Panasonic Avionics

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) announced the appointment of Hernan Abbes as Vice President, Global Sales.

In his new role, Hernan will play a pivotal leadership role in driving business growth and nurturing strong relationships with new and existing airline customers. He will report directly to CEO, Ken Sain, and have worldwide responsibility for developing and implementing strategic sales initiatives across Panasonic Avionics’ range of products, services and solutions.

Hernan will oversee efforts to strengthen customer relationships, listen to and understand customer needs, propose innovative solutions and share the voice of the customer feedback within Panasonic. As a member of Panasonic’s senior leadership team, he will also participate in strategy formulation and key decisions across the business.

Hernan assumes his role with a deep knowledge of Panasonic, its people and its customers, having joined the business in 2011 as an Account Manager for the Americas region. He progressed quickly upwards through a series of sales roles, and was appointed Regional Vice President for the Americas and Oceania in 2019.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Hernan is a valuable addition to Panasonic’s senior leadership team, and a skilled and proven executive who is passionate about customers, meeting their needs and exceeding expectations. Under his leadership, I have no doubt that our company will elevate our responsiveness and customers will benefit from his expertise and dedication.” Hernan Abbes, Vice President, Global Sales of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “I am truly excited about my new role, and look forward to leading Panasonic’s team of incredibly talented sales executives. Our industry is facing challenging times but with the skill of our people and the strength and innovation of our services and solutions, I am confident that Panasonic will continue to grow as the provider of choice for airlines across the globe.”

Hernan Abbes’ started his career at Boeing, and then at Raytheon, as an electrical engineer developing wiring diagrams and cable assemblies, before he took a role at Thales Avionics as an installation engineer. He later transitioned into a Senior Account Manager role for Thales’ Latin America region selling In-Flight Entertainment and avionics. He has also held roles as a consultant to Gogo and a strategic account manager at Carlisle Interconnect Technologies.

Also from Panasonic:

Panasonic announced Qatar Airways as the launch customer for its new EcoFW 10” inflight entertainment (IFE) upgrade program. The seatback IFE monitors on the airline’s fleet of 37 Boeing 777 aircraft will be updated with Panasonic’s new EcoFW 10” monitor upgrade – creating a next-generation HD passenger experience while extending the life of the fleet’s IFE system, and reducing operational costs.

Panasonic’s IFE upgrade program, which can be achieved on an aircraft during routine overnight maintenance, includes the installation of a new passenger entertainment server. This provides passengers with a wider range of content and helps to modernize the airline’s offering and keep up-to-date with the demands of changing consumer preferences. This also enables the airline to achieve faster media loading times – all without any increase in weight, and with dramatically improved reliability levels.

The first aircraft from Qatar Airways’ 777 fleet has completed its IFE upgrade this week. This commitment from Qatar Airways marks the latest milestone in a longstanding partnership with Panasonic, which first started in 2000. A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by Skytrax. Headquartered in Doha, the airline was launched in 1997 and is the national carrier of the State of Qatar. Qatar Airways Oryx One in-flight entertainment system offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options, from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games. and much more.

Additionally, PAC also announced the appointment of Abby Bried as Vice President and General Counsel. Abby will advise on laws, regulations, public policy, ethics and risk that impact the company. She will oversee and lead Panasonic Avionics’ legal team in its delivery of legal services and other resources throughout the company to accomplish its corporate goals, strategies and priorities. She will also serve as a member of Panasonic Avionics’ senior leadership team, developing and leading its corporate legal strategy.

Abby will report directly to Jessica Hodkinson, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Panasonic Corporation of North America, with a dotted line reporting structure to Panasonic Avionics’ President and Chief Executive Officer, Ken Sain.

Ken Sain said, “We are delighted to welcome Abby to Panasonic Avionics. With her longstanding experience and proven track record as a legal counsel, and deep rooted knowledge of aviation, we know she will be a great asset to our business.”

Abby has over twenty-five years of experience in the aviation industry as a trusted legal advisor and business partner at three major US carriers – Northwest Airlines, Continental Airlines and United Airlines, where she was Associate General Counsel from 2012 to 2017.

She joins Panasonic Avionics from the international law firm, Jenner & Block LLP, where she was a Washington DC-based partner, building a new aviation and aerospace practice group that focused on commercial aviation as well as emerging technologies in operational and manufacturing areas.

Abby said, “As aviation recovers from its biggest economic challenge, Panasonic Avionics will play a crucial role in transforming the customer experience and enhancing airline operations, and I am thrilled to be joining this innovative industry leader at this critical time.”

Abby is recognized as a global legal, compliance and diversity leader in the aviation industry, with key roles in trade associations including IATA (International Air Transport Association) and A4A (Airlines for America). She is also the past President of the International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA).

She attended Southern Methodist University where she studied Political Science and Asian Studies, followed by a juris doctorate from Mitchell Hamline School of Law.


Burrana to attend FTE/APEX Virtual Expo

Burrana, a market leader in the inflight entertainment (IFE) and cabin technology industry has, like all companies in aviation been shocked by the devastation COVID-19 has had on airlines worldwide. We are optimistic that the FTE/APEX Virtual Expo will rejuvenate our industry and assure everyone that together we will rise.

We are delighted to participate as a platinum sponsor in this pioneering digital event where our team can reconnect with our customers and industry colleagues to share the benefits of new products and services designed to solve challenges that stand in the way of sustainable airline success.

The recently launched RISE platform delivers just this, with speed to market advantages for our customers as well as the flexibility to pivot if market pressures demand.

RISE is a flexible, scalable, and configurable IFE platform that consists of hardware, software, apps and services delivering seatback, wireless and overhead entertainment, as well as in-seat power, for narrow and wide body aircraft covering linefit and retrofit installations. The platform has been thoughtfully designed to grow with you as your business grows, ensuring longevity and relevance for your onboard product. Powered by a single software stack, shared hardware, and common power backbone, RISE can easily be scaled up or down depending on business need.

During the FTE/APEX Virtual Expo, just like an in-person event, we will present all our products and services within the context of booked one-on-one meetings.

We have something special to share with our current PAVES customers and airlines looking at replacing legacy overhead and PRAM solutions.

We will take airlines through the detail of the RISE platform itself – the “products” – Seatback, Wireless and Overhead Entertainment as well as In-Seat Power. We will also showcase our innovative solution to give airlines the unprecedented ability to change the User Experience themselves, without costly

ATPs or FSATs.

Airlines and industry colleagues can meet with and chat to our leaders across sales and marketing during the entirety of the expo according to time zones, covering Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

We very much look forward to seeing you there! Drop into our booth to view videos, book a meeting, have a chat, or visit the OnDemand Conference Session to learn How Burrana is Solving old IFE challenges in new ways. Join our LIVE session, hosted by Dave Pook at the Burrana booth, An Introduction to our RISE Platform.

Learn more at Burrana.aero


BBC to join FTE APEX Virtual EXPO

BBC World News and BBC Studios today announced their presence at the Virtual EXPO on 8-9 December, where they will be showcasing their world class programming, exhibiting on a virtual stand and taking part in a number of thought leadership sessions with some of the most high profile names in the industry.

BBC World News presenter Zeinab Badawi will moderate the opening keynote session on day two of the Virtual EXPO, “CEO Perspectives on the Global Industry Recovery”. This deep-dive with a panel of global industry figures will look at the methods by which air-transport can achieve the fastest possible recovery whilst innovating, and collaborating. Panellists will include Jeffrey Goh, CEO, Star Alliance, Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO, IATA, as well as other well-known industry names. Aaron Heslehurst, presenter of “Talking Business” will hold in-depth interviews with CEOs from a number of global airlines to share their experiences and learnings from the last months.

Jon Farrar, Global VOD Director, BBC Studios, will take part in the Inflight Track panel discussion investigating how the industry can drive confidence in navigating on-board content disruption. With content creation and audience behaviour changes in content consumption being one of the most important changes brought on by the global pandemic, Jon and his fellow panellists will share their thoughts on what opportunities and threats these changes pose for airlines and suppliers and discuss which areas should they be investing in now when money is scarce.

As part of the EXPO, the BBC will have a virtual stand manned 24 hours a day where they will meet with customers, and where visitors will have the chance to learn about the upcoming slate of new titles the BBC has to offer.

The BBC Studios collection represents the best of bold, British storytelling from its in-house production arm, and high-quality UK independents. It includes uniquely ambitious dramas, such as Emily Mortimer’s The Pursuit of Love, with a stellar cast including Lily James, Andrew Scott and Dominic West; Small Axe, the first television project from award-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen, which has achieved a world first with two films from the series selected for the Cannes Film Festival; The North Water starring Hollywood actors Colin Farrell and Jack O’Connell; and The Watch, inspired by characters created by Sir Terry Pratchett.

New titles being showcased at the Virtual EXPO will include This is Going to Hurt based on Adam Kay’s international best-seller, and starring Ben Whishaw, as well as A Perfect Planet, the latest landmark natural history series in the global hit Planet franchise.

Zina Neophytou, Vice President, Out Of Home, BBC Studios, says: “No one is under any illusion that the airline industry has had an easy year. As a long-standing partner, BBC Studios and BBC World News are helping to support the road to recovery at this event with access to some of the most high profile names in the industry, who can offer practical learnings the audience can apply to their own businesses. Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that every passenger has the best possible inflight experience and we can also help navigate this by providing the most creative and high quality programming on the planet.”


IATA

Here is an article from the folks at IATA with an evolution of the distribution impacts: “The potential size of the delivery is enormous. Just providing a single dose to 7.8 billion people would fill 8,000 747 cargo aircraft. Land transport will help, especially in developed economies with local manufacturing capacity. But vaccines cannot be delivered globally without the significant use air cargo.”

IATA – The Time to Prepare for COVID-19 Vaccine Transport is Now


SOUTHWEST AIRLINES
Here is a letter from Gary Kelly, Chairman of the Board and CEO
of Southwest Airlines about the return to service of the Boeing 737 MAX – 737 MAX News and Updates | Southwest Airlines


SOME INTERESTING AVIATION EVENTS
We understand that UNITED, AMERICAN and BRITISH AIRWAYS is offering free COVID-19 testing to travelers on transatlantic flights.

IFExpress has learned that DELTA AIR LINES will continue to block middle seats through end of March 2021.


OTHER NEWS


Editor’s Note: Last week the software gremlins wrecked havoc on our publishing process. Our apologies for the truncated Hot Topic. Needless to say, this week we have made certain last week’s omitted  content is included. Mea culpa!

FlightPlan: Aviation Leaders Debate Solutions to Rebuild Passenger Confidence in Industry’s Largest Live Broadcast Event

Leaders from across the global aviation industry came together for a live broadcast on November 11th, which explored strategies to accelerate recovery and future growth in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. FlightPlan: Strategies for Recovery, hosted by Inmarsat Aviation and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), saw over 50 industry voices exchange views on the present and future of aviation.

Six months on from the hugely successful first FlightPlan broadcast event in April, with aviation still in the depths of one of its most extreme crises to date, the industry’s largest-ever virtual assembly returned to connect leaders on the digital stage once again. More than 3,500 viewers tuned in from almost 90 countries worldwide for a series of live debates, interviews and analysis.

Summarizing the day’s events, Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, commented: “FlightPlan is a unique platform that brings together the aviation industry during this difficult time to share views, exchange best practice and strategize for the future. Yesterday’s edition attracted record audience numbers in comparison to our inaugural FlightPlan broadcast in April and we are delighted that so many leading voices participated. Together, we reflected on the challenges faced in 2020, the progress made to date, and of crucial importance, the trends that will guide the next phase of recovery.

“A wide range of initiatives have already been executed to make flying viable and safe – from an overhaul of cleaning protocols to greater social distancing across the passenger journey. Under different circumstances, many of these changes could have taken years to introduce. The next phase will delve even further into the passenger mindset, ensuring that consistent policies, measures and technologies are implemented to restore confidence in airline travel. While many hurdles still lie ahead, the single most overwhelming sentiment expressed during FlightPlan was one of optimism.”

A particular highlight of the day was the launch of Inmarsat’s ‘Passenger Confidence Tracker’, the world’s largest survey of airline passengers since the pandemic began. Reflecting the views and attitudes of almost 10,000 respondents from 12 countries, it revealed that 83 per cent of air passengers expect their travel habits to change in the long-term as a result of COVID-19.

Reflecting on what the industry can take from the study in order to rebuild confidence, Niels Steenstrup, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Vice President of Inflight Business, told viewers: “The fundamental message is about consistency. Passengers want to be able to board a plane anywhere and be confident that the same hygiene practices are being followed. They want a consistent set of safety standards around the world, and more consistency on quarantine rules.

He continued: “Worries about flying are all too often a result of inconsistencies and lack of assurance about what they will be met with at the airport, on the plane or at the destination. Co-operation between nations will undoubtedly help restore passenger confidence.”

Agreeing with Steenstrup, Peter Harbison, Chairman of CAPA Centre for Aviation, added that “a harmonious and standardized way for looking after passengers” is needed. “The biggest problem is the unilateralism we have seen develop,” he said.

Another key theme of the day was the growing relevancy of trust and reputation. Robert Carey, Chief Commercial and Customer Officer at easyJet, said: “In an economic downturn, customers want value and a brand they can trust.” This is supported by data from the ‘Passenger Confidence Tracker’, which finds 44 per cent of passengers believe reputation is now a more significant factor when choosing an airline than it was pre-pandemic.

“Trust is super critical for any brand, but certainly for those that have a safety component like airlines,” agreed Anton Vidgen, APEX President and Air Canada Head of Brand Experience. “It was important before the pandemic and it’s especially important during the pandemic.”

There was a clear focus throughout FlightPlan on the importance of digital solutions as a short-term solution to boost confidence and safety, through reducing touchpoints and interactions throughout the journey experience.

Gustavo Nader, Thales’ Head of Strategy, IFE and Connectivity, noted a growing trend for traveler autonomy, enabled by digitization. “Travelers are increasingly reliant on self-directed resources to get information about their travel experience,” he said. “Airports and airlines will be required to accelerate their digital transformation in a way that increases the independence of the traveler and reduces their reliance on touchpoints and interactions.”

Airline leaders echoed this, arguing that the pandemic has accelerated their digital transformation plans. Vidgen noted that Air Canada has already adopted touchless bag check and is exploring innovative technologies from biometrics to automatic gate boarding. Implementing touchless technologies throughout the journey, he believes, will ensure “that customers feel confident and can serve themselves as much as possible”.

Matt Klein, CCO of Spirit, noted another shift in passenger habits: the uptake of ancillary services. “The Spirit business model, with optionality of services, is working. There is a lot of value for guests with that and our ancillary revenue generation numbers are back where they were last year,” he stated. Research from the Passenger Confidence Tracker supports Klein’s comments, with value added services – such as extra legroom and free baggage – becoming increasingly important to passengers in 2020.

Despite the deep challenges facing aviation as a result of the pandemic, FlightPlan speakers expressed positivity in how the industry has adapted at speed, and shared optimism for the recovery phase. Perry Cantarutti, SVP Alliances, Delta Air Lines, commented that “we’re learning to realize that we can’t let it [COVID-19] conquer our ability to live our lives and run our businesses, but we have to be able to do that in a safe way”. He noted that growing travel confidence in the US domestic market in particular is an “encouraging” sign.

According to Andrés Castañeda, CMO and CXO, AeroMexico, the pandemic has led the airline – and the wider industry – to identify ways to be more agile in the future. “We can change our processes and policies faster than we ever thought we could,” he said. “With COVID, we need to reimagine how we operate to bring trust back to customers. That has been a silver lining of the past eight months.”

Ben Smith, CEO of AirFrance KLM reiterated this, stating: “The crisis has forced us to be more agile. It’s forced us to really try and be a step ahead of our competitors”. He ended with a note of optimism for the industry: “People have family and friends around the world. People like holidays. People have businesses. That’s not disappearing. If borders are open, they will come back.”

While acknowledging that passenger habits will have changed, easyJet’s Carey shared the sentiment that the appetite for travel will not dissipate. Reflecting on the passenger of the future, he said: “Are they going to interact with us [airlines] differently? Absolutely. But the brands set up to win are going to have a really bright future.”

All interviews and content aired at FlightPlan are available to view on-demand via https://flightplan.wavecast.io/

The ‘Passenger Confidence Tracker’ report is available to download free-of-charge here.


Panasonic Avionics

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) announced the appointment of Hernan Abbes as Vice President, Global Sales.

In his new role, Hernan will play a pivotal leadership role in driving business growth and nurturing strong relationships with new and existing airline customers. He will report directly to CEO, Ken Sain, and have worldwide responsibility for developing and implementing strategic sales initiatives across Panasonic Avionics’ range of products, services and solutions.

Hernan will oversee efforts to strengthen customer relationships, listen to and understand customer needs, propose innovative solutions and share the voice of the customer feedback within Panasonic. As a member of Panasonic’s senior leadership team, he will also participate in strategy formulation and key decisions across the business.
Hernan assumes his role with a deep knowledge of Panasonic, its people and its customers, having joined the business in 2011 as an Account Manager for the Americas region. He progressed quickly upwards through a series of sales roles, and was appointed Regional Vice President for the Americas and Oceania in 2019.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Hernan is a valuable addition to Panasonic’s senior leadership team, and a skilled and proven executive who is passionate about customers, meeting their needs and exceeding expectations. Under his leadership, I have no doubt that our company will elevate our responsiveness and customers will benefit from his expertise and dedication.” Hernan Abbes, Vice President, Global Sales of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “I am truly excited about my new role, and look forward to leading Panasonic’s team of incredibly talented sales executives. Our industry is facing challenging times but with the skill of our people and the strength and innovation of our services and solutions, I am confident that Panasonic will continue to grow as the provider of choice for airlines across the globe.”

Hernan Abbes’ started his career at Boeing, and then at Raytheon, as an electrical engineer developing wiring diagrams and cable assemblies, before he took a role at Thales Avionics as an installation engineer. He later transitioned into a Senior Account Manager role for Thales’ Latin America region selling In-Flight Entertainment and avionics. He has also held roles as a consultant to Gogo and a strategic account manager at Carlisle Interconnect Technologies.

Also from Panasonic:

Panasonic announced Qatar Airways as the launch customer for its new EcoFW 10” inflight entertainment (IFE) upgrade program. The seatback IFE monitors on the airline’s fleet of 37 Boeing 777 aircraft will be updated with Panasonic’s new EcoFW 10” monitor upgrade – creating a next-generation HD passenger experience while extending the life of the fleet’s IFE system, and reducing operational costs.

Panasonic’s IFE upgrade program, which can be achieved on an aircraft during routine overnight maintenance, includes the installation of a new passenger entertainment server. This provides passengers with a wider range of content and helps to modernize the airline’s offering and keep up-to-date with the demands of changing consumer preferences. This also enables the airline to achieve faster media loading times – all without any increase in weight, and with dramatically improved reliability levels.

The first aircraft from Qatar Airways’ 777 fleet has completed its IFE upgrade this week. This commitment from Qatar Airways marks the latest milestone in a longstanding partnership with Panasonic, which first started in 2000. A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by Skytrax. Headquartered in Doha, the airline was launched in 1997 and is the national carrier of the State of Qatar. Qatar Airways Oryx One in-flight entertainment system offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options, from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games. and much more.


IATA

Here is an article from the folks at IATA with an evolution of the distribution impacts: “The potential size of the delivery is enormous. Just providing a single dose to 7.8 billion people would fill 8,000 747 cargo aircraft. Land transport will help, especially in developed economies with local manufacturing capacity. But vaccines cannot be delivered globally without the significant use air cargo.”

IATA – The Time to Prepare for COVID-19 Vaccine Transport is Now


Boeing

Boeing and Allen University announced today a new $1.5 million partnership to establish the Boeing Institute on Civility at Allen University. The Boeing Institute will be a national hub for teaching and provide programming aimed at advancing civil discourse in America and across the globe.
“The Institute on Civility will become a powerful catalyst for helping to promote thoughtful, civil discourse,” said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun. “Empowering students and the broader community to debate public issues with civility and respect is an important step on the journey to developing lasting societal solutions.”

“The reach of The Boeing Company is particularly compatible with the university’s aspiration to demonstrate that service to the greater good does not stop in one’s own community, but has the obligation to be expansive,” said Allen University President Ernest McNealey. “While the Institute is the centerpiece of the Waverly Project, all aspects of it will confidently pursue a better future and honor those who did so in the past.”

“I want to thank Dr. McNealey, Mr. Calhoun and Bishop Green for their support of this Institute on Civility. We are at an inflection point in this great country and we must learn to share our lives together,” said Congressman Jim Clyburn (S.C.-6). “This Institute means a whole lot to me, this institution, this state and this nation.”

Boeing funding will support the renovation of the historic Good Samaritan-Waverly Hospital, which will house the Institute once construction is complete. The Institute will include a memorial to honor the nine victims of the 2015 Mother Emanuel AME Church tragedy in Charleston, S.C., and be the home to the South Carolina African American Hall of Fame.

Today’s investment builds on Boeing’s commitment to advancing racial equity and compliments the company’s recent $10 million investment in similar causes. Over the last five years, Boeing has invested more than $17 million in organizations to expand access and address inequities for communities of color across South Carolina.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We expect the FAA to formally unground the Boeing 737 MAX this week, most likely middle to end of the week after voting by the house say some sources. We note that the plane won’t start flying right away: Airline storage is one issue, there will be new training effort, and, of course, updating each aircraft with new software in the flight control system. Good Luck Boeing!


Other News

Geneva | September 9, 2020–The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged governments to begin careful planning with industry stakeholders to ensure full preparedness when vaccines for COVID-19 are approved and available for distribution. The association also warned of potentially severe capacity constraints in transporting vaccines by air.

Preparedness

Air cargo plays a key role in the distribution of vaccines in normal times through well-established global time- and temperature-sensitive distribution systems. This capability will be crucial to the quick and efficient transport and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines when they are available, and it will not happen without careful planning, led by governments and supported by industry stakeholders.

“Safely delivering COVID-19 vaccines will be the mission of the century for the global air cargo industry. But it won’t happen without careful advance planning. And the time for that is now. We urge governments to take the lead in facilitating cooperation across the logistics chain so that the facilities, security arrangements and border processes are ready for the mammoth and complex task ahead,” said IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.

“Delivering billions of doses of vaccine to the entire world efficiently will involve hugely complex logistical and programmatic obstacles all the way along the supply chain. We look forward to working together with government, vaccine manufacturers and logistical partners to ensure an efficient global roll-out of a safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Facilities:  Vaccines must be handled and transported in line with international regulatory requirements, at controlled temperatures and without delay to ensure the quality of the product. While there are still many unknowns (number of doses, temperature sensitivities, manufacturing locations, etc.), it is clear that the scale of activity will be vast, that cold chain facilities will be required and that delivery to every corner of the planet will be needed. Priorities for preparing facilities for this distribution include:

  • Availability of temperature-controlled facilities and equipment – maximizing the use or re-purposing of existing infrastructure and minimizing temporary builds
  • Availability of staff trained to handle time- and temperature-sensitive vaccines
  • Robust monitoring capabilities to ensure the integrity of the vaccines is maintained

Security: Vaccines will be highly valuable commodities. Arrangements must be in place to keep ensure that shipments remain secure from tampering and theft. Processes are in place to keep cargo shipments secure, but the potential volume of vaccine shipments will need early planning to ensure that they are scalable.

Border Processes:  Working effectively with health and customs authorities will, therefore, be essential to ensure timely regulatory approvals, adequate security measures, appropriate handling and customs clearance. This could be a particular challenge given that, as part of COVID-19 prevention measures, many governments have put in place measures that increase processing times. Priorities for border processes include:

  • Introducing fast-track procedures for overflight and landing permits for operations carrying the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Exempting flight crew members from quarantine requirements to ensure cargo supply chains are maintained
  • Supporting temporary traffic rights for operations carrying the COVID-19 vaccines where restrictions may apply
  • Removing operating hour curfews for flights carrying the vaccine to facilitate the most flexible global network operations
  • Granting priority on arrival of those vital shipments to prevent possible temperature excursions due to delays
  • Considering tariff relief to facilitate the movement of the vaccine

Capacity

On top of the transport preparations and coordination needed, governments must also consider the current diminished cargo capacity of the global air transport industry. IATA warned that, with the severe downturn in passenger traffic, airlines have downsized networks and put many aircraft into remote long-term storage. The global route network has been reduced dramatically from the pre-COVID 24,000 city pairs. The WHO, UNICEF and Gavi have already reported severe difficulties in maintaining their planned vaccine programs during the COVID-19 crisis due, in part, to limited air connectivity.

“The whole world is eagerly awaiting a safe COVID vaccine. It is incumbent on all of us to make sure that all countries have safe, fast and equitable access to the initial doses when they are available. As the lead agency for the procurement and supply of the COVID vaccine on behalf of the COVAX Facility, UNICEF will be leading what could possibly be the world’s largest and fastest operation ever. The role of airlines and international transport companies will be critical to this endeavour,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.

The potential size of the delivery is enormous. Just providing a single dose to 7.8 billion people would fill 8,000 747 cargo aircraft. Land transport will help, especially in developed economies with local manufacturing capacity. But vaccines cannot be delivered globally without the significant use air cargo.

“Even if we assume that half the needed vaccines can be transported by land, the air cargo industry will still face its largest single transport challenge ever. In planning their vaccine programs, particularly in the developing world, governments must take very careful consideration of the limited air cargo capacity that is available at the moment. If borders remain closed, travel curtailed, fleets grounded and employees furloughed, the capacity to deliver life-saving vaccines will be very much compromised,” said de Juniac.

INMARSAT

The ‘Passenger Confidence Tracker’ is the world’s largest survey of airline passengers since the pandemic began. It reflects the views and attitudes of 9,500 respondents from 12 countries across the globe about the future of flying.

While the majority of passengers (60%) feel satisfied with the aviation industry’s response to the challenges of COVID-19, the survey reveals areas of opportunity for airlines to encourage passengers back to the skies.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “With safety and reputation becoming even more important to today’s flyers, there is a clear need for airlines to differentiate themselves in order to encourage passengers back onto their flights. Digitalization lies at the heart of both; minimizing critical touchpoints in the passenger journey to improve confidence, all the while keeping passengers connected and entertained.”

Only a third (34%) of passengers surveyed have taken a commercial flight since the pandemic began, and this appears to have sparked a shift in attitudes to flying. Four in ten passengers (41%) expect to travel less by any means and a third (31%) plan to fly less. This sentiment is even higher among Asian passengers, with 58 per cent in India and 55 per cent in South Korea planning to travel less in the future.

Despite this change, there are early signs that travelers are beginning to feel confident about flying again; almost half (47%) of passengers surveyed expect to feel ready to fly within the next six months.

The study reveals significant variance across the world when it comes to passenger confidence about flying in light of the pandemic1. Hungarian and British fliers are most confident, with 26 per cent and 16 per cent respectively saying they would get on a flight today. Asian passengers are less so; over a third (35%) of South Koreans expect not to fly again until COVID-19 disappears.

Passengers are currently more fearful of catching the virus abroad than on the plane3. In fact, many think they are at a greater health risk in other environments, such as the gym and public transport4. Recent IATA research supports this, suggesting people are more likely to be struck by lightning than catch COVID-19 on a plane.5

While passengers largely feel confident at passport control, security and communicating with cabin crew, they are less comfortable visiting the toilet inflight, and being in close proximity with others. The study indicates that solutions that minimize touchpoints and reduce interactions would go furthest in addressing pain points – such as contact-less payments inflight (83%) and staggered security queues (84%).

When it comes to ensuring personal safety, passengers have disregarded the automatic 14-day quarantine6. Instead, the results show a desire for a consistent set of measures to make the journey safer – such as mandatory face coverings, or a 48-hour test before travel.7

Almost half of passengers (44%) say that reputation is now a more significant factor when choosing an airline than it was pre-pandemic. It has therefore never been more vital for airlines to differentiate and gain a competitive edge.

The research highlights that improving inflight experience is one way to achieve this. From extra legroom (43%) to free baggage (39%), value added services are becoming increasingly important to passengers returning to the skies.

Digital solutions are fast-becoming essential to an enjoyable inflight experience, with almost four in ten (39%) agreeing that onboard Wi-Fi matters more today than ever before. This is most significant for Indian and Brazilian passengers.8 Destination status alerts, real time luggage tracking and pre-clearing immigration on the plane – all enabled by cabin connectivity – are among the top new aspects of the journey passengers want to keep post-pandemic.9

Inmarsat is transforming the global aviation industry by bringing complete connectivity to every aircraft and flight path in the world. Passengers can browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an onboard connectivity experience on par with broadband services available on the ground. In addition, Inmarsat’s flight deck solutions combine cutting-edge satellite technology with secure IP broadband connectivity for enhanced operational efficiency and safety.


CARLISLE IT

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) announced that customers in the United Kingdom and Europe can now purchase RF microwave cable assemblies online directly from its Blackburn UK facility. The website’s Cable Configurator feature allows customers to shop for and create their own RF assembly custom built for their specific application needs.

Customers now have instant access to pricing information and can buy products online with direct shipping to their location. This new eCommerce offering simplifies the purchasing process and helps speed-up turnaround times.

Since 1999, CIT’s Blackburn facility has delivered quality and cutting-edge technology in the field of standard and custom RF cable assemblies, RF test and measurement devices, RF coaxial connectors, harnesses, and custom copper assemblies. These products are designed to meet the unique challenges of customers in the Military & Defense, Aerospace, Test & Measurement, Medical, and Industrial markets.

“Our Blackburn location has built a strong reputation for both high-performance solutions and the support we provide our customers,” said Peter Lewis, Director of Operations and Finance–Blackburn. “We are continuing to evolve our new web store to better serve our customers and provide easier access to the supplies they need to create the next breakthrough that drives their business forward.”

Visit CIT’s European webstore to shop for and purchase RF cables from CIT’s Blackburn facility.


BOEING

The Boeing Company named Jinnah Hosein (today’s IFExpress image) as the company’s vice president of Software Engineering, effective immediately. In this newly created role, Hosein will report to Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief engineer and senior vice president of Engineering, Test & Technology, and will focus on further strengthening Boeing’s focus on software engineering across the enterprise. “The continued advances in software makes excellence in software engineering an imperative for our business,” said Hyslop. “Jinnah will be charged with defining and leading Boeing’s strategy for software engineering, which includes providing capabilities, technologies, processes and secure and accurate systems to meet the needs of all our customers across the entire product life cycle.” Hosein will lead a new, centralized organization of engineers who currently support the development and delivery of software embedded in Boeing’s products and services. The team will also integrate other functional teams to ensure engineering excellence throughout the product life cycle. “Safety, quality and integrity underpin the mission of our software engineering team, and building on this solid foundation, Jinnah will be a transformational leader for Boeing,” said Dave Calhoun, Boeing president and CEO. “Jinnah’s broad experience and fresh perspective will elevate our performance and accelerate the important work we’ve already begun in this area.”

Hosein brings extensive experience as a software engineering leader across several innovative, high-tech companies. He joins Boeing after serving as vice president of Software Engineering for Aurora, a self-driving vehicle company, in Palo Alto, California. He led the company’s software organization for the development of those vehicles and developed Aurora’s high-integrity software life cycle to deploy autonomous architecture to on-road vehicles.

Previously, Hosein held leadership roles at SpaceX, where he led software development for Falcon, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Crew Dragon and other flight vehicles, and at Tesla, where he helped develop autopilot software. In addition, he served as Google’s director of software engineering for cloud networking and was one of the original members of Google’s Site Reliability Engineering team.


GOGO

Gogo, a global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced its financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

  • BA results improved sequentially, reflecting continuing industry recovery from impact of COVID-19.
  • Total revenue of $66.5 million; Net loss of $8.9 million; Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $30.2 million.
  • ATG aircraft online reached 5,577 with average monthly service revenue of $2,996, down 2% and 6%, respectively, from their pre-COVID-19 quarterly peaks.
  • Cash and cash equivalents were $117.5 million as of September 30, 2020 compared to total cash of $156.3 million as of June 30, 2020.
  • On November 6, 2020, Gogo entered into an agreement to issue $50 million of its 9.875% Senior Secured Notes due 2024 to provide buffer liquidity.
  • The sale of Commercial Aviation to Intelsat (the “Transaction”) remains on track to close before the end of the first quarter 2021. Gogo has cleared the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust process and received all foreign antitrust approvals, with FCC and CFIUS clearance and one foreign telecommunications approval still required.
  • Gogo has more than $800 million in federal tax NOLs and interest expense carryforwards which will reduce income tax expense in the future.

GALGUS

Galgus raises 2.5 million euros to finance its growth and boost its international expansion. The startup Galgus has developed a technological solution that optimizes the operation of Wi-Fi networks by providing intelligence to their access points, increasing performance by 400%, and improving user experience. Galgus’ patented solution is used daily by more than one million people worldwide when they connect their smart devices to the Internet while traveling by road, air, rail, or sea transportation, or while staying in a hotel or attending a congress, among others.


OTHER NEWS

INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a leader in global, mobile satellite communications, unveiled details of a next-generation terminal for its award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband solution, which has been developed in collaboration with GDC Technics, an industry leader in engineering & technical services, modifications and electronic systems.

The innovative light weight, low drag terminal is available to airlines across the world today and has been designed to ensure that the connectivity needs of data-hungry passengers are met for generations to come, allowing them to stream high definition videos, enjoy online video games, download documents and more using their personal devices.

Following a range of technology assessments and test flights over the past 12 months, the powerful new terminal has demonstrated its ability to consistently deliver the highest levels of connectivity on board aircraft, even over the world’s busiest airspaces. In addition, upcoming enhancements to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network will further bolster the terminal’s performance in the near future.

The next-generation terminal includes a robust flat panel antenna developed by Thinkom, which has millions of flight hours behind it. In addition, it has been integrated with smart dual aero modem technology that supports Inmarsat’s ground-breaking new GX+ North America service, announced with Hughes Network Systems last week.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “GX Aviation is well established as the gold standard in inflight broadband and we have a fully-funded technology roadmap to ensure it remains the unrivaled choice for aviation connectivity. This includes the addition of seven more satellites into our global GX network over the next four years, as well as cutting-edge hardware innovation such as this new terminal.”

“As a result, our existing and future customers are perfectly positioned to meet increasing passenger expectations for consistent, reliable, high-speed connectivity wherever they fly. There is already interest and excitement for this solution – especially around the terminal’s enhanced performance and its simple integration with both legacy systems and existing partners. GDC, as an experienced and credible aerospace company, has proved an exceptional partner on this project.”

Brad Foreman, Chief Executive Officer of GDC Technics, said: “The global inflight connectivity market is fast evolving and we have enjoyed working with Inmarsat to develop this next-generation terminal for GX Aviation, which is not only lightweight and low drag, but also boasts one of the lowest engineering failure rates in the market. We are hugely excited about the partnership and look forward to working with Inmarsat and its partners to bring this new terminal to airlines across the world.”

The new GDC Technics terminal has been certified and is now flying on Boeing 737-700 aircraft. Additional retrofit and linefit certifications are currently in progress and expected to be available by the end of this year, including retrofit options for the Airbus A320/330 family, and the Boeing B787 and B777 aircraft. Customers can either select a ‘low profile’ configuration for the terminal, which drives exceptional operational efficiency, or an option with standard tri-band radomes for the retrofit market. Both options, coupled with a very high reliability antenna, ensures a reduced cost of ownership.


THALES

Thales launches its Identity Verification Suite, a secure biometric solution for customer onboarding:

  • Thales’s Gemalto Identity Verification Suite (IDV) minimizes ID fraud risks by verifying document authenticity so that service providers can digitally check identities of new customers.
  • IDV is designed to onboard more users in a secure remote environment, offering a smooth user experience.
  • The 100% automated solution leveraging Thales Artificial Intelligence, guarantees user privacy, high-level security and deployment flexibility.

Thales, a leader in digital security, has launched its Identity Verification Suite, in response to the rising need of remote client onboarding. With privacy and user experience as its heart, the IDV Suite enables a secure and 100%-AI identity verification service. It integrates the latest facial recognition technology, document security features recognition and machine learning engines. The solution addresses the Covid-19 environment with touchless interactions, allowing service providers to reach end users via their mobile handsets or the web.

Secure identity verification has become a crucial part of online security and digital onboarding, and constitutes a significant opportunity for businesses. In cases such as digital enrollment or KYC (Know Your Customer) regulations, ID verification is critical in order to efficiently detect fraud and therefore build user trust in the digital world.

The IDV Suite designed by Thales allows a secure and smooth user journey for markets from the travel industry (airlines and airport security, car rental companies, public and private transportation), telecom operators, banks, citizen services (International Driving Permit), and all types of online service providers looking to meet their KYC needs. To ease the deployment of the solution, Thales provides flexible onboarding options including a highly secure connection to Thales IDV server in SaaS (Solution as a service) mode.

The modular solution offers flexibility to deploy a single solution across all channels, whether through mobile applications, websites, or a network of dedicated document scanners, thus aligning with the security expectations of each industry. From checking the validity of the Machine-Readable Zone (MRZ) of an ID document to more advanced control under white light, infra-red and UV checks, the suite can also securely perform contactless NFC verification using the chip of e-documents.

Advanced facial biometric technology is also a key feature in the IDV Suite, integrating passive liveness detection to facilitate end-user experience. The customer is asked to take a selfie, and then the solution transparently analyzes the liveness of the selfie and securely matches it against the portrait on the ID document, allowing for quick and efficient identity biometric verification.


BOEING

In observance of National Native American Heritage Month in November, Boeing committed $1.3 million to support Indigenous communities across the United States.

The investment package includes $300,000 in grants for Southwest Tribal Nations to improve access to clean water, bridge the digital divide in education and provide better natural disaster response and preparation. The package also includes $140,000 in grants in the Pacific Northwest and a $60,000 grant in Oklahoma supporting STEM education programs for students. An additional $840,000 will fund future projects for Native American and Indigenous communities to be detailed at a later date.

“We recognize the toll on Native American and Indigenous communities from centuries of injustice, and we take seriously our role in supporting education and development in these communities,” said Marc Allen, Boeing’s chief strategy officer, senior vice president of Strategy and Corporate Development and enterprise executive sponsor of the Boeing Native American Network. “Today’s exciting announcement continues our longstanding efforts to lift up equity and opportunity in the communities where our employees live and work.”

The new investments build on the company’s previously announced multi-year commitment to combat racism and advance racial equity and social justice at all levels.

In the past two years, Boeing and its employees have invested close to $660,000 in organizations supporting Native American and other Indigenous communities – bringing the company’s global support for these populations to $2 million. In addition, the company’s employee-led Boeing Native American Network Business Resource Group promotes awareness for the richness and diversity of Native American and Indigenous cultures, encourages STEM careers for Native American youth and provides training opportunities for Native Americans and others to develop their professional and personal skills.

Nonprofits receiving immediate grant funding include:

  • Partnership with Native Americans: A $125,000 investment will support tribal self-sufficiency by providing training and equipment to Native American tribes that will help increase effectiveness in preparing for and responding to natural disasters.
  • DigDeep: A $100,000 investment will fund the “Navajo Water Project,” which provides residents on the Navajo Nation access to water, job training and equipment. This Indigenous-led, locally staffed program develops wells to pump, treat and store clean water, which is delivered by trucks to off-grid home water systems.
  • Puget Sound Educational Service District: A $75,000 investment will provide funding for the Red Road Project, a culturally infused STEM curriculum led by Native American educators that will reach 400 K-12 Native American students in four Pierce County, Washington, school districts. The Puyallup and Muckleshoot Tribes also support this program.
  • Oklahoma State University Foundation: A $60,000 investment will fund a paid summer internship program for high school juniors and seniors. The program will offer Native American students the opportunity to work alongside faculty and undergraduate engineering students at the university’s Unmanned Systems Research Institute.
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society: A $50,000 investment will support the Together Towards Tomorrow (T3) Fund, which provides one-time scholarships of $500 to 1,000 Indigenous students enrolled in an accredited U.S. college or university who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Mentor Washington: A $45,000 investment will support the Native American Career Connect STEM program, a partnership with the Nisqually Tribe that increases Native American students’ engagement and success in school through group mentorship and career exploration.
  • Fort Apache Heritage Foundation: A $25,000 investment will provide immediate technology access to White Mountain Apache tribal students in Arizona currently learning from home without computers or internet access.
  • Washington MESA: In partnership with the Red Road project, this $20,000 investment will fund the Washington MESA (Math, Engineering, Science Achievement) program, which delivers hands-on STEM exploration opportunities to 160 Native American middle school students in Pierce County, Washington.

Boeing plans to make additional announcements related to its racial equity and social justice investment strategy in the future.

Also From Boeing:

In the 3Q20 Boeing posted $466m net loss on $14.1b revenues vs $1.2b profit on $20b in 3Q19. By the end of 2021 the company also expects a workforce of approximately 130,000 employees (vs >161,000 on Jan 1, 2020); The commercial airplane division lost $1.4b (vs $40m in 2019) with 56% lower revenues.

And Lastly: A reader sent these articles to IFExpress and we found them rather interesting: Airbus stopped consuming cash in 3Q2020 – Leeham News and Analysis and Boeing Brings Bond Sale on Heels of Downgrade to Junk’s Edge.


OTHER NEWS

Thales, Nokia and SkyFive

Following successful rollout across Europe, Thales in the UK, Nokia and SkyFive are launching a new 4G LTE Air to Ground (A2G) solution to a global market. Delivering a fibre like connectivity experience, A2G significantly improves the inflight access to web, streaming and on-line games to passengers. In addition to improved passenger experiences, aircraft operators will benefit from significantly shortened installation times, minimizing the time aircraft are out of operation.

Improved connectivity, enhanced experience

Offering seamless connectivity with speeds up to 100Mbps and latency of less than 50ms, this 4G LTE solution connects aircraft to high-speed Wi-Fi from the ground up. Utilizing existing 4G technology, A2G connects aircrafts with the nearest purpose-built on-ground towers, seamlessly handing over between masts mid-flight to create consistently fast 4G connectivity throughout journeys. The high speeds and reduced latency are achieved through the impressive 4G LTE performance, combined with the short distances between the aircraft and towers, which are densely grouped to prevent aircrafts sharing bandwidth. The network’s design also means A2G has greater capacity per km2 than current satellites.

Aboard A2G enabled aircraft, the experience for passengers will be comparable to using a 4G mobile phone service on the ground. The easy-to-access connection will make it possible for passengers to make uninterrupted video-conferencing calls, watch live TV or stream the latest series in HD from their own handset.

Easy installation, savings for airlines

As the aviation sector emerges from its biggest challenge yet, A2G presents an opportunity for carriers to make significant savings, improve customer experiences and increase ancillary revenues. Compared with SATCOM systems, the compact nature of the 4G antenna reduces CO2 emissions and cuts installation times down to just 12 hours, meaning aircraft spend less time out of operation while technology is installed.

Once installed, new 4G enabled in-flight capabilities will create an aircraft environment for an Internet of Things in which operational efficiencies such as engine offload data can be viewed in real time, customer experience can be measured and targeted advertising can be introduced. Better connectivity can also support the facilitation of new COVID-19 safety protocols as they are implemented.

Collaborating to create a safe, global network

The technology is being rolled out in regions around the world where domestic and international carriers will be able to use the 4G masts on land. It has been developed through a collaborative partnership with Thales providing the onboard terminal (modem+RF) and antenna; Nokia responsible for on-ground infrastructure and SkyFive’s patented software algorithms ensuring that aircraft can reliably connect at high speeds, high altitudes and across long ranges. With 30 years of experience in connecting airlines and proven European Aviation Network success, Thales has leveraged its expertise to ensure the benefits of the faster speeds do not come at the expense of a secure platform.

Andy Humphries, Managing Director, Flight Avionics at Thales in the UK, commented: “For airlines, passenger connectivity and operational efficiency have been strategic imperatives in the past and are even more pronounced in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. At Thales, we have used our expertise to deliver proven fast and reliable aircraft hardware and software solutions underpinned by a robust worldwide support network. Combined with SkyFive’s specialism in A2G services and Nokia’s mobile network infrastructure, the project will bring industry disrupting performance for passengers and airlines alike, with reliable Wi-Fi and low transmission latency delivered with low upfront investment and operational costs. We believe A2G will help to expedite the recovery of the sector by transforming the air travel experience while reducing costs as people start flying again.”


Air Travel Consumer Report: July 2020 Numbers

The U.S. Department of Transportation on October 23, 2020 released its September 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on reporting marketing and operating air carrier data compiled for the month of July 2020.  The full consumer report and other aviation consumer matters of interest to the public can be found at http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer.

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency has resulted in significant changes to airline schedules and operations, contributing to airlines’ on-time performance and cancellation statistics in July 2020.

The 10 marketing network carriers reported 370,859 scheduled domestic flights in July 2020 compared to 237,264 flights in June 2020 and 717,684 flights in July 2019. Of those 370,859 scheduled flights, 0.8%, 2,926 flights, were canceled. As a result of schedule reductions and cancellations, the carriers reported operating 367,933 flights in July 2020, compared to 236,234 flights in June 2020, the all-time monthly low of 180,151 flights in May 2020 and 194,390 flights in April 2020.

A flight is listed as canceled if it was listed in a carrier’s computer reservation system during the seven calendar days prior to scheduled departure but was not operated.  Canceled flights are included in calculations of on-time arrival performance.

July On-Time Performance

In July 2020, reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 90.5%, down from the 92.7% on-time rate in June 2020 but up from the 76.9% rate in July 2019.  See July Data Spotlight for scheduled, canceled, and operated flights by marketing network by month.
Highest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates July 2020 (ATCR Table 1)

1.    Southwest Airlines – 94.5%
2.    Alaska Airlines Network – 92.5%
3.    Hawaiian Airlines Network – 91.7%

Lowest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates July 2020 (ATCR Table 1)

1.    JetBlue Airways – 85.4%
2.    Allegiant Air – 85.5%
3.    Frontier Airlines – 87.0%

July Cancellations

In July 2020, reporting marketing carriers canceled 0.8% of their scheduled domestic flights, a higher rate than 0.4% in June 2020 but a lower rate than 2.1% in July 2019.

Lowest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights July 2020 (ATCR Table 6)

1.    Spirit Airlines – 0.1%
2.    American Airlines Network – 0.6%
3.    Southwest Airlines – 0.7%

Highest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights July 2020 (ATCR Table 6)

1.    Hawaiian Airlines Network – 4.1%
2.    Frontier Airlines – 3.2%
3.    JetBlue Airways – 2.8%

Tarmac Delays

In July 2020, airlines reported 39 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, compared to no tarmac delays reported in June 2020 and 58 tarmac delays reported in July 2019.  In July 2020, airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to no tarmac delays reported in June 2020 and three tarmac delays in July 2019.  Extended tarmac delays are investigated by the Department.

July Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours (ATCR Table 8)

  1. American Airlines flight 4912 (operated by Piedmont Airlines) from Mobile, Ala. (MOB) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 7/21/20 – delayed 4 hours and 51 minutes on the tarmac at Charlotte
  2. American Airlines flight 3862 (operated by Envoy Air) from Charlottesville, Va. (CHO) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 7/21/20 – delayed 4 hours and 40 minutes on the tarmac at Charlotte
  3. American Airlines flight 5075 (operated by PSA Airlines) from Syracuse, N.Y. (SYR) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 7/21/20 – delayed 4 hours and 36 minutes on the tarmac at Charlotte

July International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours (ATCR Table 8A)

There were no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights in July.


This Is A Big Deal and a Great Article!

“Specifically, FAA has not assessed its oversight program to determine the priority of avionics cybersecurity risks, developed an avionics cybersecurity training program, issued guidance for independent cybersecurity testing, or included periodic testing as part of its monitoring process,” GAO said in the report.

Another key finding in the report is more guidance on independent testing to be integrated into the way the agency certifies new airplanes. GAO’s six recommendations include the following:
Here are the recommendations:

  • Identify the “relative priority of avionics cybersecurity risks compared to other safety concerns and develop a plan to address those risks.”
  • Implement new training for agency inspectors “specific to avionics cybersecurity.”
  • Include independent testing in new guidance for avionics cybersecurity testing of new airplane designs
  • Develop procedures for “safely conducting independent testing” of avionics cybersecurity controls in the deployed fleet
  • Coordinate a tracking mechanism for ensuring avionics cybersecurity issues are resolved among “internal stakeholders.”
  • Review oversight resources the agency has currently committed to avionics cybersecurity.

This is a good article: GAO Report Says Airlines Need New Cybersecurity Testing Policy for Avionics Systems – Aviation Today


Boeing

Check out this link for a very good ‘big picture’ of Boeing, especially the top executive and it also includes the recent additions.


Other News

INMARSAT AND HUGHES BRING UNRIVALED INFLIGHT CONNECTIVITY TO NORTH AMERICAN AIRLINES AND PASSENGERS

GX+ North America will seamlessly combine the Hughes JUPITER satellite fleet, which has the largest Ka-band satellite capacity over the US, with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress, the widest, most resilient global network, to offer faster, more reliable inflight Wi-Fi.

Inmarsat, a world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, and Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), the global leader in broadband satellite networks and services, unveiled a major strategic collaboration that marks an important new step change for North American commercial airlines and their passengers.

The companies have joined forces to launch a transformational aviation connectivity solution, which has been specifically designed for North American commercial airlines and is available today. GX+ North America seamlessly integrates the unrivaled capacity of the Hughes JUPITER™ High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) constellation across North America with the extensive worldwide coverage and resilience of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) HTS satellite network, bringing a unique combination of unprecedented capacity, speed and reliability to the region, unavailable from any other satellite provider.

The ground-breaking new solution underscores the strategic vision of Inmarsat and Hughes as they look past the pandemic and into the future needs of commercial airline fleets in North America, whose passengers will require ubiquitous connectivity as they return to the skies.

The ultra-high capacity of GX+ North America will, for the first time, make it possible for North American airlines to meet increasing passenger demand, including the surge in traffic expected from free-of-charge inflight Wi-Fi. Today, satellite networks are trying to serve thousands of commercial aircraft in the world’s busiest airspace, and as they reach capacity, airlines will struggle to meet the demands of data-hungry passengers who want reliable, affordable, high-speed Wi-Fi while on board.

For too long, North American airline passengers have had to settle for constrained bandwidth activities such as email and limited messaging while on board flights. GX+ North America will give passengers the freedom to stream videos and audio, shop online, check and update social media, and catch up on work, all while in the air.

The superior capabilities of GX+ North America mean that North American airlines no longer need to compromise on speed, reliability, availability or coverage for inflight broadband, even when flying at full capacity over the busiest airport hubs. This also offers full flexibility for route planning, even on short notice, as the solution can cover any route worldwide through the GX global network — whether to Hawaii, Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean, across the Gulf of Mexico, to Central and South America, across the Atlantic or even to the most extreme northern latitudes.

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “GX has firmly established itself as the reference inflight connectivity solution for today’s demanding passengers and is used by airlines worldwide. We are very confident that this game-changing collaboration with Hughes, combining their market-leading depth of capacity with Inmarsat’s award-winning passenger connectivity solution, delivers for the first time, inflight broadband that is consistently superior regardless of the number of passengers using the service or where they are traveling. It is truly a ‘no compromise’ solution for airlines that no other service provider can offer. We’ve also ensured the transition path for airlines upgrading from other connectivity providers is simple, quick and cost efficient.”

“This strategic collaboration is further evidence of Inmarsat’s strength, resilience and innovation despite these unprecedented times in our industry. As a number of connectivity providers in North America face financial challenges and airlines are forced to reconsider their choice of supplier, Inmarsat’s offer continues to go from strength to strength.”

Paul Gaske, Executive Vice President and General Manager, North America division at Hughes, said: “We are proud to partner with Inmarsat to launch GX+ North America. This unique strategic collaboration leverages the full power of the JUPITER System, including the depth of capacity of our Ka-band High-Throughput Satellite fleet, as well as our JUPITER gateways and modems. Combining the Hughes JUPITER System and Inmarsat’s leading inflight connectivity solution, GX+ North America marks a new era for inflight connectivity.”

The new solution will be provided and managed end-to-end by Inmarsat. Prototype flights are expected to start later this year with commercial availability scheduled for 2021.

GX+ North America utilizes a robust Ka-band flat panel antenna from Thinkom, with millions of flight hours behind it, together with smart dual aero modem technology powered by Inmarsat’s aviation solutions that intelligently chooses the optimal satellite path with no service interruption or delay for passengers.

Looking forward, as commercial aviation returns to growth and aircraft return to the skies, Inmarsat and Hughes will continue to anticipate and respond to the North American market’s evolving needs. Expanding the service over the next four years alone, the Hughes and Inmarsat combined constellation of seven GX and JUPITER satellites will more than double to a total of 15 spacecraft. These additional satellites include the Hughes ultra-high capacity JUPITER 3 satellite and Inmarsat’s seven advanced, fully-funded next generation GX satellite payloads (6A, 6B, 7, 8, 9, 10A & 10B), which will enhance capacity and coverage throughout the world, including the Arctic.

Be sure to check out this infographic.



FLIGHTPATH3D

FlightPath3D Now Comes With More Places Than You Can Imagine

FlightPath3D announces that Flying Over Places is now included as a new view in all 3D map products. A retrofit is available for all existing 3D map installs.

FlightPath3D President Duncan Jackson said, “Flying Over Places significantly expands our map feature set with the integration of over 50,000 points of interest (POIs) that auto-play as the flight progresses, providing historical information about landmarks, attractions, and places as they’re flown over en route.”

Jackson adds, “We want every airline to be able to inform their customer what they can see out the window, with each point displaying its distance and direction.”

“This, and our many other map features, help provide an innovative and consistent passenger experience across multiple aircraft types and IFE systems. So you can continue to elevate your brand and differentiate your inflight service”, says FlightPath3D CEO Boris Veksler.

Veksler continues, “We design and deploy apps that are available as an Android, iOS or Linux app, can be streamed as a web service or API, and as widgets that can be embedded in other applications.”

To conclude, Veksler says, “We have the largest team of map specialists and geospatial engineers in the industry, building software selected by all the leading IFE vendors, and we’ll continue to lead, innovate and elevate the passenger experience.”

NOTE: Video of Flying Over Places for embed/viewing here.


SMARTSKY

SmartSky Networks announced that mobile broadband communications technology executive David Helfgott has been named CEO, reflecting the company’s upcoming transition from the development and deployment stage to an operational aviation broadband communications services and products company.

“On behalf of both the SmartSky board and management, I am delighted to welcome David to our team, reflecting our longstanding company plan. His extensive technology and mobile communications experience will help us ensure that all of our operations reflect the high level of quality set by our transformational connectivity technology,” said Haynes Griffin, outgoing CEO who will remain as Executive Chairman.

“I am honored to be selected to lead SmartSky at this exciting inflection point,” said SmartSky CEO Helfgott. “When you look at SmartSky’s unique positioning and expansive patent portfolio, it highlights the company’s incredible potential and culture of sustained innovation. Since COVID-19 first began to impact the inflight communications industry, SmartSky has proven its resilience in many ways, having added more than 40 patents since January 2020, successfully defended its IP from a challenge brought by an industry incumbent, closed on funding of more than $50 million in additional equity and debt, and overhauled its radio technology supply chain on the way to completing the deployment and launch of its network next year.”

Helfgott most recently was President & CEO of phased-array antenna developer Phasor, which was recently acquired by Hanwha Systems. Prior to this, he held several senior executive roles including President & CEO of Inmarsat Government; President of Tactical Wireless Communications for Cobham; President & CEO of Datapath and President & CEO of SES Government.

Haynes Griffin, who has been SmartSky’s Chairman and CEO since 2013, also was the founding CEO of Vanguard Cellular and a past Chairman of CTIA, a major wireless industry trade association.

SmartSky is reinventing connectivity, building a next-generation inflight WiFi network from the ground up. The company also is developing pioneering aviation data products to improve safety and efficiency while providing the industry with novel ancillary revenue sources. SmartSky’s unique single-beam-per-aircraft inflight WiFi approach is backed by 190 patents and over 1,000 hours of flight testing.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat announced that it will provide engineering support, communications services and equipment to Cranfield University’s Digital Aviation Research and Technology Center (DARTeC) consortium, supported by Honeywell Aerospace.

Set to open at Cranfield University during the first quarter of 2021, DARTeC will spearhead UK research into digital aviation technology. The center will address the most pressing research challenges facing the aviation industry, including the integration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles into civilian airspace, increasing the efficiency and reliability of airports and aircraft through technology, and creating a safe and secure shared airspace.

Inmarsat and Honeywell Aerospace will support the Center’s research by providing Aspire 400 satellite communications terminals, airtime and engineering expertise in the Saab 340B flying test-bed and test lab for evaluation and development of future applications and solutions. The Saab 340B will effectively serve as a ‘flying laboratory’ to evaluate multiple advanced radar systems and airborne digital communications.

John Broughton, Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations and Safety, Inmarsat Aviation said: “Advances in digital aviation are driving innovation opportunities in all aspects of the airline industry. Today’s commitment with Honeywell Aerospace to support DARTeC highlights the importance of creating a collaborative research environment in the aviation industry. We are looking forward to working closely with other members of the DARTeC community to reap the rewards of a digital aviation industry for many years to come.”

Mark Goodman, Director of Product Management, Honeywell Aerospace said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Inmarsat to support the DARTeC consortium and bring the benefits of the digital revolution to the aviation industry. There is no time to waste in responding to the opportunities of digital transformation and ensuring that the industry is ready to serve the needs of our airlines today and tomorrow.”

Through the DARTeC consortium, members are able to create, develop and test next generation air traffic control (ATC) applications for manned and unmanned aviation that will utilize digital voice and data. Members will also have access to Inmarsat’s Iris program fully serviced aircraft for testing, evaluation and demonstrations as well as conducting live Iris test flights with specific air navigation service providers (ANSPs).


BOEING

The European Union has been authorized by the WTO to impose $3.99b in annual tariffs on US imported goods. This includes Boeing aircraft and has done so as a result of illegal subsidies to the company.


STELLAR

Stellar boarding music boosts Virgin Australia Brand. Passengers traveling on Virgin Australia and VARA (Virgin Australia Regional Airlines) will now hear customized boarding music as of September 2020, a first for the airline group. The original piece was written in-house at Stellar Entertainment and replaces the commercially available music playlists previously played onboard the airline for years.

Stellar Entertainment’s Creative Director, Brad Power, describes the composition:

“Our latest piece draws on deep house and Balearic beats to create a fresh, vibrant and modern sound that is upbeat without being too exuberant. Perfect for a contemporary airline looking to do something a little different.”

Bespoke boarding music offers airlines an opportunity to create their own unique brand identity and sound, one that passengers can always relate to their experience onboard that airline. This area of expertise is just one of many offerings from Stellar’s fully equipped, multi-studio facilities specializing in various audio solutions and services, such as original music composition and sound design.

Director of Licensing at Stellar, Sam Allen remarks, “A bespoke piece doesn’t stop at boarding music. It can be implemented across the airline via other platforms and applications such as advertising campaigns and promotional buzz reels, to optimize usage as part of an over-arching sonic strategy.”

Besides rolling out this new signature music across the fleet for boarding and disembarking, Virgin Australia and VARA have also implemented it as on-hold music for their phone lines. Working directly with Stellar Entertainment has given the airline group the ability to license the music as needed, allowing for greater flexibility in how and where they use the new sound. This also includes a financial benefit, with a direct license with Stellar saving the airline group royalty fees paid to local collection agencies.

This is the second composition from Stellar Entertainment to be used by an airline, following the bespoke piece used by Malaysia Airlines earlier this year.

To hear the new boarding music for Virgin Australia and VARA, click here.

To listen to a broader range of audio samples from our in-house composition team, click here.


OTHER NEWS

SmartSky Beats Gogo’s Patent Challenge

SmartSky Networks announces that it has summarily defeated industry incumbent Gogo’s challenge brought before the US Patent & Trademark Office (‘USPTO’) nearly six months ago, proving SmartSky’s longstanding position that its ‘947 patent, which covers some of the most essential features of a 5G air-to-ground (‘ATG’) network, like beamforming and seamless cell tower handoffs, was and shall remain valid.

“Gogo has been proven unequivocally wrong in its challenge. We continue to believe they will have great difficulty commercializing their future 5G network without infringing on SmartSky’s expansive intellectual property portfolio,” said SmartSky Chairman and CEO Haynes Griffin. “Gogo has said many times in the past that our IP didn’t matter and wasn’t valid.  The fact that Gogo bothered to challenge this patent clearly indicates that our IP does in fact matter.  Moreover, the fact that the USPTO ruled in SmartSky’s favor based only on a subset of SmartSky’s opening arguments reinforces the strength of this patent since it was likely targeted due to a combination of its relevance and Gogo’s perception of their own likelihood of success. Furthermore, this ruling reaffirms the strength of SmartSky’s entire portfolio.  Now everyone can know that Gogo’s assertions have been thoroughly debunked.”

In dismissing Gogo’s challenge, the USPTO ruled that Gogo “has not demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of prevailing in demonstrating that at least one challenged claim” among the 20 claims of the patent, is unpatentable.

“This win comes in a forum that statistically favored Gogo, and was made in connection with an asset Gogo likely handpicked for attack with the best shot that they could take.  The failure of their effort this early in the process is both a repudiation of the baseless claims Gogo has made regarding our patent portfolio in the past, and an important validation of our claims to the contrary.  That said, we understand that the importance of our portfolio may dictate further challenges, and we remain poised to defend both the portfolio and the intellectual property it protects,” said SmartSky President Ryan Stone.

In April 2020, Gogo challenged one (No. 9,312,947) of SmartSky’s now more than 180 patents supporting its in-deployment, next generation ATG network with 5G technologies.  SmartSky had three months to respond, which it did, and the USPTO then had three months to determine whether Gogo’s challenge was worth further review. It was not.

With this decisive win behind it, SmartSky is focused on finishing its network deployment and launching commercially in 2021.  “The market leader tried to undercut SmartSky, but justice has been served and the little guy has won this battle,” Stone said. “We are an innovation driven company and have developed key enabling technologies to transform connectivity in aviation.  The USPTO ruling rightfully affirms the intellectual property protection SmartSky has earned on just one of the many patents we’ve developed critical to advancing inflight connectivity.”


Gogo

Gogo Business Aviation commented on the decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) not to review U.S. Patent No. 9,312,947 (“the ‘947 patent”) granted to SmartSky Networks, LLC. As previously, disclosed Gogo requested that the PTO examine the validity of the 947 patent. “We disagree with the PTO’s decision not to review the 947 patent,” said Sergio Aguirre, president of Gogo Business Aviation. “To be clear, Gogo reiterates our strong belief that we are not infringing any valid patent held by SmartSky. Furthermore, neither the PTO’s decision nor SmartSky’s patent portfolio in any way impairs our ability to continue to successfully expand, to launch Gogo 5G or to enhance our position in the business aviation market. Today, our systems are flying on more than 5,550 business jets, including more than 1,000 AVANCE L5 systems and nearly 450 L3 systems providing connectivity to business aircraft of all types and sizes.” Aguirre continued, “We are committed to continuing to set the standard for inflight connectivity in business aviation as we progress toward the launch of Gogo 5G and further enhance the scale and profitability of our Business Aviation segment.”


Astronics

Astronics Corporation announced the rollout of the new AP-MARS, or AutoPoint Multi-Axis Robotic System, an automated circuit card troubleshooting and test development system. The system adds flying probe technology to the existing PinPoint series of circuit card troubleshooting and test systems, delivering test, maintenance and schematic generation all in one system.
AP-MARS enables users to maintain and repair electronic assemblies without the availability of technical data. The system also works well with obsolete or aging systems with little to no original equipment manufacturer (OEM) support. By automating the capabilities of the PinPoint system, AP-MARS eliminates human error associated with mis-probing and significantly reduces the probing process time and number of touches per pin. Using Circuit Interrogation Analysis (CIA), the system employs a set of algorithms to identify nodal groups and verify the signal path for each net, reducing the number of probing iterations by over 80%.
“For many years, PinPoint has established a proven capability to generate schematics for circuit cards and has become an invaluable tool for the defense industry,” says Jim Mulato, President of Astronics Test Systems. “AP-MARS leverages our commitment to support legacy equipment while integrating forward-looking technology, enabling our customers to become more efficient.”

PinPoint was originally developed by Diagnosys which was acquired by Astronics Corporation in November 2019 and is now incorporated into the Astronics Test Systems (ATS) business.

For complete AP-MARS product details, to view the datasheet, or to request a quote, please visit Astronics.com.


Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has unveiled the “Welcome Aboard Collection”a selection of inflight products and solutions designed to help airlines address passenger concerns during COVID-19. The Collection can be customized to an airline’s existing fleet. It consists of both inflight entertainment (IFE) elements and other solutions designed to help augment airlines’ efforts to create a safer and healthier travel experience, while reducing costs and reinforcing their commitment to the passenger and their crew. Other solutions in the Collection help airlines to reduce touchpoints through smarter “less touch” technology such as Onboard Reader to digitize print publications and Companion App to integrate the passengers’ trusted personal device into the IFE experience. This can help ensure that seat back IFE consoles are complementary to the traveler’s personal devices, thus limiting passengers’ touch while still enabling the full IFE experience.

The Collection also includes solutions to enhance the cabin experience and deliver care through wellness solutions such as the nanoe™ Air Cleanser, which improves air quality by generating nano-sized electrostatic atomized water particles that can suppress odors and inhibit certain viruses, bacteria, and allergens.
Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “These are challenging times for the airline industry, and we have leveraged our proven track record in digital innovation in the aircraft cabin to deliver solutions that can help make travel a safer experience for passengers and cabin crew.”

The Collection includes other innovative solutions such as Active Surfaces that allow for easy wipe-down from flight-to-flight and ZeroTouchTM services, which enable airlines to administer content updates remotely, greatly reducing the manual labor and physical presence typically associated with these efforts.


Boeing News

The Boeing Company named B. Marc Allen as chief strategy officer and senior vice president, Strategy and Corporate Development, reporting to President and CEO David Calhoun. The company also announced Christopher Raymond as the company’s chief sustainability officer, a newly created position reporting to Executive Vice President, Enterprise Operations and Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith. The appointments are effective Oct. 1. Allen, first appointed to the company’s Executive Council in 2014 as president of Boeing International, will now take on responsibility for the enterprise’s overarching strategy, including long-term planning; global business and corporate development; and strategic investments, acquisitions and divestitures. He most recently served as president of Embraer Partnership and Group Operations, leading the associated business and integration teams, before terminating the partnership in April 2020. Before joining the Executive Council, Allen served in leadership positions across the enterprise as president of Boeing Capital Corporation, president of Boeing China, vice president for Global Law Affairs and general counsel to Boeing International.

As Boeing’s first chief sustainability officer, Raymond will be responsible for further advancing Boeing’s approach to sustainability that is focused on environmental, social and governance priorities, stakeholder-oriented reporting and company performance. Operating within the Enterprise Operations, Finance and Sustainability organization, Raymond will lead a team that collaborates across Boeing’s commercial, defense and services businesses and its enterprise functions in support of the company’s commitment to responsible and inclusive business practices and positive global impact.

“Despite our current headwinds, we remain focused on innovating and operating to help make the world a better place for future generations,” Smith said. “Chris will partner with Dave, myself and the entire Executive Council to bring together our efforts toward environmental stewardship, social progress and values-driven governance from across the enterprise and deliver a truly integrated focus on sustainability. Appointing a chief sustainability officer is an important next step as we continue to elevate and sharpen our focus on sustainability in partnership with our customers as well as across Boeing’s operations, throughout our supply chain and in our communities. Chris is the right person for the job.”

Boeing also announced $700,000 in grants from the Boeing Charitable Trust to help local communities with the ongoing humanitarian and environmental crisis caused by wildfires burning along the West Coast of the United States. Boeing is providing $500,000 to the American Red Cross to support its fire relief efforts in Washington, Oregon and California. Additionally, Boeing is donating $200,000 to provide food assistance in these states where significant numbers of the company’s employees live and work. $100,000 is being given to Northwest Harvest in Washington, and $50,000 apiece to the Oregon Food Bank and Redwood Empire Food Bank in California. “Thousands of our families, friends and neighbors have been displaced around the west,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and the company’s senior executive in the region. “We are committed to helping them through this exceptionally challenging time.” Boeing’s grant to the Red Cross will provide shelter, food and essentials for those who have been displaced from their homes due to the wildfires. These funds will also assist in the ongoing evacuation and aid delivery response in impacted communities. Consistent with Boeing employee gift match programs, the company will also match qualifying employee contributions made to eligible nonprofits for wildfire relief efforts.

On another note, Boeing announced a firm order from an unidentified customer for two 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF), as well as agreements to open additional conversion lines in Guangzhou, China, and Singapore to meet strong market demand. Based on the popular Next-Generation 737, the 737-800BCF offers operators newer technology, lower fuel consumption and higher reliability than other standard-body freighters. Primarily used to carry express cargo on domestic or short-haul routes, the airplane is capable of carrying up to 23.9 tonnes (52,800 pounds) and flying up to 2,000 nautical miles (3,750 kilometers). The 737-800BCF now has 134 orders and commitments. To date, Boeing has delivered 36 737-800BCF to more than 10 operators across four continents. The Boeing freighter family, which includes production and converted freighters, provides more than 90 percent of the world’s freighter capacity, offering an unmatched selection of capacity and capability with superior economics in every freighter size.


Other News

We are roughly six months into the COVID-19 global pandemic and in that time-frame our industry, and many others, have witnessed some radical and dynamic shifts. As we know, the leisure and family holidays have almost been eradicated with COVID. The air travel industry prior to the pandemic hummed along with business travel accounting for approximately 60% – 70% of all airline revenue, but perhaps the greater worry is the shift to webinars, ZOOM, Skype and many other forms of internet meetings, which may turn out to be the bigger sucker-punch, resulting in the cancellation of business travel with longer fiscal consequences. And some analysts are predicting that it will take a little more than 3 years for business travel to begin to rebound.

In the meantime, there is no end in sight from the move to remote work. Over the past few months many major companies have announced some form of permanent or long-term work-from-home scenarios. COVID-19 has shown and convinced companies such as REI, Ford, Twitter and others that their employees are capable of performing their jobs at home, and may even be performing better. The result is a massive reduction in the corporate office footprint. The uptick is these companies will save huge leasing costs and their employees will be thrilled they no longer face heinous daily commutes, but what will be the ancillary costs – and there will be inevitably be some. And one of these may well be a reduced need for business travel.

As with any crisis, the longer it goes on the more we learn. And often, our initial attempts to improve a process or make a situation safer are either in vein or are proven to be ineffective, or possibly counter productive, over time. In the case of the pandemic and airlines, one such circumstance may turn out to be the changes which were implemented in the boarding process. In an effort to minimize close contact between passengers, several U.S. carriers and some international carriers, began to board their flights from the rear of the jetliner to the front. New research is now indicating that it may actually do the opposite! Scientists from the USA have recently found that starting the boarding process from the back rows actually increases the amount of time spent by passengers milling about in the aisles to load bags in the overhead compartments prior to taking their seats.

But the boarding procedure is merely one example of how airlines are stumbling to make travel safe during COVID-19, and lure back passengers. Inconsistent policies in regards to leaving the middle seat vacant are also being instituted and so far there is no scientific evidence to back the benefit and/or necessity of doing so. Needless to say, there are large holes in both the data and the research, which inevitably bogs down the path forward. We are experiencing a situation where there is a vast amount of expert opinions but there is a scarcity of good data to back them up. And we are dealing with a leery, fearful public.

Another area that is a source of confusion and concern for the passenger is cabin air quality and the air filtration system on an airplane. As many of us in the industry know, the air in the cabin of an aircraft is passed through filters that are equal to those used in hospital operating rooms, thus there seems to be minimal danger of infection from circulated air but this is not common knowledge to the average passenger. However, the risk is in the cabin long before the air is recirculated. When we talk, cough, or sneeze respiratory droplets are released which will go to the passenger next to you long before they get circulated through the jetliner’s air filtration system. In fact a government-funded 2012 study concluded that between 3 – 20 passengers on a flight of four hours onboard a twin-aisle that were seated near a person with influenza would most likely become infected – and the flu is thought to be less contagious than COVID-19. The study also showed that if passengers wore N95 masks (high quality masks worn by medical workers in dangerous environments but not widely available to the general public) that the odds of infection dropped to nearly zero. The study did not analyze the benefits from wearing cloth face masks but the researchers predict they would decrease the likelihood of contracting the virus but not be as effective a N95.

A more recent 2018 study that was published by the National Academy of Sciences stated that there was a ‘high probability’ that passengers seated within one row of a traveler with influenza would be infected on a trans continental flight.

The aviation industry in the U.S.A. has been adhering to the advice of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and so far there have been ‘no known cases’ of infection from COVID-19 onboard U.S. flights. The industry has been nimble in their reactions to a rapidly evolving situation and has been working in conjunction with medical experts on decisions pertaining to cleaning and operational procedures. No-contact check-in is another example. But needless to say the issue begs for more research. Enforcing the necessity of wearing masks, plane disinfecting and other safety procedures are all logical, but unfortunately there is currently no solid evidence to show that these precautions will overcome the risks of the tight environment of the jetliner cabin.

Lastly, since 2015 the Government Accountability Office has been calling for a plan to respond to a pandemic scenario but so far government agencies have been unwilling to draw up a formal plan for the aviation sector.


SmartSky Networks

SmartSky Networks has filed a federal lawsuit against its former radio contractor, Wireless Systems Solutions LLC (WSS), after terminating the WSS contract and asserting that WSS misappropriated SmartSky’s intellectual property. SmartSky’s lawsuit alleges improper actions by WSS, two related entities (DAG Wireless LTD and DAG Wireless USA), and three of their senior leaders.

“We have pledged to defend our intellectual property vigorously because it is critical to our success. In this situation, WSS failed to complete what it was contracted to do for SmartSky.  Simultaneously, we believe WSS attempted to sell our product as its own, including through an alter-ego company formed after we began working with WSS yet involving the same people,” said Ryan Stone, SmartSky President.

“This activity has caused a delay in SmartSky bringing our next-generation WiFi network to the aviation market,” Stone said. “We’re transferring WSS’s former work scope to contractors who have performed well for us in the past on other aspects of our program.”

SmartSky recently closed on more than $40 million in additional equity funding, $10 million in new debt, and now expects to launch its network in 2021. Demand is increasing for connectivity on aircraft, and SmartSky believes there is plenty of runway for innovation in this space.


Gogo

Gogo Inc.commented on the disclosure that certain affiliates of GTCR, a leading private equity firm, have acquired a 14.8% interest in Gogo’s common stock.

“We welcome GTCR’s interest in Gogo and look forward to an ongoing and constructive dialogue as we execute our strategic plan,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s President and CEO. “We believe GTCR shares our vision for Gogo and the opportunity to continue to create value for all shareholders.” “We believe Gogo’s decision to focus on its leading business aviation business will create a stronger company that is well-positioned to grow in an attractive market,” said Mark Anderson, Managing Director at GTCR. “We look forward to supporting Gogo as it completes the sale of the commercial aviation business and seeks to capitalize on the compelling opportunity in business aviation.”


Some Stumbling Blocks with Facial Recognition

An audit of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the GAO found facial recognition programs fell short in a few areas:

  • Performance tracking. Although the tech accurately identified over 90% of those exiting the U.S. by air, it didn’t consistently photograph all travelers—and there’s no mechanism to alert officials when the technology misses minimum requirements.
  • Partner audits. CBP can conduct audits on all of its partners, but as of May, it had audited just one of more than 27 airlines.
  • Clear communication. U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens can opt out of facial recognition, but CBP consistently failed to make that known.
  • According to CBP officials, a t the end of 2019, out of 16 million passengers scanned, facial recognition helped identify seven “impostors”.
  • Zoom out: Facial recognition technology still has many issues and glitches, which include racial and gender biases. And the probability of a false positive are very high.

Other News

SATCOM DIRECT

MySky, the only AI-powered spend management platform designed for the private aviation industry, and Satcom Direct (SD), the business aviation solutions provider, announced a strategic alliance enabling seamless access to real-time data for private aviation. Subscribers to MySky and SD will greatly benefit from an all-encompassing approach to aircraft management that combines operational and financial information into a single source of data, the SD Pro® platform.

Designed to bring transparency to the industry for the first time, MySky provides unrivaled access to financial data and proprietary IT tools that help owners and operators reduce costs, refine spending and improve the overall aircraft ownership experience. SD Pro, the digital management dashboard, provides relevant and timely information about pre- to- post flight aircraft performance to aircraft operators around the world. An open architecture platform, SD Pro adds value to the user experience through the integration of third-party suppliers. As a result of the integration with MySky, SD will add a financial component to its SD Pro platform.

The agreement between MySky and SD will allow for a full 360-degree approach to business aviation management, promoting a fiduciary duty among industry stakeholders. Through the SD Pro platform, aircraft operators will have direct access to financial and operational information from both MySky and SD. The integrated data can increase longevity of ownership and improve the overall ownership experience. The aggregated information enables better informed, proactive decisions in real-time, heightening control and efficiency. Rote tasks can be automated to increase productivity and reallocate valuable human resources.

“At MySky, our goal is to bring increased transparency and accountability to the private aviation industry by ensuring stakeholders have the necessary tools to better understand and manage the costs of their assets,” said Kirill Kim, co-founder and CEO of MySky. “By combining our industry-leading financial data with SD’s detailed operational information, I’m confident that this alliance will help stakeholders better navigate the long-time obstacles associated with private aviation management.”

“SD is dedicated to delivering advanced technological capabilities to our customers. With the integration of MySky into the SD Pro platform, we are adding a significant resource to the operational mix by providing a business management tool that complements our operations-focused products. We are excited to work closely with the MySky team to foster industry growth and long-term sustainability for our clients,” said Chris Moore, SD president of business aviation.


BOEING

Boeing and Enter Air announced the Polish airline is expanding its commitment to the 737 family with a new order for two 737-8 airplanes plus options for two more jets.

An all-Boeing operator and Poland’s biggest charter carrier, Enter Air began operations in 2010 with a single 737 airplane. Today, the airline’s fleet includes 22 Next-Generation 737s and two 737 MAX airplanes. When the new purchase agreement is fully exercised, Enter Air’s 737 MAX fleet will rise to 10 aircraft.

“Despite the current crisis, it is important to think about the future. To that end, we have agreed to order additional 737-8 aircraft. Following the rigorous checks that the 737 MAX is undergoing, I am convinced it will be the best aircraft in the world for many years to come,” said Grzegorz Polaniecki, general director and board member, Enter Air.

Enter Air and Boeing also finalized a settlement to address the commercial impacts stemming from the grounding of the 737 MAX fleet. While the details of the agreement are confidential, the compensation will be provided in a number of forms and staggered over a period of time.

“In the settlement with Boeing, we agreed to revise the delivery schedule for the previously-ordered airplanes in response to current market conditions. The specific terms of the settlement are strictly confidential, but we are pleased with the way Boeing has treated us as its customer,” added Polaniecki.

“We are humbled by Enter Air’s commitment to the Boeing 737 family. Their order for additional 737-8s underscores their confidence in the airplane and the men and women of Boeing,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing, The Boeing Company. “We look forward to building on our decade-long partnership with Enter Air and working with the airline to safely return their full 737 fleet to commercial service.”


GOGO (Biz Jet Info)

Gogo Business Aviation has once again set a new standard for inflight connectivity with its AVANCE L5 system now installed and flying on 1,000 business jets.

It’s a milestone Gogo reached in less than three years following the first installation, making it the most successful adoption of any high-speed broadband inflight connectivity system in business aviation history. In addition to the 1,000 L5 installations, Gogo is nearing 450 installations for the AVANCE L3 system. Combined, the nearly 1,500 AVANCE system installations highlights Gogo’s leadership in inflight connectivity in business aviation.

“Our team hit it out of the park with both the AVANCE L5 and L3 systems,” said Sergio Aguirre, president of Gogo Business Aviation. “And what’s so exciting to me is that we still have so much opportunity ahead of us.”

The Gogo AVANCE L5 delivers a 4G experience to business aircraft of all types and sizes, from light jets to the largest global business jets, and provides the easiest and most economical upgrade path to Gogo 5G when it launches. From the time AVANCE L5 launched in the fourth quarter of 2017, more than 325,000 flights have taken off with the system onboard, flying more than 420,000 hours and 211 million miles, and users consuming 150 million megabytes of data.

“We couldn’t have achieved this milestone without the great partnerships we’ve built over more than 25 years with the market-leading business jet manufacturers, our dealers, and charter and fractional operators,” Aguirre said. “Even during the COVID-19 pandemic that has had such a dramatic impact on all of aviation, we continued to see a healthy demand from the market for our AVANCE systems.”

Gogo and its OEM partners and dealers have also experienced substantial adoption of both AVANCE L5 and L3 on a retrofit basis with more than 200 supplemental type certificate (STC) approvals from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Both L3 and L5 systems are linefit factory options on the majority of business jets of all types and sizes from the world’s largest business aircraft manufacturers.

The Gogo AVANCE L5 system connects to the Gogo Biz 4G network delivering faster speeds and enhanced network capacity enabling activities such as live streaming video and audio, video conferencing, on-demand movies, faster web browsing, personal smartphone use, real-time data for cockpit apps, and remote diagnostics and support while in flight.
Early in 2018, Gogo launched AVANCE L3, a system that delivers the benefits of the Gogo AVANCE platform to passengers and flight departments in a lightweight, smaller form factor compared to L5. AVANCE L3 allows users to customize their inflight experience based on their unique needs and can be installed on business aircraft of all types and sizes, but is an ideal solution for smaller aircraft including turboprops and light jets.

In total, at the end of the second quarter 2020, Gogo Business Aviation reported 5,399 aircraft flying with its air-to-ground (ATG) systems onboard and also 4,704 aircraft flying with satellite systems onboard.


OTHER NEWS

  • We are real Apple fans!
    And because we are Apple fans, we also are fans of the gentleman who said; “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
    Who said it? Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder gave those words during a Commencement Address at Stanford on June 12, 2005. Today his company is worth $2 Trillion dollars, and unfortunately, he is no longer alive. However, some things he said were far, far ahead of other philosophical suggestions and submittals! We are linking the article from Stanford which is his address at the commencement, and, as he noted – “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”
    Text of Steve Jobs’ Commencement address (2005)
    (Editor’s Note: While there is no question that Steve Jobs was the miracle behind Apple, an engineer named Steve Wozniak was the ‘brains’ behind the Mac, and no Apple story would be complete without him. Wozniak is a genius and is still alive today, involved with a lot of technology and good will. When he started, Mac was not necessarily on his mind: “My dream was actually just to have a computer some day. If I’d imagined that it meant starting a company to sell them, I probably would have avoided the whole thing.” While looking for a final quote from Wozniak that readers would identify with, we found this and it sums up his world quite well: “In the end, I hope there’s a little note somewhere that says I designed a good computer.” Yes Mr. Wozniak, you really, really did!)
  • Industry sources indicate that American Airlines is preparing to cut 19,000 jobs by October 1, 2020 and Delta Air Lines is also planning to furlough nearly 2,000 pilots in October.
  • Just so you know, there will be a potential asteroid impact on earth Nov. 2 this year. Chances asteroid 2018VPI will hit the earth is 1 in 240 probability, because the miss range will be 4,994.76 km away. And, since it is only 6.5 ft. wide, no worries!
  • So, a former engineer asked us: “So with all this anti-virus technology being developed and used, I have a question: Are we setting ourselves up for creating a ‘super-virus’ by using so much anti-viral spray or UV light treatments? I mean, we have all heard before how a treatment or vaccine kills MOST of the germs/virus, but some still survives and over time, the surviving germs/virus become immune to ‘standard’ treatments and thus become ‘super-bugs.’ So all this use of sprays on aircraft or rental cars or hotel rooms; and other places etc. Are we setting ourselves up for an even bigger problem in the future? Just wondering . . .  and if anyone knows, can you verify for me whether or not the UV wavelength that kills the virus does or doesn’t deteriorate the fabrics and materials on cars, planes, and train . . .  thus increasing maintenance and replacement costs?” (We will forward your response – Editor)

First, we wanted to tell our readers that we had a difficult time starting this product review. Why? Because we were so blown away with the quality at any sound level we were challenged to find descriptive words that would adequately describe the BOSE 500’s amazing performance. But it’s small size (smaller than a box of cereal) kept us trying to figure out how the BOSE folks did it!

However, before we tell you about the performance, here are some features that BOSE claims:

  • It is a single speaker box that does not require another for excellent stereo – speaker layout in it does the trick!
  • Superior voice pickup.
  •  Six preset volume adjustment buttons.
  • A BOSE Music App (for phone/tablet) that is an excellent music source using Google or Apple music.
  • Built in voice assistant.
  • Control via voice, touch, or via the App.
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth source connectivity (and an AUX input that works great!).
  • Apple AirPlay2

And if you want more details and specifications, here is the product website link: Bose Home Speaker 500 | Bose which will provide a lot more information on this amazing product.

To get our readers started, we asked the tekkie geniuses at BOSE who designed this amazing sound product a few questions that kept cropping up in our electrical engineering mindset as we were reviewing the ‘500’:

Q: We have a lot of BOSE speakers but never had anything like the “500”! What amazes us is the frequency response, clear sound at all power levels, and the small size. How is this done?

A: “Official answer from our head of acoustics for speakers: “Magic. (plus years of experience designing transducers, systems, and state-of-the-art electronics.)”

Q: OK, we get that but what most people may not realize is the “500” speaker is an amplifier and speaker that simulates a stereo audio solution. We add more input signal from our sources and the output can go well over anything we ever listen to – clearly! We assume there is good amplification inside the small box, but is there some other stuff that we don’t know about in the technology?

A: “Achieving the performance of the Home Speaker 500 is a combination of good “bones” – the design of the transducer (the driver that moves the air), the enclosure, and the amplifier – with a lot of massaging of performance through modern DSP (digital signal processing). DSP lets us really maximize performance of a compact system – it allows for fine-tuning of frequency response for the best, most balanced and natural sound. And then within that DSP we apply sophisticated limiters of our own design which let the system play surprisingly loud, even at low frequencies, without ever getting into audible distortion.”

Q: And speaking of the small box, how the heck does something that small sound so well? We have built and used many speakers in our lives but we have never heard anything so good that was such a small size. We assume solid state power is the basic amp and some signal characteristics are modified to drive the special speakers correctly but what is different? And speaking of speakers, what the heck kind of speakers this small can deliver sound at this level and quality and we assume there is more there than in other speaker solutions?

A:”That’s the ‘good bones’ we’re referring to. We have a lot of experience designing transducers with low distortion and high output. With the Home Speaker 500 we also employed a ported design for the enclosure, and we have some patented strategies that let us get more bass output from that port without air noise or whistling. Good design pushes the output limits up past what was previously possible, and smart DSP lets us work right up to those limits without exceeding them.”

Q: We have been using the auxiliary input because we want to play stuff from our 20,000+ songs on Apple Music and we assume, today, folks are happy with Google or Alexa; however, we consider the AUX stereo input as important as the connected sound sources. Our question is: ‘Is there a frequency performance difference between the AUX input and the “connected” sources? I have compared the two and see no difference – in fact, the Bluetooth source is remarkable!

A: “Thanks! The signal path is the same once the signal gets into the system, so there should be no noticeable difference.”

Q: We assume the “voice pickup” is only for the “connected” source and control of operations for the sources – not the AUX input?

A: “That’s correct, with one slight exception. There’s no way to send control commands over an AUX cable like there is with connected sources like Bluetooth or built-in music services – so you can’t use “Alexa, pause” or “Hey Google, next track” with AUX. But if you ask it to Pause, it will mute the input for you.”

Q: And, we are still working on: “Control doesn’t stop at just voice. You can tap the top controls to play, pause or skip tracks, or manage it all from the BOSE Music app. And you can set up to six different presets for playlists, Internet radio stations and more, so your favorites are just a tap away.” Any additional information on this would be useful.

A: “Sure. The idea here is that we don’t want to prescribe how you should use the speaker – we want you to be able to use whatever control method is most natural for you, or most convenient given the context of the moment you find yourself in. So if you’re an app person, you can control everything from our app. Or if you want a quick connection to whatever is playing on your phone or another device, you can use Bluetooth – once you’ve set it up once in your phone’s settings, just tap the Bluetooth button to reconnect (this is good for visiting friends too – it allows them to quickly connect). And then there’s the easiest method of all: no phone involved, just use the buttons on the product. You can set the 6 numbered buttons to your six favorite stations, like presets in a car – say, #1 could be your favorite local radio station, #2 could be your spouse’s favorite Spotify playlist, etc. And then all you have to do to get music playing is tap one of those buttons. Plus, you can control volume, play/pause, or next/previous (double- or triple-tap the play/pause button) on the top of the speaker too.”

Q: We are still wondering what the other model – the “300” – is all about. Does it work with the “500” to add a stereo speaker? Personally, to us, the “500” is very acceptable stereo.

A: “The Home Speaker 300 is the Home Speaker 500’s younger brother. They work together – not for stereo mode, since the Home Speaker 500 is already stereo (more on that in a second!) – but in multi-room groups so you can connect them together all around your home and have them play in sync.
If you like one, you’ll probably like the other – they have similar sound profiles, but of course there are a few key differences. The Home Speaker 500 is more powerful, and has two transducers firing outward, straight left and straight right – a unique acoustic architecture that projects a wide stereo sound image from a compact size (try listening to a song like ‘Elsie’ by Nickel Creek or ‘Money’ by Pink Floyd with your eyes closed to get a sense of that wide stereo sound bouncing off your walls, giving the impression of a much larger speaker than your eyes would suggest).”
“Meanwhile the Home Speaker 300 uses a single down-firing transducer, aimed at a specially designed reflector, to bounce sound outwards in an even 360-degree pattern for true omnidirectionality. This provides a great listening experience for everyone, and also allows wall reflections to produce a nice wide mono soundstage.”

Before we get too focused on entertainment, we should also mention that the BOSE 500 has a lot of audio source choices: Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora, TuneIn, Deezer, iHeart Radio and SirusXM (and anything from your phone or tablet) all work with the BOSE 500. Conveniently, the Bose Home Speaker 500 can play music directly from streaming music services over Wi-Fi®, controlled either by Amazon Alexa (where available) or using the BOSE Music app. The BOSE Home Speaker 500 also has Bluetooth® and Apple AirPlay 2 capabilities and a standard 3.5 mm auxiliary line-in jack. Basically, the ‘500’ is the next generation entertainment device and we can’t say enough about its performance!

What we found really amazing about the BOSE Home Speaker 500 was it’s clarity and volume – as loud as we could play the device from a digital source (our computer using iTunes as the music source) there was no distortion, and frequency response did not drop off as the volume increased to maximum. We don’t remember any audio device we have previously owned that maintained the same frequency response at maximum volume, and such an incredibly small size too boot. None!

Frequency response also really caught our ears as everything we played on the unit kept the sound quality as the volume was increased. Further, The 5 pound solid state single box has a very good stereo effect and we suppose that the right and left facing internal speakers alter the sound output to provide an actual right and left stereo sound that imitates 2 separate speakers.

We found ourselves turning up the volume on tunes that have a particular base or instrument sound. Why? Because we wanted to see if the increased volume would cause either speaker or amplifier loss, sound dropout, or noise increase. We must say that never happened, no matter how high we pumped up the volume! How do they do that in an audio system unit that is 8” high, 6.5” wide, and 4.25 inches deep?

Also, we thought using recorded functions to replay through the AUX input might not get as good quality playback because of how the music was recorded, stored, or originally played. In all our tests, the playback through Amazon or Google were the most consistent quality output and frankly, since we were able to play what we wanted, we were pretty happy! However, we should point out that we don’t have streaming audio services like Pandora, Spotify or XM Radio but we are certain the BOSE 500 would do their audio content justice as well.

While the sound is the main feature of the ‘500’, the Bt approach is clearly the ‘new connectivity’ game in entertainment. Obviously, it plays off your devices and, if you need to run it from your PC or other audio device output, using the AUX input to connect your media source works just fine. In other words, it is designed to work with today’s content delivery options (portable devices via Bluetooth); however, it still works with other input sources via the wired input (AUX).

Another feature you can just turn on or off is built-in Voice Control. “Play”, “Pause”, “Shuffle” and even “Skip” works by just turning on the microphone function on top of the speaker. With Google Assistant or Alexa built in as part of the control, if you want something – just ask! We discovered this is a great feature if you are listening and typing! And, we understand future software updates will add new features as well.

While we tested and listened to the ‘500’ at loud levels, we know most listeners will be using this kind of audio device at normal or lower levels to just enjoy background sound, while working or entertaining. Because of the wide audio bandwidth capability of the ‘500’, music at lower levels still had great bass performance and high frequency clarity. While we suspect BOSE slightly boosts both ends of the audio spectrum at low volume levels, the result sounds just plain clear and enjoyable. We did not ask BOSE if this was designed in but we suspect that this is part of the performance design – and it really works well! In fact, after we completed testing the ‘500’ at high volume we left the unit on with a reduced volume while we were working because it was so enjoyable. What we noticed was that the clarity of the ‘500’, even at low volume, was an improvement over other audio entertainment devices we have experienced – we could clearly hear the vocals and understand them even when the song was greatly reduced in volume. From our perspective, this is another advantage of high quality speaker performance – with a well designed internal amplifier. And yes, it was a lot better than listening to audio music that can be ‘mushy’ in devices that keep the frequency performance the same at all levels. The ‘500’ never seemed to deliver the wrong sound, regardless of volume level. What a treat!

Lastly, we really want to give BOSE and the impressive engineering team a gold star for this product. Before we experienced the audio quality of the ‘500’, our initial impression, looking at its’ small size and casing, made it hard to believe the unit could deliver such quality and beautiful loudness. And speaking of the its appearance, BOSE told IFExpress the ‘500’ is actually sheathed in a single seamless piece of aluminum using a new process BOSE developed! We want to tell our readers that they just have to listen to them to believe their performance. In fact, as we write this we are sitting at our computer and the ‘500’ is next to us working – with the audio level well over what we should be listening to! We are hooked, and your team deserves an award for this product!

From an IFE perspective, someday we could possibly see the ‘500’ being installed in the First Class Suites of airliners, such as, Etihad, Emirates, Singapore and others. To IFExpress, the BOSE 500 exemplifies the prestige, quality, performance and the type of service these airlines seek to offer their top tier customers.

Editor’s Note: If you ever get the chance to listen to the BOSE Home Speaker 500 we urge our readers to do so. We were blown away and, no doubt, you will be too!


Other News

  • The terrible Boeing plane production reductions have hurt a couple industries we know – Safran Cabin and Carlisle Interconnect! Carlisle Interconnect Facility Closure AND Multinational Boeing supplier furloughs hundreds without pay during coronavirus shutdown | The Seattle Times
  • This release is from Gogo who is selling their commercial inflight telephony service, most probably as a result of the Covid -19 flight reductions by travelers. We have heard that because of 55% lower revenues it has begun talks to sell commercial aviation business to a buyer. Here is why from a press release they have published:
    • Consolidated revenue of $96.6 million; Net loss of $86.0 million; Adjusted EBITDA(1) of negative $15.9 million.
    • Combined engineering, design and development, sales and marketing and general and administrative expenses declined 27% from Q1 2020 and 35% from Q2 2019 reflecting aggressive cost control measures.
    • BA Reportable Segment Profit of $27.2 million with nearly 50% segment profit margin.
    • Cash and cash equivalents were $156.3 million as of June 30, 2020. This reflects $53 million of interest payments made in the second quarter and compares with total cash and cash equivalents of $214.2 million as of March 31, 2020.
    • The Company achieved break-even unlevered Free Cash Flow for the quarter.
    • The Company has retained investment bankers and is in a process to sell its CA division.
  • We have been big fans of Visual Capitalist (not political) and the recent data on COVID – 19 is just plain interesting – especially the testing done on a per case basis per country! Global COVID Containment: Confirmed Cases, Updated Daily And yes, you can use your cursor to see the testing per day, per country data in the last 160 days, or so! No, this is not IFE news, but hey, if we didn’t have the disease we would have a lot more flying to report on!

Last month Boeing issued this small statement in its quarterly results and market realities report: “While our 767 and 747 rates remain unchanged, in light of the current market dynamics and outlook, we’ll complete production of the iconic 747 in 2022. Our customer commitment does not end at delivery, and we’ll continue to support 747 operations and sustainment well into the future.” – Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. In case you missed it, the big commercial airplane market is changing, at least for the next few years.

In 2014 Lufthansa was delivered the 1500th Boeing 747; however, the development of more efficient twin engine aircraft has helped decrease the demand for the biggest commercial jet – not to mention recent travel reductions caused by the pandemic. In case you need a bit more info on the final version of the Boeing 747’s, the – 8I, here are some specs and data:

  • Seats: (3-class) approx. 410
  • Range: 14,815 km (8000 nm)
  • Length: 76.4 m (250 ft 8 in)
  • Wingspan: 68.5 m (224 ft 9 in)
  • Height: 19.4 m (63 ft 6 in)
  • Engine: 4 (GEnx-2B)

Further,  for a better idea of the historical family tree, there have been 6 variants that were developed over the 50 years the jet has been flying: (747-100, 747-200B, 747-300, 747-400, 747-400ERF, and 747-8I).

  • Weight (Model Dependent) – Weight Empty (358,000 lbs. to 6100,000 lbs.)
  • Max Take-Off Weight (Model Dependent) – (735,000 to 970,000 lbs.)
  • Total Number Manufactured (To Date -1558 )

(Editor’s Note -The links attached here should get you the additional info you need – How Many Variants Of The Boeing 747 Have Been Made? – Simple Flying and here – Boeing 747)

Face it, the Boeing 747 changed air travel in many ways: It was the first twin aisle/wide-body commercial airline aircraft, it’s size enabled a lot more freight to be transported on each flight, and it caused almost every big commercial airport to be increased to accommodate it and the resulting traffic increase. When it went into service in the early 1970’s, air travel grew exponentially worldwide. One retired airline employee told IFExpress that the Boeing 747 cut airline passenger flight costs in half! In a sense, the 52 year old plane created the new world of flying that we experience and see today. In fact, we asked a retired Boeing Executive and serious aviation buff to tell us a little about the aircraft’s history, and here is what Bob Bogash told IFExpress:

“The 747 was ‘the airplane that brought inexpensive air travel to the masses.’ That’s what you see in so many write-ups about the 747. I don’t agree. The 707 and DC-8 brought inexpensive air travel – by jet to the masses a decade earlier. The 727/737/DC-9 brought the speed and comfort of jets to first intermediate, and then shorter range routes. There were millions of people flying thousands of jet transports before the 747 came along. Rather, the 747 solved the problem – then thought to be a temporary solution – of the historic progression of transport airplanes – ever bigger, ever faster. The SST was supposed to be the solution to the “faster” part of that history. But, of course, it was stillborn. The question at the time the 747 was developed would be how to go “bigger.

Both the 707 and the DC-8 (and later the 727/737/DC-9) solved that problem the same way Constellations and DC-4/-6/-7’s did – by getting longer. By the time Douglas introduced the DC-8-60 series (a 37 ft stretch), that airplane had gotten seriously “long.” (Ever ridden in the back of one???)

Boeing had a problem (similar to the current 737 series) in that the 707 had short landing gear (saves a lot of weight and makes the airplane easier to work on while on the ramp.) A DC-8 stretch was not in the cards for the 707 without a major redesign. Plus, the main instigator for bigger was, as always, Pan Am. They didn’t want an even longer single aisle tube and were thinking “bigger” – as in MUCH BIGGER. Like Double the size. Pan Am’s proposed solution was a double-decker.

Drawing on the technology of their failed USAF C-5 competition, Boeing thought WIDE, instead of HIGH, and eventually the twin-aisle airplane was created and Pan Am bought into the design. Eventually, the twin-aisle became the standard for numerous medium to longer range transports. Of course, with double the seats, ticket prices came down and pax loads went up, hence more and more people flew – the factoid promulgated by so many writers.

If you want to know why the 747 has a hump on the front, well it’s so the pilot can sit on his wallet! Actually, it’s because the 747 was viewed as an interim airplane pending the arrival of the SST, and so freighter capability was built in from the start. A hinged nose allowed straight in loading of intermodal containers, and so the cockpit had to be bumped up to provide clearance. It’s interesting that in the twilight of its years, the 747 continues to prosper as a freighter.”

Another good Boeing 747 history book was written about the 747 ‘big boss’ and he was the man behind the airplane. Joe Sutter spent his career and tech life at Boeing and, as many say, he was considered the ‘father’ of the Boeing 747. In his book “747”, he tells a lot about the development and history of the plane, the company, and events you will not find anywhere else. Poignantly, he talks about the program and his many meetings, thoughts, and deeds that determined the first flying model. His viewpoints on the program were something that were not immediately obvious during the production program kickoff, but important none-the-less: I am often referred to as the father of the 747. If people want to call me that, that’s fine as long as they recognize I wasn’t alone. The 747 has three fathers, the other two being Juan Trippe of Pan American World Airways and Boeing’s Bill Allen. Trippe pushed hard for a high-capacity airlines in the 1960’s. Bill Allen shared his friend’s vision and had the courage to launch the 747 despite a long list of very good reasons not too. If it weren’t for them, history would have taken a different course.From our perspective, this book was one of the most interesting Boeing 747 development stories published because it details a history and if you find aircraft technical development interesting, this one really relays the technical story by the engineering father. Here is the info on Joe’s book: 747, Joe Sutter, with Joe Spenser, Smithsonian Books.

Logically, such a game-changing, iconic aircraft had an impact on inflight entertainment as well. IFExpress reached out to John Courtright of SIE Inc. and long time IFEC aficionado about his thoughts on the significance of the 747 to IFE. Here is what he had to say:

“The introduction of the 747 into passenger service was a high-water mark for long distance travel for a much bigger mass market than offered before.  The 747 spanned the IFEC history timeline from overhead film and videotape exhibition to digital delivery of content to the passenger seats.   The 747 airframe offered different technical challenges as entertainment technologies improved.

Recall that the initial 747-100 and 747-200 aircraft came out prior to the so-called digital revolution.  The video systems were 16mm film and the challenge was primarily structural because the concern was where to install the projector systems in each of the cabins.  Due to the size of the projector, the 747 Upper Deck had the least amount of overhead clearance to squeeze an Inflight Motion Pictures or Transcom (later Sony).  The film canisters needed to be installed close to the projectors and there were hilarious incidents of the film breaking or coming off their spool and spilling out into the cabin area.  Note that it was not hilarious for the flight attendants.

The advent of Beta and VHS video tape technologies removed the film storage and feeding problem but did not change a thing when it came to projector installation.  The Beta tape machines, promoted by Transcom (later Sony) and the VHS tape players, provided by Avicom did allow the introduction of CRT  displays to be installed in tricky corners of the 747 such as bulkhead locations or in the forward part of the upper deck.  This was pre-LCD display technology so the CRTs were bulky and required maintenance on a regular basis.

In the mid ’80s, in-seat IFE systems were introduced by Avicom, Airvision, Sony Transcom (now Burrana), among others and the 747 presented a very big challenge: SIZE.  The 747 could hold 400+ passengers and the sheer size of the aircraft made it a big challenge from a  distributed processing viewpoint.  The initial x86 processors initially could handle only 6-to-8 rows of passenger IFE.   Latency and multi-channel processing was rudimentary to say the least but still an improvement over the overhead IFE systems.  As processor speeds increased (486, Pentium, and above), the in-seat IFE service quality elevated the passenger experience tremendously with more channels and lower latency.  In effect, the 747 was the impetus and challenge required to establish a whole new level of individual passenger entertainment technologies.  So, as you see, size does matter.”

Sadly, as we noted earlier, the plane’s life is coming to an end, so wrote the CNN folks: “For the first time in 48 years, you can’t buy a ticket on a US airline to fly on a Boeing 747. On January 3 (2018), Delta Air Lines Flight 9771 touched down in Marana, Arizona, an arid boneyard for stored and cannibalized jetliners. A three-hour-and-33-minute journey from Atlanta. The last of the airline’s 16 jumbo Boeing 747-400s flew to a desert retirement, ending travel operations by passenger airlines in the United States. Both Delta and United Airlines have been saying goodbye to the jumbo for months. A final domestic revenue flight, a last international trip, a final charter. Those last trips became more of a farewell tour than a formal end.”

And finally, we note that The Economic Times wrote: “The Boeing 747’s slow descent into retirement from commercial service just got steeper with British Airways’ announcement Friday it would be pulling the jumbo jet from the skies as the coronavirus pandemic forces it to cut back operations and cut costs. BA’s announcement follows moves by a number of other airlines that have retired their 747s and their Airbus A380, another jumbo-sized four-engine jet made by Boeing’s European rival. The fact the planes have four engines means they consume more fuel, which means they can cost more to operate and cause more pollution if not full.” And that pretty much says it all!

From a personal travel perspective, the retirement and end of production for the 747 is bittersweet. The IFExpress team has logged many international flight hours onboard this game changing aircraft, and it is by far our favorite jetliner. To this day, we will always try to select an international route that still operates the Queen of the Sky. In the aircraft’s infancy it epitomized the romance and allure of air travel – all that space, the inflight lounges –  it made you feel like you didn’t just purchase a seat, you purchased a spacious environment and an experience that happened to take you to exotic destinations that you only had dreamed of traveling to or read about. Even as LOPA’s changed, and seat configurations became more dense and seat pitch continued to drop, the 747 still somehow remained less-cramped than other jetliners. Perhaps, it was because it was like returning to a well known, old friend that you knew would reliably transport you from point A to point B. There has always been a sense of nostalgia affiliated with walking down the jet-way to board a 747, harkening back to the glory days of air travel. There may be sleeker, more efficient, higher performance aircraft out there but the stately, classic 747 will always have a special place in our hearts long after production has ceased and the last commercial flight has flown. Thanks for all the wonderful memories.

Here a couple more interesting sites on the Boeing 747:
Boeing ending production of 747; 50 years since first passenger flight – Business Insider

Boeing to stop production of 747 jumbo jet in 2022 – CBS News

5 Things You Likely Never Knew About Boeing’s 747

Boeing 747: Queen of the Skies for 50 years – CNET

The Amazing Story of the Boeing 747 in 12 Photos

Boeing 747s Still Use Floppy Disks to Get Critical Software Updates


Lufthansa Systems

Lufthansa Systems announced the migration of Eurowings, a longstanding Lido Flight 4D customer, to the cloud delivery platform Global Aviation Cloud. Going forward, the Lufthansa Group’s point-to-point airline will use the flight planning solution from Lufthansa Systems as a cloud service. The cloud environment enables Eurowings to optimize routes in a more flexible and reliable way. The integration of services into the Global Aviation Cloud was developed specifically to meet the needs and security standards of airlines, particularly now as they face increased complexity due to the global pandemic.

Eurowings is the first airline within the Lufthansa Group to use the new technology and drive digitalization in its flight operations. “We are very pleased with the enormous increase in processing speed the migration has brought. At the same time, operations have always remained stable and reliable,” said Timo Rapp, Head of Integrated Operations Control Center (IOCC) at Eurowings. “It was a very smooth cutover process as Lufthansa Systems was very efficient in providing all the necessary support required for the transition. Even in these extremely difficult times due to the current pandemic, pushing this migration with high priority was worth the effort.”

In addition to the Lido product suite for flight planning and navigation, Lufthansa Systems has integrated its solutions for ground operations (NetLine), inflight entertainment (BoardConnect) and finance management (SIRAX®) into the Global Aviation Cloud. Making the shift to cloud services has proven a major challenge in the aviation industry, but Lufthansa Systems has completely overhauled its software architecture to accelerate the development of on-demand services. Lufthansa Systems has created a forward-looking infrastructure based on various technologies such as Kubernetes and Terraform, which deliver key administrative, operational and technological benefits. Today, more than 16 products and applications from Lufthansa Systems are cloud-ready and over 50 customer environments have already been set up. Especially in the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, cloud services enhance airlines’ ability to adapt to a changing market environment.

Cloud solutions no longer require applications, systems and resources to run locally on a physical server as specific software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions are available. With a growing number of accessible data centers operating in almost all regions around the world, Lufthansa Systems can provide its services in close proximity to customer sites, which enables faster data transmission. “The Global Aviation Cloud increases the flexibility, scalability and security of our applications,” said Dr. Thomas Wittmann, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “We work hand in glove with our customers from implementation to management, ensuring that we are continuously innovating and paving the way for a more digital and smarter future of airline operations.”

There are more than 7,500 commercial aircraft worldwide operating with Lido Flight 4D. The flight planning solution calculates the most suitable route for each flight based on all relevant flight data, such as weather conditions and the current airspace situation, fully integrated notices to airmen (NOTAMs) and any further restrictions that may apply. Implementing the solution enables flight dispatchers to react faster and work more efficiently. After the preparations for the Global Aviation Cloud were concluded by the end of 2019, five Lido Flight 4D customers upgraded to the cloud service. Despite the challenging situation caused by the pandemic, Lufthansa Systems plans to implement the majority of service transitions by the end of the year.


Other News

While the economy seems to be slowly picking up, recent breakouts seem to tell us that a vaccine is the most important thing that can happen – worldwide! But the question is when? Everybody is affected and passenger travel is one of the worst victims. Airlines everywhere are suffering, laying off workers and in the USA future layoffs seem inevitable. For example the following layoffs are what we are hearing if US airlines don’t get any additional funding from the US government: Alaska Airlines said they will be sending out some 1,600 notices soon (4,200 nationwide and it is reported that the majority of these numbers will be from flight attendants); United has 3,900 pilots at risk if assistance is not provided. Furthermore, not long ago they warned some 35,000+ employees of the risk of potential layoffs; and American is looking at some 25,000 furloughs as well. One big question is what the Governments will do for airlines worldwide. More importantly, if a vaccine for COVID-19 is created, how long will it take to get dispersed, and resultantly, how long will it take for the air market to return? One report predicts 2024! Air travel not expected to recover until 2024


GOGO

As part of its continued cost reduction initiatives to align the scale of its organization with current demand for aviation connectivity services, Gogo is eliminating 143 fulltime positions, predominantly from the Company’s Commercial Aviation business.

“As the pandemic continues to impact commercial airline travel, we are taking additional actions as part of our comprehensive 16-lever strategy to reduce costs. Based on our current expectations of the scope and timing of a recovery in the industry and our Commercial Aviation business, reducing our workforce has become a necessary step. We do not take this action lightly, but we believe it is critical in our efforts to preserve our financial flexibility, while maintaining the quality of our service and relationships with our customers,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s President and CEO.

The reduction in force will take effect on August 14, 2020, and represents approximately 14% of the Company’s overall workforce. In addition to the reduction in force, Gogo will continue certain furloughs and maintain the salary reductions that were previously implemented. In keeping with the previously announced 16-lever plan to reduce costs, Gogo will continue to pursue non-personnel cost-savings levers, including renegotiating terms with suppliers, delaying aircraft equipment installations, deferring purchases of capital equipment, reducing marketing and travel expenses, and eliminating non-essential spend.


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation Reports 2020 Second Quarter Financial Results

  • Sales for the quarter were $123.7 million with bookings of $61.5 million
  • Net loss was $(23.6) million, after goodwill impairment charges of $12.6 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $9.2 million, or 7.4% of sales
  • Cash from operations was $18.3 million for the quarter, $41.5 million year-to-date

AIRBUS

AIRBUS had €1.14b net loss in 2Q20 (vs €1.2b profit in 2Q19) on 55% lower revenues; Commercial Aircraft lost €1.9b (vs €1.2b profit) on 65% lower revenues. Employment remains flat from Jan 1.

AIRBUS says commercial aircraft are now being produced at rates under new production plan announced in April; however, it is further dropping A350 rate from six to five per month for now. It adds that 145 commercial aircraft could not be delivered as scheduled in 1H20 due to COVID-19.


BOEING

The company reported second-quarter revenue of $11.8 billion, GAAP loss per share of ($4.20) and core loss per share (non-GAAP)* of ($4.79), primarily reflecting the impacts of COVID-19 and the 737 MAX grounding (Table 1). Boeing recorded operating cash flow of ($5.3) billion.

“We remained focused on the health of our employees and communities while proactively taking action to navigate the unprecedented commercial market impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun. “We’re working closely with our customers, suppliers and global partners to manage the challenges to our industry, bridge to recovery and rebuild to be stronger on the other side.”

In the second quarter, Boeing restarted production operations across key sites following temporary pauses to protect its workforce and introduce rigorous new health and safety procedures. Despite the challenges, Boeing continued to deliver across key commercial, defense, space and services programs. The company also resumed early stages of production on the 737 program with a focus on safety, quality and operational excellence. Following the lead of global regulators, Boeing made steady progress toward the safe return to service of the 737, including completion of FAA certification flight tests.

To align to the sharp reduction in commercial market demand in light of COVID-19, the company is taking several actions including further adjusting commercial airplane production rates and reducing employment levels. “The diversity of our balanced portfolio and our government services, defense and space programs provide some critical stability for us in the near-term as we take tough but necessary steps to adapt for new market realities,” Calhoun said. “We are taking the right action to ensure we’re well positioned for the future by strengthening our culture, improving transparency, rebuilding trust and transforming our business to become a better, more sustainable Boeing. Air travel has always proven to be resilient – and so has Boeing.”

The latest Boeing NPRM on the 737-8 and 737-9 (737 MAX) aircraft.

(Editor’s Note: Boeing had $2.4B net loss in the second quarter this year, but less than in 2019 ($2.9B in the same quarter last year) and we note they have $326B backlog. Watch for the B737 to build slower, as well, while the goal will ultimately be some 30 per month. Also, Boeing reports the 747-8 will end in 2022. Further, we expect the company to shut down production of the 787 Dreamliner in Everett because of the slow-down and move existing production to South Carolina, no doubt because of demand and reduced labor costs. Be prepared, there will be more job cuts!)

 


COMING ATTRACTION

Next week we will deliver our readers a report on an amazingly small, incredible sounding BOSE product that you might consider getting for your family as you are all staying at home during COVID-19. And, yes, if you can’t send one of your youngsters to school, you have an audio out.


OTHER

Gogo’s new 3,000ft service altitude is giving AVANCE customers 20 more minutes of inflight Wi-Fi time: Here are 6 productive ways to spend it. Ask any busy professional, and they’ll all agree that time is their greatest, and most limited, asset. That’s why Gogo worked tirelessly to lower its network service altitude from 10,000ft AGL to just 3,000ft. It’s a big change that will give Gogo AVANCE customers, on average, an extra 20 minutes of inflight connectivity. Plus, for the first time ever, smaller aircraft that don’t typically fly above 10,000 feet will now have the opportunity to enjoy seamless inflight connectivity for the majority of their flight.

Why is 20 more minutes of Wi-Fi a big deal? Here’s a list of 6 productive things you could do to make valuable use of your flight time:

1. Join a Zoom or Teams group meeting – Connect live with your colleagues sooner, and for longer during your flight.

2. Download The Pomodoro Technique on Audible – Learn how to use this legendary time management strategy. The Pomodoro Technique (Audiobook) by Francesco Cirillo | Audible.com

3. Check and reply to your email – On average, professionals check their email 15 times per day, or every 37 minutes.

4. Watch Simon Sinek’s: How Great Leaders Inspire Action – This TED talk is 18 minutes and hugely popular. Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action | TED Talk

5. Binge on the news – On the Gogo network, the most popular sites with business travelers are Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, NBC, the New York Times and ESPN.

6. Schedule a ride and find a great place to eat

According to Gogo bizav customers, Yelp and Uber are 2 highly valuable personal apps.
There’s so much more you can do to maximize 20 extra minutes. And connecting at lower altitudes is yet another example of why AVANCE is connectivity’s smartest platform: allowing Gogo to quickly and easily deploy new innovations for our customers.


PANASONIC

Air Tanzania has selected Panasonic Avionics’ (Panasonic) inflight entertainment (IFE) and connectivity systems to enhance the passenger experience onboard its Airbus A220 aircraft. The airline has equipped two of its A220s with Panasonic’s eX1 IFE solution which is specifically designed for narrowbody aircraft. Each seat will feature elegant full HD seatback monitors, complete with touch displays and handsets, and an intuitive, personalized interface. Passengers will have access to USB and laptop charging power points at every seat.

Air Tanzania’s A220s will also be fitted with Panasonic’s inflight Wi-Fi service. Panasonic’s next generation connectivity enables fast internet to video streaming, all powered by its new satellite modem featuring bandwidth up to twenty times greater than previously available.

The announcement marks the extension of Panasonic’s relationship with Air Tanzania following the airline’s selection of its inflight entertainment and connectivity solutions for two of its Boeing 787 aircraft and two Airbus A220s in 2018. “By selecting Panasonic’s inflight entertainment and connectivity systems, Air Tanzania can deliver personalized, immersive entertainment to every passenger, no matter where in the cabin they are seated,” said Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation. “These inflight experiences will help Air Tanzania encourage brand loyalty, keeping their valued customers coming back time and time again.”

The flag carrier of Tanzania was the first African airline to take delivery of the A220 in November 2018 and January 2019. It operates a fleet consisting of the Dash 8-Q400, Airbus A220 and Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. “Operating our new A220 equipped with Panasonic’s IFE and Wi-Fi service brings together the right culture, values, and expertise to fulfil our goal of satisfying our customers—which is part of our vision.” said Eng. Ladislaus Matindi, CEO & Managing Director of Air Tanzania. “The installation of Panasonic’s systems allow ATCL operations to adjust to the new market realities. With highly-standardized facilities, Air Tanzania will expand its geographic reach by merging with other partners—especially foreign ones. This will also further strengthen our operations through more innovative strategies and allow us to remain competitive in today’s emerging markets.”

Also from PAC: Panasonic Avionics Corporation has announced the appointment of Joe Bentley as Chief Technology Officer.

Bentley, who joins Panasonic, will be responsible for leading all aspects of the company’s software and systems engineering teams, cloud, hardware, and IT/security. He will serve as a key member of Panasonic’s executive team and be directly responsible for an organization of over 800 employees spread across Panasonic’s Lake Forest, California headquarters, as well as the Bay Area office and other global locations.

Bentley was previously Senior Vice President, Engineering at Hulu where he led its 700-person engineering, program, and research organizations across three international offices. During his tenure, Hulu doubled subscribers to over 30 million while becoming the largest digital multichannel video programming distributor (DMVPD) in the US. Prior to joining Hulu in 2018, Bentley was Vice President, Software Engineering at GoPro, leading the company’s overall software research and development and launching its award-winning mobile apps to over 150 million devices worldwide and bringing its spherical Fusion camera to market. From 2012-2015, he was Director, Digital Products at Amazon, where he launched the market-leading Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick and led the development of the first-of-its-kind feature, the award-winning Voice Search through Alexa. Fire TV Stick was the fastest-selling product in Amazon’s history.


BOEING

Boeing and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, have finalized agreements for several supply chain solutions. These agreements strengthen Etihad’s commitment to ensuring the on-time performance and availability of its aircraft. The solutions included in the minimum 10-year agreements will help the airline simplify asset and maintenance management, reduce spare parts costs and improve parts availability. The new contracts include Boeing’s Component Services Program, Landing Gear Exchange program and Quick Engine Change kit purchases.

The agreements continue the strategic partnership between Boeing and Etihad Airways announced during the Dubai Air Show in 2019.

Etihad Airways joins the growing list of customers that trust Boeing solutions to enable and support the future growth of their 787 Dreamliner fleet, pushing the Boeing share of the 787 fleet’s component services market to almost 30 percent. This includes a 50 percent share of the 787-10 variant, covering both in-service fleet and orders on backlog.

Also from Boeing: FAA says when it issues NPRM for AD affecting the 737 MAX, it will keep commitment to transparency and provide 45 days for public comment on proposed design changes and crew procedures, which would most likely mean the aircraft will not return to service until 4Q20 at earliest. (SpeedNews)

And more Boeing News: DHL Express and Boeing announced that it will add four 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF) as part of the logistics company’s efforts to continue modernizing and growing its fleet with cost-efficient and reliable freighters. This step is part of DHL’s effort to modernize its long-haul intercontinental fleet in order to fly more eco-friendly and cost-efficiently. The aircraft are converted from passenger to freighter configuration by Boeing to fit the needs of DHL Express and meet the rising global demand for express services.
The world’s most efficient medium wide-body twin-engine freighter, the Boeing 767 freighter family boasts the lowest direct operating costs, best payload-to-weight ratio and allows airlines to develop new opportunities in the long-haul, regional and feeder markets. The 767-300BCF has virtually the same cargo capability as the 767-300F production freighter with approximately 50 tonnes structural payload at a range of approximately 3,000 nautical miles (5,556 kilometers) and 412,000 pounds (186,880 kilograms) maximum takeoff weight.

 


OTHER NEWS

FlightPath3D

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

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

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

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

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

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


Airbus

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

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

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

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

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


Boeing

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

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

Supply chain agreements include:

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

Agreements for data-driven solutions include:

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

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

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

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


Other News

AND SOME SAD NEWS

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

Miltope: Reliable In The Extreme

IFExpress recently had the opportunity to connect with the Miltope team and we discovered that the company is celebrating 45 years in the aviation sector, specifically 20+ in the commercial aviation space. In conjunction with this milestone, they have rebranded and you will notice their new logo in today’s publication.

Miltope has a long-standing history of setting the standard for commercial aviation applications that can withstand the harshest conditions. “Reliable in the extreme, is how we approach everything we do,” said Jack Haley, President and CEO of Miltope. “Whether with our customer relationships or our hardware design and development, Miltope’s capabilities are defined by this mantra. This philosophy relies on a common, open architecture approach of satisfying performance requirements to minimize integration challenges, enhance capability, and ultimately provide the best value solution. And our new logo, the Rhino, embodies this dedication to ruggedized, reliable hardware.”

In an area where technology capabilities evolve rapidly, designing systems that can remain relevant and innovative over the long lifecycles required for the aviation sector is always a challenge. Miltope understands these challenges as well as the complex, technical operating environment and what is required of their rugged devices. This understanding is a critical element in their product design and ensures that Miltope’s rugged systems accommodate technologies well into the future.

With over 20,000 products installed, Miltope is an industry leader in wireless networking solutions for the commercial aviation industry. This includes their very capable servers and access points. One of the unique aspects the company brings to the table is wireless network optimization. The nMAP2 802.11ac Multifunction Access Point uses Cognitive HotspotTM Technology (CHT) and soon CHT Plus to optimize and cyber secure the cabin network and maximize its capacity and distribution for the benefit of the passenger and the airline. nMAP2’s sense their environment and adapt the wireless network performance components accordingly. They cooperate with neighboring nMAP2’s, allowing them to manage all available resources, prevent interference and balance the network usage. This provides clear and fast wireless capacity throughout the cabin, ensuring secure communications and minimizing interference. The CHT Plus upgrade adheres to the WPA3 standard, includes an WIPS (Wireless Intrusion Prevention System) and offers Hotspot 2.0 capabilities. Each nMAP2 has two radios, providing both IEEE 802.11a/n/ac operation and 802.11a/g/n for legacy client devices. We are told that wireless data rates up to 1.7 Gbps may be achieved with 802.11ac.

Miltope also offers an ARINC 763 compliant Cellular Terminal Wireless LAN Unit (cTWLU) that is based on the nMAP2 hardware. This is a wireless gateway from an aircraft LAN to a ground based LAN that automates data delivery without the delays and costs associated with human intervention. The cTWLU provides IEEE 802.11b/g/n or 802.11ac wireless operation plus 3G/4G cellular operation modes. This is a compact and secure interactive web based interface to a software management tool with proven reliability, requiring no maintenance. It is software upgradeable to support evolving security, connectivity and authentication protocols.

The xMAP is the next generation airborne wireless access point product family member from Miltope and is foundational to a software platform for wireless data in the cabin. Whether streaming cashed content, e-mails through the Internet, cabin IoT data or crew communications, the adaptive wireless network manages, optimizes and cyber-secures data flow for each aircraft and across the fleet. This hardware and software solution significantly expands network capabilities and throughput, while incorporating exceptional software features and functions, including the additional features CHT Plus offers for the nMAP2 upgrade. The xMAP will feature 802.11ax, CHT, embedded SSD providing distributed content caching, cyber security, intelligent client connection and roaming, and WPA3.

IFExpress expects to see the latest updates to the nMAP2 and the cTWLU at the next trade show, and Miltope has told us they will be rolling-out the xMAP in 2021, and other new products and services over the next several years.

Lastly, we want to congratulate Miltope on celebrating 45 years in aviation and be sure to check out their video!


Panasonic: Middle East Airlines Selects Panasonic Avionics For A321 Family IFE and Connectivity

Panasonic Avionics  has been selected by Middle East Airlines-Air Liban (MEA) to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for 15 of its Airbus A321 family aircraft.

Upon delivery from July 2020 onwards, 9 A321neos will become the first connected aircraft to join MEA’s fleet. They will be linefitted with Panasonic’s eX1 seatback IFE solution, designed specifically for narrowbody aircraft.

eX1 offers elegant full HD seatback monitors, complete with touch displays and handsets, and an intuitive, personalized interface. Passengers will have access to USB and laptop charging power points at every seat as well.

MEA’s A321neos will also be fitted with Panasonic’s inflight Wi-Fi service, with a host of next generation connectivity benefits from fast internet to video streaming, all powered by its new satellite modem which offers bandwidth up to twenty times greater than previously available.

Panasonic’s high-performance connectivity is a powerful way for airlines to build brand loyalty by delivering new and personalized content to passengers inflight.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Middle East Airlines to enhance the passenger experience on their A321 family aircraft with our world-class inflight entertainment and connectivity. The Middle East is a dynamic and strategically important region for Panasonic Avionics.”

Mohamad El Hout, Chairman – Director General of MEA, said; “We are happy to partner again with Panasonic Avionics. MEA’s new aircraft is equipped with its state-of-the-art inflight entertainment systems including WiFi connectivity for the first time, reflecting the company’s ambition to provide customers with the best products the industry has to offer.”


FTS Innovative Connectivity: Ka-band Inflight Connectivity System Goes Live on Qingdao Airlines

FTS, a provider of wireless Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions, announced that its XStreamSAT Ka-band Inflight Connectivity System has officially gone live on Qingdao Airlines. A grand ceremony was held on 7 Jul 2020 in Qingdao, China to commemorate this momentous occasion, followed by a live inflight broadcast media event on the debut flight QW9771 from Qingdao to Chengdu.

FTS XStreamSAT is the first Ka-band inflight connectivity system to launch in China, following the award of both FAA STC and CAAC VSTC airworthiness certification, after installation on one Qingdao Airlines A320 aircraft. The official launch marks the culmination of relentless team effort by FTS, China Satcom, TDT Link and other valued partners.

XStreamSAT is FTS’ state-of-the-art flagship product that equips the aircraft with highspeed satellite broadband connectivity. The full onboard system comprises of Cabin Wireless Network, MODMAN (Modem and Manager), satellite antenna subsystem, radome, adapter plate and other structural parts. For the China market, it has been optimized to connect with China Satcom’s Chinasat-16 Ka-Band High-Throughput Satellite (HTS), offering unprecedented bandwidth in excess of 150Mbps for each aircraft.

On the debut flight, passengers connected to the onboard wireless network using their own mobile devices and were treated to a galore of over 2000 entertainment selections, curated inflight shopping catalogue with over 500 items (supporting online payment), flight map and of course, the highspeed internet access. A live inflight broadcast was hosted on the ever-popular Douyin (Chinese version of Tik Tok) platform, showcasing smooth 2-way live video communication between the flight and ground audiences.

With the completion of extensive testing and commercial launch, FTS is working to accelerate the fleet-wide installation on all of Qingdao Airline’s fleet of 25 Airbus A320/321 aircraft. To realize its vision of fully connected Digital Aircraft, FTS will be progressively introducing other applications in areas such as flight operations, flight safety, aircraft maintenance, cabin crew services etc. Following the successful launch on Qingdao Airlines, FTS has announced to the world that it is now a serious contender in the Inflight Connectivity solution provider space and looks forward to engaging global airlines and markets on a wider scale. For more information contact marketing@fts.aero


SITA

German leisure airline Condor is making significant enhancements to fuel optimization through the deployment of eWAS to more than 700 pilots and dispatchers. The signing with SITA’s aircraft domain of expertisewhich includes the provision of eWAS Pilot and eWAS Dispatch applications – brings several major benefits for the popular holiday airline. As severe weather events become more frequent and intense, eWAS Pilot delivers both forecasts and satellite-based observation data, enabling Condor’s crews to avoid the avoidable and create more economic, intelligent, and flexible flight plans.

Through enhanced route optimization, Condor is further ensuring the safety and wellbeing of its passengers, pilots, and crews, as well as addressing demands to lessen environmental impact, by reducing unnecessary fuel consumption and limiting turnaround times, achieving significant fuel- and cost-savings.

eWAS Dispatch, which has been developed in collaboration with dispatchers themselves, will improve workflow by providing the same, real-time, graphically optimized view and information as pilots, enhancing processes and collaboration across dispatch and cockpit teams.

Christian Schmitt, Managing Director Operations of Condor, says: “At Condor, our focus has always been delivering on the promise of quality to our passengers and ensuring the highest safety standards for customers, crews and pilots. As an existing SITA customer, its aircraft communications technology has enabled us to collaborate more efficiently. Taking this next step in our partnership enables us to further enhance our operations and increase fuel economy, reflecting our strong emphasis on ecological responsibility.”

Stephan Egli, Commercial VP Europe, Middle East & Africa, SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, comments: “The expectation for real-time data flow is growing rapidly, with a host of changing mandates and regulations to ensure that flying is safer and more sustainable than ever. Alongside this, we want to enable our airline customers to provide real passenger satisfaction and optimize costs wherever possible. We’re pleased to continue our work with Condor to transform its optimization plans into reality and help them achieve this.”

The announcement comes just months after SITA’s acquisition of GTD Air Services – its collaborative partner in the development of the eWAS portfolio – which seeks to help airlines embrace a digital shift, making flying safer, more efficient, enjoyable and sustainable. The move is set to accelerate SITA’s existing Digital Day of Operations application portfolio, reinventing the operation of aircraft, flights, and the passenger experience.

Florent Birling, Head of eWAS Portfolio, SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, adds: “We’re excited to enable Condor to stay ahead in the post-COVID-19 environment by deploying new solutions for their pilots and dispatchers. We are further developing our flight efficiency and green operation solutions to allow airlines to reduce their cost and CO2 footprint.”


Flight Aware

FlightAware will provide Metron Aviation with access to the world’s largest flight tracking network and data fusion platform, including data from FlightAware’s terrestrial Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receivers in more than 195 countries delivering extensive flight data and surveillance position updates that will provide a valuable resource for Metron Aviation’s portfolio of Air Traffic Management (ATM) services and tools. The broad coverage of the world’s air traffic that FlightAware offers provides real value to Metron Aviation’s abilities to provide highly accurate demand predictions, for a more comprehensive operational picture, hours ahead of time.

As the first initiative of this relationship, Metron Aviation in partnership with CANSO will supply global ANSPs with their Horizon product with integrated FlightAware surveillance data as a complementary Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. Horizon will provide real-time demand prediction capabilities for airports and airspace to help mitigate the uncertainty regarding the restart of air traffic operations as the industry begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
FlightAware is a digital aviation company and operates the world’s largest flight tracking and data platform. With global connectivity to every segment of aviation, FlightAware provides over 10,000 aircraft operators and service providers as well as over 13,000,000 passengers with global flight tracking solutions, predictive technology, analytics, and decision-making tools.


Airbus

Airbus delivered 36 commercial aircraft in June 2020, representing a slight increase compared to 24 in May and 14 in April and bringing the total for the first half of the year to 196 deliveries.

In H1 2020, Airbus booked a total of 298 net commercial aircraft orders. This compares to 389 aircraft in H1 2019. The decrease reflects the COVID-19 crisis. By aircraft type, a total of 11 A220s, 157 A320 Family, 5 A330s and 23 A350s were delivered in the first half of 2020.


Other News

IdeaNova Technologies Updated Ad Player Feature

IdeaNova Technologies has updated their Inplay Player 6 product with advertising capabilities. The newest ad playback feature allows monetization of video content through dynamic pre-roll and midroll ad insertion.

This new feature offers seamless navigation with markers indicating where the ad will be placed within the player, as well as the option to skip ads after the mandatory viewing time has expired. The ad skip functionality (See today’s IFExpress Image) is configurable per ad, giving inflight entertainment providers the ability to control this functionality based on their business requirements.

IdeaNova CTO Janne Pelkonen said, “We believe that customers at every level can benefit from this new technology,” Pelkonen continued with “All supported Inplay platforms can benefit from this new, standard – VAST compliant option to monetize on any video streaming solution. Our enhanced Ad platform is very flexible allowing a wide variety of ad content presentation, content management and reporting.”

The largest benefit of this offering is that it allows the entire platform, and therefore airline carrier, to generate additional revenue from streaming Hollywood and other video content across passenger owned devices. The use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) within aircrafts relieves airlines of the additional work of keeping seatback displays properly functioning. Also, with new safety guidelines and the hope to limit shared surfaces, use of PEDs keeps the cabin safer, adding to a more enjoyable passenger experience. This new ad serving technology is also available on seatback displays, giving airlines uniform platform for managing and displaying advertising content.

IdeaNova and IMD teams have been working in cooperation to integrate AirSAS advertising server. AirSAS.aero is a secured SaaS adserving solution that enables every stage of a digital advertising campaign without consuming any bandwidth during the flight.

The campaign management rules are set on AirSAS platform before to be sent inside the aircraft, they include audience targeting and specific routes choice. No campaign is being broadcasted without the approval of the airline carrier. The follow-up of the ad campaign with detailed reporting is available as soon as the flight is over when the aircraft is landing.

IMD CEO Jean-Marc Chevassus believes, “The sourcing of advertisers is being optimized through the connection between AirSAS AdServer and the first inflight advertising private marketplace: AirPMP”. AirPMP.aero is already aggregating the audience of 32 airlines offering an incredible volume exceeding 100 million inflight displays and video ad inventory/month and accessible by any media buyer at any time.

Every renown AdServer can connect to AirPMP, provided it meets minimum requirements especially regarding IVT (InValid Traffic). The marketplace enables an advertiser access to the audience details of any fleet across the world and immediately submits the media plan to both airline carriers and advertisers for seamless inflight digital advertising campaigns. Check out IdeaNova’s website for more information.


IFPL

IFPL have developed an advanced USB outlet that enables airlines to raise ancillary revenues and increase NPS (Net Promotional Score).

A standard USB sized Type A outlet gives you the ability to charge passengers for use of aircraft power. This is all managed using the existing online app. Alternatively, revenue can be generated through the selling of advertising space. The advert is triggered onto the passengers PED (Personal Electronic Device) when the cable is inserted into the unit.

With a drop in operations and revenue as a result of the Coronavirus, this maybe an ideal opportunity for airlines to review the installation of USB in seat power, combined with creating a brand new revenue stream. Contact IFPL for more information at innovate@ifpl.com


Gogo Now Providing Inflight Connectivity Beginning At 3,000 Feet

Gogo will lower the altitude at which passengers can begin using its connectivity services from 10,000 feet above ground level (AGL) to 3,000 feet AGL for a significant portion of its air-to-ground (ATG) fleet beginning July 20, 2020.

By enabling connectivity to begin at 3,000 feet, passengers will receive up to an additional 15-20 minutes of connectivity on many flights. The service will be available on business aviation aircraft equipped with AVANCE L5 or L3 systems, and on commercial aviation regional jets equipped with Gogo ATG-4 and ACPU2 technology.

The lower service altitude will enable aircraft that fly shorter flights and spend little to no time above 10,000 feet the opportunity to take advantage of in-flight connectivity for the majority of their flights. Approximately 25% of flights by Gogo equipped regional jets have durations under 60 minutes.

“The additional connectivity time is a significant enhancement and will deliver even more value to customers,” said Sergio Aguirre, president of Gogo Business Aviation. “It makes connectivity available to those who believed inflight Wi-Fi wasn’t an option because they fly shorter routes.”

Gogo will begin a phased process to enable service at 3,000 feet through ground-system configuration and remote software updates – all without requiring any onboard manual intervention. And Gogo will offer the additional service time with no additional fees.

Approximately 1,300 AVANCE systems flying in business aviation will benefit from this change, as will roughly 650, or 40%, of the commercial airline regional jets equipped with Gogo connectivity.

“By lowering the altitude where passengers can be connected, we’re improving the service to our airline customers and their passengers,” said John Wade, president of Gogo Commercial Aviation. “Passengers who fly shorter routes will now be able to be connected, allowing them to make the most of their time during those flights.”

Gogo has conducted hundreds of test flights of this product enhancement on approximately 50 aircraft during the past four months and has found that service at 3,000 feet will be available at most locations throughout the contiguous United States.

“In our flight testing, we found that the AVANCE L5 consistently performed well at altitudes below 10,000 feet and provided a quality connectivity experience for our passengers,” said Tim Eames, chief pilot for Odin 123, LLC, that participated in several test flights for Gogo. “The additional time to conduct business or make arrangements was valuable and appreciated by our passengers.”

The customer experience will be similar across both the AVANCE L5 and L3 systems and on the qualifying ATG-4/ACPU2-equipped commercial fleet. Testing shows service may not be available everywhere and system performance may vary from airport to airport, Gogo’s service guarantees apply once an aircraft reaches 10,000 feet above ground level (AGL).

Until now, Gogo enabled access to its connectivity services beginning at 10,000 feet AGL. Through software and configuration changes, as well as some modifications to the network, Gogo determined it was possible to provide service at a lower altitude using its licensed spectrum in the 850 MHz range.


Thales

Yannick Assouad joins Thales. She will serve as Executive Vice President, Avionics, starting October 1, 2020.

She will take over from Gil Michielin, who will be retiring
Yannick Assouad will be a member of the Executive Committee of Thales, reporting to Patrice Caine, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer. She joined Thomson-CSF’s Radars & Countermeasures business as an engineer in 1986, and later served as head of the thermal analysis department, then head of its thermal and mechanical engineering department.
From 1998, she was Technical Director and then Chief Executive Officer of SECAN (Société d’Études et de Constructions Aéronavales), the French subsidiary of Honeywell specializing in air conditioning systems for aircraft. She was appointed Chairman of SECAN in 2000 and oversaw the aerospace company’s recovery after the 2001 crisis. In 2003, she joined Zodiac, initially as head of the services business of its Intertechnique subsidiary. Appointed to Zodiac Aerospace’s Executive Committee in 2007, she created the group-wide Services business segment. In 2010, Yannick Assouad became responsible of Aircraft Systems segment, which was facing difficulties, and turned around the business through a policy of offensive innovation, centralized purchasing and lean manufacturing. During this time, she also oversaw several acquisitions, including the in-flight entertainment business IMS in California. In 2015, she became Head of Zodiac Cabin and was appointed to the Executive Board of Zodiac.


Emirates

The airline has removed economy class seats on 10 777-300ERs to carry up to 17 tonnes or 132 cu meters of additional cargo per flight. This includes the 50 tonne cargo capacity in belly. We understand this modification required 640 man-hours of work on each aircraft modified.


Boeing

  • Norwegian Air canceled orders for 97 Boeing jets, the largest cancellation since the MAX issues began. We note the airline is also suing Boeing for previous payments made for the 92 737 Max aircraft and five 787 Dreamliners. Norwegian has canceled the orders because of financial troubles.
  • Boeing employed over 160,000 people at the end of 2019, though COVID-19 prompted the company to announce a 10% workforce reduction. It had cut 12,000 jobs as of the end of May. Airbus announced workforce reductions of up to 15,000 (out of a total of ~134,000), also in response to reduced travel demand.
  • Due to its high share price and the small number of companies included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, changes in Boeing stock have an outsized impact.
  • Boeing’s Everett Washington factory is the largest building in the world by volume, and it claims to be the largest private employer in Washington State.
  • Boeing and the FAA have completed a 3 day test of certification requirements for the Boeing 737 MAX in a starting effort to return the plane to service after 15 months of grounding. After the data is reviewed, a certification is expected as well as approve a pilot training program and other details before the jet can go back to work! Noted the FAA, “The agency is following a deliberate process and will take the time it needs to thoroughly review Boeing’s work, and we will lift the grounding order only after FAA safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards.”
  • Boeing completed its 12th COVID-19 transport mission, using a Boeing Dreamlifter to bring personal protective equipment (PPE) to the United States. Working in partnership with the state of Utah, Atlas Air Worldwide, H.M. Cole, Cotopaxi, Flexport and UPS, the company transported 500,000 protective face masks bound for students and teachers across Utah returning to classrooms this fall. The state of Utah will distribute the face masks free of charge to school districts across the state with the greatest need. H.M. Cole, a custom clothing store, donated 250,000 masks – with 100,000 of those masks sized for children. Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear brand based in Salt Lake City, donated an additional 250,000 masks and converted one of its jacket manufacturers for temporary face mask production. Boeing donated the cost of the mission transport into Utah, with Atlas Air operating the flight on behalf of Boeing. Flexport and UPS helped coordinate customs assistance for the PPE shipment. “As students return to school this fall, it will be important that they have masks available,” said Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “We thank Boeing and these partners for everything they’ve done to support our ‘A Mask for Every Utahn’ initiative and make it possible for our students to have these masks and help keep Utahns safe.” “As a Benefit Corporation, we’re believers that businesses have a duty to utilize their influence and resources to positively impact the world,” said Davis Smith, Cotopaxi Founder & CEO. “We are proud to partner with the state of Utah and Boeing to help our hometown community as we fight this pandemic. Face masks are one of the key tools the public has to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and we’re thrilled that our efforts can help teachers and students safely get back in the classroom. “Similar to previous airlift missions facilitated by Boeing, the Dreamlifter – a converted Boeing 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter – flew the mission with the face masks stored in the lower lobe of the airplane. Following the delivery in Salt Lake City, the Dreamlifter will return to its home base in North Charleston, South Carolina, for a 787 components delivery in support of the global aerospace supply chain. “Boeing is proud to continue to use our resources to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said David Calhoun, Boeing President and CEO. “Today’s delivery, our 12th COVID-19 response airlift mission, expands our support of essential workers to include teachers and their students across the state of Utah so they have the protective tools they need to safely and confidently return to their classrooms.” To date, Boeing has helped transport more than four million units of PPE – including the in-house production of more than 39,000 3D-printed face shields – to frontline health care professionals and communities in need.

Other News

Today’s image is ANA’s A380 with the Orange Honu Livery. It made us smile and thought our readers would enjoy seeing it as well.

PXCOM

PXCom luanches Sanitized Travel-dedicated apps for IFEC platforms. It is a proven fact that keeping the middle seat empty is nonsense both economically speaking and from an overall hygiene standpoint. It has been widely debated over the past few weeks.

However, inflight social distancing can be organized. Once again, PXCom brings to the market evidence that inflight servers can be used far beyond plain entertainment, by launching the In-Cabin Mobility Management (IC2M by PXCom) software suite dedicated to dramatically improve the inflight social distancing.

Such suite is formed of 4 modules that the airline can choose either separately or in a bundle:

  • Toilets Queuing Management to avoid passengers gathered around the restrooms,
  • Overhead bin access regulation to ensure minimum distance as a passenger wants to access to its personal belongings
  • Disembarkation Process, to organize a guaranteed social distance as the passenger leave the aircraft.
  • Muti-chat: Passenger chat to avoid passengers from different rows physically connecting to discuss and also, passenger to cabin crew chat to minimize surface contact.

“Our customers are really excited about these capabilities, as we anticipate a 60% drop down of unmanaged in-cabin movement” states Cyril JEAN, PXCom CEO, “Of course all these digital services are fully customizable in order to integrate each of our customer’s management rules in consistency to its product experience.”

Empty the seat back pocket

Earlier in 2018, Marketplace analyzed over 100 samples on 18 flights, finding mold, staph and potentially harmful pathogens. It is not about proven or non-proven contagion threat; it is all about the trust factor and passenger’s concern for their health and safety.

To respond to this passenger expectation, PXCom has also launched the digitized safety & hygiene card.

Upon his first connection, the passenger is displayed a swipeable safety and hygiene card, in his desired language, which content is directly bound to the aircraft he is seating in. Thanks to PXCom technology, the content of this interactive card is managed from the cloud-based back office and can be updated as often as the hygiene measures evolve, through the media content update process.

At the end of the swipe, the passenger can either acknowledge and be redirected to the homepage of the IFE GUI or jump into the destination airport’s specific hygiene measures.

This innovative offering complements solutions from PXCom that are already flying for inflight mag digitization, interactive meals menu cards and onboard shopping catalog, that are also ancillary revenues generators.

Of course, air regulations still require the safety card to be physically present onboard the aircraft, but thanks to PXCom solution, cabin crew can be informed in real time about which passenger has not been through the card, offering such passenger to be provided with printed copies.

Trust is the new currency

Among the airline community, everybody has been largely informed that flying is still highly secure when it comes to contamination risks whenever passengers and cabin crew wear masks. But beyond the airline professionals, casual passengers are widely frightened by the idea of being contaminated during their flight.

As a result, PXCom Post-Covid solutions not only bring new capabilities for inflight hygiene, but they are also highly valuable assets that help airlines in regaining passenger confidence.

Easy to roll out on the w-IFE/IFC platforms, as any PXCom solutions, these new digital services are compliant with any seatback screens platform.

Definitely, an important differentiating marker in an ever-tougher period.


GOGO

Gogo Business Aviation hit 3,000 daily flights late last week, showing strong signs of recovery from the COVID-19 related single-day low-point of 378 daily flights in mid-April.

“I’m encouraged because we’re seeing several positive trends taking shape in the market,” said Sergio Aguirre, president of Gogo Business Aviation. “We’ve strived to be a good partner with our customers to get through a very difficult time together, and we’re now in the midst of a measurable recovery as flight activity increases.”

Business aviation hit a low point in mid-April when many aircraft owners chose to park their aircraft and 30 percent of Gogo Business Aviation’s accounts chose to reduce their spending through either account suspensions or service-plan downgrades.

Since that time, however, nearly 60 percent of Gogo’s suspended customers have reactivated their service, with approximately 80 percent reverting to their original service plan.

The number of flights flown with active Gogo service onboard has continued to increase, reaching 3,039 flights last Thursday, close to Gogo’s pre-COVID average of 3,500 flights per day. Gogo is actively working with customers to reactivate service quickly as flying activity increases, and installations of new AVANCE L5 and L3 are on the rise.

“I’ve been amazed with the level of productivity and engagement our employees have delivered to help our customers, and the company, get through this unique and challenging time,” Aguirre added. “And from an innovation standpoint, we have several positive developments that will be released in the coming weeks that will make your Gogo inflight experience even better.”


SITA

The global air transport industry is grappling with one of the single biggest challenges it has ever faced: how to recover from a historic decline in air travel, caused by COVID-19. While travel restrictions are starting to ease, and the ATI is beginning to remobilize, no-one knows exactly what the next few months will bring. What is clear, however, is that the industry will need to be able to adapt to a new – and changeable – operating environment; one that requires operators to keep passengers feeling safe and reassured, keep flights to time, and meet sustainability targets – all on a tightened budget.

Digitalization is vital here. Airlines and other businesses are going to need the flexibility, adaptability and automation offered by digital transformation to ride out the pandemic’s fall-out, adjust their business models and succeed into the future. To help them do it, they’ll need the right mix of solutions and expertise on their side – digitalizing to adapt to the needs of the future.

Many airlines are facing restart with a scaled back and more scattered workforce. They are also weighing up a lot of big unknowns: which routes should be reopened and when, depending on country restrictions? How many passengers will return, and how quickly? Which aircraft should fly or be grounded? And what size flight and cabin crew will they need to serve them?

Airlines are facing all these questions, while knowing the rules could change from one day to the next. Digitalizing technologies and innovations enable enhanced air/ground connectivity, communications and operational efficacy, and pool the latest real-time information, to support informed and timely decision-making. These prime resources help airlines flex and adapt to changing needs. While ideally being fast and simple to deploy, and intuitive to use, digital tools can also streamline routine tasks through automation to minimize workload.

Such solutions are very much the remit of SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, SITA’s connected aircraft domain of expertise.
Digitalizing to work smarter and leaner is the key. SITA has developed a suite of connected applications and services, and technological capabilities that help airlines work in this more flexible, adaptive, automated and collaborative way. They help bring enhanced operational- and cost-effectiveness, while giving greater visibility over the ‘live’ nose-to-tail operation – whether that’s around situational weather events or restrictions, identifying the least cost-routing channels available for ACARS messaging, the status of passenger, cargo and aircraft health, or fueling requirements.

With the SITA crew applications, airlines can ensure passenger safety and satisfaction onboard, while alleviating paper-based processes to make flights more sustainable.
Their cabin connectivity solutions, meanwhile, give passengers the low-touch autonomy they desire, enabling them to use their own devices to surf, stream, and pay and verify, contact-free.

And, for all of SITA’s solutions and services, they strive to work closely with customers to develop flexible business models that can readily adapt to reflect needs as they change.
“We’re here to help you through.”

SITA FOR AIRCRAFT is proud to play a part in advancing the flexible, agile solutions that can support their customers through this challenging time. They are 100% dedicated to the industry and its success and are here to help it navigate the right path to recovery.

Find out more by exploring their website.


AIRBUS

Following an extensive two-year flight test program, Airbus  successfully concluded its Autonomous Taxi, Take-Off and Landing (ATTOL) project.In completing this project, Airbus has achieved autonomous taxiing, take-off and landing of a commercial aircraft through fully automatic vision-based flight tests using on-board image recognition technology – a world-first in aviation. In total, over 500 test flights were conducted. Approximately 450 of those flights were dedicated to gathering raw video data, to support and fine tune algorithms, while a series of six test flights, each one including five take-offs and landings per run, were used to test autonomous flight capabilities.

The ATTOL project was initiated by Airbus to explore how autonomous technologies, including the use of machine learning algorithms and automated tools for data labeling, processing and model generation, could help pilots focus less on aircraft operations and more on strategic decision-making and mission management. Airbus is now able to analyze the potential of these technologies for enhancing future aircraft operations, all the while improving aircraft safety, ensuring today’s unprecedented levels are maintained.

Airbus will continue research into the application of autonomous technologies alongside other innovations in areas such as materials, alternative propulsion systems and connectivity. By leveraging these opportunities, Airbus is opening up possibilities for creating new business models that will transform how aircraft are developed, manufactured, flown, powered and serviced.

The rapid development and demonstration of ATTOL’s capabilities was made possible due to a cross-divisional, cross-functional, global team comprising of Airbus engineering and technology teams, Airbus Defence and Space, Acubed (Project Wayfinder), Airbus China and ONERA under the leadership of Airbus UpNext.

Also From Airbus:

Airbus plans to further adapt to COVID-19 environment. Airbus announced plans to adapt its global workforce and resize its commercial aircraft activity in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This adaptation is expected to result in a reduction of around 15,000 positions no later than summer 2021. The information and consultation process with social partners has begun with a view to reaching agreements for implementation starting in autumn 2020.

The commercial aircraft business activity has dropped by close to 40% in recent months as the industry faces an unprecedented crisis. Commercial aircraft production rates have been adapted accordingly. Airbus is grateful for the government support that has enabled the Company to limit these necessary adaptation measures. However with air traffic not expected to recover to pre-COVID levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional measures to reflect the post COVID-19 industry outlook.

Following the in-depth analysis of customer demand that has taken place over recent months, Airbus anticipates the need to adapt its global workforce due to COVID-19 by approximately:

● 5,000 positions in France
● 5,100 positions in Germany
● 900 positions in Spain
● 1,700 positions in the UK
● 1,300 positions at Airbus’ other worldwide sites

These figures include the Airbus subsidiaries Stelia in France and Premium AEROTEC in Germany. However, they do not include approximately 900 positions stemming from a pre-COVID-19 identified need to restructure Premium AEROTEC in Germany, which will now be implemented within the frame of this global adaptation plan. The details of this COVID-19 adaptation plan need to be finalized with social partners.
While compulsory actions cannot be ruled out at this stage, Airbus will work with its social partners to limit the impact of this plan by relying on all available social measures, including voluntary departures, early retirement, and long term partial unemployment schemes where appropriate.

“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. “The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic. Now, we must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers. To confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures. Our management team and our Board of Directors are fully committed to limiting the social impact of this adaptation. We thank our governmental partners as they help us preserve our expertise and know-how as much as possible and have played an important role in limiting the social impact of this crisis in our industry. The Airbus teams and their skills and competences will enable us to pursue our ambition to pioneer a sustainable future for aerospace.”


OTHER NEWS

On Monday June 22, 2020 via a webinar (the foreseeable trend of the future), Burrana unveiled RISE, its latest, flexible and modular IFE platform, which they had planned to debut during AIX Germany this past April.

The presentation was primarily run by David Pook – Vice President of Marketing and Sales Support, who joined Burrana in September 2019 after spending the past 15 years at the Thales InFlyt Experience. “RISE was created to solve airlines’ most challenging issues regarding in-flight entertainment, while providing passengers with an experience unlike any other”, said Pook.

The RISE platform consists of hardware, software, apps, and services which can be scaled up or down depending on aircraft type and business need.

Enabled by shared hardware and a common 48VDC power backbone, the RISE platform can be configured to include seatback, wireless, or overhead entertainment, as well as in-seat power – or any desired combination of these. Modularity, flexibility and scalability are the key to this offering and all of these services can be ‘mixed & matched’ to each airline’s preference depending on route and aircraft type within their fleet.

Approximately 18 months ago, Burrana completed their acquisition of Rockwell Collins IFE division, which had a large installation base of PAVES. With RISE, existing PAVES Broadcast customers can upgrade their systems to provide passengers with a RISE entertainment experience for roughly 50% less than a new system. And given that there are roughly 1,300 older PAVES systems currently flying today this is clearly a good target market for RISE.

All the displays within the RISE platform are 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) resolution and feature High Dynamic Range (HDR), large amounts of local storage, and robust processing power, packaged in a very thin and modern design. Each seatback display also supports integrated single-pin audio, Bluetooth, Near Field Communication (NFC), and the airline’s choice between USB-C or the industry’s highest power USB-A offering.

RISE leverages crowd-sourced data and intelligent algorithms to deliver a dynamic entertainment experience that adapts to the passenger as they use it. RISE offers Targeted advertisements that allow the airline to maximize ad revenue using an intelligent, media-independent advertising ecosystem. The ad tool allows for easy campaign creation where the airlines can create and manage their campaigns based on budget, impressions or expiration date using a simple web-based portal. Ads can be loaded, stored and served independently to entertainment media, breaking the 45-90-day media cycle. RISE also has a powerful and dynamic recommendation engine, and comprehensive accessibility settings will provide passengers an intuitive IFE experience that is uniquely theirs.

Airlines’ IFE management teams will also benefit. “We’ve been really clever about how we’ve architected our software, apps and services”, says Pook. “RISE has completely eliminated the need for time-consuming and expensive change requests, ATPs, and FSATs. Airlines will be able to add or remove apps from aircraft via a simple, web-based tool and make changes to their GUI by themselves, without the need for formal acceptance testing”, says Pook.

RISE also features numerous ultra-high-speed content loading options, including USB 3.0, removable SSD, Gigabit Ethernet, cell modem, and wireless. New content is added via an intelligent ‘delta’ load, so titles are immediately available. Also, content is loaded in the background and can be done on the ground or inflight, assisting aircraft to depart on time.

Additionally, RISE also offers easier maintenance and is roughly 30% lighter than competitive solutions. Burrana states their seatback IFE solution offers $16-45K in fuel savings per aircraft per year. They support this statement by offering: 1) Intelligent power sharing that uses a proprietary load shed management that enables them to deliver power to the entire aircraft with fewer, lighter LRUs, 2) Ultra-thin, lightweight seatback displays that are 10mm thin, 3) 4K overhead displays that are lighter, with higher resolution that translates to the need for fewer installed displays within the cabin, resulting in weight reduction and 4) A single capable server that supports seatback, wireless and overhead, all from a single 4MCU box.

Due to the pandemic, Burrana has adjusted their time-to-market and taken a scaled approach to the launch of the various RISE offerings. RISE Power will be available for retrofit on single and twin aisle aircraft starting in Q1 2021 and available for linefit installations in 2022. The RISE 4K Overhead product will be available for retrofit in 2021 and linefit on Airbus in 2022. RISE Wireless retrofit installations will commence in 2021 with linefit in 2022. And the RISE Seatback product will be available for retrofit installations in 2022 with 2023 the target for linefit.


Bluebox & Retail inMotion

Yesterday, Retail inMotion, a provider of retail, logistics, and crew management solutions, announced its latest partnership in support of In-flight Entertainment Systems (IFE) integration. Retail inMotion is partnering with Bluebox Aviation Systems to offer an enhanced touch-free retail proposition for airlines worldwide.

Through this partnership, airlines will benefit from a deeply integrated, end-to-end solution in establishing new and innovative sales channels in the post-COVID-19 world.

“Airlines today face an increasingly challenging and evolving environment in meeting the levels of service passengers have come to expect over the last number of years,” said John Vaughan, Head of Product Management at Retail inMotion. “By combining the expertise of Retail inMotion and Bluebox, we can help airlines address these challenges both now and in the future while increasing ancillary revenues.”

“Airlines wish to get back to delivering in-flight experiences that delight passengers without compromising the safety protocols that are being implemented to protect both passengers and cabin crew,” states David Brown, Director of Business Development at Bluebox. “In partnership with Retail inMotion we’re offering a touch-less shopping experience for food, beverages and other goods on our battery or aircraft-powered wireless IFE platform, Bluebox Wow. Virtualizing the trolley and facilitating touch-less payments, we’re enabling passengers and crew to maintain as much social distance as possible, while keeping open an important revenue stream for the airline.”

Bluebox Wow already supports the hygienic provision of seatback information such as in-flight magazines and safety cards. However, the current environment expedited the need to deliver a touch-less payment option that integrated smoothly with the inventory management systems on board,” added Brown. “Working with Retail inMotion, we’re now able to bring that virtual trolley experience to market.”


COLLINS

Collins Aerospace Systems has developed and implemented a multi-tiered solution that converts passenger aircraft into a cargo configuration, allowing airlines fleet flexibility to transport critical medical materials, goods and other freight in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The quick-turn conversion, available for any passenger aircraft model, can be completed in as few as seven days and involves removing seats to allow a substantially higher volume of cargo carriage on the main deck floor. The aircraft can easily be converted back to a passenger configuration when the airline desires.

Through its Integration Engineering facility in Everett, Washington, Collins Aerospace has an extensive history in aircraft modifications and is able to offer Engineering Order (EO) solutions for rapid conversion as well as Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for cabin modifications to carry greater weight and various cargo types for longer-term flexibility. Cabin reconfiguration solutions may be implemented with the FAA or EASA approvals.

“The current situation has increased the need for airlines to deliver critical medical goods to locations around the globe,” said Trevor Skelly, general manager, Integration Engineering for Collins Aerospace. “Collins Aerospace is committed to using our cabin conversion expertise to assist our customers and ensure the important work of aiding the world in the fight against this pandemic continues.”


OTHER NEWS

What You May Encounter The Next Time You Fly

All of us know that we will experience many changes in the travel process as ‘non-essential’ air travel opens again. But what will it look like? And what are the airports and airlines doing to make the process safer? And is it sustainable over time? These are all questions that we have asked ourselves and have heard voiced from other industry pundits as well. So, let’s take a look at what has been, and or is being, implemented throughout the travel journey in the U.S.A. at this time.

Airports:

The safety, health and well-being of travelers is always a priority at any airport. But with COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting have certainly been stepped up. For example, at our local airport, Seattle Tacoma International, they have increased the frequency of cleaning with medical-grade products with an emphasis on high-touch areas and over 250 hand sanitizer stations have been added throughout the terminal. The Seattle Port Authority says that they have spent 5,270 hours cleaning and disinfecting each week and have “spritzed, sprayed, and dispensed over 1,010 gallons of hand sanitizer, more than 4,500 ounces of disinfecting spray and 1,135 containers of sanitizer wipes. “And we are certain other airports are following similar safety and disinfecting procedures.

Airports are also working on quickly converting bathrooms that aren’t already touch less to new fixtures for paper towels and automatic soap dispensers, as well as, faucets that are sensor-based and toilets with automatic flush features.

Every two hours the security checkpoints are being cleaned while deep cleaning and sanitizing TSA bins occurring after hours. Airports are also adding electrostatic sprayers that dispense a mist onto surfaces for an even coating of disinfectant that kills germs, such as COVID-19, in an effort to disinfect surfaces more often.

Plastic protective barriers that buffer interactions between travelers and airport employees are also common place, much like what we are experiencing in grocery stores, drug stores, etc.

In an effort to observe social distancing, decals are found on the floor throughout the facility at check-in counters, self-serve kiosks, baggage drop, baggage claim and throughout the TSA process. Travelers are also expected to wear a face covering throughout any touch points, to meet Center for Disease Control (CDC) requirements.

The Gate:

There are decals to remind people to observe 6 feet (2 meters) of social distancing during interactions with customer service representatives and other passengers. Seats in the gate area may be blocked in an effort to adhere to social distancing.  Overhead monitors and screens often contain reminders about this as well. And plastic barriers are in place at customer service desks.

Boarding Procedures:

Currently, many airlines have already started testing new methods of boarding in an effort to reduce the amount of cross passenger contact and observe social distancing.  Passengers are asked to stay seated until their row is announced, and many airlines are boarding in smaller groups, back –to-front.

But compared to the aircraft itself, which has well circulated air as long as the engines are running, the boarding procedure and area is poorly ventilated with passengers in close proximity to one another. Boarding is the riskiest part of air travel right now, at least from a COVID-19 perspective. Just think back to the crowded queue where we have historically been smashed together like sardines at the gate, on the jetway, and en-route to our seat prior to take-off.

There are some deceptively simple solutions that in the long run may change the way we board. Over the years, boarding order has typically started with anyone needing extra assistance (small children, the elderly, etc.), followed by higher status flyers on down to those of us traveling in steerage. It is not only an inefficient and time-consuming process, but it is a stressful one as well. Passengers lined up like they are on a commuter train, bumping into one another, hoisting bags into overhead bins, or walking up and down looking for available bin space is something we have all witnessed and experienced. Let’s face it; this is a COVID-19 droplet cross contamination haven.

In a poorly ventilated area like the jet bridge, packing people in close proximity even while wearing facemasks is a highly risky scenario and is needlessly dicey when there are better ways to accomplish the boarding procedure.

A few changes could include the following: boarding from the back of the aircraft forward; boarding window seats first, followed by the middle seats, then aisle seats. Organizing these sections in small groups in the gate area before sending them down the jetway takes time and space but could definitely lead to a new and improved boarding process. Another scenario that could reduce the number of people each traveler comes into contact with is boarding from both the aircraft nose and the tail of the aircraft, but this has its own set of organizational issues and would require a group of passengers loading from the tarmac via a set of mobile stairs, etc. Whichever changes to the boarding procedure an airline elects to implement there will assuredly be a learning-curve by both the ground crew and the passengers themselves, so it may be a good thing that load factors aren’t too high as these new strategies are put into place.

A total 180-degree approach to carry-on luggage could also make the process far more efficient and reduce the number of touchpoints as well. By promoting and rewarding checked luggage there would be fewer gate-side check-ins, less shifting and shuffling of overhead bags, and a faster loading process overall.

As biometrics become more prevalent the use of scanners to match your face with your identity will further reduce the contact between ground staff and travelers. This will also speed up the process as the amount of time spent fumbling for boarding passes and/or mobile phones will be eliminated. The biometric software needs some tweaks, but it is well on its way as it is already being utilized for some border control entry points.

The Aircraft:

Planes are equipped with hospital-grade HEPA filters that typically remove 99.95% of airborne particulates.

The air flows from the ceiling to the floor and creates completely new air in the cabin 20 to 30 times an hour so the air filtration systems cycle outside air onboard every 3 minutes. If you want more filtered air, be certain to open your personal air vent after you’re seated – that air is filtered for your seat only. Studies have shown that due to the frequency of air circulation, cabin air filtration is comparable to what is found in hospitals.

Airlines are requiring their guests to wear face coverings throughout any touch points and during the flight experience except when consuming food or drink. Most airlines have masks available for passengers in case they don’t have them.  If travelers refuse to wear a face mask they will be denied boarding and, in many cases, given the opportunity to reschedule their flight. Details about these requirements are provided to passengers in their pre-trip communications.

For the time being, some airlines are providing travelers more space and flexibility in order to achieve social distancing onboard by blocking off all middle seats on large aircraft and aisle seats on smaller aircraft.

In the U.S.A. all airline employees and business partners who cannot maintain six feet of social distance during interactions with travelers or co-workers, including pilots, flight attendants, and customer service representatives.

Aircraft Cleaning:

Airlines are continuing to use disinfectants that use high-grade, EPA registered disinfectants to sanitize critical touch points like tray tables, seat belts, overhead bins, armrests and lavatories, etc.

New cleaning techniques and equipment are being implemented by many airlines to reduce the already low risk of onboard transmission often include the following: 1) Electrostatic disinfectant sprayers, which emit a safe, high grade EPA cleaning solution that sanitize the overhead bins, armrests, tray tables, seatbelts, lavatories, etc. 2) between flights, dedicated cleaning crews cover the most critical areas using the high-grade EPA disinfectant. They also clean the pilot/flight attendant spaces. 3) Individual hand sanitizer wipes are available onboard.

With all of the procedures in place, it is beginning to feel like air travel is perhaps safer than it ever has been – at least from a COVID-19 perspective! One thing is for certain, these changes will continue to be tailored over time and they are most likely here to stay for the foreseeable future.


Other News

Honeywell working to protect people returning to work and public places with individual personal protective equipment kits

Phoenix, AZ | June 2, 2020–Honeywell is helping provide a safer and healthier travel experience with new Honeywell Safety Packs designed to better protect airline passengers and crew while flying.

The kits — which come in sealed packets containing gloves, masks and hand wipes — are a part of Honeywell’s comprehensive efforts to help protect people as they return to public spaces and workplaces. These efforts include new technology to detect elevated body temperature, monitor air quality in buildings and determine if people in large groups are social distancing properly. Beyond use for air travel, the Honeywell Safety Packs will also be available for use in office buildings, warehouses, retail stores, sports arenas, schools and other public spaces.

“We strive to provide airlines with products and systems that help keep their passengers and employees safer,” said Mike Madsen, president and CEO, Honeywell Aerospace. “That goal of making safety simple and accessible remains the same, but the solution has evolved. Through collaboration with other Honeywell businesses, we acted quickly to develop a brand-new solution for aircraft hygiene.”

A recent informal survey conducted by Honeywell found that frequent flyers desire personal protective equipment, and that an array of solutions will help give them peace of mind to travel again.

“Health and safety are at the core of everything we do at Honeywell, and we’re bringing new solutions to the market that build on our long legacy of safety innovation,” said Will Lange, president of Honeywell’s personal protective equipment business. “From body temperature monitoring systems powered by artificial intelligence to N95 face masks, we’re helping improve safety for workers and workplaces.”

Honeywell offers two versions of the safety packs for air travel: one for passengers and one for the flight crew. The passenger version is designed for single use and contains latex-free gloves, a safety mask and hand wipes. Kits for crews and airline employees are available for single or longer-term use, with an option for a reusable version that has a mask with interchangeable filters, reusable safety glasses and hand wipes.

Both versions of the safety kits come in resealable bags for easy transportation and are available for airline, cargo and business aviation aircraft. The kits’ packaging can also be branded by the airline.

Honeywell Safety Packs are part of a strategic initiative among Honeywell’s businesses to come together to quickly develop solutions that are helping important sectors of the global economy recover. In addition

to this product family, Honeywell is also developing a full line of products to help airlines manage new protocols for cleaning, screening and social distancing.

From the check-in line to the cockpit, Honeywell’s experience in air travel, spanning components, airport management systems, personal protective equipment and building management technologies, makes it uniquely positioned to craft innovative solutions for the individual needs and challenges of airlines, airports and aircraft operators worldwide. In addition to air travel, across Honeywell, the company offers similar products for buildings, workers, manufacturing, entertainment, health care and supply-chain solutions.

There may be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as there are signs that the aviation industry has seen the bottom of the crisis and started the slow recovery. Readers will see a report from IATA reflecting this uptick. We also note in Other News an article from the New York Times that talks about when epidemiologists will be willing to undertake 18 everyday activities, including flying. – definitely worth the read!


IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that demand for air services is beginning to recover after hitting bottom in April. Passenger demand in April (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs), plunged 94.3% compared to April 2019, as the COVID-19-related travel restrictions virtually shut down domestic and international air travel. This is a rate of decline never seen in the history of IATA’s traffic series, which dates back to 1990. More recently, figures show that daily flight totals rose 30% between the low point on 21 April and 27 May. This is primarily in domestic operations and off of a very low base (5.7% of 2019 demand). While this uptick is not significant to the global dimension of the air transport industry, it does suggest that the industry has seen the bottom of the crisis, provided there is no recurrence. In addition, it is the very first signal of aviation beginning the likely long process of re-establishing connectivity.

“April was a disaster for aviation as air travel almost entirely stopped. But April may also represent the nadir of the crisis. Flight numbers are increasing. Countries are beginning to lift mobility restrictions. And business confidence is showing improvement in key markets such as China, Germany, and the US. These are positive signs as we start to rebuild the industry from a stand-still. The initial green shoots will take time—possibly years—to mature,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

IATA calculated that by the first week of April, governments in 75% of the markets tracked by IATA completely banned entry, while an additional 19% had limited travel restrictions or compulsory quarantine requirements for international arrivals. The initial flight increases have been concentrated in domestic markets. Data from late May show that flight levels in Republic of Korea, China and Vietnam have risen to a point now just 22-28% lower than a year earlier . Searches for air travel on Google also were up 25% by the end of May compared to the April low, although that’s a rise from a very low base and still 60% lower than at the start of the year.
“For aviation, April was our cruelest month. Governments had to take drastic action to slow the pandemic. But that has come with the economic cost of a traumatic global recession. Airlines will be key to the economic recovery. It is vital that the aviation industry is ready with bio-safety measures that passengers and air transport workers have confidence in. That’s why the speedy implementation of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) global guidelines for safely re-starting aviation is the top priority,” said de Juniac.


SITA

SITA has made several changes to its executive management team responsible for SITA’s product portfolios. These appointments come at crucial juncture as the air transport industry begins the difficult task of restarting operations after a lengthy shutdown due to the COVID-19 crisis.

David Lavorel, previously CEO of SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, has been appointed to head SITA AT AIRPORTS AND BORDERS, SITA’s airport and border solution portfolio. A key focus in 2020 will be to support SITA’s airline and airport customers to implement smart solutions to accommodate new passenger processes required to ensure the health and safety of travelers and employees. SITA is well placed to support the re-engineering of the passenger journey and to manage rapidly changing requirements at the border with the delivery of new solutions such as SITA’s cloud-based, open API platform, SITA Flex.

David will replace Matthys Serfontein, who will be retiring from SITA after 13 years. Sébastien Fabre, previously VP Airline & Airports Portfolio, will replace David to head SITA FOR AIRCRAFT. As airlines globally begin to resume flights, they will increasingly turn to SITA FOR AIRCRAFT to deliver new operational efficiencies such as faster turnarounds while extracting the full benefit of modern connected aircraft.

Barbara Dalibard, CEO, SITA, said: “Ensuring strong leadership of our key business areas is especially important as we look to support the industry as it begins to return to the skies. After more than a decade proving themselves highly capable of driving innovation while ensuring continued customer satisfaction, Sébastien and David are perfectly placed to steer the business through the new challenges and deliver solutions that help support the industry’s recovery.”
The new appointments came into effect from June 1, 2020.


Airbus

Airbus’ 2020 gross orders by May 31st totaled 365 aircraft and net orders stood at 299 aircraft. The Company registered zero cancellations in May and no new orders. During the month, 24 deliveries were achieved from the A220, A320 and A350 XWB aircraft families. Business in May brings the overall total orders logged by Airbus since its creation to 20,407 commercial aircraft, which includes 642 A220s, 15,572 A320 Family aircraft, 1,819 A330s, 930 A350 XWBs, and 251 A380s. In May, Airbus delivered two A220-300 to Air Canada and 18 A320 Family aircraft including the first A320neo to Wizz Air. For Airbus widebody aircraft, four A350 XWBs were provided in both A350-900 and A350-1000 configurations. Airbus’ backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of 31st May stood at 7,621, comprising 527 A220s, 6,199 A320 Family aircraft (including 6,139 A320neo Family), 322 A330s (including 287 A330neo family), 564 A350 XWBs and nine A380s.

More News from the company: Airbus named Anand Stanley as President Airbus Asia-Pacific, effective 1 July 2020. Based in Singapore, Anand Stanley will lead the strategy and future positioning of Airbus and its divisions across the region. In this role he will have responsibility for commercial aircraft sales and customer affairs, group-wide government affairs, industrial and joint venture partnerships, as well as the local operations at Airbus sites across the region. Anand Stanley reports to Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International, and will work closely with the Heads of Region for the Airbus Helicopters and Defence and Space divisions who are co-located at the company’s Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore.

Anand Stanley joined Airbus in 2018 as President & Managing Director of Airbus India, where he has overseen the Airbus business development and advanced the company’s position with key stakeholders, including customers, government agencies and industry partners. Prior to joining Airbus, Anand Stanley held senior positions in the civil aerospace, defence and helicopter markets, as well as in strategic management and M&A planning, having worked with the Linde Group, UTC, Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky. Over his career he has worked extensively internationally, with more than two decades of involvement in Asia and the Pacific region.

“Anand has brought a wealth of experience to Airbus and managed the company’s operations in India with very positive results,” said Christian Scherer. “His proven track record makes him the right choice to lead Airbus in the key Asia-Pacific market. We know that we can count on Anand to focus on supporting our customers in these most challenging times, while developing further our position as the leading partner for the aerospace sector in the region.”

Anand Stanley has an MBA from the University of Virginia-Darden in the US, a Bachelors of Engineering from Andhra University, as well as a postgraduate degree from IMI-Delhi.Anand Stanley succeeds Patrick de Castelbajac, who is leaving Airbus.

“On behalf of all of us at Airbus, I would like to thank my friend Patrick for his contribution and strong engagement during his years with Airbus and wish him all the very best in his personal and professional future,” added Christian Scherer.


Boeing

The Boeing Order Book at the end of April placed some 4,633 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on order, with some 387 delivered to date.


Other News

Frequent flyers want more personal protective equipment, technology to improve cabin cleanliness

Phoenix | May 26, 2020–An informal Honeywell (NYSE: HON) survey taken by more than 700 frequent business and personal air travel passengers indicates the types of guidelines and health-related equipment passengers may be looking for while flying during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The anonymous online survey showed that a majority of travelers (72%) were more concerned with the environment on an airplane than in an airport (28%). Nearly 60% of respondents cited social distancing as their top priority during travel, while about half of respondents cited air quality (51%) and personal protection equipment such as masks (47%) as top priorities. Passengers’ most-desired safety items during travel were masks, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes.

Cleanliness validation via technology was by far (60%) the most important way to provide confidence in seating-area-related cleanliness, according to the informal survey. Other considerations included providing cleaning supplies directly to the passenger (23%), followed by being informed and updated by the cabin crew (12%).

“This survey demonstrates that passengers want high-tech solutions to best validate the entire travel experience as it relates to health and safety,” said Kevin Suits, vice president, user experience, Honeywell Aerospace. “Honeywell offers a variety of relevant solutions today that we can bring forward to support travelers. We continue to speak with airline executives and transportation leaders about the types of new products and services that would support their efforts to further clean and monitor the cleanliness of their aircraft. We are quickly bringing to market new offerings that would be a win-win for our industry and all of us who love to fly.”

From an airport perspective, survey respondents were most concerned with the cleanliness of common areas, followed by the ability to social distance and fellow travelers’ use of protective equipment.

This informal and anonymous online survey, captured via SurveyMonkey, had 732 respondents split nearly evenly between North America and Asia, with a small number from elsewhere. The majority, 75%, were ages 25-44. Surveyed travelers fly equally for business and pleasure, mostly on domestic routes.

About Honeywell

Honeywell Aerospace products and services are found on virtually every commercial, defense and space aircraft. The Aerospace business unit builds aircraft engines, cockpit and cabin electronics, wireless connectivity systems, mechanical components and more. Its hardware and software solutions create more fuel-efficient aircraft, more direct and on-time flights and safer skies and airports. For more information, visit www.honeywell.com or follow us at @Honeywell_Aero.

Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 technology company that delivers industry-specific solutions that include aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings and industry; and performance materials globally. Our technologies help aircraft, buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains, and workers become more connected to make our world smarter, safer, and more sustainable. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywell.com/newsroom.

In response to COVID-19, procedure changes rolling out nationwide by mid-June

Washington | May 21, 2020– With the Memorial Day holiday weekend kicking off the start of summer, the Transportation Security Administration is preparing a very different travel season given the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. TSA has implemented changes to the security screening process that reduce the potential for cross-contamination at the security checkpoint in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. TSA has already begun implementation of these changes – with more to be implemented at airport checkpoints nationwide by mid-June.

“In the interest of TSA frontline workers and traveler health, TSA is committed to making prudent changes to our screening processes to limit physical contact and increase physical distance as much as possible,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We continue to evaluate our security measures with an eye towards making smart, timely decisions benefiting health and safety, as well as the traveler experience.”

Over the past couple of weeks, TSA has experienced a steady growth of travelers coming through airport checkpoints. As procedure changes begin to rollout in the coming weeks, travelers should expect to:

Keep possession of their boarding passes. Instead of handing their boarding pass to a TSA officer at the travel document podium, travelers should now place their boarding pass (paper or electronic) on the boarding pass reader themselves. After scanning, travelers should hold their boarding pass toward the TSA officer to allow the officer to visually inspect it. This change reduces the TSA officer’s need to touch a passenger’s boarding pass thus reducing potential for cross-contamination.

Separate food for X-ray screening. Passengers should place their carry-on food items into a clear plastic bag and place that bag into a bin. Food items often trigger an alarm during the screening process; separating the food from the carry-on bag lessens the likelihood that a TSA officer will need to open the carry-on bag and remove the food items for a closer inspection. This requirement allows social distancing, reduces the TSA officer’s need to touch a person’s container of food and reduces potential for cross-contamination. TSA Precheck members do not need to remove items from their bags.

Pack smart. Passengers should take extra care to ensure that they do not have any prohibited items, such as liquids, gels or aerosols in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces, in their carry-on bags (water bottles, shampoo). In response to COVID-19, TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. Passengers are required to remove the hand sanitizer from the carry-on bag before being submitted for X-ray screening. If a bag is found to contain a prohibited item, passengers may be directed to return to the divestiture table outside of security with their carry-on bags to remove the item and dispose of the item. The passenger may also be directed back outside of security to remove, items that should have originally been divested (such as laptops, liquids, gels, and aerosols, and large electronics) and resubmit their property for X-ray screening. By resolving alarms in this manner, TSA officers will need to touch the contents inside a carry-on bag much less frequently, reducing the potential for cross-contamination.

Practice social distancing.  Passengers should allow for social distancing to reduce direct contact between employees and travelers whenever possible without compromising security. Noticeable adjustments leading up to the security checkpoint include, increasing the distance between individuals as they enter the security checkpoint, placing visual reminders of appropriate spacing on checkpoint floors and staggering the use of lanes where feasible. No two airports are alike, so this could look a little different at each airport.

Wear facial protection. TSA officers at checkpoints are now using facial protection. Travelers are encouraged to wear face protection to the checkpoint as well. Please note, however, passengers may need to adjust it during the screening process. Travelers are also encouraged to remove items such as belts, and items from their pockets, like wallets, keys and phones, and put them directly into their carry-on bags instead of into the bins to reduce touch-points during the screening process.

Travelers who have not flown since the pandemic are also likely to notice some other changes. They include:

  • Reduced security lane usage due to the reduction in passenger volume.
  • All TSA officers at checkpoints wearing masks and gloves.
  • TSA officers optionally wearing eye protection and clear plastic face shields at some locations.
  • TSA officers will continue the practice of changing gloves after each pat-down.
  • Plastic shielding installed at many travel document checking podiums, divest, bag search and drop off locations.
  • TSA officers practicing social distancing.
  • Routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces in the screening checkpoint area.

Many airlines and airports are also providing specific COVID-19 related guidance to travelers; please check with your airline prior to your trip. Travelers are encouraged to arrive at the airport early as COVID-19 has affected staffing and operations across the airport environment. This will allow adequate time for checking bags, completing security screening and getting to the departure gate. Individuals who were traveling in the early months of the pandemic became accustomed to arriving at the security checkpoint shortly before their flight departure time. TSA recommends that travelers no longer do so (or arrive well in advance of their flight) since more people are flying and new procedures such as social distancing have been implemented in airports, potentially adding time to the pre-flight experience.

For more information on the TSA security screening process during the pandemic, visit www.tsa.gov/coronavirus.

If there is one word that aptly describes the future right now it is change. Strangely, the Coronavirus has been on of the biggest drivers we, as change receivers, have seen in recent decades. However, the shift in lifestyle as a result of this pandemic will both facilitate and accelerate some major changes for all of humanity. Frequently, unexpected disruptions result in dynamic shifts that drive both economic and political change, which lead to dramatic lifestyle changes. More importantly, if humanity does not or cannot adjust to a global crisis does it represent an evolutionary step backwards? Over the past 100 – 200 years, we as a species have learned how to quickly address potential changes that threaten our existence, which has resulted in an increased life expectancy, rapid rates of population growth and population density. For example compare the duration of the Bubonic Plague (peaked in Europe between 1347 – 1351 killing an estimated 25 million and still exists today) to the duration of the Spanish Flu pandemic (1918 – 1919 estimated to have infected 500 million or 1/3 of the world’s population and to have killed roughly 50 million). At the time of the Spanish Flu there were no influenza vaccinations. If you read articles that describe the circumstances, conditions and preventative measures taken during the Spanish Flu they could be describing today’s newspaper articles about measures to battle COVID-19: no vaccine to protect against influenza, no antibiotics to battle or treat secondary infections, isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, limitations on public gatherings, citizens were ordered to wear masks, schools, theaters and businesses were shuttered and bodies piled up in makeshift morgues. Does this all sound eerily familiar?

The first flu vaccine was developed in the 1940s and soldiers fighting in WW11 were the first to receive vaccinations. Today an annual flu shot is widely available. Society no longer panics or is driven into isolation during the annual flu outbreak – even though it kills thousands every year. And COVID-19 will most likely follow the same route. But the real question is how much time will this take and what path do we take in the interim?

In recent days and weeks are are beginning to see what the path forward may look like:

TRAVEL – An increase in LOCALISM is not only obvious during these times, but the question is: What impact on lifestyle and travel will be brought about by the future of medical demands and safety needs? While the value of not being influenced by a neighbor’s health are important where people spend most of their time (home & work), the changes that improve the safety and security of future lifestyle will be part of the future changes. This means your future work and travel may have new baselines and tools. For example, your next job visit just may be designed to give you less time near workers, but improve tools to facilitate better connectivity and communication. Similarly, airplane travel will have to change equivalently. If the demand for “6 foot spacing between humans to prevent contagion” is a passenger demand, the price of travel and the design of the aircraft interiors will probably have to change. The other change will be the printed materials in the seatback pocket: the safety brochures and the magazines are touch points that are impossible to clean and harbor germs and bacteria – in other words: high cross contamination points. These items will need to be quickly migrated to electronic formats. Additionally, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see seat fabrics that are antibacterial and easier to clean than the cloth fabrics of many aircraft seats in today’s jetliners. Passengers may well demand and/or expect many of these safety measures to be put into place in the near term.

IFE – And while we are on aircraft travel, IFE and entertainment solutions will probably have to change as well. For example, embedded IFE systems with touch screens or control PCUs will need to be better sanitized between each flight segment – this will take time. Moving forward to next generation systems, the industry may look toward voice or motion control options instead of touch screens or PCUs, making for quicker plane sanitization and less contact points between airline customers. No doubt, inflight entertainment itself will need to be refocused to deliver subject matter to meet new requirements of passenger desire and need, content that matches on-ground entertainment competition, increase subject matter that focuses on health related communication, travel focus on new/safe travel destinations, and on and on. Finally, as travelers carry better audio/video quality delivery devices on products like personal computers and entertainment hardware, aircraft entertainment and communication hardware and content will probably eventually need to be improved to compete – but our industry has been talking about this for years. In the near and long term, this will also increase the demand for wireless inflight entertainment systems transmitted to passengers’ own electronic devices (streaming content, safety briefings, etc.).

COMMUNICATION – And while we are discussing IFEC, airlines will, no doubt, see a need for improved communication and relationship requirements with travelers. Why? As passenger interaction with their family and audio/video connectivity increases, the other world of interaction with airline ticketing, airport cost and experiences, crew interaction and aircraft interfaces will need some adjustments. Change to make the experience better, more helpful, and a better interface with lifestyle based on the impact of COVID-19 issues – and it certainly needs to be safer to use. Who knows, localism just may be the best and safe solution for travel needs in the short term? Also, there is much talk about the need for contact tracing and retaining that information for upwards of 30 days. From an airline perspective, this is where AI and Big Data need to come into play. For the past few years our industry has been addressing the concept of the seamless travel experience, where a passenger will be able to use whichever frequent flyer portal they prefer across alliance members. The resident IFEC systems would be able to recognize that traveler, know there preferences, etc. This type of connection with the passenger before, during and after the flight has the potential for greatly facilitating the requirements of contact tracing.

TRAVELER NEEDS -Presently, what the traveler needs most is confidence and assurance that the travel process is as safe as it possibly can be from a health safety standpoint. The airports, airlines and possibly the hotels need to work in tandem to increase their processes and communication to build back the travel industry. The need for clear requirements regarding the traveling public need to be established: temperature tests, immunity cards, airport procedures, etc. Communication regarding the sanitization efforts both on the ground and in the plane: what is being done to assure the health of those that are traveling. An increase in the number of self-check-in kiosks, as well as, self bag drops, are required. Also, baggage claim needs a procedure to allow for social distancing and a luggage sanitization process – we all know what a zoo this process currently can be! Boarding procedures, mask wearing, etc. all need to be communicated and it would be most helpful if there were some consistency across the airlines and airports on a global scale. The more consistent and familiar the process is for the passenger the quicker the build up of the industry will be.

TRAVELER RISK AVERSION: Some airlines, like Lufthansa, are promoting bookings through December 31, 2020 by offering the ability for travelers to change their ticket one time with no change fee regardless of class of service or ticket type. The rescheduled travel must be for the same route and be completed in 2021. This offer provides the traveler with some assurance that their money wont be wasted if there is a 2nd wave, etc. We expect other airlines to take this route as well.

Lastly, let me finish by saying that the path forward for the airline industry will only be successful through knowing your passenger demographic and better communication with that passenger. This also applies to the IFEC supplier and airline relationship as well. As always, communication is the key!


SITA (this week’s image)

SITA has stepped up its commitment to developing a permanent digital identity for air travel by becoming a Premium Donor of the Sovrin Foundation, the international non-profit organization focused on the advancement of self-sovereign digital identity.

The Sovrin Foundation is a decentralized, global public utility for self-sovereign identity. Self-sovereign means a lifetime portable identity for any person, organization, or thing that allows the holder to present verifiable credentials in a privacy-protecting way. These credentials can represent things as diverse as a passport, an airline ticket or simply a library card.  SITA’s expanded role is key to speeding up the development of a permanent digital identity accepted by governments, airlines or airports globally for use during air travel yet ensuring privacy and protection of the user’s digital identity.

SITA has successfully deployed its Smart Path technology at airports to streamline the departure process through the use of a single biometric token, where a passenger’s face is their passport at each step of the journey across an individual airport – from check-in to boarding. However, the shift in focus in the next few years will see Smart Path integrated with self-sovereign identity, controlled by the individual and usable across governments, airports and airlines, streamlining the travel process even further.

Gustavo Pina, Director of the SITA Lab, said: “We expect in the coming years that the development of a universally accepted digital identity will replace the traditional passport. This will allow travel across borders with any airline or airport while ensuring that you, as the passenger, remain in full control of your identity while providing actionable, trusted data only to appropriate parties such as border agencies.”

“The benefits include a reduced arrivals infrastructure, providing new opportunities to increase existing airport throughput by design and not expansion. Our work with the Sovrin Foundation will play an important role in unlocking that potential.”

Having joined the Foundation as a Founding Steward in 2018, SITA will now take a more active role in supporting Sovrin in the global adoption of self-sovereign identity.

Phil Windley, Chairman of the Sovrin Foundation Board of Trustees, said: “SITA continues to lead the discussion around the adoption of self-sovereign identity in the travel industry. The Sovrin Foundation provides the ideal forum to drive this agenda forward both with the fellow Sovrin Foundation members across the wider economic spectrum but also with key stakeholders in the air transport industry such as IATA, ICAO and Airport Council International.

The Sovrin Foundation seeks to transform the current broken online identity system which is open to misuse and fraud. Using self-sovereign identities could lead to lower financial transaction costs, protect people’s personal information, limit opportunity for cybercrime, and simplify identity challenges in a variety of fields including travel, healthcare, banking, IoT and voter fraud.

In addition to its engagement with the Sovrin Foundation, SITA is working with governments, airlines and airports to develop and deliver the benefits of travel using a permanent digital identity.


Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has been selected by Virgin Orbit to provide inflight connectivity for its airborne rocket launch platform. Panasonic’s latest generation high speed inflight connectivity system has been installed on Cosmic Girl, the modified Boeing 747-400 that serves as the carrier aircraft for Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system. Virgin Orbit is currently undergoing final rehearsals for an orbital launch demonstration expected soon.

The inflight connectivity service will enable Virgin Orbit to monitor the health of the launch system over land and sea. The high bandwidth capacity of Panasonic’s connectivity network will ensure Virgin Orbit’s mission control center can quickly and easily communicate with the rocket prior to launch.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says, “Virgin Orbit is set to deliver an exciting step forward in satellite launching technology, and we are thrilled to support their vision with our inflight connectivity.”

“Panasonic Avionics’ proven inflight connectivity services are used by airlines around the world to provide operational connectivity for not just passengers, but aircraft and their systems, and we look forward to supporting Virgin Orbit by providing a critical live link between air and ground.”

Virgin Orbit builds and operates the most flexible and responsive satellite launcher ever invented: LauncherOne, a dedicated launch service for commercial and government-built small satellites.

LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and will be air-launched from Virgin Orbit’s modified Boeing 747-400 carrier aircraft – allowing it to operate from locations all over the world in order to best serve each customer’s needs.

“We designed LauncherOne to be more mobile and flexible than any other platform out there, and that’s required us to implement innovative, cutting-edge solutions throughout the system. We’re grateful to Panasonic Avionics for their support — helping us keep eyes on our flight crew, Cosmic Girl, and the rocket as we fly out to our launch point. We’re certainly looking forward to having this technology in action during our upcoming launch demo,” said Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart.


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