IFEC’ers, it is almost here – AIX 2017 that is – and we cannot wait. Over the next few issues, IFExpress will be providing a ‘sneak peek’ from a few AIX vendors. Additionally, we have a ‘Special Story’ for the AIX Show Edition – stay tuned and read on!

Aircraft Cabin Systems

ACS is very busy these days with the design on their second-generation 12.1” retractable monitor. Even though their first-generation model was highly accepted in the marketplace, “We are constantly striving to give our customers what they want” says Richie Sugimoto (shown above) including a very robust design offering high value. Customers have appreciated the overall simplicity of the unit, including the lighter weight and less moving parts providing a quieter unit in operational mode. Most importantly, customers love the ease of installation when upgrading their aircraft from older monitors. These units are offered for both the Airbus and Boeing series of aircraft. They are designed for AC power and with HDSDI video input, provide a clear, crisp quality picture. The first-generation retractable monitors utilize a patented, mechanical design developed by Mr. Yukio Sugimoto and was developed to be a mechanical plug-and-play attachment to either the existing B737 PSU’s or for the Airbus planes.

ACS has also been working on a new design of 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) Modular Monitors. This new design concept allows the support of customizable input/output modules, allowing for the unit functionality with a wide variety of IFE systems. This unique design concept can meet the industry multiple demands with adding additional or different modules. This design is in the testing phase and expect production to release product to the marketplace in Q2. Available screen sizes range from 27” up to 75”.

All products are designed and manufactured in their Redmond, WA facility that is an AS9100 Certified facility. ACS will be at the upcoming AIX show in Hamburg, if in the area, stop by and see all of the new technology they are working on at stand 2C30 to discuss your needs.


This year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg will be unprecedented for Chief Executive David Withers and team as far as depth and breadth of solutions and in an increased presence both in size of booth and team in the IFEC zone, Hall B4 at stand 4E20. digEcor having recently expanded their sales team to include additional resource in the Middle East and Africa Region with the appointment of Eduardo Protasio, (from EuroAtlantic Airways) a new appointment for Asia Pacific in Stu McGraw commencing 27 March (previously QinetiQ and Virgin Australia) as well as Jorge Mompo’s appointment (previously Lumexis) as Sales Director of the America’s since AIX 2016. Headed by VP Global Sales, Paul Thorpe, digEcor are looking forward to what this will mean for the developing growth of the company and are looking forward to introducing this new team to visitors this year.

digEcor has been busy these past 12 months and has a handful of announcements to make at AIX 2017 they are keeping close to their chest. The GLIDE embedded system is making headway in the market as well as the continued success of digEcor’s passenger power for 2.1A USB and 110V power solutions, including pre integrated solutions with innovative seat vendors. Since AIX Hamburg 2016 digEcor has launched four new product lines including Passenger Service Solutions, LED Cabin Lighting, Cabin Management and digEcor’s own Moving Map.

digEcor’s mission to enable all airlines to create an extraordinary travel experience is still personified through their modular, flexible and tailored approach to meet the needs of airlines and vendors alike. The Integrated Flight Experience portfolio is still the only fully integrated system from one single vendor available today comprising GLIDE Embedded and Portable IFE, In-Seat Power, LED Cabin Lighting, Passenger Service Solutions, Cabin Management, Wi-Fi to stream content, ENGAGE application for crew, Tape Replacement and Content Services.

digEcor is showcasing this experience at AIX this year by cabin for Economy, Premium, Business and First class. In partnership with Avio Interiors, Geven Spa, Skypaxx, Thompson Seating and Pitch Aircraft Seating Systems, digEcor is primed to educate visitors by cabin or product, depending on the interest.

FTS New Brand Logo Identity

This past week, FTS proudly launched their new company logo. Here is what they had to say:

Over the past two years, FTS business has grown and evolved. In line with our expansion globally, across U.S. and Europe, as well as the addition of new exciting product range, it’s time for a change!

With a sharp and crisp font and brighter blue used, it is a modernized look which reflects our core values – constantly innovating, cutting-edge technology and revolutionize the business.

Being a newcomer, FTS strives to revolutionize the IFEC industry with new business ideas, innovative product offerings and high quality hardware.

We do not follow the norm. We set ourselves apart. This is what we strive for and we are excited to share that with you.

Our new logo will have its first appearance in AIX 2017.

Check us out and see you at booth 2E34!


Twenty One products and ideas are in the finals of the 2017 Crystal Cabin Awards, the world’s most renowned prize for innovation in aircraft interiors. From a parking guidance system for cabin baggage to a lavatory mirror that displays on-board video and information as if by magic, the finalists’ submissions include innovative ideas for pretty much every aspect of the cabin – revealing today how we will be flying in the world of tomorrow. In the field of “Cabin Concepts” in particular, the giants are lining up for a showdown: Bombardier, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are all hoping for a trophy in the same category. With 85 shortlist entrants from 21 nations, the 2017 Crystal Cabin Awards have been more popular and more international than ever before in their 11 years of history. The seven winners of the coveted Crystal Cabin Award trophies will be announced on the first evening of the Aircraft Interiors Expo (4 – 6 April, 2017) in Hamburg, Germany.


Boeing and CDB Aviation Lease Finance (CDB Aviation) announced an order for 30 737 MAX 8 airplanes. The order, valued at $3.3 billion at current list prices, was previously unidentified on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website. Based in Dublin, Ireland, CDB Aviation operates as a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co LTD (CDB Leasing) (HKEX stock code:1606). With registered capital of $US50 million and a fleet of over 200 aircraft, CDB Aviation has over 10 years’ experience in the business and is one of the largest and most influential Chinese-owned aviation leasing companies.
And while we are on Boeing, keep your eye on the new midsize airplane demand for the companies next new plane. Boeing expects to launch a new larger B737 beyond the B737 MAX by the end of 2017. Also expect it to fall below the B787 passenger payload. The so-called B797 will probably seat from 200 to almost 300 passengers over a range of some 4300 to 5300 nautical miles – in the older B767-200 payload-range footprint. Single vs twin aisle is a big deciding factor as well as competition with their existing B737 fleet and it’s growth. Here is more reading for your airplane interest

Customers Press Boeing To Launch New Midsize Widebody Aircraft Soon | Commercial Aviation content from Aviation Week

Boeing’s Plan For Bigger 737 MAX Meets with Industry Doubts 

Boeing’s talking with airlines about a ‘797,’ and they like what they hear | The Seattle Times

The Boeing 737 MAX Is the Most Underrated Plane of All Time — The Motley Fool


SITA, recently announced the formation of the Secure Journeys Working Group to address today’s airport security threats in the USA and to work towards creating a secure and efficient passenger experience throughout the airport. The launch of the Secure Journeys initiative is in response to the current security climate and recent attacks on non-secure areas of the airport, including the Brussels airport bombing and Fort Lauderdale airport shooting. Members of the working group cite these incidents as examples that demonstrate the need to rethink the approach to getting passengers through the airport quickly and safely. The newly extended group will address growing challenges, including:

  • Moving passengers and baggage more rapidly through non-secure areas of the airport, such as check-in and baggage claim areas;
  • Reducing and effectively managing security wait times to reduce lines of people in non-secure areas;
  • Incorporating biometrics for passenger screening authentication;
  • Addressing ways in which identity management solutions can be used along with data analytics to reduce the growing concerns around the insider threat.

Bad Aviation Joke: A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, ‘I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.’ OK, the worst science joke then: Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, ‘I’ve lost my electron.’ The other says ‘Are you sure?’ The first replies, ‘Yes, I’m positive.’

During AIX, we had a long talk with Geoff and Claire Underwood of IFPL and traced out the tech steps and reasoning around NFC – Near Field Communication. When we got back, IFExpress reviewed a couple of articles that talked about the need for passenger identification on aircraft and realized that the passenger manifests are not the best passenger data device. The IFPL team noted that most people think of NFC as a payment device. Let’s face it, digitizing passenger data and having it available on the aircraft is probably one of the last parts of the airline network to be automated. While that is a true statement and someday, airlines will rely on some on-plane identification for things like security, passenger ID, sales, preference settings, etc., it certainly isn’t here yet. Geoff knows that and gave IFExpress an earful about the future of this technology. “Preferences” in the article we read were a reference too automatically set lighting, music, drinks, food… whatever. “But” Geoff noted, “NFC is a 2-way communication device, not just a credit card.” Good point. Certainly, upper classes need this to eventually keep those high value customers and provide 2 way communication with the airline. The concept of QR codes interfaces with passengers seems a little bit outdated with NFC around! And that is the problem, it is not around on many planes and an interface with passenger databases is a future need. NFC can open channels of service like Wi-Fi, IFE content, music streaming, GSM calls… there is no end to solutions once the infrastructure is in place. And that is the issue, the infrastructure. Lower in weight than crews, credit card readers, and who knows what, the light NFC sensors and circuitry in conjunction with a PIN number can open up a world of passenger spending and service… especially with a connection to the ground. A flier could put money on an iPhone or card (or whatever) from the ground for on-board purchases or eventual airborne or ground fulfillment. Today you can use the NFC only on a few seatbacks but someone has to integrate technology into the IFE based, passenger preference driven, iPhone supported, seatback installed and powered, electronic receipt dispensing, consumer interface system. Geoff and their IFE team is ready to talk your language. Geoff.Underwood@IFPL.com Call him about your passenger preference problem and see if NFC can help. Oh, and one last thing, NFC is supposed to be standard on all credit/debit cards starting in 2014!

Rockwell-Collins now offers three PAVES product lines: PAVES Broadcast (overhead), PAVES On Demand, and PAVES Wireless. The company has also begun the third generation of the product line. RC has selected Kontron servers and WAPS for the wireless version but is still working the software side of the mix. And speaking of software, while PAVES Wireless hardware clients and servers are owned by the airline, they also own the client software. This is significant because the software has to be constantly updated with programming and updates to talk with passenger PEDS. An aircraft that has to talk too 30 or 40 devices will need a lot of support and software updates each month. As Rockwell observed, “This is going to change the game because the business model will have to include software updates.” In fact, multiple, ongoing software updates with PED interfaces included will be the new business model. RC notes that traditional IFE may need a new model and the perception of getting into an inexpensive hardware solution may be supplanted by a new higher cost, software-based paradigm. Back to the hardware – Rockwell will be installing PAVES hardware on Thomas Cook in the May/June time-frame and the airline plans to launch PAVES in front of passengers in 2013.

The IFE Thought Of The Day – When will someone invent a drop-down overhead video display with built-in audio for regional jets so they can make money selling infomercials on short haul flights? For that matter, couldn’t the content exist resident in the PSU device (toggled on by the purser) and not on a server? And perhaps, audio might not be needed at all with clever images and graphics – what’s wrong with a moving billboard? Why couldn’t you send the audio via Wi-Fi to your smart device?

And Now For Something Completely Different… and Expensive!

One of the articles we wanted to do for sometime now is the definition of ancillary revenues that lie under airlines balance sheets of most carriers today. Ostensibly because of higher fuel costs, the airlines began a “pay-for-play” approach to incremental goods and services introduced around 2007 by Ryanair’s, CEO, Michael O’Leary (and others). And boy, has this concept caught on! Admittedly, paying higher ticket prices is the option but airline management has opted to charge, often for options, incrementally. Here are just a few: First Shipped Bag – Free to $100 – second and third bag up to $150; Pet Shipping – up to $200+; One Carry On Bag – up to $100 extra; Reservation Change – up to an extra $200, Pillow/Blanket – up to $10; Drinks – (alcohol & non-alcohol) another 10 bucks; Inflight Entertainment – free to $10; and Wi-Fi – up to $14. We won’t talk about GSM phone bill increases for talk and texting but they will show up on your card later. What’s next – Pay for Power? You just can’t blame the airlines for covering fuel increases because, in this case fliers do have options, up to a point. It is just that the ‘nickel and dime-ing’ is a term heard on almost every flight and it will not get better because prices do go up. No doubt, the future is bright (or dim depending on your view) for higher ticket prices as well.

Also, here are a few web links that you might not have seen and will find interesting:

Have your say in Teague’s ‘Take Travel Back’ campaign

Inside Alaska Airlines’ new Boeing Sky Interior – GeekWire

05-2013 : Time to hire a mobile strategist

New luggage blocks ID theft on the road

12 in-flight innovations to keep an eye out for | CNN Travel