PANASONIC AVIONICS

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) announced a new venture with Air Belgium to provide in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for the carrier’s new Airbus A330neo aircraft.

The agreement will see Air Belgium’s A330neo aircraft equipped with Panasonic Avionics’ renowned connectivity and mobile services, enhancing the onboard passenger experience.

The airline’s two new A330neos, the first of which entered into service this weekend, will be fitted with Panasonic Avionics’ full HD seatback monitors, complete with handsets, touch displays, and personalized interfaces.

Air Belgium’s passengers will also experience in-flight connectivity, powered by Panasonic Avionics’ global network of high-speed, high-bandwidth satellites, delivering a host of next-generation connectivity benefits such as fast internet and in-flight mobile phone services. The system will also feature ArcTM, Panasonic Avionics 3D in-flight moving map platform.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics, said, “We are delighted to be working with Air Belgium to enhance the passenger experience on their new fleet. By tailoring the way we offer our award-winning solutions to meet the individual needs of carriers, we are able to create a product portfolio that can fit every airline’s business model.”

“Our in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions will help Air Belgium strengthen their long-haul operations and drive customer satisfaction as they look to grow in the years ahead.”

By adopting Panasonic Avionics’ industry-leading IFEC solutions, airlines can offer a powerful onboard experience to increase brand loyalty, while delivering fresh, personalized content to passengers across the world.

Niky Terzakis, Chief Executive Officer at Air Belgium, said, “We are thrilled to be joining forces with Panasonic Avionics to continue to enrich and elevate our onboard experience. Their flexibility and innovative approach in delivering IFE and connectivity perfectly complements our internal resources and strategy.”

More Panasonic News:

Middle East Airlines-Air Liban (MEA) has started a two-month trial of Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight Live Television service.

The service was rolled out on MEA’s fleet of nine Airbus A321neoLR aircraft on the 1st of October 2021, helping passengers to Never Miss A Moment™ with a wide range of premium news and live sporting events.

Panasonic Avionics’ Live Television service connects passengers to unmissable on-the-ground entertainment from the comfort of their seats. The integrated service enables passengers to watch news channels including the BBC World and CNN International, along with live sporting action in partnership with Sport 24.

Sport 24 is provided exclusively by Panasonic Avionics and is the world’s first and only live in-flight sports platform. It broadcasts 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, connecting airline passengers to over 16 hours of premium live content from over 30 different global sports leagues each day.

MEA’s customers will be able to enjoy all the live action from the world’s top sporting events, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, all four Tennis Grand Slams, all four Golf Majors, the NRL, the UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, Bundesliga, and more.

The Live Television service onboard MEA’s aircraft will be powered by Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight connectivity services, and broadcast through its eX1 in-flight entertainment platform, both of which were launched on the airline’s A321neoLR fleet in 2020.

eX1 is designed specifically for narrowbody aircraft and offers elegant full HD seatback monitors, complete with touch displays and handsets, and an intuitive, personalized interface.

Andrew Mohr, Vice President of Digital Solutions for Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “We are delighted to extend our partnership with Middle East Airlines and to enhance the in-flight experience they provide by bringing live news and the world’s best sporting action to their passengers.”

Houssam Moghrabi, Head of In-flight Services at MEA, said, “Panasonic Avionics is a proven partner for MEA. The trial of their Live Television service is a natural next step following the installation of their state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems last year, which has been well received by our passengers.”


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, celebrated the 1,000th installation and activation of its market-leading Jet ConneX inflight connectivity solution, cementing the company’s leadership in the business aviation market.

The milestone was celebrated with Inmarsat’s partners at the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Las Vegas, USA and also coincides with the fifth anniversary of Jet ConneX. Since entering commercial service in November 2016, Jet ConneX has quickly developed into the business aviation industry’s gold standard inflight connectivity service, offering the same level of reliable, consistent and high-speed broadband in the air that was previously only available on the ground.

Powered by Inmarsat’s global Ka-band satellite network Global Xpress, Jet ConneX is the preferred linefit option of all major business jet manufacturers, including Gulfstream, Bombardier and Dassault, and uses JetWave hardware by Honeywell Aerospace. Inmarsat has received type certificate and supplemental type certificate (STC) approvals for the service from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) across all popular platforms, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and aftermarket maintenance repair and overhaul service providers (MROs).

The 1,000th activation comes at an important time for the business aviation industry. Following a period of turbulence over the past 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent survey commissioned by Inmarsat and Corporate Jet Investor (CJI) found that almost 80% of respondents around the world believe more frequent business aviation flights will be taken in the next year. A staggering 90% also feel online activities will dominate principals’ time in the air, almost evenly split between business and leisure.

Kai Tang, Inmarsat’s Head of Business Aviation, said: “The business world has evolved considerably since the onset of COVID-19 and during times of unprecedented turbulence and instability, business leaders cannot afford to be disconnected. As a result, we have experienced a rapid surge in demand for the fast, reliable and consistent inflight Wi-Fi that only Jet ConneX can deliver, wherever and whenever they fly. We believe this is a long-term trend that won’t level off as we come out of this COVID era.

“Therefore, the outlook is bright and we look forward to working with our partners to build on the momentum of the past five years, with 1,000 activations now achieved and many more to come. As part of these efforts, we are investing more than ever in several upcoming next-generation satellites, plus significant enhancements to our ground stations, hardware and software, all backed by world-class cybersecurity. This will amplify Jet ConneX capabilities even further and also result in unprecedented new L-band offerings to cement our long-term leadership in business aviation connectivity.”

Inmarsat recently unveiled plans for ORCHESTRA, the communications network of the future, which will bring existing geosynchronous (GEO) satellites together with low earth orbit satellites (LEO) and terrestrial 5G to form an integrated, high-performance solution, unmatched by any existing or planned competitor offering. ORCHESTRA boosts capacity in high-density areas such as at airports, eliminating congested network ‘hot spots’ and ensuring the connectivity needs of business aviation customers continue to be met well into the future, with capacity scaled directly to match their requirements.


BURRANA

Burrana, a leader in the inflight entertainment (IFE) and cabin technology industry, announced the appointment of Graham Macdonald as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Graham brings 30 years of aerospace experience with 15 years in the IFE industry — including Rockwell Collins from which the commercial IFE business was acquired in early 2019 to form Burrana. Mr. Macdonald’s extensive experience managing multi-site, multi-national operations and background integrating acquisitions provide a strong foundation for leading Burrana through the industry recovery and eventual return to normalcy.

For the past 18 months, Neal Nordstrom, Operating Partner for JW Hill Capital, led the business through the challenges created by the global pandemic. He will now transition back to his board role where he will continue to support Mr. Macdonald. Mr. Macdonald came on board as acting Chief of Staff two months ago to begin his onboarding process. A seamless transition of responsibilities will take place over the next few weeks.

Mr. Macdonald said, “I am excited to have been chosen by the board for this role and look forward to embracing the challenges ahead. I am inheriting from Neal a strong team and competitive product range. Our immediate focus is of course continuing to navigate COVID-19’s impact on the industry and coming out of these challenging times strong and ready to compete.”


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for global aerospace, defense and other mission critical industries, announced that it has closed on the sale of its facility in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for total consideration of $9.1 million. Net proceeds were approximately $8.7 million in cash. The Company expects to record a gain in the fourth quarter of 2021 of approximately $5.0 million. The sale was a result of the consolidation of the DME lighting and safety operations into its East Aurora, NY operations.

The Company also confirmed that it entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation under the Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Program, or AMJP, for a grant of up to $14.7 million. Astronics received the first installment of $7.3 million under the grant in September. The Company expects to receive a second installment in the range of $5 million to $6 million during the fourth quarter of 2021 and a final installment in the second or third quarter of 2022 upon final confirmation of meeting its grant commitments.

Astronics was required to make several commitments to qualify for the program, including a commitment not to furlough or lay off a defined group of employees during the period of performance. The grant benefit will be recognized ratably over a six-month performance period as an offset to cost of goods sold. The contribution to gross profit by quarter is expected to be $1.1 million in the third quarter of 2021, $7.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 and $6.2 million in the first quarter of 2022.


BOEING

Ted Colbert, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services, has been named Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) for 2022 by U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine. The award, the highest honor in the long-running program, recognizes a public or private sector leader who has navigated business challenges and expanded opportunities for African-Americans in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Colbert leads Boeing’s aerospace services development and delivery model for commercial, government and aviation industry customers worldwide, focused on global supply chain and parts distribution, aircraft modifications and maintenance, digital solutions, aftermarket engineering, analytics and training.


OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC AVIONICS

Panasonic Avionics is enhancing its in-flight Live Television sports offering with the addition of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

AFC’s competitions are being added to IMG’s Sport 24, the world’s first and only live in-flight sports platform, which is offered exclusively in-flight by Panasonic Avionics. These include all the major football championships in the Asia-Pacific region, including qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

It will join a wealth of other content on Sport 24 including NFL, NBA, NHL, tennis’ Grand Slams, golf’s Majors, Premier League, UEFA Champions League, AFC Champions League, European and Asian World Cup Qualifiers, and more.

Sport 24 broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, connecting airline passengers to more than 16 hours of premium live content from over 30 different global sports leagues each day. It creates a unique viewing experience for passengers – from the casual to the avid sports fan – which results in a dwell time almost three times higher than the most popular US sports channel.

Dominic Green, Senior Director, Digital Product Management of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “We are delighted to be enhancing the live sports we offer airlines across the globe with the addition of top-flight football from the Asia-Pacific region. Football is one of the most popular live sports we offer in-flight and we are confident that AFC tournaments will prove a hit with passengers from the outset.”

Richard Wise, Senior Vice President, Content and Channels, IMG’s media business, said, “We are delighted to bring Asia’s top national team and club competitions to our audiences and bolster our portfolio. Our long-standing relationship with Panasonic Avionics enables us to broadcast live sports coverage to passengers all over the world.”

The AFC is the governing body of Asian football and one of the six Confederations making up FIFA. Established in 1954 in Manila, the AFC is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and comprises 47 Member Associations.

Almost 1,000 aircraft across the globe are installed with Panasonic Avionics’ Live Television service, of which Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra are an integral part.


SATCOM DIRECT

  • SD adding SKYTRAC Iridium Certus products to SD Xperience portfolio
  •  Deal enhances connectivity configuration options for SD customers globally
  • SKYTRAC addition expands current broadband offering to satisfy increased demand

Satcom Direct, has signed a deal with SKYTRAC, a Canada-based provider of intelligent connectivity solutions for aviation, to become an exclusive reseller for the business aviation sector. The newly ratified agreement positions SD as a global reseller of SKYTRAC Iridium Certus® hardware and data services directly to business aviation jet owners, operators, and business aircraft manufacturers.

Aligning with the SD strategy, which offers customizable, robust connectivity solutions for aircraft of all sizes, the agreement immediately adds an impressive range of Iridium Certus products to the SD Xperience portfolio. A full suite of robust connectivity options, powered by the Iridium LEO Certus constellation are available to satisfy the increased demand for connectivity from all sizes of business aviation aircraft. The SKYTRAC offering meets both cabin and flight-deck communication requirements for a range of business aviation platforms through its compelling broadband solutions.

“What sets us apart within the industry is our consultancy service that streamlines connectivity acquisition and ensures a seamless service that’s easier to manage. The addition of the SKYTRAC component enables a greater variety of options for owners and operators of business jets of all sizes, to receive consistent, secure, reliable connectivity, now. It also boosts our mixed fleet offering which, as we add more and more fleets worldwide to our roster, adds real value for the customer. We are proud to have partnered with one of the industry’s most respected Iridium Certus suppliers,” says Chris Moore, President, Satcom Direct Business Aviation.

The SKYTRAC products and services bring even more flexibility to the SD Xperience portfolio to support internet browsing, email, voice, and text services in the cabin, even on smaller aircraft. Flight-deck tools include improved situational awareness through flight tracking, weather alerts, and FANS capabilities. The additional products augment the SD commitment to provide cabin and flight-deck communications services, aircraft connectivity hardware, data management, and flight operations software, from a single resource. The SD Xperience portfolio delivers purpose-built technology to satisfy the unique, evolving requirements of business aviation, and gives SD the capabilities to create tailored, customer-driven solutions. In addition, all SD SKYTRAC customers will benefit from the award-winning SD 24/7/365 customer support.

“SD has gained impressive global market share of the business aviation sector and is dedicated to empowering owners by harnessing the full potential of data connectivity. This new relationship immediately broadens our potential customer base,” said Jan van der Heul, Vice President Sales of SKYTRAC. “The SD market penetration, combined with the expansion of the SD Xperience portfolio with the SKYTRAC products, adds up to a powerful connectivity offering for the international business aviation market. We’re excited to work with SD to bring our products to a much wider audience.”


THALES

Vantis and Thales Partner to Build Nation’s First Statewide BVLOS Network

Vantis, North Dakota’s Statewide Unmanned Aircraft Systems Network, has selected a long-term systems integrator to build out this groundbreaking UAS, or drone, infrastructure across the state. Thales, a global technology leader, was one of three aviation giants providing engineering and integration services being evaluated to enable BVLOS UAS flights on Vantis. A state selection committee made up of members from the North Dakota Department of Commerce and Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS), which administers Vantis, selected Thales as the long-term systems integrator for Vantis design, operations and maintenance.

“We’re excited for the next phase of our partnership with Thales,” said James Cieplak, program manager of Vantis. “They were chosen not only because of their outstanding technical performance and innovative approach to building this system, but because they provide the best long-term value to the state. Thales shares our vision for what a partnership of this magnitude could achieve, and for Vantis as the future of the UAS industry.”

One of the major barriers to commercial UAS flights – package deliveries, infrastructure inspections, search and rescue efforts – is that UAS currently must remain within visual line of sight of the pilot. Vantis is a State of North Dakota-funded technology infrastructure that uses radar, radios, and other communications equipment on towers distributed throughout the state to provide command, control, and situational awareness to UAS pilots flying aircraft within the network’s coverage area. With Vantis, UAS pilots can see and avoid obstacles and fly safely at a distance – which means commercial UAS flights that are economically feasible and scalable to the size of business.

“North Dakota continues to be the nation’s proving ground for the testing, training and commercialization of unmanned aircraft systems, and this partnership with Thales to build out the first-of-its-kind Vantis statewide network will help cement our state’s reputation as a UAS leader,” said North Dakota Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, who chairs the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority. “Our state’s nearly $50 million investment in this groundbreaking technology is attracting companies, jobs and entrepreneurs and diversifying our economy for the benefit of all North Dakotans.”

As the systems integration partner for Vantis, Thales will deploy new communications and surveillance infrastructure in phases across the state. This infrastructure will be supported by a Mission and Network Operations Center (MNOC) that uses the State of North Dakota’s fiber optic telecommunications network along with robust digital services deployed on cloud-based infrastructure to support operational resilience.

Vantis infrastructure has been installed at key sites in western North Dakota, where testing is currently underway. Testing standards were developed in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure they are rigorous, do not interfere with existing manned aviation operations, and to prove the safety and reliability of Vantis moving forward. Currently, approvals to fly BVLOS must be obtained directly from the FAA on an individual basis. Working with the FAA as the Vantis network is built out and proven will enable any operator who flies on the network to receive the appropriate approvals to facilitate true BVLOS flights – something that does not exist at this scale anywhere in the country.

“BVLOS operations are the greatest economic driver for sustained commercial UAS use-cases and, until now, there hasn’t been any common, or shared-use, infrastructure to support routine BVLOS operations,” said Todd Donovan, Vice President, Airspace Mobility Solutions, Americas, Thales. “Ultimately, the approach for unmanned systems with Vantis in North Dakota will likely shape how we approach UAS integration more broadly.”

As the system matures, Vantis will continue its expansion across the state. The expansion strategy targets areas with existing use cases where commercial interests and capable UAS operators intersect, such as the initial stage in North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields. The second stage of implementation will include the Red River Valley, priming Vantis to support businesses in two of the state’s largest metropolitan areas as well as one of the major agricultural regions in the state. Then, Vantis will begin connecting these major economic powerhouse areas across North Dakota.

“BVLOS flights are the future of UAS. They are how we achieve repeatable, scalable, economically viable commercial UAS services,” said Trevor Woods, interim executive director of NPUASTS. “Vantis, through our partnership with Thales USA, is making that future a reality. We’re building the blueprint for commercial BVLOS flights across the country.”


IATA

Mehmet T. Nane, CEO of Pegasus Airlines, has been appointed Chair of the IATA Board of Governors at The International Air Transport Association’s 77th Annual General Assembly, to commence his term in June 2022. Mehmet T. Nane, who will serve as the first Turkish Chair of the IATA Board of Governors, will commence his term at the 78th Annual General Assembly to be held in Shanghai on 19-21 June 2022, succeeding the current Chair of the Board of Governors Robin Hayes. Mehmet T. Nane will serve until the conclusion of the 79th Annual General Assembly in 2023. With this appointment, Mehmet T. Nane will also become a Member of the IATA’s Chair Committee and this Chair Committee Membership will last three terms as an elected, active and former Chair of the Board of Governors.


OTHER NEWS

Stay up on this airplane –  Widebody Challenger: The CRAIC CR929 Is Now Under Production – YouTube Russia and China are building it!

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has named Kent D. Craver to lead the company’s marketing activities, effective today.

As Senior Director, Kent will shape the company’s marketing efforts with responsibility for Panasonic Avionics’ global brand, and digital marketing transformation, with the goal of becoming the world’s leading brand for delivering an extraordinary passenger in-flight experience.

He will lead a global, multi-disciplinary team including the Brand, Marketing, Digital Marketing and Market Analysis groups. Kent will report to Andy Masson, Panasonic Avionics’ Vice President of Product and Portfolio Management.

Andy Masson, Vice President of Product Management, said, “Kent has a proven track record in delivering results in customer engagement, brand management and passenger experience. I am confident he will be a valuable addition to Panasonic Avionics and I am delighted to welcome him to our team.”

Kent has over 25 years of experience in the aviation industry. For 12 years, he was Regional Director – Cabin Experience and Revenue Analysis at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. His responsibilities included identifying passenger preferences and airline requirements, using that information to guide product development and helping carriers configure their aircraft to maximize profitability.

He joined Boeing in 2007 from Continental Airlines, where he managed Onboard Product Marketing and Research, with the responsibility for developing and maintaining the branding and customer experience aspects of the carrier’s onboard products.

Kent Craver said, “Panasonic Avionics Corporation is the world’s leading in-flight entertainment and connectivity provider. I’m excited to be leading the marketing team as we evolve the company’s brand to reflect the way it is transforming the passenger experience.”

An active participant and speaker in various industry forums, Kent also served two separate terms as president of the World Airline Entertainment Association (now APEX). He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.


NetForecast

NetForecast, a leading provider of Internet performance measurement services, has named Mary Rogozinksi Director of Aviation Business DevelopmentMary has been a leader in the inflight entertainment and communications industry for over 30 years. In her new role, Mary is responsible for strategy, marketing, sales, and account managementworking with airlines, inflight connectivity providers, business aviation partners, and other transportationrelated companies to improve the passenger WiFi experience. NetForecast recently unveiled its QMap® Inflight Internet Experience Monitoring service, which continuously measures the passenger WiFi experience from personal electronic devices, and reports on endtoend network experience quality in near realtime.

As current Chair of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Connectivity Working Group (CWG)Mary leads the effort to document metrics for measuring the inflight connectivity passenger experience. Through her work at United, SmartSky, and Gogo, she was instrumental in introducing inflight connectivity to airlines, and helped launch the service on American, Alaska, and AirTran Airways. Mary has been actively involved in the inflight entertainment and connectivity industry throughout her careerShe served as Director on the APEX Boardis a member of the Leadership Team for the APEX Technology Committee, and is a longstanding member and formeChair of the APEX Thought Leadership Committee. She has also served as President of APEX.

According to Rebecca Wetzel, NetForecastPresident: NetForecast is delighted to welcome Mary Rogozinski to our team. Her deep understanding of the aviation industry and her longstanding commitment to improving the passenger experience make her the perfect fit for our mission to improve the Internet experience for aircraft passengers.

NetForecast is a privately held company headquartered in Charlottesville VA. Its customers provide Internet service to over 62 percent of the nation’s broadband Internet subscribers.


SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct (SD) has confirmed successful functioning of the Plane Simple™ Antenna System during a series of transatlantic and European validation flights. In more than sixteen hours of testing amassed during a three-day mission, the tail-mounted, Ku-band Plane Simple Antenna System demonstrated its compatibility with the Intelsat FlexExec satellite network. Seamless data transmission was supported by the SD ecosystem of hardware, software, and terrestrial infrastructure, as it delivered consistent data streaming across multiple devices.

The SD Gulfstream G350 flight, confirmed the reliability of the new hardware, which has been developed specifically for business aviation. Constant data transmission verified the terminal’s functionality across the Intelsat FlexExec network, stressed the system, and proved its capabilities across a range of aerial dynamics. The flight transitioned between three satellites on the Intelsat network as the aircraft flew along the east coast of the USA, across the North Atlantic, and on to Ireland, before returning back to base in Melbourne, FL.

The beam transmission was flawless as more than 29 GB of data was transmitted during the flight trials across Intelsat’s multi-layered, redundant, high-throughput satellite network. The SDR® Gateway router supported Wi-Fi distribution to numerous personal electronic devices in the cabin, enabling multiple streaming applications, video conferencing calls, and Live-TV, to be simultaneously active.

“This heralds a new era for business aviation as it confirms SD has successfully developed a powerful hardware system that supports unparalleled connectivity services from a single source supplier. Contacting just one company for all connectivity needs streamlines the ownership experience, enhances customer support, and demystifies the complexity of aviation connectivity,” says President of Satcom Direct Business Aviation, Chris Moore. “The results prove that SD can support high-definition data streams for numerous on-board users concurrently and demonstrates that we remain committed to optimizing the possibilities delivered by the digitization of aviation.”

The Plane Simple Antenna System delivers a number of firsts to the business aviation sector. It consists of only two LRUs, an antenna and a modem, both of which are easy to access, enabling seamless upgrade paths and maintenance. The modem is positioned in the unpressurized part of the aircraft which also returns valuable stowage space to the passenger and crew.

SD is now working on generating commercial Supplemental Type Certificates to support Plane Simple installations. It is anticipated the first will be for Falcon 2000 owners, with others to follow by the end of the year to support business, military, and government aviation customers.

The tail-mounted Plane Simple Ku-band antenna is the first in a series being developed by SD in partnership with Germany-based QEST Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH, a worldwide market leader in innovative aeronautical antennas. Once activated it will support the Intelsat FlexExec Ku-band service, which has been designed as the only airtime service dedicated exclusively for business aviation.


BOEING

The Boeing Company announced the appointment of Kuljit Ghata-Aura as the new president of Boeing Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META), excluding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, effective Sept. 30.

Ghata-Aura, who is returning to the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region, will be based in Dubai. He will be responsible for leading all company-wide activities and developing and implementing strategies for a region that is home to some of Boeing’s largest commercial, defense and services customers.

Ghata-Aura, who previously served as the regional counsel for Boeing India, Middle East, Turkey and Africa for almost six years, will oversee the company’s new business and industrial partnership opportunities, safety and sustainability efforts, government affairs and corporate citizenship. He also will oversee Boeing’s efforts to expand its presence and strengthen its relationships with customers and other stakeholders in the region.

Ghata-Aura succeeds Bernie Dunn, who is leaving Boeing after more than nine years with the company in the region.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce the appointment of Kuljit Ghata-Aura as the new president of Boeing Middle East, Turkey and Africa. Kuljit brings a wealth of experience to the role from many of Boeing’s most important markets and businesses, including the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region, where he has spent considerable time. I look forward to working with Kuljit to drive further growth in the region,” said Sir Michael Arthur, president, Boeing International. “We thank Bernie for his great contribution to the growth of Boeing’s presence in the META region over the last seven years and wish him well for the future.”

Boeing’s presence in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa goes back several decades. Boeing has offices in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, South Africa, Egypt, Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The company also has several industrial and academic partnerships in the region. Today, the region is one of the world’s fastest-growing commercial airplane markets, and its defense needs are rapidly expanding.

“I am delighted to return to the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region in this significant leadership role and rejoin my colleagues as we continue to focus on partnering with all stakeholders in one of the fastest-growing and important markets for the company in META. Boeing has a strong presence in the region and there continues to be unique opportunities. We are, and continue to be, committed to working closely with the civil aviation and defense authorities and our customers to help achieve the region’s aerospace ambitions and objectives,” said Ghata-Aura.

Ghata-Aura joined Boeing in 2010 and has held several leadership roles for the company in Europe, Russia, Israel, India and the META region. In addition to being the regional counsel for Boeing India, Middle East, Turkey and Africa for almost six years, Ghata-Aura also held the role of director of market development for UAE from 2015-16. Prior to joining Boeing, Ghata-Aura was a partner at a large international firm practicing cross border mergers and acquisitions. He is a graduate of Oxford University.

Also From Boeing:

In observance of Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S., Boeing  announced a $1 million donation to organizations supporting Hispanic and Latinx communities. The investment package will fund 28 organizations working to strengthen appreciation for Hispanic and Latinx history and culture, increase STEM education curriculum in underserved schools, advance Latinx-focused leadership and workforce development programs and diversify the aerospace talent pipeline.

“We celebrate the contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans every year from Sept. 15-Oct. 15, but partnering in a practical way to support these communities every day can be life-changing,” said Susan Doniz, Boeing’s chief information officer, senior vice president of Information Technology & Data Analytics and executive sponsor of Boeing Familia, the company’s Hispanic and Latinx business resource group. “This grant will empower students, artists and families to tap into their creativity and turn possibility into reality, which not only has the power to transform communities, but also industries – and the world.”

The funding package includes support for the following organizations with a national focus:

  • $300K: Hispanic Heritage Foundation – funding to develop a new program called Engineering on the Fast Track to introduce aerospace engineering concepts to underrepresented students across the country, based on its popular Coding as a Second Language program; and sponsorship of a new STEM category for the Hispanic Heritage Awards to honor the Latina NASA scientists working on the Mars Rover Mission
  • $100K: Great Minds in STEM – funding will support the Viva Technology program which engages K-12 Latinx students, teachers and parents in STEM challenges
  • $50K: National Association of Latino Arts and Culture – funding will support artists, projects, and organizations working to address challenges in urban and rural Latinx communities across the U.S.
  • $25K: Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers – funding to support the Pre-College and Community College Conference to provide parents and community college student members with the knowledge, resources and network they need to successfully transfer to four year universities
  • Boeing’s contribution will also fund an additional 24 organizations providing support across 11 states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Washington.

A full list of partners receiving grants can be found here.

“The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is energized to partner with The Boeing Company, not only to recognize amazing Latina engineers like Christina Hernandez, Clara O’Farrell and Diana Trujillo, but also to inspire many more engineers through our new STEM initiative, Engineering on the Fast Track for Latino youth across the country,” said Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO, Hispanic Heritage Foundation.

“In addition, Boeing will be the exclusive sponsor of this year’s STEM Category at the Hispanic Heritage Awards where we will highlight three incredible and talented Latinas who are currently working on the MARS Rover Mission and demonstrating that anything is truly possible, whether here on earth or on another planet. Christina Hernandez, Clara O’Farrell and Diana Trujillo truly exemplify leadership in every way by proving that dreams can come true.”


OTHER NEWS

Boeing to Add 767-300BCF Conversion Lines at GAMECO to Meet Strong Market Demand

  • Boeing will open two new 767-300BCF conversion lines next year at GAMECO in Guangzhou, China
  •  GAMECO will be the first MRO to convert both the 737-800BCF and 767-300BCF

Boeing and Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company Limited (GAMECO) announced plans to create additional capacity for the 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) to help meet continued strong market demand.

The agreement, revealed by the two companies during a signing ceremony at the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, will expand freighter conversion capacity at GAMECO, opening two new 767-300BCF conversion lines next year.

“It was mutually beneficial to continue building our relationship with GAMECO to provide additional conversion capacity for the 767-300BCF while supporting growth in the region,” said Peter Gao, vice president, Boeing Commercial Sales and Marketing for China. “GAMECO has demonstrated excellent execution on the 737-800BCF program. We know it will bring the same expertise and proven capability to help deliver our medium widebody freighter conversions to our global customers.”

GAMECO will be the first MRO in China to convert the 767-300BCF and the only MRO converting both the 767-300BCF and the 737-800BCF. Earlier this year, GAMECO announced plans to open a third 737-800BCF conversion line.

“GAMECO is very proud to extend its relationship with Boeing and their converted freighter program to include another aircraft type,” said Norbert Marx, general manager, GAMECO. “The introduction of the 767-300BCF program further grows GAMECO’s regional presence and enhances our strategic focus around meeting the strong customer demand. We will open the 767-300BCF conversion lines in our new hangar.”

Boeing forecasts 1,720 freighter conversions will be needed over the next 20 years. Of those, 520 will be widebody conversions with Asia carriers accounting for more than 40 percent of that demand. The 767-300BCF has more than 95 orders and commitments.

Learn more about the Boeing Converted Freighters and the complete Boeing freighter family here.

GAMECO, established in October 1989 at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, is a joint venture between China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd. and Hutchison Whampoa (China) Ltd. from Hong Kong that specializes in aircraft and airborne component maintenance, repair and overhaul. GAMECO provides comprehensive, high-quality and highly efficient services to customers, covering line maintenance, base maintenance, component repair and overhaul, aircraft engineering, and training and technical service of ground-support equipment.

Boeing Charitable Trust:

Boeing is committing $1 million from the Boeing Charitable Trust to assist with disaster recovery and relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, the company announced. This includes a $500,000 donation to the American Red Cross that will help to bring shelter, food, water, relief supplies and other assistance to hard hit areas across the South, including Louisiana, and the Northeast United States.

The remaining $500,000 will fund additional local organizations to help communities with short and longer-term needs such as clean up, repairs and rebuilding, including:

  • $100,000 to Greater New Orleans Foundation to support cleanup and recovery efforts in and around the city of New Orleans
  • $100,000 to Bayou Recovery Fund to support cleanup and recovery efforts along the Louisiana Gulf Coast
    $100,000 to World Central Kitchen to provide nourishing meals for communities in need
  • $75,000 to Food Bank of South Jersey to provide emergency food resources to those in need
  • $75,000 to Community Food Bank of New Jersey to support food distribution across the state
  • $50,000 to Combined Arms to support military veterans and their families who have been impacted by Hurricane Ida

Boeing Forecasts China’s 20-year Commercial Airplane Market Valued at Nearly $1.5 trillion:

Boeing forecasts that China’s airlines will require 8,700 new airplanes by 2040, valued at $1.47 trillion, to meet expanding commercial air travel demand. The 20-year forecast reflects the China market’s rebound and further evolution of its airline business models. Boeing shared the China forecast as part of the 2021 Commercial Market Outlook (CMO), the company’s long-term forecast of demand for commercial airplanes and services.

China’s economic fundamentals lay the foundation for healthy air traffic increases, including 4.4% annual economic growth and a middle-income demographic that will double by 2040, according to the CMO. By 2030, China’s domestic passenger market will exceed intra-European traffic; by 2040, China’s domestic traffic is expected to also exceed air travel within North America.

The CMO also forecasts that China’s civil aviation industry will require more than 400,000 new aviation personnel by 2040, including pilots, technicians and cabin crew. Boeing’s commitment to China involves investing in people who will power the future of aviation, such as training nearly 100,000 Chinese aviation professionals and employing more than 2,500 Boeing employees. Across its businesses, training, supply chain and other activities, Boeing’s presence and partnerships in China contribute more than $1.5 billion annually to the economy.

“The rapid recovery of Chinese domestic traffic during the pandemic speaks to the market’s underlying strength and resilience,” said Richard Wynne, managing director, China Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “In addition, there are promising opportunities to significantly expand international long-haul routes and air freight capacity. Longer term, there is the potential for low-cost carrier growth to further build on single-aisle demand.”

The 2021 China CMO includes these projections through 2040:

  • Annual passenger traffic growth of 5.4%, similar to the 2020 forecast.
  • Two-thirds of deliveries supporting China’s aviation industry growth and one-third of deliveries for fleet replacement, which will move airlines toward more sustainable, fuel-efficient airplane models.
  • Single-aisle jets account for nearly 6,500 deliveries; widebody deliveries, including passenger and cargo models, will total 1,850, accounting for 44% of demand by value. According to the CMO, a nearly $1.8 trillion commercial aviation services market opportunity exists in the region.

ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation, a provider of advanced technologies for global aerospace, defense and other mission critical industries, announced it was awarded a $19 million order from Collins Aerospace (“Collins”) for business jet connectivity equipment to be delivered in 2022. The order is a follow-on to the approximately $11 million order announced in February 2021.

The growing fleet employing Collins’ system is building customer recognition and confirming that LuxStream provides unparalleled high-speed world-wide connectivity that delivers a broad variety of remote conferencing services and streaming entertainment.


VISION SYSTEMS

Solar protection systems expert Vision Systems presented its latest innovations dedicated to first- and business-class passengers during the 2021 Virtual AIX.

SPD dimmable windows with distinctive characteristics adapted to each class were showcased. These solutions eliminate shades that block the view and require regular maintenance while protecting passengers from unwanted daylight or glare, and include innovative features such as complete privacy, multi-zoning, mood- lighting, transparent touch control and integrated information display.

Vision Systems will also showcased a smart glass partition showing videos such as traveling information or advertising.

When nothing is displayed, this divider can remain transparent, or opaque to offer privacy between classes.

Depending on the chosen ambiance or specific moment of the journey, Vision Systems’ ambiance management system generates the right atmosphere to offer each passenger a unique experience. Through a tablet or control panel, the traveler can select a “mood”, such as reading, sleeping or waking up, leading to the automatic synchronization of the shade, the dimmable windows and the lighting to create the perfect adequacy between the selected mood and the lighting atmosphere.

Each of Vision Systems shading systems can be controlled individually directly at the window with a transparent touch panel or simultaneously through the ambiance management system.

Developed in-house based on Vision Systems know-how in cabin management systems, other elements of the cabin could be managed by the application (temperature, image, sound) with individual or crew control.


SAFRAN

The first Air France A320 retrofitted with Safran Cabin ECOS Shelf Bins and installed by Air France Industries in July 2021, returns to service with success.

The ECOS “Efficient Cabin Open Space” shelf bins offer up to 60% more storage capacity. The new luggage compartments are equipped with easy to reach doors that do not encroach into the cabin aisle and provide a lower shelf height for ease of loading and visibility. They provide an easier and smoother boarding experience, greatly reducing the time spent searching for luggage space or the need to put certain bags in the cargo hold. Aircraft turnaround times also reduce to improve efficiency and on-time performance.

The ECOS Interior is robust, lightweight, and easy to maintain. The installation of the ECOS system was extremely efficient with certification of the interior facilitated by means of FAA and EASA Supplemental Type Certification. The modification also included the installation of Movable Class Dividers supplied by Safran Cabin.

Air France is the first company to choose Safran Cabin’s ECOS “Efficient Cabin Open Space” shelf bins and they will equip in total 24 Air France Airbus A320s.


OTHER NEWS

  • You need to see this because: “FLYR Labs has developed a deep learning platform called “Revenue Operating System” that ingests a whole host of data provided by the airline — bookings, accounting data, searches, capacity — as well as information like weather or promotions to predict demand, revenue and, most importantly, to set the price of the airline ticket that the consumer ultimately sees.” WestCap and Peter Thiel-backed FLYR Labs closes $150M Series C | TechCrunch This is going to be big because their deep learning platform will replace humans in aviation and many other businesses!
  • Curious about the mobile apps used? Here is a great graphic with the answer – The World’s Most Used Apps, by Downstream Traffic

CRYSTAL CABIN

As part of the virtual Aircraft Interiors Expo 2021, the Crystal Cabin Awards in the special categories “Clean and Safe Air Travel” and “Judges’ Choice Award” have been presented for the first time. French cabin interiors specialist Safran won over the international expert jury in both categories. The two special categories were developed by a task force of jury members in response to the global coronavirus pandemic and its impact on aviation worldwide. 2022 is expected to see the leading international industry prize take place in person again as part of the key global trade show, the Aircraft Interiors Expo, drawing the who’s who of the commercial aviation industry to Hamburg as it regularly does.

“Clean & Safe Air Travel” is targeted at innovations for aircraft in the areas of health, hygiene, safety, and cleanliness. The “Judges’ Choice Award” has been designed for entries that would otherwise have been submitted in one of the eight regular categories, including Cabin Systems and In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity. These two special categories were developed by a task force of the Crystal Cabin Award Association, which is led by Hamburg Aviation, in collaboration with members of the expert jury, spread over four continents. For the first time, five finalists were shortlisted per category, rather than three. The awards ceremony for the eight main categories of this globally recognized prize for cabin innovations and on-board products was also broadcast in TV format in March 2021. For the virtual presentation of awards in the two new special categories, the digital Aircraft Interiors Expo on 15 September represented the ideal setting.

Hygiene concepts for the aircraft cabin competed neck-and-neck in the “Clean and Safe Air Travel” category. In the end, Safran Cabin took the honors with its “Beacon Clean Lavatory”. This innovative bathroom concept represented the company’s response to increased passenger hygiene expectations, combining antibacterial surfaces with hands-free features. Speaking from Hamburg’s ZAL Center for Applied Aeronautical Research, Carsten Laufs, Vice President Product and Innovation Management of Crystal Cabin partner Diehl Aviation congratulated the winners.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a leader in global mobile satellite communications,  announced the launch of its innovative new OneFi customer experience platform for airlines. The first-of-its-kind solution will serve as a catalyst to monetize inflight connectivity by bringing a host of onboard services together within a single portal interface, which passengers can easily access using their own personal devices.

OneFi delivers a rich airline-branded digital platform to enhance the passenger experience onboard flights. It allows passengers to order food and beverages, purchase seat upgrades, receive the latest flight and destination information, and sign-up to the airline’s frequent flyer programs, all in real-time from the comfort of their seat. In addition, passengers can browse the internet, stream videos and audio, shop online and enjoy other e-commerce offerings, using high-speed inflight broadband that airlines could choose to offer free-of-charge, funded through OneFi’s sponsorship and advertising features.

The launch of OneFi comes at a critical time for airlines, with the global pandemic having accelerated passenger demand for digital inflight experiences. Inmarsat’s recent 2021 Passenger Confidence Tracker, the largest and most comprehensive global survey of its kind since the pandemic began, found that digital solutions that keep passengers connected and minimize their contact with cabin crew and fellow passengers can go a long way in boosting confidence. In addition, out of the 10,000 respondents worldwide, 41% believed inflight Wi-Fi had increased in importance after the pandemic.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “For many years, Inmarsat has advocated the vast commercial opportunities of inflight connectivity. However, until now, airlines have struggled to realize the full potential of the business model. OneFi is a step change for those looking to monetize their Wi-Fi services and ensure they keep pace with evolving passenger needs. It will empower a digital transformation in the cabin, which is especially important at this critical time for the aviation industry.

“OneFi allows airlines to improve their brand experience and secure passenger loyalty, with the flexibility to incorporate their own services and use existing and new partners, such as content providers, advertisers and retailers. We are in advanced discussions with leading airlines about adopting this innovative new platform and expect to see a rollout with our first OneFi customer by the end of this year.”

In recent years, airlines have continued to increase their focus on unlocking new revenue streams through broadband-enabled ancillary services. The market for digital inflight advertising alone is forecast to grow from $266 million today to $3.3 billion by 2030, representing a 10-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42.9% between 2020 and 2030, according to Valour Consulting. The launch of OneFi is a significant step in turning that untapped commercial opportunity into a reality.

What truly sets OneFi apart is its industry grade targeting features, media inventory and calls-to-action that are made available to the airline and its partners. These ensure that content is contextual and relevant to the individual passenger. It also enables partners to engage in more meaningful ways with passengers and boost sales lead generation rates. The platform’s intuitive, user-friendly interface will enable airlines to boost passenger take-up rates and create a frictionless funnel to purchase.

In addition, OneFi is network agnostic and uses open architecture, meaning it can integrate with any technology infrastructure and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) used by airlines, ensuring a uniform experience across mixed aircraft fleets. The platform is also scalable, giving airline customers the flexibility to add new third-party services over time and helping to future proof their onboard offering.

Inmarsat is transforming global aviation by bringing complete connectivity to aircraft and flight paths across the world. It recently unveiled plans for ORCHESTRA, the communications network of the future, which will bring existing geosynchronous (GEO) satellites together with low earth orbit satellites (LEO) and terrestrial 5G to form an integrated, high-performance solution, unmatched by any existing or planned competitor offering. ORCHESTRA allows capacity to be boosted in high-density areas such as at airports, eliminating congested network ‘hot spots’ and ensuring the connectivity needs of aviation customers are met well into the future, with capacity scaled directly to match their requirements.


LUFTHANSA SYSTEMS

Lufthansa Systems will welcome around 500 participants to the 14th edition of the Airline Forum, one of the industry’s leading airline IT user community conferences. The airline IT provider is bringing together about 80 airlines from across the globe who use its Ground Operations and Commercial Solutions. During this year’s edition of the Airline Forum, entitled “Back in the sky,” the user community will continue its dialogue in a fully virtual environment in which attendees will learn about forward-looking solutions and pioneering technologies for managing dynamic market situations.

Olivier Krueger and Dr. Thomas Wittmann, both CEOs of Lufthansa Systems, will kick off the event with their opening remarks, welcoming speakers from Air Canada, Avianca Holdings, Cathay Pacific Airways, Eurowings, GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, Lufthansa and Trans States Holdings. Participants will be able to put together their own individual programs by choosing from a range of 48 presentations and workshops spread over the two days of the event.

“The world is changing, and the aviation industry is constantly facing new challenges. Thanks to our close partnership with our customers, we understand how this dynamic environment affects their business,” said Olivier Krueger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “We greatly value this mutual exchange with and within the community and consider it vital to the successful recovery and sustainable future of our industry.”

Latest developments unveiled for Lufthansa Systems’ NetLine and Commercial Solutions

The Airline Forum will break new ground by showcasing Lufthansa Systems’ latest developments covering ground operations and commercial management processes.

In keeping with the NetLine vision of “together we connect to make the best decision ahead of time,” Lufthansa Systems is pointing the way to a future of connected, cloud-native software. From network and schedule planning, through codeshare, crew and load management, to operations control, NetLine improves productivity and speeds up decision-making, rollout and execution, increasing revenue and reducing costs.

The NetLine/HubDesigner was developed in response to the current market situation, where demand and the competitive landscape are subject to dynamic and sweeping change. The solution uses AI to create the best (multi-)hub network at an unmatched speed. Changed schedules also mean changed codeshare connections. SchedConnect helps airlines manage their codeshare operations by automating connection building and schedule exchange. Another critical bottleneck in ramping up and down networks is crews and their qualifications. Lufthansa Systems has developed a new Qualification and Training Management module for NetLine/Crew to always have up-to-date information on the certification state of cockpit and cabin crews and plan qualification and re-qualification in due time.

Lufthansa Systems has also designed sophisticated solutions that perfectly support revenue management and pricing processes, the cornerstones of an airline’s commercial strategy. The ProfitLine/Price fare management solution helps airlines keep fares profitable and competitive, while the Revenue Integrity software keeps the inventory up to date.

“Lufthansa Systems has 25 years of experience in building forward-looking IT solutions and is committed to helping airlines move forward,” said Dr. Thomas Wittmann, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “Airlines benefit from our scalable solutions that enable our customers to better cope with volatile demand through automation, optimization, and data-driven decision-making.”


MORGAN-STANLEY

The White House aims to advance the future of sustainable fuels in American aviation. Last week, the Biden Administration published a factsheet on the future of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), targeting carbon neutrality in the aviation sector by 2050. The new initiative aims to produce 3 bn gallons of sustainable fuel, reduce aviation emissions by 20% by 2030, and grow good-paying union jobs. Today, aviation (including all non-military flights within and departing from the U.S.) represents ~11% of United States transportation-related emissions. Due to this, and the increased focus on sustainability throughout the industry, several airlines have already made commitments to ramp up the use of SAF and advance sustainability across their operations: United (UAL) announced a new goal to reduce its carbon emissions intensity by 50% compared to 2019 by 2035 and also committed to purchasing 1.5bn gallons of SAF over the next 20 years from Alder Fuels, Delta (DAL) committed to replacing 10% of its current jet fuel use with SAFs from 3 producers (Neste, Gevo, and Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels), American (AAL) plans to procure 10 million gallons of SAF from Prometheus Fuels by 2025, Alaska (ALK) offers the purchase of SAF to offset corporate travel on key routes, Southwest (LUV) is partnering with the National Renewable Energy Lab, and JetBlue (JBLU) is committed to electric and hydrogen aircraft development. We generally see the industry as broad beneficiaries from both increased fuel efficiencies as well as more commercially viable solutions for fuel.


BOEING

The Boeing Company named Ziad S. Ojakli as the company’s executive vice president of government operations effective October 1, 2021.

In this role, Ojakli will lead Boeing’s public policy efforts, serve as chief lobbyist for the global enterprise, and oversee Boeing Global Engagement, the company’s global philanthropic organization. He will report to Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun and will serve on the company’s Executive Council. In this role, Ojakli succeeds Marc Allen, Boeing’s Chief Strategy Officer, who has served as interim executive vice president of Government Operations since this past June.

“Ziad is a proven executive with an impressive track record of leading public policy and government relations operations for global companies,” said Calhoun. “His broad experience serving in executive roles in government and the private sector will contribute to our engagement with our stakeholders as we continue our focus on safety, quality and transparency, and transforming our company for the future. I also want to thank Marc Allen for his impactful leadership of our Government Operations organization in recent months as it has continued to advance our company’s policy priorities.”

Ojakli joins Boeing following a successful and diverse career in senior global government relations roles in the automotive and finance industries in addition to serving within the White House administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush.

Most recently, Ojakli served as the managing partner and senior vice president of Softbank from 2018-20, where he created and led the investment company’s first global government affairs operation in support of all legislative, regulatory and political matters for the company. Prior to joining Softbank, Ojakli spent 14 years at Ford Motor Company as group vice president, where he led a global team that amplified the company’s core business objectives and managed interactions with governments in 110 markets around the world. In that role, he also directed Ford’s philanthropic arm devoted to supporting global causes.

Previously, Ojakli served in the White House as Principal Deputy for Legislative Affairs for President George W. Bush from 2001-04. Earlier, Ojakli was Chief of Staff and Policy Director for U.S. Senator Paul Coverdell and he began his career in the office of U.S. Senator Dan Coats.

Ojakli currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. and he is a board member of The Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Ojakli holds a bachelor’s degree in American Government from Georgetown University.


AVOLON

Avolon, the international aircraft leasing company, announces a partnership with Gol, Brazil’s largest airline and Grupo Comporte, Brazil’s leading transport operator, to commercialize an eVTOL ride sharing platform in Brazil.

Avolon, Gol and Grupo Comporte will collaborate to identify and target local partners, infrastructure and certification requirements across a range of commercial models, launching one of the world’s first eVTOL ride sharing businesses. As part of the agreement, Gol and Grupo Comporte has committed to purchase or lease up to 250 VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft.

The VA-X4, manufactured by Vertical Aerospace, will be the most advanced and safest eVTOL in the market on its introduction in 2024. Avolon is a launch customer for the aircraft which can transport four passengers and one pilot distances of 100 miles at up to 200 miles per hour. eVTOLs are central to the future of transport. They introduce the ultra-short-haul aircraft category to commercial aviation and will revolutionize air travel with VA-X4 zero emissions aircraft.

This announcement means Avolon already has commitments for over half of its order for 500 VA-X4 aircraft which was announced in June 2021.


OTHER NEWS


PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has  announced an agreement with Russia’s largest airline, Aeroflot, to provide upgraded in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for its entire fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft.

The agreement will see Aeroflot’s fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft retrofitted with Panasonic Avionics’ eX3 IFE system and satellite-based IFC system, creating an enhanced cabin experience for Aeroflot’s passengers.

This upgrade will allow Aeroflot’s Boeing 777 aircraft to deliver the same IFEC experience that is available on its Panasonic Avionics-equipped Airbus A350-900 fleet, which has been in service since March 2020.

Panasonic Avionics’ eX3 system features the industry’s largest selection of integrated entertainment options including full 1080p HD monitors, in-seat power, and HD video handsets with capacitive touch. It can deliver more than 700 hours of on-demand entertainment, offering 1080p content with enhanced video color support.

Aeroflot’s customers flying on its Boeing 777-300ERs will also be able to enjoy upgraded connectivity from Panasonic Avionics’ global communications network of high-speed, high-bandwidth satellites. The system delivers faster internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, mobile services, and dedicated bandwidth for crew applications.

The first of Aeroflot’s Boeing 777-300ERs to be retrofitted with Panasonic Avionics’ upgraded IFE and IFC systems flew in the middle of August.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer at Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “We are delighted to deepen our longstanding relationship with Aeroflot. Our advanced eX3 in-flight entertainment system combined with our global, high-speed connectivity will enable Aeroflot to deliver an industry-leading passenger experience.”

This latest commitment from Aeroflot marks a further milestone in its longstanding partnership with Panasonic Avionics, which first commenced in 2008. Aeroflot’s fleet of Airbus A320neos and A321neos are also both fitted with Panasonic Avionics’ latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a world leader in global mobile satellite communications, announced the launch of its advanced new Velaris connectivity solution, which is uniquely positioned to serve as a catalyst for the safe and rapid growth of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) industry.

Powered by the Inmarsat ELERA global satellite network, Velaris will provide secure communications for commercial UAVs – commonly known as drones – to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and seamlessly integrate with aircraft in commercial airspace. Backed by military grade cybersecurity, it allows operators to send their UAVs on long distance flights and access various applications, such as real-time monitoring, to ensure safe integration with other air traffic. In addition, Velaris allows a single pilot to remotely operate multiple UAVs at scale, making operations more commercially viable.

Over the next seven years, the commercial UAV market is projected to increase from $2.32 billion in 2021 to $11.29 billion in 2028, marking a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.39% during this period1. This will have a far-reaching impact on various aspects of business and society, ranging from cargo delivery, urban transport and surveillance to emergency services and disaster relief, including the supply of critical items such as medicine, test kits and food for remote communities.

To support this fast-paced growth, Velaris will unlock unprecedented new digital automation capabilities within the UAV industry, leading to significant advances in safety, productivity, customer service, location access and accuracy, while also reducing the overall cost of operations. Importantly, it will also support the transport of people and goods in an environmentally friendly manner.

Anthony Spouncer, Inmarsat’s Senior Director of UAVs and Unmanned Traffic Management, said: “Commercial UAVs have the potential to revolutionize a vast array of different industries throughout the world. However, to truly unlock their potential on a commercial scale, it is imperative that autonomous vehicles and unmanned aviation are safely and securely integrated into managed commercial airspace. That’s exactly what Velaris, as Inmarsat’s first global UAV connectivity solution, will deliver.

“Inmarsat’s unparalleled experience in air traffic management and aviation safety, combined with our established track record in civil and military UAV communications, ensures that we can support global regulators, air navigation service providers and UAV operators with seamless airspace integration. In addition, thanks to our ambitious and fully-funded technology roadmap, including our brand new ORCHESTRA communications network of the future, Velaris will continue to develop and evolve alongside the UAV industry, remaining its gold standard connectivity solution for decades to come.”

Inmarsat was recently crowned winner at the prestigious Air Traffic Management (ATM) Magazine Awards for its Pop-Up Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Platform, developed with Altitude Angel. Furthermore, Inmarsat is well-integrated in the air traffic management industry as a consortium member of Cranfield University’s recently opened Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC). The company participates in several projects that aim to revolutionise the future of flight, including the UK Government funded Project HEART (Hydrogen Electric and Automated Regional Transportation) – which is developing the country’s first automated, zero carbon regional air transportation network – and Airspace of the Future (AoF) – which focuses on integrating UAV services with the wider UK transport ecosystem.

“We work with our global partner ecosystem to develop UAV terminals that deliver smaller, more cost effective multi datalink solutions,” added Spouncer. “These are optimized for a wide range of use cases so that our customers can always have the highest possible standard of connectivity. I’m pleased to launch Velaris today. Coming soon after the launch of Inmarsat ORCHESTRA and ELERA, this truly emphasizes Inmarsat’s long-term commitment to the commercial UAV market.”


COLLINS AEROSPACE

Collins Aerospace, a Raytheon Technologies business, unveiled Lilac-UV, an ultraviolet (UV) lighting solution to sanitize aircraft interiors nearly anywhere a light is installed inside an aircraft.

Lilac-UV emits a slight violet light that disinfects surfaces in seconds to minutes, depending on lamp configuration and specific pathogen. Lilac-UV can be applied in lavatories, galleys, flight decks, cargo bays and throughout the cabin, and can be set for scheduled cleanings or manual applications during or between flights. The sanitizing light, combined with other hygienic measures taken onboard aircraft, gives added peace of mind and protection to passengers while also reducing aircraft downtime for manual cleaning.

Lilac-UV uses technology developed by The Boeing Company  as part of a licensing agreement granting Collins the ability to build on Boeing’s UV technology for in-flight operation.

“At the heart of this project is the desire to continue to build the public’s trust and confidence in air travel as passengers return to the skies,” said Cynthia Muklevicz, vice president of business development for Collins Aerospace. “Collins and Boeing share the common goal to redefine air travel, a commitment to collaboration and the technical research and development expertise to bring this game-changing, hygienic technology to market for the benefit of air-travelers around the world.”

The new Collins-developed sanitizing lighting system operates with an intelligent dosage controller – for scheduled cleanings and manual treatments – and an occupancy detector for enclosed spaces, like an airplane lavatory.

“Our design allows for installation anywhere in the cabin with minimal or no hardware design changes, enabling users to switch to a higher power lamp or change the number of lamps based on application,” said Bridget Sheriff, vice president of engineering at Collins Aerospace. “The intelligent controller automatically adjusts to manage power consumption and offers scientifically proven disinfection of spaces during and between flights.”

A finalist for the 2021 Crystal Cabin Award in the “Clean & Safe Air Travel” category, the Lilac-UV sanitizing system will be available for new cabins or retrofittable to existing interior spaces.


THALES

Thales and AJW Group have signed an avionics maintenance services agreement including Repair By The Hour (RBTH) covering Airbus A320CEO, A320NEO and A330 fleets of major European airlines.

With Thales, AJW has a trusted Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) partner for repairs securing reliable worldwide support. The main repair shop serving AJW is located in Châtellerault, France.


BOEING

You might find the Boeing Market Outlook (2021-2040) interesting! Boeing: Aerospace Commercial, Defense, & Crew Market Outlook

Boeing forecasts $9 trillion aerospace market opportunities in commercial, defense and services over next decade.

  • Boeing Market Outlook forecasts continued path to long-term growth, with signs of industry recovery
  • Over 10 years, the 2021 BMO shows $9 trillion addressable market, up from $8.5 trillion in 2020
  • Increased demand for dedicated freighters, including new and converted models

Boeing released its annual forecast for the commercial, defense and space aerospace market, reflecting signs of the industry’s recovery following the impacts of COVID-19. The 2021 Boeing Market Outlook (BMO) – Boeing’s analysis of long-term market dynamics – states that commercial airplanes and services are showing signs of recovery, while the global defense, space and government services markets have remained stable.

The BMO projects a $9 trillion market over the next decade for aerospace products and services that Boeing addresses. The forecast is up from $8.5 trillion a year ago, and up from $8.7 trillion in the pre-pandemic 2019 forecast, reflecting the market’s continued recovery progress.

“As our industry recovers and continues to adapt to meet new global needs, we remain confident in long-term growth for aerospace,” said Boeing Chief Strategy Officer Marc Allen. “We are encouraged by the fact that scientists have delivered vaccines more rapidly than imaginable and that passengers are demonstrating strong confidence in airplane travel.”

Commercial Market Outlook

The new Commercial Market Outlook (CMO) reflects that the global market is recovering largely as Boeing projected in 2020. Demand for domestic air travel is leading the recovery, with intra-regional markets expected to follow as health and travel restrictions ease, followed by long-haul travel’s return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023 to 2024.

Within the Boeing Market Outlook, the CMO projects 10-year global demand for 19,000 commercial airplanes valued at $3.2 trillion. Boeing’s 20-year commercial forecast through 2040 projects demand for more than 43,500 new airplanes valued at $7.2 trillion, an increase of about 500 planes over last year’s forecast.

In a significant area of growth, projected demand has increased for dedicated freighters, including new and converted models. With sustained demand for air cargo tied to expanding e-commerce and air freight’s speed and reliability, the CMO projects the global freighter fleet in 2040 will be 70% larger than the pre-pandemic fleet.

“The aerospace industry has made important progress in the recovery, and Boeing’s 2021 forecast reflects our confidence in the resilience of the market,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “While we remain realistic about ongoing challenges, the past year has shown that passenger traffic rebounds swiftly when the flying public and governments have confidence in health and safety during air travel. Our industry continues to serve an essential role of bringing people together and transporting critical supplies.”
Highlights of the new 20-year CMO forecast include:

  • The availability and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be critical factors in the near-term recovery of passenger air travel. Countries with more widespread vaccination distribution have shown rapid air travel recovery, as governments ease domestic restrictions and open borders to international travel.
  • Passenger traffic growth is projected to increase by an average of 4% per year, unchanged from last year’s forecast.
  • The global commercial fleet will surpass 49,000 airplanes by 2040, with China, Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific countries each accounting for about 20% of new airplane deliveries, and the remaining 20% going to other emerging markets.
  • Demand for more than 32,500 new single-aisle planes is about equal to the pre-pandemic outlook. These models continue to command 75% of deliveries in the 20-year forecast.
  • Carriers will need more than 7,500 new widebody airplanes by 2040 to support fleet renewal and long-term passenger and air cargo demand growth in longer-haul markets. These projections are up slightly compared to 2020 but remain down 8% from 2019.

OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC & THINKOM

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics)announced the launch of a new, next-generation Ku-band antenna, which will be developed in partnership with ThinKom Solutions, Inc.

The newly designed ThinAir® builds upon ThinKom’s flight proven, VICTS (Variable Inclination Continuous Transverse Stub) technology. It will be offered by Panasonic Avionics to its airline customers for both line-fit and retrofit installations, with first deliveries occurring in 2023.

The antenna will connect aircraft with Panasonic Avionics’ global communications network of high-speed, high-bandwidth Ku-band satellites, which place capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.

The new highly efficient and low-profile antenna offers airlines a wide range of advantages. These include support for both LEO (low earth orbit) and GEO (geostationary orbit) satellite networks, higher speed throughput, greater aerodynamic efficiency, gate-to-gate operations, and reduced operating costs.

Jeff Sare, Vice President of In-Flight Connectivity Solutions at Panasonic Avionics, said, “Panasonic is committed to delivering seamless, scalable, and future-proofed in-flight connectivity to our airline customers and their passengers. Our new antenna offering with ThinKom is an integral part of our network and will allow airlines to access both current and future satellite constellations.”
Panasonic Avionics offers global high-speed connectivity service everywhere commercial aircraft fly and has over 210 regulatory approvals across the globe. Its network consists of high-throughput (HTS) and extreme throughput (XTSTM) satellite technologies that provide the best end-user experience possible.

“This agreement with Panasonic Avionics is an important validation of our VICTS phased array antennas, which are designed to seamlessly roam on both LEO and GEO networks, delivering unparalleled flexibility and resiliency to ensure the highest level of bandwidth services and availability to airline customers,” stated Mark Silk, President of ThinKom Solutions, Inc.

“The combination of our VICTS technology and Panasonic Avionics’ experience and commitment to in-flight entertainment and connectivity provides an extremely compelling value proposition to commercial airlines, both today and in the future.”

Over 2,300 aircraft are now connected to Panasonic Avionics’ global communications network, which supports improved airline and passenger experiences including faster internet, video streaming and greater bandwidth for crew applications. Over 3,750 aircraft from various airline customers are currently committed to Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight connectivity services.


BLUEBOX WOW & QANTAS

Bluebox Wow wireless IFE to be deployed on all jet aircraft in QantasLink fleet

Travelers flying the network of cities and regional destinations across Australia served by QantasLink, the regional airline for the Qantas Group, can soon enjoy free wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) on board.
Bluebox Aviation Systems has been selected by QantasLink to deploy its Bluebox Wow W-IFE system on QantasLink’s fleet, initially on Airbus A320 aircraft, then expanding to its Fokker F100, Boeing 717, and Alliance Airlines’ Embraer E190 aircraft. The Bluebox Wow system will enhance the regional airline’s service on board, providing entertainment content directly to passenger devices over a captive wireless network.
Bluebox Aviation Systems has been selected by QantasLink to deploy its Bluebox Wow W-IFE system on QantasLink’s fleet, initially on Airbus A320 aircraft, then expanding to its Fokker F100, Boeing 717, and Alliance Airlines’ Embraer E190 aircraft. The Bluebox Wow system will enhance the regional airline’s service on board, providing entertainment content directly to passenger devices over a captive wireless network.
The IFE content will include movies, TV, audio books and podcasts. Access to the Bluebox Wow system will be integrated with the Qantas Entertainment app to help facilitate a seamless flight-to-flight IFE experience, but will also be available app-free with simple browser access for anyone who does not have the Qantas Entertainment app loaded on their device.
The Bluebox Wow aircraft-powered option will be deployed, which will also have fully-automated PA Pause functionality. This is provided and fitted via an EASA STC, recently awarded for the A320 Family aircraft and which will be modified for use on the other aircraft in QantasLink’s fleet.
“Recently receiving our STC on the Airbus A320 Family for our aircraft-powered version of Bluebox Wow system, and now being able to announce Qantas’ selection of Bluebox Wow for its QantasLink network, are two exciting and very positive milestones for us to mark as our industry begins to emerge from the global pandemic,” said David Brown, Business Development Director, Bluebox. “It’s not insignificant either that we’re demonstrating that our W-IFE systems can replicate offerings of traditional aircraft avionics-based installed systems and proving the value of low-cost W-IFE systems across larger fleets. Just as Bluebox Wow expanded the market for IFE in its original battery-operated form, we’ll now see it capture more of the W-IFE market, given its lower cost of deployment and digital platform scope for everything from entertainment to touch-free retail and to even more as digital in-flight services develop.”
Bluebox Wow is a discrete, lunchbox-sized unit, typically stowed securely in overhead bins. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, it provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games, and other digital content. These services can be offered to passengers on a complimentary basis or paid for via payment card or voucher access with no cabin crew interaction required. Bluebox also offers onboard retail services, including the ability to order and pay for products and services via passenger devices with full inventory synchronization, in parallel to traditional sales from galley carts via cabin crew point-of-sale devices. In addition to onboard touch-free sales, Bluebox’s retail solutions also enable pre-paid (booking path) purchases.
With battery- and aircraft-powered versions of Bluebox Wow, the linefit option for Bluebox’s W-IFE platform available on Airbus OSP and retrofit on traditional avionics grade hardware, Bluebox’s range of hardware options for its digital in-flight platform ensures the greatest choice and flexibility are available to customers, especially those with different aircraft types and fleets of any size. This also means that Bluebox can deploy a consistent customer experience across a fleet – whether that be to provide more traditional entertainment content, offer food & beverage or retail sales on board or through the passenger journey, or deliver other innovative services designed to engage passengers and build customer loyalty as well as increase ancillary revenue.

BOEING

  • Aircraft Lessor Griffin Global Asset Management Orders Five Boeing 737-8 Jets
  • The Los Angeles- and Dublin-based aircraft leasing company places its first direct order with Boeing
  • With the Griffin order, customers have placed 529 gross orders for the 737 MAX family in 2021

Boeing and Griffin Global Asset Management announced the aircraft lessor is expanding its commercial aircraft portfolio with five new 737-8 jets. The purchase is Griffin’s first direct order with Boeing as it sees strategic opportunities to place the airplanes during the market recovery.

“As market conditions rebound, we are finding opportunities to serve our airline customers in innovative ways. An important component of this strategy is providing balanced capacity that meets returning passenger demand. The 737-8 is well-positioned to support this objective, and this order lays a strong foundation for more to come with Boeing and Griffin on future opportunities,” said Ryan McKenna, founder and CEO of Griffin.

Designed and built in Renton, Washington, the 737 MAX family delivers superior efficiency, flexibility and reliability while reducing fuel use and carbon emissions by at least 14% compared to the airplanes they replace. The 737-8 seats up to 189 passengers and can fly 3,550 nautical miles – about 600 miles farther than its predecessor – allowing airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. Every 737 MAX features the new Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead storage bins.

“Griffin Global Asset Management is building a first-class aircraft leasing business, and we are delighted that they have selected the 737-8 for their single-aisle portfolio. As Griffin places its first direct order with Boeing, we welcome them to the 737 family and look forward to working with the team in the future,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing.

As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future and living the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity. Learn more at www.boeing.com .
Backed by Bain Capital Credit, Griffin provides commercial aircraft leasing and alternative asset management with offices in Dublin and Los Angeles. The team is staffed by experienced aviation professionals who work closely with airlines, aircraft manufacturers and investors to provide custom fleet solutions and innovative financing products to airlines around the world.

More Boeing News:

Boeing named Matt Welch as vice president of Investor Relations. Welch will succeed Maurita Sutedja, who has accepted an opportunity outside of Boeing following more than a decade of leadership within several finance roles at Boeing. Welch’s appointment is effective immediately.

Welch will lead Boeing’s interactions with the investment community, providing shareholders and financial analysts timely, accurate and transparent information on the company’s market environment, business, performance and outlook.

Welch is a seasoned leader with more than 20 years of deep financial experience across Boeing’s operations. Currently serving as vice president of Revenue Management at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Welch has held several roles of increasing responsibility, including in Investor Relations; Financial Planning and Analysis; and program finance


OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics), China Eastern Airlines, APT Mobile SatCom Limited (“APSATCOM”), and China Telecom Satellite Communications (“CTSat”) achieved a new performance milestone for in-flight connectivity service over China, using Panasonic Avionics’ new Extreme Throughput Satellite (XTS) service on the APStar 6D communications satellite.

On a recent China Eastern Airlines’ flight MU5105, passengers saw average speeds up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) to the aircraft, with peak speeds reaching 200 Mbps. As a result, passengers were able to enjoy services like streaming video, video conferencing, downloading large files, and high-speed web browsing, on multiple devices, all at the same time.

These new performance benchmarks were made possible by the APStar 6D satellite technology jointly designed by Panasonic Avionics and APSATCOM. The aircraft used had previously been equipped with in-flight connectivity hardware from Panasonic Avionics and no changes or upgrades to the existing antenna, wireless access points, satellite modem, or other critical component were required.

Ron Ho, Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific of Panasonic Avionics, said, “This is indeed an exciting achievement for Panasonic Avionics. The data that we saw from flight MU5105 underscores our commitment to being the leader in connectivity to airlines in China, across the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, and around the world.”

“As the largest provider of satellite-based in-flight connectivity to airlines around the world, Panasonic knows that the demand for reliable, high-speed in-flight connectivity remains a top customer priority, especially in strategic markets across Asia Pacific like China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and others. With our significant investment in APStar 6D, Panasonic Avionics is uniquely positioned to exceed customer expectations for in-flight connectivity, not only today, but for the future. All aircraft equipped by Panasonic for connectivity will automatically utilize APStar 6D as they transit through the region.”

Jason Li, CEO of APSATCOM also commented, “APStar 6D is the world’s first extreme throughput communication satellite based for mobile service optimization. Beams of different sizes, capacity and bandwidth, dynamic adjustment capability and full view coverage are unique designs for the characteristics of satellite in-flight mobile service. We believe that APStar 6D is the most ideal solution for Panasonic Avionics to realize in-flight connectivity service in China and even the whole APAC region. In the future, APSTCOM will maintain close cooperation with Panasonic Avionics to optimize operating costs for airlines, and enable more passengers to enjoy high-quality, diversified network services.”

Panasonic Avionics’ global satellite network covers over 99% of all flight routes, and places capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers. It supports the provision of services such as high-speed internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, HD video, live television, phone services, and even dedicated bandwidth for crew applications.

Panasonic Avionics has delivered over 2,300 in-flight connectivity solutions worldwide. It continues to innovate and deliver market leading passenger experiences for today’s in-flight connectivity market while delivering a network to meet the ever-growing demands of the future.

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics), a world leader in in-flight entertainment and connectivity services, has announced a series of Connectivity Bundles designed to help airlines maximize their investment in in-flight connectivity.

The new Connectivity Bundles by Panasonic Avionics are available to airlines looking to onboard an in-flight connectivity service for a fixed monthly fee. The bundles provide cost certainty, remove data limitations, and help airlines increase revenue generation.

Hernan Abbes, Vice President, Global Sales at Panasonic Avionics, said, “These new bundles give airlines the flexibility to build an in-flight connectivity offering to drive impact on passenger experience, customer loyalty, and operations with Panasonic Avionics’ enterprise-wide solutions. It’s the latest way that we are leveraging our market experience and expertise to help airlines differentiate themselves from their competitors and help drive Net Promoter Score (NPS).”

Airlines looking to maximize revenue generation will benefit from a robust passenger payment platform that offers choice and simplifies payment options with Apple Pay and Alipay, mobile services and a team that can monitor and measure performance to further optimize the solution. For airlines focused on the passenger experience, the offering provides live sports and news content through Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra, BBC, CNN, CNBC and more incremental bandwidth packages for dynamic web browsing, high-speed streaming, and more. Finally, to improve airline operations, Panasonic Avionics’ passenger portal provides access to the internet, its ZeroTouchTM capabilities enable remote software and operational updates from the cloud, and a suite of solutions such as analytics to improve forecasting, monitor usage, and business intelligence to optimize the airline’s connectivity service even further.

Each bundle comes with promotional recommendations and templates to support the airline’s on-board and off-board marketing efforts.

Abbes added, “Each of the bundles is based on airline feedback and from our experience in delivering in-flight entertainment and connectivity services to more than 300 airlines. More importantly, they offer the flexibility to airline customers who want to further enhance their offering with additional solutions including Panasonic Avionics’ Advertising, Marketplace, Destination Services, our ArcTM 3D in-flight moving map, and our Panasonic Technical Services global support team.”

The new Connectivity Bundles are powered by Panasonic Avionics’ global network of high speed, high bandwidth satellites. Over 2,300 aircraft are now connected to the network, which supports improved airline and passenger experiences including faster internet, video streaming and greater bandwidth for crew applications. Over 3,750 total aircraft from various airline customers are currently committed to Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight connectivity services.


BOEING

The Boeing Company board of directors announced that David L. Joyce has been elected to the board, effective immediately. He will serve on the Aerospace Safety and Compensation committees. The Boeing board also announced that Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr. has informed the company that he will retire from the board at the end of 2021. An accomplished aerospace executive, Joyce, 64, retired from General Electric (GE) as vice chair in 2020, where he also served as president and CEO of GE Aviation from 2008 to 2020. During his 12-year leadership of GE’s largest division, Joyce also led customer and product support for more than 19,000 global engines and 500 airlines customers and oversaw the implementation of an industry-leading safety management system across GE Aviation.


OTHER NEWS

  • Curious about Chinese characters and how “predictive text” works? How China Conquered the Keyboard News And yes, you should watch this one!
  • Italy’s national airline is ceasing operations on October 15 this year. Battling bankruptcy since 2017, the virus complications and travel reductions made recovery difficult. Italy will launch a new airline and they will takeover some 52 of the newest planes and we understand that by 2025 they will have 105 aircraft in service. ‘Buona Fortuna’ Italia!

INMARSAT

Inmarsat has announced its participation in this year’s Boeing ecoDemonstrator program (today’s Hot Topic Image). The global initiative, which aims to enhance the sustainability and safety of air travel by testing the world’s most promising technologies, has commenced the first flight trials for important new components of Inmarsat’s Iris air traffic modernization solution.

Powered by the Inmarsat ELERA global satellite network, Iris enables real-time collaboration between pilots, air traffic controllers and an airline’s operation center using cost-effective, secure and highly resilient datalink communications. As a result, they can calculate the shortest available routes, determine flight trajectories and cruise at optimum altitudes, while also receiving the latest digital information, such as weather updates. This not only improves airspace usage to accommodate future growth, but also allows airlines to minimize delays, save fuel and reduce the environment impact of their operations.

Iris capabilities have been enhanced recently with the introduction of next-generation ATN/IPS (Aeronautical Telecommunication Network using Internet Protocol Suite) satellite communications, which are currently being finalized as the global standard for air traffic control communications to and from the aircraft. This technology is being trialed for the first time as part of the Boeing ecoDemonstrator flights, marking an important step forward in Iris’ global rollout and unlocking significant benefits in service scalability, bandwidth and throughput for Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and airspace users.

John Broughton, Inmarsat’s Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations and Safety Services, said: “Inmarsat’s Iris program is a great example of the vast benefits a digitized aviation industry will offer. By modernizing air traffic management, there is significant potential to drive environmental efficiencies and cut aviation’s carbon emissions. We’re proud to be involved in this future-facing research and look forward to working closely with other members of the Boeing ecoDemonstrator program to enable a more sustainable future of flying.”

Iris is currently being assessed for air traffic control and operational communications on flights across America operated on Boeing’s 2021 ecoDemonstrator 737-9 aircraft, in partnership with Alaska Airlines. The flights utilize equipment, terminals and routers from Iris partners including Honeywell and Cobham.

Rae Lutters, ecoDemonstrator Program Manager at Boeing, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Inmarsat in our ecoDemonstrator program this year. We selected the Iris solution for testing, as it is closely aligned to our own commitment to reduce the environmental impact of modern aircraft. We are looking forward to evaluating Iris in a live flying environment and exploring the real-life impact such innovative technology could have when implemented on a global scale.”

The Iris program, which has been developed by Inmarsat in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), is expected to rollout in Europe by 2023 and then on a global basis over the next decade.

Elodie Viau, ESA Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, said: “The Iris program is enabling aviation to become fully digital while reducing its carbon emissions. Passengers will be able to travel faster through less congested airports due to improved scheduling. We are excited to see Iris in action, proving that investment in space benefits the aviation industry and passengers.”


MORGAN STANLY RESEARCH

  • Southwest is stepping up recruiting efforts by offering an employee incentive program in order to boost applicants. The Southwest Airlines Gratitude (SWAG) Program consists of an internal rewards program which allows employees to collect points and redeem them for air miles, flight guest passes, concert tickets, and more. If the referral accepts the job and works for Southwest for at least 6 months, the referrer can receive 20,000 SWAG points – a value estimated to be ~$300. At the beginning of the pandemic, many airlines encouraged employees to take early retirements or partial paid time off in order to cut expenses. Today, airlines are looking to hire and/or retrain employees to keep up with the surge in travel demand that materialized faster than most expected. The labor shortage issue is affecting the entire airline industry, not just Southwest, and has caused industry wide disruptions such as delays/cancellations of flights, technical difficulties and more (see our thoughts here and here). That being said, management believes that a competitive advantage for LUV in the current labor environment is that they did not furlough employees during the pandemic, which should allow them to bring employees back more easily.
  • Southwest also reached a tentative agreement with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) to reward more than 5,000 customer service employees.
  • Low cost carrier Breeze Airways raised $200mn in new funding less than three months after launching its inaugural flight. Last week, Salt Lake City-based Breeze Airways announced it closed a $200mn Series B funding round, bringing its total funding to ~$300mn. Breeze Airways is a low cost carrier focused on nonstop routes between 16 underserved destinations in the U.S. (Hartford, CT, Louisville, KY, Tulsa, OK, Providence, RI, and more). The airline was founded by David Neeleman, who previously co-founded Morris Air, WestJet, JetBlue, and Azul Linhas Aereas, and has already had more than 100,000 passengers since launching operations in May 2021. Breeze Airways currently operates 13 Embraer regional jets and is expected to take delivery of 60 new Airbus A220s in October, which will be delivered at a rate of ~one per month over the next five years (see here). Breeze and Avelo are two of the new entrants in the regional ULCC space, which together with the aggressive growth plans of incumbent ULCCs should see ULCC share of the industry push higher (coming from both growth as well as share gains).
  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended its travel mask mandate through January 18 to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation. Last week, TSA announced it will be extending the face mask requirement for individuals across all transportation networks throughout the U.S., including airports, onboard commercial aircraft, and commuter bus and rail systems. TSA began requiring face masks early on in the pandemic, with the initial face mask requirement set to expire on May 11, but later being extended through September 13, 2021. Mask mandates have faced some resistance throughout the pandemic, leading to encounters between passengers who do not want to wear a mask and flight attendants that have to enforce the federal rule. Last week, the FAA reported 3,889 incidents involving unruly passengers this year, and 2,867 of them (or 74%) involved refusing to wear a mask. According to U.S. Travel Association Executive VP of Public Affairs and Policy, Tori Emerson Barnes, extending the federal mask mandate for travel makes sense in the current health environment and has the travel industry’s full support. While this is less than ideal news for the airline sector that was hoping for a removal of the mask mandate to get passengers more comfortable, improve service, and reduce incidents on board, it is no doubt an understandable step in the near-term to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

SECURITY & SAFETY

And yes, Flight Attendant security is becoming a big deal!
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt on Twitter: “Inside a flight attendant self-defense training as bad passenger behavior surges — @TomCostelloNBC reports. https://t.co/RlfYL8NCe7” / Twitter


OTHER NEWS

  • If you are a fan of author Daniel Silva, you just might find the Author’s Note section in his latest book, The Cellist, interesting – especially the last thoughts on national security!
  • If your travel experiences seem to require you to sleep in airports, here is a website that has a lot of information on many travel solutions – The Guide to Sleeping in Airports
  • ATTENTION CODERS! Here is an Open AI Codex Live Demo – (641) OpenAI Codex Live Demo – YouTube Noted one viewer: “This is amazing. Making coding more accessible is going to be a huge leap forward. I can’t wait to see this get more advanced.”
  • With Coronavirus taking over, you might need some music to calm your concerns, and we have found a solution – BOSE Home Speaker 500. Could clean audio kill a virus? No, but it really kills time well!
  • Here are some amazing pix from the EAA AirVenture in 2021 – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021 | Flickr … and we mean A LOT OF PIX!

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) is enhancing its in-flight mobile connectivity offering through a strategic partnership with GigSky, a global mobility provider based in Silicon Valley, California.

The partnership between Panasonic Avionics, its subsidiary AeroMobile and GigSky enables any eSIM-equipped mobile phone user to enjoy their in-flight mobile connectivity service—regardless of network operator—on selected airlines and flights. By downloading the award-winning GigSky app prior to departure, passengers can effortlessly pay for and access a daily connectivity pass.

Kevin Rogers, Senior Director, Mobile Services at Panasonic Avionics, said, “Digital innovation is at the forefront of everything we do at Panasonic Avionics. Our collaboration with GigSky marks our first eSIM partnership and enables us to enhance and bring more choice to the passenger experience. With GigSky’s support of our mobile services platform, passengers can connect their mobile phones across the globe regardless of which network provider they are with, replicating on-the-ground integrated connectivity in the skies.

Ravi Rishy-Maharaj, Founder and CEO at GigSky, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Panasonic Avionics to bring a first of its kind service to airlines and passengers. Through the GigSky app, we now offer data services in the air, land and sea with our partners. With the addition of an inflight plan, customers can stay connected at their destination – and in between destinations – truly enabling an always-online, always-connected experience, anywhere they go.”


INMARSAT

  • Inmarsat ELERA will be a catalyst for the next wave of world-changing technologies and is ideally suited for the Internet of Things and the billions of devices that are being connected every year
  • Inmarsat ELERA builds on the company’s global leadership in L-band satellite services with breakthrough technologies that will deliver unparalleled L-band speeds and the smallest, low-cost user terminals, underpinned by Inmarsat’s record for reliability, resilience and availability
  • Inmarsat ELERA will help ensure the world works better for decades to come, by delivering vital services already trusted by businesses and governments worldwide to drive operational efficiency and effectiveness, while protecting people, assets, data and our environment
  • ELERA will be a key component of Inmarsat ORCHESTRA, a world first network that will combine GEO, LEO and 5G into one harmonious solution

In its second major announcement in two weeks, Inmarsat is unveiling Inmarsat ELERA; a global narrowband network that is ideally suited to the rapidly evolving world of the Internet of Things (IoT) and for global mobility customers, including aviation, maritime, governments and select enterprises.

“ELERA is perfectly suited to the needs of the connected IoT world,” said Rajeev Suri, CEO, Inmarsat. “Global reach, extraordinary resilience, faster speeds, smaller and lower cost terminals are all part of ensuring that we remain ahead of others in meeting the needs of our customers.”
“ELERA is a further sign of a company with true momentum and one that is delivering new innovations and strong performance,” continued Suri. “I expect that Inmarsat will grow strongly in 2021 compared to the previous year, and that growth will span most of our business units. Our progress was evident in the first half, where we saw strong growth in revenue and EBITDA and robust cash flow. We have sharpened our strategy to focus on driving growth, accelerate decision making, launch new innovations, and are creating a more commercially focused, customer-centric culture.”

ELERA builds on Inmarsat’s #1 position in Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) and will be a springboard for innovation, unlocking, accelerating and scaling pioneering use cases on land, at sea and in the air. Its foundation is Inmarsat’s world class L-band network and incorporates new innovations ranging from higher speeds to smaller, low cost terminals and [the previously announced] Inmarsat-6 satellites, the first of which (I-6 F1) is scheduled to launch before the end of the year.
Coming just 14 days after Inmarsat announced ORCHESTRA, the world’s first network to combine GEO, LEO and 5G into one harmonious global communications solution, ELERA underlines Inmarsat’s strategic focus on the global mobility segment of satellite communications. It is also a signal of a company with momentum, delivering major technological innovations and growth.

The unique capabilities of ELERA, combined with Inmarsat’s superior spectrum and the ideally suited orbital position of its satellite networks, will make it the essential catalyst for new IoT use cases, across everything from autonomous transport and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to industrial and agricultural IoT applications.

ELERA is built on Inmarsat’s market leading L-band network, which already delivers the world’s most reliable and flexible global connectivity service with unique resilience in all conditions and full global redundancy. It supports everything from worldwide maritime and aviation safety services and humanitarian missions to IoT applications across agritech, transportation and utilities, among many others.

The new innovations that the company is investing in to bring to market in the near future include spectrum management technology to deliver L-band speeds up to 1.7Mbps, the smallest footprint, low cost L-band terminal and two new L-band satellites, which are the largest and most sophisticated commercial communication satellites ever created.
The new spectrum management capabilities (known as Carrier Aggregation) being incorporated into the ELERA network will deliver the fastest speeds globally available to L-band customers, far outstripping the capabilities of any other worldwide L-band network.
Live customer trials in commercial aviation are scheduled to start during the course of 2022 and this technology will be rolled out across a range of sector specific applications for Inmarsat’s mobility, government and IoT customers over the coming few years.

ELERA will also see the creation of the smallest footprint, low cost terminal for L-band users, delivering the ideal framework for satcom IoT at scale, with supporting cloud-based management, for vertical sectors such as infrastructure, rail, logistics, mining, agriculture, government, maritime and aviation.

Inmarsat is launching two new satellites to enhance the ELERA network. The I-6 satellites, the first of which is scheduled to launch at the end of 2021, are the largest and most sophisticated commercial communications satellites ever built.

The L-band capacity on each I-6 satellite will be substantially greater than Inmarsat’s 4th generation spacecraft and, among other enhancements, they will deliver 50% more capacity per beam; meaning that much more data can be carried over the same geographical area, in addition to unlimited beam routing flexibility.

ELERA will also deliver a major extension to Inmarsat’s portfolio of voice-enabled devices, bringing new capabilities and innovations to hundreds of thousands of customers. This initiative represents our commitment to voice service innovation and underlines the company’s long-term commitment to the handheld voice services over satellite market.

“ELERA is the exciting vision of how Inmarsat is planning to transform the capabilities offered to IoT and mobility customers for years to come and confirms our long-term commitment to L-band services. We will be sharing further detail on these innovations with our partner community in the coming months and continue our programme of announcements as we achieve major milestones.” said Rajeev Suri, CEO, Inmarsat.
The investments in ELERA are already included in Inmarsat’s current CAPEX plans and guidance.


HAMBURG AVIATION

With climate change progressing, the measures that are currently planned by the aviation industry will be not enough. A new study by Hamburg-based Sustainable Aero Lab maps 40 promising startups in the new field of sustainable aviation.

The overview by Sustainable Aero Lab maps 40 promising startups, clustering sustainable aviation in four technological fields: Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), Electric Propulsion, Hydrogen, and the Digital Backbone. It also looks at global venture capital investment into zero emission tech, a field that has gained significant traction over the last six years, but so far has been shy to connect with the aviation sector, especially when it comes to complex segments such as hydrogen. Yet with a growing attention in all industries to act on climate change and reduce global CO2 emissions, the potential for new players in aviation technology has never been greater.

Sustainable Aero Lab is focused on accelerating startups and has been mentoring startups in each segment outlined in this study since its launch in February 2021. Some of the most prominent experts from all segments of aviation have already joined as mentors.

You can find the entire study by Sustainable Aero Lab, including the startup map and an analysis of venture capital investments into zero-emission tech, on the Lab’s website www.sustainable.aero.


OTHER NEWS

Editor’s Note: It is with much sadness that IFExpress reports the passing of long time IFE professional, Harry Gray. Harry worked in the inflight entertainment realm for 30 years and was the consummate professional, as well as, an extraordinary salesman. But most importantly, he was a great friend. Our hearts go out to the Gray family at this time. Rest in peace Harry, you will be sorely missed.

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) announced Singapore Airlines (SIA) as the launch customer for its new Marketplace digital eCommerce platform.

This latest digital solution from Panasonic Avionics enables airlines to introduce a turn-key eCommerce experience onboard. It facilitates in-flight food and beverage ordering, expands storefront retail and duty-free offerings with the ability to present dynamic inventory, and initiates promotions throughout the customer journey, in both connected and non-connected environments.
Marketplace will enable Singapore Airlines’ passengers to experience an omni-channel shopping experience, offered in partnership with the carrier and its KrisShop retail platform, that will be branded eShopping. By using Marketplace, the airline can customize its current retail offering and add future stores to deliver real-time inventory updates to KrisShop.

Panasonic Avionics’ eCommerce platform will enhance the shopping experience for Singapore Airlines’ passengers by enabling them to shop in-flight and browse a hugely expanded choice of around 4,000 products. They will have the choice of delivery directly to their homes or on their next flight.

As an integrated solution, Marketplace enables retail catalogs to be pre-loaded on to the airline’s in-flight entertainment content server. This allows passengers to continually browse regardless of the connectivity status at the time.

Singapore Airlines will roll out the platform across its fleet installed with Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight entertainment solutions and is the latest chapter in their longstanding partnership which first commenced in 1995.

Andrew Mohr, Vice President, Digital Solutions at Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “We are thrilled to launch our new Marketplace platform with our longstanding partner Singapore Airlines, whose dedication to pioneering the passenger experience reflects our own.”

“Marketplace marks our latest commitment to revolutionizing and revitalizing the in-flight experience with our growing portfolio of digital solutions, and is an integral part of our efforts to welcome passengers back to the skies.”

Panasonic Avionics has designed Marketplace to enable airlines to customize the passenger experience by route, cabin and destination. For example, different retailer catalogs can be assigned to specific routes and cabins to align the experience to the passenger demographic.

Marketplace incorporates a range of eCommerce analytics tools that enable airlines to continually measure and refine its performance to ensure it meets their passengers’ needs.

Mr. Yeoh Phee Teik, Senior Vice President Customer Experience, Singapore Airlines, said: “E-commerce is the future of shopping, and integrating this feature into our in-flight entertainment system is yet another industry first for SIA. This allows KrisWorld to go beyond movies, television shows, music, and games, and offer customers more of what they want while flying with us. This is part of our unwavering commitment to continuously innovate and enhance our product and service offerings, and augment the travel experience for our customers.”

More News From Panasonic:

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has launched the world’s first full cabin 4K ultra-high-definition in-flight entertainment (IFE) with Cathay Pacific Airways (Cathay Pacific).

Its market-leading 4K screens are taking to the skies on the airline’s new fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft, incorporating on-demand services with one of the largest movie and TV libraries available on a regional single-aisle aircraft.

The rollout of Panasonic Avionics’ screens will also include Bluetooth audio streaming, enabling Cathay Pacific’s passengers to watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters in 4K using their own Bluetooth-enabled headphones.

Panasonic Avionics’ integrated technology delivers the highest quality pixel density of any IFE screen in the skies today, enabling Cathay Pacific’s passengers to enjoy the latest films and box sets in stunning resolution, color depth and contrast.

The new IFE experience will be featured in all cabins on Cathay Pacific’s A321neo fleet. The airline’s economy class seats will feature 11.6-inch personal screens, while business class will feature 15.6-inch personal screens.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics said, “Cathay Pacific has been a strategic and highly valued airline customer of Panasonic Avionics for many years. We are thrilled to help them take their passenger experience to the next level with the introduction of 4K content using our NEXT IFE system.”

“We continue to work tirelessly to develop the highest quality resolution for our seatback screens, and the launch of 4K is the latest milestone in our 40-year long commitment to delivering the world’s best in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions to airlines and their passengers.”

The introduction of 4K IFE marks the latest chapter in Cathay Pacific’s longstanding partnership with Panasonic Avionics, which first commenced in 2007. In addition to introducing its Live Television service in 2016, Panasonic Avionics is the principal provider of in-flight entertainment systems for Cathay Pacific’s fleet of over 130 aircraft.

“We are excited with the launch of the most advanced in-flight entertainment system with our long-term partner, Panasonic Avionics, on our A321neo aircraft,” said Vivian Lo, Cathay Pacific’s General Manager Customer Experience and Design. “We’ve always aimed to provide our passengers a comparable entertainment experience as what they would find at home. With the large screens and 4K ultra-high-definition viewing experience, passengers may enjoy our curated premium 4K content with their personal Bluetooth wireless headphones. We are determined to continuously elevate our passengers’ travel experience, and today, we are marking a milestone with our new A321neo fleet.”

The new 4K screens are an integral part of Panasonic Avionics’ NEXT IFE Series, the industry’s most powerful in-flight entertainment system. Incorporating the latest advancements in aircraft architecture, NEXT delivers an augmented cinematic experience and simplified seat integration for every cabin class.

And More News:

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) announced China Eastern Airlines (China Eastern) as the launch customer in China for its in-flight Live Television service.

The service will be rolled out across its entire widebody fleet of Airbus A330, A350 and Boeing B777 and B787 aircraft in the future, initially providing their passengers with unmissable live coverage from major local broadcasters, such as CCTV and CGTN.

Live Television is enabled by Panasonic Avionics’ third-generation (Gen-3) communications network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites. The network covers over 99% of all routes, and places capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.

The most recent addition to the Gen-3 network is APSTAR 6D, Panasonic Avionics’ first extreme high throughput satellite, which has significantly boosted satellite capacity over China through teleports which have just gone live in Beijing. This will enable China Eastern, and other airlines based in China and flying over it, to benefit from this enhanced capacity and a range of other in-flight connectivity services.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “China is a strategically important market for Panasonic Avionics, and we are delighted to welcome China Eastern as the first airline in this market to launch our Live Television service. Their passengers can now stay up to date with global news and sporting events in-flight, taking advantage of the additional satellite capacity we have just invested in over China.”

Panasonic Avionics’ Live Television service offers premium live sports and news events as they unfold, connecting passengers to unmissable on-the-ground entertainment from the comfort of their seats. The integrated service enables passengers to watch their favorite national news channels. 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 Olympics Games Tokyo 2020 and UEFA Euro 2020 tournament.


ASTRONICS

  • Sales for the quarter were $111.2 million
  • Net loss was $8.1 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA* was $0.4 million
  • Bookings for the quarter continued sequential improvement to $126.3 million; Achieved book-to-bill ratio of 1.14
  • Aerospace segment book-to-bill of 1.32 for the quarter
  • Backlog increased 5% sequentially to $312.7 million

Peter J. Gundermann, the Company’s President and CEO, commented, “Our second quarter was one of slow but steady progress. Our core aerospace markets strengthened as vaccinations took hold and passenger traffic accelerated. We are encouraged by our bookings trend, especially in our Aerospace segment, where we achieved a book-to-bill ratio of 1.32 for the quarter. We expect these bookings will drive higher sales in the second half of 2021.”


THALES

  • Thales Partners with DAS in Fully Supporting Hong Kong International Airport’s Three-Runway System Expansion Project
  • Thales partners with DAS to provide an advanced Instrument Landing System (ILS) solution in fully supporting the Three-runway System (3RS) expansion project at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) helping to further improve the capacity and efficiency of aircraft landing while maintaining the highest standard of flight safety.
  • As one of the most trusted partners, Thales has been providing various critical air navigation service equipment to the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government for over 20 years.
  • Thales state-of-the-art ILS solution has already been implemented in various major international airports worldwide.

BOEING

Boeing announced a $500,000 (equivalent to IDR 7.2 billion) donation from the Boeing Charitable Trust to CARE in support of COVID-19 relief efforts in Indonesia. Funds will be used to increase capacity of local health centers, provide inflatable negative pressure tents and beds to accommodate COVID-19 patients, as well as personal protective equipment kits and food supplements for health care workers.

“Boeing stands by the people of Indonesia as the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant continues to spread across the country, leaving families and communities in desperate need of assistance,” said Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing International. “We are in this fight against COVID-19 together, and Boeing is committed to helping communities respond to this most recent surge in cases. This donation will help save lives and support those impacted the most.”

“As the COVID-19 crisis grows in densely populated areas in Indonesia, CARE’s support to treatment facilities and isolation centers is more critical than ever,” said Bonaria Siahaan, CEO Yayasan CARE Peduli (CARE Indonesia). “We are grateful to our partners at Boeing for joining this enormous effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 and protect the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable communities.”

Only slightly more than 11% of the Indonesian population has been fully vaccinated against the virus. CARE is currently mobilizing response efforts that include converting health centers into treatment facilities and isolation centers; supporting communities with water and sanitation facilities; and providing nutritional support for vulnerable children under the age of 5. CARE is also ensuring the fair and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region.

As part of the Boeing Gift Match program, the company will match dollar for dollar monetary donations made by Boeing employees to charitable organizations supporting COVID-19 relief in Indonesia. This will extend the reach of assistance being provided to the Indonesian people.

COVID-19 relief efforts in Indonesia align with Boeing’s ongoing commitment to the communities where Boeing employees live and work. Boeing’s presence in Indonesia spans more than 70 years. Over the past decade, Boeing has contributed more than $2.8 million in charitable giving in the country.


OTHER NEWS

FLIGHTPATH 3D

FlightPath3D announced  that they achieved over 500
installations in the first half of 2021 thanks to its availability on any device and any platform.

Duncan Jackson, FlightPath3D President, says, “Our suite of interactive travel applications, including our route map and smart travel guide, is driving the demand, especially with our best in class in-seat installations. We’re also seeing the move to a touchless cabin driving demand for our Wi-Fi streaming map that’s viewed on passengers’ own devices.”

Figure 1 – FlightPath3D Route Map Wi-Fi Streamed to Passenger’s Smart Phone

Jackson adds, “Thanks to our any device, any platform approach, our market-leading map, and travel applications, are available on any IFE architecture (seat-back, overhead, and Wi-Fi streaming) and on any OEM platform. We’re proud of the integration, certification, and joint sales efforts with all of our OEM partners, which include: Anuvu, Astronics, Burrana, Gogo, IDAIR, Immfly, Panasonic, Safran Passenger Solutions, and Thales.”

Figure 2 – FlightPath3D Moving Map Displayed on an In-Seat Monitor

Jackson continues, “Our airline partners greatly appreciate that we can integrate our map across their fleet of aircraft, regardless of the type of IFE system installed, ensuring fleet commonality and enhancing their passengers’ inflight experience.”

FlightPath3D CEO, Boris Veksler, says, “We’ve been busy creating new applications that help passengers find flights, routes, and destinations based on personal profiles and their experience desires. We’re well on track to surpassing our target of 4,000 aircraft installs by the end of
2021.”

Veksler adds, “We’re excited to see these products enter service in the next few months with several airlines and airports. More news about that to come shortly.”


BLUEBOX
Royal Jordanian, Jordan’s national flag carrier, has expanded their “SkyConnect” wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) service to its Embraer E175 and E195 aircraft. Originally launched in 2019 with a deployment of Bluebox Wow on its Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft, the expansion occurred in conjunction with several enhancements from Bluebox, through which Royal Jordanian has received upgraded Bluebox Wow boxes across the fleet, a refresh to the passenger interface, and conversion to app-free DRM content delivery, which removed a previous requirement for passengers to download an app prior to flights in order to access “SkyConnect” on board.

Given the flexible route pattern served by Royal Jordanian’s fleet, with some aircraft flying a mix of long- and short-haul routes, Bluebox has also introduced new functionality to the crew management tool, giving RJ cabin crew the ability to select different content sets, depending on the flight length. Restricting the content provided on short-haul flights to more appropriate short-form content (i.e. no long movies) will help the airline save content licencing costs.

Royal Jordanian Vice Chairman & CEO, Samer Majali said: “The addition of Bluebox’s wireless IFE solution to our Airbus fleet proved very quickly to be a valuable service enhancement enjoyed by our passengers, and so we wanted to expand this to our passengers flying on our Embraer aircraft as well – ensuring that wherever our passengers are flying they have access to our “SkyConnect” service. The flexibility of Bluebox Wow – and the excellent support we’ve had from Bluebox – has helped us ensure that as we emerge from the pandemic, our passengers will return to a rich in-flight experience and we’re making the most effective use of W-IFE on board.”

“When we first deployed Bluebox Wow on Royal Jordanian’s Airbus aircraft, we’d said it was a natural fit,” said Kevin Clark, CEO, Bluebox. “The fact that we’ve now extended the service to RJ’s Embraer fleet flying shorter routes demonstrates the flexibility of Bluebox Wow – and the ability of our team – to serve different requirements and to continually enhance the value of our solution for our customers.”

Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games, and other digital content. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, Bluebox Wow is a discrete, portable, lunchbox-sized unit stowed securely in overhead bins.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat unveiled plans for ORCHESTRA, the communications network of the future. In the largest ever transformation of its current world-class services, Inmarsat ORCHESTRA will bring together existing geosynchronous (GEO) satellites with low earth orbit satellites (LEO) and terrestrial 5G into an integrated, high-performance solution.

Whether for a ship in a crowded port, an aircraft preparing to land at LAX, or a defense force deployed in a remote location, ORCHESTRA is designed to meet evolving connectivity needs in the mobility market with a service unmatched by any competitor offering, planned or in existence.

“An orchestra brings different instruments together, each supporting the other and playing its role in the masterpiece. We’re building ORCHESTRA on the same concept,” said Rajeev Suri, CEO of Inmarsat. “By combining the distinct qualities of GEO, LEO and 5G into a single network, we will deliver a service that is far greater than the sum of its parts. Our customers will benefit from dramatically expanded high throughput services around the world. This is the future of connectivity and Inmarsat is perfectly positioned to bring it to the world with its proven technology expertise, right base of customers and partners, and financial strength.”

ORCHESTRA will open up a host of new and previously unattainable possibilities for industries across the world. New services include close-shore navigation for autonomous vessels, next-generation emergency safety services for maritime crews, secure and tactical private networks for governments and direct-to-cloud connections for airlines. New segments set to benefit from ORCHESTRA include energy rigs and drilling platforms, mid-market business aircraft, coastal vessels, smart passenger ships and urban air mobility.

ORCHESTRA is unique because it draws together the benefits of multiple technologies to create one cohesive solution. LEO, GEO and terrestrial networks have never been combined at scale before to create a unified connectivity service for mobility customers. The result is a ‘dynamic mesh network’ that will deliver high-performance connectivity everywhere. Bringing together the lowest average latency and fastest average speeds with unique resilience, ORCHESTRA will eliminate the industry-wide challenge of congested network ‘hot spots’.

Inmarsat’s existing GEO satellites – both GX and L-band – will continue to provide global coverage, high performance, security and resilience. Terrestrial 5G adds ultra-high capacity in busy ‘hot spots’, such as ports, airports, and sea canals. A small constellation of LEO satellites will layer additional high capacity over further high-demand areas such as oceanic flight corridors. As a result, the network will offer the highest capacity for mobility users worldwide, and at ‘hot spots’.

The network will benefit from ‘dynamic mesh’ technology, which allows individual customer terminals to direct traffic to and from other customer terminals. This means that a ship within reach of a 5G ground station can receive ample capacity for its own needs as well as route capacity onwards to other vessels beyond terrestrial reach. This effectively creates a mobile web of terminals that extend the network’s reach and improve its performance and resilience.

“ORCHESTRA ensures Inmarsat is well positioned to deliver long-term, profitable growth by delivering new services to existing customers, targeting near-adjacent market segments, and maintaining a strong competitive position,” said Suri. “We have a record of adopting the right technology at the right time. We plan to focus initially on delivering the ORCHESTRA terrestrial network, while preparing for a future LEO constellation in the range of 150-175 satellites. This is a highly cost-effective approach that leverages Inmarsat’s leading GEO satellite networks as part of ORCHESTRA’s unique multi-layer architecture.”

The new approach means that Inmarsat can easily boost capacity in high-density areas such as ports and airports, ensuring customer needs continue to be met well into the future with capacity scaled directly to match their requirements. The initial five-year (2021-2026) total investment for ORCHESTRA is expected to be in the order of $100m.


AIRFI.AERO

The latest in a series of strategic alliances supports AirFi’s expansion in Southeast Asia and underscores the company’s commitment to providing global expertise with local support to airline customers.

AirFi, the leading provider of portable wireless inflight entertainment and onboard ancillary revenue solutions to the airline sector, and Basecare Vietnam, a Hanoi-based consultancy specializing in cabin interiors and technologies, have today announced a new partnership that will accelerate the rollout of AirFi’s digital cabin solutions across more airlines in Vietnam.

Effective from July 2021, Basecare Vietnam will operate as AirFi Vietnam and becomes the exclusive sales representative of AirFi solutions to airlines in the country, which is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and home to a flurry of start-up activity in aviation. AirFi Vietnam is the fifth strategic regional representative for AirFi, following the successful introduction of AirFi Indonesia, AirFi America, AirFi Korea, and AirFi Romania. Each local representative brings valuable regional expertise, advice, and service not only to AirFi’s customers but also to other airlines in the region.

Under the new strategic alliance, Basecare Vietnam (AirFi Vietnam) will act as vendor for AirFi’s inflight entertainment and ancillary revenue solutions and will also draw on deep knowledge of local business practice, consumer habits, and many years of experience in airline start-ups to optimize UX, content and retail offerings, as well as supporting system monetization and enabling zero capex deployment for qualified airlines.

“I’m thrilled to announce the signing of this strategic alliance with AirFi for the benefit of all of Vietnam’s Airlines,” commented Clarence Phua, Director of Customer Service at Basecare Vietnam. “The Vietnamese sky is brimming with fleets of Boeing and Airbus aircraft, all of which are perfectly suited for AirFi’s wireless streaming solutions. We believe the AirFi portfolio is truly the market’s leading array of portable inflight entertainment, ancillary revenue and connected crew ePOS solutions.”

Commenting on the partnership, Vimal Kumar Rai, AirFi EVP Global Sales and Marketing said: “The magic of selling onboard is all about curating a mix of products and services that are timely and relevant to the passenger. The local representation and regional expertise of our in-country representatives helps AirFi develop culturally intuitive and engaging passenger experiences through customized onboard retail offerings while streamlining crew operations and otherwise maximising the profitability of the AirFi system. Basecare Vietnam is the ideal partner to help localize our offerings and optimize ancillary revenues for our partners in the region.


BOEING

The Boeing Company announced a €500,000 donation from the Boeing Charitable Trust to the American Red Cross to assist with flood relief efforts in Germany. Funds will be deployed by the German Red Cross to provide emergency power, distribute emergency relief supplies, improve communication infrastructure and mobilize medical care, first aid and rescue services to the hardest hit areas in the region.

“Our hearts go out to all of the people of Germany who have been impacted by these devastating floods,” said Marc Allen, Boeing’s chief strategy officer, senior vice president of Strategy and Corporate Development and interim leader of Government Operations. “Through our partnership with the American Red Cross and German Red Cross, we are working quickly to bring much-needed emergency funding to communities hit hardest by these recent events. Germany is an important partner to both the U.S. and to Boeing, and we hope that this emergency assistance package provides some level of relief during these difficult times.”

“Boeing has a strong relationship with Germany and we feel that it is our responsibility to stand at the side of the German people in these exceptional circumstances,” added Dr. Michael Haidinger, president of Boeing Germany.

In the aftermath of the severe flooding, hundreds of people have lost their lives and the property loss is estimated to be in the billions. More than 3,000 German Red Cross workers are providing assistance in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. The work is only just beginning, and the Red Cross will continue to provide assistance in the months to come.

“The American Red Cross is grateful for partners like Boeing for stepping up during these unprecedented times,” said Koby Langley, senior vice president of International Services for the American Red Cross. “Boeing’s contribution supports the Red Cross efforts to help communities affected by flooding in Germany. We are deeply grateful for their generous support during this challenging time.”

Boeing continues to monitor the situation and is in regular communication with its 1,000 employees in Germany. All Boeing facilities in Germany are currently operating normally.


OTHER NEWS

AVIATION RECOVERY IMPACTED BY LACK OF GLOBAL SYNCHRONISATION, INDUSTRY LEADERS STATE DURING RECORD-BREAKING VIRTUAL BROADCAST

FlightPlan: C-Suite Week, hosted by Inmarsat and APEX, aired a series of ‘no holds barred’ discussions with the CEOs of Qatar Airways, AirAsia, United Airlines, TAP Air Portugal and IATA

Exclusive interviews were viewed by 6,500 viewers from 80 countries around the world, with thousands more expected to watch the videos on demand

26 JULY 2021: The biggest names in global aviation came together at FlightPlan: C-Suite Week for a series of exclusive ‘no holds barred’ interviews with leading BBC World News reporter Aaron Heslehurst, touching on the most immediate and pressing issues facing air travel in 2021.

The latest edition in the popular FlightPlan online broadcast, developed by Inmarsat Aviation and APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association), attracted a record-breaking audience of 6,500 from 80 countries worldwide last week, with thousands more expected to watch the videos on demand.

FlightPlan: C-Suite Week aired interviews on five consecutive days with:

  • Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO, Qatar Airways.
  • Tony Fernandes, CEO and Founder, AirAsia Group.
  • Scott Kirby, CEO, United Airlines and APEX/IFSA Board of Governors Chair.
  • Christine Ourmières-Widener, CEO, TAP Air Portugal.
  • Willie Walsh, Director General, IATA (and former CEO of IAG).

Several pertinent topics were debated during the daily ‘power hour’ broadcasts, including leadership lessons from the industry’s biggest ever crisis, how airline recovery has been stilted by a lack of global synchronization, and the importance of addressing sustainability challenges. The interviews also explored the ability of digitalization to accelerate profitable growth for airlines and meet evolving passenger needs.

Summarizing the event, Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “FlightPlan was launched by Inmarsat and APEX during the very onset of the global pandemic, bringing the global aviation industry together for much needed debates, discussions and direction at a time of great uncertainty.

“The response has been phenomenal, with a combined audience of approximately 17,000 for the first three editions, reinforcing its position as the industry’s biggest virtual broadcast. FlightPlan: C-Suite Week delivered insight into the difficult decisions faced by leaders over the past 18 months. It also uncovered many impressive future-facing initiatives underway – from sustainability to passenger experience – that will not only secure a strong recovery for airlines, but also ensure a bright future for the industry at large.”

Never waste a crisis

FlightPlan’s C-Suite line-up shared valuable leadership lessons from steering their aviation businesses through the COVID-19 travel crisis over the past 18 months. Al Baker shared his biggest learning for leaders: “there should always be a plan B and even sometimes a plan C of how to conduct your business in dire circumstances like the pandemic.”

For Kirby, a major learning has been the critical importance of customer experience. “Many of us in aviation have a new focus and commitment to change the customer experience. To use what we went through – the worst crisis in history – as a transformative moment to really make it better for customers,” he said. Kirby’s ambition is to turn flying into something passengers truly enjoy as part of the journey, “so that their vacation starts the moment they leave the house, instead of once they land at the other side”.

Unilateralism has stilted recovery

Across the board, the interviewees agreed that industry recovery has been stilted by unilateralism and a lack of global synchronization. For Fernandes, co-ordination between different governments “has been a failure… because every country has their own vaccine rules and entry requirements”. Lamenting the lack of standardised policies, he called for closer co-ordination between airlines and airports, noting: “we’re symbiotic; we need each other”.

Walsh echoed the challenges of a siloed international approach: “You would have expected the EU to have corralled everybody together and say, look, ‘we’ve got to demonstrate to everybody now that we are in this together’. That’s probably been the most disappointing thing for me. If we’ve struggled to see a political and a coordinated political response from the EU, I think we’ve no hope of expecting to see a coordinated political response globally.”

Sustainability in aviation

With climate change rapidly rising up the consumer, corporate and policy agenda, sustainability was highlighted as an urgent priority for the airline industry to ensure its right to operate in the future. As OurmieÌres-Widener told viewers: “Our contribution to the future of the climate is key.”

Walsh backed further political focus on environmental performance, noting: “The equipment that we have on aircraft today is so advanced and yet we’re still operating the way we were back in the 1960s. It’s a scandal on environmental grounds and is making our operations so much more inefficient than they could be.” He speculated, “Why isn’t it being done? Because there’s a lack of political will to address the issue.”

Kirby agreed that policies are needed to drive forward ambitious targets, but that “we have to be real about the art of the doable,” noting that Net Zero by 2035 would come at the expense of reliable power supplies. He shared insight on United’s efforts to invest in Boom aircraft that run on sustainable fuel – part of the airline’s commitment to reach Net Zero without carbon offsetting.

Qatar Airways is also underway with its sustainability drive, according to Al Baker, who said: “We are prepared to look after our environment, and this is why we are continuously investing in aeroplanes that are more fuel-efficient.” 

Readiness for digital transformation

OurmieÌres-Widener mused that while the crisis brought many challenges to the industry, it has also confirmed several trends – one being the huge opportunity for airlines that embrace digitiation. She said that the “full digital experience” is no longer just a buzzword, but a reality that airlines need to offer.

Digitization is well underway for AirAsia, too, with data sitting at the heart of Fernandes’ vision to make the brand more than just an airline. “We have much better customer data than Uber,” from credit card to loyalty information, Fernandes explained. His ambition is to make AirAsia “a travel company like Expedia,” encompassing services from currency to grocery delivery. “We’re trying to turn the AirAsia customer on the plane into a customer on the ground, keeping them with us before and after their flight,” he said.

To watch all interviews on demand, visit: flightplan.wavecast.io.


FLIGHTAWARE

FlightAware, the largest global provider of flight information and actionable aviation intelligence, announced the launch of Aviator, the ultimate flight tracking suite for piston airplane pilots and operators.

FlightAware’s Aviator is an inexpensive subscription-based software, accessible via the web and iOS. Any subscriber can register multiple aircraft, including rentals, and unlock indispensable features like Ready To Taxi™, Premium Weather and Map Layers, Surface Visualizations, FBO Scheduling, and ETAs automatically updated via FlightAware’s powerful machine predictive technology, Foresight™.

“Aviator was created by FlightAware pilots to share advanced flight tracking features with other piston airplane pilots. Over the years we’ve gone from flight tracking to becoming the central data hub for both the business and commercial aviation industries. With Aviator, we’re bringing a product with robust tools and processes developed for the most sophisticated flight departments and commercial airlines, right to the GA pilot.” said Daniel Baker, FlightAware CEO.

With Aviator family, friends, and FBOs can receive alerts from preflight and taxi out, through landing and taxi in.

Communications are coordinated as stakeholders stay informed. From surface visualizations displaying taxiing planes and surface movements to comprehensive airborne flight tracks, Aviator also provides monthly history reports for pilots and operators to review critical flight details.


MORGAN STANLEY

Airlines: Corporate Travel Survey 2H2021: US is leading the recovery

High number of Covid cases and slow lifting of travel bans have postponed the recovery of corporate travel budgets to post 2022. The shift of travel volume to virtual has stabilized at 27% by 2022 and is expected to be 19% by 2023. US travel is benefiting from a quicker corporate recovery vs EU and Asia.

We conducted an online survey of ~140 corporate travel managers between June 30-July 12, who represent over US$8B of typical annual travel spend. Around 67% are headquartered in the US, 19% in Europe, and 14% in Asia/Other, and their travel budgets are allocated relatively similarly. This survey is the fourth wave since the Covid pandemic started a stabilization, which we find interesting to track changes in trends as we return to normal.

Travel budgets recovery has slowed down, with the US leading the recovery. Travel budgets are expected to be down an average of 39.2% vs 2019 in 2H21 compared to the 57.3% drop seen in the 1H21. The pace of recovery will increase in 2022 with budgets expected to be down only 17.5% on average, which is 2pp worse than our previous survey in March. The US will lead the recovery as 17% of US based respondents replied that their 2H21 travel budgets would be increasing vs 2019, compared to 10% of Europeans and 0% of Asian/Other responders. In addition, while 62% of European responders expected cuts of greater than 50%, only 45% of US counterparts expected the same.

Passenger volumes continue to deteriorate, though expectations are for higher fare increases. Similar to travel budgets, our latest data suggests 2022 volumes vs 2019 will be down 21.1%, a 2.7pp decrease vs March. Once again Europe will be the laggard with 57% expecting a decline of 30-50% compared to just 25% of US respondents expecting the same. Expectations of air fares have improved, with 2.8% increases in 2022 (up 80bps vs March).

The shift to virtual meetings trend seems to be stabilizing. Despite some deterioration in corporate travel expectations for 2021/2022, the shift to virtual meetings in 2022 remains at 27% level, with 2023 expected to be 19%, on average.

Time and cost cited as key issues for switch to virtual, with environmental concerns higher in Europe. More efficient use of employee time and cost reductions were cited by 74% and 72% of respondents, respectively, as at least a top 3 reason for replacing travel with virtual options. Perhaps unsurprisingly, European companies considered environmental concerns as the most important reason to replace corporate travel. 25% of Europe based travel managers cited this as their number 1 reason compared to just 5% of US counterparts.

Conclusions for Europe: We think US based respondents’ more positive outlook for travel could be an indication of a faster recovery once restrictions ease. Nonetheless, we still do not anticipate corporate air travel in Europe to recover before 2023/2024, and higher environmental concerns on travel support our thesis. All in all, weaker demand and 27% convergence of travel into virtual events should negatively affect legacy carriers (Lufthansa, IAG and Air France-KLM, in that order) more than low cost carriers (easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz). We continue to prefer Ryanair and easyjet (OW), over Lufthansa and AF-KLM.

Conclusions for US Airlines: From a US perspective, it is encouraging to see the results lead the rest of the world given the higher pace of vaccinations and the growing momentum toward return to the office, which will likely lead corporate travel. We note that most airlines have already seen a notable pickup in corporate travel from -80% vs. 2019 in April to -60% in May and expected to be -40-45% in September.

Furtherrmore, the Airlines expect the momentum to continue to pick up in 3Q/4Q and their internal surveys show that permanent substitution of corporate travel will be as little as 5% (in DAL’s survey down from 8% a quarter ago) to zero (for UAL), vs. our ~20-25%. Perhaps all this tells us is that there is still significant uncertainty out there on how much the corporate tide will rise as we re-open and whether that will stop 20%, 10% or 0% below 2019 levels or even exceed 2019 levels. What is clear to us is that the initial rising tide (returning to 70-80% of normal corporate) is nowhere close to being priced into the US Airline stocks today (esp. Legacies like DAL and UAL) and none of this debate really impacts the investment decision on the LCC/ULCC stocks (JBLU, ALK, ALGT, ULCC, LUV) that have limited exposure to corporate. As a result, we continue to remain bullish on the US Airline stocks. We will closely watch the progression of the COVID variant but if we do not see incremental lockdowns or steps backward by Labor Day (Sept 7), we expect corporate travel to recover quickly after that.

“The U.S. will not lift international travel restrictions at this time due to the Covid-19 Delta variant. The U.S. announced earlier this week that it will not lift any existing travel restrictions “at this point” due to concerns over the highly transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant and the rising number of U.S. coronavirus cases. According to a White House official, cases of Covid-19 are rising within the U.S., particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear “likely to continue to increase in the weeks ahead.” This comes a week after the Biden Administration said U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least August 21st, despite Canada announcing it will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated Americans beginning on August 9th. In early June, the Biden Administration formed expert working groups with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the U.K. to determine how to best reopen international borders safely; however, the White House official stated that any decision to lift restrictions “has to be a sustainable decision” going forward. Although international travel restrictions remain in place for now, many U.S. airlines stated that the Delta variant has not had much of an impact on domestic leisure bookings. During an earnings conference call, UAL’s management said the company hadn’t seen “any impact at all on bookings” due to the Covid-19 Delta variant, and ALK’s management noted that they have seen “no slowing signs of demand,” but that they are continuing to watch trends carefully.”


BOEING

Boeing released its first Sustainability Report. In the report, the company shares its vision for the future of sustainable aerospace, establishes broad sustainability goals and highlights environmental, social and governance (ESG) progress in alignment with global sustainability standards.

“In September 2020, amidst a global pandemic, Boeing formed a Sustainability organization dedicated to advancing our ESG efforts across the enterprise. As we continue on this journey, we are pleased to publish our first comprehensive report, focused on stakeholder responsiveness and data transparency,” said Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond. “We know there’s still work to do and are committed to communicating our progress and holding ourselves accountable to ensure the aerospace industry is safe and sustainable for generations to come.”

Boeing’s sustainability efforts are organized around four key pillars: people, products and services, operations and communities. In 2020, highlights across these four pillars included:

Establishing six broad new sustainability goals in alignment with our key sustainability priorities and stakeholder interests.

Defining the company’s vision for the future of sustainable aerospace through fleet renewal, network operational efficiency, renewable energy and advanced technology.

Committing to deliver commercial airplanes capable of flying on 100% sustainable fuels by 2030.

Partnering with Etihad Airways on the 2020 ecoDemonstrator program, which tested sustainable technologies on one of the airline’s new 787-10 Dreamliners.

Implementing digital engineering tools on the T-7A Red Hawk program, achieving a 75% increase in first-time engineering quality and an 80% reduction in assembly hours.

Advancing flight tests for Cora, an all-electric, self-flying air taxi developed by Boeing and Kitty Hawk joint venture Wisk.

Responding to COVID-19 by executing airlift missions to transport supplies, providing community vaccination sites and minimizing air travel health risks through the Confident Travel Initiative.

Establishing a 20-member Racial Equity Task Force to represent diverse viewpoints and amplify all voices at Boeing.

Setting 2030 environmental performance goals to reduce emissions, waste, water use and energy consumption.

Achieving net-zero carbon emissions at work sites, while reducing energy consumption by 12%, water use by 23%, solid waste by 44% and hazardous waste by 34%.

Attaining the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award for Sustained Excellence every year since 2010.

Contributing $234 million in community giving, working with 13,400 community partners and volunteering 250,000 hours.

United Aviate Academy has selected Boeing to provide a comprehensive suite of training tools, materials and digital solutions to develop and provide early career training to United Airlines’ next generation of pilots. The companies commemorated the five-year training agreement with a ceremonial signing event at EAA AirVenture.

The comprehensive training package of courseware and multimedia materials spans Boeing’s portfolio of service offerings, including its Jeppesen and ForeFlight solutions, and provides United Aviate Academy with the tools to help cadets master key concepts and information needed to confidently and safely pilot aircraft.

“We are pleased to extend our long-term partnership with Boeing to help train the next generation of United pilots,” said Bryan Quigley, United’s senior vice president of flight operations. “Boeing’s unique suite of tools and materials will help provide effective training for Aviate pilots who are working to meet future air travel demands and uphold United’s high standards of safety and excellence.”

The agreement includes:

  • Initial cadet assessment materials with accompanying online courses and e-books, supporting higher program completion rates through analytics of data-driven assessments
  • Jeppesen Academy courseware, textbooks and digital learning materials for private, instrument, commercial, multiengine and instructor training
  • The ForeFlight Mobile integrated flight app for pilots equipped with Jeppesen NavData®, electronic charts and Airway Manuals, a one-stop shop for flight tasks like routing flights, planning and filing flight plans, managing electronic charts and maps, and gathering destination and weather information
  • Pilot supplies including Bose headsets, computers, student flight bags, logbooks and more
  • GPS NavData for the United Aviate Academy fleet

“We are fully committed to providing United Aviate Academy—and all of our customers—with tailored, high-quality training solutions that enhance safety and meet the learning and development needs of pilots from all backgrounds,” said Chris Broom, vice president of Training Solutions, Boeing Global Services. “By leveraging our broad portfolio of solutions, we offer customers tremendous value in delivering efficient, effective training throughout the pilot training life cycle.”

Following the agreement signing, Boeing further demonstrated its support for the program and its commitment to diversity by presenting Delia Nina Nava with a scholarship to United Aviate Academy to join a future pilot training class. Nava is a Hispanic woman from Houston with a passion for aviation and aspirations of becoming an airline pilot. She is a graduate of Ross Shaw Sterling Aviation High School and a student at the University of Houston.

Boeing produced their first sustainability report this week and you can read it here: Boeing: 2021 Sustainability Report Interestingly, they want to deliver commercial planes flying on sustainable fuels by 2030. Here is another bit of data on the report: Boeing’s 1st Sustainability Report: Here’s What You Need To Know – Simple Flying


OTHER NEWS

  • A lot of folks have quotes but this one is really significant and important. Steve Jobs, a person we have forever respected, had a remark we think makes a lot of sense: “You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it is worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains!” (Editor’s Note: Also, we should probably mention that Robin Williams said something that means a lot to us as well: “Being a famous print journalist is like being the best-dressed woman on the radio.”)
  • If Boeing regressions have you wondering, you need to read this story because there are a number of downward changes that might be a clue to what is going on and what might happen! Boeing ($BA) News: Talent Loss to Amazon, SpaceX Hurts Turnaround Prospects – Bloomberg

NetForecast

In advance of a Department of Transportation proposal to mandate fee refunds when inflight Wi-Fi “doesn’t work,” NetForecast is launching a new service to independently and proactively monitor passenger Wi-Fi experience quality—enabling airlines to identify and correct Wi-Fi performance issues. The service, QMap® Inflight Internet Experience Monitoring, continuously measures the passenger Wi-Fi experience from personal electronic devices, and reports on end-to-end network experience quality in near real-time. The service notifies airlines when the passenger experience degrades below pre-determined thresholds, and locates problem areas along the network path within the aircraft Wi-Fi network, between the aircraft and the ground station, and beyond that to intermediate networks and network destinations.

End-to-end monitoring is important because the quality of a passenger’s Wi-Fi experience depends on the aggregated quality of service delivered by all elements along the network path. NetForecast’s QMap service is calibrated to reflect realistic performance expectations for each network technology (e.g., geosynchronous satellite, cellular, low earth orbit satellite, etc.).

According to Rebecca Wetzel, NetForecast President: “As members of the Airline Passenger Experience Association’s Connectivity Working Group, we collaborated with the industry to create a specification that provides guidance for measuring and assessing passenger inflight Wi-Fi experience quality. We are excited to put that industry guidance to work with our new QMap service to empower airlines to deliver the best possible experience to their Wi-Fi connected passengers.”

NetForecast is a privately held, woman-owned company headquartered in Charlottesville VA. It is an independent provider of internet performance measurement and data usage accuracy audit solutions. NetForecast customers provide Internet service to over 60 percent of US broadband Internet subscribers.


Bluebox

Bluebox Aviation Systems has been granted an Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the aircraft-powered version of its wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) system, Bluebox Wow. Issued by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to Design Organization Approval (DOA) holder Aerospace Engineering Solutions, the STC applies to all Airbus A320 Family aircraft. The STC was approved after testing was completed with a soon-to-be-announced customer in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The granting of this STC is an exciting and major milestone for us as we continue to sign up new airline customers eager to return to the business of delivering exceptional digital in-flight experiences to their passengers,” said James Macrae, CTO, Bluebox. “Our original version of Bluebox Wow, with its swappable battery system, has been a game-changer in the IFE market, introducing a cost-effective way to deploy IFE to airlines that might never have considered it before due to the high costs involved with installing fully embedded systems. But as the demand for W-IFE has grown – in conjunction with the development of our more powerful digital platforms that our customers can use for engaging their passengers and earning ancillary revenue – we’re attracting the interest of airlines with larger fleets. By utilizing aircraft power, Bluebox Wow devices can deliver the same digital IFE services without a battery present, eliminating the need for logistics management of batteries, and still offering a considerably lighter and lower-cost system than fully fitted W-IFE.”

Macrae continues: “The STC also includes automatic Pause on PA functionality that pauses playback in the event of announcements from the flight deck or cabin crew. Further, by removing the battery completely from this version of Bluebox Wow, we avoid the need for complicated battery/flight status logic and control and the possible risks involved with that – making it much easier to ensure our system is DO-178 compliant. It’s a simple and elegant approach.”

Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games, and other digital content. These services can be offered to passengers on a complimentary basis or paid for via payment card or voucher access with no cabin crew interaction required. Bluebox also offers onboard retail services, including the ability to order and pay for products and services via passenger devices with full inventory synchronization, in parallel to traditional sales from galley carts via cabin crew point-of-sale devices. In addition to onboard touch-free sales, Bluebox’s retail solutions also enable pre-paid (booking path) purchases. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, Bluebox Wow is a discrete, lunchbox-sized unit, typically stowed securely in overhead bins.

With battery- and aircraft-powered versions of Bluebox Wow, the linefit option for Bluebox’s W-IFE platform available on Airbus OSP and retrofit on traditional avionics grade hardware, Bluebox’s range of hardware options for its digital in-flight platform ensures the greatest choice and flexibility are available to customers, especially those with different aircraft types and fleets of any size. This also means that Bluebox can deploy a consistent customer experience across a fleet – whether that be to provide more traditional entertainment content, offer food & beverage or retail sales on board or through the passenger journey, or deliver other innovative services designed to engage passengers and build customer loyalty as well as increase ancillary revenue.


GOGO

Cirrus Aircraft has selected Gogo Business Aviation’s  AVANCE L3 system to be installed as a factory option on new production G2+ Vision JetTM aircraft.

The G2+ Vision Jet is the first “Personal Jet” aircraft to add Gogo’s inflight connectivity service. Cirrus joins Gogo’s distinguished list of aircraft manufacturers that offer Gogo equipment from the factory, which includes all nine of the largest manufacturers of business aviation aircraft in the world.

“The need and desire to be connected in flight is not bound by aircraft size or aircraft mission – everyone who flies in their own aircraft deserves to have fast, reliable connectivity,” said Mark Sander, vice president of OEM sales for Gogo. “The AVANCE L3 is clearly the best solution for personal jet owners and operators who want, fast, reliable inflight connectivity on the most reliable network for aviation.”

Cirrus’s selection of the AVANCE L3 highlights the increasing desire for connectivity on aircraft of all sizes and mission types. The L3 delivers the power of the AVANCE platform in the lightest and smallest form factor available, enabling passengers and crew to be connected to email, browse the web, or access AVANCE L3’s other value-added features such as moving maps, news feeds, and flight information.

“Last year Gogo lowered its minimum service level from 10,000 feet AGL (above ground level) to 3,000 feet AGL which provides additional connectivity time to each flight,” Sander continued. “Today we’re seeing a trend where connectivity has become increasingly important on smaller aircraft such as light jets and turboprops.”

Launched in 2016, the Vision Jet defined a new category in aviation – the Personal JetTM – with its spacious pilot and passenger-friendly cabin featuring panoramic windows, reclining seats, comfortable legroom for five adults and two children and the only turbine aircraft with a whole airframe parachute system as standard equipment. The G2+ Vision Jet is a versatile single-engine jet capable of adapting to the unique needs of business and personal travel missions.


Boeing

Boeing, SkyNRG and SkyNRG Americas announced a partnership focused on scaling the availability and use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) globally. Boeing will also invest in SkyNRG Americas’ SAF production project, for which Alaska Airlines is a previously announced partner.

“Sustainable aviation fuels are safe, proven and offer the greatest potential to reduce our industry’s carbon emissions in the near, medium and long term,” said Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond. “This partnership is an important milestone on our journey to decarbonize aerospace, while ensuring that its societal and economic benefits are available to people everywhere.”

Boeing, SkyNRG and SkyNRG Americas will work together to accelerate SAF development globally, focusing on scaling production capacity, building awareness and engaging stakeholders throughout the value chain, including airlines, governments and environmental organizations.

“We are extremely proud to take the longstanding Boeing-SkyNRG relationship to this new level. We have always been strong collaborators and through this teaming effort, we’re strengthening our relationship even further,” said Maarten van Dijk, Managing Director of SkyNRG.

As a leader in the SAF industry, SkyNRG sources and supplies SAF, develops production capacity, advises on policy decisions, manages corporate SAF programs and takes the high road on sustainability. SkyNRG Americas is a new company focused on growing SAF production in North America. Its first dedicated U.S. production facility for SAF will supply airports and airlines on the West Coast. Boeing’s investment in the project includes the advance purchase of SAF from this facility for use in company flight tests and other operations.

“We are thrilled to be in this partnership with Boeing and grateful for their leadership by providing an advance payment for SAF from our first facility. With this teaming agreement, SkyNRG Americas will be able to accelerate our efforts to expand the SAF industry throughout North America,” said John Plaza, CEO of SkyNRG Americas.

The partnership builds on Boeing’s long-term industry leadership and investment in SAF. The company began SAF test flights in 2008 and helped gain approval for commercial use in 2011. The Boeing ecoDemonstrator uses SAF for all flight test programs and completed the world’s first commercial airplane flight using 100% SAF in 2018. Earlier this year, Boeing committed that its commercial airplanes will be capable and certified to fly on 100% SAF by 2030.

“Our industry will need a strong, reliable supply of SAF to address climate change and drive adoption,” said Raymond. “We aspire to partner and help create that supply.”


Other News

  • If you are into AI or want to be, we strongly suggest subscribing to INSIDE AI. Here is last weekend, July 18 issue – Inside AI – July 18th, 2021

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has completed the latest phase in its continuing investment in in-flight connectivity with the activation of extreme high throughput (XTS) satellite coverage over China and the Asia Pacific region.

The beam over Asia Pacific from APSTAR 6D, Panasonic Avionics’ first XTS satellite, has gone live through teleports in Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Perth. This will enable airlines based in the region and others flying over it to benefit from its greatly enhanced satellite capacity.

APSTAR 6D went into its first stages of operation in early 2021 and is now providing airlines flying across Asia Pacific with multiple gigahertz of new Ku-band capacity over China, including high-density air traffic routes across East Asia using XTS spot beams. APSTAR delivers 90 beams across the whole region, and 50 Gbps in capacity.

The satellite is an integral part of Panasonic Avionics’ third-generation communications (Gen-3) network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites. The network, covering over 99% of all routes, places capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.

Panasonic Avionics’ Gen-3 network supports improved airline and passenger experiences including faster internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, improved picture quality and broader channel choice, 4G phone services, and greater bandwidth for crew applications.

Jeff Sare, Vice President of In-Flight Connectivity Services at Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “China and the Asia Pacific region is a strategically important market for Panasonic Avionics and a key priority in our roadmap for introducing increased satellite capacity. Chinese airlines can now enhance their in-flight experience and brand value by enabling their passengers to enjoy our industry-leading connectivity in the skies.”

Panasonic Avionics is planning a range of further investments in in-flight connectivity in the next two years. These include the increase in satellite coverage over Russia this month with SES NSS-12 satellite and further capacity over the Middle East this autumn with the addition of the SES12 HTS satellite capacity.

The next XTS satellite to join Panasonic Avionics’ Gen-3 network, Eutelsat 10B, is due to launch next year, entering into service in 2023. It will provide enhanced connectivity to airlines and their passengers flying over Europe and the Middle East.

These developments are all integral to Panasonic Avionics’ strategy of utilizing the right satellite from the right partner to meet the evolving market demand and provide superior connectivity services and coverage across the globe.

Over 2,500 aircraft are now connected to the Gen-3 network, with a total of over 3,750 aircraft from around 100 airlines committed to Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight connectivity service. These include over 800 aircraft from 21 Asian carriers, including China Eastern, Air China, China Southern, and Xiamen Airlines.


SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct (SD), the business aviation solutions provider, has signed a preferred supplier agreement with Luxaviation Group, one of the world’s largest business aircraft and helicopter operators. The new three-year arrangement begins with immediate effect and provides best-in-class technical connectivity solutions, superior value, and award-winning customer service to the global Luxaviation fleet.

All Luxaviation customers may now benefit from SD’s advanced technology, tailored service packages and global 24/7/365 customer support, to receive an unparalleled connectivity experience supporting streamlined functionality. The scalable offering meets the specific connectivity needs, missions, and budget requirements of each individual Luxaviation aircraft.

The agreement provides access to high-speed data to support a plethora of inflight requirements including voice, message, email, and internet services, video conferencing, multiple streaming, and high-data demand applications. In addition, SD FlightDeck Freedom® brings datalink functionality, improving situational awareness and flight deck communications for the crew. Supporting the arrangement Inmarsat’s Jet Connex and SwiftBroadband services enhance passenger productivity, or relaxation, through high-speed cabin WiFi capabilities, as well as bolstering crew operations.

SD is also working with Luxaviation to optimize the expanding suite of SD Cybersecurity solutions, accessed through SD Pro®, the digital flight operations dashboard. “Finalizing this agreement with Luxaviation highlights that our approach of creating tailored solutions, blended with genuinely expert customer service is extremely important to the end clients. We recognize value is not simply budget related, and the ability to package services to effectively support the differing requirements of an international mixed fleet, demonstrates the many advantages of the SD eco-system,” says Michael Skou Christensen, Senior Vice President, SD International. “SD puts customers first in terms of productivity, entertainment, and flight efficiency, and Luxaviation recognizes the significance of this to their successful operations. It is a tribute to our global team, their hard work, and dedication, that this deal has been ratified, and I’m extremely proud of them. I know that the team is as excited as I am to build upon this relationship and begin the next chapter with Luxaviation.”


THALES

Thales with its Partner, Airfree, Transform the Onboard e-Shopping Experience on Singapore Airlines A350 fleet.

  • Through the Thales and Airfree partnership, Singapore Airlines is the first airline to offer live e-shopping onboard via KrisShop.
  • Singapore Airlines customers now have access to the world’s largest seatback shopping experience at 30,000ft.
  • Passengers can shop from the comfort of their seat with multiple delivery options – to home or on their connecting or returning flight.

The eShopping platform is seamlessly integrated with KrisShop offerings into one marketplace available on Singapore Airlines connected seatback inflight entertainment provided by Thales. Passengers can browse and purchase items from a single place with real time payment, wide range of offerings and attractive promotions. Passengers can shop from the comfort of their seat with multiple delivery options – to home or on their connecting or returning flight.

The digital onboard shopping marketplace eliminates the logistics, weight, and resources required to support traditional onboard shopping, while tremendously increasing passenger choice. With proprietary bandwidth optimization technology, the Airfree onboard hosted eShopping platform drastically reduces satellite data consumption compared to traditional platforms.

This seatback shopping solution entered into service on June 28, 2021 and will be progressively rolled out on selected Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 aircraft.

“Thales is excited to continue the growth of its partnership with Singapore Airlines and KrisShop through innovations that extend the benefits of the open AVANT in-flight entertainment platform by connecting with a robust network of digital partners such as Airfree – unlocking significant value from their IFE investment. Our airline partners and their passengers expect more from their inflight entertainment system and Thales is working diligently to deliver on these expectations, and more.” Cedric Rhoads, Vice President, Product Policy, Thales InFlyt Experience

Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority has awarded Thales a contract to support the modernization of the Greek civil aviation Navigation Aids infrastructure. This turnkey contract includes the supply of 10 Doppler VHF Omnidirectional Range (DVOR), 13 Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) and 6 Instrument Landing systems (ILS). It also comprises of the installation of the instruments on 18 different sites across the country, from remote mountain peaks, to major hubs such as the Athens International Airport.


SMARTSKY

We understand that the FCC has given approval to the the SmartSky ground-based remote radiohead for their next-gen, low latency air-to-ground network. The system will launched later this year.


AIRBUS

AIRBUS delivered 297 aircraft (21 A220s; 237 A320 Family; seven A330s; 30 A350s; two A380s) in the first half of 2021 versus 196 in the first half of 2020, and 389 in the first half of 2019.


BOEING

BOEING delivered 156 aircraft (113 737s; two 747s; 13 767s; 14 777s; 14 787s) in the first half of 2021 versus 70 in first half of 2020, and 239 in the first half of 2019.

Boeing and BBAM Limited Partnership (BBAM) announced that the lessor is expanding its 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter fleet with 12 additional firm orders. The agreement brings BBAM’s 737-800BCF orders and commitments to 31 as e-commerce and express cargo markets continue to drive strong customer demand for freighters. BBAM will be the first customer to have a 737-800BCF converted at Cooperativa Autogestionaria de Servicios Aeroindustriales (COOPESA), a Costa Rica-based maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) provider. In May, Boeing announced it would open two conversion lines at COOPESA in 2022.

In a separate deal announced in January, BBAM placed six firm orders and six options for the 737-800BCF.


OTHER NEWS

Morgan Stanley Research: United Airlines

UAL’s analyst day outlined the company’s plan to catch up to peers on fleet age and gauge by placing the largest aircraft order in its history. 2026 financial targets look constructive but they may seem a long way off to airline investors right now and supply concerns may start brewing.

UAL is preparing for a post-pandemic airline industry by placing the largest aircraft order in its history. The order for 270 planes (200 Boeing 737 MAX 10 and 70 Airbus A321 neo) will join the fleet between 2023 and 2026. They will largely replace the company’s small, inefficient 50-seater regional aircraft that has been a drag on profitability at its US Domestic coastal and mid-continent hubs. The net result of the replacement will be a ~30% increase in gauge (or number of seats per aircraft) on those routes. Mgmt. also issued LT (2026) financial guidance including ASM growth of 4-6% CAGR, TRASM 1% below 2019, CASMxF 8% lower than 2019, EBITDA margin of ~16.0% in 2023 and ~20.0% in 2026 (vs. 15.7% in 2019), adjusted pre-tax margin ~9.0% in 2023 and ~14.0% in 2026 (vs. 9.4% in 2019) as well as 2026 net debt slightly below 2019 levels.

Morgan Stanley believes UAL is doing absolutely the right thing…but that does not mean that the path is not going to be tricky/painful. This is a bold move from UAL – a little over a year removed from sliding into the chair, CEO Scott Kirby made the second decisive offensive move of his tenure (the first being permanently eliminating change fees in Aug 2020). While there is likely never going to be a “good” time for an airline to spend ~$40 bn on capex to buy 270 planes (20% of total current fleet) over a 5 year period, MS believes now is probably the best time to do it. Near-term macro risk appears relatively low, there is a lot of pent up demand with a strong consumer, the balance sheet is still carrying excess (gross) liquidity, the fleet renewal will drive operating cost savings (esp. if fuel continues to rise), new planes are cheap (and so is money) and the new capacity could help drive share gains (or at least defend vs. peers). MS believes it may have been too late to start catching up to peers on the aging fleet if UAL waited until the balance sheet was normalized 3-4 years from now. The biggest question on investors’ minds is likely to be – this is a big capacity increase…what happens if it doesn’t go according to plan? In the event of a macro recession or new black swan event, mgmt. has a Plan B. “Only” 84 of the 270 plane order is committed by 2023, with the rest coming 2024-26. Mgmt. believes that it has plenty of flexibility with the 2024+ orders to avoid putting pressure on capacity/TRASM and has the option to accelerate retirements as well.

MS remains EW. Morgan Stanley (MS) continues to remain bullish on the pace of the traffic recovery in US Domestic and they believe Corporate and International will catch up and normalize by late 2021/early as well. This rising tide will lift all boats including the Legacies/UAL esp. as International and Corporate comes back. Add in structural cost savings, a manageable fuel price environment, potential for deleveraging and investor sentiment that still appears to be subdued/out-of-favor and we think the setup at UAL is quite favorable. There is no doubt that with this past week’s announcement the company is clearly all-in betting on a recovery – particularly in corporate – which MS agrees with and think is the right move but the market may remain skeptical for some time and continue to gravitate toward LCC/ULCC stories that do not have as much corporate/international and balance sheet risk for now.

What does this mean for the industry? The announcement likely has something for both the bulls and the bears. Bulls will like the bold decision that shows that the airlines are coming out of the shadow of the pandemic and see blue skies ahead. The decision also makes financial sense in that UAL could not have put off this decision for much longer and will likely see operating cost, efficiency and market share gains from this. Investors should also be glad that a Legacy is going up toward a premium product instead of initiating an industry race to the bottom on price. Bears, on the other hand, will point out the ~30% increase in capacity which together with all the other capacity increases we have seen from the LCCs/ULCCs so far is likely to drive a lot more capacity in the 2023-24 timeframe, which will bring inevitable pressure on pricing. For now, we believe the bull arguments are more tangible and measurable than the bear arguments, but will keep a close eye on developments.

Model and PT. UAL’s 2023 and 2026 guidance comes in mostly consistent with MSe on TRASM, CASMxF and margins but is approx. 10% higher than us on ASMs. This is a bit of a surprise given MS’s bullish views (and numbers) on a traffic rebound vs. the street. MS updated FY22/23 EPS goes to $5.57/$10.72 from $4.18/$9.82 prior largely driven by the higher ASMs. However, our PT remains unchanged at $70 as the higher capex is a drag on our DCF. Our PT is ~33% above the current stock price – this is good upside but about mid-pack within the Airlines coverage and we see risk-reward as balanced, which keeps us EW.

What does this mean for the industry? The announcement likely has something for both the bulls and the bears. Bulls will like the bold decision that shows that the airlines are coming out of the shadow of the pandemic and see blue skies ahead. The decision also makes financial sense in that UAL could not have put off this decision for much longer and will likely see operating cost, efficiency and market share gains from this. Investors should also be glad that a Legacy is going up toward a premium product instead of initiating an industry race to the bottom on price. Bears, on the other hand, will point out the ~30% increase in capacity which together with all the other capacity increases MS has seen from the LCCs/ULCCs so far is likely to drive a lot more capacity in the 2023-24 timeframe, which will bring inevitable pressure on pricing. For now, MS believes the bull arguments are more tangible and measurable than the bear arguments, but will keep a close eye on developments.


MEGACONSTELLATIONS & SATELLITE FALLOUT

One of our readers sent us some stories on what he called an “eye opener” batch on plans to launch an unimaginable number of satellites potentially causing a real headache for everybody…including flying aircraft. Here are a few comments from the first article we thought painted a picture of the issue: “The problem is that there are now plans to launch about 55,000 satellites,” Boley said. “Starlink second generation could consist of up to 30,000 satellites, then you have Starnet, which is China’s response to Starlink, Amazon’s Kuiper, OneWeb. That could lead to unprecedented changes to the Earth’s upper atmosphere.” Further, “Megaconstellation operators, inspired by the consumer technology model, expect fast development of new satellites and frequent replacement, thus the high amount of satellites expected to be burning in the atmosphere on a daily basis.” Not everybody, especially astronomers and folks in the space community were too happy: “However, earlier this year, the International Astronomical Union asked a specialized United Nations’ committee to protect the pristine night sky against light pollution from megaconstellations.” We included below some of the articles/links about issues, but note, the rapid and multiple satellite fallouts will no doubt affect the sky visibility…not to mention aircraft flights. See if you agree.


BOEING

The Boeing Company named Brian West as the company’s executive vice president and chief financial officer effective August 27, 2021. In this role, West will lead all aspects of Boeing’s financial strategy, performance, reporting and long-range business planning, as well as investor relations, treasury, controller, and audit operations. West will also oversee the company’s business transformation efforts and will have executive responsibility for the company’s global financing arm, Boeing Capital Corporation. He will report to Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun and will serve on the company’s Executive Council. “Brian is the ideal executive to serve as Boeing’s next CFO given his significant financial management and long-term strategic planning experience in complex global organizations across the aerospace, manufacturing and services industries,” said Calhoun. “I have had the pleasure of working with Brian previously, and he is an exceptional leader whose broad operational expertise and commitment to transparency with stakeholders will advance our efforts as we continue our focus on safety and quality, improving our performance and transforming our company for the future.”

West joins Boeing following a successful and diverse career in senior financial and operational roles spanning several industries, including aerospace, manufacturing, infrastructure, healthcare, global information services, financial and risk management. He has served as the chief financial officer of Refinitiv since 2018, and was previously CFO and executive vice president of Operations for Oscar Health Insurance and CFO and COO of Nielsen. Prior to Nielsen, West spent 16 years at General Electric, where he served as CFO of GE Aviation and CFO of GE Engine Services. His additional finance leadership positions in GE businesses encompassed plastics, transportation and energy.

West is a founding board member of a Connecticut-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to prepare the next generation of diverse female leaders with the skills, community and connections to thrive in the world. He previously was a board member of Future 5, an organization that helps under-resourced students in Stamford, CT reach their full potential. West holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Siena College and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Columbia Business School.

West succeeds Greg Smith, who previously announced his plans to retire, effective in early July. The company has named Dave Dohnalek, currently Boeing’s senior vice president and Treasurer, to the role of interim CFO until West joins the company in late August.

Also, Boeing names Stayce Harris, former U.S. Air Force inspector general and longtime United Airlines pilot, to its board.


OTHER NEWS

THALES

  • New line of Thales displays (4K high dynamic range HDR) enhanced with Samsung QLED technology to provide unrivaled picture quality plus a 50% increase in reliability and a 30% decrease in weight.
  • Smart power supply solutions designed with the passenger in mind, allocating power where they need it all while reducing weight and total cost of ownership.
  • New digital technologies to drive operational efficiency and to maximize passenger satisfaction, loyalty and revenue.
  • More than 30 leading airlines worldwide are equipped with the AVANT IFE system.
  • Optiq – 4K QLED HDR Displays

Developed in partnership with HARMAN, a Samsung Company, Optiq by Thales is the industry’s first line of intelligent 4K high dynamic range (HDR) displays enhanced with Samsung QLED proprietary technology. The new in-seat and cabin displays have a sleek passenger centric design focused on ergonomics and fits seamlessly into the modern cabin environment. Optiq provides passengers with the best experience in the air, with an unrivaled picture quality featuring more than one billion colors. Two Bluetooth connections and built-in Wi-Fi allows passengers to pair multiple devices simultaneously to the system. Airlines benefit from a significantly reduced total cost of ownership, thanks to a lower acquisition cost, 30% weight reduction, 50% increase in reliability, and improved durability and serviceability.

Pulse – Smart Power Management

Thales’ Pulse power solutions are designed to meet the specific power needs of passengers, now and in the future, as PED devices increasingly migrate to the USB Power Delivery standard. Pulse is a modular system built with smart power management that dynamically allocates power where the passengers need it. Pulse is highly efficient while being compact in size, providing a 30% weight reduction, lower heat dissipation and the ability to install Pulse between the seat beams. With more power, improved seat integration, and reduced acquisition and operational cost, Pulse provides substantial benefits to the passenger and the airline.

Digital Services – Unlocking the True Potential of IFE
AVANT’s open platform allows Thales to work with an extensive network of partners to develop and deploy new applications for airlines, offering passengers the latest features and a broad range of interactive entertainment options. Thales’s digital product portfolio features e-commerce capabilities with Airfree’s shopping platform, a multifaceted approach for delivering personalization, and an industry leading advertising platform.

Their Ready to Fly digital portfolio is designed to help airline customers restore passenger confidence in air travel in a post-pandemic world. Such as Thales’s “touchless” solutions, allowing passengers to safely control the inflight entertainment system with their mobile phones for a full IFE experience. Thales digital technologies provide airlines fresh opportunities to maximize passenger satisfaction, loyalty and revenue.

In another news story, Thales to acquire Moog navigation aids business.

  • Moog navigation aid offerings complement Thales’ family of navigation aids.
  • Upon acquisition closing, in addition to fixed navigation aids, Thales will gain “man-portable” technology, further supporting contingency air operations as well as evolving military mobility needs.
  • The post-acquisition integration will augment Thales U.S.-based engineering, industrial and technology capabilities.
  • Thales has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Moog ground-based navigation aids business located in Salt Lake City, Utah.

MOMENT

Moment announces a partnership with Air Cairo, amongst the largest hybrid and scheduled operation carriers in Egypt. The airline’s fleet will be equipped with the Flymingo box, Moment’s Wireless In-Flight Entertainment system, to elevate passenger experience and contribute to enhanced comfort in the cabin.

Established in 2003 and based in Cairo, the airline operates 7 aircrafts (Airbus A320-200 aircraft and Airbus A320-ceo & neo aircraft) and already contracted to add 3 more aircraft by the end of the year 2021 and are planning to reach 19 aircraft by the end of 2024, schedules flights to the Middle East and Europe, and serves 30 destinations. Affiliated with EGYPTAIR, the national carrier and second largest airline on the continent, Air Cairo is experiencing a new dynamic of expansion. The airline’s growth strategy includes the opening of new routes to West Africa, East Europe, Middle east, and Europe.

The airline has selected Moment to support its ambition with a cutting-edge digital entertainment service designed to enhance the customer experience while providing new opportunities to generate ancillary revenues in-flight. For Air Cairo, it was essential to offer a personalized digital traveler experience as an increasing number of passengers bring their smartphones or tablets aboard. The capacity to provide a global IFE service was a determining factor for Air Cairo. “We were on the lookout for a full-service IFE company that could support us in all aspects from provisioning the hardware, to creating an engaging IFE portal and sourcing a variety of content.” said Mr. Hussein Sherif, Chairman & CEO at Air Cairo.

As the most powerful W-IFE server on the market, with a capacity of 100 simultaneous streaming sessions, Moment’s Flymingo Box met Air Cairo expectations as the company was searching for both a powerful and compact W-IFE device. The seamless, multi-DRM and browser-based platform gives passengers the opportunity to choose entertainment programs from an international and Arabic catalogue of films, documentaries or podcasts.


GOGO

Gogo has installed the first two 5G antennas on a tower. With the antennas now installed, the company will conduct prototype testing of system performance. Gogo completed development of its 5G air card prototypes and recently completed coast-to-coast flight testing of its 5G belly-mounted antennas to validate their performance. Additionally, Gogo conducted a flight test and successfully established a connection between the 5G antennas on the aircraft and the 5G antennas on the ground tower. Gogo has also successfully performed an end-to-end call using a 5G SIM card, from the onboard equipment to the cell site, through the data center to the internet, and back. The Gogo 5G network is being designed for aircraft operating within the contiguous United States. Gogo, which has 349 patents in its portfolio, expects the nationwide 5G network to be available in the second half of 2022.


SMARTSKY

The folks at SmartSky Networks have selected Honeywell as an authorized reseller of its air-to-ground connectivity services for North American business aviation operators. Since 2019, Honeywell has had the commercial aviation market there as well.


AIRBUS

United Airlines placed an order for 70 Airbus A321neo aircraft, positioning the airline to grow its presence in the single-aisle market in alignment with its “United Next” initiative. The new order complements existing orders from United for 50 A321XLR aircraft, bringing the total commitment from the airline to 120 A321 aircraft.
“Such a significant order from a great airline like United underscores that the A321neo offers unmatched capabilities, operating economics, and passenger friendliness,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International. “No other aircraft can do what the A321neo can do, and the Airbus team is most gratified by United’s strong affirmation of its premium status. The A321neo will complement United’s future A321XLR aircraft, together creating a privileged segment on its own.”

Another reason the A321neo is in such high demand globally is that the aircraft provides superior environmental performance with the lowest CO₂ emissions per seat in its class. The A321neo’s lower carbon footprint will support United along its journey to reduce the airline’s CO₂ emissions 100% by 2050.

United’s A321neo aircraft will feature Airbus’ Airspace cabin design, which brings the following passenger-pleasing enhancements: unique welcome and customizable hero lighting (which helps reduce jet lag); new slimmer sidewall panels for extra personal space at shoulder level; better views through the windows with their redesigned bezels and completely integrated window shades; the latest full LED lighting technologies; the largest overhead bin in class; and new lavatories with hygienic touchless features and antimicrobial surfaces.

A significant number of the newly-ordered aircraft will be produced at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama. Globally, as of the end of May 2021, the A320neo Family had achieved 7,400 firm orders from 121 customers.


BOEING

Boeing and United Airlines announced the carrier will expand its 737 order book by purchasing an additional 200 737 MAX jets, including 150 for the largest member of the family, the 737-10, and 50 for the airplane that serves the heart of the single-aisle market, the 737-8. The new purchase positions United’s fleet for growth and accelerating demand for air travel.

The purchase increases United’s order book for the fuel-efficient, single-aisle family to 380 airplanes, including 30 that have been delivered. As the launch customer for the 737-10, United placed its first order in 2017 by converting 100 737-9 orders to the larger 737-10 variant. Today’s agreement also includes the purchase of Boeing 737 MAX training simulator data packages to support United’s pilot training programs.

Designed and built in Renton, Washington, the 737 MAX family delivers superior efficiency, flexibility and reliability while reducing fuel use and carbon emissions by at least 14% compared to the airplanes it replaces. The 737-8 seats up to 189 passengers and can fly 3,550 nautical miles – about 600 miles farther than its predecessor – allowing airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers.

The largest model in the family, the 737-10 seats up to 230 passengers in a single-class configuration and can fly up to 3,300 miles. The fuel-efficient jet can cover 99% of single-aisle routes, including routes served by 757s.

“We are truly humbled by United Airlines’ confidence in the people of Boeing and the airplanes we design and build every day. Our strong partnership, dating back to United’s founding, has helped us grow and weather challenges through the decades. As we look forward to the recovery ahead, we are honored that United has once again chosen the 737 family’s performance, efficiency and flexibility to power their growing network. The Boeing team is excited to be building hundreds of these new jets for United and delivering on a landmark agreement that solidifies our future together for the next decades,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.


VISION-BOX

Vision-Box, a world leader in biometrics seamless travel, automated border control and digital identity solutions has announced the launch of a Frontex awarded trial to implement an innovative pilot project at two land borders in Bulgaria, in the context of the EU Entry/Exit System (EES). The EES is a landmark framework set to replace traditional border controls of Third-Country Nationals with interoperable digital data processing and automated biometric data collection in 2022. The Frontex pilot, which went live in June 2021 in Bulgaria in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior and the Border Police will be for coaches, cars and pedestrians at entry of Kapitan Andreevo BCP from Turkey for phase 1, and exit at Kalotina BCP to Serbia for phase 2.

The implementation of the EES will influence the flow of travelers and the technology deployed at the border to collect the required data, in order to cope with the variety of sites and related complexities. This effect will possibly be more important at the EU land border crossings, which are more constrained environments as compared with airports and ports, as many travelers arrive in their vehicles. Therefore, the introduction of EES will have a significant impact on travelers’ flow at those border crossing points (BCP).

The purpose of the pilot project is to deliver a Self-Service Enrolment System to enable travelers to perform a self-service collection of travel document data, biometric data and other information (e.g., questionnaire on entry conditions). It also executes real-time intensive queries into the Bulgarian national border control systems, in combination with an EU EES backend simulator. After the Enrolment, travelers are invited to go to an open corridor and be identified On-the-Move to directly cross the Border, or to be redirected to the manual control booth to be verified by a border guard with last generation Coppernic handheld technology. The secured linkage and encrypted communications with the national and EU border control systems, performing border checks on all travellers and EES registration/verification on third country nationals, is jointly performed by Vision-Box and the respective border agencies.

The EES Frontex pilot applies to short stay visa and visa-exempt third country nationals as well as EU citizens entering or leaving the European Union.

The pilot ecosystem (enrolment kiosks, biometric corridor, handheld tablets) is powered by Vision-Box’s award-winning Orchestra™ Identity & Border Management Platform. Orchestra™ removes the time-consuming task of manual data collection and verification, meaning that travelers do not need to physically interact with touchpoints or manually exchange travel documents and biometrics at counters. The whole process leverages identity and biometrics’ tokenization to digitize the operation in a touchless manner. This also reduces long queuing at checkpoints and curtails crowding at clearance hotspots, allowing travellers to navigate the border a lot quicker and safely with biometric recognition technology. Facial recognition biometrics offers the highest level of convenience for traveller identity proofing, in compliance with the EU regulations, combined with touchless fingerprint sensors for combined verification against the EU EES biometric backend systems. The solution drives significant improvements over traditional manual and touch-based identification procedures in terms of hygiene, accuracy, and privacy protections.

The powerful Orchestra™ Service Platform is compliant with EU GDPR regulations through its unique Privacy-by-Design certification. It operates under user-centric business rules and is the kernel of the advanced management of Identity proofing and Flow Monitoring of traveler processes at the border. The platform’s powerful capability allows it to process the full extent of national border passenger volume, thanks to its future-proof scalable design and resilient architecture.

For this pilot delivery, Vision-Box has hired the services of PwC Luxembourg, in order to help sustain the definition of the use cases, their testing, and overall pilot reporting. In addition, Bulgarian system integrator – Global Sat, is supporting Vision-Box in the deployment of the solution on the ground and its maintenance during the overall 6 months’ operation of the two pilot phases at the two different land borders.

With the industry expected to resume travel as restrictions begin to ease, Vision-Box’s technology is proving crucial in guaranteeing a safe and efficient travel processes. Over the past months, Vision-Box has also inaugurated Automated Border Control eGates at Malta International Airport in collaboration with the Malta Police Force, implemented an integrated Biometric experience for Emirates Airline at Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport, and secured a regional strategic partnership with AirAsia Group, to implement industry leading, identity management technology across its network of 152 airports.


OTHER NEWS

SITA

Global air transport IT provider SITA has released its annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, which reveals that, despite the pandemic, the company remains set to become a certified carbon neutral organization by or before 2022. This achievement is well ahead of common airline industry milestones, such as 2030 and 2050, or those of the Paris Agreement.

SITA’s objective to reduce its contribution to climate change is being realized through the company’s Planet+ program. The program aims to define emissions, measure them working with independent environmental consultants RSK Group, and consistently reduce the environmental impacts of operations and business travel year-on-year while complementing those actions with offsetting initiatives.
Through Planet+, SITA reduced overall emissions by 48% in 2020, equaling some 11,423 CO2 tons. This has been achieved through several initiatives such as switching to renewable or partially renewable energy, opting for green energy providers, optimizing office floor footprint, reducing electricity consumption with more energy-efficient devices, and reducing business travel for internal meetings through the use of collaborative online tools.

In 2020, SITA also offset 100% of its emissions for the first time. SITA’s carbon offset program is managed through Natural Capital Partners, a leading global provider of sustainable environmental offset emission programs. The 2020 offset program was not applied purely to business travel emissions as in previous years but was extended to include all operational emissions reported and audited in Scope 1 (direct and controlled emissions), Scope 2 (electricity) and Scope 3 (upstream and downstream emissions, including those generated by SITA employees working from home). Dr. Edna Ayme-Yahil, VP Head of Communications, Brand & Sustainability, said: “As part of our overall commitment to reduce carbon emissions across the air transport industry, we were keen to lead by example by taking real, concrete steps to reduce our impact on the environment. This is paying off and SITA is well on track to meeting our goal of becoming a certified carbon neutral company by or before 2022.”

In 2019, SITA announced its commitment to becoming a certified Carbon Neutral Company by 2022, under the CarbonNeutral® Protocol. This protocol requires organizations to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by defining emissions related to operations, measuring them, reducing them, and then offsetting the remaining ones that have not been reduced or removed through verified carbon offset projects aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With around 2,500 customers, SITA’s solutions drive efficiencies at more than 1,000 airports, and facilitate secure and seamless border crossings for over 60 governments, while delivering the benefits of connected aircraft to customers of 18,000 aircraft globally.

As well as managing its own economic, environmental, and social impacts, SITA’s CSR report cites an immediate shift in early 2020 to support its air transport industry customers through the pandemic, ensuring business continuity and maintaining normal service levels.
SITA pivoted to meet urgent industry demands for a healthy, safe, and frictionless passenger experience – to reassure passengers and enable ‘COVID-compliant’ journeys. In addition, the company responded to requirements from airlines, airports, and governments for agility, resilience, efficiencies, and cost containment – modifying and adapting their solutions to areas vital to recovery and survival.
Soon to achieve its ambition to be carbon neutral, SITA continues to also drive the industry to be more sustainable with solutions that aim to reduce carbon emissions.

Since 2014, SITA has achieved and maintained ISO14001:2015 (Environmental Management Systems – EMS) certification – a milestone for organizations committed to sustainable operations – in seven of its main office locations


LATAM

The LATAM Group, through its subsidiaries in Chile and Peru, together with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have come together to carry out the pilot of the IATA Travel Pass digital application, allowing passengers to organize and manage travel requirements complying with what is required by the authorities on international flights more efficiently and expeditiously.

IATA Travel Pass works based on the biometric information of the passenger’s passport, the results of laboratories in agreement and the joint information of the governments.

“This is great news for our passengers who voluntarily want to join. Having more automated and contactless processes is a new reality for everyone, and this pilot with IATA Travel Pass supports this transformation for LATAM and for the entire industry,” declared the Vice President of Clients of LATAM Airlines Group, Paulo Miranda.
For his part, Peter Cerdá, IATA Regional Vice President for the Americas, adds: “We are pleased that LATAM trusts the IATA Travel Pass. Tools of this type are essential to restart the airline industry and reconnect the world, which allows to reopen borders safely and smoothly, giving governments the guarantee that travelers have complied with health requirements, speeding up migration processes and simplifying the experience for passengers.”

The pilot phase, which is voluntary for the passenger, is expected to take place between June 14 and July 2 on the following routes:
● Lima-Miami
● Lima-Santiago de Chile
● Santiago de Chile-Lima
● Santiago de Chile-Miami


AIRBUS

AIRBUS confirmed plans to produce 45 A320 Family aircraft per month in 4Q21, increasing to 64 by 2Q23 and possibly 70 by 2024 and 75 by 2025; A220 production will rise from five to six per month in 1H22 and possibly to 14 by 2025. A350 will increase from five to six by 2H22; A330 will stay at two.


BOEING

Boeing’s 737MAX-10, the largest airplane in the 737 MAX family,  completed a successful first flight. The airplane took off from Renton Field in Renton, Washington, at 10:07 a.m. on June 18th and landed at 12:38 p.m. at Boeing Field in Seattle. “The airplane performed beautifully,” said 737 Chief Pilot Capt. Jennifer Henderson. “The profile we flew allowed us to test the airplane’s systems, flight controls and handling qualities, all of which checked out exactly as we expected.”

The flight was the start of a comprehensive test program for the 737-10. Boeing will work closely with regulators to certify the airplane prior to its scheduled entry into service in 2023. “The 737-10 is an important part of our customers’ fleet plans, giving them more capacity, greater fuel efficiency and the best per-seat economics of any single-aisle airplane,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Our team is committed to delivering an airplane with the highest quality and reliability.”

The 737-10 can carry up to 230 passengers. It also incorporates environmental improvements, cutting carbon emissions by 14 percent and reducing noise by 50 percent compared to today’s Next-Generation 737s.

(Editor’s Note: The Boeing 737-10 is the biggest Boeing 737 with some of the following features: Wingspan 117ft – 10 in., Length 143 feet – 8 in., Passengers, 230, new engines and landing gear, 66 in. longer fuselage, modified doors and wings.)


The US TRAVEL ASSOCIATION forecasts business travel will not recover until at least 2024.


OTHER NEWS

  • We were sad to learn that Chris Longridge, past Boeing executive and really nice guy, passed away on June 15th this past week. Chris was one of the smartest and nicest people to have ever worked in aviation!
  • Interestingly, reports The Seattle Times; “Tim Keating, Boeing’s executive vice president of government operations, the company’s chief lobbyist and political strategist in Washington, D.C., and a leading figure on the jet maker’s leadership council, is ‘no longer with the company’.” No data was given on the reason for his release…

IADA

The International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2021. The organization that began as the National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA) to fight against untrustworthy aircraft dealers has undergone transformational changes and is still fighting for transparency and integrity in airplane deals.

In addition to OGARAJETS, other first year member companies who are now IADA Accredited Dealers are known today as Gantt Aviation, Duncan Aviation, JBA Aviation, Leading Edge, General Aviation Services, QS Partners, and Eagle Aviation. Additional early members were Jack Prewitt & Associates, Aerosmith Penny, Austin Jet, Jet Transactions, Jim Markel & Associates, Express One, and Sacramento Aviation.

Starting NARA was tough. It took a huge amount of time away from the group’s businesses to get organized, and it cost a lot of money. It was a challenging time. Fast forward to 2021. Different chairmen have served as leaders of the organization every year since that 1991 founding. They’ve had great ideas as the organization has matured. And the impact on the industry has been profound.

Today IADA has a thoroughly global outlook that reflects its worldwide influence on the private aircraft transaction industry. IADA has created the first accreditation program for aircraft dealers, administered by an impartial third party to rigorous professional standards of expertise and ethics.

As it celebrates its 30th anniversary, IADA is a powerhouse global cooperative network consisting of the world’s only accredited dealers and IADA-certified brokers, major OEMs and industry leading verified products and services members. While IADA’s entry bar is high, there are now nearly 50 IADA-accredited dealers, over a hundred IADA-certified brokers, more than 60 IADA-verified products and services members, and nearly all the major OEM business aircraft manufacturers.

Comprising only seven percent of the world’s business jet dealers, IADA dealers buy and sell more aircraft by dollar volume than the rest of the world’s dealers combined, averaging over 700 transactions and $6 billion in annual volume. Recently, IADA members actually registered over 1,200 global transactions, worth more than $10 billion, in the 12-month period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. Importantly, this occurred during uncertain economic times in the midst of the pandemic.

In the past year, the IADA Foundation received tax-exempt status, and it continues to support philanthropic programs that enhance the industry, including providing scholarships for college students studying for careers in business aviation.

Working for business aircraft owners globally, IADA provides a facility for professional standards, ethics and exchange of information among its members and to the public for the purpose of creating a more efficient market, facilitating transactions and providing transparency in transactions, thereby increasing business aircraft ownership and usage worldwide. For more info about IADA go to www.IADA.aero.


AVALON

AVOLON AND VERTICAL AEROSPACE ANNOUNCE WORLD’S LARGEST eVTOL AIRCRAFT ORDER

  • Order for up to 500 electric aircraft valued at US$2 billion
  • Avolon-e becomes a launch customer for Vertical’s VA-X4 eVTOL
  • The VA-X4 eVTOL will revolutionize air travel with zero emissions
  • Order underscores Avolon’s commitment to combat climate change and the electrification of air transport

Avolon, the international aircraft leasing company, and Vertical Aerospace (‘Vertical’), the most advanced electric vertical take-off and landing (‘eVTOL’) company in the world, announce a ground-breaking US$2 billion order for up to 500 electric eVTOL aircraft. This agreement, which is subject to certain closing conditions, will introduce the ultra-short-haul aircraft category to commercial aviation, a game changing development that will revolutionize air travel with zero emissions aircraft.

The agreement will combine Avolon’s scale and deep industry relationships with Vertical’s leading technological position in the eVTOL space and will see both companies collaborate throughout the development, road map to certification and subsequent commercial roll-out of the VA-X4. Avolon will join Microsoft, Rolls-Royce, Honeywell, and American Airlines as equity investors in Vertical, working also with Virgin Atlantic who will be a VA-X4 launch airline customer in Europe.

The order highlights Avolon’s commitment to sustainability and responsible investment and its position as an industry leader and innovator. The commitment to the VA-X4 places Avolon at the forefront of technological change in the industry and underlines Avolon’s belief in the electrification of air transport. Avolon’s existing young and fuel-efficient fleet will be complemented by an investment in a new category of ultra-short-haul aircraft that will produce zero emissions.

Avolon, through its newly incorporated affiliate Avolon-e will become the customer for the VA-X4 and subject to appropriate operating, delivery and business requirements being met, will order aircraft valued at US$1.25 billion with delivery commencing in late 2024, with an option to acquire additional aircraft up to a value of US$750 million. Avolon-e has been established by Avolon to focus on investment in the zero-emissions eVTOL sector.


CARLISLE INTERCONNECT TECHNOLOGIES

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CarlisleIT) will be introducing new products at the 64th Annual AEA International Convention Trade Show in Dallas from June 22-25, 2021. The announcements will take place on Tuesday, June 22, at 8:30 a.m. in the Trinity Ballroom.

CarlisleIT will be debuting its HDMI 2.0 Locking Cable Assemblies – the latest in high-performance HDMI cable assemblies for aircraft cabin management. Fully qualified to support 4K ultra-high-definition displays at 60 Hz, these cable assemblies are made to order in customer-specified lengths. The cables can also be configured with or without locking accessories to secure against vibration and ensure reliable performance in an aircraft cabin environment.

In addition, CarlisleIT will be showing a new High-Performance Ethernet Cable: the NF24Q100-01(HP). The latest in CarlisleIT’s robust family of data cable products, it’s tested at 1 GHz up to 100 feet to provide reliable performance at extreme data rates in a light-weight, compact, RoHS-compliant, 100-ohm quad construction.

“We’re very excited for these announcements, as both products are part of our efforts to engineer high-reliability and high-performance cables that can withstand even the most data-heavy aviation applications,” said Jeff Behlendorf, director of product management for CarlisleIT Integrated Products. “This show – our first trade show since before the pandemic – will be a great opportunity to reconnect with others in the industry and show them what we’ve been working on.”

CarlisleIT will also be present throughout the show at booth number 1117.


OTHER NEWS

ONEWEB

OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, confirmed the next successful launch of 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. This launch brings OneWeb a step closer to completing its ‘Five to 50’ ambition and the start of commercial service by the end of the year.

Liftoff occurred on 28 May at 18:38 BST. OneWeb’s satellites separated from the rocket and were dispensed in nine batches over a period of 3 hours 52 minutes with signal acquisition on all 36 satellites confirmed.

This latest successful launch brings OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation to 218 satellites. These will form part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity. There is now only one launch to go until the company has the satellites required to enable its connectivity solution to reach all regions north of 50 degrees latitude by June 2021.

OneWeb’s satellites are built by OneWeb Satellites, a OneWeb and Airbus joint venture facility on Merritt Island, Florida that can produce two satellites a day with an innovative production-line process. Thanks to this advanced manufacturing capability, OneWeb is able to rapidly and reliably build its first-generation fleet for completion of delivery into orbit by mid-2022. With this launch, our Florida team can be proud of the 220 satellites it has built and orbited to date.

This launch represents the fourth in a five-launch program to fulfill the ‘Five to 50’ service, enabling OneWeb to offer connectivity across the United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic Seas and Canada. This service is expected to be switched on before the end of the year and OneWeb intends to make global service available in 2022.


THALES

Thales and Venture Capital funded start-up Airspace Link are partnering to integrate ground risk data from state and local governments, such as the location of schools, power lines and firework displays, with air risk data from air traffic control systems, enabling communities to manage the safe use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into their airspace, while respecting privacy and quality of life.

Airspace Link complements Thales’ expertise in airspace management and systems integration with the geospatial intelligence to support operations where a UAS is out of an operator’s visual range.

Thales has also become a minority investor with Airspace Link to continue to innovate in the evolving area of UAS traffic management.
Thales and geospatial information management company Airspace Link will provide safe integration of UAS, commonly known as drones, into low altitude airspace where the systems are Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) of operators. With aviation, community and topographical data for the most accurate situational awareness, UAS operators can quickly and easily file for and receive flight plan authorization.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) forecasts that by 2024, commercial UAS operations will grow 60% – from approximately 500,000 to more than 800,000. Globally, analysts project UAS market to reach 2.91 million systems by 2023. To support the air traffic management challenge of commercial UAS operations, a strong combination of expertise is required. Thales has deep aviation systems integration experience and market knowledge, with 400 airspace management deployments around the world. Airspace Link, led by veterans of geospatial technologies with over 60 years’ of experience, has extensive geospatial information management expertise.

Formalizing this partnership will broaden Thales’ robust air traffic management system portfolio and further expand its global market footprint. As an FAA approved UAS service supplier of the Low Altitude Authorization & Notification Capability (LAANC), Thales is supporting UAS traffic management across the U.S. in areas such as New York state. Further, internationally, Thales is providing UAS traffic management for organizations such as the French air traffic management organization, Direction des Services de la Navigation Aérienne.


BOEING

Next month, Greenwood Rising, the world-class history center built to remember the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, will open for a special ten day preview event for family members, descendants and residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The space is dedicated to educating visitors about historic Greenwood before, during and after one of the worst race massacres in American history. In addition to engaging exhibits, Greenwood Rising will host and coordinate many events to educate the public about its history and engage people in a conversation about reconciliation and racial justice. Greenwood Rising will open to the general public in early July.

As one of the first corporate partners for Greenwood Rising, The Boeing Company is investing $500,000 to support two of the center’s key programs through 2026: The Youth Race & Leadership Forum and the Greenwood Rising XR Learning platform.

The second program funded by Boeing is the annual Youth Race & Leadership Forum, a partnership with the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice (OCCJ) during which students learn about race and how they can advocate for positive change for themselves and their communities.

Boeing funding will also enable this program to expand internationally, enabling students to travel to Tulsa for this annual event.


OTHER NEWS

FTE APEX Virtual Expo

Today was the first day of FTE APEX Virtual Expo. This is a major digital event for the air transport industry. With COVID-19,  Virtual Expo is a key building block in our ongoing efforts to support the industry, help drive much-needed transformation, and facilitate the new collaborations that we know all stakeholders need to achieve in order to bounce back stronger in the post-pandemic world.

Here are a few key statistics that are of interest: There are more than 140 confirmed speakers, 40 exhibitors and 1,250+ registered organizations– including 151 airlines and 138 airports – from every corner of the world.

Highlights include:

Airline and airport CEO keynotes – including leaders from the likes of Turkish Airlines, Etihad Aviation Group, Gatwick Airport, DFW Airport, Scoot, WestJet, Western Sydney Airport, LAWA, Oneworld and United Airlines addressing the theme “Relaunching Global Air Transport”.
140+ speakers – across the Auditorium Conference, OnDemand Speaker Zone, and Expo Conference & Engagement Zone.
A virtual exhibition hall – featuring 40 industry vendors, who will be showcasing their very latest products and services designed to help airports and airlines thrive in the post-pandemic world, ranging from the latest IFEC solutions to brand-new products for the airport environment.
Plus – the FTE APEX Women in Aviation Leadership Summit, Digital Health Passport Symposium, New Airlines C-Suite Summit (featuring the CEOs of Ava Airways, PLAY, Pop and EGO Airways), Phase 2 of the FTE APEX Business Model Transformation Think Tank, and the FTE APEX Biometrics Summit.

If you didn’t attend yesterday there is still one more day to take advantage of this virtual expo. It should be noted that the primary operating hours for the live show days are 07:00-19:00 BST. During this time, the Auditorium Conference sessions will take place and the exhibition stands will be manned to enable live engagement.

Lastly, the event platform will remain online for an additional 30 days after the live show days, offering unrestricted access to all recorded Auditorium Conference sessions, OnDemand Speaker Zone content and the exhibition hall.

Be sure to check out future editions of IFExpress that will cover some of the interesting and innovative  developments showcased during the EXPO.


BOEING

Boeing and SMBC Aviation Capital  announced the lessor is positioning its portfolio for air traffic recovery by ordering 14 additional 737-8 jets, growing its 737 MAX portfolio. The new order comes as airlines prepare for a robust return to air travel and modernize their narrowbody fleets to reduce fuel use and carbon emissions.

“We are pleased to have concluded an agreement with Boeing for the purchase of 14 low-cost carrier configured 737 MAX aircraft which is an aircraft we are seeing increased customer demand for following its successful return to service,” said Peter Barrett, CEO of SMBC Aviation Capital.

The new purchase builds SMBC Aviation Capital’s 737 MAX portfolio to 121 jets, expanding their investment in Boeing’s single-aisle family. SMBC Aviation Capital also continues to incorporate new 737 MAX airplanes into the global fleet. In the first quarter of 2021, the lessor delivered 13 737-8s to customers, including 11 planes to Southwest Airlines in the U.S. and two planes to TUI in Europe.

“SMBC has been actively managing its portfolio in a very dynamic market. With this new order for the fuel-efficient 737-8, the lessor is well positioned to help its customers capture domestic travel demand in several countries and regions,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing. “We are honored by SMBC’s trust in the 737 family, and we look forward to partnering with them to support airlines for the market recovery ahead.”
The SMBC Aviation Capital purchase follows recent orders and commitments from Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. The total number of gross orders and commitments for the 737 MAX this year now exceeds 250 airplanes.

A member of the 737 MAX family, the 737-8 is designed to offer more fuel efficiency, reliability and flexibility in the single-aisle market. The 737-8 can fly 3,550 nautical miles – about 600 miles farther than its predecessor – allowing airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. Compared to the airplanes it replaces, the 737-8 also delivers superior efficiency, reducing fuel use and CO2 emissions by 16% and also reducing operating costs.

As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future and living the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity.

SMBC Aviation Capital is one of the world’s leading aircraft lessors, with 85 airline customers in 36 countries. At 31 March 2021, the company owns and manages 496 aircraft. Established in 2001, the company was acquired in 2012 by a consortium comprising of two of Japan’s biggest companies SMFG and Sumitomo Corporation.


OTHER NEWS

Sustainable Fuel

Air France-KLM, Total, Groupe ADP and Airbus Join Forces to Decarbonize Air Transportation and Carry Out The First Long-Haul Flight Powered By Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Produced in France.

At 3:40 p.m., Air France Flight 342 took off from Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport’s Terminal 2E for Montreal with its tanks filled for the first time with sustainable aviation fuel produced in Total’s French plants.

This flight is a tangible result of the four groups’ shared ambition to decarbonize air transportation and to develop a SAF supply chain in France, prerequisite to the generalization of their use in French airports.

No modifications to storage and distribution infrastructure, aircraft or engines are required to incorporate biofuels. Their gradual introduction worldwide should significantly reduce CO2 emissions from air transportation, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development
Goals.

The biofuel used for this flight was made from waste and residue sourced from the circular economy. Total produced the SAF from used cooking oil at its La Mède biorefinery in southern France and at its Oudalle factory near Le Havre, without using any virgin plant-based oil.

This first 100% French SAF received ISCC-EU certification from the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification System, an independent organization that guarantees sustainability. The 16% blend on this flight avoided the emission of 20 tons of CO2. By developing and supporting France’s first industrial SAF production, Air France-KLM, Total, ADP Group and Airbus are paving the way for France to drive innovation in the energy and environmental transition. French legislation calls for aircraft to use at least 1% SAF by 2022 for all flights originating in France, ahead of the European ambition scheduled to gradually ramp up to 2% by 2025 and 5% by 2030, as part of the European Green Deal. To meet these requirements, Total will also produce SAF at its Grandpuits zero-crude platform near Paris as from 2024.

The flight also illustrates the synergy of the different drivers for reducing aviation’s environmental footprint, i.e., sustainable aviation fuel, latest-generation aircraft and electrification of ground operations. The Airbus A350 used for the flight consumes 25% less fuel than its predecessor. What’s more, the aircraft was serviced by the first 100% all-electric refueling truck, developed in France with Total expertise, and all of the ground support equipment used by Air France was fully electric powered. Air France-KLM is a pioneer in testing sustainable aviation fuels. KLM made its first SAF-powered flight in 2009. Since then, the Group has multiplied the number of innovative programs. Between 2014 and 2016, for example, it carried out 78 Air France flights powered by a 10% SAF blend in collaboration with a Total affiliate. These tests showed that the use of SAF had no impact on the reliability of airline operations. Air France-KLM intends to strengthen its leadership in SAF in the years ahead, while contributing to research on future generations of aircraft. In addition to this flight, Airbus is conducting several series of tests to certify airliners to fly with 100% SAF in the coming decades. Airbus has also installed SAF refueling stations at its industrial facilities so it can be used in production operations, as well as for aircraft deliveries. These installations contribute to Airbus’s ambition to decarbonize all of its industrial operations.

(Editor’s Note: Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is a blend of conventional aviation fuel (JET-A1) and biojet fuel made from waste and residue sourced from the circular economy (animal fat, used cooking oil, etc.). Biojet fuel has similar properties to JET-A1 and produces up to 90% fewer CO2 emissions over its lifecycle compared with the fossil equivalent.)


LATAM Group

LATAM Group (“LATAM”) announced the expansion of its freighter fleet growth under which it now plans to add 10 Boeing 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighters over the next three years. This will bring the fleet size to up to 21 freighters by 2023. The first aircraft will be expected to begin operations in December 2021. The Group’s freighter fleet growth plan initially included four firm conversion orders with Boeing and another four conversion options. Two months after the initial announcement, LATAM has exercised the four options, eight planes, and the conversion of two additional Boeing 767-300ERs. This means that the freighter fleet will be comprised of up to 21 aircraft by the end of 2023. Upon completion of the plan the Group will have almost doubled its freighter capacity as well as reduced the average fleet age from 17 to 14 years. Growing from 11 to 21 freighter planes will enable the LATAM Group’s cargo subsidiaries to expand and reinforce their capacity to, from and within South America, and positioning the Group as the main freighter operator group in the region. The first eight airplanes have been allocated to markets that are critical for key customer segments.

LATAM also announced that it will use some of the 767-300ERs that are awaiting conversion under a hybrid format to benefit customers in the short term. The seats will be completely removed from three planes for this purpose in order to have a payload of up to 46 tons per flight. Two of these planes are already operational. The third one is expected to be available in the second quarter of 2021. Furthermore, LATAM is optimizing commonality across their fleet of 767-300 production and converted freighters to maximize capacity, including the ability to transport delicate goods.


FTS

Qingdao Airlines announced that it is fully committed to
expand and accelerate the deployment of high-speed in-flight satellite Internet on its aircraft fleet. This follows the successful evaluation of the first commercial high-speed Internet flight trial in China that was launched by Qingdao Airlines on July 2020. This marks a major milestone in this groundbreaking collaboration project whereby FTS is supplying the Xstream™ high-speed satellite inflight system while TD Link Technology is providing internet service operations.

The Xstream™ system suite developed by FTS comprises of XstreamSAT™ satellite communication, XstreamLITE™ cabin WiFi, and XstreamOP™ cloud management platform. It is the first China developed IFEC system to receive all three major international airworthiness STC certifications from FAA, EASA and CAAC. The system is integrated with China Satcom’s ChinaSat-16 Ka-HTS satellites and is capable of providing up to 150 Mbps bandwidth between aircraft and ground. Over the past 10 months, the trial aircraft has flown more than 1,200 flights flawlessly with impeccable service, delighting Qingdao Airlines passengers with unprecedented inflight connected experience equivalent to ground 4G performance, with services such as movies, social media, live video broadcast, maps and e-commerce (with mobile payment).

FTS XStreamOP™ ground-based cloud management platform which has been in service since beginning trial has proven to be critical in ensuring service delivery with real-time monitoring of airborne systems, connectivity status, as well as consolidating all inflight data for ground analytics. This open cloud architecture enables the airline and service providers to integrate with airline backend IT to provide an efficient and easy-to-use method of managing all the on-
board internet equipment and services.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has brought far-reaching and fundamental impact to aviation, the China domestic air travel is leading the industry in terms of recovery and even growing beyond pre-COVID period. A spokesperson at FTS commented they are seeing more confidence, optimism and interest from domestic airlines on making long term investment on Inflight connectivity as they believe this is a pivotal enabler to drive digital transformation of passenger service, airline operations and auxiliary revenue from which airlines could benefit to achieve recovery and long-term sustainability.

The decision from Qingdao Airlines is not taken lightly especially in the current challenging climate. It came after rigorous scrutiny of trial results concluded that FTS system performance, reliability and benefits far exceeded airline expectations. Qingdao Airlines’ innovative and pioneering spirit has attracted strong endorsement and support from local government, CAAC and industry bodies. After carefully
weighing all these factors and firmly believing in the benefits of connected aircraft, the airline stood firm in its decision to go full steam and accelerate the fleet-wide adoption of inflight
connectivity.

In preparation for the accelerated fleet wide deployment, FTS is ramping up its operations and capabilities. It announced that it has obtained CAAC PMA certification and Part 145 maintenance and repair overhaul approvals for its range of components.


Boeing

In observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States, Boeing announced the company is donating $1.1 million to organizations working to combat anti-Asian hate and promote justice, advance appreciation for AAPI history and culture, and fund community service projects and leadership development programs in communities across the United States.

“At Boeing, we know that being a truly equitable, diverse and inclusive company requires a commitment to our team members here at the company and in the communities where our employees and partners live and work. These investments build on Boeing’s longstanding commitment to supporting those in underserved and marginalized communities and recognizes the challenging issues currently being faced by the Asian American and Pacific Islander community,” said Tim Keating, Boeing’s executive vice president of Government Operations.

*Boeing’s contribution will support 17 national and local initiatives. Nonprofits receiving immediate grant funding include:

  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice – $200,000
  • Asian American Heritage Council of Central Florida (FL) – $10,000
  • Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy – $10,000
  • Asian Counseling & Referral Services (WA) – $75,000
  • Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (OR) – $10,000
  • Asian Pacific Cultural Center (WA) – $10,000
  • Little Tokyo Service Center (CA) – $35,000
  • Asian American Youth Foundation (MO) – $15,000
  • Neighborhood House (WA) – $100,00
  • One America (WA) – $75,000
  • Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (CA) – $35,000
  • Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center – $250,000
  • Society of Asian Scientists & Engineers – $50,000
  • Stop AAPI Hate – $50,000
  • Tacoma Community House (WA) – $90,000
  • United Cambodian Community (CA) – $35,000

In 2020, Boeing invested more than $15.6 million to promote racial equity and social justice programs – including funding aimed at diversifying the aerospace pipeline.

(Editor’s Note: As Boeing hustles to evolve from the 21 month MAX crisis, quality problems and the management of the repair operations of the 787, 737 MAX, 767 Tanker, are to be reviewed by the government. Boeing (and the FAA as well) are to be reviewed by the US House Committee on Transportation. These reviews are probably based on the continuing issues we have all seen on these planes. Stay Tuned on this one because if issues continue, it will be quite an impact for both organizations and products … especially with any new management and their decisions!)


Other News

Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics is marking the two-year anniversary of the launch of Arc, its 3D in-flight moving map platform, by unveiling a range of new and upcoming features.

Since its debut two years ago at Aircraft Interiors Expo 2019, Arc has experienced one of the highest adoption rates of any Panasonic Avionics digital service, with confirmed orders with 17 airlines globally on over 300 aircraft.

Andrew Mohr, Vice President of Digital Solutions at Panasonic Avionics, said: “Airline adoption of Arc has been beyond our initial expectations. Our airline customers have responded positively to the new value streams we’re bringing to the in-flight map experience. These include sophisticated design, innovative new features, and the cross-leverage with our other in-flight entertainment and communications services, including new monetization opportunities.”

“With Arc, we are enabling airlines to utilize in-flight maps as a primary tool for customer engagement and service. Its rapid adoption highlights the importance these new approaches represent to our customers.”

Panasonic Avionics has also launched the first new round of Arc features, including Arc for Young Explorers and OneMedia integration.

Arc for Young Explorers is the first in a series of features targeted to young travelers. It brings them back in time and enables them to fly and explore the world as a Jurassic-era flying dinosaur. Points of interest are replaced by oversized dinosaurs, revealing trivia, fun facts, and animations about the giant beasts that roamed Earth millions of years ago. Bright, cheerful colors and imaginations of prehistoric sounds and movement fill the screen.

Arc’s integration with OneMedia enables it to act as a new medium for monetization through its alignment with Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight advertising platform. It creates new advertising inventory across the wide range of Arc’s map views, and tie-ins to cross-IFE advertising campaigns.
In addition to these new releases, Panasonic Avionics is in the process of rolling out the new Arc Studio map designer’s tool. Arc Studio gives airlines direct control over a wide range of map features and content. It enables them to modify point of interest data and layers, map script configurations to add or modify media and promotional campaigns, along with the ability to deploy changes directly to their aircraft.

Mohr adds: “Arc Studio gives in-flight maps the flexibility and longevity expected out of today’s digital solutions. It puts Arc at the service of the airline to employ as a promotional tool, enabling them to create unique designs and configurations that can be deployed on a per flight or route basis. Airlines can easily leverage Arc to execute their overall IFEC value strategies.”
“We have designed Arc as a flexible, creative and evolutionary platform, and are developing further enhancements which we will be unveiling in the months ahead.”


Astronics

Astronics Corporation Reports 2021 First Quarter Financial Results.

  • Sales for the quarter were $105.9 million, slightly better than guidance
  • Net loss was $11.9 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA* loss was $0.5 million
  • Bookings for the quarter continued sequential improvement to $120.0 million
  • Backlog at the end of the quarter was $297.5 million

Lattitude Aero

Latitude Aero  announced they have received approval and designation by the European Aviation Safety Agency (“EASA”) as an EASA Part 145 Repair Station (EASA.145.6969). As a FAA and EASA-approved maintenance organization, Latitude Aero can now provide its customers a dual-release and return to service components that are for European, as well as domestic, aircraft. “We are excited to add dual-release capabilities to our existing suite of seating services and expand our global reach beyond the United States and into Europe,” says President & CEO Kelvin Boyette. “This coincides perfectly with our planned expansion into Europe later in 2021.” The dual-release designation process is extremely challenging to achieve, and this level of capability allows us to better support our current and future international customers.


SITA

SITA celebrates the 25th anniversary of its border management business, a journey that started in 1996 in readiness for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. A quarter of a century on, SITA’s border solutions are used by over 60 governments to seamlessly process two billion border crossings every year.

SITA’s extensive knowledge and experience in serving the air transport industry includes delivering solutions and services for airlines, airports and on aircraft. This has enabled the organization to diversify its portfolio over the last few decades into border management and security for governments worldwide with significant success.

Jeremy Springall, VP of SITA AT BORDERS, said: “We’re immensely proud to celebrate this 25-year milestone for our borders business. We started our journey in 1996 in Australia and since then our border solutions have processed over seven billion transactions. Our business is focused on the safe movement of people. Whether it is major events such as the Olympic Games in Sydney, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa or a family going on holiday, we have been there to make it easier and more secure.”

It is this expertise, as well as leveraging SITA’s wider air transport industry experience, that has enabled SITA to support governments with the latest challenges following the COVID-19 pandemic. SITA’s Health Protect solution was developed rapidly this year to help countries safely manage their borders. 

Jeremy Springall said: “We managed to bring Health Protect to market at great speed because of our substantial experience and knowledge of the industry’s challenges. We leveraged our existing and proven products to deliver a flexible solution that incorporates the new requirements for health with existing passenger processing systems while maintaining safety and security.”

Major events were key early on

In 1996 SITA pioneered an electronic travel authorization (ETA) system for the 2000 Sydney Olympics to give the authorities visibility into the millions of visitors planning to cross the border in advance and reduce bottlenecks at immigration checkpoints. The system successfully reduced immigration clearance to a matter of seconds. SITA supplemented the system with an interactive Advance Passenger Processing (APP) solution, which analyzes passengers in real-time at check-in to keep illegitimate travelers from boarding their flight and entering the country.

SITA went on to deliver these solutions for the 2004 Bahrain Grand Prix Formula 1 racing and at many other major events, such as the FIFA World Cups in South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014.

The evolution of the portfolio over the years

The benefits experienced of using SITA technology to move large volumes of passengers safely and seamlessly during major world events have now been extended to the everyday management of borders. Through the 2000s and 2010s, many governments in the Middle East and Asia Pacific began adopting SITA APP, often along with other SITA solutions, to improve border security and make entry easier for legitimate travelers.

In the early 2000s, with security high on the agenda after 9/11, the Canadian government was first to engage SITA to enable them to assess potential threats to their country. SITA created a service to exchange passenger data, and the subsequent roll-out of this API PNR Gateway solution to other governments and airlines for passenger risk assessment purposes, has made it the most widely used data gateway service by governments and airlines. Today 600 airlines are connected to SITA’s ‘single window’ data gateway.

With the focus on security, the introduction of electronic passports and the challenge of increasing passenger throughput in the 2000s, SITA expanded its portfolio further. Using their early experience of delivering ETA systems, SITA designed an e-Visa solution for governments to ensure that visitors had the necessary electronic permission to travel. SITA also introduced more secure, user-friendly automated gates and kiosks using biometrics for identity management – including the US, Jamaica and Italy in the 2010s – as an alternative to traditional, manual border controls. Over the last few years, SITA has introduced various self-service biometric options to border control, including mobile apps, that automate identity verification.

Over the years, SITA has fine-tuned their intelligence and targeting capabilities and are helping governments detect suspicious activity and take the targeted steps to safeguard their borders.

Now with a complete end-to-end border management portfolio spanning the entire passenger journey, SITA has extended its aviation expertise to land and sea borders.

Jeremy Springall adds, “While our focus over the past 25 years has been on air borders, our experience and knowledge can and has been applied to land and sea. It is another step towards delivering a completely seamless and secure experience whether you travel by plane, train or automobile.”

“On behalf of the company, I would like to sincerely thank our employees all around the world, past and present, for their commitment and hard work, which has been critical to our longevity and success. As well, we are hugely grateful for the continued support and confidence of our members, customers, and partners.”

Employees mark 25 years with SITA Olympics

SITA’s 4500+ employees are marking the 25th anniversary by running, walking, cycling, or swimming as part of an Olympic-themed physical well-being challenge to collectively reach 50,000 kilometers while virtually traveling the globe and passing through some of the countries using SITA’s border technology. Should employees fulfil the challenge, the business will make a donation to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), which gives over 90 lower-income economies access to COVID-19 vaccines.


Other News

Postponed: AIX 2021 Live Events – Virtual Event Scheduled

AIX was scheduled to take place in Hamburg, Germany  on August 31 through September 2, 2021. But now, Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) and Passenger Experience Conference (PEC)  all have been postponed due to travel uncertainties surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. The physical events have been rescheduled for June 14-16, 2022 at the Hamburg Messe.

The good news is the 2021 event has become a virtual event and will take place on 14-16 September.

The organizers say they know how much people want to get back to meeting in person but the global situation remains too unpredictable due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the continued challenges and global restrictions on international travel faced by the global aviation sector.

The organizers believe that the virtual format for AIX 2021 will offer a platform where industry professionals can connect and share ideas to support the recovery and growth of the cabin interiors and onboard services community. We anticipate details to be released in the near term about the virtual event.


IFPL Awarded a Third Queen’s Award for Enterprise

IFPL is a winner of the 2021 Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation. This is the third time the specialist aerospace design and manufacturing company will be presented with one of the most prestigious business awards in the country.

IFPL has been recognized for its excellence in the field of innovation. The team are also twice winners in the category of ‘International Trade’, having received the award in 2008 and 2014.

The Queens Awards for Enterprise celebrate the success of exciting and innovative businesses which are leading the way with pioneering products and services. This year, 205 business were recognized nationally for their contributions to ‘International Trade’, ‘Innovation’, ‘Sustainable Development’, and ‘Promoting Opportunity (through Social Mobility)’.

IFPL has been honored in the ‘Innovation’ category for their design of a contactless payment and personalization device for use in commercial passenger aircraft. The device can be installed as an addition to seatback inflight entertainment systems, and solves the problems of its predecessors’ poor reliability, expensive production costs, and vulnerability to fraud.

IFPL was established in 1996 and is headquartered on the Isle of Wight. The team specializes in the design and manufacture of passenger interface solutions, supplying products to the global in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) industry.

IFPL founder and CEO Geoff Underwood commented:

“The aviation sector has been through a tough period recently, so being recognized as a company that is consistently working hard to create innovative products that will help operators to recover post-pandemic is a real boost. I’m so proud of the whole IFPL family for this fantastic achievement.”

Now in its 55th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses personally approved by Her Majesty the Queen. First established in 1965, over 7000 companies have since received an award, with many successfully using the momentum from their achievement to secure new business and venture into new markets.


Boeing

Boeing and the Lufthansa Group announced the airline group will continue its fleet modernization with a new order for five 787-9 Dreamliners. The incremental order further supports the group’s efforts to reduce complexity in its long-haul fleet and improve overall environmental performance by introducing more fuel-efficient widebody jets.

“We are very pleased that five more Boeing 787-9s will accelerate the modernization of our long-haul fleet. With these ultra-modern, fuel-efficient aircraft, we send a strong signal for environmental responsibility within the Lufthansa Group. Furthermore we will reduce our operating costs and provide our guests a state-of-the-art travel experience,” said Dr. Detlef Kayser, Member of the Executive Board Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Chief Operations Officer.

The Lufthansa Group placed its initial order for 20 787-9s in 2019. The new purchase agreement takes the group’s order book to 25 787-9s.

The second member of the Dreamliner widebody family, the 787-9 can fly up to 20% more passengers and around 25% more cargo while reducing fuel use and emissions by up to 25% compared to the airplanes it replaces. Since entering service in 2011, the 787 family’s fuel efficiency, flexibility and range have enabled airlines to open more than 300 new nonstop routes and reduce carbon emissions by 80 billion pounds.

Built with lightweight composite materials and powered by advanced engines and a suite of environment-friendly technologies, the 787 family has an airport-noise footprint that is 60% smaller than the previous generation of 767 airplanes, making it ideal for Lufthansa Group airport communities.

“The Lufthansa Group has been navigating an extremely challenging market and positioning itself for the recovery ahead and the eventual return to growth. We are honored that they have once again selected Boeing’s widebody airplane family to power their future fleet,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales & Marketing. “The 787’s superior fuel efficiency and range provide the Lufthansa Group the flexibility to profitably operate the airplane across its route network.”

Also From Boeing:

Boeing announced a $10 million emergency assistance package for India to support the country’s response to the current surge in COVID-19 cases. The assistance from Boeing will be directed to organizations providing relief, including medical supplies and emergency healthcare for communities and families battling COVID-19. The Boeing team in India totals 3,000 employees, in addition to valued local customers, suppliers, and business partners. Boeing will partner with local and international relief organizations to deploy the $10 million to the areas of greatest need in consultation with medical, government and public health experts.

Boeing employees also have an opportunity to donate personally to charitable organizations supporting COVID-19 relief in India. As part of the Boeing Gift Match program, the company will match monetary donations dollar for dollar, extending the reach of assistance being provided to the Indian people.

And More News…

Boeing and Silk Way West Airlines announced the private cargo operator will expand its international network with an order for five 777 Freighters. The deal marks the first purchase of the long-range, high capacity twin-engine freighter in the Caspian region and Central Asia. The airplanes will enable the airline to increase its capacity to meet growing cargo demand around the globe. Silk Way West Airlines and Boeing leaders announced the agreement during a signing ceremony in Baku that included Akhundov; Rashad Nabiyev, Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of Azerbaijan; and Earle D. Litzenberger, U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, as well as Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The 777 Freighter is the world’s largest, longest range and most capable twin-engine freighter. The airplane’s better fuel efficiency and ability to reduce CO2 emissions by 17% compared to legacy airplanes will contribute to the carrier’s sustainability goals. With a range of 9,200 kilometers, the 777 Freighter can carry a maximum payload of 102,000 kilograms, allowing Silk Way West Airlines to make fewer stops and reduce landing fees on long-haul routes.

Designed to integrate smoothly with existing cargo operations, the 777 Freighter will provide Silk Way West Airlines operational flexibility with five 747-8 Freighters and seven 747-400 Freighters the carrier currently operates. The 747 and 777 freighters are capable of carrying tall and outsized cargo loads on 3-meter-tall pallets. This common main-deck pallet height capability enables interchangeable pallets. Additionally, the 777 Freighter main deck side cargo door is 3.72 meters wide, giving the freighter outsized carriage capability beyond tall payloads.

The 777 Freighter is Boeing’s top-selling freighter of all time. Customers from around the world have ordered 247 777 Freighters since the program began in 2005. The market leader in air cargo aircraft, Boeing provides more than 90% of the worldwide dedicated freighter capacity, including new production and converted aircraft.

Founded in 2012 in Baku, Silk Way West Airlines is the largest cargo airline in the Caspian Sea region with an annual cargo turnover of 350,000 tons. Based at Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku, the airline operates approximately 350 monthly scheduled flights to 40 destinations around the world.


Other News

 

 

AirFi Nears Rollout Completion on Eastern Airlines’ 767 Fleet

Eastern Airlines is just one tail away from having outfitted all ten of its B767 aircraft with AirFi’s FASE (Fully Autonomous Semi-Embedded) wireless IFE solution. The airline sees this deployment as an important key to unlocking improved passenger experience, operational efficiency and revenue generation potential.

This successful installation effort, completed in Miami by AirFi America (MEKCO Group), marks the second North American deployment for AirFi.

“Eastern was looking for an onboard solution to both improve passenger experience and generate new cross-platform opportunities,” said Steve Harfst, CEO Eastern Airlines. “AirFi allows us the achieve both while also giving our customers a touch-less entertainment experience onboard. We strive to do everything possible to make traveling a safe and enjoyable experience.”

Eastern Airlines (which has an average flight length of 5-6 hours) is now offering a broad selection of inflight entertainment through AirFi and boutique CSP partner, West Entertainment. On their own personal devices, passengers can watch the latest Hollywood releases, award-winning classics and must-watch TV programs (comedy, drama, kids, documentaries, lifestyle). 90% of the content is also available in Spanish.

How does it work?

To create the onboard streaming solution, four compact and ruggedized AirFi Venus boxes (less than 2 kg/4.5 lbs each) are simply placed in overhead storage bin of each twin-aisle aircraft. They create a closed Wi-Fi network (sometimes called “Near-Fi” in industry circles), which passengers connect to, using any Wi-Fi enabled personal device such as a mobile phone, tablet or laptop. Once connected, they can begin streaming entertainment directly through the browser, without the need to download an app.

The FASE option for installation adds a layer of security because the boxes are physically “attached” to the plane, though still classed as carry-on equipment – meaning no STC is required. FASE also connects the boxes to aircraft power supply (so battery life isn’t an issue) and automates the power on/off function.

“We’ve installed all our planes in as little as one day, while upgrading other aspects of the cabin,” said Harfst. “Quick deployment and the quality streaming entertainment were probably the main reasons we wanted to work with AirFi, but we’ve also become very excited about the other ways we can use the AirFi platform to improve our customer experience.”

What’s next?

Eastern plans to install the AirFi solution its first two B777 aircraft and will soon use it to launch a new buy-on-board catalogue that passengers can use to browse, order and pay for food, beverage and comfort items right from their seats.

“Ancillary revenue is an important part of our strategy and allowing our team members to collect these fees and charges more effectively using AirFi will continue to be vital to our growth. Digitizing online sales significantly streamlines ancillary revenue,” commented Harfst.

To ensure that passengers can enjoy all the features of the AirFi system and still have full a full battery charge when they arrive at their destination, Eastern is also working with MEKCO Group to retrofit its aircraft with in-seat USB power solutions for charging electronic devices.

Check out their infographic


Wizz Air Launches Chatbot Amelia

Wizz Air, Europe’s fastest growing airline announces the introduction of its chatbot, Amelia. WIZZ’s new virtual assistant will further raise the company’s customer experience standards and will enable customers to easily acquire information related to their flights while also providing a number of useful general information to the traveling public.

Wizz Air’s new chatbot was inspired by Amelia Earhart, the American aviation pioneer who was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Wizz Air is a company of inclusivity, diversity and of infinite career opportunities and is a fierce supporter of gender equality. Naming its chatbot after such a fantastic woman, the airline wishes to pay tribute to all women in aviation and underpin its commitment to a more gender-equal industry.

At WIZZ we believe in a future where everyone has the opportunity to live up to their full potential. We work hard to develop our services to enhance our customer experience and to empower our people and support the communities we serve.

Amelia the chatbot is happy to answer general questions related to COVID-19, special assistance, baggage, payment methods, check-in, voluntary cancellation, traveling with infants, WIZZ services (e.g. WIZZ Discount Club, WIZZ Flex, WIZZ Priority, Seat Selection) and questions related to several other topics. This new virtual assistant is free for all, and enables customers to find information fast and easy without having to interact with anybody, without communicating with agents via e-mails or over the phone and without scrolling through the airline’s site. Live chat with agents is also available and free, should customers have questions which exceed Amelia’s knowledge.

We at Wizz Air are committed to developing a better chat experience, and to achieve that we need customers to use the chatbot and help it learn and improve based on customers’ demand and feedback. The chatbot function is currently available in English for a limited number of issues, however it is gradually rolled out to cover a continuously growing number of topics to more and more customers visiting wizzair.com. Besides the newly introduced chatbot, live chat agents will be supporting the customers in all questions related to WIZZ flights and services as long as no changes to the bookings are needed to be made which would require payments. For requests requiring payments, Wizz Air already provides a number of self-service options directly from the WIZZ account as well as call center support.

Zsuzsa Poos, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer at Wizz Air, commented: “I am delighted to introduce Amelia, our virtual assistant who is a real gamechanger in Wizz Air’s customer experience solutions. Automating and digitalizing our processes is key in delivering ever higher customer satisfaction. Wizz Air is dedicated to broadening Amelia’s expertise and to supporting our passengers with an always expanding array of self-service options to manage their travel details. Let’s welcome Amelia on board.”


OneWeb

OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, has confirmed the successful launch of all 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. This launch brings OneWeb a step closer to its ‘Five to 50’ ambition, which enables the start of commercial service by the end of the year.

Lift-off occurred on 26 April at 23:14 BST. OneWeb’s satellites separated from the rocket and were dispensed in nine batches over a period of 3 hours 52 minutes with signal acquisition on all 36 satellites confirmed.

This successful launch brings its total in-orbit constellation to 182 satellites. These will form part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity, including commercial inflight applications and represents 60 percent of the constellation required to enable its connectivity solution to reach all regions north of 50 degrees latitude by June 2021.

This is the third in a five-launch ‘Five to 50’ program, enabling OneWeb to offer services across the United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Artic Seas and Canada, and will be switched on before the end of the year. OneWeb then intends to make global service available in 2022.


Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) and 8tree announced a partnership to make available the revolutionary and OEM-approved dentCHECK® dent-mapping/reporting service at select Panasonic Technical Services (PTS) regional line stations: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), London Heathrow (LHR) and Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD).

This new service offering will allow Panasonic Avionics’ customers yet another convenient, accurate and efficient way to protect their commercial aircraft investment, avoiding unnecessary cost and time delays. Further, the service will complement PTS’s existing line of best-in-class products and services, continuing its history of being a premier service solution provider.

Panasonic Avionics supplies and services In-Flight Entertainment and Communication (IFEC) systems. The company’s customer base includes more than 300 airlines located across the globe.

As a key business unit within Panasonic Avionics, PTS provides Spares, Repairs, Line Maintenance and Technical Services, which includes Training, Technical Publications and Support Services, at more than 50 locations globally. PTS’s customized solutions are designed to ensure equipment serviceability at the lowest possible through-life cost.

Also from PAC:

Panasonic Avionics announced the appointment of Andrew (Andy) Masson as Vice President of Product & Portfolio Management.

Andy joins Panasonic from Adient Aerospace, Boeing’s aircraft seat joint venture with Adient, where he served as CEO.
At Panasonic, Andy will lead its global Product & Portfolio Management team and guide the company’s product and services strategy to deliver innovations and value to customers. He will improve and expand customer-focused product management processes and manage development and execution across the product lifecycle for Panasonic’s market-leading IFEC products, digital solutions and aftermarket services.

Andy will report to Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics. Sain says: “I am confident that Andy’s broad and relevant experience, track record and enthusiasm will greatly enhance Panasonic’s product portfolio to benefit customers worldwide. He will build upon a legacy of innovation as we continually strive to make flying an experience everyone looks forward to.”

Prior to his tenure with Adient Aerospace, Andy held several leadership positions at Boeing, including Director of Engineering and Chief Engineer for Modifications and Freighter Conversions, and Director of Interior Modifications and Inflight Entertainment (IFE). Andy also served as Executive Vice President, Engineering and Operations for Continental Data Graphics (CDG) and UK Managing Director. He began his career at CDG as Operations Director, 787 Operations Manager and Service Bulletin Retrofit Engineer. Andy holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK and will be based in Irvine, California.


Gogo

Jet Edge, a leader in full-service private aviation, is proud to announce a new partnership with Gogo Business Aviation, the industry’s top inflight internet provider. The long-term partnership will upgrade Jet Edge’s AdvantEdge and Managed super-mid and large cabin fleet to AVANCE L5, Gogo’s most popular connectivity system that delivers a robust inflight 4G Wi-Fi experience.


Other News

  • We understand the airline industry is looking at losses of $47.7B in 2021. Not to mention, we hear last year’s losses were $126.4B!