Food For Thought:

We don’t think anyone in our industry will dispute the fact that connectivity is here to stay. Passenger expectations are driving that demand, and airline operations are too. However, have any of you IFEC aficionados noticed that the rate of connectivity installations is slowing down? This may seem a bit surprising given all the hype over connectivity, point in fact, over the past five- or six-years connectivity has been the primary focus of every trade show this publication has attended: AIX, APEX, FTE, etc. Think about the buzz phrases: gate-to-gate, end-to-end passenger experience, the connected aircraft – they all focus on the use of connectivity to improve the airlines’ ability to touch the traveler throughout their journey and tailor their experience to meet expectations. So why the slow down? One factor we believe is that operators are grappling with decisions regarding Ka- vs. Ku-band. A connectivity decision is a costly venture and is typically a hardware commitment for their fleet for the next 7 – 10 years. The airlines are faced with sifting through all the pros and cons of each solution to determine which is the most viable and reliable option to fit their model. Now throw in the possibility of the LEOs and things became a lot more complicated. Also, antenna installations are not a penny a dozen – they are expensive and complex. Add to that the recent statements released by the FAA regarding antenna/radome installations and the Airworthiness Directive issued by EASA and airlines are likely to pause over making a quick decision. Given these issues, we also expect it to be more challenging for some connectivity suppliers to generate near-term investment capital.

Needless to say, connectivity suppliers and hardware vendors have made a large commitment and there are many players in the field – maybe too many. As we mentioned in an earlier issue of IFExpress, we expect continued consolidation within our industry. Along those lines, we have heard that one of the majors in the IFE arena is making a play for the commercial division of a major connectivity company, as well as, the connectivity portion of second significant industry vendor – despite one or both of the potential acquisition companies having issues with significant debt. We are hearing DIP (debtor-in-possession) financing is being discussed. The company making the acquisition overtures evidently sees the potential is greater than the risk involved. And interestingly, they will also become a Ku-band operator, as well as, a GX Aviation (Ka-band) reseller.  If the stars align, these acquisitions will launch them into the first-tier position in the Big Three – at least as far as connectivity is concerned. We live in interesting times.


SmartSky:

During APEX we had the opportunity to sit down with Nancy Walker, the new CCO, and Ryan Stone, president of SmartSky Networks, to discuss the status of their 4G LTE air-to-ground (ATG) connectivity service roll-out. Nancy joins SmartSky with 30+ years of experience in the aviation industry having worked for NASA, Harris, LiveTV and Thales.

We were told that SmartSky is in the process of standing their ground towers, and at the time of the interview 77% of them were in the final stages of installation/completion. Currently, the company is focusing their ground-based installation activity on very specific channels: New York to Chicago and Chicago to Florida. The team said they are well on the way to launching their first business aviation customer and that they are in an active demonstration phase. Nancy told us that they have 1,000 of ours of flight test time logged on three different aircraft models and that they had just received their 96th patent!

What SmartSky offers using their 2.4 GHz unlicensed spectrum and patented 4G LTE beamforming technology is a path to get data off the aircraft very quickly. In fact, they claim their high bandwidth capability off the aircraft is unique to their service offering. The SmartSky ‘pipe’ is designed to provide 4 GB/hour to the aircraft and 3 GB/hour off the aircraft. What this translates to is a low latency network that allows users to receive large attachments in their email, and easily stream video on their Wi-Fi enabled PEDs. Ryan Stone went on to say that SmartSky is using a highly patented technology that helps make the system more secure. Not only do they use encryption technology, but the system utilizes a very narrow and specific beam, requiring a low power level to transmit to the ground; therefore, security is innately enhanced.

Since our interview in Boston, Penstastar Aviation developed an Approved Model List (AML) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) that permits SmartSky installations on the Gulfstream GIV-X models and GV-SP as well, and the first customer installation has occurred in the business aviation market.  The company is looking to enter the commercial realm but firmly believes that more general aviation operators will be utilizing the system before airlines enter the mix.  It wouldn’t surprise us if a North American carrier were to add the SmartSky Network onto their aircraft in conjunction with an already installed connectivity system. After all, that is a current airline trend: multiple suppliers for connectivity. This is one to watch!


AIRBUS

A330 – 800
The first A330-800 development aircraft to fly, MSN1888, landed at Toulouse-Blagnac, France at 2:35pm local time after successfully completing its first flight which lasted four hours and four minutes. The aircraft, the second member of the A330neo Family, is powered by the latest technology Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 turbofans. “Today’s first flight of the A330-800 is the latest addition to our efficient Widebody family,” said Guillaume Faury, President Airbus Commercial Aircraft. “The A330-800 is an exceptionally versatile ‘route-opener’, offering unbeatable economics for airlines – encompassing everything from short to very-long haul widebody missions.” He added: “We look forward to the successful flight-test campaign, leading to certification next year.”

The A330-800’s development program will include around 300 flight-test hours, paving the way for certification in 2019. Its sibling, the larger A330-900 family member, recently completed its development testing and certification program which validated the A330neo Family’s common engines, systems, cabin and flight & ground operations.

The A330neo comprises two versions: the A330-800 and A330-900. Both of these widebody aircraft incorporate new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, nacelle, titanium pylon, new wings and offer an exclusive ‘Airspace by Airbus’ passenger experience. The larger A330-900 will accommodate up to 287 seats in a typical three-class layout, while the A330-800 typically will seat 257 passengers in three classes. At the end of September 2018, Airbus’ order book includes 13 customers who have placed orders for a total of 224 A330neos, with more to be added soon.

Airbus will fly an airBaltic A220-300 new generation single aisle aircraft, to five cities in four countries as part of a world demonstration tour.  The A220 demonstration tour is a great opportunity for Airbus to showcase its newest family member in front of airlines and media and to offer a close up view of the aircraft`s outstanding characteristics, comfort, and performance, that benefit both operators and passengers alike. airBaltic’s A220-300 features a comfortable cabin arrangement able to accommodate 145 passengers in true widebody comfort. The Latvian airline already operates 13 A220-300s out of a total of 50 ordered. The A220 is the only aircraft purpose built for the 100-150 seat market, it delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and true widebody 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 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. With a range of up to 3,200 nm (5020 km), the A220 offers the performance of larger single aisle aircraft.With an order book of over 400 aircraft to date, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market.

A220 – 300 TOUR

The A220-300 will first attend the Zhuhai airshow (China) from November 5th until November 8th before flying to Chengdu on November 9th. The aircraft will continue on its journey with a stopover in Koh Samui (Thailand) on November 10th  before flying to Kathmandu (Nepal) on November 11th. After that the airBaltic A220 will go to Istanbul (Turkey) on November 12thbefore returning to its home base in Riga (Latvia) on November 14th.


IATA

The  group forecasts an annual increase in global traffic growth over the next 20 year-end to double emplacements (8.2 Billion) by 2037. Interestingly (and expectantly), China will become the world’s greatest aviation market (to, from, within) the country supposedly by mid – 2020’s. Look for India to become third!


ICELANDAIR & WOW AIR

It looks like Iceland Air just bought out Wow Air and they will still operate separately out of the Icelandic aviation market. With less than 4% of the transatlantic market, both airlines have “challenging” profit issues and this may be a start to reduce that stress. While Wow had been working on a public offering before this announcement, the airlines appear to have seen value in the joining before that event occurrence. The naming of the final organization might be interesting.


GOGO

Gogo Announces Third Quarter 2018 Financial Results as follows:

  • Consolidated revenue of $217.3 million, up 26% from Q3 2017
  • Net loss of $37.7 million, an improvement of 17% from Q3 2017
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) increased to $21.1 million, up 63% from $13 million in Q3 2017
  • BA segment profit increased to $35.2 million, an increase of 65% from Q3 2017
  • 898 2Ku aircraft online on 14 global airlines, with 113 aircraft coming online in Q3 2018

OTHER NEWS

  • Perhaps it’s time for women to be more involved with the aviation industry because it sure seems so in some other areas? Here’s a quote from an interesting article in Business Insider: “In what may well have been a first in any country’s history, Iceland’s government actually studied whether macho posturing led to its economic meltdown. Its conclusion can be summed up in one word: yes.” Iceland ranks high for gender equality – Business Insider
  • Looking for work? Read this!! Here’s What Hiring Managers Actually Care About

A few more reports from APEX Boston

digEcor:

During APEX, digEcor had several significant announcements. One was the new EASA and FAA STCs for the digEcor power solutions on the B737 and A320. The company stated that by using their flexible AML STC they can offer rapid implementation of the light weight and easy to install USB or 110V power solutions offered by digEcor for both models of aircraft. Apparently digEcor has released their power seat kit for the BE Pinnacle and Recaro 3520 seats, which cover thousands of aircraft currently in service. The kit is comprised of a two=piece assembly that outlet mounting and cable shrouding – taking just minutes per seat to install. digEcor stated they have 200+ aircraft orders for their power solutions.

The new slim line NV monitor was also on debut in Boston. This is the latest and newest iteration of the GLIDE NV screen and is the slimmest to date at 3/8th of an inch (10mm). The new thin technology screen is easily embedded in any seat back or bulkhead while delivering all the capabilities and functionalities of GLIDE. The NV monitor boasts the latest IMX8 processor with increased memory, allowing future application options and also supports the latest HD content – all while being significantly lighter in weight than its predecessor. The NV can be mounted in a seat back, arm, or monument. It can also be used as a secondary cabin management solution or a cabin lighting controller.

digEcor also announced that they will be releasing their first Android offering in Q1 2019 for all of their existing and new GLIDE customers. Some of the benefits Android brings is more flexibility to the user interface by allowing airlines to rapidly innovate and achieve a common look and feel across their various fleets operating different hardware from multiple vendors. It will also provide a modern new look and feel that is comfortable for the passengers to interface with.

A new cabin management crew interface was also on display during APEX.  Improved performance and user interface for cabin systems controls are areas of significant improvement. The new interface has Embedded IFE, lighting and PSS, and can be controlled from anywhere in the cabin via remote control from the crew device. It also can provide convenient food and beverage ordering for the passengers. The key here is that the new interface not only improves usability at the terminal but also allows the crew to take control and interface with them throughout the cabin.

New additions to the digEcor executive team were announced during APEX. Gene Connelly has joined the company as President – Americas. Gene was previously Senior Vice President of Global Sales & Customer Support for Panasonic Avionics. He brings 28 years of experience in the IFEC industry with him. Tina Kazmer also joined digEcor as Vice President Marketing & Sales Support. Tina will oversee the strategic direction of Marketing and Communications which will include marketing, communications, events, proposal management, sales training & market research. She was previously with Advisian, the consulting arm of Worley Parsons Group.

Global Eagle:

When we had the opportunity to tour the Global Eagle booth in Boston last month, one of their primary areas of focus was Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellations and their great potential to significantly boost capacity while decreasing communication latency. However, LEOs are 3 – 5 years away from being a viable option. The network currently only has one LEO satellite in orbit, but Global Eagle is using the flying Albatross as a test bed for their Ka-band solution with Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite.  They are testing the hand-off between the LEO Telesat Phase 1 and the GEO (geostationary) Anik F3 in orbit. This hand-off is a critical component in the transition between LEO satellites. That isn’t to say they are planning on throwing in the towel on the GEOs but they do see the benefit of sending the right data over the right pipe in the future. Why all the hype over LEOs? When the LEO constellation is up and running it will provide 10 TB of capacity over the poles, have 30 milliseconds of latency vs. 700+ in the GEOs, and there will be at least 7 LEO satellites in orbit over the USA alone that will facilitate gate-to-gate. In a nut shell, the LEOs will provide global coverage with low latency and high capacity. As Mike Moeller, vice president of Aviation Sales said to us during our interview, “The LEOs will be like bring fiber connectivity to the aircraft without the fiber!”


MORE NEWS

Gogo:

Gogo announced that Brazil’s GOL Linhas Aereas, will become the launch partner for Gogo’s Aircraft Data Service, Wireless Quick Access Recorder and Automated Turbulence Reporting – tapping into aircraft data to drive operational efficiency. Gogo’s partnership with GOL launches a new business line for Gogo, and enables GOL to access real-time information, streamline processes, and generate new service opportunities by securely bonding aircraft data through Gogo’s 2Ku high-speed global satellite connectivity system.

“Gogo is rapidly moving beyond passenger connectivity to connect pilots, flight attendants and the aircraft itself so airlines can access real-time information. By leveraging inflight connectivity, airlines will be able to provide better service in flight, improve safety and operate more efficiently,” said John Wade, president of commercial aviation at Gogo.  “GOL has been at the forefront of technology adoption in the aviation industry; now they will be leading the way in leveraging aircraft data to drive efficiency. We are excited to work with them to bring Gogo’s Connected Aircraft Services to their aircraft.”

GOL will become the launch partner for Gogo’s Aircraft Data Service and Wireless Quick Access recorder. Aircraft Data Services allows for the integration of real-time operational data with GOL’s Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications to improve pilot situational awareness and application intelligence. Gogo’s Wireless Quick Access recorder more quickly provides aircraft data for use in airline operational and quality assurance programs.

In addition to leveraging Gogo’s data management products, GOL will be able to leverage Gogo’s Automated Turbulence Reporting, which utilizes real-time aircraft sensor data inputs. These reports are then sent to the ground using Gogo’s 2Ku, enabling faster and more accurate dissemination of real-time turbulence information.

Gogo has been connecting pilots and flight attendants in flight since 2014 and has developed several other capabilities in the following areas:

  • eEnablement – empowers airline crews with connectivity to their devices such as Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs), flight attendant connected devices and associated applications
  • Data management  gives airlines access to aircraft data anywhere in real-time
  • Operational solutions  optimizes airline operations with end-to-end solutions for safer, more efficient flights and improved passenger experience

To learn more about Gogo’s Connected Aircraft Services product portfolio, visit here.


Lufthansa Technic & LG Electronics:

LG Electronics (LG) and Lufthansa Technik AG will jointly develop, produce and market LG’s innovative OLED displays for commercial airplane cabins. The new venture will be based in Hamburg, Germany and will commence operation in the first half of 2019. The new joint venture will combine LG’s advanced, lightweight and flexible OLED display technology with Lufthansa Technik’s aviation business capabilities to create new markets for on-board aircraft applications such as welcome board screens and interior linings.

“We are very excited to be joining hands with Lufthansa Technik to expand the reach of LG’s innovative consumer electronic technologies to commercial aircrafts,” said Kwon Soon-hwang, president of LG’s Business-to-Business Company.

“Both partners contribute a globally recognized reputation in their respective business areas to create a new flying experience for the passengers,” added Dr. Johannes Bussmann, chairman of Lufthansa Technik’s executive board.Closing of the agreement, which was inked last week in Hamburg, is subject to regulatory approval and planned startup will deliver items such as interior lighting in first quarter next year.


Airbus:
Airbus welcomed Delta Air Lines as the first U.S. carrier to take delivery of the Airbus A220 aircraft.  On hand for the delivery ceremony at the aircraft’s assembly line in Mirabel were members of the A220 team as well as government officials and executives from Delta, Airbus, Bombardier and Investissement Quebec. Delta’s A220 will enter service in early 2019, making Delta the fourth global airline to operate the aircraft previously known as the Bombardier C Series. The C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP) welcomed Airbus as lead partner earlier this year, prompting the change of name to the Airbus A220.  Delta is the largest A220-100 customer, with a firm order for 75 aircraft.

With an order book of over 400 aircraft to date, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market, estimated to represent at least 7,000 aircraft over the next 20 years. As of the end of September, Delta was operating a fleet of 235 Airbus aircraft, including 182 A320 Family members, as well as 42 A330s and 11 A350 XWB, or eXtra Wide Body aircraft. The airline has more than 275 additional Airbus aircraft on order. Next year, Delta will become the first U.S. airline to operate the new Airbus A330neo.

Also from Airbus:

Airbus released The Great Enabler: Aerospace in Africa – a White Paper on the role of aerospace technologies and their impact on socio-economic development in Africa.The extensive report looks at how different segments of the industry can address a core set of challenges on the continent by: increasing access to healthcare; enhancing food security by making African agriculture more competitive and sustainable; promoting education, training and innovation; empowering businesses with innovative products and solutions; and breaking down barriers to the movement of people and goods across Africa.

The white paper analyses the role of aerospace technologies in sectors with the greatest possible impact on social and economic development including manufacturing and industrialization, civil aviation, agriculture, healthcare and humanitarian assistance:

  • On manufacturing and industrialization, many African countries are final consumers in the global aerospace value chain. Joining the ranks of producers in this value chain is challenging for many but not impossible. The examples of Africa’s current leaders in aerospace – South Africa, Tunisia and Morocco – demonstrate the complexities but also the opportunities for African countries to develop aerospace manufacturing and industrialization capacity. Key among these opportunities is Africa’s potential demographic dividend, which will be achieved by investing in its youthful and increasingly techno-savvy population.
  • In the aviation sector, the key question remains how to connect people to markets and goods in a faster, cheaper and more efficient way in order to maximize the sector’s role as an economic engine and a vehicle for greater integration in Africa.
  • Agriculture is perhaps the most consequential pillar of the continent’s sustainable development. However, despite employing more than 60 percent of Africa’s population, the sector contributes only about 15 percent of the continent’s GDP as underlying challenges persist. Aerospace technology such as precision farming could potentially reverse this situation by enabling farmers to produce more with less.
  • Access to healthcare is still a challenge for many rural populations. While building on the existing technologies in the sector – such as air ambulances – new technology will further change the dynamics of access to medical care and emergency response in terms of quantity, distance and data collection.

The report also stresses the need for clear government policies to harness the power of aerospace technology, concluding with key recommendations on human capital development, partnerships and financing.


OTHER NEWS

  • So, if a couple robots can build a chair, when will they be involved in aircraft construction? Robot builds an Ikea chair. Everyone goes nuts. | ZDNet
  • Don’t think the Tesla cars technology are driving the auto market changes? Read this – then think about airplanes! We don’t know if Tesla products are, or are not, top tech; however, you might find this description a bit different than others.
  • Okay, okay, the Bloomberg China-chip story caught a lot of electrical tekkies off guard and we have read a little technical jargon supporting (mostly denying) the possibility of the chip intrusion security technique. It is not easy stuff; however, if you are into the code/chip security issues, you might try reading some of the best electrically technical, intercept possibility articles we have seen on the subject here: Investigating Implausible Bloomberg Supermicro Stories And yes, its not aviation, but as electronics overtakes aviation solutions for things like operation and connectivity, perhaps it might be worth reading. And by the way, you have to read the Comments, they are by some folks that really know their stuff. Good Luck!

IFPL:

Charge-to-Charge is a patent pending solution that IFPL unveiled during APEX. As the name suggests, the new product enables an airline to monetize the USB power. There are two scenarios for a passenger to pay for USB inseat power inflight. 1) During the purchase of an airline ticket, a payment option to include for power during the flight may be selected. 2) Or via a preloaded mobile app, most likely the airline app, a passenger in route could elect to purchase inseat USB power. The USB outlet would communicate with the traveler’s PED via the app, allowing that device to be charged.

IFPL also showcased a reversible power outlet that supports both USB-A to USB-C as many consumer electronics are making the transition from one standard to the other. The company is always innovative, and they also demonstrated a concept seatback 15-watt Qi wireless inductive charging feature. They anticipate certification for the product by year-end.

Lufthansa Systems:

BoardConnect Portable was the focal point for Lufthansa Systems during APEX. The next generation system is capable of streaming inflight entertainment content to 100 passengers, which is more than double its previous capacity. It can be combined with a product from Lufthansa Technik called BoardConnect Portable/Link that facilitates low bandwidth SMS messaging and real-time online payments during flight. Furthermore, the product needs an antenna but requires no STC! Operational health and usage statistics are also features that the new BoardConnect boasts.

PDT an Astronics Company:

One of the forward-thinking technologies we experienced at APEX came from PDT/Astronics. They demoed a concept technology called LiFi. This wasn’t the first time we have heard about LiFi, far from it. However, it was the first time we experienced such a successful demonstration of the technology and we can see future applications for this technology inflight 5 or 10 years down the road. What is LiFi? LiFi is a high speed, bidirectional, and fully networked wireless communication of data using light. When an electrical current is applied to an LED light bulb, a stream of light (photons) is emitted from the bulb. LED bulbs are semiconductor devices, which means that the brightness of the light flowing through them can be changed at extremely high speeds, allowing a signal to be sent by modulating the light at different rates. The signal can be received by a detector which interprets the changes in light intensity as data. This cannot be seen by the human eye. This technique allows data to be transmitted to-from an LED light bulb at very high speeds. In fact, LiFi can get up to 11 Gbps, whereas, standard 802.11ad is in the 7Gbps range. LiFi only works for line of sight transmission but there is no interference with critical instrumentation. LiFi is significantly more secure than other wireless technologies because light can be contained in a physical space – physical barriers and adjustments can be implemented to contain and protect the light. It also works with 10%-90% light illumination. In other words, Li-Fi is rapidly modulated LED that has the capability to securely link a passenger’s PED well beyond traditional Wi-Fi. We realize it was a demo, but we watched a movie streamed via LiFi. There was virtually no latency and you could block the light, stopping the movie, and move your hand and the movie played right where we left off without any noticeable delay. We were impressed and cannot wait for this technology to be available in the home and in the air in the future!

RebelRoam:

One of the reasons we so enjoy attending expos like APEX is having the opportunity to meet new entrants to the IFEC space. RebelRoam is one such company. The Estonian-based company has developed a smartphone app, dubbed RebelRocket, that addresses three issues: speed, cost, and security – all frequent issues affiliated with public Wi-Fi networks whether they be on the ground or airborne. Here is a broad view of how it works. First, the app automatically encrypts all the content secure to any public Wi-Fi network. Secondly malware and ads can be blocked which reduces webpage load time. Third, it also optimizes video streaming. In other words, the app enhances any connection made through any Wi-Fi network. This sounded like a pretty cool product to us and we expect to hear more from RebelRoam over the coming months!

Kontron:

Kontron unveiled their portable Cab-n-Connect P100 wireless streaming platform for the commercial avionics market. The new platform is stated to be both flexible and robust while being in a small form factor (9.8 inches x 3.5 inches x 12.6 inches). It utilizes 802.11ac/abgn radios and features dual hot-swappable batteries to enable 12+ hours of streaming video. The P100 platform has up to 8 TB of onboard storage, as well as, RSSD for quick content updates.

Immfly announced that they selected Kontron for the Pegasus Airlines wireless IFE program. The Turkish-based low-cost carrier selected Kontron to supply their A320 and B737 fleet (81 aircraft) with the ACE Flight 4600 airborne servers, RSSDs, CWAPS and installation kits.

The company also inked a deal with Air Esurfing, a fully owned subsidiary of Air Media online Group, to jointly explore the China aviation Wi-Fi market. The Air Esurfing system solution plans to integrate Kontron’s ACE Flight Server and Cab-n-Connect WAPs for inflight connectivity application for China’s Ku-band and Ku/Ka-band HTS capacity.


MORE INDUSTRY NEWS

Astronics:

Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics AeroSat, had its FliteStream connectivity solutions tested, qualified, and approved to operate across Intelsat’s FlexExec business aviation service. Astronics Aerosat’s FliteStream connectivity solutions are the first inflight terminals to obtain approval to operate over Intelsat’s FlexExec service. FliteStream is a widely deployed satellite broadband data solution of fuselage- and tail-mount SATCOM products designed for government, commercial, business and VVIP aviation operators and passengers.

Spafax:

Global content agency Spafax was nominated this week for two B2B Brave Awards, an initiative hosted by global media platform and Europe’s largest marketing website: The Drum. The B2B Brave Awards celebrate excellence in B2B campaigns produced for digital and Out-of-Home as well as strategic initiatives in data, artificial intelligence, PR, social media and more. The awards are judged by a panel who have extensive experience in the B2B industry, including representatives from Stein IAS, LinkedIn, IBM, Momentum Worldwide, Adobe, MRM McCann, Ogilvy and more.

Spafax is a finalist in the following two categories:

  • Best Use of Artificial Intelligence: Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa for American Airlines
  •  Best Native/Sponsored Content Program: Business Traveller TV

About Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa

Powered by AI, the Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa Skill that allows airline passengers to “ask Alexa” about what movies, television shows, and music will be available on board their upcoming flight. The first of its kind, the Skill was launched with American Airlines, who wanted to introduce a way for their customers to use their Alexa-enabled devices to plan their journey and get excited about the entertainment on their upcoming flight.

Skywise:

Airbus has presented its new reliability analysis software at MRO Europe 2018. Called “Skywise Reliability”, this new solution has been developed by Airbus and is offered with Skywise Core. The application integrates all relevant fleet-wide data – such as part replacements, flight plans and delays and historical maintenance actions – and fully automates reliability reporting, saving airlines hours per week. Furthermore, it allows users to ‘drill down’ into trends to truly diagnose root causes so they can allocate resources to mitigate recurring operational interruptions (OIs).

Skywise Reliability also complements internal data with worldwide anonymised fleet data so that airlines can proactively assess reliability performance against industry benchmarks and understand whether a recurring issue is unique or a more systematic issue. Thanks to Skywise Reliability, airlines have already reported that they can typically reduce the reliability process time from one week to one day – saving significant time in collecting / sorting / processing the data and producing reports. Since its launch in June 2018, 28 airlines have been connected to Skywise Reliability, including easyJet, Allegiant, WOW Air, Bangkok Airways, and Etihad. The service provides interactive and ready-to-use dashboards to simplify the reliability process and increase its efficiency. It allows users to measure in-service fleet performance, explore operational data and benchmark fleet data (eg. fleet utilisation, operational interruptions and in-service issues, LRU removals, logbook data etc.) with other operators and the worldwide Airbus fleet. Thanks to Skywise Reliability, airline engineers and technicians can easily set up alerts (for example on mean time between unscheduled removal (MTBUR) of a line-replaceable unit (LRU) versus guaranteed MTBUR), and analyse trends, build reliability reports and collaborate.

Inmarsat:

Inmarsat, a provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced the appointment of Kai Tang as Senior Vice President of Business and General Aviation (BGA). Kai joins the Inmarsat Aviation business from Inmarsat Government, where he held the role of Chief Commercial Officer. Kai is an experienced satellite communications professional with industry expertise ranging across government, maritime and aviation. During his seven years at Inmarsat, he has held the role of Vice President of Commercial Strategy and Operations for Inmarsat’s U.S. Government Business Unit, and also played a key role within the company’s Global Xpress development programme.

He will be responsible for Inmarsat’s ground-breaking portfolio of connectivity services for the business aviation industry, including its global, high-speed Jet ConneX inflight Wi-Fi solution, which delivers an in-the-air broadband experience comparable to on-the-ground connections. In addition, he will oversee next year’s business aviation launch of the European Aviation Network (EAN), the world’s first inflight broadband that combines dedicated satellite coverage with a complementary LTE-based ground network.

SITA:

SITA announced that it will deploy a further 15 Scan&Fly units at Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (klia2), following the successful implementation of 15 units earlier this year. Baggage processing time has been cut in half for AirAsia passengers using SITA’s Scan&Fly bag drop technology at klia2 terminal, taking between 30-40 seconds on average compared to 75 seconds previously and reducing the wait time for check-in by 40%. The addition of SITA Scan&Fly into the check-in process has resulted in dramatic improvements in the overall check-in times. Prior to implementation the average wait time for passengers at klia2 terminal was around seven minutes but with SITA’s efficient baggage processing technology supporting the airline agents this has fallen 40% to just four minutes and increased the capacity of this area of the airport.


OTHER NEWS

SkyLights

At APEX in Boston, SkyLights announced their partnership with STELIA Aerospace for their premium inseat cinematic VR IFE solution. STELIA is one of the leaders in the field of Business and First class passenger seats The new product combines SkyLights’ Allosky headset, STELIA’s new Opal business class seat and InSeat Solutions’ interactive massage system. The combination of these products provides an unparalleled 4D experience and simplifies the logistics of SkyLights’ entertainment. We tried the Allosky headset and were blown away by the Full HD virtual experience. The audio system is linked into the seat so the massage system, which is equipped with an audio vibration mode, delivers content-synchronized vibrations for a truly immersive interactive experience. As well as upgrading the passenger experience, the inseat solution reduces the logistical complexity and cost of VR IFE for airlines. The devices do not need to be loaded/off-loaded when an aircraft is at its base and can be cleaned onboard by the same crew that cleans the aircraft. SkyLights stated that the new in-seat solution is planned as a line-fit product for airlines that are seeking to upgrade and differentiate their upper-class passenger experience. Airlines looking to implement the benefits in a shorter term, the SkyLights entertainment can be integrated into existing seats certified on a fleet-by-fleet basis.

Alaska Airlines will be the first airline in North America to implement the Allosky VR headset. The inflight experience has 2-D and 3-D screens and forward-facing 360-degree films will be available in the airlines’ first-class service on the Seattle-Boston and Boston-San Diego routes.

FTS

FTS had several significant announcements that were unveiled in Boston. First, FTS and Global Onboard Partners announced their agreement to collaborate to promote, design, and offer a seamless inflight entertainment and ancillary revenue service for airlines around the globe. FTS is a provider of wireless IFEC solutions and Global Onboard Partners is a provider of inflight advertising products. The two will combine their patented onboard technologies, hardware and products in an effort to provide airlines with a comprehensive revenue generating IFE solution.

Additionally, FTS announced their partnership with Qingdao Airlines of China, a private company, to equip its fleet of 14 A320 aircraft with XStream-SAT Broadband Connectivity system. This arrangement is achievable with the Civil Aviation Authority of China’s relaxation of regulations in early 2018, allowing passengers to use smartphones during flight.

Another landmark agreement announced during APEX was Donghai Airlines plan to equip its fleet with XStream-Sat Next Generation Inflight Broadband system from FTS. The significance of this deal is that it will be for the first fully ‘Connected Aircraft’ implementation in China to integrate both flight deck and passenger cabin application over inflight broadband connectivity service. Rich Salter, Chief Technology Officer of FTS added, “The seamless integration of the aircraft data network with the airline’s IT infrastructure enables the aircraft to become more intelligent and data-centric. Airlines can provide precise support to flights through analysis of real time data transmitted via the air-ground broadband network.  By remote monitoring of flight systems’ performance and leveraging AI deep learning, airlines can even preemptively predict defects, recommend preventive measures and thereby greatly improve flight reliability.”

Viasat

One of the primary topics of discussion from Viasat during APEX was the selection of Aeromexico of the ViaSat Ka-band satcom solution for 18 of their B787 MAX, 16 B737 MAX aircraft are new. The first line-fit installations have already begun and there are options to extend the agreement to 60 other jetliners in the Aeromexico fleet. According to ViaSat the airline evaluated the Viasat inflight internet service and selected them based on its proven, scalable network platform. Furthermore, the ability for them to tap into the ViaSat-2 satellite and future satellites, like Viasat-3, provides the airline with greater inflight Wi-Fi reliability, faster onboard internet speeds, better internet performance, and a futureproofed approach to inflight Wi-Fi. As the Viasat technology is both forward and backward compatible across all of Viasat’s spacecraft, ensuring that the Aeromexico’s jetliners can stay connected.

La Compagnie Business-Class Airline partnered with Viasat to offer inflight connectivity to the boutique airline’s twice daily flights between New York and Paris. The airline’s A321neo aircraft will be installed with high-speed Wi-Fi Capabilities and will enter into revenue service in April 2019. The satellite design and its ability to meet the connectivity demands in high-density areas like major airport hubs and congested air corridors appealed to the boutique carrier.

SITAONAIR

SITAONAIR forged an agreement with Etisalat, a mobile network operator, to transform how inflight cellular services are offered to airline passengers. Etisalat is based in the United Arab Emirates and allows subscribers of their business roaming packs to use their data and minutes inflight as part of their bundle with no additional fee. This new roaming agreement provides their travelers with a seamless mobile connectivity experience whether they be on the ground or in the air.

New Caledonia-based airline, Aircalin, also chose SITAONAIR for their in-flight connectivity solution. The airline will install their A330-900s and A320neos over the next 3 years.


IFEC NEWS:

Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has appointed Donny Cheah, as Regional Vice President, China. This strategic hire will bolster Panasonic’s presence in China which is the fastest-growing region in the world for air travel. To date, Panasonic has sold more than 2,000 inflight entertainment and connectivity solutions to airlines based in this region. Donny will also serve as the president of Panasonic Avionics (China) Co., Ltd. (PACN) which will be newly established in Shanghai, China this year. In his business management role, Donny will oversee account management, customer support, repairs & maintenance, media & creative services, along with the service functions of quality, human resources, IT, and customs compliance in the China region.

Astronics

Astronics announced that it has joined the Seamless Air Alliance as an “Adopter Member. ” The Seamless Air Alliance is a consortium of companies dedicated to the development and promotion of aircraft connectivity standards to facilitate a simple, delightful experience for passengers. The goal of the organization is to create standards that ensure continuous connectivity from gate-to-gate anywhere in the world with the additional potential benefit of reducing the hurdles associated with the acquisition, installation and operation of inflight connectivity systems.

Astronics FliteStream: The company also announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics AeroSat, is introducing its next generation FliteStream T-310 SATCOM connectivity solution for business aircraft. Astronics is offering the FliteStream T-310 solution to the business aircraft market in partnership with Satcom Direct (SD), the launch customer, as part of its SD Xperience end-to-end solution. The T-310 is fully qualified and approved to operate on the Intelsat FlexExec business aviation network. The FliteStream T-310 SATCOM connectivity solution includes the next generation iDirect CX780 modem, providing compatibility with both Ku-band wide beam and high throughput spot beam satellite (HTS) networks.

Gogo

Gogo Business Aviation has surpassed 5,000 systems activated across the AVANCE platform and its other ATG (air-to-ground) systems. Presently, Gogo has nearly 450 Gogo AVANCE systems flying on business aircraft, including AVANCE L5 and L3, which is the fastest adoption of connectivity systems across the broadest range of business aircraft models in the history of business aviation. AVANCE L5, Gogo’s solution that can provide bandwidth-intensive activity such as streaming video, has been in the market for a little more than a year. To date, Gogo has more than 350 L5 systems installed and activated, with an additional 300 that have been shipped. AVANCE L3, which began shipping earlier this year, continues to gain momentum and is expected to reach 100 installations by mid-November, less than one year after launch. Since the start of the year, the AVANCE L5 system has been in use on more than 28,000 flights, delivering a 4G experience that allows heavy-bandwidth activities such as streaming video, video conferencing, email with large attachments, and fast web browsing.

Gogo DASH

Connectivity is often the biggest influencer on passenger satisfaction today. Passengers on business aircraft expect reliable, seamless connectivity, but they also want visibility into the performance of the connectivity systems on board their aircraft. To help provide greater insight and better diagnostic tools, Gogo Business Aviation is introducing Gogo DASH, a powerful new toolkit that gives operators and pilots visibility into the Gogo network and the connectivity systems they have installed on their aircraft.  Gogo DASH is comprised of the DASH mobile app and DASH portal and provides information for a single aircraft or an entire fleet.

SITA

Moscow Domodedovo Airport and S7 Airlines have implemented SITA’s Scan&Fly self-bag drop technology, providing passengers with a faster, more efficient process to check-in their own bags. The process takes less than a minute. The technology was developed by SITA, the world leader in IT and telecommunications solutions for the air transport industry. The self-bag drop solution was tested on S7 check-in counters since early September and positive feedback was received from more than 1,000 passengers that used the service. By the end of the year, 24 check-in counters at Domodedovo will be equipped with the self-bag drop technology, allowing other airlines to use the service. Scan&Fly will accelerate and simplify the check-in process for passengers. Equipped with a document scanner and a hand-held infrared barcode reader, it takes only three simple steps for passengers to check-in a bag. First, the boarding pass barcode (printed or digital) is scanned, a bag tag is printed and then the passenger attaches the tag to their bag before depositing it for processing.

ATPCO and SITA announced that British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, the airlines of the LATAM Group, and Finnair will participate in NDC Exchange, a platform that enables content interoperability across the airline distribution ecosystem and is a trusted bridge between IATA’s NDC (New Distribution Capability) and traditional distribution methods. “By connecting to NDC Exchange we have access to these first movers, as well as other airlines as they join. By building a single connection to NDC Exchange, we are being more efficient with our development resources, letting us focus on customer experience rather than content acquisition. We’re excited about the momentum this is getting and can’t wait for the next airline,” said Rich Miller of Serko, an industry-leading corporate booking tool. NDC Exchange is a community platform that enables API connectivity between airlines and sellers (GDSs, travel agents, aggregators, OTAs, and TMCs) so that they can exchange messages easily and cost effectively. NDC Exchange supports shopping, booking, and servicing workflows and enables the cross-selling of ancillary services between airlines, and among airlines and sellers. Using a common data model, it normalizes messages regardless of version or format, creating interoperability across the distribution ecosystem. Travel sellers can access multiple airlines via NDC Exchange, hence lowering the cost of their implementation.

As world leaders gather in Bali for the IMF-World Bank Group meetings, PT Angkasa Pura I Persero (AP1), which operates 13 airports across Central and Eastern Indonesia, announced that it will be leveraging world-class technology, from air transport IT provider SITA, to manage the country’s rising passenger numbers. The commitment to leverage world-class technology was reiterated through a partnership signing event, between SITA and PT Angkasa Pura Supports (APS), AP1’s subsidiary company, held at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport today. Indonesia is the biggest aviation market in South East Asia with more than 110 million passengers in 2017 and it is growing rapidly. By 2036, Indonesia is expected to be one of the top four markets globally with a forecasted 355 million passengers. The economic and social benefits of aviation are well recognized and SITA’s proven airport technology will support AP1’s vision to run world-class operations providing a great passenger experience during this period of rapid growth. Since 2014, SITA has provided AirportConnect Open to AP1. This common-use platform enables carriers to operate smoothly at AP1’s 13 airports, including at two of Indonesia’s busiest and award-winning airports Denpasar (Bali) and Surabaya. This platform also enables the future introduction of SITA’s self-service check-in kiosks, bag-drop and boarding gates; and SITA ControlBridge, which seamlessly integrates the command and control capability of an airport to deliver efficient operations.


OTHER NEWS

OK, let’s kick off this IFExpress with some “trends” we saw at the show in Boston. These aren’t predictions but just observations and we will of course talk about them in the weeks to come.

  • Big IFE seems very interested in satcom. This sort of makes sense, especially if there is a future payback.
  • Show booths are seemingly getting a little smaller?!
  • Connectivity is becoming more of industry focal point.
  • People’s personal devices are affecting the industry in at least 2 ways: They may impact the future IFE embedded installations and the inseat power folks are all smiles.
  • There is a next generation system and it looks amazing, especially since it can help you enjoy the flight experience better.
  • Software Analytics in a big supplier’s booth blew us away because they have a working user system hardware/software application. If you have their hardware, they can provide an incredible total aircraft system monitor that knows if and where failures are. Further, the application allows the airline to monitor content usage, per tail, per seat, per route! (More on this later).
  • As satcom frequency bands go up, aircraft satcom dishes are getting a little smaller and lower in height.
  • Speaking of satcoms, LEO systems are garnering more interest every day.
  • There is a new player knocking on the door of the Big 3 IFEC camp.
  • One vendor has found a way for you to pay for your PED power usage – on the plane!

Some Highlights from APEX EXPO:

PANASONIC

During Panasonic’s media briefing, Panasonic’s Chief Technology Officer, David Bartlett discussed the three overall areas of focus for the company: 1) Improving customer satisfaction by providing the passenger a seamless experience, 2) Improving operational efficiency, and 3) How to use digital transformation to drive revenue and new business opportunities. As a result, Panasonic has been focusing heavily on artificial intelligence and machine learning and their new NEXT cloud-based platform allows them to leverage these new technologies. Panasonic has also strengthened their existing relationship with Black Swan for Artificial Intelligence.

Andrew Mohr, Head of Innovation at Panasonic Avionics, unveiled their new Wellness Suite of products, which is one of the four pillars of the NEXT product line. The Wellness suite features five products: premium lighting, active noise control, nanoe air quality, the Detalytics Health app, and Mimi personalized audio. The premium LED lighting product is targeted to hit the market in 2020 and will have various scenarios that the traveler can select from, including circadian rhythm, sleep, mealtime, and/or entertainment. The noise control product that was discussed, and demoed in the booth, was in a premium seat whereby the external noise was reduced by 15 decibels without the use of headphones. The technology is adaptable to each seat configuration and will calibrate inflight to each passenger’s seat. It has a frequency range of 80-400Hz and in-seat controls, integrating with the passenger IFE. It too will be launched in the 2019/2020 time frame.

Nanoe was another wellness feature. This is an air cleansing technology, that is currently used on the ground in Japan and in automobiles including Range Rover and Jaguar, that creates nano droplets of water to remove airborne odors and pathogens. But get this, the ionized water droplets are 15,000 times smaller than a human hair follicle!! The nano-sized electrostatic atomized particles are distributed at 480 billion nm particles per second, resulting in the removal of viruses, bacteria, fungi and odors from the cabin.

Artificial intelligence comes into play with the Detalytics health app. AI is used to assess various aspects of a passengers’ health/wellness and deliver accurate recommendations to them via the app. Perhaps the most amazing offering in the Wellness product suite came from Mimi audio technology. Mimi is an app that uses a specialized algorithm that tests and tunes the audio headphones to the passengers’ specific hearing requirements.  The passenger can either answer a series of specific hearing related questions or simply select their gender and age – the results are truly phenomenal! The health and wellness market has been a huge success on the ground with all the wearable technologies available today, whether it be a FitBit, Apple Watch4, Garmin, etc. It was only a matter of time before this booming industry reached into the airline market.  As expected, Panasonic indicated they have an undisclosed launch customer. All this is attainable because of the NEXT open platform.

Panasonic also announced an IFEC deal with Uzbekistan Airways for 3 B787-8 and 2 A320neo aircraft. The X-Series IFEC system, in conjunction with a suite of connectivity services, will be line-fit installed on the new jets. A personalized, home theater experience, with HD screens and high-power USB charging at every seat, AVOD, and capacitive multi-touch screens. The aircraft will also be outfitted with inflight Wi-Fi service. The B787-8 will also have live television and the ability for passengers to use their mobile phone in flight. All the aircraft in this contract are slated to enter into service in January 2019.

Egyptair also selected Panasonic for 15 A320neo aircraft. The X-Series IFEC platform will be line-fit installed on the new narrow-body aircraft, starting in 2020. Business Class will boast 13-inch HD personal screens, a video handset and high-power charging facilities at every seat. Economy Class will have 10-inch HD screens incorporating a USB power point, with charging facilities at each seat group. Inflight Wi-Fi service will also be available; as well as, inflight shopping options and a 3D flight path moving map. Egyptair has also opted to use OneMedia, Panasonic’s advertising platform, to target onboard advertising campaigns by categories including seat class, flight destination, origin city, content categories, and languages.

GOGO

On the opening day of the exhibition floor, Gogo announced that their IPTV product, dubbed Gogo TV, is up and flying on three global airlines, delivering live television to 550+ aircraft. Sports, news, and other content is either delivered to the passengers’ Wi-Fi enabled PEDs or enabled into the seatback IFE system. The airline can customize channel options, allowing their passengers to view popular networks in their country and/or region. Gogo TV is available via the Gogo 2Ku high-speed satcom service. Gogo TV uses High Efficiency Video Coding compression that facilitates bandwidth usage up to 40%. The system also combines multiple channels into a single multicast stream (statistical multiplexing), resulting in a highly efficient solution that offers the best possible perceived video quality while using the least total bandwidth.  Gogo also announced that Air France launched Gogo’s 2Ku high-speed connectivity system on an A330 and B777 with installations being underway on the balance of Air France’s long-haul fleet of 83 jetliners.

THALES

American Airlines and Thales announced during the EXPO that the airline has selected AVANT IFE System for their 22 new B787-8 Dreamliners that are scheduled to enter into service in 2020. Business Class travelers will have 17-inch HD Flex screens and the Thales handheld controller, Avii, that also has the capability to be used as a second screen. Premium Economy will have 12-inch Fit HD screens, while economy will have the 10-inch version.

In the Thales booth, the highlights were on their three-tiered IFEC offering: 1) CORE – their streamlined entertainment product that has a low time to market and uses the Thales developed standard GUI. This product is line-fit offerable at both Boeing and Airbus today, 2) AVANT– uses the current platform that Thales has developed but facilitates more design choices and a degree of customization for the airlines, and 3) PRESTIGE – which is a high-end product that is co-designed and co-innovated by the airline and Thales working closely together to tailor the passenger experience. Presently, both the CORE and AVANT products are available.

Thales also addressed their commitment to Big Data, which they said not only facilitates personalization for the passenger but also has implications for airline operations and its associated costs. Closely related is Artificial Intelligence (AI), with they see playing a significant role in preventative maintenance by utilizing just-in-time parts shipping. Thales stated they are fully dedicated to connectivity and their Ka-band technology investment. They added that they are presently looking into 5G as well. And lastly, but certainly not least, they indicated that Thales has a commitment to Cyber Security.  The indicated that the Thales IFEC group was fortunate to have the Thales Group investing in the aforementioned categories.

Thales also announced that Vietnam Airlines strengthened their partnership with the airline’s selection of AVANT IFE for their new B787-10 fleet of aircraft. This agreement expands their existing relationship for the airline’s A350 and B787-9 fleets with AVANT IFE and turn-key maintenance services.

HOT TEAM = ENCORE

For the past few years, we have been impressed by the inflight entertainment content folks out of Hong Kong and we wanted to introduce you to Jovita Toh’s Encore team …“is made of a group of in-flight veterans who have individually evolved within the inflight and content industries, enhanced their expertise with polished skills, exchanged personal time and effort for added knowledge, enabled the organizations they work for with necessary insights and are now joining forces to extend their collective experience to the exciting world of inflight entertainment”… we couldn’t have said it better! You can find out more here. Watch these folks because they will be content suppliers of the future! PS, they turn out a great monthly newsletter – contact Tommy Ko.


Other News:

AIRBUS

The Board of Directors of Airbus SE (stock exchange symbol: AIR) has selected Guillaume Faury as future Airbus Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Faury, 50, who currently serves as President Airbus Commercial Aircraft, will succeed Tom Enders, 59, who remains CEO until the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 10 April 2019, when the appointment of Faury as executive member of the Board will be submitted to shareholders. Guillaume Faury served in various senior management roles at Eurocopter from 1998 to 2008. Starting in Engineering, then Flight Test, he later became Executive Vice President for Commercial Programmes, then Executive Vice President for Research and Development. In 2009, Faury joined Peugeot S.A., where he served as Executive Vice President for Research and Development as a Member of the Managing Board. In May 2013, Faury returned to Airbus as CEO of Airbus Helicopters and in early 2018 he took the helm of Airbus Commercial Aircraft. Denis Ranque will continue as Chairman of the Board of Directors until the end of his mandate in April 2020, as foreseen in the staggered board succession process, introduced at AGM 2016. At that time and after seven years as Chairman, Denis Ranque has requested to leave the Board to pursue other interests. The Board will commence the process of selecting a new Chairman in due course having regard to, as expressed in its internal rules, the importance of maintaining international diversity at Board and Management level.

NOTES OF INTEREST

Los Angeles, USA | September 25, 2018–Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. [NASDAQ: ENT] today announced that it is bringing global destination recommendations to passengers’ finger tips inflight with trusted content from the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor – without the need for internet access or a seatback screen.

The new service is called “Air Cities” and is available through Global Eagle’s award-winning Airtime inflight platform, which wirelessly streams content and other services directly to passengers in flight. Jet Airways of India is the first customer for wireless Air Cities.

“Every passenger wants the world at his or her fingertips, and Global Eagle is constantly seeking innovative products to satisfy the rising demand for unique content on board,” said Global Eagle CEO Josh Marks.

Global Eagle’s Air Cities service provides destination guides that are curated from content supplied by TripAdvisor. This includes points of interest within specific categories, such as Accommodation, restaurants, and experiences Passengers will see locations that are top-rated by global travelers, photos, and reviews. No internet connection will be needed to view the content.

“Air Cities is part of an expansive product offering for airlines to offer passengers,” said Marks. “Global Eagle offers the leading movie, TV, music and gaming content in the industry, as well as flight tracking, education and other options, with advertising and sponsorship opportunities that generate revenue.”

Another APEX has gone by and there were some interesting changes and new technologies at the Boston Experience. Specifically, here are a few of the event “big deals” we saw. And you should note, some of the technologies and business deals will be with us for years and impact the industry for some time. Here are just a few of the deals and trends to watch, and note, in the forthcoming weeks, we will do future stories on many more vendors and many more products beyond the quick look presented here:

  • Panasonic and Inmarsat announced a strategic partnership to expand their relationship of inflight connectivity at Ku and Ka bands. This collaboration has the potential to offer a better inflight connectivity solution worldwide because of the existing fixed satcom installations at some 22,300 feet. Watch this relationship as it unfolds.We understand that the deal will be finalized by the end of October.
  • Another “big deal” is the clever acquisition of Rockwell Collins Paves IFE hardware, software, manufacturing, and manpower solution by digEcor. While the official announcement will be made later, almost everyone we saw had the story. The acquisition is a brilliant growth path for digEcor. Interestingly, Paul Margis and Gene Connelly were in the picture and no doubt were fans of a wider product base offerings. With some 1400 (est.) planes installed with Paves, digEcor is off and running with a full range of IFE, not to mention some items of which are line fit offerable at both Boeing and Airbus!
  • Astronics displayed a wide range of products including their IFE solutions. Included was an overhead bin sensor that will advise if passengers (or crew) left an object behind. This product can detect the bin environment including temperature, humidity, chemicals, as well as carry-ons left behind. Another potential product that we really liked was a light connectivity (LiFi) cabin solution displayed by Mark Schwartz of PDT. Their test displayed a video (high res) with no wired connection. More on this in future articles.

You will be able to see a lot more of the show on our website in the form of images in the coming weeks, as well as, finer tuned and more detailed articles on the expo.

In general, the expo this year told us the following:

1. In general, the IFE industry is developing smaller, lighter weight modular systems. A perfect example of this is the Panasonic NEXT System which is planned for the B777X in 2020. They cleverly built a room wall with the hardware laid out with connection paths so that the system and its options were easily understood – great communication concept.

2. One of the big aviation travel features is connectivity and passengers continue to demand contact with the ground. Further, since so many of today’s PEDs have entertainment capability, inflight bandwidth demand is escalating!

3. Analytics of everything on the plane is increasing and data requirements are growing to help improve plane/ground connectivity.

4. Panasonic is breaking some new ground in the application of improved passenger flight experience and wellness. This will be a big deal in future travel, especially in upper classes. To give you an idea of one of the areas impacted, entertainment hearing improvement was demonstrated with the software on an iPad that adjusted frequency response based on a traveler’s entered age. It was amazing!

6.The connectivity industry is now in a waiting pattern to see if LEO satcom technology will come on line as purported. Obviously, bandwidth requirements are growing and since the satcom density is greater with LEO’s, the ability of more bandwidth is there. Watch this one!

7. People are returning to the IFE industry and a good example, is Mythopoeia. The company is making a new IFE solution and it’s leader is Terrence Bonar!

8. Artificial Intelligence has landed in inflight entertainment and many airlines now use companies like Black Swan Data to better connect passengers from flight-to-flight and use algorithms to load products and prices.

9. No doubt you have heard, but people changes seem to be a big part of the industry this year. Stay Tuned on this one.

10. KID Systems has the slickest seatback USB plug – It just slides/snaps in and has no external power wires! We will have pix for you soon.

And yes, there was much more to see, which we will cover in future editions of IFExpress!


APEX OPENING SESSION SUMMARY

As usual APEX started of the week-long event with a Welcome & Introduction seminar, what was unique about this year’s opening was there were 6 C Level airline executives present that addressed their airline’s focus for the next 12 months. Their topics ranged from how to utilize personalization, the implementation of bio-metrics, and improving connectivity.  Below are the highlights from each airline representatives’ presentation.

The first to speak was American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, who focused on the airline’s transformation since the acquisition of US Airways in 2013. Mr. Parker stated that they have invested over $26 billion in the process of which $19 billion has gone to the acquisition of 500 new jetliners. He stated there is a night to day difference in their onboard offering over the past 5 years. An example is they no longer have an inseat IFE offering onboard their 737 MAX. Instead, they feature 12 channels of live television, as well as, paid for Wi-Fi streaming to PEDs. He also stated that premium economy will soon be available on all of American Airlines international fleet and that it has been well received and is in high demand on those aircraft that it has been installed on.

Stephen Kavanagh, CEO & executive director of Aer Lingus was the next to address the APEX throng. He stated that starting in 2019 the airline was going to refresh their brand. This will encompass free 20 MB of free Wi-Fi for economy class service. A new livery and new flight crew uniforms are included in the package. The refresh will be included on 12 new A321neo long-range jets. The updated image will reflect Aer Lingus’ modern outlook, as well as, their desire to be the leading value carrier across the Atlantic. The airline is also focusing on making changes based on Net Promoter Score (NPS) and are targeting to be in the 40 – 50 point range across all business categories. Examples of areas that have greatly improved their NPS yield are improved quality in their audio headsets and investing in better IFE screens – improvements that transformed their onboard passenger experience, bumping their NPS up significantly.

Passenger service improvements were the focus of Aeromexico’s CEO Andres Conesa. Mr. Conesa stated that it was irrelevant if you offered great inflight service, IFEC, or wonderful seats unless your flight departed on time. He stated that the most important thing is consistency and the way that Aeromexico is aiming to achieve this is through branded fares that allow the passenger to tailor their ticket to exactly what they want, as well as, standardizing their fleet from 7 different aircraft models down to 3 has also facilitated their plan. Presently, whether it is an international short, medium or long-haul flight passengers will have access to connectivity, IFE, free food and drink.

LATAM Airlines Group also considered NPS. Their NPS indicated that passengers were most concerned about the cabin experience. Consequently, the airline plans to invest $400 million over the next 3 years to retrofit the cabins on 67% of their fleet. Claudia Sender, CEO of LATAM Brasil and VP of Customers for LATAM Airlines Group said that the program will commence in January of 2019. The airline will be revamping the passenger experience in an effort to provide a more relaxing space. Simultaneously, LATAM will be expanding its route network through their joint venture with the IAG Group and American Airlines.

Calin Rovinescu, president and CEO of Air Canada, addressed the rebrand that Air Canada is currently undergoing. Having recently launched Rouge, the airline’s leisure brand, they wanted to make certain that Air Canada was distinguished as their mainline brand maintained its role as a leading brand globally. The first step towards maintaining this clarification between product offerings was the launch of a new livery for Air Canada – a black tail with the return of the red maple leaf. New food and beverage offerings, new uniforms and the rebranding of their premium product are part of the program as well. All of this sounds fairly normal until Mr. Rovinescu started discussing the 5-star restaurant and BMW limousine service for their full-fare international business class passengers at Air Canada’s Toronto hub! Mr. Rovinescu was also the recipient of the APEX Life Time Achievement Award.

Spirit Airlines CEO, Robert Fornaro spoke during one of the educational tracks dubbed Invest in The Guest: Utilization of Technology to Enhance PaxEx. During the breakout session Mr. Fornaro looked back to the early days of the leisure carrier, stating that what they had to offer the traveler was low prices and that was about it. When Fornaro took the helm he airline wanted to “invest in the guest” but didn’t want to select any connectivity offering, he wanted a solution that would fit Spirit’s business model. This led Spirit to be the launch customer for Thales’ FlytLIVE high throughput Ka-band satellite service. The system not only provides streaming capabilities, but the platform allows access to a large amount of analytics which facilitate ancillary revenue generation, understand the passenger, develop their value proposition, and truly fine tune their passengers experience.

Company says offer of award-winning IFE solution for visually impaired passengers is “the right thing to do”
APEX EXPO, Boston USA | September 24, 2018– At APEX EXPO, Bluebox Aviation Systems has announced that all existing and new customers of Bluebox’s iPad-based IFE platforms will benefit from the company’s development of Bluebox aIFE, an app for visually impaired passengers that won a Crystal Cabin Award earlier this year. For all Bluebox iPad devices currently in service, Bluebox offers to provide the upgrade free of charge, in line with device update cycles. The combined build platform will also be offered to any new customers of iPad-based IFE deployments at no extra cost. The combined build enables cabin crew to switch between the standard IFE mode (Bluebox Ai or Bluebox Hybrid, a Wi-Fi enabled version of Bluebox Ai) and accessibility mode (Bluebox aIFE) depending on a passenger’s needs.

“Since launching Bluebox aIFE with Virgin Atlantic, we developed a way of combining the standard and accessible versions on the same device,” said Kevin Clark, CEO, Bluebox. “Recognising how simple it is to update Virgin Atlantic’s iPads, we thought we would be just extend the same capability to all of our customers. Having worked with a group of visually impaired people in the system’s development, and hearing the feedback from Virgin Atlantic passengers about what it means to be able to use the system, we felt it was the right thing to do, and could be our contribution to directly improving the passenger experience of visually impaired passengers around the world.”
Bluebox worked closely with Virgin Atlantic and a group of visually impaired people from the UK charity Guide Dogs in the development of the original Bluebox aIFE platform, which has been entertaining passengers with visual impairments aboard Virgin Atlantic flights serving destinations across North America, the Caribbean, Africa, China, India and the Middle East.
The combined build offers airlines providing IFE a two-in-one solution for ensuring IFE is available to all passengers throughout their flight – at a tap of an on-screen button, a cabin crew member selects the accessible version for someone who is visually impaired, or the standard IFE mode. When the devices are offered for rent during a flight, it means visually impaired passenger can take up the offer just like anyone else. Or, where the devices are used for service recovery on an aircraft with seatback IFE, it means the same device can be used as the primary screen for a visually impaired passenger or as a backup if any other passenger’s seatback screen malfunctions.
Bluebox will upgrade devices in line with the deployment cycles of existing customers taking up the offer, working with them closely to ensure they understand how the new functionality works. For any new customer of Bluebox Ai or Bluebox Hybrid, the combined build with Bluebox aIFE can be included in the initial deployment.

Immfly offers the opportunity to airlines to engage passengers with an amusing experience that starts at the airport and continues while flying

APEX EXPO, Boston MA | September 24, 2018– The digital services platform Immfly, that, until now, could only be accessed onboard, can now entertain the passengers on the ground, while waiting for the flight. Based on the passengers’ access ratio and satisfaction level with Immfly’s platform, the company decided to extend, and specially, anticipate its offer to the airport. Airport vip lounges, or pre-boarding areas at the terminals can now have Immfly’s digital services at their disposal.

The day of the flight
The extension

The day of the flight means not only the flight but also beforehand in the airport, where only very few airlines can have a digital relationship with its customers.

From the moment someone looks for travel inspiration to the time it gets back home, there are several touch-points that constitute a commercial opportunity for airlines and its partners to interact with customers and get the most of those interaction in the form of revenue or in the form of customer satisfaction. Many airlines have done a great job using their digital channels and capabilities to communicate in a more personal and personalised way with their customers at most of those touch points, but still, there are significant gaps in that digital customer journey. There are still touch points that are not being used in a digital way. The biggest digital gap is the day of the flight, “the moment of truth” for NPS, the phase that most affects customer perception of the whole experience.

A seamless experience
Its benefits

Immfly offers now the opportunity to not only entertain passengers during that typically hectic time, improving their experience through personalization and choice, but also a new opportunity to monetize that digital relationship.

It is the chance to improve customer experience at the airport through entertainment and service at the same time that opens a new opportunity for ancillary revenues such as seatupgrades or activities at destination. Eventually, everything that could be done and enjoyed during the flight, can now be done before, on the ground.

Jimmy von Korff Martinez, co-founder of Immfly states “Combining the in-flight entertainment platform with the in-airport platform that offers the same entertainment content will allow customers to browse and select content before the flight for watching it later. In the same way will allow them to start watching a movie while waiting to board and continue watching the same movie in-flight, or to book or buy an activity on their final destination, which means passengers will benefit from a seamless experience and content consumption before and during the flight”.

From the airport, during the flight and post-flight, the Immfly wireless digital platform lets the airline expand the digital relationship with its customers, the data collection and revenue generation opportunities, and imp

Los Angeles | September 24, 2018– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. [NASDAQ: ENT] has announced Canadian North Airlines as the first customer for Global Eagle’s new product, Airconnect Go, a portable wireless in-flight entertainment solution.  Airconnect Go draws on Global Eagle’s award-winning Airtime entertainment platform and content leadership to allow quick deployment of a proven and superior passenger experience.

“Every passenger expects entertainment and Airconnect Go is a high-quality portable system that takes advantage of Global Eagle’s industry-leading passenger entertainment platform,” said Per Norén, Executive VP and Chief Commercial Officer of Global Eagle. “We thank Canadian North for being the launch customer and we expect a significant number of airlines to follow.”

“Throughout Canadian North’s history, we have continually grown and innovated for the benefit of our scheduled service and charter customers, always with warm hospitality and an unyielding commitment to safety,” said Steve Hankirk, President of Canadian North. “The launch of top-notch inflight entertainment options will further enhance our onboard experience. We’re thrilled to be working with Global Eagle to introduce this exciting new inflight amenity.”

The first deployments for Calgary, Canada-based Canadian North will be during December 2018 with four Boeing 737 aircraft. Canadian North operates daily scheduled flights to, from and across Canada’s vast Arctic region. It also operates charter flights in North America and beyond for energy companies, sports teams, tour operators, cruise lines, government agencies and other large groups.

Airconnect Go: The Best Combination

Airconnect Go, which was unveiled in April 2018 at the Aircraft Interiors show in Hamburg, combines a reliable hardware system with Global Eagle’s Airtime services, including a proven passenger experience and entertainment packages with industry-best movie, audio and video offerings. The product is so compact it can fit into the overhead bin of most commercial aircraft. A single Airconnect Go system, which is not much bigger than a loaf of bread, can stream concurrently to over 50 users. Passenger analytics can be tracked using Global Eagle’s Airview reporting system.

The system is a low-cost and fast option for airlines. There is no hardware to install and the system complies with avionics standards without the need for additional aircraft certification or Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs). Passengers can use their own devices to stream content. Airconnect Go integrates Airtime’s leading Digital Rights Management capabilities, enabling passengers to play back content via their web-browser without an additional application being required for Apple iOS or Google Android devices and laptops.

Global Eagle has experienced interest in Airconnect Go from a variety of airlines, including large and full-service carriers with service gaps, regional airlines, charter carriers, airlines with small or leased fleets and other companies where the combination of low-cost and high quality is the goal.

 

At this year’s APEX we thought it would be interesting to watch out for the following as examples of potential show announcements: consolidations; large companies seeking smaller companies and ancillary products; and even passenger apps that help expand business, save money and allow for personalized customer experiences. And without saying, there will be more industry changes to write about in the coming weeks. True to form, this week’s Hot Topic primarily pertains Astronics, a big player that is getting even bigger. With recent acquisitions, Astronics is expanding and diversifying within the aviation realm. We were fortunate enough to have some questions answered by Executive Vice President, Mark Peabody and several other company Division Presidents.

1. Mark, could you please provide us with a broad statement on company updates: number of subsidiaries, number of employees, locations, and a broad product focus to set the stage?

Astronics serves the world’s aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries with innovative power, lighting, connectivity, interiors, structures, and service solutions. Comprised of 11 subsidiaries, the Company employs nearly 3,000 team members in locations around the globe.

2. How many of the Astronics’ subsidiaries deal with data and connectivity for the aviation industry and who are they?

Five of Astronics subsidiaries provide connectivity and data solutions for the aviation industry, as outlined below:

  • Astronics Ballard Technology – Aircraft data systems
  • Astronics AeroSat – Connectivity solutions including IFC antennas and radome systems
  • Astronics Connectivity Systems & Certification (formerly Telefonix and Astronics Armstrong Aerospace) – Inflight entertainment hardware systems, including installation design, kitting, and certification
  •  Astronics Custom Control Concepts – VIP IFE and CMS systems
  • Astronics PGA – VIP IFE and CMS systems

Astronics CCC and PGA often cooperate on providing solutions together for the VIP/BizAv markets. For the purposes of this article, we will include information from Astronics Ballard Technology, Astronics AeroSat, and Astronics CSC, where their product lines serve the needs of commercial transport.

3. What specific products/systems (antennas, WAPs, servers, data storage, etc.) does Astronics currently manufacture via their subsidiaries?

For commercial aircraft, Astronics offers a broad system of hardware and software components to help customers create complete system solutions. These include:

Aircraft Data Systems – New smart sensing systems, aircraft interface devices, avionics I/O computers, avionics test & simulation interfaces, and other data and connectivity related products.

Inflight Entertainment Hardware Systems – Cabin wireless access points, IFE content loaders and servers, modem managers, custom IFEC LRUs, corded and cordless control units, and systems certification services.

IFC Antennas and Radome Systems – Complete connectivity system solutions including Aircraft SATCOM Ku-band antenna systems, aircraft radomes, adapter plates, and other necessary system components.

Here is a link that outlines our offerings.

Power to Support IFE. In addition, we support inflight entertainment and connectivity for the airlines with integrated IFE seatback power systems. We also support the passengers in a BYOD environment by providing in-seat power systems to keep their devices charged while consuming content.

4.What features and benefits do the data and connectivity products from Astronics have over the competition?

  • Collaborative partner with product development, engineering, integration, and certification services for program success
  • Proven experience in the ecosystem – serve all major IFE ad IFEC providers with the most pertinent technology to provide a solution
  • Customer-centric solutions ranging from a simple LRU to an entire system
  • Breadth of product line, single supplier advantage
  • System agnostic hardware components, supports most IFE suppliers
  • Open architecture systems, putting the customer in control of their data
  • Vertically integrated engineering for fast solution deployment
  • Systems installation design, kitting, and certification, in house

5. Broadly speaking, how many aircraft have this type of your equipment installed today?

We have some systems with large installed bases, and some that are new to the market. Some of our product lines are on a few hundred aircraft, and in other connectivity product lines, we estimate that we supply about 85% of long haul aircraft. The numbers of installations, and the numbers of systems per aircraft, are not always reported back to us. In general, we estimate that Astronics connectivity and data solutions are in service on thousands of commercial aircraft worldwide.

6. We asked Mark what types of data and connectivity are provided. Specifically, is Astronics providing any other types of data connectivity besides passenger related – if any? Flight data, computational analysis, AI? And how is it used: on the aircraft, on the ground, both?

Here are the inputs from three of our various Division Presidents.

From Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology: Astronics Ballard Technology provides connectivity from aircraft data systems to pilot and crew devices. Through our aircraft interface device products including the webFB and webCS, we host applications that can process that aircraft data and provide useful information in real-time to pilots and crew as well as off the aircraft (with a connectivity system). We work with third party software developers that create helpful applications such as en-route optimizations, fuel savings, weather avoidance, electronic logbooks, data processing/analytics on the aircraft, storage of operational manuals/procedures, and many more. We also provide a Quick Access Recorder application that allows for collection of aircraft data to be downloaded off the aircraft later for analysis.”

From Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC): “Astronics CSC’s Summit Line of connectivity products serve up passenger connectivity on board the aircraft. Our offerings include servers, content loaders, cabin wireless access points, and other related equipment for the industry’s inflight entertainment providers. We estimate that over time, we have enabled the internet of flight with 16,000 LRUs plus 20 million IFEC cradle and cord reel assemblies in both linefit and retrofit installations.”

And from Matt Harrah, President of Astronics AeroSat: “Equipment from Astronics AeroSat bridges the connectivity on and off the plane to deliver passenger connectivity via Ku-band satellite networks (both traditional wide-beam and next generation HTS spot-beam satellites). Passengers use our bandwidth for internet streaming (emails, text, videos, movies, etc). Our FliteStream Series antennas come in both tail-mount and fuselage-mount versions and serve as today’s highest performing antenna technology, with a bandwidth/spectrum RF efficiency that provides the least impact to satellite network operators while providing cost benefits for aircraft operators. Astronics’ IFC system incorporates an open architecture, with the ability to work across satellite networks and minimize connectivity costs. Finally, our new AeroShield Radom System delivers the lowest drag to reduce fuel burn costs for aircraft operators with connectivity.”

7. Let us now continue with Mark: As a result of these company acquisitions that can deliver complete IFE systems, has this caused Astronics to rethink what and how you sell? In other words, some of the newer subsidiary acquisitions never sold directly to the airline, instead they were suppliers to other IFEC vendors. Is there a new strategy now? Along the same lines, historically when we have visited the Astronics booth at a trade show we would see various ‘boxes’ that help comprise an IFE system. Can we now expect to see an “Astronics IFE System(s)” in the near future?

Astronics intends to remain system agnostic and primarily support our partners in creating complete IFE systems. Our solutions enable global airlines, inflight connectivity providers, systems integrators, and airframe manufacturers to create seamless connectivity experiences.

8. Was there a future company strategy involved in the acquisition of companies involved in data, data analysis, data transmission/acquisition or did acquisitions happen more based on dollars and/or complimentary diversification to the existing business model?

Astronics looks opportunistically at companies that are available to acquire and certainly considers long-term strategy as part of our decision to move forward.

9. In the past, Astronics has been a data communicator. Do you see a future whereby Astronics is going to be a data analyzer? In other words, historically Astronics data efforts have been directed more toward passenger data. Do you see Astronics adding more data sources and considering data analysis? Furthermore, since around 1990, aviation has seen an increasing value of, and usage of data, to-and-from the aircraft. As technologies like Artificial Intelligence and massive data analysis have provided better analytical information of things like engines and onboard computers, the use of data both to-and-from the airplane is helping things like maintenance, failure prediction and longer operational usage. Thus, data is becoming a very new and important part of aircraft operations, fault isolation and monitoring. Add this to an increase of passenger usage of data to-and-from the plane will be another part of data growth. The only question is will the airplane use one or multiple data systems and connectivity to deliver the data to the ground? While passenger data has been primarily (we guess) Astronics connectivity reason, we were wondering if this new data avenue is part of your future data goals?

Astronics understands the importance of data and analytics. Our goal is to enable our airline and airframe customers to access their data, and use this data to run their operations more efficiently. We provide the hardware, firmware, and software to make this happen. Let’s hear from Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology on this subject as well: “The choices of what networks to use on the aircraft along with the number and types of off-aircraft connectivity systems to implement are challenging issues that our customers face. Given our breadth of experience in aircraft data systems and the integration of various hardware systems to all work together, we believe that we are a great partner to our customers when navigating these choices.”

10. One or more of your recent subsidiary acquisitions have established manufacturing business relationships with China and Astronics has successfully marketed the EmPower product line to Chinese airlines over the years. As an industry leader with this much experience in the PRC, how do you see the recent trade disagreements between the USA and Chine affecting the IFEC industry as a whole?

Business climates can suddenly change. Trade disagreements can affect our industry, and we focus on ensuring our business offers a balanced global reach so that we can absorb the ebb and flow of these issues.

11. What will Astronics be showing at APEX in Boston?

At this year’s APEX Expo, Astronics will display a variety of power and connectivity solutions that improve passenger experiences and aircraft operational efficiencies. For seamless passenger and crew connectivity, Astronics will demonstrate a newly certified FliteStream inflight connectivity system hardware plus their Summit Line inflight entertainment system hardware. In power solutions, Astronics will present a breadth of new EmPower in-cabin products for use by passengers and crew, including a new wireless charging module and a new USB Type-C passenger power system. The Astronics SmartTray passenger PED holder will round out the offerings.

During the show, booth visitors who tweet a photo from the Astronics booth with the tag @AstronicsCorp and the hashtag #APEXexpo will be entered to win an iPad with an Apple store gift card to enjoy IFE content on the way home. View all of these solutions and enter to win in the Astronics booth, #343.

For additional information on Astronics power and connectivity solutions, visit Astronics.com.

Astronics also plans to demonstrate some brand new technologies, including an intelligent bin sensing solution, which provides bin capacity and other bin data to crews for increased safety, faster passenger boarding times, and improved operational efficiencies. The other new technology Astronics will feature is an exploration of Li-Fi, and ideas for harnessing it for use on aircraft. Li-Fi leverages light to send information, in contrast to Wi-Fi, which uses radio waves. Proven capable of transferring unprecedented data at several Gigabits per second, Li-Fi could eventually empower passengers to download an HD video in just a few seconds, for example.


INMARSAT & PANASONIC

Inmarsat and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) have agreed a strategic collaboration, for an initial ten-year period, that enables them to combine their highly complementary market leading services to offer broadband in-flight connectivity (“IFC”) paired with high-value solutions and services to customers in the commercial aviation industry worldwide.

This collaboration will enable airlines, aircraft manufacturers and passengers to benefit from the combined expertise of two companies that have been at the forefront of technology and innovation for nearly four decades.

Under the terms of the agreement, Inmarsat will become Panasonic’s exclusive provider of Ka-band IFC for commercial aviation. Panasonic will now be able to offer Inmarsat’s high-speed, broadband connectivity service, GX Aviation, powered by Global Xpress, the world’s first global Ka-band satellite network, owned and managed by a single operator. Panasonic will continue to invest in its own network and, with GX Aviation as a primary offering for new business, will be perfectly positioned to serve both its current and future customers.

In addition, Inmarsat will now be able to offer Panasonic’s market-leading portfolio of services and NEXT solutions to Inmarsat’s commercial aviation customers. This includes customer support services available from Panasonic’s Customer Performance Center and Technical Services teams.

The collaboration, which is already being deployed with a mutual customer, presents a unique opportunity to leverage Inmarsat’s proven track record of high-quality and innovative global mobile connectivity, and Panasonic’s market-leading in-flight entertainment, digital services and connectivity solutions.

Looking forward, Inmarsat and Panasonic will also collaborate on the development of a next generation GX Aviation terminal, as well as new connectivity-enabled services, data analytics and technology to improve overall end-to-end performance.
By delivering this step-change in aviation services capability, airlines will have access to new and better solutions that address widely recognized industry challenges of capacity, coverage and compatibility. This will give greater quality, consistency of experience and more choice to airlines and their passengers in the IFC market, which by some estimates could exceed $100 billion by 2035[1].

Accurascan is participating in the Apex Expo with an aim to showcase its Passport and ID Card OCR scanning solution at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, USA.

September 13, 2018– Accurascan, a leading R&D company today announced its participation in the upcoming Apex Expo at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) at booth #104 from September 24 – 27, 2018. According to company CEO – Mr Yasin Patel, “We are participating in the event to offer our incredible Passport & ID Card OCR scanning solution for faster web and mobile check-in for airlines.” Highly useful for Border Security, faster Immigration Process and enhancing Customers Experience.

Organized by the Airline Passenger Experience Association, the event is likely to attract thousands of industry professionals and companies from all over the world and will prove to be a brilliant platform for the company to create business opportunities too.

The skilled developers and designers of Accura Technolabs have developed a robust OCR scanning engine that runs on mobile devices and web platform. Offering Android, iOS, Web SDK & API to customize or integrate the same with any existing application to further extend its potential in facilitating fast scanning of Passport and ID cards for KYC, Quick User On boarding, Web & Mobile Check-in.

The company is also offering a Web API (application program interface) to meet the scanning needs of various industry verticals in an inexpensive way.

Forget the plane mode, it is time to switch to “Shopping mode”

Paris, France | September 21, 2018–The French start-up SKYdeals will present the first solution of inflight “Shoppertainment” at APEX EXPO in Boston from 24th to 27th of September 2018 at booth 154. This gathering is the industry’s largest PaxEx event exclusive to experts and decision-makers committed to elevating the level of the worldwide airline passenger experience.

SKYdeals offers a new shopping experience to onboard passengers

SKYdeals aims at becoming the leader of e-commerce for travelers.

Providing the best targeted deals on products and destination services to passengers during their time of travel and entertaining them with its innovative inflight shoppertainment features.

SKYdeals developed the first marketplace allowing brands and destination services to lively promote targeted deals and last-minute offers to all connected passengers while in the air. Depending on the vendor, delivery mode can be home delivered or collect at the gate of arrival.

This technology can be implemented in only two weeks and without any investment thanks to its “Plug & Play” catalogs.

Based on a revenue sharing model, SKYdeals also offers to airlines a new source of revenues from inflight connectivity. During this event, SKYdeals will present their technology and revenues simulations which show all the potential of inflight e-commerce.

Soon in the air

Further to a first test in 2017 on Paris-Punta Cana line from French Bee, SKYdeals will soon deployed on long and short-haul flights from major Asian and European airlines.

After Apex Expo event, SKYdeals will fly away back to France to expose to the TFWA Digital Village in Cannes (September 30th– October 5th), the Duty Free and Travel Retail Global Summit.

Gains 250 Watts of AC Outlet Power for Cockpit Electronics and Electronic Flight Bags 

Witchita, Kansas | September 20, 2018–True Blue Power, a leading provider of advanced power solutions for the global aviation industry, announced today that a major U.S. airline has selected the company’s TI250 Series DC-to-AC Inverter to provide AC power to cockpit electronics and electronic flight bags (EFBs) on board the airline’s fleet of Airbus, Boeing, and McDonnell Douglas passenger aircraft. The airline joins more than 50 commercial partners, worldwide, equipped with True Blue Power inverters, voltage converters and USB charging ports.

“Commercial airlines are asking for certified, economical DC-to-AC power solutions,” said Tom Genovese, Director of Commercial Airline Sales for True Blue Power. “Our TI250 inverter is FAA/EASA TSO certified, which allows installation through engineering order (EO). The cost savings of the unit and the efficiencies gained during installation made the True Blue Power inverter the clear choice. To date, we have delivered 650 inverters for this particular airline’s fleet.”

The True Blue Power TI250 Inverter provides 250 watts of wall outlet power from the aircraft’s 28 VDC input. Engineered to run cooler and featuring a fanless design, it is highly efficient, saves energy and reduces weight. True Blue Power inverters are lighter, smaller and more economical than competing units. The company’s line of certified power products offer unique benefits and are an ideal fit for commercial aircraft in need of crew and passenger power. The inverter’s exceptionally low price point is less than a quarter the price of Original Equipment Manufacturers’ (OEMs) alternatives.

True Blue Power’s line of advanced power solutions is on display in exhibit #504 throughout APEX EXPO, September 24–27, at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. For more information, contact Tom Genovese, Director of Commercial Airline Sales, at 316-634-4520 or visit truebluepowerusa.com.

If you have just decided to attend APEX/AIX Boston and are looking for hotels near the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) checkout the Seaport District. We note that three of the hotels located near the BCEC are full for the dates of the show but there are at least seven large ones nearby and many more a taxi ride away, so open the map on the following link for the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and nearby hotels: Seaport District Hotels

Here is a visitors guide that might help during your visit to Boston. The guide has 19 pages of restaurants alone and tons of hotels: 2018 OVG (148 pages your computer). This is all you need to locate just about anything you will need while visiting the city. And yes, it has a map and bus routes! Lastly, here is the latest floor plan for exhibitors to see who is where.

Also, do not forget the Aircraft Interiors Expo, Boston (AIX, Boston) will be there as well, as it is the fall’s only meeting place for the passenger experience industry, organized by Reed Exhibitions, it is the sister event to AIX Hamburg. The co-location with APEX EXPO and IFSA EXPO enables the entire supply chain and airlines to experience the full spectrum of aircraft interior products and passenger services in one city.

So now, lets get down to this week’s news:


LUFTHANSA SYSTEMS

More robust, more powerful: BoardConnect Portable enables high-quality streaming for up to 100 users from a single device. Lufthansa Systems will present this new generation of its award-winning solution at this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Expo (APEX) in Boston (September 25 to 27). The brand-new prototype will be displayed at booth no. 753. Lufthansa Technik will present its Lconnect hardware and service package at the same stand.

“With BoardConnect, we are currently one of the fastest-growing providers for wireless in- flight entertainment (IFE) in the aviation industry, and we are among the top five in the market with our multi-award-winning solution and wide product range,” said Jan-Peter Gänse, Head of Passenger Experience Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “The demand for IFE and IFEC solutions continues to grow. Our close cooperation with Lufthansa Technik and other partners gives us a decisive competitive advantage here.”

The new generation of BoardConnect Portable is even more flexible, powerful and robust, with an impressive modular concept. The new Mobile Streaming Unit (MSU) corresponds to a real server platform including all necessary access points. It can supply twice as many users with high-quality IFE streaming as the first generation. This means that in future one MSU will still be powerful enough to support one single-aisle aircraft, even if the airline expects higher usage rates. Thanks to its modularity, the new BoardConnect Portable can be individually tailored to the needs of the airline.

BoardConnect Portable can also be supplemented with Iridium NEXT technology upon request. This product, known as BoardConnect Portable/Link, has a low bandwidth and enables services such as messaging and online payment. The required antenna can be installed in a suitable position in the cabin without the need for an STC. The smart STC-free service is part of the Lconnect product family from Lufthansa Technik and only requires a minor modification. Lconnect comprises all relevant services to equip an aircraft with IFE and IFEC. In addition to the physical installation, this includes all required aeronautical and regulatory work, conversion planning and materials supply, the manufacture of diverse high- end components such as the WLAN access point, the supply of materials in regular flight operations, and the repair of defective components.

Another highlight from Lufthansa Systems will take place even before the trade fair opens this year. For the first time in the history of the APEX EXPO, the event will start above the clouds with an exclusive pre-conference on board an Airbus A350. The Lufthansa #FlyingLab APEX EXPO on September 22nd on Flight LH424 from Munich to Boston is being organized by Lufthansa in cooperation with Lufthansa Systems and APEX. Videos of the live presentations will be streamed via WLAN so passengers can follow them on their own smartphones, tablets or laptops. The WLAN on board is based on BoardConnect. This is one more example of the variety of potential uses of the digital platform. “We are delighted to present the Lufthansa #FlyingLab for the APEX EXPO this year together with Lufthansa and APEX. This exceptional event at an altitude of 10,000 meters will vividly show how innovative technologies and smart ideas can contribute to a new dimension of the passenger experience,” said Olivier Krüger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems.

BoardConnect enables passengers to use streaming technology during a flight to access an airline’s entertainment program on their own devices. The product suite includes four hardware versions: In addition to the permanently installed classic BoardConnect solution, there is the flexible BoardConnect Portable version as well as the BoardConnect Plus (broadband) and BoardConnect Portable/Link (messaging) connectivity solutions. The digital BoardConnect 5.0 platform runs on all versions. Thanks to its modern docker technology, the software enables additional digital services from partners to be integrated quickly and easily. Lufthansa Systems is also providing content such as movies, TV series, music and magazines with its BoardConnect Media Services. All products work in perfect harmony with each other and can be acquired separately or in combination. The different versions make it possible to scale the use of the products as needed.

Image: New BoradConnect Portable Case


LATECOERE

Latécoère, through its Interconnection Systems branch – No. 2 worldwide in onboard wiring and No. 1 worldwide in embedded video systems- has been selected for its “Direct View” cabin video system by Lufthansa Technik as part of its redesigned A320 cabin offering.This equipment was specially designed to allow the flight crew to maintain a watch for passenger safety issues during critical flight phases and responds perfectly to the priority issues for on-board security.

The Latécoère “Direct View” system is a high-tech solution providing a direct view of passenger seating and aisles throughout all flight phases. Developed in close co-operation with Lufthansa Technik and EASA representatives, over 130 shipsets of aircraft parts are already scheduled for delivery.

Latécoère remains confident in its ability to extend its offering to other customers with Lufthansa Technik, one of the leading providers of maintenance, repair, overhaul and modification services for civil aircraft.


GORE

W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. (Gore) will exhibit an extensive collection of GORE Aerospace Cables and Materials for in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) at the APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) Expo in Boston, MA, on September 24-27, Booth 801. For decades, Gore has provided the aerospace industry with new and trusted solutions that deliver failure-free performance in challenging conditions. Gore’s high-performance solutions in durable, compact, flexible and routable designs meet today’s and tomorrow’s requirements for reliable high-speed data transfer and high-bandwidth signals on digital networks. Passengers and flight crews can take off and stay connected on devices and critical systems while traveling, and installers will find them easier and faster to route in narrow aircraft configurations.

Solutions that will be on display at the expo include GORE Microwave/RF Assemblies that deliver precise radio frequency for Ka, Ku and L Band satellite applications, as well as GORE Leaky Feeder Antennas that deliver constant connectivity to a variety of wireless networks. Also featured will be GORE Aerospace High Speed Data Cables that support the latest open-source architectures and standardized protocols such as HDMI, USB, Ethernet, and more. Finally, Gore will be showing their revolutionary cable jacket systems that are proven to meet stricter industry requirements for more durability and protection in difficult aircraft environments.


FLAME DISTRIBUTION

Flame Distribution will be launching over 400 hours of new content this autumn and will be attending this year’s APEX Expo to offer its latest acquisitions to Inflight buyers worldwide.

Thomas Gould, VP Content Sales, Worldwide Transport & Digital at Flame Distribution, who is attending APEX Expo, commented: “Inflight sales are an important focus for Flame. I am really looking forward to meeting clients old and new and continuing to forge strong relationships with buyers at this year’s market.”


AIRFREE

Airfree, the marketplace of the sky that reinvents the inflight shopping experience onboard connected aircraft, will exhibit during the APEX show in Boston next week.They are announcing this week our selection in Starburst Accelerator program – the startups incubator specializing in aerospace – to accelerate our international development. You can discover more on their introduction video here


AIRBUS

  • AIRBUS appointed Christian Scherer as Chief Commercial Officer, replacing Eric Schulz, who resigned. The company is expected to name Scherer’s replacement as CEO in the coming days. Scherer will start his new assignment with immediate effect. He will report to Airbus Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tom Enders. Christian Scherer, CEO of ATR since October 2016, held many senior management positions within the Group. At Airbus, where he started his career in 1984, Christian was Head of Contracts, Leasing Markets and Deputy Head of Sales as well as Head of Strategy and Future Programmes. At Airbus Defence and Space, he headed Marketing & Sales. Born in Duisburg, Germany, and raised in Toulouse, France, Christian Scherer holds an MBA Degree from the University of Ottawa in international marketing and graduated from the Paris Business School (ESCP).
  • The first A380 for All Nippon Airways (ANA) took to the skies, completing a maiden flight from the Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse, France to the Airbus site in Hamburg, Germany. The aircraft is now being prepared for cabin installation and painting in the airline’s special A380 livery. ANA HOLDINGS INC. placed a firm order for three A380s in 2016, becoming the first customer for the superjumbo in Japan.  The first delivery is scheduled early 2019, and the A380 will initially be operated on the popular Tokyo-Honolulu route. To date, Airbus has delivered 229 A380s, with the aircraft now in services with 14 airlines worldwide.
  • AIRBUS booked 274 orders (219 net) in 2018, through August 31.

BOEING

  • Boeing awarded a $3 million grant to the George W. Bush Institute’s Global Leadership Impact Center. The grant, part of a previously announced $10 million donation to the Institute, will support women’s empowerment and global leadership programs aimed at promoting education, healthcare and economic opportunity for women around the world.
  • Boeing and Air Peace of Nigeria today announced a new order for ten 737 MAX 8 airplanes during a signing ceremony in Lagos. Air Peace already operates Boeing 737s between major cities in Central and West Africa. The airline, which recently added Boeing 777s to its fleet, is looking to soon launch its international flight operations.
  • The Boeing Company announced that Phil Musser, senior vice president of Communications, will depart the company in early November due to personal and family considerations. Anne Toulouse, current Boeing vice president of Global Brand Management, will replace Musser on an interim basis until a permanent successor is named.
  • A Boeing B787 completed a SFO – Zurich flight powered by a blend of biojet fuel (30%) derived from Carinata, an oilseed crop that can be grown like food crops. Agrisoma Biosciences (Canada) partnered with United and World Energy to complete the test.
  • BOEING booked 738 orders (581 net) in 2018.

Ted Neck’s Passing

Ted Neck, who was the long time representative for Panasonic and responsible for many of the trade show exhibits that graced the WAEA and APEX. Ted died unexpectedly on Thursday, 9/13 from a heart attack. Services are pending. They will be held in LA/Playa Vista area of California – where Ted and his wife, Rachel, reside – but time and place not fixed as of this writing. The family would be interested in Ted’s friends and co-workers sharing any stories they may have about working/partying with Ted. “If anyone wants to attend the services and speak, please let them contact me at  ken_lew@ieee.org I have taken the responsibility to filter the inputs and present them to the family to see if there is time and space at the service for many speakers from Ted’s working life.”


Other News

Technologies will explore new ideas for how connectivity can enhance future passenger experiences and airline operations

East Aurora, NY | September 17, 2018– Astronics Corporation (Nasdaq: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, will demonstrate two new technologies intended to improve an aircraft’s passenger experience and operational efficiency at the upcoming APEX Expo in Boston, in booth #343, from September 25-27.

Introducing the Astronics Smart Aircraft System

Throughout the three-day event, Astronics will demonstrate its
pioneering Smart Aircraft System technology, which includes
the new Intelligent Bin Solution. This patent pending system
uses Internet of Things (IoT) connection technologies to
detect and report in real time the status of overhead stowage
bins, which speeds aircraft boarding processes and reduces
passenger stress. The company will preview software
applications that provide a visual indication of remaining bin
space, even if the bin is closed, to enable cabin and gate crews to quickly direct passengers to available bin locations and know when to start checking bags.

In addition to providing a more efficient boarding process that can reduce costly delays, the bin sensors deliver cabin safety benefits during the flight by detecting outgassing events from hazardous devices, such as lithium-ion batteries, minutes before smoke or fire occurs. With this early detection, a notification is sent instantly to crewmembers who can proactively take action and contain in-flight battery events before they cause passenger alarm and lead to costly aircraft diversions.

“We started researching and investing in wireless sensing technology several years ago in anticipation of airline customer needs,” explained Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology. “This research has expanded into a comprehensive IoT sensing and wireless mesh system that will help airlines gain valuable insight to drive operational savings in all aspects of flight. We are excited to be previewing it at APEX Expo.”

Astronics was recently granted several U.S. patents on the innovative technology with others pending. The latest generation Intelligent Bin System prototype is currently in laboratory testing with a major airline in anticipation of in-service trials in an operational environment.

Previewing Li-Fi Applications for Aircraft

In a second technology demonstration, PDT, an Astronics Company, will demonstrate some new potential applications for the emerging technology of Li-Fi, in a collaboration with pureLiFi. Li-Fi leverages light to send information, in contrast to Wi-Fi, which uses radio waves. Proven capable of transferring data at an unprecedented several Gigabits per second, Li-Fi could eventually empower passengers to download an HD video in just a few seconds, for example.

“This is a brand new technology and we are exploring ways in which it can improve the passenger, and even crew, experience on an aircraft in terms of connectivity,” said Mark Schwartz, Vice President of PDT. ”Li-Fi may be a future passenger experience delighter and we are excited to explore and discuss these possibilities with it.”

Powered Solutions

Keeping passengers’ electronic devices (PEDs) powered is increasingly important on the connected aircraft as more airlines incorporate a “bring your own device” business model for enjoying inflight entertainment. In support of this, Astronics will demonstrate a myriad of innovations including the recently introduced wireless charging module as well as the new EmPower® USB Type-C outlets and companion in-seat power supply system.

Astronics brings a long history of innovation and successfully introducing new technologies and products to market, including the EmPower passenger in-seat power technology that has had a profound impact on the passenger experience. The new technology explorations plus proven power solutions can provide a foundation for future aircraft manufacturers, airlines, IFE providers and other industry participants to improve experiences for passengers while also improving cost and time efficiencies for aircraft operators.

Astronics will give demonstrations of these and other technologies on-demand throughout the three days of the exhibit. Appointments can also be made by emailing events@astronics.com.

APEX is coming, September 23 through 27, in Boston, Massachusetts. We will have more on the upcoming event in the next few weeks. You should know that Boston is the largest city in that state and home to some 660,000 folks. It was founded in 1630 and is home of Boston Commons, Freedom Trail, and of course, Harvard.

Let’s get started with a new augmented reality app developed by SITA and Virgin Atlantic. Over the past decade, SITA and Virgin Atlantic have often worked together to drive innovation in technology. In 2013, the two companies partnered to develop award-winning Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch technology enabling Virgin Atlantic concierge staff in the airline’s Upper Class Wing to deliver the industry’s most high tech and personalized customer service. SITA is the communications and IT solution provider that transforms air travel through technology for airlines, at airports and on aircraft. The company’s portfolio covers everything from managed global communications and infrastructure services, to eAircraft, passenger management, baggage, self-service, airport and border management solutions. Owned 100% by more than 400 air transport industry members, SITA has a unique understanding of its needs and places a strong emphasis on technology innovation. We should also note that Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson 34 years ago with innovation and customer service at its core. Today Virgin Atlantic carries 5.5 million customers annually.

SITA/VIRGIN ATLANTIC

Virgin Atlantic is introducing innovative training technology – as part of an innovation collaboration with SITA, the leading global IT provider – that allows the airline’s cabin crew to use augmented reality to familiarize themselves with new aircraft. Using an iOS app, cabin crew use augmented reality to walk through and acquaint themselves with the layout of Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft without even visiting the airport or getting onto the plane. To complement the existing classroom-based training, this app allows crew members to see the cabin projected as a portal in front of them and are able ‘walk into’ the cabin. The AR app simulates the full-size view of the interior cabin, giving crew a feel for their new working environment, including accurate spatial awareness. This allows the airline to train crew on new aircraft in a fun and engaging way from the airline’s headquarters in Crawley, London.Augmented reality presents several interesting use cases in the air transport industry, ranging from sales, training, operations and improvement to the passenger experience. SITA Lab, SITA’s strategic technology research arm, and Virgin Atlantic have teamed up to identify and test some of the more promising use cases, starting with the crew training app. Over the past decade, SITA and Virgin Atlantic have often worked together to drive innovation in technology. In 2013, the two companies partnered to develop award-winning Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch technology enabling Virgin Atlantic concierge staff in the airline’s Upper Class Wing to deliver the industry’s most high tech and personalized customer service.


THALES

Thales has appointed Jean-Paul Ebanga, as Vice-President of Flight Avionics activities. Flight Avionics provides secured, natively connected systems and services that are in operation on two out of every three aircraft flying around the world every day. He reports to Gil Michielin, Executive Vice-President for Avionics.

Jean-Paul will accelerate business model renewal and digital transformation of our flight avionics activities to the benefit of long term growth” declared Gil Michielin, “his sound experience in the aerospace domain and his track record of commercial and industrial successes worldwide will be key assets.” After starting his career at Philips, Jean-Paul Ebanga joined Snecma in 1988, then Safran, where he held several leadership positions in electronics, systems and aircraft engine. In 2001, Jean-Paul Ebanga was appointed Vice President and General Manager of Snecma Control Systems. He was subsequently appointed Vice President of Snecma’s Commercial Engine Division. From 2007, he served as chairman & CEO of PowerJet, a joint company between Snecma and Saturn (Russia). In 2011, he became President & CEO of CFM international, a joint company between Safran and GE (USA) until February 2017 when he joined Safran head office as SVP Corporate Strategy

Mr. Ebanga is graduated from the ENSEM Engineering School.


IFPL

Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) specialists IFPL will be demonstrating how easy it will be for airlines to make the transition from USB-A to USB-C at APEX 2018 in Boston, USA. IFPL’s latest USB development enables airlines to easily transition from USB Type A to Type C using their existing USB-A onboard power architecture or supporting the newer USB-Power Delivery architectures that can provide up to 60W of power whilst designing their outlets to enable seamless seat integration.  IFPL will be demonstrating the Patent Pending USB Charge To Charge technology offers a clever way for airlines to charge their passengers to turn on the USB power and also launch adverts and promotions when the passenger plugs in their device.As always, IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display. An expert team will be on hand to discuss your requirements on booth #707 at APEX 2018.


STATESIDE CABINSPACE LIVE/APEX

Aircraft Interiors Expo, Boston (AIX) the fall’s only meeting place for the passenger experience industry, has today announced the agenda for the stateside CabinSpace LIVE Seminar Theatre.

Taking place at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Centre, the action-packed agenda will see visitors treated to expert insight on implementing innovation in the cabin interior.

Encouraging candid debate on the topic, the audience will be invited to share experiences relating to product developments, methodologies and materials to accomplish the best onboard interior solutions. Amongst the varied topics up for discussion, trends to be explored include:

Certification & Compliance: Designing for Regulations 

Delving into best practice design, this session looks at the product journey from the drawing board, through to development and finally placement on the aircraft. Looking at the place of compliance and regulation in the process, the audience will hear from experts about how to overcome challenges associated with regulation in the most time and cost-effective ways. To bring the topic to life and in order to learn from the experience of others, Senior Program Managers from AAR will share their experiences designing for regulation.

Session takes place on Tuesday 25thSeptember from 11:00 am – 11:45am

New Manufacturing Technologies – Capitalising on 3D Printing Capabilities

Keeping costs low whilst exploring new technologies has long been an issue for the aviation industry. This session will explore how manufacturing capabilities such as 3D printing are enabling innovative aircraft interiors products and parts without, increasing costs. From differentiating your business in a crowded market, to after-life use of printed parts, this session explores how to maximize the benefits of investing in 3D printing.

Session takes place on Tuesday 25thSeptember from 15:15pm – 16:00pm

Spatial Dynamics

Bringing together a panel of industry-leading experts, this keynote discussion on spatial dynamics looks at how to maximize cabin space and make it work for passengers, operational staff and crew alike. From balancing overhead bin space with headroom and ensuring innovative technology meets passengers’ ergonomic needs, spokespeople from airlines, OEMs and seating companies discuss space and its use inflight.

Session takes place on Wednesday 26thSeptember from 14:00pm – 15:00pm

To view the full agenda for CabinSpace LIVE, please click here.


AIRBUS
For the third time in a week, Airbus Perlan Mission II has set a new world altitude record for a glider, this time soaring the engineless Perlan 2 to 76,124 feet, in the process collecting vital data on flight performance, weather and the atmosphere. Yesterday’s flight by pilots Jim Payne and Tim Gardner surpasses even the maximum recorded altitude in level flight of the U.S. Air Force’s famous U-2 Dragon Lady reconnaissance aircraft: 73,737 feet, flown by pilot Jerry Hoyt on Apr. 17, 1989. The U-2 is powered by an engine that generates 17,000 lbs. of thrust. By contrast, the Perlan 2 is engineless, weighs just 1,500 pounds, and soars to its record altitudes on rare stratospheric air currents formed by mountain winds combining with the Polar Vortex.

In a single week, Perlan has set and then surpassed a world altitude record three times:

  • Aug. 26, 2018: Jim Payne and Morgan Sandercock soar to 63,100 feet, besting the record of 54,000 feet set by Airbus Perlan Mission II on Sept. 3, 2017
  • Aug. 28, 2018: Jim Payne and Miguel Iturmendi reach 65,600 feet
  • Sept. 2, 2018: Jim Payne and Tim Gardner climb to 76,124 feet

The overall altitude record for level flight of a manned airplane is held by the SR-71 Blackbird at 85,069 feet. The pressurized Perlan 2 glider is designed to fly to 90,000 feet, conditions permitting.Airbus Perlan Mission II will continue its 2018 flying season through mid-September, when the season for stratospheric mountain waves in the southern hemisphere begins to die down, and the all-volunteer Perlan Project team will return from Patagonia to homes in the U.S. and around the world. The number of flights remaining will be determined by weather conditions.


BOEING/VIRGIN AUSTRALIA

Boeing and the Virgin Australia Group announced the airline is adding the largest and most efficient member of the 737 MAX family to its growing single-aisle fleet. The carrier has converted ten orders for the 737 MAX 8 for the larger MAX 10 variant.

The airline, which has a number of 737 MAX 8s on order, said it saw the value of adding the MAX 10 to the mix as the aircraft will provide additional capacity and flexibility. With its headquarters in Brisbane, Australia, the Virgin Australia Group is the country’s second-largest airline with a fleet of more than 130 aircraft. The Next-Generation 737 has formed the backbone of the Group’s fleet with more than 80 currently in operation and the 737 MAX is expected to bolster the Group’s fleet. The MAX 10 is the largest member of the 737 MAX aircraft family. The airplane will offer operators the lowest cost per seat mile of any commercial aircraft[1] and fly 200 nautical miles (370.4 km) farther than today’s Next-Generation 737s. This extended range means that the 737 MAX 10 will be able to cover 99 percent of single-aisle routes around the world.

Virgin Australia joins more than 20 customers who have placed over 500 orders and commitments for the MAX 10. In all, the 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane family in Boeing history, having attracted more than 100 customers and nearly 4,700 orders. For more information and feature content, visit www.boeing.com/commercial/737max.


OTHER NEWS

Since APEX/AIX are within the next 30 days, we thought it was a good time to feature some of the IFEC products you will see there! Let’s get started.

IFPL

Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) specialists IFPL will be showcasing their latest power solutions at APEX 2018 in Boston, USA, with a full range of innovative products on display at the show.

IFPL will demonstrate how airlines can easily anticipate the power connectivity requirements of their passengers with a clever combination of a Reversible USB-A and USB-C. This combination offers 10W and 15W with a Power Delivery option that can provide up to 60W from the USB-C outlet. IFPL has sensibly split the 28V to USB-Power Delivery converter from the outlet.

Working with key industry partners, IFPL has delivered the innovative 2020 USB-A outlet which allows seamless integration into the seat. This system delivers an ergonomic and aesthetic advantage over traditional outlets. The modular design ensures easy on-wing replacement should the connector become damaged and allows for an easy upgrade path to USB-C. The result is an elegant installation of a fully integrated system that enhances the passenger experience whilst removing weight and complexity.

At APEX IFPL will show the latest design concept for a seatback PED (Portable Electronic Device) holder that provides USB and inductive charging. This bolsters the recent announcement of an inductive charge unit that delivers wireless charging at the seat, also designed to be seamlessly integrated.

IFPL will demonstrate how to turn USB power into ancillary revenue with its Patent Pending ‘Charge To Charge’ solution. This innovative solution allows airlines to be able to charge a passenger to turn on their USB power outlet and/or launch adverts or promotions when the passengers plug in their device, providing multiple ancillary revenue streams. This process is managed using only the airlines App and IFPL’s USB outlet providing an easy upgrade to current or planned installations by replacing the existing outlet for an IFPL Charge to Charge unit.

Another IFPL innovation is an integrated audio and Bluetooth jack. This is an upgrade to existing IFE systems to allow passengers to easily connect their own headphones, thereby further enhancing the customer experience. The audio jack is a critical component of any IFE system and IFPL believes that delivering high quality sound, with high unit reliability and minimizing the impact of Customer Induced Damage (CID) is vital in maintaining customer satisfaction.

For over 20 years IFPL has delivered a range of Long Life, Rapid Fit, INCAM and Breakaway MagSignal products and solutions. An expert team will be on hand to discuss your requirements on booth #707 at APEX 2018.


SITA

Xiamen Airlines, which is experiencing major growth across its domestic and international network, is using sophisticated software from SITA to set its fares competitively in all markets. The airline, which handled 32.7 million passengers in 2017, is highly profitable. It has achieved profits 31 years in a row and is now using SITA Airfare Insight to optimize its fares-related decision making. More than 180 million fares are published worldwide at any one time, and typically full-service airlines will update fares throughout their distribution network of GDSs, travel agencies and websites, several times a day.

By using SITA’s Airfare Insight Xiamen Airlines can stay ahead of the competition. It can set its fares based on a clear view of what its competitors are doing in markets across the world. Airfare Insight automatically identifies the relevant fare changes in the marketplace. It then immediately ensures appropriate prices are in place to support the airline’s overall commercial strategy. Chen Rong, Committee Secretary, Passenger Marketing & Sales, Xiamen Airlines, said: “Filing fares at the right price and at the right time can have a significant impact on profit margins.

SITA’s technology enables our commercial team at Xiamen Airlines to have the right fares distributed to the right customers. It also gives us the capability to analyze all our fares and manage them across multiple locations and time zones, which is vital as we expand our route network.” Today, Xiamen Airlines serves nearly 400 domestic and international routes covering China, Southeast and Northeast Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. With 1,074 destinations in 177 countries making sure the right fares are published in the right markets is challenging.

SITA Airfare Insight automatically identifies the relevant fare changes in the marketplace. It then immediately ensures appropriate prices are in place to support the airline’s overall revenue management and sales strategy.May Zhou, SITA Vice President & General Manager, East Asia, said: “Xiamen Airlines is one of China’s great successes with decades of profitability. Industry studies indicate that correct pricing can contribute 3-10% to overall revenues and SITA’s technology allows the airline to distribute all fares to customers at the ideal price point with head-office knowledge and approval. Airfare Insight also simplifies the end-to-end fares management process while putting competitive fares in key markets. A winning formula for this growing airline.” By achieving profits for 31 years in a row Xiamen Airlines has been an airline that has remained profitable for the longest period in China’s civil aviation industry. It enjoys the highest international financial rating among the Chinese airlines.


SITAONAIR

In an important next step for its innovation development program, Rossiya Airlines has implemented SITAONAIR’s CrewTab to advance its cabin crew operations.

Rossiya Airlines has worked closely with SITA and SITAONAIR – the SITA Group’s subsidiary and air travel industry’s connected aircraft service expert – to deliver its tailored CrewTab solution. Designed to optimize cabin crew work processes and activity, the device has been fully integrated with Rossiya Airlines’ information systems, enabling 450 Rossiya Airlines crew members to access all necessary flight information inflight via their iPad 4th Gen® tablet devices.

Currently, airlines typically provide such information in paper formats. By contrast, a key benefit of CrewTab is its ability to digitize workflows, streamline reporting, eliminate operational duplication and provide a complete flight information picture, quickly and efficiently. Rossiya’s CrewTab solution is available on regular and seasonal flights, as well as flights-to-order.

By enabling remote Internet access to airline information resources and systems, SITAONAIR CrewTab helps Rossiya to improve performance at key points in the onboard service experience. It does this by helping to streamline the interaction between the airline’s internal organizational units, supporting a more efficient document flow system, enhancing staff processes and reducing costs.

Cabin crews spend more time talking to passengers than anyone else in an airline, and are, therefore, central to the passenger experience. Deploying a tactile, responsive and information-rich technology, such as CrewTab, presents Rossiya with immediate benefits and advances to both the quality and efficiency of its cabin experience.


SkyLights
Today, SkyLights announces the launch of Skykids, its Immersive VR entertainment created especially to entertain children aged 6 to 12 on long-haul flights. The service, which lets children watch curated 2D, 3D and forward-facing 360° films in their own wearable cinema, was deployed fleet-wide on July 1st with SkyLights’ long-standing client XL Airways. Having seen significant success since day one,  SkyLights will continue the service beyond its initial holiday season scheduling.

According to a study commissioned by Emirates in 2017, children under 12 get bored 50 minutes into long-haul flights. With entertaining children identified as parents’ biggest concern when flying, and unruly kids voted the second most annoying type of passenger in Expedia’s 2017 passenger study, Skylights saw an opportunity to upgrade the customer experience of all passengers onboard. As a result, Skykids was developed, combining a fun and engaging VR headset design with a premium catalog curated especially for kids in partnership with 20th Century Fox. Going forward, SkyLights will offer airlines the new service alongside its flagship Allosky business class amenity solution. With this addition, the company aims to consolidate its position as the leading provider of VR entertainment for airlines.

SkyLights is an American-French company that leverages Cinematic VR as premium passenger entertainment. It has a signature immersive-IFE solution that transports passengers to their own, private, in-flight movie theater where they can enjoy 3D, 2D and VR content on a wide-angle cinema screen. On average, passengers use the device for 4 hours with a 90% recommendation rate.


AIRBUS

The first ACJ320neo[i] has been assembled on programme, fitted with CFM International LEAP-1A engines and painted in ACJ house-colours, in preparation for a first flight in the coming weeks.

After delivery to Acropolis Aviation of the UK in the last quarter of this year, the aircraft will enter outfitting at AMAC in Basle, Switzerland, where an Alberto Pinto-designed cabin will be installed, and be repainted in the customer’s colors. Like the airliner versions from which it is derived, the ACJ320neo Family features new-generation engines and Sharklets, saving around 15 per cent in fuel and delivering a leap forward in inter-continental range. The resulting ACJ320neo can fly 25 passengers 6,000 nm/11,100 km or 13 hours – enabling routes such as London to Beijing or Cape Town and Moscow to Los Angeles – while the ACJ319neo can fly eight passengers 6,700 nm/12,500 km or 15 hours. Featuring the widest and tallest cabins of any large business-jet, the ACJ320neo Family delivers similar operating costs and better residual value, while being about the same size. Orders for the ACJ320neo Family stand at nine aircraft, comprising three ACJ319neo and six ACJ320neo aircraft.


OTHER NEWS


This week we have plenty of news from some regular contributors and others as well. So let’s get started!

IMMFLY

The new onboard entertainment and digital services platform “Wamos On Air”, designed and developed by Immfly, is now available and passengers will be pleased with a broad range of entertainment possibilities easily accessible via their own personal devices (phones, tablets, and laptops). The major goal of both companies is to exceed travelers aspirations and improve their customer journey while providing a digital transformation through entertainment and content marketing. The airline that has 1.000.000 annual passengers, counts now with an in-flight digital platform “ Wamos On Air ”, that is available in Boeing 747-400, also called as “Jumbo” aircraft. Passengers can easily access the onboard service by activating the airplane mode on the mobile, tablet or laptop; selecting the Wi-Fi network and typing www.wamos-onair.com at the browser.

Several movies, but also TV-shows, Press, Magazines, Kids section are now at passenger’s fingertips disposal. Recent examples such as “The Shape of Water”, “The Revenant”, “The Greatest Showman”, “X-Men”, “Birdman” and many others, make the Wamos’s aircraft space a cinema on air, with an atmosphere that breathes digital experiences. As the airline’s audience is considerably diverse, Wamos Air and Immfly focused on providing different content modules for every type of passenger (distinct ages and languages). There is Kids section dedicated to the youngest, Music in documentary format, multiple games, all of that available both in English and Spanish languages.

Headquartered in Barcelona, Immfly was founded in 2013 by Pablo Linz and Jimmy Martínez von Korff, with the support of more than 50 influential multinational partners. The company is leading the development of internet connectivity, ready on-board digital platforms worldwide with focus in Europe,


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation, a leading supplier of advanced technologies and products to the global aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries, reported financial results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2018. Results for the quarter and the first six months of 2018 include the results of Telefonix PDT, which was acquired on December 1, 2017 and Custom Control Concepts (“CCC”), which was acquired on April 3, 2017.

Click here to view the entire release, including financial statements.


BLUEBOX

This August, pending final regulatory approvals, Bluebox will bring wireless IFE to the skies of India across Vistara’s current fleet of 21 Airbus A320 aircraft, with more A320 aircraft on the way. As part of a new fare families announcement yesterday, Vistara announced the introduction of ‘Vistara World’, its free in-flight entertainment system with more than 70 hours of video and audio content streamed wirelessly onto personal handheld devices and laptops. Today, Bluebox is thrilled to confirm that Bluebox Wowhas been selected as the technology solution to deliver ‘Vistara World’ to passengers on board Vistara flights.

‘Vistara World’ is expected to be rolled out fleet-wide in August 2018, subject to regulatory approvals. It will offer a content-rich multimedia library that includes music in genres like Pop, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Electronica, English Retro and Indian, Bollywood and Hollywood movies of various categories such as Drama, Romance, Comedy, Thriller, Action, Adventure, etc., Indian and International short programs as well as a variety of reading material including Vistara’s in-flight magazine.

Mr. Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara, elaborated, “With the introduction of wireless streaming of in-flight entertainment content, we will deliver on a product that our customers said they desired, enhancing overall customer satisfaction and experience with an efficient and cost-effective IFE solution.”

“We’re eagerly awaiting the final approvals required so that we can deliver wireless IFE to the Indian skies aboard Vistara,” said David Brown, Business Development Director, Bluebox. “Bluebox Wow is a powerful and convenient solution that suits Vistara’s current needs, and flexible enough to support the airline’s future growth as well, ensuring ‘Vistara World’ keeps passengers engaged on Vistara’s expanding route network.”

Bluebox’s portable wireless streaming platform provides content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, providing the capability of storing up to 1.6 Terabytes of film, TV, audio, games and other digital content. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, it is a discrete, portable, lunchbox-sized unit. Stowed securely in overhead bins, each box’s single, swappable rechargeable battery delivers up to 15 hours of simultaneously streamed video content.


INMARSAT

Inflight Wi-Fi is a key driver in forming customer loyalty and satisfaction among today’s airline passengers, according to the industry’s largest poll of passenger attitudes. The fourth annual global Inflight Connectivity Survey is published today by Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, in association with market research company Populus[1]. Wi-Fi is already an essential part of everyday life on the ground with more than three quarters of those surveyed (78%) believing that it is “fundamental” to daily life. With more than half of passengers (55%) describing inflight Wi-Fi as crucial, meeting the demand for Wi-Fi in the skies is key to improving passenger experience and driving loyalty. Wi-Fi is now so critical to passengers that two thirds (67%) would be more likely to rebook with an airline if high-quality Wi-Fi was on offer. Globally, passengers ranked inflight Wi-Fi as the fourth most important factor that they consider when choosing an airline, behind airline reputation, free checked baggage and extra leg room.

The impact of inflight Wi-Fi on loyalty and satisfaction is particularly significant for passenger groups most keen to remain connected in the air. High-value customers, parents and young passengers are among those most likely to use inflight Wi-Fi services: nine in ten business travellers (90%), parents travelling with children (90%) and 18-30 year olds (91%) plan to use the service if it’s offered when they next fly.

Onboard Wi-Fi could also lead to more productive business trips, as almost nine in ten business travelers (87%) would use inflight Wi-Fi to continue working on the plane. Access to Wi-Fi is also an important driver of choice for nervous flyers, as more than half (51%) said that they would use the technology to remain in contact with family and friends on the ground.

The majority of today’s airline passengers are so keen to get online that they will sacrifice other inflight amenities for internet access. Inmarsat’s 2016 Inflight Connectivity Survey revealed that more than half of passengers (54%) would choose Wi-Fi over an inflight meal. Today, passengers are adding alcohol to the list of inflight amenities they would sacrifice to get online, with more than half (53%) suggesting they are even prepared to give up their inflight alcoholic drink in exchange for access to Wi-Fi.

As demand for inflight Wi-Fi soars, uptake is similarly high as two thirds (65%) of passengers that had access to the service in the past year chose to use it. However, the demand for quality onboard Wi-Fi is significantly outstripping supply on the fleets of airlines across the globe, as less than half of passengers globally (45%) traveled on flights where it was offered.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Wi-Fi is essential to daily life on the ground, and airline passengers see no reason why their time on a flight should be restricted or spent any differently. Whether it’s used for sending that important work email, entertaining the children or even connecting with fellow passengers, staying online is becoming a crucial part of the inflight experience for today’s airline passengers.” He continued: “As the only provider to offer a complete global satellite network, Inmarsat is making high-speed inflight Wi-Fi a reality for passengers on leading airlines across the globe. As demand for quality services continues to soar, we are delighted to be able to bring these services to life for passengers and allow them to stay connected to their daily lives on the ground.”

Global survey highlights

  • 81% of passengers would use inflight Wi-Fi if it was available on their next flight, rising to 91% of 18-30 year olds, 90% of business travelers and 90% of passengers traveling with children
  • 65% of passengers that have had access to inflight Wi-Fi in the last year used it
  • 70% of passengers would be likely to recommend inflight Wi-Fi having tried it previously
  • 74% of business travelers feel that inflight Wi-Fi is crucial, with almost nine in ten (87%) stating that if inflight Wi-Fi was available they would be likely to work and be productive on a plane
  • Quality is key: for more than half of passengers (54%), no Wi-Fi at all is better than a poor quality service
  • Over two thirds of passengers (67%) would be more likely to re-book with an airline if high-quality inflight Wi-Fi were available
    • This likelihood to re-book rises to 81% of passengers traveling with children, and 83% of business travelers
  • More than half (53%) would be willing to give up their inflight alcoholic drink to get online. (Boy, this one is hard to believe-Editor)

Other News

The Crystal Cabin Award is expanding with the new “Best Customer Journey Experience” category. Submissions can be made online until the end of July.

Hamburg | July 9, 2018– With a special category for integrated digital innovations in the field of air travel, the Crystal Cabin Award, the world’s leading prize for aircraft interiors and on-board products, is extending its scope. The new category is aimed both at passenger-focused products such as smartphone apps relating to air travel, and at digital applications that improve product management for airlines. Entries can be lodged online at https://connect.apex.aero/page/apexawards until the end of July.

The new category is running outside the normal entry phase for the Crystal Cabin Award. It will be presented on 24 September together with the APEX Awards at the APEX EXPO and Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas events in Boston, Massachusetts. The application phase for the other eight categories, traditionally awarded every April at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, will then begin.

“Best Customer Journey Experience” comprises all products that help to improve the customer experience journey (inspiration, planning, booking, purchase, pre-trip, departure, in- flight and post-trip) across airline travel categories. It includes technical end-to-end solutions across categories including applications, artificial intelligence, tools, devices, software, programs etc. The product should offer benefits for airlines, OEMs, and/or suppliers by offering new digital solutions and specific insights about passengers experience for the benefit of on- board technical utilization. The finalists and award winner will provide airlines and their suppliers an inspirational example on how to optimize the cabin for end-to-end travel solutions centered around personalized passenger experience.

This special category complements the existing eight categories awarded each year in Hamburg for the Crystal Cabin Awards: „Cabin Concepts“, „Cabin Systems“, “Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment”, “Inflight Entertainment & Connectivity”, “Material and Components”, “Passenger Comfort Hardware”, “University” and “Visionary Concepts”. Winners of the 2018 season included renowned industry players such as Airbus and Altran, Rockwell Collins, and PriestmanGoode with Qatar Airways.

The Crystal Cabin Award 2018 is supported by the following sponsors and media partners: Airbus, Aircraft Cabin Management, Aircraft Interiors Expo (Reed Exhibitions), Aircraft Interiors International Magazine, AIME 2019 – Aircraft Interiors Middle East, ALTRAN S.A.S. Co. KG, Ameco Beijing, APEX, ATR, Boltaron Inc. – A SIMONA Company, DIEHL Aviation, FERCHAU AVIATION Division, FIT AG – Additive Manufacturing Group, Flightchic, Flightglobal, Future Travel Experience, Global Eagle, HAECO Cabin Solutions, Inflight Magazine, Jetliner Cabins, Lufthansa Technik AG, Panasonic, Rockwell Collins, Runway Girl Network, SEKISUI SPI and Thales.

 

RAVE ULTRA is the Third Generation RAVE System

During AIX we sat down with Zii and discussed RAVE and the next evolution of their full-up AVOD product dubbed ULTRA. Below is the fruit of that interview and several telecons since then! While at their booth, we were shown (and amazed) at the size, and we mean thinness, of the screen. You can see it in the accompanying image at the beginning of the story – iPhone thickness is not out of the question as one can see. The point here is the display, its accompanying storage, control and communication hardware electronics will not create seatback installation issues!

Next, let’s ask ourselves what problems airlines are facing today when it comes to their IFE and the burgeoning passenger expectations? On the passenger side, they want large quantities of (up to 4K) quality, varied entertainment. The airlines want to be able to provide content without a cumbersome system architecture that is laden with a multitude of boxes (which do not facilitate an easy and affordable upgrade path) that will not involve expensive certification and software development. Since the inception of RAVE by Zii, they have been dedicated to solving this problem as part of their design objectives. In fact, RAVE is an acronym that stands for: Reliable – inherently simple in its design; Affordable – committed to making IFE affordable for every airline; Very – modular, scalable, versatile; and Easy – to install, operate and maintain. In other words, RAVE!

RAVE ULTRA is Seat-Centric, not Server-Centric

Their third-generation, brand new smart system and display line, RAVE ULTRA, continues Zii’s commitment to Seat-Centric IFE and their dedication to everything RAVE has stood for from its inception. In fact, Seat-Centric, according to Zii, is the key to their dedication to ‘stress free IFE’ for their airline customers and is the third generation of that design. You may ask: Seat-Centric? How does that differ from a Server-Centric system? When Zii, 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,” said Harry Gray Zii’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “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 Zii 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.

RAVE System Features Two Main Boxes – SCU and Seat Display 

From a network and hardware perspective, operation via the use of Linux fast hardware is aided by Android developed apps that can be installed and played on each seat system and viewed on the RAVE ULTRA display. Content loading is fast, perhaps the fastest within the industry, via the SD card load-and-go process. Further, the SCU has 4 SD slots, so all it takes is replacing the SD cards with fresh content and the new content is loaded during normal operating times.  Content loading is accomplished in a matter of seconds (not hours).

However, the step change in the third-generation product is in the ULTRA Display itself. The smart display is virtually all viewable screen and is roughly 0.3” thick, resulting in a product that weighs a third of the current generation inflight displays. It is ruggedized with a poly carbonate lens cover and resides in a docking station inserted into the seat – it is not a portable and does not have an internal battery. ULTRA utilizes In-Cell touchscreen capability that supports multi-touch gestures, similar to smartphone devices today making it intuitive for most airline customers. Initially, there are four seatback display sizes – 27”, 17.3”, 15.6”, and 13.3”.

Integrated Bluetooth Audio is another feature built-in to RAVE ULTRA that supports wireless Bluetooth headsets at each aircraft seat; as well as, an integrated camera (another feature) that facilitates QR code scanning and payment options. Oh, and USB-A and a USB-C port all also feature options available.

RAVE Supports H.265 HVEC Compression Standards

The dockable display unit has a Solid State Drive with up to 1 TB of local content and its own IP address that provides passengers with access to 10 TBs of available content via the internal cloud. Further, the display itself is 4K and supports H.265 HEVC to facilitate the latest compression standards. “Seat content sharing is the next generation of IFE and it is being accomplished through cloud sharing,” said Harry Gray. Cloud content can be stored either in the SCU(s) or at another seat display. This provides passengers with access not only to their locally stored data but the benefit of a substantial amount of cloud-based storage. The evolution to this cloud-centric system for content truly allows Zii to keep RAVE content current with the latest storage and content demands. Check out the table below to see both where and how much content storage and access is available in the new RAVE ULTRA based on: Local data storage in memory, Cloud-based memory storage using the SCU, and finally with display memory plus the SCU memory and plus the neighboring seat data storage!

When a passenger requests content that is not resident in their seat display, there is a slight delay of not more than 3 seconds prior to viewing the content.  While the passenger is watching the movie the rest of the content is rapidly transferred (in typically less than 36 seconds) to their seatback and locally stored for the duration of that viewing. This floating cloud data solution is what makes RAVE a real winner for stored data entertainment that passengers will want, and while they may stay involved and engrossed with the airline entertainment solution, everybody wins!

RAVE ULTRA is THE Airline 4K Viewing Solution

The size of the display, the compression method and the number of languages all influence the amount of storage required for any given piece of content. High Efficiency Video Coding (H.265) is the video compression method used by RAVE. The following graph explains the amount of storage required on the RAVE system by a 2-hour feature length movie with 4 stereo language tracks:

RAVE ULTRA will be in BOSTON

RAVE ULTRA is in its finalizing phase and has garnered two committed customers.  It is in the midst of meeting head-strike requirements and in the certification process with a target of launch in 2019. “ULTRA is a revolution in product capability,” said Harry “And Zii is excited to continue facilitating airlines in enhancing their passengers entertainment experience.” The IFExpress team is looking forward to watching this product come to market and look for the next installation on the progress of ULTRA and Zii after APEX in Boston!

Consistent with RAVE philosophy, the ULTRA displays are backward compatible with the current generation of RAVE.  Airlines can mix and match displays on the common RAVE backbone.


OTHER NEWS

There is a lot of news this week and you might want to check out below what Mike Moeller told us at AIX:

GLOBAL EAGLE

During AIX in Germany, IFExpress had the opportunity to stop by the Global Eagle (GEE) stand to find out their latest news and developments. Mike Moeller gave us a run down on some of their product/service offering highlights. First, we got an over view of MASFLIGHT, their operation solutions platform that enables aviation big data solutions. MASFLIGHT’s platform offers a single source for operations data in real-time for decision making, as well as, historic data for predictive analytics. Gee uses cloud technology to collect, compile, validate and host information sets. They have also partnered with companies like the FAA, Google, Amazon and others in an effort to offer a ‘one stop’ solution for aviation information management and analysis.

Mike also addressed their product, NAVAERO, their EFB solution. NAVAERO is a tablet-based and aircraft-dedicated tool for airlines to increase their operational efficiency. “Airlines have the ability to improve their operating economics through real-time analysis that connectivity technology and the EFB allow.,” said Mike Moeller. “This system is a generic PMA’d technical installation solution that allows for aircraft deployment of virtually any commercially available COTS tablet device.” Adaptability, flexibility, and upgradeability of the system architecture and the design components while maintaining airworthiness compliance is one of the strengths of NAVAERO. Apparently upgrading the system is easy, since GEE has designed modularity into the tBagC2(2) – think memory, processor and storage here. This allows the internal CPU components to be upgraded without modifications to the unit’s structural form factor at a very affordable price point.

GEE’s Airtime product line was also touched upon. In case you don’t know Airtime is the central platform for passengers on an aircraft that is installed with GEE’s satellite-based service. Think of it as an entertainment gateway where airline brand loyalty can be built. Airtime can connect through any mobile device (iOS and/or Android). The customizable portal is adaptable, programmable and facilitates differentiation and personalization of the airline brand. Via the inflight Wi-Fi. Airtime allows the airline to address customized marketing programs for new product launches and brand awareness.  A bi-product of Airtime is AIRTIME Content-to-Go, which is designed to engage passengers throughout their journey. The low-cost IFE solution app, Airtime Content-to-Go, allows the passenger to create their own IFE experience. The aviation traveler can tailor their onboard entertainment by securely downloading digital content to their PED prior to take-off. “This is not your father’s GEE!” said Mike Moeller – and we have to agree with him.


GOGO

In a world where constant connectivity is the norm, and stress among travelers is high, staying connected in flight is having a calming effect on passengers. According to Gogo’s most recent Global Traveler Study, more than 75 percent of travelers say having inflight internet makes them feel less anxious because they can stay in contact with friends and family on the ground. Sixty-five percent say it makes them feel less anxious because they can stay connected to work. Not only do passengers want to be connected, their expectation is to be connected in the same way in flight as they are on the ground, which means multiple screens doing multiple activities.

“Today, we see a shift as inflight internet moves from being a luxury to an expectation for travelers around the world,” said Alyssa Hayes, Director of Insights at Gogo. “The importance of internet in the booking process has been increasing as now one-third of passengers are looking for inflight internet when they book their flights. The desire for people to stay connected and in contact with the ground is prevalent; passengers look to not just browse the internet but also engage with social media, read the news and check their email.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Mobile is king – in terms of devices brought on the plane, 90 percent of passengers bring a mobile device, 59 percent bring a laptop and 48 percent bring a tablet. However, laptops tend to stay in the bag as 62 percent of passengers use their mobile device in flight, 35 percent use a tablet and 34 percent use their laptop.
  • Online browsing dominates – a majority of passengers still say they want internet access for general browsing (75%) followed by social media (63%), checking email (60%) and reading news (60%). When it comes to streaming, 44 percent of passengers want to stream movies and TV shows in flight. YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify are the top desired sources for streaming content.
  •  Seatback Screens aren’t dead – Passengers still like seatback screens. Half (47%) of air travelers prefer seatback screens in flight versus 33 percent who prefer their own personal devices. Travelers preferring seatback screens like the ease of use (more than half like that they don’t have to worry about charging their device). Among those preferring their personal devices, 65 percent cite privacy as the primary reason.
  • Multitasking is the norm – Multitasking in flight is the expectation, just as it is at home or at work. People are comfortable watching a movie on the seatback while texting colleagues on their smartphone.

The Gogo Global Traveler Research Study explores the changing behaviors of airline passengers across the world as it pertains to inflight connectivity and entertainment. The study has been significantly expanded for 2018 and now includes data gathered from more than 9,000 air travelers in 18 countries. To learn more or to download the complete report, visit gogoair.com/globaltraveler.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, announced that its market-leading Jet ConneX business aviation inflight Wi-Fi service has been installed and activated on 275 business jets worldwide. The impressive milestone was reached less than 18 months since Jet ConneX entered commercial service, highlighting its rapid uptake across the world. As the only global, high-speed inflight Wi-Fi option for business jets today, it offers the same fast and reliable connectivity in the air that has previously only been available on the ground. Market-leading business jet manufacturers Gulfstream, Bombardier, Dassault and Embraer have all selected Jet ConneX as a preferred line-fit option. In addition, Inmarsat has experienced substantial adoption of the solution on a retrofit basis, with more than 40 type certificate and supplemental type certificate (STC) approvals already secured, including for all Boeing and Airbus VVIP type models. Using Inmarsat’s advanced Ka-band satellite network, Jet ConneX offers data plans up to 15Mbps and consistent global coverage across all airline routes enabling the business traveler to do business wherever and whenever. Aircraft connect to the service using Jet Wave hardware, which is manufactured exclusively by Honeywell Aerospace. To date, more than 1,000 of these JetWave systems have already been delivered by Honeywell to business aviation and commercial airline customers. Using Inmarsat’s advanced Ka-band satellite network, Jet ConneX offers data plans up to 15Mbps and consistent global coverage across all airline routes enabling the business traveler to do business wherever and whenever. Aircraft connect to the service using Jet Wave hardware, which is manufactured exclusively by Honeywell Aerospace. To date, more than 1,000 of these JetWave systems have already been delivered by Honeywell to business aviation and commercial airline customers.

Inmarsat, also announced that its European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight Wi-Fi solution will be available for the business aviation market by January 2019. EAN is the world’s first inflight Wi-Fi solution that integrates connectivity from a satellite, operated by Inmarsat, and an LTE-based ground network, operated by Deutsche Telekom, covering all 28 member states of the European Union, as well as Switzerland and Norway. The unique combination of a satellite and 4G LTE-based ground network offers lightning fast, low-latency performance over land and water. It can therefore meet highly demanding internet use, such as working with remote business desktops, streaming high-definition videos, enjoying online gaming and sharing images, with service levels that compare to mobile broadband on the ground. Aircraft connect with the network using award-winning small, ultra-lightweight, low drag hardware that is cost-effective to install and operate, making EAN ideal for small to mid-sized business jets, in addition to larger sized jets. EAN’s integrated satellite and ground network is fully operational, with a number of flight trials successfully completed across Europe, demonstrating that the next-generation service meets its design performance in practice. The evaluations were conducted with partners Cobham, Thales and Nokia using a CESSNA 550 Citation II provided by Dutch company NLR. Designed to meet the needs of European’s congested skies, EAN recently won the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Award for ‘Best Inflight Connectivity Innovation.


SITA

Incheon International Airport has deployed SITA’s award-winning self-service bag drop technology at its new Terminal 2, effectively serving the influx of visitors to the recent Winter Olympics and in preparation for the 100 million passengers projected by 2030. Drop&Fly simplifies the bag drop process, cutting time for passengers and improving their experience. This technology also makes more efficient use of terminal capacity and ensures more accurate baggage handling.

Incheon International Airport has been named the World’s Best Airport for 12 consecutive years by the Airport Council International (ACI) and Drop&Fly has been in operation at the airport’s Terminal 1 since 2016. Today, 48 Drop&Fly units (14 at T1 and 34 at T2) are available to passengers with 30 more on the way.

Sang-il Kim, Executive Director of Smart Airport Group at Incheon International Airport said: “We want to give our passengers a fantastic experience when they travel through our airport and that means using the very best technology. Deploying SITA Drop&Fly is part of our extensive modernization program that will help ensure Incheon International remains on top of the list of the world’s best airports.”

Drop&Fly provides a safe and secure self-bag drop area. A sliding door and advanced sensors prevent tampering and the intrusion of unauthorized objects. It is fully customizable to the individual needs of the airport and is equipped with technology such as payment devices, baggage facing cameras and more. It can also provide live status and notifications on all bag drop units for ground agents, and real-time statistics to analyze trends and generate reports.

Drop&Fly won the prestigious 2017 iF Design Award: Public Product, in recognition of its state-of-the-art design and intuitive user interface.

Sumesh Patel, SITA President, Asia Pacific, said: “We know passengers want self-service options because they like having control over their journey and it saves time. Self-bag drop is a win for the airport because it makes very efficient use of the available space and makes the baggage process more accurate and efficient.”

Patel added: “With IATA projecting that routes to, from and within Asia-Pacific will see an extra 2.1 billion annual passengers by 2036, there is no doubt Incheon International Airport has exactly the right approach. As Incheon Airport consolidates its position as one of the best airports in the world, we hope to continue being a part of the airport’s success.”

Incheon International Airport had a record year in 2017, with over 60 million passengers using the airport. The introduction of Terminal 2 has increased capacity by a further 18 million passengers per year and the airport has ambitions to reach 100 million passengers by 2030.


OTHER NEWS

  • This is what you might need for your next flight noise cancellation
  • IFExpress has worried about this for some time; however, you see if any of this airplane hacking make sense to you: Aircraft Avionics Hacking: Is It Possible? | Connected Aerospace content from Aviation Week
  • Like wine? Heard of artificial Intelligence, AI? Well, they might be connected, especially since there are so many available. Wine preferences are the solution of selection and subjects of collateral filtering, content based recommendations, and a lot of computer analysis are parts of the sensory selection solution on a scientific platform. There is a tasting app, Wine Ring, and possibly, you can better decide your choice on a plane. In fact, the links below proves the connection between choice and selection using AI. https://recode.cmail20.com/t/d-l-bsdjld-atlydhdjy-p/  and Wine Ring.

Chicago | May 31, 2018–In a world where constant connectivity is the norm, and stress among travelers is high, staying connected in flight is having a calming effect on passengers. According to Gogo’s most recent Global Traveler Study, more than 75 percent of travelers say having inflight internet makes them feel less anxious because they can stay in contact with friends and family on the ground. Sixty-five percent say it makes them feel less anxious because they can stay connected to work.

Not only do passengers want to be connected, their expectation is to be connected in the same way in flight as they are on the ground, which means multiple screens doing multiple activities.

“Today, we see a shift as inflight internet moves from being a luxury to an expectation for travelers around the world,” said Alyssa Hayes, Director of Insights at Gogo. “The importance of internet in the booking process has been increasing as now one-third of passengers are looking for inflight internet when they book their flights. The desire for people to stay connected and in contact with the ground is prevalent; passengers look to not just browse the internet but also engage with social media, read the news and check their email.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Mobile is king – in terms of devices brought on the plane, 90 percent of passengers bring a mobile device, 59 percent bring a laptop and 48 percent bring a tablet. However, laptops tend to stay in the bag as 62 percent of passengers use their mobile device in flight, 35 percent use a tablet and 34 percent use their laptop.
  • Online browsing dominates – a majority of passengers still say they want internet access for general browsing (75%) followed by social media (63%), checking email (60%) and reading news (60%). When it comes to streaming, 44 percent of passengers want to stream movies and TV shows in flight. YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify are the top desired sources for streaming content.
  • Seatback Screens aren’t dead – Passengers still like seatback screens. Half (47%) of air travelers prefer seatback screens in flight versus 33 percent who prefer their own personal devices. Travelers preferring seatback screens like the ease of use (more than half like that they don’t have to worry about charging their device). Among those preferring their personal devices, 65 percent cite privacy as the primary reason.
  • Multitasking is the norm – Multitasking in flight is the expectation, just as it is at home or at work. People are comfortable watching a movie on the seatback while texting colleagues on their smartphone.

The Gogo Global Traveler Research Study explores the changing behaviors of airline passengers across the world as it pertains to inflight connectivity and entertainment. The study has been significantly expanded for 2018 and now includes data gathered from more than 9,000 air travelers in 18 countries.

To learn more or to download the complete report, visit gogoair.com/globaltraveler.

Seoul | May 30, 2018–Incheon International Airport has deployed SITA’s award-winning self-service bag drop technology at its new Terminal 2, effectively serving the influx of visitors to the recent Winter Olympics and in preparation for the 100 million passengers projected by 2030. Drop&Fly simplifies the bag drop process, cutting time for passengers and improving their experience. This technology also makes more efficient use of terminal capacity and ensures more accurate baggage handling.

Incheon International Airport has been named the World’s Best Airport for 12 consecutive years by the Airport Council International (ACI) and Drop&Fly has been in operation at the airport’s Terminal 1 since 2016. Today, 48 Drop&Fly units (14 at T1 and 34 at T2) are available to passengers with 30 more on the way.

Sang-il Kim, Executive Director of Smart Airport Group at Incheon International Airport said: “We want to give our passengers a fantastic experience when they travel through our airport and that means using the very best technology. Deploying SITA Drop&Fly is part of our extensive modernization program that will help ensure Incheon International remains on top of the list of the world’s best airports.”

Drop&Fly provides a safe and secure self-bag drop area. A sliding door and advanced sensors prevent tampering and the intrusion of unauthorized objects. It is fully customizable to the individual needs of the airport and is equipped with technology such as payment devices, baggage facing cameras and more. It can also provide live status and notifications on all bag drop units for ground agents, and real-time statistics to analyze trends and generate reports.

Drop&Fly won the prestigious 2017 iF Design Award: Public Product, in recognition of its state-of-the-art design and intuitive user interface.

Sumesh Patel, SITA President, Asia Pacific, said: “We know passengers want self-service options because they like having control over their journey and it saves time. Self-bag drop is a win for the airport because it makes very efficient use of the available space and makes the baggage process more accurate and efficient.”

Patel added: “With IATA projecting that routes to, from and within Asia-Pacific will see an extra 2.1 billion annual passengers by 2036, there is no doubt Incheon International Airport has exactly the right approach. As Incheon Airport consolidates its position as one of the best airports in the world, we hope to continue being a part of the airport’s success.”

Incheon International Airport had a record year in 2017, with over 60 million passengers using the airport. The introduction of Terminal 2 has increased capacity by a further 18 million passengers per year and the airport has ambitions to reach 100 million passengers by 2030.

SITA is the world leader in self bag drop with more than 55 airlines connected to SITA BagDrop at more than 40 airports worldwide.


Rockwell Collins

Switzerland-based AMAC Aerospace has selected a full suite of Rockwell Collins’ cabin products for the world’s first Airbus ACJ320neo VIP aircraft, which is due for delivery to Acropolis Aviation, the UK VIP charter operator, in the fourth quarter of 2019. AMAC is scheduled to begin outfitting the aircraft at its Basel, Switzerland, facilities before the end of 2018. AMAC and Acropolis selected Rockwell Collins’ market-leading Venue HD cabin management and entertainment system to provide their passengers with an engaging in-flight experience. Venue is now installed on more than 1,100 aircraft ranging from turboprops to long-range business jets and VIP aircraft. Also included in the product suite is the Stage on demand wireless streaming solution, Airshow Moving Map and the company’s innovative Viu LED interior lighting system. Acropolis Aviation will benefit from Venue’s fault-tolerant, rugged fibre optic backbone, which ensures maximum system availability while providing necessary bandwidth to integrate the latest consumer technologies. It also features intuitive cabin controls for its passengers to easily manage their ride environment, both from on-board interfaces and personal devices.

Stage on demand, recently introduced on Acropolis Aviation’s ACJ319, G-NOAH, features a total content delivery solution from Rockwell Collins that will allow all its 19 VIP passengers to stream media, including Hollywood digital rights management (DRM)-protected movies and TV shows, to their personal devices from an easy-to-refresh, robust onboard server through wireless access points. Content is selected by flight departments from a frequently updated cloud-based media catalogue. The selected content can then be loaded on the aircraft server in a variety of ways, including both physical and wireless.

Rounding off the cabin offering is Viu LED lighting, which includes a series of innovative products customizable to fit different brands via a full range of easy to integrate high intensity color options for any type of aircraft, new or retrofit. Viu is integrated with the Venue CMS to allow for control functions.


SmartSky

Duncan Aviation is pleased to announce its partnership with SmartSky Networks, as the latter company launches its new 4G LTE-based inflight connectivity network. The air-to-ground (ATG) network delivers a true office-in-the-sky environment with unprecedented speed, reliability, and security. With low latency and high bandwidth, passengers will enjoy the same connectivity capabilities they do on the ground: streaming video, chatting, texting, playing games and video conferencing. Working with SmartSky Networks, Duncan Aviation’s Engineering & Certification department helped develop the first Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for a Cessna Citation Excel.

“It is an honor to partner with Duncan Aviation, a company that has a well-deserved reputation for outstanding customer service,” said Bryan Rapp, Account Manager with SmartSky Networks. “We believe this partnership confirms SmartSky’s commitment to deliver the very best in resources for our customers as well.” The SmartSky 4G LTE system received FAA approval for the Citation Excel STC in January and aircraft Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) in March. Duncan Aviation representatives should be contacted to schedule installation on aircraft.


Satcom Direct

Satcom Direct, the business aviation connectivity, software and hardware provider, has strengthened its European presence with the opening of its fourth European office. Situated at EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, one of Switzerland’s busiest executive aviation centers, the office is located in close proximity to a number of Europe’s leading completion, Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) centers where upgrades and completions of large-, narrow- and wide-body cabins form a significant part of the MRO business.

It positions SD at the heart of Europe’s satcom installation business and supports the increased demand for the installation of Jet ConneX, the ultra-high-speed data transfer service, for large-cabin, long-range jets. Powered by SD hardware and software applications Jet ConneX delivers the fastest connectivity in the skies. SD was one of the first companies to prove the Ka-band technology for business aviation, and now supplies over 70% of activated tails using the service worldwide. To maximize this experience SD has developed industry-first Service Level Agreements (SLA), which include onsite support, proactive monitoring, outage notifications and guaranteed email and phone call response times. The Basel team will support the SLAs and provide configuration, installation and educational support to SD customers in the region. To mark the office opening, members of the SD team partnered with business colleagues from Inmarsat, Gulfstream and Viasat to deliver Europe’s first SD CwC (Connecting with Customers) event.  The one-day meeting reflected the ethos of the annual U.S. experience which welcomes more than 300 SD customers and partners to a three-day forum covering every aspect of business aviation connectivity. More than 50 industry experts attended the inaugural event which heralds the launch of CwC internationally.


Southwest Airlines/iHeartRadio

Southwest Airlines announced a new collaboration with iHeartRadio to bring iHeartMedia’s free all-in-one digital music and live streaming radio service to Customers as the exclusive music offering within the onboard entertainment portal on Southwest flights. Through the onboard entertainment portal integration with iHeartRadio, Customers can enjoy all their favorite musical genres including alternative rock, country, hip hop, R&B, Top 40 hit music, and more. From these genres, passengers can choose their favorite live radio station or pick from hundreds of artists to launch their very own custom artist radio station featuring music from that artist and those similar. In addition, iHeartRadio will also bring Customers expertly-curated station themes perfect for inflight listening like Pass the Time and Kids Zone.

“Our Customers and Employees are passionate about music,” said Ryan Green, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Southwest Airlines. “And for Southwest, music is a part of a larger story—it’s an ongoing investment in enhancing our Customers’ travel experiences. Through this partnership with iHeartRadio, we will create the soundtrack to our Customers’ journeys as we connect them to what is important in their lives.”

“We continue to expand iHeartRadio’s massive distribution platform to ensure that we are available everywhere our listeners are with the products and services they use most,” said Michele Laven, President of Strategic Partnerships for iHeartMedia. “We are proud to team up with Southwest Airlines to bring the music, radio stations, and on-air personalities people love inflight, continuing to entertain our listeners and Southwest passengers as they travel to their destinations.”

Customers can access iHeartRadio free of charge through the onboard entertainment portal on their personal devices to begin their listening experience. Once activated, the music will continue play as long as the entertainment portal is open in a tab, allowing Customers to browse the rest of the portal, check the flight tracker or utilize the web if they have purchased WiFi access.

Customers who already have the iHeartRadio app installed on their devices will be able to play their personalized music and favorite podcasts directly from the app while onboard Southwest flights. Those passengers who already subscribe to iHeartRadio’s All Access on demand subscription service will also have access to their entire music library and saved playlists as well as enjoy millions of songs and albums instantly. The free service is available on the more than 690 WiFi-equipped aircraft serviced by Global Eagle. Due to licensing restrictions, iHeartRadio may not be available onboard WiFi-enabled international flights. The iHeart Radio product is available only on WiFi-enabled aircraft. For more information please visit southwest.com/wifi.


Airbus

Airbus and the European member States France, Germany, Spain and the UK have agreed on some amendments to A380 and A350XWB Reimbursable Launch Investment (RLI) loans.

This allowed the European Union to notify the WTO of an additional set of compliance measures, responding to Tuesday’spublication of the WTO Appellate Body report. In its report, the WTO had clarified that the European Union and Airbus have achieved compliance in respect of the vast majority of the support at issue but considered that some remaining obligations required minor adjustments. Those have now been addressed by the EU. The terms of these amendments – like the terms of the original RLI contracts themselves – remain confidential but they are aligned with current market conditions.

Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) has created a new cabin design concept, called Harmony, which combines the comfort and space of a widebody cabin with the practicality to suit the longest of flights. Harmony seamlessly combines the benefits of Airbus Corporate Jets’ VIP widebodies – such as comfort, space and quietness – to produce a consistently harmonious customer experience. It builds on the Airspace cabin brand from the Airbus airliner family. Initially proposed for the new ACJ330neo Family[1], which features new-generation engines and Sharklets, Harmony can also suit other Airbus widebodies, such as the ACJ350 XWB

Lufthansa Group has firmed-up a previous option for six further Airbus A320neo, following a decision by the company’s supervisory board at the beginning of May. The latest agreement brings Lufthansa Group’s total order for the A320neo to 122 (77 A320neo and 45 A321neo). In addition, the airline signed an order for three more A320ceo, bringing the Group’s A320ceo orders to 273. With a total of 395 A320 Family aircraft on order, the Lufthansa Group is also Airbus’ biggest A320 operator with nearly 400 A320 Family aircraft in service. Lufthansa was the launch operator of the A320neo. Manufacture of the first ACJ320neo[1] has begun, with elements taking shape across Europe and final assembly due to begin in June, followed by the first delivery of the “green” aircraft to Acropolis Aviation of the UK in the last quarter of this year.  A second ACJ320neo will follow by year-end.

Deliveries of the first ACJ319neo, for K5 Aviation, will begin in the second quarter of 2019, marking a further step in the creation of the new corporate jet family. Orders for the ACJ320 Family now total nine aircraft, comprising three ACJ319neo and six ACJ320neo aircraft.


Boeing

Boeing Co.-backed startup Zunum Aero plans to deliver its first hybrid-electric plane in 2022 to JetSuite Inc., setting the stage for a new era in regional flying. JetSuite, a small charter airline with plans to expand a commercial operation nationally, eventually will receive as many as 100 aircraft that seat up to 12 passengers each, Zunum co-founder Matt Knapp said in a statement Monday. JetBlue Airways Corp. has invested in Zunum and JetSuite. The charter operator is also backed by Qatar Airways. The new aircraft will eliminate the roar of combustion-based engines, powered instead by twin propulsors attached to the rear of its frame. The ducted, or covered, fans will be driven by electric motors. A conventional fuel-powered motor will serve as a back-up system at the outset.


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