Dubai Airshow | November 15, 2017– Emirates and Thales signed an agreement to equip their newest Boeing 777X fleet with the latest generation broadband inflight connectivity using Inmarsat GX Global Network.

Over the years, Emirates has significantly invested to equip its aircraft with connectivity. Demand for Wi-Fi on board has been steadily increasing and today over 800,000 passengers per month connect while inflight. The partnership with Thales and Inmarsat will give Emirates customers best in class connectivity on its Boeing 777X aircraft due for delivery starting in 2020.

Emirates and Thales have recently contracted to fit Emirates’ Boeing 777X fleet with the latest generation Thales AVANT inflight entertainment system.

The new agreement is part of the Emirates and Thales’s plans to develop a state-of-the-art inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) for the 777X fleet and boost Emirates’ award-winning inflight passenger experience.

Air Senegal becomes the newest airline to use SITA’s Horizon

Kigali | November 13, 2017–Air Senegal SA has become the latest airline in Africa to introduce SITA’s passenger services system (PSS) to manage every aspect of their operation – from reservations and pricing to ticketing and departure control.
The airline is one of a growing number of carriers on the continent that have turned to SITA to provide technology solutions to better manage their passenger operations. Already 15 airlines and ground handlers in Africa use SITA’s Horizon® Passenger Management and Distribution solution while 100 airlines and ground handlers around the globe have used it to board more than 123 million passengers and check in 158 million travelers each year.

Horizon offers the most comprehensive, integrated range of passenger management services available today. Its infrastructure is built on a flexible platform of core systems required by every airline, allowing each carrier to customize the system to meet their specific business requirements and to accommodate future growth.

Air Senegal, the west African country’s new national airline, has turned to SITA to provide a full suite of services – including reservations, ticketing, airfare distribution and departure control – that will support the launch of the airline’s first flights later this year.

Philippe Bohn, CEO of Air Senegal, said: “We have an ambition to establish Air Senegal as a key carrier in West Africa and make our presence felt across the continent. In order to achieve this ambition, it is important that we have a passenger management system that takes care of every aspect of operating the airline and delivers a smooth experience for our passengers every step of the way. SITA is a key partner in providing this technology and we are in the process of implementing this solution ahead of our launch flights later this year.”

Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India & Africa, said: “The air transport industry in Africa is emerging as a major growth market in terms of passenger growth. Our presence and experience on the continent, together with the real business value offered by Horizon, has placed us in an ideal position to support both the continent’s emerging and established airlines, using a passenger management platform that can accommodate airlines of any size, fleet or operating model.”

Singapore’s myKrisWorld Sets a New Standard in Personalization for Airline Passengers

Lake Forest, California | November 2, 2017–Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), a world leader in Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC), and Singapore Airlines, today introduced a series of eight new innovations in personalization with the launch of myKrisWorld – the airline’s newest inflight entertainment offering.

Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics Corp., said, “Panasonic Avionics and Singapore Airlines have always been at the forefront of IFEC innovation.  Whether it’s the shift to in-seat audio/video to video on demand, or the introduction of high-speed connectivity services to passengers, both companies have embraced technologies and services that have defined premium air travel. Today, we are proud to partner with Singapore Airlines to introduce the latest tectonic shift in our industry — personalization.”

Nakano continued, “Last year, we helped Singapore Airlines introduce their award-winning companion app. Today, we’re taking that personalized experience to even greater heights with a series of innovative features that include passenger log-in at their seat; playlist, bookmark, language preference storage and wallpaper customization between flights; customized and personalized entertainment spotlights; popular, trending and recommended content; and exclusive content based on frequent flier tier.”

myKrisWorld embraces Panasonic’s vision for IFEC, which centers around the concept of “the Internet of Me,” taking all of the things that people care about and bringing them together to deliver personalized and contextualized experiences.  Each of these features is made possible by Panasonic’s ability to deliver actionable analytics, where data is used to improve the quality of the passenger experience.

With myKrisWorld, the experience starts before passengers board their flight. Passengers can use Singapore Airlines’ app or website to preview content and set up their customized playlist. Once onboard, they can either synchronise their mobile device or log in at their seat to access their pre-selected content.

Crowd-sourced data will offer up alternative titles that are popular. It can ask passengers if they want to finish the movie that they started on the previous flights. It can also make recommendations based on a passenger’s individual habits and what content is trending inflight at that moment in time.

Nakano concluded, “What is truly exciting is that we were able to leverage Singapore Airlines’ previous investment in our eX3 system and introduce this new suite of personalized experiences.

“By embracing the culture of mobile, we can increase the rate of evolution in the passenger experience, transforming what was once a passive entertainment system into another digital channel that airlines can leverage to better serve their customers.”

Singapore | October 25, 2017–

IFPL well known for IFE Audio Jacks, USB-A and USB-C outlets, seat back payment terminal and passenger control units are now leading the way with peripheral integration into the seat thanks to working with seat vendors and IFE OEMs. Visitors to stand A33 at FTE Singapore will have the opportunity to experience their ground-breaking developments and see the products demonstrated.

IFPL’s aim has been to provide seamless seat integration, whilst maintaining a consistent design language and aesthetic. There has also been a focus on ensuring the ergonomics deliver a truly enhanced passenger experience. This process has enabled IFPL to reduce the complexity, weight and cost, therefore delivering a competitive advantage to an airline.

IFPL has worked with Mirus Aircraft seating to provide in-seat USB power for its new Hawk lightweight seat. IFPL, a global leader in IFEC peripherals and leading industrial designer, has achieved this by working closely with the Mirus engineering team delivering a system that maximises the use of the physical space of the seat with the USB outlet seamlessly designed into the actual seat arm. The result is an attractive installation of a fully integrated system that has no impact on passenger legroom.

IFPL has also worked with Aerofoam to integrate USB and inductive power into the seat back tray tables, including a stylish capacitive touch Passenger Control Unit (PCU) that provides the passenger service functions (call bell and reading light) into the tray. The unit has been designed to ensure the functions are ergonomically placed at the customers’ fingertips, to save passengers having to search for the functionality in awkward locations. As the unit has no moving parts, reliability has been extended over traditional units.

With new consumer devices adopting USB-C as standard, IFPL has actively engaged its customers on how this technology can be applied to IFEC and how to transition from USB-A.

Along with its baseline USB-C outlet, IFPL are currently developing a range of USB-Power Delivery (USB-PD) peripherals and solutions. Visitors can see their USB-C and discuss the adoption of this technology with IFPL’s highly knowledgeable personnel.

IFPL’s new USB-A and USB-C combination outlet ensures an easy transition with its reversible USB-A and USB-C connector delivering up to 2A 5V DC or 3A 5V DC respectively, and with a data variant available. IFPL has included clever reversible USB-A option that delivers up to ten times the reliability of normal aviation standard USB-A outlet.

IFPL has designed the Rapid Fit USB-C outlet to allow easy on-wing maintenance through its patent pending design. The USB-C Rapid Fit is a simple replacement cassette that houses the USB-C connector, whilst the expensive electronics are kept at the rear. This allows a quick and low-cost replacement in the event of failure or Customer Induced Damage (CID). The removable cassette is replaced by simply undoing one ‘hex’ screw, eliminating the need to remove the whole module from the seat. This ensures that the replacement cassette can be changed during the aircraft turn-around, allowing the next passenger access to their power or In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system. The cassette can typically be replaced in less than 30 seconds.

In addition, IFPL has enhanced the capability of its existing power unit, the 110V AC Universal Remote Power Outlet, with the addition of a high-power USB-A socket and will be demonstrating the new 2011 unit on the stand.

As always, IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display and the expert team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirements that visitors to FTE 2017 may have.

Firstly, IFExpress has our APEX show images on line and you will find them here.

Next, we talked to Rich Salter at the APEX show and he told IFExpress that FTS had hosted a Chinese IFEC Summit and had conducted a successful live Ka-Band HTS Satcom connectivity demo in Beijing and we asked for more information for our readers and here is what he sent:

“On September 14th, 2017, FTS hosted an IFEC Summit and conducted a live demo of their Ka-Band HTS Satcom Connectivity solution to multiple Chinese airlines, government officials, and technology partners in Beijing, China. Taking place at the ultra-modern Zpark Technology and Conference Center, more than 150 attendees listened to speakers who shared insights on broad topics like regulations, market development and technology trends.  This is indicative of the recent surge in interest and accelerated pace of rolling out inflight connectivity in China.

For the live Ka-Band Satcom Connectivity demo, FTS leveraged on ChinaSat-16 Ka-Band satellite, connected to full FTS Xstream-Sat hardware, including Satellite Antenna, Modman, General Network Server and Cabin Wireless Access Points.  FTS was able to demonstrate downlink speed in excess of 70Mbps in what was the debut of the first China Ka-Band satellite for IFC.  All attendees were connected to internet via satellite on their mobile devices as if they were on a flight. Each attendee was assigned a virtual seat number and could stream videos, surf websites, order food and beverages as well as indulge in some onboard shopping on the FTS Xstream inflight software platform throughout the demo. Flight attendants serviced the attendee requests and orders in real time and the demo was a great success.

With the recent announcement of the Chinese government to allow the use of PEDs and cellphones inflight, the timing of the event could not have been more advantageous. “We are very pleased with the number of airlines and industry partners that attended the event and with the successful demo of our IFC solution, we look forward to growing our footprint in China in tandem with our great partners,” said Rich Salter, CTO of FTS.  This issue’s rectangle picture is from the FTS demonstration.


IFEC Breaking News (Sorta!) – Follow the Money!

Ok, see if you can follow this:

1. Bombardier developed a CSeries (CS 100), single-aisle, 100 to 150 passenger aircraft in Quebec, Canada.

2. Delta ordered 75 of the CSeries planes ( with 50 more as an option) in April of this year as part of their fleet upgrade ($4 to $5 Billion) with the hopes of a 2018 introduction.

3. In May, Boeing claimed the US aerospace industry was at risk if the planes are sold and stated that Bombardier should be fined for price dumping. Boeing proceeded to file a complaint with the ITC and the US Department of Commerce charging that selling the planes at $19.6 million each should be considered a “dumping” price. A 218 page transcript was reviewed that noted that the CSeries selling at that price would kill the Boeing B737-700 and the MAX 7. While Delta did buy some Boeing planes, they were going to loose the “100 seat market the plane need” and since there was a financial bailout of Bombardier by the Canadian Government, the CSeries should receive a US Government tariff. Initial US Commerce Department rulings recommended that US Airlines should pay as much as 300% in import duties.

4. Delta CEO Ed Bastian was not going to buy the planes at the new price!

5. On October 16, Airbus and Bombardier formed a partnership (Airbus – 50.01%, Bombardier 31%, Quebec – 19%) and announced the plane will be built in two countries (Quebec and Mobile, Alabama in the US where their A321’s are made), and guess where the Delta planes will be built? In about one month, Airbus put the deal together and since they see 6,000 of the CS types in the  small-plane market (most in the US), it worked for both companies. We note, airplanes built in the US are not subject to US duties – at least not today.

And lastly, why are you reading about it here? Because this is the plane that Delta will launch the new Gogo Vision Touch, the wireless seatback solution for connected IFEC, on in 2018. Check out this link for more details on Gogo Vision Touch!


NEWS:

Astronics
Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems (AES), was recently selected by six major North American airlines to install industry-leading EMPOWER in-seat power systems on up to 1,400 narrow- body and regional jet aircraft.

Astronics AES will equip the airplanes with 110VAC and high output USB power for every passenger from “nose to tail,” including the cabin crew stations. Line-fit and retrofit installations will occur from early 2018 through 2023.

Peter J. Gundermann, President of Astronics Corporation, noted, “Being selected for these significant fleet upgrades further solidifies our leading global market position for passenger power on commercial aircraft and is a strong indication of the increasing trend for airlines to provide power for their passengers on narrow-body and regional aircraft. Carriers worldwide are responding to passenger requests for power at the seat so they can use their personal electronic devices to fully enjoy the streamed in-flight entertainment and upgraded connectivity systems provided by the airlines, while remaining fully charged when they land.”

Statistics show that 97% of passengers travel with personal electronic devices, and a large percentage carry more than one. For over 20 years, Astronics AES has supplied intelligent power management systems for airline passengers’ benefits. The EMPOWER system is currently in service with over 230 airline and OEM customers with over one million power outlets installed.

Zodiac
Here is part of a recent news release we received: “Today we are announcing the consolidation of all Zodiac Seats California (ZSC) operations from Rancho Cucamonga, California to our Gainesville and Chihuahua facilities. We anticipate this consolidation will take six to nine months to fully complete. This consolidation of operations is in line with Zodiac Aerospace’s focus on optimizing the global industrial footprint of the Group.”

Airbus
Airbus’ A340 laminar-flow “BLADE” test demonstrator aircraft (A340-300 MSN001) has made its successful maiden flight for the EU-sponsored Clean Sky “Blade” project. The aircraft, dubbed “Flight Lab”, took off from the Tarbes aerodrome in southern France at local time 11:00, and after a series of successful tests it landed at Airbus’ facilities in Toulouse Blagnac. The overall flight time was 3hrs/38mins.

The BLADE project – which stands for “Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator in Europe” – is tasked with assessing the feasibility of introducing the technology for commercial aviation. It aims to improve aviation’s ecological footprint, bringing with it a 50% reduction of wing friction and up to five percent lower CO2 emission. Airbus’ A340 Flight Lab is the first test aircraft in the world to combine a transonic laminar wing profile with a true internal primary structure.

On the outside the aircraft is fitted with two representative transonic laminar outer-wings, while inside the cabin a highly complex specialist flight-test-instrumentation (FTI) station has been installed. The extensive modifications to the A340-300 test-bed aircraft took place during the course of a 16-month working party in Tarbes, with the support of numerous industrial partners across Europe. Today’s first-flight marks the kick-off of the Blade flight-test campaign to explore the wing’s characteristics in flight. A key goal of Blade is to be able to measure the tolerances and imperfections which can be present and still sustain laminarity. To this end, Airbus will simulate every type of imperfection in a controlled manner, so that at the end of the campaign the tolerances for building a laminar wing will be fully known. The flight Lab will perform around 150 flight hours in the coming months.

Sepang Aircraft Engineering (SAE), an MRO centre based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, partially owned by Airbus since 2011, has become a fully owned Airbus subsidiary, following the acquisition by Airbus of its remaining shares.With this acquisition, SAE becomes an integral part of the Airbus Customer Services network and is set to represent a key element of Services by Airbus’ growth strategy in the dynamic Asia Pacific market.

JetBlue
JetBlue will become the first airline to introduce Airspace by Airbus on the A320 Family, the agreement was introduced at APEX Expo. JetBlue customers will experience this newest A320 Family cabin aboard JetBlue aircraft starting in late 2020. Highlights of the new Airspace cabin in the A320 Family include: a unique welcome experience. In particular, a customizable welcome effect is extended throughout the cabin by a central lighting strip which is visible even with open bin doors during boarding. The A320 Family cabin with Airspace features the industry’s largest overhead bins, whose conformal exterior profile facilitates smooth boarding. Throughout the cabin passengers will appreciate the increased interior width, the soothing ambience of the latest full-color LED lighting, and a contemporary lavatory design with new comfort features.

Inmarsat
Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced that AirAsia Group has selected its next-generation GX Aviation inflight broadband solution for more than 120 Airbus aircraft. This contract supports Inmarsat’s strategy of providing airlines with tailored scalable capacity by designing, owning and operating a global network of High-Throughput Satellites (HTS). GX Aviation is the world’s first in-flight connectivity solution with seamless, reliable high-speed global coverage provided through a single operator. It is the only service in the market that guarantees minimum data rates, ensuring that airline passengers can browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an onboard connectivity experience comparable to the mobile broadband services they may receive on the ground.

Also, AirAsia Group will connect to the GX network using exclusive new JetWave terminals produced by Honeywell Aerospace. The terminals are designed for ease of installation and maintenance to assure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market, allowing installation with minimal labour and using standard tools available in maintenance hangars.

SITAONAIR
International carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has selected SITAONAIR to make its global high-speed connected passenger experience ambitions a reality over GX Aviation. SITAONAIR is to deliver the upgrade of PAL’s existing B777 Swift Broadband fleet to GX Aviation, powered by Honeywell’s JetWave SATCOM terminal, together with line-fitting PAL’s new Airbus A350s and A321s. Once complete, SITAONAIR will activate its rich nose-to-tail package of bespoke inflight connectivity (IFC) services, achieving a significantly enhanced and consistent connected experience for passengers and cabin crews. SITAONAIR’s award-winning, intuitive Internet ONAIR portal offers contextualized and personalized content, satisfying digitally-demanding passengers over GX connectivity by mirroring their ‘at-home’ experience, and with free 30-minute Wi-Fi sessions and cheaper price plans on offer to all passengers. In addition, PAL customers will benefit from SITAONAIR’s mobile connectivity over GX via SITAONAIR’s Mobile ONAIRONAIR Plug’s secure online channel for inflight card transactions and crew and passenger interactions; plus integrated, connected inflight entertainment from Zodiac Inflight Innovations. The close partnership between SITAONAIR and Zodiac Inflight Innovations with PAL plays an important part in the program’s success.

Immfly
Immfly, based in Barcelona, was selected by easyJet to launch its IFE product on the basis of the high-performance digital platform it provides. It offers the flexibility to dynamically deliver a broad range of digital content and innovative tools to effectively engage customers. Immfly’s product is at the forefront of the industry providing passengers with the ability to access a unique in-flight entertainment experience with personalized capabilities through their own smart devices, rendering old built-in monitors obsolete. Immfly, already a leading provider of in-flight sales and communications services in Europe, expects to reach 100 million connected passengers by 2018 following its partnerships with airlines which include carriers such as Iberia Express, Volotea, XL Airways and now easyJet. Rakuten, a global leader in internet services with over 1 billion members worldwide and an ecosystem of more than 70 services, will be the Official Entertainment Sponsor of easyJet’s in-flight entertainment service integrated by Immfly.


More Stuff:

 

Last issue we began the EXPO updates for our IFExpress content, and we continue with it this week. However, it may take longer to cover APEX as we plan to keep covering the latest news in our weekly coverage as well. So, lets get started with Lufthansa Systems and Telefonix:

1) Lufthansa Systems

Norbert Müller, previously Head of BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems, has taken on a new role as Head of the Americas region at Lufthansa Systems as of October 1, 2017. The LS folks said that he is pleased to hand over the baton to his successor Jan-Peter Gänse, who has so far been responsible for certifications and strategically important projects in the area of BoardConnect.

“I am pleased to be able to take on this task from a highly esteemed colleague and industry expert who has accompanied me over the past few years in my previous area of responsibility. My goal is to further expand the already established and successful path with our product line BoardConnect. With currently 12 customers, we are on the right track.” And while in Long Beach, we met the affable Jan-Peter and we really enjoyed visiting with him – and we are certain you will too!

From a hardware/services perspective, the company announced the following relationship during APEX. A completely new approach to content services provisioning characterizes the BoardConnect Media Services offered by Lufthansa Systems in collaboration with Touch Inflight Solutions Inc. (Touch). Since the two companies began cooperating closely just over a year ago, their product has been successfully installed on more than 100 aircraft of commercial airlines – including Eurowings, Austrian Airlines and Azul Linhas Aereas.

Although demand for an Internet connection is rising when it comes to onboard entertainment, current bandwidth is not yet sufficient to enable all passengers to stream content simultaneously. “While we expect connectivity to increase further and prices to drop in the next three to five years, bandwidth in the air will not be comparable to normal bandwidth on the ground even then,” said Michael Childers, Chief Consultant Content and Media Services at Lufthansa Systems. “That’s why providing airlines with a content offering stored on local servers on board the aircraft and streamed via a local WiFi network is a reliable and sustainable option that can also be combined with future Internet services. Our wireless BoardConnect in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution enables us to offer our customers exactly that.”

Integrated approach

Unlike some other IFE providers, Lufthansa Systems and Touch have adopted an integrated approach to in-flight entertainment. Rather than seeing the content and system-based components as separate entities, they directly consider the technological possibilities of the IFEC system when determining which content the product should include. The infrastructure, design and selection of content maximizes the system’s performance. What’s more, new content should be available even faster than ever. By using cloud technology and eDelivery, it makes it possible to place new content on the platform extremely fast, quickly taking Lufthansa Systems and Touch from the industry’s 90 days window to a mere fraction of this period.

“When we design the infrastructure components for the content, we have to be aware of the technical capabilities of the passengers’ current smartphones and tablets. Only then can we do everything we can to offer them a passenger experience that gets the best out of their devices,” said Joe Carreira, Managing Director of Touch Inflight Solutions. “We are working closely with Lufthansa Systems in this context. Our aim is to create solutions customized to fit the individual requirements of airlines and their passengers.”

The individual content on offer ranges from global and regional films and TV series, branded and web content, music, magazines as well as airport guides and destination content. When it comes to offering Hollywood movies, Lufthansa Systems and Touch Inflight Solutions have a direct, close and long-term working relationship with the film studios.

2) Telefonix

During APEX EXPO Telefonix PDT was selected by Gogo to develop the next generation Air-to-Ground Modem Controller Unit. Here is some additional information from Telefonix PDT on the product. The AMCU product is an evolution of the currently fielded Airborne Controller Processor Unit 2 (ACPU2), which allows seamless enablement of Gogo’s next generation ATG service while maintaining installed electronics footprint. Gogo’s next generation ATG network is slated for North American availability in 2018. The AMCU incorporates a proprietary modem that utilizes LTE technology in the unlicensed 2.4GHz band. This system is designed to provide peak speeds of more than 100Mbps. The AMCU is a continuation of the work the Telefonix PDT team has been doing during its long-standing development partnership with Gogo. The AMCU is the latest product to be developed by Telefonix PDT and has grown out of the insights and technological advancements from partnerships such as Gogo. The AMCU features a modular design for its key components, enhancing the serviceability of the LRU, while also providing a future pathway for upgrading those components.

To fully enable Gogo’s new network, the AMCU is designed to deliver advanced processing capabilities, with a modern quad core Intel Xeon processor. The AMCU supports both ARINC 429 and ARINC 717 data bus interfaces, a managed multi-port Gigabit Ethernet switch, avionic discretes, an 802.11g/a/n/ac Wi-Fi client, 4G/LTE Terrestrial modem, and an extended onboard multi-Terabyte SSD storage capability, all packaged in an ARINC 600, 6 MCU chassis. The cornerstone of the AMCU is Gogo’s innovative ATG modem; the AMCU chassis will manage and provide for the modem’s unique mechanical, electrical and thermal requirements.

Pat Walsh, Sr. Vice President of Engineering at Gogo noted, “The AMCU will be an integral component of Gogo’s evolving connectivity solution, and we couldn’t be happier to once again be working with the Telefonix PDT team to ensure an optimized product for our customers.”

Gogo’s awarding of the AMCU program underlines the faith Gogo has placed in the Telefonix PDT team to continue innovating the next generation of ATG services. “The Telefonix PDT team values its long-standing relationship with Gogo and is proud to have been selected for the AMCU program,” says Michael Kuehn, President of Telefonix, Inc. “Our team is committed to working side by side with the Gogo development team in delivering a best-in-class modem solution for Gogo’s ATG network and meeting the expectations of Gogo’s customers going forward.” The Telefonix PDT development team is on schedule to meet Gogo’s development and installation schedule, with planning underway for DO-160G qualification, with a final delivery expected in Q2 in 2018.


NEWS

  • PANASONIC AVIONICS-Mexico City-based Interjet has selected Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s (Panasonic) innovative inflight entertainment (IFE) system and Wi-Fi connectivity service for its fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. The initial aircraft will be delivered from Airbus in November 2017, and this A321 NEO aircraft will be the first Panasonic-equipped aircraft to be line fit with connectivity by the OEM. Headquartered in Mexico City, Interjet serves over 11 million passengers each year with routes in Mexico as well as the United States, Canada and Central and South America providing air service to 54 destinations in eight countries. It operates a fleet of 76 aircraft and has revenue of more than 1 billion dollars per year.  With Panasonic, Interjet will be able to offer a premium, connected entertainment experience across international markets and one of the most extensive domestic route structures available from Airlines in the region. Panasonic’s connectivity service will let passengers surf the web, send email, and use their favorite social media apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, and more over inflight broadband Wi-Fi. eXO is one of the industry’s most innovative overhead solutions. It features Panasonic’s new large-format 12-inch 1080p retractable overhead monitors, and gives Interjet a path to deliver wireless streaming to passenger devices in the future. It creates a theater like experience allowing passengers to view high definition video content on large-format overhead screens.
  • Gogo announced it completed 110 installations of its industry leading 2Ku inflight connectivity solution in the third quarter of 2017. The company had a total of 340 2Ku installed aircraft as of Sept. 30, 2017. “Our rapid deployment of 2Ku is transforming global aviation. Based on our pace of installs since Labor Day, we are well positioned to nearly double the number of 2Ku installations in the fourth quarter as compared to the third quarter,” said John Wade, Gogo’s executive vice president and COO.   “We are delivering the most bandwidth, the broadest global coverage and highest system availability for aviation.” Gogo will have approximately 600 total 2Ku aircraft online across 10 airlines by the end of this year.  The company has shortened installation times to less than two days, which is less than half the time that it typically takes to install a broadband satellite connectivity solution.
  • Astronics, a leading supplier of advanced technologies and products to the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Astronics Max-Viz, announced  that more than 2,500 of its Enhanced Vision Systems (EVS) have now been installed in rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft. 
  • Airbus logged 56 jetliner sales last month (single aisle & wide body) while delivering 55 aircraft for September (versus 62 in September 2016). Airbus’ overall net orders for the first nine months of 2017 totaled 271 jets (462 in 2017 versus 462 one year ago) . As one source notes: “Airbus’ overall backlog of jetliners as of 30 September stood at 6,691– the equivalent of approximately nine years of production at current rates.”
  • BOEING delivered 78 aircraft in September vs 72 in Sept 2016. It has delivered 554 aircraft over first three quarters of 2017 vs 563 a year ago.
  • And if you were wondering why the US came down so hard on Canadian Bombardier’s C Series aircraft dumping, you really must read the Danny Lam article in Aviation Week – China is the issue!

Lastly, if you didn’t have the opportunity to attend APEX in Long Beach or you were simply too busy to walk the expo floor be certain to check out our flickr link in the upper right hand column!

Kontron to supply cabin Wi-Fi hardware and certification services

Long Beach, California | September 27, 2017–Kontron, a leading global provider of embedded computing inflight entertainment and connectivity equipment, today announced that it has signed an agreement with Air Esurfing, a fully owned subsidiary of Air Media online Group, to jointly explore China aviation Wi-Fi market.  The Air Esurfing system solution will integrate Kontron’s ACE Flight™ Server and Cab-N-Connect™ wireless access point for inflight connectivity applications that utilize China’s Ku-band and Ku/Ka-band HTS capacity. Kontron is also providing STC certification services to ensure that the new system is qualified to meet the safety and regulatory standards required for commercial aviation in China.

Kontron’s certified IFE&C open platforms were selected for their ability to help reduce the complexity and costs associated with developing next-generation “connected aircraft” systems including new Satcom applications. The new services from Air Esurfing are scheduled to be launched in early 2018 with pilot programs that will offer in-cabin video streaming and inflight Internet connectivity to passengers on China domestic flights.

“Kontron is very pleased to sign this cooperation agreement with Air Esurfing, who is a key player in the rapidly growing China IFE&C market, ” said Andy Mason, Vice President of Technology at Kontron America. “We can support this partnership with cabin and connectivity products already certified and flying with the Chinese airlines, plus the regional and global experience that enables fast time-to-market.”

“Kontron brings proven hardware solutions for inflight WiFi and connectivity,” said Mr. Zhou Hong, General Manager Air Esurfing. “These enabling platforms will enable us to offer the most state-of-the-art IFE&C services to the domestic Chinese market.”

Long Beach, California | September 26, 2017–International carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has selected SITAONAIR to make its global high-speed connected passenger experience ambitions a reality over GX Aviation.

SITAONAIR is to deliver the upgrade of PAL’s existing B777 Swift Broadband fleet to GX Aviation, powered by Honeywell’s JetWave SATCOM terminal, together with line-fitting PAL’s new Airbus A350s and A321s. Once complete, SITAONAIR will activate its rich nose-to-tail package of bespoke inflight connectivity (IFC) services, achieving a significantly enhanced and consistent connected experience for passengers and cabin crews.

SITAONAIR’s award-winning, intuitive Internet ONAIR portal offers contextualized and personalized content, satisfying digitally-demanding passengers over GX connectivity by mirroring their ‘at-home’ experience, and with free 30-minute Wi-Fi sessions and cheaper price plans on offer to all passengers.

In addition, PAL customers will benefit from SITAONAIR’s mobile connectivity over GX via SITAONAIR’sMobile ONAIRONAIR Plug’s secure online channel for inflight card transactions and crew and passenger interactions; plus integrated, connected inflight entertainment from Zodiac Inflight Innovations. The close partnership between SITAONAIR and Zodiac Inflight Innovations with PAL plays an important part in the program’s success.

In April PAL announced their selection of SITAONAIR’s state-of-the-art CrewTab solution to digitize cabin crews’ operations. Coupled with GX connectivity, this solution’s capabilities will further optimize the customer service experience and efficiencies CrewTab-equipped cabin crews can deliver in flight.

PAL President and Chief Operating Officer, Jaime Bautista, says: “We are extremely proud to be realizing our complete, connected aircraft ambitions with SITAONAIR, our long-standing, trusted partner. Philippine Airlines is absolutely focused on delivering the best-possible passenger experience, driving towards our goal of becoming a full-service five-star carrier. PAL is at the forefront of the connected aircraft revolution, and we are excited about the future. Service innovations, together with flight route network expansion and fleet modernization, remains a top priority.”

David Lavorel, CEO of SITAONAIR, says: “A quality inflight connectivity experience is now a ‘must-have’ for airline passengers – SITA’s 2017 Passenger IT Trends Survey found onboard satisfaction higher among tech-using passengers than non-tech users. With SITAONAIR, our long-standing airline customers Philippine Airlines are advancing their ambitions for digital innovation and transformation over the latest high-speed broadband technologies, and we are honored to be playing a central role in their story.”

He continued: “Our integral partnership with Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, Honeywell, Inmarsat and Zodiac Inflight Innovations in delivering a fully certified and integrated end-to-end connectivity solution and service will continue to be instrumental in the overall success of the project.”

Find out how SITAONAIR can help you create your connected aircraft reality today – visit sitaonair.aero, speak to your nearest SITAONAIR contact, or submit an enquiry form.

APEX EXPO Long Beach, California | September 25, 2017–SITAONAIR has activated Asia’s first GX Aviation-enabled commercial aircraft, becoming the first Inmarsat valued-added reseller (VAR) to achieve it.

GX Aviation’s high-speed broadband connectivity is now available on one of Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, making SITAONAIR’s complete, nose-to-tail, high-speed connectivity experience over GX Aviation available to passengers.

SITAONAIR has equipped SIA with its full suite of high-speed connectivity-enabled services for cabin. These span everything from its custom-made high-speed inflight Wi-Fi hub Internet ONAIR and mobile data services (Mobile ONAIR), to digitized devices for cabin crew, to enhance the passenger experience and operational efficiencies.

The upgrade of SIA’s SBB-enabled aircraft is the continuation of a journey started five years ago between Singapore Airlines and SITAONAIR, demonstrating how long-term partnerships help airlines derive the best value out of the connected aircraft for their passengers, crews and operations.

Yann Cabaret, VP Customer programs of SITAONAIR, says: “Our Singapore Airlines’ aircraft upgrade program has been an extremely challenging project. It required SITAONAIR’s long-lasting expertise in the management of complex industrial consortiums, operating in constrained environments, to deliver the project on time, and synchronized with the planned grounding period for the aircraft.

“I would like to commend our strong working partnership with SIA, as well as with key partners such as Aeroconseil, Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, Honeywell, Inmarsat, KID-Systeme GmbH, SIA Engineering Company, and Zodiac Inflight Innovations, for helping make SIA’s end-to-end integrated solution a reality.”

Discover how SITAONAIR can deliver your unique, complete, connected aircraft reality – visit sitaonair.aero, speak to your local SITAONAIR contact or submit an enquiry form.

  • London School of Economics and Political Science predicts airlines will generate an additional $30 billion in incremental revenue
  • Airlines to benefit from significant revenue growth in broadband enabled e-commerce, advertising and premium content

London School of Economics | September 26, 2017–

Inflight broadband has the potential to create a $130 billion global market within the next 20 years, resulting in $30 billion of additional revenue for airlines by 2035. This is the conclusion of a first-of-its-kind research study, ‘Sky High Economics: Quantifying the commercial opportunities of passenger connectivity for the global airline industry’, carried out by London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in association with Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global, mobile satellite communications.

Market potential

Based on current IATA data and industry sources, Sky High Economics has developed an independent forecasting model. It predicts broadband enabled ancillary revenues for airlines will come from four main revenue streams:

  • Broadband access charges – providing connectivity to passengers inflight
  • E-commerce and destination shopping – making purchases on-board aircraft with expanded product ranges and real-time offers
  • Advertising – pay-per-click, impressions, sponsorship deals with advertisers
  • Premium content – providing live content, on demand video and bundled W-IFEC access

At present, only some 53 out of an estimated 5,000 airlines worldwide offer inflight broadband connectivity.[i] On the back of strong passenger demand, inflight internet will be ubiquitous on commercial aircraft by 2035. Currently, airlines receive an additional $17 per passenger from ‘traditional’ ancillary services such as duty free purchases and inflight retail, food and drink sales. Broadband enabled connected ancillary revenues will add an extra $4 by 2035.

Drivers for growth

Full service carriers look set to claim the lion’s share of airline revenues (63%), generating $19 billion by 2035. Capitalising on longer flight times, additional revenue will come from the ability to maximise e-commerce platforms and striking deals with content providers to offer premium packages. The Sky High Economics study predicts low cost carriers will generate $11 billion by 2035, the bulk of which will come from selling connectivity to passengers.

Regional differences

The research also identified that regionally, the greatest opportunity for broadband-enabled ancillary services is in Asia Pacific. Driven by passenger growth and availability of services, airlines in Asia Pacific will benefit from $10.3 billion of ancillary revenues by 2035, followed by Europe ($8.2 billion) and North America ($7.6 billion).

Dr Alexander Grous (B. Ec, MBA, M.Com, MA, PhD.), Department of Media and Communications, LSE and author of Sky High Economics said: “The opportunity available to airlines is enormous. The Sky High Economics study predicts the creation of a $130 billion market within the next two decades. Globally, if airlines can provide a reliable broadband connection, it will be the catalyst for rolling out more creative advertising, content and e-commerce packages. We will see innovative deals struck, partnerships formed and business models fundamentally changed for new players to lay claim to the $100 billion opportunity away from airlines. Broadband-enabled ancillary revenue has the potential to shape a whole new market and it’s something airlines need to be planning for right now.”

Frederik van Essen, Senior Vice President Strategy & Business Development, Inmarsat Aviation, commented: “As airlines start to act more like retailers, they will realize the benefits of closing the inflight connectivity gap. Doing so will lead to unlocking $15 billion per year in additional ancillary revenues within the next decade, one of the biggest sources of growth. The key to this potential and getting to the eventual $30 billion revenues, is fast, high quality inflight internet that can be relied upon without drop-outs.”

Inmarsat is transforming the global aviation industry by bringing complete connectivity to every aircraft and flight path in the world. It is the first and only provider with a complete next-generation High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) network spanning the world. Inmarsat is also the only aviation broadband provider capable of connecting the complete aircraft from cabin to cockpit. Inmarsat’s world-leading passenger solutions are complemented by its industry-standard certified safety and operations services. GX Aviation is the world’s first global, high-speed inflight broadband service from a single operator. It allows airline passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an on-board connectivity experience on par with mobile broadband services available on the ground.

 

Wednesday 20 September 2017 – Saudia and SITAONAIR are taking the inflight Wi-Fi experience for passengers to new heights by activating fresh functionalities for personalizing the onboard digital journey.

SITAONAIR has deployed its enhanced Internet ONAIR – an inflight Wi-Fi hub providing seamless inflight internet connectivity to airline passengers – aboard 76 Saudia aircraft flying to 34 destinations worldwide. It features a new, ‘world-first’ e-ticket solution, designed by SITAONAIR and Saudia, giving First and Business Class passengers access to free inflight Wi-Fi, simply by entering their e-ticket code into the portal.

Thanks to SITAONAIR’s expert integration of its Internet ONAIR service within Saudia’s customer relationship management (CRM) systems, the airline has been given full control and flexibility over creating special inflight connectivity offers for certain passenger demographics, such as frequent fliers, and for specific routes. It also means no codes need to be handled by Saudia or sent to passengers to receive their inflight Wi-Fi treat.

Saudia’s enhanced Internet ONAIR passenger experience also benefits from:
•    An augmented ‘look and feel’ for mobile users, with over 90% of all Wi-Fi sessions used on mobile devices
•    A new, ergonomic website design, with improved navigation and user interface
•    Faster speeds for registering, validating credit cards and starting Wi-Fi sessions
•    A powerful in-built ad server tool that harmonizes various advertising formats without spoiling the passenger experience.

As part of their commitment to continue providing a world-class passenger experience and pushing the boundaries of innovation, Saudia has also introduced the ability for passengers travelling on their IFC-enabled fleet to purchase Wi-Fi sessions during the initial booking phase through their passenger service system (PSS). SITAONAIR has worked in partnership with the airline and Amadeus on an Application Programming Interface (API) integration project to give passengers greater control over their inflight connectivity experience.

Director General Of Saudia, Engr. Saleh Al Jasser, says: “As an airline we recognize our passengers’ desire for seamless connectivity that speaks to them as an individual – it is at the core of our digital transformation vision. SITAONAIR’s flexible approach and digital harmonization mastery has enabled us to offer a more bespoke, enhanced Internet ONAIR experience, in full support of our innovative IFC strategy. This total enhancement has enabled us to reconfigure our Wi-Fi price plans for all our passengers, enabling us to offer the service for a lower cost.”

Dominique El Bez, VP of Strategy, SITAONAIR, says: “It has been a privilege to work with our customer Saudia to support their evolving connected aircraft reality and passenger experience goals. Our latest Internet ONAIR enhancements are delivering a next-level IFC experience for passengers through greater personalization and flexibility of service to both airlines and their passengers. Every SITAONAIR Internet ONAIR-activated airline can now benefit from our more ergonomic, mobile-friendly design and augmented user experience, and take that next step to achieving the brand-defining, individualized IFC experience passengers value.”

Internet ONAIR’s new integrated capabilities tap directly into demand from airline passengers for greater personalization in their onboard digital experience, as highlighted by SITA’s 2017 Passenger IT Trends Survey.

To discover SITAONAIR’s complete connected aircraft portfolio, and enquire about our solutions, speak to your local SITAONAIR contact or explore www.sitaonair.aero

IFExpress found a few data points on industry folks who will be at APEX. Check them out!

FTS Technologies Inc.
Booth: 665
Contact: Ben Fuller, Director of Sales for Americas.  Darrel Chua, General Manager of FTS (and Sales for Asia) – darrel@fts-aero.com

APEX Highlights: We will be demonstrating our latest Xstream Lite wireless streaming system, with new revenue-generating opportunities.  Will also be showing our FlightButler(tm) app for flight attendant’s smartwatch, and our Modman for Satellite Connectivity.

Come and have some fun with the FTS Superhero team at booth 665 !  (and get your own Superhero giveaway).

Latitude Aero
Booth: 411
Contact: Kelvin Boyette:, +1 336-676-3183.

Latitude Aero will be exhibiting in AIX Booth 2351, but will have seats on display on the APEX side in DDC’s (Pascall) booth, 411.

APEX Highlights: Latitude Aero is a FAA Part 145 Repair Station, specializing in aircraft seating refurbishment, upgrades, modifications, and repairs.  We look forward to meeting customer at both events.  Please stop by our booth at AIX, and definitely stop by Pascall’s booth to see our newest project, a prototype USB power system that will debut in our refurbished seats on their stand.  Latitude will have staff on both stands for the duration of the show.

Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems
Booth: 441
Contact: Dennis Markert (dennis.markert@astronics.com)

APEX Highlights: Astronics AES is looking forward to meeting with you at APEX Expo 2017.  We have several new, innovative products that we are excited to unveil.  Here is a preview of products and solutions that will be on display.

SIE
Booth: 902
Contact: John Courtright: +1-206-618-3128

APEX Highlights: SIE is a U.S. and European based engineering firm with AS9100C and ISO 9001 accreditation for Design, Engineering, Certification, Program Management, and Procurement of Aircraft Systems and Structures. Our specialty is the design, engineering, systems integration, certification (STC), and parts kitting for major IFEC installation programs for commercial, military, and VIP aircraft. Projects include  installation and certification for Ka/Ku-Band Satcom Systems and Cabin IFE and Interior Re-configurations on 737NG, 757, 777, MD-10, and A320 aircraft.  Customers include:  Southwest Airlines, Norwegian, IcelandAir, United Airlines, Honeywell, Global Eagle, Panasonic, and others.

VTMiltope
Booth:1211
Contact: Jeff.Drader@Miltope.com

APEX Highlights: VT Miltope is proud to be an APEX member exhibiting in Long Beach this year.  We are highlighting our upcoming Multi-Function Access Point 3 (MAP3) featuring:  faster WAVE 2, Enhanced CHT, an Embedded Server, and Cyber Security.  Please stop by VT Miltope booth 1211 to say hello and learn more about the remarkable MAP3.

Flightpath Labs
Booth: 949
Contact – Jackie Frimer <jackie@flightpath3d.com>

APEX Highlights: The Latest from our Flightpath Labs, FlightPath360 where passengers can take a virtual flight over a destination with panorama technology making you feel as if you are in the sky over major cities and destination. Jjoin us at our booth to see this full 360-degree immersive view of cities and destinations from the sky. It allows airlines to give passengers control of the viewing direction with stunning panoramic views to zoom, rotate or hover over wonders of the world. Book your appointment now for Booth #949 to see for yourself how we have transformed a simple inflight map into a powerful tool for passengers and airlines

And lastly, here is some show info that might help, APEX, IFSA, and AIX – Schedule | APEX EXPO

Gogo
Booth: 502
Contact: Meredith Payette <mpayette@gogoair.com>

Gogo is the Inflight Internet Company. We are the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation. We design and source innovative network solutions that connect aircraft to the Internet, and develop software and platforms that enable customizable solutions for and by our aviation partners. Once connected, we provide industry leading reliability around the world. Our mission is to help aviation go farther by making planes fly smarter, so our aviation partners perform better and their passengers travel happier. You can find Gogo’s products and services including Gogo 2Ku, our global satellite connectivity solution at Booth 502.

 


More News:

Lufthansa Systems
Passengers now expect the same level of connectivity in the air that they enjoy on the ground. This is why Lufthansa Systems is focusing on connectivity at this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Expo (APEX) in Long Beach, California. Group subsidiary Lufthansa Technik is sharing a stand for the first time. The two Lufthansa Group companies, who collaborate closely in providing on-board Internet and entertainment, are both presenting their own connectivity solutions. Lufthansa Systems will demonstrate the multi-award-winning BoardConnect wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) platform and its different hardware versions, while Lufthansa Technik will showcase its LConnect hardware and service package. The airline IT provider is also presenting its new mCabin/Messenger app, one of the apps of the mCabin Product Line. Visit Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik from September 26 to 28 at APEX at stand #453.

Thales
Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) announces today the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire the US company Guavus, a pioneer in real-time Big Data analytics.The acquisition of Guavus follows several acquisitions in the fields of connectivity, mobility and cyber security, and strengthens Thales’s positioning in one of the key technologies at the heart of digital transformation, the processing and predictive analysis of “big data”, an increasingly critical factor in real-time decision-making.Airlines, satellite, air traffic control, metro or train operators, armed forces or security officials of large urban or energy infrastructures rely on Thales’s high technology solutions to take the best decisions in real time. In a world facing exponential growth in the volume of data coming from increasingly connected sensors, Guavus’s acquisition opens broad opportunities for Thales in areas including predictive maintenance, cyber security, monitoring of critical infrastructures, network and telecommunication systems optimization. Guavus, a leader in real-time big data processing and analytics, is perfectly suited to the growing needs of an increasingly connected global ecosystem. The company has built a recognized industrial “big data” platform particularly suited to real-time analytics, designed to be easily implemented across any number of new markets. In addition, by bringing the expertise of its 160 strong R&D engineering workforce, Guavus will significantly enrich Thales’s expertise in this field.

Gogo
Gogo Business Aviation (NASDAQ: GOGO), long recognized as the leading provider of broadband connectivity products and services for business aviation in North America, is expanding its reach to become a global provider with the announcement of a high throughput satellite service for business aviation. The new service will utilize Gogo’s existing Ku-band satellite network, the same trusted high capacity satellite network that is currently providing bandwidth for more than 550 commercial aviation aircraft across 10 airlines globally. Gogo is currently bringing additional HTS (high throughput satellite) capacity online as part of its global satellite network, which will boost the performance of both its new business aviation Ku solution and its commercial aviation network solutions. Service is expected to be available in the second half of 2018.

INMARSAT/Rockwell Collins
Inmarsat has signed a strategic agreement with Rockwell Collins, a leading provider of aviation and high-integrity solutions, for the global distribution of its next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) flightdeck connectivity solution. The agreement builds on a successful long-term strategic relationship between the two companies and will bring new levels of safety and operational efficiency to the aviation industry.

SITA
Airlines and airports are estimated to spend nearly US$33 billion on IT this year, according to the SITA 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights released today. And they are focusing their technology investments on similar priorities. Top of the agenda for CIOs at both airlines and airports, are investments in cyber security and cloud services. In addition, they are prioritizing investments in passenger self-service. SITA’s research of the world’s airlines and airports shows that IT spend remains strong. Airlines’ spend as a percentage of revenue will rise to an estimated 3.30% or US$24.3 billion[1] in 2017. For airports, the rise is to an expected 5.05% for this year or US$8.43 billion. Looking ahead to 2018 over 70% of airlines and 88% of airports are expecting IT spend to increase or remain at the same levels as today. As IT spend increases, both airlines and airports agree that the number one priority for their investments is cyber security. Nearly all of them – 95% of airlines and 96% of airports – plan to invest in major programs or R&D on cyber security initiatives over the next three years. This shows alignment across the industry on the importance of investing in this area.

Cloud services are another top investment priority with 95% of airlines and 85% of airports planning to invest over the next three years, continuing an upward trend that SITA has recorded since 2015. The third key area of investment that was highlighted by both airlines and airports is to provide extra self-service options to passengers.

Airlines are focusing on providing mobile services. Today the vast majority of airlines provide check-in (73%), boarding (70%) and flight status notifications (68%) via mobile and by 2020 more than 97% plan to do so. A key area of growth will be providing real-time flight updates over social media which will jump from 31% of airlines doing so to 92% in the next three years.

Providing a seamless experience is key to the airlines. In total, 94% rate streamlining services into a single app as a priority, with 58% rating this as a high priority. Mobile app capabilities and usability are developing quickly and an increasing number of airlines plan to use mobile as a customer service tool, including at times of disruption.

At airports, self-service processes at check-in, bag drop and boarding are increasingly popular with passengers and 89% of airports are investing in these processes. Airports operators have a keen focus on improving the journey through the terminal and are looking to new technologies such as the Internet of Things, beacons and sensors, to support their goals. SITA’s insights show that 80% are investing, or planning to invest, in these technologies over the next three years. Nearly three quarters, 74%, are investing in way-finding solutions and 68% in solutions to improve personalization for the passenger. SITA’s IT Trends are well established as the global benchmark research for the air transport industry. Senior IT executives at the top airlines and airports took part in the research earlier this year. The 2017 results once again provide a clear insight on the air transport industry’s IT strategic thinking and developments.

Black Swan
Today, Black Swan Data, one of Europe’s leading data science technology companies, has announced the appointment of Patrick Prefontaine as Chief Commercial Officer at Black Swan Avionics (BSA).

Patrick’s appointment is part of the ongoing growth of BSA and its innovative work, including delivering inflight solutions for the 2017 launch of LEVEL, the International Airlines Group’s (IAG) new long-haul, low cost airline brand. Working in partnership with IAG, Panasonic, VISA, Cybersource and First Data, on the launch of LEVEL, and in collaboration with visual design agency MASSIVE, BSA has delivered in-seat interactive technology, portal and app development, crew applications, data resource management in a fully holistic solution. The innovative Pair & Pay functionality is unique to LEVEL and the first in the airline industry. Patrick will be at APEX EXPO 2017 in Long Beach, CA, from 24th-28th September and is available for interviews and meetings.


OTHER

With vacations and pre-show quietness, our IFExpress search and discovery for news and industry input is lightweight this week; however there are some stories that we found so lets get started with a couple of news pieces from Rockwell Collins – and no, we have no more on a potential UTC buyout.

Rockwell Collins
The company will showcase business aviation solutions for the Latin American market, including flight deck, connectivity, cabin and service solutions at the 15th Annual Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Expo, from Aug. 15-17.

“This year we are showcasing even more of our business portfolio at LABACE to meet the needs of our customers in the region,” said Fernando DosSantos, director of sales and marketing, Americas for Rockwell Collins. “We are committed to increasing our footprint here in Brazil with broader avionics, cabin, service and connectivity offerings.”
At the company’s exhibit (booth #2016), experts from Rockwell Collins will be available to discuss the following key offerings:

  • Venue cabin management system: Our leading, most reliable and innovative cabin management system on the market, now equipped on more than 1,000 business aircraft cabins
  • Stage content service: Total content delivery solution that enables passengers to stream media, including digitally-protected movies and TV shows, to their personal devices from an easily refreshed, robust onboard server through wireless access points
  • CASP: Three levels of service, all delivering superior customer support, budget predictability and consistent aircraft availability for all the Rockwell Collins components on board your aircraft
  • ADS-B Out compliant solutions: Regulatory agencies across the globe are mandating implementation ADS-B Out, as well as other airspace mandates, as part of overall airspace modernization programs. ADS-B technology enables aircraft to continuously broadcast GPS derived aircraft position, heading and velocity information to ground stations connected to air traffic control

Next, TCS World Travel has installed Rockwell Collins’ CabinConnect wireless in-flight connectivity system on its custom-configured Boeing 757, operated by TAG Aviation. The fully operational system was launched on August 9, 2017 when 50 guests departed for a 23-day trip across Eurasia. “Our brand is about redefining luxury travel by providing highly personalized, enriching experiences for our guests from the comfort and convenience of our private jets,” said Shelley Cline, TCS World Travel president. “We chose Rockwell Collins for cabin connectivity because we needed a dependable solution that will keep our guests connected almost anywhere in the world.”

Through the new service, TCS World Travel guests can use an aircraft-provided iPad or their own devices to check email or browse the internet in flight, as well as access news, sports and weather information with a reliable connection that is similar to the quality and speed they experience when on the ground. The TCS World Travel system includes Rockwell Collins’ Airshow Mobile for Browsers, a 2D moving map system that keeps pace with guests wherever they fly. “Rockwell Collins was able to customize the system to interface with our onboard lecture system,” continued Cline. “This allows our guests to receive a live presentation from a travel expert about an upcoming destination that is broadcast to interested guests via the provided onboard iPads.”

“As a leading aircraft communications and service provider, we worked closely with TCS World Travel to understand their individual needs and requirements, and were able to outfit their aircraft with an operational system in just seven months,” said Alexis Hickox, head of Business Development, Cabin Solutions for Rockwell Collins. “Bringing together our aviation expertise with our knowledge of the Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) network has enabled us to provide TCS World Travel with a service that is very much in line with their mission of creating unforgettable travel experiences for their guests.”

Astronics
Astronics Corporation , a leading supplier of advanced technologies and products to the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Astronics PECO, was awarded a contract to provide its next-generation fuel tank access doors (FTAD) for the new family of long-range Boeing 777X aircraft. In addition, Astronics PECO received a follow-on award for its FTAD product for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The new 787 and 777X fuel tank access doors will utilize the latest in fuel tank door structural materials and designs for carbon fiber composite wing technologies. The doors will be manufactured by Astronics PECO in Clackamas, Oregon. These awards are in addition to a previous award in which Astronics PECO was selected to provide passenger service units (PSUs) for the 777X.

SITA
Lanseria International Airport is investing in SITA’s self-service technology that will add new convenience for passengers while providing improved common-use functionality for airlines. Using SITA’s self-service systems, passengers will now be able to quickly check-in and drop their bags before proceeding directly to the gate without having to visit a traditional check-in counter. In a first for a South African airport, passengers who have checked-in online or on their mobile device can now tag and drop their bags in less than a minute using SITA’s Scan&Fly self bag-drop units. Scan&Fly’s plug-and-play design allows the bag-drop solution to be easily installed onto existing airport check-in desks, maximizing terminal space while leveraging the speed of self-service. Using SITA’s Airport iValidate, Lanseria International Airport will be able to automatically verify all types of boarding passes, including home-printed A4 and mobile boarding passes, increasing security and speeding up the check-in process for passengers.

Behind the scenes, the airport will roll out new baggage reconciliation technology from SITA, providing passengers with greater confidence that their baggage will arrive with them at their destination. It will help airlines using the airport to comply with IATA’s Resolution 753, which requires that they track bags at key points during the journey. The airport is also upgrading its common-use kiosks and desk infrastructure to use SITA’s cloud-based solution, eliminating the need for local servers. This common-use infrastructure is critical in providing greater flexibility for airlines operating from the airport by allowing them to share common-use terminal equipment (CUTE) for check-in and boarding.

US MOBILE
A US wireless carriers going to launch unlimited access in aircraft from 120 countries and with some 20 airlines, so they say. We understand unlimited pricing of $10/ month for inflight Wi-Fi and with global coverage! The founder noted, ”Customers will also enjoy in-flight connectivity on all the major airlines at a more affordable price than what the airlines and other comparative services are offering. This Unlimited Wi-Fi plan is a game-changer when you travel abroad. Instead of paying for international roaming, which can be quite costly, you have a whole network of hotspots ready to be used anywhere in the world.” Stay Tuned!

Aircraft Interiors Expo – Long Beach CA.
In February, Reed Exhibitions and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) announced a long-term strategic co-location agreement for the fall expo event in co-ordination with the International Flight Services Association (IFSA). This year’s event will take place from 26-28th September 2017 at the Long Beach Convention Centre, California, and is the only fall event dedicated to the Passenger Experience Industry. The events will welcome more than 300 exhibitors from a wide range of renowned companies exhibiting at AIX Long Beach and APEX, including Acro Aircraft Seating, Avio Interiors, Diehl, Gogo, Inmarsat, Isovalta, Panasonic, Geven, Thales to name just a few. Over 30 unique airlines such as; Etihad Airways, American Airlines, Singapore Airlines, British Airways and many more from across the world are already confirmed to attend with many more expected to register in the run up to the show. Katie Murphy, Senior Exhibitor Director at Reed Exhibitions, said: “To have virtually all of the exhibition space already sold is testament to the growing popularity of the fall event dedicated to the passenger services industry. “AIX Long Beach brings together APEX, IFSA and AIX into a powerful partnership and to have generated so much interest already gives us great confidence that it is quickly becoming established as the must-attend event for the passenger experience industry in the fall.” The co-located passenger experience event is the largest in the fall, showcasing the latest innovation, technologies and products in the industry, such as galleys, lighting, cabin management systems, IFEC and passenger services.


MORE

Committed to innovation and change of the travel paradigm

Oranjestad | August 14, 2017– James Fazio, the CEO of Aruba Airport Authority, and Miguel Leitmann, the CEO of Vision-Box, announced a new partnership between both organizations. Aruba Airport Authority and Vision-Box have decided to sign an exclusive partnership for the further evolution of the Aruba Happy Flow. The goal of the partnership is to:

• Sustain the leading position of the Aruba Happy Flow in the global aviation industry
• Ensure the usage of leading edge Vision-Box technology at Aruba Airport enabling unique value propositions for the airport and high-profile recognition and showcasing for Vision-Box
• Creating a knowledge and experience center on Seamless travel

“The Aruba Happy Flow Proof of Concept has exceeded our expectations during these 2 years, paving the way for a new direction for the airport,” said James Fazio, CEO of the Aruba Airport Authority. “On the other hand, with this new partnership with Vision-Box, we are now very excited to get the opportunity to establish a pioneering Centre of Excellence, where we aim to understand tendencies, develop new products and technologies in a real-life environment and support local economy. This combined effort will surely mark another milestone in the development of the future airport. “

The partnership will profile Aruba Airport as an airport that drives change with passenger centric focus, creating value for their stakeholders and an excellent passenger experience. Furthermore, the partnership should provide skills development for Aruban and international students through the Vision-Box Centre of Excellence, while building a strong foundation for sustainable airport solutions.

Miguel Leitmann, Vision-Box™ CEO highlights that “This is indeed a great partnership. Aruba airport has already embraced the new era of the digital airport concept and it will soon benefit further from our game-changing technology for the Gateway 2030 project. We are convinced that this partnership will be the ground base for the next generation of Happy Flow, reaffirming Aruba Airport as an innovation center for passenger facilitation and projecting Aruba with a highly recognizable worldwide airport”.

The Strategic Partnership is built on four pillars:

• Innovation
Both partners are committed to invest in evolving the Aruba Happy Flow platform. New functional solutions will be (co-)created and assessed at Aruba Airport.

• Gateway 2030, first airport designed for Happy Flow
Aruba Airport and Vision-Box share the vision that the design of the Gateway 2030 project, should fully harvest the benefits of the Aruba Happy Flow platform as a terminal-wide solution.

• Centre of Excellence
The Centre of Excellence (CoE) at Aruba Airport is designed to combine the strength of Aruba Airport as a facilitator for innovation with the strength of Vision-Box as a technology innovator.

• Showcase
Aruba Airport and Vision-Box will realize a high quality and continuous showcase for the Happy Flow solution.

Aruba Happy Flow is the result of a cooperative consortium composed of the governments of Aruba and the Netherlands, Schiphol Group, KLM, Aruba Airport Authority and Vision-Box.

Austrian Airlines is the second passenger airline of the Lufthansa Group to launch new interactive entertainment platform. 

London, Vienna | August 1, 2017– Austrian Airlines will be the latest international carrier to launch Profile, Spafax’s entertainment personalization platform. Using proprietary software developed by Spafax, Austrian Airlines’ passengers can access http://austrian-inflightentertainment.com to learn what entertainment will be available on their trip, as well as more in-depth information about each program all via a highly interactive web experience.

The new site features a full listing of all movies, television programs, music and games onboard. Profile’s responsive design allows visitors to navigate the site from any device, and its ease of navigation mirrors or exceeds what you would find on leading entertainment portals.

“In 2017, we committed to rolling out in-flight connectivity on our short- and medium-haul flights. As part of our digital transformation strategy, we are very pleased to partner with Spafax to take the way we present our entertainment program to our customers to the next level” noted Thomas Laxar, Director, In-Flight Entertainment & Connectivity, Content & Portal Austrian Airlines.

Spafax CEO, Niall McBain added, “We are always trying to help our clients use both content and technology to improve their customer experience. We are excited to be able to provide Profile to Austrian Airlines as a natural extension of their digital entertainment program.”

Barcelona, Spain | July 26, 2017– In line with Immfly’s ambition to work with best in class content suppliers that guarantee quality onboard services, the company has recently announced a new partnership with The Weather Network to provide passengers with live weather updates while in-flight. Starting from July 2017 passengers onboard XL Airways, Volotea, Iberia Express and upcoming clients, will be able to view their destination’s real-time meteorological conditions along with a 7 day forecast.

Available now, the Your Destination section of Immfly’s platform, which includes activities, transfer services and travel tips among others, extends its offering to embrace the weather report, hence providing users an 360º overview of their destination. Integrated with Immfly’s white labeled channels, The Weather Network’s and El Tiempo’s digital content performs seamlessly across devices creating an informational user-friendly section available in several languages.

“We are very excited to bring our company’s on board services one step further with the offering of this new channel hand in hand with a well-known worldwide provider,” states Martina de Santis, Key Account Manager at Immfly. “Our focus lies on continuously building projects around technological and content innovations that keep us and our airline clients ahead in the market, in order to reassure that we offer passengers a unique and wide-ranging digital experience.”

Carlos Astorqui, Managing Director for El Tiempo added Travel and weather go hand in hand, there’s certainly a need for weather information on this platform and we’re delighted to offer travellers an up to date, accurate forecast while in the air. It’s important that we’re able to provide forecasts and deliver content whenever it’s needed and Immfly’s network has allowed us to do this. It truly is your weather when it really matters. We will be working closely with Immfly in the coming months to further develop this partnership.”

Airbus

  • S7 Airlines, one of Russia’s leading carriers, member of Oneworld global airline alliance, has taken delivery of its’ first A320neo which is on lease from BOC Aviation. The aircraft is the first Airbus to feature the airline’s new livery and is also the first NEO to be operated in Russia. Powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, S7’s aircraft features a comfortable two-class cabin layout, (eight business and 156 economy class seats). The airline will operate the aircraft on domestic and international routes. Since the first aircraft entered service in 2004, S7’s Airbus fleet has grown to 44 A320 Family aircraft. And check out their nifty infographic!
  • Following the recent and hugely successful launch in Barcelona of International Airlines Group’s (IAG) low cost long-haul airline brand, LEVEL, the Group has selected the A330-200 as its aircraft of choice to further expand operations. LEVEL began operating in June 2017 with flights from Barcelona to Los Angeles, San Francisco (Oakland), Buenos Aires and Punta Cana, with two new Airbus A330-200s branded in its own livery and fitted with 293 economy and 21 premium economy seats. The A330 is one of the World’s most efficient and versatile widebody aircraft with best in class operating economics making it the benchmark product for the growing low cost long-haul model worldwide. The A330 is the world’s best-selling wide-body in its category. To date the A330 Family has attracted nearly 1,700 orders with over 1,300 A330 Family aircraft currently flying with more than 110 operators worldwide. With an operational reliability of 99.4 percent and various product enhancements, the A330 Family is the most cost-efficient and capable widebody aircraft to date.

Boeing
Boeing released its 2017 Pilot and Technician Outlook today at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and projects a demand for more than 1.2 million pilots and technicians over the next 20 years. Now in its eighth year, the outlook is a respected industry study that forecasts the 20 year demand for crews to support the world’s growing commercial airplane fleet.
Boeing forecasts that between 2017 and 2036, the world’s commercial aviation industry will require approximately:

  • 637,000 new commercial airline pilots
  • 648,000 new commercial airline maintenance technicians
  • 839,000 new cabin crew members

The 2017 outlook shows a slight increase of 3.2 percent for pilots over the 2016 outlook, and a slight decrease in the need for airline maintenance technicians (4.6 percent), primarily driven by the reduction in maintenance hours required on the 737 MAX.
Projected demand for new pilots, technicians and cabin crew by global region for the next 20 years is approximately:

For information about the Outlook, including how the data is compiled.
Boeing Global Services, headquartered in the Dallas area, was formed by integrating the services capabilities of the government, space and commercial sectors into a single, customer-focused business. Operating as a third business unit of Boeing, Global Services provides agile, cost-competitive services to commercial and government customers worldwide.

Rockwell Collins
Working well after midnight on this day in 1977, a Rockwell Collins engineer named David Van Dusseldorp sat on the rooftop of a company building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, adjusting an antenna every five minutes to receive a signal from the world’s first Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite known as NTS-2. Within a small window of time, the satellite was turned on and the message was successfully received and decoded by the team working the GPS receiver below.
Since then the technology has grown to be the standard of navigation around the world and Top Tech News: News & Product Reviews for Tech Leaders touches nearly every part of our daily lives. To commemorate the 40 year anniversary, Rockwell Collins invited retirees involved in the project to share their firsthand stories at an event held in Cedar Rapids today.
“We had leaders and team members working together and I knew we could meet the challenge put before us,” said Van Dusseldorp. “The future of GPS was uncertain at the time, but I really felt like we had just accomplished something important.”
Soon after successfully receiving the signal, the U.S. Air Force awarded Rockwell Collins the Navstar GPS user equipment contract. This was the first of many wins that would position the company as a market leader in GPS products for aerospace and defense. Since that time, Rockwell Collins has continued to pioneer advancements in GPS such as being the first to complete a transatlantic flight using GPS navigation in 1983. In 1994, a secure, military-grade Precision Lightweight GPS Receiver (PLGR) was first fielded that provided warfighters a tactical navigational advantage on the battlefield. And in 2014, Rockwell Collins achieved another milestone in navigation technology by successfully developing a prototype to track a satellite in the Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) being created by the European Union to provide global coverage for its nations.
A modern version of the GPS receiver used in 1977 is the Rockwell Collins GPS-4000S, which has the ability to process the transmissions of up to 10 GPS satellites and two Space Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) geostationary satellites simultaneously. Compared to the first GPS receiver station that was six feet tall, the GPS-4000S receiver is only 7.87 inches tall. Size and power of receivers have evolved for different applications, like the Micro GPS Receiver Application Module (MicroGRAM). The receiver is only one inch tall, can use data from up to 12 GPS satellites and consumes the least power of any receiver in its class. Other advancements in receivers include industry-leading anti-jamming and anti-spoofing technologies that are crucial to security and efficiency when used within critical military and aircraft operations.
Since that historic day 40 years ago, Rockwell Collins has introduced more than 50 GPS products including GPS anti-jam and precision landing systems, and has delivered more than one million GPS receivers for commercial avionics and government applications, helping shape how the world navigates both on the ground and in the air.

Panasonic
Asiana Airlines, one of Asia’s largest carriers, has begun revenue service with its first A350 aircraft using Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s (Panasonic) industry-leading inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solution. This first aircraft, which was line fit with Panasonic solutions by Airbus, entered passenger service on May 15th having been delivered to the carrier on April 26th. Panasonic’s eX3 system delivers a premium passenger experience through features including audio and video on demand, and a massive content library that can offer over 50 movies, 60 TV shows, games, music and more.
The aircraft will also offer Panasonic’s global connectivity service – the only broadband inflight connectivity service operating in every country in the world today – enabling passengers to access the internet via broadband inflight Wi-Fi, and to send and receive calls and text messages. Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics said: “We are delighted to announce this partnership with Asiana Airlines. Our world-class systems provide their passengers with a globally available and premium inflight entertainment and connectivity experience.”


MORE

Here is a great story on how to promote your airport (airline?) at the airport with an Augmented Reality (AR) device game. As the article notes: “Augmented reality can do a number of different things, from turning selfies into animals to creating virtual scavenger hunts, but now one more feature can be chalked up to the emerging tech — entertaining kids on an airport layover.” Perhaps, this says it all: “On July 14, London’s Heathrow Airport announced the new kids’ travel app, Around the World with Mr. Adventure, a kid-friendly game that hides digital badges throughout the terminals.” We want one! Check this out.

Sully

And lastly, go see “Sully,” the movie! Why? Because it sums up what some of the best folks in the world are doing to make your travel experience successful. Remember, on January 15, 2009, a US Airways had to land in New York’s Hudson River? Yes, we know it is about a emergency forced landing of an Airbus A320-214 in New York. And yes, if you are into movies, per se, you might give “Sully” a lower grade; however, if you are into aviation, this is a 5 star treat. While Clint Eastwood (at 86) directed this movie, he made it from good available event data, and obviously one for aviation lovers. As one review notes, ”..this story pits a true hero against the scowling National Transportation Safety Board bureaucrats with their flight simulators, computer analysis and insurance worries who dare to question Sullenberger’s ability to make lightning-quick decisions in the air. They would have rather he made it to a nearby airport after a flock of Canadian geese smashed into the plane and shut down the engines—a possibility he instantly assessed was not feasible given his 40 years of experience.” As to the airplane, we think it deserves more credit for staying afloat for some 29 minutes, allowing all 155 to be rescued on the floating fuselage. Notes Wikipedia: “Author and pilot William Langewiesche asserted that insufficient credit was given to the A320’s fly-by-wire design, by which the pilot uses a side-stick to make control inputs to the flight control computers. The computers then impose adjustments and limits of their own to keep the plane stable, which the pilot cannot override even in an emergency. This design allowed the pilots of Flight 1549 to concentrate on engine restart and deciding the course, without the burden of manually adjusting the glidepath to reduce the plane’s rate of descent.[50] However, Sullenberger said that these computer-imposed limits also prevented him from achieving the optimum landing flare for the ditching, which would have softened the impact.[91]”. And no, we doubt if you will see it on your next flight, but you never know.

(Editor’s Note: We understand for drama, the movie script did question Chester “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) decisions; however, we understand that the NTSB didn’t actually question Sully’s decision or actions, it was just drama for the silver screen.)

July 7, 2017– For many holiday-goers jetting off to their dream destinations this summer, their vacation begins when they catch their flight.

A colorful new infographic from connected aircraft technology specialists SITAONAIR showcases 10 top ways that airlines can ensure the passenger experience is truly top flight for those heading off on hard-earned holidays.

“In the hyper-competitive business of air travel, passenger satisfaction ratings are king,” says Dominique El Bez, Vice President of Strategy, SITAONAIR. “Airlines across the world have to work harder than ever to give passengers the best-possible inflight experience, and to win – and keep – their customers’ loyalty.

“SITAONAIR works with hundreds of airlines around the globe, innovating bespoke services and solutions to improve airline passenger comfort and engagement.

“There are many different ways today’s airlines can enhance their inflight experience offer to passengers. More and more airlines are investing to deliver high-speed onboard internet services for connected passengers; develop exclusive airline internet apps for customers to surf the web, chat and stream inflight; and equip pilots with cutting-edge weather avoidance technologies to fly the smoothest course.

“Passengers can be rewarded with special inflight shopping treats, sent straight to their devices; aircraft can be retrofitted with 3G/4G voice-calling telephony, so passengers can stay connected in the clouds; and cabin crews can ‘go digital’, to deliver a more personalized and efficient customer service.

“Whatever an airline’s ambitions, SITAONAIR’s unrivalled industry heritage and expertise means we can support airlines to deliver their passenger experience goals.”

2017 Air Transport IT Summit – Barcelona, Spain | May 24, 2017– SITA, the IT specialist that is transforming air travel through technology, today rolled out several community innovation demos with an eye toward the future at this year’s Air Transport IT Summit. These forward-looking innovations are part of SITA’s 2016 multi-million investment across five main focus areas to explore new solutions to some of the air transport industry’s most pressing challenges.

The five areas are; new baggage tracking capabilities to meet IATA’s Resolution 753; identity management to enable secure and rapid passenger flow through airports; the facilitation of IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC); an industry-wide disruption warning system; and enhancing cyber security across the industry.

Demos shocased included the innovative WorldTracer Ground Delivery Baggage Tracking App which allows airlines to track delayed bags until they reach their final destination and Travel Identity of the Future, a new approach to identity management to enable secure and rapid passenger flow through airports. The multi-million dollar community innovation investment is over and above SITA’s continued investment in new products. It is aimed at looking further into the future of promising technologies or new ways of doing things that could have a big impact and significant benefit to the air transport community.

In addition, SITA announced seven new member benefits to enhance nine offers made available in 2015. The offers, exclusive to SITA’s 400 plus members, consist of free trials and preferential contract terms for services. These include SITA’s Mobile Boarding Pass API, which gives airlines flexibility to easily create and distribute mobile boarding passes and SITA’s sophisticated baggage services BagConnect and WorldTracer Tablet. Members can also benefit from free consultancy services for SITA’s cloud services and Horizon solutions along with preferential terms for messaging services SITATEXT Online and the new MessageIntelligence Archive.

Jappe Blaauw, President of the SITA Council, said: “SITA is a member-driven organization and these offers are designed to offer value and support in the areas that we know our 400 plus members are interested such as improved baggage management, driving the adoption of mobile self-service and taking advantage of cloud services. These exclusive offers will allow our members to quickly evaluate and adopt new and efficient technologies across the air transport industry.”

The Air Transport IT Summit, which is attended by more than 400 air transport industry professionals, also provides SITA with the opportunity to recognize its valued members. Working with its air transport industry partners to define next-generation technology for more than 65 years, SITA recognized numerous milestone members including 60 years of partnership with Air Serbia, Middle East Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines and Qantas Airways. And 50 years of partnership with Adria Airways, Arabian Airlines, Libyan Airlines, Meridiana Fly, Saudi Arabian Airlines and United Airlines.

This week IFExpress features a few more AIX booths we visited, as well as, a bit more news. Keep your eyes on TelefonixPDT for greater market penetration and on digEcor for the same – there is a lot happening and we will have more in the coming weeks.

1. TelefonixPDT

TelefonixPDT is like a Swiss army knife – they have a solution for virtually every IFE hardware challenge! IFExpress had the opportunity to catch up with them during AIX earlier this month. As always, the company exhibited some great hardware components including some new iterations, specifically from their Summit Product Line. Now, Let’s look at some of the individual products that we saw in their booth.

CabinACe-2 WAP:
From an airplane perspective, TelefonixPDT has finalized an STC on the 737. In fact, CabinACe-2 Wireless Access Point (WAP) is the first commercially available ARINC 628 compliant 802.11ac, Wave 2 product for commercial aircraft wireless environments. The CabinACe-2 WAP enables the highest capacity performance and efficiency in extremely high-density environments for enhanced connectivity and passenger experience. The new WAP features a small footprint and low power consumption making it suitable for both linefit and retrofit installations. With a concurrent data rate of 1.73 Gbps in 5 GHz and 800 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz range (aggregated date rate of 2.5 Gbps), the CabinACe-2 product delivers next generation performance for passengers. Oh and by the way, TelefonixPDT told us that customers can use the STC for free!

CabinPinnacle:
CabinPinnacle general-purpose airborne server/router is a complete, highly integrated, application-ready platform for Ethernet-based network installations. The server integrates a quad core 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB of DDR3 memory and supports connectivity and bandwidth demands utilizing features such as an L2/L3 managed Gigabit Ethernet Switch with eleven externally available Gigabit Ethernet ports. Designed specifically for aircraft environments, this ARINC 600 4MCU form factor includes six ARINC 429 channels, 20 aircraft discrete I/Os, and integrated self-healing health monitoring. The server also supports both Linux and Windows operating systems as well as the availability of integrated software APIs for maximum flexibility. The company told us that they are in the process of finishing linefit offerability at Boeing and in the near term the product will be offerable both linefit and retrofit for both Airbus and Boeing aircraft. The system architect, Eric Tartar said, “The CabinPinnacle is the Swiss Army Knife of routers! And as customers need it, we will add features.”

CabinEdge:
Another product that we found interesting was the CabinEdge stand-alone content loader that supports network delivery of In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) content and is meant to be permanently installed on cabin monuments. The content loader utilizes small form factor, low-cost, commercially available USB “thumb drives” as the content transfer medium. The unit loads digitally stored, encrypted content in the background in an unattended fashion. A keyed tumbler lock provides security and ensures that loaded content remains secure until the next update. Simply installing the small form factor USB drives and closing the interface door automatically sends the signal to the onboard software to “mount” the drives and begin the process of loading content to the front end server. The onboard software automatically cross-checks with the locally stored content and updates files as required at better than USB 2.0 speeds.

Encompass:
One of the more surprising products that we saw from TelefonixPDT was Encompass – a portable, low-cost, full-featured, wireless IFE product. The TelefonixPDT Encompass server is a small form factor, wireless IFE system designed to meet the requirements of short term aircraft trials and long term IFE solution needs. The unit’s small size and weight make it perfect for deployment in overhead storage bins; and with 12 hours of continuous battery operation, this open source solution is not only easy to operate, but is also easy to customize to meet airline needs. Software SDK is available to quick-start DRM and content management application and high capacity SSD storage ensures that there is ample content for streaming to passenger devices. Without the certification requirements of traditional embedded solutions, the Encompass all-in-one server is a solution that minimizes cost while still delivering the quality experience.

Editor’s Note: The Encompass is basically a portable server/WAP that the folks at TelefonixPDT note was redesigned after a number of application trials. They told IFExpress that they integrated the charging bay(s) into the unit. With the application of external power, the unit can charge its internal batteries while on the airplane. We note that there will probably be more one-box systems flying on more and more single-aisle aircraft in the near future and we see this as an evolving technology trend. Historically, this trend started back with the portable single-box IFE solutions (think AirFi). IFExpress believes this product is an excellent solution for the business jet wIFE market.

CabinVista:
The last component of the Summit Line that we saw was the CabinVista Cabin Control Panel. The panel interfaces directly with the IFEC. This multipurpose product can be used as the primary control mechanism to the passenger IFEC system and to initiate PA announcements and cabin chimes. The CabinVista unit also provides 2 external interfaces to allow for uploading and downloading content to onboard servers via USB thumb drives.

Lastly, we should note that TelefonixPDT is continuing their expansion into Europe and Asia. They have arrangements in place for a manufacturing facility in China that should come online before APEX of this year. The company will still maintain their manufacturing facility in the USA to sell to other markets, while the China manufacturing facility will focus primarily on the growing Chinese aviation market.

2. digEcor
IFExpress had the opportunity to touch base with David Withers CEO of digEcor during the AIX extravaganza. David told us that it has been four years since he purchased the company and that their focus since then has been on developing modular and flexible product offerings to the aviation industry. They have achieved this by leveraging on the digEcor product, introducing LED lighting and power; as well as, enhancing the GLIDE product offering and the Wi-Fi feature to their roster. “We want to offer modular and flexible solutions that any airline can use,” said Mr. Withers. “Wi-Fi has a place in our industry, especially alongside power.” Power at the seat is the highest demand and the company has been focusing on how to integrate power easily into their offering.

digEcor had a key new customer announcement during the week – Air Tahiti Nui for the rollout of their ENGAGE cabin crew mobile solution. David Withers, digEcor Chief Executive Officer said, “ENGAGE has many benefits including access to passenger information and preferences, efficient service recovery, electronic forms and messaging.”

The company also had a few announcements regarding their GLIDE offering, including a milestone of delivery of the Integrated Flight Experience into the market, launching four new product lines including: Passenger Service Solutions (crew call, reading light and optional audio controls), LED Cabin Lighting, Cabin Management as well as digEcor’s own Moving Map product. Additionally, Corendon, a leisure based airline in Turkey, selected the GLIDE embedded system solution for their Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The new system will replace their legacy tape-based IFE offering. Mr. Withers told IFExpress, “The GLIDE embedded system is a leading component of digEcor’s Integrated Flight Experience comprising IFE, in-seat power, LED cabin lighting, passenger services, crew applications, cabin management, tape replacement, Wi-Fi streaming and content services.”


Other News:

Gogo
Gogo announced that veteran financial leader Barry Rowan was to join the company as an Executive Vice President and will assume the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) on May 4, 2017 following the Company’s first quarter earnings report. Rowan will lead Gogo’s financial operations, which includes financial planning and analysis, accounting, treasury, tax and investor relations. He will report to Michael Small, president and CEO.

Rowan has more than 30 years of financial management experience including a track record of success leading public companies.

Also, Gogo and global satellite operator SES announced a new capacity deal to enhance in-flight connectivity services for key air travel routes over North America and the Pacific Ocean. As part of the new agreement, Gogo has leased all available capacity on SES’s AMC-4 satellite, which SES will move to a new orbital location to serve flights to, from and within the states of Alaska and Hawaii, flights along the west coast of the U.S. and over the Pacific Ocean.”SES has a global fleet of over 50 GEO satellites in orbit, and will be launching five more satellites this year, three of which have massive throughput payloads. SES is one of the global operators who can quickly and effectively move existing assets and scale up across regions and routes where connectivity demand is on the rise. This robust global network of scalable, flexible satellite capacity enables SES to stay ahead of the ever-growing demands and requirements of the aero industry,” said Elias Zaccack, Senior Vice President of the Americas region and Mobility Solutions at SES. “With the recent launch of the SES-10 satellite, SES will place AMC-4 in an orbital slot to meet the growing demand for Gogo’s inflight connectivity services and allow us to further expand our alliance.”

SITA
Bologna is the first Italian airport to install SITA’s Scan&Fly units. The new bag drop units will initially be used by low-cost carrier Ryanair before being extended to other airlines. Bologna Airport is a fast-growing hub for Ryanair with more than 20 destinations and 170 flights a week. SITA is a global provider of award-winning bag drop solutions. Airlines and airports globally have welcomed the high-quality interface of Scan&Fly, the ease of its retro-fit and the ability to fully integrate with the SITA AirportConnect common-use platform.

In the next few years, airplane passengers will be seeing a lot of changes to the process of flying from point A to point B. On the surface, they won’t notice a lot of difference in the mechanics of flight transportation, but it is what is going on behind the scenes, especially in the IFEC world that will have changed significantly.

Passengers will still use their personal devices on the ground to obtain a ticket, they will be using their devices to check-in and board planes, and they will still be using all sorts of portable devices while inflight. While recent rules of onboard laptop usage might be restricted for security reasons (APEX News Release), globally there is too strong a need to manage and organize one’s life with the aid of a portable phone or connected personal device, including laptops. Why? With the technological advancements of the modern portable device, be it smartphone or wearable, people everywhere are demanding more data in order to stay connected and informed. Face it, installed inflight telephony; think Claircom, Inflight Phone and GTE Airfone, in the 1990’s delivered scratchy voice connectivity when compared to flying with a smartphone today. Passengers utilizing the connectivity options available to them now; whether it be voice, data, or streaming entertainment to their PED, experience a quality of service that far exceeds those provided by their connectivity predecessors. However, there is room for improvement given the ever-increasing demand for a larger pipe and more information to flow both too and from the aircraft.

Panasonic’s NEXT ‘Platform’

The next step is what this article is about. The Panasonic development of the next generation system is the focus in this week’s IFExpress. While Panasonic entertainment and communication products have evolved with the data need, the solutions moved from analog to digital because the answer for more ‘everything’ is an electronic one that includes both hardware and software. Thus, the next generation IFEC system from Panasonic is coming to the front of technology and, naturally, it is called the Panasonic NEXT Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity System.

According to Panasonic, The NEXT IFEC platform was developed specifically in response to current generation’s trends and challenges. The system powerfully combines hardware, software, and functionality to provide a tailored solution to airlines. More importantly, it’s enabled by the Panasonic ecosystem of value-added services, tools, applications, and partnerships. More on this later.

Panasonic’s vision with the NEXT platform was to help airlines overcome key challenges by transforming typically rigid entertainment systems into a flexible IFEC platform. With NEXT, Panasonic is introducing a scalable IFEC solution that blends the latest in inflight entertainment technology, connectivity services, and consumer technologies to help airlines reach their business objectives. This approach helps airlines maximize their investment by dramatically extending the lifespan of the IFEC platform.

A key differentiator with NEXT is its ability to help airlines maximize their investment by keeping IFEC perpetually and contextually relevant. It blends the latest advances in consumer technology, including 4K screens, Light ID, Bluetooth, and much more, backed by an intuitive interface that is simple for all passengers to use.

The value of the NEXT platform is increased exponentially by Panasonic’s integrated ecosystem of value-added services, tools, applications, and partnerships. This industry-leading ecosystem includes the company’s second-generation global connectivity network. More on this in a bit

To quote Panasonic; “By taking advantage of connectivity technology, today’s leading airlines are delivering experiences onboard unimaginable just ten years ago.” But note, improved connectivity to the plane is the first step in the process and Panasonic has been working this part of the solution for a number of years now. With the launch of numerous satellites with space/data allocated for Panasonic’s aviation use, the company claims worldwide connectivity coverage. Furthermore, they currently have over 1,600 aircraft with an installed base of satcom. It is also significant to note that the future of this connectivity service is not solely for passengers, especially in Panasonic’s eyes. Notes Panasonic: “Our connectivity service is configurable based on the airlines business objectives – the experience they want to offer their passengers and their operational data requirements … we will get back to the second part of this statement later. However, it is clear that both coming solutions will change the world of passenger and operational data.

The operational side of the equation includes: safety, operational performance, and real-time updates of hardware on much of the airplane that ordinarily would only be checked on the ground or during ground testing. This is a game changer for the airlines as well and Panasonic has planned services that will reshape the management of maintenance. Both airline and passengers will benefit from this real-time analysis. Hardware data analysis and tracking/reporting of onboard system monitoring and security analysis will improve airline operations and possibly ground operations, service times, turnaround and potentially inflight operations as well. Passengers get more data, ground and airborne interaction with the airline… not to mention more movies, more and better data services, which all add up to happier passengers and more profit potential for the airline. If this is not a big to deal to airlines now, it soon will be!

 

What is Changing?

We have mentioned what the passengers and crew get from a new technology and data driven system, so now let’s specifically look at the NEXT System or ‘platform  being developed by Panasonic. First, because the system is in development for the Boeing B777X (-X8 & -X9) and because this competitive solution is probably a tight competition, we cannot talk too much about the system capabilities. You can find out more about the Boeing 777 transport aircraft here. However, this might be a good time to note the Boeing future aircraft development possibilities. The Boeing B777-X8 is touted to be an approximately 350-passenger plane, while the B777-X9 is more like a 400+ passenger plane – and we understand that both are in the 2020+ development window. Obviously if the Panasonic NEXT ‘platform’ were to be for both aircraft models, a modular and scalable approach would be perfect for hardware, software, design, manufacturing, installation and even certification.

A good example of the integration of Panasonic technologies into the NEXT System is the ZeroTouch service, which was debuted at AIX Hamburg in 2016, and will definitely be integrated into the NEXT Service offering. Here is what Panasonic says about it: “The ZeroTouch Service Vision: Panasonic’s ZeroTouch service will reduce an airline’s need to physically touch the aircraft because all interactions are managed through a virtual dashboard. By providing access to real-time passenger data, software, media and content updates can be data-driven, helping to deliver a relevant and personalized passenger experience. Updates will be sent to an aircraft via three high-speed pipes – Wi-Fi at the gate, aircraft cell modem, or even in flight using Panasonic’s global broadband eXConnect service.” They went on to say: “When combined with dynamic content updates, the ZeroTouch service will offer an improvement from an airline’s traditional 30-day media update cycle by enabling live updates to data and files stored on a Panasonic inflight entertainment and communications system. Applications such as movies, games, advertising, live news, and more will be automatically loaded at any time, over any available communications pipe to an entire fleet. Strategic planning also will be made easier through the actionable insight solution provides. Airlines are presented with both a detailed picture of their aircraft and a broader overview of their fleet. This allows more informed decisions to be made in media consumption, system health monitoring, aircraft maintenance, and much more. The service automatically downloads critical operational data during flight meaning maintenance teams are notified of upcoming tasks and are able to prepare solutions prior to landing. Today Panasonic is in Phase One of its ZeroTouch service initiative, and is already delivering payloads of up to 700 Megabytes to aircraft over cell modem and its eXConnect service multiple times per day.”

 

What Is NEXT?

It is scalable, it is modular and NEXT is for widebody, narrow body, everybody!

Again, we should emphasize that the Panasonic NEXT System is considered to be a ‘platform’ by the company,  and this point was continually stressed throughout our discussions with them. There are several  reasons for this platform approach that make sense from a product and certification point of view: 

1. Because the new plane system will comprise multiple capabilities and offerings, different airlines will require different solutions; therefore, it has to be modular, and thus the ‘platform’ solution fits the general description of the Panasonic offering. By considering NEXT a ‘platform’ Panasonic can offer solutions with modular upgrades and/or product dash numbers that might include different software and/or hardware features. Here are a few that they specifically mentioned: aircraft and system monitoring, BITE, Maintenance centers and data communication, actionable analytics, passenger data integration software and solutions, and on and on. This ‘platform’ solution will keep potential certification issues at a minimum as they will not have Model/Box Numbers, but rather the ‘platform’ will only need the added box/software/card certs. This is only IFExpress’ speculation but if certification issues can be reduced, costs will be too.

2. The future of these airline/airplane required and selected capabilities, data storage, and management functions may make a ‘platformed’ system available as a design concept for other aircraft! A perfect example will probably be the Boeing 797 (the next, bigger-than-the-B737 plane) the potential Boeing midsize aircraft that is the required airplane series to address the ‘Middle Market’ – 4500 nm to 5500 nm sweet spot and carry somewhere between 180 to 280 passengers. The significant issue is that the NEXT platform will be scalable to address all different aircraft model types – single aisle, twin aisle, and the elusive middle market aircraft of the future. This will allow airlines to scale their systems depending on route, aircraft size, and demographics, while maintaining a ‘commonality’ across their fleet and it is NEXT’s modularity that allows this to happen.

Make no mistake, the NEXT platform will incorporate an improved modem for their new view of passenger and airline connectivity needs. Here is what Panasonic says: “The combination of our new modem results in the biggest improvement in connectivity Panasonic has made since the start of our service. It provides up to 250Mbps for passenger data, a 20x improvement in speed compared to our first-generation modem. Our connectivity service is configurable based on the airline’s business objectives – the experience they want to offer their passengers and their operational data  requirements!” Once again, it is the modular and scalable nature of NEXT that facilitates this choice by the airline.

To get a better idea of their improvement planning, here is their view of their IFEC product performance development:

Generation 1 (2009 – 2015)

Experience – email, social media, web browsing, 9 channels global TV, 2G mobile service, average 250Kbps speed/Up to 1 Mbps burst speed

Enablers – Global wide beam network, BC-01 (Up to 12 Mbps)

Generation 2 (2016 – 2018)

Experience – Rich web applications + light video streaming (i.e. YouTube) + 20 regional channels of regional live television + 3G mobile service + average 5 Mbps speed + up to 15Mbps burst speed (Editor’s Note: Be sure to make note of the plus signs!)

Enablers – Wide beam network + HTS, BC-03 (Up to 250 Mbps, 800GB SSD, 200 eXW SD Media Streams), cWAP (802.11ac), Dual panel or Single Panel Antenna

Generation 3 (NEXT)

Experience – Up to 250 SD media streams (i.e. Netflix, Hulu) ++

15 channels of HD live television ++ 4G Mobile service ++ Average 10 Mbps speed ++ Up to 250 Mbps burst speed (Editor – We assume the ++ means “plus and in excess of…”)

Enablers – Wide Beam Networks + HTS = XTS, BC-03 (Up to 250 Mbps, 800GB SSD, 200 eXW SD media streams), cWAP (802.112ac), Dual Panel or Flat Panel Antenna

Perhaps this is a good time to mention the industry activity surrounding the timing of the NEXT rollout in the future B777X program and a good place to start is ARINC and the ARINC CSS (Cabin Systems Subcommittee) workings. From their website and discussions with members, we see that ARINC has a lot of IFEC members hooking up with this subcommittee and their definition states clearly why: 

Goal: Passenger entertainment equipment is subject to frequent upgrades on the airplane. The goal of this AEEC activity is to develop cost effective equipment and valuable network infrastructure for the airlines to cope with the rapid and evolving electronics/entertainment industry that will exceed passenger expectations. This includes interface standards to allow airlines to implement preferred systems for their passengers. Cabin communications, connectivity, wireless distribution, cabin interface protocols, and connector standardization are all intricate components of this activity.

Scope: The scope of this project is to develop next generation standard cabin interfaces that will provide airlines with freedom of choice in the installation and expansion of cabin equipment. IFE, communications, interface protocols, seat integration issues, and connectors and cables standardization are also a part of this activity.

Benefit: Cabin systems provide entertainment and service improvements to the passenger. To keep up with passenger’s desire for better accommodations, systems are becoming more sophisticated and complex. Home entertainment and office type computing systems and peripherals are finding applications in the cabin to facilitate data handling and data link to the ground. The growing complexities and scope of cabin equipment has resulted in the expansion of ARINC 628. New series of specifications are added as new concepts and next generation systems and networks are developed. The benefits of the cabin standards are numerous. They provide the airlines freedom of choice, unit price reduction through increased volume, interchangeable spares, more upgradeable options, and creation of more sub- markets for integrators and software/hardware suppliers. These benefits are being realized on the new aircraft programs, possibly regional and business jets, and retrofit aircraft programs. The final message here is to keep your eye on this organization and its findings and reports as the next generation of IFEC is going to be outlined by this group!

Additionally, and because of the newer tremendous connectivity capability coming down the pike, IFExpress should mention cybersecurity and while Panasonic did not specifically mention the subject to any extent during our conversation, we know their engineers are very aware of the issues involved with improving passenger and plane connectivity.  We expect a big focus on keeping airplane data safe – both now and in the future. Some recent internet stories featured airplane hacking but Panasonic security people denied the reported ‘hacks’ and said: “The responsibility for security does not solely rest with an (in-flight entertainment) manufacturer, an aircraft manufacturer, or the fleet operator,” noted a company representative. “Each plays an important role in assuring a secure environment.” Further they called the news reports ‘misleading’ and ‘inflammatory’ and noted; “That one could use the exploit to steal credit card information is simply not true.” Further, Panasonic says it continually tests the robustness of its systems, and that it complies with or exceeds all regulatory requirements, which include regular third-party tests. After visiting their manufacturing and test labs, we believe they work to keep their systems hack free and we expect the new systems to move to the next level up the security chain.

While a few Boeing airplanes were mentioned, Airbus is the other solution that will no doubt seize the opportunity to take advantage of better passenger connectivity and improved inflight plane data but at this time we feel they are interpreting their market properly with the planes they have. Wait one year or two and this will probably change. For example, the Airbus A350 is a logical future prospect for ‘backbone improved’ data channeling and airline profit improvement based upon more and better connectivity and improved plane information updates.

And lastly, we should mention that other vendors are not asleep to this technology revolution and we feel based on interviews that they too see the value in building modular systems. Needless to say, we expect to see some of their developments at this week’s AIX. Readers might want to pay attention as the race for better, faster IFEC is going to eclipse everything currently in this industry in the next few years and note that the competition has moved into a new phase where both airlines and passengers will be the winner. Much of this will be achieved by the OEMs and IFEC companies working together to focus on the ever-developing ground-based technologies that have so far surpassed what traditional IFEC has been able to offer to airlines and passengers due to the lengthy certification process. With an ever-increasing installation base of satcom equipped aircraft and passengers bringing onboard data rich and powerful PEDs, such as the smartphone, a new window of opportunity has opened to our industry with the ability to be able to interact with those devices. We may finally see the ever-elusive connected travel experience become a reality. Stay Tuned!

 

March 24, 2017 —APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association), a four-decade old international airline trade association, called for immediate government-approved security solutions for the airline electronics ban announced this week by the United States and United Kingdom. IATA calculations indicate 393 flights per week impacted by the electronics ban.  By APEX load-factor calculations, this translates into more than three million affected airline passengers per year. With airline and government coordination, APEX believes that solutions may be rapidly implemented by airlines to further increase security and allow personal electronics on-board.

“The U.S. and U.K. this week pointed to a problem in airline security by banning electronics on certain flights.  When we take away personal electronic devices from passengers, we are bowing to a potential threat rather than providing an acceptable security solution.” APEX CEO Joe Leader stated. “Chemical detection machines utilized worldwide can detect illicit items in electronics. Turning on electronics checks functionality and non-functioning electronics could be banned from flights. The expense of hand-searching every carry-on for the personal electronics ban could instead be directed to a long-term solution that serves airline passengers and safety.”

APEX believes that without viable solutions provided to airlines, the electronics ban may spread well beyond the intended scope. Since the existing security scope includes individuals with travel privileges to the U.S. and U.K., these same individuals could connect via other airports where on-board personal electronics are not banned.

“Every threat placed against global air carriers has been met with viable solutions,” said Leader. “We now globally screen every checked bag, carefully scan all carry-ons, restrict liquids, conduct body-scans, and regularly conduct chemical analysis checks on items. When passengers connect internationally, they are frequently scanned again. Placing items into the cargo hold does not fully address the issue with a passenger-centric solution.”

In APEX’s global survey released last year, airline passengers frequently bring their personal electronics devices on-board aircraft for use in-flight:
 43% of worldwide airline passengers bring a tablet device on-board with 70% of these passengers using their tablet device in-flight;
 38% of worldwide airline passengers bring a laptop computer on-board with 42% of these passengers using their laptop in-flight; and
 22% of worldwide airline passengers bring e-Readers on-board with 77% of these passengers using their e-Reader in-flight.

APEX has directly engaged key U.S. and U.K. government officials on a solutions-oriented approach to make aircraft more secure and prevent the spread of the electronics ban. Until an aligned security solution has been developed by the U.S. and U.K. governments, APEX encourages full compliance of the ban by airlines, airports, and passengers.

  • Seamless Gateway: What it is and why everyone will want it!
  • Providing an on-the-move, contactless, and streamlined passenger journey, Seamless Gateway eliminates stops at airport control points and represents the next evolutionary step both in the way passengers interact with the airport and in stakeholder collaboration.

Lisbon, Portugal | March 16, 2017– Advancing the concept of the non-stop and contactless airport passenger journey, Vision-Box, the worldwide leader in passenger experience and border control solutions, in collaboration with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, is presenting its newest industry game-changer, the Seamless Gateway, during Passenger Terminal Expo taking place this week in Amsterdam.

Already causing a ripple of excitement throughout the airline industry, the Seamless Gateway technology is the first-ever, contactless, face biometrics passenger identification gateway. Offering the highest security levels at key moments of the passenger journey, it is certain to change the way airports envisage their relationship with passengers by revamping the interaction between travelers, airport, airlines and border authorities in important ways:

  • Provides travelers with a walkthrough identification experience, eliminating stops and direct interaction with officers. Identification is conducted in a few seconds, without compromising the biometric capture quality or matching accuracy of the single token.
  • Features a full, contactless journey obtaining a facial image on the fly, while the passenger walks naturally, but without eliminating the travel document from the equation.
  • Enables a streamlined, one-solution approach to all touchpoints, with the Seamless Gateway technology available to all travelers, adapting itself to each passenger’s unique behavior and features, and automatically activating alternative identification methods if needed.
  • A seamless journey providing a smooth and continuously integrated passenger-centric flow, combining data from different systems to deliver the highest level of security and a modern travel experience to travelers. The powerful Common Use IoT platform, Orchestra, promotes stakeholder collaboration and activates actionable intelligence towards excellence in Airport Management.

How does Seamless Gateway work?
During each clearance process, a facial image of each approaching passenger is captured on-the-move, and matched against a traveler data envelope which includes the biometric and biographic details of the expected arriving passenger.

As a safe and proven technology for Automated Border Control, the system employs the highest security standards and operates according to international regulations and best practices, under a rigorous Privacy-by-Design architecture.

CEO of Vision-Box Miguel Leitmann highlights that “We are thrilled to be at Passenger Terminal Expo along with Schiphol Airport, our long-time and valued partners in seamless passenger modernization. This year, we are proud to unveil Seamless Gateway, a brand new concept that literally allows a passenger to go through checkpoints without stopping and heralds a revolution in the dynamic between passenger, airport, airlines and border authorities. This innovation truly is a stimulating new chapter for the passenger services model and stakeholder collaboration.”

While the Seamless Gateway links the passenger with the airport, airline and border control authorities, via a simple, transparent and on-the-move interaction, the state-of- the-art Vision-Box IoT Service Platform Orchestra integrates the entire passenger identification and Common Use flow infrastructure of solutions and processes, leveraging all traveler and journey information into actionable intelligence. Orchestra unlocks a unique collaborative management ecosystem for all stakeholders, promoting synergies, maximizing advantageous interactions and offering a personalized, first-rate passenger experience within the Digital Airport Program.

Wilma van Dijk, Safety, Security & Environment Director of Schiphol Group, also states “Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has been boosting innovation in every aspect that concerns passenger experience together with our partners the Ministry of Security & Justice, Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Vision-Box. Now, to be the first airport in the world to offer a completely non-stop contactless journey and to demonstrate such innovation at Passenger Terminal Expo are great reasons to celebrate. For us, modernization goes hand in hand with innovative technology. The state-of-the-art Seamless Gateway supports us with our Digital Airport Program.”

Adding to the outstanding experience offered by this seamless approach is Vision- Box Mobile ID technology that uses highly secure biometric tokens for seamlessly, hands-free authentication in authorized IoT devices. The Vision-Box Mobile ID can be used to digitally store multiple identification documents in a smartphone to easily and securely network to numerous services while connecting various agencies and authorities. Using a network of IoT devices, each individual transaction is stored and distributed using Trustchain, Vision-Box’s cutting-edge approach to blockchain, which allows authorized IoT devices to perform risk assessments and estimate the level of confidence in the individual’s personal identity, based on the sequence of ID verifications in the person’s IoT history.

Visit Vision-Box Stand 10035 at the Amsterdam Passenger Terminal Expo for the unveiling of Seamless Gateway, the first-ever contactless face biometrics identification gateway. Distinguished guests and a large team of Vision-Box ambassadors are available for meetings and for a full, live demonstration of the new solution.

Come experience this revolutionary non-stop, contactless and streamlined passenger clearance gateway and see how it will change the face of air travel as we know it!

  • Rockwell Collins’ acquisition of Pulse.Aero expands the company’s strong passenger processing offerings beyond agent and self-service check-in to include new applications and services.

Annapolis, MD | January 4, 2017– Rockwell Collins (NYSE: COL) has acquired Pulse.Aero Limited, a UK-based company specializing in self-service bag drop solutions and airline applications, to enhance the company’s passenger processing services for airports and airlines. This acquisition further expands Rockwell Collins’ Information Management Services strategy to enable the connected aviation ecosystem.

“As passengers seek to take more control of their travel experience, this acquisition expands our portfolio of self-service passenger processing solutions, enabling us to streamline and simplify the passenger journey through a fully connected airport”
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“As passengers seek to take more control of their travel experience, this acquisition expands our portfolio of self-service passenger processing solutions, enabling us to streamline and simplify the passenger journey through a fully connected airport,” said Dave Nieuwsma, senior vice president, Information Management Services for Rockwell Collins.

Pulse.Aero’s products and services will be integrated into the Airport Systems portfolio of Rockwell Collins’ Information Management Services business.

The self-service bag drop market is experiencing significant growth due to the benefits it provides both airports and passengers. Airports can increase passenger throughput without capital expenditure on building and facilities, and passengers can move through the airport check-in process more quickly and efficiently.

Rockwell Collins and Pulse.Aero have worked together on several successful deployments, including Dublin Airport, where new self-bag drop units were installed, reducing queue times and improving customer service.

Watch a video to see how Rockwell Collins’ self-bag drop solution has impacted Aer Lingus’ operations at Dublin Airport: https://youtu.be/OG_4zANwLXo.

France | November 26, 2016– Airbus is evaluating a new standard high-bandwidth architecture that will provide faster and more wide-reaching connectivity services on-board its modern, market-leading jetliners.

Using the in-house A330 testbed aircraft this autumn, Airbus became the first in the industry to flight demonstrate such a high-bandwidth connectivity platform – which will enable faster internet, mobile telephone services and support applications for passengers and airlines via high-throughput satellites.

Applying high-bandwidth connectivity is an important part of the company’s focus on providing a superior on-board experience – and soon will allow airline customers to choose from the range of new high-throughput satellite technologies such as Ka-band and Ku-band for continuous worldwide connectivity.

Constant innovation to improve the passenger experience

“Our goal is to extend our connectivity portfolio in new production aircraft and as retrofit,” explained Bruno Galzin, Head of Airbus’ Connectivity Programme and Upgrade Services. “Our initial testing in high-bandwidth connectivity is a new step to improve the passenger and crew experience. We already are working on new solutions in line with the latest, fast-evolving technologies so anyone can be connected on-board just like at home.”

In-flight connectivity is becoming increasingly important for passengers, who now expect to always be connected – using their own electronic devices to access the internet, exchange with those on the ground and enjoy social media.

Airlines also are demanding the need for connectivity solutions to enhance their operational communications, such as with digital cabin logbooks, telemedicine or for credit card authentication, as well as to generate ancillary cabin revenues.

Cabin connectivity for the future

With the start of testing successfully underway this autumn, Airbus is expected to be the first aircraft manufacturer to offer this standard architecture on its commercial airliners – with service entry for this solution planned for the third quarter of 2017.

Airbus’ high-bandwidth connectivity architecture will be available from multiple suppliers for applications on its A320, A330 and A380 jetliners, which supplements the A350 XWB – a “digital native” that entered service with high-bandwidth connectivity capability.

“The number of connected commercial aircraft is expected to grow from 5,000 to a volume of 16,600 over the 2015-2025 period, accounting for 62 percent of the global commercial fleet,” explained Galzin. “The innovative solutions we are currently developing will help passengers and airlines benefit from a new generation of high-throughput satellite technologies in the Ka-band and Ku-band frequencies.”