The other day, we got a note from Robin Applebaum, APEX Marketing Communication Director we thought you might like to see: “I wanted to reach out to you today with some exciting news from the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and the International Flight Service Association (IFSA). This morning, APEX and IFSA announced a more tightly aligned relationship to better serve the global airline industry. This step will help to further solidify APEX as the industry’s most influential member-based organization dedicated to elevating the entire passenger experience; and will help IFSA to grow globally as the pivotal airline association of the catering and in-flight services market. While both APEX and IFSA will remain fully independent, this alliance triggers additional collaboration in the planning of association co-locations and events, joint working groups, reciprocal guest board member attendance at board meetings, as well as now having a common Chief Executive Officer serving both associations.”

When we asked for more background info, she responded: “As I am sure you are aware, APEX and the International Flight Service Association (IFSA), have had a long established ‘sister-association relationship.’ Last week’s announcement only serves to further align the two groups. As part of this strategic relationship, APEX will be leveraging IFSA to represent the foundation of the association’s catering and services sector. “This will not only help the association to grow its footprint, but will also further solidify APEX as the industry’s most influential member-based organization dedicated to elevating the entire passenger experience. For IFSA, aligning with APEX will help them to expand its reach globally, build additional strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations, and establish itself as the industry’s global representative of the growing catering and in-flight/onboard hospitality market.”

“Additionally, the inclusion of more catering and service elements at APEX events will attract greater numbers of senior airline decision makers who oversee this sector as well as IFE by offering a greater diversification of products, services and information. As demonstrated at APEX EXPO in Singapore, this type of approach yields an increase in potential customers for event exhibitors and other vendor participants. Finally, it will help to better position APEX events against the backdrop of assertive for-profit show competition.”

“To celebrate the fleet-wide upgrade to their new JAL SKY NEXT product, the airline will start offering free Wi-Fi on all equipped domestic flights from February 1, 2017 till August 31st 2017. Connectivity is provided through Gogo using our satellite Internet technology. You’ll find the SKY NEXT product on select 777 -300, 777-200, 767-300 and 737-800 aircraft. JAL was our first international customer, and we’ve been honored to partner with them since 2014 on connectivity and entertainment for their domestic passengers.

This promotion from JAL is just one of the latest to offer Gogo products and services free to their passengers. Last year, we partnered with T-Mobile to provide free Wi-Fi to their subscribers, and most recently, Alaska Airlines rolled out their Free ChatTM product which lets passengers access popular chat apps like iMessage, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp on their smartphone.

In addition to connectivity promotions, we also provide the technology allowing airlines to offer free wireless entertainment to their customers. The product, called Gogo Vision, streams movies and TV shows from our airborne server to most mobile devices, laptops and tablets. Movies and TV shows from Gogo Vision can now be found on more than 2800 aircaft on some the largest airlines in the world. Today, many of Gogo’s airline partners are offering all or some of the content free to passengers.”

Aviation Satcom provider, AirSatOne, announces lower rates for its SwiftBroadband connectivity. Taking care of customers is a top priority at AirSatOne and one reason why the company maintains a 99% customer retention rate. So when Inmarsat, the leader in global satellite communications, lowered its prices AirSatOne was quick to pass the savings on to its customers.

Customers using AirSatOne as their service provider have access to its custom global network for the same price as the generic network used by the competition. AirSatOne’s custom network includes worldwide teleports and IP PoP (Internet Point of Presence) with advanced network security and our globally deployed Flightstream SA which provides web filtering, compression, consumption tracking and firewall customized for mobile communications.

“We think this is an exciting time for the Satcom market. With more and more operators and executives finding it essential to conduct business and stay in sync with the home office while traveling, we hope reducing airtime charges will encourage more aircraft owners to invest in installing Satcom systems in their aircraft,” says Kremsreiter. Satcom systems work everywhere (except at the poles) so in addition to increasing productivity, Satcom hardware increases the aircraft’s value and worldwide marketability when it comes time to sell.

Airlines and airports are investing in technologies to help predict and prepare for future events. This is according to The Future is Predictable, a report published today by air transport IT provider, SITA. It outlines how efforts are being made to tackle the estimated US$25 billion[1] cost of flight disruptions to the air transport industry by harnessing artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, predictive analytics and other progressive technical capabilities.

SITA’s analysis reveals that predictive tools using artificial intelligence and cognitive computing are likely to be adopted by half of airlines and airports over the coming five to 10 years. However, a few front runners are already trialing predictive modeling, machine learning, and data mining. These efforts are mainly focused on initiatives that will provide passengers with more relevant information about their journey to create more seamless and personal experiences.

During 2017, SITA Lab will be validating delay predictions with airlines and airports and expects to complete up to five trials with its industry partners. The next stage will be to incorporate its delay prediction algorithm and disruption warning feeds into SITA’s services to the air transport industry. In the report, leading airports and airlines share their experiences including Gatwick Airport where a seamless passenger experience from curb to gate is the goal. Here several different areas of airport activity are tracked to measure performance and move towards predicting it.

As artificial intelligence develops the importance of maintaining the human touch is not lost on the airlines and airports. Indeed, the combination of people and artificial intelligence is described as transforming the travel experience. The science of artificial intelligence is developing quickly and airlines and airports are turning to the academic community to help them with predictive tools to tackle disruptions. SITA’s report discusses research that is being carried out with scientists from Binghamton University, State University of New York; University of Nottingham as part the European Union-funded consortium PASSME; Carnegie Mellon University; Oxford University’s Data Science Laboratory in the Mathematical Institute and University College London School of Management.

The Future is Predictable combines SITA’s global industry experience and studies with commentary and case studies from airports and airlines that are investing in the latest research and technologies.

Check out the full press release here.
For further details download SITA’s full report – The Future is Predictable

New Zealand-based audio equipment and technology developer Phitek Systems has been sold to New York-listed Amphenol Corp, providing an exit for a number of domestic VC investors. Phitek’s previous backers include Direct Capital-managed TMT Ventures and Stephen Tindal’s K1W1 investment vehicle. TMT, which has been invested since 2005, has a direct 27 per cent and a 14 per cent holding shared with the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund. Meanwhile, K1W1 owns 39 per cent. Phitek designs and supplies aircraft in-flight entertainment interconnect products for the commercial aerospace industry. You can read more here.

Lufthansa Technik
Luftahansa Technik has announced a two-in-one solution (TIOS) antenna radome for the Boeing 737-700 and -800. The antenna, installed on the vertical stabilizer to reduce drag and positively affect the aircraft’s center of gravity, will make it possible to install Ka-band antennas to provide high-speed internet, TV connections and a high-definition camera. The radome is up to 200 lb. (100 kg) lighter than the original and is FAA validated and has an EASA Supplemental Type Certification. You can find satellite communication options, products, services and companies in MRO Links, MRO-Network.com’s searchable directory.

TIOS – Two antennas under one radome – YouTube


  • Rich Salter told IFExpress: “Re: data transmission via light (LiFi), I just signed on to Moderate a session at AIX’ Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) on April 3 in Hamburg. It is the Tech Horizons session (last one of the day) in the Connected Journey track, and one of the presenters is Prof Harald Haas of Edinburgh who is founder of PureLiFi  – and he coined the term “LiFi” too.”
  • Richie Sugimoto reports that Aircraft Cabin Systems has just received Certification of ISO9001 and AS9100 – Congratulations!

More Stuff

New Zealand | May 18, 2015– Leading New Zealand-based aviation technology company Phitek Systems has won the Endace Innovative Hi-Tech Hardware Product Award for its range of magnetic aviation audio jacks.

Phitek’s award entry demonstrated how it had met the challenge of delivering high-quality audio with smart electronic hardware in the highly regulated aviation industry.

Problems with traditional audio connectors can leave a passenger without access to inflight entertainment (IFE) – an experience they will forever associate with that airline – and for the airline significant replacement costs of up to US$1,000 a jack.
Phitek’s solution was to reimagine how audio might be delivered in the cabin using magnetic connection points eliminating the need for pins. Complex electronic engineering was deployed to create a product that is unique in the global aviation market.
Phitek CEO, Roy Moody, said Phitek’s magnetic jacks addressed both passenger and airline operator challenges. “We delivered an audio jack that eliminates pin breakage, can adapt to any IFE system, airline or passenger headphones; and delivers high-quality audio.”

Moody said Phitek then had to pass all the very stringent aviation regulations to get its product flying. “Our magnetic jacks have been tested for whether they are flame and water-proof, whether they continue to function at -55 degrees Celsius and up to near boiling temperatures and a myriad of other tests that non-aviation consumer electronic devices are not normally expected to, or could pass.”

Moody said the award endorsed the company’s smart approach to technology design. “This stamp of approval from a highly respected award demonstrates the quality, creativity and ability of Phitek to deliver innovative technology in the aviation cabin.”
Phitek’s magnetics jacks are sold through all major IFE companies including Panasonic, Thales, Rockwell Collins and Zodiac driving export revenue growth of over 30% year-on-year for the past three years.

The judges narrowed down a record number of submissions to 54 finalists in 12 categories. Phitek’s aviation magnetic jacks were chosen as a winner over entries from Dairy Automation, SnapitHD and Solar Bright with the judges mentioning Phitek’s “impressive product design and deep understanding of the market”.

Auckland, New Zealand | November 12, 2014– The days of costly and frustrating airline inflight entertainment (IFE) system failure due to headphone pin breakage are a thing of the past for Etihad Airways. The UAE flag carrier is the first airline to implement the new Magnetic Jacks designed and manufactured by Phitek. This magnetic connector product has been adopted by Panasonic as a Remote Jack Unit in their latest IFE offering.

The new Remote Jack Unit is reverse compatible with most traditional ARINC headphone types and all headphones equipped with Magnetic Plugs (MJ-Plugs).

Mechanical pin breakage and the resulting IFE system failure at the aircraft seat is completely eliminated when Phitek’s Magnetic Jack Units are used in combination with passenger headphones equipped with MJ-Plugs™. If passengers get up with their headphones still attached, the force exerted separates the magnetic combination, releasing the headphones without any damage.

Before accepting the Phitek Magnetic Jack, Etihad Airways conducted extensive flight trials using their existing Yes-Hope headphones fitted with MJ-Plugs.

Etihad Airways’ Manager BFE Program and Projects, Quentin Couturier, said: “The results of our 60-day trial were encouraging with no defects logged and no Magnetic Jack replacements required. Our survey also revealed a positive response from our guests with a majority expressing their overall satisfaction.”

The MJ-Plug is an open design, available to all headphone manufacturers, making the operation of magnetic jack units a seamless and cost effective option for airlines.

Auckland, NZ | October 31, 2012– Phitek Systems has achieved a 10-year milestone in the deployment of the company’s patented, ANRTM active noise cancellation technology across global passenger airline fleets. ANRTM is, in scientific terms, active acoustic attenuation technology which Phitek developed in 2002. ANRTM provides an effective and economical solution to the challenge of noise within aircraft cabins. Background cabin noise is a problem that impacts upon the successful delivery of in-flight entertainment (IFE) which has rapidly evolved as a critical service distinction between competing airlines in both their premium and economy cabins.

In launching ANRTM Phitek moved quickly in partnership with leading IFE providers, such as Panasonic Avionics Corporation and more recently with Thales Aerospace – to integrate ANRTM into IFE systems offered to leading airlines. Positioned on a critical combination of technology, performance, price and flexibility, ANRTM has become a required industry standard.

Phitek has been instrumental in lowering airline recurring operational costs normally associated with IFE by embedding ANRTM into a seat jack. This feature eliminates an airline’s need for complex – and expensive – ‘consumable’ headphones provided to premium passengers.

Phitek’s ANRTM has been integrated into almost half a million seats over the last 10 years including many of the world’s long haul passenger fleet such as, Air New Zealand, Etihad Airways, Swiss Airlines, Emirates Airlines, United/Continental, Asiana, Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia, and Iberia.

Phitek ANRTM aviation products meet the rigid design, fabrication and quality demands of the commercial aviation sector with manufacturing located close to the company’s head office in Auckland, New Zealand.
With a background focused on customer demands within the aviation sector Phitek’s research and development group have teamed with leading New Zealand government research institutions such as The University of Auckland and Industrial Research Limited (IRL) to cultivate IFE connectivity innovations.

Products such as V3DTM ‘In-Seat Surround Sound’ now flying on a major airline and the MJUTM ‘Ultra-long-life connector’ currently being trialled in flight, are recent examples of successful commercialisation of this NZ originating research.

Since establishing the success of integrating ANRTM across most IFE systems, Phitek is focused on an innovation path that will exploit ‘next generation’ opportunities such as on-board wireless payment, wireless audio and in cabin communications at each seat, to meet the demand from airline passengers for the coming decade and beyond.