PANASONIC AVIONICS

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has selected BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, a leading Japanese multinational videogame publisher and developer, to strengthen its in-flight entertainment gaming portfolio.

Panasonic Avionics has incorporated BANDAI NAMCO’s ever-popular, flagship games and will begin rolling them out to airlines and their passengers across the globe on its immersive in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution.

Retro games are seeing a resurgence and BANDAI NAMCO has developed some of the most recognized games in pop culture history such as DIG DUG, PAC-MAN, and GALAGA. PAC-MAN is to date, one of the most iconic brands in gaming, and passengers will soon be able to enjoy it and other globally-recognized games on aircraft equipped with Panasonic’s IFE.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “The gaming industry is one of the few that have seen significant growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This demonstrates the value global consumers place on games and their unique ability to take players on digital adventures and provide connections to different communities.”

Naoki Katashima, Managing Director of BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic that struck the world has greatly affected and changed our way of life. As the world comes together in overcoming the pandemic, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment has partnered with Panasonic Avionics to provide our universally acclaimed game content to be enjoyed in-flight, with hope of the day to come when travelers are free to enjoy the skies again.”


ENCORE INFLIGHT

Encore Inflight, a leading inflight content distributor which set up an office in Singpaore late last year, secured its first major client Cinewav, to provide specialty content that can be enjoyed across multiple venues without compromise to sound quality.

With more than a decade’s experience in providing content to more than 130 airlines, Encore will continue to leverage its network of global distributors to program, curate and rights manage all content for use via Cinewav.

Cinewav is a unique platform and mobile app that allows users to watch movies on big public spaces whilst using the complementary mobile app which allows users to listen to the audio seamlessly on their own phones. Replacing the need for huge speakers, this mobile app guarantees high quality immersive personal experience, eliminates noise pollution, scaling to as many users as possible, and encourages the use of novel event spaces.

Christian Lee, Co-founder of Cinewa said, “My Co-founder Jason Chan and I are really excited to appoint Encore as curators for the Cinewav platform. Jovita and her team have built the prestigious Encore brand by finding, acquiring and distributing the top International independent film gems that deserve to be watched by global audiences. The Cinewav solution came to us as filmmakers when we found that event screenings of our films always lacked great audio, despite attracting record crowds. Even in cinemas the audio would often need tweaking to match what we had meticulously mixed for audiences. That’s when we thought ‘what if we could deliver the perfect audio mix to every member of the audience regardless of location and size?’ We then embarked on a 2-year journey to achieve the synchronization of high quality audio on smartphone with visuals on a big screen. The effort paid off as we now have a world first, patent pending technology, that some are saying is more immersive than the traditional cinema experience.”

Jovita Toh, CEO of Encore Media said, “I have bee a fan of Cinewav founders Christian and Jason since I distributed their festival award winning movie Jimami Tofu more than 5 years ago. This dynamic duo’s passion for film continues to inspire me. Together, Cinewav and Encore hopes to bring back the magic and allure of outdoor movie screenings.”


 A BIT OF AVIATION HISTORY: The Last Flight of the Boeing 727 Prototype Airplane

5 years ago today on March 2, 2016 after 25 years of restoration the Boeing 727 protype airplane flew its last flight. It was restored at the Museum of Flight Restoration Center at Paine Field, Everett, Washington by a great group of volunteers, donors like United Airlines, FedEx and help from the Museum of Flight, Guy Amico, SOAR, FAA, and many others.

The United Airlines 727 flew a short flight to the Museum of Flight on Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington. Be sure to check out the video on YouTube


OTHER NEWS

SMARTSKY

SmartSky Networks announced that it has closed on more than $32 million in additional equity and debt funding as it prepares for the launch of its next-generation aviation Wi-Fi connectivity service later this year.

“In a display of confidence in the future of SmartSky’s groundbreaking technology and services, we received new funds from our institutional investors,” said SmartSky CEO David Helfgott.

SmartSky’s office-grade inflight Wi-Fi service for business and commercial aviation uses the pioneering company’s uniquely scalable, single-beam-per-aircraft approach, which is backed by a substantial patent portfolio and years of flight testing.  Building on this transformative capability, the company is enabling advanced new applications through Skytelligence®, its digital innovation platform, to improve safety and efficiency while providing the industry with new ancillary revenue sources.

 


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation Reports 2020 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Results
* Fourth quarter sales of $114.8 million; full year sales of
$502.6 million
* Fourth quarter pre-tax loss of $7.5 million and net loss of $20.0 million due to the non-cash reserve of $14.1 million against deferred tax assets
* Fourth quarter Adjusted EBITDA* was $2.9 million
* Fourth quarter bookings were $116.0 million, demonstrating sequential improvement
Backlog at end of the year was $283.4 million


BOEING

Boeing Statement on United Airlines Flight 328:

“Boeing is actively monitoring recent events related to United Airlines Flight 328. While the NTSB investigation is ongoing, we recommended suspending operations of the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines until the FAA identifies the appropriate inspection protocol. “Boeing supports the decision yesterday by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, and the FAA’s action today to suspend operations of 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines. We are working with these regulators as they take actions while these planes are on the ground and further inspections are conducted by Pratt & Whitney. “Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.”

Also from Boeing:

The Boeing Company board of directors announced that directors Arthur D. Collins Jr. and Susan C. Schwab will retire from the board when their terms expire and will not stand for reelection at the company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders. The board also named chairs to its six board committees, to take effect following the yearly voting for the election of directors at Boeing’s annual shareholder meeting, which is scheduled to occur on April 20. “We are grateful for Art and Susan’s distinguished service on our board,” said Boeing Chairman Larry Kellner. “Boeing has benefited enormously from their committed and dedicated service.” Collins joined the board in 2007 and most recently chaired the Compensation Committee and served as a member of the Governance, Organization and Nominating Committee. Schwab joined the board in 2010 and most recently served as a member of the Compensation Committee, and the Governance, Organization and Nominating Committee. “It has been a privilege to serve alongside Art and Susan,” said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun. “They made meaningful and lasting contributions to our company, and to the aerospace industry, which is foundational to the global economy.”
“In line with our thorough succession planning process, the board will continue to take steps to identify a pipeline of diverse candidates with appropriate expertise who bring qualified perspectives,” Kellner added.

In addition, the following directors were named committee chairs, effective upon their reelection to the board at the company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders:

  • Admiral Edmund Giambastiani Jr. will continue to chair the Aerospace Safety Committee
  • Akhil Johri was named chair of the Audit Committee
  • Lynn Good was named chair of the Compensation Committee
  • Robert Bradway was named chair of the Finance Committee
  • Ronald Williams was named chair of the Governance, Organization and Nominating Committee
  • Adm. John Richardson will continue to chair the Special Programs Committee.

 


OTHER NEWS

  • There are issues in aircraft manufacturing and you might want to read: Opinion: Will Boeing Become The Next McDonnell Douglas? | Aviation Week Network Be sure to read the reader comments …
  • AVIATION CYBERSECURITY – FAA Should Fully Implement Key Practices to Strengthen Its Oversight of Avionics Risks. Check it out here.
  • Do you read daily AXIOS Navigate? You might like it. Axios Navigate
  • If you don’t think aircraft noise is a concern, you might want to read this: How Noise Pollution Hurts the Heart – The Atlantic
  • George Denis Patrick Carlin (You know, George Carlin, the comedian) once said something very technical that is quite true: “Electricity is really just organized lightning.” (Editor’s Note: We are still trying to understand why we thought you needed to read this?)

IdeaNova Technologies

The team at IdeaNova Technologies is working hard on new features and functionality that will enhance the travel experience while improving passenger and crew safety.

Last year, airlines saw changes to the travel industry ranging from new technology that ensures a clean cabin to an overhaul of boarding protocols. Travel might look a little different these days, but the importance of providing comfort in the cabin is just the same.

Passengers can now watch their inflight entertainment with their friends and family on a flight, while respecting safety guidelines in limiting passenger movement around the cabin. This functionality also highlights the continued importance of the relationship between passengers and crew. Inplay Video Chat is a natural extension of the text chat feature introduced earlier.

Just like the text chat, Inplay Video Chat is quick and easy to use.   With a click of a button, anyone can initiate video communication with their friends or crew, creating a friendly atmosphere interacting safely and digitally onboard – ensuring passengers can fly with confidence.

Inplay Video Party brings revolutionary functionality for the next generation of flying affecting how passengers not only interact with their entertainment options, but also each other.

The Inplay IFE Portal offers airline passengers the ability to find their favorite movie and TV shows, and set up their watchlist before getting onto the aircraft. The player includes feature rich entertainment options such as ad-based video on demand, live TV, and games. It of course also keeps passengers informed with such things as safety information and automatic pause for important PA announcements. Now, the playback is augmented with yet another convenient feature of being able transmit audio and video in real time with fellow passengers.

Together passengers can enjoy their favorite movies and TV shows, allowing for better engagement between friends and family while taking advantage of all IFE content onboard. Inplay Video Chat allows passengers to watch and discover IFE content together – highlighting the important social aspect of flying.

While Inplay Video Chat is offered as stand-alone SDK for airlines to integrate into their own portals, Inplay Portal integration is well engineered. Passengers can conveniently configure and invoke this feature with a click of a button from any main portal area, while playing DRM or non-DRM content using Inplay Players. All Inplay components (including Microsoft PlayReady DRM) run on Linux, allowing an easier integration for airlines and IFE operators. IdeaNova DRM infrastructure has gone through many changes driven by self-driven need for new features and better performance as well as by external changes imposed by vendors such as Google, Microsoft and Apple.  Inplay Portal has recently been enhanced with Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) compliant advertising features giving airlines another revenue stream option.

“Our mission has always been to create beautiful products that enrich the passenger journey and that is no exception with Inplay Video Chat. This time, we are making it both enjoyable and safe” says Juraj Siska, IdeaNova CEO…, “Introducing this new functionality is exactly within airlines highest priorities – moving us forward towards safe travel again. The continued innovation in our airline industry will help us to exceed previous passenger experience and bring new innovation to the cabin. Together with the newly released ad serving functionality we provide a combination of safe and income generation features.”

IdeaNova will be providing in-person demos of this new technology at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany rescheduled last year due to the pandemic for August 31-September 2, 2021. Customers can request on demand demos and evaluation of Inplay Video chat anytime.


Astronics Corporation

Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for global aerospace, defense and other mission critical industries, announced it was awarded an order of approximately $11 million from Collins Aerospace (“Collins”) for business jet connectivity equipment. The order is a follow on to previous orders for inflight connectivity (IFC) hardware that Astronics has been providing to Collins.

Astronics’ equipment supports the growing interest in the business jet connectivity services offered by Collins Aerospace. Having received many strong customer reviews, Collins’ system provides unparalleled high-speed world-wide connectivity that enables a broad variety of remote conferencing services as well as streaming entertainment.

“We are excited to extend and expand the relationship with Collins Aerospace to provide best-in-class connectivity equipment for their customers,” stated Michael Kuehn, Astronics CSC President. “We believe this order validates the success of Collins Aerospace connectivity services and the performance of Astronics connectivity hardware. Improved connectivity for the business jet market has become an imperative and we are committed to providing the best connectivity capability available for aircraft with our technologies.”

For more details on the T-311 hardware, visit Astronics.com.


UNITED AIRLINES & ARCHER AVIATION

Many of you may not know who Archer Aviation is, so here it is in a nutshell: Archer is based in Palo Alto, California and was started in May 2020 and the company plans to manufacture planes, not so unusual, but the twist is their planes are targeted for the electric air-taxi market. Their website indicates their aircraft travel at speeds of 150 mph with a 60 mile range.  Also, the company is backed by Marc Lore, who is head of Walmart’s e-commerce division.

Morgan Stanley projects the electric air-mobility market will be worth $1.5T by 2040.  Also, United Airlines has agreed to purchase $1B worth of Archer’s aircraft with an additional $500M option. In December, United announced it would invest millions to be 100% “green” by 2050.

Recently it was announced that Archer Aviation will merge with Crest Investment Corporation SPAC with plans to go public at $3.8B. The merger will generate $1.1B for Archer, with $600M coming from a private investment made by United Airlines and Mubadala, Abu Dhabi’s investment arm. The remaining $500M will come from funds raised during Atlas Crest’s October IPO.


OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC AVIONICS

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has today announced a major evolution in its in-flight connectivity offering as its first extreme high throughput satellite (XTS) enters service over the Asia-Pacific region.

The APSTAR-6D satellite is Panasonic Avionics’ latest investment in in-flight connectivity for passengers on commercial aircraft. It is an integral part of its third-generation communications (Gen-3) network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites, placing capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.

Panasonic Avionics is set to complete the upgrade of the 2,544 aircraft installed with its connectivity service to its Gen-3 network within the next month. Over 1,000 commercial aircraft are committed to being installed with its connectivity services and linked to the Gen-3 network from the outset.

Connectivity is integral to the success of Panasonic Avionics and enables a wide range of services to airlines and their passengers. In addition to in-flight WI-FI, these include Live Television with the world’s only global live sports channels delivered in partnership with IMG, an integrated solution with OneMedia to deliver real-time ads, real-time transactions that open up a huge range of in-flight retail possibilities, and the ability to personalize the passenger experience through solutions such as Panasonic Avionics’ Companion App and much more.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “Today is a milestone moment for Panasonic Avionics as we go live with the newest generation of in-flight connectivity. Our third-generation communications network delivers the targeted, flexible use of extreme high throughput capacity, ensuring we can meet the needs of our airline customers with cost-effective and reliable high bandwidth services well into the future.”

APSTAR-6D was jointly designed by APSATCOM and Panasonic Avionics. It will provide airlines with multiple gigahertz of new Ku-band capacity over China and high-density routes around East Asia, including Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia using narrow XTS spot beams.

In addition, APSTAR-6D provides high throughput satellite (HTS) coverage over its full field of view including the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Australia and the Southern Oceans down to Antarctica, which includes areas not served by any other HTS satellite. Tailoring the capacity to areas of demand will provide Panasonic Avionics’ airline customers with better service, unprecedented coverage and the ability to dramatically increase throughput. This opens the doors for airlines to further customize their connectivity offerings to meet the evolving expectations of their passengers.

Panasonic Avionics is currently engaged in active and ongoing trials with airlines to demonstrate the high data rate capabilities of its Gen-3 network. The company expects that airline passengers flying in the region served by APSTAR-6D will also take advantage of the enhanced connectivity that XTS delivers to use high-bandwidth apps in flight.

21 Asian carriers, representing over 800 aircraft, have already selected Panasonic Avionics for in-flight connectivity, including many of the region’s leading airlines, such as Air China, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Xiamen Airlines.

Jeff Sare, Vice President, In-Flight Connectivity Solutions at Panasonic Avionics, says: “Panasonic Avionics is committed to long term investment in its high bandwidth, global Ku-band network, and the service entry of APSTAR-6D is the latest step in that journey.”

Sare continued: “We are planning further investment in our global network of Ku-band satellites for use by commercial airlines in the years ahead. For example, our second XTS, Eutelsat 10B, is due to launch next year and will provide enhanced connectivity over Europe and the Middle East. Additional capacity commitments are also planned.”

Panasonic’s third-generation communications network supports improved airline and passenger experiences including faster internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, improved live TV picture quality and broader channel choice, 4G phone services, and greater bandwidth for crew applications.

The network is backed by Panasonic’s Customer Performance Center, which drives improved network performance, greater reliability, and faster response and resolution times, along with business intelligence tools and reports that provide customers with the data and analytics to deliver and monitor targeted pricing and advertising campaigns.


VALOUR CONSULTANCY IFC REPORT

A new report from Valour Consultancy, an award-winning provider of market intelligence services, foresees the number of aircraft installed with in-flight connectivity (IFC) doubling from 9,026 at the end of 2020 to approximately 18,500 in 2029. These figures factor in the full impact of COVID-19, including the cancellation of retrofit projects and delayed deliveries of new aircraft.

The report, “The Future of In-Flight Connectivity – 2020 Edition,” predicts that over the next two years, the installed base will grow slowly, by around 800 aircraft, marking a 70% decrease in net new installs across the period compared to pre-COVID-19 estimates. The majority of these IFC systems will be linefit. “The pandemic has caused airlines to defer new wide-body deliveries, postpone IFC retrofit programs and to retire older aircraft in favour of smaller, more agile and fuel-efficient planes. Despite this, low level activity is still expected, with 70% of net new IFC installations between now and 2022 to take place on narrow-body jets,” explains its author, Daniel Welch.

The study looks beyond COVID-19 and provides detailed commentary on factors that will help to create a more sustainable IFC business model as the industry begins to recover. “IFC service providers are going to find new wins hard to come by over the next couple of years as airlines rein in their spending. But there is plenty to do in terms of delivering a better quality of service to existing customers,” says Welch. “The pandemic is driving change in the passenger experience and many airlines are using this period to revisit their digital strategies. It’s clear we’re going to see a greater emphasis placed on contactless interactions, customer reassurance and the seamlessly digital journey. IFC can, at the very least, enhance many applications linked to these areas and, as a result, will become more integral to airlines than before the pandemic hit.”

The “captive portal” is another subject explored in the report. It cites how the likes of American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and others are taking ownership of IFC services by introducing portals that harmonize what the passenger sees and embrace a holistic approach to loyalty and onboard retail services. Welch continues, “In the past, passengers flying with an airline that has multiple IFC services in use across its fleet have typically been exposed to the nuances of these deals, paying different rates based on the hardware/service onboard, be it from Gogo, Inmarsat, Panasonic or Viasat. Having a harmonized experience reduces friction during the login process, but also drives ancillary opportunities. Deploying an engaging portal is an achievable short-term win for carriers that already have IFC or wireless IFE that will continue to drive long-term growth.”

Valour Consultancy is a provider of high-quality market intelligence. Its latest report, “The Future of In-Flight Connectivity – 2020 Edition,” is the newest addition to the firm’s highly regarded aviation research portfolio. Developed with input from more than 30 companies across the value chain, the study includes more than 200 tables and charts along with extensive commentary on key market issues, technology trends and the competitive environment. For more information send an email to info@valourconsultancy.com


QUIVER TREE & AUDIBLE

Reaching New Heights: QuiverTree Media collaborates with Audible, an Amazon company

QuiverTree Media collaborates with Audible, an Amazon company, to bring the best in digital spoken-word entertainment onboard. One of the world’s largest sellers and producers of audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment, will further boost visibility of its subscription channel across Europe accessing inflight audiences with QuiverTree Media. Passengers are able to enjoy captivating storytelling onboard their flight and choose from binge-worthy audiobooks, exclusive podcasts, bite-sized audio content, and genre-bending Audible Originals.

Stories that speak volumes

The QuiverTree Media and Audible collaboration has already started making the content available on the fleets of Iberia Express and Air Nostrum, following the successful launch of Audible’s service for Spanish listeners in October. The collaboration reinforces Audible’s offer for this territory, giving passengers a unique opportunity to discover exclusive audiobooks and podcasts in a captive inflight environment. Through this collaboration, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum count with content designed to appeal.

Through this collaboration, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum count with content designed to appeal to young and old audiences alike, bringing together acclaimed Audible Originals such as V is a Vis: la cara B , Pequeñas Revoluciones para Crecer and E l Móvil de Mendes to titles produced in collaboration with Guía Repsol and the ISDI Business School. The selection is complemented with a series of exclusive Audible children’s titles such as Peter Pan , The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.

In addition to offering Audible interactive digital branded assets on inflight entertainment platforms, QuiverTree is enabling the company to provide passengers that enjoy the service inflight tailored incentives, which include special promotional benefits if they subscribe to the service. “Our collaboration with Audible is a great example of the unique capabilities QuiverTree Media delivers as a CSP, pairing inflight experience enhancement for airlines with advertising and subscription benefits for OTTs.” says Julia Maruny, Media & Partnerships at QuiverTree Media. “The fact QuiverTree Media shares many customer-centric and technological innovation values with Audible, reinforces this collaboration with great potential to reach and inspire more customers together.”


OTHER NEWS


Thales

Qatar Airways is upgrading its Boeing B787-8 fleet with Thales’s AVANT IFE. The IFE system features an innovative, New Generation user experience unique to Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways is one of the fastest growing and highly acclaimed airlines in the world, consistently earning a 5-Star rating by Skytrax. With a fleet of the latest-generation aircraft and an unrivaled level of service, Qatar Airways has a steadfast vision to provide the best in-flight experience to its passengers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline remained unwavering in its commitment to upgrade the current fleet of Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner with Thales AVANT inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Qatar Airways has been eager to replicate the innovative AVANT experience on their Boeing B787-8 aircraft without disrupting the utilization of the fleet and minimizing down time during the retrofit installation. To achieve this ambition, Thales has developed an upgrade program to adapt the existing legacy system to incorporate new AVANT screens and servers into the existing seats and aircraft infrastructure. This turnkey approach includes delivery of full seat modification, hardware and all required certifications, as well as the ability to leverage media integration commonality across the Qatar Airways’ fleet equipped with AVANT.

Qatar Airways Senior Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Ms. Salam Al Shawa, said: “As a leader of innovation within the global aviation industry, we are always looking for ways to further enrich our already exceptional 5-Star on board experience for passengers. With the latest in-flight technology, including lightweight screens, greater content storage and full HD touch screens, we are delighted to work with Thales in bringing the most advanced AVANT IFE system on board our Boeing 787-8 fleet.”

Upgrading to AVANT IFE on the Boeing B787-8 fleet introduces the latest High Definition (HD), capacitive touch screen technology enabling passengers to seamlessly navigate the graphical user interface (GUI) using familiar gestures from their smartphone or tablet. The lightweight screens are two to three times brighter than the former technology, featuring more than 16 million colors for a brilliant viewing experience.

The AVANT system offers a large selection of features and applications with high capacity servers to store over a terabyte of industry leading media content including the latest HD movies, TV show episodes and music collections. Business class passengers will enjoy 17” Full HD touch screens; the main cabin will feature the same high quality experience with 12” smart displays.

“Qatar Airways continues to be a leader in the recovery of the aviation industry, maintaining a paramount commitment to service and to the enrichment of the passenger journey. Together we have developed a turnkey upgrade program with a seamless customer experience and continued installation despite the crisis. With the AVANT IFE system, passengers on Qatar Airways Boeing B787-8 aircraft will enjoy a 5-star experience.” Philippe Carette, Chief Executive Officer, Thales Inflyt Experience.


KID Systeme

KID-Systeme GmbH, a subsidiary of the Airbus Group, announces a change in its multi-member Board with the appointment of Stefan Stolzki as Managing Director.

Currently Head of Customer Services for Cabin Electronics at Airbus Operations and KID-Systeme, Stolzki takes over the position from Peter Schetschine with immediate effect.

KID is managed in a dual leadership set-up. Next to Fokke Mentjes, Stefan Stolzki will be responsible for the overall revenue generation including business development, product line management, sales, customer program management, marketing communications and events.

Stolzki is a graduate of the University of Applied Sciences in Lübeck, Germany. After graduating in Industrial Engineering, he held various senior management positions in Logistics and Customer Service at Satair and Airbus Operations.

“I am very excited to be named Managing Director. KID-Systeme was created by the insight and innovative thinking of aerospace visionaries, and has been built into a customer centric team of cabin experts. I look forward to shaping the future with the team and our network, including the Board of Directors, customers, our industry partners, and especially the people working here who dedicate themselves to the success of KID every day.”, Stolzki said.

KID-Systeme belongs to the Cabin and Cargo family within the Airbus Group, its product portfolio encompasses seat power, cabin and cargo safety features as well as on-board connectivity products and services.


AERQ

AERQ announced that the joint venture between LG Electronics and Lufthansa Technik has joined the Hamburg Aviation Network. AERQ is headquartered in Hamburg and has the goal to improve and evolve the digitalization of the cabin experience with an innovative digital ecosystem. Lufthansa Technik, one of AERQ’s parent companies, is a founding member of Hamburg Aviation. Hence, it was a logical conclusion to become a member of the cluster.

The location Hamburg has developed a leading global position in the field of cabin systems. The presence of cabin expertise at the site is carried to the world not least through the AIX trade fair and the Crystal Cabin Award. It is not only a matter of maintaining the level, but also of exploiting further potential in order not to relinquish global leadership.

“AERQ contributes to Hamburg Aviation’s value chain by providing airlines with cabin solutions that allow them to tap into new business models, drive ancillary revenues and generate operational efficiencies,” said Arnd Kikker, Managing Director at AERQ. “Our hardware, software and data solutions drive the aircraft cabin’s digitalisation, which is another competence field of Hamburg Aviation.”

“The alliance of the city, companies, science and associations creates added value for all players through trusting and efficient cooperation for an innovative aviation location and for the mobility and jobs of tomorrow. We are happy that AERQ with its innovation power has decided to be part of the Hamburg Aviation cluster. Both sides will profit from the collaboration,” said Ulf Weber, Managing Director at Hamburg Aviation.

“Although it is a challenging time for our industry, we believe that it can be an opportunity, too. We feel that especially now given the current circumstances digital and passenger centric products will flourish. In the meantime, our OLED-based Transparent Class Divider concept was shortlisted for the Crystal Cabin Award 2020 and we are planning on participating at the next AIX, too,” said Sang Soo Lee, Managing Director at AERQ.


Sustainable Aero Lab

The aviation industry has historically been the most innovative when facing crises. While global air travel is still severely challenged by the COVID19 pandemic, another game-changing crisis can already be outlined today: In the next decades, the effects of climate change will dramatically influence aviation and its business models. At the same time, this development poses a great opportunity for the aviation industry to regain a revolutionary state of mind, unlocking new fields of technology, business and cooperation.

To support and accelerate this transition of aviation on a global scale, numerous partners and initiatives from Hamburg have joined ranks to form the Sustainable Aero Lab. The new lab will be a global fast track program for startups and projects that can prove their tangible impact on reducing the climate footprint of aviation.

Sustainable Aero Lab to Drive Industry Discussion and Serve as Acceleration Network for Startups

To achieve this, the Sustainable Aero Lab will globally bring together startups, experienced mentors, investors and industry players into one room where founders receive highly focused feedback in a transparent live session four times a year. The first session will be held virtually in February 2021.

The Sustainable Aero Lab also strives to be an international agenda-setter for discussing the relevant issues and questions around the sustainable transformation of aviation, with all stakeholders involved.

Mentors at Sustainable Aero Lab: Leading Individuals from Aviation, Green Tech and Finance

Mentors at Sustainable Aero Lab comprise of world-leading experts from aviation, green tech, and finance. The Sustainable Aero Lab invites individuals with relevant background and experience to help the startups, and will ask for limited time commitment only. Exchange between the mentors is a key benefit even for partners from big corporations.

While the selection process is still ongoing, the Sustainable Aero Lab team is honored to, among others, have already secured the commitment of industry executive Nico Buchholz (former Lufthansa EVP Fleet Management & SVP at Bombardier), renowned aviation analyst at Leeham Company Bjorn Fehrm, long-time Bombardier innovation director Fassi Kafyeke, Ampaire SVP of Global Operations Susan Ying (also formerly Boeing, COMAC), and ex-Facebook director and venture capitalist Christian Hernandez Gallardo as mentors.

Hamburg-Based Initative with Global Scope

The Sustainable Aero Lab is a project driven by Hamburg-based Density Ventures and its CEO Stephan Uhrenbacher, a renowned serial entrepreneur and investor (most prominently: founder of Qype, Avocadostore, 9flats), who also serves as CEO of the Lab. As associated partners, the Hamburg Aviation cluster network, and ZAL Center of Applied Aero Research will also contribute significantly to the new initiative. The Sustainable Aero Lab is supported by the Hamburg Ministry of Economics and Innovation (BWI), and funded through the Hamburg Investment and Development Bank (IFB).

Michael Westhagemann, Hamburg’s Senator for Economics and Innovation:

“The sustainable change that the aviation industry is facing will come with many new opportunities. To unlock these, we need open discussions and higher speed. The Sustainable Aero Lab will put its focus on exactly these points. As one of the world’s leading aviation sites, Hamburg strives to be a leading place for the development of sustainable aviation technologies as well.”

Open for Startup Submissions and Further Lab Partners

The Sustainable Aero Lab is actively scouting for founders and innovators who desire to be part in the first cohort of the Lab. Selected startups will receive A level mentoring on their most pressing objectives. The Lab will not ask for any shares, repositioning or generic pitches. Detailed information on the selection criteria and the application process can be found on www.sustainable.aero.

All individuals, institutions and companies who would like to contribute to the Sustainable Aero Lab in other forms are encouraged to get in touch as well. As a platform for open innovation, the Sustainable Aero Lab is looking to welcome anyone who can add value towards reducing the climate footprint of aviation.


Carlisle IT

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CarlisleIT), a division of Carlisle Companies (CSL), is pleased to announce the award of a new Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the European Aviation Safety Association (EASA) for installation of Satellite and Communication (SATCOM) provisions on Airbus A320 series aircraft.

EASA STC 10075259 installs all aircraft structural provisions, outside aircraft equipment and electrical integration packages for the Honeywell JetWave Ka system. The installation package is certified for application on A319, A320, and A321 aircraft, using CarlisleIT’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) approved solution. CarlisleIT provided all design, qualification, approvals and certification resources associated with the STC. The kits are manufactured at CarlisleIT’s Franklin, Wisconsin factory.

“CarlisleIT’s extensive certification experience, including 202 STCs and 100 VSTCs, ensures that any equipment installation is completed safely and in compliance with airworthiness regulations, regardless of location,” said Chris Rawley, product line manager, aircraft connectivity solutions at CarlisleIT. “This STC opens the door for our European customers to take advantage of an existing, qualified SATCOM installation solution for the Airbus A320 family of aircraft.”

CarlisleIT leads the market in aerospace SATCOM applications, with over 2500 installations delivered worldwide. From component manufacturing to fully integrated engineered solutions, CarlisleIT has the capability and flexibility to support its customer needs.

Inmarsat

Inmarsat announced its participation in a ground-breaking new initiative funded by the UK Government to develop the country’s first automated, zero carbon regional air transportation network. Project HEART (Hydrogen Electric and Automated Regional Transportation) will develop hydrogen powered, automated and remote piloting solutions for small aircraft carrying between 9 and 19 passengers, traveling ‘short hops’ of fewer than 500 nautical miles. In addition to its environmental credentials, the convenient zero-carbon travel option aims to enable scalability and lead to reductions in operating costs, door-to-door travel times and ticket prices. Up to 100 licensed airfields throughout the UK will be made available as part of the initiative, which is expected to enter service in 2025.

Existing ‘short hop’ air travel is economically unsustainable and reliant on government subsidies to cover high maintenance and running costs. Current operations, which require two onboard pilots, depend upon expensive and polluting gas turbine powertrains.

Project HEART offers an affordable alternative that address these deficiencies with next generation technology and a ‘system-of-systems’ approach, bringing together a network of experts to re-develop the entire aviation ecosystem. As part of this approach, Inmarsat will help to power a hybrid connectivity solution that seamlessly combines its satellite communications with terrestrial networks, enabling remote ‘digital’ co-piloting and journey critical communication in the cockpit. This allows the human pilot and the digital co-pilot functions, designed by Blue Bear Systems Research, to work together effectively and operations to be managed remotely. The technology will be evaluated on Britten-Norman aircraft.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Project HEART represents a greener, smarter and more efficient future for aviation. We are proud to support this important project of the UK Government, utilizing our 30 years of experience in satellite communication, navigation and surveillance for both commercial and private aviation, as well as expertise in unmanned vehicle traffic management. Working alongside our extensive network of partners, including Honeywell Aerospace, we are particularly excited about enabling remote operations for aviation networks of the future.”

Project HEART is led by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and is funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Future Flight Challenge (FFC). The consortium comprises of leading UK technology companies that will contribute resources in the areas of technology, operations, infrastructure and think tank experience.

Other innovations in development for the project include hydrogen fuel cell powertrains for aircraft (led by ZeroAvia), hydrogen refueling solutions (led by Protium), and a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) platform, with integrated sub regional flight travel mode (led by Fleetondemand), with acceptance testing headed by The Transport Research Institute of Edinburgh Napier University. In addition, architects Weston Williamson + Partners will lead on new airport infrastructure design, while the airline Loganair and Highland and Island Airports Limited will lead on accommodation of automation and hydrogen fueled aircraft operations.


Panasonic Avionics

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) and IMG have agreed to extend and expand their long-standing relationship to deliver live sports content to the world’s leading airlines.

The companies have signed an agreement giving Panasonic Avionics all international in-flight rights to Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra, the world’s only global live sports channels. Airlines that offer Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra will be able to connect their passengers to unmissable live sporting moments from around the world with live content available in real-time.

Per the terms of the agreement, Panasonic Avionics will exclusively provide IMG’s Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra channels, to any airline, regardless of the in-flight entertainment system or connectivity network they use. Sport 24 is the only truly global, live sports channel that is available to airlines, and it’s exclusively available from Panasonic Avionics. It includes exclusive in-flight coverage of the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, NFL, NBA, NHL, Tennis Grand Slams, Golf Majors and the Ryder Cup, the NRL, and much, much more live sporting action. It broadcasts 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, connecting passengers to over 16 hours of premium live content each day. Over 30 different global sports leagues, federations and unique events will be shown in 2021, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and UEFA Euro. As part of the agreement, Panasonic Avionics and IMG intend to work together to develop new sports content offerings that could be made available under the Sport 24 umbrella.
Panasonic Avionics’ live television service creates an exciting entertainment experience by offering premium live sports and news as it unfolds. In this new golden era of television, this service gives passengers the ability to watch anything they want, when, and where they want. Airlines that include live television as part of the in-flight experience, have an opportunity to stand out as thought leaders in a crowded marketplace.

Almost 1,000 aircraft around the globe are connected with the company’s live television service, of which Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra are an integral part.


Boeing

Boeing and BBAM Limited Partnership announced the lessor is expanding its 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter fleet with six firm orders and six options. The agreement brings BBAM’s 737-800BCF orders and commitments to 15 and highlights the continued strength of the e-commerce and express cargo market.

“As we look ahead to expanding our cargo fleet, the 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter provides the performance and efficiency our customers need,” said Steve Zissis, CEO of BBAM. “Adding these highly capable freighters to 276 Boeing airplanes in our managed fleet helps to further strengthen our leadership position in the marketplace.”

Based on the popular Next-Generation 737, the 737-800BCF is meeting customer demand for a newer-generation freighter that offers higher reliability and lower fuel consumption and operating costs per trip compared to 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 2,025 nautical miles (3,750 kilometers). Since entering service in 2018, the 737-800BCF has won more than 150 orders and commitments.

“BBAM is one of the industry’s leading full-service leasing companies and has built their reputation on smart investments. We are honored that BBAM has selected more 737-800BCFs, based on the success of our standard body freighters in their portfolio,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing’s senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing. “The continued strong demand for the 737-800BCF demonstrates the critical role these converted freighters play in the growing express and e-commerce market.”

BBAM is the world’s largest dedicated manager of investments in leased commercial jet aircraft, providing over 200 airline customers in more than 50 countries with fleet and financing solutions over the last three decades. BBAM is the only manager in the aircraft leasing industry focused exclusively on generating investment returns for third-party investors. BBAM currently has more than $28 billion of assets under management and employs over 150 professionals at its headquarters in San Francisco and in additional offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Zurich, Dublin and Santiago. For more information about BBAM, please visit its website at www.bbam.com.

Also From Boeing:

Boeing is setting an ambitious target to advance the long-term sustainability of commercial aviation, committing that its commercial airplanes are capable and certified to fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuels by 2030. Boeing has previously conducted successful test flights replacing petroleum jet fuel with 100% sustainable fuels to address the urgent challenge of climate change.

According to the Air Transport Action Group, U.S. Department of Energy and several other scientific studies, sustainable aviation fuels reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80% over the fuel’s life cycle with the potential to reach 100% in the future. Today, sustainable aviation fuels are mixed directly with conventional jet fuel up to a 50/50 blend — the maximum allowed under current fuel specifications. In order to meet aviation’s commitment for reducing carbon emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2050, airplanes need the capability to fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuels well before 2050.

“Our industry and customers are committed to addressing climate change, and sustainable aviation fuels are the safest and most measurable solution to reduce aviation carbon emissions in the coming decades,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal. “We’re committed to working with regulators, engine companies and other key stakeholders to ensure our airplanes and eventually our industry can fly entirely on sustainable jet fuels.”
Boeing’s commitment is to determine what changes are required for its current and future commercial airplanes to fly on 100% sustainable fuels, and to work with regulatory authorities and across the industry to raise the blending limit for expanded use.

“With a long history of innovation in sustainable aviation fuels, certifying our family of airplanes to fly on 100% sustainable fuels significantly advances Boeing’s deep commitment to innovate and operate to make the world better,” Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond said. “Sustainable aviation fuels are proven, used every day, and have the most immediate and greatest potential to reduce carbon emissions in the near and long term when we work together as an industry.”

Boeing has been a pioneer in making sustainable aviation fuels a reality, partnering globally with airlines, industry, governments and research institutions to expand limited supplies and reduce the fuels’ cost. Boeing worked with airlines, engine manufacturers and others to conduct biofuel test flights starting in 2008 and gain approval for sustainable fuels in 2011. In 2018, the Boeing ecoDemonstrator flight-test program made the world’s first commercial airplane flight using 100% sustainable fuels with a 777 Freighter, in collaboration with FedEx Express.

Sustainable aviation fuels can be made from a wide variety of feedstocks, including non-edible plants, agricultural and forestry waste, non-recyclable household waste, industrial plant off-gassing and other sources. Sustainability of the fuels is assured through strong, credible sustainability certifications through third-party organizations such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials.


Latecoere/Aircraft Cabin Systems

We note that we have received a note from the ACS folks with a change of address (.2 miles south of the previous location) to:
Latecoere Interconnection Systems US, Inc.
18047 NE 68th Street
Suite B130
Redmond, WA 98052
USA


Other News


Inmarsat & Deutsche Telekom

Milestone highlights the accelerated rollout of Europe’s leading airline connectivity solution with launch customer International Airlines Group (IAG)

The European Aviation Network (EAN), Europe’s fastest inflight Wi-Fi service, can now be accessed by passengers on more than 250 aircraft across the continent, highlighting its accelerated rollout since entering commercial service.

The award-winning connectivity solution has been available to over 20 million passengers to date, traveling on more than 200,000 flights throughout Europe, covering key destinations such as London, Madrid, Barcelona, Geneva and Rome. It is currently available with British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, which are all part of International Airlines Group (IAG).

EAN has been developed by Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, and Deutsche Telekom, in partnership with leading European companies such as Thales, Nokia, Airbus, Cobham and Eclipse Technics. It marks a paradigm shift in the airline passenger experience, with incomparable speeds, uninterrupted coverage and significantly lower latency than any other inflight Wi-Fi network in the continent.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “EAN has transformed the inflight broadband market in Europe, offering unprecedented performance that has been truly embraced by airlines and their passengers. Usage has consistently increased since it entered commercial service and EAN experienced record data traffic in the summer and autumn months last year, reflecting an even stronger desire to stay connected amongst passengers flying during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“An important factor in crossing more than 250 aircraft activations, including British Airways’ entire short-haul fleet, has been the record-breaking installation time we have achieved with EAN – less than nine hours per aircraft. This will ensure a smooth rollout on remaining IAG aircraft and we’re excited that even more passengers will soon have access to the industry’s best-in-class inflight connectivity, providing the same quality of broadband that people expect on the ground, from the comfort of their cabin.”

Rolf Nafziger, Senior Vice President at Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier and Global Business, said:EAN is perfectly adapted to Europe’s unique telco infrastructure and a true game-changer in inflight connectivity. For passengers, it offers an unparalleled connectivity experience while in the air above the European continent. For carriers, it provides a highly compelling business case due to its lightweight, small and low maintenance equipment.”

EAN has been designed from scratch specifically for the needs of European aviation, delivering consistent inflight broadband across Europe, one of the world’s most congested airspaces. EAN is highly advanced and its fully integrated system delivers consistent high-speed broadband on flights, enabling passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media, enjoy real-time interactive applications such as gaming, and more.


Boeing

The Boeing Company  board of directors announced that Lynne Doughtie has been elected to the board, replacing Caroline Kennedy who has resigned following three years of dedicated service. Doughtie, 58, retired from KPMG in 2020, after serving as U.S. Chairman and CEO since 2015. One of the world’s leading professional services firms, KPMG operates in 147 countries and territories employing more than 219,000 people. She will serve on the Audit and Finance committees. “Lynne Doughtie is a highly-accomplished executive with a demonstrated track record of leading a world-class organization,” said Boeing Chairman Larry Kellner. “She will provide perspective reflecting her global leadership roles and experience advising clients on complex matters as well as significant risk management expertise. We look forward to working with her.”

As the first woman to be elected U.S. Chairman and CEO of KPMG, Doughtie served as a member of KPMG’s Global Board and Executive Committee. Doughtie joined KPMG’s Audit practice in 1985, before serving as the lead partner for several strategic clients across industries and holding leadership roles including Vice Chair of the firm’s U.S. Advisory business. During her tenure, KPMG experienced strong growth and made significant investments in quality and advanced the firm’s culture and values. Doughtie has been recognized by Fortune’s Most Powerful Women, Crain’s New York Business’ 50 Most Powerful Women in New York, Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People, the National Association of Corporate Directors’ 100 most influential people in the boardroom, and Glassdoor’s list of Top CEOs. “We welcome Lynne Doughtie’s impressive track record of advancing organizational goals through culture and innovation,” said David Calhoun, Boeing President and CEO, and member of the board of directors. “Lynne’s values-based leadership will further strengthen our board.”

“Boeing is a remarkable American company serving a critical role in the global economy,” said Doughtie. “I look forward to joining this distinguished board.” Kennedy, who joined the board in 2017, served as a member of the Audit; Compensation; Finance; and Governance, Nominating and Organization committees. Previously, Kennedy served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 2013 to 2017. “On behalf of Boeing and its board of directors, I want to express my gratitude to Ambassador Kennedy for her leadership and exemplary service,” Kellner said. “It’s been a privilege to serve alongside Ambassador Kennedy,” Calhoun said. “I’m grateful not only for her contributions to Boeing, but for her service on behalf of our country.”


Other News

 

Inmarsat, a global mobile satellite communications provider, has been crowned the ‘World’s Leading Inflight Internet Service Provider’ for the fourth year in a row at the World Travel Awards 2020.

The prestigious accolade was announced following a year-long search for the world’s top travel, tourism and hospitality brands, with the latest edition of the World Travel Awards attracting a record number of votes from across the world by industry professionals and members of the public.

Inmarsat once again retained its title in recognition of its market-leading GX Aviation and European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight broadband solutions, which enable airline passengers to browse the internet, shop online, stream videos, enjoy social media and more seamlessly during their flights. Inmarsat airline customers include Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Iberia, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia and Virgin Atlantic.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Last year was particularly challenging for the aviation industry, which faced its biggest crisis to date as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In response, we have been working closer than ever with our airline customers, both old and new, to support their evolving needs as they navigate through the storm and head towards a future recovery. It is uplifting, therefore, to receive an award where the industry itself helped to determine the winner. This accolade reinforces our position as the global market leader and is dedicated to our talented employees and partners for their continued hard work and dedication over the past year, even in the toughest of circumstances.”

Inmarsat crossed a number of important milestones last year as part of its extensive, fully-funded technology roadmap. This included the commercial service introduction of GX5, Inmarsat’s most powerful satellite to date, last month. Conceived, designed and procured principally to meet the needs of aviation customers, GX5 delivers approximately twice the capacity of the entire existing GX satellite fleet (GX1-GX4) combined. It is essential to support rapidly growing demand for airline and business aviation connectivity in Europe and the Middle East. 

Inmarsat’s technology roadmap will see seven further satellite launches by 2024: five in geostationary orbit – adding speed, capacity and resilience – and two in highly elliptical orbit, which will enable the world’s only commercial mobile broadband service in the commercially and strategically critical Arctic region.

Other highlights of 2020 included the development of an advanced new lightweight, low drag terminal for GX Aviation in partnership with GDC Technics and the launch of GX+ North America in collaboration with Hughes, bringing unrivalled inflight Wi-Fi to North American airlines and passengers.


NEW SST IN DEVELOPMENT

It is not surprising that IFEC news and information is pretty quiet during the pandemic. The equation is simple: less people; less flights; less travel; and aircraft delivery delays or cancellations all result in less demand for IFEC in the short term.

Having said that, it appears there is one aviation area that is experiencing a resurgence in development and/or exploration – supersonic flight. Companies like Boon Overture and Aerion are not sleeping, and you might ask, what has this to do with IFEC? Well, probably not much in the immediate future; however, as folks improve the speed of flying we would expect a future of more advanced, smaller, lighter, better performing IFEC.

We say “expect” because we have little or no information on this future subject, but we were wondering what we might see … and the word “might” is used here since weight and size on these eventual airplanes will be a big issue. To give you a better idea, lets first see what Wikipedia says about the SST subject:

Wikipedia – “A supersonic transport (SST) is a civilian supersonic aircraft designed to transport passengers at speeds greater than the speed of sound. To date, the only SSTs to see regular service have been Concorde and the Tupolev Tu-144. The last passenger flight of the Tu-144 was in June 1978 and it was last flown in 1999 by NASA. Concorde’s last commercial flight was in October 2003, with a November 26, 2003 ferry flight being its last airborne operation. Following the permanent cessation of flying by Concorde, there are no remaining SSTs in commercial service. Several companies have each proposed a supersonic business jet, which may bring supersonic transport back again.”

Further, Wikipedia notes: ”For all vehicles traveling through air, the force of drag is proportional to the coefficient of drag (Cd), to the square of the airspeed and to the air density. Since drag rises rapidly with speed, a key priority of supersonic aircraft design is to minimize this force by lowering the coefficient of drag. This gives rise to the highly streamlined shapes of SSTs. To some extent, supersonic aircraft also manage drag by flying at higher altitudes than subsonic aircraft, where the air density is lower.”

Next, we tried to find out more about the Concorde IFE hardware and the British Science Museum noted: “Brochure, ‘For your entertainment in flight : Supersonic Stereo : Five stereo programs specially produced for Concorde’. Part of collection of in-flight material gathered by Alastair Greenlees who flew on Concorde in January 1978 and with BOAC from Manchester Airport.” Admittedly, a multichannel IFE audio service was quite good since  flight time was reduced by roughly 50%. Concorde In-flight Entertainment Brochure | Science Museum Group Collection

Also we found a wonderful website that features the history and present news on the heritage Concorde here: Heritage Concorde
which features a great video about the plane that you can watch here: (3) UK Concorde first nose move – Heritage Concorde – Project Salute – YouTube. And yes, if yes, if you want more Concorde “stuff’, check out this Etsy site: Concorde Supersonice Transport Gray Travel Folder Inflight | Etsy

We should mention that the IFE we found on the Concorde was some 6 channels of audio entertainment, and having noted that, we expect the “future” products from the likes of Boom and Aerion will reflect the growing demand for real-time connectivity. And we firmly believe that satcom and Wi-Fi connectivity/streaming to PEDs will be a must. We’ve been asking ourselves what engineering and certification requirements there will be for a satcom radome aboard an SST – stay tuned on this one! There is one certainty, whichever IFEC offering is selected, it will be the ‘brightest and shiniest’ available! After all, why put old technology on such a technologically advanced aircraft?!

Articles have also noted that the earlier supersonic designs had to minimize weight and space because of increased drag and limited aircraft engine performance, newer technology will surely provide more and better personal space than its SST predecessor.

The passenger capacity of the new SST appears to be less than half of the Concorde’s. However, with the current trend toward smaller load factors this may end up being an advantage for future operators.

Here are some interesting links on the aviation future:


AIRBUS

The airframer delivered 566 commercial aircraft in 2020 vs 863 in 2019:

A220 Family: 38 vs 48 (2019)
A320ceo Family: 15 vs 91 (2019)
A320neo Family: 431 vs 551 (2019)
A330ceo: 6 vs 12 (2019)
A330neo: 13 vs 41 (2019)
A350: 59 vs 112 (2019)
A380: 4 vs 8 (2019)
A220: 64
A320 Family: 296
A330: 2
A350:

Airbus recorded 383 new orders (268 net):
A220: 64
A320 Family: 296
A330: 2
A350: 21

Aircraft Cancellations – 115 (2020), backlog stood at 7,184 aircraft on December 31.


BOEING

The company recorded 184 new orders in 2020 (-471 net of cancellations/conversions).

737 MAX: 112
737NG: 18
767: 11
777: 13
787: 29
747: 1

And they delivered 157 commercial aircraft in 2020 compared to 380 in 2019:

737 MAX: 27 vs 57
737NG: 16 vs 70
767: 30 vs 43
777: 26 vs 45
787: 53 vs 158
747: 5 vs 5


OTHER NEWS

This topic may be up your alley – What is Quantum Computing. If it’s not, but you are interested, below is a free 27 page report. As a quote from the article: “Soon, quantum computers could change the world. Quantum computing is the processing of information that’s represented by special quantum states. By tapping into quantum phenomena like “superposition” and “entanglement,” these machines handle information in a fundamentally different way to “classical” computers like smartphones, laptops, or even today’s most powerful supercomputers.” CBINSIGHTS has a real understanding of the subject … we think! What Is Quantum Computing?

Happy New Year and Goodbye 2020!!

Phew, 2020 is over and what a year it was, but unfortunately, not in a good way for the majority of humanity.

As 2021 becomes commences, the aviation transportation industry is experiencing a myriad of changes. Terms like ‘recovery’ or ‘reset’ will be popular; however, the phrase ‘industry redesign’ could easily be the biggest deal. The world of public transportation may have to add the words like ‘caution’, ‘immunity’ and ‘contact-less’ to their title as COVID- 19 and its mutations affect everything we do while we travel. Unlike issues with older aircraft interiors, poor inflight food, slow inflight data rates, or malfunctioning IFE; passenger health & welfare will inevitably dominate our profession for sometime, despite the development of COVID-19 vaccinations. This is especially true as the virus continues to evolve and mutate, which is clearly the case.

Additionally, some airlines, like jetBlue have re-scaled their transportation solutions by redefining their aircraft size.  As of this month (January 2021), jetBlue has 267 airplanes in service, with remaining orders for 142 jetliners. Despite having 11,000 workers that have taken a voluntary leave, the airline obviously feels that the passenger capacity of their aircraft fleet needs to be reduced as well. Consequently, they have ordered some 70 A220-300’s which will each seat 130 passengers, the first of which is now flying. And IFExpress is certain other carriers may well follow suit in the very near term.

Clearly, the future of aviation transportation is changing. While electric vehicles are somewhere on the horizon, better passenger isolation with improved inflight environments just may be the new ‘big deal’ if the flight transportation market is to return to its previous scale and job market size. Furthermore, in the USA, we expect our passports to be more health communication oriented and it is possible that a traveler’s COVID-19 health status could be added to them, especially if it provides immunization information, in fact, this is exactly what Israel is developing in their new ‘green passport’.

Inflight entertainment & communication is important; however, for 2021 immunization is the key and the correlating availability of  traveler health data will be what enables the air travel industry to rebound. Stay Tuned! (Editor’s Note: By the way, when/if you do get a COVID-19 immunization shot(s), you might want to keep a copy of that info in your passport – we certainly will!)


Viasat & Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines has selected Viasat’s industry-leading, next-generation Ka-band satellite in-flight connectivity (IFC) solution for more than 300 mainline narrow-body aircraft, including both new delivery and retrofits on A321ceo, 737-900ER and select 757-200 aircraft. Delta expects to bring the Viasat technology onboard these aircraft starting summer 2021, with Delta having the option to add additional fleets.

Delta will be upgrading its current IFC system to Viasat’s more advanced Ka-band satellite-powered technology to provide all customers with enhanced and reliable in-flight internet capabilities—including faster, more consistent connections and an ability to stream all types of entertainment and popular over-the-top content—to any internet-ready device, gate-to-gate. The Viasat/Delta relationship will lay the groundwork toward a true full, fast and free in-flight internet experience as well as future enhancements and personalization on customer seatback screens.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to delight our customers and offer an unparalleled onboard experience,” said Bill Lentsch, chief customer experience officer, Delta. “In working with Viasat, we gain the tools needed to deepen customer interactions and bring us closer to delivering more personalized in-flight content as well as an ability to consistently provide free, fast, streaming Wi-Fi in the future.”

“Delta is committed to optimize the customer journey, and we’re committed to helping them build a foundation toward a better in-flight internet and entertainment experience,” said Rick Baldridge, president and CEO, Viasat. “We have a proven in-flight connectivity solution that is high-quality, streaming-capable and can scale to meet Delta’s growing customer demand. We’re proud to be part of their connected ecosystem.”

Delta’s aircraft will be outfitted with Viasat’s latest Ka-band IFC system, and will be compatible with Viasat’s complete fleet of satellites, including Viasat’s first-generation spacecraft and partner satellites; its second-generation spacecraft ViaSat-2, and the forthcoming ViaSat-3 class of satellites, which are expected to offer global coverage with nearly eight times more capacity than Viasat’s current fleet—which means even more enhanced connectivity and streaming services to keep up with expected increases in demand.

For more information on how Delta plans to accelerate the future of in-flight connectivity, check out the Q&A with Delta’s Director of Brand Experience In-Flight Entertainment & Wi-Fi, Ekrem Dimbiloglu – found in Delta’s News Hub.


Boeing News

Qatar Airways Cargo took delivery of three Boeing 777 Freighters as the airline continues to build its cargo division with the world’s largest and most capable twin-engine freighter. The milestone also marks the 200th 777 Freighter to be delivered.

The triple delivery comes as air freight is playing a pivotal role amid the COVID-19 pandemic – including transporting newly approved vaccines – and is projected to increase more than 4% over the next two decades.

With the arrival of the trio of 777 Freighters, Qatar Airways Cargo now operates 24 of this airplane model along with two 747-8 Freighters. As one of the leading air cargo carriers in the world, Qatar’s dedicated freighter fleet serves more than 60 freighter destinations worldwide via its world-class Doha hub and also delivers freight on the belly-hold deck of passenger aircraft to an extensive network.

“With the arrival of these new freighters, we are injecting more capacity in the market which is very much required during the pandemic. The added capacity will also enable us to support the logistics around the COVID-19 vaccination, which is projected to be one of the greatest logistical challenges for the industry,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker. “With our investments in innovation and fleet, we are able to fulfill our customers’ logistical requirements and facilitate the continuity of global trade.”

The 777 Freighter can fly 4,970 nautical miles (9,200 kms) and carry a payload of 224,900 pounds (102,010 kg). The airplane’s long range translates into significant savings for operators like Qatar Airways Cargo as fewer stops reduce landing fees, congestion, cargo handling costs and delivery times.

“During these challenging times, Qatar Airways Cargo has been transporting humanitarian relief and medical goods to those in need, and we are proud that their growing fleet of 777 Freighters is supporting such a commendable effort,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president, Commercial Sales and Marketing, The Boeing Company. “We deeply appreciate our long-standing partnership with Qatar Airways and their confidence in the 777 Freighters as the backbone of their expansive global air cargo operations.”

The 777 Freighter is now Boeing’s top selling freighter. Customers from around the world have ordered 242 777 Freighters since the program began in 2005, including a record 45 units in 2018. Boeing, the market leader in air cargo aircraft, provides more than 90% of the dedicated freighter capacity around the world, including new production and converted freighters.


Other News

If you have never head of Claude Shannon, do be surprised, especially if you are an electrical engineer. Claude Shannon in 1948 determined a mathematical communication theory and; “he laid the foundation for the entire communication infrastructure underlying the modern information age.” In the wonderful article by Davis Tse in Quanta Magazine lays out the story: “Today’s information age is only possible thanks to the groundbreaking work of a lone genius”. Below is the link to the article which contain the summary of his technology and link to his thesis/paper on the subject of his communication theory. Noted Tse: “Before Shannon, the problem of communication was primarily viewed as a deterministic signal-reconstruction problem: how to transform a received signal, distorted by the physical medium, to reconstruct the original as accurately as possible. Shannon’s genius lay in his observation that the key to communication is uncertainty. After all, if you knew ahead of time what I would say to you in this column, what would be the point of writing it?” If you want to see some data on a genius who never won a Nobel Prize check out the article: How Claude Shannon’s Information Theory Invented the Future | Quanta Magazine Further, Tse goes on: “This single observation shifted the communication problem from the physical to the abstract, allowing Shannon to model the uncertainty using probability. This came as a total shock to the communication engineers of the day.”

And finally, here is another source about the man and his brilliant solutions.

(Editor’s Note: If you don,t like mathematics, you might not want to check out Shannon’s communication theory report and graduate thesis … just read the article by Tse. And, if you don’t think this subject has anything to do with IFEC, remember, data communication is involved with connectivity in a big way.)


AIR ASTANA

Air Astana has received a prestigious Five Star Major Airline award from the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX). This is the third time that Air Astana has received a Five Star award from APEX. The awards were presented at the end of a highly successful virtual FTE (Future Travel Experience) APEX event during December 8 and 9th attended by 200 airlines and 200 airports all over the world. (Editor’s Note: Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan, operates domestic and international flights from hubs in Nur-Sultan and Almaty. The company was incorporated in late 2001 and commenced operations on 15th May 2002. The Air Astana fleet consists of Boeing 767/757, Airbus A320 Family aircraft including A320neo, A321neo and A321LR and Embraer E190 / E190-E2.)

Air Astana became the first carrier from Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Eastern Europe to be awarded the prestigious 4-Star rating by Skytrax at the World Airline Awards in 2012 and was also named ‘The Best Airline in Central Asia and India’ that year. Both achievements were repeated every year through until 2019. Air Astana has also received TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards in the “Regional Carrier in Asia” and “Passenger Comfort” categories for the past three years and a 5-Star in the “Major Regional Airlines” category from APEX in 2019.


CERTAPET

Recently, the US Department of Transportation released their final ruling regarding service animals on airplanes. A service animal is defined as a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. DOT determined that carriers are not required to recognize emotional support animals (ESA’s) as service animals and may treat them as pets. While the rules may vary carrier to carrier, this means that the protections afforded those with ESA’s will no longer be valid. Instead, they will most likely have to pay a fee to bring their re-classified pet aboard an aircraft.

HOWEVER – the DOT actually made it easier than ever for people to fly with their animals. See the attached infographic for all of the reasons why.


CARLISLE INTERCONNECT TECHNOLOGIES (CIT)

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) announced that it has received a patent for its third generation of ARINC 791/792 Adjustable Fittings for existing and emerging aerospace applications. The new patented fittings allow for simple, error-proof, and efficient installation performed using only basic hand tools. The ARINC 791/792 Adjustable Fittings significantly reduce installation compared to traditional methods as they do not require special fixtures or tools, shims, or match drilling.

This new solution is ARINC 791/792-compliant as well as RTCA/DO-160 and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) qualified. Adaptable to existing ARINC 791, these fittings also incorporate ARINC 791/792 slip requirements with z-axis (height) adjustability to support conversion from ARINC 791 to 792 equipment installation. These fittings ensure the lowest possible installation height for electronically steered antenna (ESA) applications, provide z-axis adjustability to account for structure variations, and minimize labor on the line or at the MRO.

“Our team has remained dedicated to providing next-generation solutions that meet current needs and stand up to future challenges, while also improving performance and reducing cost,” said Chris Rawley, Product Line Manager, Aircraft Connectivity Solutions at CarlisleIT. “These new adjustable fittings for ARINC 791/792 systems serve as a certified and proven solution to meet the evolving needs of aircraft developers, withstand harsh and demanding environments, and support innovation across the aerospace industry.”

With more than 80 years’ experience, CarlisleIT has a proven history of meeting customer demands. This new solution represents the company’s innovative approach to satisfying OEM requirements alongside the installation needs of next-generation equipment. To learn more about CarlisleIT’s complete line of System Installation Kit products, visit www.carlisleit.com.


BOEING

Boeing announced a new 10-year agreement with North American carrier Frontier Airlines to implement a range of crew, flight-planning and operations tools to enhance efficiency for the airline. These digital solutions from Boeing’s Jeppesen product range provide fleet-wide cost savings across regional and international routes, enhance airline crew-planning processes and increase operational reliability.

In addition to its digital navigation and charting services from Boeing, Frontier Airlines will use a new Jeppesen digital solutions suite that provides day-of-operations decision-support tools, including:

  • Flight-planning and scheduling services to enhance flight operations and enable on-time departures and efficient routing
  • Crew management, tail assignment and operations-control tools that optimize schedules and aircraft utilization in the short- and long-term planning horizon, including day-of-operation issue detection and schedule recovery to minimize issues due to unexpected events.

“As commercial aviation emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Frontier Airlines is poised to continue its exceptional growth, utilizing Boeing’s analytics-powered tools to maximize performance and reduce costs during this critical moment for our industry,” said Ted Colbert, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services. “This is a great example of our partnership with customers like Frontier to turn Boeing’s unparalleled digital expertise into operational bottom-line advantages.”

Frontier Airlines is committed to “Low Fares Done Right.” Headquartered in Denver, the company operates more than 100 aircraft with a route network spanning the U.S., the Caribbean and Mexico. With 160 new planes on order, Frontier will continue to grow to deliver on the mission of providing affordable travel across America.

Also from Boeing:

China Airlines unveiled the first of six Boeing 777 Freighters, officially becoming the 20th operator of the world’s largest and longest range twin-aisle freighter. The 777 Freighter joins the airline amid growing demand for dedicated freighters as operators grapple with the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. China Airlines aims to increase its cargo capacity by 15% in 2021 and is planning to launch the 777 Freighter on routes connecting Taipei with North America — a key market with strong demand and escalating yields. An operator of all-Boeing freighter fleet, China Airlines debuted its new 777 Freighter during a ceremony in Taipei to mark the carrier’s 61st anniversary. The airline is set to take five more 777 Freighters as part of an order announced at the 2019 Paris Air Show.

The 777 Freighter is the world’s largest, longest range and most capable twin-engine freighter. The airplane has a range of 9,200 km (4,970 nautical miles) and can carry a maximum payload of 102,010 kg (224,900 lbs). The airplane will allow China Airlines to make fewer stops and reduce associated landing fees on long-haul routes, resulting in the lowest trip cost of any large freighter.

The 747 and 777 freighters, both of which make up China Airlines’ world-class freighter fleet, are capable of carrying tall and outsized cargo loads on 3-meter (10-foot) tall pallets. This common main-deck pallet height capability enables interchangeable pallets, adding to the versatility of both models.

In addition to commercial airplanes, Boeing provides China Airlines with total life cycle support services to streamline parts provisioning and flight and maintenance operations. The entire China Airlines fleet uses Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro, which provides access to digital navigation charts and interactive maps to optimize performance and enhance situational awareness.

China Airlines also recently signed an agreement for Airplane Health Management (AHM), which tracks real-time airplane information, providing data and decision support tools that allow technicians to quickly and correctly resolve maintenance issues. This allows airlines to take proactive actions based on AHM-generated alerts, reducing disruptions to operations and the costs associated with unscheduled maintenance. With the agreement, China Airlines joins more than 100 global customers using the AHM solution.


OTHER NEWS

  • Better get ready for youthful scientists solving problems that we don’t seem to see or understand – TIME’s 2020 Kid of the Year: Meet Gitanjali Rao | Time
  • “On December 4, 2020, Boeing retired two of its long serving chase planes…” This incredible flight history is by a friend and writer, and pilot … and just about everything else – Bob Bogash. Yes, it is very interesting stuff for aviation lovers. Buried within is a story about about an amazing aviation expert, Lockheed designer Kelly Johnson who designed the first chase plane model… – Boeing Chase Airplanes
  • IATA once again has published some good advice “Best Practices for COVID-19 Market Stimulation” and you can read it here: IATA – Best Practices for COVID-19 Market Stimulation

FTE & APEX Virtual Expo

The FTE & APEX Virtual Expo is under way and it is the first time the industry has been able to gather together to see the latest technological innovations and discuss how COVID-19 is being tackled. So far Biometrics and touchless solutions are hot topics. In the coming issues of IFExpress we will be delving into the virtual booth demonstrations and product reviews, as well as, highlight some of the APEX Tech Committee sessions and presentations from the 2 day conference.

In today’s issue, we will focus on the Opening Keynote interview of Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO, Qatar Airways who discusses how Qatar Airways has fought their way through the pandemic maze over the past 9 months. He is interviewed by Aaron Heslehurst who is a News Anchor & Presenter for the BBC World News.

Akbar Al Baker: First and foremost we are a resilient airline. We will always find a way to do business and serve our passengers. At the start of COVID-19 there were 100s of thousands of passengers that were stranded by airlines when they shut down and stopped flying. The airlines didn’t realize that there were people who were desperate to get home. We at Qatar Airways wanted to step in and at the time of these challenges and be an airline that would serve them and take them to their loved ones. In this we were very successful. We never reduced our destinations to less than 30 and continued to operate about 150 flights per week. Also did a lot of repatriation flights.

Aaron: You also didn’t reduce your inflight service during this time, while some airlines reduced their inflight meals, etc. Qatar Airways still offered their ‘Dine on Demand’ service. Again, how did you make that decision and how did you make it COVID safe?

Answer: There is always many ways to skin the cat. We started to pre-pack items, put everything on the tray to decrease the interaction between the crew and the passengers and in addition to this we also wanted to make sure that every thing was only served one time, making certain that the crews exposure was limited while not decreasing the level of service and maintaining the quality of the product for the passenger. An example is single use menu cards in business class and no menu card in economy class. This was made certain the passenger didn’t get contaminated by the pandemic in anyway.

Aaron: How have the many decisions Qatar has made during this pandemic to benefit their passengers come off?

Answer: Very well. Our decisions have shown passengers that Qatar Airways is not about extracting revenue during difficult times and taking advantage of people. Qatar allowed booking changes with no fee, change the continent, take cash for refunds – all at no fee. 600,000 refunds were given and we have extended tickets up to 2 years and/or provided vouchers. We have done everything to mitigate any anxiety that the customer might have when suddenly an airport was closed or the airline grounded their airplane. This is the time when you really reflect the standards and value of traveling on Qatar Airways. It put a lot of financial strain on an airline but at the end of the day it is the duty of the airline not to take advantage under these circumstances.

Aaron: Your employees have been working besides thousands upon thousands of travelers. How have you safeguarded and protected your employees with a very low infection rate?

Answer: At the very beginning we had a spike. And we as a small country had to take strict precautions: stop travel into the country, adopt a strict testing regime. Many places in the world have experienced a 2nd and/or 3rd wave, but in Qatar things are normal. By normal I mean the new normal: you have to wear a mask, you have to social distance, there are restricts on how many people can be in a restaurant, , there are restricts on how many people can be in a site of worship, there are restricts on how many people can be in a car. And through these measures we have kept a very tight lid on the pandemic. We have less than 150-200 cases per day. Qatar has been extremely transparent in reporting their cases and as of today Qatar has just 2,500 infected people. Getting the world’s highest quality of medical treatment regardless of nationality, your country of origin, whether you are a resident or not. And we have one of the lowest death rates.

Aaron: When do you think people will be able to have a proper visit or layover?

Answer: It depends on how quickly we can vaccinate our entire population. Qatar has been at the forefront of investing in companies that are developing vaccines. And we anticipate having the vaccine in stock by 1Q2021. Once there is enough vaccine to inoculate all of the residents of Qatar, restrictions will eventually be loosened and move towards the new normal.

Aaron: Your premium lounges and lounges during this time have been open and you managed to maintain the level of service. In fact, you kept the buffets open – even though they were touchless. Again, during a pandemic where this virus can spread like wildfire, why did you do it and how did you manage it?

Answer: It is very easy. First and foremost, everything in the buffet was served to you – anything you wanted was delivered to you by a chef. All the starters were pre-packed and all the bread was pre-packed. Again, when there is a will to do something whether it is providing a quality product on the ground or inflight, we found ways that where anything was touched it was handled by one of our professionals and if a passenger touched something that it was taken away with them. By adhering to these simple rules we made certain that there was nearly 0% risk coming back to our passengers.

Back to the lounges, we closed one of the large lounges because of the reduction in travelers. We are currently expanding the airport and opening new airport lounges that are designed with minimal contact between passengers both in the lounges and duty free area. We have taken advantage of the slow down in passengers to enhance our facilities.

Aaron: The role of innovation, what role will that play in your airline and the entire industry?

Answer: Innovation has never stopped at Qatar Airways and it is something that is always driving our industry as a whole. We have contactless check-in, boarding gates, entry/exit points. After Amsterdam, we were the next airport to deploy UV robots going through the entire airport to disinfect. We are one of the first airlines to deploy the Honeywell aircraft disinfecting systems. We are making certain that our staff is properly clad in masks, gloves and goggles. We have made certain the staff inside the airport is provided with PPE masks and following strict hygiene rules. All these new technologies, systems and processes have made certain that 99.998% of the travelers with Qatar Airways have not been exposed to the virus.

Aaron: Talking about Onboard, what about Premium Economy? Is this something you’ve hinted at? What is in store for 2021?

Answer: I have always mentioned we will never introduce a premium economy at Qatar Airways. Because the economy seat of Qatar Airways and the economy service is far ahead of premium economy. Actually, if you have used premium economy seats in airplanes, 99 out 100 of those products is very uncomfortable. In fact, in my opinion the airlines are pulling the wool over your eyes. They are giving the same level of services with just a little more food and beverage in a fancy glass or a larger tray. It is the same kind of amenities of someone paying half your fare. So why should we try to repackage something and call it premium economy.

Aaron: But didn’t you de-bundle some of your business class services? No lounge access, cannot pre-book a seat – so what was your thinking?

Answer: That is correct. Actually, we have bundled not only business class but economy class because there are a lot of things you don’t actually need. For example, in business class why do you need to select your seat? Or why do you need lounge access when you are only going to be in the airport 15 or 20 minutes prior to departure and are just going to be heading straight to the gate? So we offer our passengers the opportunity to save a little money if these features are not important to them.

Aaron: How has this been working for you? Has it been popular?

Answer: It has been very popular. People like flexibility. They like the concept of not having to pay for a service they are not going to use. The same with economy, we are giving the passenger the option of choosing the services and/or products they will use or want en route.

Aaron: Let me ask you this, across the industry the suppliers along with the airlines are deeply suffering. What words do you have for our supplier friends out there?

Answer: Good times will come back. The only thing is we will have to take the pain and it will be survival of the fittest. Even in civilization it has always been survival of the fittest of the civilized people. We will need to be very agile in these difficult times. And for the supply chain of the airlines and the aviation industry, I would request the governments that they stand with these supply chains because these are very highly advanced, technologically developed companies who need to be sustained because you will need them down the line when the industry starts to ramp up.

There will be more failures as we continue to move through this pandemic. People will become more relaxed and until everyone is vaccinated this will not be over. There are nearly 8 billion people around the world and this is not going to happen tomorrow. So people need to be prepared to be cautious – to help their people, their governments, and their country so we don’t face a severe third wave of the pandemic.

Aaron: In the past, you have had some tough love for the One World Alliance. Earlier this year Alaska Airlines announced its intent to join the alliance and there were talks about a Seattle to Doha flight. What does the addition of Alaska Airlines mean for One World and what additional steps will strengthen the alliance in the future?

Answer: Alaska is a very large airline in the western United States. One World, though it has a strong partner in American Airlines in the USA, we were not very strong in the western affluent part of the country. With the induction of Alaska Airlines we are filling the void we had in the western USA. Once we become an operator into Seattle and the alliance membership of Alaskan Airways into One World provides us with a very good platform into the West Coast. It will be our third in the West Coast.

Aaron: Were you involved in the courtship?

Answer: No, to be honest I was not. We need One World to keep growing and we want to be the largest alliance between the three. We were very displeased with One World with American challenging our government ownership, our growth in Europe – which had nothing to do with getting into the United States through the back door. This is now in the past and we have a very good relationship with American. We still have not the type of relationship I would like with Qantas and we have a very good relationship with everyone else. And I hope, a developing relationship with Delta Air Lines who has a relationship with one of the airlines we are an investor in, and that is LATAM in South America. So I now see the light at the end of the tunnel with our membership in the One World Alliance.

Aaron: Now about the code share partnership with Air Canada. Briefly, how did you forge a new partnership during the pandemic?

Answer: At the beginning of this I said to you that we will always find new ways to be innovative and develop our airline. I am a big believer in mutual benefit – a business relationship should never just be one way. Our business relationship with Air Canada, we found an opportunity in this difficult period to strike a deal that will benefit both our airlines. During these times, we need to take every dollar that is on the table. We need to forget about our ego and realize we are not invincible. This pandemic showed everybody that even the strongest are not invincible. Even the largest airlines went to their government with the begging bowl in hand and before this is over it will happen again.

Aaron: What is it IATA needs to do?

Answer: They need to restart our industry. They need to put regulations in place that is not mismatched by each government. IATA needs to let the governments know that they need to stand with IATA and the ICAO – they need to help kick start the industry on which millions of jobs depend, which contribute trillions of dollars to the GDP. IATA needs a strong leader to facilitate this in the coming months.

Aaron: How much worse is it going to get before it gets better? What are you expecting for 2021?

Answer: I hope we are not going to have to cut more people than we already have. It is the most difficult thing for me to tell people that have helped build this airline that they have to go. I have promised these people when we start ramping up again, we will approach them first. I am confident with the vaccine that the airline will gradually start ramping up. Even during the pandemic we have added 4 new destinations to our routes.

Aaron: And to end on a positive note, how is Qatar preparing for 2022 FIFA?

Answer: The planning is being done by the Supreme Committee and everything should be in place by the end of 2021. All will be ready for the fans and spectators to have the best time during their visit to our country.


PXCom

PXCom launches PX2GO.

Passengers can now benefit from a single entry-point to access a unique platform that encompasses communication, services and entertainment throughout their entire journey, from the moment they book their ticket until reaching final destination.

Thanks to a holistic approach, the passenger can access all the relevant information related to health and safety rules before, during, and upon arrival of the flight, useful information and services dedicated to their flight as to their destination, Duty-Free services, airport, transport, and catering offers. They can also enjoy a seamless and uninterrupted entertainment experience, from the lounges & boarding gates, and resume during the flight, as well as the luggage belt.

The portfolio of services and contents is automatically adapted to the stage of the journey, to provide the most relevant experience in the right context.

PX2GO can be white labeled and integrated both into the airline existing app and wireless IFE. Discussions are on the go with seatback screen manufacturers to extend the feature to long haul flights.

PX2GO cares about passengers’ concerns and expectations in regard to their data privacy usage. Hence, the platform provides transparency and full control of personal data, keeping highest digital confidence throughout their entire journey.

Open Platform

PX2GO has been designed to accept third-party apps & services, to ensure a one- stop-shop experience for the passenger.

Solutions such as Digital Health Passport, geo navigation in the airport, private transfer offerings…can easily be integrated within PX2GO.

The platform is also prepared to manage IoT-based experience such as beacons in the airports and NFC transactions.

PX2GO can be used as a whole, as well as unitary components, to avoid multiple apps download.

ROI-driven

Beyond the NPS improvement, PX2GO comes with all the monetization capabilities, from programmatic advertising to brand content to shopping experience.

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


GOGO

Gogo has once again set a new standard for inflight entertainment (IFE) in business aviation with the announcement of Gogo Vision 360 – a premium IFE service that features a compelling and comprehensive suite of services, including an upgraded 3D moving map.

Available with the newly released AVANCE 4.2 software update, Gogo Vision 360 is available for activation via a call to Gogo customer care as a new service or as a free upgrade for existing Gogo Vision customers with a Gogo AVANCE L5, L3 or SCS system installed on their aircraft. Activation will occur automatically over the air with no downtime required.

Gogo Vision 360 offers unlimited streaming of on-demand movies, TV programming and news, along with digital magazines and a state-of-the-art 3D moving map, all at a fixed monthly price eliminating the unpredictability and often high costs associated with inflight streaming video and audio.

All Gogo Vision content is updated automatically each month through a seamless delivery via Gogo Cloudport, either in a customer’s own hangar or at Gogo Cloud locations throughout the U.S. and in Europe. Gogo Vision is the only IFE service that delivers content updates over-the-air. Currently, there are nearly 900 active Gogo Vision users online.

“Gogo Vision has become an essential part of the inflight experience for many of our passengers and operators,” said Sergio Aguirre, Gogo’s president. “Passengers want to be productive during their flights, but they also need downtime. The addition of a new 3D moving map will provide a new interactive experience for passengers that we’re excited to offer. Vision 360 is an important next step in our commitment to deliver the best inflight connectivity and entertainment experience to business aviation.”

Gogo’s 3D moving map, delivered through a partnership with FlightPath3D, features engaging flight and travel information that is interactive and can be displayed in a variety of views. Additional highlights include:

  • Game-like 3D interactive experience with high resolution satellite imagery
  • Immersive virtual reality window seat views, cockpit head-up-display and aircraft 360
  • Fascinating historical information about landmarks, attractions, and places as they’re flown over
  • Entertaining points of interest (POIs) that auto-play en route with distance and direction indicator
  • Real-time flight data such as ground speed, altitude and heading.

In addition to the Gogo 3D interactive moving map, Gogo Vision 360 users will have access to a host of additional content including an entertainment lineup that includes unlimited viewing of more than 150 of the latest Hollywood movie releases and popular TV shows, including popular Disney movies and TV programming; eMagazines and news clips; and, coming soon, destination weather.

There are 30 digital magazine titles available on Gogo Vision 360 from well-known titles including Golf Digest, Forbes, Wine Spectator, Newsweek, Wired, People, and Town & Country. Customers onboard will get the most current issue as well as the previous issue for each publication.

“In the ongoing COVID-19 environment in which we’re living, digital publications have proven to be very popular with passengers because they no longer have to worry about who else might have been holding a magazine like they do when it is printed on paper,” Aguirre continued. “eMagazines are not only convenient and up to date, but they offer a safer option that helps ensure passenger health.”

For those interested in global news, a wide array of current news topics from Bloomberg News have been added including global business, investing, technology, automotive, energy and top business and finance stories from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the United States.

Gogo Vision 360 is configurable for Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish. Audio tracks for movies and TV episodes are offered in English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Also new, Gogo is offering three Gogo Vision packages.

Gogo Vision Standard
Gogo Vision+
Gogo Vision 360
Base 3D Moving Map
Premium Gogo 3D Moving Map
Premium Gogo 3D Moving Map
News Clips
News Clips
Unlimited TV and Movies
Destination Weather (coming soon)
eMagazines
News Clips

Cloudport
eMagazines

Destination Weather (coming soon)
Cloudport

International Languages

Destination Weather (coming soon)
Gogo Vision Standard will be offered at no cost to any customer with an AVANCE system onboard. Gogo Vision+ will be offered at $500 per month, while Gogo Vision 360 will cost $849 per month.


BOEING

Boeing and Ryanair announced that Europe’s largest airline is placing a firm order for 75 additional 737 MAX airplanes, increasing its order book to 210 jets. Ryanair again selected the 737 8-200, a higher-capacity version of the 737-8, citing the airplane’s additional seats and improved fuel efficiency and environmental performance. “Ryanair’s board and people are confident that our customers will love these new aircraft. Passengers will enjoy the new interiors, more generous leg room, lower fuel consumption and quieter noise performance. And, most of all, our customers will love the lower fares, which these aircraft will enable Ryanair to offer starting in 2021 and for the next decade, as Ryanair leads the recovery of Europe’s aviation and tourism industries,” said Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary.

O’Leary and Ryanair leaders joined the Boeing team for a signing ceremony in Washington, D.C. Both companies acknowledged COVID-19’s impacts on air traffic in the near-term, but expressed confidence in the resilience and strength of the passenger demand over the long term. “As soon as the COVID-19 virus recedes – and it likely will in 2021 with the rollout of multiple effective vaccines – Ryanair and our partner airports across Europe will – with these environmentally efficient aircraft – rapidly restore flights and schedules, recover lost traffic and help the nations of Europe recover their tourism industries, and get young people back to work across the cities, beaches and ski resorts of the European Union,” O’Leary said.

Ryanair is the launch customer for the high-capacity 737-8 variant, having placed its first order for 100 airplanes and 100 options in late 2014, followed by firm orders of 10 airplanes in 2017 and 25 in 2018. The 737 8-200 will enable Ryanair to configure its aircraft with 197 seats, increasing revenue potential, and reduce fuel consumption by 16 percent compared to the airline’s previous airplanes.

“Ryanair will continue to play a leading role in our industry when Europe recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and air traffic returns to growth across the continent. We are gratified that Ryanair is once again placing its confidence in the Boeing 737 family and building their future fleet with this enlarged firm order,” said Dave Calhoun, president and CEO of The Boeing Company.

“Boeing remains focused on safely returning the full 737 fleet to service and on delivering the backlog of airplanes to Ryanair and our other customers. We firmly believe in this airplane, and we will continue the work to re-earn the trust of all of our customers,” Calhoun said.

Boeing Executive Vice President of Enterprise Operations and Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith will speak at the Credit Suisse Virtual Industrials Conference on December 4 at 8:50 a.m. ET. Visit https://kvgo.com/credit-suisse/boeing-2020 to access a link to the live broadcast of the conference. Individuals should check the website prior to the session to ensure access to the audio stream.


OTHER NEWS

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