwide grounding of its MAX fleet. Analysis so far points to problem of technical debt: the company raced to offer a more efficient jet by substituting in more powerful engines, while avoiding a comprehensive redesign in order to fit the MAX into the original 737 genus.” The subject is related to the dangers of AI and problems we don’t totally understand because systems will produce data that we don’t understand and pass it along to other AI systems: while machine learning systems can surpass humans at pattern recognition and predictions, they generally cannot explain their answers in human-comprehensible terms.” So here is the article – you decide it’s validity: Intellectual Debt: With Great Power Comes Great Ignorance
  • Need to learn more about AI, check out the AI presentation and high level overview of the chip landscape by James Wang, AI Research Lead at ARK Invest. Good Stuff, includes AI hardware innovation (GPU chips), Light and Quantum Computers, AI chip market, 3 unique markets and market size, and more! This Is A Very Good Presentation!! The AI Chip Landscape in 2019: Competition is Heating Up
  • Here is another AI discussion with a Tech entrepreneur who said: “In 10 years, AI will significantly shorten capacity and route planning cycles in air travel”. However he mentions a company called Assaia who makes an AI solution that improves airport turnarounds (Watch their video). Tech entrepreneur Stephan Uhrenbacher: In 10 years, AI will significantly shorten capacity and route planning cycles in air travel